Archive for the 'USA' Category
Posted by David Foster on 20th May 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
Catherine Engelbrecht and her husband own a small manufacturing business.
Catherine dared to express political opinions and organize political activities which were not to the liking of the Obama administration and its left-wing allies. Very quickly, Engelbrecht Manufacturing found itself facing inquiries from the IRS and the FBI and OSHA and the ATF.
Read Catherine Engelbrecht’s story here.
Of course, we can’t be sure–and Catherine can’t be sure–that these investigations were politically-motivated. Maybe the aggregate of separate actions by separate agencies was merely a matter of chance. It seems about as likely as being hit on the head by a meteor, but it’s possible.
And it is specifically this impossibility of knowing what is really behind discretionary activities on the part of large and powerful government bureaucracies (absent legal action forcing the agencies to reveal their internal documents and discussions, which most people will not be able to afford) that makes this sort of thing so frightening.
I don’t think any seriously-informed person can doubt that a climate of intimidation is being driven by the Obama administration. Obama has clearly brought some of the toxic aspects of Chicago political culture to Washington with him, and these are added to the end-justifies-the-means philosophy which is a staple of leftism in general.
As long as Barack Obama is in office, I don’t see how anyone can feel reasonably assured of fair and nonpolitical treatment by any federal agency.
Catherine Engelbrecht says the harassment has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she’s faced.
“I left a thriving family business with my husband that I loved, to do something I didn’t necessarily love, but [which] I thought had to be done,” she says. “But I really think if we don’t do this, if we don’t stand up and speak now, there might not [always] be that chance.”
Posted in Business, Civil Liberties, Obama, Politics, USA | 14 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 17th May 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
When gold was discovered in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada in 1848, it didn’t take very long for word to get out. From the eastern United States, California was then a six-month journey by mule trail or covered wagon over land – that or a long sea voyage around South America, or two sea voyages broken by a short but disease-plagued trek across the narrowest part of Central America. The sea voyage was expense, the overland journey a bit less so – and it probably seemed much more direct, anyway.
Two young Gold Rushers who hit the trail in the spring of 1849 were William Manly and John Rogers; young and adventurous single men who had come by separate means as far as Salt Lake City. Manly already had an eventful trip just getting that far. From an account written much later, he seems to have been a broad-minded optimist, good-humored and above all – adventurous. He and some companions had decided to venture down an uncharted river in canoes – and only an encounter with some helpful Indians prevented them from going all the way – down an uncharted river and into a deep and impassible canyon. With one thing and another, they had arrived too late in the season to consider crossing the Sierras by the Truckee River Pass. This was three years after the Donner Party – which served as a Dreadful Warning to all wagon train parties considering a mountain passage late in the trail season.
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Posted in History, Society, USA | 12 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 16th May 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
Professor Anne Hendershot, a sociologist, was targeted for an IRS audit in 2010 after she wrote a series of articles, mostly in Catholic publications, that were critical of Obamacare. The IRS summoned Professor Hendershott to a meeting to discuss the “business expenses” associated with her writing. Hendershott reports that the IRS agent wanted to know “who was paying her” and barred her husband from attending the inquiry, even though the Hendershotts file joint returns. Hendershott says that she was so traumatized by the experience that she stopped writing about political topics, which presumably was the intended effect.
“It was clear they didn’t like me criticizing the people who helped pass Obamacare,” she said of the audit,” later adding, ”The IRS is very frightening.”
In addition to creating stress and fear, Hendershott said that the experience came at a great emotional and financial expense for the family, noting that even after the audit the government sought more information from her.
(excerpted from PowerLine and The Blaze)
Of course, she can’t prove that she was targeted politically (or couldn’t until now, when subpoenas directed against the IRS may force the revelation of such information.) And that is precisely what makes the power wielded by the IRS and other Federal agencies so frightening. An individual can be sentenced to a Kafkaeqsue subterranean passage of indefinite duration, at the discretion of low-level officials in a local office, Cabinet officials in Washington, or mid-level bureaucrats anywhere in between. Hence, the maintenance of individual freedom requires that Federal Government activities be conducted with a high degree of integrity and respect for law.
What apparently happened to Professor Hendershott should not be happening to anyone in America.
Obama says he is “angry” about the IRS political activities that have been revealed. Sure, he’s angry about the political impact of the revelations on his administration. But is he angry that the activities occurred in the first place?
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Posted in Britain, Civil Liberties, History, Politics, USA | 26 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 15th May 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
And so it begins; at first a trickle of rocks falling down a steep mountainside; then more and bigger rocks, and then half the mountainside comes away and falls away in a mighty roar, the earth trembles, and White House spokes-minion Jay Carney is probably looking around desperately trying to figure out what hit him. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Conservatism, Leftism, Obama, Taxes, Tea Party, The Press, USA | 21 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 14th May 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
IRS Intimidation Forced Founder to Shut Down Tea Party Group.
Progressive Group: IRS Gave US Conservative Groups’ Confidential Documents.
IG report: ‘Inappropriate Criteria’ Stalled IRS Approvals of Conservative Groups.
During the 2012 election cycle the Internal Revenue Service did not act as an objective, nonpartisan arm of government subject to the rule of law.
Instead the Internal Revenue service acted as an arm of the Democrat Party, engaged in harassment, intimidation and opposition research for partisan political purposes.
The result of the most recent Presidential election, in the key state of Ohio, was impacted, possibly decisively, by this intentional, partisan, coordinated, unlawful activity.
Yet this entity, the Internal Revenue Service, will imprison you if you disobey it.
There are “voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity … that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.”
Heed the voices.
Posted in Anti-Americanism, Big Government, Crime and Punishment, Politics, Public Finance, Tea Party, USA | 6 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 13th May 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
In America 3.0 we discuss the origins of the common law, and how it was well-suited to adapt inductively to changing conditions, in contrast to the more top-down Roman law that predominated on the Continent.
This recent post on the John Wilkes Club blog, makes this point nicely:
There is no eschatology in the common law: its purpose is to reflect changes in the cultural, social and economic structure, not to direct them towards an objective preconceived in the minds of cultured and erudite elites for our betterment. Likewise there is no eschatology in free markets: they are a tool for the allocation of goods and services according to ever-changing consumer preferences, not for directing them towards some imaginary ‘ideal’ allocation. Not only is there no ethical basis for the social and economic coercion which rational, artificial, imposed order inevitably involves; but also, because even a benevolent genius is trapped in the prison of imperfect information described by Hayek and others, it does not work.
The post cites to The New World of the Gothic Fox: Culture and Economy in English and Spanish America by Claudio Veliz, a great favorite of ours, and concludes in Hayekian fashion: “… the ability to manage the modern welfare state is not just beyond any particular person, but beyond anybody … .”
Quite so. And that why is it is failing. And that is why the next iteration of America will be flatter, more networked, less coercive and better, cheaper and faster at everything that matters. But we have to get all this detritus out of the way, first … .
Cross-posted on America 3.0.
Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Book Notes, Britain, Civil Liberties, History, Libertarianism, Quotations, Society, USA | 4 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 13th May 2013 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
The Obama administration has a huge “management problem” with its spin of the nakedly partisan and highly illegal IRS denial of Tea Party non-profit tax status. One that makes the IRS scandal an “on-going criminal conspiracy” in the RICO sense and places “Nixon offense” impeachment charges in Pres. Obama’s future.
This is the IRS Tea Party Case Timeline Courtesy of ABC News:
This is my list of the Cincinnati, Ohio and IRS HQ management positions involved in Tea Party cases by title, location and first date mentioned from the linked document.
