Mon, 30 Jan 2017 19:43:21 GMT Mon, 30 Jan 2017 19:43:21 GMT The McCain Malady Charles Goyette

You know you are in the presence of an emotional affect when there is not even the pretense of rationality to someone’s crazed outburst, not so much as a veneer or patina of sensibility.

But then John McCain has always been like that, hot-headed and short-fused.

Still, in his response to Trump’s executive order on refugees, McCain’s deep disturbance is plain for all to see. The Senator’s hometown newspaper headlined its account this way:“McCain calls ban good for ISIS propaganda.”

Here’s the lead:
US Senator John McCain on Sunday blasted President Donald Trump’s controversial temporary refugee ban… as ‘a confused process’ that will boost the terrorist Islamic State’s propaganda efforts.
Later on, we learn that McCain and his bombing buddy Lindsey Graham issued a statement saying that “this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruiting than improve our security.”

That’s funny. Nobody remembers McCain or Graham ever suggesting that bombing foreign people in their own countries would be “good for ISIS propaganda,” and that it just might “help terrorist recruiting.”

So to put the peculiar view into perspective: We can enter our neighbors’ homes and kill their family members without provoking them.  But if we refuse to invite them into our home, they might react negatively.

McCain has distinguished himself for his bellicosity, constantly calling for US interventions around the globe. Among the countries that McCain has demanded the US invade, bomb, or destabilize are Syria, Iraq (repeatedly), Russia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, Nigeria, Bosnia, Iran, Georgia, Sudan, Mali, and perhaps China. McCain is so identified with a happy trigger-finger that he has become an easy target for satire. The satirical newspaperThe Daily Currant was spot on when it “reported on” McCain calling for the invasion and bombing of Belgium because of its defeat of the United States at the World Cup:
“Belgium is a rogue state whose outrageous behavior at the World Cup was a show of aggression toward the United States, for which President Obama must respond immediately with military force,” McCain told Fox News this morning. “In fact, I believe that anything less than a swift invasion and regime change in Belgium would show weakness to our enemies.”
We will all be better off when destructive psychological deficits and personal complexes, those of presidents, senators, news anchors and other public figures, can no longer play out on the world stage.

It’s a compelling reason to disempower the State.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Mon, 30 Jan 2017 19:43:21 GMT
The La-La Land of Conservatives

One of the fascinating characteristics of conservatives is how they are able to live in an alternative universe within their own minds, one that can easily be called la-la land. A good example of this phenomenon is conservative icon Max Boot, one of America’s most ardent interventionists and promoters of the US national-security state’s domestic and foreign military empire.

Lamenting the possibility that President Trump is going to initiate a “radical reorientation of America’s foreign policy,” Boot makes a remarkable statement in an op-ed appearing in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, one that perfectly demonstrates the la la land in which he lives:
For more than 70 years, the United States has been the world’s leading champion of free trade, democracy, and international institutions, particularly in Europe and East Asia.
Is he for real? Does he really believe that?

Yes, and the reason he believes it is that he, like so many other conservatives, lives in la la land.

Consider Chile 1973. The Chileans had a democratic system, one that had been functioning well for decades. In that year, a self-proclaimed socialist-communist, Salvador Allende, got elected president. The election was legitimate and honest. Moreover, Allende won notwithstanding the millions of US taxpayer dollars that the CIA was secretly funneling to opposition candidates.

What did the US government do about Allende’s election? Well, do you want the la la vision or the real version? Let’s go with the real version.

US officials first conspired to bribe the members of the Chilean parliament in an attempt to get them to vote against Allende. (Since he had not received a majority of the votes, the election was thrown into the hands of the parliament.)

US officials then conspired to kidnap the commanding general of the Chilean armed forces. The kidnapping resulted in his assassination. Why did they kidnap and assassinate Snyder? Because he was standing in the way of a military coup that US officials were fomenting within the Chilean military establishment. US national security state officials were telling their counterparts in Chile that they had a solemn duty to ignore the will of the voters and to destroy their country’s democratic system in order to “save it” from the man who had been democratically elected president.

When the coup finally did come, after the CIA did everything it could to “make the economy scream,” US officials did everything they could to promote the unelected, dictatorial regime that took power, a regime that proceeded to incarcerate, torture, rape, assassinate, execute, or disappear tens of thousands of innocent people. In the process, US military and intelligence officials brought about the execution of two innocent Americans who had supported Allende, one of whom had acquired evidence of secret US complicity in the coup: Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi.

Augusto Pinochet’s rein of terror lasted 17 long years. To this day, there are still conservatives who extol the virtues of the Pinochet tyranny under the name of Pax Americana, a term that appears in the title of Boot’s op-ed.

It was no different in Guatemala in 1954: the intentional destruction of Guatemala’s democratic system by ousting that nation’s democratically elected president and replacing him with a brutal and corrupt military dictator. That regime-change operation, in the name of Pax Americana, resulted in a 30-year-long civil war that killed over a million Guatemalans.

Or Iran 1953: the CIA’s ouster of the democratically elected prime minister of the country and his replacement by the brutal, unelected tyranny of the Shah. That was followed by the CIA’s helping to establish and train the Savak, the tyrannical CIA-like agency that helped to maintain the Shah’s unelected hold on power for the next 26 years — until the Iranian people finally revolted against the US-installed and US-supported anti-democratic brutal tyranny of the Shah.

You see, in the la-la land of conservatives, the US fights for democracy … so long as foreigners vote the right way. As soon as they vote the wrong way, US Pax Americana kicks into play and death and destruction are wreaked against the recalcitrant nations. But all in the name of promoting democracy. That’s how la la land works.

Consider Egypt. Oh sure, democracy was fine until the Egyptian people elected the wrong person. And so, the Arab Spring had to come to a sudden end with the military coup that re-installed the Egyptian military into power, with the full support of the US government. Today, millions of dollars in US taxpayer-funded weaponry continue to be furnished the Egyptian military tyrants to help them maintain their brutal anti-democratic hold on power.

How does Boot reconcile all this with his claim that the US government is a leader for democracy? He doesn’t. That’s because he lives in la la land.

Consider Boot’s criticism against Trump for advocating protectionism and trade restrictions. At the same time he issues his criticism, Boot endorses the continuation of the US government’s economic sanctions on Russia.

How does he reconcile his purported devotion to free trade with the concept of economic sanctions? He doesn’t. Remember: He’s a conservative. He lives in la la land.

Mr. Boot, reflect on that term: free trade. The operative word is “free.” What do you think the “free” in “free trade” is all about? It means that trade is free from government control and regulation.

Such being the case, how can free trade and government-imposed economic sanctions, which punish Americans for trading with Russians, be reconciled with each other? They can’t be … except in la la land.

It’s no different with the more than 50 years of the brutal economic embargo against Cuba. It punishes Americans who wish to travel to Cuba and spend money there. How is such punishment reconcilable with the principles of free trade? It isn’t … except in la la land.

It’s no different with the economic sanctions against the Iranian people, which are really being enforced for one reason only: because the Iranian people had the audacity to oust the US-installed Shah from power. For that, they need to be punished by Pax Americana.

Amazingly, Boot implicitly defends US interventionism into World War I. I didn’t think that there was anyone left who defended that intervention. It’s goal was to make the world safe for democracy and was going to be the war to end all wars. Yet, the result of that US interventionism was the exact opposite and actually contributed to the conditions that gave rise to Adolf Hitler and World War II a short time later.

Not surprisingly, the disastrous consequences of WW I, just like those of WWII (e.g., communist control of Eastern Europe and East Germany, communist China, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the conversion of the federal government to a national security state), are all ignored in la la land.

Equally amazing, Boot fails to address what Pax Americana and the US national-security state have done to the Middle East ever since the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA unexpectedly and suddenly lost their official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union, which had been America’s World War II partner and ally.

Look at Iraq. Look at Libya. Look at Syria. Look at ISIS. Look at the European refugee crisis. All rooted in US interventionism and Pax Americana in the Middle East. In la la land, it’s best to just ignore the disastrous consequences of US empire and intervention and to just play like the bad consequences didn’t happen.

Unlike Boot, I’m not optimistic that Trump is going to follow the lead of America’s Founding Fathers and lead the country in a non-interventionist direction. But he should. La la land is no place for America.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.
]]> Mon, 23 Jan 2017 18:18:33 GMT
‘John McCain Passed Dossier to Make Trump Look Bad; Now He’s Trying to Save His Hide’

McCain had a private meeting with FBI Director James Comey to hand him a dossier on Trump in a ploy to make him look bad, claims Daniel McAdams, executive director of Ron Paul Institute. Now McCain is attempting to disassociate himself from it, he added.

