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Analysis

Are the student demonstrations a sign of a sea change or staged political activism?

This time the debate of Second Amendment rights vs some measure of “gun control” has gotten extremely murky

Seraphim Hanisch

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It is a nasty thing to get political about matters that involve the loss of life of children. The United States, and indeed, many people from the rest of the world who observed the news of the horrific school massacre in Florida not two weeks ago, all are shocked and horrified. Even for staunch supporters of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms, there seems to be something about this matter that has gotten attention in a way not seen in previous occurrences.

Why this is so is unclear, but that, too has led to some speculation that political activism has seized on this tragedy to advance a leftist cause, that cause being some sort of change regarding guns. What that change actually is supposed to be is less than clear.

President Donald Trump has really handled this in a masterful way thus far. First, he went to Florida to thank the people involved in responding to the shooting. Then he had the students and families up to the White House for a listening session, where he could hear, first hand, what the students and parents have to say about this. He has expressed openness to doing something, and he started with signing an order to make “bump stocks” illegal.

(A bump stock is an add-on device to the stock of a semi-automatic weapon, such as the vilified AR-15, that allows it to act much more “automatic” by using the guns own recoil to load the next round. This device was used in the awful Las Vegas massacre.)

However, the President is honest enough to know that this is not the “fix” for the problem. But what more needs to be done is unclear, and so proposals, even highly criticized ones, like arming teachers or having US military veterans guard schools, are all being fielded at this time.

This event has brought on a very emotional activist movement. It is a little difficult to trust that it is so organic as it appears, because there is a great deal of organized and frankly disruptive action that makes the movement appear more like a post-Ferguson riot than a dignified statement.

Maybe this is because we have lost the ability as a nation to make dignified statements, or maybe it is really that a tipping point has been reached that says that something very significant must change, even to having an honest and fearless look at the Second Amendment itself.

In the New York Post’s “Opinion” section, retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters gives his take on the matter of “assault weapons” and why he believes they should be banned. Col. Peters’ take is “tuned” in his piece by his own recollection as a military man, using all sorts of weapons to do the job that military men and women do – kill people and break things. He did this as well as any soldier should, of course. His take is that private citizens should have no need of either automatic or semi-automatic weapons that can be modified for automatic effects. His reference to the Second Amendment is interesting, in that he points out that the whole text of the Amendment is not often considered. That text is:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The italicized phrase is the part he points out – as Peters believes the support of a militia is what is needed, and that this is why people should have the right to keep and bear arms.

The Colt AR-15 (ArmaLite Rifle) semi-automatic rifle

But here is where he seems to depart from the truth of this matter. He goes on to say that the militia referred to is the “Reserves” or the “National Guard.” This statement is fraught with peril, for these two groups are branches of the US Military. They are not militia. Militia is defined as “a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.” But it is also defined as “a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army.”

While we may flinch at the word terrorist, let’s look at the American Revolution from the perspective of the Redcoats between 1765 and 1783. Militia did supplement the Continental Army of the colonies, but they acted as modern day guerilla fighters and terrorists might be accused of. And further, the argument of the framers of the Constitution upheld the idea that this ability to allow Americans to keep and bear arms was in case of a tyrannical government arising in the US, which would probably make use of the standing and reservist military forces to control the populace:

It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. [James Madison, c.f. Federalist 46]

And this sentiment was further amplified by Alexander Hamilton:

If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist. [Federalist 29]

The context of the times further lends witness to the thoughts of these two men. During President Obama’s time, many people in the USA were afraid of the government trying to seize total control of the populace, and so “preppers” abounded througout the USA. Many very reasonable people believed that Obama was the kiss of death to the Republic. Those same people do not think the same way about President Trump, and no doubt, based on Col. Peter’s other opinion pieces, he is a big Trump fan.

CNN’s townhall event on 21 February 2018

So, then, why the odd stance on gun control?

The simplest answer to this is that there is no answer that has really made itself clear for this problem. Part of this lies in the extreme emotion this time around, which is absolutely justified. But any wise person knows that it is not a good idea to make snap decisions based on anger, or fear. And right now, the expression of many who are speaking out in the US is an expression of anger, fear, terrible grief and sadness.

Again, all of these ARE justified. But activists on any side of this issue, whether advocating for more guns in more people’s hands, such as teachers and veterans patrolling schools, or fewer to no guns, as in changing the Second Amendment – both sides are attempting once again to play on emotion to make a decision that could endanger many more people.

