By Eric Alterman
Las Vegas Sands Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson speaks during a media briefing in Singapore December 21, 2009. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash
If a Jew-hater somewhere, inspired perhaps by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, sought to invent an individual who symbolizes almost all the anti-Semitic clichés that have dogged the Jewish people throughout history, he could hardly come up with a character more perfect than Sheldon Adelson.
This sounds like a mainstream, reformist version of ARV/ATS.
By Leo Linbeck III
Faced with a complex, hard-to-solve problem, there is a natural human tendency to solve a much simpler, easier one instead. Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, in his book,Thinking, Fast and Slow, dubs this cognitive process “substitution.”
We know our political system is broken. The signs are everywhere: knee-jerk partisanship, massive debts and unfunded liabilities, widespread citizen dissatisfaction, trillion-dollar deficits, rampant public and private corruption, and a federal government that has less support than King George III at the time of the American Revolution.
My latest from the Inferno.
Last week saw comedian Jimmy Carr spotlighted and strung up under the media lamppost as something of a pecuniary piñata. For some reason, King Cameron of Cuntalot, the current British PM, saw fit to name and shame him as a protection fee tax-avoider in an ITV News interview…
I think some of these schemes – and I think particularly of the Jimmy Carr scheme – I have had time to read about and I just think this is completely wrong.
People work hard, they pay their taxes, they save up to go to one of his shows. They buy the tickets. He is taking the money from those tickets and he, as far as I can see, is putting all of that into some very dodgy tax avoiding schemes.
That is wrong. There is nothing wrong with people planning their tax affairs to invest in their pension and plan for their retirement – that sort of tax management is fine.
But some of these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong.
The Government is acting by looking at a general anti-avoidance law but we do need to make progress on this.
It is not fair on hard working people who do the right thing and pay their taxes to see these sorts of scams taking place.
By Dan Bier and David Bier
“Bilderberg conspiracies have become a handicap for the Liberty Movement,” says conservative commentator Jack Hunter in a recent article. “Bilderberg conspiracy theorists have become a political handicap. The Birthers probably have a few interesting points to make, but this doesn’t change the fact that their argument is toxic. It doesn’t change the fact that their rhetoric damages conservatives’ reputations every time a Birther opens his mouth.”
Hunter is right, and we do appreciate that someone else is speaking out against conspiracy theorists, but at the Skeptical Libertarian, we oppose conspiracy theories not merely because they are bad press for libertarianism, but because they are not supported by the facts. If the libertarian movement gained influence as a result of its proclivity for paranoid conspiracies, we would still oppose them. First and foremost, our commitment is to reality—popular or not—and to a conversation based on reason and evidence. Intellectual honesty is our core value, and scientific skepticism is the surest way to preserve that integrity.
By Michael Connelly
Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.
To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.
The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business, and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats, and most of them will not be healthcare professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government.
By Gavin McInnes
When libertarians, paleocons, neocons, and Republicans are confronted with a shrieking liberal they usually shoo it away. That’s easy if you don’t live in New York City, Berkeley, LA, or Madison, but those of us mired here in the jungles of hysteria have to come up with other solutions.
It takes a certain type of masochist to live this Sisyphean lifestyle. We can’t bitch about Obama’s ridiculous spending because Bill Maher told them Obama has spent less than any other president. We can’t rail against Fast and Furious because Chris Hayes told them Obama is pro-gun. Whenever you criticize the president, their trained response is that you can’t handle his blackness—oy vey!
I’ve found the only way to calm this yelping beast is to speak to it in its own language.
Holder gets a Goading @ TakiMag.
by Jim Goad
The House Oversight Committee voted last week to begin Contempt of Congress proceedings against porpoise-faced Attorney General Eric Holder. Although the vote was a reaction to Holder’s stonewalling in the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal, America’s wormy, mustachioed AG has shown flagrant contempt for the popular will during his entire tenure. With ghastly consistency, he has enforced laws that appeal to his radical progressive agenda and ignored the ones he doesn’t like.
Only two weeks after being sworn in as Attorney General, Holder called America a “nation of cowards” regarding racial matters. Way to get started on the good foot and charm the socks off the heartland, fella! The only cowards I see are the spineless geeks terrified of being called “racist” and the yella-bellies who are morbidly afraid of honestly examining other explanations for disparities in crime and income besides ye olde bugaboo of “racism.”
Although the story has largely been suppressed by the leftist media’s barking megaphones, Holder’s racial double standards were made evident in his refusal to prosecute the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia for voter intimidation during the 2008 presidential election. Department of Justice attorney J. Christian Adams had claimed, “I was told by voting section management that cases are not going to be brought against black defendants on [behalf] of white victims.”
By Pat Buchanan
In introducing his new book, Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America, Paul Gottfried identifies a fundamental divide between neoconservatives and the traditional right. The divide is over the question: What is this nation, America?
