KCRA TV is reporting that the Davis, California City Council voted Tuesday evening, after hearing from concerned people at the city council’s meeting, to get rid of the police department’s Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected military vehicle. The police department had obtained the MRAP, which is valued at nearly $700,000, for free recently from the US government.
Will Davis, California one day be seen as the beginning of a nationwide local government backlash against police militarization in the US?
The Boston Globe published this week a guest editorial arguing, as RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul memorably did during a 2011 Republican presidential primary debate in South Carolina, that heroin should be legalized. While the Globe editorial presents strong arguments for heroin legalization, it shies away from discussing the right to use heroin. In contrast, when asked in the debate about legalizing heroin, Paul zeroed in on individual rights, saying that protecting the right to use heroin is part of his commitment to protecting liberty “across-the-board”:
The Globe editorial by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition presents valuable arguments for ending heroin prohibition and merits reading. But, the editorial fails to address the important issue of individuals’ right to choose what they put into their bodies, including substances that alter their perceptions.
You might think that, with the US government debt increasing year after year and bloated US military spending nearly equal to the combined military spending of the rest of the world, the US government would try to find a way to fight the Islamic State without increasing spending. Supposing the US government proceeds with further escalating yet another Middle East war, couldn’t President Barack Obama and Congress at least work together to pay the bill by transferring billions of spare dollars from elsewhere in the vast and wasteful US military and intelligence budgets? How about starting by canning the US government’s mass spying program?
If you are asking these sorts of questions, you obviously do not have the qualifications to serve as a US House of Representatives committee chairman overseeing the distribution of largess to the military-industrial complex.
Ron Paul, speaking Friday with Charles Goyette in their weekly podcast discussion, decries the trend of the US government keeping more and more information secret. Paul also laments that people trying to discover the truth — whether about the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, or other matters regarding which the US government is keeping much information classified and thus out of sight — are disparagingly labeled “truthers.”
Turning things upside down from our nation’s constitutional foundation, Paul notes, the US government now claims excessive secrecy for itself while subjecting Americans to a mass spying program in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Paul, the chairman and founder of RPI, explains in the podcast that the current extensive secretiveness of the US government is inconsistent with the republican form of government that the US Constitution is supposed to guarantee.
Americans’ ability to control the US government and keep its powers limited is restrained by the vast amount of government secrets.
The problem of government secrecy is exacerbated by the attacks people are subjected to when they seek to uncover the truth in areas where the government maintains many secrets. When someone tries to find out the truth about the September 11, 2001 attacks on America or the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, for example, he is sure to be referred to pejoratively with a label such as “conspiracy theorist” or “truther.”
In a similar manner, a person who opposes the US entering into a new war or who supports ending any of the US government’s ongoing sanctions or military actions will be attacked as an “isolationist.”
In a Ron Paul Channel commentary on Wednesday, Ron Paul took issue with aspects of the August 7 New York Times article “Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived?” In particular, Paul argues that the article describes the growing influence of libertarianism wrongly when it pigeonholes libertarianism within the Republican Party. Instead, Paul explains, the crucial issue is Americans’ expanding understanding of libertarian ideas.
Paul explains that a shift toward libertarian ideas becoming dominant in America is arising from a change in the views of Americans and “has nothing to do really with the Republican Party.” The important battle, Paul explains, is between liberty and interventionism, not between Republicans and Democrats.
Sunil Dutta, who has worked 17 years in the Los Angeles Police Department, has some advice for anyone encountering him on the job: do whatever I say and don’t complain, or I will hurt or kill you.
Here is Dutta’s advice, in his own words, from his Tuesday Washington Post editorial:
Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
Revealingly, every action Dutta says a person he confronts should refrain from taking is a nonviolent action. In contrast, every action Dutta says he, as a cop, may take in response is violent — an assault or a murder.
Dutta’s advice amounts to this: Give up on exercising any of your rights — even the right to free speech — and act as an absolute slave when a cop accosts you.
