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#IStandWithAhmed Tells Us Something about Public School – Article by B.K. Marcus

#IStandWithAhmed Tells Us Something about Public School – Article by B.K. Marcus

The New Renaissance Hat
B.K. Marcus
September 17, 2015
There’s zero tolerance for drawing outside the lines.

“None of the teachers know what I can do,” said Ahmed Mohamed of Irving, Texas.

Does that sound ominous — or does it sound like any gifted 14-year-old reflecting on his public school environment?

Mohamed is a tinkerer. He makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart. He has a box of circuit boards at the foot of his bed. In middle school, he belonged to the robotics club, but it’s a new school year, and Ahmed hasn’t yet found a similar niche in high school.

So shortly before bedtime last Sunday, September 13, Ahmed wired a circuit board to a power supply and a digital display, and strapped the result inside a pencil case, hoping to show his engineering teacher what he could do.

Monday morning, his teacher admired Ahmed’s homemade clock. It was hardly his most sophisticated project, but more complex no doubt than anything Ahmed’s peers were doing on their own.

Ahmed’s engineering teacher admired the boy’s handiwork but added, “I would advise you not to show any other teachers.”

So Ahmed followed the advice and kept the clock in his bag — until another teacher complained that it was beeping during a later lesson, and Ahmed made the mistake of showing her his project after class. She told him it looked like a bomb and refused to return it.

A police officer pulled Ahmed out of his sixth-period class and, after questioning him in a schoolroom full of other cops, took him away in handcuffs.

“We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” said police spokesman James McLellan. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.”

Why should this kid have to explain a clock?

“It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car,” according to McLellan. “The concern was, what was this thing built for?”

Because Ahmed is Muslim, and because Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne made national news over the summer making what have been generally interpreted as anti-Islamic statements, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has taken note. “This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving’s government entities are operating in the current climate,” said Alia Salem of the council’s North Texas chapter.

McLellan insists that “the reaction would have been the same regardless” of the student’s skin color, but the council is skeptical. Had a blonde Baptist boy brought a homemade clock to school, we would never have heard anything about it.

But is Ahmed’s treatment only a story about anti-Islamic hysteria?

“The concern was,” according to the police, “what was this thing built for?”

It was built to tell the time. It was built to impress an engineering teacher. It was built to help a talented boy find a place at his new school where he could fit in.

But it wasn’t assigned. It wasn’t sanctioned. Like Ahmed himself, the jerry-rigged timepiece doesn’t fit the expectations of the local powers that be.

The engineering teacher understood — and he warned Ahmed that no one else would. That tells us everything we need to know about the people responsible for Ahmed’s education.

B.K. Marcus is managing editor of the Freeman. His website is

This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which requires that credit be given to the author.

Once-Peaceful Canada Turns Militaristic; Blowback Follows – Article by Ron Paul

Once-Peaceful Canada Turns Militaristic; Blowback Follows – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
October 30, 2014
In 1968 the government of Canada decided to openly admit Americans seeking to avoid being drafted into the US war on Vietnam. Before, would-be immigrants were technically required to prove that they had been discharged from US military service. This move made it easier for Americans to escape President Johnson’s war machine by heading north.

Although a founding member of NATO, Canada did not join the United States in its war against Vietnam. The Canadian government did not see a conflict 7,000 miles away as vital to Canada’s national interest so Canada pursued its own foreign policy course, independent of the United States.

How the world has changed. Canada’s wise caution about military adventurism even at the height of the Cold War has given way to a Canada of the 21st century literally joined at Washington’s hip and eager to participate in any bombing mission initiated by the D.C. interventionists.

Considering Canada’s peaceful past, the interventionist Canada that has emerged at the end of the Cold War is a genuine disappointment. Who would doubt that today’s Canada would, should a draft be re-instated in the US, send each and every American resister back home to face prison and worse?

As Glenn Greenwald pointed out this past week:

Canada has spent the last 13 years proclaiming itself a nation at war. It actively participated in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and was an enthusiastic partner in some of the most extremist War on Terror abuses perpetrated by the U.S.

