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Senator Rand Paul Proposes National Ban on No-Knock Police Raids | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 20, 2020

Across the country—largely due to the failed drug war—police conduct more than 20,000 no-knock raids a year.

Breonna was murdered during one of them. Countless others are beaten, terrorized, and killed as well, and just like Breonna, cops often act on bad information.

“In theory, no-knock raids are supposed to be used in only the most dangerous situations … In reality, though, no-knock raids are a common tactic, even in less-than-dangerous circumstances,” Vox wrote in an revealing investigation in 2015. Case in point, Breonna Taylor.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/senator-rand-paul-proposes-national-ban-on-no-knock-police-raids/

by

On Thursday, in a historical move, all 26 members of the Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council voted to pass a ban on no-knock warrants, a measure known as “Breonna’s Law.” The law was named after the former EMT who was gunned down as she slept in her bed by cops raiding the wrong home. The move still needs to be approved by the mayor, but it is revolutionary in precedent.

Image1“This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said, vowing to sign the bill “soon as it hits my desk.”

While this move is certainly noteworthy and will lead to a massive shift in law enforcement procedure that will undoubtedly save lives, it is reserved solely for the people of Louisville, Kentucky.

So, after this move, Sen. Rand Paul (R) Kentucky, proposed to make this a nationwide ban in one of the most unprecedented anti-police state moves we’ve ever seen.

“After talking with Breonna Taylor’s family, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s long past time to get rid of no-knock warrants. This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States,” Paul said.

As Axios reports, Paul introduced a bill on Thursday that would prohibit federal law enforcement and local police that receive federal funding from entering homes without warning through a “no-knock” warrant, which was reportedly obtained by the officers that shot Louisville resident Breonna Taylor in her home on March 13.

Why it matters: In the wake of nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd, there’s now a bipartisan consensus that police reform is necessary.

  • Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) are planning a package that would require states to provide data on the use of no-knock warrants, but Paul’s proposal goes even further.
  • House Democrats, meanwhile, have proposed their own bill that would reform police training, make lynching a federal crime, and ban chokeholds and the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases.

As many have pointed out, however, the bill proposed by Democrats is full of questionable language which could end up hindering the already difficult process of seeking transparency in policing. Rand Paul’s proposal we be far more effective at curbing police violence.

Image1 (1)The idea of ceasing the use of no-knock raids is revolutionary when it comes to policing in the United States and its importance cannot be overstated.

Across the country—largely due to the failed drug war—police conduct more than 20,000 no-knock raids a year.

Breonna was murdered during one of them. Countless others are beaten, terrorized, and killed as well, and just like Breonna, cops often act on bad information.

“In theory, no-knock raids are supposed to be used in only the most dangerous situations … In reality, though, no-knock raids are a common tactic, even in less-than-dangerous circumstances,” Vox wrote in an revealing investigation in 2015. Case in point, Breonna Taylor.

A whopping 79 percent of these raids — like the one used to murder Dennis and Rhogena Tuttle in Houston, TX in 2019 — are for search warrants only, mostly for drugs. Just seven percent of no-knock raids are for crisis situations like hostages, barricaded suspects, or active shooters, according to an investigation by the ACLU.

What’s more, the study by the ACLU found that in 36 percent of SWAT deployments for drug searches, and possibly in as many as 65 percent of such deployments, no contraband of any sort was found.

Not only do these raids appear to be mostly unproductive, but they are often carried out on entirely innocent people based on lies, wrong information, or corruption, laying waste to the rights—and lives—of unsuspecting men, women, children, and their pets.

As we’ve seen in the case of Roderick Talley, drug task forces routinely conspire together to raid the homes of innocent people as a means of justifying themselves.

Cops have been routinely caught planting evidence, lying on warrants, and raiding wrong homes, and when we attempt to question this madness, we’re accused of hating cops.

Raiding homes with no-knock warrants was proven so horrifyingly ineffective last year in Houston with the murder Dennis and Rhogena Tuttle, that Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo vowed to end them.

However, unlike the aforementioned bans at the federal and city level, this was the chief simply promising not to do them.

As we reported at the time, in a move TFTP has never seen, the Houston police department is claiming they are taking steps to prevent future scenarios like this from happening—by ceasing the use of no-knock raids.

“The no-knock warrants are going to go away like leaded gasoline in this city,” Acevedo said during a heated town hall meeting on Monday.

“I’m 99.9 percent sure we won’t be using them,” he continued.

Hopefully, this bill receives the bipartisan support it needs to pass and end this violent and destructive practice. It will take us one step closer to one of the most important solutions to ending police brutality, by chipping away at the war on drugs.

 

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: WAKE-UP, Donald! Your Malpracticing Doctors Are The Real Killers

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2020

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/05/wake-up-donald-your-malpracticing.html

By David Stockman

If you don’t think the fix is in, please take note of the big news of the morning. Namely, that the allegedly ultra-busy Dr. Fauci had time last evening to ping Sheryl Gay Stolberg, correspondent for the “failing New York Times”, in order to dump a VLCC size tanker- load of cold water on the urgent need to end Lockdown Nation, now.

In a nanosecond, of course, Stolberg was on Twitter and on-line with Fauci’s stern admonition to the restless natives of Flyover America to shut-up and stay put. That way the entire MSM had plenty of time to crank-up a feverish barrage of messaging during Fauci’s actual Senate appearance as to how Red State governors are jumping the gun and putting life and limp in danger throughout the country:

“The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” Fauci wrote in the email, which Stolberg posted on Twitter.

“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal,” wrote Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

For god’s sake, WAKE UP, Donald!

The mad doctor’s plot against you (and the American people) is being played out right in public by a camarilla of wanna be public health rulers and their compliant media megaphones, who presume to control all that moves and all that stands still in America.

But for crying out loud, where does this supercilious old geezer come up with “needless suffering and death” if American workers, students, shoppers and consumers are let out of house arrest?

Were not Friday’s catastrophic employment numbers a sufficient wake-up call?

The chart below shows 70 years of monthly change in total US employment. How damn stupid does someone have to be to not recognize that Lockdown Nation has caused the US economy to plunge into such unfathomably deep waters that they have never before even been imagined.

The deepest monthly drop we can find over seven decades is the 1.2 million job loss at the very darkest bottom of the Great Recession in January 2009. But what the Donald’s malpracticing doctors triggered last month was 19X deeper at 22. 4 million.

And they caused this to happen in the context of a wizened business cycle that is off-the- charts 130 months old, and barnacled with debt, malinvestment and speculative excess like never before.

For instance, the current $75 trillion of debt weighing down the US economy is up from an already crushing $52 trillion on the eve of the 2008 finical crisis, and now the butcher’s bill is coming due.

Source: Guggenheim Investments, Haver Analytics. Data as of 12.31.2019.

So what Fauci and the Virus Patrol have decided to stop dead in the water is a badly crippled, hand-to-mouth economy in which the overwhelming share of households and small businesses have no material rainy day funds, no cash reserves and no balance sheet resilience.

In medical terms, the US economy has virtually no antibodies to fight back. Infect it with a massive, sudden loss of incomes and cash flow and you are virtually inviting a pandemic of cancelled orders, ballooning payables, missed rents, credit delinquencies and soaring defaults that will surely ravage America’s body economic in the weeks and months ahead.

So, perforce, we must ask again, for what?

But at least at today’s Senate hearing, the one man in Washington who still has his head screwed on right, Senator Rand Paul, put it right in Fauci semi-quarantined face.

In a word, said the intrepid Senator from Kentucky, where’s the Bubonic Plague?

“The history of this when we look back will be wrong prediction after wrong prediction after wrong prediction…

As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end all, I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make a decision,” said Paul – who added that we need to “observe with an open eye what happened in Sweden, where the kids kept going to school.”

“The mortality per capita in Sweden is actually less than France, less than Italy, less than Spain, less than Belgium, less than the Netherlands, about the same as Switzerland. But basically I don’t think there’s anybody arguing that what happened in Sweden is an unacceptable result. I think people are intrigued by it, and we should be.”

“I don’t think any of us are certain when we do all these modelings – there have been more people wrong with modeling than right. We’re opening up a lot of economies around the US, and I hope that people who are predicting doom and gloom and saying ‘oh, we can’t do this, there’s going to be a surge’ – will admit when there isn’t a surge.”

Bravo!

Yet with what mendacious malarkey did Fauci counter Senator Paul’s truth?

Why, with an absolute red herring about an ultra-rare childhood disease called Kawasaki Syndrome, which been around since 1968 and that has been mooted as potentially present in a handful of Covid cases in, well, New York (where else?).

Said Fauci,

For example, right now children presenting with COVID-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki syndrome. I think we better be careful that we are not cavalier in thinking that children are not immune to the deleterious effects.

Oh, really? Read the rest of this entry »

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Fauci’s Song and Dance – American Thinker

Posted by M. C. on May 15, 2020

To Dr. Fauci the U.S. is one big clinical trial and we are lab rats in his experiment. As America dies from bureaucratic asphyxiation, it’s time we got a second opinion

We are trapped in this suicidal national lockdown because Fauci relied on and believed a report from the same doofus who in 2005 predicted that as many as 200 million people would die from the bird flu and in 2009 that British deaths from the swine flu would number 500,000 annually. Deaths numbered 500.

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/05/faucis_song_and_dance.html

Daniel John Sobieski

Dr. Anthony Fauci has never been muzzled by President Trump, as the lamestream media often charged, but maybe he should have been and should be still. Before his tour de farce before the Senate Health Committee, the shy, modest, and unassuming Dr. Fauci emailed a New York Times reporter with a preview of his testimony,  an apocalypse now prediction if we don’t hang on to and follow his sage and expert advice:

Dr. Anthony Fauci emailed New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg Monday night with a preview of his message for a Senate hearing on Tuesday in which he warns of “needless suffering and death” if the country opens “prematurely” from the COVID-19 Chinese coronavirus lockdowns…

Stolberg posted Fauci’s message to Twitter:

“The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely. If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”

Or we could just sit here and wait for a vaccine that may or may not come and may or may not work while our economy atrophies and people turn to drugs, alcohol, child abuse, domestic violence and even suicide as their nest eggs dreams, livelihoods evaporates. Many would argue, and I count myself among them, that Fauci’s consistently wrong advice using consistently wrong computer models has led to needless suffering and death.

Tucker Carlson on his Fox News show recently asked Dr. Marty Makary, professor of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. what he thought of Fauci’s performance thus far and his assessment was not good:

He’s a good laboratory virologist. But you know, in terms of preparing this country, he missed it…

For two months from January 15th when we had our first case confirmed walking around in the United States on U.S. oil until March 15th, with the country latching on to every word he says, he never once prepared this country with anything beyond simple hygiene and basic virology lessons.

He went on the media every day, on every show. Never once did we hear, let’s get ready with more PPE. Let’s build up our stockpiles. Let’s stop nonessential travel. Let’s get more swabs. Let’s build up capacity with reagents and testing.

So, that was a big miss, and I don’t know whether or not to blame him because we all make mistakes, or the entire country putting their faith and stock in one doctor.

Ouch.  His pronouncements have been dangerously and consistently inaccurate, as when he asserted that the coronavirus was nothing to worry about and we should just get on with our lives. As The Hill reported on January 26::

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said Sunday the American public shouldn’t worry about the coronavirus outbreak in China.

“It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,” Fauci said during an interview with radio show host John Catsimatidis.

“But it’s something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously… It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about.”

Or how about his sage advice on masks and the now-you-need-them now-you-don’t flip-flop on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on March 8:

When it comes to preventing coronavirus, public health officials have been clear: Healthy people do not need to wear a face mask to protect themselves from COVID-19.

“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes. 

While masks may block some droplets, Fauci said, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences: People who wear masks tend to touch their face more often to adjust them, which can spread germs from their hands.

Coronavirus was nothing to worry about. There was no need to wear face masks. Fauci has been the Pied Piper of economic and medical misinformation. After he changed his mind and decided that we needed to shut down the world’s greatest and booming economy, he did so on the basis of bogus models.

First Fauci and Birx used the discredited Ferguson model to persuade Trump to lock down the economy. A New York Times reporter wrote on how apocalyptic nonsense from researcher Neil Ferguson and the Imperial College was used to dupe the White House Coronavirus Task Force and influence President Trump to accept Fauci’s draconian lockdown:

Sweeping new federal recommendations announced on Monday for Americans to sharply limit their activities appeared to draw on a dire scientific report warning that, without action by the government and individuals to slow the spread of coronavirus and suppress new cases, 2.2 million people in the United States could die.

To curb the epidemic, there would need to be drastic restrictions on work, school and social gatherings for periods of time until a vaccine was available, which could take 18 months, according to the report, compiled by British researchers…

…Asked at a news conference with President Trump about what had led to the change in thinking by a White House task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the task force leaders, said new information had come from a model developed in Britain.

We are trapped in this suicidal national lockdown because Fauci relied on and believed a report from the same doofus who in 2005 predicted that as many as 200 million people would die from the bird flu and in 2009 that British deaths from the swine flu would number 500,000 annually. Deaths numbered 500.

Even Fauci must have realized the absurdities of such numbers, for he soon turned to another model from the University of Washington. But that model’s projections on cases and deaths changed enormously and frequently as new data came in, making accurate projections unreliable. Even Fauci noted:

“As we’re getting more data and seeing the positive of effect of mitigation, those numbers are going to be downgraded, as you’ve said,” Dr. Fauci said on Fox News. “I don’t know exactly what the numbers are going to be, but right now it looks like it’s going to be less than the original projection.”

In an article in the Washington Post quoting Dr. Fauci on computer models, he said

…there are too many variables at play in the pandemic to make the models reliable: “I’ve looked at all the models. I’ve spent a lot of time on the models. They don’t tell you anything. You can’t really rely upon models.”

Who elected Dr. Fauci President? Fauci keeps moving the goalposts. First COVID was not a threat. Then it was. We didn’t need masks. Then we did. This is Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown.  Now he tells us we have to wait for a vaccine for his permission to educate our children, worship our God, or visit our doctor?

Home of the brave and land of the free? Thanks to Fauci, we empty our jails so we have room for nail and hair salon owners wanting to feed their children. Fauci warns of needless suffering and death from a premature reopening of the economy he shut down. We are already miserable and dying.

We are dying from conditions not being treated because the hospitals and doctors are limited to so-called essential treatments and services. We are dying from suicide and depression and hopelessness in an atrophied economy. We are dying from vanished nest eggs, retirement plans, and dreams. We are dying from jobs that will never come back and businesses that will never reopen

We are dying in an economy whose upward curve your advice has flattened. You have destroyed the American dream almost singlehandedly and done what no foreign adversary ever could — brought America to its knees.

Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul rightly took Dr. Fauci apart for his apocalyptic Senate testimony:

“If we keep kids out of school for another year, what’s going to happen is the poor and underprivileged kids who don’t have a parent that’s able to teach them at home are not going to learn for a full year,” Paul said.

Paul rebuked Fauci, saying: “I don’t think you’re the end-all. I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make a decision. We can listen to your advice, but there are people on the other side saying there’s not going to be a surge and that we can safely open the economy.”

I don’t think he’s the end-all either. To Dr. Fauci the U.S. is one big clinical trial and we are lab rats in his experiment. As America dies from bureaucratic asphyxiation, it’s time we got a second opinion

 

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Rand Paul Proves Once Again He Is Too Good For Us, As He Upsets All the Right People

Posted by M. C. on March 22, 2020

Paul’s amendment, according to NBC News reporter Julie Tsirkin, was officially summarized as: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require a social security number for the purposes of the child tax credit, to provide the President the authority to transfer funds as necessary and to terminate United States military operations and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.

https://www.theadvocates.org/2020/03/rand-paul-proves-once-again-he-is-too-good-for-us-as-he-upsets-all-the-right-people/

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is notorious for being a principled voice for limited constitutional government. Even better, he amuses us with how swiftly he induces tantrums among the political establishment’s flunkies.

Aside from President Donald Trump, it’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who is usually the face of evil for liberals. But on Tuesday night, an NBC News story, based on two anonymous McConnell-linked sources, redirected the ire squarely on Paul.

What did the libertarian ophthalmologist-turned-politician do to deserve this? He did his job.

Paul proposed an amendment to the coronavirus bill being rushed through the Senate after passing the House 363-40. For those keeping track, libertarian-leaning Republican Thomas Massie didn’t vote, and libertarian-leaning Independent Congressman Justin Amash voted present.

Paul’s amendment, according to NBC News reporter Julie Tsirkin, was officially summarized as: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require a social security number for the purposes of the child tax credit, to provide the President the authority to transfer funds as necessary and to terminate United States military operations and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.

Twitter is littered with righteous indignation constantly, but Tuesday night, it was mostly directed at Paul. And it was mostly thanks to the NBC News story poorly co-written by Tsirkin.

Before getting into the catty tone of the article, let’s consider the actual concerns people have with Paul’s amendment.

First, isn’t there a national emergency going on? Now isn’t the time for nitpicking what’s legal under the Constitution or how Congress appropriates funds. There’s no time for delay, we’re led to believe.

The answer to this critique is short, because there simply is no delay in voting beyond a few minutes just because an amendment is proposed. All of this drama is just political theatre, with McConnell aides directing the show.

Second, and perhaps more reasonably, it may be asked what the war in Afghanistan has to do with this coronavirus. That almost begs the question though. Why is Congress leaping to this hot new political commodity known as a coronavirus when they’ve skirted their true duties for so long?

Beyond the deadly Afghanistan misadventure being a drain on financial resources, it’s worth investigating how human resources are wasting away, mired down in that desert. In Syria, most of the U.S. troops are from the South Carolina National Guard. Might be nice to have them here!

Here Paul is doing the job all the other senators are supposed to be doing. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t fit into the narrative most comfortable for the political and media elites.

As a result, we end up with junior high school level journalism weaponized against patriotic dissent.

“Paul is notorious for forcing votes on amendments he knows will not pass,” the NBC News story goes.

It concluded in a similar fashion: “He even briefly caused the government to shut down in 2018, using a procedural tactic to block the Senate from meeting the deadline to keep the government open because he objected to the price tag.”

Both of these statements are lies, though the authors probably believe them. It’s a sure sign of the deep divisions in the country.

