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Hungary's Orban Threatened by Maidan-Style Protest Movement

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Budapest has been shaken by several days of mass street demonstration against plans by Viktor Orban’s government to introduce a tax on the internet. According to the media, 100,000 Hungarians came out onto the streets of Hungary’s capital to tell the prime minister “no”. 

In and of itself, the internet tax is a weak excuse for the organisation of 100,000-strong demonstrations. And, of course, demands to abolish the tax turned into demands for the resignation of Hungary’s ‘dictatorial’ and ‘corrupt’ government. Attacks were also launched on government buildings: as one, internet users pelted them with stones, notebooks and mobile phones. 

Other signs of a ‘Hungarian Maidan’ were also evident: demonstrators defiantly jumped around chanting “He who does not jump pays the tax” (the Ukrainian version of this standard spectacle is “He who does not jump is a Moskal”). Local human rights defenders declared that introducing a tax on the internet is an assassination attempt on freedom of speech unacceptable for a democracy. 

Among the demonstrators was the U.S. charge d’affaires in Hungary, Andre Goodfriend, who previously reported that the US authorities had banned six Hungarian nationals close to the Hungarian prime minister from entering the country.
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A Lesson in Intervention in Iraq

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The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out that one government intervention inevitably produces a crisis, which then causes government officials to enact a new intervention to address the crisis. The new intervention, however, produces a new crisis, which then necessitates a new intervention. With each new intervention, the government’s power continues to grow.

While Mises was referring to economic intervention, the principle applies in other areas. Good examples are the drug war, immigration controls, healthcare, and education, all areas that are characterized by a perpetual series of crises and interventions.

The principle also applies to foreign policy. Iraq provides a good example. Let’s examine the history of U.S. interventionism in Iraq.
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American Journey From Terror to Peace, 9/11 to 11/11

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This day commemorates both Veterans Day in the US and Armistice Day abroad, marking the end of the First World War, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 1918. This year of 2014 is particularly poignant as it also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI.

Originally, Armistice Day was celebrated in the US, as an homage to peace and solidarity with the nations of the world who paid a terrible price in WWI, including 116,576 Americans who died. In 1954, the day became Veterans Day in the US.

In Europe, the centennial of the four-year period of the First World War, 1914-1918, is being observed with solemn ceremony, remembering the bravery and courage of 10 million soldiers and nearly 7 million civilians who perished. One million people died in a series of battles across the River Somme, France, in just four months.

Remembered, too, are the failures and foibles of the leaders of governments who precipitated the war, a "march of folly" well-chronicled by historian Barbara Tuchman in the Guns of August.

While Armistice Day signals a renewed interest in Europe in the practicality of peace and reconciliation and unity, here at home we observe Veterans Day still riveted to the narrative of deep fear derived from September 11, 2001.
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US: Kicking Vietnam Syndrome Once and for All

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The US is set to roll out a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War. A $30 million program is on the way to rewrite its history.

The new commemoration website was launched with archives and various reference materials. The US young people need to be explained once again who and why fought in the faraway land. The history of the events preceding the intervention goes as far back as September 2, 1945 – the day Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam and announced the end of French rule. Some time passed and the US replaced France in its former colony.

The website mentions the date of September 26, 1945. That day Lt. Col. Albert Peter Dewey was the first American fatality in French Indochina killed in the early aftermath of World War II. He arrived on September 4, 1945 in Saigon to head a seven-man OSS (Office of Strategic Services later - the CIA) team ”to represent American interests” and collect intelligence. He arranged the repatriation of Allied POWs, including 240 Americans, from two Japanese camps near Saigon. It’s all clear: an American officer on a humanitarian mission killed by Vietnamese…

The Fact Sheet’s statistics of Vietnam War inform that the US sent the most educated soldiers to the war. The visitors are offered a list of US war allies: Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, the Philippines and South Vietnam.
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The Devil’s Bargain: The Illusion of a Trouble-Free Existence in the American Police State

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Arnold Abbott, 90, arrested for feeding the homeless

It’s no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years’ jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public.

Both cases fall under the umbrella of overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker. As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.

John Yates, a commercial fisherman, was written up in 2007 by a state fish and wildlife officer who noticed that among Yates’ haul of red grouper, 72 were apparently under the 20-inch minimum legal minimum. Yates, ordered to bring the fish to shore as evidence of his violation of the federal statute on undersized catches, returned to shore with only 69 grouper in the crate designated for evidence. A crew member later confessed that, on orders from Yates, the crew had thrown the undersized grouper overboard and replaced them with larger fish. Unfortunately, they were three fish short. Sensing a bait-and-switch, prosecutors refused to let Yates off the hook quite so easily. Unfortunately, in prosecuting him for the undersized fish under a law aimed at financial crimes, government officials opened up a can of worms.
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Iraq War 3.0: What Could Possibly Go Right?

