Former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently called on the government to force young people to spend two years either “serving” in the military or performing some other type of government-directed “community service.” Neoconservative Senator John McCain has introduced legislation creating a mandatory national service program very similar to Reich’s proposal. It is not surprising that both a prominent progressive and a leading neocon would support mandatory national service, as this is an issue that has long united authoritarians on the left and right.
Proponents of national service claim that young people have a moral obligation to give something back to society. But giving the government power to decide our moral obligations is an invitation to totalitarianism.
“The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of the people.”—Justice William O. Douglas
Justice in America makes less sense with each passing day.
A Michigan couple that has been raising chickens in their backyard as a source of healthy food for their family could get up to 90 days in jail for violating a local ban on backyard hens. A Kentucky prison guard who was charged with 25 counts of sexual abuse against female inmates, trafficking controlled substances, and 50 counts of official misconduct walks away with no jail time and seven years’ probation. A 53-year-old Virginia man is facing 20 years in jail for kidnapping, despite the fact that key evidence shows him to be innocent and his accuser a liar, yet the courts claim they’re unable to do anything about it. Meanwhile, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear the case of Jones v. U.S.,judges can now punish individuals for crimes of which they may never have been convicted or even charged.
With every ruling handed down, it becomes more apparent that we live in an age of hollow justice, with government courts, largely lacking in vision and scope, rendering narrow rulings focused on the letter of the law. This is true at all levels of the judiciary, but especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
What’s worse than a junior neocon? A junior neocon trying to make a name for himself. Ben Judah’s meteoric rise, aided by his staunch anti-Russian credentials in a climate of fear, has imploded as quickly as it began.
As I learnt the hard way, when you are a young man in a hurry it’s easy to trip up. The first few times you’ll, probably, be forgiven but once it becomes a trend, even the most ardent supporters will abandon you. The fewer redeeming features you possess, the faster it’ll happen. When it has the potential to create an international diplomatic crisis, I can only assume it’s fatal to that once promising career.
On Sunday, the niche US journal Politico published a piece which, briefly, rocked the Russia-related media world. In a rambling, rabble-rousing diatribe by Ben Judah came a, seemingly amazing, scoop - Vladimir Putin had allegedly proposed, in a 2008 Moscow meeting, that Russia and Poland divide Ukraine between them. The source for this, supposed, latter-day Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was given as ex-Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Carl Bildt was also included — but the less said about him the better — in a veritable neocon tea party. After reading about the ostensible carve-up, I was wondering what century I was in.
Oct 17 - RPI Chairman Ron Paul appeared on Larry King's "Politiking" program this week to discuss Ebola, Obama, foreign policy and so much more.
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Will 'Indispensable' West Consider Putin's Latest Speech?
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a forceful speech today at the Valdai Club's annual meeting held in Sochi, Russia. The Russian president criticized the US for destabilizing countries like Ukraine, Libya, and Syria though its practice of "regime change." He also criticized the US government for its sponsorship of extremists in Syria and elsewhere in pursuit of regime change, warning of blowback from such practices.
Eric Margolis: Formerly ‘Liked Everywhere’ Canada Has Moved ‘Into the Gun Sights’
International affairs writer Eric Margolis, interviewed Wednesday on the Scott Horton Show, commented that he would not be surprised if the killers of Canada soldiers in Ontario and Quebec this week were motivated to react to the Canada government’s adoption of “a very, very hostile policy toward Muslims in general.” Margolis pins the responsibility for the adoption of this policy largely on Stephen Harper, who has been the nation’s prime minister since February of 2006, and some of the groups supporting Harper.
35,000 People and Counting on New York’s New ‘No Guns List’
The US government has demonstrated with its No Fly and Selectee Lists, in operation for over a decade, how to deny respect for tens of thousands of individuals’ travel and privacy rights without even the slightest nod to due process protections. Over the last 19 months, the New York government has followed a similar course, using a new “No Guns List” to deny respect for tens of thousands of individuals’ right to keep and bear arms.
Ebola, Putin, German Spooks, NATO, etc. — Daniel McAdams With Jay Taylor
Again RPI's Daniel McAdams looks at the news of the week on the Jay Taylor Show. This week Jay and Daniel look at Rep. Walter Jones and US troops in harm's way in Ebolaland, the new German intelligence claim to know who shot down the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over east Ukraine, NATO's claims that Russia is on NATO's doorstep when it was NATO expansion that has moved to Russia's border, ISIS, and more....
'We Tortured Some Folks...And Thinking About Torturing Some More Folks'
The New York Times reports that the Obama Administration is considering a return to the Bush-era interpretation of the UN Convention Against Torture, which is that it does not apply to torture conducted outside US borders. This would mean that those conducting what would be considered torture in the US would not be legally liable for such actions in CIA facilities or US military prisons overseas.