of liars is in the military. A new report titled Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession has just been published. Here is the report’s brief synopsis:
Untruthfulness is surprisingly common in the U.S. military even though members of the profession are loath to admit it. Further, much of the deception and dishonesty that occurs in the profession of arms is actually encouraged and sanctioned by the military institution. The end result is a profession whose members often hold and propagate a false sense of integrity that prevents the profession from addressing—or even acknowledging—the duplicity and deceit throughout the formation. It takes remarkable courage and candor for leaders to admit the gritty shortcomings and embarrassing frailties of the military as an organization in order to better the military as a profession. Such a discussion, however, is both essential and necessary for the health of the military profession.
Someone writes wondering why I am so relentless in harping on the failings of soldiers. As long as men and women are called heroes just for being in the military, as long as members of the military are held up as role models, and as long as military personnel are practically worshiped on national holidays, I will keep writing what I do.
A whole bunch of Republican and Democrat officeholders who voted for and/or promoted and/or started the Iraq War are today trying to avoid their responsibility for that evil U.S. aggression. They are blaming flawed intelligence. This group of major league liars includes both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. They deserve our contempt for promoting the BIG LIE and attempting to rewrite recent history in complete and utter disregard for the American public who they evidently think deserves nothing better than lies.
“C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”
This web site states
“There is now in the public record a large body of evidence that vividly illustrates:
Bush’s long-standing intent to invade Iraq
Bush’s willingness to provoke Saddam (in a variety of ways) into providing a pretext for war
The fact that the war effectively began with an air campaign nearly a year before the March 2003 invasion and months before Congressional approval for the use of force
The administration’s widespread effort to crush dissent and manipulate information that would counter its justification for war
The lack of planning for the war’s aftermath and a fundamental lack of understanding of the Iraqi society”
The flawed intelligence was produced as part of a massive propaganda campaign that was obvious to many observers at the time. Cheney and Rumsfeld even installed a parallel “intelligence” operation to produce material to justify what they intended to do all along. They fixed the intelligence around the desired policy.
Besides the lies being newly-promoted, doesn’t the buck stop on the desks of elected officials? They, not the CIA or any intelligence bureaucracy, are elected to make this most important decision, the decision to attack another nation. They are not robots who are paid to rubber stamp or worse CREATE intelligence that is uncertain, distorted, manipulated and biased. They have the responsibility for their decisions. It goes along with their power to launch the country into war.
Any politician who now is rewriting events for his or her own political convenience deserves to be rebuked and held in contempt. They are showing the world their true petty and evil characters.
First Ramadi fell to ISIS and then Palmyra. The Administration’s promise that airstrikes would defeat ISIS, as predicted, has proven empty. The US is now shipping anti-tank missiles to Iraq to destroy the US-provided tanks abandoned to ISIS by the Iraqi military. Raytheon must be thrilled. Neocons push for a US land invasion. Here’s Ron Paul’s take on the disintegration of Obama’s ISIS strategy:
Well, Laurence, at least they weren’t carrying guns or threatening imprisonment while “asking” for “donations,” unlike other government employees known as tax collectors.
It was bad enough when the Boy Scouts named war criminal Robert Gates as its president. Now he is calling for the ban on gay scout leaders to be ended. How long will conservative Christians continue to support the Boy Scouts? The ban on gay scout members has already been lifted. There are, of course, other reasons to avoid the Boy Scouts, as these LRC articles here and here, and this blog post, point out.
And how strange that an organization with a former secretary of defense as its president has banned the use of water guns.
i’ve brought back my Political Theatre blog. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
Amtrak, the fascist railroad–private rails forced to run socialist trains–is a creation of Richard Nixon and the Republican party, like so many other evil things.
A reader says went to his local Wal-Mart last night and was confronted with soldiers in uniform asking for donations for “military families.” Well, if soldiers would quit going overseas to fight senseless foreign wars perhaps their families would be in better shape.
Oh, he didn’t give them a dime.
If Osama read English, and if the books he had in his compound were the ones the government says he had, then I would say that unlike the typical member of Congress (who doesn’t even read the legislation he votes on), the typical conservative warmonger, and the typical bloodthirsty Christian conservative, Osama was a reader of important books.
