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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Meanwhile, in Japan...

The Big Issue For The 2016 Campaign...

"Once we succumbed to the temptation of empire, all else followed: the altered demographics, the bread and the circuses, the demagogues and the Caesars."

Imperial America

Or: Have we gone crazy?

by Justin Raimondo


“May you live in interesting times” – that old (supposedly Chinese) curse seems to define the world today. “Interesting” is meant in the snarkish sense: it is a euphemism for unpleasant, or even intolerable, although in the present context I think a more appropriate term is baffling.

The political elites are baffled by the rise of Donald Trump: how is it that the celebrity equivalent of a circus clown could be number one in the GOP presidential race? Here, after all, is someone who wants to deport upward of some 11 million people – kick down their doors, put them on a train, and send them off to Mexico, in spite of the fact that many of them were born here. Asked by Hugh Hewitt if he’s an authoritarian, Trump didn’t deny it: instead he answered: “Everyone is weak. We need someone strong.”

At the considerable risk of sounding like an old fogy, I must confess to waking up some mornings and thinking: Where in the hell am I? No, it’s not the onrush of senility, although that day may not be far: it’s the indisputable reality that things that wouldn’t have been tolerated, or even taken seriously, as little as fifteen or twenty years ago are now utterly commonplace, and even the norm. Trump is only a symptom of the normalization of the bizarre, and, for lack of a better word, the debased.

I was struck, the other day, by this piece in The National Interest, which discusses the odd changes we have experienced in terms of the foreign policy discourse. Too often, Richard Burt and Dmitri Simes complain, the debate takes the form of a battle of the bumperstickers: what we see are competing slogans rather than rival policies being bruited about. Or, as they put it:

“[T]he debate over international affairs is now badly debased, particularly in Congress. The media, meanwhile, lacks the interest and the expertise (particularly in the digital space) to present vital issues to the American people. At the same time, despite a number of national-security setbacks – including in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya – voters appear ready to delegate authority to political elites with few questions or constraints, perhaps because ordinary Americans see no direct negative impacts on their daily lives.”

A disengaged citizenry, a political class imbued with hubris and the spirit of Caesarism: where have we seen this before? It is late imperial Rome, perhaps at the height of its power – or, perhaps, at the moment before its long descent. There is indeed a certain Romanesque quality to the triumphalist tone of the foreign policy discourse in this country, as Burt and Simes go on to relate:

“With victory in the Cold War and absent a rival superpower to limit and shape U.S. choices, America’s new foreign-policy establishment has adopted a simplistic, moralistic and triumphalist mindset: foreign policy by bumper sticker. This mindset abandons traditional foreign-policy analysis, which emphasizes establishing a hierarchy of priorities, making difficult decisions over tradeoffs and considering the unintended consequences of US actions. It also ignores the fact that America’s political system has consistently failed to sustain costly international interventions when vital national interests are not at stake. Prominent voices dismiss those raising such concerns as cynical realists, isolationists or, more recently, unpatriotic Putin apologists. Many tacitly accept this form of intimidation by interventionists who substitute chest-thumping for coherent and serious, historically grounded arguments.”

What Burt and Simes are really complaining about is the fact that America has made the transition from republic to empire. An empire, particularly one such as the United States, doesn’t need – or thinks it doesn’t need – to establish priorities because, after all, we’re all-powerful, aren’t we? Traditional foreign policy analysis – who the heck needs it? As some anonymous White House aide told Ron Suskind back in 2004:

“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”

In the age of the Caesars the function of reporters, analysts, and commentators is akin to that of ancient scribes: their job is not to note the facts and discern the truth but to reflect the self-created “reality” of the political class, and particularly its Great Leaders. Their job, in short, is to shout “Hail Caesar!” and record his (or her) great achievements for posterity.

“We’re an empire now” … well, yes. That old scold Garet Garrett, a former New York Times editor turned prophet, warned us at the dawn of the cold war of what was not only coming but was already a reality in 1952:

“We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night: the precise moment does not matter. There was no painted sign to say: ‘You are now entering Imperium.’ Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: ‘Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible.’ And now, not far ahead, is a sign that reads: ‘No U-turns.’"

No, there are no painted signs, but there are indications, portents, auguries of our fate: Trump, the cartoon Caesar, may be one of them. The Iraq war, and the ceaseless conflicts that followed in its wake, are less subtle symptoms of the imperial disease, the decadence that eats away at the heart of all republics similarly afflicted with the virus of imperialism. And the symptoms are not limited to the foreign policy and political realms, as the conservative theorist Claes Ryn has pointed out: there are cultural and psychological traits that infiltrate and eventually overthrow the old “republican virtues” of self-restraint, modesty, and civic duty. In our own case, these have been replaced, much to Ryn’s disgust, by recklessness and narcissism, and in this piece he relates his personal experience with the phenomenon.

Ryn describes lunchtime at a McDonald’s in “one of the most affluent and pretentious suburbs in America just outside of Washington, D.C.” It is, in short, the territory of America’s ruling elite, and the behavior of the children is described by Ryn with damning precision: they scream if they don’t get their French fries fast enough, they make noise as if the decibel level measures the degree of their enjoyment, and of course the parents are oblivious to how all this impacts on everyone else in the room. The children are merely reflections of their egotistical parents: in short, both children and parents are spoiled brats. Ryn goes on to write:

“Yes,this picture has everything to do with US foreign policy. This is the emerging American ruling class, which is made up increasingly of persons used to having the world cater to them. If others challenge their will, they throw a temper tantrum. Call this the imperialistic personality – if ‘spoilt brat’ sounds too crude.”

An arrogant, ingrown patrician class, increasingly out of touch, and contemptuous of those who live in “flyover country,” is, in turn, matched in its debasement by America’s plebeians.

Here we see the “trickle-down” theory of cultural decadence demonstrated in the rise of a new form of journalism: news reporting as a function of what Jacob Heilbrunn calls the “entertainment-industrial complex.” Citing an essay by Sam Tannehaus in The American Prospect, Heilbrunn avers that it’s the media and not Trump who are responsible for The Donald’s rise on account of “the temptation to turn every event into a mini-drama.” He notes Tannehaus’s point that this is “deeply injurious” to the journalistic profession which has even infiltrated the newsroom over at the New York Times, that temple of journalistic punctiliousnes – but is this really something new?

Didn’t the “reporting” of Judith Miller turn the run up to the Iraq war into a “mini-drama” – a story of brave “dissidents” like Ahmed Chalabi & Co. uncovering the alleged deception of the bloody tyrant Saddam Hussein? Going farther back in history, what about the Hearst papers reporting the sinking of the Maine as an act of Spanish treachery? And then there were those Belgian babies supposedly speared on German bayonets whose grisly and entirely fictitious fate inspired us to enter the Great War – a lie that was limned by the Great Lantos Hoax which provoked the first Gulf War. Is it really something novel that journalism is no longer about the truth but rather about selling a “narrative”?

Yes, American journalism in the age of empire has become a form of entertainment. In chronicling the decline of the Roman republic, the writer Juvenal disdained the abdication of civic duty by citizens who were content to suffer demagogues so long as they were the source of plentiful “bread and circuses.” The latter surely fits Heilbrunn’s description of the “entertainment-industrial complex.”

Disengaged yet disgruntled, kept down and yet increasingly uppity, average Americans are both apathetic and angry when it comes to politics. They are ready for someone who simultaneously entertains and entrances them with the prospect of an American Caesar. As that grumpy old republican (small-“r”) George Will puts it:

“Some supporters simply find Trump entertainingly naughty. Others, however, have remarkable cognitive dissonance. They properly execrate Obama’s executive highhandedness that expresses progressivism’s traditional disdain for the separation of powers that often makes government action difficult. But these same Trumpkins simultaneously despise GOP congressional leaders because they do not somehow jettison the separation of powers and work conservatism’s unimpeded will from Capitol Hill.

“For conservatives, this is the dispiriting irony: The administrative state’s intrusiveness … may benefit the principal architect of this state, the Democratic Party. This is because the other party’s talented critics of the administrative state are being drowned out by Trump’s recent discovery that Americans understandably disgusted by government can be beguiled by a summons to Caesarism.”

It is truly ironic that today’s “conservative” Trump supporters long for a Caesar to undo the effects of … Caesarism, i.e. Big Government. And yet there is more irony to be had in the rise of Trumpismo, which first caught the nation’s attention on account of the immigration issue.

Every empire has open borders: it cannot be otherwise. Just as we claim the “right” to invade the world, so the world claims the corollary right to invade us. Where else will those Vietnamese allies who fled our defeat find sanctuary? What of the Iraqis made homeless by our wars of “liberation”?

Half a century after Sen. Ted Kennedy’s immigration “reform” changed the demographics of this country forever – legislation that caused barely a ripple at the time – the Trumpkins have decided to make a last stand of it. Indeed, one can locate the date when the issue was decided much farther back – all the way back to the war with Mexico that handed us Texas and the rest of the American Southwest, including California.

Trump wants to send the Mexicans back in railroad cars and buses – but they were here first, and no mere wall will keep them out. We conquered them and they are ours. We’re a global empire – so why are we surprised to wake up one day to find the peoples of the world teeming in our streets?

Once we succumbed to the temptation of empire, all else followed: the altered demographics, the bread and the circuses, the demagogues and the Caesars. Garrett, the prophet of our doom, gave us plenty of warning: he told us there are “no U-turns” – and perhaps he was right. However, that’s one prophecy that has yet to be proved true.


Link:
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/08/27/imperial-america/

Drop the Whole Language and go back to Phonics...

The total dumbing down of America: Eleventh graders given assignment to read "Three Little Pigs" book for kindergarteners
by: J. D. Heyes


For years, Americans concerned with declining educational standards on the primary level have watched as politicians in bed with the teachers unions continually make excuses for poor performances and promise to "fix" discrepancies with "more money" and "more teacher training."

Nothing has worked, even though the United States spends more per student, per capita, on primary education than any other industrialized nation. U.S. students still lag behind those of developed nations.

As CBS News noted in 2014:

The United States spent more than $11,000 per elementary student in 2010 and more than $12,000 per high school student. When researchers factored in the cost for programs after high school education such as college or vocational training, the United States spent $15,171 on each young person in the system -- more than any other nation covered in the report.

In December 2013, the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, added:

American 15-year-olds continue to turn in flat results in a test that measures students' proficiency in reading, math and science worldwide, failing to crack the global top 20.

