For What Should we be Thankful?

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What if the government’s true goal is to perpetuate itself? What if the real levers of governmental power are pulled by agents and diplomats and by bureaucrats and central bankers behind the scenes? What if they stay in power no matter who is elected president or which political party controls either house of Congress?

What if the frequent public displays of adversity between Republicans and Democrats are just a facade and a charade? What if both major political parties agree on the transcendental issues of our day?

What if the leadership of both major political parties believes that our rights are not natural to our humanity but instead are gifts from the government? What if those leaders believe that the government that gives gifts to the people can take those gifts away?

What if the leadership of both parties gives only lip service to Thomas Jefferson’s assertions in the Declaration of Independence that all humans “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” and that the purpose of government is not to redistribute wealth but to protect these rights?

What if the leadership of both parties dismisses those ideas as just Jefferson’s outdated musings? What if Jefferson’s words have been enacted into federal law that all in government have sworn to uphold?Theodore and Woodrow: … Andrew P. Napolitano

What if the leadership of both parties believes that the constitutional requirement of due process somehow permits mothers to hire doctors to kill the babies in their wombs, out of fear or convenience? What if the leaders of both political parties believe that the president should be able to kill any foreigner he wants out of fear, because due process is an inconvenience?

What if President Donald Trump has used high-tech drones to kill innocent foreign people in foreign lands and claimed that he has done so legally, relying not on a declaration of war from Congress but on the convenient arguments of former President Barack Obama’s attorney general, who falsely told Obama his killings were consistent with due process?

What if the Constitution requires a congressional declaration of war or due process whenever the government wants someone’s life, liberty or property, whether convenient or not and whether the person is American or not? What if due process means a fair jury trial, not an extrajudicial secret killing?

What if the congressional leadership and most of the membership in Congress from both major political parties believe in perpetual war and perpetual debt? What if the political class believes that war is the health of the state? What if the leadership of that class wants war so as to induce the loyalty of its base, open the pocketbooks of the taxpayers and gain the compliance of the voters? What if the political class uses war to enrich its benefactors? What if the government has been paying for war by increasing its debt?

What if the political class has been paying for prosperity by increasing the government’s debt as well? What if that class has controlled the money-creating computers at the Federal Reserve, and the free money the Fed creates is to bankers and traders what heroin is to addicts?

What if the $22 trillion current federal government debt has largely been caused by borrowing to pay for wars and false prosperity? What if 22 cents of every tax dollar collected by the IRS is spent on interest payments for the government’s debt? What if, at this rate, in six years the federal government will pay more annually to debt service than it will to fund the Pentagon?

What if American taxpayers are still paying interest on debts incurred by Woodrow Wilson, FDR, JFK, LBJ, Ronald Reagan, both Bushes and every modern president?

What if the banks have borrowed the money that they lend? What if they can’t pay it back? What if the stock market is soaring on borrowed money? What if mansions and office buildings are popping up but they will soon secure more debt than they are worth? What happens when the plug is pulled on this temporary artifice and those debts come due?

It Is Dangerous to Be … Andrew P. Napolitano

What if the government demands transparency from us but declines to be transparent to us? What if the government fosters the make-believe notion that it exists to serve us? What if government leaders assert that they work for us but recognize silently that we work for the government? What if the federal government has access to all of our communications, bank accounts, health and legal records, and utility and credit card bills? What if the government knows more about us than we know about it?

What if the federal government stays in power by bribing the states with cash grants, the rich with corporate bailouts, the middle class with periodic tax cuts and the poor with reliable welfare? What if the courts have approved this bribery?

What if we live today in an inversion? What if the government the Founding Fathers gave us needed our permission to do nearly everything? What if today we need the government’s permission to do nearly anything?

What if, on Thanksgiving Day, our gratitude is not to the government that mocks our freedoms and steals our wealth but to God, who gave us our freedoms and our ability to exercise reason? What if, on Thanksgiving Day, our gratitude is for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and free will? What if these are integral to our humanity despite the government assault on them?

What if, on Thanksgiving Day, we are most grateful that we are free creatures made in God’s image and likeness? What if we can use our freedoms to reject the government?

