Category Archives: Government

If Trump goes to war with Iran, he will lose in 2020, by Will Lloyd

An appreciable percentage of Trump’s voters voted for him because he vowed to keep us out of stupid Middle Eastern wars. War with Iran would be among the stupidest. From Will Lloyd at spectator.us:

He would become yet another politician who believes American greatness lies in policing the world.

Here’s a vexing question for Republicans. Does Donald Trump know why he won the presidency in 2016? As the chances of war with Iran – war by design or war by miscalculation – appear to increase, this question grows ever more pressing.

In 2016, Trump ran on such an anti-interventionist platform that you half expected to wake up and find that he’d received all-important endorsements from Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis and the ghost of Susan Sontag. This was Trump at his best. He launched an astonishing broadside against the Bush family in South Carolina:

‘We should’ve never been in Iraq. We’ve destabilised the Middle East… they lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there weren’t none and they knew there were none: There were no weapons of mass destruction.’

Here was the more statesmanlike version given during his acceptance speech at the RNC:

‘After 15 years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.’

Comments like these surely freaked out thousands of lobbyists and planners who’ve grown fat from America’s endless wars. But they proved wildly popular with voters in key states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

A study by Boston University’s Douglas Kriner and the University of Minnesota’s Francis Shen shows how important this non-interventionist stance was to Trump’s victory in 2016. The study, called ‘Battlefield Casualties and Ballot Box Defeat: Did the Bush-Obama wars cost Clinton the White House?’, notes that the domestic effects of the continuous wars of the last 15 years have been unequally distributed.

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Dealing With Radicals, by Charles Norman

People think politics dictates trends in the media, but it’s often the other way around. From Charles Norman at takimag.com:

The great pundit James Bowman recently said, “The biggest mistake conservatives make is to suppose that Democrats control the media. In fact, the power relationship is the other way around: The media control the Democrats.” His remark sheds light on the convulsions going on in the Democratic Party right now. There’s a power struggle in the media for who will set the agenda and issue orders. The resulting confusion is trickling down to Democrat politicians, who aren’t sure how and to whom they’re supposed to submit these days.

This power struggle accelerated at the beginning of this decade with the media class moving to Twitter. As a platform, Twitter is an intellectual’s dream because words and rhetoric are untethered from action and results there. It’s the ultimate literary coffeehouse. As the media migrated to the forum, they underestimated the volatility that occurs when intellectuals from all walks of life (but especially academics who dreamed of jobs in the media) are suddenly on equal footing.

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The Coming Wrath of Barr: The Real Story Behind the Russian Hoax, by Graham J. Noble

John H. Durham, Attorney General William Barr’s pick to head the investigation into the true Russiagate scandal, may be the straight arrow and straight shooter that Robert Mueller wasn’t. From Graham J. Noble at libertynation.com:

If there is any issue that cries out for a special counsel investigation, it is the evolution of the Trump-Russia collusion theory. Attorney General William Barr may well have decided that the nation does not need to go through such an ordeal again, but he did the next best thing by tapping John H. Durham to investigate what could well be the most nefarious political conspiracy in American history.

Durham is Connecticut’s top federal prosecutor, an attorney with a reputation for toughness and a résumé that includes investigations into high-level government corruption cases. Reports suggest that he has been on the job for some weeks already, and that is an indication of how seriously the matter is being taken by the attorney general.

A History Of Investigating Government Officials

In 1999, Durham was appointed special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties among Boston police officers, federal agents, and organized crime figures, including James “Whitey” Bulger. As a result of Durham’s work, four men who had been imprisoned for murder years earlier had their sentences vacated because they had been framed by the FBI. One retired agent was sentenced to ten years in prison on racketeering charges. Another former agent who faced charges died before his trial.

In 2008, Durham was assigned to look into a major scandal involving the CIA’s destruction of graphic interrogation recordings, though the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to bring charges in the case. The following year, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Durham to examine the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” methods.

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The United States of Aggression: War With Iran Would Spell the End of the Republic, by Maj. Danny Sjursen (ret.)

War with Iran would be an even bigger disaster for the US than war with Iraq has proven to be. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Who do we think we are? Truly. The latest reports that the Trump administration is considering plans for deploying 120,000 troops to the Middle East – presumably to strike Iran – demonstrates how Washington’s foreign policy has finally gone off the rails. Crazier still, the impending war with Iran isn’t even the today’s biggest news story – what with all the nonsense, soap opera hullabaloo about the Mueller Report – on mainstream media outlets. What the proposed plan constitutes is nothing less than the most important, and disturbing, global issue of the day. This is how it should be reported by a truly adversarial media: The United States is preparing for an aggressive, illegal, and unwarranted war against another sovereign power thousands of miles from its shores. Again! All true citizens should be beyond appalled and screaming dissent from the rooftops.

