Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity All Blogs 2018 http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/rss.aspx?blogid=5 Wed, 25 Apr 2018 04:00:00 GMT Wed, 25 Apr 2018 23:08:35 GMT David Stockman Enters Hostile Territory to Support Nonintervention and Oppose Increased Military Spending Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ spending deal worked out by President Donald Trump and Congress and that the US should stop its excessive military intervention overseas.

The US military would not need so much money if the military were used much less, argues Stockman, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board. “Don’t have so many missions; don’t be bombing Syria; don’t be mucking around in the Middle East,” Stockman says is the “obvious answer” to host Maria Bartiromo’s contention that the increased military spending is needed because “we’ve starved the military.” And, in response to Bartiromo’s suggestion that Stockman is advocating turning away when the Syrian government uses chemical weapons in Syria, Stockman explains why he sees such chemical weapons allegations as “a hoax” and argues “we have no dog in that hunt,” meaning the American people are best served by the US government just keeping out of the conflict in Syria.

Watch Stockman’s complete interview here:

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ Wed, 25 Apr 2018 22:54:50 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Friends and Adversaries, Partisan War, Texas Marijuana, Syria Attack, US Marijuana Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at StitcheriTunesYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:



Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.


Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

In February of 2017, during her first few weeks as United States ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, in prepared comments she presented to reporters, called Israel “our friend and ally” and declared “I’m here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel.” The next month, speaking at a convention of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Haley said:
Never do we not have the backs of our friends. We don’t have a greater friend than Israel.
Haley has a different perspective regarding Russia. At an April 5 speech at Duke University, Haley said that “Russia’s never gonna be our friend” and that the US will work with Russia when the US needs to and that the US will “slap” Russia when the US needs to.

Haley’s declarations, and similar comments by other US government officials, help show the rigid categorizing of other nations as friends and adversaries that supports constant and widespread intervention overseas.

Issue two.

President Donald Trump this month ordered a missile attack against Syria unilaterally, that is, with no congressional authorization.

One thing allowing successive presidents to use the US military to attack other countries without a congressional debate and vote is that some US Congress members actively oppose such presidential actions only when the president is affiliated with the opposing party.

It would be great to see support for peace and for blocking unilateral executive exercises of war power to become powerful and ongoing bipartisan causes in Congress. It can happen, but probably only after the people first demand it strongly enough.

Issue three.

A new Quinnipiac University poll indicates 61 percent of Texas voters support “allowing adults in Texas to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.”

Could Texas soon legalize?

Most states that have legalized marijuana did so via measures qualified for consideration on voters’ ballots through the submitting of petition signatures. Texans do not have that process available. But state legislatures can pass legalization legislation. In January, Vermont was the first state to legalize via legislation passed in a state legislature and signed by a governor.

There is even potential for radical legalization in Texas. In 2015, the Texas state House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved then-Rep. David Simpson’s (R-Longview) marijuana legalization bill that would, for adults, treat marijuana the same as tomatoes. The bill, though, did not have a vote in the full House.

Issue four.

The Trump administration has not made public evidence to justify its launching this month of missiles into Syria. Congress members do not seem to have been informed of such evidence either. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) told Breitbart News that a Tuesday classified briefing for Congress members presented by people including the US secretary of defense, the secretary of state, and the director of national intelligence “did not provide any evidence.” Said Massie, “There was nothing that was provided in there that’s not on the Internet.”

Massie is a member of the Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board.

Issue five.

In the last two weeks, some big names in US politics have endorsed rolling back US marijuana prohibition.

Last week, former US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced he now believes marijuana should be descheduled from the US Controlled Substances Act, and he joined the board of advisers of the marijuana industry company Acreage Holdings.

Also last week, US Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) revealed that President Donald Trump had pledged to him support for a marijuana “legislative solution that will allow a states’ rights approach.” We are still awaiting a public affirmation and elaboration from Trump.

Then, this week, US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced his support for decriminalizing marijuana on the federal level and his plan to introduce legislation to accomplish this objective through actions including desceduling marijuana and respecting states having their own laws regarding marijuana possession.

-----

That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:51:42 GMT
Lawrence Wilkerson: Cowardly Congress, Apathetic Americans Allow US Military Intervention Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/
Commercial interests related to oil and gas, further argues Wilkerson, who is a professor at the College of William & Mary, are “at the bottom of” why the US would intervene various places overseas including in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Presenting other reasons for the US intervention, says Wilkerson, “is just lying to the American people.” But, he continues, the US has a long history of lying to justify intervention, giving the examples of the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.

“All that is nonsense,” exclaims Wilkerson, in regard to reasons such as “this is for freedom, this is for democracy, this is to stop the use of chemical weapons” that a president may offer to justify military interventions. Instead, Wilkerson concludes that Smedley Butler had it right in explaining the purpose is advancing commercial interests. And looking to the missiles launched into Syria a few days ago and the ongoing US-backed war against Yemen, Wilkerson identifies benefit flowing to Raytheon that makes weapons including missiles, as well as other weapons manufacturers. Summing up this situation, Wilkerson declares, “You could say we are killing people in the world for Raytheon and DOD [(the Department of Defense)].”

Watch Wilkerson’s complete interview here:



Wilkerson is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 20:53:30 GMT
US: Russia Hacked The Evidence Of Chemical Attack In Syria Caitlin Johnstone http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/

We are now being told (and I assure you I am not making this up) that if the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons doesn’t find evidence that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapons attack in Douma last week, it’s because Russia hid the evidence.

“It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site,” reports US Ambassador Kenneth Ward. “It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation.”

I guess the idea is that this international top-level investigative team on which tremendous credibility has been placed by the western world can be thwarted by Russians showing up with a Hoover and spraying some Febreze in the air like a teenage stoner when mom comes home? I’m not sure, but given the immense dearth of evidence we’ve been seeing in support of the establishment Douma narrative and the mounting pile of evidence contradicting it, it sure does sound fishy.

Now that the jihadist-occupied suburb of Douma has been retaken by the Syrian government, western journalists have been allowed in to poke around and start asking questions, and so far it isn’t looking great for the propaganda machine.

The Independent‘s Robert Fisk has published a report which affirms the story so many westerners have been dismissing as Kremlin propaganda for days now after interviewing a doctor from the hospital of the area where the Douma attack was supposed to have occurred. Dr Assim Rahaibani told Fisk that what was in actuality an outbreak of respiratory distress among occupants of a dusty oxygen-deprived tunnel was made to look like the aftereffects of a chemical weapons attack when a member of the White Helmets started shouting about a gas attack in front of a bunch of video cameras. Everyone panicked and started hosing themselves down, but in the video, according to Rahaibani, “what you see are people suffering from hypoxia — not gas poisoning.”

This report was independently backed up by a reporter from One America News Network named Pearson Sharp, who gave a detailed account of his interviews with officials, doctors, as well as many civilians on the street Sharp says he deliberately selected at random in order to avoid accusations of bias. Many people hadn’t even heard that a chemical weapons attack had taken place, and the ones who had said it was staged by Jaysh al-Islam. The staff at the hospital, including a medic-in-training who was an eyewitness to the incident, gave the same story as the account in Fisk’s report.

The increasing confidence with which these unapproved narratives are being voiced and the increasing discomfort being exhibited by empire loyalists like Ambassador Ward indicate a weakening narrative in the greater propaganda campaign against the Assad government and its allies, but don’t hold your breath for the part where Fox News and the BBC turn around and start asking critical questions of the governments that they are meant to be holding to account.

The journalists who have been advancing the establishment narrative on Syria aren’t about to start reporting that they’ve gotten the entire Syria story assballs backward and have been promoting a version of events manufactured for the benefit of CIA-MI6-Mossad agendas. You’re not about to see CNN, who last year staged a fake scripted interview with a seven year-old Syrian girl to manufacture support for escalations against Assad, suddenly turn around and start asking if we’re being told the full story about what’s happening Syria.

Watch them closely. Watch how they steadfastly ignore the growing mountain of evidence and keep promoting the Syrian regime change agenda that the western empire has been working toward for decades. Watch them dismiss all evidence they can’t ignore as Kremlin propaganda and shift the narrative whenever things start to look bad for them. Those riding the crest of the wave of establishment media are too far gone into the blob to ever admit error and change. The least among us aren’t about to stop constructing a public reality tunnel which depicts them as heroes of truth, tear it all down, and start advancing a narrative which makes them look like fools at best and villains at worst. It will not happen.

Luckily for us, it doesn’t need to. Internet censorship is still far from closing the door on our ability to network and share information, and we’ve been very effective at sowing skepticism among the masses. The war propagandists are not nearly as good at their jobs as they want to believe, and we can beat them.

They work so hard to manufacture support for war because they require that consent. If the oligarchs try to launch a war against a disobedient nation amidst very clear opposition from the public, they will shatter the illusion of freedom and democracy that their entire empire is built upon, and then they’re exposed. Corporatist oligarchy has succeeded in weaving its web of dominance because its oppression has thus far remained hidden and its depravity disguised as humanitarianism. They cannot expose themselves by transgressing a loud NO from the public or else the masses will realize that everything they used to believe about their country, their government and their world is a lie.

They won’t risk that. We can force them into retreating from open war by circulating facts and information and keeping a healthy level of skepticism circulating among the public. Watch them squirm, move goalposts and shift narratives, and point and yell about it whenever it happens. We can win the media war against the propagandists. We have truth on our side.

Reprinted with author's permission from Medium.com.

Support Johnstone's work on Patreon or Paypal]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:46:59 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Hemp Bill, Militarized America, Marijuana Disinfo, Utah Marijuana, Pain Killers Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at StitcheriTunesYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:



Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.

Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

On Thursday, United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Hemp Farming Act (S 2667), saying it will legalize hemp and “empower farmers.”

McConnell first cosponsored Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) similarly-named Industrial Hemp Farming Act in the US Senate in 2013, and he cosponsored it again when it was reintroduced in 2015.

Wyden’s bills were similar to the hemp legalization bill Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) first introduced in the US House of Representatives in 2005.

Paul’s bill’s approach was to just end the US government’s hemp prohibition, making the US government butt out in regard to hemp farming.

In contrast, McConnell’s legalization is far from laissez faire. The McConnell bill spells out required state regulations on hemp farming and authorizes the US Department of Agriculture to impose more regulations on its own. And McConnell’s press release for his new bill promotes that the bill makes available US government subsidies in the form of hemp research grants and hemp crop insurance.

Wyden, who is an original cosponsor of McConnell’s new bill, has not reintroduced his own hemp bill this Congress.

Issue two.

Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead is concerned about the recent deployment of the US military in America for purported purposes including countering illegal immigration and advancing the drug war. He wrote in a Monday editorial that this is “yet another Trojan Horse that will inflict all manner of nasty police state surprises on an unsuspecting populace.”

Issue three.

On Monday, Middle Tennessee State University announced a poll it conducted found 37 percent of polled Tennessee voters support legalizing marijuana for personal use and 44 percent support legalizing medical marijuana.

Upon seeing these results, I suspected something is fishy. After all, national polls indicate much more support. For example, a January of 2018 Quinnipiac University national poll of voters found 58 percent support for marijuana legalization generally and 91 percent support for medical marijuana legalization.

In the Tennessee poll, individuals were asked the following question:
Which comes closest to your view about the use of marijuana by adults? 'It should be legal for personal use.' 'It should be legal only for medical use.' 'It should not be legal.'
Because no option was offered for supporting both recreational and medical marijuana legalization, people who support both could only express support for one or the other. This caused an artificial decrease in recorded support for both forms of legalization.

Issue four.

This week, leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints, often called the Mormon Church, issued a two paragraph statement criticizing a medical marijuana legalization proposal that may be on the Utah state ballot in November. In the statement is this declaration: “The public interest is best served when all new drugs designed to relieve suffering and illness, and the procedures by which they are made available to the public, undergo the scrutiny of medical scientists and official approval bodies.”

Despite the statement’s insistence, marijuana is neither a “new drug” nor something any person designed. Instead, it is a plant people have used medically since long before the US and Utah governments, or their drug wars, existed.

Issue five.

In the March 31 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about a proposed Medicare rule that would cut off coverage for many peoples’ pain medication prescriptions equivalent to 90 milligrams or more of morphine daily. Many doctors and pain patients opposed the proposed rule that would advance the interests of drug warriors. Jacob Sullum reported Monday at Reason that the US government backed down on the proposed rule, instead adopting a rule that requires “a pharmacist who receives a prescription above the threshold to confirm it with the doctor and document the discussion.”

-----

That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ Sat, 14 Apr 2018 14:01:36 GMT
Trump Ordering Syria Attack Would Be an Unconstitutional, But Not Uncommon, Presidential Action Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/

Louis Fisher, a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board member and United States Constitution scholar, is quoted, in a Thursday Washington Examiner article by Steven Nelson, declaring that a unilateral decision by President Donald Trump to use military force against Syria would be unconstitutional as well as not authorized under the War Powers Resolution. Yet, Trump taking such action, says Fisher, would also be in line with military actions regularly pursued by previous presidents.

