War on drugs. War on poverty. War in Afghanistan. War in Iraq. War on terror. The biggest mistake in American policy, foreign and domestic, is looking at everything as war. When a war mentality takes over, it chooses the weapons and tactics for you. It limits the terms of debate before you even begin. It answers questions before they’re even asked. When you define something as war, it dictates the use of the military (or militarized police forces, prisons, and other forms of coercion) as the primary instruments of policy. Violence becomes the means of decision, total victory the goal. Anyone who suggests otherwise is labeled a dreamer, an appeaser, or even a traitor. War, in short, is the great simplifier – and it may even work when you’re fighting existential military threats (as in World War II). But it doesn’t work when you define every problem as an existential one and then make war on complex societal problems (crime, poverty, drugs) or ideas and religious beliefs (radical Islam). http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2015/06/28/hi-im-uncle-sam-and-im-a-war-oholic/#.VZFVpwN1P7U.email
States erect legal and practical barriers to extend their monopoly powers over a large area, and over many facets of life in order to diminish choices and options. Likewise, states generally prohibit the creation of new states, so as to further strengthen their monopolies. So, the extent to which one is voluntarily subject to a civil government moves along a sliding scale. At one end of the scale is a one-world mega-state where no choice is possible at all. At the other end of the scale is a totally stateless society. Most — if not all — of human history has been characterized by civil governments that fall somewhere in between. Some civil governments are very large and very coercive. That is, they are quintessential states. Some governments are very small and very decentralized and are much less state-like. These later governments must compete with numerous nearby options for citizens and capital. Naturally, a world with fewer states and very centralized states offers few options, which in turn means fewer choices for persons, cities, towns, and communities. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/06/ryan-mcmaken/secessionist-fever/
The Western presstitutes have succeeded in creating a false reality for insouciant Americans and also for much of the European Union population. A sizable percentage of these insouciant peoples believe that Russia invaded Ukranine and that Russia is threatening to invade the Baltic States and Poland. This belief exists despite all intelligence of all Western governments reporting that there is no sign of any Russian forces that would be required for invasion. The “Russian invasion,” like “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections,” like “Assad of Syria’s use of chemical weapons against his own people,” like “Iranian nukes,” never existed but nevertheless became the reality in the Western media. The insouciant Western peoples believe in non-existent occurrencies. In other words, just to state the obvious noncontroversial fact, the Western “news” media is a propaganda ministry from which no truth emerges. Thus, the Western World is ruled by propaganda. Truth is excluded. Fox “news,” CNN, the NY Times, Washington Post, and all the rest of the most accomplished liars in world history, repeat constantly the same lies. For Washington, of course, and the military/security complex. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/06/28/truth-crime-state/
by Merlin Miller, American Eagle Party National Chairman. On May 30, 2015, my wife, Susan, and I joined a small delegation of concerned citizens to visit Russia, a nation under Western media and political assault, and economic sanctions.
Organized by Sharon Tennison, founder of “Center for Citizens Initiatives” (http://ccisf.org/), this independent, one-of-a-kind sojourn was to extend “grassroots goodwill” by meeting directly with the Russian people. Our goal was to learn truths and perspectives first-hand, rather than rely on a special-interests’ controlled mass media, which increasingly and unfairly demonizes the “land of white nights” and their leader, President Vladimir Putin.
CCI travelers first went to Russia (the former Soviet Union) in 1983 to help usher in a climate of positive exchanges. The organization ultimately sponsored over 6000 Russian entrepreneurs to visit and train in America, while leading American expeditions to Russia. Although largely unheralded, these efforts helped create a political thaw (Glasnost and Perestroika), which helped to normalize relations between the two powers. Unfortunately, citizens initiatives are once again needed to help restore positive relations between America and Russia, and challenge the misguided foreign policies that threaten world peace.
Our group visited four regions over 17 days; Moscow, Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, and St. Petersburg. While we did meet some government officials and media representatives, our focus was people-to-people, interacting with the growing number of Russian entrepreneurs who are creating a new middle-class and a strong future for their country.
