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TGIF: Inflation Is Evil

When will Americans demand that the government denationalize money and free the market to do what it does better than anything else: serve the general welfare rather than the special interests?

It’s hard to know what it would take to bring this about, but inflation talk is once again in the air, and that’s bad. Worse, it’s in the shops. It had to happen after years of Fed Reserve’s money creation, through the banking system, in the name of stimulating this or stimulating that. Forget the printing press. All the Fed has to do is buy up oodles of bank assets (government debt and bad private assets), leaving those institutions with billions of conjured-up dollars in their computer accounts. Eventually the funny money would get out among us and do its damage. It had to happen sooner or later. Only the schedule was in doubt.

So why was the monetary system ever trusted to politicians and their bureaucratic appointees in the first place? The idea that a free society cannot provide sound money was an article of faith based on no evidence, like the idea that a free society cannot provide roads or law and order. The alleged failures of market-based money were really the result of government intervention. The “authorities” could never resist tampering whenever they saw the chance. Power is a strong drug.

Inflation is insidious. When central-bank policy robs people of their purchasing power by reducing the value of money, life gets harder. It’s obviously worse for the most vulnerable: the low- and fixed-income members of society, who can least afford the rise in the cost of living. But inflation does so much more. Savings melt away for most people, wreaking havoc with their ability to plan and to take care of themselves.

Even that does not exhaust the ways that the government’s central bank harms us. Prices rise, but not uniformly as though the “price level” were a real thing rather than a construct. What counts are relative prices (interest rates are prices too), which in the unmolested market reflect the relative changing of supply and demand. Market prices are indispensable for signaling that some things are being overproduced and while others are being underproduced. Since Fed-created money enters the economy at particular points in society, it changes relative prices in ways that differ from what would have taken place with market-based money. More havoc in the planning of production that would otherwise have served the general welfare.

Expectations change because of Fed policies, and those new expectations lead to employer and employee decisions that will turn out to be wrong when the inflation ends. When the Fed becomes nervous that things are getting out of hand, it will, as the saying goes, step on the brakes. Then many people will suffer anew from the recession, the great revelation of all the mistakes made under the government-distorted signals. And that’s not the end: the recession will be the excuse for new government interventions, which will only introduce further distortions. Never let a crisis pass without increasing power–that’s the politicians’ motto.

Does this sound like fun? Of course it doesn’t, but that’s what the state has done to us over and over. It keeps happening because government officials gain (though not necessarily in the traditional way), and they are good at blaming others for the bad effects. Economics is not intuitive, especially monetary economics.

Can we hope that the politicians and those who profit from their interventions will let go of the power? Why would they unless they had no choice? Inflation is magic: it, along with the power to borrow, enables our rulers to keep the support of constituencies without the explicit taxes they’d have to levy if the central bank did not exist. (Borrowing might still be an option but also might be more limited without central banking.) To put it another way, inflation is taxation by stealth, embezzlement rather than armed robbery. We pay for the largess the government bestows on special others, but much of it appears from thin air. When people pay the bill at the retail counter, most of them won’t know the government is to blame. That’s just evil.

Imagine if the government had to fight its decades-long wars with open taxation. Would Americans stand for global intervention if every penny of the trillion-dollar military had to be paid to the Internal Revenue Service? The poor military contractors might have to find other things to produce, maybe even things that consumers really want.

We owe it to ourselves and future generations to change this madness once and for all.

When Barack Obama Got Away with Murder

[Yesterday was] the 10th anniversary of the drone killing of Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, a 16 year old born in Colorado and killed in Yemen. He perished as part of Obama’s crackdown on terrorist suspects around the world. His father, who was also an American citizen, was killed two weeks earlier by another drone strike ordered by Obama.

I wrote a piece condemning Obama’s assassination program for Christian Science Monitor in 2011,  “Assassination Nation: Are There Any Limits on President Obama’s License to Kill?” I derided the Obama administration’s claim that the president possessed a “right to kill Americans without a trial, without notice, and without any chance for targets to legally object…Killings based solely on presidential commands radically transform the relation of the government to the citizenry.”

Readers responded by calling for my assassination. My article mentioned an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit pressuring the Obama administration “to disclose the legal standard it uses to place US citizens on government kill lists.” “Will R.” was indignant: “We need to send Bovard and the ACLU to Iran. You shoot traders and the ACLU are a bunch of traders.” (I was pretty sure the ACLU was not engaged in international commerce). “Jeff” took the high ground: “Hopefully there will soon be enough to add James Bovard to the [targeted killing] list.” Another commenter—self-labeled as “Idiot Savant”—saw a grand opportunity: “Now if we can only convince [Obama] to use this [assassination] authority on the media, who have done more harm than any single terror target could ever dream of … ”

Here’s a riff I did on Obama’s assassination program in 2013:

The Obama administration yesterday leaked out its confidential legal paper on killing Americans to NBC News. Obama’s legal wizards decided that the Fifth Amendment’s pledge that no citizen shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” is invalid in cases of imminent attack by terrorists.

Though this might sound reasonable, the memo proceeds to craft a totally bogus notion of “imminent.” But, as John Glaser notes at Antiwar.com, “The memo refers to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than what has traditionally been required, like actual intelligence an ongoing plot against the US. ‘The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,’ the memo states, contradicting conventional international law.”

In a January 2017 USA Today piece, I urged Trump to open the files on Obama’s killings:

“Trump should quickly reveal the secret memos underlying Obama’s “targeted killing” drone assassination program.

Administration lawyers defeated lawsuits by the ACLUThe New York Times, and others seeking disclosure of key legal papers on how the president became judge, jury and executioner. A Trump administration could disclose the memos and white papers without endangering anything other than the reputation of the soon-to-be former president and his policymakers.

Didn’t happen. The Trump administration could have exposed vast numbers of abuses by the Obama administration the same way that Obama (partially) opened the files on some of President George W. Bush’s torture policy and other atrocities. But as usual, the Trump team blew the opportunity.

As a result, Obama can pirouette as a champion of civil liberties while the horrendous precedents he set continue to endanger Americans and anyone else in the world in the vicinity of people suspected of bad thoughts by the U.S. government.

Hat tip to Dan Alban, an Institute of Justice lawyer who has scourged the Justice Department, IRS, and plenty of other government agencies.

This article was originally featured at Jim Bovard’s Blog and is republished with permission.

