Reflexive Patriotism, Last Refuge of a Scoundrel Nation Reply

Article by Kirkpatrick Sale.
——————————————————————————————————–
Thinking about the hold of this sickness I began to reflect why it was that the movement, though obviously getting stamped on the national consciousness in the last few years and drawing enthusiasm in a number of quarters, has not made more inroads than it has. Why, in particular, has it not drawn more attention on college campuses, where fringe ideas with good intellectual credentials are often picked up and supported, at least by the politically-minded minority of students and the more adventurous of the faculty. Why, for example, has there never been a single faculty member of Middlebury College or (with one exception) UVM to come forth to join the Second Vermont Republic or any of its sister causes? Why haven’t there been academic studies n Vermont supporting secession by showing how the state would be better off economically if it were free of Federal taxes and regulations?

And it dawned on me that actually the American academia would be the last place in the world that would be critical of the American empire, much less interested in breaking it up. It is a creature of that empire, it gets funding in the billions from it, its research is heavily directed toward its needs, its faculties are intertwined with Federal agencies, and insofar as academia may be said to have a philosophy it would follow more or less the liberal support for big government, and the bigger the better.

So how could I expect any enthusiasm for secession from that quarter?

The American university system is enormous and it plays an enormous role in making the nation what it is – it is not too much to say, in fact, that it is an equal partner in the military-industrial-academic complex that essentially runs the country. And it continues to expand its role and power every year, getting added money in tuition and fees every year ($37,000 annually for Harvard) despite a tight economy, and getting added Federal money every year (now about $60 billion, including student grants).

I would argue that this is a bubble that will eventually burst, because it is more and more obvious that just having an expensive college education doesn’t guarantee a job, even less a job that will pay enough to pay off that expense. But while it lasts, there’s no sign that academia is in danger of loosing its comfortable place in the national pantheon of imperial power.

And here’s the kicker: while it lasts it will obviously continue its role of conditioning and indoctrinating the young minds in its care to have a deep and abiding belief in the singular virtues of the American republic, indivisible even at 310 million people, and its legitimate business of imperial domination, regardless of party or faction. They wouldn’t call it patriotism, the liberal faculties, and they wouldn’t call it knee-jerk reflective, but that is what it is. And it ill becomes institutions that once were in the tradition of skeptical criticism.

American Hellholes 2

From The Economic Collapse. Hat tip to Troy Southgate.
———————————————————————————————————
The U.S. economy is dying and we are heading for the next Great Depression. The talking heads in the mainstream media love to spin the economic numbers around and around and they love to make it sound like the economy is improving, but the truth is that it doesn’t take a genius to see what is happening to the U.S. economic system. All over the nation many of our greatest cities are being slowly but surely transformed into post-apocalyptic wastelands. All over the mid-Atlantic, all along the Gulf coast, all throughout the “rust belt” and all over the entire state of California cities that once had incredibly vibrant economies are being turned into rotting, post-industrial hellholes. In many U.S. cities, the “real” rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment that you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities. If you live in one of those American hellholes you know what I am talking about. Sadly, it is not just a few cities that are becoming hellholes. This is happening in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south. America is literally being transformed right in front of our eyes.

If you still live in an area of the United States that is prosperous, do not mock the cities that you are about to read about. The cold, hard reality of the matter is that economic decline and economic despair are spreading rapidly and they will come to your area soon enough. Right now we are still talking about “American hellholes”, but if the long-term economic trends that are destroying this nation are not turned around eventually we will just be talking about one gigantic “American hellhole”. In the end, no area of the country will completely escape the economic hell that is coming.

Let’s take a closer look at what is currently happening in some of the worst areas of the country….

