Tag Archives: United States

Eric Schmidt Wants To Protect You From Your Neighbor’s Drone. But What About Barack Obama’s?

Here is another C4ss article. They are left leaning but are freedom loving nonetheless. I tend to lean a bit more right but am open and am exploring, reading and praying. Meanwhile this Schmidt dude sounds like a real elitist puppet. Take all rights away from the people because only government can be trusted with new technologies.

People can regulate themselves. They do not need drones (government officials) attempting to decide what is right and wrong for everyone in every situation.

Apart from certain things like theft, murder and the like most issues are not a matter of right or wrong but preference. Since this is true it should be left up to locals as to what works best in their area. As for those things that are definitely wrong, even here each community or locale must decide how best to handle these types of violations.

Of course that will present a problem since if you are traveling and kill someone it may be considered a murder in one place and accidental in another. In which case everything from being let go to a death sentence could occur. But do we truly want freedom or do we want some government that tells everyone what they can and cannot do? It seems worth the risk of freedom to me.  

I say this as a felon who could have been killed if some folks had had their choice, while others even the victim of my crime would have had me have no record whatsoever. (E)

Posted by  on Apr 15, 2013 in Commentary

As reported by the BBC, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt expresses grave misgivings about civilian acquisition of drones during an interview with the Guardian (available only to that paper’s subscribers). Curiously, Schmidt voices little skepticism of government use of drones for surveillance and targeted killing. He has this to say about his fear of drone proliferation:

“ You’re having a dispute with your neighbour … How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their backyard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?” Schmidt also cited the possibility that terrorists could acquire drone technology as another danger. To make sure that drones don’t fall into the wrong hands, Schmidt said, “It’s got to be regulated … It’s one thing for governments, who have some legitimacy in what they’re doing, but have other people doing it … it’s not going to happen.”

Schmidt’s assumption that drone deployment by governments has “some legitimacy” is debatable given the available evidence. For instance, a report from McClatchy raises serious questions about whom the US Government targets with its drones. The Obama administration claims that drone strikes “are authorized only against ‘specific senior operational leaders of al Qaida and associated forces’ involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks who are plotting ‘imminent’ violent attacks on Americans.” But according to McClatchy reporter Jonathan S. Landay,

Copies of the top-secret U.S. intelligence reports … show that drone strikes in Pakistan over a four-year period didn’t adhere to those standards.

The intelligence reports list killings of alleged Afghan insurgents whose organization wasn’t on the U.S. list of terrorist groups at the time of the 9/11 strikes; of suspected members of a Pakistani extremist group that didn’t exist at the time of 9/11; and of unidentified individuals described as “other militants” and “foreign fighters.”

These revelations led Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald to state bluntly, “The Obama Administration often has no idea who they are killing.” So why would Eric Schmidt be so unconcerned about the drones deployed by the US government?

Maybe it has something to do with Schmidt’s cozy relationship with President Obama. The administration reportedly offered Schmidt a cabinet post after the president’s 2012 re-election. According to  the Telegraph, Schmidt oversaw “Google’s $700,000 donation” to the Obama campaign and has been close to the president since the 2008 presidential campaign.

Or perhaps Schmidt is just a bourgeois liberal who thinks more highly of state and corporate officials than he does of “the rabble.” Schmidt also said, “ I’m not going to pass judgment on whether armies should exist, but I would prefer to not spread and democratise the ability to fight war to every single human being.” This statement displays a frustrating, but common, naivete about the nature of governments. If Schmidt was truly aware of the state’s capacity for mass killing and organized violence, he might become less wary of the local yokels. Schmidt’s error is similar to those who demand further restrictions on private firearm ownership even as US government at all levels becomes more militarized.

But what about Schmidt’s neighborhood squabble scenario?

If my neighbor had his drone buzzing over my residence, I suspect that I — probably accompanied by sympathetic and irritated neighbors — would pay Mr. Drone Fetish a visit. I would ask him to behave in a more neighborly fashion if he ever wanted to see his drone again. If he persisted, the best shot in the neighborhood might just blow his precious drone out of the sky. Emerging anti-drone technology and community pressure might also be used to harsh his UAV mellow.

Come to think of it, since domestic law enforcement is now in the drone game, drone shooting may become a hot new sport for freedom-loving US rifle owners. After all, clay pigeons pose no threat to you or your civil liberties. The same cannot be said of government drones, no matter what Eric Schmidt thinks.

C4SS Fellow Dave Hummels is a libertarian socialist writer from Central Illinois. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Dave has over a decade of experience in the healthcare security field and is a licensed emergency medical technician.
 

Living the Lockdown Life

I trust people will take to heart what Thomas Knapp is implying here! (E)

Center for a Stateless Society

building public awareness of left-wing market anarchism

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Posted by  on Apr 16, 2013 in Commentary

While watching coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath, I couldn’t help but notice multiple uses and variations of the word “lockdown” (e.g. “Boston is locked down”). Nor could I help thinking that I’ve been hearing that word used more and more frequently over the last few years, and finding its  connotations are troubling.

Internet etymological sources inform me that the word “lockdown” emerged in the 1940s to describe mechanical processes such as shutting down machines in an ultra-safe manner for maintenance (by the time I worked in factories, the term was “lockout,”). Its most well-known usage, however, dates from the early 1970s. Until the last decade or so it was nearly unique to “correctional institutions.”

