Something funny going on at blogger.com
For most of the day, I have been unable to access blogger.com with Google chrome. I get the error message "Bad request". Google's own browser cannot access Google's own blogging platform!
And IE9 is nearly as bad. I can access the site but the "publish" button does not work.
Fortunately, however, Firefox and Opera do work and I have been using those. For a while a post made with Firefox would not show an acknowledgment that the post had been made but that now seems to have been fixed. It pays to have all the main browsers up and running, doesn't it?
The GOP and the Donks are rivals, not opposites
Libertarian writer Anthony Gregory points out below how limited are the differences between the mainstream Left and Right and says that libertarians are the true enemies of the Left.
What he says is correct enough but he seemingly has no clue why that situation prevails. The differences between the two major parties are small because both are vying for the votes of the independent voter. And the independent voter is not a libertarian.
If the GOP were more libertarian, it would lose votes and lose office. Americans have only two choices, center-Left or center-Right. And that infuriates the Left as much as it does libertarians. The only hope is to move the center a bit -- which was Reagan's achievement.
There is an article on the inevitability of political centrism here
The government grows bigger every day and every year, no matter how you measure it. There are more laws, more police, and more prisoners than ever. The empire and presidential power have been on the rise for decades. Spending has increased at all levels. New bureaucracies, edicts, social programs, and prohibitions crop up continually. Almost no regulations are ever repealed – yes, back in the late 1990s, Clinton signed a partial deregulation of certain bank practices (opposed by Ron Paul, as it was phony to begin with), which had nothing to do with the financial meltdown and yet is blamed for every economic problem that unfolded in the last decade. Yes, back in the early 1980s, Reagan cut marginal tax rates while increasing other taxes and positioning himself to double the federal government, and, according to the left-liberals, we’ve been in a laissez-faire tailspin ever since. But anyone who really thinks libertarianism has been dominant in this country clearly has very little understanding of what libertarianism is – or is utterly detached from reality.
The fact is, most left-liberals do hate and fear libertarianism more than they oppose modern conservatism. It makes sense. For one thing, the conservatives and liberals seemingly agree on 90% of the issues, certainly when compared to the views of principled libertarians. They all favor having a strong military. We tend to want to abolish standing armies. They all think the police need more power – to crack down on guns, if you’re a liberal, and to crack down on drugs, if you’re a conservative. We libertarians think police have way too much power and flirt with the idea of doing away with them altogether. The conservatives and liberals all want to keep Medicare, Social Security, and public schools intact, if tweaked around the edges.
Second of all, conservatism is a much better foil for liberals to attack than libertarianism is. They can deal with the friendly rivalry between red-state fascism and blue-state socialism. With the central state as their common ground, the two camps enjoy hurling insults at each other, playing culture war games, vying over power, doing what they can to expand government knowing that even should they lose control, it will eventually come back to them. This might explain why when leftists condemn conservatism for its hypocritical claims to libertarianism, they seldom follow up by saying true libertarianism would in fact be preferable. To the contrary, the argument is usually that since the conservatives are collectivists after all, they should warm up to the liberal flavor of collectivism espoused by Democrats. The left correctly says the right does not embrace genuine free enterprise, but socialism for the rich, and that the right is not really for small government, not when it comes to imposing its values. But then does the left conclude that libertarianism is not so bad, after all? Not usually. For in the end, the more anti-government the right is, the more a menace it is to the left’s project of social democracy and humanitarian militarism.
But libertarianism, however weak its influence today, is a much greater long-term threat to the left than is any form of conservatism, and the leftist intellectuals sense this even if they can’t articulate why. Leftism, whether they know it or not, is a distorted permutation of the classical liberal tradition. The statist left did their deal with the devil – the nation-state, centralized authority of the most rapacious kind – supposedly with the goal of expediting the liberation of the common man and leveling the playing field. More than a century since the progressives and socialists twisted liberalism into an anti-liberty, pro-state ideology, they see that they have made a huge mess of the world, that, as they themselves complain, social inequality persists, corporatism flourishes, and wars rage on. As the chief political architects of the 20th century in the West, they have no one to blame but themselves, and so they target us – the true liberals, the ones who never let go of authentic liberal idealism, love of the individual dignity and rights of every man, woman and child, regardless of nationality or class, and hatred of state violence and coercive authoritarianism in all its forms.
