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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: News In Traffic

This week was chaos for me. Recorded the episode in Saturday instead of Friday evening. However, being stuck in hours of traffic coming back a hike put my schedule at risk. So this episode was recorded on my phone, while sitting in traffic on the highway for 45 minutes.

I discuss how little I care about Trump’s speech, the small chance of nuclear war with North Korea, and Referendum Week with Catalonia and The Kurds. I hit on other small stories from this week, like Weiner going to prison.

Episode link here.

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 9/17/2017

Good morning!

This week The Donald went to the UN. Among other topics, he threatened to destruction of North Korea. I’ll be talking about this along with a number of other stories to be aware of.

I’ve been reading a bunch about the Kurds, with the referendum on statehood coming up. Not the only one by the way, I see you Catalonia.

Also this week, the lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces Stanislav Petrov died. He’s known as “The Man Who Saved the World” because of his actions back in September of 1983. Petrov was in control of Soviet nuclear weapons when the computer alarmed him that the United States had shot off some missiles. It was a false alarm, and his actions halted global destruction.

This week’s topics include:

Topic suggestions always welcomed.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 8/20/2017

Good morning!

Tomorrow I will be recording and posting this weeks episode of The Voluntary Exchange Podcast. This week has been light in geopolitical stories. This episode will focus on much of the same stories from last week. Of course, the bulk of the episode will be my breakdown of Trump’s speech on Afghanistan from Monday. I posted my initial thoughts on the speech earlier this week, so I’ll hit on these points again.

This week’s topics include:

I will still be offering to take listener requests for topics to discuss on future episodes. Anything can be requested, but I do like to focus more on war and locking people in cages than transgender bathrooms. Submit your suggestions in the comment section!

I’d also like to give a shout out to Scott Horton. He has his first book out on Amazon, “Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan”. If you don’t know Scott Horton, he is the editor of Antiwar.com, one of the founders of The Libertarian Institute, foreign policy Jedi, anarcho-capitalist, skateboard, and all around badass.

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Trump Gives in on Afghanistan, Opens The War Up to No End

President Trump delivered a speech on Monday night, declaring the United States’ intention to not only continue the Afghanistan War, but to get rid of any timetables for exit.

The Afghanistan war is already the longest in American history, and now the president is changing entire exit strategy as he states in his speech, leaving the country has no date, but victory conditions:

As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically in the following ways: A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I’ve said it many times, how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options.

We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.

This small quote from the speech speaks volumes. Trump is saying that along with not providing troop numbers or strategy to “America’s enemies”, Americans themselves will not receive any information on the plan for the war their children will fight. Said differently, “trust us”. I believe that he has no plan or strategy for victory, as there is no path to victory or even a definition for it.

Going back to the beginning of the speech, Trump talks about the American Republic and “coming together” as a country, as if he is still compensating for his comments after Charlottesville. He used the troops as an example of a team that comes together regardless of race and creed to defeat a common enemy blah blah blah:

American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield – for our nation and for our freedom. Through their lives, and though their lives were cut short, in their deeds they achieved total immortality. By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal and to remain one nation under God. The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission and one shared sense of purpose.

They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed and color to serve together and sacrifice together in absolutely perfect cohesion. That is because all service members are brothers and sisters. They are all part of the same family. It’s called the American family. They take the same oath, fight for the same flag and live according to the same law.

They are bound together by common purpose, mutual trust and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other. The soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon on a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. When one part of America hurts, we all hurt.

From there he does admit that the country is “weary of war” and that the sacrifice of blood has been great. He mentions that the war is the longest in the country’s history (17 years), and that the past strategy of “nation-building” was a fool’s errand. These comments were nice to see from a sitting president. If there is any silver-lining to be found here, it’s that maybe Trump is being more influenced by his nationalist generals than Neocon think-tanks. Of course, then he begins backpedaling:

My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. In other words, when you are president of the United States. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle. After many meetings over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David with my cabinet and generals to complete our strategy.

Any talk that Donald Trump “studied” anything “in great detail” is a complete joke. It was clear to anyone watching that the ouster of Steve Bannon from the White House (while it seemed that him and the president were still on the same side) showed that Trump was now completely surrounded and controlled by Washington insiders and the military. The meeting at Camp David was a signal to any non-interventionist watching that any idea of Trump reining in the empire had been lost. This speech is evidence of that.

Trump then states he arrived “three fundamental conclusion about America’s core interests in Afghanistan”.

Here Trump begins to sound like John McCain in the 2008 debates with his faux support for the troops that say “let us win” when he talks to them. Of course this is Trump just going to bat for his generals and Pentagon Inc. If only Obama had “given them the tools” to win the war, we would have rapped this up a long time ago.

