You are browsing the archive for 2013 March 19.

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No Forgiveness for Bush’s 'Useful Idiots,' the Liberal Hawks Who Led Us into War

March 19, 2013 in Blogs

By Michael Ratner, AlterNet



Ten years ago, between January and April 2003, it is estimated that an unprecedented 36 million people around the world took to the streets in protest against the Iraq War. They believed the war unjust, the evidence of a threat flimsy, and the costs, in terms of lives and otherwise, potentially astronomical. Worldwide protests, from Rome to Manhattan, brought together hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions to collectively voice opposition.

In any just government, these astounding numbers would give pause to the war-wagers in power. In a truly democratic America, these sentiments should have been represented in Washington. And surely this moment should have been the cue for our “liberal media” to echo the cautionary cries of our protesters to deafening levels. Instead, our reliably bellicose Republican congressmen were joined in support by an overwhelming majority of our so-called liberal representatives, and war went ahead as planned.

Even more alarmingly, in the months preceding the start of the war, the pages of the New York Times would greet us with more banging of the drums: a demand by Thomas Friedman that France be kicked out of the Security Council for its refusal to join up, or a startling piece of war propaganda by then soon-to-be executive editor Bill Keller, fantasizing about the impact of a one-kiloton nuke detonated in Manhattan – 20,000 incinerated, many more dying a “gruesome death from radiation sickness.” But make no mistake: although the New York Times has a shameless history of supporting war after war, other prominent mainstream journalists and intellectuals were eager to ride the bandwagon. These names include George Packer of the New Yorker, Newsday’s Jeffery Goldberg, theAtlantic’s Peter Beinart, Fareed Zakaria, Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Paul Berman to name a few.

The late Tony Judt sized up this whole lot most aptly with the label “Bush’s Useful Idiots.” The “useful idiots,” he said, were those from within the liberal establishment who, either through a misguided attempt to project strength, willfully played along with preposterous WMD claims, or simply allowed themselves to get carried away with the imperialistic fervor surrounding a new call to war, abdicating the responsibilities upon which …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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Sen. Paul appears on Fox's Hannity with Sean Hannity- 3/18/2013

March 19, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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John Brennan Won. Did the Meaning of America Survive?

March 19, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Our continually hurtling media in all its forms makes it hard for memories to sustain past news shocks. How many Americans are bothered that the new head of the CIA, John Brennan — after many years of deep involvement there in the agency’s torture policy, all documented by many reporters, including this one — is now tracking Americans for “association” with terrorists while continuing secret CIA “renditions”?

Old news.

And despite the tremendous national impact of Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster speech, how much of its startling details even registered for long? Meanwhile, the Republican from Kentucky was teaching many of us what we never realized — on just how subservient we are becoming to the state.

As I wrote last week, Paul said he was concerned that Americans targeted for suspected terrorist ties would be destroyed in America itself. He revealed in an editorial in The Washington Times: “The president said, ‘I haven’t killed anyone yet, and I have no intention of killing Americans. But I might’ ” (“Rising in defense of the Constitution,” Rand Paul, Washington Times, March 8).

I have a complete transcript of Paul’s 13-hour speech, including his follow-up to this presidential contempt for the separation of powers: “What if the president were to say, ‘I haven’t broken the First Amendment yet; I intend to follow it, but I might break it.’”

Later, Paul said: “Presidents, Republican and Democrats, believing in some sort of inherent power that’s not listed anywhere … For a hundred years or so, power’s been gravitating to the president — and the executive branch.”

And dig this from Rand Paul: “One of the complaints that you hear a lot of times in the media is about there is no bipartisanship in Congress. (But) if you look at people who don’t really believe in much restraint of government as far as civil liberties, it really is on both sides.”

So, “Republicans and Democrats (also) vote overwhelmingly against the Constitution giving Congress the power to declare war.

“The Constitution gave it to us (the people),” Paul emphasized, “but we are giving it back.”

Also, on the question of bipartisanship, he adds: “The bipartisanship that we have now, which many in the media fail to understand, they see us not getting along on taxes and on spending, but they fail to understand that on something very important, on whether an individual has a right not to be restrained indefinitely, there is quite a …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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The Gun Debate Is a Culture Debate

March 19, 2013 in Economics

By Trevor Burrus

Trevor Burrus

Nearly three months after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, we are still debating the place of guns in American society. That debate is not just about statistics and laws—it is about culture.

In a recent appearance on PBS’s “NewsHour,” Vice President Joe Biden admitted an assault weapons ban would do little to stop crime, but argued the weapons should still be banned if they don’t have “real utility either in terms of any sporting or self protection needs[.]”

Here, Biden forgets a founding American principle: we permit the government to have guns, not the other way around. Citizens don’t need to justify owning an “assault weapon,” the government needs to justify taking it.

Biden should be applauded for his honesty, but this begs the question: If honest gun-control advocates know that laws they support are ineffective, why fight for them? Because the gun debate is fundamentally a cultural debate.

When it comes to guns, the much ballyhooed red state/blue state cultural divide is real.”

One cultural tradition believes government is a necessary evil, best kept small, contained, and subordinate to the people.

The other tradition views government as a force for good that can often do better with fewer restraints.

One tradition views private gun ownership as important for resisting tyranny; the other views guns as, at best, a necessary evil, and at worst, something we should discard to become a fully civilized society.

Gun-control advocates scoff at the suggestion that personal arms can stand up to tanks and drones. But the anti-tyranny argument is not so much based on efficacy as it is on power: who has it and why.

In America, the government derives its power from the people. But the cultural divide goes deeper than the role of government.

Some Americans teach their children that gun ownership is a right a responsibility, and that guns are tools to respect and enjoy. Others discipline five-year olds for fashioning pretend guns out of pipe cleaners; they view guns with something resembling disgust.

Productive conversations about guns can thus be difficult because the anti-gun movement gives little to no weight to the values of private gun ownership. That is because “gun disgust” engenders a bias against guns.

In 2001, the American Medical Association recommended that doctors ask patients about gun ownership during office visits. They did not recommend that doctors ask about swimming pools or bicycles, both of which are much more likely to result …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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What Do These Publications Have in Common?

March 19, 2013 in Economics

By Thomas DiLorenzo

“On the Inherent Instability of Apple Computer Products” by Bill Gates.

“On the Inherent Instability of Microsoft Computer Products” by Steve Jobs.

“On the Inherent Instability of Ford Automobiles” by co-authors from Chrysler, General Motors, and Toyota.

“On the Inherent Instability of Chrysler, General Motors, and Toyota Automobiles” by the Ford Motor Company.

On the Inherent Instability of Private Money” by Daniel Sanches, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (No relation to the Mises Institute’s Danny Sanchez).

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Iraq War: 10 Years Later

March 19, 2013 in Economics

By Malou Innocent

Malou Innocent

Prominent (neo)conservatives who promoted the war, such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, have blamed the U.S. military drawdown from Iraq for a rise in Iranian influence. That popular contention willfully ignores that Iran became a beneficiary of the war as a result of Saddam Hussein’s removal, not that of American troops.

Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq war proponents were so focused on removing Saddam from power that they largely overlooked how it would enable Tehran to back its political allies in Baghdad with far greater impunity. Take Iraq’s current Prime Minister, Nouri al Maliki, head of the Shiite (Dawa) political party. From 1982 until the U.S.-led invasion, Maliki found refuge in Iran while other Dawa members found refuge in Syria. Why Iran and Syria? According to Dawa, “These two countries were most sympathetic to the cause against Saddam’s regime at the time.”

That was also when top officials in Washington were assisting Baghdad’s secular Ba’athist regime in its ongoing conflict against Iran and refused to punish Saddam for gassing Iraqi Kurds. The Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) ultimately devolved into a protracted stalemate, allowing the rivals to weaken each other. Because the region remained divided, neither side could achieve hegemony and shut out American influence. As Henry Kissinger reportedly quipped, “It’s a pity they both can’t lose.”

Those who blame America’s troop withdrawal for increased Iranian influence have their causation wrong.”

In August 1988, after the bloody Iran-Iraq War finally ended with a U.N.-mandated ceasefire, Saddam did not intend to preserve the status quo: His forces invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The immediate objective of the resulting U.S.-led international coalition was to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and to avoid what President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State James Baker warned, “something that would result in the fragmentation of Iraq because we didn’t think that would be in our national interests.”

Washington’s larger aim was to prevent Iraq from dominating the Persian Gulf. For the next 12 years, no-fly zones and a sanctions regime contained Saddam’s expansionist tendencies. Iran’s strength grew, Iraq’s strength receded, and the balance of power in the Gulf remained reasonably intact. That all changed dramatically after March 2003. 

Bush administration officials, and their Democratic and Republican supporters on Capitol Hill, underappreciated the wider geopolitical ramifications of dethroning Iran’s principal regional counterweight. Realist scholars <a target=_blank …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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Inside the Aryan Brotherhood’s Heroin Empire

March 19, 2013 in Blogs

By Seth Ferranti, The Fix



Prison is a place where racial hatred is routine, where gangs rule the roost and heroin is the most valuable commodity. “A white person in prison is in deep trouble if he doesn’t have people to stand with him,” one prisoner tells The Fix. “The guards can’t do nothing. All they can do is prosecute the winner.” And there are few bigger winners in the feds than the Aryan Brotherhood.

Despite some high-profile crackdowns against the gang in recent years, its grip on many facilities remains strong. “I just came from USP Lompoc [in Southern California] and the AB is running that yard,” the prisoner says. “The drugs are flowing. They got Atwater, Victorville, Canaan, Hazleton, Florence, Marion, Big Sandy and Coleman on lock. They are all over the system. The feds can’t stop anything.”

The AB is one of the nation’s “big four” prison-born gangs, along with the Mexican Mafia, the Black Guerilla Family and the Nuestra Familia. The “Brand,” as it's also known, is estimated to have over 15,000members and associates nationwide, half behind bars and half on the street. The gang was born in the violent California prison system of the ‘60s, reflecting the racial tensions of the times. “The mentality back then was ‘kill whitey,’” says an old-timer who did time back then. “In the beginning, the AB had one true purpose: to stop blacks and Mexicans from abusing whites. If you weren’t picked up by the AB, you were dead.”

But if you wanted to join, all you had to do—belying claims of a merely defensive purpose—was to kill, or attempt to kill, a black or Mexican inmate. The Brand’s motto was “Blood in, blood out”—meaning once you spilled blood in order to join, the only way you were leaving was in a body bag. The AB’s leaders read Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Sun Tzu, Tolkien and the old standby, Mein Kampf. They touted their white supremacist ideals with tattoos, such as Nazi swastikas and lightning bolts (for the SS), and Celtic and Viking symbols to represent Anglo-Saxon and Nordic roots. The shamrock cloverleaf was a key ink ID.

But the AB long …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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Human Action: Austrian Sociology, Lecture 2 Slides

March 19, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Enrollment is still open.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Yikes! Scientists Discover Unsightly Viral Infection Spread Through Shaving or Waxing Pubic Hair

March 19, 2013 in Blogs

By Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet



A new study has revealed that by shaving or waxing downtown, people can give themselves a viral infection.

A dermatologist in Nice, France noticed that many of his patients who were coming in with the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) in their genital region had removed their pubic hair.

The dermatologist, Dr. Francois Desruelles, MD, then began researching the correlation, and he found that 93 percent of his 30 patients of both genders had removed their pubic hair in some fashion — 70 percent shaved, 13 percent clipped and 10 percent waxed. Desruelles published his finding on Monday in the British Medical Journal.

MCV is a pox virus spread via skin-to-skin or sexual contact as well as sharing certain items like towels. The virus causes pearly, dome-shaped papules on the infected area. The bumps are not painful and frequently go away on their own, though the virus can be treated via over-the-counter medications or other treatments.

Desruelles wrote that he believes many people are giving themselves the virus, let’s say, by shaving a MCV bump on their legs and then using the same razor to shave their pubes. He also noted that shaving causes tiny abrasions that could make catching MCV from a sexual partner that much easier.

If you do develop MCV bumps and still must shave, Desruelles noted to shave around the bumps, not through them.

According to the L.A. Times, the researchers wrote, “Pubic hair removal is a body modification for the sake of fashion, especially in young women and adolescents, but also growing among men.”

They suggested the trend of pubic hair removal may stem from pornography, a desire for more sexual sensation, “an unconscious desire to simulate an infantile look” or “a desire to distance ourselves from our animal nature.”  

Though reasons may vary, people’s increased desire to maintenance the lawn may have a detrimental affect on their health.


Tue, 03/19/2013 – 08:55

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Source: ALTERNET

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A Pivotal Bus Ride

March 19, 2013 in Economics

By Robert Higgs

In July 1940, when Ludwig and Margit von Mises made their way by bus from Switzerland across German-occupied France [Note: Mises was Jewish], the bus driver had to proceed very carefully and make many detours via back roads to avoid German checkpoints. If you would like to play with a fascinating exercise in counterfactual history, imagine how history would have gone had the Germans arrested Mises and his wife, placed them in indefinite detention, and perhaps ended up killing them in some horrible concentration camp.

Among the many ways in which history would have been different: no works of Rothbard, Kirzner, and Reisman as we have known them; probably no resurgence of the Austrian school of economics as we have seen it during the past forty years or so; no Mises Institute in Auburn or others elsewhere in the world. For many of us, without the great English-language treatise Human Action (1949 and later editions), careers would have taken very different forms and trajectories. In ways too numerous to imagine, the world would have been different — and worse — had Mises not made his way safely across France and Spain to Lisbon, and hence by ship to New York. Perhaps never in history did so much turn on a bus driver’s skills and courage.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE