BURNET, Texas (Jan. 21) – Despite all the hysteria, wailing and gnashing of teeth from Washington warhawks, there are no spending cuts proposed in the defense budget nor is there any change at all in our defense policy. Typical of the frenzy was the comment by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) that the “massive cuts” and supposedly new strategy “ensures American decline.”
“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”– Plato
BURNET, Texas (Oct. 22) – Once again, President Obama has ordered U.S. soldiers into harm’s way unnecessarily. Last week, he quietly told the U.S. Congress that he had sent 100 U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers into Uganda to help governments in central Africa fight a rebel army that’s been rampaging through the region for more than 20 years. This is the way the Vietnam War started, with U.S. special forces sent to “assist” a barely democratic government cope with a guerrilla war and a president promising they would not be going into combat. Ten years later, with more than 58,000 American lives and untold hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives lost, we had learned a brutal lesson — war is too easily escalated by those who do not have to fight or die.
“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few … No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” (James Madison)
BURNET, Texas (Sept. 17) – The final report of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, chartered by the U.S. Congress, has concluded that at least $31 billion, and possibly $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud. They also found that not only did contractors sometimes outnumber the military personnel they were supporting, often the contractors were doing things only federal employees could legally do and oversight of their work was frequently absent or ineffective. But these were not the most disturbing findings of the commission.
“The drug war has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery.”- Norm Stamper, retired Seattle Chief of Police
BURNET, Texas (Aug. 14) – The most destructive and devastating war in American history was not the Vietnam War, not World War II, not even the Civil War. The most destructive and devastating war in American history is the 40-year War on Drugs. It is a war in which thousands die each year, which wastes billions of dollars, and which has put more people in jail than any other nation in the world. It has come to the point where the War on Drugs is deadlier and more destructive than all the dreaded drugs scattered upon its battlefields.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and thus clamorous to be led to safety), by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H.L. Mencken
BURNET, Texas (June 1) – Using the same tactics of secrecy, deceit, outright lies and fear that they have been using for ten years, Democrats and Republicans steamrolled over the opposition and stampeded Congress into renewing several provisions of the Patriotic Act last week. Once again, both Democrats and Republicans dishonored their oath of office and voted for a bill that will continue to erode the freedom and liberty of all Americans. Thanks to Congress, score another victory for every terrorist in the world who seeks to destroy the land of the free and home of the brave.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even went so far as to accuse Sen. Rand Paul of wanting to put “guns in the hands of terrorists” for daring to offer amendments to the law to protect the liberties of Americans. Sen. Paul had better be careful, because such actions could be construed by federal prosecutors as giving “material aide” to terrorists under the Patriot Act.
At the same time the bipartisan leadership was ramrodding this bill through the Senate, war-hawks in the House of Representatives were quietly voting to give the president the power to take our country to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. In a typical tactic used when politicians fear a public outcry, they buried this grant of monarchical power to the president in a defense appropriation bill.
KNOXVILLE (May 2) – R. Lee Wrights told the Tennessee Libertarian State Convention that he’s not seeking the Libertarian nomination for president in order to tell people what they want to hear. “I am not interested in telling people what they want to hear. I am interested in telling them what needs to be heard,” he said.
He said that message is simple. The libertarian writer and political activist believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war.
Wrights begin his address with an emotional tribute to Fred Childress, a beloved friend and Tennessee libertarian activist killed in a motorcycle accident in July 2010.
“I would not be where I am, or doing what I am doing had it not been for Fred Childress,” Wrights said. “He was like me, he was a warrior. But the anomaly of Fred Childress was that he was also a peacemaker.”
The Triangle Committee to Stop FBI Repression is planning an “enlightening form of civil engagement” for April 27 — filling out Freedom of Information Act requests. They group wants to find out what information the government is collecting about its members. The event will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Durham Solidarity Center, 331 W Main St.
“We encourage activists and organizers to fill out FOIA requests,” said Kosta Harlan, a member of the committee. “We know the FBI has been spying on those of us who peacefully exercise our First Amendment rights to speak out against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. What we don’t know is the extent of the surveillance here in our community.”
