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Month: February 2015

Orwellian CPAC 2015 Is Out of Control!

The “Conservative” Political Action Conference a.k.a. CPAC is really out of control now, with this Gen. Michael Hayden, former U.S. government spy chief asserting that he is a “libertarian” like his debate counterpart Judge Napolitano.

Give. Me. A. Break.

Hayden’s describing himself as “libertarian” is like the others at this conference describing themselves as “conservatives.” As Jacob Hornberger noted recently, conservatives, whose slogans are often mixed with the phrases, “individual liberty, free enterprise, private property, and limited government,” do not seem to actually believe in any of those principles. As Hornberger points out, conservatives by and large believe in those principles except in these areas:

1. Retirement (Social Security).

2. Healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid, regulation, and licensure).

3. Education (public schooling, charter schools, licensed private schools, vouchers …)

4. Farm subsidies.

5. Economic activity (economic regulations).

6. Monopolies (Postal Service).

7. Foreign aid (including to foreign dictatorships, such as Egypt).

8. Corporate bailouts.

9. Monetary policy (Federal Reserve System, FDIC, fiat money, banking regulations).

10. Drug laws.

11. Immigration controls.

12. Trade restrictions.

13. Sanctions and embargoes.

14. Permanent standing military establishment.

15. Overseas empire of military bases.

16. National-security state.

17. Foreign interventionism.

18. Regime-change operations.

19. Secret surveillance.

20. Indefinite detention without trial.

21. Secret prisons.

In other words, conservatives are really progressives but with a different social agenda. But they all agree that the government should seize private income and wealth from the workers and producers of society involuntarily and redistribute it as they see fit (but mainly enrich themselves with the loot, as most of what is stolen from innocent Americans is used to fund the bureaucrats’ own extravagances). But they are all statists, though, not really conservatives.

And to think that someone who endorses and engages in state-sponsored eavesdropping, wiretapping, spying and snooping on his own fellow Americans without probable cause, without suspicion, could call himself a “libertarian” shows just how Orwellian these people are.

Speaking of enriching themselves via taxpayer-funded redistribution schemes and the “defense” racket, Gen. Michael Hayden himself is now benefiting from that aforementioned government largess. As Lee Fang wrote in his article on the Hayden-CPAC laugh-fest,

Hayden is a principal with the Chertoff Group, a consulting firm for the multi-billion dollar cyber security and intelligence industry. He is also on the board of Alion Science and Technology, a military contractor that does intelligence and techical work. For that part-time gig he has been paid approximately $336,500 over the last four years, according to reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As I wrote in my 2010 article,  our current system of military and security socialism and fascism is what has enabled the government’s protection racket bureaucrats, consultants and contractors to exploit and profit from such a monopoly structure and exploit and profit from the people’s anguish over security.

And Rand Paul says that “ISIS is a ‘dangerous and barbaric cult’.” Does he really believe that? He wants to sacrifice MORE U.S. troops to go fight a losing war against crazy extremists, and on the extremists’ own turf, no less? How’d that work out in Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Talk about an impossible task.

If you’re someone who really believes these people, these bureaucrats and shysters (sorry for the redundancy) who say this, that or the other thing to provoke people’s emotions and to get votes, then you need to open your mind to new ways of thinking, and then you’ll see the monopoly State as the criminal racket for what it really is. Read Rothbard and Rockwell, and Hoppe to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Rand Paul says that ISIS is a “dangerous and barbaric cult,” yet he himself is a member of the legislative branch of the U.S. government, an even more dangerous and barbaric cult than ISIS, responsible for the murders of millions of innocent human beings, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Japan and Vietnam and all points between, and a cult that commits crimes on a daily basis against its own people, of murder, theft, harassment, terrorism, invasions of security and privacy, you name it.

As Larken Rose put it, the “most dangerous superstition” is the people’s blind faith in this thing called government, or the State. Regardless how destructive and criminal the agents of the government have been to their own country, the people nevertheless maintain a blind faith in such a system of self-destruction. And I happen to think that such a blind faith is worse now than ever before, given the general decline of America, the way the American people uncritically and unthinkingly believe the government’s media stenographers, and given the cultural depravity as seen in the popularity of propaganda films such as American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty.

So CPAC gives us Michael Hayden and Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry. On the other side of the statist coin we have Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. And . . . Let’s call the whole thing off. (Election 2016, that is.)

The idea of a “political action” conference is a bad idea, anyway, as political action involves the use of force, coercion and aggression.

How about a “voluntary action” conference? Now, that’s a good idea.

Secession Is a Good Thing

Lew Rockwell has a terrific essay on the libertarian principle of secession, from a speech he gave at an event of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

For some reason, many people oppose the idea of “secession,” even though that is exactly what the early Americans did: They seceded from British rule and formed their own “independent” country. At least that is what the intention of most of them seemed to be. Sadly, there are many people today who believe in strong, authoritarian centralized power consisting of bureaucrats ruling over the rest of the population who MAY NOT secede away from the diktats of the Rulers’ control. In the linked article, Lew Rockwell clearly articulates that secession is the libertarian way, of self-determination and liberty.

