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Peace: Neither Ink nor Blood

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One of the problems of the interventionista –wanting to get involved in other people’s affairs “in order to help”, while genuinely wanting to do good, results in disrupting some of the peace-making mechanisms that are inherent in human’s affairs, a combination of collaboration and strategic hostility. As we saw in the prologue, the error continues because someone else is paying the price.

I speculate that had IYIs (intellectuals yet idiots) and their friends not gotten involved, problems such as the Israeli-Palestinian one would have been solved, sort of –and both parties, especially the Palestinians would have felt to be better off. As I am writing these lines the problem has lasted seventy years, with too way many cooks in the same tiny kitchen, most of whom never have to taste the food. I conjecture that when you leave people alone, they tend to settle for practical reasons.

People on the ground, those with skin in the game are not too interested in geopolitics or grand abstract principles, but rather in having bread on the table, beer (or, for some, nonalcoholic beverages such as yoghurt drinks) in the refrigerator, and good weather at outdoors family picnics. Also they don’t want to be humiliated in their human contact with others.

For imagine the absurdity of Arab States prodding the Palestinians to fight for their principles while the potentates are sitting in carpeted alcohol-free palaces (with well-stocked refrigerators full of nonalcoholic fermented yoghurt)and the recipient of the advice living in refugee camps. Had the Palestinians settled in 1947, they would have been better off. But the idea was to throw the Jews and neo-crusaders in the Mediterranean; Arab rhetoric came from Arab parties who were hundreds, thousands of miles away arguing for “principles” when Palestinians were displaced, living in tents.
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Save Liberty, Shut Down the Government

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Congress ended the week by passing a continuing resolution keeping the government funded for one more week. This stopgap funding bill is designed to give Congress and the White House more time to negotiate a long-term spending bill. Passage of a long-term spending bill has been delayed over objections to Republican efforts to preserve Obamcare's key features but give states a limited ability to opt out of some Obamacare mandates.
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Two Western Narratives on North Korea; Both Cannot be True

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Friday night’s failed missile launch by North Korea has exposed a kind of cognitive dissonance in the western mainstream media and also some alt-media sources.

On the one hand, North Korea is an evil state whose nuclear weapons and advanced delivery systems are capable of setting hell-fire upon East Asia and even parts of the western United States.

At the same time, some of these same sources are promulgating an antithetical narrative that North Korea is little more than an ineffective dictatorship whose weapons delivery systems cannot get off the ground and whose conventional weapons are so lacking that during parades, fake weapons are on display.

The fact that this second narrative has captured  hearts and minds across the spectrum is best illustrated by the fact that maverick conservative alt-media figure Milo Yiannopoulos has posted a story about just how poorly North Korea is armed, citing, NBC news, Fox news, and the left-wing UK tabloid Daily Mirror.

So which is it? Is North Korea a kind of bite sized ‘evil empire’ ready and willing to destroy much of the world at a moment’s notice, or is it a comical commie monarchy whose weapons are just for show?

Donald Trump expressed his own unique brand of  cognitive dissonance on the matter, Tweeting: "North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!"

This is the same Donald Trump who in 2013 said of China, "China is not our friend. They are not our ally. They want to overtake us, and if we don’t get smart and tough soon, they will."
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President Trump: You Can't Fight the Whole World

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Maybe the president believes he’s won a great victory over the wicked Syrians by lobbing cruise missiles at one of their underused air bases. Maybe Trump believes that he’s scared the evil Russians and the too big for their sampans Chinese into obedience.

His 22,000 lb MOAB terror bomb on Afghanistan should keep those pesky Taliban quiet for a while even though the Pentagon claimed the intended target was a group- Khorosan – that may not actually exist.<

Those major malefactors, the crazy North Koreans, could be about to feel America’s full military might if they so much as twitch.

Not content with nearly stirring up a new war with North Korea, President Donald Trump is now waving the big stick at another of Washington’s favorite bogeymen, Iran. For the Trumps, Iran is poison.

In recent days, President Trump has threatened to renounce the six-power nuclear agreement to freeze or shrink Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. This sensible pact was signed during the Obama administration by the great powers: US, Britain, France, Russia, Germany and China. Trump appears willing to abrogate the treaty and outrage the other great powers just because he hates Iran for some reason and, it appears, Muslims in general.

The Trump administration seems increasingly influenced by Israel’s far right Netanyahu government. In fact, PM Netanyahu often appears the most moderate member of his rightist coalition which is dominated by militant West Bank settlers.
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Saddam Hussein at 80: Iraq Without its ‘Liberation’

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What would have happened had there been no Iraq War in 2003 and Saddam Hussein had stayed in power? Where would we be today? It’s the 28th of April 2017. Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq, now a member state of the newly reconstituted United Arab Republic (with Syria and Egypt), is celebrating his 80th birthday. There are big processions on a gloriously sunny and very hot day in Baghdad. Among visiting foreign heads of state was Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who joked that if Saddam gave up smoking Cohibas and started drinking herbal teas he might even live to be as old as him...
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Gen Mattis' Syria Chemical Claim Smacks of Politicized Intelligence

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AN OPEN MEMORANDUM FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
Subject: Mattis ‘No Doubt’ Stance on Alleged Syrian CW Smacks of Politicized Intelligence

Donald Trump’s new Secretary of Defense, retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, during a recent trip to Israel, commented on the issue of Syria’s retention and use of chemical weapons in violation of its obligations to dispose of the totality of its declared chemical weapons capability in accordance with the provisions of both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“There can be no doubt,” Secretary Mattis said during a April 21, 2017 joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, “in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all.” To the contrary, Mattis noted, “I can say authoritatively they have retained some.”

Lieberman joined Mattis in his assessment, noting that Israel had “100 percent information that [the] Assad regime used chemical weapons against [Syrian] rebels.”

Both Mattis and Lieberman seemed to be channeling assessments offered to reporters two days prior, on April 19, 2017, by anonymous Israeli defense officials that the April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack on the Syrian village of Khan Shaykhun was ordered by Syrian military commanders, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s personal knowledge, and that Syria retained a stock of “between one and three tons” of chemical weapons.
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Julian Assange Speaks Out: The War On The Truth

Are Wikileaks and other similar organizations "hostile foreign agencies," as CIA Director Mike Pompeo asserted recently? He's looking at a way to punish media organizations for telling their readers the truth while being able to avoid going after the mainstream media companies that publish materials provided by Wikileaks. It is all about stripping some organizations and individuals from First Amendment protection. Don't miss this exclusive Ron Paul Liberty Report with Wikileaks Founder, Julian Assange...
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Phony Hysterics Over North Korea

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A lot of my job as editorial director of Antiwar.com is cutting through the veil of obfuscation with which the War Party masks its ill intentions. But sometimes you don’t even have to read between the lines to see what our conniving rulers are up to. Such is the case with the current war scare around North Korea. President Trump is playing this for all it’s worth, summoning the Senate to a special conclave at the White House to inform them of the supposedly dire threat. This ostentatious display was preceded by a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee at which Admiral Harry Harris, in charge of the US Pacific Command, sounded the alarm...
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Trump’s Foreign Policy after 100 Days: Tweeting with Bombs?

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As US President Donald Trump prepares to mark 100 days in office, the administration’s foreign policy approach has become a painful disappointment to anyone with mildly optimistic expectations Washington would take a more realist approach to its role in the world. 

In no time at all, Trump has strayed from the 'America First’ rhetoric on the campaign trail and reversed course in a remarkable way. His decision to launch cruise missile strikes against Syria’s government on painfully a pretense, humiliatingly revealed to China’s leader over a piece of chocolate cake, is the picture of volatility.

Establishment pundits who had bogusly derided Trump as a Russian stooge christened him "presidential." Buoyed by this bipartisan support for militarism, the Pentagon dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in a distant corner of Afghanistan, likely without Trump’s direct approval as part of his policy of giving the military a freer hand to act.

Far from "isolationism" or a realist repositioning of American foreign policy, Trump represents the continuity of endless warfare and US militarism’s pursuit of global hegemony, different in perhaps only it’s cruder, more impulsive presentation and televised set pieces with higher explosive yields.

A pragmatic US-Russia détente remains as elusive as ever, for obvious reasons. It is extremely disconcerting that Trump, whose approval ratings have hit historic lows, was so enthusiastically supported by the US political and media establishment for his display of military muscle.
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Do American Airports Suck? Yes, Yes They Do

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Traveling by air in America is one of the best ways to see the country, although it is not always the nicest view. I recently took a fresh look, with the goal of advising my foreign friends what to expect when they drop by the United States.

Our Air Palaces

You’ll enjoy our older airports’ retro-touches, which evoke the Golden Age of air travel of the 1950s and 1960s. The typical lack of free WiFi, just like when your parents first visited America, the two electrical outlets serving an entire wing of the airport, the toilets which have not been cleaned since when your parents first visited America, and the “Welcome Home Troops” signs reminiscent of those displayed for soldiers coming home from that war where America invaded your country, all quaintly harken back to simpler times.

Your chances of finding public transportation to and from the airport are slim. Maybe if you look around there’ll be an old city bus for the workers (live like a local!) And stop standing out as a “tourist,” looking for trains that connect to the city center as you’ll find nearly everywhere else in the developed world. As you pay a month’s salary out to the cab driver who is cheating you just like in Cairo, or the Uber guy 23 hours into a shift trying to feed his family, think of it all as a great only-in-the-developing world story to tell if you survive to get back home.
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