Tag: war

Have Your Senators Taken Money from Lockheed Martin?

Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Last year’s election was rife was polarization. With bitter fights in states such as Texas, where incumbent Ted Cruz narrowly defeated challenger Beto O’Rourke, the country’s politicians seemed more divided than ever. Many Democrats ran on an anti-Trump line, whereas many Republicans did the opposite. But one thing about the election season was eerily unified: most of the Senate took money from Lockheed Martin and other military industrial complex companies. Continue reading “Have Your Senators Taken Money from Lockheed Martin?”

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Walter Jones: A Hero to the Anti-War Movement

Kenneth Casey | United States

On Sunday, America lost one of their most principled and honorable members of Congress with the passing of Walter Jones, the U.S. Representative of North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. According to Fox News, Jones had suffered a broken hip at his home on January 14th and underwent surgery at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville the following day, which was just one of a series of ailments that Jones had faced.

The North Carolina politician first entered the cutthroat world of politics in 1983 after being elected as a representative of North Carolina at the state level, serving as a Democrat for the entirety of his tenure. After his father vacated his U.S. Congressional seat as a member of North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in 1992, Jones decided to run for his father’s seat and did so successfully. While being a Democrat and serving his first term as so, he decided to switch his party affiliation to the Republican Party in 1994 and has remained a member of the party since.

For around a decade, Jones worked like most people in Washington. He flew under the radar, for the most part, not garnering much national attention. He often served as the standard Republican member of Congress by commonly voting in line with his party as most members of Congress do. The practice of rarely breaking party line and staying away from even the slightest hints of contrarianism is popular in Congress as it increases your chances of being re-elected. That’s why, just about every year, 90% or more of Congress gets re-elected. As long as you do your part and vote in line with your party on the most important issues, the party leadership will support your re-election bid and make the threat of a primary challenge extremely unlikely.

It wasn’t until 2003 that Jones did something that garnered widespread mainstream media attention. Unless you know Walter’s path of getting where he is today, what he did may just surprise you.

A Figure Emerges

Walter was one of the biggest supporters of the Invasion of Iraq back in 2003. His passion for the war was so strong that when France announced their opposition to the United States’ involvement in Iraq, Walter, along with fellow House Republican Bob Ney of Ohio, led the charge to alter a couple names of food choices on the House Cafeteria menu. “French Fries” were to be changed to “Freedom Fries”; “French Toast” was changed to “Freedom Toast”. Yes, Jones’ first real moment of prominence after 10 years a Congress was when he became known as one of the Republicans who bootlicked for the Invasion of Iraq so much that he made his disapproval of France’s stance on the issue known by removing the word “French” from the House Cafeteria Menu.

By the end of 2005, the number of American casualties had reached 2,181. It was around this time that Walter Jones drastically changed his views on Foreign Policy. He called on President Bush to withdraw from Iraq, stating he had “come to believe that there had been little reason to go to war, despite his earlier support, which had been based upon selective intelligence supplied to Congress.” Walter did something that we hardly ever see in politicians, and that is admitting that they are wrong. After coming to the realization of his past faults, he became one of the biggest non-interventionists in Congress, supporting peace every single chance he got and opposing war at all costs.

Because of his heroism among anti-war activists, he earned the label “Champion of Peace” by fellow non-interventionist Congressman Ron Paul. In the years following his change of heart towards the Iraq War, Jones has signed over 12,000 letters to families and extended families who have lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and has hung posters displaying the faces of the dead along the hallway leading to his congressional office in Washington D.C. “That was for me asking God to forgive me for my mistake,” Jones told the NPR in 2017.

An Enemy of War Hawks

Of course, whenever Jones defied the Republican and neoconservative establishment by advocating for non-interventionism and going against their mainstream ideology, they did not take kindly to that. In both 2014 and 2016, Jones a faced primary opponent who benefited from having received millions from neoconservatives, most notably Bill Kristol, who despised Walter for his foreign policy and didn’t think that he belonged in the modern day Republican Party. Even though his views didn’t exactly coincide with the majority of the Republican Party’s, he still managed to easily brush off his primary challengers both times from the hawkish right, with his constituents proving they wanted to keep their principled politician. This led to him being awarded another nickname from Ron Paul: The Neocon Slayer.

Later on in his congressional career, following the changes in his foreign policy beliefs, he lived by a mindset that he felt his father had failed to follow. That mindset was doing what he believed was right even if it resulted in his career ending abruptly ending. He noted in a 2005 interview that he remembered the worst day of his father’s career was when he had to vote for a financial bailout of New York City in 1970, something his father personally opposed but had to vote for because of “political reasons”.

A Legacy to Remember

If you asked Jones, prior to his death, how he feels looking back at the time in which he was known as the guy who was the reason for the Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast denominations on the House Cafeteria Menu, he most likely would have reacted by laying his cheek in his left hand. This was a habit he said he would “repeat dozens of times a day when lost in thought or sadness”. He would uncharacteristically say nothing, wishing to erase that point in his political career from his and everybody else’s memory. Sixteen years after his vote to send American troops into Iraq, Jones would still have been furious with himself and shaken that he reacted with the dramatic response to a problem much bigger than that, ashamed and regretful of his past votes and rhetoric. In a 2015 interview, he stated he would “go to his grave regretting that he had helped kill 4,000 American soldiers.”

In his later days, Walter ended up becoming so much more than what I previously described in this article: an unprincipled politician who really doesn’t have a person in Congress other than to be there as a yes-man. Walter ended up becoming something that is such a rare species. Some wonder if principled, honorable politicians are already extinct. The type of morality that Walter Jones displayed earns the amount of respect none of us are capable of giving. For that, he deserves to be recognized, honored, and never forgotten in our memories.

May he rest in peace.


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The American Constitutional Upside Down

Glenn Verasco | Thailand

If you’re not familiar with Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things, don’t worry; I won’t reveal any major spoilers. A central theme of the show is that a portal into a parallel dimension opens. The terrors that lurk there are spilling out into a small town in our own world. Once the main characters discover this, they refer to the parallel universe as “The Upside Down.”

The Upside Down States of America

A bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators recently decided that America needs a taste of The Upside Down, too. By a 68-23 margin, the Senate affirmed a resolution to block any of Trump’s attempts to remove American troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

The vote comes amid repeated announcements and tweets by the president that he will fulfill one of his central campaign promises by ending some of the U.S.’s endless wars abroad, particularly in Syria. This would fit in well with his America First slogan. Bringing our troops home would allow the government to focus on the country it presides over. Moreover, it enables it to respect the autonomy of the globe’s many states.

When the president began talking withdrawal, establishment members of both parties and a hostile mainstream media scoffed and presented lame justifications for our presence in both countries. Many claimed that Turkey, our NATO ally, would “slaughter” our Kurdish allies if the mere 2,000 US troops still in Syria went home. The Kurds and Turks admittedly have their differences. However, this would be a first in their shared history, not to mention the fact that Kurds are rough and tough; nobody will slaughter them.

Weak Reasons to Remain Abroad

It’s also worth noting that many of the same people who claim we need to protect the Kurds from Turkey lost their minds when Trump suggested the U.S. should leave the outdated and useless bureaucratic leviathan we call NATO. In a transparent display of idiocy, they simultaneously claim (1) we can’t leave NATO because it would be a betrayal of our NATO allies and (2) we can’t leave Syria because it would be a betrayal of our Kurdish allies who our NATO allies would slaughter. Talk about Stranger Things…

Other purported reasons to remain in Syria and Afghanistan are that leaving these aimless 10 and 17-year missions, respectively, would be “precipitous”. And of course, something, something, something, Russia.

Despite the contradictions and hollow fear-mongering, the real reason the situation is so upside down is that Congress never authorized the wars Trump is trying to end. On the other hand, the commander-in-chief’s power to withdraw troops requires no authorization at all.

Presidential Powers

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power “to declare war”. Article II, Section 2 names the president “commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States”. To me, “commander-in-chief” sounds pretty self-explanatory. Perhaps the Founders would have had to have written “Total Super Ultra Mega Boss of the Military” to get it through the thick skulls of today’s Democrats and Republicans.

It is true that Congress authorized former President George W. Bush to use military force against those responsible for the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. Despite this, he did not get permission to occupy Afghanistan indefinitely for whatever reasons he and his successors could conjure up. The language in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists is admittedly vague. Thus, it might be fair to say that Congress and a gullible public are to blame as much as the executive.

On the other hand, President Barack Obama was outright denied authorization to invade Syria in a bipartisan fashion, but he did so anyway. Nice one, Barry.

Make Ending Wars Easy Again

Going to war should not be this easy, and ending wars should not be this hard. Our Founders were right to warn against entangling alliances and sticking our noses in other nations’ business. Engaging in either of these endeavors drains American lives, liberty, and treasure. It also prevents our neighbors abroad from learning to develop themselves. Neoconservatives can spend hours explaining why dependency upon welfare undermines an individual’s ability to develop. For some reason, they are too blind to see that dependency upon a foreign militia has the same result on nations.

However upside down our government is, President Trump cannot blame the potential failure to end the wars in Afghanistan and Syria on Congress. He has unquestioned authority to command the armed forces. No one can stop him from exercising his powers but himself. Playing politics by waiting a little while to accomplish this goal could be a forgivable strategic maneuver. But Trump will deserve total and complete blame if this promise is broken.

Mr. President, it’s time to grow a pair and order things right-side up.

***


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Israel and the American-Made Power Vacuum in Syria

Michael Ottavio | United States

On January 21st, Israel announced that they had struck multiple Iranian targets in Syria following a missile attack that was intercepted by Israeli defense systems.  This major escalation follows the beginning of U.S. troops withdrawing from the area at the start of the month.

In a strong message to Tehran, Israel launched wide-ranging strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.  This missile strike came in response to an Iranian surface-to-surface missile fired towards the Israeli occupied Golan Heights.  The Iranian missile that was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system originated from an Iranian occupied area outside of Damascus, roughly 31 miles from the Golan Heights area.

Back and Forth

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the missile strike hit munition storage sites and a military training camp, as well as another Iranian occupied site near Damascus international airport.  Israel has stated that they made Syria aware of the strike and warned them not to interfere, but the Israeli missile strike turned on Syrian air defense systems after they began firing on the Israeli jets carrying out the strike.

All this escalation comes after a very volatile few months and talks of a total U.S. withdrawal from Syria.  According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), this was the “most intense and violent attack against the regime forces and their allies in terms of casualties since May 2018.”  Israel continues to take a hard stance against the Iranian presence in Syria, and now as the last pillar of stability in the Middle East, they must vehemently defend their borders from hostile nations.

Two Powers Collide

The United States is now in the beginning stages of withdrawing their troops from Syria after they once again intervened in a war that was none of their business.  The departure of American forces is going to cause more destabilization, so why did we get involved in the first place? Back in 2017, the American mindset was manipulated with pictures of war zones and deadly attacks. A need for immediate action became almost unanimous.  While it is very unfortunate, people die in conflicts all around the world and there’s almost never a call to intervene. That may be due to the fact that Russia isn’t involved in every other conflict, but they are heavily involved in Syria.

In September of 2015, Russia started a military intervention in the Syrian Civil War,  in which they fully support the government of al-Assad. Then in April of 2017, less than two years since Russia began intervening in the Syrian Civil War, the United States launched its first attack on a Syrian target.  In an ever-growing need to impede Russian imperialism, the United States entered into yet another conflict to oppose the Assad regime.  It would soon become readily apparent this was not a conflict that was going to be quickly resolved by lobbing missiles at an already destabilized area.

Just like the last Middle Eastern country the U.S. got involved in, we launched our first strike under the guise of deterring the use of deadly chemical weapons. That sounds familiar, right?  It’s almost as if the United States didn’t learn its lesson in Iraq when the power vacuum that formed after dismantling the Saddam regime led to the perfect platform for the terrorist group ISIS to gain a legitimate foothold in the Middle East.

One thing is certain we have not seen the end of the violence in Syria, and Iran has shown no signs of backing down. The United States has, once again, participated in the destabilization of an area, leaving before the conflict has been resolved.  By launching this strike Israel has sent a clear message to Tehran that even in the absence of the United States they are not backing down and will continue to oppose all Iranian operations inside of Syria.

As a nation that has been built, funded, and supplied by the United States, Israel is more than capable of handling the situation on their own. The United States needs to learn from their mistakes and turn away from the old imperialist mindset because every single time we invade a middle eastern country it blows up in not only our faces but our allies as well.  We are not the world police, we need to bring our troops home and keep them here.


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New Year’s Resolutions for the Libertarian Movement

By Jack Parkos | United States

All over social media, you will see people posting “new year, new me.” While people are setting resolutions for a better year, libertarians should also set goals for 2019. The Libertarian Party is failing and has gotten little done. Clearly, something must change. New strategies must be tried, new allies must be considered, all in an effort to gain a more libertarian society. Ideally, we would want to obtain a truly libertarian society, where interactions are voluntary, private property is respected, the market is freed, etc.. But realistically that will not happen for a long time. So, what should we work towards in 2019?

10 Policy Goals for 2019

What we should work for is making society more libertarian, with decentralization, more respect to property owners, and voluntarism (the principle of respecting voluntary actions). We also should maintain the necessary culture for a libertarian social order. Below are some points on what to try to obtain in 2019.

