The Antifa Fad: Totalitarian Anti-Fascism Reply

Article by Michael Tuggle.

For Michael Behrle and many others like him, those are the battle lines in post-Cold War, multicultural America: on one side, fascists, and opposing them, the antifa. The word “antifa” comes from Antifaschismus, the German term for anti-fascism. Dressed in their preferred street garb of black clothes, boots, balaclavas, and anti-Nazi patches are young people, almost all white, driven by an ideology as powerful and magnetic as communism. French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut has warned, “I think that the lofty idea of ‘the war on racism’ is gradually turning into a hideously false ideology. And this anti-racism will be for the 21st century what communism was for the 20th century: a source of violence.”

Many antifa identify themselves as anarchists and communists. Both earlier movements secularized Christianity’s message that a chosen few will guide the world away from evil and toward the good, which today’s antifa warriors envision as a raceless, classless, unified world. But to get there, the old constraints must be broken. Anarchist and communist intellectuals preached that violence in a holy cause was an act of purification and renewal. Prince Kropotkin, who never harmed a fly or a single detested royal in his life, once wrote, “A single deed is better propaganda than a thousand pamphlets.”

Impeach Barack Obama 1

Article by John V. Walsh.

The time has come for those who claim high regard for the U.S. Constitution to show that they mean what they say. The time has come to begin impeachment proceedings against President Barack H. Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The United States has initiated a war against Libya, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has conceded. When one country bombs another, which has not attacked it nor posed any immediate threat to it, that is an act of war. No “humanitarian” rationale justifies such an act. Only an act of Congress suffices according to the United States Constitution. Barack Obama has violated that provision of the United States Constitution, which he swore, falsely it is now apparent, to defend and protect. Barack Obama has committed this greatest of impeachable offenses. Other offenses related to torture and violation of the civil liberties of U. S. citizens may emerge as articles of impeachment are drawn up.

Many Tea Party candidates and paleo-conservative and libertarian Republicans, such as Rep. Ron Paul, won office by declaring their high regard for the Constitution. Rep. Paul stated in advance of the attack on Libya that a Congressional declaration of war was necessary according to the provisions of the Constitution before an assault could proceed. If these Republicans do not act now to begin impeachment following the lead of the very principled Dr. Paul, their words meant nothing, and they should be turned out of office.

Similarly antiwar liberals such as Dennis Kucinich backed candidate Barack Obama because of his promises of peace. But President Obama has given us ever more war. His pledge to end the war in Iraq by 2009 turns out to be an empty promise, and he has widened the war in Afghanistan. He has also ordered the bombing of Pakistan, another act of war not authorized by Congress. If such liberals are genuine agents of peace, they too have an obligation to follow the lead of Kucinich who has used the term impeachment with respect to Barack Obama’s behavior to initiate impeachment proceedings. Otherwise they are poseurs, and they should be turned out of office.

Syria’s Old Boy Network Reply

Article by David D’Amato.

Syria is emerging as a volatile focal point of a region in flux, with the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, recalcitrant in dismissing what Reuters calls “rising demands for fundamental reform.” Though well-known for boasting to foreign media of supposedly near-universal popularity of his Baath Party regime, the president has become the latest object of the Middle East’s political disquiet.

Syria, repressed under a program of emergency martial law since 1963, stands out even among other totalitarian police states in the region. Justified by what the state characterizes as an ongoing state of war with Israel, the people of Syria are subjected to some of the world’s most oppressive measures, aimed at blotting out all political dissent. The security apparatus of the country is notable for its brutality, fortifying the single-party state by imprisoning anyone critical of it.

On Wednesday, March 23, following the governments shutdown of electricity and phone lines, Syrian security forces fired on and killed no less than six protestors gathered at a mosque in the south of the country. In less than a week Syria has murdered ten civilians, attacking and detaining many others as the country’s vice president insists that the government is “committed to ‘continue the path of reform and modernization.’”

In the weeks to come, we can expect more of the same from Assad’s camarilla, a nepotistic group of family members and close friends who comprise the military, political and economic establishment in the country. Syria provides an especially overt and extreme example of the kinds of venality and favoritism inherent in all of statism, of the nature of political power and coercive, economic privilege. Reuters reports that Syria’s secret police is “headed … by a cousin of Assad,” and another of his cousins runs the ostensibly “private” company, Syriatel, the country’s largest telecommunications firm.

Since the Assad family came to power, beginning with the military coup of the current president’s father Hafez, Syria’s economy has been marked by the cronyism of a small group of the family’s intimates. Through “currency manipulations,” “preferential treatment and quasi-monopolies,” observe Frank O. Mora and Quintan Wiktorowicz, the ruling class’s military-based elite has starved the country and stifled growth for its own benefit.

