No Dissent Heard as House and Senate Quickly Approve $225 million for Israel War

On Friday, the last day before the annual congressional August recess, new legislation (H.J.Res. 76) was introduced on the US Senate floor and rushed to passage in both the Senate and US House. The legislation gives the Israel government another $225 million dollars for the Iron Dome system Israel is using in the ongoing Israel-Palestine war.

On the Senate floor the speakers line-up of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), along with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), lauded the legislation before it passed by a voice vote.

No opposition was voiced on the Senate floor.

In the House, the entire consideration of the legislation on the House floor consumed less than two minutes and included no substantive comments whatsoever regarding the legislation.

When the roll call vote occurred later in the evening, the legislation passed in the House by a vote of 395 to 8.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Eric Cantor Leaving US House for Wall Street Millions?

Did former US House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announce his resignation from the House so he can speed up private negotiations to make the big bucks in the financial industry? That is the suggestion of a new Politico article.

The Politico article also indicates that Wall Street is already knocking on Cantor’s door and quotes a “headhunter” who says Cantor has “relevant talents”:

Cantor has not made any public comments about what he will do next or if he has already decided his next move.

However, GOP insiders said Cantor has already been approached by a number of K Street lobby shops, companies and Wall Street firms, but has not engaged in any serious negotiations with any of these potential suitors at this point, according to several sources familiar with the conversations.

‘He will have opportunities in the traditional Washington political world,’ said Nels Olson, a top headhunter at Korn Ferry. ‘I think he could have Wall Street, investment banks or private equity firms interested given his relevant talents.’

While Cantor would be widely sought after in Washington, he is more seriously considering potential hedge fund, private equity or big bank opportunities, according to sources familiar with his post-Congress thinking.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — who replaced Cantor as House Majority Leader and who Cantor described in his Thursday House floor farewell speech as “my closest confidant and my good friend” — pipes up in the article that Cantor “knows financial markets well.”

When and how did Cantor gain this knowledge that the Politico article suggests will help him land a million dollars-plus salary on Wall Street?

An answer to that question is not apparent. But, any Wall Street firm or firms that hire Cantor will not have to provide a justification that satisfies curious onlookers.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Former Commission Heads Endorse Rep. Walter Jones’ 9/11 Declassification Bill

Answering an audience member’s question at a July 22 Washington, DC event, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton — who were, respectively, the chair and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission that published its report ten years ago this month—spoke in favor of making public 28 redacted pages in the December 2002 report of a joint House and Senate Intelligence Committees investigation of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Kean and Hamilton have thus endorsed the call in Rep. Walter Jones’ H.Res. 428 for the president to make public these pages of the congressional report that have been redacted for over 11 years.

Kean and Hamilton, along with the other members of their 9/11 Commission, also called this week for making public much of the classified documents related to their own commission’s investigation.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson Exposes the CIA’s Ongoing Cover-Up of Torture War Crimes

Former US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson discussed in detail, as a guest Sunday on Background Briefing with Ian Masters, a “major cover-up” in progress, with the US Central Intelligence Agency altering a still unreleased Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture.

The alterations, Wilkerson explains, are intended to protect people, including high level CIA and State Department officials Cofer Black, John Brennan, and George Tenet, who Wilkerson thinks participated in war crimes “unlike some stalwarts and courageous people at CIA [who] refused to participate” in the torture program.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Robert Higgs: The Many Costs of War

The deaths, injuries, and property destruction of battles are obvious costs of war as is all the money spent on weapons, soldiers, and other expenses directly related to battles. Less well understood by many people are the many other war costs, including costs imposed on people who may never be near a battlefield but just live in a nation at war.

RPI Academic Board Member Robert Higgs explores in an informative Ludwig von Mises Institute lecture on Thursday many of these often overlooked or misunderstood costs.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

‘Hard-Core Libertarian’ Austin Petersen’s Advice for ‘Soviet’ Ron Paul

Austin Petersen, who describes himself in the introduction to his Freedom Report Podcast as a “hard-core libertarian” who cares about “pure freedom,” is upset that Ron Paul wrote an editorial expressing skepticism regarding the US government’s and media’s line on the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight in Ukraine.

Petersen, indeed, provides in his Wednesday podcast some advice for Paul: No more of that saying what you think stuff. If you do that, you might make some people uncomfortable, and the media might even run negative headlines!

