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Month: May 2015

Nix the Patriot Act, the TPP, and Every Other Government Racket!

The U.S. Congress is going to act regarding the expiration of the unconstitutional Patriot Act, by renewing it, letting it expire, or replacing it with a rearranging the deck chairs act of legislation (“USA Freedom Act”), or just temporarily extend the Patriot Act. Patrick Eddington of Reason says that the NSA’s spying is a “cancer” on the Constitution, which is true, but it is more a cancer on our freedom and security. Judge Andrew Napolitano says it has to go, and I agree. After all, how secure are we when our own government treats innocent non-suspects as criminals? And should we really trust government bureaucrats with those arbitrary powers to invade and intrude into our private lives? Of course not. Only a gullible fool would do such blind trusting. And that is why the writers of the U.S. Constitution at least attempted to protect our liberty with the Bill of Rights.

Sen. Rand Paul says that he will try to force the Patriot Act to expire tonight. Paul wrote on his Twitter page, “I do not do this to obstruct.” However, I want as much obstruction of these security shysters’ criminal acts as possible. The more obstruction of Washington’s criminal intrusions the better!

A similar situation is going on with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) wheeling and dealing anti-free trade deal that’s being promoted as “free trade.” As Zero Hedge pointed out, it appears that the hacks in Congress are getting a good degree of bribes from Goldman Sachs and other government cronies to pass this TPP scam. And Zero Hedge also pointed to a major Washington trade negotiation advisor, Michael Wessel, who actually entered that secret little room where the secrets of the TPP are being kept secret, and who read the secret specifics of the negotiations. Wessel noted that he could be sent to prison for revealing the secrets or even telling his readers what his concerns about it were that he told Obama. I think that if this Wessel person had any real guts, he would just openly write or state exactly what’s in this scam deal and why it’s bad. Or how about Rand Paul? He was also in that secret little room and who also read the secret details, but who is also bound by secrecy to protect the Regime’s illicit secret plans.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this “trade” partnership is so secret because, given that its provisions demolish due process, it will be used by the “national security” apparatus to impose more and more restrictions on freedom of expression and compromise Internet users’ own privacy and security, and more. And it will also be used by the crony corporatists to restrict Internet users’ “fair use” of copyrighted material for non-commercial purposes. The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes about the TPP:

The TPP Will Rewrite Global Rules on Intellectual Property Enforcement

All signatory countries will be required to conform their domestic laws and policies to the provisions of the Agreement. In the US, this is likely to further entrench controversial aspects of US copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [DMCA]) and restrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector. The recently leaked US-proposed IP chapter also includes provisions that appear to go beyond current US law.

The leaked US IP chapter includes many detailed requirements that are more restrictive than current international standards, and would require significant changes to other countries’ copyright laws. These include obligations for countries to:

  • Place Greater Liability on Internet Intermediaries: The TPP would force the adoption of the US DMCA Internet intermediaries copyright safe harbor regime in its entirety. For example, this would require Chile to rewrite its forward-looking 2010 copyright law that currently establishes a judicial notice-and-takedown regime, which provides greater protection to Internet users’ expression and privacy than the DMCA.
  • Escalate Protections for Digital Locks: It will compel signatory nations to enact laws banning circumvention of digital locks (technological protection measures or TPMs) [PDF] that mirror the DMCA and treat violation of the TPM provisions as a separate offense even when no copyright infringement is involved. This would require countries like New Zealand to completely rewrite its innovative 2008 copyright law, as well as override Australia’s carefully-crafted 2007 TPM regime exclusions for region-coding on movies on DVDs, video games, and players, and for embedded software in devices that restrict access to goods and services for the device—a thoughtful effort by Australian policy makers to avoid the pitfalls experienced with the US digital locks provisions. In the US, business competitors have used the DMCA to try to block printer cartridge refill services, competing garage door openers, and to lock mobile phones to particular network providers.
  • Create New Threats for Journalists and Whistleblowers: Dangerously vague text on the misuse of trade secrets, which could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who reveals or even accesses information through a “computer system” that is allegedly confidential.
  • Expand Copyright Terms: Create copyright terms well beyond the internationally agreed period in the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The TPP could extend copyright term protections from life of the author + 50 years, to Life + 70 years for works created by individuals, and either 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation for corporate owned works (such as Mickey Mouse). Read more about the TPP Copyright Trap.
  • Adopt Criminal Sanctions: Adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation. Users could be jailed or hit with debilitating fines over file sharing, and may have their property or domains seized even without a formal complaint from the copyright holder.

