The State vs the Homeless 1

Article by Stephen Smith.
Anthony Ling, an excellent Brazilian blogger who also happens to be an avowed market urbanism, gives us an interesting look at the politics and economics of low-income housing in Brazil:

In Brazil there is a vast regulation defining what are the minimum requirements to have a building approved by local authorities. The most common example is probably the Building Codes set by each city, but specific details imposed by planning, environmental and building departments of each city are added to the equation. The recently created Performance Standard also follows this same path, being enforced nationally.

The explanation given to establish this regulation is the legal guarantee that every citizen will have a minimum quality of living. However, those who study public policy understand that the passing of a law does not miraculously create high standard buildings accessible to all and, like many other laws, produces effects opposite to those desired. The lower standard building prohibition does just that: tough regulation prevents entrepreneurs from building accessible housing for the poor. This results in government spreading the idea that entrepreneurs think only about attending the high class, and transforms itself as the hero that will build millions of popular houses, as [Brazilian Pres. Dilma Rousseff] did with the Minha Casa, Minha Vida [My House, My Life] program.

I think this has a very close parallel in modern American cities with inclusionary zoning and affordable housing mandates. In Brazil, the government creates a housing shortage by having unrealistical building safety standards (which ironically, as Anthony explains, encourage slums that are completely unregulated) and then swoops in and acts plays the savior with its own housing projects. In America, the government creates the shortage through sprawl-forcing zoning codes.

But unlike Brazil’s public housing, our politicians instead use rent control (rebranded as “inclusionary zoning” or “affordable housing”) to supposedly bring down the high prices that they unknowingly created. This is great for the lucky few who manage to get apartments (often middle-class public employees), but it acts as a further constraint on supply for the vast majority of renters and homebuyers, who have to buy market-rate housing, and sends prices even higher. The voters, who are just as economically illiterate as their elected representatives, then clamor for even more affordable housing, and the cycle repeats itself, resulting in ever higher housing prices.

The American planning profession has mostly learned its lesson about parking minimums and low-density zoning (at least in theory), but they remain stubbornly in favor of the density taxes known as affordable housing. Come to think of it, I can’t think of any progressive urbanists who have come out against inclusionary zoning and affordable housing mandates (with the exception of Matt Yglesias). Can you?

A Proposal to Fix the Deficit 4

by Peter Bjorn Perls

I was watching the Obama budget address on Youtube today. I wanted to post this, but they only allow unreasonably short suggestions, plus the submissions was closed at the time I’d written this. So here goes:

A) Cut military expenses by 75%, by ceasing all overseas military adventurism. End all government-to-government economic “aid”.

B) End corporate welfare by (apart from the above) by phasing out corporate entitlements and bailouts, as well as Medicaid, a program which essentially subsidizes overpriced Big Pharma products.

C) End federal income taxes while enacting in a federal site revenue plan in parallel with D), such that productive activity will not be punished and land speculation will not be encouraged. Make all labor income under 35,600$/y income tax exempt immediately, and increase the exemption yearly as the Federal Land Tax is phased in (suggest at a rate of 1 percentage point of assessed value per annum, following a budgetary need) to cover essential Federal services (*not* federal bloat and pork, which should be abolished to preserve efficiency, accountability and liberty).

D) Enable States to collect site revenue (Land Value Taxation) for their own revenue and essential social services, and encourage ending income taxation and investment taxation.

E) Supplementing B), end all taxation on labor and capital related to non-carbon based energy to enable a thriving (non-corporate hegemonised) marketplace for sustainable and environmentally friendly energy production.

F) Supplementing D) and E), phase in a carbon-energy tax on extraction and imports of coal, natural gas, crude oil, gasoline and other carbon-based energy sources to encourage adaptation of alternatives and to encourage energy efficiency, as carbon based energy sources are the Achilles Heel of the US, and an increasingly expensive for each year that passes now that it seems clear that we have passed the peak of global crude oil extraction.

TSA: Proper procedures followed in child's pat-down Reply

Apparently even child molestation is fine so long as it’s done in the name of national security.

An officer who conducted a pat-down of a 6-year-old girl in the New Orleans airport last week “followed proper current screening procedures,” the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday.

However, the agency said it is exploring ways to “focus its resources and move beyond a one-size-fits-all system while maintaining a high level of security.”

Video of the April 5 incident was posted on the internet sharing site YouTube. In it, the girl is seen getting patted down by a female TSA officer.

