Obama’s Odd New Allies In Promoting Iran Nuke Deal Know More About Brickle Than Bombs

Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road, Save Our Swirled, Cherry Garcia, Hazed & Confused, Blondie Ambition, Chubby Hubby — just a few of the signature flavors offered by the ice cream company named for its far-left founders, Ben & Jerry’s. Now, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are turning their attention from oddball flavors to complex foreign policy as they try to whip up support for President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

The Vermont-based businessmen — who have already come out in full-throated support of socialist Bernie Sanders in his bid to be the next occupant of the White House — have written an email to MoveOn.org’s progressive activists urging Democrats to back Obama in his push to get the pact approved by Congress. And to those Dems on Capitol Hill who don’t stand by Ben and Jerry’s man in the Oval Office, the pair has issued a threat.

Breitbart News reports on the retaliation the ice cream entrepreneurs threaten in their email: “Calling the agreement ‘the only peaceful way to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,’ the pair pledge a ‘donor strike,’ promising not to donate any money to Democrats who vote against the deal.”

As for money that they could withhold from Democrat candidates with their hands out for more than ice cream, Ben and Jerry likely have a fair amount left from the sale of their company fifteen years ago to Unilever for $326 million.

The MoveOn email signed by Ben and Jerry claims that a massive advertising blitz against Obama’s nuke deal with the Iranian regime could lead to its defeat and then to war and enrichment of the “big military contractors and their armies of lobbyists” who would supposedly benefit from military action.

Observer News quotes from the email that asks readers to sign a petition pledging their support for the “donor strike” against Democrat candidates who aren’t on board with the Iran pact and protecting it from being killed in Congress.

Lobbyists and billionaires plan to spend over $40 million to stop the diplomatic deal with Iran — the one the Obama Administration negotiated to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. That’s dangerous, because if too many Democrats listen to the flood of hawkish, misinformation-ridden TV ads — and if they vote with Republicans — they could override the president’s agreement in just about a month.

Considering the heated dispute over Obama’s deal and whether it blocks or benefits Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, there are several Ben and Jerry’s flavors that just might pertain to the controversy and its consequences: Boom Chocolatta, That’s My Jam, or maybe Half Baked.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Who’s The Real Troublemaker In The Middle East?

Except for maybe the Affordable Care Act, nothing gets Republican politicians fired up like Iran.

In the first GOP debate alone, Scott Walker promised that he’d tear up the Iran nuclear deal on day one of his presidency. Carly Fiorina blamed the country for “most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East.” Mike Huckabee vowed to topple the “terrorist Iranian regime and defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.”

Oddly, when the candidates complain about the “evil forces of radical Islam” or trouble in the Middle East, they never seem to mention Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s no democratic paradise. But on many counts, Washington’s Saudi allies are even worse. The Saudi royals crush dissent with an iron fist, spread extremist ideology, and invade their neighbors with impunity.

Domestically, the Saudi regime oppresses women, religious minorities, and millions of foreign workers. And it brutally represses criticism from human rights activists, prompting condemnation from both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, for example, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes just for writing a blog the government considered critical of its rule. Hundreds of political prisoners languish in prison — including Badawi’s lawyer, who was sentenced to 15 years for his role as a human rights attorney. New legislation effectively equates criticism of the government and other peaceful activities with terrorism.

Saudi women aren’t permitted to appear in public without adhering to a strict dress code. They need the approval of a male guardian to marry, travel, enroll in a university, or obtain a passport; and they’re prohibited from driving.

The penalties for defiance are steep.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world, killing scores of people each year for a range of offenses including adultery, apostasy, drug use, and sorcery. It’s conducted over 100 public beheadings this year alone.

Meanwhile, the Saudi monarchy has used its military and financial might to impose its will throughout the Middle East.

In 2011, Saudi tanks invaded neighboring Bahrain and brutally crushed that nation’s budding pro-democracy movement. Two years later, the Saudis backed a coup in Egypt that killed over 1,000 people and saw over 40,000 political dissidents thrown into squalid prisons.

In their latest military intervention, the Saudis have used American-made cluster bombs and F-15 fighter jets in a bombing campaign over Yemen that’s killed and injured thousands of civilians and created a severe humanitarian crisis.

All the while, they’ve helped export an extremist interpretation of Islam around the globe. Let’s not forget that 15 of the 19 hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Saudis, as well as Osama bin Laden himself.

Despite all these abuses, Saudi Arabia has been a key U.S. ally for decades. Why?

One reason is oil: Saudi Arabia is the world’s second largest producer, trailing only the United States itself.

Another is the arms trade: The country is the largest purchaser of American-made weapons. In 2010, the U.S. government concluded a $60.5 billion arms deal with the Saudis — the largest in history. This means that for years to come, U.S. weapons will be used by the Saudis to maintain their repressive rule and impose their will on neighboring countries.

A third reason, ironically, is Iran. Since 1979, Washington’s pursued a policy of building up the Saudi military as a counterweight to Iran’s revolutionary government.