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Pete Buttigieg Argues That Unborn Babies Are Not Human Beings Until They Take Their First Breath

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, a self-admitted homosexual who claims to be married to a man contrary to what the Bible says, argued that unborn babies can be aborted up until they draw their first breath. He bases this on the creation of Adam. Buttigieg might want to look at the Genesis account to get a better understanding about sexuality before he makes similar ridiculous comments.

God did not make another man and a woman as a companion for Adam. He only made a woman. Jesus, who many homosexuals say never addressed homosexuality, validated God’s creation ordinance:

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,  and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:4-6).

Buttigieg begins his line of argument by referencing Genesis 2:7 where he assumes that this verse shows that life becomes human when we first breathe, not at conception. If God had formed all of us from “the dust from the ground,” then Buttigieg would have a point. To say the least, the creation of Adam and Eve was unique.

A baby growing in his mother’s womb is not made up of inanimate matter but living tissue, no different from that of a ten-year-old who is still growing. And while unborn babies are not receiving oxygen through their lungs, they are nevertheless receiving a steady supply through the umbilical cord.

If someone stops breathing after an electrical shock, do we assume the person is dead or alive? Should we take extraordinary means to resuscitate or assume that the body is now inanimate matter devoid of life?

The Bible also attributes self-consciousness to unborn babies, something that modern medicine has studied and acknowledged. Jacob and Esau are said to have “struggled together within” their mother’s womb (Gen. 25:22). The New Testament offers a similar glimpse into prenatal consciousness: “And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41). The fact that babies that are born prematurely have the same signs of life as babies that went through nine full months of development in the womb is a sure indication that self-consciousness is a medical reality.

Some pro-abortion advocates appeal to Exodus 21:22 where they claim that killing an unborn fetus is a property crime rather than murder. This is absurd. This assumes an unborn baby is not a person. The Bible teaches otherwise. The original Hebrew reads: “And if men struggle with each other and strike a pregnant woman so that her children [yeled] come out….” Notice that the text uses the word “children,” not “products of conception.” The Hebrew word for “children” in this verse is used in other contexts to designate a child already born. For example, in Exodus 2:6 we read: “When Pharaoh’s daughter opened the basket], she saw the child [yeled], and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children [yeled].’”

Since these are “children that come out,” in the case-law of Exodus 21:22, they are considered to be persons, not property. If there is no injury to these individuals—the mother and her prematurely delivered child or children—then there is no penalty. If there is an injury, then the judges must decide on an appropriate penalty based on the extent of injury either to the mother and/or her children because both are persons in terms of biblical law.

For an extended discussion of the logic of Exodus 21:22, see Umberto Cassuto, Commentary on the Book of Exodus1

Some translations have “so that she has a miscarriage” when the text literally should read “so that here children come out.” There are two Hebrew words that fit the circumstances of miscarriage or premature birth: “There shall be no one miscarrying [shakal] or barren in your land” (Ex. 23:26; also Hosea 9:14), and “Or like a miscarriage [nefel] which is discarded, I would not be” (Job 3:16).

Using Exodus 21:22 to establish non-personhood in an unborn baby is a weak reed indeed. The actions on the part of the woman and the two men are not premeditated. The woman had no intention of aborting her child. The two men were not in the abortion business. One could make the case that the untimely birth and subsequent “injury” or “harm” was accidental, even though the men should not have been fighting. Meredith G. Kline offers a helpful summary of the passage:

This law found in Exodus 21:22–25 turns out to be perhaps the most decisive positive evidence in scripture that the fetus is to be regarded as a living person…. No matter whether one interprets the first or second penalty to have reference to a miscarriage, there is no difference in the treatments according to the fetus and the woman. Either way the fetus is regarded as a living person, so that to be criminally responsible for the destruction of the fetus is to forfeit one’s life…. The fetus, at any stage of development, is, in the eyes of this law, a living being, for life (nephesh) is attributed to it…. Consistently in the relevant data of Scripture a continuum of identity is evident between the fetus and the person subsequently born and Exodus 21:22–25 makes it clear that this prenatal human being is to be regarded as a separate and distinct human life.2

In biblical terms, unborn babies are always considered to be fully human and deserving of civil protection. On the other hand, men having sex with other men is always sinful, and that’s in the Bible.