The child was patted down in order to resolve an issue that arose when she went through an advanced imaging technology, or body imaging machine, a TSA official said.

“TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that this officer followed proper current screening procedures,” TSA said in a statement. “However, in line with his vision to accelerate TSA’s evolution into a truly risk-based, intelligence-driven organization, Administrator (John) Pistole has tasked the agency with exploring additional ways to focus its resources and move beyond a one-size-fits-all system while maintaining a high level of security.

Henry David Thoreau: One of America’s Most Thoughtful Nonviolent Secessionists Reply

Article by Thomas Naylor.
There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.

Henry David Thoreau

“Civil Disobedience”

Henry David Thoreau, the iconoclastic, nineteenth century New England writer, has long been associated with simple living, solitude, independent thinking, environmental integrity, civil disobedience, nonviolence, and passive resistance. But few seem to have noticed that he was also a card-carrying secessionist.

Best known for its influence on Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the South African anti-apartheid movement, and the Eastern European anti-communist movement in the 80s, Thoreau’s famous 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience” reads like a secessionist’s manifesto.

His two-year stay at Walden Pond near Cambridge, Massachusetts between 1845 and 1847, on which his 1854 book Walden was based, was little short of a personal secession from his village, his state, and his country. About personal secession Thoreau once said, “Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union. Why do they not dissolve it themselves—the union between themselves and the State?”

In 1854, when the population of the United States was around 20 million, Thoreau thought the country was already too large. “The nation itself is an unwieldly and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense.” He called for a ““rigid economy” and “Spartan simplicity of life.” “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” he said.

Thoreau’s principal grievances with the federal government were over its de facto support of slavery and its participation in the Mexican-American War, both of which he considered to be immoral.

When a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country (Mexico) is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army (the U.S. Army), and subjected to military law, I think it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize.

During the first half of the nineteenth century before the Civil War, New England was a political hotbed for secessionists, most of whom were abolitionists. Massachusetts Senator Timothy Pickering, a former high-ranking general in the Revolutionary War, was one of the most important leaders of the New England secession movement.

New England Federalists, who believed that the policies of the Jefferson and Madison administrations were proportionately more harmful to New England than to other parts of the country, thrice led independence movements aimed respectively at the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the national embargo of 1807, and the War of 1812. In 1814 New England secessionists expressed their opposition to the War of 1812 and the military draft of the Hartford Convention.

Thoreau, who was vehemently opposed to slavery, called for abolitionists to “effectively withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts.” He told them that, “if they had God on their side, even though they did not constitute a majority, that was enough.”

In response to the question, “How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today?” Thoreau presciently responded, “He cannot without disgrace be associated with it.” Clearly a man ahead of his time!

As for civil disobedience, of which secession is a special case, Thoreau said, “If an injustice requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the government machine.” Thoreau actually spent a night in jail for not paying his poll-tax.

No doubt many anarchists have taken note of the following two statements by Thoreau in “Civil Disobedience”. “That government is best which governs not at all,” and “I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually.”

If Thoreau were alive today, it seems unlikely that he would have an e-mail address. He was not convinced that we all had to be connected.

We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas, but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate…We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New, but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.

Perhaps the reason given by Thoreau as to why he escaped to Walden Pond says it all:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life.

Thoreau’s philosophy of secession was based on the premise that an individual’s moral principles have the first claim on his or her actions, and that any government which requires violation of these principles has no legitimate authority whatsoever.

One can only imagine what Thoreau would think of the United States today – a nation which has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable, ungovernable, and unfixable. What would he think of a government owned, operated, and controlled by corporate America and Wall Street? How would he feel about the illegal wars with Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya? What about our unconditional support for the bellicose state of Israel? Would he condone the torture of military combatant prisoners? And, alas, the war on terror?

Henry David Thoreau was arguably the most thoughtful, nonviolent secessionist of the nineteenth century. Unlike well known southern secessionists such as John C. Calhoun, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee, Thoreau’s message was not tainted by the scourge of slavery.

Modern day New England liberals who summarily reject secession as a kind of racist conspiracy, should re-visit Thoreau. They just might be surprised at what they find.

Thomas H. Naylor

April 11, 2011

On the Prospects for Secession Today Reply

Article by Jared Taylor. It’s great to see that even a guy like Taylor recognizes that for secession to work, secessionists cannot be constrained by narrowly focused, sectarian ideologies.
I am confident that not one person who dreams of an independent South has the slightest desire to reinstitute slavery. But that doesn’t matter. Any Southern sovereignty movement that even mentions Lee and Jackson or hums “Dixie” is automatically suspect. And what Southern independence movement can there be without Lee, Jackson, and “Dixie”?

It makes no difference that slavery flourished under the Stars and Stripes for far longer than it did under the Stars and Bars. It makes no difference that Lincoln had no use for blacks and wanted them out of the country. The Confederacy and the entire South have been nailed to the cross of slavery—but these obstacles could be overcome by fiercely determined people.

Something more serious holds back Southern nationalism: Its support is limited almost entirely to people who profess a certain kind of politics, whereas national movements must be beyond politics. An independent South would need the support of people who may not be conservative, who may not be suspicious of big government, who may not be Christian, who may not oppose marriage for homosexuals, but who are still devoted to the South. The roots of a Southern nation would have to spread widely and not just sink deep.

Take the admittedly unscientific sample of my sainted mother. Born in 1922, she believed Southerners were different from Yankees, and was thankful to have been born a Southerner. She rose when “Dixie” was played and looked daggers at anyone who did not. She turned her back on “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. When Jimmy Carter was elected—after a campaign in which Democratic radio ads throughout the South actually featured Dixie, incredible as that may now sound—she thought it was wonderful finally to have a President who did not speak with an accent.

She lived in Massachusetts for a year, and loved to drive through the New England countryside. She didn’t know what to make of the monuments to the Union dead that are in virtually every town square until she came up with a good, Southern way to think about of them: as monuments to Confederate marksmanship.

And yet, my mother would not be part of today’s Southern nationalism. She was a professional social worker and a Norman Thomas socialist. She was an early champion of women’s liberation, and campaigned for gay rights. She believed in the redemptive power of government, and went to her grave a committed liberal.

Why I’m a Liberal and Hate Most of the Far Left Anyway 4

Article by Dan Seitz.

When I wrote an article about Free Republic and the dolts who frequent the site, a lot of the sulky feedback from conservatives wasn’t “We’re not all like this” or “This is only a very narrow subset of conservative thought” (both of which are completely accurate); it was “You’d never do an article like this about Democratic Underground!” Which, you know, you’d think you’d want to emphasize that Freepers were all loons like we did in our article, but whatever.

So, I tried, I really did. But I failed, because I know far-left douchebags way too well and thus my satire meter is broken. I’m a victim of Poe’s Law; some of Democratic Underground may be satire by conservative trolls, but it’s all seemingly legit to me.

I spent my teenage years in and around a small town in Vermont that was literally crawling with organic-food-munching Phish-listening douchebags that would make Abbie Hoffman cry with their failure. Eight years around these kinds of people quickly teaches you something important: there’s no practical difference between a far-right douchebag and a far-left douchebag. They want the same thing: to be absolutely, incontrovertibly right, even when they’re not, and for you to obey every word that drops from their god-like lips.

In short, they’re bullies. And worse, they’re stupid.

Matt Taibbi Asks Why The Fed Gave $220 Million In Bailout Money To The Wives Of Two Morgan Stanley "Bigwigs" Reply

Post by Tyler Durden.
In August 2009, John Mack, at the time still the CEO of Morgan Stanley, made an interesting life decision. Despite the fact that he was earning the comparatively low salary of just $800,000, and had refused to give himself a bonus in the midst of the financial crisis, Mack decided to buy himself a gorgeous piece of property — a 107-year-old limestone carriage house on the Upper BeerEast Side of New York, complete with an indoor 12-car garage, that had just been sold by the prestigious Mellon family for $13.5 million. Either Mack had plenty of cash on hand to close the deal, or he got some help from his wife, Christy, who apparently bought the house with him.

The Macks make for an interesting couple. John, a Lebanese-American nicknamed “Mack the Knife” for his legendary passion for firing people, has one of the most recognizable faces on Wall Street, physically resembling a crumpled, half-burned baked potato with a pair of overturned furry horseshoes for eyebrows. Christy is thin, blond and rich — a sort of still-awake Sunny von Bulow with hobbies. Her major philanthropic passion is endowments for alternative medicine, and she has attained the level of master at Reiki, the Japanese practice of “palm healing.” The only other notable fact on her public résumé is that her sister was married to Charlie Rose.