The Changing Face of the Police and the Death of the Fourth Amendment Reply

Article by John Whitehead.
——————————————————————————————————-
In early America, citizens were considered equals with law enforcement officials. Authorities were rarely permitted to enter one’s home without permission or in a deceitful manner. And it was not uncommon for police officers to be held personally liable for trespass when they wrongfully invaded a citizen’s home. Unlike today, early Americans could resist arrest when a police officer tried to restrain them without proper justification or a warrant – which the police had to allow citizens to read before arresting them. (Daring to dispute a warrant with a police official today who is armed with high-tech military weapons and tasers would be nothing short of suicidal.) This clear demand for a right to privacy was not a byproduct of simpler times. Much like today, early Americans dealt with problems such as petty thievery, murder and attacks by foreign enemies. Rather, the demand for privacy stemmed from a harbored suspicion of law enforcement officials and the unbridled discretion they could abuse.

The Fourth Amendment, which assures that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,” was included in the Bill of Rights in response to the oppressive way British soldiers treated American colonists through their use of “Writs of Assistance.” These were court orders that authorized British agents to conduct general searches of premises for contraband. The exact nature of the materials being sought did not have to be detailed, nor did their locations. The powerful new court orders enabled government officials to inspect not only shops and warehouses, but also private homes. These searches resulted in the violation of many of the colonists’ rights and the destruction of much of the colonists’ personal property. It quickly became apparent to many colonists that their homes were no longer their castles.

Revolutionary patriot James Otis was Advocate-General when the legality of these warrants came under question by the colonists. Called upon to defend that legality, he promptly resigned his office. After living through an age of oppressive policies under the British empire, those of the founding generation, such as Otis, wanted to ensure that Americans would never have to face intrusive government measures again.

Fast forward 250 years and we seem to be right back where we started, living in an era of oppressive government policies and a militarized police whose unauthorized, forceful intrusions into our homes and our lives have been increasingly condoned by the courts. In fact, although the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures go far beyond an actual police search of your home, as I detail in my commentary, “Renewing the Patriot Act: Who Will Protect Us from Our Government?” the passage of the USA Patriot Act opened the door to other kinds of invasions, especially unwarranted electronic intrusions into your most personal and private transactions, including phone, mail, computer and medical records. When added to this list of abuses, two recent court decisions – one from the U.S. Supreme Court and the other from the Indiana Supreme Court – both handed down in the same week, sound the death knell for our Fourth Amendment rights.

Highway Robbery 1

From The Agitator.
——————————————————————————————————–
Kudos to Nashville’s News 5 for doing this investigation. Note that even if you buy into this crap—that the drug war is worth fighting, and that asset forfeiture is an essential part of fighting it—the cops are letting the drugs go in order to pursue the cash. And that’s not just in Tennessee. In my asset forfeiture piece for Reason, I found academic papers noting incidents in which cops would find a stash house, but wouldn’t bust the place until all or most of the drugs had been sold. There’s no return on a house full of dope. There’s plenty of return on a house full of cash.

And of course all of that is really beside the point. The more fundamental problem, here: This is just state-sanctioned robbery by another name.

HOW TO THRIVE (ECONOMICALLY) AS THINGS FALL APART Reply

Article by John Robb.
——————————————————————————————————–
The most likely scenario for the next decade starts with the resumption of global economic depression (D2). Economies shrink. Wealth evaporates as former “assets” become worthless. Commodities fall (even energy) due to declines in economic activity. Currencies gyrate, explode, and/or evaporate.

In this environment, sovereigns will begin to default as the industrial nation-state model runs out of gas. Developed nation-states will find themselves crushed between bailouts of their cronies and excess spending (i.e. social spending (EU), national security spending (US), or mercantilist over-investment (China). Developing nations will just implode.

Things will continue on this track until one of two things happen:

things really begin to fail (complete system breakdown) or
new, better economic and social systems become viable as replacements to our broken one.

I’m betting on new economic and social systems. Part of that bet, and something many people now get, is accomplished through the establishment of self-reliant resilient communities. However, resilient communities aren’t a sufficient replacement, in and of themselves (unless you want to turn back the clock to the 1800s). By themselves, they don’t represent a superior alternative to a failing and flailing global system. Something else is needed, but what?

