How Not to Fight Terrorism Reply

Scott Horton interviews Michael Scheuer.

Michael Scheuer, 22-year veteran of the CIA and former head analyst at the CIA’s bin Laden unit, discusses the First Amendment’s non-universality as recently evidenced in Afghanistan – yet another reminder of the dangers in foreign occupations; the choice confronting Americans: pursue the same foreign policy and get endless war or step back and let Islamic countries fight amongst themselves and against Israel; why the current system of government is pointless, so long as it fails to put US interests first; UN Ambassador Susan Rice, President Obama and other “true believers” in spreading secular democracy at gunpoint; using the conflicts in Syria and Bahrain to provoke Iran militarily, and get the US into a backdoor war; and the 21st century imperialism redux that has the US, Britain and France bombing Libya.

MP3 here. (16:09)

Michael Scheuer is a 22-year veteran of the CIA and former head analyst at the CIA’s bin Laden unit. He is the author of Osama Bin Laden, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq and Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror.

Why we should be against armed humanitarianism Reply

Article by Gene Healy.
The president allowed that “America cannot use our military whenever repression occurs.” But when our interests, values, “unique abilities” and the will of the international community properly align — he’ll let us know when that is — we’ll act “on behalf of what’s right.”

But when it comes to armed humanitarianism, deciding what’s right may not be quite so simple, argues international relations scholar Alan J. Kuperman, author of “The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention.”First, generally speaking, “killers are quicker than intervenors”; second, “more intervention might actually lead to a net increase in killing,” not just from “collateral damage,” but by changing the incentives of actors on the ground.

Take the case of Rwanda. Our failure to intervene there in 1994 is now widely considered a shameful missed opportunity to avert mass murder.

But “had the United States tried to stop the Rwandan genocide,” Kuperman writes, “it would have required about six weeks to deploy a task force of 15,000 personnel and their equipment,” meaning that “by the time Western governments learned of the Rwandan genocide and deployed an intervention force, the vast majority of the ultimate Tutsi victims would already have been killed.”

Indeed, sometimes intervention increases the pace of violence. Serbian forces sped up ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in response to NATO’s March 1999 decision to bomb. “Most of their cleansing occurred in the first two weeks, and they managed to force out 850,000 Albanians.”

Further complicating matters is what Kuperman calls “the moral hazard of humanitarian intervention.” Such interventions can have the perverse effect of encouraging risk-seeking behavior by those expecting rescue.

That happened in the 1990s, Kuperman argues, when the policy of humanitarian intervention “convinced some groups that the international community would intervene to protect them from retaliation, thereby encouraging armed rebellions.”

Diversity Perversity Reply

Article by Walter Williams.
The terms affirmative action, equal representation, preferential treatment and quotas just don’t sell well. The intellectual elite and their media, government and corporate enthusiasts have come up with diversity, a seemingly benign term that’s a cover for racially discriminatory policy. They call for college campuses, corporate offices and government agencies to “look like America.”

Part of looking like America means if blacks are 13 percent of the population, they should be 13 percent of college students and professors, corporate managers and government employees. Behind this vision of justice is the silly notion that but for the fact of discrimination, we’d be distributed equally by race across incomes, education, occupations and other outcomes. There is absolutely no evidence that statistical proportionality is the norm anywhere on Earth; however, much of our thinking, laws and public policy is based upon proportionality being the norm. Let’s look at some racial differences whilst thinking about their causes and possible remedies.

While 13 percent of our population, blacks are 80 percent of professional basketball players and 65 percent of professional football players and are the highest paid players in both sports. By contrast, blacks are only 2 percent of NHL’s professional ice hockey players. There is no racial diversity in basketball, football and ice hockey. They come nowhere close to “looking like America.”

Even in terms of sports achievement, racial diversity is absent. Four out of the five highest career home-run hitters were black. Since blacks entered the major leagues, of the eight times more than 100 bases were stolen in a season, all were by blacks.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently ordered Dayton, Ohio’s police department to lower its written exam passing scores so as to have more blacks on its police force. What should Attorney General Eric Holder do about the lack of diversity in sports? Why don’t the intellectual elite protest? Could it be that the owners of these multi-billion-dollar professional basketball, football and baseball teams are pro-black while those of the NHL and major industries are racists unwilling to put blacks in highly paid positions?

