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Friday, July 26, 2013

We Have Always Been At War With Eurasia

The most transparent administration in history continues its trend of secrecy and deception.

John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation blog pointed out yesterday that Obama's website, which used to list the president's 2008 campaign promises, has been taken down. Replacing it is this crudely-formatted image:

As Wonderlich pointed out, the change in the website happened but a month ago, so to say "the New Administration has begun" is quite an understatement, since it actually began five years ago.

So why the change now?

Wonderlich speculates (and I agree) that the administration doesn't want people to remember the following passage, which I only re-post to prevent its complete disappearance down the memory hole:
Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.
Here's a link to the original page, which looks to have been removed from Google's cached pages as well.

It's easy to draw the conclusion that Edward Snowden's disclosures are having more of an impact than the Obama administration would like. You'll note the last page capture was on June 7 of this year.

Be vigilant, for the revision of history has already begun...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Slavery as Proto-Corporatism

The issue of slavery has reared its ugly, long-dead mug recently, especially as it relates to those in modern times who are skeptical of government. But was it government itself that fostered this peculiar institution?

In the discussion following the resignation of Jack Hunter from Rand Paul's staff, the point was raised that neo-confederates share the anti-government sentiment that drives libertarian political thought. But I contend the resemblance is merely superficial.

In all actuality, the institution of slavery, which is nondetachable from any form of confederate sympathy, is just as dependent on government as are the current corporatism defenders. And here's why:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What the Mission to Mars Might Look Like

I wanted to share this gem from across the pond, and eventually, one hopes, across the solar system.

Libertarianism might be better off starting with a fresh planet, since we can't even get on the ballot on this one.

Snowden Revelations Effect Change in DC, World

While NSA whistleblower* Edward Snowden may still be dodging U.S. custody, the signal he transmitted doesn't look like it can be stopped.

Roll Call reported yesterday that House GOP "libertarians" demanded amendments be added to the current Defense bill that would de-fund PRISM, among other things.

Read: legislation is happening, in America, because of Snowden's leaks. For those of us who've been railing against NSA spying since it was Bush's pony, it's a glimmer of hope in a struggle long thought to be lost.

But there's more.

Chevron proved that oil companies still look like jerks, though the power for that ruling still emanates from government.

The NSA's embarrassingly un-free program now threatens our international standing as well. The affair exposes our waning influence over South American countries. Calls for liberty from places we once regarded as bastions of tyranny should give Americans pause.

Last week, Germany of all places stopped playing the NSA's game, despite the interior minister's belief "that security is a 'super fundamental right'" and "as such it outranks fundamental rights such as privacy."

Perhaps these events may have unfolded on their own, but I doubt that. What is clear is that Snowden and his leaks aren't going away anytime soon, and the demonizing of the former contractor doesn't seem to be taking root either.

Is it possible that Americans aren't scared so easily, that Terrorism fear-mongering might finally be giving way to sanity?

One can hope and watch as these events continue to unfold.

*Apparently, the AP doesn't allow Snowden to be called a "whistleblower," but I can.

Independent Media 1, Associated Press 0.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Someone Said it Better: Libertarians, Slavery, and the CSA

Ilya Somin, writing for The Volokh Conspiracy, explains why libertarianism and the Confederacy are incompatible, and as you'd expect from someone with the resources of a paying journalism job, he does a better job than I:
Still, pro-Confederate libertarians are a significant enough minority that the phenomenon can’t simply be ignored. So we must continue to emphasize that support for the Confederacy is incompatible with libertarian principles for all the reasons already noted. Jason Kuznicki of Cato writes that he “can’t understand how anyone might admire the Confederacy and also call themselves a libertarian. Any affinity for the Confederacy marks one very clearly as an enemy of liberty.”
I hate to re-link but feel this should be passed along...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Snowden Nominated for Nobel. Wha?

Image Credit: Business Insider
The original, maybe-libertarian, formerly-super-rich, renegade hacker spy Edward Snowden has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Whether he is awarded this increasingly-irrelevant honor is not important, but the following statement is:

(Stefan Svallfors, a) Swedish sociology professor has nominated Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. He says the NSA whistleblower could help “save the prize from the disrepute incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision” to give the 2009 award to Barack Obama.
At least Europe is finally admitting its 2009 mistake. More as this develops...

Bubble Capitalism

Timothy P. Carney of the Washington Examiner came close to explaining more clearly what Metafederalism had to say on the matter back in May of large, government-cradled corporations in opposition to the notion of a free market.

He said:
Large banks profit from the presumption of a government bailout and the moat created by regulation. They are creatures of government, and they are insured by government, and so laissez-faire talk here is misplaced.
Exactly, except I contend this applies to more than just banks.

Perhaps his prescription for more regulation is apt because the banking industry is so hopelessly intertwined with the government, but that's not what I'm here to argue.

