1. "The government belongs to the poor people of the country. We are custodian of people’s hope. For whom should the government be? For educated people or a few others? Government should be for the poor. If the rich want to educate their children, they can send them anywhere. If the rich fall ill, hundreds of doctors are at their service. So the foremost responsibility of the government should be to listen to the poor and work for them. If we do not work for the poor, the people will never pardon us."
    — Narendra Modi, India’s new PM
     


  2. "The 12-year old girls’ attempt to murder their friend does offer insight into why the American population, including the “christian” churches, has been mute for the entirety of the 21st century while the US government and its military have murdered, maimed, and displaced millions of people
    in 7 countries that have been destroyed in whole or part, entirely on the basis of Washington’s lies. There is scant sign of any American remorse over these extraordinary crimes against humanity. We see no sign of any moral conscience in Congress’ curtailments of the social safety net or in the constant stream of lies that intend to lead to more wars for the sake of the military/security complex’s profits and the neoconservatives’ agenda of US supremacy, which risks nuclear war and the extinction of life on earth."
     


  3. "When it shall be said in any country in the world ‘My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of happiness’: when these things can be said then may that country boast of its constitution and its government."
    — Thomas Paine 

    (via azspot)

     

  4. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a comprehensive study, ranking the 50 states in terms of freedom.

    The study states, “We score all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. We weight public policies according to the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose on their victims.”

    Apparently I live in the 3rd most free state in the union. 


     

  5. Dubbed by the National Post as “the most Canadian arrest ever,” this video is a fantastic example of competent, professional, and effective police work. 

    America, pay attention.

     
     


  6. "It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don’t believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you’ll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin’s truly democratic constitution and Stalin’s dictatorship. You chose Stalin’s dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud’s elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus’ mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx’s insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo’s truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. ‘Why so tragic?’ you ask. ‘Do you feel responsible for all evil?’ With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn’t perish, struck down by your smallness."
    — Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man!
     


  7. As Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel point out in The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice, governments are distributional institutions. That is to say, governments are responsible for all distributions of all property and wealth, because without governments, there is zero enforcement of the laws that construct the state of “ownership.” Ownership is not a relationship between people and objects, after all; your land has no idea you “own” it. It’s a relationship between people — it’s only that other people behave differently toward land designated as “yours” that causes it to be distinct from all other land, and it’s only that the government causes it’s courts and police to do the same that confirms that.

    (Source: azspot)

     


  8. "The anthropologist Joseph Tainter in his book “The Collapse of Complex Societies” looked at the collapse of civilizations from the Roman to the Mayan. He concluded that they disintegrated because they finally could not sustain the bureaucratic complexities they had created. Layers of bureaucracy demand more and more exploitation, not only of the environment but the laboring classes. They become calcified by systems that are unable to respond to the changing reality around them. They, like our elite universities and business schools, churn out systems managers, people who are taught not to think but to blindly service the system. These systems managers know only how to perpetuate themselves and the system they serve, although serving that system means disemboweling the nation and the planet. Our elites and bureaucrats exhaust the earth to hold up a system that worked in the past, failing to see that it no longer works. Elites, rather than contemplate reform, which would jeopardize their privilege and power, retreat in the twilight of empire into walled compounds like the Forbidden City or Versailles. They invent their own reality. Those on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms have replicated this behavior. They insist that continued reliance on fossil fuel and speculations will sustain the empire. State resources, as Tainter notes, are at the end increasingly squandered on extravagant and senseless projects and imperial adventures. And then it all collapses."
    — Chris Hedges (via azspot)

    (via azspot)

     


  9. "The Dead Rhetoric of War" - Chris Hedges

    "The intoxication of war, fueled by the euphoric nationalism that swept through the country like a plague following the attacks of 9/11, is a spent force in the United States. The high-blown rhetoric of patriotism and national destiny, of the sacred duty to reshape the world through violence, to liberate the enslaved and implant democracy in the Middle East, has finally been exposed as empty and meaningless. The war machine has tried all the old tricks. It trotted out the requisite footage of atrocities. It issued the histrionic warnings that the evil dictator will turn his weapons of mass destruction against us if we do not bomb and “degrade” his military. It appealed to the nation’s noble sacrifice in World War II, with the Secretary of State John Kerry calling the present situation a“Munich moment.” But none of it worked. It was only an offhand remark by Kerry that opened the door to a Russian initiative, providing the Obama administration a swift exit from its mindless bellicosity and what would have been a humiliating domestic defeat. Twelve long years of fruitless war in Afghanistan and another 10 in Iraq have left the public wary of the lies of politicians, sick of the endless violence of empire and unwilling to continue to pump trillions of dollars into a war machine that has made a small cabal of defense contractors and arms manufacturers such as Raytheon and Halliburton huge profits while we are economically and politically hollowed out from the inside. The party is over.”

