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Race For Raqqa: Major US Escalation In Syria

US boots are on the ground in Syria. Nearly 1,000 to be exact. Not counting CIA or contractors. President Trump has ordered several hundred US Marines onto Syrian soil (without permission) to participate in the attack on Raqqa, and he has sent several dozen Army Rangers to Manbij to try to prevent US-backed forces and Turkish-backed forces from killing each other instead of killing ISIS. The Russians have also sent troops to Manbij -- at the request of the US-backed YPG forces! Is Trump's Syria to just take all that was wrong with Obama's Syria and double it? We discuss in today's Liberty Report...
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Truman Was Right About the CIA

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Say what you will about President Harry Truman, but at least he didn't leave the White House a suspiciously rich man. He also actually went home, to Independence Missouri, and moved into a modest house he didn't own. It was the same house belonging to his wife's family where he had lived with Bess (and his mother-in-law!) decades earlier.

Flat broke, and unwilling to accept corporate board positions or commercial endorsements, Truman sought a much-needed loan from a local Missouri bank. For several years his only income was a $113 monthly Army pension, and only the sale of a parcel of land he inherited with his siblings prevented him from nearly "being on relief," as Truman allegedly stated. In the 1950s, perhaps almost entirely to alleviate Truman's embarrassing financial situation, Congress authorized a $25,000 yearly pension for ex-presidents Truman and the much-wealthier Herbert Hoover. 

Contrast this with the luxe post-presidential life of the Reagans in Bel Air, or the still-unfolding saga of the Obama's jet-setting life between Kalorama, Palm Springs, and Oahu!

But even if Truman's homespun honesty and common man persona sometime wore thin, he deserves credit for the startling admission that he regretted creating the CIA. Speaking to a biographer in the 1960s, less than 20 years after signing the National Security Act of 1947, Truman expressed a sense of foreboding about what the agency had become, and would become...
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Trump's Global Hot Spots - Is He Losing Control?

What is the libertarian response to the Trump era? Is it about building a "movement" or about fighting in the battle of ideas? Have the neocons been put on their back heel by the new Administration or are they still riding high? Mises Institute President Jeff Deist joins today's Liberty Report to discuss where we are in relation to the new US Administration -- and to invite our viewers to continue the conversation with us at our symposium on War and Peace in the Age of Trump taking place next month in Lake Jackson, TX...
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Spygate: America’s Political Police vs. Donald J. Trump

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Everyone is suddenly talking about the Deep State – the configuration of spy agencies, career bureaucrats, and overseas spooks whose murky omnipresence has been brought to light by President Trump’s contention that he was “wiretapped” by his predecessor.

With his usual imprecision, Trump managed to confuse the issue by ascribing the surveillance to Barack Obama, and so naturally spokesmen for the former President had no trouble batting this charge away. But as a former Obama speechwriter put it:  “I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the [White House] ordered it.”

And then there’s the word “wiretapping”: this brings to mind the old-fashioned physical “bug” that our spooks used to plant on their target’s phone lines, installed in the dead of night. But that isn’t how it’s done anymore. As Edward Snowden revealed, the National Security Agency (NSA) scoops up everyone’s communications, and stores them in a database for later retrieval. Loosely-observed “rules” are supposed to make it hard (but not impossible) for the spooks to spy on American citizens, but the reality is that there are plenty of times when such information is scooped up “incidentally,” and in those cases the identities of those spied on must be redacted.

Except not anymore.
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The CIA Leak Casts Doubt on Russian Involvement in the DNC/Podesta Leaks

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The huge leak of information from the CIA just published by Wikileaks gives a fascinating picture of how the CIA goes about its business, though I doubt there is much there which will come as a surprise to most people.

In light of all the swirl of activity around the DNC and Podesta leaks and the various allegations of Russian hacking, two questions however immediately stand out for me.

1. The technology used in the DNC/Podesta leaks is decades old and crude.  Are the Russians really so far behind the CIA?

The first point is the obvious one that the CIA seems to engage in hacking on an immeasurably vaster and more sophisticated scale than whoever is behind Fancy Bear and Cosy Bear, the two groups of hackers who hacked Podesta and the DNC, assuming of course that they are the same people.

It seems that the CIA is able to read emails and hack into some of the world’s most heavily encrypted social media and communications platforms such as WhatsApp, Weibo, Confide, Signal and Telegram before any encryption can even be applied and without leaving any trace.  Obviously there is no need for any ‘phishing’.  Moreover it is clear that the CIA has been able to do this for a long time, in some cases for more than a decade.
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New TSA Rules -- More Aggressive Pat-Downs!

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has consistently failed miserably when tested on detecting contraband coming into airports. So what's the government solution to a broken system? Double down! TSA has announced that it will begin taking its failures out on us, with far more aggressive and invasive pat-downs. You will notice the difference, said the TSA of its new procedures. It does not have to be this way. There is an alternative. And it's time for Americans to stand up to these dangerous government agents who are hell-bent on depriving us of our Constitutional protections! For more on what we can do, tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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The Left’s Great Russian Conspiracy Theory

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The chattering classes have officially lost it. On both sides of the Atlantic. Of course they’d been teetering on the cliff edge of sanity for a while, following the bruising of their beloved EU by 17m angry Brits and Hillary’s loss to that orange muppet they thought no one except rednecks would vote for. But now they’ve gone over. They’re falling fast. They’re speeding away from the world of logic into a cesspit of conspiracy and fear. It’s tragic. Or hilarious. One or the other.

Exhibit A: this week’s New Yorker. It’s mad. It captures wonderfully how the liberal-left has come to be polluted by the paranoid style of McCarthyist thinking since Trump’s victory. It’s a New Yorker for a future, dystopian America that’s been captured by the Evil Empire. The mag’s masthead is in Cyrillic and its famous dandy mascot — Eustace Tilley — has morphed into Putin. It’s now "Eustace Vladimirovich Tilley." Inside the mag it’s even more feverish. A 13,000-word report, "Trump, Putin and the New Cold War," is accompanied by a drawing of a deep-red, UFO-style Kremlin hovering over the White House and firing lasers into it. It’s CGI Hollywood meets House Un-American Activities in an orgy of liberal dread over Ruskies ruining the nation.

It used to be right-wingers who fretted over Russians and Reds and pinkos colonising Westerners’ lives and minds. Now it’s lefties. Trump is regularly called "Putin’s puppet." He’s an "unwitting agent" of Moscow, we’re told. The New York Times even called him "The Siberian Candidate," echoing the title of the 1962 thriller The Manchurian Candidate, in which an American is brainwashed by Korean Communists to become an assassin. That’s how some seriously view Trump: a Putin-moulded foot soldier of Russian interests who’ll assassinate the American way of life, if not American citizens. I mean, Vanity Fair actually asks: "Is Trump a Manchurian Candidate?" These people need a lie down.
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Reflections on the Revolution in Middlebury

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A few months ago, AEI’s student group at Middlebury College invited me to speak on the themes in Coming Apart and how they relate to the recent presidential election. Professor Allison Stanger of the Political Science Department agreed to serve as moderator of the Q&A and to ask the first three questions herself.

About a week before the event, plans for protests began to emerge, encouraged by several faculty members. Their logic was that since I am a racist, a white supremacist, a white nationalist, a pseudoscientist whose work has been discredited, a sexist, a eugenicist, and (this is a new one) anti-gay, I did not deserve a platform for my hate speech, and hence it was appropriate to keep me from speaking.

Last Wednesday, the day before the lecture was to occur, I got an email from Bill Burger, Vice President for Communications at Middlebury. The size and potential ferocity of the planned protests had escalated. We agreed to meet at the Middlebury Inn an hour before the lecture so that we could go over a contingency plan: In the event that the protesters in the lecture hall did not cease and desist after a reasonable period, Professor Stanger and I would repair to a room near the lecture hall where a video studio had been set up that would enable us to live-stream the lecture and take questions via Twitter.

Here’s how it played out.

The lecture hall was at capacity, somewhere around 400. There were lots of signs with lots of slogans (see the list of allegations above), liberally sprinkled with the f-word. A brave member of the AEI student group, Ivan Valladares, gave an eloquent description of what the group was about. Middlebury’s president, Laurie Patton, gave a statement about the importance of free speech even though she disagrees with much of my work. A second brave member of the AEI club, Alexander Khan, introduced me. All this was accompanied by occasional catcalls and outbursts, but not enough to keep the speakers from getting through their material. Then I went onstage, got halfway through my first sentence, and the uproar began.
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Trump Tapped? President Accuses Obama Of Spying On His Campaign

Over the weekend, President Trump Tweeted the he had just learned that former President Obama had wiretapped the campaign headquarters at Trump Towers. The mainstream media is largely ignoring the actual claims -- certainly there is very little investigative journalism going on over it -- but in reality this may be coming to a showdown: either President is so incredibly reckless that he would falsely accuse his predecessor of a serious crime, or former President Obama has indeed committed the most serious political crime since Watergate. What will happen? We discuss in today's Liberty Report...
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Arizona Challenges the Fed’s Money Monopoly

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History shows that, if individuals have the freedom to choose what to use as money, they will likely opt for gold or silver.
 
Of course, modern politicians and their Keynesian enablers despise the gold or silver standard. This is because linking a currency to a precious metal limits the ability of central banks to finance the growth of the welfare-warfare state via the inflation tax. This forces politicians to finance big government much more with direct means of taxation.
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