Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blog

Unregistered Podcast: Genocide in Yemen

Thaddeus Russell interviews me.

News Roundup 12/6/17

  • House Freedom Caucus threatens to withhold support on the House tax bill. [Link]
  • Trump is considering a plan of Erik Prince to create a new intelligence agency. [Link]
  • The CBO reports Trump’s military buildup will cost taxpayers an extra $683 billion. [Link]
  • IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics. [Link]
  • The US plans to spend $14.4 million to reopen a Cold War Era base in Iceland. The base is used to help track Russian submarines. [Link]
  • Trump is expected to announce the US embassy in Israel will move from Tel Aviv to Jerulesum and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. [Link] A large donor to the Trump campaign, Sheldon Adelson, has pushed Trump to make the move. [Link] Daniel Larison on Trump’s decision. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE announce new partnership separate from the GCC. [Link]
  • Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced he will no longer be resigning. A month ago, Hariri announced his resignation in Saudi Arabia. Hariri said he changed his mind after Lebanon reaffirmed its policy to stay neutral in Arab affairs. [Link]
  • Fighting between ISIS-K and the Taliban breaks out in Afghanistan. [Link]
  • The US has increased the number of airstrikes in Afghanistan and killing more Afghani civilians. [Link]
  • The Pentagon says the US will remain in Syria “as long as we need to.” [Link]
  • Iona Craig details the horrors Yemeni children live under. [Link]
  • US bombs being used on civilian targets in Yemen. [Link]

 

News Roundup 12/5/17

  • Supreme Court puts Trump’s travel ban back into effect. [Link]
  • A Philadelphia judge denies bail to rapper Meek Mills because he is a “danger to the community.” [Link]
  • $500 million railgun will likely never see combat. [Link]
  • Justin Raimondo on how Russiagate became Israelgate. [Link]
  • Eric Margolis on chaos in DC benefiting North Korea. [Link]
  • Honduran President Hernandez is said to be still ahead in the voting after a partial recount of the presidential election. [Link]
  • The US and South Korean air forces are holding massive war games in South Korea. NSA McMaster says war with North Korea more likely. [Link]
  • Former SDF spokesmen speaks out about SDF ties to the PKK. He also explains how the YPG/PKK used Arab forces to get US weapons. He also claims the SDF has ties with Russia and Assad. [Link]
  • Israel carried out more airstrikes on Assad allied targets near Damascus. [Link]
  • The US missile defense system likely failed to hit Houthi converted SCUD missile fired at Saudi Arabia. [Link]
  • After several days of clashes, the Houthi have killed the former president of Yemen Salah. Last week the Houthi/Salah alliance dissolved and Salah allied himself with Saudi Arabia. [Link] Moon of Alabama reacts. [Link]
  • Senator Todd Young is holding up a State Department appointments to get answers about the Saudi blockade of Yemen. [Link]

Houthis Kill Saleh

Killed him dead.

For trying to make a deal with the Saudis.

News Roundup 12/4/17

  • Wyoming police shook down a driver to get him to give them his money, $90,000. After several months, a judge finally ordered the police to give the money back. [Link]
  • A judge rules that 77 Teavana cannot shut down. The stores are failing and the parent company Starbucks planned to close the stores. [Link]
  • The Senate passes its version of the tax bill. [Link]
  • A new Senate bill will make concealing ownership of digital currencies illegal. [Link]
  • The NSA is secretly providing evidence obtained from the 702 program. [Link]
  • The Department of Energy struggles to oversee the maintenance and storage of Americans nuclear weapons. [Link]
  • Brian Ross is suspended for four weeks by ABC for publishing a false story about Mike Flynn and Donald Trump. [Link]
  • Robert Perry explains why the Flynn investigation is unrelated to the 2016 election. [Link]
  • Jared Kushner failed to disclose that he helped fund the Israeli settlements he ordered Flynn to lobby other nations to defend. [Link]
  • Justin Raimondo explains the current unrest in Honduras. [Link] US trained forces are being used against people protesting the president. [Link]
  • The final death toll for an October suicide bombing in Somalia is 512. [Link]
  • CIA Director Pompeo says Iran is looking to become a hegemonic force in the Middle East. [Link]
  • The Pentagon drastically undercounted civilian deaths in the War Against ISIS in October. [Link]
  • Israel bombs a target in Syria and kills 12 Iranians. [Link]
  • James Bovard on the long history of the US allowing the rape of children in Afghanistan. [Link]
  • Crime and corruption are rampant in a US-controlled Afghan city. [Link]
  • Yemen’s former president Salah has ended his alliance with the Houthi. Salah is now receiving air support from the Saudi coalition. [Link]

