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Archive for April 2008

New Options for Attacking Iran

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CBS News’ David Martin is reporting that the administration is gearing up for another party in Iran.

“Hostile” Iran Sparks U.S. Attack Plan

(CBS) A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has warned Iran not to assume the U.S. military can’t strike. “I have reserve capability, in particular our Navy and our Air Force so it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability,” Mullen said.

Later this week Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to confront the Iranians with evidence of their meddling and demand a halt.

the State Department has begun drafting an ultimatum that would tell the Iranians to knock it off – or else.

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Written by mudshark

April 29, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Foreword to The Revolution

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The Revolution: A Manifesto

Ron Paul

Buy the Book Here

Text

Excerpts

Foreward
Alexander S. Peak

I first met Doctor Ron Paul on Monday, April 11, 2008. Like many students across America, I had participated during the previous year in what supporters dubbed the Ron Paul Revolution. It was, of course, not so much a Ron Paul Revolution as it was a Libertarian Revolution, but received the name it did as it coincided with, and to a great degree rallied around, the good doctor.

Indeed, the 2008 election season was an exciting one for many libertarians. Not only was our message of smaller government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility reaching a larger audience, but the audience was responding favourably, and in massive numbers. Grass roots demonstrations and gatherings abounded. It was as though libertarians everywhere, from all corners of the political spectrum, were peacefully rising up and saying, Don’t Forget Us!

The humble Ron Paul, seemingly quite bewildered by the tide of support he received, realised of course that it wasn’t really him, but rather his message of freedom that was inspiring so many Americans, young and old, to rally against the Establishment policies of war, inflation, and unnecessary government meddling in our lives. This same message had been around for longer than Paul himself had been alive, and had been promoted in decades and centuries prior by the likes of John Lock, Frédéric Bastiat, and Ludwig von Mises. Moreover, Paul recognised that even when he was long gone, the peaceful Libertarian Revolution would continue. Paul was not ashamed to admit that he was just very lucky—and happy—to be in the right place at the right time.

As I said earlier, I first met Ron Paul on Monday, April 11, 2008. Paul had come to Maryland to give a speech at Goucher College, and despite his campaign having cooled down and the media having declared John McCain the unrivalled winner of the Republican nomination, Paul still drew huge crowds. Over a thousand people, including myself and a few personal friends, came to Goucher to hear the Texan doctor speak. It was there that I purchased The Revolution: A Manifesto.

This book serves as a great primer for anyone interested in learning more about the basic libertarian approach to policy. Although some libertarians, myself included, may take issue with Paul in a few places, Paul does a great job at explaining the libertarian message by applying it to the issues of the day. At the same time, he fearlessly calls upon the manifest spirit of the American Founders, explaining the roots of the freedom philosophy in American history. It’s worth the reader remembering that many movements have existed throughout American history to buck the Establishment, from the abolitionist movement to women’s suffrage, from the tax resistors to the civil disobedience of the ’60s. Properly understood, anti-Establishment sentiments have been a part of the American character since the days of the American Revolution—of which we are the inheritors—and even before.

It is striking that in presenting his arguments, Paul recognises that his likely audience is coming from all sides of the political spectrum. Some of his readers might not be familiar with exactly why libertarians believe in this or that, for example why we tend to get nervous when burdensome regulations get foisted upon businesses or upon the American people themselves. Others might not understand why we get so concerned when new wars are waged, even when said wars are reportedly being waged to promote democracy. In each case, Paul begins by pointing out that these are not liberal versus conservative issues, aiming to break down the partisanism that tends to put us into either this or that camp when deciding where we stand on the various issues of the day. To this end, Paul points out that the traditionalist conservative Russell Kirk was very sceptical about using war as anything but a last resort and that modern liberal George McGovern—who, after serving as a Democratic senator, entered private life as a proprietor of a small hotel—became highly sceptical of the need for so many complicated regulations on small business owners. In each case, Paul explains in understandable language the libertarian perspective.

Paul admits in his manifesto that many Americans find economics a boring and dry topic. These people, he assures us, have this impression about economics because they have not yet encountered the Austrian School of thought. But the public apathy, nevertheless, is great for the Establishment. Thus, in explaining the many ill effects of the Federal Reserve system, Paul tells us that the Fed is a complete mystery for most people, “its operations incomprehensible. That seems to be just the way the Fed likes it. We are supposed to be bored by it. We are supposed to treat it like a given, like the air we breathe. We are supposed to have confidence in it.” Using simple language and Austrian logic, Ron Paul destroys that confidence for even the economics layman. His presentation of economic theory is not only sound, but is well-written for the beginner who wishes to understand more but finds it often difficult to surmount the high-sounding words of the economic elite. Those students of Liberty ready for a bit more depth can always turn to Paul’s other political manifesto, 1987’s Freedom Under Siege.

Where do we go from here? The Revolution was not written simply to explain libertarian views and persuade the masses to adopt them. The books also offers advice both to the political Establishment and to the grass roots activist. To the political Establishment, Paul explains how these views can be practically adopted in the coming years. But to the grass roots and all those interested in ideas, Paul offers the soundest advice available: read, study, and grow.

Foreword written April 2008 by Alexander S. Peak

Few Rights Reserved

Creative Commons License

Thanks to Alex Peak for making his preamble available through CCPL.
(h/t to AG)

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Written by mudshark

April 27, 2008 at 12:19 pm

The Kochtopus: a dissection

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David Gordon has published part 1 of his expose’ from the inside of the beast, that fronts pseudo-libertarianism for the beltway populists, and how they have continually undermined those that uphold the principles of liberty on which their organization was originally founded.

The “Kochtopus” is a derogatory name coined by the late Samuel Edward Konkin, III, an anarcho-libertarian, for the group of libertarian organizations funded by billionaire Charles Koch. (Konkin, a gifted wordsmith, also is responsible for the term “minarchism” for the libertarian view that accepts a minimal state.) Murray Rothbard often used this term when referring to organizations within the Koch ambit, with the Cato Institute foremost among them. To say the least, Rothbard’s enthusiasm for Cato was not unbounded; and employees of the Kochtopus often treat Rothbard with hostility and contempt. Further, the Kochtopus has displayed unremitting hostility toward the organization with which Rothbard was associated from 1982 until his death in 1995, the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Someone acquainted only with these facts would never suspect that Rothbard was a principal founder of Cato and that the organization had been established to promote his distinctive variety of libertarianism. From this beginning, how did it come about that Cato shifted course and now takes Rothbard to be an enemy?

Read the full article at LRC

(h/t to Karen DeCoster)
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Written by mudshark

April 22, 2008 at 6:08 am

What About the War, Benedict?

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from Consortiumblog

By Ray McGovern
April 21, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the United States last week against a macabre backdrop featuring reports of torture, execution and war. He chose not to notice.

Torture: Fresh reporting by ABC from inside sources depicted George W. Bush’s most senior aides (Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice and Tenet) meeting dozens of times in the White House during 2002/03 to sort out the most efficient mix of torture techniques for captured “terrorists.”

When initially ABC attempted to insulate the president from this sordid activity, Bush abruptly bragged that he knew all about it and approved. That comment and the action memorandum Bush signed on Feb. 7, 2002, dispelled any lingering doubt regarding his personal responsibility for authorizing torture.

Read the full article at Consortium News

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Written by mudshark

April 22, 2008 at 2:22 am

CNN calls up reinforcements for the next war

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Why let Fox News have all the fun and glory of screwing the minds of the myopic public right into the next triumphant snow-job of annihilation for more uninvolved civilians in another country that has done nothing, and has no potential to do anything to pose a real threat to the national security of the united states? That’s easy enough to fix, just go out and hire yourself a former white house press secretary that happens to be the most blatant war criminal apologist since the Truman administration and you’re good to go.

They smile in your face, all the time they wanna take your place, the back-stabbers

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former White House press secretary Tony Snow will join CNN as a conservative commentator beginning Monday.

Snow most recently served as press secretary to President Bush. For 10 years, beginning in 1996, he appeared on Fox News Channel as the host of Fox News Sunday, Weekend Live with Tony Snow and other programs. Before joining Fox, Snow served as a substitute “From the Right” co-host for CNN’s Crossfire.

Increased Fragmentation Of TV News Audiences Along Party Lines

“Ideology and partisanship used to be completely unrelated to the television news people consumed,” said study author Barry Hollander, associate professor of journalism in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “But they’ve become significant factors in the last five years.”

Hollander analyzed five national telephone surveys conducted from 1998 to 2006 by the Pew Center for the People and the Press, and his results are scheduled to appear in the spring edition of the journal Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

I guess that’s one way of getting the warmonger viewers back in your camp, eh?

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Written by mudshark

April 22, 2008 at 12:40 am

Your Police State at work

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In the further assault on freedom of religion, freedom of association, and the supposed right to privacy, the apparatchiks of the state continue to perpetuate the fraud that they have a duty to protect anyone from anything and/or everything, including themselves.

As Wendy McElroy points out, any old premise will do for the power-mad, even if it’s founded on a complete hoax.

In short, the phone call for help upon which the raid was based is about to be revealed as the complete fraud I pronounced it to be a few days ago. Sarah Jessop Barlow, whose marriage records the Child Protective Service claimed to have found in compound records, apparently doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, the man named as Sarah’s rapist and abuser has been living in Arizona and has not set foot in Texas since 1977. Thus, the police declined to arrest him.

The entire case against the polygamy compound is at stake here. The only evidence of a crime has been collected on the basis of a warrant issued in response to a hoax. Thus, according to precedent and the Constitution, all such evidence should be inadmissible. Nevertheless, the authorities are already staking out the position that the search is on solid legal ground as long as police acted in good faith – or as long as they believed the call was real.

Related: DNA samples taken from polygamists’ kids
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Written by mudshark

April 21, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Why Waco Still Matters

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the sixth in a series of essays from Anthony Gregory.

Every year for the last five years [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], I have written an article commemorating the Waco siege: the 51-day standoff from February 28 to April 19, 1993, between government agents – ATF, FBI and US military – and the Branch Davidians: a conflict ending in a conflagration that consumed the lives of 76 civilians, including 21 children.

That I’ve written about this so consistently raises some questions: Am I obsessed? Why do I, and a number of other commentators, feel the need to keep bringing up this sad episode in modern American history?

Waco still matters. Not just because it has become the paradigmatic symbol for federal police power gone out of control. Not just because it starkly demonstrates the American government’s militarism unleashed against its own people. Not just because it showcases the propensity of politicians and law enforcers to deceitfully cover and obscure their wrongful actions. No, Waco’s still important mostly because it shows exactly what happens when people resist the unjust incursions of their own government, including under democracy.

(Full article at LRC)

Have a nice death-by-government day, everyone.

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Written by mudshark

April 19, 2008 at 5:37 am