In short, countries would have to abandon any efforts to learn from the mistakes of the US and its experience with the DMCA over the last 12 years, and adopt many of the most controversial aspects of US copyright law in their entirety. At the same time, the US IP chapter does not export the limitations and exceptions in the US copyright regime like fair use, which have enabled freedom of expression and technological innovation to flourish in the US. It includes only a placeholder for exceptions and limitations. This raises serious concerns about other countries’ sovereignty and the ability of national governments to set laws and policies to meet their domestic priorities.

What could possibly go wrong?

All these policies, the post-9/11 hysteria Patriot Act totalitarianism, the TPP and other “trade” deals, are really all about gangsters and shysters using the armed force of government to intrude themselves into the lives of others, and harming innocent people. These schemes are criminal schemes. They are rackets. They are excuses for control freaks and psychopaths to cozy up to the officialdom of the Rulers and the ruling apparatus to commit their crimes against others.

One other example, as given by former DEA agent David Hathaway, is how President Richard Nixon, a.k.a. “Tricky Dick,” was forced to sign legislation to defund U.S. military aggressions against Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, on the same day Nixon created the DEA (and thus the “War on Drugs”) by executive diktat, sans authorization from Congress.

As Sheldon Richman wrote just recently, the real choice we have now is between government and liberty. How about it, readers, which one do you choose? Government? Or liberty?

Lindsey Graham Vows Not to Be ‘The Due Process President’

Morally, all human beings have a right to presumption of innocence and any accusers must be required to present evidence against the accused. Nevertheless, throughout history societies have preferred to act on the primitive desire to deprive an accused person of life, liberty or property without the required due process.

When the Framers wrote the U.S. Constitution, the Fifth Amendment was included for the purpose of protecting each and every individual from the criminal actions of government agents arresting, detaining, or killing innocent people under color of law.

But even after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, it did not seem to work out that way. Plenty of people in America have been immorally expropriated, or unlawfully targeted, arrested, falsely imprisoned and executed by officials of the government.

As Anthony Gregory, author of The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror, pointed out in a LewRockwell.com article, the institution of habeas corpus has mainly been a government function and under government control. Gregory notes that the Constitution centralized habeas corpus into federal authority.

Some examples of the federal government’s habeas usurpations include the Fugitive Slave Law and the 1833 Force Act, which empowered the U.S. Army to enforce the feds’ overriding a state’s nullification of a federal tariff. In another LRC article, Gregory noted that the Revolution also brought upon the earliest stages of the warfare state with George Washington’s forming the American military forces based on the authoritarian British model, and making illicit use of state militia drafts and imposing death to deserters.

Even Honest Abe Lincoln abused his executive authority as President during his war of aggression against seceding states (also known as the American Civil War), in his illegally imprisoning political dissenters and Maryland public officials, and censoring newspapers and telegraphs, according to Thomas DiLorenzo, the author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War.

Sadly, wartime has been an excuse for American government officials to criminally suspend habeas corpus and violate the rights to due process of innocent individuals.

And it appears that yet another bureaucrat who opposes due process, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, will throw his hat into the ring to run for President of the United States. And as he has indicated in the past, Graham still opposes the principles upon which America was founded: due process and presumption of innocence, and the right of the accused to require government bureaucrats to show evidence to prove an accusation.

So yes, this U.S. Senator who said in 2011, “If you’re an American citizen and you betray your country, you’re not going to be given a lawyer,” still doesn’t understand the difference between someone who is merely accused of terrorism and someone who is actually convicted of terrorism with evidence to prove one’s guilt, when just last week, in 2015, in Iowa Graham blurted out, “If I’m president of the United States and you’re thinking about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL … I’m not gonna call a judge … I’m gonna call a drone and we will kill you.”

Here, not only does Graham want to withhold legal counsel and indefinitely detain and imprison Americans or foreigners who are accused of something without evidence required, but he also wants to kill those who are accused of joining an organization or even kill those who are accused of merely considering joining it.

Graham supports the NDAA’s granting the military the power to abduct and indefinitely detain without evidence or charges anyone in the U.S. And that includes people who dissent and who criticize the government and the legitimacy of its policies including its illicit wars.

That governmental threat to the people’s liberty is why journalist Chris Hedges had sued President Barack Obama. Hedges stated that, as a journalist who has closely covered these wars and traveled overseas, he himself could be considered a “covered person” under NDAA and the Patriot Act. Hedges also noted that, because the provisions of such laws are so wide in scope, everyday American gun owners could also be abducted and jailed by the government and military.

Graham has also asserted that because we’re in a war, freedom of speech should be restricted as well as due process. Within the first year of post-9/11 irrationality, there were already many acts of censorship by the government, among other infringements.

