What’s wrong with Libertarianism? Everything! (FUCK LIBERTARIANS!!!!)

http://www.zompist.com/libertos.html

 

“That perfect liberty they sigh for– the liberty of making slaves of other people– Jefferson never thought of; their own father never thought of; they never thought of themselves, a year ago.” — Abraham Lincoln


Apparently someone’s curse worked: we live in interesting times, and among other consequences, for no good reason we have a surplus of libertarians. With this article I hope to help keep the demand low, or at least to explain to libertarian correspondents why they don’t impress me with comments like “You sure love letting people steal your money!”

Good libertarians and the other kind

This article has been rewritten, for two reasons. First, the original article had sidebars to address common objections. From several people’s reactions, it seems that they never read these. They’re now incorporated into the text.

Second, and more importantly, many people who call themselves libertarians didn’t recognize themselves in the description. There are libertarians and libertarians, and sometimes different camps despise each other– or don’t seem to be aware of each other.

If you–

  • have never heard of (or don’t think much of) Rothbard, Rockwell, Rand, and von Mises
  • accept that the FDIC is a pretty good idea
  • want a leaner, more efficient government, but don’t dream of getting rid of it

…then this page isn’t really addressed to you. You’re probably more of what I’d call a small-government conservative; and if you voted against Bush, we can probably get along just fine.

On the other hand, you might want to stick around to see what your more fundamentalist colleagues are saying.

The Un-Communism

Libertarianism strikes me as if someone (let’s call her “Ayn Rand”) sat down to create the Un-Communism. Thus:

Communism Libertarianism
Property is theft Property is sacred
Totalitarianism Any government is bad
Capitalists are baby-eating villains Capitalists are noble Nietzchean heroes
Workers should rule Worker activism is evil
The poor are oppressed The poor are pampered good-for-nothings

Does this sound exaggerated? Let’s listen to Murray Rothbard:

We contend here, however, that the model of government is akin, not to the business firm, but to the criminal organization, and indeed that the State is the organization of robbery systematized and writ large.

Or here’s Lew Rockwell on Rothbard (emphasis mine):

He was also the architect of the body of thought known around the world as libertarianism. This radically anti-state political philosophy unites free-market economics, a no-exceptions attachment to private property rights, a profound concern for human liberty, and a love of peace, with the conclusion that society should be completely free to develop absent any interference from the state, which can and should be eliminated.

Thomas DiLorenzo on worker activism: “[L]abor unions [pursue] policies which impede the very institutions of capitalism that are the cause of their own prosperity.” Or Ludwig von Mises: “What is today euphemistically called the right to strike is in fact the right of striking workers, by recourse to violence, to prevent people who want to work from working.” (Employer violence is apparently acceptable.) The Libertarian Party platform explains that workers have no right to protest drug tests, and supports the return of child labor.

On Nietzsche, as one of my correspondents puts it, some libertarians love Nietzsche; others have read him. (Though I would respond that some people idolize executives; others have worked for them.) Nonetheless, I think the Nietzschean atmosphere of burning rejection of conventional morality, exaltation of the will to power, and scorn for womanish Christian compassion for the masses, is part of the roots of libertarianism. It’s unmistakable in Ayn Rand.

The more important point, however, is that the capitalist is the über-villain for communists, and a glorious hero for libertarians; that property is “theft” for the communists, and a “natural right” for libertarians. These dovetail a little too closely for coincidence. It’s natural enough, when a basic element of society is attacked as an evil, for its defenders to counter-attack by elevating it into a principle.

As we should have learned from the history of communism and fascism, however, contradiction is no guarantee of truth; it can lead one into an opposite error instead. And many who rejected communism nonetheless remained zealots. People who leave one ideological extreme usually end up at the other, either quickly (David Horowitz) or slowly (Mario Vargas Llosa). If you’re the sort of person who likes absolutes, you want them even if all your other convictions change.

Who needs facts?

The methodology isn’t much different either: oppose the obvious evils of the world with a fairy tale. The communist of 1910 couldn’t point to a single real-world instance of his utopia; neither can the present-day libertarian. Yet they’re unshakeable in their conviction that it can and must happen.

Academic libertarians love abstract, fact-free arguments– often, justifications for why property is an absolute right. As a random example, from one James Craig Green:

This concept of property originated in some of those primitive tribes when individuals claimed possessions for themselves as against the collective ownership of their groups. Based on individual initiative, labor, and innovation, some were successful at establishing a separate, private ownership role for themselves. […]

Examples of natural property in land and water resources have already been given, but deserve more detail. An illustration of how this would be accomplished is a farm with irrigation ditches to grow crops in dry western states. To appropriate unowned natural resources, a settler used his labor to clear the land and dug ditches to carry water from a river for irrigation. Crops were planted, buildings were constructed, and the property thus created was protected by the owner from aggression or the later claims of others. This process was a legitimate creation of property.

The first paragraph is pure fantasy, and is simply untrue as a portrait of “primitive tribes”, which are generally extremely collectivist by American standards. The second sounds good precisely because it leaves out all the actual facts of American history: the settlers’ land was not “unowned” but stolen from the Indians by state conquest (and much of it stolen from the Mexicans as well); the lands were granted to the settlers by government; the communities were linked to the national economy by railroads founded by government grant; the crops were adapted to local conditions by land grant colleges.

Thanks to my essay on taxes, I routinely get mail featuring impassioned harangues which never once mention a real-world fact– or which simply make up the statistics they want.

This sort of balls-out aggressivity probably wins points at parties, where no one is going to take down an almanac and check their figures; but to me it’s a cardinal sin. If someone has an answer for everything, advocates changes which have never been tried, and presents dishonest evidence, he’s a crackpot. If a man has no doubts, it’s because his hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

Distaste for facts isn’t merely a habit of a few Internet cranks; it’s actually libertarian doctrine, the foundation of the ‘Austrian school’. Here’s Ludwig von Mises in Epistemological Problems of Economics:

As there is no discernible regularity in the emergence and concatenation of ideas and judgments of value, and therefore also not in the succession and concatenation of human acts, the role that experience plays in the study of human action is radically different from that which it plays in the natural sciences. Experience of human action is history. Historical experience does not provide facts that could render in the construction of a theoretical science services that could be compared to those which laboratory experiments and observation render to physics. Historical events are always the joint effect of the cooperation of various factors and chains of causation. In matters of human action no experiments can be performed. History needs to be interpreted by theoretical insight gained previously from other sources.

The ‘other sources’ turn out to be armchair ruminations on how things must be. It’s true enough that economics is not physics; but that’s not warrant to turn our backs on the methods of science and return to scholastic speculation. Economics should always move in the direction of science, experiment, and falsifiability. If it were really true that it cannot, then no one, including the libertarians, would be entitled to strong belief in any economic program.

How to try new things

Some people aren’t much bothered by libertarianism’s lack of real-world success. After all, they argue, if no one tried anything new, nothing would ever change.

In fact, I’m all for experimentation; that’s how we learn. Create a libertarian state. But run it as a proper experiment. Start small-scale. Establish exactly how your claims will be tested: per capita income? median income? life expectancy? property value? surveys on happiness? Set up a control: e.g. begin with two communities as close as we can get them in size, initial wealth, resources, and culture, one following liberalism, one following libertarianism. Abide by the results– no changing the goalposts if the liberals happen to “win”.

I’m even willing to look at partial tests. If an ideology is really better than others at producing general prosperity, then following it partially should produce partially better results. Jonathan Kwitny suggested comparing a partly socialist system (e.g. Tanzania) to a partly capitalist one (e.g. Kenya). (Kenya looked a lot better.) If the tests are partial, of course, we’ll want more of them; but human experience is pretty broad.