Whether it’s the 9/11 Victims bill, the Ukrainegate impeachment failure, or foreign aid, Paul consistently upsets the right people by doing the right thing. This doesn’t mean Paul is perfect, but it does mean Americans should appreciate his special role in Washington, DC.

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Rand Paul Blocks DOD Authorization Until September - News ...

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Rand Paul rails against ‘weak sauce’ surveillance deal: ‘Big disappointment’ | TheHill

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2020

There is Paul and Lee. The rest are war whores.

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/486930-rand-paul-rails-against-weak-sauce-surveillance-deal-big

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) knocked a last-minute deal in the House to reauthorize expiring intelligence programs, saying its reforms to the court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) fall short.

“The ‘Deal’ on FISA is weak sauce diluted [and] made impotent by A.G. Barr. None of the reforms prevent secret FISA court from abusing the rights of Americans. None of the reforms prevent a President of either party from a politically motivated investigation. Big Disappointment!” Paul tweeted early Tuesday evening.

His comments come after House lawmakers announced on Tuesday that they had struck an agreement ahead of the March 15 deadline for expiring provisions in the USA Freedom Act, a 2015 law that overhauled the country’s intelligence programs.

The agreement includes more privacy protections and transparency in the FISA court process, including requiring legal representation for an individual targeted if the government’s application “presents exceptional concerns about the First Amendment rights of U.S. persons.”

It also bolsters penalties for those who abuse the FISA court.
But Paul, a long-time critic of the FISA court, wants language that would prohibit a FISA warrant being used against an American citizen, and prohibit FISA information from being used against an American in domestic court.
The House deal was largely negotiated without the input of senators, a potential curveball in its chances of passing the Senate this week. It is expected to go to the House floor for a vote Wednesday.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who has also advocated for changes to FISA, told reporters shortly after the deal was announced that he was still reviewing it.

“Based on earlier drafts of it I don’t like it at all,” he said.

Because of the tight time frame to get legislation through Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is going to need consent from every senator to speed up consideration of the bill.
That could give leverage to senators like Paul and Lee to try to push through changes or force a lapse of the expiring USA Freedom provisions.
Paul previously used the Senate’s procedural tools to force a brief lapse of the post-9/11 Patriot Act.
A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a question on Tuesday night about what his tweet means for his willingness to let the House deal move quickly through the Senate.
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The Why On College Tuition Cost

Posted by M. C. on February 12, 2020

One reason Rand Paul wants to end the Fed and “free” “government money”.

Rent-Seeking, The Progressive Agenda and Cash Transfers at ...

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : US to Iraq: ‘Vote All You Want, We’re Not Leaving!’

Posted by M. C. on January 14, 2020

Lead by example and demonstrate how free markets and peace benefit all. A “force for good” means not forcing others to bow to your will.

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/january/13/us-to-iraq-vote-all-you-want-we-re-not-leaving/

Written by Ron Paul

President Trump’s decision earlier this month to assassinate Iran’s top military general on Iraqi soil – over the objection of the Iraqi government – has damaged the US relationship with its “ally” Iraq and set the region on the brink of war. Iran’s measured response – a few missiles fired on an Iraqi base after advance warning was given – is the only reason the US is not mired in another Middle East war.

Trump said his decision to assassinate Gen. Qassim Soleimani was intended to prevent a war, not start a war. But no one in his right mind would think that killing another country’s top military leader would not leave that country annoyed, to say the least. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said the Trump Administration’s briefing to Congress on its evidence to back up claims that Soleimani was about to launch attacks against the US was among the worst briefings they’d ever attended.

After initially claiming that Soleimani had to be taken out immediately because of “imminent” attacks he was launching against the US, Trump Administration officials including Secretary of State Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper have been busy walking back those claims. Esper claimed over the weekend that he had not seen the intelligence suggesting an attack on US embassies was in the works. If the Secretary of Defense did not seen the intelligence, then who did?

No doubt the Iraqi leadership recognized these kinds of deceptions: the same kinds of lies were used to push the US into attacking their own country in 2003. So it should not have come as a big surprise that the Iraqi government met last week and voted that all foreign military personnel should leave Iraqi soil.

Then a funny thing happened when the Iraqi prime minister attempted to communicate to the US government the will of the Iraqi people through their democratically-elected officials. On Thursday Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi phoned Pompeo to urgently request that Washington enact a US troop “withdrawal mechanism” in Iraq. American troops are in Iraq by invitation of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi government had just voted to revoke that invitation.

The State Department responded with a statement titled “The US Continued Partnership with Iraq,” in which it essentially said that the US would not abide by the request of its Iraqi partners because the US military is a “force for good” in the Middle East and that as such it is “our right” to maintain “appropriate force posture” in the region.

The US invaded Iraq based on Bush Administration lies and a million Iraqis died as a result. Later, President Obama ramped up the drone program and also backed al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists to overthrow the secular Syrian government. Obama also attacked Libya based on lies, leaving the country totally destroyed. Trump is assassinating foreign officials and threatening destruction of Iran.

And the State Department calls that a “force for good”?

The United States can be a true force for good, however. End the military occupation of the Middle East, end foreign military aid, stop using the CIA to overthrow governments. Allow Americans to travel and do business in any country they wish. Lead by example and demonstrate how free markets and peace benefit all. A “force for good” means not forcing others to bow to your will.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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The Islamic Republic of Restraint – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on January 9, 2020

The administration lied about the Iranian general’s mission that day in Baghdad; he was actually likely there for secret talks to ease tensions with Saudi Arabia. Talk about a counterproductive killing.

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2020/01/08/the-islamic-republic-of-restraint/

What if it’s Iran that’s avoided war?

Don’t buy the hype 1.0: Look, the administration, Fox News, and a Twitter army of Trumpsters are about to unleash a wave of propaganda. The president was right to assassinate Soleimani all along, they’ll say. The Iranian missiles fired on Tuesday night missed all American targets – perhaps on purpose – resulting in zero U.S. military casualties. Trump must’ve known the Iranians would flinch, we’ll be told. His hard line, his provocative escalation, was all part of a grand strategy – the master dealmaker strikes again!

That’s all balderdash! Remember: according to the most loyal Trumpeteers, every time the president’s rash actions don’t result in nuclear Armageddon he’s clearly a “stable genius” (his words). Now, that’s a pretty low bar, folks. We should expect better. Seems to me that Trump’s foreign policy is more aptly characterized, as William Hartung – of the Center for International Policy – coined it, the “P.T. Barnum strategy:” more show than substance. It goes both ways, of course, what with Iran potentially “retaliating” against the US for their own domestic consumption, whilst carefully avoiding American casualties.

The main problem with the Trump-as-genius argument is that, at best, he’s left in place an unacceptable status quo. Tensions remain unnecessarily high between the US and Iran – mainly due to Trump’s original sin: pulling out of the multinational nuclear deal that even American intelligence agencies assessed that Iran had adhered to. In fact, the execution of Soleimani may have only made matters worse. The administration lied about the Iranian general’s mission that day in Baghdad; he was actually likely there for secret talks to ease tensions with Saudi Arabia. Talk about a counterproductive killing. War could still break out at any moment. Both sides have mobilized and repositioned troops. Heck, a brigade of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division is already on its way to the region. The two inessential adversaries remain on hair-trigger alert.

Now, at worst, Trump has only weakened the US position in the area. After all, right on the heels of the Soleimani assassination, Iraqi’s Parliament and Prime Minister officially called for the withdrawal of all US troops from the very country upon which Iran and America have been waging war of late. Naturally, in a fun twist on the widespread global understanding of national sovereignty, Defense Secretary (Incorporated) Mark Esper has emphatically declared that US troops “are not leaving Iraq.” International law, international shmaw – we’re America, and Trump is president.

Finally, lost in the sure-to-come “Trump was right” talking points will be a few other inconvenient facts:

  1. The president provided zero evidence to the public that Soleimani himself posed an imminent threat to US forces. We’re just supposed to trust the government? Really? After the mountain of lies fed to the people reference the 2003 Iraq invasion, CIA torture program, and Afghanistan (as shown in the oh-so-quickly forgotten Afghan Papers)? Count me out! What’s more, after a closed session congressional briefing on Wednesday, even some Republicans complained that they were given “no specific information” on any “specific” alleged “attack.” Now that’s fishy.
  2. Furthermore, the very legality of the strikes – and targeted assassinations in general – under domestic and/or international law was highly dubious.
  3. The constitutionality of the killing was also questionable. Yes, the president possesses Article II commander-in-chief powers, however, those ought to be used sparingly and only as a last resort. By design, the Founders placed the preponderance of martial decision-making in the hands of Congress. Trump isn’t alone here, as one executive after another has gradually stripped war-making authority from an all-too-willing, and complacent, legislative branch. What was particularly dangerous in this case, however, is that President Trump unilaterally committed an egregious, risky escalation – an act of war – that set all the pieces in motion for a potential regional conflagration, essentially leaving Congress and the People to pick up the pieces. He presented America with a perilous fait accompli.

So let’s not fall for the administration talking points or its loyal social media trolls’ undoubtedly absurd musings. The Soleimani operation was far from prudent and hardly a slam dunk. Don’t take my word for it: Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee told CNN Wednesday that the “way the whole thing went down” was “un-American and unacceptable.” I couldn’t agree more; we can do better!

Don’t buy the hype 2.0, either: No matter what the US Government has long claimed, Iran is not the world’s most dangerous state; nor is it really the globe’s greatest “state-sponsor of terrorism” – whatever the “T-word” even means anymore. Nor, contra the Mikes (Pompeo and Pence) – who seem genuinely intent on pursuing policies designed to sow the de rigueur chaos to bring forth their own insane hopes for the Rapture – would regime change in Iran accomplish much of anything or serve US or regional interests. These mad eschatological millenarians are deeply mistaken in their belief that Iran represents something uniquely evil in this world. They should take a hard look at their own diplomatic Facebook friends for exhibit A: Saudi Arabia.

In reality, from this historian’s “hatch,” it is demonstrable that time and again, since at least 1979, it was Iran – not the US – which showed greater restraint and helped avoid war. Consider just a few examples. After the CIA and MI6 overthrew a democratically elected Iranian prime minister in 1953 and installed the vicious dictatorial shah – whose security forces killed thousands – it took 25 years for the Islamic Revolution to kick off. When that rebellion overthrew the U.S.-armed and -backed shah, how did the young revolutionaries respond? Well, famously they snatched and long held 52 American embassy personnel hostage. Sure, this was an unacceptable violation of diplomatic sovereignty, but, as compared to the deaths of thousands of Iranian innocents, it was a relatively muted response. No hostages were killed, and, though it took far too long, all were eventually released.

Then, in 1980, when Iraq invaded and threatened to destroy Iran, the US openly backed Saddam Hussein’s aggressive regime. The US provided key intelligence in the form of satellite photos to the Iraqi Army, and granted Baghdad over $1 billion in economic aid. In all, after eight years of existential war, perhaps 500,000 Iranians died. To this flagrant US provocation, Iran did retaliate substantially: in 1983, the Iranian-backed Amal militia killed 241 US Marines in Beirut (where they shouldn’t have been in the first place), throughout the 1980s Hezbollah took several American journalists and Intel officials hostage in Lebanon, and its Saudi offshoot (allegedly) killed 19 US Airmen in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. None of this is defensible; still, comparable scale remains relevant. Iran never directly attacked United States military personnel or the American homeland, even though Washington had clearly enabled the devastation of the Persian nation.

Then, when after a US ship struck an underwater mine (no fatalities resulted) the American Navy – in Operation Praying Mantis – overtly sank the majority of the Iranian Navy in a one-sided sea battle. Then, during the same undeclared Persian Gulf maritime conflict, a US naval vessel even shot down a civilian Iranian airliner, killing 290 people. The commander, Captain Rogers, claimed his crew mistook the jet for an Iranian fighter, but even so the plane was fully in Iranian airspace.

Then, Vice President George H.W. Bush even refused to apologize for the shoot-down. He callously announced “I will never apologize for the United States – I don’t care what the facts are. … I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.” Oh, and as for Captain Rogers – he was awarded the Legion of Merit. For all these immense, and deadly, provocations, Iran didn’t responded in any measurable way. So it was, in Tuesday night’s case of deja vu, that Tehran again showed remarkable restraint by appearing to retaliate without harming the hair on a single American’s head.

None of this is to say that Mr. Trump, if he shows relative restraint – and it appears he plans to, for now – doesn’t deserve some credit. He’s done it before. Months ago, after Iran shot down an unmanned American drone, Trump apparently shocked his own aides and backed away from military strikes. Whatever shred remains of the optimist inside of me likes to believe that – for all his PT Barnum posturing and absurd risky behavior – The Donald, unlike the John Boltons’ of the world, doesn’t actually want an outright war with Iran.

Still, overall, it must be Tehran that earns the gold star for restraint in this – and many past – instances. I mean, come on, an American drone blew away one of their national heroes, perhaps the third most powerful man in their sovereign government. The move was tantamount to war by any and all reasonable definitions. And how did they respond? With a sham, maybe symbolic, American-casualty-free missile strike. Now that’s self control.

All of which raises a profound opportunity for President Trump. Iran’s leadership has shown, once again, and quite profoundly, that they’ll eschew open war with the US and may even be open to détente, for reentry into the global community from which they’ve long been excluded (by America, it must be said). Trump, it seems, in spite of his bluster, fumbling, mad carelessness, and escalation, could still salvage a new “deal” with the Islamic Republic.

