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US Army Sends 100 Tanks To Eastern Europe To 'Deter Russian Aggression'

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The ink on Barack Obama's Chuck Hagel termination letter hasn't dried yet but already the US president's new, and seemingly far more hawkish advisors, are having their warmongering presence felt. Case in point: the Eastern European theater of (Cold) war, where Military.com reports that the new Army commander in Europe plans to bolster the U.S. armored presence in Poland and the Baltic states and keep rotations of U.S. troops there through next year and possibly beyond to counter Russia. Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges, who replaced Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell  earlier this month as commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the Army was looking to add about 100 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the forces in Eastern Europe.

"We are looking at courses of action for how we could pre-position equipment that we would definitely want to put inside a facility where it would be better maintained, that rotational units could then come and draw on it and use it to train, or for contingency purposes," Hodges said in a briefing from Vilnius, Lithuania.

So "better maintained... or for contingency purposes." Got it. That probably also explains why as NATO is seeking to deliver 100 tanks to Eastern Europe, it has already added several squadrons of fighter jets just minutes away from Russia's border. For "contingency purposes."
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Reckless Congress 'Declares War' on Russia

Today the US House passed what I consider to be one of the worst pieces of legislation ever. H. Res. 758 was billed as a resolution “strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination.”

In fact, the bill was 16 pages of war propaganda that should have made even neocons blush, if they were capable of such a thing.

These are the kinds of resolutions I have always watched closely in Congress, as what are billed as “harmless” statements of opinion often lead to sanctions and war. I remember in 1998 arguing strongly against the Iraq Liberation Act because, as I said at the time, I knew it would lead to war. I did not oppose the Act because I was an admirer of Saddam Hussein – just as now I am not an admirer of Putin or any foreign political leader – but rather because I knew then that another war against Iraq would not solve the problems and would probably make things worse. We all know what happened next.
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Just Like the Stasi...

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Don’t you just love those Americans who celebrate how free they are under America’s national-security state system?

I wonder if such Americans also celebrated how free people were who lived under East Germany’s national-security state system.

I just read an interesting story in the New York Times about how the East German Stasi was confiscating art from wealthy East Germans. They would simply raid people’s homes, take valuable art, and then sell it, putting the money into the state’s coffers. According to the article, “between 1973 and 1989 the East German police, known as the Stasi, seized more than 200,000 objects in hundreds of raids.”

Why did the authorities do that? Because the government needed the money.

Why not simply raise taxes? Because people don’t like paying taxes. Anyway, why go through the taxing process when you can just barge into people’s homes and take their possessions?
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Fear is a Political Instrument, but Knowledge is Power

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Your doorbell rings in the dark of night, so you quietly approach the peephole to size up your visitor. The porch light doesn’t illuminate the person well enough to see him clearly, but he’s definitely wearing a mask. You move your eyes lower to get a better look at the tall figure. He’s standing, waiting, on the other side of the threshold. He’s holding a machete.

On any other night, this scenario might send adrenaline coursing through your veins, fueling an almost palpable fear. But tonight is different. It’s Halloween. And rather than feeling scared, you casually open the door to discover that the dimly lit figure is the teenager from down the street dressed as the killer from a slasher flick.

We don’t fear a scary-looking stranger on our doorstep on October 31 because we know it’s very likely to be a friendly neighbor seeking sugar. This information, born of experience, empowers us to act rationally. It's possible, of course, that the machete-wielding figure really is a murderer going door to door — but the odds are against it, especially on this night of the year.

Imagine if you didn't know how to assess that risk. Imagine locking your doors, turning off all the lights, and cowering in the dark, waiting for all the trick-or-treaters to go away.
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Ron Paul on the Next US Defense Secretary

As the US media reported that President Obama was expected to nominate Ashton Carter to be the next Secretary of Defense, RPI Chairman Ron Paul was not optimistic. There is no reason to believe that Carter, a long-time Pentagon employee and former deputy secretary, would do anything to straighten out failing US foreign policy, he said in an interview. With more pressure on the administration from pro-war hawks in Congress and elsewhere in the administration, the wars will likely continue to escalate under the new defense secretary. The administration has already warned us that the war would not be short-lived, he added.
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No to War, Hot or Cold, With Russia

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US-Russia relations have deteriorated severely in the past decade and they are about to get worse, if the House passes H. Res. 758.

NATO encirclement, the US-backed coup in Ukraine, an attempt to use an agreement with the European Union to bring NATO into Ukraine at the Russian border, a US nuclear first-strike policy, are all policies which attempt to substitute force for diplomacy.

Russia’s response to the terror unleashed by western-backed neo-nazis in Crimea and Odessa came after the local population appealed to Russia to protect them from the violence. Russia then agreed to Crimea joining the Russian Federation, a reaffirmation of an historic relationship.

The Western press begins its narrative on the Crimea situation with the annexation, but completely ignores the provocations by the West and other causal factors which resulted in the annexation. This distortion of reality is artificially creating an hysteria about Russian aggressiveness, another distortion which could pose an exceptionally dangerous situation for the world, if acted upon by other nations. The US Congress is responding to the distortions, not to the reality.
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Why Not Pardon Drug War Victims in Addition to Turkeys?

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Prior to Thanksgiving, President Obama continued the presidential tradition of pardoning two turkeys. Too bad he didn’t use the occasion to also pardon every single victim of the US government’s decades-long failed and destructive war on drugs.

I’m referring, of course, to all the people who have been convicted of violating federal laws against the possession or distribution of drugs, especially those people currently serving time in some federal penitentiary. Those people have no more business being in jail than people who have used, possessed, or distributed beer, liquor, wine, tobacco, fatty foods, or any other substance.

In an era in which Americans in various states are thumbing their noses at the federal government by legalizing marijuana and in which more people than ever before are challenging the very existence of drug laws, the fundamental question must be asked: What business is it of government to punish people for engaging in non-violent conduct?

The plain and simple answer to that question is: The government has no business punishing people for such conduct, whether it entails adultery, covetousness, pornography, possession of booze, marijuana, tobacco, or any other substance, or any other non-violent conduct.

That’s simply not the role of government in a free society. The legitimate role of government is to punish people who engage in violent behavior, such as murder, rape, theft, and burglary.
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MH17: Barring Malaysia From Investigation Reeks of Cover-up

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It was a Malaysian jet, carrying Malaysian passengers, flown by Malaysian pilots, yet after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014, Malaysia has been systematically blocked from participating in the investigation, leaving an overwhelmingly pro-NATO bloc in charge of the evidence, investigation and outcome as well as the manner in which the investigation will be carried out.

Despite the integral role Malaysia has played during several pivotal moments in the aftermath of the disaster, it appears that the closer to the truth the investigation should be getting, the further Malaysia itself is being pushed from both the evidence and any influence it has on the likely conclusions of the investigation.

With the downed aircraft in question being Malaysian, Malaysia as a partner in the investigation would seem a given. Its exclusion from the investigation appears to be an indication that the investigation’s objectivity has been compromised and that the conclusions it draws will likely be politically motivated.
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Who Wants to be Defense Secretary?

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It seems nobody wants to be Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration. The president’s first two Defense Secretaries, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, both complained bitterly this month about their time in the administration. The president’s National Security Council staff micro-managed the Pentagon, they said at a forum last week. Former Secretary Gates revealed that while he was running the Defense Department, the White House established a line of communication to the Joint Special Operations Command to discuss matters of strategy and tactics, cutting the Defense Secretary out of the loop. His successor at the Pentagon, Leon Panetta, made similar complaints.
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Nuclear Chicken in the Mideast

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To no surprise, nuclear talks between Iran and major world powers have become stalemated.

Iran will not sink “to its knees” to win a nuclear deal with the great powers, said its leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after the failure of six months of talks in Vienna.

However, the talks will continue until at least next March. Pity the poor negotiators: besides being excruciatingly boring, dealing with the tough, savvy Iranians is like pulling teeth. The only nationality I ever saw get the better of Iranians in negotiations were Armenians.

The United States has been waging economic and political warfare on the Islamic Republic since 1979. Only Cuba has been pounded longer. Both have suffered hugely.

Of late, Iranian nuclear scientists and technicians have been murdered in broad daylight. Nuclear installations have been sabotaged. The Stuxnet virus allegedly unleashed by the US and Israel against Iran’s centrifuges risked a catastrophic explosion or the release of nuclear contamination. In neighboring, Iraq, some 300 of its former nuclear technicians and scientists have been mysteriously murdered during the US occupation.

Iran’s economy has been very seriously damaged by the US-led boycott and commercial restrictions. Iranians are suffering mounting inflation, shortages of goods, and a collapsing currency. Iranians are fed up being the target of western sanctions.
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