Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to deal with shameless maligners

If anybody knows what it's like to be smeared and maligned for expressing unpopular opinions, it is Stephen Walt. He and John Mearsheimer are co-authors of one of the most controversial documents, originally disseminated as an online manuscript, and then published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux as a book in 2007. Entitled "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," it directly confronts the once taboo subject of the United States' involvement with Israel. Their book describes the role played by supporters of Israel in shaping U.S. foreign policy and distorting it in the interests of Israel. The authors have been credited with creating "political space" for the open discussion of this volatile topic.

Their impressive establishment credentials as leading academic scholars (University of Chicago and Harvard affiliations), and the fact that their presentation was carefully researched and documented, did not save them from vicious verbal assaults and personal vilification. In a current Foreign Policy magazine article, "On grabbing the third rail," Walt offers his advice to those who would dare to publicly dissent from orthodox canon, whatever the subject. He shares his ideas on how to deal with the inevitable personal attacks by people who never rationally address your arguments but, instead, stoop to assaults on your character, while purposely misrepresenting your position, and impugning your motives for expressing your dissident opinions in the first place.

Walt offers 10 guidelines to follow in dealing with such adversaries who "take the low road." It is a fascinating little discourse and should be read in its entirety. Following are excerpts from five of the guidelines:
• • •

3. Never Get Mad. Let your critics throw the mud, but you should always stick to the facts, especially when they are on your side. In my own case, many of the people who attacked me and my co-author proved to be unwitting allies, because they lost their cool in public or in print, made wild charges and ad hominem arguments, and generally acted in a transparently mean-spirited manner. It always works to your advantage when opponents act in an uncivil fashion, because it causes almost everyone else to swing your way. ... In short, the more ludicrous the charges, the more critics undermine their own case. So stick to the high ground; the view is nicer up there.

4. Don't Respond to Every Single Attack. A well-organized smear campaign will try to bury you in an avalanche flurry of bogus charges, many of which are simply not worth answering. It is easier for opponents to dream up false charges than it is for you to refute each one, and you will exhaust yourself rebutting every critical word directed at you. So focus mainly on answering the more intelligent criticisms while ignoring the more outrageous ones, which you should treat with the contempt they deserve. ...

6. The More Compelling Your Arguments Are, The Nastier the Attacks Will Be. If critics can refute your evidence or your logic, then that's what they will do and it will be very effective. However, if you have made a powerful case and there aren't any obvious weaknesses in it, your adversaries are likely to misrepresent what you have said and throw lots of mud at you. ... If you are in a very public spat about a controversial issue like gay marriage or abortion or gun control, a solid and well-documented argument will probably attract more scurrilous attacks than a flimsy argument that is easily refuted. So be prepared.

8. Be Willing to Admit When You're Wrong, But Don't Adopt a Defensive Crouch. Nobody writing on a controversial and contested subject is infallible, and you're bound to make a mistake or two along the way. There's no harm in admitting to errors when they occur; indeed, harm is done when you make a mistake and then try to deny it. More generally, however, it makes good sense to make your case assertively and not shy away from engaging your critics. In short, the best defense is a smart offense, even when you are acknowledging errors or offering a correction. ...

9. Challenging Orthodoxy Is a Form of "Asymmetric Conflict." You Win By "Not Losing." When someone challenges a taboo or takes on some well-entrenched conventional wisdom, his or her opponents invariably have the upper hand at first. They will seek to silence or discredit you as quickly as they can, so that your perspective, which they obviously won't like, does not gain any traction with the public. But this means that as long as you remain part of the debate, you're winning. Minds don't change overnight, and it is difficult to know how well an intellectual campaign is going at any particular point in time. So get ready for an emotional roller coaster. Some days you might think you're winning big, while other days the deck will appear to be stacked against you. But the real question is: are you still in the game?

Read complete article here.


The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

The country that wouldn't grow up, by Tony Judt

Ferment Over "The Israel Lobby," by Philip Weiss

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Constitution: A fantasy from the beginning?

Thomas J. DiLorenzo offers a depressing, yet probably correct, observation about enforcement of the Constitution. I'm sure many people have considered this idea, that is, the Founders' Constitution didn't stand a chance against government tyranny. James Madison talked about human nature and how hard it is for most of us, once in power, to behave ourselves. In fact, we cannot be expected to behave ourselves.

