Tag Archives: Reuters

Washington’s Scandals: The Internet Works Both Ways

Original Article: http://www.thedailybell.com/29127/Washingtons-Scandals-The-Internet-Works-Both-Ways

Reuters: ‘An Increasingly Polarized Washington Is Devouring Its Own’ … Unprecedented Justice Department searches of journalists’ phone records. IRS targeting of conservative political groups. Spiraling sexual assault rates in the military. And the downplaying of the first killing of an American ambassador in 30 years. But Obama‘s failings are only part of the problem. An increasingly polarized Washington is devouring its own. Ceaseless, take-no-prisoners political warfare, not nefarious White House plots, ravages government. – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: Government needs to work better to avoid crises and scandals.

Free-Market Analysis: On Saturday, we published an editorial with a title very similar to the one in this current Reuters editorial: “Scandal: And They Shall Eat Their Own … ”

The difference between the Daily Bell editorial and the Reuters editorial is instructive. In our editorial, we posited that a reason for the scandals might have to do with the ubiquitous nature of the modern Internet. This was not the only possibility but it was one Anthony Wile found feasible.

This Reuters editorial blames “gridlock.” The Reuters editorial wants us to believe that the current scandals inWashington, DC can be rectified by a more smoothly functioning government. We don’t think that government is much of a solution to anything. We believe such scandals could be rectified by shrinking government, not making it function more effectively.

Here’s more from the article:

In a matter of days, alarming accounts have emerged regarding the actions of five key federal government bureaucracies: the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon.

For commentators on the right, the reports are final proof of the raft of conspiracy theories focused on President Barack Obama. For commentators on left, they are non-scandals that Republicans exaggerate for political gain. Our endless left-right debate – Obama the devil, Obama the angel – misses more serious problems.

… Obama came into office promising openness – but from counter-terrorism to domestic policy, his White House has been secretive, insular and controlling. Yes, Republicans are bent on destroying Obama’s presidency, but an aloof president has alienated his Democratic allies.

Congress is no better. Each two-year term seems to set new standards for political trench warfare. One-third of the committees in the Republican-controlled House are investigating the administration. Some on the far right call for Obama’s impeachment.

You see? The problems faced by the US government have to do with the bad behavior of its actors. Everyone has to shoulder some part of the blame: Obama, Congress, the Pentagon, etc.

But the problem with this logic, in our humble view, starts and ends with the size of government and the pervasiveness of monopoly central banking. It is the availability of a money machine itself that has allowed government to grow to its current dysfunctional size.

And dysfunctional – and titanic – it is. Government at levels in the US must surely spend up to US$4 trillion on, among other things, a dysfunctional public school system, a crumbling industrial infrastructure and a vast domestic spy network complemented by a hugely expensive military-industrial complex. The value of all these expenditures to individual citizens is dubious to say the least.

The system exists, nonetheless, corrupt beyond measure, authoritarian by design and obviously repressive in its actions. Gradually, however, what we call the Internet Reformation is changing this situation.

As more and more information mounts up about destructive government actions in the US – and Europe, too – we would argue it becomes harder and harder to maintain business as usual.

Now, there are probably other reasons for these US scandals to come out now, and certainly there are many competing interests that might want to generate such difficulties. But think about what has come before: a steady drip, drip, drip of revelations that have not been staunched despite the best efforts of those in government and their media enablers.

Controversial reports having to do with President Obama’s birth certificate, election rigging, the destruction of the World Trade Towers and much else have not been excised from the public consciousness with the ruthless efficiency of pre-21st century maneuverings.

It is much more difficult to keep a secret these days, or stop people from speculating about motivations and underlying realities.

Conclusion: Many fear that the Internet is giving government the tools to be more authoritarian than ever. But it works both ways.


A New Year of Global Protest

Original Article Link: http://heraldgoa.in/newpage.php?month=1&day=1&year=2012&catid=274

David D’Amato

In 2011, the protester so upset the prevailing order of things that Time magazine named her (or him, as the case may be) its Person of the Year. Recently, protesters in China, Russia and Yemen, to name a handful, went on the streets voicing opposition to the kinds of barefaced injustices that feature in human life in every corner of the globe.
In Yemen, Reuters reports, troops loyal to the country’s President Ali Abdullah fired on demonstrators, killing at least nine. In China, meanwhile, an uprising is under way against land grabs in Guangdong province pursuant to so-called “liberalisation policies begun in 1979.” However different the situations in China and Yemen, the demonstrations represent attempts of peaceful society to assert itself against and to repel the aggression of the state — “the political means.”
The state is fundamentally a way for organized groups of robbers and exploiters to control valuable resources. It has always been thus, but rather than simply acknowledging its own criminality, the state drapes its continuing mission of deprivation and violence in the robes of “public service.” Giveaways of land, cultivated and therefore owned for generations by, for example, small farmers, are granted the imprimatur of “free enterprise” and “liberalization.” Similarly, turning the military loose on unarmed citizens is defended with the language of social tranquility and respect for the rule of law. With the social upheaval and brutality that dominates the news today, the “law and order” justification for the state has grown ever more untenable, even preposterous. In 1970, advancing a more scholarly understanding of anarchism, James J Martin argued that there was “little justification” for the idea of anarchism as “a doctrine of destruction.” Martin explained that “a program of pure negation or obstructionism” is no “more than faintly related” to anarchism, which indeed sets forth in its literature a positive vision for a stateless future.
Individualist or market anarchism, contrary to flimsy caricatures, has never meant advocacy for disorder or for a society without substantive rules for conduct, one pushed into — in Hobbes’ words — a war of all against all. It is instead the state that has made war pass for society, a war that pits the privileged few against the productive many.
The protests materializing around the world in this moment are a reaction, consciously or not, to the chaos bred by political authority. If the state is in fact meant to build the conditions of law and order, then we have to wonder why we live in a world covered by states like Yemen and China, ruled by people like Vladimir Putin.
Though depicted as utopians, obsessed with pie in the sky daydreams, or as bomb-throwing provocateurs of pandemonium, anarchists petition simply for a society in which freedom is the guiding principle. Granted, on its own, that doesn’t mean much, but without aggression against innocents, the state could not exist.
Without the state, we would still be left with lots of questions, forced to deal with the logistical requirements of abstractions like justice, but we’d be closer — significantly so. And maybe that’s enough of a hope for the new year 2012, that we gnaw away even more at the systems of authority that oppress us and defile our communities.


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