Police State and More

John Whitehead discusses warrantless forced blood draws, DNA collection and biometric scans without probable cause. Police committing these crimes against innocent people do not seem to understand the constitution they swore an oath to obey.

James Bovard on the death of a hero Mike McNulty who uncovered many details of the disaster now known as the Janet Waco. Good primer on the whole Waco siege.

Murtaza Hussain analyzes how the FBI’s foiling its own terror plot involved a paid informant.

Kurt Nimmo on another dubious round of terrorist wannabes arrested by the FBI and how the feds’ “ISIS in all 50 states” claim is for a strengthened surveillance police state.

Trevor Timm says that if Obama wants to work with telecom companies, he should stop hacking them.

Jeff Deist says that secession begins at home.

Ryan McMaken on the Net Neutrality scam.

And Robert Wenzel’s refutation of MSNBC’s accusation of Ron Paul’s having made a “racially charged” comment.

Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture

I found this really terrific performance of the overture to Leonard Bernstein’s operetta, Candide, by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by its music director, Lan Shui, a Chinese American.

Leonard Bernstein was well known as a symphony conductor, but he also composed music, classical and jazz as well. He composed the music for the Broadway musical West Side Story and the film On the Waterfront, as well as some symphonic and choral works. Bernstein died in 1990 of a heart attack. Bernstein was a heavy smoker and suffered from emphysema. I remember hearing one of the local classical radio announcers — I think it was Ron Della Chiesa — refer to someone who had interviewed Bernstein, describing him “with his cigarette in one hand and his inhaler in the other.” If that’s not exactly what I remember hearing, I know I’m close. At Bernstein’s final concert, performing the Beethoven Symphony No. 7 at Tanglewood in the Berkshires August of 1990, Bernstein was having such terrible coughing fits during the performance, he was apparently experiencing a lot of discomfort, but the performance nevertheless succeeded.

Bernstein’s operetta Candide was not particularly popular at first, but in later years it did become popular. This overture, however, has been popular throughout the time, and is played frequently by symphony orchestras. I especially liked this performance by the Singapore Symphony that I found at YouTube. Here they are performing on tour in Berlin.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Will “Reform” Public Transportation

Yesterday I was listening to Howie Carr on the radio who was discussing Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s special panel — another “blue-ribbon commission,” as Carr puts it — to try to come up with ways to improve the “T,” the century-old Massachusetts subway/streetcar/commuter rail/bus system, following this past month’s disastrous breaking down of most of the trains and subway cars throughout the system from the extreme cold and the 4 or 5 big storms we’ve had.

And given the kinds of entrenched pols Gov. Baker has installed to improve the “T,” we will obviously get business as usual. As Carr wrote in his Herald column this week, it really is a panel of hacks which shows that another new “blue-ribbon commission” will continue to feed the “hackerama,” even if appointed by this so-called reformer Republican Charlie Baker. But Howie Carr sounded surprised that Charlie Baker would appoint a hackarama to this important panel. Yes, Howie, as shocking as it may seem, Charlie Baker is . . . one of them. Yes, he’s a . . . hack. It may take a 12-step program for Carr and other believers in these politicians (like Romney and Scott Brown, for instance, here in the People’s Republic) to face the truth about these shysters who hide under cover of “reform.”

As Carr notes, the Charlie Baker-appointed “crew of hangers-on” includes a former head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (“a reformer from City Hall. Wink wink nudge nudge”), a member of Obama’s 2009 transition team who had contributed $1,000 to Deval Patrick (Charlie Baker’s 2010 winning opponent), at least two people who supported the gas tax to be linked to inflation (but not deflation, of course) that was repealed by the voters last November, a contributor to Donald Berwick‘s campaign for governor (“the moonbat’s moonbat”), and more. They are all hacks, moonbats, political activists, etc.

Any businesspeople, Gov. Charlie Baker? People who might have actual experience in following the bottom line, perhaps? (Nope.)

Let’s face it, despite the so-called “libertarian think-tank” that Baker co-directed at its founding, the “free-market oriented” Pioneer Institute, and whatever studies they have done toward reforming the system and freeing businesses and freeing the people so they can actually prosper in Massachusetts, Charlie Baker once again shows why I have rightfully referred to him in this space as “Charlie Half-Baker.”

And regarding that “free-market think tank” Pioneer Institute formerly co-directed by Charlie Baker, their promotional brochure copied and pasted into Wikipedia  Wikipedia page notes that the Institute is actually somewhat good on healthcare freedom. But on school reform, while they oppose national standards for K-12 educational curricula, they promote the 1993 Massachusetts law mandating state-imposed standards. And get this: According to Wikipedia they propose to “Advance a portfolio of public school choice options (charter schools, autonomous vocational-technical schools, and inter district choice) as well as private school options.”