It’s simple. What’s needed are (note the plural here), virtual global economic systems built on a sound footing (i.e. better and more sensible rules than we currently have), prosperous participants, and a hard currency. Systems that people can flee to when currencies become scarce (deflation) or worthless (inflation) or nation-state political systems fail (corruption/crime) or flail (repression).

My advice to you: when you see a system that looks like the one outlined above, start to diversify your economic activity into it as soon as is practicable.

Intellectual Property: Some Countries Are More Equal Than Others 1

Article by Kevin Carson.
——————————————————————————————————-
For years, global digital copyright treaties and IP provisions of assorted “free trade” agreements have been drafted in secret by proprietary content industries. Even the digital copyright laws of ostensibly independent countries have been drafted by lobbyists from those same industries, and rubber stamped by the national parliaments with most of their members never even having a chance to read them.

For example, a large batch of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks in April include several on a massive effort by the global entertainment industry to model Canada’s copyright laws on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Wikileaks also released hundreds of cables showing the U.S. content industries essentially wrote New Zealand’s “three-strikes” legislation — and the U.S. government even offered to fund New Zealand’s copyright-enforcement police at American taxpayer expense. Spain’s new copyright law was also written by global entertainment industry lobbyists.

The old Spanish law, incidentally, was comparatively sane, with private file-sharing for personal use covered by the fair-use doctrine and third parties like ISPs and torrent sites treated as safe harbors. As a result Spain, like Canada, had been on the U.S. copyright cops’ “Special 301″ list of the “worst of the worst” offenders.

In cables released by Wikileaks on the negotiation of ACTA, support for the treaty by such countries as Russia and China was treated as a gauge of “free market” friendliness of those countries, to be used as a stick in negotiations over other trade provisions desired by those countries.

Against this background of secrecy and corruption, it’s interesting that the major developed countries previously involved in drafting digital copyright treaties are squealing like stuck pigs about a proposal by developing nations to hold their own private inter-regional conferences on IP laws within the World Intellectual Property Organization framework. In response to complaints from the developed countries, the developing countries proposed making only the first conference private and allowing the developed countries to attend a second one with non-voting “observer status.” No dice, said the rich fat white boys. “No meeting should be restricted to only some members” (seriously).

One law for the lion and one for the lamb is tyranny.

Black Lawyers call on Obama administration to free all US political prisoners Reply

Article by Kali Akuno.
———————————————————————————————————
The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) urges the US to apply international human rights standards to protect and ensure the rights of political prisoners currently incarcerated within its own prison system.

NCBL presented the plight of political prisoners in the United States to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) as part of a Universal Periodic Review on November 5, 2010.

The Council, created by the UN General Assembly in 2006, addresses international human rights violations and makes recommendations to end such violations.

In August 2010, prior to the November meeting, the US government had submitted a report to the HRC, in which it stated its efforts to strengthen human rights commitments and comply with international human rights standards.

But that report had failed to mention the plights of political prisoners, who have languished in US prisons for decades.

In a compilation of civil society reports submitted to the HRC in October 2010, the US already had been urged to free its political prisoners.

At the November 2010 meeting, the US appeared before the HRC and engaged in an interactive dialogue with other HRC member states in a review of the United States’ human rights compliance.

Members raised the issue of political prisoners during this interactive review, and as a result of the review, the HRC published 228 recommendations, including actions concerning political prisoners, for the US government to take in order to improve the status of human rights.

On November 9, 2010, the US published a response to the HRC’s recommendation, in which it again neglected to address the human rights violations committed by its FBI, which had resulted in the wrongful imprisonment of dozens of African-American political activists and others during the 1960s.