Here is Fisher’s comment:
'I find no grounds in the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution that would authorize unilateral presidential use of military force against another nation that has not attacked the United States,' said Louis Fisher, a Constitution Project scholar who formerly worked as senior specialist for separation of powers at the Library of Congress. 'That fundamental principle has been regularly violated by presidents from Truman [in Korea] through Obama [in Libya].'
Read here the rest of Nelson’s informative article, “Trump would break the law bombing Bashar Assad, some scholars say.”]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 18:03:10 GMT
US War Making: What’s in It for You? Robert Higgs http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/

If you are an American, have you asked yourself these questions?

1. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Iraq?
2. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Afghanistan?
3. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Syria?
4. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Yemen?
5. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Africa?
6. What purpose of mine would be served by the US government’s making war in Iran?

Unless you are an unusual American, and if you are honest, your answer in each case would be, No purpose of mine is served by such war making.

Yet US forces continue to make war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Africa with no prospect of discontinuation in sight, and the probability is substantial that US forces will attack Iran and that US actions in Syria will provoke direct fighting with the Russians supporting the Assad regime — fighting that might spiral out of control and eventuate in nuclear war. Why?

Well, although relatively few Americans have any real interest served by these wars, a small minority does have an interest. The leading figures in this power elite are Zionists and politicos beholden to the Israel lobby, plus some people who thrive on any and all wars by virtue of their positions in the military-industrial-congressional complex.

Chances are that these people are complete strangers to you. Their only connection with you is (a) to profit from funds extracted from you by the government, and (b) to keep you ideologically befuddled and factually misinformed so that you will not cause any major difficulty for them in their conduct of perpetual war. But aside from these two connections, nothing connects the great majority of Americans with the warfare state. It essentially runs on its own, answering to no one outside its own precincts and thriving on a pipeline to the taxpayers’ bank accounts.

You pay for all of this endless death and destruction, average American, but you get less than nothing out of it. In short, you are a sap for evil and designing intriguers. If you are reflexively “supporting the troops,” you might want to reconsider playing the fool and having your intelligence insulted daily in the process.

Higgs is a member of the Ron Paul Institute's Board of Advisors.

Reprinted with permission from the Independent Institute.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:29:54 GMT
Bolton And Mattis Feud Over Syria Strike As Assad Evacuates Weapons Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/

- The Syrian government and Hezbollah have reportedly evacuated weapons from key locations

- Assad has moved planes to a Russian-operated base

- The UK Cabinet has agreed to back military action against the Syrian government

- US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis are reportedly feuding over the strategy in Syria, with Mattis favoring a more cautious approach

- The US, France and Britain are crafting broad strike plans

- A readout of a Thursday phone conversation President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May suggests that military action may be days away, instead of hours

The latest reports rolling in from Syria suggest that both the Assad regime and Hezbollah have evacuated weapons from likely targets, after CNBC revealed that the US has selected eight targets to strike, including two airfields, a research center and an alleged chemical weapons facility - after US officials told a reporter they were "fairly confident" the Syrian regime had been behind a gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.
Mr. Assad was moving to protect his air force by moving planes to a Russian-operated base equipped with sophisticated air defenses, according to pro-regime media. -WSJ
The Wall St. Journal also reports that broad plans are being crafted by the US, France and Britain for a military strike, while President Trump told reporters on Thursday "We’re looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation, and we’ll see what happens, folks, we’ll see what happens. It’s too bad that the world puts us in a position like that." 

Adding to the tension in the region is a UK cabinet decision to back military action against the Syrian government, a day after Theresa May said she was ready to strike "without parliamentary approval." 

Meanwhile, newly minted National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis have reportedly been clashing over the strategy in Syria, according to Senior Atlantic Council Fellow Kate Brannen.

Mattis and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford are reportedly "concerned with managing escalation and preventing blowback on US troops," while John Bolton is known for getting very excited at the prospect of a good ol' fashioned regime change.

“We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people, but, on a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that,” Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.  
Mattis said that the US aim in Syria is to defeat Islamic State, not “to engage in the civil war itself.” But referring to the use of chemical weapons, Mattis said that 'some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale' and require a response. -Bloomberg
The Wall St. Journal reports that Mattis "brought those concerns directly to the White House on Thursday, where White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the national security team didn't agree on a response."

Exactly two weeks ago Mattis met Bolton - telling the bemoustached bringer-of-death, "I heard you're actually the devil incarnate, and I wanted to meet you." 

While the White House's reported conflict has resulted in a day without resolution, a readout of a Thursday evening call between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump signaled that the US-led coalition is perhaps "considering all their options" before waging war on Syria over a chemical attack reported by an anti-Assad NGO accused of fabricating evidence and staging bodies along with other groups in the region.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 01:31:17 GMT
Against War in Syria Mises Institute http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/

President Donald Trump has announced that he plans new missile strikes against the Syrian regime in response to an alleged chemical attack on Syrian civilians in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.

The US has offered no evidence of the attack, since, as the Financial Times has admitted, confirmation of any such attack could take weeks. Moreover, confirming the attack took place at all is not the same thing as confirming that the Syrian regime was responsible for it.

The Trump administration, apparently, has little interest in such technicalities, and advocates for immediate military intervention point out that evidence could be lost in the meantime.

So the absence of evidence is evidence.

But, as Tucker Carlson noted in an important segment at Fox News, even if it can be proven that the Syrian regime is responsible for the attack, it's unclear how a new attack on Syria will "make the US safer."

The administration and its pro-war backers do not appear to even be making this case, as it is quite apparent that the Syrian regime is no danger to the United States, whatsoever. The regime's tiny air force and virtually-non-existent navy pose no threat to a country with a navy ten times larger than any other navy, and which spends more on military projects than the next eight most militarized regimes combined. As President Dwight Eisenhower understood — as he cut military spending in the face of a resurgent Soviet Union — the US's huge nuclear arsenal renders threats from regimes like Assad's utterly moot. 

But even if none of this were true, the burden is still on the US government to affirmatively demonstrate that Assad's Syria is a threat to the American voters and taxpayers.

This will not happen, however, because that's not how foreign policy is made in the US. There will be no meaningful debate in Congress, and nothing more than accusations and innuendo will be issued from the administration and other organs of the executive branch. "Trust us, we wouldn't lie" will be the central claim of the American war promoters. Americans will, yet again, be told to sacrifice both treasure and freedoms to satisfy the latest schemes of the American military establishment. 

Given that only a portion of the population will buy any claims that Americans are in danger, we'll hear vague platitudes about humanitarian missions, and how the Syrian regime must be stopped for the sake of decency. We heard the same thing in both Iraq and Libya before regime change was effected there in the name of humanitarianism. In both cases, however, the region was only made less stable, and more prone to radical Islamism. The result has been anything but humanitarian or decent. Nor can advocates for war supply any answer to the question of what will replace Assad's regime. The most likely candidates are radical Islamists. Moreover, so long as the US continues to ignore the humanitarian disaster in Yemen being perpetrated by American ally Saudi Arabia, any claims of "humanitarian" intent are dubious at best.

The real motivation behind the latest drive for war might be found by employing a strategy recently suggested by Lew Rockwell, who notes:
When you hear the words "national security" or "national interest" used by people in Washington, I think it's important to substitute "imperial" for "national." So is it in the national interest of the United States to bomb Syria? No. Is it in the imperial interest of the American Empire to do so? Yes. 
In other words, the US state and many of its allies stand to benefit significantly from war with Syria. As Randolf Bourne pointed out a century ago, "war is the health of the state," and yet another war will help the American regime justify larger budgets, larger deficits, more taxes, and more state power in general.

For this reason, there has always been a close connection between the ideology of laissez-faire liberalism, and the ideology of peace. In the 19th century, it was free-market liberals like Richard Cobden and his friendFrédéric Bastiat who regarded economic intervention, slavery, and war, as all part of one authoritarian package. This mantle was later picked up by Ludwig von Mises, and then by his student Murray Rothbard.

Even in the cases where defensive war might have been justified, the costs of war, the liberals understood, have been far more grave than our rulers would have us believe. War is always a disaster for life, for liberty, and for the quality of life for those who survive. The only exception, it seems, are those organs of the state that benefit so handsomely from armed conflict.

But, on the matter of war, the position of the liberals — those we now know as "libertarians" — have long been firmly on the side of peace whenever possible:
But wars are not made by common folk, scratching for livings in the heat of the day; they are made by demagogues infesting palaces. It is not necessary for these demagogues to complete the sale of a war before they send the goods home, as a storekeeper must complete the sale of, say, a suit of clothes. They send the goods home first, then convince the customer that he wants them. ... But the main reason why it is easy to sell war to peaceful people is that the demagogues who act as salesmen quickly acquire a monopoly of both public information and public instruction. ... The dead are still dead, the fellows who lost legs still lack them, war widows go on suffering the orneriness of their second husbands, and taxpayers continue to pay, pay, pay. In the schools children are taught that the war was fought for freedom, the home and God. — H.L. Mencken

Modern war is merciless, it does not spare pregnant women or infants; it is indiscriminate killing and destroying. It does not respect the rights of neutrals. Millions are killed, enslaved, or expelled from the dwelling places in which their ancestors lived for centuries. Nobody can foretell what will happen in the next chapter of this endless struggle. This has little to do with the atomic bomb. The root of the evil is not the construction of new, more dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest. It is probable that scientists will discover some methods of defense against the atomic bomb. But this will not alter things, it will merely prolong for a short time the process of the complete destruction of civilization. — Ludwig von Mises

Only one thing can conquer war — the liberal attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation, and which can never wish to bring about a war, because it regards war as injurious even to the victors. Where Liberalism prevails, there will never be war. But where there are other opinions concerning the profitability and injuriousness of war, no rules or regulations, however cunningly devised, can make war impossible. — Ludwig von Mises

Modern war is not a war of royal armies. It is a war of the peoples, a total war. It is a war of states which do not leave to their subjects any private sphere; they consider the whole population a part of the armed forces. Whoever does not fight must work for the support and equipment of the army. Army and people are one and the same. The citizens passionately participate in the war. For it is their state, their God, who fights. — Ludwig von Mises

The middle and industrious classes of England can have no interest apart from the preservation of peace. The honours, the fame, the emoluments of war belong not to them; the battle-plain is the harvest-field of the aristocracy, watered by the blood of the people. — Richard Cobden

Public opinion must undergo a change; our ministers must no longer be held responsible for the everyday political quarrels all over Europe; nor, when an opposition journalist wishes to assail a foreign secretary, must he be suffered to taunt him with the neglect of the honor of Great Britain, if he should prudently abstain from involving her in the dissensions that afflict distant communities. — Richard Cobden

England, by calmly directing her undivided energies to the purifying of her own internal institutions, to the emancipation of her commerce … would, by thus serving as it were for the beacon of other nations, aid more effectually the cause of political progression all over the continent than she could possibly do by plunging herself into the strife of European wars. — Richard Cobden

The libertarian's basic attitude toward war must then be: it is legitimate to use violence against criminals in defense of one's rights of person and property; it is completely impermissible to violate the rights of other innocent people. War, then, is only proper when the exercise of violence is rigorously limited to the individual criminals. We may judge for ourselves how many wars or conflicts in history have met this criterion. ... If classical international law limited and checked warfare, and kept it from spreading, modern international law, in an attempt to stamp out "aggression" and to abolish war, only insures, as the great historian Charles Beard put it, a futile policy of "perpetual war for perpetual peace." — Murray Rothbard

The second Wilsonian excuse for perpetual war ... is even more utopian: the idea that it is the moral obligation of America and of all other nations to impose "democracy" and "human rights" throughout the globe. In short, in a world where "democracy" is generally meaningless, and "human rights" of any genuine sort virtually nonexistent, that we are obligated to take up the sword and wage a perpetual war to force utopia on the entire world by guns, tanks, and bombs.  — Murray Rothbard
Reprinted with permission from Mises Institute.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:49:38 GMT
Ron Paul Makes the Case for Libertarian Optimism Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/

American libertarians have plenty of reason to feel discouraged in this time of the United States government increasingly disrespecting liberty in America and pursuing intervention, including wars, overseas. While prominent libertarian communicator Ron Paul shares concerns about these developments, he also sees much reason for hope. In the final minutes of a new interview at Jay Taylor’s show Turning Hard Times Into Good Times, Paul makes the case for libertarians to be optimistic about the future.

While Paul explains that he sees trouble ahead in America, including economic trouble resulting from Federal Reserve policies, he also says he is optimistic because he thinks “there is a better understanding of the system than ever before.” Elaborating, Paul notes that when he went to Congress back in 1976 nobody had “even heard the word ‘libertarian’” and “nobody ever heard of Austrian economics hardly on the political front,” while now those ideas are more broadly understood, including among students at colleges Paul visits.

Paul continues that he thinks there is “an ideological revolution … out there, but it’s going unnoticed.” Implementing libertarian changes Paul sees as possible when America enters greater crisis and it is clear that major change is needed, comparing the hope offered from libertarianism to actions that must be taken to overcome an individual’s troubles of drug addiction or a drunken binge. The move toward libertarianism, Paul concludes, would not “come from Washington.” Instead, he says, “it has to come from the people” and would be grounded in education.

Listen to Paul’s complete interview, which begins with an in-depth discussion of economic issues including tariffs and the gold standard, here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 20:34:18 GMT
David Stockman Enters Hostile Territory to Support Nonintervention and Oppose Increased Military Spending Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ spending deal worked out by President Donald Trump and Congress and that the US should stop its excessive military intervention overseas.

The US military would not need so much money if the military were used much less, argues Stockman, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board. “Don’t have so many missions; don’t be bombing Syria; don’t be mucking around in the Middle East,” Stockman says is the “obvious answer” to host Maria Bartiromo’s contention that the increased military spending is needed because “we’ve starved the military.” And, in response to Bartiromo’s suggestion that Stockman is advocating turning away when the Syrian government uses chemical weapons in Syria, Stockman explains why he sees such chemical weapons allegations as “a hoax” and argues “we have no dog in that hunt,” meaning the American people are best served by the US government just keeping out of the conflict in Syria.

Watch Stockman’s complete interview here:

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ Wed, 25 Apr 2018 22:54:50 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Friends and Adversaries, Partisan War, Texas Marijuana, Syria Attack, US Marijuana Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at StitcheriTunesYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:



Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.


Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

In February of 2017, during her first few weeks as United States ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, in prepared comments she presented to reporters, called Israel “our friend and ally” and declared “I’m here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel.” The next month, speaking at a convention of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Haley said:
Never do we not have the backs of our friends. We don’t have a greater friend than Israel.
Haley has a different perspective regarding Russia. At an April 5 speech at Duke University, Haley said that “Russia’s never gonna be our friend” and that the US will work with Russia when the US needs to and that the US will “slap” Russia when the US needs to.

Haley’s declarations, and similar comments by other US government officials, help show the rigid categorizing of other nations as friends and adversaries that supports constant and widespread intervention overseas.

Issue two.

President Donald Trump this month ordered a missile attack against Syria unilaterally, that is, with no congressional authorization.

One thing allowing successive presidents to use the US military to attack other countries without a congressional debate and vote is that some US Congress members actively oppose such presidential actions only when the president is affiliated with the opposing party.

It would be great to see support for peace and for blocking unilateral executive exercises of war power to become powerful and ongoing bipartisan causes in Congress. It can happen, but probably only after the people first demand it strongly enough.

Issue three.

A new Quinnipiac University poll indicates 61 percent of Texas voters support “allowing adults in Texas to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.”

Could Texas soon legalize?

Most states that have legalized marijuana did so via measures qualified for consideration on voters’ ballots through the submitting of petition signatures. Texans do not have that process available. But state legislatures can pass legalization legislation. In January, Vermont was the first state to legalize via legislation passed in a state legislature and signed by a governor.

There is even potential for radical legalization in Texas. In 2015, the Texas state House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved then-Rep. David Simpson’s (R-Longview) marijuana legalization bill that would, for adults, treat marijuana the same as tomatoes. The bill, though, did not have a vote in the full House.

Issue four.

The Trump administration has not made public evidence to justify its launching this month of missiles into Syria. Congress members do not seem to have been informed of such evidence either. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) told Breitbart News that a Tuesday classified briefing for Congress members presented by people including the US secretary of defense, the secretary of state, and the director of national intelligence “did not provide any evidence.” Said Massie, “There was nothing that was provided in there that’s not on the Internet.”

Massie is a member of the Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board.

Issue five.

In the last two weeks, some big names in US politics have endorsed rolling back US marijuana prohibition.

Last week, former US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced he now believes marijuana should be descheduled from the US Controlled Substances Act, and he joined the board of advisers of the marijuana industry company Acreage Holdings.

Also last week, US Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) revealed that President Donald Trump had pledged to him support for a marijuana “legislative solution that will allow a states’ rights approach.” We are still awaiting a public affirmation and elaboration from Trump.

Then, this week, US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced his support for decriminalizing marijuana on the federal level and his plan to introduce legislation to accomplish this objective through actions including desceduling marijuana and respecting states having their own laws regarding marijuana possession.

-----

That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:51:42 GMT
Lawrence Wilkerson: Cowardly Congress, Apathetic Americans Allow US Military Intervention Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/
Commercial interests related to oil and gas, further argues Wilkerson, who is a professor at the College of William & Mary, are “at the bottom of” why the US would intervene various places overseas including in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Presenting other reasons for the US intervention, says Wilkerson, “is just lying to the American people.” But, he continues, the US has a long history of lying to justify intervention, giving the examples of the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.

“All that is nonsense,” exclaims Wilkerson, in regard to reasons such as “this is for freedom, this is for democracy, this is to stop the use of chemical weapons” that a president may offer to justify military interventions. Instead, Wilkerson concludes that Smedley Butler had it right in explaining the purpose is advancing commercial interests. And looking to the missiles launched into Syria a few days ago and the ongoing US-backed war against Yemen, Wilkerson identifies benefit flowing to Raytheon that makes weapons including missiles, as well as other weapons manufacturers. Summing up this situation, Wilkerson declares, “You could say we are killing people in the world for Raytheon and DOD [(the Department of Defense)].”

Watch Wilkerson’s complete interview here:



Wilkerson is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 20:53:30 GMT
US: Russia Hacked The Evidence Of Chemical Attack In Syria Caitlin Johnstone http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/

We are now being told (and I assure you I am not making this up) that if the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons doesn’t find evidence that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapons attack in Douma last week, it’s because Russia hid the evidence.

“It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site,” reports US Ambassador Kenneth Ward. “It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation.”

I guess the idea is that this international top-level investigative team on which tremendous credibility has been placed by the western world can be thwarted by Russians showing up with a Hoover and spraying some Febreze in the air like a teenage stoner when mom comes home? I’m not sure, but given the immense dearth of evidence we’ve been seeing in support of the establishment Douma narrative and the mounting pile of evidence contradicting it, it sure does sound fishy.

Now that the jihadist-occupied suburb of Douma has been retaken by the Syrian government, western journalists have been allowed in to poke around and start asking questions, and so far it isn’t looking great for the propaganda machine.

The Independent‘s Robert Fisk has published a report which affirms the story so many westerners have been dismissing as Kremlin propaganda for days now after interviewing a doctor from the hospital of the area where the Douma attack was supposed to have occurred. Dr Assim Rahaibani told Fisk that what was in actuality an outbreak of respiratory distress among occupants of a dusty oxygen-deprived tunnel was made to look like the aftereffects of a chemical weapons attack when a member of the White Helmets started shouting about a gas attack in front of a bunch of video cameras. Everyone panicked and started hosing themselves down, but in the video, according to Rahaibani, “what you see are people suffering from hypoxia — not gas poisoning.”

This report was independently backed up by a reporter from One America News Network named Pearson Sharp, who gave a detailed account of his interviews with officials, doctors, as well as many civilians on the street Sharp says he deliberately selected at random in order to avoid accusations of bias. Many people hadn’t even heard that a chemical weapons attack had taken place, and the ones who had said it was staged by Jaysh al-Islam. The staff at the hospital, including a medic-in-training who was an eyewitness to the incident, gave the same story as the account in Fisk’s report.

The increasing confidence with which these unapproved narratives are being voiced and the increasing discomfort being exhibited by empire loyalists like Ambassador Ward indicate a weakening narrative in the greater propaganda campaign against the Assad government and its allies, but don’t hold your breath for the part where Fox News and the BBC turn around and start asking critical questions of the governments that they are meant to be holding to account.

The journalists who have been advancing the establishment narrative on Syria aren’t about to start reporting that they’ve gotten the entire Syria story assballs backward and have been promoting a version of events manufactured for the benefit of CIA-MI6-Mossad agendas. You’re not about to see CNN, who last year staged a fake scripted interview with a seven year-old Syrian girl to manufacture support for escalations against Assad, suddenly turn around and start asking if we’re being told the full story about what’s happening Syria.

Watch them closely. Watch how they steadfastly ignore the growing mountain of evidence and keep promoting the Syrian regime change agenda that the western empire has been working toward for decades. Watch them dismiss all evidence they can’t ignore as Kremlin propaganda and shift the narrative whenever things start to look bad for them. Those riding the crest of the wave of establishment media are too far gone into the blob to ever admit error and change. The least among us aren’t about to stop constructing a public reality tunnel which depicts them as heroes of truth, tear it all down, and start advancing a narrative which makes them look like fools at best and villains at worst. It will not happen.

Luckily for us, it doesn’t need to. Internet censorship is still far from closing the door on our ability to network and share information, and we’ve been very effective at sowing skepticism among the masses. The war propagandists are not nearly as good at their jobs as they want to believe, and we can beat them.

They work so hard to manufacture support for war because they require that consent. If the oligarchs try to launch a war against a disobedient nation amidst very clear opposition from the public, they will shatter the illusion of freedom and democracy that their entire empire is built upon, and then they’re exposed. Corporatist oligarchy has succeeded in weaving its web of dominance because its oppression has thus far remained hidden and its depravity disguised as humanitarianism. They cannot expose themselves by transgressing a loud NO from the public or else the masses will realize that everything they used to believe about their country, their government and their world is a lie.

They won’t risk that. We can force them into retreating from open war by circulating facts and information and keeping a healthy level of skepticism circulating among the public. Watch them squirm, move goalposts and shift narratives, and point and yell about it whenever it happens. We can win the media war against the propagandists. We have truth on our side.

Reprinted with author's permission from Medium.com.

Support Johnstone's work on Patreon or Paypal]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:46:59 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Hemp Bill, Militarized America, Marijuana Disinfo, Utah Marijuana, Pain Killers Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at StitcheriTunesYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:



Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.

Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

On Thursday, United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Hemp Farming Act (S 2667), saying it will legalize hemp and “empower farmers.”

McConnell first cosponsored Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) similarly-named Industrial Hemp Farming Act in the US Senate in 2013, and he cosponsored it again when it was reintroduced in 2015.

Wyden’s bills were similar to the hemp legalization bill Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) first introduced in the US House of Representatives in 2005.

Paul’s bill’s approach was to just end the US government’s hemp prohibition, making the US government butt out in regard to hemp farming.

In contrast, McConnell’s legalization is far from laissez faire. The McConnell bill spells out required state regulations on hemp farming and authorizes the US Department of Agriculture to impose more regulations on its own. And McConnell’s press release for his new bill promotes that the bill makes available US government subsidies in the form of hemp research grants and hemp crop insurance.

Wyden, who is an original cosponsor of McConnell’s new bill, has not reintroduced his own hemp bill this Congress.

Issue two.

Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead is concerned about the recent deployment of the US military in America for purported purposes including countering illegal immigration and advancing the drug war. He wrote in a Monday editorial that this is “yet another Trojan Horse that will inflict all manner of nasty police state surprises on an unsuspecting populace.”

Issue three.

On Monday, Middle Tennessee State University announced a poll it conducted found 37 percent of polled Tennessee voters support legalizing marijuana for personal use and 44 percent support legalizing medical marijuana.

Upon seeing these results, I suspected something is fishy. After all, national polls indicate much more support. For example, a January of 2018 Quinnipiac University national poll of voters found 58 percent support for marijuana legalization generally and 91 percent support for medical marijuana legalization.

In the Tennessee poll, individuals were asked the following question:
Which comes closest to your view about the use of marijuana by adults? 'It should be legal for personal use.' 'It should be legal only for medical use.' 'It should not be legal.'
Because no option was offered for supporting both recreational and medical marijuana legalization, people who support both could only express support for one or the other. This caused an artificial decrease in recorded support for both forms of legalization.

Issue four.

This week, leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints, often called the Mormon Church, issued a two paragraph statement criticizing a medical marijuana legalization proposal that may be on the Utah state ballot in November. In the statement is this declaration: “The public interest is best served when all new drugs designed to relieve suffering and illness, and the procedures by which they are made available to the public, undergo the scrutiny of medical scientists and official approval bodies.”

Despite the statement’s insistence, marijuana is neither a “new drug” nor something any person designed. Instead, it is a plant people have used medically since long before the US and Utah governments, or their drug wars, existed.

Issue five.

In the March 31 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about a proposed Medicare rule that would cut off coverage for many peoples’ pain medication prescriptions equivalent to 90 milligrams or more of morphine daily. Many doctors and pain patients opposed the proposed rule that would advance the interests of drug warriors. Jacob Sullum reported Monday at Reason that the US government backed down on the proposed rule, instead adopting a rule that requires “a pharmacist who receives a prescription above the threshold to confirm it with the doctor and document the discussion.”

-----

That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ Sat, 14 Apr 2018 14:01:36 GMT
Trump Ordering Syria Attack Would Be an Unconstitutional, But Not Uncommon, Presidential Action Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/

Louis Fisher, a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board member and United States Constitution scholar, is quoted, in a Thursday Washington Examiner article by Steven Nelson, declaring that a unilateral decision by President Donald Trump to use military force against Syria would be unconstitutional as well as not authorized under the War Powers Resolution. Yet, Trump taking such action, says Fisher, would also be in line with military actions regularly pursued by previous presidents.

Here is Fisher’s comment:
'I find no grounds in the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution that would authorize unilateral presidential use of military force against another nation that has not attacked the United States,' said Louis Fisher, a Constitution Project scholar who formerly worked as senior specialist for separation of powers at the Library of Congress. 'That fundamental principle has been regularly violated by presidents from Truman [in Korea] through Obama [in Libya].'
Read here the rest of Nelson’s informative article, “Trump would break the law bombing Bashar Assad, some scholars say.”]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 18:03:10 GMT
US War Making: What’s in It for You? Robert Higgs http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/

If you are an American, have you asked yourself these questions?

1. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Iraq?
2. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Afghanistan?
3. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Syria?
4. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Yemen?
5. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Africa?
6. What purpose of mine would be served by the US government’s making war in Iran?

Unless you are an unusual American, and if you are honest, your answer in each case would be, No purpose of mine is served by such war making.

Yet US forces continue to make war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Africa with no prospect of discontinuation in sight, and the probability is substantial that US forces will attack Iran and that US actions in Syria will provoke direct fighting with the Russians supporting the Assad regime — fighting that might spiral out of control and eventuate in nuclear war. Why?

Well, although relatively few Americans have any real interest served by these wars, a small minority does have an interest. The leading figures in this power elite are Zionists and politicos beholden to the Israel lobby, plus some people who thrive on any and all wars by virtue of their positions in the military-industrial-congressional complex.

Chances are that these people are complete strangers to you. Their only connection with you is (a) to profit from funds extracted from you by the government, and (b) to keep you ideologically befuddled and factually misinformed so that you will not cause any major difficulty for them in their conduct of perpetual war. But aside from these two connections, nothing connects the great majority of Americans with the warfare state. It essentially runs on its own, answering to no one outside its own precincts and thriving on a pipeline to the taxpayers’ bank accounts.

You pay for all of this endless death and destruction, average American, but you get less than nothing out of it. In short, you are a sap for evil and designing intriguers. If you are reflexively “supporting the troops,” you might want to reconsider playing the fool and having your intelligence insulted daily in the process.

Higgs is a member of the Ron Paul Institute's Board of Advisors.

Reprinted with permission from the Independent Institute.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:29:54 GMT
Bolton And Mattis Feud Over Syria Strike As Assad Evacuates Weapons Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/

- The Syrian government and Hezbollah have reportedly evacuated weapons from key locations

- Assad has moved planes to a Russian-operated base

- The UK Cabinet has agreed to back military action against the Syrian government

- US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis are reportedly feuding over the strategy in Syria, with Mattis favoring a more cautious approach

- The US, France and Britain are crafting broad strike plans

- A readout of a Thursday phone conversation President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May suggests that military action may be days away, instead of hours

The latest reports rolling in from Syria suggest that both the Assad regime and Hezbollah have evacuated weapons from likely targets, after CNBC revealed that the US has selected eight targets to strike, including two airfields, a research center and an alleged chemical weapons facility - after US officials told a reporter they were "fairly confident" the Syrian regime had been behind a gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.
Mr. Assad was moving to protect his air force by moving planes to a Russian-operated base equipped with sophisticated air defenses, according to pro-regime media. -WSJ
The Wall St. Journal also reports that broad plans are being crafted by the US, France and Britain for a military strike, while President Trump told reporters on Thursday "We’re looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation, and we’ll see what happens, folks, we’ll see what happens. It’s too bad that the world puts us in a position like that." 

Adding to the tension in the region is a UK cabinet decision to back military action against the Syrian government, a day after Theresa May said she was ready to strike "without parliamentary approval." 

Meanwhile, newly minted National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis have reportedly been clashing over the strategy in Syria, according to Senior Atlantic Council Fellow Kate Brannen.

Mattis and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford are reportedly "concerned with managing escalation and preventing blowback on US troops," while John Bolton is known for getting very excited at the prospect of a good ol' fashioned regime change.

“We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people, but, on a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that,” Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.  
Mattis said that the US aim in Syria is to defeat Islamic State, not “to engage in the civil war itself.” But referring to the use of chemical weapons, Mattis said that 'some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale' and require a response. -Bloomberg
The Wall St. Journal reports that Mattis "brought those concerns directly to the White House on Thursday, where White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the national security team didn't agree on a response."

Exactly two weeks ago Mattis met Bolton - telling the bemoustached bringer-of-death, "I heard you're actually the devil incarnate, and I wanted to meet you." 

While the White House's reported conflict has resulted in a day without resolution, a readout of a Thursday evening call between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump signaled that the US-led coalition is perhaps "considering all their options" before waging war on Syria over a chemical attack reported by an anti-Assad NGO accused of fabricating evidence and staging bodies along with other groups in the region.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 01:31:17 GMT
Against War in Syria Mises Institute http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/

President Donald Trump has announced that he plans new missile strikes against the Syrian regime in response to an alleged chemical attack on Syrian civilians in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.

The US has offered no evidence of the attack, since, as the Financial Times has admitted, confirmation of any such attack could take weeks. Moreover, confirming the attack took place at all is not the same thing as confirming that the Syrian regime was responsible for it.

The Trump administration, apparently, has little interest in such technicalities, and advocates for immediate military intervention point out that evidence could be lost in the meantime.

So the absence of evidence is evidence.

But, as Tucker Carlson noted in an important segment at Fox News, even if it can be proven that the Syrian regime is responsible for the attack, it's unclear how a new attack on Syria will "make the US safer."

The administration and its pro-war backers do not appear to even be making this case, as it is quite apparent that the Syrian regime is no danger to the United States, whatsoever. The regime's tiny air force and virtually-non-existent navy pose no threat to a country with a navy ten times larger than any other navy, and which spends more on military projects than the next eight most militarized regimes combined. As President Dwight Eisenhower understood — as he cut military spending in the face of a resurgent Soviet Union — the US's huge nuclear arsenal renders threats from regimes like Assad's utterly moot. 

But even if none of this were true, the burden is still on the US government to affirmatively demonstrate that Assad's Syria is a threat to the American voters and taxpayers.

This will not happen, however, because that's not how foreign policy is made in the US. There will be no meaningful debate in Congress, and nothing more than accusations and innuendo will be issued from the administration and other organs of the executive branch. "Trust us, we wouldn't lie" will be the central claim of the American war promoters. Americans will, yet again, be told to sacrifice both treasure and freedoms to satisfy the latest schemes of the American military establishment. 

Given that only a portion of the population will buy any claims that Americans are in danger, we'll hear vague platitudes about humanitarian missions, and how the Syrian regime must be stopped for the sake of decency. We heard the same thing in both Iraq and Libya before regime change was effected there in the name of humanitarianism. In both cases, however, the region was only made less stable, and more prone to radical Islamism. The result has been anything but humanitarian or decent. Nor can advocates for war supply any answer to the question of what will replace Assad's regime. The most likely candidates are radical Islamists. Moreover, so long as the US continues to ignore the humanitarian disaster in Yemen being perpetrated by American ally Saudi Arabia, any claims of "humanitarian" intent are dubious at best.

The real motivation behind the latest drive for war might be found by employing a strategy recently suggested by Lew Rockwell, who notes:
When you hear the words "national security" or "national interest" used by people in Washington, I think it's important to substitute "imperial" for "national." So is it in the national interest of the United States to bomb Syria? No. Is it in the imperial interest of the American Empire to do so? Yes. 
In other words, the US state and many of its allies stand to benefit significantly from war with Syria. As Randolf Bourne pointed out a century ago, "war is the health of the state," and yet another war will help the American regime justify larger budgets, larger deficits, more taxes, and more state power in general.

For this reason, there has always been a close connection between the ideology of laissez-faire liberalism, and the ideology of peace. In the 19th century, it was free-market liberals like Richard Cobden and his friendFrédéric Bastiat who regarded economic intervention, slavery, and war, as all part of one authoritarian package. This mantle was later picked up by Ludwig von Mises, and then by his student Murray Rothbard.

Even in the cases where defensive war might have been justified, the costs of war, the liberals understood, have been far more grave than our rulers would have us believe. War is always a disaster for life, for liberty, and for the quality of life for those who survive. The only exception, it seems, are those organs of the state that benefit so handsomely from armed conflict.

But, on the matter of war, the position of the liberals — those we now know as "libertarians" — have long been firmly on the side of peace whenever possible:
But wars are not made by common folk, scratching for livings in the heat of the day; they are made by demagogues infesting palaces. It is not necessary for these demagogues to complete the sale of a war before they send the goods home, as a storekeeper must complete the sale of, say, a suit of clothes. They send the goods home first, then convince the customer that he wants them. ... But the main reason why it is easy to sell war to peaceful people is that the demagogues who act as salesmen quickly acquire a monopoly of both public information and public instruction. ... The dead are still dead, the fellows who lost legs still lack them, war widows go on suffering the orneriness of their second husbands, and taxpayers continue to pay, pay, pay. In the schools children are taught that the war was fought for freedom, the home and God. — H.L. Mencken

Modern war is merciless, it does not spare pregnant women or infants; it is indiscriminate killing and destroying. It does not respect the rights of neutrals. Millions are killed, enslaved, or expelled from the dwelling places in which their ancestors lived for centuries. Nobody can foretell what will happen in the next chapter of this endless struggle. This has little to do with the atomic bomb. The root of the evil is not the construction of new, more dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest. It is probable that scientists will discover some methods of defense against the atomic bomb. But this will not alter things, it will merely prolong for a short time the process of the complete destruction of civilization. — Ludwig von Mises

Only one thing can conquer war — the liberal attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation, and which can never wish to bring about a war, because it regards war as injurious even to the victors. Where Liberalism prevails, there will never be war. But where there are other opinions concerning the profitability and injuriousness of war, no rules or regulations, however cunningly devised, can make war impossible. — Ludwig von Mises

Modern war is not a war of royal armies. It is a war of the peoples, a total war. It is a war of states which do not leave to their subjects any private sphere; they consider the whole population a part of the armed forces. Whoever does not fight must work for the support and equipment of the army. Army and people are one and the same. The citizens passionately participate in the war. For it is their state, their God, who fights. — Ludwig von Mises

The middle and industrious classes of England can have no interest apart from the preservation of peace. The honours, the fame, the emoluments of war belong not to them; the battle-plain is the harvest-field of the aristocracy, watered by the blood of the people. — Richard Cobden

Public opinion must undergo a change; our ministers must no longer be held responsible for the everyday political quarrels all over Europe; nor, when an opposition journalist wishes to assail a foreign secretary, must he be suffered to taunt him with the neglect of the honor of Great Britain, if he should prudently abstain from involving her in the dissensions that afflict distant communities. — Richard Cobden

England, by calmly directing her undivided energies to the purifying of her own internal institutions, to the emancipation of her commerce … would, by thus serving as it were for the beacon of other nations, aid more effectually the cause of political progression all over the continent than she could possibly do by plunging herself into the strife of European wars. — Richard Cobden

The libertarian's basic attitude toward war must then be: it is legitimate to use violence against criminals in defense of one's rights of person and property; it is completely impermissible to violate the rights of other innocent people. War, then, is only proper when the exercise of violence is rigorously limited to the individual criminals. We may judge for ourselves how many wars or conflicts in history have met this criterion. ... If classical international law limited and checked warfare, and kept it from spreading, modern international law, in an attempt to stamp out "aggression" and to abolish war, only insures, as the great historian Charles Beard put it, a futile policy of "perpetual war for perpetual peace." — Murray Rothbard

The second Wilsonian excuse for perpetual war ... is even more utopian: the idea that it is the moral obligation of America and of all other nations to impose "democracy" and "human rights" throughout the globe. In short, in a world where "democracy" is generally meaningless, and "human rights" of any genuine sort virtually nonexistent, that we are obligated to take up the sword and wage a perpetual war to force utopia on the entire world by guns, tanks, and bombs.  — Murray Rothbard
Reprinted with permission from Mises Institute.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:49:38 GMT
Ron Paul Makes the Case for Libertarian Optimism Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/

American libertarians have plenty of reason to feel discouraged in this time of the United States government increasingly disrespecting liberty in America and pursuing intervention, including wars, overseas. While prominent libertarian communicator Ron Paul shares concerns about these developments, he also sees much reason for hope. In the final minutes of a new interview at Jay Taylor’s show Turning Hard Times Into Good Times, Paul makes the case for libertarians to be optimistic about the future.

While Paul explains that he sees trouble ahead in America, including economic trouble resulting from Federal Reserve policies, he also says he is optimistic because he thinks “there is a better understanding of the system than ever before.” Elaborating, Paul notes that when he went to Congress back in 1976 nobody had “even heard the word ‘libertarian’” and “nobody ever heard of Austrian economics hardly on the political front,” while now those ideas are more broadly understood, including among students at colleges Paul visits.

Paul continues that he thinks there is “an ideological revolution … out there, but it’s going unnoticed.” Implementing libertarian changes Paul sees as possible when America enters greater crisis and it is clear that major change is needed, comparing the hope offered from libertarianism to actions that must be taken to overcome an individual’s troubles of drug addiction or a drunken binge. The move toward libertarianism, Paul concludes, would not “come from Washington.” Instead, he says, “it has to come from the people” and would be grounded in education.

Listen to Paul’s complete interview, which begins with an in-depth discussion of economic issues including tariffs and the gold standard, here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 20:34:18 GMT
David Stockman Enters Hostile Territory to Support Nonintervention and Oppose Increased Military Spending Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ spending deal worked out by President Donald Trump and Congress and that the US should stop its excessive military intervention overseas.

