A disabled vet is close to losing his home after it was auctioned off by the Maricopa County Sherriff’s office. Jim Boerner, a veteran disabled in an Air Force training exercise in 1991, learned of the sale of his home when a Deputy knocked on his door. He was informed that he owed $236 in taxes but was confused as he thought he had paid them off.
walbre1987 | United States
Charles Koch and Democrats discussing the topic of health care for veterans may bring up fears of tragedy and mismanagement. But is it all just a pipedream?
By TJ Roberts | United States
“Support the Troops”: A Siren Song for Warmongers
“Support the Troops” is a mantra by which the neoconservatives pray to their God, the Military Industrial Complex. As the war machine turns its eye toward Iran (and inevitably Russia), you can already hear the same old nonsense from the propagandists for endless war. According to the propagandists, sending young men and women to be maimed, murdered, and traumatized by people who have never wronged them is supporting the troops. But anyone with any hint of common sense would know that this is the polar opposite of supporting the troops.
The True Nature of War
War is nothing more than legalized mass murder, and sending young people to kill and to be killed is not support. War has cost America almost $6 trillion since 9/11. Selling out the entirety of our future into debt slavery is not supporting the troops. It is enslaving them and their children. War is also traumatizing to the brain. It is believed that up to 20% of all veterans have PTSD in some form. We see this in our daily life. 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Opting to subject young Americans to atrocities that will torment their psyche for the rest of their lives is evil. In no way is this supporting the troops.
The impacts of war go beyond this as well. Nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless or were homeless in their lifetime. This is because the military does not prepare you for the real world. It prepares you to take orders and not think for yourself. The military strips you of your individuality. It makes you a slave of the State, literal property to the United States Federal Government.
Rather than advocating for war, or the death, injury, and destruction of our troops, you should Support the Troops… by bringing them home. 1.3 million American soldiers are deployed around the world. That is 1.3 million people who have left their homes and families because the government deceived them into believing that propping up the American Empire will keep us free and safe. But if the Patriot Act doesn’t give it away, war makes us less safe and less free.
So many American soldiers have died for nothing more than government propaganda. When one takes a closer look at reality, we realize that the government has funneled trillions into legal mass murder. The military is no longer used for defense. It is now used as a means to impose the will of America’s ruling elite upon the rest of the world. For America to be free, this must end. For us to truly honor our soldiers, we must bring them home and stop making more of them. If Americans truly support the troops, they would call for an end to the wars.
No matter how the government frames it, war is nothing more than legalized mass murder. Perhaps this is best expressed by the sentiments of Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s second Secretary of State. On May 12, 1996, Albright claimed that the 500,000 children killed by US foreign policy in Iraq were “worth it.” The blood of half a million children is a high price to pay. But what did the people receive for that? Control. The US government is willing to kill millions in the pursuit of power throughout the world. Soldiers are no exception. If you are a soldier, the government sees you as nothing more than cannon fodder. You are more than this, but they don’t care.
The government hypnotizes soldiers by claiming that they will spread democracy around the world. This goal is neither honest nor noble nor possible. To spread mob rule to the rest of the world is to destabilize the world, but that isn’t the true intentions of the neocons in power. It is clear that the true goal is domination. When the US military “liberates” a nation, often sacrificing thousands of soldiers in the meantime, they do not allow self-rule. They implement puppet governments. The US expands its hegemony, dominating the world through the war machine. All dissenters meet their end, and it costs the American people hundreds of billions every year.
It is impossible to support war and not support big government. War amounts to the second largest expenditure of the federal government, with welfare in first place. Since 9/11, the war machine has cost more than $6 trillion to the US taxpayer. There is no opting out of this. Either you pay for the government’s organized mass violence, or they throw you in a cage. For one to have a war system as massive as the United States, the government needs to centralized, massive, and authoritarian. This is not freedom. If soldiers were truly fighting for freedom, they would defend America from its government.
Ultimately, war is the health of the State. Without war, the government would not be able to expand in the way it currently does. Defense would largely be private, and there would be no propagandist inducing fear into the hears of the public. The warfare State devastates the economy through inflation, opening the gates to the welfare state. The warfare state leads to the loss of millions of people throughout the world. In the last century alone, government has killed more than 200 million people in acts of war, democide, or genocide. If we are to truly honor the dedication to freedom that a soldier should hold, we would eliminate that occupation from this world. To honor the soldiers that lost their lives, we must stop creating new soldiers. No more should another person kill or be killed for the will of the government.