A federal agent infiltrated the Minnesota Antiwar Committee and for two and a half years. While pretending to be an active member of the committee, the agent raised money, befriended members, and gave public speeches on behalf of the group. He also handed internal reports to the government that described plans to go on an international solidarity trip to Palestine.
“By collectively filing these FOIA requests, we are demonstrating that we are not afraid to defend our rights, and we will not be deterred from working for peace and justice,” Harlan said.
The committee is organizing this event to generate FOIA request to find out what level of scrutiny the movement in our parts is under. This collective action is part of a larger efforts to find out where the FBI has been collecting information.
The committee believes it is critical to let the FBI and the federal government know that people are paying attention. Representatives from the National Lawyers Guild will be on hand to guide people through the process.
HICKORY, N.C. (April 16) – R. Lee Wrights, a longtime libertarian writer and activist, announced today at the N.C. Libertarian Party State Convention that he will be seeking the Libertarian nomination for President of the United States. Here is his statement:
“I’m returning to the place where this campaign began … ten years ago. North Carolina is where I was born, where I grew up and where I became involved in the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement. It’s here in North Carolina that the seed for this campaign was planted and nourished.
“For the past two years, as I’ve traveled around the country visiting Libertarian groups, people — especially young people — have been asking me: ‘Why isn’t the Libertarian Party out front in opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why isn’t the LP anti-war? Why aren’t we demanding that we bring the troops home.’ I heard this over and over again, and the message was quite strong at the 2010 national convention in St. Louis.
“After hearing from all these activists, it was clear to me that they were right. It was clear to me that the Libertarian Party — and our nation — is tired of war. It became clear to me that it was time for someone in the Libertarian Party to start talking about this issue. And it became clear to me that that someone must be me.
“On July Fourth, appropriately, I formed a presidential exploratory committee because I believe the Libertarian Party faces a critical test in 2012 and I want to make sure that we’re up to the challenge. The Libertarian message in 2012 must be loud, clear, and unequivocal — stop all war! Stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop the war on drugs and alternative lifestyles, stop the war on civil liberties. Stop All War!!
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner
BURNET, Texas (March 27) — There’s an anonymous message circulating on Twitter that’s says, “Barack Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined.” That would be funny, if it weren’t so depressing an observation. There are calls now from some foreign leaders for President Obama to return the award. “How is it possible to give the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who has launched an invasion, a bombing? It’s a violation, an assault, an aggression,” said Bolivian President Evo Morales.
President Obama dismissed this idea by repeating a line he used in his Oslo acceptance speech he delivered in December 2009. The president said then it was an “irony” for him to get this award when he was dealing with two wars. “So I am accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also someone who aspires to peace,” he told CNN.
That is not irony, Mr. President; it is hypocrisy. It is not a contradiction; it is a violation of your oath of office.
Isn’t it bad enough that America has an immediate-past president who is afraid to visit another country for fear of being arrested for war crimes? Now we have a sitting president who’s being asked to return a prestigious international award because he’s an aggressor. It seems to me we’re not doing a very good job of picking presidents.
Maybe it’s time we elect someone who won’t bring shame and condemnation to our nation by attacking other countries. Maybe it’s time we elected a president who took his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” seriously. Maybe it’s time we elected a president who understands the true meaning of that document.
BURNET, Texas (March 26) – Potential Libertarian presidential candidate R. Lee Wrights will be the guest on the “Live and Let Live” radio show hosted by Texas Libertarian Gary Johnson Sunday, March 27 from 8-9 p.m. CST. The program airs over Austin station 90.1 and online on the Rule of Law Radio Network. The call in number for this live program is (512) 646-1984.
Wrights, a past vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee, is considering seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination. He believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end, Wrights has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will go toward ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.
Wrights, 52, is a longtime Libertarian writer and activists. He is co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Born in Winston Salem, N.C., he now lives in Texas.