The War on Drugs for Her

She had just turned fifteen. She was a good girl, though some of her friends had a wilder side. They did like to party. She was excited to attend a music festival, a large one geared to people under eighteen. While she was there the police were conducting an operation to curb the use of recreational drugs. Twenty or so teenagers, including herself, had been taken almost at random by the police officers.

It was a hot day, so she had worn very little. As she was taken away she was roughly handled. The police officers accused her of being in possession of drugs, a girl who had not even tried alcohol yet. She had a certain look and was hanging out with friends who had been caught in the past with such contraband. This assumption allowed the police officers to take her.

She was made to strip naked as the uniformed adults ran their gloved hands over her body. They were indifferent to her embarrassed state and made her feel like a piece of meat. Her legs were spread as she stood, with a mirror they looked up into her genitalia and then a latex covered digit took her virginity. The pain was sharp. The finger twisted and probed into her, finding nothing. She began to shake, her blood on the finger of the glove as the officer ripped it from their hand and discarded it like a full condom.

She was told that she could get dressed, she was “free” to go. She did not sleep well that night. She told her parents what had happened but did not go into details. On the television news the police spokesperson was matter of fact as the cameras captured their professional manner. Three of those who had been strip searched were in possession of contraband. For a little while there was some condemnation and outrage but it passed.

But for her, the nightmares continued.

The sight of a uniform caused a rush of fear inside of her. She felt instant fright and afterwards, when the sickness had passed, an anger that she could not unravel. She was seventeen when it happened again. While in a car with some friends, the police pulled them over. They searched the teenagers and found that the driver had been in possession of enough drugs to get the others in trouble. It was alleged that there was enough to sell. The driver was accused of being a dealer. She had never been aware of him doing that.

When she had to attend court she was fightened, ashamed, and embarrassed. She didn’t know what was going on. People in strange costumes spoke on her behalf and an old man in ancient attire frowned at her. He said that the teens had to be taught a lesson. They needed to be punished. There was a war going on, and she was now treated as an enemy combatant.

She was sent to a youth jail. It was called something else, but it was jail for those not yet legally adults. Once there, she was forced naked and more adults in uniforms wearing gloves searched her body. They were as rough and indifferent as their predecessors. She was now a prisoner of war, feeling as though she had no real rights. She had been found guilty of a crime. Her pleas of innocence were wasted tears in a storm.

As the months dragged on, she was repeatedly stripped naked and made to reveal her insides to those in uniform. Her body no longer belonged to her. Drugs destroyed lives, she had been told repeatedly, and now it seemed hers was added to the list…even though they never found anything on her.

She had always been pretty, and knew it. For years she’d been told that on and off, even before she had become a teenager. She was gifted a sweet smile, though she no longer showed it. Being pretty in jail is a quality no one wants.

One day she learned that lesson. She was taken, molested, and felt the savage thrusts of an attacker. It hurt. The guard threatened her. He ripped the condom from himself just as that first police officer had removed the bloody glove. She quivered in her cot that night, her tears stung her face. If she did her best to avoid the uniforms, she told herself, it would be over soon.

But the nightmares, the memories, they never leave.

She was eventually allowed out. Her pretty smile was now a wary frown, and bags hung under her eyes. She fought with her parents, and most of her friends treated her as if she was contaminated. Did they somehow know what had happened? She found part-time work and soon mashed into different scenes. The nightmares tortured her most nights. It was only then that she first tried drugs. Legal ones, prescribed ones, to help her sleep. Eventually she began to self medicate. The “banned” drugs came later.

They were to help her forget.

In her fragmented state of mind, strange men took her body. She had learned early on that it no longer belonged to her. Uniformed or not, it was all the same to her now. She found herself in a hospital, just a “junkie slut,” as one nurse said to another as she lay in purgatory with a drip in her arm. Once she was discharged more professionals from the government visited her. They were paid to be compassionate. She was now given money, put on schemes to help her buy groceries, and they even paid for her rent.

She was now called a victim. Not because of the imprisonment, the kidnap, the shame, or the rape. But because she had tried to wipe those memories away with drugs. No longer an enemy combatant, a child soldier, she was one of the war’s innocent victims, a new statistic. A lost addict used to justify those uniformed crusaders.

That’s what the War on Drugs felt like to her. And even now that she’s “clean,” the memory of it all still hurts.

U.S. Threatens Iran to Return to Nuclear Deal, Refuses to Lift Sanctions

U.S. officials stepped up their rhetoric against Iran Wednesday, warning that Washington will have to consider other “options” if attempts to revive the nuclear deal fail.

At a joint press conference with his Israeli and UAE counterparts in Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned “time is running out” for Iran to return to talks. “We are prepared to turn to other options if Iran doesn’t change course, and these consultations with our allies and partners are a part of that,” Blinken said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made it clear that Blinken’s “other options” are a threat. “I would like to start by repeating what the Secretary of State just said.  Yes, other options are going to be on the table if diplomacy fails.  And by saying other options, I think everybody understands here, in Israel, in the Emirates, and in Tehran what is it that we mean,” he said.

Lapid said Israel “reserves the right to act at any given moment, in any way” against Iran. Just about every day, Israeli officials are threatening to attack Iran more than they already do through covert operations. By coordinating so closely with the Israelis on Iran, the Biden administration is not sending a good signal to Tehran.

Also on Wednesday, President special envoy for Iran Robert Malley also signaled that the US was making other preparations. “We will be prepared to adjust to a different reality in which we have to deal with all options to address Iran’s nuclear program if it’s not prepared to come back into the constraints of 2016,” he said, referring to the year the JCPOA was first implemented.

President Biden first said the U.S. would consider “other options” if diplomacy with Iran failed at the end of August, which Iran took as a threat. Now the talking point is spreading through his administration.

Negotiations to revive the JCPOA have been stalled since June 20th. The new Iranian government of President Ebrahim Raisi has said it’s ready to return to the table but has not set a date. Iran was hoping for a sign of good faith from the Biden administration through the release of frozen funds. But instead, the U.S. maintains virtually all Trump-era sanctions and U.S. officials are ramping up their rhetoric.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

Don’t Confuse the Falkland Islands for Taiwan

Though the conflict is little known in the United States, Chinese military planners have long obsessed over what lessons can be gained from studying the brief 1982 conflict between Argentina and Great Britain over the small collection of islands in the South Atlantic near the tip of South America—the Falklands—and for good reason. Its location, historical context, and the nature of the conflict between the powers involved more closely mirror the current standoff over Taiwan than any other example in modern war. Drawing lessons from history is a tricky business, however. And while Chinese military planners do well in studying the tactics of the conflict, U.S. foreign policy architects should be far more cautious. As will be presented below, presuming that by doing the opposite of what the British did in the case of the Falklands War that conflict will be averted or made less likely is not borne out in a comparison with the situation over Taiwan.

A hardscrabble collection of over seven hundred small islands, the largest and most predominant among them West and East Falkland, the Falklands lay less just nine hundred miles from the Antarctic circle and were uninhabited when the first European explorers began probing the southern cone of South America. Though the Spanish, English, and French all made various claims to the islands during the seventeenth century, by the eighteenth century Great Britain, with its superb navy, had proven most able to enforce its writ and had claimed sole possession of the islands as early as 1774. The outbreak of the French Revolution and later the Napoleonic wars, however, meant no one was home when the recently liberated Buenos Aires elites decided to stake a claim of their own and assert full authority—the islands being, after all, just three hundred miles out to sea. And so it was from 1816-1832 the islands were under Argentina’s control.

The British returned, however, and after a brief battle drove the Argentinians from the islands, in 1840 making them Crown colonies. With Britain ascendent and on its way to controlling, at its apogee, fully 25% of earth’s landed surface, Buenos Aires could do little but grumble bitterly. But here are the origins of the competing claims to the Falkland islands; claims that would continue to be disputed at a low diplomatic level at varying degrees of intensity over the next century and a half.

Fast forward to the second half of the twentieth century, with Great Britain exhausted by two world wars, its empire crumbling, revolting, or being otherwise abandoned, the Labor governments of the 1960s proved receptive to Peron’s more aggressive reassertions of Argentina’s claims over the islands. Discussions were slow, however, dragging on into the 1970s unresolved—hampered in large part by existing commercial interests on the islands and by a perception among U.K. voters of the essential Britishness of the Falklanders as part of “Greater Britain,” sharing a common language, culture, way of life, and other customs.

Economic realities were such, however, that by the late 1970s Great Britain had all but ceased involvement in the South Atlantic region and scrapped its only ship devoted to patrolling the area without replacing it. Having, then, in the years preceding the conflict, signaled a willingness to at least allow for the Falklands to fall into the Argentinian orbit, and then neglecting to maintain a forceful and visible presence, it is generally undisputed that the military junta that had seized power in Argentina in 1976 believed Thatcher’s government would do nothing were it to move to reclaim the islands. Therefore, facing rapidly declining popularity in the face of economic mismanagement, the junta decided the best way to offset the growing social unrest was a nice, short patriotic war in defense of a long-besmirched national honor.

Reasonable though this line of thinking was, it was all based on the premise that the U.K. leadership would not go to war over the Falklands: and this turned out to be a mistake.

For though the junta were correct that the British had been signaling apparent ambiguity regarding the fate of the islands, that they were completely unimportant militarily and economically to the home island. But what the Junta failed to understand was how their actions would impact the political incentive structure facing the embattled Thatcher government. Unpopular and struggling, whatever Thatcher’s actual feelings towards the Falklands, an election was just around the corner and the press and popular opinion made it impossible for her to do anything other than fight in defense of what was left of the empire. After being assured by the British military establishment that the islands could be retaken, Thatcher ordered a task force assembled and dispatched.

And so the war came.

As innumerable books on the play-by-play of the military conflict describe—many of which were authored by participants in the events on the ground—even though the Argentinian armed forces were something close to a joke, its soldiers under-trained raw conscripts, and its military hardware equally substandard, the campaign was very nearly a disaster for Great Britain. They were unaccustomed by now to projecting force, and needed civilian ships to serve as transports. Approaching the occupied islands, the Royal Navy lost multiple ships to airstrikes launched from the mainland in the form of sorties, as well as Exocet missiles in the week and a half it took the British to both establish dominance of the surrounding sea and land significant numbers of troops. They ultimately succeeded in doing so after the Argentinian navy and air force abandoned the islands. Their comrades, now marooned, were left to face the British special forces alone. The rugged terrain meant the series of sporadic engagements that followed were of the running sort—with only a few pitched battles in alland Great Britain retook the islands just 74 days after the Argentinian forces had invaded.

In short order the junta was overthrown, Thatcher was reelected, and the Falklands remained inside the British sphere.

In the case of the Falklands, it is almost certain that had Great Britain made its intention to defend the islands clear ahead of time the Argentinian junta would not have invaded. At the time, then-Senator Joe Biden was among the most vocal supporters of British military intervention. As a close observer of the conflict, and with a hawkish foreign policy team behind him, the lesson the Biden administration seems to have drawn as applied to Taiwan is that by making its intentions clear it will thereby avoid conflict with China. This shift away from the prior tactic of “strategic ambiguity” was evidenced by Biden’s statements following the botched Afghanistan pullout. Speaking to reporters about whether or not allies could still count on American security guarantees, Biden included Taiwan on a list that included the NATO countries and Japan.

The evidence suggests Biden is quite serious about this commitment. From the immediate high-level meetings between his administration and the countries of the QUAD, arming the Australians with submarines capable of snooping for long periods in China’s backyard, and arms sales to Taiwan, the message couldn’t be clearer: we’ll fight you so don’t even try. Key differences between the Falklands and Taiwan, however, cast serious doubt on this shift in tactics.

First, Argentina’s military hadn’t planned for a British counter-attack while the Chinese most certainly will have.

Second, Taiwan is much closer to mainland China and its missile batteries and airfields than were the Falklands to Argentina. Furthermore, the missiles China would be launching at American, Japanese, Indian, and Australian forces would be satellite guided and far more accurate and deadly.

Third, it is China that has the territorial claim and grievance. Granted, Beijing’s claim on the island is questionable, as it hasn’t been ruled by Beijing in over a century and was only added to the Chinese Empire in the late eighteenth century. But all that aside, it isn’t recognized by the international community as an entity outside China proper.

Fifth, the Argentinian population weren’t committed to a fight over the Falklands in the same way the Chinese are to Taiwan.

Sixth and finally, the Argentinian junta needed the signal of ambiguity from Great Britain because they rightly suspected they couldn’t stand up to it in a fight. China does not feel that way—if anything U.S. belligerence only serves to provoke a proud Chinese government and people into aggressive action in defense of their honor. Afterall, it isn’t a secret that in CCP propaganda Taiwan represents the final remnant of the “century of humiliations.”