It’s the libertarians, not me, who stand in the way of such accountability. If I point out examples of nations partially following libertarian views– we’ll get to this below– I’m told that they don’t count: only Pure Real Libertarianism Of My Own Camp can be tested.

Again, all-or-nothing thinking generally goes with intellectual fraud. If a system is untestable, it’s because its proponents fear testing. By contrast, I’m confident enough in liberal and scientific values that I’m happy to see even partial adoption. Even a little freedom is better than dictatorship. Even a little science is better than ideology.

An untested political system unfortunately has great rhetorical appeal. Since we can’t see it in action, we can’t point out its obvious faults, while the ideologue can be caustic about everything that has actually been tried, and which has inevitably fallen short of perfection. Perhaps that’s why Dave Barry and Trey Parker are libertarians. But I’d rather vote for a politician who’s shown that his programs work in the real world than for a humorist, however amusing.

My friend Franklin

At this point some libertarian readers are pumping their hands in the air like a piston, anxious to explain that their ideal isn’t Rothbard or von Mises or Hayek, but the Founding Fathers.

Nice try. Everybody wants the Founders on their side; but it was a different country back then– 95% agricultural, low density, highly homogenous, primitive in technology– and modern libertarianism simply doesn’t apply. (The OED’s citations of the word for the time are all theological.)

All American political movements have their roots in the 1700s– indeed, in the winning side, since Loyalist opinion essentially disappeared. We are all– liberals, conservatives, libertarians– against the Georgian monarchy and for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You can certainly find places where one Founder or another rants against government; you can find other places where one Founder or another rants against rebellion, anarchy, and the opponents of federalism. Sometimes the same Founder can be quoted on both sides. They were a mixed bunch, and lived long enough lives to encounter different situations.

It cannot have escaped those who have attended with candor to the arguments employed against the extensive powers of the government, that the authors of them have very little considered how far these powers were necessary means of attaining a necessary end. –James Madison

Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. –Thomas Jefferson

All the Property that is necessary to a man is his natural Right, which none may justly deprive him of, but all Property superfluous to such Purposes is the property of the Public who, by their Laws have created it and who may, by other Laws dispose of it. –Benjamin Franklin

The Constitution is above all a definition of a strengthened government, and the Federalist Papers are an extended argument for it. The Founders negotiated a balance between a government that was arbitrary and coercive (their experience as British colonial subjects) and one that was powerless and divided (the failed Articles of Confederation).

The Founders didn’t anticipate the New Deal– there was no need for them to– but they were as quick to resort to the resources of the state as any modern liberal. Ben Franklin, for instance, played the Pennsylvania legislature like a violin– using it to fund a hospital he wanted to establish, for instance. Obviously he had no qualms about using state power to do good social works.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Founders’ words were nobler than their deeds. Most were quite comfortable with slave-owning, for instance. No one worried about women’s consent to be governed. Washington’s own administration made it a crime to criticize the government. And as Robert Allen Rutland reminds us,

For almost 150 years, in fact, the Bill of Rights was paid lip service in patriotic orations and ignored in the marketplace. It wasn’t until after World War I that the Supreme Court began the process of giving real meaning to the Bill of Rights.

The process of giving life to our constitutional rights has largely been the work of liberals. On the greatest fight of all, to treat blacks as human beings, libertarians supported the other side.

Why are they trouble?

Crackpots are usually harmless; how about the Libertarian Party?

In itself, I’m afraid, it’s nothing but a footnote. It gets no more than 1% of the vote– a showing that’s been surpassed historically by the Anti-Masonic Party, the Greenbacks, the Prohibition Party, the Socialists, the Greens, and whatever John Anderson was. If that was all it was, I wouldn’t bother to devote pages and rants to it. I’m all for the expression of pure eccentricity in politics; I like the Brits’ Monster Raving Looney Party even better.

Why are libertarian ideas important? Because of their influence on the Republican Party. They form the ideological basis for the Reagan/Gingrich/Bush revolution. The Republicans have taken the libertarian “Government is Bad” horse and ridden far with it:

  • Reagan’s “Government is the problem”
  • Phil Gramm’s contention that the country’s “economic crisis” and “moral crisis” were due to “the explosion of government”
  • Talk radio hosts’ advocacy of armed resistance to “jack-booted government thugs”
  • Dole’s 1996 campaign, advancing the notion that taxes were “Your Money” being taken from you
  • Gingrich’s Contract with America (welfare cuts, tax cuts, limitations on corporations’ responsibility and on the government’s ability to regulate them)
  • Dick Armey’s comment that Medicare (medical aid for the elderly) is “a program I would have no part of in a free world”
  • Bush’s tax cuts, intended not only to reward the rich but to “starve the beast”, in Grover Norquist’s words: to create a permanent deficit as a dangerous ploy to reduce social spending
  • Jeb Bush’s hope that the Florida state government buildings would one day be empty
  • Intellectual support for attacks on the quality of working life in this county and for undoing the New Deal

Maybe this use of their ideas is appalling to ‘Real Libertarians’… well, it’s an appalling world sometimes. Is it fair to communism that everyone thinks its Leninist manifestation is the only possible one? Do you think I’m happy to have national representatives like Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry?

At least some libertarians have understood the connection. Rothbard again, writing in 1994:

The truth is that since we have been stuck with a two-party system, any electoral revolution against big government had to be expressed through a Republican victory. So it is certainly true that Newt Gingrich and his faction, as well as Robert Dole, have ridden to power on the libertarian wave.

Can you smell the compromise here? Hold your nose and vote for the Repubs, boys. But then don’t pretend to be uninvolved when the Republicans start making a mockery of limited government.

There’s a deeper lesson here, and it’s part of why I don’t buy libertarian portraits of the future utopia. Movements out of power are always anti-authoritarian; it’s no guarantee that they’ll stay that way. Communists before 1917 promised the withering away of the state. Fascists out of power sounded something like socialists. The Republicans were big on term limits when they could be used to unseat Democrats; they say nothing about them today. If you don’t think it can happen to you, you’re not being honest about human nature and human history.

What about the social side?

The Libertarian Party has a cute little test that purports to divide American politics into four quadrants. There’s the economic dimension (where libertarians ally with conservatives) and the social dimension (where libertarians ally with liberals).

I think the diagram is seriously misleading, because visually it gives equal importance to both dimensions. And when the rubber hits the road, libertarians almost always go with the economic dimension.

The libertarian philosopher always starts with property rights. Libertarianism arose in opposition to the New Deal, not to Prohibition. The libertarian voter is chiefly exercised over taxes, regulation, and social programs; the libertarian wing of the Republican party has, for forty years, gone along with the war on drugs, corporate welfare, establishment of dictatorships abroad, and an alliance with theocrats. Christian libertarians like Ron Paul want God in the public schools and are happy to have the government forbid abortion and gay marriage. I never saw the libertarians objecting to Bush Sr. mocking the protection of civil rights, or to Ken Starr’s government inquiry into politicians’ sex lives. On the Cato Institute’s list of recent books, I count 1 of 19 dealing with an issue on which libertarians and liberals tend to agree, and that was on foreign policy (specifically, the Iraq war).

If this is changing, as Bush’s never-ending “War on Terror” expands the powers of government, demonizes dissent, and enmeshes the country in military crusades and nation-building, as the Republicans push to remove the checks and balances that remain in our government system– if libertarians come to realize that Republicans and not Democrats are the greater threat to liberty– I’d be delighted.

But for that, you know, you have to vote against Bush. A belief in social liberties means little if you vote for a party that clearly intends to restrict them.

