While America's eyes are on the presidential election, US troops are fighting alongside the US-backed "Syrian Democratic Forces" to take Raqqa from ISIS control. A new ground war has begun in Syria, with the US and Turkey making plans to govern Raqqa when ISIS is gone. Apparently Syria has no say in the matter.
By Ron Paul
I have said throughout this presidential campaign that it doesn’t matter much which candidate wins. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are authoritarians and neither can be expected to roll back the leviathan state that destroys our civil liberties at home while destroying our economy and security with endless wars overseas. Candidates do not matter all that much, despite what the media would have us believe. Ideas do matter, however. And regardless of which of these candidates is elected, the battle of ideas now becomes critical.
The day after the election is our time to really focus our efforts on making the case for a peaceful foreign policy and the prosperity it will bring. While we may not have much to cheer in Tuesday’s successful candidate, we have learned a good deal about the state of the nation from the campaigns. From the surprising success of the insurgent Bernie Sanders to a Donald Trump campaign that broke all the mainstream Republican Party rules – and may have broken the Republican Party itself – what we now understand more clearly than ever is that the American people are fed up with politics as usual. And more importantly they are fed up with the same tired old policies.
Last month a fascinating poll was conducted by the Center for the National Interest and the Charles Koch Institute. A broad ranging 1,000 Americans were asked a series of questions about US foreign policy and the 15 year “war on terror.” You might think that after a decade and a half, trillions of dollars, and thousands of lives lost, Americans might take a more positive view of this massive effort to “rid the world of evil-doers,” as then-president George W. Bush promised. But the poll found that only 14 percent of Americans believe US foreign policy has made them more safe! More than 50 percent of those polled said the next US president should use less force overseas, and 80 percent said the president must get authorization from Congress before taking the country to war.
These results should make us very optimistic about our movement, as it shows that we are rapidly approaching the “critical mass” where new ideas will triumph over the armies of the status quo.
We know those in Washington with a vested interest in maintaining a US empire overseas will fight to the end to keep the financial gravy train flowing. The neocons and the liberal interventionists will continue to preach that we must run the world or everything will fall to ruin. But this election and many recent polls demonstrate that their time has passed. They may not know it yet, but their failures are too obvious and Americans are sick of paying for them.
What is to be done? We must continue to educate ourselves and others. We must resist those who are preaching “interventionism-lite” and calling it a real alternative. Claiming we must protect our “interests” overseas really means using the US military to benefit special interests. That is not what the military is for. We must stick to our non-interventionist guns. No more regime change. No more covert destabilization programs overseas. A solid defense budget, not an imperial military budget. US troops home now. End US military action in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and so on. Just come home.
Americans want change, no matter who wins. We need to be ready to provide that alternative.
We've apparently reached another presidential election. It's a time when many believe they're able to exercise a say in what happens with the government. Yet, despite all prior campaign promises and votes cast, Americans are (once again) disgusted with the government that they chose in years prior. It's like a dog that chases its tail, never realizing the nature of the situation. Ron Paul squashes election myths on today's edition of Myth-Busters.
By Shaun Bradley
Mandatory vaccinations are about to open up a new frontier for government control. Through the war on drugs, bureaucrats arbitrarily dictate what people can and can’t put into their bodies, but that violation pales in comparison to forcibly medicating millions against their will. Voluntary and informed consent are essential in securing individual rights, and without it, self-ownership will never be respected.
The liberal stronghold of California is trailblazing the encroaching new practice and recently passed laws mandating that children and adults must have certain immunizations before being able to attend schools or work in certain professions. The longstanding religious and philosophical exemptions that protect freedom of choice have been systematically crushed by the state.
California’s Senate Bill 277 went into effect on July 1st, 2016, and marked the most rigid requirements ever instituted for vaccinations. The law forces students to endure a total of 40 doses to complete the 10 federally recommended vaccines while allowing more to be added at any time. Any family that doesn’t go along will have their child barred from attending licensed day care facilities, in-home daycares, public or private schools, and even after school programs.
Over the years, California has developed a reputation for pushing vaccines on their youth. Assembly Bill 499 was passed in 2011 and lowered the age of consent for STD prevention vaccines to just 12 years old. Included in the assortment of shots being administered was the infamous Gardasil, which just a few years later was at the center of a lawsuit that yielded the victims a $6 million settlement from the US government, which paid out funds from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
The Vaccinate All Children Act of 2015 is an attempt to implement this new standard nationwide, and although it has stalled in the House, it will likely be reintroduced the next time the country is gripped by the fear of a pandemic.
The debate surrounding vaccinations is commonly framed as a moral struggle between the benefits to the collective and the selfish preferences of the individual. But since the outbreak scares of Zika, measles, and ebola, the rhetoric has taken a turn toward authoritarianism.
It’s commonly stated by the CDC and most mainstream doctors that the unvaccinated are putting the health of everyone else at risk, but the truth isn’t so black and white. The herd immunity theory has been consistently used to validate the expansion of vaccine programs, but it still doesn’t justify the removal of choice from the individual.
The classic exchange of freedom for perceived safety is a no brainer for the millions of Americans who are willing to use government to strap their neighbors down and forcibly inject them for the greater good. Anyone who expresses concern about possible side effects is immediately branded as conspiratorial or anti-science. Yet controversial claims that certain vaccine variants cause neurological disorders like autism have led some people to swear off inoculations altogether. This all-or-nothing dynamic has completely polarized the issue and prevents any reasonable discussion from taking place. Either you accept all of the CDC’s recommended 69 doses of 16 vaccines between birth and age 18, or you want to bring back measles, polio, and probably the black plague.
On the other extreme side of the debate, if you fail to acknowledge all vaccines as dangerous, you’re an ignorant sheep. Through the internet, disinformation has become widespread and created a movement of people that have written off all the benefits accomplished through immunizations. These individuals are unable or unwilling to separate the science from the shady institutions that develop and distribute new vaccines. Even if thimerosal and mercury based preservatives cause adverse reactions in some patients, it doesn’t detract from the advantages vaccine technology provides. In this debate, like most others in the US, both sides are swept up in emotion and ignorance.
Regardless, the public’s trust in vaccinations has been eroded by the reputations of those companies producing them. Pharmaceutical giants like Merck and Pfizer make billions from the distribution of these shots, and the potential profits after a mandate are enough to corrupt the morals of almost anyone. In one example, former CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding left her post at the government agency in 2009 to work in Merck’s vaccine division. An investigative report published by the British Medical Journal last year found the CDC downplays its ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Further, by buying the support of politicians like Hillary Clinton — who received more donations from pharmaceutical companies and their employees than any other candidate this year — these huge companies are able to expand their influence in directing government policy.
Maintaining control over what we put into our own bodies is a fundamental right, but for now, standing up to these government decrees only means ostracism from the education system and criticism from peers. In the future, however, the punishments for disobedience will likely only grow stricter.
An Orange County doctor named Bob Sears is already in the crosshairs of California’s medical board after excusing a two-year-old from future vaccinations. The mother expressed concern that her daughter had an adverse reaction to a previous shot, describing the child as becoming limp “like a ragdoll” for 24 hours after the last dose. Dr. Sears’ alternative treatment recommendations break from the rules dictated by S.B. 277, and now his reputation, as well as his career, are in jeopardy. This new authority to strip doctors of their medical licenses for simply going against the state-imposed standards opens the door for the persecution of medical professionals who resist any government regulation.
A vaccination is an invasive medical procedure that can have different effects on each and every individual. The Nuremberg Code’s first principle is voluntary consent, but it seems the lessons of history have been completely forgotten by today’s leaders. The transition of these shots from “recommended” to “required” is well underway, and those who think the ends justify the means are willing to forcibly make sure everyone else complies.
The new benchmark set by California symbolizes a precedent that could be mimicked across the nation. Without having the discretion to choose which medications are injected into your body — or your child’s — how can anyone convince themselves they are free? This overreach and collusion can often be dismissed as a trivial issue, but the fact that voluntary consent is under attack speaks volumes to the extent that state power has metastasized.
This article was originally published at TheAntiMedia.org.
Was ISIS created and/or supported by the US and its allies to do the dirty work of "regime change" in Syria? Is that why it seems the US war on ISIS is proceeding at such a leisurely pace?
By Jacob G. Hornberger
Clinton’s assets within the mainstream press are on the warpath over FBI Director James Comey’s decision to advise Congress that the FBI had discovered additional evidence in his investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Given the possibility that the announcement could influence people to vote against Clinton, Clinton’s supporters are saying that Comey should have kept the information secret until after the election.
They have it wrong. Whatever effect Comey’s actions have on the election is not his responsibility. Sole responsibility for the controversy lies with Clinton herself. If she had followed the rules and the law in the first place, she wouldn’t find herself in this pickle.
But as is standard with people in Washington, when wrongdoing goes awry, the propensity is to immediately shift attention from the wrongdoer and look for a scapegoat to attack and be used to distract attention away from the original wrongdoer, which in this case is Clinton.
Consider what would have happened if Comey had kept the information secret. It is a virtual certainty that someone would have leaked the information anyway. Where would that have left Comey? It would have left him in the position of covering up for Hillary Clinton. Why should he or anyone else be expected to risk his integrity and career for the sake of Clinton or any other political hack?
Consider the cowardice and disingenuousness of the Justice Department. It’s making a big deal out of the fact that it told Comey that he had a moral duty to keep the information secret until after the election.
But notice something important here: The Justice Department could have ordered Comey to keep to keep the information secret. It didn’t. And why not? Because it knew that once the information leaked out, the cover-up would have landed in the lap of the Justice Department. By counselling, not ordering, Comey to keep the information secret, the Justice Department perfectly positioned itself in the controversy to appear as a white knight.
Unfortunately, in all the attacks on Comey, you can bet your bottom dollar that not one of the attackers will ask a deeply fundamental and critically important question: Why not just abolish the FBI? What’s it good for?
For more than a hundred years, America lived without a national police force, especially one that conducts much of its operations in secret.
There were two reasons for that.
First, Americans understand that a secretive national police force is incompatible with a free society. They knew that throughout history it has been czarist regimes, imperialist empires, totalitarian dictatorships, and authoritarian regimes that have employed secretive national police forces. For the sake of their own freedom, they chose to have criminal violations handled at the state and local level.
Second, Americans also knew that there was no provision in the U.S. Constitution that empowered the federal government to establish a national police force.
The wisdom of the Framers and our American ancestors was borne out in the early history of the FBI, when federal agents were used to investigate, harass, and prosecute Americans who were opposed to U.S. entry into World War I, the war where 116,708 American soldiers, many of them drafted, were forced to die for to make the world “safe for democracy,” a world that produced Nazi Germany a short time thereafter.
Their wisdom was also confirmed during the 45 years of Cold War I, when the FBI spied on, monitored, harassed, ruined, and destroyed people who believed in communism or socialism, which were beliefs that were supposed to be protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
And, of course, their wisdom was confirmed when it came out that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was using the FBI to secretly compile information on people so that he could blackmail them or ruin them with it.
In actuality, the FBI is part and parcel of the entire national-security establishment, the totalitarian-like governmental apparatus that was grafted onto the federal government to wage the First Cold War against America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union. It’s the apparatus that has embroiled the United States in endless war, conflicts, and crises, sent the government into an out-of-control binge of spending and debt, engaged in interventions that have killed, tortured, maimed, or exiled millions of people, engaged in actions that expose Americans to endless terrorist blowback, assumed extraordinary powers pertaining to torture, assassination, and indefinite detention, and destroyed the liberty and privacy of the American people.
In this era of massive political discontent, the American people need to start thinking at a higher level, just as our ancestors who founded this country did — a level much higher than James Comey’s release of information relating to Hillary Clinton’s emails or, for that matter, issues relating to Donald Trump’s sex scandals.
Americans should be asking themselves such fundamental questions as: What is the nature of a genuinely free society? Is it possible to have both a free society and a national-security state, including the FBI? Why did the Framers and our American ancestors oppose both a FBI and a national security state for America?
Once enough people begin asking those types of questions, the country will get back on the right track — the track toward a free, peaceful, harmonious, safe, and secure society,
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
In his latest book, Jim Rickards warns that the coming financial crisis will be unlike the 1998 and 2008 crises. There will be no massive money printing to pave over the crumbling system. Rickards joins us to discuss what to expect...and how to prepare.
By Thomas DiLorenzo
Have you noticed that traffic congestion in your city always seems to get worse and worse, year after year? Have you also noticed that local governments rarely, if ever, do anything about it? Or that the things that they do actually make it worse? If you have noticed these things and assumed that it is yet another example of the inherent ineptness of your typical bungling bureaucrats you may be dead wrong.
The latest trend in “urban planning” is to intentionally make traffic congestion as bad as possible. The main proponents of this scheme are: 1) environmentalist extremists who hate and despise cars and the freedom they afford their fellow citizens; and 2) local politicians who want to corral as many people as possible in high-density condos and apartments in their cities where they can be easily taxed. They call it “smart growth.” It is a classic “bootleggers and Baptist” coalition, so named by economist Bruce Yandle. Professor Yandle discussed this in the context of the proponents of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s – bootleggers who were in favor of prohibition for purely financial reasons, and Baptists who supported prohibition for religious reasons. An odd political coalition, indeed. Today’s environmentalist “urban planners” are the “religious” fanatics here, worshipping at the altar of environmentalism, while tax-hungry urban politicians and bureaucrats are the “bootleggers.”