In "Doomed from the Start: The Myth of Limited Constitutional Government in America," DiLorenzo writes about John Calhoun's speculations:
• • •

After spending a lifetime in politics John C. Calhoun (U.S. Senator, Vice President of the United States, Secretary of War) wrote his brilliant treatise, A Disquisition on Government, which was published posthumously shortly after his death in 1850. In it Calhoun warned that it is an error to believe that a written constitution alone is “sufficient, of itself, without the aid of any organism except such as is necessary to separate its several departments, and render them independent of each other to counteract the tendency of the numerical majority to oppression and abuse of power.” The separation of powers is fine as far as it goes, in other words, but it would never be a sufficient defense against governmental tyranny, said Calhoun.

Moreover, it is a “great mistake,” Calhoun wrote, to suppose that “the mere insertion of provisions to restrict and limit the powers of the government, without investing those for whose protection they are inserted, with the means of enforcing their observance, will be sufficient to prevent the major and dominant party from abusing its powers.” The party “in possession of the government” will always be opposed to any and all restrictions on its powers. They “will have no need of these restrictions” and “would come, in time, to regard these limitations as unnecessary and improper restraints and endeavor to elude them . . .”

The “party in favor of the restrictions” (i.e., strict constructionists) would inevitably be overpowered. It is sheer folly, Calhoun argued, to suppose that “the party in possession of the ballot box and the physical force of the country, could be successfully resisted by an appeal to reason, truth, justice, or the obligations imposed by the constitution.” He predicted that “the restrictions [of government power in the Constitution] would ultimately be annulled, and the government be converted into one of unlimited powers.” He was right, of course.

Read complete article and learn more about those other colonials, the ones DiLorenzo calls the "Founding Fathers of Constitutional Subversion" here.
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Google and the blocking of websites

NOTICE: To anyone clicking a link from this Blog to articles on the Issues & Views website, depending on the browser you're using, you might encounter a statement by Google warning about "malware" on the Issues & Views website. Google has actually blocked the site, and put up a fearful message about possible "infections."

After giving the warning not to enter the site, Google then says:

"Over the past 90 days, did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites," and "This site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days."

Although Google has blocked the site in Firefox, it is not blocked in Google's own browser, Chrome. All pages of the site, including PayPal, open just fine with no warnings in Google's browser. Go figure!

There is no way to contact anyone directly at Google, and I am hopeful that my website's host will figure out something, so that this warning message will some day be removed. When did Google become the monitor of the Internet? Read more!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Palin, the exemplary role model

It's been repeated so many times and it appears to be true. That is, conservatives take longer to internalize and promote the politically correct dictates that liberals concoct. In other words, liberals invent some platitude or piece of dogma that becomes standardized in the public mind. Conservatives initially fight the new mandate, but then, before you know it, they have joined the liberal bandwagon. They then set about denouncing others for a lack of enlightenment, as they help to disseminate the very terminology or social trend they once sensibly scorned and ridiculed.

Think of just about any exaggerated and over-abused expression. We all know how the "racist" tag has been done to death. Conservatives used to denounce libs for making a fetish of this term. Not any longer. Conservatives now can hardly wait to punish an opponent with the "racist" smear, just as heartily as a die-hard Democrat. The word is now as much a part of the conservative lexicon as are the smears "un-American" and "unpatriotic." In fact, many of these so-called independent thinkers on the right appear to equate a person who harbors sentiments that "exclude" others as un-American. "Inclusion" is the order of the day – because liberals taught them so. Now that Sarah Palin is on the scene, conservatives are warming to the task of smearing opponents as "sexist." Yet another victory for their liberal mentors.

If a "racist" is someone who prefers the company of members of his own ethnic group as opposed to others, why isn't this an individual choice that a true conservative would endorse? Apparently it is not, for such a person, no matter how benignly he expresses his preference, is generally attacked by conservatives just as belligerently as liberals. After all, doesn't he understand that rejection of others might result in "hurt" feelings? And isn't it "feelings" that count over individual rights?

Is a "sexist" someone who rejects the notion that Nature made the two sexes equal? The rejection of this notion was, until very recently, a foundation stone of conservatism. [See The emasculation is done.] But now that today's conservative worries, along with Sarah Palin, about breaking "glass ceilings," they must conform to the more "progressive" view on full equality of the sexes, as defined by liberal philosophy.