There’s one ethnic diversity issue completely swept under the rug. Jewish Americans are less than 3 percent of our population and only two-tenths of 1 percent of the world’s population. Yet between 1901 and 2010, Jews were 35 percent of American Nobel Laureate winners and 22 percent of the world’s.

If the diversity gang sees underrepresentation as “probative” of racial discrimination, what do they propose we do about overrepresentation? Because if one race is overrepresented, it might mean they’re taking away what rightfully belongs to another race.

False Convictions Reply

Article by Bill Anderson.
Should one step back even further, one can see a pattern emerging, one that not only is disturbing but also one that has its roots in the Progressive Movement of more than a century ago, when American intellectuals, businessmen, and politicians joined to overthrow a social order that was responsible for transforming American society from a backwoods, agrarian country into an industrial powerhouse. While “Progressives” were and are championed by the intellectual elite and media pundits as “reformers” who are trying (against those backward capitalists) to make society better, in reality they undermined human liberty in order to impose an order that could move in no direction but toward tyranny.

One of the things “Progressives” did was to take many occupations and “professionalize” them. They introduced occupational licensing and they also were able to formalize and organize the “justice” apparatus into a mechanism in which “professionals” would transform the process of investigating crimes and seeking judgment and punishment for perpetrators. Instead of having a system that drew heavily upon community participation, “Progressives” reasoned that the professional police, prosecutors, and “expert” witnesses would not be bound by emotion but would act according to their pure training and knowledge.

The system we have today is one in which the “professionals” run everything, from the police investigators to the judges and prison administrators, and it simply is awful. Last year, when I covered the Tonya Craft trial and aftermath in my blog, it really was a battle between the “professionals” and people advocating for the truth.

For example, the prosecutors and the judge worked in tandem in order to try to rig a guilty verdict (the “unprofessional” jurors refused to go along with the scam and acquitted her), a police officer fabricated a document in order to fill holes, and “professional” child “advocates” insisted that the stories being told about Craft’s alleged child molesting were true. The jurors saw through the whole thing and had concluded even before the prosecution rested that the whole thing was bogus.

Wrongful accusations and convictions often occur because the “professionals” are able to convince jurors that the impossible really has to be true – because the “professionals” say it is true. Because “Progressivism” has been institutionalized to a point where most people cannot imagine a society without its influences, people are easily swayed by foolish arguments made by “professionals” even when logic and reasoning tell them otherwise.

As I said at the beginning, I am passionate about advocating for those who are wrongly charged and those who are wrongly convicted. I can think of no worse indictment upon a society than to say it is one in which “justice” is turned upside down and perverted, and as I see it, one of the main reasons that “justice” in America is a crapshoot is the legacy of “Progressivism.”

Africans united in defense of Libya! Reply

Article by Luwezi Kinshasa, Secretary-General of the African Socialist International.
A new world has been trying to come to into being since before the imperialists’ so-called first world war.

It is the rise of the colonized and oppressed peoples’ struggles, and we can see its trajectory with the Garvey Movement, which organized more than 11 million Africans around the world (1914-1924), the largest anti-colonial international organization in the world to date.

We see its rise in the failed Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and in the Russian revolution of 1917.

Though the Russians did not belong to the camp of colonized nations as did the Africans, Mexicans, Arabs, Chinese and others, their socialist revolution still gave U.S.-led white power seven decades’ worth of justification to attack the colonized peoples’ struggles for national liberation, under the disguise of fighting communism.

As Chairman Omali Yeshitela remarks, “This was at the turn of the 20th century, when resistance to imperialist colonialism was growing throughout the world, even as the imperialists were engaged in the First Imperialist World War to re-divide the world — mainly the colonial and subject peoples — among themselves.

“This was an era of great upheaval. The European war to re-divide the world that is commonly known as World War I was upsetting the balance of power in Europe.