  1. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University, (1967), 275. Quoted in Francis J. Beckwith, Politically Correct Death: Answering Arguments for Abortion Rights (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), 144. []
  2. Meredith G. Kline, “Lex Talionis and the Human Fetus,” The Simon Greenleaf Law Review, 5 (1985–1986), 75, 83, 88–89. This article originally appeared in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (September 1977). []

Betcha’ Didn’t Know: Firearm Homicides Plummeted over Last 25 Years

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 01: A man is pictured in an ambulance at the scene where two people were reported shot on January 1, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago ended 2016 with more than 700 people shot and killed, making it one of the deadliest years in two decades. (Photo …
Scott Olson/Getty

Despite endless gun violence reports put forward by the establishment media, the dirty little secret is firearm homicides have plummeted over the past 25 years.

Yet most Americans, particularly Democrats, believe firearm murders have risen period.

Washington Post analysis shows Democrats, followed closely by independents, are more apt to believe firearm murders have increased. And this feeds the Democrat psyche which is already more prone to support an expansion of gun control laws.

But the reality is that the high water mark for firearm murders was 1994 while 2017, the most recent year with complete data on incidents, shows a sharp drop. There were “16,136 [firearm murders] in 1994” but only “10,982” in 2017.

And if looked at in terms of the murder rate, instead of simply the raw murder numbers, the drop in firearm homicides is even more evident.

For example, the FBI calculated “6.2 firearm murders per 100,000 people” in 1994, while the murder rate in 2017 was 3.38. And the murder rate was even lower than 3.38 in 2014.

An interesting correlation with the drop in firearm murders is the incredible expansion of private firearm ownership. In other words, the number of privately-owned firearms was increasing at the same time that the number of firearm murders was plummeting.

On December 4, 2013, Breitbart News reported a Congressional Research Service study showing “gun ownership climbed from 192 million firearms in 1994 to 310 million firearms in 2009.” At the same time, the “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide” rate was cut in half over a roughly 17-year time period.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

AOC AND BERNIE USE THE BIBLE TO SUPPORT ONE OF THEIR POLICIES

Here we go again. Democrats are appealing to the Bible to support one of their policies. Here’s what New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said about a bill she is co-sponsoring with Bernie Sanders:

Usury — aka high interest — happens to be explicitly denounced in the Bible (& in many other religions).
Looking forward to having the religious right uphold their principles + sign onto my bill.
Unless of course they’re only invoking religion to punish women + queer people.

They are not interested in what the Bible says about abortion and homosexuality, but they are interested in what they claim it says about high-interest loans. The Loan Shark Prevention Act aims to cap credit card interest rates at 15 percent. Some credit cards charge 21 percent and higher interest rates. AOC said high-interest rates are condemned in the Bible. To be consistent, she reasoned, which means conservatives should support it.

Here’s some advice about credit cards. Only use them for emergencies or for convenience (e.g., travel). Pay the balance off each month.

I’ll make a deal with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie. I’ll support the badly argued law if they will vote to stop abortions and drop the pro-homosexual/transgender Equality Act bill that makes some people more equal than other people. If they are going to use the Bible, then they need to pay attention to its views of neonatal life and same-sex sexuality.

Does the Bible support their position? The following is from Dr. Gary North who has written a comprehensive economic commentary (31 volumes/9000+ pages) on the Bible. You can read them for FREE:

________________________________________

The following is a summary of what the Bible teaches on usury, interest, and loans.

Usury

The English word “usury” has nothing specific to do with the Hebrew and Greek words translated as “usury.” This is because, historically, the word has been used in a specific way: “excessive interest.”

There is not one verse — not one hint — in the Bible that taking excessive interest is wrong.

What is prohibited in Deuteronomy 15:1-7 and Deuteronomy 23 is interest on any loan, in any form, that has been extended to a poor brother in the faith. It is perfectly all right to lend at interest to someone not in the faith. Here, I quote from the King James (1611), since its terminology — “usury” — is the familiar source of the debate over usury.

Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it (Deuteronomy 23:19-20).

The Hebrew word translated here as “usury” is nawshak, meaning “bite.” Examples:

  • Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward (Genesis 49:17)
  • And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died (Numbers 21:6).

The word in no way implies “excessive.” It means any extra payment at all.

The prohibition applied only to charitable loans to poor brethren in the faith and to a special category of resident aliens, men who had submitted to the Mosaic law. The texts are quite specific.

