http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/rss.aspx?blogid=3 Fri, 19 Oct 2018 16:21:31 GMT Fri, 19 Oct 2018 16:21:31 GMT US-Russian Exchanges Gather Momentum Melkulangara Bhadrakumar http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/us-russian-exchanges-gather-momentum/

If a single exchange stood out during the tense interview of President Trump with the CBS News 60 Minutes on Sunday — Washington Post listed 8 of them — I would say it was when he tried to filibuster Lesley Stahl over the topic of ‘Russian meddling’ in the American elections.

Stahl kept taunting Trump but all she’d get was Trump repeating, ‘But China also meddled in the US elections.’ When she pointed out that she was asking about Russia, Trump repeated calmly, “And I think, frankly, China is a bigger problem”. Later, Stahl recounted that out of all 4 interviews she’s taken with Trump in the past 2 years, he was different this time: “He’s truly President. He felt it, I felt it.” Now, that was fulsome compliment from someone who is known to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Most certainly, Trump is unceremoniously shifting the narrative on Russia by laterally inserting China into it. He calculates that it pays, since ‘Russia collusion’ did not turn out to be a campaign issue in the midterm election in US, after all. Besides, the tide of opinion in the US regarding China has changed so dramatically and the focus is no longer on Russia. Arguably, engaging Russia as ‘counterweight’ to China might even appeal to the American opinion. Henry Kissinger long advocated it.

Suffice to say, US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s visit to Moscow next week will be taking place in a rapidly changing international setting. The Russian side has highlighted Syria and North Korea as key topics in Bolton’s talks with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev.

Meanwhile, an Israeli foreign ministry delegation also held consultations in Moscow today. The Russian readout said, “The sides have exchanged opinions on a broad agenda, including current issues of Russian-US relations, international security, issues of arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with special attention paid to the situation in the Middle East.” Simply put, Bolton will be travelling to Moscow with inputs from Tel Aviv.

In fact, “a full round of consultations on the situation on the Korean Peninsula” was due to take place today in Moscow between the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and the US Special Representative for North Korean Stephen Biegun.

On Monday, curiously, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu made a public overture to Russia that he highly valued friendly relations with President Vladimir Putin and their mutual respect. Netanyahu said this at the Knesset. He said he maintained direct contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin and placed high value on their friendly relations and respect for each other. “This helps us cope with the most serious challenges in our region,” Netanyahu added. He stressed the importance of this for Israel’s security.

Clearly, Bolton will also take note that Russian-Israeli relations are returning to ‘business as usual’. Indeed, the reopening of the Quneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria last week has been a major Russian initiative. Again, the Russian deployment of S-300 missile system in Syria has brought about a degree of predictability to the security situation, which provides a platform for Russian diplomacy to address the other issues of Syria’s stabilization.

In this sudden burst of diplomatic activity, it cannot be accidental that the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did some some loud thinking today that Moscow regards it “useful” if a meeting between Putin and US President Donald Trump takes place on the sidelines of the festivities to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1 in Paris on November 11 – although this “has not been raised by either party yet and no preparations are underway in this area.” Now, it’s no big secret that Peskov says only what Putin wants him to say.

Of course, Russians just hinted that they’d welcome a meeting between Putin and Trump in Paris – so that Bolton can come prepared with a response. There is very little time left for the Paris event to prepare for a summit. The Russian assessment seems to be that given the perceptible mellowing of American rhetoric lately, a summit meeting might prove productive. US-Russia talks on arms control is an urgent priority as well for Moscow.

Significantly, Peskov also hyped up Russia’s cooperation with European countries. He said, “This cooperation never ceased to exist, its volume either shrinks or increases, we are faced with a set of negative factors, which exert a restraining impact on this cooperation, but our interaction never came to a halt and will never stop as well.” Again, Peskov spoke to no audience in particular, but the remarks come after a string of European pronouncements lately, including at the level of French President Emmanuel Macron, stressing the importance of Russia as the West’s interlocutor for addressing various regional and global issues.

All in all, the signs are that Russian-American exchanges are resuming with a degree of seriousness. One way of looking at it is that the relations had become so bad that they can only improve now. However, there could even be positive fallouts on the Syrian situation.

If a Trump-Putin meeting takes place in Paris on November 11, it will be just 5 days after the results of the mid-term election get known. But from Peskov’s remarks, the Russian side isn’t particularly perturbed. The big question is what happens to the Robert Mueller investigation on ‘Russian collusion’. In the CBS interview on Sunday, Trump kept open his presidential prerogative to terminate the investigation.

Reprinted with permission from India Punchline.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/us-russian-exchanges-gather-momentum/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/us-russian-exchanges-gather-momentum/ Fri, 19 Oct 2018 16:21:31 GMT
How the Corporate State Murders Free Speech Kurt Nimmo http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/how-the-corporate-state-murders-free-speech/

If you read anything today, read Andre Damon’s analysis of the concerted  effort by the state and its corporate partners—the very essence corporatism, fascism as Mussolini described it—to once again dominate the narrative as it did before the internet and the web.

Damon critiques a paper put out by the Atlantic Council. The author, John T. Watts, a former Australian Army officer and consultant to the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security, writes that in order for the state to regain its monopoly over the narrative, it must engage in censorship

The problem, according to Watts, is that “Technology has democratized the ability for sub-state groups and individuals to broadcast a narrative with limited resources and virtually unlimited scope… In the past, the general public had limited sources of information, which were managed by professional gatekeepers.”

Damon clarifies:
In other words, the rise of uncensored social media allowed small groups with ideas that correspond to those of the broader population to challenge the political narrative of vested interests on an equal footing, without the “professional gatekeepers” of the mainstream print and broadcast media, which publicizes only a pro-government narrative.

The most striking element of the document, however, is that it is not describing the future, but contemporary reality. Everything is in the present tense. The machinery of mass censorship has already been built.
If the dismemberment murder of Jamal Khashoggi demonstrates anything, it is that the state will use the most extreme measures to maintain its monopoly of power.

The uninformed may argue this would never happen in America. Granted, the liquidation of serious opposition to the neoliberal regime usually does not require murder and dismemberment, although it has resorted to assassination in a number of cases (the murders of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Fred Hampton come to mind).

The state always wars against dissent. From the Palmer Raids to COINTELPRO and beyond, there is a mechanism waiting in the shadows to undermine, sabotage, and eliminate political dissent.

Reprinted with permission from KurtNimmo.Blog.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/how-the-corporate-state-murders-free-speech/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/how-the-corporate-state-murders-free-speech/ Fri, 19 Oct 2018 15:27:20 GMT
Tucker Carlson’s Marijuana Malarkey Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/tucker-carlson-s-marijuana-malarkey/

In August, Tucker Carlson declared at his Fox News show that it would be an act of war on the United States for the Mexico government to cease engaging in a war on heroin. Carlson even supported his wacky conclusion by pointing to drug overdose deaths in America, despite those deaths in fact being multiplied because of the US war on drugs. On Wednesday, Carlson was back at his show spouting drug war nonsense — this time expressing his dread of marijuana legalization that kicked in this week countrywide in Canada potentially spreading throughout America.

The nonsense starts in the first words Carlson states in his introduction of guest Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project. Carlson begins: “Well Canada has become just the second country in the history of the world to fully legalize the sale of marijuana as well as the recreational consumption.” The inclusion of the phrase “in the history of the world” gives the impression that prohibition has been the norm throughout world history, from thousands of years BC until Uruguay legalized marijuana sales in 2017. Carlson would need look no further than his own country of America to see the ridiculousness of this suggestion. From the founding of the Unites States government in the 1700s through the early 1900s, the national government did not prohibit the sale or use of marijuana. In fact, it did not prohibit the sale or use of other now-illegal drugs such as cocaine either.

Next up, Carlson dwells on the danger that marijuana “makes people less likely to act” and “more passive.” Of course, that is not true across-the-board as marijuana use can help people see things in a new way, leading to innovations in how they act in the future. Think of it as a form of brainstorming aid. It can also serve as rejuvenating relaxation and distraction, as can taking a break from work and chores to listen to music or play a sport. Nevertheless, assuming that Carlson’s assessment is correct, it would just as well be an argument for making illegal many other activities, such as watching a TV sitcom, taking a walk, or playing a card game.

One thing Carlson seems to be trying to argue is that legalization leads to a bunch of people turning into Cheech-and-Chong-style full-time “stoners.” As Tvert responds to Tucker, “that’s like saying everyone who enjoys a cocktail after work with their friends is a lush.” And even if marijuana use makes some people less productive, that is how freedom operates. With freedom, someone can choose to become an overachieving business dynamo or to be mellow, taking time to smell the roses and, maybe, eat a marijuana brownie.

Where Carlson’s comments may be most outrageous in the interview is when he responds to Tvert’s statement that “hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested every year for marijuana.” Responds Carlson: “No, no one in most places is arrested for a joint.” Here are the numbers Tom Angell at Marijuana Moment derived from US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data: 659,700 marijuana arrests in America in 2017, accounting for 40.4 percent of drug arrests that year and made up mostly of arrests for mere marijuana possession, instead of for selling or growing the plant.

Further, if Carlson’s declaration that Americans are not being arrested for possessing marijuana were true, that would undercut his primary assertion that keeping marijuana illegal is needed to prevent the marijuana zombie apocalypse.

