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A Dog’s Breakfast

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

Doug Casey recently described what’s happening in the Middle East as a dog’s breakfast. A muddle, a mess. President Biden is himself a dog’s breakfast in human form, and while Biden is never clear nor coherent, the modern pattern of US policy may be.

The US government, and its military industrial complex sponsors – who own much of the media, and who, along with the rest of the media, are owned by Blackrock and Vanguard – wants mass subsidy of the US arms industry, and to sell those mostly debt-funded arms everywhere at a big mark-up.

Building a border wall, whether with construction materials or security sensors, is a low margin activity, and once in place, the updating and repair contracts are not lucrative, in the way that government-subsidized weapons systems and ammunition with associated spending and endless training, and with continuous upgrades and cost overruns – this is where the real money is.

Pursuant to this compelling interest, the USG and its cronies in certain industries – and their bought-and-paid-for Congressmen and Senators – must create customers, and they need customers whose checks don’t bounce, those who can “owe” the US their commercial loyalty.  This is the function of NATO, and NATO expansion, it is the purpose of the Ukraine proxy war, and it is the purpose of the current knee-jerk policy alignment with the hard right in Israel.

It only looks like a dog’s breakfast.  We see that US policy supports and subsidizes neo-Nazi groups and policies in Ukraine, applauds a “democracy” that seizes and shuts down churches, bans opposition political parties, and imprisons American journalists for doing their job.  We say, well, that’s confusing.  But creating a “new Israel” in Ukraine – a territory wholly “owned” by the US in the aftermath of a damaging and fruitless Ukrainian war effort that decimated its productive population, a territory to be developed by the US and NATO as a modern warfare and weapons testing ground against Russia and the BRICS – this fits nicely with the compelling interest of the US government.  Denying Europe anyone else’s natural gas is also a big winner, and consistent with the rest of US policy there.

We see the US diverting the USS Gerald Ford battle group to the eastern Med, and sending the Eisenhower battle group to join up, in the name of “defending Israel” from Hamas in the south, and Hizbollah and any supportive Arabs or Persians east of Israel as it proceeds to clear Gaza once and for all.  This US response is accompanied by its UNSC veto of any ceasefire – and the concurrent DC consensus that any talk of peace, ceasefire of humanitarian concerns of Gazans is strictly verboten.  We see the US rushing to participate in a mass bombing campaign against people who are largely unarmed themselves, and have, by definition, only a terrorist army to defend them. It would seem that the US, rather than being a city on a hill, or a model of liberty, instead stands against our own founding mythology, against the Geneva Conventions, against humanity, and always for more war, mayhem, and mass murder.

We see another alarming trend.  US policy – not accidental, not due to incompetence or lack of oversight – US policy is to place all Americans in harm’s way.  Borders and urban areas are not defended at home, “allies” are unreliable, US military activities and bases are scattered in 800 or more locations around the world, and we are increasingly disliked – for our hypocrisy, our demands for more war, our refusal to work for peace, and our denial of the efforts by others to do so.  The US government is actually hated for its passive and active aggression, its nearly constant lies – at home and abroad.

We blame a popular neoconservative influence for much of our foreign policy, for the past thirty years at least.  Neoconservatives constitute a reflexively Zionist fifth column in Washington, and throughout US state media – on this topic there can be no debate, nor is there any evidence to the contrary.  But why is neoconservatism such a persistent approach in Washington? It produces only conflict, is extremely expensive, and it is unpopular among the overwhelming majority of Americans, voters and nonvoters alike.  The answer is that, unlike a dog’s breakfast, neoconservatism orders and gives meaning to the martial state, feeds and soothes its largest export industry.  For several decades, it has been politically able to generate city, congressional and senatorial elections of its adherents, and to politically challenge and debase all those who oppose it.

The lack of internal US security – whether it is local disorder or a porous border – serves both horns of neoconservatism – appearing to welcome those seeking a prosperity and liberty while facilitating increased growth of state domestic surveillance and increasing demands for national policing.  Keeping domestic satisfaction low and anxiety high is extremely useful to a neoconservative state – because, the people must never forget how much they need their rulers, and the king’s army.

There is another aspect of US foreign policy, which is to say, a policy of conflict-seeking and aggression – especially creating conflicts where we enjoy the benefit of having the other poor bastard die for their country, and our interests.  A foreign policy of conflict-seeking and aggression – while invariably typical of an empire in its final stages of dissolution – also accelerates that dissolution.

It is said that the neoconservatives who devise US policy, at home and abroad, are chickenhawks. They’ve never served in an American military unit, and never worn an American military uniform – yet they imagine, because they watched the movie Patton a time or two, that they can figure it out.  George C. Scott says “Americans traditionally love to fight….,” an extraordinary Hollywood over-simplification.  To base one’s entire foreign policy on this assumption  –  to believe that Americans will fight for empire, for an incompetent and bankrupt government, or lawless and cowardly politicos on demand – is arrogant and deadly.

When we recall what our government has done in the name of rousing the American population for war in the past – we see covert and overt creation of US vulnerability to attack (check), facilitation of false flag attacks (check) and a military machine that is anxious to prove itself (check).  Consider this:  A weak and disliked Democratic President, seeking deeper involvement in an unpopular and expensive no-winning-option war halfway around the world – stop me if you’ve heard this one – simultaneously experienced an incident with a hyper-militarized expansionist Israel, when Israel repeatedly attacked, from sea and air, the USS Liberty surveillance and intelligence vessel in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel, killing 31 US crewmen, and wounding 171 others, and then both governments lied about it.

Today we have the same scenario in play – but senile Joe is no LBJ, and except for contractors, volunteers, and mercs, no acknowledged American soldiers are fighting in Ukraine.  In fact, it’s the best money we ever spent, to the last Ukrainian, says a typical Senator.  Today, Israel is a nuclear power, and we’ll soon have a quarter of the US fleet sitting duck-like off the coast of Israel, in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, potential targets of most of the rest of the world.

As world opinion and world leaders call for peace, patience and change, another USS Liberty-style incident might be just what the US deep state needs.  Only this time, how could we determine which of many nations and tribes were behind it?  Few countries remain where the US has not, at some time, alienated and starved them, interfered with their internal affairs, killed or imprisoned their children. Perhaps more frightening, some of America’s worst enemies live in our nation’s capital, and advise our senile President, as he publicly, shamefully hallunicates.

The post A Dog’s Breakfast appeared first on LewRockwell.

Covid Vaccines: The Great Travesty Against Mankind

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

“More than 5.55 billion people worldwide have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, equal to about 72.3 percent of the world population,” observed the New York Times in March of this year.

In other words, in the space of twenty-seven months (since the beginning of the rollout), the vaccinators had managed to inject nearly two thirds of the world’s inhabitants with their COVID medicaments. Furthermore, the majority of the vaccinated were subjected to more than one dose. In total more than 13.5 billion injections were administered across the planet.

To pull this off in such a short period of time makes the COVID vaccination campaign one of the most impressive logistical and organizational feats ever accomplished.

A fatal flaw, however, has marred the whole COVID vaccination enterprise: it was a blatant fraud from beginning to end.

To begin with, the whole thing was based on a false premise. We were told that in SARS-CoV-2 we were up against a highly dangerous virus that posed a potentially lethal threat to those who contracted it and that vaccines were the only sure way to escape the scourge. This was a lie. For healthy people of productive age the infection fatality rate was about as high as that of the seasonal flu. For healthy children and young people the danger of a serious outcome was virtually nil.

Lauded as both “safe and effective,” the vaccines turned out to be anything but that. To begin with, it quickly became quite clear that the vaccines would not protect against infection. Only some five months after the start of the vaccination campaign, the authorities started speaking about the need for a booster. This obviously meant that the initial two doses of Pfizer and Moderna (one in the case of Johnson & Johnson) failed to protect their recipients from the SARS-CoV-2 virus beyond a very limited amount of time.

But the first booster also failed to confer any lasting protection and soon a second booster was required. The second booster, however, proved as ineffective as the first booster and a third booster was said to be necessary. But the third booster also failed, and a fourth booster was needed.

Currently, we are on the sixth shot and counting. And this less than 34 months after the COVID vaccines were first introduced. In other words, to keep fully vaccinated as per recommendations from our health authorities, one would have had to have been injected every five months or so.

But even those who got every booster on schedule were not protected against contracting COVID-19. We learn from the website of the Mayo Clinic: “People who are up to date on their vaccines can get breakthrough infections. They can then spread the virus to others.”

When pressed about this issue during a hearing of the European Parliament in October of last year, a Pfizer representative admitted that the company had never tested the vaccines to see whether they would prevent transmission.

What an astonishing admission that was. The objective of vaccines has always been to protect their recipients from the disease for which they were administered thus limiting the spread of infection in the population.

The COVID-19 “vaccines” are the first vaccines in history that do neither protect against infection nor slow its spread.

Do you remember when Joe Biden promised us during a Townhall meeting in 2021 that “you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”

Turns out this was a massive lie. It was brazen disinformation coming from the very top of the US government.

The majority of the injected came down with COVID and most of them more than once. In fact, it appears that getting “vaccinated” against COVID increases one’s chances of contracting COVID. Just ask Joe and Jill Biden who despite being jabbed multiple times have been repeatedly sickened with the disease.

We must ask ourselves, “What kind of vaccines are these?” Never has the world witnessed such a thing — vaccines that require a booster every few months and apparently make their recipients more likely to fall ill with the very disease against which they are supposed to protect.

Neither will the vaccines protect people from serious COVID outcomes. The majority of people who get serious COVID or die of COVID have been vaccinated. That the vaccines are grossly ineffective is becoming clear even to most of those who were previously brainwashed by our corrupt governments and medical authorities. A study published earlier this month found that “uptake of boosters has stalled in the United States at less than 20% of the eligible population.” Please note that the 20% uptake figure refers to only the eligible population. This means that only a small fraction of the whole population has opted to receive the COVID injections. Only 17% of Americans chose to receive the previous booster. This time around the number will be even lower. By now most people have seen through the fraud.

Not only are the vaccines ineffective, but they are also very dangerous. Since the rollout of the vaccination campaign, there has been an explosion of adverse reaction reports across the world. In the United States, the reports related to the COVID shots in the VAERS database exceed those related to all the other vaccines combined. There is no doubt that the COVID vaccines are the most dangerous vaccines ever devised and that by a long shot.

Already early in 2022, there were more than one thousand articles and studies published in scientific journals discussing the adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccines. Some of the effects listed include conditions such as pericarditis, myopericarditis, death, Guillain-Barre syndrome, acute venous thromboembolism, lymphadenopathy, acute thrombosis of the coronary tree, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, portal vein thrombosis, T-cell lymphoma, aphasia, and thrombophilia among others.

The wider public, however, was never informed about these studies by our government and the medical establishment, both of which are corrupted to the core.

According to a survey conducted by Rasmussen at the end of last year, nearly 30 percent of Americans thought they knew someone who had been killed by a COVID vaccine. This number is undoubtedly much higher today as we keep hearing the news of healthy people who keep inexplicably dying. The stories of hundreds of healthy athletes who have been collapsing and dying since the beginning of the vaccination campaign are especially revealing.

According to researcher Steve Kirsch the death rate of the COVID vaccines is roughly 1 in 1000 doses. This translates into 676,000 dead Americans. It turns out, however, that Kirsch’s analysis, which is based on a breakdown of VAERS figures, may be too conservative. Working with data from 17 countries on all-cause mortality, researchers with Canada-based Correlation Research in the Public Interest have come to the conclusion that the death rate of the COVID-19 shots is somewhere in the region of 1 in 800 doses. They estimate that the vaccines have killed some 17 million people worldwide.

As a point of comparison, the number of people exterminated by the Nazis in the Holocaust was about 6 million.

If even the most conservative estimates are correct, the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the bulk of which was carried out under false pretences and coercive mandates, constitutes the greatest crime ever committed against humanity.

Unbelievably, so far no one — either in government or in the medical establishment — has been held responsible for this travesty.

The post Covid Vaccines: The Great Travesty Against Mankind appeared first on LewRockwell.

Grace’s Dad Tells Heartbreaking Story of His Daughter’s Murder at Hospital

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

I interviewed Scott Schara, who is also known as “Grace’s Dad.” He and his family lost their lovely, ebullient, formerly perfectly healthy 19-year-old daughter Grace at an Ascension Hospital after she was admitted with COVID — and an unlawful “Do Not Resuscitate” notification was placed, against her family’s will, in her records.

Grace had Down’s Syndrome. She was also unvaccinated.

Grace’s family was told at one point that she had a dangerous 85% blood oxygen saturation — but Scott Schara had brought his own pulse oximeter into the hospital room and found that the level was actually 95%, or almost normal.  However, Grace’s father said that he was escorted from Grace’s hotel room by an armed guard when he continued to question what he recognized as dangerous, if not deadly, hospital “COVID” protocols.

The Schara family faced relentless pressure to have Grace sedated, put on a ventilator — which they refused — and fed via a tube. At last, in spite of their daughter being stable and on the way to recovery, says Mr. Schara, Grace was placed on Morphine, Lorazepam, and other powerful opiates and sedatives. She eventually lost consciousness — which was predictable, given the inappropriate cocktail of end-of-life hospice-type treatments.

