Libertarian Vaclav Klaus has been fired by Cato because he dissents from the CIA-Pentagon line on Russia, and does not support gay marriage. The Daily Beast applauds the defenestration.1:26 pm on December 22, 2014 Email Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Our Rulers’ favorite excuse for their panopticon is that monitoring everything everyone anywhere says, does or thinks is the only way they can protect us. (From what, exactly? Certainly not from the greatest threat any citizen faces: his own government.) Yet the NSA has yet to produce a single example in which its spying protected anything but its own backside and budget. Meanwhile, the India Times highlights yet another failure of 24/7 surveillance: the attack in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.
In one of the most glaring intelligence failures, the report said Indian and British intelligence agencies [N.B.: Britain’s spies march in lockstep with the NSA. Actually, they’re too busy kissing the NSA’s butt to march anywhere, but you get the idea…] monitored online activities of a key 26/11 planner Zarrar Shah, the technology chief of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group, “but couldn’t connect the dots” before the attacks… While the US was unaware of the two agencies’ efforts, it had picked up signs of a plot through other electronic and human sources, and warned Indian security officials several times in the months before the attack, the report said. The report quoted former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon as saying that “no one put together the whole picture,” referring to the intelligence gathered by the US, Indian and British agencies months before the attacks. “Not the Americans, not the Brits, not the Indians…only once the shooting started did everyone share” what they had, largely in meetings between British and Indian officials, and then “the picture instantly came into focus,” said Menon, who was the foreign secretary at the time of the attacks.
Well, heck, the “picture instantly comes into focus once the shooting starts” even for us mere serfs who aren’t governmental spooks. Prompting the question of what purpose these sponging spooks serve.
Furthermore, even neocons who worship “national security” should ask why American taxpayers are footing the bill to spy on Asian criminals, especially when so many homeowners have lost their property to the rapacious IRS while others ponder whether to buy food or pay the medical insurance Obummer now requires. But given the billions the NSA steals from us, allegedly to stop just such atrocities as that in Mumbai…well, we’re getting zilch for our money, that’s certain.
Abolish and disband the ineffective, incompetent, and utterly evil NSA. Now.12:15 pm on December 22, 2014 Email Becky Akers
U.S. presidents have dictatorial powers. Many have already been exercised and become precedents — accepted. Many more and worse are potential powers, to be invoked when a president feels like it. If a president can get away with some new exercise of power, which he can if it doesn’t create too much resistance in the rest of the government, his party, the media and the people, then that’s the end of the matter. He then has augmented the dictatorship, which is both his and that of “enough” of the nation to leave the power in place. Over time, the dictatorship grows. It is already so large that a list of presidential powers is both amazing and frightening. President Roosevelt interned Japanese-Americans in camps by Executive Order 9066. If this were done today and applied to Texas and Hawaii, it would mean that 7 relatives of mine would be separated from their families and be removed to camps.
One of these powers is to prevent Americans from trading with non-Americans. Obama used this power by an executive order on December 19, 2014 that “prohibits the export of goods, technology, or services to Crimea and prohibits the import of goods, technology, or services from Crimea, as well as new investments in Crimea. The E.O. also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities operating in Crimea.”
The president can relax trading with Cuba and tighten trading with Crimea. This is a dictatorial power, a ruling by his edict alone. Obama is actively extending this kind of dictatorial power whenever he can. Obama and any president also claims and has the power to speak and act for all Americans on foreign relations. He can say things like this: “…the United States will not accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea.” A U.S. president can steer the nation into conflicts, hostilities, and wars. These can last for decades. This is a seriously dictatorial power, moderated only by resistance in other parts of the government and people but supported also by elements of both.
Whenever I think about the state and the powers that it has, I can always find reason after reason why these powers are harmful and only very weak arguments why these powers are supposed to be helpful or right. I will listen if someone can provide convincing arguments as to why Americans are now forbidden to trade in Crimea and why Obama says that the “United States will not accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea.” There are no such reasons, as far as I can see, anymore than there were reasons to isolate Cuba or for President Kennedy to authorize the Bay of Pigs invasion, another dictatorial action.6:28 am on December 22, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff
I am against capital punishment. I am also against police murdering innocent people. Being against the killing of a person convicted of a capital crime implies that one even more strongly and clearly must be against police murdering innocent people. It means that police procedures and weapons should never be employed in a wide range of instances where they are now standard operating procedure. If Americans were against capital punishment, then they would not allow police to be running wild and getting away with it as they are doing today in so many instances.
