Sunday, January 30, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Smithsonian in uproar over intelligent-design article

Klinghoffer points out the circularity of the arguments of critics who insisted intelligent design was unscientific because if had not been put forward in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

"Now that it has," he wrote, "they argue that it shouldn't have been because it's unscientific."

WorldNetDaily: Smithsonian in uproar over intelligent-design article

What Does Tyranny's End Really Mean?

Doug Newman writes:

"Does 'tyranny’s end' mean:

An end to the income tax?
An end to social security?

What Does Tyranny's End Really Mean?

Vox Popoli: Mailvox: Lay down the crack pipe

Vox Day asks about the Iraq elections:

"For whom are the people voting, and will the winner(s) be permitted by the occupation coalition to take sovereign power?"

Vox Popoli: Mailvox: Lay down the crack pipe

US lowers expectations for Iraq vote -- Reuters

Saul Hudson writes for Reuters:

"Unable to deliver on its lofty goal of bringing democracy to Iraq through the January 30 elections, the Bush administration is pressing a damage-control campaign to lower expectations for the vote.

"With fears for a low voter turnout among Sunni Arabs due to a boycott and insurgents' intimidation, the administration no longer touts the elections as a catalyst to spread democracy across the Arab world...

Instead, U.S. officials now emphasize the political process that will follow the vote.

"Almost two years after Operation Iraqi Freedom, a raging insurgency across mainly Sunni areas forced the White House this week to prepare the American public for elections it called 'less than perfect.'"

World News Article |

Agape Press: Democracy Without Judeo-Christian Basis Doomed to Fail?

Fred Jackson writes:

An Indiana congressman is warning that an Iraqi-style democracy may not make much of a change there. Why? Because the Judeo-Christian ethic is critical to the success of such a venture, he says.

Earlier this week, Republican Mark Souder was one of the speakers at a bipartisan prayer service before the opening of the 109th session of Congress. He told the audience that religious faith is the conscience of democracy...

Without a faith grounded in such beliefs, the congressman said, democracy as it is known in the United States cannot work -- and he believes that could well be the case in Iraq.

"John Adams said, 'Our Constitution is made for a moral and religious people,'" Souder noted...

News from Agape Press

Friday, January 28, 2005

A Case for Conscientious Objection

Andrew Young writes:

"War violates principles most Americans hold dearly. It forces people to kill under false pretenses and denies the sanctity of human life. Governments, ours included, show reckless and wanton disregard for the lives of their own citizens during war, even though they always claim that war serves the public interest..."

A Case for Conscientious Objection

Can You Imagine?: Hussein Was Right & Bush Was Wrong by Harry Browne

Harry Browne writes:

"You may remember that in 2002, the year before the Iraq War began, the United Nations Security Council ordered Iraq to produce a report detailing all of its biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons – past and present. Iraqi officials complied and produced an 11,800-page report on Iraq's weapons programs...

"Although the report was prepared for the United Nations, U.S. officials intercepted the report, edited out 8,000 pages (over two thirds) of it, and delivered its Reader's Digest version of the report to the UN...

"... the missing parts covered the Iraqis' acquisition of chemical and biological weapons from the U.S., the delivery of non-fissionable materials for a nuclear bomb by the U.S. to the Iraqis, and the training of Iraqi nuclear scientists at U.S. nuclear facilities in Los Alamos, Sandia, and Berkeley...

"UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said the conclusions stated in the report were basically true – that Iraq no longer had dangerous weapons...

"Colin Powell dismissed the report, calling it a 'catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions.' Of course, as we now know, the information was recycled because it happened to be true, and the omissions were flagrant because U.S. officials had done the omitting...

"Now here we are, over two years later. What have we learned?

"The hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction has turned up exactly nothing, and so the hunt was been called off.

"Everything Hussein said about the weapons has turned out to be true.

"Everything George Bush said about Iraq's weapons has turned out to be false...

"In other words, the Butcher of Baghdad was correct; the President of the United States of America was wrong. The Butcher of Baghdad will be put on trial for 'war crimes.' The President of the United States of America was reelected to 'lead' the country for four more years."

Can You Imagine?: Hussein Was Right & Bush Was Wrong by Harry Browne

The Tax-Reform Racket - Mises Institute

Excellent analysis of tax-reform proposals by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.:

"But let us focus on the first part of the tax reform message, the part that is undeniably true: the current tax code is a disaster...

"But the neutral tax is a myth. In one way or another, every tax punishes productivity in both seen and unseen ways...

"Actually, all of history shows that taxes are a leading cause of the breakdown of civilization. The higher the tax, the less wealth there is to create and sustain civilization. We have civilization despite taxes...

"The only tax plan anyone should trust is the most simple possible: the one that proposes to lower existing taxes...

"[T]he Bush administration genuinely believes in creating a new forced savings scheme... [T]hese people do not... trust people to manage their own money...

"Let me close with a proposal that we abolish the income tax. It took in $873 billion last year. If we cut the budget by that amount,... We would end up with a federal budget of about $1.5 trillion, where it was in the last year of Clinton's second term. If anyone thinks that the federal government was too small back then, I can only recommend a complete education in economics, politics, and the truth about human freedom...

"Thus do I end this talk with a call, not for reform, but for an end to the income tax. It should be replaced with nothing at all. In any case, that would be a good first step."

The Tax-Reform Racket - Mises Institute

The Neo-Conservative Subversion By Sam Francis, Ph.D

An interesting history of the U.S. neoconservative movement.

Council of Conservative Citizens

WorldNetDaily: Final fix for Social Security

On 7 August 2001, Harry Browne addressed several myths of Social Security, and proposed a solution:

"Shut Social Security down – completely, immediately and for good. End the Social Security tax tomorrow morning and stop making Social Security payments tomorrow evening. Anyone under 50 can have a better retirement putting 10 percent of his income in the bank instead of 15 percent into Social Security.

"And what happens to those who are currently dependent on Social Security and those too close to retirement to build a new nest egg?

"Have the government make a one-time purchase of private annuities – secure, non-political annuities that guarantee the same income Social Security is paying now to senior citizens...

"This approach doesn't appeal to politicians, because it takes tax money and power away from them. But the only alternative to it is to resign yourself to having more and more of your income taken from you and poured down the drain."

WorldNetDaily: Final fix for Social Security

Coming Up Empty - by Gordon Prather

"Scott Ritter, who was a chief UN inspector in Iraq in those years recently had this to say about the Duefler report:

"'One of the tragic ironies of the decision to invade Iraq is that the Iraqi WMD declaration required by security council resolution 1441, submitted by Iraq in December 2002, and summarily rejected by Bush and Blair as repackaged falsehoods, now stands as the most accurate compilation of data yet assembled regarding Iraq's WMD program\s (more so than even Duelfer's ISG report, which contains much unsubstantiated speculation).

"'Saddam Hussein has yet to be contradicted on a single point of substantive fact. Iraq had disarmed; no one wanted to accept that conclusion.'"

Coming Up Empty - by Gordon Prather

Absolutely? - by Juan Cole

Juan Cole writes:

"... Saddam without weapons of mass destruction could not have been 'dangerous' to the United States. Just parroting 'dangerous' doesn't create real danger. Danger has to come from an intent and ability to strike the US. Saddam had neither. He wasn't dangerous to the US. It is absurd that this poor, weak, ramshackle Third World state should have been seen as 'dangerous' to a superpower. That is just propaganda.

"Calling Saddam 'dangerous'... without regard to the evidence falls under the propaganda techniques of name-calling and stirring irrational fear..."

Absolutely? - by Juan Cole

DC at Coronation Time by C.T. Rossi

C.T. Rossi wrote on 15 Jan 2005:

"The new face of Washington is angular with a thick neck and a curled wire running into its ear... It is ominous and omnipresent... Though this face has slowly gained ascendancy over the past three years, it appears that its coming out party will be this month’s Presidential Inauguration activities...

"The actual inauguration ceremony of George W. Bush is of secondary importance – the more important event is a formal and overt display of force designed to make the masses cower. The haute couture of the festivities, with all due respect to the First Lady’s designer, will not be grand ball gowns nor even 'black ties and boots' but the S.W.A.T.-style assault jumpsuits. The special guest list of 'military personnel, FBI agents in full SWAT outfitting, snipers on rooftops and scores of bomb-detecting dogs' has also been confirmed. Just as important as the seating arrangement and placing of name cards is the 'inspecting miles of underground Metro and sewer tunnels, sealing manhole covers, closing streets and surveying the more than 450 downtown buildings.'...