To Big To Fail often equates to To Unwieldy To Compete, hence the need for more government protection through favorable regulation. It's these large, government-inflated companies that give capitalism a bad name, and they're cheating at capitalism.

Maybe the banking industry is lost, but it's not to late for many American industries to wake up and smell the subsidized coffee...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Zimmerman Case Proves Imperfect System Working

The wide range of reactions to the recently decided State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman has given me pause about how well the average person understands the justice system in America.

Like many, I was of the opinion before the trial ended that Zimmerman had commited the crimes with which he was charged. But despite my opinions, we must respect that the law was applied here.

There's a reason that appeals in these types of cases on come from those found guilty, as opposed to appealing a case that exonerates the defendant: The U.S. legal system was set up to err on the side of the accused. This ruling will be good for our society over the long run.

It's terrible for the family of Trayvon Martin, and likely bad for race relations in the short term, but in the end, it's more important that the potentially guilty go free than the innocent get sent to jail — way more important.

It's a hard pill to swallow, especially now in the midst of all the nearly-racist predictions of looting and the general uneasyness that even the most staunch defenders of gun rights are experiencing. But it's still important for us as a free society because the alternative is far worse, regardless of one's ethnic lineage.

My sincere hope is that people remember this as the watercooler discussions of this case play out over the next week or so.

Despite how bad this outcome feels emotionally, in the end, justice was preserved.

Friday, July 12, 2013

World Slightly More Free as Napolitano Resigns

Homeland Security comisar and Civil Rights Violation Czar Janet Napolitano announced that she is resigning today. She leaves behind a large, strong department, fine-tuned to give the public the appearance of security while actually taking away citizens' rights, one checkpoint at a time.

The now-former secretary declined to comment on these accomplishments, but did say the usual boilerplate quitting stuff that's not worth mentioning here. It only seems appropriate at this time of transition to look back on the tenure of America's most intrusive cabinet secretary.

Under Napolitano's steady hand, we've seen the first ever near-rape searches at airports (including threatening legal action to silence the victim, in this case), profiling people with differing political opinions, and policy way ahead of the curve on the spying on American citizens.

From the AP in 2010:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation's homeland security chief said(...)
It will be sad to see her go, not because I think her replacement will be better at violating the rights of American citizens, but rather, because her replacement may be better at keeping these violations out the public eye.

See you around the free speech zones, Janet...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Southern Avenger is Not a Libertarian

A luchador mask? Really?
Senator and rumored 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) looks to have hired this racist shock jockey asshole. Once again, a Paul is suddenly found to be cavorting with less-than-savory characters and is being put in an indefensible position.

It's really frustrating to see this again.

Those of us, who have a respect for human rights as a fundamental component of our core political beliefs, are once again tarred with the ill judgement of the few who manage to enter the national spotlight.

I'm here to set two things straight: racism is not comparable with libertarian morality; and the confederacy was not a libertarian movement or organization.

Secessionists weren't exactly the states' rights-yelping freedom fighters that some of the old halls of conservatism claim them to be.

Even before they formed, they used the federal government, with powers granted by Fugitive Slave Act, to force free states to return human "property" to the South. They were the first to turn to conscription.

They beat up abolitionist members of congress for pointing out that it's a terrible idea to own people. And I don't mean hired thugs, the violence was administered by their own congressmen.

But this was nowhere near the physical, psychological and economic violence administered by the confederacy to the slaves.

Attempt to put the emotional component of slavery aside, if possible, for just one second. Unprovoked violence against another person is a violation of that person's rights in the eyes of a libertarian, whether it's assault or theft (forced labor is the stealing of labor, by the way).

The confederacy was built upon a system of unprovoked physical violence and monetary theft, something well documented and fundamental to the existence of the confederacy itself. Any discussion about this old saw must not be divorced of that fact. The CSA was formed to defend slavery.

In perpetrating the confederate way of living even after the shooting stopped, through all sorts of rights violations, some still ongoing, it took many generations for the conditions for the newly freed to improve in the south. Physical violence, intimidation and all the hallmarks of real racism marked the worst of these times.

And these violations were carried out through immoral laws, if not by outright criminality. State and local governments can easily grow tyrannical too, and torturing, displacing and destroying its own people, even if it's just the black ones, smacks like a pimp of tyranny to me, and likewise not compatible with libertarianism.

Nor is racism enforced by law, which is the logical conclusion of any neo-secessionist agenda.

Just policy must be designed with no regard to race in mind, and I don't trust that of a person like the Southern Avenger, despite his recent, half-hearted attempts at backing up his earlier, insane statements (like supporting the assassination of Lincoln).

The confederacy was not libertarian, nor is Jack Hunter. Get rid of him, Rand.