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Posts Tagged ‘nationalism’

  • LewRockwell.com: Three videos of police brutality. Take your pick, they are all horrible: an elderly disabled woman thrown to the ground, a cop pointing a gun at a woman’s head for getting in a car accident, a girl tased through her skull. Never forget: these thugs are not your friends.
  • National Post: Two Canadians are facing charges for desecrating an American flag as part of a bet over last year’s gold medal hockey game in Vancouver. The flag is just a stupid piece of fabric. It is only the false religion of nationalism that makes it anything more. I would encourage everyone to go out and burn five flags tomorrow just to knock the nationalists down.
  • Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com: Best and worst of 2010. I am obviously going to love that Glenn Greenwald is one of his best, but I’m really more excited about seeing the repulsive Michael C. Moynihan of Reason as one of his worst. That a hateful little statist apologist like Moynihan works at Reason is appalling. The rot he has been churning out against WikiLeaks is awful, thus making me quite glad to see LRN.fm drop Reason.tv from their lineup.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the decision to list a teen on the sex offender registry for forcing another teen to accompany him in collecting a debt. Wh-what? How is that a sex crime? Quiet, slave–do not question the wisdom of Leviathan!
  • Glenn Greenwald: What Glenn learned from his campaign of pro-WikiLeaks media appearances. Money quote: “From the start of the WikiLeaks controversy, the most striking aspect for me has been that the ones who are leading the crusade against the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks — the ones most enraged about the leaks and the subversion of government secrecy — have been . . . America’s intrepid Watchdog journalists.”
  • Via Conor Friedersdorf at Sullivan, USA Today: Railways are apparently the next target for the DHS/TSA fascists. The airport racket wasn’t a big enough employment program for fat skinhead knuckle-draggers, so they are going to need to start up unconstitutional and utterly pointless searches at subway stations to create some more jobs for their brethren.
  • NYT: Have you heard of Jamie and Gladys Scott? They had spent 16 years behind bars for an $11 armed robbery. Well, luckily for them, Miss. Governor (and GOP presidential hopeful) Haley Barbour went and said some vaguely racist crap a few weeks ago. Looking to prove he didn’t hate blacks after all, Barbour suspended their sentences, contingent upon one sister giving the other a kidney. I am glad these women have been released from their ridiculous sentences, but that Barbour did this for opportunistic reasons and that there is some sort of caveat attached pisses me off.
  • Western Standard: Highlighting the inspiring story of an incidence of de facto jury nullification in a Montana marijuana possession case. During jury selection, the drug warriors couldn’t find enough potential jurors in the pool willing to even consider locking someone up for having a sixteenth of an ounce. Not like the quantity should really matter, but still awesome.
  • Eugene Volokh: Phillip Greaves, the sick dude who wrote the infamously-banned-on-Amazon book The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure, was recently extradited to Florida to face felony obscenity charges. Undercover cops baited him into sending them a copy of the book. Is Greaves  a sick puppy who should be ostracized by other adults? Probably. But is writing a book reason enough to entrap someone and then lock them up? Hell no.
  • Via Jacob Sullum at Reason, Michael Siegel: the top 10 anti-tobacco lies of the year. Why just talk about the realities of lung cancer when you can make up much worse lies? That seems to be the motto of the anti-smoking zealots. It’s mostly BS about secondhand smoke.
  • The American Conservative: A great parody poster, ridiculing America’s support of all manner of reprehensible regimes.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer: Meet John Harmon, a diabetic who was repeatedly tased and beaten by Hamilton County cops during a groundless DUI stop. Cops suspected Harmon was drunk when really his blood sugar was low. It probably didn’t help that Harmon is black. Now he is suing. Good–punch the cop-bullies in the nose.
  • NYT: Headline: “Abuses Cited in Enforcing China Policy of One Child.” Oh gee whiz, do you think? I don’t really know how you differentiate when the one-child policy is itself just one great instance of abuse. There is a story in this report about a woman carried off to a hospital and sterilized against her will. To the criminals perpetrating these crimes–I don’t often wish violence upon people, but may you end up first against the wall come the revolution.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: A how-to on recording the cops. Not exactly a thriller, but excellent for logistics. The recording front is one of the primary ones on which we are fighting right now.
  • Kevin Carson at Center for a Stateless Society: Headline: “Statism: An Unfalsifiable Religion.” Pointing out the endlessly self-perpetuating loop of statism. I liked this quote: “Market failures are taken as evidence that we need a regulatory state, but regulatory failures are used as a pretext for even more government.”
  • William Grigg at LewRockwell.com: Pausing to remember the horrific story of Derek Hale, executed by cops in 2006. Hale’s widow recently received a settlement from the City of Wilmington, Delaware, but that can scarcely bring back her tased-into-a-stupor, then-shot husband Derek.
  • Daily Anarchist: Ugh…a guy writes about how he no longer hangs out with his non-anarchist friends. I hate this crap. Saying that you don’t want to hang out with non-anarchists is just as collectivist as being a collectivist. People must be treated as individuals.
  • Juan Cole: Top ten myths about Afghanistan. Must-read. Cole just demolishes every one of the plot lines you hear articulated in White House briefings and mainstream reporting. It is an unwinnable war.
  • NYT: Remember the name Qian Yunhui. He began as no hero–a Communist Party apparatchik. But he later fought for his neighbors’ property rights, and this is why he may well have been killed by the regime.
  • NYT: Estonia joins the Euro. Poor Estonians. We’ve covered this story before. At a time when the euro is facing an existential crisis, let there be no doubt that this decision had nothing to do with the good of average Estonians and everything to do with bureaucrats and politicians seeking more goodies from the European Union.
  • Jacob Sullum at Reason: Covering the federal court ruling that NYC can’t force cigarette merchants to put up anti-smoking posters. This is one small victory for private business, but it comes in the midst of a losing war.
  • Via Conor Friedersdorf at Sullivan, The Washington Examiner: When it comes to for-profit colleges, no one wins. You have the colleges themselves fighting to keep their meal-ticket, the 87% of revenue they get from taxpayers. Then you have guys shorting the stocks of for-profit colleges fighting for more onerous regulation of them in Congress, just to make sure they make money on their short. Yuck.
  • The War Nerd Gary Brecher at The eXile: Lessons from the Pashtun. I don’t always love Brecher’s column, but this one was hilarious. Good example: “They still remember Timur in Herat, but they won’t remember us. Not even all the money we spent, because Afghans are not future software billionaires. They’ll spend it on guns or pretty little dancing boys, and it’ll all end up in the form of Muhajir merchant families, or the 32-foot Bayliners sitting in the driveway of some merc’s house in Tracy.”
  • NYT: Those who petition the Russian Orthodox Church to rescind Tolstoy’s excommunication either totally misunderstand his philosophy or just want to make a name for themselves. My guess is the latter. If Tolstoy knew that his great-grandson was campaigning for Putin and begging for the Patriarch to restore Tolstoy to good graces, he would implode.
  • John McWhorter at The New Republic: Fantastic essay on how ending the drug war–and not just on marijuana–would be a tremendous thing for black America. My only concern with McWhorter’s essay is that it’s a bit too pragmatic. The war on drugs should be ended because it is morally wrong, not because it leads to a lot of innocent black men going to jail. If fewer black men go to jail once this great wrong is eliminated from our society, then so much the better.
  • Daniel Larison: Pointing out the uncomfortable truth that Liu Xiaobo is a pretty lame stooge of Western imperialism (read: supported the war in Iraq). This news disappoints me, but like Larison, it does not diminish my belief that Liu Xiaobo should be freed immediately.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: Cornelius Dupree Jr. became the 21st man to be exonerated by DNA evidence…in just one county. He had been in prison since 1980. What a tragedy, 30 years stolen.

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Almost every day, some constituency somewhere, maybe even just some individual person, tries to claim a veto on another person or group’s rights for a “reason” usually rooted in emotion. I’ve noticed many of these cases in North America coming out of the military realm. Do you know how hard the government makes it to get photos of dead soldiers’ caskets being unloaded? There were two stories in the past two days that caught my attention.

The first story is one that’s been percolating for a while: Snyder v. Phelps went before the Supreme Court. Albert Snyder is the father of a dead Marine who is suing Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church (infamous for their “God hates fags” signs) for picketing his son’s funeral. The Westboro people are insane bigots. They believe that almost everything bad in America is some manifestation of God punishing us for homosexuality. They famously picketed Matthew Sheppard’s funeral, too. They are not nice people. I would love to see them teleported deep into outer space some day. But they are here in our country, and as such, they have certain inalienable rights. Most importantly here, they have a right to free speech.

Snyder is a weak man. Somehow, he feels like these loons holding “God hates you” signs at his son’s funeral defamed his memory and caused the family emotional harm. If some quite-literally insane people telling you God hated your son are enough to make you emotionally distressed, maybe you weren’t very secure in loving your son enough to begin with. That’s my speculation. What I know for certain is that Snyder lowered himself to a level even lower than that of the Westboro crazies by seeking the initiation of government’s violence against people who did nothing more than speak.

This is not acceptable. I don’t care if it hurt your feelings. They did not physically hurt you. Your rights were not violated. You need to get over yourself and stop ruining things for everyone else, buddy. If you weren’t wrapping yourself in the flag and going on about soldiers and sacrifice, this case wouldn’t even be in the Supreme Court. Free speech, even for bigots, wins out over your sad heart.

The second case is less well-known and less repulsive. In Canada, a woman called Celine Lizotte, the mother of a son killed in Afghanistan, is demanding that the Quebec Women’s Federation take down an anti-war video that refers to soldiers as “cannon fodder.” I say “less repulsive” because AS YET, Ms. Lizotte is just lobbying publicly for the video to be taken down. She hasn’t tried to get the government involved or made threats herself. So this sort of action is well within her rights.