Straussians, writes Gottfried, “wish to present the construction of government as an open-ended rationalist process. All children of the Enlightenment, once properly instructed, should be able to carry out this … task.”
For traditional conservatives, before the nation is born, “ethnic and cultural preconditions” must exist. All “successful constitutional orders,” he writes, “are the expressions of already formed nations and cultures.”
To the old right, America as a nation and a people already existed by 1789. The Constitution was the birth certificate the nation wrote for itself, the charter by which it chose to govern itself. The real America had been born in men’s hearts by the time of Lexington and Concord in 1775.
In a recent issue of Modern Age, Jack Kerwick deals with this divide.
Irving Kristol, he writes, and quotes that founding father of modern neoconservatism, saw America as “a ‘creedal’ nation, a nation to which anyone can belong irrespective of ‘ethnicity or blood ties of any kind, or lineage, or length of residence even.’”
“Either our ideology triumphs or another shall, neocons believe. We are in a world historic struggle for the hearts and souls of mankind.”
Benjamin Marks takes Mencken-misconceptions (and libertarian uplift) to task…
Read more about “Mencken’s Conservatism” here.
Mencken believed that most of the debates about politics, religion, science, philosophy, aesthetics and other issues rests on false premises that make all their squabbles merely petty infighting. Here is a brief tour of his commentary on this:
Religion — “Every religion of any consequence, indeed, teaches that all the rest are insane, immoral and against God. Usually it is not hard to prove it.”1
And: “Evil is that which one believes of others. It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.”2
Philosophy — “Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all others are jackasses. He usually proves it, and I should add that he usually proves that he is one himself.”3
Politics — conflicting parties spend much of their time “trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right.”4
Patriotism — “If it is the duty of a young man to serve his country … then it is equally the duty of an enemy young man to serve his.”5
We just can’t win. LOL! The comments by this “conservative” are otherwise quite well-considered:
F.A. Hayek’s stance to combat the leviathan monster of the State is to go local. Rockwell continues: “We need a Hayekian solution to the US. We need small states trading with each other. How many? It really doesn’t matter so long as one is not overly large geographically or in terms of population. It could be 10 states or 100. At some point, the number of political units created would have to be left to the people themselves, to be decided by local plebiscite. After all, at that point, all political alliances between units would have to be voluntary and clearly dissolvable.”
In a significant tract from a Marxist viewpoint, Liberty and Populism: Building an Effective Resistance Movement in North America, a cogent point is made:
By Stuart Bramhall
My decision to focus my activism in the sustainability movement has nothing to do with the horror stories climate change and Peak Oil aficionados tell about the horrible future my children and grandchildren face. I have never found terrifying or guilt-tripping people an effective way to engage them politically. It always seems far more likely to generate demoralization and apathy. I choose to focus my time and energy on sustainability-related issues based on the conviction that people who wish to survive coming economic and ecological crisis will need be extremely well organized. After thirty years of organizing, I find that sustainability engages people at the neighborhood and community level in a way no other issue can.
My friends and neighbors get it. They are all affected by the skyrocketing cost of fossil fuels, mainly because high energy and transportation costs make everything more expensive. They are all acutely aware that something in society has to change drastically. This realization makes them open, to varying degrees, to trying new, less energy intensive ways of doing business and meeting their families’ basic needs.
The only stumbling block I face in organizing around sustainability is efforts by the corporate media to demonize us as liberals or “greenies.” I can see why they do this. Corporate media coverage of climate change and sustainability-related topics is heavily dominated by the fossil fuel industry, which has a vested interest in discouraging people from reducing their use of oil, natural gas and coal.
How Terms like “Conservative” and “Liberal” Lost Their Meaning
By Paul Gottfried
New York Mayor Bloomberg has recommended that a 16-ounce limit be placed on the size of soft drinks sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums, and arenas. This seemed necessary because of an epidemic of obesity in his municipality, where over 50% of the residents are now judged to be overweight. I’m not sure what “overweight” means for NYC officials, but I’ve noticed lots of fatsos waddling around on their streets.
Over the last thirty years Americans have been increasing their food intake by almost 300 calories daily. Limiting soft-drink consumption would ostensibly help combat this public danger in the same way that earlier measures such as posting calorie counts on restaurant menus and prohibiting trans fats in restaurant food aimed to trim New Yorkers’ waistlines. Apparently, these earlier measures hadn’t done the trick, so Bloomberg is now pulling out the big guns against soda pop. Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson has confidently assured us that “People will come to see this very much in the interest of public health.”
“Where were these journalists when it came to criticizing much bigger infringements on individual liberties?”
There is no reason to think that Bloomberg’s law will have much effect on the average New Yorker’s girth. At least for now, consumers will be allowed to purchase as many sugary drinks as their money and appetite will permit. Although it may cost more to buy these additional high-calorie drinks, New Yorkers will not be prevented from doing so.
