How We Squandered the Peace Dividend Reply

Article by Patrick Foy.
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When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and effectively ended the Cold War, there was tremendous relief and a sense of hope for the future. One writer even boldly declared that it marked “The End of History” and, as a natural result, the end of war.

Since global communism—perceived as the main, if not sole, threat to global peace—had been vanquished, President George H. W. Bush promised that Americans would soon enjoy a “peace dividend.” Taxpayers commonly understood this to mean that military spending would be downgraded and the billions that had been siphoned from them to fight communism would be shunted back into their pockets.

“That’s not a peacetime dividend. That’s a huge wartime debt.”

But the promised peace dividend never came. With communism defeated, Arabs and Islam were presented as the new threat for the world’s lone surviving superpower. In response to this “threat” that didn’t seem to exist until the Soviet Union fell, the US is now spending more on defense than it was during the Cold War. By 2004 the US defense budget was almost twice that of the next 15 military powers combined. More than twenty years after Bush promised a peace dividend, Washington is still stretched all over the greater Middle East, which is ablaze.

Country by country, here’s what went wrong:

Old Age Wasted On the Old Reply

Article by John Derbyshire.
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A toast, ladies and gentlemen, to Mr. Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay of Nepal, who shuffled off this mortal coil on Monday afternoon at age 82. Mr. Upadhyay was at 18,700 feet above sea level when he turned in his lunch pail, most of the way up Mount Everest. He was trying for the summit in hopes of being the oldest person ever to conquer the mountain. That glory was not vouchsafed to him. It remains the property of a different Nepalese geezer, Min Bahadur Sherchan, who reached the summit three years ago at age 76.

This news story happened to come under my eye just as I had finished Fred Pearce’s 2010 book The Coming Population Crash, now out in paperback. Pearce’s subject is demography, a big conversation topic nowadays. The developed world, as we all know, is failing to reproduce itself, sometimes sensationally so.

A hypothetical Japanese woman whose fertility, at every age x of her reproductive life, was precisely the average for today’s x-year-old Japanese females, would have only 1.21 hypothetical children. That is Japan’s Total Fertility rate (TFR). Since men do not have babies, the entire burden of replacing humanity’s current stock falls on women, who must therefore produce two adults apiece. Allowing a margin for babies born who do not become breeding adults, we need a TFR of at least 2.1 for a stable population. At 1.21 the Japanese are falling down badly on the job, though not as badly as the Taiwanese (1.15), Singaporeans (1.11), Hong Kongers (1.07), and Macanese (0.92).

“One life is quite enough for me, and its last stretch, if granted, ought to be quiet and undemanding.”

The consequences are obvious and well-known: Japan is aging. Plenty of other nations are close behind: Poland at 1.30, Italy at 1.39, and so on. China’s TFR is listed in the CIA World Factbook as 1.54, but analysts crunching the just-released numbers from last November’s census think 1.4 is more likely.

U.S. tries to assassinate U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki Reply

Article by Glenn Greenwald.
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That Barack Obama has continued the essence of the Bush/Cheney Terrorism architecture was once a provocative proposition but is now so self-evident that few dispute it (watch here as arch-neoconservative David Frum — Richard Perle’s co-author for the supreme 2004 neocon treatise — waxes admiringly about Obama’s Terrorism and foreign policies in the Muslim world and specifically its “continuity” with Bush/Cheney).  But one policy where Obama has gone further than Bush/Cheney in terms of unfettered executive authority and radical war powers is the attempt to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process.  As The New York Times put it last April:

 

It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing, officials said.  A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president. . . .

That Obama was compiling a hit list of American citizens was first revealed in January of last year when The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest mentioned in passing at the end of a long article that at least four American citizens had been approved for assassinations; several months later, the Obama administration anonymously confirmed to both the NYT and the Post that American-born, U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was one of the Americans on the hit list.

Yesterday, riding a wave of adulation and military-reverence, the Obama administration tried to end the life of this American citizen — never charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime — with a drone strike in Yemen, but missed and killed two other people instead:

 

A missile strike from an American military drone in a remote region of Yemen on Thursday was aimed at killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric believed to be hiding in the country, American officials said Friday.

The attack does not appear to have killed Mr. Awlaki, the officials said, but may have killed operatives of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

The other people killed “may have” been Al Qaeda operatives.  Or they “may not have” been.  Who cares?  They’re mere collateral damage on the glorious road to ending the life of this American citizen without due process (and pointing out that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution expressly guarantees that “no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law” — and provides no exception for war — is the sort of tedious legalism that shouldn’t interfere with the excitement of drone strikes).

There are certain civil liberties debates where, even though I hold strong opinions, I can at least understand the reasoning and impulses of those who disagree; the killing of bin Laden was one such instance.  But the notion that the President has the power to order American citizens assassinated without an iota of due process — far from any battlefield, not during combat — is an idea so utterly foreign to me, so far beyond the bounds of what is reasonable, that it’s hard to convey in words or treat with civility.

How do you even engage someone in rational discussion who is willing to assume that their fellow citizen is guilty of being a Terrorist without seeing evidence for it, without having that evidence tested, without giving that citizen a chance to defend himself — all because the President declares it to be so? “I know Awlaki, my fellow citizen, is a Terrorist and he deserves to die.  Why?  Because the President decreed that, and that’s good enough for me.  Trials are so pre-9/11.” If someone is willing to dutifully click their heels and spout definitively authoritarian anthems like that, imagine how impervious to reason they are on these issues.

Democratic principles in the War on Terror Reply

Article by Glenn Greenwald.
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Senate Republicans yesterday filibustered the confirmation of James Cole, President Obama’s nominee to become Deputy Attorney General.  There were a couple of reasons for their opposition, but it is principally grounded in the views Cole expressed when opposing Bush’s Terrorism policies.  Specifically, a 2002 Legal Times Op-Ed authored by Cole contained the offending statements, as cited yesterday by GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley; behold the irony in Grassley’s remarks:

 

Back in 2002, Mr. Cole was the author of an opinion piece in the Legal Times. In that piece, he stated, “For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like the terrorist acts of Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City, or of Omar Abdel-Rahman in the first effort to blow up the World Trade Center. The criminals responsible for these horrible acts were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system, without the need for special procedures that altered traditional due process rights.”

In other words:  Terrorists should be treated as criminals and accorded full due process within our normal “criminal justice system” — i.e., dealt with as part of a law enforcement paradigm — not treated as warriors subjected to “the rhetoric of war” and “special procedures that altered traditional due process rights.”  In his now-controversial Op-Ed, Cole added:

 

The attorney general justifies much of his agenda by pointing to the “war on terrorism” and saying that it is an extreme situation that calls for extreme actions. But too much danger lies down that road. The protections built into our criminal justice system are there not merely to protect the guilty, but, more importantly, to protect the innocent. They must be applied to everyone to be effective. What are we fighting for if, in the name of protecting the principles that have raised this nation to the pinnacle of civilization, we abandon those very principles?

Cole’s point:  even the most heinous Terrorists must be accorded the full and normal protections of our criminal justice system before being punished.  Even more notably — and ironically — Media Matters recently published a defense of Cole from the attacks launched by Fox News, arguing that Cole’s views were mainstream because he was objecting to lawless Bush policies:

 

Cole criticized the Bush administration for, among other things, ‘detain[ing] non-citizens without the benefit of counsel or judicial review, facilitat[ing] the implementation of military tribunals to try noncitizens for terrorist crimes,” and for ‘institut[ing] the use of the classification ‘enemy combatant’ to hold American citizens without access to counsel or judicial review.

Those, of course, are, with some modifications, the policies that the Obama administration has itself adopted (see: “Obama administration readies indefinite detention order for Guantanamo detainees” – “Obama to resume Gitmo military trials“).  While Obama hasn’t argued that American citizens can be held “without access to counsel or judicial review,” he has gone further than that by arguing that American citizens can be targeted for killing by drone attacks without judicial review, and has sought to carry out that policy.  So many of the general theories and specific policies so vehemently condemned by Cole during the Bush years (when he was doing little other than voicing the standard Democratic view on such matters) are the ones this administration has now expressly and vigorously adopted as its own.

Is Tony Kushner the new Helen Thomas? Reply

Article by Danny Schechter.
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First they came for Helen Thomas.

After the veteran White House correspondent once spoke inelegantly about her feelings toward Israel – and apologised, to no effect – she was blackballed at the instigation of strident Israeli supporters and her career achievement-standing journalism awards were stripped. She became persona non-grata with many media outlets joining in the denunciations of a colleague they honoured for decades. Many at the time suspected the wrath was especially severe because she is an Arab-American.

Right-wing provocateur Ann Coulter even asked if “that Arab” should be allowed near the president.

But, now a new flap driven by some of the same issues involves a Jewish Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and a leading academic institution in New York.

His name: Tony Kushner, best known for the brilliant “Angels in America” plays that bravely took on AIDS and the hypocrisy, if not criminality, of the prominent Jewish lawyer Roy Cohn – who was an aide to the late fanatically anti-communist symbol, Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Now McCarthy’s name has been introduced into a debate following a decision by City University of New York (CUNY) to strip Kushner of an honorary degree, after one conservative pro-Israel trustee took umbrage at his criticisms of the Israeli government and convinced his colleagues to take action.

Supporters of Israel have been primed by their lobby and the Israeli government to confront any and all attempts to “deligitimise” Israel – or even to criticise its government.

Kushner became the symbol of those closet “anti-Semites” or “self-hating Jews” who bash Israel. And so a group of trustees turned him into an Israel hater. He became a new Helen Thomas, even though he is Jewish.

