Citizens United and Twelve Years of Unjustified Resentment

Citizens United and Twelve Years of Unjustified Resentment

It was 12 years ago this week that the Supreme Court handed down it’s notable, even infamous ruling in Citizens United v  Federal Elections Commission. Even after 12 years those who vilify the case are completely unable to accurately describe the legal questions at play, the Court’s primary holding, or what effect this decision has had in any applicable area of law or politics.

What was the Citizens United case was about? Well, the organization Citizens United challenged a Federal Elections Commission violation they were hit with. What FEC regulation did they violate? Did they bribe a politician? Did they give donations without disclosing them? Were they spending money that originally came from foreign governments? No, Citizens United got in trouble for showing a movie.

That’s right, “Hillary: The Movie” was a 2008 political documentary produced by the nonprofit organization. The movie was offered as an on-demand video on cable before the 2008 Democratic primaries and therefore it was considered electioneering. And the money that was spent on the film qualified as an independent expenditure. According to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or McCain-Feingold, a corporation, including a nonprofit corporation, cannot advocate for or against a candidate running for office 30 days prior to a primary election, or 60 days prior to a general election. So under this law, a group of people needed the government’s permission regarding whether or not they could show a film critical of Hillary Clinton. That’s the law that the Citizens United case nullified and Citizens United is the case seemingly everyone on the left seeks to overturn.

Many of you likely didn’t know those details. Most people don’t. It’s one of the most misunderstood things in all of American politics. Most people think that this Court decision established that money is speech and that corporations are people. Amazingly enough, those two specific phrases that everyone associates with the case never actually appeared in either the decision or the dissent. Second of all, neither the concept of corporate personhood nor the connection between money and speech were ever disputed by either party to the case.

Most commenters, though not all, grounded their opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling in two rather absolute principles; (1) corporations are not persons and therefore have no First Amendment or free speech rights and (2) money is not speech and therefore restrictions on how money is spent cannot violate the First Amendment’s free speech clause. What makes those arguments so bizarre is that none of the nine justices, including the four dissenting justices, argue either of those propositions or believe them. To the contrary, all nine justices, including the four in the dissent, agree that corporations do have First Amendment rights and that restricting how money can be spent in pursuit of political advocacy does trigger First Amendment protections. As Justice John Paul Stevens who wrote the dissent says,

“Of course, speech does not fall entirely outside of the protection of the First Amendment merely because it comes from a corporation and no one suggests the contrary.”

Justice Stevens also wrote, “that even though the expenditures at issue were subject to First Amendment scrutiny, these restrictions on these expenditures were justified by compelling state interest.” In other words, Stevens believes that spending money on speech is covered under the First Amendment. Congress just has an interest in regulating it in some situations.

You see, the legal concept of corporate personhood goes back hundreds of years. Remember, a corporation legally speaking is just a group of people. Yes, it includes large, multinational for-profit corporations like Walmart and Exxon Mobil. But it also includes labor unions, nonprofit corporations like the ACLU, (which endorsed the Citizens United decision), and the Libertarian Institute itself is a 501(c)(3) that benefits from the First Amendment protections of this case—as well as small, limited liability corporations.

Granting these entities constitutional rights is simply predicated on the idea that individuals don’t sacrifice any of their civil liberties when they form into groups. So, to pose a simple question to all those who are against Citizens United and wish to see it overturned—and anyone who claims that since corporations are not persons, they have no rights under the Constitution—do you believe the FBI has the right to enter and search the offices of the ACLU without probable cause or warrants and seize whatever they want? Do they have the right to do that to the offices of labor unions? How about your local business on the corner which is incorporated? The only thing stopping them from doing that is the Fourth Amendment if you believe that corporations have no constitutional rights, because they’re not persons. What possible objection could you voice to Congress empowering the FBI to do these things? Can they seize the property, the buildings, cars, and bank accounts of those entities without due process or just compensation? If you believe that corporations have no constitutional rights, what possible constitutional objection could you have to such laws and actions?

Now to the point of money and speech. This is just the idea that engaging in speech in any meaningful way (anything more sophisticated than standing on the street corner and yelling) costs money, therefore regulations on the money somebody can spend on speaking is regulating speech by proxy. Think about it; printing a newspaper costs money, hosting an online news show costs money, placing a television ad costs money and so forth.

Regulating the amount of money someone can spend, where they can get that money, when they can spend it, and where they can spend it undoubtedly jeopardizes the speech itself. All nine justices of the Supreme Court at the time agreed. This actually goes back to the 1976 Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo.

Here, the majority ruled that limits on expenditures are necessarily at odds with the First Amendment because restrictions on spending for political communication necessarily reduces the quantity of that expression. The funny thing is, the Citizens United critics acknowledge this. So for Senator Bernie Sanders or Justice Democrats this is actually part of the point of their campaign finance efforts. In their understanding, if money is speech then the more money you have, the more speech you have. And if corporations are people, people who have a lot more money than you or I (ie corporations) have a lot more speech than the rest of us.

They think that it’s unfair that some candidates can purchase more advertisements than others and that needs to be corrected in Citizens United. The dissenting justices never said that money isn’t speech. What they did argue is that Congress had a compelling state interest in regulating it on the grounds of preventing corruption. So does this money in the system cause corruption? That’s what critics emphasized, arguing the Court’s ruling will produce very bad outcomes, primarily the exacerbation of corporate influence on the republic. Even if that is true, it’s not really relevant. Either the First Amendment allows these speech restrictions or it doesn’t. In general, a law that violates the Constitution can’t be upheld because the law produces good outcomes, or because its invalidation would produce bad outcomes.

Many think that America is too far gone in terms of corporate control of politics. I think it’s a very overrated problem. But it is a problem. And our current campaign finance regime contributes to that problem. But that’s not relevant to the speech question. We also have racism in this country. And that’s a problem too, and allowing the Ku Klux Klan to hold one of their stupid rallies contributes to that problem. That doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to hold it, and invoking the state interest isn’t really persuasive either. Virtually anything can be justified by that rationale. And that argument has been used to curtail civil liberties in other contexts. So when people talk about limiting independent expenditures, they’re actually talking about limiting your ability to engage in political advocacy.

Citizens United simply doesn’t stand for what many people say it does. Their erroneous lamentations are well characterized by President Obama’s famous statement during his 2010 State of the Union Address:

“The Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates of special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections.”

In that one sentence, the former law professor made four errors that are all too common.

First, Citizens United didn’t reverse a century of law. The president was referring to the Tillman Act of 1907, which banned corporate donations to campaigns. Such donations are still banned. Instead, the decision overturned a 1990 precedent that upheld a ban on independent spending by corporations. That 1990 ruling, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, was the only time the court allowed a restriction on political speech for a reason other than the need to prevent corruption.

Second, the “floodgates” point depends on how you define those terms. In modern times, nearly every election cycle has seen an increase in political spending, but there’s no indication that there’s a significant change in corporate spending. And the rules affecting independent spending by wealthy individuals, who are spending more, haven’t changed at all.

Indeed, much of the corporate influence peddling in Washington that has reformers concerned has nothing to do with campaign spending. Most corporations spend far more on lobbying lawmakers already in Washington than they do in political spending to choose which politicians come to Washington.

Third, Citizens United said nothing about restrictions on foreign spending in our political campaigns. In 2012, the Supreme Court summarily upheld just such restrictions.

Fourth, while independent spending on elections now has few limits, candidates and parties aren’t so lucky. Even last year’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, which struck down aggregate—not per‐candidate—contribution limits, only affected the relatively few bigwigs (about 600 in the 2012 cycle) who had hit the $123,200 cap. The amount that an individual can give to a single campaign remains untouched.

And so, if you’re concerned about the money spent on elections—though Americans spend more on Halloween—the problem isn’t with big corporate players. Exxon, Halliburton, and all these “evil” companies (or even “good” ones) aren’t suddenly dominating the conversation. They spend little on political ads because they don’t want to alienate half of their customers.

On the other hand, smaller players now get to speak freely: groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business, Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Rifle Association. Even if we accept “leveling the playing field” as a proper basis for regulation, the freeing of associational speech achieves that goal.

People don’t lose rights when they get together, be it in unions, advocacy groups, private clubs, for‐profit enterprises or any other group.

By removing limits on independent political speech—spending by people unconnected to candidates and parties—Citizens United weakened the government’s control of who can speak, how much, and on what subject. That’s a good thing.

Reinhard Heydrich: Nazi Hero, Moral Monster

Reinhard Heydrich: Nazi Hero, Moral Monster

Martyr of the State

Known as “The Butcher of Prague,” Reinhard Heydrich was for the government of Nazi Germany an accomplished senior figure. He had the preferred look that many racialists enjoyed, clean cut and Germanic. A man that Adolf Hitler had described as having an “Iron Heart.” For many of the monumental events in the history of the Nazi government, Heydrich had helped organize or participated in them. From the 1936 Berlin Olympics to the Kristallnacht persecutions, he was a crucial element of the prewar government and its growth. Heydrich was an excellent administrator and would be an ideal asset for most any government; obedient, a stickler for bureaucraucy and administrative detail and void of compassion. A man of action. The particular ideology of the Nazi regime seemed to suit his talents and principles best. It was one of those perfect historical matches, where the outcome was terrible.

Heydrich became instrumental in establishing the task forces that rounded up Jewish people and placed them into ghettos. Some estimates claim that one million innocent people were murdered during the process of this bureaucratic implementation. Heydrich’s planning and attention to detail ensured that no child was left behind or no family was spared. No exceptions were made, it was the law. By 1941, Heydrich’s reputation was such that he was appointed as Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, what was formerly known as Czechoslovakia. Executions, arrests, and slavery ensued. For the history that was being written for the Nazi State, he was a great man. Which is why he was one of the key figures at the Wannsee Conference, the ninety minute meeting that would write the laws allowing for the mass extermination of those determined to be of Jewish descent. Genocide was to become official government policy.

The cruelty of Heydrich’s administration in Czechoslovakia was brutal. He was an efficient government director, calculating and obedient to the ambitions of the state. He was the viceroy of an already industrial and productive sector pre-occupation, and he milked and bled the people under his rule to gain profit for the state. The nation was at war and men like Heydrich were crucial in protecting the state from defeat from its many enemies. In 1942 Heydrich was killed by British military-trained Czechoslovakian operatives. For the Nazi state, a hero had been slain by foreign backed terrorists. The reprisal was horrible.

Immoral Revenge of the Law

The German government’s instinctive proposal was to kill 10,000 random Czechoslovakians, but after some consideration the plan was dropped. The region was an important industrial sector for the war effort, so such random mass murder could interfere with production. Over 13,000 people were arrested, most tortured. Approximately 5,000 were then executed. German military intelligence falsely linked the village of Lidice to the assassination. Everyone in Lidice was punished. On the spot 199 males were murdered. 195 women and 95 children were taken into custody and ended up in concentration camps. Rape and torture ensued; eventually the women were gassed to death along with 81 children. The village of Lidice and neighboring Lezaky were destroyed. The full power of the state and control over human life was on display as the spirit of vengeance took hold.

A thorough manhunt followed; the German government threatened to murder more innocent people if information relating to the culprits did not reach them by the end of a deadline. A bounty was also set for information leading to the capture of the killers of Heydrich. One of the culprits, Karel Caruda, gave himself up and shared the location of his contacts. For his confession he was paid one million Reich-marks. When the Nazi agents raided a safe house, a 17-year-old boy was tortured, forced to get drunk, and then shown his mother’s severed head that had been placed in a fish tank by the authorities, all attempts to get him to talk. He was told that if he did not give up information, his father would be next. He ended up revealing what he knew to save his father. He was later executed with his father, his fiance, and her family. The state rarely keeps its promises.

Others were arrested and a siege occurred at the Karel Boromejsky church. The defenders fought back with determination against a larger German paramilitary force. The defenders were armed with pistols and the German government, besides using conventional weapons of war, also deployed tear gas and had the local fire fighters flood the church. The defenders were eventually killed and identified. The bishop and senior church leaders were tortured and then murdered by the Nazis. The mathematics is always simple: the death of one government official is worth the blood of thousands of innocent civilians to the state.

An Exceptional Man and Collective Responsibility

Heydrich was mourned as a hero. Two large funeral ceremonies were held in his honor. A great leader of the Nazi Party had been assassinated by terrorists and the reprisal was a punishment to those associated by any collective identity to have been linked to the killing. It is the mindset that all governments impose when they embrace policies of vengeance. It may be the carpet bombing of cities, the targeted attacks on infrastructure, embargoes, or the destruction of Czechoslovakian villages. Because of his position in the German government Heydrich was an important human being. He is above others; in some ways such an individual is sacred and in death the government will sanctify such a man and justice will be absolute to any who would dare defy.

The collective responsibility of punishment utilized by the German government was not unique to the Nazi regime. It is in essence common among all governments. It is found inside of prohibitions and censorship and each regulation. The assumption that all are to be held responsible because of the imagined potential actions of a few or because in the past a minority had in some way been linked to that which is now being banned or controlled. The collective belongs to the state, to be ruled and regulated by the government. Regardless of the ideology of the government the outcome always is that the state is more important than individuals. The state is absolute but the elites that fill its key positions or hold influence are examples of unique human beings that transcend the rest of the citizenry. The more egalitarian the policies of the state, the more it collectivizes and the more the planners, experts, and policy makers of importance become exceptional and above all others.

Because the Nazi regime was defeated, men like Heydrich are no longer seen as heroes (except from among the ranks of a perverse few). Heydrich is seen as a criminal though he acted lawfully according to his own government. He was cruel and savage, though in victory he would have been justified. People like Heydrich are called monsters, though they were human beings. They left a path of pain and death for millions of innocent civilians. Any neutral moral observer would judge a person for such outcomes and that is all that should matter. No context needs to be considered other than the contribution to so many innocent deaths and countless tortures. We however do not live in a moral and neutral world; context and perspective seems to reign and steer many minds. For those inside Nazi Germany proper, Heydrich was a hero. His victims were necessary eggs to be broken in order to improve the omelette of the state, or so it is often said well beyond the bloody history of Nazi Germany.

Pardoned w/Drew (The Clean Libertarian)

Pardoned w/Drew (The Clean Libertarian)

Drew, The Clean Libertarian, joins me again. This time Drew has received a pardon and is working on legislation at the state level, so I wanted to catch up and have a more positive episode for y’all.

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Israel’s Founding Father Called for Villages to Be ‘Wiped Out,’ Confirming Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Israel’s Founding Father Called for Villages to Be ‘Wiped Out,’ Confirming Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Archival institutions are not known to be pioneers of technological innovation. They are preoccupied with the past, after all. That is why censors still often black out classified information physically, with a marker, a piece of paper or whatnot.

