The Origins of Zoning 1

From the Recivilization website. Hat tip to Raven Warrior.

241 the origins of zoning

It’s just like Sim City: R for Residential, I for Industrial, C (here, ‘B’) for Commercial. But in real life it gets a lot more complicated. This is part of the zoning map of a Minneapolis suburb. The ‘Zoning Designations’ in the legend, typical of zoning codes coast to coast, show how intricate the segregation of land uses has become. Government in its wisdom tells us where we may build a four-family apartment, and where a five-family apartment. It divides commercial uses into seven categories, each with its spatial pigeonhole. Why should it?

By 1920, it was clear that zoning was to be the city practical‘s magic bullet. With cities on both sides of the Atlantic booming and sprawling out in all directions, it was inevitable that some kind of land-use regulation would appear. Zoning was a European idea, first adopted in German and Swedish cities in the 1870’s. In decades to come, however, most European countries would use it only as part of a comprehensive land-use planning that was much more ambitious and restrictive. The United States wasn’t ready for that; it still isn’t. The country did take to zoning, however, and has used it ever since as the major vehicle for regulation.

Sadly, and typically, America had ulterior motives from the start. The first steps towards zoning appeared in California, and they arose less from a concern for orderly growth than from racial prejudice and exclusion. To the Californians, the real menace was not polluting industries, smelly stables or unsightly coalyards, but something far more dangerous and sinister—Chinese laundries. Neighbors complained that these laundries, however useful, had become hangouts for ‘undesirables’: that is, for Chinese. The federal courts threw out San Francisco’s first attempt to outlaw them in 1886, but other California towns, starting with Modesto, soon found a primitive sort of nuisance zoning a viable alternative, and it was not long before they were applying the concept to less ethereal nuisances, such as whorehouses and slaughterhouses.

Building on this experience, Los Angeles came up with America’s first modern zoning ordinance in 1909. The movement was gathering steam; in the same year Boston’s law governing building heights was upheld in the Supreme Court, and by 1913 several states had passed enabling laws permitting cities to control the location of industry. Meanwhile, in New York, necessity was pushing the project along, as two novel nuisances brought new factors into the discussion.

One of these was the Equitable Building (1915), still standing, rather unobtrusively, among its bigger modern neighbors at 120 Broadway. When it was built, though, this squarish 42-storey monster, covering an entire block, was the talk of the city; it shut off window views, hid the sun and reduced property values and rents for blocks in all directions, besides overloading the surrounding streets and transit stops with its 13,000 employees at rush hours. The outrage over the Equitable led to New York’s landmark ‘setback laws’, not merely regulating building heights, but introducing the more sophisticated concept of a ‘building envelope’ to assure some light and air for everyone. Meanwhile, up on Fifth Avenue, wealthy residents and carriage-trade shops faced an invasion of warehouses and factories from the growing Garment District around Seventh. The merchants’ powerful Fifth Avenue Association was exhausted from years of using legal threats and bribery to keep the factory lofts at bay. Zoning offered a permanent fix, and the Association marshalled its considerable influence to push through a comprehensive zoning law in 1916, which became a model for other cities across the nation.

The 20’s brought the great breakthrough; zoning swept the nation, and by the end of the decade 60% of the urban population lived in zoned cities or suburbs. As Commerce Secretary under Coolidge, Herbert Hoover formed a committee to create a model state enabling act for zoning ordinances; his Division of Building and Housing designed model zoning codes for cities, and propagandized heavily for their adoption. The Supreme Court had already upheld Los Angeles’s ordinance, which was largely limited to industry, but it still hadn’t weighed in on the larger constitutional issues involved. When it finally did, in the 1926 case Ambler vs. Euclid, it would uphold zoning and take a big bite out of the perverse interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment that had upheld property rights against urban regulation since the Civil War.

In the Cleveland suburb of Euclid, zoning had stopped the Ambler Realty Company in its plans to assemble choice land near the lakefront for industry. The arguments went well beyond this, however, and the famous case presented in the planning textbooks as a simple victory for progress and sweet reason looks a little murkier viewed close up. Ambler’s attorney was no less than Newton D. Baker, one of America’s most distinguished Progressives, an old protegé of Tom Johnson who had gone from the Cleveland mayor’s chair to Wilson’s cabinet. Baker made some telling points. Under Euclid’s zoning the best parts of the village, fronting Lake Erie and in the wooded hills south of Euclid Avenue, were reserved for single-family housing, while ‘All the people who live in the village and are not able to maintain single-family residences…are pressed down into the low-lying land adjacent to the industrial area, congested there in two-family residences and apartments, and denied the privilege of escaping for relief to the lake.’

From the start, residential zoning had been twisted into an unprecedented legal mechanism for parcelling out the best land to the ‘best people’, but that was not the issue before the court. The decision, written by Justice George Sutherland, showed that the court was most impressed by the scientific pretensions of the planners, the ‘commissions and experts…that the results of their investigations have been set forth in comprehensive reports, which bear every evidence of painstaking consideration.’ It was all the more remarkable, that this decision would come from a court that spent most of the 20’s striking down anything that reached them smacking of Progressivism, including even child labor laws. Sutherland, who also wrote the infamous child labor opinion (Adkins vs Childrens’ Hospital) was a moldy mossback who had more opinions repudiated by later courts than any justice in US history. But he seems to have got the point that zoning was a new scientific fix meant to preserve property values.

Noam Chomsky and the pro-Israel lobby: Fourteen erroneous theses Reply

James Petras challenges Noam Chomsky on the role of the Israel lobby in Middle East. This has been around for a few years now but it’s a good one.
Noam Chomsky has been called the US leading intellectual by pundits and even some sectors of the mass media. He has a large audience throughout the world especially in academic circles, in large part because of his vocal criticism of US foreign policy and many of the injustices resulting from those policies. Chomsky has nonetheless been reviled by all of the major Jewish and pro-Israel organizations and media for his criticism of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians even as he has defended the existence of the Zionist state of Israel.

Despite his respected reputation for documenting, dissecting and exposing the hypocrisy of the US and European regimes and acutely analyzing the intellectual deceptions of imperial apologists, these analytical virtues are totally absent when it comes to discussing the formulation of US foreign policy in the Middle East, particularly the role of his own ethnic group, the Jewish Pro-Israel lobby and their Zionist supporters in the government.

This political blindness is not unknown or uncommon. History is replete of intellectual critics of all imperialisms except their own, the abuses of power by others, but not of one?s own kin and kind. Chomsky?s long history denying the power and role of the pro-Israel lobby in decisively shaping US Middle East policy culminated in his recent conjoining with the US Zionist propaganda machine attacking a study critical of the Israeli lobby.

I am referring to the essay published by the London Review of Books entitled ?The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy? by Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Professor Stephan Walt, the purged Academic Dean of the Kenney School of Government at Harvard University. (A complete version of the study was published by the Kennedy School of Government in March 2006.)
Chomsky?s speeches and writing on the Lobby emphasizes several dubious propositions.

The pro-Israel Lobby is just like any other lobby; it has no special influence or place in US politics.

The power of the groups backing the Israel lobby are no more powerful than other influential pressure groups

The Lobby?s agenda succeeds because it coincides with the interests of the dominant powers and interests of the US State

The Lobby?s weakness is demonstrated by the fact that Israel is ?merely a tool? of US empire building to be used when needed and otherwise marginalized.

The major forces shaping US Middle East policy are ?big oil? and the ?military-industrial complex?, neither of which is connected to the pro-Israel lobby.

The interests of the US generally coincide with the interests of Israel

The Iraq War, the threats to Syria and Iran are primarily a product of ?oil interests? and the ?military-industrial complex? and not the role of the pro-Israel lobby or its collaborators in the Pentagon and other government agencies.

While in general Chomsky has deliberately refrained from specifically discussing the pro-Israel lobby in his speeches, interviews and publications analyzing US policy toward the Middle East, but when he does, he follows the above-mentioned repertory.

Odinism In The Age of Man Reply

A new book by author Wyatt Kaldenberg. I’m planning a review of this that will be forthcoming fairly soon.

Now available from Amazon.Com and Goodreads.

Odinism In the Age of Man advocates a return to family centered tribalism, ancestral traditions, and the Gods and Goddesses of our people. Wyatt Kaldenberg’s Odinism In the Age of Man argues that the modern world is corrupt and in rapid decline. He believes that the answers our popular culture offer are not answers at all, but part of the bigger problem. He feels contemporary political solutions cannot resolve the dilemma of the decaying West. According to Mr. Kaldenberg, Western civilization is in spiritual decay and the only workable response to our spiritually dead society is to reject the Age of Man and return to our own Gods and Goddesses. Kaldenberg shows that political movements such as liberalism, conservativism, socialism, capitalism, neo-Nazism, and fascism are materialistic world views that progressively lead the West down a road to doom. He claims the declining Age of Man is an open door to the coming Age of the Gods. Kaldenberg writes, “Being born in the Age of Man is our destiny. We were brought into this world for a reason. We must become men and women of our time. We must go forth and meet our destiny as men and women of a new horizon. Odinism must return our people to the Age of the Gods.” As Christian churches decrease in attendance, young people are increasingly turning to polytheism for spiritual answers. Modern people are reverting to their native spiritual roots. Contemporary Heathenism is forming into a number of separate theological branches such as Asatru, Odinism, Theodism, Norse Wicca, and Wotanism. Wyatt Kaldenberg’s book, Odinism In The Age Of Man, seeks to define a branch of the modern Heathen reawakening known as Odinism. The Odinic religion is rooted in Northern European ancestor worship. Odinism is sometimes called the Viking religion or Norse Paganism. It draws from the pre-Christian native beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon, Frankish, Germanic, and Nordic peoples. Odinism is a polytheistic religion. Odinism is a family centered faith. The chief Gods and Goddesses of the religion are Odin, Frigga, Thor, Frey, Freyja, Ostara, Heimdall, Tyr, Sunna, Eartha, and Ullr. This book contains the essays: About Odinism In The Age of Man The Declining Western Civilization Odinism in an Alien World Odinism Must Stand Separate From Everything Marxism, National Socialism, and Odinism Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Utopianism, American Mythology, and the Dictatorship of Money Odinism Must Take Our People Out Of the Age of Man

New Books by Troy Southgate from Black Front Press Reply

Copies of EVOLA: THOUGHTS & PERSPECTIVES, VOLUME ONE are now available to preorder. The book is over 400 pages in length and costs just £24 (UK), £26 (Europe) & £27 (America/Rest of World). All prices include postage and the Paypal address is: More details below.
JULIUS Evola is one of the more intriguing and controversial figures in the Traditionalist milieu and this unique collection of essays, the first of its kind in English, looks at various aspects of the Italian philosopher’s work. Ranging fr…om Art, Sex, Feminism and Economics right through to Race, Politics, Islam and the Occult, this book will serve as a detailed and scholarly guide to one of Europe’s most vehement critics of the modern epoch. Contributors include Professor Roger Griffin, Professor Tomislav Sunic, Troy Southgate, Gwendolyn Toynton, K.R. Bolton, Keith Preston, Sean Jobst, Mariella Shearer, Brett Stevens and Christopher Pankhurst.
SPECIAL OFFER: Buy two books from Black Front Press and get a third book absolutely free. This offer applies to three titles only: (i) FURTHER WRITINGS: ESSAYS ON PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, HISTORY & POLITICS, (ii) ADVENTURES IN COUNTER-CULTURE: POLITICS, MUSIC, FILM & LITERATURE and (iii) OTTO STRASSER: THE LIFE & TIMES OF A GERMAN SOCIALIST. For more information about each title, please see below.
You can now copies of my new 300-page book, FURTHER WRITINGS: ESSAYS ON PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, HISTORY & POLITICS, which costs just £20 (UK), £22 (Europe) & £24 (America/Rest of World). All prices include postage and the Paypal address is:
MOUNTING to thirty-five detailed chapters, Troy Southgate’s latest offering explores some of the more intriguing aspects of human civilisation. From an in-depth study of history’s prominent thinkers, ideologues and theologians right throug…h to a dissection of the world’s most fascinating empires, wars and revolutions, you will find this knowledgeable and erudite collection of essays both informative and thought-provoking.
Signed copies of my 368-page book, ADVENTURES IN COUNTER-CULTURE: POLITICS, MUSIC, FILM AND LITERATURE, costs just £22 (UK), £24 (Europe) & £25 (America/Rest of World). All prices include postage and the Paypal address is:
Including key interviews with important political figures like Robert Steuckers, Martin Schwarz and Jonathan Bowden, as well as interesting musicians such as Richard Leviathan (Ostara), Christopher Walton (Endura), Puissance and Turbund Stu…rmwerk, Troy Southgate’s ten-year foray into the political and musical underground has managed to yield some very interesting results. This 368-page book also includes numerous reviews centred on concerts and releases by a remarkable variety of Industrial, Metal, Gothic, Neofolk and Experimental projects, and includes much in-depth analysis based around the world of film and literature.
My biography, OTTO STRASSER: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A GERMAN SOCIALIST, is 200 pages in length & contains world-exclusive plates featuring family photographs supplied by Strasser’s own son. Signed copies – including postage – cost just £17 (UK), £19 (Europe) & £21 (America/Rest of World). Paypal address:
PRIOR to the outbreak of the Second World War, Otto Strasser was a leading activist in the National-Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Distancing himself from the prevailing ideologies of both capitalism and communism, Strasser famousl…y accused Adolf Hitler of betraying the socio-economic principles of the original Nazi programme and went on to become a leading opponent of the Third Reich. Along with his brother, Gregor, he believed that a form of German Socialism could provide an alternative future for the nation’s long-suffering workers and peasants. As a result, he was ruthlessly pursued across several countries by Gestapo agents and became embroiled in a series of thrilling adventures. This is the story of how a Bavarian man with a sense of national freedom and social justice became one of the world’s most intriguing revolutionary ideologues.

Possibly my favorite libertarian book ever…. 5

Walter Block’s classic Defending the Undefendable. It would be interesting to see Block do an updated version of this that included contemporary scapegoats as well: the copyright pirate, the tax evader, the illegal firearms dealer, the pirate radio operator, the non-recycler, the smoker in public restaurants, the privileged white male, the deadbeat dad, the despoiler of teenage virgins, the hacker, the carbon footprint leaver, the underage alcohol consumer, the gang member, the assisted suicide facilitator, the gun-toting high school student, the hunter of endangered species.
The contents of this book include:

* Foreword by Murray N. Rothbard
* Commentary by F.A. Hayek
* Introduction
* Sexual
o The Prostitute
o The Pimp
o The Male Chauvinist Pig
* Medical
o The Drug Pusher
o The Drug Addict
* Free Speech
o The Blackmailer
o The Slanderer or Libeler
o The Denier of Academic Freedom
o The Advertiser
o The Person Who Yells “Fire!” in a Crowded Theatre
* Outlaw
o The Gypsy Cab Driver
o The Ticket Scalper
o The Dishonest Cop
* Financial
o The (Non-Government) Counterfeiter
o The Miser
o The Inheritor
o The Moneylender
o The Non-Contributor to Charity
* Business and Trade
o The Curmudgeon
o The Slumlord
o The Ghetto Merchant
o The Speculator
o The Importer
o The Middleman
o The Profiteer
* Ecology
o The Stripminer
o The Litterer
o The Wastemakers
* Labor
o The Fat Capitalist-Pig Employer
o The Scab
o The Rate Buster
o The Employer of Child Labor

An Economy Hanging by the Thread 1

Article by Mike Whitney.

A bleak jobs report sent stocks and commodities tumbling on Wednesday, while new signs of distress gripped the service industries index. An updated report from the ADP showed that private sector hiring slowed more than expected from March to April as companies struggled to meet rising raw material costs and flagging consumer demand. The service industry index (ISM) –which “ranges from utilities and retailing to health care, finance and transportation”–slumped to its lowest level since August signaling widespread deceleration and a progressive deterioration in the fundamentals. The turnaround has forced economists to rethink their projections for 2nd Quarter GDP and to watch more vigilantly for signs of contraction. This is from the New York Times:

“The economy lost steam in the first quarter. Growth in personal consumption — the single largest component of the economy — slowed markedly. Business-related construction cratered and residential construction fell. Exports stumbled. The only unambiguous plus was continued business investment in equipment and software, which is necessary but not sufficient for overall growth.

In all, economic growth slowed from an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011….

When lauding the economy, Mr. Bernanke and many other economists and politicians point out, correctly, that the unemployment rate has declined from a recession high of 10.1 percent in late 2009 to 8.8 percent now. That would be encouraging news if it indicated robust hiring for good jobs. It does not.

Over the last year, the number of new hires has been outstripped by the masses who have either given up looking for work or who have not undertaken a consistent job search, say, after graduating from high school or college. Those missing millions are not counted in the official jobless rate; if they were, unemployment today would be 9.8 percent. The rate would be 15.7 percent if it included those who took part-time jobs in lieu of full-time ones.” (“The Economy Slows” New York Times)

So, even the New York Times agrees that unemployment would be nearly 16 percent if the figures were correctly calculated. Those are Depression numbers. 14 million people are out of work and record numbers of people are on food stamps (44 million)

Wednesday’s down-market sent commodities plunging as signs of emerging deflation pushed investors into Treasuries. Gold and silver fell sharply. Troubles in Japan, China and the eurozone have intensified fears of a global slowdown and perhaps another bout of recession. The dollar strengthened for the third straight session, in spite of the Fed’s zero rates and $600 billion bond buying program. Trillions of dollars in monetary and fiscal stimulus have jolted stocks back to life, but debt-deflation dynamics in the broader economy are as strong as ever. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, consumer retrenchment has reduced discretionary spending, and housing continues its inexorable nosedive. The stock market continues to inch higher buoyed by central bank liquidity and margin debt, but investors are increasingly skittish and searching for direction.

The soaring price of gas has shifted consumer spending from retail to energy consumption, the opposite of what the Fed had intended.

The Rise Of The “Sharing Economy” Spells Further Declines In Manufacturing Employment Reply

Article by Matthew Yglesias.
Danielle Sacks has a great article in Fast Company about firms that use information technology to promote “sharing” of physical goods. Some firms, like ZipCar, are sort of explicitly oriented around this sharing idea. Others, like AirBnB present themselves more as peer-to-peer rentals. But I would actually even include a straightforward hub-and-spoke rental operation like Netflix under this heading. The point is that a traditional ownership model entails the average middle class person massively over-investing in physical goods that are idle the overwhelming majority of the time. In an excellent post jumping off Sacks’ article, Dave Roberts notes that “the average power drill is used 15 minutes over its lifetime.” (see also Rachel Botsman’s TED talk).

With improved information technology, we can better coordinate the allocation of where stuff is at any given time, which means there’s less need for excess stuff just lying around.

A Look at Chinese Eugenics 14

Article by Richard Hoste. Eugenics is something I look rather askance at, particularly when intertwined with the state, given its susceptibility to abuse. Even this author, who is obviously far more sympathetic to eugenics than I am, seems to recognize this problem. But this is an interesting article dealing with some obscure history and contemporary issues we won’t hear much about from conventional sources. I agree with the author’s point that China is indeed an interesting case study, given that it’s an advanced industrial civilization with an ancient history that has probably resisted the influence of Western liberalism to a much greater degree than any part of the world other than the Muslim states. Yet the Chinese lack the intellectual and scientific obscurantism of Islam, making it unique in being that only society of any real size or influence that has almost completely rejected Western values while embracing Western science, technology, and economics.
Government officials and medical professionals supported making eugenic research a top priority. All policies dealing with reproductive health now exist within a eugenics framework. A couple isolated voices protest, but according to the author, suggesting that there’s much diversity of opinion on this issue would be misleading. Scientific journals, like those in the West, publish articles on the importance of heredity in determining intelligence. Studies are done showing that retardation also depends on genes. A detailed report in Fujian province showed that fertility trends were dysgenic. There’s no New Left lobby to block this research.

The government has waged a war on inbreeding, popular in rural areas and amongst some minorities. The author makes the compelling argument that even if much of this battle may be based on solid science, the crusade serves a symbolic purpose. Cosmopolitan elites across the world tend to see those practicing consanguineous relations as holdouts against modernity.

Legitimizing the reach of the government into families and lineages (the battle against cousin marriage) endows society with unprecedented powers of intervention and regulation into the personal lives of individuals in the name of public health.

In 1995, the famous Eugenics Law was passed, making prenatal screening mandatory and “encouraging” the unfit not to reproduce nationwide. Many provinces have their own, much stricter laws. Support for these programs reaches into the highest levels of government. Party officials who are eugenicists have centered around former Premier Li Peng (quoted as saying “Idiots breed idiots”), an outspoken advocate of good breeding. He has close ties to former Minister of Public Health Chen Minzhang, the man who introduced the Eugenics Law. In 1996 the government is alleged to have moved towards a policy of encouraging the more fit to breed. Officials are aware that this is unpopular with the “international community” (i.e., white elitist do-gooders) and not many details are available. Numbers on how many people have been sterilized are hard to come by.

The Taliban Won’t Negotiate With Terrorists Reply

Article by David D’Amato.
As Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin observes, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [has] said … that Osama bin Laden’s death could advance the effort to reach a political resolution to the war in Afghanistan … .” Declaring that the United States’ “message to the Taliban” “has even greater resonance” now that bin Laden is dead, Clinton apparently thinks that the occasion will prompt a readiness to bargain.

But as the leader of Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Insaaf party said following the death, bin Laden’s martyrdom will be the ultimate inspiration for young Muslims who see themselves as freedom fighters. When Clinton says that the U.S. is “going to look for ways to put this into the context,” she may be disappointed to discover that the Afghan Taliban has done so quite on their own.

Contrary to self-assured guarantees of the State Department, the Taliban will likely be about as willing to negotiate now as they were with Hekmatyar in the mid-90s; whatever one thinks about them or their own totalitarian inclinations, no amount of death or imperial diplomacy is going to persuade the Taliban to “come into the political process” imposed by the U.S.

The decade-long (roughly) period of “Soviet Afghanistan” ought to have demonstrated clearly enough that the people of Afghanistan will not simply concede to the role of any empire’s dusty satellite. But, then, if American foreign policy were about learning the lessons of history and making decisions in the interests of the broad masses of ordinary people (assuming that were possible) — well, you catch my drift.

Among the familiar refrains within the constant cannonade of “War on Terror” news stories is the fact that the U.S. once armed the people who became the Taliban, part of an attempt to force the Soviets to decamp to European Russia. Though it’s not clear what we’re supposed to take away from this piece of realpolitik (particularly when it’s delivered by the likes of, for example, Chris Matthews), it is apparently meant to make us think critically — just not too critically.

That U.S. foreign policy is the product of a venal calculus centered on the interests of imperialists is never really the message; no, that would be just too indecorous, or too honest, a way to discuss the decision-making of our sage overlords. Instead, the takeaway message is always that complex, strategic alliances, necessary for the preservation of those consecrated “national interests,” sometimes make odd bedfellows, but that we should never question their underlying wisdom.

Now that the Soviet Union has perished, the expediency of a U.S.-Taliban alliance having lapsed with it, all of those canticles about self-determination, democracy and freedom can be discarded. It was, of course, never about hostility to “evil empire” in and of itself, just to one empire in particular, one to be replaced by something only superficially different.

The Libyan War Crime Reply

Article by Israel Shamir.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced on Thursday that he would soon stand before the United Nations and report on alleged Libyan war crimes. We can only hope that his brief will include the latest war crime, the murder of Qaddafi’s family, his son and three grandchildren, and the assassination attempt on the life of the Libyan leader on May Day, 2011. Cameron, Sarkozy, the NATO field commanders and the Danish air crew should all be indicted for this crime.

UNSC Resolution 1970 is not a licence to commit mass murder. The resolution simply established a no-fly zone; it was designed to stem the violence, not turn Tripoli into a killing field. This is a clear case of coldly calculated targeted murder, as ruthless and brutal as any other form of political assassination. The date of the operation was known well beforehand, and had already been openly discussed in late April by the Russian Secret Service SVR (External Intelligence Service). On April 29th, a Russian netzine published an article by Kirill Svetitsky who quoted an anonymous source within SVR:

“There will be an attempt to kill Muammar Qaddafi on or before May 2. The governments of France, Britain and the US decided on it, for the warfare in Libya does not proceed well for the anti-Libyan alliance: the regular army has substantial gains; Bedouin tribes entered the fight on the government’s side; in Benghazi, a “second front” was opened by the armed local militias who are tired of rebels’ presence, their incessant fights and robberies.

“But the main reason for the timing is that the Italian parliament plans to discuss Italy’s involvement in Libyan campaign on May 3. Until now, decisions were taken by Berlusconi, but there are strong differences of opinion within the government coalition regarding the Libyan war, and they will probably bring the government down on May 3, and Italy will effectively leave the anti-Libyan alliance. It is likely to have a domino effect. For this reason leaders of the UK, the US and France decided to eliminate Qaddafi not later than May 2d, before the session of the Italian parliament on May 3d.”

Unlike many Internet predictions, this one turned out to be timely and exact. On May 1, the US, France and the UK made a failed attempt on the life of Muammar Qaddafi, although they did succeed in killing his son and three grandchildren. Such unusual operative foreknowledge implies that Western leaders had advised the Russians of the planned attack, and that the SVR had then leaked the plans.

The attack itself imitated the Israeli technique of “targeted killings”. The Israeli Air Force is notorious for dropping a one-ton (1800 pounds) bomb on a Gazan house in an attempt to liquidate Salah Shehadeh, a Hamas leader, in 2002. As “collateral damage” 13 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed and many others injured. Among the dead were Shehadeh’s wife Layla and his 15-year-old daughter Iman, who happened to be with him in the house at the time. This act of mass murder was publicly described as “a war crime”, and Israeli military personnel were later indicted in Spain and the UK.

The demon is dead; so are many of our rights Reply

Article by Jonathan Turley.
The death of Osama bin Laden has left the United States with a type of morning-after effect. For 10 years, an ever-expanding war on terror has been defined by one central dark figure: Osama bin Laden. It is perhaps not surprising that in a celebrity-driven society, even our wars seemed personality driven. For many, Iraq was about Saddam Hussein. Afghanistan was about Osama bin Laden. With both of these defining figures gone, however, it is time to take account of what has been lost, and what has been gained.

For civil libertarians, the legacy of bin Laden is most troubling because it shows how the greatest injuries from terror are often self-inflicted. Bin Laden’s twisted notion of success was not the bringing down of two buildings in New York or the partial destruction of the Pentagon. It was how the response to those attacks by the United States resulted in our abandonment of core principles and values in the “war on terror.” Many of the most lasting impacts of this ill-defined war were felt domestically, not internationally.


In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes a variety of opinions from outside writers. On political and policy matters, we publish opinions from across the political spectrum.

Roughly half of our columns come from our Board of Contributors, a group whose interests range from education to religion to sports to the economy. Their charge is to chronicle American culture by telling the stories, large and small, that collectively make us what we are.

We also publish weekly columns by Al Neuharth, USA TODAY’s founder, and DeWayne Wickham, who writes primarily on matters of race but on other subjects as well. That leaves plenty of room for other views from across the nation by well-known and lesser-known names alike.

* Contributors Board
* How to submit a column

Starting with George W. Bush, the 9/11 attacks were used to justify the creation of a massive counterterrorism system with growing personnel and budgets designed to find terrorists in the heartland. Laws were rewritten to prevent citizens from challenging searches and expanding surveillance of citizens. Leaders from both parties acquiesced as the Bush administration launched programs of warrantless surveillance, sweeping arrests of Muslim citizens and the creation of a torture program.

What has been most chilling is that the elimination of Saddam and now bin Laden has little impact on this system, which seems to continue like a perpetual motion machine of surveillance and searches. While President Dwight D. Eisenhower once warned Americans of the power of the military-industrial complex, we now have a counterterrorism system that employs tens of thousands, spends tens of billions of dollars each year and is increasingly unchecked in its operations.

Shut Up, Rachel: There’s no evidence Pakistan shielded Osama bin Laden Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.
My first reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden was to imagine this meant closure for the American people – that we could put 9/11 behind us, and move on. Talk about naïve!

Instead, the country is engaging in an orgy of self-congratulatory hysteria, reliving the darkest moments of 9/11, and blaming Pakistan for supposedly hiding bin Laden in a million-dollar “mansion.” The award for the tackiest response has got to go to President Obama’s partisans celebrating the event as symbolic of the Democrats’ new “national security” credentials, with a close second going to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who weirdly congratulated George W. Bush – a case of ideologically-induced dyslexia if ever there was one.

Yes, I innocently assumed bin Laden’s demise would be a “mission accomplished” moment, not in the Bushian sense but in reality: boy, was I wrong. We are now confronted with a chorus of voices – and not just from the Usual Suspects – demanding that we punish Pakistan for supposedly shielding bin Laden from America’s wrath.

Yet there is not one scintilla of evidence that the Pakistani government, or anyone close to them, had the faintest idea the terrorist leader was hiding “in plain sight.” It was an ingenious deception: the whole time our intelligence “experts” were smugly assuming they knew bin Laden was in Waziristan, Pakistan’s “tribal” region – with the concurrence of the President, by the way – he was sitting at home in an affluent suburb of Islamabad, the Pakistani capital – the seat of a government to which we have given multi- billions over the past 10 years. Are we, then, complicit too?

The answer is an emphatic no.

The New York Times is Dying Reply

Article by Gary North. Abbie Hoffman used to refer to the New York Times as the “voice of the ruling class.”
What’s black and white and red all over?
Answer: the balance sheet of the New York Times.

That was a two-liner that appeared in The Daily Show’s torpedoing of the New York Times. You can see it here.

That segment was run two years ago. I found it interesting that Newsweek, which subsequently went bankrupt, jumped on it like a dog on red meat.

Both the segment and the Times’ responding Q+A are pretty darn funny – but, given the paper’s $74.5 million loss last quarter, laughing makes us feel more than a little guilty. Isn’t this like shooting a fish in a barrel?

I don’t know how guilty the writer felt. I don’t even know if he is still working for Newsweek. The hapless magazine’s owner, the once highly profitable Washington Post, sold it for $1 (plus its debts) to a 91-year-old multi-millionaire in August 2010. He died on April 11, 2011. (WaPo’s money comes mainly from the Kaplan educational training program. The money from publishing news is marginal.)

And so it goes, newspaper by newspaper. Young people no longer read them. With Craigslist free or cheap, people wanting to buy or sell through classified ads no longer pay newspapers. Local advertisers pay less in ad rates because paid subscriptions are declining so fast. Once-fat newspapers are emaciated shells of their 1990s-era selves.

No metropolitan newspaper has made the complete transition to digital format. They are still dependent on paid subscribers to printed, day-old news. This means that they are dependent on older people. These are the demographics of Social Security. The local papers are also online, but their total revenues are falling steadily. The on-line component of their revenue is low, compared to print-based. But print-based net revenues are falling much faster than on-line net revenues are increasing. Meanwhile, the papers must fund staffs to keep alive their print-based operations.

Dead Men Tell No Tales Reply

“Two can keep a secret if one is dead.” -Hell’s Angels saying, attributed

Eric Margolis is interviewed by Lew Rockwell.

The assassination of bin Laden, the US occupation of Pakistan, the next neocon war, CIA drug running in Afghanistan, the recolonialization of Africa, the near-starvation blockade of Gaza, Libya as an attack on China, a more independent Egypt, and the future of the US empire in the Muslim world – Eric and Lew discuss it all.

Americans should recognize South African genocide 3

Oppression is oppression, regardless of the identity of the victim or perpetrator.

by Ian Huyett

“Listen, you white bastard. I have AIDS. We are now going to rape your wife and give her AIDS too. Then we kill you.” This is what a black gunman told Manie Potgieter as the clothing was pulled off his wife, Helena, according to a May 5, 2010, Times UK article.

Manie and Helena are Afrikaners — South Africans of European descent. They were targeted for horrific dehumanization and murder because, in the eyes of their attackers, their skin was the wrong color. Although the assailants were chased off before the Potgieters could be executed, others haven’t been so lucky.

Since the takeover of the ANC government in 1994, racist black gunmen have grotesquely murdered more than 3,000 Afrikaners, according to a March 28, 2010, Times UK article. Often, Afrikaners are forced to watch as their family members are brutalized and tortured before being killed.

Gregory Stanton, head of Genocide Watch and a former law professor, said “There is a motive of hatred, that these are hate crimes. People are tortured and murdered in ways that are dehumanizing.”

In a 2003 report on the attacks, Genocide Watch found that convicted gunmen “hated their Afrikaner victims and saw them as ‘dogs’ rather than people; and that they killed and tortured and raped for this reason.”

Louis Swanepoel, senior in mechanical engineering, is a K-State student from South Africa. He came here in June 2005 with his parents, who left South Africa to find work and avoid the rising tide of violence. He agrees that Afrikaners are the victims of an ongoing genocide.

“My friend and his mother were assaulted with golf clubs and his father was killed with a shotgun,” Swanepoel said. “After we moved, the people who bought our house were murdered.”

Swanepoel said the violence cannot be explained as a backlash against apartheid.

“Afrikaners always get along with older Africans. The people conducting the attacks have grown up after apartheid. A lot of them aren’t even from South Africa — they’re from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.” Swanepoel said of the genocide, “The ANC might see it but doesn’t care about it,” explaining that government policies systematically deny jobs to Afrikaners on the basis of their ethnicity.

According to an April 9, 2002, BBC article, a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read. In a June 20, 2009, Time survey of South African men, one in four admitted to being a rapist, making the country the rape capital of the world. In a survey of schoolchildren in the Soweto township, one in four boys said that “jackrolling,” a South African term for recreational gang rape, was “fun,” according to a June 19, 1999, BBC article.

“Tourists will go to Soweto to see what it’s like,” Swanepoel said. “If your skin is white, the further you drive, the lower your chances of getting out alive.”

A November 14, 2010, article in the Guardian reported that British newlyweds honeymooning in South Africa were carjacked in a similar township. The gunmen threw the man from the taxi and sped off with his 28-year-old wife. Her body was found in the backseat of the abandoned car.

Ethan Bezzek, senior in history, met his girlfriend while studying abroad in South Africa.

“The ANC uses race and apartheid to remain in power,” Bezzek said.

The K-State student believes apartheid is no excuse for the violence, explaining that gunmen are killing “people who were six when apartheid ended.”

“It’s a genocide because they’re targeting a specific ethnic group,” Bezzek said.

Bezzek’s girlfriend, Shavonne Janse Van Rensburg, still lives in South Africa.

“When developed areas are struck, nine times out of 10 the victims are white,” Rensburg said.

Rensburg explains that ANC policies prevent victims from protecting themselves.

“The criminals in our country have more rights than the victims,” Rensburg said. “If someone is breaking into my home, I have to wait until he’s three meters from me before he’s threatening my life. Then I have to fire a warning shot before I am allowed to shoot him. I am not allowed to shoot him in the back, so if my husband walked in on a guy raping me, my husband could not shoot him.”

Walk onto any college campus in America and you can find students who admirably work against genocide in the Congo, Uganda or Rwanda. As citizens of one of the most generous nations on earth, we’ll stand up for people halfway around the world we’ve never met. So why is no one standing up for the Afrikaners?

Fighting the Injuns in Afghanistan 2

by Raven Warrior

The first indication for President Obama that Osama bin Laden had been killed came when a Navy SEAL sent back the coded message to Washington that said simply, “Geronimo-E KIA.”

It has been revealed that the code name for Osama Bin Laden, or the code name for the operation to kill him, was “Geronimo.” How are American Indians to feel about this? Shocked, appalled, outraged? It really comes as no surprise to me, as this is not the first time that parallels have been drawn between the War on Terror and the conflicts on the American frontier of the 17th, 18th, 19th and even early 20th centuries that are commonly known as the Indian Wars.

In a talk to given to the Foreign Policy Research Institute in 2004, Robert D. Kaplan, an American journalist, showed how the American Indian Wars and the war in Afghanistan are quite similar. Here is an excerpt from a summary of his speech.

Robert D. Kaplan: How to Assess What’s Happening in the Middle East

INDIAN COUNTRY In essence, he said, the U.S. military is back to the days of fighting the Indians. In the second half of the 19th century, the U.S. Army had to fight large numbers of Indian groups — from different tribes and with different languages and cultures — of which there were almost as many as there were ethnic groups around the world. It had the job of hunting them down and fighting them in small numbers and unconventional conditions. Success was wrought by people who knew the language and understood the culture: the pathfinders and mountainmen.

Mr. Kaplan goes on to show that the US didn’t defeat American Indians on the battlefield, rather it was more of a structural victory. A combination of factors like the expansion of the railroad system, disease, and the destruction of valuable resources.

The pathfinders and mountainmen, Kaplan noted, proved that before you could defeat an enemy, you had to understand them and their culture and speak their language. The U.S. Army never really learned how to defeat the Indians this way, by making itself a light and lethal force, but won thanks to the railroads and other factors. Its large groups of horse- drawn cavalry were the equivalent of Humvees today, bristling with weaponry that were easily immobilized by small clusters of Indians on foot, or just one lone bicycle bomber in the case of Iraq. Around the world today we face not uniform conventional armies, but small clusters of combatants hiding out in big third-world cities, jungles, and deserts who no longer require an economy of scale to produce and deploy a WMD. Combating these adversaries involves intelligence and linguistic work, among other things

In other words, the Plains Indians fielded one of the finest forces of light cavalry the world has ever seen. An article written by Bill Bridgewater describes how the Viet Cong used similar tactics, possibly inspired by Indian tactics.

They [the Viet Cong] had two good models: the American colonies against the British in our war for independence, and the American Indian wars, where the value of slash-and-run against a superior foe was escalated to a fine art by the world’s finest light cavalry.

Furthermore, Mr. Kaplan went on to explain the admiration the US Military has for the way American Indians fought.

“Indian country” is a term our armed forces use a lot, and very specifically, Kaplan noted. They not only mean no disrespect to Native Americans, but greatly admire them, hence their radio call signs such as “Black Hawk,” “Comanche,” “Apache,” “Red Cloud,” and “Sitting Bull.”

The tactics employed in the Pueblo Revolt, the Plains Indian Wars, and the wars in the Eastern United States are the same that have toppled empires. They were used by the American Colonists to beat the British Empire, by the Vietnamese to beat the French and the US, by the Mujahideen to defeat the USSR, and they are currently being used by terrorists against the US.

I, for one, am rather proud that the mighty United States of America considered us such a formidable enemy, that they describe their war in the Middle East in terms of the American Indian Wars. As awful a person Osama bin Laden was, he was a formidable enemy whose legacy will continue to wreck havoc on the US. So too were the American Indians formidable enemies and, in our case at least, worthy of respect.


The Defeat of the United States by Al Qaeda Reply

Article by Kevin Carson.
Since the announced killing of Emanuel Goldstein — er, Osama Bin Laden — I’ve seen a lot of speculation on what kind of big terror attack we can expect in retaliation. But if Al Qaeda was capable of a large-scale, spectacular reprisal attack, I think they’d already have done it between 9-11 and now.

Their actual pattern since then has been poorly organized, penny ante attacks, carried out by poorly trained people — suggesting that Al Qaeda picked the low-hanging fruit on 9-11. It’s quite plausible that, given enough incompetent attempts, somebody will eventually succeed in detonating a bomb and blowing up a plane in the air. Enough monkeys with enough typewriters and enough time, and all that. But even if it happens, the damage will be limited to the passengers on one plane out of millions of flights in any one year. With hardened cockpits and passengers who understand that the goal of hijacking has changed, it will never be possible to fly a plane into a high-value target again. And it’s unlikely all the TSA security theater in the airports, aimed at preventing the previous attack, is good for anything except satisfying the “Well, we have to do SOMETHING!” idjuts.

The interesting thing, though, is that however poorly planned and executed the attacks have been, they were conducted in accordance with a brilliant strategic vision of maximizing bang for the buck in terms of the U.S. government stupidity they provoke. An attempt to smuggle explosives on a plane doesn’t have to be anything more than crude and ineffectual, because TSA’s knee-jerk overreaction — not blowing up the plane — is the real goal. The goal is to make the passenger screening process, the x-raying of all cargo, etc., so onerous, humiliating, expensive and time-consuming that air traffic shrinks radically and the U.S. economy takes a hit. The goal is for the American people to see their government as intrusive, arbitrary, and callous.

The goal is also for the U.S. government, in response, to stay bogged down in endless wars in the Islamic world, radicalizing the people there and causing them to see the U.S. as a crusader army — in the meantime wearying and demoralizing the U.S. population and bankrupting the government. To paraphrase the late Mr. Bin Laden, it’s only necessary for a couple of brothers with “Al Qaeda” written on a piece of cloth to show themselves in Antarctica, and the President will send Marines to fight the penguins there “so we won’t have to fight them here.”

After bin Laden, A Greater Enemy Remains Reply

Article by David D’Amato.
However plain it may seem, it’s worth remembering the fact that opposing — every now and then — someone or something that actually is worth opposing is no test for what we ought to support. While it’s clear that the indiscriminate murder advocated by people like Osama bin Laden is an affront to morality, there’s nothing about that fact that contradicts the causal link between United States imperialism and terrorism.

In the old banality, “two wrongs don’t make a right,” and none of this should be taken as an apology for terrorism. But there can be no doubt about the cause-and-effect relationship at issue, about the fact that consistent opposition to terrorism necessarily entails opposition to United States military exploits. The elimination of bin Laden is as good an occasion as any other to draw attention to the worldwide campaign of terrorism being carried out every day by the United States.

If bin Laden was an enemy of humanity and civil society, an agent of senseless death in the world, then the United States government is an enemy many orders of magnitude more dangerous. With its military bases scattered across the globe and its wars victimizing thousands of innocents each day, the attacks of terrorists are retaliations against the United States.

The question of whether such attacks are morally justifiably has nothing at all to do with recognition of the relationship between American Empire and the blowback it provokes. Since we object to the initiation of violence against non-aggressors, market anarchists are of course opposed to terrorism, to the arbitrary disregard of human life. What that means, though, is that we likewise stand against the foremost agency of terrorism in the world, the state — and particularly the hegemonic power of the empire that has spread across the world.

“Free Markets” Are Not “Capitalism” 3

by David Z.

The word “capitalism” was coined by the socialists, often used as a pejorative, and has historically described a system of state-granted privilege and plutocracy. This is the definition to which most people subscribe, and which I would argue prevails today. A contrary definition is one that is synonymous, or nearly synonymous with “free markets”. My best guess is that this “definition” is a the result of a revisionist attempt to hijack the term “free markets”.

Bill Wurst, the author of this post highlights these two competing definitions of “free market capitalism” and argues that the term is not an oxymoron (although strictly speaking it may not be an oxymoron, I believe that it is certainly a null program). The first definition is prevalent in particular among American libertarians:

  • In one sense, “free market capitalism” may be viewed as a system in which individuals make voluntary arrangements involving the exchange of capital.

Although Wurst does go further with this definition (every imaginable transaction) it’s silly and sloppy to put emphasis on “capital” when (and I think he’d agree here) a truly free market is a “system in which individuals make voluntary arrangements involving the exchange of goods and services (i.e., not limited to “capital” but also to include non-capital goods, labor, land, etc.). Unfortunately, this definition of the term has never been widely accepted, and to this day 99 out of 100 people would probably not even come close to approximating this elegant definition.

The second definition of the term free market capitalism, he goes on to say:

  • In another sense, “free market capitalism” may be viewed … as a phrase combining words interpreted via historical realities and implications.  In other words, “free market” implies voluntary arrangements, whereas “capitalism” has become (rightly so)  known as a system in which business and coercive state forces collude to serve whatever arbitrary interests may be lobbied for by the businesses or championed for reasons of power by the politicians.

Words have meanings! And in order to have any meaningful, relevant definition, words must be “interpreted via historical realities and implications” regardless of whether we like them.  Whereas the former definition sloppily suggests that the properties of “free markets” dominate the term and carelessly ignores the historical and popularly understood definitions of “capitalism”, the latter definition is much more precise in defining both terms separately. Additionally, Wurst admits that this definition is the one that is popularly held, and as the language belongs to the people and their common use, I see no reason to pretend that it means something else.

So why bother trying to apologize for “capitalism” when “free markets” are what you (and I) really wish to obtain? That is, if you really do believe in “free markets”, then you should probably distance yourself from the word “capitalism”.

If it’s a free market, it’s not capitalism. And if it’s capitalism, it’s not a free market.

Those of us who believe in free markets need to stop trying to save the word “capitalism”. If anything, we need to save “free markets” from “capitalism”, because the two should never have been joined.


Obama’s Broken Guantánamo Promise Reply

Article by Sheldon Richman.

The latest leaks of classified documents, which show that the U.S. government imprisoned hundreds of men at Guantánamo Bay on the most dubious “evidence,” brings to mind the question, Why hasn’t President Obama kept his promise to close the infamous prison that will forever stain America’s honor?

As the UK Guardian, one of the newspapers that disclosed the documents, reported, “The U.S. military dossiers … reveal how, alongside the so-called ‘worst of the worst’, many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment…. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there…. The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence.”

Many men were detained on the basis of hearsay after the U.S. government paid bounties for information. Some detainees had traveled to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban in the civil war, then were declared enemies of the United States after its invasion in October 2001. After years in custody hundreds of men whom the Bush administration had branded as the monsters were released, indicating they were no threat at all. For this reason Guantánamo is an international symbol of American criminality.

In March Obama signed an executive order permitting him to hold detainees indefinitely without charge or trial. The administration wishes to keep some prisoners in custody even though the supposed evidence against them would not be admissible in a court or even in a military tribunal, which has far less protection for defendants. Some of that evidence was obtained by methods most would regard as torture.

More than a year after Guantánamo was to be closed it remains open. Why, and why has Obama largely escaped criticism for breaking such an important pledge?