It’s hard to imagine a pair of people you would less want to hand a giant welfare check to — yet that’s exactly what the Fed did. Just two months before the Macks bought their fancy carriage house in Manhattan, Christy and her pal Susan launched their investment initiative called Waterfall TALF. Neither seems to have any experience whatsoever in finance, beyond Susan’s penchant for dabbling in thoroughbred racehorses. But with an upfront investment of $15 million, they quickly received $220 million in cash from the Fed, most of which they used to purchase student loans and commercial mortgages. The loans were set up so that Christy and Susan would keep 100 percent of any gains on the deals, while the Fed and the Treasury (read: the taxpayer) would eat 90 percent of the losses. Given out as part of a bailout program ostensibly designed to help ordinary people by kick-starting consumer lending, the deals were a classic heads-I-win, tails-you-lose investment.

So how did the government come to address a financial crisis caused by the collapse of a residential-mortgage bubble by giving the wives of a couple of Morgan Stanley bigwigs free money to make essentially risk-free investments in student loans and commercial real estate? The answer is: by degrees. The history of the bailout era reads like one of those awful stories about what happens when a long-dormant criminal compulsion goes unchecked. The Peeping Tom next door stares through a few bathroom windows, doesn’t get caught, and decides to break in and steal a pair of panties. Next thing you know, he’s upgraded to homemade dungeons, tri-state serial rampages and throwing cheerleaders into a panel truck.

The memo that 'proves aliens landed at Roswell'… released online by the FBI Reply

Flying saucer fans rejoice.
A bizarre memo that appears to prove that aliens did land in New Mexico prior to 1950 has been published by the FBI.

The bureau has made thousands of files available in a new online resource called The Vault.

Among them is a memo to the director from Guy Hottel, the special agent in charge of the Washington field office in 1950.

In the memo, whose subject line is ‘Flying Saucers’, Agent Hottel reveals that an Air Force investigator had stated that ‘three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico’.

The investigator gave the information to a special agent, he said. The FBI has censored both the agent and the investigator’s identity.

Agent Hottel went on to write: ‘They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter.

‘Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall,’ he stated.

The bodies were ‘dressed in a metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.’

Read more:–released-online-FBI.html#ixzz1JKsa9LJA

Latin America shakes off the US yoke Reply

Article by Mark Weisbrot.

On Thursday, the United States expelled the ambassador from Ecuador, in retaliation for Wednesday’s expulsion of the US ambassador from Ecuador. This now leaves the United States without ambassadorial relations in three South American countries – Bolivia and Venezuela being the other two – thus surpassing the Bush administration in its diplomatic problems in the region.

US Ambassador Heather Hodges was declared “persona non grata” and asked to leave Ecuador “as soon as possible”, after a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks showed her saying some disparaging things about Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa. In the cable, she alleges that President Correa had knowledge of corruption by a former head of the national police.

Although the Bush administration intervened in the internal affairs of countries such as Bolivia and even Brazil, it was somewhat better at keeping its “eyes on the prize” and avoiding fights that would distract from its main goal. The prize, of course, is Venezuela – home to the largest oil reserves in the world, estimated by the US Geological Survey at 500bn barrels. Washington’s goal there for the last decade has been regime change. The Bush team understood that the more they fought with other countries in the region, the less credible would be their public relations story that Venezuela was the problem.

It’s nothing personal, really – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez could have chosen to be the perfect diplomat and he would still be treated in much the same manner by the US government. And it’s not the oil itself, since Venezuela still sells the US more than 1m barrels a day and there is a world market for oil, in any case. It’s just that any country with that much oil is going to have regional influence; and Washington just doesn’t want to deal with someone who has regional influence and doesn’t line up with its own goals for the region – not if it can get rid of them. And they have come close to getting rid of Chávez, in the 2002 coup – so they are not giving up.

U.S. Drug War is Destroying Mexico Reply

Scott Horton interviews Will Grigg.

Will Grigg, blogger and author of Liberty in Eclipse, discusses Rep. Michael McCaul’s (R-Texas) attempt to include Mexican drug cartels in an expanded war on terrorism; the winners on both sides of prohibition, including the cartels that profit from a huge risk premium and the drug and law enforcement agencies that get increased funding and employment; the Washington Post op-ed chiding Mexico for being too proud to “call in the marines;” and how Texas compensates for budget shortfalls: ramp up “asset forfeitures” near borders, where the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure apparently doesn’t apply.

MP3 here. (20:11)

Will Grigg writes the blog Pro Libertate and is the author of Liberty in Eclipse.