US Senator John McCain said last week's leak of an unverified report on Russia having compromising information on Donald Trump was “totally wrong” and that someone must be held responsible for it.

RT: John McCain, who passed the unverified information to the FBI himself now claims that those behind its leak must be responsible for it. What's your take on that?

Daniel McAdams: We should be clear what McCain’s role was in this. McCain is a chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, an extraordinarily powerful individual in Washington DC. I think that what happened is that McCain is caught in the center of this controversy. Now he is trying to play the innocent. “Oh, I just did my duty,” he said. “I had no way of knowing whether this was valid damning information.”

But what he did in his role as the Chairman of the Committee was he validated that information. He contacted James Comey, the director of the FBI, to have a personal and private meeting to hand him this dossier. That action in itself validates or gives the impression that the document is validated to the FBI. So I think he is caught in the trap of his own making. He was trying to be involved in a ploy to make Trump look bad. He was caught at it, and now he is trying to backtrack and save his hide.

RT: Why do you think in this case it kind of looks like McCain is even taking Trump’s side here?

DM: I don’t think he is taking Trump’s side at all because he made the point, he said this is “damning information.” He never said this is untrue, or this is not true, or this is a lie. He’s trying to have it both ways because what he wants more than anything is a new Cold War with Russia. He is furious with Trump because Trump has said over and over again that he wants to have improved relations with Russia.

McCain just today released his own new defense budget: five years – five trillion dollar defense budget; a lot of that is aimed at Russia. It is great for the American military-industrial complex, which is what keeps John McCain in office. So that is one of the reasons he does this. One of the reasons why he cannot stand Donald Trump and he could not stand to have any change in Washington’s anti-Russia policies… If anyone is hurting American democracy, it’s people like John McCain and whoever hired this person to dig up this supposed dirt to create this dirt…

They’ve created the narrative that Trump is somehow in the pay of the Russians. Even Mike Morell, the [former] acting CIA Director, said the incoming President of the United States is an “agent of Putin.” This is unprecedented. They’ve established this to de-legitimize – whatever you think about Donald Trump, this is to de-legitimize him. Most people will remember the salacious details of this dossier; they won’t remember all the finer points about how it came about, McCain’s role in it. They don’t remember this; they remember the headlines. So I would say as a propaganda ploy this will probably be very successful.

RT: Why do you think in this case it kind of looks like McCain is even taking Trump’s side here?

DM: I don’t think he is taking Trump’s side at all because he made the point, he said this is “damning information.” He never said this is untrue, or this is not true, or this is a lie. He’s trying to have it both ways because what he wants more than anything is a new Cold War with Russia. He is furious with Trump because Trump has said over and over again that he wants to have improved relations with Russia.

McCain just today released his own new defense budget: five years – five trillion dollar defense budget; a lot of that is aimed at Russia. It is great for the American military-industrial complex, which is what keeps John McCain in office. So that is one of the reasons he does this. One of the reasons why he cannot stand Donald Trump and he could not stand to have any change in Washington’s anti-Russia policies… If anyone is hurting American democracy, it’s people like John McCain and whoever hired this person to dig up this supposed dirt to create this dirt…

They’ve created the narrative that Trump is somehow in the pay of the Russians. Even Mike Morrell, the acting CIA Director, said the incoming President of the United States is an “agent of Putin.” This is unprecedented. They’ve established this to de-legitimize – whatever you think about Donald Trump, this is to de-legitimize him. Most people will remember the salacious details of this dossier; they won’t remember all the finer points about how it came about, McCain’s role in it. They don’t remember this; they remember the headlines. So I would say as a propaganda ploy this will probably be very successful.

]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:13:35 GMT
Did John McCain 'Launder' Dodgy Trump Intel Dossier? Daniel McAdams

We all know what money laundering is. When you need to hide the fact that the money in your possession comes by way of nefarious sources, you transfer it through legitimate sources and it appears clean on the other end. It's standard practice among thieves, extortionists, drug dealers, and the like.

The same practice can even be used to "clean" intelligence that comes by dubious sources, and sometimes even US Senators may involve themselves in such dark activities. Case in point US Senator John McCain (R-AZ), whose virulent opposition to Donald Trump is outmatched only by his total dedication to fomenting a new cold (or hot?) war with Russia.

While the world was caught up in the more salacious passages from a purported opposition research report on Donald Trump showing all manner of collusion with Putin's Russia -- and Russia's possession of blackmail-able kompromat on Trump -- something very interesting was revealed about the custody of the information. The "dossier" on Trump seemed to follow two chains of custody. One involved the media, which in October were given and encouraged to publish the "report" by the authors of the report (or their sponsors), purportedly a former British intelligence officer working for a private intelligence company. Only David Corn of Mother Jones bit, and his resulting story picked over the report to construct a mess of innuendo on Trump's relation to Russia that was short on any evidence.

The other chain of custody is what interests us. Remember, we have a dubious report constructed for the purpose of discrediting Donald Trump, which was first commissioned by one of his Republican primary rivals and later completed under the patronage of someone in Hillary's camp. It was created for a specific political purpose, which may have tainted its reception among more objective governmental sources had that been known. Enter John McCain. According to media reports, the dossier was handed to Sen. McCain -- again, a strong Trump opponent and proponent of conflict with Russia -- by a former UK ambassador (who presumably received it from the source, a former British intelligence officer).

Senator McCain then felt duty-bound to bring this "intelligence report" directly (and privately) to the personal attention of FBI Director James Comey. From this hand-off to Comey, the report then became part of the Intelligence Community's assessment of Russian interference in the US presidential election.

Senator McCain is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, one of the most powerful members of the US Senate. Consider the impact of being handed a strange report by some private intelligence-firm-for-hire or a media outlet versus being handed a report by one of the most powerful men in the US government. McCain's involving himself in the case gave the report a sense of legitimacy that it would not otherwise have had. Was this "laundering" intentional on his part? We do not know, but given his position on Trump and Russia that possibility must be considered.

So great was the pressure on McCain to come clean on his decision to meet privately with the FBI Director to hand over this report that he released a statement earlier today portraying himself as nothing more than a good citizen, passing information to the proper authorities for them to act on if they see fit.

Do you believe the Senator from Arizona?]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:36:17 GMT
Neocon Triumph? Trump Calls For 'Safe Zones' in Syria

Donald Trump won the presidency largely because the American public was tired of the last 16 years of continuous wars and disastrous foreign interventions. When he said "I think getting along with Russia is a good thing," Americans compared that with Hillary's promise of more confrontation and nuclear brinksmanship and pulled the lever for Trump. When Trump asked what's so bad about Assad and Putin fighting ISIS in Syria and promised to end the idiotic policy of arming "rebels" because "we don't know who they are," America felt the five year "regime change" policy that has left Syria in ruins was finally coming to an end and they voted Trump.

The neocons gnashed their teeth at the thought that Trump would give up on "remaking" the Middle East, one of their top priorities since at least the 1996 study by the Project for a New American Century called for exactly the same kind of regime change policy the US eventually pursued.

Hillary promised "no-fly zones" for Syria, which would have likely meant armed confrontation with Russia. Trump promised the opposite and won.

Then the predictable happened. Within minutes of the announcement that Trump beat Hillary the bloodcurdling neocon Twitter feeds came to a screeching halt, did a u-turn, and began whispering sweet nothings into Trump's ear. "Ah Mr. Trump, you will need some expert advice," they breathily cooed. "You will need to listen to us very serious people. Don't be a bumpkin, listen to the experts." And so on.

It now looks like the neocons may have successfully bamboozled Trump on Syria. Just as the Syrian army with Russian assistance was clearing the last of the al-Qaeda rebels out of eastern Aleppo and the residents began to return to the homes they had abandoned, Trump took to the stage to comment that it was "so sad" what was happening in Syria. He then pulled a Hillary, telling the crowd: “We’ll build and help build safe zones in Syria, so people will have a chance.”

This turnabout has neocon fingerprints all over it. The mainstream media -- also known as "fake news" factories -- have been mis-reporting on the defeat of forces in east Aleppo that even the US government admits are al-Qaeda's Nusra Front. In their false narrative the defeat of al-Qaeda is a terrible thing and the tragic deaths of those in east Aleppo are not because they were held hostage for four years by al-Qaeda, but rather the fault of the government that freed them from captivity.

The mainstream media has no reporters on the ground in east Aleppo. They rely on various US-government funded NGOs like the "White Helmets," who dutifully repeat the propaganda of their paymasters. Independent journalists on the ground who are actually interviewing people as they return to their homes in east Aleppo are seeing and reporting the opposite of what we see in the US mainstream media. Of course in the twisted world of modern media, credible sources interviewing people on the ground and on-camera must be ignored. It doesn't fit the narrative.

