By Jacob Hornberger
The American people are absolutely convinced that they need the U.S. national-security establishment, namely, the military, the CIA, and the NSA. Without this totalitarian-like apparatus that was grafted onto America’s governmental system after World War II, it is commonly believed, Americans wouldn’t be safe. It’s the national-security state, the story goes, that is America’s last bastion against the terrorists, communists, North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, and other supposedly dangerous entities that supposedly pose a potential threat to “national security,” the most important two-word term in the lexicon of the American people.
Nothing could be further from the truth. As I point out in my new ebook, The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State, it’s the exact opposite. The national-security state actually makes Americans less safe, less prosperous, and less free.
Let’s begin with the obvious. There is no nation-state anywhere in the world that has the military capability, money, resources, troops, armaments, ships, or planes — or even the interest — that would be needed to cross the ocean and invade, conquer, and occupy the United States.
If a nation-state ever began mobilizing to undertake such a massive undertaking, it could not be hidden for very long. The U.S. government, which would now be devoted solely to fortifying defenses rather than bombing the Middle East, would easily and quickly be able to mobilize a free people to come to the defense of their country. By the time the invaders were to cross the ocean, the Americans would be ready for them.
Therefore, America doesn’t need a standing army, a military-industrial complex, the CIA, or the NSA to defend against an invasion of the United States because the possibility of such an invasion is non-existent for the near future.
What about the “terrorists?” Don’t Americans need the national-security establishment to protect themselves from them?
First of all, the terrorists present no existential threat to the United States. They are never going to take the reins of power in Washington, D.C., run the IRS and the welfare-warfare state, and subjugate the American people. At worst, the most they can do is blow up some buildings or infrastructure and kill hundreds of people in a terrorist strike. Acts of terrorism cannot bring a violent takeover of the U.S. government by the terrorists.
Second, and much more important, the only reason that the United States is faced with a constant threat of terrorism is because of the U.S. national-security state itself. Dismantle the national-security state and the threat of anti-American terrorism evaporates. Without the threat of terrorism, that justification for the national-security state disintegrates.
Recall the Cold War, when communism and the Soviet Union were the big official bugaboos. The national-security state inculcated a deep and abiding fear of communism and Russia into the American people. Americans were certain that the communists were coming to get them and subjugate them. That’s what the Korean War and the Vietnam War were all about—to prevent the dominoes from falling into communism, with the United States being the big, final domino. That’s what the anti-communist crusade here in the United States was all about. That’s what the embargo and other acts of aggression against Cuba were all about. That’s what the regime-change operations against Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Congo, and others were all about.
Did Americans ever hear anything about the threat of terrorism during the entire Cold War? For that matter, did they ever hear about the threat that Muslims and Islam, another big bugaboo today, supposedly posed to the American people? Were Americans scared that the Muslims were coming to get them, cart them from their homes, and force them into mosques to study the Koran as part of their supposed effort to establish a worldwide caliphate?
Nope. Not a peep about any such things. In fact, when the U.S. national-security establishment partnered with Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, when it was the Soviet Union doing the occupying of that country, Americans cheered.
It was only after the U.S. national-security state lost its official enemy — communism and the Soviet Union, with the end of the Cold War — that Americans transferred their fear to, first, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and then, later, terrorism and Muslims, after the 9/11 attacks.
After the 9/11 attacks, Americans were told, “Unfortunately, terrorism has finally come to the United States. The terrorists just hate us for our freedom and values. It’s time to transfer your fear to the terrorists, even more so than the communists. And prepare yourselves: the war on terrorism will last longer than the Cold War.”
In actuality, hatred for America’s freedom and values had nothing to do with it. Instead, it was the U.S. national-security state’s Death Star in the Middle East that ultimately provoked the 9/11 attacks and brought us the “war on terrorism” and the deep-seated fear of terrorism, which, in turn, was then used to justify the continued existence of the national-security establishment and its ever-increasing budgets and power.