Book is regularly assigned to kindergarteners
If a recent assignment at a school in New York City is any indication, the reason that American students lag ought to become very obvious.

As reported by the New York Post under the headline "Here's the proof a NYC diploma is worthless," state education officials recently discovered that 11th graders at Landmark High School were assigned a third-grade tome – The Three Little Pigs – as a reading assignment earlier this year.

"The report from the state Education Department says the classic children's fairy tale was just one of several ridiculously easy reading assignments uncovered at" the same school this year, the Post noted.

"'The Three Little Pigs' story was read round-robin style in a grade 11 classroom, which demonstrated limited student access in this class to grade-level text," said the report, from the department's Office of Accountability.

Following a two-day review of the Chelsea school – an institution that has been flagged for poor outcomes and performance – investigators found very "low level" texts in other classes as well, the Post reported.

Some students at Landmark struggled when it came to reading, digesting and understanding age- and grade-appropriate texts.

Private schools okay for the elite, not for the little people
"In classes where students were observed reading challenging text, when asked to answer simple questions about the text, most either reread the words in the text or said they did not know," the report noted.

Here's another telling fact: The classic Three Little Pigs, which is largely illustrated, is actually recommended at all city public schools, but only for kids who just finished Kindergarten.

"I can't even believe this is part of a high school's instruction," the ex-official told the Post. "I'm very surprised to see this. This doesn't seem reasonable for a high school."

That's putting it mildly.

In additional state Education Department findings, young adults at Flushing High School, where the Post reported that 150 failing students took quick "credit recovery" courses so they could graduate, did not remember ever getting a single assignment that was "memorable or challenging."

The Post continued:

At Brooklyn's Boys and Girls High School, more than one-third of all classes were being disrupted by students' chatter a month after Mayor Bill de Blasio touted supposed improvements there in March.

Meanwhile, the ruling class and financial elite continue sending their kids to swanky, expensive private schools on the primary and secondary levels while doing little to nothing to fix failing public schools that do not prepare American kids to compete with children in other developed countries for higher-end employment or to be the next generation's leaders.

Unless, of course, you're President Obama. Then you hypocritically complain about "other people" who use private schools while sending your own kids to one.


Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/050979_public_schools_education_system_NYC.html#ixzz3kJmFtMHe

" Throughout our recent history, there are a number of examples where Congress and the Executive Branch have proposed or passed legislation that, in practice, does exactly the opposite of what elected officials said it would do, in direct contradiction of their titles."

Why do government agencies do the opposite of what they say? EPA pollutes, DEA runs drugs, ATF smuggles guns, FBI plots terrorism
by: J. D. Heyes


The Affordable Care Act that isn't affordable and has raised health insurance rates and the cost of healthcare.

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, designed to improve food labeling but which actually bans states from enacting their own GMO labeling requirements, thus keeping food labels inaccurate.

The USA Patriot Act, a major post-9/11 bill that redefined "patriotism" as massive unconstitutional government surveillance and intrusion.

And so on.

Throughout our recent history, there are a number of examples where Congress and the Executive Branch have proposed or passed legislation that, in practice, does exactly the opposite of what elected officials said it would do, in direct contradiction of their titles.

The same is true of the federal bureaucracy: There are innumerable examples of federal agencies performing tasks and undertaking missions that are diametrically opposite of their founding purpose.

Consider these examples:

-- EPA polluting rivers: The EPA recently caused over 3 millions gallons of toxic waste to spill into Colorado's Animas River while "cleaning up" the Gold King Mine near Silverton, CO. A local retired geologist predicted that the EPA would actually cause a massive toxic spill in order to secure federal funding for a "Superfund" site. And that is exactly what happened, and is happening. Since the incident, the EPA has declared that the affected river water is perfectly clean and safe, although toxic lead and arsenic now line the river banks on historic Navajo land. After spreading their poison on Navajo land and putting countless lives at risk, appointed EPA officials are now defying Congress members elected to represent Americans and refusing to release documents related to the mine spill.

-- Operation Fast and Furious: Begun at the outset of the Obama Administration, Fast and Furious was a gun-running operation headed by the Justice Department and, specifically, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms – the federal agency charged with investigating, among other crimes, gun-running. In particular, the ATF sold thousands of guns to "straw" purchasers who were buying them to transfer to Mexican drug lords south of the border. The plan, according to some, was to have the ATF track those weapons and, upon locating them in the hands of the drug lords, make arrests.

None of that seems plausible from the outset, when you consider that the U.S. government has no authority to arrest anyone in Mexico, and for that to have ever happened would have required the cooperation of the Mexican authorities.

Secondly, there were no tracking devices placed on any of the trafficked weapons, which consisted primarily of "assault weapons" – that is, semi-automatic rifles that resemble military counterparts which are truly assault weapons – so there was no way to actually track them.

Why the operation in the first place? Because, as investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson for CBS News pointed out, it was an administration attempt to push for stricter gun control laws.

-- Drug Enforcement Agency making drug deals: As reported by Business Insider (BI) in January 2014, the DEA – an agency formed to enforce federal drug laws and battle drug trafficking – was actually involving in drug trafficking.

Citing El Universal, BI reported that, "between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels."

From "drug enforcement" to "drug smuggling."

-- The FBI's staged anti-terror campaign: Since 9/11, the FBI – no doubt in an effort to remain relevant, powerful and well-funded, has expended no small amount of resources to manufacture "terrorism" cases.

As reported by The New York Times in 2012, the FBI has essentially created a cottage industry of terrorism, using undercover operatives who pretend to be planning attacks on the United States, only to ensnare "suspects" it has created out of whole cloth.

The paper noted:

THE United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naively played their parts until they were arrested.

Such operations are legal, the paper noted, but just how ethical are they? And in a time when real terrorism is a real threat, should the FBI be in the business of creating terrorist incidents when the agency is supposed to be rooting out and foiling legitimate plots?

-- The Department of State: The diplomatic wing of the U.S. government, the role of the State Department "is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world." But in practice, the State Department has often been used as an organ of espionage for the U.S. intelligence community.

As laid out in Executive Order 12333, titled, "United States Intelligence Activities" and signed by President Ronald Reagan in December 1981, under Section 1.9, the department is required to conduct intelligence operations, which is different from, say, spreading democracy.

As the editor of Natural News, Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, reported recently, the federal bureaucracy's myriad of alphabet agencies has a long history of doing exactly the opposite of what you'd expect them to be doing.

"Almost EVERY federal government agency is now functioning as a rogue entity. Nearly all of them routinely carry out false flag events in order to justify their own existence (and increase their budgets)," he wrote. "In a very real way, U.S. government agencies have become mafia-style cartels carrying out domestic terrorism across America in order to justify their own existence."

The Department of War was renamed the Department of Defense after World War II, by the way. While the Pentagon certainly defends the country, it also conducts offensive operations – makes war, in other words – when ordered to do so by the Congress and president.

Just another dichotomy.


Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/050986_government_agencies_bureaucracy_hypocrisy.html#ixzz3kJlRzEFc

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Here comes the Judge...

These people are no better than NAZIS executed for crimes against humanity...

If you're outraged over the killing of Cecil the Lion, but NOT over Planned Parenthood murdering babies for organ harvesting, you're mentally ill
by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer


The international community was in an uproar over the recent killing of "Cecil the Lion" in Zimbabwe. But very little attention, at least from the mainstream media, is being given to the Planned Parenthood scandal as brought to light by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which is continuing to release a series of undercover videos exposing the nation's largest abortion provider for illegally harvesting tissue and organs from aborted human babies and selling them to biologics companies.

Sure, the media is reporting on the Planned Parenthood saga, but not necessarily from an angle of truth. Like the Obama White House, news corporations like CNN and MSNBC remain in denial about Planned Parenthood's nefarious and illegal activities involving the callous harvesting and sale of human hearts, brains and other body parts extracted from murdered unborn babies in the womb, which is a much more serious offense than a single lion death in Africa.

Late-night talk show goon Jimmy Kimmel, for instance, who back in the spring made fun of vaccine skeptics and parents of vaccine-injured children, was seen manufacturing a few tears in response to Cecil the Lion's death during a recent segment on his show. But Kimmel hasn't said a word about the thousands of unborn babies who are murdered every single day throughout America and chopped up for profit so amoral individuals like Planned Parenthood's Mary Gatter can buy expensive cars.

This disparity in the public's response to these two events is a clear sign of mental illness, and it appears to be rampant throughout the West these days. A lion's death, though unwarranted, is seen as more evil than senior-level officials at Planned Parenthood openly discussing how to sidestep the law as they barter over the value of bloody human body parts in a Petri dish.

ALL life is valuable: human, animal and otherwise

Has the modern world gone so completely mad that human life is now seen as completely irrelevant, while the lives of animals are elevated to a status beyond even humans? Cecil the lion's death is admittedly disheartening, especially if the details surrounding his death are true as they're being presented in the media. But what about unborn human life being terminated for purposes of eugenics and greed?

Watch the undercover Planned Parenthood videos for yourself to see these completely heartless individuals discuss unborn baby organs as if they were nothing more than automotive parts being sold on eBay to the highest bidder.

In this first CMP video, Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Senior Director of Medical Services, goes into great detail about how her organization utilizes techniques to minimize the "crushing" of unborn human beings so their organs won't be destroyed (and thus be salable, which is a felony crime):




The second CMP video expounds upon this, with Planned Parenthood's Medical Director's Council President, Mary Gatter, getting down and dirty into the negotiation process for murdered baby body parts. Gatter jokes about wanting a Lamborghini with all the money she can make over the illegal sale of aborted human baby organs:




If this isn't enough to get your stomach churning, a third CMP video shows Savita Ginde of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains talking about how her organization avoids legal ramifications for illegally selling baby body parts. She even shows to undercover actors samples of this tissue in the lab, remarking how Planned Parenthood has to be careful not to "get caught," especially in states that are "really anti" abortion:



As the Health Ranger, Mike Adams, puts it, "All butchery of innocent life is wrong." But the blatant neglect of Planned Parenthood's genocidal actions against the most innocent of life, that of the unborn baby, is much more deeply unsettling than the isolated killing of a lion.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/050976_Cecil_the_Lion_Planned_Parenthood_organ_harvesting.html#ixzz3kDhvB7xz

Great...