Libya: A Pig in a Poke? Reply

Article by Kevin Carson.
Some disconcerting facts, or at least disconcerting questions, are beginning to emerge regarding Obama’s Libyan intervention.

First of all, the Asia Times reported on April 2 (“Exposed: The U.S.-Saudi Libya Deal“) that Saudi Arabia engineered an Arab League voting bloc to approve the American intervention in Libya, in return for Obama’s giving the Saudis a free hand to intervene in Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement — so troubling to the conservative monarchies of the Gulf — in that country.

Contrary to the myth that the Arab League endorsed Obama’s intervention, half of its members abstained. The members that did vote for it were disproportionately in Saudi Arabia’s sphere of influence. Obama got the vote he wanted because the Saudis called their chits in.

So while CNN shows all those smiling people flashing their V-for-Victory signs in Benghazi, the king of Bahrain is using a state of martial law to suppress the pro-democracy protests, with the help of 2,000 Saudi troops. No tear-jerking CNN reports there, and no highly visible State Department denunciations. Know why? Because Bahrain is a friendly government, and the anti-government movement is largely Shia in an area where Iran is viewed as the major “threat” to be contained.

In Noam Chomsky’s terminology, the Bahraini demonstrators aren’t “worthy victims.” They aren’t being crushed by a radical pariah state that’s run afoul of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Rather, they’re an inconvenience to a government that knows how to play ball with Washington. So they’re expendable.

Maybe this is the kind of thing White House flack Robert Gibbs was talking about when he said Wikileaks undermined U.S. efforts at “promoting democracy and open government.”

Second, Thomas Mountain at Counterpunch (“Bombing Libya,” March 23) raises some unpleasant questions about the Benghazi rebels. Benghazi, the city in Libya closest to Italy, has for years been a center of human trafficking from sub-Saharan Africa. An average of a thousand black African refugees a day pass through Benghazi in hopes of escaping to Europe. So Benghazi was the seat of an enormous complex of gangs controlling the human trafficking trade, many of them exploiting their human cargo as ruthlessly as the “coyotes” on the U.S.-Mexican border. The Quaddafi government, according to Mountain, had been unsuccessfully trying to suppress this trade for years. As a result, the criminal underworld of Benghazi has been a prime supporter of the rebellion.

Benghazi is also home to a large number of black African guest workers who do work that Libyans regard as “dirty.” Native youth, who refuse to take these jobs, are frequently unemployed and idle. So they wind up joining youth gangs that engage in racist harrassment of black African guest workers. These discontented youth were at the heart of the protest movement.

This raises some interesting questions about the reported massacre of black Africans by Benghazi militia — supposedly because black Africans were recruited as mercenaries by Quaddafi — doesn’t it? I don’t know if Thomas Mountain’s account is correct. But at least it should make us think twice when we hear the talking heads like Ed Schultz on MSNBC referring to Libyan “freedom fighters.”

So once again, the lesson is: Always look for the man behind the curtain.

The Role of Left Gatekeeping Foundations in Suppressing Dissent Reply

by Stuart Bramhall.
Since the October 2008 economic collapse, American workers have faced an unprecedented “austerity cuts,” with major hits on their livelihoods and labor and pension rights. Yet Americans, unlike the rest of the world, don’t respond by taking to the street in the millions. Why is this? Many progressive pundits are deeply dismayed at the apparent passivity and apathy of the American public. Others, myself included, feel the power elite has been laying the groundwork for decades for a totalitarian takeover (also known as fascism) of democratic government.

The Deep State, Peter Dale Scott’s term for shadowy network of government officials and corporate elite that secretly steers foreign and domestic policy behind the façade of democracy (see, seems to rely on two main strategies in suppressing opposition to their agenda. The first involves the indoctrination, via a multibillion dollar public relations industry, of two generations of Americans with a passive, non-engaged consumerist mentality. The second involves a vast interlocking network of left gatekeeping foundations that totally dominate progressive organizing in the US.

Progressive media critics have written extensively about the corporate takeover of the mainstream media that has facilitated censorship of anti-corporate news and the total saturation of American life with pro-corporate messaging. The role of left gatekeeping foundations, which may be even more critical in suppressing organized dissent, receives scant attention, even in the “alternative” media (e.g. the Nation, Democracy Now, the Progressive, Mother Jones). This may relate to the heavy reliance of these outlets on left gatekeeping foundations for much of their funding.