In Moscow, we were greeted with an impressive mix of grand architecture and modern facilities. The city, now numbering nearly 14 million people was vibrant. Their subway system was impeccable, with a palace-like decor, including crystal chandeliers…and their trains ran on time!
The Russian people were physically fit and better dressed than contemporary Americans. We found no hostility among them and they were uniformly helpful. As Americans, we were probably perceived as loud and obnoxious, while they were quiet and cautiously respectful. Much of their demeanor, as we were to learn, has developed over centuries of subordination to authorities in addition to living in such close quarters to each other. Individual noise levels had to be subdued in public and in thin-walled apartments throughout the Soviet years. The era of the Czars and nearly a century of Communism seem to have taken an irrefutable toll on their individualism, but we sensed a growing entrepreneurial spirit, optimism and sense of national pride.
It appeared to me that our nations are going through bizarre role-reversals. They have expectations of greater freedom and prosperity, while we are experiencing a loss of liberty and wealth, and a sense of uncertain desperation. To date, they reject “Western cultural Marxism” which has been destroying American society. Ironically, this cultural Marxist assault on America’s traditional institutions had its birth in Communist (and Socialist) doctrines, which the Russians increasingly reject.
While in Moscow we also met with a large group of students at The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, who seek future exchanges. They were eager to learn American ways, at least those which they perceived as healthy and productive. The freedoms and pioneering spirit, which had been foreign to the Russian people before the successes of groups like CCI and Rotary International, are becoming increasingly real. I was reminded of the optimism of growing up in Iowa in the 1950s and 60s, before the subversion of our inspired traditions.
After a few days in Moscow, we took the overnight train south to Volgograd (known as Stalingrad during WWII). We met several Russian soldiers on the train who were part of a military band and eager to practice their English. What fun they were and how helpful in negotiating for snacks from the “babushkas” at the occasional stops. Upon arrival in Volgograd, we were greeted by a score of local entrepreneurs, extending flowers to our women and helping with baggage. Many of them had participated in CCI and Rotary programs and warmly greeted our special petite Sharon, who had so positively impacted their lives. Over the next few days we were invited to private dashas for dinner, to Rotary meetings, clinics, and entrepreneurial ventures. It was inspiring to witness these individual business enterprises, a few of which had grown to be enormously successful.
While in the river port city, we gained a deep appreciation for the sacrifices of the Russian people. The Battle of Stalingrad (Volgograd) had been the turning point in WWII. The Germans were committed to taking the strategic river port city and the Russians had to first defend for survival, before counterattacking and ultimately prevailing. Although the city was decimated and nearly 3 million people lost their lives (approximately 2 million Russian men, women and children, and 1 million German soldiers), the people have stoically rebuilt. They know the horrors of war, and honor their fallen with incredible monuments. More than we can possibly appreciate, they have suffered and sincerely seek a future of peace.
We next flew to Ekaterinburg, just east of the Ural Mountains and technically in Siberia (Asia). This industrial city had been a primary producer of war materials during the Second World War, as it was more distant from the battlefields. It is the city where Czar Nicholas II and his family had been sequestered, and then brutally executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Today, the Ekaterinburg region suffers from aging factories, but is seeking new investment and production possibilities, and is most interested in improved relations with America. Our group did visit the American Consulate, where the Consul General’s political perspectives seemed to be at odds with the realities that we experienced, and some of our members expressed dissatisfaction with his representations.
My wife and I were hosted for a side trip to Chelybinsk, where we viewed some real estate projects, and met community leaders who were eager for development support. As an outlying area, Federal supports are less visible than in the major centers, and this seemed to be of some concern, especially at this time of economic sanctions.
The last and most impressionable leg of our visit was to Saint Petersburg (known as Leningrad during WWII). Built by Peter the Great, the city is regarded as “the Venice of the North” with beautiful canals, magnificent buildings, palaces and churches.