“This First Imperialist World War challenged the notions of European identity conferred to different Europeans at the 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna that was used to redraw European borders after the Napoleonic Wars.”

Chairman Yeshitela gives an account of how the trajectory of the struggles previously led by Marcus Garvey, Emilio Zapata, Sun Yat Sen, Sandino and others took a decisive turn.

He says, “While these struggles have been going on for some time and have clearly escalated since the second imperialist world war, they have had markedly different implications for world capitalism within the recent period.

“The political independence won by colonialist-created states such as Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, etc., on the continent of Africa; the independence won by India, Burma, Pakistan, and of most of South America was an independence from direct colonial rule.

“It was nominal political independence that left the peoples and countries dominated economically by their former masters and the now-dominant U.S.

“It was ‘independence’ under a new, more subtle colonialism, a colonialism that was essentially economic; it was neocolonialism.”

Nation Behind Bars: Mass Incarceration and Political Prisoners in the U.S. Reply

Efia Nwangaza at the BIB Conference on the Other Wars.
On March 26, 2011, the Black is Back Conference for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations held a conference on the Other Wars, dealing with U.S. imperialism’s wars on Haiti, Congo, Libya, Colombia, Africans in the U.S. and elsewhere — wars that are historically ignored by the white left. The following presentation was made by Efia Nwangaza, Director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, and speaks to the vast number of freedom fighters held as political prisoners by the U.S. government as well as the mass incarceration of African and Mexican people.

The Hypocrisy at the Heart of the Police State Reply

Article by Kevin Carson.
Well, the power of the state might be just a little broader than that. Militarized SWAT teams that kick in doors at 3AM with no-knock warrants, for non-violent offenses, toss the house to inflict maximum damage for sheer intimidation, shoot the family dog for the same reason — if they even got the right house? I’d say that’s a pretty significant encounter with the power of the state for a lot of people. Being kicked, clubbed or tasered to the point of injury or death, when you’re writhing in agony and physically incapable of resisting, just because you didn’t show proper deference to an Alpha Male — or maybe just because you were in a diabetic coma or having an epileptic seizure? That’s also a pretty dramatic exposure to the power of the state. And how about having your property seized via civil forfeiture without ever being charged you with a crime?

The police state, existing as it does in a country in which the officially encouraged self-perception is still heavily influenced by the mythos of the common law and the “freeborn American,” must engage in ideological legerdemain for its own survival. That’s not to say the propaganda has to be sophisticated enough to pass serious scrutiny or convince a skeptic. It just has to be good enough to fool most of the people most of the time. The police state depends on maintaining a “silent majority” of people who — out of either ignorance, laziness or intellectual cowardice — don’t know too much about the unpleasant details of how their sausage is made and don’t really want to know.

Last Act in the Mideast Reply

Article by Andrew Bacevich.


Ever since Britain and France set out to dismember the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago, the West has been engaged in an incoherent, haphazard, episodic, but more or less relentless effort to impose its will on the Middle East. Methods have varied. Sometimes the “infidels” have employed overt force. At other times they have relied on covert means, worked through proxies, or recruited local puppets.

The purposes offered to justify Western exertions have likewise varied. With empire falling into disfavor, the pursuit of imperial aims has required conceptual creativity. Since 1945 resistance to communist subversion, a professed antipathy for brutal dictators, support for international law, and an enthusiasm for spreading freedom have all been pressed into service (albeit selectively) to legitimize outside intervention. Today’s “responsibility to protect” extends this tradition, offering the latest high-minded raison d’être for encroaching on the sovereignty of Middle Eastern states whenever the locals behave in ways that raise Western ire.

Underlying this great variety of methods and professed motivation, two things have remained constant across the decades. The first is an assumption: that Arabs, Persians, Afghans, and the like are incapable of managing their own affairs, leaving the West with no choice but to act in loco parentis, setting rules and enforcing discipline. The second is a conviction: that somehow, some way, the deft application of Western power will eventually fix whatever ails the region.

Self-Determination of Ivory Coast Reply

Article by David D’Amato.