Washington Redskins Change Their Name
News Bulletin:


Daniel Snyder, owner of the NFL Redskins, has announced that the team is dropping the word "Washington" from the team name,
and it will henceforth be simply known as "The Redskins".

It was reported that he finds the word 'Washington' imparts a negative image of poor leadership, mismanagement, corruption, cheating and lying,and is not a fitting role-model for young fans of football.


Link:
http://www.targetliberty.com/2015/08/wahington-redskins-change-their-name.html

Sanders' Foreign Policy - Not Antiwar...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Good question...

Reality Check: Why Aren’t Shootings Sparking Debate Over Anti-Depressants?

Ben Swann


The crime scene tape was still up in Roanoke, Virginia when politicians began calling—almost predictably—for tougher gun control laws.

Here’s a question: why is it always a discussion about guns and not about mental health and mood altering prescription drugs?

This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.

In response to the live TV shooting in Virginia, the usual voices began talking about the need for more gun control without knowing any facts regarding the shooter or how he got that gun.

Without question, Vester Flanagan—the man who carried out the murder of Allison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward—was disturbed. The extent to which he was disturbed we do not know at this time. But what we do know is that, as we watch these high-profile shootings continue to grab headlines, there are important links that are being missed or ignored.

Take the Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, who Flanagan referenced in his manifesto sent to ABC News. Politicians and media talked about the gun he obtained to carry out that church shooting.

And they—and we—have talked a great deal about the Confederate flag.

But what has received very little coverage…

According to CBS News, earlier this year cops searched Roof after he was acting suspiciously inside a Bath & Body Works store. They found “orange strips” that Roof told officers was Suboxone, a narcotic that is used to treat opiate addiction.

Suboxone has a reported history of causing violent episodes in some users.

But there is much more. Back in 1989, 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac, shot 20 workers in Louisville, Ky., killing nine.

Prozac maker Eli Lilly later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.

1999: 15-year old Oregon school shooter Kip Kinkel, who opened fire in his school cafeteria, had been on Prozac.

1999: Eric Harris, the Columbine killer, was taking Luvox.

1999: Conyers, Georgia school shooter T.J. Solomon was on Ritalin.

2005: Red Lake Indian Reservation shooter Jeff Weise was taking Prozac.

2007: Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui, who shot and killed 32 people, was on anti-depressants and taking Prozac.

2012: Colorado theater shooter James Holmes… was reportedly heavily hooked on the prescription painkiller Vicodin. And he took a cocktail of anti-depressants before his shooting spree.

2012: Conn. school shooter Adam Lanza’s uncle said the boy was prescribed Fanapt, a controversial anti-psychotic medicine.

And those are only a few examples. There have been no less than 26 cases of mass shootings in the U.S. where the shooter has been taking anti-depressant drugs.

To be clear, we’re not saying Prozac and Vicodin are to blame. But consider the side effects of these drugs:

Prozac: nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, inner restlessness, suicidal thoughts, self mutilation, manic behavior

Vicodin: confusion, fear, unusual thoughts or behavior; anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness; headache, mood changes.

Xanax: depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, unusual risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger; agitation, hostility, hallucinations.

What you need to know is that the use of anti-depressants in America has skyrocketed. Now, 1 in 10 Americans take them, four times as many as did in the 1990s. And while millions of people do not suffer violent episodes, the drug makers warn that some people may, and do.

So when politicians want to have a “national discussion about gun control” after one of these shootings—if we’re being honest—shouldn’t we want to have a national debate about what these drugs might be doing to the minds of some people who already suffer from mental issues?


Link:
http://truthinmedia.com/reality-check-shootings-debate-anti-depressants/?utm_content=bufferadbcb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

"If you would like to see what a police state looks like without going to Cuba, travel to the border regions of the U.S.-Mexico border. The area is filled with agents of the Border Patrol, who have the authority to enter onto (i.e., trespass) onto people’s ranches and farms without a warrant. Oftentimes, they leave gates open and damage the natural habitat with their vehicles. They don’t care. They know that they can’t be sued for what they do. They know that they have the authority to “control the border” and that private owners had better not resist them."

Should Libertarians Support Socialism and Tyranny?
by Jacob G. Hornberger


With laws come enforcement. Whenever one supports a law, he necessarily supports the enforcement of the law. After all, it wouldn’t make any sense to support a law and oppose its enforcement. That would be like supporting lightning and opposing thunder.

This point is an important one for libertarians in the context of the immigration debate.

There are obviously lots of people, including some libertarians, who support immigration laws — that is, laws that prevent the unrestricted entry by foreigners into the United States.

The support of immigration laws is no big deal for non-libertarians. For them, immigration laws are, in principle, no different from any other laws.

Not so for libertarians, however. Libertarians pride themselves for being about freedom. Liberty is the essence of the libertarian philosophy. It’s what sets us apart from liberals, conservatives, and everyone else.

Thus, as part of the freedom philosophy, libertarians oppose socialism and police-state totalitarianism and support the right to do “anything that’s peaceful.”

There’s one big problem, however, for libertarians who support immigration controls: The enforcement of immigration laws entails socialism, police-state totalitarianism, and infringements on economic liberty. That means, obviously, that libertarians who support immigration controls are, at the same time, supporting socialism, police-state totalitarianism, and infringements on the exercise of economic liberty.

Is that a good thing?

What does it say for a philosophy that prides itself on freedom when its adherents are endorsing socialism, police-state tyranny, and infringements on economic liberty? Doesn’t that make libertarians just like everyone else?

Immigration controls involve socialist central planning. A government commission plans, in a top-down, fashion, the movements of millions of people, usually as part of a complex international labor market. It assigns quotas to each country and it decides the qualifications for entry.

It shouldn’t surprise any libertarian that there has been an ongoing immigration “crisis” for than 50 years. Every libertarian knows that that’s what central planning, as compared to a free market, does. It always produces economic crises or what Ludwig von Mises called “planned chaos.” Is there any better term than that to apply to America’s immigration situation?

Mises also pointed out that when government intervenes in a particular economic activity, each intervention will inevitably lead to more interventions, in order to fix the crises that always arise from the previous interventions. Ultimately, the situation moves increasingly in a totalitarian direction.

If you would like to see what a police state looks like without going to Cuba, travel to the border regions of the U.S.-Mexico border. The area is filled with agents of the Border Patrol, who have the authority to enter onto (i.e., trespass) onto people’s ranches and farms without a warrant. Oftentimes, they leave gates open and damage the natural habitat with their vehicles. They don’t care. They know that they can’t be sued for what they do. They know that they have the authority to “control the border” and that private owners had better not resist them.

And no, we are not talking about only ranches and farms along the border itself. We are also talking about ranches and farms miles away from the border.

Take a trip down to my hometown of Laredo, Texas. But if you are a dark-skinned Hispanic you had better be sure to take your passport with you. No, I’m not saying anything about traveling into Mexico and returning. I’m saying, just go to Laredo, Texas, and never enter Mexico. Then, try driving north without your passport. You will not be permitted to go north and return home. Unless you can get your passport sent to you, you might well have to spend the rest of your life in Laredo. That’s because the immigration gendarmes will not let you proceed through their highway checkpoint 40 miles north of town unless you can show your papers.

If you think you can avoid the problem by taking a flight to San Antonio or Dallas, forget it. At the airport, the immigration police are there too. You not only have to go through a TSA check, you also have to go through an immigration check, even though you’ve never entered a foreign country. If you’re a dark-skinned Hispanic-American who can’t speak English very well (and there are many of those in Laredo and elsewhere along the border), you’re not going anywhere unless you can provide your papers.

On a flight out of Laredo, a young Hispanic man seated next to me, who was born and raised in Laredo but who now lives in Dallas, told me that when he comes to Laredo to visit family, he always carries his passport.

And it’s not just in Laredo. Go to Arizona and travel east-west on the Interstate highway. You’ll encounter the same types of checkpoints.

You might decide that you’re not going to cooperate with these officials by refusing to answer their questions or to show your papers. Be prepared for the possibility of having your car window shattered and being dragged from your car, beaten up, and incarcerated. That’s what they sometimes do to people who don’t show the necessary deference to their authority.

What better example of police-state tyranny than these immigration checkpoints? They’re in the American Southwest and they’re also found in communist Cuba.

Should libertarians really be supporting this sort of thing?

That’s not all. There are also roving Border Patrol checkpoints. That’s when the immigration cops just drive around and stop cars indiscriminately and demand to search them. No warrant. No probable cause. Just a “reasonable suspicion” because your car seemed to be riding a bit low and, therefore, might have illegal immigrants in the trunk.

By the way, if they find illegal drugs during any of these immigration checkpoints, I don’t need to tell you what happens. Just ask Willie Nelson.

Should libertarians be supporting this sort of thing?

That’s not all. Remember the point that Mises made: Every new intervention brings new interventions, ultimately leading to omnipotent government.

To enforce immigration controls, they’ve made it illegal to hire, transport, or harbor illegal immigrants.

What does that mean? Let’s assume that a housewife in Laredo hires an illegal immigrant to be a maid or nanny. The immigrant likes the deal because otherwise she wouldn’t have entered into it. If that maid or nanny spends the night in her employer’s home, the employer is guilty of both hiring and harboring an illegal immigrant. Those are felonies, crimes that carry hefty terms in jail.

Or suppose the employee is just a day laborer. At the end of the day, a rancher or farmer gives a ride to his employee to the international bridge. If he happens to be pulled over by an immigration cop, he will be charged with transporting an illegal alien, once again a felony.

Let’s not forget the immigration raids on private businesses in cities across America — that is, the places where American employers have hired illegal immigrants owing to their strong work ethic. Here we have a perfect example of a peaceful, harmonious exchange. The employer wants to hire the foreigner and the employee wants to take the job because it’s much better than what he can get back home.

And then the raid takes place. Well-armed immigration SWAT teams suddenly swarm into a business, screaming and yelling, terrifying everyone, separating out the illegals and arresting them and summarily deporting them, oftentimes without permitting them to notify and say goodbye to their spouses and children.

That’s what a police state looks like. That’s what libertarian supporters of immigration controls are supporting. That’s what they’re trying to get the rest of us libertarians to support — socialism and police-state tyranny.

And it’s not going to stop. We all know that. Despite more than 50 years of the ongoing crisis that immigration controls have produced, nothing has changed. Everyone is still pacing the floors and pulling out his hair in consternation over the immigration “crisis,” a crisis that is caused by immigration controls themselves.