If you want to Support the Troops, oppose war, empire, and interventionism in all of its manifestations. This is your duty. If the State still chooses to go to war, it is the duty of any decent human being to encourage the people not to enlist and to resist the war effort in every way possible. And to the neoconservatives that claim this is hatred of the troops, answer this question. Which plan will kill more people: your plan, in which soldiers are sent into a battlefield to kill and be killed; or my plan, where war is a thing of the past and we support the troops by not sending them to die? It’s time. End the wars and bring them home now.
Originally published on freedomandeconomics.org.
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By John Keller | United States
Adam Kokesh is a libertarian political activist, known for his show Adam vs. The Man. He announced his desire to run for President of the United States in 2020 on July 18th, 2013 and officially filed the paperwork on January 16th, 2018. Adam Kokesh is working to #FinallyFreeAmerica.
Keller: You are a veteran of the war in Iraq and a former marine. What was the moment that you decided you were changing from a marine into a political activist?
Kokesh: Some things are just decided for you! When I got out of the Marines, I moved to DC to study at GWU. While I was there, I came across the website for Iraq Veterans Against the War and I realized that I had to have my name on that list and joined right away. I really fell over backwards into full-time activism because I of the welcoming nature of the organization and the movement behind it. When I realized that the story of my experience in Iraq could be used to save lives, I had no choice.
Keller: You wrote a book titled ‘FREEDOM!’. To you what is the message of freedom all about? Why is Libertarianism better than conservatism or liberalism?
Kokesh: Freedom is what you have when no one is forcing their will on you. That is to say that freedom is a state of harmonious coexistence. Freedom is peace. Freedom is love and respect and appreciation for people. A Libertarian is someone who opposes the initiation of force. Why would you settle for anything less? Conservativism and liberalism are just different flavors of statism. Statism is the incorrect belief that it is ok, positive, or ethical for people to force themselves on others. It’s really that simple!
Keller: Trump has taken credit for the booming ‘success’ of the stock market. Is he right to take this credit?
Kokesh: That’s hard to call and I don’t really care. The stock market is a highly manipulated racket. I’m sure some things he does manipulates it up, some things down. Either way, buy Bitcoin. Invest in innovation. Buy real property that can’t be manipulated by government like the stock market.
Keller: There has been a growing movement, often credited in its growing traction to Ron Paul, to ‘End the Fed’. What does this slogan mean to you?
Kokesh: Ron Paul definitely deserves credit for bringing the crimes of the Federal Reserve System to the attention of the American people and his supporters deserve credit for sloganizing his message into, “End the Fed” at his rallies that I attended going back to his 2008 campaign. The slogan has come to mean something much bigger now. To me, it means end the federal government entirely!
Keller: The #LetRonSpeak Scandal quickly went viral. What was your stance on this issue?
Kokesh: The people with the Libertarian Party who decided to decline to give Dr Paul an opportunity to speak at the 2018 convention, National Chair Nick Sarwark and Convention Chair Daniel Hayes, definitely do not represent the base of the party and I hope they are never in positions to make such an embarrassing mistake ever again.
Keller: Arvin Vohra has been stirring up quite a storm online with comments about rape and school shootings and many speculate his actions are harming the Libertarian Party. Where do you stand on this controversy? Should Vice Chairman Vohra step down?
Kokesh: It’s not so much the controversy about “inflammatory” that concerns me so much as his statements advocating for violations of the nonaggression principle. Those clearly go against what the party stands for. He should and will be replaced at the upcoming national convention.
Keller: Recently you were arrested in Texas, mere hours after official filing candidacy for President of the United States. What was this experience like? What charges did the police have against you?