But Barack Obama is really what has made the left-liberal illusion fold under the weight of its own absurdity. Here we had the perfect paragon of left-liberal social democracy. He beat the centrist Hillary Clinton then won the national election. He had a Democratic Congress for two years. He had loads of political capital by virtue of following a completely failed and unpopular Republican administration. The world welcomed him. The center cheered him. And what did he do?
He shoveled money toward corporate America, banks and car manufacturers. He championed the bailouts of the same Wall Street firms his very partisans blamed for the financial collapse. He picked the CEO of General Electric to oversee the unemployment problem. He appointed corporate state regulars for every major role in financial central planning. After guaranteeing a new era of transparency, he conducted all his regulatory business behind a shroud of unprecedented secrecy. He planned his health care scheme, the crown jewel of his domestic agenda, in league with the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
He continued the war in Iraq, even extending Bush’s schedule with a goal of staying longer than the last administration planned. He tripled the U.S. presence in Afghanistan then took over two years to announce the eventual drawdown to bring it back to only double the Bush presence. He widened the war in Pakistan, launching drone attacks at a dizzying pace. He started a war on false pretenses with Libya, shifting the goal posts and doing it all without Congressional approval. He bombed Yemen and lied about it.
He enthusiastically signed on to warrantless wiretapping, renditioning, the Patriot Act, prison abuse, detention without trial, violations of habeas corpus, and disgustingly invasive airport security measures. He deported immigrants more than Bush did. He increased funding for the drug war in Mexico. He invoked the Espionage Act more than all previous presidents combined, tortured a whistleblower, and claimed the right to unilaterally kill any U.S. citizen on Earth without even a nod from Congress or a shrug from the courts.
The left-liberals who stand by this war criminal and Wall Street shill have made their choice: better to have the militarism and police state, so long as it means a little more influence over domestic politics, even if that too is compromised by corporate interference, than it is to embrace a radical antiwar agenda that might complicate their domestic aspirations.
Our critics complain that America has "moved to the right" in the last three decades, and that would supposedly include Obama’s record so far, which appears in most part like a third Bush term. Yet not a single one of the egregious policies above passes libertarian muster. They are all anathema to the libertarian. And so are almost all policies embarked upon in the last three generations. And surely, this is true most of all for the wars. The few honest folks on the left recognize this.
Unfortunately, most of the left would rather not focus on the 98% of the Obama agenda that mirrors that of George W. Bush, including all the war on terror excesses they condemned for seven years. Or they comically attribute Obama’s Bush-like record as being part of the "culture of individualism" that we libertarians are somehow responsible for. Libertarianism, you see, can be found in the Obama White House as much as it lurks behind every Bush. You can expand government in every area but if you say something nice about the market or cut taxes by a couple percent, everything bad that happens on your watch is to be blamed on libertarianism.
Whether a willful misdirection or not, these leftists target their animus upon those who dare think that a nearly four-trillion-dollar federal government is too big, blaming Republicans for being too libertarian and blaming libertarians for being too idealistic or selfish.
Everyone who votes for Barack Obama, a man with the blood of thousands of innocents on his hands, all to avoid another Republican administration that will presumably (but unlikely) slash back the domestic state, would seem to have some sorry priorities. You really care about the poorest, most innocent people? Throw your party, your president, your social democratic dreams under the bus – threaten to withhold your votes from any Democrat who lends his support to any war ever again.
Such talk about withdrawing consent from the state frightens the statist left, who may also be quite embarrassed that the most principled opponents of empire and oppression are obviously not the economic interventionists, but those whose philosophy lies somewhere on the spectrum between anarchism and anti-Federalism. Aside from their sheer embarrassment there is another explanation for their deflection, for their attacks on libertarianism while their president shreds the Bill of Rights, bankrupts the country, and slaughters in their name: The left knows that in the very long run, libertarianism really is the great philosophical adversary it must contend with. The future clash will be between those who seek freedom from the state and those who seek salvation through the state, those who see the state as the enemy and those who somehow think the state can protect the masses from the ruling class.