When Donald Trump says the US will build "safe zones" in Syria, what does he mean? Does he know? Does he mean safe zones to protect the people from ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups? Those "safe zones" are already being built by the Syrian army with allied assistance. Just ask the people returning to their homes in Aleppo. The best way to help would be for the United States to stay out of the way. After all, the US is currently operating illegally inside Syria according to both US and international law.

Or does he mean "safe zones" to protect the various terrorist groups from being further routed by Syrian government forces? That is the neocon plan, the Hillary plan, the "humanitarian interventionist with a bullet" plan. Is that now Trump's plan too?

The neocons are busy re-packaging their old "regime change" plans for Syria in new wrapping paper. Over at "War on the Rocks" blog one of the "experts" outlines a "Sensible Path for Trump's Syria Policy," which upon even cursory examination is essentially identical to the policy pursued to utter failure over the past five years. At its center is regime change for Syria, just as Obama called for in 2011. 

Here's a real "sensible path for Trump's Syria policy": American troops home, no more weapons, no more regime change. Actually Trump's own words would serve pretty well as a sensible path for Syria policy:
We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments.
But the neocons will not let go that easily, as we see today in Trump's adoption of neocon talking points. Mr. President-elect: if you lie down with dogs you will wake up with fleas...or worse.]]> Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:58:22 GMT
McCain to Trump: Don't You Dare Make Peace with Russia! Daniel McAdams

Sit down. This is going to shock you. (Not). We reported yesterday on the telephone call between US president-elect Trump and Russian president Putin, where the current and future presidents discussed the need to set aside differences and look to more constructive future relations. With serious observers of this past year's increasing tensions between US and Russia openly worrying about a nuclear war breaking out, with some 300,000 NATO troops placed on Russia's border, with sanctions hurting average businesspersons on both sides, a normal person might look at the slight thaw in Cold War 2.0 as an early positive indicator of the end of the Obama Era.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) begs to differ. 

In a blistering statement he released today responding to the Trump/Putin telephone call, Sen. McCain condemned any efforts by President-elect Trump to find common ground with Putin. 

Any claim by Putin that he wants to improve relations with the US must be vigorously opposed, writes McCain. He explains:
We should place as much faith in such statements as any other made by a former KGB agent who has plunged his country into tyranny, murdered his political opponents, invaded his neighbors, threatened America’s allies, and attempted to undermine America’s elections. 
Interesting that Republican McCain has taken to using the Hillary Clinton campaign line (the one that lost her the election) that somehow the Russians were manipulating the US electoral process. The claim was never backed up by facts and Hillary's claim that some 17 US intelligence agencies agreed with her was shown to be a dangerous and foolish lie.

Why is Putin not to be trusted, according to McCain?
Vladimir Putin has rejoined Bashar Assad in his barbaric war against the Syrian people with the resumption of large-scale Russian air and missile strikes in Idlib and Homs. Another brutal assault on the city of Aleppo could soon follow.
What McCain doesn't say is that unlike US troops in Syria, the Russians are invited by the Syrian government and operate according to international law. Oh yes, and they are also fighting al-Qaeda and ISIS, which has sought to overthrow Assad for the past five years.

Maybe McCain is just really sensitive after meeting with al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria?

As rumors swirl from Washington about neocons sniffing out top jobs in the incoming administration, it would serve president-elect Trump well to reflect on he true nature of the neocon beast...]]> Tue, 15 Nov 2016 22:26:58 GMT
Is Trump Already Headed Down the Path of the George W. Bush Presidency? Ivan Eland

President-elect Donald Trump, during his campaign, refreshingly criticized Republican George W. Bush’s war in Iraq and Democrat Barack Obama’s war in Libya; seemingly advocated a more restrained American foreign policy abroad; touted the need for a better relationship with Russia; and even propounded a badly needed reassessment of overextended U.S. alliances around the world. However, already his apparent consideration of the usual hawkish Republican retreads for top foreign policy and national security posts threatens to take him down the well-worn path of the Bush presidency he so vehemently criticized during the political season.

In the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush, to distinguish himself from the interventionist presidency of Democrat Bill Clinton, promised a “more humble foreign policy.” Yet, after he became president, Bush, advised by neo-conservative hawks, took advantage of the tragic 9/11 attacks to invade a Muslim country that had no part in those attacks—Iraq. This invasion was one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in American history—turning into a U.S. quagmire that destabilized both Iraq and Syria and led to an Islamist guerrilla opposition movement that ultimately became the brutal group Islamic State, with which will Mr. Trump will now have to contend.

Yet disappointingly, Trump’s rumored consideration of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Sen. Bob Corker (Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), and former diplomat and neo-conservative John Bolton for Secretary of State point in the direction of continuing the standard Republican hawkish foreign policy of George W. Bush—about which Trump complained in the campaign and which the American people resoundingly rejected in the election.

For defense secretary, the seeming consideration of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), former Bush National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) seem to go down the same road. The apparent consideration of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) for National Security Adviser also have an excessively muscular tinge.

For such high security posts, some Trump consideration is needed of fresh voices on the right who advocate the time-tested and more restrained foreign policy of the nation’s founders—to be more aligned with Trump’s campaign rhetoric to the American people implying fewer entanglements in exhausting faraway foreign wars, better relations with great powers such as Russia, and reassessment, and perhaps a scaling back, of the costly U.S. role in a globe-spanning network of outdated alliances.

Reprinted with permission from the Independent Institute.]]> Thu, 10 Nov 2016 15:46:01 GMT
Senators McCain and Corker Use Faulty Geography to Support US Arming Saudi Arabia Adam Dick

During the debate Wednesday in the United States Senate concerning Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) resolution (S. J. Res. 39) to prohibit certain US military equipment sales to Saudi Arabia, resolution opponents Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke regarding their concern that a Houthi victory in Yemen, which US military equipment sales to Saudi Arabia is supposed to help prevent, could result in increased danger at the Strait of Hormuz. Corker, in the discussion, even seems to say Yemen borders the Strait of Hormuz. However, as pointed out by Steven Nelson in an interesting US News and World Report article regarding McCain and Corker’s comments, the Strait of Hormuz is hundreds of miles from Yemen.

If McCain and Corker were arguing that the US should just mind its own business and keep out of foreign wars as some American politicians eloquently argued in the early days of the US, it would not matter if the senators think Yemen is next to Mongolia or is an island in the Pacific Ocean. But, instead, the senators are projecting their knowledge of the situation in the Middle East, as well as of the region’s geography, to advance a practical case for why the US government should continue to provide great amounts of military aid to support Saudi Arabia and its allies in an attack on another country.

While even very informed individuals are likely to find that foreign interventions they support result in major problems they never foresaw, the folly of foreign intervention is more evident when its high-level proponents cannot get their facts straight. Corker and McCain have very influential roles in the determination and funding of US foreign policy and military policy. Corker is chairman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. McCain is chairman on the Senate Armed Services Committee.]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:24:22 GMT
Jennifer Rubin: Hillary Must Stop Peace With Iran at All Costs! Daniel McAdams

After anxiously and incessantly angling for a hardcore neoconservative to take the Republican presidential nomination, the Washington Post's online blogger Jennifer Rubin has made the long journey home. Rebuffed by Republican voters who selected Donald Trump as their candidate, Rubin's gunpowder breath is now desperately seeking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's ear.

Her message? This damned Iran deal is improving US/Iran relations and that is completely intolerable. "Hillary: Please bomb something over there," Rubin screeches, in her latest installment of the neocon chronicles.

Why is Rubin so hot and bothered? Well, Secretary of State John Kerry has dared to encourage some business investment in Iran after the nuclear deal has begun paying dividends in more stable relations. Doing business is always preferable to sanctions and blockades because it makes war less likely. Each side has too much to lose when there are economic interests at stake so each side will act with more caution. As when a Chinese incident with a US spy plane led the damaged US plane to land in China -- both sides realized that economic relations were sufficiently important that the potentially volatile situation needed to be carefully walked back from the brink of conflict.

War kills economic opportunities for the average people on both sides, but it also produces unique financial opportunities for the specially connected. Like the people around Jennifer Rubin.

Rubin is given a little corner of Washington's "paper of record," but she is either so ill-formed when it comes to the basic situation in Syria that one wonders why she has such a platform when surely there are plenty of better-informed high school students who could fill the slot...or she is purposely obfuscating from her little perch in which case the Washington Post is a witting party to her deception.

For example she writes this:
This week we have also learned that as many as 100,000 Iranian-backed militia members are fighting in Iraq...
But she does not inform her readers that these Iranian militia members are in fact fighting ISIS in Iraq. In other words, they are helping us defeat our sworn enemy. While Washington is pained to admit it, even John Kerry said not long ago that having so many additional fighters taking on ISIS in Iraq is "helpful" to America's efforts to defeat ISIS. 

Rubin would clearly prefer an ISIS victory to accepting the assistance of an Iran that also views the establishment of an anti-Iranian jihadist Caliphate in its backyard an existential threat.

Again Rubin plays fast and loose with the truth when she writes:
Russia is expanding its alliance with Iran and influence in Syria in unprecedented ways. Russian planes are now taking off directly from Iran to bomb Syrian targets...
What she does not tell us once again is that those Russian planes are bombing ISIS and al-Qaeda (those guys who attacked us on 9/11). Does anyone else wonder why she objects to the Russians bombing ISIS and al-Qaeda? Particularly as the US seems to be letting them get away at every possible opportunity.

What is to be done, in the mind of Rubin?
[R]ather than pleading with Russia, we can make clear that we will be establishing a new policy of direct action against the Assad regime, including establishment of safe havens. Vladimir Putin has had a risk-free policy of aggression up to now; that should change.
So, Rubin would have the US attack a Syrian government that has fought for five years against a foreign, radical jihadist insurgency and directly confront a Russia that has the same enemy in the process.

Who's side is she on? Ours or the terrorists'?

Evidently we can partner with Stalin to defeat Hitler but we dare not partner with Putin to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda. The neocons are clearly high on their own vapors. Rubin is first in line for neocon bong hits.]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 19:33:55 GMT
Former Acting CIA Director Morell: 'We Need to Kill Russians and Iranians' Daniel McAdams

It's been a busy week for former acting CIA director Michael Morell. First, over the weekend he published an op-ed in the New York Times humbly titled, "I Ran the CIA. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton."  In the piece he explained that Hillary Clinton was his choice for president because of:
...her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous; her understanding that diplomacy can be effective only if the country is perceived as willing and able to use force if necessary...
Morell pitched his tent in Hillary's camp because of her aggressive, you might say neoconservative, foreign policy.

Among his factually incorrect claims in the piece was that he supports Hillary because, "[d]uring the early debates about how we should respond to the Syrian civil war, she was a strong proponent of a more aggressive approach, one that might have prevented the Islamic State from gaining a foothold in Syria."

Those of us not so dizzied in the stratospheric heights of CIA (acting) directorship could have informed Morell that it was only as Assad was weakened by US (and allied) backed jihadists that ISIS was able to take hold in Syria and that taking Assad out earlier, as he advises, would have produced not Switzerland but another Libya. Actually worse than Libya. But the neocons never bother too much with reality. Instead they make their own reality each day. 

Even more bizarre (and incidentally a peek into the mentality of the excessively politically-tuned upper echelons of the military and intelligence community) was Morell's claim that Hillary's opponent Donald Trump was a threat to US national security because he was actually a Russian spy.

As Morell put it:
Mr. Putin...recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.
There is plenty to write about Trump's faults and shortcomings, but only the most extreme conspiracy theorist would dare suggest that in some smoky pub somewhere "Agent Vlad" honed in on The Donald to serve unwittingly as an agent of the Russian empire.

There is plenty more in Morell's strange NYT op-ed -- reminding us of the obstacles honest intelligence analysts must surmount to get their conclusions considered in the mix -- but anyone who thought he could not outdo his seemingly unhinged neoconservative tendencies would have to think again as yesterday he played softball with the male Barbara Walters, Charlie Rose. 

There is much to Morell's bizarre interview with Charlie Rose, but cutting to the chase for the sake of brevity, is his contention that our policy in Syria should be to "punish" the Russians and Iranians for assisting the Syrian government in its fight against al-Qaeda and ISIS:
Morell: 'We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price in Syria.'

Rose: 'We make them pay the price by killing Russians?'

Morell: Yeah.

Rose: 'And killing Iranianis?'

Morell: 'Yes...You don't tell the world about it, right? You don't stand up at the Pentagon and tell the world that we did this. Right? But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.'
Don't believe it? Watch the interview yourself:

This is Hillary's unhinged world.]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 23:09:42 GMT
Sen. McCain Attacks Due Process, Votes No Guns for Americans on Watch List Daniel McAdams

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is proud to have voted to gut the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. In a press release dated today, McCain praises himself for voting in favor of a Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) amendment to prohibit Americans from purchasing firearms if they are on the US "terror watchlist."

Wrote McCain:
I believe deeply that we can and must do more to keep guns out the hands of dangerous terrorists who seek to harm us...
While no one would disagree with McCain's above statement, the fact is that individuals appearing on any federal watchlist have not been found guilty of being "dangerous terrorists." They are not even terrorist suspects. In fact we have no idea why they are on the list or how they got there, as the process of getting on -- and getting off -- the list is secret. 

How many people are on the watch list? The US government won't say. 

"You know, we don't provide those exact numbers," replied US Attorney General Loretta Lynch when asked recently. A range at least? "Well, as I say, we don't provide those exact numbers," Lynch repeated.

We do know that in the mid-2000s it was reported that as many as 30,000 people are mistakenly on the terror watch list. People like the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Or 8-Year-Old Mikey Hicks. Or CNN Reporter Drew Griffin (who found himself on the list after he did a series of reports critical of the TSA).

These people are not "dangerous terrorists." They are normal Americans. But even those on the list for suspected terrorist sympathies have not been convicted of a crime. They have not had their right to due process before being deprived of life, liberty, or property. They have had no evidence presented against them nor have they had the opportunity to face their accuser. In fact they are not allowed to know that they have even been accused. 

McCain continues:
While the discussion surrounding firearms is important, it is clear that individual actors are inspired by the foreign terrorist ideology that ISIL espouses from its physical sanctuaries in the Middle East that are a result of a failed foreign policy and the absence of strategy from this Administration. To combat this challenge, we must cut radical Islamic extremism off at the source in Syria and Iraq, and that can only happen when the Administration finally develops and implements a strategy to defeat ISIL.
It is interesting that the Senator calls for cutting radical Islamic extremism off at its source in Syria while at the same time he is cavorting with extremist groups inside Syria and calling for more arms to be delivered to rebels even though more than 60 percent of these weapons end up in the hands of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Perhaps if McCain really wanted to do something about radical Islamist extremism in the Middle East he would simply butt out of the affairs of others, zip his lips, and stop visiting with terrorists.]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 20:03:25 GMT
Bill Kristol: 'We Beat Back Ron Paul and Rand Paul' Robert Wenzel

Neoconservative by birth, Bill Kristol, apparently thinks the libertarian moment is over.

Kristol was in San Francisco yesterday and appeared at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco for a "conversation with" event.

He fielded questions from the audience and also the moderator neocon Kori Schake, mostly about Donald Trump.

At one point, he named a list of  non-mainstream Republican candidates that had their moment in the sun and then faded away.

This included Ron and Rand Paul.

"We beat back Ron Paul and Rand Paul," he said. Implying that they were nothing but a footnote in Republican history.

Kristol said the current election resembled one coming out of a third world country.

He also admitted that he underestimated "Trump's seeing what the people are upset about."

He said the current move by some delegates to open up the upcoming Republican national convention by "voting conscience" to deny Trump the nomination has about a 15% chance of succeeding. He said only last week he would have said it only had a 5% chance.

He said he could not rule out a Trump victory in November.

He said he sent out this tweet to "energize" Reince Priebus:<

Reprinted with permission from Target Liberty.]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:38:13 GMT
Bill Kristol’s Presidential Candidate: David French? Adam Dick

Pro-war pundit Bill Kristol is disgusted about Donald Trump being the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Indeed, Kristol has even been searching for someone to launch an independent or third-party campaign to counter Trump.

Last weekend Kristol stirred up some interest with a tweet that “an independent candidate--an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance” would emerge. That hasn’t happened yet. But, Mark Halperin and John Hellemann report today at Bloomberg that Republican sources say Kristol is trying to recruit National Review writer David French to launch an independent presidential run and that, while French is open to the idea, French has not yet made up his mind.

David French is not a household name like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Still, French and his take on the presidential race have not escaped the interest of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI).

On May 10, I wrote about French in my RPI article “Anti-Trump Republicans to Hijack Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination?” In the article, I discuss French’s yearning, shared with Kristol, for 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to enter the 2016 presidential race as an independent or third-party candidate.

The article also addresses French’s advocacy for the Libertarian Party to nominate a presidential candidate to French’s liking, with French even suggesting that Gary Johnson, who since won the Libertarian presidential nomination on Sunday, may satisfy French. Well, if the Bloomberg report is correct, for some reason Johnson may not to be satisfying enough.

