Also see this.
If you're not convinced that nationalism is cultish, look up the rules for the proper handling of an American flag. My favorites:
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
- The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
I remain puzzled at the refusal of civil libertarians to see the dangers inherent in government control of medical care.
So the people get to vote on who may marry? And this pleases conservatives? I thought they disliked mobocracy.
Labor (including mental labor) does not bestow utility on an automobile; consumers do that. Rather, labor bestows utility on the disparate factors of production by transforming them into an automobile.
The great thing about competitive markets is not that marginal utility sets prices, but that rivalry among sellers drives prices below the level that approximates many people’s marginal utility. This produces a consumer surplus. (How far below is governed by producers’ subjective opportunity costs, including workers’ preference for leisure.) We all have bought things at a price below that which we were prepared to pay. . . . In a manner of speaking, competition socializes consumer surplus.
On the other hand, in the absence of competition a coercive monopolist is able to charge more than in a freed market, capturing some of the surplus that would have gone to consumers. That’s a form of exploitation via government privilege.
Read the rest of TGIF here.
Jeremy Hammond, author of the best brief introduction to the Palestine conflict, The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination, demonstrates that Ron Paul’s position on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a “betrayal of his values.”
Ron Paul’s senior adviser, Doug Weed, says the presidential candidate supports Israel’s choice for its capital. Weed reported that Paul told a a group of evangelical leaders:
The real issue here is not what America wants but what Israel wants. We have no right to choose their capital. If they say it is Jerusalem, then it is Jerusalem.
Weed then paraphrased Paul: “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Get over it.”
Hammond documents in detail the illegality of Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem (as well as its 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reaction, which Paul also defended):
Ron Paul’s suggestion that the U.S. should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is likewise a disappointing defense of lawlessness that would seem to indicate that Dr. Paul is unfamiliar with the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and rather bases his views on the establishment-approved mythical narrative, which is essentially the history as it is presented in Zionist propaganda….
It is a disturbing development in Ron Paul’s campaign to see him sounding on this issue more rather than less like his establishment opponents.
You can find a sample of his writings here. Some things I’ve written about Szasz include:
“Szasz in One Lesson”
“Szasz and Rand” (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, pdf)
I'm proud to call this great man and great libertarian my friend!
Trayvon Martin's champions should be careful what they say about the "stand your ground" law. It's possible that Martin felt threatened by George Zimmerman and, in fear for his life, countered the threat rather than retreat. Of course Martin had no gun, but what if he had managed to kill Zimmerman by, say, slamming his head on the pavement? He might have reasonably invoked "stand your ground."
Today is Deir Yassin Day. Anyone who seeks understanding about the unending conflict in Palestine/Israel ought to know about this massacre of 254 innocent Palestinians by the Zionist paramilitary forces Irgun (headed by future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang in 1948, a month before the Jewish state declared independence. Deir Yassin was among the worst incidents of the Nakba, the ethnic-cleansing catastrophe that befell the Palestinians in the creation of the state of Israel. Some 750,000 people were driven from their homes (which were then destroyed or expropriated) and were not allowed to return.
The best brief introduction to the Nakba is Jeremy Hammond’s The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination.
In a not unrelated story, Israel has barred from entry Günter Grass, the NobelPrize winning German poet for his poem “What Must Be Said,” which is about the danger to peace from Israel’s nuclear arsenal. As Israel and the United States edge toward war with Iran, which is not thought by them to be building even one nuclear weapon, it is worth recalling that Israel has an arsenal of several hundred warheads, including submarine-based nukes.
Israel and its apologists will blame Palestinian militants for the latest flare-up of violence in the Gaza Strip, but no one disputes that relative quiet was broken when an IDF airstrike last Friday killed Zuheir al-Qaisi and Mahmoud Al-Hannani of the Popular Resistance Committees. Palestinians, though reportedly not Hamas, responded with rockets into southern Israel. At least 18 Palestinians have been killed so far by Israeli airstrikes, including a 12-year-old boy. The Israeli military said three Israelis were wounded in the more than 90 assaults from rockets and mortars.
The Israeli military said it targeted the men because they had plotted an attack in Israel that took place in August and were planning another attack. The first claim can't be true, casting doubt on the credibility of the second.
One cannot properly judge these recurring incidents without keeping in mind the full context. The Gaza Strip, which Israel has controlled since 1967, has been blockaded by the Jewish state since 2007, after Hamas won elections there. The Israeli government restricts the flow of goods into Gaza, and one Israeli official has joked about putting the people there on “a diet.” Efforts to break the embargo by human rights activists have been met by force, most egregiously in the 2010 Mavi Mamara incident in which Israeli commandos boarded the ship and killed nine activists, including a young American citizen, Furkan Dogan. Smuggling of goods through tunnels across the Egyptian border has mitigated some of the hardship from the embargo.
In 2008-2009 the IDF killed more than 1,200 Palestinians in Gaza during a three-week air and ground assault known as Operation Cast Lead.
As for the larger context, many residents of Gaza are refugees or children of refugees driven out of their ancestral villages by Zionist paramilitary forces in 1948 in an effort to establish the Jewish state with as few Arab residents as possible. See my previous post “Gaza, Sderot, and Najd.”
In other words, the context is one in which the Israeli government is the oppressor and the Palestinians in Gaza, which amounts to a large concentration camp, are the oppressed. Israel could bring an end to the rockets on civilian neighborhoods by ceasing its unjust treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza, as well as in the West Bank and Israel.
In Sunday’s speech to AIPAC, the main Israeli lobbying organization, President Obama said:
I have visited with families who’ve known the terror of [Palestinian] rocket fire in Sderot. That’s why, as President, I have provided critical funding to deploy the Iron Dome system that has intercepted rockets that might have hit homes, hospitals, and schools in that town and others. Now our assistance is expanding Israel’s defensive capabilities, so that more Israelis can live free from the fear of rockets and ballistic missiles. Because no family, no citizen, should live in fear.
It is worth knowing something of Sderot’s history. Does Obama know this? From Wikipedia:
Sderot [less than a mile from Gaza] was founded in 1951 as a transit camp for Kurdish, Morrocan [sic] and Persian Jewish immigrants who lived in tents and shacks before permanent housing was completed in 1954. It was built on semi-arid lands, that was farm land associated with the Palestinian Arab village of Najd which was located a few miles to the south of Sderot. On 13 May 1948, Najd was occupied by the Negev Brigade as part of Operation Barak, and the villagers were “driven out”. [Emphasis added. The phrase in quotes is from Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem.]
It was one of 400 Arab cities, towns, and villages destroyed in the formation of the state of Israel, what is known by Palestinians as al-Nakba, or the catastrophe. The residents likely fled to nearby Gaza, which has been blockaded by Israel since 2007 and was subject to the Israeli Defense Force’s brutal three-week Operation Cast Lead (December 2008-January 2009), which took more than 1,200 Palestinian lives, far fewer than the 32 Israeli deaths by rockets and mortar from Gaza since 2001. One should be able to understand how the residents of the Gaza concentration camp feel about the residents of Sderot.
Further reading: “500 Citizens of Sderot Contradict the Israeli Government” by Janine Roberts
Obama, like his predecessor, systematically lies to the American people about the war. But don’t expect the Republican nominee (unless it’s Ron Paul) to expose the deceit.
Four days ago was the 70th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the internment in "War Relocation Camps" (aka concentration camps) of some 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast.
Two years later the U.S. Supreme Court, in Korematsu v. United States, upheld the order, 6-3. In the majority were the noted civil libertarians and FDR appointees Hugo Black, who wrote the opinion, William O. Douglas, and Felix Frankfurter. The other three were also appointed by Roosevelt. Dissenting were Owen J. Roberts (Hoover appointee), Robert Jackson (FDR appointee), and Frank Murphy (FDR appointee).
Any resemblance to the National Defense Authorization Act’s provision for indefinite detention without due process, signed recently by President Obama, is strictly ominous.
HT: Sandy Ikeda
It will be little comfort to the advocates of state-mandated “free” contraception that Ayn Rand, who would have abhorred Obamacare and all its mandates, was as staunch an advocate of birth control and women’s right to abortion as one can imagine. Writing about the anti-contraception papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” Rand wrote in “Of Living Death” (1968):
Try to hold an image of horror spread across space and time—across the entire globe and through all the centuries—the image of parents chained, like beasts of burden, to the physical needs of a growing brood of children—young parents aging prematurely while fighting a losing battle against starvation—the skeletal hordes of unwanted children born without a chance to live—the unwed mothers slaughtered in the unsanitary dens of incompetent abortionists—the silent terror hanging, for every couple, over every moment of love. If one holds this image while hearing that this nightmare is not to be stopped, the first question one will ask is: Why? . . .
The passive obedience and helpless surrender to the physical functions of one’s body, the necessity to let procreation be the inevitable result of the sexual act, is the natural fate of animals, not of men. In spite of its concern with man’s higher aspirations, with his soul, and with the sanctity of married love—it is to the level of animals that the encyclical seeks to reduce man’s sex life, in fact, in reality, on earth.
Rachel Maddow is using her nightly MSNBC show to agitate for a ticker-tape parade in New York City to honor the Iraq veterans and celebrate the end of the war in that country.
What could be more ridiculous? Has she forgotten that the invasion, war, and occupation – which laid waste to Iraq, killed over a million people, unleashed sectarian violence/cleansing, and created four million refugees – was against a country that had never threatened Americans and was based on bald-faced lies about weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s connection to al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks?
What’s to celebrate? Victory? There is nothing that could be described as victory. The invasion and aggressive war guaranteed certain disgrace for the United States. But even in conventional terms, there was no victory. An authoritarian and corrupt government was left in charge -- a government that is close to Iran, which is demagogically portrayed as America’s (and Israel’s) mortal enemy. (I have no problem with the Iraq’s affinity for Iran, but America’s ruling elite can’t be thrilled about it.) The refugees have not returned to their homes. Half of them left the country. The place is a shambles.
Again, what’s to celebrate?
It will be said that, politics aside, the troops made sacrifices that should be honored. Nonsense. First, they made no sacrifices for “the country.” The country didn’t “call.” They might have thought that it did, but in fact their sacrifices were for opportunistic politicians and the military-industrial complex, who’ve all done quite well, thank you very much. The troops weren’t protecting “our freedom.” On the contrary, the U.S. government’s brutal treatment of Arabs and Muslims endangers Americans by provoking a desire for revenge. That’s why 9/11 happened in the first place.
So the vets weren’t serving the country. They were serving the imperial government, which seeks global hegemony for political and economic reasons. At best, the military personnel were fooled. At worst, they just enjoyed kicking Arab ass.
But shouldn’t they be honored anyway? it will be asked.
The last word was provided by Paddy Chayefsky in his great antiwar movie, The Americanization of Emily:
“We perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices.
[The International Atomic Energy Agency has] inspectors in all the sites where Iran is producing enriched uranium. These inspectors, who make frequent surprise visits, keep cameras in place to watch every move, and they carefully measure Iran’s input of feed stock to the centrifuges and the output of low enriched uranium, which is then placed under seal.