“The UN secretary general,” reports BBC News, “has urged Ivory Coast’s internationally-backed president [Alassane Ouattara] to investigate hundreds of deaths blamed partly on his supporters.” Violence has continued in the western African country since an election last fall resulted in a win for Ouattara, long popular in the country’s rebel-dominated north.

His opponent, the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, declined to vacate the presidency, staying on after the March 24 deadline imposed by the African Union expired. The ineluctable result has been violence and bloodshed in the streets of the country’s urban center, Abidjan, with Gbagbo and his supporters accusing Ouattara’s forces of, among other things, being a cover for French occupation. Regardless of the truth of that claim or the fairness of the contested election, a reexamination of Ivory Coast’s reputation for peace and stability is in order.

With infrastructure and an economy that were the envy of its neighbors for years, the conventional wisdom tells us that civil war shouldn’t be happening in Ivory Coast. For free market anarchists, though, the country’s internal dissension is the predictable result of its statist economic program.

The nation’s “market liberalization,” hailed as a reform model for the rest of Africa and credited with the country’s “economic boom,” was in truth little more than the kind of crafty “privatization” subterfuge so often used to drain a country of its resources for favored elites. In the mid-1990s, a guide to “investing in state-owned enterprises” — a “privatization” handbook published by none other than Ernst & Young — noted that, of the agencies turned over to the “private sector,” “most … [were] industrial or agro-industrial concerns.”

War and Peace Reply

Qaddafi no threat to US, Obama should not interfere

By Ian Huyett

For a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama sure has killed a lot of people. The president has sent troops to Afghanistan, launched drone strikes in Pakistan, and actively maintained the occupation of Iraq he promised to end.

Obama’s endless, aimless wars have cost hundreds of American lives and obliterated thousands of civilians. His obscene military budget, the largest since Word War II, has left beleaguered taxpayers with a debt greater than every other president in history combined.

Now, as the US spends upwards of $1 billion fighting Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya, Obama has become the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to fire cruise missiles. Why did he win that prize again?

In his defense, Obama actually told us that he believed in launching unprovoked wars as he was accepting the peace prize. Apparently the Nobel Committee didn’t have a problem with that. I guess if you worship someone enough to give them a prize for no reason, you’ll overlook anything.

The US should not be in Libya. The job of American soldiers is to protect America, not needlessly risk their lives babysitting the entire world. Resolving conflicts on the other side of the planet is not the legal responsibility of American taxpayers. Odyssey Dawn, an unnecessary police action against a nation that posed no threat to the United States, is both unconstitutional and an impeachable offense.

Don’t take it from me; ask the Obama-Biden ticket. In a Dec. 20, 2007, interview with the Boston Globe, Obama, a constitutional scholar, explained that “the president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Appearing on MSNBC Dec. 3, 2007, Joe Biden said “The President has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war against a country of 70 million people unless we’re attacked, or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. If he does, I would move to impeach him.”

Despite Obama’s promise that “We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya,” missile attacks have been directed at Tripoli and Qaddafi’s compound, according to a March 20 CNN article. Odyssey Dawn doesn’t stop at merely enforcing a “no-fly zone.” The US has already attacked so many ground targets in Libya that Arab League chief Amr Moussa has accused America of the “bombardment of civilians,” according to a March 21 Arab News article.

Although the administration has painted the operation as an international effort, the US has fired most of the cruise missiles that have hit Libya. Germany, Brazil, Russia, India, and China have all opted not to take part in the attack. In a March 19 CNN interview, Vice Admiral William Gortney referred to “Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from both U.S. and British ships and submarines” before later admitting that only “one British submarine” had helped with his efforts. If history is any indicator, when a war is sold to the public as an international effort, we can expect America to end up bearing the brunt of the burden.

Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” After watching pointless interventions fail and backfire from Vietnam to Iraq, it should be apparent that military action in Libya is insane. How many countries do we have to needlessly invade before we realize that doing so does nothing more than generate hatred and recruit terrorists?