So, that means more and more plans and interventions, which means moving more and more in a totalitarian direction. And the movement toward totalitarianism — toward omnipotent government — becomes permanent because no plan and no intervention will ever accomplish what they want to accomplish.

Is this what libertarians want? Is this what the libertarian movement has come to — the support of socialism and police-state tyranny for the sake of such things as expedience, credibility, or respectability? Are we going to become like the liberals and conservatives?

Heaven forbid. Libertarians and libertarianism are the last best hope for mankind, including people everywhere who are simply trying to pursue happiness and better their lives. We stand for freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony among the people of the world. Let’s keep it that way.


Link:
http://fff.org/2015/08/28/libertarians-support-socialism-tyranny/

"Flanagan, who admitted hating whites, is absolved of that “hate crime” – and the folks at the website that reported it are branded as racists instead."

My Neighbor, the Mass Murderer

By Christopher Manion


This past Wednesday, a racist drove down I-66, a mile from our house, fleeing from the town where he had murdered two of his former colleagues in the broadcast business.

The killer’s name was Vester Flanagan. We now know that he was motivated by racial hatred and spite at having lost his job.

In 2012, he supported Obama’s reelection, even wearing an Obama pin while reporting on election day.

When he heard of the double murder, Obama blamed it on guns. He did not say that “Vester Flanagan could have been my son.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Breitbart carried a news story featuring Flanagan’s racist rants, under the headline, “RACE MURDER IN VIRGINIA: BLACK REPORTER SUSPECTED OF EXECUTING WHITE COLLEAGUES – ON LIVE TELEVISION!”

The story recounted the racist taunts and epithets contained what Flanagan called his “suicide note”: You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!”

On Wednesday evening, ABC’s evening news reported Flanagan’s desire for a race war, without recriminations. But in Breitbart’s report, the Left went bananas.

I find this reactionary response curious, and worthy of analysis.

We have to understand that, in their hearts, many of Breitbart’s hateful critics no doubt agree – or at least sympathize with — killer Flanagan’s allegations that he was discriminated against on the basis of race. The Left has always been burdened by collective guilt, and has thus celebrated Affirmative Action to the max.

The addition of Flanagan’s “coming out” as gay as he “goes out” (kills himself) with a “BOOM” just adds to the Left’s sentimental attachment to the fellow.

Although they oppose (of course – of COURSE!) violence, the Left teaches us that, if there is anyone who had the right to feel aggrieved and to vent his anger, resentment, and envy on whites, it was Vester Flanagan.

But there’s more to it than that, and no one has mentioned it.

Flanagan not only hated, he envied.

He envied his victims, former colleagues Alison Parker and Adam Ward –not only because they had jobs, but because they were both in successful romantic relationships, something that Flanagan’s suicide note complained that he could never achieve.

In his brilliant book Envy, Helmut Schoeck explains this deadly sin thus: Is envy the same as jealousy? Not at all. The jealous person looks at the successful person and says, I don’t have that, and I’d like to have it, so I’ll work hard to achieve it.”

For Schoeck, the envious person is far different: he says, “I’d like to have that, but I’m too incompetent-lazy-unattractive-poor to have it – BUT I don’t want HIM to have it, either!”

Envy is the engine of socialism. The leftist critics of Breitbart’s story envy anyone who tells the truth – look at how they treated Dr. Ron Paul, who has been proven so right that he started a liberty movement that that the bipartisan Crony Establishment can only – envy.

So they lie. Flanagan, who admitted hating whites, is absolved of that “hate crime” – and the folks at the website that reported it are branded as racists instead.

Envy enthroned.

Flanagan envied both of his victims because they had the jobs he wanted and the love he wanted – and they were of the race that he hated.

Three strikes, and they’re out.

We’ve seen the same movie repeatedly. The Left envies any and all truthtellers because they are popular, honest, and brave – qualities which the Left profoundly lacks.

Envy and hate. They drove Flanagan to kill. That’s the crime. Telling the truth is simply our duty.


Link:
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/08/christopher-manion/my-neighbor-the-murderer/

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"So it seems Mother Nature is the scapegoat, not the culprit..."

Draining California
Written by Rebecca Terrell


A parched California is suffering through its fourth year of severe drought. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in 2014 and has since issued increasingly strict mandates, including his April executive order on urban water reduction, calling for fines of $500 a day for people watering their lawns or taking long showers. “The idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water every day, that’s just going to be a thing of the past,” said Brown at a press conference held in an uncharacteristically snowless stretch of the Sierra Nevada.

Yet the California Water Action Plan published by the state’s Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA) and Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) declares, “Much of California’s water system was originally designed to withstand a seven-year dry period without severe damage to the economy and environment.”

A water system ready for seven years of drought, failing in half that time? Brown blames the washout on global warming. “And I can tell you, from California, climate change is not a hoax,” the governor warned ABC News. “We’re dealing with it, and it’s damn serious.”
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Indeed, Brown’s Drought Task Force website compares shocking before-and-after pictures of lakes and waterways transformed from verdant vistas into withered wastelands. CNBC reports that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Palmer Drought Severity Index confirms this is the worst California drought in a century.

But CEPA and CDFA admit that “water has always been a scarce resource in California,” and the state’s climate “has always included extended dry periods.” For example, the catastrophic drought of 1862-1865 wiped out southern California’s cattle industry and ushered in a devastating smallpox epidemic, since drought conditions exacerbate the spread of that disease. The Historical Society of Southern California records that “the rainfall for the season of 1862-63 did not exceed four inches, and that of 1863-64 was even less.” How does this drought measure up? California as a whole averages 20 inches per year, according to NASA, which reported in July that since 2012 the state has accumulated a precipitation debt of about 20 inches, the equivalent of almost a year’s worth of rainfall. So it received on average about 13 inches a year for the past three years.

Over time, farmers and ranchers built their own irrigation systems, until the state took over in the 1930s and teamed with the U.S. Department of the Interior to build the Central Valley Project (CVP), providing water from northern california to towns and farmers in the Central Valley. Building on its infrastructure, in the 1960s, then-Governor Pat Brown — the current governor’s father — spearheaded the California Water Project, a complex system of more than 700 miles of reservoirs, canals, tunnels, pumps, and pipelines that store water and deliver it from northern and eastern rivers to more arid regions of the state. This famous California Aqueduct justifies the boast that the water system was “originally designed to withstand a seven-year dry period.”

So why is the current drought such a crisis?

It “should not be a crisis at all,” writes U.S. Representative Devin Nunes in a recent Investor’s Business Daily editorial. “Much of the media and many politicians blame the San Joaquin Valley’s water shortage on drought, but that is merely an aggravating factor,” claims the California Republican, whose congressional district is centered in the hydro-challenged area. “From my experience representing California’s agricultural heartland, I know that our water crisis is not an unfortunate natural occurrence; it is the intended result of a long-term campaign waged by radical environmentalists who resorted to political pressure as well as profuse lawsuits.”

Former Hewlett Packard CEO and presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina agrees. “Despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia,” she told Glenn Beck in April, “liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled.”

What’s That Smelt?

Like Fiorina and Nunes, many blame green extremists — especially the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club — groups continually hammering California with litigation and government lobbying for more than two decades. Their efforts have paid off in laws, regulations, and settlements that siphon off hundred of billions of gallons of water annually for environmental causes and wildlife refuges.

Their posterchild is the delta smelt, a three-inch minnow declared endangered in 1993. Environmentalists claim massive water diversions are necessary to maintain water levels, temperature, and salinity necessary for these and various other California fish species to survive.

Spurred by green propagandists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a 2008 “biological opinion” blaming water pumps used to irrigate central and southern California for declining populations of smelt. Central Valley farmers countered with a lawsuit pointing to the faulty data and specious conclusions in the FWS study, but to no avail. “To protect smelt from water pumps, government regulators have flushed 1.4 trillion gallons of water into the San Francisco Bay since 2008,” writes Allysia Finley in the Wall Street Journal. “That would have been enough to sustain 6.4 million Californians for six years.”

Instead, it has sustained only drought. As central and southern California transform into a dust bowl, smelt populations have continued to plummet. FWS found a single smelt in its spring trawl survey this year, prompting farmers to demand that the species be declared extinct, allowing them to once again pump water to their parched land. “California fruits and vegetables are sent all over the world,” Republican state Assemblyman Travis Allen told Fox News. “When we are diverting our water to save a few pinky-sized fish and leaving hundreds of thousands of acres fallow — there is something wrong with our priorities.”

Yet even without delta smelt, eco-extremists have plenty of ammunition. “We have 80 fish species in California, like the delta smelt, that are in trouble,” Dr. Peter Moyle of UC Davis told Fox News. “There are other species deserving of protection.”

For example, the 2006 San Joaquin River Restoration Program ensures massive water diversions to create salmon runs. FWS bolstered the program in 2009 with another green-initiated “biological opinion” that the Chinook salmon are at “high risk” of extinction. The state estimates the program has already cost taxpayers more than $1.2 billion. Is the expense justified? “The salmon, which have not been in the river for more than half a century,” explains Nunes, “have proven so incapable of sustaining themselves that agents have resorted to plucking them out of the water and trucking them wherever they are supposed to go.” And while they campaign for the salmon, these absurd environmentalists “also champion protections for the striped bass, a non-native species that eats both salmon and smelt.”

For that matter, none of these fish are indigenous to the San Joaquin Delta. “The entire Delta system is not natural at all. It’s a man-made network of islands that functions only thanks to upstream water storage projects,” Nunes points out. “In fact, without man-made storage projects, canals and dams, in dry years such as this the rivers would quickly run dry meaning there would be no water and no fish.”

He reports the toll of California’s misguided environmental policies to be that 70 percent of water runoff from the Sierra Nevada ends up in the Pacific Ocean at the expense of the state’s farmers and residents. During the first three years of drought, California “flushed 652 billion gallons into the ocean due to the aforementioned biological opinions, which have prevented the irrigation infrastructure from operating at full capacity,” laments Nunes.

Man Made Drought

So it seems Mother Nature is the scapegoat, not the culprit, in California’s water shortage. Instead, environmentalists have carefully orchestrated the crisis, with the typical ruse of animal rights to conceal their true agenda: depopulation — in this case, targeting the Central Valley through water deprivation. Nunes recounts a meeting in 2002 with NRDC representatives lobbying for increased water restrictions. They admitted “their goal was to remove 1.3 million acres of farmland from production.”