For the purposes of my critique, however, the social side of libertarianism is irrelevant. A libertarian and I might actually agree to legalize drugs, let people marry whoever they like, and repeal the Patriot Act. But this has nothing to do with whether robber baron capitalism is a good thing.

We tried it, and it failed

The libertarianism that has any effect in the world, then, has nothing to do with social liberty, and everything to do with removing all restrictions on business. So what’s wrong with that?

Let’s look at some cases that came within spitting distance of the libertarian ideal. Some libertarians won’t like these, because they are not Spotless Instances of the Free Utopia; but as I’ve said, nothing is proved by science fiction. If complete economic freedom and absence of government is a cure-all, partial economic freedom and limited government should be a cure-some.

Pre-New Deal America

At the turn of the 20th century, business could do what it wanted– and it did. The result was robber barons, monopolistic gouging, management thugs attacking union organizers, filth in our food, a punishing business cycle, slavery and racial oppression, starvation among the elderly, gunboat diplomacy in support of business interests.

The New Deal itself was a response to crisis (though by no means an unprecedented one; it wasn’t much worse than the Gilded Age depressions). A quarter of the population was out of work. Five thousand banks failed, destroying the savings of 9 million families. Steel plants were operating at 12% capacity. Banks foreclosed on a quarter of Mississippi’s land. Wall Street was discredited by insider trading and collusion with banks at the expense of investors. Farmers were breaking out into open revolt; miners and jobless city workers were rioting.

Don’t think, by the way, that if governments don’t provide gunboats, no one else will. Corporations will build their own military if necessary: the East Indies Company did; Leopold did in the Congo; management did when fighting with labor.

Post-communist Russia

Or take Russia in the decade after the fall of Communism, as advised by free-market absolutists like Jeffrey Sachs. Russian GDP declined 50% in five years. The elite grabbed the assets they could and shuffled them out of Russia so fast that IMF loans couldn’t compensate. In 1994 alone, 600 businessmen, journalists, and politicians were murdered by gangsters. Russia lacked a working road system, a banking system, anti-monopoly regulation, effective law enforcement, or any sort of safety net for the elderly and the jobless. Inflation reached 2250% in 1992. Central government authority effectively disappeared in many regions.

By the way, Russia is the answer to those testosterone-poisoned folks who think that guns will prevent oppression. The mafia will always outgun you.

Today’s Russia is moving back toward authoritarianism under Putin. Again, this should dismay libertarians: apparently, given a little freedom, many people will demand less. You’d better be careful about setting up that utopia; ten years further on it may be taken over by authoritarians.

Pinochet’s Chile

Or consider the darling of many an ’80s conservative: Pinochet’s Chile, installed by Nixon, praised by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, George Bush, and Paul Johnson. In twenty years, foreign debt quadrupled, natural resources were wasted, universal health care was abandoned (leading to epidemics of typhoid fever and hepatitis), unions were outlawed, military spending rose (for what? who the hell is going to attack Chile?), social security was “privatized” (with predictable results: ever-increasing government bailouts) and the poverty rate doubled, from 20% to 41%. Chile’s growth rate from 1974 to 1982 was 1.5%; the Latin American average was 4.3%.

Pinochet was a dicator, of course, which makes some libertarians feel that they have nothing to learn here. Somehow Chile’s experience (say) privatizing social security can tell us nothing about privatizing social security here, because Pinochet was a dictator. Presumably if you set up a business in Chile, the laws of supply and demand and perhaps those of gravity wouldn’t apply, because Pinochet was a dictator.

When it’s convenient, libertarians even trumpet their association with Chile’s “free market” policies; self-gov.org (originators of that cute quiz) includes a page celebrating Milton Friedman, self-proclaimed libertarian, who helped form and advise the group of University of Chicago professors and graduates who implemented Pinochet’s policies. The Cato Institute even named a prize for “Advancing Liberty” after this benefactor of the Chilean dictatorship.

Destination: Banana Republic

The newest testing ground for laissez-faire is present-day America, from Ronald Reagan on.

Remove the New Deal, and the pre-New Deal evils clamor to return. Reagan removed the right to strike; companies now fire strikers, outsource high-wage jobs and replace them with dead-end near-minimum-wage service jobs. Middle-class wages are stagnating– or plummeting, if you consider that working hours are rising. Companies are rushing to reestablish child labor in the Third World.

Where the gains go

Under liberalism, productivity increases benefited all classes– poverty rates declined from over 30% to under 10% in the thirty years after World War II, while the economy more than quadrupled in size.

In the current libertarian climate, productivity gains only go to the already well-off. Here’s the percentage of US national income received by certain percentiles of the population, as reported by the IRS:

1986 1999
Top 1% 11.30 19.51
Top 5% 24.11 34.04
Top 10% 35.12 44.89
Top 25% 59.04 66.46
Top 50% 83.34 86.75
Bottom 99% 88.70 80.49
Bottom 95% 75.89 65.96
Bottom 90% 64.88 55.11
Bottom 75% 40.96 33.54
Bottom 50%    16.66 13.25

This should put some perspective on libertarian whining about high taxes and how we’re destroying incentives for the oppressed businessman. The wealthiest 1% of the population doubled their share of the pie in just 15 years. In 1973, CEOs earned 45 times the pay of an average employee (about twice the multipler in Japan); today it’s 500 times.

Thirty years ago, managers accepted that they operated as much for their workers, consumers, and neighbors as for themselves. Some economists (notably Michael Jensen and William Meckling) decided that the only stakeholders that mattered were the stock owners– and that management would be more accountable if they were given massive amounts of stock. Not surprisingly, CEOs managed to get the stock without the accountability– they’re obscenely well paid whether the company does well or it tanks– and the obsession with stock price led to mass layoffs, short-term thinking, and the financial dishonesty at WorldCom, Enron, Adelphia, HealthSouth, and elsewhere.

Welcoming your new overlords

The nature of our economic system has changed in the last quarter-century, and people haven’t understood it yet. People over 30 or so grew up in an environment where the rich got more, but everyone prospered. When productivity went up, the rich got richer– we’re not goddamn communists, after all– but everybody‘s income increased.

If you were part of the World War II generation, the reality was that you had access to subsidized education and housing, you lived better every year, and you were almost unimaginably better off than your parents.

We were a middle-class nation, perhaps the first nation in history where the majority of the people were comfortable. This infuriated the communists (this wasn’t supposed to happen). The primeval libertarians who cranky about it as well, but the rich had little reason to complain– theywere better off than ever before, too.

Conservatives– nurtured by libertarian ideas– have managed to change all that. When productivity rises, the rich now keep the gains; the middle class barely stays where it is; the poor get poorer. We have a ways to go before we become a Third World country, but the model is clear. The goal is an impoverished majority, and a super-rich minority with no effective limitations on its power or earnings. We’ll exchange the prosperity of 1950s America for that of 1980s Brazil.

Single-villain ideologies

Despite the intelligence of many of its supporters, libertarianism is an instance of the simplest (and therefore silliest) type of politics: the single-villain ideology. Everything is blamed on the government. (One libertarian, for instance, reading my list of the evils of laissez-faire above, ignored everything but “gunboats”. It’s like Gary Larson’s cartoon of “What dogs understand”, with the dog’s name replaced with “government”.)

The advantage of single-villain ideologies is obvious: in any given situation you never have to think hard to find out the culprit. The disadvantages, however, are worse: you can’t see your primary target clearly– hatred is a pair of dark glasses– and you can’t see the problems with anything else.

It’s a habit of mind that renders libertarianism unfalsifiable, and thus irrelevant to the world. Everything gets blamed on one institution; and because we have no real-world example where that agency is absent, the claims can’t be tested.

