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Jacob G. Hornberger

Why Are Americans Searched at the Border?

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Whenever American citizens travel to another country, they are subjected to intrusive searches at the hands of U.S. officials upon returning to the United States.

Why? What’s the justification?

Since Americans living today have all been born and raised under this type of system, hardly anyone questions it. It’s just accepted, passively and submissively, as part of living in a “free” society.
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The Lynching of Lynne Stewart (1939-2017)

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Convicted felon Lynne Stewart passed away on Tuesday. She was a noted criminal defense attorney in New York City who federal officials prosecuted, convicted, and punished for supporting terrorism.

It was a bogus charge, one that perfectly reflects the extent to which the US national-national security state has warped the mindsets, principles, and values of people within the federal government and also within the private sector, especially the mainstream press.

Stewart was representing Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric who was convicted in US District Court in New York City of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.

Stewart was convicted of reading a message from her client to the press. The government said that by reading the message, Stewart committed an act of terrorism.

What did the message say?

The government said that the message called on the Sheik’s followers in Egypt to take up arms — i.e., initiate violence — against the Egyptian government.

Did the message that Stewart read to the press actually say that?
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The Futility and Corruption of the Drug War

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I just finished watching the much-acclaimed series “Narcos” on Netflix. What a fantastic program. And what an excellent depiction of the futility and corruption of the war on drugs.

The series is a true-life account of Pablo Escobar, a Colombian drug lord who headed up the Medellin drug cartel, a black-market drug group that smuggled hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. Smuggling an estimated 80 percent of the cocaine into the United States, Escobar became known as the “King of Cocaine,” attaining in the process a net worth of $30 billion by the early 1990s. According to Wikipedia, Escobar was the wealthiest criminal in history.

Amidst much acclaim and publicity, the U.S. government and the Colombian government, working together, targeted Escobar with arrest or killing. Escobar retaliated by effectively declaring war on the government, a war that consisted of assassinations and bombings. Every time the DEA (which was operating in Colombia, along with the U.S. military and the CIA) and Colombian officials tightened the noose on Escobar’s operation, Escobar responded with bullets and bombs, killing a multitude of government officials and private citizens.

The logic of the drug-war crackdown was clear: By eradicating Escobar, officials thought they would be eradicating 80 percent of the cocaine being shipped into the United States. So, all the death and destruction resulting from the crackdown on Escobar was considered worth it in the long run.
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Bribes, Catapults, and Corruption Trump Trumps Wall

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Donald Trump is obviously a smart man. One cannot build up a billion-dollar financial empire without being smart.

Unfortunately, however, Trump is not so smart when it comes to some things, like the drug war. He thinks that simply by cracking down in the drug war and becoming more ruthless than previous presidents, he’s going to be the one who finally wins the war on drugs.

It’s not going to happen. No matter how smart he is in business affairs or even politics, Donald Trump will not win the drug war. That’s because no matter how hard he tries and no matter how much support he receives from Congress and the judiciary, no one can repeal the natural laws of supply and demand.

At the top of his list of things Trump intends to do to win the drug war is his much-vaunted wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the one he thinks is going to keep out drugs (and illegal immigrants).

Here is why Trump’s wall and drug-war crackdown will never enable him to win the drug war.

At best, Trump’s measures will reduce the supply of drugs. What does that mean? Under the laws of supply and demand, that means a higher price.
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Trump and Duterte: Birds of a Feather

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When it comes to the drug war, the verdict is in: The big, drain-the-swamp, anti-establishment president, Donald Trump, is turning out to be just like all the other mainstream establishment politicians. He made that clear last week in a speech before a group of law-enforcement officials, where he vowed to be “ruthless” in the war on drugs. Trump told the group:
We’re going to stop the drugs from pouring in. We’re going to stop those drugs from poisoning our youth, poisoning our people. We’re going to be ruthless in that fight. We have no choice. And we’re going to take that fight to the drug cartels and work to liberate our communities from their terrible grip of violence.
Oh, great! Shades of President Richard Nixon and all of his successors! Four more years of more violence, corruption, arrests, record drug busts, prosecutions, convictions, incarcerations, and, of course, more robberies, muggings, thefts, burglaries, and homicides.

Where has Trump been? Have Americans elected some sort of Rip Van Winkle? Has he just awakened from a decades-long sleep and unaware of what federal and state law enforcement agencies have been doing ever since Nixon declared a war on drugs (to go after blacks and antiwar dissidents)?
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Perpetual Drug War Deja Vu

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The Justice Department is ecstatic that it finally secured the extradition from Mexico of notorious drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as El Chapo. Arraigned in New York City, El Chapo is being charged with running a multibillion dollar drug enterprise, which allegedly included the murder of countless people.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream press gave the arrest and arraignment major publicity. The story received a half-page article in the New York Times.

