The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Friday, March 23, 2007

How It Is

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Saddam Has the Last Laugh
by Robert Scheer

Yep, you did it, George—mission impossible accomplished. Unbelievably, four years of a bungled occupation have managed to make Saddam Hussein’s tyranny look good in comparison with “liberated Iraq.”

At least, that is the view of the Iraqi weightlifter made famous through a video of him taking a sledgehammer to Saddam Hussein’s statue. “I really regret bringing down the statue,” Kadhim al-Jubouri said on British television this week. “The Americans are worse than the dictatorship. Every day is worse than the previous day.”

That’s the judgment of a man who spent nine years in Hussein’s jails, and, unfortunately, it is one shared by a majority of his countrymen, according to an authoritative poll sponsored jointly by ABC, BBC and USA Today: Only 38 percent of Iraqis believe that the country is better off today than under Hussein, while nearly four out of five oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq.

Even more disturbing is that 51 percent of Iraqis think it is OK to attack coalition troops—triple the number that thought that way in a 2004 survey. Square that with our president’s assurances, offered since the first month of this unnecessary adventure, that the insurgency represents a small handful of terrorists. While most of the antipathy is registered among Sunnis, 94 percent of whom favor attacks on coalition forces, and by only 7 percent of Kurds, a surprising 35 percent of Shiites endorse that sort of violence.

Given the number of Kurds and Shiites who originally welcomed the invasion, it is also startling that 53 percent of all Iraqis polled agreed that “from today’s perspective, and all things considered,” it was “wrong that U.S.-led coalition forces invaded Iraq in spring 2003.”

The poll, part of a series conducted each of the past three years at great risk to 150 pollsters, reveals a sharp rise in anti-American feeling and disapproval of the 2003 invasion.

When Bush didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction or ties between Saddam and 9/11, the fallback justification for the taking of tens of thousands of lives and the expenditure of over $400 billion in American taxpayer money was that Iraq would become a model for the democratic, free-market way of life. Many assumed the richest, most powerful and most technologically competent country in the world could improve life for Iraqis compared with that afforded by a vicious dictator hemmed in by international boycotts. But it didn’t happen.

What Bush has managed to do is to place the United States in a no-win position as the most likely target for failed Iraqi expectations, which he did so much to raise. He is asking Iraqis to take his word for it that the invasion was not post-9/11 posturing or a grab for oil or a blow undertaken on behalf of Israel, yet he has nothing tangible to show as proof of his sincerity.

Almost four in five of those Iraqis polled called the availability of jobs “bad,” 88 percent had the same negative judgment of the supply of electricity, and 69 percent said the same about the availability of clean water and medical care. In this nation, gifted with the world’s second-largest oil reserves, 88 percent termed the availability of fuel for cooking and driving as quite bad.

Of course, the coffers of a handful of American mercenary, construction and energy corporations have swelled, despite this lack of credible achievement. More than $20 billion in “reconstruction” contracts were given to Vice President Dick Cheney’s old company, Halliburton, alone.

The easy answer provided by Bush apologists for this dismal performance is to place blame on the insurgency. That, however, is not the verdict of the Iraqi people. Asked to judge how the United States and other coalition forces have carried out their responsibilities in Iraq, 76 percent say they have done “a bad job.” And while a modest majority don’t want the Americans to leave “immediately,” they don’t see the increase in the U.S. troop numbers, defended stoutly by Bush on Monday, as helpful. Truly, this is a lose-lose situation.

Asked the source of violence that had occurred near the polled individual’s neighborhood, the largest group, more than 44 percent, cited “unnecessary violence against citizens by U.S. or coalition forces,” while four out of 10 said they blame the coalition forces or Bush for “the most for the violence that is occurring in the country”—and only 18 percent cited “al-Qaida and foreign jihads.” So much for Bush’s claim that U.S. troops are needed in Iraq to protect its citizens from foreign terrorists.

Surprisingly, while 82 percent lacked confidence in coalition troops, two-thirds of those polled expressed confidence in their own army and police forces—yet more indication that Iraqis could do a better job of policing themselves than we can. Our continued presence there, ostensibly in the name of fixing the place, will only continue to exacerbate anti-U.S. sentiment among the people we claim to be saving.
Iraqi with hammer

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Believe The False Logic

Our leaders have branched out into comedy. A hapless Muslim, held prisoner
at Guantanamo, who was only able to last between two and two and a half
minutes when subjected to "waterboarding", confesses to everything ordered
by his interrogators. When asked whether anything he said was as a result of
torture, his reply is deleted from the transcript; when asked again, he says
he was not subjected to any threats, duress or pressure.