Saint Petersburg was surrounded by German forces from Sep 1941 until Jan 1944 (“the Siege of Leningrad”). Although much was destroyed and the people suffered greatly, the city miraculously survived, and restoration efforts have restored its magnificence. Several outlying palaces, including the Peterhof, Pavlosk, and Tsarskoye Selo were under the control of the Germans. We toured the famous Amber Room which had been pillaged of its panels, but since wonderfully recreated.
The city of Saint Petersburg is now a magnet for cruise lines and has become an international destination, uniquely blending European and Russian cultures. Renowned for its “Baroque” architecture, museums, mosaics, ballets and symphonies, the city is a wondrous experience. We saw no obvious poverty and, since the Putin era, renovations have accelerated. Corruption has been significantly reduced, and there is also a growing sense of fiscal responsibility. During the recent celebration of their WWII victory, which unfortunately was snubbed by America – the city spent more funds than anticipated. As a result, they cancelled the fireworks display that had been scheduled for the subsequent celebration of “The Day of Russia (commemorating the anniversary of the birth of the new Russia, after communism). We cruised the River Neva during this celebration, enjoying the natural and manmade beauty, and respecting their decision. We wondered if politicians in America would show such fiscal responsibility.
Since the fall of the Soviet Empire, the Russian Orthodox Church is being resurrected and the people are finding a renewed spirituality, in contrast to the loss of America’s once dominant Christian faith.
With the Soviet collapse, the Warsaw Pact disbanded and Russia became a Federation of Republics. NATO should have likewise disbanded, but instead has expanded eastward, in violation of international agreements and threatening regional security and Russian sovereignty. If the truths were known about the Ukrainian situation, we would never have involved ourselves (similar to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria). However, to the benefit of international plotters, a violent coup was orchestrated and civil war instigated – not surprisingly, adjacent to Russia’s borders and in the control path of vital natural resources.
Through the International Monetary Fund, the Ukrainians are now deeply impoverished. We met several Ukrainians while in Russia, and they passionately urged restraint, so that the Ukrainian people can pursue self-determination, rather than continued victimization through foreign interference. “American Exceptionalism” is much resented and is certainly not in keeping with our traditions. Current politicians, in service to international special interests (rather than the American people), seem to have forgotten Thomas Jefferson’s wise counsel…”peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” Other nations have their own “Monroe Doctrines” protective of their sovereign interests, which we should respect.
Noted journalist, Robert Parry, is perhaps the best analyst of the current situation. His articles lays bare the facts and reveal the propaganda and manipulations which have escalated these unnecessary and destructive conflicts. His latest example can be found at https://consortiumnews.com/2015/06/22/nyts-orwellian-view-of-ukraine/
For comprehensive information, I highly recommend Russia Insider http://russia-insider.com/en Also, Veterans Today http://www.veteranstoday.com/ and Veterans News Now http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/ offer great insights. We must reach beyond America’s controlled mass media to find truths – once again born of journalistic integrity and personal ethics. Before being privileged to join Sharon Tennison’s eclectic and stellar group, I had previously travelled to Iran (http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2012/09/21/215335-as-the-israeli-war-drums-beat/), where I came to deeply respect the Iranian people and their often misrepresented perspectives. In my quest for truths, I found that we must, as private citizens, seek our own answers and not depend on the perspectives of others.
Throughout our incredible trip, we gauged Russians knowledge and attitudes of current events. They are much more politically aware than most Americans, probably because of the traumas that they have experienced during the last century, and sensing the current dangers. My wife and I came to have great respect for the Russian people and for our special delegation – which has returned, inspired to share truths in the cause of peace and humanity. The Russian people are very much like the American people, and we should pursue friendly relations. I encourage everyone to support the work of the Center for Citizens Initiatives (http://ccisf.org/).
In closing, I’d like to share my wife’s perspectives. During our first night back home, and after having experienced 17 days of stimulation and very little sleep, she awoke inspired to write her reflections.
Reflections from Russia
By Susan Miller
As I reflect on my journey to Russia, I am transported once again to the elaborate hall of mirrors in Catherine’s Palace. I see different images in each of the many reflections that surround me.