For Republican presidential candidates, this primary season is all about vilifying Iran. While they beat up on the White House for making peace with America’s enemies, maybe voters should ask them more questions about America’s friends.

 

Medea Benjamin, the founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange, is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

Originally distributed by OtherWords.org. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Do All Political Roads Lead To Ron Paul?

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” – Ron Paul

I know I am very late to the party; but after paying too close attention to politics over the past three years, I have developed a new and deep appreciation for Ron Paul. The guy is truly brilliant… and fearless.

Does this mean I agree with everything that comes out of his mouth? Of course not; I’m speaking strictly politically here. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, has his finger on the political-establishment-big-government pulse like Ron Paul.

Paul is a true Constitutionalist. He believes in small government by the people and for the people in the light of day with full transparency. Let’s face it–our nation has loads of blood on its hands. We are a great nation, but we’ve been used and manipulated by the folks at the top more times than we dare think of…

Our troops have been used, and our trust has been manipulated. Paul knows and speaks truth. You have to cut through some of the fringes to truly get to the heart of his message; but when you’ve been paying attention as closely as I have the past three years, you begin to realize how much wisdom ‘Doctor NO’ truly possesses. Paul proceeds to be the illuminating voice of sound reason in a dark wilderness of scandal and propaganda.

Let’s hope President Cruz has him on speed dial. Forget Obama; there’s nothing that could shake up the status quo like a nice shot of Ron Paul!

“America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.”–Ron Paul

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Only Full-Blown Libertarianism Works

Many people think the Internal Revenue Service was violating civil liberties when it harassed tea party groups. After all, the groups were targeted because they wanted to exercise their civil liberty to challenge government policies. However, the specific issue in the IRS case was the groups’ application for tax-exempt status, which seems to be an aspect of economic liberty. In fact, the IRS case demonstrates that there is no meaningful distinction between civil and economic liberties. A true friend of the free society defends both civil and economic liberties.

Many “civil libertarians” who oppose government laws interfering in the personal choices of consenting adults support laws preventing consenting adults from working for below the minimum wage. Other civil libertarians support government programs forcing consenting adults to purchase health insurance. Many liberals who join libertarians in opposing the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping fail to protest Obamacare’s assault on medical privacy. Even worse are those “First Amendment defenders” who cheer on government actions preventing religious individuals from operating their businesses in accord with the teachings of their faith.

The hypocrisy of left-wing civil libertarians is matched by the hypocrisy of many “economic conservatives.” Too many conservatives combine opposition to high taxes and Obamacare with support for authoritarian measures aimed at stopping individuals from engaging in “immoral” behavior. These conservatives do not understand that using force to stop people from engaging in nonviolent activities that some consider immoral is just as wrong as using force to make people purchase health insurance. Obamacare and the drug war both violate individual rights, and neither has any place in a free society.

In a free society, individuals must respect the right of others to make their own choices free from government coercion. However they do not have to approve of those choices. Individuals are free to use peaceful persuasion to stop others from engaging in immoral or destructive behavior. They can also avoid associating with individuals or businesses whose actions they find immoral or simply distasteful.

Many civil and economic libertarians also mistakenly believe that they can defend liberty while supporting an imperialist foreign policy. It is impossible to be a true civil libertarian, or a true fiscal conservative, and support the warfare state.

America’s imperialist foreign policy is the underlying justification for the rise of the modern surveillance state, and the reason Americans cannot board an airplane without being harassed and humiliated by the Transportation Security Administration. The warfare state is also the justification for the government’s greatest infringement on personal liberties: the military draft.

The United States government’s militaristic foreign policy costs taxpayers over $1 trillion a year. The costs of empire are major drivers of the American debt. Yet many of the most fervent opponents of domestic spending oppose even minuscule cuts to the defense budget. The government’s budget will never be balanced until conservatives give up their love affair with the welfare state and military Keynesianism.

Scholars, commentators, and other public figures who defend liberty in some areas and authoritarianism in other areas — or combine a defense of economic or civil liberty with a defense of the warfare state — undermine the case for the liberties they claim to cherish. Restoring the link between economic liberty, civil liberty, and peace is a vital task for those seeking to restore a society of liberty, peace, and prosperity. I examine the link between an interventionist foreign policy and a loss of our civil and economy liberties in my new book Swords into Plowshares. You can purchase a copy of Swords into Plowshares here

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute.

This commentary originally appeared at RonPaulInstitute.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Twisting The Truth On The Iraq War

The neocons are looking to make a big comeback.

Job one is to rehabilitate the Iraq war fiasco by re-writing history.

It was not lies and manipulation that brought the US into the Iraq war, they claim, but it was only “faulty intelligence.”

And Dick Cheney is coming out with a new book urging the US to “rebuild” the military so that it can engage in more pre-emptive wars!

Will they succeed? Tune in to today’s Liberty Report:

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute.

This video originally appeared at RonPaulInstitute.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth