Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

John McCain, Imperialist



By Paul Gottfried

Senator John McCain, never one to play it close to the vest, has amped up his criticism of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, calling it a “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”
Quoted fully:
To fear the world we have organized and led for three quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain “the last best hope of earth” for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.
It is almost impossible to comprehend this speech, delivered by McCain while receiving the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal for bipartisanship on Monday, without understanding his party and its neoconservative vision of American global hegemony.

Those who aren’t of the same persuasion as McCain, the Wall Street Journaleditorial page, and Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard might be puzzled as to how the senator can get away with attacking American nationalism while at the same time calling for an American imperial mission. Exhorting one’s country to advance its ideals and leadership across the globe, even against the wishes of those who don’t want this guidance, sounds very much like vintage Western imperialism. French and British imperialists in the late nineteenth century were always justifying their imperial rule as a transmission belt for bringing their higher morality to unenlightened peoples and races.
 
Radical Republicans during the French Third Republic defended their country’s territorial penetration of Africa and Asia as efforts to carry their revolutionary principles across the seas. How does McCain’s vision differ from this imperialist mission proclaimed by Europeans before the First World War? By the late nineteenth century all European nationalists pursued empire in the name of universal egalitarian or progressive ideals—even the Italian fascist press invoked such concepts when Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1936.

The difference between them and us, at least as understood by McCain and his neoconservative friends, derives from their claim of moral superiority. They didn’t have it, McCain thinks, whereas we do. Unlike those morally defective empire builders of centuries past, McCain wants us to believe that we really do raise up the lowly and confused wherever we exert influence. Besides, we’re only practicing true imperialism, argues Stanley Kurtz of the Hoover Institution, if we directly rule a territory that we intend to control. No other form of control counts as imperialism, according to this fastidious definition. Finally, according to neoconservative teachings, it is only America haters who despise our universal values and propositional nationhood, and who therefore question our duty to civilize the entire planet. All this reminds me of a riddle that we used to pose jokingly when the neocons rose to prominence in the 1980s. “When is an empire not an empire?” The answer: “When neocons say it’s not.”

Read the entire article

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Friday, October 20, 2017

Government and Money

By Gary North

In the era of the gold coin standard, when citizens could bring in paper money and demand gold coins from a local bank, this transferred tremendous authority into the hands of the general public. The public could participate in a run on a local bank's gold. If this took place nationally, this would cause a run on the central bank's gold. This would force the central bank to stop inflating through fiat money. That was the great advantage of the gold coin standard. It transferred power into the hands of the general public. The general public could veto central bank policies of monetary inflation.

This is why all the governments of Western Europe outlawed the gold coin standard soon after World War I began in August 1914. Commercial bank runs began almost immediately. So, central banks and governments allowed commercial banks to break their gold contracts with their depositors. Then the central banks confiscated the gold in the commercial banks. They wound up with the public's gold. It was a gigantic act of theft. It was the end of the gold coin standard. There was a huge loss of liberty.

This happened in the United States on Monday, March 6, 1933, at 1 AM. President Roosevelt unilaterally allowed the federal government to steal the public's gold at $20 an ounce. Then, when the government had a lot of the gold, Congress hiked the price to $35 an ounce, thereby enriching the federal government by 75% on the stolen gold. This was a gigantic act of theft. The public did not care. Most of the economists did not care.

The only logical case for having government ownership of gold was under a gold standard. The government had to sell its gold at a fixed price. Because the government always asserts a monopoly over the monetary system, and because the gold coin standard did allow a veto of central bank policies, there was a case -- weak -- for a central bank's vault full of gold.

It would have been far better if the governments of the world had never been allowed to exercise any control at all over the monetary systems. Money is like anything else of value. It is best managed under liberty. It is best managed by private ownership of the means of production. Government monopolies over money always lead to inflation, and the inflation creates the boom bust business cycle. But economists, other than Austrian School economists, do not believe this.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Trump and Obamacare

By

Under the Constitution, when Congress passes legislation that directs the president to spend federal tax dollars — or, as is likelier the case today, dollars borrowed by the federal government — Congress must appropriate funds for the expenditure. So for every federal program that spends money, Congress must first create the program — for example, building a bridge or paving an interstate highway — and then it must pass a second bill that appropriates money from the federal treasury and makes it available to the president for the purpose stated in the first law.

When Obamacare was drafted in 2009 and 2010, one of the many compromises that went into it was the gradual rollout of its provisions; different parts of the law became effective at different times. The law was enacted with all Democratic votes. No Republican member of either house of Congress voted for it, and only a handful of Democrats voted against it.
By the time the subsidy provisions took effect, the Republicans were in control of Congress, yet Obama was still in the White House. When Obama asked Congress to appropriate the funds needed to make the subsidy payments required by the Obamacare statute, Congress declined to do so.

Thus, Obama — who, as the president of the United States, was charged with enforcing all federal laws — was denied the means with which to enforce the subsidy portion of his favorite legislation.

So he spent the money anyway. He directed his secretaries of the treasury and health and human services to take appropriated funds from unstated programs and to make the subsidy payments to the seven largest health insurance carriers in the United States from those funds. Of course, by doing so, he was depriving other federal programs, authorized and funded by Congress, of the monies to which they were entitled. But Obamacare was his legacy, and he was not about to let it die on the vine.

Can the president spend federal dollars, whether from tax revenue or borrowing, without an express authorization from Congress, even if he is following a law that requires the expenditures? In a word, no.

That’s because the drafters of the Constitution feared the very situation confronted by Congress and Obama in 2013 — a law that is no longer popular, is no longer supported by Congress and costs money to enforce, with a president eager to enforce it and a Congress unwilling to authorize the payments. To address this tension between a president wanting to spend federal dollars and a Congress declining to authorize him to do so, the drafters of the Constitution put the power of the purse unambiguously in the hands of Congress. The Constitution could not be clearer: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."

It follows that where the appropriations have not been made by Congress, the funds may not be spent by the president. When Obama declined to recognize this constitutional truism, the House of Representatives sued the secretary of health and human services in federal court, seeking to enjoin her from making the subsidy payments, and the House won the case. The court underscored the well-recognized dual scheme of the Framers whereby two laws are required for all federal expenditures — one to tell the president on whom or on what the money should be spent and the second to authorize the actual expenditure. Without the second law — the express authorization — there can be no lawful expenditure.

President Trump, after making the same unlawful expenditures for nine months, decided last week to cease the practice. Whether he did so to bend Congress to his will on health care or he did so out of fidelity to the Constitution, he did the right thing, but he should have done it on his first day in office.

Let’s not lose sight of the whole picture here. President Obama has triumphed over President Trump and the Republicans who control Congress, because all but a handful of those who are faithful to the Constitution are behaving as if there were a constitutional obligation on the part of the federal government to provide health insurance for everyone in America. According to a plain reading of the Constitution — and even as articulated by the Supreme Court in the case that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare — there isn’t.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Our Idiot PC Media

Marc Faber Fired by CNBC, Fox, Sprott

For the following remark:

“I don’t want to enter into a serious discussion of the tearing down of monuments of historical personalities, but I cannot omit mentioning how the liberal hypocrites condemned the Taliban when they blew up the world’s two largest standing Buddhas (one of them 165 feet high), situated at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan, in 2001. But the very same people are now disturbed by statues of honourable people whose only crime was to defend what all societies had done for more than 5,000 years: keep a part of the population enslaved. And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority. I am not a racist, but the reality — no matter how politically incorrect — needs to be spelled out as well. (And let’s not forget that the African tribal heads were more than happy to sell their own slaves to white, black, and Arab slave dealers.)”
Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

CIA Urges POTUS Trump to Delay Release of 3,000 Never-Before-Seen Documents on Assassination of John F. Kennedy

By Alex Christoforou
The Duran
 
October 18, 2017

More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department on the assassination of John F. Kennedy are scheduled be released, with many experts fearing that such a large release of secret JFK assassination documents will spur “a new generation of conspiracy theories.”
According to Roger Stone, the CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years.
Roger Stone said in a post on his website…
“They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.”
Newsmax reports:
More than 3,000 never-before-seen documents from the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department are set to be released, along with 30,000 that have only been partially released in the past. The document dump “will simply fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories,” write Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato.

Sabato is the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of “The Kennedy Half-Century” and Shenon is a former reporter for the New York Times and author of, “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.”
The CIA is urging President Donald Trump to delay disclosing some of the files for another 25 years according to friend and political adviser Roger Stone but the National Archives would not say whether any agencies have appealed the release of the documents.
According to The Gateway Pundit Roger Stone and Gerald Posner, two New York Times bestselling authors who are polar opposites about who killed JFK, have joined together to urge Donald Trump to release all the remaining classified files on Kennedy’s assassination.
About 3,100 files are still sealed in the National Archives. Under the 1992 JFK Records Act, the Archives have until October 26 to decide which of those files to publicly disclose.
Some of the classified documents include a CIA personality study of Oswald, top-secret testimony of former CIA officers to congressional committees, transcripts of interrogations with Soviet defector and Oswald handler Yuri Nosenko, letters about the case from J. Edgar Hoover and Jackie Kennedy, the CIA file on Jack Wasserman, the attorney for New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, and the operational file of E. Howard Hunt, career spy and Watergate burglar.
Roger Stone, in his bestselling 2013 The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJset forth the case that LBJ was the mastermind of plot that included the CIA, the Mob and Big Texas Oil to kill Kennedy.
Gerald Posner, in his 1993 bestselling finalist for the Pulitzer for History, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, concluded that the Warren Commission conclusions are correct and Oswald acting alone had killed Kennedy.
While they might not agree on who killed Kennedy, Stone and Posner are longstanding advocates for the release of all the government files on the assassination.
“These files should have been released long ago,” says Posner. “The government does this all the time, over classified documents and then holds on to them for decades under the guise of ‘national security.’ All the secrecy just feeds people’s suspicions that the government has something to hide and adds fuel to conspiracy theories.” Posner is convinced the case will still be closed when the last document is made public.
”I know CIA Director Pompeo is urging the President to delay release of these records for another 25 years,” said Stone. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.” Stone believes the evidence supporting the case in his book is still hidden somewhere in government files.
Both authors called on President Trump – who is empowered to make the final decision should the National Archives or CIA balk on releasing all the files – to opt for transparency.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pushing for Another War



By David Stockman

The bogus Iranian threat originated in the early 1990s when the neocon’s in the George HW Bush Administration realized that with the cold war’s end, the Warfare State was in grave danger of massive demobilization like the US had done after every war until 1945.

So among many other invented two-bit threats, the Iranian regime was demonized in order to keep the Imperial City in thrall to its purported national security threat and in support of the vast global armada of military forces, bases and occupations needed to contain it (including the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and US bases throughout the region).

The truth, however, is that according to the 2008 NIE ( National Intelligence Estimates) of the nation’s 17 intelligence agency, the Iranian’s never had a serious nuclear weapons program, and the small research effort that they did have was disbanded by orders of the Ayatollah Khamenei in 2003.

Likewise, what the Imperial City claims to be state sponsored terror is actually nothing more than Iran’s foreign policy—something that every sovereign state on the planet is permitted to have.

Thus, as the leader of the minority Shiite schism of the Islamic world, Iran has made political and confessional allliances with various Shiite regimes in the region. These include the one that Washington actually installed in Bagdad; the Alawite/Shitte regime in Syria; the largest political party and representative of 40 percent of the population in Lebanon(Hezbollah); and the Houthi/Shitte of Yemen, who historically occupied the northern parts of the country and are now under savage attack by American weapons supplied to Saud Arabia.

In the case of both Syria and Iraq, their respective governments invited Iranian help, [as well as Russian] which is also their prerogative as sovereign nations. Ironically, it was the Shiite Crescent alliance of Iran/Assad/Hezbollah [and especially Russia] that bears much of the credit for defeating ISIS on the ground in Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere in the now largely defunct Islamic State.

Read the entire article

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

More Gun Lies the Establishment is Telling You



By

To start with, as per the Standard Anti-Self-Defense Handbook — and using the so-far unexplained Las Vegas shooting spree as the latest platform — the usual Second Amendment scoff-laws still prominently include firearm suicides in their gun-death tally.

Thank goodness folks deprived of guns won’t use overdoses, tranquilizers-plus-booze, carbon monoxide, razor blades, poison, etc. — and bridges, tall buildings, and open windows for jumping — if they can’t get guns!

