There has never been a war in American history so strategically ill-conceived as the one currently developing against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.
The Mexican war of 1846-47 was essentially an aggressive operation to take Alta California and New Mexico, and to cement the status of Texas. It was limited in its objectives, and it was conducted in a strategically sound manner. The goals – their legality apart – were achieved, and the balance between costs and benefits was never in doubt. Vae victis!
The Civil War (under whatever name) was a “rational” bid by Abraham Lincoln and his team – legal, moral, and humanitarian considerations notwithstanding – to create a centralized state. He won the war, and hugely expanded federal governmental power. This was a disaster for America, but it was a resounding success from the standpoint of its instigators.
The 1898 war against Spain was but another exercise in Realpolitik. It finally moved America from a republic to an empire, the “manifest destiny” now manifested in Admiral Mahan’s and Theodore Roosevelt’s geopolitical designs.
Woodrow Wilson’s 1917-1918 intervention against the Central Powers was the first overtly “ideological” war – to make the world safe for democracy etc. Its slogans were silly, but in the end it could be argued that the geopolitical purpose was well served: to prevent the dominance of the continent of Europe by a single hegemon. America did not make much difference to the outcome in the battlefield, but her entry signaled to the Germans that the Entente could not lose.
World War II was a convoluted affair that entailed FDR provoking Japan in order to provoke Germany. Considering Roosevelt’s Weltanschauung it worked beautifully. His goals were rational within that paradigm, and they were fulfilled beyond expectations.
The war in Korea was a prompt response to an outright act of aggression in the disputed “Rimland” of the early Cold War. Truman, for all his failings, was right in preventing Douglas McArthur from turning it into an existential struggle. The truce of 1953 still stands. It was a limited war, of limited duration, for limited objectives.
With Vietnam we enter a murky territory. By 1968 the gap between political objectives and military means had become painfully obvious, for the first time in American history. It took the courage and vision of Richard Nixon – a statesman par excellence unjustly maligned to this day – to end that military-political quagmire. Today’s Vietnam, far from being a bastion of Communist orthodoxy, is a flourishing capitalist economy and America’s de facto ally in curtailing Beijing’s ambitions in the South China Sea.
The 1990’s were a disaster. Bill Clinton bombed the Bosnian Serbs in 1994-95, thus making Sarajevo safe for the foreign jihadists who are now providing the foreign backbone for the Islamic State. He bombed Serbia in 1999, thus making Kosovo safe for their Albanian cohorts. The oft-stated intent, that America is helping “moderate” Muslims, has never paid any dividends.
The decade following 9/11 was even worse. After two failed wars, in Afghanistan the Taliban will eventually take over, period. Iraq is a failed state, with the new Shiite prime minister rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking ship. Trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives were utterly wasted.
And now we have a new war, against the Islamic State (IS, or ISIL, as Obama prefers to call it). There is no strategy, no operational tactical plan, no end-game. Air strikes with no boots on the ground. We are told, with disgusting complacency, that this war may last thirty years (Leon Panetta), or for ever (Newt Gingrich). Our “allies” in Ankara are watching calmly as the Kurds in Kobani succumb to IS attacks. The Turks and Saudi Arabia – our “allies” – want to finish off Bashar al-Assad first and foremost, the only man who has the viable fighting force ready and willing to confront the IS.
This is postmodernia at its best. God help us.
Imagine the following scenario.
It is mid-afternoon on the Wednesday just before Thanksgiving. Some jerk walks into the Atlanta airport, gets his boarding pass and makes his way to the mini-North Korea known as TSA. He hands the blueshirt his boarding pass and driver’s license. He then reaches into his carry-on bag, presses a button and – KABOOOOOOM!!!!!! – kills 2000 people.
At the same moment, two other jerks are doing the exact same thing at O’Hare and DFW as part of a co-ordinated attack. And not only have more people just died than died on 9/11, but America’s three largest aviation hubs have just experienced massive destruction and air travel everywhere has been severely interrupted.
TSA could not prevent this, just like they could not prevent the fatal shooting of a TSA agent at LAX last year. Terrorism need not happen at 35,000 feet. Indeed, extremely few terror attacks have anything to do with aviation.
TSA does not keep you safe. Period.
However, the American people persist in the notion that it does. And they will tolerate endless violations of their civil liberties and physical bodies in the name of Schutz und Sicherheit.
It all started shortly after 9/11 with the passing of the Patriot Act, which ushered in numerous violations on our Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure. And most people supported it because, after all, we had to “go after the terrorists.” And, hey, we had to give up our liberty for a time until the crisis passed.
I have to confess that I acquiesced in this for a very short time. I, like so many millions of others, was caught up in the passions of the moment.
But then I started asking: now that the camel’s nose is under the tent, what else are they going to do? And, more importantly, how much more will the American people accept?
It appears that there is no limit here.
Will we routinely accept the violation of our physical bodies in the name of safety and security? It turns out that we have.
Just consider the passivity with which most people accept “porn, perversion and pedophilia” – I wish I knew who said that first – in the name of “transportation safety”. When you look at a nude photograph of a minor, it is child pornography. If someone else feels you up without your consent, it is sexual assault. (And if anyone did this to me under any other circumstances, it would take about one nanosecond for me to put the wretched little pervert’s teeth on the ground.)
The Nazis didn’t do it. No communist regime ever did it. Yet, in the “land of the free”, being felt up in order to prove one’s innocence is now a condition of travel.
And just look at these tax-mainlining Uncle Ernies.
And if you will let the authorities photograph you naked and feel you up, why wouldn’t you let them violate you even further?
Would you let them catheterize you, like these central Utah police did when looking for marijuana?
Would you let them draw your blood? Read what is happening in Tennessee, Texas and Oregon.
Would you let them slit your throat and kill you? Police did just this on a drug bust in Huntsville, Alabama. And just as TSA has never caught a terrorist, the cops in this case found no drugs.
“But …… but …… but, they were looking for terrorists and drugs.”
The wars on drugs and terror are just like any other type of federal overreach. Both come clothed in somebody’s good intention. Both are sold to us in the name of some Higher Good. They always grow bigger and uglier with time. And they always create bigger problems than those they were intended to solve.
Do you want to live in a society when the authorities can invade your body at will and with impunity? Do you want to live in a society where you are constantly required to prove your innocence? A government that will force you to prove your innocence is infinitely more dangerous than any drug or terrorist.
Even more dangerous is a populace that feels protected by such a government. Obama is too good for such a people.
Culprits Include The City Of Chicago, Big Retailers, The Media, And Churches…
Proponents of the Nanny State have been trying to take away man’s Natural right of self-defense ever since the United Nations was created back in 1945. Of course, the Natural right of self-defense is totally unknown in communist and socialist countries; and big-government toadies in several so-called “democratic” countries have also succeeded in turning citizens into subjects by removing or severely restricting the Natural right of self-defense. Obviously, I’m talking about countries such as Great Britain, France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.
By self-defense, I am talking about a man’s right to carry a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW)–which, in modern times, mostly requires a firearm–anywhere and everywhere he goes. A state that does not allow a man to be personally armed in his day-to-day activities is literally stripping him of his right of self-defense. To require a citizen to keep his or her PDW in their home or vehicle is to deny the citizen’s Natural right of self-defense. To say a citizen may lawfully protect himself in only limited and duly-prescribed locations is to make the citizen a subject of the state. Furthermore, it removes from him the most fundamental of all the Natural rights that were granted to him by his Creator: the right of self-defense.
Four-legged predators are constantly on the prowl for animals that are defenseless. Two-legged predators do the same thing. These human predators do not respect “gun-free” zones. Like all predators, they are opportunistic beasts. They prey on the weak and vulnerable. When the state takes away a person’s right to be always armed, it makes the entire citizenry weak and vulnerable. As I have said many times, guns don’t kill people; gun-free zones kill people.
Gun control laws are among the most egregious violations of Natural Law. Men and women who are truly free are allowed to carry a PDW everywhere they go. Banks, schools, government buildings, churches, etc., should be no exceptions. It is no coincidence that just about every single mass-shooting in recent memory has taken place in a so-called “gun-free” zone, where the only people who were armed were the perpetrators. Gun-free zones turn free men into human prey.
For all intents and purposes, several states and major cities within the United States have become “gun-free” zones, in that they mostly deny their citizens the right to carry a PDW on their person. Whether the people of these cities and states realize it or not, they have lost the right to be called free men and have been turned into human prey by their own State and municipal governments. There is no greater example of this tyranny than the city of Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago has some of the strictest and most stringent gun-control laws in the entire nation. The government of Chicago has, in effect, turned the town into a giant killing-field where ravenous two-legged beasts are allowed to feast on the millions of defenseless prey that inhabit our country’s third largest city. For example, over the past Independence Day weekend, 82 people were shot and 14 people were killed in Chicago violence. Breitbart.com covered the story:
“Breitbart reported that the violence was high on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, but when Thursday, the final hours of Sunday, and the first few hours of Monday morning were added to the accounting, the rate of violence proved to be even more appalling.
“On Monday morning, July 7, the Chicago Tribune shocked the city with the list of weekend violence reporting that between Thursday, as the holiday weekend began, to the early hours of Monday morning, Chicago experienced 82 shootings with 14 killed.”
Included in the Breitbart report is the fact that one man’s life was actually saved by virtue of the fact that he had a concealed carry permit (no small feat in the City of Chicago) and used his PDW to protect himself against three violent miscreants. In this case, one of the dead was a violent predator. Had the innocent citizen not been armed, he would have been the statistic. In addition, the report states that eight of the dead were at the hands of Chicago police officers in the line of duty, proving, once again, that policemen carry guns, not for the protection of the citizenry, but for their own protection.
Predictably, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel blamed the increased violence on “weak” gun laws in the neighboring states of Indiana and Wisconsin.
See the Breitbart.com report here:
Of course, what Emanuel won’t tell you is that the violent crime rates of those states where the right to keep AND BEAR arms is less infringed are far less–far less! For example, there are 11 states in the country that allow their citizens to carry firearms freely and openly with no permit or license required. Those states are Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Vermont, Kentucky, and Virginia. So, using Emanuel’s logic, one could expect that there should have been hundreds of shootings in those states last weekend–what with their “weak” gun laws and all, right? You know that’s not true.
Check the incidents of shootings in the above-listed states and we might even discover that the City of Chicago may have had more shootings over this past Independence Day weekend than those 11 states COMBINED. Think of it: the City of Chicago (with some of the strictest gun control laws in the country) may have had more shootings than the combined shootings of the 11 states that recognize their citizens’ Natural right of self-defense by allowing them to freely and openly carry a PDW.
Of course, it’s not only various and sundry governments (though they are the most egregious usurpers of the Natural right of self-defense) that want to deny people the right to bear arms; many large retailers are adding their weight to the anti-self-defense hysteria.
Just a few days ago, the giant retailer, Target, announced a corporate policy that asks its patrons to leave their firearms at home. Once again, Breitbart.com covers the story.
“On July 2nd, Target ‘respectfully’ asked law-abiding citizens to ‘not bring firearms’ in their stores.
“The department store chain did this via an announcement posted on its website and shared by interim CEO John Mulligan.
“The announcement says:
“‘As you’ve likely seen in the media, there’s been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit “open carry” should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target–even in communities where it is permitted by law.’
“By taking this step, Target joins Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili’s in asking law-abiding citizens not to carry guns in their businesses.”
The author of the report, AWR Hawkins, notes, “Within two weeks of asking law-abiding customers to come unarmed, two Jack in the Box stores were robbed, and a shooting took place at a third. Patrons were robbed at gunpoint in one of the robberies, as well.”
See the report at:
But the war against your Natural right to self-defense doesn’t stop with the City of Chicago or the Target chain-stores. The mainstream media seem absolutely determined to take away your right to defend yourself and your loved ones.
After CNN sacked Piers Morgan due to his immense unpopularity, which was mostly due to his arrogant attacks against America’s Second Amendment, the cable network recently announced that it was replacing Morgan with former America’s Most Wanted host, John Walsh, who immediately proclaimed that his show would continue Morgan’s attacks against the Second Amendment.
Once more, Breitbart.com covers the story:
“Former America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh is hosting a new show on CNN on which he vows to keep the push for gun control and the war on the NRA alive.
“According to The Wrap, Walsh said:
“‘I’m the father of a murdered child. I’ve done nothing but track violence in America since my son was murdered. We have a serious problem with guns in this country… and the NRA solution to arm every grammar-school 80-year-old teacher with a gun is absolutely ludicrous.’
“He claims the NRA has gotten so big and financially powerful through relationships with gun manufacturers that ‘they’re not a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, they’re a gun manufacturer rep.’
“Walsh’s new show, The Hunt, premieres July 13. Walsh says he did not initially realize ‘how much his gun control efforts would be a part of his new show.’”
See the report at:
Obviously, CNN is hoping that it’s continued anti-Second Amendment agenda will be more palatable to the American people if it comes from a fellow American–especially one with whom everyone can truly sympathize with by virtue of his losing a child to an act of violence (although Adam Walsh’s murder did not involve the use of a firearm)–than from the arrogant and pompous British elitist, Piers Morgan. But make no mistake about it: the anti-Second Amendment message is the same. Only the messenger has changed.
And most sadly, churches, too, are often at the forefront of the anti-self-defense fanaticism. Christian leaders from denominations across the board are often the ones who promote gun control (even gun confiscation) among their congregations and who deny their parishioners the right to be armed on church property.
For example, back in 2004, the president of the LDS church issued a declaration to all Mormon churches in Utah that gave “public notice that firearms are prohibited in the church’s houses of worship, including temples, meetinghouses, the Assembly Hall, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and the Conference Center.”
The declaration went on to say, “Once such public notice is given, persons who bring firearms into a church house of worship should be informed of the church’s position and politely asked to take their firearms to another safe location. Persons who refuse to take their firearms from the house of worship or repeatedly ignore the church’s prohibition should be referred to local law enforcement officers for possible criminal prosecution.”
