Wednesday, March 21, 2018


No Overseas Contingency Operations #NDAA


The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House Friday morning in a 375-34 vote.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week. Contact your Senators.

Tell Congress:
Scrap any plans to fund the Overseas Contingency Operations*




The Libertarian Institute and Taxpayers United of America join 18 other organizations from across the political spectrum in opposition to the $3.2 billion of taxpayers’ hard-earned money for the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

This misappropriation of tax dollars for the OCO fund surpasses congressional spending limits agreed upon as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

“Certainly in this case, we are not talking about spending $3.2 billion on security or defending the United States,” said Jared Labell, executive director of The Libertarian Institute and Taxpayers United of America.

“Our tax dollars are being siphoned off as a budgetary gimmick to bypass legislative restraints on the war budget. These OCO funds further perpetuate the government’s numerous wars abroad to the tune of more than $1 trillion since 2001, including the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other continuing conflicts.”

“The House is voting on the NDAA today, Friday, December 2nd. We urge our members, supporters, and all who receive our message to contact their Representatives and tell them to oppose the OCO in the 2017 NDAA.”

The following is the text of the letter that was sent to Congress on behalf of our transpartisan coalition:

Dear Senator /Representative,

The recently released conference report for the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would authorize an additional $3.2 billion unrequested by the Pentagon, effectively exceeding the spending limits set in place previously by Congress as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. As organizations representing Americans across the political spectrum, we are writing to voice our disagreement with this tactic.

The very real challenges facing our military are not the result of a lack of funds. They are the result of years of failing to make necessary, tough choices our nation’s security requires. If Congress votes to simply throw additional billions of dollars at this problem by using a budgetary gimmick involving the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, you will do nothing to solve these problems. Rather, you will simply be guaranteeing another year of massive spending at the Pentagon. Refusing to make hard choices and trade-offs does not strengthen our security, it undermines it.

Earlier this year, many of our organizations expressed our opposition to the House Armed Services Committee’s draft NDAA which included an $18 billion gimmick to fund the OCO account above previously agreed upon levels. What was a bad idea at $18 billion is still a bad idea at $3.2 billion. We strongly urge you to scrap any plans to fund the OCO account above the levels set in existing law and finally pursue a path of fiscal responsibility at the Pentagon.


Campaign for Liberty
Center for International Policy
Council for a Livable World
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Just Foreign Policy
National Priorities Project
National Taxpayers Union
Peace Action
Project on Government Oversight
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Taxpayers United of America
The Libertarian Institute
The London Center
United for Peace and Justice
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions

P.S. The House is voting on the NDAA today, Friday, December 2nd. We urge our members, supporters, and all who receive our message to contact their Representatives and tell them to oppose the NDAA.

*This post reflects edits to clarify the narrower focus of this initiative in opposition to a portion of the 2017 NDAA, the $3.2 billion OCO fund, and not the entire bill. Any views expressed to the contrary did not reflect the views of any of the other organizations associated with this campaign. Please email [email protected] for any further clarifications or interest in discussing the $3.2 billion OCO fund, as the bill now moves to the senate and a vote next week. – JL

Fidel Castro: Tearing the Mask Off Government

The brutal reign of Fidel Castro strips the mask right off the face of government.

Western “democracies” and “free societies” create the illusion of consent and paint a benevolent face on government. But at their core, all governments everywhere fundamentally operate on the exact same principles as Castro’s Cuba. Those in power and their supporters rely on coercion, force and violence to impose their will on the entire society.

In Cuba, we witnessed government in all of its raw, unmasked terror – the labor camps, the executions, the absolute intolerance of dissent. In countries like the United States, government appears gentler. But every once in a while, the mask slips down and we catch a glance of its ugly, violent nature. We hear its whisper in the last gasp of a man beaten after he was caught selling loose cigarettes. We feel its pinch when the tax man comes a-callin’. And we see it in the eyes of millions locked in cages because they got caught holding the wrong plant.

Cuba allowed us to glimpse the ultimate end when left-wing collectivists employ government power to achieve their objectives of “equality” and “justice.” Ultimately, it requires naked force to keep an entire population in line and moving toward the desired goal. As long as those in power can maintain the facade of consent as they march forward, the citizens willingly live under a soft tyranny. But if resistance from opposing corners grows too stiff, it will require more and more coercion to maintain forward momentum. At some point, the mask comes off completely.

But collectivists are so convinced of the moral superiority of their vision for society, they willingly look the other way and even justify the most egregious violations of individual rights. We saw the ugliness of a left-wing, collectivist worldview in the fawning praise heaped on Castro in the days since his death. Leftists seem to think death squads and labor camps are a fair trade-off for universal healthcare and high literacy rates.

In his classic work The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek argues that Castro-style totalitarianism is the inevitable outcome of collectivism.

“Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarian regimes which horrify us follow of necessity. From the collectivist standpoint intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent, the complete disregard of the life of happiness of the individual, are essential and unavoidable consequences of this basic premise, and the collectivist can admit this and at the same time claim that his system is superior to one in which the ‘selfish’ interests of the individual are allowed to obstruct the full realization of the ends the community pursues…There is always in the eyes of the collectivist a greater goal which these acts serve and which to him justifies them because the pursuit of the common end of society can know no limits in any rights or values of any individual.”

But the left doesn’t have a monopoly on collectivism nor on the accompanying willingness to use violence to impose its will on society. One only needs to see their lusty support for jailing anybody who dares burn an American flag to realize the same urge to use coercion and force motivates disciples of right wing government.

You can paint the mask with patriotic stars and stripes, or in a rainbow of social justice symbols, but underneath you will find the same burning eyes of violence. Regardless of its aims, the nobility of its objectives, or the intentions of its proponents, this is the fundamental nature of government. We saw it clearly in Cuba because Castro didn’t bother with the mask.

This post was originally published at

News Roundup 12/2/16

  • Trump picks General Mattis to be Secretary of Defense. Mattis will need a waiver from Congress before assuming the role. Current law requires that the Secretary of Defense be retired from the military for at least seven years, Mattis has only been retired for three. [Link]
  • Central bank created inflation is leading to deceptively smaller chocolate bars. [Link]
  • A 24-year-old man was arrested for refusing to give a police officer his birthdate. The man was collecting signatures so he could run for public office when the police officer approached him and asked for his name and birthdate. The police officer and her superior officer are currently on paid leave. [Link]
  • 70% of immigrants admitted to the US under Obama’s minor refugee program are adults. [Link]
  • Both houses of Congress have now passed a bill that will renew sanctions on Iran for another ten years. [Link]
  • US Coast Gaurd Commandant Admiral is proposing that the Coast Gaurd operate in the South China Sea. [Link]
  • French President, Hollande, will not seek reelection in next year’s election. Hollande currently has a 90% disapproval rating. [Link]
  • Last month, the Taliban seized weapons the US gave to the Afghan army. [Link]
  • The Islamic State in Libya has almost lost in Sirte. The Islamic State now holds about two square blocks of the city. [Link]
  • Militias are fighting for control of Libya’s capital city, Tripoli. [Link]
  • The US admits to killing 24 civilians in Manbij, Syria. Local monitoring groups say this number is too low. [Link]
  • In Yemen, children are starving to death as both sides of the civil war block the flow of food and medical supplies into the country. Saudi airstrikes and naval blockade prevent food and supplies from entering. The Houthi block aid from reaching medical facilities. Families are being forced to choose between getting their severely malnourished children the medical care they need to prevent starvation and feeding their other children. [Link]

News Roundup 12/1/16

  • Trump picks Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary. One of Mnuchin’s first goals will be to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [Link]
  • Lori Clare Kavitz was sentenced to 24 years in prison because she lived with a man who was selling meth. The judge that sentenced her wrote a letter to Obama begging him for clemency for Lori. [Link]
  • A new report details how many American prisoners are in solitary confinement. Nearly 3000 prisoners have spent 6 or more years in solitary confinement. [Link]
  • A change to Rule 41 will allow judges to grant the FBI hacking or surveillance warrants outside of their jurisdictions. This will allow a single judge to grant a warrant allowing the FBI to go after anyone anywhere on the planet. [Link]
  • A UN panel finds that Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention. Assange renews his request to be set free. [Link]
  • OPEC countries reach a deal to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day. This amounts to roughly 1% of the oil produced worldwide each day. [Link]
  • In Syria, Israeli warplanes launch airstrikes against targets West of Damascus. [Link]
  • Nearly 4,000 were killed in Iraq in November. 1,533 of those killed were civilians. [Link]

This Lesbertarian Doesn’t Care One Lick About Trump’s LGBT Views

Apparently, the most recent permutation in self-righteous outrage toward Donald J. Trump centers on his appointees’ attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. I can’t escape it on any corner of the Internet where I tend to waste my time: not Reddit, not Tumblr, and certainly not that sorry pit of sociopolitical bedlam known as Facebook. Queer people and their allies are in a veritable tizzy over headlines such as “Trump’s latest Cabinet candidate called Orlando massacre a ‘distraction’ and mocked transgender ‘freaks.’

I don’t need to waste brainpower reassuring my readers that I believe such language and the attitudes it reflects are deplorable. That’s not the point I’m trying to make. That’s not the biggest issue with the Orange Menace’s personal views, his transition team, or his status as President-elect. The real problem is that our whole political system is collapsing before our very eyes. The foundation that was supposed to keep it upright — an alert, independent, informed populace — is being chewed apart by the corroding parasite of tribalism.

As a friend put it recently, Trump and Hillary Clinton are two sides of the same coin. The best course of action never had anything to do with voting for one or the other. It has everything to do with finding a better way to govern, one that doesn’t devolve into public choice between two abysmal options. Just look at the two of them. Trump is complicit in homophobia, whether he himself shares that prejudice (I suspect he’s actually rather neutral on the subject in his personal life). Hillary is a coldblooded warhawk. Are we really going to spend the rest of this imperial downfall arguing which is the lesser of two evils? Shouldn’t we ask ourselves the deeper questions: How did it get this bad, and how can we fix it?

As for me, well, I’m a self-stylized lesbertarian, an aficionado of nonaggression and sapphism in equal portion. (Lady love is my bread, and liberty love is my butter. Lick it, don’t ticket. Et cetera. You get the idea.) Anyway, from my view, the primary concern isn’t about what Trump’s doing. It’s not about who won the election in the first place. Trump is but a symptom, and the sickness is authoritarianism. The problem isn’t that elected officials have bad ideas, it’s that those officials have so much power which has been freely given by a Congress enamored with the fantasy of a macho, strongman executive branch and a voting public hamstrung by its own issue-obsessed priorities.

So am I worried about what Trump thinks of my sex life, or what his appointees have said about my fellow sexual deviants? Not one lick. What does bother me is living in a society where one half continually imposes its preferences on the other for several years at a time, always overcompensating in policy and in rhetoric for what the opponent has enacted or espoused when it was their turn as national overlords.  Frankly, it’s giving me a crick in my neck, and I need a break.

Ask Me Anything

I’m doing an AMA over at Reddit this evening.

About Flag-Burning

“It is the right of everyone to express their opinion, choose a profession and practice it, to dispose of property, and even to abuse it; to come and go without permission, and without having to account for their motives or undertakings. [Emphasis added.]”

Benjamin Constant

So shouldn’t the first question be: whose flag is it?

News Roundup 11/30/16

  • Donald Trump selects Elaine Chao to be Transportation Secretary. Chao served in both Bush administrations. [Link]
  • ISIS claims responsibility for the stabbings at Ohio State. [Link]
  • 100,000 refugees from the Horn of Africa have fled to Yemen. It is likely that the refugees are misinformed about the severity of the conflict in Yemen. At least 79 have died while making the trip. [Link]
  • The Pentagon proposes a plan to spend $814 million for the US to buy new helicopters for the Afghanistan Air Force. The Afghan Air Force is currently using US-purchased Russian helicopters. Legal barriers are preventing the US from being able to buy the Afghan Air Force replacement parts and helicopters. [Link]
  • Militants attack Indian military bases in the Kashmir region. 7 Indian soldiers died in the attacks. India blames Pakistan for the attacks. [Link]
  • A pipeline carry water to Mosul was destroyed. This will leave about 650,000 residents of Mosul without water. [Link]
  • In September, the US bombed Syrian troops who were fighting ISIS. The bombing occurred during a ceasefire and allowed ISIS take the position from the Syrian government. 80 Syrian soldiers were killed in the attack. The US announced the attack was caused by human error. [Link]
  • The Venezuelan currency loses 15% of its value in one day. [Link]

Albright, Hadley: Bomb Damascus


Former Secretary of State, Madeline “We think the price is worth it” Albright, and former National Security Advisor Stephen “Here’s those Niger Uranium Forgeries you requested, sir” Hadley, that is.


The United States should prepare to use greater military power and covert action in Syria to help forge a political settlement to end the country’s civil war, according to a bipartisan report to be released on Wednesday.

Produced by a task force led by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a Democrat, and former U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, a Republican, the report amounts to a bipartisan rejection of President Barack Obama’s decision to limit U.S. military engagement [against the government of Syria] in the nearly six-year civil war. …

“Isolationism is a dangerous illusion,” said the report, which was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday. It calls for outside nations to help wind down conflicts in Iraq, Libya and Yemen and back home-grown reform throughout the region. …

“The United States should be prepared to employ air power, stand-off weapons, covert measures and enhanced support for opposition forces to break the current siege of Aleppo and frustrate Assad’s attempts to consolidate control over western Syria’s population centers,” the report said. …

The United States has two main lines of effort in Syria: a covert CIA operation that backs opposition forces [al Qaeda fighters] trying to oust Assad and a wider military operation that uses air strikes and special forces to target Islamic State and al Qaeda fighters [the latter only for the last two weeks].

The report argues U.S.-backed opposition forces should also be allowed to strike Assad government targets. [Huh? You mean U.S. forces should also be allowed to strike government targets, as if the U.S.A.’s al Qaeda “opposition forces” are only now being authorized to attack Assad. Just got it right one paragraph ago.]

Asked whether a greater U.S. military effort might yield a bloodier proxy war rather than a political solution, Hadley told Reuters: “It may not work. But one of the things we know is that what’s now going on isn’t working.”

The OSU Assailant’s Inspiration

The opinion molders want you to believe that the OSU assailant was “inspired by ISIS.” More likely he was inspired by US bombing of Muslims in seven countries. ISIS is just a banner; eliminate it and people upset by US murder-by-drone will find another. Remarkably, US foreign policy never comes up in cable-news discussions of the OSU assault.

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