Kokesh: I’ve been arrested over three dozen times relating to my activism, mostly in civil disobedience. This one was unplanned. I can’t say it was scary, but it was disturbing because, as you can see from the video, the officer who pulled me over was determined to arrest me even though I had not committed a crime. He broke multiple laws and violated police procedure in order to come up with an excuse to arrest me after unlawfully ordering me to stop recording. When he entered my vehicle, the first thing he did was turn off the other camera I had rolling. I was jailed for ten days and have still yet to be presented with any official papers regarding my charges or the police report despite my repeated requests. Welcome to the United Police States of America! Fortunately, with self-driving vehicles on the horizon, most of the excuses that police use to harass people will go away.
Keller: Your campaign is on the philosophy of voluntaryism, with a peaceful and prosperous people without the threat of government. When this idea is depicted it is often, almost exclusively, depicted as chaotic anarchism. What makes your vision different from the media portrayed voluntaryism?
Kokesh: I have no idea what you are talking about. I have NEVER heard anyone say that a voluntary society would be chaotic. It is contrary to the very definition. A voluntary society is one in which all human interactions are free of force, fraud, and coercion. As for my campaign, it is based on the practical policy of localization, the idea that political power should be localized as opposed to centralized. Voluntaryism is the philosophy that leads me to that practical policy.
Keller: Within the Libertarian Party there is a philosophical divide between minarchists and voluntaryists. As a voluntaryist, what do you have to say to the question of minarchism? In essence, how is anarchy preferable to minarchism?
Kokesh: There is no such divide. When you join the party, you take a pledge that says, “” That is voluntaryism in pledge form. The people who take that pledge and mean it sometimes identify as minarchists, but they always want whatever the government does to be voluntary. So I’m a minarchist myself in that sense because I’m a voluntaryist. You can have as much government as you want, as long as it’s voluntary! The divide in the party is between people who believe in the Party’s Statement of Principles and take their pledge seriously, and infiltrators like Bob Barr, Gary Johnson, and Bill Weld, who pretend to not understand the pledge they took in order to misrepresent the party. Sadly, many Libertarians are fooled into supporting them, with the obvious disastrous results and negative consequences we saw in the last three election cycles, but the effectiveness of their infiltration would not have been possible without the support of hundreds who infiltrated the delegations of the last three nominating conventions. A big part of my campaign is to encourage people who believe in the principles of the party to be delegates so that isn’t possible again. Frankly, it’s embarrassing that they were able to take so many vacant delegate slots. If I have anything to say about it, they will all be filled with real Libertarians, not infiltrators. So far, our success this year is undeniable. We are halfway through state convention season, and only about a dozen (out of over 1,000) delegate slots are empty.
Keller: You campaign on the peaceful dissolution of the national government. What will that look like in office, how will you accomplish such a goal? What role will Congress play?
Kokesh: On day one, I will sign my one and only executive order declaring the federal government bankrupt and of no authority. I will resign to become “Custodian of the Federal Government” to oversee the process as a bankruptcy agent. The executive order will be as detailed as possible in laying that process out in a clear, legally binding way. Congress will have no authority, but may have some minor role to play in the apportionment of certain agencies and resources. Every federal agency will be either liquidated, localized to the state level, or spun off as a private institution.
Keller: You campaign on dissolving the national government, but often states can be more tyrannical than the national government. As president, what actions would you take against such injustices, if any?
Kokesh: I would have no such authority and will make no promises that I cannot keep. However, the premise of your question needs to be put into perspective. Yes, States can occasionally be more tyrannical than the federal government, but if you added up all the injustices committed by state governments and compared them to the injustices of the federal government, it would be like comparing a schoolyard bully to the mafia! And to be fair, you would first have to subtract all the State injustices made possible by the federal government. More importantly, when people see the benefits of localization, (which they will immediately, because on day one, federal laws will not be enforced) there will be a race among the States to dissolve down to the County level. Then a global race to localize. Eventually, government will be so local that it will be … voluntary.
Keller: Recently, you announced and have been working to implement “Operation Big Easy Book Bomb”. What is this operation and why was it enacted?
Kokesh: We are putting a copy of my book, FREEDOM! in every residential mailbox in New Orleans. 205,000 copies. We want to deliver the message of FREEDOM! directly to the people. Once we show that it can be done there, we will do it in every city in America.
Keller: As of late, the Democratic Party faces a small identity crisis and the Republican Party is losing faith in Donald Trump. What makes you the best candidate for 2020 and what should attract disillusioned voters?