  • If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury (Exodus 22:25).
  • And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase (Leviticus 25:35-37).
Available at American Vision

The Hebrew word here translated as “stranger” is different from the Hebrew word for “stranger” in Deuteronomy 23:20. Deuteronomy’s stranger was a temporary resident, probably a businessman.

How did a charitable loan differ from a commercial loan? A charitable loan had the following features:

1. There was no interest payment.
2. It was morally mandatory.

3. If the borrower defaulted, he could be sold into slavery.

4. It had a six-year limit, as did the term of slavery.

5. The creditor had to supply tools of production to the indentured servant at the end of the period of slavery.

6. The day of release was on the day of atonement [yom kippur] in the nation’s seventh (sabbatical) year

7. It was not mandated by the civil government.

This is laid out in Deuteronomy 15:1-7 and Leviticus 25:1-9.

A non-charity loan could be collateralized by a piece of rural land. The borrower could lose his land for up to 49 years if he defaulted. The 49-year limit was established in terms of the sabbatical periods of seven years: seven times seven. This is discussed in Leviticus 25, the chapter on the jubilee year.

A non-charity loan was not under any restriction with respect to interest. A person who defaulted on a commercial loan that had not been collateralized by land could be sold into slavery, but a unique kind. He had to be paid. Also, he did not receive tools of production at the end of his term of service. This term could be up to 49 years.

And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return (Leviticus 25:39- 41)

I have written two versions of Leviticus: the Reader’s Digest version (750 pages) and the full version (4 volumes), called Boundaries and Dominion.

Jesus Annulled the Jubilee Laws

Jesus annulled the Jubilee laws and announced liberation.

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears (Luke 4:16-21).

If He did not annul Leviticus 25, then the Mosaic law of slavery is still in effect. This is the only passage in the Bible that authorizes inter-generational slavery.

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour (Leviticus 25:44-46).

See my comments on this passage in my commentaries on Leviticus 25 and Luke 4:16-21. See also Chapter 4 of my book, Tools of Dominion: The Case Laws of Exodus.

He who denies that Jesus annulled the Jubilee laws owes it to his followers to explain why the Mosaic law’s authorization of inter-generational slavery is not still in force. Leviticus 25:44-46 was widely was cited by defenders of the South’s slave system prior to 1865. I think it is wise not to attempt to resurrect it now. Except for Jesus’ words in Luke 4, there is no explicit or implicit annulment of inter-generational slavery in the New Testament.

In short, a Christian who cites the Mosaic laws governing the prohibition against interest has a lot of explaining to do. He had better understand the implications of his position.

The Mosaic laws governing interest-taking on charitable loans were aspects of the national sabbatical year, including the crucial provision, the six-year term of slavery. This all ended when Israel disappeared as a nation in 70 A.D. These laws were not re-established by the New Testament.

Conclusion: the Mosaic laws governing charitable loans are defunct. There is no more national sabbatical year and no more jubilee year.

Jesus Authorized Interest

In the parable of the talents, which dealt with the Final Judgment, Jesus told of three stewards. A rich man puts them in charge of his money. Then he leaves town. On his return, he requires an accounting. One steward had multiplied his five talents by two to one. The second had multiplied his two talents by two to one. The third had buried his coin in the ground, which he returned to the owner. Here was the response of the owner, who is symbolic of God on judgment day.

Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:27-30).

If charging interest were not legitimate, why would Jesus have used the example of money-lending as a legitimate way to increase capital? Why would He have attributed to God such words of condemnation for not having lent at interest?

Those Christian commentators who say that usury is prohibited, meaning all interest on loans, prefer not to mention the existence of this passage, let alone explain it.

Conclusion

The Mosaic law prohibited interest on a narrow class of loans: charitable loans to fellow Israelites and resident aliens. It did not prohibit interest on all other loans.

Charitable loans were to be annulled in the seventh year, at one time. Loans collateralized by rural land were to end in the seventy-seventh year or jubilee year. The land reverted to the heirs of the conquest generation.

The sabbatical year and the jubilee year system were annulled by Jesus and ended when Israel ceased to exist as a nation.

Jesus authorized interest-bearing loans.

