This article gives some examples of how American tactics towards certain types of threats have changed and points out the significance of the change.

Saudi Arabia has been viewed as a critical ally for several decades.

Annual Average Domestic Crude Oil Prices

1964 $3.00 per barrel
1970 $3.39 per barrel
1972 $3.60 per barrel
[In 1973 Saudi Arabia placed an embargo on oil sales to the U.S..]
1975 $12.21 per barrel
1980 $37.42 per barrel
1986 $14.44 per barrel
1998 $11.91 per barrel
2001 $23.00 per barrel
2008 $91.48 per barrel

Respect for good laws is a good thing.

There are police officers in every country who have decent values and genuinely try to do an honest job. But even those decent people, with few exceptions, will do whatever they can to cover up crimes by their buddies. And for some reason, we all go along with it.

An example. What is the difference between serial rapists who gets 85 years, or 327 years, or 428 years, or 764 years and one who gets 10 years? The serial rapist who got 10 years was carrying a badge. At every step he was protected, until publicity got to be too much.

Is that disparity unusual? Do a Google search of the phrase "police officer sentenced" or "police chief sentenced" (in quotes) and judge for yourself. There are exceptions of course. A policeman in my town who raped a number of women was sentenced to 80+ years. But only after his crimes were ignored and minimized by his fellow officers for years.

George Orwell's writings are usually considered artistic gloom. This article will try to explain the useful secret in some his work.

George Orwell's writing is often interpreted as political, but he makes it crystal clear in his work that he sees nature as above politics. In other words, the solution to the problems he portrays are not political solutions, from "leaders", they are natural solutions, from nature. This perspective is the same as one finds in religious books (e.g., the bible).

The first insight from that kind of writing is that a person who is part of a group can never be sure which side of nature they fall on, the good or the bad.

Every group generally considers itself a force for good. The Nazis were purifying their nation. The communists were defending the interests of oppressed masses, etc. We can always see where "they" went wrong, where their idealism turned sour. But we can never see the same in ourselves. We will be the "good ones". We will purify our nation, defend the interests of the oppressed masses, etc.

NaturalRights are rights that come from nature.

Some people have the idea that natural rights come from governments. Artificial or political rights come from governments. Natural rights are from nature.

The writers of the U.S. Constitution understood the tendency to misrepresent the source of natural rights and created a document which basically says "We are not the ones to grant natural rights", but "Nevertheless, we hereby grant them". No Constitution or law or statute actually grants any person natural rights. At best they recognize rights. But when some people have control of political bodies often they try to convince others that they are granting rights, offering freedoms, providing liberties, all of which are simply not theirs to offer.

Any powerful group can force people to pretend that their group is the one granting rights. They can say "You may speak freely to the extent we allow" or "You may travel where we tell you". And if they have the means to force people, many people will begin to agree, in order to avoid problems.  

A core element of natural rights is the idea of a power that "enforces" them, a power more genuine than governments and other gangs.  A person might call the power "god" or "karma" or "nature". Regardless what it is called, ultimately rights are protected by a force greater than any gang.

In colonial America, did a "slave" have the right to walk away from a "slaveowner"? The "slave" had the natural right of course. It is the most basic right of anyone to walk away from anyone else. And in nature one of the most basic crimes is to pursue another person. But the government had made laws that contradicted natural law.

So if natural law, eternal law, says a "slave" has the right to walk away, but government law says the opposite, which should a person respect? It is a question that comes up in a new form every time people in government act to benefit their own specific group.

Corrupt individuals often grant themselves "super rights" and deprive others of natural rights by taking control of a powerful gang, government, etc. 

 

 Natural rights are not actually a concrete set of rights. They vary according to many factors. So giving a set group of natural rights is not really possible. The founders of the U.S. mentioned "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", and yet many of them kept slaves, attacked Natives to get land and so on. Still, the following are some general examples of rights that every person ultimately has, and also some corresponding examples of artificial rights created by people trying to improve upon nature.

 

Some Examples of Natural Rights Some Examples of Political Rights
Speech and thought are never limited by nature. Political powers often restrict individual thought and speech.
There is no natural right to harm another. Governments often require harming people.
Every person has a natural right to travel anywhere. Political rights almost always involve restrictions on travel.

Nature never puts one person inherently above another. Each is different, none is superior.

Governments are often built around "superior" and "inferior" people.

 

A person might ask "But without government controlling our rights, won't everyone start commiting crimes?"

