Liberty & Power: Group Blog
Amy H. Sturgis
“ A grand coalition of anti-government forces is planning a second Iranian revolution via the ballot box to deny President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad another term in office and break the grip of what they call the ‘militia state’ on public life and personal freedom.”
“Encouraged by recent successes in local elections, opposition factions, democracy activists, and pro-reform clerics say they will bring together progressive parties loyal to former president Mohammad Khatami with so-called pragmatic conservatives led by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani.” [….]
“Parliament last week voted to curtail Mr Ahmadinejad's term by holding presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously next year.”
A liberalising forward movement? There’s a great deal more to Islam, particularly in the early 21st century, than ranting uneducated ‘mullahs’ (‘religious’ preachers.) In educated Muslim opinion, the kinds of socio-‘religious’ restrictions that officials currently enforce in Iran & elsewhere, are regarded disparagingly as backward ‘tribal-Arab’ customs. Especially in Iran, with its Persian heritage.
The whole article is well worth reading.
Roderick T. Long
[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]
Apparently President Bush was a sex slave during World War II. At any rate, he has accepted the Japanese governments apology for the treatment of wartime sex slaves, which he could hardly have done had he not been one .... (Conical hat tip to Elizabeth Brake.)
Tom Sawyers Island is one of my favourite parts of Disneyland; its a nice break from the rest of the park, inasmuch as it has no rides or special effects, just places to play and wander. Well, apparently Disneyland is about to ruin it.
On a brighter note, portions of a lost work by Alexander of Aphrodisias, the foremost ancient commentator on Aristotle and a pretty smart thinker himself (his book On Fate rocks), have been discovered. (Conical hat tip to LRC.)
"In a couple of hundred years, historians will be comparing the frenzies over our supposed human contribution to global warming to the tumults at the latter end of the tenth century as the Christian millennium approached. Then, as now, the doomsters identified human sinfulness as the propulsive factor in the planet's rapid downward slide."
"Then as now, a buoyant market throve on fear. The Roman Catholic Church was a bank whose capital was secured by the infinite mercy of Christ, Mary and the Saints, and so the Pope could sell indulgences, like checks. The sinners established a line of credit against bad behavior and could go on sinning. Today a world market in 'carbon credits' is in formation. Those whose 'carbon footprint' is small can sell their surplus carbon credits to others, less virtuous than themselves."
"The modern trade is as fantastical as the medieval one. There is still zero empirical evidence that anthropogenic production of CO2 is making any measurable contribution to the world's present warming trend. The greenhouse fearmongers rely entirely on unverified, crudely oversimplified computer models to finger mankind's sinful contribution. Devoid of any sustaining scientific basis, carbon trafficking is powered by guilt, credulity, cynicism and greed, just like the old indulgences, though at least the latter produced beautiful monuments. By the sixteenth century, long after the world had sailed safely through the end of the first millennium, Pope Leo X financed the reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica by offering a 'plenary' indulgence, guaranteed to release a soul from purgatory."
Some years ago in the pages of the Nation Cockburn expressed skepticism about the human contribution to global warming. Here at Counterpunch Cockburn summarizes the arguments of Dr. Martin Hertzberg that the increase in atmospheric CO2 does not stem from human burning of fossil fuels. Trained in chemistry and physics, and a combustion research scientist for most of his career, Hertzberg explains that "the greenhouse global warming theory has it ass backwards," and concludes, "It is the warming of the earth that is causing the increase of carbon dioxide and not the reverse." Indeed, he points to "[s]everal new papers that show that for the last three quarter million years CO2 changes always lag global temperatures by 800 to 2,600 years."
Amy H. Sturgis
Stossel, the winner of 19 Emmys and five awards for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club, will discuss his impressive and irreverent career in television journalism, and expound on his many high profile dust-ups and years of unearthing politically incorrect dirt.
His irrepressible penchant for skewering sacred cows and shattering the herd mentality culminates in his new book, Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity.
Find more information on the"Freedom and Its Enemies" event here.
No issue is more contentious in labor relations than the Employee Free Choice Act. This bill, now pending in Congress, would require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to recognize a union when"a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations." Under current federal law, an NLRB-supervised election must be held and a majority must vote by secret ballot for the union before it becomes government-certified. The union-backed EFCA would presumably make it easier to establish a union in a company, but opponents say worker intimidation would be encouraged with an open card-signing process versus a secret-ballot election. What should free-market advocates say about this controversy?The rest of this week's TGIF column,"Labor's 'Right to a Free Market,'" is at the website of the Foundation for Economic Education.
Cross-posted at Free Association.
Charles W. Nuckolls
Here is what should have happened: President Witt should have announced that the University of Alabama would forfeit the game to Middle Tennessee. Rooms would have been freed and important resources could have been diverted to helping the refugees. Instead, what do we have? Giant,gas-guzzling recreational vehicles vie for parking places near the Recreation Center where hundreds of hurricane victims huddle together and wonder if they will ever be able to go home.
It is a scene worthy of a Nero and testimony, once again, that the University will tolerate no diversion from its sacred mission of converting an educational establishment into a gladatorial finishing school.
David T. Beito
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
During the Civil War, Foster was the most prominent of fifteen abolitionists who signed the antiwar "Standing Protest of the New England Non-Resistant Abolitionists." He was married to the better-known Abby Kelley, a founder of the women's movement. Kelley was subsequently written out of feminist history by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton because of her Garrisonian hostility to voting, which continued even after the Civil War ended, while the feminist movement generally became almost exclusively obsessed with women's suffrage.