In short, Biden’s shift in tactics from strategic ambiguity to a policy of strategic clarity represents a misapplying of the lessons of history. Doing what would have prevented a similar conflict in the past is no guarantee of success in the here and now. If U.S. strategy is aimed at maintaining peace in the region, its change in tactics seem likely only to undermine it.

Joseph Solis-Mullen is a graduate of both Spring Arbor University and the University of Illinois, and is a current graduate student in the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri. An author, blogger, and political scientist, his work can be found at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Sage Advance, Seeking Alpha, and his personal website. You may contact him at theauthor@jsmwritings.com or follow him on Twitter.

Cop Admits To Raping Children, Sentenced to 20 Years

It was a dramatic day in a Jacksonville courtroom this week as multiple child victims spoke out at disgraced officer, Matthew Butler’s sentencing hearing. After facing a slew of charges related to the sexual assault of multiple children under the age of 10, Butler pleaded guilty to just three charges. However, they were so horrific, that he received two decades in a cage.

According to the State Attorney’s Office, the child-raping cop pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted capital sexual battery involving two separate survivors. A third charge involving a third survivor was resolved and incorporated into the plea agreement.

Butler had faced more than a dozen charges, including child porn and molestation, but they were all dropped as part of the plea deal. Despite dropping the charges, Butler still received a far steeper sentence than most cops in his shoes.

His victims took to the stand in the tear-filled courtroom to recount the horror this “monster” has caused them.

One of Butler’s victims, now just 15, took to the stand and told the courtroom how this man’s abuse has ruined her life but she stays alive just to make sure he pays.

“Every time I think I am past it, a sound or something I see makes it all come back to the day it happened,” the first survivor to speak said. “I feel humiliated and worthless thinking about what happened. It’s a struggle to get out of bed every morning because I wish I could just disappear, and all of this would just go away.”

Another victim told the courtroom that she now sees Butler’s face in men on the street causing her a life of suffering.

“Every day since you took my childhood from me at the age of 8, you Matthew Butler made it impossible for me to walk down the road at night,” she said. “When I go anywhere and I see someone who is bald and looks as evil as you, all I remember is you Matthew, your mugshot. Your mugshot is imprinted in my brain, imprinted in my brain so bad I hurt myself because of you.”

The child victim said that making sure Butler ended up in prison was the reason she’s made it through all these years.

“But then I stop and remember I have to stay alive for this day to get justice not just for me but for every single girl in this courtroom,” the 15-year-old survivor said.

Naturally, despite Butler pleading guilty, his attorney maintains his innocence, claiming Butler doesn’t remember any of it.

“He has absolutely no recollection of any of these events ever happening,” attorney Mitch Stone said. This statement rings hollow given the fact that nude photos of the victim were found on his phone.

One of the victims pointed out Butler’s callousness during her testimony, drawing attention to the fact that he sat there with a stone cold emotionless face during her testimony.

“He wasn’t even shedding a tear. It looked like he didn’t even change his whole facial expression. There was plenty of victims standing up there crying on the stand, or crying in the seats, and not one facial expression changed, which shows that he is a predator,” she said. “He is a monster, and he obviously doesn’t care what he did to those girls.”

Butler was a nine-year JSO veteran when he was arrested in March 2019. He was being held without bond when another victim came forward in 2020.

“One thing about children is when there is consistent history being given to investigators by more than one person and those stories line up, it’s hard to dispute what they’re saying,” Ken Jefferson, a former sex crimes investigator at JSO told News4jax.

According to the 15-year-old girl, there could be more victims and she urged them to come forward in the courtroom on Wednesday.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Conscience and Non-Compliance: The Case of the COVID-19 Vaccine

How selfish, ignorant and stupid can people possibly be? ask in various ways Emmanuel Macron in France, Jacinda Arden in New Zealand, Gavin Newsom in California, Bill de Blasio in New York, and even Queen Elizabeth in Britain, along with a surprising number of other public figures, including celebrities, who for some reason have agreed to join in on the global propaganda campaign currently underway. Many political leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Victorian (Australia) Premier Daniel Andrews, have repeatedly informed their constituents that “Our patience is wearing thin.” “Do the right thing!” they continue to chant. “Just get the vaccine!” But where carrots have failed, governments are now taking up sticks, mandating vaccination for large classes of persons based not on their health profiles—as ethical medical practice would require—but only on where they happen to work or to live.

In truth, there are plenty of epistemologically respectable reasons, firmly grounded in data, for declining to roll up one’s sleeve for the COVID-19 “vaccine.” Among people who read books, some are wary of Pfizer’s track record. The drug giant holds the dubious distinction of paying out the largest fine for healthcare fraud in history. For fifteen years, Pfizer’s anti-smoking drug Chantix (varenicline), having received a “priority FDA review,” reaped billions of dollars in profits. More than 500 suicides were reportedly committed, and another ~2000 attempted, by persons taking the drug. The “suicidal ideation” side effect began to be reported within the first year of the 2006 marketing launch. Chantix was finally pulled from the market in September 2021, not for its untoward psychological effects, but because it had been determined to be carcinogenic.

Johnson & Johnson, too, has a checkered past, having repeatedly lied to consumers about its products, including its widely used baby powder, for decades. AstraZeneca, whose vaccine remained the primary choice in Britain throughout 2021, despite having earned the sobriquet “clot shot” (and having been banned altogether by Denmark), has also been subject to hefty fines for malfeasance, including the off-label marketing of Seroquel (quetiapine), which has been linked to suicides and other deaths among soldiers to whom the antipsychotic drug was prescribed as a sleep aid. Like the other manufacturers of psychotropic drugs, AstraZeneca has based its marketing claims on shortterm, not longterm studies of its products. Critical studies in recent years have concluded that placebos are in fact at least as effective as the psychiatric products being peddled to everyone for anything, and less harmful in the longterm. As for DARPA-funded Moderna, there are no “skeletons in the closet,” because the COVID-19 mRNA therapy is the first of their products ever to make it to market.

