Wednesday, September 30, 2009

While Driving




While driving down the road one day, in the very, merry month of May September, I was taken by surprise by a pair of texting eyes, and in a moment my whole world was upside down.

Or at least that's what the statist propaganda would have you believe. The problem is that the arguments and the legislation that is being justified by them are entirely arbitrary and subjective. We aren't supposed to be able (or to have the objective expertise) to know what is safe to do while driving and what isn't. Unfortunately, government doesn't have a clue either. The focus now, from listening to the government's "news" channels (CNN, MSNBC, et al.) is on text messaging, an activity that presumably takes your eyes off the road while you're engaged in it. Now all I'm hearing about is the texting issue

But when California passed its first anti-cell phone use while driving bill, it failed to include texting in its prohibited-behind-the-wheel behavior. So there then existed the infamous text messaging "loophole", until it was corrected by amending the legislation to explicitly mention text messaging. But, the California law allows "hands-free" cell phone use (in fact, it appears that no state has so far banned all use of cell phones while driving), even though studies supposedly show that using hands-free cell-phone devices is no safer. So government makes it a crime for me to answer my cell phone by hand, but okay to answer it if I've got a bluetooth headset stuck in my ear. But the state is all-knowing (or should be, if its advocates are to make a coherent case for it) and decides these things for me, telling me I'll be fined if a pick up my phone and talk on it, but the guy in the lane next to me can go on his merry way without police harassment if he looks like a schizophrenic talking to himself. But again, it's completely arbitrary and therefore unjustified and immoral.

If your answer is that we should just go ahead and ban all use of cell phones completely, you will shortly find yourself in epic fail land. A "safety" bill covering what drivers can and cannot do behind the wheel would have to be extended to cover anything deemed a "distraction" to qualify as non-arbitrary. So put that hamburger that you just collected at the drive-thru window down, fatso, and forget about reaching for a CD to pop into your CD player, or combing your hair or adjusting your make-up, or yelling at the brats in the back seat. Don't even think about listening to your favorite radio talk show while driving either; too much agreeing or disagreeing with the neocon right-wing host will take your attention off the road, and taking one hand off the wheel to change the station to a music option is no solution, you one-hand-on-the-wheel, one-eye-on-the-radio-dial menace to society! (There was an actual incident-and not the only one of its kind, I'm sure-of a group of teenagers killed when the teen driver reached over to change radio stations while going down a steep grade, with the result that the car went sailing off the road and into a rocky canyon).

So let's pass a real law that bans CD players and radios in vehicles, and open containers of food (as some states now ban open containers of alcohol in the passenger compartment) and anything else (saw a lady with a dog in her lap the other day, the dog with its head out the window as the car sped down the highway) that "distracts" the driver. Don't think anyone out there would take such a proposal seriously? Think again:


They should be banning ANY use of cell phones or text pagers while driving. Most drivers are doing one of these while headed to work each day...eating, drinking, talking on a cell phone, shaving, putting on makeup, working their radio/CD player, wearing headphones, etc. Anything but DRIVING and paying attention to the road! What a novel idea that would be!


That comment, found here, was by "Mr. Nibbles", just another little Nazi who wants to micro-manage your life. And by the way, what's up with AAA? They're now lobbying for bigger government by "launching an initiative to get state and federal laws passed that will ban texting while driving in all 50 states"? Go to hell, AAA. You deserve a boycott, big time, and anyone with a membership in your sorry "club" should immediately cancel it until you end your alliance with our enemy the State.

Think about it; do we really want to give the pigs cops more excuses to pull innocent people over, considering the power-trip most cops now seem to be on, and the dramatic rise in recent years in outright police brutality?

Government As Institutionalized Death Threats

Twitter forces Brad Spangler to be concise:


If you think we should all take care of each other, then just do it and lead by example. Government adds only one thing — death threats.

Conservatism — the belief that morals and common sense can’t stand on their own without death threats.

Progressivism — the belief that compassion and community can’t stand on their own without death threats.

Government adds only one thing — death threats. We are surrounded by humanitarians with guillotines.

Libertarianism — no death threats required. Anarchism — use of death threats is prohibited.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kevin Carson: A Compendium of Posts

Vulgar Libertarianism, Neoliberalism, and Corporate Welfare: A Compendium of Posts


h/t to A Division by Zer0


Libertarianism is a people's movement and a liberation movement. It seeks the sort of open, non-coercive society in which the people, the living, free, distinct people, may voluntarily associate, dis-associate, and, as they see fit, participate in the decisions affecting their lives. This means a truly free market in everything from ideas to idiosyncracies. It means people free collectively to organize the resources of their immediate community or individualistically to organize them; it means the freedom to have a community-based and supported judiciary where wanted, none where not, or private arbitration services where that is seen as most desirable. The same with police. The same with schools, hospitals, factories, farms, laboratories, parks, and pensions. Liberty means the right to shape your own institutions. It opposes the right of those institutions to shape you simply because of accreted power or gerontological status.--Karl Hess



Monday, September 28, 2009

Blog of the Moment: Forgotten Bookmarks



Forgotten Bookmarks


I'm a book reader (unlike the vast majority of Americans who never buy or read books) and I've always got a few going at once. I split my reading pretty evenly between fiction and non-fiction, and two of each at a time is my normal minimum.

Sometimes, when I'm going through a stack of books (yes, I have stacks of them) considering a new read, I'll start the first chapter and then fruitlessly search for a bookmark. Anything will do in a pinch, and if I happened to be reading while sitting on the toilet-a practice I never engage in (the reading part, I mean)-I could even see myself using a square of toilet tissue to save my place. Most often though its some old scrap of discarded paper, or a bit of torn-off magazine page or something.

I hate the practice of bending the corner of a page down, and I never do that, so recently I bought some blank index cards to use for the purpose. I start more books than I finish, and by that I mean those first few pages. Once I get going, however, I don't usually stop reading a book midway. But those others are scattered about everywhere, waiting for me to pick them up again, and if the human lifespan is eventually extended by a few hundred years through a scientific/medical breakthrough, I'll get to them, too.

Clunker Remorse

Many auto buyers who rushed to take stolen loot CARS "rebate" money in order to purchase a new vehicle are now having second thoughts, and while I certainly don't have sympathy for such thieves, I can understand their regrets. A survey in late August revealed that over 17% of Cash For Clunkers buyers have doubts about being lured into taking on more debt. The normal buyer's remorse percentage for new car purchases is around 7 percent.

Since Americans are already burdened with too much debt, a government program designed to create more of it never made sense, but that's the logic behind Obama's entire spend-the-country-into-ruin economic "recovery" plan.



Charities that accept used car donations were hurt by the program, as were the poor, many of whom rely on the used car market for affordable transportation, while wealthier Americans were disproportionally helped, as having more money and actually being able to afford new car prices apparently caused many of the well-off to seek out free money stolen from less fortunate individuals through taxation, to help buy that new Lexus or Mercedes.

A recovering moron, who was as clueless about clunkers as he was about cops, made this comment regarding the fact that many people would actually drive more after trading in their old vehicle under the C4C program:


Why would they drive the new car more than the old car?

They hardly ever drive the old van.

They buy a new car to replace an old van they hardly ever drive.

They then drive more.

There must be a reason why they'd suddenly start driving more.

No?


Uh, yes, moron.


Quicker than you can say, “Holy statistics, Mr. Wizard,” the numbers nerds ascertained that the new vehicles sold under C4C will use more—not less—fuel than the beaters that were turned in and destroyed.

How can that be? Think of it on a personal level. Suppose you had a 10-year-old particulate belcher that, as the euphemism goes, needed work. Even if you lived in an Orlando suburb, you’d still be less than excited at the idea of piling the kids into it and lighting out for Disney World. But that new Malibu that gets a hell of a lot better mileage is a different kettle of green. You trust it; it’s economical; you drive it more. A lot more, according to another piece of research.

CNW surveyed drivers involved in the purchase of the first 239,000 C4C vehicles. The average intended annual mileage was 10,894, up from the actual clunker mileage of 6,162. For those of you without a calculator falling readily to hand, that’s nearly double.
-source.


And I'm proven right once again, while the morons, as usual, are wrong.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Despicable, Evil Statist Mark Levin



Check at the 1:30 mark where he tells the Ron Paul supporter "You're the ones who don't understand the Constitution. You're the ones who misread the Constitution."

Now this is odd behavior, even for a "neo" conservative like Levin.

Everyone who knows anything about the Texas Congressman knows that of all the members of both houses of Congress, Ron has the voting record that is most in tune with the Constitution.

Paul, who is a medical doctor, has acquired the nickname "Doctor No" precisely because he regularly records the sole vote against any of a number of measures that gain otherwise unanimous support. He does so because he is a strict believer in the limited powers of the federal government imposed by the Constitution and will not vote to expand those powers.

Levin, by comparison, has built his career on posing as a believer in a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Yet when confronted with the emergence in the 2008 presidential race of a true adherent to strict constitutional interpretation, his knee-jerk reaction was to denounce Paul.


Why is anybody's guess, but I imagine it was because the presence of Paul on the scene unmasked Levin and the rest of the neoconservatives as impostors.


Mark Levin owes an apology to Ron Paul


Not Out Sick

I have a health condition that can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort
sometimes. Yesterday I was feeling so bad I called in to speak to my manager.

You might expect there would have been some sympathy, but the response I received was all very cold. It was confirmed I had already used up all my sick days (six for the entire year, and a single case of the flu can wipe out most of those in one shot), so when I asked if it would be okay if I stayed home, I was told it was my call, but that hadn't I called out the day after my weekend before? The implication was that I was just trying to extend my days off.

Since I'm at their mercy, with no rights or say in the matter at all (you can be fired without notice and without a reason being given) I went into work and suffered through the day in great pain.

They've recently brought in a lot of new hires (temps) in my department, so any of us, no matter how long we've worked there, are at risk of losing our jobs since we can be replaced quite easily and we are ultimately disposable to the company.

I'm not fully recovered, but I am feeling better today, no thanks to the evil system of wage slavery.

Slavery From Birth

"I Own Me"




Its gettin thicker than dreadlocks/
they treat us like we're dread scott/
don't wanna see the feds pop/
or be the one that they'd stopped/
or get in trouble cause I talked shit to their mascot/
frickin' busybodies need to go and buy an ascot/
tellin' me you own me then makin sho' i'm taxed out/
maxed out, deep in-debted from the easy credit/
that the fed imbedded then they betted it all be copacetic/
if they were the medic but forget it/
the people are gettin' pissed/
blowin up like some unleaded/
they want control unfettered/
but ya'll know that smells fetid/
like the craphole that we're headed/
to if they don't let me do me/
and you do you/
and all the guns in the gunverment /
won't amount to a twenty-two /
if they keep on stompin' on amendment number two/
and we don't even need you/
take your welfare and your brainwashing free-school/
and ya'll are so see through; easy to see you is evil/

chorus:
Nobody owns me/
ya'll haters don't/
I own me /
so back the fuck off/
(x 2)
I make my own rules/
take my own tools/
you ain't in my shoes/
no you ain't get to choose/
I ain't pay you dues./
I pay 'em for my self/
don't expect shit from me/
and I ain't need your help/

and in case you didn't know/
this song is for the parasites/
the feeders that bleed us and treat us/
like they're the hand and we're the dice/
no utopian paradise to be had from any plan/
the world's too complex for any man to comprehend/
all the supply and again all the demand/
when the few control the view/
their mistakes are multiplied /
the decisions should be ours/
like our bodies. Let's take back our lives/
Only a slave if you submit/
and ya'll know I got some fight!/
and this ain't racist /
its for blacks, whites and asians/
middle eastern people, latinos/
and everyone who wants to be free, so/
we'll even let it slide if you're emo/
I never signed no social contract/
I'm about to have to repo/
myself, for my health/
and my wealth/
put your bills back on the shelf/
capitol hill can go to hell/
we should put them punks in jail/
we could live our lives ourselves..../

chorus


So who's to say Barack Hussein/
knows what's best for me?/
I knock the man and not the name/
cause in my family tree/
could be husseins so I take aim/
at tyranny times three/
branches that act just/
like geriatric babysitters/
poonannies./
but really you'll get beat-up/
if you don't follow their edicts/
there's a law against living /
year its worse than shariah./
but where can I go if this/
whole world is socialist/
though we know that it failed for the soviets./
Its 1984 people please notice this./
Fuck a tax feeder time to overthrow them tics/
its in the declaration Jefferson wrote the shit/
So choose to be a free man /
governments we're over it/
governments we're over it!/

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Flow Chart of Obama Criticism


Click to Enlarge




image via

Christopher Hitchens: Why we don't need a god to be moral

The Story of Sibel Edmonds




Sibel Edmonds has a story to tell. She went to work as a Turkish and Farsi translator for the FBI five days after 9/11. Part of her job was to translate and transcribe recordings of conversations between suspected Turkish intelligence agents and their American contacts. She was fired from the FBI in April 2002 after she raised concerns that one of the translators in her section was a member of a Turkish organization that was under investigation for bribing senior government officials and members of Congress, drug trafficking, illegal weapons sales, money laundering, and nuclear proliferation. She appealed her termination, but was more alarmed that no effort was being made to address the corruption that she had been monitoring.



The American Conservative interviews “the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.”


And, from AntiWar Radio, Scott Horton Interviews Philip Giraldi (interviewer of Sibel Edmonds) and Joe Lauria (co-author of a series of articles on Sibel Edmonds for the London Times).



h/t to The Distributed Republic

Glenn Beck Apologizes to libertarians

It's about time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The War on Dogs

Homeless and/or screwed

There's no other way to explain a growing number of US workers.

Meanwhile, the plutocrats are laughing all the way to the bank (literally!).

I Remain a (Free Market) Capitalist

...in case any of you were wondering. I don't think we have truly free markets in the US; at best we have markets that are severely restricted and controlled, and designed to favor the large over the small, and especially over the individual.

