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What Did Fed Chairman Yellen Tell Obama?

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This week, President Obama and Vice President Biden held a hastily arranged secret meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen. According to the one paragraph statement released by the White House following the meeting, Yellen, Obama, and Biden simply “exchanged notes” about the economy and the progress of financial reform. Because the meeting was held behind closed doors, the American people have no way of knowing what else the three might have discussed.

Yellen’s secret meeting at the White House followed an emergency secret Federal Reserve Board meeting. The Fed then held another secret meeting to discuss bank reform. These secret meetings come on the heels of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s estimate that first quarter GDP growth was .01 percent, dangerously close to the official definition of recession.
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The Phony War in Syria

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The great, long-awaited counterattack against ISIS has finally begun. The offensive that spans Syria and western Iraq is targeting the ISIS-held cities of Raqqa and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

For a variety of reasons, the much ballyhooed “final offensive” against ISIS is moving with all the speed of a medieval army of drunken foot soldiers and all the audacity of a lady’s garden party.

As a former soldier and war correspondent, I find the spectacle both pathetic and weird. Back in my army days, our tough sergeants used to call such behavior “lilly-dipping.” There’s no risk that this pathetic campaign will go down in the annals of military history.

In fact, the whole business smells to high heaven.
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Deadly Myths: Iraq 'Surge' General Calls for 'Surge 2.0'

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The history of post Cold War US involvement in Iraq is the story of the enduring power of myths to drive a false foreign policy narrative and achieve the goals of a singularly-focused pressure group (the interventionist neocons). From the 1990 myth that Saddam Hussein had on his own and in opposition to stated US wishes made a land grab in Kuwait, the myth that Iraqi troops were poised to invade Saudi Arabia, the 2003 myth that Saddam had, "in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons,"  to the myth that the invasion of Iraq would be a "cakewalk," to the myth that the US attack on Iraq would bring the Iraqi people "hope and progress."

But perhaps one of the most enduring myths of all, endlessly reinforced by the media, has been that after the disastrous aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a few brilliant military philosophers in the Pentagon came up with a "surge" in tandem with a new "counterinsurgency doctrine" that snatched victory in Iraq from the jaws of a horrible, scorched earth defeat. 

The "Surge" of some 20,000 additional American troops along with the cancellation of out-rotations of many others is said to have been responsible for an end to -- or at least a great reduction in -- the almost unimaginable levels of violence in Iraq, both among Iraqis and toward the US occupying army. In the words of then-President George W. Bush, the purpose of the surge was "to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security."
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Ron Paul's 'What If' Speech - Like You've Never Seen it Before

Many people remember Ron Paul's powerful 2011 House Floor speech, "What If?" In less than four minutes, Rep. Paul completely obliterated the entire neocon foreign policy of interventionism. He turned their claims around on them, he used their lies against them. It was a tremendous, memorable speech. But thanks to a very talented YouTube videographer, that amazing speech got even better. See for yourself...
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Does Over-Classification Matter With the Hillary Emails?

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Rules are for fools, and in this case the fools in question are you, me, and what’s left of the American democratic system. Obama, in an interview, basically made it clear nobody is going to indict Hillary Clinton for exposing classified material via her unclassified email server, even if it requires made-up rules to let her get away with it.

The president’s comments in an interview last Sunday that “there’s classified and then there’s classified” made clear he imagines national security law allows for ample, self-determined fudge room when exposing classified material.

Does Over-Classification Matter?

In case you are still not sure, nope, that is not the way the law works, and everyone (including me, for 24 years) who has held a security clearance knows it.

Obama’s and Clinton’s defenders claim that much of what Hillary exposed was over-classified, and perhaps some should never have been classified at all. Maybe. After reading documents at the Top Secret level and above over more than two decades I can say, sure, sometimes it seemed odd that something was regarded as as secret as it was.
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President Killary: Would The World Survive Another President Clinton?