"Like the Neanderthal bouncers outside of chic Hollywood nightclubs, the 'security force' will decide who gets in and who doesn’t. Without 'your papers,' residents of the Shaw neighborhood will not be allowed ingress and egress from their own homes. Other 'security' measures have had the (intended?) effect creating such inconvenience that law-abiding people plan to stay away.

"Once upon a time a man said that if the terrorists forced us to change our way of life, then they will have won. But things have changed. This means that either the terrorists are winning or that these changes were not forced – but desired – by our leaders."

DC at Coronation Time by C.T. Rossi

Hammurabi by Robert Klassen

Robert Klassen writes:

"I either missed something important in my education, or I am missing a critical gene, but I cannot understand what motivates people like Cyrus, Alexander, Napoleon, Hitler, or Bush. Military domination of people doesn’t produce anything except grief, an obvious truism, and it’s a tremendous waste of time, money, and energy. If somebody has something you want, why not trade for it? No, these guys want to pulverize them, even if that means destroying whatever it is they want. Where’s the point?"

Hammurabi by Robert Klassen

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Want to Reform Social Security? Stop Spending.

Congressman Ron Paul writes:

"Social Security reform promises to be the biggest domestic issue this year in Washington, but most of the proposals are nothing more than flim-flam. The only honest solution to the future insolvency of the program is for Congress to stop spending so much money. Unless Congress makes real cuts in spending -- and stops spending Social Security taxes on completely unrelated programs -- millions of Americans simply will not receive even a fraction of the money they paid into Social Security. Ignore the rhetoric about tax increases and cuts in benefits, as though you are to blame for the problem! All Social Security obligations could be met if Congress did not spend so much on other things...

"Notice that neither political party proposes letting people opt out of Social Security, which exposes the lie that your contributions are set aside and saved...

"The truth, of course, is that your contributions are not put aside. Social Security is simply a tax. Like all taxes, the money collected is spent immediately as general revenues to fund the federal government. The Social Security trust fund does not exist... Social Security benefits are paid each year from general funds, like other federal programs... Allowing people to opt out of Social Security would force the federal government to admit it has been stealing money from Social Security for decades...

"If the administration truly wants to give people more control over their retirement dollars, why not simply reduce payroll taxes and let them keep their own money to invest privately as they see fit? This is the true private solution...

"Your money has never been safe in the government’s hands, and it never will be. Governments spend money; it’s just their nature. It is preposterous to believe our government is capable of simply sitting on a huge pile of money without touching it because it’s earmarked for one purpose or another. No matter what politicians promise, Social Security reform will not change the fact that your money is taken from your paycheck and sent to Washington, where it will be spent..."

Want to Reform Social Security? Stop Spending.

Monday, January 24, 2005

U.S. Foreign Policy: Question All Assumptions: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

Ivan Eland writes:

"Post-World War II U.S. foreign policy, including that of the Bush administration, has been based on certain assumptions about the nature of the world. Unfortunately, most of those assumptions are suspect...

"The most notable assumption is that if the U.S. government (USG) does not dominate the globe militarily and ensure security through wanton armed interventions, the world will fall apart...

"In addition to expending much blood and treasure, all U.S. wars have eroded civil liberties at home...

"The last assumption -- given to us by the president but eagerly embraced by the interventionist foreign policy elite -- is that al Qaeda is attacking the United States because of its freedoms. The Defense Science Board, made up of high-powered consultants to the Department of Defense, recently issued a report debunking this notion and accurately noting that al Qaeda attacks the United States because it hates U.S. interventionism in the Islamic world...

"Why doesn’t the public ask its government to explain why Saddam Hussein’s unnecessary invasion of Kuwait was bad and President Bush’s unnecessary invasion of Iraq was good? Also, why don’t they ask if killing innocent civilians, even as collateral damage, in an unnecessary and aggressive invasion is any better than deliberately targeting them as bin Laden does?

"These are politically incorrect questions, but the American people should start asking them of their government. Instead, by accepting questionable assumptions on the part of its government, the American people are allowing it to unnecessarily turn the greatest nation on earth into an international rogue state."

U.S. Foreign Policy: Question All Assumptions: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

This Plastic Moment- by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo writes:

"We have arrived at a plastic moment, during which we can jump out of the Iraqi quagmire in a single bound and leave the Iraqis to 'make their own way,' as our president put it the other day. Whether we take it or not is a fateful decision that will put George W. Bush's words to the test...

"This plastic moment will soon pass: in the next few weeks we either commit ourselves to a long, bloody course of empire in the Middle East, or we withdraw with honor and our dignity intact. Which will it be?"

This Plastic Moment- by Justin Raimondo

FREEDOM? NO THANKS -- Nealz Nuze January 21, 2005

While I disagree with Neal Boortz that the appropriate U.S. government role is to try to spread freedom to the rest of the world at the point of a gun, he does make some good points.

"What is the problem with freedom? I think that the biggest problem is that people realize that along with personal freedom comes personal responsibility... Introduce responsibility and consequences for irresponsibility, and the love of freedom suddenly wanes...

"Should you be free to negotiate with an employer on the basis of salary? No ... we need a minimum wage. Should you be free to buy a health insurance policy that doesn't include pregnancy benefits? No .. the government stands in the way. Should you be free to chose who is going to come into your home and tell you what drapery fabric would look good with your throw pillows? No. The government tells you who you can and can't hire for that job. Do people complain? Do they protest? Not a bit. Just accept the government controls and regulations and move on...

"When freedom isn't cherished people are opposed to paying a price to make freedom secure...

"I've been watching Inauguration and State of the Union speeches for years... Over the decades there were some obvious changes. Take the word 'democracy,' for instance. You never saw that word in a State of the Union speech until sometime around the 1930's. The idea of 'democracy' suddenly became popular when politicians sought to expand the power of the state beyond anything imagined by our Constitution. To do this they needed to cite the 'will of the people.' Majority rule moved the rule of law aside, and our modern 'democracy' was born. Along with the arrival of the 'D' word came disappearing references to freedom and more emphasis on security ... government-provided security..." Nealz Nuze January 21, 2005

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Homeland Intelligence Chief Hughes Warned Civil Rights Would Have to Be ‘Abridged’ --

Justin Rood writes:

"Eight months before the White House appointed him the Homeland Security Department’s top intelligence official, retired U.S. Army Gen. Patrick M. Hughes told a public forum at Harvard last year that the government would have to 'abridge individual rights' and take domestic security measures 'not in accordance with our values and traditions' to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States...

"'Therefore, we have to abridge individual rights, change the societal conditions, and act in ways that heretofore were not in accordance with our values and traditions, like giving a police officer or security official the right to search you without a judicial finding of probable cause,' said Hughes."

Graven Images by Paul Hein

Dr. Paul Hein writes:

"How absurd must life become before we begin to see things in their proper perspective? We’re kept trembling with fear from possible exposure to Alar, or DDT, or cyclamate (but never fluoride!) or Saddam Hussein, or some other pipsqueak tyrant (but never our own government!)... There seems to be some sort of deep-seated human instinct to be afraid of things: a fear upon which our rulers capitalize with gusto. But we seem oblivious to genuine danger... allowing ourselves, instead, to be afraid of shadows, or the possibility of the threat of shadows!"

Graven Images by Paul Hein

Is Al Qaeda Just a Bush Boogeyman?

Robert Scheer writes for the LA Times:

"Is it conceivable that Al Qaeda, as defined by President Bush as the center of a vast and well-organized international terrorist conspiracy, does not exist? ...

"Terrorism is deeply threatening, but it appears to be a much more fragmented and complex phenomenon than the octopus-network image of Al Qaeda, with Bin Laden as its head, would suggest...

"While the BBC documentary acknowledges that the threat of terrorism is both real and growing, it disagrees that the threat is centralized...

"The fact is, despite the efforts of several government commissions and a vast army of investigators, we still do not have a credible narrative of a 'war on terror' that is being fought in the shadows...

"Everything we know comes from two sides that both have a great stake in exaggerating the threat posed by Al Qaeda: the terrorists themselves and the military and intelligence agencies that have a vested interest in maintaining the facade of an overwhelmingly dangerous enemy...

"Such a state of national ignorance about an endless war is, as 'The Power of Nightmares' makes clear, simply unacceptable in a functioning democracy."

Is Al Qaeda Just a Bush Boogeyman?

Destruction, Natural and Man-Made by Harry Browne

Harry Browne writes:

"This past week the TV screen has been full of pictures showing people in Southeast Asia returning to their villages after the tsunami, only to find their homes completely destroyed.

"Unfortunately, that isn't the only place where people are returning to devastation. The same thing is happening in Fallujah, Iraq...

"Why haven't we seen these pictures on TV? Because the U.S. military has banned TV cameras in the city. (For security reasons, I'm sure.)...

"Speaking of the tsunami: As soon as someone could find George Bush at his Texas ranch and inform him of the disaster... he immediately announced that the U.S. government would donate $15 million in relief funds, and within days had raised that to $35 million. After he was accused of being too stingy, he upped the figure to $350 million.

"Of course, this wasn't his own money he was pledging. He was being generous with your money. And he had no authority to commit even $1 of federal money to anything that hadn't been approved by Congress – which in turn had no Constitutional authority to commit even $1 of federal money to any charity, in the U.S. or overseas...

"Speaking again of the tsunami: One of the unfortunate aftermaths of the tidal wave is the epidemic of malaria that will follow in its wake. Forty years ago that wouldn't have been much of a problem, because the affected areas could have been sprayed with DDT. In fact malaria itself was pretty much eradicated throughout the world, because DDT helped kill the mosquitoes that cause malaria.

"But benevolent souls in the U.S. got together and saw to it that DDT was banned worldwide, because it had interfered with the procreation of bald eagles in America – and because Rachel Carson in her book Silent Spring had asserted, without proof, that DDT could damage the health of human beings. And so every year more than a million souls die of malaria. Fortunately, some countries are repealing their DDT bans. But not the U.S., of course...

"A lot of people have come to realize the folly of saving birds at the expense of humans...

Destruction, Natural and Man-Made by Harry Browne

Congressman Ron Paul Denounces National ID Card

"Congressman Ron Paul today denounced the national ID card provisions contained in the intelligence bill...

"'A national identification card, in whatever form it may take, will allow the federal government to inappropriately monitor the movements and transactions of every American,' Paul continued. 'History shows that governments inevitably use such power in harmful ways. The 9-11 commission, whose recommendations underlie this bill, has called for internal screening points where identification will be demanded. Domestic travel restrictions are the hallmark of authoritarian states, not free nations...

"'Nationalizing standards for drivers licenses and birth certificates, and linking them together via a national database, creates a national ID system pure and simple... regardless of whether the ID itself is still stamped with the name of your state.'

"'Those who are willing to allow the government to establish a Soviet-style internal passport system because they think it will make us safer are terribly mistaken,' Paul concluded. 'Subjecting every citizen to surveillance and screening points actually will make us less safe, not in the least because it will divert resources away from tracking and apprehending terrorists and deploy them against innocent Americans! Every conservative who believes in constitutional restraints on government should reject the authoritarian national ID card and the nonsensical intelligence bill itself.'"

Paul Denounces National ID Card

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Christianity and War by Laurence M. Vance

"Or, as the historian and economist, Murray Rothbard (1926–1995), said, in making his case that America has only had two just wars (1776 & 1861), 'A just war exists when a people tries to ward off the threat of coercive domination by another people, or to overthrow an already-existing domination. A war is unjust, on the other hand, when a people try to impose domination on another people, or try to retain an already existing coercive rule over them.'

"The fact that a government claims a war is just is irrelevant, for American history is replete with examples of American presidents who have exaggerated, misinformed, misrepresented, and lied to deceive the American people into supporting wars that they would not have supported if they had known the facts.

"Veritatis Amans, in his 1847 article 'Can War, Under Any Circumstances, Be Justified on the Principles of the Christian Religion?', wrote: 'But under what circumstances is war truly defensive? We reply, when its object is to repel an invasion; when there is no alternative but to submit to bondage and death, or to resist.'

"George Washington: 'The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.' Thomas Jefferson: 'Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.' John Quincy Adams: 'America . . . goes not abroad seeking monsters to destroy.'

"So the War on Terrorism, like the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs, is in so many ways just a tragic joke. But why Christians support any of these bogus 'wars' is an even greater tragedy."

Christianity and War by Laurence M. Vance

Christianity and War Revisited by Laurence M. Vance

"There is nothing 'Christian' about the state’s aggressive militarism, its senseless wars, its interventions into the affairs of other countries, and its expanding empire...

"... loving one’s country has nothing to do with loving the government, being patriotic does not mean blindly following whatever the government says, and some of the greatest critics of the military have been in the military..."

Christianity and War Revisited by Laurence M. Vance

Should the US Military Be Allowed to Torture People? by Harry Browne

"In all the arguing over the presumed rights of a terrorist, one thing is being overlooked: no one knows for sure whether the person being tortured really is a terrorist...

"The problem, as so often is the case, comes back to government schools. Because there is virtually no education covering the reasons for the Bill of Rights, very few people in America have an understanding of why we have a Bill of Rights and why it must be enforced without exception – in both civilian courts and in military justice...

"If the government is allowed to suspend the Bill of Rights for anyone, the security of all of us is diminished.

"P.P.S. What is truly amazing is that after the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted, George W. Bush was still tsk, tsking about Hussein's alleged use of torture."

Should the US Military Be Allowed to Torture People? by Harry Browne

Education Inflation by Neal Zupancic

Neil Zupancic makes the case that government subsidies have cheapened the value of a college education.

"... the Village Voice just ran a series of articles called Generation Debt... What they tell us is that college graduates have over $20,000 worth of debt on average and have difficulty finding a job that will allow them to pay off those debts. In other words, college education (for these people) costs a lot and gives little monetary return...

"Flooding the market with supply in the absence of demand creates a surplus, which drives down prices – in this case, salaries... this is a prime example of an investment turned sour by State intervention.

"The public education movement has decreased the quality of education consistently while also increasing its price. Education continues to eat up more of our tax dollars while producing students who have actually learned ever less and less...

"The answer to this problem is clear. The first step is to pull all government, which is to say, taxpayer, money out of college funding. Auction off all state colleges and Universities – state governments are not accountable enough to run them properly... A college education should be seen as a luxury, not a right or necessity...

"Everyone would be more wealthy and prosperous since they wouldn't have to pay taxes to support education anymore. And education would be a valuable commodity, not a rubber stamp of State approval."

Education Inflation by Neal Zupancic

Peggy Noonan -- Way Too Much God

Peggy Noonan writes:

"Ending tyranny in the world? Well that's an ambition, and if you're going to have an ambition it might as well be a big one. But this declaration, which is not wrong by any means, seemed to me to land somewhere between dreamy and disturbing. Tyranny is a very bad thing and quite wicked, but one doesn't expect we're going to eradicate it any time soon. Again, this is not heaven, it's earth."

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan

About That Cakewalk . . . by Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts writes:

"The Washington establishment must be wondering today how it was convinced into making such a fatal mistake. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein had no terrorist links or involvement in the September 11 terror attack. US casualties (dead and wounded) now stand at 10 percent of the US invasion force. A few thousand lightly armed insurgents have tied down eight US divisions. Iraq’s infrastructure lies in ruins. Fallujah, once a city of 300,000, has been destroyed. The US has lost control of the roads, and most of the US fighting force is confined to protecting supply lines and its own bases. The US military is cracking under the strain of prolonged service in the field. The cost of the war mounts, putting more pressure on a collapsing US dollar. The US occupation has recruited thousands of new terrorists for Osama bin Laden and provided a training ground. Torture and torture memos have destroyed America’s moral reputation. Civil war looms as neither Sunnis, Shiites, nor Kurds are willing to support a government they do not control. Anti-American feelings throughout the Middle East threaten to undermine the secular puppets that the US keeps afloat in Pakistan, Egypt and Jordan. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Generals speak of staying another 3, 5, 7, and 10 years in order 'to get the job done.'

"If this is a cakewalk, what is a failed invasion and a lost war?"

About That Cakewalk . . . by Paul Craig Roberts

What States Rights Really Mean by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr. reviews "Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy" (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), by William J. Watkins, Jr.

"Nowhere had the states delegated any authority to the federal government to pass legislation pertaining to the freedom of speech or press. In doing so, then, the federal government had encroached on a state prerogative...

"As far as Jefferson could see, the only way in which a state could both remain in the Union and retain its liberties in the face of an unconstitutional act on the part of the federal government was for the state to declare that by virtue of its being unconstitutional, the federal action was null and void and would not be enforced within the borders of that state...