The mirror closest to me shows the love that people have for each other, for family, country, and humanity. This was reflected every day in a gesture, a loving smile, hug, kiss, or a sincere handshake. I see the same gestures of love among people in America. Are we so different from each other?
Across the room I see reflected the image of respect. First and foremost a subtle self respect. It is shown in the posture of the men, women, youth, and even the children. They hold themselves erect, head high, and they even look you in the eye when they talk to you. I am not sure that I see that anymore in America. Are we losing our self respect?
Another image that I see is sorrow. An image reflected at the WWII monuments which dominate the landscape of Volgograd and the entrance to Saint Petersburg. The sorrow is reflected in the magnificence of the statue of the Motherland, the statues of soldiers helping wounded soldiers, of people helping people, and of a mother holding her dead son. The eternal flame, the lists of names, 900 lights for 900 days of the Saint Petersburg siege, and a magnificent diorama contribute to this overwhelming sorrow. These are not victory sites, but monuments depicting the sorrows of war, and crimes against humanity. We have such sites in America too. Gettysburg and Arlington come to mind as places that reflect the overwhelming sorrow of war. Does this Russia, that builds such monuments to the tragedy of war, truly want another war?
In each of the many mirrors I see reflected the people that I met. They do not smile easily, but when they do it is genuine and reflected in their eyes. The people are very reserved, especially in public and among strangers. You do not see them talking loud, laughing, arms moving or feet tapping. This is very different from the vivacious and noisy people of America. But does this make the Russians cold, or simply reflect a people who have been taught the need to guard their emotions?
Everywhere in the vast hall of mirrors I see reflected a country that has energy, and that is rising above its past history to become a land of new hope and opportunity. Most important, Russia is a place where people are finding their roots – in family, faith, values, and communities. We have so many things in common with the people of Russia, but I’m not sure if America’s image to the world still reflects our values, our love of family, faith, and even freedom. Do we have roots in America anymore? Are we a country to be emulated? These are questions that I ask myself – as I reflect on the images in the mirror.
About the Authors – Susan and Merlin Miller have been married for 40 years and have four grown daughters. Susan is an early childhood educator, seeking a better world for our youth. Merlin is a West Point graduate, motion picture producer, and founder of American Eagle Party (www.AmericanEagleParty.com). He is also building a “Veterans League of Honor” to promote truth, justice, liberty, and peace. Additional information is at http://merlinmiller.com/merlins-bio/
I was going to write about the bizarre and rather sad celebrations across the progressosphere about the great paradigm-shifting “victory” in the passage of the “U.S.A. Freedom Act” — but I find that Tarzie has got there the fustest with the mostest with a fine piece that nails this momentous event as the tremulous sham that it is. He was notes that Rand Paul — new hero of freedom-lovers everywhere — is now calling for 1,000 more FBI agents to monitor the thoughts, beliefs and actions of Americans to make sure they don’t get up to none of them terroristic-like activities … just as AP reveals that the FBI is conducting a vast, secret airborne surveillance across the country. So what’s the takeaway of this historic event? Just this: “We should privatize a few of the NSA’s Stasi operations, while letting the myriad other ‘security’ agencies run wild.” Smell the liberty! Tarzie has long pointed out a fact ignored by nearly everyone else: the intense focus on some activities of the NSA occasioned by the Edward Snowden saga (coming soon to a multiplex near you) has totally obscured the dozens of other agencies and programs that feast on the corpse of privacy and keep our lives locked in their larders, ready to be devoured at their pleasure. In the end, the main outcome of the Snowden revelations has been to enshrine all-pervasive surveillance as the “new normal”: witness the fervent championing of the NSA by the bipartisan American elite, celebrating and legalizing intrusions beyond the wildest dreams of the KGB and the Gestapo. Meanwhile, with so-called Freedom Acts, FBI airplanes, drones, satellites, fusion centers, vast barns full of private data and so on, the constriction and strangulation of human existence goes on apace. http://www.chris-floyd.com/Articles/2501-our-lives-in-the-larder-celebrating-another-defeat-for-freedom.html
