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NATO’s Stoltenberg, Satan’s ‘Man of Straw’

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Satan, we read in the second verse of the second chapter of the Biblical Book of Job, can never just relax and take it easy. He is always on the go, always looking for more trouble to stir up.

“And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

And so it is with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. A veteran prime minister of Norway for eight years and political head and chief mouthpiece for the Atlantic Alliance for the past half-decade, he started the month of April addressing a Joint Session of both chambers of Congress in Washington, an honor given to no previous head of the alliance in the past 70 years,.

Not content to rest on these laurels he went on later in the month to publicly boast how NATO “increased its naval presence in the Black Sea, with NATO’s maritime groups taking part in exercises and also conducting several port visits” including to Georgia and Ukraine. He called on Russia to “respect international law” so as to “make the waters of the Black Sea more secure”, according to a CaucasusWatch.de report.
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A Nuclear War? Over Venezuela?

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Is President Trump about to invade Venezuela? His advisors keep telling us in ever-stronger terms that “all options are on the table” and that US military intervention to restore Venezuela’s constitution “may be necessary.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the Sunday news programs to claim that President Trump could launch a military attack against Venezuela without Congress’s approval.
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Another 'Jolly Little War'?

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Sure. Let’s invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It’s full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

This week, leading US neocons openly threatened that if the CIA’s latest attempts to stage a coup to overthrow Venezuela’s Maduro government failed, Washington might send in the Marines.

Well, the coup was a big fiasco and the Venezuelan army didn’t overthrow President Maduro. The CIA also failed to overthrow governments in Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. Its only "success" to date has been in overthrowing Ukraine’s pro-Moscow government and putting a bunch of corrupt clowns in its place at a cost near $10 billion.

The US has not waged a major successful war since World War II – unless you count invading Grenada, Panama and Haiti, or bombing the hell out of Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Libya. That’s a sobering thought given the Pentagon’s recent announcement that it is cutting back on little colonial wars (aka ‘the war on terror’) to get ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.
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Democrats Don’t Get It on the Drug War

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After decades of working with Republicans to destroy people with their much-vaunted war on drugs, some Democrats are now coming out in favor of legalizing marijuana. Their change of position is a testament to the power of the shifting winds of public opinion. When the winds shift, so do the positions of many political types.
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McAdams: Venezuela's Guaido Worth More to Maduro Than to Opposition

After the failed US-engineered coup in Venezuela this week, self-declared president Juan Guaido continues to scramble around for support to overthrow the Maduro government. Why isn't he arrested for openly fomenting a military coup against his government? RPI's Daniel McAdams tells RT America that he's actually worth more to Maduro walking around as a living symbol of a failed coup than in a jail cell with a triggered Washington ready to attack...
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US Hypocrisy on Venezuela

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Like other US regime-change operations, the current one against the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is rife with hypocrisy. After all, what is the main complaint that President Trump and other US officials have against Maduro? It is that he is a socialist whose socialist programs and policies have brought misery and suffering to the Venezuelan people. Thus, by initiating a regime-change operation against Maduro, US officials are portraying themselves as good-hearted, compassionate conservatives who are just trying to help the Venezuelan people.
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Biden's Ukrainian Corruption Scandal Casts Ominous Shadow Over 2020 Run

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It looks like Joe Biden isn't the chosen one after all. 

After getting that whole "groping" thing out of the way and announcing his 2020 bid for the White House, Biden emerged as the Democratic frontrunner this week according to several polls

Alas for Biden, his past is catching up with him, again.

While Politico and Marketwatch have dinged Biden over free-trade fails and comments on China, perhaps most damning is a late Wednesday article in the New York Times slamming the former vice president's major Ukraine conflicts. We reported on this nearly four weeks ago following reporting and interviews with key players by The Hill's John Solomon, and it looks bad for Joe. 

At the heart of the matter is Biden's role in threatening Ukraine if they didn't immediately fire their top prosecutor, General Viktor Shokin - who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into a natural gas firm - Burisma Holdings - which Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the board of directors. 

Biden openly bragged about this at a January CFR event.
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Playing Chicken In The Straits Of Hormuz - Red Lines And War Talk

After designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, will the US make a physical attempt to shut down any oil export by citing the oil business's relationship with the Iranian Guard? Will Iran make good on its threat to shut down the Hormuz Straits, which would take out 20 percent of the oil from the world market? Clearly Trump's sights are set on Iran. How far will he go? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Israeli Ambassador Calls For The Criminalization of Antisemitic Speech

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In the aftermath of another tragic shooting at another synagogue, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon has again called for the criminalization of antisemitic speech. I have previously written about such international efforts to criminalize speech, including a proposal supported by the Obama Administration. The implications of such laws for free speech are easy to dismiss amidst the sorrow of another attack. However, the free speech community must remain firm that free speech is not the cause of hate, it is solution to hate.

Danon declared “The time for talking and having a conversation is over. What Israel and the Jewish community around the world demand is action – and now.”

Over the course of the last 50 years, the French, English and Germans have waged an open war on free speech by criminalizing speech deemed insulting, harassing or intimidating. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). There are encroachments appearing in the United States, particularly on college campuses. Notably, the media celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

Danon argues that “Until it becomes criminal, this bigotry will persist; it will fester. It is only a matter of time until it erupts again in violence and bloodshed.”
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