“They showed me maps that laid out their whole plan,” recalls Nunes. “From Merced all the way down to Bakersfield, and on the entire west side of the Valley as well as part of the east side, productive agriculture would end and the land would return to some ideal state of nature.”

Their propaganda campaign to demonize California’s farmers reinforces his story. The media-parroted eco-myth blames big agriculture robber barons for greedily gulping down 80 percent of the state’s water. But California Department of Water Resources data reveal a gross distortion in this statistic, which conveniently ignores captured water not intended for human use. In reality, roughly 50 percent of California water goes toward environmental causes, while agriculture uses about 40 percent, with residents and businesses sharing the remaining 10. Take away the fish’s share, and voilà, farmers use 80 percent!

Meanwhile, environmentalists march relentlessly on toward their 1.3 million-acre goal. And they are unnervingly close to reaching it. Nunes tallies one million acres of farmland that now stand idle due to eco-regulations and water restrictions. And the State Water Resources Control Board is poised to help them capture the remaining 300,000 acres, and then some, by means of mandatory limits on human consumption and use of water.

Even as half of California’s water flowed unreservedly to failed fish preservation schemes, last year state regulators imposed pumping restrictions on junior-rights holders — those with post-1914 water permits. This June the Water Board ordered California’s senior water-rights holders to stop pumping surface water, a move affecting more than 100 irrigation districts and water agencies across the state. Historically sheltered from government restrictions, senior water rights are those established prior to 1914 when California first started issuing permits. This is only the second time in California history when the state has limited senior rights; the first was in 1977, also under Governor Jerry Brown. Violators of the new restriction face fines up to $1,000 per day and $2,500 per acre foot of water, or roughly 326,000 gallons.

Both farmers and residents are already feeling the heat. The Sacramento Bee quoted Water Board executive director Tom Howard warning, “There will be some land ending up being fallowed as a result.” Electric generation and municipal water supplies are endangered, too. For example, senior right holder Byron Bethany Irrigation District in northern California supplies water to several power plants and, until shortly after the ruling, was the sole water source for one suburban community, which quickly scrambled to buy water from a neighboring district.

One of several districts that have answered the new regulation with lawsuits, Byron Bethany now faces an unprecedented $1.55 million fine for continuing to draw restricted water. Likewise, West Side Irrigation District based in Tracy, California, about 60 miles east of San Francisco, sued the Water Board and found itself slapped with a hefty fine. The board denies charges by both districts of retaliation for their lawsuits.

Rights holders are justifiably incensed. Last November California voters approved a $7.5 billion bond to build new water storage facilities. Though the measure was Governor Brown’s top priority in his 2014 reelection bid, only “$750 million [have] been allocated so far, but not a dime for dams.” This is according to Stephen Frank, political consultant and publisher of California Political News & Views, who relates that more than one-third of the allocated funds, $287.5 million, is earmarked for smelt preservation and salmon run development.

“Why does Jerry Brown so dislike Californians?” asks Frank. “He openly lied about the water bond.... Now in the midst of a water shortage HE caused, he wants to use close to $300 million to give water to fish, not people. This may be the sickest policy ever.”

Not that Brown doesn’t have plans for the remaining $6.75 billion. He held a July 10 summit in Sacramento to discuss “Lev­eraging Technology to Build a Drought Resilient California.” Greenbiz.com lists some of the high-tech drought defense solutions offered by scientists and policymakers who attended:

Water conservation software based on behavioral science and cloud computing. Agricultural irrigation technology using sensors to measure sap in grape vines. Satellites that measure plant water needs. Home greywater recycling systems. Water meters connected to the Internet. Solar-powered desalination.

Along with plans of government surveillance of water use, there were also suggestions for protecting California’s fish. But the day’s theme was limited to conserving water resources that will continue to dwindle thanks to government management of water allocation. Brown’s agenda omitted reference to storage facilities, dams, pumps, etc. — the measures voters approved last November. Nor was there mention of reversing disastrous environmental policies that perpetuate the crisis.

To add insult to injury, “More than $320 million that was supposed to be rushed to drought-stricken California communities sits unspent in government bank accounts,” according to CBS News Sacramento. This is the balance of the $687 million Governor Brown set aside back in 2014 when he declared a state of emergency. Lawmakers claimed the funds would upgrade outdated water systems and protect wells from contamination. Pipelines and water-treatment plants have yet to receive funding, though expenditures have ensured a “vanishing pond near Sacramento has been replenished, protecting a popular breeding ground for the threatened giant garter snake.”

Enter the federal government. In December and again in July, the U.S. House passed bills to restore some of the water diverted for salmon and smelt back to farmers in central and southern California. But President Obama has promised to veto such legislation. “Instead, administration policy regarding the crisis has amounted to a welfare program,” noted Jack Kenny, writing for The New American. “Josh Earnest, the president’s press secretary, said … the administration is not considering any policy changes, adding that Obama has offered relief to the state in the form of $60 million to California food banks and $15 million for farmers and ranchers.” Unfortunately, those unconstitutionally distributed funds are just as likely to be misallocated as California’s bond money and emergency reserve.

And it’s no use trying to drill a well for relief from the radical assault on surface water. Governor Brown took care of that last September when he signed an unprecedented law that forever limits even private property owners from groundwater pumping. The new restrictions will be phased in during the next decade, turning authority over to the Water Board.

“With the stroke of his pen,” wrote Republican State Senator Jim Nielsen, “the Governor changed over 100 years of water laws — without the people’s input.” He warned, “Californians who rely on groundwater will now have to deal with not only new and unaccountable government agencies that will police water usage; they will be at the mercy of these faceless bureaucrats who will impose unknown fees and fines.” Nunes likewise predicts, “Many farmers will not be able to keep growing food if they continue to receive zero water allocations and are restricted from tapping enough ground water.”

Water Wars

Water has long been a fighting word in the American West. It’s said that Mark Twain observed on his return from a trip to California, “Out there, whiskey is for drinking, and water is for fighting over.” So is there a solution to this age-old dilemma?

“The bottom line for solving California’s water problem is that there needs to be a move toward a market-oriented method for the distribution of water,” wrote economist Walter Williams in an editorial published in The New American online. “Water is distributed in California and other Western states not by market prices but by the political process,” he pointed out. “I need someone to show me that there is such a desperate need for somewhere to grow potatoes, corn and other crops that we need to subsidize making a desert bloom.”

Williams explains a basic economic principle which dictates that, if there is a scarcity of something, the price is probably too low. For years state and federal subsidies have forced this artificial imbalance on taxpayers, who must pay higher prices for their own water as they help foot the bill for farmers. This imbalance is nonexistent in a free market, where agriculture meets demand by the most economic route — e.g., irrigating and farming arid land or importing products — without accusations of over-consumption, and without the government handouts, crippling regulations, and eventual failure that inevitably go hand-in-hand.

California agriculture was founded on such a free market system. The September 1910 Pacific Monthly magazine records how German settlers who founded Anaheim, just outside Los Angeles, began irrigating their vineyards in 1857, thereby surviving the harsh drought of 1862-1865, even as the desiccated cattle industry perished. Within the next two decades, Anaheim became California’s leading wine producer, until most of the vineyards succumbed to a deadly parasite. Instead of throwing their hands up in defeat, farmers found profit in citrus, berries, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, potatoes, sugar cane, livestock, and a plethora of other agricultural products. The name “Orange County” is a testimony to their free-market entrepreneurialism.

Now that the government divvies up water rights in California, with an inefficient and inflexible system that promises more water than it can deliver, scarcity abounds. Could free market economics make a difference? They have to ask residents in Kern County, north of Los Angeles, where the Tehachapi Basin provides groundwater for residents, industry, and agriculture. In the 2015 edition of their book Free Market Environmentalism for the Next Generation, authors Terry Anderson and Donald Leal explain that government mismanagement of the aquifer between the 1930s and 1960s caused exorbitant pumping costs and many dry wells, while “withdrawals from the aquifer exceeded recharge by 60 percent.” Acting on behalf of a citizen advisory committee fearful of losing their farms, in 1966 the local water district sued for and won a market-based groundwater rights exchange. In 2006, the California Department of Water Resources credited the move with recovering groundwater levels. “The city of Tehachapi no longer rations water as it did during some periods prior to adjudication,” relate Anderson and Leal, “and rising water tables have brought previously marginal wells back into production.”

Unfortunately, most other California farmers have shackled themselves with dependence on federal and state subsidies. Now that Big Brother has turned on them, they’re crying foul. Yet it should come as no surprise that government distribution of anything encourages costly and inefficient use; water is no exception. Leaving distribution to the free market would allow the price to stabilize and water to be distributed where there is actual need and where it can be used most efficiently. For their own good, Californians should let the market dictate water prices. After all, says Williams, “Government management has been a failure.”


Link:
http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/21465-draining-california

Controlling the World: An Instruction Manual...

JFK...

NEW STUDY OF JFK AUTOPSY REVEALS FALISIFICATION OF X-RAY
Recent find adds weight to conspiracy theories of government cover-up in the Kennedy assassination

By Jim Marrs


A bullet fragment depicted in an autopsy X-ray used to implicate Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy recently has been found to be a faked artifact superimposed on the X-ray sometime after JFK’s autopsy.
Such tampering with official evidence could not have been accomplished without the knowledge of high-level federal officials and adds considerable weight to the claims of government cover-up in that tragic event

The X-ray fabrication was the topic of a 2015 paper by Dr. David Dr. Mantik published in issue three of Medical Research Archives, an international scientific peer-reviewed journal publishing articles in all disciplines of medicine, with a focus on new research.

Oswald, an ex-Marine who had attempted to defect to Russia in 1959, was identified in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s handpicked commission headed by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren as the lone assassin of President Kennedy. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald had used a 6.5 mm Italian WWII carbine to shoot Kennedy from the sixth-floor of a book depository building in downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963.

In 1968, amid controversy over the commission’s conclusion, the Justice Department selected four prominent medical experts to review the JFK autopsy evidence. This became known as the Clark Panel, named after then-Atty. General Ramsey Clark.

Although, the panels’ report was delayed until after the New Orleans JFK conspiracy trial led by Dist. Atty. Jim Garrison, in 1969 it concluded that the Warren Commission had been correct in its major findings though some issues remained in question, such as the location of the president’s head wound.

