I always wonder what miracle occurs to transform the venal, myopic, hubris-slathered, office-greedy, often-corrupt, chronically uninformed, and interest-group-beholden politicians who cannot be trusted to spend taxpayer money on the likes of green-energy projects and farm subsidies into wise and highly informed Solons when they proclaim that their goal is to protect Americans from foreign threats.
[The renewed war in Iraq] will be–by the administration’s own admission–prolonged, open-ended, and offensive in nature.
Every step along the way, the administration has set down restrictions on what it would be willing to do, and it then cast those restrictions aside within days or weeks of imposing them. The administration is currently saying that there won’t be American forces on the ground engaged in combat, but as we should know by now every statement like this is entirely provisional and can be revoked at any time.
can and will be revoked…
"I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles," said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. "Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time."
Don’t worry, folks: that hope and peace and freedom you’ve been promised is just one more law and one more bomb away…
As many critics have pointed out, terrorism is not an enemy. It is a tactic. Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics, the slogans of today’s war on terrorism merely makes the United States look hypocritical to the rest of the world.
to say the least…
No market economy since industrialization has famines at all, and thus, poverty in the modern industrialized context can’t even be compared to poverty in the days before industrialization and the relatively free markets that made the enormous improvements in the standards of living of most people in the industrializing world. Some people, however, including [Pope] Francis, seem to be under the impression that things were humming along just fine until markets came along. But in reality, its relatively-free markets that made it possible for humanity to escape the grinding poverty that was the lot of almost all of us (except a tiny caste of murderous nobles and monarchs) who ground the rest of us under the heels of their pointy shoes.
I was disappointed in the vote in Scotland. … That would’ve been very exciting, but it’s still exciting that a lot of people around the world have been thinking about this. … The smaller the units of government the better, and self-determination should be respected. Just about a hundred years ago we had a president who thought that we should make the world safe for democracy. I think we should make the world safe for liberty, not democracy.
Woodrow Wilson drags us into [World War One] and one of his big pitches was self-determination… Then he gets in and participates in this redrawing of the lines in the Middle East that we’re still fighting over. And now of course there’s a challenge to the lines… they were artificial then, they’re artificial now, and they’re going to be redrawn because we live in a new age, in a positive way, a new age because things are changing. … People are saying enough is enough, we want to be on our own. …
So what’s wrong with an idea whose time has come, the idea that we have a foreign policy based on the Golden Rule and don’t do anything to anybody else that we wouldn’t want them to do to us? Wouldn’t that solve a lot of problems?”
… [The United States] helped start Hamas and then [it] said, ‘okay, I think you should have democratic elections’, and they did, but then [the U.S.] didn’t like who they elected so [the U.S.] decided to turn on them. So then they had an election in Lebanon, Hezbollah gets elected, and oh, [the U.S. doesn’t] like them, and on and on … How long did [the U.S.] support the dictator of Egypt? Tens of millions of dollars, then [the U.S. decides they] don’t like Mumbarak so [the U.S. kicks] him out, and [the U.S. says] ‘okay have an election’, so they elect somebody that belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood. Oh, [the U.S. doesn’t] like them, so we’ve got to get rid of him and put in the military dictator again. When are we going to wake up as an American people and say it’s not working, it’s stupid, it doesn’t help us, it’s bankrupting us, and it puts us in more danger and [the U.S.] ought to quit?”
Do you think people around the world want to emulate [the U.S.] now? Because any time [the U.S. doesn’t] like anything they do, [the U.S. sends] sanctions to punish the people, and [it sends] bombs to kill a bunch of people, and then [the U.S. kicks] out the leaders [they] don’t like. And you don’t persuade people that way, you do it by setting a standard…It isn’t like you have to have a PhD in some fancy science to understand well, uh, don’t hurt people.