Canada has also enthusiastically joined President Obama’s latest war on Iraq and Syria, pledging to send fighter jets to participate in the bombing of ISIS (and likely many civilians in the process).

But Canada’s wars abroad came back home to Canada last week.

Though horrific, it should not be a complete surprise that Canada found itself hit by blowback last week, as two attacks on Canadian soil left two Canadian military members dead.

Greenwald again points out what few dare to say about the attacks:

Regardless of one’s views on the justifiability of Canada’s lengthy military actions, it’s not the slightest bit surprising or difficult to understand why people who identify with those on the other end of Canadian bombs and bullets would decide to attack the military responsible for that violence.

That is the danger of intervention in other people’s wars thousands of miles away. Those at the other end of foreign bombs – and their surviving family members or anyone who sympathizes with them – have great incentive to seek revenge. This feeling should not be that difficult to understand.

Seeking to understand the motivation of a criminal does not mean that the crime is justified, however. We can still condemn and be appalled by the attacks while realizing that we need to understand the causation and motivation. This is common sense in other criminal matters, but it seems to not apply to attacks such as we saw in Canada last week. Few dare to point out the obvious: Canada’s aggressive foreign policy is creating enemies abroad that are making the country more vulnerable to attack rather than safer.

Predictably, the Canadian government is using the attacks to restrict civil liberties and expand the surveillance state. Like the US PATRIOT Act, Canadian legislation that had been previously proposed to give the government more authority to spy on and aggressively interrogate its citizens has been given a shot in the arm by last week’s attacks.

Unfortunately Canada has unlearned the lesson of 1968: staying out of other people’s wars makes a country more safe; following the endless war policy of its southern neighbor opens Canada up to the ugly side of blowback.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

War in the Middle East is Inherently Collectivist – Article by G. Stolyarov II

War in the Middle East is Inherently Collectivist – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
September 8, 2013

Especially in light of the looming threat of a wasteful, counterproductive US military intervention in Syria, it is necessary to offer a resounding refutation to the recommendations of those who consider themselves individualists to engage in any sort of mass military action – commonly known as war, declared or not – against large numbers of people in the Middle East. Some such persons, especially those affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), advocate a foreign policy more aggressive and, in its consequences, far more destructive than even the actual interventionist measures undertaken by the United States federal government during the Bush and Obama administrations. In a recent speech at the 2013 Steamboat Institute Freedom Conference, Yaron Brook, ARI’s executive director, put forth his recommendation for solving the persistent threat of politicized Islamist regimes and the terrorism that stems therefrom: completely destroy either Iran or Saudi Arabia and threaten the surviving country into submission. Brook also reaffirmed his consideration of General William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the first practitioners of modern “total war” and an instigator of untold damage to the lives and property of innocent civilians during the American Civil War, as his personal hero.  As an advocate of reason, a person of conscience, and a staunch individualist, I strongly, emphatically object to this course of action. As foreign policy goes, I cannot think of one less productive, other than perhaps indiscriminately launching nuclear weapons everywhere.

In March 2012 I made a video, “Refuting Ayn Rand on War”, where I specifically described my objections to Rand’s and Brook’s advocacy of warfare. I refer there to some of Brook’s previously stated views, including his admiration of William T. Sherman, which he again articulated during his Steamboat Institute speech. While most of Brook’s speech is sympathetic in its emphasis on individual freedom and a rolling-back of the economic burdens imposed by the federal government domestically, his foreign policy would clearly undermine this path. Indeed, if one wishes to reduce the scope of the federal government and its intrusiveness into individuals’ lives, deep cuts on both the domestic and foreign fronts are needed. US government debt is already spiraling out of control, and it would not be practically feasible to balance the budget (avoiding increased taxation, inflation, or borrowing) without cutting military spending and eliminating numerous wasteful and deleterious foreign occupations. As long as self-proclaimed individualists, libertarians, and fiscal conservatives resist an enormous reduction in US military budgets and overseas intervention, at least one, and probably all, of the three consequences of continued budget deficits will inevitably occur.

