Homeland Stupidity http://www.homelandstupidity.us Government is stupid. Discover a better way to organize society. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:34:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 An Opening to Iran? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/10/06/an-opening-to-iran/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/10/06/an-opening-to-iran/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 02:27:52 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=925 Last week, for the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution, the US president spoke with his Iranian counterpart. Their 15 minute telephone call was reported to open the door to further high-level discussions. This is a very important event.

I have been saying for years that we should just talk to the Iranians. After all, we talked to the Soviets when they actually had thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at us! The Iranians have none, according to our own intelligence services. I even suggested a few years ago that we should “offer friendship” to them. Unfortunately, so many so-called experts have a stake in keeping tensions high and pushing us to war. They did not want to hear what I was saying. It seems, though, this is beginning to change now with these recent events.

The phone call was one of the most important moves away from war and conflict in a long time. Taken with the Obama administration’s decision to hold off on bombing Syria, we should be encouraged.

It is also probably a good sign that this phone call has infuriated the neoconservatives at home, the pro-war faction in Israel, and the hard-liners in Iran. Now that a process of negotiation has begun, the chance of war has been significantly reduced. The US is very unlikely to bomb Iran while it is talking with them, and Israel is also unlikely to start a war while the US is at the negotiating table with the Iranian leadership.

But we should also remain very cautious. Obama’s war on Syria was only stopped because the American people finally stood up and said “enough.” The message was received loud and clear and it shocked the neocons pushing war. They were used to being in charge of foreign policy.

In a recent CNN poll, more than 75% of Americans favored negotiations with Iran. This is very good news, but those pushing for war will not give up that easily. Believe it or not, some Members of Congress have recently introduced legislation to authorize war on Iran — even as these first steps toward a peaceful resolution of our differences begin to bear fruit!

So no, they will not give up that easily. There are many in the president’s own Cabinet who do not want to see US/Iranian relations improve. Even the president himself seems unable to avoid provocative statements — such as his claim that the Iranians are only willing to talk because the sanctions have been so successful in bringing them to the table. That is a false and unnecessary boast, and if he continues in such a way he will destroy what progress has been made.

But we are in the majority now. There are more than three-quarters of us who do not want war on Iran. It is essential that we keep the pressure on the Administration to ignore the war demands in both political parties and among the so-called foreign policy experts. There will be much more war propaganda coming our way as the warmongers get more desperate. Americans must see this propaganda for what it is. They should educate themselves and become familiar with alternative news sources to gain the tools to counter the propaganda. We do have a better chance at peace, but this is no time to let down our guard!

Copyright © 2013, Ron Paul. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted provided full credit is given and a live link provided.

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A Grand Bargain for Liberty? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/29/a-grand-bargain-for-liberty/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/29/a-grand-bargain-for-liberty/#comments Mon, 30 Sep 2013 00:28:21 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=920 As I write this, it appears that the federal government is about to shut down because the House and Senate cannot agree on whether to add language defunding or delaying Obamacare to the “Continuing Resolution.” Despite all the hand-wringing heard in DC, a short-term government shut down (which doesn’t actually shut down the government) will not cause the country to collapse.

And the American people would benefit if Obamacare was defeated or even delayed.

Obamacare saddles the American health care system with new spending and mandates which will raise the price and lower the quality of health care. Denying funds to this program may give Congress time to replace this bill with free-market reforms that put patients and physicians back in charge of health care. Defunding the bill before it becomes implemented can spare the American people from falling under the worst effects of this law.

As heartened as we should be by the fight against Obamacare, we should be equally disheartened by the fact that so few in DC are talking about making real cuts in federal spending. Even fewer are talking about reductions in the most logical place to reduce spending: the military-industrial complex. The US military budget constitutes almost 50 percent of the total worldwide military spending. Yet to listen to some in Congress, one would think that America was one canceled multi-million dollar helicopter contract away from being left totally defenseless.

What makes this military spending impossible to justify is that is does not benefit the American people. Instead, by fomenting resentment and hatred among the world population, our costly interventionist foreign policy makes our people less safe. Thus, reducing spending on militarism would not only help balance the budget, but would enhance our security.

Yet both the House and the Senate continuing resolutions not only fail to reduce military spending, they actually authorize $20 billion more in military spending than authorized by the “sequestration” created by the 2011 Budget Control Act. Most of the supposedly “draconian” sequestration cuts are not even cuts; instead, they are “reductions in the planned rate of spending.” This is where Congress increases spending but by less than originally planned—and yet they claim to cut spending.