The first time I stated my capital punishment position in this blog was on May 2, 2011. It was on the occasion of bin Laden’s reported killing. Calls were being made at that time for the killing of Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi. This occurred on Oct. 20, 2011. Accounts vary on how he was killed. There was altogether too much celebration of these killings, even if these men were guilty of capital crimes, but there had been no judicial proceedings that even reached that judgment.
Imagine that we Americans change our minds about capital punishment and decide that it is wrong. There are many grounds for doing so. Relevant to the anti-state philosophy of this site is the following from philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev:
“It has been said: ‘Those taking up the sword, will perish by the sword’. This was said for the state, since the state not only was the first to have taken up the sword, having been begotten in bloody killings, but it also elevated the killing into law, it admitted death as one of the laws of life. It is known, that capital punishment developed historically out of the blood feud, that the state out of concern took upon itself the task to organise retribution, having transformed it into something impersonal. The elements of revenge in the blood feud — are irrational, in it is stirred up a primordial chaos, but this chaos is infinitely more noble and holier, than the organised, mindfully deliberate, consciously-bestial retribution of the state, than its monstrous impersonalism. Death is something terrible and killing something reprehensible, but what can be said about death, elevated into a law of life, about killing, organised consciously by the masters of life in the name of upholding an illusory order of affairs within it. There is in the world an higher truth, than with this blood revenge, and to this revenge it summons us not, but the state is not mindful about this truth, it is not given for the state to have to answer for the horror of killing. For a man it has been said: ‘Do not kill’, but the state, the people of the state, the people in power have regarded this as not applying to them, they have attributed the commandment as applying only to their subjects and uphold their existence by a beastly law, nowise heedful about God.12:56 pm on December 21, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff
I suspect that many Americans don’t realize that America’s Guantánamo Bay prison is in Cuba. One part of normalizing relations with Cuba should be not only closing this prison, but getting the U.S. military out of Cuba–where it has been for a hundred years, as I pointed out here.8:04 am on December 21, 2014 Email Laurence M. Vance
The current Congress (the 112th) has been called the “Do Nothing” Congress and the least productive since World War II. But is not that what we need? The less Congress does the fewer programs, laws, regulations, and agencies we will have. As bad as the 112th Congress has been, to be unproductive can only be good for liberty and property. Just imagine how much worse this Congress would have been if it had been more productive. Dan Mitchell agrees.7:56 am on December 21, 2014 Email Laurence M. Vance
Did North Korea hack Sony? The criminal gang that is the government of North Korea says no. The equally criminal gang that is the government of the United States says yes. I see no reason to believe one over the other.7:46 am on December 21, 2014
How could such a list not include the film, “Joyeaux Noel”? Based upon actual happenings during World War I, when the war-time slaughter was put on hold on Christmas eve, and soldiers from German, French, and British trenches came out to peacefully socialize with one another, exchange meager gifts, perform Christmas music, and even play a game of soccer, this movie makes the kind of clear contrast that even the gang at CNN and Faux News might grasp. After this brief respite from the murderous purposes of the state, military officials were quick to reassign the soldiers who participated in it to other battlefields, lest the virus of “peace” spread to other warriors. It’s a film that would terrify the hell out of the Dick Cheneys and all the other reptilian-brained denizens of the war-racket!3:02 pm on December 19, 2014
Writes Joe Salerno at Mises.org:
10:22 am on December 19, 2014 Email Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Michael Vick filed for bankruptcy in July 2008, while serving time in Leavenworth federal prison for participation in an illegal dog-fighting ring. He was then earning 12 cents per hour mopping prison floors. Six years later he has almost paid back the full $17.8 million he owed his creditors, including returning $6.5 million of salary to the Atlanta Falcons, his former employer. “Big deal,” you may say, “Vick has earned nearly $49 million during the five years (2010-2014) since he returned to the NFL.” But it is a big—and very heroic—deal because it is rare that Americans who file for personal bankruptcy repay their full debts to their creditors. For the rotten U.S. bankruptcy laws permit individual debtors to weasel out of most of their indebtedness. As the liquidating trustee in Vick’s case commented:
What Michael did was the exception, not the rule. He didn’t have to do this. The law allows you to skate by and pay your creditors 10 or 20 cents on the dollar, but he thought this was the right thing to do.
