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'We Tortured Some Folks' — Obama Admits United States Committed Acts Violating Federal and International Law
Following the admission that the CIA hacked Senate computers and lied to Congress, President Obama today affirmed that it did indeed torture people. This admission (while belated) is an important recognition by the United States of what is obvious from a legal standpoint. However, that also means that CIA officials violated both federal and international law. The question is why Obama began his first term by promising CIA employees that they would not be tried for what he now describes as “tortur[ing] some folks.”

1 August 2014read on...

Not Talking to Vladimir Putin Signals Impotence, Not Strength
Understandable outrage at the terrible fate of the 298 innocent passengers on flight MH17 has led Western leaders to reach for their favourite way of coercing rogue states into better behaviour. Sanctions have been ramped up on Russia, targeting key personnel around President Vladimir Putin and cutting specific sectors of the Russian economy off from fruitful business with US and EU partners.



1 August 2014read on...

CIA Admits Hacking Senate Computers After Months of Denials
In the same week as the State Department report endorsing findings that the CIA lied to Congress and brutalized suspects, the CIA is now admitting that its recent denials of hacking Senate computers was also false. Once again, however, there is not even a suggestion of discipline, let alone criminal charges, for CIA officials who lied to Congress (or allowed others to lie) and hacked into congressional computers.

1 August 2014read on...

The Rise of the 'Petro-yuan' and the Slow Erosion of Dollar Hegemony For seventy years, one of the critical foundations of American power has been the dollar’s standing as the world’s most important currency. For the last forty years, a pillar of dollar primacy has been the greenback’s dominant role in international energy markets. Today, China is leveraging its rise as an economic power, and as the most important incremental market for hydrocarbon exporters in the Persian Gulf and the former Soviet Union to circumscribe dollar dominance in global energy—with potentially profound ramifications for America’s strategic position.

31 July 2014read on...

New Post
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Intelligence on Shoot-Down of Malaysian Plane

31 July 2014read on...

Stop! Thief! Stop! — The Looting of Ukraine
Kiev’s hastily assembled, post-coup coalitions couldn’t hold, and Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk threw in the towel last Thursday. On his way out, news stories said, the PM expressed his “disappointment with Ukrainian parliament’s decision to reject a bill that allows the government to hand over up to 49 percent of the country’s gas transport system to investors from the European Union and the United States.”

30 July 2014read on...

On Dominoes, WMDs And Putin’s 'Aggression': Imperial Washington Is Intoxicated By Another Big Lie
Imperial Washington is truly running amuck in its insensible confrontation with Vladimir Putin. The round of new sanctions is a counter-productive joke. Apparently, more of Vlad’s posse will be put on double probation, thereby reducing demand for Harry Macklowe’s swell new $60 million apartment units on Park Avenue. Likewise, American exporters of high tech oilfield equipment will be shot in the foot with an embargo; and debt-saturated Russian state companies will be denied the opportunity to bury themselves even deeper in dollar debt by borrowing on the New York bond market. Some real wet noodles, these!

29 July 2014read on...

In Foreign Affairs, Not Doing Anything Is The Thing To Do
The heartbreaking violence in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere carries many messages, but here’s one Americans shouldn’t miss: The United States — no matter who the president is — cannot manage world conflict. The corollary is that when a president tries to manage it, things will usually get worse. Foresight is always defective, and tragic unintended consequences will prevail.

29 July 2014read on...

The Absurd, Bureaucratic Hell That Is the American Police State
Whether it’s the working mother arrested for letting her 9-year-old play unsupervised at a playground, the teenager forced to have his genitals photographed by police, the underage burglar sentenced to 23 years for shooting a retired police dog, or the 43-year-old man who died of a heart attack after being put in a chokehold by NYPD officers allegedly over the sale of untaxed cigarettes, the theater of the absurd that passes for life in the American police state grows more tragic and incomprehensible by the day.

28 July 2014read on...

End Torture, Shut Down the CIA!
Remember back in April, 2007, when then-CIA director George Tenet appeared on 60 Minutes, angrily telling the program host, “we don’t torture people”? Remember a few months later, in October, President George W. Bush saying, “this government does not torture people”? We knew then it was not true because we had already seen the photos of Iraqis tortured at Abu Ghraib prison four years earlier.

27 July 2014read on...

Featured Articles

Mental Health Screening a Good Way to Decrease Liberty, Poor Way to Increase Security


Ronpaul Tstbutton

Last week Americans were shocked and saddened by another mass killing, this one near a college campus in California. We all feel deep sympathy for the families of the victims.

As usual, many people responded to this shooting by calling for new federal gun control laws, including the mental health screening of anyone attempting to purchase a firearm. There are a number of problems with this proposal. Federally-mandated mental health screenings would require storing mental health records in a government database. This obviously raises concerns about patient privacy and doctor-patient confidentiality, as well as the threat of identity theft. Anyone who doubts that these are legitimate concerns should consider the enormous privacy problems with the Obamacare website; some have even suggested that healthcare.gov be renamed indentifytheft.gov.

Giving government the power to bar some Americans from owning guns by labeling them as “mentally ill” could easily lead to serious abuses. Even authors of mental health manuals admit that mental health diagnoses are subjective and can be based on “social constructions.” Thus, anyone whose behavior deviates from some “norm” could find himself deprived of his second amendment, and possibly other, rights.

People could be even be labeled “mentally ill” because they are outspoken critics of the government. Currently, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Vigilant Eagle” program, veterans who express dissatisfaction with government polices run the risk of being labeled mentally-unstable terrorist threats. There has also been at least one federally-funded violence prevention program that determined that holding certain political and social views indicates a propensity for violence. So there is precedent for labeling those with unpopular political beliefs as being “mentally ill.”

We have also seen how US presidents from both parties have used the IRS to target political opponents. Imagine the potential for abuse if those same politicians had access to the mental health records of their political opponents, or the power to label opponents mentally ill because those opponents were “dissatisfied” with the government?

People who say that the threat to liberty posed by mental health screenings is outweighed by the enhanced security they provide should consider that expanding background checks and mental health screening is unlikely to make us safer. Professor Richard Alan Friedman, director of the Psychopharmacology Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, has written that it is imposable to predict whether an individual will act in a violent manner.

One effective way to limit mass shootings may be to repeal gun control laws that, by disarming the law-abiding, turn the innocent into victims. Like most recent shootings, this one took place in a location where the attacker could be confident his intended targets could not defend themselves. It is interesting that even though the attacker used hammers and knives on some of the victims, no one is calling for background checks on those wishing to purchase hammers.

Instead of focusing on passing more laws, our focus should be replacing the entitlement culture with a culture of self-responsibility and respect for the rights of others. Government can help this process by ending its routine violation of our rights and the use of violence as a means to achieve domestic and foreign policy goals. This is not to suggest that government policies are directly responsible for the shootings, but it is not unreasonable to suggest that growing up in a time of preemptive war may feed a deranged person’s delusion that violence is a proper way to deal with personal frustrations. Fixing the culture is much more difficult than passing new laws but is the only way to guarantee our liberty and our security.
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