Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is the Koran More Intolerant Than the Bible?

Many Neocon pundits and media figures spread Islamophobia, because fear and hatred of Muslims encourages non-Muslim Americans to support our current wars in the Mideast.

A key talking point of this politically inspired Islamophobia is that Muslims are uniquely violent and intolerant.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims all have a violent history -- as do pagans and other religions. But Islamophobes insist that the difference is that Islam (unlike Judaism or Christianity) is inherently intolerant; that the Koran requires and demands that its adherents kill nonbelievers.

Is this a key difference between the Bible and the Koran?

I've never read the Koran, but I assume it does contain some intolerant passages. But does the Koran differ from the Bible in that respect?

Here are some passages from the Old Testament (or what Jews call the Hebrew Bible). According to Deuteronomy 13:6-10:

"If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and worship other gods' (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."


And Deuteronomy 13:12-16 says:

"If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, 'Let us go and worship other gods' (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt,"

So it seems that both the Bible and Koran require that believers kill nonbelievers.

Now, some will say, "Yes, but modern Jews and Christians don't practice that passage; they don't kill nonbelievers." Very true. But neither do the overwhelming, vast majority of Muslims kill, or even advocate killing, nonbelievers.

If you're still inclined to hate Muslims, read what the Catholic Church says about Islamophobia.

And if you feel a thrill at seeing American bombs killing foreigners, read a Catholic interpretation of Jesus' admonition to his Apostles.

Yes, I know it's not what "Christian" warmongers want to hear. Sorry to ruin your day.

And we may as well review libertarian embarrassment Wayne Allyn Root's views on the "Ground Zero mosque" and on Muslim outreach.

Is the California Libertarian Party Greasing the Wheels for Wayne Allyn Root?

What with more important news, such as the upcoming April antiwar protest rallies, I'm increasingly tired of covering the petty sleaze that infests today's Libertarian Party, but here's goes...

I'm not sure if there's a fire, but smoke indicates that Root allies in the Libertarian Party of California are trying to stuff the 2012 delegation in Root's favor.

It's been a California LP tradition that the state convention alternates between southern California one year, northern California the next. A ruckus ensued when this tradition was ignored (e.g., the 2006 convention on a cruise ship to Mexico, which left from Long Beach, CA, so it was briefly in "southern California").

Aaron Starr was state chair in 2006. He arranged for another cruise convention for 2008.

But in 2007, a new set of CLP officers were elected, partially as a backlash against Starr's cruise convention. Kevin Takenaga was elected chair. (Starr chose not to run again, because, he said, he wished to focus on being national LP treasurer). The Takenaga faction ended plans for a 2008 cruise convention (the contracts had not yet been signed).

Now, in 2011, the Takenaga administration has set the LPC convention not in northern California, but in Nevada. Root country.

Does this mean anything? I don't know for sure, but it fails the "smell test." It may be legit, but it smells fishy.

But wait -- there's more!

Now "Libertarian Girl" reports on Independent Political Report (comment #6) that the Nevada LP is spending its own cash to promote the California LP convention.

LG writes: "the Clark County excom, not my vote, voted to let the Chair alone decide to send our money to the state, who decided to let the chair alone decide how to spend it (NO I'M NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP) and the chair has decided to spend 1500 advertising the cali convention. TOTAL FUCKING BULLSHIT, the LP in NV is corrupt, sorry Wayne but this is so far past acceptable there aren't even words"

(It's noteworthy that LG is a longtime Root fan.)

Why would the Nevada LP spend $1,500 to promote the California convention?

"Gains" suggests (comment #13): "Because they are going to stack the California delegation with WAR supporters... again. Duh. You don't even have to live in California to vote, you just need $125 and the officership in your pocket."

Is Gain's right? Well, Root did carpetbag his whole family to the 2008 CLP convention, signing them up as delegates.

"Delegate Stuffing" asks (comment #22): "Are not delegates to the 2012 national convention to be chosen at the California LP's 2012 state convention? They're not choosing any national delegates at the 2011 convention, are they?"

Gains replies (comment #25): "The WAR camp has enjoyed a very friendly posture with the operations committee in California, which has traditionally been handed the responsibility to filling in unused delegate slots from the California Convention, of which there is usually some good number.

"The responsibility is in the ExCom of California's hands by rule, and opacity in the office has lent itself to them having to, in a state of deadline emergency, OK the operations committee list for filling those slots without more than a few moments of review.

"The problem is cultural. We need officers and representatives that do this business without skulduggery, bypassing the will of membership. We also need membership that does not engage in exclusive politicing with delegation slots.

"I am not going to point at individuals for blame, nor call the set up especially nefarious on its face. Deescalating WAR's acceptance in the party seems to be a sign that that culture is starting to form.

"The answer lies in getting involved, though I am sure some force wielding authoritarian-libertarian will try to correct the issue with by-laws proposals."

It's noteworthy that...

* The LNC has set the 2012 national LP convention in Las Vegas, NV. Root country.

* The same CLP leadership that opposed Starr's cruise convention, has now shifted its principles to arrange a Nevada convention. Root country.

* The Nevada LP (Wayne Allyn Root, Vice Chair) is promoting the California convention.

* The California LP has many delegate slots available, whereas Nevada has but a few. (Hence the temptation for "Nevadans for Root" to carpetbag into California.)

If this isn't a "fix," then coincidences are certainly aligning nicely for a Root victory at the 2012 national convention (regardless of whether he runs for president or chair).

Like Gains, I don't know if anything's afoot. But petty skulduggery has long been one of the LP's few strong suits. (Yes, some LP officers no doubt fantasize about big stakes skulduggery, but if they had any skills in that direction, they'd be Demopublicans.)

Okay, now back to more serious business...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Protests Against Obama's Lybia War on April 9th and 10th

Kevin Zeese, of Voters for Peace, sends "an announcement of antiwar rallies in New York on April 9 and San Francisco on April 10 which Voters for Peace has endorsed."

Details of where and when to show up at:

This seems like a mostly Left coalition. It's noteworthy that the Left is opposing Obama's war. It would be nice if many antiwar libertarians and conservatives also showed up, so it becomes a more broad-based protest.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Motivates Born-Again Antiwar Conservatives?

Yesterday I wrote about how so many conservative radio talk show hosts, who were previously pro-war, have done a sudden 180 degree switch now that Obama has attacked Libya. They now oppose war.

I provided a list of such born-again, antiwar conservative radio hosts.

To this list you may now add John Batchelor, whose sudden skepticism about the Libya War is noteworthy, considering that he's long been one of the most HARDCORE of neocon radio hawks -- no small achievement, considering the field.

Batchelor passes himself off as providing serious news and analysis (not a "mere entertainer"), and as possessing superior expertise on foreign affairs. Yet despite his feigned objectivity, he "editorializes with music." He plays stirring martial music when reporting on the U.S. military, and ominous music when reporting on Arab nations.

One of Batchelor's standard numbers is from Hollywood's Starship Troopers. That the film is increasingly interpreted as a satire of militarism seems lost on Batchelor.

Why the sudden policy switch among so many conservative hawks? One slow conversion, from hawk to dove, might indicate sincerity. But so sudden -- and united! -- a switch among so many hawks indicates ... well, it's weird.

Here's some (not wholly original) speculation:

The American populace is often and increasingly upset. In order for the Powers That Be (no, I don't know their names) to maintain control of the American Empire, they must give the people safe channels through which to vent their steam.

Our Two Party System serves this purpose nicely. Whenever a majority of the populace is dangerously fed up, they can find "hope" in the Out Party, and vote it into "power". This creates the illusion of Change.

No, I don't think there's an organized cabal, but rather, a confluence of interests, and an understanding of what's expected to succeed within the system.