Watch Carlson’s complete interview with Tvert here:



Fundamentally, the reason marijuana should be legal is that people have a right to use it, even if their choosing to use it has negative consequences. But, Carlson makes clear in this Fox News interview that he is not interested in this sort of argument, telling his guest near the end of their discussion, “don’t give me that personal freedom garbage.”]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/tucker-carlson-s-marijuana-malarkey/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/19/tucker-carlson-s-marijuana-malarkey/ Fri, 19 Oct 2018 15:13:07 GMT
Why Did An American Hit Squad Kill Politicians In Yemen? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/18/why-did-an-american-hit-squad-kill-politicians-in-yemen/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/18/why-did-an-american-hit-squad-kill-politicians-in-yemen/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/18/why-did-an-american-hit-squad-kill-politicians-in-yemen/ Thu, 18 Oct 2018 19:24:52 GMT
Killing Jamal Khashoggi Was Easy. Explaining It Is Much Harder Philip Giraldi http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/18/killing-jamal-khashoggi-was-easy-explaining-it-is-much-harder/

Getting to the bottom of the Jamal Khashoggi disappearance is a bit like peeling an onion. It is known that Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd to get a document that would enable him to marry a Turkish woman. It is also known, from surveillance cameras situated outside the building, that he never came out walking the same way he entered. The presumption is that he was either killed inside or abducted, though the abduction theory would have to be based on a Consulate vehicle leaving the building with him presumably concealed inside, something that has not been confirmed by the Turks. If he was killed inside the building and dismembered, as seems likely, he could have had his body parts removed in the suitcases carried by the alleged fifteen official Saudis who had arrived that morning by private jet and left that afternoon the same way. The supposition is that the fifteen men, which may have included some members of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s bodyguard as well as a physician skilled in autopsies who was carrying a bone saw, constituted the execution party for Khashoggi.

There are certain things that should be observed about the Turks, since they are the ones claiming that the disappearance of Khashoggi may have included a summary execution and dismemberment. The Turkish intelligence service, known by its acronym MIT, is very good, very active and very focused on monitoring the activities of foreign embassies and their employees throughout Turkey. They use electronic surveillance and, if the foreign mission has local employees, many of those individuals will be agents reporting to the Turkish government. In my own experience when I was in Istanbul, I had microphones concealed in various places in my residence and both my office and home phones were tapped. A number of local hire consulate employees were believed to be informants for MIT but they were not allowed anywhere near sensitive information.

As Turkey and Saudi Arabia might be termed rivals if not something stronger, it is to be presumed that MIT had the Consulate General building covered with both cameras and microphones, possibly inside the building as well as outside, and may have had a Turkish employer inside who observed some of what was going on. Which is to say that the Turks certainly know exactly what occurred but are playing their cards closely to see what they can derive from that knowledge. The two countries have already initiated a joint investigation into what took place. Turkey’s economy is in free fall and would benefit from “investment” from the Saudis to create an incentive to close the book on Khashoggi. In other words, Turkey’s perspective on the disappearance could easily be influenced by Saudi money and the investigation might well turn up nothing that is definitive.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, has a couple of cards to play also even if it did kill and dismember Khashoggi under orders from the Crown Prince. First of all, the system of petrodollars, which basically requires nearly all purchases of petroleum to be paid in dollars, is underwritten by the Saudis. Petrodollars in turn enable the United States to print money for which there is no backing knowing that there will always be international demand for dollars to buy oil. The Saudis, who also use their own petrodollars to buy US treasury bonds, could pull the plug on that arrangement. That all means that the United States will be looking for an outcome that will not do too much damage to the Saudis.

Second, Saudi Arabia is in bed with Israel in opposition to Iran. This means the Israel Lobby and its many friends in Congress will squawk loudly about Khashoggi but ultimately shy away from doing anything about it. It already appears that a cover story is halfway in place to explain what happened. It is being suggested that a “rogue” element from Saudi Arabia might have carried out without the knowledge of the Crown Prince an interrogation or abduction attempt that went too far. Donald Trump speculated on Monday that that might be the case, suggesting that it may already be part of the official line that will be promoted. Those who know Saudi Arabia well, however, consider a high-level assassination not ordered by the Crown Prince directly to be extremely unlikely, but that does not necessarily mean that a cover story including that feature might not be successfully floated.

In regional terms, Saudi Arabia is also key to Trump’s anticipated Middle East peace plan. If it pulls out from the expected financial guarantees aspect, the plan will fall apart. Riyadh is also committed to buy tens of billions of dollars’ worth of American arms, an agreement that could be canceled if Washington begins to pressure the Saudis for answers. Beyond that, Saudi Arabia could stop pumping oil or fail to increase production when Iranian oil becomes subject to US sanctions early next month, driving the price per barrel up dramatically for everyone. The Saudi government has already indicated that it will respond forcefully to any attempts to punish it over Khashoggi and there is no reason to doubt the seriousness of that threat.

There are, of course, possible impediments to selling the fake news narrative. Some early reports suggested that Khashoggi’s fiancé had observed and possibly recorded the execution inside the consulate using the victim’s Apple wristwatch linked to an iPad in her possession. If that is true, the release of such material to the media will create worldwide demand to learn the truth that will be difficult to control. Also, there are unconfirmed reports that US intelligence knew in advance of Saudi plans to abduct Khashoggi, which could prove embarrassing to the Trump administration and could narrow its options.

The trick will be to see how a bit of extreme brutal behavior by the Saudis can be manipulated by all interested parties to produce a solution that doesn’t damage anyone too much. It will undoubtedly be far from the truth, but truth doesn’t necessarily matter much these days.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/18/killing-jamal-khashoggi-was-easy-explaining-it-is-much-harder/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/18/killing-jamal-khashoggi-was-easy-explaining-it-is-much-harder/ Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:39:48 GMT
The Corporatist War On Free Speech - Are We A Nation Of Sheep? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/the-corporatist-war-on-free-speech-are-we-a-nation-of-sheep/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/the-corporatist-war-on-free-speech-are-we-a-nation-of-sheep/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/the-corporatist-war-on-free-speech-are-we-a-nation-of-sheep/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 16:30:26 GMT
The People 'Stopping Election Interference' Are the Ones Who Are Actually Rigging the Election Daisy Luther http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/the-people-stopping-election-interference-are-the-ones-who-are-actually-rigging-the-election/

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg made the media rounds to give a rather shady explanation of why Facebook suddenly closed hundreds of incredibly popular pages in what’s being called The Alternative Media Purge. Zuckerberg accused the closed pages, many of which had millions of fans, of spreading “political spam.”

Ironically, many of the pages that were shut down had absolutely nothing to do with politics or elections, unless you include the fact that they recommended skipping the entire circus. None of these pages were accused of being “the Russians,” who were the scapegoat of the last surprise presidential election results. A couple of the things that many of the pages did have in common, incidentally, were an anti-war outlook and a police watchdog mentality.

But as far as making the election more resistant to interference, the result of the Alternative Media Purge is the diametric opposite. People will now only get one side of the story.

The alternative media changed everything during the last presidential election.

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, much of the world snickered. Who was this reality television star to take on part of the Clinton Empire? There was no way, people scoffed, that Trump could possibly win.

It’s a proven fact that Hillary Clinton was in cahoots with the mainstream media throughout her candidacy. And the reason it’s proven is that organizations like Wikileaks released the evidence of it in a series of emails with her campaign manager and people like Donna Brazile of CNN. Brazile finally publicly admitted that she’d done so and that it was her “job to make all our Democratic candidates look good.”

The alternative media jumped on this story, as well as many other questionable emails that were divulged by Wikileaks, while the mainstream pretended that none of this was happening. And the mainstream did very little to cover the Democratic National Convention, during which the nomination was stolen from Bernie Sanders, who – if we’re being honest – probably would have had a much better chance of beating Trump than the notoriously unlikable Clinton. Here’s my coverage of it at the time.

The alternative media, never a fan of the goings-on in Clintonland, from the Haiti scandal all the way back to the “suicide” of Vince Foster in Arkansas, jumped on these stories as well as stories about her debatable health.

The fact that we had a robust alternative media at the time meant that these stories were heard. At the same time, the mainstream media was busy painting Donald Trump as a neo-Nazi fascist who hated minorities and would nuke somebody the day he got into office.

Now, imagine there had been no alternative media during that election.

If we hadn’t have had an alternative media telling other stories – enough stories that people were able to get a fuller picture of who both of these candidates really were – things might have turned out entirely differently. And while that would be all right with any number of people who loathe Donald Trump, would it have been a “fair” election?

Let’s look back even further at the candidacy of Congressman Ron Paul back in 2012. Dr. Paul was an incredible candidate with a glowing political resume, but he didn’t get the time of day. There was a media blackout on his candidacy and finally, he was forced to withdraw from the race. Many of us were budding alternative journalists at that time learned a valuable lesson during that election – what we were doing was important. There needed to be an option instead of letting the mainstream media present the only options and information to people.

By the time the 2016 election rolled around, those disappointed in how Dr. Paul was treated were determined that it would not happen again. That a candidate with a background full of sordid scandals would not get through an election cycle unscathed, painted as a glowing Madonna who would save us all.

So…during the fierce battle between Clinton and Trump, both sides of the story were told and told loudly.

Alternative journalists engaged the power of social media to connect with people who wanted to know more and they did it to such a degree that everything changed. Clinton, originally the front-runner, was suddenly in the fight of her life against a candidate that most people had considered a joke.

And that’s when everyone started blaming the Russians.

In a shocking article, the Washington Post printed a long list of websites that they claimed were run by “the Russians.” Many of these sites were run by folks I know personally who are decidedly not Russians, but simply bloggers who wanted to share the truth as they identified it. (This article was removed from WaPo – I’m guessing due to threats about legal action by many of the site owners accused of working for Russia.)

Although investigation after investigation has been undertaken, there’s still no proof that Russia tampered with the election, nor that they colluded with Donald Trump.

Years later, the Washington Post sticks to their story with headlines like “Without the Russians, Trump Wouldn’t Have Won.” In the piece, they admitted that there isn’t any official proof and they cited Buzzfeed.

While the intelligence agencies are silent on the impact of Russia’s attack, outside experts who have examined the Kremlin campaign — which included stealing and sharing Democratic Party emails, spreading propaganda online and hacking state voter rolls — have concluded that it did affect an extremely close election decided by fewer than 80,000 votes in three states. Clint Watts, a former FBI agent, writes in his recent book, “Messing with the Enemy,” that “Russia absolutely influenced the U.S. presidential election,” especially in Michigan and Wisconsin, where Trump’s winning margin was less than 1 percent in each state.

We still don’t know the full extent of the Russian interference, but we know its propaganda reached 126 million people via Facebook alone. A BuzzFeed analysis found that fake news stories on Facebook generated more social engagement in the last three months of the campaign than did legitimate articles: The “20 top-performing false election stories from hoax sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.” Almost all of this “fake news” was either started or spread by Russian bots, including claims that the pope had endorsed Trump and that Hillary Clinton had sold weapons to the Islamic State. (source)

Buzzfeed? Isn’t that where you go to take a quiz to find out what kind of potato you are?