A prison lockdown occurs in the context of a riot or other exceptional disciplinary situation: All inmates are ordered to their cells (as opposed to the cafeteria, the exercise yard or, in prisons which operate slave labor schemes, their work stations). The facility is temporarily closed to visitors, deliveries, etc. — only “essential personnel” may enter, leave, or move within the grounds.

A useful term to describe a common, or at least standardized, process. But in the early 1990s, the term vaulted over the prison wall and into more general usage. Google’s Ngram service, which traces the frequency of words in books, graphs slow, steady increase in the term’s appearance until 1990, followed by a  ”hockey stick”: Between 1990 and 2008, use of the term “lockdown” in English-language books ballooned to ten times that 1990 baseline.

Suddenly lockdowns were no longer just a prison thing. They became a school thing, and then an area, neighborhood, city thing.

As of Tuesday morning, April 16, 2013, Google News reported more than 50,000 uses of the word “lockdown” in the news media in the previous 30 days.

“Salem [Massachusetts] schools hold lockdown drills.”  “[Dallas, Texas] elementary to dismiss at normal time after lock down” (for nearly five hours because of a single shooting nearby, but not on campus). “Fallston [Maryland] High, Middle schools briefly placed on lockdown” (because a “suspicious person” was reported nearby). Lockdowns at hospitals. Lockdowns at military bases. Neighborhoods locked down for politicians’ social calls and cities locked down for politicians’ funerals.

Ironic? Portentous? Certainly not mere coincidence. The term is becoming so common because it works. It’s descriptive. Not just of the process, but of the societies in which the process is applied.

America in particular and western societies in general have, over the same decades producing that increased usage, degenerated into open air prisons. The inmates — us — although under nearly ubiquitous surveillance, are mostly left free to wander around (not all of them; last time I checked, one of every 32 Americans was “in the correctional system” — imprisoned or on parole, probation or house arrest), as long as we can produce paperwork on demand and “explain ourselves” to the guards if interrogated. And, of course, until the guards pick one of fifty bazillion reasons to “lock down” the block we happen to be on.

That’s not freedom. It’s highly conditional sufferance. And until we reject the lockdown life and abolish the states which impose it, things are going to get more and more conditional and less and less tolerable.

Citations to this article:


Opportunity Begins With Freedom, Not a ‘Living Wage’

Excellent article as to why with the way the Central Banking system works a minimum wage is a moot argument (E)

Thursday, April 11, 2013 by Staff Report – http://www.thedailybell.com

In favour of the living wage … In the United States and some other developed economies, wages for the least well paid are too low. A mandatory living wage is the best way to redress this injustice. The idea of minimum wages is well accepted, but the American $7.25 an hour does not meet the simple standard of providing enough to support the worker who earns it. For an adult in New York State, self-support requires 55 percent more, $11.25 an hour in a full-time job, according to The MIT Living Wage Calculator. And a just minimum should really be enough to raise a family – something closer to the $23.58 an hour required to support a single wage-earner with one child. The minimum wage is one part of the remarkably complex pay system found in all developed industrial societies. – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: What the Western world needs is a fair minimum wage.

Free-Market Analysis: This Reuters editorial brings up two points and provides us with two separate conclusions.

Theoretically, we are much averse to the argument that government needs to provide minimum wages. But practically speaking, if government is going to provide money to impoverished people, why not print the money and give it to them directly – instead of sending the money to banking coffers?

So the confusion embodied by this article is compounded by a lack of honesty about the monetary system itself. This article wants to treat our current situation as if the West’s problem is one mainly of governmental fairness. Here’s more:

Economists often suggest that wages are determined by market forces, the supply and demand for labour, and by employers’ calculations of the value of labour. But actual wages influence both the market and the perceived value of labour. It is more accurate to include market forces and economic value somewhere in the middle of the long list of factors which contribute to the ever-shifting social agreement on pay levels.

This agreement is established in the mysterious way that all social orders are built – the powerful push, the weak resist, traditions are followed and evolve, justice is respected and flouted, market forces and economic calculations nudge. By far the most important factor in determining pay is the social judgment of value. The main reason that bankers, advertising executives and doctors are paid more than teachers, childcare workers and street cleaners is that society values the former more than the latter.

And the main reason that the minimum-wage jobs pay too little to support a family is that society has agreed that is what such labour is worth. This is an injustice, because honest labour should always be rewarded with enough to live a decent life. To be fair, the social judgment of these occupations is less harsh than the pay level suggests.

The very poorly paid usually receive welfare benefits from the government, either in cash or in the form of free or cut-price services. It is an awkward arrangement, but unavoidable in societies which have decided that pay should be determined by the job but spending power should be determined, at least in part, by needs and family situation. That division will exist as long as family breadwinners do not receive special pay status.

The macroeconomic objections to higher minimum wages deserve serious attention, but they often hide higher earners’ justified fear of losing out. After all, when those at the bottom end up with more – as they inevitably would with a higher minimum wage, even after benefit cuts – those at the top must end up with less. Doctors would still have much higher incomes than cleaners, but both the doctors’ own pay and the ratio of their pay to cleaners’ remuneration would fall. The desire to maintain consumption and social status is legitimate, but must be set against a higher virtue – solidarity. The fruits of economic success should be shared equitably. A living wage for all is a good standard of success.

You see the argument being made? It is especially clear in this last paragraph. Providing people with a living wage is a “higher virtue.”