In the 1930s, American civilians who were passionate about the Spanish Civil War volunteered to travel to Spain and fight, calling themselves the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Today, proponents of intervention in Libya would rather send someone else’s son or daughter to die while they watch it on MSNBC.

If the fight against Qaddafi is important to you, do something about it yourself rather than expending the men and women who’ve volunteered to protect you. At the very least, donate your own money instead of expecting the rest of the country to pay for it. If, on the other hand, you continue to support Obama unconditionally, please take that peace sign bumper sticker off your car.

Totalitarian Humanism vs Greece Reply

Article by Ioannis Kolovos.
The people who organized and supported the occupation of the Law School building, be they members of parliamentary parties or not (some of them were, some others were not), are ideologically fixated to a neo-communist worldview. Not only do they not support the Constitution and parliamentary democracy but their actual aim is to overthrow it and to turn Greece into a socialist “people’s republic” (of the Cuban or Venezuelan sort). Their extremism is more apparent now as their moderate comrades, not agreeing with such extremist views, have left them and formed a new socialdemocratic party. Moreover, these people have a perverse view of cosmopolitanism which results in a total rejection of all things Greek (be it the Greek nation, its history, its culture etc). That’s why they unreservedly support a maximalistic view of multiculturalism and want to impose it on the country’s unwilling population.

The neo-communists’ plans have not found much electoral support among Greeks. And that’s where the political strand comes in. For them the immigrants (especially the illegal ones) represent the new proletariat which will act as a battering ram in bringing down the regime of parliamentary democracy. By supporting the large and continuous influx of illegal immigrants (and their ex-post facto legalization) they shatter Greece’s homogeneity and they erode its national identity and social capital. That way they slowly but steadily destroy the pillars which support the Hellenic Republic. Moreover, out of the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants they can gain new recruits who will swell their ranks, new voters (ex-post facto legalized immigrants had the right to vote in the recent local elections) and even new foot-soldiers for when they decide it is time to plunge the country into anarchy and make their final push in order to storm the Winter Palace…

Why the Left Won't Stop the Wars Reply

Penetrating critique of what the Left is really about by Anthony Gregory.
A straw poll from August 2009, half a year into Obama’s reign, said it all. Stanley Greenberg polled attendees to the Netroots Nation gathering of progressive bloggers, giving them a list of political issues and asking which two “progressive activists should be focusing their attention and efforts on the most.” Byron York reported:

The winner was passing comprehensive health care reform, with 60 percent, and number two was passing “green energy policies that address environmental concerns,” with 22 percent. Tied for eighth place, named by just eight percent of respondents, was “working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Then Greenberg asked which one of those issues “do you, personally, spend the most time advancing currently?” The winner was health care reform, with 23 percent, and second place was “working to elect progressive candidates in the 2010 elections,” with 16 percent. In 11th place – at the very bottom of the list – was “working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Just one percent of Netroots Nations attendees listed that as their most important personal priority.

In 2004 and 2005, progressives condemned Bush as a war criminal, called his invasion of Iraq an illegal war of aggression, and spoke openly of impeachment. They sounded like Bush’s war was their biggest political priority – more significant than domestic spending programs, regulation, abortion and other traditional hot buttons. By Obama’s first summer in office, only one out of a hundred progressive bloggers in this sample spent most of their time trying to stop America’s criminal wars.

This was a small cross section of the left, but it speaks to a general trend. Certainly under Democratic administrations, issues other than war become pressing. A charitable interpretation is that the left is fatigued from years of protest and the political dynamics discussed above push war to the background. A less charitable view is that they don’t actually hate war nearly as much as they pretended to, that they used it opportunistically as a partisan club against Republicans. An even more cynical guess is that they are every bit as self-centered and materialistic as they claim the rest of us are, and in exchange for health care subsidies and stimulus handouts, they are willing to look the other way as peasants are blown to bits in their name.

There are plenty of exceptions to this and hundreds, even thousands of left-liberal writers, lawyers, intellectuals, journalists and scholars who tend toward a much more radical, anti-partisan approach. A tiny minority of principled leftists oppose war vehemently and give it proper weight.

Every one of the specific reasons the left has softened on war, and fails to stand up to its president, relates to one general overriding factor: The left loves and trusts the state. The state is the protector of the poor and the environment. It tempers the predation of big business, keeps racism and sexism at bay, and educates children better than their parents could. It keeps guns out of the hands of criminals, keeps unsafe chemicals, tainted water and impure drugs at a distance, and, yes, it protects us from foreign threats to our liberty and upholds human rights abroad. If the state can do all this, why not push the world toward harmony and peace through the application of military force?

Does the left hate war? Many of them do not. Many of them do, but not sufficiently. There are other things they seem to hate more: Republicans, conservatives, the free market, the prospect of giving up their domestic priorities or living without the state’s protection. To turn against the state fundamentally is worse than to turn against a mother or father or maybe even a child. The state is the head of the leftists’ family, and so, when the partisan dynamics are right, the political points can be scored, and the liberal state will come away from it looking all the better for the cameras, the left sighs in confusion, shrugs its shoulders in resignation, or even cheers in ecstasy as its beloved institution destroys millions of human beings and enlists a whole generation in the worst of all barbarities.

Am I being too hard on the left? I’d love for them to prove me wrong. End the wars.

Future jobs won’t support decent living standard: Report Reply

Bad news on the economic front.
To calculate this “economic security” income, the study’s authors certainly didn’t assume a lavish lifestyle. They considered basic needs–housing, food, utilities, health care, child-care, and transportation–plus the cost of modest saving for retirement and a small surplus for emergencies. (At at a time when economic “shocks” are increasingly common, that’s an essential part of financial security.) They don’t factor in some things many of us take for granted, like entertainment or eating out.

The result? To achieve economic security, a single parent with two children needs an income of just over $30,000 a year–nearly twice the federal minimum wage–while a two-income household needs almost $68,000.

The study then finds that, according to Labor Department projections, fewer than 13 percent of jobs to be created by 2018 will meet the economic security threshold for a single parent with two kids. Forty-three percent of those jobs will meet the threshold for a two-income household.

In other words, most of the jobs of the future aren’t likely to pay enough to offer the kind of stable, middle-class existence that for much of the 20th century was seen as the American birthright.

The Great Alexander Cockburn Reply

A hilarious and penetrating take down of the pro-war Left.
Everything is out of proportion. Qaddafi is scarcely the acme of monstrosity conjured up by Obama or Mrs. Clinton or Sarkozy. In four decades, Libyans have gone from being among the most wretched in Africa, to considerable elevation in terms of social amenities. President Obama’s hands are stained with more blood and suffering than those of the man who has given the world endless diversion through two generations. In terms of evil deeds, is Qaddafi a Mobutu, a Bokassa, a Saddam, or any U.S. president? Surely not.

Obama’s speech this week, belatedly seeking to rationalize his latest war, was ludicrously disproportionate too: pompous and offensive treacle about America’s special role as savior of the afflicted ladled over one more plateful of folly in the nation’s downward slide.

These “humanitarian interventions” follow a familiar script: demonization, hand in hand with romantic effusions about the demon’s opponents, whether the Mujahiddeen in Afghanistan reinvented as Robin Hoods of the Hindukush or the Albanian mafiosi tarted up as freedom-loving Kossovars.

The U.S.-led war on Iraq in 1991 included a propaganda campaign contracted by the government of Kuwait with the pr firm Burson Marsteller, which produced such triumphs as the babies allegedly hurled by Saddam’s troops from their respirators in a Kuwait hospital – a fraud I think I can claim to have been the first to expose. In this connection, one does have to wonder, at least for a moment, about that woman bursting into the journalist’s hotel in Tripoli, claiming to have been raped by some of Qaddafi’s troops, though if the intent was to rally liberals in America to the cause of intervention, allegations planted by Burson-Marsteller or some kindred outfit of a “hate crime” against gay Libyans, or a negative attitude to gay marriage on the part of Qaddafi might have been more effective.