Conservative radio hosts (and that includes "libertarian" baby pundits like Wayne Allyn Root) know that their personal success depends upon bashing Democrats, regardless of merit.

When Bush was in power, conservative pundits understood that their book deals and media ratings depended upon beating Bush's war drums and railing against the "big spending" Democrats. Now that Obama is in office, conservatives' success depends upon bashing Obama, regardless of what he does.

Democratic pundits, think tanks, media voices, etc., do the opposite.

It's noteworthy that neither side seriously challenges the Empire. No loud demands for a complete end to ALL foreign aid (to ALL nations) and a complete shutdown of ALL overseas military bases.

The talking heads (conservatives -- including "libertarian conservatives" -- and progressives) thus maintain the illusion of Two Choices. Whether the talking heads understand their role in maintaining this political deception is unimportant. They DO realize that in order for their careers to flourish, they must cheer one Official Side and attack the Other Official Side.

That's where the money is. That's what brings in the book deals, TV appearances, and radio show gigs.

(It's okay to take a few light jabs at your "own side" -- indeed, it's a Good Thing. It creates the illusion of "independent thinking," which goes over well with the populace. But you MUST choose One Side, and save your big punches for the Other Side.)

Thus the American populace sees Two (illusory) Choices. And when the economy sinks, or wars go bad, they vent their anger at the In Party by supporting the Out Party. The infrastructure and policies of the Empire itself -- from the Federal Reserve to the overseas military bases -- are left unchallenged. Indeed, that they might even be debatable issues is unthinkable to most people.

Yes, conservative talk radio is now attacking Obama's Libya War. So what? We are in Libya. It's a done deal. The Empire is pleased. And when the American populace becomes fed up with Obama's Wars (as they were, before, with Bush's wars), they will believe (thanks in part to conservative talk radio) that the solution to ending Obama's Wars is to vote Republican.

Then we'll have a new Repubican war, and an angry populace will once again vote for a Democratic warmonger.

This notion of hidden power brokers, discussing which Face (Clinton, Bush, Obama) will be our next president, reminds me of the ending to Being There:


A note on Wayne Allyn Root. Why don't I trust his (latest) born-again antiwar stance?

Because unlike Root supporters, I judge Root in context. His supporters want Root to be judged by his every latest article, all his previous acts and statements -- all his Clintonesque switches and sudden flip flops -- down the Orwellian Memory Hole.

Would any libertarian judge Obama like that? Would libertarians allow Obama to reinvent himself every day? If Obama gave a startlingly libertarian speech, would libertarians ignore all of Obama's previous acts and writings?

I judge libertarians by the same standards I set for conservatives, progressives, independents, and anyone else. I give no extra credit for having a Magic L before your name.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wayne Allyn Root Parrots Conservatives on Libya

Wow! I had just posted Born-Again Antiwar Conservatives Denounce Obama's Libya War.

Although not primarily about Root, near the end I wrote: "But right-wing radio hosts (as opposed to shock jocks) have seemingly embraced an 'anti-Obama/anti-Libya War' Party Line. I thus expect that libertarian embarrassment Wayne Allyn Root will soon release his own anti-Libyan War screed, with special emphasis on bashing Obama. It's safe to do so now in conservative circles."

Less than an hour later, Bruce Cohen posts Root's latest on Independent Political Report.

No, I have no special mind-reading abilities. Anyone can predict Root's positions. Just listen to conservative talk radio. Root never deviates from their Party Line.

Also read my Born-Again Antiwar Conservatives Denounce Obama's Libya War.

Born-Again Antiwar Conservatives Denounce Obama's Libya War

Truly, we are living in Orwellian times. Not long ago, right-wing radio hosts were united in supporting America's Mideast wars. Then last week, President Obama attacked Libya.

That's a conundrum for right-wingers. Do they support American At War! against yet another Muslim nation -- or do they oppose their much-hated bogeyman, Barak Obama.

Well, the dust has cleared, and the Party Line is settled. With remarkable unity, right-wing radio hosts have become "born again antiwar, fiscally conservative, Constitutionalists." Marching in surprising lockstep (as though there really is a Party Line), they're all denouncing the Libyan War.

I guess they hate Obama even more than they love bombing Muslims.

I first began hearing conservative radio hosts denounce Obama's Libyan War on Sunday, March 20th. Since then, I've heard the following conservative radio hosts denounce the Libyan War: Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mancow, Michael Smerconish, Lou Dobbs, and
Mark Levin.

Their reasons for opposing the war include the Constitution (i.e., that Congress did not declare war -- and why was this not a problem when Bush attacked Afghanistan or Iraq?), the financial cost of war, the fact that we don't know which faction represents what principles (i.e., who will replace Gaddafi), and that innocent civilians are being killed.

Again, why were none of these valid concerns when Bush attack Afghanistan or Iraq?

Mike Savage suggested that Gaddafi's opposition includes al-Qaeda, and that this was one of Obama's motives. As Savage put it, "It seems that Obama never misses an opportunity to support radical Islam."

Apolitical shock jocks are taking a more moderate approach. Here in Los Angeles, the Bill Handel Show's "morning team" has remained supportive of intervention in Libya. And on the John and Ken Show, both John and Ken said that they can't bring themselves to give a damn about Libya, one way or another. As John put it, "Libya is just such a dirty, ugly nation." When Ken said that if the U.S. doesn't intervene, Libya may devolve into civil war, John replied, "Good. There's only six million of them. Maybe if there's a civil war, they'll all kill each other."

The Bill Handel and John and Ken shows are reputedly conservative, a charge that both shows deny. Bill Handel has even spoken favorably of socialized medicine. I agree that neither of these local, drive-time shows are representative of right-wing radio.

But right-wing radio hosts (as opposed to shock jocks) have seemingly embraced an "anti-Obama/anti-Libya War" Party Line. I thus expect that libertarian embarrassment Wayne Allyn Root will soon release his own anti-Libyan War screed, with special emphasis on bashing Obama. It's safe to do so now in conservative circles.

Authentic libertarians likewise oppose the Libyan War. And some may say, "So what if Root is following the conservative crowd? At least an anti-Libyan War position is correct."

Yes, the antiwar position is correct. But why a person advocates antiwar matters. If a person advocates antiwar out of sincerity, integrity, and courage, then you can be assured that person will continue to advocate antiwar when the going gets tough.

If, on the other hand, a person advocates antiwar out of craven opportunism, then that person is an unreliable ally. He'll only be antiwar so long it remains popular, and will switch to pro-war when that becomes more profitable.

In 2008, Ron Paul advocated antiwar to Republican howls and jeers -- and stood his ground. That's sincerity, integrity, courage -- that's real leadership!

In 2003, Karen Kwiatkowski was a Pentagon whistleblower on the Iraq War -- and was denounced by right-wingers for it. Kwiatkowski is a woman of substance -- and of sincerity, integrity, courage, and real leadership. (Read Kwiatkowski's latest piece.)

The antiwar movement needs real leaders, not fair-weather opportunists who are obsessed with a personal hatred for Obama. America's decades-long foreign policy fiascoes transcend any president.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pro-War/Antiwar Divide Behind New York Libertarian Party Purge?

Dr. Tom Stevens writes about a purge within the New York Libertarian Party.

If this is your typical LP infighting, then the procedural rationales are trivial, convoluted, and fake. Usually, the ostensible reasons for any LP purge or feud are a cover for some underlying personal or ideological dispute.

Here's what I find noteworthy about Stevens's report:

"While the main culprits behind attacking the Queens LP and Dr. Tom Stevens (our unanimously elected State Representative) have been Blay Tarnoff, Gary Donoyan and M Carling (the same people behind the 2006 de-chartering of the Queens LP)...

"...In the months leading up to this action, John Clifton, LPQC Chair, proposed two bylaws amendments to change the State Bylaws, the sum and substance of which would have allowed duly chartered chapters to elect a Chair and State Representative of their own choosing..."

To divine what's really going on in any LP feud, it helps to know the personalities involved.

On one side of this dispute is M Carling, an ally of Root supporter Aaron Starr. That is, Carling belongs to the LP's pro-war faction. (Root, Starr, and Carling would probably dispute the term "pro-war.")

Curiously, Carling has been active in both the New York and California LPs, and has reportedly been active at Oregon LP conventions.

On the other side of this current LPNY feud is John Clifton, who has been an "outside the box," pro-peace thinker, at one point suggesting that the LPNY endorse Cindy Sheehan for Senate.

Are there pro-war/antiwar, Reform/Radical motives underlying this current feud?

I don't know. It's possible.

However, in 2008 Dr. Tom Stevens ran for president on the Objectivist Party line, with the very pro-war Alden Link as his running mate. And they're apparently doing so again in 2012.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Libertarian Party Should Dump Robert's Rules of Order

On Independent Political Report, David Colborne writes:

"Regarding parliamentary rules, I find it absolutely amazing how, at every Libertarian event (and this is a personal observation, not an official one), the probability that an LP meeting will devolve into rules lawyering approaches given enough time.

"I don't know if it's a personality situation or a design flaw in Robert's Rules themselves but it's absolutely maddening."

I too have noticed that some LP officers and delegates (usually of the Reform/Republican Lite faction) use Robert's Rules not to enhance debate, but to stifle debate and participation, and to "gum up the works" so as to block certain agenda items from passing.

For instance, at one LPCA convention, a couple of LP members didn't want an anti-capital punishment platform plank to reach the floor for a vote, fearing it would pass. So they engaged in endless trivial debate and questions on preceding platform proposals, until the clock ran out.

(A fairer approach would have been to give every platform proposal time for a vote, irrespective of whether there had been time for floor debate.)

There are other examples. If you've attended enough LP conventions, you've likely seen some abuse of Robert's Rules.

So last year, I suggested on IPR that the various state and national LP's dump Robert's Rules, and amend their bylaws to read:

1. The bylaws shall govern the LP.

2. Any issue not covered by the bylaws shall be governed by the common sense of the members, officers, or delegates, to the extent that they have any.

3. Anyone is free to consult Robert's Rules, or a dictionary, or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy, or their astrologer, or whatever else for additional guidance, but under no circumstances shall the LP be bound by anything other than the bylaws as interpreted by the common sense of the members, officers, or delegates.

We need rules? Fine -- we'll use the bylaws and naught else. Common sense will fill in the blanks. It may not work, but it can’t get worse than using Robert's Rules.

On that same IPR thread, Robert Capozzi pointlessly responded: "And that’s the rub. What constitutes 'common sense,' and how is that determined?"

To which I replied:

There is no "rub." I already anticipated and answered your objection in my initial posts.

I said: "Any issue not covered by the bylaws shall be governed by the common sense of the members, officers, or delegates, to the extent that they have any."

I intentionally set a very low bar. The members may have the common sense of Socrates — or of a soiled napkin — it doesn't matter. We'll use whatever "common sense" they can muster.

Why? Because as I said, "Common sense will fill in the blanks. It may not work, but it can't get worse than using Robert's Rules".

You see? No "rub." Whatever level of "common sense" the party can muster, it can't be any worse that the current, deliberate misuse of Robert's Rules to stifle dissent.

I stand by that. I don't think the average Libertarian has any more common sense than your typical Democrat or Republican, but at least they'd be better off relying on whatever common sense they can muster, than being prey to the parliamentary tricks of their slicker and less honest party members.

Friday, March 11, 2011

California Internet Tax Threatens Amazon Associates

The California state legislature is threatening the livelihoods of over 10,000 Californians who earn money as Amazon Associates for online retailer,

These Californians place links on their websites to Amazon. When someone clicks through to Amazon and makes a purchase, the Associate earns a commission.

Amazon is not required to collect sales taxes on purchases made to Californians because there is no "business nexus." But now California is considering a law to classify Amazon Associates as a "business nexus".

Other states have done likewise. In all such instances, Amazon ended its Associates program rather than be forced to collect the sales tax. Amazon has even ended its Associates program in big states such as New York and Illinois.

History shows Amazon is not bluffing. If California declares Amazon Associates a “business nexus,” Amazon will end its Associates program in the state.

This will hurt over 10,000 Californians' earnings -- and will lower California's income tax revenue.

This loss in state revenue will not be made up in sales taxes, because by ending the Associates program, Amazon will once more not be required to collect sales taxes.

"Bricks and mortar" retailers complain that Amazon has an "unfair advantage" because online buyers don't pay sales taxes. But they ignore that: 1. their buyers don't pay for shipping, and 2. this legislation will NOT compel Amazon to collect sales taxes -- it will only hurt 10,000 Californians trying to earn money and thus further hurt the state's revenue.

Californians, please contact your state senate and assembly representatives and tell them to oppose any attempt to force Amazon to collect sales taxes, or to declare Amazon's Associates a "business nexus."

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Why Wayne Allyn Root Gets Media Attention

I've said the same myself, in other words. So have others. But Tom Blanton says it so well, it needs to be repeated and highlighted.

At Independent Political Report, Blanton explains why Wayne Allyn Root gets so much media attention, why it's not a good thing, and why it's impossible for pro-peace libertarians to get similar media attention.

In Comment #105, Blanton writes:

"[T]he type of media exposure that Wayne Root gets is because of his message.

"His message parrots the message that right-wing media likes to feature. This is why he gets on FOX, all the right-wing radio shows, and is a featured writer on NewsMax.

"Now, you'd like to see other libertarians compete with Root and get some media. Great, but to compete with Root, libertarians will have to Boortz themselves or get Rootified in order to be acceptable to the right-wing media that is willing to promote Root.

"There is another faction of media, primarily on the internet and in print media, that is left-leaning. The problem is that the left media is not so accommodating to libertarians. There are some exceptions, but rather few.

"The possibility remains that if a 'libertarian' were to go to the left-wing media and start talking about raising taxes, increasing government regulations to protect citizens, having government engage in activities that are now handled by private enterprise, etc., perhaps left-wing media would feature more libertarians.

"But then you would have the same problem there is with Root, except instead of a libertarian spewing right-wing rhetoric, you would have a libertarian spewing left-wing rhetoric.

"Libertarians seem to be so myopic about the barriers erected by their political opponents and so narcissistic about themselves, they are unable to come to grips with the outside influences that marginalize libertarianism and keep certain ideas away from public consumption.

"When libertarians control billions of dollars worth of advertising money through their corporate sponsors, and when libertarian legislators are able to exert influence over the media through legislative means, and when corporate America owes libertarians favors for favorable legislation, subsidies, etc. thrown their way, then we will see the media become friendly to libertarianism -- only it won't be libertarianism, it will most likely be corporatism wrapped in a flag and waving a constitution (much like the 'conservatism' we see now).

"LP members in particular crave political power so much that it doesn’t seem to occur to them that to 'do real politics' will require them to abandon libertarianism in all aspects except rhetoric.

"Doing politics is all about redistributing wealth and income, doing favors for groups and classes of people, forming alliances with large corporations and other special interests, and generally becoming corrupt to the core and becoming experts in managing perceptions through propaganda and lies.

"The media will never be a game-changer for standard libertarianism. If it takes becoming a Reagan libertarian to make minor inroads into right-wing media (that so far haven’t produced any tangible results for libertarians over the years), then libertarians would probably be better off just joining the GOP.

"So much for competing with Root for media attention. So, let's quit pretending that what he is selling is standard libertarianism when he himself claims to be selling 'Reagan libertarianism.'

"There's not much use in pretending that media is going to feature proponents on standard libertarianism unless libertarians are willing to be treated like Charlie Sheen.


Tom Blanton links to the Project for a New American Revolution, so maybe it's his site. I don't know.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Copyright Extremism Threatens Free Speech: Linking Is Infringement


Ever sent someone a link to a copyrighted YouTube video? Of course: Everybody has. And now the US Government seems to think that means it can put us in prison.

Bryan McCarthy ran a website that linked to various websites where you could watch online streams of TV shows and sports networks. A couple months ago, the government seized his domain name and on Friday they arrested him for criminal copyright infringement.

Tell the government that this is crazy: There's nothing wrong or illegal about sharing a link.

The government doesn't even allege that McCarthy made a copy of anything! Just that his site linked to various sites with copyrighted material. Under that sort of thinking, everyone who's sent around a link to a copyrighted YouTube video is a criminal.

This is another shocking overreach by the department of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) -- a steamship-era department that's proving once again it doesn't understand the Internet.

We need to push back -- and fast -- before they try to lock up all Americans.
Click here to tell ICE to drop its charges.

Thanks for taking a stand.

-- The Demand Progress team

P.S. We need to convince ICE to back down, and the first step is making sure they know that Americans are watching, and are disgusted by their behavior. Will you help shine light on ICE's abuses by forwarding this to your friends?


Also read how hypocritical Big Media companies are threatening YOUR copyrights.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Bipartisan Opposition to Ron Paul's Call to End Aid to Israel

U.S. Representative Ron Paul's call to end aid to Israel has met with bipartisan opposition. Alternet reports:

"Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky -- a leading member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus -- has drafted a letter, cosigned by California Democrat Anna Eshoo, warning that the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia 'have the potential to add to the very real security challenges faced by Israel.' Reducing or 'otherwise endangering aid to our ally' would be 'unproductive,' she adds, encouraging her colleagues to tell Obama they 'strongly support providing $3.075 billion in assistance to Israel.' ...

"This liberal appeal for Israeli military aid, meanwhile, is being sent out under the auspices of J Street, a group that positions itself as a left-leaning answer to AIPAC....

"So it's left to folks like libertarian Congressman Ron Paul and his son, Kentucky Senator and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, to call for ending aid to Israel.

"In a February 4 interview with ABC News, Rand Paul said of Israel, 'I think that [Israel's] per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world. Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don't think so.'

"Indeed, Israel has the 24th largest economy in the world, and ranks 15th among 169 nations on the UN Human Development Index, which makes it a 'very highly developed' nation. [i.e. Israel doesn't need U.S. aid -- it can pay its own way, but like any welfare client, it prefers handouts.]

"Yet what thanks did Senator Paul get for his call to save the U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars? A torrent of criticism, even from J Street, which called on Republicans -- and their donors -- 'to repudiate his comments and ensure American leadership around the world is not threatened by this irresponsible proposal.'

"Paul's fellow Tea Partiers aren't any better. Of the 87 freshmen House Republicans elected on platforms of cut-baby-cut, at least three-fourths have now signed a letter declaring that, 'As Israel faces threats from escalating instability in Egypt' -- where have we heard that line of argument before? -- 'security assistance to Israel has never been more important.'

"Subsidies are for militaries, you see, not poor people."


The U.S. provides far more money than just its direct financial handouts to Israel. If Americans contribute money to the IDF (the Israeli military), it's tax deductible in the U.S.!

That's right. Americans can legally pay less taxes to Uncle Sam by contributing money to the Israeli military. I learned that yesterday from listening to Eric Garris at Antiwar Radio.

The Israeli military is the only foreign military that Americans can support with tax-deductible contributions. Another aspect of our "special relationship" with Israel.