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Jayel Aheram
Los Angeles, Calif.
I am a writer, antiwar and libertarian activist, Iraq War and Marine veteran, and photographer.
Interests: Life, liberty, and the creativist pursuit of happiness.
Recent Activity
This is great!
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Today I learned that the largest gun control enforcers during the Reconstruction were the Ku Klux Klan, disarming black people with roving bands of "disarmament posses." From the 2010 article by Adam Winkler entitled The Secret History of Guns: After losing the Civil War, Southern states quickly adopted the Black Codes, laws designed to reestablish white supremacy by dictating what the freedmen could and couldn’t do. One common provision barred blacks from possessing firearms. To enforce the gun ban, white men riding in posses began terrorizing black communities. In January 1866, Harper’s Weekly reported that in Mississippi, such groups had “seized every gun and pistol found in the hands of the (so called) freedmen” in parts of the state. The most infamous of these disarmament posses, of course, was the Ku Klux Klan. Repeat after me: gun control is racist. History has repeatedly shown that gun control has never been about controlling firearms, but rather to disarm marginalized people. Simply put, gun control is people control. James Padilioni at Students for Liberty gives more in-depth information regarding the history of gun control in the United States specifically, pointing out the obvious: it was easier to control and enslave people who are disarmed than those who are not. Contrary to popular opinion, gun control laws are nothing new in the United States; in fact, laws restricting guns have historical precedent going as far back as the seventeenth century. A 1639 law in Virginia banned all Africans from gun ownership, while simultaneously making non-gun ownership punishable by a fine for all Whites. This law is remarkable because it is one of the earliest legal provisions created in British North America that paved the way for a full-fledged, racially-determined system of chattel slavery. Indeed, partus sequitur ventrem, or the legal doctrine of maternally-inherited slave status, did not enter the law books until 1662, some 23 years later (it should be noted that English common law was jettisoned in favor of Roman civil law in order to accomplish this – Hayek would not be very happy!). Evidently, the rationality in Virginia was one of control: African slaves with guns were a lot more ungovernable than slaves without them. It is such a shame that Republicans and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are the faces of the opposition to gun control, instead of anti-racist civil rights leaders. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. attempted to get a gun license, but was denied by the racists in power. It is also fact that the NRA supported gun control against blacks. It must be noted that conservative Republican hero Ronald Reagan supported gun control when it came to controlling blacks, stating in 1967 that there was, "No reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons." This and the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968 makes Republicans as credible on gun rights as the Democrats are currently. Beyond the racist roots of gun control, let us also not forget to state the very obvious of any law that is usually passed in this country: the police will use gun control to incarcerate even more brown people. Liberals never ask themselves: who will get the maximum sentence for gun control violations? Who will get convicted more? Who will the police stop for guns? Kevin Carson puts it best regarding liberal rhetoric and the reality of what they are endorsing: Regardless of the “liberal” or “progressive” rhetoric used to defend gun control, you can safely bet it will come down harder on the cottagers than on the gentry, harder on the workers than on the Pinkertons, and harder on the Black Panthers than on murdering cops. That is right, brown people are the one who will suffer the most from gun control. They never think about the fact that these new gun controls will lead to even more outrageous plea bargains, adding more counts to minor crimes. Current drug laws and gang control laws are already destroying minority communities, and these liberals want to give the police even more reason to put the poor and minorities behind bars? Honestly, if you are a brown person with a gun and a white liberal say they support gun control, what they really mean is: "I want you to rot in jail." This post originally appeared at Young Americans for Liberty. Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2013 at RedStateEclectic
Thanks Laura! :)
Toggle Commented Aug 17, 2012 on Congratulations! at RedStateEclectic
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For someone who has made a career out of being a government parasite, the honorable Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has the audacity to demonize the poor who are merely the victims of the wealth-destroying policies his party is guilty of engineering. Ryan has produced nothing, created nothing, and has spent all of his adult life sucking on the teat of government and enriching himself at the expense of the taxpayers he purportedly defends. At least the poor worked in the free market. Joan Walsh, a normally rabid liberal partisan, puts it much more eloquently: Paul Ryan represents the fakery at the heart of the Republican project today. It starts with the contradiction that Mr. Free Enterprise has spent his life in the bosom of government, enjoying the added protection of wingnut welfare benefactors like the Koch brothers. If Herman Cain is Charles and David Koch’s “brother from another mother,” as he famously joked, Ryan is the fourth Koch, swaddled in support from Americans for Prosperity and other Koch fronts. The man who wants to make the world safe for swashbuckling, risk-taking capitalists hasn’t spent a day at economic risk in his entire life. I agree with Joan Walsh's analysis of the odious Ryan. He was George W. Bush's lapdog in the House and because of this partisan loyalty, he is awarded by the Republican Party establishment with a vice president slot. This is the man that voted to make permanent the Patriot Act, sided with Barack Obama in passing the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA, sided with corporatists in passing TARP, sided with corporatists in voting for the auto bailouts, voted for the massive expansion of the healthcare-industrial complex with Medicare D, and advocated for the liberty-infringing individual mandate. Does any of this sound libertarian? Yet the deceit that Ryan is libertarian is aggressively marketed by the Romney campaign and the establishment. Dave Gilson of the liberal magazine Mother Jones--not a real friend of libertarians--asked the question, just how libertarian is Ryan? And their answer: not at all. Ryan's parody of a "budget plan"--hardly a plan and hardly a sensible budget-- eviscerates his claim to be a "deficit hawk." His plan does not cut spending for decades and any spending it does cut disproportionately affects the poor and underprivileged. Furthermore, it does not touch a single cent in defense spending and in fact increases it. Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com writes: Ryan claims “years of ignoring the real drivers of our debt have left us with a profound structural problem,” and to him this means throwing grandmothers out in the street rather than cut one dime from billions going to Lockheed. The “Ryan budget,” endorsed by House Republicans, would cancel planned cuts in the growth rate of military appropriations, and increase the Pentagon’s budget by $20 billion. He’s right that the trajectory of our debt-to-income ratio is “catastrophic,” yet is patently dishonest in describing what or who is driving us over a fiscal cliff. Ryan's chickenhawk bloodlust for more imperialist carnage against brown-skinned foreigners with "funny names" is completely at odds with the foreign policy of peace and prosperity that unites grassroots libertarians. Jesse Walker is more explicit, saying that libertarians should find it easy to reject Ryan, echoing the same points that Adam Kokesh raised (as depicted in this article's image) and the foreign policy issues Raimondo addressed. Jack Hunter laments, "If Paul Ryan wants to go down the old neocon route, Americans can expect Bush-Obama Part 2--the same foreign policy with the same tragic cost, debt, despair and hopelessness." If I was not clear, I will say it much more explicitly: Ryan is a neoconservative with a very tenuous claim to libertarianism or the Tea Party movement. Ryan is as much of a "Tea Party libertarian" as Obama is a "bleeding-heart progressive." Libertarians should be wary. Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
The Ron Paul campaigns suspends spending money on primaries it cannot win: In an email to supporters, Paul urged his libertarian-leaning backers to remain involved in politics and champion his causes despite the apparent end of his presidential aspirations. Paul has found success in wrecking the selection process for delegates to the party's late-summer nominating convention in Tampa, Fla., and trumpeted that he has delayed Romney's expected nomination. "Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted," Paul said in his statement. "Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have. I encourage all supporters of liberty to make sure you get to the polls and make your voices heard, particularly in the local, state and congressional elections, where so many defenders of freedom are fighting and need your support." What does this mean for the movement Ron Paul inspired? Before we start, we need to make the distinction between the official Ron Paul campaign (led by Jesse Benton and others close to Ron Paul) and the grassroots organizations that are currently causing trouble in state conventions around the country in Oklahoma, Idaho, Nevada, and other states. If the GOP establishment thinks that this announcement makes it easier for the Mitt Romney campaign, they ought to think again. Ron Paul's concession of the nomination to Mitt Romney just means that this primary race and the delegate selection process are now free-for-alls. The announcement effectively unbinds the grassroots supporters from the official Paul campaign. Whatever happens between now and Tampa is now out of the official Paul campaign's hands and entirely the fault of the infamously enthusiastic Ron Paul Revolution. The Paul campaign is signaling to the GOP that if chaos does occur in Tampa that it is not their doing. So, why would the Paul campaign do such a thing? Some possibilities: In order to control the agenda, the Paul campaign needs to continue its delegate accrual unopposed. We already saw the Republican National Committee meddling in Nevada, threatening to unseat delegates for being disproportionately Paul supporters. By conceding the nomination to Romney, the RNC and the Romney campaign will not be spooked by Paul takeover of state conventions. Fast-forward to Tampa and the impending chaos. The Paul campaign probably realizes that anything can happen in Tampa (the aforemention "unforeseen" events), including the Paul faction "stealing" the nomination from Mitt Romney. By washing their hands of what the grassroots does, they can be made blameless. This protects Ron Paul, his staffers, and someone else. It is also a restatement of what has always been true from the very start, all the way in 2007: the official campaign has never been able to control the grassroots Ron Paul Revolution. It is a very cold and calculated move on the part of Jesse Benton and others in the official campaign. All of it to signal to the GOP establishment that the Ron Paul campaign are team players and ultimately to protect Rand Paul. Is it no holds barred in Tampa? Probably and this seems to me that the Paul campaign is expecting it. Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
(Published on Bradley Manning Support Network.) Jayel Aheram, Iraq War veteran turned antiwar activist, attended an event in southern California, a stop on the campaign to free Bradley Manning. Jeff Paterson and Emma Cape, of the Support Network and Courage to Resist, have traveled around the country discussing Bradley’s case, the government’s show trial to send him for life in prison, and the activist efforts to free him. This post first appeared at Jayel’s blog. By Jayel Aheram. May 7, 2012. Did Bradley Manning help end the Iraq War? Bradley Manning’s trial continues with the defense succeeding in getting the judge to force the prosecution to release the government’s damage assessments: A military judge has ordered the state department to release into her hands official documents that assessed from the viewpoint of the US government how damaging the leak of state secrets to WikiLeaks had been to American national interests. […] For months Manning’s defence lawyer, David Coombs, has been pressing the soldier’s military prosecutors to hand over in the discovery stage of the trial the official damage assessments. The assessments, carried out by several federal agencies including intelligence bodies, could have a crucial bearing on any sentence handed out to Manning should he be found guilty. There have been suggestions that the assessments show that in the official opinion of the US government, WikiLeaks did very little to harm US national interests around the world. That could prove invaluable for the defence in mitigation. Required reading: Kevin Gosztola was at the trial and has some up-to-date information. It is becoming increasingly clear that Manning would probably be convicted. After all, it is a trial where the judge’s boss is the Commander-in-Chief who already decided before any trial began that Manning broke the law. It is not really that far-fetched to say that best outcome out of this would be for Manning to wither away in jail instead of being executed for daring to embarrass the Empire. I would ask “Why go through all this trouble of wasting resources conducting a mock trial? Why not just execute Manning and be done with it?” but then I already know the answer. Anyway, I had the opportunity a few of weeks ago to attend a presentation by Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network. Him and another staffer are traveling the country giving updates to concerned citizens about how eager the government is to make an example of Manning. Paterson is not only a project director for Courage to Resist, but a fellow Marine artilleryman as well. As part of his presentation, he recounted his own antiwar stand during the first Gulf War as one of the first group of servicemembers who refused to fight that war. He ultimately spent several months in jail before being discharged from the military, after which he disappeared from the public eye. It must be noted that his stand was not an attempt at activism, but a lone protest motivated by a deep moral objection to war. And because of this action, he has more credibility than most of us could ever hope to achieve. Unlike him, when I joined the Marine Corps in 2006, Iraq and Afghanistan was already well underway. My lack of knowledge is a poor excuse and that I honestly believed the propaganda is irrelevant. The fact that I was a willing cog in the war machine forever discredits me and there is nothing I can do—now or any time in the future—to redeem myself of this complicity. Which brings me to the Army specialist who found a way to redeem himself: Bradley Manning. Paterson’s backstory is very important, because it explains his involvement with the Manning case. As he explained in his presentation, he became involved with the military resistance movement at the beginning of second Iraq War. From those efforts came Courage to Resist, a network of veterans, military families, and activists supporting many military resisters defy the War Machine. When it came to light that an Army specialist by the name of Bradley Manning was central in the government’s investigation of Wikileaks, Paterson knew that he had to do something or as he puts it, “before they disappear [Manning].” Within two weeks of Manning’s arrest, Paterson was able to persuade several people to publicize Manning’s plight including establishing the Bradley Manning Defense Fund. To say that Paterson was “involved” with the Manning case is to understate how important he was to this cause. If it were not for his early efforts, who knows what might have happened to Manning? Paterson’s presentation began with the infamous Collateral Murder video, the release of which firmly embedded the name “Wikileaks” in people’s radars. Manning is accused of leaking the video and also many other documents, including the Iraq War Logs and hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables. If the accusations are true and that Manning is to be credited for the leaks, that would make his singular action of leaking classified information the most significant catalyst of change in modern history. There is some evidence that the classified information Manning allegedly provided to Wikileaks influenced and might have contributed to the Tunisian uprisings, which itself became the fount from which the Arab Spring continues to flow. Could it be that Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation, Khaled Mohamed Saeed’s death, and Manning’s reckless bravery are all to be equally credited for the changes sweeping the Middle East? According to Amnesty International in their 2011 report, Wikileaks’ revelations were “catalysts” in the Arab Springs: While the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia would not have happened without the long struggle of brave human rights defenders over the last two decades, support for activists from outside the country may have been strengthened as people scrutinized the Wikileaks documents on Tunisia and understood the roots of the anger. In particular, some of the documents made clear that countries around the world were aware of both the political repression and the lack of economic opportunity, but for the most... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
No one really knows what possessed Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to go out into that cold Afghanistan night and--as he is accused of allegedly to have done--kill 17 innocent Afghan civilians, more than half of them children. However, we do know that the military acted swiftly and within days had detained, transported, and charged the staff sergeant with 17 counts of murder. Bales is currently being held in a maximum security detention facility in Fort Leavenworth, awaiting trial and a possible death sentence for the murders. There are many unanswered questions about what happened that night. For example, did Bales acted alone? Justin Raimondo asks, "How did he manage to do so much damage alone?" Not only did Bales allegedly killed 17 people, he also had the time to toss their corpses in a burning pile. And there are reports from witnesses which contradict the "lone gunman" claim of the military. So what is going on here? I will say this, it is a good thing that the military acted as swift as they did in the arrest of Bales. He will stand court-martial and will most likely be found guilty, and that will be the end of him. However, no punishment--yes, not even Bales' death--will make right what happened that night. And how could it? His death would just be another number in the increasing death toll in the tragedy that is the Afghanistan War. "When you train men to hate the enemy, you train men to kill the enemy, is it really that surprising that the men we train to hate and kill will act out that hatred?" When news of the Afghan massacre broke, President Barack Obama was quoted as saying that the incident was "tragic and shocking." Shocking? The only thing that is shocking is that Americans continue to elect leaders who suffer periodic and incurable amnesia. We have witnessed in the past 10 years, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, a number of atrocities and war crimes perpetuated by soldiers: from the tortures in Bagram and Abu-Ghraib, to the massacres in Haditha and the notorious Afghan "kill team." These atrocities--the ones we know about--might be rare, but they are inevitable. When you train men to hate the enemy, when you men to kill the enemy, is it really that surprising that the men we train to hate and kill will act out that hatred? Paraphrasing Dahlia Wasfi, the murders of those Afghan civilians by our soldiers are not exceptional, they are the nature of modern warfare. We are deluding ourselves to think otherwise. Which brings me to a point, which I raised in the video above, if we were to replace Bales with a missile from a Predator drone, will we be talking about it? The number of people Bales allegedly to have killed pales in comparison to the thousands that have died since the wars started. Bales, just like Lynddie England, Calvin Gibbs, and Frank Wuterich before him, is just another convenient military scapegoat the establishment is trotting out to distract Americans from the true criminals who should be held responsible. Instead of Bales, it is the Bushes, the Cheneys, and the Obamas who deserved to be whisked away to Fort Leavenworth to face justice for the supreme crimes against humanity they have committed. The real criminals here are our civilian leaders who started and continue to perpetuate these wars. Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
TRMII asks: This is not some kind of 'gotcha'--but what do you make of Naked Capitalism's Paul-Romney alliance expose? It is out-of-character for Ron Paul to do anything remotely resembling political maneuvering. However, one thing he has done in the past is create coalitions even with groups who are diametrically opposed to his brand of small government libertarian-conservatism. For example, Paul has closely worked with fellow legislator Dennis Kucinich on numerous occasions. And in the 2008 presidential elections, supported the candidacies of Cynthia McKinney, Chuck Baldwin, and Ralph Nader. What is going on between Mitt Romney and Paul? It could possibly be the fact that unlike the other jokers currently running for the Republican nomination, Romney has—as Paul puts it—been “diplomatic.” The Romney campaign has been respectful towards Paul’s people and supporters. Romney would be a fool to think he can capture Paul’s followers, but he does not go out of his way to alienate them. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and others have rejected the new blood and fervor the Ron Paul Revolution is injecting into dying Republican Party—a mistake which will cause them dearly in the unlikely chance that either secures the nomination. However, I find it more likely that the reason Paul and Romney seem to get along—ignoring, of course, their relationship with each other and their wives’ friendship with each other—boils down simply to ideology. Or rather, Romney’s seemingly lack thereof. Gingrich and Santorum are unashamedly right-wing progressives (also known as neoconservatives), whereas Romney has been the very essence of a flip-flopping compromising politician: the moderate. Gingrich and Santorum have never known a bill that expands the State that they did not like. In the case of Santorum, even his rabid anti-abortion rhetoric did not stop him from funding Planned Parenthood. As long as it expands the State, as long as it further encroaches into our private lives, Santorum was there demanding more expansion of the government. Gingrich was merely corrupt; a political hog who enriched himself on the government trough. Romney—as grossly out-of-touch as he is—is neither corrupt nor a hypocrite. And he is definitely not a neoconservative. If anything, it is precisely his seemingly lack of any ideology and willingness to listen to “what is popular” makes him a more likely ally to Paul. It is worth noting that he was a governor of a liberal state. If Paul is right and that “freedom is popular,” it would make sense for Romney to support causes and legislation that are both freedom-maximizing and popular. Or freedom-reducing and popular, but you get the idea. This is a contrast to a possible Gingrich and Santorum presidencies. Both are ideologues. They would push for laws that are deeply unpopular because they give not a whit to the American electorate. Which is why Paul probably despises them. In the scheme of things, who would you oppose more? The guy who would say anything popular to get elected and while in office compromise on his principles because an issue happens to be popular? Or the guy who consistently supported aggressive expansion of the State in every aspect of our lives despite it being unpopular and would say the most incendiary things to get elected? The former has been Romney, while the latter describes Newt “Food Stamp President/Invented People” Gingrich and Rick “I Hate Muslims and Gays” Santorum. Paul has more of a chance of affecting the future of the Republican Party through Romney; Gingrich and Santorum represent the death throes of right-wing progressivism (aka neoconservatism). Shorter: Paul gets along with Romney because he is not a neoconservative. In fact, Romney is not really anything, but a politician who would support anything popular to get elected. Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
People have asked me why I disliked Jon Huntsman. Out of all the other candidates — not the warmongering Rick Santorum, not the flip-flopping Mitt Romney, and not the laughably corrupt Newt Gingrich — Huntsman is the only one I truly and personally disliked. I might disagree with Santorum’s insane anti-Muslim hysterics, but I hold no personal dislike (or like) for him. It is the same with Romney, Gingrich, and Bachmann. From all accounts, I ought to identify more with Huntsman than I could with any of the other Republican presidential nominee contenders. He is modern, cosmopolitan, educated, somewhat secular, and willing to set aside partisan politicking to serve a cause. His policies are moderate and he recognizes science’s role in our society. His acceptance of a position under the Obama administration is very admirable and as Tumblr blogger Karamazov Alexei pointed out, also patriotic. That Huntsman can set aside partisanship and work with a president from an opposing party, that is admirable. However, Huntsman served ambassador under the Obama administration, only to then run against the very same man who trusted him with that prestigious appointment. After which, Huntsman’s campaign spent considerable effort attacking Romney’s policies only to then completely backtrack and endorse that very same rival. All of this taken together is a picture of a man not bound by any sense of loyalty. Huntsman has shown himself to be a turncoat: to his party, to his president, and to his own campaign. That is despicable and his actions are indications of a great deficit of character and integrity. Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
I gave an antiwar speech at Occupy the Rose Parade, where I sought to define the "1 Percent" for my fellow occupiers. Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
Raw Story's executive editor Megan Carpentier has a column out today calling Glenn Greenwald one of "Ron Paul's useful idiots" on the left. In the column, she proceeds to wildly misrepresented and inaccurately paraphrase Greenwald's words, twisting it to make it seem he is endorsing Paul: Nonetheless, there have been calls by progressives, most notably Glenn Greenwald, to ignore all of that and more, and focus instead on Obama's policy failings to have "an actual debate on issues of America's imperialism". He went on to argue that there are no policy priorities more imperative than those – certainly not abortion, immigration rights, LGBT equality, racial justice or any other aspect of the US's extensive foreign policy. Greenwald, for his part, predicted that this kind of attack would happen in the same column Carpentier was referencing: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite. But since it’s always inadvisable to refrain from expressing ideas in deference to the confusion and deceit of the lowest elements, I’m going to proceed to make a couple of important points about both candidacies even knowing in advance how wildly they will be distorted. Greenwald, unlike many his fellow progressives, is unafraid to voice important critiques against the Obama administration especially with regards to foreign policy, the national security state, and President Barack Obama's self-serving shielding of powerful financial elites. Greenwald's point all along is that Paul's presence in this campaign is an important one as currently his candidacy is the sole platform voicing opposition to the expensive foreign wars, the domestic war on drugs, and a whole host of awful policies that has since become part of the bipartisan consensus from indefinite detention, torture, NDAA, and SOPA to the bank bailouts and immunity for the financial elites responsible for the recession. Carpentier refuses to back down, implying that Greenwald is a hypocrite because he lives in Brazil with his gay partner: And, yes, it is a function of your class privilege that you can live in Brazil with your partner -- having interviewed on and off the record several LGBT couples for whom it's not an option for the American-based partner to move abroad because they don't have the money and their jobs or skills aren't transferable, you are by comparison, lucky. There is this blindness among partisan hacks regarding the great evils this regime has committed against humanity and increasingly against the American people through a variety of liberty-killing policies (the aforementioned SOPA, NDAA, and the relentless expansion of executive powers to include assassination of Americans without trial). Somehow, the short-term need to beat a Republican this election cycle outweighs all other concerns regardless of the long-term harm such myopia will inflict upon this country's barely functioning Republic. To the full detriment of their liberties and their children's futures, partisan hacks will rather see someone who has repeatedly failed progressivism win an election for more four more years than allow legitimate discourse to be heard. The anti-Paul attacks coming from partisan hacks in the left have never been about Paul himself. I wrote about the attacks last year: Through their anti-Paul invectives, they project their fears and hatred for Paul and the entire movement he represents for it forces them to confront the hollowness and utter pettiness of their partisanship. Paul makes partisans uncomfortable because it forces them to acknowledge that their party is pro-war, pro-torture, pro-indefinite detention, pro-racist drug war, and pro-death penalty. The truth, it hurts. Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
A reserve soldier is in trouble after appearing in a campaign event while in uniform: Cpl. Jesse Thorsen spoke at Paul's post-Iowa caucuses rally to give his support for the Texas congressman and his non-interventionist -- critics say isolationist -- policies calling for strict limits on the use of U.S. military power. But Thorsen, 28, a reservist who preceded his appearance at the rally with an interview on CNN, was wearing his fatigues, and that is a violation of military code. According to the Defense Department directive on political activities by military members, active duty forces are encouraged to vote and can sign petitions, serve as polling volunteers, contribute to campaigns and display political bumper stickers on their private vehicles. Silly soldier thinks he has political rights. When I started to write about politics in 2007 for the blog RedStateEclectic, I had to do so under the pseudonym "Anonymous Marine." Since I was then still active-duty, there was a real possibility that I could have gotten in trouble with some of the language I was directing against the previous administration. Political participation among the servicemembers is pretty low and the reasons for it are not that all surprising. The fact that members are displaced from their communities is significant part of it. However, the truth is that participation is not only actively discouraged, but also strictly forbidden. I wrote about this four years ago: It is a sad commentary on America and how it treats the men and women tasked with so-called protecting America's freedom and liberties that they are granted very few of their own. There are so many rules in place that makes it difficult, if not impossible for active members of the military to participate in anything political among themselves. And we are the most affected by the warmongering whims of whoever is the Commander-in-Chief! There are so many obstacles in place that is far easier to just not care and not pay attention! These are just a few of the things I am not allowed to do as a single marine (and as such, required to live in the barracks on-base): No bumper stickers supporting anyone on my car if I drive it anywhere on base. Not allowed to print campaign literature using my personal computer and printer on-base. Not allowed to pass out campaign literature to people on-base even if it was printed somewhere else off-base. Not allowed to pass out any campaign literature to anyone even if it was my roommate! Not allowed to have rallies or any sort of meetings on-base that is supportive of any one candidate. Not allowed to pass out invitations to a meeting off-base that is supportive of any one candidate. And that is just the tip of it. It is no wonder that most of my fellow service members are apathetic! The institution all but demands it! It was true then, it is true now, and it will always will be true that the establishment does not like the people it sends to die in foreign wars to have any say in their future. Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
The Washington Post has this bit of news regarding President Barack Obama's announcement of a new leaner approach towards militarism: The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a new military strategy that shifts the Pentagon’s focus towards Asia and says the country’s dire budget problems necessitate a more restrained use of military force and more modest foreign policy goals. The strategy will almost certainly mean a smaller Army and Marine Corps as well as new investments in long-range stealth bombers and anti-missile systems that are designed primarily to counter China’s military buildup. It explicitly states that America can make due with a smaller nuclear force. Why does this sound familiar? Donald Rumsfeld, the Bush administration's defense secretary, attempted to do the very same thing a few years ago: [Rumsfeld's] goal in this pivotal year is to keep Iraq and Afghanistan at bay so he can turn to closing bases at home and realigning global forces even as combat continues... [...] But across the Pentagon, officials acknowledge that the twin tasks of building Iraqi security forces and defeating the insurgency stand in the way of Mr. Rumsfeld's longstanding ambitions to fundamentally transform the nation's military into something leaner, more agile and thoroughly modern. Success in Iraq would allow troop withdrawals to begin, relieving strains on budgets and personnel. What happened instead? Rumsfeld oversaw the surge in Iraq and a military budget that has become more bloated year after year. Defense spending in the United States has more than doubled since military conflicts began in 2001. The result? A defense budget that is six times larger than the next largest (China) and and larger than the next 17 countries combined. Let us believe for a moment that Obama will actually make jobless thousands of troops, are there going to be savings? Not really. Part of Obama's grand strategy for a "leaner military" would include "new investments in long-range stealth bombers and anti-missile systems" in a sort of arms race against China. Military equipment, as this chart shows, is very expensive. And then there are those military contractors and private mercenaries; Charles Davis tweets about them, "The U.S. military can cut troop levels because their work is now being done by private mercenaries and unmanned Predator drones." In the end, the budgetary problems created by this country's rampant militarism is not addressed. Furthermore, we must really question the soundness of a strategy that includes an arms race against China. Is the long-term plan really to bankrupt China by buying more weapons bought with the money we borrow from them? Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2012 at RedStateEclectic
Yesterday, Tumblr blog Ron Paul is Not Racist posted this image: It is a legitimate question: why the relentless attack on Ron Paul's character? It is must be known that the complete lack of empathy for the suffering and deaths of foreign people who are the victims of this country's murderous foreign policy is what informs a partisan hack's politics. This lack of empathy also extends towards the victims of this country's drug policies. The attack on Paul over texts he has already taken moral responsibility for and repeatedly disavowed while ignoring the brutal and racist policies that Barack Obama is continuing abroad and at home is pure and petty partisanship. The partisans' sudden concern for racism is suspect, politically-motivated, and a product of opportunism and cynicism that so afflicts our political process. However, it is not merely Paul that is the ultimate target of these coordinated and bipartisan attacks. This is an attempt to marginalize and halt the growth of the libertarian movement which poses a legitimate political threat to the entrenched left-right establishment. The attack on Paul is ultimately an attack on all concerned liberty-minded Americans who tire of the status quo, who are sick of politics-as-usual, and who are desperately looking for alternatives to the welfare-warfare politics that defines the corporatist-controlled two-party establishment. It must be remembered that in the early days of both the tea party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement, they were labeled as racist and anti-Semitic respectively. It is a tried and true charge that partisan hacks like to levy against their opponents even as their party of choice implement truly brutal and racist policies in the war on drugs and war on terror. Republicans fear the liberty movement because it thoroughly discredits the establishment. Democrats fear the liberty movement because it exposes them for what they truly are: warmongers. There is a deafening silence from partisan hacks (like Alex Ryking, Politicalprof, and Ari Kohen at Tumblr or every deluded blogger at DailyKos) on the supreme crimes against humanity that Obama has committed against the people of this world, yet make ample time to write and promote smears against a very decent man. Through their anti-Paul invectives, they project their fears and hatred for Paul and the entire movement he represents for it forces them to confront the hollowness and utter pettiness of their partisanship. Against these efforts, the libertarian must maintain constant vigilance and resist any attempts to crush this legitimate peace movement. Pay no heed to these warmongers, these partisan hacks! To want for a better world, a peaceful world, and a freer world is not a sin. Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
Ron Paul criticizes both parties, elevates tea party and Occupy Wall Street movements At one point during his speech, Paul said: “The American people are waking up….They’re tired of what they heard from the two parties and get promises.” “If the Democrats promise one thing, then they get in and act like Republicans. Republicans promise something, they get in and act like Democrats. But the people are upset. They are getting angry. They are speaking out and I think it’s very healthy.” “We have a tea party movement, we have an Occupy movement and people are saying, ‘We’ve had enough. We don’t want to be ripped off anymore. We want to do away with this crony corporatism and we want to restore individual liberty for each and every American citizen,’” Paul added. This is why Ron Paul is being attacked by partisans from both parties: he perfectly personifies and taps into the anti-establishment sentiment that has gripped this country. When an establishment Republican like Newt Gingrich repeats the same charges partisan hacks from the Democratic Party are levying against someone, you know this target poses a threat to the moneymaking and horrifically profitable status quo. The establishment from both parties, the same establishment that have thumbed their noses at the tea party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement, are terrified at what Paul represents. What does Paul represent? A truly populist uprising that will strip away power from the corporatists and war profiteers that establishment Republicans and Democrats, including Barack Obama, are beholden to. If 2008 was the rebellion, then 2012 is the revolution. Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
Another serious blow to Rick Perry’s viability and electability: Rick Perry has been knocked off the Virginia GOP primary ballot, a key bar for candidate credibility past the early states - and a surprising state of affairs for the only campaign other than Mitt Romney that has had the resources with which to organize. And there is this: The only two candidates certified so far for the ballot are Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman failed to submit the signatures. The 10,000 signatures that Paul garnered must be all spambots. Fringe! Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
Objective and neutral journalist Gloria Borger, the infamous CNN reporter who attempted to tarnish Ron Paul over his controversial newsletters, is married to chief war profiteer Lance Morgan of Powell Tate. Is it a conflict of interest when you politically smear a presidential candidate who will directly impact and threaten your husband’s line of murderous work? I have no idea, but it sure smells like it. Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
In their comfy chairs in Nevada, Air Force drone operators are reportedly experiencing high-level of stress while murdering innocent civilians over the skies of Afghanistan, but not for that reason: In one surprising finding that challenged some of the survey’s initial suppositions, the authors found limited stress related to a unique aspect of the operators’ jobs: watching hours of close-up video of people killed in drone strikes. After a strike, operators assess the damage, and unlike fighter pilots who fly thousands of feet above their targets, drone operators can see in vivid detail what they have destroyed. The source of stress? Long hours. Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
You know who is? The supporters of Ron Paul themselves. There is quiet revolution occurring in Republican Party county committees throughout the country. The Ron Paul Republicans are organizing and infiltrating the party apparatus, and while it is not so obvious, there are some signs that they might be succeeding. In as little as 10 years, we might see a wholly different Republican Party. One that is closer to its purported platform of truly limited government, humble foreign policy, and respect for civil liberties. Unless, of course, they are co-opted by war-hawks and scream for the continuation of the futile war on terror. If that is the case, I rather see the Ron Paul Revolution be soundly defeated now to make way for the rise of a legitimate peace movement. Here is Andrew Sullivan’s take on Ron Paul and the Republican future. UPDATE: The very smart and always insightful Laura Ebke, president of the Nebraska Campaign for Liberty and state chair for the Republican Liberty Caucus in Nebraska, has this to say: The problem, of course, is that the Party keeps evolving, and never stays the same. What you’re saying about the future of the GOP is indeed true—in much the way that the same was true in 1964, post Goldwater. The Goldwater folks were well organized, and got involved, and over the course of the next 16 years, became the dominant force in the Party—nearly helping Ronald Reagan to steal the nomination from President Ford in 1976, and helping him to win the nomination in 1980. But even so, time marches on, and things and people change, and the young idealists of the early 60s became the new right conservatives of the 80s, and the entrenched “senior establishment” of the GOP today. There’s no doubt that the Paul supporters will play an important role in the Party over the next decade, but the real question is how much THEY’LL change as they find themselves in positions of leadership in the Party, with new responsibilities. Therein lies the challenge of Ron Paul Republicans when they take their turn as the entrenched establishment in the Republican Party. How much compromise are they willing to tolerate in order to gain more power within the establishment? Will they follow Paul’s example and steadfastly refuse capitulation in their principles. As I have mentioned before in my warning for the Occupy Wall Street movement: Significant progress cannot be made by a protest movement if it is rendered ineffectual by becoming a mere arm of the establishment: an arm subject to its control and whims. It would do much disservice to Paul’s ideas if in the future the Ron Paul Revolution becomes the Ron Paul Establishment. Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
Reuters has an exclusive about the Obama administration’s efforts in Afghanistan: After 10 months of secret dialogue with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents, senior U.S. officials say the talks have reached a critical juncture and they will soon know whether a breakthrough is possible, leading to peace talks whose ultimate goal is to end the Afghan war. […] It has asked representatives of the Taliban to match that confidence-building measure with some of their own. Those could include a denunciation of international terrorism and a public willingness to enter formal political talks with the government headed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. If these diplomatic efforts prove to be fruitful, it would go a long way in ushering the end of the United States’ longest war. In the meantime, the plan is for the military to stay indefinitely according to this report from USA Today: Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the Taliban and other forces in the region need to know the U.S. military will make sure the Afghans can handle the job. “If you been waiting for us to go, we’re not leaving,” he said. NATO forces agreed last year to set a deadline of the end of 2014 for turning over security to Afghan forces and ending combat operations. The troubling thing about this approach is that it ignores the peril of our continued involvement there. The United States’ quest for stability in Afghanistan would require re-empowering the Taliban, the very organization it just spent 10 years attempting to dismantle. Any agreement with the Taliban, or its elusive leader Mullah Omar, would potentially enable that organization access to the billions of dollars of foreign aid that President Hamid Karzai’s notoriously corrupt government would be receiving as well open doors for possible power-sharing arrangement with the Afghan central government. Access to these funds (along with the millions of bribes they are already receiving, according to the Daily Mail) would potentially bring about the re-emergence of a politically and structurally significant Taliban. The political implication of this diplomatic effort notwithstanding (just imagine the outrage from neo-conservatives and families of dead soldiers this “capitulation” will generate), is it realistic to expect the various tribal groups already hostile to the central government to accept this new agreement? It is well-known that Karzai lacks credibility as he seen as “weak” and “corrupt” by his own people; a charge that is not necessarily untrue according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. It remains to be seen if Karzai can amass the clout necessary to unite the country without the stabilizing influence of a foreign military occupation. Any reconciliation effort might require Karzai to step away from the top position, but his intention to cling to power after a U.S. withdrawal would likely hinder talks. Who is to say that the United States and NATO’s plan to train nearly 400,000 police and soldiers under the command of Karzai’s government, or the billions of dollars of aid Afghanistan will be receiving, or a potentially more powerful central government would not serve as incentives for him to stay? But the real barrier to peace in Afghanistan is not Karzai, or the Taliban, or even key regional player Pakistan, but the United States government itself. No amount of self-governance will legitimize the Afghan government in the eyes of its people if the United States continues to spend money propping up Karzai’s corrupt regime. Furthermore, it is a given that the Obama administration will force Afghanistan to adopt a government that will be acceptable to the United States and its allies; an action that would, rightly or wrongly, give credence to the charge that the United States intends a puppet government in Afghanistan. Regardless what happens to the peace talks, there is that unavoidable reality that innocent Afghan civilians will continue to suffer death and destruction under American bombs as the United States unceasingly wages its futile war on terror in the Middle East. This article appears in Young Americans for Liberty. Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
One of the primary features of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement that made it so successful (or according to some commentators, ineffective) is its decentralized and leaderless nature. This is apparent in the different focuses of the many occupations that dot the country. In Occupy Des Moines, the focus is on the imperial presidency, with activists setting up camp in front of Obama’s reelection offices: Occupy Des Moines activists on Saturday vowed to shut down President Barack Obama’s campaign offices and set up a camp outside they plan to maintain around the clock. “We have every intention to keep this place closed down until we are satisfied,” said Frank Cordaro, an activist and founder of the Catholic Worker group in Des Moines. A handful of activists went to Obama’s nondescript office in a downtown strip mall after larger rallies to mark the three-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. They had hoped to read a statement demanding Obama cut military spending by half and “dismantle our U.S. military empire … so we can create jobs, balance the budget, meet our peoples’ needs here and help the human community to heal our dying planet.” That these activists are realizing that President Barack Obama is part of that offensive 1 percent is brilliant. What happened to the tea party movement ought to serve as a warning to the OWS movement of the inherent dangers of co-option. It is safe to safe at this point, with establishment figureheads like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney aligning themselves with the tea party movement, that the tea party movement is dead. It is my hope that this tragedy does not happen with OWS. The co-option of the OWS by partisan forces is a danger that befalls the movement if occupiers are not vigilant. I have warned several times on this blog (and on television on RT International) that co-option is an ever-present danger. Significant progress cannot be made by a protest movement if it is rendered ineffectual by becoming a mere arm of the establishment: an arm subject to its control and whims. Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
Over at Tumblr, blogger Dusty Dusterson asked: Ron Paul attracts a disturbingly large amount of respect and consideration from white supremacists ranging from former KKK members to neo-nazis with their anti-Semitic rhetoric. Most of this comes from Ron Paul's views on war, social state, and anti-globalist views. Does it concern you that he makes no campaign against these groups, that he accepts their donations, or allows them to continue supporting him? I replied: I like that Ron Paul uses their money to promote a libertarian agenda, which is inherently anti-racist in its celebration of individuals. Paul himself has explained why someone who truly espouses libertarian beliefs cannot be racist: Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called “diversity” actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist. Ron Paul is as incorruptible as they come, so no this does not concern me. And money that is voluntarily given by these individuals can be put into direct actions that completely repudiates their beliefs. If warmongers in both parties started donating to Paul’s campaign, should he return that as well? I find warmongers more odious (and more racist) than some harmless tool making a fool of himself somewhere. As for campaigning against groups, why should he? I rather that he devote his energy campaigning against racist policies, not against some ineffective group that have been marginalized and made irrelevant by the growing message of liberty. In fact, Paul has been the most vocal critic of the destructive and the most racist government policies this country has ever undertaken: the war on drugs and the war on terror. We can debate ad naseum about Paul’s supporters, but the same charge can be levied against Santorum’s, or Bachmann’s, or Romney’s supporters as well. Is it productive or relevant? No, on all counts. Paul is running for president, not some dude somewhere. Everyone ought to challenge Paul on his beliefs, but why hand-wring over the beliefs of a small, insignificant minority of his supporters? Which is racist? Paul receiving small donations from racist individuals or Barack Obama’s endless wars against brown-skinned Muslims, the deportation of record number of illegal immigrants, and continued escalation of the drug war? Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2011 at RedStateEclectic
Pretty much. He is picking his battles carefully. It almost makes me wonder if his NDAA vote was purely a political ploy.
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Thank you! Expect more as this semester comes to a close. :) And you are right regarding Rand Paul vs. Ron Paul. Ron Paul, being one out of 435, can afford to vote against a lot of bills. If political progression in Rand's goal, then he cannot really afford to be a thorn in the GOP's side. I just hope he puts up a good fight in defense of liberty.
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This is what i learned from this New York Times piece by Ross Douthat: So Iowa Tea Partiers face a choice. If the town hall crashers and Washington Mall marchers of 2009 settle on a Medicare Part D-supporting, Freddie Mac-advising, Nancy Pelosi-snuggling Washington insider as their not-Romney standard bearer in 2012, then every liberal who ever sneered at the Tea Party will get to say “I told you so.” If Paul wins the caucuses, on the other hand, the movement will keep its honor – but also deliver the Republican nomination gift-wrapped to Mitt Romney. Headline predictions if Ron Paul does win Iowa: "Santorum beats Romney for second place!" or "Huntsman surges to epic fourth place win!" There is a definite cognitive dissonance from the corporate media that sees a Republican electorate waking up to Ron Paul as an endorsement of Mitt Romney's candidacy. If Paul were to become the Republican presidential nominee and faces Barack Obama in the general election, I am willing to bet $10,000 that the approved corporate media narrative will be that a vote for Paul is really a vote for Obama. Lol. Wut. Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2011 at RedStateEclectic