Sen. Rand Paul argues for stopping US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar.
Shortly after, the Senate voted down bills to block these arm sales. The bills were expected to pass, but following the unattributed attack on two Oman oil tankers this morning, some senators switched sides to kill the bills.
Just as the prime minister of Japan was in an historic visit to Iran (the first since the 1979 revolution), a Japanese-owned tanker (and one other) was attacked in the Persian Gulf. US neocons are pointing the finger at Iran. Does it make sense to attack Japan in the midst of productive talks? Will the propaganda machine ramp up war talk? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
You might hope that at least the United States Libertarian Party could be counted on not to support the US government’s effort to install its chosen politician as president of Venezuela. Oh well. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Earlier this month, a “Dear Libertarian” letter from party chairman Nicholas Sarwark appeared on the Libertarian Party’s website in which Sarwark promotes viewing a video by Kyle Varner – described by Sarwark as a party member – in which Varner delivers the US government’s regime change line in regard to the South America country.
In the video, Varner, purporting to speak for the Libertarian Party and all libertarians, compares Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro to Adolf Hitler, places the blame on the Venezuela government for problems in the country while neglecting to mention US sanctions or any other US government efforts that contribute to suffering in the Venezuela, and praises Juan Guaidó who is seeking to overthrow the Venezuela government and who the US government has been calling the “interim president” of Venezuela.
Antiwar.com’s lawsuit against the FBI is going into its 7th year. Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the appeal on the Privacy Act violations. The FBI failed to expunge the records of an investigation they found where Antiwar.com’s activities were completely covered by the 1st Amendment.
The co-plantiffs were Antiwar.com’s founders Justin (Dennis) Raimondo and Eric Garris.
ACLU attorney Vasudha Talla argued that the FBI had no reason to maintain the files when there was no criminality after the investigation concluded.
The case was filed in 2013, and Antiwar.com had victories on two issues in the case: the court ordered the FBI to amend their files when Antiwar.com co-founder Eric Garris was placed on a terror watch list in error; the FBI also agreed to give Antiwar.com access to all the records of the investigation without redaction, and paid $300,000 to the ACLU lawyers.
Today’s hearing went quite well, with the judges clearly hostile to the arguments by the FBI’s attorney. Below is the video of the one-hour hearing. It is worth watching.
In an unfolding scandal you won’t much hear about in the mainstream media, the US State Department has been caught funding NGOs that are attacking Americans who express opposition to the neocon policy of confrontation with Iran. This is beyond just propaganda and into the realm of actual attacks – exactly the tactics the US decries in authoritarian regimes overseas. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
"What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. …Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
~ Elbridge Gerry, Fifth Vice President of the United States
All too often, government-produced defense is discussed as an ideal – a force that protects people and their rights. Seldom does reality enter the picture. Standing armies, after all, often do not only practice defense.
Once established, a government’s military, its bureaucrats and leaders, as well as laymen all face a different set of incentives. Those with a job related to the military have an incentive to keep their job. In most cases, they probably also desire to see the scope of their power expanded and their pay increased. The support for war then, is the ideal policy for achieving those goals. These incentives may not transform a champion of peace into a war-loving bureaucrat, but they can have effects on the margins. It’s much easier to rationalize a war if your job depends on it.