Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Roman Empire II?

By Mike Rozeff

Pompeo’s speech today, making 12 demands upon Iran while threatening new sanctions, exemplifies an America trapped in the empire of its government’s making. Americans are hostages who have acquiesced. We can only escape our bonds by ending the empire.

Once an empire expands to take in numerous lands beyond the borders of its core country, its government (in this case, the U.S.) finds that its defense requires removing threats and potential threats in a host of places that are far from the core country, which is America, taking in these 50 states.

Pompeo says at the outset: “President Trump withdrew from the deal for a simple reason: it failed to guarantee the safety of the American people from the risk created by the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Pompeo misstates the reality. The American people or this country consisting of the 50 states, faces no safety risk from Iran. It’s the government, the U.S., that perceives the risk. America is not the U.S.; the U.S. is the government of America.
Although America, if it were shorn of its empire, and were reduced to its 50 states, faces no safety risk or military threat whatsoever from the IRI, when America is viewed as an empire with numerous overseas allies and obligations, then its leaders sense all sorts of distant threats and act against them. America is then trapped in the empire created by its own government, the U.S.

Pompeo and the rest of the foreign policy and defense establishment are men and women of empire. The Congress is too. This means that they do not act on behalf of America and Americans. They act on behalf of the empire. They are always giving us Americans a song and dance that they’re acting for our own good, our safety.
Iran presents absolutely no threat to America. By the U.S. empire, however, it’s conceived as a threat to its interests. America is trapped by its acquiescence to the U.S., which is the government controlling the empire.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bravo Hungary!!

By Free West Media

It is well-known that Hungary put up a border fence, but how does it really work to keep migrants out? It appears to be a multiple-layer border fence stopping illegal migration to the country almost totally. The legal framework is nothing short of astounding.

The main ruse of all Soros-funded NGOs is constant litigation. Today, most illegal immigrants enter countries in the EU legally but overstay or violate whatever visa they may have obtained.

When the illegals get detained waiting for a deportation trial, lawyers employed by NGOs funded by billionaire George Soros, have unlimited funds to plead for their release.

The litigation overcrowds detention centers, because the longer the deportation legal process takes, the fewer deportations can be carried out.

If the detention center overflows, the authorities have no other option but to let the low-risk migrants back into the population where they disappear. This is called catch-and-release, done to prevent the system from becoming overburdened.

The genius solution of the Viktor Orbán government to this particular problem, is that the border fence is not actually on the border. It is situated a few meters from it. So there is a strip of land which is legally Hungary, before the migrants hit the fence.

In some zones, the border fence cuts deep into Hungarian territory, creating large areas of Hungary outside of the fence. These are called “transit zones”.
When a migrant is caught inside Hungary, he is instantly transferred to the transit zone, through one of the gates. This act is not deportation, but detention as the migrant is still in Hungary.

Lawyers from these NGOs can do nothing to intervene since there are no legal remedies available to migrants inside Hungary, technically speaking.
The migrant is able is approach one of the barracks set up inside these zones where he could present an asylum request, wait for its processing and the subsequent court appeal if he is rejected.

The point is that while the migrant is waiting, he is outside of the fence, so he is not actually in Hungary, although legally he is.

The zone has no fence on the border side, so migrants are free to leave that way – back to where they came from. This measure obviously prevents overcrowding. Most migrants do not wait around for their trials, but go back to try to cross the border somewhere where it is easier to get into the EU.

But by not being present for a trial, the case is then dismissed.
So it does not matter how long it takes before a migrant is legally deported from Hungary, because he never entered Hungary and never burdened the state, since most of them leave the zone.

Posted by  ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Inequality!!

By Thomas Woods

I just finished reading an article on "the new American aristocracy" in The Atlantic. The subtitle included this predictable reproof: "You're probably part of the problem."

It's the usual breast-beating about inequality, and -- of course -- the out-of-hand rejection of the possibility that some folks may make better decisions than others.

No, no, citizen. Why, to think that way would be to "blame the victim"!

(I've discussed the numbers and the details of inequality numerous times on the Tom Woods Show, incidentally.)

We are instead to believe that tens of millions of Americans are the passive victims of an impersonal "system" that keeps them down. All the responsibility and good behavior in the world can't deliver them from this wily trap, we are solemnly assured.

Naturally there are plenty of cases of people who through no fault of their own are in precarious situations, and in my personal life I've been all too happy to help those people.

But we are truly delusional if we do not recognize that some people hold juvenile, even destructive ideas about money, wealth, and work, and that this is why they do not make progress.

Time after time I've tried to help people we've come across who have struggled financially. And in all but one case, the money did no good. A lack of money was only superficially their problem.

The Atlantic complains about schools and their alleged lack of resources. But the schools do not lack resources -- $12K per student per year ought to be plenty to convey basic knowledge to students, yet surveys of American adults reveal them to be woefully ignorant of even the basics of science, history, or politics.

Meanwhile, the student population has increased by about eight percent since 1970, but nonteaching staff has increased by a mind-boggling 130 percent.

That's not the one percent's fault.

As for this being a uniquely difficult time to be alive, I've consistently dissented.

On my podcast I advertise a service I deeply believe in: Skillshare, which offers access to over 20,000 classes, each of which will make you a more in-demand professional, or will teach you a skill you can use to make a living. (The deal they're running now is two months' access for 99 cents.)

They don't pay me anything for mentioning them in this email, of course. But they're such a great example that I can't restrain myself.

Likewise, Udemy lets you take top-notch courses on anything under the sun. Here again you can learn a marketable skill in your spare time, from the comfort of your home.

This -- and a million other novelties like it -- is a veritable miracle. Nobody had opportunities like this before today. We cannot let the inequality hysteria distract us from these extraordinary advances.

Oddly enough, the article admits the following:

"In total population, average life expectancy, material wealth, artistic expression, rates of violence, and almost every other measure that matters for the quality of human life, the modern world is a dramatically different place than anything that came before."

So the moment you've decided to complain is the moment in history where world economies can support more people than ever before, and where the indicators of human well-being are at all-time highs?

But then we get this:


"Historians offer many complicated explanations for this happy turn in human events—the steam engine, microbes, the weather—but a simple answer precedes them all: equality."

Wait, so you're not even going to mention the historians who think economic freedom might have had a teensy bit to do with this explosion of wealth? Not so much as a word about that?

Or there's Deirdre McCloskey, who argues that it was an ideological change, a change in the way in which we view commerce and the people who engage in it, that made this extraordinary world possible.

Nope. "Microbes" and "the weather" are what we're told about.

But the idea that equality yielded us all this is most preposterous of all.

Equality in the sense that no artificial barrier prevents someone from rising above his original station is certainly important, but this is never the kind of equality the folks at The Atlantic have in mind.

In fact, the explosion in wealth that is conceded in the article occurred in the face of tremendous inequality.

Ludwig von Mises noted that in the old days, the rich man traveled in a coach-and-four, while the poor man traveled on foot. Today, the rich man travels in a fancy car while the poor man travels in a beat-up car.

That represents a dramatic decrease in inequality.


Average people now enjoy amenities that the richest monarchs of Europe could scarcely have imagined.

The world's greatest orchestras can be piped into our homes at the push of a button. The great works of literature are a mouse click away. We can take courses from the world's greatest universities without paying a dime.

Let that sink in. It's like science fiction.

And our complaint is that some people are really rich?

All of us are rich.

All of us -- even our poorest -- enjoy living standards and opportunities for enrichment that should make us full of joy and gratitude to be alive.

How dare we be ungrateful or envious.


The things I do on my laptop to support my family would have been inconceivable even 20 years ago.



Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The New Policing

Your humble editor finds this posting more disturbing than usual for reasons related to nostalgia for "the way we were".
By Charles Goyette

We are all the beneficiaries of former CIA senior official Ray McGovern’s participation in the public debate. The more visibility he has, the more people that hear him, the better I like it.