1. Determinations Unit Group Manager (Ohio?)  — 1 Mar 2010
2. Acting Manager, Technical Unit  (Ohio) — 16 Mar 2010
3. New Acting Manager, Technical Unit  (Ohio) — 1 Apr 2010
4. Determinations Unit Program Manager (Ohio?) — 25 Apr 2010
5. Determinations Unit Area Manager (Ohio?)– 26 Oct 2010
6. Technical Unit manager (Ohio) — 16 Nov 2010
7. Senior Technical Advisor to the Director, EO (IRS Washington DC) — 13 Dec 2010
8. New Technical Unit Acting Manager  (Ohio) — Jan 2011
9. Acting Director, Rulings and Agreements  (IRS Washington DC) — 1 June 2011
10. Director, EO. (IRS Washington DC) — 29 June 2011
11. -Title or titles unknown- in EO function (IRS Washington DC) Headquarters office — 5 July 2011
12. IRS Chief Counsel (IRS Washington DC) — 4 Aug 2011
13. New Acting Director, Rulings and Agreements  (IRS Washington DC) — October 2011
14. New Acting Group Manager “of the team of specialists” (Ohio?) — March 2012
15. Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement (IRS Washington DC) — 8 Mar 2012
16. Senior Technical Advisor to the Acting Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Mar 2012
17. Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Mar 2012
18. Senior Technical Advisor to the Acting Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division Commissioner (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Apr 2012
19. Director, Rulings and Agreements (May be same as #10 above, IRS Washington DC)– 17 May 2012
20 -Title(s) Unknown- Quality Assurance Unit (Ohio?) — May 2012
21 -Title(s) Unknown- Operations Unit (Ohio?) — May 2012
22. New Acting Determinations Unit Group Manager  (Ohio) — 15 July 2012
August March 2012 then IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testified before Congress that the IRS was not harassing or making a special effort to deny Tea Party affiliated organizations their non-profit tax status. The above list either makes IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman a liar or a sock puppet for Obama administration IRS appointees who did lie. Douglas Shulman is going to need to lawyer up regardless.
The fact that there were, by my count three different “Manager, Technical Unit” and two “Determinations Unit Group Manager” in Cincinnati, Ohio involved over several years makes this Tea Party witch hunt anything but a “local IRS unit run amok.” This was an on-going criminal conspiracy involving IRS senior management over a matter of years.
A class action RICO lawsuit by the Tea Party against the IRS is very much on the table and the IRS won’t have sovereign immunity for “criminal actions taken under the color of law.” That point about federal government criminality was decided decades ago in various US Government high level nuclear waste dumping law suits before the Supreme Court.
Impeachment of President Obama for IRS-related “Nixon Offenses” is now on the table.
Note — This is the
3rd 4th Update of this post
Posted in America 3.0, Anti-Americanism, Big Government, Conservatism, Crime and Punishment, USA | 16 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 10th May 2013 (All posts by Jonathan)
This is very good:
There are opportunities, but they require a deep understanding of risk and security. A livelihood with day-to-day low-level insecurity and volatility is actually far more stable and secure than the cartel-state one that claims to be guaranteed.
The burdens of Fed manipulation and the cartel-state rentier arrangements will come home to roost between 2015-2017. Those who are willing to seek livelihoods in the non-cartel economy will likely have more security and satisfaction than those who believed that joining a rentier arrangement was a secure career.
There is a price to joining a parasitic rentier arrangement, a loss of integrity, agency and independence. Complicity in an unsustainable neofeudal society has a cost.
Read the whole thing.
(Via Lex and ZeroHedge.)
Posted in America 3.0, Big Government, Economics & Finance, Education, Political Philosophy, Predictions, Public Finance, Society, USA | 9 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 9th May 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
(Here is something I wrote in November of last year)
At a minimum–at a bare minimum–the Benghazi affair reveals a dismal level of incompetence pervading the Obama administration. There is also reason to believe that it reveals decison-making about life-and-death matters based on this President’s desire to preserve his “narrative,” rather than facing reality and acting upon it. And, I suspect, the more we learn about what happened in Benghazi, and why it happened, the more disturbing the answers are going to be.
I’m currently re-reading the memoirs of General Edward Spears, who was Churchill’s emissary to France in 1940. There was a disturbing amount of defeatism, and in some cases actual sympathy with the Nazi enemy, among certain government officials and other French elites. Weygand’s friend Henri de Kerillis, a Deputy and newpaper editor, had been consistently pressing Prime Minister Daladier to investigate some sinister behavior by members of the extreme Right.
“Il faut de’brider l’abces,” he had said time and time again to the Premier. He had done so again lately and received this strange answer: I have done exactly what you urged, I have opened the abscess, but it was so deep the scalpal disappeared down it, and had I gone on, my arm would have followed.” This was really very frightening, and I said so. “You cannot be more frightened than I am,” said Kerillis.
I feel sure that we are going to find that the abscess revealed by the Obama administration’s behavior re Benghazi goes very deep indeed.
5/9/2013: A useful source of information about the Benghazi debacle and the related investigations is the site Special Operations Speaks.
Posted in France, History, Middle East, Politics, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 7th May 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
This will be cover on America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, which will be published on May 28, 2013.
Jim Bennett and I went back and forth with our publisher, Encounter, on this cover. We are grateful for their diligent work, and we are very pleased with the final version. Encounter had the original idea of three bands depicting America 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. The original picture for 1.0 was different, but this one works nicely. It shows a farmer plowing with animal muscle power. That is precisely the image that captures the A1.0 era. It was a time of family-scale farms, and it was before the introduction of mechanical power. The second image is of an industrial era auto assembly line. This is the epitome of A2.0. It is mass production, motor power, wage work not independent business ownership, big business, big labor and in the background, big government. It was a great world in many ways, but it is a past that will never come back. Of course, it is impossible to photograph the future, and unless we had the budget to make a “science fiction” picture, the top band, A3.0 could only be a rough approximation. Still, this pictures captures much of the story. It shows an exurban landscape, with a highway but lots of green. We anticipate that there will be much more dispersion of the American people across the landscape, for reasons we describe in the book, especially in Chapter 1: America in 2040. Also, the color scheme shows increasing brightness, indicative of the hopeful future we foresee for America.
Cross-posted on America 3.0
Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Book Notes, History, Predictions, USA | 19 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 30th April 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
With the employment prospects being what it is these days, I have read repeatedly in the last couple of years that really enterprising individuals are tempted to turn indy and go free-lance. They look to establish a small enterprise, vending whatever talents and skills they possess as a so-called ‘independent contractor’ to the public at large, and earn a living thereby, rather than scrounge and maneuver and hope for a paying job on the bottom rung of the corporate and/or government establishment. Pardon the sarcasm – it seems that certain large and well-connected established corporations these days are almost indistinguishable from the government, at least to judge from the rapidity which which the well-connected move back and forth.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Announcements, Conservatism, Diversions, Entrepreneurship, Internet, USA | 11 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 24th April 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Istanbul, compared the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing to the nine Turkish activists killed by the IDF as they tried to break Gaza’s naval blockade. Here’s what Kerry said:
I know it’s an emotional issue with some people. I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident we understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them. And nobody – I mean, I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that.
Kerry is here conflating the legitimate use of force by an allied state, against people who knowingly put themselves in harm’s way by challenging a naval blockade, with a terrorist act against the wholly innocent citizens of Boston. His statement insults the citizens of Boston, it demonstrates hostility toward Israel, and it blurs moral distinctions and projects a sense of weakness which can only encourage more terrorist attacks against the United States in the future.
As Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks said, “It’s unconscionable to compare the loss of life resulting from an act of self-defense to the results of cold-blooded, premeditated murder by terrorists.”
In related news, Richard Falk, the Princeton professor emeritus who is a high official of the UN “Human Rights Council,” blamed the Boston terror attacks on US foreign policy and “Tel Aviv.” More at Breitbart:
The Obama administration has long championed the UN Human Rights Council, which it decided to join as one of its first foreign policy moves in 2009. Thanks to the Obama administration, U.S. began a second three-year term on the Council this past January. At the opening of the Council’s most recent session in March, Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer traveled to Geneva to address what she called “this esteemed body.” As author Anne Bayefsky says:
There is nothing about a “human rights” body that countenances the likes of Richard Falk that is “esteemed,” and the United States should resign–effective immediately.