Let’s wait and see what happens. French has not announced a campaign, and Kristol is notorious for making predictions that are off the mark. Ron Paul likely correctly called the situation when he said in a recent Fox Business interview:
I think what the neocons will do — the Bill Kristols of the world — and you hear it already, they are going to go with Hillary. Hillary is a Wall Street person, she’s a neocon, and she wants to spend money on the military, so a lot of them will go there.
]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 03:34:49 GMT
The Dreadful Kagan Clan — Hillary’s Warmongers In Waiting David Stockman

The US is heading straight for a fiscal calamity in the next decade. Even if you believe the CBO’s Rosy Scenario projections — which assume that we will go 207 months thru 2026 without a recession or double the longest expansion on record and nearly four times the normal cycle length — we will still end up with $28 trillion of national debt and a $1.3 trillion annual deficit (5 percent of GDP) by 2026.

But that’s the optimistic case! As I demonstrated recently, if you get real about all the enormous headwinds down the road — including the virtual certainty that the Red Ponzi will have a crashing landing and take the global economy down with it — you end up with a truly dismal picture.

To wit, just assume economic performance during the next ten years is no better or worse than the average of the last ten years, including the last decade’s 2.5 percent growth rate of wage and salary income.

The result is that by the out-years CBO has over-estimated taxable income by more than 20 percent or $2 trillion per year; and that means, in turn, that CBOs current forecast is built on massive phantom revenues, given that under current law the payroll and income tax take from wages and salaries is just under 35 percent.

Accordingly, with sober economic assumptions and existing policy, the annual deficit is heading for $2-3 trillion per year by the middle of the next decade. This means the nation will accumulate incremental debt of $15 trillion or more in the interim, and that by 2026 the national debt will reach $34 trillion or 140 percent of GDP.

Those are Greek style fiscal ratios. And they would come at the very time that the 78 million strong baby-boom generation is at peak retirement levels.

Yet, not only does Hillary Clinton insist that social security benefits are sacrosanct and actually need to be increased, along with lowering the Medicare age to 50 years, she also insists that Washington remain the world’s policeman and imperial hegemon.

In a word, a Clinton presidency would mean Big Government on both sides of the Potomac — a combined Warfare State and Welfare State that would positively bankrupt the nation during the next decade.

The fact is, Washington is still spending upwards of $700 billion per year on defense, international security assistance, foreign aid and the rest of the surveillance state; and the total is more than $850 billion if you count the cost of supporting veterans from all the misbegotten wars and interventions going back to the 1950s.

More importantly, the iron law of Washington politics — demonstrated in spades during the Reagan era— is that entitlements and other domestic programs will never be cut or reformed so long as massive funding is being sluiced into the military-industry-security complex. Its always pork barrel uber alles.

And that brings us to the deplorable Kagan clan — Washington’s leading resident family of war-mongering neo-cons. The odds are that, if elected President, Hillary would likely choose one of them — her protégé during her stint in the Obama administration, Victoria Nuland — as Secretary of State.

Yet that would be lights out for any hope of caging Washington’s imperial ambitions and reducing the massive and utterly unnecessary burden of current defense spending. The truth is, there are fewer greater menaces in the Imperial City today than Victoria Nuland.

Not only does she happen to be married to Bob Kagan, the leading neocon guru of global interventionism and regime change, but she earned her spurs as a key aid to Dick Cheney.

No matter. When the American public naively thought it elected the “peace” candidate in 2008, Nuland just changed her Jersey, joined Hillary’s team at State, and by 2013 was assistant secretary for European Affairs.

And that’s when Nuland’s rampage of everlasting shame began. She was the main architect of the coup in Kiev in February 2014 that overthrow the constitutionally elected government of the Ukraine, thereby commencing the whole sequence of confrontations with Russia and the full-throated demonization of Vladimir Putin that has followed.

Needless to say, overthrowing an elected government on Russia’s front doorstep had nothing to do with the safety and security of the American people. But it did rekindle ancient tensions between the nationalistic Ukrainians and neo-Nazis who seized power with Washington’s help and the Russian speaking populations in the Donbas and Crimea, who felt suddenly imperiled and turned to Moscow for protection.

Indeed, the Kiev uprising would never have happened without huge amounts of covert aid and instigation from Washington. Nuland’s appearance at the Maidan Square demonstrations amounted to what would be an unthinkable violation of sovereignty anywhere else in the world. Accordingly, the coup was a straight out imperial grab designed to bring the Ukraine into NATO and to extend Washington’s hegemony to the entirely of the old Warsaw bloc geography.

Hillary’s favorite candidate for Secretary of State, therefore, almost single-handedly restarted the cold war and pulled the US and Europe into what has become a dragnet of costly economic sanctions that are completely pointless and unnecessary.

And Hillary Clinton has been onboard for this misbegotten campaign from the get-go. At one point she actually likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

C’mon. The man’s a monumental crook and no model citizen of the world, but he is no threat to American security whatsoever.

He presides over a third rate economy no larger than the GDP of the New York SMSA that essentially consists of a complex of petroleum fields, grain farms and metal mines and a lethargic work force with a fondness for vodka.

At the time the constitutionally elected government of Ukraine was being overthrown by Victoria Nuland’s mob of economically deprived citizens, disgruntled nationalists and crypto-Nazi agitators in February 2014, Putin was basking in the glory of the Sochi Olympics. And before that he had spent his time having petty quarrels with the crook who took over the tiny state of Georgia after the Soviet Union disappeared and similar no-count machinations along his historic borders.

The world disdained his oafish character, but no one claimed that he was fixing to invade Europe. There was not a shred of evidence for it.

At the same time, any one who knew the slightest thing about Ukraine’s history and its long co-existence in the shadow of Mother Russia understood that bringing it into NATO was a decidedly stupid idea; that for 200 years Crimea had been a integral part of Russia that was only “gifted” to Ukraine by Kruschev during his post-Stalin consolidation of power in the Kremlin; and that now threatening Russia’s rented naval homeport in Sevastopol, Crimea was sheer folly.

Not Hillary. She was soon figuratively at the barricades right alongside Nuland justifying the folly of the NATO confrontation with Russia and the self-defeating economic sanctions against Putin.

Even though she was out of office and in a position to recognize that the very same “partition” solution that had led to the severance of Kosovo from Serbia during the 1990s could have solved the Donbas and Crimea issues, she was having none of it.

Instead, by her lights NATO, which should have been disbanded after 1991, needs to go to the brink with Putin over essentially a Ukrainian civil war.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Imperial Washington is lining up behind Hillary, and that the deplorable Kagan Clan is fixing to retain its insidious influence for another Presidential term.

The fact is, Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime serving the Warfare state and absorbing its pretensions and ideologies. She allegedly protested the Vietnam War before becoming a Republican summer intern in 1967, but to my knowledge that was the last war she didn’t embrace.

She was an enthusiastic backer of Bill Clinton’s feckless military interventions in the Balkans during the 1990s and a signed-up hawk for George Bush’s catastrophic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As Donald Trump rightly says, her time as Secretary of State was an unmitigated disaster. The “peace candidate” actually won the 2008 election, but Secretary Clinton along with lifetime CIA operative and unabashed war-monger, Robert Gates, saw to it that peace never got a chance.

From the pointless, bloody “surge” in Afghanistan to the destructive intervention in Libya to the arming and aiding of jihadist radicals in Syria, Hillary has proved herself to be a shrill harpy of military mayhem. Indeed, she brought a fillip to the neocon playbook that has made Imperial Washington even more trigger happy.

To wit, Clinton has been a tireless proponent of the insidious doctrine of R2P or “responsibility to protect”. No one in their right mind could have concluded that the aging, pacified, tent-bound Moammar Khadafy was a threat to the safety and security of the American people. Even the community organizer from South Chicago wanted to keep the American bombers parked on their runways.

But Hillary’s infamous emails leave no doubt that it was she who induced Obama to embrace the folly that quickly created yet another failed state, hotbed of jihadism and barbaric hellhole in the middle east. Indeed, her hands are doubly bloody.

When Hillary bragged that “We came, we saw, he died”, it turns out that not just Khadafy but thousands of innocents have died, and not just from the chaos unleashed in Libya itself. The former dictator’s arsenals and mercenaries have now been dispersed all over North Africa and the middle east, spreading desolation in their wake.

But a Hillary Clinton presidency would only guarantee more of the same. And this excellent piece from the American Conservative explains, it would also keep the nation’s leading clan of warmongers firmly ensconced in the corridors of power.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra Corner.]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 19:04:15 GMT
Anti-Trump Republicans to Hijack Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination? Adam Dick

David French at National Review is perturbed about Donald Trump apparently securing the Republican presidential nomination. French wrote in a Wednesday article that he would “gladly support” a third-party presidential run this year by 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. French also has another suggestion for dealing with Trump on the Republican ticket. “Now is an ideal time for the Libertarian Party to get its act together and nominate a truly serious candidate — a person who may not meet the party’s typical purity tests but who can at least make a serious argument and advance a range of policies that unite both conservatives and libertarians,” writes French.

