By Michael Scheuer
More than a decade ago, Osama bin Laden appeared in a brief video to speak about several issues. One of them was to advise the Islamic world that they should expect the U.S. military to be defeated by Islam, the Taleban, and its allies in Afghanistan. The other was to suggest that Muslims should be prepared to watch the U.S. government strangle the civil liberties of Americans in the name of prosecuting its war against the Islamist mujahedin.
A dozen years on, the late-al-Qaeda chief’s first prediction has come true. The U.S. military is leaving Afghanistan after an utter defeat inflicted on it by America’s two most lethal enemies, the Islamist Mujahedin and Barack Obama’s administration.
By Daniel Ellsberg
In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an “executive coup” against the US constitution.
Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.
By John Whitehead
There is a deep and abiding sense of unease permeating American society. From the IRS targeting politically conservative groups to the Department of Justice targeting journalists for surveillance, from the revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) is tracking the telephone calls of most Americans to the public spectacle of whistleblower Bradley Manning’s trial, in recent weeks there has been no shortage of evidence that the new “normal” in the United States is not friendly to freedom.
The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows
Link to video: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.
From my Inferno.
Last week saw not one but two gynocentric moral panics, with the forces of femiternalism once more waging their holy war, or shehad, against the tentacles of the todgerarchy .
Dr. Sean Gabb
Emma West has finally been worn down. Eighteen months after she was charged with racially aggravated intentional harassment and racially aggravated assault , she has agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress with the original charges being dropped (http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/EXCLUSIVE-Emma-West-pleads-guilty-racially/story-19182717-detail/story.html#axzz2VKmkpyXr). The lesser charge does not, unlike the original charge, mention intent and is unlikely to result in a prison sentence.
Until she attended a bail hearing in May this year Emma West had resolutely maintained a Not Guilty plea despite the considerable pressure applied to her by the state. This included imprisoning her in the highest security women’s prison in England (Bronzehill HMP) “for her own safety” instead of granting her bail, despite Mrs West’s insistence that she was in no danger. She has also had the constant fear that her young son could be taken from her.
Cody Tubman had a dream prom night, the perfect dress and then the crown to go with it.
Cody was voted prom queen of Middleboro High School.
“I was all smiles,” Cody says laughing. “We were standing there and they announced I was prom queen. So I was like ‘oh yay, so exciting,’ But it was kind of surprising.”
It was surprising because Cody is transgender.
She was born a boy but she started dressing as a girl when she was a freshman in high school. She says she feels more confident and comfortable in her body.
A former member of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs has come out to say she’s now a woman.
Kristin Beck, formerly Chris, served 20 years as a SEAL and fought on some of the most dangerous battlefields in the world, but after she left the service she realized she wasn’t living the life she wanted.
“Chris really wanted to be a girl and felt that she was a girl and consolidated that identity very early on in childhood,” said Anne Speckhard, co-author of Beck’s biography “Warrior Princess,” which was published over the weekend. More…
Tom Woods answers with the obvious.
For some reason, the finger-waggers at Salon think they’ve got us stumped with this one: “If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country in the world ever tried it?”
So this is the unanswerable question? What’s supposed to be so hard about it? Ninety percent of what libertarians write about answers it at least implicitly.
Let’s reword the question slightly, in order to draw out the answer. You’ll note that when stated correctly, the question contains an implicit non sequitur.
(1) “If your approach is so great, why doesn’t local law enforcement want to give up the money, supplies, and authority that come from the drug war?”
(2) “If your approach is so great, why don’t big financial firms prefer to stand or fall on their merits, and prefer bailouts instead?”
It looks like Salon.Com really has it in for libertarians these days.
By Michael Lind
(Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel)
Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?
By Jordan Bloom
Reason held a panel last week on libertarian perspectives on abortion featuring their own Katherine Mangu-Ward and Ronald Bailey, alongside the strongly pro-life Mollie Hemingway. The video is above.
All seem to agree that viability is a sliding scale that is difficult to use as a starting point for policy. Bailey, however, isn’t ready to reject it entirely because “that is the point at which someone else can decide to take care of the entity, the baby, the fetus, or whatever you like, as opposed to imposing the burden on the woman who’s carrying the fetus to maintain.”
Mangu-Ward throws up her hands: ”At some point we have the biological distinction of birth, which I don’t think necessarily has strong moral weight but has very very strong customary weight, and that up to that point it’s essentially an individual decision.”