While the students have walkouts demanding “Change!” I do not think they themselves know or agree on what that change should be, and what is worse, the fact that they are young and easily impressionable by those with carefully crafted emotion-grabbing lines means they are susceptible to being terribly misled. The final thought on this comes from the observation of the news on the school walkouts, with the headlines like “Mass. Students Are Organizing Walkouts, Calling for Change in Gun Laws“, or “Students Take Charge of Gun-safety Movement with Some Help from Existing Groups.”

A right analysis of these headlines should honestly read “Activists Take Advantage of Student Imagery to Promote X”, and X seems to mean something against that Second Amendment most of the time.

The most overt example of this of course happened with the help of CNN on Wednesday Night at a network-hosted “town hall” event that was hosted by Jake Tapper. A young student who survived the shooting was given a scripted question for him to ask in the event, and told to stick to that script. He appeared on Fox News to talk about this, but this is likely not the only incidence of this. Further, the town hall directly played on the emotion of the parents and kids to play the nation who viewed it, and although there were some revealing moments, this program was exploiting the crisis in classic fashion.

Young people are the future of our nation. But when they are used by ANYONE to promote some political point, especially when they are used at the time they are most vulnerable, such as now, is reprehensible. It seems very wrong when children are put “in control” and it is illogical and unsound, theatrical though it may be. It is also a sad sign of the sickness which continues to assail American society, that the adults in the room are nary to be found, except for maybe one or two.

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

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Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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Americans: Are you represented in Congress by a stooge of Saudi Crown Prince Salman?

The Sauds’ plan is to saturation-bomb the narrow access-route that supplies all food into the Houthis’ region of Yemen so as to starve the Houthis to death and thereby enable Prince Salman’s stooge to run Yemen.

Eric Zuesse

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Submitted by Eric Zuesse:


You can find out here by clicking there to see how your Representative and your two Senators voted on the resolution to stop U.S. arming and aid to Prince Salman’s war to starve millions of Houthis to death. In neither house did the resolution pass with enough votes to be able to override Salman’s stooge Trump’s veto of it, and so our Government will continue to support this extermination.

The Sauds’ plan is to saturation-bomb the narrow access-route that supplies all food into the Houthis’ region of Yemen so as to starve the Houthis to death and thereby enable Prince Salman’s stooge to run Yemen.

This plan would have no chance to succeed if the U.S. withdrew its backing of and participation in it.

“If we suspend providing spare parts for their F-15s, their air force would be grounded in two weeks” — Robert Jordan, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia

In other words: this slaughter-campaign isn’t only Prince Salman’s, it is Trump’s, too. In fact, you can see the entire Saudi-led coalition that’s backing this extermination-campaign, by clicking here.

So: if your vote means anything at all, and if you voted for a Representative and/or for one or both of the Senators who backs stooge Trump on this extermination-campaign, then you, too, are actually supporting this exterminationist government — today’s U.S. Government — and not only supporting Crown Prince Salman’s effort to take over Yemen.

Back when Barack Obama was the U.S. President, there was bipartisan support in both houses of Congress for Prince Salman’s extermination-campaign in Yemen and therefore no such possibility for stopping it; but, now, as the 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign is getting under way, Democrats especially have come out publicly against it, because the Republican President, Trump, is so strongly in favor of it, and so the Yemen-issue can help win the voters who want “Change.” Nonetheless, for example in the Senate, Republicans Lisa Murkowski, Todd Young, Jerry Moran, Rand Paul, Susan Collins, Steve Daines, and Mike Lee, joined all Democratic Senators and both Independent Senators, in supporting this resolution, which the current, Republican, President, Trump, then vetoed, thus continuing the U.S. Government’s decades-long service as a vassal-nation to the Saud family — even if not also to Israel’s Government, as well. (Israel, of course, being far more favored by America’s voters than is Saudi Arabia, presents far more danger for members of Congress to oppose than Saudi Arabia does; and, so, there are no resolutions in Congress that challenge Israel as the current resolutions have been challenging Saudi Arabia. And even the congressional challenges to the Sauds might be basically for political show, rather than serious policy-positions.)

The present news-report, including its links that enable any reader to know where each of his/her supposed representatives (or else Saud-stooges) stand on this extermination-campaign, is being submitted simultaneously to all U.S. national news-media, so that Americans (or at least ones who are receiving honest news that’s linked to all its sources so that you can decide for yourself what the facts are) can become easily informed regarding the true character of the given citizen’s federal representatives. To vote in ignorance is slavery.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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