British Columbia Supreme Court Muzzles Father on Gender of Daughter

By Michael Rozeff (www.lewrockwell.com), May 1st, 2019

The states that are the foremost bearers of Western civilization are increasing their use of force in moral matters that traditionally, rationally and morally are and should be beyond any state’s powers. By doing this, Western states are becoming more totalitarian. The results are horrifying, horrendous and shocking. The leaders of Western civilization are destroying Western civilization.

These new and enhanced intrusions are actually part of a deeper longstanding trend of greater state initiation of force. That major trend includes both major parties in America. It’s manifested in domestic socialist legislation and in foreign aggression, such as in the attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The newer cultural, personal, family, religious and moral intrusions are becoming more and more noticeable and outrageous. They are profoundly stupid and destructive, but they are ongoing nonetheless. The tide against them has not turned yet.

British Columbia in Canada has a Family Law Act that empowers the court to intrude in a family in order to “protect the safety and security of the at-risk family member…” The law allows the court to assess risks very broadly in order to effect such protection.

This might be reasonable if a father were threatening his daughter with a knife or pistol, but what if the father insists on calling his daughter “she” rather than the pronoun “he” that the girl prefers? What if the father tries to persuade “Maxine” to abandon the hormone treatments she thinks will make her “Max”? What if the father gives interviews in which he refers to her as Maxine and argues against the ill-effects of ingesting gender-related hormones? What if the court decides that all of these actions place Maxine at “a significant risk of harm”?

These what-ifs (not the knife or pistol) have happened in neighboring British Columbia. Its Supreme Court has decided that using pronouns, using persuasion, providing information and speaking to media make a father guilty under this law. The court has muzzled him.

The trend in Western law is to turn personal matters, personal moral matters, non-violent matters, emotional matters (like purported hate), non-physical matters and communications matters into supposed crimes with perpetrators and victims. This is similar to jihadists thinking that a Christian church doing them no harm is an enemy, or a cartoonist making fun of their God is an enemy, and that they have a right to kill in order to stop such “insults” and “invasions”. This is similar to students rioting against particular speakers on campus because they consider their words “violent” or “insulting”. This is similar to laws that intrude upon labor relations and laws that demand hiring and promotion be along racial or sexual lines. This is similar to laws against hate speech. This is similar to laws and practices that demand diversity, meaning preferences of one sort or another and disregard of standards and qualifications that matter for job performance.

The wisdom of Ayn Rand in Galt’s speech and later Murray Rothbard stands higher and higher, for they clearly distinguished between the initiation of physical force and what one may rightly say or do.

“Be it a highwayman who confronts a traveler with the ultimatum: ‘Your money or your life,’ or a politician who confronts a country with the ultimatum: ‘Your children’s education or your life,’ the meaning of that ultimatum is: ‘Your mind or your life’—and neither is possible to man without the other.”

Western law is becoming more and more the highwayman, the initiator of physical violence. “Your children’s gender or your life” is indeed “Your mind or your life”. The state cannot intrude beyond controlling the initiation of physical force and into the moral territory of religion, speech, family, and persons without destroying its own basis and civilization; and yet this is exactly what it is doing.

Don’t Mess with the Swiss

By Eric Margolis (www.lewrockwell.com), 22th June, 2019

Morgarten, Switzerland – Here, in 1315, a force of Swiss mountaineers ambushed an invading force of Austrian feudal knights who had come to reassert Hapsburg feudal rule over the rebellious Swiss.

The burly Swiss farmers and woodsmen from the forest cantons Unterwalden, Uri and Schwytz fell upon the close-packed Austrian knights and men-at-arms, using long pikes or deadly pole axes known as halbards, and massacred them without quarter.

Two years later, a second Austrian expeditionary force was caught by the Swiss peasant infantry near Lucerne at Sempach and crushed. These fierce battles were the first time in modern history that foot soldiers had withstood heavily armored mounted knights.  These epochal encounters marked the beginning of the end of European feudalism and the rise of infantry armies.  They also freed Switzerland’s forest cantons of Austrian rule, creating Europe’s first independent democratic state, the Swiss Confederation.

The always astute Machiavelli said of the Swiss warriors: ‘Most heavily armed, most free.’ Indeed, most free to this day.