But there is a deeper, moral case to be made against war in general. Some might allege that this time it is different. But when was it ever not different? The regime of the Soviet Union posed a far greater danger to liberty in the 20th century than rag-tag groups of fundamentalist Islamist terrorists and the regimes backing them ever could. Yet war between the United States and the Soviet Union was fortunately averted, aside from some admittedly destructive proxy wars, and billions of innocent people can live in relative peace and comfort today due to the avoidance of nuclear Armageddon through a more restrained foreign policy than the “hawks” of the Cold War era advocated.  I do not oppose targeted strikes that specifically eliminate violent terrorists and only such individuals. A good example of this was the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. However, a state of war is completely unnecessary to carry out such limited actions.

War attacks not just an armed band of terrorists, not just a regime, but an entire country and its people. This is especially true since the shift in the 19th century away from limited battlefield engagements involving professional armed servants (and mercenaries) of powerful interests competing for natural resources and prestige, and toward “total war” fueled by nationalistic and ideological animosities – where all of a country’s population is considered “the enemy” or at least an asset to “the enemy”. Such warfare is inherently collectivistic in its premise. It fails to recognize that individuals ruled by hostile regimes or terrorized by armed criminals still have minds of their own, that they may disagree with and indeed be oppressed by those regimes and criminals. Targeted assassinations of dictators and terrorist leaders are one matter, but indiscriminate “collateral damage” against peaceful civilians is morally unacceptable for an individualist. Anyone claiming to follow the philosophy of Ayn Rand, including Ayn Rand herself, should know (or, in Rand’s case, should have known) better.

The current case of violent crime fueled by fundamentalist Islamist ideology is no exception. The world has over a billion Muslims, who are overwhelmingly peaceful (like most adherents of all major religious and ideological systems), even if one legitimately considers them mistaken in their theological beliefs. Many prominent Muslims have condemned the attacks of September 11, 2001, and other attacks on peaceful civilians in the West. Some Muslims are secular in their political outlook and, indeed, have made efforts to maintain secular governments in the face of threats by Islamist political parties to implement sharia law and religiously motivated restrictions on personal freedom. The revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, despite their sub-optimal outcomes and the eventual emergence of dominant factions advocating the politicization of religion, were initially driven by freedom-respecting, secular, yet largely Muslim individuals. These people set the spark for the overthrow of the long-standing authoritarian tyrannies of Mubarak, Ben Ali, and Gaddafi. They now contend against political Islam in their troubled countries, but it is essential for any individualist to respect them and their plight, and for any government that even pretends to respect freedom to leave them alive to have any positive influence of which they are capable. Often, the infighting within the turmoil-ridden Middle East results in tragedy on all sides; surely, this ought to be the glaring lesson of the current Syrian situation. However, American bombs, missiles, and drones are surely not the answer. These weapons kill indiscriminately. Even drone attacks allegedly “targeted” toward terror suspects (still often without due process or convincing evidence of their criminal intent) end up killing far more innocent bystanders, including children, than actual would-be terrorists. Are the relatives, friends, and acquaintances of the victims going to acknowledge the “moral legitimacy” of their deaths by the brutal calculus of Yaron Brook and those who think like him? Or, more realistically, are they going to experience a justified outrage and forever despise the government – and, if they are themselves collectivists in mindset – the entire country and people whom they blame for these terrible killings?

There is no quick, easy solution to the turmoil in the Middle East, nor to the violent threats that such turmoil sometimes poses to the lives of people in the Western world. However, there are some clear changes of direction that can gradually curtail the major risks.  First, it is essential for governments in the Western world to refrain from actions that curtail the liberties of their own citizens, allegedly to respond to this threat. In fact, the terrorists and political Islamist regimes have won a greater victory than they could ever have achieved by force of arms, as a result of the pervasive civil-liberties violations instigated by Western governments since September 11, 2001. The omnipresent surveillance, the bodily violations at airports, the increasing militarization of the police force surely have more in common with a totalitarian regime than with the freedom that the fundamentalist terrorists allegedly hate. The more aggressive American military interventions become, the more animosity and blowback they generate, the more inclined Western governments will be to crack down on their own citizens’ freedoms further. Thus, militarism abroad directly causes unfreedom at home – as it has during every major war in American History, from Lincoln’s imprisonment of dissident newspaper editors during the Civil War, to Woodrow Wilson’s World War I propaganda machine and imprisonment of opponents of the military draft, to Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. The present period of the never-ending “War on Terror” is no exception. There is no way for a government to respect individualism and the rights of its own citizens while it turns civilians abroad into fodder for bombs and drone strikes.

Second, it is essential to treat “acts of terror” no differently from “ordinary” crimes – attacks on human lives and property. The criminal-justice system has various ways of dealing with gangsters, murderers, street muggers, arsonists, and common vandals. Domestically, the same standards should apply toward the same acts, no matter whether or not they were motivated by Islamist ideology. A person who bombs a building or a public event is a criminal murderer and should be dealt with accordingly. It is time to dismantle the exceptional category of “terrorist acts” as distinct from ordinary crime. That category is the linchpin by which all of our Constitutional freedoms have been rendered moot. As regards armed military-style groups operating abroad, it is acceptable to use truly targeted strikes limited to neutralizing members of those groups (and not “signature strikes” that attack an entire area, irrespective of the known presence of militants). But this is not war against an entire people or even a government; it is more akin to a targeted action. As former Representative Ron Paul has recommended since the September 11 attacks, issuing Letters of Marque and Reprisal specifically against such militants is a desirable, Constitutionally authorized remedy quite distinct from war.

Finally, to end the threat of militant attacks on Westerners, it is essential for the Middle East itself to become transformed over time, both economically and culturally, into a place where individual rights and intellectual progress are fundamentally respected and appreciated. Bombs could never effectuate such transformation; they only breed hatred and backlash. Instead, individuals and companies in the West should entice the Middle East to join them on a more enlightened trajectory. Commerce and cultural diffusion can bring economic opportunity and prosperity to millions who are currently in dire poverty. Ayn Rand recognized and appreciated the power of free-market capitalism to bring not just peace and prosperity, but moral elevation, to vast numbers of people. This should be the path embraced by decision-makers in the West, echoing the sage advice of Thomas Jefferson: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none”. Over the coming decades, a steady application of this approach will diminish the militant threat, though not overnight. Still, it is a far preferable alternative to the recommendations of those whose policy of mass destruction would only fuel the fires of militant attacks and reduce Western governments, militaries, and their supporters to the same level of inhuman barbarism against which they are allegedly defending us.  True individualism – indeed, true humanism – would demand no less than a complete rejection of the killing of innocent civilians as a solution to any problem.

Obama’s Syria Policy Looks a Lot Like Bush’s Iraq Policy – Article by Ron Paul

Obama’s Syria Policy Looks a Lot Like Bush’s Iraq Policy – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
June 19, 2013

President Obama announced late last week that the US intelligence community had just determined that the Syrian government had used poison gas on a small scale, killing some 100 people in a civil conflict that has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives. Because of this use of gas, the president claimed, Syria had crossed his “red line” and the US must begin to arm the rebels fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.

Setting aside the question of why 100 killed by gas is somehow more important than 99,900 killed by other means, the fact is his above explanation is full of holes. The Washington Post reported this week that the decision to overtly arm the Syrian rebels was made “weeks ago” – in other words, it was made at a time when the intelligence community did not believe “with high confidence” that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons.

Further, this plan to transfer weapons to the Syrian rebels had become policy much earlier than that, as the Washington Post reported that the CIA had expanded over the past year its secret bases in Jordan to prepare for the transfer of weapons to the rebels in Syria.

The process was identical to the massive deception campaign that led us into the Iraq war. Remember the famous quote from the leaked “Downing Street Memo,” where representatives of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s administration discussed Washington’s push for war on Iraq?

Here the head of British intelligence was reporting back to his government after a trip to Washington in the summer of 2002:

“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

That is exactly what the Obama Administration is doing with Syria: fixing the intelligence and facts around the already determined policy. And Congress just goes along, just as they did the last time.