Of course, there is not much of a “range of policies” shared in common between libertarians and Romney-style conservatives. Concerning liberty at home and intervention abroad, the chasm between Romneyesque policies and libertarian policies is very large. On economic issues the rhetoric gap can be narrow at times. But, when you move beyond platitudes about cutting taxes and eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse,” the Romney-style conservatives are not about shrinking government significantly.

Just as Ron Paul Institute Chairman and Founder Ron Paul refused to endorse Mitt Romney in 2012, you can count on many libertarians to turn a cold shoulder to the option of supporting Romney or someone like him in 2016 — no matter with what party label such a candidate is identified.

Some libertarians would practically chose to vote for such a candidate on a ballot full of non-libertarian options. Other libertarians would weigh the available options and make a different selection. Others would write in a name. Plenty would just sit out the election.

What is hard to imagine is why someone who wants to advance libertarian ideas through the Libertarian Party would intentionally break the connection between the party and the libertarianism for which the party is named by supporting the nomination of a candidate who, as French so delicately phrases it, “may not meet the party’s typical purity tests.” French writes that, by following his advice, the party would be getting “its act together.” Many delegates at the Libertarian National Convention would counter that such action would instead betray the party’s founding principles and make a joke of the party’s name.

French, by the way, has an odd way of cozying up to Libertarian Party supporters. As Ludwig von Mises Institute President Jeff Deist succinctly noted on Twitter, the wording of French’s suggestion is quite insulting. “’Serious’ is another version of the ‘adults in the room’ slur used endlessly by Beltway types,” comments Deist.

Many supporters of the Libertarian Party, as well as many supporters of some other third parties, judge the seriousness of their party’s candidates in terms of how strongly the candidates believe and articulate a political philosophy associated with the party. Indeed, right up top on the homepage of the national party’s website, the Libertarian Party is labeled “The Party of Principle.” Third party supporters also tend to see Republican and Democrat nominees as often being Tweedledee and Tweedledum who offer only the illusion of a real choice while ensuring that the status quo stays largely intact, to the benefit of entrenched special interests.

There is always the potential for a third party to drift from its political philosophy. And the Libertarian Party is not immune to this potentiality. Paul, who was the party’s 1988 presidential nominee, expressed concern about such drifting in regard to the party and foreign policy in an April interview at Fox Business. After stating that he would consider voting for a Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 2016, Paul cautioned about a drift toward warmongering in the party. Paul said:
I am a little bit annoyed because they are getting to be a little bit more warmongering than I like. I like nonintervention. I like minding our own business and bringing our troops home. And they’re not there anymore.
A drift toward warmongering is not evident in all Libertarian Party candidates. Yet, the drift is reason for concern among individuals who want to employ the party to stand against expansive government actions both in America and overseas.

The Libertarian Party has a jewel that French and other non-libertarians covet — 50- or near-50-state ballot access. Restrictive ballot access laws have made it difficult for third-party and independent presidential candidates to compete. By securing the Libertarian Party presidential nomination for a Romney-style conservative, French and his allies could bypass much of the state-by-state ballot access barriers and focus on the presidential contest itself.

Delegates already are largely determined for the Libertarian Party National Convention, scheduled for May 27-30. There the presidential nomination will be decided. So maybe it is too late for Romney-style conservatives to stack the delegates or otherwise push to victory some new candidate such as Romney or former Marine Corps General and current General Dynamics Board Member James Mattis.

Instead, might Romney-Republican types try to influence Libertarian National Convention proceedings to favor the selection of their preferred candidate among the people already running? French followed up on his Wednesday article with a Thursday article suggesting former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who was the 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee and who is seeking the nomination again at the convention later this month, may be “serious” and “conservative” enough.

On foreign policy, French expresses some mixed feelings regarding Johnson, stating:
Regarding national defense, he’s not as extreme as some libertarians — some go so far as to view the rise of jihad as fundamentally America’s fault — but he does believe that American military interventions have made the terrorist problem “worse.” I’ve often wondered how a self-defense oriented libertarian would alter American policy once they received a full and complete national-security briefing. Libertarian purists would likely be surprised at the military aggression of a libertarian president. If Johnson were ever elected, we’d get to find out.
French counts it as a strike against Johnson that Johnson believes that United States military actions can lead to blowback. But, French weighs as a positive French’s assessment that Johnson is not as “extreme” as other libertarians on national defense and may be sufficiently willing to pursue “military aggression.”

Romney-style conservatives may gain confidence in Johnson’s war-making proclivity by reviewing quotes of Johnson in an April 9, 2012, Daily Caller article from when Johnson was seeking the 2012 Libertarian presidential nomination. Therein Johnson is quoted regarding tasking the US military to wipe out Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa, stopping the Afghanistan War but keeping US military bases in the country, continuing drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, and waging war in so-called humanitarian interventions.

Regarding foreign policy, Romney-style conservatives may like another Libertarian presidential contender even more — Austin Petersen, who dedicated a July of 2014 episode of his podcast to smearing Paul’s promotion of a noninterventionist foreign policy.

Of course, there are likely also candidates running for the Libertarian presidential nomination who are more in line with the party’s “typical purity tests” that French disparages. But, such candidates do not always win nomination. As in any election, a number of factors come into play.

Will anti-Trump Republicans hijack the Libertarian presidential nomination later this month? Will the delegates on their own nominate someone who would satisfy French and others similarly perturbed about Trump’s apparent GOP victory? We should learn the answers to these question when delegates convene in Orlando, Florida on May 27-30. One thing is for sure: The Libertarian Party is at risk of further drifting from its claimed position as “The Party of Principle,” with or without a push from outsiders like French.]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 18:42:54 GMT
'Secretary of State Ron Paul' Gives Jennifer Rubin Panic Attacks Daniel McAdams

What is it that keeps the Washington Post's hyperventilating neocon scribbler Jennifer Rubin up at night? The fact that Ron Paul's lifelong efforts to promote a peaceful foreign policy continue to light fires in the imaginations of his fellow Americans. Any chance her fellow neocons' near-total control of Washington's foreign policy might be slipping sends Rubin scurrying to her keyboard to launch another spit-bomb. 

Rubin has been apoplectic for months over the possibility that Donald Trump may wind up the Republican nominee for the presidency. She followed six of the stages of grief but skipped the final one, acceptance, and quickly returned to the first one, shock. Forget about the fact that when it comes to foreign policy, there isn't all that much for non-interventionists to get excited about when it comes to Donald Trump. He just threatened to shoot Russian planes, he wants to confront China, he wants to dump more money into the military-industrial complex, he just told Bibi to build build build more settlements on occupied Palestinian territory in Gaza, and so on.

With Trump we of course can hope for the best, and any improvement would be welcome, but realistically the yellow warning flags are taking on a distinctively red hue with each passing foreign policy proclamation.

Never mind. For Jennifer Rubin if Trump does not openly worship at the altar of Kristol, Podhoertz, Bolton, et. al., he must be utterly and completely destroyed. 

Things are so glum in Rubinville that Jennifer has even taken to giving Hillary Clinton advice on how to defeat Trump.

But nothing makes Rubin madder than the fact that the ideas Ron Paul openly espoused in his recent two presidential campaigns have planted a seed especially among young people, who may in fact be settling for Trump but whose hearts are still with Dr. Paul's prescription for peace and prosperity: non-intervention overseas and in the US economy. Sound money. Free markets and free minds.

So Rubin goes nuclear against a Republican rank and file that has backed the non-neocon candidate: A Trump victory could bring Ron Paul back to Washington!!!!!

She Tweets:

Of course anyone who knows anything about anything knows how unlikely is such a thing. But the mere thought of it is enough to sent Rubin screaming as if her hair was on fire. "Don't you people understand how dangerous Trump is??? He could even bring Ron Paul into his administration!!!!"

What a horror for Rubin and the neocons!

What would a Ron Paul State Department look like to the rest of us? Obviously the Secretary of State serves the president, but history teaches us that the Secretary has ample opportunity to make his or her mark on US foreign policy while at the helm of the Foggy Bottom Fudge Factory.

Under a Secretary Paul there would be no endless hectoring calls to the president demanding that this or that country be "liberated" with smart power and smart bombs. Under Secretary Paul there would be no legions of US-funded NGOers sent to undermine the electoral processes overseas. Under Secretary Paul there would be no fact-free, mindless propaganda sessions deceptively named "daily press briefings." Under Secretary Paul diplomacy would not mean "do what we say and we will give you money, refuse and we will bomb you." Under Secretary Paul diplomacy would serve the national interest instead of the special interests. Under Secretary Paul, the customary appearances by the Secretary before the House and Senate foreign affairs committees would actually be exercises in truth-telling instead of spin-making. 