Without the state much of what leads people to hate what they think is capitalism would be gone, and many of the reasons people think they should be "socialist" anarchists would disappear. Would there be homelessness if not for the state's housing rules and regulations? Would there be lack of employment and income opportunities if not for the state's interference in those areas?

And if, as left-libertarians are so fond of pointing out, the large corporations that they despise so much could not exist if the state were gone, then what worries them so much about anarcho-capitalism? By their own logic, it would be something completely different from what we now call "capitalism".

Monday, September 21, 2009

Is Anarcho-capitalism a Hollow Creed?

I've been thinking a lot lately about various issues relating to anarchism, and what constitutes "real" anarchism. Is anarchism solely opposition to the state, with the only goal the elimination of the state? Or is it broader than that, opposed not just to state authority, but to authority and hierarchy in general?

Do any anarcho-capitalists object in principle to the rule of petty tyrants in HOAs, for example, even though HOAs are de-facto governments? Is such authority okay simply because it is "private"?

On the other hand, can a good case be made that such non-governmental entities are subversive in the sense that they provide alternatives to government institutions?

I find myself in the middle on many such questions, but still believe the primary goal is abolition of the state. Many tiny private governments and city-states would amount to an extreme decentralization of power, which is why a break-up of the United States through secession, though not eliminating the state itself, would be a good first step on the journey to ultimate liberty.



Anarcho-capitalists will normally, and quite correctly, object to the "love it or leave it" argument for the state. But their grounds for objecting to "love it or leave it" is only based on the idea that it isn't the state's just property (and the implication of this is that it if *were* the state's just property, then the "love it or leave it" argument would suddenly be valid). What's more, they tend to neglect the failure of "love it or leave it" in any other context (such as that of an individual proprietor). From my perspective, the problem with "love it or leave it" does not merely reduce to the state not having a rightful claim to ownership, but it is problematic for the even more fundamental reason that arbitrary claims of absolute authority over others derived from territory are not justified in general. The problem with authority cannot simply be reduced to a question of who owns what.

...


In relativizing and subordinating liberty to property, hardline anarcho-capitalism ends up looking like a rather hollow creed in the sense that it does not fundamentally object to authoritarianism. Rather, by implication of its own norms, whether intended or not, it ends up justifying authoritarianism on the grounds that it occurs on so-and-so's property and that it's the proprietor's "ultimate decision-making power". This blurs the line between liberty and authority by making it dependant on ownership - if you don't have ownership, you more or less are stuck submitting to the authority of those with ownership, and if you do have ownership, everyone else's liberty ends where your property lines begin.

If this is what the heart of the social anarchist critique of anarcho-capitalism is, then I must confess: I agree with the social anarchists on this general point (although when things get more specific, some notable disagreements emerge). Granted, some anarcho-capitalists tweak their theories to avoid such an authoritarian implication (and I would therefore want to avoid strawmanning at least to that extent), but this should be the logical implication of absolutist propertarianism and an indication of what happens when one fetishizes property and contracts to the point of absurdity and self-contradiction. And in the context of such an implication, combining absolutist propertarianism with anarchism is indeed a gross contradiction in terms and anarcho-capitalism deserves the derision that it normally gets from traditional anarchists.


Ultimate Decision-making Power


What the %#^@ is an Anarcho-capitalist?

...I must admit to a feeling of release in being able to call myself an "anarchist," so it's my preferred term of choice. At the least, it's definitely a far sexier word than "libertarian." But, of course, there are also problems with choosing this term. Namely, that the word tends to evoke a range of images, from punk rockers like the Sex Pistols and Rage Against the Machine (which I don't necessarily mind so much) to Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber (who provide really poor P.R. images) to those anti-WTO nutcases that raised such a ruckus in Paris and Seattle this past year. Now, I don't like the WTO any more than they do, and I certainly empathize with the urge to burn Seattle to the ground (ahhh, it's a long story) but politically, I have next to nothing in common with such folks, so sharing the name with them is, once again, a confounding experience.

Basically, it's my opinion that these folks aren't really "anarchists" (at least not in the sense I use the term) they are socialists (or, in McVeigh's case -- just plain old-fashioned Oklahoma white trash.) They, like me, want to "smash the state," but they also want to abolish private property, and they see government being replaced by "cooperative communities" that sound an awful lot like governments to me. For those of us who believe the state should crumble, but who also support capitalism and believe that private property both should and would continue in a world without government, the term "anarchist," while technically accurate, is still insufficient and likely to bring about confusion.

And so, we must search for yet another name to define my political philosophy. While "Lehmannism" might seem an appropriate choice, given the apparent unlikelihood that my views would be shared by many others, shockingly, it turns out that my philosophy is not, indeed, mine alone. Though I didn't know this as I was developing it, it actually coincides with thoughts shared by a long tradition of historians, philosophers, and economists that support an individualistic flavor of anarchism, and is a more or less natural outgrowth of the long history of classical liberal thought. Elements of this philosophy can be seen in the writings of thinkers like Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker, and Herbert Spencer and it was carried on full-force in the 20th Century through the work of economists like Murray Rothbard and David Friedman (son of the aforementioned Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.)

And the name of this philosophy? You guessed it -- anarcho-capitalism...




Abolish Restaurants?


I really don't eat out much any more, except maybe once a week at a fast food place, but that's normally just the drive-thru. For sit-down restaurants I'd guess the frequency of my dining has dropped to possibly once a month, if not less than that.



Your back hurts from standing up for 6, 10 or 14 hours in a row. You reek of seafood and steak spices. You've been running back and forth all night. You're hot. Your clothes are sticking to you with sweat. All sorts of strange thoughts come into your head.

You catch bits and pieces of customers' conversations, while having constantly interrupted ones with your co-workers. "Oh isn't it nice, this restaurant gives money to that save-the-wolves charity." "I can't believe she slept with him. What a slut!" "Yeah, the carpenters are giving us problems. They want more money." "So he says to me, 'I think my escargots are bad,' and I say 'What do you expect? They're snails' AHAHAHAHAHAHAH."

No time to worry about relationship problems, or whether you fed your cat this morning, or how you're going to make rent this month, a new order is up.

The same song is playing again. You're pouring the same cup of coffee for the two-top in the window--the same young couple out on a second date. You give them the same bland customer service smile, and turn and walk by the same tacky decorations and stand in the same place looking out at the dining room floor. Behind you, the busser is scraping the same recycled butter off a customer's plate back into a plastic butter container. This is more than deja-vu.

It's election time. A waitress has three different tables at once. The customers at each table are wearing buttons supporting three different political parties. As she goes to each table she praises that party's candidates and program. The customers at each table are happy and tip her well. The waitress herself probably won't even vote.

One night the dishwasher doesn't show up. The dishes start to pile up. Then one of the cooks tries to run the dishwasher and he finds that it doesn't work. The door is dented and the wires cut. No one hears from that dishwasher again.

That's it! The last demanding customer. The last asshole manager. The last fight with a co-worker. The last smelly plate of mussels. The last time your burn or cut yourself because you're rushing. The last time you swear you're giving notice tomorrow, and find yourself swearing the same thing two weeks later.

A restaurant is a miserable place.


Abolish Restaurants




Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kevin Carson: Authoritarians in Libertarian Clothing



Some time ago Charles Johnson, in “Liberty, Equality, Solidarity: Toward a Dialectical Anarchism,” argued for what he called “thick libertarianism.” That is, libertarians should–AS libertarians–promote values of equality and justice beyond the bare bones nonaggression principle on which “thin libertarianism” is grounded. Equality and justice, he argued, should appeal to libertarians for the same reason that (assuming they were sane) they were originally attracted to libertarianism itself. Most people do not come to libertarianism as a result of deductive reasoning from the nonaggression principle. They are first attracted to libertarianism because it appeals to broader cultural values of equality and fair play, or an aversion to seeing people treated badly and pushed around, and then they gradually come to accept the more philosophical arguments for it afterward.

So while it’s possible for a person to be libertarian in the sense of accepting the nonaggression principle, and without formal contradiction simultaneously favor such voluntary forms of authoritarianism as the patriarchal family, the hierarchical employment relationship, and various other forms of cultural domination, Johnson argued that it would be just plain weird. Why would the sort of person with an affinity for that sort of thing draw the line at state authoritarianism, in particular?

Unfortunately, there seems to be a great deal of such authoritarian weirdness among professed libertarians.

A good example is Lew Rockwell’s post of Jan. 28 at LewRockwell.com Blog, in which he appeals to the common understanding of most American workers–in contrast to “trade-union commie” dogma–that

their boss is their benefactor, and that they owe him gratitude as well as hard work.

If the employment contract is–ahem–a CONTRACT between two equal parties for mutual benefit, why should be workers be any more “grateful” to the boss than vice versa? Can you imagine Rockwell’s reaction if some “commie” commenting on a layoff story argued that the workers were the boss’s benefactor, and that he owed them gratitude as well as good pay?

...

No less a free market libertarian than Herbert Spencer remarked on the cultural holdovers, in the modern wage employment relationship, from the old “regime of status.”

So long as the worker remains a wage-earner, the marks of status do not wholly disappear. For so many hours daily he makes over his faculties to a master…, and is for the time owned by him…. He is temporarily in the position of a slave, and his overlooker stands in the position of a slave-driver.

Only, unlike many libertarians of the contemporary right, Spencer thought this was a BAD thing.

...

What kind of “libertarian” would want to live in the kind of “free market” utopia in which it is impossible to set foot on a road or sidewalk or public square, anywhere on God’s green earth, without being scanned for biometric data or having someone demand “Ihre Papiere, bitte!” All too many, I fear.

In my worst moments, I suspect such libertarians are drawn to libertarianism precisely BECAUSE they are authoritarians.

Here in Northwest Arkansas, Benton County is famous for the kind of bluenose Stepford Wife Republican for whom “God” is spelled B-O-S-S and “Christian businessman” is one word. Bob Jones University alumni, who look like the Hitlerjugend equivalent of Eagle Scouts, are heavily represented in the local GOP organization–which should tell you everything you need to know about the cultural atmosphere. I can generally identify a Republibaptist (a term coined by local newspaper columnist John Brummett) on TV even with the sound turned off, because he’s wearing a navy blue suit and power tie and looks like he’s got a stick up his ass.

The Hoppeans seem to come from the same gene pool. They seem to favor the free market because they believe it will eliminate the state as a constraint on the kinds of local authoritarianism they enjoy, and give them a free hand in playing with the powerless victims in their little killing jars without any outside interference. A “free society,” for them, is a society in which the local petty authority figure is free to brutalize those under his power without hindrance. It’s the freedom of the squire to enclose the land and rackrent his tenants, of the pointy-haired boss to make life hell for Dilbert. You know, the way things were in the good old days, when men were men and sheep were nervous, and people who didn’t look and act like us kept in their place and didn’t whine about their “rights.” I vaguely recall that the Book of the Subgenius included a listing for someone who called himself an anarcho-monarchist, or something of the sort; his slogan was “Every backyard a kingdom, every child and dog a serf.” I can imagine him fitting in well in certain paleolibertarian circles.


Authoritarians in Libertarian Clothing


Left-libertarianism

Burqa Hoots

A Tulsa teen who wanted to wear her hijab on the job if she got hired at an Abercrombie Kids store has had her case taken up by the criminals at the U.S. "Equal Employment Opportunity" Commission.


A district manager allegedly told her that the hijab, which Elauf wears in observance of her religious beliefs, did not fit the store's image.

"Defendant refused to hire Ms. Elauf because she wears a hijab, claiming that the wearing of headgear was prohibited by its Look Policy, and, further, failed to accommodate her religious beliefs by making an exception to the Look Policy," the lawsuit states.


Does not the store have the right to decide what is and what is not allowed for those employed by it to wear?

Elauf went to the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma, which helped her file a complaint with the EEOC in Oklahoma City.


Islam loves statism, as it is a statist religion uniting faith and government (which is why Muslims in general should be seen as enemies of liberty), so no surprise here that the organized Islam lobby would support state coercion to force their bankrupt morality on others.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Abercrombie & Fitch in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, citing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, modified in 1991, as the basis for the action.


Barry Goldwater's position (he opposed the evil civil "rights" bill at the time), is proven right once again. Such "rights" are no such thing, they are only tools to enslave others to the demands of anyone with a "complaint".


The lawsuit asks the company to stop religious discrimination in its hiring; institute policies, practices and programs to provide equal employment opportunities; and provide Elauf with "appropriate back pay with prejudgement interest" and punitive damages.


Back pay? The fool was never hired in the first place!


The company reached a settlement with the EEOC and private parties in which it agreed to pay $50 million and was enjoined from discriminating against job applicants based on race, color and national origin; discriminating against women because of gender; and denying promotional opportunities to women and minorities.


$50 million? That's justice? Of course this just means that white males (not one of the protected groups) will now be subject to discrimination by the company as it will fear further lawsuits by the Federal Extortion Mafia.

I'm waiting for a Burqa-wearing brainwashed religious fool to apply at Hooters. After all, according to the goverment tyrants, the retail industry "needs to know that businesses cannot discriminate against individuals under the auspice of a marketing strategy or a particular 'look.' ".

Blog of the Moment: Strange Maps

click image to enlarge


Strange Maps


If Such Turn Out to Seem Essential


I might well prefer non-violent strategies for the attainment of a free society (and the political will certainly never be acceptable). But I am not going to rule out violent, bloody, homicidal strategies to get there, if such turn out to seem essential.

...when one recognizes that the world is ruled by criminal gangs, one ought take into account all legitimate actions for the elimination of crime and criminals.

If the achievement of a free society is to require that a million bleeding heads of torturing tyrants, damnable dictators, pandering politicians, sadistic generals, privileged policemen, criminal soldiers and psychotic, irresponsible “servants” be hoisted on pikes to surround the palisades of the free cities, count me in for the headsman’s role, for I will not dwell in my ice-cream-and-flying-ponies fantasies so long as to preclude my own action toward the attainment thereof.


Why I am not specifically a voluntaryist



See also the interesting "man in the well" discussion in the comments:

Morality is about what we *ought* to do, and coercion in general is not the only thing we ought not to do.

An example is the “man in a well” scenario. Let’s say you fall into a well accidentally, and I get a bullhorn and tell you that I won’t let you out because you deserved it, but I’ll throw down food and water for you, until I think you’re fit to be freed. You accept voluntarily, and I now control you.

There is no NAP violation here, since I did not push you into the well. I am simply taking advantage of your bad situation. This is a case of exploitation and hierarchy– it’s voluntary as in there’s no coercion at all, but it is in no way just.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Interesting bedfellows

Anarcho-capitalists and communists, that is.

A communist poster's response to an article about mutualism:

Well, you get points for the effort (are you the author of this piece, or is someone else?). But the ideas in it are ridiculous and dangerous for the left.A free market in any good necessarily leads to the concentration of that good in few hands. Furthermore, there are economies of scale in most industries, which means that large firms are simply more efficient and more productive than small firms. Some "anarchists" seem to have an absurd fetish for a society run by the petty bourgeoisie - a society of small, "local" firms. Such a society is incompatible with the industrial revolution.

Large-scale production is better than small-scale production. Now, it is true that, in the service sector, economies of scale are usually less pronounced than in industry. In the service sector it does make sense to have small firms (sometimes). But you can't run an economy entirely on the service sector. The service sector in the United States and Europe today is deceptively large, and it is kept that large only by the system of state-regulated international trade that allows the West to relocate its industries in India and China. If your system would make Wal-Mart uncompetitive, then in the same way it would also make the import of industrial products from China uncompetitive, meaning that your country would need to reindustrialize, meaning that you'd have to give up your dream of an economy run by small businesses.

And, of course, since industry must always exist somewhere, a petty bourgeois economy is always impossible on a planetary scale.

Sound familiar? It's the same critique of mutualism that an-caps make! Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Obama does something good

Quoth Lew Rockwell:

Blessed are the peacemakers. Obama stops building anti-missile weapons in Eastern Europe, and Russia responds by dismantling its missiles. And no one now pretends to believe Bush’s laughable lie, that the anti-missile weapons were aimed at Iran rather than Russia. How, I noticed various scamsters on cable TV saying, could anyone object to “defensive” weapons like the US’s? Because they make a first-strike far easier and therefore more likely. One other point: if the neighborhood bully comes out of his house one Saturday morning not just with his baseball bat, but dressed head to toe in body armor, no one exclaims: how great–he’s gone defensive.

Let’s just hope and pray that this small act of detente is not part of the perfervid neoconservative goal of murdering the Iranian people.


Remember the tired neocon chant of, "leaving them alone won't make them leave us alone, you naive pacifist utopians!"? It's clearly been proven wrong.

Still, one wonders why Obama refuses to adopt a similar approach to the Middle East.

The Revolt Against the Banksters

The banksters are evil, and it's nice to see libertarians finally acknowledging that banks (and much else) are not currently free market enterprises. I get angry when "libertarians" like Peter Schiff defend the practices of the credit card companies and when someone I otherwise respect like Ron Paul votes for the bankruptcy "reform" law sponsored by the banks and credit card issuers (legislation that made it harder for the working class slaves to eliminate their debt through bankruptcy).


video via Liberty Pulse

Responding to Statist Health Care

-image source


The current US debate about health-care funding can be understood as concerned with meeting the challenge of doing three things at once: (1) ensuring that everyone can afford to buy ample medical services and (2) lowering the price of care while (3) not interfering with our choices.

If you assume that most or all of the features of our current health care system should be treated as given, the trilemma really does seem irresolvable. Suppose everyone can afford ample medical care. We know what doctors charge. We know what hospitals charge. We know what drug manufacturers charge. We know what medical device manufacturers charge. And we know what insurers charge to, we’re told, make it all possible. And we know the charges are anything but insubstantial. So, given they way things work right now, if everyone can afford ample medical care, then everyone must be able to spend a lot of money.

If the current pricing of medical care really reflects conditions in the current market, and there’s no reason to think it doesn’t, then there’s no way to lower the cost of care without, realistically, making fewer services, fewer drugs, fewer devices available, as long as current market conditions persist. And that means, of course, interfering with our choices, since it’s hard to choose an option that’s not on the table. With fewer services available, options have been reduced, and, assuming the real value to patients of some available procedures that would be less prevalent as a result of cost-control measures, the quality of services would be reduced. So Goal 1 doesn’t look too achievable.

Of course, we could insist that Goal 1 be achieved no matter what, perhaps along with Goal 3. But then it’s hard to see how Goal 2 could be achieved. Or we could dramatically reduce choice, and perhaps, just perhaps, that might enable us to offer an ample supply of, well, some kind of care judged by someone to be of high quality, while controlling costs. Would the quality be adequate? Without choice, it would be hard to tell, and it would be hard to require quality, since that’s what unrestrained markets do, and since we wouldn’t have anything like an unrestrained market.

So it might seem, at first glance, as if there were a real problem achieving all three goals. But there’s not, if you vary one assumption that isn’t being made explicit in most of the discussions being conducted on-line, on TV, and in the print media by Beltway insiders. That’s the assumption that we need to keep a whole range of monopolistic cartels intact, cartels established by the state at least in part precisely to keep costs up.

A natural approach for anarchists to take is to challenge this assumption, while suggesting that, if it’s not endorsed, the three explicitly stated goals can all be achieved at the same time. One way to think about this is as an ongoing contribution to the debate about “socialism.” The Tuckerite claim (I’m not precisely a Tuckerite, but I like to think of myself as a fellow traveler) is, I take it, that “socialism” is best understood as naming a series of goals which can be achieved using the political means or the economic means. For the Tuckerite, the economic means turns out to achieve the desired set of goals more efficiently than the political means—and so without the aggression that’s definitionally part of the use of the political means. But what is achieved is still socialism. The Tuckerite socialist can achieve what the state socialist purports to want, but without many of the human and financial costs created by a state-based approach.


Gary Chartier:
Health Care: An Anarchist Approach







Mark Canney dissects statist health care claims (Podcast)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Strong Tea

As I write this, some tea is steeping in my cup. I'm making it extra strong. I made the mistake of staying up late last night. On the other hand, I didn't really have a choice. I consumed "reduced fat" 2% milk, mixing it with sugar free ice cream that warned on its package that "excessive consumption may have a laxative effect in sensitive individuals". Well, that it did have, and combined with the milk it also gave me severe cramps and extreme intestinal distress. So, I was up half the night unable to sleep.

Now I head off to work, and look forward to a day on the job where my work will be interrupted with periodic dreams, some of which I'll experience with my eyes open.

Have a great day!

Just Some Stuff 9


via VADEMECUM ARABIC MUSIC


Okay, so thanks to the modern media both conservative and liberal (uh, I mean Progressive), we have people in a frantic belief that one day the world will run out of oil.