See the church statement here:
But if you think the LDS church is the only church in the country that has taken such a position, you are sadly misinformed. My educated guess is that the vast majority of denominations and churches in America have a very similar position.
But instead of denying the Christian people of America from exercising their God-given right of self-defense on church property, church leaders should be boldly teaching the Biblical Natural Law principles of self-defense and encouraging their people to jealously guard this most fundamental liberty. By demanding that Christian people not be armed on church property, church leaders are no better than Rahm Emanuel–who insists that Chicago’s residents not be allowed to protect themselves–and are opening up their churches to those two-legged wolves who would seek to devour the sheep.
There are only a small handful of countries today that recognize the Natural right of self-defense. The advent of the United Nations has facilitated the demise of this right in country after country. The United States is the last major power that yet somewhat protects this most precious Natural right.
Obviously, several State and local governments within the United States (not to mention the worst offender of all: the federal government in Washington, D.C.) have themselves assisted the dismantlement of the right of self-defense. Several giant retailers are assisting the attacks against our Natural right of self-defense. The mainstream media is incessant in its attacks against the Second Amendment. And even many of America’s churches have set themselves against the right to BEAR arms. The war against our Natural right of self-defense continues.
However, I need to point out that the architects of the Nanny State have been trying to disarm the American people since even before the United Nations was created. And while the right to keep and bear arms has been severely restricted by myriads of federal, State, and local laws, the American people continue to be the most heavily armed people in the world. Not only is the American citizenry an armed citizenry, it is an absolutely determined citizenry. The message to any and all potential tyrants who would attempt to remove our Natural right of self-defense is the same–whether they are from King George’s London, Mao’s Beijing, Stalin’s Moscow, Emanuel’s Chicago, Obama’s Washington, D.C., or the U.N.’s New York City: MOLON LABE, COME AND TAKE THEM!
Who Are Those Guys?
Ein el Helwe camp — As Washington and London were affirming the past few days their intentions to continue to arm “moderate rebel factions” in Syria, Tel Aviv just announced it would like to be helpful by joining with “moderate Arab nations” to battle their mutual Muslim enemies.
Israel offered on 6/26/14 to help “moderate” Arab nations who may feel threatened by the lightning land grabbing offensive by Islamic militants in Iraq. As its foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, an arch Zionist Islamophobe and Arabphobe, met with Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris, he reportedly talked sweet about some Arabs and told Kerry that “the extremists currently operating in Iraq and Syria will try to challenge the stability in the entire Gulf region, first of all in Kuwait.” A statement from his office added that “Israel could provide effective and reliable assistance to moderate Arab states who are dealing with extremists.”
Just a few days after visiting Iraq, and being briefed on the pathetic situation, Kerry seems intrigued by the Zionist idea and noted according to a senior U.S. official, that it is “important that countries in the region (including Israel) stand together against the (ISIS) threat.”
Basically “Israel wants to do what Shite Iran has started doing” he continued, which according to the New York Times is flying surveillance drones over Iraq and sending military equipment to help Baghdad fight the Sunni insurgents. Except Israel wants to arm the Sunni tribes in league with the West and the Gulf monarchies and not arm the Shia.
Israeli officials and AIPAC are arguing to Washington that Israeli interests were converging with moderate Arab nations and “both sides should be dealing with the threat of Iran, world jihad and al-Qaida, as well as the spill-over of conflicts in Syria and in Iraq to neighboring countries.” The Israeli embassy issued a statement, “Today, (6/26/14) there is a basis for the creation of a new diplomatic-political structure in the Middle East.” Yet another ‘New Middle East’, one wonders?
This week, (6/22/14) on NBC’s Meet the Press, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu restated the half-century old Zionist project and continuing to permanently divide and control the Middle East. On the subject of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (DAASH) Netanyahu expressed the intention of his regime to continue to promote internal strife in Israel’s neighboring states. “We must weaken both [Sunni and Shia Muslims],” Netanyahu said, restating his governments preferred policy to have Muslims continue fighting among themselves. “When your enemies are fighting each other, don’t strengthen either one of them, weaken both,” he told the American public.
While it would not be the first time the Zionist regime has worked with preferred members of the Arab League to advance its own interests, another strong incentive to ratchet up its “split the Arabs” policy is the popular spill-over political effects of the advancements of DAASH in Iraq and Syria. Briefly stated, Lebanon is awash with rumors about a “Sunni uprising” to regain what is viewed by some in Lebanon and the region as seeking justice for their substantial political and economic loses since the 2003 Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq.
If the Gulf Kingdoms and the West agree to share information and leverage with respect to Iraq and Syria with Netanyahu & Co., it will be with the knowledge that Israel has another motive in wanting to join the coalescing forces against ISIS (DAASH). Presumably it is also is what its Lebanon based agents are surely reporting from the Palestinian camps.
Briefly put Palestinian camps generally, and using Ein el Helwe, in Saida, Lebanon as an example, are beginning to experience what Nahr el Bared camp near Tripoli, Lebanon did in 2007. At Nahr al Bared, over a period of more than six months began to notice the arrival of ‘strangers.’ Some camp residents asked “Who are those guys”? At first the new arrivals appeared to be rather self-effacing, very polite, and seemingly deeply religious. They tended to keep to themselves and soon their families arrived. More than one Sheik in Nahr al Bared assured the camp residents that the strangers were “good Muslims” and some were even teaching lessons from the Koran at the Mosque.
Fast forward, and as one of the Nahr el Bared camp leader explained in great detail to this observer at the time, soon residents soon began to notice changes in what were in fact affiliates or members of a new group calling itself “Fatah el Islam (FEI).” For example, the Islamists began to accost women on the street demanding that they wear a full length Hijabs and to stop smoking and more generally change their ways to be “better Muslims”.
Today, FEI is relatively strong and growing, but secretively in Ein el Helwe. But they are not alone. New arrivals, plus young, unemployed, discouraged and increasingly disenchanted and angry youth are reportedly secretly holding meetings with DAASH, Al Nusra and other recruiters and they are promised immediate material benefits and soon to be granted the full right to work plus a deepening Resistance to the occupation of their country, Palestine. There are takers naturally, but numbers so far are difficult to learn. Militias are growing in the camps but it’s difficult to calculate just how fast because camp residents know of many outside intelligence agents living among them, ranging from Lebanese Internal Security to Zionist agents and many others, so keeping their work secret is most essential.
According to analysts in Lebanon, and a recent report in Now Lebanon, the small cells based in rural northern Lebanon, the eastern Bekaa, and the Palestinian camps, where law enforcement remains very difficult are expanding due to the ISIS’ surge in Iraq and its apparent success in securing popular support from Sunni tribes and former Baathist groups. Fears continue to spread that the Sunni-Shiite sectarian struggle will explode in Lebanon as well.
But the threat does not come only from outside Lebanon’s borders, according to a security source in Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp. The source reported that he has been receiving information recently about Jihadist factions mobilizing in several areas of Lebanon, including Palestinian refugee camps with both DAASH (ISIS) and al Nusra Front setting up training camps. According to one source, Jihadists reportedly are not only mobilizing inside the Palestinian camps: it is happening across Lebanon, especially after the Qalamoun second battle. Fanatic Muslims and takfiris are spreading very fast. “What is happening in Iraq and Qalamoun shows that the situation will soon be very dangerous in the region, including Lebanon. It will all become a jihad battlefield,” the source said.
Two active and knowledgeable Palestinians from Ein el Helwe camp explained to this observer this week as they introduced me to the leader of Fatah el Islam, “Of course all the camps are affected just like everyone else around here by what has been happening in Iraq and Syria. Palestinians always want to avoid local fights but we always seem to be pulled in. Look what happened in the Lebanese civil war. Our leadership tried everything it could do stay out of the sectarian fight but we were pulled in and paid a huge price.
As for the attitude of the general camp population in Lebanon, a recent unscientific poll found that more than 96% of camp residents in Lebanon do not want to stop the Resistance but rather to reclaim all their stolen land. This survey results compares remarkably closely to a June 15-17 poll commissioned by the Zionist Washington Institute. That poll comprised face-to-face interviews with a standard random geographic probability sample of 1,200 adult Palestinians, yielding results with a 3% statistical margin of error. Only 22% of Gazans would opt to give up the ‘by whatever means necessary’ Resistance “to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to achieve a two-state solution.” Even fewer, pick a “one-state solution,” in which “Arabs and Jews having equal rights in one country, but want their country returned from the river to the sea.” The “two-state solution” is the preferred option of a mere 9% in the West Bank and 10% in Gaza. Nearly two-thirds of the Palestinians in the same Zionist poll said “resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated.”
Both the Zionist poll and the informal one done in Palestinian camps in Lebanon find board support for popular resistance against the Zionist occupation seen as having a positive impact by most respondents in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. These activities include stepped up demonstrations, building more support for the BDS campaign, strikes, marches, and mass refusals to cooperate, though various acts of Resistance to confront the Zionist occupiers.
Increased Resistance is seen as having a positive impact by most respondents in both territories: 62% in the West Bank, 73% in Gaza and close to 90% in Ein el Helwe.
Meanwhile, a twitter account with 21,000 followers, one of many, and this one dubbed the “League of Supporters”, called this week for DAASH sympathizers to post messages warning America not to carry out airstrikes against DAASH. Rather they urged their supporters to prepare to follow them and to confront the Zionists across Palestine.
In summation, the Zionist regime is very aware that the camps are likely to explode for a number of reasons not least of which the lack of civil rights including Palestinians is being banned from most jobs and the rising anger in and among the camps. It is also the case that the Zionists realize that the future looks bleak for its continuing occupation of Palestine internationally and helping stamp our extremist Jihadists, even by working with Arab regimes, and to weaken Iran in the process, it what it must do.
As Canadian freelance writer and journalist Brandon Martinez reminds us: “Fragmenting, weakening and Balkanizing the Middle East has been part and parcel of the Zionist impulse from the very beginnings of the Jewish state. Israeli strategist Oded Yinon candidly outlined this imperialist line of thought in his 1982 paper “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s.” A strong, unified Iraq is Israel’s primary military concern, Yinon stressed” Yinon went on to push for the territorial dissection of Iraq into three state-lets along ethnic and confessional lines. And we may well witness these developments in Iraq. He promoted much the same scenario for Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and other Arab/Muslim states bordering the Zionist colony.
Martinez further observes, “The Zionists have used deception, subterfuge and cunning to con the world into entering conflicts and conflagrations that have expedited their ominous aims. But Israel’s insatiable avarice for more land and resources will eventually be its downfall, just as every empire in history has sooner or later collapsed under its own weight.”
Reminding this observer of a quote a valued friend from New Mexico recently sent to me:
“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too” (Marcus Aurelius).
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, “It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders, lawmakers and county commissioners from Western states said at Utah’s Capitol on Friday.
“More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-,timber-and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.
“‘It’s simply time,’ said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who organized the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands along with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. ‘The urgency is now.’
“Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, was flanked by a dozen participants, including her counterparts from Idaho and Montana, during a press conference after the daylong closed-door summit. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee addressed the group over lunch, Ivory said. New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington also were represented.
“The summit was in the works before this month’s tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing, Lockhart said.
“‘What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem,’ Lockhart said.”
See the report here:
Now we are getting somewhere!
The western states have been used as both playground and sugar stick for big-government politicians since before most of the western states became states. Compare the percentage of State land owned by the federal government in the western states to that of the eastern states.
Here is the percentage of land owned by the federal government in seven eastern states:
New York: 0.8%
Rhode Island: 0.4%
By contrast, here is the percentage of land owned by the federal government in seven western states:
The situation with the Bundys in Nevada highlights the heavy-handed tactics that the federal government employs against anyone who dares to challenge the manner in which the feds are attempting to kick hard-working, productive citizens off of federal lands. Remember that ranchers and farmers such as Cliven Bundy were promised access to these federal lands in perpetuity back in the nineteenth century when all of these land deals were being negotiated between the states and the federal government. Beyond that, ownership of the land by the federal government was supposed to preserve and protect the land for the people, not for the federal government.
A few years ago, there were dozens of successful and prosperous ranchers in the area around the Bundys. But since the BLM was given legislative mandates when Congress enacted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) in 1976, Cliven Bundy is now the only rancher in the area still standing.
The BLM has grown into a totalitarian monster.
Today, the BLM regulates hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, boating, hang gliding, shooting, off-highway vehicle driving, mountain biking, bird watching, and visiting natural and historical sites. The BLM also regulates logging, mining, fracking and other activities. What ranchers such as Cliven Bundy are going through loggers and miners are also experiencing. In fact, it is no hyperbole to say that, for all intents and purposes, the ranching, logging, and mining industries in the western states are being systematically regulated out of existence.
And in the case of Cliven Bundy, it is not about saving the Desert Tortoise or grazing fees or anything of the sort. It is all about letting fat-cat politicians such as Harry Reid negotiate lucrative solar energy deals with Communist China. Hey, folks: if the land doesn’t belong to Cliven Bundy, it doesn’t belong to Harry Reid, either!
The BLM’s evil twin sister is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was established in 1970. These two federal agencies have become the Wicked Witch of the East and Wicked Witch of the West in what used to be a beautiful land paved with yellow brick roads.
I dare say that if the eastern states were enduring the haranguing and harassment that the western states are enduring, the BLM would have been brought under control years ago. Absent national unity from eastern states on the matter, it is time for the western states to take matters into their own hands.
The legislative action being contemplated by the above-mentioned State legislators who assembled in Salt Lake City last Friday is a terrific first step. It is absolutely time for the western states to use their eminent domain authority to reclaim the lands within their borders that are currently owned by Washington, D.C. With the exception of National Parks, states should serve notice that they are taking back the land owned by the federal government–land that should never have been ceded to the central government to begin with.
The second problem that the siege against Cliven Bundy illustrates is the unconstitutional police powers assumed by federal agencies such as the BLM. Originally, the only federal agency that was lawfully allowed to make arrests on behalf of the U.S. government was the U.S. Marshals Service, which was created back in 1789–the year that the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Today, there are scores of alphabet agencies of the federal government who carry a badge and a gun and are allowed to enforce law at bayonet point. And the vast majority of these agencies are acting on assumed authority–authority not granted them constitutionally. Among these, there is no greater culprit than the BLM.
“You don’t send the Seventh Cavalry to collect a bill, and that’s exactly what happened,” Pat Buchanan told Sean Hannity on his radio show last Monday.
Buchanan went on to say, “And when they put all those forces out there-that’s what attracted all the others, the history of what happened at Waco, Ruby Ridge. And so these folks came to that rancher’s defense. But the initial problem here is [the] sending of all the force of arms out there to that ranch, which was a provocation to which these folks responded.”
See the report here:
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The Constitution delegates only three crimes to the federal government: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. That’s it. No other crimes are mentioned. That means that all other crimes are the purview of the states–including local and State police, sheriff’s deputies, and citizen militias and posses.
Of course, the problem is the Congress (and Court) in Washington, D.C., has used the “Necessary and Proper Clause” of Article. I. Section. 8. to justify all sorts of federal law enforcement enactments.
The result of this unconstitutional federal expansion of police powers is we now have scores of federal agencies that are using unchecked and unbridled power–power that is turning the United States into a giant police state.
The states must push back!
Not only must states reclaim millions of acres of land within their borders that are now controlled by the federal government, they must also pass legislation requiring federal bureaucracies such as the BLM to obtain the consent of county sheriffs in order to execute arrest warrants. States must make it clear in unmistakable terms that only the U.S. Marshals Service may execute federal warrants within their states; otherwise, only the county sheriff is authorized to execute arrest warrants within their states.
Furthermore, the U.S. Congress needs to disarm the countless federal bureaucracies that are currently terrorizing the American people. In truth, very few federal agencies need to carry guns. The politicians in Washington, D.C., love to try to disarm the American people, but the ones they should be disarming are most of the federal alphabet agencies.
Why do employees of the federal Department of Education need to carry guns? Why do postal employees need to carry guns? Why do agents of the BLM need to carry guns? Why do employees at NASA need to carry guns? Why do employees of the EPA need to carry guns? Why do employees at NOAA need to carry guns? Why do employees of the National Weather Service need to carry guns? Why do employees of the Social Security Administration need to carry guns? Why do employees at the Department of Agriculture need to carry guns? Why do employees of the National Marine Fisheries Service need to carry guns?
Ladies and gentlemen, law enforcement is mostly the responsibility of State and local governments. Why are so many federal bureaucracies carrying guns? Agencies of the federal government are not soldiers; and they are not even policemen. Furthermore, the American people are not the enemy!
Pat Buchanan is right: had not BLM agents marched onto the Bundy ranch like Nazi Stormtroopers, none of the events that are still playing out in the Nevada desert would have taken place. The memory of Waco and Ruby Ridge are still very vivid in the collective memory of the people of the United States. If anything burns deep in our collective conscience, it is that THERE MUST NEVER AGAIN BE ANOTHER WACO OR RUBY RIDGE. And that is exactly why those Americans have put themselves between the federal government and the Bundy family down in Bunkerville, Nevada.
The events in Salt Lake City, Utah, conducted by dozens of legislators from the western states last Friday were as monumental as the events in Bunkerville, Nevada, conducted by the citizen militia the previous Saturday.
Free and independent states and “We the People” have always been the guardians of liberty in this land. And if freedom is going to be preserved for our posterity, it is going to take the combined effort of both the individual sovereign states and individual citizens to arise and stand in the gap once again. It would also seem that the rise has already begun. Praise God! The only thing missing now is the patriot pulpit.
P.S. I have been inundated with requests from pastors and laymen alike to help them establish non-501c3, unaffiliated, unorganized, unincorporated churches. I have heard their pleas; and I have a very important announcement regarding this matter coming in the very near future. Stay tuned.
Perhaps Arizona governor Jan Brewer was sincere when saying that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 1062) she vetoed yesterday could “create more problems than it purports to solve.” After all, observers such as Napp Nazworth at The Christian Post contend that SB 1062 might actually — contrary to all the hysteria — have made it harder for most business owners to refuse service to homosexuals. This analysis may have merit and can be read here, but it’s irrelevant to a larger point:
The GOP’s handling of this matter was a good illustration of conservatism’s fatal flaw.
Whatever the legal realities, about something we can be sure: many conservatives believed in SB 1062. And as with the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the bill but turned against it after the heat was turned up, many of those conservatives caved under great pressure from greedy businesses, limp-wristed neo-con artists (John McCain) and that great leftist public-relations team (the media).
I’ve long lamented that conservatives are conservative; that is to say, they play defense and just try to protect the status quo, which was, though conservatives generally appear oblivious to the fact, created by yesterday’s liberals.
So they never actually try to rescind those efforts at thought control called hate-crime laws, but just hope to limit the scope of new proposals for them. They never really endeavor to eliminate government programs and bureaucracies; they just aim to slow down their metastasizing. They hardly ever try to reduce spending and shrink government, but just seek to limit the rate at which both balloon. And with the Arizona effort, they weren’t really willing to do what was necessary to reclaim freedom of association. They just proposed a half measure and then folded like cheap cameras.
As for the Three Mouseketeers who ran for cover — senators Bob Worsley, Adam Driggs and Steve Pierce — they wrote in a letter to Brewer that while they wanted “to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance.”
Wow, is that all it takes?
We might as well just bow down and lick the left’s jackboots right now.
How did these three chronologically adult politicians think the left would characterize their effort? Who are these guys, Beaver and Wally Cleaver and Dennis (the Menace) Mitchell? Of course the left is going to call you names! That’s what they do. And now you’ve just confirmed for them, once again, that this is all they have to do to bring you to your knees. Welcome to How to Lose a Culture War 101.
How should conservatives handle such name calling?
Hurl names right back.
Call the leftists what they are: tyrants, socialists and haters of liberty. Explain that they want to destroy freedom of association. Seek to control the language of the debate and to frame the narrative — and use their own Alinsky tactics against them. And we do have one great advantage: we’re right and righteous.
As for strategy, realize that framing this as a matter of freedom of religion makes it seem a special-interest cause, as not everyone considers himself “religious.” What we really need is a Freedom of Association Restoration Act.
For this freedom is increasingly trampled. A photographer in New Mexico being sued and two Oregon bakers forced to close their business — both for refusing to be party to lesbian so-called “weddings” — are just two examples of the phenomenon.
But think about the supposition justifying this kind of government coercion: no one would deny me the right to include in or exclude from my home whomever I please. Why should I lose this right simply because I decide to erect extra tables and sell food?
It’s still my private property, paid for with my own money and created by the sweat of my own brow. It’s tyranny to give me a choice between relinquishing my rights — and starving.
Likewise, no one would force you to bake cakes for or take pictures of people with whom you didn’t want to consort. Why should this change just because you decide to bake cakes or take pictures for money? The principle is simple: your home, your oven, your camera — your choice.
The hypocrisy here is thick, too. We wouldn’t force a Muslim butcher to deal in pork or a Jewish baker to place Nazi symbols on a cake; in fact, there’s a story about a supermarket that refused to place the name of a neo-Nazi’s son — Adolf Hitler Campbell — on a birthday cake. And even more recently we heard about a bar in California denying service to legislators seeking to protect marriage. Of course, the left will claim there’s no comparison, as pork eaters, Nazis and pro-marriage individuals aren’t protected groups. So let’s get this straight:
They trumpet discrimination as an argument for disallowing discrimination.
And what invidious discrimination theirs is. They somehow think that supporting the granting of just some groups “protected status” — and thus leaving other groups, apparently, “unprotected” — gives them moral high ground in trying to discriminate against yet other groups by forcing them, but not others (e.g., those opposing and denying service to traditionalist legislators), to violate their deeply held convictions. Only a twisted mind could consider this justice. Of course, though, with liberals telling us via a high-school textbook (Magruder’s American Government & Civics) that justice “is difficult to define for justice is a concept, an idea, an invention of the human mind [and that] [l]ike other concepts such as truth, liberty, and fairness justice means what people want it to mean,” this is no surprise.
Some will balk at my argument, saying that my position on freedom of association would allow businesses to discriminate even on the basis of race or sex. The answer to this is illustrated with a simple analogy: does freedom of speech mean anything if only extended to popular speech? It then isn’t freedom of speech at all, but merely the establishment of different prohibitions than may exist in Iran, North Korea or Cuba. Likewise, the true test of whether we really believe in freedom of association is if we’ll extend it to even those who would exercise it in a way we abhor.
As for businesses that must operate in today’s tyrannical, rights-squelching environment, I have a solution. If, for instance, people forced me through law to provide bakery services for them, the trauma just might affect my ability to identify and measure ingredients and follow a recipe. And I would then show them that you can have your cake, but you can’t eat it, too.
Can you find yourself in the picture?
The HSBC bank is limiting withdrawals in both the United States and in Britain.
For the life of me, I have no idea why anyone would want to bank in this criminal enterprise bank. Regardless, isn’t the money your money? Shouldn’t you be able to do with your money what you want without justifying the purpose to the bank that you designate to hold your money?
John Cruz is a former vice president and relationship manager at HSBC. Cruz has made two guest appearances on The Common Sense Show in which he alleged that he uncovered that HSBC was laundering money for the Mexican drug cartels through phony shell corporations. He brought this to the attention of his supervisors at HSBC and was told to “leave it alone”. When he did not leave it alone, he was fired. Cruz went to prosecutors in the New York City area. They acknowledged that they knew what was going at HSBC, but they refused to investigate and prosecute and DHS and the FBI told Cruz the same thing.
The Cruz revelations leave no doubt that the entire banking system is nothing but a criminal enterprise system.
The Banking System Is Nearing Collapse
HSBC has admitted that it has not informed customers of the change in policy which allows the bank to deny customer withdrawals of cash from their own account. This policy was implemented in November of 2013.
This development at HSBC should raise red flags for everyone, not just HSBC customers, because in the same time frame, JP Morgan Chase announced an identical policy. As a result, many financial analysts are predicting a bank run in the near future and this is the primary strategy of the banks as they are obviously bracing for an economic collapse.
This illegal withholding of bank customer funds is justified by Eric Leenders, the present head of retail at the British Bankers Association. Leenders states that the banks are just being sensible to ask questions as to what the money is for and then make a subsequent decision on whether to release the funds to the account holder. Leenders stated that “I can understand it’s frustrating for customers. But if you are making the occasional large cash withdrawal, the bank wants to make sure it’s the right way to make the payment.” I would agree with Mr. Leenders in that the theft of customer money by a supposed trusted bank is indeed frustrating.
Sending a Clear Message
Clearly, this is a portend of things to come. If the banks were on sound financial footing, account holders would not see any such restrictions. However, if you knew if a bank crash was coming, wouldn’t you make sure your bank was as liquid as possible? To the banks, being liquid and cautious in these perilous times means that the banks intend on making it very difficult for their customers to gain access to their money.
These are the chest pains before the heart attack. Take your money out of the bank while you still can.
An Ominous Development
When the banking collapse happens, it will not be American bankers that will gobble up your life savings, pensions, 401K’s and IRA’s. It will be the Chinese.
Isn’t it interesting that JP Morgan Chase has sold their property located at One Chase Manhattan Plaza skyscraper to Fosun International, a Chinese investment firm, for $725 million. This is only the latest in a series of New York real estate purchases by Chinese investors.
It is time to connect the dots.
Just the Facts Ma’am
Fact, the American economy is in freefall.
Fact, the Chinese have purchased a large portion of our debt.
Fact, if the Chinese do not position themselves to acquire America’s hard assets before the crash, they will be left holding useless paper.
Fact, your house is a hard asset and the paper note is owned by the bank.
Fact, the Chinese not only make your clothes and most of your personal possessions, the Chinese will be calling in the loans on your homes before the crash, once they acquire more of our banks.
Fact, if a person does not think that your home is not at risk of being taken, then that person does not understand basic finance and they have obviously never heard of the MERS mortgage fraud.
Fact, the government has begun stealing everyone’s 401K and retirement plans from their previous allocations and converting them to buying U.S. government bonds and who owns the lion’s share of the bonds? Chinese take-out anyone?
Fact, many have been reporting that Hillary Clinton has been collateralizing American home mortgages, office buildings, land, public holdings and mineral assets to the Chinese so that they will continue, for a short time, to continue to purchase our debt.
Fact, it would be wise to learn Mandarin Chinese so that you can more effectively communicate with your soon-to-be slave masters.
Welcome to the Old West, Chinese Style
Are you familiar with the term “Company Town”? This is a phrase that was primarily reserved for towns in the “Old West” in places like Bisbee, Arizona. The mining company in Bisbee owned everything. The owned the mine where the people worked. They owned the homes where the people lived. They owned the drug stores. They owned the Grocery stores. In short, they owned it all! I fear that this is the new reality under which we will soon be living in which the Chinese will own everything.
One interesting side note has to do with a historical event called the Bisbee Deportation. The event was precipitated by miners who thought they would protest dangerous working conditions and substandard living quarters. The owners of the company town responded to worker demands by forcing the dissenters into trains and then transported the protesters to the deserts of New Mexico and were forced off of the train in the middle of nowhere. In the near future, I do not think the Chinese will transport dissenters to the desert, the new destination will consist of barb wire facing in and the word FEMA will be imprinted on the sign outside the destination.
What name would you give a system of economics and government where corporate entities own all of the property? I would call it modern day feudalism.
I can best sum up these events in the words of Johnny Cash, “I hear the train acomin’ it’s rollin’ round the bend and I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when …”
Source: The Common Sense Show
Acute water shortages, aquifers exhausted, contaminated rivers…
Few Americans understand what their children face within 37 years with the addition of 100 million immigrants to the United States of America. The ramifications of passage of mass Amnesty Bill S.744 guarantee devastating consequences to our country. I hope, as you read this series, you understand that your children will become victims of your apathy and inaction.
Instead of this crisis standing front and center at the national leadership and media levels—America’s population predicament remains the most ignored, evaded and suppressed issue of our time.
I’m not exactly certain why we stand in denial of the effects of adding 100 million immigrants. You could ask the average American on the street about the implications of S744 and he or she wouldn’t possess the slightest idea of what you’re talking about.
As a reminder validating the reason for this series: demographic experts project the United States adding 100 million immigrants to this country by 2050—a scant 37 years from now. All totaled, since we reached 300 million in October of 2007, we will add 138 million people by 2050 to total 438 million people—enough to duplicate 20 of our top cities’ populations to our country. That 100 million people will have to be watered, fed, housed, transported and provided medical services. The enormity of it transcends understanding. The Pew Research Center, U.S. Population Projections by Fogel/Martin and the U.S. Census Bureau document those demographic facts.
Today in America, seven states suffer water shortages in 2013: Florida, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. They may be able to water their populations at this time, but they stand on the edge of acute water shortages.
Florida sustains 18 million people in 2013, but demographic projections show them doubling to 36 million within 37 years—all of it because of legal immigration. Texas, at 26 million, expects to hit 36 million by 2050. The whopper granddaddy of them all: California holds 38 million on their way to 58 million.
What amazes me: no one whispers a word. Somebody with a brain in the media or government must be pulling their hair out while wondering why the media always reports “downstream” or after the catastrophic event already occurred.
But when the “Water footprint” disaster hits, we will have already added 100 million immigrants. At that point, everyone becomes victims.
(We pollute our drinking water with trash and chemicals all over the planet. Notice the mountain of plastic debris; but you can’t see the chemical contamination within the water. Not until, of course, you contract cancer.) Photography www.lightstalkers.org
“Without sustainability, ’severe’ water scarcity by 2050” By Andrew Nusca
“Today, 36% of the global population — approximately 2.4 billion people — already live in water-scarce regions and 22% of the world’s GDP ($9.4 trillion at 2000 prices) is produced in water-short areas,” said Nusca. “Moreover, 39% of current global grain production is not sustainable in terms of water use.
“According to IFPRI’s analysis, current “business as usual” water management practices and levels of water productivity will put at risk approximately $63 trillion, or 45 percent of the projected 2050 global GDP (at 2000 prices), equivalent to 1.5 times the size of today’s entire global economy. Moreover, 4.8 billion people (52 percent of the world population) will be exposed to severe water scarcity by 2050.”
(This is the kind of water contamination I have seen in my world travels. Many beaches around the world feature knee deep plastic trash. Worse, most of it sinks to the bottom and disrupts ocean, river and lake eco-systems. Yet, not one world leader or corporations calls for a 25 cent deposit-return law.) Photography by www.lightstalkers.org
As their water shortages slam home, where do you think they flee? Answer: first world countries.
Interestingly enough: these figures stand for our current 7.1 billion humans. Projections show another 3.1 billion added to that to reach 10 billion by 2050.
Something will happen and it won’t be pretty.
- 1 out of 6 people in the world lack access to clean water – that equals 1.1 billion people
- 9 million people will die this year from lack of access to clean water
- Every 15 seconds a child dies from water related illness
Exactly how do we Americans think we will escape those realities by adding 100 million immigrants?
(Imagine millions gallons of chemicals being dumped into America’s lakes and streams 24/7 because that’s what’s happening. Leaking gas tanks from gas stations and individual oil dumps poison our ground water. Dairy, beef, pig and chicken farms cause enormous ground water pollution. Add another 100 million immigrants and we face humongous consequences that will become irreversible and unsolvable.) Photography by www.wikipedia.org
Facts about Pollution from Livestock Farms
Livestock pollution and public health
- California officials identify agriculture, including cows, as the major source of nitrate pollution in more than 100,000 square miles of polluted groundwater.
- In 1996 the Centers for Disease Control established a link between spontaneous abortions and high nitrate levels in Indiana drinking water wells located close to feedlots.
- Manure from dairy cows is thought to have contributed to the disastrous Cryptosporidiumcontamination of Milwaukee’s drinking water in 1993, which killed more than 100 people, made 400,000 sick and resulted in $37 million in lost wages and productivity.
Water expert Ken Midkiff said, “In just a few short decades in the US, we have depleted our water supply. In the eastern states, which once had an abundance of water, bitter disputes and legal battles have become commonplace over water shortages caused by overpopulation. In the western states, where water has always been in short supply, population growth in dry areas has led to water shortages that threaten to severely restrict or perhaps even bar further growth.”
How do you “bar growth” by adding over 100 million people to America inside of four decades?
Just imagine with me: within 37 years, endless immigration will add 20 million immigrants to California. Anyone want to guess the outcome of that many people on the water supplies?
Water is essential for all dimensions of life. Over the past few decades, use of water has increased, and in many places water availability is falling to crisis levels. More than eighty countries, with forty percent of the world’s population, are already facing water shortages, while by year 2020 the world’s population will double. The costs of water infrastructure have risen dramatically. The quality of water in rivers and underground has deteriorated, due to pollution by waste and contaminants from cities, industry and agriculture. Ecosystems are being destroyed, sometimes permanently. Over one billion people lack safe water, and three billion lack sanitation; eighty per cent of infectious diseases.
Does anyone in the United States understand or comprehend what America will look like in 2050 “IF” we continue endless immigration into our country? Does any leader possess an inkling of the ramifications of adding the projected 100 million immigrants, their kids and chain-migrated relatives?
That’s correct, at the current rate of immigration legalized by the 1986 Reagan amnesty, we continue on course to add 100 million immigrants from all over the world. They arrive legally at 1.0 million annually. They birth 900,000 babies among their numbers annually. (Source: Dr. Steven Camorata, www.cis.org) With chain migration, that means each “new” American may invite 10 of his or her relatives to join them with “family-reunification.” If the current S744 amnesty bill passes, your US Congress jumped that 1.0 million to 2.0 million legal immigrants annually.
Do the math! Any way you cut it, that means America will experience an avalanche, a human tsunami, or simply the biggest wave of humanity ever to hit our country or any country, ever. We will grow from our current 316 million to well over 438 million people within 37 years. The extra 38 million will come from our own “population momentum.” These figures stem from our country reaching 300 million in October of 2007. We grow by 3.1 million annually.
What’s it going to look like? Answer: it will become ugly on multiple levels—environmentally, sociologically, linguistically, culturally, quality of life and downgraded standard of living—for starters. Parts 1 through 5 will cover what we face.
First of all, 100 million immigrants will equal our adding 20 of our most populated cities. Think of it: we will add another New York City, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and eight other American cities.
We face watering 100 million more people, housing them, transporting them, warming them, feeding them and finding jobs for them.
Today in 2013, seven states face shortages: Georgia, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. But Georgia will grow from 8.2 million to 16.4 million. Florida expects to grow from 18 million to 36 million. For the whopper fact of all, California expects to jump from 38 million to 58 million.
Our cities face resembling present-day Mumbai, India; or Tokyo, Japan; or Paris, France; or Shanghai, China—bursting at the seams with 50 to100 mile traffic jams, people smooched into 200 square foot apartments rising out of the ground like mindless stalactites.
Our rivers will run with endless chemicals from industrial, farm, human and acid rain pollution. Our National Parks will become so crowded that you will be forced to draw a lottery number in order to visit them.
Every last bit of arable land and wildreness will be destroyed by what scientists call “ecological footprint.” In Ethiopia, it takes .4 (4/10ths) of an acre of land to feed, water and house a person. In the USA, it takes 25.4 acres of land to support one person. (Source:www.allspecis.org)
With those 100 million immigrants, we must destroy 2.54 BILLION acres of land. That, in turn, guarantees accelerating our current 250 species suffering extinction annually in the lower 48 to double that number which will mean 5,000 species a year suffering extinction at the hands of our encroachment on the natural world.
As those enormous human numbers impact the carbon footprint and impact the “water footprint”, we face water predicament that will become unsolvable and irreversible. We face water wars, water confrontations, water irrigation problems heretofore never imagined.
Our giant aquifers like the Ogallala will dry up leaving us with no irrigation of our corn, wheat and hay fields.
We incorporate a Faustian Bargain in 2013 to reap a Hobson’s Choice in 2050—a scant 37 years from now.
Our quality of life cannot help but degrade into severe limitations as to hunting, fishing, wildlife extermination, energy exhaustion and resource depletion.
Let’s talk about energy: we hit Peak Oil in 2011. We face the last 50 percent of all oil remaining on the planet. It takes more energy units to pump it and less energy units out of the ground. Finally, at some point, we will be left with little oil at staggering prices—but a 438 million population to feed. Of sobering note, the world will have added 3.1 billion humans to feed, to this nightmare extends beyond our borders.
How about the environment? Anybody want to guess how much damage our carbon footprint will wreak havoc on our oceans with acidification and warming of the waters? My guess: we face annual Hurricane Sandy’s and Katrina’s. More tornadoes will mow humans down at an outstanding rate.
Additionally: I’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg of what we bequeath to our children.
As I sit here with the scientific facts, my own world travels having seen the 12 largest cities on the planet and my own scientific experiences in Antarctica—I am appalled that the American people and our leaders gallop into this added 100 million more immigrants without so much as a shout, whimper or cry.
Our kids will curse our stupidity, arrogance and outright disregard for their futures. My own two U.S. Senators understand what we face because I spent 45 minutes explaining the facts to their staffs, but they voted to add 2.0 million legal immigrants annually to make our fate arrive even faster than 37 years.
My guess: our leaders resemble intellectual lunatics. Our people resemble the dumbest sheep on the planet.
Finally, why am I one of the few Americans who “sees” this so clearly? Why aren’t there tens of millions of Americans who “see” and take it to “60 Minutes” ; “Charlie Rose” ; “Today Show” ; “DateLine” ; “Good Morning America” ; Scott Pelley, Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams, Wolf Blitzer, Kelly Mygen, Shepard Smith and every other media leader? Why don’t we demand a national discussion?
If we refuse to act, remain too apathetic to act, or don’t act—the S744 Amnesty Bill will pass and add that 100 million immigrants to this country in a blink of time. God help our children when they inherit our legacy of 100 million immigrants.
He was an experiment, really. One of the first recruits for a new kind of warfare in which men and machines merge. He flew multiple missions, but he never left his computer. He hunted top terrorists, saved lives, but always from afar. He stalked and killed countless people, but could not always tell you precisely what he was hitting. Meet the 21st-century American killing machine. Who’s still utterly, terrifyingly human.
From the darkness of a box in the Nevada desert, he watched as three men trudged down a dirt road in Afghanistan. The box was kept cold—precisely sixty-eight degrees—and the only light inside came from the glow of monitors. The air smelled spectrally of stale sweat and cigarette smoke. On his console, the image showed the midwinter landscape of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province—a palette of browns and grays, fields cut to stubble, dark forests climbing the rocky foothills of the Hindu Kush. He zoomed the camera in on the suspected insurgents, each dressed in traditional shalwar kameez, long shirts and baggy pants. He knew nothing else about them: not their names, not their thoughts, not the thousand mundane and profound details of their lives.
He was told that they were carrying rifles on their shoulders, but for all he knew, they were shepherd’s staffs. Still, the directive from somewhere above, a mysterious chain of command that led straight to his headset, was clear: confirmed weapons. He switched from the visible spectrum—the muted grays and browns of “day-TV”—to the sharp contrast of infrared, and the insurgents’ heat signatures stood out ghostly white against the cool black earth. A safety observer loomed behind him to make sure the “weapon release” was by the book. A long verbal checklist, his targeting laser locked on the two men walking in front. A countdown—three…two…one…—then the flat delivery of the phrase “missile off the rail.” Seventy-five hundred miles away, a Hellfire flared to life, detached from its mount, and reached supersonic speed in seconds.
It was quiet in the dark, cold box in the desert, except for the low hum of machines.
He kept the targeting laser trained on the two lead men and stared so intently that each individual pixel stood out, a glowing pointillist dot abstracted from the image it was meant to form. Time became almost ductile, the seconds stretched and slowed in a strange electronic limbo. As he watched the men walk, the one who had fallen behind seemed to hear something and broke into a run to catch up with the other two. Then, bright and silent as a camera flash, the screen lit up with white flame.
Airman First Class Brandon Bryant stared at the scene, unblinking in the white-hot clarity of infrared. He recalls it even now, years later, burned into his memory like a photo negative: “The smoke clears, and there’s pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee. He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it’s hitting the ground, and it’s hot. His blood is hot. But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast. It took him a long time to die. I just watched him. I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on.”
That was Brandon Bryant’s first shot. It was early 2007, a few weeks after his twenty-first birthday, and Bryant was a remotely-piloted-aircraft sensor operator—a “sensor” for short—part of a U.S. Air Force squadron that flew Predator drones in the skies above Iraq and Afghanistan. Beginning in 2006, he worked in the windowless metal box of a Ground Control Station (GCS) at Nellis Air Force Base, a vast sprawl of tarmac and maintenance hangars at the edge of Las Vegas.
The airmen kept the control station dark so they could focus on controlling their MQ-1B Predators circling two miles above the Afghan countryside. Bryant sat in a padded cockpit chair. He had a wrestler’s compact build, a smooth-shaved head, and a piercing ice blue gaze frequently offset by a dimpled grin. As a sensor, his job was to work in tandem with the drone’s pilot, who sat in the chair next to him. While the pilot controlled the drone’s flight maneuvers, Bryant acted as the Predator’s eyes, focusing its array of cameras and aiming its targeting laser. When a Hellfire was launched, it was a joint operation: the pilot pulled a trigger, and Bryant was responsible for the missile’s “terminal guidance,” directing the high-explosive warhead by laser to its desired objective. Both men wore regulation green flight suits, an unironic Air Force nod to the continuity of military decorum in the age of drone warfare.
The Air Force’s go-to drone: The MQ-1 Predator.
Since its inception, the drone program has been largely hidden, its operational details gathered piecemeal from heavily redacted classified reports or stage-managed media tours by military public-affairs flacks. Bryant is one of very few people with firsthand experience as an operator who has been willing to talk openly, to describe his experience from the inside. While Bryant considers leakers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden heroes willing to sacrifice themselves for their principles, he’s cautious about discussing some of the details to which his top-secret clearance gave him access. Still, he is a curtain drawn back on the program that has killed thousands on our behalf.
Despite President Obama’s avowal earlier this year that he will curtail their use, drone strikes have continued apace in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan. With enormous potential growth and expenditures, drones will be a center of our policy for the foreseeable future. (By 2025, drones will be an $82 billion business, employing an additional 100,000 workers.) Most Americans—61 percent in the latest Pew survey—support the idea of military drones, a projection of American power that won’t risk American lives.
And yet the very idea of drones unsettles. They’re too easy a placeholder or avatar for all of our technological anxieties—the creeping sense that screens and cameras have taken some piece of our souls, that we’ve slipped into a dystopia of disconnection. Maybe it’s too soon to know what drones mean, what unconsidered moral and ethical burdens they carry. Even their shape is sinister: the blunt and featureless nose cone, like some eyeless creature that has evolved in darkness.
For Bryant, talking about them has become a sort of confessional catharsis, a means of processing the things he saw and did during his six years in the Air Force as an experimental test subject in an utterly new form of warfare.
Looking back, it was really little more than happenstance that had led him to that box in the desert. He’d been raised poor by his single mom, a public-school teacher in Missoula, Montana, and he struggled to afford tuition at the University of Montana. In the summer of 2005, after tagging along with a buddy to the Army recruiting office, he wandered into the Air Force office next door. His friend got a bad feeling and bailed at the last minute, but Bryant had already signed his papers. In short order he was running around at Lackland Air Force Base during Warrior Week in the swelter of a Texas summer. He wasn’t much for military hierarchy, but he scored high on his aptitude tests and was shunted into intelligence, training to be an imagery analyst. He was told he would be like “the guys that give James Bond all the information that he needs to get the mission done.”
Most of the airmen in his intel class were funneled into the drone program, training at Creech Air Force Base in the sagebrush desert an hour north of Las Vegas. Bryant was told it was the largest group ever inducted. His sensor-operator course took ten weeks and led into “green flag” exercises, during which airmen piloted Predators and launched dummy Hellfires at a cardboard town mocked up in the middle of the desert. The missiles, packed with concrete, would punch through the derelict tanks and wrecked cars placed around the set. “It’s like playing Dungeons & Dragons,” says Bryant. “Roll a d20 to see if you hit your target.” His training inspector, watching over his shoulder, would count down to impact and say, “Splash! You killed everyone.”
Within a few months he “went off” to war, flying missions over Iraq at the height of the conflict’s deadliest period, even though he never left Nevada.
His opening day on the job was also his worst. The drone took off from Balad Air Base, fifty miles outside Baghdad in the Sunni Triangle. Bryant’s orders, delivered during a pre-shift mission briefing, were straightforward: a force-protection mission, acting as a “guardian angel” over a convoy of Humvees. He would search out IEDs, insurgent activity, and other threats. It was night in the U.S. and already daylight in Iraq when the convoy rolled out.
From 10,000 feet, Bryant scanned the road with infrared. Traffic was quiet. Everything normal. Then he spotted a strange circle, glowing faintly on the surface of the road. A common insurgent’s technique for laying IEDs is to douse a tire with gasoline, set it afire on a roadway, and dig up the softened tar beneath. The technique leaves a telltale heat signature, visible in infrared. Bryant, a fan ofThe Lord of the Rings, joked that it looked like the glowing Eye of Sauron.
Flying a drone can feel like a deadly two-person video game—with a pilot (left) and sensor (right).
Bryant pointed the spot out to the pilot, who agreed it looked like trouble. But when they tried to warn the convoy, they realized they couldn’t. The Humvees had activated their radio jammers to disrupt the cell-phone signals used to remotely detonate IEDs. The drone crew’s attempts at radio contact were as useless as shouting at the monitor. Brandon and his pilot patched in their flight supervisor to brainstorm a new way to reach them. They typed frantically back and forth in a group chat, a string of messages that soon included a cast of superiors in the U.S. and Iraq. Minutes passed, and the convoy rolled slowly toward the glowing circle. Bryant stared at the screen, heart pounding, scarcely breathing. The lead Humvee rolled across the eye. “Nothing happens,” says Bryant. “And we’re kind of like, maybe it was a mistake. Everyone’s like Whew, good on you for spotting it, but we’re glad that it wasn’t what you thought it was.” He remembers exhaling, feeling the nervous tension flow out of him.
“And the second vehicle comes along and boom.…”
A white flash of flame blossomed on the screen. Bryant was zoomed in as close as he could get, toggling his view between infrared and day-TV, watching in unblinking horror as the shredded Humvee burned. His headset exploded with panicked chatter from the ground in Iraq: What the fuck happened? We’ve got guys down over here! Frantic soldiers milled around, trying to pull people out of the smoldering wreckage. The IED had been tripped by either a pressure plate or manual detonation; the radio jammers would have done nothing to prevent it. Three soldiers were severely wounded, and two were killed.
“I kind of finished the night numb,” Bryant says. “Then you just go home. No one talked about it. No one talked about how they felt after anything. It was like an unspoken agreement that you wouldn’t talk about your experiences.”
The pace of work in the box unraveled Bryant’s sense of time. He worked twelve-hour shifts, often overnight, six days a week. Both wars were going badly at the time, and the Air Force leaned heavily on its new drone fleet. A loaded Predator drone can stay aloft for eighteen hours, and the pilots and sensors were pushed to be as tireless as the technology they controlled. (Bryant claims he didn’t get to take leave for the first four years he served.)
Even the smell of that little shed in the desert got to Bryant. The hermetically sealed control center was almost constantly occupied—you couldn’t take a bathroom break without getting swapped out—and the atmosphere was suffused with traces of cigarette smoke and rank sweat that no amount of Febreze could mask. One bored pilot even calculated the number of farts each cockpit seat was likely to have absorbed.
Mostly the drone crews’ work was an endless loop of watching: scanning roads, circling compounds, tracking suspicious activity. If there was a “troops-in-contact” situation—a firefight, ground troops who call in a strike—Bryant’s Predator could be called to the scene in minutes with its deadly payload. But usually time passed in a haze of banal images of rooftops, walled courtyards, or traffic-snarled intersections.
Sitting in the darkness of the control station, Bryant watched people on the other side of the world go about their daily lives, completely unaware of his all-seeing presence wheeling in the sky above. If his mission was to monitor a high-value target, he might linger above a single house for weeks. It was a voyeuristic intimacy. He watched the targets drink tea with friends, play with their children, have sex with their wives on rooftops, writhing under blankets. There were soccer matches, and weddings too. He once watched a man walk out into a field and take a crap, which glowed white in infrared.
Bryant came up with little subterfuges to pass the long hours at the console: sneaking in junk food, mending his uniforms, swapping off twenty-minute naps with the pilot. He mastered reading novels while still monitoring the seven screens of his station, glancing up every minute or two before returning to the page. He constructed a darkly appropriate syllabus for his occupation. He read the dystopian sci-fi classic Ender’s Game, about children whose violent simulated games turn out to be actual warfare. Then came Asimov, Bryant pondering his Three Laws of Robotics in an age of Predators and Hellfires. A robot may not injure a human being….
Bryant took five shots in his first nine months on the job. After a strike he was tasked with lingering over a site for several haunting hours, conducting surveillance for an “after-action report.” He might watch people gather up the remains of those killed and carry them to the local cemetery or scrub the scene by dumping weapons into a river. Over Iraq he followed an insurgent commander as he drove through a crowded marketplace. The man parked in the middle of the street, opened his trunk, and pulled two girls out. “They were bound and gagged,” says Bryant. “He put them down on their knees, executed them in the middle of the street, and left them there. People just watched it and didn’t do anything.” Another time, Bryant watched as a local official groveled in his own grave before being executed by two Taliban insurgents.
Keepsakes from Bryant’s service are proudly displayed in his mother’s classroom.
In the early months Bryant had found himself swept up by the Big Game excitement when someone in his squadron made “mind-blowingly awesome shots, situations where these guys were bad guys and needed to be taken out.” But a deep ambivalence about his work crept in. Often he’d think about what life must be like in those towns and villages his Predators glided over, like buzzards riding updrafts. How would he feel, living beneath the shadow of robotic surveillance? “Horrible,” he says now. But at first, he believed that the mission was vital, that drones were capable of limiting the suffering of war, of saving lives. When this notion conflicted with the things he witnessed in high resolution from two miles above, he tried to put it out of his mind. Over time he found that the job made him numb: a “zombie mode” he slipped into as easily as his flight suit.
Bryant’s second shot came a few weeks after targeting the three men on that dirt road in Kunar. He was paired with a pilot he didn’t much like, instructed to monitor a compound that intel told them contained a high-value individual—maybe a Taliban commander or Al Qaeda affiliate, nobody briefed him on the specifics. It was a typical Afghan mud-brick home, goats and cows milling around a central courtyard. They watched a corner of the compound’s main building, bored senseless for hours. They assumed the target was asleep.
Then the quiet ended. “We get this word that we’re gonna fire,” he says. “We’re gonna shoot and collapse the building. They’ve gotten intel that the guy is inside.” The drone crew received no further information, no details of who the target was or why he needed a Hellfire dropped on his roof.
Bryant’s laser hovered on the corner of the building. “Missile off the rail.” Nothing moved inside the compound but the eerily glowing cows and goats. Bryant zoned out at the pixels. Then, about six seconds before impact, he saw a hurried movement in the compound. “This figure runs around the corner, the outside, toward the front of the building. And it looked like a little kid to me. Like a little human person.”
Bryant stared at the screen, frozen. “There’s this giant flash, and all of a sudden there’s no person there.” He looked over at the pilot and asked, “Did that look like a child to you?” They typed a chat message to their screener, an intelligence observer who was watching the shot from “somewhere in the world”—maybe Bagram, maybe the Pentagon, Bryant had no idea—asking if a child had just run directly into the path of their shot.
“And he says, ‘Per the review, it’s a dog.’ ”
Bryant and the pilot replayed the shot, recorded on eight-millimeter tape. They watched it over and over, the figure darting around the corner. Bryant was certain it wasn’t a dog.
If they’d had a few more seconds’ warning, they could have aborted the shot, guided it by laser away from the compound. Bryant wouldn’t have cared about wasting a $95,000 Hellfire to avoid what he believed had happened. But as far as the official military version of events was concerned, nothing out of the ordinary had happened. The pilot “was the type of guy to not argue with command,” says Bryant. So the pilot’s after-action report stated that the building had been destroyed, the high-value target eliminated. The report made no mention of a dog or any other living thing. The child, if there had been a child, was an infrared ghost.
The closest Bryant ever got to “real” combat—the roadside bombs and mortar fire experienced by combat troops—was after volunteering to deploy to Iraq. He spent the scorching summer and fall of 2007 stationed at the airfield in Balad, flying Predators on base-defense missions—scanning the area for insurgents. Some troops thanked the drone crews for being “angels in the sky,” but more often they were the butt of jokes, mocked as “chair-borne rangers” who would “only earn a Purple Heart for burning themselves on a Hot Pocket.”
Bryant struggled to square the jokes with the scenes that unfolded on his monitors. On one shift, he was told by command that they needed coordinates on an insurgent training compound and asked him to spot it. There was a firing range, and he watched as a group of fighters all entered the same building. One of the issues with targeting insurgents was that they often traveled with their families, and there was no way to tell who exactly was in any given building. Bryant lasered the building as he was ordered. Moments later, smoke mushroomed high into the air, a blast wave leveling the entire compound. An F-16, using Bryant’s laser coordinates as guidance, had dropped a 1,000-pound bomb on the building—ten times the size of a Hellfire. “They didn’t actually tell us that they were gonna blow it up,” says Bryant. “We’re like, ‘Wow, that was nice of you to inform us of that.’ ”
In 2008, Bryant was transferred to a new post in “the shittiest place in the world,” a drone squadron out of Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico, where, Bryant says, “the air is not oxygen, it’s basically cow shit.” He continued as an operator for several more years, but his directive had changed. He was now mainly tracking high-value targets for the Joint Special Operations Command—the same secret-shrouded branch of the service that spearheaded the hunt for Osama bin Laden. “We were going after top dudes. They started showing us PowerPoint presentations on who these people are,” he says. “Why we’re after him, and what he did. I liked that. I liked being able to know shit like that.”
Bryant has never been philosophically opposed to the use of drones—he sees them as a tool, like any other, that can be used for good ends, citing their potential use to fight poachers, or to monitor forest fires. For him it’s about who controls them, and toward what ends. “It can’t be a small group of people deciding how they’re used,” he says. “There’s got to be transparency. People have to know how they’re being used so they’re used responsibly.”
Transparency has not been the defining feature of U.S. drone policy over the last decade. Even as Bryant was being trained to operate drones in our very public wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a parallel and clandestine drone war was being waged in places like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Since 2004, the CIA has carried out hundreds of strikes in Pakistani territory, cutting secret deals with Pakistani intelligence to operate a covert assassination program. Another covert CIA drone base was operated from Saudi Arabia, launching strikes against militants in the lawless and mountainous interior of Yemen. While Bryant never flew for the CIA itself, their drone operators were drawn directly from the Air Force ranks.
While stationed in Clovis, among the highest-value targets Bryant’s squadron hunted was Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born Yemeni imam and Al Qaeda recruiter. Al-Awlaki was ultimately killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen in September 2011 (as was his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, a few weeks later). But Bryant claims his Air Force squadron “did most of the legwork” to pinpoint his location.
By 2011, Bryant had logged nearly 6,000 hours of flight time, flown hundreds of missions, targeted hundreds of enemies. He was in what he describes as “a fugue state of mind.” At the entrance to his flight headquarters in Clovis, in front of a large bulletin board, plastered with photographs of targets like al-Awlaki, he looked up at the faces and asked: “What motherfucker’s gonna die today?”
It seemed like someone else’s voice was speaking, some dark alter ego. “I knew I had to get out.”
By the spring of 2011, almost six years after he’d signed on, Senior Airman Brandon Bryant left the Air Force, turning down a $109,000 bonus to keep flying. He was presented with a sort of scorecard covering his squadron’s missions. “They gave me a list of achievements,” he says. “Enemies killed, enemies captured, high-value targets killed or captured, stuff like that.” He called it his diploma. He hadn’t lased the target or pulled the trigger on all of the deaths tallied, but by flying in the missions he felt he had enabled them. “The number,” he says, “made me sick to my stomach.”
Total enemies killed in action: 1,626.
Since speaking out about drones, Bryant has been a target.
“After that first missile hit, I didn’t really talk to anyone for a couple weeks.” Bryant spoke to me while driving his beat-up black Dodge Neon in looping cursive circles around his hometown of Missoula. A yellow support-the-troops sticker on his bumper was obscured by a haze of road salt. The car’s interior was festooned with patches from the different units he’d served with; in the back seat was a military pack stuffed with equal parts dirty laundry and bug-out gear. The gray midwinter sky weighed on a procession of strip malls and big-box stores; the snowy crenellations of the Bitterroot Range stretched far away to the south. He stared ahead as though watching the scene of his shot on an endless loop. “I didn’t know what it meant to kill someone. And watching the aftermath, watching someone bleed out, because of something that I did?”
That night, on the drive home, he’d started sobbing. He pulled over and called his mother. “She just was like, ‘Everything will be okay,’ and I told her I killed someone, I killed people, and I don’t feel good about it. And she’s like, ‘Good, that’s how it should feel, you should never not feel that way.’ ”
Other members of his squadron had different reactions to their work. One sensor operator, whenever he made a kill, went home and chugged an entire bottle of whiskey. A female operator, after her first shot, refused to fire again even under the threat of court martial. Another pilot had nightmares after watching two headless bodies float down the Tigris. Bryant himself would have bizarre dreams where the characters from his favorite game, World of Warcraft, appeared in infrared.
By mid-2011, Bryant was back in Missoula, only now he felt angry, isolated, depressed. While getting a video game at a Best Buy, he showed his military ID with his credit card, and a teenage kid behind him in line spoke up. “He’s like, ‘Oh, you’re in the military; my brother, he’s a Marine, he’s killed like thirty-six dudes, and he tells me about it all the time.’ And I turn around and say, ‘If you fucking ever talk like this to me again, I will stab you. Don’t ever disrespect people’s deaths like that ever again.’ ” The kid went pale, and Bryant took his game and left.
At the urging of a Vietnam veteran he met at the local VA office, Bryant finally went to see a therapist. After a few sessions, he just broke down: “I told her I wanted to be a hero, but I don’t feel like a hero. I wanted to do something good, but I feel like I just wasted the last six years of my life.” She diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder.
It was an unexpected diagnosis. For decades the model for understanding PTSD has been “fear conditioning”: quite literally the lasting psychological ramifications of mortal terror. But a term now gaining wider acceptance is “moral injury.” It represents a tectonic realignment, a shift from a focusing on the violence that has been done to a person in wartime toward his feelings about what he has done to others—or what he’s failed to do for them. The concept is attributed to the clinical psychiatrist Jonathan Shay, who in his book Achilles in Vietnam traces the idea back as far as the Trojan War. The mechanisms of death may change—as intimate as a bayonet or as removed as a Hellfire—but the bloody facts, and their weight on the human conscience, remain the same. Bryant’s diagnosis of PTSD fits neatly into this new understanding. It certainly made sense to Bryant. “I really have no fear,” he says now. “It’s more like I’ve had a soul-crushing experience. An experience that I thought I’d never have. I was never prepared to take a life.”
In 2011, Air Force psychologists completed a mental-health survey of 600 combat drone operators. Forty-two percent of drone crews reported moderate to high stress, and 20 percent reported emotional exhaustion or burnout. The study’s authors attributed their dire results, in part, to “existential conflict.” A later study found that drone operators suffered from the same levels of depression, anxiety, PTSD, alcohol abuse, and suicidal ideation as traditional combat aircrews. These effects appeared to spike at the exact time of Bryant’s deployment, during the surge in Iraq. (Chillingly, to mitigate these effects, researchers have proposed creating a Siri-like user interface, a virtual copilot that anthropomorphizes the drone and lets crews shunt off the blame for whatever happens. Siri, have those people killed.)
In the summer of 2012, Bryant rejoined the Air Force as a reservist, hoping to get into the famed SERE program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape), where he would help train downed pilots to survive behind enemy lines. After so much killing, he wanted to save people. But after a severe concussion in a training accident, he dropped out and returned once more to Missoula. He walked with a cane, had headaches and memory lapses, and fell into a black depression.
During the worst of it, Bryant would make the rounds of Missoula’s dozens of roughneck bars and drink himself to blackout on whiskey and cokes, vanishing for days or weeks on end. Many of those nights he would take his government-issued minus-forty-degree sleeping bag and pull into a parking lot in the middle of town next to the Clark Fork river. There’s a small park with a wooden play structure there, built to look like a dragon with slides and ladders descending from it. He would climb to the little lookout deck at the top, blind drunk, and sleep there, night after night.
He doesn’t remember much of that hazy period last summer, but his mother, LanAnn, does. Several times he had left a strange locked case sitting out on the kitchen table at her house, and she had put it back in the closet. The third day she woke to find the case open, with a loaded Sig Sauer P226 semi-automatic pistol lying out. Terrified that he might kill himself, she gave it to a friend with a locked gun safe. She’d only told her son about it a week earlier. He had no memory of any of it.
“I really thought we were going to lose him,” LanAnn Bryant says now.
Something needed to change. Bryant hoped that by going to the press, people would understand drone crews’ experience of war, that it was “more than just a video game” to them. In the fall, he spoke to a reporter for the German newsweekly Der Spiegel. The story was translated into English, and the British tabloid Daily Mail picked it up, posting it with the wildly inaccurate headline drone operator followed orders to shoot a child…and decided he had to quit. The story went viral.
The backlash from the drone community was immediate and fierce. Within days, 157 people on Bryant’s Facebook page had de-friended him. “You are a piece of shit liar. Rot in hell,” wrote a former Air Force comrade. In a sort of exercise in digital self-flagellation, Bryant read thousands of Reddit comments about himself, many filled with blistering vitriol and recrimination. “I read every single one of them,” he says. “I was trying to just get used to the negative feelings.” The spectrum of critics ranged from those who considered drone warfare a crime against humanity to combat veterans who thought Bryant was a whiner. He’d had death threats as well—none he took seriously—and other people said he should be charged with treason and executed for speaking to the media. On the day of one of our interviews, The New York Times ran an article about the military’s research into PTSD among drone operators. I watched as he scanned a barrage of Facebook comments mocking the very idea that drone operators could suffer trauma:
>I broke a fucking nail on that last mission!
>Maybe they should wear seatbelts
>they can claim PTSD when they have to do “Body Collection & Identification”
And then Bryant waded in:
>I’m ashamed to have called any of you assholes brothers in arms.
>Combat is combat. Killing is killing. This isn’t a video game. How many of you have killed a group of people, watched as their bodies are picked up, watched the funeral, then killed them too?
>Yeah, it’s not the same as being on the ground. So fucking what? Until you know what it is like and can make an intelligent meaningful assessment, shut your goddamn fucking mouths before somebody shuts them for you.
Bryant’s defense—a virtual battle over an actual war—left him seething at his keyboard. He says that when flying missions, he sometimes felt himself merging with the technology, imagining himself as a robot, a zombie, a drone itself. Such abstractions don’t possess conscience or consciousness; drones don’t care what they mean, but Bryant most certainly does. Now he plans to study to be an EMT, maybe get work on an ambulance, finally be able to save people like he always wanted. He no longer has infrared dreams, no longer closes his eyes and sees those strange polarized shadows flit across them.
Bryant closed his laptop and went out into the yard, tossing a tennis ball to his enormous bounding Japanese mastiff. Fingers of snow extended down through the dark forests of the Bitterroot, and high white contrails in the big sky caught the late-afternoon sunlight. The landscape of western Montana, Bryant observed, bears a striking resemblance to the Hindu Kush of eastern Afghanistan—a place he’s seen only pixelated on a monitor. It was a cognitive dissonance he had often felt flying missions, as he tried to remind himself that the world was just as real when seen in a grainy image as with the naked eye, that despite being filtered through distance and technology, cause and effect still applied. This is the uncanny valley over which our drones circle. We look through them at the world, and ultimately stare back at ourselves.
When millions of people are suffering and dying we tend to focus on the stories of individuals who then come to represent them all. Anne Frank represents for a vast majority the ugliness visited on Jews during WWII. The stories are haunting. All stories of vast human suffering impact us.
Only those without conscience or empathy can view the suffering of others and not be moved. Anne Frank died before I was born, but sometimes, unexpectedly, you find yourself confronted with a story of human endurance which is overwhelming.
Another saga of suffering, endured by millions as World War II was playing out, is the massive geographical dislocation of millions of Eastern Europeans as the Soviet-German rolled into Germany from the east.
I learned about this story, unexpectedly, while reviewing a foreclosure case from New Mexico. For the Carl Mehner, who with his parents and siblings survived the nightmare of war, dislocation, starvation, the trauma has has been life long.
Carl’s father, an accountant in Dresden, Germany, and his wife were Christians of the “Sabbatarian” persuasion. Their faith made them targets of persecution in Germany as possibly sympathetic to Jews.
Carl’s farther, never a soldier, was forced into slave labor, separated from his family, and forced to dig anti-tank ditches.
In 1943, separately, they became refugees, attempting to reach the west as the Soviet Army swept in. Their children were 2, 3 and 6. Carl remembers sleeping in fields, ruins, deserted and destroyed buildings, hungry all the time. Walking seemed endless through a landscape of burning villages.
First separately, and then together, they struggled to find food for themselves and their children. Carl was always cold and starving. Traumas were continuous.
Reunited, Carl’s parents were determined to reach America. It was a ten year long struggle. In America, the family worked on a farm for food, as their children attended school.
Eventually, Carl married Frances Phillips from Southgate, California.
The couple eventually settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico where Carl served as chairman for the modern language department for 22 years, retiring in 2005. Frances ran a court reporting business.
Then, the mortgage meltdown began, taking their home without reason.
Fighting back Pro Se, Carl and Frances endured arrest, harassment, and abuse, as have others. They continue to fight. We never know what is possible until we have given our fullest measure. Carl’s parents taught him this, and he remembers.
I recently read a column by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts that was so good I wish I had written it. First, a little bit about Roberts. This is from his official web site: “Dr. Roberts has held academic appointments at Virginia Tech, Tulane University, University of New Mexico, Stanford University where he was Senior Research Fellow in the Hoover Institution, George Mason University where he had a joint appointment as professor of economics and professor of business administration, and Georgetown University where he held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy in the Center for Strategic and International Studies.”
His bio continues: “Dr. Roberts was associate editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He was a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles. In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.”
And one more paragraph about Paul Craig Roberts: “President Reagan appointed Dr. Roberts Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and he was confirmed in office by the U.S. Senate. From 1975 to 1978, Dr. Roberts served on the congressional staff where he drafted the Kemp-Roth bill and played a leading role in developing bipartisan support for a supply-side economic policy. After leaving the Treasury, he served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Commerce.”
See Paul’s web site at:
I realize that anyone who dares to contradict accepted politically correct dogma is demonized as being “radical,” “extremist,” or racist,” and some people have tried to characterize Dr. Roberts in that vein. But it should be obvious to any honest and objective person that Paul Craig Roberts has one of the most distinguished resumes of anyone in America today.
Paul recently wrote a column entitled, “Humanity Is Drowning In Washington’s Criminality.” I realize it is difficult for most Americans to conceive the idea that their federal government could actually be criminal, but the case Roberts makes in his column cannot be tossed aside as the ranting of some right-wing nut (as if there are no left-wing nuts).
Roberts writes, “Americans will soon be locked into an unaccountable police state unless US Representatives and Senators find the courage to ask questions and to sanction the executive branch officials who break the law, violate the Constitution, withhold information from Congress, and give false information about their crimes against law, the Constitution, the American people and those in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Guantanamo, and elsewhere. Congress needs to use the impeachment power that the Constitution provides and cease being subservient to the lawless executive branch. The US faces no threat that justifies the lawlessness and abuse of police powers that characterize the executive branch in the 21st century.
“Impeachment is the most important power of Congress. Impeachment is what protects the citizens, the Constitution, and the other branches of government from abuse by the executive branch. If the power to remove abusive executive branch officials is not used, the power ceases to exist. An unused power is like a dead letter law. Its authority disappears. By acquiescing to executive branch lawlessness, Congress has allowed the executive branch to place itself above law and to escape accountability for its violations of law and the Constitution.
“National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper blatantly lied to Congress and remains in office. Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency, has also misled Congress, and he remains in office. Attorney General Holder avoids telling Congress the truth on just about every subject, and he also remains in office. The same can be said for President Obama, one of the great deceivers of our time, who is so adverse to truth that truth seldom finds its way out of his mouth.
“If an American citizen lies to a federal investigator, even if not under oath, the citizen can be arrested, prosecuted, and sent to prison. Yet, these same federal personnel can lie to Congress and to citizens with impunity. Whatever the American political system is, it has nothing whatsoever to do with accountable government. In Amerika [Roberts’ spelling] no one is accountable but citizens, who are accountable not only to law but also to unaccountable charges for which no evidence is required.”