Its important to know the difference between external values and internal values. If you do not commit a certain crime because the government says the crime is bad then you are not " doing something good" by not commiting the crime. You are simply obeying a power. A person who avoids a crime for a power will also commit one for the power. It is better for a person to know what is good and bad than to consult a government in order to make decisions.

One of the most dangerous kinds of people are the types who try to "do good" through things like governments, religious authorities etc. These people have a shallow unseasoned idealism and imagine themselves to have unique qualifications to guide others by force or stealth.

 

People enjoy having power over others and it is common for people who get some kind of temporary power to create a false paradigm that puts them in the position of "guiding" or "helping" or "teaching" those who are not in their gang. It is an adult version of the blind obedience forced on children in many societies, but now the children have grown and gotten power and use it to inflict their values on others. The most extreme examples, like nazi doctors smilingly performing experiments on children who are taught to see the doctors as parent figures, are no different than the more mild seeming examples where a power hungry bureaucrat enforces his or her will on some vulnerable person in the name of some fictional virtue.

Milarepa is a Tibetan historical character roughly comparable to Jesus.

His story helps explain how Tibetan Buddhism has acquired such a powerful mystical component. Briefly, Milarepa was a terrorist in his younger days. He was all around evil. In his later life he touched the opposite extreme.

The important point about his life is the balance. Some people would like to control their, and others', destinies so there is only good. The truth is that you can only observe good and evil, you cannot choose which to be. If you "choose" to be good you will be a fraud. Acting good and being good are not similar.

Judaism has a rich history of branches that needed to be pruned. False messiahs, etc.

Judaism is a deep spiritual tradition, but the people who follow it, Jews, are only human beings.

Sabbatai Zevi was a great leader, a unifier, of Jews, in the 17th century. As is always the case, there was abundant evidence that he was the messiah and he was fully accepted as such by many people. Until he wasn't. In fact there have been dozens of well known claimants to the messiah title.

The messiah, whoever or whatever it is, is closely tied to the legitimacy of authority in the Land of Israel. (The Land of Israel, the actual physical land, not to be confused with any government). Some religious Jews believe that the current overt political structure in the Land of Israel, a sort of democracy with political Jews maintaining their authority through force, is offensive. Others will interpret things in a way that justifies the current political state in the Land of Israel.

An analogy.

If you have a balance (scale) with two sides and you put a stone on one side, and a stone on the other side, both weighing one pound, it will balance. But if you break one of the stones on one side in half, now you must put two (half) stones to balance the full pound stone.

The stone is like a unit of currency. You can divide it's value into smaller pieces (print more currency, create debt) as much as you like. But if you turn one dollar bill into ten dollar bills (by printing nine extra ones) you cannot pretend that the ten dollar bills (created from the single dollar) are each as heavy (or valuable) as the original dollar that was then cut into those ten pieces.

It would be nice, perhaps, to have some magical process where the government could endlessly create wealth for the country by dividing its currency into smaller and smaller units of real wealth while everyone pretended that the new smaller chunks were just as valuable as the original.

liberty (dictionary.reference.com)
1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
4. freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint: The prisoner soon regained his liberty.
5. permission granted to a sailor, especially in the navy, to go ashore.

Freedom and Liberty are two words often used in political conversations.

Liberty is essentially the right to complete control over oneself alone. The right to eat or drink any food or beverage, look anywhere, listen to anything, say anything do anything etc, so long as it is not touching on another person's space in any way.

The earth seems to be at the brink.

Articles about strange disease trends are popping up around the world.

Long term human health is being ignored unsustainably, in favor of political and corporate interests. In the United States, 100% of groundwater is contaminated with herbicides or pesticides or both. In many areas the contamination is very serious but receives minimal publicity. Do research on toxins in your region.

Below are links to a number of articles that show the disregard some companies, and even governments, have for basic human well being.

1) Mystery disease kills thousands in Central America.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/12/mystery-disease-central-america_n_1272286.html

The timing of rises in Kidney disease in Ghana, India and Israel might suggest the problem is related to long term toxicity of a specific pesticide.

Economics can be both a science and an art, but before it can be an art it must be a science.

In nature, at the lowest level, economics starts as the simplest science. Human nature leads a person to experiment and the art develops.

A problem has developed in the popular theory of economics in which the art aspect and the science aspect have become confused. 'Experts' use academic language to present the economy as something that is understood (a science) and will respond to calculated efforts.

During the Cold War the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States was usually described as an economic conflict.

The United States claimed to be defending "freedom from governmental interference in the economy". The Soviet Union claimed to be defending "freedom from exploitation". The United States tried to put the focus on prosperity and liberties (or perhaps opportunities) while the Soviet Union focused on "security through control".