And as Washington’s Blog pointed out, in America now it is considered to be “terrorism” to question the legitimacy of the politicians’ wars and their liberty-infringing policies. They emulate how the bureaucrats operate in Saudi Arabia, apparently.

But you see, when Graham says, “If you’re an American citizen and you betray your country, you’re not going to be given a lawyer,” he is really referring to someone who has been accused by bureaucrats or military officials of betraying one’s country. That is the whole point of why the accused have a right to legal counsel, as well as a right to remain silent, a right to not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” and so on.

Because how do we know that some person is a terrorist or has betrayed his country? Just because Lindsey Graham or Barack Obama said so? Because a military bureaucrat said so? So we should trust their judgment? Let them be the judge, jury and executioner?

Given America’s most recent experiences with the judgments of our government officials, such as the U.S. government’s arming of fighters in Ramadi, Syria, Libya and Ukraine, or the bureaucrats’ continuing a 40-year long and failed War on Drugs, should we know enough by now to not trust the judgment of any government official?

And what about the judgment of a Bush Administration knowingly allowing innocent people to be brought to the Guantanamo prison, hundreds of innocent prisoners (including sick, elderly men and children) brought there by way of overzealous U.S. soldiers and Afghan villagers being paid bounties by the U.S. government? The government says that of the 620 Guantanamo prisoners released (out of nearly 800 captured), 107 were “confirmed of re-engaging” in terrorism. But the truth is, when you take innocent people who have nothing to do with al-Qaeda or terrorism, kidnap them and falsely imprison them for years without charges or evidence against them, and torture them, of course they might consider joining forces against you. So in other words, they (or at least most of them) were probably not “re-engaging,” as they hadn’t been involved in the first place.

So that was the judgment of our government, the bureaucrats, the U.S. troops, the CIA and FBI in their post-9/11 hysteria.

And American citizens should trust these officials’ judgment to be judge and jury?

Especially with the militarization of the police and federal threats against the people such as with the upcoming huge martial law drill the Obama Administration wants to conduct in several states, perhaps U.S. Senators and Presidential candidates such as Lindsey Graham ought to reconsider their support for their opposition to due process, their support for the NDAA and other violations of the rule of law.

Given the early Americans’ experiences under the British King’s rule, they had great concerns about even having a standing army in the first place, by the way.

So legally, morally and practically, these very concerns are why, if a government bureaucrat or military soldier or officer wants to accuse some individual of terrorism or treason, then he must be required to present evidence against the accused.

The good news is that Lindsey Graham is considered to be a long shot to win the U.S. Presidency. But the bad news is that most of the other candidates support the same kinds of due process-eliminating policies. Is there any hope for America?

Some News and Commentary

Brandon Smith asks, Is martial law justified if ISIS attacks?

Zero Hedge shows how the U.S. government created ISIS to overthrow Syria’s Assad.

William Grigg says that no travelers are safe from the State’s plundering parasites.

Laurence Vance asks, Why don’t conservatives follow the constitution?

James Bovard describes how Baltimore became Pottersville.

Gary Younge writes about the new lies about Iraq.

Nicolas Cachanosky describes the bait-and-switch behind economic populism.

And Ryan Gallagher says that Apple and Google just attended a confidential spy summit and relations between them and the surveillance state may be thawing.

On the Decline of Talk Radio Reflecting the Rise of Authoritarianism in Amerika

In a recent post I mentioned the “insufferable WRKO” talk radio station here. It actually had already gone downhill since the early 1990s when Gene Burns left and Jerry Williams went from his weekday show to weekends and then retired. During the 1980s WRKO was #1 in the ratings thanks to Jerry Williams and Gene Burns, and Janet Jeghelian in the mornings. David Brudnoy was also on WRKO before jumping to WBZ.

But starting in the 1990s talk radio in general went downhill, along with a lot of other things in America. I must note how that decline coincided with our country’s federal bureaucracy starting a war of aggression against Iraq in 1991. The interventionists couldn’t stand the idea of the Soviets’ collapse meaning there was no Big Enemy as an excuse to continue fattening the bank accounts of the banksters and the National Security State. So they had to go overseas in search of monsters (to create) to destroy. At some point during those years WRKO added Rush Limbaugh, and Howie Carr replaced Jerry Williams in 1994. I can’t believe that Carr is still there.

In the old days of great talk radio, the hosts had actual talent, class and some level of modesty or humility. There were actual dialogues between callers and the hosts and guests. Just hear any of these shows with Jerry Williams, from the early 1960s through the 1990s. And Gene Burns and David Brudnoy got into very serious, probing discussions either with guests or just by themselves with callers. And they did include callers a lot more, and not just those callers who agreed with them but also callers on the other side.You can get “serious” discussions today, but mainly on NPR — and in those cases any inclusion of a non-statist point of view is a no-no, that’s for sure.

