In his 1963 book The Pure Theory of Politics, Bertrand de Jouvenal writes of terrorist strategy (p. 179) "... if the terrorist blows are dealt at random, it will almost inevitably happen that reactions [of authorities] will fly wide of the mark and affect the innocent. Goading the authorities into hurting innocent bystanders is essential to terrorist strategy. Its efficiency lies mainly in evoking blind anger and blundering retorts..."
Who was more politically savvy on this matter, Osama bin Laden or George W. Bush? Or the neocons who influenced him? Or the U.S. Congress? Or Barack Hussein Obama for that matter? The degree of over-reaction and blunders by all of these and the Empire is so astounding that bin Laden must be judged to have been more politically shrewd. His death doesn't take one grain of sand away from this conclusion.
A pom*, fresh off the plane at Sydney airport, is trying to negotiate Australian customs. Finally, when it's his turn to get his passport stamped, the customs officer starts rattling off the usual questions:
C.O. - How long do you intend to stay?
POM - One week.
C.O. - What is the nature of this trip?
POM - Business.
C.O. - Do you have any past criminal convictions?
POM - I didn't think we still needed them to come to this country!
Those two intrepid, indefatigable leading spokesmen of the libertarian movement, Lew Rockwell and Jacob Hornberger, have led an unrelenting crusading effort during this 50th anniversary commemoration year of the assassination and coup d'etat of President John F. Kennedy to remind the American public of the crucial importance of that seminal event. Like Murray N. Rothbard and Carl Oglesby before them, they recognize that if the National Security State can murder a sitting president of the United States (and later his brother RFK and MLK) and the complaisant and compliant establishment mainstream media continues their egregious cover-up of these heinous facts, their power is virtually unlimited and unchecked. This story must remain a central focus for all libertarians in speaking truth to power.
I refer to the unanimous Senate vote on S.R. 65. I originally excoriated the 76 senators who signed on to it. But this simplifies matters. They're all warmongers. Since state legislatures no longer choose senators, and since there is no provision in the Constitution to recall senators, the only way left (short of secessions and declarations of independence) is to vote them out, but the popular voting routine with the parties choosing candidates makes this implausible. Besides, votes like this do not become cutting issues in elections, despite their importance.
Rome went from republic to empire in a clear fashion. Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Washington's transition is fuzzier and has taken longer, but it's to the same end. The country is run by a collection of Caesars, expanding the triumvirate into a multumvirate, and leaving in place a facade of totally hollowed out, anti-republic, democratic institutions. The American Republic is dead and buried. May it rest in peace. Long live the Empire!
One of the greatest newspaper columnists of our time, Charley Reese, has died at the age of 76. Charley was brilliant, brave, incorruptible, a pro-freedom conservative, and a Southern gentleman. He had, rightly, a huge following, and was generous enough to let LRC run his columns, archived here. They still sparkle and inform. Charley, there's no replacing you.
Kerry's remarks in Jordan do not have truth as part of their equation. Political remarks such as his arise from political intentions. The immediate U.S. goal in this case is to alter Syria's government and politics, and that's part of other larger goals. Kerry designed his remarks to further that goal, and truth is not the objective. He is busy building, confirming, spreading and solidifying a coalition that shares the U.S. goal, Jordan being part of it. He is providing political cover for the coalition allies, because his remarks will be reported widely in the region and influence public opinion. He could not possibly further his goal by telling the truth about the real U.S. goals, or the actual nature of the fighting, or the flow of arms and finance, or the intentions of the participating governments like Qatar and Turkey. Politics has nothing in common with human endeavors that seek truth and make good use of it. It has everything to do with actualizing the wills of those in power.
Kerry is on the stage and holds the stage, and he wants a curtain drawn so that we cannot see the actual play going on. He wants to be in front of the curtain showing us a faux play. He wants as much as possible secrecy and media control. This is why the attacks of the Obama administration on leaks, whistle blowers and investigative reporting are so very, very dangerous. This is why the monitoring and surveillance of reporters and such as antiwar.com are so extraordinarily dangerous. This is why free speech is so incredibly important. We can use 100 of Lenny Bruce.
If you are a military cadet. A West Point sergeant in charge of teaching cadets has been accused of videotaping a dozen female officers without their consent, including times when they were in the shower, according to military officials. Men: another reason for women to stay out of the military.