Over 250 Top US Legal Scholars Condemn The Treatment Of Bradley Manning Reply

From Tech Dirt.
For a while now, we’ve been quite concerned over the US’s treatment of Bradley Manning, the guy who has been accused of being the source for many of Wikileaks’ biggest leaks from the US government. Under most standard definitions of torture, it certainly appeared that Manning was being tortured. With the UN investigating, and even Obama administration officials who had long been propagandizing against Wikileaks claiming that the treatment was bad (leading to him being fired), it appears more and more people are recognizing how indefensible the treatment is.

The latest is that a who’s who of US legal scholars, including the guy who taught President Obama constitutional law (and was a big supporter of Obama during the campaign), have written an open letter condemning the treatment of Bradley Manning as being unconstitutional. That law professor, Laurence Tribe, had actually been a legal advisor to the Justice Department until recently. The original letter was written by Bruce Ackerman and Yochai Benkler, and the list of signatories is pretty impressive.

When you have so many experts in constitutional law speaking up for the way President Obama is treating Manning, can Obama really ignore them completely?

Vision and Wisdom Reply

From A New Kind of Mind.
A decent while back, the anarchism subreddit was getting me down with it’s lynch mobs and sectarianism. To find some sanity (and probably to confirm a couple biases), I asked fellow Reddit user BondsOfEarthAndFire — who describes himself as “a market-friendly, primitivist-friendly anarcho-communist” and is a member I’ve always found to be considerate and wise — for his take on the situation. He did not disappoint:

I think that the notion that all of humanity will ever be operating under the same ‘flag’, so to speak, is astonishingly stupid, and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of humanity and and dumbfounding ignorance of history. It frankly astounds me that the intelligent folk on this reddit manage to convince themselves that the future Earth will be entirely syndicalist or entirely transhumanist or entirely mutualist, or entirely re-wilded, or entirely fill-in-the-blank.

I’ve described myself as an Anarcho-ecumenist, but I fly the red star because the ancom belief system is closest to the system I would personally like to live in. That system may be made of a hundred people or a hundred million people; I have no way of predicting the future, and neither does anyone else. I do make some very broad predictions, however:

I think that the future will be a world of dizzying social complexity, replete with small city-states with governments ranging the gamut from democratic to monarchical to theocratic, surrounded by vast hinterlands filled with eco-villages and wild ranges where hunter gatherer humans chase wild game and forage for nuts and berries, while vast trade fleets of ultra-light zepellins transfer goods and services all over the planet, and transhumant consciousnesses zip through endless, decentralized computer networks maintained by industrial syndicates a million workers strong, who build satellites and launch them into orbit to maintain a global network of communication so primitivists can use cell-phones to trade furs for plastic-composite bows… and so on. Personally, I wish I was there right now.

In the immediate moment, I’m willing to ally myself with anyone who who believes that humans are capable of developing large-scale systems that can be entirely consensus based. I don’t think these social technologies exist yet, and so I’m working towards trying to figure them out. The answers lie across a dozen different flavors of anarchism, and the only to even begin is to respecting A) each others opinions, B) our differences and similarities, and C) the fact that we don’t have the answers yet – if we did, we’d already be doing it!

It always struck me as incredibly stupid to say, “We agree on 97% of everything, but we have differing notions of what the word trade means, so you are therefore my bitter enemy.” It’s a crock of shit, but it’s worse than stupid: it’s counterproductive. We’re working towards a very different world than the one we live in, and we need 100% of the people involved to be, ya know, actually working towards it. Even if someone thinks your direction is 15 degrees removed from their compass bearing, you’re both still pretty much headed in the same direction.

I’d like to think that my unabashed outreach to the pacifists, Christians, primitivists, transhumanists, mutualists, ancaps, and everyone else is beginning to pick up speed, but there’s only so far the mass mentality can be pushed without a profound, systemic change in the way people perceive their potential allies.

Granted, there’s a lot of room for improvement in relations between the different flags, but on the other hand, compared to what we agree on, it’s actually not that much.

Just beautiful.

Mass immigration damages U.S. culture, economy 1

by Ian Huyett

Tibetan independence from China is a popular cause in the U.S. Fashionable among actors and musicians, it’s outspoken supporters range from Russell Brand to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “Free Tibet” advocates raise a legitimate concern; that Tibet’s unique character will vanish beneath a massive wave of immigrants from China.

“The burgeoning Chinese migrants in Tibet, including many with criminal records,” says an Aug. 7, 2010 Tibet Today column, has left Tibet’s “cultural values and social stability in jeopardy.” says the movement is dedicated to protecting Tibet’s distinct “culture, history and identity” from being “irrevocably eroded.”