But in New York – unlike Washington, which seems ruled by a conservative media elite that is frequently intimidated, if not directed, by the Israel Lobby – there was a cultural fight back against what was seen as an act of intolerance that violated freedom of thought.

Soon the New York Times was making it a big story, with strong statements against the efforts of conservative Republican trustee Jeffrey S Wiesenfeld, to blackball plans to honour Kushner by John Jay College, one of the system’s schools. Wiesenfeld did not win much sympathy when he was quoted as previously questioning whether Palestinians were human.

Getting Osama Bin Laden: The Case Against Torture Reply

Article by Doug Bandow.
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After making Osama bin Laden U.S. Enemy Number One President George W. Bush botched the job. Yet officials from his administration are claiming credit for getting bin Laden. Torture maven John Yoo wrote that the recent raid “vindicates the Bush administration, whose intelligence architecture marked the path to bin Laden’s door.”

President Bush should have focused on destroying al-Qaeda and suppressing the Taliban in the aftermath of September 11. Instead, he quickly turned away. He was too busy preparing for his foolish Iraq adventure to provide the forces necessary to capture bin Laden when the latter could have been trapped at Tora Bora in Afghanistan. By precipitously withdrawing resources from that country, the Bush administration tossed away any hope of achieving peace and stability.

Unfortunately, President Bush’s lengthy nation-building exercises in both Iraq and Afghanistan created more terrorists, even spawning a new al-Qaeda franchise in Iraq. As Michael Hirsh pointed out in National Journal, the two wars also resolved the tension created by bin-Laden’s insistence on attacking the “far enemy” of America while others in the organization preferred to focus on the “near enemy” of Arab states allied to America. President Bush made it easy for al-Qaeda.

But with President Barack Obama responsible for the operation which killed bin Laden, Republican uber-hawks needed something else to criticize: President Obama refuses to allow the torture of captives.

Congress has passed legislation and approved treaties outlawing torture. The executive branch prosecuted Japanese military officers for torturing Americans. Washington routinely criticizes other governments for employing torture. Nevertheless, the GOP torture caucus argues that Bush-era prisoner abuse enabled officials to track down bin Laden.

Assume for the moment that this is true. It still offers no compelling argument to torture.

Bin Laden was a moral monster, well deserving of his fate. But for all of his plotting, he does not appear to have achieved very much in recent years. Wrote Charles Fried, a former U.S. Solicitor General, and Gregory Fried, a philosophy professor: “Osama bin Laden was not the ticking bomb requiring immediate defusing, so familiar now from television dramas.” There may be hard cases, but this was not one of them.

Yes, They Lied; Yes, a Million Died; and Yes, They Want It To Go On Reply

Article by Chris Floyd.
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Why have a million innocent people been killed in Iraq by the cataclysm unleashed by the Anglo-American invasion and occupation? Here’s why:

A top military intelligence official has said the discredited dossier on Iraq’s weapons programme was drawn up “to make the case for war”, flatly contradicting persistent claims to the contrary by the Blair government, and in particular by Alastair Campbell, the former prime minister’s chief spin doctor. In hitherto secret evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Major General Michael Laurie said: “We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care.”

Laurie, who was director general in the Defence Intelligence Staff, responsible for commanding and delivering raw and analysed intelligence, said: “I am writing to comment on the position taken by Alastair Campbell during his evidence to you … when he stated that the purpose of the dossier was not to make a case for war; I and those involved in its production saw it exactly as that, and that was the direction we were given.” …

Laurie said he recalled that the chief of defence intelligence, Air Marshal Sir Joe French, was “frequently inquiring whether we were missing something” and was under pressure. “We could find no evidence of planes, missiles or equipment that related to WMD [weapons of mass destruction], generally concluding that they must have been dismantled, buried or taken abroad. There has probably never been a greater detailed scrutiny of every piece of ground in any country.” …

The document is one of a number released by the Chilcot inquiry. They include top secret MI6 reports warning of the damage to British interests and the likelihood of terrorist attacks in the UK if it joined the US-led invasion of Iraq. However, a newly declassified document reveals that Sir Kevin Tebbit, then a top official at the Ministry of Defence, warned the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, in January 2003 that the US would “feel betrayed by their partner of choice” if Britain did not go along with the invasion.

Despite its concerns, MI6 told ministers before the invasion that toppling Saddam Hussein remains a prize because it could give new security to oil supplies”.

That’s why. They caused the deaths of a million innocent people to “give new security to oil supplies” — and to gain the strategic dominance this “new security” would bring. They knew that all the rest — WMD, threat of terrorism, etc. — was absolute bullshit. They knew it from the start. They knew it all along.

And they know it now. That’s why the Peace Laureate/Holy Hit Man in the White House has his Pentagon warlord pushing and pushing to keep American troops in Iraq — forever, if possible.

They did it for the oil. They did it for the dominance. And they are doing their damnedest to keep doing it. Anyone who supports and champions the elites who seek to perpetuate this abominable gorging on innocent blood — including cool, progressive Peace Laureates — is knowingly making themselves morally complicit in this ongoing atrocity.

