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Clinton Offers New Explanation For Email Scandal

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I was on NPR yesterday on the Diane Rehm Show to discuss the Clinton email scandal. Appearing on the show was Brian Fallon, spokesperson for Hillary Clinton, who offered a new and rather implausible spin on the worsening scandal. Fallon said that Clinton was relying on her knowledge that Colin Powell used a personal email account as the reason that she thought her server was approved.

Here is what Fallon said in response to questions from Rehm:
I think that, as she has sought to explain in the multitude of interviews she’s done in the last few days since the report has come out, there was — and this is backed up in the IG report — one of her predecessors, Secretary Powell, had used personal email exclusively.And so she felt that in setting up her arrangement, that since his was approved, that hers was similar enough that it would be approved, too.
As I noted at the time, this is a new explanation. After the report said uncategorically that Clinton never asked for approval and would never have received approval for her unsecure personal server, she has switched from claiming that her server was “allowed” to she “believed it was allowed.”
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Was the White Rose Right or Wrong on Patriotism?

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One of the most dramatic movie scenes I have ever watched is the courtroom segment in Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, a German movie with English subtitles that I cannot recommend too highly. The movie revolves around Hans and Sophie Scholl, a brother and sister who were two of the principal members of a German organization called the White Rose.

I first wrote about the White Rose in 1996 in an article entitled “The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent,” which was later published in an anthology on the Holocaust for high school students. The White Rose is one of the most remarkable stories of courage I have ever encountered. The fact that the organization was composed primarily of college students makes it even more amazing.
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Congress’ Treachery, the FBI’s Double-Crossing and the American Citizenry’s Cluelessness: With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

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As the grandfather of three young ones, ages 5 to 9, I get to see my fair share of kid movies: plenty of hijinks, lots of bathroom humor, and an endless stream of slapstick gags. Yet even among the worst of the lot, there’s something to be learned, some message being conveyed, or some aspect of our reality being reflected in celluloid.

So it was that I found myself sitting through The Angry Birds Movie on a recent Sunday afternoon, doling out popcorn, candy and drinks and trying to make sense of a 90-minute movie based on a cell phone video game that has been downloaded more than 3 billion times.

The storyline is simple enough: an island nation of well-meaning, feel-good, flightless birds gets seduced by a charismatic green pig and his cohort who comes bearing food, wine and entertainment spectacles (the Roman equivalent of bread circuses). Ignoring the warnings of one solitary, suspicious “angry” bird that the pigs are up to no good, the clueless birds eventually discover that the pigs have stolen their most precious possessions: their eggs, the future of their entire society. It takes the “angry bird” to motivate the normally unflappable Bird Nation to get outraged enough to do something about the violation of their trust by the pigs and the theft of their personal property.
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Obama and the Myth of Hiroshima

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On May 27, Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the site of the world’s first atomic bombing. Though highly photogenic, the visit was otherwise one that avoided acknowledging the true history of the place.

Like his official predecessors (Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Peace Memorial in early April, as did two American ambassadors before him), Obama did not address the key issues surrounding the attack. “He [Obama] will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb,” Benjamin Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, stated.

With rare exception, the question of whether the atomic bombs were necessary to end World War Two is debated only deep within the safety of academic circles: could a land invasion have been otherwise avoided? Would more diplomacy have achieved the same ends without the destruction of two cities? Could an atomic test on a deserted island have convinced the Japanese? Was the surrender instead driven primarily by the entry of the Soviets into the Pacific War, which, by historical accident, took place two days after Hiroshima—and the day before Nagasaki was immolated?
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Third Battle For Fallujah -- Time To Finally Come Home?

Iraqi military troops along with Iran-backed Shia militias are fighting to expel ISIS from its two year control of Fallujah. That unfortunate city is also the location of two US battles to "liberate" the city and both times the place was flattened. The US says it is fighting in Iraq to rid the country of ISIS, but is very conflicted over the Iranian role in expelling ISIS. The US government has no strategy to "fix" Iraq, and in fact what it is trying to achieve -- a non-sectarian, unified country not aligned with Iran -- was already achieved by Saddam Hussein before the US "liberation." The only sensible place for the US military to go is home.
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Thank The Troops for Destroying Our Country

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While Americans are expected to thank the troops for their service all year long, today — Memorial Day — we are called upon to thank them even more profusely. The idea is that since the troops are defending our country and protecting our rights and freedoms, we should express our gratitude to them.

But there is just one big problem with that picture: In actuality, the troops are destroying our country and our fundamental rights and freedoms. That’s not something any American should be grateful for.

Consider the out-of-control spending and borrowing that are sure to bring on an economic and monetary crisis that could make the Great Depression look like child’s play. A big part of all that federal spending and borrowing is for the warfare state, where the troops play a major role.

Of course, the warfare-state people exclaim, “We’re not at fault. We’re protecting national security. The fault lies with the welfare state side of the federal government. Cut their dole instead of ours.”
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Government Can’t Help; It Can Only Hurt

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Three recent stories regarding three government agencies — the IRS, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — show why we should oppose big government for practical, as well as philosophical, reasons.

In recent months, many Americans have missed their flights because of longer-than-usual TSA security lines. In typical DC fashion, the TSA claims the delays are because of budget cuts, even though Congress regularly increases the TSA’s funding!
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As Our Past Wars Are Glorified This Memorial Day Weekend, Give Some Thought To Our Prospects Against The Russians And Chinese In World War III

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The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war.

Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United States intends to attack her.

It is extraordinary to see the confidence that many Americans place in their military’s ability. After 15 years the US has been unable to defeat a few lightly armed Taliban, and after 13 years the situation in Iraq remains out of control. This is not very reassuring for the prospect of taking on Russia, much less the strategic alliance between Russia and China. The US could not even defeat China, a Third World country at the time, in Korea 60 years ago.

Americans need to pay attention to the fact that “their” government is a collection of crazed stupid fools likely to bring vaporization to the United States and all of Europe.
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Memorializing the Horrors of War with 10 Must-See War Films

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Nearly 71 years ago, the United States unleashed atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 
killing more than 200,000 individuals, many of whom were civilians.

Fast forward to the present day, and President Obama—the antiwar candidate and Nobel Peace Prize winner who has waged war longer than any American president and whose legacy includes targeted-drone killings and at least 1.3 million lives lost to the US-led war on terror—is paying lip service to the victims of America’s nuclear carnage, all the while continuing to feed the war machine.

America has long had a penchant for endless wars that empty our national coffers while fattening those of the military industrial complex. Since 9/11, we’ve spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Adding in our military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion. Even now, the war drums are sounding as Obama prepares to deploy US troops on a long-term mission to Libya and continues to police the rest of the world with more than 1.3 million US troops being stationed at roughly 1000 military bases in over 150 countries.


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Europe Revolts Against Russian Sanctions

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From ministerial offices to barricades on the streets, Europe is in open revolt against anti-Russian sanctions which have cost workers and businesses millions of jobs and earnings. Granted, the contentious issues are wider than anti-Russian sanctions. However, the latter are entwined with growing popular discontent across the EU.

Germany’s vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is among the latest high-profile politicians to have come out against the sanctions stand-off between the European Union and Russia.

At stake is not just a crisis in the economy, of which the anti-Russian sanctions are symptomatic. It is further manifesting in a political crisis that is challenging the very legitimacy of EU governments and the bloc’s institutional existence. The issue is not so much about merely trying to normalize EU-Russian relations. But rather more about preserving the EU from an existential public backlash against anti-democratic and discredited authorities.
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