I still treasure the moment when Ray confronted then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about his Iraq war lies.

In the opening days of the elective war on Iraq Rumsfeld had made the outlandish claim the he knew where the non-existent WMDs were. When McGovern confronted the Pentagon chief in 2006 at a public forum in Atlanta, Rumsfeld pivoted to the brazen denial, insisting that he had said no such a thing – never mind that this is the electronic media age, and all anyone had to do was “roll the tape” to watch Rumsfeld’s balderdash.
 Rumsfeld on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, March 2003: “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.”

I was especially glad to see Rumsfeld held to account, because my employer at the time, broadcast giant Clear Channel Communications, had “suspended” me for a day from my prime time talk show for calling Rumsfeld “the worst secretary of Defense since Robert Strange McNamara.”

Rumsfeld was eventually squeezed out of office when a growing number of admirals and generals, retired and with nothing to lose, began to complain about his incompetence.

Ray McGovern distinguished himself again last week at the Senate confirmation hearing for Trump’s torturer, Bloody Gina Haspel, to head the CIA.

While the evidence-destroying Haspel was untouched during her appearance before the Senate committee, Ray McGovern, who has actually served his country with integrity, was wrestled to the floor and dragged out.  See it HERE.

Take note of the way the thugs who took Ray down immediately began shouting the mantra “Stop resisting arrest.” They are

trained like performing seals to do this so that prosecutors can pile up phony charges. Watch the 78-year old Ray being swarmed and see if there is anything other than someone protecting himself from being dragged about and roughed up. But if a defendant as much as raises his hands to protect his face, or if his limbs don’t contort in the way the detaining thugs demand, the petty authoritarian’s catch-all charge of resisting arrest is waiting in the wings.

My friend Marc Victor, the best known criminal defense attorney in Arizona, is admired for his professional skill, tenacity, and principles.  Marc has represented more than 2,000 defendants, numerous high-profile cases, federal and state alike. His law firm, Attorneys for Freedom, is staffed with attorneys who share Marc’s pro-freedom views. And yet for all his experience, Marc confesses that it wasn’t until he had his own run in with goons shouting the obligatory “stop resisting arrest,” that he really understood the depth of the criminal justice system’s dark side.
Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Swiss Push Back

From Ammoland.com

Fairfax, VA – As NRA-ILA reported on April 27, peaceful Switzerland is in the crosshairs of international and domestic gun control advocates who are intent on abolishing the idyllic nation’s tradition of an armed citizenry. Using the 2017 changes to the European Firearms Directive as justification, these foreign and home-grown forces are attempting to burden the tranquil republic with gun controls the Swiss people have continually rejected. However, as was pointed out in a recent Bloomberg article, many Swiss citizens are refusing to take this assault on their inalienable rights and national sovereignty lying down.

In the Swiss tradition of neutrality, Switzerland is not a member of the European Union. However, Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Agreement, which created the Schengen Area. Schengen Area states have abolished the international border checks between them and permit the free movement of people throughout the area.

As members of the Schengen Area, non-EU members Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein are obligated to comply with certain EU laws. In 2017, the EU imposed further firearms restrictions on its Member States when it enacted a new version of the European Firearms Directive. Under the European Firearms Directive, all Member States, and those under the Schengen Agreement, are required to meet a minimum threshold of gun restrictions. The 2017 update enacted more stringent firearms registration and licensing requirements, and re-categorized certain types of semi-automatic firearms and their magazines in a way that nearly prohibits civilian possession.

The Swiss Federal Council has put forward gun control legislation that would bring the country’s gun laws in line with the new Firearms Directive, contending that the onerous new rules would require “little effort” from gun owners.
As NRA-ILA previously noted and the Bloomberg piece reiterates, Swiss gun rights group ProTell and the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) are leading the charge against the new legislation.
Referencing a Firearms Directive provision that would make it harder for Swiss citizens to possess semi-automatic firearms and the Swiss tradition of permitting members of the militia to possess their military rifle after service, Bloomberg quoted ProTell Secretary-General Robin Udry as stating, “It would mean that the day you leave the army, you’re no longer trusted with your SIG 550 and treated like a potential terrorist or criminal.”Udry went on to explain, “In Switzerland, these kind of guns are all very well-controlled, so why should we now accept legislation from the EU when we don’t have this problem?”