A front-page article in the October 30, 2016, issue of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel entitled “We’re Going to Make Them Suffer” explains this latest urban central planning scheme. “Cities are deliberately making your commute worse,” the authors write, “jamming development into urban areas no matter how it affects traffic. The goal: Get more people to use mass transit.” They quote a prominent South Florida “urban planner” named Anne Castro (how appropriate), the chair of the Broward County Planning Council, as saying: “Until you make it so painful that people want to come out of their cars, they’re not going to come out of their cars.” Therefore, said Ms. Castro, “We’re going to make them suffer first, and then we’re going to figure out ways to move them after that because they’re going to scream at us to help them move” (emphasis added). This statement is reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi’s notorious comment about how the Congress should first vote to enact “Obamacare” and then try to figure out how it will work later.
Such words are typical displays of the resentment, if not hatred, that government “planners” of all kinds have for their fellow citizens. After all, their purpose in life is to use the coercive powers of the state to bully us by forcefully imposing on us their plans for how we should live our lives. Our own plans do not matter a whit to them. They see us as nothing more than a large collection of experimental rats waiting to be experimented upon with their socialistic “plans.”
The authors of the Sun-Sentinel article (Susannah Bryan, Emily Miller, and John Maines) write of how urban “planners are creating neighborhoods in urban areas where gridlock is the norm” by approving high-density housing “at a rapid pace,” which brings thousands of additional vehicles into relatively small areas. Development projects are typically allowed without even doing any traffic studies for fear that such studies might wake up the citizenry to the potential of future traffic nightmares.
Some cities are actually reducing the number of traffic lanes on major, heavily-congested roads and replacing them with bike lanes and wider sidewalks. It is the urban planners’ theory that thousands of people (including the elderly in South Florida, apparently) will then decide to walk or bike for miles to and from the store in all kinds of weather, including South Florida’s relentless summer heat and humidity and world-record summer lightning storms.
Having made life increasingly miserable for commuters, some cities are now proposing increased sales taxes with some of the loot earmarked for “mass transit” (primarily buses and perennially money-losing commuter trains). The combination of intentionally-created, nightmarish traffic congestion combined with thousands of additional pedestrians and bicyclists in super-crowded cities sounds like a human catastrophe waiting to happen.
If all of this “planning” succeeds, says one Nick Uhren, executive director of the Palm Beach, Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization (the Soviets would be so envious of that name), then “it will be so busy that it’s not pleasant to drive here,” and “that’s a good thing.” The Sun-Sentinal quotes other urban planners as saying that “traffic in South Florida could mirror the gridlock now seen in Los Angeles, rated the nation’s most congested city,” and that’s a good thing. Yay! Success!
Well, at least until the next major hurricane in South Florida, that is, with millions of people ordered to evacuate their homes and getting stuck in their cars, out of gas, on the interstate, in gridlocked traffic, while a catastrophic category five hurricane blows in. “People won’t be able to get out. We’re kind of building a monster,” Ms. Castro nonchalantly admitted.
The “bootlegger” perspective is given in the Sun-Sentinel article by one Dick Blatner, the chair of the Broward County, Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization (how Politburo-ish sounding!) who also “serves” on the Broward Planning Council (so much planning, so little time): “Cities must court high-density developments to avoid unpopular tax increases . . . . They want development for the property taxes and to increase property values.”
In other words, these self-described public servants are all about the money and perks that will come to them with increased property tax revenues. They want more taxpaying chickens to pluck, so to speak, and are willing to inflict “suffering” (their word) on their fellow citizens in order to guarantee their increased salaries, perks, and scandalously-large public employee pensions. They make no mention at all of the quality of life in their cities other than to say that they want it to sharply decline so that they can haul in more tax loot for themselves. Like all government “planners,” their plans are designed to benefit themselves, first and foremost, the public be damned.
This article was originally published at LewRockwell.com
The numbers are convincing. Despite government and media propaganda in favor of these past 15 years of radical US interventionism overseas, most Americans are fed up. They feel less safe after trillions have been spent, hundreds of thousands killed, and societies torn apart in the "war on terror." Americans are out of sync with government and the media elites. What's next?