On Tuesday, the US House passed what it called the harshest sanctions ever on North Korea. Only two Representatives voted against the new sanctions, Reps. Massie and Amash. Who will suffer most from the sanctions? The North Korean military? Kim? Or the people...?
By Peter Certo
In our military-revering culture, it’s a strange thing for a president to start a war of words with the grieving families of slain soldiers.
Strange, yes. But from Donald Trump’s campaign season feud with the parents of Humayun Khan, who died protecting fellow soldiers in Iraq, to his recent feud with the mourning widow of La David Johnson, who died on patrol in Niger, it’s no longer surprising.
At root in the latest spat is a comment Trump made to La David’s widow Myeshia Johnson: “He knew what he signed up for.” Myeshia thought that remark was disrespectful – she later said it “made me cry.”
Beyond insensitive, though, there’s a good chance it simply wasn’t true.
Why, after all, should La David have expected to die in a dusty corner of Niger – a Saharan country most Americans (and, one suspects, their president) couldn’t find on a map? And where the U.S. isn’t actually at war?
If you were surprised to learn the U.S. has nearly a thousand troops in Niger, you’re not alone. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who serves on the Armed Forces Committee, told NBC he “had no idea.” Neither did Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat.
Well, the surprises may keep coming.
The New York Times notes tthat the U.S. now has “over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories.” Count it again: 172 countries, out of 193 UN member states.
Most of us remain at least dimly aware that we still have thousands of troops in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Cold War outposts like Japan, South Korea, and Germany. But what about the 160-plus others? And where are the nearly 38,000 troops whose location the Pentagon lists as “unknown”?
We catch an occasional glimpse of this global footprint when a U.S. service member dies someplace surprising – as Ryan Owens did earlier this year in Yemen, and a Navy SEAL did several months later in Somalia. More rarely we catch darker reminders still, when our wars abroad come home in the form of terrorist attacks. But mostly the American people remain every bit as in the dark as Graham and Schumer.
Americans like to imagine ourselves as citizens of a democracy that rejects the colonial ambitions of Old World powers like France and the UK. And yet we’ve deployed troops to literally most of the planet, and our leading lawmakers – tasked by the Constitution with the exclusive right to declare war – don’t even know about it.
Worse still, Congress appears to be abetting its own irrelevance.
Earlier this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan quietly killed an amendment by Democrat Barbara Lee that would’ve revoked Congress’ post-9/11 Authorization of Military Force, which has been used as a fig leaf of legality for this global war making. And last month the Senate voted 2:1 to reject an amendment from Republican Rand Paul that would’ve done the same.
Odds are, the real victims from our post-9/11 wars live in countries we seldom see or hear about. But as veteran and Army strategist Danny Sjursen writes, “the potential, and all too pervasive, deaths of American service members demand a public hearing” too. Especially when 16-plus years of war doesn’t appear to have made the world any safer.
When our soldiers kill and die in fruitless wars we don’t know about and can’t end, we’re not a democracy anymore – we’re an empire. And perhaps a fading one at that.
Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of OtherWords.org. Reprinted from OtherWords with permission.
By Liberty Report Staff
Ron Paul joins The Tom Woods Show to discuss the 10 year anniversary since the birth of the Ron Paul Revolution. Topics include the Deep State, the CIA's records on the JFK assassination, the question Edward Snowden asked him, and the present state of the liberty movement.
In a dramatic statement on the Senate Floor yesterday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced that he would not run for another term. He also had very sharp words for the culture and personalities surrounding him in Washington. Does he have a point? Or is he missing the point?
Who knew that the US had 1,000 troops in Niger? What are they doing there? The Pentagon won't tell us, but Sen. Lindsay Graham assures us they are fighting for our freedom. Will Congress bother to notice as the war expands to Africa? Or will it continue to roll over for the Executive Branch and ignore the Constitution?
Press Play to hear Ron Paul deliver his Weekly Update:
By Ron Paul
This week President Trump revealed his final five candidates for Federal Reserve chair. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, all five have strong ties to the financial and political establishment. The leading candidates are former Federal Reserve governor and Morgan Stanley banker Kevin Warsh and current Fed governor, former investment banker, Carlyle Group partner, and George H.W. Bush administration official Jerome Powell. Gary Cohn, current director of the president’s National Economic Council and former president of Goldman Sachs, is also on Trump’s list.
Trump is also considering reappointing Janet Yellen, even though when he was running for president he repeatedly criticized her for pursuing policies harmful to the middle class. Of course candidate Trump also promised to support Audit the Fed and even voiced support for returning to the gold standard. But, he has not even uttered the words “Audit the Fed,” or talked about any changes to monetary policy, since the election.
Instead, President Trump, in complete contradiction to candidate Trump, has praised Yellen for being a “low-interest-rate-person.” One reason Trump may have changed his position is that, like most first-term presidents, he thinks low interest rates will help him win reelection. Trump may also realize that his welfare and warfare spending plans require an accommodative Fed to monetize the federal debt. The truth is President Trump’s embrace of status quo monetary policy could prove fatal to both his presidency and the American economy.