But now on talk radio it’s mainly just the host blathering away, and when they do take calls mainly it’s with someone who agrees with the host. God forbid a non-statist calls in to these shows. If it’s not a regular old “moonbat” to just brush off as being a welfare recipient or “trust-fund liberal” and hang up on them, what really scares these ditto-heads is someone who challenges statism, the theft of taxation and the immoral military’s aggressions overseas, and someone who advocates real private property, free markets and freedom of association consistently. They say that’s “crazy.”

I think the decline just reflects how our culture has declined, along with the rise in authoritarianism and collectivism. People who oppose government interventionism are “isolationists,” even though the real isolationists are the national statists who support policies of government aggressions which anger the victims of the aggressions, and policies of economic restrictions, barriers and embargoes, all these government-imposed policies which do nothing but “isolate” the American people. When Ron Paul says eliminate trade restrictions, lift the Cuban embargo, let Americans trade with whichever foreigners they want, get rid of the income tax, etc., that’s “crazy.”

Another thing with the current talk show hosts on WRKO is that they are not in touch with reality, regarding their view of the politicians of the day. For instance, Jeff Kuhner was going on and on about the “RINO” Republican governor Charlie Baker, who is a far-left socialist pol, and a hack as I have written previously. Kuhner was upset when Baker’s communications director, Tim Buckley, gave an interview to the Atlantic for its article on Baker, with Buckley stating that the Baker campaign in last year’s election told the Republican Party “Screw you” regarding the GOP’s (and Kuhner’s) anti-immigrant tirades. And the context was mainly regarding the conservatives’ irrational stance against free immigration, but Kuhner took that “Screw you” as referring to everything the GOP stands for. Kuhner stated that Baker can expect a snub from Kuhner during the 2018 reelection campaign.

Sorry, I beg to differ. When 2017-18 comes around, Kuhner will be on the Baker reelection train, right there with Charlie and supporting him every step of the way, regardless of Kuhner’s disagreeing with Baker on just about everything. It’s that “R” that matters. We have to support that “lesser of two evils,” and all that stuff. And I’m bringing this up because these talk radio personalities live in some sort of fantasy world of wishful thinking. Kuhner talks as though Baker will become more conservative. Charlie will see the light, sooner or later. During the 2007 Presidential election, conservative talk radio host Jay Severin was just like that in his sickeningly drooling support of Mitt Willard Romney. I’ll bet Romney was embarrassed when Severin would introduce him as the next “Mount Rushmore President” of the United States.

These talk radio conservatives keep supporting Romney, Scott Brown and now Charlie Baker even though they already knew that these are people who support the welfare state just as much as Democrats (but “managing it more efficiently,” i.e. better rearranging the deck chairs), and believe in “global warming” and “climate change” carbon taxes, etc., etc. These radio people in Massachusetts are living in denial of the truth that Massachusetts, the state in which the people voted 70-30% against cutting and eventually ending the state income tax, will never be a non-tax-parasite state. The last true conservative was the GOP’s nominee for U.S. Senate against John Kerry in 1984, Ray Shamie. That was 30 years ago. In 1990 left-wing Republican Bill Weld was elected governor. Actual conservatives just will not get elected to any state-wide office in Taxachusetts, but these talk radio hosts waste soooo much time and energy discussing their wishful thinking. But it’s not just their unwillingness to accept these GOP socialists for what they are, it’s part of Americans’ general problem with having faith in their politicians. Americans do not want to accept the fact that politicians do not have the same kind of view of you as you have of others.

Besides their not living in the real world, these conservative talk radio hosts are also just very narrow-minded and hypocritical in their views. Most recently, Kuhner was making fun of this high school student who refused to stand up to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag in school, with Kuhner calling her a “moron” and saying that she was “indoctrinated.” What these ultra-nationalists don’t seem to understand is that, no, the Pledge of Allegiance is not a show of “patriotism” or “love of country,” but a show of obedience to the government. It is a loyalty oath. And we’re not talking about loyalty to America, or to our fellow countrymen no matter what excuses I hear from these ultra-nationalists, we’re talking about loyalty to the government. Kuhner, his callers and some of the commenters on that article are the ones who are “indoctrinated” in their statist authoritarianism, their not wanting to allow any questioning of the government’s authority and their wanting to shut down dissent. And of course Kuhner never put it that way, but that is my interpretation of his mocking, insulting and berating this student and her point of view in criticism of the government. (Funny how Kuhner at one time had joined other talk radio hosts in mocking the little kids reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance to Obama” and criticizing the idiocy and collectivist nature of Common Core! Talk about hypocrites!)