Vick could have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, under which most of his debts would have been forgiven. Instead he chose to file under Chapter 11, which required repayment of his entire debt. Under the arrangement he made with his creditors, Vick restricted himself to a $300,000 annual budget until his debts were paid off. This was necessary because more than half of what he was earning went to pay taxes and legal fees. Vick continued to repay the salary-related portion of his debt even after the Falcons decided to sell the liability, presumably at a substantial discount, to Fortress Capital, a gigantic investment firm with $66 billion under management.
Vick explained his choice to pursue the path of righteousness and honesty and not to use an unjust law to plunder the property of his fellows very simply and directly:
I didn’t want to stiff people who never stiffed me.
Louisville mayor Greg Fischer supports raising the minimum wage, but only to $8.75 an hour, even though the Louisville Metro Council labor and economic development committee voted in favor of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 on by 2017. $8.75 an hour? $10.10 an hour? Who can live on that? Why not $18.75 an hour or $20.10 an hour? What a bunch of pikers!8:14 am on December 19, 2014 Email Laurence M. Vance
I was on RT yesterday as President Obama signed a new bill into law — passed in the US House by parliamentary trick after Members had gone home — that authorizes yet another round of US sanctions against Russia. This one day after Obama announced that he was normalizing relations with Cuba because, as he admitted, sanctions do not work.
The new law also authorizes $350 million to be spent on lethal weapons for the US proxy government in Kiev. Of course, the bill stipulates that the money must be spent purchasing weapons of war from American suppliers! And what about the economic consequences for the US of Obama’s sanctions on Russia?8:09 am on December 19, 2014 Email Daniel McAdams
If you find yourself in need of a laugh after a week of torture, politicians, and bureaucratic lunacy, Bill Martin’s come to the rescue. He sent me these bon mots a gun shop in Texas posted on its marquee:
We like our guns locked up safe and secure like Obama’s birth records.
Criminals obey gun laws like politicians follow their oaths of office.
Guns are cheap compared to Obamacare and have better coverage.
And my favorite–
7:31 am on December 19, 2014 Email Becky Akers
I like my guns like Obama likes his voters: undocumented.
It is sad to see the brilliant conservative Thomas Sowell defending torture yet again. He did so back in 2009 and I criticized him for it then. Now, with the release of the CIA torture report, he is at it again:
If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City—set to go off today—and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of “torture”? Would you even care what the definition of “torture” was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?
Gee, if we knew there was a bomb and we knew it was going off today and we captured someone whom we knew was a terrorist and we knew that he knew where the bomb was and we knew that he knew when the bomb would go off, why wouldn’t we also know these things?6:47 am on December 19, 2014
That was the headline on the local 11 PM news tonight. I thought they were going to talk about another NSA email/cell phone spying/abolition of the 4th Amendment story. But instead the topic of discussion was the North Korean government’s identical-to-NSA-behavior in spying on SONY emails. It sure is hard to keep these two (NSA and North Korean government) straight.10:10 pm on December 18, 2014 Email Thomas DiLorenzo
“Our will is the law, and if you submit to it, we won’t kill you.” That’s the actual message behind the motto displayed on a line of t-shirts designed by South Bend, Indiana police officer Jason Barthel.
The shirts display a badge insignia against set the “Blue Line” logo — the universal colors of the State’s privileged gang-banger fraternity — with the inscription: “Breathe easy — don’t break the law.”
The t-shirt design is intended as a rebuke to the “I can’t breathe” protest meme inspired by the police murder of Eric Garner.
“We are not here to do anything negative to the public,” insists Barthel. “We’re here to protect the public and we want you to breathe easy knowing that the police are here to be with you and for you and protect you.”
The claim that police exist to protect the public is an obvious and easily documented lie: Police officers have no enforceable duty to aid a citizen threatened by actual criminal violence. If something akin to a legitimate role exists for government police it would be to identify criminal suspects and detain them for prosecution when necessary. Nearly everything police do, however, consists of scrutinizing harmless behavior by their betters in the productive class in search of a rationale to intrude in their affairs, confiscate their property, and kill them if they object — which is precisely what was done to micro-entrepreneur Eric Garner on the streets of Staten Island.
The shirts, predictably, are a huge hit with Punitive Populists — the kind of people who chant the Support Your Local Police (SYLP) mantra as a way of insulating themselves from the abundant evidence that law enforcement is the single greatest source of lawless violence in our society.
For such people, anyone on the receiving end of lethal attention from a police officer — a Judge Dredd-like figure invested with the power of discretionary killing — obviously must have done something to deserve it. They rarely, if ever, consider the fact that it is almost impossible to breathe easily in a country being suffocated beneath the burden of “laws” that make each of us a repeat offender — and thus liable to summary execution by police — on a daily basis. Nor are they unduly troubled by the recent Supreme Court decision that relieves police of the need of observing an actual violation of the “law” before detaining an individual and finding an excuse to ruin his life.
