Holy cow! Even MSNBC has had enough of this police state!

Shockingly bold commentary that I couldn't agree more with, from Lawrence O' Donnell. Let's hope this kind of reporting continues in the mainstream media. For too long they have remained silent on government abuse of power. The American people need to be told the truth, not fed a child-like fairy tale picture of "good government". Kudos sir!


The evidence of a media conspiracy against Ron Paul is overwhelming

I honestly didn't even want to blog about this topic as it has been covered sufficiently in many other areas, most famously was Jon Stewart's segment on the blatant media bias against Ron Paul after he finished in a statistical tie for 1st place in the Iowa Straw Poll, yet was totally ignored afterwards.

However, it just continues to go on and on in the most unabashed and blatant ways imaginable. First there was the Florida Republican Debate last night, where Ron Paul who is consistently ranking #3 in all polls, and whom polls better than all other Republican candidates in an head to head match up against President Obama, was only given 285 seconds of speaking time out of a 2 hour debate. In the refreshingly intelligent and clear-headed analysis of the media bias against Ron Paul by Doug Wead we also find that in the CNN debate in regards to speaking opportunities for the various candidates:

Blitzer then proceeded to give Rick Perry 21 opportunities, Mitt Romney 13, Michele Bachmann 11. Ron Paul was given nine.

Then today on Neil Cavuto's official Facebook page there is a poll asking whom the frontrunner should be, and Ron Paul isn't even listed as a choice. Right now on MSN.com there is an almost identical poll asking "who is likely to win" and again, Ron Paul is not even listed as a possible choice! The poll does include Michele Bachman and John Huntsman, both of whom Ron Paul has been polling significantly higher than for the past several months. The last numbers I believe had Ron Paul at around 13-14% with Jon Huntsman around 2%. Yet MSN.com feels Huntsman is more reasonable to include as a possible answer for who is likely to win, than the guy polls indicate has 7 times the support!?

Or how about this story from Yahoo News titled, "Poll: Romney leads New Hampshire, Huntsman in third, Perry in fourth", you get one guess as whom came in 2nd place in this poll, but was conspicuously admitted from the headline which found it more relevant to cite 3rd and 4th place results. That's just a few examples of the blatant media bias I've come across today. There are literally hundreds of other examples. Doug Wead does a fantastic job of compiling more examples and more importantly addresses why there is such a strong concentrated effort to prevent Ron Paul from gaining in popularity. The article is 1 page long, but it packs a tremendous amount of content in there, some things I wasn't even aware of!

I highly recommend checking it out: The Conspiracy Against Ron Paul

Update: Wow, I just came across the following article that reports: "If you’ve noticed a lack of Ron Paul in the mainstream media’s coverage of the 2012 presidential race, it might not be an accident. After he placed first in a Fox News poll, the outlet has removed the results from their website without explanation."

Milton Friedman on Poverty

What a truly brilliant thinker and champion of liberty. His ability to express ideas with precision like clarity in both written and public speaking formats are beyond reproach. His public speaking prowess combined with a sound understanding of economics and an ability to think deeply about controversial ideas, is something we could certainly use more of in today's dialogue on these matters. So awesome.


Sex at Dawn

Enjoying beautiful Toronto!
Sex at Dawn is a fantastic new book out that examines human nature, and human sexuality more specifically, in a whole new way. What they find is truly remarkable, and rightly turns the field of research and study in this area totally on its head! Namely, that the classic narrative we are all taught or assume, that human beings are monogamous by nature, is totally false. The book is written in a fantastically easy to engage manner: witty, breezy, intelligent, funny, and above all else, deeply insightful. One great thing about this book in addition to the extremely fascinating information it contains, is the discussion and analysis of the concept known as confirmation bias. Which is basically the process of finding what you want to find or expect to find, as a result of one's own personal views and experiences. Or more accurately in this case, one's own social environment and conditioning. Anyway, I can not recommend it highly enough, hard to imagine any human not finding something about this brilliant work interesting or relevant to your life! 

Here is one particularly hilarious passage that I thought might give a good taste of the style the book is written in:

"[Regarding the hit song, "When a Man Loves a Woman"] What does it have to say about a man's love for a woman? What are the signs of true masculine love? Copyright restrictions won't allow us to quote the song's lyric in full, but most readers know the words by heart anyway. To review, when a man loves a woman:
  • He becomes obsessed and can't think of anything else.
  • He'll exchange anything, even the world, for her company.
  • He's blind to any fault she may have, and will abandon even his closest friend if that friends tries to warn him about her.
  • He'll spend all his money trying to hold her attention.
  • And last but not least, he'll sleep in the rain if she tells him to.
We'd like to suggest an alternative title for this song: "When a Man Becomes Pathologically Obsessed and Sacrifices All Self-Respect and Dignity by Making a Complete Ass of Himself (and Losing the Woman Anyway Because Really, Who Wants a Boyfriend Who Sleeps Out in the Rain Because Someone Told Him To?)."

Not your average human sexuality/psychology fare, eh? It's great stuff, do yourself a favor and check it out!

The fall of NYC: Once great beacon of cultural diversity is now the epicenter of the police state in America.

The Associated Press has produced a stunning, in-depth, investigative report titled,"NYPD eyed US citizens in intel effort." The meat of the report is much more shocking than the headline. To the surprise of virtually no-one, the NYPD has been running a program called the "Moroccan Initiative" since 2003 designed to monitor, record, and spy on innocent US citizens of Moroccan nationality in order to prevent a possible Moroccan terrorist attack from occurring in the future. If you could come up for one good reason as to why this process can't (and won't) be extended to include people of other nationalities, or maybe even a more general term like "dark-skinned" whom need to be monitored, I'd love to hear it.

Although it is worth repeating that even if there were evidence that could somehow demonstrate Moroccan's as a people are more prone to launching terrorist attacks than others, the illegal spying on innocent citizens simply due to their race, sex, color, look, etc. is an abomination of liberty and must be vehemently opposed in all situations. Precisely to avoid arriving at the place we are at today.

Anyways, back to this fantastic report by the AP, that you really must read in its entirety, what struck me the most, and had the most profound impact on making a reality just how far this once great country (and city) has fallen, was the response of one of the citizens when he was informed that he was a subject of this "Moroccan Initiative" monitoring campaign:

"We've been harassed for so long, it doesn't make any sense to complain," said Leo Santini, a cafe owner and U.S. citizen who changed his name from Mohamed Hussein because he thought he would be treated better without such an Arab name. His three American kids, he said, "don't look Arab, so they won't have any problems."
What happened to this nation? Are we now the land that says, "Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free - as long as you don't look differently than us? This melting pot of a country founded on immigrants, now is so hostile to its own people of foreign descent, they look upon their children whom no longer bear any physical trace of their heritage as a shield to protect them from their own government? That they must change their name just to hope they are not held accountable for the sins of total strangers, not only by their fellow Americans, but by the very government sworn to protect them as well?

When you get enraged enough that you are willing to expend the energy to learn what it will take to affect substantive change, I implore you to begin with Professor Bruce L. Benson's masterpiece, The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State. Additionally, the links on the right side of the page all contain very useful information as well.

GG documents the living abortion that is the US justice system

Gleen Greenwald is out with a piece on a lawsuit brought by the ACLU against the government's illegal spying on its own citizens. Piece is here: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/09/22/jacobs/index.html

This piece is particularly important because not only does it document so much we already know, the government by definition is now lawless, Obama has expanded and continued the crimes done under the Bush administration (while preventing any possible legal ramifications to be brought against said criminals), but also because it highlights just how fundametally flawed this system of government-provided law is. For instance:

All of that stands in very stark contrast to [federal judge] Dennis G. Jacobs.  Immediately after graduating law school, he want to work for a large Wall Street law firm -- Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett -- and stayed there until Ronald Reagan appointed him to a life-tenured federal judgeship.  How noble.  So the entirety of Jacobs' law career before becoming a judge was devoted to snorting up as much money as he could as he represented large corporations and banks.  That's the person who just anointed himself the arbiter and smearer of the integrity, psychology and motives of ACLU lawyers and their human-rights-activists clients for daring to challenge a government spying law on Fourth Amendment grounds. (emphasis mine)

Hmm, I wonder why appointing people to life-tenured federal judgeship based on political incentives might not be the best method for designing a just system of law? What's that? We have some examples of the type of lunatics we have serving as judges in the highest courts of the land? Do share:

After accusing the plaintiffs of harboring anti-Americanism for daring to enforce the mandates of the United States Constitution against precisely the activities most feared by the American Founders: unchecked domestic government spying (Jacobs announced his discovery that the plaintiffs' argument rests on a "buried assumption that the United States is the only threat to liberty that anyone anywhere needs to worry about"), he turned his scornful ire to the ACLU for the crime of representing these plaintiffs -- for free -- in a lawsuit to enforce the privacy rights of all American citizens.  Unprovoked, Jacobs posed the question of what could possibly motivate the ACLU and its clients to bring this lawsuit -- apparently, an actual belief that the law is unconstitutional and dangerous could not possibly be the real motive -- and this is the answer he supplied:

At the risk of being obvious, the purpose of this lawsuit is litigation for its own sake -- for these lawyers to claim a role in policy-making for which they were not appointed or elected, for which they are not fitted by experience, and for which they are not accountable. As best I can see, the only purpose of this litigation is for counsel and plaintiffs to act out their fantasy of persecution, to validate their pretensions to policy expertise, to make themselves consequential rather than marginal, and to raise funds for self-sustaining litigation.
He then added that this Constitutional challenge to the Government's secret spying powers "bears similarity to a pro se plaintiff’s allegation that the CIA is controlling him through a radio embedded in his molar."  Not content with maligning their motives and patriotism, he then all but accused the ACLU and its clients of lying in order to sustain the lawsuit ("these affidavits employ all the lawyer's arts to convey a devious impression . . . affidavits that are craftily worded to skirt actual falsehood").

Glenn then goes on to document how ironic such an attack is, considering the judge doing the attacking is a former corporate Wall St. employee and the ACLU lawyers he attacked have all given up the opportunity for similar lucrative careers to work for free, for those most in need. The whole article is a must read, but I think the closing hits the nail right on the head:

Of course, Jacobs is the living, breathing embodiment of judicial bias: a devoted servant to corporate and government power, a right-wing hack who barely attempts to hide his political loyalties, and -- most of all -- a declared enemy of the very few mechanisms that exist to enable the poor and marginalized to receive competent legal representation and for political power to be subject to some minimal checks (what we call "the Constitution").  It should be anything but surprising that a corporate-serving, political-power-revering, highly politicized figure like this produces judicial opinions that are slightly more restrained versions of a Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly rant.  He churns out right-wing agitprop masquerading as legal reasoning.
But the reason he's worth examining is because he's anything but aberrational.  He's the Chief Judge of the second- or third-most important court in the country.  He works in a judicial system that more and more does the opposite of what it was ostensibly designed to do: it is now devoted to shielding political officials from legal accountability and transparency rather than exposing them to it, enabling rather than halting transgressions of the Constitutional limits imposed on them, and most of all, further empowering the most powerful factions against the least powerful rather than equalizing the playing field.  In that regard, the life of Dennis G. Jacobs -- and his slanderous, contemptuous outburst of yesterday -- should be studied as a perfect embodiment of how the American judicial branch has become so corrupted as a tool for the nation's most powerful factions.

Glenn Greenwald might be the single best journalist Americans have. I encourage you to read him everyday. 


Troy Davis was just murdered by the U.S. legal system

For a crime that there was no physical evidence connecting him to. None. The outrage over this and documentation of the complete failure of the U.S. legal system to provide any sense of justice or any attempt at using the death penalty in only the most concrete cases has been well documented elsewhere. Here is the New York Times piece: A Grievous Wrong and Time Magazine. There are many other articles from many different sources from all over the political spectrum that document this atrocity as a quick Google search will certainly reveal.

The legal system doesn't work. This is one brutal and tragic example of that. The fact that such mainstream outlets as the New York Times and Time Magazine are able to recognize that "the safety valves failed" and other fundamental failures of the legal system to prevent the death penalty from being used in cases like this, should speak volumes about how obvious and fundamental the failure in our legal system is. This man was sent to death with no evidence at all. Just 9 eyewitness testimony. 7 of whom have since recanted saying they were wrong. 3 of the juries who voted guilty have since said they were wrong and would vote not guilty. Yet Troy Davis was murdered anyway.