That leads us to Facebook’s potential election interference

Last week, as I mentioned, hundreds of Facebook pages were shut down without warning. Many of these sites also lost their Twitter accounts on the same day. This is reminiscent of last month’s attack on Alex Jones.

Anyone who disagrees with the establishment is being abruptly silenced.

Zuckerberg and friends are saying that this is so that we can be sure we don’t have election interference in the midterms…but what they’re really doing is interfering in the elections themselves.

They’ve gloated about everything from “featuring Facebook pages that spread disinformation less prominently so that fewer people potentially see them” to “559 politically oriented pages and 251 accounts, all of American origin, for consistently breaking its rules against “spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior”.

The pages which have been removed or shadowbanned have run the gamut of political philosophies, but the fact is, people like Mark Zuckerberg, the folks at Google, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter are deciding which information gets to be seen. They’re deciding whether something is “disinformation” or truth. They’re deciding if people who have spent years building a following get to still reach the people who opted to follow them.

Because Facebook reaches more than 2 billion people each day, this is a problem of epic proportions.

I believe that it is Facebook itself that is tampering with the election by manipulating what they want people to see. If the alternative media changed everything in the 2016 election due to the availability of more information, Facebook will change future elections due to their manipulation of the information users are allowed to see.

If you are conservative or antiwar or anti-overreaching-government or libertarian, you’re now persona non grata. Even if you aren’t in the minority, you’ll be made to feel like you are in the giant echo chamber of “approved media.” If you support a different candidate than Big Tech, prepare to be marginalized, silenced, and ignored. That holds true whether you opt for anyone other than their “choice.” They WILL control the outcome of the presidential election the next time around.

If you really want to see what election interference looks like, you’re getting a live demonstration right now.

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/the-people-stopping-election-interference-are-the-ones-who-are-actually-rigging-the-election/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/the-people-stopping-election-interference-are-the-ones-who-are-actually-rigging-the-election/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:40:43 GMT
In the World of American Politics, One Khashoggi Is Worth One Million Yemeni Lives Michael Howard http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/in-the-world-of-american-politics-one-khashoggi-is-worth-one-million-yemeni-lives/

At this point we can only assume that the Turkish version of events regarding the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi is true. As always, I’m open to being proved wrong, and it’s certainly incumbent upon Ankara to release the audio evidence of which they claim to be in possession (though this, should it come out, will naturally be dismissed by the Saudis as fabricated or doctored), but the list of plausible alternative scenarios currently stands at zero.

Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate and was never seen again. If he had merely been kidnapped and jailed, we’d have heard from him by now. He would have appeared on Saudi state television and delivered some kind of scripted statement like Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri did last November. The House of Saud appears to prefer this time of year, autumn, for abductions and assassinations.

If Khashoggi was, in fact, whacked out by a Saudi hit squad—complete with torture and Goodfellas-style dismemberment—as the Turks maintain he was, then Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is even crazier than we thought. Since being named heir apparent by his senile father, King Salman, the crown prince has been on a mission to establish himself as the region’s chief thug. This is no small task, but MbS, as he’s blithely referred to, seems up to the challenge.

As Patrick Cockburn recently wrote, the crown prince’s list of failures, in so short a span of time, is impressive. His escalation of the war in Yemen has achieved nothing unless you count mass murder and mass famine as achievements. The Houthis are holding fast, and the country has been all but obliterated. Perhaps, though, the Saudis view Yemen’s destruction favorably. Like the US invasion of Vietnam, Saudi Arabia’s overarching goal in Yemen is to demonstrate to the region what happens when populations revolt against their oppressors. You want to upend the status quo and realize a degree of independence and self-government, you’d better be prepared to be pulverized. That’s the warning being issued by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

No sooner had bin Salman been appointed crown prince (June 2017) than the Saudi-led diplomatic and economic war on Qatar commenced. The express purpose of the surprise gambit was to punish Doha for its support for terrorism—pretty rich coming from the epicenter of Wahhabism, that diabolic interpretation of Islam upon which al-Qaeda and its numerous clones base their murderous ideologies. Of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers, fifteen were Saudi nationals; none were Qatari.

Which is not to say that Qatar is innocent of the charge. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with the UAE, supported the same terrorist elements of the Syrian opposition. Hillary Clinton, in one of her $250,000 speeches to Goldman Sachs, confirmed this in 2013, asserting that Damascus and its allies were “being taken on by indigenous rebels but increasingly a collection of jihadists who are funded by the Saudis, funded by the Emiratis, funded by [Qatar] …” (Emphasis mine.) In a 2014email sent to John Podesta, Clinton wrote: “we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” Knowing this, Hillary publicly argued in favor of regime change in Syria. But I’m sick to death of writing about Hillary Clinton.

To call the support-for-terrorism pretext flimsy is generous. Preposterous is the better word. I can’t imagine that even casual observers were taken in by it, Donald Trump being a possible exception (he stupidly spoke in favor of the Saudi blockade, apparently unaware that his country maintains a critical military base in Qatar). Riyadh’s motivation was obvious: Qatar was being disciplined for its pragmatic relationship with Iran, with whom it shares the biggest natural gas field in the world. Also for Al Jazeera’s—Qatar’s state-funded media outlet— unflattering coverage of Saudi policies. What the crown prince was hoping to accomplish here is anyone’s guess. Did he think Doha would surrender its own strategic interests, renounce its cooperation with Tehran and meekly submit to his capricious will? Needless to say that didn’t happen. Qatar responded by reinstating full diplomatic relations with Iran, which, along with Turkey, increased exports to Qatar, diminishing the effect of the embargo.

A few months later, right around the time the crown prince launched his Stalinist purge of the royal family, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was detained on a visit to Saudi Arabia. Soon after, clearly reading from a text that had been prepared for him, he announced his resignation on Saudi state TV. In his statement he hit out at Hezbollah and Iran; he also claimed that an attempt on his life—presumably from Hezbollah or Iran—was imminent (Lebanese intelligence contested this). The charade was absolutely transparent. “The words [Hariri] read out,” Robert Fisk wrote at the time, “are entirely in line with the speeches of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and with the insane president of the United States who speaks of Iran with the same anger, as does the American defense secretary.”

Predictably, the bizarre incident had the effect of uniting the Lebanese people in support of their prime minister and, more importantly, their national sovereignty. Lebanese President Michel Aoun rejected Hariri’s “resignation” and demanded that he return to Lebanon, which he did a couple weeks later. On December 5, one month and one day after resigning, Hariri reassumed the office of prime minister. The crown prince’s stratagem had backfired in spectacular fashion. Meanwhile, Hariri, who strikes me as a bit of a wimp, refuses to speak about what exactly took place during that trip to Saudi Arabia, and is now reportedly 
taking the kingdom's side in the Khashoggi affair.

From said affair, we can take away a few things. First, I’m happy to see that the US and its allies have suddenly embraced due process, calling as they are for a thorough, independent investigation into the event so as to establish beyond a doubt what actually took place, at which point they can respond accordingly. I trust they will now apply the same evidentiary standards to, say, the next chemical weapons incident in Syria, or the next botched assassination of an ex-spy in Europe. Moreover, it’s good to know where we in the West draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior as regards official allies. Shelling hospitals and mosques and schools andschool buses and weddings and funerals is one thing—unfortunate casualties of war, worthy of a few hollow words of regret. Killing a Washington Post columnist, however, will not be brooked. Hence, the mass boycott of the upcoming business conference in Riyadh, and Trump’s talk of “severe punishment.” In the world of American politics, one Khashoggi is worth one million Yemeni lives.

Mohammed bin Salman ought to have understood this. That he didn’t tells us much about the man set to rule Saudi Arabia for the next four or five decades. Such hubris, such vanity, and he’s not even king yet! If I had his ear, I would advise the crown prince to exercise extreme caution moving forward. There’s hell to pay for stepping on Uncle Sam’s toes: once he sours on you, your days are numbered. Our old friend and ally Saddam Hussein can, or could, attest to that. I would also hand him a copy of King Lear as a cautionary tale, as the state of affairs in Saudi Arabia is a sparkling case of life imitating art.

Reprinted with permission from American Herald Tribune.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/in-the-world-of-american-politics-one-khashoggi-is-worth-one-million-yemeni-lives/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/17/in-the-world-of-american-politics-one-khashoggi-is-worth-one-million-yemeni-lives/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:20:24 GMT
With Nikki Haley Gone, Will Palestinians Get a Better Deal? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/with-nikki-haley-gone-will-palestinians-get-a-better-deal/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/with-nikki-haley-gone-will-palestinians-get-a-better-deal/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/with-nikki-haley-gone-will-palestinians-get-a-better-deal/ Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:58:29 GMT
No More Dissident Voices: Succumb to Facebook & Twitter’s Demands or Get Banned (or Both) Darius Shahtahmasebi http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/no-more-dissident-voices-succumb-to-facebook-twitter-s-demands-or-get-banned-or-both/

A recent purge by Facebook and Twitter of a host of independent media sites has pushed thousands of people out of work and has killed one of the most effective forms of expressing political dissent.

On Thursday last week, Facebook purged more than 800 pages and accounts, accusing them of engaging in “inauthentic behaviour” and violating Facebook’s anti-spam policies.

According to a statement released by Facebook on its website, many of these pages were:
using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.
One of these pages was The Anti-Media, which I have worked for since mid-2016. Until the purge, we had some 2.17 million followers on Facebook. Supposedly, Facebook wants you to believe that 2.17 million people voluntarily signed up to our page just to receive all the spam content that we put out there (sounds realistic).

Shortly after Facebook unpublished our page, Twitter suspended our account as well.

Twitter did one better than Facebook, though, as it went one step further and suspended the accounts of our editors and many influential people who work on our team. Carey Wedler, Anti-Media’s editor-in-chief’s Twitter account was suspended and yet Twitter could not even provide her with a valid reason for doing so.