First, there was the Persian Gulf intervention, by which the Death Star massacred untold numbers of Iraqis, both military and civilian. Then came the national-security state’s intentional destruction of Iraq’s water-and-sewage treatment plants, with the specific intent of spreading infectious illnesses among the Iraqi populace. Then came the deadly sanctions that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Then came U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s declaration that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it,” which was in fact the official U.S. policy. There were the deadly no-fly zones, which killed more Iraqis, including children. There was the stationing of U.S. troops near Islamic holy lands, knowing full well how that would be received among Muslims. There were the partnerships with brutal Middle East dictatorships, such as those in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and others. And there was the ongoing military and financial support of the Israeli government, support that was unconditional.
When all this interventionist provocation brought the 1993 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, on the USS Cole, on the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 9/11 attacks, U.S. officials played the innocent. “We are shocked that so many people hate is for our freedom and values. We now need to wage an ongoing, never-ending war on terrorism, which unfortunately will last longer than the Cold War, which means that we need the national-security establishment more than ever.”
It is the national-security establishment that is itself responsible for the very threat that it now uses to justify its continued existence. Get rid of the national-security state and you get rid of the threat of anti-American terrorism at the same time.
We also must remain mindful of the destruction of liberty of the American people at the hands of the national-security establishment — in the name of keeping us safe, of course. Secret surveillance schemes, including against Americans, Formal assassination programs, including against Americans. Torture and indefinite detention, including against Americans. All of these programs, which are inherent to totalitarian dictatorships, have become an inherent part of American life, thanks to the national-security establishment.
What about North Korea? Isn’t it trying to acquire a nuclear missile that can reach the United States? Of course, but only to deter a U.S. regime-change operation in North Korea that would include an assassination of North Korea’s leader. Today, the U.S. military is engaged in its annual giant military exercises in Korea, with the sole intention of provoking the North Koreans. Why wouldn’t North Korea try to protect itself from a U.S. regime-change operation by using nuclear weapons to deter a U.S. attack? Isn’t that what Cuba did when it got the Soviet Union to install defensive nuclear weapons in Cuba? And given that the strategy worked for Cuba, why wouldn’t the North Koreans believe that it would also work for them?
But the point is that it’s the U.S. national-security establishment that is provoking the crises, in order to show Americans how necessary the national-security establishment is to keeping America safe from the enemies the national-security state produces.
It’s no different with Iran. U.S. officials would like nothing more than to do to Iran today what they did to Iran back in 1953 — initiate a regime-change operation that replaces the current Iranian regime with a pro-U.S. regime. That’s what the sanctions against Iran have been all about, just as with Saddam Hussein and Iraq — regime change. Why does it surprise anyone that the Iranian regime would do whatever it can to deter that?
China? The situation is no different. Realizing that Americans might be tiring of the Death Star’s never-ending killings in the Middle East, the U.S. national-security establishment is now pivoting toward China, provoking crises in that part of the world.
Ukraine? A crisis provoked by the U.S. national-security state, which used NATO, whose original mission was to protect Western Europe from a Soviet invasion, to gobble up former Warsaw Pact nations so that the U.S. national-security state was almost on Russia’s borders.
Did I mention that the governmental systems in the Soviet Union, North Korea, China, Cuba, Iran, and Russia are also based on national-security establishments?
If Americans want a society of freedom, privacy, peace, prosperity, and harmony, there is but one solution: dismantle, don’t reform, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA. If they want more fear, more crises, more provocations, more loss of freedom, more war, and more financial and economic difficulties, then they should keep this Cold War totalitarian-like dinosaur, along with its Death Star, in existence.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
By Nick Giambruno
In the 1989 Batman movie, the Joker (played by Jack Nicholson) showers a crowded Gotham street with free money.
In the scene, it looks like it’s raining hundred-dollar bills. The people love it. Little do they know, the money is actually a trap. Once the Joker has lured them into the street, he unleashes poisonous gas.