The proposed plan comes on the heels of Iran’s decision – prompted by U.S. hostility – to withdraw from certain, though not all, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, better known as the Iran nuclear deal) requirements. This shouldn’t come as any surprise. In fact, it’s incredible that Iran stayed in compliance with the treaty as long as it did. After all, it was the United Statesthat unilaterally scuttled the deal – with which its own intelligence services admitted Iran had complied with – against the advice of its European allies and even Secretary of State Tillerson. By reimposing sanctions on a compliant Iran, the US acted aggressively and actually vindicated any Iranian counteraction. Indeed, President Rouhani had some justification for his claim that Tehran’s move didn’t violate the agreement, per say, but that actually the JCPOA permitted it since reimposition of sanctions was “grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”

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Farage & Gabbard — Lions of the Great Realignment, by Tom Luongo

Nigel Farage and Tulsi Gabbard are emerging as leaders of a movement trying to  wrest control o their own lives away from governments. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

There is a realignment coming in electoral politics. It began with Ron Paul in 2008 and has been building for more than a decade. We know this story well.

That realignment will be about restoring not just national sovereignty but also personal autonomy in a world the rulers of which are desperate to clamp down their control over.

The thing is I don’t think we’ve quite come to terms with the rapidity with which change comes. It builds slowly, simmering below the surface and then one day just explodes into a maelstrom of chaos.

This is where things stand in Britain with the betrayal of Brexit. It is also where things stand with Trump’s daily betrayal of his pledge to end the needless wars and regime change operations.

Tulsi Gabbard will collect a lot of voters sick to death of our foreign policy destroying the lives of millions, draining our spirit and emptying our pockets.

You can see it happening, slowly… and then all at once.

The signs of the chaos as we approach next week’s European Parliamentary elections were there if we were willing to look closely. More often than not, our being distracted or, worse, our normalcy bias keeps us ignorant of what’s happening.

Raising goats I’ve unfortunately witnessed this first hand and in a devastating way. Their entire digestive tracts are simply big fermentation vessels, chocked full of different bacteria working on what they’ve eaten.

When they’re healthy, it’s all good. The good bacteria digests the food, they absorb it and they are vibrant, alert and annoying.

But, if one of those other bacteria begin to get out of control, they can go from healthy to frothing at the mouth and dying overnight.

The goat is the Taoist symbol for ‘strong on the outside, fragile on the inside.’

Our political system is definitely a goat at this point.

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Gabbard Says She’d Drop All Charges Against Assange And Snowden, by Caitlin Johnstone

If the Trump administration prosecutes Assange and Snowden, Gabbard will pick up some Trump voters. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

In midst of an interesting and wide-ranging discussion on the Joe Rogan Experience, Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said that if elected president she would drop all charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“What would you do about Julian Assange? What would you do about Edward Snowden?” Rogan asked in the latter part of the episode.

“As far as dropping the charges?” Gabbard asked.

“If you’re president of the world right now, what do you do?”

“Yeah, dropping the charges,” Gabbard replied.

Rogan noted that Sweden’s preliminary investigation of rape allegations has just been re-opened, saying the US government can’t stop that, and Gabbard said as president she’d drop the US charges leveled against Assange by the Trump administration.

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Drivers Beware: The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in the American Police State, by John Rutherford

Any encounter with the government carries risks, even a traffic stop. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official. The framers would be appalled.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation

We’ve all been there before.

You’re driving along and you see a pair of flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror. Whether or not you’ve done anything wrong, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach.

You’ve read enough news stories, seen enough headlines, and lived in the American police state long enough to be anxious about any encounter with a cop that takes place on the side of the road.

For better or worse, from the moment you’re pulled over, you’re at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.”

This is what I call “blank check policing,” in which the police get to call all of the shots.

So if you’re nervous about traffic stops, you have every reason to be.

Trying to predict the outcome of any encounter with the police is a bit like playing Russian roulette: most of the time you will emerge relatively unscathed, although decidedly poorer and less secure about your rights, but there’s always the chance that an encounter will turn deadly.

Try to assert your right to merely ask a question during a traffic stop and see how far it gets you.

Zachary Noel was tasered by police and charged with resisting arrest after he questioned why he was being ordered out of his truck during a traffic stop. “Because I’m telling you to,” the officer replied before repeating his order for Noel to get out of the vehicle and then, without warning, shooting him with a taser through the open window.

Unfortunately, as Gregory Tucker learned the hard way, there are no longer any fail-safe rules of engagement for interacting with the police.

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