"You may have noticed that these ideas are rather out of fashion today on both left and right. Watkins, however, identifies these ideas as absolutely fundamental to American liberty and as legitimate means, faithful to the spirit of the Constitution, of preventing the expansion of the federal government..."

What States Rights Really Mean by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Iraq Dispatches: Odd Happenings in Fallujah

Dahr Jamail writes:

"... pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt peoples skin even when water was dumped on their bodies, which is the effect of phosphorous weapons, as well as napalm."

Iraq Dispatches: Odd Happenings in Fallujah

Iraq Dispatches: Destroying Babylon

Dahr Jamail writes:

"With four of Iraq’s 18 governorates unable to participate in them, an estimated 90% of the Sunni population not voting, a sizeable amount of the Shia boycotting and a very large percentage of Iraqis unwilling to vote because of the horrendous security situation, calling them elections seems a bit of a stretch."

Iraq Dispatches: Destroying Babylon

Iraq Dispatches: Collective Punishment

Dahr Jamail writes:

"I just phoned the military press office in Baghdad and asked them if they can provide me information on why they are blocking roads, firing weapons, plowing down date palm groves, and cutting electricity in the Al-Arab Jubour Village in Al-Dora, as several of the residents there claim.

"The spokesman, who won’t give me his name, said he knew nothing about such things, but that there were ongoing security operations in the Al-Dora area."

Iraq Dispatches: Collective Punishment

Friday, January 21, 2005

Private Help for Tsunami Victims by Ron Paul

Congressman Ron Paul reminds us:

"It’s admirable that Americans have been so willing to open their hearts and pocketbooks for the victims of this enormous tragedy, but it’s not the job of the federal government to make a show of generosity to the world with your tax dollars. Remember, government officials cannot be generous or charitable, because the money they dispense does not belong to them...

"We are mistaken when we assume governments must be the central organizing agents of the relief efforts. Private-sector charities and free-market social cooperation are the real saviors in any natural disaster, despite the intense desire of politicians to be seen as heroes on a white horse – heroes who use other people’s money. Government-to-government transfers are inherently inefficient, and adding the UN as a middleman will only ensure that even less of the money actually reaches those who need it most...

"The Asian tsunami is the worst natural disaster of our lifetimes, and we should all do everything we can to help. Investigate the charities and private groups involved, and send what you can. But let’s get governments and the United Nations out of the way, please."

Private Help for Tsunami Victims by Ron Paul

Which War Is This Anyway? by Tom Engelhardt

Are they freedom fighters, rebels, resistance movement, and guerillas or are they insurgents, terrorists, dead-enders, bitter enders, and Baathist remnants?

Tom Engelhardt says it seems to depend on whether the invading imperial superpower seeking to set up its own regime is the U.S. in Iraq or Russia in Afghanistan or Grozny.

Which War Is This Anyway? by Tom Engelhardt

Ed Current: Where is Pro-Life Constituency for Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution?

"The pro-life constituency doesn't have the votes for impeachment and removal, but may enough votes for jurisdiction removal. It is far easier to remove the issue from the judge than the judge from the issue."

Ed Current: Where is Pro-Life Constituency for Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution?

The News-Herald - 01/11/2005 - You're invited? (to the inauguration)

The inaugural parade participants spent "most of the day in heavily guarded warming tents... warned that they will not be allowed to leave the tents except to go to portable toilets accompanied by a security escort. Other instructions given performers include a warning not to look directly at Bush while passing the presidential reviewing stand, not to look to either side and not to make any sudden movements..."

The News-Herald - 01/11/2005 - You're invited?

The High Price of Official Lies

William Norman Grigg writes:

"Speaking just days before he launched the invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush digested the rationale for war into a single question: 'Has the Iraqi regime fully and unconditionally disarmed, as required by [UN Security Council] Resolution 1441, or has it not?' After nearly two years, the loss of more than 1,300 U.S. military personnel, the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis, and the expenditure of roughly $150 billion, the Bush administration has tacitly acknowledged that Saddam had no stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction...

"Actually, the world would have been better off if Washington had not connived in Saddam’s rise to power, and supplied him with the material and economic means to stay in power for decades...

"It’s a remarkable turn of events when ending a useless, counterproductive foreign war is treated as an iconoclastic notion, rather than unassailable common sense...

"By abdicating its constitutional power to declare war against Iraq, Congress embarked on what could be called a 'faith-based' foreign policy endeavor. For its part, the Bush administration acted in manifest bad faith, barraging the public with artfully wrought falsehoods and conducting a shameless, multi-layer bait-and-switch deception..."

The High Price of Official Lies

The Bush Administration's "Enabling Act"

The New American writes:

"In early December, without a word of public notice, the Justice Department placed on its website a lengthy September 25, 2001 memorandum entitled 'The President's Constitutional Authority to Conduct Military Operations Against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them.' That document sets out, on behalf of the Bush administration, a plainly totalitarian view of presidential power...

"In defiance of the unambiguous text of the Constitution, the Yoo memo declares: 'If the Framers had wanted to require congressional consent before the initiation of hostilities, they knew how to write such provisions.' As noted above, the Framers of the Constitution did exactly that — and the most influential among them pointedly reiterated that principle on numerous occasions.

"As James Madison, the 'Father of the Constitution,' wrote in a 1792 letter to Thomas Jefferson, 'the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It [the Constitution] has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature.' Hamilton, who was notable in his zeal for a strong executive, noted in a 1793 essay: 'It is the province and duty of the Executive to preserve to the Nation the blessings of peace. The Legislature alone can interrupt those blessings, by placing the Nation in a state of War.'..."

The Bush Administration's "Enabling Act"

To the Founders, Congress was king |

John Dillin writes for The Christian Science Monitor:

"The nation's Founders expected Congress, not the president, to be where the real action was, says Dr. Carol Berkin, a professor of American history at the City College of New York and Baruch College. The president was supposed to be, well, more like an 'errand boy' for Congress.

"[The Founders] assumed that Congress, drawn from all parts of the country, would initiate bills, set budgets, approve wars, provide national leadership, and if necessary, impeach and toss out a wayward president. After all, who would give supreme powers to one man, or woman?

"Looking at today's politics, Berkin says: 'The Founders would be appalled, perhaps the most, in that the president presents a program to the Congress, and the Congress is expected to argue over it. This is the tail wagging the dog. Their view was just the opposite - with the president executing [the policies proposed and approved] by Congress.'...

"The public ranks Congress as successful, or not, depending on whether it enacts the president's program, Berkin says. Such an attitude would leave the Founding Fathers with 'their mouths on the floor,' she says. Yet fighting against the president's program can be the political death knell for a member of Congress, especially if the party cuts off support in the next election..."

To the Founders, Congress was king |

Should Anti-Bush Journalists Be Tried as "Spies"?

William Norman Grigg writes:

"According to Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh should be tried for espionage...

"... Commissar Blankley opines that investigative reporter Seymour Hersh committed 'espionage' by publishing a detailed expose of the Bush administration’s plans and preparations for war with Iran. According to Hersh, the administration has been conducting pre-war covert operations inside Iran. Those operations allegedly are being carried out through the Pentagon, rather than by the CIA, in order to avoid congressional oversight. Citing anonymous defense and intelligence sources, Hersh predicts that as many as ten nations might be on the list of possible U.S. military targets...

"... 'The Congress shall have the power … to declare war.' Thus states Article One, Section 8, paragraph 11 of the U.S. Constitution. It is Congress, not the president or any of his subordinates, who places our nation in a state of war. As Alexander Hamilton – hardly an advocate of minimalist executive power – put it in a 1793 essay: 'It is the province and duty of the Executive to preserve to the Nation the blessings of peace. The Legislature alone can interrupt those blessings, by placing the Nation in a state of War.' ...

"Simply put, our nation is not legally at war. Congress did not declare war on Iraq, and hasn’t taken action of any kind regarding military action against Iran...

"[Blankley is] accusing Hersh of... informing the public about military activities undertaken against a government with which we are not at war... If Congress hasn’t declared war, the espionage statute cannot be applied regarding Hersh’s writings...

"Blankley’s suggestion fits perfectly into his long-established Soviet-style worldview, in which the people are accountable to the state, rather than the reverse. If what Hersh wrote is accurate – and Blankley appears to believe that it is – then trying him for espionage would tacitly recognize that the Bush administration regards the U.S. people as the enemy from whom such information must be hidden..."

Should Anti-Bush Journalists Be Tried as "Spies"?

Bush Continues to Support UN "Law of The Sea" Treaty

William Norman Grigg writes:

"The Bush administration continues to support Senate ratification of the UN's Convention on the Law of the Sea, which would turn the oceans and their incomprehensible riches over to the world body.

"During confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed the Bush administration’s plans to seek ratification of the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOST)...

"The bland assurances offered by Rice and Lugar should be considered about as reliable as the administration’s pre-Iraq war rhetoric predicting that the conflict would be a 'cakewalk.' As William F. Jasper, Senior Editor for The New American, has pointed out, LOST 'is not just a bad idea; it is a very dangerous, concrete thing, a revolutionary legal document that heralds a major step into world government and grants vast powers to the United Nations.'

"The LOST pact would 'create new jurisdictions and governing structures with real powers that threaten our national sovereignty,' continues Jasper. 'Among other things, LOST establishes an International Seabed Authority (referred to as ISA, or 'the Authority’), a new UN agency to control the minerals and other wealth of the sea floor. This also means granting the ISA control over two thirds of the Earth’s surface — no trifling matter. LOST designates this vast, watery commons as `the Area.’'

"Article 136 of the treaty declares: 'The Area and its resources are the common heritage of mankind' – 'common heritage' being a formulation long favored by international collectivists and other tax-fattened parasites eager to redistribute wealth. And Article 137 dictates: 'All rights in the resources of the Area are vested in mankind as a whole, on whose behalf the Authority shall act.'

"This means that the same UN that created the Iraq Oil-for-Food corruption scandal – described by some as the biggest swindle in history – would claim the right to control the unfathomable resources of the oceans and ocean floors, and apportion them as the world body sees fit.

"And the Bush administration, wrongly regarded in 'conservative' circles as anti-UN, enthusiastically supports the UN’s grab for the oceans.

"Concerned Americans must demand that the Senate refuse to ratify LOST. We must also get the U.S. out of the UN, and evict the squalid socialist organization from our shores. To learn what you can do to help, please visit"

Bush Continues to Support UN "Law of The Sea" Treaty

"Insensibly" Sliding Into Tyranny

William Norman Grigg writes:

"By waging open-ended foreign wars for 'liberty,' warned John Quincy Adams, America's ruling philosophy would 'insensibly change from [one of] liberty to force....' That warning, sadly, was amply validated by George W. Bush's Second Inaugural Address...

"Did he refer to the criminal irresponsibility of his administration in failing to act on plentiful pre-September 11 warnings about the impending attack? Or was he alluding to a decades-old interventionist foreign policy that has nurtured foreign enemies and engendered hatred toward the United States? Or was he perchance offering an oblique apology for the ineptitude displayed by the federal government on that horrible morning, when the only effective defense of our nation was mounted by the private citizens aboard United Flight 93, even as the administration’s leaders were cowering in secure locations?

"In fact, the 'deepest source' of our vulnerability, according to Mr. Bush’s speechwriters, is the fact that there are regions of the world not firmly under Washington’s control...

"Of course, the president's speech did not acknowledge the role Washington's interventionist policies have played over decades, during both Republican and Democrat administrations, in helping to bring those simmering resentments to a murderous boil. There was no mention of how the U.S. government had supported Saddam's Iraqi regime prior to the Persian Gulf War or how the CIA had assisted Osama bin Laden... These observations were not made since, to cure the conditions exacerbated by U.S. foreign policy, the administration prescribes a larger – and perhaps ultimately more lethal – dose of the same interventionist treatment...

"Mr. Bush opened his speech with a perfunctory nod to 'the durable wisdom of our Constitution,' and spent the rest of it expressing disdain for the principles embodied in that charter. Nothing in our Constitution authorizes the federal government to mount a global campaign on behalf of democracy. In fact, in their wisdom the Founders ardently admonished Americans to eschew grandiose foreign entanglements of that sort...

"America, [John Quincy] Adams famously warned on Independence Day, 1821, 'goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own... She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....'

"As thousands gathered to hear Mr. Bush extol 'freedom' in Washington, D.C., security preparations had transformed the Capitol into what the New York Times called 'a steel cocoon.' Missile launchers defended the skies; manhole covers were welded shut to secure the streets. Militarized police, metal detectors, body searches, and other stigmata of the garrison state were on full display. Performers in the inaugural parade were instructed not to do so much as look directly at the president, lest they be regarded as security threats."

"Insensibly" Sliding Into Tyranny

Monday, January 17, 2005

Washington Is a Sledgehammer; We Are Nails by William L. Anderson

William L. Anderson writes:

"Today, we see the Patriot Act, a law that Lew Rockwell once told me was 'RICO on steroids,' being used not to fight 'terrorism,' but rather to severely punish individuals in order to 'send a message' to the rest of us... federal prosecutors now have decided to put forth the legal fiction that a New Jersey man who was shining a green laser at air traffic near an airport is a 'terrorist.'...

"The FBI acknowledged the incident had no connection to terrorism but called Banach's actions 'foolhardy and negligent.'...

"The latest incident involved a very stupid act by a person who most likely did not understand the consequences of his behavior...

"But doing something stupid and committing an act of terrorism clearly are not one and the same, yet federal prosecutors are using the Patriot Act to throw Banach into prison...

"To put it another way, the feds are using a sledgehammer in a situation that does not even call for a regular hammer. While one can call this a case of 'overcriminalization,' the actions by federal prosecutors are not the result of overzealousness but rather a cruel, calculated and deliberate act to let the rest of us know that we are the slaves and federal prosecutors and law enforcement are our masters...

"Furthermore, while one can understand why Banach might have been less-than-full-truthful when first confronted with investigators, it would seem to me that the much bigger lie has been told by Bush Administration officials. As pointed out earlier in this article, federal officials promised Congress that they would not abuse the new and extraordinary powers that were given them. That clearly was and is a lie. Lying to Congress is a crime for the rest of us, but for federal prosecutors and their ilk, it is another day at the office.

"Yes, Banach did something that was incredibly stupid, but there also was clearly no criminal intent. Once upon a time in America, intent – the doctrine of mens rea – mattered when it came to the pursuit of criminal acts. Today in Amerika, the only thing that matters is the accumulation of power by federal officials, who then wield it like a sledgehammer against the rest of us..."

Washington Is a Sledgehammer; We Are Nails by William L. Anderson

Martha Stewart and Our Shadow Legal System by William L. Anderson and Candice Jackson

William L. Anderson and Candice E. Jackson write:

"While we can see why some might fault our reasoning, there is a deeper-held reason why we believe that Martha Stewart should be a free woman today. We hold that the federal criminal system that convicted her is an abomination to justice and is the destroyer of those precious 'Rights of Englishmen' that this nation inherited from Great Britain (and especially the famed jurist William Blackstone) more than two centuries ago. What exists today in the federal courts is nothing less than a shadow justice system, an evil twin of the common law that served us so well for so long, a system that keeps the trappings of common law, but is more like Stalin’s Soviet Union than Blackstone’s England...

"... the federal criminal system is nothing less than a mechanism that permits prosecutors to do an end run around the Constitutional protections that the framers of that document believed were the natural rights of individuals... modern federal criminal laws and policies hold much more in common with Josef Stalin’s U.S.S.R. in the 1930s than it does the Constitution of the United States.

"... most federal crimes actually are 'derivative' in nature. That is, they are not actual criminal acts, but rather are activities that have been criminalized because of ties to other things the accused person may have done...

"Keep in mind that Stewart 'cheated' no one; she simply sold her stock in an open market, something that hundreds of other owners of ImClone stock were doing at the same time. Had Stewart 'cheated' anyone, she could have been charged with a real 'securities fraud' charge, not the overreaching charge that even the anti-Stewart New York Times editorial board agreed was ridiculous.

"... today the criminal law has strayed far from its historical roots... an act does not have to harm anyone in order to be criminal in the federal system. In fact, the vast majority of federal crimes involve activities for which there was no harm, just a violation either of a federal rule or regulation, or something of that order. In the Stewart case, prosecutors were able to weave a series of charges around an act that the government apparently did not believe was criminal – or they would have unloaded a criminal charge of 'insider trading' against her and Bacanovic, something that prosecutors knew they could not prove in court – even federal court, where rules of evidence tilt heavily toward the prosecution...

"The law, which lawyers usually call 1001, for the section of the federal code that contains it, prohibits lying to any federal agent, even by a person who is not under oath and even by a person who has committed no other crime...