I am not joking. In her notice of suspension, Twitter informed Wedler that her account, “CareyWedler has been suspended for violating the Twitter Rules. Specifically, for:” and the “specifically, for” part of Twitter’s notice was left blank.

They literally could not even think of a reason; and yet they are for some reason not required to provide one.

Twitter also removed our talentedly efficient social media manager, PM Beers, who had amassed a following of over 30,000 followers on one of her accounts. She previously had access to over 30 accounts, yet Twitter was somehow able to coordinate the suspension of all of them at the same time except for one. Our Chief Creative Officer was also banned, even from accounts that he had not even used yet.

Twitter then felt the need to remove the @AntiMediaRadio account, and when an appeal was made, Twitter responded by saying that the account was suspended due to “multiple or repeat violations of the Twitter rules.” The account had zero posts on it.

If you believe that any of this has been done with genuine intentions to protect American democracy, then you probably deserve what’s coming next. This is not just some social media strategy to remove spam and attack so-called Russian bots from interfering with “American democracy.” This was a coordinated effort to remove all of our accounts, launched in tandem between two social media giants, because we say things the government doesn’t want you to hear.

The first thing you need to know about this purge is that we can be relatively sure who is behind it. Facebook openly announced it was working with the NATO-funded Atlantic Council to prevent Facebook’s service “from being abused during elections” (what’s that I hear about the midterms coming up?) The Atlantic Council directors list is no less than a who’s who of well-established war criminals, including Henry Kissinger.

But it gets even better than that. Most of the 800 pages removed by Facebook last Thursday were honourable mentions in a blacklist published by the Washington Post in November 2016, including and especially The Anti-Media. The Post relied upon the findings of a shadowy and questionable outfit known as PropOrNot, which compiled a list of media organizations it claimed were part of a “sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign.”

Adding further insult to injury, PropOrNot released their greatest Tweet yet shortly after the purge, claiming that “Russian propaganda is VERY VERY MAD about their various front outlets & fellow travellers getting suspended by @Facebook &/or @Twitter” in response to a Sputnik article that gave our outlets the respect and understanding we deserve.
By the way, if criticizing American foreign policy makes me a Russian propagandist, perhaps it is American foreign policy that needs to change and not me that should change my views for fear of going against the grain.

Now, I am not going to lie and tell you I know who is behind PropOrNot. But what I can say for certain is that November 2016 – the time in which their report came to light – was an interesting time in more ways than one.

In November 2016, then-President Barack Obama personally pulled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg into a private room on the sidelines of a meeting of world leaders in Peru to make a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of “fake news” more seriously. Before this, Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t take the threat of “fake news” seriously at all. In fact, if I remember correctly, Zuckerberg said approximately one week prior to his rendezvous with Obama that the idea of fake news circulating on Facebook being responsible for influencing the US election in 2016 was “pretty crazy.”

You see, it is not “fake news” that is the problem; it’s real news that has the establishment lying awake in their beds at night. Go ahead, see for yourself. I have approximately 460 articles on our website to my name. Pick one at random then tell me what you see. All sources are hyperlinked – Reuters, Haaretz, BBC, the Guardian, CNN, the Independent, the Asia Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times – and the list goes on. The problem, of course, is that we go a little bit deeper than the mainstream media typically does in order to ascertain the overall truth.

Now, I am just a writer for these websites. I am a lawyer by profession, so I do not rely on this work to provide me with the basic amenities of life – nor does my involvement in these sites go beyond that of mere writing, nothing more. But there are many of my friends and colleagues who have invested their very being into these sites. They created these businesses from scratch and have maintained them over a significant period of time to great effect. Every single follower on Facebook or Twitter represents hours worked, money spent, and energy expended. When you go to Facebook’s home page, the first thing it says under the “sign up” option is that you can “create a page for a celebrity, band or business.”

Well, that is exactly what my colleagues had done. They created a business and they generated a large following over a long period of time due to demand for that particular business, only to be shut down by Facebook for no apparent reason (though I think we have established the real reason now).

Trust me, this will not end well. The woman who opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters earlier this year before killing herself was allegedly furious because YouTube had completely demonetized her videos. Putting aside the horrific justification for this act, it cannot go unnoticed that very slowly but surely, every effective anti-imperialist voice is being de-platformed on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter over the last few years.

It should be clear where this is headed. I am even aware of some creators who were fortunate enough to survive the initial purge who no longer feel safe posting the same types of content that they would normally post.

In case it wasn’t clear, this is the end result of the purge. The panopticon is a central tower that allows all inmates of the institution of social media to be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not we are being watched at all. It is physically impossible for the watchman, Mr. Zuckerberg, to watch all of us at a single time, but the fact that we cannot know when we are being watched means we all have to modify our behavior to act as though we are being watched all the time anyway. Either you succumb to Facebook and Twitter’s demands, or you get banned, or both. Either way, dissident content will no longer exist on these platforms, which collectively can reach billions of people.

And no one will even blink. Glenn Greenwald might put out a tweet or two about it; and from what I have heard, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi is doing interviews right now to put together an article about the issue, but that’s about it. There is nothing much that can be done unless enough people take a principled stand against such a severe level of censorship.

Facebook is dying a slow, painful death, but it is hellbent on taking the rest of us down with it. In the meantime, it wants to leave behind a medium in which people can only share pictures of their cats and their paleo diets, with no one capable of any legitimate, critical thought. It all reminds me of a quote attributed to public intellectual Noam Chomsky, who once wrote:
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.
As for the rest of us aspiring journalists who have made Facebook and Twitter a means in which we can, en masse, point out corruption of power, war, police and everything else that goes with it, well, I believe we are just days away from being reported missing at a Saudi embassy.

Reprinted with permission from RT.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/no-more-dissident-voices-succumb-to-facebook-twitter-s-demands-or-get-banned-or-both/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/no-more-dissident-voices-succumb-to-facebook-twitter-s-demands-or-get-banned-or-both/ Tue, 16 Oct 2018 14:30:02 GMT
Believe women: Apply Congress' Christine Blasey Ford test to TSA’s female victims James Bovard http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/believe-women-apply-congress-christine-blasey-ford-test-to-tsa-s-female-victims/

In the uproar over Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, many members of Congress declared that women have a “right to be believed.” Unfortunately, Congress is ignoring legions of women who have been sexually abused thanks to the immunity Congress provides to federal agents. But a federal appeals court may grant relief despite Washington's negligence.

Congress gives the Transportation Security Administration almost $8 billion a year and does nothing to constrain how TSA’s 43,000 screeners treat American travelers. A Justice Department lawyer insisted last year that there's no law "establishing a specific degree of permissible intrusiveness of a (TSA) security screening pat-down." Americans have no legal recourse regardless of how TSA’s screeners treat them, thus explaining why TSA pat-downs become more intrusive.  Many women have shared vivid allegations of TSA abuses on Twitter:

Dr. Jenn complained on Sept. 8: “Is it common practice for TSA agents to forcefully slide their hand up my (15-year-old) daughter's inner leg and ending at her vagina? Literally slamming their hand into my daughter's vagina.”

Melissa Emmal, whose Twitter header page shows a banner calling for impeaching Trump, tweeted on Aug. 28: “A @tsa agent at DCA told me the scanner had ‘alarmed’ at my groin. She then searched me from my knee up ‘until she met resistance’ (her words). She met resistance when she made contact with my labia FOUR times (front and back pat up of each leg). Felt like a sexual assault.”

Emily White complained on Aug. 26: “I was sexually assaulted by the @TSA on August 1 @LGAairport's Marine Terminal at around 11:50 am. ... If you don't want your vagina paddled multiple times, I recommend avoiding that crew.”

Valerie Knees groused on Aug. 14: “Was prepared to be a beacon of light and happy airport travel person this morning. Until the @TSA needlessly felt up my labia. 19 months into Trump’s presidency is apparently the length of time it takes for the government to grab my p---y.”

Dev, a New York author, complained on Aug. 8: “Having someone move their hands from your ankle all the way up until they karate chop your f---ing vulva while your skirt is already removed is not okay. It is not casual, it is not necessary and I’m going to war with the TSA and their poor training.”

Liz Groeschen tweeted on July 10 that she almost missed her flight at JFK Airport thanks to “an invasive hand pat-down that should be relabeled ‘tsa hands in your vagina’ to be completely accurate” and which was “an absolute embarrassment to America.”

Marina Modela complained on July 9: “Dear @TSA, At #seatac , 2 agents groped my labia in the name of ‘security’ and falsely accused me of having something in my pants. How does groping female genitalia promote security, especially when your agents are too incompetent to know the difference between labia and bombs?”

Elizabeth Nolan Brown, a Reason magazine editor, complained on June 7: “My ‘right groin area’ was suspicious to TSA so the agent just groped my ass & ran her hands under my waistband, between my thighs and all over my crotch in the middle of the airport. … It’s really unsettling to have an armed agent of the state rubbing your vulva while everyone watches.” 

Congress must hold the TSA accountable

It gets worse. The ACLU recently filed a complaint charging that TSA agents took Zainab Merchant, a Harvard grad student and mother of three, to a private room and compelled her to "open her pants" and show her bloody menstrual pad after an enhanced pat-down.

Congress has never held a hearing featuring a panel of TSA victims whose complaints against the agency are documented, captured on video, and at least momentarily legendary on social media. Nor has Congress ever required the TSA chief to attend a hearing and specifically respond to individuals his agency pointlessly traumatized.

A federal appeals court recently declared that it falls "squarely in the realm" of Congress to amend federal law to curtail the blanket immunity that TSA agents enjoy. After initially effectively siding with TSA agents, the appeals court based in Philadelphia this month agreed to rehear a TSA’s victim’s challenge that could radically reduce the amount of power that TSA screeners enjoy.  

Do members of Congress care about any sexual assault that does not permit them to politically grandstand? Capitol Hill’s selective indignation is not worth a plug nickel as long as politicians fail to rein in federal agents. As CNN political commentator Angela Rye wrote after her grueling experience with airport security, “Dear TSA: The country is not safer because you grab vaginas.”

