I Walked With a Tyrant: Bob Barr in Haiti

Bob Barr: Libertarian Party presidential nominee, consultant for the American Civil Liberties Union, and...advisor to the brutal former dictator of Haiti?

A former U.S. congressman was among a group of American attorneys accompanying former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier as he spoke in the country's capital Friday.

Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr said he is not serving as Duvalier's attorney, but is in Port-au-Prince to consult, assist and be Duvalier's voice to the international community.

Barr represented Georgia's 7th District in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, and was the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in 2008. He currently practices law and runs a consulting firm based in Atlanta.

"We have been asked by the former president and his family to assist him in his efforts," Barr told reporters in Port-au-Prince....

Barr "will be representing" Duvalier "in bringing his message of hope to the world," the former Republican congressman's website says.

Amnesty International describes Baby Doc's atrocious human rights record here.

Update: CNN has replaced the story quoted above with a new article. So (a) that's why if you click through you'll see a rather different text, and (b) do go ahead and click, as the new piece includes more information on Duvalier's unexpected return to Haiti. It also includes some more quotes from Barr, who offers this unpersuasive riposte to the charges against the dictator: "I deal with allegations all the time. They are the cheapest commodity on the market."

Read some classic Amnesty "allegations" against Duvalier here [pdf].

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  • ||

    What a party! A truther in 2004, a Duvalier advisor in 2008.

  • Max||

    And proof you liberturds think Haiti and Somalia are paradice.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'd ask you for proof, Max, but you'd just spout some of your usual "go suck Ron Pual's cock" nonsense.

  • The Mossy Spaniard||

    >>paradice

  • Dello||

    Great: The Libertarian Party now supports Baby Doc.

  • Sam Grove||

    Will Baby Doc's reputation ever recover?

  • Idi Amin||

    Never! He wasted all that meat when he exported that commodity

  • ||

    Perhaps he is trying to emulate Milton Friedman?

  • ||

    Friedman never actively supported Pinochet; Pinochet simply used Friedman's theories to help build his new government but never actually had Friedman advising him.

  • tarran||

    Thje funny thing that people forget. Pinochet turned to some of Milton Friedman's students after his first set of repressive economic policies didn't work out.

    And the liberalization they recommended did much to ameliorate the nastiness of the Pinochet regime.

  • ||

    funny thing is Friedman's theories didnt work here either. as Greenspan testified (another chicago alum) his business model was defective because it assumed mgmt would work in the best interests of the shareholders. >like haiti, the chicago school of econ lies in ruins.

  • ||

    Did you make that up yourself or did somebody spoon feed it to you?

  • ||

    I mean, who teaches people stuff like that?

    Never mind Monetarism, Friedman's contribution was that management works for the shareholders, and that's a bunch of bunk, so Friedman's work is bunk too?

    How the hell could anybody believe that? Where'd you get your information from, Tony?

  • Apogee||

    Where'd you get your information from

    His ass.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, Chile's a basket case these days. Unlike economic powerhouses Bolivia and Venezuela.

  • tarran||

    a couple of points:
    1) Milton Friedman's belief that the money supply should be controlled by central planners is in stark contrast to his general support to free markets.

    2) The current economic crisis, caused by profligate money printing by the central planners does invalidate Greenspan's theories.

    3) On the other hand Friedman was strongly opposed to the inflationary policy pursued by Alan Greenspan.

    4) Greenspan, like George Bush, may have talked a good game about free markets, but in the end , again like George Bush, he was a fucking supporter of so called "crony capitalism", where the Fed would bail out the politically connected whenever they got in trouble. This was known as the "Greenspan Put".

    5) Ironically, the Bush/Greenspan crony capitalism is now being promoted by Obama.

    6) That same crony capitalism was practiced by Pinochet to a greater extent early in his rule, to less of an extent in the middle of his rule. It failed there, just as the Greensp[an/Bernanke/Bush/Obama crony capitalism is failing in the U.S. today.

  • ||

    "1) Milton Friedman's belief that the money supply should be controlled by central planners is in stark contrast to his general support to free markets."

    As I recall, Friedman was pretty specific about preferring not to a have a Federal Reserve. As I recall, his take was that given it's existence...

    There's this point that academics and entrepreneurs often end up talking past each other on; and it's the same thing kids and older people end up talking past each other on too? And I think that's what we're up against here...

    Friedman was willing to talk to his fellow academics in their little world--a world where any activity that isn't universally understood by academics isn't possible.

    But at the same time, Friedman was talking about life in the real fucking world too--the one where there's a Fed, whether he likes it or not.

    We shouldn't have a fed, but if we're gonna have one anyway, then here's what I think we should do...

    I don't see any conflict there whatsoever.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    Ironically, the Bush/Greenspan crony capitalism is now being promoted by Obama.

    I'd have used "Predictably" to start this sentence.

  • Fearsome Tycoon||

    Sure, Friedman had some deep flaws in his economic theories. But the fact is they were a sight better than what was governing Chile before, which was "let's have iron-fisted dictatorial control over absolutely everything."

    I'm not sure what you people think the Chicago Boys should have done. Should they have told Pinochet, "Since you're a dictator, we're not going to propose any reforms to your system that would result in less starvation and some measure of material security for your people"? That seems like it would be a lot worse than what they did.

  • MWG||

    Uh... I don't think you know the meaning of the word 'ameliorate'. Truth is, Chileans live a helluva lot better then the rest of S. America and it's a direct result of the policies implemented under Pinochet. So much so that even the 'Socialists' oppressed under Pinochet are free market capitalists now.

  • ||

    even the 'Socialists' oppressed under Pinochet are free market capitalists now


    Well, the ones not buried in unmarked graves may be.

  • MWG||

    That may be true, but even Michelle Bachelet, whose father died as a result of torture, and who suffered torture herself is a 'socialist' in name only.

  • ||

    Chile liberalized its economy more between 1988 and 1994 than it did from 1973 to 1988. So it liberalized its economy more after democracy than durring Pinochet's reign.

  • MWG||

    This is true. In fact, during the first 2 years or so after Pinochet took power, he continued to screw up the economy through central planning. It was only after a number of failed attempts to get the economy growing and bring inflation under control that he finally listened to what the "Chicago Boys" had to say. It is, however, not disputable that liberalization began under Pinochet, though it may have accelerated after he left.

    Interesting side note about the Chicago Boys: I had a college professor who attended a meeting of some conservative group (I can't remember which one) where they invited one of the Chicago Boys (I also can't remember which one) to speak.

    A believer in the free market speaking to a bunch of 'believers in the free market'. Halfway through his speech he started suggesting the US privatize all its national parks. That the land was too valuable to be owned by the govt. and should be in private hands. My professor said the crowd erupted in boos and hisses.

  • ||

    Seeing as how Monetarism is just a slight alteration of Keynesian economics, I don't doubt it, OhioOrrin.

  • Apogee||

    Thje funny thing that people forget. Pinochet turned to some of Milton Friedman's students after his first set of repressive economic policies didn't work out.

    The funny thing is that people don't forget what happened.

    They just find it inconvenient.

  • V||

    Socialists also find inconvenient a lot of things... like the number of hundreds of millions of dead that their favorite ideology has facilitated. Like the fact that Pinochet respected the result of the referendum and stepped down, while Castro and other communist dictators would never dream of stepping down.

  • ||

    We won the Cold War.

    I'm sorry to always have to pipe up with that, but we did.

    ...and it wasn't inevitable. We could have lost. Really.

    We won the Cold War despite some of the stupid things we did--and because of some of the rotten things we did. Some of the things we did were both rotten and dumb, no doubt...

    But some of the rotten things we did were probably smarter than, say, what we did in Iraq too.

    P.S. By the way, I don't remember Friedman writing anything that recommended arresting, torturing and murdering political dissidents. ...and there's no sense in conflating anything Friedman ever recommended with anything like that.

  • tarran||

    Dude we would have won the cold war if we had done nothing at all: Socialism can't calculate... Without western aid, the Russians could not have conquered half of Europe.

    Leave 'em alone, and they would have imploded like China.

  • ||

    I'd love to think it was as simple as that.

    Just because doing something was unbelievably stupid doesn't mean people won't do it. Take a look at any Soviet five year plan or The Great Leap Forward for examples...

    People went communist and advocated communism--and became communist even after all that!

    People will do and support all sorts of stupid things--especially when they're scared. It's shocking but it's true. Certainly in 1979, nobody thought communism would implode within a decade.

    And even if it had imploded, there was no reason to assume it would go out with a whimper. Communism was still in expansion mode throughout the '70s and into the '80s--in Peru, in Angola, in Afghanistan...

    I don't know if there's a name for the following fallacy or if it's a cognitive bias or something, but if it isn't already out there somewhere? I'll add it as one of Shultz's Laws of Social Dynamics:

    Never assume something is so stupid that people won't do it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Indeed. Even if our victory was inevitable, inaction might have delayed the inevitable at great cost in human suffering. It could have been much worse!

  • Rrabbit||

    Yes, never assume something is so stupid that people won't do it.

    But it was pretty obvious during the 1980s that the communist countries were doing very badly.

    It was not much of a surprise that they crashed. That was only a question of time. The surprise was that the communist leaders did not send out their heavily armed forces to kill a few tens of thousands of their own people.

  • ||

    I was there. I was over 18.

    It was a surprise.

    Would it be a surprise if North Korea suddenly imploded tomorrow without anyone firing a shot?

    I think so. The North Koreans have been much worse off than they are now without imploding--and they have zero opportunity to expand their way past their problems.

    When the Soviet Union imploded, it was a much bigger surprise than North Korea imploding could ever be.

    The future is never inevitable--and if that's always been true, then the past couldn't have been inevitable either. Take it from a guy who models future investments for a living--nothing's inevitable.

  • Fearsome Tycoon||

    That's a good point...the North Koreans are literally starving to death. Yet they still keep the military fed and armed, and it overall weakens the people and makes the government even stronger.

  • ||

    We won the Cold War.

    Citation Needed.

  • ||

    If you're looking for definitive proof of that, I doubt there's any citation better than this.

  • Rock Action ||

    Hah! Definitive proof indeed!

  • ||

    Thanks Ken.

  • Rick Astley||

    You owe me money for that!

  • Xenocles||

    "We're" still here, "they" aren't anymore. Traditionally, that's the outcome of most wars that "we" win.

  • ||

    Fuuuuck. How enBARRessing.

    Just nominate me in 2012. I promise to do poorly in the election, garnishing the traditional Libertarian Party zero electoral votes and I won't embarrass the libertarian philosophy (I'll pay for my hookers and blow with my own money).

  • ||

    I hereby nominate J sub D. You now have the floor, J sub!

  • Yonemoto||

    seconded.

  • SFC B||

    Wait. This is how the LP's presidential candidate gets selected?

    It all makes sense now!

  • BakedPenguin||

    No. If it was done like this, we'd have better candidates. I don't personally know him, but I would bet money that J sub D wouldn't be an "adviser" to BabyDoc.

    Frankly, there are quite a few people on this board I'd like to see as LP candidates over the ones we get.

  • robc||

    Ive already promised to use the phrase "Fuck off slaver" in a nationally televised debate, so that puts me miles ahead of most LP candidates.

  • ||

    How is it that you could guarantee you would be selected to ask a question?

  • robc||

    As a candidate, duh. They generally allow the candidates in a debate to talk, at least a little.

  • Rather||

    Name one

  • BakedPenguin||

    I already did - J sub D. I also think robc's slogan makes him a great candidate.

    Also, all of the ones you're currently going back and forth with, and the ones you aren't.

  • Rather||

    did you ever check your junk?

  • ||

    I didn't have time to write a speech so this is kinda off the cuff.

    I'll bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and use them to invade Canada because they've been sending arctic air south into the United States every winter for centuries with impunity. I'm sure the oppressed Canucks will gratefully shower our troops with Molson's Ale and round bacon for liberating them.

    I'll also abolish daylight savings time and involuntarily commit Justin Bieber.

  • ||

    Promise to have Michael Bay thrown into a sarlacc where, in its belly, he will find a new definition of pain and suffering as he is slowly digested over a thousand years, and you get my vote*.

    * I don't vote.

  • Fearsome Tycoon||

    Complaining about Michael Bay's splosion movies is like complaining that Wendy's isn't a five-star restaurant. Yeah, you're right, but I didn't go to Wendy's because I wanted a steak with a side of asparagus sauteed in mushrooms.

  • robc||

    You had me until Molson and round bacon. Well, okay on the bacon part. But if they arent showering our troops in Unibroue, fuck them and fuck you.

    *I* support our troops.

  • Triumph||

    "I won't embarrass the libertarian philosophy"

    You don't have to.

  • ||

    Which bipolar cycle are you in now, anonypussy? Please tell me it's the depressive part.

  • Rather||

    @Triumph
    I love you

  • ||

    @Triumph
    I love you

    Triumph, just remember to remove the pickle first.

  • Rather||

    helle, i will never fuck you. I won't even save the gerbil in your ass.

  • ||

    That's disgusting Rectal, bad girl! No cat feces for you tonight!

  • Wow||

    FUCK OFF

  • ||

    I know you're hungry, but that's what a bad girl gets.

  • Rather||

    Fuck off helle-I will never be your bad girl

  • ||

    That's it, I'm taking away the urine too. And I don't want to hear you complain about being thirsty.

  • Rather||

    OMG, you probably have some victim locked up in your mouse lab-For Christ sake let her/him go

  • smartass sob||

    I promise to do poorly in the election, garnishing the traditional Libertarian Party zero electoral votes...

    Hate to nitpick there, dude, but the Libertarian Party actually did receive an electoral vote once. It was the first time they ever ran a candidate for the presidency, and in fact, their vice-presidential candidate was the first and one of only two women in US history to ever receive an electoral vote. I'm refering to Ms. Tonie Nathan, of course.

  • robc||

    That wasnt the traditional result though.

  • thefuture||

    bet you never guessed he'd endorse Newt 2012

  • ||

    Man's got to make a living.
    Look, he is returning some of the foreign aid we sent to Hatai, peacefully.
    Thumbs up.

  • Xeones||

    Boy am i glad i didn't vote in '08.

  • smartass sob||

    Yeah, you aren't the only one.

  • smartass sob||

    Crap, that didn't come out right. I mean you aren't the only one who didn't vote and is glad of it.

  • Spazmo||

    Can we stop picking presidential nominees based on name recognition now?

  • Warty||

    Vote Warty 2012: A severed head in every pot.

  • ||

    I also nominate Warty: this time, why not the worst?

  • Hugh Akston||

    I think we've found our ticket: J sub D/Warty 'Oh12.

  • Almanian||

    I continue to volunteer to be Minister of Propoganda coordinator of Advertising and Fundraising.

    Anything to serve man....

  • Federal Dog||

    Make me AG, and the no-knock raids on police facilities begin that day!

  • Really?||

    Obligatory link.

  • Jeffersonian||

    If I get to pick the body the head is separated from, you got a deal.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I do my best to not confuse libertarians with the Libertarian party.

    It's not difficult.

  • ||

    FAIL

  • Jennifer||

    I damned well told y'all so. When Barr was an actual congressman with authority to vote on bills he consistently voted the anti-liberty route, and only started paying lip service to ideals of freedom after he lost his job and couldn't actually DO anything about said ideals. Vote this idiot back into office -- any office -- and he'll break his promises even faster than Obama broke his -- and that, my friends, is saying something.

    If you want to know a man's character -- or even a politico's character -- "What he does when he has actual power" is a much better yardstick than "what he says after he loses it."

  • l0b0t||

    ^THIS
    How did this turd find his way into the Libertarian punchbowl? He authored the Barr Amendment that bans medical marijuana, the Defense Of Marriage Act, & he authored a bill that would have mandated that the Pentagon ban the practice of Wicca in the military. Fuck that slaver.

  • Jerry||

    And the Patriot Act...

  • ||

    He authored the sunset clause of the Patriot Act, which was a sweet niblet of corn in the middle of a giant coprolith.

  • Apogee||

    How did this turd find his way into the Libertarian punchbowl?

    He loves Ferrets.

  • Spur||

    He also worked or consulted for the ACLU - he is working to get the 'Most diverse resume' award from God.

    Of course if Duvalier were to run for president of Haiti on the LP ticket he'd damn well get more than one percent of the vote...

  • Or||

    Real men don't seek power over others.

  • Dello||

    I completely agree. Unless its a consensual Dom/sub relationship...

  • Rather||

    real women do

  • Rather||

    and real men like it

  • Rather||

    My Daddy was a real man to me, if you know what I mean.

    Read my blog.

  • helle||

    helle,
    #1 I'm never ever fucking you
    #2 Never ever pulling the gerbil, test tube, tampon, or communion wafer out of your ass.
    #3 I will never ever dress up in my Catholic school uniform and play who's my daddy-with you that is.

  • Really?||

    I damned well told y'all so.

    Well all hail you, then.

    Really, Jennifer, no one here misses your intellectually-stunted ramblings, despite your occasional role as "blind pig finding an acorn".

  • ||

    That is so cold. Accurate, but cold. Me like. Me sick.

    Hey Jen, tell us about Peak Oil again! Are we at $400/bbl yet?

  • ||

    You're even less witty when you're not manic, anonypussy. Is it because you hate yourself so much, or just because you really, really suck?

  • Jennifer||

    I'll gladly tell you about peak oil again, O Bravely Anonymous Ones: oil prices are climbing and this should surprise nobody, just as nobody should've been surprised by this latest evidence that Bob Barr doesn't have a single principled bone in his body.

    And for my fellow libertarians who embraced Bob Barr in the hope of getting that gloriously wonderful Name Recognition: if you're rather be popular than right, why marginalize yourself with the libertarian label? Just be a Republican or a Democrat, whichever one inspires less nausea.

  • Really?||

    Food prices are on the rise. Ergo, we must be in the End Times of Peak Food.

    When you find yourself in a hole, the first step is to stop digging.

  • Tommy Freidman||

    Whadaya do when yer in three?

  • TheJenniferLogic||

    Food comes from a farm and they had farms in the South. Since the South also had slaves working on those farms that means if you're paying higher prices for food you're a RAAAAACIST!!

  • ||

    "O Bravely Anonymous Ones"

    Yikes! That's all of us! Give Jen some credit. A little digging reveals her identity. But "Episiarch" remains safely behind a curtain of anonymity as he calls others "anonypussy." Hmm. Who's the pussy?

  • ||

    Hey anonypussy, does your bipolar disorder make your life even shittier than your passive aggressiveness and bitter little personality already make it? What am I saying; of course it does. I love it.

  • Really?||

    You say "anonopussy", but why? As s/he points out, you're anonymous too.

  • Geoff Peterson||

    oh snap

  • ||

    Ironic, no?

  • Wow||

    comment of the day +

  • Cytotoxic||

    I know from experience that this is Episiarch's way of saying that he doesn't really have a point he is just really angsty today like he always is.

  • ||

    "I'll gladly tell you about peak oil again..."

    Oh, for cryin' out loud.

  • Old Man with Candy||

    Actually, as a congressman, he did more to demonstrate the validity of the libertarian agenda than anyone else in US history. By tying congress and the president into knots about blowjob perjury and effectively preventing them from getting anything done for at least two years, he successfully demonstrated that total government inaction leads to an economic boom.

    Bob Barr is a hero.

  • Brett L||

    Never confuse outcomes with intentions.

  • Robert||

    Exactly. Judge by outcome.

  • ||

    I'm hoping that this is just a clever plan on Barr's part that ends with Duvalier "accidentally" falling out of a helicopter or being cut in half by a kilowatt laser. If not, then fuck Bob Barr.

    -jcr

  • Ben P.||

    Would you settle for the compromise position of being cut in half by a propeller?

  • Ben P.||

    By which I mean Baby Doc meeting his end that way, JCR, not you. I may disagree with you at times, but, you know, you seem okay by me.

  • ||

    Actually, I'm not at all picky about the means of Baby Doc's demise, as long as it's not old age. The most appropriate end for him would be getting the Mussolini treatment from the people he persecuted, of course.

    -jcr

  • Jerry||

    I just read here that when Duvalier first escaped from Haiti in the 80s, he got flown out to France with a U.S. Air Force jet. Makes you wonder...

  • affenkopf||

    And he was flown back into the country because France & the US have trouble with the current dictator.

  • Apogee||

    They did, however, charge him the 25.00 checked baggage fee, so it's not a total loss.

  • Robert||

    What is the matter with you people? Why shouldn't Baby Doc, or anybody else, get good advice? Do you think he won't get good advice from Mr. Barr?

    I assume you're OK with having criminals get legal advice? If criminals, why not retired dictators? Do you think good advice for anyone could make the world worse? If so, why do they call it "advice"?

    And especially, don't you think persons who may very well be influential should have a priority over others when it comes to getting advice?

  • cls||

    The LP seems dominated by conservatives, not libertarians, which is why Barr and Root got nominated. This former LP activists considers the LP not only useless, but destructive to libertarianism. Here is one example why.

  • Yup||

    Not having a consistent philosophy can be problematic.

  • Apogee||

    Not having a consistent philosophy can be problematic.

    Yes, like "the fierce moral urgency of change", or perhaps, "the contract with America".

    Rock solid, unchanging principles that form the bedrock of the Government intervention/regulation-Corporatist ponzi scheme.

    The problem with libertarianism is the presence of a consistent, small government/free market philosophy, not the lack thereof.

    There are simply too many voters whose survival or livelihood depends on the current status-quo - thus explaining the philosophical "pass" that the two controlling parties constantly receive.

  • Yup||

    the presence of a consistent, small government/free market philosophy

    Have you read the comments here? Calling someone who disagrees with you a "douche" and telling him to fuck himself is not a philosophy.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Who here has claimed to be a philosopher?

  • ||

    We are all philosophers.

  • Socrates||

    Rolling over

  • ||

    Aristotle > Socrates

  • Wow||

    SHUT THE FUCK UP

  • ||

    Rectal, what did I tell you before? No more blogwhoring. Do I have to take away your cat urine too?

  • Aristophanes||

    *Shits on the back of Socrates' head for a change of pace.*

  • Max||

    Not having a consistent philosophy can be problematic.

    Having your head up your ass is a bigger one.

  • Geoff Peterson||

    . . . in your pants

  • Stranger||

    It's inevitable that the libertarian party be corrupted from liberty. It's attempting to exercise power on a system that is unnaturally large only because of its power. Everything about it result in diminished liberty.

    Free countries are made by pioneers, not by politicians. The libertarian party is unnatural.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I came to more or less the same conclusion. It might be possible to fix the Libertarian Party by shrinking the national office to an advisory role, stop spending the budget on Presidential races, get rid of top down hierarchy instead having a more networked structure where the state affiliates are largely independent, perhaps with market-like internal operations.

    Might help -- you'd still have "the pledge" in the way, purposely keeping the membership small and purge-happy.

  • Robert||

    If you consider Wayne Root "conservative", I'd like to know what kind of scale you're using!

  • MNG||

    Barr is advising Duvalier to be a dictator and all but to place sunset provisions into all of his edicts.

  • juris imprudent||

    Does Baby Doc really need advice on that from a former Congressman? Seems like being at Papa's knee should've taught him all he needed to know on the subject.

    Considering that Barr started his professional life as a spook and lawyer, this seems like he has just gone full circle.

  • Almanian||

    When the dictators start coming to Washington for advice.....there's a message there somewhere.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I remember when I first heard hollering about how LP candidate Barr is evil from libertarians, I rolled my eyes and thought that he should be given a chance. Mea Culpa.

    Oh, and the LP is worse than useless. In the two-party system the US has, the LP is an essential cog that helps make maintain the system by bottling up potentially destabilizing voters in a comically ineffective party.

  • Xeones||

    Hey, at least it gives blue people a chance to run for the presidency. What other party does that? The Constitution Party? Psshhht.

  • Really?||

    In the two-party system the US has

    Is that system mandated by law or something? We do not have more than two parties because most people choose not to have more than two. It is not as if God handed down this system from the Mount.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Between all the campaign financing and disclosure rules ad bullshit, it may as well be. The people also choose poorly of course, and the LP is not helping out with the piss-poor job it does.

  • Really?||

    Perhaps. I do object to the ever-present assumption that all we will ever have is two major parties. Europe has tighter voting regulations than we do and they come out with coalition governments all the time.

    You can see the LP as bottling up Libertarian votes (largely for Republicans) or as a haven from the Republican Party. It is six of one, half-dozen the other.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Good points, but many Euro-countries have proprep, where the percentage of votes attained by a party is what you get in the parliament or whatever, so I think that makes it easier for smaller parties.

    I think Libertarians and Objectivists and anybody else with pro-freedom inclinations should primarily vote for the better of the R/D choices unless both really really suck, and then should vote for a 3rd party like perhaps the LP or not vote at all. The anti-slavery movement did not gain power through an anti-slavery party, indeed that would have retarded the movement by locking the votes into a perma-loser, eliminating any incentive for one of the main parties to cater to those voters.

  • Lincoln||

    Excuse me. The Republican Party replaced the Whigs as a major party due to its anti-slavery positions.

  • ||

    Game theory suggests that first past the post electorial schemes will result in a two party system. Many Eurpoean countries have proportial representation. Along with voting systems alloing one to rank cantidates, this would make multiple parties viable.

    In practice, ballot access laws make it difficult for third parties. In a state like Illinois, a third party would need 50k signatures to overcome challenges, whereas established parties need not gather any.

    The debates are structured to exclude cantidates, and the government subsidizes major party conventions with hundreds of millions of dollars, even though the nominee is already known.

    Other countries without these problems tend to have more parties and better representation.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I remember when I first heard hollering about how LP candidate Barr is evil from libertarians, I rolled my eyes and thought that he should be given a chance. Mea Culpa.

    Me too. I hope that unprincipled scumbag gets at least a punch in the face from someone who lost a loved one to scumbag Baby Doc.

  • the real JB Aristide||

    mama, I'm coming home

  • Raimondo||

    Raimondo Away!
    http://original.antiwar.com/ju...../20/china-–-a-paper-tiger/

  • ||

    A former U.S. congressman was among a group of American attorneys accompanying former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier as he spoke in the country's capital Friday.

    It's nice to see a former Congressman go straight, and get a legitimate job as a human shield.

  • ||

    True story: I tried to donate sperm and they rejected me. At a Denny's!

  • ||

    Seagulling, anonypussy?

  • Ron Paul ||

    Barr is going to lick whipped cream of Baby Doc's tits, shoot him in the foot, and then pay for him to have an abortion.

    Tell me Barr's not a true libertarian!

  • ||

    Define "true."

  • ||

    Some of you kooks make it sound like Barr is collaborating in torture or something.

    I think when vicious dictators reach out to libertarian types--that can be a really good thing.

    I will always prefer engagement to ostracization--whenever possible. China being an excellent example of what can happen when a vicious dictatorship engages with the outside world. Is China perfect? Hell no! Are they a lot better now than they used to be? I think so.

    Better on economic freedom. Not so great on human rights, but we have to take improvements where we can get them--and the more intertwined dictatorships like that are with human rights minded people like us, the better things are going to get...

    If North Korea reached out to libertarian types for advice tomorrow, should we turn them away? Just so we can say we spurned them? What about Cuba? Should we spurn them too?!

    That would be childish. That would be stupid.

  • Really?||

    Ken, stop being reasonable. It is much more emotionally satisfying to act as a Deacon of the Church of Self-Righteous Anarchists than it is to, you know, actually evaluate things like an adult.

  • ||

    Somehow? Despite a lot of libertarians going all anti-Bush over the Iraq War? They still ended up believing everything the Bush Administration was preaching about neoconservativism and foreign policy.

    It's embarrassing.

    Some of the same people who are criticizing Barr here are some of the same people who were railing against neoconservatives only a few years ago--on this very website too!

  • ||

    I dunno, I think there's a middle ground to be struck over neo-conservatism and Kissinger's realpolitik.

    The problem with realpolitik is exactly what we're seeing here: when it gets out into the open, it looks just terrible. So it has to be an extremely beneficial arrangement (to human interests in general as well as American interests) in order for it to be worth it. Otherwise you're expending political capital on at best a semi-worthy project and hurting not just your own credibility, but the credibility of the belief system you broadly support.

    There has to be a better way of dealing with guys like this to where good things can still happen without cozying up to them and getting some of it on you.

  • ||

    I don't see middle ground between the kind of realism I'm talking about (Kissinger be damned) and neoconservative approaches.

    I think there has been a lot of bad strategy on the cost/benefit analysis. We made terrible mistakes in Southeast Asia and Central America, but I'm not sure that was about realism specifically.

    There's just no sure fire remedy for bad judgment.

    I think the Powell Doctrine was a good remedy for bad judgment on when to commit troops, but what I'm talking about is the alternative to direct involvement. If we don't want to do another Iraq (or Vietnam), then it doesn't have to be all or nothing--and that should be a good thing.

    If there are potential allies already in place who are willing to do the hard work--and it's unnecessary for us to commit our own troops? Then, sure, there's still a cost/benefit analysis to run every day on a marginal basis.

    There are certain issues where I'm willing to take a big hit on the cost side of that marginal analysis though--and nuclear proliferation by state sponsors of terror is one of them. What happens in some of those situations if organizations like Hezbollah win elections?

    I see no middle ground there.

    If Saudi Arabia held free elections, and the results produced an election legitimized version of Osama bin Laden--a clear security threat to the United States?

    I see no middle ground there.

  • Cytotoxic||

    There is no need for middle ground. It's simple: 1) America has the right and moral obligation to protect the rights of its citizens, even if it causes catastrophic collateral damage 2) America has the right to (but it shouldn't necessarily) invade, annex, or otherwise precipitate regime change in any country so long as the imposed regime is appreciably freer.

    These are basic tenents of the American Self-Defense Doctrine. Both the 'realism' and neocon ideas have led us to failure. You are still more cognizant of foreign foes than any non-interventionist ninny nonetheless.

  • ||

    I think when vicious dictators reach out to libertarian types--that can be a really good thing.

    I would prefer to see citizens reach out for libertarian advice on rebuilding after forcibly removing dictators from power.

  • ||

    Me too, but sometimes we have to take what we can get.

    ...and if dictators ask us for advice? Why should we withhold it from them?

    We libertarians take pride in compulsively telling everyone what we think--even when they don't want to hear it. Why deprive the vicious dictators of the world of the same luxury? They're the ones who need our advice the most!

  • Robert||

    It's like the Grouchoism about not wanting to belong to a club that would have such a person as himself as a member.

  • ||

    It is like that. ...with maybe a slight modification.

    "I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as a member." becomes, "No libertarian should join any club that isn't already predominantly libertarian."

    It's really hard to make any headway that way.

  • ||

    We do not have more than two parties because most people choose not to have more than two.

    Haha, good one.

  • Really?||

    No, you are right, it certainly is the result of nefarious cabals and Forces Beyond Our Control™.

  • ||

    Yeah Ken Shultz, stop being reasonable. No other party is being reasonable about anything, and they're consistently getting elected. It's almost like folks in the LP don't want to be elected.

    If you/we are not going to like adults, remember what your mother said: "If everybody decided to jump off a cliff, would you?"

    My answer as a young (but not knowing it yet) libertarian was "Maybe I would, but I'd wear a parachute."

    For the record, I have no idea how this posting might be interpreted by a deep political or philosophical thinker. Feel free to interpret away.

    I just liked Ken and Really's take on the thing.

  • ||

    ...act like adults...

  • ||

    if dictators ask us for advice?

    Unfortunately, I see this as, by definition, preposterous.

    What would the question even be?

    "How can I make my people's lives better?"

    WTF?

    "STOP BEING A FUCKING DICTATOR, YOU ASSHOLE."

    Followed shortly thereafter by, "Hey, waitaminnit! Where are you guys taking me?"

  • Really?||

    Dictators do not think they are dictators, or, if they do, they think it's a good thing. I know you are not as dense as all that.

  • ||

    I don't know that...

  • Robert||

    No, they know they're dictators, and they also know in most cases that they're persons of good will. And usually they're right.

  • ||

    We were just talking about Pinochet up yonder there.

    That's an excellent example.

    Would the people of Chile have been better off without excellent economic advice?

    Being under the boot of a vicious dictator is hard enough--why not at least help alleviate some of the economic suffering?

    Jean Kirkpatrick was right! ...all along.

    I've cited engagement helping temper the roughest edges off of vicious dictatorships from China to Chile; the counter examples are Cuba and Iraq.

    Somebody show me how sanctions brought about better conditions under Castro or Hussein--and then maybe we can have a real argument.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Is "excellent economic advice" what he's offering? From what I read, he was being as lawyerly as possible. His statement against the accusations of mass murder was that he'd heard 'lots of accusations in his time.'

    This is the same asshole who could barely murmur that he thought drugs should be decriminalized, defending a brutal thug who had thousands of people killed. Fuck him with a blender.

  • ||

    I know next to nothing about Bob Barr or what he's said or done.

    It doesn't matter to me.

    If he's vaguely more libertarian than the average bear? Then if whoever he's advising, be it "Baby Doc" or "Papa Roach" or anybody else, will be all that much better a leader for it.

    If a former libertarian candidate can be the interface between whatever government in Hati and the international community? Then that should be good news for the people of Hati.

    I'm not condoning what any dictators past or future have done or will do, and I'm not talking about Barr or anybody else being complicit in or involved with arresting dissidents, torturing people, disappearing people--or any other heinous crime...

    But Americans need to re-familiarize themselves with the work of Jean Kirkpatrick.

    She may not have been right about every detail, but she was so freaking right about so much! ...and in that same part of the word too.

    Why ignore winning strategies? Not that Bob Barr consulting for an ex-dictator in Hati has much of an effect on us anyway, but we're still facing a lot of security challenges in the Middle East and elsewhere in Africa, and coming out on top of that will probably take some modified version of the Kirkpatrick Doctrine.

    There aren't a lot of nice guys to do business with in Central Asia. We have things we need to do there anyway. There may not be any good guys in Pakistan--those folks have nukes anyway. We need to work with those people anyway...

    And if we can't even tolerate doing the smart thing in places like Hati without throwing stones, what are we going to do in places like Uzbekistan and Pakistan, where there aren't any good guys?

    Should we just hold our breath until they become nice and democratic or our faces turn blue?

    One of the things I like best about libertarianism is that it's so practical. We work with the world the way it is. ...and I love making fun of people who refuse to engage the world unless the world changes itself to conform to their idealistic expectations.

  • Robert||

    And read Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett.

  • Robert||

  • Robert||

    "STOP BEING A FUCKING DICTATOR, YOU ASSHOLE."

    Whoever tries that in Haiti is soon replaced by a dictator, fucking or non-fucking, and usually gets shat on for the favor. Sorry, but in Haiti, the only people who have a chance of making people's lives better are dictators, and can only do that by making some people's lives worsen or end. And usually it still doesn't work, but at least it had a chance.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Its Milton Friedman-Augusto Pinochet all over again!

  • ||

    The people who think Barr's conversion to libertarianism was insincere have yet to explain what, exactly, he gained from it. All his LP candidacy did for him was piss off his old Republican friends and contacts.

    This new development looks pretty awful on the surface, but perhaps there's more to it than meets the eye. Let's put the kibosh on the knee jerk reactions, shall we? Before you start moaning about how embarrassing this is to libertarianism, keep in mind also that the second place candidate for the 2008 LP nomination was a woman who publicly stated she thought kiddie porn should be legal.

  • Yup||

    Propaganda can be troublesome.

  • MNG||

    "The people who think Barr's conversion to libertarianism was insincere have yet to explain what, exactly, he gained from it."

    +1 I've always argued Barr's conversion seemed laudable and sincere. It's rare to see a prominent pol change their stance on things like he did for what must have been no reason connected with self promotion.

    "This new development looks pretty awful on the surface, but perhaps there's more to it than meets the eye. Let's put the kibosh on the knee jerk reactions, shall we?"

    Well, +2...

  • Crazy Joe Divola||

    I'm gonna put the ki-bosh on you.

  • ||

    Uh, Jesse, not a single sentence in the quote you pasted into your post is present at the link you give. You also failed to mention that Duvalier's need to interact with the international community is due to his stated desire to transfer his frozen funds to an independent Haiti reconstruction effort.

  • Jesse Walker||

    not a single sentence in the quote you pasted into your post is present at the link you give.

    That's strange. They seem to have replaced one article with another. I'll see if I can find the original elsewhere.

  • Rather||

    Check helle's ass

  • ||

    Also, the linked Amnesty International page does very little in the way of describing anything. They assert disapperances, tortures, and extrajudicial killings but don't go into specifics or provide any independent evidence.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Here's the handiwork of Les Tontons Macoutes.

    Only allowed 2 links, so you can google "Tonton Macoutes mass graves" or "Milice de Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale mass graves" yourself.

  • Rather||

    Advice? The guy exported drugs and body parts. Now I grant you libertarians are experts* on the former, the latter is a question mark.

    *with the obvious exception of sugarfree

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...the latter is a question mark.

    Non, chérie. Cela a deja été répondu.

    The big difference is we'd only allow it for those who volunteer.

  • Rhetorical Question||

    When Reason interviewed Bob Barr for this story, did he express any regrets?

  • Robert||

    Are you people forgetting this is fucking Haiti that we're discussing?

    I had a dream Sun. night in which I was getting advice from Duvalier; however, it was medical advice and it was from Papa Doc, Francois. It's likely I was dreaming with the radio on and had heard mention of Jean-Claude having returned; or else I was psychic. Incidentally, my father, a physician, was an admirer of Francois; I think Daddy liked the idea of a country doctor's rising to become dictator of a Caribbean country.

    Which brings me to my point: When you start out in a situation where the general level of civility is low, the only way you can accomplish anything is with an iron fist. When you're in a regime that has no tradition of settling disputes peacefully, and you achieve anything in terms of public policy, you don't become paranoid; rather, you wake up to the fact that they really are out to get you. You can't afford the degree of presumption of innocence that we have in the civilized world. I'm sure plenty of innocent people get slaughtered under such circumstances, but you know what? That's the only way to get the people who would have had your head first! And don't think you can just bail out; you have a tiger by the tail. If Jean-Claude had just said, "No, thanks" (Which from what I read, he actually tried to do!) when he inherited his station, do you think he'd've been allowed to walk away? Hell no, he'd've been up against the wall just because the next person would think he might come back. And do you think the next strong man would've been any better?

    His father had to become political to make advances in public health and in treatment of the darker skinned. That made him enemies, and it was off from there as described above. Then as described above, Baby Doc was born into trouble.

    I'd like to see any of you do better. What do you think, somehow Haiti is just unlucky and gets monsters in charge? No. The system makes anyone a monster. You never know whether the poor shnook you might spare would stab you in the back.

  • l0b0t||

    Bullshit!! Fly over Hispaniola some time, the difference between Haiti and the Republica Dominica is striking, yet both nations have a history of totalitarianism. Trujillo just didn't engage in the same wrongheaded policies that led to the almost complete deforestation of Haiti's half of the island. Haiti is unlucky in that monstrous strongmen have held the country in a stranglehold ever since they threw out the French.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If what you were saying was true, political freedom - in any extent - would never have evolved, and would not exist, at all, anywhere on this planet.

  • Robert||

    And for almost all of time & space that has been true. What's happened is that in somme places there was a very slow increase in peaceful resolution of differences that came about thru a succession of authoritarian regimes such as feudalism. However, the general tendency is to fight fire with fire.

    Haiti doesn't just have "a history of totalitarianism", if you want to compare it to the Dominican Republic. What Haiti has had, practically since it gained independence, is a succession of insecure regimes, each stabbing the next one in the back. This is much worse than prolonged rule by a strong man, because eventually the strong man becomes more secure and can lighten the pressure.

  • GILMORE||

    What do you think, somehow Haiti is just unlucky and gets monsters in charge? No. The system makes anyone a monster. You never know whether the poor shnook you might spare would stab you in the back.

    I recommend the book, "The Beast of the Haitian Hills" by the Marcelin bros.

    While interpretations vary, I see it as an allegory of what makes Haiti a brutal, ungovernable place.

    But I think the idea is contrary to yours = yes, they are particularly unlucky, and get monsters in charge. And these are the natives saying this. It's not 'the system' to blame, really, because there is no 'system', and never has been. Its nature... law of tooth and nail... bad, bad, bad nature. Maybe that's what you mean. But why it @#()$s them over so bad versus other societies is not so easily dismissed. There is bad shit in the water down there. (in actual fact, as well as metaphorically) You can make any historical excuses you want for Haiti, but ultimately, its a product of itself. Bad voodoo.

  • Robert||

    That is what I mean, yes. I don't think it's because of anything in the water, although I'll allow as genetics might play a part. But you don't really need a biologic explanation, because the pattern is pretty stable and self-sustaining. Fortunately for us, so is its opposite.

  • Brett L||

    I'm actually a fan of the idea that the French leave places ungovernable. Look at Quebec and Louisiana. Or France.

  • Robert||

    Cute! But seriously, folks, that's not the same degree of "ungovernable".

    The principle of individual liberty is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately it's a realistic aspiration only in a society that's already fairly close to achieving it. We live in a society that's generally governed by the rule of law and is generally free, even though there are still crimes and there are lots of exceptions to libertarian principle in public policy. But we must realize that what we're fighting, even in many very socialistic countries, is an deviation from what has been the general thrust of society for centuries. Even in parts of our society that have resorted to barbarism for periods (with extermination camps, etc.), that resort has been a relatively brief departure from the path.

    Not so in the rest of the world.

  • prolefeed||

    I'm gonna play devil's advocate here: off-putting as this news is at first glance, upon further reflection I thought I'd throw this out there: are all the people blasting Barr here saying that really evil people don't deserve legal representation?

  • BakedPenguin||

    No - it's great that he has a lawyer, if it means he'll be tried for his crimes. However, Barr claimed to represent a political party that holds as its ultimate credo that political violence is the greatest potential evil mankind faces (which is true). For him to turn and defend an exemplar of that evil is hypocrisy.

    You can, of course, return with the statement that he was never convicted of any mass killings. Neither were Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.

  • ||

    Barr is not involved with Duvalier's trial in Haiti. He is an advisor for how to get Duvalier's internationally-held funds unfrozen.

  • ||

    Neither were Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.

    That might be explained by all three of those guys still being in power when they died.

  • Robert||

    But Hitler, Stalin, and Mao started with peaceful countries and fucked them up. By all evidence of history, the Duvaliers didn't make Haiti any worse off than things would've been in their absence.

  • l0b0t||

    Nonsense!! Germany, Russia, & China were most certainly not peaceful countries when those men took over. Russia and China were in the middle of revolutions and civil wars, & Germany was a bloody sea of political violence with revolution bubbling under the surface (read up the Freikorps).

  • ||

    Er, in the case of Germany and China, much of that instability was caused by Hitler and Mao (and the movements they led) themselves before taking power. Stalin took over after the Communists had solidified power.

  • l0b0t||

    I'm afraid I must disagree. Germany was tearing itself apart well before Shiklegruber joined the NSDAP (again, read up on the Freikorps). Russia was in the hands of the Bolsheviks but to claim that it was anywhere close to a peaceful country doesn't pass the laugh test. Ditto China, China was anything but a peaceful country when Mao got his ass handed to him in his first uprising in 1927.

  • Robert||

    You don't seem to have the right scale of "peaceful" in mind. Even when those countries undergo a civil war they realize it as a state of war -- a temporary condition, not the usual way of life. Germany, for instance, had turmoil, but most people could trust that their neighbors wouldn't loot them while they were out at work, that their spouses weren't going to be raped by them, that the town down the road wasn't going to get up a raiding party, that a press gang wasn't going to round up their older children, etc.

  • l0b0t||

    Even though that definition of peaceful applies, with quite a few exceptions to Germany during the interwar years, the lack of peace that you describe was EXACTLY what post-tsarist Russia and early 20th century China. Seriously though, to claim that any of those 3 nations were at all peaceful when their respective tyrants took over is just ridiculous.

  • Robert||

    I've never heard that China or Russia at those times fit the description of the war of each against all as I described above. China, Germany, and Russia were considerably more pacified than that! They were tyrannies, but that's very different from a situation where the people around you might turn on you violently at any moment.

  • l0b0t||

    Then you should read more history. China 1927-1939, Germany 1916-1932, & Russia 1916-1932 can not legitimately be described as at peace or peaceful or safe or content or bucolic or anything of the sort. Regardless, the point remains that your claim of Hitler, Stalin, & Mao rising to power in peaceful nation-states while the Duvaliers took over a state at war is nonsensical and not rooted in the historical facts of the time. Hell man, Germany began all that Social Welfare bullshit that the Progressives get all wet about ONLY because Krups, Von Moltke, Bismark, et al were terrified of revolution so they tried to throw a sop to the proles.

  • Robert||

    First of all, even if those countries were as dangerous as you seem to think, those were short periods of time that are recognized as aberrations that would eventually end. Second, the avg. person could, even during those periods, walk around in those countries and carry out hir business and not fear being the target of violence.

  • l0b0t||

    "...the avg. person could, even during those periods, walk around in those countries and carry out hir business and not fear being the target of violence."
    Wrong sir, wrong! Tell that to the Kulaks, the White Russians, the Byelorussians, the Ukrainians, the Kazakhs, the Uyghurs, the Jews, the KMT, Catholics in Prussia/Protestants in Bavaria, ad nauseam. Look Robert, you can backpedal & redefine peaceful all you like, the fact remains that your claim of Hitler, Stalin, & Mao coming to power in peaceful nation-states is utterly & demonstrably incorrect. I'm unsure why you are so intellectually invested in flogging this equine carcass but you are way off base here. It was the very fact that the average person could not carry out their business without the fear of violence that led to the election of the NSDAP in the first place.

  • Robert||

    I bring up avg. people and you point out persecuted groups. Words have meanings.

    But let's say you're correct. Then all the more reason not to blame dictators, wherever they be.

  • l0b0t||

    Wow, your stupid is strong.

  • Robert||

    it's great that he has a lawyer, if it means he'll be tried for his crimes.


    What's great about that? Do you think it's fair when the police pick someone out to ticket for speeding who was just keeping up with the rest of the traffic?

  • Les||

    Your attitude toward Duvalier would be different if one of your relatives had been kidnapped, tortured (raped if it was your daughter), and murdered, for organizing protests against him.

    The shoulder-shrugging philosophy you're espousing absolutely requires a lack of direct experience with a totalitarian dictator.

  • Robert||

    Of course my attitude would be different. I'd want to install someone who would then similarly fuck over his people, and so on and so forth. And if you had been Duvalier, you would have kidnapped, tortured, raped, and murdered such people too -- or you'd've met an early grave. Why do you think he did those things?! Did you think he just liked it?

    In other words, your attitude toward my attitude would be different if you had inherited a presidency for life and the mob was after your skin.

  • Les||

    Just because you feel secure in your feeling that you would have kidnapped, tortured, raped, and murdered people so that you wouldn't be killed yourself, it doesn't mean that other people, like me and many others, wouldn't have died to try to prevent kidnappings, torturing, rapes, and murders. Good people frequently die to protect the innocent. Are you really unaware of this fact?

    I don't know if Duvalier liked doing monstrous things to people. Neither do you.

    And, no, my attitude would be no different if a mob was after my skin. Again, you have to stop projecting. And I think you should start wondering why, given the choices of death, flight, or torturing and murdering dissidents, you would choose the latter with such natural ease.

  • Robert||

    Good people frequently die to protect the innocent.


    Yes, and that's a bad thing, isn't it? That good people frequently die. In fact, when the good die to protect the innocent, that's often the good dying in favor of the mediocre, and society is left worse off.

    I think you should start wondering why, given the choices of death, flight, or torturing and murdering dissidents, you would choose the latter with such natural ease.


    And I think you should wonder why that choice should be so difficult. When it's your choice, why should you be the one to suffer?

  • Les||

    This is bizarre. You're arguing that it was reasonable for Duvalier to kidnap, torture, and murder dissidents, because if he hadn't done that, he would have been murdered, himself.

    It's not only devoid of compassion and morality, but it's assuming he was unable to either leave the country or protect himself from his enemies and that he had no other choice than to kidnap, torture, and murder dissidents.

    Like I said, bizarre.

  • Robert||

    I don't know if Duvalier liked doing monstrous things to people. Neither do you.


    No, but I'm playing the odds, which are in my favor because most people don't like doing monstrous things.

  • Les||

    No, but I'm playing the odds, which are in my favor because most people don't like doing monstrous things.

    This is silly. The odds are most assuredly NOT in your favor. Most people don't like doing monstrous things, it's true. That's exactly why most people DON'T do monstrous things.

    How do most people who DO do monstrous things feel about doing monstrous things?

    Again, maybe he enjoyed it, maybe he didn't. We don't know.

    What we do know is that he had choices, and to suggest that he didn't is not only bizarre, but not grounded in reality.

  • Robert||

    I'm playing the odds, which are in my favor because most people don't like doing monstrous things.

    This is silly. The odds are most assuredly NOT in your favor. Most people don't like doing monstrous things, it's true. That's exactly why most people DON'T do monstrous things.

    How do most people who DO do monstrous things feel about doing monstrous things?

    Again, maybe he enjoyed it, maybe he didn't. We don't know.


    How was Baby Doc selected? He was born into it. There is no reason to think such a "selection" process would produce a sadist, when the odds of any given person's being a sadist are small. Inheriting office is about as random a sampling method as it gets -- leaving aside any genetic factor, which as I wrote I suppose might come into play. But to the extent genetics would come into play, it would only work against your assertion of choice.

    Have you studied his history? On his father's death, he tried to beg off, and spent much of the time out of the country as a playboy. But, like his father, he felt impelled to return and help his country out. He succeeded in reducing the existing level of repression enforced by his political faction and supporters, but that led to instability and he eventually had to flee. There is no reason to think the country would have been less brutal without his intervention.

    You say most people don't do monstrous things, but average people do participate in warfare, because the situation impels it. When people are shooting, you shoot too. Can't you just as easily imagine a continuing war of each against all, where the armed forces are factions within a population?

  • Les||

    Yeah, there's a bit of a difference between shooting back when shot at and continuing a process of mass torture and murder of political dissidents.

    I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree on whether or not it's acceptable to preside over the mass torture and murder of political dissidents.

    And that's a sentence I never thought I'd have to write.

  • Robert||

    Heh...and people think the fat guy's stopping the trolley isn't relevant to real life!

    People here condemning the Duvaliers remind me of the thinking of those who favor gun control. They think that nice, peaceful people like them, if they get hold of a gun, stand a good chance of just impulsively turning to a life of crime...just because.

  • Cytotoxic||

    WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK?@!>?!!

  • MNG||

    Andrew Koppelman on "The Brocoli Objection" to the mandate

    http://balkin.blogspot.com/201.....ction.html

    "If [the federal government] decided everybody needs to eat broccoli because broccoli makes us healthy, they could mandate that everybody has to eat broccoli each week?"… The Broccoli Objection, as I will call it, rests on a simple mistake: treating a slippery slope argument as a logical one, when in fact it is an empirical one. [A]ny slippery slope argument depends on a prediction that the instant case will in fact increase the likelihood of the danger case. If there is in fact no danger, then the fact that there logically could be has no weight. For instance, the federal taxing power theoretically empowers the government to tax incomes at 100%, thereby wrecking the economy. But there’s no slippery slope, because there is no incentive to do this, so it won’t happen.

    Similarly with the Broccoli Objection. The fear rests on one real problem: there are lots of private producers, including many in agriculture, who want to use the coercive power of the federal government to transfer funds from your pockets into theirs. But the last thing they want to do is impose duties on individuals, because then the individuals will know that they’ve been burdened. There are too many other ways to get special favors in a less visible way…So Congress is never going to force you to eat your broccoli. On the other hand, you’re probably already consuming more high-fructose corn syrup than is good for you. Subsidies for the production of corn have produced huge surpluses of the syrup, which in turn becomes a very cheap ingredient of mass-produced food, and turns up in a remarkable amount of what you eat. So consumers have to face obesity, diabetes, and dental caries – but no mandate! The Broccoli Objection distracts attention from the real problem. If the Supreme Court is going to invent new limits on the legislature, it should do so in a way that has a real chance of preventing actual abuses...A case like U.S. v. Lopez (1995), which struck down a ban on handguns near schools, does address a real problem: Congress’s tendency to pointlessly federalize ordinary offenses in order to show that it is “tough on crime.” But the Broccoli Objection rests on pure illusion. The danger it aims to address does not exist.

  • Warty||

    So Congress is never going to force you to eat your broccoli.

    I will remember this prediction.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    It's just the same old argument, once again.

    Libertarian: This means they could make us do x

    Progressive: They won't make us do x

    Libertarian: But they could

    Progressive: But they won't

    I think we know who is ultimately right.

  • James Madison||

    "With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a
    metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. ... If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress.... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America."

    "Er, I mean that federal involvement in education, charity, roads, and police are fine... but nutrition!? That would just be crazy."

  • Sidd Finch||

    What does this have to do with the Constitution?

  • ||

    You're confusing a reductio ad absurdum for a slippery slope argument. They are not the same thing.

    If we were debating whether to amend the constitution to include the Commerce Clause today, and some opponents objected that eventually the government would misinterpret it to make us eat broccoli, THAT would be a slippery slope argument (against ratifying the amendment).

    But that's not what's happening here. The law is already written and we have to find a means of interpreting it. The reductio ad absurdum being used today is saying that the administration's preferred interpretation of the Commerce Clause produces absurd results (such as federal power to enforce broccoli eating) that could not possibly have been intended by the ratifiers of the Constitution, indicating that the interpretation is invalid.

  • roystgnr||

    In this dark hour, as we contemplate just how stupid so-called libertarians can be, we appreciate your consoling reminder that so-called liberals can be even stupider.

    Anyone who can't tell the difference between a slippery slope argument and this proof by contradiction should be forced to write "(A => C) && !C => !((A => B) && A)" 100 times on the chalkboard.

  • ||

    you’re probably already consuming more high-fructose corn syrup than is good for you. Subsidies for the production of corn have produced huge surpluses of the syrup

    If i was not eating high-fructose corn syrup i would be eating sugar instead and paying all of 1 cent more per pound for it. I don't like the subsidies either but at least my reasoning why is not completely retarded.

  • GILMORE||

    "I also am reminded of others who have risen from the ashes," Barr said. "The city of Atlanta is the Phoenix city. The people of Haiti, likewise, will rise from the problems created by last year's earthquake and emerge stronger and better than before.

    History of Haiti:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Haiti

    Hmm. Could it really get that much *worse*? I think Barr is trying for an easy layup here. Rising from the problems of the earthquake is one thing... Rising from the problems of "Its Fucking Haiti"? Good Luck Bob.

    Some salient detail:

    - The World Economic Forum ranked Haiti last in its 2003 Global Competitiveness Report.

    - #133 on Index of Economic Freedom (out of ~155?)

    - Literacy = 52% or so, 138th out of 160 countries; average years of schooling = 2.8 per capita

    - Debt as a percentage of GDP? about 30% - 120th out of 130 countries in the world

    - Life expectancy = ~56; #182 out of 225.

    - 74% infant mortality rate (consequently, they try and make babies as fast as they can, constantly)

    - and while I don't have the stat handy, I recall someone once mentioning that *Diarrhea* is a major killer (particularly of children, hence the 74% mortality rate), and, while not always shitting-themselves to death, almost ubiquitous among the population... such that at any given time, a majority of the population suffers from it.

    Add to that fact that only 50% of the population have access to any form of proper sanitation?... well, then you get stuff like, "towns with rivers of shit running down main street"

    I'd link to photos, but they're too depressing.
    ....

    Ranking on my list of "places I pray to god I never find myself"? =

    #1

    I differ with my overlords, The Economist, on this issue

    http://www.economist.com/node/14742450

    Seriously, I much prefer the climate in Somalia. Not as humid. The starving, anarchic Wild West (east) of Africa for me wins out slightly over the drowning-in-centuries-of-shit Newark of the Caribbean

    Bob Barr = Making Haiti 'Better'? Reminder of famous (Paulson?) quote:

    'Better' is Not 'Good'

  • ||

    If Haiti is the Newark of the Caribbean, I guess that means Duvalier is the Mark Zuckerberg of the dictator industry.

  • ||

    Ranking on my list of "places I pray to god I never find myself"? =

    #1

    What about on the surface of Venus during August?

  • GILMORE||

    Quick death > living hell.

  • SIV||

    キングコングの逆襲, Kingu Kongu no Gyakushū (King Kong Escapes) is on one of my local broadcast single-side band channels.

  • SIV||

    キングコングの逆襲, Kingu Kongu no Gyakushū (King Kong Escapes) is on one of my local broadcast single-side band channels.

  • Warty||

    Is anyone else watching The Third Reich: Rise/Fall on the History Channel? It's pretty awesome, but I wish it had more stuff about ghost trucker pawnbrokers.

  • ||

    Back in the day we used to make fun of the History Channel by calling it "The Nazi Channel". But they used to have pretty cool stuff on it. It was never quite PBS level documentaries. But, there was never any leftist bullshit that a lot of the PBS stuff would have. Then at some point in the last ten years it became TV for dorky eight year old boys. What the hell happened?

  • Cytotoxic||

    They ran out of (good) ideas, just like everybody else. Well, the show about whether ancient dictators were psycho or not with the graphic-novel -esque illustrations is pretty good.

  • -||

    Do people still insist that other networks have the same quality of programming as PBS? They used to cite History Channel, Bravo, A&E, Discovery, etc. as wonderful examples of PBS-type programming. Look what they have become: reality TV for retards. (Not that PBS does not offer a few stinkers as well, especially at fund-scrounging time.)

  • l0b0t||

    Even Cartoon Network has started showing stupid, live-action programming. Cartoon Network!?!

  • ||

    History went downhill after Modern Marvels ran out of actual inventions and new technology to talk about. Something inside me died the night I saw "Modern Marvels: Wood" in the onscreen guide.

  • MNG||

    "Newark of the Caribbean"

    That is funny I don't care who you are

  • GILMORE||

    in reality... that's actually unfair to Newark. They were once well-run.

    There's really nothing to compare to. Haiti started bad, and just got worse and worse and worse.

  • l0b0t||

    "There's really nothing to compare to. Haiti started bad, and just got worse and worse and worse.
    reply to this
    "
    Sure there is, we can compare Haiti to the other nation-state with which it shares the island of Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic has the exact same geography, climate, natural resources, demographics rooted in slavery, & a long history of brutal dictatorships. Yet the differences between the 2 nations are striking. Seriously, just fly over the island and you will see that the DR is lush and green while Haiti has been almost completely deforested as the people have been reduced to using wood for fuel. Despite Robert's Duvalier apologia, the root of Haiti's troubles are its shitty governance, not voodoo, not "the system", & certainly not genetics (that theory, espoused above, is paternalistic and racially bigoted in addition to being total nonsense).

  • GILMORE||

    Not disputing your point in general, but you're off on the similarity of the demographics... they are certainly different and have been for over a hundred years. Also the historical population density vis a vis the geographics... % of arable land, etc. It's not *all* 'governance', although that is certainly probably the #1 factor.
    ...

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world.....z1BsOXpNM1

  • GILMORE||

    Seriously, though - you think you *really get* the source of Haiti's problems?

    Send Bob Barr your phone #. He will need it.

  • ||

    Barr "will be representing" Duvalier "in bringing his message of hope to the world," the former Republican congressman's website says.

    Fuck...

    Half the reason why I vote for Libertarian candidates is that they did not do shit like this, or at least I thought they didn't.

    I feel sick.

  • ||

    Voting sucks that way. Representative Democracy sucks that way.

    That's why I prefer markets to government...

    I get to represent myself.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This just in: All politicians suck ass to varying degrees.

    Don't get excited in the least by anyone who gets your vote. Don't hold any would-be leader up, don't hero worship, don't project your hopes onto any of them.

  • ||

    The guy in 2004 (Badnarik) was a truther who drove without a license because he considered drivers licenses to be infringing individual rights. He also wanted to blow up the UN and strap prisoners to their beds 24/7.

    Barr's main opponent in 2008 (Ruwart) said she thought kiddie porn should be legal.

    Would you be more proud of voting for these people?

  • ||

    Tupla, I will take that with a grain of salt.

    Plus what is wrong with being against drivers licenses and being a truther? I am not a truther or against driver's licenses but plenty of people believe crazy shit. In fact i remember someone here saying they thought that government caused all violence and that Kenniwick man was ruled by a government.

  • ||

    "He also wanted to blow up the UN and strap prisoners to their beds 24/7."

    I read that on his site at the time. What it said was that we shouldn't let prisoners work out in their cells--because that only makes them stronger!

    He was joking. Feeble attempt at humor perhaps, but it was supposed to be funny!

    Actually, what he was arguing for was centering the justice system on restitution rather than retribution. He thought prisoners should work to pay back their victims for the crimes they committed.

    And...gotta say? I've driven around in places where people drive without licenses, and I'm not convinced that's such a crazy idea. In fact, most of what the state does with registration and licensing is mostly to extort money out of people--can't say I'd vote against somebody 'cause they thought subjecting people to the DMV was more trouble than it's worth.

    There were lots of good reasons to dismiss Badnarick. Those weren't among the best...

    It's sort of like the stuff I've heard about Palin--people making fun of her because she supposedly said she could see Russia from her back yard. When actually, all she said was that you could see a Russian island from an Alaskan island she named...which turned out to be true.

    I actually see a role out there for Truthers and Birthers too! Logic and persuasion is ineffective on a whole lot of people, and anything that makes such people question authority can't be all bad. Whether they question it because they think the President was born in Kenya or because they think 9/11 was an inside job probably doesn't matter as much as that they question authority.

    I'm not an objectivist. I don't care why people question authority; I don't care how they get there. Just that they get there. Using rational argument on irrational people is an irrational strategy. If some irrational people don't believe the president has the legitimate authority to tell them what to do because they think he was born in Kenya, why would we want to convince them otherwise? If some irrational people are resistant to presidential power plays because they think 9/11 was an inside job, why would we want to convince them otherwise?

  • ||

    I like Bob. Unless he was a truther.

    I'm a bit confused about his current gig; but I don't know him that well, not as much as I know of, say, Arlen Spector or Rick Santorum.

  • ||

    Rebel against the tyranny!

    Of illegal billboards...

    Retards.

  • Random Dude||

    I'm filing this in my WTF cabinet.

    Seriously Barr?!

  • ||

    Oh wow, OK that makes a lot of sense dude.

    total-anonymity.edu.tc

  • ||

    It was a long time ago, and I am much too lazy to review the history of Chile, but-

    Allende was a socialist, and a major part of his professed intent was expropriation and redistribution.

    Pinochet was acting in the interest of people who wanted to protect their property rights, and their contracted economic interests. He did this in a messy and offensive way.

    Libertarians (of the small "L" variety) generally believe in strong property rights, enforceable contracts between willing parties and equality under the law. "We" also believe in individual freedom and minimally intrusive government.

    Does Haiti have any discernible history of these things? Did Baby Doc ever show any interest in equal application of the law?

  • ||

    Disclaimer- I do not believe (unlike some people, apparently) the people of Haiti are ignorant savages incapable of self-government without a benevolently iron-fisted Father Protector.

  • Robert||

    It's not that they're incapable of it, just that they're in the famous prisoner's dilemma.

  • MNG||

    Another in Grimaldi's interesting "life of guns" series from the WaPo:

    "The number of guns with high-capacity magazines seized by Virginia police dropped during a decade-long federal prohibition on assault weapons, but the rate has rebounded sharply since the ban was lifted in late 2004, according to a Washington Post analysis...Last year in Virginia, guns with high-capacity magazines amounted to 22 percent of the weapons recovered and reported by police. In 2004, when the ban expired, the rate had reached a low of 10 percent. In each year since then, the rate has gone up.

    "Maybe the federal ban was finally starting to make a dent in the market by the time it ended," said Christopher Koper, head of research at the Police Executive Research Forum, who studied the assault weapons ban for the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the Justice Department."

    Whole article:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....id=topnews

  • ||

    A cherry-picked study in one state for a couple of years using illegally-obtained data, whose conclusion doesn't really say much about whether the assault weapons ban was a good idea. Color me unimpressed.

    It's also interesting that, between the three tales of woe given by the WaPo as proof of hi-capacity mags being deadly, and the Loughner shooting, the gunmen killed a total of 9 other people. That's smaller than the 10 round maximum allowed under the 1994 law.

  • MNG||

    I think Virginia was picked because it's the WaPo and as it notes MD and DC laws are different in the relevant way, and it covers the years of the relevant law. Also, that the perps didn't kill more than 10 doesn't negate the point about the clips, not everyone is the master marksman that H&R commenters of course are.

  • GILMORE||

    reading the article, it seems they funge their definitions to create something more scary than it actually is.

    Most carbines use 30rd mags. The instances where they mention them being used were crimes where a 'limited' cap mag would have produced precisely the same outcomes.

    And they include handguns with '15rd' mags (also normal for 9mm) as being particularly 'unusual' as well;

    I concede people using those crazy 33rd glock mags in handgun crimes is kinda clearly 'shooting spree' material; but in the one instance they cite, it was ultimately immaterial to what happened. The guy killed one, wounded two. Would a 10 rd mag have stopped the drunken douchebag from going ballistic?

    They also cite 'glocks' as being worth noting as especially scary... when they're no different than any other handgun, really, and are what most cops around the country carry. But they cite 'extended' magazines... which is sort of misleading; glock 'extensions' are usually 2rd baseplates...bringing the gun up to 17-19 rounds, no different than the base capacity for many other comparable handguns, like a springfield XD, Sig 226, Ruger SR9, etc.

    When criminals hit the streets with C-mags on a full-auto M1A with armor piercing incendiary ammo.... then maybe we should worry. The fact that criminals in VA own/use the same firearms most shooters all over the country use safely and responsibly? Color me unimpressed.

    By their own arbitrary definitions, if you had a 'legal' 10rd clip in your pistol, but loaded it +1 (one in the chamber)... well then, you've gone all high-cap criminally insane. When the definitions are so arbitrary, its not that hard to scare up a fictional crisis.

  • GILMORE||

    MNG =

    in the instances cited, its not clear if the perps even 'fired' 10 rds.

    Even if they did, in almost all the cases cited, they weren't on 'shooting sprees' intending mass-murder anyway. The one case where you had someone going on rampage shooting at strangers, he was using basically normal cap mags... Not like the 33rd'rs that loony lougner used.

    Frankly (as above) I wouldn't really be upset if they nixed those 33rd glock mags entirely. Dont see their purpose other than to either pretend you're Morpheus from the Matrix, or go on a criminal shooting spree. But wetting your pants over *15rd* mags in a 9mm pistol is pretty silly. You could ban all these clips and these people would have no prob being equally murderous with a shotgun from WalMart. Probably more so, in fact.

  • ||

    Another reason you don't fight in stupid, pointless wars: you risk getting your technology stolen.

    Chinese officials recently unveiled a new, high-tech stealth fighter that could pose a significant threat to American air superiority — and some of its technology, it turns out, may well have come from the U.S. itself.

    Balkan military officials and other experts have told The Associated Press that in all probability the Chinese gleaned some of their technological know-how from an American F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.
  • .||

    And who was the cigar man who sent American forces over there, do you suppose?

  • MNG||

    WaPo article warns of "what could prove to be one of the most far-reaching and potentially controversial uses of drones: as a new and relatively cheap surveillance tool in domestic law enforcement."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....id=topnews

  • ||

    Mitch McConnell's opening salvo, on Fox this morning was to complain about government "overspending" for the last two years.

    Make that the last TEN years, you useless lying douchebag.

  • ||

    Rebel against the tyranny!

    Of illegal billboards...

    I wonder how many New Yorkers have ever paused to consider whether the Billboard Police qualifies as a "necessary" government function?

  • ||

    I wonder how many people have ever paused to consider whether AdBusters and The Consumerist qualify as sane people.

  • ||

    Listen to this asshat:

    Public Ad Campaign acts on the assumption that public space and the public's interaction with that space is a vital component of our city's health. By visually altering and physically interacting with the public environment, residents become psychologically invested in their community.

    Outdoor advertising is the primary obstacle to open public communications. By monetizing public space, outdoor advertising has monopolized the surfaces that shape our shared environment. Private property laws protect the communications made by outdoor advertising while systematically preventing public usage of that space.

    In an effort to illuminate these issues, Public Ad Campaign uses outdoor media venues for public art, chronicles the activities of artists intent on challenging public/private relationships, as well as other engaging contemporary issues in outdoor advertising and public space.

    Through bold acts of civil disobedience we hope to air our grievances in the court of public opinion and witness our communities regain control of the spaces they occupy.

    Utter bullshit.

  • l0b0t||

    "Private property laws protect the communications made by outdoor advertising while systematically preventing public usage of that space."
    Is not "preventing public usage of that space" the very thing that makes the space private property? Why is this seen as a bad thing? Would they like it if I came to their house and opened that space up to public usage, eating all their Trader Joe's garbage and getting sticky fingerprints all over their Apple products?

  • Robert||

    No, it's not complete bullshit, there's a legitimate gripe there. Surely you grant that there should be a public right of way between bldgs., so people can move about the city. Now suppose you want to put up signs; where would you put them? If you're the gov't, you get to put them on poles in the middle of streets & sidewalks. But if you're just a nobody, the nearest surface you can put your sign on is a wall which is probably private property.

  • l0b0t||

    Exactly, it's private property, that is why the hipsters objecting to the adverts have no legitimate gripe. If you don't like what someone is doing with their property, then you are welcome to purchase that property and not do that thing that irks you so. If you are unwilling to put some skin in the game and would prefer vandalism or the coercive death threat that underpins all government action then you are evil & immoral.

  • Robert||

    But why should you need to purchase all that property when all you need is its surface?

  • l0b0t||

    Purchase is not necessarily required, all you have to do is offer a higher lease rate for my wall than the ad agency pays.

  • ||

    By monetizing public space, outdoor advertising has monopolized the surfaces that shape our shared environment. Private property laws protect the communications made by outdoor advertising while systematically preventing public usage of that space.

    Teh HORROR!

  • l0b0t||

    That's creepy. Since when is the side of my building, or a parcel of land by the interstate that I lease to an advertising agency public space?

  • ||

    It's public because they can see it. Durr.

  • ||


    Through bold acts of civil disobedience we hope to air our grievances in the court of public opinion and witness our communities regain control of the spaces they occupy.

    "Through bold acts of vandalism, we hope to incontestably establish our credentials as hipster douchebags."

  • ||

    But why should you need to purchase all that property when all you need is its surface?

    Here's an idea: if the sight of those billboards is so offensive to you, outbid the sign company for the space, and then don't put up a billboard. Or, rent the space and paint a fucking mural on it, but stop trying to pretend you're doing anything other than stealing from the owner of the property.

  • l0b0t||

    ^^THIS^^
    This concept is equally applicable to Wal-Marts and mosques as well. If you don't want a mosque to be built in an abandoned Burlington Coat Factory (or if you are dead set against a Wal-Mart in Manhattan even though K-Mart & Target have been there for decades) then all you have to do is buy the abandoned building and not build a mosque (or Wal-Mart) there.

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