I heard Michael Scheuer, the ex-CIA noninterventionist, interviewed last night on BBC news. He equated the 9/11 terrorist attack with the U.S. terror attacks on Japan and Dresden, Germany. When was the last time you heard something like that on an American news program?
Open letter to Canadian libertarians
By Walter E. Block
I begin this essay of mine, which is an attempt to promote the libertarian philosophy in Canada, with a quote from this editorial: Wells, Paul. 2015. “Why Canada needs more election debates; Editorial: It’s time for civic-minded organizations to start proposing all kinds of debates. Maclean’s would be happy to host the first one.” Macleans magazine. April 23; http://www.macleans.ca/politics/why-canada-needs-more-election-debates/
“Scarcity causes conflict. The October federal election is half a year away and already the feuding over televised leaders’ debates has begun. Should Green Party Leader Elizabeth May be invited? The Conservatives don’t want her there, claiming she is a Liberal in disguise. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, is eager to have May show up. There’s precedent both ways: The Greens had an incumbent MP in 2008, so May took part in the leaders’ debates. They didn’t in 2011, so she didn’t. But what about the Bloc Québécois, whose leader isn’t an MP? What about Forces et Démocratie, whose two MPs are almost the only evidence of the group’s existence? … If we’re stuck, as a nation, with a four-month campaign, we might as well benefit from it. It’s time for civic-minded organizations to start proposing all kinds of election debates. Some could be free-for-alls, with the leaders of all six (!) parties currently represented in the House.”
Notice anything strange about this quote? What sticks in my craw
is that this supposedly knowledgeable political analyst mentions only six political parties in Canada (Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Green, Bloc Québécois and Forces et Démocratie). But is there any such organization that he overlooks? Go to the head of the class if you note the absence of the only political party in Canada that actually supports limited government, private property rights, legalization of victimless “crimes,” economic freedom and a non interventionistic foreign policy. That is, of course, the Canadian Libertarian Party.
Why this insulting oversight? Of course the main reason is that the powers that be (Macleans, other major media) are not exactly in sympathy with the libertarian philosophy. But another cause is that high profile libertarians in Canada, and yes, yes, there are many, simply do not run for office on the Libertarian Party ticket. So I ask you, I plead with you, please contact the Canadian Libertarian Party and offer to run for Parliament in the next election. (If you are an untenured assistant professor, and reasonably expect doing so will reduce your chances for an academic career, of course do not do this! Ditto for those who would lose their jobs in any of Canada’s supposedly free market think tanks.)
This insult, and insult it was, simply could not occur in the U.S. There, of course, the Libertarian Party is much stronger than in Canada, and cannot as easily be totally ignored. True, libertarianism in the U.S. has been fueled by the Ron Paul phenomenon. (Rand Paul, too, is keeping the flame alive.) Yes, Ron Paul garnered most of his popularity by running for president on the Republican ticket, but he did so for the Libertarian Party as well, in 1984. There is no such phenomenon in Canada at present, unfortunately. But, there wasn’t always one in the U.S. either. It always has to start somewhere. If not right now, when is better?
Running for office need not be an arduous task. A paper candidacy, where you do absolutely nothing but lend your name for this purpose, is better than leaving any ridings completely uncovered. Of course, the more you do in this regard the better for promoting liberty, and running for MP will give you a megaphone otherwise unavailable to you. Murray N. Rothbard, Mr. Libertarian, used to say that the average guy was mainly interested in beer, pizza and bowling (substitution for Canada: hockey) most of the time. But, whenever there was a national election, this man in the street could sometimes become interested in politics at least for a brief moment, and that we could best acquaint him with our philosophy on these occasions. No truer words were ever uttered.
Of course, of course, politics is far from the only way to promote our beloved libertarian philosophy. There are many other roads to this end. But, the political system is surely one of them. Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul. He has brought more people to our camp than any other person now living, and he did it all though the ballot box; I rest my case if anyone really doubts that political action, too, can promote liberty; hey, the first step, surely, is to announce that we’re here and not going away.
There are some highly credentialed libertarians who believe voting, let alone running for office, is incompatible with our perspective. They are entirely wrong, if libertarianism is defined as adherence to the non-aggression principle (NAP). Is voting a per se violation of the NAP? Of course not. Is running for office and losing, necessarily an uninvited border crossing onto someone else’s person or property? Of course not. Is winning and actually taking office incompatible, if the MP becomes a Dr. No like Ron Paul and votes against every bill incompatible with our philosophy? It is really difficult to see how this can be the case.
But, do we not give “sanction” to the state when we enter the dirty realm of politics? No more so than when we use a government road, its post office, carry its currency in our wallets, visit a public park or museum, go to a public school, etc. This applies even to those of us who eat food, wear clothing, live in housing, etc., since the omnipresent state is involved in all of those things. My book on Ron Paul is almost entirely devoted to making the case that politics and libertarianism, correctly understood, are not logically incompatible: Block, Walter E. 2009. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors; Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; http://www.amazon.com/Privatization-Roads-And-Highways-Factors/dp/1279887303/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605800&sr=1-1; available for free here: http://mises.org/books/roads_web.pdf; http://mises.org/daily/3416
So, please, Canadians, if you value liberty at all, seriously consider running for office on the Libertarian Party ticket.
Speaking of other roads to liberty in Canada, I am myself involved in several libertarian gatherings, conferences, seminars, etc., in the next few weeks and months. I would dearly love for you to join me in any of them you can.
May 28, 2015. Vancouver, BC; Railway Club. Mises Canada. Caleb McMillan [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] https://mises.ca/posts/events/vancouver-mises-meet-2/
July 16-18, 2015. Toronto, Canada. Rothbard University. http://mises.ca/rothbard-university-2015/ (this event is mainly aimed at students, but non-students are also welcome); contact: email@example.com
August 1, 2015. Vancouver B.C., Canada. “Capitalism & Morality 2015.” “Living a life of promoting liberty and how I affect change in my students”. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org; or http://www.jayantbhandari.com/Seminar2015/; http://jayantbhandari.com/index_files/Seminar.htm; https://www.facebook.com/events/760682810658185/
August 2, 2015. Vancouver B.C., Canada. Sons of Anarchy. Walter E. Block, Victor Pross and Marc Emery. Contact: email@example.com; details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1592982597639750/
And, here’s one in the U.S., but not too far from Canada:
May 30, 2015. Zack Banks [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]; Libertarian Party of Washington state convention in Vancouver, WA at the Red Lion. Zack Banks, Director, Libertarian Party of Washington Region 5; http://www.lpwa.org/2015_state_convention
As you can see, I’m a pretty busy boy, trying to promote liberty and good (Austrian) economics hither, thither and elsewhere. I use as a launching pad for these efforts the fact that I have a Ph.D. and am a college professor. Most libertarians cannot rely on such a background. BUT ANY CITIZEN OF CANADA CAN RUN FOR POLITICAL OFFICE IN THAT COUNTRY. Please do so.
The bloody incident at Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant was not a “biker shootout.” At present there is no evidence that any of the nine victims were killed by fellow bikers, rather than being “taken out” by the scores of police — including snipers — who had effectively turned the parking lot into a kill zone.
The Twin Peaks Massacre has prompted the predictable outpouring of state-centered outrage over the purported threat posed by Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs (OMCs). Buried beneath the blizzard of re-purposed official press releases is a critical disclosure made by former FBI undercover operative John Matthews: During the 1990s, as part of the FBI’s PATCON (Patriot Conspiracy) operation, Matthews and his handler, Donald Jarrett, sold illegally converted full-auto machine guns to narcotics-dealing motorcycle gangs. (I first reported about this in early March.) This was done through one of the firearms stores later forced by the ATF into participating in the “Fast & Furious” gun-walking scandal, in which firearms of that kind were provided to operatives of Mexican criminal cartels.
“As we talk of gun control … over the years [of] how many cases of sporterized SKS, AK47s, and SKSs were sold to groups and case after case of ammo for them all with the blessings of the FBI & ATF with no paper work,” Matthews wrote in a November 8, 2014 email (lightly edited here for spelling and grammar). “Also let’s not forget the AR15s, they were made full auto from the Lone Wolf gun store back in the 90s by a guy brought in by the FBI for me to put in place. Those guns went to bikers who were sell[ing] drugs on the border. Those drugs were [believed] to be coming in from China.”
In March 2013 correspondence with Jarrett, Matthews referred to the David Mann, the dealer brought in by the FBI to broker the firearms transaction with the biker gang.
“I [would] pick him up in Payson, AZ on our way up to Surplus & Stuff in Snowflake … and met with a guy name[d] Tim,” Matthews recalled in a March 28, 2013 email to Jarrett. “He [would] show him his weapons that he was making and how he could make them anything they wanted. Then from there we took a trip up to where the guy [kept] the tractors that we were thinking the dope was coming in from.”
The tractors were apparently being used as part of an international narcotics smuggling operation.
During the trip recalled by Matthews, he and David Mann met with another individual who “ran the church and we [thought was] selling the drugs to the bikers. We were going to get David to sell weapons too [sic] them. This trip was where [I] got David in with this [sic] guys so I could move on. Does this sound right to you[?] Also have more info on him and [meetings] at gun store (Lone Wolf) and other places like Scottsdale, before we turn[ed] him loose.”
“Yes, that sounds absolutely correct about David,” Jarrett replied the following day. “I only introduced you to one guy that work[ed] with guns, and that was David.”
On March 2 I sent a letter to the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General requesting an investigation of Matthews’ confirmed claims about the FBI’s role in arming biker gangs. A week later I received an official reply that tacitly validated those claims while dismissing them as inconsequential: “The Investigations Division of the Office of the Inspector General has thoroughly reviewed your allegations and concluded that the issues raised do not warrant an investigation by this office.”
Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, who has been investigating the death of his brother Kenneth in FBI custody following the 1995, following the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, has been responsible for nearly all of the key disclosures regarding the PATCON program. This was an effort by the FBI to infiltrate so-called Radical Right groups with informants and provocateurs. In a telephone interview, Trentadue told me that he firmly believes that there is a connection between the PATCON-related FBI initiative to arm biker gangs, and the bloodshed in Waco over the weekend.
“At the very least, we’re dealing with part of the legacy of PATCON,” Trentadue declared.
PATCON wasn’t the FBI’s only means of infiltrating OMCs. In 2004, James “Pagan Ronnie” Howerton, a prominent member of the Pagans OMC and a convicted murderer, was recruited by the FBI. He eventually became the club’s sergeant-at-arms. Five years later, the Feds breathlessly announced that with the help of their undercover asset they had compiled a massive indictment against the Pagans as an interstate criminal conspiracy. That bloated indictment eventually deflated into a small number of relatively trivial charges against specific members of the club. The interstate “criminal enterprise” was reduced to the accusation that the Pagans had committed a federal offense by running a raffle.
The only notable violent crime arising from the federal investigation of the Pagans was the police murder of Iraq combat veteran Derek Hale, who was tasered a dozen times and then murdered, execution-style, by Lt. William Brown of the Wilmington, Delaware Police Department. Hale, who was killed in front of the wife and children of a friend from the club, had no criminal record, nor was he a criminal suspect. He died because the State’s officially licensed gang decided to wage an indiscriminate war on the motorcycle club to which he belonged — which, in all probability, is what happened in Waco over the weekend.
The recent biker gang shooting in Waco is in the headlines, but who are the real gangs? P.S. I got to mention Lew’s great blog post on the recent Waco shootings.
Scott Boyler, a resident of Evans, New York, is a low-level registered sex offender who was convicted of attempting to receive child pornography. He was recently arrested and jailed for several days not for something he had received, but rather something he had posted online – comments critical of the local police in a website entitled “Lackawanna Police Corruption.”
One of Boyler’s recent posts described an illegal cell phone search conducted by an officer he identified as “Joseph `Pig Face’ Leo.” Leo filed a complaint against Boyler, who was arrested for “aggravated harassment.” That charge was quickly dismissed, as the officer most likely knew it would be. But it did lead to Boyler being incarcerated for several days as summary punishment for “contempt of cop,” which was the objective. Boyler has filed a $1.25 million lawsuit.
“If the courts criminalize this kind of speech, there goes the First Amendment,” predicts Buffalo attorney (and LRC contributor) James Ostrowski, who is representing Boyler. “It’s pure political speech that led to his arrest…. This goes back to colonial days when people got arrested for criticizing the king.”
America long ago ceased to be ruled by a monarchy, and succumbed to a more invasive and violent strain of statism in which police officers are seen as “God’s agents on earth,” to borrow Max Weber’s unironic expression. Examples are accumulating of online criticism of the police being punished as a species of blasphemy.
Meridian, Idaho resident Matt Townsend faces trial a spurious “witness intimidation” charge — and a potential five-year-prison term — for a Facebook post criticizing an officer who arrested him without cause. Roseville, California resident Dominic Ray Aguilar was charged with making a “terrorist threat” following a post suggesting that a police officer who had killed an unarmed man should likewise face a violent death.
The late Bob Foster, a businessman from Sunriver, Oregon, was hit with a stalking protection order by police officers as retaliation for his peaceful activism (most of which involved speaking out at meetings of the local home owners association). Santaquin, Utah resident Shawn Peterson lost his job as a short-order cook following a social media campaign organized by police unions targeting his restaurant in retaliation for a Facebook post in which Peterson criticized the police.
Only in a police state are people punished for criticizing the police.
Jeff Deist writes at Mises Wire:
Uber, Lyft, and similar rideshare companies represent a direct threat to state-controlled taxi cartels and their (increasingly unsellable) medallions. Now a class action lawsuit against Uber has been cleared for a federal court jury in California, alleging that its drivers should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. If so, Uber potentially could owe millions of dollars in unpaid payroll taxes at both the state and federal levels (not to mention penalties) going all the way back to 2010. This could represent a death blow legal precedent for every company using the rideshare model.
These kinds of suits (ostensibly motivated by drivers who want the “benefits” of being treated as employees) represent judicial revenge by rent-seeking taxi companies. They desperately want to quash maverick rideshare startups, startups that dared provide a market solution to an age-old problem: how to get a taxi in the suburbs.
Republicans like to tell us how they believe in the Constitution and limited government. They believe in nothing of the kind. Here is the latest example. FEMA wants the money the federal government gives states to mitigate disaster risks to be contingent upon states considering the potential effects of climate change when they make their disaster plans. Republicans in Congress are upset. It is good that they are skeptical of climate change, but it is bad that that is the only reason they are objecting to FEMA’s plans. Republicans have no principles whatsoever. They have no philosophical objection to FEMA giving money to states. They should know that FEMA giving money to states for any reason is neither constitutional nor part of a limited government. They should know that FEMA shouldn’t even exist in the first place. It is just like Republicans funding NPR as long as it doesn’t get too liberal or funding the NEA as long as it doesn’t fund pornographic art or funding AMTRAK as long as it stays out of the news.
Tom, Cut military personnel some slack and thank them for their service. After all, they are defending our freedoms, keeping us safe, and fighting over there so we don’t have to fight over here. Even heroes need a little R & R every now and then.
Note to new readers of the LRC blog: This is a joke at the expense of military personnel.
The White House has announced an action plan aimed at “reversing dramatic declines in pollinators like honeybees, which play a vital role in agriculture, pollinating everything from apples and almonds to squash.” Obama plans to plant many types of wildflowers to help “restore 7 million acres of bee-friendly habitat that have been lost to urbanization, development and farming.”
Is there any area of life and commerce where the federal government has not intervened and meddled?
Laurence, according to that report on military officers using government credit cards at strip joints like “Larry Flynt’s Hustler’s Club” in Baltimore, it notes that there were more than 5,000 individual charges by military “officers” and “pentagon officials” during a twelve month period. It was a close race between the Air Force (2,150 charges) and the Army (2,025), with the Navy (690) and Marines (357) lagging behind.
Since the warvangelicals refuse to denounce any of this behavior, I think it’s time to assume that they are all simply supreme hypocrites and condone such behavior, as long as it is done by “our heroes,” while pretending to be “devoted Christians.” They obviously believe that the Ten Commandments should not apply to any jerk wearing a camouflage uniform.
Wrote C.S. Lewis:
How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously different are the saints.
(Thanks to Jay Stephenson)