The perpetrators of 9/11 must insist that regular office compartment fires
can melt tons of structural steel and partly boil steel members in a
skyscraper that was not even hit by a plane. The crooks must assert that
Islamic fundamentalists are prone to drinking, gambling, visiting strip
bars, and speculating on stock options of companies involved in airlines,
reinsurance, financial services, weapons manufacturing, etc. The genocidal
Mafia that plotted 9/11 must claim that no one had ever conceived that
terrorists might use planes as guided missiles when in fact this had been
widely known for years since the "Bojinka plot" and in March 2001 the Fox TV
network had aired an X-Files spin-off that involved a US government plot to
crash a hijacked Boeing into the World Trade Center, that "suicide
hijackers" were simultaneously so skilled that they knew how to turn off an
aircraft transponder - but still flunked a chance to fly a Cessna at a
flight school and practised piloting a Boeing 757 or 767 with an Arabic
language flight training manual on the way to the airport, that airport,
train and bus video cameras mysteriously fail whenever Islamic hijackers or
bombers are on the job, that it was just coincidence that Benjamin "Bibi"
Netanyahu's father Benzion was secretary to Ze'ev "Vladimir" Jabotinsky, who
founded the Zionist terrorist movement that played an important part in the
creation of Israel (e.g. King David hotel bombing, conspiracy to assassinate
British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin), or that Bibi was a unit team leader
in Sayeret Matkal, an elite special forces unit of the Israeli Defense
Force, and just happened to be in New York City in the morning of 9/11 and
in London on the morning of the 7/7 attacks (having received advance
warning), and is a close friend of Larry Silverstein who, along with Zionist
billionaire and "Holocaust survivor" Frank Lowy, just happened to have taken
over the World Trade Center lease and ensured the Towers were insured for
billions of dollars against terrorist attacks within six weeks of 9/11. And
the tin-foil crackpots hold that it was just a coincidence that Rabbi Dov
Zakheim had access to Boeings and to the very Flight Termination System
incorporating a Command Transmitter that was capable of electronically
hijacking a plane and crashing it into a building, no suicide or Cessna
drop-out pilots required. Another spooky coincidence concerned the massive
Israeli spy-ring that was busted around the time of the attacks, and the
five "dancing Israelis" caught celebrating and filming the burning Towers,
whilst in possession of foreign passports, box cutters, $4,700 cash hidden
in a sock, and a van that tested positive for traces of explosives.

It is sometimes amusing to see the tangled hoops that the Likud party tries
to jump through, claiming that its only wish is for peace, but it is
thwarted by Palestinian "terrorists", "dictatorial Arab regimes", "Muslim
fundamentalism and nazism", etc. When they quote the Tehran Times' (2002)
compilation of evidence that Israel did 9/11, the Likudniks actually do a
pretty good job of proving the Iranians are very much in touch with reality.
As Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in his book Terrorism: How The West Can Win,
"terrorism is simply too tempting a weapon to be forsaken". That applies
equally to those purporting to be part of a "war on terror".

Those who have lost loved ones in the attacks attempt to believe in the
Zionist-concocted 'reality', but clearly have a hard time imagining how
terrorists could be so lucky and governments so inept.

Suppose there is a middle-aged lady, who has been happily married for 29
years. The first husband dies or disappears, and husband number two takes
out a massive $3+ billion insurance policy on her life. It is subsequently
found that the first husband's removal from the scene is linked to a friend
and business partner of the new husband. A mere six weeks later, the lady
dies in mysterious circumstances in an accident that would not be fatal
unless the laws of physics, chemistry and biology were revised - e.g., a
small piece of cardboard falls on her head from a height of one foot. Any
detective worth their salt should be suspicious, to say the least.

Bullet wounds to the chest are then discovered, and five assassins - who are
linked to husband #2 and his associates - are arrested after being found
dancing and celebrating with high fives and with traces of gunpowder on
their fingers. "Ah", the skeptics cry, "a human body is comprised of some
highly reactive elements. You have potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium,
iron, plenty of water, and oxygen in the air. Moreover, the body is heated
to about twenty degrees above ambient. Isn't it quite possible that some
sort of exothermic reaction occurred, forming the observed bullet holes?"
The skeptics then conclude that the death was due to natural causes, after
her head was hit by a piece of cardboard at 5 mph. Everyone else marks them
down as kooks.

In short, the official 9/11 conspiracy theory - and the criminals' defense -
is based on junk science, junk psychology, junk logic, junk math, junk
history, and junk politics. And for "junk", read "Khazar".

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Prius Worse Than Hummer

Here's some interesting facts I received via email from a friend:

The Toyota Prius, the flagship car for the environmentally conscious, is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America, and takes more combined energy to produce than a Hummer, says the Recorder.