Or are the usual Congressional victim-disarmers misleading us again?
Suicide by any means, while regrettable, is a voluntary act, and those determined, gun or no gun, nearly always succeed. With that in mind, let’s put things in perspective:
The 19,392 gun suicides in the U.S. in 2010, a typical year, swamped the 11,078 firearm homicides. That is, firearm suicides amount to a whopping ~two-thirds of reported gun deaths, dwarfing all other categories combined.
So by lumping voluntary suicides in with homicides to inflate the anti-gun bogeyman — and scare the kids — the gun-grabbers are indeed trying to mislead us again.

Another interesting epicycle: A new study — not by the “Authorities” who, in the interest of self-preservation try to duck it — shows that in 2015 U.S. cops killed at least 1,152 people, usually with firearms. This is the first time that statistic has been available because the FBI, etc. have refused to collect that data. For some reason.

That 1,152 deaths-by-cop is very close to 10% of the 11,078 homicides reported in 2010. Are those killings-by-cop included in the official homicide figures? Someone else will have to answer that one. Either way, that would mean cops are responsible for about 10% of U.S. gun homicides.

It’s also highly relevant that, as documented in Arm Yourself With The Facts, civilians shoot almost twice as many criminals as cops do, and their error rate — killing an innocent by mistake approximately 2% of the time — makes the cops kill-rate of 11% innocents killed seem down-right criminal.

And while we’re looking at things the misguided anti-gun folks like to coverup and/or ignore, even government studies by hostile researchers admit at least 108,000 defensive uses of firearms per year with other authoritative estimates as high as 2.5 million.

And then there are those “assault rifles.”

As far as crime goes, statistics — and common sense — both show, so-called “assault weapons” are non-starters, not to mention mis-named. Despite Hollywood, carrying an AR-15, AK-47 or other military-looking long gun concealed under your long black “duster” — or using one in close quarters, as in a robbery or mugging perhaps — just isn’t practical and rarely happens. Even The New York Times calls it “The Assault Weapon Myth.”

In defending your home from an outside assault, however, such weapons are very practical. So maybe it would be more accurate to call them “anti-assault weapons.”
And it isn’t always guns – – –
24 Injured In Stabbing At Franklin Regional High School « CBS Pittsburgh
And, if you’re worried about terrorism, firearms aren’t the most deadly or easiest weapon to use, although they may stop such a weapon – – –
…Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a rented, refrigerated truck weighing about 20 tons into crowds along a roughly 2-kilometer stretch of Promenade des Anglais on Thursday night, killing 84 people — including 10 children and adolescents — and injuring 202 others…. Attack in Nice – CNN
And then there’s the prominent role drugs play in mass-murders. No, not stupidly outlawed “illegal” drugs, establishment drugs. For example, most school shooters were on prescribed anti-depressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc. And of course, U.S. schools themselves were another common factor.

Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooter Paddock was taking Valium which can lead to aggressive behavior.

Our last misleader — Obama — also fertilized the lie that, with our guns, we Americans are an extremely violent people. Despite that hate-speech from the Propagandist-in-Chief, when compared to other countries, the U.S. isn’t all that violent. About average, in fact.

Except, of course, Americans overseas. You know, those unfortunates in the military who are forced to invade countries under false pretenses, blow up wedding parties, funerals and hospitals with B-52s, drones and Hellfire Missiles, etc. And are thus creating enemies for our kids, grand kids and the yet unborn for generations to come.

In that overseas arena, however, as polls show, folks indeed think the United States — that is, the U.S. Government — is extremely violent and poses the greatest threat to world peace.

If the Congressional oath-breakers were sincere about reducing violence here “in the freest country in the world,” instead of illegitimately using “Executive Orders to further tinker with the U.S. Constitution, the chronic oath-breakers would immediately decriminalize “illegal” drugs.

But of course, they’re not sincere.

Judging by the composition of the all-time world record U.S. prison population, decriminalization would eliminate approximately two-thirds of the robbery, burglary, mugging etc. since that would crash the price and eliminate the need for folks to steal to support their drug habit.
Well, at least to support their non-establishment drug habit – – –
Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight – The New York Times
But forget political new-speak, the real reason our unpopular elected pervaricators are again attempting to disarm us is likely the real reason the Second Amendment exists. And is second only to the First Amendment. Which is also under attack.

HERE for updates, additions, comments, and corrections.
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Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Is Iran Malign?

Malign: adj 1. Evil or harmful in nature or effect:

By Michael S. Rozeff

Is Iran malign? Yes, insofar as any state is per se malign; yes, as malign as any other state that wants to secure its borders; yes, as malign as any state with ambitions to expand its influence beyond its borders; and as malign as any state that seeks to export its system of government; and as malign as any state that seeks to consolidate and retain its domestic power; and as malign as any state that seeks military power to ward off other states that are inimical to it; and as malign as any state that builds covert aggressive operations that misleadingly are called “intelligence”.
In short, Iran is as malign as any other state operating in a system of international anarchy that has these kinds of aims; and most do.

Iran is as malign as any state that now includes or in the past has included one or more of the above enumerated properties, such as the U.S. The U.S. at its inception harbored extensive ambitions to expand over the continent. The U.S. targeted not only what are now the lower 48 states, but also Canada, Mexico, Central America, Cuba and Hawaii. It declared the entirety of South America as a region of its influence and potential intervention. In the last century, the U.S. has sought to export its form of government worldwide. It has accumulated military power that both defends America and attacks other states. It has created economic systems that extend its influence to many other countries. Its military alliances and presence span the globe. Iran’s expansion of relations with Latin American countries are mainly economic in nature. They are no more malign than those that the U.S. has with Asian countries. Indeed, the U.S. has forged political and military ties with many such countries that dwarf any similar activities by Iran beyond its borders. The U.S. is far more an aggressive power than Iran.


Iran is as malign as Israel, a state that in its own ways has operated along similar lines: secure its borders; expand its territory; retain domestic control by its ruling class; expand its military power and use it both defensively and offensively; develop an organization (Mossad) to conduct covert operations; maintain domestic control by a ruling class.

Iran has influence and presence in neighboring Syria, Iraq and Lebanon through state-to-state relations, economic relations, and through Hezbollah, Shia militias, and the IRG. In this respect, Iran is as malign as any other state that has now or in the past has had similar kinds of relations and influence with nearby border states: The Russian Federation, the U.S., Brazil and Israel, to name a few current ones, never mind seeking out the extensive historical examples.

The U.S. wants to suppress or contain Iran’s ambitions, and so it paints Iran as malign and a threat to the U.S. The charge that Iran is evil, a synonym for malign, is meaningless in a comparative context. Iran doesn’t significantly deviate from the behavior of many states, past and present. The charge that Iran threatens the U.S. is false. Iran is no military threat to America.

Iran competes with Israel for regional dominance. The U.S. takes Israel’s side. Because of the political and financial heft of Israel among American voters and the Congress, which the U.S. government does not want openly to acknowledge, the U.S. resorts to all sorts of fanciful rationales to explain why the U.S. looks upon Israel as an “interest” or as a protectorate or as a 51st state. It resorts to characterizing Iran as evil for doing the same kinds of things that many states, including the U.S., are doing or have done.

If Iran had submarines that could launch nuclear-tipped missiles at America, it would be a threat; but only if its own assured destruction by our own bombs didn’t deter it. A madman at the helm or in control of the nuclear buttons is a risk that arises within any country, including our own, Israel, Pakistan, India, China, North Korea, the U.K., France and Russia. That’s the world we live in; and that’s the biggest reason for seeking peaceful relations with every country and seeking ways to prevent nuclear war. This includes creating systems that can be monitored that prevent madmen or seemingly rational men from having sole power to launch nuclear weapons. It includes systems that prevent accidents. It includes nuclear disarmament.

In the present system of states, peace cannot be secured unless states secure it. This requires that the state’s officials have peace as an overriding aim. The danger in the current system of states is that representatives in key governments across the world do not represent what may be and might be the peaceable aims of their peoples. They support their own aims and those of the state. They support views, aims and ambitions of their shadow governments, deep states and interest groups. They teach their peoples to fear enemies, to suppress actual and conceivable threats of foreign countries, to hate foreigners, to hate foreign leaders, to regard foreigners with suspicion, and to support the domestic state’s ambitions, powers and expansion aims.

If states are not securing the peace to the degree that we the people want; if they are actively propagandizing us for war aims; and if they continue to foment aggression, then we must secure the peace ourselves. We have to recognize peace as our interest and make it an important aim.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