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Evan Maloney thinks the Feds are above the law

It surprised me too at first, but after this epic amount of state-worship I decided to defend The New York Times. I'd never heard of this particular statist before Clara brought his post to my attention, but these attitudes are fairly representative of a lot of people, so they're worth examining.

Here's the story: Times executive editor Bill Keller decides to break the news that the Feds are secretly trying to monitor financial activity between suspected terrorists. He justifies the decision by saying we shouldn't "take the President at his word, or to surrender to the government important decisions about what to publish" and that the argument that this would jeopardize National Security is weak. This guy Maloney basically accuses him of treason.

Nevermind that the financial monitoring is completely shady and probably illegal. (Even if it's legal it can only be so in a completely twisted environment that has literally no barriers to government power as long as they claim they're fighting terrorism.) Read more »


Language barriers between Americans

Here's the Wednesday, May 24 page of the Founding Fathers page-a-day calendar that someone close to me owns:

Joseph Plumb Martin was a private in the 8th Connecticut regiment of Washington's Continental army. During his seven years as a soldier, he kept a journal faithfully. One entry gave his frank assessment of his fellow soldiers:

Atlanta Libertarian Blog Meet-Up

All right, Atlanta-area readers, let's do this: Saturday, May 20th, 7 pm, the Vortex in Midtown (map).

Look for me wearing a black bandanna and a Murray Rothbard t-shirt.

RSVP or comment in the comments section.


Long on zaxlebax

Don't be surprised if you keep hearing me refer back to this one speech by Roderick Long, because it's so damn good and stimulating. It has everything: Rand, Long, libertarian theory, and (entangling?) alliances. You don't have to agree with all of it to have your hair blown back anyway. Here's a tasty sample:


An Open Letter to Unsatisfied Bush Voters

Dear gang,

I take no joy in saying it, but I told you so. A USA Today/Gallup poll found that Bush's disapproval rating is 65%. I know this means that many of you who voted for him now disapprove. I am in that 65%, but the difference between me and you is that I didn't vote for him. Read more »


Avenir Suisse

This link will be of limited usefulness to most readers, but if you can read French or German (or would like to try) you might check out Avenir Suisse, a Swiss free-market think tank. In the lower left corner they have a counter for the Swiss national debt, which is well over 250 million Swiss francs and counting.


Friendly reminder that\'s totally not a bleg

If any of our readers has any of Ayn Rand's work in .pdf, I hope you know you are legally questionable at best and an outright evil thief at worst (unless, like me, you own hard copies of the works). So please don't email me at rmcelroy at [the name of this blog].net, ok?


For and Against Left-Libertarianism

The topic of left-libertarianism seems to be popping up everywhere. I was at the Austrian Scholar's Conference in March where I saw Roderick Long deliver an excellent speech about a libertarian alliance with the Left of that kind that Murray Rothbard advised in Left & Right in the 1960s. I'm keeping an eye on Sheldon Richman and others as they become more attracted to (some) elements of Leftist thought. Read more »


Rehnquist v. Roberts

Interesting piece from the New York Times about the changes in the new Roberts court.

The chief justice is a more active questioner than his predecessor, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and his style is quite different.

What Iraqis are reading

The Middle East Media Research Institute has an interesting article about what publications Iraqis are reading since the fall of the Ba'athists. It lists specific magazines and representative articles within the magazines. Some are not encouraging, but many are—the general trend toward free expression certainly is—and it's worth a look.


Atlanta Libertarian Blog Meet-Up

Atlanta-area readers: let's meet up. Several Atlanta commenters here are bloggers also, and we've already brought up meeting. So let's do it.

But this isn't exclusively my idea, so I'm not going to just declare a time and place. I'm pretty flexible about both. Let's hash something out in the comments section and I'll post again later with our decision.

Considerations:

  • Bars preferable, somewhere with standing room double preferable.
  • Virginia Highlands has a pretty good central location and selection of venues (like the Dark Horse, for instance).

El País de la Raza

Yesterday I had cause to be near the part of Atlanta that houses all the government buildings—the place where, if you were taking part in the immigration protests, you'd be stationed. I saw plenty of people there, and plenty of flags. Every flag I saw was a U.S. flag.