I know for most people envisioning a system of law without government is basically impossible. I urge you and implore you out of compassion and basic human decency to recognize the abomination and violation of human life that the current U.S. legal system is. Surely stopping this must come first. I get the unknown is scary, but if nothing else this must stop. Destroying this life-ruining, inhumane, abomination of "justice" must come first, let the chips fall where they may. How could it be worse than this? And in fact, if one wishes to learn, it won't be worse. It will be infinitely better. As it was for thousands of years before government infringed on the legal system that served mankind splendidly for all of recorded human history, for the express purpose of generating additional revenue. Madness you say? Don't take my word for it, I beseech thee to seek out the real experts.

One such expert is the DeVoe Moore Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at Florida State University Bruce L. Benson. His masterpiece, The Enterprise of Law, will show you what law used to look like, why government provided law will always be less than optimal (to put it mildly) and what alternatives look like and how we can get there. If anyone is seriously interested in educating themselves and fighting for a truly just and humane system, send me an email with your mailing address and I will gladly purchase a copy of this book for you. 


The UFC is officially a monopoly

After the UFC bought the #2 MMA promotion in the world, Strikeforce, the monopoly talk rightly began. With Strikeforce gone there isn’t even a name I could give you as to whom the new #2 company is. The result?
  • Fighters are being paid more than ever before.
  • The UFC has just rolled out a new health care package that will pay for medical costs and treatments required for injuries sustained during training camps. (Previously they only paid for injuries that occurred while fighting).
  • Dream match ups that were never before possible due to promotions unwillingness to co-promote have already begun. Champion vs Champion matches such as GSP vs Diaz and Alistair Overeem vs Brock Lesnar have already been announced.
  • More fights will be televised and hosted in more venues around the world, so consumers have a greater supply of the product they love.
  • Network deal with FOX has been announced. In addition to a total increase in number of available shows, an increase in the number of free or non-PPV UFC cards are now available.
  • As the UFC brand expands globally, the fighters benefit in many more ways in addition to all time record high salaries and bonuses that they are paid directly from the UFC. Increased awareness results in more sponsorship dollars, greater opportunities to sell books, star in commercials, open your own gym (Xtreme Couture etc.) and so forth. One prominent examples of this is the recent Nike endorsement of Anderson Silva that is worth several million dollars.
  • The UFC itself becomes richer, profits rise, expands globally and thus boosts economic activity and creates more jobs.
All we are waiting for now is the US anti-trust division to break up this giant consumer-hating monopoly and the story will be complete!

Update: Several months after this blog post, an anti-trust investigation into the UFC was indeed launched. Thankfully, it was dismissed. This was my reaction to that investigation: http://robertfellner.blogspot.com/2012/01/on-monopolies-and-getting-your-fair.html


The War Between Good and Evil: U.S. vs Wikileaks


One routinely murders innocent people and then repeatedly lies about it, the other seeks to expose the truth. Hopefully it's not too hard to guess which one fulfills the role of good and which of evil.

Also, The Tillman Story is a riveting documentary for a variety of reasons. Its first hand account of how routinely and deeply the U.S. military engages in deception about its activities towards the American people, and how totally and completely immune from being held accountable for either the criminal actions they are lying about, or the repeated lies and covers up that follow said crimes, is particularly illuminating.

It is available on Netflix or you can learn more by visiting http://www.tillmanstory.com/.

My essay on the min wage law took first place!

Announcement of contest results here.

My award-winning (god I love saying that) essay is here!


Quote of the day!

We must ask, not whether an anarcho-capitalist society would be safe from a power grab by the men with the guns (safety is not an available option), but whether it would be safer than our society is from a comparable seizure of power by the men with the guns. I think the answer is yes. In our society, the men who must engineer such a coup are politicians, military officers, and policemen, men selected precisely for the characteristic of desiring power and being good at using it. They are men who already believe that they have a right to push other men around—that is their job. They are particularly well qualified for the job of seizing power. Under anarcho-capitalism the men in control of protection agencies are selected for their ability to run an efficient business and please their customers. It is always possible that some will turn out to be secret power freaks as well, but it is surely less likely than under our system where the corresponding jobs are labeled 'non-power freaks need not apply'.
- David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom