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Obama Quietly Signs The ‘Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act’ Into Law

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Late on Friday, with the US population embracing the upcoming holidays and oblivious of most news emerging from the administration, Obama quietly signed into law the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes $611 billion for the military in 2017.

In a statement, Obama said that:
Today, I have signed into law S. 2943, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.” This Act authorizes fiscal year 2017 appropriations principally for the Department of Defense and for Department of Energy national security programs, provides vital benefits for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe. It continues many critical authorizations necessary to ensure that we are able to sustain our momentum in countering the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to reassure our European allies, as well as many new authorizations that, among other things, provide the Departments of Defense and Energy more flexibility in countering cyber-attacks and our adversaries’ use of unmanned aerial vehicles."
Much of the balance of Obama's statement blamed the GOP for Guantanamo's continued operation and warned that "unless the Congress changes course, it will be judged harshly by history," Obama said. Obama also said Congress failed to use the bill to reduce wasteful overhead (like perhaps massive F-35 cost overruns?) or modernize military health care, which he said would exacerbate budget pressures facing the military in the years ahead.
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New Year’s Resolutions for Donald Trump and Congress

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In the spirit of New Year’s, here are four resolutions for President-elect Trump and Congress that will enable them to really make America great again:

1) Audit the Fed….and then end it: The Federal Reserve Bank's easy money policies have eroded the American people’s standard of living and facilitated the growth of the welfare-warfare state. The Fed is also responsible for the growth in income inequality. Yet Congress still refuses to pass Audit the Fed, much less end it.

During the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised that Audit the Fed would be part of his first 100 days agenda. Unfortunately, he has not spoken of auditing the Fed or another aspect of monetary policy since the election. President-elect Trump should keep his promise and work with Congress to pass Audit the Fed and finally let the American people know the truth about the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy. Then, of course, end the Fed.
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Trump’s Need to Trust Americans

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Barack Obama’s chance for a transformative presidency ended when he bowed to Official Washington’s foreign-policy establishment of neocons and liberal interventionists and bought into the elitist notion that the American people should be guided by propaganda, not informed by facts.

Although he began his presidency by promising transparency, Obama instead undertook an unprecedented crackdown on national security whistleblowers, prosecuting more than all other presidents combined. Meanwhile, he authorized partial and misleading releases of information about key events. Instead of an informed public, his administration sought maximum propaganda advantage, such as with the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus, Syria, and with the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine.

But Obama’s anti-democratic approach to information, i.e., treating Americans like mushrooms in a darkened cellar, creates an opportunity for President-elect Donald Trump to do the opposite, reinvigorate US democracy by arming citizens with facts. By doing so, he also can counter his reputation as someone hostile to reality.

Once in office, Trump could use his power over pardons and commutations to reverse Obama’s punishment of truth-tellers – the likes of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden – and Trump can authorize as full a release of evidence about turning-point events as possible. There’s no justifiable reason for the US intelligence community to continue to withhold its assessments on the Syria-sarin case, which killed hundreds of civilians, or on the shoot-down of MH-17, which killed 298 people.
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The Fraudulent Obama War on Corruption

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The Obama administration wants Americans to believe that it is fiercely anti-corruption. “I have been shocked by the degree to which I find corruption pandemic in the world today,” declared Secretary of State John Kerry at an Anti-Corruption Summit in London last May. Kerry sounded like the French police chief in Casablanca who was “shocked” to discover gambling. Six years ago at the United Nations, Barack Obama proclaimed that the US government is “leading a global effort to combat corruption.” Maybe he forgot to send Kerry the memo.

Much of the teeth-gnashing at that summit involved tax evasion. Politicians pledged to share more data on tax records and corporate ownership to help boost government revenue around the globe. Summit attendees castigated hidden offshore bank accounts — ironically, the same type of accounts used by both British Prime Minister David Cameron and Kerry. A joint communique solemnly pledged to “drive out those lawyers, real estate agents, and accountants who facilitate or are complicit in corruption.”

Kerry proclaimed, “We have to get the global community to come together and have no impunity [sic] to corruption.” But the summit largely ignored the brazen corruption of politicians or how it is fueled by western governments, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Foreign aid has long been notorious for breeding kleptocracies — governments of thieves. Economic studies have revealed that boosting aid directly increases corruption. Fourteen years ago, George W. Bush promised to reform foreign aid: “We won’t be putting money into a society which is not transparent and corrupt.” (He probably meant “corruption-free.”) But the US aid programs — which cost taxpayers more than $40 billion a year — continue to bankroll many of the world’s most crooked regimes (according to ratings by Transparency International) — including Uzbekistan, Haiti, and Kenya. There is no “Tyrants Need Not Apply” sign at the entrance to the US Agency for International Development.
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Meltdown in Turkey?