Trump continues his mimicking, most likely getting this next conclusion from watching John Bolton on FOX News. He points to Obama’s exit of Iraq as “creating a vacuum” for Al Qeada, showing that he lacks any idea of nuance or grasp on the idea of “blowback”. Like the John Boltons of the world, if we only did more, killed more, “delivered Democracy” harder, Iraq would have gotten past the deep sectarian division the US invasion of 2003 helped escalate to a whole new horrific level.

The third strategy pillar opens up the war to the entire region. The president points to the Pakistan and its harboring of terrorists. He plays up the idea that we must double our efforts in “fighting terrorism” and focus our energy on this goal. To me, this just seems like shifting the idea of “nation building” to just an open-ended, mercenary-type war on anything the US (and its influential allies) deem “terrorism”. I don’t mean we will be using Blackwater to carry these missions out, but that the United States military is stripping off any cloak of “defense” and just offering its services to the highest bidder. He cites his speech in Saudi Arabia an example of this new found determination to “fight the terrorists”.

The speech continues from there and get even more vague. Trump talks about how the United States is not in the business of “nation building” and that “it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace.” At the same time, the United States will set the conditions for its exit. Really giving the Afghans no say in the direction of their nation.

He discusses the relationship between Pakistan and India, and how their nuclear capabilities makes the situation complex. He seems to be leaning the United States more towards the side of India, which is nothing new for US policy:

Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

The speech then takes a most disgusting turn, when Trump again brings up the idea of giving the military the “tools it needs” and how he “already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our war fighters that prevented the secretary of defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy.” He cites the liberation of Mosul, which is reprehensible considering the lose of civilian life by airstrikes and the tactics used by the Iraq Government Army.

Trump concludes by warning the Afghan government that our support is “not a blank check”. That in his warped mind, occupation of the country should not affect the corrupt government of Afghanistan from providing “real reforms” that the “American people expect”. What an ass. His view of America as still the “beacon on the hill” shines through here. Only the head of sick nationalists is a country that we have occupied for almost two decades supposed to say “thank you” and change itself to fit our view of it. Trump’s lack of knowledge gives him the idea that Afghanistan is the same type of “ally” as Europe or Saudi Arabia. You can feel the generals channeling through Trump’s shallow words.

Trump has already received backlash from his base because of this speech. Middle America is tired of sending their kids (most of which weren’t alive when the conflict began) to die to fight a war without end or with no real American interests.

I only hope that the reaction to this policy pushes the conversation away from the media hyped Civil War and “Russia Did It” narrative. But I fear that this is exactly what the Deep State and establishment wanted Trump to do. They have brought him to heel, and while they may not outwardly support him and his goofy antics, as long as the tows the company line, the attacks will subside.

The members of conservative side of America who go full in on hating this policy will come out on top. Rand Paul has already penned his disagreement, even furthering his clout among the Republican base.

Separately, if you are looking for a book to read on the history of the Afghan War, and why it is such sinkhole or “fool’s errand”, I will again point you to the new book by Antiwar.com/Libertarian Institute’s Scott HortonFool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan.

Full Speech Transcript
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Episode: The Empire Marches On

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As America fell into a state of hysteria the last week over the events in Charlottesville, the US imperial machine marched on. I get back to my roots in this episode. I speak briefly about the ouster of Steve Bannon and how that effects policy on Afghanistan. I hit on the literal fist fight at the top of world between India & China, Korean deescalation, the Saudi Crown Prince and I even give some reading recommendations.

NATO expansion continues in Europe, as the US Navy has decided to build bases in Ukraine and Moldova, showing America’s arrogance.

This week’s topics include:

Today’s episode.

The full archive of the show can be found here.

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: The United States of Hysteria

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In this episode I let my emotions get the best of me. The reaction to Google firing, Trump being blamed for North Korea and my divorce with Facebook are the topics of the week. The anti-intellectual wave on all sides of the political spectrum has created an environment where anyone that wants to have more than a surface discussion about a topic would rather walk away from such opportunities. I have come to that point. In this episode I lay out my frustration with the inability to “get through” to people, and my new tactics moving forward.

Find the episode here and on ITunes. The full podcast page can be found here.

Episode: Sanctions, What Are They Good For?

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In this episode, I discuss sanctions and how they are sold to the general public. The recent sanctions placed on Russia (Trump’s trade war with China) are just the latest imperialist move from the United States Government….allies & common man be damned. I also touch on the US public’s rejection of the “Anti-Boycott Israel Act” and the continued selective outrage from the left in terms of the Trump presidency.

CHECK OUT THE PODCAST HERE!
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Sources:

Russian PM: “The U.S. Just Declared Full-Scale Trade War On Russia”
Collateral Damage
69% Oppose AIPAC’s ‘Israel Anti-Boycott Act’
Trump Says U.S. ‘Losing’ Afghan War in Tense Meeting With Generals
Trump To Launch Trade War With China On Friday, Beijing Vows Retaliation
Trump: “Thank Congress That US-Russia Relations Are At All-Time And Dangerous Lows”
FOIA Dump Reveals Collusion Between Lynch, FBI And Media To Bury Bill Clinton Meeting
How Russia Could Strike at the US in 5 Simple Maps

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To My Democratic Friends: Billy and the Boys are Coming for You & Your Party…Again.