Even setting aside concerns with the pharmaceutical and biotech firms making a killing from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are specific reasons for doubting the wisdom of undergoing innoculation in this particular case. Most obviously, the elixir being shot into billions of arms all over the world is a treatment touted primarily for its efficacy in averting severe symptoms and death. If one is vulnerable to those effects, then one has some reason for considering the treatment. In fact, according to data readily available from many sources, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the vast majority of people are not vulnerable to such effects, so the rational choice of whether to get the jab can only be a matter of personal risk assessment, just as is the choice of whether to undergo any optional medical treatment. Yes, there is a small chance that a healthy person under the age of seventy with no comorbidities will succumb to the virus, developing severe symptoms, requiring hospitalization and perhaps even dying. But there is also a chance, if ever-so slim, that the person may find himself on the losing end of the adverse effects bell curve, suffering one among dozens of possible complications, including myocarditis, Bell’s Palsy, or even death.

The insidious charge of “selfishness” directed toward those who decline the treatment is based upon the old definition of vaccine and the idea that the good of society requires everyone to pitch in and do their part for public health. Before the Coronapocalypse, vaccines were defined and designed as substances which would prevent transmission of and infection by a disease. If you already had and survived the disease, then you did not need the vaccine, because vaccines were developed specifically to mimic the wondrous workings of the human immune system. The vaccines of the past introduced a small dose of the enemy virus—whether dead or alive—into the body to provoke an immune response so that, should the full force of the wild virus be encountered in the future, the body would already have the needed antibody and T-cell apparatus in place, ready to attack and eliminate the invader rather than allow it to take over and possibly kill its host.

Not only has the concept of vaccine been redefined by public health officials so as to subsume the current injections, which do not prevent transmission and infection, but people who have already recovered from COIVD-19 are being told that they, too, should undergo vaccination. This is a medically—and indeed logically—dubious prescription, given that the vaccines provoke the body to produce a small subset of the virus (the spike protein), which was already defeated by the previously infected person’s body, in the case of anyone who survived. Moreover, numerous studies have demonstrated the robustness of protection acquired through previous infection.

It is no longer a matter of dispute that undergoing innoculation with foreign mRNA to induce one’s body to produce a viral spike protein which will jolt the immune system into generating antibodies does not prevent transmission of or infection by COVID-19. Accordingly, this now debunked early marketing point should not figure into anyone’s personal decision at all. We know that cases have continued to spike to new levels exceeding those of a year ago, back when nobody was vaccinated. The accuracy of the testing regimen has been called into question over and over again, but because the same PCR tests used this year were used last year, only time will tell how the tallies will change once the emergency use authorization of the test expires at the end of 2021.

We also know from the rich body of statistics available from Israel, the most highly vaccinated country on the planet, that what we are witnessing is not, as the propaganda puppets continue to claim, “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” We know that vaccine efficacy wanes rapidly (particularly for the Pfizer product), with a vulnerable vaccinated person’s protection dropping from 88% to 47% and continuing to diminish further over time. Many “fully vaccinated” people have been hospitalized and died. So what are we to conclude?

Tellingly, elderly persons and those who for other reasons are more vulnerable to COVID-19 are the only ones in the United States being offered  “booster shots” after six months, to elevate their protection to the initial level, which is not 95%, as the marketers initially claimed, but at most 88%, for the most vulnerable persons. Recent studies have revealed that the adverse effects odds are actually worse than the virus odds for some cohorts, including males from the ages of twelve to fifteen, who suffer a greater incidence of myocarditis than other groups postvaccination, making the jab nothing short of irrational for them. We can further deduce from the fact that boosters are only being provided to the most vulnerable persons in the United States that invulnerable persons (such as children and healthy adults) never really needed the mRNA treatment in the first place. For anyone who remains confounded by this perhaps astonishing implication, let us spell it out explicitly: If you were “fully vaccinated” many months ago, at some point you will no longer be vaccinated at all. But the government is not offering you a booster shot? That’s because you number among the vast majority of people who are not vulnerable to COVID-19.

That’s right: you, Gentle Double-jabbed Reader, served as a voluntary subject (pro bono!) in an experimental pharmaceutical trial for a product of which you had no need. Instead of being incensed with people who did not roll up their sleeve, you should be angry with the powers that be who persuaded you to undergo an unnecessary medical treatment. And you should be relieved that you were not one of its victims. See VAERS (the Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System) for more information on that.

Government bureaucrats lie all the time, Anthony Fauci being only one of the most brazen figures in recent history to claim that his serial prevarication is somehow “noble.” Rarely have so many people so openly embraced so many lies. Through a relentless propaganda campaign, a large swath of the population has been persuaded to believe that their neighbors are selfish and even evil for their rational disagreement on a matter of medical choice. Preposterously, in cities such as Los Angeles and New York, proof of vaccination is being demanded for participation in most social activities, despite the fact that booster shots are not being offered to healthy young people vaccinated more than six months ago, and previous infection provides robust protection. In other words, the “vaccine passports” being required in such places serve no public health purpose whatsoever but instead constitute a badge of compliance, and are part of a frightening global effort to forge a two-tiered society where “some people are more equal than others.”

The extreme, Manichean polarization we are witnessing has been no mean feat of propaganda, rivaled in history only by calls for war in violation of international law, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Some of the people being threatened with the termination of their jobs for refusing to undergo COVID-19 “vaccination” do not have the luxury of living off their savings as an alternative to working. Some among them are heads of households with children to feed. They are facing a moral dilemma: whether to sacrifice the well being of their family in order to heed their own conscience. For it is indeed a matter of conscience; it is not a matter of need. People have been offered free vaccines for more than nine months in the United States. Some among them chose to decline, for reasons offered above, or for religious reasons, or for whatever their reasons happened to be. It does not even matter what their reasons were, for human beings have the dignity of choosing what to put into their own bodies.

We should be concerned not only with the disastrous financial consequences for the thousands of people who are now losing their jobs, but also with the moral consequences for a society of persons being coerced to violate their own conscience and renounce their medical freedom. In fact, much more is at stake here than people’s livelihood and physical health. We are witnessing a culling of conscience across all sectors of society as individuals who dare to disagree are disparaged, denounced, and marginalized as miscreants whose civil liberties may be taken away, as though they were convicted felons.