I’m probably sugar-averse, a natural condition that has allowed me to reach my present age without the diabetes that afflicts other family members. If all the Pepsis and other foul-tasting drinks in stores and restaurants disappeared overnight, it wouldn’t bother me.
By Paul Gottfried
A recent syndicated column by Peggy Noonan makes useful observations, together with one rather questionable point. Noonan blithely assumes that while the president has “fully absorbed the general assumptions and sympathies of the political left,” his opponent Mitt Romney reflects “the general attitudes, assumptions and sympathies of the political right.”
Noonan may be seeing something in Romney that eludes me. Of course, she can find support for her view in the invectives of those liberal journalists, who have begun to depict the former Massachusetts governor and Republican nominee as an incipient fascist. But the right-wingers I meet, who are the ones who tried to keep Romney from winning the nomination, do not believe that he shares their “general attitudes, assumptions and sympathies.” They are going along with the candidate of the GOP regulars and Noonan’s Wall Street Journal because they think Obama may be worse.
Despite this undeserved plug for her newspaper’s editorial choice, Noonan does correctly underline the foolishness of Obama’s recent straying in the direction of the hardline social left. She notes that Obama is “actively bad in politics,” as opposed to being a politically clever ideologue. “Anyone good at politics does not pick a fight with the Catholic Church during an election year.”
By Thomas Sowell
It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.”
He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.
What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.
Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.
Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.
By Glenn Greenwald
In 2005, Karl Rove sparked widespread outrage by accusing liberal critics of President Bush’s Terrorism programs of sympathizing with and wanting to coddle The Terrorists:
Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks andwanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”
In response, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid’s spokesmancalled on Bush to “immediately repudiate Karl Rove’s offensive and outrageous comments.” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer fumed: “When I heard his remarks, it turned my stomach,” while his Democratic colleague Frank Lautenberg said that Bush “can only have one reaction, and that is to ask Rove to get out of his office.” Leading Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and John Kerry signed a letter denouncing Rove and demanding that he resign or be fired for his remarks.
Yesterday, Gene Lyons, the long-time Democrat and syndicated columnist, wrote a column defending Obama’s Terrorism policies — he’s merely doing what “what any bloody-minded pragmatist would” — and denounced what he called “the feebleness of [Obama’s] critics” (citing me as the left’s example). Here’s how Lyons, in the first paragraph, characterizes the position of Obama’s critics:
Listen to the interview.
C4SS Senior Fellow and current holder of the Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory, Kevin Carson, participates in a discussion regarding the alternative and challenge that C4SS’s left-wing market anarchism offers to the mainstream libertarian conversation.
Kerry Bolton is interviewed by Richard Spencer.
The United Nations General Assembly
Author Kerry Bolton joins Richard to discuss geopolitics and the intersection of global finance, war, and foreign policy. In particular, they examine the “conspiracy theories” regarding major events like the Second World War and the Cold War–which ones help us get to the truth and which one are distractions.
Bolton’s latest book is Revolution From Above, published by Arktos Media.
From HuffPo Canada.
Two-thirds—two-fucking-thirds—of this spin-piece’s audience voted in favour of censorship: tie-dye totalitarians!
A Conservative private members’ bill that repeals part of Canada’s hate speech laws has passed the House of Commons with scant media attention, and even less commentary. But it’s being cheered by many Canadian conservatives as a victory for freedom of speech. And it’s being cheered most vocally by another group: White supremacists.
Bill C-304, introduced by Conservative backbencher Brian Storseth, repeals Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which bans hate speech transmitted over the Internet or by telephone. It passed third reading in the House of Commons on Thursday and is now headed to the Senate.
“This is a huge victory for freedom in Canada,” a poster calling him or herself “CanadaFirst” posted on the website of StormFront, a notorious white supremacist group. “However, we still have other unjust Zionist ‘hate’ laws that need to go.”
“Way to go, Harper. I know we can’t get everything we want, but I stand a little taller today as a Canuck,” wrote “OneMan.”
The new law doesn’t make hate speech legal on the web or by phone — hate speech remains illegal under the Criminal Code. But by removing it from the Canadian Human Rights Act, it takes away the authority of the country’s human rights commissions to investigate online hate speech and request that violating websites be taken down.
By Kenneth McIntyre
When writing about the work of an academic historian or philosopher—as opposed to a polemicist, a politician, or a popularizer—there is an obvious threshold question with which to begin: is the writer’s work intrinsically interesting or compelling in some way? If this question is answered in the negative, then there is usually no reason to carry on.
The strange case of Leo Strauss, however, proves that there are definite exceptions to this rule. Strauss’s work is almost universally dismissed by philosophers and historians, yet he has attracted a following amongst political theorists (hybrid creatures most often associated with political science departments) and neoconservative political activists. So, while the verdict on the intellectual importance of Strauss’s historico-philosophical work has been that, like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland, there is no there there, the practical influence of Strauss, its manifestation as Straussianism, and Straussianism’s connection with neoconservatism still present themselves as intriguing problems in contemporary American intellectual history.