Tag Archives: bad government

Orlando: The New 9/11?

 ron paul


Last week America was rocked by the cold-blooded murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Unlike the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Orlando shooter appears to be a lone gunman who, while claiming allegiance to ISIS, was not actually working with a terrorist group. About the only thing Orlando has in common with 9/11 is the way power-hungry politicians and federal officials wasted no time using it to justify expanding government and restricting liberty.

Immediately following the shooting, we began to hear renewed calls for increased government surveillance of Muslims, including spying on Muslim religious services. Although the Orlando shooter was born in the US, some are using the shooting to renew the debate over Muslim immigration. While the government certainly should prevent terrorists from entering the country, singling out individuals for government surveillance and other violations of their rights because of religious faith violates the First Amendment and establishes a dangerous precedent that will be used against other groups. In addition, scapegoating all Muslims because of the act of one deranged individual strengthens groups like ISIS by making it appear that the US government is at war with Islam.

The Orlando shooting is being used to justify mass surveillance and warrantless wiretapping. For the past three years, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Defense Department appropriations bill limiting mass surveillance. But, last week, the same amendment was voted down. The only difference between this year’s debate and previous debates was that this year defenders of the surveillance state were able to claim that the Orlando shooting justifies shredding the Fourth Amendment.

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Repressive Tolerance

by Herbert Marcuse

in: Robert Paul Wolff, Barrington Moore, jr., and Herbert Marcuse, A Critique of Pure Tolerance (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), pp. 95-137.
This 123 page book was originally published 1965; this edition includes Herbert’s 1968 ‘Postscript.’
Note: this ca. 18 page on-line version has not been checked for accuracy. (links at bottom)
Note 10/25/2015: thanks to reader x y zed 2 missing paragraphs have been added.
Added Nov. 2, 2015: Scan of 1969 edition as pdf.

Contents of A Critique of Pure Tolerance

Robert Paul Wolff
“Beyond Tolerance”

Barrington Moore, jr.
“Tolerance and the Scientific Outlook”

Herbert Marcuse
“Repressive Tolerance”

This essay is dedicated to my students at Brandeis University.

THIS essay examines the idea of tolerance in our advanced industrial society. The conclusion reached is that the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period–a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.

The author is fully aware that, at present, no power, no authority, no government exists which would translate liberating tolerance into practice, but he believes that it is the task and duty of the intellectual to recall and preserve historical possibilities which seem to have become utopian possibilities–that it is his task to break the concreteness of oppression in order to open the mental space in which this society can be recognized as what it is and does.

Tolerance is an end in itself. The elimination of violence, and the reduction of suppression to the extent required for protecting man and animals from cruelty and aggression are preconditions for the creation of a humane society. Such a society does not yet exist; progress toward it is perhaps more than before arrested by violence and suppression on a global scale. As deterrents against nuclear war, as police action against subversion, as technical aid in the fight against imperialism and communism, as methods of pacification in neo-colonial massacres, violence and suppression are promulgated, practiced, and defended by democratic and authoritarian governments alike, and the people subjected to these governments are educated to sustain such practices as necessary for the preservation of the status quo. Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery.

This sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested. The political locus of tolerance has changed: while it is more or less quietly and constitutionally withdrawn from the opposition, it is made compulsory behavior with respect to established policies. Tolerance is turned from an active into a passive state, from practice to non-practice: laissez-faire the constituted authorities. It is the people who tolerate the government, which in turn tolerates opposition within the framework determined by the constituted authorities.

Tolerance toward that which is radically evil now appears as good because it serves the cohesion of the whole on the road to affluence or more affluence. The toleration of the systematic moronization of children and adults alike by publicity and propaganda, the release of destructiveness in aggressive driving, the recruitment for and training of special forces, the impotent and benevolent tolerance toward outright deception in merchandizing, waste, and planned obsolescence are not distortions and aberrations, they are the essence of a system which fosters tolerance as a means for perpetuating the struggle for existence and suppressing the alternatives. The authorities in education, morals, and psychology are vociferous against the increase in juvenile delinquency; they are less vociferous against the proud presentation, in word and deed and pictures, of ever more powerful missiles, rockets, bombs–the mature delinquency of a whole civilization.

According to a dialectical proposition it is the whole which determines the truth–not in the sense that the whole is prior or superior to its parts, but in the sense that its structure and function determine every particular condition and relation. Thus, within a repressive society, even progressive movements threaten to turn into their opposite to the degree to which they accept the rules of the game. To take a most controversial case: the exercise of political rights (such as voting, letter-writing to the press, to Senators, etc., protest-demonstrations with a priori renunciation of counterviolence) in a society of total administration serves to strengthen this administration by testifying to the existence of democratic liberties which, in reality, have changed their content and lost their effectiveness. In such a case, freedom (of opinion, of assembly, of speech) becomes an instrument for absolving servitude. And yet (and only here the dialectical proposition shows its full intent) the existence. and practice of these liberties remain a precondition for the restoration of their original oppositional function, provided that the effort to transcend their (often self-imposed) limitations is intensified. Generally, the function and value of tolerance depend on the equality prevalent in the society in which tolerance is practiced. Tolerance itself stands subject to overriding criteria: its range and its limits cannot be defined in terms of the respective society. In other words, tolerance is an end in itself only when it is truly universal, practiced by the rulers as well as by the ruled, by the lords as well as by the peasants, by the sheriffs as well as by their victims. And such universal tolerance is possible only when no real or alleged enemy requires in the national interest the education and training of people in military violence and destruction. As long as these conditions do not prevail, the conditions of tolerance are ‘loaded’: they are determined and defined by the institutionalized inequality (which is certainly compatible with constitutional equality), i.e., by the class structure of society. In such a society, tolerance is de facto limited on the dual ground of legalized violence or suppression (police, armed forces, guards of all sorts) and of the privileged position held by the predominant interests and their ‘connections’.

These background limitations of tolerance are normally prior to the explicit and judicial limitations as defined by the courts, custom, governments, etc. (for example, ‘clear and present danger’, threat to national security, heresy). Within the framework of such a social structure, tolerance can be safely practiced and proclaimed. It is of two kinds:

  1. the passive toleration of entrenched and established attitudes and ideas even if their damaging effect on man and nature is evident, and
  2. the active, official tolerance granted to the Right as well as to the Left, to movements of aggression as well as to movements of peace, to the party of hate as well as to that of humanity I call this non-partisan tolerance ‘abstract’ or ‘pure’ inasmuch as it refrains from taking sides–but in doing so it actually protects the already established machinery of discrimination.

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This is Getting Serious

Putin has delivered his strongest public remarks to date regarding the missiles placed by NATO on the borders of Russia – active in Romania and soon to be active in Poland:

“If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security,” Putin said in a joint news conference in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

“It will be the same case with Poland,” he said.

The US claims that the missiles are to protect against Iran.  Putin suggests this is unnecessary as there is now an agreement in place with Iran regarding nuclear weapons.  It seems to me the point is irrelevant – given the location of the missiles, they could strike either Iran or Russia just the same.

“We won’t take any action until we see rockets in areas that neighbor us,” Putin added.

At least for the west, diplomacy does not appear to be an option:

“We’ve been repeating like a mantra that we will be forced to respond… Nobody wants to hear us. Nobody wants to conduct negotiations with us.”

These central European countries are playing a dangerous game that Poland has lost once before.  They are counting on promises of salvation from the west instead of remaining focused on developing good relations with regional neighbors.  Instead of creating alliances with neighbors who share similar (and strictly limited) security concerns, they are willingly becoming pawns in MacKinder’s very great game.

There was once such a plan proposed – an alliance of these several central European countries:

Międzymorze, known in English as Intermarium, was a plan, pursued after World War I by Polish leader Józef Piłsudski, for a federation, of Central and Eastern European countries. Invited to join the proposed federation were the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Finland, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

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Ludwig von Mises’s 9 Best Tax Quotes

Ludwig von Mises’s 9 Best Tax Quotes


In honor of tax day, a look at the best quotes from Ludwig von Mises on taxation:

1. “Some experts have declared that it is necessary to tax the people until it hurts. I disagree with these sadists.”

Source: Defense, Controls, and Inflation 

2. “If the present tax rates had been in effect from the beginning of our century, many who are millionaires today would live under more modest circumstances. But all those new branches of industry which supply the masses with articles unheard of before would operate, if at all, on a much smaller scale, and their products would be beyond the reach of the common man.”

Source: Planning for Freedom 

3. “Taxing profits is tantamount to taxing success.

Source: Planning for Freedom 

4. “Estate taxes of the height they have already attained for the upper brackets are no longer to be qualified as taxes. They are measures of expropriation.”

Source: Defense, Controls, and Inflation 

5. “Progressive taxation of income and profits means that precisely those parts of the income which people would have saved and invested are taxed away.”

Source: Economic Policy 

6. “The metamorphosis of taxes into weapons of destruction is the mark of present-day public finance.”

Source: Human Action

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The Media Divides Us With Gorillas to Enable the Crimes of the Government

June 2, 2016   |   Claire Bernish

(ANTIMEDIA) United States — By now, we’ve all witnessed selective outrage in real time — a misdeed, tragedy, or other infuriating item blows up national headlines and almost immediately receives backlash in the vein of, ‘well, why isn’t anyone irate about ___ ?’ It’s as if society has developed not only an odd hypocritical corner on the market of concern, but a notable inability to impassion itself with more than one issue at once.

Dichotomized moral outrage receives an altogether greedy leg up from corporate media. After all, networks understand all too acutely how tragedy drives opportunity — and what better way to cash in on casualty than by capitalizing on ethical wedges people invariably manufacture?

Cleaving division, in fact, comprises the bulk of propaganda. Intense bickering and debate saturate social media, both obfuscating other potentially significant happenings and setting the foundation for further division in the future. If personally invested in passionate disagreement over one issue, people’s resentments linger — prejudicing friends, colleagues, and associates against one another when an equally divisive topic or incident takes place in the future.

Now that we’re about halfway through 2016, having seen this polarity replayed innumerable times, one conclusion can be surmised with a degree of certainty — people simply favor certain things over others. And the examples comprise a list both telling and distressing in scope.

1. Harambe, an endangered western lowland gorilla living in a confined space at the Cincinnati Zoo, died after staff decided extreme measures were necessary to save a hapless four-year-old boy — who inexplicably managed to escape his mother’s notice and slip into the animal’s habitat. When zoo director Thane Maynard faced the media to justify the shooting of Harambe, social media had already amplified the controversy to a feverish pitch.

Though Maynard’s confirming the shooting had been unavoidable served to fan a growing conflagration, Cincinnatians familiar with his normal enthusiasm saw a fierce struggle underlying the resolute public stance — particularly as primatologistsanimal behaviorists, and a whole spate of experts threw their personal opinions into the mix.

To varying degrees, Maynard, the zoo, the child’s mother, the people filming instead of somehow preventing the child’s foray into the enclosure, and even protesters and those mourning the loss of Harambe all became targets of countless arguments and rants across social and news media.

Was the shooting really justified? Why wasn’t that mother watching her kid? How did an entire crowd of people not stop this four-year-old, even if the parents didn’t? Who cares about an animal when a human child’s life was at stake? Why wasn’t Harambe’s habitat better fortified against errant kids? Must zoos be a thing?

As soon as these questions hit keyboards, the inevitable expansion of the backlash also hit. Why should we care about one gorilla when so many endangered animals are poached in the wild? What about factory farming? Why all the attention on an animal when millions of innocent people perish in multiple wars? What about the refugees? What about people dying from hunger? Cops kill people with impunity, what about justice for their victims?

Really, it would take an entire article to begin to cover the posed points of contention, alone.

Judging by the explosive outrage from every conceivable perspective on Harambe’s shooting, however, people seem capable of only two, albeit highly-generalized, camps of thought. Either the lives of animals constitute equal or greater value than humans, or human life takes existential precedent over animal life.

But one rarely posited question could potentially halt the quarreling — while still maintaining the imperative validity in many of these concerns: why don’t we value both lives equally — even to the point extraordinary means are taken to preserve each?

2. “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross,” Sinclair Lewis is most often attributed, though unconfirmed, in saying. But while debate over fascism’s conditional arrival in the United States most often centers on the presidential run of Donald Trump, it isn’t a dispute for the faint-of-heart.

Arguably not seen in any previous presidential election, extreme polarization concerning the three remaining contenders would be farcical if determining the next ruler didn’t hinge on the outcome.

Constant feuding — and even a few physical rows — that so far mark the rise of an impudent demagogue to power, largely surround Trump’s derogatory boasts, skewering of the media, and apparent all-around proclivity for fascism. Appealing to unfounded but deep-seated fears, the billionaire has managed to garner equally concrete base support and a runaway segment dedicated to nothing but preventing his occupancy of the White House.

While such flagrant fascistic tendencies certainly deserve heated discussion, if not outright alarm, it should be noted Trump has in no way attempted to hide his no-holds-barred, totalitarian leanings. Worse, shredding one another apart via social media — sporting though it may be for some — completely forgets one imperative fact: fascism has already arrived.

Evidence can be found as close as your local police department.

In 1990, U.S. law enforcement received a boon in the National Defense Authorization Act when Congress switched out Section 1208 for Section 1033 — allowing even local departments requesting it to be granted ammunition and other military accoutrements, free of charge, courtesy of the Department of Defense. Under the guise of ramping up the already-failed war on drugs, even local police — tantalized by militaristic shiny new things — began to look as if they’d been replaced by the Army.

MRAPs, riot gear, and every conceivable light weapon of war are now expected items at both violent and peaceful protests, alike. By design, and in concert with an utter lack of forethought, militarized police have acted precisely like the warriors the program sought — though the explosion in deaths by police proves police aren’t soldiers at all. Rather, law enforcement made a radical transformation from the friendly cops you call in an emergency to paranoid, trigger-happy soldiers of the State parents warn their kids to avoid.

With the attacks of 9/11 came additional fascist policy appropriate for a burgeoning police state. Dissent now earns a spot on the government’s terror watch list, and several amendments to the Bill of Rights are all-but forgotten through court judgments and legislation.

Decry Trump’s special brand of fascism in every imaginable forum all you want — the criticism won’t change the squeeze of totalitarianism already choking away our rights.

3. How the choice of which public bathroom someone uses came to occupy headlines for weeks recently further proves people simply don’t pay attention — or have no earthly understanding about many topics making the public spotlight. North Carolina first instituted what’s come to be monikered the Bathroom Law after paranoid, clueless politicians scare-mongered the public into inexplicably equating gender identity and transgendered individuals with pedophilia and crime.

Fear-wracked posts to Facebook and Twitter evidenced an acute misunderstanding of what it means to be transgendered in modern America. ‘But the children!’ they all screamed, ‘What about the children!’ Some even appeared to believe women would suddenly be subjected to random rapes if bathrooms didn’t declare staunch divisions over who could use which john when the need to urinate struck.

Transgendered people protesting the inexplicable, sudden legislation proved the law’s arbitrary idiocy — which mandates one’s birth certificate-assigned gender match their choice of bathroom — by posting photos to social media from inside North Carolina’s public restrooms.

In truth, people across the gender spectrum have been going into the public restroom they feel comfortable using for centuries. And guess what? No one noticed. No one even cared. Not one iota. And they never would have if it weren’t for the brainless brain trust comprising the body of politicians people somehow felt deserved to hold office.

Unsurprisingly, all this bathroom theater dominating headlines managed to obfuscate matters of the utmost pertinence. During that time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh revealed Hillary Clinton’s role in facilitating the transport of sarin gas to Syria for an attack that successfully kicked off the U.S.’ military campaign — exactly as it was intended. Another report astonishingly showed the Pentagon let off the hook troops responsible for the almost certainly deliberate bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan, in which 42 patients, staff, and civilians perished.

Though the freedom to use the bathroom of one’s choosing shouldn’t even be a point of contention, it ispossible to care about more than a single issue at once.

Divisive debates will forever follow moments of controversy — and headlines will linger on the same topic as long as social media allows. But, lest we forget, each topic spans a breadth of valid concerns for each of us — though we’d be in a better position to advance as a whole if we didn’t insert our own divisions where they never should exist in the first place.

This article (The Media Divides Us With Gorillas to Enable the Crimes of the Government) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.orgAnti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

The Eugenics Plot of the Minimum Wage

In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. identifies the government as the enemy of the rights and dignity of blacks. He was locked up for marching without a permit. King cites the injustices of the police and courts in particular. And he inspired a movement to raise public consciousness against state brutality, especially as it involved fire hoses, billy clubs, and jail cells.

Less obvious, however, had been the role of a more covert means of subjugation — forms of state coercion deeply embedded in the law and history of the United States. And they were offered as policies grounded in science and the scientific management of society.

Consider the minimum wage. How much does racism have to do with it? Far more than most people realize. A careful look at its history shows that the minimum wage was originally conceived as part of a eugenics strategy — an attempt to engineer a master race through public policy designed to cleanse the citizenry of undesirables. To that end, the state would have to bring about the isolation, sterilization, and extermination of nonprivileged populations.

The eugenics movement, as an application of the principle of the “planned society,” was deeply hostile to free markets.The eugenics movement — almost universally supported by the scholarly and popular press in the first decades of the 20th century — came about as a reaction to the dramatic demographic changes of the latter part of the 19th century. Incomes rose and lifetimes had expanded like never before in history. Such gains applied to all races and classes. Infant mortality collapsed. All of this was due to a massive expansion of markets, technology, and trade, and it changed the world. It meant a dramatic expansion of population among all groups. The great unwashed masses were living longer and reproducing faster.

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So, You Thought Slavery Was Dead? Think Again

May 31, 2016   |   Carey Wedler

(ANTIMEDIA) Nearly 46 million human beings are subject to slavery, a new report released this week concluded. According to the third annual Global Slavery Index, which gathers and analyzes surveys conducted by Gallup, the number of people forced into “modern slavery,” or “human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation,” rose from 35.8 million to 45.8 million since 2014 — a 28 percent increase.

The Global Slavery Index is a project of Walk Free, an Australian human rights organization dedicated to ending modern slavery, which researchers caution does not mean traditional slavery, in which “people were held in bondage as legal property.

This year, the researchers for the index analyzed survey responses from 42,000 respondents in 53 languages and 167 countries, though they notedgathering such information is “a difficult undertaking due to the hidden nature of this crime and low levels of victim identification.”

Even so, Andrew Forrest, the founder of Walk Free, suspected the 28 percent increase from 2014 to 2016 was “due to better data collection, although he feared the situation was getting worse with global displacement and migration increasing vulnerability to all forms of slavery,” Reutersreported.

The new analysis highlights the persistence of slavery in modern society, cataloguing the worst-offending nations and noting that instances of modern slavery occurred in all 167 countries included in the study.

According to the report, 58 percent of individuals forced into modern slavery were located in five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. Those nations had the highest “absolute” number of slaves — India was found to have over 18 million slaves, and China, which took second place, had over 3 million.

The report also listed nations with the highest proportions of slaves relative to their total populations: North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India, and Qatar.

With over 1.1 million slaves in a nation of just over 25 million, North Korea had the highest proportion of victims, with 4.373 percent of the population subject to servitude. That amounts to roughly 1 in 20 North Korean citizens forced into slavery. As the report explains, in North Korea, “there is pervasive evidence that government-sanctioned forced labour occurs in an extensive system of prison labour camps while North Korean women are subjected to forced marriage and commercial sexual exploitation in China and other neighbouring states.”

The 2016 index further noted other instances of state-sponsored slavery, naming Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Belarus, China, Eritrea, Russia, Swaziland, and Vietnam — as well as North Korea — as the worst offenders.

It also criticized North Korea, Iran, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong, Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan for their lack of effort in combating slavery.

Interestingly, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Libya, all nations subject to U.S. military intervention, tied for sixth place in the list of oppressive countries by proportion to population — totaling several million designated modern slaves among them. But the researchers did not include these nations’ governments when they analyzed efforts to curb slavery, perhaps unintentionally highlighting yet another oppressive force in the contemporary human experience:

“Due to the ongoing conflict and extreme disruption to government function,” they note, “we have not included ratings for Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria or Yemen.”

Critics of the report challenged the statistical methods, arguing the analysts used “flawed methodology by extrapolating on-the-ground surveys in some countries to estimate numbers for other nations.” However, as Reutersreported, “Forrest said a lack of hard data on slavery in the past had held back efforts to tackle this hidden crime and it was important to draw a ‘sand in the line’ measurement to drive action.” He challenged critics to produce an alternative.

“Without measurement you don’t have effective management and there’s no way to lead the world away from slavery,”he said.

Discussing options for eradicating modern slavery, Forrest, an Australian mining billionaire and philanthropist, singled out businesses that fail to scrutinize slavery in the production of their products. “Businesses that don’t actively look for forced labour within their supply chains are standing on a burning platform. Business leaders who refuse to look into the realities of their own supply chains are misguided and irresponsible,” he said. As Reuters noted, the “2016 index again found Asia, which provides low-skilled labor in global supply chains producing clothing, food and technology, accounted for two-thirds of the people in slavery.”

Calling on leaders in government and civil society (as well as business), to work harder in eradicating modern slavery, Forrest ultimately waxed optimistic.

“Through our responsible use of power, strength of conviction, determination and collective will, we all can lead the world to end slavery,” he said.

This article (So, You Thought Slavery Was Dead? Think Again) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.orgAnti-Media Radioairs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article at edits@theantimedia.org.