Of all the policies of the Barack Obama administration – one of many which began under the Bush regime and has been continued, even expanded, by his successor – I think the use of predator drones sickens and angers me the most. Especially with the revelation that the drones also target first responders, and even people attending funerals. Imagine if a suicide bomber had attacked police and firefighters as they arrived at the World Trade Center on 9/11, or the funerals of the victims. That is essentially what the CIA’s predator drones are doing.
But what’s really infuriating, though not surprising, is how quiet liberals are about this, given how loudly they spoke out against war during the Bush years. Yet this is arguably worse in terms of its sheer violence and callousness: worse than Abu Ghraib, worse than the Haditha massacre. If any other country’s military engaged in such acts, they would be denounced by the U. S. government (and others) as war crimes, and rightly so. And as the report cited by Glenn Greenwald makes clear, government officials have been lying about the civilian casualties from the attacks. But from most Democrats, the response amounts to at best a shuffling of feet and an uncomfortable silence. In fact, most of them support the use of drones, and even keeping the Guantanamo Bay prison camp open, according to a Washington Post poll. This despite Obama’s campaign promise to close Gitmo. I guess Democrats suffer from memory loss as much as Republicans do.
How anyone can vote for a man who gives orders to commit mass murder is simply incomprehensible to me. And please spare me the counterpoint that the Republicans are just as bad. Of course they are. That just further proves the point that the major parties are virtually indistinguishable in their lust for mass murder, bigger government, and more control over people’s lives. Voting Republican or Democrat is voting for the imperial warfare/welfare state, and all of the blood and treasure it demands.
There’s no room for violence in our political discourse? But politics is merely war by other means. Political discourse within the state inherently involves the threat of violence and is ultimately backed by it.
Watch this political ad (below) promoting Washington State’s Initiative 1098, which seeks to dedicate $2 billion per year to fund education and healthcare for children. It’s always for the children! It’s not about soaking the rich! even though this other Yeson1098 video makes a point of demonizing the greedy rich. The slogan is “the wealthy pay more, the rest of us pay less.” Bill Gates, Sr., is presented as a grandfatherly figure sacrificing his comfort for the sake of childrens’ enjoyment while he explains the reasonableness of this new scheme to legally plunder the rich.
I’m hearing reports that nearly $1 billion has already been spent on US House elections alone. Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics predicts “$3.7 billion will be spent on this midterm election.” That’s 30% more than last time. It’s no surprise that the more legal plunder government is able to redistribute, the more people are willing to spend to gain control of the state. Obama is making Bush the Younger look thrifty and the next president will likely do the same for him. The increase in electoral spending will continue apace.
Such a distraction and waste of money political elections, especially national elections, are. As I explained in Voting, Moral Hazard, and Like Buttons: “The very existence of [a] centralized voting system for deciding public matters of moral importance encourages citizens to focus their energies on this formal democratic process, which is to say that it encourages the wasting of time and money on vote getting (or buying), at the expense of getting anything actually productive done in a timely fashion.”
What you say!!!1
There has been a lot wailing and gnashing of teeth recently over a joint announcement by Google and Verizon of a legislative-framework proposal they’ve been working on.
Now, I’ve seen this variously referred to as a backroom deal or pact, a secret treaty, or a set of regulations Google and Verizon are imposing on the internet. The FCC is shamefully abdicating its responsibility to regulate the internet! Nevermind that the D.C. Circuit court determined recently in the Comcast case that the FCC has no such regulatory authority over broadband internet; hence, the calls to disastrously reclassify broadband internet access in order to place it under the same regulatory rules as regular telephone service. Some are even intimating that Google and Verizon are trying to “own” the internet. Net neutrality activists are up in arms about this proposal, viciously attacking Google for selling out and reversing its longstanding defense of net neutrality, and calling for people to stage a silly boycott of Google products and services. If you don’t join the herd, you get labeled a Google-Verizon apologist or it is insinuated that you are on their payroll (see comments on the CNET articles linked below, for example).
So what should libertarians make of all this?