Thursday, March 31, 2011

Socialist Health Care, part 1

By Zach Foster

There has been an incredibly amount of outcry and mutual enmity bordering on hatred between opposing political schools of thought when it comes to the Health Care Reform Act passed last year by Congress under the guidance of President Obama.  Those opposed to it, affectionately naming it “ObamaCare,” cite the socialist tendencies of this legislation as their basis for opposing it.  It is true that the law is socialist in its nature, though not everyone understands why.  The fact of the matter is that socialism and the health care industry are not mutually inclusive and have conflicting interests.

Let us explore the present differences between the public and private sector, as well as some key terminology.  There is a difference between socialism and state welfarism—acts by the state to provide for the needs of the poor.  Socialism is the complete regulation of industry and property by the state (or whatever governing body exists in the laughably utopian and purely theoretical socialist utopia).  If the federal government had created a public health insurance option that is simply another brand of health insurance, owned and operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, meant to be in healthy competition with the various private sector insurance brands, it would most likely be patronized and utilized by the poor, i.e., citizens who cannot afford private sector insurance.  That is an example of state welfarism.  When used in moderation, state welfarism isn’t a bad thing.  After all, there is nothing wrong with a government that makes provisions for the well being of its citizens in case of individual emergencies.  Where the system goes wrong is when the large and inattentive government bureaucracy in state welfare permits (fails to detect) individual citizens who learn to prolong their dire circumstances and live off of government handouts.  This is nothing but a drain on government funds and an unhealthy incentive for people to stop being productive (a phenomenon which has happened on a large scale under socialist republics).

Most citizens who go on unemployment or food stamps or apply for low-cost housing only do so in the short term, because they are honorable people who truly want to get back to work and provide their family with a high quality life, and this is alright.  However, when the federal government intervenes often in industries and in the lives of citizens, it is not only socialist (because of the heavy regulation), it is also a revocation of personal liberty.  When the federal government passed laws dramatically controlling the entire health insurance industry, it was performing socialistically.  While the author does freely admit that there were many problems with various health care industries, such as setting unreasonably low ceilings for coverage, turning people away, listing every ailment under the sun as a non-covered “preexisting condition,” etc., it was not the federal government’s role to step in and make expensive demands on the industry whose implementation was to begin alarmingly soon.  This will surely drive up prices for the insured citizens, who will now have to pay more.  See the author’s article on the 9/11 Zadroga Bill for an explanation of how corporate prices rise.

Rather than take socialistic measures, the federal government (if its high-ranking self-appointed messiahs felt they truly needed to get involved) should have taken steps to insure greater competition and quality control in the industry. 

Next: The effects of capitalism vs. socialism on health care; Cuba is NOT the model!

Libya: Defining U.S. National Security Interests

James B. Steinberg
Deputy Secretary of StateStatement before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC
March 31, 2011

Good afternoon. I want to thank Chairman Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Member Berman for inviting me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to update you and answer your questions.

In his speech on Monday night, President Obama laid out our goals and our strategy in Libya and the wider Middle East. On Tuesday, Secretary Clinton met with our allies and partners in London, as well as with representatives of the Libyan Transitional National Council, and yesterday she and Secretary Gates briefed members of the both the House and Senate. I am pleased to be here to underline their comments and to continue the valuable and important exchange between the Administration and the Congress that has been ongoing since shortly after Colonel Qadhafi’s regime began to resort to violence against its own people.

Let me begin by reviewing why we are a part of this broad international effort. As the President said, “the United States has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and advocate for human freedom. When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act.”

This crisis began when the Libyan people took to the streets in peaceful protest to demand their universal human rights. Colonel Qadhafi’s security forces responded with extreme violence. Military jets and helicopter gunships attacked people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air. There were reports of government agents raiding homes and even hospitals to round up or kill wounded protestors, of indiscriminate killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture as Qadhafi’s forces began a full-scale assault on cities that were standing up against his dictatorial rule.

The UN Security Council responded by unanimously approving Resolution 1970 on February 26, which demands an end to the violence and refers the situation to the International Criminal Court while imposing a travel ban and assets freeze on the family of Muammar Al-Qadhafi, and certain Government officials. Rather than respond to the international community’s demand for an end to the violence, Qadhafi’s forces continued their brutal assault.

With this imminent threat bearing down on them, the people of Libya appealed to the world for help. The GCC and the Arab League called for the establishment of a No-Fly Zone. Acting with partners in NATO, the Arab World and the African members of the Security Council, we passed Resolution 1973 on March 17. It demanded an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute “crimes against humanity,” imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace, authorized the use of all necessary measures to protect civilians, and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and entities it owns or controls, including the National Oil Corporation and its subsidiaries. As his troops pushed toward Benghazi, a city of nearly 700,000 people, Qadhafi again defied the international community, declaring, “We will have no mercy and no pity.” Based on his decades-long history of brutality, we had little choice but to take him at his word. Stopping a potential humanitarian disaster of massive proportions became a question of hours, not days.

And so we acted decisively to prevent a potential massacre. We established a no-fly zone, stopped Qadhafi’s army from their advance on Benghazi, expanded the coalition, responded to the humanitarian crisis in Libya and in its neighboring countries, and now have transferred command of the military effort to NATO.

All this has been accomplished consistent with President Obama’s pledge to the American people that our military role would be limited, that we would not put ground troops into Libya, that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation and then transfer responsibility to our allies and partners. The President defined the military mission succinctly at the outset, “The international community made clear that all attacks against civilians had to stop; Qadhafi had to stop his forces from advancing on Benghazi; pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; and establish water, electricity, and gas supplies to all areas. Finally, humanitarian assistance had to be allowed to reach the people of Libya.”