Reprinted with author's permission from USAToday.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/believe-women-apply-congress-christine-blasey-ford-test-to-tsa-s-female-victims/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/16/believe-women-apply-congress-christine-blasey-ford-test-to-tsa-s-female-victims/ Tue, 16 Oct 2018 13:07:29 GMT
Saudis Threaten Trump: 'You Want $400 Oil?' Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/saudis-threaten-trump-you-want-400-oil/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/saudis-threaten-trump-you-want-400-oil/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/saudis-threaten-trump-you-want-400-oil/ Mon, 15 Oct 2018 16:57:44 GMT
Pro-Life Students Attacked at Ryerson University in Latest Assault on Free Speech Jonathan Turley http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/pro-life-students-attacked-at-ryerson-university-in-latest-assault-on-free-speech/

We have been following the increasing violence seen on college campuses, particularly directed against conservative and pro-life speakers.  The latest incident occurred at Ryerson University in Ontario  where a video captured Ryerson Student Gabriela “Gabby” Skwarko attacking two members of Toronto Against Abortion (TAA).  Skwarko works for the school’s Office of Social Innovation. The video below shows a violent and unprovoked attack to stop an act of free speech on campus.

Skwarko, a member of the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective, kicked the displays and physically attacked the pro-life activists as well as taking property and throwing it about.



Strangely, Skwardo is temporarily forbidden from contacting fellow student Blaise Alleyne, president and founder of TAA, but there is no indication that she was banned immediately from campus.  Indeed, the university did not respond to media inquiries.

We have been discussing the enculturation of anti-free speech values in college students across the country.   One recent incident occurred at the California State University where assistant professor of public health professor Greg Thatcher is shown on a videotape wiping out the pro-life statements written in chalk by members of Fresno State Students for Life.  The university is now being sued over the incident.

The incident raises troubling memories of  the controversy surrounding the confrontation of Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young with pro-life advocates on campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Miller-Young led her students in attacking the pro-life display, stealing their display, and then committing battery on one of the young women.  She was convicted and sentenced for the crime.  Despite the shocking conduct of Miller-Young and the clear violation of the most fundamental values for all academics in guaranteeing free speech and associational rights, the faculty overwhelmingly supported Miller-Young and the university decided not to impose any meaningful discipline. To make matters worse, Michael D. Young, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, not only issued a statement that seemed to blame the victims but practically defended Miller-Young’s conduct. Faculty and student defenders attacked the pro-life advocates and one even referred to them as “terrorists” who did not deserve free speech.  Miller-Young should have been fired but was instead lionized by faculty and students.

The obvious response to this video is to fire Skwardo and expel her from the university.  She not only committed a violent attack on another student but actively sought to prevent the exercise of free speech at the university.  Teachers and students like Miller-Young, Thatcher, and Skwardo believe that they have free license to attack or silence conservative or pro-life speakers at their schools. The response to controversies like the one at University of California at Santa Barbara reinforce such views.

Ryerson must now prove that academic freedom and free speech are protected on its campus for all students, including those who are pro-life.

Reprinted with permission from JonathanTurley.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/pro-life-students-attacked-at-ryerson-university-in-latest-assault-on-free-speech/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/pro-life-students-attacked-at-ryerson-university-in-latest-assault-on-free-speech/ Mon, 15 Oct 2018 13:04:23 GMT
Ten Years After the Last Meltdown: Is Another One Around the Corner? Ron Paul http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/ten-years-after-the-last-meltdown-is-another-one-around-the-corner/

September marked a decade since the bursting of the housing bubble, which was followed by the stock market meltdown and the government bailout of the big banks and Wall Street. Last week’s frantic stock market sell-off indicates the failure to learn the lesson of 2008 makes another meltdown inevitable.

In 2001-2002 the Federal Reserve responded to the economic downturn caused by the bursting of the technology bubble by pumping money into the economy. This new money ended up in the housing market. This was because the so-called conservative Bush administration, like the “liberal” Clinton administration before it, was using the Community Reinvestment Act and government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make mortgages available to anyone who wanted one — regardless of income or credit history.

Banks and other lenders eagerly embraced this “ownership society”’ agenda with a “lend first, ask questions when foreclosing” policy. The result was the growth of subprime mortgages, the rush to invest in housing, and millions of Americans finding themselves in homes they could not afford.

When the housing bubble burst, the government should have let the downturn run its course in order to correct the malinvestments made during the phony, Fed-created boom. This may have caused some short-term pain, but it would have ensured the recovery would be based on a solid foundation rather than a bubble of fiat currency.

Of course Congress did exactly the opposite, bailing out Wall Street and the big banks. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to historic lows and embarked on a desperate attempt to inflate the economy via QE 1, 2, and 3.

Low interest rates and quantitative easing have left the Fed with a dilemma. In order to avoid a return to 1970s-era inflation — or worse, it must raise interest rates and draw down its balance sheet. However, raising rates too much risks popping what financial writer Graham Summers calls the “everything bubble.”

Today credit card debt is over a trillion dollars, student loan debt is at 1.5 trillion dollars, there is a bubble in auto loans, and there is even a new housing bubble. But the biggest part of the everything bubble is the government bubble. Federal debt is over 21 trillion dollars and expanding by tens of thousands of dollars per second.

The Fed is unlikely to significantly raise interest rates because doing so would cause large increases in federal government debt interest payments. Instead, the Fed will continue making small Increases while moving slowly to unwind its balance sheet, hoping to gradually return to a “normal” monetary policy without bursting the “everything bubble.”

The Fed will be unsuccessful in keeping the everything bubble from exploding. When the bubble bursts, America will experience an economic crisis much greater than the 2008 meltdown or the Great Depression.

This crisis is rooted in the failure to learn the lessons of 2008 and of every other recession since the Fed’s creation: A secretive central bank should not be allowed to manipulate interest rates and distort economic signals regarding market conditions. Such action leads to malinvestment and an explosion of individual, business, and government debt. This may cause a temporary boom, but the boom soon will be followed by a bust. The only way this cycle can be broken without a major crisis is for Congress both to restore people’s right to use the currency of their choice and to audit and then end the Fed.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/ten-years-after-the-last-meltdown-is-another-one-around-the-corner/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/15/ten-years-after-the-last-meltdown-is-another-one-around-the-corner/ Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:53:44 GMT
Why The Coordinated Alternative Media Purge Should Terrify Everyone Daisy Luther http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/14/why-the-coordinated-alternative-media-purge-should-terrify-everyone/

This week, the alternative media purge was boldly advanced in a coordinated effort to silence people who dissent from establishment views.

It’s just one more step toward a monopoly on information by those who hate freedom. At this rate, they’ll soon have unquestioned access to the minds of more than 2 billion people. And this should terrify everyone who wants to be free to question the status quo and to seek a wide range of information.

Hundreds of alternative media site administrators logged onto Facebook to discover that their accounts had been removed. Soon after, many of these sites and their writers found that their Twitter accounts had also been suspended.

Popular pages like The AntiMedia (2.1 million fans), The Free Thought Project (3.1 million fans), Press for Truth (350K fans), Police the Police (1.9 million fans), Cop Block (1.7 million fans), and Punk Rock Libertarians (125K fans) are just a few of the ones which were unpublished.

Why were these alternative media accounts removed?

The reason given doesn’t really add up.

Facebook told the LA Times that these pages had violated the company’s spam policies.
Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,” the company said in a blog post. “People will only share on Facebook if they feel safe and trust the connections they make here. (source)
But this isn’t actually what their spam policy says. Here’s the policy.
We work hard to limit the spread of commercial spam to prevent false advertising, fraud, and security breaches, all of which detract from people’s ability to share and connect. We do not allow people to use misleading or inaccurate information to collect likes, followers, or shares.

Do Not:

- Artificially increase distribution for financial gain

- Create or use fake accounts or compromise other people’s accounts to

- Impersonate or pretend to be a business, organization, public figure, or private individual

- Attempt to create connections, create content, or message people

- Restrict access to content by requiring people to like, share, or recommend before viewing

- Encourage likes, shares, or clicks under false pretenses

- Maliciously use login credentials or personally identifiable information by:

- Attempting to gather or share login credentials or personally identifiable information

- Using another person’s login credentials or personally identifiable information

- Promise non-existent Facebook features

(source)
The Washington Post originally said that these pages were purged for “pushing political messages for profit” as you can see by their URL:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/10/11/facebook-purged-over-accounts-pages-pushing-political-messages-profit/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fa1a364488b3

But of course, since they too push political messages for profit (waaah, Trump!) as do all the other corporate media outlets out there, they changed their headline to “Facebook purged over 800 US accounts and pages for pushing political spam.”

The fact that many of these accounts were also suspended by Twitter shortly thereafter should tell you that this is a coordinated effort to silence large swaths of the population.

Of course, the best coverage of this is from…Russia.

Sputnik News contacted many of the alternative journalists who were purged to get their take on what happened. You may recall that basically every blogger outside the establishment media was accused of being secretly Russian during the 2016 election by the Washington Post, so perhaps actual Russians have a vested interest in the truth coming out on this topic.

My friend John Vibes is an amazing person who contributes to The Free Thought Project. He said:
This signifies a re-consolidation of the media. Cable news media controlled the narrative for most of modern history, but the internet has lowered that barrier to entry and allowed the average person to become the media themselves. This obviously took market share and influence away from the traditional media, and it has allowed for a more diverse public conversation. Now it seems the platforms that have monopolized the industry are favoring mainstream sources and silencing alternative voices. So now, instead of allowing more people to have a voice, these platforms are creating an atmosphere where only powerful media organizations are welcome, just as we had on cable news.

People think that we are just providing an activist spin on the news, but they don’t see the families struggling to have their voice heard. For example, when someone is shot by police, mainstream media sources often just republish the press release from the police department, without presenting the victim’s side of the story. We give the victims and their families a voice, which is essential to keep power in check. This also goes for bigger issues like foreign policy as well; multiple full-scale invasions of Syria have been prevented because of information that the alternative media made viral. (source)
Nicholas Bernabe of The AntiMedia is another alternative journalist I consider a friend and support wholeheartedly. He’s worked tirelessly to be a voice of truth in a world of lies. He told Sputnik:
Our approach generally is to cover stories and angles that corporate media underreport or misreport and to amplify activist and anti-war voices and stories. All of our content is professionally fact-checked and edited.

