Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Star Wars and the Austrian School I: A Brief Overview


Star Wars is unquestionably a brilliant saga that touches the hearts of many through its incorporation of timeless literary archetypes and humanist themes.  Adventure, love, loss, spirituality, good vs. evil, and the triumph of the human (and humanoid) spirit…

Yet there are other characteristics standing out that demand attention and respect, such as the saga’s inclusion of patterns of history (great wars and economic or political disasters) and of the interactions and exchanges of societies and individuals.  One could practically point to passages from Mises’ Human Action or Theory and History while watching any given Star Wars episode!

Everyone knows the basic story line that spans seven (now eight) episodes, 2 spinoff movies (The Clone Wars theatrical pilot and Rogue One), and numerous television and novel tie-ins.  A once prosperous and peaceful republic decays over time from corruption and then war.  Victory over secessionists in a great galactic war only serves to undermine the Republic’s ideals of liberty and hastens its demise and overt reorganization into the Galactic Empire.

Following two decades of imperial rule and repression, a guerrilla army dedicated to reestablishing the Republic and maintaining its founding principles of liberty fights a lengthy campaign, pursuing only the help of willing parties, eventually destroying the Empire and restoring republican democracy to the galaxy.  (We just won’t talk about the Holiday Special or the Ewok movies, but everyone SHOULD check out Episode I.I: The Phantom Edit.)

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Cuban libertarian activists sent to the Gulag!

The civil rights and human rights case regarding the two jailed Cuban libertarian activists just took a dark turn.  As of this afternoon, Mises Cuba reports that Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velazquez Visea are incarcerated in Cuba's infamous Melena II prison.  Various human rights groups have documented conditions at Melena II, and it's Cuba's equivalent of the Gulag in Soviet Russia and the labor camps in North Korea.  

Five Libertarian state parties (Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Indiana, and New Mexico) and the Libertarian Party of Spain (P-LIB) have already published denunciations of the Cuban government and the Communist Party of Cuba, and these parties are calling for the immediate and safe release of the political prisoners.

Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velazquez Visea were originally arrested by State Security (the secret police) and the National Police on the night of February 2 and were being detained at a jail facility in Mayabeque Province.  Less than 2 hours ago Mises Institute Cuba (an independent Cuban organization based on the American Mises Institute) reported that Herrera and Velazquez are believed to have been convicted of attempted assault.  In truth, Herrera was targeted for his "dissident activities" of getting people together in a room to discuss limited government, civil liberties, and free markets. Velazquez had the misfortune of being with Herrera when both men were challenged by a plainclothes undercover State Security agent who demanded to see their ID.

Mises Cuba staff members Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand and Heriberto Pons Ruiz both testify that Herrera and Velazquez have been transferred to Melena II, a labor prison outside of Melena del Sur, near Havana.  Thanks to refugees like Esteban Marcial Mosqueda, whose testimony was published by retired U.S. immigration judge Susan Yarbrough, we know exactly what conditions the two jailed libertarian activists are facing.

"There were no beds and no sheets so I slept on the floor with the other men.  The toilet was a hole in the floor, and it overflowed everyday.  At night the rats and roaches came through it, and sometimes a snake.  Our food was beans once a day, and it was always filled with insects and worms.  We got a pail of water every other day; it was for drinking, but it was so dirty it made us sick...  Many months and many guards went by.  Most of them would call me negro azul [blue-black, because of his dark skin]...  I was very thin by then, and it was very easy for them to pull down my pants."

In 2011 the Committee to Protect Journalists confirmed the existence of Melena II, and the labor prison's appalling conditions.  The Spanish-language Cuban-American news venue Let's Talk Press reported appalling conditions and human rights abuses in the Melena II prison as recently as 2015.  The Spanish-language Cuba news venue Café Fuerte reports on the forced labor conditions.   "'We are subjected to a twelve-hour work day in the sun, melting and raising blocks or working in the field,' said a labor convict at the Melena II prison's collective farm...  The Melena II prison houses more than 600 convicts, mostly young black men. They work by making cement blocks."

Now that the Cuban libertarian activists Herrera and Velazquez are in the Gulag, it's now more important than ever for supporters of human rights across America and around the world to take action.  Libertarians from around the world are already taking the fight back to the Cuban government. In one example, a French supporter demanded their release on the Ministry of Foreign Relations' French-language Facebook page.

All concerned citizens in all countries can help by doing these things:

  1. Publicly condemn the Cuban government and the Communist Party of Cuba, and demand the safe release of the libertarian prisoners,
  2. Ask the US State Department to place diplomatic pressure on Cuba for their release,
  3. Call Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and State Legislators to make their own statements of support for these political prisoners and to ask the State Department to diplomatically pressure the Cuban government. Find your Congressman here and contact his or her office, and tweet at your governor.
  4. Directly contact Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations and demand the safe release of Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velazquez Visea. Send them a message on Facebook and tweet directly at them.

The Libertarian Party of Nevada isn't advocating for sending the Marines to Havana; we're simply rallying free people around the world to call out a human rights abuse against one of our own flock.  We the People must never give in to evil, but fight boldly against it. #TodosSomosMisesCuba

For further inquiries contact Zach Foster at zach.foster@lpnevada.org 

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Melena II prison photo courtesy of CIH Press.  This article was first published by the Libertarian Party of Nevada.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Going to war against the Police [Updated for 2017]

On the afternoon of Saturday, December 20, 2014, a man traveled from Baltimore to Brooklyn, where he shot dead two police officers. My condolences went out to the families of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

Some of the mixed responses I saw to this double homicide sickened me almost as much as the news itself. Many of you reading this were sickened by the news of the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, as was the shooter in Brooklyn, Ismaaiyl Brinsley.

Given police speculation that Brinsley had committed another homicide back in Baltimore, planned for killing police, and that he killed himself after the incident, I concluded the shooter was crazy and disturbed similar to the Columbine shooters.

This murderous violence, motivated partly by politics and partly by insanity, only prolonged the stalemated gun control debate. It will also continue the discussion on civil liberties and the militarization of police in America.

Many in the liberty movement not only oppose the State institution of the police, or the State’s monopoly on security (which is reasonable).  They actually take it farther and hate the police, as a group and as individuals. I had the misfortune of arguing with a handful of people who were actually glad these officers were ambushed and murdered.

If you’re one of these people who celebrated their deaths, and who celebrates the deaths of police officers, I’m ashamed of you.

This is horrible. Furthermore, the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner expressed outraged by these killings, and their outrage was more than justifiable. After all, the families didn’t lose their sons violently so that their memory could be used to justify more violence and death. It’s one hell of a slippery slope.

By no means should libertarians, who value the right to life and individual self-determination more than any other ideological group, celebrate the murder of any human beings. That’s exactly what this ambush was. It wasn’t a rebel military operation, nor was it any kind of revolutionary action, despite being partly motivated by politics. The shooter was mentally unbalanced.

I remind you all that libertarians view people first and foremost... Read more

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

American Stalin — ‘Joe Steele’ in the Age of Obama and Trump

I’ve been a fan of Harry Turtledove’s writing ever since I picked up a copy of Great War: American Front back in 2009. Turtledove has the ability to weave the stories of numerous ordinary people together to make one large patchwork fabric of an impressive, epic tale of a history that might have been. This is the case with his 2015 novel, Joe Steele, which has a relevant message for our time in the age of Obama and Trump.

President Steele immediately begins a series of economic reforms under the first Four Year Plan—an allusion to Stalin’s Five Year Plan but tailored to the President’s term in office—with makes FDR’s New Deal look like a children’s game. The federal government begins confiscating property under eminent domain for large-scale collective farming. The Supreme Court justices who rule the new policies unconstitutional suddenly find themselves in front of a military tribunal for a show trial, and promptly sentenced to death by firing squad. Joe Steele then moves on to purge the military establishment and key political opposition (as well as purging loyal followers who pose a future potential threat to the regime).

For starters, Turtledove proves the extent of his research and his expertise in the field of U.S. history by using real case law from the Civil War that allows the federal government to try civilians by military tribunal rather than by jury trial. And while Americans may sleep well today believing themselves safe from labor camps, current federal documents tell a different story.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Anatomy of the Mexican State

Francisco “Pancho” Villa turned his criminal organization into an army and was warlord over Chihuahua until his death in 1923

Given the utter failure of the Mexican federal government to abide by its social contract to provide specific services to the large sectors of its population—i.e., education, health care, respect of civil liberties, protection of property, and most importantly, protection of life— coupled with the government’s failure to exercise sovereignty over territory firmly controlled by narco-warlords, indigenous insurgent groups, and self-defense militias, it’s reasonable to conclude that Mexico is a failing state.

Since the state still exists and provides services to some sectors of the population, it hasn’t failed altogether, but it certainly is in the process of failing.  More so since the erratic behavior of the Trump presidency and the announcement of the 20% wall tariff caused the peso to crumble.

Criminologist John P. Sullivan (of the Small Wars Journal) elaborates on the Mexican criminal insurgency; namely that the insurgency’s main goal is to gain autonomy and economic control over territory. By hollowing out the state and creating alternative states—in this case feudalistic fiefdoms ruled by narco-warlords through their narco-guerrilla armies—the criminal insurgency introduces a dual-state model.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Alcohol Prohibition spawned Mexico’s oldest drug cartel [Updated for 2017]

Those old enough to remember Prohibition in the U.S. remember it as a controversial and violent era. The Eighteenth Amendment and Volstead Act, passed by Congress in 1919, prohibited the manufacture and sale of “intoxicating liquor” for recreational use. Prohibition took effect in January 1920, but its effects will still be felt in 2020.


The alcohol ban, long championed by the temperance movement, was enacted with the intention of simultaneously lowering the crime rates and social ills like alcoholism in the U.S. However, it’s often said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Instead of solving problems, the great social experiment of alcohol prohibition wreaked havoc on communities nationwide.

A study of over 30 major US cities showed crime had risen by 24 percent between 1920 and 1921, including a 13 percent rise in homicides and 45 percent increase in substance addiction. Another unintended consequence was the major boost Prohibition provided for organized crime. This phenomenon was a matter of simple economics: Americans wanted to drink.

Following the Law of Supply and Demand, people from all walks of life created a demand for liquor and criminal organizations supplied that demand through the production and distribution of contraband liquor. These crime groups were willing and able to resort to the necessary corruption and violence against law enforcement and rival alcohol cartels in order to protect their lucrative trade.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Feeding the Homeless: Activist Stands Up to City Government

Most people are used to seeing signs that say, “don’t feed the animals,”  as those signs are posted in parks and zoos. What no one expects to see, however, are signs that say “Do not feed the people,” right?

One of the oldest traditions of Western civilization is giving alms to the poor, including feeding the homeless.  The City of Los Angeles almost made it illegal to feed the homeless.  This is how a group of activists stopped big government in its tracks.

In 2013, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge introduced a motion before the City Council prohibiting anyone from feeding the homeless in public rights of way (sidewalks, street corners, open areas).  The councilmen justified the motion on health and food safety reasons.  Libertarian activist Angela McArdle had a problem with the motion.

“Who are they to tell the people they’re not allowed to help the needy?” says McArdle.  According to the paralegal and Libertarian activist, she and her friends have been feeding the homeless for years.  LaBonge’s rationalization for the motion was that it protected the homeless from food poisoning from improperly prepared food.  If people wanted to help them, they would have to incorporate, become accountable to the IRS, open a kitchen, and have their facilities inspected by city, county, state, and federal bureaucrats.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

LP Oklahoma joins coalition to free jailed Cuban libertarians

The Libertarian Party of Oklahoma (LPOK) joined the Libertarian Parties of Nevada (LPN), New Hampshire (LPNH), and Spain (P-LIB) in speaking out on behalf of jailed Cuban libertarian activists.  LP Oklahoma, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Spain have condemned the Cuban government and Communist Party of Cuba for the arrest and detention of Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velazquez Visea.  LPN, LPNH, LPOK, and P-LIB demand the immediate and safe release of Herrera and Velazquez.

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Libertarian Party of Spain joins in condemning the Cuban government

The Libertarian Party of Spain has joined the Libertarian Parties of Nevada and New Hampshire in condemning the Cuban government for the arrest and unlawful detention of two libertarian activists.  In a Spanish-language news release, the Spanish Libertarians announced:

The Libertarian Party of Spain (P-LIB) strongly condemns the arbitrary imprisonment of two Cuban libertarian activists, Ubaldo Herrera Hernández and Manuel Velasquez Visea, perpetrated several days ago by the island's brutal communist regime, and demands its immediate release.

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LP New Hampshire joins LP Nevada in condemning the Cuban government over activist arrests

This weekend, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire issued the following statement on their website:

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire answers the call from the Libertarian Party of Nevada in the condemnation of the Cuban government for arresting libertarian activists. LPNH Chair Darryl W. Perry stated “I’d like to thank LP Nevada for taking the lead on this issue, and encouraging other state LP affiliates to join in on the condemnation of the Cuban government’s arrest of two libertarian activists and in calling for their immediate release.”

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Cuban Libertarian Activists Arrested By State Police

Herrera Hernandez, far right, has been arrested several times before for peaceful dissidence.

A libertarian brother from the Mises Cuba Institute notified me shortly after two Cuban libertarian activists were arrested by State Security officers—the political secret police.  Mises Cuba, Mises USA, and the PanAm Post all confirmed that Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velazquez Visea were both arrested in the last week.  Other members of Mises Cuba were also threatened with arrest by the political police.

The two men were arrested together.  Reportedly, they were approached by several plain-clothes undercover secret policemen.  The secret policemen harassed the two men and arrested the activists when they refused to show ID to non-uniformed officers.  Herrera and Velasques are still detained.

Read more at The Libertarian Republic

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Open Borders and Private Property After the State

Open borders is still a touchy subject in libertarian and conservative circles.  Many see the concept of open borders as a threat to the nation.  Nationalism isn’t dead, but it’s definitely evolving.  More and more people are coming to the idea that culture and people make a nation, not lines on a map.

America’s borders have changed constantly throughout its history.  Like other nations, America never needed borders for national identity.  Israel is a nation because of the long Jewish traditions from the days when the Israelites were a wandering people, not because nationalist social democrats drew lines on a map of British-occupied Palestine.  In the words of Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, “We are the Jewish nation.  Our homeland is our Torah, our Holy Bible.”

In Los Angeles County, home of 12 million people, city borders have become irrelevant...

Read more at The Libertarian Republic

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Did Milo Yiannopoulos plan to out undocumented students at Berkeley?

Milo Yiannopoulos is surrounded by controversy.  The dramatic episode of Milo Yiannopoulos's canceled speech and leftist riots on campus and in the streets of Berkeley has been a drama of confusion.

The most widespread images include the black-clad anarcho-communists, waving their black flags as windows are broken, bonfires ignite, and they face off against the police. Here are the facts about what Milo Yiannopoulos has said, done, and planned to do.

George Ciccariello-Maher, a professor at UC Berkeley, tweeted: "Reliable sources say Milo planned to publicly name undocumented students @UCBerkeley. Debate is over: shutting him down was necessary & good."

From these sources, Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark got his information.  The Chairman then made the statement on social media which was lambasted by the alt-right and libertarians with Republican Stockholm Syndrome.  (Read more)

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Published by the Libertarian Party of Nevada

Friday, February 3, 2017

Open Borders: Lesser Threat to Life and Property than the Trump State

President Trump was the target for sharp criticism after enacting a temporary but ongoing ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries.  While President Trump has certainly earned his share of criticism for hostility to immigration, Americans shouldn’t forget that the Democrat Party plantation hardly cares for immigrants either.  Both parties want a central strong state and naturally oppose the libertarian concept of open borders.  It’s still a hardly-spoken of secret on the Left that President Obama’s administration deported 29% more undocumented immigrants than George W. Bush’s administration.

Democrats will oppose open borders just as easily as the most conservative Republican.  Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006.  Democrat Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren just recently introduced a bill that removes the per-country cap on H1-B visa applicants, but it also more-than-doubles the minimum salary of applicants to $130,000.  If passed, the only other way applicants can get their H1-B visa is for the company hiring them to pay the government an extortion fee of 200% the applicant’s annual salary.  Therefore, companies would be paying three times for the value of one highly skilled worker.  This economy-killing legislation could have been pulled straight from a chapter of Atlas Shrugged.

Physicist Michio Kaku claims that the ongoing Information Revolution has a weakness, and that weakness is America’s educational system.  “If the stupid index of America keeps rising every year… how come the scientific establishment in the United States doesn’t collapse?

Read more at The Libertarian Republic

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Opposing Open Borders is for Stalinists

Opposing open borders in favor of strict border control, especially by means of the state, is antithetical to liberty. War is the health of the state, but the same can be said about strict border control, which requires the militarization of borders. If war is the health of the state, then militarized borders are also the health of the state. It takes a large, strong state to significantly and effectively shut down an international border.

Confused Trump-supporting libertarians are increasingly abandoning their laissez-faire and anarchist principles to rally around their standard-bearer and his red ball cap, ever ready to be cheerleaders for border security and militarization becoming the health of the state. Many of them love making the claim that open borders are a communist concept (referring to humanistic Marxism, rather than Marxist-Leninism). However, a simple study of history (read: reality, not political theory) will reveal that strict border controls is a virtue taken directly from the playbook of Marxist-Leninist and outright Stalinist regimes.

Shutting down open borders became important in the early twentieth century in Russia. The Red Army was still fighting the Whites, the Anarchists, and the bandit militias to control Russia and the nearby territories of the old Russian Empire. The Soviet government started a militarized corps of Border Guards after multiple foreign governments imported anti-communist guerrillas into Russia during their Civil War. The civil war in Russia even claimed the lives of over 400 US soldiers from American Expeditionary Force Siberia and American North Russia Expeditionary Force between 1918 and 1920...

Read more at The Libertarian Republic

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