Turkish forces attacked US-backed Kurdish forces fighting in Syria and Iraq this week. Dozens of fighters -- who are fighting against ISIS -- were killed. Turkey is our NATO ally. Does the US have a coherent strategy -- or even any idea what it's doing -- in the Middle East?
Why We Have a Second Amendment: Venezuela Plans to Give Firearms to Loyalists So They Can Purge Growing Resistance
By Daniel Lang
After enduring shortages of food and medicine for years, as well as a total collapse of their currency, the people of Venezuela have had enough. Last week it was estimated that 2.5 million people marched against the Maduro regime, which had previously tried to strip away the powers of the opposition-led parliament. It’s estimated that as many as 6 million people may have taken to the streets to protest throughout the country.
In the lead-up to the protest, which had been planned for weeks by opposition political parties, President Maduro issued an alarming proclamation that didn’t receive nearly enough press. He promised to expand the nation’s armed militia, and hand out firearms to as many as 400,000 loyalists.
The Bolivarian militias, currently at approximately 100,000, were created by the late Hugo Chavez to assist the armed forces in the defense of his revolution from external and domestic attacks.
If you know your history of communist regimes, you understand what comes next. Maduro’s response to millions of hungry pissed off people, is to arm his die-hard supporters, who will be able to purge the starving masses that dared to cross him. They may not face much resistance, because in 2012 Venezuela banned private firearm ownership.
Venezuela has brought a new gun law into effect which bans the commercial sale of firearms and ammunition.
By Liberty Report Staff
At a time when Presidents change their positions faster than the weather, please take 1 minute to see what a consistent position on Korea looks like. This clip is from 2011:
By Jacob G. Hornberger
The dire situation in Venezuela holds valuable lessons for the American people.
The first lesson involves Venezuela’s economic system, which is based on socialism and interventionism. It has produced nothing but chaos, crisis, misery, conflict, discord, and poverty. That’s what socialism does. As an economic system, it is a total failure.
Why is that a valuable lesson for Americans? Because the welfare state economic system that Americans adopted in the 1930s is a variation of socialism. That’s what such programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, subsidies, public schooling, the postal service, Amtrak, immigration controls, the Federal Reserve, and progressive income taxation are all about. They are based either on the socialist concept of taking money from those who own it and give to people who don’t own it or the socialist concept of central planning. That’s precisely why all these programs have produced chaos, crisis, misery, conflict, discord, and poverty. The only reason that things are not as bad here as they are in Venezuela is because Venezuelan public officials have embraced socialist principles to a greater degree than U.S. officials have.
Second, the ongoing economic chaos and crises in Venezuela have led to greater and greater government control over people’s economic activities, to such a point that the nation is now living under a democratically elected authoritarian police state. That’s because, as Ludwig von Mises pointed out, each economic intervention inevitably leads to more interventions to fix the crises caused by previous interventions. As the interventions add up, the result tends toward a complete government takeover of economic activity, which inevitably is enforced with brutal police-state measures.
We especially see this phenomenon here in the United States in three areas — healthcare, drug laws, and immigration controls. Once the federal government enacted Medicare and Medicaid, the die was cast for ever more interventions, to fix the crises produced by previous interventions. Same with the drug war. Same with immigration controls. The new interventions produce more chaos and more crises, which are then used to justify new interventions. In healthcare, the move is toward a complete federal takeover of healthcare. In the drug war, the move is toward more brutality, much like that of President Duterte in the Philippines. In immigration, the move is toward more warrantless searches, raids, deportations, and even a wall along the border modeled on the infamous Berlin Wall.
Third, democracy is not the end-all and be-all of a free society. In fact, democracy constitutes a grave potential threat to freedom. Presidents Hugo Chavez and Vincente Maduro of Venezuela have shown us that it is entirely possible to have a dictatorship that is democratically elected.
The same principle applies here in the United States. The president now wields the power to assassinate Americans and to arrest Americans, incarcerate them, and torture them, all without any judicial accountability, due process of law, and trial by jury. Those are powers that traditionally are wielded by totalitarian regimes. Yet, the president of the United States is democratically elected.
A free society necessarily depends on the limitation of power of whoever happens to hold public office. That was what the U.S. Constitution was all about — to limit the power of those holding federal office.
Fourth, Venezuela is founded on the concept of a national-security state. That means an all-powerful big military establishment, a federal police force, and a federal security agency that closely monitors the activities of the citizenry, always searching for threats to “national security.” As we have seen in Venezuela, it is this section of the government that enables the president to enforce his dictatorial decrees over society. Without a national-security establishment, the president would be unable to impose and enforce dictatorial rule.
Ever since the late 1940s, the United States has also been founded on the concept of a national-security state. That’s what the Pentagon, the FBI (which was founded before the 1940s but was later incorporated into the national-security state), and the NSA are all about — always searching for threats to “national security” and taking whatever steps are necessary to protect “national security.” It is this section of the government that carries out the president’s omnipotent and totalitarian-like powers to assassinate or arrest, incarcerate, and torture Americans without due process of law and trial by jury.
Fifth, gun control. According to an article entitled “A Lesson in Democracy in Venezuela” by Russ Vaughn in the American Thinker, one of the first things that Hugo Chavez did after being elected president was enforce a nationwide system of gun control. The result is that today the Venezuelan people have no effective way to resist the tyranny under which they are suffering. Sure, they can demonstrate and protest, if they’re willing to risk arrest or being killed by the Venezuelan national-security establishment, but they have no means to fire back against Maduro’s goons because they gave up their guns in the quest to be “safe” from gun violence in society.
To their credit, the American people have still not given up their guns, notwithstanding the enormous pressure put on by U.S. officials and the left to do so. Widespread gun ownership here in the United States remains a continuing deterrence to what is happening in Venezuela. When people permit themselves to be disarmed, they are finished. As we are seeing in Venezuela, the First Amendment is meaningless without the Second Amendment. When soldiers and police know that people are capable of resisting tyranny with force, they think twice about becoming too tyrannical.
Sixth, anything can happen, including here in the United States. Tyranny can occur anywhere and everywhere. This is especially true in countries whose economic systems are based on socialism and interventionism and on a national-security state. That’s because the chaos and crises produced by socialism and interventionism inevitably lead toward police-state measures, which are then brutally enforced by the national-security establishment on orders of the president.
Some Americans think that such a thing can’t happen in the United States. They say that while the troops, the intelligence agencies, and the federal police in Venezuela follow the orders of their president, U.S. troops, the FBI, and the NSA would never carry out a U.S. president’s orders to do such things. That’s nothing but wishful thinking. Ninety-nine percent of soldiers follow orders of their president and their superior officers. That’s what they are trained to do from the first day in boot camp. If they don’t, they’re shot or immediately replaced by those who will follow orders. FBI agents and NSA agents also follow orders, especially in the midst of a gigantic crisis. In the midst of a crisis, all the president has to do declare that “national security” is at stake. The chances that his generals, the troops, the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA are going to say no are slim and none. They’re going to do as they are told and they are going to tell themselves that by doing what their (democratically elected) commander in chief orders, they are fulfilling their obligation to support and defend the Constitution.
Consider the initial invasion of Iraq. No soldier refused to obey orders to invade and kill people, even though there was no constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. Consider the widespread torture of prisoners carried out by the CIA and the CIA’s intentional destruction of videotaped evidence of the torture. Consider the violent kidnapping of people in other countries and their rendition to tyrannical regimes for the purpose of torture. Consider the extra-judicial assassinations that have long been carried out by the CIA. Consider the illegal telecom surveillance schemes that involved private firms and the NSA. They were all illegal acts loyally carried out by U.S. soldiers, CIA agents, and NSA officials who honestly believed they were protecting “national security” and supporting and defending the Constitution by following orders or acting in accordance with the wishes of their superiors.
There are some who believe that the national-security establishment would and should protect us from a president whose orders and policies pose a threat to national security. They are referring to a military coup. (See, for example, “If Trump Wins, a Coup Isn’t Impossible Here in the U.S.” published in July 19, 2016, issue of the Los Angeles Times.) Some people are undoubtedly hoping that that happens in Venezuela, perhaps even with the secret help of the CIA and the Pentagon.
The problem with that is that the cure is worse than the disease, as the Chilean people discovered after the Pentagon and the CIA instigated a coup in that country that brought into power a tyrannical military dictatorship that rounded up, kidnapped, assassinated, incarcerated, tortured, raped, brutally sexually abused, or killed tens of thousands of innocent people, all with the support of the U.S. national-security establishment. And don’t forget: To this day, there are lots of conservatives both in Chile and the United States who still hail Pinochet’s 17 years of brutal and tyrannical dictatorship.
What is the solution to all this chaos, crisis, mayhem, conflict, discord, death, destruction, and tyranny? No, it’s not getting “better people” in public office, as so many Americans still believe. And no, the solution is not a military coup.
Instead, the solution involves a structural change in the U.S. government itself, one that entails a dismantling of all the socialist and interventionist programs as well as a dismantling of the entire national-security establishment. The solution is a structural change that restores a society based on individual liberty, free trade, free markets, and a constitutionally limited government republic.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
The White House slapped wide-ranging sanctions on 271 Syrian scientists yesterday for what it claimed was their work on chemical weapons related to the April 4th attack. Proof? None. US certified 100 percent of Syria's chemical stockpile was destroyed in 2014. Yet the Administration is somehow certain that Assad was behind the attack. Who's the real target here? Russia? Iran?
By Chris Rossini
President Trump, who flipped his position on NATO (amongst his many other flips) is now trying to explain why he originally and accurately called the military bureaucracy "obsolete."
Trump's new excuse is that he "didn't know much about NATO," when he said it, which isn't very encouraging considering he was running for President of The United States!
But then Trump let out a massive truth that should have stopped everyone in their tracks. He said: "You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism."
What a HUGE statement! And it's true!
Sure there was localized terroristic activity inside certain countries. Groups are always trying to get in control of wielding state power. Terrorism is a tactic.
But Trump is correct. There was "no such thing as terrorism" compared to what we see today. The Western World wasn't constantly on alert and forming police/surveillance states at home out of fear of terrorism.
