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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The Many Faces of Libertarianism

In Individual Sovereignty, liberty and rights, politics on May 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm
So I just completed the quiz, “What Kind of Libertarian Are You?” at QuizFarm.com. My results were both surprising and enlightening — at least to me.
 
I scored 92 percent “left-libertarian.” According to the quiz, left-libertarians are “more associated with the anti-authoritarian left” and are “more critical of conservatism and corporatism.” Evidently, recent bailouts have put a bad taste in my mouth toward corporate welfare.
 
My second highest score was 75 percent “minarchist.” Curious as to what the term meant, I decided to do a little research.
 
Minarchy, or “minimal statism” is a political philosophy that advocates a system where government acts only to protect the life, liberty or property of an individual. Basically, it sees government as a necessary evil.
 
Minarchy comes closest to describing my political leanings. It is in contrast to anarchy, which argues against any form of a compulsory state.
 
Here are the rest of my results:
  • Anarcho-capitalist: 67%
  • Agorist 67%
  • “Small L” libertarian: 58%
  • Paleo-libertarian: 42%
  • Geo-libertarian: 42%
  • Libertarian socialist: 8%
  • Neo-libertarian 0%
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‘Rights Aren’t Rights if Someone Can Take Them Away’

In Individual Sovereignty, liberty and rights, politics, rights on May 7, 2010 at 1:25 am

Who says Congress is can’t come together for the common good?

Yesterday, in a rare display of bipartisanship, Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) and Congressmen Jason Altmire (D-PA) and Charlie Dent (R-PA) introduced the Terrorist Expatriation Act.

It should be renamed the American Citizen Expatriation Act.

The bill aims to strip Americans of their citizenship if suspected of affiliating with a foreign terrorist organization and are apprehended abroad. It would amend the 1940s bill, 8 USC 1481, which gives the federal government the power to strip Americans of their citizenship if they choose to fight for a foreign military force. So far, the White House appears to not support the bill.

Senator Joe Lieberman, the bill’s main architect, wants to expand 8 USC 1481.

“Because it just seems to me if you basically declare yourself to be an enemy of the United States you’re no longer entitled to the rights of citizenship,” he said.

While civil liberties groups are rightfully crying “unconstitutional” and pointing to the bill’s disregard for due process, Lieberman’s remarks reveal a more serious, and dangerous, assumption: That the rights of Americans are dependent on their status as citizens and therefore, may be taken away.

Deceased controversial comedian George Carlin is rolling over in his grave:

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away, they’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country is a bill of temporary privileges.”

But the U.S. Constitution wasn’t meant to protect “temporary privileges” — it was meant to recognize already existing human rights. Having these rights declared in the first ten amendments of a document doesn’t make them valid.

Actually, the Bill of Rights doesn’t even bother differentiating between citizens and non-citizens. Like the freedoms of expression and religious conviction, justice is not some privilege to be revoked. It is an inherent right — one that suspected terrorists own.

In the game of politics what really matters?

In politics on April 26, 2010 at 12:49 am

Democrat, Republican, progressive, libertarian, conservative, communist — so many labels that only serve to divide. Yet people cling to these categories as if their very identities depended on them. For some, it does.

Politics becomes more than just a necessary evil their sense of civil duty requires them to take part in. It is a game, a lust for political banter, partisanship and identity.

But do politics really matter and, if so, why?

Political junkies can regurgitate the latest national news or recite the who’s who in Washington, yet most can’t recall the reason they became involved in politics to begin with. Was it a concern for free markets? A desire to protect family values? The environment perhaps?

The truth is, these “junkies” have lost sight of what really matters — namely, people. If human beings do not matter than no issue, whether it be marriage, energy, or the economy, is of any importance.

Hearing political pundits refer to the “tea baggers” or discuss Nancy Pelosi’s Botox injection is wearisome. Such matters are trivial when compared to real, human issues such as the effects of the “war on drugs” or the genocide in Darfur. It’s an embarrassment we even discuss them.

All of us, whatever our political identity, need to remember what truly matters in this game called politics. Otherwise we have no business playing.

Leading socialist says Obama is not one of them

In politics on April 16, 2010 at 1:40 am

Tea partiers never seem to get tired of calling  Barack Obama a socialist. But Billy Wharton, co-chair of the Socialist Party USA and editor of the party’s magazine, The Socialist, thinks they’re mistaken.

According to him, Obama is anything but a socialist.

“We didn’t see a great victory with the election of Barack Obama,” he said in an interview with CNN. “And we certainly didn’t see our agenda move from the streets to the White House.”