  1. Decentralization of the Government- The federal government has very much exceeded the limits set to it in the Constitution. Originally, the states handled many of the issues. Pragmatically, libertarians should want to decentralize the state as much as possible while it holds its monopoly on power. The more local the state, the more voluntary and less tyrannical it becomes. In 2019, libertarians should support propositions that aim to secure states rights against the expanding power of the federal government.
  2. Bring Home the Troops, End the Wars- War-hawkish foreign policy has gone on long enough. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars. What’s worse is the humanitarian impact of these wars. Death tolls for these wars are in the thousands for American troops, and for what? The region has only become more destabilized. Moreover, the United States is backing the Saudis as they reign terror on the innocent people of Yemen. The moves by Trump to pull the troops out of Syria and Afghanistan are good and should be encouraged.
  3. Stop Mass Immigration- These wars have caused mass destabilization of the Middle Eastern region, creating a mass migration to the west. Europe has already seen the downsides to mass migration; an increase in violent crimes, political instability, and the welfare state. This is something libertarians must stop from happening in America. Securing the borders is not “anti-libertarian” as left-libertarians will claim. Forced immigration unto the people is statism. Ideally, borders would be private property. But while the state has a monopoly on borders, they should be protected as such.
  4. Take Down the Fed- Trump has encouraged an audit on the Federal Reserve and has recently been attacking it. Libertarians must support all efforts by Trump against the Federal Reserve. An audit of the fed is a good step in the direction of the ultimate goal: Ending the federal reserve. Furthermore, banking should be as decentralized as possible, and any policy doing this should be pushed and encouraged.
  5.  Defeat the Left and Stop the Mobs-  To quote Hans Hermann Hoppe:

“Tacitly supported and indirectly funded by the ruling elites, this self-described mob of “social justice warriors” has taken upon itself the task of escalating the fight against “white privilege” through deliberate acts of terror directed against anyone and anything deemed “racist,” “right-wing,” “fascist,” “reactionary,” “incorrigible” or “unreconstructed.” Such “enemies of progress” are physically assaulted by the “anti-fascist” mob, their cars are burnt down, their properties vandalized, and their employers threatened to dismiss them and ruin their careers – all the while the police are ordered by the powers that be to “stand down” and not to investigate the crimes committed or prosecute and punish the criminals. In view of this outrage, public anger must be aroused and there must be clamoring, far and wide, for the police to be unleashed and this mob be beaten into submission.”

 

Whenever a right-leaning speaker wants to speak at a college, mobs form and destroy property to prevent them from using free speech. Meanwhile, the cops tell the peaceful speaker he must leave. These actions must be condemned by libertarians. Leftwing mobs must be stopped. Furthermore, left-wing control of the media and culture is something libertarians should take on, as they promote forced equity, socialism, and more state infringements on liberty. The cultural Marxists must be stopped.

6. Promote Lassiez-Faire Capitalism- Whether through low taxes, deregulation, or free trade, all policies that move us towards laissez-faire capitalism must be a top priority for libertarians this year. Supporting any political candidate or political action that frees the economy. Moreover, whichever major candidate is more laissez-faire (typically the Republican) should be the one voted for unless they promote war. Laissez-Faire capitalism is one of the key components of libertarianism.

7. Reform the Libertarian Party- The libertarian ideology promotes free markets, private property, and non-violence. The Libertarian Party has become a party of degeneracy, promoting hedonistic lifestyles, and leftist talking points. The party even has a “socialist caucus”. Libertarianism has falsely been labeled as “socially liberal and fiscally conservative”. While we are against the state using a monopoly to enforce laws against sexual liberation or drugs, the party should not be promoting it like it currently does.  The party should be reformed to one that promotes Austrian economics and liberty. If this cannot be done, libertarians may give up on the party as it is no longer a tool to advance liberty.

8. Expose Elites and the “Deep State”- The elites that control the world (politicians, the media, the so-called “intellects”), must be exposed as the frauds and crooks they are. Many conspiracies arise about the “Deep State”, and we must work to spread the truth about them. Big global bureaucratic organizations should be weakened and ultimately destroyed. We must expose those who profit from the wars and the military industrial complex. Small media sites should be promoted to combat corporate media. All corruption in D.C should be exposed. Also, so-called “intellects” should be challenged as they push statist and leftist propaganda.

9. Fight in the Culture War- True American culture is based on liberty, family values, and western civilization. The idea was that different cultures could come together but would agree on certain values. Recently, however, there has been a war on American culture. The nuclear family has been under attack since feminists pushed sexual “liberation” which has only lead to an increase in the welfare state. Libertarians should embrace traditional values not with state violence, but rather, in the fight of the culture war.

10. Stop the War on Drugs- The War on Drugs was a massive failure. It did not accomplish its goal to limit drug use, rather it pushed the problem more underground and increasing the power of drug cartels. This caused mass increases in violent crime. What’s worse is the violation of civil liberties in the process, SWAT teams raiding people’s houses and violent police interactions have become far more common. Moreover, it has also cost a lot of money to the tax payer. The war on drugs must be ended or deceased. Policies to decriminalize drugs, loosen drug laws, or leave it to the states must be encouraged.

Taking everything into consideration, it can be concluded that these are reasonable goals to pursue in 2019. Though it will not all solve issues, it will be a good step in the right direction. All these goals are consistent with libertarianism and can help us make a more libertarian society.


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