Category Archives: Morality

Why Can the CIA Assassinate People? Jacob G. Hornberger

A secret intelligence agency with a license to kill is not what the founding fathers had in mind. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

Given that we have all been born and raised under a regime that has the CIA, hardly anyone questions the power of the CIA to assassinate people. The CIA’s power of assassination has become a deeply established part of American life.

Yet, the Constitution, which called the federal government into existence and established its powers, does not authorize the federal government to assassinate people.

If the proponents of the Constitution had told the American people that the Constitution was bringing into existence a government that wielded the power to assassinate people, there is no way that Americans would have approved the deal, in which case they would have continued operating under the Articles of Confederation.

Under the Articles, the powers of the federal government were so weak, it didn’t even have the power to tax, much less the power to assassinate people. That’s because our American ancestors wanted it that way. The last thing they wanted was a federal government with vast powers.

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Miseducated or Stupid? by Walter E. Williams

Miseducated is correctable, stupid is forever, so let’s hope it’s miseducated. From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey found that 51 percent of American millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country. Only 42 percent prefer the latter (http://tinyurl.com/ybsejy3f). Twenty-five percent of millennials who know who Vladimir Lenin was view him favorably. Lenin was the first premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Half of millennials have never heard of Communist Mao Zedong, who ruled China from 1949 to 1959 and was responsible for the deaths of 45 million Chinese people.

The number of people who died at the hands of Josef Stalin may be as high as 62 million. However, almost one-third of millennials think former President George W. Bush is responsible for more killings than Stalin (http://tinyurl.com/yb43dlhm). By the way, Adolf Hitler, head of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was responsible for the deaths of about 20 million people. The Nazis come in as a poor third in terms of history’s most prolific mass murderers. According to professor Rudolph Rummel’s research, the 20th century, mankind’s most brutal century, saw 262 million people’s lives destroyed at the hands of their own governments (http://tinyurl.com/lu8z8ab).

Young people who weren’t alive during World War II and its Cold War aftermath might be forgiven for not knowing the horrors of socialism. Some of their beliefs represent their having been indoctrinated by their K-12 teachers and college professors. There was such leftist hate for former President George W. Bush that it’s not out of the question that those 32 percent of millennials were taught by their teachers and professors that Bush murdered more people than Stalin.

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What America Has Done To its Young People is Appalling, by James Ostrowski

Perhaps some of the problems young people face are caused by dysfunctional family situations and our failing education system. From James Ostrowski at lewrockwell.com:

Critics are perhaps too quick to judge America’s young people, citing declining SAT scores, obesity, drug overdoses, addiction to smart phones, bizarre alterations of personal appearance and high rates of (alleged) mental illness.  It’s just too easy to be annoyed at how some of the cashiers at the local grocery store seem unable to carry on a conversation or have chosen to mutilate their faces with pieces of metal.  We are perhaps too quick to condemn the crazed behavior of young protesters in recent years without fully considering what our government, society and culture have done to these poor souls.

Let’s begin at the beginning.  Forty percent of Americans are now born out of wedlock.  Single parent families are associated with a long list of social maladies:

“Children who grow up with only one of their biological parents (nearly always the mother) are disadvantaged across a broad array of outcomes. . . . they are twice as likely to drop out of high school, 2.5 times as likely to become teen mothers, and 1.4 times as likely to be idle — out of school and out of work — as children who grow up with both parents. Children in one-parent families also have lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, and poorer attendance records. As adults, they have higher rates of divorce. These patterns persist even after adjusting for differences in race, parents’ education, number of siblings, and residential location.” Sara McLanahan, “The Consequences of Single Motherhood,” American Prospect (Summer 1994).

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The Ignored Legacy of George H.W. Bush: War Crimes, Racism, and Obstruction of Justice, Mehdi Hasan

The George H.W. Bush send-off will be more disgusting than the McCain send-off earlier this year. From Mehdi Hasan at theintercept.com:

U.S. President George H. Bush addresses the nation from the Oval Office, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 1991 in Washington, after U.S. forces began military action against Iraq. The action has been code named Operation Desert Storm. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)

President George H.W. Bush addresses the nation from the Oval Office on Jan. 16, 1991, after U.S. forces began military action against Iraq, code-named Operation Desert Storm. Photo: Charles Tasnadi/AP

THE TRIBUTES TO former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday aged 94, have been pouring in from all sides of the political spectrum. He was a man “of the highest character,” said his eldest son and fellow former president, George W. Bush. “He loved America and served with character, class, and integrity,” tweeted former U.S. Attorney and #Resistance icon Preet Bharara. According to another former president, Barack Obama, Bush’s life was “a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey.” Apple boss Tim Cook said: “We have lost a great American.”