Here there is no shuffling. The invasion — and the occupation (or the “military presence”) — were and are based on arrant lies. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been murdered, slaughtered, ripped from life, sent down to darkness because of these lies. If you support those who will not call these crimes by their right name, and seek to extend them — in whatever form — then you too are a supporter of murder. If that’s what you want to be, fine; but be sure you recognize yourself for what you are.

What did Killing Osama Actually Accomplish? Reply

Article by William Pfaff.
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PARIS — Many if not most Americans seem to think that the assassination of Osama bin Laden solved something.

What did this accomplish? The man who organized the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington is dead, but so what? He no doubt was pleased to see death arrive. He professed to await it with equanimity, knowing that it was inevitable, probably would be violent, and that he would be rewarded in another world for his service to Islam in mobilizing a formidable organization to oppose what he saw as Islam’s great enemy — “the Great Satan,” as the Iranians have named the United States.

He supposedly planned and ordered the New York and Washington attacks, and he is attributed responsibility for the subsequent bombings of Madrid’s railroad station and the London Underground, although it remains unclear whether he was directly associated with them or merely inspired them.

He also sent a very large number, if not most, of the American people into a frenzy of fear, outrage and political paranoia, and inspired the U.S. government’s useless destruction or displacement of undoubtedly more than a million Iraqis, other Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis, and their allies and sympathizers. This in turn inspired still more reciprocal violence.

These actions deeply altered for the worse the civic morality of the American government and people, convincing them to accept the Bush administration’s decision, now supported and sustained by the Obama government, to jettison international law in America’s pursuit and treatment of its enemies, reintroducing torture, the abuse of prisoners and assassination as state policy into the practice of a major western power for the first time — overtly and officially, at least — since Nazi practice in the Second World War.

The advance achieved by West European and American civilization during the 19th and early 20th centuries to reintroduce the Christian and chivalrous values of the past into modern war was deliberately reversed during that war. The “barbarism” of the First World War was mainly the result of introducing industrial and chemical methods and innovations into warfare between 1914 and 1918. Aerial bombardment of civilians was to a limited extent reintroduced.

During the Second World War, these became the principal methods of warfare for the western Allies. After the fall of France, London had no way to come to grips with the Germans except through the air. It had credulously accepted, from the early bomber enthusiasts, that aerial bombing would be precise and effective. It was anything but. The British in desperation turned to nighttime area bombing of worker housing, rationalizing to themselves that workers after all were soldiers, too (and that it demoralized the enemy home front to bomb wives, children and relatives.)

The U.S., equally credulous about air power, had built the presumably invulnerable “flying fortress” daylight bomber. These were shot out of the skies without fighter escorts. American fighter planes were also vulnerable until Britain gave the U.S. the Rolls Royce Merlin engine to use in the otherwise inadequately powered P-51 escort fighter.

No End to the “War on Terror,” No End to Guantánamo Reply

Article by Andy Worthington.
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With the death of Osama bin Laden, there is a perfect opportunity for the Obama administration to bring to an end the decade-long “war on terror” by withdrawing from Afghanistan and closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The justification for both the invasion of Afghanistan (in October 2001) and the detention of prisoners in Guantánamo (which opened in January 2002) is the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress on September 14, 2001, just three days after the 9/11 attacks.

Under the AUMF, the president is “authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

In 2004, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court confirmed that the AUMF also authorizes the detention of those held as a result of the president’s activities, although, as law professor Curtis Bradley explained last week on the Lawfare blog, “Justice O’Connor’s plurality opinion in Hamdi made clear that the Court was deciding only the authority to detain in connection with traditional combat operations in the Afghanistan theater.” Bradley also noted, “As for the proper length of detention, O’Connor largely avoided the question, although she did refer to the traditional ability under the international laws of war to detain individuals until the ‘cessation of active hostilities.’”

With bin Laden’s death, the route should now be open for the president to assert that he has used “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001,” and to get out of the unwinnable morass that is the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: war without end? Reply

Article by David Swanson.
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Afghanistan was supposed to be the campaign promise that President Barack Obama actually kept. He said he would escalate that war, and sure enough he did. Is he now going back on promises he’s made as president, by proposing to withdraw 2.5% of US forces in July?

Here are the relevant promises:

“After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home … [O]ur troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended – because the nation that I’m most interested in building is our own.” – President Barack Obama, 1 December 2009

“I’m confident that the withdrawal will be significant. People will say this is a real process of transition; this is not just a token gesture.” – President Barack Obama, 15 April 2011

“In July of 2011, you’re going to see a whole lot of people moving out, bet on it.” – Vice President Joe Biden, quoted in Jonathan Alter’s The Promise

But let’s first review how we got here. When loyal Democrats heard candidate Obama say he would escalate the war as president, they mistakenly understood him to say he would end it. Progressive bloggers have planned a panel for next month to discuss their disappointment with this “broken promise” that was actually kept.

President Obama sent the first additional 17,000 troops before he’d been in office a month and explicitly before coming up with any plan for Afghanistan. Sending the troops was, apparently, an end in itself. Then, Obama sent more. He got the total up from 33,700 US troops in late 2008 to 68,000 in late 2009. These numbers do not include tens of thousands of European troops, untold numbers of “intelligence” personnel, mercenaries hired through the US state department and US defence department contractors almost equal in number to the US troops.

Obama’s 2009 “surge”, which more than doubled the US troop presence in Afghanistan preceded any public debate on an Afghanistan surge. The publicly debated surge, actually Obama’s second, was “debated” between the commander-in-chief and his supposed subordinates, and then executed in 2010. By the end of 2010, according to the US defence department (pdf), there were 96,900 US troops and 87,483 supporting contractors in Afghanistan. In rough terms, there are 200,000 Americans now in Afghanistan, against the will of the American people.

Totalitarian Humanism Comes to Iraq Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.
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Although assassination has become the leading cause of death among Iraqi males, the Iraqi government has its priorities straight: they’re enacting a ban on public smoking. As the New York Times reports, the law – already passed by the Parliament, and now up for an obligatory second reading – “would ban smoking from schools, universities, government offices and a wide range of private businesses, including restaurants and cafes. Billboards advertising cigarettes, which wallpaper commercial districts of Baghdad, would be outlawed. And cigarette companies would be forced to print harsher warning labels. ‘This is an important issue,’ said Jawad al-Bazouni, a member of Parliament’s Health Committee, which is pushing for the restrictions. ‘The citizen can complain to the smoker. He will get the law on his side, and it will be reflected in the public health.’”

The Westernization of “liberated” Iraq is apparently proceeding on schedule, albeit not fast enough for Washington: hints that the US was lobbying behind the scenes to extend the occupation beyond the “withdrawal date” announced by President Obama have been dropped for months, and now it’s semi-official. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki – who once opined Iraq could defend itself, without US troops – now says he will go along with US demands if 70 percent of Iraqi lawmakers agree.

This fix has been in for quite some time, as you’ve been warned repeatedly in this space: US occupation forces aren’t going anywhere, at least not until the banks (or the Chinese) hang a foreclosure sign on the Pentagon. In light of this, I ask you to review the many statements by this administration that we were definitely and absolutely winding down our military presence in that unfortunate country “as promised and on schedule,” as Obama put it. “The message is,” said a White House spokesman at the time, “when the president makes a commitment, he keeps it.”

So what’s the message now – when the president makes a commitment, he’s lying? Given Obama’s record, you can take that one to the bank.

You’ll recall that the first deadline for US troop withdrawal was supposed to have been September 1, 2010 – but that was quietly dropped. The new deadline – the end of this year – was announced with much fanfare: Rachel Maddow made a big deal about it when she interviewed what was supposed to be the last combat brigade coming out of the country, sometime last year. Naturally, this latest news has gone unmentioned by Rachel, or, indeed, by any of the Obama-friendly media. If a broken promise hits the pavement in Iraq, and goes unreported by the “mainstream” media, did it really happen?

The idea that we were ever going to voluntarily leave Iraq was always a fantasy, one fulsomely encouraged by the Obama-ites and their “progressive” amen corner.

Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature Reply

Andy Duncan on Murray Rothbard.
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Fortunately, to shorten your quest, I now know the next one you should read; Egalitarianism As a Revolt Against Nature. It was a long time in the finding, but I finally got there.

Where to begin? As Man, Economy, and State is to Human Action, so you might say that Egalitarianism As a Revolt Against Nature is to The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, though much expanded when compared in size to that tiny work of Mises, with perhaps a little soupçon of Hayek’s Fatal Conceit thrown in for taste.

Although the History of Economic Thought is still hard to beat, and perhaps remains the pinnacle of Rothbard at his finest, I think Egalitarianism has to be right up there challenging for that coveted top spot.

This collection of essays opens in predictable enough fashion:

“For well over a century, the Left has generally been conceded to have morality, justice, and ‘idealism’ on its side; the Conservative opposition to the Left has largely been confined to the ‘impracticality’ of its ideals. A common view, for example, is that socialism is splendid ‘in theory,’ but that it cannot ‘work’ in practical life.”

Pure music to your eyes, of course, as an aspiring Rothbardian. But later in the next chapter, after the usual glorious bubbling stream of sparkling Rothbard, there’s this:

“Or rather, to be more precise, there were from the beginning two different strands within socialism: one was the right-wing, authoritarian strand, from Saint-Simon down, which glorified statism, hierarchy, and collectivism and which was thus a projection of conservatism trying to accept and dominate the new industrial civilization. The other was the left-wing, relatively libertarian strand, exemplified in their different ways by Marx and Bakunin, revolutionary and far more interested in achieving the libertarian goals of liberalism and socialism; but especially the smashing of the state apparatus to achieve the ‘withering away of the State’ and the ‘end of the exploitation of man by man.’”