More details on Stephen Foster can be found scattered in Dorothy Sterling, AHEAD OF HER TIME: ABBY KELLEY AND THE POLITICS OF ANTISLAVERY (New York: W. W. Norton, 1991); Lewis Perry, RADICAL ABOLITIONISM: ANARCHY AND THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD IN ANTISLAVERY THOUGHT (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1973); and Richard H. Sewell, BALLOTS FOR FREEDOM: ANTISLAVERY POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1837-1860 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1976).
This was only to be expected. Since the 16th century, Japanese firms have been steadily building up their capital, & Japanese labour has become evermore skilled. In the mid-1950s, Japanese shipyards overtook the British, who had built most of the world’s shipping in the late 19th century. (In 1999, the South Koreans pulled ahead of the Japanese; the Chinese are now at the top…) And so now with cars, Toyota are the world's leading car-maker...
From the mid-19th century, the market for ships & shipping was always world-wide. This became true of cars from the 1920s onwards. Japanese firms were able to enter only in the 1960s. But Japanese firms not only sell their products on a global scale, they also buy their inputs across the globe. Alone amongst DCs, the larger part of Japanese imports consist of primary products -- raw materials, foodstuffs, etc. The coal & iron ore that go into the steel which goes into cars & ships ‘made in Japan’, are all imported ( from Australia, Canada, etc.): Japan has next to no resources; it even has very little flat land. Thus Japan is really the Japanese node in a global production network.
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
On Saturday, April 21st, a Navy Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornet jet crashed into a residential neighborhood during an air show near Beaufort, SC killing the pilot. The crash injured eight people and damaged eight structures on the ground. If a similiar incident were to occur when the Blue Angels next fly over downtown San Francisco this October, hundreds of spectators and bystanders could be hurt or killed.
Including Saturday's crash, 24 Blue Angels Navy flight squadron pilots have been killed during air shows or training since the group was formed in 1946. Clearly, the most recent crash is not an isolated incident, and the risk of a calamity in San Francisco is a real one.
According to the Blue Angels web site, an F/A 18 Hornet cost $28 million back in 1997. That amount could've financed one year of health care for over 11,000 uninsured children under San Francisco's new universal insurance plan. The Blue Angel shows also waste tons of fossil fuels and pointlessly add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.
Isn't it time that San Francisco, a city dominated by anti-war sentiment, put an end to these spectacles? As stated on the their web site, the mission of the Blue Angels is to enhance Navy recruiting. At a time when thousands of America's young people are dying in American military adventures, why would we want to encourage our local sons and daughters to risk their lives in overseas conflicts that have failed to contribute to our security?
During the Cold War, Soviet leaders paraded their newest armanents through Red Square each May Day as a public spectacle. With the Soviet Union now a distant memory, isn't it time for us to put an end to our own public displays of killing power?
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
Cooper's thrust clearly put the blame for this way of thinking squarely on the backs of Hip Hop artists and the greedy record corporations behind them. Prominently featured was the rapper Cam'ron who went so far as to say that if he knew a serial killer lived next door he would not report that fact to the police but rather just move away.
Comments concerning Cam’ron’s words posted on such websites as The Daily Hip Hop News, Nobodysmiling.com, and VIBE.com were mixed with some defending his views but the majority expressing embarrassment over his thoughts, with a number asking why 60 Minutes had to choose someone so stupid as the spokesman for Hip Hop. More than a few people made the important point that what the rapper said had nothing to do with the true meaning of “stop snitching.”
The program also almost completely missed the point. The war on people who used certain kinds of drugs got only the briefest mention and the academic expert on the subject of “stop snitching” who believes its origin is to be found there was not allowed to speak for himself. Cooper then permitted a government official to minimize the role played by a brutal drug prohibition system, entirely dependent upon people betraying one another for convictions, without challenge.
Perhaps if the 60 Minutes producers had seen the documentary Snitch produced by Ofra Bikel they might have understood a little something about the subject they were reporting on. Maybe if they had acknowledged that drug war was the most racist institution operating in America today, with statistics from the Drug Policy Alliance which tell us that Blacks constitute 13 percent of all drug users, but 35 percent of those arrested for drug possession, 55 percent of persons convicted, and 74 percent of people sent to prison, their story would not have been so shallow and misleading.
Cross posted on The Trebach Report
Amy H. Sturgis
...If Stephen King enters a time machine, appears in Nikki's class as a young student, and writes as he customarily does, could Lucinda as department head justifiably remove him from class? Or, more generally speaking, consider this possible story opening: Once upon a time, feminist extraterrestrials killed all the male human astronauts who landed on their feminist utopian planet. Should the author of this sentence be barred from Cape Canaveral because she poses a clear and present danger to male astronauts? [Please know that on the evening after I wrote this sentence, Larry King reported that a shooting incident had occurred at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. I did not for a moment worry that a feminist science fiction writer was responsible for this act.] Or, more personally speaking, the penultimate scene of Oy Pioneer! describes the feminist protagonist's extraterrestrial clones arriving in spaceships to circle the Blackhole State University administration building. Thus it is. What would happen if Marleen S. Barr had written this scene post April 16, 2007 instead of when she was thirty-four years old?
Roderick T. Long
[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]
Forget those 700-page libertarian books; theyre for sissies. The libertarian book I just received in the mail is over 1400 pages long; plus its in French, and it has no frakkin index.
The tome is Histoire du libéralisme en Europe, edited by Philippe Nemo and Jean Petitot. Topics include the School of Salamanca, the French Liberal School, and the Austrian School, plus liberal thinkers in Germany, Italy, and elsewhere; contributors include Ralph Raico, Guido Hülsmann, Barry Smith, Josef Šima, Jesús Huerta de Soto, Roberta Modugno, and Johan Norberg.
Well, this should keep my idle hours occupied. Now all I need is some idle hours.