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The Syria Outcome Will Haunt Those Who Started This War

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The Middle East is metamorphosing. New fault-lines are emerging, yet Trump’s foreign policy “hawks” still try to stage “old movies” in a new “theatre.” The “old movie” is for the US to “stand up” Sunni, Arab states, and lead them towards confronting “bad actor” Iran. “Team Bolton” is reverting back to the old 1996 Clean Break script – as if nothing has changed.
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Democrats Prepare Hearings on 'Rightwing Extremism'

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Prior to the 2018 midterm election, I speculated a Democrat-controlled House would result in hearings targeting “hate groups,” that is to say anybody on the “right” who challenges official narratives, otherwise known as “conspiracy theories.”

“Rep. Bennie Thompson, an African American lawmaker from Mississippi, is in charge of the House Homeland Security Committee,” reports McClatchy. “Thompson intends to hold hearings to spotlight what experts say is a growth of deadly right wing extremism in America, even if the hearings could feature members of white supremacist groups.”
Thompson said his aim is to change the dialogue and find a balance in a US domestic terrorism strategy that he believes has focused too heavily on the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorism and too little the rise of far right, white nationalist, and anti-Semitic groups.
The corporate propaganda media has done a fair job of conflating “white supremacy” and political thought the government wants to silence and shutdown.

The McClatchy article follows this line and links the “trend” of antigovernment activism to Timothy McVeigh and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
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Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO

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The New York Times loves NATO, but should you?

Judging by comments in social media and the real world, millions of people in the United States have gone from having little or no opinion on NATO, or from opposing NATO as the world’s biggest military force responsible for disastrous wars in places like Afghanistan (for Democrats) or Libya (for Republicans), to believing NATO to be a tremendous force for good in the world.

I believe this notion to be propped up by a series of misconceptions that stand in dire need of correction.

1. NATO is not a war-legalizing body, quite the opposite. NATO, like the United Nations, is an international institution that has something or other to do with war, but transferring the UN’s claimed authority to legalize a war to NATO has no support whatsoever in reality. The crime of attacking another nation maintains an absolutely unaltered legal status whether or not NATO is involved. Yet NATO is used within the US and by other NATO members as cover to wage wars under the pretense that they are somehow more legal or acceptable. This misconception is not the only way in which NATO works against the rule of law. Placing a primarily-US war under the banner of NATO also helps to prevent Congressional oversight of that war. Placing nuclear weapons in “non-nuclear” nations, in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, is also excused with the claim that the nations are NATO members (so what?). And NATO, of course, assigns nations the responsibility to go to war if other nations go to war — a responsibility that requires them to be prepared for war, with all the damage such preparation does.
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The Obama/New York Times Plot To Overthrow Trump

Another "blockbuster" report on Trump's "ties" to Russia has fizzled into nothingness, as the New York Times' piece over the weekend on an FBI counterintelligence investigation opened against the president was riddled with holes and absurdities. What came through loud and clear, however, was that Obama appointees and loyalists in the FBI and elsewhere in the deep state were determined to do everything in their power to overthrow a legally elected US president. Our take in today's Liberty Report...
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Please, TSA Workers, Don’t Come Back

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Understandably, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees are no more enthusiastic about working when their paychecks are delayed than is anybody else on the planet. That's why they've been calling-in sick in increased numbers—some to seek temporary work elsewhere in order to pay their bills—as the more-theater-than-reality"government shutdown" drags on. But, isn't this an opportunity for us all?
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The New York Times Smears the President

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The Donald has been on a red hot twitter rampage, and he's completely justified. Actually, we didn't think the Russian Collusion Hoax could get any stupider until we saw the New York Times' Friday evening bushwhack. 

The trio of authors, apparently self-tortured victims of the Trump Derangement Syndrome, actually had the gall to print a story in the once and former Gray Lady of journalistic rectitude which was nothing more than an ugly smear on the sitting President of the United States—one that would have done Joe McCarthy proud:
In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as FBI director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation. 

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.
It doesn't get lower than that. The only thing that they didn't mention was presidential Treason, but it's hard to say that "working in behalf of Russia against American interests" would constitute anything less.
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Pompeo At It Again: Calls For Venezuela Coup

From his recent Middle East tour, which included a stop in Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would "restore" the Venezuelan constitution. He declared that the Venezuelan people and government should rise up against the recently-elected government in the name of "freedom and democracy." The irony of his calling for democracy in Venezuela while touring Saudi Arabia was no doubt noted. Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Back to the USSR: How to Read Western News

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The heroes of Dickens' Pickwick Papers visit the fictional borough of Eatanswill to observe an election between the candidates of the Blue Party and the Buff Party. The town is passionately divided, on all possible issues, between the two parties. Each party has its own newspaper: the Eatanswill Gazette is Blue and entirely devoted to praising the noble Blues and excoriating the perfidious and wicked Buffs; the Eatanswill Independent is equally passionate on the opposite side of every question. No Buff would dream of reading the "that vile and slanderous calumniator, the Gazette", nor Blue the ''that false and scurrilous print, the Independent".

As usual with Dickens it is both exaggerated and accurate. Newspapers used to be screamingly partisan before "journalism" was invented. Soon followed journalism schools, journalism ethics and journalism objectivity: "real journalism" as they like to call it (RT isn't of course). "Journalism" became a profession gilded with academical folderol; no longer the refuge of dropouts, boozers, failures, budding novelists and magnates like Lord Copper who know what they want and pay for it. But, despite the pretence of objectivity and standards, there were still Lord Coppers and a lot of Eatanswill. Nonetheless, there were more or less serious efforts to get the facts and balance the story. And Lord Coppers came and went: great newspaper empires rose and fell and there was actually quite a variety of ownership and news outlets. There was sufficient variance that a reader, who was neither Blue nor Buff, could triangulate and form a sense of what was going on.

In the Soviet Union news was controlled; there was no "free press"; there was one owner and the flavours were only slightly varied: the army paper, the party paper, the government paper, papers for people interested in literature or sports. But they all said the same thing about the big subjects. The two principal newspapers were Pravda ("truth") and Izvestiya ("news").
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Bolton Had Pentagon Draw Up "Far-Reaching Military Options To Strike Iran"

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The Wall Street Journal published an Iran bombshell Sunday morning, confirming the White House had the Pentagon prepare "military options" to strike the country last year. The sudden request, seen as an unprecedented Iraq-style "shock and awe" attack on Iran, caught the Pentagon off guard, to the point that "State Dept. and Pentagon officials were rattled by the request" which officials further told the WSJ was "mind-boggling" and "cavalier" in terms of how brazen it was. 

The request for military options came in early September after the United States accused Iran-backed militias in Iraq of firing three mortars at the US Embassy and diplomatic compound in Baghdad, and at a time that riots and political instability were spreading throughout some major cities in Iraq, especially in the south. It was also an opportunity for noted Iran hawk and national security advisor John Bolton to push for "far-reaching military options to strike Iran" — a regime change project he's pushed in public many years prior to taking his White House post last April.

The WSJ reports:
The request, which hasn’t been previously reported, came after militants fired three mortars into Baghdad’s sprawling diplomatic quarter, home to the US Embassy, on a warm night in early September. The shells—launched by a group aligned with Iran—landed in an open lot and harmed no one.

But they triggered unusual alarm in Washington, where Mr. Trump’s national security team led by John Bolton conducted a series of meetings to discuss a forceful American response, including what many saw as the unusual request for options to strike Iran.
Though it's unclear if the strike options ended up on President Trump's desk following the formal request from the National Security Council, or if they were ever seriously considered by the White House, “It definitely rattled people,” one former senior US administration official described. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran,” the source said.
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Campaign Finance Reform Helps Special Interests

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One of the new Democratic House majority’s top priorities is so-called campaign finance reform legislation. Contrary to the claims of its supporters, campaign finance reform legislation does not limit the influence of powerful special interests. Instead, it violates the First Amendment and burdens those seeking real change in government.

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