As we meet, the North Atlantic Council with coalition partners fully at the table, has taken on full responsibility for all United Nations-mandated action against Libya, that includes enforcing a no-fly zone, policing an arms embargo in the Mediterranean, and carrying out targeted airstrikes, as part of the UN mandate to 'take all necessary action' to protect civilians.

As NATO assumes command and control of military operations, we are confident this coalition will keep the pressure on Qadhafi’s remaining forces until he fully complies with the terms of Resolution 1973. The United States will continue supporting our allies and partners in this effort.

We became involved in this effort because America has an important strategic interest in achieving this objective. A massacre could drive tens of thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful –- yet fragile -– transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. It would undercut democratic aspirations across the region and embolden repressive leaders to believe that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. It would undermine the credibility of the United Nations Security Council and its ability to uphold global peace and security. That is why this administration concluded that failure to act in Libya would have carried too great a price for America and why we will remain vigilant and focused on the mission at hand.

I would like to focus on three non-military tracks that are crucial to the President’s strategy: delivering desperately needed humanitarian assistance; pressuring and isolating the Qadhafi regime through robust sanctions and other measures; and supporting the Libyan people as they work to achieve their legitimate democratic aspirations.

First, on the humanitarian front, we are working with NATO, the EU, the UN, and other international organizations and regional partners – especially Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and the Gulf states – to ensure aid gets to the people who need it, including victims of Qadhafi’s violence and the many refugees who have fled from their homes and jobs. The U.S. Government is providing $47 million to meet humanitarian needs and support the work of NGOs on the ground. We’re supporting relief centers on the borders, repatriating third country nations back to their homes, and providing food, non-food and medical items to those in need. The coalition military campaign is making it possible for more help to get through to people in Libya itself. For example, a convoy organized by the World Food Program was able to reach Benghazi this weekend with 18 tons of supplies, including food and blankets.

The second track is to continue ratcheting up pressure and further isolating Colonel Qadhafi and his associates. The Contact Group sent a strong, international message that we must move forward with a representative, democratic transition and that Qadhafi has lost the legitimacy to lead, and must go.

But President Obama has been equally firm that our military operation has a narrowly-defined mission that does not include regime change. If we tried to overthrow Qadhafi by force, our coalition could splinter. It might require deploying U.S. troops on the ground and could significantly increase the chances of civilian casualties. As the President said, we have been down this road before and we know the potential for unexpected costs and unforeseen dangers.

The approach we are pursuing has succeeded before, in the Balkans. Our military intervention in Kosovo was also carefully focused on civilian protection and not regime change. The military operation ended with Milosevic withdrawing his forces from Kosovo. But an effort to support democracy and human rights in Serbia did not end there. We kept up the political and economic pressure and one year after the military operation ended, the people of Serbia ousted Milosevic and then turned him over to The Hague.

So we are moving ahead aggressively with non-military measures aimed at isolating Qadhafi and those who continue to enable him, such as escalating financial pressure through the vigorous enforcement of an international sanctions regime authorized under Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973. At the same time, we are continuing to implement our own domestic sanctions and are working with our international counterparts on sanctions implementation, monitoring, and enforcement. In London, we saw growing international consensus and political and diplomatic pressure toward this end.

And that brings me to the third track: supporting the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people. As in Egypt and Tunisia, we hope to see a democratic transition in Libya through a broadly inclusive process that reflects the will and protects the rights of the Libyan people. This won’t be easy. Four decades of Qadhafi’s rule have left Libya fractured and without strong institutions or civil society – crucial building blocks of successful democracy. The Qadhafi regime has exploited assets that rightfully belong the Libyan people, diminishing their opportunities for economic opportunity and growth. In London, Secretary Clinton met with a senior representative of the Transitional National Council to discuss how we can support this process. The Secretary also stressed that the United States will join the international community in our commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national unity of Libya. For its part, the Council has publicly stated its commitment to democratic ideals and its rejection of terrorism and extremist organizations, including Al-Qaeda.

Now we are moving forward on all three of these tracks with a growing coalition of allies and partners. In London, the international community agreed to establish a Contact Group that will coordinate activity and provide broad political guidance on the full range of efforts under Resolutions 1970 and 1973. We are pleased that Qatar will host the first meeting.

So there is considerable progress to report. But we are under no illusions about the dangers and challenges that remain. Qadhafi is unlikely to give up power quickly or easily. The regime still has substantial military capacity and continues offensive operations in Misrata and elsewhere.

This is a critical moment – for Libya, the international community and the United States. We are eager to continue our close consultations with you about the way forward and hope to have your support. I look forward to your questions.

Gas prices

Good afternoon,

Surprised at how much it cost last time you filled up your gas tank? You're not alone. Millions of families and businesses across the country are feeling the pinch of rising gas prices.

Here's the thing: as long as our economy relies on oil and as demand in countries like China and India continues to grow, we'll be subject to these kinds of spikes in gas prices.
We've been down this road before -- just three years ago, gas prices rose to their highest level ever. There was no quick fix to lower prices then, just as there isn't one now.

For decades, politicians here in Washington have talked a lot about the dangers of our dependence on foreign oil, but this talk hasn't always been met with action. And today, Americans pay a price for that inaction every time they fill up their tanks.

Yesterday, we unveiled a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future that sets a goal of reducing our imports of foreign oil. By 2025 -- a little more than a decade from now -- we will have cut that reliance by one-third.

Learn more about the Blueprint and watch President Obama's speech on energy security:

In his speech yesterday, President Obama outlined his plan to secure our energy future by developing and securing America's energy resources, bringing energy costs down for consumers, and innovating our way to a clean energy future.