No, in fact, the Western World was foolishly on alert in fear of bankrupt Communism.
The West was forming police/surveillance states at home under the guise that the commies were coming.
Well the commies folded like a cheap deck of cards.
Poof! ... Gone.
Did America do the intelligent thing and fold up the military empire after the commies disappeared?
It was off to the Middle East!
Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria...
Killing on a massive scale. Estimates range that over a million people have died. When it came to the death of 500,000 children in Iraq, the U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright said that it was "worth it."
As a consequence, terrorism filled the void that was left by the commies. A new official enemy.
Here's a key question: Did Islam exist when NATO was formed? Did Islam exist during the 1700's, 1800's, 1900's?
Of course it did.
Islam isn't a religion that sprang up yesterday. Islam came to be many hundreds of years ago.
So why was terrorism never a worry? Why did it become a worry after the U.S. went into the Middle East? Why wasn't it a worry before?
You know who has been trying to tell Americans this very thing for years?
Of course you know:
By Liberty Report Staff
The great foreign policy analyst and author Peter van Buren recounts the lies that have kept the American war machine going:
— When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.
As long as Americans continue to believe, the Empire will happily continue its lies.
By Ron Paul
“I love Wikileaks,” candidate Donald Trump said on October 10th on the campaign trail. He praised the organization for reporting on the darker side of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was information likely leaked by a whistleblower from within the Clinton campaign to Wikileaks.
Back then he praised Wikileaks for promoting transparency, but candidate Trump looks less like President Trump every day. The candidate praised whistleblowers and Wikileaks often on the campaign trail. In fact, candidate Trump loved Wikileaks so much he mentioned the organization more than 140 times in the final month of the campaign alone! Now, as President, it seems Trump wants Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sent to prison
Last week CNN reported, citing anonymous “intelligence community” sources, that the Trump Administration’s Justice Department was seeking the arrest of Assange and had found a way to charge the Wikileaks founder for publishing classified information without charging other media outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post for publishing the same information.
It might have been tempting to write off the CNN report as “fake news,” as is much of their reporting, but for the fact President Trump said in an interview on Friday that issuing an arrest warrant for Julian Assange would be, “OK with me.”
Trump’s condemnation of Wikileaks came just a day after his CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, attacked Wikileaks as a “hostile intelligence service.” Pompeo accused Assange of being “a fraud — a coward hiding behind a screen.”
Pompeo’s word choice was no accident. By accusing Wikileaks of being a “hostile intelligence service” rather than a publisher of information on illegal and abusive government practices leaked by whistleblowers, he signaled that the organization has no First Amendment rights. Like many in Washington, he does not understand that the First Amendment is a limitation on government rather than a granting of rights to citizens. Pompeo was declaring war on Wikileaks.
But not that long ago Pompeo also cited Wikileaks as an important source of information. In July he drew attention to the Wikileaks release of information damaging to the Clinton campaign, writing, “Need further proof that the fix was in from President Obama on down?”
There is a word for this sudden about-face on Wikileaks and the transparency it provides us into the operations of the prominent and powerful: hypocrisy.
The Trump Administration’s declaration of war on whistleblowers and Wikileaks is one of the greatest disappointments in these first 100 days. Donald Trump rode into the White House with promises that he would “drain the swamp,” meaning that he would overturn the apple carts of Washington’s vested interests. By unleashing those same vested interests on those who hold them in check – the whistleblowers and those who publish their revelations – he has turned his back on those who elected him.
Julian Assange, along with the whistleblowers who reveal to us the evil that is being done in our name, are heroes. They deserve our respect and admiration, not a prison cell. If we allow this president to declare war on those who tell the truth, we have only ourselves to blame.
By Liberty Report Staff
No matter how many signs and posters are assembled, or how many people decide to walk through the streets, science is never settled.
Tom DiLorenzo elaborates:
...the premise of this latest leftist “march” is quintessentially anti-science. The science of global warming is “settled,” they say. That is the theme of the whole “march.” But to real scientists nothing is ever “settled” because most scientific studies are based on statistical analysis, and statistics is based on the study of probabilities. That’s why even your doctor is never 100% sure of most of the advice he or she gives you; his advice is based on probabilistic studies in the medical field that he learned of in medical school or in his continuing education. Furthermore, the world is constantly changing, so that statistical relationships that existed years ago are often vastly different today.
As Ron Paul pointed out in a recent Liberty Report, the science was once supposedly "settled" that the Earth was flat, and that it was also the center of the universe.
Being a "skeptic" at that time would get you burned at the stake.
Always be wary when someone claims that the "science is settled," and even more skeptical when the solution is more government power at the expense of life and liberty.
By Liberty Report Staff
Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
Americans must always remain vigilant. For opportunists of all stripes are constantly angling to snatch away freedom and liberty.
Neocons and warmongers aren't the only ones that perpetually try to keep Americans in a constant state of fear, with the solution always being a further sacrifice of life and liberty to the government. The other side of the spectrum is populated by the environmental prophets of doom.
Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when "Earth Day" started:
1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
Read the rest of the hysteria here.