Fourth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity for Botched SWAT Raid Reply

The PIGS fuck up again. Duh? Article by Radley Balko.

It wasn’t a drug raid. But the details are fun. From the opinion:

On May 31, 2007, Sam Bellotte printed some photographs from a memory card at a self-service station in a Winchester, Virginia Wal-Mart. When he went to pay for the prints, a clerk insisted on inspecting the photos. Mr. Bellotte admitted that some contained nudity and surrendered them, then made other purchases and left the store.

The Wal-Mart employees charged with discarding the photos noticed one depicting male genitalia seemingly next to a child’s face. Concerned that the photograph was child pornography, the employees notified the Frederick County police. An investigation of the surveillance camera footage and credit card receipts showed that Mr. Bellotte, a resident of Jefferson County, West Virginia, had printed the photo in question. A Frederick County police officer placed the photo in a file container and notified the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, which then took responsibility for the investigation. After reviewing the file, verifying Mr. Bellotte’s address, and learning that both Mr. and Mrs. Bellotte held concealed carry permits, Detective Tracy Edwards sought a search warrant for the Bellotte residence. Around 9:00 that evening, the magistrate reviewed the application and signed the warrant.

In order to execute the warrant, Detective Edwards sought and received approval from the ranking Jefferson County law enforcement officer for the assistance of the Jefferson County Special Operations Team (“SORT Team”). The SORT Team leaders decided that their involvement was justified due to the possibility of a violent reaction from Mr. Bellotte and the concealed carry permits held by both Mr. and Mrs. Bellotte. After the three SORT squads were assembled and briefed, they arrived at the Bellotte residence around 10:15 p.m.

The three squads took positions around the house, wearing tactical vests and helmets and armed with flashlight-equipped.45 caliber Sig Sauer pistols and “hooligan” pry bars for a possible forced entry. Then, the Bellottes claim, the SORT squads opened the unlocked front and rear doors without knocking or announcing their presence. They immediately executed a dynamic entry—a technique that the SORT Team had recently been trained in—by which all squads simultaneously rushed into the home from multiple entry points. After the SORT squads were inside the house, they repeatedly identified themselves as law enforcement officers executing a search warrant.

The first member of the family to encounter the SORT Team was E.B., the Bellottes’ teenage son. When the officers found him upstairs walking out of his bedroom and talking on a cell phone, they subdued and handcuffed him. E.B. asserts that the officers also poked a gun at the back of his head. In another bedroom, the team found C.B., the Bellottes’ young daughter, and led her downstairs unhandcuffed.

When the SORT Team came to the parents’ bedroom, Tametta Bellotte raced out of bed and ran screaming toward the closet. When she reached for a gun bag, the officers forced her to the ground and handcuffed her. Later, when the house was secured, the SORT Team allowed Mrs. Bellotte to get fully dressed under the supervision of a female officer. The search of the Bellotte residence concluded shortly before midnight.

Sam Bellotte was actually on a hunting trip at the time. When he learned of the raid on his family, the same man police thought was so dangerous that they had to send a SWAT team to his home late at night walked into the police station, explained the situation, and provided documentation that the person depicted in the photo was a 35-year-old Filipino woman.

A couple other points here. First, I still wonder why gun rights groups like the NRA aren’t more disturbed by the ubiquitous use of SWAT teams. Here, the fact that the Bellotte’s were legal, registered gun owners was used as justification for the violent, volatile entry into their home. It isn’t the first time this has happened. You’d think that’s something that might concern Second Amendment acitivists.

Second, the police were right. Tametta Bellotte did immediately go for her gun when the SWAT team entered. But not because she’s a cop-killing, child pornographizing criminal. As it turns out, she was innocent. She went for her gun because she thought her life is in danger.

That said, it’s good to see the Fourth Circuit decline qualified immunity here. And it would be nice to see federal courts allow more liability for botched raids.

Revolution Not Replication Reply

Article by David D’Amato.

With pro-democracy demonstrations billowing around his regime, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has held his post for more than thirty years, warned on March 22 that the country is balanced on the precipice of “a bloody war” within its own borders. Saleh, whose offer to step down at the start of 2012 was rejected by his opposition, invoked “the will of the people” to vindicate his government, adding, “It is impossible for a minority to control the fate of the nation.”

But domination of the multitudes by a small, elite minority has been the governing norm in Yemen for generations, embodying the model of statism itself. As Orwell wrote in Nineteen Eighty-Four: “Everywhere there is the same pyramidal structure,” a coercively-imposed system of interconnected hierarchies adapted to let indolent elites live off of the work of the industrious. Saleh’s refusal to abdicate power is redolent of erstwhile Egyptian President Mubarak’s obdurate insistence on staying in office — an insistence that crumbled in short order — and the similarities don’t end there.

Widespread protests against Mubarak’s authoritarian system, indurated through its partnership with the United States, led to the rise of a small cabal of military elites. The popularity of Egypt’s military provided fertile ground for the seeds of political opportunism, allowing the generals to ride a movement grounded on woolly ideas about democracy into the halls of power.

And now that the votes are in from Saturday’s (March 19) constitutional referendum — its terms set by a legal committee appointed by the military — Egyptians are beginning to see that they may have overestimated the changes promised by the heady days of protest. Critics already charge that some among the proposed constitutional provisions would, reports The Guardian, “legalis[e] dictatorship,” creating a “top-down political system” with only “cosmetic differences” from the Mubarak era.

On that account, it’s little wonder that, with an eye to Egypt, Yemen’s military establishment has become quite enthralled with democracy of late. Even assuming that the desires of Yemen’s lowly privates genuinely center on democratic values, the generals at the top know well that it won’t be low-ranking soldiers holding the reins of the state after Saleh’s departure.

It Doesn’t Matter What “the Law” Is Reply

Article by Kevin Carson.

In one of the more memorable passages in Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith contemplates the inevitable doom that will follow from the first entry which he is preparing to make in his diary. The act was not illegal, he reflected — there were no laws in Oceania — but its discovery would nevertheless result in ten years in a forced labor camp.

If your tastes tend more to the lowbrow, there’s that great line from National Lampoon’s “Vacation”: “It ain’t illegal. Hell, I oughta know — I’m the sheriff!”

We see an increasing number of instances in the United States and the “Free World” in which citizens can be punished without any specific legal pretext.

To take one example which has been around for a while, there is no written law against carrying large amounts of cash on one’s person, nor any specific statutory definition of the threshold at which the amount of money one carries becomes a criminal offense. Nevertheless, anyone stopped by a police officer and found to be carrying thousands of dollars in cash will be presumed a drug trafficker of some sort, and their money seized according to the usual procedure of “civil forfeiture.”

When ballot measures to decriminalize or liberalize marijuana laws clear all the hurdles and are voted into law, as often or not the cops just quietly ignore them. For example, last October Los Angeles County, California Sheriff Lee Baca baldly stated that he would continue to arrest pot users even if Proposition 19 (which would have legalized it) passed. Baca’s “argument” was that it is still criminalized by federal statute, and that federal law supersedes state law.

Even as explained by the state’s own pet jurists, of course, this was utter nonsense. The functionaries of a state are not bound to enforce federal law. The practical effect of a measure legalizing pot, had it passed, would simply have been to tell the feds to enforce their own law. It would have withdrawn California’s state and local cops from the enforcement effort and dismantled the whole apparatus of interjurisdictional drug task forces. But none of that matters. Because if a cop wants to enforce a “law” badly enough, he’ll make one up.

Just about every week, Radley Balko reports on someone being arrested for filming cops, on the pretext that they’re “hindering apprehension,” “interfering with police business,” or “violating the wiretap laws,” or some such bull-hockey. Never mind that there’s no actual law criminalizing the act of recording public functionaries performing public duties in a public place, or that there’s even a law on the books specifically exempting such activity from the wiretap statutes.

Statement by a Libyan anarchist – The signs of the defeat of Libyan revolution Reply

http://www.gonzotimes.com/2011/03/statement-by-a-libyan-anarchist-the-signs-of-the-defeat-of-libyan-revolution/

I call on all the peoples to support us, the Egyptians, Tunisians, French, even Chinese, all the peoples of the world, we welcome their support and sympathy. —- In a few hours, the UN Security Council will decide to start air strikes against Libya. France has said that it is ready to start the bombardment from tonight. — We condemn this international resolution, if it is realized. And we totally reject any foreign intervention in Libya, whatever shape it may take, especially a French one. France, that sold Qaddafi weapons worth billions, weapons that he is using today to blow up Libyans, the same France that didn’t stop such deals until 3 weeks back. — We condemn this intervention that will transform Libya into a real hell, even more than now. That intervention will also steal the revolution from the Libyans, a revolution that has cost them thousands of dead women and men so far.

An intervention that will also divide the Libyan resistance.

And even if these operations do succeed and Qaddafi falls (or dies) like Saddam Hussein, it will mean that we were liberated by Americans and French, and I can assure you that they will keep reminding us of that every minute.

How we can stand this later? How we can explain all these casualities to the coming generations, all those dead bodies that will be everywhere ?

To be liberated from Qaddafi just to become slaves to those who armed him and empowered him during all those years of authoritarian violence and repression.