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Karl von Clausewitz, the famed Prussian military thinker, is best known for his aphorism “War is the continuation of state policy by other means.” But what happens to a war in the absence of coherent state policy?

Actually, we now know. Washington’s Iraq War 3.0, Operation Inherent Resolve, is what happens. In its early stages, I asked sarcastically, “What could possibly go wrong?” As the mission enters its fourth month, the answer to that question is already grimly clear: just about everything. It may be time to ask, in all seriousness: What could possibly go right?

Knowing Right from Wrong

The latest American war was launched as a humanitarian mission. The goal of its first bombing runs was to save the Yazidis, a group few Americans had heard of until then, from genocide at the hands of the Islamic State (IS). Within weeks, however, a full-scale bombing campaign was underway against IS across Iraq and Syria with its own “coalition of the willing” and 1,600 U.S. military personnel on the ground. Slippery slope? It was Teflon-coated. Think of what transpired as several years of early Vietnam-era escalation compressed into a semester.
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What The Mid-Term Elections Really Mean For Peace and Liberty

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Did the election last week really mean that much? I took to my Twitter account on Tuesday to point out that the change in control of the Senate from Democrat to Republican actually means very little, despite efforts by politicians and the mainstream media to convince us otherwise. Yes, power shifted, I wrote. But the philosophy on Capitol Hill changed very little. The warfare/welfare state is still alive and well in Washington.

Some were critical of my comment that, “Republican control of the Senate equals expanded neo-con wars in Syria and Iraq. Boots on the ground are coming!”

But unfortunately my fears were confirmed even sooner than I thought. Shortly after the vote, President Obama announced that he would double the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq and request another $5.6 billion to fight his war in the Middle East.
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NYPD Union Leader: Reducing Marijuana Arrests is “Beginning of the Breakdown of a Civilized Society”

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Reported efforts to begin following through on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2013 election promise to reduce marijuana arrests in the city has distressed Sergeants Benevolent Association police union President Ed Mullins. Mullins is quoted Wednesday in the New York Post lamenting that “If the current practice of making arrests for both possession and sale of marijuana is, in fact, abandoned, then this is clearly the beginning of the breakdown of a civilized society.”

The city’s apparent move to reduce the number of marijuana arrests comes soon after an October joint report of the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Arrest Research Project publicized that the number of marijuana possession arrests in New York City were on track to remain the same under de Blasio’s leadership, or even increase, compared to arrests under Michael Bloomberg, the preceding mayor.

Of course, the truth is that there is nothing civilized about arresting people and throwing them in jail for making the choice to use, buy, or sell marijuana. Such choices have been tolerated or accepted in much of the world for centuries and were legal under United States law for the majority of the nation’s history. US legal prohibitions and punishments were imposed in the 20th century, including with the enactment of laws such as the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 and marijuana’s inclusion in schedule one of Controlled Substances Act of 1970, thus applying the most expansive level of prohibition to actions involving the plant. In contrast, looking further back to the origins of the US, we find that Founding Fathers grew hemp on their farms, including George Washington at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
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Dennis Kucinich: 'The US Must Work to Reestablish Friendly Relations With Russia'

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Rossiya Segodnya sat down recently with Dennis Kucinich, Former US Representative from Ohio and two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. 

Hello Dennis, Thank You for speaking with us, one of your most recent political drives has been “Redefining National Security From Terror to Peace”. What does the Republicans' victory in midterm elections mean for US national security?

Dennis Kucinich: American people define national security as human security, as a security of a job, decent wages, healthcare that is not determined by insurance companies. They determine national security in terms of human security with respect to education of the children, safe neighborhoods, clean air, clean water. They talk of national security in terms of the protection of their civil liberties, the right to be free from government spying, intrusion into private communications. And they speak of national security in very personal terms that again can be described as human security. When Washington speaks of national security, Washington means perpetual war and the rise of a national security state with the military industrial complex determining the priorities of the country, and the intelligence agencies getting more and more money to reach more deeply into the personal lives of American people. So, there is a great divide here.
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Obama Demands Another 1,500 Troops and $5.6 Billion for War Expansion

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Just three days after RPI Chairman Ron Paul Tweeted that the US elections would result in more war in the Middle East, President Obama today announced that he would be sending 1,500 more troops into Iraq. This will bring the total to over 3,000 US troops in an undeclared and unauthorized deployment. It was just September when President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry swore that no US ground troops would be sent to Iraq. Did anyone believe them?

Any argument that these troops are not "combat" troops is disingenuous, as any troops sent into a combat zone are combat troops. Fifty years ago this week, then-Defense Secretary McNamara similarly vowed that no US combat troops would be sent into Vietnam. The 58k dead Americans and millions of dead Vietnamese can attest to the hollowness of such promises.

After Dr. Paul tweeted that the Republican victory Tuesday would result in more neocon wars and even boots on the ground in Iraq, neocon godfather Bill Kristol hopefully agreed, “I think Ron Paul told the truth,” Kristol said on Wednesday.
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