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Jacob G. Hornberger

Give Guantanamo Back to Cuba

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The US Empire, which controls much of the world through hundreds of military bases in foreign countries, through foreign regimes run by domestic US puppets, and through foreign dependency on US foreign aid, got its start in 1898 during the Spanish American War. It was that war that enabled the Empire to acquire its imperialist domain in Cuba known as Guantanamo Bay, which is now the Empire’s premier international indefinite-detention prison, torture center, and kangaroo judicial system.

The late 1800s were a time of worldwide empires. Great Britain, France, Spain, and others were empires, possessing and oftentimes brutally controlling people in faraway colonies. Although the US Constitution had called into existence a limited-government republic, by the time the latter part of the 19th century had arrived, many Americans had been swept up in the pro-empire fervor, owing largely to the Progressive movement, which was also influencing America toward embracing the worldwide move toward socialism and interventionism. The Progressive idea was that in order for the United States to become a great nation, it needed to become an empire, just like other empires.

In 1898, Cuba and other possessions of the Spanish Empire were fighting for their freedom and independence. Since this was a time in which US officials were still following the Constitution’s declaration-of-war requirement, President William McKinley sought and secured a declaration of war against Spain, with the ostensible aim of helping the Spanish colonies win their freedom and independence.
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Gun Violence in California

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Upon hearing that a man dressed in a military-style outfit was shooting people with an assault rifle at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California on Sunday, I imagine that there were at least some Californians saying to themselves, “That’s impossible. It’s illegal in California to take an assault rifle into a public festival.” Indeed, according to Wikipedia, “The gun laws of California are some of the most restrictive in the United States.” So, what are gun-control advocates in California going to do now? Make their gun laws even more restrictive?

For 20 years, I have been writing that people who are going to kill other people with guns don’t give a hoot about gun laws. After all, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, if a person doesn’t care about obeying a law against murder, he’s not going to care about violating a law against taking an assault rifle into a food festival.

But ordinary, law-abiding people do care about obeying gun laws. That’s because many of these laws make it a felony offense to violate them. That means jail time, big fines, and a serious criminal record. Even when it’s just a misdemeanor offense, oftentimes a conviction can also mean jail time.
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Ruler of the World

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Recently released secret documents from Chinese company Huawei provide insights into how the US Empire rules the world. According to the Washington Post, the documents reveal that Huawei secretly helped North Korea “build and maintain the country’s commercial wireless network.”

What’s wrong with that? you ask.

It violates US sanctions against North Korea!

What do US sanctions have to do with commercial relations between a Chinese company and North Korea?

Well, as the ruler of the world — or, in common parlance, as the world’s sole remaining empire — the US Empire’s rules and regulations apply to everyone in the world. If anyone anywhere in the world is caught violating them, he will be summoned to the United States to face criminal and civil prosecution.

What about President Trump’s lovefest with North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong-Un?
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Hating America After 9/11

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Listening to President Trump accuse Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of supporting al-Qaeda reminds me of how conservatives behaved toward libertarians who dared talk about motive immediately after the 9/11 attacks.

At the time of those attacks, some of us libertarians understood that this was a watershed event in US history, one that would inevitably adversely affect the rights and liberties of the American people. Fueled by deep anger and fear, the overwhelming sentiment among the American people was to support the desire of federal officials to lash out against “the terrorists” anywhere and everywhere they could be found in the world. That’s, of course, how we got the ongoing, never-ending “war on terrorism.”

Equally important, it was a time when Americans were ready and willing to sacrifice whatever liberties they had to the federal government in order to keep them safe from the terrorists. Not surprisingly, US officials were eager and willing to adopt whatever totalitarian and dark-side measures they deemed necessary to keep America “safe.” That’s how we got those secret surveillance schemes, the USA PATRIOT Act, the TSA at the airports, and the formalized assassination program, all of which shredded the protections our ancestors had enacted in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. It’s also how we got the undeclared forever wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the regime-change efforts in Libya and Syria, which have killed, maimed, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.
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Pompeo’s Big Lie on Iran

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In a tiff over whether Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his delegation would be permitted to enter the United States as part of a meeting of the United Nations and over whether they would be free to travel freely around New York City, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a whopper, one that might have even embarrassed Pinocchio. Expressing a desire to be invited to appear on Iranian television, Pompeo said that he would tell Iranians that “we care deeply about them, that we’re supportive of the Iranian people, that we understand that the revolutionary theocracy is not acting in a way that is in their best interest.”

Why, that’s just a lie, a plain old, downright, old-fashioned lie.

When Pompeo is using the pronoun “we,” he is referring to US officials. And the fact is that US officials, from President Trump on down, couldn’t care less about the well-being of the Iranian people. All that US officials care about is re-installing a pro-US dictatorship in Iran, no different from that of the Shah, who US officials made Iran’s brutal dictator in 1953.

After all, look at the US sanctions on Iran. They target the Iranian people for economic impoverishment and even death. The idea is that if the US government can squeeze the life out of the Iranian people, they will rise up in a violent revolution against the ruling regime and replace it with one that is acceptable to US officials.
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Americans Should Adopt Unilateral Free Trade

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Given the ongoing destruction of liberty and prosperity from President Trump’s trade wars, tariffs, sanctions, and embargoes, it’s time to think at a higher level, one that goes beyond mere criticism of Trump’s trade antics. It’s time to think in terms of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government, all of which translate to the idea of unilateral free trade.

What does unilateral free trade mean? It means that the US government should simply lift, dismantle, abolish, repeal, and end all of its tariffs, trade restrictions, sanctions, embargoes, import quotas, and trade wars. No meetings. No negotiations. No demands. No “free trade” agreements. Just free the American people to travel wherever they want and trade with whomever they want.

Does this mean that other nations will do the same? Nope. Other nations might follow suit but not necessarily. Should that affect America’s decision to adopt a policy of unilateral free trade? Absolutely not! Americans should be liberated to travel and trade with others regardless of what foreign regimes are doing in their particular nations.
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Trump Reminds Us That America is a Military Nation

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President Trump is being criticized for surrounding himself with tanks, armored vehicles, flyovers, and generals and admirals during his Fourth of July celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. Critics say that it was unseemly for the president to be showing off the federal government’s military process on Independence Day. Some said it conjured up images of the Soviet Union, when that communist regime would showcase its tanks and military hardware in parades in Moscow’s Red Square.

But the fact is that America is a military nation. As Trump pointed out in his Independence Day address, the United States has the most powerful military in history, one that can pulverize any other nation on earth. His critics don’t have any problem with that. They just don’t want Trump to highlight it.

Of course, it wasn’t always that way. In extolling America’s position as a military nation, Trump left out something important in his talk: America did not start out as a military nation. In fact, quite the contrary. America was founded as a limited-government republic, not a military nation.
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More US Dictatorship Against Cuba

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Lamenting dictatorship in Cuba, the US government has decided to tighten restrictions on the freedom of Americans to travel to Cuba. Never mind that the restrictions were not enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. When it comes to fighting totalitarian dictatorship, the reasoning goes, it’s necessary to adopt dictatorial policies here at home.

Freedom of travel has long been considered a fundamental, natural, God-given right with which no government, not even the US government, can legitimately infringe. Recall the Declaration of Independence, which Americans will be celebrating on the Fourth of July. It holds that liberty is among the rights with which all people have been endowed by their Creator. When God endows people with certain rights, including the right of freedom of travel, it goes without saying that Caesar behaves illegitimately when he infringes on such rights.

The US national-security establishment, which has long been the driving force behind the US government’s forever war against Cuba, would no doubt point to the fact that Cuba is still headed by a communist regime. That of course was the mindset of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA throughout the Cold War, when, US officials maintained, the communists from Russia, China, and elsewhere were coming to get us and take over our nation as part of a supposed worldwide communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow. Cuba, they steadfastly maintained, was part of that worldwide communist conspiracy — a communist dagger pointed at America’s neck from only 90 miles away.
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Repeal the Espionage Act

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World War I is the gift that just keeps on giving. Although the US government’s intervention into this senseless, immoral, and destructive war occurred 100 years ago, the adverse effects of the war continue to besiege our nation. Among the most notable examples is the Espionage Act, a tyrannical law that was enacted two months after the US entered the war and which, unfortunately, remained on the books after the war came to an end. In fact, it is that World War I relic that US officials are now relying on to secure the criminal indictment of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks head who released a mountain of evidence disclosing the inner workings and grave wrongdoing on the part of the US national-security establishment, especially with respect to the manner in which it has waged it undeclared forever wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Some news media commentators are finally coming to the realization that if the Espionage Act can be enforced against Assange for what he did, it can be enforced against anyone in the press for revealing damaging inside information about the national-security establishment — i.e., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. Therefore, they are calling on the Justice Department to cease and desist from its prosecution of Assange.

Of course, they are right, but the problem is that they don’t go far enough. Their mindsets reflect the customary acceptance of the status quo. The mindset is that we Americans simply have to accept the way things are and plead with the government to go easy on us.
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The Drug War Is Totally Idiotic

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Pardon me for being blunt, but it would be difficult to find anything more idiotic than the war on drugs, an ongoing federal program that has been enacted and enforced by both Republicans and Democrats for decades. The program is sheer idiocy in that its supporters continue to keep it going despite the manifest failure, violence, ruination of lives, expense, racism, and destruction of liberty and privacy that this federal program has produced and continues to produce.

But hope springs eternal in the minds of the drug war’s supporters and enforcers. Each new drug bust over the decades, oftentimes accompanied with a large amount of hoopla from the mainstream press, provides these people with confirmation that victory is just around the corner. Just a few more drug busts and the long drug-war nightmare will finally be over.

It has never happened, More important, it will never happen. And to believe it will happen is, well, sheer idiocy. There is a simple reason why victory is impossible in the drug war: the laws of supply and demand. Although the members of Congress, having heard of the laws of supply and demand, oftentimes think they can be repealed by Congress, that’s just more idiocy. That’s because these laws are natural laws, not man-made laws. Like the law of gravity, the laws of supply and demand cannot be repealed by the members of Congress.
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