— Ron Paul, from his speech at LPAC on Sep. 20, 2014
There are many who say ‘I believe in freedom, I believe in liberty—as long as you don’t do stupid things or do things I consider immoral.’ … But it’s not up to the government or you as a neighbor to say… ‘well, we don’t like the way you use your liberty. Your lifestyle is not what we like; you go to a church that’s not a good church and it has crazy ideas and we wanna ban that church; and you read books that aren’t good books and we wanna ban those books; and you have a sexual lifestyle that we don’t endorse; and you put stuff into your body and into your lungs that we think are bad for you; and therefore we’re going to have the government make you a better person.’ …
Just because you allow somebody to have a lifestyle you disapprove of doesn’t mean you have to endorse it. A lot of people don’t quite understand that. They think legalizing freedom of choice is an endorsement of what people do. And there’s no reason in the world that this can’t bring people together. If you have people on the left and people on the right and they want liberty for something over here, and somebody wants liberty for this over here… why shouldn’t everybody come together for liberty to use it as they see fit?…
It’s so crucial that we realize that [economic liberty and personal liberty are] one unit… that liberty is liberty and it’s your life and you have a right to use it as you see fit.
— Ron Paul, from his speech at LPAC on Sep. 20, 2014
An informal debate taking place among libertarians these days, regarding whether people ought to be “thick” or “thin” libertarians, is of a different character. It strikes at the very heart of what libertarianism is.
The “thin” libertarian believes in the nonaggression principle, that one may not initiate physical force against anyone else. The thin libertarian thinks of himself simply as a libertarian, without labels. Most “thick” libertarians likewise believe in the nonaggression principle, but they believe that for the struggle for liberty to be coherent, libertarians must be committed to a slate of other views as well. …
Proponents of a “thick” libertarianism suggest that libertarians are bound to defend something more than the nonaggression principle, and that libertarianism involves commitments beyond just this. One such proponent recently said, “I continue to have trouble believing that the libertarian philosophy is concerned only with the proper and improper uses of force.” But no matter how difficult it may be for that person to believe, that is precisely what libertarianism is, and that is all it is.
As Murray Rothbard, Mr. Libertarian himself, once explained:
There are libertarians who are indeed hedonists and devotees of alternative lifestyles, and that there are also libertarians who are firm adherents of “bourgeois” conventional or religious morality. There are libertarian libertines and there are libertarians who cleave firmly to the disciplines of natural or religious law. There are other libertarians who have no moral theory at all apart from the imperative of non-violation of rights. That is because libertarianism per se has no general or personal moral theory.
Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles. Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that “liberty is the highest political end” — not necessarily the highest end on everyone’s personal scale of values.
We have been told by some libertarians in recent months that yes, yes, libertarianism is about nonaggression and private property and all that, but that it is really part of a larger project opposed to all forms of oppression, whether state-imposed or not. This has two implications for the thick libertarian. First, opposing the state is not enough; a real libertarian must oppose various other forms of oppression, even though none of them involve physical aggression. Second, libertarianism should be supported because the reduction or abolition of the state will yield the other kinds of outcomes many thick libertarians support: smaller firms, more worker cooperatives, more economic equality, etc. …
To claim that it is not enough for the libertarian to oppose aggression is to fall into the trap that destroyed classical liberalism the first time, and transformed it into modern liberalism. How, after all, did the classical liberalism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries become the state-obsessed liberalism of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? How did the once-venerable word liberalism become perverted in the first place? Precisely because of thickism. Sure, twentieth-century liberals said, we favor liberty, but since mere negative liberty — that is, restrictions on the state — doesn’t appear to yield a sufficiently egalitarian result, we need more than that. In addition to restrictions on some state activity, we need the expansion of other forms of state activity. …
If some libertarians wish to hope for or work toward a society that conforms to their ideological preferences, they are of course free to do so. But it is wrong for them — especially given their insistence on a big tent within libertarianism — to impose on other libertarians whatever idiosyncratic spin they happen to have placed on our venerable tradition, to imply that people who do not share these other ideologies can’t be real libertarians, or to suggest that it would be “highly unlikely” that anyone who fails to hold them could really be a libertarian. That these are the same people who complain about “intolerance” is only the most glaring of the ironies.
Thus the danger of thick libertarianism is not simply that vast chunks of the American population will fail to pass its entrance requirements, not keeping up every ten minutes with what MSNBC informs us is acceptable to believe and say. The danger is that thick libertarianism will import its other concerns, which by their own admission do not involve the initiation of physical force, into libertarianism itself, thereby transforming it into something quite different from the straightforward and elegant [and incomplete - LAL] moral and social system we have been defending for generations. …
How people arrive at libertarianism is also immaterial. There are various schools of thought that culminate in the principle of nonaggression. Once there, we may of course debate what precisely constitutes aggression in particular cases, and other foundational questions within the general framework of the impermissibility of aggression. But if the school of thought you belong to takes you only partly toward nonaggression, it is not the case that you have discovered a new or better form of libertarianism. Such a case would mean only that you are partly a libertarian, not a different kind of libertarian.
What we’ve seen in these three guys’ heads getting cut off is not just barbarity or meanness. What we saw was the Islamic State putting a worm on a hook. The one thing they need more than anything is U.S. intervention on the ground in Iraq. And if it brings along ground troops from Sunni states, fighting on the side of the Americans and the Shia, the more the better. There’s no one in the United States who has more respect for the marine corps than I have. But if they take those places back, the question becomes: Then What? They will take them back because the Mujahideen will, as they always do, run away to fight again later. Are we gonna garrison that damn place like the Balkans for twenty years? Knowing that if we ever leave, the war starts again? It’s nonsense. Obama is a madman. He deserves a nice little white jacket that ties in the back, because he doesn’t know what to do…
[He needs] to say to them, and to the American people, ‘We don’t like the fact that these guys got their heads cut off, but this is zero threat to U.S. National Security.’ The people who did it are and their allies are, but first we have to have a discussion. Someone’s gotta tell the truth! These are not madmen. If we were fighting madmen, it would be a pleasure. Because they make mistakes, they can’t organize, all of those things would play against them. But these are calculating, in many cases well educated individuals, and street savvy in terms of how the world is. Obama, and Clinton, and Bush; the only world they could see was the world they wanted to be. And so they always lost. Because what they want is never coming, and it’s not out there at the moment.
Remember all of that “inversion" buzz about nasty, greedy corporations relocating overseas to escape their patriotic duty to be milked by the United States government? "Even as corporate profits are higher than ever," President Obama told us, “there’s a small but growing group of big corporations that are fleeing the country to get out of paying taxes.”
But…Could it be that those companies—and individuals—are fleeing because the United States tax system so truly sucks that it isn’t even slightly competitive with the deals offered by other countries? Let’s see what the Tax Foundation has to say on its new International Tax Competitiveness Index:
The United States places 32nd out of the 34 OECD countries on the [International Tax Competitiveness Index]. There are three main drivers behind the U.S.’s low score. First, it has the highest corporate income tax rate in the OECD at 39.1 percent. Second, it is one of the only countries in the OECD that does not have a territorial tax system, which would exempt foreign profits earned by domestic corporations from domestic taxation. Finally, the United States loses points for having a relatively high, progressive individual income tax (combined top rate of 46.3 percent) that taxes both dividends and capital gains, albeit at a reduced rate.
That puts us behind Italy, but ahead of Portugal and France. Yay.
I still find it hilarious they’re pissed at what is a common practice in the private sector, at least in jobs where the employees actually have paid sick time/paid vacation. This guy is just getting all this payments from numerous years in one lump sum instead of at the end of the year on a yearly basis as is more common(and this dude apparently barely ever missed work over 15 years).
Except that in the private sector (1) no one is compelled to give a business money (without government’s assistance, anyway), and (2) bosses are accountable for how their employees misuse funds (unlike the public sector in which overspending actually helps bosses, as elected officials can spread the “underfunded” canard, threaten to cut essential services, and thus agitate the easily-fooled electorate into supporting tax increases). Also, 531 days of unused sick leave over 15 years amounts to about 36 days a year. What private company offers 36 days of sick leave per year? Few to none, because paying for twelve months of work and getting less than eleven is financially unsustainable. And, assuming they don’t actually offer more days than over a month of paid sick leave per year, do you doubt that this man was never sick? Or is it more likely that his superiors simply allowed him days off without dipping into the sick leave fund since they are ultimately unaccountable to the bottom line, and the “thin blue line” dictates they look out for one another (at our expense). Further still, private sector pensions are (1) few and far between, (2) aren’t anywhere near as generous (nearly full salary for life after only 15 years???), and (3) contributed to by employees or employers and not coercively funded through government force.
As quoted a few days ago: “As is its role, the public union negotiates for higher pay, better work conditions, and more job protections. But on the other side, the “employer” (theoretically local residents/taxpayers) is represented by the local government. The local government may be interested in a modicum of fiscal restraint because it has a budget to more or less balance. But local government officials have other interests, like securing the support of politically powerful public unions to raise money and win elections. Public unions and government officials, then, don’t have the kind of adversarial but mutually-beneficial relationship that makes private union negotiations work [sans government interference, see NLRA, FLRA, RLA, etc.]. Instead, they are incentivized to cooperate to each other’s benefit, at the expense of taxpayers, who foot the bill for the contract goodies and later from any wrongdoing the contract demands is defended.”
In 1793, William Godwin wrote that “To dragoon man into the adoption of what we think right, is an intolerable tyranny.” Godwin asserted that the advocate of aggression is in a logically precarious position. Aggression does not convince, nor is it any kind of argument at all. The initiation of coercion is “a tacit confession of imbecility. If he who employs aggression against me could mould me to his purposes by argument, no doubt he would. He pretends to punish me, because his argument is strong; but he really punishes me because he is weak.”
shouts out to laliberty posting whitehouse/downing street ATTACK ISIS NOW OR ELSE!! over the top, shameless, transparent propaganda
which anarchists like these, who needs a mainstream media?
I don’t know what the savethechildren charity has to do with attacking ISIS. In another post you claim that the film is “supposed to make me wanna send troops to stop terrorists.” Kindly demonstrate how those dots were connected. The note at the end states “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.” To me, that speaks about not allowing distance to dehumanize and delegitimize the innocent lives lost to war. It’s not agitating that “it might happen here if we don’t bomb them over there.”
I looked into the charity before posting the video, and while they certainly support counter-productive “foreign aid” and domestic education bills - they nonetheless seem to chiefly use private donations to help children in various war-torn or poverty-stricken areas around the world.
Furthermore - I didn’t endorse the charity, I shared a stirring film. Filmmaking is, after all, what I do for a living. Nevertheless, if I were to disassociate with people and organizations who didn’t completely agree with me ideologically, I’d have few friends and would probably go hungry and unclothed.
Ultimately, though, that short film stands as a powerful and striking anti-war message. I watched that video repeatedly. Its lack of specificity lends it a timelessness; until the hashtag at the end, there’s no mention of Syria whatsoever. So the charge that this is pro-war propaganda is unfounded. (In fact, it’s reminiscent of Ron Paul’s famous “Imagine” speech.)
If you have further occasion to doubt my bonafides, I kindly invite you to peruse my 7,000+ posts. Original content is tagged ∆.
This is brutal and brilliant and incredibly powerful.
Please, watch this.
OK, so the Hamptons in Long Island are the playground of the rich and loaded, but check this out: The 53-year-old retiring police chief of Westhampton is pulling a $142,000 pension, plus a one-time payout of over $400,000 for unused sick days, personal days, and vacation.
From The New York Post:
Ray Dean, police chief of the 2.9-square-mile village of Westhampton Beach, is retiring with a bag of cash.
He is getting $403,714 for 15 years’ worth — or 531 days — of unused sick, vacation and personal time. The payment amounts to 4 percent of the village’s entire $9.7 million budget….
In addition, Dean, who is only 53, will collect an estimated pension of $142,000 a year.
Dean was already a millionaire. He bought a house in Quogue for $1.3 million in 2005, owns a 32-foot boat, and his pay last year came to $226,236 — more than NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton makes.
And make no mistake: Westhampton Beach is not Fort Apache, the Bronx.
Murder is unheard of, the last rape was reported in 2010, and the department tallied only 46 serious crimes in 2013, including 37 larcenies and three stolen cars.
One shocking incident involved reported vandalism: An oceanfront resident claimed someone spray-painted her back porch white.
In that last case, it turned out that seagulls had painted the porch white with their droppings, a twist worth of an Encyclopedia Brown mystery, but not such a massive payout.
(Hat tip: Like a Libertarian’s Twitter feed.)
Most places aren’t as flush with cash as the Hamptons, of course, but a similarly idiotic dynamic is at work virtually everywhere in public-sector America. At the federal, state, and local levels, public-sector workers are better compensated than their private-sector counterparts. That’s true when we’re comparing apples-to-apples, not just broad averages that lump in very different types of workers with differing levels of experience.
A 2010 study by the Buckeye Institute found that Ohio state workers make about 34 percent more in total compensation (salary, health benefits, retirement packages) than analogous private-sector counterparts.
Federal workers, according to a study by USA Today, earn about $20,000 more in salary and $30,000 in benefits than private sector workers.
As Steven Greenhut pointed out here last December, the bell has yet to toll for excessive public-sector compensation and until it does, governments at all levels will always be strapped for cash.