The US military would not need so much money if the military were used much less, argues Stockman, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board. “Don’t have so many missions; don’t be bombing Syria; don’t be mucking around in the Middle East,” Stockman says is the “obvious answer” to host Maria Bartiromo’s contention that the increased military spending is needed because “we’ve starved the military.” And, in response to Bartiromo’s suggestion that Stockman is advocating turning away when the Syrian government uses chemical weapons in Syria, Stockman explains why he sees such chemical weapons allegations as “a hoax” and argues “we have no dog in that hunt,” meaning the American people are best served by the US government just keeping out of the conflict in Syria.

Watch Stockman’s complete interview here:

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ Wed, 25 Apr 2018 22:54:50 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Friends and Adversaries, Partisan War, Texas Marijuana, Syria Attack, US Marijuana Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at StitcheriTunesYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:



Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.


Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

In February of 2017, during her first few weeks as United States ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, in prepared comments she presented to reporters, called Israel “our friend and ally” and declared “I’m here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel.” The next month, speaking at a convention of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Haley said:
Never do we not have the backs of our friends. We don’t have a greater friend than Israel.
Haley has a different perspective regarding Russia. At an April 5 speech at Duke University, Haley said that “Russia’s never gonna be our friend” and that the US will work with Russia when the US needs to and that the US will “slap” Russia when the US needs to.

Haley’s declarations, and similar comments by other US government officials, help show the rigid categorizing of other nations as friends and adversaries that supports constant and widespread intervention overseas.

Issue two.

President Donald Trump this month ordered a missile attack against Syria unilaterally, that is, with no congressional authorization.

One thing allowing successive presidents to use the US military to attack other countries without a congressional debate and vote is that some US Congress members actively oppose such presidential actions only when the president is affiliated with the opposing party.

It would be great to see support for peace and for blocking unilateral executive exercises of war power to become powerful and ongoing bipartisan causes in Congress. It can happen, but probably only after the people first demand it strongly enough.

Issue three.

A new Quinnipiac University poll indicates 61 percent of Texas voters support “allowing adults in Texas to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.”

Could Texas soon legalize?

Most states that have legalized marijuana did so via measures qualified for consideration on voters’ ballots through the submitting of petition signatures. Texans do not have that process available. But state legislatures can pass legalization legislation. In January, Vermont was the first state to legalize via legislation passed in a state legislature and signed by a governor.

There is even potential for radical legalization in Texas. In 2015, the Texas state House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved then-Rep. David Simpson’s (R-Longview) marijuana legalization bill that would, for adults, treat marijuana the same as tomatoes. The bill, though, did not have a vote in the full House.

Issue four.

The Trump administration has not made public evidence to justify its launching this month of missiles into Syria. Congress members do not seem to have been informed of such evidence either. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) told Breitbart News that a Tuesday classified briefing for Congress members presented by people including the US secretary of defense, the secretary of state, and the director of national intelligence “did not provide any evidence.” Said Massie, “There was nothing that was provided in there that’s not on the Internet.”

Massie is a member of the Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board.

Issue five.

In the last two weeks, some big names in US politics have endorsed rolling back US marijuana prohibition.

Last week, former US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced he now believes marijuana should be descheduled from the US Controlled Substances Act, and he joined the board of advisers of the marijuana industry company Acreage Holdings.

Also last week, US Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) revealed that President Donald Trump had pledged to him support for a marijuana “legislative solution that will allow a states’ rights approach.” We are still awaiting a public affirmation and elaboration from Trump.

Then, this week, US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced his support for decriminalizing marijuana on the federal level and his plan to introduce legislation to accomplish this objective through actions including desceduling marijuana and respecting states having their own laws regarding marijuana possession.

-----

That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:51:42 GMT
Lawrence Wilkerson: Cowardly Congress, Apathetic Americans Allow US Military Intervention Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/
Commercial interests related to oil and gas, further argues Wilkerson, who is a professor at the College of William & Mary, are “at the bottom of” why the US would intervene various places overseas including in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Presenting other reasons for the US intervention, says Wilkerson, “is just lying to the American people.” But, he continues, the US has a long history of lying to justify intervention, giving the examples of the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.

“All that is nonsense,” exclaims Wilkerson, in regard to reasons such as “this is for freedom, this is for democracy, this is to stop the use of chemical weapons” that a president may offer to justify military interventions. Instead, Wilkerson concludes that Smedley Butler had it right in explaining the purpose is advancing commercial interests. And looking to the missiles launched into Syria a few days ago and the ongoing US-backed war against Yemen, Wilkerson identifies benefit flowing to Raytheon that makes weapons including missiles, as well as other weapons manufacturers. Summing up this situation, Wilkerson declares, “You could say we are killing people in the world for Raytheon and DOD [(the Department of Defense)].”

Watch Wilkerson’s complete interview here:



Wilkerson is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 20:53:30 GMT
US: Russia Hacked The Evidence Of Chemical Attack In Syria Caitlin Johnstone http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/

We are now being told (and I assure you I am not making this up) that if the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons doesn’t find evidence that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapons attack in Douma last week, it’s because Russia hid the evidence.

“It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site,” reports US Ambassador Kenneth Ward. “It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation.”

I guess the idea is that this international top-level investigative team on which tremendous credibility has been placed by the western world can be thwarted by Russians showing up with a Hoover and spraying some Febreze in the air like a teenage stoner when mom comes home? I’m not sure, but given the immense dearth of evidence we’ve been seeing in support of the establishment Douma narrative and the mounting pile of evidence contradicting it, it sure does sound fishy.

Now that the jihadist-occupied suburb of Douma has been retaken by the Syrian government, western journalists have been allowed in to poke around and start asking questions, and so far it isn’t looking great for the propaganda machine.

The Independent‘s Robert Fisk has published a report which affirms the story so many westerners have been dismissing as Kremlin propaganda for days now after interviewing a doctor from the hospital of the area where the Douma attack was supposed to have occurred. Dr Assim Rahaibani told Fisk that what was in actuality an outbreak of respiratory distress among occupants of a dusty oxygen-deprived tunnel was made to look like the aftereffects of a chemical weapons attack when a member of the White Helmets started shouting about a gas attack in front of a bunch of video cameras. Everyone panicked and started hosing themselves down, but in the video, according to Rahaibani, “what you see are people suffering from hypoxia — not gas poisoning.”

This report was independently backed up by a reporter from One America News Network named Pearson Sharp, who gave a detailed account of his interviews with officials, doctors, as well as many civilians on the street Sharp says he deliberately selected at random in order to avoid accusations of bias. Many people hadn’t even heard that a chemical weapons attack had taken place, and the ones who had said it was staged by Jaysh al-Islam. The staff at the hospital, including a medic-in-training who was an eyewitness to the incident, gave the same story as the account in Fisk’s report.

The increasing confidence with which these unapproved narratives are being voiced and the increasing discomfort being exhibited by empire loyalists like Ambassador Ward indicate a weakening narrative in the greater propaganda campaign against the Assad government and its allies, but don’t hold your breath for the part where Fox News and the BBC turn around and start asking critical questions of the governments that they are meant to be holding to account.

The journalists who have been advancing the establishment narrative on Syria aren’t about to start reporting that they’ve gotten the entire Syria story assballs backward and have been promoting a version of events manufactured for the benefit of CIA-MI6-Mossad agendas. You’re not about to see CNN, who last year staged a fake scripted interview with a seven year-old Syrian girl to manufacture support for escalations against Assad, suddenly turn around and start asking if we’re being told the full story about what’s happening Syria.

Watch them closely. Watch how they steadfastly ignore the growing mountain of evidence and keep promoting the Syrian regime change agenda that the western empire has been working toward for decades. Watch them dismiss all evidence they can’t ignore as Kremlin propaganda and shift the narrative whenever things start to look bad for them. Those riding the crest of the wave of establishment media are too far gone into the blob to ever admit error and change. The least among us aren’t about to stop constructing a public reality tunnel which depicts them as heroes of truth, tear it all down, and start advancing a narrative which makes them look like fools at best and villains at worst. It will not happen.

Luckily for us, it doesn’t need to. Internet censorship is still far from closing the door on our ability to network and share information, and we’ve been very effective at sowing skepticism among the masses. The war propagandists are not nearly as good at their jobs as they want to believe, and we can beat them.

They work so hard to manufacture support for war because they require that consent. If the oligarchs try to launch a war against a disobedient nation amidst very clear opposition from the public, they will shatter the illusion of freedom and democracy that their entire empire is built upon, and then they’re exposed. Corporatist oligarchy has succeeded in weaving its web of dominance because its oppression has thus far remained hidden and its depravity disguised as humanitarianism. They cannot expose themselves by transgressing a loud NO from the public or else the masses will realize that everything they used to believe about their country, their government and their world is a lie.

They won’t risk that. We can force them into retreating from open war by circulating facts and information and keeping a healthy level of skepticism circulating among the public. Watch them squirm, move goalposts and shift narratives, and point and yell about it whenever it happens. We can win the media war against the propagandists. We have truth on our side.

Reprinted with author's permission from Medium.com.

Support Johnstone's work on Patreon or Paypal]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:46:59 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Hemp Bill, Militarized America, Marijuana Disinfo, Utah Marijuana, Pain Killers Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at StitcheriTunesYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:



Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.

Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

On Thursday, United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Hemp Farming Act (S 2667), saying it will legalize hemp and “empower farmers.”

McConnell first cosponsored Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) similarly-named Industrial Hemp Farming Act in the US Senate in 2013, and he cosponsored it again when it was reintroduced in 2015.

Wyden’s bills were similar to the hemp legalization bill Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) first introduced in the US House of Representatives in 2005.

Paul’s bill’s approach was to just end the US government’s hemp prohibition, making the US government butt out in regard to hemp farming.

In contrast, McConnell’s legalization is far from laissez faire. The McConnell bill spells out required state regulations on hemp farming and authorizes the US Department of Agriculture to impose more regulations on its own. And McConnell’s press release for his new bill promotes that the bill makes available US government subsidies in the form of hemp research grants and hemp crop insurance.

Wyden, who is an original cosponsor of McConnell’s new bill, has not reintroduced his own hemp bill this Congress.

Issue two.

Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead is concerned about the recent deployment of the US military in America for purported purposes including countering illegal immigration and advancing the drug war. He wrote in a Monday editorial that this is “yet another Trojan Horse that will inflict all manner of nasty police state surprises on an unsuspecting populace.”

Issue three.

On Monday, Middle Tennessee State University announced a poll it conducted found 37 percent of polled Tennessee voters support legalizing marijuana for personal use and 44 percent support legalizing medical marijuana.

Upon seeing these results, I suspected something is fishy. After all, national polls indicate much more support. For example, a January of 2018 Quinnipiac University national poll of voters found 58 percent support for marijuana legalization generally and 91 percent support for medical marijuana legalization.

In the Tennessee poll, individuals were asked the following question:
Which comes closest to your view about the use of marijuana by adults? 'It should be legal for personal use.' 'It should be legal only for medical use.' 'It should not be legal.'
Because no option was offered for supporting both recreational and medical marijuana legalization, people who support both could only express support for one or the other. This caused an artificial decrease in recorded support for both forms of legalization.

Issue four.

This week, leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints, often called the Mormon Church, issued a two paragraph statement criticizing a medical marijuana legalization proposal that may be on the Utah state ballot in November. In the statement is this declaration: “The public interest is best served when all new drugs designed to relieve suffering and illness, and the procedures by which they are made available to the public, undergo the scrutiny of medical scientists and official approval bodies.”

Despite the statement’s insistence, marijuana is neither a “new drug” nor something any person designed. Instead, it is a plant people have used medically since long before the US and Utah governments, or their drug wars, existed.

Issue five.

In the March 31 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about a proposed Medicare rule that would cut off coverage for many peoples’ pain medication prescriptions equivalent to 90 milligrams or more of morphine daily. Many doctors and pain patients opposed the proposed rule that would advance the interests of drug warriors. Jacob Sullum reported Monday at Reason that the US government backed down on the proposed rule, instead adopting a rule that requires “a pharmacist who receives a prescription above the threshold to confirm it with the doctor and document the discussion.”

-----

That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ Sat, 14 Apr 2018 14:01:36 GMT
Trump Ordering Syria Attack Would Be an Unconstitutional, But Not Uncommon, Presidential Action Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/

Louis Fisher, a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board member and United States Constitution scholar, is quoted, in a Thursday Washington Examiner article by Steven Nelson, declaring that a unilateral decision by President Donald Trump to use military force against Syria would be unconstitutional as well as not authorized under the War Powers Resolution. Yet, Trump taking such action, says Fisher, would also be in line with military actions regularly pursued by previous presidents.

Here is Fisher’s comment:
'I find no grounds in the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution that would authorize unilateral presidential use of military force against another nation that has not attacked the United States,' said Louis Fisher, a Constitution Project scholar who formerly worked as senior specialist for separation of powers at the Library of Congress. 'That fundamental principle has been regularly violated by presidents from Truman [in Korea] through Obama [in Libya].'
Read here the rest of Nelson’s informative article, “Trump would break the law bombing Bashar Assad, some scholars say.”]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 18:03:10 GMT
US War Making: What’s in It for You? Robert Higgs http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/

If you are an American, have you asked yourself these questions?

1. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Iraq?
2. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Afghanistan?
3. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Syria?
4. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Yemen?
5. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Africa?
6. What purpose of mine would be served by the US government’s making war in Iran?

Unless you are an unusual American, and if you are honest, your answer in each case would be, No purpose of mine is served by such war making.

Yet US forces continue to make war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Africa with no prospect of discontinuation in sight, and the probability is substantial that US forces will attack Iran and that US actions in Syria will provoke direct fighting with the Russians supporting the Assad regime — fighting that might spiral out of control and eventuate in nuclear war. Why?

Well, although relatively few Americans have any real interest served by these wars, a small minority does have an interest. The leading figures in this power elite are Zionists and politicos beholden to the Israel lobby, plus some people who thrive on any and all wars by virtue of their positions in the military-industrial-congressional complex.

Chances are that these people are complete strangers to you. Their only connection with you is (a) to profit from funds extracted from you by the government, and (b) to keep you ideologically befuddled and factually misinformed so that you will not cause any major difficulty for them in their conduct of perpetual war. But aside from these two connections, nothing connects the great majority of Americans with the warfare state. It essentially runs on its own, answering to no one outside its own precincts and thriving on a pipeline to the taxpayers’ bank accounts.

You pay for all of this endless death and destruction, average American, but you get less than nothing out of it. In short, you are a sap for evil and designing intriguers. If you are reflexively “supporting the troops,” you might want to reconsider playing the fool and having your intelligence insulted daily in the process.

Higgs is a member of the Ron Paul Institute's Board of Advisors.

Reprinted with permission from the Independent Institute.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:29:54 GMT
Bolton And Mattis Feud Over Syria Strike As Assad Evacuates Weapons Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/

- The Syrian government and Hezbollah have reportedly evacuated weapons from key locations

- Assad has moved planes to a Russian-operated base

- The UK Cabinet has agreed to back military action against the Syrian government

- US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis are reportedly feuding over the strategy in Syria, with Mattis favoring a more cautious approach

- The US, France and Britain are crafting broad strike plans

- A readout of a Thursday phone conversation President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May suggests that military action may be days away, instead of hours

The latest reports rolling in from Syria suggest that both the Assad regime and Hezbollah have evacuated weapons from likely targets, after CNBC revealed that the US has selected eight targets to strike, including two airfields, a research center and an alleged chemical weapons facility - after US officials told a reporter they were "fairly confident" the Syrian regime had been behind a gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.
Mr. Assad was moving to protect his air force by moving planes to a Russian-operated base equipped with sophisticated air defenses, according to pro-regime media. -WSJ
The Wall St. Journal also reports that broad plans are being crafted by the US, France and Britain for a military strike, while President Trump told reporters on Thursday "We’re looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation, and we’ll see what happens, folks, we’ll see what happens. It’s too bad that the world puts us in a position like that." 

Adding to the tension in the region is a UK cabinet decision to back military action against the Syrian government, a day after Theresa May said she was ready to strike "without parliamentary approval." 

Meanwhile, newly minted National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis have reportedly been clashing over the strategy in Syria, according to Senior Atlantic Council Fellow Kate Brannen.

Mattis and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford are reportedly "concerned with managing escalation and preventing blowback on US troops," while John Bolton is known for getting very excited at the prospect of a good ol' fashioned regime change.

“We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people, but, on a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that,” Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.  
Mattis said that the US aim in Syria is to defeat Islamic State, not “to engage in the civil war itself.” But referring to the use of chemical weapons, Mattis said that 'some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale' and require a response. -Bloomberg
The Wall St. Journal reports that Mattis "brought those concerns directly to the White House on Thursday, where White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the national security team didn't agree on a response."

Exactly two weeks ago Mattis met Bolton - telling the bemoustached bringer-of-death, "I heard you're actually the devil incarnate, and I wanted to meet you." 

While the White House's reported conflict has resulted in a day without resolution, a readout of a Thursday evening call between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump signaled that the US-led coalition is perhaps "considering all their options" before waging war on Syria over a chemical attack reported by an anti-Assad NGO accused of fabricating evidence and staging bodies along with other groups in the region.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 01:31:17 GMT
Against War in Syria Mises Institute http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/

President Donald Trump has announced that he plans new missile strikes against the Syrian regime in response to an alleged chemical attack on Syrian civilians in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.

The US has offered no evidence of the attack, since, as the Financial Times has admitted, confirmation of any such attack could take weeks. Moreover, confirming the attack took place at all is not the same thing as confirming that the Syrian regime was responsible for it.

The Trump administration, apparently, has little interest in such technicalities, and advocates for immediate military intervention point out that evidence could be lost in the meantime.

So the absence of evidence is evidence.

But, as Tucker Carlson noted in an important segment at Fox News, even if it can be proven that the Syrian regime is responsible for the attack, it's unclear how a new attack on Syria will "make the US safer."

The administration and its pro-war backers do not appear to even be making this case, as it is quite apparent that the Syrian regime is no danger to the United States, whatsoever. The regime's tiny air force and virtually-non-existent navy pose no threat to a country with a navy ten times larger than any other navy, and which spends more on military projects than the next eight most militarized regimes combined. As President Dwight Eisenhower understood — as he cut military spending in the face of a resurgent Soviet Union — the US's huge nuclear arsenal renders threats from regimes like Assad's utterly moot. 

But even if none of this were true, the burden is still on the US government to affirmatively demonstrate that Assad's Syria is a threat to the American voters and taxpayers.

This will not happen, however, because that's not how foreign policy is made in the US. There will be no meaningful debate in Congress, and nothing more than accusations and innuendo will be issued from the administration and other organs of the executive branch. "Trust us, we wouldn't lie" will be the central claim of the American war promoters. Americans will, yet again, be told to sacrifice both treasure and freedoms to satisfy the latest schemes of the American military establishment. 

Given that only a portion of the population will buy any claims that Americans are in danger, we'll hear vague platitudes about humanitarian missions, and how the Syrian regime must be stopped for the sake of decency. We heard the same thing in both Iraq and Libya before regime change was effected there in the name of humanitarianism. In both cases, however, the region was only made less stable, and more prone to radical Islamism. The result has been anything but humanitarian or decent. Nor can advocates for war supply any answer to the question of what will replace Assad's regime. The most likely candidates are radical Islamists. Moreover, so long as the US continues to ignore the humanitarian disaster in Yemen being perpetrated by American ally Saudi Arabia, any claims of "humanitarian" intent are dubious at best.

The real motivation behind the latest drive for war might be found by employing a strategy recently suggested by Lew Rockwell, who notes:
When you hear the words "national security" or "national interest" used by people in Washington, I think it's important to substitute "imperial" for "national." So is it in the national interest of the United States to bomb Syria? No. Is it in the imperial interest of the American Empire to do so? Yes. 
In other words, the US state and many of its allies stand to benefit significantly from war with Syria. As Randolf Bourne pointed out a century ago, "war is the health of the state," and yet another war will help the American regime justify larger budgets, larger deficits, more taxes, and more state power in general.

For this reason, there has always been a close connection between the ideology of laissez-faire liberalism, and the ideology of peace. In the 19th century, it was free-market liberals like Richard Cobden and his friendFrédéric Bastiat who regarded economic intervention, slavery, and war, as all part of one authoritarian package. This mantle was later picked up by Ludwig von Mises, and then by his student Murray Rothbard.

Even in the cases where defensive war might have been justified, the costs of war, the liberals understood, have been far more grave than our rulers would have us believe. War is always a disaster for life, for liberty, and for the quality of life for those who survive. The only exception, it seems, are those organs of the state that benefit so handsomely from armed conflict.

But, on the matter of war, the position of the liberals — those we now know as "libertarians" — have long been firmly on the side of peace whenever possible:
But wars are not made by common folk, scratching for livings in the heat of the day; they are made by demagogues infesting palaces. It is not necessary for these demagogues to complete the sale of a war before they send the goods home, as a storekeeper must complete the sale of, say, a suit of clothes. They send the goods home first, then convince the customer that he wants them. ... But the main reason why it is easy to sell war to peaceful people is that the demagogues who act as salesmen quickly acquire a monopoly of both public information and public instruction. ... The dead are still dead, the fellows who lost legs still lack them, war widows go on suffering the orneriness of their second husbands, and taxpayers continue to pay, pay, pay. In the schools children are taught that the war was fought for freedom, the home and God. — H.L. Mencken

Modern war is merciless, it does not spare pregnant women or infants; it is indiscriminate killing and destroying. It does not respect the rights of neutrals. Millions are killed, enslaved, or expelled from the dwelling places in which their ancestors lived for centuries. Nobody can foretell what will happen in the next chapter of this endless struggle. This has little to do with the atomic bomb. The root of the evil is not the construction of new, more dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest. It is probable that scientists will discover some methods of defense against the atomic bomb. But this will not alter things, it will merely prolong for a short time the process of the complete destruction of civilization. — Ludwig von Mises

Only one thing can conquer war — the liberal attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation, and which can never wish to bring about a war, because it regards war as injurious even to the victors. Where Liberalism prevails, there will never be war. But where there are other opinions concerning the profitability and injuriousness of war, no rules or regulations, however cunningly devised, can make war impossible. — Ludwig von Mises

Modern war is not a war of royal armies. It is a war of the peoples, a total war. It is a war of states which do not leave to their subjects any private sphere; they consider the whole population a part of the armed forces. Whoever does not fight must work for the support and equipment of the army. Army and people are one and the same. The citizens passionately participate in the war. For it is their state, their God, who fights. — Ludwig von Mises

The middle and industrious classes of England can have no interest apart from the preservation of peace. The honours, the fame, the emoluments of war belong not to them; the battle-plain is the harvest-field of the aristocracy, watered by the blood of the people. — Richard Cobden

Public opinion must undergo a change; our ministers must no longer be held responsible for the everyday political quarrels all over Europe; nor, when an opposition journalist wishes to assail a foreign secretary, must he be suffered to taunt him with the neglect of the honor of Great Britain, if he should prudently abstain from involving her in the dissensions that afflict distant communities. — Richard Cobden

England, by calmly directing her undivided energies to the purifying of her own internal institutions, to the emancipation of her commerce … would, by thus serving as it were for the beacon of other nations, aid more effectually the cause of political progression all over the continent than she could possibly do by plunging herself into the strife of European wars. — Richard Cobden

The libertarian's basic attitude toward war must then be: it is legitimate to use violence against criminals in defense of one's rights of person and property; it is completely impermissible to violate the rights of other innocent people. War, then, is only proper when the exercise of violence is rigorously limited to the individual criminals. We may judge for ourselves how many wars or conflicts in history have met this criterion. ... If classical international law limited and checked warfare, and kept it from spreading, modern international law, in an attempt to stamp out "aggression" and to abolish war, only insures, as the great historian Charles Beard put it, a futile policy of "perpetual war for perpetual peace." — Murray Rothbard

The second Wilsonian excuse for perpetual war ... is even more utopian: the idea that it is the moral obligation of America and of all other nations to impose "democracy" and "human rights" throughout the globe. In short, in a world where "democracy" is generally meaningless, and "human rights" of any genuine sort virtually nonexistent, that we are obligated to take up the sword and wage a perpetual war to force utopia on the entire world by guns, tanks, and bombs.  — Murray Rothbard
Reprinted with permission from Mises Institute.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:49:38 GMT
Ron Paul Makes the Case for Libertarian Optimism Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/

American libertarians have plenty of reason to feel discouraged in this time of the United States government increasingly disrespecting liberty in America and pursuing intervention, including wars, overseas. While prominent libertarian communicator Ron Paul shares concerns about these developments, he also sees much reason for hope. In the final minutes of a new interview at Jay Taylor’s show Turning Hard Times Into Good Times, Paul makes the case for libertarians to be optimistic about the future.

While Paul explains that he sees trouble ahead in America, including economic trouble resulting from Federal Reserve policies, he also says he is optimistic because he thinks “there is a better understanding of the system than ever before.” Elaborating, Paul notes that when he went to Congress back in 1976 nobody had “even heard the word ‘libertarian’” and “nobody ever heard of Austrian economics hardly on the political front,” while now those ideas are more broadly understood, including among students at colleges Paul visits.

Paul continues that he thinks there is “an ideological revolution … out there, but it’s going unnoticed.” Implementing libertarian changes Paul sees as possible when America enters greater crisis and it is clear that major change is needed, comparing the hope offered from libertarianism to actions that must be taken to overcome an individual’s troubles of drug addiction or a drunken binge. The move toward libertarianism, Paul concludes, would not “come from Washington.” Instead, he says, “it has to come from the people” and would be grounded in education.

Listen to Paul’s complete interview, which begins with an in-depth discussion of economic issues including tariffs and the gold standard, here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 20:34:18 GMT
David Stockman Enters Hostile Territory to Support Nonintervention and Oppose Increased Military Spending Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ spending deal worked out by President Donald Trump and Congress and that the US should stop its excessive military intervention overseas.

The US military would not need so much money if the military were used much less, argues Stockman, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board. “Don’t have so many missions; don’t be bombing Syria; don’t be mucking around in the Middle East,” Stockman says is the “obvious answer” to host Maria Bartiromo’s contention that the increased military spending is needed because “we’ve starved the military.” And, in response to Bartiromo’s suggestion that Stockman is advocating turning away when the Syrian government uses chemical weapons in Syria, Stockman explains why he sees such chemical weapons allegations as “a hoax” and argues “we have no dog in that hunt,” meaning the American people are best served by the US government just keeping out of the conflict in Syria.

Watch Stockman’s complete interview here:

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/25/david-stockman-enters-hostile-territory-to-support-nonintervention-and-oppose-increased-military-spending/ Wed, 25 Apr 2018 22:54:50 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Friends and Adversaries, Partisan War, Texas Marijuana, Syria Attack, US Marijuana Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at StitcheriTunesYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:



Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.


Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

In February of 2017, during her first few weeks as United States ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, in prepared comments she presented to reporters, called Israel “our friend and ally” and declared “I’m here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel.” The next month, speaking at a convention of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Haley said:
Never do we not have the backs of our friends. We don’t have a greater friend than Israel.
Haley has a different perspective regarding Russia. At an April 5 speech at Duke University, Haley said that “Russia’s never gonna be our friend” and that the US will work with Russia when the US needs to and that the US will “slap” Russia when the US needs to.

Haley’s declarations, and similar comments by other US government officials, help show the rigid categorizing of other nations as friends and adversaries that supports constant and widespread intervention overseas.

Issue two.

President Donald Trump this month ordered a missile attack against Syria unilaterally, that is, with no congressional authorization.

One thing allowing successive presidents to use the US military to attack other countries without a congressional debate and vote is that some US Congress members actively oppose such presidential actions only when the president is affiliated with the opposing party.

It would be great to see support for peace and for blocking unilateral executive exercises of war power to become powerful and ongoing bipartisan causes in Congress. It can happen, but probably only after the people first demand it strongly enough.

Issue three.

A new Quinnipiac University poll indicates 61 percent of Texas voters support “allowing adults in Texas to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.”

Could Texas soon legalize?

Most states that have legalized marijuana did so via measures qualified for consideration on voters’ ballots through the submitting of petition signatures. Texans do not have that process available. But state legislatures can pass legalization legislation. In January, Vermont was the first state to legalize via legislation passed in a state legislature and signed by a governor.

There is even potential for radical legalization in Texas. In 2015, the Texas state House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved then-Rep. David Simpson’s (R-Longview) marijuana legalization bill that would, for adults, treat marijuana the same as tomatoes. The bill, though, did not have a vote in the full House.

Issue four.

The Trump administration has not made public evidence to justify its launching this month of missiles into Syria. Congress members do not seem to have been informed of such evidence either. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) told Breitbart News that a Tuesday classified briefing for Congress members presented by people including the US secretary of defense, the secretary of state, and the director of national intelligence “did not provide any evidence.” Said Massie, “There was nothing that was provided in there that’s not on the Internet.”

Massie is a member of the Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board.

Issue five.

In the last two weeks, some big names in US politics have endorsed rolling back US marijuana prohibition.

Last week, former US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced he now believes marijuana should be descheduled from the US Controlled Substances Act, and he joined the board of advisers of the marijuana industry company Acreage Holdings.

Also last week, US Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) revealed that President Donald Trump had pledged to him support for a marijuana “legislative solution that will allow a states’ rights approach.” We are still awaiting a public affirmation and elaboration from Trump.

Then, this week, US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced his support for decriminalizing marijuana on the federal level and his plan to introduce legislation to accomplish this objective through actions including desceduling marijuana and respecting states having their own laws regarding marijuana possession.

-----

That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/23/five-minutes-five-issues-friends-and-adversaries-partisan-war-texas-marijuana-syria-attack-us-marijuana/ Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:51:42 GMT
Lawrence Wilkerson: Cowardly Congress, Apathetic Americans Allow US Military Intervention Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/
Commercial interests related to oil and gas, further argues Wilkerson, who is a professor at the College of William & Mary, are “at the bottom of” why the US would intervene various places overseas including in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Presenting other reasons for the US intervention, says Wilkerson, “is just lying to the American people.” But, he continues, the US has a long history of lying to justify intervention, giving the examples of the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.

“All that is nonsense,” exclaims Wilkerson, in regard to reasons such as “this is for freedom, this is for democracy, this is to stop the use of chemical weapons” that a president may offer to justify military interventions. Instead, Wilkerson concludes that Smedley Butler had it right in explaining the purpose is advancing commercial interests. And looking to the missiles launched into Syria a few days ago and the ongoing US-backed war against Yemen, Wilkerson identifies benefit flowing to Raytheon that makes weapons including missiles, as well as other weapons manufacturers. Summing up this situation, Wilkerson declares, “You could say we are killing people in the world for Raytheon and DOD [(the Department of Defense)].”

Watch Wilkerson’s complete interview here:



Wilkerson is a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/17/lawrence-wilkerson-cowardly-congress-apathetic-americans-allow-us-military-intervention/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 20:53:30 GMT
US: Russia Hacked The Evidence Of Chemical Attack In Syria Caitlin Johnstone http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/

We are now being told (and I assure you I am not making this up) that if the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons doesn’t find evidence that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapons attack in Douma last week, it’s because Russia hid the evidence.

“It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site,” reports US Ambassador Kenneth Ward. “It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation.”

I guess the idea is that this international top-level investigative team on which tremendous credibility has been placed by the western world can be thwarted by Russians showing up with a Hoover and spraying some Febreze in the air like a teenage stoner when mom comes home? I’m not sure, but given the immense dearth of evidence we’ve been seeing in support of the establishment Douma narrative and the mounting pile of evidence contradicting it, it sure does sound fishy.

Now that the jihadist-occupied suburb of Douma has been retaken by the Syrian government, western journalists have been allowed in to poke around and start asking questions, and so far it isn’t looking great for the propaganda machine.

The Independent‘s Robert Fisk has published a report which affirms the story so many westerners have been dismissing as Kremlin propaganda for days now after interviewing a doctor from the hospital of the area where the Douma attack was supposed to have occurred. Dr Assim Rahaibani told Fisk that what was in actuality an outbreak of respiratory distress among occupants of a dusty oxygen-deprived tunnel was made to look like the aftereffects of a chemical weapons attack when a member of the White Helmets started shouting about a gas attack in front of a bunch of video cameras. Everyone panicked and started hosing themselves down, but in the video, according to Rahaibani, “what you see are people suffering from hypoxia — not gas poisoning.”

This report was independently backed up by a reporter from One America News Network named Pearson Sharp, who gave a detailed account of his interviews with officials, doctors, as well as many civilians on the street Sharp says he deliberately selected at random in order to avoid accusations of bias. Many people hadn’t even heard that a chemical weapons attack had taken place, and the ones who had said it was staged by Jaysh al-Islam. The staff at the hospital, including a medic-in-training who was an eyewitness to the incident, gave the same story as the account in Fisk’s report.

The increasing confidence with which these unapproved narratives are being voiced and the increasing discomfort being exhibited by empire loyalists like Ambassador Ward indicate a weakening narrative in the greater propaganda campaign against the Assad government and its allies, but don’t hold your breath for the part where Fox News and the BBC turn around and start asking critical questions of the governments that they are meant to be holding to account.

The journalists who have been advancing the establishment narrative on Syria aren’t about to start reporting that they’ve gotten the entire Syria story assballs backward and have been promoting a version of events manufactured for the benefit of CIA-MI6-Mossad agendas. You’re not about to see CNN, who last year staged a fake scripted interview with a seven year-old Syrian girl to manufacture support for escalations against Assad, suddenly turn around and start asking if we’re being told the full story about what’s happening Syria.

Watch them closely. Watch how they steadfastly ignore the growing mountain of evidence and keep promoting the Syrian regime change agenda that the western empire has been working toward for decades. Watch them dismiss all evidence they can’t ignore as Kremlin propaganda and shift the narrative whenever things start to look bad for them. Those riding the crest of the wave of establishment media are too far gone into the blob to ever admit error and change. The least among us aren’t about to stop constructing a public reality tunnel which depicts them as heroes of truth, tear it all down, and start advancing a narrative which makes them look like fools at best and villains at worst. It will not happen.

Luckily for us, it doesn’t need to. Internet censorship is still far from closing the door on our ability to network and share information, and we’ve been very effective at sowing skepticism among the masses. The war propagandists are not nearly as good at their jobs as they want to believe, and we can beat them.

They work so hard to manufacture support for war because they require that consent. If the oligarchs try to launch a war against a disobedient nation amidst very clear opposition from the public, they will shatter the illusion of freedom and democracy that their entire empire is built upon, and then they’re exposed. Corporatist oligarchy has succeeded in weaving its web of dominance because its oppression has thus far remained hidden and its depravity disguised as humanitarianism. They cannot expose themselves by transgressing a loud NO from the public or else the masses will realize that everything they used to believe about their country, their government and their world is a lie.

They won’t risk that. We can force them into retreating from open war by circulating facts and information and keeping a healthy level of skepticism circulating among the public. Watch them squirm, move goalposts and shift narratives, and point and yell about it whenever it happens. We can win the media war against the propagandists. We have truth on our side.

Reprinted with author's permission from Medium.com.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/17/us-russia-hacked-the-evidence-of-chemical-attack-in-syria/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:46:59 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Hemp Bill, Militarized America, Marijuana Disinfo, Utah Marijuana, Pain Killers Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at StitcheriTunesYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:



Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.

Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

On Thursday, United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Hemp Farming Act (S 2667), saying it will legalize hemp and “empower farmers.”

McConnell first cosponsored Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) similarly-named Industrial Hemp Farming Act in the US Senate in 2013, and he cosponsored it again when it was reintroduced in 2015.

Wyden’s bills were similar to the hemp legalization bill Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) first introduced in the US House of Representatives in 2005.

Paul’s bill’s approach was to just end the US government’s hemp prohibition, making the US government butt out in regard to hemp farming.

In contrast, McConnell’s legalization is far from laissez faire. The McConnell bill spells out required state regulations on hemp farming and authorizes the US Department of Agriculture to impose more regulations on its own. And McConnell’s press release for his new bill promotes that the bill makes available US government subsidies in the form of hemp research grants and hemp crop insurance.

Wyden, who is an original cosponsor of McConnell’s new bill, has not reintroduced his own hemp bill this Congress.

Issue two.

Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead is concerned about the recent deployment of the US military in America for purported purposes including countering illegal immigration and advancing the drug war. He wrote in a Monday editorial that this is “yet another Trojan Horse that will inflict all manner of nasty police state surprises on an unsuspecting populace.”

Issue three.

On Monday, Middle Tennessee State University announced a poll it conducted found 37 percent of polled Tennessee voters support legalizing marijuana for personal use and 44 percent support legalizing medical marijuana.

Upon seeing these results, I suspected something is fishy. After all, national polls indicate much more support. For example, a January of 2018 Quinnipiac University national poll of voters found 58 percent support for marijuana legalization generally and 91 percent support for medical marijuana legalization.

In the Tennessee poll, individuals were asked the following question:
Which comes closest to your view about the use of marijuana by adults? 'It should be legal for personal use.' 'It should be legal only for medical use.' 'It should not be legal.'
Because no option was offered for supporting both recreational and medical marijuana legalization, people who support both could only express support for one or the other. This caused an artificial decrease in recorded support for both forms of legalization.

Issue four.

This week, leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints, often called the Mormon Church, issued a two paragraph statement criticizing a medical marijuana legalization proposal that may be on the Utah state ballot in November. In the statement is this declaration: “The public interest is best served when all new drugs designed to relieve suffering and illness, and the procedures by which they are made available to the public, undergo the scrutiny of medical scientists and official approval bodies.”

Despite the statement’s insistence, marijuana is neither a “new drug” nor something any person designed. Instead, it is a plant people have used medically since long before the US and Utah governments, or their drug wars, existed.

Issue five.

In the March 31 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about a proposed Medicare rule that would cut off coverage for many peoples’ pain medication prescriptions equivalent to 90 milligrams or more of morphine daily. Many doctors and pain patients opposed the proposed rule that would advance the interests of drug warriors. Jacob Sullum reported Monday at Reason that the US government backed down on the proposed rule, instead adopting a rule that requires “a pharmacist who receives a prescription above the threshold to confirm it with the doctor and document the discussion.”

-----

That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/14/five-minutes-five-issues-hemp-bill-militarized-america-marijuana-disinfo-utah-marijuana-pain-killers/ Sat, 14 Apr 2018 14:01:36 GMT
Trump Ordering Syria Attack Would Be an Unconstitutional, But Not Uncommon, Presidential Action Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/

Louis Fisher, a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Academic Board member and United States Constitution scholar, is quoted, in a Thursday Washington Examiner article by Steven Nelson, declaring that a unilateral decision by President Donald Trump to use military force against Syria would be unconstitutional as well as not authorized under the War Powers Resolution. Yet, Trump taking such action, says Fisher, would also be in line with military actions regularly pursued by previous presidents.

Here is Fisher’s comment:
'I find no grounds in the Constitution or the War Powers Resolution that would authorize unilateral presidential use of military force against another nation that has not attacked the United States,' said Louis Fisher, a Constitution Project scholar who formerly worked as senior specialist for separation of powers at the Library of Congress. 'That fundamental principle has been regularly violated by presidents from Truman [in Korea] through Obama [in Libya].'
Read here the rest of Nelson’s informative article, “Trump would break the law bombing Bashar Assad, some scholars say.”]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/13/trump-ordering-syria-attack-would-be-an-unconstitutional-but-not-uncommon-presidential-action/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 18:03:10 GMT
US War Making: What’s in It for You? Robert Higgs http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/

If you are an American, have you asked yourself these questions?

1. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Iraq?
2. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Afghanistan?
3. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Syria?
4. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Yemen?
5. What purpose of mine is served by the US government’s making war in Africa?
6. What purpose of mine would be served by the US government’s making war in Iran?

Unless you are an unusual American, and if you are honest, your answer in each case would be, No purpose of mine is served by such war making.

Yet US forces continue to make war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Africa with no prospect of discontinuation in sight, and the probability is substantial that US forces will attack Iran and that US actions in Syria will provoke direct fighting with the Russians supporting the Assad regime — fighting that might spiral out of control and eventuate in nuclear war. Why?

Well, although relatively few Americans have any real interest served by these wars, a small minority does have an interest. The leading figures in this power elite are Zionists and politicos beholden to the Israel lobby, plus some people who thrive on any and all wars by virtue of their positions in the military-industrial-congressional complex.

Chances are that these people are complete strangers to you. Their only connection with you is (a) to profit from funds extracted from you by the government, and (b) to keep you ideologically befuddled and factually misinformed so that you will not cause any major difficulty for them in their conduct of perpetual war. But aside from these two connections, nothing connects the great majority of Americans with the warfare state. It essentially runs on its own, answering to no one outside its own precincts and thriving on a pipeline to the taxpayers’ bank accounts.

You pay for all of this endless death and destruction, average American, but you get less than nothing out of it. In short, you are a sap for evil and designing intriguers. If you are reflexively “supporting the troops,” you might want to reconsider playing the fool and having your intelligence insulted daily in the process.

Higgs is a member of the Ron Paul Institute's Board of Advisors.

Reprinted with permission from the Independent Institute.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/13/us-war-making-what-s-in-it-for-you/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:29:54 GMT
Bolton And Mattis Feud Over Syria Strike As Assad Evacuates Weapons Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/

- The Syrian government and Hezbollah have reportedly evacuated weapons from key locations

- Assad has moved planes to a Russian-operated base

- The UK Cabinet has agreed to back military action against the Syrian government

- US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis are reportedly feuding over the strategy in Syria, with Mattis favoring a more cautious approach

- The US, France and Britain are crafting broad strike plans

- A readout of a Thursday phone conversation President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May suggests that military action may be days away, instead of hours

The latest reports rolling in from Syria suggest that both the Assad regime and Hezbollah have evacuated weapons from likely targets, after CNBC revealed that the US has selected eight targets to strike, including two airfields, a research center and an alleged chemical weapons facility - after US officials told a reporter they were "fairly confident" the Syrian regime had been behind a gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.
Mr. Assad was moving to protect his air force by moving planes to a Russian-operated base equipped with sophisticated air defenses, according to pro-regime media. -WSJ
The Wall St. Journal also reports that broad plans are being crafted by the US, France and Britain for a military strike, while President Trump told reporters on Thursday "We’re looking very, very seriously, very closely at that whole situation, and we’ll see what happens, folks, we’ll see what happens. It’s too bad that the world puts us in a position like that." 

Adding to the tension in the region is a UK cabinet decision to back military action against the Syrian government, a day after Theresa May said she was ready to strike "without parliamentary approval." 

Meanwhile, newly minted National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defense Secretary James Mattis have reportedly been clashing over the strategy in Syria, according to Senior Atlantic Council Fellow Kate Brannen.

Mattis and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford are reportedly "concerned with managing escalation and preventing blowback on US troops," while John Bolton is known for getting very excited at the prospect of a good ol' fashioned regime change.

“We are trying to stop the murder of innocent people, but, on a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control, if you get my drift on that,” Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.  
Mattis said that the US aim in Syria is to defeat Islamic State, not “to engage in the civil war itself.” But referring to the use of chemical weapons, Mattis said that 'some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale' and require a response. -Bloomberg
The Wall St. Journal reports that Mattis "brought those concerns directly to the White House on Thursday, where White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the national security team didn't agree on a response."

Exactly two weeks ago Mattis met Bolton - telling the bemoustached bringer-of-death, "I heard you're actually the devil incarnate, and I wanted to meet you." 

While the White House's reported conflict has resulted in a day without resolution, a readout of a Thursday evening call between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump signaled that the US-led coalition is perhaps "considering all their options" before waging war on Syria over a chemical attack reported by an anti-Assad NGO accused of fabricating evidence and staging bodies along with other groups in the region.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/12/bolton-and-mattis-feud-over-syria-strike-as-assad-evacuates-weapons/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 01:31:17 GMT
Against War in Syria Mises Institute http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/

President Donald Trump has announced that he plans new missile strikes against the Syrian regime in response to an alleged chemical attack on Syrian civilians in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.

The US has offered no evidence of the attack, since, as the Financial Times has admitted, confirmation of any such attack could take weeks. Moreover, confirming the attack took place at all is not the same thing as confirming that the Syrian regime was responsible for it.

The Trump administration, apparently, has little interest in such technicalities, and advocates for immediate military intervention point out that evidence could be lost in the meantime.

So the absence of evidence is evidence.

But, as Tucker Carlson noted in an important segment at Fox News, even if it can be proven that the Syrian regime is responsible for the attack, it's unclear how a new attack on Syria will "make the US safer."

The administration and its pro-war backers do not appear to even be making this case, as it is quite apparent that the Syrian regime is no danger to the United States, whatsoever. The regime's tiny air force and virtually-non-existent navy pose no threat to a country with a navy ten times larger than any other navy, and which spends more on military projects than the next eight most militarized regimes combined. As President Dwight Eisenhower understood — as he cut military spending in the face of a resurgent Soviet Union — the US's huge nuclear arsenal renders threats from regimes like Assad's utterly moot. 

But even if none of this were true, the burden is still on the US government to affirmatively demonstrate that Assad's Syria is a threat to the American voters and taxpayers.

This will not happen, however, because that's not how foreign policy is made in the US. There will be no meaningful debate in Congress, and nothing more than accusations and innuendo will be issued from the administration and other organs of the executive branch. "Trust us, we wouldn't lie" will be the central claim of the American war promoters. Americans will, yet again, be told to sacrifice both treasure and freedoms to satisfy the latest schemes of the American military establishment. 

Given that only a portion of the population will buy any claims that Americans are in danger, we'll hear vague platitudes about humanitarian missions, and how the Syrian regime must be stopped for the sake of decency. We heard the same thing in both Iraq and Libya before regime change was effected there in the name of humanitarianism. In both cases, however, the region was only made less stable, and more prone to radical Islamism. The result has been anything but humanitarian or decent. Nor can advocates for war supply any answer to the question of what will replace Assad's regime. The most likely candidates are radical Islamists. Moreover, so long as the US continues to ignore the humanitarian disaster in Yemen being perpetrated by American ally Saudi Arabia, any claims of "humanitarian" intent are dubious at best.

The real motivation behind the latest drive for war might be found by employing a strategy recently suggested by Lew Rockwell, who notes:
When you hear the words "national security" or "national interest" used by people in Washington, I think it's important to substitute "imperial" for "national." So is it in the national interest of the United States to bomb Syria? No. Is it in the imperial interest of the American Empire to do so? Yes. 
In other words, the US state and many of its allies stand to benefit significantly from war with Syria. As Randolf Bourne pointed out a century ago, "war is the health of the state," and yet another war will help the American regime justify larger budgets, larger deficits, more taxes, and more state power in general.

For this reason, there has always been a close connection between the ideology of laissez-faire liberalism, and the ideology of peace. In the 19th century, it was free-market liberals like Richard Cobden and his friendFrédéric Bastiat who regarded economic intervention, slavery, and war, as all part of one authoritarian package. This mantle was later picked up by Ludwig von Mises, and then by his student Murray Rothbard.

Even in the cases where defensive war might have been justified, the costs of war, the liberals understood, have been far more grave than our rulers would have us believe. War is always a disaster for life, for liberty, and for the quality of life for those who survive. The only exception, it seems, are those organs of the state that benefit so handsomely from armed conflict.

But, on the matter of war, the position of the liberals — those we now know as "libertarians" — have long been firmly on the side of peace whenever possible:
But wars are not made by common folk, scratching for livings in the heat of the day; they are made by demagogues infesting palaces. It is not necessary for these demagogues to complete the sale of a war before they send the goods home, as a storekeeper must complete the sale of, say, a suit of clothes. They send the goods home first, then convince the customer that he wants them. ... But the main reason why it is easy to sell war to peaceful people is that the demagogues who act as salesmen quickly acquire a monopoly of both public information and public instruction. ... The dead are still dead, the fellows who lost legs still lack them, war widows go on suffering the orneriness of their second husbands, and taxpayers continue to pay, pay, pay. In the schools children are taught that the war was fought for freedom, the home and God. — H.L. Mencken

Modern war is merciless, it does not spare pregnant women or infants; it is indiscriminate killing and destroying. It does not respect the rights of neutrals. Millions are killed, enslaved, or expelled from the dwelling places in which their ancestors lived for centuries. Nobody can foretell what will happen in the next chapter of this endless struggle. This has little to do with the atomic bomb. The root of the evil is not the construction of new, more dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest. It is probable that scientists will discover some methods of defense against the atomic bomb. But this will not alter things, it will merely prolong for a short time the process of the complete destruction of civilization. — Ludwig von Mises

Only one thing can conquer war — the liberal attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation, and which can never wish to bring about a war, because it regards war as injurious even to the victors. Where Liberalism prevails, there will never be war. But where there are other opinions concerning the profitability and injuriousness of war, no rules or regulations, however cunningly devised, can make war impossible. — Ludwig von Mises

Modern war is not a war of royal armies. It is a war of the peoples, a total war. It is a war of states which do not leave to their subjects any private sphere; they consider the whole population a part of the armed forces. Whoever does not fight must work for the support and equipment of the army. Army and people are one and the same. The citizens passionately participate in the war. For it is their state, their God, who fights. — Ludwig von Mises

The middle and industrious classes of England can have no interest apart from the preservation of peace. The honours, the fame, the emoluments of war belong not to them; the battle-plain is the harvest-field of the aristocracy, watered by the blood of the people. — Richard Cobden

Public opinion must undergo a change; our ministers must no longer be held responsible for the everyday political quarrels all over Europe; nor, when an opposition journalist wishes to assail a foreign secretary, must he be suffered to taunt him with the neglect of the honor of Great Britain, if he should prudently abstain from involving her in the dissensions that afflict distant communities. — Richard Cobden

England, by calmly directing her undivided energies to the purifying of her own internal institutions, to the emancipation of her commerce … would, by thus serving as it were for the beacon of other nations, aid more effectually the cause of political progression all over the continent than she could possibly do by plunging herself into the strife of European wars. — Richard Cobden

The libertarian's basic attitude toward war must then be: it is legitimate to use violence against criminals in defense of one's rights of person and property; it is completely impermissible to violate the rights of other innocent people. War, then, is only proper when the exercise of violence is rigorously limited to the individual criminals. We may judge for ourselves how many wars or conflicts in history have met this criterion. ... If classical international law limited and checked warfare, and kept it from spreading, modern international law, in an attempt to stamp out "aggression" and to abolish war, only insures, as the great historian Charles Beard put it, a futile policy of "perpetual war for perpetual peace." — Murray Rothbard

The second Wilsonian excuse for perpetual war ... is even more utopian: the idea that it is the moral obligation of America and of all other nations to impose "democracy" and "human rights" throughout the globe. In short, in a world where "democracy" is generally meaningless, and "human rights" of any genuine sort virtually nonexistent, that we are obligated to take up the sword and wage a perpetual war to force utopia on the entire world by guns, tanks, and bombs.  — Murray Rothbard
Reprinted with permission from Mises Institute.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/12/against-war-in-syria/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:49:38 GMT
Ron Paul Makes the Case for Libertarian Optimism Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/

American libertarians have plenty of reason to feel discouraged in this time of the United States government increasingly disrespecting liberty in America and pursuing intervention, including wars, overseas. While prominent libertarian communicator Ron Paul shares concerns about these developments, he also sees much reason for hope. In the final minutes of a new interview at Jay Taylor’s show Turning Hard Times Into Good Times, Paul makes the case for libertarians to be optimistic about the future.

While Paul explains that he sees trouble ahead in America, including economic trouble resulting from Federal Reserve policies, he also says he is optimistic because he thinks “there is a better understanding of the system than ever before.” Elaborating, Paul notes that when he went to Congress back in 1976 nobody had “even heard the word ‘libertarian’” and “nobody ever heard of Austrian economics hardly on the political front,” while now those ideas are more broadly understood, including among students at colleges Paul visits.

Paul continues that he thinks there is “an ideological revolution … out there, but it’s going unnoticed.” Implementing libertarian changes Paul sees as possible when America enters greater crisis and it is clear that major change is needed, comparing the hope offered from libertarianism to actions that must be taken to overcome an individual’s troubles of drug addiction or a drunken binge. The move toward libertarianism, Paul concludes, would not “come from Washington.” Instead, he says, “it has to come from the people” and would be grounded in education.

Listen to Paul’s complete interview, which begins with an in-depth discussion of economic issues including tariffs and the gold standard, here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2018/april/11/ron-paul-makes-the-case-for-libertarian-optimism/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 20:34:18 GMT