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Big Military Spending Boost Threatens Our Economy and Security

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On Friday the House overwhelmingly approved a massive increase in military spending, passing a $696 billion National Defense Authorization bill for 2018. President Trump’s request already included a huge fifty or so billion dollar spending increase, but the Republican-led House found even that to be far too small. They added another $30 billion to the bill for good measure. Even President Trump, in his official statement, expressed some concern over spending in the House-passed bill.
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Janet Yellen: False Prophet of Prosperity

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently predicted that, thanks to the regulations implemented after the 2008 market meltdown, America would not experience another economic crisis “in our lifetimes.” Yellen’s statement should send shivers down our spines, as there are few more reliable signals of an impending recession, or worse, than when so-called "experts" proclaim that we are in an era of unending prosperity.
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We Must Declare Independence

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As Independence Day comes around again we should spend a few moments between barbecue and fireworks to think about the meaning of independence. The colonists who rebelled against the British Crown were, among other things, unhappy about taxation. Yet, as economist Gary North points out, the total burden of British imperial taxation was about one-to-two percent of national income.
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Republican Healthcare Plan Fails the ‘Jimmy Kimmel Test’

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This week the Senate Republican leadership unveiled its Obamacare replacement plan. Like its House counterpart, the misnamed Senate plan retains most of Obamacare’s core features.

Both the House and Senate plans allow states to obtain waivers providing relief from some Obamacare mandates, although the waivers in both bills are too restrictive to be of much value. For example, the Senate's bill does not allow states to have waived two of Obamacare’s most destructive mandates — guaranteed issue and community ratings.
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Trump Turns Back the Clock With Cold War Cuba U-Turn

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Nostalgia seems to be very popular in Washington. While the neocons and Democratic Party hard-liners have succeeded in bringing back the Cold War with Russia, it looks like President Trump is determined to take us back to a replay of the Bay of Pigs!

In Miami on Friday, the president announced that he was slamming the door on one of President Obama’s few foreign policy successes: easing 50 years of US sanctions on Cuba. The nostalgia was so strong at Trump’s Friday speech that he even announced participants in the CIA’s disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in the audience!
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Why Are We Attacking the Syrians Who Are Fighting ISIS?

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Just when you thought our Syria policy could not get any worse, last week it did. The US military twice attacked Syrian government forces from a military base it illegally occupies inside Syria. According to the Pentagon, the attacks on Syrian government-backed forces were “defensive” because the Syrian fighters were approaching a US self-declared “de-confliction” zone inside Syria. The Syrian forces were pursuing ISIS in the area, but the US attacked anyway.

The US is training yet another rebel group fighting from that base, located near the border of Iraq at al-Tanf, and it claims that Syrian government forces pose a threat to the US military presence there. But the Pentagon has forgotten one thing: it has no authority to be in Syria in the first place! Neither the US Congress nor the UN Security Council has authorized a US military presence inside Syria.
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Trump’s Budget: Radical Change or More of the Same?

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President Donald Trump's proposed budget has generated hysteria among the American left. Prominent progressives have accused the president and his allies of wanting to kill children, senior citizens, and other vulnerable Americans. The reaction of the president’s allies — including some conservatives who should know better — is equally detached from reality as they hail Trump for launching a major assault on the welfare state and making the hard choices necessary to balance the budget.
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Are We Fighting Terrorism, Or Creating More Terrorism?

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When we think about terrorism we most often think about the horrors of a Manchester-like attack, where a radicalized suicide bomber went into a concert hall and killed dozens of innocent civilians. It was an inexcusable act of savagery and it certainly did terrorize the population.

What is less considered are attacks that leave far more civilians dead, happen nearly daily instead of rarely, and produce a constant feeling of terror and dread. These are the civilians on the receiving end of US and allied bombs in places like Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere.
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Will the Trump Administration Overdose on Authoritarianism?

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Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors in drug cases to seek the maximum penalty authorized by federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Sessions’ order represents a setback to the progress made toward restoring compassion and common sense to the sentencing process over the past few years. Sessions’ action also guarantees that many nonviolent drug law offenders will continue spending more time in prison than murderers.

Sessions’ support for mandatory minimums is no surprise, as he has a history of fanatical devotion to the drug war. Sessions’ pro-drug war stance is at odds with the reality of the drug war’s failure. Over forty years after President Nixon declared war on drugs, the government cannot even keep drugs out of prisons!
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President Trump: Toss Your Generals’ War Escalation Plans In the Trash

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By the end of this month, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Advisor HR McMaster will deliver to President Trump their plans for military escalations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Trump would be wise to rip the plans up and send his national security team back to the drawing board – or replace them. There is no way another “surge” in Afghanistan and Iraq (plus a new one in Syria) puts America first. There is no way doing the same thing over again will succeed any better than it did the last time.
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