Kokesh: I’m not the best candidate for President. In fact, asking who is the best candidate for President is like asking who would you most want to kick your ass? If your answer is, “NOBODY!” vote for me, because I will resign. I don’t need to attract disillusioned voters. The government is doing a fine job driving them away. We just have to show them that there is an alternative to government: freedom.
Keller: If people are interested in getting involved with joining your campaign, what steps can they take to do so?
Kokesh: Check out KokeshForPresident.com, click on volunteer, and fill out the form. But more importantly, don’t wait for direction and don’t ask permission to spread the message of freedom! Have fun waking people up and do something that you enjoy. Talk to your friends and family about why you care about freedom.
Keller: Do you have an final remarks to the readers, to supporters, and potential voters?
Kokesh: I’m the last President you’ll never need and I approve this message.
I would like to thank Adam Kokesh for his time. Be sure to visit KokeshForPresident.com and be sure to read his book “FREEDOM!”, which you can find here and follow his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for all updates.
By Isaiah Minter | United States
In the wake of former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin’s departure from his cabinet position, news writers across the country are losing their minds over the likelihood of VA privatization. While Shulkin, who insists that he was fired by Trump via Twitter, cites his opposition to VA privatization as the reason for losing his department job, I haven’t seen any evidence that provides validity to the claim. As a result, I will leave Shulkin’s claim as is, and instead address the media fear-mongering suggesting that thousands of veterans are going to die, should privatization actually occur.
One of the most important distinctions to make between public and private institutions is the accountability of the latter and the lack thereof of the former. Allow an example. When Congress members authorized the invasion of Iraq, they were fully aware of the immense obligation to provide health benefits to veterans with this move. Distinguished economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated the costs of benefits in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts to be about $1 trillion on their own.
This enormous cost was largely irrelevant to Congress members as they weren’t funding the obligation, nor did they face any turmoil for increasing federal borrowing. They went on with their careers, wholly unconcerned with any future ails that such authorization could create. In other words, they paid no price for this decision, and our veterans certainly deserve more than a system which is rarely held accountable for its shortcomings. We need only consider the words of economist Tom Sowell:
It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.
Continuing on the trend of inaccountability, we cannot ignore the lengthy list of scandals that have plagued the VA in its history.
Apart from irresponsibility, wait times also plague the system. Over 200 veterans died waiting for care at the Phoenix VA in 2015. One report done by the VA Inspector General found that nearly 100 veterans died waiting for care at the Los Angeles VA. Perhaps the most worrisome figure comes from a VA OIG report, which found that thousands of vets may have died waiting for care. The report also found a series of institutional problems, ranging from data limitations due to inadequate VHA procedures, to a faulty enrollment program, to employees incorrectly marking applications.
I do not doubt that VA employees are doing their very best at their jobs, but their department makes it very hard for them to do their job. Even if we assume that this department worked as its creators planned, its method of organization still harms our veterans. Veterans’ health benefits in this country are delayed costs, meaning they surface decades after the military conflict ends.
The Congress funds these delayed costs – through the VA – only when the obligation comes to fruition. This system allows the Congress to engage in military conflicts with ease, ignoring the burdens of foreign intervention for some time, only to then default on the burden of veterans’ healthcare when they need the obligation filled.
How this approach benefits the American people and our veterans alike remains unclear. Therefore, if we desire a political approach to this issue that would benefit our veterans and the American people alike, privatization of the VA is essential.
This alternative approach offers two main benefits: one, it improves the quality of medical care by introducing competition and innovation into the healthcare market, and two, it forces Congress to consider the enormous cost of war prior to intervening by pre-funding veteran benefits.
In this manner, the policy can garner support from both sides of the aisle by appealing to pro-market Republicans and non-interventionist Democrats.
Despite what the media is suggesting, this policy is an argument for competition and accountability, not greed and the exploitation of our men and women in uniform. Justification for the policy suggests, and rightfully so, that transferring the department’s physical capital to veterans is key to improving veterans’ healthcare.
In the end, continuing the current system is unlikely to benefit our veterans or the American taxpayer. In fact, government hands these taxpayers the bill for senseless military intervention. If we truly want to help both groups, privatizing the VA is crucial.