Those who think of Switzerland as a quaint land of cuckoo clocks and chocolate are sorely mistaken.  To paraphrase Voltaire’s bon mot about Prussia, Switzerland is a giant fortress, disguised as a country.

I attended school and university in Switzerland.  Over the decades, I kept hearing about mountains opening up to disgorge warplanes, or cliffs studded with hidden artillery.  But even my Swiss friends didn’t know much about these seemingly fantastic sightings.

Fifteen years ago, I was the guest of the Swiss Fortress Guard Corps, a top-secret military outfit that operates Switzerland’s mountain fortresses.  I was one of the first non-Swiss to be shown the mountain forts that guard the heart of the nation’s ‘Alpine Redoubt.’  What I was shown astounded me – and continues to do so.

In the late 1930’s, as one European nation after another bowed down to Hitler’s demands, the Swiss military and its popular rifle clubs, banded together and decided their nation would not bend the knee as the Czechs, Dutch, Norwegians, Belgians, and then the French had done.

A feverish program of fortress construction was begun across the Alps.  Some 900,000 troops were mobilized. Orders went out from Gen. Henri Guisan: ‘leave your families behind in the lowlands.  Man our mountain forts.  We have no place or food for civilians in them. Fight to your last cartridge; then use your bayonets. No surrender!’

Every road and bridge was mined; all mountain passes were rigged with explosives. Particularly so the rail lines and tunnels that linked Germany to its erstwhile ally, Italy.

Hitler was furious.  He denounced the Swiss as ‘insolent herdsmen.’  Mussolini, Hitler’s ally, rightfully feared tangling with the tough Swiss mountaineers who had ravaged Italy during the Renaissance.  The Pope’s Swiss Guards are a momento of the era of ‘Furia Helvetica.’

Working 24/7, Swiss engineers created a warren of tunnels and gun positions guarding the main entry points into Switzerland at St. Maurice, Gothard, Thun and Sargans.  These forts were equipped with 75, 105 and 150mm cannons, machine guns and mortars emplaced in mountain sides and camouflaged so they are almost invisible.

Inside the forts are barracks, engine rooms, headquarters, clinics, observation posts and magazines filled with shells.  The hidden forts interlock their fire and support one another.  Unlike the less heavily gunned Maginot Line, each fort was protected by a special infantry unit on the outside, linked by telephone to the underground garrison.

In addition, Switzerland built bomb shelters for most of its people.

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The Swiss only began decommissioning their forts in the 1990’s – after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Switzerland was a prime target of the Soviet Red Army.  Advancing from Czechoslovakia, the Soviets planned to race across lightly defended Austria into eastern Switzerland.

Then, into the Swiss lowlands on a Basel-Neuchatel-Lausanne axis to Geneva.  From there, the Group of Soviet Forces powerful armored divisions would erupt into France’s Rhone Valley and drive north for the Channel ports, taking US and NATO forces in the rear and cutting their supply lines.  It would have been a replay of Germany’s brilliant Ardennes offensive in 1940.

But Swiss forts and solid Swiss citizen troops stood in the way.  The sons of the heroes of Sempach and Morgarten were on guard.

When Swiss mountaineers vote, they always carry rifles and swords as a symbol of how their freedom was attained and preserved.

The Real Reason Uncle Sam Wants to Imprison Julian Assange

By Mark Nestmann (nestmann.com), June 19th, 2019

On June 16, 1918, a sickly and frail man climbed the steps to the bandstand at the Stark County Workhouse in Canton, Ohio to make a speech. For more than two hours, he railed against America’s recent entry into World War I. “Do not worry over the charge of treason to your masters,” he said. “Be true to yourself and you cannot be a traitor to any good cause on earth.”

Two weeks later, the man was seized by US marshals and charged with ten counts of violating the Espionage and Sedition Act for his statements in his speech in Canton. A jury found him guilty on three of the ten counts, and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The mainstream media rejoiced over the sentence. The reaction of The Washington Post was typical. “His activities in opposition to the war preparation were dangerous … His conviction … serves notice to all that disloyalty and sedition, even though masquerading under the guise of free speech, will not be tolerated.”

Eugene Debs, the defendant in this case, was a five-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America. And while I hardly agree with his socialist views, he had every right to speak his mind on that long-ago summer day. After all, the First Amendment to the Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.