As her sister Jessica held Jessica’s hand and felt Grace’s body growing cold, Jessica, and the Schara family on FaceTime, were screaming, says Grace’s Dad, for a group of nurses outside the hospital room to come in and help. The nurses replied that they could not because “Grace is DNR.”

Mr. Schara, in his quest to warn other families about murderous protocols threatening the disabled in hospitals, says that he is hearing countless stories of other disabled people who are being harmed by similar medical interventions; or of families of people with Down’s Syndrome, who are being pressured to put the disabled in hospice care when they are physically well, to be done away with as “useless eaters,” to invoke the Nazi term, in other ways, via what he calls medical murder.

I did gasp at one point when I conjectured why the hospital might have been so intent, consciously or not, on bringing about Grace’s passing. The news at the time claimed that young adults had to receive mRNA vaccinations though they were at little risk from COVID. A ‘COVID death’ of an unvaccinated, formerly healthy young adult would add to what were then inadequate statistics to make that case. Mr Schara also stressed the signicant bonus system the Ascension Hospital group and other hospitals received, for deadly treatments.

Ascension Hospital group, on a related note, is the target of a severe lawyer’s letter from DailyClout, to stop its inappropriate and murderous use of Remdesevir, with the drug’s very high mortality rate, for COVID patients.

Mr Schara made the point that large financial bonuses were given to hospitals for ventilator use, and we know that hospital protocols dictated by the Biden administration insisted on Remdesevir use — though both deadly practices led to what were then catalogued as “COVID” deaths.

This is an unmissable and potentially lifesaving discussion. we owe it to the lovely, late Grace, and to her family, to listen.

This originally appeared on Outspoken with Dr Naomi Wolf.

The post Grace’s Dad Tells Heartbreaking Story of His Daughter’s Murder at Hospital appeared first on LewRockwell.

Why Global Warming Is Inevitable

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

Across the globe, there are concerted efforts to ameliorate the anticipated effects of global warming by reducing use of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The goal is to reach “net zero” emissions at some time in the near future. This will not happen. Significant utilization of fossil fuel resources will continue, not for several years, but for several decades. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to rise. The greenhouse effect is locked in and will not be aborted through political action.

There is an innumeracy problem. People fail to grasp the magnitude of the numbers involved in the terrestrial carbon cycle. Individuals are advised to reduce carbon emissions by driving less, eating less meat, using less energy, and recycling. One might as well attempt to empty the Pacific Ocean with a thimble. Efforts by state governments will also have no appreciable effect. California has mandated that all new car sales be electric vehicles by the year 2035. New York state has banned the use of natural gas in stoves and furnaces. Even if fully implemented, regulations such as these will have no appreciable effect on emissions. California, with 39 million people, has annual CO2 emissions of about 300 million tons. This sounds like a large number, but it’s less than one percent of total world CO2 emissions, less than 0.001 percent of the CO2 that’s already in the atmosphere, and about 0.0002 percent of the CO2 stored in the oceans.

Year after year, CO2 emissions continue to rise inexorably. Coal is responsible for more CO2 than any other fossil fuel, and worldwide use of coal continues to increase. The rate of utilization is increasing, not decreasing. Although renewable energy sources like wind and solar are the fastest growing category, their net contribution to the energy mix worldwide remains small, about 7 to 8 percent. For decades, fossil fuels have supplied about 80 percent of world energy. Fossil fuel utilization is not going to zero at any time in the foreseeable future. Energy produces human prosperity. Life expectancy, literacy, educational achievement, and wealth all correlate strongly with total energy use. And when it comes to supplying energy, fossil fuels have four great advantages:  they are relatively inexpensive, reliable, abundant, and concentrated. In contrast, renewables such as wind and solar are diffuse and intermittent. If the wind does not blow, or the sun does not shine, electric power generation drops to zero. Battery storage is insufficient by many orders of magnitude. The fuels may be free, but the machinery for capturing and transferring power is neither cheap nor sustainable. We lack the technology to replace fossil fuels, nor is there any foreseeable path to this chimerical future. The limitation is not political, it is physical.

Even if there were a technological path to reach net zero, the political impediments are insurmountable. A commons area, such as the atmosphere, will undergo exploitation and degradation unless it is controlled by coercive means. Altruistic appeals to conscience are ineffective. While the US and other countries undertake herculean efforts to reduce emissions, China continues to expand coal use, and very significantly, too. In 2022, China moved forward on the construction of more than 100 coal-fired power plants. India, now the world’s most populous country, also continues to increase its use of coal. Both India and China have pledged to move away from coal in the future. But coal resources are enormous. At present consumption rates the world can continue to burn coal for hundreds of years. Commitments to future reductions in coal use are little more than unenforceable promises, likely to be forgotten under the irresistible lure of cheap and convenient energy. The reasons for utilizing coal today are compelling and will not change in the future. A few days ago, Germany announced that they’re bringing several coal-fired power plants back online, an implicit admission that their determined effort to move away from fossil fuels has failed.

There is no going back. The transition to mechanical and artificial power was initiated during the High Middle Ages when Europeans first began the wholesale exploitation of wind and water power and developed mechanisms such as the crank for transferring and regulating power. The Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth century was the culmination of centuries of social change and technological development. The modern world has become wholly reliant upon a complex web of machinery that is largely powered by fossil fuels. People no longer have the means for self-sufficiency. We don’t live on farms, keep livestock, grow food, or have reliable networks of extended family and trusted friends.

The current political emphasis on carbon mitigation is worse than useless because it diverts attention and scarce resources that could be devoted to adaptation. If the world does not come to terms with reality, trillions of dollars will be wasted in futile and misguided efforts to stop what cannot be stopped. Funds that could have been used profitably to reduce human suffering and restore the natural environment will be squandered through hubris and ignorance. The anthropogenic greenhouse effect can be slowed, but it cannot be halted or reversed. The future, however need not be hopeless. Nuclear energy offers the promise of a sustainable low-carbon economy. But we need to recognize the physical limits on energy technology imposed by the laws of physics.

The post Why Global Warming Is Inevitable appeared first on LewRockwell.

Step It Up and Go

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

“Like it or not, Republicans have the law in their favor, to put this point another way. Democrats are left with subterfuge and media manipulation. The latter present Americans with the greater danger.” — Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News

Things are going a little sideways now, wouldn’t you agree? The world is not coming to an end, exactly, but our arrangements in it are breaking up all at once, threatening to wreck everyday life for a whole lot more people than just the poor mutts on the margins. The endless insults to common decency and common sense by the vicious governing blob that runs things don’t help, either. The main question du jour: when things break really badly, will they break against that vicious blob hard enough to make it stop?

This blob — a weird cabal alien to our heritage — is composed of people with names and duties, and institutions too. They have already lost their credibility, their authority, and their legitimacy. The problem is that they haven’t lost their power to wreck our country. Exposed and disgraced as they are, they still occupy the seats of command, still twiddle the dials on the control console, still enjoy a foolish illusion of invulnerability.

I’m in favor of wholesale impeachment of these top people as the best way to go, first, to pry their hands off the levers of power, and second, use the process of impeachment to move public sentiment to a firmly anti-blob position. When you read of “Joe Biden’s” 37 percent favorable rating in some poll, do you wonder how it can be that high? Hard evidence of his high crimes of bribery has been plain to see for many months. We await a brisk House inquiry to put all that evidence in order, in a simple bill that even The New York Times won’t be able to ignore. Let Mr. Schumer’s tiny Senate majority try to decline an impeachment trial. Between that and “Joe Biden’s obvious incapacity, he’ll have to resign. And then let the Party of Chaos try to pretend that Kamala Harris can be in charge of anything. We’ll see soon enough who’s pulling the strings in the White House.

The House should simultaneously form committees to impeach the faithless and incompetent agency heads below “JB” starting with Merrick Garland, specifically for criminally violating the rights of the many J-6 defendants falsely charged, denied speedy trials, and abused in the federal jails while awaiting those unjustly delayed trials. Also, tack on multiple counts of perjury for the many times he lied under oath before Congress.

Next, Alejandro Mayorkas, for allowing a virtual invasion of our country and his gross, willful failure to enforce the laws that regulate entry across our borders. As with Mr. Garland, include counts of perjury, lying to Congress. After him, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Service, for presiding over the vaccination debacle and all the lying about it perpetrated under his supervision by the CDC, the FDA, and many other public health agencies. FBI Director Christopher Wray is not subject to impeachment, so the House should defund the agency until he and the rest of the seventh floor C-suite gang, led by Deputy AG Lisa Monaco, resign.

That would be good start for breaking up the blob so that the public does not have to wait for a 2024 election that shows no signs of being cleaned up procedurally to ensure fair and truthful results — though momentous impeachment moves against the figures truly responsible for wrecking the country might prompt some states to take action to get rid of the Covid-era mail-in ballot trickery that the blob cooked up to keep itself in power.

All of the blob’s projects are coming to grief now in the worst way possible. Ukraine was a foolish venture starting in 2014 when the US tried to shanghai it into NATO over a red line explicitly declared by Russia. We didn’t believe they meant it, apparently. What part of sphere of influence don’t we understand? How did the CIA do sizing that up? Or sussing out the October 7 Hamas massacre in Israel? Do they have no assets in Gaza? How’s America’s prestige in the world doing, and the dollar that represents it, vis-à-vis the new BRIC alliance that was allowed to come together largely because of the “Joe Biden” regime’s foreign policy blunders scaring so many previously neutral nations?

How are the blob’s domestic projects doing? It’s managed to destroy the credibility of medicine, the honor of higher education, and the authority of the news media — with plenty of help from the blobistas embedded in all those institutions. How is possible that the majority of doctors still don’t know that Covid vaccines are unsafe and ineffective, and that they have been systematically lied to by the CDC from the get-go on this? How is possible that presidents of the most distinguished universities go along with the suppression of free inquiry and speech, as if these were not the foundation of learning? How is possible that the editors of The New York Times and The Washington Post lie continually and knowingly about events and persons, unless they are getting paid by, and have become defacto arms of, the blob itself, to cover-up the discovery of its crimes?

How’s the blob’s campaign to sow gender confusion and race hatred going? Resistance has formed to the first hustle, most visibly against the local school boards by parents rightfully disturbed over not just sexualizing little children, but egging them into mental illness over it. You might have also noticed that the policy for decriminalizing crime has the interesting effect of collapsing the social contract, especially in cities. Thus, wholesale car-jacking, armed robbery, flash-mob looting, and murder. Want more of that? Think it works in favor of the brotherhood of man?

Don’t you suppose some kind of effective opposition is required to contend with all this. One might expect, at this turn in history, for the Republican Party to become a righteous and effective antipode to the epic malign ineptitude of the Democrat’s Party of Chaos and Death. The only venue for this to opposition to function in at the moment is the US House of Representatives. It’s either that or something harsh, bloody, and awful lies ahead for us.

Reprinted with permission from

The post Step It Up and Go appeared first on LewRockwell.

Britain’s Pending ‘Online Safety Bill’ Turns Free Speech Into a Felony

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

“We are used to Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World being held up as a mirror to our current predicament. But there is a third novel in Britain’s dystopian trilogy. In Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, a politician visits a jail to look for a subject for the Lodovico treatment which is designed to cure the offender of the impulse to violence. The reason the minister wants prisoners released safely back into society, and something of the sort is already happening in the UK, speaks to us: ‘Soon we may be needing all our prison space for political prisoners,’” like Julian Assange, Donald Trump, Sidney Powell, and January 6 insurrectionists.

The invention of “hate speech”  was a slippery slope down which we have rapidly descended. Former British Ambassador and human rights activist Craig Murray has been detained under Britain’s counterterrorism laws for pointing out Palestine’s case in the conflict.

In the UK just to say that there is another side is an offense, so the British arrest their own ambassador. This is “the free world” today.  A very unhealthy place for liberty. 

As Mark Gullick reports, Britain’s “Online Safety Bill” currently under debate in Parliament will effectively terminate free speech.

Whatever the intention of the bill, its effect will be to shut down white people who complain about immigrant-invaders, black crime, disagree with an official narrative, or take the unpopular side of an argument. The bill has “usable ambiguity,” which means that a person can complain that a view you expressed distresses them or makes them feel threatened and that they have suffered “psychological harm.”  In other words the proof of your speech crime depends only on the perception of the distressed person.

One wonders if white ethnicities can use the bill to prevent being called racists or whether the treatment of “aversive racism” as a fact prevents white ethnicities coverage under the bill.

It seems certain that the bill would terminate debate.  Debates can be very emotional, and to engage in one carries the risk of causing “emotional harm.”  A government policing speech is likely to find many offenders.

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West’s Pro-Israel Position Accelerates Its Loss of Power

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

Western media start to note how their politicians’ unwavering support for Israel and Ukraine is diminishing their countries’ global standing.

At Naked Capitalism Yves Smith notes the devastating political effects of the Gaza bombing on Biden’s foreign policies:

Biden Gets Zelensky Treatment in Middle East as Israel Tries to Escalate

The US, in a continued demonstration of the degree of enbubblement of what passes for its leadership, seems to believe it still has the force and soft power to be able to bully talk its way out of its geopolitical messes. Yet this week we have stunning examples of how critical players in the rest to the world no longer buy what the US is selling. The gap between the American establishment’s connection to reality and facts on the ground has opened up to a yawning chasm as the Arab world, as Jordan cancelled a Biden summit with its King Abduallah II plus PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in response to Israel’s shelling of Al-Ahli Arab hospital. Not only are they rejecting the attempt to shift blame for the attack to Hamas (we’ll soon address the “rogue shell” claim), but also the bigger pretense behind that, that the US is incapable of, as opposed to unwilling to, applying the choke chain to Israel.

Even the Western media are not much on board with the Israeli and Biden Administration pretense that somehow Hamas dunnit, when Israel has been trying to herd Palestinians out of northern Gaza and specifically attempted to order the evacuation of the hospital. Oh, and this follows Israel ordering the UN to evacuate from Gaza in 24 hours and then shelling its warehouse there: …

Israel bombed, probably with a U.S. made Hellfire missile, the courtyard of the Baptist al-Ahli Arab hospital where thousands had sought refuge. A short video of the immediate aftermath shows several dozens if not hundreds of dead and wounded. Doctors later held a press conference while standing among some of the casualties.

Like other hospitals al-Ahli Arab had been told by Israel to evacuate but could not do so as there are no other places where the sick and wounded, including many intensive care cases, could be cared for.

Three days earlier, notes the UN, the same hospital had, like others, already been bombed:

14 October 2023: In Gaza city city and governorate, Ahli Arab Hospital was hit by Israeli airstrikes, partially damaging two floors and damaging the ultrasound and mammography room. Four people were injured. Sources: Al Jazeera V and Personal Communication

To then claim, as Biden did, that ‘the other team’ was responsible for the attack is unfathomable.

It was also way too late says a RUSI fellow:

Going to repeat this as the situation has moved more in the past 16 hours than in the previous week.

The plates have shifted, radically. The window for Israeli operations has shrunk from more than a month, to a few days…if at all.

That is now the reality of where we stand.

No country besides the U.S. and a few Europeans will ever defend such barbarity. They will simply stop listen to what the ‘west’ has to say.

The Financial Times quotes a G7-official who struggles with this global divide:

Rush by west to back Israel erodes developing countries’ support for Ukraine (archived)

Western support for Israel’s assault on Gaza has poisoned efforts to build consensus with significant developing countries on condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine, officials and diplomats have warned.

The reaction to the October 7 attack on Israel by Islamist militant group Hamas and to Israel’s vow to hit back against Gaza has undone months of work to paint Moscow as a global pariah for breaching international law, they said, exposing the US, EU and their allies to charges of hypocrisy.

In the flurry of emergency diplomatic visits, video conferences and calls, western officials have been accused of failing to defend the interests of 2.3mn Palestinians in their rush to condemn the Hamas attack and support Israel.

The backlash had solidified entrenched positions in the developing world on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, officials said. They warned that this could derail future diplomatic efforts on Ukraine.

“We have definitely lost the battle in the Global South,” said one senior G7 diplomat. “All the work we have done with the Global South [over Ukraine] has been lost . . . Forget about rules, forget about world order. They won’t ever listen to us again.”

Some American diplomats are privately concerned that the Biden administration’s response has failed to acknowledge how its broad support of Israel can alienate much of the Global South.

Looking at the current BRI anniversary meeting of some 140 states in Beijing, the New York Times voices similar concerns:

New Global Divisions on View as Biden Goes to Israel and Putin to China

Russia and China are siding with a Palestinian people seeking liberation and self-determination, while in Washington’s eyes, they themselves deny those same possibilities to the Ukrainians, the Tibetans, the Uyghurs and even to the Taiwanese.

But in their reluctance to blame Hamas and effort to associate themselves with the Palestinian cause, both Russia and China are appealing to a wider sentiment in the so-called Global South — and in large parts of Europe, too. For them, it is Israel that is conducting a colonialist policy by its occupation of the West Bank, its encouragement of Jewish settlers on Palestinian land and its isolation of the 2.3 million people of Gaza, who are subjected even in normal times to sharp restrictions on their freedoms.

The Global South, a term for developing nations, is a vital area of the new competition between the West and the Chinese-Russian alternative, said Hanna Notte, the director of a Eurasia program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

From the point of view of many in the Global South, she said, “the United States fights Russia, the occupier of Ukraine, but when it comes to Israel, the U.S. is on the side of the occupier, and Russia taps into that.”

The editorial board of the Washington Post also declares the failure of U.S. policies:

It would be a moral and strategic mistake to ignore Gaza’s plight

Still, the plight of Gazans has been treated by the United States and the wider international community as a sad but immutable fact in an irresolvable conflict. This was a moral and strategic error, helping promote the instability that has, for now, wrecked efforts on the part of Israel, the United States and Arab states to build a durable diplomatic settlement among the region’s big players.

The Carnegie Council explains how the global rift necessitates a change in western policies. It especially sees a need to ditch the so called “value-” or “rules-based-order” policies:

A Requiem for the Rules-Based Order
The Case for Value-Neutral Ethics in International Relations

Regardless of how it eventually concludes, the Russo-Ukrainian War represents a seismic event signaling profound changes in the global landscape. The unipolar era is at its end, major countries are more concerned with their cultural sovereignty and strategic autonomy than they have been in decades, and it seems inevitable that the once-dominant Western hegemony must gradually yield to a more diverse and multipolar system.

The period following World War II witnessed the ascendancy of the United States and its allies as architects of a new international order premised on the institutionalization of Western values such as democracy and human rights. This Western-centric approach to global governance—known as the “rules-based order”—has encountered mounting challenges. China’s rise, Russia’s geopolitical subversiveness, and the growing assertiveness of emerging powers from the Global South have eroded Western dominance. The outcome is a more diverse world, characterized by multiple centers of power coexisting, challenging any single ideology or set of substantive values.

Our particular sense of morality in the West should not stop us from aspiring to pursue what’s both wise and right. The evolving international order, characterized by polycentrism and multipolarity, challenges the conventional Western-dominated “rules-based” order. Drawing from Nietzsche’s perspective on values, we recognize that values are context-dependent rather than innate, timeless, or universal. Similarly, the decline of our ancien regime does not spell the end of international ethics. If the current transition is understood correctly, it could promise the birth of a new normative system based on a functional, value-neutral, situational, and diplomatic ethic that has its primary concern in managing reciprocal relations between world powers.

Instead of attempting to impose our values on others (no matter how good or true we think they are), we in the West should prioritize engagement with other major powers based on common interests and shared objectives. …

In sum, within the intellectual framework offered by cultural realism, we need an alternative instrumentalist and pragmatic ethic that 1) accepts the realities of power politics and spheres of interest without moralizing and projecting a Manichaean mentality upon the world, and 2) is grounded in principles that are conducive to a pluralist modus vivendi, including mutual and equal recognition, statesmanship, non-interference, humility, strategic empathy, and open dialogue.

Some might say that the west will never change its behavior but I do not believe that.

The west WILL HAVE TO change its behavior or it will go down into history’s graveyard. There is no longer an alternative as the ‘rules based order’ has proven to be an unsellable dead end.

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.

The post West’s Pro-Israel Position Accelerates Its Loss of Power appeared first on LewRockwell.

Reflections on Israel and the United States

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

I have a prediction to make with respect to Israel’s retaliation against the people of Gaza in response to the recent attack by Hamas on Israeli citizens. I predict that Israel’s response will not end up settling the longstanding dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. In fact, I will go a step further and predict that the response will produce another equally vicious attack on Israelis sometime in the future, perhaps even 10-15 years from now when the Gaza children who have survived are old enough to initiate another deadly attack on Israelis. 

Some mainstream commentators are calling the Hamas attack Israel’s 9/11. I think there is some merit in that comparison. Twenty years ago, here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, we were ardently opposing the U.S. government’s plans to invade Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks. We steadfastly maintained that such an invasion would end up killing and maiming multitudes of innocent people and, consequently, produce a perpetual threat of more terrorist attacks, which would, of course, serve as a justification for the continued destruction of American liberty at the hands of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

We argued that the death and destruction resulting from the 9/11 attacks should cause Americans to engage in some serious soul-searching, with the aim of getting America back on the road to a society of liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the world. That meant, we argued, going after suspected terrorists using the legal process (e.g., Interpol, extradition, etc.) and, at the same time, ending the foreign interventionism (e.g., the economic sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children and the position of U.S. officials that such deaths were “worth it”) that gave rise to the deep rage that motivated foreigners to initiate vicious attacks against innocent Americans, such as with the 9/11 attacks but also the pre-9/11 terrorist attacks, such as those against the USS Cole, the 1993 WTC attack, etc.

We were attacked unmercifully for taking that position. “You’re a justifier!” our critics cried. “You’re justifying what the terrorists have done.” We were inundated with hate mail and cancellations of support. That was a difficult time for FFF. But we never wavered. As an aside, that’s when I became good friends with Lew Rockwell, another libertarian who was standing this same lonely ground within the libertarian movement against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Twenty years later, I can’t help but wonder why there is anyone left, including libertarians who ardently and enthusiastically supported the invasion of Afghanistan and, later, Iraq, who retrospectively still defend the U.S. invasion of those two countries as a response to the 9/11 attacks.

In the immediate aftermath of those vicious 9/11 attacks, vengeance, not wisdom, was all that mattered. The thirst for revenge consumed people’s minds. It didn’t matter how many innocent people would die in a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. All that mattered was that it was important to kill lots of people, especially if they were Muslims. That was where the notion that Muslims were engaged in a centuries-old quest to establish a worldwide caliphate became popular. It was an easy way to make people feel good about the massive death and destruction that was going to be wreaked by the U.S. war machine on the people of Afghanistan. No one wanted to think about the fact that it was U.S. interventionism that had given rise to the 9/11 attacks and, therefore, that more U.S. interventionism would do more of the same. All that mattered was revenge and vengeance.

There is an important lesson that can be drawn form the Hamas attack on Israel but I’m fairly certain that U.S. interventionists will not want to consider it. The commentators are rightly focusing on Hamas’s killing of Israeli civilians. What they are alluding to is that in a war, it is a vicious war crime to attack civilians. Soldiers fight soldiers and are supposed to do their best to avoid killing civilians.

How does this hold a lesson for Americans? Because of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki! This is another area in which FFF has been attacked by U.S. interventionists over the years. Every time we point out that those two atomic bombings were war crimes because they targeted civilians, we receive attacks from U.S. interventionists who claim that it was justified to kill all those innocent people as a way to “shorten the war.” 

My hunch is that those interventionists who attack us for our position are today rightly attacking Hamas for killing innocent Israeli civilians. But my hunch is that they still do not — and will not — recognize the fundamental inconsistency of their position. If it’s wrong for Hamas to target and kill innocent civilians, why is it right when the U.S. government does it?

The real issue that the Israeli citizenry should be confronting is: How in the world can this dispute be settled once and for all, so that all the death and destruction can be brought to an end? That’s where wisdom comes into play. 

I am far from being an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. But I do consider myself to be an expert in the libertarian philosophy. Some years ago, a statist sent me an email asserting that libertarianism could not serve as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was wrong. Libertarian principles are universal. They apply everywhere. 

One of the best articles one could ever read on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an FFF article written by Richard Ebeling entitled “Free Market Liberalism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” In his article, Richard analyzes the two most popular solutions to the conflict: a two-state solution and a one-state solution.

I lean toward the latter. There is no absolutely no reason why Israelis and Palestinians cannot live together peacefully and harmoniously within one nation. After all, Jews and Arabs live here in the United States without killing each other. There is nothing special about the geographic location of Israel that prevents Jews and Arabs from peacefully and harmoniously living together within the same nation in that part of the world. After all, there have been thousands of Arabs living in Israel for decades.

One of Israel’s top concern is that Arabs might outnumber Jews in the country, which might mean that Jews would no longer control the government, in which case Israel might lose its special status as a sanctuary for Jews. That problem could be easily solved with a non-amendable constitutional provision that guarantees that the government will always be Jewish-controlled and Jewish-run. If Arabs don’t like that, they don’t have to move to Israel.

But I have no doubts that regular Palestinians would gladly agree to such a condition in return for a normal life in which they were free to own homes and businesses, engage in commerce, raise their families, accumulate wealth, travel freely, criticize public officials, and exercise all other fundamental rights. 

And that’s where libertarianism comes into play. In a society in which the Israeli government’s powers were strictly limited to protecting the rights of everyone in an even, impartial manner, no one would care who was running the government. It’s only when government wields the power to dole out privileges to selected groups or to arbitrarily punish selected groups that people care who wields political power.

And that’s where the big obstacle to peace in the Middle East lies. Both sides are as antithetical to libertarianism as American statists are. Moreover, they both are firmly committed to the obliteration of the other side. Thus, until both sides see the utter futility in this mindset and embrace libertarianism, the death and suffering with go on into perpetuity. 