Palin now brings further enlightenment to old-fashioned conservatives, by endorsing still more politically correct language, that originally sprang straight from the liberal mindset. How conservatives used to laugh, as liberals made pests of themselves by scolding everyone in sight for using "insensitive" language, which might be offensive to some anonymous thin-skinned population. But they laugh no more. Mother Palin is teaching them to have the "correct" regard for language according to liberal ethics.

She has not only decreed the words "retard" and "retarded" politically incorrect to use, but would set the standard for the firing by one's employer for the use of these terms. And the good lady justifies her stance by linking these terms to the word "Nigger," implying, obviously, that anyone who makes use of this "N" word is also automatically deserving of job loss. Really?

When conservatives would read about some kid getting suspended from school for drawing a silly picture or teasing a schoolmate, they would be outraged at the over-the-top, zero tolerance policies practiced by some school administrators, and the expectation that everyone must agree to alter his/her sense of humor and manner of expression, to accommodate the leftist Thought Police. Palin would, no doubt, be right at home with the "sensitivity" training and "re-education" sessions that now inundate college campuses and the workplace, in order to bring all thought and expression into line with multicultural politics.

The former vice presidential candidate is, indeed, a piece of work. We watched in amazement as she publicly celebrated teenage sex and illegitimacy at a national political convention, we were astounded as she, apparently, condoned promiscuity among the young ("life happens"), we are stupefied, or is it bemused, as she promotes anti-conservative feminist doctrines, and our jaws drop even further as she now strives to ban particular words from our language.

Palin is so thoroughly a liberal in her instincts that she is tone-deaf to genuine conservative principles. Indeed, she possesses no conservative instincts. Whatever notion or policy she supports automatically becomes "conservative" in nature, simply because she deems it so. She repeatedly declares herself for small government and keeping that government at bay as much as possible, yet expresses admiration for Title IX, for years, a major nemesis of Phyllis Schlafly.

This federal statute, contrived at the behest of powerful feminist lobbyists, imposes gender quotas on sports in educational institutions that receive government funding. Although only a fraction of women in college seek to engage in competitive sports, the law rules that if a college has fewer than 56% of women on athletic teams, this would be judged as "sex discrimination," and a "gender quota discrepancy."

This quota equality mandate has compelled easily intimidated college administrators, fearful of losing government funds, to disband men's teams, even though these have a high degree of participation and membership. The loss of men's sports, such as track and field, swimming and gymnastics, is of no benefit to women, yet colleges still penalize male students, in order to reflect the same proportion of men to women in sports.

Although conservatives have fought this atrocious federal mandate for years, with Schlafly in the lead, this is the law with which Ms. Palin finds no fault. After all, it's "progressive," isn't it?

After she declared support of teachers' unions and spoke against school vouchers, and sided with ambulance-chasing lawyers who seek no financial caps on outrageous punitive damage awards, conservative newspaper columnist Paul Mulshine concluded about Palin: "Palin is motivated not by a coherent political philosophy so much as by a set of inchoate urges." He quotes the remarks of one of his readers, about Palin's fans: "They project whatever image they want onto her, and they keep repeating the mantra that she brings conservatism to the ticket, despite what she does and says."

Mulshine charges, "She has never given any indication that she has an identifiable political philosophy, conservative or liberal. She is not so much a political figure as a sort of national fertility symbol."

M.J. Rosenberg claims that Palin has been "kidnapped by the neocons." If she's been kidnapped by anything, it's by the prospect of accumulating a tidy bundle of wealth before the bloom is off the rose. Palin proves she is a thinking woman and understands some facts about Nature. She is smart enough to understand that if she is ever to get rich, it is now or never. It's called milking those final magic moments in a woman's physical development, before the beauty fades. Once she hits the wall, like all other women, people won't be quite so tolerant of her empty rhetoric, and all those smitten rightwing men won't be so eager to hand over $395 to hear her recitation of clichés and banalities, while ogling her lovely legs and stiletto heels.

Is there nothing that the cynical, popular media offers in which Palin will not partake? She quits her post as Governor of Alaska, because the media offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get rich quick, while becoming a TV star. She further sullies what's left of her family's reputation by encouraging her teenage daughter to pose with her illegitimate baby on the cover of a national gossip magazine, while Mother Sarah shares the stage with daughter on the cover of yet another magazine. She uses her infant son as a stage prop at her speaking events.

Writer Bonnie Fuller calls the People magazine cover "a total promotion for teen pregnancy." Daughter Bristol is learning from Mom how best to exploit what conservatives once looked upon as an unfortunate circumstance, about which the less said the better. What a glamorous life has opened up for Bristol, writes Fuller, as she becomes the "poster girl for teen momhood." Did both Mom and Daughter receive a million dollars from People?

The magazine In Touch apparently did not consider the Palin duo worth any more than $100,000 for a cover spread. Their caution proved wise, as the alluring Mom/Daughter team did not get much pick-up from newstands, in spite of the engaging photos of them holding Trig and Tripp, or is it Track?

Palin, as has been observed by many, is a walking cliché factory, where never an original thought falls from her lips. Substance? Not a chance. When recently asked about her policy for handling America's foreign enemies, her response was, "They lose, we win." Now there's a policy! Repeated clichés and platitudes form her mindset, which is fixed in her own special style of demagoguery.

Traditionalist minister Chuck Baldwin warns true conservatives among the Tea Party movement not to be fooled by Sarah Palin. He writes, "Palin is currently playing both sides. She is promoting Big Government neocons such as John McCain on the one hand, and sincere conservative-libertarians such as Rand Paul on the other hand."

She and her minions constantly crow about their support of the Constitution, yet their actions show that they know little and care even less about the actual contents of this document. It is only when they believe that the Constitution can be used for their own pet causes, such as the abolition of abortion laws, that they climb out of the woodwork to tout the Constitution.

Palin's acolytes don't seem to know where liberal indoctrination leaves off, and where their supposed highly-touted "conservative values" begin. They rant about the desire for "small government," yet George W. Bush taught us what a lie that is. Big government is desirable whenever it can enhance Republican policies. One wonders why these people insist on labeling themselves "conservative." They are nothing more than Republican lackeys and, as such, they need take no ideological label at all.

The head of their political party is not the party's National Chairman, the dimwitted Michael Steele. It is not even the whip John Boehner or John McCain. Their party is led by a radio talk show host, the irrepressible Rush Limbaugh, that standard bearer for "family values." Actually, Limbaugh is the perfect representative for today's "conservative" who conforms to modern social trends, having been married and divorced three times. He wisely chooses women who also come out of multiple marriages, such as the last one for whom he was her fourth husband. (How many broken marriage vows between them does that make?) But, hey, "life happens," right? Lead on!

When criticism is made of Palin's obvious indifference to her teenage daughter's carefree lifestyle (as demonstrated by Levi, the not-quite-son-in-law, having access to her daughter's bedroom), her faithful camp followers chant, almost in unison, that ultimately children make their own choices, and parents cannot control the behavior of their offspring. But, of course, this is not the point. After all, liberals have been in the vanguard of teaching us such hackneyed facts of life. We all know one of their favorite mantras about sex and the young: "They're going to do it anyway." To claim that no one is responsible for their children's choices is the cop-out used by all parents, most especially the more derelict and irresponsible ones.

Here's the point. If there has been a clear demonstration that you not only have failed at your minimum duties to protect the weak and impressionable who depend upon you, and you don't even have the sense to handle the negative aftermath in an honorable manner, then you should get to the back of the leadership line. At the front of that line should be those people who have successfully navigated life's challenges, and are role models for others to do the same. Not everyone can be such a model. Who needs more bad role models and mentors in positions of leadership?

After pseudo-conservatives have spent a decade bringing some of the worst types to leadership – the fool George W. Bush, the abhorrent warmonger Dick Cheney, and various assortments of their avaricious cronies – it's time to conserve the last remnants of the Founders' original visions, which did not include subservience to a political party or to foreign lobbies. Nor did those visions include the killing of our young soldiers for the protection of a foreign country, or allowing minority special interests, whether race or gender, to gain power in order to undermine the constitutional rights of the majority. We need no charlatan like Sarah Palin to continue enabling this country's social and political decline.


Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin

Palin fills in those cracks in the ceiling

The good liberal Palin makes a mockery of conservatives

Pro-lifers bring underclass mores into the mainstream

Palin, still the darling of the mainstream media

Thanks to Sarah, we can do just about anything

Parading the unwed daughter

Teenage pregnancy should never be glorified

Book - Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!), by Carol Platt Liebau
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In a nutshell

Referencing the Conservative Political Action Conference, here's a brief, little zinger from Lew Rockwell on his blog (2/18/10). In "CPACers Cheer Fascist," he writes:

When Liz Cheney, as a “surprise,” brought her war-criminal father to CPAC, the cheers rocked the hotel, especially when he said he was feeling so good he might run again. All the rich warmongers, who are careful to stay away from any army recruiting office, yelled for working class guys to die for Cheney’s portfolio, Middle Eastern wars, and dreams of global dominion. Endless hoorahs for Cheney from bloodthirsty non-combatants: there is conservatism in a nutshell.
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Who are the Republicans trying to kid?

In "The GOPs 'small government' tea party fraud," Glenn Greenwald reflects on the repeated trickery practiced by Republican dissemblers.


There's a major political fraud underway:  the GOP is once again donning their libertarian, limited-government masks in order to re-invent itself and, more important, to co-opt the energy and passion of the Ron-Paul-faction that spawned and sustains the "tea party" movement.  The Party that spat contempt at Paul during the Bush years and was diametrically opposed to most of his platform now pretends to share his views.  Standard-issue Republicans and Ron Paul libertarians are as incompatible as two factions can be -- recall that the most celebrated right-wing moment of the 2008 presidential campaign was when Rudy Giuliani all but accused Paul of being an America-hating Terrorist-lover for daring to suggest that America's conduct might contribute to Islamic radicalism -- yet the Republicans, aided by the media, are pretending that this is one unified, harmonious, "small government" political movement.

The Right is petrified that this fraud will be exposed and is thus bending over backwards to sustain the myth.  Paul was not only invited to be a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference but also won its presidential straw poll.  Sarah Palin endorsed Ron Paul's son in the Kentucky Senate race.  National Review is lavishly praising Paul, while Ann Coulter "felt compelled [in her CPAC speech] to give a shout out to Paul-mania, saying she agreed with everything he stands for outside of foreign policy -- a statement met with cheers."  Glenn Beck -- who literally cheered for the Wall Street bailout and Bush's endlessly expanding surveillance state -- now parades around as though he shares the libertarians' contempt for them. ...

With the GOP out of power, Fox News suddenly started featuring anti-government libertarians such as John Stossel and Reason Magazine commentators, whereas, when Bush was in power, there was no government power too expanded or limitless for Fox propagandists to praise.

This is what Republicans always do.  When in power, they massively expand the power of the state in every realm.  Deficit spending and the national debt skyrocket.  The National Security State is bloated beyond description through wars and occupations, while no limits are tolerated on the Surveillance State.  Then, when out of power, they suddenly pretend to re-discover their "small government principles." ...

What makes this deceit particularly urgent for them now is that their only hope for re-branding and re-empowerment lies in a movement -- the tea partiers -- that has been (largely though not exclusively) dominated by libertarians, Paul followers, and other assorted idiosyncratic factions who are hostile to the GOP's actual approach to governing.  This is a huge wedge waiting to be exposed -- to explode -- as the modern GOP establishment and the actual "small-government" libertarians that fuel the tea party are fundamentally incompatible. 

Right-wing mavens like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin and National Review are suddenly feigning great respect for Ron Paul and like-minded activists because they're eager that the sham will be maintained:  the blatant sham that the modern GOP and its movement conservatives are a coherent vehicle for those who believe in small government principles.

Read complete article here.
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Mohawk evictions

The Mohawk Indians don't seem to have a problem when it comes to deciding which ethnics get to remain in their territory, and which ones get deported. See "Non-natives being evicted," where we learn that the local council in Kahnawake, on Montreal's south shore, has issued eviction notices to 25 mostly white non-natives, giving them 10 days to leave the Indian reservation.

Says the Grand Chief's press release: "There have been numerous complaints regarding individuals contravening Mohawk law by residing in the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake without a right to do so." And, "Every single Kahnawake Mohawk knows the law. It is unfortunate that some people have chosen to disregard the community's wishes."

Meanwhile, back on the American front, Roy Beck of NumbersUSA tells of the growing numbers of immigrants (legal and illegal), who are accessing the welfare system, especially food stamps and Medicaid. He writes: "And the welfare use is just the tip of the iceberg. If about half of these households are poor enough to qualify for some form of welfare, that means they can't come close to paying the taxes required to provide for all the extra physical and social infrastructure to take care of the presence of these 23 million new residents each decade."

Read Beck's report here.


