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A Billion Dollars of Federally Funded Paranoia

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When it comes to mindless excess in the war on terror, it is difficult to compete with the 70+ fusion centers bankrolled by the Department of Homeland Security. They began to be set up around the nation shortly after 9/11 as federal-state-local partnerships to better track terrorist threats. But the centers have been a world-class boondoggle from the start. Fusion centers have sent the federally funded roundup of data on Americans’ private lives into overdrive. As the Brennan Center for Justice noted in 2012, “Until 9/11, police departments had limited authority to gather information on innocent activity, such as what people say in their houses of worship or at political meetings. Police could only examine this type of First Amendment-protected activity if there was a direct link to a suspected crime. But the attacks of 9/11 led law enforcement to turn this rule on its head.” Fusion centers do a far better job of stoking paranoia than of catching terrorists. Various ...

Rule by Brute Force

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“We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”—Ayn Rand The torch has been passed to a new president. All of the imperial powers amassed by Barack Obama and George W. Bush—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which he might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any ...

Iraqi Refugees and Quislings

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During this past weekend’s immigration-ban chaos, the stories of two immigrant refugees, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Fuad Shareef, struck me. Both of them were from Iraq and both of them were fleeing to the United States in fear of their lives if forced to return to Iraq. According to the New York Times, “After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Mr. Shareef worked as a translator with American officials, and he received death threats” and Darweesh “worked with the United States military and government for a decade at great personal risk.” My immediate reaction was: Isn’t Iraq the country that the Pentagon and CIA invaded and occupied for some 11 years? Wasn’t that the land of Operation Iraqi Freedom? Don’t Americans still profusely thank American servicemen for their service in Iraq? Why would two Iraqi immigrants be fleeing to the United States from a country that the U.S. government had invaded and occupied and in which it had successfully installed a ...

The Assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Immediately after the bombing that killed Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, Michael Moffitt began screaming, “DINA!” “Assassins!” The Washington, D.C., police who had arrived on the scene were mystified. Who the heck is Dina? they wondered. Moffitt was referring to the National Intelligence Directorate, an internal military-intelligence force within ...

Shocking! Discrimination Against Obama and Trump!

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There is discrimination taking place around our nation’s capital — against, of all people, both President Obama and President-elect Trump. According to the Washington Post, the Woodmont Country Club, which is a predominantly Jewish country club in Washington’s suburbs, is threatening to deny President Obama’s application for membership. No, not because he’s black but because he has not displayed a ...

Is Trump Falling into Line on Russia?

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Most everyone in Washington, especially those who feed at the warfare-state trough, is overly pleased with Mad Dog Mattis, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Defense Secretary. That’s because Mattis’ testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee fell squarely within the acceptable parameters established by the U.S. national-security establishment. Russia is bad. Putin is worse. Good relations with ...