Though the United States consistently denies the existence of political prisoners, these activists—individuals who dared to challenge the status quo of America’s harsh treatment of black people—were ensnared by the nation’s own repressive Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

Many were members of organizations such as the Black Panther Party and were not content to remain silent in a system of de facto slavery.

Instead, they demanded quality education, health care and an end to rampant police violence against black people.

The Black Panthers and groups like them were targets of government surveillance under COINTELPRO, and members were harassed, beaten, falsely arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to unreasonably lengthy prison terms in a system bloated with contempt for them and their righteous causes.

Strauss-Kahn: As Sleazy as the IMF in General 1

Article by David D’Amato.
——————————————————————————————————–
Since the embattled former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has occupied the headlines with some consistency as of late, it seems as good a time as any to note the perfectly legal crimes the IMF perpetrates daily. Without at all trivializing the unspeakable crimes that the vermin Strauss-Kahn is accused of, market anarchists regard the IMF itself with similar disgust.

Established by the world’s most powerful states as an agency of empire, the IMF is an inflationary machine designed to make cash all too accessible for the West’s corporate titans. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are the radix of the IMF, having played host to the Bretton Woods conference of nations in the wake of World War II. That summit was conceived to reconfigure the global financial system for the demands of the post-War framework, at the heart of which was the United States as hegemonic authority.

If America’s corporate neocolonialism was to function, then the “developed” world would need an effective way to funnel money to its new outposts, the countries that would host its subsidiaries and sweatshops. The loans, of course, were — and have ever since been — channeled to infrastructure projects that dilute currencies and cheat the taxpaying common man to benefit a handful of oligarchs.

Like the Federal Reserve System on the domestic level, the International Monetary Fund and its companion, the World Bank, are the counterfeiting mechanisms of the ruling class. And as Murray Rothbard trenchantly observed of such counterfeit bank notes, they are not neutrally and uniformly conferred on society at large. Rather, Rothbard contended, “those who get the money early in this ripple process benefit at the expense of those who get it late or not at all.”

Tin pot dictatorships the world over have used the Bretton Woods institutions as an ATM to line the pockets of elites and lay the groundwork for the Western state capitalism. In return, all that the American imperialists and their collaborators in Europe have asked is for a bit of prime real estate on which to site their military compounds, or submissive compliance when a new “free trade” agreement comes around.

And the Third World’s isolated elites have happily and predictably obliged them. The standard apologetics for the specious, corporate variant of “free trade” often argue that the professed goals of the IMF — something like aiding the development of global markets—are not in themselves the problem.

These arguments suggest that the governments of the developing world just need a more central role in decision-making, that Western multinational corporations are today too dominant in the process through which IMF and World Bank funds are dispersed. What these well-meaning critics fail to comprehend, however, is that the relationship between corporate and state power is not an inverse one, but rather a symbiotic one whereby they grow in tandem.

Vehicles of corporate welfare such as the IMF and the World Bank, among many, many others, are the hallmarks of state domination of the economy. Today’s business giants depend quite completely on the active fraud of governments against their own citizens, and their conceptions of “development” give little regard to the living conditions of people in the “developing” countries.

The corrupt governments of the weak countries are no different from those of the Western powers, caring little for ideas of national self-direction as long as they’re cozy in the lap of luxury. Genuine free markets, that is, real free trade between individual producers, function opposite the state capitalist system represented by the Bretton Woods system and its corporate welfarism.

Market anarchists regard true deregulation and freedom as empowering of those in the economy that actually carry the weight. For these people, bank credit and favors are not so easy to come by. So when you consider Strauss-Kahn’s flashy, sleazy lifestyle, consider also the unsavory policies of these hallowed institutions that have become symbols of global free enterprise.

Consider that they don’t at all represent free markets, but instead a corrupt game of upward redistribution. And, upon consideration, perhaps you will conclude that the entirety of the IMF belongs behind bars.

