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Debt Ceiling Debate: Don’t Mention Warfare/Welfare State!

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The US Treasury’s recent announcement that the government will reach the debt ceiling on November 3 means Congress will soon be debating raising the government’s borrowing limit again. Any delay in, or opposition to, raising the debt ceiling will inevitably be met with hand-wringing over Congress’ alleged irresponsibility. But the real irresponsible act would be for Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

Cutting up its credit card is the only way to make Congress reduce spending. Anyone who doubts this should listen to the bipartisan whining over how sequestration has so drastically reduced spending that there is literally nothing left to cut. But, according to the Heritage Foundation, sequestration has only reduced spending from $3.6 trillion to $3.5 trillion. Only in DC would a less than one percent spending reduction be considered a draconian cut.
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Want to Understand Syria?

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Seven Important Points:

1) While Hafez Al-Assad was indisputably in power, his son was not groomed for succession, and was basically parachuted out of his London Ophthalmologist practice into Damascus. There he immediately became a puppet of the Alawite Mukhabarak, something he eventually managed to partially minimize.

2) In the original protests, Assad initially attempted negotiations, but, partly due to ingrained behavior and partly due to the quite considerably regime casualties even in the "peaceful" phase, supporters of a "forceful" approach within Syrian security won out, and attempted to solve the issue by force.

3) Temporarily, this put Assad himself between all chairs. The opposition viewed him as a traitor (due to the security organization being very violent despite orders to the contrary) and the security state himself viewed him as a weakling due to his non-violent orders.

The American assistance that "Assad must go", as a precondition of entering any negotiations was, under that background, seen as sheer bad faith by the Russians. Assad could be utilized as a tool to rein in the Syrian Mukhabarat, and he was/is certainly more controllable/civilized then the people actually running the various Mukhabarats, removing him would achieve nothing, other then the Mukhabarat fighting completely gloves off for its own survival.
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Turkey: Slow-Motion Crash

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Turkey, once a pillar of Mideast stability, looks increasingly like a slow-motion truck crash. What makes this crisis so tragic is that not very long ago Turkey was entering a new age of social harmony and economic development.

Today, both are up in smoke as this week’s bloody bombing in Ankara that killed 99 people showed. America’s ham-handed policies in the Mideast have set the entire region ablaze from Syria to South Sudan and Libya. Turkey sits right on top of the huge mess, licked by the flames of nationalist and political conflagrations and now beset by 2 million Syrian refugees.

As Saddam Hussein predicted, George W. Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq opened the gates of hell. Attempts by Washington to overthrow Syria’s Alawite regime – a natural US ally – have destroyed large parts of that once lovely nation and produced the worst human disaster since the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the late 1940’s and 1967.

Turkey, once a pillar of Mideast stability, looks increasingly like a slow-motion truck crash.  What makes this crisis so tragic is that not very long ago Turkey was entering a new age of social harmony and economic development.
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Assassinations: Is This 'American Exceptionalism'?

A new US government whistleblower has come forward to share highly disturbing information about the US worldwide assassination program, deceptively called "targeted killing." Most of those killed with bombs fired from drones were not the intended targets, we learn, but they were classified as "enemies killed in action" anyway. Today's Liberty Report takes a look at this major new exposé of the US assassination policy -- is America losing its moral compass?
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Is Hillary Clinton Above the Law?

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What did we learn from the Democratic presidential debates? We learned that Hillary Clinton hates Edward Snowden, loves the Patriot Act, and considers “the Iranians” among her biggest enemies. In short, we learned that she may very well be Lindsey Graham in drag.

And we also learned what many already knew: that she considers herself above the law. What we didn’t know, however, but do now, is that Bernie Sanders agrees with her. Or, as he put it:

“Let me say — let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”
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Obama Won’t Admit the Real Targets of Russian Airstrikes

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The US response to Russia’s new Syrian military campaign in support of the Assad regime has struck a pose of moral superiority by arguing that the Russians have not been targeting the Islamic State but rather the non-ISIS Syrian opposition to the Assad regime. 

That US response is superficially accurate but deliberately misleading. Although the Russians are not focusing on targets in ISIS-controlled territory, there is a very good reason: it is not ISIS but the forces aligned with al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra or al-Nusra Front, that pose the most immediate threat to the very existence of the Assad regime. 

In a series of statements on the Russian military campaign, the US Defence Department has hammered the Russians for not targeting ISIS as Moscow initially claimed - later on the Russian rhetoric shifted to “terrorists”. The US statements strongly implied that it was the US-backed “moderate” Syrian groups opposed to the Assad regime that are being attacked.

Major news media have taken the same line in covering the Russian offensive. In an Associated Press story on 13 October, for example, Ken Delanian described the CIA as supplying “so-called moderate rebels to oppose Assad” for more than two years, along with its “Arab allies” and that American officials “have watched in recent days as the Russian bombs and missiles have targeted those groups”.
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ISIS In ‘Retreat’ As Russia Destroys 32 Targets While Putin Trolls Obama As ‘Weak With No Strategy’

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Perhaps the most amusing thing about Russia’s intervention in Syria is the degree to which it made the world wake up and question the West’s “anti-ISIS” strategy. 

While everyone has been quick to characterize Moscow’s actions as the latest and perhaps greatest example of Vladimir Putin calling Washington’s bluff, it’s important to understand exactly why that’s an accurate characterization here. That is, this is more than just Moscow betting it could support Assad and Washington would simply move out of the way.

This was Russia and Iran realizing that the only reason the US and its regional allies have been able to keep up appearances in the eyes of the public with regard to the “campaign” against ISIS, is because the public has never seen what happens when someone powerful makes a serious effort to eradicate the group. Once Russia moved in, gave the superpower greenlight for Iran to abandon all pretense that it isn’t also directly involved, and began racking up gains in a matter of days, the Western public was left to wonder why the US couldn’t accomplish in 13 months what Russia appeared to have accomplish in a matter of (literally) 72 hours.
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Obama's New War In Africa: Do We Need It?

The Obama Administration's disastrous invasion of Libya scattered well-armed jihadists throughout Africa and the Middle East, including to Syria and Cameroon. After emptying out Gaddafi's arsenals, these groups proceeded to spread their mayhem. Yesterday, President Obama announced that he was sending US troops into Cameroon to help defeat one of the groups who benefitted from the US-led intervention in Libya, the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram. Today's Liberty Report look at whether another US intervention can solve the problems created by intervention in the first place...
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How Can Anyone Still Be An Interventionist?

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Given the ongoing disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and the rest of the Middle East, how can anyone in his right mind still be an interventionist?

Look at Iraq. The US invasion and multi-year occupation of that country was supposed to bring a paradise of peace, prosperity, and harmony to the country. That’s what killing all those Iraqis was about — sacrificing them for the greater good of a beautiful society. Wasn’t it called Operation Iraqi Freedom?
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MH-17 Final Report: Who Shot Down The Plane?

The long-awaited final report of the Dutch Safety Board on the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over Ukraine came out yesterday, but it offered very little in terms of what actually happened. With the most powerful intelligence apparatus on earth, how is it that the US cannot bring forth evidence to back its claims about Russian responsibility? As Liberty Report guest, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says today, it's not that the US does not have the information but rather that the evidence it has does not match the US propaganda line...
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