What is a Rogue State?

A few days ago, I was flipping through the TV channels looking for something interesting to watch between football games.  Golf just doesn’t do it for me.  I zoomed past C-SPAN, which can be interesting at times, even if it’s also annoying.  I was on this channel long enough to hear some Republican congressman whipper-snapper use the term “rogue state.”

“What is a rogue state?” I thought to myself.  In the eyes of the U.S. government, a rogue state is a government that enjoys a monopoly on violence which refuses to do the bidding of America.  Certain governments are not allowed to do what all governments naturally do:  make weapons, enforce monopolies, engage in conquest, etc.  These governments are referred to as rogue states by the arrogant quacks who run the American machine.

In essence, however, the “good governments” are no worse than the bad ones.  They use the same monopoly on violence to drive weaker nations and peoples into submission.  A rogue state has simply suffered the misfortune of getting on the bad side of the sanctimonious oligarchs in Washington, DC.  Many of these “rogue states” were victims of American baiting and switching.  Saddam Hussein, were he still alive, would be able to testify to this.

A more basic question, however, is, What is a rogue?  A rogue is a criminal, a thief, gangster, mobster, murderer, etc.  So are all governments.  They steal the money of innocent civilians under threat of penalty as if the fruits of a man’s labor are not his own; force young men into military service as if the bodies of the citizenry are owned by the state; erode private property rights almost to the point of meaninglessness; go on conquest to enforce oil monopolies; and install puppet governments in far away lands against the consent of the people who live there.

In other words, all states are rogue states.  To use this term is redundant; it is like saying “yellow canary” or “red cardinal.”  The politicians get away with it, however, because most of us are unwilling to re-examine the assumptions that were taught to us in school.  Recently Sen.Harry Reid claimed that taxation is “voluntary.”  There should have been protests everywhere, but the remark went nearly unnoticed.  If memory serves, not even Matt Drudge took note of it.

The sad part of this whole story of “man’s inhumanity to man,” as Ronald Reagan called it, is that this kind of violence reigns on the throne of human ignorance and indifference.  If even a tithe of the citizenry were wide awake, most of the awfulness we see today wouldn’t be happening.  This leads to the most sobering lesson of all:  Most countries end up with the government they deserve.

The Obama Administration: Change in pennies, part 6,437

“This time, it’s different.”

How many times have we heard this before?  Oh yes, the mainstreamers say, all those other decisions—Vietnam, Korea, the Bay of Pigs, Iraq II, etc.—were mistakes, and the United States should never have stuck its nose into those situations.  But this time, it’s different.

In the video below, Congressman Ron Paul explodes U.S. foreign policy in front of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who, having listened—or at least remained silent—during Paul’s remarks, says, “Afghanistan is not Iraq.”  Then he pulls one of Dick Cheney’s rabbits out of his hat:  “September 11, 2001…..”

This man works for the administration of Barack Obama, the candidate of “change.”  Before the election, I warned people not to expect any real change from Obama.  “Oh, you’re being pessimistic,” I was told.  “Yes, every other president in the past two generations has backed away from his campaign promises, but…….(drumroll, please)……this time, it’s different.”

So much for that.  

Such lunacy will continue to the end of the world, so long as people allow themselves to be hypnotized by these mountebanks each time the olympiad rolls around.  It could change, but I doubt it ever will.  Human nature is flawed, and one of those flaws is gullibility.  One of the evils of the State is that the gullible, who elect these clowns, bring down the rest of us with them.  Maybe someday this will be different, but it doesn’t seem likely.

Hat tip to LRC.

Obama and prospects for change

Thanks to the Young Fogey, I found this piece from Justin Raimondo on the bellicose foreign policy team which Barack Obama is presently trying to assemble.

A few months before the election, I was sitting in one of my favorite Belgian bars here in Philadelphia, batting the breeze with a friend. In a casual sort of way, the election came up, and it seemed like we’d be moving along from the subject rather quickly when some chic in the corner invited herself into our conversation. She wanted to quiz us on who we’d be voting for. You all know what my answer was. I was then subjected to a five-minute long tract of pious, somniferous, Statist claptrap which claimed that it was my duty to vote, and to choose between the lesser of two evils, if necessary. Our uninvited interlocutor went on to lament that she, having emigrated from Ireland and not having become a citizen, does not have the right to vote. Well, if it’s that important, I suppose she’d become a citizen.

But she hasn’t.

Friends, this girl badgered me; I do not exaggerate. She would not let the subject go. My friend and I wanted to get on to the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. We were finally rescued by one of her cigarette breaks.

Now Obama has been elected, and change is supposed to be on the way. Amen, iterum dico vobis: Don’t hold your breath, or you’ll suffocate. If we get any change, it will be in pennies.

Albert Jay Nock on bees, etc.

It’s a pleasant surprise to see my fellow blogger’s current e-mail signature on display at the LewRockwell.com blog.

Yes, that’s his entire signature.

Remembering broken promises on Veterans’ Day

Although I am quite aware that Veterans’ Day was originally called Armistice Day and was set aside for veterans of “The War to End All Wars”, I recall the sacrifices made by Filipino veterans less than a generation later on their home soil, in response to the call of a faraway imperial regime.

No, not Tokyo. Washington.

WGBH’s American Experience piece on General Douglas MacArthur gives a sufficient overview of the situation, posted below in its entirety with emphases in bold:

“I, __[Name]__, do solemnly swear…that I will bear true faith and allegiance…to the United States of America…that I will serve them honestly and faithfully…against all their enemies whomsoever…and I will obey the orders…of the President of the United States…And the orders of the officers appointed over me…according to the rules and Articles of War.”

With this pledge, approximately 250,000 Filipino men joined the U.S. Armed Forces in the months before and the days just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For the next several years, they would share the fate of their American counterparts on the battlefield, in prisoner of war camps, and throughout the countryside as part of the guerrilla resistance. Accordingly, Washington promised them the same health and pension benefits as their American brothers. Even after the war, in October of 1945, Gen. Omar Bradley, then Administrator of the Veterans Administration, reaffirmed that they were to be treated like any other American veterans.

But on February 18, 1946, the Congress passed and President Truman signed Public Law 70-301, known as the Rescission Act of 1946. It said that the service of Filipinos “shall not be deemed to be or to have been service in the military or national forces of the United States or any component thereof or any law of the United States conferring rights, privileges or benefits.”

Ever since, Filipino veterans and others appalled by this injustice have lobbied without success for a reversal of the Rescission Act. Mr. Ingles, whose sacrifices are vividly described above, gave voice to their frustration in his interview:

Interviewer: And do think most Filipinos were grateful that MacArthur returned?

Gustavo Ingles Gustavo Ingles: Well, in the case of people of my age, we were grateful to that certain extent that he came back, but the succeeding people who governed the States forgot about the promises made by Roosevelt when he encouraged Filipinos to fight for the Americans, and [about] this we feel very bitter. In fact, even myself, because of what happened to us, I never received any pension from the U.S. Government as a soldier. What I am receiving now is the pension from the Philippine government, and sometimes this is still forgotten because there is no money in the coffers. This promise was made, in fact even before I went to the States as a student in Fort Benning, [when] war was still going on in 1945, but [the] surrender of Japan was affected sometime in September.

So there was already peacetime …[plans] to reconstruct the Philippines, and this was true up to the end of 1945. But [in] 1946, some time in February, the American Congress, because of the expenses it is supposed to receive or give out to the Filipino veterans, put a rider in the veterans code, they noted what they call the Rescission Act, denying all benefits except for those who died or were wounded during the war. And up to now we, as veterans, have not received anything — well, maybe medical treatment from the Old Veterans Memorial Hospital, but that was also cut off already by the U.S. Government.

Today, fewer than 70,000 Filipino veterans are still alive, and that number is rapidly falling as even the youngest of them are approaching eighty. In recent years, their cause has been taken up by Rep. Bob Filner (D-California), who has introduced a bill in Congress which would grant them full benefits. But equally, perhaps even more important to these men is that their service be recognized and the government admit it made a terrible mistake. Hunger strikes, protests in front of the White House, and extensive lobbying have yet to prevail over bureaucratic inertia, fiscal restraint, and plain forgetfulness.

Their case was probably made most clearly back in 1946, before their sacrifice had been relegated to a distant memory. “There can be no question,” said a former World War I artillery captain named Harry Truman, “but that the Philippine veteran is entitled to benefits bearing a reasonable relation to those received by the American veteran, with whom he fought side by side.”

This particular issue touches me a bit more than peripherally; five of my Filipino ancestors served in World War II. Of these five, my maternal grandfather and my father’s two eldest brothers survived the Bataan Death March. None of them ever spoke about it with me; how could they initiate such a topic of discussion? How could I? (My mother tells of my grandfather’s occasional fits of rage, which I can only retroactively diagnose as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.)

Now, the question that I have is this: How many Filipinos would have served anyway, without the “phantom carrot” of quasi-mercenary compensation?[1] One could certainly argue a smaller number; after all, the mercenary attitude is race-neutral. But would not love of country — not love for the United States, to be sure, but for the land of their birth — have prompted some of these same men to rise up to drive the Japanese from their soil? If one were to answer “yes” to this question, then why offer a promise in the first place, only to break it later at the precise moment the stated beneficiaries were expecting its fulfillment? Were the Fed’s printing presses broken that year, and every year thereafter — to this day? Certainly not for Big Auto and Wall Street. But for these veterans, they may as well have been — and might as well be.[2]

Back in the mid-’90s, I was one of many Americans of Filipino ancestry who marched on Washington, D.C. to call attention to the injustice done to these veterans. More than a decade later, a quick Google search reveals little if any progress on restitution.

Like many, I used to think that racism played a principal role in the denial of benefits. I still do, to an extent.[3] But nowadays, while remembering the courage of all these Filipino veterans, and while acknowledging the fine efforts of many who advocate for the less than 20,000 of them that survive, I look at this shameful episode — one of many in American history, to be sure — as a cruel illustration of a lesson that we would all do well to heed:

When the government or its agents promises you good things, do the right thing: call BS on them every time, without exception. Otherwise, you guarantee disappointment for yourself and those around you. And even if they “make good” on their promises, chances are that it will be too little, too late.[4]

(Postscript: Filipino Veterans Left Out in the Cold. For a 62nd consecutive year. What further need have we of witnesses?)


[1] In an earlier age, kings’ soldiers were essentially private contractors; failure to pay them would have been a serious matter. Therefore, the United States essentially treated the Filipinos as slaves.

[2] I do not in any way advocate that the Fed print money for these veterans; rather, I aim to point out the selective benevolence that our current monetary system enables.

[3] A reader relates the fact that the French government did something similar to Algerian WWII veterans under their command. Though I have no knowledge of this, or time to verify, what I’ve been told does contribute to my perception that racism did play some part in the decisions made by the United States, and the so-called First World in general.

[4] Note that I do not single out the United States Government. The Philippine-American episode as related in this piece, the Algerian-French episode in the previous note, and the trails of broken promises left by all governments — especially modern ones — prompt me to place them all under the same ignominious umbrella.

The World Series and Americanism

Baseball, they say, is America’s favorite past-time. I confess that I don’t pay much attention to it, except at unusual times such as we have now, as the Philadelphia Phillies are playing in the “World” Series. I really wish I could just turn off the television and pretend that none of this is happening, but I can’t seem to help myself. You see, I have very mixed sentiments when it comes to professional sports. On the one hand, it would seem to be a harmless diversion, so long as it is indulged with due prudence. There is also the added benefit, that, unlike the 1993 Phillies team that went to the “World” Series, the players in 2008 are fairly well-kempt. On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder if pride in the hometown team is not a diluted form of a more pernicious civic pride, whereby we find our unity not as neighbors with each other as individuals, but as subjects of the same overlords at Broad and Market Sts.

The truth is probably somewhere in between.

Take, for instance, the absurd, piggish Americanism on display at this (and probably every other) “World” Series. First, there is the insistence on calling it the World Series and on naming its victor world champions. There was a time when this was literally true, but no more. These terms only denote the typical American arrogance in thinking that the accomplishments on this shore are the only ones that matter. And when the Japanese kick our asses in Olympic baseball–in or in the Little League World Series (a real world series), for that matter–we just pretend it didn’t happen. Oh, and by the way, Americans didn’t even invent baseball. File that one in the “Al Gore invented the internet” folder.

If these arrogant allocutions aren’t enough, there is an accompanying ritual of State worship which is dumb, stupid, imbecilic, and, needless to say, in poor taste. I am referring, of course, to the singing of “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch. To hell with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!” That song does not heap due reverence upon the thugs that loot the fruits of our labors in the name of making the world “safe for democracy.” No, you must listen to this stupid song, and you must enjoy it, even if you have a music degree from a major conservatory. Earlier this year, Yankee Stadium management threw a guy out because he tried to use the restroom during this voodoo Statist incantation.

It will not suffice, of course, to have any old citizen with a “good” voice sing this piece of trash. No, it must be a member of the U.S. Death Squad Military, decked out in his or her finest uniform. I don’t know how well these people sing; I always get to the mute button before I can be assaulted with their most-likely poorly calibrated intonation. Last night, perhaps as a joke, the TV crews showed a picture of Independence Hall at the conclusion of this august, holy ritual, as if Thomas Jefferson or James Monroe would approve of all this absurdity.

What’s wrong with a stupid song? Well, first of all, it has been known from the time of the most ancient philosophers that music has a particularly virile power to seduce men into thinking or doing things they otherwise would not do–in this circumstance, worship the USA. In the case of “God Bless America,” however, there is a further consideration. The text of this music is pedestrian in the extreme, and perhaps its vapidness covers up something even more to be regretted: the self-righteous posture of what is purportedly a prayer. The tone of it all sounds something like, “Hey God, bless us and give us more SUV’s, or we’re gonna bomb whichever country you live in and take all yer’ oil.” This is a far cry from those ancient Latin prayers with wordings such as, “O Lord, we humbly beseech thee in thy mercy….”

Because of all this mountebankery surrounding American baseball, I have had plenty of reason to resist getting on the Phillies bandwagon. But last night, on a walk to the store following the game, I got to rethinking all this. Yes, baseball, and other sports, are used as occasions to nakedly worship State power, and many of the partakers of the festivities buy into it. But this would not seem to be an intrinsic part of the activity. Many, I’m sure, just ignore all this stupidity and get along just fine. Moreover, seeing that most people don’t change and never will, we would be left to allowing only Statists to enjoy sports if we were to become too uptight about all this, and that would perhaps be the gravest injustice of all–the idea that only Statists could partake of such otherwise wholesome activity.

The joy on the streets of Philadelphia in the wee hours of Monday morning was palpable. A city which has not had a professional sports championship in 25 years is one game away from breaking the dry spell. Even if many of them are acting like fools and baboons, I have never seen the people of Philadelphia happier than they are right now. This city, which for five or six decades has been a ruinous hellhole of government mismanagement, mediocrity, and disappointment, just might finally have something to be genuinely happy about.

And the fact that such joy would be coming from something other than a Utopian government plan (save for the fact that the taxpayers funded the stadium…) just might be what we need.

Memo to pro-lifers: Stop being accessories to evil

Like many children of the Eighties from practicing Catholic families, I attended the National Right to Life March in Washington D.C. (I remember on one of these bus rides, I was exposed to the vulgar wonders of Eddie Murphy’s Comedian album, segments of which I can still quote to this day. But that’s neither here nor there.) I remember the spectacle of it all – marching through the streets of the nation’s capital in the bleak midwinter, visiting even bleaker congressional buildings, making such a show of our pro-lifedness. And then we’d go home, and continue on our merry way. And for what?

Recently I came to the realization that no amount of marching, lobbying or political activism on behalf of purportedly pro-life candidates will change hearts. This election makes that realization ever more stark, where on one side, the socialist candidate wants to allow the murder of infants in utero on a seemingly unprecedented level, where on the other side, the fascist candidate wants to allow these infants to grow up to become practice targets for terrorists in a “hundred-year war.” This article by G. C. Dilsaver reinforces that realization infinitely, and says much more eloquently all that I have sensed about not only this election, but past elections.

This final salvo from Dr. Dilsaver is particularly compelling (my emphasis added):

Dear Christians, refuse to offer a pinch of incense by refusing to punch the ballot for either official Republican-Democratic Axis candidates. Refuse to offer tribute to the gods of American socialism, totalitarianism, and imperialism and their incarnation in the president. Resist participation in this sham election. The USA is the most powerful and hence the most dangerous nation in the history of the world. Its potential for evil is absolutely unprecedented. If there is not a reversion to the constitution then totalitarianism is inevitable. If this reversion does not occur the only hope for our country will be in those willing to give their lives as witnesses to Christ against the antichrist of the State. Whoever occupies the Whitened Sepulcher House this January is a tool of the powers and principalities of this world and of the devil. And all who facilitate the legitimacy of this sham election are, at best, the devil’s dupes, at worst his minions.

I was thinking hard about staying home this first Tuesday of November before reading this — and not just because of the life issues. Try to convince me otherwise.