Southern traditionalists and Civil War buffs honor the Confederate flag and similar symbols for a variety of reasons, but those symbols are as much a part of general American history as the “Don’t Tread On Me” rattlesnake flag of the American Revolution or the Lone Star flag of the Republic of Texas. Until recently, few Americans saw any difference between honoring and displaying those historic banners of American legend and honoring and displaying the Confederate battle flag or the several other flags associated with the Confederacy. Only with the advent of the “civil rights” era and of mandated racial equality have the Confederate flag and all other symbols associated with the Confederacy been singled out for attack, and of course the reason is that these flags and symbols are the emblems of a government and culture that was based on slavery and racial inequality. In an age in which the egalitarian imperative is absolute and “racism” is virtually a religious taboo, continuing to honor and display these symbols in public–especially by state and local governments–constitutes an outright act of resistance to the dominant egalitarian orthodoxies. http://www.amren.com/news/2015/06/the-war-on-white-heritage/#.VYwk8snhf0M.email
Schemes that were only first publicly discussed last week, the US wasted no time today in announcing that they will in fact begin “prepositioning” large numbers of tanks and artillery along the Russian border to “reassure” their allies. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the decision today during a visit to the Estonian capital of Tallinn, saying the US didn’t want to send tanks to the area and that Russia had forced them to do so with its “effort to take the world backward in time.” http://news.antiwar.com/2015/06/23/us-to-preposition-tanks-artillery-along-russian-border/
Although the 2016 election is a year-and-a-half away, the verdict is already in on the continuation of post-World War II interventionism as the policy of choice. After the hysteria in the media induced by ISIS’s beheading of a few Americans in retaliation for U.S. bombing of the group in the Middle East, American public sentiment, still exhausted by the long counterproductive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, demanded some action against ISIS – as long as it didn’t involve another protracted war or any US military personnel getting killed. Thus, President Barack Obama gave the public an ineffective air war against the group and a few thousand “non-combat” military advisers. However, president’s restrained posture has allowed all of the Republican candidates to posture that they would be tougher than Obama on ISIS – and on most other foreign policy issues. And of course, Democrat Hillary Clinton – who would like to be the first woman leader of the United States since Edith Wilson took over for her medically incapacitated husband from late 1919 to early 1921 – has long believed that she has to be as foolishly macho and jingoistic in foreign policy as the men. Hillary voted for George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. Also, as Secretary of States, she couldn’t resist the opportunity created by Arab Spring unrest in Libya to advocate taking out Muammar Gaddafi, a dictator who had actually made nice with the West. The result has been chaos, tribal warfare, and new Islamist terrorist bases, including those of ISIS – all fueled with the huge quantities of weapons in Gaddafi’s stores. Even Rand Paul, a libertarianesque Republican who is supposed to be somewhat less hawkish than the other serious candidates, was recently quoted in the American Conservative magazine, “The enemy is Radical Islam and not only will I name the enemy, I will do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind.” http://original.antiwar.com/eland/2015/06/22/likely-the-same-overextended-american-empire-from-the-next-president/
Moving along, there seems to be considerable backlash building to the military drone program. This make a lot of sense. At least the soldier who is flying in an actual plane on a mission faces the real possibility of death. As such, killing becomes more justifiable in one’s mind. In contrast, when you are sitting a few miles from your home, bombing children like its an X-Box game, that can quickly lead to mental and emotional death. http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2015/06/18/45-u-s-military-veterans-sign-letter-urging-drone-operators-to-refuse-to-fly/#more-24921
Nearly every mass shooting incident in the last twenty years, and multiple other instances of suicide and isolated shootings all share one thing in common, and it’s not the weapons used. The overwhelming evidence points to the signal largest common factor in all of these incidents is the fact that all of the perpetrators were either actively taking powerful psychotropic drugs or had been at some point in the immediate past before they committed their crimes. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/06/no_author/every-mass-shooting-has-one-thing-in-common/
Recently, the German journalist Udo Ulfkotte wrote a book, Bought Journalists, in which he reported that every significant European journalist functions as a CIA asset. This does not surprise me. The same is the situation in the US. As Europe is an appendage of Washington, a collection of vassal states, Europe enables Washington’s pursuit of hegemony even to the extent of being driven into conflict with Russia over a “crisis” that is entirely a propaganda creation of Washington’s. The media disguises the reality. During the Clinton regime, six mega-media companies were permitted to acquire 90% of the US print, TV, radio, and entertainment media, a concentration that destroyed diversity and independence. Today the media throughout the Western world serves as a Propaganda Ministry for Washington. The Western media is Washington’s Ministry of Truth. Gerald Celente, the trends forecaster, calls the Western media “presstitutes,” a combination of press prostitutes. In the US Putin and Russia are demonized around the clock. Every broadcast alerts us to “the Russian threat.” Even Putin’s facial expressions are psychologically analyzed. Putin is the New Hitler. Putin has ambitions to recreate the Soviet empire. Putin invaded Ukraine. Putin is going to invade the Baltic states and Poland. Putin is a threat on the level of ebola and the Islamist State. US Russian experts, such as Stephen Cohen, who state the facts are dismissed as “Putin apologists.” Any and every one who takes exception to the anti-Putin, anti-Russian propaganda is branded a “Putin apologist,” just as 9/11 skeptics are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.” In the Western world, the few truth-tellers are demonized along with Putin and Russia. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/06/19/paul-craig-roberts-address-international-conference-europeanrussian-crisis-created-washington/
The current surveillance state has reached a place where it is beginning to resemble the 2002 film Minority Report. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now attempting to predict crime by doing behavioral analysis of crowds at airports via video surveillance. The program is in the experimental stages and is being conducted using “trained actors posing as passengers, as well as members of the traveling public” according to the 14-page report published online by DHS earlier this month. The report, which The New American has studied in its entirety, is startling not just in its audacity, but also in its premise. In the beginning of the “war on terror,” which was launched in the wake of 9/11, few would have believed that in a decade and a half the American public would have become so desensitized to blanket surveillance that such a program could ever happen in the open. http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/item/21088-dhs-admits-to-behavioral-detection-video-surveillance-program-at-airports?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=11b8646f4f-The_Editors_Top_Picks_3_12_143_12_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8ca494f2d2-11b8646f4f-289795749
There is a peculiar form of insanity in which a veneer of rationality distracts attention from the madness lurking just beneath the surface. When Alice dove down her rabbit hole to enter a place where smirking cats offered directions, ill-mannered caterpillars dispensed advice, and Mock Turtles constituted the principal ingredient in Mock Turtle soup, she experienced something of the sort. Yet, as the old adage goes, truth can be even stranger than fiction. For a real-life illustration of this phenomenon, one need look no further than Washington and its approach to national security policy. Viewed up close, it all seems to hang together. Peer out of the rabbit hole and the sheer lunacy quickly becomes apparent. http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2015/06/18/the-theology-of-american-national-security/
With her latest book, ¡Adios, America!, writer and commentator Ann Coulter has established herself as the foremost advocate for immigration sanity in America–if not the world. It’s startling to find so much common sense in a book from a mainstream publisher, and Americans are starved for common sense: ¡Adios, America! is at the top of three Amazon categories, and number two on the New York Times best-seller list. http://www.amren.com/features/2015/06/adios-america-coulters-call-for-immigration-sanity/
Although the mainstream, much of the alternative media and her greatest rival, Bernie Sanders, have all been asking Clinton to take a stand on this issue; in reality, she has taken a multitude of public positions on it over the past several years. Jake Tapper lists 45 of them in what is some surprisingly good journalism from CNN. As you read, you’ll notice she didn’t mince words. Adjectives such as “high- quality,” “innovative,” “cutting-edge,” “critical” and “exciting” were all used generously by Hillary to describe the TPP throughout her tenure as Secretary of State. Here are a few of her highness’ 45 previous statements on the TPP from the excellent CNN article. http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2015/06/16/where-does-hillary-stand-on-the-tpp-45-public-statements-tell-you-everything-you-need-to-know/