But tea partiers love to point to “Obamacare” as ultimate proof the president must be a card-carrying member of the Socialist Party. However, Wharton isn’t so thrilled about the healthcare takeover. He says it actually strengthens private healthcare industry.

“Most of it was authored by the health care industry,” he said. “I call it the corporate restructuring of health care.”

Libertarian-leaning Republican Ron Paul, agrees with Wharton. He says Obama is not a socialist, but actually a corporatist.

“In the technical sense, in the economic definition of what a socialist [is], no he’s not a socialist,” Paul said at the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. “What he is, is a corporatist. And that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country.”

Paul and Wharton are absolutely right: Obama is anything but a socialist. Like Bush before him, he is a political puppet — a tool put in place to bow to the whims of the corporate elites.

I wish Obama were a socialist, even a communist. I would rather have a sincere, honest, independent communist in the White House representing the American people than a front man representing the interests of the rich and powerful.

Obama; not so radical

In politics on April 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm
“I dismiss the cynics who say that this new century cannot be another [in which] we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good.” — President Barack Obama
 
Worse than Jimmy Carter on steroids is how conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity described President Barack Obama on his show today. He was trying to convince his listeners that President Obama is a radical. Using provocative words like progressive, leftist and socialist, Hannity went so far as to describe Obama as Americas most radical president.
 
But is President Obama really a radical? The hard evidence suggests otherwise.
 
 The truth is, not much has changed since the last administration. There has been no radical shift left, no real change as promised. Sure, Obama sometimes talks the talk of a sincere liberal, but when the political rubber meets the road, the 44th president of the United States falls in (center) line.
  •  President Obama has yet to close Guantanamo Bay as promised. And now hes proposing shipping detainees to an equally shady correction facility in Illinois — a move that has civil liberties groups up in arms.
  • He has not ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the contrary, he has continued George Bushs illegial war in Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan — sending 17,000 more troops to the war-torn region and promising 30,000 more. He has also escalated the undeclared wars in Yemen and Pakistan.
  • He has steadily increased the defense budget. For the 2011 fiscal year, he is asking for $708.3 billion in defense spending — an almost 200 billion-dollar increase from George Bushs 2009 budget.
  • He has pledged a record $3 billion to Israel in the form of military aid as part of the 2011 defense budget.
  • He has not reversed the anti-civil liberties policies and laws enacted by the Bush administration such as the controversial Military Commissions Act of 2006. And in February, he renewed the Patriot Act.
  • Like Bushs takeover of the automobile and banking industries, Obama has taken over the healthcare industry. He has simultaneously increased the deficit, spending, and government power.

Obama is no anti-war progressive. Like Bush before him, he is a big-government war-mongering interventionist. But shock jocks like Hannity and O’Reilly have conservative America convinced otherwise. And in November, conservatives will flock to the voting booths — still convinced.

Ahmadinejad calls 9/11 ‘big lie’

In foreign policy, media, politics on March 8, 2010 at 3:27 am

The question itself could be construed as a slap in the face of every patriotic American who fervently believes the innumerable lies constantly told with a straight face by our government leaders.Huffington Post columnist Mike Green

On Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers was a “complicated intelligence scenario and act.”

“September 11 was a big lie and a pretext for the war on terror and a prelude to invading Afghanistan,” he said.

But as Huffington Post columnist Mike Green points out, the Iranian president’s accusations echo the suspicions of many Americans.

“In less than two minutes I can produce a list that will keep every mainstream journalist busy for a week.” Green said. “Yet, these growing lists of legitimate voices with legitimate concerns cannot be heard in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”

According to a 2006 Zogby poll, 42 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government and the 9/11 commission covered up evidence regarding the Sept. 11 attacks. Hopefully Ahmadinejad’s confession brings more media attention to the official story and the growing public unrest.

Libertarian uprising: Paul wins CPAC straw poll

In politics on February 22, 2010 at 6:00 am

To say the least, I was shocked. “Ron Paul wins straw Poll,” read the caption as MSNBC flashed images of Glenn Beck and CPAC banners across my TV screen.

“Are Republicans sick? Is this some kind of trick?” I thought to myself.

On Saturday, Paul received an astonishing 31 percent of 2,395 CPAC votes, ending Mitt Romney’s three-year winning streak. Although only 25 percent of attendees participated in the poll, voter turnout was a record high. Romney came in second with 22 percent of the votes and conservative darling Sarah Palin with a weak 7 percent.

Perhaps conservatives have seen the “libertarian light?”

A more likely explanation for the Paul upset was the age of the attendees — poll results show that more than half were between 18 and 25 and 48 percent of registered voters were students. Paul has been a favorite of both college students and military personal.

But even more revealing are the results of a CPAC poll question asking voters to define their ideology. An overwhelming 80 percent of those polled said their most important goal is to “promote individual freedom buy reducing the size and scope of government and its intrusion into the lives of its citizens.” The conservative talking-point-issues of gay marriage, abortion and national defense seemed unimportant.

Video coverage of the event clearly shows Paul’s notoriously zealous supporters in attendance. And evident by the expressions on the faces of the older, established conservatives, not all in attendance were happy with the results.

In a phone interview with FOX News following the event, 74-year-old Paul attributed his popularity to his message of liberty.

“The principles of liberty is a very young idea, we haven’t had freedom for the individual much more than a couple hundred years,” Paul said. “We have to be young at heart.”

A ‘progressive’ distraction

In media, politics on February 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Glenn Beck and FOX News have a new left wing enemy — the progressives. Much of the rhetoric that was aimed toward Democrats in previous years is now being used against the supposedly sinister grandchild of the Bull Moose Party.

Most historians trace the beginnings of the progressive movement to Teddy Roosevelt’s resignation from Republican ranks and formation of his own Bull Moose Party. A party which advocated things such as minimum wage laws and prohibition.

Beck and FOX are correct that the Progressive Party and modern progressives are in favor of  increasing the scope of the national government — but all for the “common good.” Basically, a progressive sees things that are wrong within a society and attempts to make them right through the force of government.

While I don’t agree with much of the progressive platform, I do admire its concern and commitment to the downtrodden. The modern progressive movement is not some left wing, God-hating crusade that wishes to steal your children from you and place them in fascist indoctrination institutions. On the contrary, the progressives gave us things like child labor laws and women’s suffrage.

Perhaps what disturbs me most about (mainly) Beck’s anti-progressive banter, is that it distracts Americans from the real issue. How often do we hear Beck and other conservative media pundits claiming that it’s not about left versus right, Democrat versus Republican? And yet, they continually play the fear card, saturating their viewers with an us-versus-them mindset.

The progressives are not “evil” as some would have you believe. They are not what threatens America or the world. But neither is the Tea Party movement, moral majority, conservatism, communism or socialism. As long as Americans of all political ideologies are fed and accept the divisive rhetoric that causes them to see a targeted group as the “enemy” we will never be free.

Palin endorsement a blow for Ron Paul supporters

In politics on February 4, 2010 at 4:42 am

On Monday, Sarah Palin endorsed Rep. Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky.

Ron Paul supporters everywhere are crying.

After all, it was the libertarians and Republican party deserters who gave Dr. Paul his momentum in 2008. The only thing Ron Paul supporters hated more than an interventionist foreign policy was, well, the Republican Party. And although Rand isn’t his father, they were probably hoping the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

I’ve had my doubts about Rand. Unlike his poorly spoken father, Rand is a politician — polished and poised. He’s less focused on “liberty” and more on being a “conservative” — something FOX News picked up on a long time ago. Rand, unlike his father, is a favorite of the network.

Perhaps to outsiders, the Palin endorsement appears to make sense. After all, Rand, like his father, is a member of the Republican Party. But Palin’s radical nationalism, socially conservative beliefs and war trumpeting all fly in direct contrast to the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul. Rand, on the other hand, seems to be catering more to the Tea-Party conservatives.

The Palin endorsement is just the latest in a series of red flags. Will Rand Paul follow in the politically unpopular footsteps of his father? Only time, and a win in Kentucky, will tell.

Fort Hood, fear mongering, infringement on civil liberties

In liberty and rights, politics on November 24, 2009 at 3:00 am

The tragedy of Fort Hood, like Sept. 11, 2001, is being turned into another excuse to partake in anti-Muslim rhetoric and to call for the infringement on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. So too, may the tragedy be used as a catalyst to infringe on the privacy of non-Muslim Americans.

Consider the following statements by conservative darling Sarah Palin in a recent interview with Fox News:

“Profiling in the sense of finding out what his radical beliefs were. Profiling, in the context of doing whatever we can to save innocent American lives, I’m all for it then.”

And this statement by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) in a recent interview with CNN:

“I’m not only worried about these types of people potentially being in the military, I’m concerned about these folks being everyday Americans, around America, living among us who may have become or are in the process of becoming radicalized.”

This kind of fear-inducing rhetoric is nothing new in American politics. It was used to rally the America people against American Japanese during World War II and to justify their relocation to internment camps. Similar rhetoric was also used during the “Red Scare.” Americans need to realize that if they do not believe in civil liberties for those they fear, they do not believe in them at all.