But that doesn’t mean it’s an action I support. If you don’t like the video, don’t watch it. In the meantime, maybe it will encourage some other mom to keep her son from dying like yours did. Would that be a horrible thing?

I’m tired of this crap. It happens in any number of ways, but this military fetishism is especially noticeable because we have such a military cult in America and, to a much lesser extent, Canada. Just because you put on a uniform doesn’t make you any more human or praiseworthy than the next guy, and it certainly doesn’t give you a veto right over the rights of your fellow citizens. People say soldiers fight and die for our freedom–not that I ever asked anyone to die for me, but that’s beside the point. If you really believe they are dying for our freedom, then that freedom very much includes freedom of speech.

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America and its flexible language policy and free cinema look great in comparison to Ukraine–Kyiv Post:

Ukraine’s cabinet of ministers is soon expected to change the rules for dubbing movies for cinemas, but society and industry insiders are split in their views over the effects.

On July 13, the Lviv Oblast Council appealed to the cabinet to preserve the current requirement of compulsory dubbing and subtitles in Ukrainian for any foreign movies. But the cabinet, however, is expected to produce a new regulation sometime this summer, requiring that the films be dubbed on Ukrainian territory, but not necessarily in the Ukrainian language.

Here’s an idea: how about government stop meddling in the world of cinema? The only reason for politicians to get involved in this debate is out of some vile nationalist agenda. If people aren’t happy with how films are being subtitled and dubbed, they will stop going. Theaters will lose money and wonder why people are staying away. Once they realize it’s the subtitles and dubbing, they will respond with the product as people want it. That’s how a market works.

Instead of a market, Ukraine gets a rotating cast of Ukrainian nationalist westerners and Russophile easterners engaging in a semi-annual macho showdown over how people will “get” to enjoy their leisure time. Ugh.

I am sure if you asked most people in Ukraine if they would rather (a) pay cheaper prices for movies, (b) have all movies dubbed and subtitled only in Ukrainian or (c) have all movies dubbed and subtitled in Ukraine, they would pick (a). The result would probably be more Ukrainian dubbing in the more Ukrainian-speaking west of the country, and more Russian dubbing in the more Russian-speaking east and south of the country. The Russian-speakers would stand to pay a little bit less for film distribution because they would probably just opt to import movies subtitled and dubbed in Russia, rather than creating their own industry in Ukraine. Some theaters in the Ukrainian-speaking regions might even elect to go with the lower-cost Russian-language content since so many Ukrainians are fluent in Russian, too. And guess what? People would go to movies, they would enjoy themselves and the country would not be subjugated by jackbooted moskal hordes.

Nationalism: dumb idea or dumbest idea?

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Since the Conservative-LibDem coalition took power this spring, it seems like most American press coverage has been on the good things–the meaningful austerity measures, the pro-civil liberties backlash against things like CCTV and openness on issues like torture and extraordinary rendition. These good things have been encouraging. They’re far better than what Blair and Brown were producing. But that’s not to say Cameron’s government is all wonders and fun.

The Independent reports on the Home Secretary’s stated desire to roll back key provisions of one of Blair’s few positive accomplishments, the 2003 Licensing Act. This act did away with draconian World War I-era laws that had mandated closing times for bars and pubs. Public houses gained the right to apply for licenses for longer operating hours. I’m offended that private businesses should have to go to the government at all to set their operating hours, but at least today’s situation is better than it used to be. And now the Cameron government wants to go back to the old, anti-property, anti-freedom way, presumably to strengthen their barely-existing tough-on-crime conservative credentials. Too bad there’s nothing conservative about meddling in the affairs of private businesses.

Then The Independent covered Cameron himself, announcing details for his planned program of teenagers offering compulsory sacrifices at the altar of nationalism National Citizen Service. At least this proposal is nothing new, having served as a key part of Cameron’s campaign. Money quote:

Mr Cameron paid tribute to the present generation, saying it was “passionate and idealistic”, but said “too many teenagers appear lost and feel their lives lack shape and direction”. He added: “National Citizen Service will help change that. A kind of non-military national service, it’s going to mix young people from different backgrounds in a way that doesn’t happen right now.” It was originally estimated that the first year of the service, which was a key Tory election pledge endorsed by the actor Sir Michael Caine, would cost £13m with a further £37m to be made available when the scheme was rolled out.

Mixing people from different backgrounds is great. What’s not great is telling your fellow citizens that you have a right to their lives and that you will rob them of some part of their finite time on this earth to satisfy your ideological intrigue. Just like I said to Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang yesterday, politicians need to realize that we do not employ them so they can give us rights; our rights exist independently of any government. We employ them so they can protect our natural rights from violation.

Bottom line: Cameronism, two months in, has had its successes, but the big state, “I Vow to Thee My Country” slop is still there in great measure, too.

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