Under sequestration, military spending increases by 18 percent instead of by 20 percent over the next ten years. Yet some so-called conservatives are so opposed to these phony cuts in military spending that they would support increased taxes and increased welfare “military” spending. This “grand bargain” would benefit the DC political class and the special interests, but it would be a disaster for the American people.

Instead of grand bargains of increased spending and taxes, those of us who support limited government and free markets should form a coalition with antiwar liberals to reduce spending on both the military industrial complex and domestic welfare programs. Instead of raising taxes on “the rich” we should also work to reduce all corporate subsidies. This “grand bargain” would truly be a win-win for the American people.

Sadly, even if a congressional coalition to cut both warfare and welfare spending was formed, it would be unlikely to carry the day as long as the Federal Reserve is willing to enable Congress’s debt addiction by monetizing the debt. But this cannot last forever. At some point the Fed’s policies will result in hyperinflation and an economic crisis that will force Congress to reduce spending. Hopefully, the growing number of Americans who are awaking to the dangers of our current path can convince Congress to reduce overseas militarism and begin an orderly drawdown of the welfare state before this crisis occurs.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Has The Tide Turned Against the Warmongers? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/16/has-the-tide-turned-against-the-warmongers/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/16/has-the-tide-turned-against-the-warmongers/#comments Mon, 16 Sep 2013 06:06:34 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=913 Will the history books record these past couple of weeks as the point when the tide finally turned against our interventionist foreign policy?

We began September with the Obama administration on the verge of launching Tomahawk missiles at Syria. The missiles were needed, the administration claimed, to punish the Syrian government for using poison gas on its own people. There were reports that in addition to missiles, the administration was planning air strikes and possibly even more military action against Syria. The talks of a punishing “shot across the bow” to send a message to the Syrian government also escalated, as some discussed the need to degrade the Syrian military to help change the regime. They refused to rule out a US ground invasion of Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry even invoked an old bogeyman that had worked so many times before. Assad was another Hitler, we were told, and failure to attack would equate to another Neville Chamberlain-like appeasement.

The administration released its evidence to back up the claim that the Syrian government was behind the gassing, and the president asked Congress to authorize him to use force against Syria. Polls showed that the American people had very little interest in getting involved in another war in the Middle East, and as the administration presented no solid evidence for its claim, public support eroded further. The media, as usual, was pushing war propaganda.

Then something incredible happened. It started in the British parliament, with a vote against participating in a US-led attack on Syria. The UK had always reliably backed the US when it came to war overseas, and the vote was a shock. Though the House and Senate leadership lined up behind the president’s decision to attack Syria, the people did not. Support among the rank and file members of the Senate and House began to evaporate, as thousands of Americans contacted their representatives to express outrage over the president’s plan. The vote looked to be lost in the House and uncertain in the Senate. Then even Senators began to feel the anger of the American people, and it looked like a devastating and historic loss for the president was coming.

The administration and its pro-war allies could not bear to lose a vote in Congress that would have likely shut the door completely on a US attack, so they called off the vote. At least for now. It would have been far better to have had the president’s request for war authorization debated and voted down in the House and Senate, but even without a no vote it is clear that a major shift has taken place. A Russian proposal to secure and dismantle the Syrian government’s chemical weapons was inspired, it seems, by John Kerry’s accidental suggestion that such a move could avert a US strike. Though the details have yet to be fully worked out, it seems the Russia plan, agreed to by the Syrian government, gives us hope that a US attack will be avoided.

The American people have spoken out against war. Many more are now asking what I have been asking for quite some time: why is it always our business when there is civil strife somewhere overseas? Why do we always have to be the ones to solve the world’s problems? It is a sea change and I am very encouraged. We have had a great victory for the cause of peace and liberty and let’s hope we can further build on it.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Will Congress Endorse Obama’s War Plans? Does it Matter? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/01/will-congress-endorse-obamas-war-plans-does-it-matter/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/01/will-congress-endorse-obamas-war-plans-does-it-matter/#comments Sun, 01 Sep 2013 21:40:44 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=905 President Obama announced this weekend that he has decided to use military force against Syria and would seek authorization from Congress when it returned from its August break. Every Member ought to vote against this reckless and immoral use of the US military. But even if every single Member and Senator votes for another war, it will not make this terrible idea any better because some sort of nod is given to the Constitution along the way.

Besides, the president made it clear that Congressional authorization is superfluous, asserting falsely that he has the authority to act on his own with or without Congress. That Congress allows itself to be treated as window dressing by the imperial president is just astonishing.

The President on Saturday claimed that the alleged chemical attack in Syria on August 21 presented “a serious danger to our national security.” I disagree with the idea that every conflict, every dictator, and every insurgency everywhere in the world is somehow critical to our national security. That is the thinking of an empire, not a republic. It is the kind of thinking that this president shares with his predecessor and it is bankrupting us and destroying our liberties here at home.

According to recent media reports, the military does not have enough money to attack Syria and would have to go to Congress for a supplemental appropriation to carry out the strikes. It seems our empire is at the end of its financial rope. The limited strikes that the president has called for in Syria would cost the US in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey wrote to Congress last month that just the training of Syrian rebels and “limited” missile and air strikes would cost “in the billions” of dollars. We should clearly understand what another war will do to the US economy, not to mention the effects of additional unknown costs such as a spike in fuel costs as oil skyrockets.

I agree that any chemical attack, particularly one that kills civilians, is horrible and horrendous. All deaths in war and violence are terrible and should be condemned. But why are a few hundred killed by chemical attack any worse or more deserving of US bombs than the 100,000 already killed in the conflict? Why do these few hundred allegedly killed by Assad count any more than the estimated 1,000 Christians in Syria killed by US allies on the other side? Why is it any worse to be killed by poison gas than to have your head chopped off by the US allied radical Islamists, as has happened to a number of Christian priests and bishops in Syria?

For that matter, why are the few hundred civilians killed in Syria by a chemical weapon any worse than the 2000-3000 who have been killed by Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan? Does it really make a difference whether a civilian is killed by poison gas or by drone missile or dull knife?

In “The Sociology of Imperialism,” Joseph Schumpeter wrote of the Roman Empire’s suicidal interventionism:

“There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive an interest — why, then it was the national honour that had been insulted.”

Sadly, this sounds like a summary of Obama’s speech over the weekend. We are rapidly headed for the same collapse as the Roman Empire if we continue down the president’s war path. What we desperately need is an overwhelming Congressional rejection of the president’s war authorization. Even a favorable vote, however, cannot change the fact that this is a self-destructive and immoral policy.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Iraq Collapse Shows Bankruptcy of Interventionism http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/06/02/iraq-collapse-shows-bankruptcy-of-interventionism/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/06/02/iraq-collapse-shows-bankruptcy-of-interventionism/#comments Sun, 02 Jun 2013 21:41:02 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=865 May was Iraq’s deadliest month in nearly five years, with more than 1,000 dead — both civilians and security personnel — in a rash of bombings, shootings and other violence. As we read each day of new horrors in Iraq, it becomes more obvious that the US invasion delivered none of the promised peace or stability that proponents of the attack promised.

Millions live in constant fear, refugees do not return home, and the economy is destroyed. The Christian community, some 1.2 million persons before 2003, has been nearly wiped off the Iraqi map. Other minorities have likewise disappeared. Making matters worse, US support for the Syrian rebels next door has drawn the Shi’ite-led Iraqi government into the spreading regional unrest and breathed new life into extremist elements.

The invasion of Iraq opened the door to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which did not exist beforehand, while simultaneously strengthening the hand of Iran in the region. Were the “experts” who planned for and advocated the US attack really this incompetent?

Ryan Crocker, who was US Ambassador to Iraq from 2007-2009, still speaks of the Iraqi “surge” as a great reconciliation between Sunni and Shi’ite in Iraq. He wrote recently that “[t]hough the United States has withdrawn its troops from Iraq, it retains significant leverage there. Iraqi forces were equipped and trained by Americans, and the country’s leaders need and expect our help.” He seems alarmingly out of touch with reality.

It is clear now that the “surge” and the “Iraqi Awakening” were just myths promoted by those desperate to put a positive spin on the US invasion, which the late General William Odom once called, “the greatest strategic disaster in American history.” Aircraft were loaded with $100 dollar bills to pay each side to temporarily stop killing US troops and each other, but the payoff provided a mere temporary break. Shouldn’t the measure of success of a particular policy be whether it actually produces sustained positive results?

Now we see radical fighters who once shot at US troops in Iraq have spilled into Syria, where they ironically find their cause supported by the US government! Some of these fighters are even greeted by visiting US senators.

The US intervention in Iraq has created ever more problems. That is clear. The foreign policy “experts” who urged the US attack on Iraq now claim that the disaster they created can only be solved with more interventionism! Imagine a medical doctor noting that a particular medication is killing his patient, but to combat the side effect he orders an increase in dosage of the same medicine. Like this doctor, the US foreign policy establishment is guilty of malpractice. And, I might add, this is just what the Fed does with monetary policy.

From Iraq to Libya to Mali to Syria to Afghanistan, US interventions have an unbroken record of making matters far worse. Yet regardless of the disasters produced, for the interventionists a more aggressive US foreign policy is the only policy they offer.

We must learn the appropriate lessons from the disaster of Iraq. We cannot continue to invade countries, install puppet governments, build new nations, create centrally-planned economies, engage in social engineering, and force democracy at the barrel of a gun. The rest of the world is tired of US interventionism and the US taxpayer is tired of footing the bill for US interventionism. It is up to all of us to make it very clear to the foreign policy establishment and the powers that be that we have had enough and will no longer tolerate empire-building. We should be more confident in ourselves and stop acting like an insecure bully.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Unconstitutional Uses of Drones Must Stop http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/18/unconstitutional-uses-of-drones-must-stop/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/18/unconstitutional-uses-of-drones-must-stop/#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2012 01:53:26 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=666 ]]> Last week I joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama requesting clarification of his criteria for the lethal use of drones overseas. Administration officials assure us that a “high degree of confidence” is required that the person targeted by a drone is a terrorist. However, press reports have suggested that mere “patterns of behavior” and other vague criteria are actually being used to decide who to target in a drone strike. I am concerned that an already troublingly low threshold for execution on foreign soil may be even lower than we imagined.

The use of drones overseas may have become so convenient, operated as they are from a great distance, that far more “collateral damage” has become acceptable. Collateral damage is a polite way of saying killing innocent civilians. Is the ease of drone use a slippery slope to disregard for justice, and if so what might that mean for us as they become more widely used on American soil against American citizens?

This dramatic increase in the use of drones and the lowered threshold for their use to kill foreigners has tremendous implications for our national security. At home, some claim the use of drones reduces risk to American service members. But this can be true only in the most shortsighted sense. Internationally the expanded use of drones is wildly unpopular and in fact creates more enemies than it eliminates.

Earlier this month a former top terrorism official at the CIA warned that President Barack Obama’s expanded use of drones may actually be creating terrorist “safe havens.” Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA’s counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006, told a British newspaper that, “[the drone program] needs to be targeted much more finely. We have been seduced by them and the unintended consequences of our actions are going to outweigh the intended consequences.”

After a drone strike in Yemen last month once again killed more civilians than suspected al-Qaeda members, a Yemeni lawyer sent a message to President Obama stating “Dear Obama, when a U.S. drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda.” These are the unseen victims of the president’s expanded use of drones, but we should pay attention and we should ask ourselves how we would feel if the tables were turned and a foreign power was killing innocent American children from thousands of miles away. Would we not feel the same?

The expanded use of drones overseas has been matched with the expanded use of drones in the United States, which should alarm every American who values the Constitution and its protections against government interference in our private lives. Recently, the governor of Virginia welcomed the expanded use of drones in his state because they “make law enforcement more productive.” I find that attitude chilling and am sure I am not alone.

Do we want to live in a country where our government constantly flies aircraft overhead to make sure we are not doing anything it disapproves of? Already the Environmental Protection Agency uses drone surveillance to spy on farmers and ranchers to see if they are in compliance with regulations. Local law enforcement agencies are eyeing drone use with great anticipation. Do we really want to live under the watchful eye of “Big Brother”? It is terrifying enough to see how drones are being misused abroad. We must curtail the government’s ability use drones right away lest the massacres in Yemen and Pakistan turn out to be crude training exercises for what the administration has in mind on our own soil.

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Do Americans Approve Mass Murder? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/14/do-americans-approve-mass-murder/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/14/do-americans-approve-mass-murder/#comments Thu, 14 Jun 2012 23:03:32 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=658 A majority of Americans, it seems, approve of drone strikes against terrorists, even if they kill innocent bystanders.

The Pew Global Attitudes Project poll found that while most people worldwide disapprove of the tactic, 62 percent of Americans approved of the drone strikes, while 28 percent disapproved. While 74 percent of Republicans approved, surprisingly, 60 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats also approved.