Meanwhile, among the best things Americans could ever do is to prevent our government from providing weaponry, money, or other foreign aid to either Israel or the Palestinians. For that matter, Americans would be wise to terminate all foreign aid to every nation in the world. Best of all, the best thing Americans could ever do for the people of the world is to restore our nation’s sound founding principles of economic liberty, free markets, sound money, voluntary charity, non-interventionism, and a limited-government republic. In other words, we should lead the world to libertarianism by example.

Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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Why the Jews of Khazaria, the Himyarites, and GokTurk Empire Are Keys to Universal History

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

This article was also presented by the author as a class, as part of the RTF Lecture Series “The Renaissance Principle Across the Ages“.

With the fires of potential global war once again erupting across the Middle East, and with obvious anti-jewish rage amplifying to an extreme degree, I would like to take a moment to follow up on a previous essay titled ‘The Peace of Westphalia as a Lesson in Solving Religious Wars Past Present or Future’.

The purpose of this investigation into the deep structure historical dynamics shaping our present world is not to simply romanticize bygone ages but to help clarify the principled dynamics that feudalist oligarchs have been obsessively trying to destroy over the course of the past two millenia. I here refer to the dangerous outbreak of peace through cooperation that has tended to occur between religious rivals in never-ending wars across the ages.

In this location, I would like to go a little deeper into the longer wave of history shaping our presently confused age by taking a look at the Jewish Kingdom of Khazaria (8-11th century CE).

Taking the time to investigate this important part of world history is additionally important as China’s New Silk Road currently represents the greatest hope for peace amongst various faiths and cultures not only in the Middle East, but globally. This is not the first time that the Silk Road ushered in a hope for a new age of reason amongst diverse cultures and as we shall soon see, the Kingdom of Khazaria played a major role in that endeavor which St Augustine called a City of God well over a millennium ago.

Figure 1 Today’s New Silk Road

The Mystery of Khazaria in the Modern Era

Typically well informed readers who frequent alternative media either have never heard of the Jewish Khazar Kingdom that dominated central Europe, southern Russia and the Caucuses in the 7-10th century or IF THEY HAVE heard of it, they tend to believe that this Kingdom was the source of everything evil up until modern times. Many mainstream scholars tend to simply deny all evidence that this Jewish kingdom ever even existed.

Figure 2 The Kingdom of Khazaria

I would like to take a novel approach to this anomalous matter of Khazaria and the broader role of Judaism in world history. Not only do I assert that bountiful evidence allows us to conclude that this Jewish Kingdom certainly did certainly exist, but all existent evidence points to the fact that it was the very opposite to a hotbed for “evil Ashkenazi Jewry” as so many lazy researchers have claimed. Instead, this report will attempt to prove that the forgotten kingdom was not only a beautiful phenomenon uniting all three major Abrahamic faiths under one ecumenical alliance of cooperation for well over a century, but also served as a keystone to the newly reborn Silk Road trade routes uniting Asia with Europe through the Confucian Tang Dynasty (618-912 CE).

Figure 3 The Ancient Silk Road with a trade route through Russia

Much of the following report was made possible by the pioneering work of historian Pierre Beaudry in his online book The Charlemagne Ecumenical Principle.

Under a primitive version of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations doctrine, the Venetian Empire and the Ultramontane Church which were the heirs of the recently collapsed Roman oligarchy hated the rise of the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne and the Augustinian humanist educational and economic reforms enacted during Charlemagne’s reign. More importantly, they hated the brilliant alliances Charlemagne oversaw alongside his co-thinker Harun al Rashid (Caliph of the Abassid Dynasty of Baghdad who ruled from 786-809 CE) and the new King Bulan of Khazaria who converted his kingdom to Judaism in the mid-8th century.

Much of the following report was made possible by the pioneering work of historian Pierre Beaudry in his online book The Charlemagne Ecumenical Principle.

Under a primitive version of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations doctrine, the Venetian Empire and the Ultramontane Church which were the heirs of the recently collapsed Roman oligarchy hated the rise of the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne and the Augustinian humanist educational and economic reforms enacted during Charlemagne’s reign. More importantly, they hated the brilliant alliances Charlemagne oversaw alongside his co-thinker Harun al Rashid (Caliph of the Abassid Dynasty of Baghdad who ruled from 786-809 CE) and the new King Bulan of Khazaria who converted his kingdom to Judaism in the mid-8th century.

Read the Whole Article

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Netanyahu End Game – Eliminate All Palestinians…

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

The Rothschild Economist which owns Israel is asking Israel what is the ‘end game’?   Netanyahu has declared this war will take months… as in until the US 2024 election. Four end-game scenarios have been proposed: 1. Take Gaza, rubble and all, and run it via Netanyahu 2. Allow the ‘hated’ Abbas to control it, 3.   Bring in foreigners, 4. Give it back to Hamas.   Obviously only one scenario is going to be allowed.

Netanyahu wants a clean slate of Israel – only for his chosen secular Israeli’s as was originally proposed by Edmond Rothschild in t he late 1800’s.   However, Gaza is only one part of the Palestinian land – the West Bank in reality is next.

And just like that, Netanyahu has declared Hamas is in The West Bank and has begun a terror raid of the territory.   The media justification ‘reprisal’.   Israel is allowed to indiscriminately kill whomever they determine is necessary for their mission – widening the ever increasing master plan for a world war to erupt in the Middle East.

A suicide mission.

US and UK have announced evacuation orders of their citizens from Lebanon – inviting an even greater middle east incursion.   And the rally cry for peace is ignored. Reminiscent of the Vietnam War.   A government war.   The Draft.

The US military has been lamenting the abysmal recruits despite lowering every conceivable standard and offering bonuses for those who enlist.   BONUSES.   And still no one wants to be a part of this military. A corrupt, degenerate military that treats its soldiers like trash.

With two forever wars to choose from the military is very likely to necessitate The Dreaded Draft once again.   Protect your sons and daughters!

Today the call it Selective Service and every person between the ages of 18 and 25 must register – including illegal immigrants…   ALL 7 million draft aged immigrants must register or face a felony charge.   Untrained.   Unvetted.   Possibly carrying a number of diseases.   The Selective Service is set up like the draft for Vietnam – based on a lottery.   Draw the wrong number and off you go to bootcamp!   Sorry – your bad luck!

I wonder how many of those upstanding citizens decrying death to all Muslims would feel if their precious sons and daughters drew the ‘wrong number’?   Would ‘Give Peace A Chance’ once again vibrate the hallowed halls of government?   Would the elite grease the hands that select the numbers? Rory Gates is – 24.

Maybe our esteemed officials would create an algorithm whereby only red city/state youth were called up?   Like they did with the vaccine – selective bio-death.

Today Rishi Sunak, PM of the UK, has landed in Saudi Arabia to deter animosity.   His previous claims to annihilate all Palestinians as animals has been shed, and he parlays a faded hope that Netanyahu won’t commit genocide and push the world war that Russia did not allow.   But Rishi speaks from both sides of his mouth neither side really evincing his true character…   Prince Salman is not easily swayed by the fakery.

Sunak told Netanyahu that he wants Israel to win.   Win what?   Israel has declared it’s mission to be the destruction of Hamas – yet continues to obliterate all of Gaza.  And therein lies the answer the Rothschild Economist already noted in its four potential outcomes –   Gaza and The West Bank will be reduced to rubble –

It is curious that Sunak feels the need to go to Israel at all – given the fierce constant attacks by Hamas… But then AI does wonders these days. And the money laundering created via the Ukraine war becomes a viable explanation.

Of importance to Sunak’s arrival is to help negotiate the release of Israeli and foreign prisoners in Gaza.   Oddly, there are few if any notations as to who those prisoners might be. Why are their names withheld?  Why does every media outlet parlay different numbers;   400 prisoners!   250 Prisoners!   150 Prisoners… 100 prisoners…   Why aren’t family members involved demanding Biden take a more actionable agenda?   Or is this Afghanistan replayed?   Why isn’t the US doing “ANYTHING” – if in fact there are prisoners?   How much information is fake? Netanyahu has announced that the hostages are on their own – he has no interest in a rescue mission or a swap.

“Framing the current conflict as a battle between the “forces of progress and humanity” and “an axis of evil”, Netanyahu called Hamas “the modern barbarians, the worst monsters on the planet”.

It is unclear exactly how many Hamas members there are in Gaza Palestine. Estimates range wildly between 15,000 to 50,000. Hamas is split between its political bureau which is based in Qatar, and its social bureau which is based in Gaza. The Bureau has fifteen members in Gaza and four units, including; finance, propaganda, foreign affairs, and social welfare.

The social welfare bureau is what led the creation of schools, hospitals, religious institutions, and charity which had been denied by the Israel government.   The political Bureau oversees the military operations via the Shura Council.   Izz Al Din Al Qassam Brigade is the military branch.

If in fact, Israel intends to kill all 25,000 Hamas military members, this war is slated to be exceptionally bloody given 4,000 “Palestinians” have been killed with absolutely no mention of how many were Hamas.  Half the Palestinian deaths have been attributed to children – the Hillary Clinton What Difference Does It Make If They Are Dead – casualties of war – scenario.

Reprinted with permission from Helena-The Nationalist Voice.

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The Parasitic Rich Men North of Richmond

Sab, 21/10/2023 - 05:01

Seemingly coming out of nowhere was the song “Rich Men North of Richmond,” by singer-songwriter Oliver Anthony. Overnight, the laments of one man from Appalachia over the state of the American economy and government spread like wildfire.

In “Rich Men North of Richmond” Anthony decries the declining value of the US dollar, the lack of accountability for those on Jeffrey Epstein’s client list, and the use of taxpayer dollars to fund obesity through food stamps amidst high taxation. Whilst one could deconstruct the individual issues pointed at by Anthony, it can best be understood by the song title and the chorus:

Livin’ in the new world

With an old soul

These rich men north of Richmond

Lord knows they all just wanna have total control

Wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do

And they don’t think you know, but I know that you do

‘Cause your dollar ain’t shit and it’s taxed to no end

‘Cause of rich men north of Richmond

The song is a lament about the poor state of America at the hands of these “rich men north of Richmond.” These men, of course, are none other than the politicians and bureaucrats of Washington, DC. Any libertarian worth their salt can both empathize and sympathize with the message. Government bureaucrats and politicians have racked up $32 trillion of debt (not including unfunded liabilities), have become involved in at least seven foreign wars since September 11, 2001, and devalued the dollar by more than 90 percent since 1913. It has hardly been easy to be in the working class since the advent of progressivism.

The explosion of Anthony’s song is a fitting time to discuss libertarian class theory, which provides insight into the very problems of these “rich men” and how they have led to the plundering of productive citizenry.

The first proper articulation of libertarian class theory is in Murray Rothbard’s book For a New Liberty, where he applies the theory of John C. Calhoun. This theory is that of the most basic conflict because of government: between those who are net “taxpayers” and those who are net “tax receivers.” The net taxpayers are, of course, those who are expropriated through taxation. They are the productive ranks of society, who fall victim to the contradictorily named “progressive income tax.” They are those who receive less in benefit than they pay into the system.

The other side to this class distinction are the net “tax receivers” or “tax recipients.” These are those who generate their income from the state taxation apparatus: the politicians, the bureaucrats, government contractors, and propaganda class. These are the corporations that not only build and maintain the road apparatus but also the dreaded military-industrial complex and other various industries.

The university system, feeding off subsidies through federal student loans, would be another such industry. These industries survive not through a marketplace of free exchange but through government handouts. Politicians might be the most easily identifiable member of this class, taking not only a salary but also other benefits that come with controlling the monopoly on violence.

The tax recipient class is not the product of voluntary exchange nor is it providing value to consumers; it is the parasite on the productive class of society. What the productive class provides to the average man, the parasitic class takes through violence. It does not need to provide value to the average man nor is it receptive to the market price system—it is accountable only to the voting populace after years of its parasitism. This parasitic class provides no value, only extracting it from the better members of society.

Anthony’s “rich men” are this parasitic class. The parasitic class taxes every dollar Americans spend, receive, and save. The parasitic class has overseen the dollar’s collapse in value. The parasitic class has expanded in its control of American life. The parasitic class does what every parasite does to its host: it drains it closer and closer to death. The struggles of Americans can be laid at the foot of Washington, DC. It has drained every productive force of society and has done so through taxation, borrowing, and inflation.

Even when no longer in office, the parasite class continues to feed the politicians. Thus enters the sect of the parasite class dubbed by Rothbard as “intellectuals,” though one could hardly claim many of them possess true intelligence. One section of Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State, titled “How the State Preserves Itself,” describes the intellectual sect:

For this essential acceptance, the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives. Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the “intellectuals.” For the masses of men do not create their own ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and disseminated by the body of intellectuals. The intellectuals are, therefore, the “opinion-molders” in society. And since it is precisely a molding of opinion that the State most desperately needs, the basis for age-old alliance between the State and the intellectuals becomes clear.

One institution of these so-called intellectuals are DC think tanks. These institutions pass themselves off as policymaking prescribers. They claim to adhere to certain principles that guide their prescriptions. But universities and think tanks often act as revolving doors for the political class. Look only to the failures of Anthony Fauci, who was offered a teaching position at Georgetown, or Lori Lightfoot, who became employed by Harvard University. Joe Biden, the current president, was gifted a center at the University of Pennsylvania and a salary of $900,000 per year. Biden did not teach nor assist as faculty; his only utility was association with the university. Even the greatest failures and most despotic of policymakers are fed by the system when they leave the policymaking life.

Out of the fifteen richest counties in the United States, five of them are in Virginia or Maryland surrounding DC. These are not counties that produce large amounts of consumer or higher-ordered goods. These are counties stuffed full of political elites, think tanks, bureaucrats, and military-industrial complex CEOs. These are not productive areas; they are areas that house parasites who feed off average Americans.

Americans lost $10 trillion of wealth during the 2008 financial crisis, which was the fault of the Federal Reserve. To the average American, things are not seeming to get better. Even today, inflation still rages at the official reading of 3.7 percent, making the cost of living higher than ever. The money of the CARES Act didn’t go only to Americans—it went to large corporations that needed to be bailed out.

The United States government sits as the perfect example of the Rothbardian-Calhoun class theory. The political “elites” that sit “north of Richmond” have taken the value created by Americans to line their own pockets. Through every mean, whether that be inflation or blatant taxation, the parasitic class has benefited to the detriment of all Americans.

Oliver Anthony is correct. The “rich men north of Richmond” are indeed hurting the common man. And Godspeed to his message of waking up many Americans to that fact.

Note: The views expressed on are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

The post The Parasitic Rich Men North of Richmond appeared first on LewRockwell.

US Empire-First Policy Led to a Quagmire of Forever Wars…

Sab, 26/08/2023 - 05:01

When the Cold War officially ended suddenly in 1991 Washington had one more chance to pivot back to the pre-1914 status quo ante. That is, to a national security policy of Fortress America because there was literally no significant military threat left on the planet.

Post-Soviet Russia was an economic basket case that couldn’t even meet its military payroll and was melting down and selling the Red Army’s tanks and artillery for scrap. China was just emerging from the Great Helmsman’s economic, political and cultural depredations and had embraced Deng Xiaoping proclamation that “to get rich is glorious”.

The implications of the Red Army’s fiscal demise and China’s electing the path of export mercantilism and Red Capitalism were profound.

Russia couldn’t invade the American homeland in a million years and China chose the route of flooding America with shoes, sheets, shirts, toys and electronics. So doing, it made the rule of the communist elites in Beijing dependent upon keeping the custom of 4,000 Walmarts in America, not bombing them out of existence.

In a word, god’s original gift to America—the great moats of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans—could have again become the cornerstone of its national security.

After 1991, therefore, there was no nation on the planet that had the remotest capability to mount a conventional military assault on the U.S. homeland; or that would not have bankrupted itself attempting to create the requisite air and sea-based power projection capabilities—a resource drain that would be vastly larger than even the $900 billion the US currently spends on its own global armada.

Indeed, in the post-cold war world the only thing the US needed was a modest conventional capacity to defend the shorelines and North American airspace against any possible rogue assault and a reliable nuclear deterrent against any state foolish enough to attempt nuclear blackmail.

Needless to say, those capacities had already been bought and paid for during the cold war. The triad of minutemen ICBMs, Trident SLBMs (submarines launched nuclear missiles) and long-range stealth bombers currently cost $52 billion annually for operations and maintenance, replacements and upgrades and were more than adequate for the task of nuclear deterrence.

Likewise, conventional defense of the U.S. shoreline and airspace against rogues would not require a fraction of today’s 1.3 million active uniformed force—to say nothing of the 800,000 additional reserves and national guard forces and the 765,000 DOD civilians on top of that.

Rather than funding 2.9 million personnel, the whole job of national security under a homeland-based Fortress America concept could be done with less than 500,000 military and civilian payrollers. At most.

In fact, much of the 475,000 US army could be eliminated and most of the Navy’s carrier strike groups and power projection capabilities could be mothballed. So, too, the Air Force’s homeland defense missions could be accomplished for well less than $100 billion per annum compared to its current $200 billion budget.

Overall, the constant dollar national defense budget was $660 billion (2022 $) when the cold war ended and the Soviet Union subsequently disappeared from the face of the earth in 1991. Had Washington pivoted to a Fortress America national security policy at the time, defense spending could have been downsized to perhaps $500 billion per year (2022 $) or potentially far less.

Instead, Imperial Washington went in the opposite direction and ended up embracing a de facto policy of Empire First. The latter will cost $900 billion during the current year and is heading for $1.2 trillion billion annually a few years down the road.

Empire First—-The Reason For An Extra Half Trillion For Defense

In a word, Empire First easily consumes one-half trillion dollars more in annual budgetary resources than would a Fortress America policy. And that giant barrel of weapons contracts, consulting and support jobs, lobbying booty and Congressional pork explains everything you need to know about why the Swamp is so deep and intractable.

Obviously, it’s also why Imperial Washington has appointed itself global policeman. Functioning as the gendarme of the planet is the only possible justification for the extra $500 billion per year cost of Empire First.

For example, why does the US still deploy 100,000 US forces and their dependents in Japan and Okinawa and 29,000 in South Korea?

These two counties have a combined GDP of nearly $7 trillion—or 235X more than North Korea and they are light-years ahead of the latter in technology and military capability. Also, they don’t go around the world engaging in regime change, thereby spooking fear on the north side of the DMZ.

Accordingly, Japan and South Korea could more than provide for their own national security in a manner they see fit without any help whatsoever from Imperial Washington. That’s especially the case because absent the massive US military threat in the region, North Korea would surely seek a rapprochement and economic help from its neighbors including China.

Indeed, sixty-five years after the unnecessary war in Korea ended, there is only one reason why the Kim family is still in power in Pyongyang and why periodically they have noisily brandished their incipient nuclear weapons and missiles. To wit, it’s because the Empire still occupies the Korean peninsula and surrounds its waters with more lethal firepower than was brought to bear against the industrial might of Nazi Germany during the whole of WWII.

Of course, these massive and costly forces are also justified on the grounds of supporting Washington’s committements to the defense of Taiwan. But that commitment has always been obsolete and unnecessary to America’s homeland security.

The fact is, Chiang Kia-Shek lost the Chinese civil war fair and square in 1949, and there was no reason to perpetuate his rag-tag regime when it retreated to the last square miles of Chinese territory—the island province of Taiwan. The latter had been under control of the Chinese Qing Dynasty for 200 years thru 1895, when it was occupied by the Imperial Japan for 50 years, only to be liberated by Chinese patriots at the end of WWII.

That is to say, once Imperial Japan was expelled from the island the Chinese did not “invade” or occupy or takeover their own country. For crying out loud, Taiwan had been Han for centuries and for better or worse, the communists were now the rulers of China.

Accordingly, Taiwan is separated from the mainland today only because Washington arbitrarily made it a protectorate and ally when the loser of the civil war set up shop in a small remnant of modern China, thereby establishing an artificial nation that, again, had no bearing whatsoever on America’s homeland security.

In any event, the nascent US War Party of the late 1940s decreed otherwise, generating 70 years of tension with the Beijing regime that accomplished nothing except to bolster the case for a big Navy and for maintaining vast policing operations in the Pacific region for no good reason of homeland defense.

That is to say, without Washington’s support for the nationalist regime in Taipei, the island would have been absorbed back into the Chinese polity where it had been for centuries. It would probably now resemble the booming prosperity of Shanghai—-something Wall Street and mainstream US politicians celebrated for years.

Moreover, it’s still not too late. Absent Washington’s arms and threats, the Taiwanese would surely prefer peaceful prosperity as the 24th province of China rather than a catastrophic war against Beijing that they would have no hope of surviving.

By the same token, the alternative—US military intervention to aid Taiwan—would mean WWIII. So what’s the point of Washington’s dangerous policy of “strategic ambiguity” when the long-term outcome is utterly inevitable?

In short, the only sensible policy is for Washington to recant 70-years of folly brought on by the China Lobby and arms manufacturers and green-light a Taiwanese reconciliation with the mainland. Even a few years thereafter Wall Street bankers peddling M&A deals in Taipei wouldn’t know the difference from Shanghai.

And speaking of foolishly frozen history, it is now 78 years since Hitler perished in his bunker. So why does Washington still have 50,000 troops and their dependents stationed in Germany?

Certainly by it own actions Germany does not claim to be militarily imperiled. It’s modest $55 billion defense budget amounts to only 1.3% of GDP, hardly an indication that it fears Russian forces will soon be at the Brandenburg Gate.

Indeed, until Washington conned the Scholz government into joining its idiotic sanctions war against Russia, Germany saw Russia as a vital market for its exports and as a source of supply for natural gas, other natural resources and food stuffs. Besides, with a GDP of $4.2 trillion or more than double Russia’s $2.1 trillion GDP, Germany could more than handle its own defenses if Moscow should ever become foolish enough to threaten it.

From there you get to the even more preposterous case for the Empire’s NATO outposts in eastern Europe. But the history books are absolutely clear that in 1989 George H. W. Bush and his Secretary of State, James Baker, promised Gorbachev that NATO would not be expanded to the east by a “single inch” in return for his acquiescence to German unification.

The Obsolete Folly Of NATO’s Article 5 Mutual Defense Obligations

At the time, NATO had 16 member nations bound by the Article 5 obligation of mutual defense, but when the Soviet Union and the Red Army vanished, there was nothing left to defend against. NATO should have declared victory and dissolved itself. The ex-paratrooper then in the White House, in fact, could have landed at the Ramstein Air Base and announced “mission accomplished!”

Instead, NATO has become a political jackhammer and weapons sales agent for Empire First policies by expanding to 30 nations—many of them on Russia’s doorstep.

Yet if your perception is not distorted by Washington’s self-justifying imperial beer-goggles, the question is obvious. Exactly what is gained for the safety and security of the citizens of Lincoln NE or Springfield MA by obtaining the defense services of the pint-sized militaries of Latvia (6,000), Croatia (14,500), Estonia (6,400), Slovenia (7,300) or Montenegro (1,950)?

Indeed, the whole post-1991 NATO expansion is so preposterous as a matter of national security that its true function as a fig-leaf for Empire First fairly screams out-loud. Not one of these pint-sized nations would matter for US security if they decided to have a cozier relationship with Russia—voluntarily or not so voluntarily.

But the point is, there is no threat to America in eastern Europe unless such as Montenegro, Slovenia, or Latvia were to become Putin’s invasion route to effect the Russian occupation of Germany, France, the Benelux and England.

And that’s just plain silly-ass crazy!

Yet aside from that utterly far-fetched and economically and militarily impossible scenario, there is no reason whatsoever for the US to be in a mutual defense pact with any of the new, and, for that matter, old NATO members.

And that gets us to the patently bogus proxy war on Russia in which the nation of Ukraine is being turned into a demolition derby and its population of both young and older men is being frog-marched into the Russian meat-grinder.

But as we have documented elsewhere this is a civil war in an artificial nation confected by history’s greatest tyrants—Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev, too. It was never built to last, and most definitely didn’t after the Washington sponsored, funded and instantly recognized Maidan coup of February 2014 deposed its legitimately elected pro-Russian president.

Thereafter, Russia’s actions in recovering its former province of Crimea in March 2014 and coming to the aid of the break-away Russian-speaking republics of the Donbas (eastern Ukraine) in February 2022 did not threaten the security of the American homeland or the peace of the world. Not one bit.

The post-February 2014 conflict in Ukraine is a “territorial”, ethnic and religious dispute over deep differences between Russian-speakers in the east and south of the country and Ukrainian nationalists from the center and west that are rooted in centuries of history.

The resulting carnage, as tragic as it has been, does not prove in the slightest that Russia is an aggressive expansionist that must be thwarted by the Indispensable Nation. To the contrary, Washington’s imperial beer goggles are utterly blind to history and geopolitical logic.

In the first place, the history books make abundantly clear that Sevastopol in Crimea had been the home-port of the Russian Naval Fleet under czars and commissars alike. Crimea had been purchased from the Ottoman’s for good money by Catherine the Great in 1783 and was the site of one of Russia greatest patriotic events—-the defeat of the English invaders in 1854 made famous by Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade.

After 171 years as an integral part of the Russian Motherland and having become more than 80% Russian-speaking, Crimea only technically became part of Ukraine during a Khrushchev inspired shuffle in 1954. And even then, the only reason for this late communist era territorial transfer was to reward Khrushchev’s allies in Kiev for supporting him in the bloody struggle for power after Stalin’s death.

The fact is, only 10% of the Crimean population is Ukrainian speaking. It was the coup on the streets of Kiev in February 2014 by extremist anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalists and proto-fascists that caused the Russian speakers in Crimea to panic and Moscow to become alarmed about the status of its historic naval base, for which it still had a lease running to the 2040s.

In the Moscow sponsored referendum that occurred shortly thereafter, 83% of eligible Crimeans turned out to vote and 97% of those approved cancelling the aforementioned 1954 edict of the Soviet Presidium and rejoining mother Russia. There is absolutely no evidence that the 80% of Crimeans who thus voted to sever their historically short-lived affiliation with Ukraine were threatened or coerced by Moscow.

Indeed, what they actually feared—both in Crimea and in the Donbas where the breakaway Republics were also soon declared—was the anti-Russian edicts coming out of Kiev in the aftermath of the Washington orchestrated overthrow of the legally elected government.

After all, the good folks of what the historical maps designated as Novorussiya (New Russia) populated what had been the industrial breadbasket of the former Soviet Union. The Donbas and the southern rim on the Black Sea had always been an integral part of Russia’s iron, steel, chemical, coal and munitions industries, having been settled, developed and invested by Russians under Czars from Catherine the Great forwards. And in Soviet times many of their grandparents had been put there by Stalin from elsewhere in Russia to reinforce his bloody rule.

By the same token, these Russian settlers and transplants in Novorussiya forever hated the Ukrainian nationalist collaborators from the west, who rampaged though their towns, farms, factories and homes side-by-side with Hitler’s Wehrmacht on the way to Stalingrad.

So the appalling truth of the matter was this: By Washington’s edict the grandsons and granddaughters of Stalin’s industrial army in the Donbas were to be ruled by the grandsons and granddaughters of Hitler’s WWII collaborators in Kiev, whether they liked it or not. Alas, that repudiation of history could not stand.

So we repeat and for good reason: You simply can’t make up $500 billion worth of phony reasons for an Empire First national security policy without going off the deep-end. You have to invent missions, mandates and threats that are just plain stupid (like the proxy war against Russia in the Ukraine) or flat out lies (like Saddam’s alleged WMDs).

Indeed, you must invent, nourish and enforce an entire universal narrative based on completely implausible and invalid propositions, such as the “Indispensable Nation” meme and the claim that global peace and stability depend overwhelmingly on Washington’s leadership.

Yet, is there not a more cruel joke than that?

Was the Washington inflicted carnage and genocide in Vietnam—which resulted in the death of upwards of one million—- a case of “American leadership” and making the world more peaceful or stable?

And after losing this costly, bloody, insensible war to the communists in 1975, how is it that what is still communist Vietnam has become the go-to place to source low-cost manufactured goods needed by tens of thousands of Amazon’s delivery trucks and mass market retail emporiums operating from coast-to-coast in America today?

Likewise, did the two wars against Iraq accomplish anything except destroy the tenuous peace between the Sunni, Shiite and Kurds, thereby opening up the gates of hell and the bloody rampages of ISIS?

Did the billions Washington illegally channeled into the rebel and jihadist forces in Syria do anything except destroy the country, create millions of refugees and encourage the Assad regime to engage in tit-for-tat brutalities, as well as call-in aid from its Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah allies?

Did not the destruction of Qaddafi’s government by American bombers turn Libya into a hell-hole of war-lord based civil war and human abuse and even enslavement?

In a word, Imperial Washington’s over-arching narratives and the instances of its specific interventions alike rest on a threadbare and implausible foundation; and more often than not, they consist of arrogant fabrications and claims that are an insult to the intelligence of anyone paying even loose attention to the facts.

In this context, there is only one way to meaningfully move the needle on both Washington’s hegemonic foreign policy and its giant flow of red budgetary ink. To wit, the American military empire needs be dismantled lock, stock and barrel. Fortunately, a return to the idea of Fortress America and what we have called the Eisenhower Defense Minimum can accomplish exactly that.

When president Eisenhower gave his prescient warning about the military-industrial complex in his 1961 farewell address, the US defense budget stood at $52 billion and it totaled $64 billion when you add in the collateral elements of national security that round out the full fiscal cost of empire. These include the State Department, AID, security assistance, NED, international broadcasting propaganda operations and related items, as well as the deferred cost of military operations reflected in Veterans Administration costs for compensation, health care and other services.

By the end of the cold war in 1991 this comprehensive national security budget had risen to $340 billion, but was not to be denied by the mere fact that the Soviet Union disappeared into the dustbin of history that year. The neocons soon infiltrated both parties and owing to their Forever Wars and hegemony-seeking policies the total had soared to $822 billion by the end of the Obama “peace” candidate’s presidency in 2016.

Yet the uniparty was just getting warmed-up. After being goosed big time by both Trump and Biden, the current estimate for FY 2024 stands at a staggering $1.304 trillion. That is to say, the comprehensive cost of empire now stands at a level 20X higher than what the great peace-oriented general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, believed was adequate to contain the threat posed by the old Soviet Union at the peak of its industrial and military power in 1960.

Yes, 64 years on from Ike’s farewell address there has been a whole lot of inflation, which is embedded in the slightly different NIPA basis for the defense numbers in the chart below. But even when adjusted to the current price level, the defense budget proper stood at just $440 billion in 1960 compared to $900 billion today; and the comprehensive national security budget totaled just $590 billion or only 45% of today’s $1.304 trillion.

National Defense Spending, NIPA Basis 1960 to 2022

As we indicated earlier, the Eisenhower Defense Minimum, rounded to $500 billion in today’s purchasing power, is far more than adequate in a world where America’s homeland security is not threatened by a technological and industrial superpower having even remote parity with the United States and its NATO allies. The combined $45 trillion GDP of the latter is 20X larger than that of Russia and nearly 3X that of China, which is itself a debt-entombed house of cards that would not last a year without its $3.5 trillion of exports to the west.

Stated differently, the old Soviet Union was autarkic but internally brittle and grotesquely inefficient and unsustainable. Red China, by contrast, is far more efficient industrially, but also has $50 trillion of internal and external debts and a thoroughly mercantilist economic model that makes it is utterly dependent on western markets. So its strategic vulnerability is no less conclusive.

At the end of the day, neither Russia nor China have the economic capacity—say $50 trillion of GDP—-or motivation to attack the American homeland with conventional military means. The vast invasionary armada of land and air forces, air and sealift capacity and massive logistics supply pipelines that would be needed to bridge the two ocean moats is virtually beyond rational imagination.

So what ultimately keeps America safe is its nuclear deterrent. As long as that is in tact and effective, there is no conceivable form of nuclear blackmail that could be used to jeopardize the security and liberty of the homeland.

Yet according to CBO’s latest study the current annual cost of the strategic deterrent, as we indicated above, is just $52 billion. This includes $13 billion for the ballistic missile submarine force, $7 billion for the land-based ICBMs and $6 billion for the strategic bomber force. On top of that there is also $13 billion to maintain the nuclear weapons stockpiles, infrastructure and supporting services and $11 billion for strategic nuclear command and control, communications and early warnings systems.

In all, and after allowing for normal inflation and weapons development costs, CBOs 10-year estimate for the strategic nuclear deterrent is just $756 billion. That happens to be only 7.0% of the $10 trillion baseline for the 10-year cost of today’s “Empire First” defense budget and only 5.0% of the $15 trillion national security baseline when you include international operations and veterans.

A return to the Eisenhower Minimum of $500 billion per year for defense proper over the next decade would thus save in excess of $4 trillion over the period. And these cuts would surely be readily extractable from the $9 trillion CBO baseline for defense spending excluding the strategic forces.

As we indicated above, for instance, there would be no need for 11 carrier battle groups including their air-wings, escort and support ships and supporting infrastructure under a Fortress America policy. Those forces are sitting ducks in this day and age anyway, but are only necessary for force projection abroad and wars of invasion and occupation. The American coastline and interior, by contrast, can be protected by land-based air.

Yet according to another CBO study the 10-year baseline cost for the Navy’s 11 carrier battle groups will approach $1 trillion alone. Likewise, the land forces of the US Army will cost $2 trillion and that’s again mainly for the purpose of force projection abroad.

As Senator Taft and his original Fortress America supporters long ago recognized, overwhelming air superiority over the North American continent is what is actually necessary for homeland security. But even that would require only a small part of the current $1.5 trillion 10-year cost of US Air Force operations, which are heavily driven by global force projection capacities.

At the end of the day a $4 trillion reduction in national security spending over the next decade is more than feasible and long overdue. It only requires tossing the Indispensable Nation myth into the dustbin of history where it has belonged all along.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

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Portrait of a Major Media Rebel: A Review of Chadwick Moore’s Tucker

Sab, 26/08/2023 - 05:01

Tucker is Chadwick Moore’s fascinating and highly readable new biography of the most consequential conservative populist media icon since talk radio king Rush Limbaugh. For the last several years on his top-rated FOX TV show, fifty-four-year-old Tucker Carlson has been the leading voice of traditional Americans appalled at the recent leftist establishment assault on their entire culture. Indeed, Moore asserts that Carlson “shared our horror and confusion about what was happening to the country we love and articulated it as no one else could, or dared to.” Yet, despite decrying such disturbing developments, “his fierce independence of mind was always exhilarating. We knew we weren’t alone.” With generous access to Carlson, his wife, and his TV show staff, and considering that the long-time liberal gay author came out as conservative on Carlson’s program, it is not surprising that the book is strongly supportive of its subject.

As compelling as Tucker’s focus on the present-day Carlson is, its attention to his upbringing and youth is the most riveting aspect of his story for all the remarkable revelations that do not remotely fit the stereotype of a son of privilege. More importantly, Moore’s research offers insights to explain Carlson’s core characteristics.

His father was born illegitimate to a 15-year-old who gave him up for adoption not long before the young biological father committed suicide. Though Carlson’s dad became a successful TV news anchor and prominent Reagan administration appointee, Carlson’s mother was an alcoholic, drug-addled hippie who made her disdain for her son quite clear, abandoning him at six never to see him again, and willing him one dollar. The backdrop to this severe emotional abuse was the weirdness of 1970s southern California living next door to The Eagles rock band.

But instead of sentencing him to a lifetime of self-pitying therapy, being so disliked by his mother appears to have inured him to criticism, with Carlson confiding how “the lesson that I internalized from that was you really can’t control how other people feel. And, so, you have to just kind of be happy with who you are.” Being inured to assaults from all but those he loves and respects appears to have made him impervious to the recent attacks hurled at him by so much of the ruling class.

Perhaps another reason why “In a time of pussyfooting evasions, he speaks truths that almost no one else will, and does so in interesting, original, and, yes, often highly provocative ways” is because his father essentially let young Tucker do whatever he wanted, including driving at thirteen and hitchhiking at fourteen. This appears to have made Carlson quite comfortable courting risks that most of us would go to some lengths to avoid, like spending the bulk of his first summer in college tooling around Central America, especially Nicaragua, during that nation’s civil war where he wrote at La Prensa, the main newspaper opposing the communist Sandinista regime.

Making Carlson’s journalistic career and acclaimed TV monologues all the more noteworthy is that he is severely dyslexic, frequently skipped class growing up, and was largely a D student right up to when he dropped out of college. Tucker should have revealed how Carlson overcame his learning disability to become such a devoted reader and successful writer.

For someone who would so upset both establishment Democrats and Republicans, it is instructive that Carlson was never a conformist, preferring instead to be a largely self-educated iconoclast following his own “different drummer,” a la Thoreau. So, when his buddies pledged a fraternity, Carlson declined. Similarly, his top writing influence is quite possibly liberal, drug-loving Hunter S. Thompson. Nor will the conservative icon once famous for his bow ties use deodorant or wear socks, and his favorite musical group is the Grateful Dead.

Not surprisingly, Carlson left a quite a chemical trail of his own. He was a two-pack-a-day smoker until breaking into TV and becoming a nicotine gum-user ever since, with an occasional cigar. When young, he was rejected by the CIA because of its drug test, and he was a “functional alcoholic” who drank his way through college and had liquor for breakfast before becoming a teetotaler at 33.

Throughout his life, he has remained his father’s son by being an inveterate risk-taker, becoming a conservative, and pursuing a career in political journalism. Nevertheless, having grown used to dining with major politicians as a boy, Carlson has never been in awe of them. To the contrary, he is bored by most famous folks who he sees as entitled, dismissing them with the observation that “Most people get to a certain point of notoriety where they think, being with me is inherently entertainment enough. Wrong!”

But Carlson has wholesale contempt for the political class he covers, pronouncing how:

There are 435 members of the House of Representatives…. And some of them are fine, but overwhelmingly they are hollow people who are in the business because they yearn for the affirmation of strangers, which is inherently sick. Who cares what strangers think of you? You should care what the people around you think of you, and you should do your best to treat them well. It’s a basic life rule, but they ignore it. That’s why they’re politicians, because they’re screwed up people.

Carlson’s worldview can be tough to define. Broadly conservative for generally wanting less government and despising “the nanny state,” he nevertheless rejects what he sees as too much faith in the free market, especially when convinced it harms families. Though not known to be for enormous defense budgets or U.S. military interventionism, he strongly rejects libertarian legalization views since “everyone on drugs … is the trend in American life I hate most.” He also sides with cultural conservatives in his loathing of big business which he condemns as far too woke, greedy, and wanting to restrict our speech and even despiritualize us.

Carlson’s political watershed was going to Iraq in 2003 in the wake of our invasion where he saw first-hand the follies of neoconservatism which transformed him into a major foe of the war and the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment. In disgust, he would conclude “The neocons were just liberals with guns, the most destructive kind.”

Though Moore does not try to synthesize his subject’s complicated political philosophy, perhaps it could best be characterized as conservatarian populism with a deep suspicion of anything big, especially government, business, academia, and the news media which Carlson contends are all in cahoots to destroy the people’s “spirit.” As Carlson sees it:

There has never been a more destructive alignment than the one we currently see  between big business and the kind of radical theoretical Left in the universities. Companies … take … whatever ugly, stupid, poisonous concept is emerging from the universities, and they’ll defang it and incorporate it into ad campaigns, and then they’ll continue to pay a much lower tax rate than you do, and nobody says anything.

Of President Trump, Carlson exclaims “I love Trump” personally because “To have dinner with Trump is one of the great joys in the world” since he is “an incredibly amusing, charming, dynamic person.” He also admires how “No one has been more insightful about American foreign policy than Trump.” But Carlson bemoans that “he was a completely ineffectual president. He couldn’t manage my household…. I don’t think he understands politics that well.”

With Carlson, certain core values supersede ideology. For example, he is acutely sensitive to hypocrisy and loves pointing it out, as when he notes how “The party of diversity [the Democrats] is strongly, overwhelmingly, led by people who prefer all-white neighborhoods for themselves and their families.” He also agrees with Andrew Breitbart and Greg Gutfeld that culture trumps politics. In this vein, he is a full-throated foe of the feminist assault on masculinity which he believes has devastated young men.

As for who Carlson respects and befriends, the main determinants are demonstrating courage, consistency, honesty, and loyalty. Ideology appears to play no role. Otherwise, how to explain that the three public media figures he may esteem the most personally are liberal Democrats James Carville, Bill Press, and Rachel Maddow.

Increasingly religious, Carlson holds that politics and work should be far in the back seat compared to faith and family, even declaring that “your work actually doesn’t mean very much, in the end.” Having grown up in such an atypical home, he always craved creating a close family and by all accounts has. For such a leading news media figure, it is remarkable that he not only lacks a social media account but does not even own a TV.

Being anchored to family and close friends has surely been a godsend to Carlson in light of what Moore paints as the mercilessly intolerant, cut throat world of News, Inc. In fact, within two days of making his first appearance on Carlson’s FOX program, the biographer was fired from his editor-at-large jobs at The Advocate and Out, perhaps America’s top gay publications. How revealing when Carlson points out that he continues to have “one friend who’s a personality at CNN,” yet “I can’t say this person’s name because it’ll wreck this person’s career.”

Though Carlson has never broken a friendship over politics, many liberals have done so with him. Perhaps most disappointing was when Never Trumper P.J. O’Rourke, whose writing likely affected Carlson more than anyone but Hunter S. Thompson, grew distant. Thankfully, they had lunch soon before O’Rourke died and Carlson devoted a moving TV monologue to him as an obituary. On why Carlson separates politics from friendship, he asserts that “I have a religion, I don’t need a new one. But for a lot of people, on the left, it is their religion and this is a holy war, and they can’t be friends with unbelievers.”

As to why FOX canceled Carlson’s long-running, top-rated show, its host concedes he has powerful enemies and speculates that “if you don’t have a really obvious team with power behind you, you get crushed, and that’s probably what happened. But I don’t know.”

Tucker offers no predictions on its subject’s future, content instead to mine his past and present, both professional and personal. In each area, Carlson comes off as thoroughly unpretentious, fun, and beloved by family and the folks who work with him.

Though impressive, the book has a few disappointments. Too often the narrative jumps back and forth in time because it cannot decide if it is a biography or an examination of its subject’s current life. It should have expanded on all the dramatic biographical details that created today’s influential media figure. A descriptive heading for each chapter would have helped as well.

Also regrettable are all the writing errors, including missing words, ending sentences with a preposition, a subject-verb disagreement, and at least one split infinitive. Though not containing as many writing mistakes as books I reviewed this year by Kat Timpf and Greg Gutfeld, is it really hard for big publishers to find exacting editors?

The definitively detailed and analytically authoritative biography of Tucker Carlson has yet to be written. But Chadwick Moore’s Tucker is a very respectable first effort for painting a penetrating portrait of its subject and the environment which shaped him, as well as the one in which he operates today.

The post Portrait of a Major Media Rebel: A Review of Chadwick Moore’s Tucker appeared first on LewRockwell.

Ukraine Will ‘Capitulate Unconditionally’ – Scott Ritter

Sab, 26/08/2023 - 05:01

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will conclude with Kiev’s unconditional surrender, according to Scott Ritter, a former US intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that “Ukraine does not trade its territories, because we do not trade our people.”

The message was dedicated to the Third Crimea Platform Summit, where Ukraine discussed ways of “de-occupying” the peninsula, which reunited with Russia in 2014 following a referendum triggered by the US-backed Maidan coup in Kiev earlier that year.

Replying to Zelensky’s post, Ritter wrote that “it was NATO that suggested a trade. Russia isn’t trading anything.”

The former US intelligence officer was apparently referring to remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s chief of staff, Stian Jenssen, who said in mid-August that Ukraine could “give up territory [to Russia], and get NATO membership in return.” According to Jenssen, this idea was actively being discussed within the US-led military bloc.

Jenssen later apologized for his remarks, saying they were “a mistake.”

The suggestion caused outrage in Kiev, with presidential aide Mikhail Podoliak branding it “ridiculous.” Such a move would amount to “deliberately choosing the defeat of democracy… and passing the war on to other generations,” he claimed.

The head of the Ukrainian National Security Council, Aleksey Danilov, reiterated that Kiev would never negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, insisting that “Russia must be destroyed like a modern-day Carthage.”

Ritter insisted that Moscow is “dealing with reality” when it comes to the conflict with Kiev, including “where Russian boots will be when Ukraine capitulates unconditionally.”

“Think Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. That’s your future. Enjoy,” he wrote, addressing Zelensky.

Pro-hint, Mr. President:

It was NATO that suggested a trade.

Russia isn’t trading anything.

They are dealing with reality. Like where Russian boots will be when Ukraine capitulates unconditionally.

Think Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945.

That’s your future.


— Scott Ritter (@RealScottRitter) August 23, 2023

On that date, representatives of the Japanese Empire signed an unconditional surrender to the Allies aboard the USS Missouri, ending the country’s participation in World War II.

In line with the deal, Japan agreed to the loss of all its territories outside of its home islands, complete disarmament, Allied occupation of the country, and tribunals to bring war criminals to justice.

On Wednesday, Zelensky admitted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces, which began in early June, was proving “very difficult.” However, he also claimed that the operation was moving “slowly, but in the right direction.”

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that the Ukrainian campaign is showing “signs of stalling.” The newspaper warned that “the inability to demonstrate decisive success on the battlefield [by Kiev’s forces] is stoking fears that the conflict is becoming a stalemate and international support could erode.”

President Putin claimed on Wednesday that it was “astonishing” to see how little the authorities in Kiev cared about Ukrainian soldiers. “They are throwing [them] on our minefields, under our artillery fire, acting as if they are not their own citizens at all,” the Russian leader said.

According to Moscow’s estimates, Ukraine has failed to make any significant gains since the launch of its counteroffensive, but has lost more than 43,000 troops and nearly 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment. Kiev has so far claimed the capture of several villages, but these appear to be some distance from Russia’s main defensive lines.

This originally appeared on RT News.

The post Ukraine Will ‘Capitulate Unconditionally’ – Scott Ritter appeared first on LewRockwell.

The Meaningless, Destructive Minimum Wage

Sab, 26/08/2023 - 05:01

The New York Times has just published an article on the minimum wage that is a major embarrassment to liberals/progressives. Mind you, that was clearly not the Times’ intent, but that is certainly the effect of the article. 

The article states that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has largely become meaningless. That’s because “even most teenagers are earning twice that.” 

What? That’s impossible! Haven’t liberals/progressives told us for decades that without a minimum wage, greedy, rapacious, capitalist employers would drive wages down to mere subsistence levels? 

If that’s true, then what’s up with those wages that employers are paying teenagers that are twice what the law requires them to pay? If the liberals/progressives are right, wouldn’t employers be paying teenagers $7.25 per hour or, in the absence of the minimum wage, just a few dollars per hour?

The Times writes:

Under New Hampshire law, Janette Desmond can pay the employees who scoop ice cream and cut fudge at her Portsmouth sweet shop as little as $7.25 an hour.

But with the state unemployment rate under 2 percent, the dynamics of supply and demand trump the minimum wage: At Ms. Desmond’s store, teenagers working their first summer jobs earn at least $14 an hour.

“I could take a billboard out on I-95 saying we’re hiring, $7.25 an hour,” Ms. Desmond said. “You know who would apply? Nobody. You couldn’t hire anybody at $7.25 an hour.”

So, there you have it — total embarrassment for the liberal/progressive advocates of the minimum wage. 

So, what explains this phenomenon? Is it because liberals/progressives have been wrong all these decades about the greedy, self-interested sentiments of employers? Could it be that American employers have actually been benevolent, good, caring advocates of the poor, needy, and disadvantaged? Could it be that they are paying twice the minimum wage as a voluntary donation just to help out teenagers?

Actually not. The reason that those employers are paying twice the mandated minimum is because of market conditions. Labor is scarce and demand for labor is high. And business is booming.

In other words, employers need workers, and there is not a big supply of workers. When that happens, wage rates are bid up through the competition between employers for workers. It’s the natural economic law of supply and demand that drives wages upward, not the artificial man-made law of a minimum-wage mandate.

In fact, the Times’ article actually points this out: “The red-hot labor market of the past two years has led to rapid pay increases, particularly in retail, hospitality and other low-wage industries. It has also rendered the minimum wage increasingly meaningless.”

The problem, however, is that the minimum wage is not entirely meaningless. It actually can still be very destructive. 

That’s because of the economic principle of subjective value. Even in a red-hot labor market, where wages are soaring, there exists the possibility that employers will subjectively place a value of only, say, $5 per hour on a particular worker. The $7.25 minimum wage prevents employers from hiring that worker. He is forced to remain unemployed, which means he goes on welfare or into the drug trade. The principle becomes more pronounced if the minimum wage is set higher, such as $15 per hour, as liberals/progressives advocate.

Among the best things Americans could ever do is repeal the minimum wage, not only because it has become increasingly meaningless but also because it remains potentially destructive to workers whose labor is valued in the marketplace at less than the governmentally set minimum.

Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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Campaign Photo

Sab, 26/08/2023 - 05:01

“Georgia could determine who is our next president. A TEAM of lawyers needs to watch them count every single vote. They can start in Fulton County where we are having water leaks.” — Fulton County DA Fani Willis, Nov. 4, 2020

What to make of this mugshot? Serious as a heart attack? I’d hate to be you on that fateful day? Table turner? Energy shift? Game on? Daddy’s in da house? Good career move? You can run but you can’t hide? Please, Br’er Fox, don’t fling me in that-there briar patch…!

Good luck trying this case, DA Fani Willis. And by all means roll the TV cameras in the courtroom. You are about to supplant the Scopes trial of 1925 as the most notoriously ridiculous piece of legal work in US history. That one, over in Tennessee, was called “the Monkey Trial” when a high school teacher named John Scopes was charged with teaching the theory of evolution in his biology class. It got the national news spotlight for the duration. The state enlisted three-time Democratic presidential nominee Williams Jennings Bryan as a special prosecutor. Poor Bryan, famously sweating in the southern July heat, was made a fool of by Chicago lawyer for the defense Clarence Darrow. Bryan died of a stroke days after the conclusion of the trial. It also killed what remained of his reputation.

This week, DA Willis staged the circus parade of bookings, forcing the large cast of indictees — most of them attorneys for Mr. Trump — to submit to the finger-printing and mugshot ceremony in the county jail, in case any of them had thoughts of decamping to Uruguay. The cable news peanut gallery went berserk with glee at the humiliation of election denial celebrities Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell especially. On Thursday, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who advised Georgia GOP officials on the process of assembling alternate electors in the case of election fraud under Georgia law, demanded a speedy trial.

Under Georgia’s speedy trial law, Mr. Chesebro’s trial would have to take place this fall. (Such are the guiles of the law.) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper called it, “an aggressive filing.” Ms. Willis had hoped to try all 19 defendants together during the 2024 presidential primary season, to support her RICO charges. Meanwhile, three other defendants, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, filed to have their cases removed to the federal court, in so far as the actions they are accused of taking happened while they worked in the service of the US government. Mr. Meadows is accused of seeking by email to get the phone number of a Pennsylvania election official.

Ms. Willis’s case hinges on a number of novel propositions. First, that it is somehow against the law to object to the outcome of an election. And second, that the process for relief in such a case, as provided in Georgia’s election contest law and the US Electoral Count Act of 1887, does not apply to Mr. Trump and his lawyers. Anyone who intends to challenge the outcome must necessarily assemble a panel of alternate electors if state officials cannot certify the election properly and in good faith. Ms. Willis refers to these erroneously as “fake electors.” Mr. Trump and his co-defendants will necessarily have to present evidence that the Georgia presidential election of 2020 was not certified properly or in good faith.

Will the defendants be allowed to present evidence of serious irregularities in the 2020 Georgia election results? If not, would that not be grounds for dismissal. So far, Democrats in charge of the machinery of law all over the country have skated on mere assertions that the 2020 election was fair. In Georgia, none of the principals involved in the dispute have been subject to cross-examination, the best instrument for truth-finding in the American legal system. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Sec’y of State Brad Raffensperger may not be so hot for an airing of what actually went on Nov 3, 2020 and the days after, especially the validity of over 100,000 mail-in ballots in a state where “Joe Biden’s” margin of victory was a mere 11,799 votes.

Mr. Trump seems to be thriving under the tribulation of four court cases brought against him as he runs for election in 2024. Each new set of charges boosts his poll numbers. It helps him hugely that the cases are transparently idiotic and mendacious. If he is initially convicted in any of them, he can still run for president and be elected, even if he’s jailed — as Eugene Debs did in 1920 getting 913,693 votes running on the Socialist Party from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he was jailed under the 1917 Espionage Act for speaking out against America’s entry into the First World War.

The Party of Chaos is running scared. Everybody knows that “Joe Biden” can’t possibly run for another term and yet the public debate is so grotesquely disabled that nobody will talk about it. Most particularly, they will not talk about who might take his place. All they are really demonstrating with this barrage of prosecutions against their chief adversary is how broken, craven, and degenerate the party is, and what a menace it is, as they like to say, to our democracy.

Reprinted with permission from

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No End to the Neocon Lies About a Victorious Ukraine

Sab, 26/08/2023 - 05:01

So, I guess we’re expected to now believe the war in Ukraine is over, mostly because the USG and its corporate lie factory media insist Ukrainians are cowards not interested in throwing away their lives for actor-comedian-cum-president Zelenskyy and an oligarch-controlled Nazi-Mafia state, the most corrupt country in Europe.

But wait. TIME has spun a new hopeful fantasy on Ukraine. “The situation in Ukraine still favors Kyiv despite the limited progress made in the counteroffensive so far,” according to the neocon Frederick Kagan, Karolina Hird, a “Russian analyst” at the neocon-infested Institute for the Study of War (or, more accurately, for the promotion of endless war), and Kateryna Stepanenko, also an ISW “analyst” pushing for war with Russia, never mind Russia’s preponderance of thermonuclear weapons and advanced military hardware.

Kagan, of course, is lying, either that or he is dumb as a fence pole. For the neocons, in control of foreign policy since the W. Bush administration (and incubated during the Reagan regime), endless war, chewing up millions of lives, and trillions of “thin air” dollars, is Job One for a corporate-government “partnership” (also defined as corporatism, or fascism) and its billionaire “stakeholders” vacationing in space.

There is no end to the lies. “Vladimir Putin’s brutal military assault on sovereign neighbour continues in face of heavy losses and near-unanimous international condemnation,” fibs the Independent.

In fact, the “Global South,” Africa and South America, have not condemned Russia. They understand this conflict is about showing the USG corporate neoliberal hegemon it no longer calls the shots.

Never mentioned is the fact the USG neocons (led by the reprehensible Vicky Nuland at the USG State Department) overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in 2014, thus delivering the state into the hands of psychotic Russian-hating neo-Nazis.

Moreover, these corporate war narrative pushers rarely if ever mention that Zelenskyy was elected to serve as the titular head of Ukraine on the promise of negotiating peace with Russia, an agenda widely supported by the Ukrainian people (who, of course, are irrelevant). The true rulers, of course, are the neo-Nazis and the oligarchs ignored by the war propaganda media.

It is claimed neo-Nazi thugs threatened the multi-millionaire Zelenskyy with an unpleasant death if he didn’t sign off on bombing grandmothers and grade school kids in the Donbas.

Zelenskyy would, of course, prefer not to return to his hometown of Kryvyi Rih, but rather retreat with tail tucked to Rishpen, Israel, where he bought an eight million dollar villa. The corporate fascist media, of course, say they have “fact-checked” this claim and it is untrue. It says the same thing about his Florida mansion. We are instead told the Man in Green lives in a small room.

For a moment there, it looked like the corporate war propaganda media, led by The New York Times, admitted an indisputable truth—Ukraine’s vaunted “counter-offensive” has failed miserably.

It chewed up thousands of additional hapless Ukrainian men, those unable to immigrate or hide out in basements, fearful of neo-Nazi “recruiters” comparable to impressment gangs working as slavers for the Royal Navy back in the day.

For Tony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and Victoria Nuland, this is perfectly legitimate. After all, they have pledged to support murderous ultranationalist neo-Nazis to the end, even if it means the last Ukrainian must be fed into the Russian meat grinder.

In this way, Blackrock and JPMorgan will have a clean slate—never mind the landmines and depleted uranium—to build back better as a “big Israel,” as Zelenskyy put it. Ukraine will emulate the zionists and impose its own apartheid on ethnic Russians, the same as the Israeli state does to Palestinians.

This is little more than a pipe dream, however, as Russia will not allow a rump state of Ukraine to arm its citizens (those who have not fled) like murderous racist settlers in Israel.

Earlier today, out doing chores, I saw a lawn sign declaring “Slava Ukraini!” In other words, thumbs up for Russophobic neo-Nazis and (1.) the indiscriminate shelling of ethnic Russians, (2.) the brutal incineration of “separatists” in Mariupol, (3.) a death list, posted on the Myrotvorets website, listing hundreds of journalists and those opposed to the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv (the website is into necrophilia, displaying the dead bodies of Russian soldiers above the fold), and (4.) the obvious fact Ukraine is incapable of defeating Russia.

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The Anthrax Attacks and the Patriot Act

Sab, 26/08/2023 - 05:01

The USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) was a landmark piece of legislation passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. It granted significant new powers to both domestic law enforcement and international intelligence agencies. The goal of the legislation was to bolster efforts to detect and deter terrorism, but it sparked significant concerns about the potential erosion of civil liberties.

Some of the core aspects of the PATRIOT act that drew criticism from civil liberties advocates included:

  • Section 215 – Tangible Things: Often referred to as the “business records” provision, this section allowed the FBI to order any person or entity to hand over “any tangible things” so long as the FBI specifies that the order is “for an authorised investigation… to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”
  • Section 206 – Roving Wiretaps: This section authorised the use of roving wiretaps, which means that if a suspect changes communication devices (like switching phones), the surveillance order would still apply.
  • Section 213 – Sneak and Peek Warrants: This section allowed law enforcement to execute search warrants without immediately notifying the subject of the search.
  • Section 216 – Pen Register and Trap and Trace: This section expanded the use of these devices to capture the sending and receiving addresses of email and web browsing history.
  • Section 505 – National Security Letters (NSLs): This allowed the FBI to order the disclosure of customer records held by banks, internet service providers, telephone companies, and others. These came with a gag order, preventing the recipient from disclosing the NSL.
  • Material Support Provisions: These made it a crime to provide “material support” to terrorist organisations. However, the definition of “material support” was seen as quite broad.
  • Expansion of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Powers: The PATRIOT Act made changes to FISA, reducing the standards required to surveil foreign persons. The Act expanded the definition of “agent of a foreign power” to possibly include U.S. citizens.

Furthermore, it reopened the bioweapons arms race.

All very interesting but I’m sure you know all about the PATRIOT Act. So did I. However, what I didn’t realise was its connection to the anthrax attacks after 9/11 until I watched the recent RFK Jr interview with Tucker Carlson.

In fact, Tucker didn’t know about the link either and when RFK Jr told him, it took him aback and he replied with “wait, wait, wait, wait, wait…really”!?”

So I decided to have a look to see if RFK Jr was correct…and he was, so the timeline of RFK Jr’s revelation is below.

As we all know the attacks on the World Trade Center (& don’t forget building no. 7) and the Pentagon occurred on September 11, 2001.

Within days of the attacks, a legislative proposal aimed at enhancing the powers of US law enforcement agencies was already in the works. Attorney General John Ashcroft, with the Bush Administration, played a primary role in drafting the initial version of the bill.

The initial draft of the PATRIOT Act, which was presented to Congress, granted broad powers with limited oversight.

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How To Spot Bulls*t Arguments

Sab, 26/08/2023 - 05:01

In last week’s post, How to sharpen your bullsh*t detection skills, I covered the nine tools that the legendary American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author and science communicator, Carl Sagan, considered essential to any thinking person’s ‘baloney detection kit’.

When I published that post, it appeared that the official COVID narrative had collapsed under the weight of its own ridiculous self-contradictions. But wouldn’t you know it, now fear-mongering is ramping up over a new scariant of SARS-CoV-2, “nicknamed by scientists on social media as Pirola” – maybe they should get off social media and do some real work. And consequently, your baloney detection muscles are going to be getting a good workout as the next wave of COVID propaganda thunders in.

In the same chapter of his 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark“The Fine Art of Baloney Detection”, Sagan also summarised the 20 most common and perilous logical fallacies that we must be alert to whenever anyone is trying to persuade us of anything – whether it’s a religious leader trying to persuade us to accept their theology, a salesperson trying to talk us into a purchase, or a public figure pitching us a policy.

Logical fallacies are errors or gaps in the reasoning process that invalidate an argument. Everyday conversation abounds with logical fallacies, because very few people have been formally trained in logic, and therefore they don’t recognise the errors in their own reasoning processes.

Fortunately, the consequences of being taken in by a person who is innocently employing logical fallacies in their argumentation are rarely dire. For instance, if your friend convinces you that she has won her last three races because she was wearing a particular hat, and you decide to wear her ‘lucky hat’ when running your next race, not much can go wrong.

But it’s a completely different story when people in positions of power are employing logical fallacies to persuade others to believe or do things that have a real impact on their lives.

In ancient Greece, a group of teachers who became known as Sophists taught the art of convincing rhetoric. The sophists intentionally deployed logical fallacies in their elaborate arguments, in order to persuade others of the point of view they were espousing. The Sophists were frequently hired by those who were in, or wished to be in, positions of power because they would happily take any side of an argument – for a fee.

In this post, I’ll be covering the first ten of the twenty logical fallacies that Carl Sagan identified as the most common, with some illustrative examples from the COVID-19 debacle:

1. Ad hominem

Latin for ‘to the man’, an ad hominem argument attacks the arguer, instead of disputing the argument itself.

The use of the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ to dismiss anyone who raises concerns about any aspect of the global response to COVID-19 is an example of the ad hominem fallacy. Calling anyone who has questions about the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines (including, ludicrously, those injured by them) an ‘antivaxxer’ is another.

Ad hominem is used both to derail the person who is being attacked, by forcing them to defend themselves rather than pursue their argument; and to distract the audience’s attention from the substance of the argument so that they don’t ask the questions they really should be asking, in order to understand the substance of the argument.

2. Argument from authority (argumentum ab auctoritate)

The admonition to ‘trust the experts’ is a prime example of this rampant logical fallacy. Australians might remember former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s airy dismissal of valid concerns about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 injections with this classic of the genre: “The best medical professionals in the world have signed off on these vaccines so you can be confident.” Wow, that didn’t age well.

Every person occupying a position of power or authority should be expected to demonstrate their competence and worthiness to occupy that position by presenting cogent, evidence-based arguments for their decisions and policies.

To allow yourself to be persuaded by anyone who presents themselves, or is presented by others, as an ‘authority’ without insisting that they demonstrate their expertise – preferably in a forum in which it can be challenged by others with expertise on the subject – is to be taken in by the logical fallacy of argument from authority.

3. Argument from adverse consequences (argumentum ad consequentiam)

This type of logical fallacy is based on another logical fallacy – an appeal to emotion – and is essentially an argument that a belief is either true or false based on whether the belief leads to desirable or undesirable consequences.

An example of the argument from adverse consequences is the insistence by many public health ‘authorities’ that infection with SARS-CoV-2 presents a grave danger to all people, including children, athletes and healthy adults. Accepting the alternative argument – that susceptibility to developing COVID-19 is largely attributable to age and health status – might lead to discrimination against elderly people and those who are metabolically unhealthy (obese, diabetic, or suffering from cardiovascular disease).

However, facts are facts. It is never acceptable to obfuscate facts because they might cause people to doubt the dominant narrative or hold views that you wish they wouldn’t.

4. Appeal to ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam)

This fallacy is based on the assumption that a statement must be true if it cannot be proven false, or false if it cannot be proven true.

This logical fallacy is frequently employed to dismiss health concerns that arise after a person has received a drug or injection.

When a medical treatment, such as COVID-19 injections that employ never-before-utilised technologies, is administered to millions of people of widely varying ages, health statuses and ethnicities, adverse effects that did not appear in the clinical trials (which were conducted primarily on relatively young, healthy people of majority race) are virtually guaranteed to occur 1.

Dismissing these adverse events as ‘coincidences’ because they did not appear in the clinical trials, is an example of the appeal to ignorance. Absence of evidence of a causal relationship between the adverse event and the treatment is not evidence of absence of this relationship.

It’s not the responsibility of the person who suffered the adverse health consequence to prove that it was due to the treatment, because this person – not having access to the data available, or potentially available, to the purveyor of the treatment – is in no position to furnish proof.

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