But this article in reality has nothing to do with virtue. If it was virtuous, it would tell the truth about how money is produced in the modern era, with a touch of a button. During the height of the financial crisis, Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve admits to generating some US$16 trillion in short-term loans to financial enterprises – much of which reportedly was never paid back.

Such spending makes arguments like this one moot. These are 20th century arguments, in fact, based on a time when people did not fully understand the monetary system. Perhaps one could say they are arguments from the 1800s when there was a gold standard and money was truly constrained.

But today these are arguments without a purpose. Were there sufficient determination, proponents of these sorts of solutions would start to argue that central banks ought to print money and deliver it directly to people instead of banks.

Of course, most of the people making these arguments are statists with an emotional or professional stake in concealing the way money is really produced in the modern era. And they would rather write these sorts of articles, apparently, then tell the truth about money and poverty in the 21st century.

From our standpoint, an even better solution to poverty would be to shut down central banks and let Leviathan begin to starve. Without an unlimited supply of money, the US in particular would have to shutter its military-industrial complex, the vast prison gulags that dot the country and the larger regulatory state that deprives people of the opportunity to work.

There are estimates that between 50 million and 100 million in the US who want to work cannot find employment. Something has gone drastically wrong with what we call regulatory democracy;  it simply doesn’t work. It’s reached a dead end.

Agitating that this sort of dysfunctional system should prop itself up by providing tens of millions with a living wage is not a solution but a kind of bribe. The idea apparently is to pay people a bare minimum in the hopes that they don’t rise up in protest against a system that is frozen in failure.

What the West and the United States really need is a long, loud discussion about statism, the incompetence of regulation and the abysmal failure of the current money system.

Conclusion: Opportunity begins with freedom.


Pew Poll: Majority Of Americans Say Marijuana Should Be Legal

One of those other broken promises that the man in the Oval Office failed to keep to his constituents. The man is a traitor. Need I remind readers what the so-called founding fathers said about traitors. Oh and BTW he isn’t the only one. Most of the US Congress, Senate, Military, Courts and all agencies of the US Government have betrayed the American people. Non-Violent opposition to bring the government to a stop is the best answer. Find one way to stop cooperating with them. Decide how much of a price you can afford to pay and do that thing which will irritate, cost them money or resources or in some other way clog a wheel.

Something as simple as creating a blog, Facebook page, standing out in front of a local court house handing out Jury Nullification Pamphlets. There are so many ways.

Hell, I even drove with an expired license for several years as a matter of principle. Literally years without being caught and the only reason I was finally caught was new technology that reads every plate and automatically runs it. I wasn’t speeding, didn’t run a stop sign etc. I am a good driver and that was the point. Why do I need to ask the state permission to drive when I have proven my abilities for years.  (of course they and many of you who have been brainwashed into thinking we need a state would disagree with me which is why I will no longer drive until after I take the test and get a license). BTW just as a matter of fact I haven’t had an accident in over 20 years.

Maybe it didn’t change anything or maybe the butterfly thing is real and seemingly insignificant things do matter in the end. Maybe my act will eventually be the thing that brought the whole friggin’ thing down on their heads.

It doesn’t really even matter but you should be choosing to do something! Otherwise ya git what ya git. BTW we are winning the war for hearts which proves our efforts are having an affect. (E)

Pew Poll: Majority Of Americans Say Marijuana Should Be LegalWashington, DC: Fifty-two percent of Americans say that the adult consumption of cannabis ought to be legal, according to national polling data released last week by the Pew Research Center. The total is the highest percentage of support ever reported by Pew, which began surveying public opinion on this issue in 1973.

This year’s percentage marks an 11 percent increase in support since 2010, the last time Pew posed the question. Forty-five percent of respondents said they opposed liberalizing marijuana laws.

Democrats, (59 percent), males (57 percent), African Americans (56 percent), and those respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 (64 percent) were most likely to favor legalizing marijuana. Female respondents (48 percent), Republicans (37 percent), and those age 65 and over (33 percent) were least likely to back legalization.

Pollsters also reported that 77 percent of Americans – including 72 percent of self-identified Republicans and 60 percent of those respondents age 65 or older – believe that cannabis possesses “legitimate medical uses,” a position that directly conflicts with federal policy.

According to Pew, a solid majority of Americans also question present federal efforts to enforce the criminalization of cannabis. The poll reported that 72 percent of respondents agreed that “government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth,” and 60 percent of Americans said that the government should no longer enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have approved of its use.

In recent months, national polls by GallupQuinnipiac University, and Public Policy Polling have all similarly reported majority public support for legalizing and regulating the adult use of cannabis.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.


Hunger Strike at Gitmo: ‘We Are Dying a Slow Death Here’

End Guantanamo

End Guantanamo (Photo credit: jezobeljones)

Though Moorbey and I do not agree on solutions we do both agree that this government is evil and oppressive. It is time the people find something else other than the system we currently have. Here is another example of that idiocy. The prisoners in Guantanamo need to be sent home. They are not terrorists for the most part. those who are should be charged and tried. Except the US govt. is afraid of the publicity should the people get any further information about the horrors of that place. 

