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News Roundup - May 1st
Another Nail in the Neocon Coffin
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
May 1, 2013
Lew Rockwell .com
The recent opening of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity was a watershed moment in American history. There has never been anything quite like it. Ideologically diverse, the Ron Paul Institute reaches out to all Americans, and indeed to people all over the world, who find the spectrum of foreign-policy opinion in the United States to be unreasonably narrow. Until Ron Paul and his new institute, there was no resolutely anti-interventionist foreign-policy organization to be found.
Neoconservatives have not responded warmly to the announcement of Ron’s new institute. Whatever their particular gripes, we can be absolutely certain of the real reason for their unhappiness: they have never faced systematic, organized opposition before.
The Democrats would see the earth tumble into the sun before supporting nonintervention abroad, so they pose no fundamental problem for the neocons. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is real opposition, and he can mobilize an army. The neocons know it. What’s Tim Pawlenty up to these days? Where are his legions of well-read young fans who seek to carry on his philosophy? You see the point.
For the first time, strict nonintervention will have a permanent voice in American life. It is another nail in the neocon coffin. The neocons know they are losing the young. Bright kids who believe in freedom aren’t rallying to Mitt Romney or David Horowitz, and, like anyone with a critical mind and a moral compass, they are not going along with the regime’s war propaganda.
At this historic moment, I thought it might be appropriate to set down some thoughts on war – a manifesto for peace, as it were.
(1) Our rulers are not a law unto themselves.....
Their War, Not Ours
by Patrick J. Buchanan
May 1, 2013
Lew Rockwell .com
"The worst mistake of my presidency," said Ronald Reagan of his decision to put Marines into the middle of Lebanon's civil war, where 241 died in a suicide bombing of their barracks.
And if Barack Obama plunges into Syria's civil war, it could consume his presidency, even as Iraq consumed the presidency of George W. Bush.
Why would Obama even consider this?
Because he blundered badly. Foolishly, he put his credibility on the line by warning that any Syrian use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line" and be a "game changer" with "enormous consequences."
Not only was this ultimatum unwise, Obama had no authority to issue it. If Syria does not threaten or attack us, Obama would need congressional authorization before he could constitutionally engage in acts of war against Syria. When did he ever receive such authorization?
Moreover, there is no proof Syrian President Bashar Assad ever ordered the use of chemical weapons.
U.S. intelligence agencies maintain that small amounts of the deadly toxin sarin gas were likely used. But if it did happen, we do not know who ordered it.
Syrians officials deny that they ever used chemicals. And before we dismiss Damascus' denials, recall that an innocent man in Tupelo, Miss., was lately charged with mailing deadly ricin to Sen. Roger Wicker and President Obama. This weekend, we learned he may have been framed.
It is well within the capacity of Assad's enemies to use or fake the use of poison gas to suck us into fighting their war.
Even if elements of Assad's army did use sarin, we ought not plunge in. And, fortunately, that seems to be Obama's thinking.
Why stay out? Because it is not our war. There is no vital U.S. interest in who rules Syria. Hafez Assad and Bashar have ruled Syria for 40 years. How has that ever threatened us?.....
Obama Forced To Speak On Gitmo Hunger Strike
April 30, 2013
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama addressed his concerns for the Guantanamo Bay hunger strike and reiterated his goal of closing down the military detention facility. Obama said he doesn’t want the individuals participating in the protest to die and new reports indicate that as many as 130 of the 166 prisoners detained there are refusing to eat. RT’s Meghan Lopez brings us more on the situation in Cuba.
If It Moves, Tax It
May 1, 2013
A contributing factor in the rise of Internet commerce, a feature that gave it a kick-start, was that you didn’t have to pay sales tax on what you purchased out of state. Ah, the glory days of the 2000s, when you could order anything and, for once in your life, not get hammered by the government. It was not a free market, but freer than most anything else you could find.
This is a major factor in why, despite every prediction that it could never work, Internet commerce rose from the ashes of the dot-com crash to become a huge and growing profit center today.
Alas, those days seem to be coming to an end. And why? Because the U.S. Congress is highly sympathetic to the plight of its state-based cousins, who are starved for money. As a proposed fix, Congress is suggesting a new innovation. Congress wants to give the OK to states that want to take your money.
Here is one argument you will not hear in the debate over taxing Internet sales: This will be good for the business climate. Instead, the debating points concern how much revenue it will raise for states, how onerous the burden will be for small business, whether it is “fair” to brick-and-mortar shops to pay and for online sellers not to pay, and so on.
The real issue — whether this is good for business and prosperity — is not even on the table.
Will taxing all Internet purchases harm business, harm job creation, harm the profitability of those who have seized on digital venues as a viable commercial space? Of course it will. There can be no doubt. The question then becomes: Why is the political class interested in unleashing state legislatures to collect sales tax when it is so obviously harmful to prosperity?
Maybe the answer is obvious, but it still needs to be said. Despite the stump rhetoric, the political class is not interested in fostering a vibrant commercial life to help you and me get by in this world. Instead, it is interested in extracting as much revenue as possible from the existing commercial environment. The government elites want their cut, regardless of the consequences......
Spy, or pay up: FBI-backed bill would fine US firms for refusing wiretaps
April 29, 2013
A US government task force is drafting FBI-backed legislation that would penalize companies like Google and Facebook for refusing to comply with wiretap orders, media report.
In the new legislation being drafted by US law enforcement officials, refusal to cooperate with the FBI could cost a tech company tens of thousands of dollars in fines, the Washington Post quoted anonymous sources as saying.
The fined company would be given 90 days to comply with wiretap orders. If the organization is unable or unwilling to turn over the communications requested by the wiretap, the penalty sum would double every day.
“We don’t have the ability to go to court and say, ‘We need a court order to effectuate the intercept.’ Other countries have that. Most people assume that’s what you’re getting when you go to a court,” FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann told the Washington Post.
If passed in Congress and signed by President Obama, the bill could become a provision of the 1968 Wiretap Act, which require companies to develop mechanisms for obtaining information requested by government investigators.
However, many companies maintain that their resistance to this and similar measures has nothing to do with an unwillingness to help investigators. Google began encrypting its email service following a major hacking attack in 2010; developing wiretap technology could make it and other companies vulnerable, creating “a way for someone to silently go in and activate a wiretap,” said Susan Landau, a former engineer at Sun Microsystems.
The proposed expansion of wiretaps into the digital frontier is the latest in a series of US government efforts to monitor online communications......