But substantial slabs of what passes for the left in America are ecstatic at the intervention – a “good one” at last — and excitedly pass from hand to hand the vacuous “letter to the left” by Professor Juan Cole, replicated on almost every progressive website. You can tell Cole is a liberal academic by his disdain for any discussion of the fact that aside from other considerations the war launched by Obama and his secretary of state is an outrage to the U.S. Constitution, for which he merits impeachment, as pursued by Rep Dennis Kucinich. Liberal academics have not the slightest interest in the Constitution, since the document doesn’t address issues of tenure and preferment. They evince similar loathing for the jury, putting their faith in “good judges”.

“Renegade History” Against the “Respectable” Bosses Reply

Article by David D’Amato.
In his A Renegade History of the United States, variously described as “ultrarevisionist” and “contrarian,” “trouble-maker” Thaddeus Russell explodes the myth that America’s Founding Fathers were libertarian defenders of the “personal freedom” of the individual. His is an American narrative that amends previous attempts at “bottom up” history that, by either marginalizing or patronizing the “lower class,” neglected to see how it “shaped our world” and “expanded our freedoms.”

Russell therefore celebrates, without overly romanticizing, those working men (and “working girls”) who the Founding Fathers would have regarded as “wicked and vile,” the great unwashed who pioneered an understanding of freedom that the contemporary reader can identify with. The buttoned-up elites who populate American schoolbooks, rather than conceiving “the land of the free,” saw the uninhibited lifestyles of “tavern culture” as dangerous and “beneath them,” preferring instead the ideologies of “social management.”

And from the Revolution through to the present day, Russell paints an America where the kind of freedom valued by the free market left was and is a “gift of renegades,” of the supposedly disreputable, and decidedly not of leaders and politicians. For a free market anarchist, then, Renegade History and its vivid vignettes of disobedience and radical independence are full of important insights.

The stories in the book demonstrate that it was the “renegade behaviors” of ordinary people that spearheaded — through nothing more socially aware than their day-to-day activities — the best features of American society. Where orthodox histories eulogize those members of minority groups who adopted the cultural values and strategies of the ruling class, Russell showcases the people we’re not supposed to pay any mind. In doing so, he presents us with a new history, and accordingly new ammunition against the state and its coercive systems of hierarchy.

The State's Money Trees Reply

Article by David D’Amato.

For the world’s ruling classes, primed for the latest G20 summit this week, the seemingly colorless niceties of monetary policy have become the topmost theme of debate. And while the villains of the political class characterize monetary decisions as the technical and politically-neutral bailiwick of qualified experts, those decisions are a weight-bearing pillar of statist exploitation.

As the world economic order has dealt with the aftereffects of the financial crisis, China and the United States have exchanged barbs, both accusing the other of unfair manipulation of its currency. As a resolution of the discord and for the prevention of future imbalances, reports Reuters, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has “called for a stronger International Monetary Fund.”

Geithner argued this week (March 31) that an empowered IMF would “shine a spotlight on risks” and “preempt the emergence of large imbalances in the global economy.” Contrary to Geithner’s glib assurances, however, imbalances and risks are part and parcel of the world’s statist financial framework. Moreover, the exploitative nature of the paradigm will remain intact regardless of the outcomes of China/U.S. squabbles.

Where the banking complex of the state allows favored corporations to, in the words of Murray Rothbard, “expand and inflate without cease” — to charge monopoly interest rates on money they don’t even have — workers are prevented by law from mobilizing their own wealth. Under coercive statist systems, the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank can pull the money they lend you out of the ether, but ordinary people are prevented by the high hurdles of minimum capital stipulations from establishing institutions that would serve their needs.

From the World Bank to the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. and the Federal Reserve System, the entire financial structure of statist banking, both internationally and domestically, is a device not for the functioning of free markets, but for corporate welfare. The Ex-Im Bank, as an example, hands stolen taxpayer money to the dependencies of the American Empire to fabricate a foreign demand for the rubbish product (in particular weapons) of chosen Big Businesses.

Progressives Need to Rethink the Corporate Income Tax Reply

Article by Kevin Carson.