Moorbey’z Blog

Article posted here: http://moorbey.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/hunger-strike-at-gitmo-we-are-dying-a-slow-death-here/

2013/04/14 · by 

By Pardiss Kebriaei April 13, 2013 MSNBC” –  I’ve just returned from Guantanamo, where my clients  and a majority of the other 166 men there have been on hunger strike for over  two months. Most of them have been cleared for release or will never be charged.  But the Obama administration has refused to send them home.

I met with men who are weak  and have lost between 30 and 40 pounds. They told me of other men who are  skeletal and barely moving, who have coughed up blood, passed out, and one who  tried to hang himself.
One of the men I met with,  Sabry Mohammed, a Yemeni who remains detained years after he was approved for  release by the Obama administration, said, “We are dying a slow death here.” Yet  the authorities say they will not let men die–they will force-feed them when  their body weight drops dangerously low, strapping them into chairs and forcing  a tube up their noses that pumps formula into their stomachs. The military  reports that so far, 11 men are being “saved” this way. Yet as one of the men  put it, the irony is that “the government will keep us alive by force-feeding us  but they will let us die by detaining us forever.”
Today, 166 men remain at  Guantanamo, more than eleven years after they arrived in hoods and shackles.  Most are being held without charge and will never be charged. The Obama  administration has approved more than half of the men–86–for transfer, but  hasn’t mustered the political will to overcome congressional hurdles, despite  saying it can and will. As their indefinite detention stretches into a second  decade, men are aging, declining and dying. Last September,Adnan Latif, a  husband and a father, a man twice cleared for transfer under the Bush and Obama  administrations, was the ninth prisoner to die. The current crisis at the base  had specific triggers, but there has been an emergency at Guantanamo for  years.
The strike was sparked in  early February, when prison authorities ordered searches of the men’s Qurans.  One man told me, “I won’t even touch the Quran without washing my hands, how  could I use it to hide something dirty?” The men viewed the searches as  desecration, which should hardly have been news to those in charge. A former  Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo once described the handling of the holy books as  “the most contentious issue” at the prison. Given the sensitivity of the  practice and the history of religious abuse at Guantanamo–acts like throwing  Qurans on the ground and shaving detainees’ beards as punishment–the authorities  should have known better. Indeed, former commanders did know better. In a 2009  review of conditions at Guantanamo, ordered by the Obama administration, a  commander at the base recognized that standard operating procedures “do not  permit searching of the Koran.” The rule reflected an “elevated respect” for  detainees’ religious concerns–a lesson learned from the early years. It is  unclear why that changed. Another of my clients said, “They are taking the camp  back to 2006.”
So far, prison authorities  have defended their actions and downplayed the scale of the strike. Inside the  prison, my clients have described various tactics used to make life even more  difficult and break the strike. Some have been life-threatening, like delaying  the delivery of filtered drinking water, forcing detainees to drink from the tap  of sink faucets attached to toilets in their cells. Before, there used to be  signs above the sinks saying it was not safe to drink the water. One man said he  would rather go without water than drink from the sink.
As the strike enters its third  month and the crisis deepens, the authorities must reach for a resolution before  someone dies. My clients are asking for assurances that their Qurans will not be  searched, or to hand them in altogether rather than see them  desecrated.
But the solution to the  broader calamity is closing Guantanamo, beginning with the release of men like  Sabry. He told me he does not want to die, he wants to return to his family, but  he and others are continuing the strike because they have been pushed too far  and this is the only means they have to protest peacefully. The only thing they  can control is their own bodies. It is an act of strength even as they are  growing weaker. They are desperately wanting to believe there is still a life  for them beyond the prison walls.
At the end of our meeting last  week, Sabry showed me a painting he made recently, of the prison surrounded by  mountains.  But outside the high, tight-mesh fence that encloses Camp 6, where  Sabry is held, there is ocean. “I don’t know what is outside. It is just what I  imagine.”  After more than eleven years, it is long past time for the United  States to send Sabry home.
Pardiss Kebriaei is a  senior attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who represents men  detained at Guantanamo. She is lead counsel for CCR on the targeted killing  case, Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta.

Educated!

Moorbey’z Blog

Do you understand the goal of Public Education? If you have children you’d better understand the plan. (E)

“Although this science will be  diligently studied, it will be rightly confined to the governing class and the  populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were  generated…education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils  have left school, they will be incapable…of thinking or acting otherwise than  their schoolmaster would have wished.” –  Bertrand  Russell


Shellfish Coated Bananas?

For those of us who do not eat shellfish for religious reasons this is a disaster. We will no longer be able to eat vegetables and fruits not grown locally which in Iowa leaves very few options. Especially in winter and spring months. (E)


“Systemic Failures Persist” in California Prison Mental Health Care, Judge Rules

The way we treat individuals in prison is atrocious as it is. This is inexcusable and supposedly even with a very minor amount of improvement over the past 20 years or so. And even that tiny amount had to be FORCED upon the state by the federal courts! Things need to change folks or one day when you are the one sitting in prison you’ll wish they had.
If you don’t think that is possible you’d better remember that the feds add an extra 1000 or more new laws to the Federal Register each and every year. That doesn’t even include your state and local yocals. So…You and I are all guilty of some crime. They just haven’t chosen to enforce the one we are guilty of yet. They will. (E)

Oh and one more thing-ya better learn to get along with ALL kinds of people no matter how much you disagree with them. Find some common ground. I’ve recently learned I have a lot more in common with former Black Panthers than some christians.