Obama and the Israel Lobby Reply

Article by Glenn Greenwald.
——————————————————————————————————–
This week’s hysterical, reality-deprived reaction to President Obama’s pronouncements on the Israel/Palestine conflict genuinely provoked laughter on several occasions. That happened when I thought of the intense controversy triggered by publication of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s The Israel Lobby, which examined the “loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction,” a coalition driven by “a core consisting of organizations whose declared purpose is to encourage the U.S. government and the American public to provide material aid to Israel and to support its government’s policies, as well as influential individuals for whom these goals are also a top priority.” This week’s events underscore how remarkable it is that that book’s argument was demonized as some sort of radical, hateful conspiracy tract rather than treated as what it was: a statement of the bleeding obvious (albeit a brave one, given that discussions of that reality had previously been taboo).

Obama’s call for a peace deal ultimately “based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” is not even arguably a change from past American policy. Though he’s the first President to publicly call for such an outcome, that’s been the working premise of American policy for decades. It’s controversial in one sense — it unduly rewards Israel for its illegal seizures of land by suggesting they should be able to permanently keep West Bank settlements (the “land swap” aspect of the formula) — but it does not remotely constitute a step in an anti-Israel direction. When even Israel-devoted stalwarts such as former IDF Corporal Jeffrey Goldberg and the ADL’s Abe Foxman are dismissive of the condemnation of Obama’s statements, it’s crystal clear that they pose no challenge to the dominant pro-Israel orthodoxy that has shaped American policy (and political discourse) for decades.

At most, Obama’s public endorsement of this position was a symbolic gesture to chide Netanyahu for his overt indifference to U.S. interests (and, more so, belligerence toward Obama), and a small rhetorical fig leaf to the populist forces driving the Arab rebellion. Yet even the most microscopic deviation from the dictates of the Israel Government produce shrill and ludicrous backlash from The inside-the-U.S. Israel Lobby.

Obama: Doomed to disappoint Reply

Article by John J. Mearsheimer.
——————————————————————————————————-
Barack Obama gave a major speech on the Middle East on Thursday, May 19, and it is clear from the subsequent commentary that he impressed few people. The main reason for this is that he did not say much new or indicate that there would be any serious changes in US policy in the region. It was essentially more of the same with some tweaking here and there. Nevertheless, he did manage to anger some people. For example, Israel’s hard-line supporters were outraged that he said: “Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” For them, the 1967 borders are “Auschwitz borders” and thus can never serve as a basis for negotiations.

Many Palestinians, on the other hand, did not like Obama’s assertion that it made little sense for them to go to the UN General Assembly this September and win recognition for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Surely they also noticed that shortly after saying “every state has the right to self-defence, and Israel must be able to defend itself,” the president said that the Palestinians would have to be content with “a sovereign non-militarised state,” which means that they would not be able to defend themselves against Israel – or any other state for that matter. Hypocrisy appears to be wired into the DNA of US foreign policy makers.

Obama’s failure to impress and move US Middle East policy in new directions raises the intriguing question: Did he blow an opportunity to give a truly important speech at what appears to be a plastic moment in history? I think not. The sad fact is that Obama has remarkably little manoeuvre room on the foreign policy front. The most important item on his agenda is settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and there he knows what has to be done: Push both sides toward a two-state solution, which is the best outcome for all the parties, including the United States. Indeed, he has been trying to do just that since he took office in January 2009. But the remarkably powerful Israel lobby makes it virtually impossible for him to put meaningful pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is committed to creating a Greater Israel in which the Palestinians are restricted to a handful of disconnected and impoverished enclaves. And Obama is certainly not going to buck the lobby – with the 2012 presidential election looming larger every day.

The Lobby Takes the Offensive Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.
———————————————————————————————————
When the President of the United States reiterated longstanding American policy in the Middle East – that the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state must be based on the 1967 borders, give or take a few land swaps here and there – was he really “not surprised,” as he claimed in his speech to AIPAC a few days later, by the ensuing uproar? That’s what he says, but the reality is harder to discern: after all, this was the premise behind George W. Bush’s – and, before him, Bill Clinton’s – public statements on the issue, and the President had every reason to believe this time would be no different.

Yet it was indeed different, because – as I pointed out here – Israel is different, all these years later. And so is the United States. President Obama was caught flat-footed because he and his advisors failed to consider the full import of these changes.

In Israel, a right-wing government has as its relatively “moderate” element Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Likud-led government is backed in a coalition government by a number of extreme right-wingers who make the hawkish Likudniks look reasonable. Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is a thuggish radical whose racist anti-Arab diatribes have even Israel’s hard-line partisans in the US desperate to keep him in the background. Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu, is a neo-fascist outfit which advocates the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and the creation of a “Greater Israel.” According to them, there are no Palestinians – only Jordanians who have infiltrated Israel.

In America, the power of the Israel lobby is much greater than at any time in the past, and certainly since the 1967 war. We are faced, here in this country, with the extraordinary spectacle of a US President confronting a foreign leader with a list of reasonable requests – negotiation in good faith, the abandonment of encroaching “settlements,” an end to the arbitrary humiliations endured by a people under occupation – and the leaders of the opposition are taking the side of the foreign leader. This from a party that revels in its alleged super-“patriotism”! Romney, Huckabee, and the whole Fox network team went into overdrive, following the President’s Mideast speech, flaying him for “betraying” Israel. Fox News even ran a story warning that “Jewish donors” would not back the President’s reelection campaign on account of his supposedly “new” stance.

America's Student Loan Racket: Soaring Default Rates Reply

Article by Stephen Lendman.
———————————————————————————————————-
Many students, whether or not they graduate, have debt burdens approaching or exceeding $100,000. If repaid over 30 years, it’s a $500,000 obligation, and if default, much more because debts aren’t forgiven. As a result, once entrapped, escape is impossible. Bondage is permanent, and future lives and careers are impaired or ruined.

Congress ended bankruptcy protections, refinancing rights, statutes of limitations, truth in lending requirements, fair debt collection ones, and state usury laws when applied to federally guaranteed student loans. As a result, lenders may freely garnish wages, income tax refunds, earned income tax credits, as well as Social Security and disability income to assure defaulted loan payments. In addition, defaulting may cause loss of professional licenses, making repayment even harder or impossible.

Moreover, under a congressionally established default loan fee system, holders may keep 20% of all payments before any portion is applied to principle and interest due. A borrower’s only recourse is to request an onerous and expensive “loan rehabilitation” procedure, requiring extended payments (not applied to principle or interest), then arrange a new loan for which additional fees are incurred.

As a result, for many, permanent debt bondage is assured. In addition, no appeals process allows determinations of default challenges under a process letting lenders rip off borrowers, many in perpetuity.

At issue is a conspiratorial alliance of lenders, guarantors, servicers, and collection companies enriching themselves hugely at borrowers’ expense, thriving from extortionist fees and related schemes. It’s a congressionally sanctioned racket, scamming millions of indebted victims.

Moreover, lenders thrive on bad debts, deriving income from inflated service charges and collection fees. They’re more than ever today as default rates soar, lifetime rates now nearly one-third of undergraduate loans, higher than for subprime mortgages. In fact, they’re higher than for any other lending instrument and rising.

SlutWalks Sweep The Nation 7

From Infoshop.
——————————————————————————————————–
Toronto police constable Michael Sanguinetti thought he was offering the key to rape prevention. “I’m not supposed to say this,” he told a group of students at an Osgoode Hall Law School safety forum on January 24, but to prevent being sexually assaulted, “Avoid dressing like sluts.”

Despite Sanguinetti’s subsequent written apology and promises of further professional training, the victim-blaming gaffe heard round the world sparked a movement that began in Canada but is now sweeping the United States and abroad: SlutWalks.