Immigration and the SPLC: How the Southern Poverty Law Center Invented a Smear, Served La Raza, Manipulated the Press, and Duped its Donors, published by CIS

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Wholesale takeover by the neocons

In "Neoconned No More," Jack Hunter asks the impertinent question of the day: Who is conservative? Here are excerpts of his response to the question:

• • •

That depends on your definition. The notion of “making the world safe for democracy” is unquestionably a liberal or “progressive” sentiment, but it is also true that it has been standard foreign policy for the mainstream Right for sometime. Self-described conservatives have associated endless military intervention with American “toughness” and viewed those who questioned the government’s wisdom in waging war as “weak” or “anti-American.” This has certainly been the view of Limbaugh and Hannity and for most of Bush’s eight years, it was also the view of [Glenn] Beck.

Yet the notion of America as the world’s policeman is not remotely conservative in the traditional sense, but “neoconservative,” a term most mainstream right-wingers are either ignorant of, embarrassed of, or don’t use because the wholesale takeover of the conservative movement by the neocons has made using the “neo” prefix unnecessary.

Neoconservatives care about one thing—war (and where they can wage it). Says contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, neocon Max Boot: “Neoconservatives believe in using American might to promote American ideals abroad,” a progressive, Wilsonian vision, if there ever was one.

As for traditional conservative concerns like limited government, fiscal responsibility and constitutional fidelity, these are ideas neoconservatives will occasionally pay lip service to, so long as none of these principles interferes with their more important task of global military domination. It is no coincidence that George W. Bush—the first full-blown neoconservative presidential administration—did not limit government, was not fiscally responsible and shredded the Constitution, while still implementing the most radical foreign policy in American history. ...

Being part of the “rank-and-file of the Republican Party” meant being a neoconservative, whether mainstream conservatives were conscious of it or not. But as the grassroots Right continues to revisit conservatism’s limited government roots—this ideological shift is much less fertile ground for neoconservatives, most of whom remain either too busy applauding Obama’s troop escalation in Afghanistan or criticizing the President for not attacking Iran, Yemen or North Korea yet.

Neoconservatives never have been conservative, neither was Bush on “national security,” and these points must be hammered home before the Right can achieve a sturdier ideological footing.

Read complete article here.
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Do you commit a federal crime every day?

The intrepid civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate, co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), is author of a new book, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. Here is Encounter Books' description of the work, along with a link to the book's first chapter:

The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague. In Three Felonies a Day, Harvey Silverglate reveals how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, even for the most seemingly innocuous behavior.
The volume of federal crimes in recent decades has increased well beyond the statute books and into the morass of the Code of Federal Regulations, handing federal prosecutors an additional trove of vague and exceedingly complex and technical prohibitions to stick on their hapless targets. The dangers spelled out in Three Felonies a Day do not apply solely to “white collar criminals,” state and local politicians, and professionals. No social class or profession is safe from this troubling form of social control by the executive branch, and nothing less than the integrity of our constitutional democracy hangs in the balance.

See also these views on the subject of entrapping citizens through vague regulations:
The Overcriminalized Society: Jailing the innocent

The vanishing jury trial

A wholesale transfer of power
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Desperate to defend other people's lands

When, last October, the Taliban attacked a post in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, eight American soldiers were killed. Our incompetent military leadership admitted that this post had "no tactical or strategic value." In fact, it was virtually undefendable, and was considered a "sitting duck." Ho-hum, mistakes will happen, won't they?

When U.S. troops abandoned the base just days later, commanders actually stated that they had planned to abandon it all along. What were the feelings of those soldiers who were comrades of the unfortunate dead ones, knowing that callous disregard by their superiors might have cost their lives also?

Since then, more lives have been wasted – for nothing.

In "Bring Our Marines Home," Pat Buchanan tells of the movements abroad to expel the U.S. military from various territories. Like Japan, will Afghanistan find American troops still hunkered down within its borders 60 years from now?


All of which raises a question. If Tokyo does not want Marines on Okinawa, why stay? And if Japanese regard Marines as a public nuisance, rather than a protective force, why not remove the irritant and bring them home? Indeed, why are we still defending Japan? She is no longer the ruined nation of 1945, but the second-largest economy on earth and among the most technologically advanced. The Sino-Soviet bloc against which we defended her in the Cold War dissolved decades ago. The Soviet Union no longer exists. China is today a major trading partner of Japan. Russia and India have long borders with China, but neither needs U.S. troops to defend them. ...

Comes the retort: American troops are in Japan to defend South Korea and Taiwan. But South Korea has a population twice that of the North, an economy 40 times as large, access to the most advanced weapons in the U.S. arsenal and a U.S. commitment to come to her defense by air and sea in any second Korean War.

