Entangling Alliances ... "Red Lines" ... "Fighting them there instead of here" ... The military-industrial-complex has come up with every excuse in the book to keep their perpetual wars going. Ron Paul talks about the Empire's playbook, today on Myth-Busters!
By Liberty Report Staff
Did you stop for a second and ask yourself why the North Koreans hate the American government?
Could it (maybe) be that the North Koreans hate the American government's foreign policy?
The Intercept has provided some startling facts about America's terrible unconstitutional entry into a foreign Civil War on the other side of the globe in 1950:
How many Americans, for example, are aware of the fact that U.S. planes dropped on the Korean peninsula more bombs — 635,000 tons — and napalm — 32,557 tons — than during the entire Pacific campaign against the Japanese during World War II?
Oh there's more...
Read the whole thing at The Intercept.
By Chris Rossini
Ever since the U.S. government began to sink its claws into the medical industry a good 50 or so years ago, it has turned the entire field into a complete nightmare. This is par for the course whenever government invades an industry.
Trying to reform this Frankenstein with either Obamacare, or Trumpcare, will solve nothing. It would be like Gorbachev trying to reform the Soviet Union.
The problem is structural. Tinkering with this or that will just waste more time.
A fundamental change has to occur in the thinking about what healthcare actually is. It's not what Americans have been conditioned to believe.
Peter G. Klein, who is a Research Fellow at The Mises Institute has eloquently put it into plain language in the following short video. I've also transcribed key sections below:
From a fundamental economics point of view, what is healthcare exactly? One of the things that's particularly frustrating for me as an economist is this notion that "healthcare" is some kind of a unique good or service, that everybody needs, everybody wants, but cannot be provided by the market the way the market provides shoes, or tomatoes, or automobiles, or any other good.
It should be noted that it's not just the government that opposes the free market. Yes, politicians love wielding power and like forcing people to do things against their will.
But the cornucopia of crony businesses in the medical industry would oppose the free market as well. They have a sweet deal using government power to their advantage. The last thing they would want is to compete in a free market without government giving anyone an advantage.
So this is not a government vs. business issue.
This is a government + business issue against freedom.
Be sure to watch the full 6 minute video below to get all the points that Klein puts forth:
Early today, Russia, Iran, and Turkey signed an agreement to establish "de-escalation" zones at four locations in Syria. The plan is supposed to separate the "moderate" rebels from the extremists and allow citizens to receive humanitarian aid. What will the US do?
By Ron Paul
While the government may not own companies like Google and other social media firms, they do have control over them.
Social media firms collect information on us, and government can claim that it's not spying on us. However, the government can just go and get this information from the social media companies.
Can we then go after the social media companies for selling out to the government?
Congress has exempted them from all liability.
I discuss below:
By John W. Whitehead
“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984
Supposedly the National Security Administration is going to stop collecting certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target.
Privacy advocates are hailing it as a major victory for Americans whose communications have been caught in the NSA’s dragnet.
If this is a victory, it’s a hollow victory.
Since its creation in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman issued a secret executive order establishing the NSA as the hub of the government’s foreign intelligence activities, the agency has been covertly spying on Americans, listening in on their phone calls, reading their mail, and monitoring their communications.
For instance, under Project SHAMROCK, the NSA spied on telegrams to and from the U.S., as well as the correspondence of American citizens. Moreover, as the Saturday Evening Post reports, “Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active U.S. Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.”
Not even the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the creation of the FISA Court, which was supposed to oversee and correct how intelligence information is collected and collated, managed to curtail the NSA’s illegal activities.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and emails.
Nothing changed under Barack Obama. In fact, the violations worsened, with the NSA authorized to secretly collect internet and telephone data on millions of Americans, as well as on foreign governments.
It was only after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 that the American people fully understood the extent to which they had been betrayed once again.
What this brief history makes clear is that the NSA cannot be reformed.
This is an agency whose very existence—unaccountable and lacking any degree of transparency—flies in the face of the Constitution.
Despite the fact that its data snooping has been shown to be ineffective at detecting, let alone stopping, any actual terror attacks, the NSA has continued to operate largely in secret, carrying out warrantless mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages and the like, beyond the scrutiny of most of Congress and the taxpayers who are forced to fund its multi-billion dollar secret black ops budget.
As long as the government is allowed to make a mockery of the law—be it the Constitution, the FISA law, or any other law intended to limit its reach and curtail its activities—and is permitted to operate behind closed doors, relaying on secret courts, secret budgets and secret interpretations of the laws of the land, there will be no reform.
Presidents, politicians, and court rulings have come and gone over the course of the NSA’s 60-year history, but none of them have done much to put an end to the NSA’s “technotyranny.”
The beast has outgrown its chains. It will not be restrained.
Moreover, even if the NSA could be reformed, the problem of government surveillance goes far beyond the criminal activities of this one agency.
In fact, long before the NSA became the agency we loved to hate, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were carrying out their own secret mass surveillance on an unsuspecting populace. Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between--now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people.
Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power. And of course that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine.
Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears. A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.
Corporate trackers monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere. For example, every time you use a loyalty card at the grocery store or elsewhere, your purchases are being monitored, mined for data, and sold to the highest bidder. Every time you use your credit or debit card, or your digital “wallet,” your transactions are being tracked. Uber’s ride service app knows where you are even when you are not actively using the service. Even store mannequins are being used to monitor and identify shoppers with facial recognition software.
Major cities are being transformed into “Smart Cities” filled with sensors in everything from pavement to lamp posts, and all of that data is being linked together to monitor the day-to-day lives of everyone in them. In some cities, even the sewage is being monitored and could potentially be used to find out what drugs a household may have used.
All of your medical data in the near future will be constantly monitored, and while the data is supposed to only be shared with your doctor, in practice it will be accessible by any number of government and private actors. Microchips in “smart pills” can communicate with tablet devices to ensure the elderly take their medications already exist. And a transponder injected into the skin that contains a person’s entire medical history has been approved by the FDA. Wearable health-monitoring devices likewise can be used to monitor you, and the information collected can be used in a court of law. Smart toothbrushes can monitor your brushing habits and communicate them to your dentist, or anyone else. Smart alarm clocks can monitor your sleep habits.
Like all other devices relying on the Internet of Things (IoT) to communicate, these can be hacked into by government and private corporations.
The “internet of things” refers to the growing number of “smart” appliances and electronic devices now connected to the internet and capable of interacting with each other and being controlled remotely. These range from thermostats and coffee makers to cars and TVs.
Of course, there’s a price to pay for such easy control and access. That price amounts to relinquishing ultimate control of and access to your home to the government and its corporate partners. For example, while Samsung’s Smart TVs are capable of “listening” to what you say, thereby allow users to control the TV using voice commands, it also records everything you say and relays it to a third party. Same goes for Amazon’s Echo.
“Smart houses” filled with IoT-capable devices are just starting to come into play, but by 2020 Samsung pledges that all of its devices, including its household appliances, will be IoT capable. Such products include ovens, microwaves, vacuums (including robot vacuums), refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers, as well as smart hubs which coordinate everything. Coffee makers and toasters are also being made IoT compatible.
Smart TVs seemingly out of Orwell’s 1984 will also collect data and spy on you. Modern gaming consoles likewise have internet connections, and those with cameras can be used to spy like any smartphone or computer. Smart power outlets can turn your lights on and off remotely, and smart thermostats work similarly.
All of them monitor when you’re at home or not, as can smart home security systems. Wi-Fi routers can even monitor the inside of your home and distinguish between different individuals in the house, while reading their lips to “hear” what they say. Other forms of home monitoring systems for the elderly can be hacked and used by anyone.
Already the web-enabled “Hello Barbie” doll has been the center of a hacking controversy, in which security experts disclosed a number of significant security flaws with the toy. Other smart objects include smart golf clubs, which monitor the speed, acceleration, and swing plane of your golf swing, smart shoes which track your location and can guide you on where to go. Tostitos has even unveiled a promotional smart bag of chips which can tell you if you’ve been drinking too much.
That doesn’t even begin to touch on all of the government’s many methods of spying on its citizens. For instance, police have been using Stingray devices mounted on their cruisers to intercept cell phone calls and text messages without court-issued search warrants.