In a piece for the SVP website, National Councilor David Zuberbühler outlined the party’s position on the new EU gun law. Zuberbühler explained that complying with the new rules would result in more bureaucracy and less security, by requiring the Swiss cantons to establish large and costly administrative schemes. Noting that the new restrictions would do nothing to combat terrorism, the councilor explained that violent criminals would acquire their weapons on the black market. Zuberbühler also pointed out that in 2011 Swiss citizens had the opportunity to adopt strict gun controls through a referendum. These gun restrictions were rejected at the polls.

Further, there is increasing evidence that Swiss citizens are gearing up for a fight. According to English-language Swiss news site Swissinfo.ch, ProTell membership rose 44 percent from June 2017 to April 2018, fueled by opposition to the new EU gun restrictions. The site quoted interim ProTell President Jean-Luc Addor, who said, “This increase shows that more and more citizens are worried about their rights and freedoms in this country.”Confident in the Swiss people’s respect for their right to keep and bear arms, ProTell has warned politicians that it is prepared to gather the 50,000 signatures necessary to hold a referendum to reject the new EU gun laws.

As with other attempts to exert national sovereignty in the face of the EU superstate, some have resorted to fear tactics to force the Swiss to comply with the new Firearms Directive. According to the Bloomberg piece, Pierre-Alain Fridez of the Swiss Socialist party has warned that if the Swiss do not capitulate, they would be thrown “out of Schengen” and would “lose the freedom of movement.” Swedish Green Party Member of European Parliament Bodil Valero had a similar warning, stating that a failure to comply “would drive a wedge between the EU and Switzerland and could lead to sanction measures.”

Director of the Global Studies Institute at the University of Geneva Rene Schwok offered a more measured take on the potential referendum. Schwok explained, “The Federal Council and the parliaments will ultimately not automatically abandon Schengen just because of this vote…They will try to negotiate an arrangement with Brussels.”
NRA-ILA will continue to monitor Swiss gun rights supporters’ battle to preserve their republican heritage of an armed citizenry and will apprise our members of the latest developments in this vital fight for freedom.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Monday, May 14, 2018

U.S. Spin Machine State Department

By Michael Rozeff

The new Secretion [sic] of State wants a new map of the Meddle East. To that end, he’s trumpeting propaganda on Iran, such as:
“I think Rouhani and Zarif need to explain why it’s the case that while this agreement was in place, Iran continued its march across the Middle East.”
What march? There hasn’t been any Iranian march! If Iran had invaded anyone, the noise at the U.N. would have been deafening.

By contrast, the U.S. marched, flew, drove, rolled and sailed into Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

If anyone is on the march in the Meddle East, it is the U.S.

Besides, the Iran nuclear deal didn’t preclude either Iran or the U.S. from altering their political, economic and military influence in other countries. Pompeo’s rhetoric is totally fraudulent. The new Secretion of State comes across as a man fond of deception.

Pompeo lies. He claims Iran has “now fired missiles into an airport where Americans travel each day in Riyadh.” Those responsible for firing missiles at Riyadh’s airport haven’t been identified as Iranians. A Reuters report says otherwise: “Yemen’s Houthis fired a salvo of ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia’s capital on Wednesday.”

Pompeo knows he’s exaggerating, misleading and lying. His purpose is to create an image of Iran that’s so negative that Trump can have a free hand in choosing Iranian targets to attack, and can place Iran on the defensive, and can justify Israeli attacks, and can justify Saudi forces in Syria.

Iran definitely has advanced its influence in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and what’s left of Palestine ever since the U.S. lost its control of Iran in 1979. So what? Let these countries deal with their own affairs. U.S. meddling and missteps in the Meddle East going back for 70+ years have brought about its own loss of influence.