Posted in Islam, Israel, Middle East, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 8 Comments »
Posted by Jay Manifold on 20th April 2013 (All posts by Jay Manifold)
Negative items (weaknesses and threats) first.
Overconcentration of political belief systems by geography and especially by vocation, notably in journalism; the corresponding threat is misdiagnosis of motivation and identity of perpetrators.
This was on full display over the past week, and although the most prominent examples were instances of the amazingly robust narrative about a supposed right-wing fundamentalist Christian underground, the persistence of which reveals a great deal about the mindset of the “liberal” bien-pensant, they’re not the only ones who have this problem. Claiming that people in Boston are cowering under their beds and wishing they had AR-15s, or casually accusing various (and singularly unimpressive) American politicians of being Communists, isn’t much better than fantasizing about entirely nonexistent WASP terrorists. And there has already been at least one wild-goose chase in recent years, the nationwide Federal investigation to find the co-conspirators of Scott Roeder in the assassination of George Tiller. He didn’t have any, and was known very early on to have acted alone. Your tax dollars nonetheless went to work; see also “memetic parasitism,” below.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Current Events, Human Behavior, International Affairs, Iran, Israel, Media, Middle East, National Security, Organizational Analysis, Politics, Predictions, Society, Terrorism, Tradeoffs, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 15th April 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
We are thrilled to announce:
(1) Glenn Reynolds, a/k/a Instapundit has written a foreword for America 3.0.
(2) Michael Barone, Jonah Goldberg and John O’ Sullivan have provided blurbs for the book.
We are grateful for the kind words and support from these distinguished gentlemen.
“Many pundits—and, polls say, most Americans—think America’s best days are behind us. In America 3.0 James Bennett and Michael Lotus argue that our best days are ahead—if we take the trouble to understand our past. We need to build on the unique American institutions that enabled previous generations to produce the successful agricultural America 1.0 and the even more successful industrial America 2.0 and to cast aside elements which prevent us from creating an even more successful post-industrial America 3.0.”
—Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, American Enterprise Institute resident fellow, and coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics
“Capitalism, argued Joseph Schumpeter, relies upon creative destruction. In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of destruction while the creation has been less appreciable, at least in the eyes of many. James Bennett and Michael Lotus offer a glimmering vision: we are at the dawn of a miraculous era of creativity. This is a valuable book not just for its hopeful vision of America’s destiny, but for its concrete insights into the forces and trends pushing us to our rendezvous with destiny.”
—Jonah Goldberg, editor at large National Review Online, author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning
“Obamacare just hasn’t caught on with the American people. It is still opposed and resisted by most Americans. That was not supposed to happen. Theorists of the blue social model (or America as Sweden) were confident that once in place, Obamacare would set down roots in American democracy and become immovable. But alternative models of health care—red social model alternatives—are increasingly demanded by the voters. That’s true in economics, social welfare, and almost every other department of government. James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus predict that America’s future will be a better version of its traditional past, rather than an imitation European Union. They argue their case brilliantly and persuasively. This book is in danger of giving conservative optimism a good name.”
—John O’Sullivan, editor at large National Review, author of The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World
Cross-posted on America 3.0.
Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Announcements, Book Notes, USA | 2 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 13th April 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
On April 8, 1838, the steamship Great Western..the first steamship to be purpose-built for the transatlantic passenger traffic…left Bristol for New York City. Four days earlier, though, another steamship, the Sirius, had left Cork for the same destination. Sirius had not been designed for the Atlantic run; it was a small channel steamer which had been chartered by the rivals of Great Western’s owners. This competitive enterprise had encountered delays in the construction of their own Atlantic liner, the British Queen, and had chartered Sirius to keep Great Western from scoring a win in the PR battle. Sirius did arrive at New York first, on April 23, but Great Western came in only 12 hours later…its crossing of a little more than 15 days was the fastest ever from England to America.
There were earlier crossings that had been at least partly steam-powered: the American ship Savannah in 1819 (which actually used only sails for most of the voyage), and the Dutch Curacao and the Canadian Royal William, which made their crossings in 1827 and 1833 respectively. But it was the Great Western vs Sirius race which marked the beginning of steam passenger and mail service across the Atlantic.
The paddle wheels and auxiliary sailing rigs of the early steamers gave way to screw propellers and total reliance on steam, and reciprocating steam engines were later supplanted by steam turbines…which in turn have now largely been replaced by diesels and in some cases gas turbines. Aircraft carriers and submarines still use steam turbines, though, with the steam generation done by nuclear energy rather than the burning of coal or oil.
Here’s the British actress Fanny Kemble, writing circa 1882, in annotation of her years-earlier comments about the difficulties and emotional pain caused by slow communications between the continents:
To those who know the rate of intercourse between Europe and America now, these expressions of the painful sense of distance from my country and friends, under which I suffered, must seem almost incomprehensible,—now, when to go to Europe seems to most Americans the easiest of summer trips, involving hardly more than a week’s sea voyage; when letters arrive almost every other day by some of the innumerable steamers flying incessantly to and fro, and weaving, like living shuttles, the woof and warp of human communication between the continents; and the submarine telegraph shoots daily tidings from shore to shore of that terrible Atlantic, with swift security below its storms. But when I wrote this to my friend, no words were carried with miraculous celerity under the dividing waves; letters could only be received once a month, and from thirty to thirty-seven days was the average voyage of the sailing packets which traversed the Atlantic. Men of business went to and fro upon their necessary affairs, but very few Americans went to Europe, and still fewer Europeans went to America, to spend leisure, or to seek pleasure; and American and English women made the attempt still seldomer than the men. The distance between the two worlds, which are now so near to each other, was then immense.
(The quote is one of several passages cited in my post Further Fannyisms)
Also: the ultimate development of the steam-turbine-powered passenger liner was represented by the SS United States. Sadly, this beautiful ship is in imminent danger of being turned over the the scrapper’s’ torches…to save her, the SS United States Conservancy needs to raise $500K in the next month and will welcome contributions.
Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Business, History, Tech, Transportation, USA | 3 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 30th March 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
(Originally posted in February 2012. I don’t usually rerun posts that are this recent, but RWL’s thoughts are relevant to the recent posts by Jonathan and myself, and more broadly, to the issues of freedom versus control which dominate our current political debates.)
Rose Wilder Lane, born in 1886 in the Dakota Territory, was the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House on the Prairie” books. Lane is best known for her writings on political philosophy and has been referred to as a “Founding Mother” of libertarianism; she was also a novelist and the author of several biographies.
In her article Credo, published in 1936, she describes her political journey, beginning with the words:
In 1919 I was a communist.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Book Notes, Civil Society, Europe, History, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy, USA | Comments Off
Posted by David Foster on 23rd March 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
Neptunus Lex, from 2004: Monsters
Robert Avrech, from yesterday: Liberty, Then and Now
Posted in Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 5 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 18th March 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
1942 photos by Margaret Bourke-White. (via The Lexicans)
Women building airplanes during WWII, in color
The London Blitz, in color
Dresden: a meditation on strategic bombing
ShrinkWrapped has published his father’s recollections of flying 50 missions as a B-24 tail gunner. There are 6 different posts at the link–start at the bottom for the first one–and one more post here.
