US House votes for $1.6 billion down payment on Berlin … er, border … wall

Source: Fox News

"The GOP-controlled House has given tentative approval to a $1.6 billion down payment for President Donald Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The controversial wall money is being given a ride on legislation to give the Pentagon a massive spending boost and increase funding for veterans medical care. The House added Trump's wall funding by a 230-196 procedural vote that denied angry Democrats an up-or-down vote. The wall gets low marks in public opinion polls and is opposed by many of the GOP's more moderate lawmakers. Trump promised at nearly every rally and campaign event that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico said no, and U.S. taxpayers will have to provide the money. In advancing the broader $788 billion spending bill, slated for a vote on Thursday, Republicans are trying to both ease a large backlog of unfinished spending bills and give both themselves and Trump political wins heading into the August recess." (07/27/17)

The state is at war — with the future

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"We stand at the doorway of a future featuring money without borders, work and trade without permission. That future represents existential crisis for the political class: The end of the state as we know it. Absent the ability to tax and regulate its host, the parasite known as government starves and dies. The situation is equally dire for the rest of us. High-profile takedowns like the Silk Road, Alphabay, Hansa and BTC-e, large as they loom in the moment, are mere speed bumps. The road to the future remains open, and the only way to plausibly close that road off entirely is to essentially pull the plug on every technological development since the introduction of the personal computer. What would that look like? Think the Dark Ages, the Great Depression, and North Korea all rolled into one."

Venezuela: Bans on protests that "disturb" election

Source: BBC [UK state media]

"Venezuela is banning protests that could 'disturb or affect' Sunday's controversial election for a new constituent assembly. Prison terms of between five and 10 years could be imposed on those contravening the ban, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said. More than 100 people have been killed in protest-related violence since April. The opposition sees it as a move towards dictatorship. A 48-hour general strike is currently taking place. A 49-year-old died in a protest in the northern Carabobo state on Thursday. The opposition has also vowed to go ahead with a mass protest on Friday, despite the measure. The ban on activity will be in force from Friday until Tuesday." (07/27/17)

If Congress is serious about getting rid of IRS …

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

"Many of the ideas that emerge from Washington are stale, unimaginative and unworkable. Not so the latest pitch from a group of conservative congressional Republicans: Eliminate the IRS. This goes beyond some kind of political revenge fantasy. It's time to consider the damage that the IRS does both to Americans' freedoms as individuals and to the costs it imposes on the economy as a whole, argue the 151 members of the Republican Study Group, an in-house conservative think tank, in their newest budget proposal. The proposal, an alternative to the House Budget Committee's official 2018 budget, comes as part of a much broader tax reform plan that would leave taxes flatter and fairer for both corporations and individuals than is currently the case. … But even many conservatives concede that getting rid of the IRS would be difficult, if not impossible. So how would the RSG accomplish its goal?" (07/25/17)

GOP Senators threaten to block "skinny" healthcare bill

Source: NBC News

"Support for a pared-down version of an Obamacare repeal bill still doesn't have the support it needs as the Senate prepares for a long night of voting on health care. Unsatisfied with the so-called 'skinny' bill GOP leaders are crafting, some Republican members are threatening to block it unless they have a guarantee that the measure will move into negotiations with the House of Representatives, where it could be fattened up. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John McCain, R-Ariz., Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Bill Cassidy, R-La. — enough members to kill the legislation should they vote against it — held a last-minute news conference laying out their demands. … House Speaker Paul Ryan has not given his guarantee that they would go to conference. Other options include an informal conference that leaves Democrats out of the process or that the House just vote on whatever the Senate passes. " (07/27/17)

Where technophobia meets Lenin

Source: Attack The System
by Keith Preston

"Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How is a work by Theodore John 'Ted' Kaczynski, otherwise known as the 'Unabomber' terrorist, a former mathematics professor who sought to fight what he regarded as the excessive encroachment of technology by blowing up those who invent and market it. Kaczynski has been imprisoned since his 1996 arrest, and this book was completed during the course of his incarceration while serving multiple life sentences. As the title suggests, this work seeks to provide an answer to two primary questions. Why must the 'technological system,' as Kaczynski refers to it, be abolished? And how might such abolition be achieved? Kaczynski devotes a considerable portion of the book to revolutionary strategy. I found this to be the most compelling part of the book, as I am likewise interested in revolutionary theory, even if I cannot abide Kaczynski’s ideological framework." (07/27/17)

Putin: We'll have to retaliate against "illegal" US sanctions

Source: Raw Story

"President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia would be forced to retaliate if Washington pressed ahead with what he called illegal new sanctions against Moscow, describing U.S. conduct towards his country as boorish and unreasonable. Putin, speaking on a visit to Finland, was commenting on a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives which on Tuesday decided to impose new sanctions on Moscow and to force President Donald Trump to obtain lawmakers’ permission before easing any sanctions on Russia. The sanctions have yet to be approved by the Senate or Trump, and a top White House aide said on Thursday that Trump could veto the legislation in order to push for a tougher deal." (07/27/17)

Despite the pall of scandal, some incremental progress during the Trump administration

Source: Independent Institute
by Ivan Eland

"Although the media is properly focused on the very troubling issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and the Trump campaign’s apparent willingness to collude with a foreign power to win it, and the heretofore Republican debacle in trying to repeal Obamacare, progress is being made on less publicized issues — whether by the Trump administration or other branches of government pushing back against it." (07/27/17)

Syria war: US says coalition partners must only fight Islamic State

Source: BBC [UK state media]

"The US has warned its coalition partners in Syria to focus exclusively on the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS) and not regime forces. A Pentagon spokesman told reporters the US's aim in Syria and Iraq was to 'fight ISIS, and fight ISIS only.' One rebel group has left a joint base after clashing with the regime. It comes after President Donald Trump ended the CIA's clandestine programme to provide weapons and supplies to Syrian rebel groups. That decision to end the programme, which started under the Obama administration in 2013 in an attempt to put pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to stand down, was made more than a month ago as part of an effort to improve ties with Russia, officials said last week." (07/27/17)

Populism is now more popular than liberty with European voters: Study

Source: Acton Institute
by Rev. Ben Johnson

"The rhetoric of classical liberals should not be considered revolutionary. It is rooted in the reality of human nature as described by revelation and manifest throughout history. Their proposals should be based in reality, with a strong infusion of prudence. But if the modern transatlantic sphere were to embrace a classical liberal outlook, it would experience 'dramatic change.' Liberty recognizes two of the main driving forces of the populist explosion: cronyism and global governance. And it prescribes the right cure. To prevail, its adherents must offer a different narrative than the shrill, envy-filled braying of homegrown demagogues. They must show the superiority of their prescriptions. In a word, they must compete." (07/27/17)