Around the rest of the world, nearly everyone registered disapproval of the drone strikes, not only in Muslim countries but in most of Europe as well.

What’s the difference?

The drone strikes, started by George W. Bush and greatly expanded by Barack Obama, are ostensibly meant to target terrorists in surgical strikes. The reality, widely reported worldwide but rarely in U.S. media, is that all too often these strikes kill innocent civilians in addition to, or even instead of, the intended targets.

Obama, it was revealed May 29 in the New York Times, takes it upon himself to personally review and approve every drone strike because he wants to take moral responsibility for them.

Yet the method by which the CIA counts civilian casualties is so flawed as to be completely unbelievable, except perhaps by a president who desperately needs to soothe his own conscience over the hundreds of innocent men, women and children who have died at his orders, and of course by a credulous American press who long ago lost the skepticism required of journalists when dealing with government and accept at face value anything in a government press release, no matter how ludicrous.

Worse, some of the drone strikes are so-called “signature” strikes, targeted not at any particular individual, but at unknown people who are doing things that indicate they might be terrorists, such as loading fertilizer into a truck. These strikes carry a high risk of killing innocent people, as anyone who has walked through airport security can understand. But under the CIA’s methodology, any adult male gets counted as a militant, even if it was just a farmer who was preparing to plant his crops.

To be fair, there are still some skeptical journalists out there. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism maintains its own data on civilian deaths from drone strikes; it shows the number of civilian deaths to be at least 551, and possibly much higher.

Government officials have a hard time admitting to any civilian deaths, of course. Update: Or even to the existence of the program.

There are certainly terrorists and other enemies of the U.S. being killed in these strikes. But by killing the innocent, the strikes themselves are manufacturing more enemies.

Haykal Bafana, a lawyer in Yemen, writes on Twitter, “Dear Obama, when a US drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda.”

This is not just some guy’s rant.

Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, echoed the warning last month. “One wonders how many Yemenis may be moved in future to violent extremism in reaction to carelessly targeted missile strikes, and how many Yemeni militants with strictly local agendas will become dedicated enemies of the West in response to US military actions against them.”

“We’re setting a standard for all other nations that when they’re ready if they want to, they can send drones at the United States,” Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said on CNN’s State of the Nation Sunday. “What goes around comes around, and those drones are going to come right back at us.”

It’s even questionable whether the drone strikes are even legal, since the administration has claimed the so-called Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks as the legal basis for the strikes.

On Wednesday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich sent a letter to the White House, cosigned by 25 other members of Congress including two Republicans, demanding “the process by which ‘signature’ strikes are authorized and executed (drone strikes where the identity of the person killed is unknown); mechanisms used by the CIA and JSOC to ensure that such killings are legal; the nature of the follow-up that is conducted when civilians are killed or injured; and the mechanisms that ensure civilian casualty numbers are collected, tracked and analyzed.

“We are concerned that the use of such ‘signature’ strikes could raise the risk of killing innocent civilians or individuals who may have no relationship to attacks on the United States,” write Kucinich et al. “Our drone campaigns already have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight. We are further concerned about the legal grounds for such strikes under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

“The implications of the use of drones for our national security are profound. They are faceless ambassadors that cause civilian deaths, and are frequently the only direct contact with Americans that the targeted communities have. They can generate powerful and enduring anti-American sentiment.”

So we come full circle. Only a minority of people show any concern over Obama’s killing of innocent people abroad in the name of the war on terror (oops, we aren’t supposed to say that anymore). Perhaps the people who approve of the drone strikes simply don’t know. Or perhaps, like Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), they don’t care. “I am not concerned,” he said.

Am I completely wrong in thinking that most Republicans only care about the innocent if they happen to be unborn? And that most Democrats don’t care about the innocent, so long as it’s their guy killing them?

Let’s be perfectly clear. Killing an innocent person is wrong, whether you’re the lowest criminal or the highest .. excuse me, president of the United States.

What should worry you even more than that, though, is that in a few years, those drones and their missiles are coming home, and they will be used here in the U.S. against Americans. Police chiefs all over the country are drooling at the prospect of getting hold of their own drones — to be used only for aerial surveillance, of course, and not to kill people by remote control. At least not right away. That part comes later, after you all are accustomed to seeing the things flying around.

As for me, I think it’s time to move to a place near an airport flight path, where it hopefully won’t be safe to operate a drone…

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Homeland Security contributed bad data to military intelligence database http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/22/homeland-security-contributed-bad-data-to-military-intelligence-database/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/11/22/homeland-security-contributed-bad-data-to-military-intelligence-database/#comments Wed, 22 Nov 2006 20:24:33 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/homeland-security-contributed-bad-data-to-military-intelligence-database/ ]]> If you disagree with the policies of the U.S. government, or are a member of a group or association which expresses disagreement with government policies, an agent of the federal government is likely reading your web site and subscribed to your mailing list.

Undercover officers of the Federal Protective Service subscribed to the mailing lists and monitored Web sites of peaceful anti-war groups, and contributed information about those groups’ activities to a military intelligence database, according to Pentagon documents released Tuesday.

NBC News revealed in December 2005 that the Threat and Local Observation Notice database, used by the military to track potential terrorist threats to military installations, contained data on peaceful protesters and anti-war groups. The Pentagon subsequently announced that after a review, the data had been cleaned out of the database and intelligence personnel retrained.

“I don’t want it, we shouldn’t have had it, not interested in it,’ said Daniel J. Baur, the acting director of the counterintelligence field activity unit, which runs the Talon program at the Defense Department. “I don’t want to deal with it.’

Mr. Baur said that those operating the database had misinterpreted their mandate and that what was intended as an antiterrorist database became, in some respects, a catch-all for leads on possible disruptions and threats against military installations in the United States, including protests against the military presence in Iraq.

“I don’t think the policy was as clear as it could have been,’ he said. Once the problem was discovered, he said, “we fixed it,’ and more than 180 entries in the database related to war protests were deleted from the system last year. Out of 13,000 entries in the database, many of them uncorroborated leads on possible terrorist threats, several thousand others were also purged because he said they had “no continuing relevance.’ — New York Times

Each of the documents, (PDF) released Tuesday to the American Civil Liberties Union pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, show that the leads on anti-war protests originated with undercover FPS agents, whose names were redacted from the documents at the request of FPS’s parent agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

One such document details an anti-war protest of a Sacramento, Calif., military entrance processing station planned by Veterans for Peace on Veterans Day in 2004, a day the center was closed. VFP specifically rejects any type of violent protest, according to its Web site. There were “no known vandalism or incidents as a result of the protest,’ the document notes.

Another document notes that VFP “is a peaceful organization, but there is potential future protest[s] could become violent,’ an accusation that VFP executive director Michael McPhearson calls “appalling.’

“The federal government should not be wasting valuable resources gathering files on peaceful protesters who disagree with the Bush administration’s policies,’ McPhearson said.

Another document details peaceful protests by the War Resisters League in New York City in 2005, noting that it “advocates Gandhian nonviolence,’ “will not use physical violence or verbal abuse toward any person’ and “will not damage any property.’

Several other documents detail peaceful protests at military recruiting stations by the American Friends Service Committee, National Front for Peace and Justice, and other groups.


Dave Ridley protests Nov. 13 in Concord, N.H.

FPS, originally created in 1971 as part of the General Services Administration to protect federal buildings, was moved under the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. It routinely monitors anyone it deems a potential threat to federal assets, such as Dave Ridley and the New Hampshire Underground.

An FPS officer cited Ridley for distributing handbills at an Internal Revenue Service office in Nashua, N.H., in September, after he wrote about the experience in the Keene Free Press, an alternative newspaper published in Keene, N.H. Ridley had entered the IRS office holding a sign saying “Is it right to work 4 IRS?’ and handed out flyers urging IRS agents to quit their “immoral’ jobs.

Last week he and 16 other people protested at the federal building in Concord just prior to his November 13 court appearance.

“The feds admitted in court that they read this website,’ said Kat Kanning, publisher of the Keene Free Press and owner of the New Hampshire Underground Web site. Members of the site advocate smaller government and individual liberty and regularly hold peaceful protests throughout the state.

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Army scraping bottom of barrel for recruits http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/10/04/army-scraping-bottom-of-barrel-for-recruits/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/10/04/army-scraping-bottom-of-barrel-for-recruits/#comments Tue, 04 Oct 2005 18:18:13 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/10/04/army-scraping-bottom-of-barrel-for-recruits/ ]]> After coming in 7,000 recruits short for fiscal year 2005, the Army is further relaxing its enlistment requirements.