The relatively libertarian strand? Of Karl Marx?!?

Crazy.

Well, that’s what the Cato Institute would say too, perhaps, but if you persevere it works. It fits. Like a pearly piece of grit in an oyster shell.

And these pearls just keep being strewn throughout the book, explaining how socialism was the wrong answer to the right question of challenging the Old Order, and how this wrong answer has metastasised into the horrific creatures of IMF austerity and world global government that we see gathering around us today, as vampire squid elites keep foisting their socialist paper fiat nonsense upon us, to try to drag us back a few thousand years to some kind of horrific murderous New World Order (read, Old Order) and a borderless global Romanesque Empire.

Soon we will all realise that one of the important sub-definitions of money, perhaps the most important one of all, is that money should be a store of value, and that therefore printed-from-the-Brow-of-Zeus socialised ‘currencies’ are simply not money, but are more akin to Soviet ration tickets. When that shoe eventually drops, the Old Order may try one last throw of the dice with their IMF SDR gambit or their usual joker card, a global world war.

However, these efforts will also fail, claims Rothbard.

The revolutions of the last few hundred years, particularly the Industrial Revolution, have made the world too complex for the Old Order to rule over in the manner to which it aspires. Yes, it can rule agrarian non-industrialised societies, as it did with the Inca Empire, the Roman Empire, and the Athenian-dominated Delian League – though you’ll notice that none of these once-mighty edifices lasted – however the world’s population will no longer stand for such serfdom and penury, even if it currently tolerates a pelf-extraction rate of forty or fifty percent. The ratchet of liberty has clicked, and there’s no turning back the mass-industrial technological clock, says Rothbard.

Even if we claim to be socialists, and allow the state to continually extract a pelf ‘protection’ tax rate from us of forty percent, or more, we will only tolerate a society in which we can have our iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, along with foreign travel, exotic food, windsurfing opportunities, the potential of an exciting career, and most of all some fun in our lives, rather than the endless unendurable austerity, tedium, and deference, of terminal servitude to a ruling criminal oligopoly and its supportive caste of privileged bureaucratic and priestly technocratic tax eaters.

The Persecution of John Demjanjuk Reply

Article by Pat Buchanan.
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“John Demjanjuk Guilty of Nazi Death Camp Murders,” ran the headline on the BBC. The lede began:

“A German court has found John Demjanjuk guilty of helping to murder more than 28,000 Jews at a Nazi death camp in Poland.”

Not until paragraph 17 does one find this jolting fact: “No evidence was produced that he committed a specific crime.”

That is correct. No evidence was produced, no witness came forward to testify he ever saw Demjanjuk injure anyone. And the critical evidence that put Demjanjuk at Sobibor came – from the KGB.

First was a KGB summary of an alleged interview with one Ignat Danilchenko, who claimed he was a guard at Sobibor and knew Demjanjuk. Second was the Soviet-supplied ID card from the Trawniki camp that trained guards.

There are major problems with both pieces of “evidence.”

First, Danilchenko has been dead for a quarter of a century, no one in the West ever interviewed him, and Moscow stonewalled defense requests for access to the full Danilchenko file. His very existence raises a question.

How could a Red Army soldier who turned collaborator and Nazi camp guard survive Operation Keelhaul, which sent all Soviet POWs back to Joseph Stalin, where they were either murdered or sent to the Gulag?

As for the ID card from Trawniki, just last month there was unearthed at the National Archives in College Park, Md., a 1985 report from the Cleveland office of the FBI, which, after studying the card, concluded it was “quite likely” a KGB forgery.

“Justice is ill-served in the prosecution of an American citizen on evidence which is not only normally inadmissible in a court of law, but based on evidence and allegations quite likely fabricated by the KGB.”

This FBI report, never made public, was done just as Demjanjuk was being deported to Israel to stand trial as “Ivan the Terrible,” the murderer of Treblinka. In a sensational trial covered by the world’s press, Demjanjuk was convicted and sentenced to hang.

Our Plutocratic Economic System, Part 2 Reply

The second part of the discussion.
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-Nader’s thought experiment of having support of the super-rich, and idea of applying the standard of “patriotism” to multinational corporations, and a discussion on some of his solutions;

-Poll reports 80% of Americans open to independent or third party;

-Distributist Hilaire Belloc on the ruin of the small store owner;

-More on taxes and the distribution of political power;

-Taxing productive vs. parasitic capital.

Switzerland is particularly exposed to the evolving threat posed by anarchist groups Reply

Article by Daniele Mariani.
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A series of letter bombings and failed attacks over the past year point to the evolving threat posed by anarchist groups. Switzerland is particularly exposed.

The group of anarchists from Italy believed to be behind the attacks are connected to three alleged eco-terrorists in detention in Switzerland.