“We had just had enough,” said Heather Jarvis, who founded SlutWalk Toronto with friend Sonya Barnett. “It isn’t about just one idea or one police officer who practices victim blaming, it’s about changing the system and doing something constructive with anger and frustration.”

While Jarvis, 25, and Barnett, 38, initially expected only 200–300 people to show their support, upwards of 3,000 massed on the streets of Toronto on April 3 — some wearing jeans and a T-shirt; others in outfits more appropriate for a Victoria’s Secret fashion show: thigh-highs, lingerie, stilettos — and marched to police headquarters. Their goal: to shift the paradigm of mainstream rape culture, which they believe focuses on analyzing the behavior of the victim rather than that of the perpetrator.

“The idea that there is some aesthetic that attracts sexual assault or even keeps you safe from sexual assault is inaccurate, ineffective and even dangerous,” said Jarvis. She recalled a sign at the march that read: “It was Christmas day. I was 14 and raped in a stairwell wearing snowshoes and layers. Did I deserve it too?”

Since the movement’s inception, the SlutWalk campaign has gone viral. Facebook groups have been emerging to promote satellite SlutWalks in Europe, Asia, Australia and most major US cities. Asheville, Dallas, Hartford, Boston and Rochester will host SlutWalks between now and May 7.

The ubiquity of a rape culture that attributes sexual assault to a woman’s dress or expression of sexuality (both in the court of law as well as in the court of public opinion) helps explain the movement’s widespread resonance and popularity.

In late February, a Manitoba judge condemned a rape survivor in court for wearing a tube top, no bra, high heels and makeup, which he implied had led to her sexual assault. Justice Robert Dewar called the assailant a “clumsy Don Juan” who had succumbed to “inviting circumstances.”

The 12-Step Plan to Restore American Femininity Reply

Article by Gavin McInnes.
—————————————————————————————————-
Like firing a fetus from a slingshot, feminism catapulted women out of the kitchen and onto the streets, where they were invited to do anything a man can do—but better. This was a blessing for the few women meant to lead a man’s life, but for the vast majority of womankind, it was like that human cannonball from the Isle of Man who died after being catapulted across the sky and right through his safety net.

As this fascinating article by the Daily Mail‘s Liz Jones explains, feminism hasn’t relieved women of any female obligations; it’s only added male obligations to their burden. The kitchen may have been a prison, but it was a hell of a lot easier than staying at the office all night to prepare the PowerPoint presentation for the Clifford account, especially when you have to make the kid’s lunches the next day. Women now get the worst of both worlds.

The girls I grew up banging had rooms that were light years filthier than mine, and I was quite a sloppy lad. I’d say less than half of my female peers can cook, and big loud walrus belches have become the modern lady’s version of, “Charmed, I’m sure.” After graduating from this androgynous youth, women are invited to join the workforce and either bust their ass doing physical labor or get a desk job sifting through numbers without the testosterone to be able to crunch them. (The president of Harvard lost his job for broaching the subject, but “Exposure to testosterone in the womb is said to promote development of areas of the brain often associated with spatial and mathematical skills.”)

Bring Us the Head of Ronald McDonald 1

Article by Jim Goad.
———————————————————————————————————-
Sorry to be a dick about it, but is it impolite to suggest there are other possible causes for childhood obesity beyond Ronald McDonald? How about the fact that children exercise 20% less than they did in the 1970s while consuming only 3% more calories? Could their flabby asses be glued to the fact that six out of ten of them walked or biked to school in the seventies, while only one in ten does now? Might it be related to the stark reality that both mom and dad work now and still have less discretionary income, while in the seventies only dad worked?

Perish all such thoughts and stick to the script. The bogeymen are the evil corporations whose most recognizable public face is that of the sinister red clown who pushes cancer upon our children, those young and easily misled sprites who would really, really, really prefer to eat wheatgrass and tempeh if only they had the choice.

To their credit, McDonald’s issued a statement on Thursday basically telling their critics to go eat sprouts and that Ronald is an “ambassador for good” whom they intend to keep alive for a long, long time.