Tibet isn’t the only country facing this problem. For example, indigenous British citizens are expected to become minorities in large cities like Birmingham and Leicester during the 2020s, according to an April 10 article in The Telegraph. However, British natives who object to this, rather than enjoying the support of Sharon Stone or Gorillaz, are labeled as bigots.

We see this same disconnect in America, where census projections show that Americans of European descent will account for a minority of children under 18 in just 15 years, due largely to immigration. Americans who make the same appeals to “culture, history and identity” that we find acceptable from Tibetans are dismissed as hatemongers.

Ironically, many defenders of large-scale immigration empathize with the struggle of American Indians against European settlement. I agree that the losses suffered by American Indians were terrible, but this seems to be an argument against mass immigration, not for it. Writes Comanche activist David Yeagley in an Oct. 15, 2002 column: “America today is making the same mistake we Indians made nearly four centuries ago. America is letting in too many foreigners.”

A December 2006 study in the U.S. National Library of Medicine found a correlation between culture loss and suicide. Ethical or not, most humans are healthier and happier when they associate with people similar to themselves. As former Harvard professor Samuel Huntington said, “The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures and two languages.” This level of division has lead to violent conflicts around the world.

Mass immigration puts an enormous strain on American taxpayers. Immigrants receive a disproportionately large amount of housing subsidies, food stamps and free medical care. According to a report released this week by the Center for Immigration Studies, 57 percent of immigrant households receive welfare. Specifically, 70 percent of illegal immigrant households receive welfare.

Granting amnesty to 10 million illegal immigrants would add a net cost of $16 billion a year in welfare, according to a June 5, 2006 Human Events column. The problems with America’s welfare system are already myriad; a June 25, 2010 article in the LA Times reported that, in 2009, California welfare recipients spent $1.8 million on casino chips.

Assuming current trends continue, America’s population will double to 550 million in the next 65 years. If you’re a proponent of large-scale immigration, ask yourself: when was the last time you were driving on a highway and wished there were more people on the road?

State of Collapse Reply

This looks to be an interesting journal.
State of Collapse is an editorial site offering anarchist views on current events concerning political abuse of criminal justice systems, human rights atrocities, and the encroachment of the total surveillance society. We cover police and law issues from Ontario, Canada and the world at large. Police departments and the larger law-and-order establishment have lost the trust of the general public as their assault on lower income communities continues through the guise of fighting drugs, gangs, and violence. Events like the G20 mass arrests and the assault of Stacey Bonds highlight a criminal justice industry that has spun out of public control. State of collapse journals our society’s movement through and past the authoritarian stranglehold of modern industrial society.

Ernst Junger's "On Danger" Reply

A classic essay.

Among the signs of the epoch we have now entered belongs the increased intrusion of danger into daily life. There is no accident concealing itself behind this tact but a comprehensive change of the inner and outer world.

We see this dearly when we remember what an important role was assigned to the concept of security in the bourgeois epoch just past. The bourgeois person is perhaps best characterized as one who places security among the highest of values and conducts his life accordingly. His arrangements and systems are dedicated to securing his space against the danger that at times, when scarcely a cloud appears to darken the sky, has laded into the distance. However, it is always there: it seeks with elemental constancy to break through the dams with which order has surrounded itself.

The peculiarity of the bourgeois’ relation to danger lies in his perception of it as an irresolvable contradiction to order, that is, as senseless. In this he marks himself off from other figures of, for example, the warrior, the artist, and the criminal, who are given a lofty or base relation to the elemental. Thus battle, in the eyes of the warrior, is a process that completes itself in a high order; the tragic conflict, for the writer, is a condition in which the deeper sense of life is to be comprehended very clearly; and a burning city or one beset by insurrection is a field of intensified activity for the criminal. In turn bourgeois values possess just as little validity for the believing person, for the gods appear in the elements, as in the burning bush unconsumed by the flames. Through misfortune and danger late draws the mortal into the superior sphere of a higher order.

The supreme power through which the bourgeois sees security guaranteed is reason. The closer he finds himself to the center of reason, the more the dark shadows in which danger conceals itself disperse, and the ideal condition which it is the task of progress to achieve consists of the world domination of reason through which the wellsprings of the dangerous are not merely to be minimized but ultimately to be dried up altogether. The dangerous reveals itself in the light of reason to be senseless and relinquishes its claim on reality. In this world all depends on the perception of the dangerous as the senseless, then in the same moment it is overcome, it appears in the mirror of reason as an error.

