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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Tulsi Gabbard’

Tulsi Gabbard Gets It Half-Right

Posted by M. C. on April 8, 2022

The problem is, conservatives – and more traditional liberals like Tulsi – are laser focused on the “woke” ideology that is infecting public discourse and driving “progressive” politics rather than striking at the root problem. In corporate lingo, they’re in love with the solution instead of the problem.

An issue that is dominating headlines is the question of parental rights in education. Florida recently passed a law, falsely labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” law, prohibiting educators from instructing pupils in kindergarten through third grade about sexual matters. “Progressives,” as a result, are having a hard time justifying their outrage. During a press conference, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki what the president’s opinion is on an acceptable age to discuss sex in schools, and she punted, claiming the new law is “propagating misinformed, hateful policies” and “putting parents and LGTBQ+ kids in a very difficult heartbreaking circumstance.”

One leftist who has bucked current trends, raising the ire of her peers, is former U.S. representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HA). Gabbard has put herself at odds with Democratic Party stalwarts Hillary Clinton and Vice President Kamala Harris, repeatedly taking the former to task for her warmongering and excoriating the latter for the gleeful enforcement of drug laws when Harris served as California’s attorney general. Now Gabbard is joining the fray over parental rights in schools, and the language she employs sounds very promising. At first. “We should all support the Parental Rights in Education bill that recently passed in Florida, which very simply bans government and government schools from indoctrinating ‘woke’ sexual values in … schools to a captive audience,” she wrote on Twitter. “A captive audience,” she added, for clarification, “that is by law required to attend.”

Gabbard is correct. Students in public schools are in fact a “captive audience,” as they are required by law to attend a government-approved school, which their parents/guardians are likewise required by law to fund via property taxes. (Homeschooling and private education are allowed, but difficult in practice for those who can’t afford to “pay twice” – first for a government school, and then for one of their choosing.) Public schools have become indoctrination centers, and Gabbard rightly points out that, “Government has no place in personal lives. Government has no place in our bedrooms. Parents are the ones responsible for raising kids and instilling in them a moral foundation, not the government.”

But it’s fair to ask: isn’t education itself a parent’s concern as well? 

See the rest here

This post was written by: Scott McPherson

Scott McPherson is a policy adviser at the Future of Freedom Foundation, and author of Freedom and Security: The Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. An advocate of the Free State Project, he lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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Letter to Governor Ron DeSantis

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2022

When doctors have to take hospitals to court to let them administer a Nobel Prize–winning medication with a forty-year safety record, something is fiendishly flawed.

Veto HB 7021 to Protect Floridians from Incentivized Medical Malpractice & Hospicide

Margaret Anna Alice

Margaret Anna examines media narratives, propaganda, mass control, politics, psychology, history, philosophy, language, film, art, music, literature, and culture ​in her aim to unmask totalitarianism and awaken the sleeping before tyranny triumphs.

Margaret Anna Alice
Letter to Governor Ron DeSantis; Drowning Person Holding Umbrella over Head in Sea

“‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded—and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed such emergency powers to see to it that the emergency will persist.”

—F. A. Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty

Dear Governor DeSantis,

I’m not a big fan of politicians. I probably only need one hand to count the ones who appear to possess a whit of integrity, rationality, and moral courage—off the top of my head, Tulsi Gabbard, Ron Johnson, Ron1 Paul, Brian Peckford, and you.

Gideon van Meijeren’s pretty kickass, too:

Gideon van Meijeren Confronts Globalist Dutch PM Rutte for His World Economic Forum Connections

But back to you, Governor. Throughout the manufactured COVID crisis, you have displayed sanity, respected individual liberties, followed the actual science, and resisted the worldwide mudslide into tyranny.

You did lock down (a disappointing concession to authoritarianism, but, to your credit, one you later expressed regret over and vowed not to repeat), but only for a month. Unlike most of your peers, you kept your word and lifted the stay-at-home order after thirty days.

You stated at a November 2020 press conference that there would be “no lockdowns, no fines, no school closures. No one’s losing their job because of a government dictate. Nobody’s losing their livelihood or their business.”

You signed legislation to protect Floridians from coercive mandates. You support the rights of workers to decide whether to wear masks.

You set up monoclonal antibody treatment sites around the state—until the FDA suddenly revised the emergency use authorizations to prohibit providers from administering these highly effective treatments in the United States.

You support proposed legislation to protect the rights of loved ones to visit patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities, noting, “COVID cannot be used as an excuse to deny patients basic rights.”

You advocated for the rights of physicians to prescribe drugs they believe will work without fear of penalties such as loss of license, preserving the sacred doctor-patient relationship from interference by politics.

You even honored Firecracker Fiona Lashells, a second-grader I proudly featured as an example of brave noncompliance with unhealthy mask mandates.