Increase domestic energy production. Last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. And, because we can't just drill our way out of this crisis, we're reducing our dependence on oil by increasing fuel efficiency and increasing our production of natural gas and biofuels.

Reduce demand for oil. Transportation is responsible for 70 percent of our petroleum consumption, so one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to make transportation more efficient.  That's why, in April of last year, the Obama Administration established a groundbreaking national fuel efficiency standard for cars and trucks that will save us 1.8 billion barrels of oil and save consumers thousands of dollars. We're also making investments in electric vehicles and the advanced batteries that power them to ensure that high-quality, fuel-efficient cars and trucks are built right here in America.

Increase production of clean energy. In his State of the Union address, President Obama set a goal that by 2035, 80 percent of our electricity should come from clean energy sources including renewables like wind and solar, nuclear energy, efficient natural gas, and clean coal.

The concepts are straightforward, but the execution will be challenging. In order to make this happen, Republicans and Democrats in Congress must find common ground for a responsible and effective energy policy.

But no matter your views on this issue, I think we can all agree that the United States simply can't afford to leave this challenge for future generations to solve.

David Plouffe
Senior Advisor to the President

P.S. Check out our new Advise the Advisor video featuring Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and give us your feedback on how we can meet the President's goal of reducing imports of oil by one-third in a little over a decade

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Women's Day

Women from the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team and Iowa National Guard's 734th Agribusiness Development Team gather alongside Afghan women to celebrate International Women's Day at the Ministry of Culture and Information March 8. More than 100 Afghan women from the surrounding areas attended the event. (Photo by: U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Nicholas Mercurio)

The White House Asks: What Works and What Can We Improve?

As a federal employee, how would you make the government more efficient and effective?

As part of the Government Reform for Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative, the White House wants to hear your ideas on:
-the scope and effectiveness of government programs
-areas of overlap and duplication
-unmet needs
-possible cost savings

Submit your ideas by April 15 to

Remarks at UC Berkeley International House

Ronan Farrow, Special Advisor for Humanitarian and NGO Affairs, Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Berkeley, CA

Thank you Cynthia for the introduction, and for your work on this event.

First of all… well first of all I have to apologize for being wildly overdressed. (Laughter.) Clearly I’ve been working for the man too long. (Laughter.) I want to thank Amnesty International, a voice of conscience the U.S. government listens to closely. And I want to thank my fellow young participants here today. I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say that the project you are engaged in, I am engaged in, and that we must all push the envelope on together, is of the utmost importance. But you may find it interesting just how much we’re part of the choir in this administration, and just how closely we’re listening to efforts like yours.

You all know the stakes. More than 60 percent of the world’s population is under the age of 30. That demographic is one of the foremost potential drivers of economic and social progress. It is also among the great potential threats to security: 86 percent of all countries experiencing a new outbreak of civil conflict have populations with a significant majority under 30.

These realities are not lost on America’s allies, who work aggressively to attract the world’s most promising youth to their universities and job markets. Nor are they lost on our adversaries: extremist and criminal organizations have comprehensive youth strategies that offer young people a sense of empowerment and belonging.

Engaging with and positively empowering youth is inextricably tied to our national security and prosperity. (Applause.)

I come to this Summit with a personal commitment to youth issues. I am a young person – surprising, I know. (Laughter.) And my work prior to this was as a youth spokesperson with the UN. In that capacity, I spoke with spoke with countless teenagers in refugee camps and rebel-held territories across the horn of Africa.

I met people like Yahia, a child soldier who was my own age, 17, when I encountered him in Sudan. Yahia had been fighting with a rebel group, Sudanese Liberation Army since he was 13. Early one morning, he had been awakened by the sound of gunfire. Sudanese government-backed militia carrying out a brutal ethnic-cleansing campaign in Darfur had surrounded his village. On camels and horseback they swept through, killing men, raping women and setting fire to homes.

Yahia's entire family was slaughtered. He survived by hiding among the corpses of his relatives. When it was over, he walked seven hours, alone, across the desert before encountering the rebel troops he still calls his family.

Like many child soldiers I talked to, Yahia says he was eager to take up arms. When I met him, he was thrusting a Kalashnikov at the sky and shouting slurs against an opposing rebel faction. "I have no way to be heard but to fight," he told me. It’s a sentiment I heard echoed in countries across the world, and that I now hear in my current job in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Young people are at ready to be involved in political solutions – using whatever tools available.

But the exciting thing is those tools are changing. It’s not just Kalashnikovs any more. We are seeing young people in tremendously difficult circumstances turning to peaceful tools for reform: to Facebook, to Twitter, to nonviolent protest. The events of recent weeks are a testament to the power of youthful revolution to be not only powerful, but also peaceful. (Applause.)

It is up to us as a global community to make sure we increase access to tools of peace and prosperity, and harness the power of youth as a positive. (Applause.)

Now the comforting thing I’ve found in joining the U.S. Government is that America is listening. It is a priority for our President, who said in his seminal Cairo speech, "to young people of every faith, in every country - you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world." (Applause.) And it is a personal lifelong passion for one of my bosses, Secretary Clinton, who has spent a career championing the rights of children and young people and who has been tirelessly engaging in dialogue with young people around the world, especially in recent weeks.

That is why I’m pleased to be able to tell you that, at the State Department, Secretary Clinton has launched an unprecedented youth policy taskforce to exhaustively review our policies on youth issues and amplify our ability to listen to young voices. Under Secretaries Maria Otero and Judith McHale, both heroic, powerhouse advocates of youth rights themselves, have been championing this process, and the lead working group has been chaired over the last six months by myself and the head of education at USAID.

This taskforce has been rooted in many of the values you’ve talked about today: opportunity for education, for employment, for the ability of young people to assemble and express themselves fully and engage in their societies. We’ve brought together offices across our government to examine how we can best address youth issues and partner with youth voices. And that partnership that we’re committed to developing begins right here, with the energized, empowered young people themselves.

We’ve also focused on our shared responsibility for public service, for innovation, for tolerance, and for the need to protect our planet, as we ourselves will be leading it in years to come. And we are operating on the principle that our President reminds us of - that yes, we can, and yes, you can. (Applause.)

And that is the note that I’ll leave you on – that we can and we must and we will band together to create channels through which young, peaceful voices are driving peace and prosperity. And let this be just a beginning in our process of linking arms with our young brothers and sisters around the world to ensure all our governments are listening. (Applause.)       

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Problem with Libertarian Socialism, part 2

A brief refutation by Zach Foster
Continued from Part 1

It is laughable for several reasons that the utopian Libertarian Socialist would consider making a lifestyle of free association.  First and foremost, socialism makes no room for individualism.  After all, the workers of the world are united in a common struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie, abolish private property, and implement the dictatorship of the proletariat.  As beautiful an idea as this may sound to the industrial revolution-era wage worker, the fact of the matter is that the dictatorship of the proletariat is still a dictatorship, and dictatorships infringe on human rights.  Expert economist Frank Chodorov of the Mises Institute writes:

“[The socialist] …seeks power for a humanitarian purpose. He would "elevate" all mankind to his ideal. Since the individual does not wish to be "elevated," and lays claim to something called rights, the socialist undertakes to prove that the individual does not exist, that an amorphous thing called "society" is the only fact of reality, and proceeds to impose his set of values on this thing…  In this respect, the socialist is no different from the millions of bureaucrats who now infest the social order; the bureaucrat is, like the socialist, a ruler by natural selection.”

Some utopian “thinkers” might claim that the individual could simply leave the group and find another which better suits his needs.  This, however, is not only selfish in comparison to the needs of society, but already unrealistic since the individual has no rights under this dictatorship and cannot realistically expect to leave the utopia, which ever looks more and more like a dystopia.  In the book Wage Labor and Capital, Marx argues that the worker, while able to divorce himself from a particular employer/capitalist, cannot divorce himself from the capitalist class and expect to survive, because current society is a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.  Using this form of logic, it is reasonable to argue that under a dictatorship of the proletariat, the individual (whose existence and rights are nullified for the “greater good”) cannot divorce himself from the working class or society.  After all, the individual will have no access whatsoever to the means of production which are completely controlled by bureaucratic workers councils, and if he expects to work or eat he must give up the idea of divorcing himself from any group in society.  His selfish desires for freedom will go unsatisfied because he cannot escape society without becoming a reactionary pariah—without becoming the Unabomber of the workers’ society, the Kerensky of Lenin’s Soviet Union, or even worse: being labeled a counterrevolutionary in a revolutionary society.  Chodorov writes: “A people can vote themselves into slavery, though they cannot vote themselves out of it.”

For one to call himself a Libertarian Socialist—a fantasy inconsistent with both reality and socialism, certainly inconsistent with Marxism—is unrealistic and foolishly utopian, in danger of becoming dystopian if any attempt at implementation is made.  This fantasy is akin to Marxists being sociopolitical masochists by lying to themselves that there is no difference between socialism and Communism, that capitalism sets humanity back rather than helping humanity to evolve, that socialism and communism are humanitarian, and that up is down and red is blue.

Countless attempts have been made to implement socialism within modern society.  The system might work on the small communal level, but even still, most if not all socialists subscribe to Marx’s theory (reiterated in Chris Harman’s book How Marxism Works) that “you cannot build an island of socialism in a sea of capitalism. Attempts by small groups of socialists to cut themselves off and lead their lives according to socialist ideas always fail miserably in the long term…”  However, Harman, with the gift of historical hindsight that Marx didn’t have, still fails to see that countless attempts have also been made to implement socialism on a grand scale and have also failed, most times with millions of people killed in the process.  Both socialism and Communism, when implemented, have had to be adulterated and still failed because these systems don’t work, and no amount of bullets or pseudo-intellectual academic writings can change this reality.

Libertarian Socialism is a lie.  Libertarianism is a system which places importance on the rights of the individual—completely inconsistent with socialism, which is collectivist and inflexible.  Socialism, beneficent in theory but oppressive in practice, is a system which cannot and does not work.


Statement from DNC Chairman Tim Kaine: Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011)

By Mary Hough

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine issued this statement following the death of former U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, the 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate:

“It was with great sadness I learned of Geraldine Ferraro’s passing today. As the first female vice-presidential candidate of a national party, she was a trailblazer and role model for women across the country.

Throughout her career in public service, from her time as an Assistant District Attorney to her work in the U.S. House of Representatives, she fought for a more equal and just society. The Democratic Party and the American people have lost a great advocate, and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

Iran Sanctions Act Announcement

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 29, 2011

Today, the United States is taking further action to increase pressure on Iran for its failure to meet its international obligations with regard to its nuclear program. A key element of our strategy focuses on Iran’s oil and gas production capacity, which -- as UN Security Council Resolution 1929 recognized -- Iran uses to fund its proliferation activities as well as to mask procurement for the importation of dual-use items. As part of that strategy, the State Department is sanctioning Belarusneft, a state-owned Belarusian energy company, under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) of 1996 as amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) of 2010, for its involvement in the Iranian petroleum sector.

In a thorough review, the Department confirmed that Belarusneft entered into a $500 million contract with the NaftIran Intertrade Company in 2007 for the development of the Jofeir oilfield in Iran. The ISA requires that sanctions be imposed on companies that make certain investments over $20 million.

This action on Belarusneft is another application of U.S. sanctions on Iran. In September, 2010, the State Department announced sanctions on the NaftIran Intertrade Company and the Department has applied the “Special Rule” in CISADA to persuade five major multinational energy companies to pledge to end their investments in Iran and provide assurances not to undertake new energy-related activity in Iran that may be sanctionable. The companies are: Total of France, Statoil of Norway, ENI of Italy, Royal Dutch Shell of the Netherlands, and INPEX of Japan.

Since President Barack Obama signed CISADA into law on July 1, 2010, Iran’s ability to attract new investment to develop its oil and natural gas resources, and to produce or import refined petroleum products, has been severely limited. The State Department’s direct engagement with companies and governments to enforce CISADA is raising the pressure on the Government of Iran. In the past year, many foreign companies have abandoned their energy-related projects in Iran or have stopped shipping refined petroleum to Iran. This is an appropriate response to Iran’s longstanding use of its oil and gas sector to facilitate its proliferation activities and thereby its noncompliance with its nuclear obligations.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Problem with Libertarian Socialism, part 1

A brief refutation by Zach Foster

The philosophy known as Libertarian Socialism, also known as Social Anarchism and Leftist Libertarianism, is a “system” that advocates a non-bureaucratic, non-hierarchical, stateless society free of private property in the means of production.  As utopian and intellectually impressive as this may sound to the willfully uneducated masses, the very definition of Libertarian Socialism is self-contradictory and already argues against the possibility of such a faulty system ever existing in the real world.

How can there ever be a version of socialism implemented that is free of bureaucracy and hierarchy?  Furthermore, how can self-proclaimed Libertarian Socialists not call themselves full-fledged Communists?  Socialism advocates the complete bureaucratic regulation of the means of production, of industry, and of property, while Communism takes it even further by eliminating private property and implementing a dictatorship of the proletariat.  Because socialism is a system based on complete bureaucratic regulation of property and the means of production, Libertarian Socialists cannot escape bureaucracy.  They might be able to justify the elimination of hierarchy by citing the fact that all decisions are made by small but better representative bodies such as municipal councils, trade unions, or workers councils (part of the sub-system known as Council Communism), and that all workers are equal, but the fact remains that the workers councils (or any other forms of “direct democracy”) are the form of government for the workers (the members of society), either locally or on a larger scale (it’s hard to imagine a larger scale of government when the utopian society of Libertarian Socialism is stateless), and since these councils are the “government” of the people, by the people, and for the people, then the councils are also the bureaucracy which is inescapable by the utopian Libertarian Socialist.

Furthermore, though the council members are fully representative of and completely equal with the workers, and can be “recalled” at any time, they can only be recalled in the purely democratic form of a popular vote, which in fact might not represent all the workers (voters), since some may be on the losing side of the vote and thus feel unrepresented by the workers council.  On top of that, while the members of the workers council (the governmental body) are equal with the workers and recallable by them, until the hypothetical recall happens, the decisions of the council are the definitive decisive outcomes which will affect the lives of all the workers (all the members of this utopian society), thus making the common workers (those not on the council) powerless to a certain degree.  The council also becomes the very authoritarian institution that controls the means of production and the livelihood of the workers.  The workers in the council have power, while those not in the council do not.  This tragedy resurrects the bourgeois model of the haves and have-nots.  Here is where both hierarchy and authoritarianism exist, and such an existence is now an unavoidable truth even to the utopian “thinker.”

It may be possible to avoid the formation of states under this system, since for thousands of years the Native American tribes in North America and the Bedouin caravans of the Middle East lived without the formation of states, or at least the concept of states known to the Western world.  Nonetheless, these tribes referred to themselves as nations or as peoples, and while they may or may not have practiced democracy and drawn borders for themselves, they still had a national identity (Cherokees were Cherokee, Creeks were Creek, Gabrielinos were Gabrielino, and Pashtuns were Pashtun), they still had a cultural identity, and every tribe had a system of government and laws.  The Libertarian Socialist’s concept of “free association” is undermined by the fact of nature that humans naturally feel a need to belong to something, whether it is a state, a people, an organization, or a social class.  In the awareness of one’s sense of belonging to a social class, Lenin coined the term “social patriotism.”

Part 2: "Free association" is impossible, and the dictatorship of the proletariat is still a dictatorship

LP Monday Message: Atlas Shrugged, Stossel, scholarshi​ps

Dear Friend of Liberty,

The movie "Atlas Shrugged: Part 1" will be opening on April 15.  The Libertarian National Committee will be meeting during the weekend of April 15-17 in the Washington, DC area, and members plan to attend the opening night of the movie.

A few weeks ago I told you that John Stossel covered the recent International Students For Liberty Conference in Washington, DC. That show will air on "Stossel" this Thursday, March 31.

Speaking of student activities, I was recently at an event where a Cato Institute representative mentioned that they wanted more students to apply for their Cato University scholarships. I got the sense that if you make a good effort, you have a good chance of getting one of these scholarships, worth hundreds of dollars.

See that opportunity and many more upcoming educational opportunities at  Additionally, Students For Liberty is offering free student scholarships to FreedomFest and PorcFest this year.


Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

P.S. If you have not already done so, please join the Libertarian Party. We are the only political party dedicated to free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can also renew your membership. Or, you can make a contribution separate from membership.

President Obama on Libya

Good morning,

I'm writing today with an update on the situation in Libya, including the actions we've taken with allies and partners to protect the Libyan people from the brutality of Moammar Qaddafi. For further details, please take a moment to watch this morning's Weekly Address:

Sending our brave men and women in uniform into harm's way is not a decision I make lightly. But when someone like Qaddafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region, it is in our national interest to act.  In fact, it’s our responsibility.

Our mission in Libya is clear and focused -- and we are succeeding.

Along with our allies and partners, we are enforcing the mandate of the United Nations Security Council.  Working with other countries, we have put in place a no-fly zone and other measures that will help prevent further violence and brutality. Qaddafi's air defenses have been taken out, and his forces are no longer advancing across Libya.
As a consequence of our quick action, the lives of countless innocent civilians have been saved, and a humanitarian catastrophe has been avoided.

The role of American forces in this mission is limited. After providing unique capabilities at the beginning, we are now handing over control of the no-fly zone to our NATO allies and partners, including Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The United States has also joined with the international community to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance.  We're offering support to the Libyan opposition and have frozen tens of billions of dollars of Qaddafi's assets.

Our message to Qaddafi is clear: attacks against innocent civilians must end, his forces must be pulled back, humanitarian aid must reach Libyans in need, and those responsible for the violence in Libya must be held accountable.

The progress we've made over the past seven days demonstrates how the international community should work, with many nations, not just the United States, bearing the responsibility and cost of upholding international law.

Every American can be proud of the service of our men and women in uniform who have once again stood up for our interests and ideals.  And as we move forward, I will continue to keep each of you fully informed on our progress.

Barack Obama
President of the United States

P.S. On Monday evening at , I will deliver an address at the National Defense University in Washington, DC on the situation in Libya. You can watch the speech live at

Statement on the Passing of Geraldine Ferraro

Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Bill Clinton
Washington, DC
March 26, 2011

"Gerry Ferraro was one of a kind -- tough, brilliant, and never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believed in -- a New York icon and a true American original. She was a champion for women and children and for the idea that there should be no limits on what every American can achieve. The daughter of an Italian immigrant family, she rose to become the first woman ever nominated to the national ticket by a major political party. She paved the way for a generation of female leaders and put the first cracks in America's political glass ceiling. She believed passionately that politics and public service was about making a difference for the people she represented as a congresswoman and Ambassador.

For us, Gerry was above all a friend and companion. From the rough-and-tumble of political campaigns to the important work of international diplomacy, we were honored to have her by our side. She was a tireless voice for human rights and helped lead the American delegation to the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Through it all, she was a loyal friend, trusted confidante, and valued colleague.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Gerry's husband John, her children and grandchildren, and their entire family."

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Saturday, March 26, 2011

RNC Chairman Priebus Statement On The One Year Anniversary Of ObamaCare

By Michael Short

WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus issued the following statement regarding the one year anniversary of ObamaCare:

“With a solid majority of Americans favoring repeal, ObamaCare is even more unpopular today than it was one year ago when President Obama signed it into law. Despite numerous White House PR initiatives funded at taxpayer expense, voters understand the havoc that ObamaCare has wreaked on our struggling economy, small businesses, individual coverage, and seniors. Whether it’s the millions of businesses that will forego making a hire because of ObamaCare’s burdensome regulations or the trillions of dollars in new deficit spending, the simple fact is that by the President’s own standards this law is a complete and utter failure. Even some of the law’s most prominent supporters - including the CEO for Starbucks - are now acknowledging what a burden it is to job creation.

“We cannot allow the President and his liberal allies to continue defending a law that has left a legacy of fewer jobs, higher taxes, and lower quality of care. Today is a reminder that we need to redouble our efforts over the next two years to retake the Senate and elect a Republican President so we can repeal this job-destroying law once and for all.”

Japan Meltdown: Another Man-Made Disaster

By Stefan

No, of course earthquakes and tsunamis are natural phenomena. But it is known where – if not when – they are going to strike. So in principle society could take action to minimize the human impact.

It was known that the seabed off the northeastern coast of Honshu (the main island of the Japanese archipelago) is prone to earthquakes. It was known that a sufficiently powerful offshore earthquake would generate a tsunami. So why not leave the endangered coastal area uninhabited?

Crammed into the danger zone
This earthquake and most of its aftershocks were offshore. However, the next major earthquake may well occur, as long predicted, on land. It is a matter of when, not whether.

The area at greatest risk is the southern coastal strip of Honshu that stretches west from Tokyo – a city already devastated by earthquakes in 1891 and 1923. And yet the eastern half of this strip, up to Osaka, covering a mere 6% of Japan’s land area, is the country’s industrial powerhouse, with 45% of its population of 127.5 million. Tokyo and its outlying cities alone contain 30% of the country’s population. Would a rational society cram so many people and resources into the zone of maximum danger? (Read on)

Source: World Socialist Party (US)

A Letter from Representative Jeff Denham

Dear Friend,
It was great to be back in the district this week and to be able to spend time with so many local business owners, students, farmers, and veterans throughout the district.  From the need to increase water allocations for Valley farmers to reducing our debt, one thing that we all agreed on is the need to create jobs in the Central Valley. 
My Republican colleagues and I lamented the one- year anniversary of ObamaCare on Wednesday. The health care law has completely failed to live up to the promises the Democrats and the Administration made to the American people. Have any of you seen decreased costs or lowered premiums?  Americans were promised improved healthcare but instead, many have lost their existing coverage.  The law will cost hundreds of billions of dollars that our country simply cannot afford and in a time when Republicans are focused on creating jobs for the American people, the healthcare law will eliminate nearly one million jobs from the economy.  I can assure you I will continue to work with my Republican colleagues to dismantle ObamaCare and replace it with affordable solutions and common sense reforms that protect jobs. 
Like all of you, I am watching closely as the Administration sends more U.S. troops overseas for Operation Odyssey Dawn. As the mission proceeds to dismantle Muammar Qadhafi's grip in Libya, we must have clearer direction and goals for the duration of our country's involvement. While there is no question in my mind that Qadhafi is an intolerant dictator, it is regrettable that Congress was not consulted prior to the use of force. As your Representative, I will continue to fully assess the scope and objectives of Operation Odyssey Dawn and will keep our brave service men and women in my thoughts and prayers.
This week was full of opportunities to meet constituents, whether over the airwaves or in person. I had a great time filling in as host on The Ray Appleton show on KMJ on Wednesday. My colleague, Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA), from the Natural Resources Committee was on the show to discuss rising gas prices and the need to increase American production in order to create jobs and decrease our dependence on foreign entities. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, joined me for a discussion about the need for a solid, focused plan for high-speed rail in California. He was also at the listening session our committee held in Fresno just a few weeks ago and has committed to providing oversight over the project with me. We took calls for a couple of hours and had a great time at the studio. Thank you to KMJ for having me!
After the show I visited Heald College in Fresno, where I toured the campus, met with students and learned about the career-focused programs offered at Heald. The students offered a fresh perspective on the need for jobs in the Central Valley. Check out a photo I posted on my twitter account.  
The farmers that I met with in all areas of the district also understand the need for jobs and the need to bring water to the Valley now.  Farmers at an Ag Roundtable meeting today were as disappointed as I am with the allocation numbers released by the Bureau of Reclamation on Tuesday: 2011 allocation levels for South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors is only a measly 55 percent.  This figure is below the 20 year average final allocation of 62 percent and shows the severity of the water crisis in the Central Valley.  With reservoirs in flood operations and 300,000 acre-feet of water flowing from the Delta into the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis, it is inexcusable that farmers south of the Delta are not receiving a 100% allocation. It is time the Obama Administration gets its priorities straight. Their support of extreme environmental policies has hampered the farmers and families in the Central Valley for too long.  Now is the time to bring water to the Valley, bolster economic growth and create jobs. 
Today, I had the honor of speaking at the American Veterans Traveling Tribute event in Sonora.  The Traveling Tribute serves as a reminder of our memorials in Washington DC and also brings these memorials home, to our backyard, so that we can honor, remember and respect our service members and veterans who have made unparalleled sacrifices for our country.
I encourage all of you in Tuolumne County to visit the Vietnam veteran tribute wall on display at the fairgrounds off Stockton road and pay your respects to our service members. The traveling memorial will be open to the public, free of charge, 24 hours a day until Sunday at
It was great to meet so many of you this week. Hopefully I can catch up with you at one of the district offices in April. In the meantime, be sure to check my website and follow me on twitter and facebook for updates on my activity and to let me know how I can help you. 
After less than three months in office, we have had over 970 people sign up for my newsletter.  Thank you for letting your friends and family know how to stay in touch with me! Keep reaching out to your friends because there'll be a prize for the person to refer the 1,000th person that signs up.  


United States Representative

Better Benefits, Better Health for Young Adults

A year ago, young adults were one of the most vulnerable groups of Americans in the health insurance market. However, since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, many of you can now stay on your parent’s family plan until you turn 26. It doesn’t matter whether you’re married, living with your parents, in school, or financially independent. This is a huge improvement that is freeing people to make decisions about their education, their careers, and their lives without being hemmed in by outdated insurance rules.

Before President Obama signed the health law, you typically had to go off your parent’s plan at 19 or whenever you left school. This put many young people in a tight spot, especially if they were living with a pre-existing condition like cancer, diabetes, or asthma—since it was very hard to get quality, affordable health insurance. Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the class of 2011 will be the first to graduate with this new option on the books. Already, nearly 1.2 million young Americans will be able to gain insurance coverage this year as a result. This means as you start your career, you can pursue the jobs or opportunities that are best for you without worrying about health insurance.

Check out our facebook page on this to learn more, or watch the video on the White House website with step-by-step instructions on how to access this important benefit.

There are other benefits, too, that are already in place:
If you are in a new insurance plan, insurance companies cannot charge you a deductible or copays for recommended preventive services, like flu shots and other immunizations. Click here to find a list of preventive services that will be covered without a deductible or copays.
Insurance companies are prohibited from capping the dollar amount of care you can receive in a lifetime, or dropping your coverage due to a mistake on your application when you get sick.
Most health plans cannot deny coverage to children under age 19 because of pre-existing conditions.

If you have been uninsured because of a pre-existing condition, you may be eligible to join the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. To find out about plans available in your State, please visit:

These are just a few of the new benefits and protections that Americans of all ages are enjoying across the country. I encourage you to go to to access more information about the law, including a personalized list of private insurance plans, public programs and community services that are available.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Admonition of the Protestors of the Intervention in Libya, part 2

By Zach Foster
Continued from Part 1: The Libyan Civil War and the No Fly Zone ARE NOT Iraq and Afghanistan
Part 2: The CORRECT reasons to criticize the intervention

Still, few manage to realize how fundamentally different the intervention in the Libyan Civil War is from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There is a difference between enforcing a no-fly zone and sending troops into the country.  The last time the U.S. intervened in a civil war by sending in ground troops was the Somali Civil War (Operation Restore Hope) in late 1992 through early 1993, which was a disaster (see the film or read the book Black Hawk Down).  The last time the U.S. intervened against a dictator killing his own people was the establishment of a no fly zone over Kurdistan and Southern Iraq (nowhere near Baghdad, the national capital) in the 1990s.  Did the no fly zone result in a war to liberate the Kurds and the Shiite Muslims?  No.  Will the no fly zone over Libya result in an American war?  Only if the President commits ground troops.

It is almost hilarious to se the irony of the protesting against UN Resolution 1973.  Ultra-leftists were shouting solidarity with the oppressed people of the Middle East and wondering if the U.S. was going to take any action to help them, especially the people of Libya, while they were systematically being slaughtered by Qadafi.  Now the no fly zone and additional measures to protect civilians have resulted in Qadafi’s Loyalists retreating from Benghazi, the last rebel stronghold (amidst cheers from the Libyan people), and the liberals are angry about a “third war of imperialist conquest for oil.”  Apologies for bursting their bubble, but Muammar Qadafi has permitted American oil corporations to drill in Libya for years.  There is no economic gain from a war of conquest in Libya.

Ultraconservatives were angry about the President not doing a thing while Libya deteriorated.  Now he leads the international effort to enforce the no fly zone, and now they are angry at him and returning to the Obama-is-Muslim rhetoric.  It seems as if the President just can’t win.  Perhaps both political camps should simply write up a list of set criteria for what the President should do at any and all times in the case of any civil war anywhere.

Let it be known, however, that many Libyans (who are affiliated with neither Al Qaeda nor the Muslim Brotherhood) have been blogging and tweeting the situation whenever not being covered by Al Jazeera.  One tweet which caught my attention (and was re-tweeted countless times) said the following:

People who complain about the coalition are either pro-Gaddafi or not from Libya. He is slaughtering us and you moan about the UN resolution.

That statement mirrors views represented in hundreds of thousands of tweets and blog posts.  It is clear that the Libyan people—the anti-Qadafi majority—desperately want the no fly zone and protection from Qadafi Loyalist troops.

While UN Resolution 1973 is morally just, people are not wrong to protest it.  They are wrong because they have been protesting it for all the wrong reasons.  The primary correct reason to protest the U.S. involvement in UN Resolution 1973 is that IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  The President never consulted Congress before diverting valuable Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force resources from Operation Enduring Freedom (everyone remembers the Afghanistan War, right?).  In Article 1 Section 8, the Constitution says:

The Congress shall have Power….
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;…

While it is true that the President is Constitutionally designated to be Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Militia, he must be careful not to overstep his boundaries.  He must not forget that his accountability is not to the United Nations—it is to the United States Congress.  It’s not very difficult to call an emergency session of Congress.

While a good number of Democrats and many Republicans in Congress have actually been using the proper Constitutional argument to criticize this intervention, it is necessary to point out the partisan hypocrisy overshadowing it; most Republicans who are Constitutionally wary of President Obama on Libya in 2011 seemingly were not Constitutionally wary of President Bush on Iraq in 2003, just like many Constitutionally wary Democrats today forgot about the Constitution when President Clinton sent peacekeeping troops to Bosnia and Kosovo in 1995.  While there is seldom anything wrong or unjust about helping people abroad and protecting them from being slaughtered by tyrants, Americans need to be awakened to the fact that the Constitution ws written and ratified for a reason, and it wasn’t for mere convenience.

Obama Has No Constitutional Mandate to Protect Libyan Civilians

Boulder, CO - In 2007, candidate Obama stated, "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."  He was right!  And yet, he has now trampled that principle by attacking Libya, doing so without the necessary congressional Declaration of War, which the Constitution clearly requires.

Instead, President Obama merely consulted with some congressional leaders, and has not sought an act of Congress, while pointing to the U.N. Security Council resolution 1973 as justification.  He states, "I've acted after consulting with my national security team, and Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress."  On Monday, he referred to "an international mandate from the Security Council."  Pointing to the global community, he spoke of "international legitimacy."

President Obama, many of his predecessors, and most in Congress seem clueless about the most rudimentary constitutional principles governing U.S. foreign policy.  Even if Congress issued a Declaration of War in this matter, it would not be legitimate, as Congress is only authorized in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to collect revenue for three purposes:  to pay the debts, and for the defense and general welfare of the United States.  There is absolutely no authority granted to spend federal dollars on using our military as a global police force, including to protect the people of Libya.

Constitutional scholarship recognizes that treaties have no precedence over the U.S. Constitution.  It follows that the United Nations has no authority to direct the U.S. military to initiate warfare, as this authority is reserved for the Congress under our constitutional system, regardless of any statement to the contrary in the U.N. Charter.

 "The harm caused goes beyond the estimated $100 million cost of cruise missiles fired at Libya," stated National Chairman Jon Hill. "The strike at
 Libya is a strike at our constitutional system -- a key to our national stability."

 National Secretary John Pittman Hey stated, "The decision to go to war is one of the gravest to be taken, and yet President Obama has failed to stay within the most basic constitutional legal framework.  Outraged Americans should call for his impeachment."

 Jonathan Hill, National Chairman 1-866-SOS-USA1, ext 4
 John Pittman Hey, National Secretary,

Bombing in Jerusalem

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Washington, DC
March 23, 2011

This morning I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the bombing in Jerusalem today that took at least one life and injured innocent civilians. Terrorism and the targeting of civilians are never justified. And Israel, like all nations, of course, has to respond when this occurs. The United States is committed to Israel’s security and we strongly condemn this violence and extend our deepest sympathies to all those affected.

We also strongly condemn recent rocket attacks from Gaza against innocent Israeli civilians and hold fully responsible the militants perpetrating these attacks. And I join President Obama in extending our sincere condolences to the friends and families of the Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza yesterday and appreciate that Israel has expressed regret.

We stress the importance of calm and we urge all concerned to do everything in their power to prevent further violence and civilian casualties among both Israelis and Palestinians. Violence only erodes hope for a lasting and meaningful peace and the final realization of two states for two peoples.