The Real Hostages

The trouble with Obama's favorite metaphor

Who are the hostage takers? To hear the Obama White House tell it, they are the Republicans, and perhaps some bankers. But the metaphor is a clunky one at a time when actual, live Americans are being held hostage by enemy countries.

The term came up most recently in the context of the debate over the debt ceiling increase. Last week, aboard Air Force One, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, looked back at the debt ceiling negotiations and described “Congress—in this case, the Republicans—being willing to hold the economy hostage to a political agenda.”

With this administration, the “hostage” accusation has a long history.

On January 21, 2010, President Obama, calling for passage of financial “reform,” promised, “Never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by a bank that is ‘too big to fail.’”

On July 22, 2010, signing into law an extension of employment benefits, the president complained that it had been “held hostage to partisan tactics.”

On July 31, 2010, Mr. Obama trotted out the hostage metaphor again in connection with the Small Business Jobs Act. “I’m calling on the Republican leaders in the Senate to stop holding America’s small businesses hostage to politics, and allow an up-or-down vote on this small business jobs bill,” he said.

On September 20, 2010, in a White House blog post headlined, “No Excuse for Holding Middle Class Tax Cuts Hostage,” an aide to President Obama, Jen Psaki, wrote, “House Minority Whip Eric Cantor took the Congressional Republicans' commitment to holding middle class tax cuts hostage to a new level.”

On June 29, 2011, the White House put out a statement by the mayor of Laredo, Texas, Raul Salinas, complaining that, “For too long, comprehensive immigration reform has been held hostage to political posturing and special-interest wrangling and to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics.”

Got that? “Middle class tax cuts,” financial reform, extended unemployment benefits, “comprehensive immigration reform,” the debt ceiling increase, the Small Business Jobs Act—whenever this White House wants something, it seems reflexively to portray the situation as a hostage crisis. One might think President Obama would want to avoid the Carter-era references, given the potential political reminders of a one-term Democratic president beset by stagflation. But Mr. Obama seems drawn to the hostage metaphor as inexorably as Senator Schumer is to his daggers.

Not that Republicans have themselves totally refrained from making hostage-taking accusations. In July of this year, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who is running for President, Michele Bachmann, said, “President Obama is holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage so that he can continue his spending spree.”

What makes it all the more off-putting is the fact that live Americans are being held hostage in foreign lands even as President Obama and his aides prattle on about the Small Business Jobs Act or extended unemployment benefits as if those pieces of legislation had heartbeats and families and were languishing in some totalitarian prison. Reagan and George W. Bush foreign policy official Elliott Abrams has pointed out at least two such cases, involving three Americans.

Alan Gross, a USAID contractor sent to Cuba to help its Jewish community, has been in Castro’s jails since December 2009. Earlier this month, a Cuban Communist “court” reportedly rejected Mr. Gross’s appeal of a 15-year sentence. He is 62 years old, his mother-in-law and daughter are battling cancer, and he has lost 100 pounds in Cuba’s prisons.

Iran, which initiated the original Carter-era American hostage crisis, is also at it again. Earlier this month, the Islamic Republic’s two American hostages, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were sentenced to eight years. They are 29 years old and have been imprisoned since July 2009, when they were captured while hiking near Iran’s border with Iraq’s Kurdish region.

The next time President Obama or his aides feel the temptation to denounce hostage-takers, they’d do us all a favor by leaving the congressional Republicans alone and focusing on the governments holding Messrs. Gross, Bauer, and Fattal. Those foreign governments, not American politicians, are the real hostage-takers.

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of Samuel Adams: A Life.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tim||

    Buck Ofama.

  • ||

    Cuck Flinton too

  • Stoner||

    Puck Faul as well.

  • Salvationism||

    Ron Paul is our Salvation!

    Pallas is our Salvation!

    Agorism is our Salvation!

    Free-State NH is our Salvation!

    Taking political power from the politically powerful is our salvation!

    Syndicalism is our salvation!

    Hay-Zeus is our Salvation!

    Egalitarian Technology for the Elite is our Salvation!

    Ever wonder what it is, really, that everybody wants saved from?

  • sevo||

    You.

  • ||

    I just found out Jim Neighbors and Rock Hudson were lovers.

  • kilroy||

    What do Jim Neighbors and North Carolina have in common?

    Blowing Rock.

  • ||

    they were captured while hiking near Iran’s border with Iraq’s Kurdish region.

    Yeah, I know, they (should) have every right to do that, etc., but

    Holy shit, that was a stupid thing to do.

  • A Serious Man||

    I'm trying to imagine what the conversation was like leading up to the decision to go.

    "Honey pack some sandwiches and Caprisun, we're going to go hiking near Iraq's undefined border with Iran."

  • Joe Spook||

    They work for my company, Christians In Action.

  • Ray||

    "Don't forget your GORP!"

  • Jen||

    I don't believe they wandered into Iran by mistake; I think they crossed intentionally because they thought it would be "cool" or something. They didn't deserve to have their lives ruined, but you're right - it was pretty stupid.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Are you suggesting they ASKED to be captured?

    Wearing hiking shorts in Iraq/Iran is no excuse for capture.

  • squishua||

    Hey, if ya wanna be "protected" by American laws and culture, stay in America.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    But what if I want to be totally cool and edgy and say I walked right into and out of Iran while snapping photos on my IPhone and posting them to MyBook and Facepage?

    Posting pictures of Iran on Facepage is my right, dammit!