I generally avoid McDonald’s and most fast foods, but I feel a lingering affection for the Ronald McDonald character and would like the McDonald’s Corporation to know that I have Ronald’s back if things should get ugly in the streets. This recent attack on one of America’s most enduring icons strikes me as yet another tiresome Frankfurt School admonition to destroy the host culture’s altars and tear down its images. I’m here to warn you that we will not let Ronald go lightly. He has more charisma in one of his flaming-red fake pubic hairs than you have in your entire bodies. To show my solidarity, I’m going out right now to buy a Happy Meal. The wife and kid will split the food for lunch, and neither one will be the fatter for it. And the kid will have a toy he can keep, which is more than you bitter and delusional burgerphobes have ever bothered to give him. For all your enlightenment, you show a rare degree of meanness that you are too blinded by your wisdom to see.

Kevin Carson Makes It Into Forbes Magazine Reply

Hooray for Carson.

I once wrote a cover blurb for one of Carson’s books where I described him as the Proudhon of our time. (He’s probably since had it removed as he doesn’t care for some of my other views and I am a hated man in the left-libertarian circle that he is most closely associated with.) Carson’s work utterly demolishes claims that the present economic order is anything other than a system of artificial privilege. I’d argue that his stuff is probably the most important work in economics produced in decades.

Oregon court rules medical pot users can have guns Reply

Article by Jeff Barnard.
——————————————————————————————————
GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Oregon Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that a retired school bus driver can have her medical marijuana and a concealed handgun, too.

The ruling upheld previous decisions by the Oregon Court of Appeals and circuit court that determined a federal law barring criminals and drug addicts from buying firearms does not excuse sheriffs from issuing concealed weapons permits to people who hold medical marijuana cards and otherwise qualify.

“We hold that the Federal Gun Control Act does not pre-empt the state’s concealed handgun licensing statute and, therefore, the sheriffs must issue (or renew) the requested licenses,” Chief Justice Paul De Muniz wrote in the ruling issued in Salem.

Cynthia Willis, one of four plaintiffs, welcomed the ruling.

“I feel like a big girl now,” Willis said. “I feel like a real human being now, not just a source of revenue to the county.”

Leland Berger, the attorney representing Willis and other medical marijuana patients in the state, said the ruling was important in the continuing national debate over making marijuana legal to treat medical conditions.

“I am hopeful we will end cannabis prohibition the same way we ended alcohol prohibition, which was by refusing to enforce federal laws within the state,” Berger said.

Berger noted that acceptance of medical marijuana continues to grow, with Delaware last week becoming the 16th state to make it legal.

Willis, 54, has carried a Walther .22-caliber automatic pistol for personal protection since a messy divorce several years ago.

Venezuela getting better all the time 3

Article from Prensa Latina.
——————————————————————————————————–
The visitor who walks the streets of cosmopolitan Caracas can soon see the Venezuelans are living in a moment of joy, marked by positive social change that is a benefit to the population.

It is because year after year, since 1999 when Hugo Chavez assumed the presidency of the country, the reasons have increased to support the transformation process chosen since the accumulated achievements are numerous.

First the missions have implemented plans to ensure medical attention, education, social inclusion and other basic rights, which served as a starting point to guarantee to reduce the wide gap between the working class and the local bourgeoisie.

As soon as these essential benefits were obtained of providing basic medical care for all Venezuelans, then teaching reading and writing to those who had never had a book in their hands and ensuring the continuity of studies took place.

The government then consolidated an offensive against poverty.

Today, as the liberator Simon Bolivar said and to paraphrase the President, the hard-working programs have a goal of giving the biggest sum possible of happiness to the people.

In this sense, the work is moving to achieve food security, ensure a decent home for every family, to incorporate workers to formal employment, increasing minimum wages and including more people in the pensioners’ records, among other goals.