As libertarians, our dream is more utopian and our ideals are loftier, but our understanding of reality is also much more grounded and justified. Voluntarism and the market are far more humane and productive than any coercive alternative. The state is the enemy of the little guy. This is an immutable truth of the human condition. Obama, like Bush before him, only demonstrates the impossibility of divorcing the party of power from the party of privilege. Eventually the young, the idealistic, and those who hope for real change will retreat from the lying promises of leftist statism and embrace the radical and realistic program of individual liberty. It has already begun to happen, which is why the other side is frantic and scared.
Steve Jobs says no to greedy city officials: "Jobs displayed a project that any city would love to have. The park-like campus increases the landscaping at the location by 350 percent, almost doubles the trees on the site, and reduces the surface parking by 90 percent. After his presentation of the stunning project, the very first question from the very first council member was, 'What’s in it for us?' Apparently, making innovative and life-enriching products that serve the needs of millions of people and being the largest taxpayer and premier employer in the city isn’t enough; what else can we shake you down for?"
Zoning laws, another blight on progress: "It’s axiomatic to every libertarian that the best method to determine the best use of resources and effort is the free market. Thus, just about every time I take a drive and look around, I seethe at zoning laws, their inexcusable assault upon property rights and their incredible stupidity in application. They signify power and its detrimental effects on society."
McDonald’s as the paradigm of progress: "The nice folks at the local McDonald's know me well, but even they were puzzled when I snapped a dozen images of their newly restored interior, which is absolutely beautiful. Like most fast-food places, the management is used to customers but still a bit surprised by dedicated fans like me. I feel vindicated by recent data on this company's hiring in the midst of terrible economic times."
Amazon drops California associates to avoid sales tax: "Amazon said Thursday it is terminating its relationship with thousands of California associates because of a new law that would require the online mega-retailer to collect sales taxes if it has affiliates in the state. Governor Jerry Brown signed the measure into law on Thursday as part of the state's plan to reduce its budget gap. It is expected to add $200 million to the Golden State's coffers."
RI: Legislature passes civil union bill: "Less than a week after New York became the nation's sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, Rhode Island state lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that permits civil unions between gay and lesbian couples. The measure, which passed the state Senate by a count of 21-16, is widely seen as a compromise intended to provide same-sex couples with added rights and benefits, while also preventing an expanded legal definition of marriage."
Netherlands: Bill would ban religious butchering: "The Dutch parliament passed a new animal slaughter law that requires butchers to stun livestock before killing it. The bill removes a religious exemption that allowed Jews and Muslims to slaughter animals according to their prescribed customs. The bill is not yet an official law and must pass a senate vote. ... Under the law, Muslim and Hebrew butchers would have to stun animals either electronically, mechanically or with gas before slaughter. This goes against the Halal and Kosher practices of the respective religions, and observers would be forced to buy meat from outside the country."
Obamanomics: It’s worse than you think: "The official unemployment rate is back up to more than 9 percent, and the percent of workers who are unemployed or have given up trying to find jobs is higher than it was during the Great Depression. George W. Bush may have owned the Great Recession of 2008–2009, but Barack Obama owns the Second Great Depression of 2011. His policies -- call them Obamanomics -- are to blame."
Another plea to end the insanity: "Mexico is rapidly withering. Its very life is being siphoned off by a hopeless war on illegal drugs. If ever there was an abject display of government pigheadedness and stupidity, it is this ridiculous insistence on banning the unbannable. In the past five years, Mexico tallied 34,600 homicides related to its government's war on illegal drugs."
Right on marijuana: "The War on Drugs, which is celebrating its 40th year, has been a colossal failure. It has curtailed personal freedom, created a violent black market, and filled our prisons. It has also trampled on states’ rights: Sixteen states have legalized 'medical marijuana' — which is, admittedly, often code for legalizing pot in general — only to clash with federal laws that ban weed throughout the land. That last sin is not the War on Drugs’ greatest, but it is not insignificant, either."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)