"Ms. Stewart was convicted of obstruction of justice and making false statements to F.B.I. agents and investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission who were investigating her for insider trading...

"But Ms. Stewart was never charged with criminal insider trading, suggesting that if she had simply told investigators the truth she would not have faced criminal charges. The only counts the jury considered related to her behavior during the investigation.

"People lie all the time to colleagues, friends and family... and unless they are legal experts they probably do not know that lying to any federal investigator is illegal even if they are not under oath.

"And F.B.I. agents and other investigators usually do not tape-record their conversations, so people can be convicted of making false statements based only on an investigator's notes, which may not exactly reflect what was said.

" 'Any casual conversation between a citizen and a person of the executive branch is fraught with the possibility that you can be convicted of lying,'... If the government wants to make sure it is being told the truth... it should put people under oath. 'That's why we have perjury laws – because we tell people this time you're under a special formal obligation to tell the truth,'... 'And by the way, you'll notice it doesn't run in both directions, so a federal agent can lie to you, can trick you, in order to get information.'

"Thus, we find ourselves at the purpose of the crime of 'obstruction of justice,' of which 1001 is a part. The purpose is to trap someone under investigation who otherwise might not be prosecuted for a crime. We emphasize this point again: The purpose of this law and many others in the federal system is to create crimes (and criminals) where none might exist...

"Moreover... the law runs only one way. Federal investigators and prosecutors regularly lie during conversations with those who are targeted... the F.B.I. in its training manual for new agents tells them that individuals who are targeted for investigation 'have forfeited their rights to the truth.'...

"We believe that Stewart went into her interviews with government agents in good faith... Furthermore, prosecutors at that time were talking about charging her with insider trading, and no doubt had laid down some veiled – and not-so-veiled – threats against her. A congressional committee already had illegally leaked testimony about her (yes, another felony that the government did not see fit to pursue) and the press already was baying about Martha in prison stripes.

"It is almost certain that federal investigators tried the same bully-boy tactics on Stewart, and given the history of lying by the feds, we are not fully convinced that Stewart and Bacanovic were guilty as charged. Certainly, the jurors did not base all of their verdicts upon the facts; as we noted in another article on this subject, the jurors believe that Stewart and Bacanovic were 'arrogant' and in their minds thought perhaps they should be punished for being who they were, as opposed to what they might have done.

"Instead, we see Martha Stewart going to prison because she... made the misjudgment of thinking she simply could sit down and talk to federal investigators. A law from which some government employees are exempt ultimately trapped her – as it is supposed to do.

"[The federal system] does not protect citizens from the state; instead, it gives the state all of the weapons (federal prosecutors like to call them 'tools') it needs to declare everyone a criminal."

Martha Stewart and Our Shadow Legal System by William L. Anderson and Candice Jackson

"Retention Deficit: Stop-loss in a Volunteer State" by Tim Cavanaugh

On 22 Dec 2003, Tim Cavanaugh wrote:

"When a free nation can't maintain its foreign adventures with willing volunteers, the rational solution should be to cut down on the adventures, not to fudge the definition of 'willing.' Stop-loss may not be the worst thing the government is doing to America's troops, but anybody who is seriously trying to estimate the costs of the war in Iraq should be paying close attention to it."


Disasters: Natural and Un-Natural by Paul Hein

The only think I would add to Paul Hein's observations is that, despite much unfortunate precedent to the contrary, it is also not the proper constitutional business of the federal government to provide charitable aid to its own citizens. As farmer Horatio Bunce reminded Congressman Davy Crockett:

"Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose"

Mr. Hein writes:

"The 'United States' which provides relief is the corporation headquartered in Washington D.C., and the assistance it provides is the only sort it can provide: money – or what passes for it. And it obtains that by creating it from thin air, i.e., inflation, or seizing it from people who have earned it, i.e., taxation. Very noble and generous!

"Government disaster relief is, in fact, disaster redistribution. As is always the case with government programs, the benefits are immediate, obvious, and widely touted. The downside is subtle, gradual, and diffuse, and always ignored. The hundreds of millions that the U.S. will provide tsunami victims (or, more likely, their rulers) will have results visible at once: removal of wreckage, those perennial favorites: water and blankets, and other well-photographed benefits. The damage to the standard of living of Americans by the inflation of the dollar, or taxation, will be unappreciated and unreported. Just another straw on the camel’s back. Can anyone doubt that, eventually, the camel’s back must break? But surely, just one more straw can be tolerated! ...

"I find it discouraging to see the public approval of these government relief schemes. It is good and proper for people to sympathize with their neighbors in time of disaster, and altogether fitting that they should come to their aid. But it is not, by the remotest stretch of the imagination, the proper business of government to provide material aid to foreigners. The fact that the burden of this aid is placed on the backs of Americans, whose property the government, in theory, exists to protect, makes the situation surreal."

Disasters: Natural and Un-Natural by Paul Hein

The Myth of the Voluntary Military by Jeffrey A. Tucker

On 29 March 2003, Jeffrey A. Tucker gives some food for thought:

"... all modern armies are essentially totalitarian enterprises. Once you sign up for them, or are drafted, you are a slave. The penalty for becoming a fugitive is death. Even now, the enforcements against mutiny, desertion, going AWOL, or what have you, are never questioned...

"To force people to fight when they would rather not is the very essence of modern military organization. In modern practice, there is no such thing as a voluntary military. Whether you are forced into the machine our not (via conscription or via payments in tax dollars), once you are cog, you must stay in no matter how much grinding you do or how much you are ground...

"The slave-like nature of the military commitment has no expiration date. Yes, there are contracts, but the military can void them whenever it so desires. Predictably, it desires to void these contracts (through so-called stop-loss regulations) when the enlisted most want to leave: when they must kill and risk being killed. All branches of the military have implemented these stop-loss regulations because of the war on terror...

"Still, one wonders how much the ranks of the militarily employed would shrink in absence of anti-desertion enforcement. If modern presidents had to recruit the way barons and lords recruited, and if they constantly faced the prospect of mass desertions, they might be more careful about getting involved in unnecessary, unjust, unwinnable wars, or going to war at all. Peace would take on new value out of necessity. When going to war, they might be more careful to curb their war aims, and match war strategies with those more limited aims...

"The legalization of desertion might provide the very key to bringing about a more humane world...

"In the meantime, US officials would do well to stop complaining that Iraqi soldiers are being forced to serve and forced to kill. A press release from the Air Force announcing its new stop-loss rule says: 'We understand the individual sacrifices that our airmen and their families will be making... We appreciate their unwavering support and dedication to our nation.' "

The Myth of the Voluntary Military by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Friday, January 14, 2005

Perspective by Charley Reese

Charlie Reese writes:

"I enraged one of the Fox News chatterers while a guest on his show by accusing him of being a fearmonger on the subject of terrorism. I pointed out that the same year terrorists killed 3,000 Americans, ordinary criminals murdered 12,000, and the usual 90,000 or so died in accidents. For some reason, he thought that was an outrageous statement...

"As for the war in Iraq, that, too, should be viewed in perspective. We've been there since March 2003, and we've lost about 1,300 soldiers. To be brutally realistic, that is not a particularly high toll for a guerrilla war... What we have to realize is that a certain number of Americans are going to die as long as we stay in Iraq. That is the price of an imperialistic foreign policy. The insurgents cannot drive us out in open battle, but they can nibble away at us indefinitely.

"What ought to enrage Americans is that all this blood and treasure is being spent at best as a favor for the Iraqi people... I'd have been damned if I would have spent 1,300 American lives and $200 billion just to relieve the Iraqi people of their homegrown dictator. Iraq was never a threat to America, and never would have been a threat.

"However, if the American people wish to lavish lives and treasure on a crusade to relieve other people of their own evil governments, then rejoice, for there are plenty of hellholes in which we can bleed out...

"But if you apply the perspective of history to our present situation, you will clearly see that empires don't last. They exhaust themselves fiscally and morally in their endless wars and occupations. My prayer is that we will eventually come to our senses and spend our lives and treasure trying to make the good old U.S.A. as good as any country can be. The internationalists call it isolationism, but George Washington called it a sensible policy."

Perspective by Charley Reese

Fears of Terrorism Are Unjustified - by Leon Hadar

Leon Hadar writes:

"Not only should terrorism be seen as a marginal threat in geostrategic terms, it could also prove to be a rather limited and manageable problem as far as domestic security in the US and other countries is concerned, argues John Mueller, the head of security studies at Ohio State University...

