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NSA Spying Ruled Illegal, But Will Congress Save the Program Anyway?

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This week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA’s metadata collection program was not authorized in US law. The PATRIOT Act, under which the program began, was too vague, the court found. But the truth is the Act was intended to be vague so that the government could interpret it in the broadest possible way.

But this is really more of a technicality, because illegality and unconstitutionality are really two very different things. Even if Congress had explicitly authorized the government to collect our phone records, that law would still be unconstitutional because the Constitution does not grant government the power to access our personal information without a valid search warrant.
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Pinpoint Drone Attacks? There’s No Such Thing!

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The effectiveness of U.S. drone attacks in killing their targets vs. missing their targets and killing innocent human beings is analyzed in fine detail in this report. It looks at multiple attempts to kill a given person. For example, there were 3 U.S. drone attacks on the now-dead Mullah Nazir. These killed 24 innocent civilians. There were 3 U.S. drone attacks on the now-dead Mullah Sangeen Zadran; these killed 108 innocent civilians. Five attacks on the still-living Sirrajudin Haqqani have killed 82 civilians.

In multiple attempts to kill 41 men, the number of people killed in “collateral damage” is 1,147. That is, 28 innocent people have died for every attempt by the CIA or other U.S. forces to kill a target by drone.

Contrast the statements made by U.S. officials. Obama (2012) said:
“Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties. For the most part, they have been very precise, precision strikes against al Qaeda and their affiliates.”

“There’s this perception that we’re just sending a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly. This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists who are trying to go in and harm Americans. … It is important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash.”
Obama is dead wrong. The truth about drones is the opposite.
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The Real Victor of World War II in Europe

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It was churlish for western leaders to boycott this week’s Victory Parade in Moscow that commemorated the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany 70 years ago.

Historic events are facts that should not be manipulated according to the latest political fashions. Being angry at Moscow for mucking about in Ukraine does not in any way lessen the glory, admiration and thanks owed to the Russian people for their heroism during World War II.

Americans and Canadians like to believe they won the war in Europe and give insufficient recognition to the decisive Soviet role. Most Europeans would rather not think about the matter. By contrast, Russians know that it was their soldiers who really won the war. They remain angry that their military achievements are ignored by American triumphalists and myth-makers.  

Not only did Stalin’s Soviet Union play the key role in crushing Nazi Germany, its huge sacrifices saved the lives of countless American, British and Canadian soldiers. Were it not for the USSR’s victory, Nazi Germany might be alive and well today.
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Are We A Nation of Wimps?

We now live in a society where safety and security are to be sought at all costs. The sacrifice of liberty is not a concern for most Americans today. This is not something new and it has been characteristic of most people throughout history but it has gotten especially bad in America since 9/11. In addition many Americans have become deeply worried as a consequence of the economic crisis that started in 2008. They have lost confidence in their future financial security but continue to deny our nation’s bankruptcy.

This has prompted many to opt for dependency on government even if it requires the use of force to get what they want to ameliorate their fears. Rather than having confidence in the benefits that accrue from a free society, the majority of Americans are now frightened by the thought of self-reliance and accepting the responsibility that comes with liberty. 

There has been a steady erosion of confidence over the past 100 years as the American people as a whole have accepted the so-called need for big government to provide safety and security for its citizens. In the process they have readily accepted the personal income tax and the abuse of the IRS along with the illegal power of the money manipulators at the Federal Reserve to pay the bills by simply printing money. Unfortunately they have also convinced themselves of our “righteousness” by supporting force to spread American “greatness” throughout the world. This of course is a fantasy and is self-deceptive. This trend has been ongoing since the Woodrow Wilson era up to and including the policies designed by the current crop of neoconservatives.
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State Department Won’t Review Clinton Ethics

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When Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State in 2009, the Obama White House required her to sign an agreement promising to have her family’s charities, under the umbrella of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI; now known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation) submit new donations from foreign countries to the State Department for review.

The Agreement

The agreement was designed to avoid potential conflicts of interest, given her new government role. The arrangement was made by an Obama administration covering its flanks over the appearance, at a minimum, of impropriety, given the significant sums of money the charities pulled in from overseas. Many of the countries and foreign corporations who gave the most money also had issues in front of the State Department, where a positive decision could change the donor’s fortunes.
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NSA Spying: Not 'Authorized' or Not Constitutional?

Yesterday's ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that the NSA's bulk telephone collection program is illegal is a boost for liberty. But as the deadline to extend the PATRIOT Act looms at the end of this month, watch for Congress to actually make matters worse while calling it "reform." Tune in to the Ron Paul Liberty Report for more on the ruling and what it means...
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The Cold War Against Cuba Changed Us

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During the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA made multiple attempts to assassinate Cuba’s ruler, Fidel Castro. Let’s assume that the CIA had succeeded and that Castro had been shot dead on the streets of Havana.


It’s not difficult to imagine what US national-security state officials would be saying today: “If we hadn’t assassinated Castro, the United States would have fallen to the communists and, today, Fidel and his brother would be running the IRS, Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, and other socialist programs owned and operated by the US government.”

Soon after Castro took power on January 1, 1959, when President Eisenhower was still in office, and continually through the Kennedy administration, the CIA steadfastly maintained that a communist-ruled Cuba was a grave threat to US “national security” — a communist dagger situated 90 miles away from American shores and pointed directly at the United States.
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The Choice Before Europe

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Washington continues to drive Europe toward one or the other of the two most likely outcomes of the orchestrated conflict with Russia. Either Europe or some European Union member government will break from Washington over the issue of Russian sanctions, thereby forcing the EU off of the path of conflict with Russia, or Europe will be pushed into military conflict with Russia.

In June the Russian sanctions expire unless each member government of the EU votes to continue the sanctions. Several governments have spoken against a continuation. For example, the governments of the Czech Republic and Greece have expressed dissatisfaction with the sanctions.

US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged growing opposition to the sanctions among some European governments. Employing the three tools of US foreign policy–threats, bribery, and coercion–he warned Europe to renew the sanctions or there would be retribution. We will see in June if Washington’s threat has quelled the rebellion.

Europe has to consider the strength of Washington’s threat of retribution against the cost of a continuing and worsening conflict with Russia. This conflict is not in Europe’s economic or political interest, and the conflict has the risk of breaking out into war that would destroy Europe.
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Is NATO Looking For a New War?

With NATO launching its largest ever war games in the Baltic Sea this week, it is worth pondering why we see such a dramatically increased tempo of NATO military exercises so close to the Russian border. One estimate has NATO increasing its activities near Russia some 80 percent last year. And this year looks to be even more active. This week there are also NATO war games taking place in Estonia, and big exercises are scheduled this summer. NATO's rapid reaction force is set to double this year, to 30,000 troops.  Is NATO looking to repeat its disastrous 2011 war on Libya with a much larger and more dangerous target? What, beyond the need to justify its own existence a quarter century past the Cold War, is diving NATO to such an aggressive posture? The Ron Paul Liberty Report takes a look...
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In a Cop Culture, the Bill of Rights Doesn’t Amount to Much

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“In a democratic society,” observed Oakland police chief Sean Whent, “people have a say in how they are policed.”

Unfortunately, if you can be kicked, punched, tasered, shot, intimidated, harassed, stripped, searched, brutalized, terrorized, wrongfully arrested, and even killed by a police officer, and that officer is never held accountable for violating your rights and his oath of office to serve and protect, never forced to make amends, never told that what he did was wrong, and never made to change his modus operandi, then you don’t live in a constitutional republic.

You live in a police state.

It doesn’t even matter that “crime is at historic lows and most cities are safer than they have been in generations, for residents and officers alike,” as the New York Times reports.
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