Not being a libertarian doesn’t mean loving the state; it means accepting complexity. The real world is a monstrously complicated place; there’s not just one thing wrong with it, nor just one thing that can be changed to fix it. Things like prosperity and freedom don’t have one cause; they’re a balancing act.

Here’s an alternative theory for you: original sin. People will mess things up, whether by stupidity or by active malice. There is no magical class of people (e.g. “government”) who can be removed to produce utopia. Any institution is liable to failure, or active criminality. Put anyone in power– whether it’s communists or engineers or businessmen– and they will abuse it.

Does this mean things are hopeless? Of course not; it just means that we have to let all institutions balance each other. Government, opposition parties, business, the media, unions, churches, universities, non-government organizations, all watch over each other. Power is distributed as widely as possible to prevent any one institution from monopolizing and abusing it. It’s not always a pretty solution, and it can be frustratingly slow and inefficient, but it works better than any alternative I know of.

The problem with markets

Markets are very good at some things, like deciding what to produce and distributing it. But unrestricted markets don’t produce general prosperity, and lawless business can and will abuse its power. Examples can be multiplied ad nauseam: read some history– or the newspaper.

  • Since natural resources are accounted as free gains and pollution isn’t counted against the bottom line, business on its own will grab resources and pollute till an environment is destroyed.
  • The food business, on its own, will put filth in our food and lie about what it’s made of. The few industries which are exceptions to food and drug laws (e.g. providers of alcohol and supplements) fight hard to stay that way. The food industry resists even providing information to consumers.
  • Business will lock minorities out of jobs and refuse to serve them, or serve them only in degrading ways.
  • Business will create unsafe goods, endanger workers, profiteer in times of crisis, use violence to prevent unionization– and spend millions on politicians who will remove the people’s right to limit these abuses.
  • Thanks to the libertarian business climate, companies are happily moving jobs abroad, lowering wages, worsening working conditions.
  • The same libertarian climate encourages narcissists to pay themselves handsomely while ruling incompetently, and leads to false accounting, insider trading, and corruption.
  • Businesses create monopolies and cartels when they can manage it; and the first thing monopolies do is raise prices.
  • Businesses can create bureaucracies as impenetrable and money-wasting as any government. (The worst I’ve ever had to deal with are health insurers. And no, it’s not “government regulation” that makes them that way; insurers have an interest in making the claims process as difficult as possible.)
  • State-controlled media are vile; but business-controlled media are hardly better, especially given the consolidation of major media. Democracy needs a diversity of voices, and we’re moving instead toward domination of the airwaves by a few conglomerates.
  • The poor are ill-served even for basic services: they pay more for food; they pay through the nose for rotten apartments; they can’t get loans even if they can get bank accounts; if they can get a job it’s ill paid, with no health benefits. Poor areas are also highly polluted (in ways that cause massive health problems), while lacking such services as movie theaters.

Libertarian responses to such lists are beyond amazing.

  • “Businesses would be stupid to do those things.” Then they’re stupid, because they do them. Private racial discrimination, for instance, lasted a hundred years; and it wasn’t ended by businessmen changing their minds, but by blacks and liberals organizing. The Libertarian Party platform actually hopes to legally re-enable private discrimination.
  • “The market will correct those problems.” In a few cases it will– if you wait long enough. But very often it’s simply impossible: e.g., the monopolist has made sure no alternatives exist. (One of the railroad tycoons, for instance, was careful to buy up steamship lines.) And though it was sometimes possible to break a monopoly by starting a well-bankrolled competing business, that was no consolation to (say) an oil producer who saw Rockefeller consolidating all the refineries. He could hardly start up his own refinery, and he’d be bankrupt before anyone succeeded in doing so.)

    Slavery is another example: though some hoped that the market would eventually make it unprofitable, it sure was taking its time, and neither the slave nor the abolitionist had any non-governmental leverage over the slaveowners.

    (Libertarians usually claim to oppose slavery… but that’s awfully easy to say on this side of Civil War and the civil rights movement. The slaveowners thought they were defending their sacred rights to property and self-government.)

  • “We believe in laws too.” And they do, rather touchingly; they just don’t believe in enforcing them. Enforcement of the laws passed by democratic legislatures is called “men with guns” or “initiating force” in libertarian ideology. And without enforcement, laws are just pretty words. You can see this today in Latin America, which often has very progressive laws. The business and landowning elite just ignores them.
  • “So what do you want, state-run movie theaters?” The single-villain ideology is so strong that the only response some people can make to a market failure is to invent a statist response and criticize that. Sometimes the best solution to these problems is to use the market– once it gets a good liberal kick in the pants to go find one.

And those are the better responses. Often enough the only response is explain how nothing bad can happen in the libertarian utopia. But libertarian dogma can’t be buttressed by libertarian doctrine– that’s begging the question.

Or it’s simply denied that these things are problems. One correspondent suggested that the poor shouldn’t “complain” about not getting loans– “I wouldn’t make a loan if I didn’t think I’d get paid back.” This is not only hard-hearted but ignorant. Who says the poor are bad credit risks? It often takes prodding from community organizations, but banks can serve low-income areas well– both making money and fostering home ownership. Institutions like the Grameen Bank have found that micro-loans work very well, and are profitable, in the poorest countries on Earth, such as Bangladesh.

A balanced society

A proven solution to most of these ills is liberalism. For fifty years liberals governed this country, generating unprecedented prosperity, and making this the first solidly middle-class nation.

If you want prosperity for the many– and why should the many support any other goal?– you need a balance between government and business. For this you need several things:

  • The rule of law. That means regulations, effective police, and fair courts. As Stephen Holmes said, “There is no rule of law until the Mafia needs lawyers.” Neal Stephenson makes the same point in Zodiac: in a liberal society, you can shame companies into obeying the law, because companies don’t like bad P.R. You don’t have that leverage with mafias.
  • Consumer trust. That means that abuse and fraud are prosecuted, and you don’t have to get things done by paying bribes (a big reason most poor countries stay poor).
  • Responsive government and business. That means democracy, stockholder and union rights, and a free press. Personally, I think we’ll eventually realize that monarchy doesn’t work for business, either.
  • Competition. Monopolies charge higher rates, stifle innovation, abuse dependent companies, and provide lousy service. (The robber barons of the 1800s were explicitly after monopolies, and they wanted them in order to raise profits.)
  • A wide-based business pyramid– not just a few multinationals on top. Smaller companies are usually the engine of innovation and city development, and the biggest producers of new jobs.
  • No barriers to social rising or business innovation (e.g. racism, monopolies, “licensing” whose only purpose is to protect existing business, unavailable loans or courts, an out-of-reach education system, bribes, mafias).

Government costs money

Perhaps the most communicable libertarian meme– and one of the most mischievous– is the attempt to paint taxation as theft.

First, it’s dishonest. Most libertarians theoretically accept government for defense and law enforcement. (There are some absolutists who don’t even believe in national defense; I guess they want to have a libertarian utopia for awhile, then hand it over to foreign invaders.)

Now, national defense and law enforcement cost money: about 22% of the 2002 budget– 33% of the non-social-security budget. You can’t swallow that and maintain that all taxes are bad. At least the cost of those functions is not “your money”; it’s a legitimate charge for necessary services.

Americans enjoy the fruits of public scientific research, a well-educated job force, highways and airports, clean food, honest labelling, Social Security, unemployment insurance, trustworthy banks, national parks. Libertarianism has encouraged the peculiarly American delusion that these things come for free. It makes a philosophy out of biting the hand that feeds you.

Second, it leads directly to George Bush’s financial irresponsibility. Would a libertarian urge his family or his software company or his gun club to spend twice what it takes in? When libertarians maintain that irresponsibility among the poor is such a bad thing, why is it OK in the government?