I think the latest gimmick to stimulate the economy is pretty much the same thing. It’s one of the most absurd ideas I’ve heard in a while. And that’s saying something, considering the outrageous schemes our economic luminaries have recently come up with, like…
It’s the same bad medicine the economic witch doctors have been prescribing for years. With a track record like this, it’s hard to imagine they could come up with something even more ridiculous. But they have.
This latest gimmick goes well beyond the absurdity of their previous ideas. It’s verifiably insane. And the scariest part is, this dangerous idea is gaining currency. It’s spreading across the world like a smallpox outbreak.
Helicopter Money Politicians and establishment economists call this scary idea “a basic income.” I call it sheer lunacy.
It’s where the government gives you money just because. There’s no requirement to work or even display a willingness to work. You could sit at home all day, watch TV, and still get a check from the government.
Simply put, a basic income is “free” money the government hands out to everyone unconditionally.
European politicians are heavily pushing this policy.
You might recall former Fed chair Ben Bernanke’s nickname, “Helicopter Ben.” He got the name after he spoke publicly about using helicopter drops of money to “stimulate” the economy. This is just another flavor of a basic income.
Whether you call it free money, a basic income, or helicopter money, the idea is spreading. It’s the next potion the economic witch doctors will use once their latest scam—negative interest rates—not only fails to cure our economic ailments, but predictably makes them worse.
No matter, the idea will be politically popular. Who would protest free money?
And, once a country adopts a basic income, it would be next to impossible to get rid of it until the system collapses under its own weight. Who would vote for a politician that stops (or even slows down) the gravy train?
The Joker used free money to lure the people of Gotham to poisonous gas. Now real world politicians are using the same trick. They’re using free money to lure the masses into perpetual dependence on government.
More Problems Ahead for EuropeIf Europeans think they have a migrant problem now, just wait until they institute a basic income.
It’s obvious what will happen…
Once European governments start handing every person thousands of dollars in free money each month (more than many in Africa make in a year), everyone will be scrambling for Europe.
A basic income is a sure recipe for economic disaster and increased cultural tensions. It’s an environment where blowhards and demagogues flourish. Unfortunately, this has happened repeatedly throughout Europe’s history. Once again, it’s going to lead to some very bad things.
I think a basic income will greatly accelerate this recurring trend.
Without a basic income and other welfare benefits, immigrants are usually skilled and the very best of people. But the average European will surely forget that once free money draws in the world’s riffraff.
This is why, although the financial effects will be severe, the sociopolitical ones will be much worse.
Here’s the bottom line: All you can do is protect yourself from the consequences of all this stupidity. This is a big reason why I think everyone should own some gold.
Gold is the ultimate form of wealth insurance. It’s preserved wealth for thousands of years through every kind of crisis imaginable. It will preserve wealth during the next crisis, too.
Unfortunately, most people have no idea how to prepare for the next economic collapse…
This article was originally published at The International Man.
By Chris Rossini
While the number of Americans living on the government dole continues to astonish, the rest of us must get up and produce. We work, and after the government snatches away its unearned loot, we like to think that we own what's left of our earnings.
But do we really own what's left?
If we keep what's left in dollar bills, the Federal Reserve is constantly snatching away our purchasing power. The Fed continuously prints dollars by the trillions, reducing what each dollar is worth, and raising our bills to boot. The government itself has a license to steal our earnings right off the top, and then the Fed picks up from there, constantly whittling away the value of what's left.
Many of us decide to "own" something more tangible. So we "buy" a house. But even if we pay for the house with cold hard cash, and without a mortgage, do we really own that house? Well, here's another question. What happens if you don't pay the property tax on "your" house? Answer: Bye-bye house.
So we don't really own our homes. Every homeowner is in reality just a renter, and property taxes are the rent. The real owner of the house is the government. That kinda puts a damper on the whole "American Dream" thing, doesn't it? You can't stake your claim in the land of the free. The most that you can become is a homeowner *in name only*.
What if you decide to take what's left of your earnings and deposit it into a bank? Do you own that money? Well, the moment that you put money into a bank, it goes onto the bank's books as a liability that the bank owes you.
You may think that you're putting your money in a safe place for storage, but that's not how the bank treats it. The bank doesn't take your money, wrap a rubber band around it, and store it in a special place for you. That's boring from their perspective.
Oh sure, you can come back to the bank and withdraw portions of "your" money when you want. But don't you dare withdraw more than is permissible. If you do, you'll be considered suspicious and will be reported to the government. That's the law.
Withdraw the permissible amount of "your" money, and your cool. That amount just gets deducted from the amount that the bank owes you.
Let's move away from your friendly neighborhood bank, and take a look at the stock market. After all, you work all those hours, the government snatches away its huge bite, and the Fed whittles away the rest. Maybe you can put your money in stocks. Let it ride a little.
You've heard from mainstream media that stocks are the best way to secure your retirement. When has the media ever been dead wrong? So you open up an account at a stock brokerage, and you "buy" 100 shares of Apple stock.
Do you really "own" that stock?
Of course you do, right? You get a statement in the mail and everything!
Simon Black explains...and while you're reading the following, remember the bank deposit example from above:
There’s a concept in the US financial system called “Street Name Registration”.
Let's sum this up, shall we?
You work hard. Most of your life is spent working. You can't keep what you earn because the federal government in 1913 gave itself a license to steal what it wants. It's been over 100 years, and if there's one thing we've learned, it's that the government wants a lot! What's the federal budget these days? $4 Trillion? Thank goodness for those "small-government" Republicans, right?............right?
Also in 1913, the Federal Reserve was created, and they pick our pockets every single day, after taxes have been confiscated. You can't "own" a house in America. The very best you can do is rent from the government. You don't own your money that's in the bank. It's owed to you by the bank. You don't own stocks either. They're also owed to you.
Does it appear that a hamster wheel has been setup here?
Does it sound like you're one of the hamsters?
Then please don't blame "freedom" or "free markets" or "liberty" when the hamster wheel finally breaks loose of its hinges.
By John W. Whitehead
“We want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail.”—President Harry S. Truman
“Don’t Be a Puppet” is the message the FBI is sending young Americans.
As part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the nation’s de facto secret police force is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist.”
Using the terms “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably, the government continues to add to its growing list of characteristics that could distinguish an individual as a potential domestic terrorist.
For instance, you might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you:
There’s no need.
The nation’s largest law enforcement agency rivals the NSA in resources, technology, intelligence, and power. Yet while the NSA has repeatedly come under fire for its domestic spying programs, the FBI has continued to operate its subversive and clearly unconstitutional programs with little significant oversight or push-back from the public, Congress or the courts.
Indeed, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the FBI has become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be easily corrupted and abused.
When and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America.
The FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, harassment and indoctrination, governmental overreach, abuse, misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property.
And that’s just based on what we know.
Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government; recruiting high school students to spy on and report fellow students who show signs of being future terrorists; or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.
As the FBI’s powers have grown, its abuses have mounted.
The agency’s National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose the demands. An internal audit of the agency found that the NSL program to be riddled with widespread violations.
The FBI’s spying capabilities are on a par with the NSA.
The FBI’s surveillance technology boasts an invasive collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls. In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.”
The FBI’s hacking powers have gotten downright devious.
FBI agents not only have the ability to hack into any computer, anywhere in the world, but they can also control that computer and all its stored information, download its digital contents, switch its camera or microphone on or off and even control other computers in its network. Given the breadth of the agency’s powers, the showdown between Apple and the FBI over customer privacy appears to be more spectacle than substance.
The FBI’s reach is more invasive than ever.
Today, the FBI boasts an annual budget of more than $8 billion, employs more than 35,000 individuals and operates more than 56 field offices in major cities across the U.S., as well as 400 resident agencies in smaller towns, and more than 50 international offices. In addition to their “data campus,” which houses more than 96 million sets of fingerprints from across the United States and elsewhere, the FBI is also, according to The Washington Post, “building a vast repository controlled by people who work in a top-secret vault on the fourth floor of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington. This one stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.”
If there’s one word to describe the FBI’s covert tactics, it’s creepy.
The agency’s biometric database has grown to massive proportions, the largest in the world, encompassing everything from fingerprints, palm, face and iris scans to DNA, and is being increasingly shared between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to target potential criminals long before they ever commit a crime. This is what’s known as pre-crime.
As countless documents make clear, the FBI has no qualms about using its extensive powers in order to blackmail politicians, spy on celebrities and high-ranking government officials, and intimidate dissidents of all stripes.
It’s an old tactic, used effectively by former authoritarian regimes.
In fact, as historian Robert Gellately documents, the Nazi police state was repeatedly touted as a model for other nations to follow, so much so that Hoover actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police. As Gellately noted, “[A]fter five years of Hitler’s dictatorship, the Nazi police had won the FBI’s seal of approval.”
Indeed, so impressed was the FBI with the Nazi order that, as the New York Times revealed, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen, brought them to America, hired them on as spies and informants, and then carried out a massive cover-up campaign to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. Moreover, anyone who dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.
So not only have American taxpayers been paying to keep ex-Nazis on the government payroll for decades but we’ve been subjected to the very same tactics used by the Third Reich: surveillance, militarized police, overcriminalization, and a government mindset that views itself as operating outside the bounds of the law.
This is how freedom falls, and tyrants come to power.
Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Intimidation. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment. Indoctrination. These are the hallmarks of every authoritarian regime from the Roman Empire to modern-day America.
Yet it’s the secret police—tasked with silencing dissidents, ensuring compliance, and maintaining a climate of fear—who sound the death knell for freedom in every age.
This article was originally published at The Rutherford Institute.
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By Chris Rossini
If there are two words that sum up every presidential election, they are "false advertising". Presidential campaigns are largely a contest composed of lies, lies, and even more lies.
Let's single out Ted Cruz for a moment. He's constantly portrayed as some kind of renegade outsider, or a real non-establishment maverick. But nothing could be further from the truth. Cruz is about as establishment as they come. Glenn Beck's messianic theatrics hold no water.
Cruz is intertwined with the neocons and Bush family.
When Bill Kristol says: “I think at the end of the day a Ted Cruz administration would follow a foreign policy that I would be pretty happy with,” you know you're not dealing with anything even remotely close to an "outsider".
It doesn't stop with Kristol either. Cruz's campaign manager is Chad Sweet. Infowars tells us about Sweet:
[Sweet] co-founded the Chertoff Group with former Bush and Obama administration Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Sweet, as a leader of the Chertoff Group, “advocated for expanding NSA metadata collection,” according to his bio on the risk-management and security consulting company’s webpage.
That's just Cruz's campaign manager!
Cruz’s foreign policy advisor is the notorious neocon James Woolsey, the former director of the CIA during the Clinton administration. Woolsey is connected to the now largely defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a think tank with an agenda formulated by top neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan. PNAC was at the forefront of the Bush administration push to invade Iraq. He is a former vice president of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton and an advocate of the neocon hardline on Iran.
Are you getting an "outsider" feel from this?
Still not convinced?
Here's Roger Stone on Ted Cruz's extensive ties to the Bush family:
The Bush-Cruz connection is clear. Ted was George W.’s brain when he ran for president. A top policy adviser, Ted maneuvered for Solicitor General in Bush World but settled for a plum at the Federal Trade Commission.
Elections are something else aren't they? And the U.S. government has (for decades) been trying to militarily force this "system" of ours down other countries' throats.
Lies, lies, and even more lies.
Trump opponents have vowed to break-up his political rallies and Trump in turn encourages his supporters to rough up disrupters. Has political discourse in the US descended into mob rule? Who is at fault and what can we do?