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey announced [Monday] that the Army would allow up to 4% of its recruiting class to be Category IV recruits — those who scored between the 16th and 30th percentile in the battery of aptitude tests that the Defense Department gives to all potential military personnel.

The Army until now allowed no more than 2% of its recruiting class to be from the Category IV level, fearing that letting too many low-achieving recruits into the Army might dilute the quality of the nation’s largest military branch. — Los Angeles Times

Now that battery of aptitude tests is called ASVAB, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. Most people who enlist took it in high school, and anyone with half a brain is going to score quite well on it. I made the mistake of taking it, and it took months to get the recruiters to stop calling me.

Check it out, and you quickly realize it’s nothing like the ACT or SAT. It isn’t even nearly at the same level. It’s much easier.

So the Army will now take twice as many people who scored between the 16th and 30th percentile, that is, those who scored higher than 16% to 30% of all people taking the test. That’s the low end of the bell curve on a low-end test.

All you need now is a GED, and the Army will help you get a GED if you sign up for the delayed enlistment program.

Oh, when will the stupidity end?

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Terrorism will get worse before it gets better http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2004/12/05/terrorism-will-get-worse-before-it-gets-better/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2004/12/05/terrorism-will-get-worse-before-it-gets-better/#comments Sun, 05 Dec 2004 16:10:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2004/12/05/terrorism-will-get-worse-before-it-gets-better/ ]]> Just as I predicted, the Muslim world hates the U.S. even more than ever, because of George W. Bush’s so-called war on terror and the invasion of Iraq.

Today’s Sunday Herald has the complete story.

It’s the foreign policy, stupid

Among the gems to be found here: The Pentagon admits the U.S. has lost the war for the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq. The report to Donald Rumsfeld states in part, “American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.”

That’s right. The Middle East hates the U.S. not because of our way of life, but because of the government’s continued interference in their local and regional affairs. “American direct intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of, and support for, radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single digits in some Arab societies.”

No, it’s not a paradox at all. If I came into your house with 50 of my friends, held a party and then moved into the spare bedroom without so much as asking if you cared, you might be a little upset. What the U.S. has done goes far beyond that.

“Muslims do not ‘hate our freedoms,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favour of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing support, for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states.

“Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that ‘freedom is the future of the Middle East’ is seen as patronising…in the eyes of Muslims, the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. US actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination.”

Remember, this is the Pentagon’s own report!

“The US finds itself in the strategically awkward — and potentially dangerous — situation of being the long-standing prop and alliance partner of these authoritarian regimes. Without the US, these regimes could not survive.

“There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-US groundswell among Muslim societies…The perception of intimate US support of tyrannies in the Muslim world is perhaps the critical vulnerability in American strategy. It strongly undercuts our message, while strongly promoting that of the enemy.”

And you all thought I was crazy when I said the U.S. response to 9/11 was completely wrong. Now even the Pentagon agrees with me.

What’s next?

The report calls for the White House to establish a national security adviser for strategic communications, in other words, another propaganda machine, because “Our military expeditions to Afghanistan and Iraq are unlikely to be the last such excursion in the global war on terrorism.”

So the U.S. will keep doing more of what it’s been doing, completely ignoring the fact that they’re alienating 1/6 of the world’s population thereby, and creating enemies out of thin air on our behalf.

“Americans are convinced that the US is a benevolent ‘superpower’ that elevates values emphasising freedom … deep down we assume that everyone should naturally support our policies. Yet the world of Islam — by overwhelming majorities at this time — sees things differently. Muslims see American policies as inimical to their values, American rhetoric about freedom and democracy as hypocritical and American actions as deeply threatening.”

They see things differently because things are different. America is not a benevolent anything that elevates anything emphasizing freedom. Sorry, but that’s the truth. America becomes more and more a fascist-communist state every day. The 9/11 attack was just a convenient excuse to kick efforts to lock Americans into a KGB-style iron grip into high gear.

Aside from further military campaigns, I fully expect to see Muslim extremists successfully execute another terrorist attack on U.S. soil within a year. Once that happens, the U.S. will tighten the screws on its own citizens even tighter, while doing little or nothing to solve the problem.

Ending terrorism

The stark truth is that terrorism here happens as a direct result of U.S. foreign policy. That has been my statement for a long time, and the Pentagon report here confirms it. Without the U.S. meddling in the affairs of other countries, nobody would have cause to hate the U.S. According to Thomas Jefferson, the answer is “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.

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