After the first mistake – the militarization of the popular revolution – here we are committing our second mistake – the establishment of a new leadership of figures arising out of the remnants of the Libyan Jamahiriya regime. And our third mistake is coming inevitably, which will be to ask for help from our enemies. I only hope we will not reach the fourth one: that is, occupation and the arrival of the marines.

Sarkozy and France are our enemies; they are also enemies of the whole Third World. They don’t hide their contempt of us. All that Sarkozy cares about is to be re-elected next year.

The man who organized the meeting between Sarkozy and the representatives of the interim national council is none other than Bernard-Henri Lévy, a quack philosopher, and for those who don’t know him, a French Zionist activist who concentrates all his efforts on supporting Israel and defending its interests. We saw him lately in Tahrir Square just to make sure that the revolting youth there would not chant against Israel.

What can be said while waiting for the bombs?

Because bombs will not differentiate between those who are pro-Qaddafi and who are against him.

Colonialist bombs, as you know, have only one objective: to defend the interests of arms traders. They sold Qaddafi arms worth billions and then we ask them to destroy them now… Then we will buy new arms through the new government – it is an old, well-known story. But there are people who cannot learn except through committing old mistakes, made long before.

I say this very clearly: this is a very dangerous strategic mistake, one that the Libyan people will pay for, maybe for many years to come. More than the years of the rule of Qaddafi and his family.

I call today, and now, just hours before the burning of Libya and before it is made into another Baghdad, I call on all Libyans, all intellectuals, artists, university graduates, everyone, those who can write and those who cannot, every female and male citizen, to reject this military intervention by the US, France and Britain, and the Arab regimes that they support. At the same time, I call on all the peoples to support us, the Egyptians, Tunisians, French, even Chinese, all the peoples of the world, we welcome their support and sympathy.

But as for governments, whatever government, we will not ask anything from them, but to leave us alone, to let us finish the problem of Qaddafi by ourselves.

Saoud Salem
Libyan anarchist

17 March 2011

The Alternative Right 1

A hit piece on the Alternative Right from the Left. Obviously, I have my disagreements with this article but the graphic below is hilarious:

In American society, and to a larger extent Europe, Canada and Australia, you’re seeing the rise of a movement that is best described as the “alternative right.” These guys are radical traditionalists, who through the election of a black president to the presidency in the United States, the rise of Hispanic and Muslim populations in Europe and America, have woken up to see a Western society that is no longer exclusively Western.

These guys may have just made snarky comments when George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan added women to the government or held demonstrations when Bush and Reagan opened the doors for immigrants but Barack Obama’s presidency, complete with a Latina on the Supreme Court and a black woman at the highest echelon of cultural authority telling them that they’re eating a crappy diet was just too much to take. Something had to be done.

That something is what you are seeing with websites like Richard Spencer’s Alternative Right, These guys aren’t prudent conservatives in the mold of Wayeed Ali who seek “organic change” over “forced change.” They’re radicals that want disruptive and forced change back to the past. Jay Batman fits smugly among these cretins, with his language alone fitting him squarely in the midst of these neo-fascists:

Why I Am An Anarcho-Misogynist 3

Jay Batman strikes again with this piece that’s been ruffling some feathers over as the Gonzo Time. There have been some interesting following up posts this article as well over there. Check it out.

As I’ve come to divorce myself from statist paradigms, I’ve also become increasingly cognizant of the state’s alignment with female driven concerns and motivations. The welfare state, the nanny state, all of the major advances of the state into social concerns over the past fifty years are undeniably matriarchal in their concerns. But more than that, societal conventions that deny a man’s natural and innate inclinations to preach some false idea of domestication as the ideal are the creations of a matriarchal tyranny.

We men are not naturally inclined toward monogamy or marriage. Societies that promote such end results are clearly the product of male hatred on the part of the women who drive such values. Women have appropriated the state and religious institutions to systematically de-masculinize men and relegate us to a less virile, less potent existence. Instead of celebrating our masculinity, we are taught to regard it as an impediment to the liberation of women. The two are mutually exclusive, because the feminine paradigm of thought is largely concerned with the oppositional, either/or mutually exclusive dichotomy.

It is no accident that mainline religious denominations are dominated by women from a membership standpoint. Consider the following from the article The Feminization of Christianity by Leon Podles, which finds church membership ratios overwhelming dominated by women: Roman Catholics, 1.09 to one; Lutherans, 1.04-1.23 to one; Mennonites, 1.44-1.16 to one; Friends, 1.40 to one; Methodists, 1.33-1.47 to one; Baptists, 1.35 to one; Assembly of God, 1.71 to one; Pentecostals, 1.71-2.09 to one; and Christian Scientists, 3.19 to one. Podles notes that when men do attend church, it is usually only because they are pressured into doing so by women.