See the rest here

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Tulsi Gabbard: ‘Power Elite’ Will ‘Silence & Cancel Anyone Who Dares Question’ Biden

Posted by M. C. on February 16, 2022

Former Democrat congresswoman issues warning about the ‘bigger issue’ with censorship

https://neonnettle.com/news/18300-tulsi-gabbard-power-elite-will-silence-cancel-anyone-who-dares-question-biden

By: Jay Greenberg

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has warned that America’s “power elite” will “silence and cancel” anybody “who dares challenge or question” the agenda of Joe Biden and the Democrats.

Speaking to USA Today, Gabbard blasted the Biden administration for its attack on podcaster Joe Rogan.

Gabbard warned that the Democrats’ effort pointed “to a bigger issue,” which is “the power elite trying to silence and cancel people who dare to question the establishment narrative.”

Gabbard stated:

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve gotten to know Joe [Rogan] and consider him a good friend; he’s like the nicest, most generous, humble guy, and I think he’s done the right thing in addressing these issues that have come up; very directly, very honestly and been very ready to admit how he can be better and apologizing.

“I think it’s what we would hope to get from anyone, really.”

Have your say – ⇓ Hit the comments below

tulsi gabbard was responding to attacks against joe rogan  who she describes as a  good friend
Tulsi Gabbard was responding to attacks against Joe Rogan, who she describes as a ‘good friend’

“And I think how not only a lot of the kind of the corporate response has been, but also, frankly, the White House inserting itself into trying to cancel Joe Rogan points to the bigger issue, which is really the attempts by the power elite trying to silence and cancel people who dare to question the establishment narrative, who dare to maybe hold a different view,” Gabbard continued.

“And that response, trying to cancel people.

“Silence them and smear their character, is the age-old tactic.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of it, so I know exactly how that feels.

“And it is so dangerous because it undermines free speech in America.”

On February 1, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had urged Spotify to take further action against Rogan after Spotify announced it would tag alleged controversial episodes with a new warning label, which Gabbard referenced in her statement.

Gabbard tweeted, “I may disagree with what you say, but I’m willing to sacrifice my life to protect your right to say it.

“The campaign to silence @JoeRogan shines a light on the bigger issue: the power elite will silence anyone who dares challenge or question their power.”

See the rest here

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Tulsi Gabbard: Don’t Bring the ‘War on Terror’ Home | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on January 30, 2021

letter signed by 10 progressive House Democrats, including Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Ro Khanna, calls on leadership to “reject reactionary demands to further erode the rights and liberties of the American people.”

“So, when you look at their process as they’re building this profile of a potential ‘extremist,’ what are we talking about?” she asked. “Are we talking about evangelical Christians? Somebody who is pro-life? Libertarians? People who attended a Trump rally?”

The answer is YES.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tulsi-gabbard-dont-bring-the-war-on-terror-home/

by Brad Polumbo

The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol shocked the nation. Now, as so often occurs in the wake of tragedy, some Washington politicians are using the opportunity to push for an expansion of their power—hoping Americans are too shell-shocked to object.

A bipartisan group in Congress has introduced the so-called “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act Of 2021.” It would expand the surveillance and police powers of the national security state in the name of combatting dangerous extremism.

“America must be vigilant to combat those radicalized to violence, and the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act gives our government the tools to identify, monitor and thwart their illegal activities,” Congressman Brad Schneider, one of the bill’s lead sponsors, said. “Combatting the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacy is not a Democratic or Republican issue, not left versus right or urban versus rural. Domestic Terrorism is an American issue, a serious threat that we can and must address together.”

We all surely agree that true domestic terrorism is reprehensible. But many progressive lawmakers are speaking out against the hasty push to expand government power and warning of the threat it poses to civil liberties. They warn these powers will undoubtedly be used against many more people and disfavored groups than just violent radicals like those who attacked the Capitol.

Former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a progressive Democrat, called this push “so dangerous” in a Fox News interview.

“We don’t have to guess about where this goes or where it ends,” Gabbard argues, “When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements… that in his words make up this ‘unholy alliance’ of ‘religious extremists,’ ‘racists,’ ‘bigots’ … even ‘libertarians.’”

.@joebiden Your leadership is needed now to denounce those like John Brennan & Rep Schiff who are advocating for targeting half the country as potential domestic terrorists. Truly unite the American people around our Constitution & the rights that are endowed to us by our Creator pic.twitter.com/OpemBm4biS

— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) January 24, 2021

.@JohnBrennan: Biden intel community “are moving in laser-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about” the pro-Trump “insurgency” that harbors “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians” pic.twitter.com/SjVXWhPhR8

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 20, 2021

“So, when you look at their process as they’re building this profile of a potential ‘extremist,’ what are we talking about?” she asked. “Are we talking about evangelical Christians? Somebody who is pro-life? Libertarians? People who attended a Trump rally?”