Letter to the Editor

Chris writes:

For the last few months I have been battling some cognitive dissonance when making conclusions about the current state of U.S. foreign affairs. Ever since the Ron Paul days of 2008, I have been firm in my conviction that the libertarians are correct in this regard. I think on one hand that despite whatever disasters that may occur after a full military pull-out of all foreign countries, the situation couldn’t possibly be worse than allowing the U.S. government to continue the policy of the last century.

On the other hand, I am not privy to any inside-information. How can I possibly make conclusions about a subject that I have very limited knowledge of? What if Ron Paul himself made it into the White House and decided to continue the current policy because it’s the thing any sane person would do if they had the relevant facts and the ability to make the calls? This could explain the many reversals that we have witnessed from presidents as they transition from candidate-to-president.

While I still ultimately think the right course of action is a complete termination of the interventionist policy and that the politicians are war criminals, I don’t have a strong answer to the second, contradictory premise.


I respond:

Chris,

Yeah, no, that’s all wrong. Bush was lying when he said he wanted a more humble foreign policy. Obama was telling the truth when he said he wanted to get out of Iraq so as to help shore up the power of the American empire elsewhere. Trump was lying when he said he wanted to abandon “globalism” (the empire). None of them ever truly ran as Ron or Kucinich did as actual anti-imperialists. And so none of them truly had their minds changed about anything. (Trump’s resistance to Afghanistan-alone was still only ever paper-thin.)

Look at what the generals did to lock down stupid Trump:
https://www.apnews.com/4cef63caf6b34cb796bc4c196d47c143

Nothing about preventing the end of the world, just “you like stealing money, right Mr. President? Well, that’s what we do here.”

Look at the times they said they had to do something: overthrow the Taliban, overthrow Saddam, overthrow the Somali ICU, overthrow Gaddafi, overthrow Saleh, (half-assed) overthrow Assad: all that we’ve gotten out of these wars is nothing. No actual threat was preempted or prevented. Meanwhile, Ayman al Zawahiri and his men — the only actual enemies of the American people on earth — have benefited from every single one of these.

Right now they want trouble with Iran. Which has done exactly what to the U.S. ever, other than overthrow the U.S.-backed dictator (with U.S. permission, in fact, which wasn’t retroactively withdrawn until the few-days-later hostage crisis broke out)? USA still fights directly for Iran’s friends in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Also: Bush took a perfectly awesome deal with DPRK, which suspended their nuke program, and instead forced them out of the NPT and into nuclear weapons.

There is no secret secret that justifies all this bullshit. They don’t know more than you or me about it. Not in any meaningful way. In fact, just think about how much more incentive you have as an outsider to critically evaluate their choices than they do. It’s always best for them to truncate or simply ignore the antecedents and go on with the next stupid plan.

They will always claim that the alternative is worse. Remember when they said “we can’t leave now, the violence will get worse!” over and over in Iraq War II from 2003-2008, when it was the USA that was making the violence worse. Bush had put U.S. forces at the service of the Iran-backed Badr Corps which was cleansing Baghdad of its Sunni Arabs. A million people died. A million. And we don’t know for sure the alternative — assuming the invasion and toppling of the Baathists, but then immediate withdrawal — but we do know that Bush removed any incentive for them to compromise, and instead gave them every reason to use and abuse U.S. power against their defeated rivals, which helped create a situation where western Iraq was ungoverned and wide open to takeover by ISIS — after Obama’s project to back the terrorists in Syria, as a consolation prize to Saudi after giving Iraq to Iran, blew up so badly into an actual bin Ladenite caliphate for 3 years — until Iraq War III was successful in driving them back out again.

Putin has been kissing America’s ass since 2000 and gets nothing but shit for it. We could be friends, if not allies — not that I’m promoting alliances with anyone, you understand, just sayin’ — but instead our side is threatening to ratchet things back to where they were in Reagan’s first term when the Cold War threatened to get hot — hotter than the sun.

I can’t imagine what holocaust the U.S. has prevented by waging about a fifth of one itself over the last 15 years. Certainly if they have anything approaching a legitimate excuse for all this, the burden must be on them to demonstrate it.

Read Secrets by Daniel Ellsberg, about the intoxicating power — in more ways than one — of having insider access to secrets, and the manner in which it prevents broader knowledge and wisdom from ruling the minds of decision makers.

I don’t know how old you are, but in 2002 and early 2003, virtually every claim made by the government about Iraq’s WMD programs were already in dispute, if not completely debunked: eg, the aluminum tubes were reported to be for rockets, not centrifuges in a non-existent Iraqi Manhattan Project, in the Washington Post, by September, 2002. But whenever anyone brought this up, the canned response from TV-enslaved Americans — like a nation of myna birds or MK-Ultra subjects — was the same every time: “Well, the president must have secret information that we don’t know about.”

Literally, that must have been repeated tens of millions of times by millions of Americans. It’s the question-begging fallacy. There must be a good reason for it or they wouldn’t be doing it. Draw your conclusion first, then when no actual information in the world supports it, imagine that there must be some other reason they haven’t bothered to tell us yet.

But just look what their secret information was: lies picked from the CIA’s trash, lies from Iranian-backed Iraqi exiles, lies from Gen. Clapper’s satellite office, lies cooked up by Ariel Sharon’s own little Office of Special Plans in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, lies tortured out of Sheik al Libi and Abu Zubaydah pointing the finger at Saddam for training al Qaeda. God-damned lies. That’s why they couldn’t tell us: because their claims could not bear scrutiny. Because they were lies.

Abandon your false premise that the people who run the U.S. government care about you or this country any more than their sometimes-ally Ayman al Zawahiri does. They don’t.

Best,
Scott

The Antiwar Comic: The One Way Debate

Surprisingly nice comments on this one in imgur calling it nuanced.  Perhaps they were being ironic?  I don’t know.  This is all I hear when I try to discuss these things.

The Antiwar Comic: The One Way Debate

For more comics visit The Webcomic Factory.

News Roundup 12/1/17

  • Illinois detective tells kids they were being detained because they are white. [Link]
  • The White House starts a rumor that Rex Tillerson may soon be fired. [Link]
  • Moon of Alabama looks at the hypocritical US policy against Russian media. [Link]
  • RT loses press credentials because they were designated as a foreign agent. The loss of the press credentials means RT has lost access to Congress and the White House. [Link]
  • OPEC extends oil production cuts to the end of 2018. [Link]
  • John Kerry says Israel and Egypt pushed the US to bomb Iran in 2015. [Link]
  • In Honduras, protesters are clashing with police as the results of the presidential election. Both candidates running for president have claimed they won the election. [Link]
  • Moon of Alabama reacts to the latest North Korea missile test. [Link]
  • In Egypt’s Saini, tribal groups look to protect themselves from militants as Egyptian security forces are unable to protect them from ISIS. [Link]
  • The US will start flying armed drones in Niger. [Link]
  • 400 Marines in Syria will be coming home. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia intercepts a ballistic missile fired from Yemen. [Link]
  • Some fighting has broken out between Houthi and Salah forces in Sanaa. [Link]

Libertarians: “Our Rulers Are Wearing no Clothes”

Libertarians have always said that our rulers are wearing no clothes.  Now it’s turning out that this figure of speech is the literal truth.

A day doesn’t go by without it being exposed that some ruling elite in the media or politics has exposed himself to some underling female.

This doesn’t surprise libertarians, who know that media and political power go hand in hand with such creepy behavior as standing with one’s genitals in hand in front of a female.   That’s because being an influential person in both the media and politics requires a high degree of phoniness, hypocrisy, outright lying, and overall amorality or immorality.

Take Matt Lauer.  I happened to watch the Today Show one time at a relative’s house and was struck by how much baloney he and his co-hosts were spewing.  With feigned sincerity, sensitivity and authenticity, these skilled actors followed a politically-correct script full of superficial reporting, maudlin human-interest stories, and formulaic and sophomoric treatment of race and other hot-button issues.

Lauer et al. were smart enough to know that they had to put the right spin on their comments to be successful, and they were unscrupulous enough to do so.  At the same time, their bosses demanded unscrupulousness of their stars but are now feigning surprise that the same stars behaved unscrupulously with females.

It’s even worse with politicians.  Voters want their politicians to lie and steal on their behalf and then are shocked to find that the liars and stealers are unscrupulous in other ways.

The best politicians are the best liars and stealers.  They get buildings, roads and statues erected in their honor for their ability to rob Peter to pay Paul while convincing Peter that he got something for nothing.  They also have the skill of saying contradictory things to two different groups while coming across as sincere to both groups.

On a positive note, the dishonesty of politicians is what keeps citizens from killing each other.  Like plumbers and undertakers, being a politician is a dirty job that someone has to do given the realities of human nature.

By the way, speaking of buildings named after politicians, the mayor of Phoenix wants to name a terminal at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport after John McCain, “in recognition of the senator’s public service.”

Imagine that:  A politician thinks that politicians should be honored for their public service.

I’d rather honor roofers who fix leaking roofs, as they perform a real public service.  An airport terminal should be named after Jose Gonzales, who fixed my roof in the blazing summer heat of Phoenix.

If someone thinks that McCain went into politics as a public service and not for fame and power, then that person doesn’t know McCain’s sordid history in the years following his courage as a prisoner of war.

Lowlights:  McCain abruptly divorced his ailing, faithful wife to marry an Arizona beer baroness, whose father gave McCain a no-show job at his Anheuser-Bush distributorship so he could travel the state and get to know influential people.  This would be the same father-in-law who would later be indicted for a shady deal involving horse racing.  And it would be his daughter, the beer baroness and wife of John McCain, who was later caught stealing drugs from a charity, a theft that McCain asked the Arizona Republic newspaper to withhold reporting for a day so that he could have time to craft a public statement.  The newspaper went along with charade, because a bigshot at the paper was so close to McCain that he had given McCain his own column to tout the glories of McCain. It just so happens that the bigshot claimed to be a former fighter pilot and would parade around Phoenix in his old uniform.  It was a lie—a lie that McCain, as a former fighter pilot, had to see through.  McCain’s deceitful nature (political nature) also was in evidence when he first ran for Congress.  He was living with the baroness in a different district from the one with the open congressional seat, so he lied that he was living at his father-in-law’s house, which was in the right district.  Later, among other shady behavior, he was a main character in the Keating Five scandal.

All of this is of course overlooked by those whose self-interest has been served by McCain.

It’s the same with those who overlooked Bill Clinton’s sexual crimes and harassment, as well as with those who want to overlook the depravity of Judge Roy Moore or Al Franken.

It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows.  Based on recent events, politics makes perverted fellows who try to bed your wife or daughter or show them an erection.  Then we erect statues in their honor.  Who is the sickest here?

Libertarians have always ranted about the myths, totems, fairy tales, and propaganda put out by the government about itself and by politicians about themselves.  As a result, libertarians are branded as unpatriotic cynics and fruitcakes.

The criticism is warranted, in the sense that libertarians refuse to accept that myths, totems, fairy tales, and propaganda are the glue that holds together the body politic.  Once the glue melts, the government and other institutions lose their power and influence, and the masses become libertarians.

God help us.  Imagine a nation where most people are like me.

News Roundup 11/30/17

  • The US estimates the economy grew at 3.3% in the third quarter. [Link]
  • Philando Castile’s girlfriend settles a lawsuit with two cities for $800,000. [Link]
  • Hawaii orders medical marijuana users to voluntarily surrender their firearms. [Link]
  • The FBI attempted to manipulate a depressed young man into becoming a terrorist by posing as young women. [Link]
  • Peter Van Buren on the state of the US State Department. [Link]
  • Medhi Hasan on Trump march to war with Iran. [Link]
  • The US has sold $42 billion in weapons overseas in 2017. The 2017 totals are $10 billion more than in 2016. [Link]
  • Rex Tillerson criticized Russia in a speech given in Europe. [Link]
  • Opposing forces in Ukraine Civil War agree to release captives. [Link]
  • The Daily Beast details the US involved massacre of Somali civilians. [Link]
  • The Daily Caller lists the times the US has been wrongfully optimistic about the Afghanistan War. [Link]
  • Turkey claims to have killed PKK fighters in Northern Iraq. [Link]
Read Scott's NEW Book!
Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan