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Do Flags Kill People?

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No sooner had a sociopath carried out the murder of nine black people at a South Carolina church, than the voice of Boobus Americanus rose up, as one, to get to the cause of the slayings: the Confederate battle flag! The South Carolina legislature hurriedly passed a bill to remove this flag from the capitol grounds. Not content with so limited a measure, it was decided to also cut down the flagpole that had flown it, the pole having been tainted by the flag’s presence thereon. 


Proponents of the anti-flag proposals dismissed concerns for “Southern heritage,” ignoring the fact that the real issue was one of causation. If otherwise intelligent minds want to focus on the interconnection between “flags” and “racism,” they would be better advised to go after the federal flag, a symbol behind which the Ku Klux Klan carried out its parades, as well as the federal “Fugitive Slave Act” which forced the return of runaway slaves from Northern states to their slave-masters!

Not wanting to be left out of the frenzied madness that was giving the South Carolina legislature so much media attention, Congress’ House of Representatives has been considering a bill to make it unlawful for people to display the Confederate flag in federal cemeteries. If your great-great-grandfather had fought for the South in the Civil War, and was now buried in a federal cemetery, you might become a politically-incorrect criminal by placing a small Confederate flag beside his gravestone.
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Demanding What You Can’t Get: Obama’s Gamble with the Iran Talks in Vienna

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As nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Vienna extend past yet another (largely US-imposed) deadline, the dysfunctionality of the Obama administration’s approach becomes increasingly apparent. Since April, when the parties announced a set of “parameters” for a final deal, senior administration officials have staked out public positions on the most important unresolved issues that, frankly, are inconsistent with what was agreed in April. These include a US demand for open-ended retention of a conventional arms embargo and other aspects of the United Nations Security Council-authorized sanctions regime.

There has never been any serious prospect that these US positions could actually provide bases for negotiated outcomes. Take, for example, the Obama administration’s demand for open-ended retention of a conventional arms embargo and other aspects of the United Nations Security Council-authorized sanctions regime against Iran. Not only does Tehran object to this demand; Russia and China—like the United States, veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council—do, too.

The Obama administration defined stark stances on the future of UN sanctions and some of the other outstanding issues ostensibly to rebut charges of “weakness” from domestic opponents and to deflect criticism from traditional US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia that it is “appeasing” Iran.
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When Money Dies

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“When Money Dies” is the title of a 1975 book by Adam Fergusson, in which he describes the downfall of the Reichsmark in Weimar Germany. A fascinating look at that period of history, one can glean quite a few useful pieces of advice on how to survive a currency crisis. But “when money dies” could also describe the current currency crisis in Greece, in which many Greeks seem to have taken those lessons from Fergusson’s account of the Weimar hyperinflation to heart.

Even though the Greek currency crisis isn’t a traditional hyperinflationary crisis, many Greeks are trying to get their hands on, and then spend, cash. One of the fears is that bank depositors will be forced to take losses on their accounts, the so-called “haircut”. This happened in Cyprus to some larger depositors, but the fear in Greece is that people with even just a few thousand euros in their accounts might be forced to take losses of 30-50% or more. Just imagine that you have $10,000 in your bank account and overnight the government says, “Sorry, your account balance is now $5,000.” Overnight, the purchasing power of your bank account has been cut in half.
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Pentagon Concludes America Not Safe Unless It Conquers The World

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The Pentagon has released its “National Military Strategy of the United States of America 2015” in June, 2015.  The document announces a shift in focus from terrorists to “state actors” that “are challenging international norms.” It is important to understand what these words mean. Governments that challenge international norms are sovereign countries that pursue policies independently of Washington’s policies.

These “revisionist states” are threats, not because they plan to attack the US, which the Pentagon admits neither Russia nor China intend, but because they are independent. In other words, the norm is dependence on Washington.

Be sure to grasp the point: The threat is the existence of sovereign states, whose independence of action makes them “revisionist states.” In other words, their independence is out of step with the neoconservative Uni-power doctrine that declares independence to be the right of Washington alone. Washington’s History-given hegemony precludes any other country being independent in its actions.
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Obama Fails to Make the Strategic Case for an Iran Nuclear Deal

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The Iran nuclear talks may be getting close to some sort of conclusion in Vienna, but American political and policy elites remain, to an appallingly large extent, clueless as to what is really at stake in the negotiations. And, while the headline from a recent NBC News poll notes that Americans favor an Iran nuclear deal by a “2 to 1” margin, in fact, the polls shows that a plurality of Americans say they don’t know what to think about a possible Iran nuclear deal.

These observations underscore a point that we have been making for some time: President Obama has yet to make the case to his fellow Americans for why an Iran nuclear deal—and, beyond that, a potential realignment of US relations with the Islamic Republic—is not just profoundly in American interests, but is strategically imperative for the United States.

This failure will almost certainly make it more difficult for Obama (and his successor) to implement a deal.

Furthermore, this failure will severely circumscribe the strategic benefits that the United States can accrue from a deal.
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Government Warmongering Criminals: Where Are They Now?

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The United States already has by far the per capita largest prison population of any developed country but I am probably one of the few Americans who on this Independence Day would like to see a lot more people in prison, mostly drawn from politicians and senior bureaucrats who have long believed that their status makes them untouchable, giving them license to steal and even to kill. The sad fact is that while whistleblowers have been imprisoned for revealing government criminality, no one in the federal bureaucracy has ever actually been punished for the crimes of torture, kidnapping and assassination committed during the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama presidencies.

Why is accountability important? After the Second World War, the victorious allies believed it was important to establish responsibility for the crimes that had been committed by officials of the Axis powers. The judges at the Nuremberg Trials called the initiation of a war of aggression the ultimate war crime because it inevitably unleashed so many other evils. Ten leading Nazis were executed at Nuremberg and ninety-three Japanese officials at similar trials staged in Asia, including several guilty of waterboarding. Those who were not executed for being complicit in the actual launching of war were tried for torture of both military personnel and civilians and crimes against humanity, including the mass killing of civilians as well as of soldiers who had surrendered or been captured.
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Jade Helm, Terrorist Attacks, Surveillance, and Other Fairy Tales for a Gullible Nation

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Once upon a time, there was a nation of people who believed everything they were told by their government.

When terrorists attacked the country, and government officials claimed to have been caught by surprise, the people believed them. And when the government passed massive laws aimed at locking down the nation and opening the door to total government surveillance, the people believed it was done merely to keep them safe. The few who disagreed were labeled traitors.

When the government waged costly preemptive wars on foreign countries, insisting it was necessary to protect the nation, the citizens believed it. And when the government brought the weapons and tactics of war home to use against the populace, claiming it was just a way to recycle old equipment, the people believed that too. The few who disagreed were labeled unpatriotic.
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For Normal Relations With Cuba, End US Interventionism

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Last week we saw an encouraging sign that the 50 year cold war between the US and Cuba was finally coming to an end. President Obama announced on Wednesday that the US and Cuba would restore full diplomatic relations and that embassies could be re-opened in each country by the end of the month.


For this achievement, which was resisted by vested interests in the US, Obama should be praised. However we shouldn¹t be too optimistic about truly establishing normal relations until we understand how relations became so abnormal in the first place. The destruction of relations between the two countries was preceded by US intervention on behalf of a hated Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, which had turned the Cuban people against the United States and set the stage for the emergence of Fidel Castro.
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ISIS Makes the British Lion a De-Clawed and Shabby Cat

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The recent and rapid successes of the Islamic State (IS) in seizing Palmyra in Syria and Ramadi in Iraq, together with its three successful same-day strikes on 26 June 2015 in Kuwait, France, and Tunisia seem to have left British Prime Minister David Cameron rather panicky — like a twitchy kitten experiencing its first thunder-and lightning storm.

In response to these events, Cameron has come somewhat unglued. The leader of a once mighty, respected, and feared nation has responded to IS’s offensive operations by (a) calling on the UK Muslim leaders to perform a miracle and control the thoughts, sympathies, and actions of all members of the Muslim community; (b) predicting that IS was on the verge of “terrible” attacks in Britain, without offering any sign of the backbone needed to credibly warn IS of “terrible” British retribution if its forces attack in the UK; and (c) demanding that the BBC stop identifying the Islamic State as the Islamic State and instead call it “ISIL” because it is “death cult” and has nothing to do with Islam. On the latter point, Cameron sounds like an Oxford-educated version of Barack Obama.
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Independence Day: Celebration or Sadness?

Do the fires of liberty still burn in an America that revolted against the British crown in 1776? Perhaps the majority have opted for a new overlord, the omnipotent state and its accompanying American exceptionalism, but there remains, in the words of Samuel Adams, a "tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." Today's Ron Paul Liberty Report on the spirit of revolt against tyranny...
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