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Aid to Ukraine Is a Bad Deal For All

Last week Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill approving a billion dollars in aid to Ukraine and more sanctions on Russia. The bill will likely receive the president’s signature within days. If you think this is the last time US citizens will have their money sent to Ukraine, you should think again. This is only the beginning.

This $1 billion for Ukraine is a rip-off for the America taxpayer, but it is also a bad deal for Ukrainians. Not a single needy Ukrainian will see a penny of this money, as it will be used to bail out international banks who hold Ukrainian government debt. According to the terms of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-designed plan for Ukraine, life is about to get much more difficult for average Ukrainians.
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We Really Do Not Need Saudi Arabia Any Longer

Saudiking

The family owned and run corporation called Saudi Arabia has been useful to the United States since the 1950s, but the kingdom's relationship to the US has always been transactional in nature rather than an alliance that committed Saudi Arabia to do anything for the US that it did not wish to do. To this day there are no documents of alliance, only arrangements for meetings, sales, training, etc. 

The relationship has always been an odd thing. Saudi Arabia has no civil law other than some elements of the Swiss commercial code. There is no civil constitution. "The Qur'an is our constitution." Sharia law of the most severe sort is the official law code. Amputations for theft are routine. No religions other than Islam are allowed. There are no civil rights other than those found in Qur'an and Hadith. Such appurtenances of civilized life as tourist visas do not exist. It was always an awkward "partnership" for the United States except for the money made by US exporters re-cycling petro dollars to the US. Saudi armed forces are largely a static display of military equipment useful only for internal security.

On the other hand, Saudi petroleum was for a long time necessary to the Western World, Japan, and parts unknown. Saudi fear of godless communism made the country a useful tool in resisting Soviet penetration of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia also contributed a lot of money to US covert actions that the US Congress would have refused to fund.
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The Danger of False Narrative

Propagandaunclesam

The American people got a nasty taste of the danger that can come with false narrative when they were suckered into the Iraq War based on bogus claims that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction that he planned to share with al-Qaeda.

Nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers died in the conflict along with hundreds thousands of Iraqis. The war’s total financial cost probably exceeded $1 trillion, a vast sum that siphoned off America’s economic vitality and forced cutbacks in everything from education to road repair. Plus, the war ended up creating an Iraqi base for al-Qaeda terrorists that had not existed before.

But perhaps an even more dangerous problem coming out of the Iraq War was that almost no one in Official Washington who pushed the false narrative – whether in politics or in the press – was held accountable in any meaningful way. Many of the same pols and pundits remain in place today, pushing similar false narratives on new crises, from Ukraine to Syria to Iran.

Those false narratives – and their cumulative effect on policymaking – now represent a clear and present danger to the Republic and, indeed, to the world. The United States, after all, is the preeminent superpower with unprecedented means for delivering death and destruction. But almost nothing is being done to address this enduring American crisis of deception.
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Non-Intervention is Non-Negotiable!

In an article at PJMedia.com, writer Keith Farrell suggests that libertarians should support foreign interventionism and specifically takes The Future of Freedom Foundation and LewRockwell.com to task for opposing foreign interventionism. Acknowledging that some U.S. interventions have proven to be absolute disasters, Farrell feels that libertarians should nonetheless be supporting U.S. foreign interventionism in selected cases.

Farrell is wrong. Not only is foreign interventionism contrary to libertarian principles, it inevitably produces destructive results for both the targeted nation and for the American people.
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Ukraine and the Deferential Press

Medialies

One of the distinguishing characteristics between libertarian commentators and the mainstream statist press is, once again, on display in the latest crisis, this one between President Obama and Russian President Putin. You see the standard knee-jerk rally to the government on the part of the mainstream press  while, at the same time, you see independent, critical analysis on the part of the libertarian movement, mostly on the Internet.

When a controversy like this erupts, the mainstreamers immediately mold their mind to whatever position the US government takes in the controversy. The mainstreamers view the matter as Team America versus Team Russia. It is incumbent on Americans to come to the defense of their team, the mainstreamers feel. Anyone who fails to do so is clearly not a patriot and might even be a fifth columnist, one who needs to be watched.