And if there is a second Korean War, why should the 28,000 U.S. troops still in Korea, many on the DMZ, or Marines from Futenma have to fight and die? Is South Korea lacking for soldiers? Seoul, too, has been the site of anti-American demonstrations demanding we get out.

Why do we Americans seem more desperate to defend these countries than their people are to have us defend them? Is letting go of the world we grew up in so difficult? ... Is it worth a clash with China to prevent Taiwan from assuming the same relationship to Beijing the British acceded to with Hong Kong? In tourism, trade, travel and investment, Taiwan is herself deepening her relationship with the mainland. ...

A strategic retreat from Eurasia to our own continent and country is inevitable. Let it begin by graciously acceding to Japan's request we remove our Marines from Okinawa and politely inquiring if they wish us to withdraw U.S. forces from the Home Islands, as well.

Read complete article here.
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The quickly morphing military

"It is time," writes traditionalist pastor Chuck Baldwin, "that we awaken to the reality of what our military is becoming and where it is heading." Some might argue that such a reflection is several decades past due, and maybe far too late.

In "Not Your Father's Army," Baldwin outlines just some of the many wars, conflicts, other ventures, like CIA-sponsored missions, that have been executed in our name, to "protect" we the people. He describes the ongoing transformation of the very nature of the military itself. Here are excerpts:
• • •

Yes, American forces have been used to both put people in power and take people out of power all over the world. And as often as not, the people we put in power were counted among the "bad guys," while the people we removed from power were "good guys." Remember, our own CIA was the organization most responsible for the rise to power of Osama Bin Laden. And it was the US government that surreptitiously set up the murder of Dr. Jonas Savimbi, who was one of the best friends the United States had overseas. Plus, does anyone remember how the US treated our friend, the Shah of Iran? Yes, some of us are old enough to remember when Iran was one of the best friends we had in that region of the world.

But mind you, not one single war in which American forces have been engaged since WWII has been constitutionally fought. Not one! Ever since the United Nations was created, its interests have dominated the usage of US forces. In fact, our military today is quickly morphing into the tip of the spear for a burgeoning, global New World Order. To those with eyes to see, the evidence is everywhere. It's not even being hidden anymore. ...

In order to convert the US military into a true "Global Force," several changes are being forced upon our fighting men. First, more and more women are entering the US military. Currently, women comprise about 20% of military personnel. And for the first time in US history, women are actively engaged in combat units in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The massive integration of women in combat may serve the interests of political correctness, but it does not serve the interests of combat effectiveness. Neither does it serve the interests of family and child rearing. ...

And there is another stark reality that few people want to discuss: the fact that 30% of all women in the US military are raped. Yes, you read it right: 30%. According to NPR, "In 2003, a survey of female veterans found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military. A 2004 study of veterans who were seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving." ... Government and military brass know that the introduction of women into the military environment (especially the combat environment) is reaping problems of epidemic proportions, but they are deliberately ignoring and even covering them up. ...

And this story leads into another phenomenon being created within this New World Order army: the way our government and military are increasing their use of "private" or "independent" contractors. In the past, these people were always known simply as mercenaries. Call them what you will, mercenaries are now a major component of the way our government wages war. According to Global Research, "The growing use of private armies not only subjects target populations to savage warfare but makes it easier for the White House to subvert domestic public opinion and wage wars. Americans are less inclined to oppose a war that is being fought by hired foreign mercenaries, even when their own tax dollars are being squandered to fund it." ...

Remember, at any given moment, there might be as many--if not more--mercenaries fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as there are US military forces. For example, according to the Christian Science Monitor, in early 2008, the number of mercenaries fighting in Iraq numbered more than 190,000. Remember, in addition to the benefit of not drafting US citizens to fight these perpetual wars (and thus avoid incurring the wrath and resistance of the American public), mercenaries enjoy the luxury of not having to comply with the military rules of engagement. And the stories of atrocities committed by US-employed mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan are too numerous to list. ... The Washington Post quotes Brigadier General Karl Horst, an advisor to the U.S. Joint Force Command as saying, "These guys [mercenaries] run loose in this country [Iraq] and do stupid stuff. There's no authority over them, so you can't come down on them hard when they escalate force . . . They shoot people, and someone else has to deal with the aftermath. It happens all over the place." And you wonder why the United States is viewed so negatively around the world?

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