Officer Barthel, who divides his time between law enforcement and honest work as a small business owner, could very easily be prosecuted and ruined for any of the myriad regulatory infractions he commits every day as an entrepreneur. As a police officer, however, he can commit criminal violence — including homicide — and take refuge in the claim of “qualified immunity.”
It has been said that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. In similar fashion, a police critic is often someone who has been abused by the cops, or seen this happen to someone he cares about. Given the metastasizing plague of criminal violence by the police, we can expect to see an increasing number of Punitive Populists have that conversion experience — being beaten by the cops on the Road to Damascus, as it were. As Franklin famously said, experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.12:21 pm on December 18, 2014 Email William Norman Grigg
Being a hermit, I eschew “social media.” Alas, that isn’t enough anymore: Facebook’s “Atlas” tracks me (and you) regardless. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre explain this insidious threat to our privacy–and, what I appreciate even more, include tips for circumventing it. Lest you think a corporation’s spying on you is less dangerous than the State’s, remember that “Once a private company has your information, the government can get its hands on it, too.”
But the USSA Army’s hijinks make Facebook’s look positively benign. Mark Luedtke sent this article about a diabolical duo of blimps the Empire’s warriors will launch over Maryland in “just a few days.” These monstrosities are not only enormous (“They are 80 yards long and their total volume is somewhere around 600,000 cubic feet. That’s about the size of three Goodyear blimps. Or over 3,500 white elephants”) and expensive (the products of an “18-year-long $2.8-billion Army project”), but their visual surveillance equals the NSA’s audio eavesdropping: they will “watch what’s happening from North Carolina to Boston, or an area the size of Texas.”
Unlike the NSA, however, these blimps won’t be undetectable sans a whistleblower. They are easily visible–which may be part of the point. “…Ed Herlik, a former Air Force officer and technology analyst with a particular interest in airships,” says, “’If you put a camera in a sky over an area where you expect a lot of unrest, the area will calm down,’…”
As always, the Feds deny these boondoggles are watching us. No, they’re protecting us.
And the government really is there to help, too.11:24 am on December 18, 2014 Email Becky Akers
I was busy retching or I would have endeavored to find out more about the author who claims to be a Christian yet justifies torture in the article I referenced yesterday. Fortunately, Andreatta G. was on the ball even if I wasn’t and discovered that this repulsive hypocrite is a subcontractor for the Department of Defense. Ergo, aside from her innate and idolatrous statism, the writer also has a vested interest in defending utter evil.
Several years after Abu Ghraib’s horrific photographs shocked the world, I happened to attend a lecture at a free-market think-tank. I will never forget my disgust when about half the audience booed the speaker’s denunciation of torture. One woman in particular, an elderly schoolteacher who has long haunted the movement for liberty, insisted that “terrorists” deserve such abuse — and she was not alone, by any means. How nauseating that supposedly civilized people could actually discuss and endorse such perversion over their wine and cheese. I mean, to discuss it is bad enough, but to eagerly disclose that you approve? What have we become? And if this is what prevails at a place supposedly devoted to liberty, what of the wide world outside its walls?
I saw the same nausea in the emails so many of you sent me when you learned that a supposed Christian is defending the Feds’ unspeakable atrocities. And if this is what prevails in the Church, what can we expect from the wide world outside?
Nonetheless, true Christians respond to the State’s victims with help and healing as we pray for our Father to deliver us from evil — and to abolish Leviathan, the source of so much of that evil. Indeed, let us take a lesson from a jury that not only exonerated a man cops beat for no reason but hugged him (thanks to Bill Martin for sending me this link).
And let us never forget that the State is Satan’s citadel. Of course it tortures. Of course it steals. Of course it murders. And of course it euphemizes and lies about all these sins. Christians repudiate such perversion. They live by the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. They do not advocate the utilitarian saving of thousands of live by savaging one; they realize that every life, even those of Moslems, even those across the seas, even those in countries that resent the USSA’s bullying, are precious in God’s eyes. They do not condone deliberate injury of defenseless scapegoats. They do not blaspheme God’s Word by taking it out of context and perverting its message of repentance into one of governmental vengeance. If they do, they aren’t Christians. “By their fruits, ye shall know them.”10:20 am on December 18, 2014 Email Becky Akers
We recently asked a Brown University-educated retired businessman who is also a retired Marine and FOX News junkie the following question: “Do you think the two or three Americans who were victims of Middle East head choppers are equivalent to the literally hundreds of thousands of women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East who have been the victims of American bombs and shootings?
Naturally, he answered “yes.” This is the result of the malicious myth of “American exceptionalism” which also explains why almost everyone not only ignores but celebrates the fact that “we” nuked Japanese women and children in 1945. Ever since the regime’s victory in its War to Prevent Southern Independence, it has worked mightily to brainwash Americans in the notion that that war created “a treasury of virtue” that would forever excuse ANYTHING the U.S. government ever did, no matter how immoral and barbaric.
(By the way, the phrase “Boobus Americanus” was coined by H.L. Mencken).9:34 am on December 18, 2014 Email Thomas DiLorenzo
. . . pales in comparison to the U.S. slaughter of innocent children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Where is the American outrage over the dropping of the atomic bombs? It doesn’t exist, except among most libertarians, some liberals, and a handful of conservatives.9:06 am on December 18, 2014 Email Laurence M. Vance
I receive e-mail from various conservative organizations. At this time of year, they are all asking for donations so that they can continue to fight against the evil liberals and Democrats. But since their ultimate goal is to have conservatives run the welfare/warfare state instead of liberals, they are not worthy of support. Instead, please consider supporting LewRockwell.com, the premier anti-state, anti-war, pro-market website. Although I regularly write for five publications and websites, and irregularly write for many more, it is only for LewRockwell.com that I write a weekly column. And if you are able, don’t forget to support the Mises Institute as well. In the words of Walter Block, “only the Mises Institute, guided always by the works of Mises and Rothbard, can be relied upon to consistently uphold the verities of Austrian economics and libertarian political philosophy.”7:25 am on December 18, 2014 Email Laurence M. Vance
Ron Paul was smeared as an “isolationist” (the equivalent to “devil worshipper” in D.C.-speak) for advocating the quintessentially anti-isolationist Jeffersonian foreign policy of peace and free trade with all nations, entangling alliances with none.
Now the exact same people who for years have attempted to slander him as an “isolationist,” led by Marco Rubio, are going nuts over the fact that Obama has proposed becoming slightly LESS ISOLATIONIST toward Cuba. Who are the real isolationists here, anyway?5:51 pm on December 17, 2014 Email Thomas DiLorenzo
I saw the newest bumper sticker today: “Support America’s Troopers.” At the bottom was the name of an organization I had not heard of, the American Association of State Troopers. As I later drove by a trooper hiding off from the road waiting to ensnare a “speeder,” I thought of the bumper sticker and asked myself “Why should we?” I could not think of a reason. Not sure if the trooper did not see me speeding because he was reaching for a doughnut.5:36 pm on December 17, 2014 Email Laurence M. Vance
The fall in the ruble has occurred mostly since October. It has fallen against both the dollar and gold. Its decline closely tracks the decline in the price of oil. The oil price decline caused the ruble to fall, in my view. The ruble is a so-called fiat currency, like all other government currencies. But the term “fiat” is misleading. There is a backing to these currencies. They are not simply printed at will. The currency value is linked to the backing. What is that backing? It’s the acceptance by the issuing government of the currency as payment for taxes owed to the government. If tax collections rise relative to the amount of outstanding paper currency, the currency rises in value. If tax collections are very low for any reason, while the amount of paper currency outstanding remains the same or relatively high compared to those tax collections, then there is excess supply of currency and its value declines compared with a stabler standard, like the dollar or gold.
The oil price decline greatly weakens the Russian economy and lowers its collection of revenues via taxes. The amount of ruble notes remains the same. Ergo, the currency weakens too. The lesson here is that a fiat currency can suddenly break down or rise sharply if the tax collections depend on a commodity price. An undiversified economy and undiversified sources of taxes may cause this volatility in the currency.4:30 pm on December 17, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff
Tea Party darling and Florida senator (as a resident of FL I am ashamed) Marco Rubio is against Obama’s decision to ease relations with Cuba. The president’s decision is “inexplicable.” No word from Rubio on whether the United States allying with Stalin was inexplicable or Nixon shaking hands with Mao, the bloodiest killer in history, was inexplicable.
And said Rubio: “I intend to use my role as incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee to make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt by the President to burnish his legacy at the Cuban people’s expense.
Why does Congress even have such a committee?4:25 pm on December 17, 2014 Email Laurence M. Vance