Against the State: Forming Bridges between the Anarchist, Libertarian, and conservative movements Reply

Excellent article from “Jay Batman” and the Gonzo Times. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this article, but these are the kinds of questions anarchists need to give more thought to.

The anarchist movement, splintered as it is into various sects and subsets of theory and ideology, must come to terms with reality: over the course of its history, the state has grown stronger, more prevalent, and more entrenched than ever before. Anarchism, in all of its subsets, has yet to grow beyond marginal appeal, even though it holds a truly appealing core set of beliefs: the individual maintains primacy above all else, and has total sovereignty to make voluntary associations according to his or her own interest. In this day and age, where the rights of individuals are assailed by states whose bureaucrats and leaders have lost sight of the reality that states are established by individuals to act in the interest of the individuals within the state, it is astonishing that anarchy has not advanced beyond marginal appeal.

There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is an infantile obsession some anarchists have with demonstration as the chief means of resistance. One will not stop the encroachment of the WTO with a street protest. The state is a failure, plainly and simply enough, but anarchists have failed to effectively articulate this to the masses with a message that identifies the specific failures of statism while simultaneously putting forth an easily digestible alternative to statism. It is one thing to identify the failures of statism; it is another thing entirely to articulate alternatives that are conceptually palatable to a mass audience.

Part of the problem is that anarchism has always been the purview of two particular groups: the fringe and the intellectuals. Being an anarchist appeals to those who see themselves as already outside the state, but if a machine such as the state is to be undone, it will be undone from within far more quickly than from without. This requires engagement with the state, and with other ideological schools of thought along those lines where anarchy, libertarianism, and conservatism converge. There is but one line where all three schools converge: the reduction of state power.

Who's in charge? Germans pull forces out of NATO as Libyan coalition falls apart Reply

From the Daily Mail.

* Tensions with Britain as Gates rebukes UK government over suggestion Gaddafi could be assassinated
* French propose a new political ‘committee’ to oversee operations
* Germany pulls equipment out of NATO coalition over disagreement over campaign’s direction
* Italians accuse French of backing NATO in exchange for oil contracts
* No-fly zone called into question after first wave of strikes ‘neutralises’ Libyan military machine
* U.K. ministers say war could last ’30 years’
* Italy to ‘take back control’ of bases used by allies unless NATO leadership put in charge of the mission
* Russians tell U.S. to stop bombing in order to protect civilians – calls bombing a ‘crusade’

Deep divisions between allied forces currently bombing Libya worsened today as the German military announced it was pulling forces out of NATO over continued disagreement on who will lead the campaign.

A German military spokesman said it was recalling two frigates and AWACS surveillance plane crews from the Mediterranean, after fears they would be drawn into the conflict if NATO takes over control from the U.S.

The infighting comes as a heated meeting of NATO ambassadors yesterday failed to resolve whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, diplomats said.

Yesterday a war of words erupted between the U.S. and Britain after the U.K. government claimed Muammar Gaddafi is a legitimate target for assassination.

U.K. government officials said killing the Libyan leader would be legal if it prevented civilian deaths as laid out in a U.N. resolution.

But U.S. defence secretary Robert Gates hit back at the suggestion, saying it would be ‘unwise’ to target the Libyan leader adding cryptically that the bombing campaign should stick to the ‘U.N. mandate’.

Unsure: Libyan rebels retreat from the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi. Nato members are also fighting over who will take command of allied forces

The Giant American Banking Deception Reply

From My Budget 360

The American banking industry is trying to convince the public that simply by hiding bad debts in the deep levels of corporate balance sheets that taking on leveraged risk is somehow safe. FDIC insured banks currently have $7.4 trillion in actual deposits, much of it covered by the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF). Most Americans think that there is a “fund” similar to the “Social Security Trust Fund” to protect their hard earned savings but in reality the DIF is empty. The DIF is running on fumes and inspiration. Banks are trying to fool the public that somehow the Fed and FDIC backed institutions largely of the too big to fail variety, can simply print or hope money into existence like wishing mules would turn into magical unicorns. Most understand even at an instinctual level that something is wrong here. Even the king of the Ponzi scheme Bernard Madoff called the current structure the biggest of Ponzi schemes. He should know.

Liberals March to War Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.

Well, that didn’t take long.

Now that President Barack Obama has intervened in Libya, his army of apologists is mobilizing to defend his “humanitarianism,” declaring that his war isn’t at all like Bush’s wars. It’s something new, and different – and admirable.

I’m not at all surprised. Are you? The anti-interventionist veneer of most American liberals and assorted “progressives” peels off quite readily when a little “humanitarian” lotion is applied – especially if it’s poured on thick by a liberal Democratic President with a domestic agenda they can endorse.

