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B-52s Over Korea...Protecting Our Homeland?

Why did the US fly a B-52 over South Korea yesterday? Was it a sign of superiority...or insecurity? North Korea tested some sort of nuclear device last week and the fly-over was part of a multi-pronged US response to the test. Today on the House Floor a bill strengthening sanctions against North Korea is likely to pass overwhelmingly. There is no shift in US thinking over the past 60 years. But if you think about it, even Kim Jong-Un's foreign policy is more rational that Obama's: in response to the threat posed by US troops in South Korea and strong rhetoric from Japan, North Korea has developed an effective nuclear deterrent. North Korea does not practice "regime change" overseas, it does not attempt to invade its neighbors. It merely has developed a deterrent to a threat. More on ineffective US foreign policy toward North Korea in today's Liberty Report...
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The State of the Nation: A Dictatorship Without Tears

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There’s a man who contacts me several times a week to disagree with my assessments of the American police state. According to this self-avowed Pollyanna who is tired of hearing “bad news,” the country is doing just fine, the government’s intentions are honorable, anyone in authority should be blindly obeyed, those individuals who are being arrested, shot and imprisoned must have done something to deserve such treatment, and if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t care whether the government is spying on you.

In other words, this man trusts the government with his life, his loved ones and his property, and anyone who doesn’t feel the same should move elsewhere.

It’s tempting to write this man off as dangerously deluded, treacherously naïve, and clueless to the point of civic incompetence. However, he is not alone in his goose-stepping, comfort-loving, TV-watching, insulated-from-reality devotion to the alternate universe constructed for us by the Corporate State with its government propaganda, pseudo-patriotism and contrived political divisions.

While only 1 in 5 Americans claim to trust the government to do what is right, the majority of the people are not quite ready to ditch the American experiment in liberty. Or at least they’re not quite ready to ditch the government with which they have been saddled.

As The Washington Post concludes, “Americans hate government, but they like what it does.” Indeed, kvetching aside, Americans want the government to keep providing institutionalized comforts such as Social Security, public schools, and unemployment benefits, fighting alleged terrorists and illegal immigrants, defending the nation from domestic and foreign threats, and maintaining the national infrastructure. And it doesn’t matter that the government has shown itself to be corrupt, abusive, hostile to citizens who disagree, wasteful and unconcerned about the plight of the average American.
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American Foreign Policy Oxymorons

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The way we use words matters — a lot. When words begin to lose their meaning or get distorted, the things we say begin to mean something entirely different…perhaps even expressing a sentiment opposite to the original intent. This is not unlike the term “doublespeak” (a concept highlighted in George Orwell’s 1984, where war is peace and peace is war). An important thing to note is that words do not change their meaning overnight. Rather, it’s more often a case of “meaning creep;” the more often red is called orange, it will eventually come to be considered so. 

While this may not matter much for colors, it matters immensely in the world of war, peace, and foreign policy. Ideas form words, and action follows from ideas. When war is falsely called “defensive” or “humanitarian,” the words provide a vehicle for the public at large to silently (or openly) condone violent, immoral action against other humans. Let’s take a look at some of the common phrases bandied about modern American foreign policy, and assess whether they mean what they say…or something entirely different.

Department of Defense: It used to be called the Department of War, which was a lot more appropriate. Take, for instance, the Merriam-Webster definition of defense: “the act of defending someone or something from attack.” By definition, the word "defense" implies that an attack is occurring, or perhaps imminent (which is another of those words that has been twisted beyond recognition). In reality, the Department of Defense manages fighting forces that have a presence in dozens upon dozens of countries around the world. Even the “National Guard” is deployed in support of numerous engagements: just last week, the Wisconsin Guard sent 65 members to Iraq and Kuwait.
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Oregon Standoff: Isolated Event or Sign of Things to Come?

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The nation's attention turned to Oregon this week when a group calling itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom seized control of part of a federal wildlife refuge. The citizens were protesting the harsh sentences given to members of the Hammond ranching family. The Hammonds were accused of allowing fires set on their property to spread onto federal land.

The Hammonds were prosecuted under a federal terrorism statute. This may seem odd, but many prosecutors are stretching the definition of terrorism in order to, as was the case here, apply the mandatory minimum sentences or otherwise violate defendants’ constitutional rights. The first judge to hear the case refused to grant the government’s sentencing request, saying his conscience was shocked by the thought of applying the mandatory minimums to the Hammonds. Fortunately for the government, it was able to appeal the decision to judges whose consciences were not shocked by draconian sentences.
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Nearly 60 Percent of Republicans Support Candidates Who Oppose Ousting Assad

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The Russian air campaign in Syria is netting some impressive gains – for Russia, Syria, and – although many of us are loath to admit it – the West: Russian air power, working closely with the Syrian Arab Army, has stymied the efforts of ISIS and other violent extremists to overthrow the secular, religiously tolerant, multi-confessional government of Syria. Gains have been made on the ground in and around Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Latakia. And there is evidence the Russian campaign was instrumental in the victory of US ally Iraq in Ramadi. That’s good (but then I speak as a Christian who believes the moderate, secular government of Assad is better for Christians than the horrendous US-backed jihadis who would replace it).

Not least among the happy consequences of Russia’s intervention has been its impact on US politics: recent polls reveal that close to 60 percent of Republican voters support candidates (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee) who think Assad should stay. The latest Reuters’ rolling 5-day poll (January 4, 2016) gives Trump (41.7 percent), Cruz, (13.2 percent), Paul (2.6 percent), and Huckabee (2.4 percent) for a combined 59.3 percent.

This represents an increase over other recent Reuters polls. A CNN/ORC poll published December 23rd gave Trump and Cruz alone a combined 57 percent of the poll (39 percent and 18 percent, respectively). Both candidates forthrightly expressed their support for Assad in the most recent Republican presidential debate (December 15th).
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Gun Control? What About US Arms Sales?

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While President Obama was tearing up to support his call for gun control, the US military-industrial complex was celebrating its continued leadership in the sale of weaponry to foreign regimes. According to the New York Times, US foreign arms deals increased nearly $10 billion in 2014. Total sales went from $26.7 billion in 2013 to $36.2 billion in 2014, a 35 percent increase.

Meanwhile, American statists, including those in the mainstream press, continue to scream about gun-show loopholes here in the United States but remain mute about the US government’s #1 position in sales of guns and other weapons around the world. (Russia and China, which US national-security state officials perceive to be “rivals” of the US Empire, are #2 and #5.)

Not surprisingly, billions of dollars of armaments went to brutal pro-US dictatorships, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar. While US officials justify such sales as “defense,” everyone knows that the armaments are used to fortify the dictatorships’ brutal hold on power in their countries. If citizens begin making waves against the US-supported tyranny under which they are suffering, they’re labeled terrorists. If they continue to make waves, that’s where US guns, tanks, and other armaments come into play.
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US (In)Justice Department Created Mess In Oregon

What is the role of federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the current Oregon standoff? At its core the dispute is about a federal government that runs roughshod over states, forcing otherwise peaceful ranchers like the Hammonds to be charged under federal terrorism laws for a controlled burn that accidentally scorched some federal government parkland. Setting aside the sideshow that is the armed occupation of a federal building in the remote nature preserve, the real issue is one of federal government over-reach and bullying. More today on the Liberty Report with special guest Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine...
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New ‘Jihadi John?’ ISIS Video Features English-Speaker

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For those who still don’t get why the War of Terror continues to fail after 14+ years, here is another lesson.

We all remember “Jihadi John,” who of course was never called that except in the western media. John (real name: Mohammed Emwazi) was a British citizen who became radicalized, joined ISIS and went on to do horrible things, including beheadings. The media, in hand with the White House and Downing Street, fluffed this one loser guy up into an international super villain. 

So, when eventually the world’s most powerful nation finally killed him in November 2015 with million-dollars air sorties and drones, we were all supposed to go full-out-bin-Laden-celebration, on the road to victory over Islamic State, with a little old fashioned Wild West vengeance thrown in for the feel good.

And so now guess what?

There’s a new guy to replace Jihadi John. He doesn’t have a stupid nickname yet, so let’s be the first and call him Haji Hank. He executed five persons claimed to be British spies, creating the video you see above in the process.
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