After the July coup attempt, Turkey has faced increased instability. Over the past ten days more than 60 people have been killed in Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) bombings. And just days ago, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated by an apparent radical. Meanwhile, east Aleppo was liberated by the Syrian government with assistance from Russia and Iran, breaking the back of the "regime change" operation. What's next? A meeting between foreign ministers from Turkey, Russia, and Iran in Moscow this week may give some indications. Stay tuned...
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Global War On Terrorism: Are We Winning?

The US State Department comes out yearly with its list of "state sponsors of terrorism," but to many people overseas it is the US government itself that is a main sponsor of terrorism overseas. The US president claims the right to attack suspected terrorists in any corner of the globe at any time. The current US president has conducted thousands of drone strikes against countries with whom we are not at war, with an estimated 90 percent of strikes not hitting the intended target. The US government ships weapons to groups in places like Syria where it knows they will end up in the hands of al-Qaeda and ISIS. So perhaps US foreign policy is not tackling terrorism, but in fact perpetuating it. More in today's Liberty Report...
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The War on Terror: Anyway You Look at it, it's a Failure

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The twenty-first century, at least up until this point, might well be described as the age of the terrorist. Even though most Americans and Europeans rank terrorism as low among their concerns, the repercussions when a terrorist attack does take place are greatly magnified by the sheer horror associated with the mass killing of innocent people going about their daily lives.

There are a couple of annual reports that look at terrorism as a global phenomenon. The best known is the U.S. State Department’s Annual Country Reports on Terrorism that comes out in the Summer and covers the previous year. It is mandated by Congress and is largely based on Embassy and intelligence community sources.

The Country Reports purports to be an objective review of the year’s terrorist incidents as well as an overview of some of the players to include a discussion of “violent extremism” issues region by region and country by country. It is a valuable resource which provides considerable information on the various militant groups and the crimes attributed to them as well as their involvement globally. But it is nevertheless a government document. The Obama Administration definitely has had a point of view on what constitutes terrorism and how to deal with it based on how the White House would like to frame things from a political perspective. The section on Afghanistan, for example, implicitly makes a case for a more robust American role in the conflict engulfing that country.
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Electoral College - Should We Abolish It?

Does your vote count in the Electoral College system as crafted by our Founding Fathers? Some are saying that Hillary Clinton deserves to be president because she received the majority of popular votes in last month's presidential election. Is it unfair that getting the most votes does not count? In today's Liberty Report, Ron Paul explains why we have the electoral system and how states might modify the system to better reflect the will of the people...
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The Bad Losers and What They Fear Losing

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If the 2016 presidential campaign was a national disgrace, the reaction of the losers is an even more disgraceful spectacle. It seems that the political machine backing Hillary Clinton can’t stand losing an election. 

And why is that? 

Because they are determined to impose “exceptional” America’s hegemony on the entire world, using military-backed regime changes, and Donald Trump seems poised to spoil their plans. The entire Western establishment, roughly composed of neoconservative ideologues, liberal interventionists, financial powers, NATO, mainstream media, and politicians in both the United States and Western Europe, committed to remaking the Middle East to suit Israel and Saudi Arabia and to shattering impertinent Russia, have been thrown into an hysterical panic at the prospect of their joint globalization project being sabotaged by in ignorant intruder.

Donald Trump’s expressed desire to improve relations with Russia throws a monkey wrench into the plans endorsed by Hillary Clinton to “make Russia pay” for its bad attitude in the Middle East and elsewhere. If he should do what he has promised, this could be a serious blow to the aggressive NATO buildup on Russia’s European borders, not to mention serious losses to the US arms industry planning to sell billions of dollars worth of superfluous weapons to NATO allies on the pretext of the “Russian threat.”

The war party’s fears may be exaggerated, inasmuch as Trump’s appointments indicate that the United States’ claim to be the “exceptional,” indispensable nation will probably survive the changes in top personnel. But the emphasis may be different. And those accustomed to absolute rule cannot tolerate the challenge.
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After Aleppo: We Need a New Syria Policy

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Over the past week, eastern Aleppo was completely brought back under control of the Syrian government. The population began to return to its homes, many of which were abandoned when al-Qaeda-linked rebels took over in 2012. As far as I know, the western mainstream media did not have a single reporter on the ground in Aleppo, but relied on “activists” to inform us that the Syrian army was massacring the civilian population. It hardly makes sense for an army to fight and defeat armed rebels just so it can go in and murder unarmed civilians, but then again not much mainstream reporting on the tragedy in Syria has made sense.

I spoke to one western journalist last week who actually did report from Aleppo and she painted a very different picture of what was going on there. She conducted video interviews with dozens of local residents and they told of being held hostage and starved by the “rebels,” many of whom were using US-supplied weapons supposed to go to “moderates.”
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