The most recent attack involved a letter bomb sent to the office of the Swiss nuclear power lobby organisation at the end of March.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office said it believed the group responsible was the same one behind last year’s foiled bombing of the IBM research centre outside Zurich, and the letter bombs sent to the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome last December, which injured three people.

These attacks and others have been claimed by the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), not to be confused with the Italian Anarchist Federation (also FAI). The former first appeared on the scene in 2003 when it sent a series of parcel bombs to various politicians and European institutions. Italy’s anti-terrorism experts have called it a body without a head.

But why is Switzerland a target? When claiming responsibility for the attacks over the past 12 months, FAI expressed its solidarity with the three persons – two Italians and one Swiss-Italian – currently in pre-trial detention in connection with the planned attack on the IBM centre.

The three were caught in possession of 476 grammes of explosives and other components needed to build an improvised explosive device (IED) which they were suspected of wanting to use against the centre’s nanotechnology centre, then under construction. Also found in the car were 31 letters written in German and claiming responsibility for the attack in the name of a group calling itself ELF Switzerland Earth Liberation Front.

No States, No Borders Reply

Article by David D’Amato. This is about an able a defense of the “open borders libertarian” position as anyone will likely find. It also makes for an interesting comparison/contrast with the article I did for LewRockwell.Com a few years ago outlining the case for immigration skepticism from an anti-statist perspective. That article can be read in Lew’s archives. As I argued at Alternative Right a while back, I don’t think statelessness or quasi-statelessness necessarily implies “open borders” in the way that orthodox libertarians envision. Rather, I think there would a mosaic of localized immigration policies, with restrictionists more often than not getting the upper hand, though with some significant exceptions. In my view, “open borders” is a policy that is imposed from the top, heavily subsidized by the state, and driven by economic forces that are in league with the state. It makes for an interesting debate. That said, Dave’s article also does a very good job of pointing out the hypocrisy of the “conservative” immigration opponents.
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On May 11, the Los Angeles Times reported that President Obama was visiting the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas in order “to push for an overhaul of the immigration system.” With all of the usual political parlance, the President bragged that “his administration had made great strides in stopping immigrants from illegally crossing the border,” even while ridiculed Republicans for “want[ing] a higher fence.” For all his talk of fences, the President made no mention of the one he was attempting to straddle before a crowd that included many Latinos.

There’s no easy way to completely or exhaustively define the terms and the many sides of the American immigration debate. Calls for “reform” subsume everything from unadorned xenophobia and racism to (perhaps just as ridiculous) the fear that immigrants, in and of themselves, threaten an undue burden on the U.S. economy, that they “steal our jobs” or deplete entitlement programs.

Laws that restrict and control immigration are the kith and kin of protectionist measures, the tariffs and other special favors that — under the pretext of protecting American workers — fortify Big Business and drive up consumer prices. On a fundamental level, immigration laws that tell people where they may live are no different in kind from any of the other arbitrary restrictions the state places on peaceful existence.

Although the bands of criminal that we call states have covered and divided amongst themselves most of the world’s inhabitable territory, market anarchists do not for a moment defer to their claims to such territory. As the ultimate absentee landlords, states control where people can live, work and trade in order to compel us into a plutocratic game of monopoly that we would never otherwise choose.

If it is to mean anything at all, self-ownership must mean the right to move freely from one place to another, to pressure local markets themselves to compete for labor. As Kevin Carson observed in Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, among the principle uses of England’s Poor Laws and Laws of Settlement for the ruling was to disallow “laborers from voting with their feet.” Since, for example, young manual laborers are often more willing to move for a job, mobility itself is one of labor’s principal sources of bargaining power.

It is a rather blinding irony that those conservatives warning most frantically of open immigration’s exhaustion of the government coffers are often those who are least troubled by welfare for the rich. The war industry and the prison industry (just to name a pair) can motor along at a breakneck clip, ravenously devouring taxpayer dollars all the way, but God forbid a brown child from south of the border find her way into a public school; that kind of privilege is just for U.S. citizens. So although, as an anarchist, I’m as opposed to the government education apparatus as I am to the government anything apparatus, the hypocrisy is clear enough.

Worries about immigrants’ impact on domestic unemployment and the scarcity of jobs would be better directed at cartelization measures that capture the labor market for a handful of giant corporations in each industry. Each time a new “consumer protection” rule is launched, one more of the “little guys” is forced to close up shop, contributing to the pile of new applications at the local Walmart. As recently pointed out by economist Steven Horwitz, immigration is “no zero-sum game” whereby “any job a person acquires must have come at the expense of someone else.”

Rather, in a genuine free market — one without today’s oligopolistic limitation on labor opportunities — there is “room for everyone.” The crime of “illegal immigration,” like all victimless crimes that outlaw peaceful, noninvasive acts, ultimately translates to: “You don’t own yourself—the state does.”