No doubt, mainstream liberals will hammer this author for even suggesting that all could work out in Trump’s favor – but it could! So, if our dear leader seizes this opening to pivot to diplomacy, to some degree of relational normalization, he’d come slightly closer to earning his self-styled sobriquet of “stable genius.” And, for my sins, I might even crack open The Art of the Deal

Be seeing you

Rise Of A Dictator | The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 1953

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Rand Paul Explains to John Stossel the Truth About Socialism

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2020

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/01/rand-paul-explains-to-john-stossel.html

In conjunction with the release of Rand Paul’s new book, The Case Against Socialism, John Stossel interviewed Rand.

Rand’s book is excellent. I reviewed it here.

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David Stockman on What an Audit of the Federal Reserve Could Reveal

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2020

The point is, inflation targeting is one of the greatest efforts at misdirection that a government agency has ever concocted. This gives them a license to constantly intervene and meddle in the financial markets—pointlessly fiddling with the whole price structure of debt and equity assets.

There’s about $1.5 trillion of excess reserves in the banking system.

So, they’re paying out to the banks upwards of $23 billion a year in order to keep excess funds on deposit at the Fed, rather than putting it to work in the macroeconomy.

How stupid is that?

https://internationalman.com/articles/david-stockman-on-what-an-audit-of-the-federal-reserve-could-really-reveal/

by David Stockman

International Man: Trump is calling for a weaker dollar and negative interest rates. What does this tell you about Trump’s understanding of economics?

David Stockman: It tells you that he has no understanding of economics at all!

I think Trump is not even a primitive when it comes to economic comprehension. His views are just plain stupid when it comes to exchange rates. He seems to think it’s some grand game of global golf, where the strongest player gets the lowest score.

What sense does it make tweeting as he did recently in attacking the Fed?

According to Trump, the US economy is so much better than the rest of the world’s economies, and therefore we should have the lowest interest rate as a result. It has nothing to do with economic logic or with principles related to sound money. I think he’s just thrashing about trying to create a warning that if things go badly, it’s the Fed’s fault.

The whole narrative on the economy is wrong…

Even John Maynard Keynes himself said that you ought to try to balance the budget and even generate a surplus at the top of the cycle.

We’re right in the middle of the worst kind of economic policy in my lifetime, anyway—going back to the 1960s.

Trump is completely clueless about how we got here, how he got here, and where we’re going…

International Man: The Fed recently said it could increase its tolerance for inflation before it considers raising interest rates. It would be a major policy shift. What’s really going on here?

David Stockman: I think what’s going on is that they’re looking for another excuse to capitulate to Wall Street next time it has a hissy fit because it believes the Fed owes them another shot of stimulus and more liquidity.

Let’s address the underlying issue now. The 2% inflation target is absurd to begin with. There is no historical or theoretical evidence to suggest that inflation at 2% is better for growth and prosperity than inflation at 1.5%, 1%, or even -1%.

This is just made up, just like the money they created that’s been snatched from thin air, adopted as official policy in January 2012.

It becomes a rolling excuse for running the printing press and accommodating both the politicians in Washington, D.C., who want low interest rates so that debts are cheap to finance and the gamblers on Wall Street who want low interest rates because they result in higher asset values and cheaper costs for carry trade speculators.

The idea that we haven’t had enough inflation as it’s measured by one indicator—the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) deflator—is kind of crazy for two reasons.

First, there’s a lot of other inflation measures that say we easily achieved 2% inflation.

The 16% trimmed-mean CPI is a very handy tool. It has the same CPI data at the product code level as that in the regular CPI, but in order to smooth out the monthly figure, it takes out the lowest and highest 16% of individual prices.

It’s probably more accurate than CPI because it removes the outliers but puts them back in as soon as they reach the center of the distribution.

The trimmed-mean CPI has averaged 2% since January 2012. During the last 12 months, it’s reached 2.34%, way over the Fed’s 2% target.

There are lots of issues here…

International Man: There are increasing calls for central banks to combat climate change. The IMF, the European Central Bank, and several others have chimed in. What does this mean, and why are central bankers suddenly so keen on this topic?

David Stockman: This is beyond stupid. What could the central banks possibly do to help the global economies adjust to climate change? Climate change may or may not be happening, and if it is, it’s due to planetary forces that central banks have absolutely no power to impact or counteract…

International Man: If Rand Paul finally gets his audit of the Federal Reserve, what do you think they’ll find?

David Stockman: What he’s going to find is just more detail on the absurdities of what they’re doing already.

I think one that you would look into is this policy called Interest on Excess Reserves (IOER). They targeted that number at 1.55% right now. There’s about $1.5 trillion of excess reserves in the banking system.

So, they’re paying out to the banks upwards of $23 billion a year in order to keep excess funds on deposit at the Fed, rather than putting it to work in the macroeconomy.

How stupid is that?…

Be seeing you

END the FED Rally planned for OKC – Nationwide Nov 22nd ...

 

 

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