Fast-forward 101 years to 2019. In May, US prosecutors unsealed another indictment detailing 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. (The Sedition Act was repealed in 1920.) Once again, the defendant wasn’t a spy or someone who sold military secrets for a profit to a country at war with the US. It was a journalist: Julian Assange.

Like Eugene Debs, Assange has long been a thorn in the side of the rich and powerful. When Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006, he declared its primary objective would be to publish information the powerful would prefer to keep secret.

And Assange made good on his promise. In 2007, WikiLeaks released a secret manual written for prison guards at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At the time, hundreds of suspected terrorists had been detained there without being accused of any crime. The manual instructed guards to “exploit the disorientation and disorganization felt by a newly arrived detainee.” For instance, guards were instructed to forbid visits by the Red Cross. The manual also revealed the rules for permissible types of torture to be used against detainees.

Three years later, in 2010, WikiLeaks published top-secret materials supplied by Army intelligence analyst Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning. Among them was a video taken from a US helicopter gunship in which at least 12 Iraqi civilians were deliberately slaughtered. The leaked files also revealed that 66,000 civilians had been killed by US forces in Iraq and that thousands of prisoners had been tortured by Iraqi forces.

American politicians and pundits were quick to condemn Assange and WikiLeaks. Former Republican Congressman Paul Ryan called Assange “a sycophant for Russia.” Former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook, “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.” Tom Flanagan, a former aide to the Canadian prime minister, even called for Assange’s assassination.

Assange had powerful enemies; it was inevitable that the powers-that-be would eventually strike back against him. And only a few months after WikiLeaks published the sensational revelations about US military atrocities, Sweden announced a criminal investigation against Assange for sexual assault. Assange, then in London, turned himself in to British authorities and was released on bail pending an extradition hearing.

After a series of appeals, the British Supreme Court ruled in May 2012 that Assange could be extradited to Sweden. But Assange believed the Swedish investigation was merely a pretext to extradite him to the US. To avoid extradition, Assange went to the Ecuadoran embassy and asked for political asylum.

His asylum request was granted, and for nearly seven years, Assange lived in the embassy. But in April 2019, following the approval of a $4.2 billion loan package to Ecuador by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the embassy kicked him out. (Not coincidentally, the US is the largest shareholder in the IMF.) Assange was promptly arrested by British police for violating the terms of his bail and was sentenced to a 12-month jail term.

Once Assange was in British custody, Uncle Sam’s gloves came off. Federal prosecutors first charged Assange with helping Manning break into a military computer system, a crime punishable by five years imprisonment. Then in May, they indicted him on 17 espionage charges. Simultaneously, the US issued an extradition request for Assange under the US-UK extradition treaty.

All told, Assange faces 175 years in an American prison. Prosecutors are effectively accusing Assange as acting as a spy for foreign power by releasing embarrassing facts about US actions in Cuba, Afghanistan, and Iraq. But while the indictment alleges that Assange’s actions “risked serious harm to US national security,” a report from the Australian Defence Taskforce concluded that the disclosures “did not cause any real harm to US interests.”

In other words, the indictment has nothing to do with holding Assange accountable for his alleged crimes. Its real purpose is to show anyone who might be inclined to publish embarrassing facts about Uncle Sam what could happen if they do.

Uncle Sam has never indicted a journalist under the Espionage Act, although some journalists claim that Assange isn’t a real journalist. For instance, in the April 13 Sydney Morning Herald, Australian journalist Peter Greste wrote an article entitled “Assange is no journalist and his arrest isn’t about press freedom.”

And while it’s true that Assange doesn’t write articles, the methods he used to acquire information and disseminate it on WikiLeaks are functionally identical to the techniques a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald might employ. Indeed, in 2011, Assange won the Walkley Award for “Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.” The Walkley Award is the Australian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. The fact that it was awarded to Assange, an Australian citizen, should dispel any doubts whatsoever about his journalistic credentials.

A UK judge has now approved the US extradition request for Assange to be transferred to the US to be tried for computer hacking and espionage. While Assange will certainly appeal that decision all the way to the British Supreme Court, it seems likely that he will eventually be remanded into US custody.

Julian Assange is not an especially likable man. But every American should thank him for revealing the truth about the brutal methods Uncle Sam uses to fight its secret wars. He deserves commendation – not a lifetime prison sentence.