LRC Blog

Obama’s Latest War

We read “The House on Wednesday approved President Obama’s plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to counter the growing threat of the Islamic State terrorist organization even though lawmakers in both parties remain deeply skeptical about its chances for success.”

If we believe what we are reading, the goal is to counter IS. How might that be done if Washington actually wanted to do that? How about mobilizing those states in the region that are very close allies of the U.S., who have received a great deal of aid and military equipment over the years, who have military links to the U.S., and who have significant armed forces? There are these powers like Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. There are also Jordan, Egypt, and even Iraq.

But no. Instead, Obama plans to arm and train a group known as Syrian moderate rebels. This group has fought beside the IS fighters. It has links to IS. It, or parts of it, even recently signed a truce with IS. IS can infiltrate this group, can attack it and can steal more American-supplied weapons.

Why would Obama arm this group of hard to control people whose loyalties are so questionable, who cannot whip IS and don’t want to and who will probably help IS?

Beyond the folly of it, there is a reason. We also read “Obama and administration officials have said that some aide [sic] may go to the Syrian Free Army, a group focused on defeating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”

This is the real purpose of the Obama plan. It is to train and arm anti-Assad rebels, the goal being to defeat Assad. The larger goal is to weaken Iran and Hezbollah by creating a new government in Syria. This is a pro-Israel strategy. This too is folly, but that’s what Washington does. In the Iraq case, Congress bought the propaganda. This time around, the Congress is voting for the folly knowing full well that it is folly.

Has Congress given any thought to the fact that the U.S. is, with its approval and participation, openly aggressing against Syria? Can anyone in Washington make a case against Russia for anything it has done in Ukraine?

5:28 pm on September 17, 2014

Independence From the UK?

Why, why, the idea is unprecedented! (Thanks to EPJ)

1:09 pm on September 17, 2014

That Lincoln Shrine at Hillsdale College . . .

 

 

IMG_0631resize. . . may turn out to be educational after all.  Yes, that’s a copy of The Real Lincoln Abe is holding behind his back.  Thanks to Don Printz.  (Click on the image to enlarge it).

12:19 pm on September 17, 2014

Missing Joey

Joey Rothbard would have been 86 today. She was Murray’s great love and intellectual partner, the “indispensable framework,” he once called her. I miss her brilliance, her humor, her unfailing judgement of people. She immediately saw through  the phonies who would later prove to be sellouts, for example–a valuable ability in the libertarian movement!

12:02 pm on September 17, 2014

A Carnival of Lies and Intentional Confusion

I speak of course of the FOX War Channel.  In this screen shot the “FOX Facts” declare that the U.S. government has bombed “ISIS” hundreds of times, while the talking head bemoans the fact that not a single bomb has yet to be dropped on ISIS.  “Talking Out of Both Sides of Our Mouths:  You Decide”  should be the new FOX motto.  Thanks to Chuck L.

11:53 am on September 17, 2014

Is the 13th Amendment Illegal?

That would have to be the conclusion of the band of nitwits running loose, on the eve of the Scottish separatist vote, in declaring that the U.S. Civil War “settled” the secession question once-and-for-all. In 1857, the United States Supreme Court ruled – in the Dred Scott case – that blacks – and particularly slaves – were not “citizens” and, thus, had no standing to sue in the federal courts. Didn’t the Supreme Court thus “settle” the slavery issue “once-and-for-all”, and weren’t the consequences of the Civil War – including the 13th Amendment – thus rendered invalid? And didn’t the Revolutionary War – fired by the Declaration of Independence – declare “once-and-for-all” that the right of people “to alter or abolish” the government was inalienable?

The people who babble this kind of nonsense haven’t even thought through the implications of what they say. They are doubtless defenders of “democracy” which, to their minds, means that men and women have the right to establish a government by some imagined “social contract” – even though history provides no evidence of this ever occurring – but then, in some mysterious fashion, lose their “right” to alter or abolish” it. Intelligent minds [i.e., people outside academia or the mainstream media] can see through the illogic of such reasoning.

