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Kochs Spend Big On Foreign Policy Realism...Should Neocons Be Worried?

The neocon interventionists run Washington foreign policy. Even a Donald Trump, whose foreign policy positions during the campaign infuriated the neocons, has had his administration infiltrated with neocons. According to recent press reports, the Koch Foundation plans to spend a few million dollars promoting the "realist" school of foreign policy at major US universities. While such a move is to be welcomed there is also danger, as "realism" and neocon interventionsm do not disagree fundamentally on principles but only on the application of those principles. Cautious optimism in today's Liberty Report...
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Is Trump Getting A Bad Rap On His Asia Trip?

The US media (and some neocon politicians) are furious that President Trump didn't lecture Philippine President Duterte on human rights and that he dared speak with Russian President Putin. How dare he listen to Putin on meddling our elections and raise doubts about the US intelligence community's conclusions! They would never lie to us...would they? All in all, however, there are more positives than negatives, as we discuss in today's Liberty Report...
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Mocking Trump Doesn’t Prove Russia’s Guilt

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If the bloody debacle in Iraq should have taught Americans anything, it is that endorsements by lots of important people who think something is true don’t amount to evidence that it actually is true. If endorsements were the same as evidence, U.S. troops would have found tons of WMD in Iraq, rather than come up empty.

So, when it comes to whether or not Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year and slipped them to WikiLeaks, just because a bunch of people with fancy titles think the Russians are guilty doesn’t compensate for the lack of evidence so far evinced to support this core charge.

But the reaction of Official Washington and the U.S. mainstream media to President Trump saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed sincere in denying Russian “meddling” was sputtering outrage: How could Trump doubt what so many important people think is true?

Yet, if the case were all that strong that Russia did “hack” the emails, you would have expected a straightforward explication of the evidence rather than a demonstration of a full-blown groupthink, but what we got this weekend was all groupthink and no evidence.
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Saudi Arabia and Israel Know They Cannot Defeat Iran, Want to Drag the US into an Uncontainable War

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There is considerable confusion about what is occurring in the Middle East, to include much discussion of whether Israel and Saudi Arabia have formally agreed to combine forces to increase both military and economic pressure on Iran, which both of them see as their principal rival in the region. During the past week, a classified message sent by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to all its diplomatic missions worldwide that appears to confirm that possibility was obtained and leaked by senior reporter Barak Ravid of Israel’s highly respected Channel 10 News.

The cable instructs Israeli diplomats to take coordinated steps designed to discredit the activities of the Iranian government. It states, in edited-for-brevity translation, that overseas missions should contact their host countries to emphasize that the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri over Iranian attempts to take over his country “illustrate once again the destructive nature of Iran and Hezbollah and their danger to the stability of Lebanon and the countries of the region;” that the argument that having Hezbollah in the Lebanese government provides stability is false and only serves to “promote the interests of a foreign power – Iran;” and that the launch of a ballistic missile from Yemen against Saudi Arabia confirms the need for “increased pressure on Iran and Hezbollah on a range of issues from the production of ballistic missiles to regional subversion."

The Foreign Ministry message has been interpreted as “proof” that Israel and Saudi Arabia are coordinating to provoke a war against Iran as Israel is taking positions in support of Saudi claims, to include those relating to the confused conflict taking place in Yemen. My own take is, however, somewhat different. Having seen literally hundreds of similar U.S. State Department messages, I would regard the Israeli cable as consisting of specific “talking points” for use with foreign governments. Though it is clear that Tel Aviv and Riyadh have been secretly communicating over the past two years regarding their perception of the Iranian threat, it would be an exaggeration to claim that they have a coordinated position or some kind of alliance since they differ on so many other issues. They do, however, have common interests that are in this case aligned regarding the Iranians since both Israel and Saudi Arabia aspire to dominance in their region and only Iran stands in their way.
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Education Scholarship Tax Credits Help Children and Advance Liberty

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Shutting down the Department of Education and returning control of the education dollar to the American people is the key to improving education. The best way to put the people in charge of education is by shutting down all unconstitutional bureaucracies, repealing the Sixteenth Amendment, and ending the Federal Reserve’s money monopoly.
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US Demand for RT FARA Registration 'Sounds Like Desperation' - Daniel McAdams

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The US Department of Justice has demanded that Russia's broadcaster RT America should get registered under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by Monday, November 13. Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, has explained that it is being done for political purposes.

Sputnik: What do you make of the move against RT? What do you see as the underlying motive for the US actions?

Daniel McAdams: It is the ongoing Russian hysteria. We have the government, the police that have the right to tell us what stations we are allowed to watch and what radio we are allowed to listen to. And that is antithetical to a free society. It is "Big Brother" government telling us "don’t watch this." And it is only the beginning, by the way.

Sputnik: How legal is this move from the point of view of the US Constitution?

Daniel McAdams: The US government literally has no power and no authority to become involved in any way that would restrict our ability to consume any kind of media.

Sputnik: FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) was initially adopted to combat pro-Nazi propaganda in the US during wartime. How did we even come to it being used against media outlets?

Daniel McAdams: Well, we are not at war with Russia, at least not yet, thank God. The neocons have their way and I am sure this will change. It may have some useful new deal with for example some companies representing foreign governments. However, its application is very selective in Washington. That is a real "untold secret," it is very selectively applied and it is applied for political purposes, that is what we are seeing here.
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Foreign Agents Registration Act Marked by History of Politicization, Selective Enforcement

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Though it garnered renewed interest thanks to Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump administration and the rise of “Russiagate” hysteria, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 has been irregularly enforced over the course of its 79-year history. Despite nearly eight decades on the books, the law has resulted in only a handful of prosecutions and a single conviction, suggesting that the government’s enforcement of the law has been lax — to say the least. 

Originally intended to counter pro-Nazi lobbyists active in the United States in the lead-up to World War II, FARA requires that all agents operating domestically on behalf of a “foreign principal” — that is, a non-U.S. entity operating abroad — must register with the U.S. Department of Justice. Those who register must disclose all of their activities and finances to the federal government, including confidential data and the personal information of employees.

There are, however, many exceptions to those who must register, such as diplomats, artists, priests, and “any news or press service organized under the laws of the United States.” In other words, a law firm lobbying for a foreign government or company must register while news services funded by foreign governments — like Al Jazeera, France24, BBC or Deutsche Welle — are — generally — off the hook.

This last exception is why the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement on Thursday that the TV news channel Russia Today (RT), which receives its funding from the Russian government and a consortium of Russian banks, must register as a foreign agentcame as a surprise to many. RT, which has been active in the U.S. since 2005, is suddenly being asked to register as a foreign agent under FARA, only after political pressure against Russian entities and perceived state actors reached a boiling point.
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Can Trump Salvage his Presidency?

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As US President Donald Trump marks the first anniversary of his election with a high-profile, 11-day tour of Asia, the spotlight remains largely fixed on Washington investigations into whether his presidential campaign "colluded" with Russia and whether these investigations could truncate Trump's tenure - much as Watergate truncated Richard Nixon's. 

But as the Watergate scandal was closing in on then President Nixon, he did not let fulminating against his critics keep him from extending a foreign policy record that, in retrospect, even many of his detractors and political opponents acknowledge as a hallmark of his presidency. From the start of his second term in January 1973 until his resignation in August 1974, Nixon sustained his historic opening to China, concluded the US withdrawal from Vietnam, and successfully managed the riskiest US-Soviet nuclear standoff since the Cuban missile crisis. 

Today, the key question is: Can President Trump salvage his presidency - or, at least, his legacy - by abandoning the stale, "get tough" sophistry currently shaping US foreign policy debates to positively seize the strategic initiative in critical parts of the world?
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America’s ‘Allies’ Are Setting Up Another Trap for US in the Middle East

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Whatever their plans, the stakeholders in the Middle East must remember that clever plans to remake the Middle East have hitherto been remarkable for their inability to anticipate countermoves by opposing forces.

Tension is increasing all across the Middle East and the United States is again falling into a trap set up by its so-called allies to act against its own interests by getting deeply involved in what might turn out to be an escalating conflict. The recent victories by the Syrian Army and its Russian allies, which suggest that the active phase of the Syrian civil war will soon be drawing to a close, means that the perennial unrest in the region will be shifting gears and possibly leading to new conflict in areas that have until now been quiet. The lack of any real American policy for the region will enable the Saudis and Israelis, who have hegemonistic dreams of their own, to manipulate a casus belli, quite likely starting in Lebanon, where Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri recently resigned his office and fled to Saudi Arabia, claiming that he was fearing for his life due to his resistance to Iran’s influence over his country.

Hariri headed a coalition pulled together in 2016 that included nearly all of Lebanon’s main parties, including Hezbollah. It took office in a political deal that made Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian who has an understanding with Hezbollah, president. The inclusion of Hezbollah and the presence of a friendly Aoun was seen as a victory for Iran.

The Hariri resignation was certainly carried out in collusion with Riyadh, to include the damning of Iranian influence as his reason for leaving. It suggests that the Saudis and Israelis, who have been hyperbolically claiming that Tehran is about to take control of much of the Middle East, are feeling confident enough to move towards some kind of showdown with the Mullahs. As a first step, expected deteriorating sectarian interaction between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims in Lebanon will eliminate any possibility of a bipartisan and functioning government, providing a pretext for foreign intervention to stabilize the situation.
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Manipulation: The US State Department's New Program to Take On Hungarian Media

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Hypocrisy may be the only consistent guiding principle of US foreign policy. Here's a prime example of the "do as we say, not as we do" that is the core of how the US government acts toward the rest of the world: In the same week that the the US Justice Department demanded that the Russian-backed RT America network register as a foreign propaganda entity or face arrest, the US State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DNL) has announced that it is launching a program to massively interfere in NATO-partner Hungary's internal media.
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