Petersen’s advice brings to mind former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani challenging Paul to “withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean it,” when Paul discussed “blowback” from US foreign intervention during a 2007 presidential debate. By answering Giuliani with more education about the history of US foreign interventions and blowback instead of backing down, Paul, then a US House of Representatives member from Texas, took the limelight of the debate in a manner that strengthened his campaign and expanded his educational reach.

Petersen says Paul “sounds like he hates America” because — get this — an article concerning Paul’s editorial was published with the headline “Ron Paul Defends Russia After Malaysian Plane Crash.” That gives you an idea of the lack of logic involved in Petersen’s presentation. Just to be crystal clear, Paul wrote neither that headline nor the article it accompanies.

Defending Russia is synonymous with hating America only among the people who relentlessly try to depict Russia as an enemy of the United States, not among libertarians who value peace, communication, and commerce internationally.

Also, there is no reason to conclude from Paul’s editorial, or even from the headline of the article concerning the editorial, that Paul endorses everything the Russia government does.

Petersen in his podcast even presents an absurd discussion of how media cannot get away with publishing misleading headlines. The reality, as Paul knows from experience, is that, when media decides to attack you, media can mischaracterize you in multiple headlines in a single day. Petersen, not apparently willing to let reality interfere with making a point, says this does not happen.

Petersen, who touts his experience “in the media” to encourage people to accept the nonsense he is proclaiming, gives Paul’s famous “blowback” confrontation with Giuliani as an example of how Paul sometimes makes counterproductive statements. Of course this confrontation in which Paul forcefully and succinctly explains that people want to attack America because of the US government’s foreign interventions was a huge boost to Paul’s presidential campaign, the spreading of Paul’s message, and the creating and motivating of activists for non-intervention and respect for liberty.

Elsewhere in the interview Petersen lets slip that his disagreement with Paul regarding Paul’s “blowback” debate within a debate with Giuliani is not just based on a “message marketing strategy” difference of opinion. Instead, Petersen in fact takes Giuliani’s side in the debate. Petersen explains:

…people probably hate us around the world not because of our arrogance necessarily, although that may be part of it. The people probably hate us because they’re a bunch of socialist backwaterers and they’re jealous of our success. Now, people uh libertarians one of their favorite things is to make fun of the statement that George Bush made about “oh, they hate us for our freedoms.” And it’s funny, you know it sounds jingoistic and sounds just overly simplistic, but, the more you delve into the foreign policy history of the United States and into the war on terror specifically and the actors in the war on terror, the more you realize that there are actually people who do despise us for our freedoms.

Petersen proceeds along this line of thought further, never giving any credit to Paul’s side of the debate.

People seeking more information regarding US foreign intervention and blowback can read some or all of the books Paul recommended to Secretary of State John Kerry in March, including Robert Pape’s Dying to Win that provides an analysis of the motivation for suicide attacks.

Petersen also complains that Paul is using the same rhetoric as did “Soviet apparatchiks.” Oh no — rhetoric cooties!

If we abandon every form of argumentation Vladimir Lenin — just one Soviet political leader — used in his voluminous communications, we may well be left with little means of arguing at all.

The only real point of Petersen’s complaint is to associate with Paul through proximity the disconcerting term “Soviet apparatchik.” Petersen’s Soviet smear is just a “gotcha” turn of phrase; it is not an exercise in logic.

The “Soviet apparatchik” non-argument is a deceptive two-fer for Petersen. At the same time it illogically smears a champion of freedom with endorsing the defunct Soviet Union, it similarly equates in people’s minds the current Russian government with that of the defunct Soviet Union. The low-grade trick even seems to work on Petersen in his own presentation, with him having to correct himself after referring to Russia as the Soviet Union.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Eric Margolis: ‘Blame for this Bloodbath Sits as Much With the US as it Does With Israel’

International affairs writer and RPI Academic Board Member Eric Margolis, interviewed Monday on the Scott Horton Show, concludes regarding Israel’s military attack on and invasion of Gaza that “the blame for this bloodbath sits as much with the US as it does with Israel” and that the US government could end the war “in a minute” if it had the “political will.”

Expanding on the analysis in his article “David v. Goliath in Gaza” from earlier this month, Margolis states that President Barack Obama could effectively order Israel to end the attack on Gaza that is supported by US aid and weapons, but suggests Obama will not do so for electoral reasons:

Well, the president has the power to do it, but he doesn’t have the will. You know elections are now on the horizon. Democrats are worried. Republicans are beating the war drums. So, typically, the minute elections appear on the radar scope, the Israelis get away with whatever they want to do, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

[Israel Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, what he was really afraid of was that an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank had come a step closer after the Hamas-PLO accord, and this was his way of breaking it. I think he has done it very successfully with this attack on Gaza.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: Reject ‘Raving Maniac’ John McCain; Cooler Heads Can Create Ukraine Peace

While Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is using the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger airplane to justify his call for escalating US military support for the Ukraine government, RPI Academic Board Member Lawrence Wilkerson counters that the key to creating a neutral, at peace, and more prosperous Ukraine is for “cooler heads” to prevail over the calls for military escalation made by people including McCain, whom Wilkerson calls a “raving maniac.”

Wilkerson explains in a Real News Network Interview on Sunday his recommendation of how these cooler heads can end the fighting in Ukraine, saying:

What we need to do — Putin, the European Union, and the United States and the Ukrainians of any type, separatists or in the east or west, Crimea, Odessa, or wherever — is stop this business of killing one another and seek a political solution to the problem. I’ve said before, we need to have a neutral Ukraine, neither aligned with Russia nor the United States nor the European Union — a Ukraine that nonetheless is helped by all three to become more stable, politically and economically, and a Ukraine that is not coveted by anyone.

As Wilkerson mentions, this is a solution he has discussed previously. Two MSNBC interviews of Wilkerson in March provide further details.

While Wilkerson refers to McCain as a maniac and a madman in the Real News Network interview, Wilkerson also takes McCain seriously. The College of William and Mary professor and former aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell cautions that McCain, McCain’s philosophical allies, and military-industrial complex companies can make a powerful push against the steps needed to bring peace to Ukraine. Indeed, people like McCain in the past, Wilkerson explains, have prevailed over cooler heads to push the US into wars including the Mexican-American War and the Spanish-American War.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

House Procedure in Action: Pro-Drug War Amendment OK, Pro-Gun Rights Amendment Prohibited

US House of Representatives rules were strictly enforced Tuesday to prevent a full House vote on a pro-gun rights amendment offered by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) despite the earlier incorporation into the bill of a pro-drug war amendment that would also appear to be barred by a strict application of the procedural rule.

Massie’s attempt on the US House of Representatives floor to protect gun rights in the District of Columbia through offering an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (HR 5016) was ruled out of order by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), the floor debate chairman, who ruled:

The Chair finds that this amendment includes language requiring a new determination by the District of Columbia as to the state of Federal firearms law. The gentleman has not shown that this determination is already required.

The amendment, therefore, constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule XXI.

While supporters of Massie’s amendment may shrug their shoulders and declare “oh well, rules are rules,” in the US House the rules appear to be quite flexible depending on what type of legislating an amendment proposes.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Dennis Kucinich: Americans ‘Have to Break the War Culture’

In an engaging, wide-ranging interview with Peter Z. Scheer at Truthdig, RPI Advisory Board Member Dennis Kucinich expanded on his statement earlier this month on Democracy Now that “interventionism is not the wave of the future,” by explaining in the new interview that Americans “have to break the war culture.”

Kucinich elaborates:

We have to break the war culture. We have to stop believing that we have a hammer for every nail that is out there. We’ve got to come to an understanding that our role in the world should be not a nation above nations but a nation among nations.

Kucinich proceeds to comment that “the rise of the strength of the security state, which has pulverized privacy, which is a right guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment…has occurred apace with America’s increased interventions,” with the pace of change accelerating since September 11, 2001.

Kucinich continues his examination of the matter by offering a stark choice:

We have to decide who we are as a nation. And, if all we are going to be is a war machine — a juggernaut — we will not survive as a nation, we will not survive as a free country, we will disintegrate.

In the 20 minute interview, Kucinich also addresses several other subjects including Cleveland’s selection as the location for the 2016 Republican Party national convention, the lies used to justify the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Kucinich’s thoughts regarding the Republican and Democrat Parties.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.