People who think this way always seem to turn out being rampant statists, seeking legislative or judicial acts that support some program or policy of theirs. If there is a failure to achieve their desired result, they simply try again at the next session, and the next, until they get the result they want. Once they get what they want from the state they announce that the question as been “settled, once-and-for-all,” making dissenters “reactionaries” who want to “turn back the clock.”

11:20 am on September 17, 2014

Is This A Misprint?

We expect nothing less than for Leviathan to tragically and grotesquely squander resources; still, even we who utterly oppose the State must wonder whether “$167.9 million” is a typo:

Vermont had around 43,000 uninsured residents before the Affordable Care Act—the lowest number of any state in the nation—but has spent more federal money per uninsured resident than any other state, some $167.9 million each.

If I’m not too staggered to calculate correctly, that totals over $7.2 billion. Imagine employing whole bureaucracies to steal that much loot from Americans in the first place—Americans, I might add, who can’t meet their mortgage payments nor find jobs and whose children move back home because they can’t either. Then imagine wasting the plunder so outrageously, with politicians and their cronies instead of those 43,000 uninsured becoming multi-millionaires.

If that doesn’t move serfs to revolution, what will?

Update: It seems I was indeed too staggered to calculate correctly. A friend noticed that the total should be $7.2 trillion, not billion. Which, of course, means that Newsweek did indeed err. Jeffrey Wozniak tells me someone there caught the mistake and has since corrected “each” to “total.” But, as a second friend remarks, “$3904.65 apiece is [still] an awful lot.”

8:33 am on September 17, 2014

“Fair and Balanced” Reporting Epitomized

The logo of FOX News is “Fair and Balanced Reporting.”  This was certainly on display this evening when the topic of bombing all the Muslim countries of the Middle East into the stone age was the topic of discussion.  On one side of the “debate” was Senator Lindsey Graham.  On the other side was John Bolton.   The bone of contention during the debate was whether or not the U.S. government should carpet bomb the entire country of Iran now, or wait until after doing the same to Syria first.  Fair and Balanced: You Decide.

7:19 pm on September 16, 2014

The New MREs

Regarding the military’s new Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE), I was just informed by someone who was given some to eat, comes with “a pack of “Patriot Cookies” instead of animal cookies. Instead of lions and tigers, you get to enjoy a flag cookie. Instead of elephants, you enjoy busts of Uncle Sam. And instead of camels and hippos, the treat is a liberty torch, or the letters US.” This should come as no surprise since the U.S. government is the greatest propaganda machine in the history of the world. Just look at the billboard ads for the Marines: “For Our Nation, For Us All.”

2:38 pm on September 16, 2014

“Son, men don’t get raped”

Unless they are in the military. In the CQ article on male victims of sexual assault in the military that I mentioned previously when I referenced a Slate piece about it, there are many statements from former male members of the military who were sexually assaulted. The one that stands out the most to me is this one: “There’s nothing I could have done, except never have joined the military.” Well said. Don’t enlist in the first place. You may not go to Afghanistan or Iraq and get your legs or your genitals blown off, but you may stay in the United States and be killed in a training accident or be sexually assaulted.

1:55 pm on September 16, 2014

U.S. Can’t Keep Up With Arab Divisions and Shifting Alliances

A headline says “Congress forges ahead with Obama’s request to arm Syrian rebels,” the “moderate rebels”. Meanwhile a top Syrian official (Speaker of its Parliament) “calls on the United States to refrain from arming and training so-called moderate Syrian rebels and from entering into a coalition with countries whose religious ideologies, the Speaker says, has fueled the growth of ISIS. Speaker Jihad al-Lahham also writes that one of the two American journalists beheaded by ISIS was sold to the militant group by the moderate forces.”

In addition, the moderate rebels and IS sign a truce with one another.

This bolsters the warning of Speaker al-Lahham:

“What is called moderate opposition sold to ISIL the innocent, beheaded U.S. journalist. There is nothing to prevent those groups from selling the U.S. weapons to ISIL as it is their proven common practice.”

