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Ron Paul Rewind: Repeal Indefinite Detention!

This week served as another reminder that the Beltway serves the Beltway and not the American people. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) again appeared on the House Floor and again it flushed away hundreds of billions of dollars to maintain the US military empire overseas. Very little if any of the $600-plus billion in Pentagon spending will go to actually keeping us safe, and in fact much of it will be used to provoke our current and future adversaries thereby making us far less safe. The NDAA also has become notorious for stepping far over the line in violating our civil liberties. This year a measure to force young women to register for the draft narrowly missed inclusion in the bill -- it was removed at the last minute. But remember the NDAA of 2012? Remember Section 1021, which provided for the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial? Remember how little opposition such an anti-American measure faced in Congress? Remember when one outraged Congressman went to the Floor of the House to demand that this horrible measure be repealed?
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Merle Haggard vs. Eliot Cohen

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Poor Eliot Cohen: one of the principal architects of the Iraq war, and chief ideologue of Bushism in foreign policy – remember the “freedom agenda”? – he’s miffed that “This campaign shows that the foreign policy consensus that has framed this country’s work overseas since 1950 is in peril.” His ire is directed at Donald Trump, but he’s more than a little annoyed at the left-wing of the Democratic party, which is also showing signs of messing around with the Sacred Consensus. How dare these miscreants challenge a “consensus” that brought us a whole series of outright military defeats, from Vietnam to the Iraq war, and cost us tens of thousands of lost lives and an incalculable amount in dollars! Egghead “intellectuals” like Robert McNamara and Cohen know a lot more about foreign policy than the denizens of flyover country, such as one Merle Haggard, who advised us in one of his ditties:

“Let’s get out of Iraq and get back on track
And let’s rebuild America first.”

Of course, Haggard didn’t know that – as Cohen helpfully points out – he was invoking a “notorious movement” that “included not only traditional isolationists but also Nazi sympathizers.” It’s a good thing we have Cohen around to set us straight: otherwise we might all be turning into little Hitlers when we think we’re just opposing yet another chickenhawk-inspired war.
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Obama's Global Anti-Corruption Cops Should Call Internal Affairs

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

Or maybe Kerry lost the memo. By the time he got to Egypt on Wednesday, judging by his public comments, he seems to have forgotten about corruption despite standing in one of its capitals.

Much of the teeth-gnashing at last week’s 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 tax havens — ironically, the same type of accounts used by both British Prime Minister David Cameron and Kerry. A joint communique solemnly pledged to “driv(e) out those lawyers, real estate agents and accountants who facilitate or are complicit in corruption.”
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Bill Clinton to Poland and Hungary: Do As We Say on Immigration, You Dirty Little Putins!

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Shortly after World War II, after the Soviet Red Army liberated Hungary from Nazi occupation, the Hungarians held their first election in six years. The November, 1945 vote resulted in an overwhelming victory for a coalition led by the agrarian, anti-communist Hungarian Smallholders Party. This victory at the ballot box infuriated Hungary's Communist Party and Hungary's new occupying Soviet overlords. Little by little, in what became known as "salami tactics," the Hungarian communists chipped away at the ruling coalition -- slicing off one piece of salami (coalition partner) at a time until nothing was left. Once accomplished, a new election was held in which the Communists captured power and ruled for 40 years from the barrel of a Soviet tank (literally in 1956).
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Lavender Leninists and Heretic-Hunters: The Thoughtcrime Prosecution of Ruth Neely

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During her years as a Magistrate Judge in Pinedale, Wyoming, Ruth Neely performed dozens of civil marriage ceremonies. State law (Sect. 20-1-106[a]) specifies that magistrates, like “every licensed or ordained minister of the gospel, bishop, priest, or rabbi … may perform the ceremony of marriage in this state.”

Presiding at a civil wedding is a discretionary function of the magistrate’s office, not a mandatory duty. Neely had an unqualified right to decline a request to preside at a wedding, for any reason that suited her.

Prior to December 2014, she had never performed a same-sex wedding ceremony, because they were not recognized by the State of Wyoming.  Shortly before Christmas that year, Neely was interviewed by a newspaper reporter named Ned Donovan, who asked her if she was “excited” to begin officiating at same-sex wedding ceremonies.

A few weeks earlier, the US District Court in Wyoming had issued a ruling prohibiting state officials “from enforcing or applying” Wyoming’s existing marriage statute. Neely had made formal inquiries about how this would affect her responsibilities and had been counseled to refrain from public comment on the matter until official guidance was given.
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TSA Total Failure - No Surprise!

For the "privilege" of being groped and radiated before being allowed to travel, passengers are now facing the additional TSA abuse of being forced to miss their flights due to unimaginably long security check lines. Thousands are missing their flights, and much of the problem is that the agency has thrown a hissy-fit over a slight reduction in the number of screeners. Some 4,600 screeners were cut in hopes that more people would sign up for "TSA-PRE" (they didn't) and thus fewer screeners would be necessary. They now want not only all of those back -- they want an additional 6,000 screeners, which would far exceed the limit set by Congress! To top it off, a recent Homeland Security investigation of TSA performance at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport found that nine out of twelve times TSA screeners missed simulated explosive material passing through checkpoints. What to do about an inefficient government agency that abuses our civil liberties? We have some ideas in today's Liberty Report
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Anti-War is Pro-American

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Thomas Jefferson declared the American way of interacting with the world to be "peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none." However, over the course of at least the past seven decades, the US government has turned this admonition on its head.

Peace? The US government has waged wars of choice almost constantly since the end of World War II. It has distributed death and destruction around the world for nearly 70 years straight in overt wars, covert wars, coup d’états, assassinations, cold wars, drone wars, etc.

Commerce? Through sanctions and embargoes, the US government has carried out economic warfare against entire countries due to political disagreements with their leaders. This has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents who were denied the opportunity to buy goods and services from the US and the rest of the world. It has also prohibited the ability of Americans to travel and trade freely.
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Return Of The Gold Standard? Why Now?

What does a discussion on gold and monetary policy have to do with an Institute that focuses on foreign policy and civil liberties? The Federal Reserve and its fiat currency policy is literally the lifeblood of the warfare state. Without endless printing of paper money by the Fed -- in other words if the money supply was limited by some sort of commodity-backed currency -- the warfare state, the military-industrial complex, the wealthy Beltway think-tankers would see their power slip away like sand through fingers. Sound monetary policy and a peaceful foreign policy go hand in hand and must not be ignored.
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The Police State and License Plate Scanners

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One of the latest tools for violating our privacy and creating the American police state are license plate scanners.

Watching You

This technology allows the police to cruise through a city at normal speed and photographically gather images of vehicle license plates, along with geolocation data. This is all stored, and can easily be used to create a record of everywhere your car has been. Coupled with cellphone and WiFi data being collected along with its own geodata, and tied to things like tracked credit card activity, emails and the now-ubiquitous public surveillance cameras, it is very, very easy for law enforcement to know where you are, where you have been and have a pretty good idea of what you were doing.

Run that same process for lots and lots of people, and you can also tell who spent time with who.

Vigilant Solutions

Expand that process nationwide and you truly have a police state.

How to do that? Contact a private company called Vigilant Solutions. They collect license plate scanning information from multiple police departments as well as their own network of private plate scanners and facial recognition/facial cataloging technology and then sell it in database form to law enforcement.
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The Facebook Facedown

Conservatives were up in arms upon hearing from a Facebook whistleblower that the popular social media site as a matter of course would suppress news of interest to conservatives (and libertarians) from its "trending" section. Would Facebook really secretly plot to suppress the views of so many of its dedicated users? Could they really have decided to suppress, as was reported, news on Ron and Rand Paul? Even the US government became interested, with Senator John Thune writing a very nasty letter to Facebook demanding more information on how the business operates. What is the solution to the issue? Definitely not the involvement of the Federal Government, which will only make things worse! In fact, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is already trying to mend fences, scheduling a meeting tomorrow with a group of conservative leaders. Ultimately the market will decide. If people have lost faith in Facebook as a result of these allegations, the business will suffer as people vote with their feet. More today in the Liberty Report...
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