Much American public attention is focused on the US military escalation in Iraq and, to some extent, the rivalry for leadership in that nation where Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has worn out his US government welcome. Among other offenses, Maliki failed to ensure Iraq agreed in 2011 to a status of forces agreement that would have enabled the continued presence of thousands of US troops by protecting them from liability for violations of Iraqi laws.
Americans seem to be paying much less attention to the continuing, drawn-out Afghanistan national election. International reporter and columnist Eric Margolis suggests the election is being orchestrated by the US government to establish a new status of forces agreement with Afghanistan.
Margolis, an RPI Academic Board member, described on the Scott Horton Show this week the covert intrigue behind the Afghan presidential election:
[Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai has proven to be a naughty puppet. He came from central casting — CIA central casting. He was put in power. But, as he stayed in power, he started adopting policies that were more nationalistic than obedient to the US.
The main thing was that the US wanted what is called a status of forces agreement — it’s a fancy word for colonial agreement — that would have allowed US troops to stay on in Afghanistan indefinitely and exempt them from any kind of legal restraints. Karzai wouldn’t agree with this because he wanted to carve himself out a future as a genuine Afghan nationalist leader rather than a cat’s paw of Washington.
But, his term is expiring, so Washington has come up with two other candidates who are both also from central casting. And they fought ostensibly an election, which turned out rigged and unfair. . . Washington is trying to bang their heads together to create some kind of ostensive legitimate Afghan government that will then sign this document allowing the US to stay on for a number of years or forever.
“The American People have the right to know the truth and to know the relationship with the Saudis at the time of the Bush administration,” declared Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) in a Monday discussion with Ron Paul on the Ron Paul Channel. Jones made the comment in support of his US House of Representatives legislation H.Res. 428 that seeks the declassification of 28 pages redacted from a joint House and Senate Intelligence Committees report regarding the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.
Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), who chaired the joint Intelligence Committees investigation that produced the report, explained at a March press conference hosted by Jones and other House supporters of H.Res. 428 that the 28 redacted pages make up an entire chapter that “dealt primarily with who financed 9/11.” Graham further states that thousands of Americans currently litigating against Saudi Arabia and other entities for complicity in the September 11, 2001 attacks have been denied justice in part because of the withholding of information, including the 28 pages, that could sustain the court claims.
Jones asserts in the Ron Paul Channel discussion that the national security justification for classifying these pages of the report is bogus, noting that President Barack Obama appears to be preserving the classification just to protect from embarrassment the George W. Bush administration that originally made the redactions. Jones notes that, despite Obama’s pledge to 9/11 families that Obama would declassify the 28 pages, the president has kept the pages classified.
Former US House of Representatives member and Democratic Party presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, speaking Wednesday with Bill Hemmer on Fox News, explained that “Christians, in effect, are receiving the blowback from the US war against Iraq,” and that further US intervention in that country is not the answer.
Kucinich elaborates that the US government’s invasion and occupation of Iraq starting in 2003 fueled the situation today with the Christian population of Iraq reduced by three-quarters. Kucinich explains that this population reduction arose in large part from Christians, along with people in other religious minorities, being “targeted by jihadists who did not have a presence in Iraq prior to the US invasion.”
Regarding ISIS’ persecution of Christians in Iraq, Kucinich, an RPI Advisory Board member, notes that ISIS has benefited from financial aid from the US and US “allies” including Saudi Arabia, as well as from US-supported training in Jordan. Kucinich additionally suggests that the US Congress should investigate possible ties between the US Central Intelligence Agency and ISIS.
President Barack Obama is encountering no opposition from the top four Democrat and Republican leaders in the House and Senate as he escalates US military action in Iraq with new bombings.
US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has chosen not to comment regarding the matter, just as he did last year regarding a potential US military attack on Syria until he announced his opposition the same day Obama called off the planned attack. The other three top Republican and Democrat leaders in both chambers of Congress have all issued statements supporting the US military’s ongoing bombings in Iraq.