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Senator Rand Paul Visits Russia to Encourage ‘Vital Engagement’ Between Lawmakers

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Donald Trump is not the only American politician to be striving for a better relationship with Moscow in defiance of multiple opponents who are raising a ruckus about his stance on Russia. The hysterical reaction to the US president’s summit with the Russian leader in Helsinki did not keep Republican Senator Rand Paul from doing what he believes is right — going to Moscow as the head of a US delegation, which also included Texas State Senator Don Huffines and the president of the Cato Institute, Peter Goettler, in order to spur contacts with Russian lawmakers.

During the talks in Moscow on Aug.6, he invited Russian senators to visit Washington.“Today, I met with Chairman Kosachev, and we agreed on the importance of continued dialogue. I invited the Russian Federation to send a delegation to the Capitol, and they have agreed to take this important next step,” Mr. Paul stated. It’ll be the first Russian parliamentary delegation to have traveled to Washington in nearly three years. The senator thinks "our biggest problem right now is no dialogue," emphasizing that"engagement is vital to our national security and peace around the world."

Last year, Rand Paul, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, was one of two senators who voted against the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which included  massive sanctions against Russia. Prior to that, he had voted against Montenegro’s NATO membership, which was also opposed by Moscow. According to Sen. Paul, “Currently, the United States has troops in dozens of countries and is actively fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen (with the occasional drone strike in Pakistan). In addition, the United States is pledged to defend twenty-eight countries in NATO. It is unwise to expand the monetary and military obligations of the United States given the burden of our $20 trillion debt.”
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VIPS Asks Twitter to Restore Van Buren’s Account

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We at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) are greatly disturbed by the recent decision of your management to permanently suspend the Twitter account @WeMeantWell of our colleague Peter Van Buren. Peter is a highly respected former Foreign Service Officer possessing impeccable credentials for critiquing current developments that might lead to a new war in Eastern Europe or Asia, something which we Americans presumably all would like to avoid.
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Shocker: AP Reports On US/Al-Qaeda Coalition In Yemen

The independent press has long reported the seeming collusion between the US and al-Qaeda in the war on the Houthis in Yemen. Now the most mainstream of mainstream media outlets - AP - has concluded a blockbuster report that reaches the same findings. The US and its allies in the war on Yemen are so focused on curbing "expansionist" Iran that they are actually looking the other way - and even in some cases funding - al-Qaeda. More on this in today's Liberty Report...
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More Lies About the White Helmets

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When is a terrorist group not a terrorist group? Apparently the answer is that it ceases to be terrorist when it terrorizes someone who is an enemy of the United States. The most prominent recent example is the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), a murderous Iranian Marxist cult which assassinated five Americans in the 1970s as part of its campaign against the Shah’s government. It was removed from the State Department terrorist list in 2012 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after it had promised not to kill any more Americans but really because it had bought the support of prominent politicians to include Elaine Chao, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and John Bolton. It also had the behind the scenes endorsement of both the Israeli Mossad and CIA, both of whom have been using it in their operations to kill Iranians and damage the country’s infrastructure. Someone high up in the federal government, perhaps Hillary or even President Obama himself, must have decided that terrorists who kill only Iranians deserve a get out of jail free card from the State Department.

There are other examples of cynical doublespeak from the Syrian conflict, including labeling rebels against the Damascus government “freedom fighters” when in reality they were as often as not allied with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Al-Nusra or even with ISIS. Frequently they received training and weapons from Washington only to turn around and either join Al-Nusra and ISIS as volunteers or surrender their weapons to them.
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Institutionalizing Intolerance: Bullies Win, Freedom Suffers When We Can’t Agree to Disagree

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What a mess.

As America has become ever more polarized, and those polarized factions have become more militant and less inclined to listen to—or even allow for the existence of—other viewpoints, we are fast becoming a nation of people who just can’t get along.

Here’s the thing: if Americans don’t learn how to get along—at the very least, agreeing to disagree and respecting each other’s right to subscribe to beliefs and opinions that may be offensive, hateful, intolerant or merely different—then we’re going to soon find that we have no rights whatsoever (to speak, assemble, agree, disagree, protest, opt in, opt out, or forge our own paths as individuals).

In such an environment, when we can’t agree to disagree, the bullies (on both sides) win and freedom suffers.

Intolerance, once the domain of the politically correct and self-righteous, has been institutionalized, normalized and politicized.

Even those who dare to defend speech that may be unpopular or hateful as a constitutional right are now accused of “weaponizing the First Amendment.”

On college campuses across the country, speakers whose views are deemed “offensive” to some of the student body are having their invitations recalled or cancelled, being shouted down by hecklers, or forced to hire costly security details. As The Washington Postconcludes, “College students support free speech—unless it offends them.”
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New Sanctions Kick In: Trump Declares (Trade) War On Iran...And EU!

Starting tonight, US sanctions on Iran and anyone who does business will kick in. Did Iran attack someone? Threaten someone? No. President Trump has unilaterally pulled the US out of the nuclear agreement and now demands that all US allies follow suit and, de facto, abrogate the treaty. The Europeans are making a lot of noise, claiming that they will back up any EU businesses that remain in Iran. That won't hold. Brussels will cave. But no one seems to be thinking about unintended consequences. Who stands to benefit the most from Washington's obsession with regime change in Iran? China, which is already rapidly expanding its economic presence in Iran. More on this colossal Trump blunder in today's Liberty Report...
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Silence on US Meddling Abroad

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Among the most fascinating aspects of the brouhaha over supposed Russian meddling in America’s electoral system is the total silence in the US mainstream press about US meddling in the political affairs of other countries.

Consider the mass outrage and indignation among the mainstream press that Russia would actually want to help a US presidential candidate who favors normalizing relations with Russia over a candidate that was determined to do the opposite.

Why not the same outrage against the US national-security establishment for helping its favorite people come to office in foreign countries?

By their silence regarding US meddling in foreign countries, one could easily draw the conclusion that the US mainstream press is saying the following: It’s wrong for Russia to meddle in the US electoral system but it’s okay for the US national-security establishment (i.e., the military, CIA, and NSA) to meddle in the electoral affairs of foreign countries.
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Neocons Demand 'Crushing' Sanctions on Russia

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You can always count on the neocons in Congress to ignore reality, ignore evidence, and ignore common sense in their endless drive to get us involved in another war. Last week, for example, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-NC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and others joined up to introduce what Senator Graham called “the sanctions bill from hell,” aimed at applying “crushing” sanctions on Russia.
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Facebook Censoring Getting Out of Control

Facebook has been crowing about finding 32 "Russian-backed" accounts seeking to "sow division" among Americans. Only despite their over-confidence in sussing out these Kremlin-backed miscreants, they got it wrong. They shut down a page managed by real Americans who were organizing a counter-protest against a white nationalist group. Who does Facebook rely on to clean its pages of foreign government influence? An organization that itself is backed by foreign governments! RPI's Daniel McAdams is interviewed
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There Will Be No American-Russian Alliance Against China

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Since 1991 and the formal end of the first Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the world has experienced an American “unipolar moment” as the bipartisan US policy establishment sought to consolidate and perpetuate its hegemonic control over the entire plant. Doomed to fail even before it received its fullest articulation in 1996 by neoconservative ideologists William Kristol and Robert Kagan (misleadingly billed as “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy”), that misbegotten moment thankfully is coming to an end.
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