  • jtuf||

    The hikers went to Iraq out of solidarity with the Iraqis. I say it was 70% brave and 30% foolish.

  • Tony||

    You're right, what the GOP is doing is quite different from these specific instances of actual hostage-taking. They're only threatening the entire global economy and thus every human being on earth in their crusade to funnel what wealth remains with the working class to the righteous producers who selflessly write their campaign checks.

  • sevo||

    You're
    full
    of
    shit
    .

  • ||

    beats white idiot

  • sevo||

    Tough call.

  • White Indian||

    Your inferiority complex is duly noted.

  • Typology||

    Hi...

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Ahh, the sweet realization that the public sector gravy train is about to hit the wall at 100 mph.

    u mad? of course u mad.

  • Domesticated Boolicker Sector||

    Public sector, private sector, city sector, ag sector, robber baron sector, all hitting the proverbial wall at 100 mps.

    Just like the Soviet civilization 20 years ago.

    "The USSR collapsed because of too much central control through government, the USA is collapsing because of too much central control through private wealth." ~Ran Prieur, http://ranprieur.com/

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Yeah, it goes without saying that a less complex bureaucratic system is a lot harder to corrupt than a complex one.

  • ||

    Toni,
    It takes to parties to play chicken. If Team Red were wrong for taking this to the matt, how is Team Blue any different in this regard?

    Yes, I realize my mistake is not asking you a yes or no question, because now you will answer some other question.

    So prior to your doing this -- you are a dick.

  • ||

    make that 'TWO parties'

  • Tony||

    You're right, everything Team Red does wrong is half Team Blue's fault, and, of course, everything Team Blue does wrong is all on them, I presume. But you're above Teams.

    But to respond to your question, what was Team Blue's role in the game of chicken? Not giving in to every single demand of Team Red right from the start?

  • sevo||

    You're
    full
    of
    shit
    .

  • ||

    "what was Team Blue's role in the game of chicken?"
    Does he answer the question? Nope, he poses a question. And the question he poses belies his inherent intellectual dishonesty.

    Still a dick!!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    To respond to your question, what was Team Red's role in the game of chicken? Not giving in to every single demand of Team Blue right from the start?

  • Spencer||

    Hey, this is just what I heard the guy say on meet the press yesterday. I was just wanting to hit him over the head with a club.

    To her credit, the fill in reporter did bring up the obvious problems with belief in this lie, but she didn't drive it home when he repeated the same old stuff.

  • White Indian||

    The so-called "global economy" is a myth. As we know from Thesis #9, agriculture is a fundamentally unstable basis for civilization. Therefore, all that the GOP is doing is, at worse, bringing the inevitable collapse a little sooner. This, of course, per Thesis #27, will improve our lives as we begin a new existence as hunter-gatherers. People of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose by rejecting agriculture!

    Thesis #30: The Future Will Be What We Make of It
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/

  • sevo||

    "People of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose by rejecting agriculture!"

    And join us at our bountiful table...Well, actually "rock".
    Menu #11
    Vegetable soup: Several gallons of water and some grass!
    And since Ugo thinks he chipped off some parts of the salt-lick the deer haven't peed on, we have a special treat: Spicy vegetable soup!
    Yum!

  • White Indian||

    It is a myth, and not even a well-hidden one, that hunter-gatherers eat poorly. In fact, they eat a wide variety of meats, vegetables, and grains. We would even consider eating Ugo.

  • sevo||

    "It is a myth, and not even a well-hidden one, that hunter-gatherers eat poorly. In fact, they eat a wide variety of granite, feldspar, marble and whatever other rocks are native to the area.
    Yum!

  • White Indian||

    You forgot Ugo. He would be very tasty with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

  • Silence of the Domesticated||

    Silence of lambs, domesticated humans, what-the-fuck-ever.

    Definitely smaller brains after the domestication of agriculture.

    Wolves & Dogs
    by Jason Godesky | 13 November 2006
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/2006/11/wolves-dogs/

  • sevo||

    Oh, goody! Another link to a lefty bunny-hugger site!
    Tell us how Jason will transfer his "knowledge" when there's no web.

  • bmp1701||

    Question: Why are you on the internet when you should be, you know, hunting and gathering?

  • Civi-prison||

    Agricultural City State has totally invaded and occupied Turtle Island. No room to hunt and gather. Farmers. Game Wardens. Sheriffs. Libertards.

    I'm tapping messages on the prison walls, just like everybody else on the intertubes.

  • ||

    That whole 'freedom of other people to not be idiots like White Indian' thing is "imprisoning" him dontchaknow?

  • Heller (nuclearbomb=evolution)||

    Wrong, Heller, once again.

    Agricultural civilization is aggressively invasive and occupational.

    Non-bootlicker non-domesticates want to run away from its prison-like qualities, as noted by Benjamin Franklin, as follows:

    When an Indian Child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our Customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian Ramble with them, there is no perswading him ever to return, and that this is not natural to them merely as Indians, but as men, is plain from this, that when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, tho' ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them. One instance I remember to have heard, where the person was brought home to possess a good Estate; but finding some care necessary to keep it together, he relinquished it to a younger Brother, reserving to himself nothing but a gun and a match-Coat, with which he took his way again to the Wilderness.