The britches of the totalitarians at the DHS are in a wad because “tens of thousands of current and former Homeland Security Department employees[sic for 'leeches'] are at risk of identity theft after officials discovered a vulnerability in a vendor's system used for processing background investigations.” You’ll recall that DHS is the uber-bureaucracy for such execrable sets of wretches as the TSA and Customs and Border Patrol.
I think I can set their minds – such as they are – at ease. No self-respecting thief out there lusts after your identities, you jack-booted thugs. Indeed, you couldn’t even give them away. Who wants to be known as a paranoid control-freak and pedophile, let alone a pervert strip-searching grandmothers while bullying survivors of cancer and disabled little kids?
Free-lance criminals have way too much integrity ever to hope that someone will mistake them for such sleaze.
Several observers have pointed out the similarities between today's savage attack in London, where a British soldier was reportedly beheaded by two men shouting "Allahu Akbar," and the gruesome recent attack by US/UK-supported Free Syrian Army Commander Abu Sakkar, who cut out and devoured his Syrian Army soldier victim's heart.
Indeed one of the eyewitnesses of today's London attack could well have been describing Syrian rebel Commander Sakkar's butchery a few weeks ago in Syria:
"We thought the two guys were helping him. We then saw two kitchen knives like you would find in a butchers shop, they were hacking at this poor guy literally. We thought they were trying to remove organs or something."
Nearly identical behavior.
It is important to point out that while the US and UK increasingly condemn (and exaggerate) the role of Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian fighters on the side of the government in next-door Syria, the truth is thousands of foreign fighters, including at least hundreds from Europe and handfuls from the US, have signed up to fight with the radical Islamist insurgents in Syria.
Time Magazine reported yesterday of a young Belgian teenager who dropped his Western life and went to Syria to fight a jihad against the secular government of Bashar Assad. The story is repeated thousands of times, as foreign fighters in Syria are so significant a part of the insurgency that they overshadow domestic Syrian rebels.
Today the US Senate voted unanimously in favor of a Lindsey Graham resolution, S.Res.65, which "[s]trongly support(s) the full implementation of United States and international sanctions on Iran and urg[es] the President to continue to strengthen enforcement of sanctions legislation."
The legislation, as expected from a Lindsey Graham product, is full of misstatements, historical revisionism, and war-drum-beating hyperbole. Particularly revolting is the distortion and lies about Iran's not being in compliance with IAEA nuclear safeguards requirements and the irony of Graham's using Iran's refusal to implement UN resolutions as evidence of its rogue status. Also deceptive is the sleight of hand claiming that Iran pursuing a "nuclear weapons capability" is the real violation, rather than an Iranian failure to uphold its agreed upon obligation to not actually divert fissile material to build a nuclear weapon. It is a unilateral lowering of the bar, which is in fact itself a US violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Most alarming, however, is that this resolution contains among the clearest legislative language to date promising that should Israel decide to attack Iran, the US would back Israel militarily. It is breathtakingly foolhardy for the US Senate to give such carte blanche permission to any foreign country to attack another nation as it sees fit with the promise of the backing of the United States military. The move will likely embolden Israel to continue recent escalation of military action in the region and will likely propel Israel closer to an attack on Iran. In economic theory this is known as "moral hazard."
The resolved clauses of the resolution must be seen to be believed, so I reproduce them here (see especially the original point (8), which was apparently even too over-the-top for the Senators -- the substitute language is just as bad but it adds a layer of vagueness as a fig leaf):
In reference to Lew Rockwell's post on hating the desk phone, I despise this ancient device, as do many of my colleagues. Since I am very often not at my desk during my workday - in meetings or running around to other offices on our campus - I hate coming back to that silly red light on my desk phone. I figure that I have my hands full with a portable electronic device and email, and that's enough to deal with, so I have left a message on my voice mail that states: "Since I am mostly away from my desk, please do not leave me voice mails, as there may be a delay in response due to using this medium. Email or instant messenger will be your quickest route to communication with me, so feel free to contact me via either medium."
Mostly, people do respond accordingly, and they follow up via email. Still, the old-fashioned crowd leaves me old-fashioned voice mails, and there they sit, sometimes for days or weeks. I made my point, so it's up to them to either adhere to my wishes or take their chances with waiting for me to find the time to sift through multiple, blabbing voice mails.
Lew, the publication today of Murray Rothbard’s hilarious and insightful 1982 keynote address to the World Libertarian International has left me absolutely awestruck. I could just hear his marvelous voice deliver this incredible speech with the usual robust Rothbard gusto. What an amazing nostalgic snapshot in time presenting a summation and commentary on the strategic evolution of the Libertarian movement! Two things kept running through my mind as I read it: How profoundly accurate it was in describing the historical development of the movement; and how much this wonderful movement has dramatically changed since Murray made this speech. What would he have made of how the Internet and Social Media have radically changed how Libertarian activists, students, and scholars communicate and interact with each other and the public at-large? How would he react to and assess the death of dinosaur print media of newspapers and magazines? What would he make of the decline of the Libertarian Party and the rise of the Ron Paul Revolution as the political action center of the movement? As a “lone nut” I came into the movement in November 1970, exactly in the middle of “the take-off stage” he alluded to. In those forty two years I have seen the movement explode with dynamic growth and enthusiasm. Through this heady period I have encountered most of the major Libertarian luminaries and have spent thousands of hours in meetings, door-to-door canvasing of voters, ballot petitioning drives, manning state fair booths, strategic planning retreats, April 15th tax protests, anti-compulsory education rallies, supper clubs and study groups, giving media interviews, etc., as well as helping to organize dozens of political campaigns, from local level races to the presidency. I have written hundreds of flyers, pamphlets, brochures, news releases, news letters, fund-raising appeals, letters to the editor, and newspaper Op-Ed articles. Through it all I have remained what I was in the beginning: a Rothbardian. And so I shall remain until I die.
In one of my earlier books I cited former New York City Mayor Ed Koch explaining why the city's "infrastructure" (sewer and water lines, bridges and roads, etc.) always seemed to be long overdue for maintenance and rebuilding: "It's hard to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new sewer line," said the mayor.
Government turns everything it touches into crap, and economics provides numerous explanations why. In this case, Mayor Koch hit the nail on the head: Politicians like himself will always spend taxpayers' money in a way that enhaces THEIR popularity and maximizes THEIR chances for re-election. There are orders of magnitude more votes to be had in handing out welfare benefits or lavish public employee pensions than in replacing leaky water lines. Public employees are well organized politically; the average taxpaying citizens are not.
As for Oklahoma City, news reports are that there was not an underground basement in that public school where nine children died during the tornado. An explanation is that when it comes to spending money on "schools," broadly defined, there are many, many more votes and campaign contributions to be had by spending the money on increased public school teacher and administrator salaries and pensions than on school building basements. Teachers' unions are famously well organized politically; average taxpayers are not. Putting a basement in a new school building will not motivate government school teachers to spend thousands of hours campaigning and driving voters to the polls in school buses. Promises of pay and pension increases will.
So go ahead. Keep sending your children to government schools.
A la the Nazis, Our Rulers persevere in elevating their hired killers above the rest of us. "Enforce our whims," they brag, "and we'll grant you all sorts of special privileges we deny the chumps who pay our bills." And so Rep[ugnant] Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has introduced the "'Helping Heroes Fly' act, H.R. 1344, [which] would mandate that TSA develop policies for screening [sic for 'sexually assaulting'] disabled veterans to protect their privacy and let them keep on their shoes, belts and jackets when going through security."
“'These selfless heroes should never have to face lengthy, invasive and even humiliating screening procedures at our airports...' said Gabbard..."
That was Murray Rothbard's view, and certainly Bloomberg would be in that category. Murray thought that being surrounded by yes-men for decades warped these people, and that they especially should never have political power. They become outraged, vindictive, and dangerous when told no. (Thanks to Charles Everett)
In response to my earlier blog on the boob-hustlers, a reader, Mark Higdon, linked me to a Newsweek article of April 28, 1975, titled "The Cooling World." The article informs us:
"Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars worth of damage in thirteen U.S. states.
"Trend: To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down." (Emphasis added.)
The article went on to observe that "satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72."
And there you have it: whether it is "global cooling," or "global warming," or that even more empty phrase "climate change," whatever atmospheric conditions exist provide fodder for those of a collectivist mindset to want to control all human action. I suspect that, if the evidence emerged that the climate was at a standstill, this would lead Sen. Boxer and her people-pushing cronies to argue that we must have a federal "stimulus" program to get the climate moving again!
The politically-minded - ever ready to exploit every news event in their efforts to separate people from their liberty and property - are lining up to take advantage of the recent tornado in Oklahoma. As if to reinforce the pyramidal hierarchy, President Obama was first to offer his empty platitudes, followed by an official from FEMA, then the governor of Oklahoma, mayors of two affected cities, fire chief, police chief, national guard leader, followed by one after another lesser members of the political structure, including one man from the city health department. ("Hey, Agnes, they are telling us to boil water before we drink it." "That's fine, Ed, but the stove isn't here anymore!")
Not to be left out, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) jumped on the opportunist band-wagon to declare [guess what?]: the tornado was caused by global warming! This apparently earns her a place in the Absurdists Hall of Fame, alongside Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who explained hurricane Katrina as God's punishment for allowing legalized abortions, and Robertson's attributing a deadly earthquake in Haiti - which killed 200,000 people - as resulting from a pact the Haitian people had made with the Devil.
Not to be left out of the boob-hustling fun, a man identified as the Director of the Citizens For Tax Justice was on a cable channel, visibly upset that Apple has managed to protect many billions of dollars of its earnings from the brigands at the IRS. Apple's actions are apparently quite lawful under existing law, and he proposed statutory changes to get around this. An organization devoted to "Tax Justice" - whatever that Orwellian phrase might entail - must consider Apple's shielding of some of its assets as "unfair," but unfair to whom? The federal government? Other taxpayers? Those who feed at the government's trough for rewards they cannot obtain in the marketplace? There are parts of the Los Angeles area in which it is unsafe to travel. Should I be permitted to avoid these high-crime areas in order that I not be mugged by local gangs? Or, am I being "unfair" to the gangs of looters, as well as to other people who choose to visit these high-crime sections of the city? And if I should find myself in one of these unsafe areas, would it be "unfair" of me to hide some of my money in my shoes? Perhaps the aforesaid Director could advise me on such matters!
If every Syrian dies tomorrow – along with every Palestinian, Israeli, Saudi, etc. – it matters not a lick to the way we live and conduct ourselves in North America. Is it too bad and very sad that they die? You bet, but it is neither our fault they are fighting nor our responsibility to stop their wars; say a prayer for them, but know their deaths are of their own making and no skin off an American’s nose.
Neutrality and nonintervention—the only sane foreign policy.
Update: Some people have accused me being ignorant or stupid or both. Do I accept everything that Scheuer says in his article? No. Do I accept everything he says in his other articles? No. Do I defend everything he did in the CIA? No. Do I defend the existence of the CIA? No. Does Lew Rockwell agree with every statement in every article he publishes? No. Do I? No. Lighten up, would you please.
The military idolatry that goes on in some churches has already begun. I guess that Armed Forces Day (the third Saturday in May) serves as the kickoff to a week or more of idolatry. I have already seen churches with Memorial Day slogans on their signs and extra flags inside and outside of the church buildings. If your church is like this and you have not done so, please read my "How To Demilitarize Your Church." It might give you some ideas. If only more pastors read LRC to supplement their seminary education. Some do. I know because they have written me and told me.
One, Federal laws on marijuana. They're still the same. They're still pure evil. The Controlled Substances Act prevents the individual pursuit of happiness in the direction of human beings using plants. This is replaced by the dictates of legal and medical "professionals". But their rule is as productive of harm as has been that of the professional economists for the last century. They want a market for their "medical supervision", prescriptions and drugs. Congress is a dysfunctional organization of know-nothing lawyers and political science majors who listen to these "experts". Two, this government is intent on strangling Iran and its people. This too is pure evil.
The malevolent, strangling and stupid federal government should be entirely optional. Let those sign up for it who want it, and then obey its laws. Let their neighbors who want to run their own lives say goodbye to it by not signing up and not obeying its laws.
Too bad all veterans don't feel the same way as J.S.:
I want to also let you know that I am a former Marine who currently works for the Veterans Medical Center in ____. I can honestly say full hardheadedly that you are absolutely right on everything regarding the military. I was dumb enough to join the Marines shortly after high school, but fortunate enough not to have to go to war. Murder is murder no matter how many medals you have on your chest. I have actually heard Jerry Falwell type Christians defend the atomic bomb holocaust Harry Truman committed against the Japanese and it absolutely disgusts me to no end. If I was the pilot of the Enola Gay, I wouldn't be too confident on Judgment Day just because I was following orders. I wonder if the war hungry Christians back in Jesus time would support an air strike on King Herod even if it risked Christ being killed in collateral damage. Murdering innocent people is always wrong.
There is quite a to-do in the liberty-oriented blogosphere concerning the rewritten Department of Defense directive on the use of military forces to quell civic disturbances. These kinds of directives go back at least to 1971 and earlier, to the Kerner Commission. My limited research turns up an excerpt from an Army Handbook from 1972 that seems to implement the DoD Directive 3025.12 from August 19, 1971. This says that "...the decision to impose martial law may be made by the local commander on the spot, if the circumstances demand immediate action, and time and available communication facilities do not permit obtaining prior approval from higher authorities." This Directive has been updated over the years. On Feb. 4, 1994, a new version came out. It had language for the use of the military: "When the use of Military Forces is necessary to prevent loss of life or wanton destruction of property, or to restore governmental functioning and public order. That 'emergency authority' applies when sudden and unexpected civil disturbances (including civil disturbances incident to earthquake, fire, flood, or other such calamity endangering life) occur, if duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation and circumstances preclude obtaining prior authorization by the President."
The Federal Code also has such language. See, in particular, here: "[Authorizes] prompt and vigorous Federal action, including use of military forces, to prevent loss of life or wanton destruction of property and to restore governmental functioning and public order when sudden and unexpected civil disturbances, disasters, or calamities seriously endanger life and property and disrupt normal governmental functions to such an extent that duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situations."
Last week was the national day of mourning for deceased cops; today is "armed forces day." I noted a national television news show last week about some cops who used part of the day to commemorate the demise of their police dogs. A citizen who finds a cure for cancer would not likely merit that kind of city hall ceremony in his honor each and every year.
Here's how New Jersey's tyrants -- you know, the worthless sleaze whose bills we pay -- handle testimony they dislike from an eloquent, effective serf at a hearing on yet another bill to disarm us:
Thanks to Jordan Bell for sending -- and to James Kaleda for his awesome courage. Thanks as well as to the folks who stood with him, applauding, giving Mr. Kaleda a well-deserved standing O, and hissing at Our Rulers for their despotism.
for abolishing government schools than the case of the seven-year-old Maryland boy suspended from school for the "crime" of chewing on a breakfast pastry to make it look like a gun. That school officials cannot distinguish a pop-tart from a Glock pistol helps to explain the numerous failures of clear thinking attending the processes of learning in our world. At a minimum, schools should provide an environment in which students can learn to make meaningful distinctions, a purpose this school, among others, has shown itself unable to perform. To paraphrase Ayn Rand, anyone who doesn't know the difference between a .45 caliber pistol and a strawberry flavored pastry being pointed at them, deserves to find out!
Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, speaking of New York's new gun act (SAFE), says "I'm more than reluctant. I won't enforce it."
"Howard, one of four sheriffs who joined in filing the brief this week, said he considers the law unconstitutional and a waste of valuable resources, and believes it will ultimately be overturned by the courts."
I keep reading more and more articles about how the Department of Fatherland Security and other government agencies is getting citizens to spy on each other and "say something" if you "see something." Yesterday I watched a TV news report about how the government now wants garbage collectors to go through peoples' garbage while collecting it to report anything "suspicious." Like a collection of dog-eared LewRockwell.com articles, for instance. God help you if you're ever caught throwing away an old pressure cooker. Or failing to recycle.
See the latest Neocon Watch from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, on Bill Kristol's vast domains. He uses them to promote perpetual war, the police state, the corporate state, the welfare state, the Fed, and the Republican party.
The neocons haven't given up smearing, demonizing, and ridiculing Ron Paul since he left Congress; indeed, they have stepped it up. But here is what is so heartening: no decent person believes them. They can throw mudballs to their heart's content. It doesn't work. And by the way, neocons: you are about to have much more to worry about, as Ron becomes an even bigger national and international figure. When that happens this summer, you can hold your breaths until you turn blue, and we will just laugh.