Doppler radar devices, which can detect human breathing and movement within in a home, are already being employed by the police to peer inside a suspect’s home.
License plate readers, yet another law enforcement spying device made possible through funding by the Department of Homeland Security, can record up to 1800 license plates per minute. These surveillance devices can also photograph those inside a moving car. Recent reports indicate that the DEA has been using license plate readers in conjunction with facial recognition software to build a “vehicle surveillance database” of the nation’s cars, drivers and passengers.
Sidewalk and “public space” cameras, sold to gullible communities as a sure-fire means of fighting crime, is yet another DHS program that is blanketing small and large towns alike with government-funded and monitored surveillance cameras. It’s all part of a public-private partnership that gives government officials access to all manner of surveillance cameras, on sidewalks, on buildings, on buses, even those installed on private property.
Couple these surveillance cameras with facial recognition and behavior-sensing technology and you have the makings of “pre-crime” cameras, which scan your mannerisms, compare you to pre-set parameters for “normal” behavior, and alert the police if you trigger any computerized alarms as being “suspicious.”
Capitalizing on a series of notorious abductions of college-aged students, several states are pushing to expand their biometric and DNA databases by requiring that anyone accused of a misdemeanor have their DNA collected and catalogued. Technology is already available that allows the government to collect biometrics such as fingerprints from a distance, without a person’s cooperation or knowledge. One system can actually scan and identify a fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away.
Radar guns have long been the speed cop’s best friend, allowing him to hide out by the side of the road, identify speeding cars, and then radio ahead to a police car, which does the dirty work of pulling the driver over and issuing a ticket. Now, developers are hard at work on a radar gun that can actually show if you or someone in your car is texting. No word yet on whether the technology will also be able to detect the contents of that text message.
It’s a sure bet that anything the government welcomes (and funds) too enthusiastically is bound to be a Trojan horse full of nasty surprises. Case in point: police body cameras. Hailed as the easy fix solution to police abuses, these body cameras—made possible by funding from the Department of Justice—are turning police officers into roving surveillance cameras. Of course, if you try to request access to that footage, you’ll find yourself being led a merry and costly chase through miles of red tape, bureaucratic footmen and unhelpful courts.
And the FBI can remotely activate the microphone on your cellphone and record your conversations. The FBI can also do the same thing to laptop computers without the owner knowing any better.
Government surveillance of social media such as Twitter and Facebook is also on the rise. Americans have become so accustomed to the government overstepping its limits that most don’t even seem all that bothered anymore about the fact that the government is spying on our emails and listening in on our phone calls.
Drones, which are taking to the skies en masse, will be the converging point for all of the weapons and technology already available to law enforcement agencies. This means drones that can listen in on your phone calls, see through the walls of your home, scan your biometrics, photograph you and track your movements, and even corral you with sophisticated weaponry.
It’s a given that the government’s tactics are always more advanced than we know, so there’s no knowing what new technologies are already being deployed against us without our knowledge. Certainly, by the time we learn about a particular method of surveillance or new technological gadget, it’s a sure bet that the government has been using it covertly for years already.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’ve all become suspects, a.k.a. potential criminals.
As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers.
This is the creepy, calculating yet diabolical genius of the American police state: the very technology we hailed as revolutionary and liberating has become our prison, jailer, and probation officer.
So don’t get too excited about the NSA’s latest concession.
It won’t stop Big Brother from watching you.
This article was originally published at The Rutherford Institute.
By Jacob G. Hornberger
The best thing that South Koreans could ever do, both for themselves and for the American people, as well as the Japanese citizenry, is boot all U.S. troops out of their country.
Isn’t the reason obvious?
If President Trump, the Pentagon, and the CIA succeed in instigating a war with North Korea, guess who is going to pay the biggest price for such a war?
No, not the United States. At the end of such a war, the continental United States will remain untouched, just like it was after World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and all the other foreign wars in which the U.S. government has become embroiled.
The same cannot be said about South Korea and Japan. While North Korea would undoubtedly end up losing a war against the United States (assuming that China doesn’t enter the fray), South Korea will end up as a devastated wasteland. That’s because as it is going down to defeat, North Korea can be expected to cause as much death and destruction as it can.