"Prof. Mueller... contends that 'for all the attention it evokes, terrorism actually causes rather little damage' and the likelihood that any individual will become a victim in most places is 'microscopic.' The number of people worldwide who die as a result of terrorism is generally only a few hundred a year – tiny compared to the numbers who die in car accidents and is closer to the number who drown in bathtubs in the United States...

"In a way, terrorists force us to redirect resources from sensible programs and future growth in order to pursue unachievable but politically popular levels of domestic security. From that perspective, the terrorists have won an important victory that mortgaged our future. For example, measures that delay airline passengers by half an hour could cost the American economy $15 billion a year.

"What is needed is not a declaration of 'a war' on terrorism, not to mention the sense of hysteria that is advanced by politicians in the media, but a convincing, coherent, and nuanced answer to several questions...

" 'How much should I be willing to pay for a small reduction in probabilities that are already extremely low?'

" 'How much should I be willing to pay for actions that are primarily reassuring but do little to change the actual risk?'

"The message that officials in Washington seem to be sending these days to the American public is: Be scared; be very, very scared – but go on with your lives.

"Such messages, as one critic put it, have helped create 'a false sense of insecurity.'

"And that is exactly what the terrorists with their limited resources and power want to achieve."

Fears of Terrorism Are Unjustified - by Leon Hadar

Don't Believe Them

On 18 May 2000, Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. wrote:

"Here it is ten years after the [first] Gulf war, and the lies told by the US government are still pouring in. Most recently, Seymour Hersh writes in the New Yorker that a two-star general ordered a massacre against a five-mile line of retreating Iraqi soldiers, and did so two days after a ceasefire went into effect. Hundreds of soldiers were murdered, men and boys who posed no threat and didn’t know the war was still on. Many civilians, including children, were also shot. The numbers are still unclear because the corpses were buried quickly by the tank-bulldozers...

"Why was this bloodshed not reported at the time? There were no media around to witness it. They were operating under the military’s rules – accepted by a press said to be jealous of its liberties – against any unsupervised reporting in post-war Iraq...

"Is it any wonder that the US is hated in huge swaths of the Gulf region? So much for George Washington's ideal of being a beacon of liberty to the world. To many, the US is nothing but a torrent of helicopter gunships unleashing Hell on retreating soldiers and innocent civilians. This is not only a repudiation of America's founding principles; it is a flagrant violation of every rule of warfare agreed upon by every civilized country from the Middle Ages to the present day. This is the behavior of a murderous rogue state, not an indispensable nation.

"Again and again, the truth about US wars has turned out to be exactly the opposite of Pentagon press releases...

"If we were to develop an axiom about war informed by the last several, it would be this: believe nothing (nothing!) that the government tells you while the war is going on. Assume that it is all a lie, that the enemy is not nearly as evil as the Pentagon says, and that the US is behaving a darn-sight worse than the evening news claims. Go ahead and believe the worst about the US while the battle is going on and, ten years hence, you won't be far off the mark...

"Of course there will always be debunkers during war, a handful of people who will say outrageous things... During the war, these debunkers are denounced as unpatriotic and told to produce their sources. But sometimes they cannot. They doubt the Official Line because they have developed an instinct for spotting the wartime lie.

"The evidence to back their claims only starts pouring in a year and ten years after discussion about the war has been closed down...

"There is, however, something that can be done about it... Bone up on past wars and acquaint yourself with the lies and the new truths about those wars. Stand up for journalists who dare to stand up to the power elite; Lord knows it doesn't happen very often. Examine the history of warfare to understand how the state uses it to destroy liberty.

"And when the next war breaks out, prepare to discount every bit of information you hear about it... Speak out on behalf of writers and commentators who take an independent stand. Oppose US military intervention in any foreign conflict. Above all, ascribe no decent motives to the federal government. Always and everywhere, it is the enemy of truth.

"May 18, 2000"

Don't Believe Them

Noah Webster (1758-1843)

The Acton Institute writes, regarding Noah Webster (1758–1843):

"In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. The Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people."

For Webster, the preservation of property was one of the chief ends of good government: "To render every man free, there must be energy enough in the executive, to restrain any man and any body of men from injuring the person or property of any individual in society." Indeed, Webster held that the preservation of private property is one of the surest bulwarks against the encroachment of liberty and that all other rights are "inferior considerations, when compared with a general distribution of real property among every class of people." Insofar as property is a result of man's labor, taking another's property without his consent or compensation is tantamount to enslaving him. Thus Webster concludes: "Let the people have property and they will have power -- a power that will forever be exerted to prevent the abridgment of any other privilege..."

Furthermore, Webster thought a virtuous and well-educated citizenry ensured the preservation of freedom. "Information is fatal to despotism," he wrote, and part of his life's labor was the writing and publishing of textbooks to be used in local schools and in homes that would convey the rudiments of spelling and grammar, as well as provide both moral formation and civic education. These latter projects were pivotal for Webster: "The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head."

Noah Webster (1758-1843)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Reality of Red-State Fascism by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., writes:

"A positive agenda of liberty is the only way we might have been spared the blizzard of government controls that were fastened on this country after Bush used the events of 9-11 to increase central planning, invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and otherwise bring a form of statism to America that makes Clinton look laissez-faire by comparison. The Bush administration has not only faced no resistance from the bourgeoisie. it has received cheers...

"... the very people who once proclaimed [hatred] of government now advocate its use against dissidents of all sorts, especially against those who would dare call for curbs in the totalitarian bureaucracy of the military, or suggest that Bush is something less than infallible in his foreign-policy decisions. The lesson here is that it is always a mistake to advocate government action, for there is no way you can fully anticipate how government will be used. Nor can you ever count on a slice of the population to be moral in its advocacy of the uses of the police power...

"In short, what we have alive in the US is an updated and Americanized fascism... It is for all the core institutions of bourgeois life in America: family, faith, and flag. But it sees the state as the central organizing principle of society, views public institutions as the most essential means by which all these institutions are protected and advanced, and adores the head of state as a godlike figure...

"No, today, the clear and present danger to freedom comes from the right side of the ideological spectrum, those people who are pleased to preserve most of free enterprise but favor top-down management of society, culture, family, and school, and seek to use a messianic and belligerent nationalism to impose their vision of politics on the world...

"Indeed, the current times can be seen as a training period for all true friends of liberty. We need to learn to recognize the many different guises in which tyranny appears...

The Reality of Red-State Fascism by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

'Our' Collective Goodness in the Tsunami Disaster by Jacob G. Hornberger

Jacob Hornberger writes:

"In the 20th century, 'we' embraced a collectivized system in which 'we' nationalized everyone’s income and then made the government 'our' agent for 'our' goodness, compassion, and caring. The system that 'we' adopted functions like this:

"'We' authorize the Congress that 'we' elect to take any portion of 'our' income it wants, as long as the percentage is set in a democratic (i.e., majority-vote) fashion. Once that portion or percentage is democratically set, the Internal Revenue Service is authorized to use force to collect the assigned take from everyone. The IRS then delivers the take to other government agencies, which then distribute the take to the poor and needy of the world. Voila! 'We' are caring, compassionate, and good … well, as long as 'our' government officials and agencies are caring, compassionate, and good. If they are 'stingy,' then 'we' are stingy.

"That’s in fact the underlying collectivized 'moral' basis for the entire welfare-warfare system that 'we' brought into existence in the 20th century. That’s why 'we' are good in Iraq –because the IRS delivered a portion of the take to the Pentagon, which then used the money to invade Iraq to bring 'democracy and liberation' to the Iraqi people, all on the orders of the president, who is of course democratically elected by 'us.' Voila! Through the collective, joint efforts of the IRS and the Pentagon (well, and the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve also) and the president, 'we' are good people for what 'we' are doing in Iraq...

"What about our American ancestors? You know, those Americans who for more than 100 years rejected income taxation, Social Security, welfare, foreign aid, and foreign wars of 'democracy and liberation.' You know, our ancestors who believed that freedom entailed a person’s keeping everything he earns and having the right to decide what to do with it without government interference – spend, donate, invest, hoard, or whatever. You know, our ancestors who had the right to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and, without being forced to care for others, brought into existence the most charitable society in history. You know, our ancestors who believed that charity, compassion, and caring meant nothing unless it came from the voluntary heart of an individual, as compared to the collectivized force of majority vote...