We found out shortly after the Iraq war started that the facts and intelligence being fixed around the policy were nothing but lies put forth by the neo-con warmongers and the paid informants, like the infamous and admitted liar known as “Curveball.” But we seem to have learned nothing from being fooled before.

So Obama now plans to send even more weapons to the Syrian rebels even though his administration is aware that the main rebel factions have pledged their loyalty to al-Qaeda. Does anyone else see the irony? After 12 years of the “war on terror” and the struggle against al-Qaeda, the US decided to provide weapons to the allies of al-Qaeda. Does anyone really think this is a good idea?

The Obama administration promises us that this is to be a very limited operation, providing small arms only, with no plans for a no-fly zone or American boots on the ground. That sounds an awful lot like how Vietnam started. Just a few advisors. When these few small arms do not achieve the pre-determined US policy of regime change in Syria, what is the administration going to do? Admit failure and pull the troops out, or escalate? History suggests the answer, and it now appears to be repeating itself once again.

The president has opened a can of worms that will destroy his presidency and possibly destroy this country. Another multi-billion-dollar war has begun.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission.

Unconstitutional Uses of Drones Must Stop – Article by Ron Paul

Unconstitutional Uses of Drones Must Stop – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
June 19, 2012

Last week I joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama requesting clarification of his criteria for the lethal use of drones overseas. Administration officials assure us that a “high degree of confidence” is required that the person targeted by a drone is a terrorist.  However, press reports have suggested that mere “patterns of behavior” and other vague criteria are actually being used to decide who to target in a drone strike. I am concerned that an already troublingly low threshold for execution on foreign soil may be even lower than we imagined.

The use of drones overseas may have become so convenient, operated as they are from a great distance, that far more “collateral damage” has become acceptable. Collateral damage is a polite way of saying killing innocent civilians. Is the ease of drone use a slippery slope to disregard for justice, and if so what might that mean for us as they become more widely used on American soil against American citizens?

This dramatic increase in the use of drones and the lowered threshold for their use to kill foreigners has tremendous implications for our national security. At home, some claim the use of drones reduces risk to American service members. But this can be true only in the most shortsighted sense. Internationally the expanded use of drones is wildly unpopular and in fact creates more enemies than it eliminates.

Earlier this month a former top terrorism official at the CIA warned that President Barack Obama’s expanded use of drones may actually be creating terrorist “safe havens.” Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA’s counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006, told a British newspaper that, “[the drone program] needs to be targeted much more finely. We have been seduced by them and the unintended consequences of our actions are going to outweigh the intended consequences.”

After a drone strike in Yemen last month once again killed more civilians than suspected al-Qaeda members, a Yemeni lawyer sent a message to President Obama stating “Dear Obama, when a U.S. drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda.” These are the unseen victims of the president’s expanded use of drones, but we should pay attention and we should ask ourselves how we would feel if the tables were turned and a foreign power was killing innocent American children from thousands of miles away. Would we not feel the same?

The expanded use of drones overseas has been matched with the expanded use of drones in the United States, which should alarm every American who values the Constitution and its protections against government interference in our private lives. Recently, the governor of Virginia welcomed the expanded use of drones in his state because they “make law enforcement more productive.” I find that attitude chilling and am sure I am not alone.

Do we want to live in a country where our government constantly flies aircraft overhead to make sure we are not doing anything it disapproves of? Already the Environmental Protection Agency uses drone surveillance to spy on farmers and ranchers to see if they are in compliance with regulations. Local law enforcement agencies are eyeing drone use with great anticipation.  Do we really want to live under the watchful eye of “Big Brother”? It is terrifying enough to see how drones are being misused abroad. We must curtail the government’s ability use drones right away lest the massacres in Yemen and Pakistan turn out to be crude training exercises for what the administration has in mind on our own soil.

Representative Ron Paul (R – TX), MD, is a Republican candidate for U. S. President. See his Congressional webpage and his official campaign website

This article has been released by Dr. Paul into the public domain and may be republished by anyone in any manner.