Nothing about actual free-market choices there, as such “choices” they have outlined would still be under the ultimate control and approval of government central planners. And nothing about promoting homeschooling as an alternative. As Jacob Hornberger pointed out, there needs to be a total separation of education and state if you really want genuine educational reform.

The Pioneer Institute also promotes public pension reforms, but not abolishing the idea of government pensions altogether. Unlike in the private sector, in the government sector there should be no further payments to government workers after their terms of employment. Such retirement plans are the responsibility of those employees, not the taxpayers. (And frankly, that should be the case in the private sector as well, in my view, as individual workers should prepare their own retirement plans which employers should not have to deal with.)

The Pioneer Institute also proposes to lower the corporate tax rate and play with tax credits. No, eliminating the corporate tax is the truly free-market reform. But as Laurence Vance wrote recently, lowering taxes is always a good thing (if the politicians must continue their thieving schemes, that is). But, as Vance points out, conservatives (which is not to say that Charlie Half-Baker is a “conservative” — far from it) just don’t seem to have a philosophical objection to taxes. They agree with progressives that the State has some kind of legitimate claim on Americans’ income.

So, despite his rhetoric during his recent campaign for governor to not raise taxes or fees, I am sure that this new governor Charlie Baker will follow what Howie Carr predicts the new “blue-ribbon commission” will advise: “Taxes, taxes, and still more taxes. . .” Why? In the name of the “hackerama,” of course. After all, Gov. Charlie Half-Baker will want to get reelected, won’t he?

And the commuter rail, subways and streetcars will nevertheless continue to break down. That’s the predictably destructive nature of government monopolies that I wish “reformers” could grasp. Maybe some day.

The Brahms 3rd Symphony

I thought this was a very good performance of the Brahms Symphony No. 3, played by the Dresden Staatskapelle orchestra conducted by its principal conductor Christian Thielemann. Actually, I am not a big fan of Brahms, except for his Piano Concerto No. 2, and prefer Schumann and Dvorak symphonies to Brahms. But this performance of the Brahms 3rd really is fine-tuned, and expressive. I like the way these Europeans move and sway with their playing. Musicians in American orchestras don’t really do that, they just sit there and blow. And that’s it. I’m sure there are exceptions, however. This conductor, Christian Thielemann, by the way, reminds me a little of Larry Hagman on I Dream of Jeannie. But I can’t see the astronaut Maj. Tony Nelson conducting a Brahms symphony, can you?

Lew Rockwell

Chris Rossini has a post praising the writing of libertarian anarcho-capitalist Lew Rockwell, and I agree with Chris Rossini. Not only is Lew Rockwell a powerful advocate of liberty, freedom of association, private property and the truth through his very popular website, LewRockwell.com, but his writing really is superb. As Chris Rossini notes, Lew Rockwell really tells it like it is, especially when it come to the truth of what the State really is. His most recent article on secession was one of his best, in my view. In 2013 he wrote about the Libertarian Paradox.

And in 2012 he had these remarks about Ron Paul vs. the Regime, in which Lew wrote:

Ours is the most radical challenge to the state ever posed. We aren’t trying to make the state more efficient, or show how it can take in more revenue, or change its pattern of wealth redistribution. We’re not saying that this subsidy is better than that one, or that this kind of tax would make the system run more smoothly than that one. We reject the existing system root and branch.

And we don’t oppose the state’s wars because they’ll be counterproductive or overextend the state’s forces. We oppose them because mass murder based on lies can never be morally acceptable.

So we don’t beg for scraps from the imperial table, and we don’t seek a seat at that table. We want to knock the table over.

And of course Lew Rockwell certainly knows how to defend libertarianism as an advocacy of the non-aggression principle and self-ownership, nothing more. No “equality” or “inequality” stuff, no race, gender, or classism stuff. Liberty is really all about liberty, and that’s what libertarianism advocates.

Be Careful Walking on Icy Streets and Sidewalks

A Boston University sociology graduate student, Daryl Carr, apparently fell from the B.U. Bridge and died Saturday, at age 30. He had an undergraduate degree in political science and a Masters degree in Middle Eastern studies, and had spent time in the Peace Corps in Jordan.

The Boston Globe noted, “Suffolk County district attorney’s spokesman Jake Wark told the Globe that shortly after midnight Saturday investigators found Carr’s body on the frozen surface of the Charles River about 60 feet from the riverbank. There were no footprints in the area, which suggested that Carr had fallen from the bridge above, Wark said. He said the evidence at the scene does not suggest there was foul play and the case is not being treated as a homicide.”

You see, some of these areas get very icy and slippery during the winter, so you have to be careful, especially at night.

This story reminded me of someone else from B.U. who died right in that same area in March of 2003, music professor John Daverio, who was an expert on the music of Schumann and Brahms. Daverio went outside from the B.U. College of Fine Arts building on a Sunday evening, was missing for almost a month, and was later found floating in the river in April. I believe the conclusion was that he was walking along the river and slipped on ice and fell through the icy surface but wasn’t able to get back above the surface.