Liberal and progressive online journals over the past week or so have been buzzing — rightfully so — about the recent revelation that General Electric paid no corporate income tax at all in 2010. According to a recent GAO report, about a quarter of the largest American corporations paid no corporate income tax in 2005.

But that’s really just the way the system is set up. If you think about it, the corporate income tax really isn’t all that progressive. Just about all the tax loopholes and other tricks for avoiding taxation tend to favor the big boys at the expense of everyone else. Perhaps the single best way to avoid taxes is for transnationals to shuffle income to subsidiaries in the lowest-taxed jurisdictions, so transnationals already have a leg up on the smaller companies that operate primarily in the United States. And if you look at the largest tax deductions and tax credits, they go overwhelmingly to companies that are capital-intensive (the writeoff for depreciation), high tech (the R&D tax credit), or heavily involved in mergers and acquisitions (the deduction for interest on corporate debt).

What’s more, the largest corporations are least likely to suffer for whatever corporate income taxes they do pay, because they tend to be in oligopoly industries that practice tacit pricing collusion through the “price leader” system. This doesn’t require any conspiracies or secret meetings in smoke-filled rooms. When three, four or five large firms control more than half the market in a given industry, they tend to follow the pricing practices of the dominant firm. So prices in an oligopoly market are “stickier.” The practical effect is that the big firms in an oligopoly industry are able to use administered pricing based on a markup from their costs — including the corporate income tax — and pass them on to the customers. That’s essentially the same thing a regulated public utility does.

War! What is it good for? 2

Article by James Clingman. Hat tip to Miles Joyner at the American Revolutionary Vanguard Facebook page.
That question was posed in a song by Edwin Starr during an earlier generation, and we are asking that same question now.

Well, it’s good for raising the price of oil, gasoline, and diesel fuel, isn’t it? It’s good for hypocritical politicians to rail against the same actions they refused to challenge when their guy was spending a billion dollars per week in Iraq – 5000 Americans dead because of a big lie. So, now we ask what good is this latest war. The answer: “Absolutely nothing,” just like Edwin Starr refrained back in 1969, that is, unless you are a war profiteer.

Yes, here we go again with this never-ending charade of managing the world, dethroning dictators we don’t like, interfering in another country’s internal affairs, getting in the middle of a civil war, and the resulting benefit of that old stand-by: price gouging.

Taxpayers are paying for the wars and the result of wars. We are suffering through one of the worse depressions in history while our heads of state are slashing budgets in an effort to balance them on the backs of the poor and so-called middle class.

And, we believe Libyans have it bad?

Remember when fuel prices were sky high a few years ago? We blamed George W. Bush, suggesting he could make a few calls to his Saudi buddies and get those prices down to a reasonable level. Who are we to call upon now? Oh yes, that’s right, Barack Obama. Funny, I haven’t heard him speak out about the high price of gas lately. He should have paid Hugo Chavez a visit during his trip to South America to make a deal on some Venezuelan fuel.

The real kicker is the fact that Libya’s share of the world’s oil market is a mere 2%. How can prices at the pump rise by 75 cents in such a short period of time simply because the people in Libya rebelled against their leader? Could it be manipulation, or maybe just greed?

They say Gaddafi is killing his own people, so we have to go in and stop that. Yet, we stood by and watched Rwanda and the Sudan. We watched North Korea and Iran. And, now we are watching Yemen and Bahrain do the same things. What’s the difference?

Our sanctimonious approach to other countries where internal violence occurs is something to behold. Our memory is very short however. Kent State, Fred Hampton, Amadou Diallo, Kenneth Walker, and Roger Owensby, just to name a few. And, if you go back to the 1920’s, what about the hundreds of Black folks killed by government supported White citizens in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, better known as Black Wall Street?

Yes, the hypocrisy abounds without shame. The money keeps rolling in and the ignorant consumers keep falling for the same three-card Monte trick that fills the pockets of the affluent and keeps those less fortunate wondering how to pay for a fill-up. It used to cost me about $11.00 to fill my gas tank back in 1997 or so. Today that same amount of gas for that same car requires more than $50.00 to fill ‘er up. Yes, I still have that same car (375,700 miles and counting).