“[This would] lead to a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties… and a targeting of almost half the country,” Gabbard concluded.

The concern is that government powers authorized ostensibly for use against “domestic terrorists” would wind up being wielded against much broader swaths of society.

letter signed by 10 progressive House Democrats, including Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Ro Khanna, calls on leadership to “reject reactionary demands to further erode the rights and liberties of the American people.”

I’m leading the call for national security powers to not be expanded in light of the attack on our nation’s Capitol that occurred two weeks ago, as such measures often lead to the erosion of Americans’ civil liberties. pic.twitter.com/K6IHTPQzne

— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) January 19, 2021

“History is littered with examples of initiatives sold as being necessary to fight extremism that quickly devolve into tools used for the mass violation of the human and civil rights of the American people,” the letter warns.

There is simply no need to expand the government’s police powers. According to New York University’s law school, “existing statutes have long provided substantial authority for the federal government to investigate and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism.”

Indeed, at least 150 people have been charged with crimes related to the attack on the Capitol. The government already has vast powers to surveil, pursue, and prosecute Americans who commit crimes or plot violence. After all, law enforcement already knew from intelligence that the planned demonstration at the Capitol could turn violent. Their failure to adequately prepare for it was not due to a lack of information or authority.

Some might wonder, well, how could it hurt to give them more tools? Better safe than sorry, right?

This is an understandable impulse but deeply naive as a permanent conclusion. There’s good reason to think that “domestic terrorism” government powers would wind up targeting many Americans—because we’ve seen the same dynamic play out before, time and time again.

Passed in the wake of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act gave the federal government enormous surveillance powers.

For example, it authorized “sneak and peek” searches, allowing government officials to search someone’s home or office, take pictures, and even sometimes confiscate property, yet only inform them after-the-fact. According to the ACLU, 76 percent of sneak-and-peak searches have occurred in drug enforcement cases, with less than 1 percent actually happening in terrorism-related-cases.

The Patriot Act also created a new pathway for FBI agents to access Americans’ personal information, such as phone records, computer records, credit history, and banking information. Per the ACLU, of the 192,500 such records examinations the FBI made from 2003 to 2006, only one led to a terrorism conviction. (And the ACLU says that conviction would have been obtained without Patriot Act.)

All of this doesn’t even touch on the way post-Patriot-Act mass surveillance caught up millions of innocent Americans, as exposed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

There’s plenty of precedent that suggests these abuses can be explicitly political, too.

“Government agencies—including the FBI and the Department of Defense—have conducted their own spying on innocent and law-abiding Americans,” the ACLU reports. “Through the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU learned the FBI had been consistently monitoring peaceful groups such Quakers, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Greenpeace, the Arab American Anti-Defamation Committee and, indeed, the ACLU itself.”

We might give the government vast new powers to fight “domestic terrorism.” But it’s inevitable that these same powers will eventually be used against millions of Americans who have nothing to do with such extremism.

There’s a lesson here that extends beyond the specific debate over surveillance powers and the War on Terror. In times of crisis and emergency, enterprising politicians will always seek to exploit the situation to expand their own power. Too often, scared citizens go along with these power grabs.

This is the danger economist Robert Higgs identified in his seminal work Crisis and Leviathan as “the Ratchet Effect.”

Higgs showed how throughout history, crises have been used to excuse government power grabs. After each crisis, the government lets go of some of the power, but never all of it. As a result, the federal government’s power (the Leviathan) has “ratcheted up,” crisis after crisis, throughout the last hundred years.

Progressives, conservatives, and libertarians alike must stand firm against the latest push to infringe on civil liberties in the name of combating “domestic terror.” Otherwise, sweeping powers granted amid crisis will undoubtedly be used against millions of Americans who did nothing wrong on January 6.

This article was originally featured at the Foundation for Economic Education

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Tulsi Gabbard: Democrats Trying To Turn America Into Police State

Posted by M. C. on January 28, 2021

Dems joinng the crowd.

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As the Republic Dies the Next Generation Must Rise

Posted by M. C. on December 24, 2020

Trump, however, doesn’t represent the future of America. He’s weighed down with the mythology of an America that never really existed.

That mythology, however, is something worth building on not allowing Obama and The Vandals to tear down. I believe Gabbard understands this.

I also believe at least 75 million Americans understand this.

For the American people to not be frog-marched into the dystopian nightmare of Klaus Schwab’s dreams it will be the revealed character of the Gabbards, Massies and Pauls to lead once the violence reaches a crescendo.

https://tomluongo.me/2020/12/16/republic-dies-next-generation-must-rise-gabbard-paul/

Author: Tom Luongo

The first rule of screenwriting, or in fact any fiction writing, is, “Conflict doesn’t create character, it reveals it.” People are who they are and we only find out what they are made of when tested to their limit.