In the age of Donald Trump, it isn’t difficult for hagiographers of the late Bush Sr. to paint a picture of him as a great patriot and pragmatist; a president who governed with “class” and “integrity.” It is true that the former president refused to vote for Trump in 2016, calling him a “blowhard,” and that he eschewed the white nationalist, “alt-right,” conspiratorial politics that has come to define the modern Republican Party. He helped end the Cold War without, as Obama said, “firing a shot.” He spent his life serving his country — from the military to Congress to the United Nations to the CIA to the White House. And, by all accounts, he was also a beloved grandfather and great-grandfather to his 17 grandkids and eight great-grandkids.

Nevertheless, he was a public, not a private, figure — one of only 44 men to have ever served as president of the United States. We cannot, therefore, allow his actual record in office to be beautified in such a brazen way. “When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms,” as my colleague Glenn Greenwald has argued, because it leads to “false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts.” The inconvenient truth is that the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush had far more in common with the recognizably belligerent, corrupt, and right-wing Republican figures who came after him — his son George W. and the current orange-faced incumbent — than much of the political and media classes might have you believe.

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She Said That? 11/30/18

From Laurell K. Hamilton (born 1963), American fantasy and romance writer, Micah (2006):

The truth may not set you free, but used carefully, it can confuse the hell out of your enemies.

The Deadliest Operation, by Robert Gore

Choose your battles wisely.

One month to the day after President Kennedy’s assassination, the Washington Post published an article by former president Harry Truman.

I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.

Truman had envisioned the CIA as an impartial information and intelligence collector from “every available source.”

But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what’s worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.

Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department “treatment” or interpretations.

I wanted and needed the information in its “natural raw” state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.

Truman found, to his dismay, that the CIA had ranged far afield.

For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.

The article appeared in the Washington Post’s morning edition, but not the evening edition.

Truman reveals two naive assumptions. He thought a government agency could be apolitical and objective. Further, he believed the CIA’s role could be limited to information gathering and analysis, eschewing “cloak and dagger operations.” The timing and tone of the letter may have been hints that Truman thought the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s assassination. If he did, he also realized an ex-president couldn’t state his suspicions without troublesome consequences.

Even the man who signed the CIA into law had to stay in the shadows, the CIA’s preferred operating venue. The CIA had become the exact opposite of what Truman envisioned and what its enabling legislation specified. Within a few years after its inauguration in 1947, it was neck-deep in global cloak and dagger and pushing agenda-driven, slanted information and outright disinformation not just within the government, but through the media to the American people.

The CIA lies with astonishing proficiency. It has made an art form of “plausible deniability.” Like glimpsing an octopus in murky waters, you know it’s there, but it shoots enough black ink to obscure its movements. Murk and black ink make it impossible for anyone on the outside to determine exactly what it does or has done. Insiders, even the director, are often kept in the dark.

For those on the trail of CIA and the other intelligence agencies’ lies and skullduggery, the agencies give ground glacially and only when they have to. What concessions they make often embody multiple layers of back-up lies. It can take years for an official admission—the CIA didn’t officially confess its involvement in the 1953 coup that deposed Iranian leader Mohammad Mosaddeq until 2013—and even then details are usually not forthcoming. Many of the so-called exposés of the intelligence agencies are in effect spook-written for propaganda or damage control.

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Dangers to Dissidents, by Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul breaks with Trump on Saudi Arabia. From Paul at townhall.com:

The brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi has opened a window into the world of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and reminded us that there are many places in the world where disagreeing with your government is a death sentence.

I break with the administration on their response to this killing for many reasons.  If Saudi Arabia is not held accountable for the barbaric murder of Khashoggi, what will it mean for the fate of other dissidents held in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere who are being held without trial?  What message does it send to kingdoms and dictatorships around the region and the world that America considers its defense sales paramount to its stand for human rights?

What will it mean for Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of Nimr al-Nimr, the Shia sheik executed by the Saudis in 2016?

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