As the late Jerry Williams, the late Gene Burns, and the late David Brudnoy mentioned frequently on their great shows, America was founded upon the principles of individualism, freedom of thought and belief, freedom of conscience and that right to express it, and the right to dissent. The perception of a flag as a symbol is a subjective matter. To some people it symbolizes freedom and peace, but to others it symbolizes the U.S. government’s fascism (e.g. ObamaCare), its wars of aggression overseas, its intrusions on civil liberties, the TSA, etc., etc. Unfortunately today’s “conservatives” want to impose their fantasy of the flag as representing “freedom” onto everyone else, just as they want to impose onto others their personal view of what a “marriage” should be by the force of law.

The early Americans did not hide their anti-authoritarianism. But in America now the rise in nationalism, authoritarianism and collectivism has been negating those principles, and it is coinciding with the decline in critical thinking skills, and dwindling respect for those with dissenting points of view.

Happy “Memorial Day” (Let’s Also Remember the Freedom That Warmongers Have Stolen from Us)

William Grigg discusses the U.S. stormtroopers who blame Baby Bou-Bou for ambushing them.

Jacob Hornberger says that America was once exceptional.

Lew Rockwell reviews James Grant’s book, The Forgotten Depression – 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself .

And Lew interviews Ron Paul on cash, TPP, and war.

John Walsh on Obama beckoning us to the graveyard with TPP.

Ilana Mercer on Iraq liars and deniers: We knew then what we know now.

Sheldon Richman comments on Marco Rubio, the reactionary Big Government man.

Maggie Ybarra with an article on the FBI admitting that no major cases were cracked with Patriot Act snooping.

Conor Friedersdorf on how the DEA harasses Amtrak passengers.

Butler Shaffer writes about the evolution of children.

Greg Palast discusses Osama bin Laden’s reading list and the U.S. government’s war on journalists and whistleblowers.

Robert Murphy on the UN climate change agreement, a gravy train bonanza.

Ryan McMaken says the British election strikes another blow against the EU.

Robert Wenzel is skeptical of Charles Murray’s call for civil disobedience, and has a further elaboration.

Laurence Vance on the real problem with local governments adding fluoride to public water supplies and also discusses everything you need to know about the Republican budget.

Aaron Tao says your government-approved diet may kill you.

Justin Raimondo says that whether Patriot Act spying continues tells us who we are as a people.

Steve Watson on the “conspiracy theorists” who are causing militants to desert Isis.

Adan Salazar with an article on the government schools locking little kids in solitary confinement.

Glenn Greenwald on the U.S. and the U.K. hiding their war crimes by invoking “national security.”

And Louis Rouanet discusses railway socialism and safety.

Is Chris Wallace “Rather Biased”?

I stopped watching TV over 20 years ago, thank God, so I’ve been mainly a radio listener and Internet user. And I’ve been listening to talk radio since the 1970s, but even that had gone downhill since the days of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns, Larry Glick and David Brudnoy. But now in my area there are a couple more radio stations to add to the insufferable WRKO, and the two FM NPR news/talk stations.

One of the new stations is Bloomberg 1200 which carries just about the same programming as Bloomberg’s 1130 in New York, which I’ve heard since the mid-1990s. So, while I don’t watch TV, now I do get to hear Fox News Sunday on this new radio station. Yesterday I heard Chris Wallace interview Sen. Marco Rubio, who is running for U.S. President.

Now, while I have plenty of criticism for Rubio for being a chickenhawk warmonger and an ignoramus promoter of repealing due process, my criticism here is for Chris Wallace. At one point in the interview, Wallace asked Rubio if it was a mistake to go to war against Iraq in 2003, “given what we know now.” Rubio was trying to answer that it was not a mistake, given the information at the time, because he didn’t seem to want to admit that given the information now, it was a mistake.

So, even though I disagree with Rubio’s defense of supporting the war in Iraq, I understand his stubborn reluctance to admit that it was a mistake, and I can understand his frustration with Wallace’s tactics. But Wallace was letting it go on and on, as though he was playing with Rubio’s reluctance to admit the war was a mistake. So, with Wallace’s manipulating and obvious teasing (obvious to me, anyway), it seemed as though Wallace was acting as a political strategist for the Democrats. (Wait a minute, they’re ALL political strategists for the Democrats, including George Snuffleupagus!) But the argument and confusion seemed to go on for hours, which should have been better controlled had Wallace been a more “objective” news journalist as these network news people supposedly are, in my view. I don’t think he would be questioning Hillary Clinton in this way. Here’s the dialogue on that part of the discussion from the transcript:

WALLACE: This brings us back to Iraq and the question of the week, which is, given what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq back in 2003?

As we all know, Jeb Bush had a tough time answering that this week.

Here’s what you’ve had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it a mistake to go to war in Iraq?

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: Oh, I don’t believe it was — the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn’t run Iraq.

MODERATOR: After finding that there were no weapons of mass destruction, would you, if you knew that, have been in favor of the Iraqi invasion?

RUBIO: Well, not only would I have not been in favor of it, President Bush would not have been in favor of it. And he said so.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

WALLACE: Senator, isn’t that a flip?

Six weeks ago, it made sense to invade Iraq in 2003. Now you say it was a mistake.

RUBIO: No, they’re two different questions. It was not a mistake. The president, based on — this is the way the real world works. The president, based on the information that was provided to him —

WALLACE: But she was saying based on the information —

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: No, no, but, look, there’s two different —

WALLACE: She was saying based on the — what we know now.

RUBIO: Well, based on what we know now, a lot of things — based on what we know now, I wouldn’t have, you know, thought Manny Pacquiao was going to beat in — in that fight a couple of weeks ago.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: — you got asked the same question and you said since.

RUBIO: No, that was not the same — no, that was not the same question. The question was whether it was a mistake. And my answer was it’s not a mistake. I still say it was not a mistake, because the president was presented with intelligence that said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, it was governed by a man who had committed atrocities in the past with weapons of mass destruction —

WALLACE: But, what she asked you was, was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?

RUBIO: It was not a mistake given the fact that what the president knew at the time.

WALLACE: No, she didn’t say that. She just said, was it a mistake?

RUBIO: Well, that’s not the same question. The question I was asked is, what you know now? Well, based on what we know now, I think everyone agrees that we still —

WALLACE: Was it a mistake — was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?

RUBIO: It’s two different — it wasn’t — I —

WALLACE: I’m asking you to —

RUBIO: Yes, I understand, but that’s not the same question.

WALLACE: But I’m asking — but that’s the question I’m asking you, was it a mistake to go to war?

RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq, because at the time, he was told —

WALLACE: I’m not asking you that. I’m asking you —

RUBIO: In hindsight.

WALLACE: Yes.

RUBIO: Well, the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there.

WALLACE: So, was it a mistake or not?

RUBIO: But I wouldn’t characterize it — but I don’t understand the question you’re asking, because the president —

WALLACE: I’m asking you, knowing — as we sit here in 2015 —

RUBIO: No, but that’s not the way presidents — a president cannot make decision on what someone might know in the future.

WALLACE: I understand. But that’s what I’m asking you. Was it a mistake?

RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he was provided as president.

Today, we know of their — if we — if the president had known that there were no weapons of mass destruction at the time, you still would have had to deal with Saddam Hussein. But the process would have been different. I doubt very seriously that the president would have gotten, for example, congressional approval to move forward with an invasion had they known there were no weapons of mass destruction.

That doesn’t mean he made the wrong decision, because at the time he was presented with intelligence —

WALLACE: I understand that, but —

RUBIO: — that said there are weapons of mass destruction. He wasn’t dealing with a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He was dealing with Saddam Hussein. And he made the right decision based on the information he had at that time.

We’ve learned subsequently that that information was wrong and my answer was — well, if at the time it would have been apparent that the intelligence was wrong, I don’t think George Bush would have moved forward on the invasion and he certainly wouldn’t have had Congressional approval.

But presidents don’t have the benefit of hindsight. You have to make difficult decisions based on the information that’s before you at that moment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: When we come back, more of our exclusive interview with 2016 Republican candidate Marco Rubio.

Now, had Wallace been interviewing Hillary Clinton, would he have let it go on and on like that? Or would he have just let her give the typical pol answer and let that be the end of it? Am I way off on this?

The 150th Year of Finnish Composer Jean Sibelius’s Birth

Besides this year being the 70th year of the end of World War II as well as the 70th year of the death of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, and the 150th year of the end of Honest Abe Lincoln’s war of aggression against seceding states, this year is also the 150th year of the birth of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. You’ve probably heard his famous composition, Finlandia.

In total contrast to all the destruction caused by Honest Abe and all the other politicians and bureaucrats in their aforementioned wars, Sibelius’s productivity in music was creative and phenomenal, and provided for millions and millions of symphony musicians and concert-goers for over a century now. His Symphony No. 1 was premiered in 1899 and revised in 1900.

Sibelius lived from 1865 to 1957 and was Finland’s most famous composer and one of Europe’s most well-known early 20th century composers. Sadly, while he had composed many works including 7 symphonies, he did not compose during the last 30 years of his life. However, he supposedly attempted to compose an 8th symphony but had never felt approving of his ideas in that work and was therefore never able to complete it.

Here is a performance of the Sibelius Symphony No. 1 with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Apparently this is from the DVD for which these artists made the recordings between 1986 and 1990. They recorded Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos. 1,2,5, and 7, but were not able to finish the complete set, as Bernstein had died in October, 1990.

More News and Commentary

Tom Woods and Richard Ebeling make the case for actual free trade and against the Trans-Pacific Partnership wheeling-dealing. (Audio)

Robert Wenzel says that Rand Paul’s “Yes” vote to push TPP forward was a sellout.

Joseph Salerno tells the story of the government’s war on cash destroying a small entrepreneur.

Kelley Vlahos comments on Pamela Geller’s free speech hypocrisy.

David Stockman says that Amtrak is a national hazard at any speed.

William Grigg says that the Prohibitionist song remains the same after all these years.

Sheldon Richman writes about Nakba Day.

And Mondoweiss also comments on Nakba Day.

I Thought That Nazism Was Dead – But David Cameroon Has Proven Me Wrong

Apparently the newly reelected British Prime Minister David Cameroon wants to have a Nazi revival in the U.K. He proposes to ban “extremism” and “hate speech” and prevent “radicals” from infiltrating the public sphere and influencing the young with “threatening” ideas. The Guardian states:

The measures would give the police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”.

The aim is to catch not just those who spread or incite hatred on the grounds of gender, race or religion but also those who undertake harmful activities for the “purpose of overthrowing democracy”.

They would include a ban on broadcasting and a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media or in print. The bill will also contain plans for banning orders for extremist organisations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but it will fall short of banning on the grounds of provoking hatred.

“Submit to police in advance” my writing? I Don’t. Think. So.

Well, given that “democracy” is mob rule, where the majority has the power to rule over the minority at the expense of individual liberty and private property, I HOPE that more and more people are a “threat to the functioning of democracy.” In fact, it was democracy itself that brought on the fascist political correctness that we have today, in which lesbian couples can take a private businessperson to court to punish her for not accepting the lesbians’ lifestyle and in which some countries are by law criminalizing so-called “hate speech.” But “hate” and “extreme” are subjective terms.

Frankly, I think that David Cameroon’s wanting to criminalize free speech or criticism of imbecilic and buffoonish government bureaucrats (such as himself), which is what “undermining democracy” could be defined as to these fascists, is itself “extreme,” and therefore Cameroon himself should be the first to be jailed if this proposal becomes law.

David Cameroon is taking the U.K. down the path of Nazi Germany, and that’s no exaggeration, with “anti-terrorism” really becoming anti-criticism of government morons mixed with political correctness and intolerance of “hate speech.” According to the History Learning Site,

The prime mover in censorship was the Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. It was his responsibility to see that the German people were fed with material acceptable to the Nazi state. Newspapers, radio and all forms of media were put under the control of the Nazis. Even the film industry became controlled by the Nazis where the leading light was Leni Riefenstahl – who, though favoured by Hitler, did not enjoy a good relationship with Goebbels. Music was controlled by the Nazis. Music by Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn was banned as they were both Jews. Jazz was also banned. Even telling jokes about Hitler became a serious offence – one to send you to the concentration camps and potentially death.
. . .

people in general were expected to report anything unacceptable to their local party chief. Those who knew something but did not report it were deemed as guilty as those who went against the system. Censorship ensured that the Nazis had the German public in their grip as they bombarded them on a daily basis on how their lives had been improved from the day Hitler became Germany’s leader.

And, as historian Robert Gellately, author of Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany noted on his Florida State University bio page:

“There were relatively few secret police, and most were just processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact. It wasn’t the secret police who were doing this wide-scale surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary German people who were informing on their neighbors.”

. . .

As he was uncovering who was acting as the Gestapo’s unsolicited agents, (Gellately) also began to discern what motivated neighbor to inform on neighbor. The surviving myth told the story of informers who were motivated either by a commitment to the Third Reich or by a fear of authority.

But the motives Gellately found were banal—greed, jealousy, and petty differences.

He found cases of partners in business turning in associates to gain full ownership; jealous boyfriends informing on rival suitors; neighbors betraying entire families who chronically left shared bathrooms unclean or who occupied desirable apartments.

And then there were those who informed because for the first time in their lives someone in authority would listen to them and value what they said.

In his recent article on the U.K. Prime Minister’s latest threat to freedom of speech, Glenn Greenwald observed,

Threats to free speech can come from lots of places. But right now, the greatest threat by far in the West to ideals of free expression is coming not from radical Muslims, but from the very Western governments claiming to fight them. The increasingly unhinged, Cheney-sounding governments of the U.K., Australia, France, New Zealand and Canada — joining the U.S. — have a seemingly insatiable desire to curb freedoms in the name of protecting them: prosecuting people for Facebook postings critical of Western militarism or selling “radical” cable channels, imprisoning people for “radical” tweets, banning websites containing ideas they dislike, seeking (and obtainingnew powers of surveillance and detention for those people (usually though not exclusively Muslim citizens) who hold and espouse views deemed by these governments to be “radical.”

Sadly, so many people in the “West” (if we can still call it that now, given that much of the West has become so Third World), have become so thin-skinned that much of what people say or write now is “offensive” or considered “hateful” that people just can’t stand to even hear certain things as though such utterings are perceived as actual physical assaults.

But regarding the relationship between the people and our governments in these “Western” societies, the dumb cluck people-sheeple are giving their ruling bureaucrats so much power that such power is going to the bureaucrats’ heads and they then start waging wars on their critics, wars on journalists (and whistleblowers especially), and now these hacks want to use the legal powers of their regimes to criminalize criticism of them, the Rulers. That’s mainly what this is about.

So, freedom of speech means that I have the right to compare David Cameroon with Nazis, you bet it does (especially when I am making a legitimate point and that his actions are something that the people should be concerned about). And I have the right to spell his name “Cameroon” when it should be “Cameron” just to kid around which I like to do.

And freedom of speech means that I can criticize selfish lesbian couples who extort private businesspeople by taking them to court rather than just finding someone else to do business with. Freedom of speech means that I can say or write anything I want that isn’t an explicit threat to someone, anything at all even if it might “offend” someone. Freedom of Speech means that I can write in defense of Pamela Geller’s right to offend Muslims, and it also means that I have a right to criticize Israel (and say that the Canadian regime is wrong to criminalize that, too!). And of course, just as I have a right to criticize evil government bureaucrats, their minions and their enforcers, I also have a right to criticize the fools who vote for them, in America, the U.K., and everywhere else.

Some Misc. Items

Well, after voting to oppose Obama’s support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Crony-Totalitarian “free trade” deal-shmeal, that really doesn’t promote free trade, it seems that the Senate is going to go ahead with more votes on the matter to eventually have a final vote on the TPP which they will not even be able to amend. And even though a few Senators were allowed into the special secret room where the secret information on the secret deal is being kept, and they were allowed to read the 800 page treaty that isn’t classified information but that the wheeler-dealers don’t want the people to know what’s in it, Sen. Rand Paul who was in there and did read it says he’s still not allowed to tell anyone what’s in it. So, the Senators who represent the American people are asked to vote to support this major international “trade” (i.e. crony capitalism/totalitarian) treaty, but the American people whose lives and livelihoods it would greatly affect are not allowed to know the details? It isn’t classified material, so what are these schmucks hiding?

Robert Parry says he’s worried about the dangerous precedent set by the NFL’s sanctioning Tom Brady based on circumstantial evidence which shows that Brady probably knew about the deflated footballs. Parry is critical of the NFL’s lack of presumption of innocence and actual evidence toward concluding that harsh punishments for Brady were in order, as though it were a legal case in a court of law. But it wasn’t a legal case in a court of law, it is a matter between an employer and its employee. Here, if the employee doesn’t like the rules or the harsh treatments based on lack of evidence, he has the freedom to find some other place of employment. In contrast, if it were a case within the actual legal system, the accused does not have that freedom and must do what the government’s stacked deck court system orders him to do based on the legal and Constitutional requirements on how the court must act. In my view, if the NFL wants to punish Tom Brady based on no evidence to conclude his guilt or “awareness of others’ guilt,” that is their right, as it is their enterprise and it’s their rules. [ADDENDUM: Actually, I think that Brady’s employer is the N.E. Patriots (not the NFL), and the NFL is a larger association to which they belong. But Brady and the Patriots still have to follow the NFL’s rules, and if they don’t like it they can leave the association.]

The U.S. House of Representatives of Wall Street and the Pentagon have voted to extend the Patriot Act. They are including a watered down section on the unconstitutional NSA spying-on-Americans which the NSA itself supports, according to Judge Andrew Napolitano. But, as Ron Paul has stated, the entire Patriot Act should be completely repealed.

And finally, Laurence Vance says that Thomas Jefferson’s plan is better than Marco Rubio’s plan for Europe.