Also not surprisingly, law enforcement officials also made a huge deal out of the extradition and arrest. According to the Times, the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn called it a “milestone in the pursuit of a trafficker who achieved mythic status in his homeland as a Robin Hood-like outlaw and a serial prison escapee.”

So, does this mean that the decades-long drug war has finally come to an end?

Well, not exactly. Actually, it means the the drug war will continue into perpetuity until the American people finally demand that this failed, destructive, deadly, expensive, and futile government program come to an end.

El Chapo’s arrest is nothing more than perpetual deja vu because this type of thing has been going on continuously since the 1960s. The cycle never stops. they arrest a big drug kingpin, they give it massive publicity, they convict the person and send him to jail for the rest of his life, and … the drug war continues and continues.

It’s just simple laws of supply and demand. As soon as they bust one guy, he is quickly replaced either by someone else within the organization or by competitors. So, they bust another one. Same thing happens. it never stops.
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Obama's Wasted, Deadly, and Destructive Presidency

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Eight years ago, President Obama’s administration started with hope and change. Eight years later, we end up with a legacy of nothing but waste, death, and destruction.

Libertarians never had any hope, of course, that Barack Obama would dismantle any aspect of the welfare state. As a died-in-the-wool liberal, his commitment to socialism, regulation, and economic interventionism is unwavering. When, for example, he addressed the healthcare crisis brought on my Medicare, Medicaid, regulation, and interventionism by foisting Obamacare onto the American people, we libertarians were not surprised.

Where libertarians (and lots of liberals) had hope was that Obama would change the direction that the George W. Bush administration had set for America with respect to foreign policy and civil liberties.

After all, Obama had made a big deal of having opposed Bush’s war on Iraq. On the campaign trail he also emphasized his supposed deep commitment to civil liberties, especially given his legal understanding of constitutional principles.

Alas, no change. Obama’s eight years turned out to be nothing more than a continuation of Bush’s eight years, which, like Obama’s, consisted of waste, death, and destruction.
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Will the CIA Retaliate Against Trump?

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In a truly remarkable bit of honesty and candor regarding the U.S. national-security establishment, new Senate minority leader Charles Schumer has accused President-elect Trump of “being really dumb.”

Was Schumer referring to Trump’s ideology, philosophy, or knowledge about economics or foreign policy?

None of the above. According to an article in The Hill, he told Rachel Maddow on her show that Trump was dumb for taking on the CIA and questioning its conclusions regarding Russia.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you…. He’s being really dumb to do this.”

Maddow then asked Schumer what he thought the intelligence community might do to Trump to get back at him.

Schumer’s response was fascinating and revealing. He responded, “I don’t know.”

So, Schumer knows that there are six ways from Sunday for the intelligence community to get back at Trump but then, a few seconds later, can’t enumerate even one of those ways? That makes no sense, unless he was a bit scared to go into the details for fear that one of those “six ways from Sunday” might be employed against him.
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Foreign Policy Blowback in Germany

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Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, one of the things that has fascinated me most is the response of the mainstream media. Supporting the retaliatory invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, ever-increasing budgets for the national-security establishment, and constantly expanding infringements on civil liberties and privacy, mainstream reporters, commentators, and pundits have steadfastly resisted focusing on the root cause of anti-American terrorism: deadly foreign interventionism on the part of the United States and other Western countries in the Middle East.

In fact, woe to those who have focused attention on U.S death and destruction in the Middle East as the motivating factor in the 9/11 attacks and the anti-American terrorist attacks that have come after 9/11. Whenever a libertarian has focused on terrorist blowback that comes with foreign interventionism, the response among the supporters of interventionism has been quick and fierce: “Are you blaming America for the terrorist attacks? Are you saying we are responsible for those attacks?”

Americans witnessed this phenomenon in the first Republican presidential debate in the 2008 presidential race. Referring to the blowback produced by US interventionism in the Middle East, Paul said something to the effect of “They came here to kill us because we were over there killing them.” By “we” Paul was referring to the US government.

As Paul immediately learned, he had committed the grave sin of focusing people’s attention on US foreign interventionism as the root cause of anti-American terrorism. His opponents, the mainstream press, and liberals and conservatives alike went on the attack with variations of “Oh, so you’re blaming us for the attacks? You think America is responsible for the attacks?”
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Karma Over Russia?

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Not surprisingly, the mainstream media is aghast that President-elect Donald Trump is not automatically deferring to the CIA and its pronouncement that Russia intervened in the US presidential election with the intent of helping Trump defeat his Democratic Party opponent Hillary Clinton. 

Never mind that the CIA has provided no evidence to support its claims. In the eyes of the mainstream media and the national-security establishment, that’s irrelevant. Trump’s responsibility, they hold, is to automatically, without question or challenge, defer to the authority of the CIA and accept whatever it says.

Of course, one big problem here is that the CIA, along with the rest of the national-security establishment, sometimes lies. In fact, CIA officials are expected to lie if they feel that “national security” depends on it.
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