In the process, there is immediate and complete deference to authority. “It’s all Putin’s fault. We were just minding our business. We’re innocent. We’re peace-loving. We love democracy. We just want to be friends. Can’t we just get along here? Putin has become assertive, aggressive, and independent. The crisis has been forced upon us. We have no choice but to respond and punish Russia until Putin recants and submits.”
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A Military Plot to Take Over America: Fifty Years Later, Was the Mission Accomplished?

Sevendays

With a screenplay written by Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, director John Frankenheimer’s 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May is a clear warning to beware of martial law packaged as a well meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security. Yet, incredibly enough, 50 years later, we find ourselves hostages to a government run more by military doctrine and corporate greed than by the rule of law established in the Constitution.

Indeed, proving once again that fact and fiction are not dissimilar, today’s current events—ranging from the government’s steady militarization of law enforcement agencies, and its urban training exercises wherein military troops rappel from Black Hawk helicopters in cities across the country, from Miami and Chicago to Minneapolis, to domestic military training drills timed and formulated to coincide with or portend actual crises, and the Obama administration’s sudden and growing hostilities with Russia—could well have been lifted straight out of Seven Days in May, which takes viewers into eerily familiar terrain.

The premise is straightforward enough: With the Cold War at its height, Jordan Lyman (played by Fredric March), an unpopular U.S. President, signs a momentous nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. Believing that the treaty constitutes an unacceptable threat to the security of the United States and certain that he knows what is best for the nation, General James Mattoon Scott (Burt Lancaster), the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and presidential hopeful, plans a military takeover of the national government.
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Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev

Victoria Nuland Geoffrey Pyatt

If the US State Department's Victoria Nuland had not said "F**k the EU," few outsiders at the time would have heard of Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the man on the other end of her famously bugged telephone call. But now Washington's man in Kiev is gaining fame as the face of the CIA-style "destabilization campaign" that brought down Ukraine's monumentally corrupt but legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

"Geoffrey Pyatt is one of these State Department high officials who does what he’s told and fancies himself as a kind of a CIA operator," laughs Ray McGovern, who worked for 27 years as an intelligence analyst for the agency. "It used to be the CIA doing these things," he tells Democracy Now. "I know that for a fact." Now it's the State Department, with its coat-and-tie diplomats, twitter and facebook accounts, and a trick bag of goodies to build support for American policy.

A retired apparatchik, the now repentant McGovern was debating Yale historian Timothy Snyder, a self-described left-winger and the author of two recent essays in The New York Review of Books – "The Haze of Propaganda" and "Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine." Both men speak Russian, but they come from different planets.
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US 'Democracy Promotion' Destroys Democracy Overseas

It was almost ten years ago when, before the House International Relations Committee, I objected to the US Government funding NGOs to meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine. At the time the “Orange Revolution” had forced a regime change in Ukraine with the help of millions of dollars from Washington. 

At that time I told the Committee:
We do not know exactly how many millions—or tens of millions—of dollars the United States government spent on the presidential election in Ukraine. 

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War in Syria Set to Intensify

Syrian Rebels 2

As Syria lies dying, western media cries, “we must save Syria’s suffering children.” Indeed so, among Syria’s nine million internal and external refugees, some 450,000 are children.

All civil wars are bloody and cruel, but Syria’s strife has reached new extremes of violence and mass civilian suffering as the US and Saudi Arabia use this once beautiful, bountiful nation as a proxy battleground against Iran.

I extensively covered Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war; its ghastly memory still makes me shudder. In the 14 wars I’ve reported on, Lebanon holds top ranking for barbarity and sadism. One friend of mine, the owner of women’s boutiques, became a paramilitary Rambo and went from selling perfume to cutting off and collecting the ears of Muslims.

A similar madness has descendent on Syria as its many ethnic and religious groups tear one another’s throats. Syria’s 630,000 Palestinian refugees have suffered frightfully, caught between the warring parties.


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