I got into this line of work because I felt there was a need for media that challenged mainstream assumptions and biases in politics. I wanted to shed light on corruption and wrongdoing against oppressed peoples and cover the harsh truth about American foreign policy.

Over the last 28 days, we reached 7,088,000 people on Facebook.

The timing of this purge is rather dubious in my view, coming shortly before the midterm elections. This could be an attempt by Facebook itself to affect the outcome of the coming elections. The Twitter suspension caught me by surprise. I can only speculate that these suspensions were a coordinated effort to stifle our message ahead of the coming elections. (source)
Remember, this is coordinated, across multiple platforms.

Remember when this happened to Alex Jones?

Back in September, an assault was led by YouTube, Google, and Facebook against Alex Jones of Infowars fame. All of his accounts were shut down in quick succession, followed by his credit card processing companies and his newsletter service providers. I wrote at the time, “Alex Jones is just the beginning of this purge. It’s going to get much worse.”

Meanwhile, other dissenting voices were being silenced on social media with limited reach and “shadow banning.”

Infowars is a massive profit machine. But what happens when similar attacks are launched on smaller alternative media outlets? It hits us right in the wallet. And if they’re hit hard enough, they’ll cease to be able to function.
Jones has a lot of money so this may not be the end of him, but for most website owners, this would be the absolute end of our ability to do business. And to be able to bring the information we bring, we do have to run our websites as businesses. It’s far more expensive than most people realize to run a site. I know that my own operating costs every month are more than $2000. A site as big as Jones’s would be many times that amount. When all your avenues of monetization are cut off, it wouldn’t be hard for a site – and the dissent and information they share – to cease to exist. (source)
This is not just about Facebook or Twitter. It’s about the ability to find dissenting information, period. Google is in on it too. A leaked document from Google supported the idea of censorship.
Another Google document has found its way into the public domain, this time through Breitbart. The news publication reports that an 85-page briefing entitled “The Good Censor,” advises tech companies to “police tone instead of content” and to not “take sides” when censoring users…

Google might continue to shift with the times – changing its stance on how much or how little it censors (due to public, governmental or commercial pressures). If it does, acknowledgment of what this shift in position means for users and for Google is essential. Shifting blindly or silently in one direction or another rightly incites users’ fury…

The Google “internal research” even quotes outside experts like George Soros who express justification of censorship in non-US markets, noting that Google should police “tone instead of content” and “censor everyone equally,” as Breitbart put it. (source)
There are 2 trillion Google searches per day. PER. DAY.

That should give you an idea of the power of something like Google. Combine it with billions of Facebook and Twitter users and you can easily see the influence wielded here. This is where free thought goes to die.

Ron Paul reminds us that truth is treason.

Ron Paul, former senator and the libertarian voice of reason, said when Jones was purged:
'You get accused of treasonous activity and treasonous speech because in an empire of lies the truth is treason,' Paul told the Russia-based news outlet. 'Challenging the status quo is what they can’t stand and it unnerves them, so they have to silence people.'

'Some of us tell the truth about our government, they call us treasonous and say we’re speaking out of line and they’d like to punish us, and I think that’s part of what’s happening with social media,' Paul told RT, adding that he hopes anti-government or anti-war voices can eliminate their 'dependency' on the current social media platforms.

'I’m just hoping that technology can stay ahead of it all and that we can have real alternatives to the dependency on Twitter and other companies that have been working hand in glove with the government,' Paul added. (source)
Here’s  a video from last month with Dr. Paul’s thoughts about the social media purge. In it, he reminds us that Facebook is a private entity so they do have every right to remove the pages they wish. The danger – and the area in which this treads on the First Amendment – is their direct ties to the government.

This affects everyone.

If you’re reading this and you shrug because you, personally, don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account, you’re missing the bigger point.

Consider the fact that the “population” of Facebook is bigger than the populations of the US, China, and Brazil combined.

That’s how many people will now only receive one side of the story on things like war, politics, guns, and current events. People will believe what they’re told because there is no alternative information presented. There are no questions asked. It’s literally the textbook definition of brainwashing.
Definition of brainwashing

1: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

2: persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship (source)
(Here’s an article from Psychology Today that discusses how Facebook is, in fact, brainwashing people for profit.)

Social media is a massive source of information and influence today. If the information is rigged by entities that support socialism, gun control, and the end of privacy, we’re doomed. 2.2 billion active users will be bombarded with these messages without any real option for the other side of the story.

So regardless of whether you, personally, participate, this will color popular sentiment to a massive degree. It will grow the cognitive dissonance that assures people of things like “the government is your friend” and that “you don’t need to protect yourself, the police will take care of you.”

People who hate freedom will get unfettered access to the minds of 2 billion people. That should scare the crap out of you.

What can you do about the alternative media purge?

It’s possible but unlikely that social pressure on Facebook and Twitter will push the outlets into restoring the accounts of these alternative media networks. But even if they are restored, I suspect their reach will dwindle even further.

Here are a few things you can do:

- Subscribe to the newsletters of websites you enjoy. Don’t count on seeing their work on social media. (You can subscribe to my newsletter here, incidentally.)

- Support them financially if you can. Many sites have Patreon accounts or donate buttons

- Bookmark them and visit regularly – if they have ads, your visits help them to make the money they need to stay afloat.

- Share their articles on your own social media accounts. If they can’t get their work out there, we can help.

- Join alternative social media outlets like Gab and MeWe.

The truth is getting harder and harder to find. You’re going to have to dig for it.

We’re watching the biggest campaign against freedom of speech and thought that has ever occurred in our part of the world.

The alternative media purge is just the beginning. And we should all be very concerned.

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/14/why-the-coordinated-alternative-media-purge-should-terrify-everyone/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/14/why-the-coordinated-alternative-media-purge-should-terrify-everyone/ Sun, 14 Oct 2018 19:01:43 GMT
Britain on the Leash with the United States – But at Which End? James George Jatras http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/britain-on-the-leash-with-the-united-states-but-at-which-end/

The “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom is often assumed to be one where the once-great, sophisticated Brits are subordinate to the upstart, uncouth Yanks.

Iconic of this assumption is the mocking of former prime minister Tony Blair as George W. Bush’s “poodle” for his riding shotgun on the ill-advised American stagecoach blundering into Iraq in 2003. Blair was in good practice, having served as Bill Clinton’s dogsbody in the no less criminal NATO aggression against Serbia over Kosovo in 1999.

On the surface, the UK may seem just one more vassal state on par with Germany, Japan, South Korea, and so many other useless so-called allies. We control their intelligence services, their military commands, their think tanks, and much of their media. We can sink their financial systems and economies at will. Emblematic is German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s impotent ire at discovering the Obama administration had listened in on her cell phone, about which she – did precisely nothing. Global hegemony means never having to say you’re sorry.

These countries know on which end of the leash they are: the one attached to the collar around their necks. The hand unmistakably is in Washington. These semi-sovereign countries answer to the US with the same servility as member states of the Warsaw Pact once heeded the USSR’s Politburo. (Sometimes more. Communist Romania, though then a member of the Warsaw Pact refused to participate in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia or even allow Soviet or other Pact forces to cross its territory. By contrast, during NATO’s 1999 assault on Serbia, Bucharest allowed NATO military aircraft access to its airspace, even though not yet a member of that alliance and despite most Romanians’ opposition to the campaign.)

But the widespread perception of Britain as just another satellite may be misleading.

To start with, there are some relationships where it seems the US is the vassal dancing to the tune of the foreign capital, not the other way around. Israel is the unchallenged champion in this weight class, with Saudi Arabia a runner up. The alliance between Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) – the ultimate Washington “power couple” – to get the Trump administration to destroy Iran for them has American politicos listening for instructions with all the rapt attention of the terrier Nipper on the RCA Victor logo. (Or did, until the recent disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Whether this portends a real shift in American attitudes toward Riyadh remains questionableSaudi cash still speaks loudly and will continue to do so whether or not MbS stays in charge.)

Specifics of the peculiar US-UK relationship stem from the period of flux at the end of World War II. The United States emerged from the war in a commanding position economically and financially, eclipsing Britannia’s declining empire that simply no longer had the resources to play the leading role. That didn’t mean, however, that London trusted the Americans’ ability to manage things without their astute guidance. As Tony Judt describes in Postwar, the British attitude of “superiority towards the country that had displaced them at the imperial apex” was “nicely captured” in a scribble during negotiations regarding the UK’s postwar loan:
In Washington Lord Halifax

Once whispered to Lord Keynes:

'It’s true they have the moneybags

But we have all the brains.'
Even in its diminished condition London found it could punch well above its weight by exerting its influence on its stronger but (it was confident) dumber cousins across the Pond. It helped that as the Cold War unfolded following former Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 1946 Iron Curtain speech there were very close ties between sister agencies like MI6 (founded 1909) and the newer wartime OSS (1942), then the CIA (1947); likewise the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, 1919) and the National Security Administration (NSA, 1952). Comparable sister agencies – perhaps more properly termed daughters of their UK mothers – were set up in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This became the so-called “Five Eyes” of the tight Anglosphere spook community, infamous for spying on each others’ citizens to avoid pesky legal prohibitions on domestic surveillance.

Despite not having two farthings to rub together, impoverished Britain – where wartime rationing wasn’t fully ended until 1954 – had a prime seat at the table fashioning the world’s postwar financial structure. The 1944 Bretton Woods conference was largely an Anglo-American affair, of which the aforementioned Lord John Maynard Keynes was a prominent architect along with Harry Dexter White, Special Assistant to the US Secretary of the Treasury and Soviet agent.

American and British agendas also dovetailed in the Middle East. While the US didn’t have much of a presence in the region before the 1945 meeting between US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Saudi King ibn Saud, founder of the third and current (and hopefully last) Saudi state – and didn’t assume a dominant role until the humiliation inflicted on Britain, France, and Israel by President Dwight Eisenhower during the 1956 Suez Crisis – London has long considered much of the region within its sphere of influence. After World War I under the Sykes-Picot agreement with France, the UK had expanded her holdings on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, including taking a decisive role in consolidating Saudi Arabia under ibn Saud. While in the 1950s the US largely stepped into Britain’s role managing the “East of Suez,” the former suzerain was by no means dealt out. The UK was a founding member with the US of the now-defunct Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in 1955.