Roberts is one hundred percent right. While everyone seems to be caught up in debating all kinds of remedies to Washington’s ills, hardly anyone seems to notice that the power to put a stop to all of this unconstitutional (not to mention criminal) conduct on behalf of the executive branch of the federal government rests squarely in the laps of the 535 men and women who comprise the US House of Representatives and US Senate. Granted, impeachment has been seldom used by the legislative branches in Washington, but what was that again about desperate times calling for desperate measures? Besides, impeachment is not a desperate measure; it is a constitutionally-required measure. When the executive branch of the federal government is run amuck in foul play, it is the duty of Congress to protect both the American citizenry and the US Constitution.
Roberts rightly asks, “The question demanding to be asked is: What is the purpose of the domestic surveillance of all Americans? This is surveillance out of all proportion to the alleged terrorist threat. The US Constitution is being ignored and domestic law violated. Why? Does the US government have an undeclared agenda for which the ‘terrorist threat’ is a cover?
“What is this agenda? Whose agenda is more important than the US Constitution and the accountability of government to law? No citizen is secure unless government is accountable to the Constitution and to law. It is an absurd idea that any American is more threatened by terrorism than by unaccountable government that can execute them, torture them, and throw them in prison for life without due process or any accountability whatsoever. Under Bush/Obama, the US has returned to the unaccountable power of caesars, czars, and autocrats.”
Roberts is exactly right. The modern-day burgeoning police state, under the rubric of “national security,” is the biggest threat to our liberties since the British marched on Lexington and Concord in 1775. And, unfortunately, when it comes to the destruction of civil liberties, Republicans are as culpable as Democrats.
Roberts writes, “American conservatives regard civil liberties as mere excuses for liberal judges to coddle criminals and terrorists. Never expect a conservative Republican, or more than two or three of them, to defend your civil liberty. Republicans simply do not believe in civil liberty. Democrats cannot conceive that Obama–the first black president in office, a member of an oppressed minority–would not defend civil liberty. This combination of disinterest and denial is why the US has become a police state.
“Civil liberty has few friends in government, the political parties, law schools, bar associations, or the federal judiciary. Consequently, no citizen is secure. Recently, a housewife researched online for pressure cookers looking for the best deal. Her husband was searching for a backpack. The result was that a fully armed SWAT team appeared at the door demanding to search the premises and to have questions answered.”
When it comes to creating the modern-day police state, the left-right paradigm that most people are consumed with means absolutely nothing. NOTHING! As Roberts notes, for the most part, both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Christians and heathens seem to see nothing wrong with the dismantlement of the Bill of Rights if the stated reason is to keep us “secure.”
Beyond that, so many Americans seem to have the attitude, “I don’t care if the government is spying on me; I haven’t done anything wrong.” To this, Roberts writes, “I am always amazed when someone says: ‘I haven’t done anything wrong. I have nothing to fear.’ If you have nothing to fear from the government, why did the Founding Fathers put the protections in the Constitution that Bush and Obama have stripped out? Unlike the Founding Fathers who designed our government to protect the citizens, the American sheeple [Roberts’ word] trust the government to their own demise.”
And exactly who are the real terrorists, anyway? Roberts answers:
“Terrorism seldom comes from outside. The source almost always is the government in power. The Czarist secret police set off bombs in order to blame and arrest labor agitators. The Nazis burned down the Reichstag in order to decimate the communists and assume unaccountable power in the name of ‘public safety.’ An alleged terrorist threat is a way of using fear to block popular objection to the exercise of arbitrary government power.
“In order to be ‘safe from terrorists,’ the US population, with few objections, has accepted the demise of their civil liberties, such as habeas corpus, which reaches back centuries to Magna Carta as a constraint on government power. How, then, are they safe from their government? Americans today are in the same position as the English prior to the Great Charter of 1215. Americans are no longer protected by law and the Constitution from government tyranny.
“The reason the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution was to make citizens safe from their government. If citizens allow the government to take away the Constitution, they might be safe from foreign terrorists, but they are no longer safe from their government.
“Who do you think has more power over you, foreign terrorists or ‘your’ government?”
“The constitutional principle of freedom of speech is being redefined as treason, as aiding an undefined enemy, and as seeking to overthrow the government by casting aspersions on its motives and revealing its secret misdeeds. The power-mad inhabitants of Washington have brought the US so close to Gestapo Germany and Stalinist Russia that it is no longer funny. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to see the difference.
“The neoconservatives have declared that Americans are the ‘exceptional’ and ‘indispensable people.’ Yet, the civil liberties of Americans have declined the more ‘exceptional’ and ‘indispensable’ that Americans become. We are now so exceptional and indispensable that we no longer have any rights.
“And neither does the rest of the world. Neoconservatism has created a new dangerous American nationalism. Neoconservatives have given Washington a monopoly on right and endowed its military aggressions with a morality that supersedes the Geneva Conventions and human rights. Washington, justified by its ‘exceptionalism,’ has the right to attack populations in countries with which Washington is not at war, such as Pakistan and Yemen. Washington is using the cover of its ‘exceptionalism’ to murder people in many countries.”
Roberts also rightly observes, “Washington is always morally right, whatever it does, and those who report its crimes are traitors who, stripped of their coddling by civil liberties, are locked away and abused until they confess to their crimes against the state. Anyone who tells the truth, such as Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden, are branded enemies of the state and are ruthlessly persecuted.”
See Paul Craig Roberts’ column at:
Sadly, everything Dr. Roberts stated above is absolutely true.
Many previous administrations most certainly pushed the envelope of federal usurpation of power from time to time, but the administrations of G.W. Bush and Barack Obama have (and are) literally taken America to the very precipice of a police state. With the advent of the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the Military Commissions Act, the NDAA, USNORTHCOM, etc., all of the laws and military apparatus which would be necessary to enact a police state within the continental United States are in place.
Plus, grassroots Americans throughout the country are abuzz with both rumors and truthful eyewitness testimony to the strange movement of military supplies and personnel and the construction of large, unmarked and undeclared facilities. All over America, large containment-looking facilities are being built. Most of these structures are large, fenced (with the fences designed to keep people IN not OUT), in rural areas, near train tracks, and are completely unmarked and inaccessible.
Granted, for every substantiated fact there seems to be a dozen meritless rumors out there. I will absolutely give you that. But, there are simply too many reports by extremely credible eyewitnesses (including military and police personnel) to simply ignore as mere conspiracy theories. Concerned federal agents (yes, MANY federal agents love freedom and the Constitution just as much as we do) continue to leak information regarding unusual training, equipment purchases, procedural instructions, etc., to their fellow citizens.
Could some of this strange and unconfirmed information be government propaganda and disinformation designed to embarrass and marginalize patriot-minded citizens? Absolutely. But the old adage is still true, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.” And right now, this is a HUGE amount of smoke.
Paul Craig Roberts has spent a lifetime in the upper echelons of economics, journalism, and politics. His assertion that Washington, D.C., is awash in “criminality” cannot be taken lightly.
“We’re extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and in private to have Mr. Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. He added that Barack Obama might now boycott a bilateral meeting with Putin in September, due to be held when the President travels to St. Petersburg for a G20 summit on September 5-6.
“Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife,” says Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). He urged Obama to insist on moving out of Russia the G20 summit.
Russia’s action is a “disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States… a slap in the face of all Americans,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said. “Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia, he added. Mc Cain and his GOP colleague Lindsey Graham suggested the United States should retaliate by completing all missile-defense programs in Europe and proceeding with further expansion of NATO to include Russia’s neighbor Georgia.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) predicted that Snowden is “going to want to get back to the United States in any way possible after he realizes what it’s like to live in a totalitarian state.”
We are not going to discuss now which is more “totalitarian,” Putin’s Russia or Obama’s America; my views on the kind of society we live in are presented here. We are also not going to join the “Traitor or Hero” debate on Snowden. Two technical points need to be made in the context of the White House and Congressional reactions to Snowden’s Russian asylum: (1) America has granted asylum to the Chechen “foreign minister,” the spokesman for one of the most barbarian regimes in recent history, who is wanted in Russia for terrorism; and (2) America “renditions” Russian citizens from third countries to have them tried for crimes allegedly committed in Russia without informing the Russian authorities.
Imagine the No. 3 leader of a terrorist separatist movement in southern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, a group guilty of murdering thousands of unarmed Anglos—airline passengers, theatergoers, women, hospital patients, and schoolchildren—being granted political asylum in Russia and living openly for over a decade in a posh part of Moscow, courtesy of Russia’s taxpayers. One can only imagine the paroxysm of rage in the White House and on the Hill. Diplomatic relations would be severed. McCain-Graham would urge nuking Russia.
No needs to imagine much, just reverse the roles. Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister and chief global media advocate of the short-lived “Chechen Republic,” until 2000 was the third highest-ranking leader of that blood-soaked monstrosity, after Aslan Maskhadov and Shamil Basayev. To take but one exampke, he was directly responsible for the atrocities of the Chechen terrorist regime, including the invasion of the Russian Republic of Dagestan in the summer of 1999 when hundreds of unarmed men, women, and children were murdered. According to the UNHCR, 32,000 people were driven from their homes. And yet Akhmadov was granted political asylum in the United States in 2003, in spite of Russia’s repeated and amply documented demands for his extradition for a variety of terrorist offenses. As Professor Robert Bruce Ware asked eight years ago (“Response to Brzezinski,” Johnson’s Russia List, March 20, 2005), if the U.S. was right to declare the entire Taliban government a terrorist organization, why is Russia not right to declare the self-designed Chechen government—Akhmadov included—a terrorist organization?
If we would think it wrong of Russia to grant political asylum to Mullah Omar, then why do we not think that it is wrong for the United States to grant political asylum to Illyas Akhmadov? Why didn’t Illyas Akhmadov resign from the Chechen government when Dagestan was invaded? … Exactly what record is there that Illyas Akhmadov ever issued a public statement repudiating the invasions of Dagestan while those invasions were in progress, or supporting the extradition of the invasions’ leaders? If the 9/11 [attacks] made Bin Laden a terrorist, and if the Oklahoma City blast made McVeigh a terrorist, then why didn’t his public acceptance of responsibility for the Ingushetia raids make Aslan Maskhadov a terrorist? And if his public acceptance of responsibility for those raids made Maskhadov a terrorist, then why doesn’t it implicate those who represented him, such as Illyas Akhmadov, in charges of terrorism? And if it does make Illyas Akhmadov a terrorist then why is he enjoying political asylum and a prestigious professional position at the expense of the American taxpayer?
“Harboring terrorists, their henchmen and sponsors undermines the unity and mutual trust of parties to the antiterrorist front,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the U.N. General Assembly in 2004. “We cannot have double standards while fighting terrorism and it cannot be used as a geopolitical game,” President Vladimir Putin declared in December of that year. But Maskhadov remains in his Wodley Park mansion in Washington D.C. to this day, courtesy of your tax dollars. Back in 2004e was also given a generous State Department grant that enabled him to maintain an office with a secretary at the National Endowment for Democracy, to keep a busy travel schedule,e and to retain the services of a PR agency.
Akhmadov is an utterly nasty piece of work, so much so that in 2004 then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and the Immigration and Border Security subcommittee chairman John Hostettler (R-IN) jointly demanded that Attorney General John Ashcroft review the ruling that granted Akhmadov political asylum. “If the United States had evidence that Mr. Akhmadov was involved in terrorist activities, it is unclear why he was not barred from asylum as a terrorist and as a danger to the security of our nation,” they wrote to Ashcroft in September of that year—but to no avail. “I’m not exaggerating when I say that one of the happiest days of my life was when I called Ilyas to tell him that he would be able to stay in America,” averred America’s über-Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski, as quoted by Akhmadov’s publicist and Zbig’s nephew Matthew in the Washington Post (March 20, 2005).
It would be equally interesting to imagine the reaction of McCain et al. if Russia routinely resorted to the arrest of American citizens in third countries—Belarus or Kazakhstan, say—and their extradition to Moscow for trial on various charges. That is exactly what the U.S. is doing to Russians. The most recent case concerns Aleksander Panin, a 24-year-old Russian computer programmer from Tver. Panin was arrested at the airport after visiting the Dominican Republic in May, swiftly transferred to a Federal prison in Georgia, and charged with a variety of cyber crimes committed in Russia—and all that without Moscow’s consent or knowledge. The case only became known a month later. “Of course, we are seriously concerned with yet another arrest of a Russian citizen with a U.S. warrant in a third country… The fact that such practices are becoming a vicious tendency is absolutely unacceptable and inadmissible,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “We have repeatedly told the US that if there are demands for our citizens, it is necessary to send relevant requests to the Russian law enforcement authorities on the basis of the 1999-bilateral agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal cases. However, this is still not being done.”
There are several cases similar to Panin’s. On July 22 Dmitry Ustinov, a Russian citizen, was extradited to the U.S. from Lithuania and accused of smuggling night-vision goggles. In November 2010, Russian citizen Viktor Bout was extradited from Bangkok to the United States, where he was convicted of involvement in the illegal arms trade. In May 2010 a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, was arrested in Liberia and taken to the U.S. on charges of drug trafficking. In 2011 was sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States.
The practice of having Russian citizens arrested in some pliant third country and delivered to the U.S. to be tried for alleged crimes committed outside America is a legal novelty which has the potential to create a great deal of trouble for U.S. citizens, too, and especially for American businessmen working in the former Soviet Central Asia. But as the cases of Snowden and Akhmadov indicate, all too many people in Washington still act in accordance with Madeleine Albright’s psychotic doctrine of imperial exceptionalism—“we are America, we are the indispensable nation”—which is as profoundly un-American as it is irritating to the rest of the world. (Another gem of hers is “I’ve never seen America as an imperialist or colonialist or meddling country.”)
The delusions of late-imperial grandeur die hard, but in the fullness of time they will die nevertheless; the sooner, the better.
The mainstream media covered the inauguration of Barack Obama with breathless anticipation on Monday, but should we really be celebrating another four years of Obama? The truth is that the first four years of Obama were an absolute train wreck for the U.S. economy. Over the past four years, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has fallen, median household income has declined by more than $4000, poverty in the U.S. has absolutely exploded and our national debt has ballooned to ridiculous proportions. Of course all of the blame for the nightmarish performance of the economy should not go to Obama alone. Certainly much of what we are experiencing today is the direct result of decades of very foolish decisions by Congress and previous presidential administrations. And of course the Federal Reserve has more influence over the economy than anyone else does. But Barack Obama steadfastly refuses to criticize anything that the Federal Reserve has done and he even nominated Ben Bernanke for another term as Fed Chairman despite his horrific track record of failure, so at a minimum Barack Obama must be considered to be complicit in the Fed’s very foolish policies. Despite what the Obama administration tells us, the U.S. economy has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline has accelerated in many ways over the past four years. Just consider the statistics that I have compiled below. The following are 37 statistics which show how four years of Obama have wrecked the U.S. economy…
1. During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans on food stamps increased by an average of about 11,000 per day.
3. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
4. The number of Americans receiving money directly from the federal government each month has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 tomore than 128 million today.
5. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income” at this point.
6. The unemployment rate in the United States is exactly where it was (7.8 percent) when Barack Obama first entered the White House in January 2009.
8. During the first four years of Obama, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” soared by an astounding 8,332,000. That far exceeds any previous four year total.
9. During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans collecting federal disability insurance rose by more than 18 percent.
10. The Obama years have been absolutely devastating for small businesses in America. According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
11. Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
12. The economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for the hordes of young people now entering the workforce. Approximately 53 percentof all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed in 2011.
13. According to a report from the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.
14. Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among “the working poor”. Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.
15. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all of the jobs in the United States are “good jobs” at this point.
16. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
17. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States is losinghalf a million jobs to China every single year.
18. The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
19. According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percentof all global economic activity in 2001. That number declined steadily over the course of the next decade and was only at 21.6 percent in 2011.
20. The United States actually has plenty of oil and we should not have to import oil from the Middle East. We need to drill for more oil, but Obama has been very hesitant to do that. Under Bill Clinton, the number of drilling permits approved rose by 58 percent. Under George W. Bush, the number of drilling permits approved rose by 116 percent. Under Barack Obama, the number of drilling permits approved actuallydecreased by 36 percent.
21. When Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.84. Today, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is$3.26.
22. Under Barack Obama, the United States has lost more than 300,000 education jobs.
24. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 now have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
25. More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as were sold in 2012.
26. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
27. Health insurance costs have risen by 29 percent since Barack Obama became president.
28. Today, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
29. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
30. The total amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has grown by 32 percent since Barack Obama became president.
31. The Obama administration has been spending money on some of the most insane things imaginable. For example, in 2011 the Obama administration spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
32. U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.
33. The U.S. government has run a budget deficit of well over a trillion dollars every single year under Barack Obama.
35. During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
36. As I wrote about yesterday, when you break it down the amount of new debt accumulated by the U.S. government during Obama’s first term comes to approximately $50,521 for every single household in the United States. Are you ready to contribute your share?
37. If you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
But despite all of these numbers, the mainstream media and the left just continue to shower Barack Obama with worship and praise. Newsweek recently heralded Obama’s second term as “The Second Coming“, and at Obama’s pre-inauguration church service Reverand Ronald Braxton openly compared Obama to Moses…
At Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Braxton reportedly crafted his speech around Obama’s personal political slogan: “Forward!”
Obama, said Braxton, was just like Moses facing the Red Sea: “forward is the only option … The people couldn’t turn around. The only thing that they could do was to go forward.” Obama, said Braxton, would have to overcome all obstacles – like opposition from Republicans, presumably, or the bounds of the Constitution. Braxton continued, “Mr. President, stand on the rock,” citing to Moses standing on Mount Horeb as his people camped outside the land of Israel.
But it wasn’t enough to compare Obama with the founder of Judaism and the prophet of the Bible. Braxton added that Obama’s opponents were like the Biblical enemies of Moses, and that Obama would have to enter the battle because “sometimes enemies insist on doing it the hard way.”
So what do you think the next four years of Obama will bring?
Source: The Economic Collapse
If someone were to ask you for an example of a “totalitarian society”, how would you respond? Most Americans would probably think of horribly repressive regimes such as the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China, East Germany or North Korea, but the truth is that there is one society that has far more rules and regulations than any of those societies ever dreamed of having. In the United States today, our lives are governed by literally millions of laws, rules and regulations that govern even the smallest details of our lives, and more laws, rules and regulations are constantly being added. On January 1st, thousands of restrictive new laws went into effect all over America, but most Americans have become so accustomed to the matrix of control that has been constructed all around them that it does not even bother them when even more rules and regulations are put into place. In fact, a growing number of Americans have become totally convinced that “freedom” and “liberty” must be tightly restricted for the good of society and that “the free market” is inherently dangerous. On the national, state and local levels, Americans continue to elect elitist control freaks that are very eager to tell all the rest of us how to run virtually every aspect of our lives.
According to Merriam-Webster, the following is one of the ways that the word “totalitarian” is defined: “of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation especially by coercive measures”. And that is exactly what we are witnessing in America today – nearly all aspects of our lives and of the economy are very tightly controlled by a bunch of control freaks that just keep tightening that control with each passing year. We still like to call ourselves “the land of the free”, but the truth is that we are being transformed into a totalitarian society unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Where will we end up eventually if we keep going down this road?
If you still believe that America is “free”, just consider some of the things that are illegal in America today…
-Starting on January 1st, it is now illegal to make or import 75 watt incandescent light bulbs anywhere in the United States.
-In Oregon, it is illegal to collect rainwater that falls on your own property.
-In New Jersey, it is illegal to have an “unrestrained” cat or dog in your vehicle while you are driving.
-If you milk your cow and sell some of the milk to your neighbor, you could end up having your home raided by federal agents.
-In Miami Beach, Florida you must recycle your trash properly or face huge fines.
-All over the United States, cops are shutting down lemonade stands run by children because they don’t have the proper “permits”.
-Down in Tulsa, Oklahoma one unemployed woman had her survival garden brutally ripped out and carted away by government thugs because it did not conform to regulations.
-Over in Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch. In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children.
-At one public school down in Texas, a 12-year-old girl named Sarah Bustamantes was arrested for spraying herself with perfume.
-A 13-year-old student at a school in Albuquerque, New Mexico was arrested by police for burping in class.
-All over the United States cities have passed laws that actually make it illegal to feed the homeless.
With each passing year, the number of decisions that we are allowed to make for ourselves gets smaller and smaller.
This includes some really fundamental things such as basic health decisions.
For example, the CDC will soon be recommending that nearly every single American be vaccinated for the flu every single year. The following is from a recent Natural News article…
An advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that every person be vaccinated for the seasonal flu yearly, except in a few cases where the vaccine is known to be unsafe.
“Now no one should say ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’” said CDC flu specialist Anthony Fiore.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-0 with one abstention to recommend yearly flu vaccination for everyone except for children under the age of six months, whose immune systems have not yet developed enough for vaccination to be safe, and people with egg allergies or other health conditions that are known to make flu vaccines hazardous.
These “recommendations” are often made into mandatory requirements by school districts and employers all over the country. Will employers all over the nation soon require all of their employees to take these vaccines each year based on these CDC “recommendations”? This is already happening in the healthcare field. Hundreds of healthcare professionals all over the nation are being firedfor refusing to take certain vaccines. It doesn’t matter that there is atremendous amount of evidence that many of these vaccines are dangerous. Many health professionals today are being faced with the choice of either submitting to the “recommendations” of the “experts” or losing their jobs.
We see this kind of “creeping totalitarianism” in the business world as well. As I have written about previously, small businesses all over the country are being absolutely suffocated by mountains of laws, rules and regulations.
One of the biggest changes that small businesses will be dealing with in the next couple of years is Obamacare. Many small businesses have been cutting back hours in an attempt to get around the new requirements contained in Obamacare. The following is one example from a news story that was published earlier this week…
Around 100 local Wendy’s workers have learned their hours are being cut. A spokesperson says a new health care law is to blame.
“Thirty-six to 37 hours a week.” That’s how many hours T.J. Growbeck works at the 84th and Giles Wendy’s restaurant. The money he earns helps him pay for the basics, but that’s not the case for all his co-workers. “There are some people doing it trying to get by.”
The company has announced that all non-management positions will have their hours reduced to 28 a week. Gary Burdette, Vice President of Operations for the local franchise, says the cuts are coming because the new Affordable Health Care Act requires employers to offer health insurance to employees working 32-38 hours a week. Under the current law they are not considered full time and that as a small business owner, he can’t afford to stay in operation and pay for everyone’s health insurance.
But the IRS has announced that it is going to make it very hard for employers to avoid these new Obamacare regulations. According to new IRS rules, all firms that “have at least 50 full-time employees or an equivalent combination of full-time and part-time employees” will be required to provide healthcare for their employees and their dependents. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
Under the rules, employers must offer coverage to employees in 2014 and must offer coverage to dependents as well, starting in 2015.
The new rules apply to employers that have at least 50 full-time employees or an equivalent combination of full-time and part-time employees. A full-time employee is a person employed on average at least 30 hours a week. And 100 half-time employees are considered equivalent to 50 full-time employees.
Thus, the government said, an employer will be subject to the new requirement if it has 40 full-time employees working 30 hours a week and 20 half-time employees working 15 hours a week.
So conceivably an employer could have only part-time employees and still be required to provide healthcare coverage under Obamacare.
Of course many small businesses will not be able to afford to do this, so expect to see a significant number of them shut down or to try to survive with skeleton crews in 2014 and 2015.
As the number of laws, rules and regulations that govern our lives continues to multiply, the control freaks that run things will continue to try to use technology to watch us all and make sure that we are obeying their rules.
One way that they are doing this is with automated traffic cameras. Of course much of the time the performance of these cameras is terribly flawed. Just consider the following example which recently appeared in the Baltimore Sun…
The Baltimore City speed camera ticket alleged that the four-door Mazda wagon was going 38 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone — and that owner Daniel Doty owed $40 for the infraction.
But the Mazda wasn’t speeding.
It wasn’t even moving.
The two photos printed on the citation as evidence of speeding show the car was idling at a red light with its brake lights illuminated. A three-second video clip also offered as evidence shows the car motionless, as traffic flows by on a cross street.
But even though technology sometimes fails, the control freaks that run things seem absolutely obsessed with using it to monitor us. After all, there are so many of us and watching all of us is a very big job.
For example, did you know that listening devices are being installed on public buses all over the United States? The following is from a recent Wired article…
Transit authorities in cities across the country are quietly installing microphone-enabled surveillance systems on public buses that would give them the ability to record and store private conversations, according to documents obtained by a news outlet.
The systems are being installed in San Francisco, Baltimore, and other cities with funding from the Department of Homeland Security in some cases, according to the Daily, which obtained copies of contracts, procurement requests, specs and other documents.
According to the article, some of these systems are incredibly advanced and pair the audio that is being recorded with video that is being taken at the same time…
In Eugene, Oregon, the Daily found, transit officials requested microphones that would be capable of “distilling clear conversations from the background noise of other voices, wind, traffic, windshields wipers and engines” and also wanted at least five audio channels spread across each bus that would be “paired with one or more camera images and recorded synchronously with the video for simultaneous playback.”
But that is just one example of how the surveillance of the American people is rapidly growing. For many more examples, please see my previous article entitled “29 Signs That The Elite Are Transforming Society Into A Total Domination Control Grid“.
If America continues down the path that it is on right now, the United States will eventually be transformed into a “Big Brother society” that is far more restrictive than anything George Orwell ever dreamed of.
We need a fundamental cultural revolution in this nation. We need a revival of the principals of liberty and freedom that were so important during the founding days of this country. We need to teach people that even though liberty and freedom may be unpredictable at times, such an environment is greatly preferable to a society where all of our decisions are made for us by a tiny elite.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. Time is running out, and we need to wake up as many as we can while there is still time.
Source: The American Dream
As of November of 2012, a mind-numbing 47.7 million Americans subsist on taxpayer-funded food stamps. One in seven Americans cannot feed himself or herself with a job or work of any kind. What constitutes the irony to this national tragedy? Answer: our U.S. Congress imports 100,000 legal immigrants into the USA with green cards every 30 days.
No matter how much poverty and unemployment blacks, whites and Hispanic Americans suffer– the leaders of this country continually pound more humans into the mix without pause. At the same time, food banks go belly up with bare shelves. Over 13 million American children live in destitute poverty and cannot secure three square meals per day.
While Congress supports our enormous military spending into the trillions of dollars and two 10 year long wars that devour (ed) money—it fails to create jobs and feed our poorest. It fails the fundamental rights of our own citizens to work and eat.
The gross statistics created by our U.S. Congress: (Source:hubpages.com)
#1 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#3 Right now, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
#4 It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#5 According to new numbers that were just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans living in poverty increased to a new all-time record high of 49.7 million last year.
#6 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.
#7Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the federal poverty level.
#8According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for children living in the United States is about 22 percent.
#9 Overall, approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
#10 In the United States today, close to 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.
#11 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.
#12 Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6 percent poverty rate.
#13 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.
Once you research the numbers, you cannot help but look to your own U.S. Senators and House reps and see failure, duplicity and corruption. No excuses! How could men and women who are supposed to represent American citizens continually leave American citizens in the grips of poverty, joblessness and homelessness?
Some kind of moral, ethical and spiritual wrong grows in the nation’s capitol all the way up to the president. American citizens become its victims.
Do you think there is any chance of it changing and becoming better as that same U.S. Congress adds over 3.1 million immigrants every year on our way to adding 100 million immigrants within the next 38 years?