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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

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World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets.
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America Should Have Skipped the War, Not Just the Ceremony

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This weekend the Donald took some heavy duty flack from liberals, Dems, the MSM and harrumphing patriots for canceling his appearance at a wreath laying ceremony at the famous WWI battle site at Belleau, France owing to inclement weather. For instance, former Secretary of State, John Kerry got himself worked into high dudgeon:
Mr. Kerry criticized the president’s decision on Twitter, saying that the weather “shouldn’t have stopped an American President”.

“President @realDonaldTrump a no-show because of raindrops?” he wrote. “Those veterans the president didn’t bother to honor fought in the rain, in the mud, in the snow – & many died in trenches for the cause of freedom.”
We truly wonder whether Mr. Kerry gets the monumental irony. In his youth he was a courageous leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement based on the insanity of America’s role in a needless war in Southeast Asia of which he was a veteran.

Yet the only war of the 20th century more senseless than Vietnam was the so-called Great War, and most especially America’s intervention in an old world tragedy for no good reason whatsoever. That is to say, the Marine heroes of the bloody battle of Belleau Wood did not die "in the trenches for the cause of freedom."
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Brennan and Clapper Should Not Escape Prosecution

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Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the longtime chairman of the Judiciary Committee, made a dramatic announcement Nov. 1 that should lead to jail time for both former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

As reported, but widely overlooked amid the media focus on the midterm elections, Brennan ordered CIA hackers to intercept the emails of all potential or possible intelligence community whistleblowers who may have been trying to contact the congressional oversight committees, specifically to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hacking the Senate’s computer system constitutes illegal use of a government computer, illegal espionage and wire fraud.

Brennan and Clapper, in 2014, ostensibly notified congressional overseers about this, but in a way that either tied senators’ hands or kept them in the dark. They classified the notifications.
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100 Years After The 'War To End All Wars,' Lessons Of History Are Still Unlearned

No wonder the wars have continued - without pause - since WWI, the "war to end all wars": the lessons have still not been learned. That much was evident in French President Emmanuel Macron's speech over the weekend, blaming nationalism and populism for the war. In fact, the real reasons are far different and provide a stark warning for our times: a declining power (UK) sought to prevent a rising power (Germany) from presenting an economic threat to the old order. The parallels with our time, where the "unipolar moment" with the US at the apex has begun to fade and with that fade have come endless US threats against rising powers like Russia and China. Isn't there a better way than war? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Dirty Little Secret: ‘Think Tanks’ are Among Top Culprits in Media Disinformation Crisis

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Most consumers are unaware off the mainstream media’s dirty little secret. Think tanks are increasingly taking advantage of tight news budgets to influence the press agenda in favor of their sponsors.

Decades ago, these outfits generally operated as policy advisories. Although, some were comfortably enumerated ‘retirement homes’ for distinguished public servants or intellectuals. However, in modern times, they have become indistinguishable from lobbying firms. With the budgets to match.

On the Russia (and broader Eastern European) beat, think tank influence is becoming increasingly dangerous and malign. And it’s leading to a crisis in journalistic standards which nobody wants to acknowledge.

Two cases this week highlight the malaise.

Right now, Hungary and Ukraine are embroiled in a standoff regarding the rights of ethnic Hungarians in the latter country. The disagreement is entirely local, with roots in the 20th century carving-up of Budapest’s territory after it found itself on the losing side in both World Wars. As a result, lands were dispersed into other nations – former Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union.
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President Trump’s Iran Policy – Is It ‘Normal’?

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It’s not often that US Government officials are honest when they talk about our foreign policy. The unprovoked 2003 attack on Iraq was called a “liberation.” The 2011 US-led destruction of Libya was a “humanitarian intervention.” And so on. So, in a way, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was refreshingly honest last week when, speaking about newly-imposed US sanctions, he told the BBC that the Iranian leadership “has to make a decision that they want their people to eat."
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US Directs Iran to Act Like a ‘Normal’ Country. What is a Normal Country?

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After reimposing crippling sanctions on Iran this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened that Iran should “act like a normal country, or see its economy crumble.” But, how exactly does a “normal” country act?

Since the dictat was issued from Washington DC, it seems only fair to start there. Is the United States itself a “normal” country? What makes a “normal” country as opposed to an “abnormal” one?

Foreign Policy

If the US is indeed a “normal” country, there is a lot we can glean from that, including that a militaristic and bullying foreign policy, which regularly features bombings, invasions and the sponsorship of regime change operations around the world, is normal behavior. If this is normal, is Mike Pompeo suggesting that Iran should start invading its neighbors and engineering foreign coups?

The ideology of “American exceptionalism,” the belief that the US is inherently good and unique among nations, is so pervasive in American society and media, that any politician who does not strictly adhere to it will find themselves labeled as un-American or unpatriotic.
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We Are Headed For Another Tragedy Like WWI

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We are now before the 100th anniversary of World War I, the war that was supposed to end all wars. While honoring the 16 million who died in this conflict, we should also condemn the memory of the politicians, officials and incompetent generals who created this horrendous blood bath. I’ve walked most of the Western Front of the Great War, visited its battlefields and haunted forts, and seen the seas of crosses marking its innumerable cemeteries.
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US envoy: Russia should allow Israel air strikes in Syria

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US envoy to Syria James Jeffrey said yesterday that Russia should maintain a “permissive approach” towards Israeli airstrikes in Syria.

Speaking with journalists via a conference call, Jeffrey explained that “in the past Russia has been permissive in consultation with the Israelis about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria,” adding that: “We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue”.

Jeffrey said that Israel has “[an] existential interest in blocking Iran from deploying long-range power projection systems such as surface-to-surface missiles [in Syria]” and “we [the USA] understand this existential interest and we support Israel,” the Times of Israel reported.

Jeffrey’s comments come amid heightened tensions between Israel and Russia after the downing of a Russian military plane over Syrian airspace in September. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces allegedly mistook the Russian jet for an Israeli aircraft, having been simultaneously responding to Israeli attacks on targets in Syria’s coastal region of Latakia.

The incident sparked a diplomatic row after Russia’s Defence Ministry claimed that the Israeli jets carrying out the strikes in Latakia used the Russian plane as cover to allow them to approach their targets without being hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Russia placed the blame for the incident – in which 15 Russian personnel died – squarely with Israel, calling its actions “irresponsible” and accusing it of not giving Moscow sufficient notice of the attack.
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Iran's Leadership Must Decide 'If They Want Their People To Eat' - Pompeo

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Less than a week after US Secretary of State Secretary Mike Pompeo told Fox News Sunday that the "Iranians are responsible for the starvation' of Yemeni civilians" he's again issued hugely provocative words, telling the BBC during an interview that Iranian "leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat" in reference to the latest round of US sanctions. 

As the interview was with BBC Persian, Pompeo's words were immediately translated from English and broadcast to the Iranian public through BBC's Persian-language publication. Pompeo repeated his theme that Iran is the world's foremost state sponsor of terror and a "destabilizing influence" in the Middle East while ultimately blaming the country's economic suffering on the intransigence of the country's leaders. 

Pompeo's words came on the heels of Iran's foreign ministry issuing a formal response to this week's US sanctions snap back on the energy sector, publishing a 3-minute video of FM Javad Zarif on Tuesday wherein Zarif emphasized that the sanctions mainly targeted average Iranian citizens, referencing "the economic warfare that directly targets the Iranian people."
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