It’s no excuse to claim that libertarians didn’t want the government to increase spending, as Bush has done. As you judge others, so shall you be judged. Libertarians want to judge liberalism not by its goals (e.g. helping poor children) but by its alleged effects (e.g. teen pregnancy). The easiest things in the world for a politician to do are to lower taxes and raise spending. By attacking the very concept of taxation, libertarians help politicians– and the public– to indulge their worst impulses.

Finally, it hides dependence on the government. The economic powerhouse of the US is still the Midwest, the Northeast, and California– largely liberal Democratic areas. As Dean Lacy has pointed out, over the last decade, the blue states of 2004 paid $1.4 trillion more in federal taxes than they received, while red states received $800 billion more than they paid.

Red state morality isn’t just to be irresponsible with the money they pay as taxes; it’s to be irresponsible with other people’s money. It’s protesting the concept of getting an allowance by stealing the other kids’ money.

Unacceptable morality

Ultimately, my objection to libertarianism is moral. Arguing across moral gulfs is usually ineffective; but we should at least be clear about what our moral differences are.

First, the worship of the already successful and the disdain for the powerless is essentially the morality of a thug. Money and property should not be privileged above everything else– love, humanity, justice.

(And let’s not forget that lurid fascination with firepower– seen in ESR, Ron Paul, Heinlein and Van Vogt, Advocates for Self-Government’s president Sharon Harris, the Cato Institute, Lew Rockwell’s site, and the Mises Institute.)

I wish I could convince libertarians that the extremely wealthy don’t need them as their unpaid advocates. Power and wealth don’t need a cheering section; they are– by definition– not an oppressed class which needs our help. Power and wealth can take care of themselves. It’s the poor and the defenseless who need aid and advocates.

The libertarians reminds me of G.K. Chesterton’s description of people who are so eager to attack a hated ideology that they will destroy their own furniture to make sticks to beat it with. James Craig Green again:

Typical excuses are “the common good”, “public morality”, “traditional family values”, “human rights”, “environmental protection”, “national security”, and “equality”. Each appeals to the confused hysteria of a segment of the population. Each allows property to be denied its rightful owner. Each denies the concept of self-ownership.

Here’s a very different moral point of view: Jimmy Carter describing why he builds houses with Habitat for Humanity:

From my rural boyhood, when I often spent the night with black neighbors who lived in unheated and dilapidated shacks, to my years in the White House when I saw the plight of the homeless and those trapped in poverty housing worldwide, I have known that shelter matters. And I know, as a Christian, that I have a responsibility to serve where I can, that as I treat “the least of these”, I treat my Creator.

Is this “confused hysteria”? No, it’s common human decency. It’s sad when people have to twist themselves into knots to malign the human desire (and the Biblical command) to help one’s neighbor.

Second, it’s the philosophy of a snotty teen, someone who’s read too much Heinlein, absorbed the sordid notion that an intellectual elite should rule the subhuman masses, and convinced himself that reading a few bad novels qualifies him as a member of the elite.

Third, and perhaps most common, it’s the worldview of a provincial narcissist. As I’ve observed in my overview of the 20th century, liberalism won its battles so thoroughly that people have forgotten why those battles were fought.

It’s hard to read libertarians without concluding that they’ve never been out of the country– perhaps never out of the suburbs. They don’t know what Latin American rule by the elite looks like; they don’t know any way of running an industrial economy but that of the US; they don’t know what an actually oppressive government looks like; they’ve never experienced a depression; they’ve never lived in a slum or experienced racial discrimination. At the same time, they have a very American sense of entitlement: a gut feeling that they’ve earned the prosperity they were born into, that they owe the community nothing, that they deserve to have whatever they want, that no one should stand in their way.

In short, they’re spoiled, and they’ve evolved a philosophy that they should be spoiled.

I don’t want to leave out the possibility of honest confusion. Some people may be attracted by parts of the libertarian program without buying into its underlying morality.

The bottom line

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

I have my own articles of faith. I think a political philosophy should

  • benefit the entire population, not an elite of whatever flavor
  • offer a positive vision, not just hatred for another philosophy
  • rest on the best science and history can teach us, rather than science fiction
  • be modified in the light of what works and what doesn’t
  • produce greater freedom and prosperity the closer a nation comes to it.

On all these counts, libertarianism simply doesn’t stack up. Once people are able to be rational about politics, I expect them to toss it out as a practical failure and a moral mess.

Why I am no longer a libertarian

Virtuous Society

Ron Paul libertarianThe “libertarian moment” may have finally arrived. An essay about American libertarianism in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine argues that younger voters’ social liberalism, fiscal conservatism and dissatisfaction with the political establishment is becoming a wave that new libertarian politicians are on the verge of riding into political relevance.

Whether or not this is true, the essay makes for an accurate glimpse into the libertarian movement’s self-narrative: libertarians comparing themselves to rock stars, libertarians for legal weed and hip with the kids, libertarians as champions of liberty, libertarians unconstrained by petty partisanship.

But the essay doesn’t get to the heart of libertarianism, which is something more than rejecting Republican hawkishness and Democratic entitlement spending or being simultaneously opposed to bailouts and carbon taxes. The essence of libertarianism is not political, but inescapably philosophical. Below are the reasons I rejected that philosophy.

Personal freedom is libertarianism’s only value

Libertarians are obsessed with…

View original post 1,592 more words

Stress Can Cancel Out The Benefits Of ‘Healthy’ Fat

JUJ WINN VIA GETTY IMAGES

We know stress can keep you up at night, make you look older and contribute tomaking mistakes at work. Now, a new study suggests that when you consume a high calorie and high fat diet while stressed, you can also cause your body to burn fewer calories.

“Stress changes the way we process food,” Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, the study’s lead author and professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University told The Huffington Post.

Her team found that when women ate a high calorie breakfast loaded with ‘healthy’ fat after a stressful event, their bodies not only burned fewer calories, they also showed raised levels of harmful health indicators in their blood ― just the same as if they had eaten the meal with ‘bad’ fat.

For the study, Kiecolt-Glaser and team compared women who ate identical breakfasts of biscuits, gravy, eggs and turkey sausage. Some of the meals were made with palm oil, which is high in saturated fat. Others ate the same meal, but prepared it with monounsaturated sunflower oil, which is considered a “good” fat. Both breakfasts contained 930 calories and 60 grams of fat, which is almost the same as eating a Big Mac and medium fries.

When women had a stressful event the day before breakfast ― ranging from cleaning up paint spilled by a child on the floor to caring for a parent with dementia ― the emotional reaction to that event cancelled out the benefits of the healthier fat, the researchers wrote.

The women who ate meals of “bad” fat showed higher blood markers for increased inflammation and the likelihood of plaque build-up in the arteries. It’s understood that “good” fat lowers inflammation, explained Kiecolt-Glaser, but after a stressful event, participants who ate the monounsaturated fat fared the same in blood tests as their counterparts.

It’s important to note that the study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, did not test for the effect of stress on people who ate a balanced or low-calorie diet. It suggests that individuals who eat extremely high fat and high calorie diets burn fewer calories when stressed.

It’s not all about the body when it comes to weight loss efforts and stress can also sabotage healthy behaviors that could support weight loss.

“Stress makes it hard to lose weight,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “Several things are happening: we eat comfort food, we’re sleeping more poorly and we’re hungrier the next day. And when we’re stressed we’re less likely to exercise.”

While we don’t have all the answers, this study is worth keeping in mind if you are making an effort to load up on healthy fats. Good fat, bad fat? It might only matter if you chill out.