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Hillary Clinton is proving to be the “teflon candidate.” In her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, she has escaped damage from major scandals, any one of which would destroy a politician. Hillary has accepted massive bribes in the form of speaking fees from financial organizations and corporations. She is under investigation for misuse of classified data, an offense for which a number of whistleblowers are in prison. Hillary has survived the bombing of Libya, her creation of a failed Libyan state that is today a major source of terrorist jihadists, and the Benghazi controversy. 

She has survived charges that as Secretary of State she arranged favors for foreign interests in exchange for donations to the Clintons’ foundation. And, of course, there is a long list of previous scandals: Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate. Diana Johnstone’s book, Queen of Chaos, describes Hillary Clinton as “the top salesperson for the ruling oligarchy.”

Hillary Clinton is a bought-and-paid-for representative of the big banks, the military-security complex, and the Israel Lobby. She will represent these interests, not those of the American people or America’s European allies.
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Plan B - US Arms Syria Rebels...AGAIN!

Washington (under pressure from "allies" Turkey and Saudi Arabia) has taken advantage of the ceasefire in Syria to ship massive amounts of weapons to the "moderates." Even the mainstream media has reported that 50 percent of what is shipped to the "moderate" Free Syrian Army finds its way into the hands of al-Qaeda's Nusra Front, a US-designated terrorist organization. Plus, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner has admitted that the "moderate" rebels are "co-mingled" with al-Qaeda in Syria. So this new US "Plan B" is for the CIA to arm those who are explicitly dedicated to attacking and overthrowing the Syrian government now that the Russians have succeeded in marginalizing ISIS. Is de-facto US/al-Qaeda alliance in Syria morally justifiable?
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John Kerry, and the Legacy of Hiroshima

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US Secretary of State John Kerry and fellow envoys from the G7 visited Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park on the margins of their summit meeting this week.

Kerry was the highest ranking American government official to visit the Peace Park, the memorial dedicated to the victims of the world’s first nuclear attack on August 6, 1945.

U.S. officials are considering a visit to Hiroshima by Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama during his trip to Japan for the G7 in late May. Obama, in 2011, expressed some interest in being the first sitting American president to visit the city, but never purused the plans.

Fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter did visit Hiroshima in 1984, albeit as a private citizen after leaving office. Other high-level American visits have been scattered only over recent years; _then-U.S. ambassador to Japan, John Roos attended the annual August 6 commemoration in Hiroshima in 2010, the first US ambassador to ever do so. In 2011, in another first, the United States sent a (lower ranking) official representative to the annual memorial service in Nagasaki. Current ambassador Caroline Kennedy attended the Hiroshima memorial service to mark the attack’s 70th anniversary last year.
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On 60 Minutes, A Compelling Case for Releasing 28 Pages on 9/11

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The movement to declassify 28 pages on foreign government ties to 9/11 received its highest-profile exposure to date yesterday, as 60 Minutes aired a report that featured insights from several former officials who are familiar with what the 28 pages contain—and believe the information should be public.

Even before it aired, Steve Kroft’s report had already had an impact: This afternoon, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement reviving her long-dormant stance that the pages should be declassified.

The 28 pages are an entire chapter in the 838-page report of a joint House-Senate intelligence inquiry into 9/11 conducted in 2002. They were redacted by the George W. Bush administration over the objection of many who served on the inquiry, and of 46 senators who signed a 2003 letter to Bush demanding the release of the pages to the public. Among the signatories: future Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and future Vice President Joe Biden.
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Military Suicides - Not Combat Related?

According to studies done by government-affiliated doctors, multiple combat deployments have nothing to do with the sharp rise in military suicides over the past several years. The problems are elsewhere, they claim, not the stresses on the military produced by the policy of perpetual war. If we are only allowed to monitor the emails and other communications of vets and active-duty military more closely, they say, we can identify problems before they fully manifest and then prescribe more drugs to fix the problems. And they need more resources. Always more resources...
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