There was never good reason, including oil security, for the U.S. to have gotten so deeply involved in this region. The price of oil security has been demonstrably exorbitant. There has never been good reason for the U.S. to aim at controlling Meddle East governments, supplying vast armaments, participating in wars, all the while choosing up allies and making enemies. The entire project of empire and oil security has been fruitless. To continue this posture now with the aim of controlling Iran’s aspirations is equally irrational.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Another Lost War About to Begin?

By Eric Margolis

Israel launched waves of air attacks and ground shelling on a score of alleged Iranian military positions in Syria this week.   Was this a big step forward in the plan by Israel’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his ally Donald Trump to provoke a major war with Iran?

It certainly looks so.  The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all recently suffered a stinging defeat in Syria. Their campaign to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus by using the rag-tag ISIS movement, then Sunni Muslim jihadist wild men, was defeated by the Syrian Army, backed by Russian air power, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and some Iranian militia groups and army advisors.

Israel now claims to have wiped out more than a score of Iranian positions in Syria.  As far as we can tell, these were minor logistics or communications facilities, not the backbone of a supposed Iranian offensive against Israel.

In fact, the alleged Iranian rocket barrage was directed at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that were illegally annexed and occupied after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and are still held, legally, as part of Syria. Israel is very nervous about having world attention drawn to its continued occupation of the strategic Golan Heights from which Israeli heavy artillery can reach Damascus.

But now that the Trump administration has fallen fully under the influence of the pro-war neocons, an attempt to overthrow the Iranian government appears highly likely, using both military intervention and intensified economic warfare.

Iran has been under siege by the US since the American/British installed shah was overthrown by a popular revolution in 1979. The CIA and Britain’s MI6 have mounted numerous attempts to oust the Islamic Republic and re-install a client ruler.

Ironically, the ‘democratic’ western powers – the US, Britain and France – rely on medieval monarchs and dictators to control the Mideast while democratic politicians and movements are ignored.  Iran, in spite of its many rigidities and failings, remains one of the region’s more democratic states.   Ask our Saudi or Kuwaiti allies when was the last time they held a real election?

The failure of western intelligence services to provoke serious uprisings in Iran (or Russia), means that the military option is increasingly tempting.   This probably means provoking military clashes with Iran in the Gulf leading to full-scale attacks on its nuclear infrastructure and industry.   US warplanes and warships are actively probing Iran’s borders.  In addition, US forces are getting ever more deeply involved in the Yemen War.

When the US last considered a major attack on Iran during the Bush years, the Pentagon (which opposed the idea) estimated it would need 2,800 air strikes against Iran on Day One alone.

Many of the same war party crowd that engineered the 2003 US invasion of Iraq are now running the Trump administration.  Their goal is to cripple Iran and leave the Mideast to joint Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli control.

Recall President George W. Bush’s assertion that once he had crushed Iraq the next targets of US military intervention would be Lebanon, Syria, Iran and then Pakistan.

Invading Iran would not be easy.  Iran has very little capability to project power beyond its borders.  Its air force, artillery and tanks are decrepit.  America controls the skies from Morocco to Afghanistan.  Iran is vulnerable to raids and small incursions but subjugating this large, mountainous nation of 80 million would be very difficult.

In fact, and Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander once told me, ‘let the Americans invade. They will break their teeth on Iran.’  Over-confidence, of course, but he had a point.  Fighting on the defensive in urban areas, Iran could offer fierce resistance.

America’s imperial machine, like its British Imperial predecessor, likes small, easy wars against small, backwards nations.  Iran would be very different.

As we have just seen with North Korea, Iran’s best survival strategy, short of security guarantees by Russia and China, would be to race to produce a small number of nuclear weapons to deter attacks by the US and Israel.

Europe, which co-sponsored the Iran nuclear act and is now humiliated by Trump reneging on the deal, is too weak and disorganized to guarantee the pact and stand up to Washington.  This is too bad.  Now would have been a fine time for the EU to assert its independence from US hegemony and begin building its own independent European military forces.

Posted by ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