Interestingly, it was this Clark Panel report that first mentioned a fragment said to be from a 6.5 mm bullet found in the anterior-posterior (AP) X-ray of Kennedy’s skull. The image of this fragment became a critical piece of evidence, although it was not mentioned anywhere in the 26-volumes of the Warren Commission nor in the original autopsy report.

The fragment in question has been described as “the most curious—and unsolved—mystery in the history of diagnostic radiology.”

Larry Sturdivan, a ballistics consultant to the House Select Commission on Assassinations (HSCA), created by Congress in 1976 in the midst of continuing controversy over Kennedy’s death, studied this fragment and concluded the object could not be metal and that he had never seen the cross-section of a bullet deposited in such an odd fashion on a skull X-ray. “I’m not sure just what that 6.5 mm fragment is,” reported Sturdivan. “One thing I’m sure it is NOT is a cross-section from the interior of a bullet. I have seen literally thousands of bullets, deformed and un-deformed, after penetrating tissue and tissue simulants. Some were bent, some torn in two or more pieces, but to have a cross-section sheared out is physically impossible. That fragment has a lot of mystery associated with it.”

Mystery indeed, as the HSCA had relied on the authenticity of this fragment as key evidence in connecting the 6.5 mm bullet piece to Lee Harvey Oswald.
Furthermore, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), formed by Congress in 1994 to study all government documents relating to the assassination, the three JFK autopsy doctors testified under oath that they had never seen such a fragment during the autopsy.

The mystery deepened in 2015 with the work of Dr. David Mantik, a California physician, who along with Dr. Cyril Wecht, a former president of the American Academy of Forensic Science, had studied the JFK X-rays and other material for nine days at the National Archives. “Hundreds of optical density measurements were made from the (supposed) original skull X-rays, with a specific focus on the 6.5 mm object that lies within JFK’s right orbit on the AP skull X-ray,” said Dr. Mantik.

After careful study, Dr. Mantik saw the fragment was strangely transparent. He realized this artifact had been added to the JFK X-ray in the darkroom. He explained it was accomplished by means of a double exposure of a 6.5 mm aperture, such as a 6.5 mm hole in a piece of cardboard. “[T]he first step was to imprint the image from the original X-ray onto a duplicate film (via a light box in the dark room). The second step was another exposure that imprinted the 6.5 mm image onto the duplicate film (i.e., superimposing it over the image of the original X-ray). This duplicate film was then developed to yield the image [as it appears in the X-ray]. This process inevitably produces a phantom effect, whereby objects (e.g., bullet fragments in this case) on the original film are seen separately [emphasis in the original] from the superimposed 6.5 mm image. On JFK’s AP skull X-ray, the original metal fragment (that lay at the back of the skull) can be seen separately through the 6.5 mm image.”

Dr. Mantik added that the double exposure was so unprofessional it produced a significant overexposure of the 6.5 mm image. He even found one tiny particle of bullet metal inside the 6.5 mm object, indicating the use of a well-known Hollywood technique using photographic double exposure.
Using studies of optical density, which differentiates the lightness or darkness of specific points on X-ray film, Dr. Mantik was able to determine that some time before the 1968 Clark Panel, someone in a darkroom had superimposed the fake bullet fragment onto Kennedy’s X-ray.

Following his extensive study of this issue, Dr. Mantik concluded, “This mysterious 6.5 mm image was (secretly) added to the original X- ray via a second exposure. The alteration of the AP X-ray was likely completed shortly after the autopsy. Its proximate purpose was to implicate Lee Harvey Oswald and his supposed 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano carbine, to the exclusion of any other suspect, and thereby to rule out a possible conspiracy.”
Dr.Mantik said while the purpose of the X-ray alteration could only have been to “implicate the 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano carbine (supposedly owned by Oswald) in the assassination. Its ultimate purpose, however, awaits resolution by professional historians, who have been remarkably reticent about accepting responsibility for their task.”

In his paper, Dr. Mantik identified Dr. John H. Ebersole, the assistant chief radiologist at Bethesda Naval Hospital, as the one person who had the means and opportunity to devise the X-ray forgery. Dr. Ebersole, aided by X-ray technicians Jerrol Custer and Edward Reed, took the X-rays of Kennedy’s head the night of the Autopsy. At that time no one saw any evidence of a bullet in the X-rays. Custer said the next day, contrary to protocol, he burned the page in the duty log concerning the taking of Kennedy’s X-rays on the order of Dr. Ebersole.

Custer also recalled that after the autopsy he was instructed by Dr. Ebersole to make X-rays of bullet fragments taped onto skull X-rays. However, no such X-rays were ever made public. Mantik opined that probably it was decided “alteration was easier to perform in the darkroom via a double exposure.”

Dr. Mantik also found that several weeks after the assassination, Dr. Ebersole was called to the Johnson White House ostensibly to assist in preparing a bust of Kennedy. “More likely, in my opinion, the reason for his summons to the White House was to see how he would react to the now-altered X-rays,” said Dr. Mantik. “Based on this episode then, the alteration must have occurred within several weeks (quite possibly immediately) after the assassination.”

He added that such actions might “explain why the radiologist, Dr. Ebersole, refused to discuss this artifact with me. After all, he was the single individual most likely to possess the required expertise and creativity to perform X–ray alteration.” Dr. Ebersole died in 1993, shortly after his conversation with Dr. Mantik...


Read the rest here:
http://jimmarrs.com/news_events/news/breaking-news-new-study-of-jfk-autopsy-reveals-falisification-of-x-ray/

It's going to get ugly, people...

You haven’t seen anything yet compared to when the rest of the world does what it is now saying it is going to do. They are going to stop using the Federal Reserve Note as the international reserve currency.

Edward Griffin-Hyperinflation Going to Happen in US

“What will the next financial calamity look like to the man on the street? G. Edward Griffin, author of “The Creature from Jekyll Island,” explains, “The main mechanism that people will feel most directly will be the loss of value or purchasing power for their currency. The dollar will buy less and less and less as it has been doing, but it’s been sort of gradual and we get used to it. . . . When you look at the real cost of living, inflation is really pretty high now, but you haven’t seen anything yet compared to when the rest of the world does what it is now saying it is going to do. They are going to stop using the Federal Reserve Note as the international reserve currency. When they stop that, then we have no place to get rid of all these extra dollars we make up in the digital printing press. . . . When that stops, all those trillions and trillions of dollars that we have put overseas will come back to us because the people who hold them, like China for example, will say we can’t use these. Then they will use them to buy up anything they can here. They’ll buy our products . . . but they’ll also buy up our stocks and bonds and real estate. They’ll buy up our politicians or anything else that is for sale to get rid of those dollars as quickly as possible. When that happens all of these dollars will be flooding through our economy. You could say the price of a loaf of bread will be $100, and that is the kind of thing we will see and it maybe even worse. It will be just like we saw in Zimbabwe or Germany in the Weimar Republic.These things happen in history . . . and the United States is not exempt of the laws of economics. It is going to happen here.

“All is not lost, according to Griffin, and it starts with something he calls ‘The Creed of Freedom.’ Griffin is working on global solutions to this massive bad leadership problem.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with economic and geopolitical expert G. Edward Griffin:




Link:
http://investmentwatchblog.com/you-havent-seen-anything-yet-compared-to-when-the-rest-of-the-world-does-what-it-is-now-saying-it-is-going-to-do-they-are-going-to-stop-using-the-federal-reserve-note-as-the-international-re/

'Unprivileged Belligerents'- The US War On Journalists...

We're being Neo-Conned...

Playing the Long Game on Iran
The Neoconservatives, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Republicans Game the System

By David Bromwich


“We’re going to push and push until some larger force makes us stop.”

David Addington, the legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, made that declaration to Jack Goldsmith of the Office of Legal Counsel in the months after September 11, 2001. Goldsmith would later recall that Cheney and Addington were the first people he had ever met of a certain kind: “Cheney is not subtle, and he has never hidden the ball. The amazing thing is that he does what he says. Relentlessness is a quality I saw in him and Addington that I never saw before in my life.”

Goldsmith did not consider himself an adversary of Cheney and Addington. He probably shared many of their political views. What shocked him was their confidence in a set of secret laws and violent policies that could destroy innocent lives and warp the Constitution. The neoconservatives — the opinion-makers and legislative pedagogues who since 2001 have justified the Cheney-Bush policies — fit the same description. They are relentless, they push until they are stopped, and thus far they have never been stopped for long.

The campaign for the Iraq war of 2003, the purest example of their handiwork, began with a strategy memorandum in 1996, so it is fair to say that they have been pitching to break up the Middle East for a full two decades. But fortune played them a nasty trick with the signing of the nuclear agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran. War and the prospect of war have been the source of their undeniable importance. If the Iran nuclear deal attains legitimacy, much of their power will slip through their fingers. The imperialist idealism that drives their ventures from day to day will be cheated of the enemy it cannot live without.

Iran might then become just one more unlucky country — authoritarian and cruelly oppressive but an object of persuasion and not the focus of a never-ending threat of force. The neoconservatives are enraged and their response has been feverish: if they were an individual, you would say that he was a danger to himself and others. They still get plenty of attention and airtime, but the main difference between 2003 and 2015 is the absence of a president who obeys them — something that has only served to sharpen their anger.

President Obama defended the nuclear deal vigorously in a recent speech at American University. This was the first such extended explanation of a foreign policy decision in his presidency, and it lacked even an ounce of inspirational fluff. It was, in fact, the first of his utterances not likely to be remembered for its “eloquence,” because it merits the higher praise of good sense. It has been predictably denounced in some quarters as stiff, unkind, ungenerous, and “over the top.”

Obama began by speaking of the ideology that incited and justified the Iraq War of 2003. He called it a “mindset,” and the word was appropriate — suggesting a pair of earphones around a head that prevents us from hearing any penetrating noise from the external world. Starting in the summer of 2002, Americans heard a voice that said: Bomb, invade, occupy Iraq! And do the same to other countries! For the sake of our sanity, Obama explained, we had to take off those earphones:

“We had to end the mindset that got us there in the first place. It was a mindset characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy; a mindset that put a premium on unilateral U.S. action over the painstaking work of building international consensus; a mindset that exaggerated threats beyond what the intelligence supported. Leaders did not level with the American people about the costs of war, insisting that we could easily impose our will on a part of the world with a profoundly different culture and history. And, of course, those calling for war labeled themselves strong and decisive, while dismissing those who disagreed as weak — even appeasers of a malevolent adversary.”