'Our' Collective Goodness in the Tsunami Disaster by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Fed's Folly by Scott M. Rosen

Scott Rosen writes:

"There is probably no better indication of just how powerful the state has grown since the founding of the republic than the fact that the citizens of this nation disinterestedly sit idly by while their government engages in behavior that would send these same folks to prison. The US government can attack foreign nations and cavalierly dismiss the loss of innocent civilian life as collateral damage rather than murder. It can forcibly extract money and property from whomever it wants, yet distinguishes between such confiscation and criminal theft.

"While the warfare-welfare state is afforded the right to commit infractions that private citizens are proscribed from engaging in, its operations are underwritten by the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve. The Fed is responsible for managing the nation’s monetary policy and has the sole legal authority to expand and contract the supply of money in circulation...

"Here’s the key, though: How does the Fed purchase existing debt and thusly conduct this convoluted operation? It simply creates the money out of thin air! When the FOMC buys government debt or sells it at a slower rate, it is said to be easing its monetary policy. When it does the opposite, selling government debt or decreasing the rate it purchases it, the Fed is tightening its monetary policy.

"Amazingly enough, if a private citizen decides to reproduce US currency and then circulate it, that’s referred to as counterfeit, but if the government essentially does the exact same thing, it’s called expansionary monetary policy...

"Counterfeiting is illegal for a reason. It undermines the value of the currency, and it is effectively stealing. Like theft and murder, however, the state seems to believe the rules that apply to the citizens don’t apply to it. Some might protest that it is a different situation when the government engages in theft (taxation), murder (war), and counterfeit (monetary policy). That’s true: When the state commits these acts, the results are far more widespread and devastating."

The Fed's Folly by Scott M. Rosen

Friday, January 07, 2005

'Stay the Course!' -- Is Not Enough by Patrick J. Buchanan

Pat Buchanan writes:

"We might all prefer that Arab nations be democratic. But that is not vital to us. If they remain despotic, that is their problem, so long as they do not threaten or attack us. But to invade an Islamic country to force it to adopt democratic reforms is democratic imperialism. If we practice it, we must expect that some of those we are reforming will resort to the time-honored weapon of anti-imperialists, terrorism – the one effective weapon the weak have against the strong...

"Before addressing his countrymen, the president needs to ask and answer for himself some hard questions... Who led him into a situation where his choice appears to be between a seemingly endless guerrilla war that could destroy his presidency, and walking away from Iraq and watching it collapse in mayhem and massacre of those who cast their lot with us? Why have these fools not been fired, like the CIA geniuses who sold JFK on the Bay of Pigs?

"But the president needs to know that if he intends to use U.S. military power to democratize the Middle East, Americans – 56 percent of whom now believe Iraq was a mistake – will not follow him..."

'Stay the Course!' -- Is Not Enough by Patrick J. Buchanan

WorldNetDaily: Buying the 'big lie' of church-state separation

David Kupelian, vice president and managing editor of and Whistleblower magazine, writes:

"If we really have been convinced that our Constitution – conceived, written, believed in, fought for and died for overwhelmingly by Christians and God-fearing people – requires that the Christian faith be taken out of government, then there's really no hope for us as a nation.

"But I don't think we've all bought the Big Lie...

"Focus on the Family's James Dobson summed it all up...

'We're at a pivotal point in the history of this country.

'Be a participant... Don't sit on the sidelines while our basic freedoms are lost.'

"Even James Madison, father of the Constitution, seemed to have something to say about this case:

'We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.' "

WorldNetDaily: Buying the 'big lie' of church-state separation

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Extremism In Defense of the Status Quo by Butler Shaffer

Butler Shaffer writes:

In the mass-minded culture of politics, once one’s opinions get characterized as "extremist," they become irrelevant to any further discussion, no matter how factual, rational, or principled they might otherwise be...

Just as the government school system exists to condition minds in political catechisms, a major function of the establishment media is to generate, by rote reinforcement, the acceptable range of opinions...

By definition, collective thinking has no tolerance for deviations from announced norms. The "extremist" is the individual whose opinions lie outside the herd mindset...

Asking the kinds of questions that we are not supposed to ask has always been central to the creative process, and the insightful persons who dare to ask such questions have often suffered at the hands of the prevailing order...

To respect diversity is to welcome variation and uniqueness; deviation from a central norm. It is, in other words, to defend extremism (i.e., opinions or behavior that do not conform to the collective model)...

Of course, tolerance for views or conduct that diverge from the collective mindset is not what most defenders of "diversity" seek to promote...

You will not find any politically correct colleges or universities wringing their hands over the lack of "white supremacists" or "militia group" applicants: such people are considered "extremists..."

Thus it was that, in a recent holiday parade in Denver, a gay/lesbian group was permitted to have a float, while a Christian church group – which wanted to have a float with Christmas carolers – was not allowed...

The establishment’s hostility to "extremism" is not unlike the charge of "counter-revolutionary" directed against those Russians who questioned the direction taken during the Bolshevik Revolution. To have a collective resolve weakened by doubt or alternative purpose is a threat to the power base from which all political action arises. Furthermore, "extremists" often end up being people who operate on the basis of deeply-held and integrated philosophic principles, an attribute unwelcome in a collective atmosphere in which the pursuit of power is an end in itself...

Very often, an "extremist" is one who sees the long-term implications of present government policies, and opposes them in an effort to prevent what he views as their harmful consequences. Such a person does not await the rounding up of men and women to be loaded onto boxcars for shipment to concentration camps to voice concerns for the police-state implications of legislation giving the state such powers! This is why libertarians are often labeled "extremists," for their insistence on including spiritual, philosophical, and other non-material costs in the calculation of social policies...

No matter how deftly one tries to tap-dance around the subject – as with delusions of "limited government" – political systems are inherently at war with private property. If "government" is defined as a system with a monopoly on the lawful use of force, such force can only be exercised against the lives and property of individuals...

Over forty years ago... I heard the words that my late and dear friend, Karl Hess, had written for Barry Goldwater to speak to the convention. One passage, in particular, aroused the passions of delegates as no other political speech has in my lifetime: "extremism in defense of liberty is no vice!" ...

Extremism In Defense of the Status Quo by Butler Shaffer

Monday, January 03, 2005

God, Bush, and Functional Atheism by William L. Anderson

This story of Janet Reno's torturing a wife into testifying against her husband is eerily reminiscent of George Orwell's tale of the torture of Winston Smith and Julia to mutual betrayal in "1984".

God, Bush, and Functional Atheism by William L. Anderson

Saturday, January 01, 2005

A Small But Important Victory by James Ostrowski

Attorney James Ostrowski writes:

"[N]o one with the slightest degree of intellectual honesty can deny that the vast bulk of the problems the public associates with the term 'drug problem' are in fact caused by drug prohibition and enforcement.

"Prohibition creates the black market and is thus responsible for all the problems related to the black market like high drug profits to dealers, drug gangs funded by those profits, shoot-outs over turf, addicts who steal to pay for expensive black market drugs, HIV-positive addicts spreading the virus by sharing needles which are illegal and thus expensive, children selling drugs and acting as look-outs because they are subject to lower penalties than their adult comrades, police corruption, clogged courts and prisons, the creation of a criminal subculture in the inner city, the jailing and criminalization of large numbers of young minority males...

"Once it is understood that prohibition not only is ineffective in preventing drug use, but also creates out of thin air a whole new set of virulent social problems, the absurdity of our occasional drug wars becomes clear. If prohibition creates big problems, intensifying prohibition creates bigger problems...

"No one is happy with the status quo. Escalating the drug war is doomed to failure because the drug problem increases in direct proportion to the level of enforcement. That leaves only one way out – de-escalate, move towards legalization...

"[M]ost people still oppose legalization, not because they can muster any cost-benefit data against it, or because they can rebut any of its main arguments, but, because they deeply oppose drug use on fundamental moral and religious grounds. Regardless of where and when it is done, and what the social consequences are, they just don't want to live in a world where anyone is consuming drugs...

"Unfortunately, millions of others have decided that they have no moral qualms about using drugs and they continue to do so despite society's best efforts to stop them. The prohibitionist majority's attempt to impose their values on the drug-using minority by force is the root cause of today's drug problem...

"The only real solution to the drug problem and the only real end of the perpetual drug war will come when we declare freedom of self-medication and ask the drug warriors to hang up their holsters and call it a career..."

A Small But Important Victory by James Ostrowski