Mystery solved: Melatonin makes these fish sing at night

There are fish that sing. Or drone like a bunch of loud kazoos, anyway. People living in houseboats in the San Francisco Bay have grown used to a low, strange hum that begins suddenly in the dark of the night and stops just as abruptly in the early morning.

The noise comes from male suitors of the species Porichthys notatus, commonly called the plainfin midshipman fish. While female midshipman only grunt when showing aggression, the males trying to mate with them use their swim bladders to create noises that have been likened to a chorus of kazoos, a formation of flying jets or a swarm of droning bees.

“They sound like an orchestra full of mournful, rasping oboes,” SFGate reported in 2004.

Researchers now believe they’ve figured out how the midshipman keeps his crooning so punctual: melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by many plants and animals, its release triggered by darkness. In animals that sleep at night — as humans do — melatonin is thought to help regulate the internal “clocks”that tell our bodies it’s time for some shut-eye. Some humans even find respite from insomnia by taking melatonin supplements at bedtime.

But the role of melatonin in the lives of nocturnal vertebrates remains quite mysterious. Nocturnal animals also make melatonin when plunged into a dark night, so it clearly doesn’t put them to sleep.

The new study published in Current Biology suggests that melatonin may act as more of a signal to trigger nighttime behaviors than a sleepy-time chemical. In midshipman fish, it seems to prompt males to start singing — which is what makes them midnight crooners.

“Our results, together with those of others that also show melatonin’s actions on vastly different timescales, highlight the ability of hormones in general to regulate the output of neural networks in the brain to control distinct components of behavior,” Cornell University’s Andrew Bass — yes, Bass — the paper’s senior author,said in a statement. “In the case of melatonin, one hormone can exert similar or different effects in diurnal vs. nocturnal species depending on the timescale of action, from day-night rhythms to the duration of single calls.”

To trace melatonin’s role in the humming, scientists tested the singing cycles of fish kept in total darkness and constant light. In the dark, they maintained roughly the same schedule as usual — they switched to a 25-hour cycle, so their singing drifted by an hour each day, but their periods of singing and silence maintained the right pattern. But in the light, they never sang at all. Then researchers gave fish drenched in sunlight an artificial melatonin boost, and their not-so-sweet melodies began in earnest — though at random intervals.

CONTENT FROM UPSDon’t be weighed down by inventory

Make sure the right products are available to customers at the right time—while carrying as little inventory as possible.

It seems we have a lot to learn about melatonin. The next time you reach for a pill to help you drift off to sleep, be glad it doesn’t make you hum like a kazoo until dawn.

The Holocaust defense in the face of “Denial”

There was a time when the esteemed Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt would never have imagined that one of her books might be turned into a dramatic feature film.  But in 2000, a series of startling events unfolded for Lipstadt, beginning when British Holocaust denier David Irving announced that he was suing her for libel in the British courts.  He asserted that Lipstadt’s 1993 book, “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory,” had smeared him, damaging his reputation and livelihood.

Irving eventually lost his case, and Lipstadt went on to write her 2005 memoir of the lawsuit, “Denial: Holocaust History on Trial” (previously published as “History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier”).  The story of their courtroom battle was so dramatic, and the stakes of proving the verity of the Holocaust so high, that, several years later, Hollywood producers came calling on the Jewish scholar.  The result is Mick Jackson’s new film, “Denial,” the saga of Lipstadt’s courtroom ordeal and ultimate victory, starring Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt.

Having taught at UCLA and currently a professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Lipstadt is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on Holocaust denial. But back in the late 1980s, when some esteemed professors from Hebrew University suggested to Lipstadt that she should delve into the topic, she was initially hesitant. “I thought, ‘Why would people even believe that absurdity?’ ” Lipstadt said in a telephone interview during the film’s press day in New York. “Would someone ask a scientist to write about flat earth theory? … It just seemed over the top.”

Even so, she agreed to explore the topic because of her respect for the Hebrew University professors, who viewed Holocaust denial as a new and insidious form of anti-Semitism. Six years later, her studies became the subject of her groundbreaking book, “Denying the Holocaust.”

The tome revealed a disturbing trend of pseudo-historians who were manipulating history in an attempt to debunk the Shoah — creating the illusion that there is a valid “other side” to Holocaust history.

Weisz (left) and Deborah Lipstadt. Photo courtesy of EPK.TV

The denier who stood out as most dangerous among them was Irving, who had earned some favorable reviews in mainstream publications as well as scholarly esteem for his books about World War II and the Third Reich. In “Denying the Holocaust,” Lipstadt describes Irving as a “Hitler partisan wearing blinkers,” who distorted data in order to reach his “untenable” conclusions.

Irving argued that gas chambers were never used to systematically kill Jews; that there had never been a Third Reich plan to annihilate European Jewry; that Hitler was probably the biggest fan the Jews had in Nazi-occupied Europe and that Holocaust survivors were either liars or charlatans.

Before the libel trial, Irving had even shown up with a camera crew at one of Lipstadt’s lectures and declared that he would give $1,000 to anyone who could prove that Hitler ordered the extermination of the Jews. “He popped up in the back … and it was a pretty horrible moment,” Lipstadt told the Journal.

Early in the film, we see that interaction during the lecture, as well as Lipstadt responding to Irving that she does not debate deniers, just as she wouldn’t argue with someone who insists that Elvis is still alive.

Later in the movie, Lipstadt can be seen laughing when, in 1995, she receives a letter from her British publisher, Penguin UK, informing her that Irving intends to sue her for libel. The scholar doesn’t take the threat of  a lawsuit seriously, and promptly tosses the letter into the trash.

But a year later, Irving indeed files suit in Britain, which puts Lipstadt in an unexpectedly difficult bind. In a United States courtroom, Irving would have been considered a public person and to win a libel suit would have had to prove Lipstadt maligned him with malicious intent. But in England, the reverse is the case: The burden of proof was on Lipstadt to show Irving deliberately distorted history because of his underlying anti-Semitism. In order to win, her legal team also had to prove that the Holocaust had, indeed, occurred.

In the film, as the trial gets underway, the bold, outspoken Lipstadt chafes at the fact that her attorneys will not let her testify, since their strategy is to focus on Irving alone. Nor will Holocaust survivors be allowed to give testimony, lest Irving — who is representing himself — traumatize them further. “People will say I’m a coward,” Lipstadt protests when she learns she will not be able to take the stand. “It’s the price [to] pay for winning,” one of her lawyers replies.

Lipstadt suffers angst and sleepless nights throughout the grueling, three-month trial.

But her team’s strategy proves correct. As Judge Charles Gray reads from his verdict, he calls Irving “a right-wing, pro-Nazi polemicist” who persistently distorted historical evidence for ideological reasons.

In real life, as in the movie, Lipstadt was relieved and elated at the verdict. But, she said, she nevertheless had trepidations, some years later, when producers contacted her about turning her book “Denial” into a movie. “I said, ‘Before I give you the green light, you have to understand that this is a film about fighting for truth; you can’t pretty it up or fictionalize it,’ ” said Lipstadt, whose latest book, “Holocaust:  An American Understanding,” was published this summer. “And they heard me very clearly.”

Screenwriter David Hare (“The Reader”) spent hours with Lipstadt before writing his script, which took all its courtroom dialogue directly from trial transcripts. And Weisz (“The Constant Gardener”) also hung out with the scholar in order to absorb her persona.

The actress was drawn to the role, in large part, because “it was in the end a very uplifting story about a woman’s fight for truth and justice, and a woman standing up to a bully,” Weisz said in a telephone interview from New York, where she lives with her husband, James Bond star Daniel Craig.

