Senator Rand Paul is filibustering the Senate to block the renewal of the Patriot Act.

You can watch it on CSPAN2 on television or by going to this link.

Call your Senators now and urge them to oppose renewal of the Patriot Act.

The George W. Bush administration famously dubbed Iran, Iraq, and North Korea the “Axis of Evil.”

The White House accused that ominous-sounding triumvirate of funding terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction. The goal was to garner public support for the “war on terror” that’s devastated the Middle East and militarized U.S. foreign policy.

After a decade of disastrous military interventions, the Obama administration has been experimenting with a different way to deal with adversaries: diplomacy. Already this approach is bearing fruit with Iran and Cuba. Now it’s time to chart a diplomatic roadmap in another region with long-festering hostility: the Korean peninsula.

Sixty-two years ago, the United States and North Korea signed the Korean Armistice Agreement to stop the horrific fighting between the U.S.-backed South and the Soviet-backed North that was responsible for the deaths of nearly 4 million people.

But a peace treaty never followed. Border tensions, war games, skirmishes, infiltrations, and defections continue to divide Korean families and keep the peninsula on the edge of conflict.

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“We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy and we should do it today while our economy is in a position of global strength. If we don’t write the rules for trade around the world, guess what, China will. And they’ll write those rules in a way that gives Chinese workers and Chinese businesses the upper hand.”

~ Barack Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a Speech at Nike Factory in Oregon, May 8, 2015

Those very few words of Obama’s, his most widely circulated PR effort to garner support for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and thoroughly representative of the thinking of our imperial elite, are so revealing, so wrong and so dangerous on so many levels that one scarcely knows where to begin. In fact they carry the seeds of our destruction. And they are focused on China.

First, the arrogance and hegemonic intent of the statement is astonishing even though it has become routine for the U.S. elite. What gives the United States, a country of 300 million on the opposite side of the vast Pacific, the right to determine the rules of trade for East Asia, which includes China, a country of 1.3 billion people? The U.S. can no longer assert that privilege based on its economic power since its gross GDP, measured in Purchasing Power Parity is now, according to the IMF, second to China’s.

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Presidential aspirant Jeb Bush this week may have damaged his chances by flubbing the answer to an entirely predictable question about his big brother’s decision to attack Iraq.

On Monday, Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked the former Florida governor: “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” Jeb Bush answered, “I would’ve. And so would’ve Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would’ve almost everybody who was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

Kelly: “You don’t think it was a mistake.”

Bush: “In retrospect, the intelligence that everyone saw — that the world saw, not just the United States — was faulty.”

After some backfilling and additional foundering on Tuesday and Wednesday, Bush apparently memorized the “correct” answer. So on Thursday, he proceeded to ask the question himself: “If we’re all supposed to answer hypothetical questions: Knowing what we now know, what would you have done? I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.”

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By Murray Rothbard:

If you want to read a whole book, then:

Tomorrow is Nakba Day, which commemorates the mass dispossession of Palestinians that accompanied the foundation of the State of Israel. Read “The more Israel represses the Nakba, the stronger the memories” by Gideon Levy in Haaretz. Use the printer-friendly or Google cache version to bypass the paywall.

“But the truth is that there is no greater proof of Israel’s insecurity about the justness of its cause than the battle waged to forbid marking the Nakba. A people confident in its path would respect the feelings of the minority, and not try to trample on its heritage and memories. A people that knows something terrible is burning under its feet sees every reference to what happened as an existential threat.”

For more details on Israeli repression of Nakba commemoration, see “Chilling effect of the Nakba Law on Israel’s human rights

For more on Nakba Day itself, see “What is Nakba Day? A brief history” by Elon Gilad (printer-friendly, Google cache).

UPDATE: Also see Essential Reading for Nakba Day.