Mother Jones magazine, to cite one exemplar of this chameleon-like transformation, is no stranger to cheerleading the dark side of Obama’s presidency. You’ll recall that the magazine launched a scurrilous attack on Julian Assange, in which the author compiled a lot of quotes from self-described “experts” to the effect that WikiLeaks suffers from a lack of “transparency” – to the US government, no less! – and, alternatively, is a CIA “front.” That didn’t sit too well with their readers, as a look at the comments appended to that article attests, but a shill for power’s gotta do what a shill is born to do, and that is “spin” every event to make the team –Team Obama, in this case – look good. A

Naked Aggression Against Libya Reply

Lew Rockwell is interviewed on Russia Today.

The Arab League is a “collection of dictators, kings and presidents, all of them puppets of the US, but they are backing down because of the unbelievable hatred and outrage on the part of their own people for the fact that they went along with aggression against yet another Muslim Arab country,” argued Lew Rockwell, chairman of the Research and Educational Center at the US-based Ludwig von Mises Institute.

If the coalition succeeds in killing Muammar Gaddafi, it will inevitably mean more ethnic and tribal conflict, which could lead to civil war, Rockwell said – which is exactly what the US needs to control the oil-rich parts of Libya.

Embracing Markets, Opposing Capitalism Reply

Article by Gary Chartier.

Being a libertarian means opposing the use of force to restrain peaceful, voluntary exchange. That doesn’t mean it should be understood as involving support for capitalism.

Whether this claim makes any sense at all depends, of course, on what you mean by “capitalism.” For some people, perhaps, the term just refers to free exchange. And if that’s all you intend when you talk about “capitalism,” you’re quite right that there’s no real conflict between what you’re talking about and a sensible libertarianism.

But people very often have some other senses of the word in mind when they employ it. For instance: mainstream print and electronic media regularly use “capitalism” to refer to “the economic system we have now.” And it’s relatively common to hear “capitalism” employed as a synonym for “dominance of workplaces and society by capitalists—by the owners of substantial capital assets.” Libertarian principles as I understand them entail support for capitalism in neither of these senses.

To a very significant degree, the economic system we have now is one from which peaceful, voluntary exchange is absent.

A Foolish and Unconstitutional War Reply

Article by Pat Buchanan.

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

So said constitutional scholar and Senator Barack Obama in December 2007—the same man who, this weekend, ordered U.S. air and missile strikes on Libya without any authorization from Congress.

Obama did win the support of Gabon in the Security Council, but failed with Germany. With a phone call to acquitted rapist Jacob Zuma, he got South Africa to sign on, but not Brazil, Russia, India or China. All four abstained.

This is not the world’s war. This is Obama’s war.

The U.S. Navy fired almost all the cruise missiles that hit Libya as the U.S. Air Force attacked with B-2 bombers, F-15s and F-16s.

“To be clear, this is a U.S.-led operation,” said Vice Adm. William Gortney.

“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies,” said Winston Churchill. Obama is a quick study.

In his Friday ultimatum, he said, “We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal—specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya.”

Why, then, did we strike Tripoli and Moammar Gadhafi’s compound?

So many U.S. missiles and bombs have struck Libya that the Arab League is bailing out. League chief Amr Moussa has called an emergency meeting of the 22 Arab states to discuss attacks that have “led to the deaths and injuries of many Libyan civilians.” We asked for a no-fly zone, said Moussa, not the “bombardment of civilians.”

What caused Obama’s about-face from the Pentagon position that imposing a no-fly zone on Libya was an unwise act of war?

According to The New York Times, National Security Council aide Samantha Power, U.N. envoy Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton flipped him. The three sisters feel guilty about us not invading Rwanda when Hutu were butchering Tutsi.

Military Intervention in Libya: The Errors of Muscular Libertarianism Reply

A very important article by Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance.

Everything I thought relevant about our latest war in the Moslem world I said in a blog posting a few days ago. However, I have been asked to write at greater length. If I do not choose to begin again on the reams of commentary that I made on our earlier war in Iraq, I suppose I should say something about Libya.

Looking at the immediate issues, I am against intervention. It is none of our business what goes on in the Moslem world. Even if it were, there is no good that we are nowadays capable of doing there. I doubt if air strikes alone will prevent Colonel Gaddafi or his enemies from killing ordinary people. The logic of the intervention we have made may draw us into some kind of land attack – followed by some kind of occupation. And everyone ought by now to understand the likeliest outcome of military occupations in the Moslem world. Even if he is brought down with the help we are so far providing, I do not believe that whatever follows Colonel Gaddafi will be much better on the whole than he has been, or that it will be any more friendly to us. The most charitable view to be taken of the British and American Governments is that they are run by fools whose memory does not reach back even to 2003. The most sensible view is that military action is being taken for the benefit of special interest groups that cannot stand openly forward without bringing both governments down into scandal and contempt.