Weisz also wanted to play Lipstadt for personal reasons: “I’m not English, after all; my parents were refugees,” she said. Her Jewish-Hungarian father fled Budapest with his family in around 1938, when he was just 7. And her Austrian mother, daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, “had memories of being 5 years old and suddenly neighbors and kids stopped playing with her and speaking to her because she was half Jewish,” Weisz said.  Her mother’s family escaped Vienna to England two weeks before Germany’s invasion of Austria. Weisz’s mother later converted to Judaism before marrying the actress’ father, a prolific scientific inventor.

Young Rachel grew up in the shadow of her parents’ wartime experiences. “If you and your family have to leave a country, even to find safety, it defines who you are for the rest of your days,” she said. “They talked about it all the time; it just became normal to me.”

Weisz went on to study English at Cambridge University, where she also fell in love with acting; she began her movie career performing in independent films such as “Stealing Beauty” (1996) and burst into stardom with her turn in the 1999 blockbuster “The Mummy,” opposite Brendan Fraser.

That same year she also performed in another film that drew on her Jewish heritage:  Istvan Szabo’s “Sunshine,” the saga of how anti-Semitism affects three generations of a Hungarian-Jewish family, including their experiences during the time of the Holocaust.

But Weisz had never visited Auschwitz-Birkenau until she took on the role of Lipstadt for “Denial.” She learned about the workings of the camp while reading some of Lipstadt’s books, but was not prepared for her emotions as she performed scenes outside Auschwitz’s perimeter. (Shooting feature films is prohibited inside the former camp). “I was struck by the level of industrialization — the systematic order and the lack of waste in terms of exploiting and using every part of the human body,” she said. “How incredibly organized it was, was very startling.”

Interior sections of Auschwitz were re-created on a set in England; for the scene in which Lipstadt recites the El Male Rachamim, the Jewish prayer for the dead, above a gas chamber, Weisz learned to how to say the Hebrew words of the Jewish prayer.  “It had undeniable power,” she said.

In another sequence, set in a camp barracks, Weisz passionately argues with her lead barrister, who is interested only in learning facts that can help him win the case, and not in memorializing the Holocaust. She tartly tells him to show some respect for the dead.

Lipstadt, who was on the set at the time, recalled that when Weisz finished shooting that scene, she said, “That wasn’t acting.”

As for actor Timothy Spall’s portrayal of Irving, Weisz said, “What he says is pretty shocking, but what was brilliant in his performance is that he had a certain charm.  There were moments when I almost felt sorry for him.”

Weisz said she believes the film is especially relevant today, given the racially charged rhetoric of presidential candidate Donald Trump and the escalation of anti-Semitism in Europe. But she disagrees with those who believe the verdict against Irving could dampen free speech among historians.

“David Irving brought this lawsuit against Deborah,” she said.  “He was trying to censor her free speech.”

Denial” opens Sept. 30 in theaters in Los Angeles.

A mom apparently overdoses next to her child (GOOD!!!!) and why police want you to watch

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/23/health/heroin-overdose-video-massachusetts-trnd/

(CNN)The video above is hard to watch. If you’d prefer not to, here’s what it shows: A woman who has collapsed in the middle of a dollar store, and her toddler daughter, screaming and crying and clutching her mother’s listless body.

She takes her hand and tries repeatedly to pull her mother up, but the woman does not stir. The girl uses both hands and continues to pull at her, reaching around her mother’s neck and trying to pull her head up; grabbing her chin and patting it.
The video, taken on September 18, was released by the Lawrence Police Department in Massachusetts. Police say the mother was suffering from a drug overdose. They said first responders needed two doses of Narcan to revive her. (Narcan is a medicine that blocks the effects of opiates.)
It’s the sort of video that makes you wonder why it was taken; why it is important to watch. And, perhaps more significantly, why something like this happens in the first place.

Why would anyone want to watch this?

The devastating effect of heroin police want you to see

The devastating effect of heroin police want you to see 03:30
The police department is sharing the video with the public because they hope it will help raise awareness for a growing problem.
“The upside to the video is it helps for creating awareness to how powerful addiction can be….This region and the whole Northeast is struggling with the opiate crisis,” Police Chief James Fitzpatrick told CNN.
Fitzpatrick says he knows the video is upsetting.
“The video is first shocking and then heartbreaking,” he said. “The child is in distress, you just want to reach out and help.”
Sadly, the reality it highlights is becoming more and more common in Lawrence. Fitzpatrick, a 20-year veteran of the force, calls the heroin problem in his town “historic.”
“In my career it’s increased, the amount of people that are using opiates are at historic levels — highly historic levels. The potency is such a problem,” he said.
If you are wondering why a group of people are standing around filming while a toddler wails over her inert mother, police tell CNN the store manager took the video as a “precaution.” It also appears, from background conversations, as if onlookers are either summoning help or waiting for help that has already been called.

What happened next?

Once police got there, Fitzpatrick said they found drug paraphernalia. Baggies, a straw and residue were found in the woman’s bag. He tells CNN she was sent to the hospital to be treated and was released.
The mother did not have enough drugs in her possession to be immediately charged, but the department is filing child endangerment charges.
The child remains in the Custody of the Massachusetts department of Children and Family Services, said agency spokeswoman Andrea Grossman. She couldn’t more information because of state and federal confidentiality laws.
The police are not yet identifying the woman in the video.

How Ted Cruz (Spic Freemason, Zionist) got from ‘vote your conscience’ to ‘vote for Trump’

Minutes before Ted Cruz took the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick cornered the senator, huddling with him in a last-ditch effort to coax an endorsement of Donald Trump. It didn’t work.
“A missed opportunity,” Patrick fumed after Cruz’s notorious snub. “He makes his own decisions.”

Two months later, amid political troubles home in Texas, unyielding pressure from the Republican establishment in Washington and growing irritation from the conservative grass roots, Cruz reversed course. The senator gave his imprimatur to a man he once called a “pathological liar” and a “bully” during their bitter primary campaign.
After telling voters to “vote your conscience” in July, Cruz said he had plumbed his own.
“If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country. My conscience tells me I must do whatever I can to stop that,” Cruz said on Facebook Friday.
His about-face stunned the political world and supporters who’ve flocked to his no-compromise conservatism. But so much had changed in the past 60 days that Cruz apparently believed he had no other choice than to bust out of the political box he had built for himself in Ohio.

At the time of his convention speech, there was compelling political logic for the ambitious firebrand to steer clear of Trump. Cruz appears likely to run for president again, and Trump, at the time, looked like was headed toward a blowout loss. Not to mention, Trump had essentially called Cruz’s wife unattractive and erroneously linked his father to JFK’s assassination.
Cruz’s allies believed if he played it right, he could emerge from the election as one of the last principled conservatives — the final bulwark against a candidate who violated many of the values conservatives hold dear.
But with Trump approaching Hillary Clinton in the polls, Cruz’s diss had become more of a liability: A narrow Trump loss might have been pinned on Cruz for keeping conservatives home on Election Day because they were following his lead.
In recent days, strong signals emerged that the two rivals were warming to one another. Privately, Cruz huddled with Mike Pence last week. Trump backed Cruz’s effort on a legislative play involving internet regulation, then floated close Cruz ally Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) for the Supreme Court. Cruz praised Trump on Twitter.
By Friday afternoon, Cruz caved and Trump celebrated, despite having once said that he wouldn’t accept a Cruz endorsement even if it was offered.
“The things that bind them together is what’s most important: their love for the country, their fear of a Hillary Clinton presidency,” said Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager and a former president of a pro-Cruz super PAC. “This is a very big fish because these were the last two guys standing.”

The endorsement took weeks to come together, people involved said. There was a long, subtle pitch from Trump’s camp to Cruz’s people appealing to the senator’s commitment to principle, and even suggestions that Cruz might be held responsible if Clinton wins. Sources within the campaign said Pence and Cruz made considerable progress during their meeting on Sept. 13, helping to set the stage for the eventual endorsement. And Cruz, they said, was also feeling pressure from the donor class, including the powerful—and once pro-Cruz– Mercer family, which publicly reminded Cruz of his commitment to support the GOP nominee.
Still, there are limits to their alliance: Cruz and Trump didn’t speak in advance of the endorsement, campaign sources say, though they talked afterward.
Cruz’s brand of “principled” conservatism has been predicated on never bending to political pressure, and he’s spent his years in the Senate criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders for bending to the will of Democrats and lobbyists. Now that could all be compromised.
“I frankly just don’t understand it at all,” said someone who works for Cruz on Friday. “You have to stick to your guns. What does Ted get out of this now? Frankly, what does Trump get out of it? He gets an unpopular person.”
In an interview Friday, Conway noted the tension within Cruz’s own camp. There was “enormous pressure on Sen. Cruz to not endorse,” she said. But remaining a holdout “would be an abrogation of the commitment he made a year ago,” in his pledge to support the Republican nominee.
Cruz was caught between two whirling forces in the GOP: The conservative movement he led just five months ago and a Republican Party now finding itself actually unifying after a bizarre and divisive primary election seemed to threaten the party’s very existence.
Former Cruz aides wanted their onetime boss to stand strong. Rick Tyler, a former Cruz spokesman, said on Thursday that “there is enormous pressure to get on board [with Trump] but if he does, he’s done.”

“If he announces he endorses, it destroys his political brand,” said someone who had worked for Cruz’s campaign.
Cruz’s political calculation was exceedingly complicated. He’s now at risk of facing a real primary challenge in 2018 from Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), a deep-pocketed Republican who could draw backing from the GOP establishment in Texas. And Cruz’s standing in Texas has taken a significant hit since his refusal to endorse Trump, with some polls showing him vulnerable in his Senate primary.
But Cruz, at least publicly, has come to see the election as the binary choice Republicans have been citing all along as they fall in line behind Trump: The business mogul isn’t their first choice, but he’s better than Clinton.
“If you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for” Trump, Cruz wrote Friday.
For some in the GOP, Cruz will be known as a good party soldier. But others were plainly dejected. Glenn Beck called it a “profoundly sad day for me,” former Cruz speechwriter Amanda Carpenter could only muster that the turn of events was “very disappointing.” Top political aide Jason Johnson’s only comment was a photo of himself, covering his eyes.
Other Republicans said that the bizarre arc of Cruz and Trump’s relationship was less about winning the election — and more about egos.
“The people who are disposed to vote for Donald Trump are going to vote for Donald Trump regardless of who is or is not endorsing him,” said a Republican senator. “I don’t know that all of a sudden you’ll see this groundswell of people” supporting Trump.
Steve Deace, a conservative radio host who was instrumental in Cruz’s Iowa Caucus win, summed up the feeling that many Cruz loyalists were grappling with as the decision came down on Friday: “This is gonna be a political disaster,” he said. “Sad. Unavoidable. Entirely self-inflicted.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/ted-cruz-donald-trump-backstory-228609#ixzz4LAe5SUEZ
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

Major Ohio paper endorses Clinton after years of backing GOP

 

Washington (CNN)The Cincinnati Enquirer, one of Ohio’s largest newspapers, is backing Hillary Clinton after supporting Republican presidential candidates for nearly a century.

“The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century — a tradition this editorial board doesn’t take lightly. But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times,” the editorial board of the Enquirer published Friday. “Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst.”
“That’s why there is only one choice when we elect a president in November: Hillary Clinton,” the editorial reads.
The Gannett publication announced its endorsement in advance of the first presidential debate between the two nominees. Ohio is a battleground state that both candidates have increasingly worked harder to win.
The paper said Clinton was a “competent” secretary of state who made “mistakes” in Benghazi that were “tragic” but called Republicans’ assessment of her actions a “diabolical conspiracy.”
“Clinton, meanwhile, was a competent secretary of state, with far stronger diplomatic skills than she gets credit for. Yes, mistakes were made in Benghazi, and it was tragic that four Americans lost their lives in the 2012 terror attacks on the US consulate there,” it wrote. “But the incident was never the diabolical conspiracy that Republicans wanted us to believe, and Clinton was absolved of blame after lengthy investigations.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is more interested in his self that the country, the paper concludes.
“Trump brands himself as an outsider untainted by special interests, but we see a man utterly corrupted by self-interest. His narcissistic bid for the presidency is more about making himself great than America,” the board said. “Trump tears our country and many of its people down with his words so that he can build himself up. What else are we left to believe about a man who tells the American public that he alone can fix what ails us?”
While the editorial board are sympathetic to voters interest in the change that Trump could bring, the Enquirer concludes that not all change is good.
“Our country needs to seek thoughtful change, not just change for the sake of change. Four years is plenty of time to do enough damage that it could take America years to recover from, if at all,” it wrote.

Anthony Weiner (Jewish Pervert) under investigation for sexting with a minor

(JTA) — The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has launched an investigation into Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting with a minor.

Prosecutors have issued a subpoena for Weiner’s cellphone records, CNN reported Thursday.

The allegations, which first appeared in the Daily Mail on Wednesday, include that Weiner sent explicit texts to an unnamed 15-year-old girl for months, dating back to January. The British tabloid also reported that the former New York congressman pressed the girl to dress up in “school girl outfits” and indulge “rape fantasies,” and published shirtless photos of Weiner that he allegedly sent to the girl.

Weiner, who was involved in two previous similar scandals since 2011, when he resigned from the House of Representatives, sent a statement to CNN.

“I have repeatedly demonstrated terrible judgment about the people I have communicated with online and the things I have sent,” he said. “I am filled with regret and heartbroken for those I have hurt. While I have provided the Daily Mail with information showing that I have likely been the subject of a hoax, I have no one to blame but me for putting myself in this position. I am sorry.”

Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, announced last month that she was separating from him after the New York Post published sexually suggestive messages sent between him and an unnamed woman.

“If the reports are true, it’s possibly criminal and it is sick,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Thursday. “And frankly, I’ve heard enough about Anthony Weiner and I think that goes for all New Yorkers.”

UK veterans outraged Churchill’s home converted to Nazi HQ for new movie (GOOD!!!)

 

The late, great former prime minister of Britain Winston Churchill, a man known as much for his love of good whisky as his disdain for the Third Reich, is ironically having his ancestral home converted into Adolf Hitler’s command center for a new Hollywood film, The Telegraph reported Friday.

Huge swastika flags and banners can be seen draped all across Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, according to The Telegraph, which will be used as Nazi headquarters in the newest Transformers film The Last Knight.

But the news is not going over so smoothly with veterans in the UK, who are expressing outrage at Tinseltown’s use of the historic property, calling it appalling and “disrespectful.”

“I know it’s a film, but it’s symbolically disrespectful to Churchill,” ex-commander of British forces in Afghanistan Colonel Richard Kemp told London based tabloid newspaper The Sun earlier this week.

“He will be turning in his grave,” added Kemp.

Member of Veteran’s Association UK Tony Hayes said that remaining World War Two veterans “will be appalled by this.”

Social media also reacted contentiously to the development, with one Twitter user saying: “Quite appalled, hear Blenheim Palace has been turned into a HQ for Hitler for a film, sorry, Sir Winston Churchill’s home, isn’t the place.”

Churchill himself is buried on the grounds of Blenheim Palace, which is currently occupied by the 12th Duke of Marlborough Jamie Spencer-Churchill, 60, who reportedly rented out the property to keep up with the estate’s high maintenance expenditures.