    "The myth of war, as each generation discovers over the corpses of its young and the looting of its national treasury by war profiteers, is a lie. War is no longer able to divert Americans from the economic and political decay that is rapidly turning the nation into a corporate oligarchy, a nation where “the consent of the governed” is a cruel joke. War cannot hide what we have become. War has made us a nation that openly tortures and holds people indefinitely in our archipelago of offshore penal colonies. War has unleashed death squads—known as special operations forces—to assassinate our enemies around the globe, even American citizens. War has seen us terrorize whole populations, including populations with which we are not officially at war, with armed drones that circle night and day above mud-walled villages in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. War has shredded, in the name of national security, our most basic civil liberties. War has turned us into the most spied-upon, monitored, eavesdropped and photographed population in human history. War has seen our most courageous dissidents and whistle-blowers—those who warned us of the crimes of war and empire, from Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning to Edward Snowden—become persecuted political prisoners or the hunted. War has made a few very rich, as it always does, as our schools, libraries and firehouses are closed in the name of fiscal austerity, basic social service programs for children and the elderly are shut down, cities such as Detroit declare bankruptcy, and chronic underemployment and unemployment hover at 15 percent, perhaps 20. No one knows the truth anymore about America. The vast Potemkin village we have become, the monstrous lie that is America, includes the willful manipulation of financial and official statistics from Wall Street and Washington."

    "We are slowly awakening, after years on a drunken bender, to the awful pain of sobriety and the unpleasant glare of daylight. We are being forced to face grim truths about ourselves and the war machine. We have understood that we cannot impart our “virtues” through violence, that all talk of human rights, once you employ the industrial weapons of the modern battlefield, is absurd. We see through the Orwellian assertions made by Barack Obama and John Kerry, who have assured the world that the United States is considering only an “unbelievably small, limited” strike on Syria that is not a war. We know that the Pentagon’s plan to obliterate the command bunkers, airfields or the artillery batteries and rocket launchers used to fire chemical projectiles is indeed what the politicians insist it is not—a war. We know that the launching of several hundred Tomahawk missiles from destroyers and submarines in the Mediterranean Sea on Syrian military and command installations would be perceived by the Syrians—as we would should such missiles be launched against us—as an act of war. A Tomahawk carries a 1,000-pound bomb or 166 cluster bombs. One Tomahawk has appalling destructive power. Hundreds mean indiscriminate death from the sky. We have heard the careful parsing that does not preclude, should the Pandora’s box of war be opened and chaos envelope Syria, the possible deployment of troops on the ground. We have listened to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concede that “there is a probability for collateral damage.” We know this means civilians will be killed to prevent the regime of Bashar Assad from killing civilians. Only the circular logic of war makes such a proposition rational. And this circular logic, no longer obscured by the waving of flags, the bombast of “glory and honor,” the cant of politicians, the self-exaltation that comes with the disease of nationalism, means that Barack Obama and the war machine he serves are going to face a wave of popular revulsion if he starts another war.”

     


  10. "

    Under a series of Supreme Court rulings we have lost the rights to protect ourselves from random searches, home invasions, warrantless wiretapping and eavesdropping and physical abuse. Police units in poor neighborhoods function as armed gangs. The pressure to meet departmental arrest quotas—the prerequisite for lavish federal aid in the ‘war on drugs’—results in police routinely seizing people at will and charging them with a laundry list of crimes, often without just cause. Because many of these crimes carry long mandatory sentences it is easy to intimidate defendants into “pleading out” on lesser offenses. The police and the defendants know that the collapsed court system, in which the poor get only a few minutes with a public attorney, means there is little chance the abused can challenge the system. And there is also a large pool of willing informants who, to reduce their own sentences, will tell a court anything demanded of them by the police.


    The tyranny of law enforcement in poor communities is a window into our emerging police state. These thuggish tactics are now being used against activists and dissidents. And as the nation unravels, as social unrest spreads, the naked face of police repression will become commonplace. Totalitarian systems always seek license to engage in this kind of behavior by first targeting a demonized minority. Such systems demand that the police, to combat the ‘lawlessness’ of the demonized minority, be, in essence, emancipated from the constraints of the law. The unrestricted and arbitrary subjugation of one despised group, stripped of equality before the law, conditions the police to employ these tactics against the wider society. ‘Laws that are not equal for all revert to rights and privileges, something contradictory to the very nature of nation-states,’ Hannah Arendt wrote in ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism.’ ‘The clearer the proof of their inability to treat stateless people as legal persons and the greater the extension of arbitrary rule by police decree, the more difficult it is for states to resist the temptation to deprive all citizens of legal status and rule them with an omnipotent police.’

    "
     


  11. In Washington, D.C., the city’s department of health wants to subject people seeking a tattoo or body piercing to a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before they can go through with it. That’s just one of the regulations in a 66-page proposal of new rules for the tattoo and piercing industry.

    Reasonable people may differ on the wisdom of these proposals, but as someone whose interest in such establishments begins and ends with keeping my daughter away from them, I can’t get too worked up either way, save to say D.C. has bigger problems to worry about.

    As a conservative resident of Washington, D.C., where registered Republicans are outnumbered by about 9 to 1 and where truly conservative Republicans are outnumbered on a scale comparable to the predicament faced by Frodo and Sam when they sneaked into orc-infested Mordor, I find such statements hilarious.

    There is a notion out there that being “socially liberal” means you’re a libertarian at heart, a live-and-let-live sort of person who says “whatever floats your boat” a lot.

    Alleged proof for this amusing myth (or pernicious lie; take your pick) comes in the form of liberal support for gay marriage and abortion rights, and opposition to a few things that smack of what some people call “traditional values.”

    The evidence disproving this adorable story of live-and-let-live liberalism comes in the form of pretty much everything else liberals say, do, and believe.

    Social liberalism is the foremost, predominant, and in many instances sole impulse for zealous regulation in this country, particularly in big cities. I love it when liberals complain about a ridiculous bit of PC nanny-statism coming out of New York, L.A., Chicago, D.C., Seattle, etc. — “What will they do next?”

    Uh, sorry to tell you, but you are “they.” Outside of a Law and Order script — or an equally implausible MSNBC diatribe about who ruined Detroit — conservatives have as much influence on big-city liberalism as the Knights of Malta do.

    Seriously, who else do people think are behind efforts to ban big sodas or sue hairdressers for charging women more than men? Who harasses little kids for making toy guns out of sticks, Pop Tarts, or their own fingers? Who wants to regulate the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the beverages you drink? Who wants to control your thermostat? Take your guns? Your cigarettes? Heck, your candy cigarettes? Who’s in favor of speech codes on campuses and “hate crime” laws everywhere? Who’s in favor of free speech when it comes to taxpayer-subsidized “art” and pornography (so long as you use a condom, if liberals get their way) but then bang their spoons on their high chairs for strict regulations when it comes to political speech? Who loves meddling, finger-wagging billionaires like Michael Bloomberg when they use state power and taxpayer money to herd, bully, and nudge people but thinks billionaires like the Koch brothers who want to shrink government are the root of all tyranny?

    At the national level, who bypassed Congress to empower the EPA to regulate the atmosphere? Oh, and who pushed Obamacare on a country that didn’t want it? Who defends bending the entire country — including religious institutions — into a national health-care scheme dedicated to the proposition of live and let live so long as you live the way the Department of Health and Human Services says you should?

    Did legislative and bureaucratic gremlins sneak into government buildings at night and pass all of these rules and regulations while the social-liberal free-thinkers were off not judging people and refusing to harsh anybody’s mellow?

    Sure, today’s liberalism does carry within it some genetic lineage to the classical liberalism — i.e., libertarianism — of J. S. Mill and John Locke. But genetic ties are overrated. After all, humans share half of our genes with bananas. (Look it up.)

    Social liberalism — better understood as progressivism — is a worldview that seeks to use the state to support its preferred values and culture. That isn’t libertarianism. Support for abortion rights does not make you a libertarian; it makes you someone who wants very lax regulations on abortion for ideological reasons. Which is why socially liberal bureaucrats in D.C. want to make you wait 24 hours to get a tattoo of a baby on your arm, but there’s no waiting to have an abortion. 


    So yes, this is from the National Review and obviously leans super-conservative (who else would complain about EPA clean air regulations?), but the truth at its core sure does sting little ole’ social liberal me.

     


  12. Earlier today, a deranged hoodlum splashed acid in a tourist’s face. Then he fled and was seen entering the crowd at an outdoor concert. The police don’t have enough officers nearby to arrest him. But they have offered to fly a helicopter overhead and have it drop a hand grenade into the part of the crowd where he is believed to be.

    If you support dropping the grenade, congratulations. You are qualified for a high-level policy-making position with the Obama administration. It too believes in futile action at all costs.

    Such is the situation in Syria today. A hundred thousand deaths into Syria’s civil war, the apparent use of chemical weapons against a thousand more has stirred Obama to action. There are no good options. But there is one that is clearly worse, both ineffective and immoral, and it is the one he has chosen.

    Obama proposes a deliberately vague series of military strikes. They are not designed to topple Assad or bring the commanders who ordered the use of nerve agents to justice. They are not calculated to protect civilians or bring the fighting to an end. Only two things seem clear. There will be no American “boots on the ground,” and Syrians will die.

    (Source: azspot)

     


  13. "There is an insidious and largely unseen effort by the White House to silence the handful of voices that remain true to the black prophetic tradition. This tradition, which stretches back to Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass, has consistently named and damned the cruelty of imperialism and white supremacy. It has done so with a clarity and moral force that have eluded most other critics of American capitalism. President Barack Obama first displayed his fear of this tradition when he betrayed his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, abetting the brutal character assassination of one of the church’s most prophetic voices. And he has sustained this assault, largely through black surrogates such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey, in vicious attacks on Cornel West."
     


  14. This is something that almost no one in the U.S. wants to talk about. Progressives are understandably reluctant to criticize teachers, given the many good ones we have and the slanderous attacks they’ve been under, but teaching is just not a well-paid or prestigious profession in the U.S. Because of that—and because of the profound anti-intellectualism of the culture (something else a lot of progressive education pundits don’t like to talk about either)—education schools don’t consistently draw the most vigorous candidates. According to the College Board, average SAT scores for seniors planning to go into education fall into the bottom third.

    In successful systems like Ontario and Finland, teachers have a great deal of professional autonomy. There may be a national curriculum, but teachers are expected to know their subject well and develop their skills at imparting knowledge. Finland requires master’s degrees even for primary teachers; in most successful systems, master’s are typical or even required in the subject area for secondary teachers. In some Asian systems, new teachers serve as apprentices to master teachers before they’re allowed to run their own shows. There are no generalists just thrown to the wolves, as in the U.S.

    And in most successful systems, standardized tests are rare, and are generally administered only at major breakpoints, like entrance into or graduation from high school. Administrators of top systems are very conscious of what other high-achieving countries do, and try to emulate what they can. The contrast with the U.S. is stark. In fact, there’s no other country that does anything like what we are doing—the testing, the punitive evaluations, the vendetta against “bad” teachers. And most U.S. education specialists are largely unaware of what’s going on abroad.

    Back in the 1990s, Finland consciously chose to improve its educational system to move away from a resource-based economy towards a high-tech one. It’s succeeded. China has made a similar decision, to support a move away from low-tech to higher-tech production. Despite lip-service paid to those sorts of goals in the U.S., most education reform here has focused on cost-cutting and tighter discipline. If you strip away the rhetoric, it looks like the U.S. elite’s long-term plan is for a low-wage, poverty-ridden economy where the bottom 50–75% is supposed to shut up and stay in line. The upper crust will continue to send its kids to crunchy, progressive schools like St Ann’s and Sidwell Friends. But for everyone else, it’s going to be rules, poorly paid teachers, and lots of tests. And from there, it’s on to McDonald’s if you’re lucky, or jail, if you’re not. Of course, no one says that—but by their deeds ye shall know them.

    (Source: azspot)

     

  15.