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Biden's Ukrainian Corruption Scandal Casts Ominous Shadow Over 2020 Run

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It looks like Joe Biden isn't the chosen one after all. 

After getting that whole "groping" thing out of the way and announcing his 2020 bid for the White House, Biden emerged as the Democratic frontrunner this week according to several polls

Alas for Biden, his past is catching up with him, again.

While Politico and Marketwatch have dinged Biden over free-trade fails and comments on China, perhaps most damning is a late Wednesday article in the New York Times slamming the former vice president's major Ukraine conflicts. We reported on this nearly four weeks ago following reporting and interviews with key players by The Hill's John Solomon, and it looks bad for Joe. 

At the heart of the matter is Biden's role in threatening Ukraine if they didn't immediately fire their top prosecutor, General Viktor Shokin - who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into a natural gas firm - Burisma Holdings - which Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the board of directors. 

Biden openly bragged about this at a January CFR event.
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Playing Chicken In The Straits Of Hormuz - Red Lines And War Talk

After designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, will the US make a physical attempt to shut down any oil export by citing the oil business's relationship with the Iranian Guard? Will Iran make good on its threat to shut down the Hormuz Straits, which would take out 20 percent of the oil from the world market? Clearly Trump's sights are set on Iran. How far will he go? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Israeli Ambassador Calls For The Criminalization of Antisemitic Speech

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In the aftermath of another tragic shooting at another synagogue, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon has again called for the criminalization of antisemitic speech. I have previously written about such international efforts to criminalize speech, including a proposal supported by the Obama Administration. The implications of such laws for free speech are easy to dismiss amidst the sorrow of another attack. However, the free speech community must remain firm that free speech is not the cause of hate, it is solution to hate.

Danon declared “The time for talking and having a conversation is over. What Israel and the Jewish community around the world demand is action – and now.”

Over the course of the last 50 years, the French, English and Germans have waged an open war on free speech by criminalizing speech deemed insulting, harassing or intimidating. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). There are encroachments appearing in the United States, particularly on college campuses. Notably, the media celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

Danon argues that “Until it becomes criminal, this bigotry will persist; it will fester. It is only a matter of time until it erupts again in violence and bloodshed.”
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Venezuela - Guaidó Got Snookered

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Yesterday's failed coup attempt in Venezuela significantly hurt the Trump administration's international standing. It delegitimized its Venezuelan clients Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López. After recognizing that their original 'regime change' plan failed (again) the White House starts to beat the war drums.

That wasn't the plan:
The Trump administration, which has backed Mr. Guaidó since he first challenged Mr. Maduro’s authority more than three months ago, clearly thought the day would unfold differently.
There is no official explanation why the Trump administration believed that the comical coup attempt by Juan Guaidó and his master Leopolo López would work.

There are signs though that the government of President Nicolas Maduro set a trap. Several people in the top echelon of the Venezuelan government gave false promises that they would join the US proxy side. They snookered Guaidó into launching his coup to let him fail.
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As Venezuela Coup Fizzles, Pompeo Threatens US Attack

Self-proclaimed Venezuelan president Juan Guaido's coup yesterday failed to get off the ground. The military did not join him and protests were barely seen outside a few of Caracas's wealthy neighborhoods. Frustrated and furious, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded by threatening direct US military action to overthrow President Maduro. An urgent call with Russian foreign minister is scheduled today. Are neocons about to ignite the earth? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Venezuela Coup! Will Neocons (Finally) Get Their War?

At dawn, US-backed and self-proclaimed president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, announced the "final phase" of his coup against the Maduro government. While defections from the military are minor at this point, it is unknown whether the coup will reach critical mass. In the US, both Republicans and Democrats - who not long ago were furious over claims that the Russians have interfered in our elections - are cheering this US interference in Venezuelan elections. US neocons have joined the battle from the safety of their keyboards. Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Why Are Clapper and Brennan Not in Jail?

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The clearest of all the laws concerning US intelligence is Section 798, 18 US Code—widely known in the Intelligence Community as “the Comint Statute,” or “the 10 and 10.” Unlike other laws, this is a “simple liability” law. Motivation, context, identity, matter not at all. You violate it, you are guilty and are punished accordingly.

Here it is:
a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, . . . any classified information—

(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or

(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States …or

(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or

(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence . . .

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
On December 9 and 10, 2016, the New York Times and the Washington Post independently reported that anonymous senior intelligence officials had told them that, based on intercepted communications, the intelligence agencies agreed that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee to help Donald Trump win the election.
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Tit for Tat? Why Did Mueller Let Trump Off the Hook?

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Why did Robert Mueller end the Russia investigation when he did? He could have let it drag it out for another year or so and severely hurt Trump’s chances for reelection. But he didn’t do that. Why?

Of course, we’re assuming that the investigation was never intended to uncover the truth. If it was, then Mueller would have interviewed Julian Assange, Craig Murray and retired members of the Intelligence Community (Ray McGovern, Bill Binney) who have shown that the Podesta emails were leaked by an insider (on a thumbdrive) not hacked by foreign agents. Mueller would have also seized the servers at DNC headquarters and done the necessary forensic investigation, which he never did. He also would have indicted senior-level agents at the FBI and DOJ who improperly obtained FISA warrants by withholding critical information from the FISA court. He didn’t do that either. Mueller did none of these things which simply proves that his final report was what many people had expected from the very beginning; a purely political document that twists the truth to achieve Mueller’s particular objectives. But to understand what those objectives are, we need to determine what the real goals of the investigation were. So, here they are:

1) To help sabotage Trump’s political agenda;

2) To create a cloud of illegitimacy over Trump’s election;

3) And to prevent Trump from implementing his plan to normalize relations with Russia.
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