This is the essence of all good storytelling — create characters who rise to be role models for us as we navigate our way through a Universe hostile to our very existence.

While I hesitate to ascribe such noble ideas as ‘character’ to any politician there are a few out there who have shown great potential. I’ve written about all of them at various times in the past few years.

Matteo Salvini in Italy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Russian President Vladmir Putin, Nigel Farage in the UK and even a flawed figure like Donald Trump are all examples of men who history will remember as having stood up when needed.

At times each of them tried to move heaven and earth to stop the degradation of society, culture and the human condition in the face of an implacable enemy – communist ideologues bent on forcing humanity into submission to their will.

But with the Supreme Court abdicating its primary responsibility under the Constitution last week citing itself in an unconstitutional ruling from 1925 (H/T Martin Armstrong for this) means it is over for Trump and the U.S. to stop the final transformation of the U.S. into an oligarchy in reality if not in spirit.

There is no mechanism for states to redress grievances of any import now. What was left of the compact between equal sovereign states died with a whimper in the halls of the SCOTUS and to thunderous applause by the BlueCheckMarked Sneetches on Twitter.

This means that a stolen election will in all probability stand up come Inauguration Day. The entrenched oligarchy has won this round.

Fine. But it doesn’t mean the efforts of the men I just listed will have been in vain. In fact, quite the opposite.

Because what it has done is revealed the character of everyone involved. What they do next now that they have the power they’ve always craved to transform America will determine what people who have principles other than raw power will do.

We’re beginning to see that response form up. This election isn’t over but the positioning for the future a post-republic America has already begun.

🌺

Since election day Tulsi Gabbard, a tweener between Gen-X and a Millennial, has been a non-stop source of, admittedly, Quixotic bills to put paid her insurgent campaign in the Democratic primaries as someone interested in fixing real foundational problems with the country and the bipartisan corruption in Washington.

She continues to reach across party lines introducing legislation which form the basis for a populist election strategy targeting the 2022 and 2024 elections.

From whistleblower protection to repealing Section 230 of the CDA to the bill in the tweet above co-sponsored with libertarian Thomas Massie, Gabbard is an example of what the future holds for the political future once this meta-stable, oligarchic rule-by-men period of America is over.

It’s clear that Gabbard wants no part of being a part of the Democratic Party that’s in power now. That’s why she didn’t run for re-election and I suspect these moves are all laying the groundwork for a return to politics in 2024 as an independent or Sanders-like outsider.

I’ve been writing for years now that our problems stem from an unwillingness of the older generations of politicians to give up power. If anything, they persist because they are owned by the forces that put them there in the first place to pull off this betrayal of the people that has been in the works for decades.

And they will stay in place until they are no longer needed. Just ask Diane Feinstein who is now being sacrificed to make way for the transition team to finish the job she started.

I always saw Trump as Gen-X’s moment to pull a Ronald Reagan and say, “Mr. Trump, tear down this Swamp!” but the real story is that Gen-X is allowing Obama to do that tearing down and hand what’s left back to the old monied elites.

The fight now is between the cross-currents within Gen-X. Equal parts commie and libertarian the one uniting principle is a desire to reform the old order.

It is my read that people like Gabbard, Massie, Sen. Rand Paul and a few others see the problem. Gabbard’s a leftist, but she’s no doctrinaire commie. That makes her and interesting pivot figure around which a coalition to retake control or build back better the U.S. can be formed. This will be necessary once Obama’s incoming crew of vandals overreaches and are thrown out on their asses.

Regardless of the outcome in the coming months and years the changing of the guard is close at hand. Post-Trump America will look very different than pre-Trump. Trump was the apotheosis of the Boomers.

His legacy will be forcing the Deep State into the open, bringing the fight against them out of the shadows.

Trump, however, doesn’t represent the future of America. He’s weighed down with the mythology of an America that never really existed.

That mythology, however, is something worth building on not allowing Obama and The Vandals to tear down. I believe Gabbard understands this.

I also believe at least 75 million Americans understand this.

For the American people to not be frog-marched into the dystopian nightmare of Klaus Schwab’s dreams it will be the revealed character of the Gabbards, Massies and Pauls to lead once the violence reaches a crescendo.

Make no mistake, there will be violence. It is inevitable because the people who voted for Trump will not be placated with UBI or settle down as their voices are silenced.

The fraudsters will forever be looking over their shoulders, lashing out at minor opposition as traitors who need to be put down.

Here we are presented with a staged picture with three white privilege guys straight out of central casting for the latest Obama-produced ‘documentary’ on equality coming to Netflix in the spring.

