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Assad Must Stay: US Policy Shift In Syria?

According to the Washington Post, President Obama did a 180 degree turn in Syria and will begin attacking al-Qaeda's affiliate in the country. The five year "Assad must go" strategy lies in tatters, as Assad will likely still be in power when it's time for Obama to go. What are the implications of this shift? We discuss on today's Liberty Report
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Bulgaria & Moldova Switch from Hillary's Euro-Atlantic Column

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November 13th was as unlucky for stalwart backers of the foreign policy-line embodied by Hillary Clinton just as 8th November was for her domestic supporters. In both Bulgaria and Moldova, the voters rejected candidates for president who had been openly endorsed by Washington and Brussels. Having witnessed how small states with tiny electorates but vital Electoral College votes dealt body-blows to Hillary Clinton's hopes of winning the US Presidency, it would be short-sighted and arrogant - as the Euro-Atlantic establishment has so often been - to dismiss voters in small East European states as irrelevant.

Having presumed that Bulgaria was irretrievably anchored in the Euro-Atlantic power-structure by its accession to both NATO and the EU, the choice of an openly pro-Russian candidate for president of the country is a wake-up call to Brussels and Washington. Similarly, the Moldovan elite had seemed locked into an "irreversible" course as its premier put it to integration - better said subordination - to the Euro-Atlantic model. In both cases, the majority of citizens thought different. 

Until the implosion of the neo-con regime-change foreign policy embodied by Hillary Clinton and her attack-dog for Eastern Europe, Victoria Neuland, we could have been confident that the heavy-hands of Washington and Brussels would have pressured both Bulgaria and Moldova to reverse such results. Yet even cash inducements like the IMF's sudden dole of US$36 million to the Moldovan regime just six days before the poll could not buy enough support . Even more striking was the Bulgarian public's rejection of the pro-EU candidate who had boasted about how much EU aid to the poverty- stricken Balkan EU member was at stake.
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Memo to the Next Administration: Defense Spending Must Be For Actual Defense

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In a disturbing indication of how difficult it would be to bring military spending in line with actual threats overseas, House Armed Services Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX) told President Obama last week that his war funding request of $11.6 billion for the rest of the year was far too low. That figure for the last two months of 2016 is larger than Spain’s budget for the entire year! And this is just a “war-fighting” supplemental, not actual “defense” spending! More US troops are being sent to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere and the supplemental request is a way to pay for them without falling afoul of the “sequestration” limits.

The question is whether this increase in US military activity and spending overseas actually keeps us safer, or whether it simply keeps the deep state and the military-industrial complex alive and well-funded.
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Long Live the Establishment!

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What happens next in Washington? Trump fills out his administration. At the same time, Washington insiders attempt to capture Trump and influence his positions, policies and decisions. The presidency is an institution, not a man, not a president. The presidency is a network of enormous power with Trump now at its center. Washington insiders who live and breathe politics are now in a race for positions of power and influence. They hanker and vie for appointments. Trump must make appointments. He cannot operate alone. He must delegate power to make decisions. He cannot monitor all information pertinent to every issue in which the government has a hand. 

The presidency is not 100 percent centralized. Decision-making power is allocated to levels below the president himself and to levels surrounding him. It also lies outside the presidency in Congress. Trump has his ideas and desires for actions, but their realization depends on the people he appoints. He loses control and locks himself in with every appointment that he makes. People around him want his power and want to influence him. They have a heavy influence on what he hears, whom he sees, the options presented to him, and the evaluations of competing personnel. Trump will likely form a very small team of offshoots of himself, people whom he trusts implicitly, in order to extend his capacity to choose people who will adhere to and execute his agenda.

Power in Washington is not simply the apparatus of administering the presidency that will take up headlines for the next few months. After the U.S. Treasury robs the tax-paying Americans, new robbers (the Lobby) appear to rob the Treasury using every device they can get away with. There is a second contingent, the power-seekers. Those who covet the exercise of power unceasingly work toward their own narrow aims. As long as Washington remains the place that concentrates unbelievably large amounts of money and powers, it will remain the swamp that Trump has promised to drain but won’t.
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Commander-In-Chief Donald Trump Will Have Terrifying Powers. Thanks, Obama.

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When Donald Trump becomes commander in chief in January, he will take on presidential powers that have never been more expansive and unchecked.