Posted in Aviation, Britain, Germany, History, USA, War and Peace | 8 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 18th March 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
It is apparently not news to anyone that the office of the President of the US involves a degree of security – to include an official food-taster, as medieval as that sounds. Been going on for years, apparently, so having a designated expert to cover food safety with regards to the President isn’t something to have a conniption fit over. So someone has to eat a couple of bites – a whole helping? from a dish prepared for the White House table, and if that person doesn’t fall over, gasping and foaming at the mouth, then it is OK for POTUS consumption. Got it. And yes, I do understand very well that security ought to be tight when it comes to food supplies and preparation for any President … but the recent story about President Obama sitting by at a private luncheon with GOP senators and not being able to eat a bite because his food taster hadn’t vetted the food first strikes me as a matter a little deeper and much more insulting than it has been played.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Human Behavior, Leftism, National Security, Obama, Politics, USA | 17 Comments »
Posted by Zenpundit on 15th March 2013 (All posts by Zenpundit)
I have a new piece up at Pragati Magazine this morning, which focuses on a book review of Makers by Chris Anderson:
The Re-industrial Revolution
….If anything, Anderson has managed to understate the velocity with which the technology is advancing and the creative uses to which users are putting their machines. Since the publication ofMakers, a succession of news stories have revealed everything from Formlabs’ slickly designed Form 1 machine to users printing functional (if fragile) assault rifles, car bodies and biomedical surgical replacements for missing pieces of the human skull. One gets the sense that the genie is out of the bottle.
Anderson is not merely making a technologically oriented argument , but a profoundly cultural one. In his view, the existence of the Maker movement, operating on the collaborative, “open-source” ethos is an iterative, accelerative driver of economic change that complements the technology. Anderson writes: “…In short, the Maker Movement shares three characteristics, all of which are transformative:
Read the rest here.
Crossposted from zenpundit.com
Posted in America 3.0, Announcements, Business, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, India, Science, Society, Tech, USA | 5 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 12th March 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
[B]y a singular chance, the expansion of that small society from Elizabethan times onward became increasingly identified with the central movement in the history of the modern world. No mere book can hope to do justice to the theme: it is written in the lives of men, in their work and arts, in the creations of their minds, in science and industry, in the busy tracks of the ocean, upon the landscape and on the face of the outer world. It was an extraordinary, an unimaginable, fate that befell the island people. Wherever we look in the world, or in modern history, we come upon evidence of the contribution they have made. Whether it is at sea, in the arts of navigation or maritime warfare from Drake to Nelson to our own time; whether it is in voyages of discovery from the Cabots to Cook and Scott of the Antarctic, in methods of planting and colonisation from Humphrey Gilbert and Ralegh, Captain John Smith and the founders of New England to Gibbon Wakefield and Cecil Rhodes; or in industry, trade, finance; whether it is in the experience of self-government, laid open for all to see, or in the essential traditions of the free world — personal freedom for the citizen, liberty of opinion and speech, the sanctity of individual life (the arcana of civilized society); or in the example of an instinctive and generalised morality of common sense and toleration, with its precious message of individual responsibility; whether it is in the gradual unfolding of the resources of industrial and mechanical power (the basis of modern industrial civilisation, worked out in this island), with its subsequent developments in atomic energy and in the air; or in the unceasing proliferation of its genius at once for literature and science — the experience of the island people has been more and more closely bound up with the essential achievements of the modern world, the most significant and certainly the most fruitful movements of the human spirit in the modern age.
A.L. Rowse, The Expansion of Elizabethan England (1955).
In our upcoming book, America 3.0, Jim Bennett and I trace the roots of American freedom and prosperity back through British and English history to the conquest of the island by Angles, Saxons and Jutes fifteen centuries ago. But our focus is on America.
The quote from A.L. Rowse sketches a much larger theme which our (already large) book could not contain: the English impact on the entire modern world. A book on this subject may yet appear from Jim Bennett’s hand, and it will be the Big Book, which we have discussed for years, a history of the entire Anglosphere from its oldest Indo-European roots down to today and outward into the future.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, History, Society, USA | 4 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 10th March 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
The Perpetual Difficulty of Opposing A Corrupt Political System
And it is certainly plain that the man who gains by maintaining corruption is likely to make great habitual efforts to keep up a corrupt system, while the man who opposes it, who gains nothing by opposing it, but who gives up his time, his quiet, and his ordinary business, for the public good, is tempted at every moment to relax his efforts. This failure of continued energy is just what Demosthenes complains of in the Athenians of his day; and experience does seem to show that here is a weak side of democratic government. To keep up under a popular system an administration at once pure and vigorous, does call for constant efforts on the part of each citizen which it needs some self-sacrifice to make. The old saying that what is everybody’s business is nobody’s business becomes true as regards the sounder part of the community. But it follows next that what is everybody’s business becomes specially the business of those whose business one would least wish it to be.