The Conspiracy to Kill Martin Luther King Jr:

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deutsch: 1964: Martin Luther King Português: Martin Luther King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not a Theory But a Fact, According to Our Own Legal System

From: http://moorbey.wordpress.com/

Original: AlterNet /By Ira Chernus

April 4, 2013  |
Should the United States government be allowed to assassinate its own citizens? That question was in the air briefly not long ago. April 4 is an excellent day to revive it: On April 4, 1968, the government was part of a successful conspiracy to assassinate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
That’s not just some wing-nut conspiracy theory. It’s not a theory at all. It is a fact, according to our legal system.
In 1999, in Shelby County, TennesseeLloyd Jowers was tried before a jury of his peers (made up equally of white and black citizens, if it matters) on the charge of conspiring to kill Dr. King. The jury heard testimony for four full weeks.
On the last day of the trial, the attorney for the King family (which brought suit against Jowers) concluded his summation by saying: “We’re dealing in conspiracy with agents of the City of Memphis and the governments of the State of Tennessee and the United States of America. We ask you to find that conspiracy existed.”
It took the jury only two-and-half hours to reach its verdict: Jowers and “others, including governmental agencies, were parties to this conspiracy.”
I don’t know whether the jury’s verdict reflects the factual truth of what happened on April 4, 1968. Juries have been known to make mistakes and (probably rather more often) juries have made mistakes that remain unknown.
But within our system of government, when a crime is committed it’s a jury, and only a jury, that is entitled to decide on the facts. If a jury makes a mistake, the only way to rectify it is to go back into court and establish a more convincing version of the facts. That’s the job of the judicial branch, not the executive.
So far, no one has gone into court to challenge the verdict on the King assassination.
Yet the version of history most Americans know is very different because it has been shaped much more by the executive than the judicial branch. Right after the jury handed down its verdict, the federal government’s Department of Justice went into high gear, sparing no effort to try to disprove the version of the facts that the jury endorsed — not in a court of law but in the “court” of public opinion.
The government’s effort was immensely successful. Very few Americans are aware the trial ever happened, much less that the jury was convinced of a conspiracy involving the federal government.
To understand why, let’s reflect on how history, as understood by the general public, is made: We take the facts we have, which are rarely complete, and then we fill in the gaps with our imaginations — for the most part, with our hopes and/or fears. The result is a myth: not a lie, but a mixture of proven facts and the fictions spawned by our imaginings.
In this case, we have two basic myths in conflict.
One is a story Americans have been telling since the earliest days of our nation: Back in not-so-merry old England, people could be imprisoned or even executed on the whim of some government official. They had no right to prove their innocence in a fair, impartial court. We fought a bloody war to throw off the British yoke precisely to guarantee ourselves basic rights like the right to a fair trial by a jury of our peers. We would fight again, if need be, to preserve that fundamental right. This story explains why we are supposed to let a jury, and only a jury, determine the facts.
(By odd coincidence, as I was writing this the mail arrived with my summons to serve on a local jury. The website it directed me to urged me to feel “a sense of pride and respect for our system of justice,” because “about 95 percent of all jury trials in the world take place in the United States.”)
Then there’s another myth, a story that says the federal government has only assassinated American citizens who were truly bad people and aimed to do the rest of us harm; the government would never assassinate an innocent citizen. Most Americans devoutly hope this story is true. And most Americans don’t put MLK in the “bad guy” category. So they resist believing what the legal system tells us is true about his death.
Perhaps a lot of Americans would not be too disturbed to learn that the local government in Memphis or even the Tennessee state government were involved. There’s still plenty of prejudice against white Southerners. But the federal government? It’s a thought too shocking for most Americans even to consider. So they fill in the facts with what they want to believe — and the myth of James Earl Ray, “the lone assassin,” lives on, hale and hearty.
Since that’s the popular myth, it’s the one the corporate mass media have always purveyed. After all, their job is to sell newspapers and boost ratings in order to boost profits. Just a few days after the trial ended the New York Times, our “newspaper of record,” went to great lengths to cast doubt on the verdict and assure readers, in its headline, that the trial would have “little effect” — an accurate, though self-fufilling, prophecy.
Imagine if the accused had been not a white southerner but a black man, with known ties not to the government but to the Black Panther Party. You can bet that the trial verdict would have been bannered on every front page; the conspiracy would be known to every American and enshrined in every history book as the true version of events.
None of this necessarily means that the federal government and the mass media are covering up actual facts. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. Again, I don’t claim to know what really happened on April 4, 1968.
But there surely were people in the federal government who thought they had good reason to join a conspiracy to get rid of Dr. King. He was deep into planning for the Poor People’s Campaign, which would bring poor folks of every race and ethnicity to Washington, DC. The plan was to have them camp out on the Mall until the government enacted major economic reforms to lift everyone out of poverty. That meant redistributing wealth — an idea that made perfect sense to Dr. King, who was a harsh critic of the evils of capitalism (as well as communism).
It also meant uniting whites and non-whites in the lower income brackets, to persuade them that the suffering they shared in common was stronger than the racial prejudice that divided them. Dr. King did not have to be a prophet to foresee that the longer whites blamed non-whites, rather than the rich, for their troubles, the easier it would be to block measures for redistributing wealth. The unifying effect of the Poor People’s Campaign spelled trouble for those whose wealth might be redistributed.
At the same time, Dr. King was the most famous and respected critic of the war in Vietnam. By 1968 he was constantly preaching that the war was not just a tragic mistake. It was the logical outgrowth of the American way of life, based on what he called the inextricably linked “triplets” of militarism, racism, and materialism. Had he lived, the Poor People’s Campaign would have become a powerful vehicle for attacking all three and showing just how inseparable they are.
Yes, plenty of people in the federal government thought they had good reason to put an end to the work of Dr. King. But that hardly proves federal government complicity in a conspiracy to kill him.
So let’s assume for a moment, just for the sake of argument, that the jury was wrong, that James Earl Ray did the shooting and acted alone. The federal government would still have good reasons to suppress the conspiracy myth. Essentially, all those reasons boil down to a matter of trust. There is already immense mistrust of the federal government. Imagine if everyone knew, and every history book said, that our legal system has established as fact the government’s complicity in the assassination.
If the federal government has a convincing argument that the jury was wrong, we all deserve to hear it. There’s little advantage to having such uncertainty hanging in the air after 45 years. But the government should make its argument in open court, in front of a jury of our peers.
In America, we have only one way to decide the facts of guilt or innocence: not through the media or gossip or imagination, but through the slowly grinding machinery of the judicial system. At least that’s the story I want to believe.


The Main Reason Why Americans Need to Stand Against A War With Iran-The People of Iran

The Difference Between You & Me

“The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk together and we understand each other perfectly. The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same.”

Marjane Satrapi, Author


Are Prisons Obsolete?

Many of my readers will dismiss this out of hand because the author is Angela Davis. That, I believe, would be a mistake. The fact that one may not agree with many of Davis’ views is in no way a judgement on everything she may express. The view that prisons need to be dealt with and, hopefully, eventually, completely destroyed is an idea well worth consideration. There might be some extremely rare, and I do mean EXTREMELY rare, circumstances where individuals need to be isolated from the majority of society.

Even then those individuals must be treated with respect and decency. They need to have living facilities where they can receive fresh air, good food and comfortable housing. We must switch to a view of attempting to help and restore them rather than penalize them while at the same time seeing to it that their victims are properly remunerated for any losses both emotional as well as actual. (E)


Welfare Rights are Wrong

As I post this, I do so with some inner conflict as is always the case with these types of principled arguments  I am on SSI and Medicaid because of disabling medical conditions. My principles though, run counter to this. I hate using other people’s money when it is taken from them by force. I believe Social Security Taxes and Income Taxes are intrinsically evil and cannot remember a time when I did not think so.

Yet, here I am needing them, in part because those same taxes are a disincentive for voluntary charity. I have always believed that Churches and local organizations would be much better at helping those in need than any government ever could. Individuals are even better.  (E)

By Tibor Machan

Dr. Tibor Machan

Ever since John Locke developed the theory of natural individual human rights, there has been an ongoing attempt to change his idea to something very different.

For Locke the natural rights all human beings have are basically prohibitions. They forbid people from intruding on other people − from killing, assaulting, kidnapping, robbing them and so forth. In the field of political theory they are referred to as negative rights. They hold up a sign to all concerning invading people’s lives and spheres and insist: “Halt! You need permission to enter!”

This can be well appreciated when one considers that throughout much of history ordinary folks had been viewed as subjects, not sovereign citizens. A subject is one who must follow the dictates of some master or superior. Kings have subjects who must obey their will! Once this fiction is abandoned, it becomes clear that all adult human beings are independent agents, no one’s subject!

But, of course, many insist that such sovereignty is highly objectionable because it leaves it to the individual whether he or she will give support to others and their various projects. Involuntary servitude is ruled out if we are all sovereign citizens rather than subject to the will of a king, tsar, or ruler. Even the majority may not ignore this fact about us, so democracy is properly limited to some very few matters once the sovereignty of individuals is acknowledged.

But by introducing the idea of welfare or positive rights, we are back in the old system since a positive right imposes an enforceable obligation on one to provide others with goods and services, never mind what one chooses to do. Thus, if people have a positive right to health care or insurance or education or housing or a job, they must be provided with this, just as when their right to life or liberty is recognized, they must not be interfered with.

One’s basic rights impose obligations on everyone not to violate them. But negative rights only impose an obligation to treat others without resorting to coercion, without using them against their will. Involuntary servitude counters this and sanctions violating such rights as to one’s life, liberty, property, etc., holding that we are born with enforceable obligations of various sort of services to others − God, the state, our neighbors, etc. Instead of seeing us all as free and independent persons, the positive rights doctrine re-affirms the ancient idea that we do not have a life of our own.

The more modern idea is that while we ought to be generous and charitable, this has to be something we choose! The only way our moral nature is protected and preserved is if the right things we ought to do are done voluntarily, not forcibly imposed by others.

The basic point here is that the doctrine of positive or welfare rights stands on its head John Locke’s insight about the status of an adult human being in a human community, an insight that had been growing in influence in America and the West until recently. But instead of relying on people’s good will and generosity to help out those in need of various goods and services, the positive or welfare rights doctrine reintroduces the old regime that people in society aren’t free agents but serfs. (Here is the main point of F. A. Hayek‘s superb book, The Road to Serfdom [Routledge, 1944] in which he critiques the modern welfare state!)

Tibor R. Machan holds the R.C. Hoiles Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Chapman University.


Hey Iraqis: How’s that “Liberation” Stuff Workin’ Out For Ya?

Center for a Stateless Society

building public awareness of left-wing market anarchism

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  on Mar 21, 2013

On March 19 Donald Rumsfeld, former US “Defense” Secretary and ongoing sociopath and moral leper, celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War with this tweet: “10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.”

Just what “liberation” meant to Rummy, Dummy and Scummy can be seen from the agenda Paul Bremer implemented as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq. Imagine the kind of “What I Would Do If I Were Absolute Dictator For A Year” list an entire army of ALEC staffers and Heritage Foundation interns would come up with, with the RIAA, MPAA, Monsanto, Halliburton and Blackwater egging them on, and that’s basically what Bremer did to Iraq.

Bremer’s CPA was a classic “night watchman state.” Remember all those priceless historical treasures the looters “liberated” from the National Museum while the U.S. looked the other way? With Night Watchman Bremer’s go-ahead, global corporate looters gave the Iraqi economy just as thorough a ransacking.

Bremer’s infamous “100 Orders” repealed virtually all of the Saddam-era legal structure — except for the 1987 Labor Code, which prohibited collective bargaining in the state sector. The state sector encompassed two hundred state-owned firms (a major chunk of the industrial economy), and Bremer wanted to “privatize” them in insider sweetheart deals with crony capitalists. Legalizing unions might gum up the works.

The CPA refused to unfreeze the assets of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). Bremer ordered US troops to storm the IFTU headquarters and kept it closed down for months. A local American commander helpfully told an imprisoned union organizer that Iraq was not a sovereign country, and that so long as it was under the administration of the CPA Bremer didn’t want unions.

Bremer’s 100 Orders also included Order 81 on “Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety,” which updated “intellectual property” law to “meet current internationally-recognized standards of protection” like the WIPO Copyright Treaty and Uruguay Round TRIPS Accord (which the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act was also passed to implement). Among other things, the new law criminalized saving seeds for the next year.

The entire legal regime Bremer implemented by decree was to remain the law of the land even after the restoration of sovereignty, until — and unless — it was supervened by a new constitution. The so-called “transfer of sovereignty” was to a government appointed by the CPA, enabling Bremer to evade the restriction in international law against a conqueror directly selling off state assets — while also leaving in place an “interim constitution” based on Bremer’s 100 Orders.

Article 26 of Bremer’s Constitution, stated that “[t]he laws, regulations, orders and directives issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority … shall remain in force” under the interim government, until the “sovereign” puppet regime was replaced by general elections. As Naomi Klein observed in “Baghdad Year Zero” (Harper’s, September 2004):

“Bremer had found his legal loophole: There would be a window — seven months — when the occupation was officially over but before general elections were scheduled to take place. Within this window, the Hague and Geneva Conventions’ bans on privatization would no longer apply, but Bremer’s own laws, thanks to Article 26, would stand. During these seven months, foreign investors could come to Iraq and sign forty-year contracts to buy up Iraqi assets. If a future elected Iraqi government decided to change the rules, investors could sue for compensation.”

The “interim constitution” was designed to make its own replacement by referendum extremely difficult — among other things, requiring any new constitution actually approved by the people of Iraq (as opposed to decreed by Bremer’s fiat) to receive  at least thirty percent of the vote in sixteen of Iraq’s eighteen provinces.

On top of everything else, Bremer appointed a whole slew of ministerial officials to five-year terms that would override any later decisions by an independent government.

Meanwhile, a “debt forgiveness” plan negotiated with creditor nations under IMF auspices used debt contracted by Saddam — debt that should have been treated as odious, and hence null and void — as a whip to coerce adherence to the Washington Consensus economic agenda.

This is the “liberation” agenda for which Rumsfeld and his fellow war criminals murdered hundreds of thousands, and physically crippled or psychologically scarred untold hundreds of thousands more. If that’s the kind of “liberation” you like, may you soon join Rumsfeld in hell.

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Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He is a mutualist and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political EconomyOrganization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation, and his own Mutualist Blog.


The Will Of The People Doesn’t Mean Jack To Drug Warriors

Center for a Stateless    Society

building public awareness of left-wing market anarchism

I can not say I always agree with all this site stands for but much is worth reading including the following article. (E):

Posted by  on Mar 7, 2013

The Associated Press reports that eight former DEA administrators are urging the Obama administration to sue Washington and Colorado over their voter-approved moves toward  marijuana legalization.

One former chief, Peter Bensinger, fears that successful legalization efforts will lead to “a domino effect” in the US.  Where have we heard that phrase before?  Bensinger continues breathlessly, “My fear is that the Justice Department will do what they are doing now: do nothing and say nothing … If they don’t act now, these laws will be fully implemented in a matter of months.”

So drug warriors are losing their minds over Colorado and Washington.  Good!  We can only hope that Bensinger’s dire predictions come true and that more Americans are indeed waking up to the absurdity of marijuana prohibition.

The former DEA bureaucrats argue, accurately, that marijuana remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.  Even in cases involving medical marijuana, the federal government may abuse the commerce clause as a rationale to criminalize users, growers and sellers of marijuana (per Gonzales v. Raich).  The commerce clause has become the federal government’s drug war equivalent of  catch-all disorderly conduct statutes in the states.

Unfortunately, these goons have a solid case to present to US Attorney General Holder.  In New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932), US Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis said, “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”  But today’s political class views federalism as archaic.