This is your “Unity” agenda from the most statist of state house organs, NPR, the echo chamber of choice for the low-information ‘informed’ shitlib. This is the face of the Biden/Harris administration.

This is just the beginning of what we can look forward to when the GOP loses both seats in the Georgia run-off and the Democrats, despite historically-low support and engagement with actual voters, run the table.

Once ensconced they will persecute their political enemies in ways only Alex Jones has contemplated to this point. And it will be this escalation that will reveal the quality of the character of these next-generation politicians.

They will have the choice, leader of men or cowards. The republic we’ve known is dead. Maybe that’s a good thing. But what comes after won’t be up to the people who just destroyed it. That job is the next generation’s job. Their moment is coming in the next couple of years. They will have to be ready.

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Proposed Reform To US Espionage Act Would Create Public Interest Defense – The Dissenter

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2020

Public Interest defense. Supported by Tulsi gabbard.

DOA

https://dissenter.substack.com/p/proposed-reform-to-us-espionage-act

Kevin Gosztola

Legislation proposed in Congress would amend the United States Espionage Act and create a public interest defense for those prosecuted under the law.

“‘A defendant charged with an offense under section 793 or 798 [in the U.S. legal code] shall be permitted to testify about their purpose for engaging in the prohibited conduct,” according to a draft of the bill Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard introduced.

Such a reform would make it possible for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, Terry Albury, and Daniel Hale to inform the public why they disclosed information without authorization to the press.

The legislation called the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act is supported by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

“If this long-overdue revision of the 1917 Espionage Act had been law half a century ago, I myself could have had a fair trial for releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971: justice under law unavailable to me and to every other national security whistleblower indicted and prosecuted since then,” Ellsberg declared.

Defending Rights And Dissent (DRD), a group committed to the freedom of political expression, backs the legislation as well.

According to DRD policy director Chip Gibbons, there have only ever been three proposals for reforming the 1917 law for the better.

In fact, this bill is the second Espionage Act reform legislation to be proposed in Congress this year, but the previous proposal introduced in March by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and California Representative Ro Khanna included no public interest defense for whistleblowers.

A bill summary stated, “Every single person convicted to date under the Espionage Act would still have been convicted had this bill been law at the time they were prosecuted.”

The Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act would change the law so prosecutors had to prove someone had a “specific intent” to injure or help an “enemy” or foreign nation through their disclosures.

Currently, the Justice Department only has to show someone had “reason to believe” they would injure the country or help a foreign power.

When material is classified, prosecutors invoke a government employee or contractor’s training and the non-disclosure agreement they sign when obtaining their security clearance. This is typically enough in a U.S. federal court for prosecutors to win a conviction.

One additional change would remove the vagueness of “national defense” information, and it make it so prosecutors must prove material was properly classified if copied, taken, or obtained and disclosed without authorization.

Both of the proposed bills would address a part of the Espionage Act—798 in the U.S. code—that applies to “communications intelligence” and undermines oversight of surveillance, including programs that violate the rights of Americans.

If amended, it would expand who could receive “communications intelligence” information to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and inspector generals to help them investigate privacy abuses.

It is currently only permissible to share classified information related to “communications intelligence” with senators or representatives in Congress, or a joint congressional committee.

As noted, government employees or contractors prosecuted under the Espionage Act would be allowed an “affirmative defense” under the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act that they engaged in the “prohibited conduct for purpose of disclosing to the public” violations of laws, rules or regulations, or to expose “gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.”

Someone like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a publisher who faces an unprecedented prosecution under the Espionage Act, would theoretically be better off under the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act. They would be able to outline for a judge or jury why they published information that was obtained by a source.

However, the Espionage Act Reform bill appears to do more to prohibit the Justice Department from prosecuting journalists. It specifically ensures “only personnel with security clearances can be prosecuted for improperly revealing classified information” and aims to protect the rights of members of the press that “solicit, obtain, or publish government secrets.”

“When brave whistleblowers come forward to expose wrongdoing within our government, they must have the confidence that they, and the press who publishes this information, will be protected from government retaliation,” stated Gabbard.

“People like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, among others, acted in the public interest to expose information that impacted the American people. They are being persecuted for doing so, and under current law, are legally unable to defend themselves in court because they are prohibited from speaking about their intent for disclosing information.”

“All charges against them and extradition efforts should be dropped. We must ensure that whistleblowers charged under the Espionage Act are treated fairly under our judicial system and able to mount a just, legal defense,” Gabbard concluded.

There is a difference between what Snowden and Assange did. One person is a source, the other is a journalist. Yet, under the Espionage Act, there is no meaningful difference in the eyes of the Justice Department.

A war on leaks was mounted by President Barack Obama, and it resulted in more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than all previous presidential administrations combined.

President Donald Trump has intensified sustained attacks on whistleblowers, who bring scrutiny to government, and the impact has fueled a chilling effect against journalists.

Since Trump was elected, the Justice Department has prosecuted Daniel Hale, alleged drone whistleblower, Joshua Schulte, who was accused of being the “Vault 7” materials leaker, Terry Albury, an FBI whistleblower, who pled guilty and was sentenced to prison, and Reality Winner, an NSA whistleblower who pled guilty and was sentenced to prison.

The Trump administration crossed a line the Obama administration would not and charged Assange with 18 offenses—17 of which accuse him of violating the Espionage Act.

The indictment specifically criminalized Assange and WikiLeaks for seeking, obtaining, and disseminating classified information from the U.S. government.

Altogether, the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act and the Espionage Act Reform Act reflect growing opposition to a government that uses this law to bludgeon truth-tellers and destroy their lives when they seek to expose corrupt or questionable acts on the part of officials.

Photo from former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s office and in the public domain

***Thank you for the support you showed while I covered Assange’s extradition trial. You helped my coverage reach a broader audience, and it was widely praised.

Several of you signed up for The Dissenter newsletter as paid subscribers, and this was the first of many exclusive reports you will receive each week.

—Kevin Gosztola

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Rand Paul, Tulsi Gabbard, Thomas Massie, Ron Wyden Join Forces To Unplug the President’s ‘Internet Kill Switch’ – Reason.com

Posted by M. C. on September 29, 2020

https://reason.com/2020/09/25/rand-paul-tulsi-gabbard-thomas-massie-ron-wyden-join-forces-to-unplug-the-presidents-internet-kill-switch/

Civil libertarians on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress have joined forces to call for canceling a little-known executive power.

Sens. Rand Paul (R–Ky.), Ron Wyden (D–Ore), and Gary Peters (D–Mich.), along with Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) and Thomas Massie (R–Ky.), introduced bills this week to abolish the so-called “internet kill switch”—a sweeping emergency executive authority over communications technology that predates World War II.

“No president from either party should have the sole power to shut down or take control of the internet or any other of our communication channels during an emergency,” Paul argued in a statement announcing the Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act.

The bill aims to revoke Section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934. When that law was passed, there was no internet. But the broad language included in Section 706 means that it could be invoked today to give a president “nearly unchallenged authority to restrict access to the internet, conduct email surveillance, control computer systems, and cell phones,” Gabbard explained in her statement on the bill.

It’s even worse than that. As Michael Socolow wrote in Reason last year, the law is so broad that it effectively gives the president the ability to commandeer any electronic device that emits radiofrequency transmissions. These days, Socolow noted, that includes “everything from your implanted heart device to the blow dryer for your hair. It includes your electric exercise equipment, any smart device (such as a digital washing machine), and your laptop—basically everything in your house that has electricity running through it.”

Since the United States is technically engaged in 35 ongoing “national emergencies“—thanks in large part to an executive branch that has stripped those words of their meaning—we should probably be grateful that President Donald Trump hasn’t yet reached for this power. He’s already invoked Cold War–era laws to impose greater executive control over global commerce in the name of “national security” and has declared illegal immigration to be a national emergency as a political maneuver to redirect funding for a border wall.

Like many presidents before him, Trump seems willing to use whatever powers Congress has foolishly granted to the executive branch to the fullest extent. Congress should claw back what it can.

“With so many Americans relying on the internet to do everything from online banking to telehealth to education, it’s essential that federal law reflect today’s digital world, not the analog world of World War II,” Carl Szabo, general counsel for NetChoice, a nonprofit that advocates for a free and open internet, tells Reason.

How much the federal government could actually do to shut down the internet remains a subject of debate. The very nature of the net—a diffuse network of interconnected computers and servers—makes it virtually impossible for the government to flip a literal on/off switch or push a stereotypical big red button to cut off all Americans.

 

But the Department of Homeland Security does have protocols for shutting down wireless networks during an emergency, which the agency argues could be used to stop a terrorist from detonating a remote bomb. Given that authoritarian leaders in other countries have shut down wide swaths of internet access during periods of unrest, it’s not unfathomable that something similar could happen here.

“When governments around the world turn off internet access, they do significant harm to their national economies and their citizens’ civil rights,” Massie noted in a statement.

In the midst of an election season in which partisan lines have grown more rigid than ever and when neither major political party seems all that interested in pro-freedom policies, this team-up of libertarian-friendly lawmakers is a little heartwarming. Gabbard, Massie, Paul, and Wyden may not find many allies in Congress on this issue—and, indeed, they don’t always agree with one another—but this is one of those issues that might not seem to matter much until suddenly it really does. It’s better not to wait for that moment.

“The internet,” Wyden declared in a statement, “is far too essential to nearly every part of our democratic system—everything from work, to school and free speech—for any president to have unilateral power to turn it off.”

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The Foreign Policy We Need | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on August 7, 2020

Trump has shown that conservatives aren’t necessarily eager to go to war, even if they remain entirely too trusting of Republican presidents who want to take them there—including the current occupant of the Oval Office under the wrong set of circumstances. That is a good first step, but it is far from sufficient. Conservative restrainers must stop being passive observers in a foreign policy debate Trump and their libertarian allies have already joined. It’s well past time for a conservative foreign policy of peace. 

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/time-for-all-conservatives-to-make-peace-with-the-antiwar-mission/

Restrainers on the right must stop being passive observers in a debate Trump and their libertarian allies have already joined.

Sen. Rand Paul (Gage Skidmore), President Trump (U.S. Coast Guard) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (Gage Skidmore)

Four years after the once unthinkable election of a Republican president who called the Iraq war a “mistake,” America still needs a genuinely conservative foreign policy of realism and restraint.

Hegemonists and hyper-interventionists are being challenged for the first time in two decades, perhaps as never before in the post-Cold War era. The folly of their never-ending, no-win wars is evident to voters, prime-time cable news hosts, diplomats, academics, even the veterans and active-duty soldiers who have fought in them. A new generation of conservative thought leaders is coming of age that turns the thinking that prevailed under George W. Bush on its head, yet the Right is still underrepresented in the fight against the hawkish dead consensus and the GOP’s governing class lags well behind.

There is a progressive critique of U.S. foreign policy that is gaining adherents, even if the Democratic Party nominated a conventional liberal hawk to challenge Donald Trump for president of the United States. Joe Biden represents the death rattle of the fading New Democrat politics of the 1990s, with its ever-present fear of being seen as less ready to go to war than the Republicans, a cry of electoral desperation and a reluctance to go into a competitive general election with an overtly socialist standard-bearer. Biden is himself responsive to trends within his party, including on matters of war and peace, even if he is too likely to appoint to critical national security positions the same set of officials who ruined Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Bernie Sanders’s team of relative realists is more likely to be the party’s future.

But there are millions of Americans for whom the progressivism of 2020 does not even claim to speak. Tulsi Gabbard’s fate—she won some delegates in American Samoa, and was kept off the debate stage as voting drew closer—shows that the modern Democratic Party prioritizes wokeness over war. Left-Right “transpartisan” coalitions can accomplish important things together, as the congressional resolution demanding an end to the war in Yemen shows. They have also become inherently unstable under Trump, who is an asset to making antiwar arguments to conservatives but anathema to liberals.

There has also been considerable resistance to the neoconservative hegemony that dominates Republican foreign policy thinking, making it possible once again to vote in good conscience for a GOP presidential candidate without the reservation that the installation of a center-right commander-in-chief will inevitably lead to a repeat of the Iraq war or worse. But much of this pushback, welcome as it is, comes from libertarians. The American political coalition that is more skeptical of statism, and has been since at least Ronald Reagan if not Barry Goldwater, needs to be reminded that war is as likely to end in failure or produce unintended consequences as any other government program. Too often, Republicans treat the Pentagon as an honorary member of the private sector and exempt its endeavors from the scrutiny they would apply to bureaucrats of any other stripe. But federal employees actually do a better job of delivering the mail than delivering democracy to the Middle East.

Libertarians have done yeoman’s work in turning the neocon foreign policy monologue of the 2000s into a real dialogue. Especially invaluable has been the contributions of two families, the Pauls and the Koch brothers. When the history of early 21st century conservatism is written, their names will be at least as important as the Kristols and Podhoretzs. But at the present time, libertarianism does not appear to be a governing philosophy that can win a national election and therefore seriously contest for control of U.S. foreign policy. The younger generation of conservatives who reject interventionism run amok should not be forced to choose between prudence in immigraton policy or foreign affairs, an endless repetition of a Reagan economic program better suited to the 1980s than 2021, or going abroad in search of monsters to destroy in pursuit of imaginary WMD and equally fictitious democratist fantasies, based on ideas that were terrible then and now, this time covered in a veneer of focus-grouped populism.

Yet the new national conservatism has produced exactly one reliable populist Republican politician who has shown a willingness to vote according to Trump’s foreign policy campaign promises when the going gets tough: Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. The foreign policy of Sen. Josh Hawley remains a work in progress, though a potentially promising one; Sens. Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio remain as hawkish as ever, however Trumpian they have become on other issues. Rep. Walter Jones, who arrived at antiwar conservatism from a non-libertarian starting point, is dead. Rep. Jimmy Duncan is retired. This is a smaller group than the handful of libertarian Republicans standing athwart the neocon war machine yelling stop.