In this precise catalogue of mental traits, Obama was careful to name no names, but he made it easy to construct a key:

A mindset characterized by a preference for military action: President George W. Bush ordering the U.N. nuclear inspectors out of Iraq (though they had asked to stay and complete their work) because there was a pressing need to bomb in March 2003;

A mindset that put a premium on unilateral U.S. action: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld dismissing the skeptical challenge and eventual non-participation of France and Germany as proof of the irrelevance of “old Europe”;

A mindset that exaggerated threats: the barely vetted New York Times stories by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, which an administration bent on war first molded and then cited on TV news shows as evidence to justify preventive war;

Leaders did not level with the American people about the costs of war:Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz pooh-poohing the estimate by Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki that it would take 400,000 troops to maintain order in Iraq after the war;

Insisting that we could easily impose our will on a part of the world with a profoundly different culture and history: the bromides of Bush and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on the indwelling Arab spirit that yearns for American-style democracy across the Middle East.

Obama went on to assert that there was a continuity of persons as well as ideas between the propagandists who told us to bomb, invade, and occupy Iraq in 2003 and those now spending tens of millions of dollars to ensure that Congress will abort the nuclear deal. “The same mindset,” the president remarked, “in many cases offered by the same people who seem to have no compunction with being repeatedly wrong, led to a war that did more to strengthen Iran, more to isolate the United States, than anything we have done in the decades before or since.”

Those people have never recognized that they were wrong. Some put the blame on President Bush or his viceroy in Baghdad, the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul Bremer, for mismanaging the occupation that followed the invasion; others continue to nurse the fantastic theory that Saddam Hussein really was in possession of nuclear weapons but somehow smuggled them across the border to Syria and fooled both U.S. reconnaissance teams and the U.N. inspectors; still others maintain that Shiite militias and weaponry dispatched to Iraq from Iran were the chief culprits in the disaster of the postwar insurgency.

Bear in mind that these opinion-makers, in 2003, hardly understood the difference between Shiite and Sunni in the country they wanted to invade. To put the blame now on Iran betrays a genius for circular reasoning. Since all Shia militias are allied by religion with Iran, it can be argued that Iraq was not destroyed by a catastrophic war of choice whose effects set the region on fire. No: the United States under Bush and Cheney was an unpresuming superpower doing its proper work, bringing peace and democracy to one of the dark places of the earth by means of a clean, fast, “surgical” war. In 2004 and 2005, just as in 2015, it was Iran that caused the trouble.

Simple Facts That Are Not Known

Because the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has scorned the nuclear deal without any attention to detail, the president felt compelled in his speech to recognize candidly the difference of national interest that exists between Israel and the United States. Though we are allies, he said, we are two different countries, and he left his listeners to draw the necessary inference: it is not possible for two countries (any more than two persons) to be at once different and the same. Obama went on to connect the nations in question to this premise of international politics:

“I believe [the terms of the agreement] are in America’s interest and Israel’s interest. And as president of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.”

The last affirmation is critical. A president takes an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States” — that is, to attend to the interest of his own country and not another.

The danger of playing favorites in the world of nations, with a partiality that knows no limits, was a main topic of George Washington’s great Farewell Address. “Permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded,” said Washington, because

“a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

There are Americans today who submit to a ruling passion that favors uniquely the interests of Israel, and the president had them in mind when he invoked his duties under the Constitution toward the only country whose framework of laws and institutions he had sworn to uphold. Genuine respect for another democracy formed part of his thinking here. Not only was Obama not elected to support Netanyahu’s idea of America’s interest, he was also not elected by Israelis to support his own idea of Israel’s interest.

In a recent commentary in Foreign Affairs, the prominent Israeli journalist and former government adviser Daniel Levy pointed out a fact that is not much remembered today regarding Netanyahu’s continuous effort to sabotage negotiations with Iran. It was the Israeli prime minister who initially demanded that nuclear negotiations be pursued on a separate track from any agreement about the trade or sale of conventional weapons. He chose that path because he was certain it would cause negotiations to collapse. The gambit having failed, he now makes the lifting of sanctions on conventional weaponry a significant objection to the “bad deal” in Vienna.

Obama concluded his argument by saying that “alternatives to military action will have been exhausted if we reject a hard-won diplomatic solution that the world almost unanimously supports. So let’s not mince words. The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.” A measured statement and demonstrably true.

But you would never come within hailing distance of this truth if you listened to the numbers of Congressional Republicans who repeat the neoconservative watchwords and their accompanying digests of the recent history of the Middle East. They run through recitations of the dramatis personae of the war on terror with the alacrity of trained seals. Israel lives in a “dangerous neighborhood.” Islamists are “knocking on our door” and “looking for gaps in the border with Mexico.” Iran is “the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” Barack Obama is “an appeaser” and “it’s five minutes to midnight in Munich.” Elected officials who walk on two legs in the twenty-first century are not embarrassed to say these things without the slightest idea of their provenance.

If there was a fault in the president’s explanation of his policy, it lay in some things he omitted to say. When you are educating a people who have been proselytized, as Americans have been, by a political cult for the better part of two decades, nothing should be taken for granted. Most Americans do not know that the fanatical Islamists, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, the Islamic State (IS) — the active and destructive revolutionary force in the greater Middle East at the moment — are called Sunni Muslims. Nor do they know that the Shia Muslims who govern Iran and who support the government of Syria have never attacked the United States.

To say it as simply as it should be said: the Shiites and Sunnis are different sects, and the Shiites of Iran are fighting against the same enemies the U.S. is fighting in Syria and elsewhere. Again, most Americans who get their information from miscellaneous online scraps have no idea that exclusively Sunni fanatics made up the force of hijackers who struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. They would be surprised to learn that none of these people came from Iraq or Iran. They do not know that 15 of the 19 came from Saudi Arabia — a supposed ally of the United States. And they do not know that the Islamist warriors who brought chaos and destruction to Syria and Iraq are bankrolled in part by members of the Saudi and Qatari elite who have nothing to do with Iran. It has never been emphasized — it is scarcely written in a way that might be noticeable even in our newspaper of record — that Iran itself has carried the heaviest burden of the fight against IS.

Throughout his presidency, when speaking of Iran, Obama has mixed every expression of hope for improved relations with a measure of opprobrium. He has treated Iran as an exceptional offender against the laws of nations, a country that requires attention only in the cause of disarmament. He does this to assure the policy elite that he respects and can hum the familiar tunes. But this subservience to cliché is timid, unrealistic, and pragmatically ill advised. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill did not denounce the Soviet Union when they took that country’s dictator, Joseph Stalin, as a partner in war in 1941, though Stalin’s crimes exceeded anything attributable to the Iranian mullahs. Ritual denunciation of a necessary ally is a transparent absurdity. And in a democracy, it prevents ordinary people from arriving at an understanding of what is happening.

Nuclear Deals and Their Critics, Then and Now

What are the odds that the neoconservatives and the Republicans whose policy they manage will succeed in aborting the P5+1 nuclear deal? One can take some encouragement from the last comparably ambitious effort at rapprochement with an enemy: the conversations between President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Washington, and Moscow in 1986, 1987, and 1988. At the same time, one ought to be forewarned by the way that unexpected change of course was greeted. The neoconservative cult was just forming then. Some of its early leaders like Richard Perle had positions in the Reagan administration, and they were unanimously hostile to the talks that would yield the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) of 1988. The agreement set out the terms for the destruction of 2,611 missiles, capable of delivering 4,000 warheads — the biggest step in lowering the risk of nuclear war since the Test Ban Treaty championed by President Kennedy and passed in late 1963.

But as James Mann recounted in The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan – a narrative of the anticommunist president’s surprising late turn in foreign policy — all of Reagan’s diplomatic efforts were deeply disapproved at the time, not only by the neoconservative hotheads but by those masters of the “diplomatic breakthrough,” former President Richard Nixon and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; by the most widely quoted columnists of the right, George Will and William Safire; and by Timemagazine, which ran a story titled “Has Reagan Gone Soft?” The Reagan-Gorbachev talks were looked upon with suspicion, too, by “realists” and “moderates” of the political and security establishment, including Robert Gates and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. Why Gates? Because he was deputy director of the CIA and the Agency was thoroughly convinced that Soviet Russia and its leadership could never change. Why Bush? Because he was already running for president.

The political and media establishment of that moment was startled by the change that President Reagan first signaled in 1986, as startled as today’s establishment has been by the signing of the P5+1 agreement. This was the same Ronald Reagan who in 1983 had called the Soviet Union “an evil empire.” At the end of his visit to Moscow in June 1988, Reagan was asked by the ABC News reporter Sam Donaldson, “Do you still think you’re in an evil empire, Mr. President?”

“No,” Reagan replied. “I was talking about another time and another era.” And he stuck to that answer at a press conference the next day, adding: “I think that a great deal of [the change] is due to the General Secretary, who I have found different than previous Soviet leaders… A large part of it is Mr. Gorbachev as a leader.”

By 1987, Reagan’s popularity had hit a low of 47% — largely because of the Iran-Contra scandal — but he still retained his reputation as the most irreproachable defender of the West against world communism. Obama for his part has done everything he could — short of emulating the invade-and-occupy strategy of Bush — to maintain U.S. force projection in the Middle East in a manner to which Washington has become accustomed since 9/11. He doubtless believes in this policy, and he has surrounded himself with adepts of “humanitarian war”; but he clearly also calculated that a generous ration of conformity would protect him when he tried for his own breakthrough in negotiations with Iran.

In the end, Reagan got a 93-5 vote in the Senate for his nuclear treaty with the Soviet Union. Obama is hoping for much less — a vote of less than two thirds of that body opposed to the Iran settlement. But he is confronted by the full-scale hostility of a Republican party with a new character and with financial backing of a new kind.