The nickel contained in the Prius' battery is mined and smelted at a plant in Ontario that has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the 'dead zone' around the plant to test moon rovers. Dubbed the Superstack, the factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist's nightmare. Acid rain around the area was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside, according to Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin. After leaving the plant, the nickel travels to Europe, China, Japan and United States, a hardly environmentally sound round the world trip for a single battery.

But that isn't even the worst part, says the Record. According to a study by CNW Marketing, the total combined energy to produce a Prius (consisting of electrical, fuel, transportation, materials and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime), is greater than what it takes to produce a Hummer:

The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles -- the expected lifespan of the Hybrid. The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles.
That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use almost 50 percent less combined energy doing it.

Source: Chris Demorro, "Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage," The Recorder, March 7, 2007.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Silencing Critics not way to Middle East Peace

by Joel Beinin (San Franciso Chronicle)

Last Sunday in San Francisco, the Anti-Defamation League sponsored "Finding Our Voice," a conference designed to help Jews recognize and confront the "new anti-Semitism." For me, it was ironic. Ten days before, my own voice was silenced by fellow Jews.

I was to give a talk about our Middle East policy to high school students at the Harker School in San Jose. With one day to go, my contact there called to say my appearance had been canceled. He was apologetic and upset. He expected the talk would be intellectually stimulating and intriguing for students. But, he said, "a certain community of parents" complained to the headmaster. He added, without divulging details, that the Jewish Community Relations Council of Silicon Valley had played a role.

I was raised a Zionist. I went to Israel after high school for six months to live on a kibbutz. I met my wife there. We returned four years later thinking we'd spend our lives on a kibbutz, working the land and living the Zionist dream. Why did the council feel the need to silence me?

In fact, this was not our first run-in. I have long advocated equal rights for the Palestinians, as I do for all people. I criticize Israeli policies. I seem to have crossed the council's line of acceptable discourse. Because I am a Jew, it is not so easy to smear me as guilty of this "new anti-Semitism." Instead, hosts like the Harker School, and others, are intimidated, and open dialogue on Israel is censored.

In 2005, Marin's Rodef Sholom synagogue caved to the council and revoked my invitation, unless my talk could be accompanied by a rebuttal. Roy Mash, a board member, resigned in protest. He asked in his resignation letter whether "given Judaism's long and deep tradition of concern for justice and ethics, a Jewish venue is (not) precisely the setting most appropriate for a speaker like Dr. Beinin?"

I was indeed raised to believe that being Jewish meant being actively committed to social justice. I moved to Israel expecting to pursue that ideal. Yet much of what I saw there called this into question.

I tended livestock on Kibbutz Lahav, which was established on the ruins of three Palestinian villages. The Palestinian inhabitants had been expelled and, because they are not Jewish, were unable to return. One day, we needed extra workers to help clean manure from the turkey cages. The head of the turkey branch said we should not ask for kibbutz members to do the work because, "This isn't work for Jews. This is work for Arabushim." "Arabushim" is an extremely derogatory racial term.

I had participated in the civil rights movement in America, picketing Woolworth's stores that wouldn't serve African Americans. Yet in Israel I discovered the same, stark racism. How could this bring peace between Palestinians and Israelis? While still living in Israel, I began to speak out for equal rights for Palestinians, as I had done for blacks in America.

Organizations claiming to represent American Jews engage in a systematic campaign of defamation, censorship and hate-mongering to silence criticism of Israeli policies. They hollow the ethical core out of the Jewish tradition, acting instead as if the highest purpose of being Jewish is to defend Israel, right or wrong.

No one is spared. New York University Professor Tony Judt also moved to Israel with notions of justice. Judt learned, as I did, that most Israelis were "remarkably unconscious of the people who had been kicked out of the country and were suffering in refugee camps to make this fantasy possible." In October, the Polish Consulate in New York canceled a talk by Judt after pressure from the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee.

Even former U.S. presidents are not immune. Jimmy Carter has been the target of a smear campaign since the release of his latest book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Carter's most vociferous critics have not challenged him on the issues. Rather, they discredit him with personal attacks, even insinuating that the man who has achieved more than any other American president in Arab/Israeli peacemaking is anti-Semitic. Why discredit, defame and silence those with opposing viewpoints? I believe it is because the Zionist lobby knows it cannot win based on facts. An honest discussion can only lead to one conclusion: The status quo in which Israel declares it alone has rights and intends to impose its will on the weaker Palestinians, stripping them permanently of their land, resources and rights, cannot lead to a lasting peace. We need an open debate and the freedom to discuss uncomfortable facts and explore the full range of policy options. Only then can we adopt a foreign policy that serves American interests and one that could actually bring a just peace to Palestinians and Israelis.

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