The Israeli State Archives, on the other hand, have apparently been experimenting with virtual censorship tools. In the minutes of a cabinet meeting of Israel’s provisional government during its “War of Independence,” released following requests of the Akevot Institute, digital blackouts were included to cover the more problematic statements made by the Zionist leaders present. As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently found out, however, these comments could be unveiled with a simple click. Woops! (Perhaps due to a similar technical error, I was able to access the paywalled Haaretz article once. Fortunately, the details can be found at Middle East Eye, too.)

The technical malfunction put the war-time document, dated July 1948, suddenly in an entirely different perspective. The censored version had shown David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister of the brand-new State of Israel, as saying that “I am against the wholesale demolition of villages.” But then, once the blackout was removed, there followed a “but.” Indeed, he quickly elaborated: “But there are places that constituted a great danger and constitute a great danger, and we must wipe them out. But this must be done responsibly, with consideration before the act.”

These comments are testimony of the well-documented ethnic cleansing of Palestine during Israel’s foundational war.1Ilan Pappe, The ethnic cleansing of Palestine (Oneworld Publications, 2006). In fact, the ‘wiping out’ of Arab forces and the “expulsion” of the Palestinians was officially sanctioned policy during the conflict. The censorship, which the Israeli State Archives claims to have been unintentional, is only the latest attempt to obscure this historical crime against humanity.

The Roots of Ethnic Cleansing

David Ben-Gurion is widely celebrated in Israel as the country’s founding father who led the war effort during and after the declaration of independence of May 14, 1948. Travelers flying to Tel Aviv today are immediately reminded of this historic figure as they land in Ben Gurion Airport. But the airport in fact predates the founding of Israel. Established in 1934, Arab and European airlines used Lydda Airport, as it was called before World War II, for local and transcontinental travel. In July 1948, however, the same month as the above-mentioned cabinet meeting, the Israelis seized the airport and gave it a Hebrew name: Lod Airport. In 1973, after Ben-Gurion’s death, it was renamed again to its present name in honor of Israel’s first prime minister.

This is just one tiny example of how Palestinian land—and Palestinian history for that matter—was ‘wiped out’ as a result of the 1948 war. This process, as well as the massive expulsion of Palestinians that went along with it, was not a haphazard outcome of the war, however. Rather, as this article argues, ethnic cleansing was at the root of the Zionist project and was implemented as policy by Ben-Gurion in the late 1940s.

From the very beginning, political Zionism implied the “transfer” of the indigenous population to other countries. In their early efforts to gain support from Western nations, Zionist leaders proclaimed that Palestine was “a land without a people for a people without a land.” In reality, they knew that the first part of that slogan was a lie. The Palestinian people were like “the rocks of Judea, obstacles to be cleared on a difficult path,” as Chaim Weizmann, a prominent Zionist figure and future first president of Israel, put it in 1918.2Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians: the concept of ‘transfer’ in Zionist political thought, 1882-1948 (Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992), 5-48. Quote at page 17.

This dismissive attitude towards the pre-existing civilization in Palestine perhaps explains the early Zionist optimism surrounding the “Arab question.” Theodore Herzl, the founding father of political Zionism, believed that the Palestinians could be uprooted with non-violent methods. In 1895, he wrote that “we shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country.” The property owners, on the other hand, could easily be tricked into giving up their lands according to Herzl. “Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us something far more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.”3Idem, 8-9.

The free market turned out not to be a very good ally, however. Only 5.8% of Palestinian land was under Jewish ownership by December 1947, more than half a century after Herzl’s remarks. Realizing that Jewish immigration, establishing kibbutzes and buying property was not enough, Zionist leaders soon turned to political and military means.

Political help was secured first. During the First World War, a great-power patron was found in Britain, which pledged to put its weight behind “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” in the so-called Balfour Declaration of 1917. When the British secured a League of Nations mandate over Palestine in 1922, words were followed by deeds. During the Mandate period, the British allowed for the creation of a Jewish Agency to function as a semi-governmental body while denying similar advantages to the Palestinians. As such, the Palestinians had to bear the brunt of two colonial movements simultaneously: a settler-colonialist movement in Palestine, aided and abetted by the world’s foremost colonial power in London.4Rashid Khalidi, The hundred years’ war on Palestine: a history of settler colonialism and resistance, 1917-2017 (Metropolitan Books, 2020), 17-54.

The more extreme branches of the Zionist movement, such as the “Revisionists” led by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, were the first to resort to military means. As far back as 1925, Jabotinsky wrote that “Zionism is a colonizing venture and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces.”5Idem, 51. Since he was open about an “Iron wall of bayonets” that needed to separate Jews and Arabs, there was little confusion about the purpose of the paramilitary militias that Jabotinsky endorsed. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Irgun and the Stern Gang launched a terror campaign against Palestinian civilians (and British officials towards the end of the Mandate period) that left hundreds of casualties.

Lest these extreme forms of intimidation be seen as evidence that the need for ethnic cleansing was solely a right-wing policy aim, it was actually accomplished under the leadership of the dominant “Labor” branch of the Zionist movement. With the help of sympathetic British officers, the Jewish Agency was allowed to expand its military arm, the Haganah, during the Great Palestinian Revolt of 1936-1939. Meanwhile, the mainstream Zionist leadership, too, was gravitating towards a military solution to the “Arab Question.” Ben-Gurion, for instance, told his compatriots of the Jewish Agency in June 1938—ten years before the ‘wipe out’ comment—that “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.”6Pappe, The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, XI.

The Execution of Ethnic Cleansing

But how was this “compulsory transfer” to be accomplished? How, indeed, did the Zionists gain control over the majority of Palestine by the beginning of 1949 if a little over one year earlier they owned barely 5% of the land, the majority of which was concentrated in the cities? Here, the political and military clout they had built up over the years converged.

This time, foreign political help came from the recently founded United Nations, which, bear in mind, before decolonization in Africa and Asia was in large part a club of the Western Great Powers. These nations felt obliged to compensate the Jews for the Nazi Holocaust. In February 1947, the British decided to turn the fate of Palestine over to the UN. On November 29 of that year, after nine months of deliberation, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, which envisioned the partition of Palestine into two separate states. 56% of the land was to go to a Jewish state, while the Palestinians were left with only 43%. (A small enclave around Jerusalem was to become internationally governed.)

The Palestinians were vehemently opposed to partition, however. They considered it unfair since they held almost all of Palestine and had lived on their lands for generations. Moreover, while only 10,000 Jews would end up under Palestinian governance, 438,000 Palestinians—as well as hundreds of villages and the most fertile land—would end up under Jewish rule overnight. Leaving these Palestinians in the hands of an ideology which had openly vowed to de-Arabize Palestine contributed to the fate that was to befall them.

Indeed, the Palestinian and Arab rejection of the UN plan allowed the Zionist leadership to claim the moral upper hand. Ben-Gurion was a good tactician; like many of his successors, he kept the most extreme Zionist elements at bay and made sure to demonstrate to the outside world that the Jewish side, contrary to the Arabs, did accept the UN plan. Behind closed doors, however, he knew that the borders of the Jewish state “will be determined by force and not by the partition resolution.”7Idem, 36-7.

Still, the two-state solution created a huge problem that preoccupies Zionists until today: the so-called “demographic balance.” Jews would constitute only a tiny majority in the future Jewish state, and this did not stroke with the exclusionary Zionist ideology. As Ben-Gurion said in a speech a few days after the publication of the UN partition plan, “there are 40% non-Jews in the areas allocated to the Jewish state. This composition is not a solid basis for a Jewish state. […] Only a state with at least 80% Jews is a viable and stable state.”8Idem, 48.

And thus, the plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine was born. By the end of the year, parallel to an escalation in terrorist attacks by Irgun and the Stern Gang (and later on also the Haganah), Ben-Gurion gave the green light for lethal assaults on Arab villages. The object was clear: “Every attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion.”9Idem, 64. In early March, ethnic cleansing was adopted as official policy in Plan Dalet (or Plan D), which sanctioned operations aimed at “destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their rubble). […] In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state.”

It is difficult not to read “in case of resistance” here as a silly pretext. Indeed, in a letter to the commanders of Haganah brigades, Ben-Gurion stated unequivocally that “the cleansing of Palestine [is] the primary objective of Plan Dalet.”10Idem, 128. Moreover, although there was certainly Palestinian armed resistance (and at times acts of retaliation), the systematic ethnic cleansing of 531 villages and eleven urban neighborhoods and towns that followed happened regardless of the presence and activity of Arab armed forces. Hundreds of civilians were killed in dozens of cold-blooded massacres, which, as intended, drove more than 750.000 Palestinians to flee beyond the territory under control of the Israelis. These refugees would never be allowed back in.

The Memory-Holing of Ethnic Cleansing

Like all subsequent assaults on Palestine, Israeli propaganda has done its best to try to paint the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1947-1949 as a defensive war. Echoing later proclamations that the Jews were about to be “driven into the sea,” Ben-Gurion and company justified their military action as a desperate attempt to stave off a “second Holocaust.” In private, however, Ben-Gurion was well aware of the superior military power of the Zionist forces. In a letter from February 1948, for instance, he wrote that “we can face all the Arab forces. This is not a mystical belief, but a cold and rational calculation based on practical examination.”11Idem, 46.

The Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, and Jordanian forces that entered Palestine following Israel’s declaration of independence in May 1948 almost exclusively operated in the areas allocated to the Palestinians under the UN partition plan. For the Jordanians, not crossing the UN-proposed borders was even part of a secret deal with the Jewish Agency. But even at defending those borders the Arab forces did a bad job. Indeed, after the war was over the Israelis controlled 78% of historic Palestine, having conquered almost half of the land that was supposed to become part of a Palestinian state. What was left was the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, the first two of which were annexed by Jordan and the last by Egypt. In 1967, finally, Israel conquered and occupied these areas (as well as the Egyptian Sinai and Syrian Golan Heights), too.

In the procrastinated peace process that has dragged on ever since, the acceptance of the State of Israel within the 1949 armistice lines (the so-called “Green Line”) has formed a sine qua non for the Israelis. Everything that happened before 1967 is considered a fait accompli and is simply not on the negotiating table. Israel, with diplomatic help from its new great-power patron, the United States, to this day ignores UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which affirms the right of return for the millions of descendants of the 750,000 Palestinians it expelled between 1947 and 1949. Meanwhile, under Israel’s 1950 Law of Return, every Jew in the world has the right to “return” to Israel and acquire citizenship.

The fate of the Palestinians that the Israelis failed to expel beyond the borders of historic Palestine is perhaps even more tragic. Palestinians inside the State of Israel, which today make up around 21% of the population, live under a system of Apartheid. Palestinians living in the West Bank continue to live under occupation. And Palestinians in Gaza are confined to what is often called “the world’s largest open-air prison,” suffering at the hands of a devastating fifteen-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade and intermittent Israeli bombing campaigns.

Shakedown Street – Cops And Local Government Shakedown Locals In Small Town Alabama

2022 01 20 09 09

“It’s my understanding that a guy can go out there and I mean, he can fall into a black hole,” Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr said of drivers getting entangled financially. “You know, we’ve had a lot of issues with Brookside.”

Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway said the same.

“We get calls about Brookside quite regularly because they really go outside their jurisdiction to stop people,” Pettway said. “Most of the time people get stopped, they’re going to get a ticket. And they’re saying they were nowhere near Brookside.”

Police stops soared between 2018 and 2020. Fines and forfeitures – seizures of cars during traffic stops, among other things – doubled from 2018 to 2019. In 2020 they came to $610,000. That’s 49% of the small town’s skyrocketing revenue.

“This is shocking,” said Crowder. “No one can objectively look at this and conclude this is good government that is keeping us safer.”

Because people overwhelmed by debt have been shown to turn to crime to pay their fines “an argument can be made that this kind of policing creates crime,” Crowder said.

Brookside Police Chief Mike Jones, who spearheaded the change and grew the police department tenfold, at least, calls the town’s policing “a positive story.” Mayor Mike Bryan – a former councilman who assumed his position last year after the death of the previous mayor – sits and nods in agreement.

Jones said crime when he took over was higher than it appeared from numbers the town reported to the state. He said response times were long because Brookside often had to rely on the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department for service.

He said he’d like to see even more growth in revenue from fines and forfeitures.

“I see a 600% increase – that’s a failure. If you had more officers and more productivity you’d have more,” Jones said. “I think it could be more.”

more here

H/T Robert Barnes

The War Over Your Mind

The War Over Your Mind

Attention is the new currency.

This isn’t an original thought. For decades there has been competition for your mind and attention on a multitude of fronts. With the popularity of social media and the twenty-four-hour news cycle the efforts have only accelerated.

The speed at which information travels today is exhausting. Information overload is a real thing, and everyone is feeling it.

The other day, a young man approached me and said, “Man, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I used to have so much energy, but ever since COVID I feel so tired all the time.”

At twenty-five years old, he should be hitting his prime, but instead he’s burdened by the weight of the ever-changing narratives, lies, and gaslighting coming at him from every direction.

Even as I sit here, I know the message I wish to convey, but my mind is a jumbled mess of information that is peripherally relevant to the burdens of the modern age.

How does one discern what to pay attention to and what to ignore?

Censorship

Over the last few years (after Trump’s surprising victory) the decision as to what information and news the masses ingest is being monitored by the elites and corporate press. The rise of alternative media, especially large podcasts, has fueled their panic, and pushed their attempts to control the narrative into overdrive.

The big tech companies took it upon themselves to determine what was allowable discourse. They ran mass censorship campaigns against anyone that said anything that challenged the power and prestige of the elites. What was once common speech among friends and colleagues is now hate speech. Comedians, politicians, and independent media personalities were depersoned and ostracized from the public square, social media platforms.

“It’s a private company, bro,” became the battle cry of the blue-check class and their useful idiots. But none dare take on the actuality that these “private companies” are funded and utilized by governments and intelligence communities around the world to track and trace dissidents.

This dystopianism didn’t stop with Julian Assange, Alex Jones, and Donald Trump. As more people have come to depend on Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter for news and information we’ve seen respected doctors and researchers deplatformed and search results throttled to curb “dangerous” voices and “disinformation” that challenges the approved directives of the elites. Even the Financial Times is publishing stories promoting psyops as crucial in the fight against disinformation. After Joe Biden asked publicly for tech companies to censor opposing voices DirecTV quickly announced they were dropping OAN, a right-wing populist news agency, from their list of networks.

In their attempts to control the information the elites are creating more division among the citizens. Soon there will be parallel societies in operation in these United States.

Alongside Right

In J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night an underground economy has been created by Agorists. The competing gray-market thrives while central planners destroy the nation’s economy. As the financial system crumbles the state attempts to crush the Agorists, but they’ve so effectively created a parallel marketplace that the state is helpless to stop the tidal wave. The state fails under the weight of its policies and the competing underground market.