The U.S. military and security establishment has sided with the president. And though the fact is little known here, so have the vast majority of Israelis who can speak with any authority on issues of defense and security. Even the president of Israel, Reuben Rivlin, has signaled his belief that Netanyahu’s interventions in American politics are wrong. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak has advised that, however reluctantly, Israel should accept the nuclear agreement and forge an understanding with the U.S. about what to do in case of its violation. To this remarkable consensus should be added the public letter — signed by 29 American scientists, many of them deeply involved in nuclear issues, including six recipients of the Nobel Prize — which vouches for the stringency of the agreement and praises the “unprecedented” rigor of the 24-day cap on Iranian delays for site inspection: an interval so short (as no one knows better than these scientists) that successful concealment of traces of nuclear activity becomes impossible.

Two other public letters supporting the nuclear deal have been notable. The first was signed by former U.S. diplomats endorsing the agreement unambiguously, among them Ryan Crocker, the American ambassador to Iraq after 2003; Nicholas Burns, who negotiated with Iran for the younger Bush; and Daniel Kurtzer, a former ambassador to Israel and Egypt who served under both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. A further letter carried the personal and institutional authority of dozens of retired admirals and generals. So close an approach to unanimity on the benefits of an agreement among the U.S. military, diplomatic, and scientific communities has seldom been achieved. Even President Reagan could not claim this degree of support by qualified judges when he submitted the INF treaty to the Senate.

Such endorsements ought to represent a substantial cause for hope. But Obama’s supporters would be hard pressed to call the contest a draw on television and radio. The neoconservatives — and the Republicans channeling them — are once again working with boundless energy. Careers are being built on this fight, as in the case of Senator Tom Cotton, and more than one presidential candidacy has been staked on it.

On the day of Obama’s speech, even a relatively informed talk show host like Charlie Rose allowed his coverage to slant sharply against the agreement. His four guests were the Haaretz reporter Chemi Shalev; the Daily Beastcolumnist Jonathan Alter; the former State Department official and president of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass; and the neoconservative venture capitalist, Mark Dubowitz, who has come to be treated as an expert on the nuclear policies and government of Iran.

Haass, passionately opposed to the agreement, said that the president’s speech had been “way over the top,” and hoped Congress would correct its “clear flaws.” Shalev rated the speech honest and “bracing” but thought it would leave many in the Jewish community “offended.” Dubowitz spoke of Iran as a perfidious nation that ought to be subjected to relentless and ever-increasing penalties. His solution: “empower the next president to go back and renegotiate.” Jonathan Alter alone defended the agreement.

Planning to Attack Iran, 2002-2015

By now, the active participants in mainstream commentary on the War on Terror all have a history, and one can learn a good deal by looking back. Haass, for example, a pillar of the foreign policy establishment, worked in the State Department under Bush and Cheney and made no public objection to the Iraq War. Dubowitz has recently co-authored several articles with Reuel Marc Gerecht, a leading propagandist for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In a characteristic piece in the Wall Street Journal last November, Gerecht and Dubowitz argued that the P5+1 negotiations opened a path to a nuclear bomb for Iran. President Obama, they said, was too weak and trapped by his own errors to explore any alternatives, but there were three “scenarios” that a wiser and stronger president might consider. First, “the White House could give up on diplomacy and preemptively strike Iran’s nuclear sites”; second, “the administration could give up on the current talks and default back to sanctions”; third, “new, even more biting sanctions could be enacted, causing Tehran considerable pain.” The range of advisable policy, for Gerecht and Dubowitz, begins with “crippling sanctions” and ends with a war of aggression.

These scenarios typify the neoconservative “options.” Writing on his own in the Atlantic in June 2013, Dubowitz informed American readers that there was nothing to celebrate in the Iranian presidential election that brought to power the apparently rational and moderate Hassan Rouhani. “A loyalist of Iran’s supreme leader and a master of nuclear deceit,” Rouhani, as interpreted by Dubowitz, is a false friend whose new authority “doesn’t get us any closer to stopping Iran’s nuclear drive.”

Consider Gerecht in his solo flights and you can see what made the president say that these are the people who gave us the Iraq War. They were as sure then about the good that would follow the bombing and invasion of that country as they are now about the benefits of attacking Iran. Indeed, Gerecht has the distinction of having called for an attack on Iran even before the official launch of the Bush strategy on Iraq.

It is said that Dick Cheney’s August 26, 2002, speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars marked the first formal description of the War on Terror offered by a U.S. leader to American citizens. But Gerecht, a former CIA specialist on the Middle East, stole a march on the vice president. In theWeekly Standard of August 6, 2002, under the title “Regime Change in Iran?,” he declared his belief that President Bush was the possessor of a “revolutionary edge and appeal… in the Middle East.” The younger Bush had

“sliced across national borders and civilizational divides with an unqualified assertion of a moral norm. The president declared, ‘The people of Iran want the same freedoms, human rights, and opportunities as people around the world.’ America will stand ‘alongside people everywhere determined to build a world of freedom, dignity, and tolerance.’”

The analyst Gerecht took up where the evangelist Bush left off: the relevant country to attack in August 2002 — on behalf of its people of course — was Iran. Gerecht had no doubt that

“the Iranian people overwhelmingly view clerical rule as fundamentally illegitimate. The heavily Westernized clerics of Iran’s religious establishment — and these mullahs are on both sides of the so-called ‘moderate-conservative’ split — know perfectly well that the Persian word azadi, ‘freedom,’ is perhaps the most evocative word in the language now… Azadi has also become indissolubly associated with the United States.”

This was the way the neoconservatives were already writing and thinking back in August 2002. It is hard to know which is more astounding, the show of philological virtuosity or the self-assurance regarding the advisability of war against a nation of 70 million.

General prognostications, however, are never enough for the neoconservatives, and Gerecht in 2002 enumerated the specific benefits of disorder in Iraq and Iran:

“An American invasion [of Iraq] could possibly provoke riots in Iran — simultaneous uprisings in major cities that would simply be beyond the scope of regime-loyal specialized riot-control units. The army or the Revolutionary Guard Corps would have to be pulled into service in large numbers, and that’s when things could get interesting.”

That was how he had it scored. Bush, the voice of freedom, would be adored as a benevolent emperor at a distance:

“President Bush, of course, doesn’t need National Iranian Television broadcasts to beam his message into the Islamic Republic. Everything he says moves at light speed through the country. The president just needs to keep talking about freedom being the birthright of Muslim peoples.”

Such was the neoconservative recipe for democracy in the Middle East: beam the words of George W. Bush to people everywhere, invade Iraq, and spark a democratic uprising in Iran (assisted if necessary by U.S. bombs and soldiers).

For a final glimpse of the same “mindset,” look closely at Gerecht’s advice on Syria in June 2014. Writing again in the Weekly Standard, he deprecated the very idea of getting help from Iran in the fight against the Islamic State. “The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Enemy” declares the title of the piece, and the article makes the same point with a minimal reliance on facts. Sunni terrorists are portrayed as impetuous youngsters who naturally go too far, but it is too early to gauge their trajectory: the changes they bring may not ultimately be uncongenial to American interest. The Shiite masterminds of Iran, on the other hand, have long ago attained full maturity and will never change. Gerecht’s hope, last summer, was that substantial Iranian casualties in a war against IS would lead to the spontaneous uprising that failed to materialize in 2003.

“It is possible that the present Sunni-Shiite conflict could, if the Iranian body count rises and too much national treasure is spent, produce shock waves that fundamentally weaken the clerical regime… Things could get violent inside the Islamic Republic.”

The vision underlying this policy amounts to selective or strategic tolerance of al-Qaeda and IS for the sake of destroying Iran.

Will the War on Terror Be Debated?

How can such opinions be contested in American politics? The answer will have to come from what remains of the potential opposition party in the war on terror. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut has been a remarkable exception, but for the most part the Democrats are preoccupied with domestic policy. If almost two-thirds of Congress today is poised to vote against the Iran settlement, this embarrassment is the result of years of systematic neglect. Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Dick Durbin, Ron Wyden, Tammy Baldwin, and a few others have the talent to lead an opposition to a pursuit of the war on terror on the neoconservative plan, but to have any effect they would have to speak up regularly on foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party and its billionaire bankrollers are playing the long game on Iran. They would like to gain the two-thirds majority to override Obama’s veto of a Congressional vote against the nuclear agreement, but they do not really expect that to happen. The survival of any agreement, however, depends not only on its approval but on its legitimation. Their hope is to depress public support for the P5+1 deal so much that the next president and members of the next Congress would require extraordinary courage to persist with American participation.

In the Foreign Affairs column mentioned earlier, Daniel Levy concluded that the long game is also Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy:

”Netanyahu is going for a twofer — if he loses on the veto-proof super majority in Congress, he can still succeed in keeping the Iran deal politically controversial and fragile and prevent any further détente with Iran. The hope, in this case, is that the next U.S. administration can resume the status quo ante in January 2017.”

What we are seeing, then, is not simply a concentrated effort that will end with the vote by the Senate in September on the P5+1 nuclear deal. It is the earliest phase of a lobbying campaign intended to usher in a Republican president of appropriate views in January 2017.

One may recognize that the money is there for such a long-term drive and yet still wonder at the virulence of the campaign to destroy Iran. What exactly allows the war party to keep on as they do? Within Israel, the cause is a political theology that obliges its believers to fight preemptive wars without any end in sight in order to guard against enemies who have opposed the existence of the Jewish state ever since its creation. This is a defensive fear that responds to an irrefutable historical reality. The neoconservatives and the better informed among their Republican followers are harder to grasp — harder anyway until you realize that, for them, we are Rome and the Republican Party is the cradle of future American emperors, praetors, and proconsuls.

“Ideology,” as the political essayist and Czech dissident Vaclav Havel once wrote, is “the bridge of excuses” a government offers to the people it rules. Between 2001 and 2009, the U.S. government was run by neoconservatives; they had a fair shot and the public judgment went against them; but in a climate of resurgent confusion about the Middle East, they have come a long way toward rebuilding their bridge. They are zealots but also prudent careerists, and the combination of money and revived propaganda may succeed in blurring many unhappy memories. Nor can they be accused of insincerity. When a theorist at a neoconservative think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies or the American Enterprise Institute, affirms that democracy is what the Iranian people will have as soon as the U.S. cripples the resources of that country, he surely believes what he is saying. The projection seems as true to them now as it was in 2002, 2007, and 2010, as true as it will be in 2017 when a new president, preferably another young man of “spirit” like George W. Bush, succeeds the weak and deplorable Barack Obama. For such people, the battle is never over, and there is always another war ahead. They will push until they are stopped.


Link:
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/08/no_author/neocons-netanyahu-and-republicans/