    ~Benjamin Franklin
    Philadelphia, May 9th. 1753

    This is just one of the overwhelmingly numerous examples of non-state freedom lovers taking human action and presented in the chapter "White Indians" in James Axtell's book The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America. (Oxford University Press)

  • ||

    How does that prove your point? Franklin says they leave the city and go to the woods. Where is the prison? Libertarian society does not stop you from being a caveman, you fucking idiot. Live on your own land and no one can touch you.

  • Domesticated Boolicker Sector||

    Never heard of the Trail of Tears, have you? Even the caves got emptied of savages (lit., those who dwell in the woods.)

    Turtle island has been invaded and occupied, it's first families in privation, the invaders entitled by big government to private property titles, the primary Statist entitlement program.

    Bootlicking domesticates like you are sheepish in their understanding of real freedom.

  • ||

    Yes, libertarians are all about relocating you from your land. That was totally us.

  • sevo||

    Prive, prive, prive, prive!
    I read that meant something!

  • Mercurus||

    Because starvation is no goddam fun.

  • jtuf||

    I'll believe in the feasibility of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle when I see a Greenpeace activist hunt and slaughter a wild deer.

  • Done Didd.||

    Already done that.

    Better than relying on the lazy Old Mexican immigrant to do a good job in a factory farm slaughter facility and give your kids E-COLI with unholy shit on the nutritious flesh.

    DIY. Ain't that libertardian?

  • sevo||

    Done Didd.|8.22.11 @ 8:07PM|#
    "Already done that."

    So you're a Greenpeace activist?

  • Done Didd.||

    sevo, are you a KKK activist? I hear the Mises Institute is squarely positioned in the Old South.

    See how fun the guessing game by association is?

  • ||

    Wow Didd, that comment makes Ol' WI look like a genius by comparison. Truly amazing.

  • sevo||

    "See how fun the guessing game by association is?"

    Sorry, dipshit:
    "I'll believe in the feasibility of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle when I see a Greenpeace activist hunt and slaughter a wild deer."

    "Already done that."

    So, dipshit, answer the question. Are you a greenpeace activist?

  • Donn Didd.||

    Answer the question, are you a KKK activist?

    Oh come on, Libertarianism is all about white powah!

  • sevo||

    So, dipshit, did I claim I was?

  • Donn Didd.||

    So, dipshit, did I claim I was?

  • sevo||

    Donn Didd.|8.22.11 @ 8:42PM|#
    "So, dipshit, did I claim I was?"

    Yes, you did:
    "I'll believe in the feasibility of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle when I see a Greenpeace activist hunt and slaughter a wild deer."
    Done Didd.|8.22.11 @ 8:07PM|#
    "Already done that."

    Is reading one of the skills we'll have to lose to become one of your starving compatriots?

  • Peace is a "civilized" term.||

    Takers don’t trust anything going on around them that is outside their control. Takers made themselves the peacekeepers. They appointed themselves the administrators of chaos, and they’ve been at it ever since, improvising generation after generation with varying degrees of success. They took the keeping of the peace into their hands at the beginning of their revolution, and it’s been there ever since.” The old way was, “Fight your neighbors, not yourselves. The new law had to be, ‘Don’t fight anybody.’ The Takers wanted to administer a world where people worked, not a world where people wasted energy playing Erratic Retaliator.

    Erratic Retaliator Strategy
    Annihilator
    excerpts
    Daniel Quinn
    http://www.lejournalmural.be/e.....ntent.html

  • sevo||

    Hmm.
    Look at that! A primitivist uses the internet to promote primitive society! And doesn't seem aware of the hypocrisy!
    Sounds famailiar........

  • Hypocrite||

    Like a political prisoner using the prison telephone, I know communicating by any means the system lets me is Hypocrisy.

    Cuz one of the bootlicking trustees told me so.

  • sevo||

    Hypocrite|8.22.11 @ 9:28PM|#
    "Like a political prisoner using the prison telephone,..."

    You mean a murderer using phones to promote murder? I that what you mean?
    Or are you just an ignoramus who has no idea what in the hell you mean?
    Which one is it?

  • Sevo the Murderer||

    Nobody's promoting murder here except you, sevo.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The Comanche were pretty fat, but only after they acquired horses from those evil white men.

  • Toolbag||

    White Indian, do you live like this? Do you bring down your own meat? Some how I doubt it. You probably couldn't even track an animal let alone field dress it. First day in the woods you would likely eat something poisonous and wipe your ass with poison ivy.

  • phryxianhoundmaster||

    True, data seems to indicate hunter-gatherers had superior diets to those in many agricultural societies. However, agriculture was a requirement for concentrating human population (and more importantly, concentrating human interaction) and thus launching the species past the chasm that had blocked it for hundreds of thousands of years. The sedentary move was the necessary two steps back to get a running start and leap forward to relatively unimpeded perpetual progress. At some point technology might enable us to maintain our advances while retreating to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle if we so choose. Until then, widespread adoption of those practices means a brutal unraveling of every human accomplishment of the last 10,000 years.

    And why would you consider eating Ugo? He's clearly the most productive member of your group.

  • sevo, sevo, sevo||

    'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'

    Ever hear of the Paleo diet? Over at Lew Rockwell dot com? Or Mises dot com?

    Hint: Paleos didn't eat rocks.

    Hypothesis: maybe you're one of those nut-sucking teabaggers?

  • sevo||

    "Hint: Paleos didn't eat rocks."

    You're right. Gravel.

  • Jesus rode Dinosaurs!||

    Yeah, and Jesus rode dinosaurs.

    How long ya gonna hold out with religious-strength Propertarian fantasy against empirical data?

  • ||

    WI, stick to one handle. The Stupid is strong with you. We all can see through devious and cunning disguises.

  • bmp1701||

    Actually, truth be told, I'm the one sockpuppeting White Indian in this thread. I think the original gave up on the handle.

  • jacob||

    Liar! You are not smart enough to be that dumb.

  • Hay-Zeus H. Christ||

    My handle from James Axtell's book has been taken by detractors and disciples alike. It is no longer mine. It is spoken.

    Ya know the difference between a tribe of trading pygmies and a tribe of female bushmen marathoners?

    One is a bunch of cunning runts.

  • sevo||

    "empirical data?"

    Gotcher empirical data right here!
    http://www.beyondveg.com/nicho.....4-1a.shtml

  • Hay-Zeus H. Christ||

    Good boy. You'll get better, but this is a good start.

  • KPres||

    You dumbass. He just showed that stone age people's lifestyle, the one you're pushing, sucked donkey balls.

  • KPres the dumbass||

    Can't sevo he be complimented on referencing anything beyond his libertarian scriptures?

  • Goldbugs=FinancialMalthusian||

    Just like the Green Revolution, the Fiat Money Revolution shall last forever! With just enough technological inputs!

    Anybody who dissents from paperbugism is a Financial Malthusian!

  • Ron Paul||

    Fuck you, Bernanke-of-the-culture-AG.

  • jtuf||

    Tony, your rhetoric is a century old, and by the standards of that time, everyone is bourgeoisie now.

  • Bourgeoisie Longevity||

    The !King have lived in the marginally-inhabitable Kalahari for 20,000 years, with an average life expectancy of 50 years plus. (69 years for !Kung females, more than black in the US can expect.)

    US life expectancy in 1850, the libertarian golden age, was 38.

    by 1900 it was 47.2.

    LOL

    Try getting that for the next 20,000 years, Bernanke-of-the-Green-Revolution.

  • bmp1701||

    Live in the "marginally-inhabitable Kalahari"? Sign me up!

    Incidentally, Japan and Hong Kong have the world's highest life expectancies.

  • US Libertarian Paradise?||

    Try getting that for the next 20,000 years, oh Bernanke-of-the-Green-Revolution.

    The !Kung have lived in the marginally-inhabitable Kalahari for 20,000 years, with an average life expectancy of 50 years plus. (69 years for !Kung females, more than black in the US can expect.)

    US life expectancy in 1850, the libertarian golden age, was 38.

    By 1900 it was 47.2.

    You say it has been almost 80 years for white-class females? For how long? LOL

  • ||

    White Indian farts into the wind yet again. No one cares about your life expectancy bullshit. It has nothing to do with the philosophical problems libertarians are interested in. Not many here are consequentialists, and those that are smart enough not to be convinced by your weak attempts to prove close to nothing.

  • US Libertarian Paradise?||

    What you mean is, libertarians care about life expectancy. Until empirical data proves their idiotic fantasies wrong. Then they move on to other areas of philosophical "theory" like, how do we elect the next dog catcher in Boone county?

  • ||

    No, I don't care about life expectancy in this argument, because it is pointless to argue with someone who quotes research that is impossible to verify, who makes irrelevant statements about the past, but mostly because this entire line of argument has no moral bearing on the subject.

  • US Libertarian Paradise?||

    My data is from "A History of the Standard of Living in the United States," by Richard H. Steckel, Ohio State University.

    1850 38 years.

    1900 47.2 years.

    20,000 years of !Kung in the marginally livable Kalahari desert:

    45-50 years (one source here) 69 for females (Richard Lee.)

    Easily verifiable. If you know how.

    But now you don't want to, right? LOL

  • sevo||

    "1850 38 years.
    1900 47.2 years."

    Yeah, and:
    "9,000 to 7,000 B.C. ("Mesolithic" transition period from Paleolithic to some agricultural products.): 33.5-31.3

    Modern U.S. White" (1980-ish presumably): 71.0-78.5 "
    http://www.beyondveg.com/nicho.....4-1a.shtml
    And the dipshit posted this link.

  • ||

    But since you think you have won, I will continue. The technological advancements allowed by libertarian freedoms, as opposed to your proposed ban on agriculture, has allowed, and will continue to allow human life expectancy to rise far above what the "hunter-gatherer" system can support. Without technology and dominance over his environment, the hunter-gatherer's life is necessarily limited by his environment. Modern man's is not.

  • US Libertarian Paradise?||

    A ban on agriculture? I haven't said it. You did. And therefore are proven a liar.

    Libertarian Liar at that.

    But agriculture is invasive and occupational and part of the problem. Do you want to ban all aggressive behavior?

    Or do you even care about aggressive behavior these days?

  • jacob||

    Aggressive behavior in cavemen is obvious from the archeological record. We evolved from animals that are a lot like chimps. Chimps are on record ripping one another's balls off.

    They engage in a behavior that is called 'going on patrol' -- chimps enter one another's territory find a male member of the other chimp group that is alone and kill him.

    Now, considering all the prehistoric vioence, how was this peaceful hunter-gatherer paradise supposed to work?

    http://books.google.com/books?.....ge&q=human violence in prehistory&f=false

    then of course, there is the natural way to deal with excess population

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....849990324X

  • You might be a chimp, not me||

    I'm human. We evolved to be much more egalitarian than our more hierarchical evolutionary cousins.

    You can tell this by the level of sexual dimorphism (and sexual dichromaticism.)

    See many human men walking around 2x larger than a female? With huge canine teeth? And red asses?

    Didn't think so. Except for that power tie, a pitiful, artificial display of red-ass-baboon sexual dichromaticism and artificially-contrived primate hierarchy.

  • White Indian||

    "Chimps are on record ripping one another's balls off..."

    You libertarians should have your balls ripped off for raping our mother!

  • sevo||

    White Indian|8.22.11 @ 10:52PM|#
    "Chimps are on record ripping one another's balls off..."
    "You libertarians should have your balls ripped off for raping our mother!"'

    Go suck on yo mud-mama, and I hope you get sick.

  • KPres||

    You don't read shit. All you do is make the exact same claim about life expectancy over and over (the claim which I just destroyed about 15 posts down) and then go off on inane rants about farmers raping Gaia or some shit.

    5th grade hate spew is more than your worth.

  • KPres||

    You don't read shit. All you do is make the exact same claim about life expectancy over and over (the claim which I just destroyed about 15 posts down) and then go off on inane rants about farmers raping Gaia or some shit.

  • KPres||

    Agriculture is aggressive behavior...

    That is, not exaggerating, the absolute dumbest fucking thing I've ever read on the internet. Seriously, that's a hell of an accomplishment. You should be proud. Really. You're a moron of staggering, mind-numbing proportions.

  • Kfudd||

    Yeah, I read journal articles, and you can't come up with better than 5th grade hate spew. Come on, try again.

    Agriculture is aggressive, invasive, and occupational. Read the literature.

  • ||

    That's fine, if you aren't actually advocating a ban on agriculture, no one here cares about your stupid beliefs. You can leave now.

  • sevo||

    "Agriculture is aggressive, invasive, and occupational. Read the literature."

    'Cause mud-mama told me so!

  • ||

    So you are arguing for nothing then? OK I'm glad you agree with libertarian morality.

  • Libershit throwing monkeys||

    Howl, monkeys, howl!

  • Technology the Blessed Savior||

    technological advancements allowed by libertarian freedoms

    LAWLZ!!!!!! Like, um, the surveillance state cameras? Tasers? Facial recognition? Nuclear weapons? Libertarian knee pads? LOL

    So how's the technological police state working out for you?

    dominance over his environment

    Dominance over Mother earth and her children. You technology worshipers murdered the whole North American continent. It's called genocide. At least you're beginning to recognize your economic religion of libertarianism Propertarianism for what it is: dominance.

  • Toolbag||

    And we are just getting started. I saw a buffalo a couple of miles back. Lets get him!

  • bmp1701||

    "So how's the technological police state working out for you?"
    Well, I see that it's allowed a primitive-worshipping imbecile to gain access to a data-processing device that would have been unfathomably complex to a hunter-gatherer. Furthermore, this fool is now using this device to transmit messages across a world-spanning communications network.

  • sevo||

    "with an average life expectancy of 50 years plus"
    http://www.beyondveg.com/nicho.....4-1a.shtml
    Fail.

  • US Libertarian Paradise?||

    The article says 45-50. Best research from Richard Lee is 69. 50+ seems a good enough estimation for the intellectual integrity around these parts. At least you're referencing now. I'll drag you into the wonders of empirical data soon.

  • ||

    An 'is' without an 'ought' is just another fart in the wind from White Indian.

  • US Libertarian Paradise?||

    Still smarting from the intellectual spanking you got from claiming that nuclear weapons are a result of biological evolution? And then appealing to authoritah as an edumaficated "microbiologist?"

    Sour Grapes. Served plentifully 'round these parts.

  • ||

    There was no "spanking." If you deny that nature designed us through evolution to create technology and dominate our environment, your mind is childish enough to merit a spanking.

  • US Libertarian Paradise?||

    Human species is a result of biological evolution, yes.

    Nuclear weapons, as you posited, not so much a result of biological evolution.

    Darwin didn't write "On the Origin of the Species and anything else somebody can allude to by analogy."

  • sevo||

    "Nuclear weapons, as you posited, not so much a result of biological evolution"

    And stupid indian keeps referring to this as if there were some value to the claim.
    Was the wheel a result of biological evolution?

  • ||

    "Human species is a result of biological evolution, yes.

    Nuclear weapons, as you posited, not so much a result of biological evolution."

    Because...? Not only were they a result of the evolutionary ability to create tools to dominate the environment, they were an inevitable result. Any common idiot should be able to see this. I guess you're a special kind of idiot.

  • sevo||

    US Libertarian Paradise?|8.22.11 @ 8:58PM|#
    "The article says 45-50."

    Liar:
    9,000 to 7,000 B.C. ("Mesolithic" transition period from Paleolithic to some agricultural products.)
    (life span)
    33.5
    31.3

  • Green Revolution = Fiat Money||

    I'm referring to the article one of your libertarian friends found that states bushmen in the Kalahari desert lived that long. Are you calling them a liar, dimbulb?

  • sevo||

    Green Revolution = Fiat Money|8.22.11 @ 10:46PM|#
    "I'm referring to the article one of your libertarian friends found that states bushmen in the Kalahari desert lived that long..."

    Love to see the link, dipshit.

  • Libertarian dipshit||

    Are you calling me a dipshit because you're to stupid to find it? dipshit

  • KPres||

    No, he's calling you a dipshit because you have only one argument, which doesn't stand up to 10 seconds of reflection and doesn't even relate to libertarianism, yet you've repeated it 100 times (mixed in with a bunch of vacuous and inane hippie Gaia rhetoric) over like 15 Hit-and-Run blog posts, like anybody cares. You're psychotic and delusional and nothing else.

  • sevo||

    Libertarian dipshit|8.22.11 @ 10:55PM|#
    "Are you calling me a dipshit because you're to stupid to find it? dipshit"

    No, I'm calling you a dipshit because you are a dipshit.
    Beyond that, I'm calling you a dipshit because you claim to have read something somewhere, and when you're called on your bullshit, dipshit, you than post that you've read it somewhere, dipshit.

  • KPres||

    So life expectancy for the paleolithic lifestyle is pretty much unchanged (45-50 years) for over 2 million years, while capitalism lifted the "agrarian" life expectancy from 40 to 80 in a mere 150 years, and you think this is an argument in your favor?

  • Heller (nuclearbomb=evolution)||

    Let's see.

    20,000 years of living to 50+.

    Or, 10,000 years of living to 20 or so, (with a few decades of living to 77, but only if you're the dominant race near the center of the empire, on a temporary crack-hit of petroleum and the oil-fueled fiat-money-like "green revolution.")

    Really, do the math on that if numbers are so important to you "liberty-minded" people.

  • KPres||

    Ha! Weak.

    World life expectancy is like 60 years.

    In Western world, it's 80.

    In developing countries (those that are adopting capitalism) it's 70.

    In 3rd-world sub-saharan countries it's 45-50 (but growing, something paleolithic never did), meaning the worst agrarian today still lives as long as the best you have to offer.

  • KPres||

    edit: Looked it up...world life expectancy is 69.7 years.

    White Indian wants to take us back in the 45-50 range.

    Everybody, jump on board!!!

  • Green Revolution = Fiat Money||

    The "green revolution," temporarily fueled by a crack-hit on the petroleum pipe, has raised life expectancy, just like Bernanke has raised material prosperity in this country.

    Compare apples to apples:

    U.S. life expectancy in Libertarian Golden Age (1850) = 38 years.

  • Democratic Socialism||

    Luvin' me some democratic socialism life expectancy. Now that's true progress a progressivist can chew on!

  • Green Revolution = Fiat Money||

    Who let the Swedish chef in the house? That Bernanke mole?

  • KPres||

    ^ In other words, you're admitting the whole stone age thing was as fucking stupid as everybody knew it was the first time they read one of your inane ramblings, that their lifestyle sucked, and now you're retreating to your real political position...

    Communism.

  • Green Revolution = Fiat Money||

    Not communist.

    Communism is the Libertarian sister philosophy, stupidly hoping that:

    1. We can somehow magically make the State wither away, or at least bring it to heel somehow, while:

    2. Supporting the agricultural City-State (civilization.)

  • KPres||

    HA! No, you idiot. There is no apples to apples because your stone age wet dreams were stagnant.

    1850 was just as capitalism was taking hold, and yet life expectancy already was growing rapidly. And not because of oil, you dumbfuck, since they didn't use it for anything other than lightning a lamp.

    This is too fucking easy.

  • Green Revolution = Fiat Money||

    US life expectancy 1900 47.2 years.

    Finally, as the "green revolution" finally takes ahold, Americans have life expectancy of 60+ years, circa WWII, according to A History of the Standard of Living in the United States, Richard H. Steckel, Ohio State University.

    Richard Lee noted that up to 60% of the !Kung he encountered were over 60. Hillard Kaplan, et. al, in “A Theory of Human Life History Evolution: Diet, Intelligence, and Longevity,” Evolutionary Anthropology, 2000, p. 156-185

    You're really impressing me with your grasp of statistics, Kpres. Are you a Fed Fiat Money apologist too? You'd make a good one, Bootlicker-for-the-Empire.

  • sevo||

    "White Indian wants to take us back in the 45-50 range.
    Everybody, jump on board!!!"

    Nope, it's worse. Sorry the link didn't work; WI's utopia has a life span of 31.3 years to 33.5.
    Try again:
    http://www.beyondveg.com/nicho.....4-1a.shtml
    Yep, that'll sell to the folks just moving out of mom's basement at 30 years.

  • Progressitopia (US, 1850) =38||

    Lifespan before agriculture was twice that of agriculturalist for 10,000 years of civilized hell.

    Until that last few decades, by golly!.

    Bernanke couldn't be a better spokesmen for fiat agriculture.

  • KPres||

    "Lifespan before agriculture was twice that of agriculturalist for 10,000 years of civilized hell."

    Yeah, and now it's twice as long as that and growing, so this is a dumb fucking point that you just keep repeating over and over.

  • KPres||

    "Lifespan before agriculture was twice that of agriculturalist for 10,000 years of civilized hell."

    Yeah, and now it's twice as long as that and growing, so this is a dumb fucking point that you just keep repeating over and over.

  • KPres||

    "Lifespan before agriculture was twice that of agriculturalist for 10,000 years of civilized hell."

    Yeah, and now it's twice as long as that and growing, so this is a dumb fucking point that you just keep repeating over and over.

  • KPres||

    Looks like, thanks to Chrome fucking up, I can argue like White Indian...just say the same thing over and over (except my points aren't wrong and idiotic).

  • sevo||

    Dipshit posts:
    Progressitopia (US, 1850) =38|8.22.11 @ 10:59PM|#
    "Lifespan before agriculture was twice that of agriculturalist for 10,000 years of civilized hell.
    Until that last few decades, by golly!."

    Isn't is amazing that even you cherry-picking shows that progress progresses!?

  • KPres||

    ^ Good find, sevo. He's dumber than I thought.

  • sevo||

    Kpres,
    Dipshit posted that link him/her *self*, claiming it made his/her point!
    Now, there is stupid, there is *really* stupid and then there is dipshit.

  • Frothing at the Mouth||

    It's a Libertarian Brain Seizure!

  • KPres||

    Come on White Indian...I know you're lurking.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    There's a thread on communism, Tony. Go post there instead.

  • Tolly||

    I dunno - hiking between a country still undergoing tremors of war and one ruled by a ruthless theocracy is a pretty good way of displaying that you have no common sense or self-preservation.
    I know we're all supposed to pity them, but that's a 4-star idiotic way of picking a travel destination. Was Darfur too hot for them? Did they not have any interest in seeing lovely North Korea this time of year? The warning signs are plastered all over for bad decisions like this.

  • ||

    This column is completely undone right here:
    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2....._were.html

  • Maxxx||

    Fuck Mich McConnell.

    The bastard should get a real job, like licking Tony's Ball sack for five bucks a go.

  • ||

    I'll put $50 into a fund to get ol' Mitch started. By him a bottle of Evian too - just to keep things wet.

  • Michelle Obama||

    whenever this White House wants something, it seems reflexively to portray the situation as a hostage crisis.

    Tell me about it.

  • 16th amendment||

    This article is bogus. It's within anyone's first amendment rights to use the word "hostage" even in a metaphorical sense. Who knows, maybe tomorrow tea partiers will be calling the democrats hostages for accelerating the spending.

    People need to be smart enough to figure out the meaning. I think with all the heated rhetoric out there, they are already do this. It's too bad that the use of the word Nazi (which has been used to describe people on both the left and right) diminishes the evil of the real Nazis, but people have got to be smarter and take the name-calling with a grain of salt, and at the same time remember the real Nazis. Wikipedia will help.

    Besides "define hostage" on bing.com yields:

    1. captive: somebody held prisoner by a person or group such as a criminal or a terrorist organization until specific demands are met or money is handed over
    2. somebody manipulated: a person or group of people whose freedom of action is restricted or controlled by a more powerful organization by implied threats or other means

  • sevo||

    16th amendment|8.22.11 @ 5:39PM|#
    "This article is bogus. It's within anyone's first amendment rights to use the word "hostage" even in a metaphorical sense."
    And you can use "up" to mean "down" too!

    "Besides "define hostage" on bing.com yields:

    1. captive: somebody held prisoner by a person or group such as a criminal or a terrorist organization until specific demands are met or money is handed over
    2. somebody manipulated: a person or group of people whose freedom of action is restricted or controlled by a more powerful organization by implied threats or other means"
    So the economy is 'held hostage', even under these definitions, how?
    Bullshit.

  • Ice Nine||

    I dunno - hiking between a country still undergoing tremors of war and one ruled by a ruthless theocracy

    Well, exactly; the circumstances are certainly very strange, aren't they. And so, as I've been asking others this week, has anyone onsidered the possibility that they actually are spies? Spies aren't all middle-aged guys wearing trenchcoats and sunglasses ya' know. And there is no shortage these days of intelligence agencies wanting to get any info they can on Iran and I think the idea is not particularly far-fetched that some of what they want to know lies right up in that particular border area. The flight paths of bombers heading toward nuclear reactors come to mind.

    I'm guessing - I'm betting - that these three aren't spies. But it's not because they are fresh-faced little American REI-type dorks. And the possibility that they were doing exactly what the Iranians say they were doing is by no means out of the question.

  • sevo||

    "But it's not because they are fresh-faced little American REI-type dorks."
    Well, depends on how you define dork:
    "The three Americans are anti-war, social justice and Palestine Solidarity Movement activists."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009–2011_detention_of_Americans_by_Iran

  • Binky||

    They had been advised of the suitability of the region for a holiday ... through Internet research

    Well, there you have it.

  • steve||

    This is why we have spy planes. What possible humint was there to be gathered in this border region? I'm open to the idea that spies pose as tourists and all that but, seriously, you gotta ask what was to be gained to buy they were actually spies.

  • ||

    Column fail. Story fail. Propaganda fail.

    Ira, if you really wanted to succeed, all you had to do was point to people like the family of Aisha Jones or Ryan Frederick or the Guerana family or the millions of folk who have been literally held hostage by the drug warriors, like Obama, the prison building / prison administration / national security / FBI / CIA / DEA / NSA / Broward County Sheriff's Department / Mossad and the like.

    Focusing upon the hikers and Alan Gross demonstrates poor judgment and reasoning - if we are to be charitable about your piece's shortcomings.

  • ||

    Ain't that the fuckin' truth!

    And BTW, who the hell goes for a hike in Iraq, let alone near the border with Iran?

    And who says Iran is the enemy? They may not be my friends, but they are not my enemy.

  • ||

    Prior to my first trip to the USSR (that used to be short for Russia), my parents and the parents of my friends were quite concerned that I would do or say something stupid that would land me in the gulag.

    It may be hard for some to believe this, but I was not in the employ of the CIA, NSA, FBI, Naval Intelligence, the USAID or any other state sanctioned outfit.

    However, given what I actually did on my first trip, one could easily imagine that the Soviets could have arrested me and accused me of espionage.

    For starters, I dated a daughter of a nuclear physicist. I did not withhold what I thought of Lenin, Stalin, Kruschev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, Beria, Molotov or Lincoln (OK I made up badmouthing Lincoln as I was yet to be educated about honest abe). I also told her just what I thought of marxism, communism, etc.

    Na leyva? If one knows russian, one knows what I mean. Just let us say that I practiced free market currency transactions. That alone........

    I did not hang out much with the american students who were there with me except for class time and some dinners. While there, is not a better use of time to meet and befriend the natives and hopefully polish up on your language skills and still have a blast?

    Thus, I am inclined to believe that the hikers are not spies, be they of the Autin Powers variety or otherwise. That does not mean that I would or am ruling out that they are mobbed up (The Federal Mafia).

    As for giving Mr. Gross the benefit of the doubt, not so much. He's there in behalf of a state sponsored propaganda mission - the same state which prohibits its citizens from freely trading with Cuba. You lie with vermin, you are / become vermin.

  • Phlogistan||

    Well he went to Cuba to help the "Small Jewish Community" there.

    I think the cubans just relocated him to the correct address...

  • ||

    NEOCON SITING! REASON PUBLISHES ARTICLE BY POSSIBLE NEOCON.
    ps LEW, HOW DID WE DO?

  • ||

    Lew Rockwell says Reason is anti-libertarian because one of their editors said Ron Paul isn't going to be president. Now Antiwar.com has an equivalent overreaction.

  • Ron Paul isn't Reasonable||

    Only bands and tribes of the Non-State sociopolitical typology* are true "libertarians," a proven method of the liberty you city-slicker propertarians so incompetently seek.

    NON-STATE AND STATE SOCIETIES
    faculty.smu.edu/rkemper/cf_3333/Non_State_and_State_Societies.pdf

    The only thing between you and liberty is what the City-State as placed in your little kindergarten head:

    Fear of Wilderness.

    Come on, puss-pants, admit it. Express your inferior rage with talk of dirt, mud, bugs, no coolwhip or doritos, no city-sewers.

  • Jebus||

    Like I've already said, nobody stopping you from living in your fantasy world. The rest of us like having stable living environments with all the benefits of modern life. Have fun hunting and constantly following the Antelope.

  • ||

    No one cares about your dumb beliefs here, fly home dumbo!

  • Reason = NeoCons||

    Did ya think the Koch Bros. had any conscience?

  • ||

    drink?

  • Lew=NeoCons||

    Didn't Lew take Koch Kash stolen from the Indians too?

    Libertarians are all a bunch of city-slickin' bootlickers, kissing up to power, wanting that power for themselves.

  • ||

    Retard, go home to mommy Gaia!

  • sevo||

    Gaia is a post-hunter-gatherer concept.
    It's mud-mama we're dealing with.

  • I'm home. Are you?||

    The only retards here are those who hate Mommy. Why do you hate your Mommy?

  • قبلة الوداع||

    THANK U

  • ||

    I never really even thought about it like that.

    www.web-anon.at.tc

  • Rabban||

    Insanity. The new crop of trolls make Tony seem sane (no small feat). What sort of bizzario world luddite fanstasy are you promoting? Go live in a hut in the woods if you want to, just don't imagine that the rest of us want to rough Khmer Rouge style.

  • Jebus||

    A troll of this level takes trolling to a new level. This is a standard example of the superiority of our philosophy. If you want to be a hunter gatherer, fine we don't care. However, the hunter gatherer must demand that everybody live by his standard through force.

  • sevo||

    Actually, there are many 'hunter-gatherers' in SF. They do obtain subsistence in very little time, dumpster-diving behind various restaurants.
    They then spend the rest of their 'leisure' begging for money from the productive portion of the population, since subsistence alone (amazingly, or not) doesn't seem to satisfy their desires.
    They, like the primitives, tend not to live very long.

  • Paleos live longer than Aggies||

    Overall, primitives live longer and have better health than agriculturalists. But go ahead, believe the lies if it makes you feel better, while your body has to endure diseases of civilization.

  • Khmer Libertarian||

    Actually, it's agricultural civilization that forces everybody to live a certain way, enforcing "property rights" via aggression.

    Property rights are a contradiction to the Non-Aggression Principle.

    The libertarian standard of life is aggression, rationalized away via their economic scriptures.

  • Khmer Libertarian||

    The Khmer Rouge were agriculturalist, showing how ugly agricultural civilization can be.

    Non-State sociopolitical typologies don't behave like that.

  • bmp1701||

    So we adopt a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and then the Canadian military conquers America and relocates all Americans to hunter-gatherer reservations? The Trail of Fatasses, 2043.

  • ||

    The three people cited are not hostages. They are prisoners, duly convicted of crime(s) by a sovereign government. Those sovereign governments are not holding these three to obtain anything, but to punish law-breaking. I am certainly no fan of Cuba or Iran, but these three went where they did not belong and did something they should not have. Are all foreign nationals in U.S. jails/prisons "hostages"?

  • ||

    hat are you, some kind of pussy terrorist?

    Stand back and let America do what she does best

  • LK||

    I've tried hostage taking with my 3 yo son. When he jumps up and down on the bed I tell him I'll put fluffy-the- rabbit in the closet until he stops.

    He doesn't care.

    I'm a proud daddy. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

  • Blue sky||

    Too much pressure to maintain the welfare, economic growth is too slow, leading to want to change all this is extremely difficult. Available resources are insufficient to solve ah.

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