This can be demonstrated everywhere and in detail within the intellectual and actual arrangements of the bourgeois world. It reveals itself at large in the endeavor to see the state, which rests on hierarchy, as society, with equality as its fundamental principle and which is founded through an act of reason. It reveals itself in the comprehensive establishment of an insurance system, through which not only the risk of foreign and domestic politics but also that of private life is to be uniformly distributed and thus subordinated to reason. It reveals itself further in the many and very entangled efforts to understand the life of the soul as a series of causes and effects and thus to remove it from an unpredictable into a predictable condition, therefore to include it within the sphere in which consciousness holds sway.

JOURNAL: OSW Standing Orders (compilation) Reply

By John Robb.
Here’s a compilation of the standing orders series for open source warfare from last year. Probably need to add some more.

1. Break Networks
2. Grow Black Economies
3. Virtualize your organization
4. Repetition is more important than scale
5. Coopetition
6. Don’t fork the insurgency
7. Minimalist rule sets work best
8. Self-replicate
9. Share everything that works
10. Release Early and Often
11. Co-opt, don’t own, basic services

61% Say Enforcing Immigration Laws Would Cut Poverty 4

A Rasmussen poll reports.

Adults under the age of 50 are more inclined to agree that there would be less poverty if immigration laws were enforced than their elders.

Despite the billions of dollars spent on government anti-poverty programs, a majority of Americans nationwide still believe there are more poor people in the country today than there were 10 years ago. In fact, a plurality (45%) of adults thinks the current government anti-poverty programs actually increase poverty in America.

A majority of Likely U.S. Voters feel that the policies and practices of the federal government encourage illegal immigration. Most voters continue to favor strong sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants and landlords who rent to them. Voters also feel strongly that police should check the immigration status of drivers during routine traffic stops.

Fifty percent (50%) of adults say it’s too easy to qualify for welfare in the United States. At the same time, 41% of Americans think it’s too easy to get food stamps in this country now.

Forty-eight percent (48%) also still believe it’s possible for anyone in the United States to work their way out of poverty, a finding that has shown little change since January 2010.

Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System Reply

Article by Chris Hedges.
“Imagine,” said a public school teacher in New York City, who asked that I not use his name, “going to work each day knowing a great deal of what you are doing is fraudulent, knowing in no way are you preparing your students for life in an ever more brutal world, knowing that if you don’t continue along your scripted test prep course and indeed get better at it you will be out of a job. Up until very recently, the principal of a school was something like the conductor of an orchestra: a person who had deep experience and knowledge of the part and place of every member and every instrument. In the past 10 years we’ve had the emergence of both [Mayor] Mike Bloomberg’s Leadership Academy and Eli Broad’s Superintendents Academy, both created exclusively to produce instant principals and superintendents who model themselves after CEOs. How is this kind of thing even legal? How are such ‘academies’ accredited? What quality of leader needs a ‘leadership academy’? What kind of society would allow such people to run their children’s schools? The high-stakes tests may be worthless as pedagogy but they are a brilliant mechanism for undermining the school systems, instilling fear and creating a rationale for corporate takeover. There is something grotesque about the fact the education reform is being led not by educators but by financers and speculators and billionaires.”

Is Tribalism the Future? Reply

Article by Pat Buchanan.
Tribalism suddenly seems ascendant over globalism.

Transnational institutions created to bring the world together — the IMF, World Bank, U.N., EU, NATO, WTO, G-8, Kyoto Protocol — are all under stress.

The artificial countries are coming apart. Sudan is sundering as Ethiopia did. Is Yemen next? Joe Biden argued for dividing up Iraq, which may happen when the Americans go.

China, with its crackdown on Tibetans and Uighurs, fears the pull and power of ethnonationalism. Saudi Arabia — by sending troops to aid the Sunni monarchy of Bahrain put down an uprising by its Shia majority — testifies to its us-versus-them view of the Arab world.

People are naturally attracted to the strong horse, not the weak horse, said Osama bin Laden. While democracy has great appeal to Third World peoples, it is often because democracy offers a sure path to power for the ethnonational majority to which they belong.

If Muller and Kedar are correct in their assessment of the eternal appeal of tribalism, America’s model of the ideal society — the more diverse that it is religiously, ethnically, culturally and racially, the better it is — would appear to be more than a mildly risky experiment.