He’ll control an unaccountable drone program, and the prison at Guantanamo Bay. His FBI, including a network of 15,000 paid informants, already has a record of spying on mosques and activists, and his NSA’s surveillance empire is ubiquitous and governed by arcane rules, most of which remain secret. He will inherit bombing campaigns in seven Muslim countries, the de facto ability to declare war unilaterally, and a massive nuclear arsenal — much of which is on hair-trigger alert.

Caught off guard by Hillary Clinton’s election defeat, Democrats who defended these powers under President Obama may suddenly be having second thoughts as the White House gets handed over to a man they described — with good reason — as “unhinged,” and “dangerously unfit.”

In the years after the 9/11 terror attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his legal adviser David Addington dramatically expanded the powers of the presidency, asserting the unilateral right in wartime to ignore legal limits on things like torture and government eavesdropping. Congressional Democrats generally caved, but made a few efforts to push back.

The Democrats went silent on executive overreach when Obama was elected, however.
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Ron Paul to Trump: Don't Listen to Neocons!

Ron Paul, known for his promotion of the United States following a noninterventionist foreign policy, presented Thursday his take on the prospects of Donald Trump’s foreign policy as president. Paul set out his analysis in an extensive interview with host Peter Lavelle at RT.

Paul started off the interview saying that he is keeping his “fingers crossed” regarding Trump’s potential foreign policy actions. Paul says he views favorably Trump’s comments in the presidential election about “being less confrontational with Russia” and criticizing some of the US wars in the Middle East. Paul, though, notes that Trump has presented “vague” foreign policy positions overall. Paul also comments that a good indication of how Trump will act on foreign policy issues will be provided by looking at who Trump appoints to positions in the executive branch and from whom Trump receives advice.
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Trump: Don't Follow the Bush-Obama Foreign Policy Legacy

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Eight years ago, President Obama had a chance to change the warmongering direction that outgoing President Bush and the U.S. national-security establishment had led America for the previous eight years. Obama could have said, “Enough is enough. America has done enough killing and dying. I’m going to lead our country in a different direction — toward peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world.” He could have ordered all U.S. troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan to return home. He could have ended U.S. involvement in the endless wars that Bush, the Pentagon, and the CIA spawned in that part of the world. He could have led America in a new direction.

Instead, Obama decided to stay Bush’s course, no doubt believing that he, unlike Bush, could win the endless wars that Bush had started. It was not to be. He chose to keep the national-security establishment embroiled in Afghanistan and Iraq. Death and destruction are Obama’s legacy, just as they were Bush’s.

Obama hoped that Hillary Clinton would protect and continue his (and Bush’s) legacy of foreign death and destruction. Yesterday, a majority of American voters dashed that hope.

Will Trump change directions and bring U.S. troops home? Possibly not, especially given he is an interventionist, just as Clinton, Bush, and Obama are. But there is always that possibility, especially since Trump, unlike Clinton, owes no allegiance to the U.S. military-industrial complex, whose survival and prosperity depends on endless wars and perpetual crises.
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Tug Of War Between NATO And Trump: Who Will Win?

As a candidate, Donald Trump has repeatedly said that the US should try to get along with Russia. It may well be that his seeming reluctance to take the US into World War III -- unlike his opponent -- may have contributed significantly to his victory. What is going to happen when in a few months' time a President Trump who wants better relations with Russia confronts a NATO and a Pentagon that continues to put troops and weapons on Russia's borders? Will Trump blink or will he face down Brussels and the deep state inside the Beltway? We look at the possibilities in today's Liberty Report...
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Post-Election Roundup: How Did Liberty Do?

There is much to discuss and digest about yesterday's "surprise" victory of Donald Trump in the presidential race. The role of the media is a big one. Regardless of what one thinks of Trump or his policies, the mainstream media clearly saw itself as part of the campaign -- on Clinton's side -- rather than as mere observers and reporters of the campaign. What are our hopes and fears as we face a Trump Administration? Plus, we look at some of the different initiatives across the country dealing with guns, the drug war, soda pop, and more. All in today's election roundup Liberty Report...
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Election 2016 - Prediction Of Things To Come

We know that one of the major candidates will win today's presidential election. We don't know which one. But we do have a few predictions for what will change and what will stay the same regardless of who wins. Foreign policy - will it change? How about Congress - will they finally begin standing up to their Constitutional obligations? The Supreme Court - is the next nominee so important and what Congress can do. In today's Liberty Report we balance our cynicism with a solid dose of silver lining in discussing what to look for in the immediate future...
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