The reason why we will never run out of oil is because there will always be at least one barrel left.

The Myth of Running Out of Oil








Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village







Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experienced first-hand as a small child ... from black kids, from the (older) children I thought were my friends, who, other than my little siblings, were the only children with whom I had regular contact?

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experienced first-hand as a grade-school pupil when, as I was waiting outside their school for my little sisters, a gang of black girls knocked me down (from behind) in the snow and knocked and kicked me down again when I tried to get up?

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experienced first-hand as a grade-school pupil when a gang of black boys (mostly my age) would daily chase me and my three siblings (all younger than I) for several blocks as we walked home from school?

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experienced first-hand as a kid when some black neighbor boys set fire to our house? (How fortunate that I heard an odd noise, the breaking of the glass in a storm window, and went to investigate the noise!)

Shall I hold you responsible for the "racism" I experience as an adult in so many interactions with black persons?

An Iliocentrism Conversation About Race



Clowning Around













Ominous Music Heard Throughout U.S. Sends Nation Into Panic



The Beatles "rooftop concert" was a compromise, the end of the failed Let It Be (Get Back) project (a live album of new material and a documentary about its creation, ending with a concert or even a new tour). The concert never happened, but to end the film, they performed for 42 minutes on the roof of Apple Studios in London.






And from their previous album The Beatles, AKA The White Album, the strange, experimental Revolution 9, a track more Yoko Ono than Beatles.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Conversation About Race

I posted part of this once before from YouTube, but here is the entire documentary from Google video.


Anarchists and Racism

The following is from Attack the System:


“Certain attitudes derived from the New Left and the so-called counter-culture permeated neo-anarchism and had a deleterious effect upon it. Chief among these was elitism. It was the common belief among the New Left that the majority of the population were “coopted”, “sold-out”, “racist” and “sexist”. For the hippie-left, most people were considered to be beer-swilling, short-haired rednecks. Much of this youthful hostility was directed against their parents and hence was more of an expression of adolescent rebellion than political insight. With the exception of those who opted for anarcho-syndicalism, most neo-anarchists carried this contemptuous attitude with them. The majority was written-off as hopelessly corrupted and this attitude still continues today. Such contempt is in complete contrast to classical anarchism, which even at its most vanguardist, saw itself as only a catalyzer or spokesman for the masses. While rejecting the majority, they became infatuated with minorities. The New Left, scorning workers, turned to racial minorities and the “poor” as possible agents of social change. Native people, prisoners, drop-outs, homosexuals, all have been given a high profile, virtually to the exclusion of the rest of the population.” -Larry Gambone, Sane Anarchy, 1995



The obsession with “racism” exhibited by modern leftists appears to be rooted in a number of things. Some are the obvious, e.g., the political, cultural and intellectual backlash against such horrors as Nazism, South African apartheid, “Jim Crow” in the American South, the Vietnam War and other manifestions of extreme colonialism. Another is the need for the radical Left to find a new cause once the horrors of Communism were revealed. Still another is the universalist ethos that emerged from Enlightenment rationalism. Yet another is the adolescent rebellion against society mentioned by Gambone. And another is the quasi-Christian moralism exhibited by many left-wingers: “Love thy exotically colored neighbor.”

It’s like this, my fellow anarchist comrades: World War Two is over. Hitler is dead. George Wallace is dead. Bull Conner is dead. Jim Crow has been relegated into the dustbin of history. Apartheid is finished, and Nelson Mandela eventually became South Africa’s head of state. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the United States now has a black President. Many of the largest American cities have black-dominated governments. In the wider society, “racism” has become the ultimate sin, much like communism or homosexuality might have been in the 1950s. By continuing to beat the dead horse of “white supremacy”, anarchists are simply making our movement look like fools.

No doubt many reading this will raise the issues of the high rates of imprisonment among blacks and Hispanics, police brutality, the medical neglect of illegal immigrants in detention centers, or the high unemployment rates in American inner cities. Do you really think that no whites have ever been adversely affected by these things? Do you think there are no whites in jail or prison for frivolous reasons? Who receive shoddy medical care? Who are adversely affected by state-capitalism and plutocratic rule? Who are subject to police harrassment or violence, or who are shabbily treated by agents or bureaucrats of the state? Who are subject to social ostracism because of their class, culture, religion or lifestyle?


The Fruits of Anarchist “Anti-Racism”


“Change...Yes we can say the word!”

Hmmm, more war, more bailouts for the criminal banksters and corporations, and now, an extension of the Patriot Act. I'm going to have to write a letter to Websters, because the dictionary I have is obviously wrong, some kind of a misprint I'm guessing when they put it together in the editing process, giving the word change a completely different definition than the actual meaning of "more of the same".


Change...Yes we can! Does Obama have a speech impairment or is he mentally challenged. Does he suffer from amnesia, or is he developing Alzheimer's, like his congenial predecessor, Ronald Reagan? Are Obama's two brain halves connected? There is no way of telling what exactly is the matter, but let us be generous towards the man and suppose he suffers from a rather serious speech impairment. Perhaps he has long been a stammerer. After all, he cannot deliver a speech without using a teleprompter. Again, like Ronald Reagan, but also like his mentally challenged immediate predecessor, Bush II.

Change...Yes we can! Let us just assume, not to be too unkind to Obama (we might get accused of being racists), that he was unable to finish pronouncing the sentence. What he meant to say must have been something like: “Change...Yes we can say the word!” But he apparently never got beyond the first four words.


Read More


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Norman Borlaug: A Lifetime Fighting Hunger




The Unknown Hero



Ancestry

Photobucket


This picture is of an ancestor of mine, John McTurk Gibson. He is a moderately well known pioneer who traveled to California from Iowa during the gold rush in the 1850's on both the California and Oregon trails. His Journal of Western Travel is a frequently cited reference on the conditions of that journey.

I just learned about John a few days ago. My mother, while looking up some information on our family came upon the name and thought that since there aren't an abundance of McTurk Gibsons he may well be a relative. She asked her Aunt about it and sure enough he is a great-great-great something grandfather. He is also considered, at least according to my great aunt to be something of a rascal and ne'er do well in family lore. This of course attracted me instantly and I began researching him. I found his Journal on line and have put the link above. He is a clever and interesting writer and I think I would have liked him. I also found his portrait and it is just eerie. Although I lack the monstrous white beard I otherwise resemble him very much. My wife and mother noted it before I did, but after they pointed it out it was almost as if it were a charcoal drawing of me.

I am going to continue reading his journals and attempt to find and collect other mentions and references to this ancestor of mine. For now though I just had to post a little bit about it on this blog, I will probably revisit this topic in time.

This is another cross post from my personal blog

Stephan Kinsella: Intellectual Property and Libertarianism

"I finally realized that the reason I couldn't find a way to justify IP was because it's unlibertarian. We libertarians already realize that many so-called intellectual rights, such as the right to reputation protected by defamation law, are illegitimate. Why would we believe that artificial rights that are solely the product of legislation that's the decrees of a fake law-making wing of a criminal state, would be valid."



via LibertarianChristians.com

Lousy Farmville

Every time I think I'm done with that stupid game, some wise guy helps me with my farm. Then I feel like I need to return the favor.

U.S. Troops Invade Somalia

Antiwar.com reported yesterday that U.S. troops have invaded the southern portion of Somalia. This is following confirmation from the French military that they most definitely weren't in Somalia. U.S. military officials confirmed the news to the Associated Press that the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command were responsible for the attack on the village of Barawe. While they confirmed this, they did not give the reason for the invasion.

While government officials haven't publicly revealed anything, privately they have been quoted as saying the target was a Kenyan named Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, and that he was "'likely killed' in the helicopter-backed raid." Now, who exactly this guy is seems unclear. Many in the media, including the Associated Press, have claimed that he is "one of Africa's most wanted al-Qaida suspects." However, his affiliation with the group hasn't been verified at all, and his FBI wanted poster only lists him as "wanted for questioning," which hardly seems like grounds for assassination.

But as Antiwar.com reports, Obama signed an Execute Order ten days ago calling for the military to kill Nahban whenever they got the chance, and "sources close to the situation say the U.S. considers its attack a success since they recovered a body they think might be Nahban's."

Also, as reported in the Associated Press article I linked to above, Somali insurgents have now vowed to retaliate against the U.S. Hmmm, I wonder why they would possibly want to go and do something like that?

So much for peace. For anyone who continues to insist that Obama is somehow even vaguely anti-war, this is just another nail in an already battered coffin. But I'm sure we're ::this:: close to ending terrorism, right?

And then we wonder why Muslim populations continue to hate this country...

The Man Who Saved One Billion Lives

Norman Borlaug, a man worth more than all the world's politicians put together.


Borlaug's passing gives us time to reflect on a man who used science and technology to improve the world. In fact...because of his advances, all hunger in the world today is the result of political disasters, not natural ones. (Thoughts on the Passing of a Hero)


Ah, political disasters. Thanks governments and politicians!

Oh, and he warned us about the enviro-nuts, too:


In later life, Borlaug was criticized by self-described "greens" whose hostility to technology put them athwart the revolution he had set in motion. Borlaug fired back, warning in these pages that fear-mongering by environmental extremists against synthetic pesticides, inorganic fertilizers and genetically modified foods would again put millions at risk of starvation while damaging the very biodiversity those extremists claimed to protect. In saving so many, Borlaug showed that a genuine green movement doesn't pit man against the Earth, but rather applies human intelligence to exploit the Earth's resources to improve life for everyone. (The man who fed the world)

Anarcho-syndicalism working in Argentina?

This is an old article, but fascinating nonetheless.

Take note, Democrats: people can manage their own economic activity perfectly fine without totalitarian "czars" or the imperialist-corporatist Obama.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze, RIP

Talk about a bad year to be a celebrity.

Pancreatic cancer killed my uncle not too long ago, as well. RIP, Pat.

Man and Puppy



My real life is quite boring. I went to the store on my way home yesterday. I just wanted to get a few items I didn't really need. I must remember to reform myself, for the draw of Walmart ruins my budget. Still, this time I was determined to only walk out with the "essentials" , which in this case meant paper plates, paper bowls and plastic spoons. Those items help to support my canned-food diet. I've got lots of chili, soup, beans, and Chef Boyardees lining the shelves, and as these are currently my main source of nourishment, the only other thing I have to be sure to have on hand is a good can-opener, though with the pull-top option on many canned delicacies, I can even dispense with that.

I'm sure the regular clerks assume (that is, if any of them occasionally come out of their normal brain-dead stupors) that I either throw a lot of parties or go on a lot of picnics. But the disposable utensils are just another symptom of my laziness. It's easier to me than washing the dishes after every meal. Plus, unlike some luckier babies who were introduced to precious metals in infancy, I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth, so eating off of paper and plastic is part of my heritage. If only the fates had been kinder by giving me a nicer birth spoon, I might have ended up as one of Ayn Rand's men of ability.

So, to continue, as I wheeled my cart down the crowded aisles I succumbed to temptation a few times, resisting whenever I could, but falling short more often than I'd planned. I left the poor man's department store with two bags of stuff more than was necessary. However, I was still proud of myself for my overall willpower, because I did put that box of Little Debbie snack cakes back.

As I left the parking lot and drove down the street that would take me back to the freeway, I saw a young man on the corner holding a sign. Here's what his cardboard message said, verbatim:


Man and Puppy
Can You spare
a
Dollar
will work
God Bless


It seemed a message just a bit too contrived. There was no puppy in sight, so I guess he left the poor creature back at the cardboard box from which he'd fashioned his sign. The word "dollar" was written in green, and the words "will work" below it were much smaller than the rest (as if he felt he'd be violating the panhandler code if he left out the willing to work part, but feared someone might actually take him seriously about it). The "God Bless" at the end was big and bold, though.

Based on his sign and his appearance (clean-shaven face, new shorts and shirt and shoes) I think he needs to go back to panhandling school and take a few more courses.

Considering that I ordinarily look like a bum without even trying, if I decided to join him on the street corner, I'd be ready to go without much training. Plus, I've already got all those canned beans.


Only Anarchism

Democracy IS The God that Failed. All that is left is real freedom, i.e., anarchy.



The world’s only Super Power has everything in its kitty to be able to comfort its citizens and the Americans in turn, has every reason to feel safe and snooty. However, the human sufferings incurred in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere triggered by the ‘United States’ dominating foreign policy has prompted Noam Chomsky, arguably the world’s greatest living thinker to christen his own nation as “Failed States”. Lessening human suffering is promoting democracy, the scholar noted.

We know there is no more serious institutional competitor of democracy after the fall of communism. Given the situation, in the event of the failure of democracy, the nearest uncharted system at hand perhaps, is Anarchism (Monarchy, Fascism, Capitalism of varied forms etc.etc. have been tested).

Anarchism is a political philosophy which says that any government, authority or power is ‘oppressive and unjust, that the abolishing of government will produce the greatest individual and collective freedom and prosperity and that is the governmental authority that imposes unfair rules on people, steals their money, and keeps them in slavery’. German thinker Max Stirner, Russian-born American writer Emma Goldman and many other philosophers both past and contemporary in Italy, Spain, Germany, France are prominent promoters of Anarchism. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon of France advocated in favour of Anarchism to certain extent. Peter Kropotkin of Russia campaigned for a communist anarchism. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s idea that says, “People are naturally virtuous but corrupted by society”, has been giving inspirations to many anarchists throughout the ages world wide.

Democracy’s edges

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Freedom: the absence of monopoly


Consider the following definition of freedom: the absence of monopoly.

The absence of monopoly means that you can exercise exit, even if you cannot exercise voice. The presence of monopoly means that, at most, you can exercise voice.

Neither my local supermarket nor any of its suppliers has a way for me to exercise voice. They don't hold elections. They don't have town-hall meetings where they explain their plans for what will be in the store. By democratic standards, I am powerless in the supermarket.

And yet, I feel much freer in the supermarket than I do with respect to my county, state, or federal government. For each item in the supermarket, I can choose whether to put it into my cart and pay for it or leave it on the shelf. I can walk out of the supermarket at any time and go to a competing grocery.

The exercise of voice, including the right to vote, is not the ultimate expression of freedom. Rather, it is the last refuge of those who suffer under a monopoly.


What is Real Freedom?


Marching against the regime

You can't help but enjoy it.

Building the Cult of Personality


So, I was at Target yesterday browsing through DVDs, wishing I could afford Dexter Season 3, when I passed by the children's book section and see a portrait of Barack Obama staring at me. Barack is an illustrated biography chronicling Obama's inspiring rise from humble beginnings to President of these here United States.

Call me oversensitive, but it kind of freaked me out that parents would be willing to buy their kids propaganda for $17.99.

There was only one copy left, and I promptly buried it behind a dozen copies of Where the Wild Things Are.

Anarchism Without Hyphens



Read from Mostly on the Edge: An Autobiography by Karl Hess

Fast Gross Food



Karen De Coster recently linked to the above video and called fat-assed Americans gross pigs. She actually makes some good points, though I'm not sure I take quite the same attitude toward ordinary, stressed-out people. It's no wonder we're all (well, almost all) so damn fat. What else has the average wage-slave got to look forward to besides stuffing their face with grotesque mounds of indigestible "food", except maybe getting drunk, and you can't (or shouldn't) do that every day.

The fast food industry seems unable or unwilling to create anything really good (or truly tasty in the real sense) and continues to stretch the limits of good taste (ha ha) when it comes to coming up with new, gargantuan calorie concoctions. The menu inventions seemingly have to become more and more extreme to keep the over-weight masses interested.

I'm waiting for the Taco Bell Double Crunchwrap Supreme (or have they already done that?).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How Washington Sees The World

Breaking News: Series Of Concentric Circles Emanating From Glowing Red Dot


Breaking News: Series Of Concentric Circles Emanating From Glowing Red Dot

Dear Uncle Jim

Dear Uncle Jim,

Dad read your recent letter and I believe he is sending a note to you soon. Don't worry about us getting involved in any "New Age" garbage. The whole movement that calls itself that is nothing but nonsense from start to finish.

But we must be on guard against any form of superstitious thinking. The Tuesday earthquake that hit the San Francisco area is an example. As soon as we heard the news, we said, "Well, it finally happened, the Big One hit", even though scientists now say this wasn't the big one, but still a very large quake. You see, everybody knows that large earthquakes in California are inevitable because of geological conditions here. San Francisco sits over the San Andreas fault and so will always be vulnerable to periodic quakes. Two of the earth's great moving plates, the North American and the Pacific, meet along the coast of California. They are constantly moving at a rate of about two inches a year. All the plates on earth are moving. So earthquakes are a natural phenomenon, like wind and rain and hurricanes.

When enough friction develops and the pressure builds to a certain level, the earth snaps and gives way and you get a sudden large movement along a fault line, causing an earthquake (they say in the great 1906 quake-an 8.3, more than thirty times as powerful as the one on Tuesday-the movement on the fault was 20 feet).

I write the above not because I think you ignorant of facts like these, but just so I can lead to the following.

When something bad like this big earthquake happens, some Christians fall into a disturbing habit. They say it's the judgment of God on sinful humans. God's giving us a warning of some sort, and He chose this particular time, place and event to make His point. Of course no notion could be more absurd, but Christians continue to make such statements.

The day after, Wednesday, I decided to watch the 700 Club to see what Pat Robertson had to say. I was about 90% sure he'd claim God's divine wrath had been provoked and the Almighty had expressed His anger by shaking the ground and causing buildings and freeways to collapse and crush people, including children and pregnant women (there actually was a pregnant woman who was on the double deck highway 880 when it collapsed-she survived but she lost the baby). Since Robertson is always making idiotic and outrageous statements, I wasn't too surprised by his comments. He said God was trying to tell us something and he went through a list of America's sins that included adultery, homosexuality and abortion.

"God's simply saying," informed Pat, "that if you go on slaughtering millions of children by abortion, I'm gonna start slaughtering some of you." This is incredible. What kind of a God is Robertson presenting to us here? Of course, to someone with the intellectual capacity of a turnip, Pat's version of reality makes complete logical sense. After all, isn't San Francisco our most sinful city (with the possible exception of Las Vegas) with all those gays and lesbians prancing down the streets celebrating their perversion?

But wait a minute, Pat, what's going on here? I thought God was for protecting the unborn and against "murdering" them by abortion. Yet, to get His message across, He "slaughters" (Rev. Robertson's word) an unborn child in its mother's womb (the woman on the collapsed freeway). If we take Pat seriously (can anybody really do that?), should we say "Hey God, get your act together. You're message isn't coming through clear. Do you want Americans to have more abortions?" Or maybe God should say, "Hey, Pat, shut your mouth, you don't speak for me?"

In areas that experience large earthquakes, such earthquakes can be expected to occur at regular intervals, with major quakes occurring about every 100 to 200 years. So even had this bay area quake been the big one (and it wasn't) the pressure would inexorably begin to build again and another disaster of the same magnitude would someday be inevitable. So how is God involved? After all, we call these things natural disasters, not supernatural disasters.

Suppose Robertson's 700 Club is so successful that millions are converted to his strange (he hasn't preformed his very strange "word of knowledge" act in awhile I notice- "there's a woman in Cincinnati with a swollen knee cap, God's healing that right now") brand of Christianity. Or even worse, the Christian Reconstructionists have their way and the Constitution is thrown out in favor of a right-wing theocracy based on Old Testament law and Calvinist theology. In their vision, the culture has been completely transformed and everything in society is "Christ centered". What need of earthquakes then, if they are a form of chastisement from God?

The people have repented and the Church controls the world. When an earthquake strikes Born-Again San Francisco in the year 2089, will the Pat Robertson types still say it's God's judgment because of wickedness? Or will they, finally and rightly, admit that earthquakes and other natural disasters are a natural and normal and inevitable part of the way things are. No different from windy days where power lines are sometimes blown down, or the fact that you'll probably catch at least one cold virus this winter, or that you'll develop cavities in your teeth if you eat too much candy and don't brush (and maybe develop them even if your abstain from sugary treats and do brush).

One more short word before I leave this subject. Here is part of a newspaper report on the quake:


Six-year-old Julio was discovered, whimpering, among the devastated cars on Route 880. His feet were crushed under the rubble. For hours, rescuers attempted to pull the child from the cruel embrace of the bridge. But what they thought was movement was just his clothing slipping from his body. The firemen and the doctors knew what they had to do. The boy's leg would have to be amputated on the spot. As surgeon James Betts climbed the ladder to the stricken child, he was told that the boy's dead mother was in the way. He would have to cut through her body to reach him. And he did it.


Unlike Pat Robertson and other Christians who think like him, I do not believe any God would deliberately cause something to happen that would result in a horror like that.


Well, that's all for now Uncle Jim. I'll write again soon.

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