Unfortunately, this writer is clueless as to the differences between neoliberalism and actual libertarianism and reacts with stereotypical left-wing hysteria when the welfare state is criticized. This article also fails to discuss what is most interesting about Nozick. Yet many of the criticisms of vulgar libertarianism are warranted
Recently, I overheard a fellow Amtraker back off a conversation on politics. “You know, it’s because I’m a libertarian,” he said, sounding like a vegetarian politely declining offal. Later that afternoon, in the otherwise quite groovy loft I sometimes crash at in SoHo, where one might once have expected,say, Of Grammatology or at least a back issue ofElle Decor, there sat not one but two copies of something called The Libertarian Reader. “Libertarianism” places one—so believes the libertarian—not on the political spectrum but slightly above it, and this accounts for its appeal to both the tricorne fringe and owners of premium real estate. More…
By Jacob Hornberger
All of us have been born and raised under a regime of controlled borders. We have also been inculcated with the notion that this is all part of a “free society” and a “free-enterprise system.”
But it’s all been a lie. The truth is that controlled borders are the antithesis of a free society and a free-enterprise economic system.
For one thing, free enterprise, in its genuine sense, is economic enterprise that is free of government control. When the government is punishing people for crossing borders in search of a better way of life, interfering with trade through sanctions and embargoes, raiding private businesses who have decided to employ foreigners, and interfering with liberty of contract and freedom of association between foreigners and Americans, that’s as far from free enterprise as a society can get.
By Keir Martland
Government Property is an Oxymoron1
The consensus among modern libertarians seems to be that free immigration is the only libertarian stance possible in this debate because of the ‘economic benefits’ and that those who oppose free immigration are just statists who want the government to control who can and can’t move about from here to there.Conversely, it is my opinion that a state policy of open borders amounts to an infringement of property rights and that, consequently, border controls tighter than those currently in force are perfectly compatible with propertarianism, though certainly not compatible with the modern, vile, Marxist flavour of libertarianism to which many of us have become accustomed.
Dr. Sean Gabb
Here, to entertain or instruct, is a fairly complete listing of Libertarian Alliance publications from the past few months.
I am pleased to say that our Blog has now been joined by several other contributors, and that it is now easily the most active and intellectually rigorous libertarian blog in Britain. Persistence aside, we have achieved this in a number of ways. First, we insist on good writing. Second, we insist on writing at length. Third we make a point of not moderating comments unless they seem likely to get us into trouble with the authorities. The result is comfort in diversity.
This can be seen to best effect, perhaps, in our extended symposium on the Legacy of Margaret Thatcher. Here, comments range from the savage to the eulogistic. She was always a divisive figure among libertarians, and it would have been ridiculous not to let this be reflected in our coverage. This drew wide attention. My own essays on her were republished in newspapers all over the world, and one of them was reprinted by The Independent.
I have grouped essays roughly in order of theme, though This should be seen as a very rough grouping.
By John Whitehead
“[F]orce alone cannot make us safe. We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the well-spring of extremism, a perpetual war – through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments – will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.” ~ Barack Obama, May 23, 2013
President Obama’s declaration that “America is at a crossroads” in the fight against terror, a fight that is increasingly turning inwards, setting its sights on homegrown extremists, should give every American pause.
By Samuel Goldman
The New Yorker‘s George Packer can’t decide what to think about 21st-century America.
On the one hand, Packer likes developments that enhance the lifestyles of the educated upper middle class: “marriage equality, Lipitor, a black President, Google searches, airbags, novelistic TV shows, the opportunity for women to be as singlemindedly driven as their male colleagues, good coffee, safer cities, cleaner air, photographs of the kids on my phone, anti-bullying, Daniel Day Lewis, cheap communications, smoke-free airplanes, wheelchair parking, and I could go on.” On the other hand, he’s sorry that these benefits aren’t more broadly shared. Life is pretty good in brownstone Brooklyn and its spiritual counterparts. But it’s gotten harder and harder in “urban cores like Youngstown, Ohio; rural backwaters like Rockingham County, North Carolina; and the exurban slums outside Tampa…”
Comrades, —- The Arab uprisings and Occupy Wall Street and the rest of global uprisings since 2011 have opened more doors for us to communicate and realize more than ever how our struggles against the state and dominant power structures are interconnected and the same. Our fight against the beast is one; we are informed and inspired by your past and current struggles, as well as we know that you are informed and inspired by our struggles, yet we still have a long way to go to understand one another and scale up our common fight. —- Our collective is a small group of radicals, deep ecologists, anarchists, and feminists, and we haven’t done much compared with the great sacrifices of many of our comrades elsewhere. Yet we know we also speak the mind of many of our comrades in the Arab world from Morocco to Syria, who encountered the same dilemmas while communicating with their Western counterparts.