I know that opponents of immigration really tend to focus on people waving Mexican flags at this kind of protest. Even if 99% of the crowd's flags are red, white, and blue, alarmist news sources show the handful of red, white, and green. Read more »


T.R.M. Howard

At Liberty & Power, David Beito tells the story of T.R.M. Howard, an inspiring example of the American spirit. Howard was a black doctor, entrepeneur, and community leader when every one of these was difficult on its own. Read it and be proud of what determination can do.


The Berlin Wall

Woman in West Berlin after waiting three hours to see relatives in East Berlin over the wall

One of the grossest ironies of history is that the German Democratic Republic was intended to be a beacon of communist light in Europe, where German workers would be free and prosperous like never before. Instead, only 22 years into its existence the GDR had to build some of the world's heaviest border defenses to keep its own people from fleeing. Between 1949 and 1961 an estimated 2.5 million people left East Germany. In 1961 the Wall was built, and between then and 1989 only an estimated 5,000 people made the same journey. Around 200 more were killed and thousands wounded in the attempt.

When the Allied armies carved up the German Reich at the end of World War II, each controlled a section of the country but also a section of the capital, Berlin, which was deep inside the broader Soviet-controlled territory. After the establishment of the two German states the Americans, British, and French refused to abandon the western part of the city to the Soviets. This enclave became a popular destination for East Germans after the GDR closed off the border between the two German states in 1952. Some sought their families from whom they'd been forcefully separated. Some sought economic and social freedom in the western Federal Republic of Germany.

In 1952 the GDR ringed the Western sector with barbed wire, clearing a no-man's land and uprooting people who lived in the area. Yet they still continued to lose citizens to the FRG through West Berlin until 1961, when construction began on the Berlin Wall. East German border guards were stationed all around with orders to shoot anyone attempting to cross it. Later, a “death strip” was built between the first wall and another wall deeper into GDR territory. Anyone crossing this space would be visible to East German border guards. A siege had begun, initiated by the GDR against its own citizens.

Propaganda

While necessary to stop the loss of enterprising East Germans, the Wall was an embarrassment to the communist world; if communism was such a good idea, why was it necessary to pen citizens in? It is this question President John F. Kennedy asked in his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech: Read more »


The Winter War

The Winter War, also known as the Russo-Finnish War, began on November 30, 1939. The USSR had been attempting to gain territory in Finland as a buffer against possible Nazi attack, which the government of Finland refused to grant. On November 26th, the Red Army staged an attack on the Russian border town Mainila and claimed that Finnish forces were responsible. Despite Finnish denials to the contrary, the USSR used this as a pretext for invasion.

The Soviet leadership believed it would be a quick victory. The Soviet Union was one of the most feared nations in the world, and it should have been easy to subdue tiny Finland. It was not.

Background

Josef Stalin's political purges of the Red Army had left it in the hands of many inexperienced commanders. The recovering Red Army's only test up till now was a simple charge into Poland, which had been attacked by Nazi Germany 16 days before and which was already a broken nation. Nevertheless, with its large population, copious natural resources, militaristic government, and extremely rapid industrial development (at least according to propaganda accounts), the USSR was considered one of the great powers of the world.

Finland had only recently broken free of Russia. The independent Finnish state was established in 1917, taking advantage of the confusion of revolution and civil war. Because this was done with German assistance, Finland and Germany remained close. And because of this relationship, the USSR's leadership was anxious that a German attack might come through Finland. The Finnish government was actually rather cool to the rise of the Nazis, and was not planning to assist them. Nevertheless, Stalin's paranoia was not to be denied, and despite having signed a non-aggression pact with Finland in 1934 he had the Red Army prepared to invade. With the feigned attack on Mainila, the die was cast, and the invasion began four days later on November 30, 1939.

On December 3rd, Finnish Foreign Minister Väinö Tanner gave a speech which included these words:

I repeat here what I said yesterday to certain foreign correspondents: the Finnish government will not refuse to take part in negotiations for the restoration of peace. Nevertheless, anyone who believes that the Finnish people can be brought by the threat of force, and the terror already launched, to make concessions that would denote in reality the loss of their independence is mistaken.