CENTO – like NATO and their one-time eastern counterpart, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) – was designed as a counter to the USSR. But in the case of Britain, the history of hostility to Russia under tsar or commissar alike has much deeper and longer roots, going back at least to the Crimean War in the 1850s. The reasons for the longstanding British vendetta against Russia are not entirely clear and seem to have disparate roots: the desire to ensure that no one power is dominant on the European mainland (directed first against France, then Russia, then Germany, then the USSR and again Russia); maintaining supremacy on the seas by denying Russia warm-waters ports, above all the Dardanelles; and making sure territories of a dissolving Ottoman empire would be taken under the wing of London, not Saint Petersburg. As described by Andrew Lambert, professor of naval history at King's College London, the Crimean War still echoes today:
In the 1840s, 1850s, Britain and America are not the chief rivals; it's Britain and Russia. Britain and Russia are rivals for world power, and Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, which is much larger than modern Turkey — it includes modern Romania, Bulgaria, parts of Serbia, and also Egypt and Arabia — is a declining empire. But it's the bulwark between Russia, which is advancing south and west, and Britain, which is advancing east and is looking to open its connections up through the Mediterranean into its empire in India and the Pacific. And it's really about who is running Turkey. Is it going to be a Russian satellite, a bit like the Eastern Bloc was in the Cold War, or is it going to be a British satellite, really run by British capital, a market for British goods? And the Crimean War is going to be the fulcrum for this cold war to actually go hot for a couple of years, and Sevastopol is going to be the fulcrum for that fighting.
Control of the Middle East – and opposing the Russians – became a British obsession, first to sustain the lifeline to India, the Jewel in the Crown of the empire, then for control of petroleum, the life’s blood of modern economies. In the context of the 19th and early 20th century Great Game of empire, that was understandable. Much later, similar considerations might even support Jimmy Carter’s taking up much the same position, declaring in 1980 that “outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” The USSR was then a superpower and we were dependent on energy from the Gulf region.

But what’s our reason for maintaining that posture almost four decades later when the Soviet Union is gone and the US doesn’t need Middle Eastern oil? There are no reasonable national interests, only corporate interests and those of the Arab monarchies we laughably claim as allies. Add to that the bureaucracies and habits of mind that link the US and UK establishments, including their intelligence and financial components.

In view of all the foregoing, what then would policymakers in the United Kingdom think about an aspirant to the American presidency who not only disparages the value of existing alliances – without which Britain is a bit player – but openly pledges to improve relations with Moscow? To what lengths would they go to stop him?

Say ‘hello’ to Russiagate!

One can argue whether or not the phony claim of the Trump campaign’s “collusion” with Moscow was hatched in London or whether the British just lent some “hands across the water” to an effort concocted by the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, the Clinton Foundation, and their collaborators at Fusion GPS and inside the Obama administration. Either way, it’s clear that while evidence of Russian connection is nonexistent that of British agencies is unmistakable, as is the UK’s hand in a sustained campaign of demonization and isolation to sink any possible rapprochement between the US and Russia.

As for Russiagate itself, just try to find anyone involved who’s actually Russian. The only basis for the widespread assumption that any material in the Dirty Dossier that underlies the whole operation originated with Russia is the claim of Christopher Steele, the British “ex” spy who wrote it, evidently in collaboration with people at the US State Department and Fusion GPS. (The notion that Steele, who hadn’t been in Russia for years, would have Kremlin personal contacts is absurd. How chummy are the heads of the American section of Chinese or Russian intelligence with White House staff?)

While there are no obvious Russians in Russiagate there’s no shortage of Brits. These include (details at the link):
Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Russia

Stefan Halper, a dual US-UK citizen.

Ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove.

Robert Hannigan, former director of GCHQ; there is reason to think surveillance of Trump was conducted by GCHQ as well as by US agencies under FISA warrants. Hannigan abruptly resigned from GCHQ soon after the British government denied the agency had engaged in such spying.

Alexander Downer, Australian diplomat (well, not British but remember the Five Eyes!).

Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic and suspected British agent.
At present, the full role played by those listed above is not known. Release of unredacted FISA warrant requests by the Justice Department, which President Trump ordered weeks ago, would shed light on a number of details. Implementation of that order was derailed after a request by – no surprise – British Prime Minister Theresa May. Was she seeking to conceal Russian perfidy, or her own underlings’?

It would be bad enough if Russiagate were the sum of British meddling in American affairs with the aim of torpedoing relations with Moscow. (And to be fair, it wasn’t just the UK and Australia. Also implicated are Estonia, Israel, and Ukraine.) But there is also reason to suspect the same motive in false accusations against Russia with respect to the supposed Novichok poisonings in England has a connection to Russiagate via a business associate of Steele’s, one Pablo Miller, Sergei Skripal's MI6 recruiter. (So if it turns out there is any Russian connection to the dossier, it could be from Skripal or another dubious expat source, not from the Russian government.) Skripal and his daughter Yulia have disappeared in British custody. Moscow flatly accuses MI6 of poisoning them as a false flag to blame it on Russia.

A similar pattern can be seen with claims of chemical weapons use in Syria: “We have irrefutable evidence that the special services of a state which is in the forefront of the Russophobic campaign had a hand in the staging” of a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018. Ambassador Aleksandr Yakovenko pointed to the so-called White Helmets, which is closely associated with al-Qaeda elements and considered by some their PR arm: “I am naming them because they have done things like this before. They are famous for staging attacks in Syria and they receive UK money.” Moscow warned for weeks before the now-postponed Syrian government offensive in Idlib that the same ruse was being prepared again with direct British intelligence involvement, even having prepared in advance a video showing victims of an attack that had not yet occurred.

The campaign to demonize Russia shifted into high gear recently with the UK, together with the US and the Netherlands, accusing Russian military intelligence of a smorgasbord of cyberattacks against the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and other sports organizations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Dutch investigation into the downing of MH-17 over Ukraine, and a Swiss lab involved with the Skripal case, plus assorted election interference. In case anyone didn’t get the point, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson declared: “This is not the actions of a great power. This is the actions of a pariah state, and we will continue working with allies to isolate them.”

To the extent that the goal of Williamson and his ilk is to ensure isolation and further threats against Russia, it’s been a smashing success. More sanctions are on the way. The UK is sending additional troops to the Arctic to counter Russian “aggression.” The US threatens to use naval power to block Russian energy exports and to strike Russian weapons disputed under a treaty governing intermediate range nuclear forces. What could possibly go wrong?

In sum, we are seeing a massive, coordinated hybrid campaign of psy-ops and political warfare conducted not by Russia but against Russia, concocted by the UK and its Deep State collaborators in the United States. But it’s not only aimed at Russia, it’s an attack on the United States by the government of a foreign country that’s supposed to be one of our closest allies, a country with which we share many venerable traditions of language, law, and culture.

But for far too long, largely for reasons of historical inertia and elite corruption, we’ve allowed that government to exercise undue influence on our global policies in a manner not conducive to our own national interests. Now that government, employing every foul deception that earned it the moniker Perfidious Albion, seeks to embroil us in a quarrel with the only country on the planet that can destroy us if things get out of control.

This must stop. A thorough reappraisal of our “special relationship” with the United Kingdom and exposure of its activities to the detriment of the US is imperative.

Reprinted with permission from the Strategic Culture Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/britain-on-the-leash-with-the-united-states-but-at-which-end/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/britain-on-the-leash-with-the-united-states-but-at-which-end/ Sat, 13 Oct 2018 14:56:18 GMT
Trident Juncture 2018 Is About to Kick Off: NATO’s Big War Games Near Russia’s Borders Never End Alex Gorka http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/trident-juncture-2018-is-about-to-kick-off-nato-s-big-war-games-near-russia-s-borders-never-end/

The NATO-led Trident Juncture 2018 (TRJE18) exercise that is to be held in October and November is the largest massive and coordinated show of force since the Cold War. It will primarily be hosted by Norway. The training event will largely take place in the central and eastern parts of this Nordic country that neighbors Russia, as well as over the skies and in the seas of Sweden and Finland. The maritime component will be conducted in the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and in the Baltic Sea. TRJE18-related activities will take place as far away as Iceland. Russia has been invited to send observers to watch the exercise.

Actually, TRJE18 consists of three parts. The deployment phase has been underway since August. A live field exercise will be held from October 25 to November 7 with six brigades fighting each other right in the heart of Norway. A command post training event will be conducted from November 13 to November 24.

The drill will involve 45,000 participants from over 30 nations, including 10,000 rolling or tracked vehicles, 150 aircraft, and 60 ships. The main goal is to test the ability of NATO’s new Response Force to rapidly deploy. Norway will evaluate its ability to receive and handle reinforcements sent by its allies.

There are 700 US Marines stationed in Norway. That’s not a huge force, but as Adm. James Foggo, who heads all US naval forces in Europe and Africa and commands the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples put it, “that’s 300 Marines today. 3,000 Marines tomorrow.” The American pre-positioned forward storage sites in Norway, a complex of caves, have been upgraded to store weapons and equipment for roughly 15,000 Marines. That Scandinavian country has become the source of a threat to Russia’s national security.

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is also taking part. The aircraft carrier returned to its home base in Norfolk in July following a three-month deployment. It was back in Europe in mid-September. Normally, US carrier groups operate according to a standard seven-month cycle. Now they are being shifted to “dynamic force employment” in order to improve flexibility.

Finland will contribute significantly to this exercise that is based on a simulated Article 5 scenario, with its troops operating in their home region, in Sweden and Norway. It will also lead and host the naval exercise Northern Coasts 18 (NOCO18) in the Baltic Sea, which is linked to Trident Juncture. Finland is sending about 2,000 troops to TRJE18. The size of that force is comparable to the contributions made by leading NATO members. For example, Germany is sending 4,000 troops, the UK — 3,500 troops, France – 3,000, Canada — 2,000, Denmark — 1,000, Italy — 1,500, Spain — 1,000, and the Netherlands — 1,500. The US contribution will be 12,000 soldiers, and the primary host is sending 6,500 servicemen. There were only about 160 Finnish troops participating in the last Trident Juncture held in 2015. Three years ago, the drill was held in southern, not northern Europe.