The sinister nature of what is unfolding before our very eyes in real time is betrayed in part by the fact that citizens are being ordered to submit to vaccination despite the immunity from legal prosecution of the product companies in the event of negative or even deadly side effects. (This is because of the PREP [Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness] act.) If the populace agrees to this pharmaceutical takeover of their very own bodies, then they will no longer have any rights, not even the right to life. They will have become, in effect, slaves. Any pharma goo deemed necessary by the powers that be in the future will, following this precedent, become a condition on the exercise of what were formerly considered citizens’ God-given rights to conduct themselves as they please, within the limits of the law. The hitch here is that the laws are being rewritten so as to criminalize medical choice, in a stunning denial of human rights which, lest we forget, resulted only from centuries of hard-fought battles against tyranny, now rearing its ugly head all over again.

Standing up for what is right is never easy in the face of angry mobs fueled by fear. But holding the line is indeed what we must now do. Whatever our personal medical choice happens to be, we should support the healthcare workers losing their jobs, the dissenting doctors who bravely speak out, and all of the people attempting to abide by their conscience in these difficult times. We must defend the perimeters of our own bodies and reject the obnoxious idea that anyone else should be able to decree that we be injected with whatever they happen to believe we should be forced to accept. This is a very slippery slope on which we must refuse to step. If we surrender our bodily autonomy to the government, then we will have nothing left. Wrong is wrong. Do not comply.

Against Intervention and Regime Change: A Debate With Bill Kristol

The following essay is adapted from Antiwar.com editorial director Scott Horton’s statement in his October 4, 2021 Soho Forum debate with William Kristol, director of the Foreign Policy Initiative and editor of the Bulwark. The resolution was, “A willingness to intervene, and seek regime change, is key to an American foreign policy that benefits America.”

Thank you Gene, and hello to Mr. Kristol. As some of you know, Mr. Kristol was Chief of Staff to Dan Quayle – who I consider to be the best vice president of my lifetime so far. … Eh? Just think about who the other ones were for a second.

America is in real trouble. For the last few years, my opponent has been at the forefront of those warning against the death of modern liberalism and that right-populist Trumpism is taking this country in a very dangerous direction, towards authoritarianism, even dictatorship.

But Mr. Kristol, you and David Brooks promised us National Greatness. You said Americans needed to be called to their “grand destiny,” “nationalism.” We needed “national strength and moral assertiveness abroad … advancing the cause of freedom around the world.” We needed a big project we could all do together! As Brooks’s friend Christopher Beam wrote, invading Iraq “suited his quest” (and yours) for this Greatness.

In his 1996 article, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” arguing for “Benevolent Global Hegemony,” my opponent wrote that John Quincy Adams was wrong that the U.S. should not go abroad seeking monsters to destroy. “Why not?” he asked. For the exact reasons that Quincy Adams delineated:

Our principles would turn from liberty to force. We would become the dictatress of the world, but no longer the ruler of our own spirit, he said.

Adams was right. Wars did not make America great.

The wars.

3,000 people were killed on September 11th, 2001. As Paul Wolfowitz admitted, the main reason Osama bin Laden cited for attacking America was the U.S. military bases left in Saudi Arabia for the so-called “dual containment” policy against Iraq and Iran in the 1990s after Iraq War I, the Persian Gulf War.

Bin Laden’s plan was to provoke the United States into invading Afghanistan so he could replicate the mujahideen’s earlier success against the USSR, with U.S. support, in the 1980s, this time against us; to bog us down, bleed us to bankruptcy and to create a “choking life” for the American people under the tyranny of our security state.

And after the last 20 years of war in Afghanistan and across the Middle East, we have less influence there than ever before, a 30 trillion dollar national debt, an increasingly invasive surveillance state and militarized police state, almost 7,000 dead troops – 37,000 if you count those who killed themselves in the aftermath – and the worst partisan political, racial and other social division of my lifetime anyway. I’m 45.

So much of this crisis is directly due to the costs, financial and otherwise, of America’s Middle East regime change wars.

Let’s review some recent regime changes and their consequences:

(Note that in neoconservative doctrine, democracy absolutely must be spread to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria, but not Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Egypt or Pakistan. And if there’s a democratically elected government that our government doesn’t like, the U.S. won’t hesitate to try to overthrow it, like Algeria in 1993, Gaza in 2007, Egypt in 2013 and Ukraine in 2004 and 2014.)

The regime changes:

First on our list is Presidents Carter and Reagan’s support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s to overthrow the Communist regime there. This led directly to the rise of Haqqani, Hekmatyar, the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Carter and Reagan’s support for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in its 1980s war to overthrow the Ayatollah in Iran also backfired. It solidified the Mullahs’ power in Persia and led directly to the so-called Gulf War, after Iraq invaded Kuwait in a dispute over debts from the war against Iran. As mentioned, America’s first Iraq war, launched to restore the Kuwaiti monarchy in 1991, lead directly to the “dual containment” policy against Iraq and Iran from military bases in Saudi, and al Qaeda’s war against the United States.

The Kosovo War of 1999 (the war was in favor of a secession, regime change of a sort): This war put bin Laden’s friends in the Kosovo Liberation Army in power, including Hashim Thaci, the convicted organ thief and gangster, and guilty of persecuting and cleansing the Serb minority there in the inverse of the lies they told to justify starting that war. Bill Clinton and the Weekly Standard claimed 100,000 civilians had been killed. When the war was over, the FBI found a few thousand graves of fighting aged males and went home after two weeks when the alleged mass graves containing the 100,000 killed were proven to be non-existent. Kosovo is permanently dependent on the U.S., where we still maintain a massive military base, to this day.

Since 2001:

After failing to deploy enough reinforcements to capture or kill bin Laden at Tora Bora or allow the Delta Force to pursue him into Pakistan, the Bush administration instead sought regime change against the Taliban in Kabul, whom Bill Clinton had supported just a few years before in their own regime change against the mujahideen warlords whom Presidents Carter and Reagan had supported against the Communists in the 1980s. This led to 20 years of war — including a massive so-called “surge” escalation halfway through, for absolutely nothing — and leading to the Taliban walking right back into power as the U.S. withdrew in the summer of 2021.

In Somalia, Bush started supporting warlords to hunt down supposed al Qaeda terrorists before the end of 2001, including the son of Mohammed Adid, the bad guy from the Black Hawk Down catastrophe of 1993. Those warlords made life miserable for everyone until the people came together to form a new government, the Islamic Courts Union, to force them out. Bush then supported the Ethiopian invasion of 2006, which traded the harmless Islamic Courts Union for the much more dangerous al Shabaab insurgency. In 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice decided that ICU Sheik Ahmed Sharif could be the leader of the country after all, just within the form of the new government the U.S. had created for them. Nevermind the last two years of killing. But al Shabaab kept fighting, and the U.S. drone war against them there has continued ever since. As soon as the U.S. ceases support, the government it has created in Mogedishu will surely fall like Kabul.

Saddam Hussein in Iraq War II: When David Wurmser wrote his “Clean Break” plan for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first government in 1996, he acknowledged that targeting secularist dictators Hussein and Assad for regime change in Iraq and Syria could further fan the flames of Islamist anti-American terrorism, but he said the solution to that problem would just have to wait until after the war against them was over.

Maybe in 1996 this was somehow understandable, from a hawk’s perspective at least. According to Richard Shultz in the Weekly Standard, in the 1990s, the Pentagon Joint Staff would repeat as cliché that, “Terrorism is a small price to pay for being a superpower.” But after the African embassy bombings of 1998, the USS Cole attack in 2000 and September 11th, which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and at the Pentagon, it was… less understandable. Yet the neoconservatives, led by Mr. Kristol, persisted.

The neocons’ best laid plans to empower Jordan and compliant Shi’ites to take over Iraq failed. The American invasion of 2003 empowered Iran’s favored factions among the Shi’ites, the Supreme Islamic Council and Da’wa Party. In fact, it was King Abdullah of Jordan who coined the phrase “Shi’ite Crescent,” to describe Iran’s newly enhanced power just after the invasion. Clean break, nuthin.’

This American-Shi’ite alliance pushed their Sunni Arab enemies out of Baghdad and into the arms of al Qaeda in Iraq, which did not even exist before the war, adding thousands of hardened fighters to Osama bin Laden’s movement, including thousands of foreign fighters who traveled there to fight against the U.S.-Shi’ite alliance. Many of these same men later went home to Libya, Syria and Yemen to get ready for the next wars there. The U.S. took their side in all three.

In Libya the hawks said they had to intervene and overthrow secular dictator Gaddafi to protect the poor civilians. But, at the very least, tens of thousands of people have been killed in endless fighting in that country in the decade since. Bin Ladenite groups, veterans of the second Iraq war, led that revolt and have thrived in the meantime, as civil war has raged for years. Some warlords brought back literal chattel slavery of sub-Saharan Africans. Thousands of refugees drowned in the Mediterranean. The war spread from Libya into Mali, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

Obama’s and allied support for the bin Ladenite revolt against the secular government in Syria – an attempt to weaken their ally Iran after the Iraq war had done so much to empower them – led to the rise of the Islamic State so-called Caliphate in eastern Syria and western Iraq, and then the third Iraq war from 2014 to 2018 to then destroy it on behalf of those same Iranian backed Shi’ite groups the hawks wished they hadn’t fought the second one for.

No the U.S. should not back these dictators, like so-called President Sisi in Egypt. That’s part of what got us attacked in the first place. But we sure as hell should not be supporting bin Ladenite insurgencies against them either.

Hillary Clinton and Saudi Arabia’s installation of Mansour Hadi when they co-opted the Arab Spring revolt in Yemen in 2011 and 2012, led straight to the next phase of the war, which broke out in 2015. For the last six and a half years, the U.S. has backed Saudi Arabia and UAE in a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and also strengthened al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula beyond belief.

There have been no successes in the war on terrorism, unless you count winning two Iraq wars for Shi’ites who despise us and continue to insist that our troops leave their country immediately. I don’t.

There are now something like 30,000 bin Ladenite fighters in the world, and Iran and Russia, who intervened to save Assad from al Qaeda and ISIS, are more influential in the region than ever. This is not how it was supposed to be.

Speaking of Russia, it isn’t just the Mideast wars. In Georgia, the U.S. supported the Rose Revolution of 2003 and the installation of Mikhail Saakashvili, who almost got us into a war with Russia when he attacked their peacekeeping forces in South Ossetia just 5 years later and Vice President Dick Cheney tried to convince George W. Bush to strike Russian forces crossing the Caucuses Mountains.

The U.S. also helped to overthrow the government of Ukraine twice, in 2004 and 2014. In 2014, they used actual Nazis in a street putsch against the elected government. It was supposed be easy to get away with while Putin was distracted with the Sochi Olympics, but instead the new Ukraine coup junta lost Crimea to Russia, and started a brutal war in the east which has killed more than 10,000 people and unnecessarily ratcheted up tensions with the other most powerful nuclear weapons state on the planet.

Then-National Endowment for Democracy head Carl Gershman even threatened regime change in Moscow itself in the Washington Post in October 2013.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously blessed the Honduran coup of 2009, leading directly to the rise of murderous drug cartels in that country and a massive child refugee crisis at our southern border.

The American establishment had its so-called “unipolar moment” at the high water mark of U.S. influence to lead the world into the brave new future at the turn of the millennium, and they blew it.

The US government has spread not liberty, but the tyranny of the majority; not free markets but corrupt crony contracting; not peace and security, but mass sectarian violence and destabilization.

This has led to an increased support for left- and right-wing socialism around the world in reaction. Liberalism and democracy, in the broadest sense, have been discredited as meaning nothing more than supplication to American demands or cheap excuses for our violent intervention.

The economic crisis and refugee crisis resulting from our Middle East wars has led to the rise of the populist right in Europe, where they are ascendant in the European Parliament; the UK has left the EU and the unraveling of the entire so-called liberal international order, even in the West, has begun.

In your 1997 “National Greatness” piece in the Wall Street Journal, you wrote that the universal principle at the heart of the American ideal is a mandate to “advance freedom” around the world, apparently by any means necessary, for the world’s own good. But means determine ends. And even if somehow waging violent coups and regime change wars across the planet could guarantee freedom for those people, it would necessarily come at the expense of those whose lives and liberty our government is actually sworn to protect: ours.

No wonder that here in America as well, people are moving to the socialist left and nationalist right since the disastrous consequences of militarism and regime change are what passes for liberalism in the center. The backlash from Bush’s disastrous wars and the devastating economic crash of 2008 — a direct result of the Fed’s militarism-friendly easy-money policy in the preceding decade — led to the disruptive and destabilizing presidency of Barack Obama. His disastrous wars and the so-called “K-shaped” economic recovery of his time in office – meaning bankers and think tankers paid by defense contractors did great while the people on the bottom three-quarters of the economic ladder remained stuck in 2009 – led directly to the election of Donald J. Trump, running as an economic populist and war skeptic, over W. Bush’s brother and Barack Obama’s Secretary of State. His election was a reaction against the military and economic legacy of the preceding 15 years and its centrist liberal establishment champions, including the neoconservatives. And who? A guy who built his political capital proclaiming on talk radio that Obama was a secret pro-terrorist Muslim from Kenya. In other words, your nemesis Trump was exploiting your movements’ previous cultivation of this sort of illiberal sentiment among Republican voters back when it was still useful to your ends: building support for the wars.

Now that the anti-Muslim chauvinism of the American right is no longer as useful, you claim the right itself is the greatest threat to American democracy. If so, this is the nationalist movement the neoconservatives have done so much to cultivate and promote, for bin Laden and his friends were few, but would-be enemies, who happened to be Muslim, were many.

So Bush and the neocons supported the worst sort of right-wing populist nationalism in America, especially with their wink and nod approach to the Muslim-hating hacks on AM talk radio. It was central to Karl Rove’s plan for his permanent Republican majority.

That was a big part of why my opponent was so determined to bring Sarah Palin on board with John McCain in 2008: she could get the rubes excited and afraid and convince them to continue to support the McCainian-neoconservative doctrines behind the Long War in the Mideast.

It’s why your friend Frank Gaffney pretended to believe that a small Sufi mosque in a building down the street from the old World Trade Center site was supposed to represent the Muslim Enemy’s triumph over America or that the 50 states needed to pass emergency legislation to protect us all from enslavement under Sharia law. This deliberately deceptive campaign did much to make the right worse.

Now centrists are terrified of the populist right, accusing them all of being neo-Nazi white supremecists – including many tens or hundreds of thousands of men and women who are resentful veterans of the wars you lied them into. And in turn the populist right is terrified that the war on terrorism is now being turned against them as the Department of Homeland Security redefines “violent extremism” to mean almost any political activity outside of the two major parties. The people in return resent the power of the establishment which so despises them even more.

And now the average guy is supposed to believe that the last quarter century’s greatest proponents of American empire, such as Mr. Kristol and Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz, herself an avowed hawk and promoter of torture, are the last principled defenders of the old republic they destroyed.

Who’s buying that?

“Engagement.” “Leadership.” “Primacy.” “Preeminence.” “Hegemony.” These are just euphemisms for World Empire, with the U.S.A. in the position of the hated British that our forebears had led the world in overthrowing. The doctrine that the middle part of North America should be or could be the dominant military and political power in Eurasia – and indefinitely – is crazy on its face.

And plus, the whole thing is really just a racket. As the soldiers call it, a “self-licking ice cream cone” – in other words, a government program creating its own disasters it must then attempt to solve. No nation on earth threatens the United States. As Ron Paul once told the Washington Post, “We could defend this country with a couple ’a good submarines.”

Are there any real benefits for the American people from America’s policy of global domination, including regime change?: perhaps access to oil and minerals?

Certainly not. Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Princeton University, published a study in 2010 which determined the U.S. had “misallocated” $8 trillion between 1976–2007 protecting the sea lanes in and out of the Persian Gulf when oil’s safe transport was never really under threat. We’ve spent a few more trillion since then. This is far more than Americans even spend consuming Middle Eastern oil.

Even if we could somehow just scoop up all the oil and walk away with it, as Donald Trump seems to believe, it could never be worth the cost in blood and grief, or the opportunities lost when people turn away from America for acting in such a ruthless manner. Elon Musk celebrated the coup against a popularly elected government in Bolivia in 2018, crowing on Twitter that it’s great because he needs their lithium for his Teslas. His company may have played zero role in the coup for all I know, but the U.S. government quickly moved to support it. So it still raises the important question: what is America’s national interest over the long term? And is it good for the rest of us when selfish narrow special interests justify violent intervention in other people’s countries for their own good in the short term?

And let’s just presume that the financial gains far outweigh the costs when companies like Freeport-McMoRan are able to run off with West Papua’s gold, even accounting for the taxpayers’ cost for U.S. government involvement there?: What shall it profit a nation, if they gain the whole world, and lose their own soul – you know, by committing horrible, deadly sins against helpless people?

Part of the problem here is that the neoconservatives and their neo-liberal counterparts never really understood what liberty was about in the first place.

It’s a great way to finance a PNAC, but Pentagon contracting is not the free market, it’s corrupt crony capitalism.

Due to the economic deformations of America’s permanent war system, the most wealthy counties in the country now are not here in New York City but in the suburbs of Washington D.C., where our supposed public servants live and work.

And the richest in this city, as all Americans and the rest of the world know, are all market-proof due to the so-called “Greenspan Put.” They get bailed out by Congress and the Federal Reserve System every time they make a few trillion dollars worth of bad bets. Regular working schmucks blow their own brains out trying to carry Wall Street on their back through the recessions these banks and firms help cause and remain completely immune from. Their sons come home from the war, unable to find good work, unlike all the promises. This is another major reason for the current crisis of confidence by the American people in our supposed betters who rule us.

So, no the nation as a whole does’t benefit financially or otherwise from acts of violence and coersion by the American government. Read NSC 68. Paul Nitze did not understand economics. The whole imperial project is a fool’s errand.

The U.S. Constitution does not authorize this posture of global dominance. The people of the world do not want it. The American people’s costs are in the trillions, and our gain is nonexistent. We suffer the terribly destructive, inflation-generated boom-bust cycle and endlessly rising prices. The feds rifle through our internet and phone records. Our sheriffs’ deputies act like special operations forces at war in our neighborhoods. Our soldiers and marines come home maimed physically and mentally, and more and more terrorists are motivated to attack the United States.

There is a widespread feeling in America that liberty, justice, fairness under the law, and cooperation and compromise through little-d democracy is now untenable. Hatreds between sectors of society have become much more solidified. More people speak of secession and separation. The people are finding out the hard way that you cannot have it both ways. There is no such thing as a limited, constitutional world empire. There cannot be a balanced budget, a free and prosperous economy, independent major media or rule of law in a state of permanent war.

We Americans are losing our freedom in the name of forcibly spreading it to the rest of the world.

Enough already. Let’s defend America first; end all aggressive wars and covert interventions in other nations, abandon our empire and put the protection of liberty in our own country at the top of our political priorities. Then, shed of all this violent hypocrisy, we will be able to lead the world in the only legitimate way we can, by the benign sympathy of our example.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

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