The failure of the Fed’s post-2008 policies of unprecedented money creation and record-low interest rates shows our experiment with fiat money is nearing its inevitable end. All of Trump’s potential picks are likely to continue the Fed’s current policies. Even the ones who say they favor higher rates will likely bow to the wishes of their friends in the financial and political establishment and make sure any rate hikes are minuscule. Appointing a Fed chair who will continue, or only make marginal changes to, these failed policies will hasten the collapse while making the resulting depression more painful.
Some say that Trump could make a radical change in monetary policy by appointing Stanford University professor and former George W. Bush administration Treasury official John Taylor. Professor Taylor is a leading advocate of a “rules-based” monetary policy. Advocates of forcing the Fed to follow specific rules say this will bring stability and predictability to monetary policy. However, a rules-based policy still allows the Fed to control the money supply and distort interest rates, thus still plaguing the economy with Fed-created bubbles and busts.
Trump would do well to appoint a Fed chair who follows the teachings of the Austrian school of economics and thus understands that the only thing the Fed can do to “fix” the economy is allow the correction to run its course. He should also use his bully pulpit to pass Audit the Fed and legislation legalizing competing currencies.
Fortunately, even if Trump is not speaking out on Audit the Fed, many Americans are demanding that Congress vote on and pass this bill. An increasing number of Americans are seeking alternatives to the Federal Reserve System, such as precious metals and cyber currency.
Another positive development is occurring in the states. Arizona recently passed legislation recognizing gold, silver, and other precious metals as legal tender. Wyoming will consider similar legislation next year. If Congress refuses to act to restore a free market in money by auditing and ending the Fed, more states are likely to pass these laws as more Americans reject fiat currency in favor of real money.
By Jason Ditz
The October 4 ambush in Niger that killed four US special forces members forced the Pentagon to admit that they had been routinely carrying out ground patrols inside Niger, but African command (AFRICOM) may be cashing in on the incident.
With the revelation that there are US military operations ongoing in Niger and countless other countries, AFRICOM is noting that they’d requested a lot more military equipment than they got, and some of that might conceivably have come in handy during the ambush.
The US special forces were, after all, sent out in unarmored vehicles, with no air surveillance, and no way of evacuating if a problem happened. Instead of questioning why they sent troops into such dangerous circumstances in the first place, officials just say it proves they should’ve been given way more equipment.
Few questions are being asked about why the US is in Niger in the first place, and instead officials are focusing the investigation in such a way that the “solution” will be an even bigger military budget, to facilitate even more pointless wars.
This article was originally published at Antiwar.com
The US Air Force Chief of Staff announced that for the first time since the end of the Cold War, 26 years ago, the 60-plus year old B-53 bombers would be placed back on 24-hour watch, ready to take off and drop nuclear bombs at a moment's notice. Are these just weapons in search of a war?
By Michael Krieger
Until the American public ceases bickering amongst itself along Democratic and Republican or “left” vs. “right” lines, we’ll continue to be divided and conquered by authoritarians who wield tremendous power throughout both sides of the traditional political spectrum. This isn’t to say there aren’t real, meaningful differences between those who classify themselves on the “left” or the “right,” but it is to say there’s a much bigger battle afoot and nothing’s going to get better until we frame the new political reality for what it is. The most significant, existential struggle at play in these modern United States is a battle between Liberty and Authoritarianism, and it’s extremely important you know where you stand.
While the entire Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution is crucial to our civil liberties, no right is more significant than the First Amendment. If we lose freedom of speech, it’s game over for our society, and we have to understand that authoritarians on both the “right” and “left” are taking shots at freedom of speech as I write this. As such, differences between “right” and “left” should be deemphasized because if we lose the First Amendment, we lose everything.
A major political realignment is not simply a good idea, it’s absolutely crucial to the survival of a thriving civilization here in the U.S. The historical struggle we face today is not Democrat vs. Republican, or right vs. left, but Liberty vs. Authoritarianism.
Let’s get started by highlighting an extremely creepy proposal recently published, titled, Fool Me Once: The Case for Government Regulation of “Fake News.” One of the authors is Ann M. Ravel, who was previously a Democratic Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
For the most part, the proposal outlines how social media should be regulated in order to track and categorize how advertisements on the platforms are created and distributed. It’s not until the end that the authors’ more Orwellian objectives become apparent. They write:
Government regulations to help voters avoid spreading disinformation
Think about how creepy all of that is. They want social media companies to warn its users when they’re apparently interacting with “disinformation,” which I assume government will enthusiastically define at a later date. Even worse, a simple warning isn’t enough for them, the authors actually want social media companies to warn citizens they might be exposed to libel laws if they share a particular piece of content.
As such, it becomes crystal clear that when it comes to libel laws some Democrats have a lot more in common with Donald Trump than they’d like you to believe. Which basically proves my point — there’s a lot more agreement between authoritarians on the “right” and the “left” than meets the eye. Both types want the power to control what you see, what you read and how you think. Don’t let political labels fool you, anti-free speech is anti-free speech whether it comes from a Democrat or a Republican. The real battle is Liberty vs. Authoritarianism.
Power despises independence. Whenever a region or state tries to break away, the larger power usually attacks. That's how the U.S. was formed, by breaking away. It was subsequently attacked for daring to do so. Secession is a valuable tool for Liberty. Secede! Secede! Secede! ... All the way to the ultimate dilution of power -- Individual Liberty.