Sweden, another non-NATO active participant, is sending about 2,200 troops, along with four Gripen fighters that will be based in Norway. Before the TRJE kicks off, US, Swedish, and Finnish forces will conduct their own exercises in Sweden. Both Finland and Sweden participate in NATO’s Response Force.

Until now, both Scandinavian nations have shied away from holding Article 5 exercises. The Trident Juncture 2018 is a drastic shift in that policy, which is being carefully evaluated by Russia.

At an unofficial level, Sweden and Finland have already joined NATO through other groups and agreements, such as their trilateral cooperation with the US. The militarization of Norway, as well as all of the Scandinavian Peninsula and the Baltic states is being perceived by Russia as a provocation and a threat that demands a response. The Baltic states continue to request an increased military presence on their soil. NATO is stockpiling weapons, military equipment, and ammunition in the Baltic region and Poland.

There is a backstory to the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise. In early October, US Envoy to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson said Russia had been put on “short notice,” due to its alleged violations of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. She warned that the US might "take out the missiles" before they could be deployed if Russia did not back down.

This year, NATO has already coordinated approximately 100 exercises, 20% more than during the same period in 2017. Poland will invite NATO members and partners for another large-scale, officially “national” exercise, Anaconda 2018, which will be held at roughly the same time as some smaller NATO drills, such as Citadel Bonus-18, Iron Wolf-18, and Baltic Host-18. The hidden aim of the exercises is to keep those forces ready to close in on Russia’s borders. That’s why the alliance is creating this “military Schengen zone,” in an effort to minimize the time needed for troop deployment. Anaconda 18 will be a cover for the deployment of a US Army brigade in Europe, in addition to the deployment of the US 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team. Next month, we’ll see an entire US mechanized division in operation in the Old World. Four NATO multinational battalion-size groups are already stationed in the Baltic states and Poland.

These never-ending exercises adjacent to Russia’s borders show that the terrorist threat has been forgotten. The North Atlantic alliance is too busy preparing for a large-scale invasion by Russia to even think about it. American strategists appear to have a short memory. It was not Russia who attacked the United States on 9/11. A different type of exercise would be needed to fend off a terrorist threat, but time, money, and efforts are being spent on war preparations against Moscow, which is fighting against the very same Islamic fundamentalists who threaten the West. Last month, Russia held a very large-scale training event dubbed Vostok 2018, but it was held in Russia’s Far East region so as not to provoke NATO, although that alliance did not seem to appreciate this thoughtful gesture.

It is true that the terrorist threat is no big prize for the defense industry. Opposing such big potential foes as Russia or China promises huge financial benefits for companies involved in military production. These never-ending and provocative exercises are needed to keep tensions high and justify the allocations of funds. This state of constant confrontation with Russia and China rakes in profits. The ends justify the means.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/trident-juncture-2018-is-about-to-kick-off-nato-s-big-war-games-near-russia-s-borders-never-end/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/trident-juncture-2018-is-about-to-kick-off-nato-s-big-war-games-near-russia-s-borders-never-end/ Sat, 13 Oct 2018 13:02:46 GMT
What's Behind the Big Facebook Purge? RPI Staff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/whats-behind-the-big-facebook-purge/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/whats-behind-the-big-facebook-purge/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/13/whats-behind-the-big-facebook-purge/ Sat, 13 Oct 2018 12:29:23 GMT
New Documents Show State Department and USAID Working with Soros Group to Channel Money to ‘Mercenary Army’ of Far-Left Activists in Albania Judicial Watch http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/12/new-documents-show-state-department-and-usaid-working-with-soros-group-to-channel-money-to-mercenary-army-of-far-left-activists-in-albania/

Judicial Watch today released 49 pages of new documents obtained from the US Department of State about US Agency for International Development (USAID) funding for George Soros’s left-wing nonprofit organizations in Albania. The documents deal primarily with the activities of Soros’ top operative in Albania, Andri Dobrushi, the director of Open Society Foundation-Albania, who was actively engaged in channeling funding to what Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban calls Soros’ “mercenary army.” The documents show US grant money flowing through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that profess to promote “civil society,” while in fact attacking traditional, pro-American groups, governments and policies.

Judicial Watch filed a May 26, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the US Department of State and USAID after they failed to respond to March 31, 2017, FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (No. 1:17-cv-01012)).

The records reveal that Soros operative Dobrushi was the first person on a list of invitees by then US Ambassador to Albania Donald Lu to attend an “election rollout event” held at the US Embassy on April 27, 2015. The event was intended to “launch US assistance for the June local elections,” being held in Tirana, Albania. As Judicial Watch previously reported in an April 4, 2018, press release, Ambassador Lu has been closely associated with Soros and the socialist government in Albania, which he assisted by denying US visas to conservative jurists from the conservative party in Albania. Lu has since been nominated by the Trump administration to become US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan.

Additionally, a June 18, 2015, email from Ilva Cuko, a Program Specialist in the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy in Tirana, invites several people, including Dobrushi, to a “Donors Grant Reviewing meeting” at the US Embassy, in which the participants would review applications for grants submitted by NGOs seeking US taxpayer grant money from the State Department. Cuko says she would “like to invite you in a discussion on these proposals. Your valuable input and comments will be used by the US Embassy’s Democracy Commission, which has the ultimate authority in awarding the grants.”

Cuko on August 28, 2015, also invited Dobrushi to attend another US Embassy Democracy Commission Small Grants Program “Grant Proposal Technical Review” meeting on September 3 at the US Embassy. At this meeting, Cuko said they would focus on applications dealing with “anticorruption.” Ironically, under the leadership of Soros’ close friend, socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama, who took power in 2013, corruption in Albania has soared, with cannabis trafficking in the country increasing 300 percent between 2016 and 2017.

In a February 22, 2016, email, Cuko again invites several people, including Dobrushi, to another “Donors Grant Reviewing Meeting” held at the US Embassy on February 26 where Dobrushi would be able to influence Embassy officials who have “the ultimate authority in awarding the grants."

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The Two Brett Kavanaugh Stories Philip Giraldi http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/11/the-two-brett-kavanaugh-stories/ undefined

There were two simultaneous Brett Kavanaugh stories. Together, as part of the confirmation process regarding his nomination as Supreme Court Justice, they revealed how political discourse in the United States has reached a new low, with debate over the man’s possible predilection to make judgments based on his own preferences rather than the US Constitution being ignored in favor of the politically motivated kabuki theater that was deliberately arranged to avoid that issue and instead go after his character.

Consider first of all, his flaws as a candidate. He was regularly framed as a “conservative,” but what did that mean in the context of his career? Some of the critics are referring to his time spent as a government lawyer, specifically for the George W. Bush Administration, where he was a supporter of wide executive authority in the context of the war against terror while others point to his decisions and writings during his time as a US Circuit judge from 2006 until the present. That meant essentially that Kavanaugh then supported and apparently continues to support what is now referred to as the John Yoo doctrine, named after the Department of Justice lawyer who penned the memo that made the case for the president to act unilaterally to do whatever is required in national security cases even if there be no direct or immediate threat. Yoo specifically argued that the president, by virtue of his office, is not bound by the War Crimes Act. This theory of government, also more broadly dubbed the unitary executive, was popularized by Yoo, fellow government lawyer Jay Bybee and Eric Posner of the University of Chicago.

For those who find Kavanaugh unacceptable in terms of his judicial philosophy, this repudiation of the constitutional principle of three branches of government that check each other was enough to disqualify him from a position on the Supreme Court, principally as it impacts on both the first and second articles of the constitution by granting to the president the authority to both begin and continue a war on his own recognizance. It also means that the president on his own authority can suspend first and fourth amendment rights to freedom of speech and association as well as freedom from illegal search. He supported, for example, the government’s “right” to conduct mass searches of private data such as was conducted by the NSA. Kavanaugh supports government authority to legitimize incarceration without trial and to order assassinations and torture. Kavanaugh is also on record as favoring limiting the public’s right to use the courts to redress government overreach.

But curiously enough, or perhaps not so curiously, Kavanaugh was treated with kid gloves on those critical issues, basically because both major parties are now supportive of the unitary executive concept even if they would not admit that to be the case. Bill Clinton launched cruise missiles attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan on his own authority and involved the US in a war in the Balkans. George W. Bush did the same in approving torture and expanding the war on terror to Iraq and also globally, while Barack Obama attacked both the Syrian and Libyan governments and assassinated US citizens abroad, all acts of war or war crimes carried out without a congressional declaration of war or without any real pushback by the judiciary.

The failure of Congress to carry out its duty to review Kavanaugh’s ability or lack thereof to interpret the constitution impartially was the more important story line in the confirmation process but it was ignored by the media. The other narrative that ran simultaneously, the purely political attempt made by the Democrats and some Republicans to destroy Kavanaugh as a person through the exploitation of random claims of sexual assault dating from more than thirty-five years ago, was an attempt to discredit the candidate that everyone knew right from the beginning could not be substantiated.

This all means that the important issue of Kavanaugh’s likely comportment as a judge was subjected to too little inquiry while his character as evidenced by tales from his past life received far too much attention. Ironically, the media, which has been frantically searching for an explanation for the breakdown of democracy in the United States, has been pillorying the Russians and more recently the Chinese for outside interference in the process, while ignoring the intense public dissatisfaction with the government it has been allowed to have by the Establishment, which is exemplified by the dystopic reality demonstrated by Kavanaugh. Some Americans would have rejected him based on his merits as a judge, but the case was not clearly made. Many instead came to view him as a victim of a vicious personal campaign and that was apparently enough to win confirmation, at least as reckoned by the calculus of those in Congress who cast the actual votes. In either case, the system failed to produce a good result and we only have our polarized and dysfunctional government to blame for that failure. 

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/11/the-two-brett-kavanaugh-stories/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/october/11/the-two-brett-kavanaugh-stories/ Thu, 11 Oct 2018 18:58:22 GMT