This video — called “The Conversation” — is a great explanation of the non-aggression principle, and it actually is very well done. Highly recommended for sharing with your non-libertarian friends and family.
Like the “War on Drugs,” a rhetorical phrase that the Obama administration has rejected even while continuing to wage the policy it describes, many ongoing activities of the government he presides over came under verbal attack from President Barack Obama this afternoon.
So the president says “journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs,” even though journalists are at legal risk—from his administration—for doing their jobs. “History will cast a harsh judgment” on the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, the president warned, even though (in the words of Human Rights Watch’s Laura Pitter) “there are still a number of steps the Obama administration could have taken — and can still take now — to begin closing the facility and ending indefinite detention without trial.”
Obama worries, rightly, that “in the absence of a strategy that reduces the well-spring of extremism, a perpetual war – through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments – will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.” And yet at perpetual war we remain, altering our way of life by the day. “The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites.” And yet we drone on, boats against the current of international opinion, borne ceaselessly back to the awesome responsibility of wielding lethal power.
There was much to like in Obama’s speech today if you like words, and share the broad worries he outlined above. And it is surely true that changing policy becomes easier after you make public arguments about changing policy. But the fact is Barack Obama is the president of the United States, and according to both the Constitution and especially the way executive power has accrued over the past century, Obama actually has quite a bit of latitude to impose his values on the waging of American war. After 52 months in office, it’s long since past time to stop judging the man by his words alone.
Iran is not a threat to the United States.
by Pat Buchanan
“Iran is not seeking to have the atomic bomb, possession of which is pointless, dangerous and is a great sin from an intellectual and a religious point of view.”
Thus did supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declare in February that Iran’s possession of atomic weapons would be a mortal sin against Allah.
It is also the unanimous judgment of the U.S. intelligence community, declared in 2007 and affirmed in 2011, that Iran has abandoned any program to build nuclear weapons.
Is the Ayatollah lying? Is the entire U.S. intel community wrong?
Iran’s plants, at Natanz, where uranium is enriched to 5 percent, and at Fordow, where it is enriched to 20 percent–both below weapons grade–are under constant U.N. monitoring. Iran has offered to surrender its 20 percent uranium and cease enriching to that level, if the West will provide isotopes for its nuclear medicine and lift some of the more onerous sanctions.
No deal, says the United States. Iran must give up enrichment entirely and indefinitely.
This is the sticking point in the negotiations. Iran contends that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, she has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. On this, the Iranian people stand behind their government.
Should this deadlock be a cause for war?
Assume Iran did divert low-grade nuclear fuel to some secret plant to enrich it to weapons grade. The process would take months, if not years. Iran would then have to build and test an explosive device that the world would know about in hours. Iran would then have to weaponize the device.
The whole process would take longer than a year, perhaps several. We would learn about it and have time to exercise a military option long before it came to pass.
The Israelis, with hundreds of nuclear weapons, would probably have learned about it before us. And, fearing Iran more, they would not hesitate to use what they have to prevent an atom bomb in Tehran.
Comes the retort: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a certifiable fanatic who has threatened to wipe Israel off the map. He cannot be allowed to get anywhere near a nuclear weapon.
Yet whatever Ahmadinejad said years ago, and that remains in dispute, he does not control the military, he does not decide on war, and he leaves the presidency next July and heads back to academia.
Is America afraid of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Where, then, is the mortal threat to justify the U.S. preparations for war with Iran described in the national press this week?
The Financial Times‘ Gideon Rachman argues that our obsession with Iran is obscuring a far greater potential threat.
Reblog if you like this photo!
Are human beings intrinsically good but corruptible by the forces of evil, or the reverse, innately sinful yet redeemable by the forces of good? Are we built to pledge our lives to a group, even to the risk of death, or the opposite, built to place ourselves and our families above all else? Scientific evidence, a good part of it accumulated during the past 20 years, suggests that we are all of these things simultaneously. Each of us is inherently complicated. We are all genetic chimeras, at once saints and sinners — not because humanity has failed to reach some foreordained religious or ideological ideal — but because of the way our species originated across millions of years of biological evolution. …
The eternal conflict is not God’s test of humanity. It is not a machination of Satan. It is just the way things worked out. It might be the only way in the entire universe that human-level intelligence and social organization can evolve. We will find a way eventually to live with our inborn turmoil, and perhaps find pleasure in viewing it as a primary source of our creativity.
—E.O. Wilson, from his New York Times Opinionator post “Evolution and Our Inner Conflict”
Definitely worth a read, especially if you have never heard of the competing theories of kin selection and multilevel selection being battled out by evolutionary biologists.
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor
No, America is not the greatest country in the world, and our history is not flawless, to say the least. But, as a female, every time I get into a car that I own and am able to drive myself to a job that I can have to earn money that belongs solely to me to pay for rent on an apartment that is mine, I’m glad I live in this country.
Happy Independence Day to everyone who is free to say they hate living in this country without fear of imprisonment, torture, or death.
Thank You For Your Service (A Moment of Truth) (by MomentsChannel)