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Obamacare Repeal or Obamacare 2.0?

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This Thursday, the House of Representatives will vote on a Republican bill that supposedly repeals Obamacare. However, the bill retains Obamacare’s most destructive features.

That is not to say this legislation is entirely without merit. For example, the bill expands the amount individuals can contribute to a health savings account (HSA). HSAs allow individuals to save money tax-free to pay for routine medical expenses. By restoring individuals’ control over healthcare dollars, HSAs remove the distortions introduced in the healthcare market by government policies encouraging over-reliance on third-party payers.
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Why Are Americans Searched at the Border?

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Whenever American citizens travel to another country, they are subjected to intrusive searches at the hands of U.S. officials upon returning to the United States.

Why? What’s the justification?

Since Americans living today have all been born and raised under this type of system, hardly anyone questions it. It’s just accepted, passively and submissively, as part of living in a “free” society.
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No One Needs Another Korean War

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Panmunjom, the "peace village" on the incredibly tense demilitarized zone (aka DMZ) between North and South Korea, is one of the weirdest places I’ve ever visited. Tough North Korean soldiers lurk about, watched by equally tough South Korean troops in one-way sunglasses and an aggressive judo ‘warrior’ stance.

When I was filming at Panmunjom, we were warned to beware of North Koreans who could at any moment rush into the main conference room and drag us into North Korea.

It was into this crazy house that the new, jet-lagged US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was transported from turbulent Washington. After a quick look at the DMZ, Tillerson announced `no more Mr. Nice Guy.’ The US had run out of `strategic patience’ with North Korea and will go to war to end North Korea’s ‘threat’ to the US, he warned.

Tillerson, formerly CEO of EXXON, is well-versed in world affairs but the Korean peninsula’s complexities could be too much for him to quickly absorb. Immediately threatening war is no way to begin a diplomatic mission. But Tillerson was obviously reading from a script written by his boss, Donald Trump, whose knowledge of North Asian affairs makes Tillerson look like a Confucian scholar.
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How To End the Korean War

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What in the name of all that’s holy is going on in North Korea?

This question is always hard to answer because they don’t call it the Hermit Kingdom for nothing. Very little comes out of the notoriously reclusive – and repressive – Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, and not that much gets in. But occasionally there is a burst of activity that, like the eruption of a volcano, is hard to miss – therecent launching of four ballistic missiles being one of them.
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Jeff Sessions is Less of a Threat to Marijuana Legalization than You May Think

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United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has worried many advocates for legal medical and recreational marijuana because of his comments, before and since becoming attorney general, critical of both marijuana and its legalization for any purpose. However, in questions and answers with reporters Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia, Sessions indicated that the Trump administration will continue following the Obama administration policy of refraining from many prosecutions of individuals for US marijuana law violations if they are complying with state marijuana laws.

In particular, Sessions pointed to the August 29, 2013 “Cole memorandum” adopted by the Obama administration to guide US Department of Justice marijuana enforcement decisions in light of conflicts between states’ legalization and US laws. Sessions said: "The Cole memorandum set up some policies under President Obama's Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid." This declaration leaves Sessions room to increase prosecutions in some circumstances. But, it importantly indicates that the Trump administration’s plan is for the general policy to remain the same.

The Cole memorandum itself provides Sessions and the DOJ with significant avenues for expanding marijuana prohibition enforcement. The memorandum states that “attorneys and law enforcement” are directed to “focus their enforcement resources and efforts, including prosecution, on persons or organizations whose conduct interferes with” any of eight listed priorities, “regardless of state law.” Included among the listed priorities are preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it is illegal, and preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other public health problems from marijuana use.
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The Kagans Are Back; Wars to Follow

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The Kagan family, America’s neoconservative aristocracy, has reemerged having recovered from the letdown over not gaining its expected influence from the election of Hillary Clinton and from its loss of official power at the start of the Trump presidency.

Back pontificating on prominent op-ed pages, the Family Kagan now is pushing for an expanded U.S. military invasion of Syria and baiting Republicans for not joining more enthusiastically in the anti-Russian witch hunt over Moscow’s alleged help in electing Donald Trump.

In a Washington Post op-ed on March 7, Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and a key architect of the Iraq War, jabbed at Republicans for serving as “Russia’s accomplices after the fact” by not investigating more aggressively.

Then, Frederick Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the neocon American Enterprise Institute, and his wife, Kimberly Kagan, president of her own think tank, Institute for the Study of War, touted the idea of a bigger U.S. invasion of Syria in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on March 15.

Yet, as much standing as the Kagans retain in Official Washington’s world of think tanks and op-ed placements, they remain mostly outside the new Trump-era power centers looking in, although they seem to have detected a door being forced open.
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Fed Hikes Rate - Stagflation Ahead?

What does Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen's decision to raise the interest rates .25 percent mean for the US economy? The budget? What about debt versus GDP growth? We take a look at the continuing disaster of creating money out of thin air in today's Liberty Report...
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The Four Horsemen Of The Trumpocalypse

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It’s a horse race.

Will Donald Trump’s first new war be with Russia, Iran, China, or North Korea?

Here are some things to consider as you try to handicap this deadly contest:

Russia:

It is a certainty that a war of principals or proxies with Russia remains a chief objective of the neocons and the Deep State.  If Victoria Nuland in Kiev didn’t convince you of this, recall Murray Rothbard’s trenchant observation that “sanctions are simply the coward’s and the babbler’s halfway house to war,” and it is clear we have been on the way to war with Russia for some time.

All that could ever have been hoped from Donald Trump was that if elected president he would deflect Washington’s headlong rush to a Russian war, beginning with the lifting of sanctions.  Judging today by the way he has populated his administration, I no longer have any hope that Trump will change that trajectory.

Look at it this way.  For Donald Trump to have survived and flourished in New York and New Jersey real estate development, he had to have a keen sense of the hidden power interests that he needed to appease:  Which union or brotherhood had to be guaranteed building contracts, which suppliers must be used, and which politicians need to be greased to win zoning and other approvals.  Beginning with the Flynn episode and other surveillance and leaks, the President is being schooled by the permanent government.  Whatever else you may say about him, he is a quick learner.  Unquestionably, in its few short weeks in Washington, the Trump team’s rhetoric about Russia has toughened and official US behavior is again growing bellicose.
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Trump/Saudi Collusion: Laying Plans For More War In The Middle East

President Trump's visit with the Saudi Crown Prince seemed to have gone very well yesterday. Despite being solidly behind Hillary in the campaign -- at least in their donations to the Clinton Foundation -- Saudi Arabia's millions spent on lobbying in Washington seem to keep paying dividends. The two seemed to agree on Syria no-fly zones, on the Saudi war on Yemen, the need for a hard line toward Iran, and more. All the items on the Saudi agenda. But what about America first? We discuss in today's Liberty Report...
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State Department: Is America’s Oldest Cabinet Agency Trumped?

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What if it’s not incompetence? What if it is by design? What if President Donald Trump has decided American doesn’t really need a Department of State and if he can’t get away with closing it down, he can disable and defund it?

The only problem is Trump will quickly find out he’ll have to reluctantly keep a few lights on at Foggy Bottom.

Things do not look good for State. There were no press briefings between Trump taking office on January 20 and some irregular gatherings beginning in early March. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wasn’t seen at several White House meetings where foreign leaders were present, and has taken only two very short trips abroad. Of the 13 sets of official remarks he has given, 10 have been perfunctory messages to countries on their national days, with one speech to his own employees. Sources inside State say he is nowhere to be seen around the building, either in person or bureaucratically via tasking orders and demands for briefings.

Meanwhile, President Trump has proposed a devastating 37 percent cut to State’s tiny budget, already only about one percent of Federal spending.

And as if that isn’t bad enough, the Trump administration has left a large number of the 64 special representative and other “speciality” positions empty. Tillerson already laid off a number of his own staff. Add in a Federal-wide hiring ban, and the only good news at Foggy Bottom is that it’s no longer hard to find a seat in the cafeteria.
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