Hopefully the administration will choose to ignore this thuggish recommendation.  But if they do decide to litigate, this will be another sign that the feds don’t give a damn about the  will of the people.  Liberty-loving Americans should respond to this federal intrusion with a massive wave of civil disobedience.

Let’s start by publicly shaming the DEA heads mentioned by the AP: “Bensinger, John Bartels, Robert Bonner, Thomas Constantine, Asa Hutchinson, John Lawn, Donnie Marshall and Francis Mullen.”  Get to know their names, libertarians.  They are your enemies!

Then, let’s publicize the efforts of these authoritarians to undermine the voters of Colorado and Washington.  Ask them why they continue to support a policy with openly racist origins which has resulted in mass incarceration.  Publicly reveal the motives  of the police agencies that enforce these laws .  When drug warriors drone on about “protecting the children,” confront them with the horrific reality of wrong door raids, slaughtered family pets and children terrorized with flash-bangs.  Wherever an apologist for prohibition gives a speech or attends a meeting, he or she should be met by throngs of boisterous picketers.

As we expose these petty tyrants, we should also seek opportunities to throw a wrench into the machinery of prohibition.  A mass movement of jury nullification in drug cases may be a promising tactic.  Prosecutors can use voir dire to remove one or two questionable jurors, but what if nullification becomes widespread?  They can’t remove all of us.  In the future,  we should view jury duty as a chance to liberate non-violent people from the state’s clutches.

In Tao Te Ching, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu writes, “The more laws are posted, the more robbers and thieves there are.”  Time and time again, this observation has been proven correct. The violence of the drug war is perpetuated by government, yet officials insist they must keep fighting.  In their vile attempt to protect their old turf, former DEA bosses show their true colors.  They are gangsters with federal pensions.  They will do anything to ensure that they and their ilk continue to get their cut of drug war booty.  It is up to us to expose their racket and to finish the job sensible voters in Colorado and Washington started in November.

C4SS Fellow Dave Hummels is a Left-libertarian writer from Central Illinois. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Dave has over a decade of experience in the field of healthcare security and is also a licensed emergency medical technician.

 


Editorial From The Daily Bell™

I expect that I may receive some flak about this but this is about rights not morals. Morals are an entirely different issue for which I have a very strong opinion. We live in a Nation ruled (it is said) by a Constitution. If that is so we must accept and defend the rights of those with whom we may even adamantly disagree. 

Without such wiliness to defend the right of others to practice those things I even consider abominable I am no better than any other tyranny at any time one desires to name in history. Choose-Nebuchadnezzar? Antiochus Epiphenes? One of the Caesars or Genghis Khan. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot? They all limited the freedoms of groups they were offended by.

NO  Let God Forbid. There is no reason to withhold a right because we may be offended. If two consenting adults choose to call themselves married then there is no reason they should be forbidden from doing so.

I would gladly make the argument that the government has no business being involved in marriage at all. For hundreds of years the church handled all matters of marriage, birth and death. If one was not a member one came under common law and then the sate would be involved in a very limited fashion.  Here is an editorial from The Daily Bell™:

Editorial

MONDAY, MARCH 04, 2013

Democracy and Gay Marriages

Frankly I have no horse in this race, nothing personal in any case. For my money you may marry your grandmother or cat, if all parties consent.

Marriages ought to be a matter of contract and not based on any myth or superstition. Folks should not be interfered with if they want to form a family union, however it is configured, so long as it isn’t some kind of criminal gang.

What I do find odd is for the White House to butt in here, requesting that the US Supreme Court invalidate various state statutes to conform to the doctrine of the ruling party or the president. In the case of President Obama, an avowed champion o f democracy in numerous areas – whereby as far as he is concerned, majority rule may violate individual property or contractual rights (so that, for example, he supports imposing all kinds of burdens such as various taxes) on everyone because the majority agrees – the demand that the court uphold the ban on gay marriages would appear to be perfectly acceptable to him if the majority in a state, such as California, so decides. But, alas, democracy must yield when Obama so wishes.

Democrats, be they lower or upper case types, often do not get it: If you believe that what the majority agrees to should be the law, you have no cause for complaint when insidious measures get passed in various elections in various jurisdictions. Majority rule means just that, rule by the will of the majority. If you think there are exceptions – as even the US Supreme Court has said there are and as most sane people would agree – you need to show why. The best case for them would provide support from the political doctrine of natural individual human rights. So that if everyone has a right to speak his or her mind, no majority would be authorized to shut us up no matter how outrageous our ideas happen to be. And there are other equally well-established individual rights that no majority ought to be authorized to breach. So, yes, whom one chooses to marry if all parties agree (remember polygamy!) may not be subject to interference by a majority or its representatives. Don’t like it but live with it, if you have any respect for the right to individual liberty!

But then do not impose on people measures, laws, regulations, etc., they find morally or otherwise objectionable unless these amount to protecting individual rights! But it doesn’t seem to me at all that Mr. Obama and his ideological cohorts have any firm commitment to such individual rights, only to some select ones that happen to suit their pragmatic frame of mind. In other words, they are essentially committed to a fascistic type of “legal” order wherein those who happen to sit atop the government get to tell everyone else what goes.

And they used to fancy the US a free country! Go figure.

Tibor Machan is a member of the Advisory Board for The Foundation for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking (FAFMT) and the R. C. Hoiles Professor of Business Ethics & Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman University in Orange, CA.

 


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