In the late 80’s when Schulman wrote the novel revolutionary economic success was pie-in-the-sky, but today it is more attainable than ever. Crypto currencies and blockchain technology are becoming more popular; under COVID lockdowns small businesses were deemed nonessential while multinational corporations raked in more profit than ever, the Federal Reserve printed off trillions of dollars the political elites happily distributed to their cronies while throwing crumbs to the citizens they determined to be unnecessary, the supply chains were destroyed leaving shelves empty in cities across the nation; and the SEC quietly created an ESG taskforce to police the investments of Americans while the large corporations ushered in their own egalitarian standards that will surely devastate large swathes of the country.

Throughout the devastation of the COVID tyranny small business owners and workers that could not afford to sit around and wait for permission from the political class thumbed their nose at the lockdowns. There were surges of news stories about churches opening despite orders to close, the return of speakeasies, hairdressers arrested for daring to cut hair, and millions of people exchanging goods and services in an underground economy forced upon them.

All the while we were meant to believe that the virus made it too deadly for you to live your life while the rich got richer by the day, and if you questioned the motives of the COVID regime you were labeled a dangerous, science denying, right-wing conspiracy theorist that must be silenced.

This demonization of people, some very liberal, as right-wing, labeling half of the country as backwards hicks, and the unwillingness to allow people to choose their own risks created the environment for conservatives to become ever more rebellious to the regime. COVID transformed from a potentially deadly virus that people should be aware of to a political battle. One was either on the left, embracing the dictates of the political class and enrichment of their corporate masters, or they were on the right, battling the tyranny and carving out their own economic paths.

Gaslighting  

From day one the messaging around COVID was an obvious sham. There was little doubt that the entire goal was to instill fear into the public, exacerbate the virus into becoming the largest crisis known to man, and usher in a corporate-centric governance of equity among the citizens while the establishment remained on high collecting more wealth, power, and influence at your expense.

Unfortunately, the gaslighting didn’t start with COVID.

It would be impossible to trace back all of the propaganda of the U.S. government and how it has been utilized to rob people of their liberties, so I’m going to focus on the era at hand.

The modern era of gaslighting the public, and the way we see this psychological tactic used today was a response to Donald Trump’s presidency.

For years we listened to Democrats and media personalities decry Trump as a traitorous Russian puppet. When no charges were filed the pundits were in tears because the incompetent boob that couldn’t read presidential briefings had outsmarted the FBI. And though we’ve found out that the entire Russia investigation around Trump was a plot cooked up by the DNC and FBI there are those that still claim the most incompetent president ever is a brilliant criminal mastermind. (But you’re the crazy one.)

When Trump asked Ukraine to investigate the ties of Biden and Burisma due to a recording of Biden admitting to bribing Ukraine to fire the official investigating Burisma Trump was impeached for bribing Ukraine to investigate bribery… (But you’re the crazy one.)

When Time published an article admitting to the rigging of the 2020 election for Biden you were a crazy conspiracy theorist for referencing the article.

When you said they were not going to stop lockdowns after 15 days, you were crazy.

When lockdowns went on for a year and you pointed out that you had said that was going to happen, you were crazy.

When you said masks don’t work, you were crazy, and now that they admit masks don’t work, you’re still crazy.

When you asked about Moderna and the NIH sharing ownership of the MRNA vaccine patent, you’re crazy.

When you said COVID wasn’t deadly for children, you were crazy.

When you read data, you’re crazy.

When you point out the redistribution of wealth from the productive class to the parasitic class, you’re crazy.

When you say they are counting “with” COVID as “because” of COVID, you are crazy.

When BLM protested the virus couldn’t spread, but when conservatives rally or protest it is a super spreader event.

Natural immunity is no longer a thing and locking yourself in a dark room with bonbons is much healthier than going outside and exercising.

Everything you thought you knew is wrong, and the new science of totalitarianism is the truth.

Etc…I could go on all day.

The point is, the facts are not the facts until those with the monopoly on facts tell you that the facts are in fact the facts, and if you dare read, think, question, or disobey you are a dangerous biological weapon wanting to kill grandma.

You Are Not Alone

The effects of COVID, political oppression, and the corporate press’ agenda are evident in the eyes of everyone I encounter. The average person that does not regularly engage in political discourse or question authority has been completely demoralized and feels like they have nowhere to turn. They feel alone. They feel silenced. They feel insane.

If you’ve read this far, I suspect you, like me, are looking for people that are witnessing and feeling the pressure of the regime and are ready to push back against the narrative.

The fact is you are not alone. Millions of people around the world feel just as you do.

So, how can you fight back?

It would be easy to write a rant that left you seething and not offer any solutions, but I refuse to do that. Before we get to the solution, we must identify the problem.

America was founded on the idea of self-governance. As imperfect as the founding of the country was it was the founding of an idea to move forward and progress into more freedom and liberty for its citizens. God, family, and country were the hallmarks, and order of importance for which we were to live our lives and build the nation.

Over the last century the myth (by myth I mean the origin story not the derogatory perversion of the term) of God has been corrupted and dismantled, the family has been destroyed, and the idea of country has come to mean that your well-being is given its value and purpose by those elected to represent you.

The political class of parasites that feed on your labor and successes have spent the last few generations selling out the future for their own gains and comforts. Your children and grandchildren are expected to be sacrificed on the altar of their desires.

Parents are no longer expected to sacrifice themselves for the well-being of the children’s future, rather, children are to be tortured and psychologically abused by society so that the boomer generation may have everlasting life.

The destruction of trust in the political system and the corporate press has trickled down and eroded trust among Americans. Even those that should be allies are suspect of each other.

There is no more community structure in which citizens feel like they belong. The illusion of power and respectability of government is the only thread holding any of this together; the same government selling out the future to corporate interests.

If we are to retain any semblance of civility and liberty it is up to us to begin to repair the fractures that have torn families, communities, and allies apart. We must begin to interact and engage in our local communities, boycott corporations like Amazon, Walmart, Costco, and the U.S. government. Involve yourself in local elections, buy from your local markets, seek out small, specialized companies, and reject the lazy one stop shopping with the goal of strengthening the bonds of your community.

As long as we allow ourselves to be secluded and divided for convenience the power reserved for the people will continue to be consolidated. You are not alone, but if you don’t work to build and strengthen the bonds with those that share your values, ideas, and desire for liberty you may as well be.

1/19/2022

1/19/2022

Covid

  • SCOTUS rejects an emergency appeal challenging the mask mandate on airplanes. [Link]
  • Wisconsin will deploy over 200 National Guard soldiers to nursing homes over the next two months. [Link]
  • The US gives seven million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Bangladesh through Covax. [Link]

US News

  • A grand jury recommended charges against three police officers that opened fire on two teens and killed an 8-year-old girl. Initially, the state charged the two teens with Fanta Bility’s murder, even though prosecutors knew it was one of the cops that fired the shot that killed her. [Link]
  • Police in California and Kansas have seized over $1 million from three armored trucks that service the legal marijuana industry. [Link]
  • The Washington National Guard will deploy 100 troops to Poland. First, the soldiers will train at Fort Bliss. [Link]
  • Tennessee will deploy 25 members of its National Guard to Kuwait. [Link]

Russia

  • NATO says it will treat an attack on any of its members’ space assets as an attack on the alliance. [Link]
  • NATO signs an agreement with Ukraine to boost cyber cooperation. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy. [Link]
  • The US is concerned about Russia moving troops to Belarus for war games. [Link]
  • The US says Russia could invade Ukraine at any time. [Link]