Edward Augustus Freeman, An Introduction to American Institutional History (1882)
Of course, we are faced with the exact same problem today, except it is now much worse because the corruption occurs at the national level, and frequently under color of law. It is indeed a perpetual “weakness of democratic government.”
What concrete steps can we take to mitigate this weakness, especially under modern conditions?
Jim Bennett and I cite to Freeman in our upcoming book, America 3.0.
Cross-posted on America 3.0.
Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Book Notes, Politics, USA | 14 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 9th March 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Few people have the leisure to undertake a systematic and thorough study of history, but every one ought to find time to learn theprincipal features of the governments under which we live, and to getsome inkling of the way in which these governments have come into existence and of the causes which have made them what they are. Some such knowledge is necessary to the proper discharge of the duties of citizenship. Political questions, great and small, are perpetually arising, to be discussed in the newspapers and voted on at the polls; and it is the duty of every man and woman, young or old, to try to understand them. That is a duty which we owe, each and all of us, to ourselves and to our fellow-countrymen. For if such questions are not settled in accordance with knowledge, they will be settled in accordance with ignorance; and that is a kind of settlement likely to be fraught with results disastrous to everybody. It cannot be too often repeated that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. People sometimes argue as if they supposed that because our national government is called a republic and not a monarchy, and because we have free schools and universal suffrage, therefore our liberties are forever secure. Our government is, indeed, in most respects, a marvel of political skill; and in ordinary times it runs so smoothly that now and then, absorbed as most of us are in domestic cares, we are apt to forget that it will not run of itself. To insure that the government of the nation or the state, of the city or the township, shall be properly administered, requires from every citizen the utmost watchfulness and intelligence of which he is capable.
John Fiske, Civil Government in the United States Considered with Some Reference to its Origins (1890).
We consulted this book when drafting the historical section of our book, America 3.0 which concerned the establishment of English cultural, legal and political practices in North America.
Cross-posted at America 3.0.
Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Book Notes, USA | 8 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 8th March 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
“It is to the point that writing about the news is like writing about telekinetic squirrels.
In other words, it can’t possibly even be real, so writing about it feels creepy, pointless, and silly.”
Posted in Civil Society, Politics, USA | 7 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 6th March 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
…since we lost Neptunus Lex
Here again are some of my favorite Lex posts, most but not all of which I linked last year at this time. All are very much worth reading.
The captain wakes before dawn…with a feeling that all is not well with the ship
Reading Solzhenitsyn at the US Naval Academy
Movie vs reality. Lex, who served as executive officer of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), answers some question’s from his daughter’s friend about the movie.
Hornets, Tomcats, Scooters, Girls & Guys, Oh My!
Lex, in a pensive mood
Some reflections on a less-than-perfect carrier landing, a verbal interchange that probably shouldn’t have happened, and the nature of leadership
Have you ever killed anyone? asked the massage therapist, after learning that Lex had been in the Navy.
You’re having a dinner party and have the magical ability to invite 10 people–5 men and 5 women–from all of history. Who would you pick?
A troubled pilot and an F-18: Maybe they saved each other.
Colors and continuity.
Tennyson’s Ulysses, personalized and hyperlinked. Created by Lex to mark his retirement from the Navy. Perhaps my favorite of all of Lex’s posts, and particularly appropriate today.
Bill Brandt, a frequent Chicago Boyz commenter, has a tribute to the Captain at The Lexicans.
Posted in Military Affairs, Morality and Philosphy, Obits, Poetry, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »