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What Will Rex Tillerson Inherit at the State Department?

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As Secretary of State, what will Rex Tillerson inherit at the State Department?

The media has been aflame recently trying to stretch the facts — personnel changes and some unhappy employees in the midst of a major governmental transition — to fit the narrative of a State Department on the verge of collapse. But while rumors of the State Department’s demise are largely exaggerated, the organization may yet find itself shunted aside into irrelevance.

There has been a lot of hot-blooded talk about Donald Trump and the federal workforce. The media once claimed Trump would not be able to fill his political appointee positions, and then suggested employees might resign en masse before he even was inaugerated. Another round of stories fanned panic that Trump had dumped his existing ambassadors, when in fact it was only the Obama-appointed ones who tendered resignations by tradition, as happens every four years.

Then only last week the Washington Post published a bombastic story claiming the State Department’s entire senior management team had resigned in protest. The real story, however, was that all/most of the six were de facto fired. Several were connected to the Clinton emails or Clinton’s handling of Benghazi. One of these people, Pat Kennedy, played a significant role in both. These were not protest resignations, they were housecleaning by the new boss in town.

As for plunging the State Department into chaos, the loss of six employees is not going to bring on Armageddon. Reports that these people represent “senior management” at State confuse terms. Because of the odd way State is organized, four of the six work in the Management Bureau, M in State talk. Kennedy was the head of the Bureau. The four play varying roles and collectively are not the senior management of the State Department. Two work in other parts of the Department directly tied to Obama-era policies likely to change under the new administration.
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Iran 'On Notice' - Will Trump Pull The Trigger?

Does President Trump's National Security Advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, realize that both his reasons for putting Iran "on notice" are completely bogus? Iran's test firing a ballistic missile is not a violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the related UN resolution. And the Yemeni Houthi attack on a Saudi naval vessel had nothing to do with Iran. Does he realize his rationale is fabricated and presents it anyway? Or is he that ill-informed that he has no idea? With either case there is reason to be alarmed. Does Trump mean to start a war with Iran? How will Russia react? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Ukraine - Coup Government Tries To Sabotage US-Russia Rapprochement

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Fighting in east Ukraine has restarted. This is an attempt by "deep state" forces to prevent any rapprochement between the US and Russia under the new Trump administration.

The west-Ukrainian forces under command of the coup government of President Poroshenko started a large attack against the Russian supported Ukrainian self-defense forces in Donetsk and Lugansk governate.

A ceasefire arranged after the Minsk II agreement provided for demilitarized zones along a line of separation. The Ukrainian government has so far avoided to fulfill the Minsk II agreement that would allow a reuniting of the country. An OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), which includes officers from NATO countries as well as Russia, is supervising the ceasefire and issues daily reports.
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Like Saudi Arabia, Israel Has a Soft Spot for Sunni Extremism

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Thanks to last summer’s release of 28 pages detailing a variety of links between 9/11 hijackers and Saudi government officials—and the October leak of a 2014 email from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declaring the Saudi government was directly supporting ISIS—it’s increasingly clear that the US government’s depiction of Saudi Arabia as a vital ally in the “war on terror” is dishonest.

Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia isn’t the only supposed “ally” whose official depiction as a steadfast foe of terrorism is out of sync with reality: The branding of Israel is also deeply misleading.

Israeli Aid to Al Qaeda in Syria

Though it received very little coverage in US media, last year it was revealed that the Israeli government was providing medical support to the al Nusra Front, a Syrian arm of al Qaeda.

That would seem inconsistent with routine declarations from US politicians that there should be “no daylight” between the United States and Israel, language that suggests two peoples whose interests are in perfect alignment.
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Rule by Brute Force: The True Nature of Government

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The torch has been passed to a new president.

All of the imperial powers amassed by Barack Obama and George W. Bush—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which he might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability—have been inherited by Donald Trump.

Whatever kind of president Trump chooses to be, he now has the power to completely alter the landscape of this country for good or for ill.

He has this power because every successive occupant of the Oval Office has been allowed to expand the reach and power of the presidency through the use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements that can be activated by any sitting president.

Those of us who saw this eventuality coming have been warning for years about the growing danger of the Executive Branch with its presidential toolbox of terror that could be used—and abused—by future presidents.
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Droning On: More US Bombs On Yemen

Why is President Trump continuing the failed Middle East policy of President Obama? Last weekend's drone strike on Yemen  was supposedly aimed at al-Qaeda operatives, but it also killed a significant number of innocent women and children. And al-Qaeda? They are the greatest beneficiaries of the US-backed Saudi war against Yemen. We are supposedly fighting al-Qaeda while backing those who are helping al-Qaeda? Does it make sense? We discuss in today's Liberty Report...
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Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister.

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Nawar al-Awlaki, killed by US, Jan. 29th.

In 2010, President Obama directed the CIA to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, despite the fact that he had never been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime, and the agency successfully carried out that order a year later with a September, 2011 drone strike. While that assassination created widespread debate – the once-again-beloved ACLU sued Obama to restrain him from the assassination on the ground of due process and then, when that suit was dismissed, sued Obama again after the killing was carried out – another drone-killing carried out shortly thereafter was perhaps even more significant yet generated relatively little attention.

Two weeks after the killing of Awlaki, a separate CIA drone strike in Yemenkilled his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman, along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis. The US eventually claimed that the boy was not their target but merely “collateral damage.” Abdulrahman’s grief-stricken grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, urged the Washington Post “to visit a Facebook memorial page for Abdulrahman,” which explained: “Look at his pictures, his friends, and his hobbies His Facebook page shows a typical kid.”

Few events pulled the mask off Obama officials like this one. It highlighted how the Obama administration was ravaging Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries: just weeks after he won the Nobel Prize, Obama used cluster bombs that killed 35 Yemeni women and children. Even Obama-supporting liberal comedians mocked the Obama DOJ’s arguments for why it had the right to execute Americans with no charges: “Due Process Just Means There’s A Process That You Do,” snarked Stephen Colbert. And a firestorm erupted when former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs offered a sociopathic justification for killing the Colorado-born teenager, apparently blaming him for his own killing by saying he should have “had a more responsible father.”
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Trump's Travel Ban: Targeting Terrorism...Or Iran?

President Trump's recent Executive Order banning entry to citizens of seven mostly-Muslim countries for 90 days has sparked protest and outrage. Lost in the din created by the protests is the fact that these seven countries have something in common: they have been targeted by the US for bombs or regime change. Where Iraq and Syria are now considered terrorist threats, for example, before US regime change and invasion there was no terrorist problem. Iran has never attacked or threatened the United States, but it is on the list of banned countries. Saudi Arabia was complicit in the 9/11 attacks on the US and 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudi citizens, however somehow the Saudis escaped President Trump's notice. Is this really about protecting us from terrorism, or is it about politics? We discuss today in the Liberty Report...
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A Better Solution Than Trump’s Border Wall

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Just one week in office, President Trump is already following through on his pledge to address illegal immigration. His January 25th executive order called for the construction of a wall along the entire length of the US-Mexico border. While he is right to focus on the issue, there are several reasons why his proposed solution will unfortunately not lead us anywhere closer to solving the problem.

First, the wall will not work. Texas already started building a border fence about ten years ago. It divided people from their own property across the border, it deprived people of their land through the use of eminent domain, and in the end the problem of drug and human smuggling was not solved.
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