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For my friends who lean Democrat or vote Democrat and are looking forward towards 2020, this article by Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept should be on your radar.

The party establishment has been working with (and will continue to) Neoconservatives from the Bush-era to strengthen the party. Yes, the people who were regulars on FOX News during the lead up to the Iraq war are switching parties…again.

Neoconservatives were originally Trotsky-loving leftists who left the Democrat party after it turned anti-war in the 1960s. They joined the Republican party (while definitely keeping influence in the Democratic Party) and helped steer it into the interventionist monster it has became. Because of their history with being Trotsky-types, they hate Russia. They also, some of them, have duel-citizenship between the United States and Israel. Even going as far as being investigated on charges of espionage for their role in influencing policy on behalf of the State of Israel. Richard Perle would be a good name to Google.

These monsters are the people who brought you the Iraq War, backed the destruction of Libya, are the major lobby for aggression towards Iran, and most recently, the backing of “moderate rebels” in Syria. This is where they turned their attention to the Democrats. During the 2016 election, their candidate of choice was Clinton (the major reason why I could never support such a person), as her foreign policy matches their exactly.

The weasel pictured on the right is Bill Kristol, son of Irving Kristol, one of the founders of the movement. I call him Billy. Since I don’t respect him. Billy is a worm. He has no real political views, other than advancing the idea of empire in Washington, and using men & women in our armed forces as fodder for his plans. He would like America to dominate the world, overthrow any government that dares stand up to us, and surround and destabilize Russia.

See the theme? The Russian theme? Magically once Trump began running in the Republican Party, and could get voters in South Carolina to denounce the Iraq War, he knew it was time to go. When Trump had the audacity to suggest maybe war with Russia could be a terrible idea, and peace might be a better option, that was the last straw. So off he went to fund Hillary and others in the Democrat Party. Who were more than willing to accept his power and money. They hated Trump as much as the establishment in the Republican Party. And all power in Washington hates the Russians, along with the “Deep State”, which has been trying to bring back the Cold War ever since it ended. Why this view of Russia? Legacy and decades of Neoconservative influence. A reading of history will show that their way of thinking has infected the policy in D.C., from the Congress to the think-tanks to the media.

This “Trump is a Russian stooge” is clear as day to anyone who’s studied this neoconservative movement. No friendly policy towards Russia can be allowed. It must always be our enemy. “We have always been at war with Eurasia” as Orwell put it. Trump is messing with the regime change plan from 1996 or 2001. He messes with the movement to expand NATO up to Russia’s borders, and crush it. This is Trump’s threat to these people. They don’t care about his mouth or his goofy tweets. If Bernie Sanders was elected and called for an end to the war in Syria, he would be destroyed in his own way. That’s why the nomination was stolen from him, and why no real coverage was given to it.

This might sound like a conspiracy theory, but that’s just because I’m too lazy right now to dig up the decades of articles, policy papers, bills, interviews and books put out and supported by these people to make my point more clearly. I hope with the magic of smartphones, my fellow Americans can do some research on their own.

So for all my true Progressive friends, who want a radical change to their party in 2020, get ready for a rude awakening if Billy and the Boys are joining your party. They have no problem giving you your healthcare and social justice at home (since they were never conservatives in the first place), but don’t you dare touch their war machine aboard. If this is a deal you have no issue making, then just admit you’re becoming the party of endless war and corporate interests, with the Republican party of your childhood (FOX NEWS and guns) becoming the party of the working class and less robust imperialism.

photo: David Royal/Monterey County Herald/AP

Funding Al Qaeda: The American Way.

Trump actually ended the CIA program to fund Al Qaeda in Syria in an attempt to overthrow a government. Too bad he “did it for Moscow”.

We finally get a war slowed, and the Washington Post, CNN and their unnamed US officials tell us it’s a bad thing.

I wonder if the regime change policy put into place back in 2001 has anything to do with the Russia narrative.

Episode: A Game of Thrones

In this episode I update you on the situation between Turkey and it’s NATO allies, especially Germany. I cover the protests at the Temple Mount in Israel, and point out that India and China both have nukes and don’t like each other very much.

Episode Link

Photo credit

Sources

Mahmoud Abbas freezes contact with Israel over al-Aqsa
Six Killed, Hundreds Wounded as Violence Rages Across West Bank
US Urges All Nationals In North Korea To “Depart Immediately”, Bans Tourists From Visiting
Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad
Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana
Germany overhauls Turkey policy
Germany continues war of words with Turkey, reviews arms sales
Turkey has over 680 German firms on terrorism black list: security source
Billions Of Lives At Stake As China Threatens India With War After “Blatant Sovereignty Infringement”