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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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The Media Misses The Point on ‘Proxy War’

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The term “proxy war” has experienced a new popularity in stories on the Middle East. Various news sources began using the term to describe the conflict in Yemen immediately, as if on cue, after Saudi Arabia launched its bombing campaign against Houthi targets in Yemen on 25 March. “The Yemen Conflict Devolves into Proxy War,” The Wall Street Journal headlined the following day. “Who’s fighting whom in Yemen’s proxy war?” a blogger for Reuters asked on 27 March. 

And on the same day the Journal pronounced Yemen a proxy war, NBC News declared that the entire Middle East was now engulfed in a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

It is certainly time to discuss the problem of proxy war in the Middle East, because a series of such wars are the heart of the destabilisation and chaos engulfing the region. The problem with the recent stories featuring the term is that it is being used in a way that obscures some basic realities that some news media are apparently not comfortable acknowledging.
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ISIS in Texas?

Media headlines this morning were stark and shocking: ISIS behind Texas attacks! But how credible is this claim and how credible is the organization making the claim? Also, how is it that at least one of the perpetrators has been under FBI surveillance since 2006 yet he was not stopped? How close was he to the FBI? Tune in to the Ron Paul Liberty Report for a deeper view than the mainstream media...
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The Neoconservatives: Tyranny's Fifth Column

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The term, “Fifth Column,” came into popular use in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and thereafter as socialism and fascism were sweeping into conflict to take over the nations of the West. It means a group of guerrillas, activists, intellectuals, etc. who work to undermine a nation (or some larger organization) from within. Its activities can be out in the open, or they can be secret.

Today in America, the neoconservative political movement represents a “Fifth Column” for the forces of collectivism. Its intellectuals and activists promote themselves as conservatives who oppose the liberals, but their political philosophy has nothing to do with what is known as American conservatism, which has always stood for a limited Constitutional government and free enterprise. These values are anathema to today’s “neoconservatives” in the nation’s political, literary, and scholarly circles.

The late, Irving Kristol, editor of The Public Interest, and Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, were the founders of the neoconservative movement in the late 1960s. In their youth during the 1930s and 1940s, they were followers of the communist Leon Trotsky. Having bought into the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, they saw socialism as an ideal that needed to be spread to the West. While they and their followers subsequently modified the Marxist roots of their ideology in favor of a more gradualist methodology, they always remained adamant supporters of collectivism for America.
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Who Lost Iraq and Syria?

ISIS is nearly in control of Iraq's largest oil refinery and a newly-branded al-Qaeda in Syria has taken Idlib and other significant cities. If ever there were an example of intervention gone wrong, these two countries are it. The US Iraq invasion was supposed to bring democracy to the Middle East, but instead it has brought ISIS. US "regime change" efforts were supposed to bring Western democracy to Syria but instead al-Qaeda -- backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, is remaking the country into an extremist nightmare. Today's Ron Paul Liberty Report looks at the bad news.
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Washington Post Blames Obama for Syrian Mess

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For the past two decades, American neocons and Israeli hard-liners have targeted Syria for “regime change,” a dream that may be finally coming true, albeit with the nightmarish ending of Al-Qaeda or maybe the Islamic State emerging as the likely winners.


Such an outcome would be disastrous for the millions of Syrian Shiites, Alawites, secular Sunnis and Christians, including descendants of survivors of Turkey’s Armenian genocide a century ago. They would all face harsh repression or, possibly, mass decapitations. An Al-Qaeda/Islamic State victory also would be a major problem for the United States and the West, which would have to choose between a terror central in the center of the Middle East or a military invasion.

So, what we’re now seeing in Official Washington is the beginning of a neocon finger-pointing narrative that promotes the theme that if President Barack Obama had only armed and trained “moderate” rebels and bombed the Syrian military (to create “safe zones” or to punish the government for its alleged use of sarin gas), everything would have worked out just fine.
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USA FREEDOM Act: Just Another Word for Lost Liberty

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Apologists for the National Security Agency (NSA) point to the arrest of David Coleman Headley as an example of how warrantless mass surveillance is necessary to catch terrorists. Headley played a major role in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack that killed 166 people. 

While few would argue that bringing someone like Headley to justice is not a good thing, Headley’s case in no way justifies mass surveillance. For one thing, there is no “terrorist” exception in the Fourth Amendment. Saying a good end (capturing terrorists) justifies a bad means (mass surveillance) gives the government a blank check to violate our liberties.
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The Ghosts of Vietnam Should Haunt Us – But Don’t

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It was 1967. The war in Vietnam was raging. 


I was 24 years old, just out of graduate school in New York City. Cambridge University had accepted me to do a doctorate history. 

But no. In a burst of youthful patriotism, I concluded it was every citizen’s duty to join the armed forces in wartime. So I enlisted as an infantry officer candidate in the US Army and was packed off to basic training.

Life can only be understood in retrospect. With the wisdom of hindsight, most people consider the 20-year long Vietnam War a terrible mistake, even a crime. But at the time, US military involvement in Indochina appeared to make sense.  It certainly did to me. I was proud to wear my nation’s uniform. 
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Patriot Act Reform: A Hoax

With key provisions of the PATRIOT Act expiring at the end of this month, Congress is scrambling to keep these provisions on the books while making it seem like they are reforming the original Act to better protect our civil liberties. The USA FREEDOM Act is being advertised as a compromise between those who want to keep the PATRIOT Act in tact and those who want to repeal it. It is not a compromise. It is a fig leaf. The Ron Paul Liberty Report is joined by Dr. Paul's former legislative director, Norman Singleton, to get to the bottom of the smoke and mirrors called "reform."
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Saudi Succession Struggles: Who’s on Top and Why

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What we are seeing in Saudi Arabia is the seizure of power by one section of the Sudeiri faction in the Saudi Royal family. The late King Abdullah was not a Sudeiri and relations between him and the Sudeiris were always a bit tense. King Salman, who is reputed to be a bit gaga (kharaf) is seeking to ensure the succession for his part of The Family. He, like all the Sudeiris, are much influenced and obliged to the Wahhabi, Hanbali ulema. Abdullah, with his half rwalla bedawi descent was less so. The new crew seem to be listening to the ulema desire for Sunni triumphalism in the Levant. 

To that end they, along with their pals in the Gulf Cooperation Council, (notably Qatar) and Erdogan (the semi-crypto Turko-Islamist), have convinced themselves that Assad's government has lost the war and will soon fall. They have conjured this image from Syrian government reverses in the north and a profound hope. There is also a supposedly effective combat alliance (including al-Nusra) that is thought to be Assad's bane. We will see if they are correct. In any event the professional bits of the US government are fearful that if the present Syrian government goes down, chaos will ensue that will end in an Islamist government. I agree.
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