Dear Congress: Hold On to That Fear

Dear Congresspersons and Senators,

This letter is about that nauseating, trembling fear you felt when that hate exploded at you on January 6. Please don’t forget it. Journal about it before it fades. Tolerate the nightmares. Keep pen and paper on your nightstand to record what woke you from screaming fits. Don’t block it out. Don’t let it go.

If you can bank those emotions you had as you huddled together and hoped the doors would hold, that day may turn out to be a blessing for you…and even better for our republic. In fact, it may just be the thing that saves our republic if that is still possible.

The fear you felt that day was an authentic, if brief, reflection of what millions of people have endured because of the votes you and your past colleagues cast in that very room, sitting in those very chairs, as they authorized trillions upon trillions of dollars to feed and unleash the largest war machine on Earth.

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A Defense of the Peaceful Transfer of War-Making Power

Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausevitz famously said that “war is a continuation of politics by other means.” I think we can reverse this: politics is war by other means. The ultimate aim of politics (in the narrow sense of the word; there’s a more elevated philosophical sense) is what Frederic Bastiat called “legal plunder.”

Other thinkers have elaborated this idea. Franz Oppenheimer’s book The State comes to mind. Oppenheimer influenced Albert Jay Nock, Frank Chodorov, Murray Rothbard, and through them the modern libertarian movement. Oppenheimer distinguished work – which he called the “economic means” – from robbery – the “political means.”

A gang can raid a group of productive people, steal their stuff, and ride off to the next community to plunder anew. Or it can stay around and keep looting the same people. Now people tend not to like this and won’t be terribly productive. So to pull this off, the gang will need to convince the people that the arrangement is for their own good. The gang will promise to protect them from other gangs (which it will surely want to do) and provide other services that will tend to keep the people quiescent. The booty they will be deprived of will be relabeled taxes.

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There’s Nothing Vegan About War

There has never been a better time to be vegan. From plant-based options popping up at national restaurant chains to faux-leather fashion on the runway, anything you can do, we can do vegan – including go to war?

It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true: painting itself as plant-based is the new favorite tactic of the international war machine. On January 1, Democratic Majority for Israel made a tweet bragging about the many alternatives to animal products utilized by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in 2020. VegNews, the biggest vegan outlet in the world, rang in the new year with praise of the South Korean military’s recent decision to offer meatless meals to enlistees.

This trend started long before 2021. Though the US military has been reluctant to explicitly appeal to vegans, its enlistees frequently do advertising of their own: PETA shared an interview with a vegan soldier in 2011. VegNews routinely runs articles in praise of militaries around the world, from Switzerland to Finland to, again, Israel. Israel is particularly adept at marketing to vegan tourists, and the IDF has followed suit with its soldiers.

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BringOurTroopsHome.US Praises Rep. Cori Bush for Signing War Powers Pledge

On Monday BringOurTroopsHome.US, an organization composed of veterans of the Global War on Terror and their civilian allies, praised last week’s swearing-in of Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri. As a candidate, freshman Democrat Rep. Bush was proud to sign our Congressional War Powers Protection Pledge.

The pledge stipulates that the signer will exercise Congress’ Article I Section 8 constitutional authority to debate and vote on declarations of war before engaging our soldiers in active combat operations. While presidents may respond to sudden attacks against U.S. territory or our armed forces, it is the duty of the people’s representative body to deliberate, approve or reject the deployment of our armed forces overseas.

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A Malevolent Decision That Will Kill Countless Yemenis

From The American Conservative:

The Trump administration is moving ahead with the disastrous decision to label the Houthis a foreign terrorist organization:

The Trump administration is preparing to designate Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi insurgents a terrorist organization before leaving office in January, fueling fears the move will disrupt international aid efforts and upend United Nations-brokered peace efforts between the Shiite movement and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, according to several diplomatic sources.

The U.N. and international relief agencies have tried to dissuade the Trump administration from designating the Houthis a foreign terrorist organization, but the apparently imminent decision would give U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo another victory in his anti-Iran strategy as he visits Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates this week. Riyadh, which has been at war with the Houthis for over five years, has already designated the Houthis a terrorist organization and has been urging Washington to do the same.

Parts of Yemen are already suffering from famine, and millions more could experience the same if this designation goes ahead. The effect that this decision will have on the civilian population is horrifying to contemplate. That is why international aid organizations, the UN, and virtually everyone that has been following the conflict in Yemen have been pleading with the Trump administration not to do this. It would be an exceptionally cruel and destructive act, and it also makes no sense on the merits.

Scott Paul of Oxfam reacted to the news earlier tonight:

We cannot forget about the ongoing disaster that our government’s support for the war on Yemen has created, and with this terrorist designation the US is set to make an already appalling humanitarian crisis so much worse. Because most of Yemen’s population lives in Houthi-controlled territory, and the Houthis function as the de facto government, a terrorist designation amounts to full-on economic warfare against the people of Yemen. The FTO designation is the harshest measure that Pompeo could choose, and it shows that he is aiming for causing maximum harm for its own sake.

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‘One State Is a Game Changer’: A Conversation with Ilan Pappe and Awad Abdelfattah on the One Democratic State Campaign

As the US ruling elites have fully succumbed to Israel’s political discourse on Palestine, the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may feel that it, alone, is capable of determining the future of the Palestinian people.

This conclusion is, perhaps, gleaned from Israel’s behavior in recent years and months. The expansion of illegal Jewish settlements, the plan to annex large swathes of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the entrenching of the existing system of apartheid and perpetual colonialism are all evidence that demonstrates Israel’s renewed sense of empowerment.

Israel is further emboldened by the fact that the so-called "international community" has, thus far, failed to challenge American and Israeli intransigency. The European Union, which is fighting for its own identity, let alone survival, is proving to be a marginal force in Israel and Palestine. Without American guidance, the EU seems incapable of leading its own independent initiatives.

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