That means that South Korea will be buried under a barrage of missiles and artillery shells, not to mention invading North Korean troops. This is especially true for the capital, Seoul, which is located just a few miles south of the border that separates North and South. As Ted Galen Carpenter, senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, put it in a recent article,
Yet if North Korea retaliates for a U.S. attack, South Korea would be the primary victim. Pyongyang has no capability to strike the American homeland, but Seoul, South Korea’s largest city and its economic heart, is located barely 30 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, and it is highly vulnerable to a North Korean artillery barrage. Civilian fatalities would number in the thousands or tens of thousands.
The likelihood is that North Korea would also do whatever it could to hit Japanese cities with missiles, given that Japan is a treaty ally of the United States.
There is also the distinct probability that North Korea will explode a few nuclear bombs in South Korea. Of course, only one would do the trick, by bringing deadly radiation to most of the country for a long time to come. The same holds true for Japan. If North Korea can do it, it will almost certainly lash out with nuclear missiles fired at Japan.
There are those who maintain that North Korea would never resort to nuclear weapons because it knows that the United States would respond with a carpet nuclear-bombing of the entire country. But the problem is that one never knows what a ruler is going to do when faced with total defeat, death, capture, trial, or incarceration. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuba’s communist ruler Fidel Castro was willing to fire nuclear missiles at invading U.S. troops, knowing full well that it would destroy Cuba forever and most likely result in an all-out nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Sure, the United States will win such a war. But can the same be said for Koreans and Japanese?
The fact is that North Korea absolutely hates the United States and, more specifically, the U.S. government. It is impossible to overstate the depth of the enmity that the North Korean regime and the North Korean people have for the Pentagon and the CIA.
For one thing, North Koreans understand that it was none of the U.S. government’s business to embroil itself in Korea’s civil war in the first place. The war was between two halves of one country, no different in principle from the civil war that took place in Vietnam several years later — another civil war that was none of the U.S. government’s business.
Moreover, the North Koreans have never forgotten the manner in which the U.S. government waged the Korean War — by massive bombing of Korean towns and cities and also by germ warfare against the North Korean populace. The anti-Asian mindset within the U.S. national-security establishment was the same mindset that guided the waging of the U.S. war in Vietnam, a mindset that held that the North Korean populace consisted of nothing but communist “gooks” who were hell-bent on conquering the world and taking over the United States, a mindset that held that the only good communist is a dead communist.
Additionally, the North Korean regime fully understands that for the U.S. national-security establishment, the Cold War never really ended. That’s why the embargo against Cuba continues. That’s why NATO still exists. That’s why the hostility toward Russia has never ended. And it’s why U.S. troops have never come home from Korea.
What that means is regime change — one of the core missions of the U.S. national-security establishment ever since it came into existence after World War II. The Pentagon and the CIA still want what they have always wanted for North Korea—regime change. That’s why they intervened in the Korean War, not to save America from the communist hordes they said were coming to get us but rather to bring North Korea under U.S. rule, thereby enabling the Pentagon and the CIA to station U.S. troops on China’s border, the same thing they are determined to do in Ukraine on Russia’s border.
The North Koreans (and the Chinese) are fully aware of all this. That’s why they have developed a nuclear program — to deter a U.S. regime-change operation. They know that nuclear weapons are the only thing that will deter the Pentagon and the CIA from instigating one. Don’t forget, after all, that Iraq fell to a U.S. regime-change operation because Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons. Cuba, by comparison, was able to resist a U.S. regime-change operation in 1962 with the help of nuclear missiles from the Soviet Union.
Booting U.S. troops out of Korea would be the best thing that could have happen to the South Korean people and the Japanese people. For one thing, it is highly unlikely that North Korea would resume the civil war, given that South Korea has a much more powerful military and a prosperous society to fund such a war. But if such a war were to break out, it would likely remain conventional, rather than go nuclear, given that Koreans would be fighting Koreans rather than North Koreans fighting Americans.
Finally, with the U.S. government out of the picture, the chances of a diplomatic resolution between the two halves of Korea would be much higher, if for no other reason than that both societies would undoubtedly prefer to avoid the death and destruction the resumption of their civil war would produce.