♦♦♦

Trump himself bears a great deal of responsibility for this unmet challenge. He has largely delivered the foreign policy of second-term George W. Bush, an improvement only over the first-term variety, though he seems a great deal less pleased about it. He has cycled through defense secretaries and national security advisors, but the endless wars have not yet come to an end. The most important former Trump official and ally who has moved in the right direction on foreign policy is Jeff Sessions; the president is actively campaigning against his return to the Senate. He has not started any new wars, but he has risked escalating some old ones—and, most dangerously, fanned the flames of tension with Iran.

That doesn’t mean Trump’s better instincts on foreign policy have been meaningless. Without them, the Qasem Soleimani killing earlier this year could have easily metastasized into a full-fledged Iraq-style war with Iran. He would not have sacked John Bolton, whom he should never have hired in the first place. He has kept the debate over the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Syria from fading into the background as falling bombs become ambient noise. He has eroded ISIS’s gains without massive new deployments to the Middle East and has stopped short of fighting every side of the Syrian civil war. Trump has also laid bare many of the leftist assumptions that undergird contemporary neoconservatism and sent prominent neocons, whose muggings by reality had apparently worn off, back to their ancestral homes in the Democratic Party.

What Trump hasn’t done is implement a new foreign policy that differs sufficiently from that which gave us the tragedies of Iraq and Libya or create a new talent pool of qualified federal officials who could help a future Republican president do so. With the possible exception of Gaetz, he has not even put the Republicans most aligned with his preferred foreign policy in the best position to succeed him. What does it profit us to move some troops around in northern Syria only to wind up at war in Iran, or to lose Jennifer Rubin as an intermittently conservative blogger at the Washington Post only to gain a President Nikki Haley?

Trump’s biggest positive contribution, like that of TAC founding editor Pat Buchanan before him, is to demonstrate that there is a real constituency for a different policy within the Republican electorate. To be sure, some of it had to do with their credibility with grassroots conservatives and GOP-aligned demographics. It was difficult to caricature Trump or Buchanan, like Jim Webb across the aisle, as uninterested in American national security or interests. They were not, hysteria about Russia or Iraq notwithstanding, “unpatriotic conservatives” in the eyes of rank-and-file Republicans. They were seen as unimpeachably pro-American.

As antiwar conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson explained it in another context, the American people do care if the president keeps them safe. “You can regularly say embarrassing things on television,” he said. “You can hire Omarosa to work at the White House. All of that will be forgiven if you protect your people. But if you don’t protect them—or, worse, if you seem like you can’t be bothered to protect them—then you’re done. It’s over. People will not forgive weakness.” Trump in 2016, like Buchanan in 1996, passed that test in Republicans’ eyes in a way that a liberal George McGovern and most libertarians never could. Ergo Trump sits in the Oval Office while McGovern lost 49 states and the Libertarian Party has never won more than 3.3 percent of the national popular vote.

But it wasn’t just the messenger. The message was a fundamentally conservative one, even if not the stereotypical saber-rattling Republican argumentation. The United States is a great country, but not an embryonic United Nations.

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Get Russian – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on May 6, 2020

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/05/01/get-russian/

Dissent is Russian, or haven’t you heard?

Dissent is Russian.

Peace activism is Russian.

Exposing war crimes is Russian.

Inconveniencing Democrats is Russian.

Tara Reade? Russian.

Julian Assange? Russian.

Jill Stein? Russian.

Tulsi Gabbard? Russian.

Russia? You bet your sweet ass that’s Russian.

Conspiracy theories are Russian.

Alternative media are Russian.

It’s Russian to ask questions.

It’s Russian to reveal objective facts.

It’s Russian to tell the truth.

Truth is Russian in an empire of lies.

If truth is Russian, I don’t want to be Australian.

If truth is Russian, you can call me Svetlana.

If truth is Russian, then I will ascend to the clouds

by climbing a Tolstoy novel,

kicking my feet out in front of me

with my bum low to the ground

balancing a bottle of vodka atop a fur hat

whilst shouting “Stallone was the bad guy in Rocky IV

until my voice is hoarse.

If truth is Russian, then let’s all get Russian.

Get as Russian as possible.

Get aggressively Russian.

Get offensively Russian.

Get Russianly Russian.

Get so Russian it hurts.

Get so Russian they write Palmer Report articles about you.

Get so Russian that Rachel Maddow spits your name like it’s poison.

Get so Russian that Putin calls you and says tone it down.

Get so Russian that Khabib Nurmagomedov has nightmares about fighting you.

Camus said “The only way to deal with an unfree world

is to become so absolutely Russian

that your very existence is an act of rebellion,”

or something like that.

So get Russian, baby.

Fold your arms and get low on the dance floor.

Get low, shorty,

get low, low, low.

Get low,

get low,

and get Russian.

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