China

  • Taiwan will pay Ballard Partners $900,000 to lobby on behalf of Guatemala to US officials. [Link]
  • The US increased its number of aircraft carrier deployments to the South China Sea to ten in 2021, up from six in 2020. The warships engaged in more unpredictable routes and maneuvers. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The Taliban are attempting to place their officials in Afghan embassies. [Link]

Israel

  • The US and Israel claim to have successfully tested the Arrow-3 missile interceptor system. The Arrow-3 is designed to intercept missiles outside the atmosphere. The system could be used to hit satellites. [Link]
  • A report says Israel targeted its citizens with Pegasus spyware. [Link]
  • Women rights activists in Jordan and Bahrain had their phones targeted with the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. [Link]
  • Israel offers security and intelligence support to the UAE in response to the Houthi drone attack. [Link]

Middle East

  • South Korea will sell the UAE $3.4 billion in anti-aircraft missile systems. [Link]
  • The US sanctioned three Lebanese men over alleged ties to Hezbollah. [Link]

Africa

  • Four people were killed by an al-Shabaab suicide bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia. [Link]
  • An IED in Burkina Faso wounded four French soldiers. [Link]
A Porcupine Peace Plan: How An Independent New Hampshire Could Increase U.S. Security

A Porcupine Peace Plan: How An Independent New Hampshire Could Increase U.S. Security

“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”– Sun Tzu

On March 12, 2006 five U.S. soldiers violated, then murdered, 14-year-old Abeer Hamza in her home at Yusufiyah, Iraq. Then they covered up the killing by wiping out most of her family at taxpayer expense.1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmudiyah_rape_and_killings

Fifteen years and four days later, several dozen U.S. policy enforcement officers stormed a quiet neighborhood in America’s Pleasantville: Keene, New Hampshire. After using a battering ram connected to an armored vehicle, they flew a drone through the window of a home studio housing the state’s top radio discussion show, Free Talk Live. Washington claimed that some of its libertarian hosts had been selling significant amounts of Bitcoin without government permission and filed charges of “unlicensed money transmission.” The imperial capitol is seeking life imprisonment for at least one of the arrestees, with no credible claim that he even victimized anyone.2https://www.unionleader.com/news/crime/claiming-flight-risk-judge-orders-free-keene-activist-held-until-bitcoin-money-laundering-trial/article_04baa708-5613-5bc2-9f58-ac97b76616d6.html

Though different in a hundred ways, each of these federal excesses exemplified the numberless grievances which have sparked a growing pushback against D.C. in the “Live Free or Die” state. Local activists and legislators reacted with the New Hampshire Independence Amendment, also known as CACR 32. This constitutional revision would allow all NH residents to vote in a 2022 referendum on whether the state will continue being governed by Washington.

New Hampshire already has a long history of example-setting. But by striving for independence—and a more humane world security protocol—its citizens may be able to do something better. With your help, and the careful placement of a new idea on the geopolitical board, maybe our tiny new nation could even stop a world war.

NH independence proponents make a simple case. The FedGov, they say, has bloated beyond the point where normal individuals can meaningfully oppose its atrocities with conventional civics. They point to the successes of Estonian and British independence movements as well as the global trend toward “smaller nations.” In 1900 there were roughly 60 countries in the world. Now there are about 200. Meanwhile, thanks to these and other national divorces, the harm-inflicting capacity of various empires is less than it would be if they were still full-sized. Successful independence drives in America, too, should have a limiting effect on U.S. warmongering in faraway places.

But what of, say, Chinese government warmongering outside its​ borders? Whatever cruelties the U.S. government may have imposed, the nations bordering China do seem to generally prefer alliance with Washington over alliance with Beijing; some rely on D.C. for their security more than they should.

One of the main criticisms of NH independence is that it could undermine U.S. defense capability or, more accurately, American capacity for carrying out the existing commitments to NATO and Taiwan. The latter is of special significance, and we’ll use it as the focus of this discussion. But the arguments here apply to every U.S. ally.

Critics argue that America is overextended, much as Britain was overextended in the 1939 era when it guaranteed Poland against the Nazis. In those days the perception was that London had only two available courses of action: Wage war on Germany or appease Hitler by abandoning Poland. Today people imagine that we face a similar unthinkable choice as China flexes its new powers against Taiwan. An invasion of the island could trigger these same two ruinous impulses against a great resurgent Power, this time with the likelihood it would escalate into nuclear war. Taiwan’s friends, the thinking goes, would either have to commit another Munich…or defend the quasi-nation by risking civilization. Wouldn’t a New Hampshire independence drive damage America’s ability to follow the second option to victory?

Actually, there is a third option which could prevent both the evils of “big war” and the abandonment of overseas promises. An independent New Hampshire, or prospect thereof, is one way to put that path on the table. Let’s call this option the “Porcupine Peace Plan” for now…in honor of a less-threatening but better-defended posture some of us envision for America’s alliances.

This plan rests upon the barely-discussed idea that there is a great, untapped defense capacity among all reasonably-prosperous peoples, especially in Taiwan. Unlike military buildup it is a power which, when exercised, saves tax dollars rather than spending them…increases freedoms rather than reducing them. It possesses little potential for starting wars of aggression but has a proven history of discouraging them. Nevertheless, this power is often suppressed by the rulers of vulnerable nations…even as some of them face invasion or treat nuclear first-strikes as a legitimate method of self-protection.3https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/22/us/politics/nuclear-war-risk-1958-us-china.html

This seemingly magical ability…is the power of armed, individual self-defense…weapons freedom for the private citizen. And it is a power that the government of Taiwan has systematically denied to its people, at grave risk to a nervous world. The island’s gun control laws are so strict that WorldPopulationReview.com lists the number of civilian firearms there at literally zero per 100 persons (the U.S. has 120). Historically, the relative gun freedom of America helped it win the Revolutionary War and limited its risk of invasion over the following centuries.4https://davekopel.org/2A/LawRev/american-revolution-against-british-gun-control.html

We must respect the wishes of Taiwanese regarding their internal laws. But Taipei should respect our wishes when it comes to whether we risk our lives for them over their willful self-emasculation. We currently are doing exactly that at their government’s request; every last American is potentially on Beijing’s target list.5https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_first_use And Taipei has unnecessarily increased the chances for war with Beijing…by keeping its civilians disarmed.

This policy cannot help but cause Taiwan to be a far more attractive target for invasion than it would be if it had weapons freedom for the average citizen. The island’s well-meaning government has formidable armed forces, but there is no substitute for the “defense dispersal” and individual initiative which comes from civilian weaponry. Gun freedom, in 1940, made fascist-surrounded Switzerland impractical for Germany to invade.6https://davekopel.org/2A/Foreign/swiss-and-their-guns.html Norway, by contrast, was heavily defended by the British Empire and nowhere near surrounded…but fell quickly when Hitler’s forces mounted an attack on “central points of failure.”7https://www.britannica.com/event/World-War-II/The-invasion-of-Norway

Gun availability for the average person can solve only so many problems, but nations which acquire this freedom also acquire a ready-made, widely-dispersed guerilla arsenal ready for use against any occupier. It lets a tiny nation do what Sun Tzu suggested, and “be like water.” When added to Taiwan’s existing military deterrent…this “scary freedom” should be enough to prevent invasion indefinitely.

Skeptical? Then you tell us: How well has the U.S. “nuclear government” fared against Afghan riflemen? Why is Beijing so terrified of guns that it has enacted some of the world’s strictest prohibitions against civilian-owned weaponry?8https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_control_in_China

Thanks to Taipei, the mainland communists don’t have much of that to be terrified of in Taiwan. They don’t have to factor civie-guns much into their “invasion equation” as Hitler did when he abandoned his plan to attack Switzerland. Ending this citizen-disempowerment could be just enough to prevent the expected attack on Taiwan. And New Hampshire can gently make the case…either through government policy or constructive private action. Here are the suggested steps to get us there:

  1. The New Hampshire Independence Amendment must get a full and fair hearing by our State and Federal Relations committee and face the full legislature without substantial alteration. This will give NHexiters new clout to advance the Porcupine Peace Plan. In the unlikely event Independence obtains legislative super-majorities on this first try, it would then go before the people. If they vote “yes” then…​
  2. Neutral by default, the newly independent nation could begin negotiations on whether it will re-join the alliances it has just departed.
  3. The negotiators should request, as a minimal precondition for re-joining, that Taiwan and other countries take steps of their own choosing to undo the invasion-friendly types of laws we’ve outlined above. It would be on the Taiwanese themselves to figure out how they want to handle this…and on us to decide whether their reforms, if any, are sufficient to win us over as renewed allies. The more weapon freedom they can offer their people, the more we’d want to join.
  4. If Taipei can’t accept this suggestion, loyally and responsibly given, New Hampshire could simply remain neutral and is probably better off that way anyhow. As Switzerland and Costa Rica have proven, neutrality can be much safer than joining an alliance. But we will have kept faith with the beleaguered island.

Even if New Hampshire doesn’t get past step one in 2022, we should at least be able to put the gun-control-helps-invaders issue on the table. And the same weapon freedom concerns which apply to Taiwan…should apply toward any potential ally, even as new personal defenses begin to replace firearms. A cheaper and more humane way of looking at security…may start to set in.

Objections

A) Crime concerns. Taipei presumably keeps its people disarmed in an honest attempt to reduce violent crime and/or uprising. Probably there is a fear that relaxation of gun laws would cause these to increase. There are not many test cases of real gun freedom in first-world Asia; we Westerners can only tell our own tale. We know that the U.S. states with the least gun control also have the least crime. New Hampshire, for example, has virtually no gun laws of its own and the second-highest level of gun freedom in America. Perhaps because of this it also has the second-lowest crime rate, and there was no violent uprising here during the 2020 unrest. Meanwhile the District of Columbia has gun restrictions comparable to Taiwan’s, “some of the strongest gun violence prevention legislation in the nation.”9https://giffords.org/lawcenter/gun-laws/washington-dc/ Perhaps because of this…it also has America’s highest rate of violent crime and two semi-violent protests since 2020 which partially penetrated White House and Capitol Building defenses respectively.10https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_violent_crime_rate

The statistics are not always so clear-cut in favor of gun freedom as a crime reducer…but they do not take into account the potential—much greater—violence of the wars which gun control enables.

B ) Gun incidents—More weapons could mean more accidents and suicides; people would need to get up to speed on firearm safety. For the sake of argument let’s assume it would also mean more crime. But let’s keep these challenges in context. Taipei’s gun control has helped create a situation where the U.S. Navy is prepping for a possibly civilization-ending fleet battle over Taiwan, projected to cost it more than 10,000 lives on the first day of full engagement.11https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_keFhXPclns

C) Disruption. The Porcupine Peace Plan could trigger more independence legislation or otherwise distract Beijing’s target governments at a time when they arguably need to focus on preventing/winning the hot/cold war. If we’re an unwelcome disruption, perhaps we can make up for it. Maybe we could trigger a larger volunteer effort to help Taiwan deter invasion, with her consent. The goal should be lawful, private weapon and ammo shipments to Taiwanese civilians. But perhaps medicines or other pre-positioned supplies are doable now on an individual basis.

Meanwhile, it should not be hard for New Hampshirites, thinking, acting, maybe even being​ outside the box, to do better for Taiwan than we have in the past. Last year we were just another tiny assimilated unit in the Pacific alliance…paying taxes to the fumbling U.S. torture state but giving little thought to our sister democracy on Formosa. There is plenty of room for improvement.

D) The next objection should come from you.​ Visit to the link above if you’d like to raise concerns publicly. You can also contact me there, or volunteer to help. This idea is potentially world-changing, but I’m just another de-platformed videographer; what I can do alone is very limited without you.

Ultimately, this idea is not competing with perfect. It’s competing with the existing, terrifying options which unimaginative bureaucracies have handed us: Appeasement and nuclear war. You don’t need much speed to win a race with turtles, but urgency is indicated. For Taiwan and an honorable world peace…time is probably running out.

This article was originally featured at the Shire Forum and is republished with permission.

1/19/2022

News Roundup 1/10/2022

Covid

  • Massachusetts hospitals will begin reporting different stats for those hospitalized because of covid and those who were hospitalized for a different reason and tested positive. [Link]
  • New York has canceled surgeries at 40 hospitals across the state. [Link]
  • Moderna says it sold $17.5 billion in covid vaccines in 2021. Moderna expects the number to increase to $18.5 billion – or more – in 2022. [Link]
  • The Pentagon awards a contract to Revival Health for 13 million at-home covid test kits. The amount of the contract was not disclosed. The tests will be counted as part of Biden’s plan to buy 500 million tests. [Link]
  • The Pentagon awards a $52 million contract to Goldbelt Security LLC for covid antigen tests. [Link]
  • US forces in Japan will stay on base for two weeks due to an outbreak in covid cases. [Link]
  • The US donated 2.7 million Pfizer covid vaccines to the Philippines through Covax. [Link]
  • The US donated 5 million covid vaccine doses to African countries through Covax. [Link]

US News

  • A US Cyber Command task force carried out its first offensive operation in 2021. [Link]
  • GEOST wins a $39 million contract from the Space Force for space-based sensors. [Link]
  • About 30% of former Gitmo detainees that were resettled to their countries lack proper legal status in those countries. Some former inmates were transferred to prisons in third countries that are worse than Gitmo. [Link]
  • Lithuania pays $113,000 to Abu Zubaydah because the CIA tortured Zubaydah in Lithuania. He is unable to access the money because he is still detained and his assets are frozen by the US. [Link]
  • The US is donating three warships to Uruguay. The original cost of the ships was $14 million. Uruguay will pay $5 million to upgrade the ships. [Link]

Russia

  • Kazakhstan reports 164 people were killed during a week of protests and riots. Some of the dead are members of security forces. [Link]  Nearly 8,000 people were arrested. The government says it now has firm control over the country. [Link]
  • The US warned Kazakhstan against inviting Russian troops to help quell riots. [Link]
  • Ukraine is pushing Congress to vote for a bill sponsored by Ted Cruz that would sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejects a Russian security proposal to end eastward NATO expansion. [Link]
  • The US ruled out any troop cuts in Eastern Europe. [Link]
  • Russia says initial talks with the US in Vienna were “complex and business-like.” [Link]

Myanmar

  • Myanmar’s military sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional four years in prison. She is currently serving a two year sentence. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • An Afghan baby that went missing while in the custody of US soldiers during the evacuation of Kabul has finally been located. [Link]
  • The Taliban say an explosion killed nine children near the border with Pakistan. [Link]
  • Israel is preventing replacement parts for damaged water and sewage lines from entering Gaza. [Link]
  • Israeli bulldozers and tanks destroyed Palestinian crops. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia is going to run out of “interceptor” missiles within months. Saudi Arabia is seeking more Patriot missile ammo from other Gulf countries. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia is pushing the US for more Patriot missiles saying the need is urgent. [Link]
  • France says progress was made in Iran nuclear talks. [Link]
  • Iran sanctions 52 Americans over the Soleimani assassination. [Link]
  • The US warns Iran of serious consequences if any Americans are killed. Drones and rockets have recently targeted bases housing US soldiers in Iraq. [Link]
  • Iraqi political leader Sadr says there is no place for militias in Iraq. [Link]
  • Three Turkish soldiers were killed by an IED. In response, Turkey killed 12 members of the PKK. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia says Yemeni ports are legitimate military targets. Saudi alleged the Houthi have bases at the ports. [Link]

Africa

  • Somalia’s prime minister issues an apology to the UAE for his country seizing $10 million from the UAE in 2018. The prime minister said the money would be returned. [Link]
  • Ethiopia announced it would release some high-profile political figures from opposition parties. [Link]
  • At least 56 people were killed by airstrikes on a displaced persons camp in Ethiopia. [Link]
  • A block of 15 West African nations sanction Mali over the military coup’s leaders’ plans to hold elections in five years. [Link]
  • Militants killed over 100 people in a raid in Nigeria. [Link] Over 200 people were killed in Nigeria in the past week. [Link]
  • South Sudan is expected to face its most severe food shortage in 2022. [Link]
A Solution to Transgender Sports

A Solution to Transgender Sports

Even in these politically divisive times, this headline fairly leaps off the page at you: “Texas Passes Bill Barring Sports for Transgender Students.”

According to Texas State House Representative Valoree Swanson, a sponsor of this bill, it is “all about girls and protecting them” in the state’s University Interscholastic League. She continued: “We need a statewide level playing field…It’s very important that we, who got elected to be here, protect our girls.”

This seems a bit unfair to a small group of marginalized students, but we all know the genesis of this initiative: boys with dresses beating girls in sports; no, pulverizing them. The hearts of the Texas legislators are undoubtedly in the right places, given such goings on. Still, we can do better than this, while still safeguarding the distaff side against unwarranted and manifest unfair competitions in athletic competitions.

How can this be accomplished? Simple. Instead of entirely barring transgender students from sports, set up their own competitions for them! There is simply no justification for treating innocent students of this demographic so harshly, so unjustifiably. If they had their own sports competitions, no longer would they be able to run roughshod over their fellow students who are of the female persuasion. Nor would they be deprived of the benefits that these activities confer on all participants.

In boxing, there are numerous weight categories; as it happens, there are seventeen:

minimumweight, 105 pounds (48 kg)

light flyweight, 108 pounds (49 kg)

flyweight, 112 pounds (51 kg)

super flyweight, 115 pounds (52 kg)

bantamweight, 118 pounds (53.5 kg)

super bantamweight, 122 pounds (55 kg)

featherweight, 126 pounds (57 kg)

super featherweight, 130 pounds (59 kg)

lightweight, 135 pounds (61 kg)

super lightweight, 140 pounds (63.5 kg)

welterweight, 147 pounds (67 kg)

super welterweight, 154 pounds (70 kg)

middleweight, 160 pounds (72.5 kg)

super middleweight, 168 pounds (76 kg)

light heavyweight, 175 pounds (79 kg)

cruiserweight, 200 pounds (91 kg)

heavyweight, unlimited

Why has this system been instituted in the “sweet science?” Well, every once in a while, a good small man can beat a good big man. But weight is a strong determinant of success in this sport. It would be a rare bantamweight of 118 pounds who could successfully take on a cruiserweight tipping the scales at the double century mark. The latter is almost twice as heavy as the former. There are no such weight divisions in numerous other sports: ping-pong, swimming, running, tennis, volleyball, basketball, football, baseball, etc. Why not? That is because sheer weight does not garner any such advantages therein. However, there are age categories in numerous athletic competitions (running, swimming, tennis, for example) since that characteristic does indeed confer great benefits for younger people vis a vis the aged.

How does transgenderism fit into this situation? Clearly, being born male comes with benefits in many high school sports and college and middle school too. When faced with a stronger male, even one underdoing chemical treatment to reduce testosterone levels, females simply cannot compete on anything like a fair basis.

But prohibiting the two from competing against one another does logically imply that those with that characteristic should be entirely barred from competitive sports—as the new Texas law mandates. “Separate but equal” has a controversial aura in another educational context, but there is simply no just reason why this should pertain insofar as this new Texas law is concerned. It is not merely slightly unfair to bar any demographic, no matter how small in population, from sports for something that is no fault of theirs.

Depending upon the situation, it might make sense, also, to have separate competitions for those transitioning from male to female, and, in sharp distinction, those moving in the exact opposite direction. Boxing, as we have seen, has 17 different categories; here, we could have four: males only, females only, male to female, and female to male.

The difficulty is that there might be too few members of the latter two categories for there to be enough competition. How might this challenge be addressed? Consider long distance running, say, a marathon of 26.2 miles. Members of all four groups would race against each other. However, when medals are given out there would be four sets. In larger events, there are sometimes tens of thousands of participants. Plenty of competition there. But what about smaller and shorter events; for instance, a 5k race with only a few hundred entrants, as often occurs. There might be only one transgendered person there. So, give that person a medal. This is what occurs for runners in the 80-84 category. There are very few of us, also, in such races!

12/30/21 Grant F. Smith on Israel’s Evolving Strategy to Sway American Politics

Scott is joined by Grant F. Smith to talk about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) new strategy for reaching U.S. politicians. AIPAC has largely operated as a lobbying group on behalf of the State of Israel. But, as Smith explains, they are now working to set up a network of Political Action Committees. This will give them more freedom to fund candidates they like, and support the opponents of candidates they don’t. Scott and Smith give possible reasons for the evolving methods. 

Discussed on the show:

Grant F. Smith is the author of a number of books including Big Israel: How Israel’s Lobby Moves America, Divert!, and most recently The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. He is director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: The War State and Why The Vietnam War?, by Mike Swanson; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; EasyShip; Free Range Feeder; Thc Hemp Spot; Green Mill Supercritical; Bug-A-Salt and Listen and Think Audio.

Shop Libertarian Institute merch or donate to the show through Patreon, PayPal or Bitcoin: 1DZBZNJrxUhQhEzgDh7k8JXHXRjYu5tZiG.

1/19/2022

News Roundup 12/30/21

Covid

  • Georgia will spend $100 million to hire medical staff and deploy 200 National Guard soldiers to medical facilities. [Link]
  • Over 3,000 Navy reserve sailors missed the deadline to take the covid vaccination. [Link]

US News

  • Illinois bars the state employee pension fund from investing in Unilever – Ben and Jerry’s parent company. The decision was made because of a decision not to sell Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in West Bank settlements. [Link]
  • The NDAA includes a provision that prevents Biden from closing Gitmo. [Link]

Great Power

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirms US support for Ukraine in a phone call with President Zelenskyy. [Link]
  • Biden and Putin will speak on the phone today. [Link]
  • Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will lead US talks with Russia. [Link]
  • Russia and Belarus will hold joint war games in early 2022. Putin says details of the military drills have not been decided. [Link]
  • Taiwan says it is ready for deeper military ties with the US after Biden signed the NDAA that directs billions in funds against China. [Link]

Middle East

  • Russian and US officials met to discuss Iran. [Link]
  • Iraqi political leader Sadr met with leaders of the Fatah party. [Link]

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