Well, you get the idea. It would be a total nightmare for Rubin and the neocons. So Jennifer has something to worry about...

Hat-tip: LRC.

]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 05:20:44 GMT
Celebrate the Decline of Neocon Thought Control! Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

At the beginning of the year, I outlined three trends we should cheer.

And now, just three months later, one of them is proceeding so rapidly that the bad guys are in an outright panic.

Thus: a recent column in Commentary, a neoconservative publication, warned that “anyone with the Internet can write a blog or tweet or Facebook post or can Skype or record a podcast. The castle no longer has walls. The gatekeepers are mostly useless.”

That’s pretty much what I said, too, except my remarks weren’t a warning. They were a celebration.

Any lover of freedom has to be delighted by our ongoing liberation from artificial constraints on opinion. But Commentary, like neoconservatism in general, is far more at home with the New York Times and the establishment than it is with the dissidents of American society. Hence the alarm. Why, the public might be exposed to ideas we haven’t approved for them in advance!

Just last week Politico ran an article highlighting the angst of the GOP’s so-called intellectuals. “One of the most spectacular fissures of this already dramatic political season,” the article began, “has been the messy, public divorce of the Republican intelligentsia from the party’s suddenly energized populist voter base.”

Translation: no one cares anymore about National Review or Commentary, if they ever did, and people are darn sure not going to censor themselves just because they happen to stray from the opinions these publications have been demanding from them.

Last month I contrasted the legacy of Bill Buckley, founder of National Review, with that of Murray N. Rothbard, Mr. Libertarian. I noted that Buckley took it upon himself to serve as the arbiter of what would be considered allowable conservative opinion. No doubt younger readers, who weren’t around in those days, figured I must be exaggerating.

But now along comes trusty old Commentary magazine to confirm what I wrote – except, of course, that they celebrate what the rest of us deplore.

The article I’m referring to is “The Coming Conservative Dark Age,” by Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon (a political correctness enforcement site like ThinkProgress, except with a neoconservative flavor).

When Buckley died in 2008, Continetti said, we lost not only a bright and witty man but also a man who sought unity and respectability for American conservatism by excommunicating those people and groups the magazine considered unworthy of its support.

“It was Buckley who for decades determined the boundaries of American conservatism,” Continetti noted approvingly.

(A side note: in the sanitized, comic-book version of the history ofNational Review to which Continetti treats us, we as usual hear nothing about Buckley’s states’ rights views during the civil rights movement, or the debates over Abraham Lincoln that took place in the magazine. This would complicate things rather too much for Commentary‘s delicate readers, so they are omitted.)

And get this: Buckley “wanted to be taken seriously by the New York media and cultural elite.” Surely anyone who might object to an aspiration like that merits excommunication.

“National Review is a great example of media gatekeeping theory,” Continetti continues. “By exiling anti-Semites, Birchers, and anti-American reactionaries from its pages, the magazine and its editor determined which conservative arguments were legitimate and which were not. By denying a platform to quacks and haters, they broadened their potential audience.”

So we’re supposed to believe that anyone purged from the conservative movement byNational Review was a wicked and disreputable person who deserved what he got. But even Murray N. Rothbard was purged from National Review. Here was a man whose extraordinary brilliance and scholarly accomplishments were praised by Ludwig von Mises himself, and whose dedication to the twin causes of private property and the free society, which National Review purports to favor, was greater than that of the entire NR staff combined.

The war in Iraq, evil and idiotic from every standpoint, was vastly worse and far more crankish and crazy than all the politically incorrect Old Right commentary the neocons might dredge up to discredit the pre-Buckley right wing. The Iraq war was one of an endless array of domestic and foreign atrocities that the self-appointed gatekeepers of opinion have defended or made excuses for, all while turning up their noses at far more consistent defenders of the free market than they themselves.

And incidentally, the real reason the John Birch Society was purged had more to do with its opposition to the Vietnam War than anything else. As John Seiler recently pointed out, National Review continued to cultivate a relationship with the Birchers well into the 1960s. WhatNational Review truly could not tolerate was simply the Birch Society’s call for withdrawal from Vietnam in 1965.

No one in the NR orbit was allowed to oppose the Vietnam War, even though it was launched in earnest by a left-liberal Democratic president. But its results were entirely disastrous. The economic turmoil of the 1970s was the direct result of the inflationary methods of paying for the war that had commenced in the 1960s. The human toll, of course, was horrific. And when Vietnam fell to communism anyway, hysterical predictions about the resulting spread of communism throughout southeast Asia did not come to pass.

In fact, today Vietnam has a stock market and is a friendly trading partner with the United States.

And by the way, in running through the catalog of disasters the Vietnam War brought in its wake I nearly included the social revolution of the 1960s, which was stimulated by the war. But since the social views that pass for conservatism at National Review these days make ’60s hippies look like Edmund Burke, I’m not sure that criticism would have much effect.

When National Review launched, it memorably claimed to be standing athwart history shouting, “Stop!” Today it declares: “Go on ahead. We’ll catch up with you in ten minutes.”

The result of this decades-long, Stalinist enforcement of a party line – a party line that has grown ever more leftist over the years – is the present condition of what we laughingly call the “conservative movement.” Its major figures and organizations are now devoted to open borders, the idea of America as a “propositional nation,” and ceaseless military interventions in the name of global democracy and human rights. This is pure leftism, but the poor kids who attend the summer seminars of the right-wing think-tank world will be solemnly instructed that civilization itself is at stake in the defense of these principles.

Buckley got his conservatism the establishment respectability he craved, in this sense: it’s to National Review writers and others of that style that the mainstream turns when it wants a predictable and safe right-of-center view. But what great conservative victories can National Review point to in exchange for making itself acceptable to the New York media and cultural elite? The magazine at least pretends to believe in “limited government,” but exactly how much has the state retreated since the great mission of respectability began?

I think we know the answer.

According to Commentary, we are supposed to be concerned about bloggers, podcasters, and independent writers. I’m more concerned about Commentary, National Review, and the rest of the pretend-opponents of the state, who in their distinctly leftist style spend their time excommunicating and demonizing people who aren’t inclined to confine themselves to the three-inch spectrum of the allowable opinion the New York Timesdeigns to grant us.

So the gatekeepers are in a panic. They are losing their grip on public opinion. Because if you can believe it, people these days are impertinent enough to entertain ideas that might not win the approval of the New York media and cultural elite. Worse still, they persist in these ideas despite the finger-wagging of Commentary and the rest of the neoconservative thought police, who when the chips are down can be counted on to join forces with the left in demonizing dissidents.

The thought control and party line of the Buckley years are crumbling before our eyes.

Here’s a good rule to live by if Commentary and National Review are panicking, you should cheer.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 22:28:05 GMT
Neocons Panting for President 'Mad Dog' Mattis Daniel McAdams

The neocons have been in a panic this election season. One by one, their preferred choice for the Republican presidential nomination has been soundly rejected by the uncooperative American voting public. Sen. Lindsey Graham made a run for the nomination saying, "If you’re tired of war, don’t vote for me," and nobody did. Perhaps the idea of perpetual war to the very last US dollar is beginning to wear thin among Republican voters. 

Though the two Republicans left standing, Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, have endorsed sending thousands of troops into the Middle East and even turning the sand into glass with a nuclear weapon, they are viewed as not reliably neoconservative enough for the Beltway bombardiers. William Kristol, absolutely forlorn over the American voter's rejection of the reliable Republican neocons in the race, has thrown his hat in with a very reliable Democrat neocon, Hillary Clinton. "I would rather see Hillary than Trump," said Kristol.

But such a move comes not without risk for the Kristol-ites. The neocons migrated from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party like a virus to a new host and one promising candidate does not a happy return necessarily make.

What to do? Again from Kristol: "We'll have to start a new party if it's Trump." And that's what they're doing. With the help of the compliant media, of course.

Thanks to Target Liberty for its diligence in "Mad Dog" spotting, we see the (former) house organ of the CIA, Time Magazine, joining the neocon cheering section behind the notion of a third party run by retired Major General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, former Commander of the US Central Command.

In an article with the fallacious title, Why Americans Want a Military General in the White House, Time wonders:
What is it about military leaders that has led so many voters to champion them for the Presidency? After all, it’s not like the nation has emerged victorious from its recent wars. ... Retired Marine general James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who hung up his uniform three years ago, has fervent supporters who want him to run for President.
The very title of the article is a fraud. Who are these "Americans" who are clamoring for a General to become president? Neocons! What percentage to neocons make up of the US electorate? Re-read the first paragraph for an indication.

Why are the neocons panting like a dog in heat for "Mad Dog" Mattis? His speech today at the military-industrial complex funded Center for Strategic and International Studies tells the tale of the tape. What gets the Mad Dog all hot and bothered? War with Iran!

Barked the "Dog" today:
The Iranian regime, in my mind, is the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East...For all the talk of ISIS and Al Qaida everywhere right now… they’re a very serious threat. But nothing is as serious in the long term enduring ramifications, in terms of stability and prosperity and some hope for a better future for the young people out there, than Iran.
And, in what must be music to the ears of all those inside the Beltway who have become rich robbing the rest of us to pay for their wars, Mattis spells out his foreign policy. In a word: War!
We know that vacuums left in the Middle East seem to be filled by either terrorists or by Iran or their surrogates or Russia … In order to restore deterrence, we have to show capability, capacity and resolve.
Using our special neocon-speak translator, we see that "capability, capacity and resolve" actually means "weapons, deployments, and wars." No wonder Kristol and company are touting this man as their savior. 

General George Washington was a reluctant political leader. He accepted the office of president only at the insistence of others. His preference after the battle was won was to hang up his guns and retire to  hemp-growing and whiskey-distilling. In these days of increasingly political military officers, it seems the notion of civilian control of the military is, like the Constitution itself, just another anachronism. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you President Mattis:
The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some a**holes in the world that just need to be shot.
(Business Insider)

I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*ck with me, I’ll kill you all.
(San Diego Union Tribune)

Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.
(San Diego Union Tribune)

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
(San Diego Union Tribune)

You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.

I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.
(San Diego Union Tribune)
Woof woof!]]> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 23:27:00 GMT
Guess Why Sen. Lindsey Graham is Blocking The 9/11 Bill Daniel McAdams

The day began with a Zero Hedge piece reporting that President Obama would veto the bill currently in the Senate to hold the Saudi government legally responsible if proven it had a hand in planning and/or supporting the attacks of 9/11. According to the Administration, signing such a bill to lift Saudi Arabia's sovereign immunity would place the US "at risk" if other countries passed similar laws against us. 

Also in he Zero Hedge piece was news that one Senator had placed a "hold" on the bill, effectively preventing it from coming to the Floor for a vote. But no one knew who that mysterious Senator was. What Senator would prevent the families of the 9/11 victims from seeking justice if the 28 redacted pages from the 9/11 Report demonstrate significant Saudi government involvement in the plot, as is expected?

That Senator turns out to be Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a steadfast member of Washington's neocon warhawk faction. While Senator Graham shares Saudi Arabia's desire to annihilate the Iranians, his motivation in blocking the Senate bill -- as bad as it seems -- is not necessarily a product of the legendary Saudi PR largesse spread throughout Capital Hill. He's no enemy of Riyadh, but Graham has other worries about the bill.

If the US lifts Saudi immunity for its participation in the murder of 3,000 people on American soil on 9/11/2001, this would set a "dangerous" precedent where other countries or individuals might be able to sue the United States for all those its government murders overseas. That sort of thing just cannot be tolerated by the neocon interventionists, as they must be able to bomb and attack with impunity. To them that is what it means to be exceptional.

Senator Graham admits this fact openly. He cites US sponsorship of terrorist factions in Syria as evidence of the danger of US liability for their actions.

Said Graham:
Some of our allies are a bit dubious. I want to make sure that because we find common ground in one area, we don’t own these people forever because of whatever they do.
So he wants the US to be able to continue to sponsor terrorists in Syria (and elsewhere) without any liability for their actions. 

Never would it occur to someone of such low moral character as Senator Graham that perhaps the real solution would be for the United States to stop sponsoring terrorists -- or anyone else for that matter. Perhaps the answer would be to stop bombing hospitals and creating tens of thousands of "collateral damage" deaths. 

The bloodthirsty Graham wants to continue the neocon rampage through the Middle East and beyond without the least bit of inconvenience. His bloodlust places all of us in ever greater danger. He is far more a threat to the United States than ISIS, as his policies corrode the American soul.

]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 23:17:45 GMT
Comrade Michael Rubin Demands the Gulag for Col. Wilkerson Daniel McAdams

As a committed and unapologetic neocon, Michael Rubin loves the idea of the old purges once common practice under his ideological forebears in the Soviet Union. The details of the infraction were unimportant -- and to even consider the need for details once the Party has spoken was to court suspicion.

So Comrade Rubin is demanding a thorough denunciation of Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief-of-staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell (and academic advisor to the Ron Paul Institute). Rubin took to the website of his luxurious neocon Beltway sinecure, the American Enterprise Institute, to call for Wilkerson's deportation to the gulag for severe ideological deviationism. 

What was Wilkerson's crime? Rubin first loosens up the crowd with some guilt-by-association accusations, the stock-in-trade of the neocons. Rubin begins by bringing up what he views as Donald Trump's too-slow disassociation of himself from the KKK. "Unfortunately, wavering and silence in the face of hate isn’t new," he continues. 

But Trump's crimes pale in comparison to those of Wilkerson, the think tank keyboard warrior explains. Lawrence Wilkerson "has increasingly descended into a fevered swamp of conspiracy and hate," writes Rubin.

Has Wilkerson joined the KKK? Has Wilkerson joined the skinheads? Has Wilkerson joined the US-backed Ukrainian neo-Nazi government?

No! Even worse! Col. Wilkerson had the nerve to doubt the once-official US government story (long discredited) that Syrian president Assad used chemical weapons on his own people!

Never mind that the 100 percent proof of Assad's responsibility promised by Secretary of State John Kerry has never materialized, and that even the Director of National Intelligence warned at the time that the case against Assad was "not a slam dunk."

But it's even worse than that according to Rubin:
According to Wilkerson, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons use was actually an Israeli false flag operation because, well, in Wilkerson’s world, it should be obvious to everyone that Assad is really a Zionist plant controlled by the Jews.
Like most neocons, Rubin is an inveterate liar and a man without principles.

Because Wilkerson said no such thing!

In a media interview in May, 2013, just after the chemical attack in Syria, Col. Wilkerson cautioned against a US military attack on Syria because there was no solid evidence tying the Syrian government to the attack. Here is what Wilkerson actually said:
'This could’ve been an Israeli false-flag operation, it could’ve been an opposition in Syria,' he added, saying that the attacks also could have been carried out by Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president. (The United States believes the Syrian government was in fact behind the chemical attacks.)

'But we certainly don’t know with the evidence we’ve been given,' he added. 'And what I’m hearing from the intelligence community is that that evidence is really flaky.'
Could it have been an Israeli false-flag? Of course. It could have been an American false flag as well. Both countries have a history of false-flag operations. That's not "fevered swamps of conspiracy," it is called "history." Could it have been the rebels? Of course it could have. Just last month the US State Department stated that ISIS has carried out chemical attacks in Syria and Iraq.

Wilkerson's speculation in the absence of any evidence was nothing nefarious at all, then. 

But truth is not Rubin's game. What Rubin wants -- what all totalitarians want -- is to silence the opposition. With the surprise Russian pull-out from Syria this week, the neocons are scrambling for a new casus belli to push the US into a full-out attack. Central to their efforts is to dust off the demonization of Assad and to divert attention from al-Qaeda and ISIS (their true allies in overthrowing Assad).

That means voices like Wilkerson's, which are much appreciated on the antiwar Right and the Left, must be made unacceptable in public discourse. What better way to do that than to use the old bludgeon of accusations of anti-Semitism?

Not only is Wilkerson a raving anti-Semite, avers Rubin, but he dares appear on non-approved news stations like RT and PressTV!

Rubin's vicious and savage character is further on display as he slimes Wilkerson's new book even before it appears:
He is currently working on a book about foreign policy in the George W. Bush administration which, if he continues his dissent into conspiracy, might as well be a sequel to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
How does even AEI allow such vulgar vomit to stink up its website? 

But after his blood-filled, fact-free denunciation of Col. Wilkerson is fully laid out, he whispers with a grin that there is one way to cure this little Wilkerson problem. There is one little thing that can be done to rid us of this troublesome Colonel: let's get Colin Powell to deliver the coup de grace!

Concludes Comrade Rubin:
Wilkerson is entitled to his opinions, however feverish they may be. But Wilkerson derives his legitimacy from his proximity to Powell. A simple statement from Powell disassociating himself from Wilkerson’s views, conspiracies, and assistance to the propaganda arms of Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia might undercut the legitimacy of those views.
Let's hope General Powell will avoid the sulphurous stench of Rubin's breathy admonitions and stick by the good Colonel, who unlike keyboard warrior Michael Rubin actually knows a bit about the horrors of war.]]> Wed, 16 Mar 2016 22:14:27 GMT