That is my view of the war. Of course, it is possible that, this time, I and the trend within libertarianism to which I belong are mistaken as to facts. Perhaps this time, limited intervention will bring down a tyrant, and he will be followed by a stable and reasonably liberal democracy in Libya. I do not for a moment suppose that this will happen – or is actually desired by whoever is giving the orders. But let me assume that this is a possibility, and then take issue with a rival libertarian trend that asserts our right, and even our duty, to beat down tyranny wherever we can, and to raise up such constitutional government as the people there are able to support.

The main problem – specific facts aside – with this kind of assertion is the talk of “we” and “us”. Such talk made reasonable sense in the ancient democracies. When a treaty was made between Athens and Corcyra, for example, the Athenian ambassadors signed fully on behalf of the people of Athens. All policy was debated at meetings that every adult male citizen had the right to attend. Even allowing for slavery, probably the majority of those who paid taxes were able to speak and vote on the weight and the use of the tax money. Certainly, everyone who might be called on to do military or naval service could speak and vote. Moreover, every effective office of state was filled either by direct election, for short periods and with the real possibility of impeachment, or by lot for short periods, so that the people as a whole, in every generation, would have a share in government. Obviously, there were always dissenters from whatever the majority decided. But, when the ancient historians say that “the Athenians” did this or that, they were making sense.

But neither England nor America is a democracy of this kind. In both countries, there is a much greater separation of state and people. To take the example of my own country, the British State comprises the Queen-in-Parliament, plus a mass of employed officials who themselves outnumber the whole population of ancient Athens; and it is influenced by a further cluster of usually corporate interests. Whether this machine is directed by six hundred or so elected representatives is beside the point – though it generally is not directed by them. These representatives are themselves members of a class separate from the people who choose between them every four or five years.

To speak of actions taken by the British State as taken by “us” is a plain error.

A Community of Small Nations for a Sustainable Planet… Reply

Article by Thomas Naylor.

Neither its $5.4 trillion economy, its state-of-the-art technology, nor its military-like efficiency could protect Japan from the catastrophic consequences of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. To be quite blunt, when you cram 127 million people into one large island and a group of smaller ones, all prone to earthquakes, you have few degrees of freedom when disaster strikes. It’s all about human scale.

Japan is but one of eleven meganations with a population of over one hundred million people. Although none of them are as wealthy, materialistic, racist, militaristic, violent, or imperialistic as the United States, all eleven of them are too big, too powerful, too undemocratic, too environmentally irresponsible, too intrusive, too insular, and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens and small local communities.

Thus it is hardly surprising that the 192-member United Nations, which is dominated by the United States, Russia, and China, each of which has veto power in the Security Council, has been so ineffective since its inception in 1945. Nothing illustrates this better than the U.N. sponsored conferences on climate change in Kyoto in 1997 and Copenhagen in 2009. Trying to come up with solutions to a problem as complex as climate change by assembling 178 heads of state, as was the case in Kyoto, or 193 in Copenhagen, is truly an exercise in futility. The product of the 12-day Copenhagen conference was a nonbinding agreement in which no one was committed to anything. The so-called Copenhagen agreement was a complete sham. The process was replicated in Cancun, Mexico in 2010 with similar results.

Republican says action in Libya is an 'affront' to the US Constitution Reply

The far Left and the far Right coming together in a bipartisan effort to impeach Obama would be very cool indeed. Article by John T. Bennett.

A senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee escalated his party’s attacks on the Obama’s administration’s military action in Libya, calling the move unconstitutional.

“The United States does not have a King’s army,” Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said in a statement released Monday evening. “President Obama’s unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution.”

Bartlett said Obama’s team has repeated “the mistakes” made by the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations when they plunged U.S. forces into the Kosovo and Iraq conflicts without first seeking congressional approval.

Bartlett lashed out at Obama for opting against getting lawmakers’ OK before using “military force against a country that has not attacked U.S. territory, the U.S. military or U.S. citizens.”

Obama notified lawmakers of his authorization for the mission in a letter.

Bartlett’s statement was the harshest yet from House Republican leaders, who are lining up against the Libyan operation.

Kucinich calls Obama’s attack on Libya ‘an impeachable offense’ Reply

Go, Dennis! Article by Sahil Kapur

n an exclusive interview with Raw Story on Monday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) tore into President Barack Obama’s decision to order U.S. air strikes against Libya, opening the door for impeachment while emphatically declaring that Obama violated the Constitution.

“President Obama moved forward without Congress approving. He didn’t have Congressional authorization, he has gone against the Constitution, and that’s got to be said,” Kucinich told Raw Story. “It’s not even disputable, this isn’t even a close question. Such an action — that involves putting America’s service men and women into harm’s way, whether they’re in the Air Force or the Navy — is a grave decision that cannot be made by the president alone.”

“And I’m raising the question as to whether or not it’s an impeachable offense. It would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense,” Kucinich said. “Now, it doesn’t necessarily follow that simply because a president has committed an impeachable offense, that the process should start to impeach and remove him. That’s a whole separate question. But we have to clearly understand what this Constitution is about.”

The anti-war Democrat said Obama must know he violated the Constitution, referring to this quote from candidate Obama in 2007: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Urban Gardening and Green Economy Flourish in Detroit Reply

From Alternet.

On February 16, Michigan’s Governor Snyder signed into law a sweeping emergency financial management bill, one that will give him wide powers to appoint financial managers across the state. Cities in financial distress will be assigned emergency managers, who will have the power to suspend collective bargaining, terminate city employees, even dissolve local governments completely — whatever is deemed necessary in the pursuit of a “balanced budget.”

Critics have called it the most undemocratic legislative measure in recent United States history.

The plan, Gov. Snyder claims, is a response to the very real budget problems facing Michigan. Many cities across the state face default. Add to that high unemployment, cities in disrepair, and the collapse of vital industries, and the situation can rightly be deemed an emergency.

Perhaps no city is more emblematic of the challenges facing the state than Detroit. The city has an annual budget deficit of $155 million, and long-term debt totaling $5.7 billion. Less than half of its students graduate high school. There are parts of the city where streetlights don’t come on at night and trash goes uncollected.

Big Government and Capitalism Reply

From Stumbling and Mumbling.

In the Economist’s rather good survey of the growth of government, there’s one thing missing – something right libertarians tend to understate. I refer to the possibility that the increasing size of the state over time has often served the interests of capitalism.
I don’t just mean that individual capitalists are quick to use the law to suppress basic freedoms, or that they got massive state handouts when governments bailed out banks. I’m thinking of six general mechanisms:
1. A solution to stagnation. Back in the 1960s, Baran and Sweezy argued that because capitalism was better at generating profits than it was at investing them, it contained a tendency towards stagnation. State spending, they said, was one way of boosting aggregate demand and offsetting this tendency.
Although this theory fell out of favour in the inflationary 70s, I suspect it has regained relevance recently, as a key feature of western economies has been a dearth of investment opportunities.
2. Stabilization. In theory, a small state could stabilize economic fluctuations through orthodox deficit spending. In practice because recessions are unforeseeable and because fiscal policy works only with lags, this is not possible. Instead, stabilization requires the existence of a largish state, which creates a big non-cyclical component of aggregate demand.
And let’s be clear here. Capitalists value stabilization; very few chief executives are fans of Robert Lucas’s view (pdf) that the welfare costs of business cycles are small.
3. Legitimation. Insofar as capitalism tends to generate inequality, it also produces social unrest which, in turn, can deter investment and growth; it is no accident that traditionally very unequal south American countries have had poor long-run growth. A welfare state which buys off discontent is thus in the interests of capital. Remember, arguably the first modern welfare state was established by Otto von Bismarck, a man not commonly regarded as a loony lefty.
A welfare state also sustains capitalism in another way. For aggregate profits to be maximized, capitalists must get workers’ wages back, in the form of consumer spending. However, if workers must save for old age or against the risk of unemployment, this will not happen – which is potentially detrimental for profits.
4. A solution to the paradox of wages. For any individual capitalist, the best possible outcome is for him to pay low wages and thus have low costs, whilst everyone else pays high wages, so he enjoys high demand. The existence of a big state helps resolve this paradox by increasing the demand for labour and hence wages. Of course, sometimes – in many countries in the 70s and 80s – the state can go too far in this regard, from the perspective of capital. But this doesn’t alter the fact that sometimes – in the 30s – it didn’t go far enough.
5. Regulation diminishes the principal-agent problem. Whether because of asymmetric information or the problem of collective action, shareholders have only imperfect control over bosses. In a free market, then, bosses might act in ways that maximize their own (short-term) advantage, to the detriment of shareholders and society – as, for example, when banks took too much risk. Sometimes, then, the state has to do what shareholders cannot, and regulate firms – though as we saw in the banking crisis, it does so only imperfectly.
6. Regulation and red tape are an overhead which bears more heavily upon smaller firms. As such, they can benefit larger firms, who enjoy less competition.
Now, I am not saying here that big government is always and everywhere in the interests of capitalism; in the 70s and 80s it often wasn’t. Nor am I saying it is the only cause of big government.
What I am saying is that the state grew in the 20th century in part because that is what capitalism required. It is no accident that heads of big business are rarely full-blooded libertarians – a fact which the latter should remember.