Contrary to shrieks that a sovereign state has the right to protect its borders, a state can have no rights at all, at least not in any legitimate, moral sense. Only human beings have rights, and those are violated by dictates that determine where you can and can’t live.
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OPINION: Ron Paul driving Republicans' White House campaign Reply

Article by Juan Williams.
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Here’s a news bulletin — it is becoming increasingly clear that we are living in a time when Republican politics are being shaped by a 75-year-old, 12-term Texas congressman with a son in the Senate. And incredibly, it is no longer out of the realm of possibility that this outcast of the GOP establishment may win the party’s presidential nomination.

If you have not been paying attention, it is time to look around and realize that we are living in the political age of Rep. Ron Paul.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll released late last week shows Paul faring the best against President Obama of any potential Republican candidate. He trails the president by only 7 points, 52-45 percent, in a head-to-head matchup. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee trails by 8 points, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney down 11 points to Obama.

In February, Paul won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Action Conference for the second straight year.

Last Thursday, the day of the first GOP debate, one of Paul’s fabulously-labeled “money bombs” exploded with the announcement of $1 million in contributions for the Paul campaign.

Fear of an Erudite White 4

Jim Goad reviews Jared Taylor’s new book.
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As if the unprecedented social experiment of pouring several dissimilar schools of fish into the same aquarium and pretending they won’t fight over food and territory wasn’t foolhardy enough, Taylor sees special danger in the severely unequal application of cultural taboos regarding racial pride. In the game of Ethnic Musical Chairs, whites are the only group that wound up falling on the floor without a seat:

White racism is commonly alleged to be the great obstacle to harmonious race relations in the United States, but whites are the only group that actually subscribes to the goal of eliminating race consciousness and that actively polices its members for signs of such consciousness….The only occasion on which it is acceptable for whites to speak collectively as whites is to apologize….Some whites have gone well beyond color-blindness and see their race as uniquely guilty and without moral standing….At what point would it be legitimate for whites to act in their own group interests? When they become a minority? When they are no more than 30 percent of the population? Ten percent?…Eventually, whites will come to understand that to dismantle and even demonize white racial consciousness while other races cultivate racial consciousness is a fatal form of unilateral disarmament.

As with his earlier Paved With Good Intentions, Taylor relentlessly documents sickening heaps of hateful and genocidal anti-white rhetoric that in many cases not only goes unpunished but is instead rewarded by politicians. After openly encouraging the rape of white women and the wholesale slitting of white throats, Amiri Baraka was appointed New Jersey’s poet laureate. In the same year that Chicano activist Mario Obledo boasted that California was becoming a Hispanic state and that “anyone who don’t like it…should go back to Europe,” President Bill Clinton awarded him the Medal of Freedom.

The mainstream media is likewise criminally complicit in maintaining such dangerously unsustainable double standards, perhaps most profoundly when it comes to interracial violence. If white youth anywhere in America were doing anything along the lines of “polar bear hunting,” you’d never hear the end of it. But as it stands, you’ve probably never heard of polar bear hunting.

Repealing Due Process, Declaring Permanent War Reply

Article by Mike Whitney.
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House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) is pushing a bill through congress that will repeal due process and give the President nearly-unlimited powers to wage war wherever and whenever he chooses without congressional approval. Because the language in the so-called Detainee Security Act of 2011 is (intentionally?) vague, it’s impossible to know at whom it is directed. Is the real focus on suspects captured by the military in the so-called War on Terror or civilians who oppose US foreign policy? It’s hard to say. Here’s an excerpt from an article in Talking Points Memo that mulls over that same question:

“The new language eschews references to September 11, and instead centers the authorization on “armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces,” though “associated forces” is not defined. It replaces the authority to target “organizations” and “persons” domestically with the power to target “all entities that continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad.” (“Congress Poised To Give President Power To Continue GWOT Indefinitely”, talkingpointsmemo.com)

Is that vague enough? Huffington Post’s Daphne Eviatar thinks the bill will “authorize the use of military force domestically, if terrorists are found here at home.” But, who knows?

In any event, President Barack Obama did not request these extraordinary powers, so it’s unclear whose interests are being served. Did Rep. McKeon concoct this bill himself in order to make the country safer or is he merely acting in behalf of powerful constituents who want a more autocratic form of government in the US? It’s impossible to know, but it’s odd that a Republican congressmen would want to expand presidential powers when a Democrat is in the White House.

Opposition to the Detainee Security Act of 2011, which is lumped together with the National Defense Authorization Act, has been minimal for the simple reason that the public has no idea what’s going on. This is another stealth campaign by the sleazebag-wing of GOP. The NDAA isn’t even on anyone’s radar, yet. But 32 (progressive) Democrats led by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) oppose many of the bill’s provisions, particularly those that would “allow the war on terrorism to continue indefinitely” and which would “formalize an indefinite detention system at Guantanamo.” (“Congress Poised To Give President Power To Continue GWOT Indefinitely”, talkingpointsmemo.com)