South Koreans should do themselves, Japan, and the United States a tremendous favor by kicking U.S. troops out of their country. It would also be a favor to those U.S. troops, given that they are nothing but a sacrificial tripwire to guarantee U.S. involvement in another Korean war.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
By Anti-Media Staff
On April 10, Anti-Media published an article titled “Google Putting CNN, Washington Post, NYT in Charge of Fact-Checking News.”
The title says it all. Through its new Fact Check feature on news stories, Google has put the job of informing the citizenry of what’s true and what’s false — on Google searches, at least — squarely in the hands of the corporate media.
Now, it’s seeming more and more that in the future, Facebook will be relegating its share of the fight against so-called fake news to corporate media outlets as well.
From a Business Insider report on Tuesday:
“Facebook has appointed a veteran of The New York Times to lead its news products division, which is responsible for stopping the spread of fake news and helping publishers make money.”
That veteran, Alex Hardiman, held a half-dozen positions during her decade-long stint at the Times. She left as vice president of news products.
It’s all part of the Facebook Journalism Project, announced in January after the social media giant took heat during the election over its refusal to take responsibility for the content it propagates.
That announcement came just a few days after the company revealed it was tapping former CNN and NBC anchor Campbell Brown as its head of news partnerships.
Brown said her new role would be to “help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively with Facebook” and to “help them understand how Facebook can expand the reach of their journalism, and contribute value to their businesses.”
Appropriately enough, in a Facebook post on Monday, Hardiman described what her duties will be in the newly-created position:
“We will spend time building better products and tools for journalists, working hand-in-hand with Campbell Brown and her team to strengthen the relationship and value exchange between Facebook and news providers. We will also partner with teams in Facebook to continue curbing the spread of false news.”
This article was originally published at The AntiMedia.
Another edition of the popular "Ask Ron Paul" episodes, where Ron Paul answers question from our viewers...
By Doug Casey
It’s an unfortunate historical anomaly that people think about the paper in their wallets as money. The dollar is, technically, a currency. A currency is a government substitute for money. But gold is money.
Now, why do I say that?
Historically, many things have been used as money. Cattle have been used as money in many societies, including Roman society. That’s where we get the word “pecuniary” from: the Latin word for a single head of cattle is pecus. Salt has been used as money, also in ancient Rome, and that’s where the word “salary” comes from; the Latin for salt is sal (or salis). The North American Indians used seashells. Cigarettes were used during WWII. So, money is simply a medium of exchange and a store of value.
By that definition, almost anything could be used as money, but obviously, some things work better than others; it’s hard to exchange things people don’t want, and some things don’t store value well. Over thousands of years, the precious metals have emerged as the best form of money. Gold and silver both, though primarily gold.
There’s nothing magical about gold. It’s just uniquely well suited among the 98 naturally occurring elements for use as money … in the same way aluminum is good for airplanes or uranium is good for nuclear power.
There are very good reasons for this, and they are not new reasons. Aristotle defined five reasons why gold is money in the 4th century BCE (which may only have been the first time it was put down on paper). Those five reasons are as valid today as they were then.
When I give a speech, I often offer a prize to the audience member who can tell me the five classical reasons gold is the best money. Quickly now—what are they? Can’t recall them? Read on, and this time, burn them into your memory.
If you can’t define a word precisely, clearly, and quickly, that’s proof you don’t understand what you’re talking about as well as you might. The proper definition of money is as something that functions as a store of value and a medium of exchange.
Government fiat currencies can, and currently do, function as money. But they are far from ideal. What, then, are the characteristics of a good money? Aristotle listed them in the 4th century BCE. A good money must be all of the following:
Not even the kings and emperors who clipped and diluted coins would have dared imagine that they could get away with trying to use something essentially worthless as money.
These are the reasons why gold is the best money. It’s not a gold bug religion, nor a barbaric superstition. It’s simply common sense. Gold is particularly good for use as money, just as aluminum is particularly good for making aircraft, steel is good for the structures of buildings, uranium is good for fueling nuclear power plants, and paper is good for making books. Not money. If you try to make airplanes out of lead, or money out of paper, you’re in for a crash.
That gold is money is simply the result of the market process, seeking optimum means of storing value and making exchanges.
This article was originally published on International Man.