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12:37 pm on September 16, 2014

No God for the NFL But the State

Redskins QB not allowed to wear “Know Jesus, Know Peace” shirt for a press conference. (Thanks to Travis Holte)

11:58 am on September 16, 2014

Sean Connery on Scottish Independence

Freedom! (Thanks to Jay Stephenson)

10:37 am on September 16, 2014

Search and Seizure in Public Schools

Writes Phillip Osborn:

The best way to protect children from ‘search and siezure’ (among other things) in gunverment schools is not to send them there.

10:12 am on September 16, 2014

Ron Paul: an American Looks at Foreign Fights

10:08 am on September 16, 2014

Hurray for Small Countries

As Dr. Hoppe points out, they cause less damage and are less deleterious to liberty. Who worries about bombs or terrorists from Singapore? Lew, you are correct that the “too small to succeed” argument is bunk. The CIA Worldbook lists 240 officially recognized countries. At 5.3 Million, Scotland would join the list as #118, two spots above the median in the good company of Finland, Denmark, Panama, Uruguay, New Zealand, Croatia, Costa Rica and Lithuania. Oh yeah, remember how the Baltic states were (rightly) encouraged to break away from the Soviet Union, with Lithuania fielding an Olympic basketball team replete with Grateful Dead t-shirts? My lookout for similar government approval regarding the dissolution of our trans-Atlantic sock puppet finds no such cheer-leading.

9:59 am on September 16, 2014

Obama To Send 3,000 Troops To Oppose Ebola

The US military is used to one-sided wars where it is far more dangerous to be a civilian than a soldier. But “Operation Contagious Death,” or whatever they will call it, could lead to soldiers resisting orders. Soldiers who do so can be caged or killed, but only if the other soldiers agree. This Ebola deployment could be a fateful decision for the empire. BTW. soldiers should be free to leave their jobs like the rest of us. But given military slavery, they are not.

9:57 am on September 16, 2014

As If Scots Needed Another Reason To Vote Yes

Banksterismo Alan Greenspan is against independence.

9:35 am on September 16, 2014

Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine Parallels

The U.S. has covertly supported people who became terrorists, who were terrorists, who the CIA knew could become terrorists, and who the CIA and other government officials knew could present problems to the U.S. down the line. See, for example, here, here and here for articles about this. I do not attest to the accuracy of every detail therein, but covert support, directly and/or indirectly while knowing the risks being run, is undeniable. These articles have references that can be explored. One can also use google to search further.

The U.S. has consistently used foreign people prone to violence, funded them, supplied them with arms and trained them, knowing that they had their own agendas and could turn against the U.S. or probably would do so. In Syria, The U.S. has consistently done the same for so-called moderate groups, knowing that infiltration by extreme people could occur, that the extremists were the best fighters, that aid and arms would fall into the hands of the extremists, and knowing that the moderates and extremists would form alliances or had them already.

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8:36 am on September 16, 2014

World War I Nonsense

Some World War I commemorations are quite unusual. Earlier this summer the moat that surrounds the Tower of London was begun to be filled with 888,246 red ceramic poppies, one for each British and Colonial soldier who perished during World War I. It was done to make it look like blood. The last poppy will be symbolically planted on Armistice Day. I note some things in the text that accompanies the pictures of the poppies:

All countries involved have held memorials to remember their fallen dead who sacrificed their lives for the good of their country.

Even a hundred years later, we should not forget their incredible acts of heroism.

Regardless of why their countries went to war, we should never forget the selfless acts of these brave men.

For the good of their country? Did anything good come out of World War I? Can there be real heroism, selfless acts, and brave men in the midst of evil and folly? I suppose, but then we should also point out the same actions when they take place in street gangs and the Mafia—and among Nazi soldiers too.

7:36 am on September 16, 2014

Would Appointing a War Criminal as Commissioner Redeem the NFL?

Superbowl fascism

Former NFL star Ray Rice pleaded guilty of abusing a woman whom he later married, and was fired by the League after a video of the crime was made public.

Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice was an architect of an illegal war of aggression that resulted in the slaughter of a half-million people, the displacement of millions more, trillions of dollars in debt, and the creation of a nihilistic terrorist group that has now been designated our existential threat du jour. She is a war criminal who remains impenitent despite abundant proof of the crimes to which she is a party.

The NFL is seeking to rehabilitate its public reputation amid accumulating scandals. This inspired Beltway scribe Susan Milligan to propose that the League could redeem itself by replacing “one Rice with another” – that is, firing incumbent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and hiring War Criminal Condi Rice as his successor.

Stalin famously said that one death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is a statistic. In contemporary America, one domestic violence incident in which the victim survived constitutes a career-ending scandal, but helping to orchestrate the murder of 500,000 foreigners is a glorious patriotic accomplishment.

Installing Rice as NFL Commissioner would usefully demolish any pretense that the NFL is something other than a corporatist appendage of the Warfare State.

5:36 pm on September 15, 2014

Ludwig von Mises on Centralized States

“Every step toward more government interference and toward more planning means at the same time an expansion of the jurisdiction of the central government. . . .  It is a very significant fact that the adversaries of the trend toward more government control describe their opposition as a fight against Washington and against Berne [Switzerland], i.e., against centralization.  It is conceived as a contest of states’ rights versus the central power.”

Omnipotent Government, p. 268

4:59 pm on September 15, 2014

What Would Hayek Say?

About the Scottish neo-Confederates (er, I mean, secessionists)?  No need to guess.  Here’s what the great Austrian School Nobel laureate and student of Ludwig von Mises said about the virtues of small states and the evils of large ones in The Road to Serfdom, Chapter 15, pp. 257-258, first published in 1944:
“We shall not rebuild civilization on the large scale.  It is no accident that on the whole there was more beauty and decency to be found in the life of the small peoples, and that among the large ones there was more happiness and content in proportion as they had avoided the deadly blight of centralization.  Least of all shall we preserve democracy or foster its growth if all the power and most of the important decisions rest with an organization far too big for the common man to survey or comprehend.  Nowhere has democracy ever worked well without a great measure of local self-government, providing a school of political training for the people at large as much as for their future leaders.  It is only where responsibility can be learned and practiced in affairs with which most people are familiar, where it is the awareness of one’s neighbor rather than some theoretical knowledge of the needs of other people which guides action, that the ordinary man can take a real part in public affairs because they concern the world he knows.  Where the scope of the political measures becomes so large that the necessary knowledge is almost exclusively possessed by the bureaucracy, the creative impulses of the private person must flag.  I believe that here the experience of the small countries like Holland and Switzerland contains much from which even the most fortunate larger countries like Great Britain can learnWe shall all be the gainers if we can create a world fit for small states to live in.” (Emphasis added).

4:28 pm on September 15, 2014

“In 1993 I Was On A Political Trip to Israel . . .”

So said Rush Limbaugh on his radio show today while interviewing his own brother who has just written a book on Christianity.

Hmmm.  1993 is about the time I noticed that Rush had completely transformed himself from a semi-conservative critic of the state and statism to a toady for the Republican Party, which by that time had been totally captured by the “neocons.”  I guess a “political trip to Israel” to “get your mind right,” as the prison warden in the movie Cool Hand Luke once said, is a prerequisite for becoming a multi-millionaire mouthpiece for the GOP.

2:14 pm on September 15, 2014

Doublethink Lives

Orwell’s concept of doublethink in his work of genius 1984 exists today.

dou·ble·think
ˈdəbəlˌTHiNGk/
noun
noun: doublethink; noun: double-think

the acceptance of or mental capacity to accept contrary opinions or beliefs at the same time, especially as a result of political indoctrination.

From Steven Astley comes this example:

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9:54 am on September 15, 2014

Pornography

Now that I have your attention, let me say that this post really is about pornography—and incest. Public Discourse, “an online publication of the Witherspoon Institute that seeks to enhance the public understanding of the moral foundations of free societies,” has a deceitful article posted titled “Incest and Pornography: More Similar Than We Think.” The heading of the article reads: “Although we uphold the cultural taboo on incest, we accept something with precisely the same negative effect on integrity, marriage, and family: pornography.” The author is implying in the article that pornography should be viewed the same way as incest. And although he doesn’t come out and say it, he would like nothing better than for the federal government to “do something” about pornography. If you look at the list of related reading in the upper right corner of the article you will see the same thing.

There were two articles regarding pornography that were not listed. I wrote two articles last year  in response to them that I want to refer you to here and here.

For the record, I oppose both incest and pornography, but I also oppose the nanny state.

9:45 am on September 15, 2014

John Stuart Mill and the Religion of Humanity

In perhaps his most important interview to date, Tom Woods discusses with Linda Raeder, author of John Stuart Mill and the Religion of Humanity, the iconic John Stuart Mill’s little-known religious project regarding the Comtean Religion of Humanity. This penetrating discussion casts undeniable doubts upon the classical liberal bona fides of Mill as a true disciple of libertarianism.  The study of the construction of pseudo-secular gnostic religions has been one of the principal obsessions of my life since I heard Gerhart Niemeyer of Notre Dame lecture of it in 1975 at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Western Summer School at Thomas Aquinas College. Niemeyer was a keen student of Eric Voegelin on these matters, as was Murray Rothbard. I believe understanding this 2000 year battle between orthodox Roman Catholic Christianity and Gnosticism is the ultimate key to unlocking the history of the previous two millennia. Christianity and the West have been at war for hundreds of years with a succession of gnostic political religions and mass movements seeking to impose brutal elite rule and mastery of their subject peoples. These sinister efforts have been responsible for untold death, destruction, and misery. Over one hundred million persons alone perished in the 20th Century as a result of these murderous totalitarian regimes. For decades distinguished scholars such as Michael Burleigh, Eric Voegelin, Murray N. Rothbard, James H. Billington, Rudolf Rocker, Hannah Arendt, Norman Cohn, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Raymond Aron, and Gerhart Niemeyer have intensely discussed and debated the concepts of totalitarianism and political religions to describe such destructive phenomena as National Socialism and Communism, as well as their heretical predecessors.

9:12 pm on September 14, 2014

Painkillers and the Government Control Freaks

“I’ve just read your blog on Lew Rockwell .com and I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m one of those individuals who suffers from chronic pain. I have osteophytes growing in my spine caused by injuries that I got on the job. These osteophytes are compressing my spinal cord causing constant moderate to severe pain and surgery is not an attractive option (the risk of paralysis is too great).

“These sadistic control freaks have absolutely no business meddling in the doctor- patient relationship. They have no moral right to intrude into a person’s most private and intimate aspect of life.

“These so called controlled substances are the only viable means of moderating that pain without destroying the liver or the G.I. tract. The government control freaks are beyond heartless and stupid, they are downright sadists. In fact their entire ‘war on drugs’ is a sadistically cruel joke. All of this is done to supposedly to protect the people and especially the children from the deleterious effects of these substances. Here’s the joke, they could not care less about us or our children, it’s not about that all, it’s about money, big money! It’s about nice cushy high paying government jobs, lots of them! It’s about additional cops, DAs, lawyers, judges, and prisons (public and private). It’s about maintaining the criminal element and providing them with off the book jobs. It’s about politicians and corruption. It’s about legalized theft (asset forfeiture) and anointed highwaymen. And ultimately it’s about the destruction of liberty for fun, profit and POWER!”

5:47 pm on September 14, 2014

UK Steps Up Threats and Lies

The UK, as its long and evil history shows, is capable of any crime, whether  in the “British” Isles and outside them. So the threats of Cameron and and the whole Establishment, buttressed by media lies from the English Broadcasting Corporation et al., are not to be taken lightly. Still, I think that the Scottish people will seize their freedom, as the Irish people once did. Oh, and time for a partition of Northern Island, too, allowing the Catholic counties that want to join Ireland or to be independent, to be free as well.

And to the know-nothings or plain liars who claim that Scotland, at 5.3 million people, is too small to survive without the English yoke: Ireland has 4.6 million.

1:08 pm on September 14, 2014

Irony, What Irony?

Writes Bill Potter:

Hey Lew, another sign that irony is dead: the NFL, a multi-billion dollar conglomerate built on violence is anti-violence and coming down hard on violent men with bans and financial punishments, broadcasting self-righteous condemnations of violence while celebrating all things military and war and hitting and high-speed contact, and no one says how stupid it all is.

1:04 pm on September 14, 2014