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However You Vote, The Secret Government Always Wins

It is not a conspiracy -- it is out in the open.  The permanent government behind the scenes ensures that foreign policy never changes, that endless wars continue to enrich the military-industrial complex, that the population is kept in fear to insure acquiescence, that civil libertarians are viewed as unpatriotic kooks. Voting has no effect on the secret government in Washington. Moving between government and pseudo-private sector jobs with ease, they always land on their feet. What can be done? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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You Won’t Like It, But Here’s the Answer to ISIS

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How can we stop the Islamic State?

Imagine yourself shaken awake, rushed off to a strategy meeting with your presidential candidate of choice, and told: “Come up with a plan for me to do something about ISIS!” What would you say?

What Hasn’t Worked

You’d need to start with a persuasive review of what hasn’t worked over the past 14-plus years. American actions against terrorism — the Islamic State being just the latest flavor — have flopped on a remarkable scale, yet remain remarkably attractive to our present crew of candidates. (Bernie Sanders might be the only exception, though he supports forming yet another coalition to defeat ISIS.)

Why are the failed options still so attractive? In part, because bombing and drones are believed by the majority of Americans to be surgical procedures that kill lots of bad guys, not too many innocents, and no Americans at all. As Washington regularly imagines it, once air power is in play, someone else’s boots will eventually hit the ground (after the US military provides the necessary training and weapons). A handful of Special Forces troops, boots-sorta-on-the-ground, will also help turn the tide. By carrot or stick, Washington will collect and hold together some now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t “coalition” of “allies” to aid and abet the task at hand. And success will be ours, even though versions of this formula have fallen flat time and again in the Greater Middle East.
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Senate To Offer President Total War Authority

The US Senate under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is poised to rush to the floor a bill that would give the president total war authority anywhere on the globe, perhaps even including on US soil. All in the name of fighting ISIS, Congress is about to crown the president with unlimited war powers. In today's Liberty Report we discuss the dangers of the incredible shrinking Legislative branch of government...
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Here Come the Free Staters!

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It looks like thousands — maybe tens of thousands — of libertarians will be moving to New Hampshire in the next few years. Via a vote in 2003, the Free State Project selected New Hampshire from among several low-population states as the state to target for a migration of people who share an interest in reducing government violations of liberty. Now, over 19,500 people have agreed to a Free State Project pledge saying that, once 20,000 people have made the pledge, the pledgers intend to move to New Hampshire within five years and “exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property.” The project is over 97 percent of the way toward 20,000 pledgers, with that threshold expected to be reached soon.

Motivating the Free State Project is the reasoning that a few thousand devoted advocates for liberty can have an outsized influence in a relatively small state. This appears to already be the case with “early movers” who have relocated to New Hampshire before the pledge’s 20,000 threshold has been reached. As the Concord Monitor reported earlier this month, 18 early movers in the New Hampshire House of Representatives means “Free State movers, who represent 0.15 percent of the total population, comprise nearly 5 percent of the House.”
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Congress is Writing the President a Blank Check for War

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While the Washington snowstorm dominated news coverage this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was operating behind the scenes to rush through the Senate what may be the most massive transfer of power from the Legislative to the Executive branch in our history. The senior Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his successors may wish.

The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of 2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time, geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. It is a completely open-ended authorization for the president to use the military as he wishes for as long as he (or she) wishes. Even President Obama has expressed concern over how willing Congress is to hand him unlimited power to wage war.
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Pentagon Chief Says ‘Boots On The Ground’ Part Of ‘Accelerated’ Strategy For ISIS Fight

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US Defense Secretary Ash Carter is a man who knows that actions speak far louder than words.

That’s why when Washington’s feud with China over the latter’s land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea reached a boiling point last year, Carter made a trip to the Pacific and had someone snap this picture of him riding in a helicopter with an aircraft carrier visible in the background.

All jokes aside, Carter is in somewhat of a tough spot. America’s disastrous foreign policy blunders in Ukraine, Syria, and Iraq and Washington’s bungled attempts to deal with an ascendant China, a resurgent Russia, and an Iran which is marking a triumphant return to the world stage, have left the defense chief with a laundry list of problems.

At the top of that list is ISIS.

Thanks to the fact that the group is the most effective force when it comes to destabilizing the Assad regime (an explicit foreign policy goal of the US and its regional allies) and thanks to the fact that the Russian intervention means the day will never come when Islamic State takes Damascus thus green-lighting a US ground invasion to “liberate” Syria, Washington has been forced to choose between either eliminating the group or keeping them around in hopes the Russians simply get bogged down and decide to let Assad fend for himself again.
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Hillary to Bernie: Stop Sounding Like Ron Paul on Iran!

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Many people watching the Democratic presidential debate on Sunday likely considered United States Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) advocacy that the US “move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran" as a welcome call for replacing decades of US hostility and sanctions toward Iran with peace and trade that would benefit people in both countries. Many viewers may also have noticed that Sanders’ stated opinion shares much in common with former Republican and Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul’s long-expressed aspiration that US antagonism toward Iran be replaced with peaceful and prosperous relations.

Paul again expressed his aspiration regarding US-Iran relations in his latest weekly editorial that concludes with the following:

Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!

The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, however, would have none of Sanders’ normalization talk. Two days after the debate, the former senator from New York and US secretary of state’s campaign released a statement from ten high-level US foreign policy crafters taking Sanders to task for, among other things, desiring a quick warming in relations between the US and Iran.
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Syria's Moment: RPI's Daniel McAdams on Crosstalk

With another round of talks in Geneva on the Syria crisis scheduled to take place in just days, the US and Russia still cannot agree on who should represent the opposition at the negotiating table. The US and Saudis have insisted that the political leader of the Islamist Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) head up the negotiations as the opposition representative. The Russians have objected to any organization that has ties to ISIS and al-Qaeda. Who will blink? What to expect now in Syria, where the facts on the ground have shifted in favor of Damascus after Russia's entry at the request of the Syrian government? RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams joins RT's news discussion show Crosstalk to share his analysis and predictions...
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Democrats in ‘Group Think’ Land

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A curious reality about Official Washington is that to have “credibility” you must accept the dominant “group thinks” whether they have any truth to them or not, a rule that applies to both the mainstream news media and the political world, even to people who deviate from the pack on other topics.

For instance, Sen. Bernie Sanders may proudly declare himself a “democratic socialist” – far outside the acceptable Washington norm – but he will still echo the typical propaganda about Syria, Russia, Iran and other “designated villains.” Like other progressives who spend years in Washington, he gets what you might called “Senate-ized,” adopting that institution’s conventional wisdom about “enemies” even if he may differ on whether to bomb them or not.

That pattern goes in spades for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other consciously “centrist” politicians as well as media stars, like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Lester Holt, who were the moderators of Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate. They know what they know based on what “everybody who’s important” says, regardless of the evidence or lack thereof.

So, you had Mitchell and Holt framing questions based on Official Washington’s “group thinks” – and Sanders and Clinton responding accordingly.
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The Injustice Of Mandatory Minimums

Thanks in part to "mandatory minimum" laws starting in the 1980s, the US has the largest prison population -- per capita and total -- of any country on earth. Including China. Is that because Americans are that much worse than others? No, it is due to a completely dysfunctional justice system where, for example, jury members are not allowed to know the potential sentence of a defendant before they decide whether guilty or not guilty. If they were allowed to know, they would likely hesitate before sending someone away for life for smoking a marijuana cigarette. The Senate is expected to take up a mandatory minimum reform bill sometime in the next couple of months, which might be a step in the right direction to correcting the completely broken and unjust US justice system. Tune in to today's Liberty Report for more...
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