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Washington’s Libido for the Ugly

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In 1927, H.L. Mencken rode by train through the Pennsylvania coal country. The houses he saw along the way were so hideous, at least in his eyes, that he was moved to pen his famous essay, “The Libido for the Ugly.” Mencken was writing about towns inhabited by coal miners and railroad brakemen, but what would he say if he were to visit present-day Washington, DC and take a stroll in its surrounding suburbs?
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Drafting Women - Equality Or Equal Slavery?

With the opening of all military combat roles to women, establishment voices like the New York Times are proclaiming that the next fight for equality is to force women to join men in registering for the draft. In what way is it a triumph of rights to have the threat of slavery, which is what the military draft really is, hanging over both men and women? Today's Liberty Report is joined by retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski to discuss the role of women in the military, the role of the military, and the role she played in blowing the whistle on the neocons who lied us into war with Iraq...
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Not-So-Convincing Anti-Second Amendment Arguments

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Ken Womble has written convincingly regarding legal matters, including the desirability of prosecuting cops who lie about other cops’ killings. However, Womble, in a Monday Mimesis Law article, provides several not-so-convincing arguments for repealing the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution while keeping in place other constitutional provisions Womble lists — “freedom of speech, assembly, due process, voting, etc.”

Womble provides three arguments in support of his conclusion. First, he says that the right to keep and bear arms is distinguishable from other rights mentioned in the Constitution because, “[i]n our nation’s almost 240 years of existence, the 2nd Amendment is the only time our leaders have granted a constitutional right to possess tools.”

When you think about it, this is not much of a distinction. The freedom of speech that Womble seeks to distinguish from the right to bear arms would be of much less value without the ability to use microphones, telephones, video cameras, audio recording equipment, radio and TV, the internet, means of transportation, and many other tools. Indeed, listed rather redundantly in the First Amendment is the freedom of the press along with the freedom of speech.
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Will Geneva Talks Lead Right Back to Assad’s 2011 Reforms?

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Syrian peace talks have already stalled. The opposition refused to be in the same room as the government delegation, while the latter blamed opposition “preconditions” and the organizers’ inability to produce a “list of designated terrorists.”

The UN’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has now promised talks will reconvene on February 25, but how will he achieve this?

So much has shifted on the global political stage and in the Syrian military theater since this negotiation process first began gaining steam.

In just the past few weeks, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have recaptured key areas in Latakia, Idlib, Daraa, Homs and Aleppo, and are making their way up to the Turkish border, cutting off supply lines and exits for opposition militants along the way.

While analysts and politicians on both sides of the fence have warned that a “military solution” to the Syrian crisis is not feasible, the SAA’s gains are starting to look very much like one. And with each subsequent victory, the ability for the opposition to raise demands looks to be diminished.
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FDA Wants to Jail Sam Girod for 48 Years, for Making Salves People Love

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Sam Girod is a Kentucky farmer who runs a small business selling natural skin salves made from herbs such as chickweed, which seem to help relieve a host of skin conditions, including allergic rashes, psoriasis, poison oak and even skin cancers.

If you look up chickweed on Amazon, you will find pages of chickweed products, dozens and dozens of products, in some cases followed by glowing testimonials from users about how this or that chickweed provided relief from terrible itching, and even cured their skin cancers.

So why has the US Food and Drug Administration picked Girod out from all those producers, and had him indicted by a federal grand jury on a dozen criminal charges that could jail Sam Girod for 48 years? Neither Girod, who is 56 years old and the father of twelve, nor his lawyer, Chuck McFarland, can explain it.

According to McFarland, Girod, who is Amish and has no criminal record, has been selling chickweed for the last 15 years, from his farm in Owingsville, Kentucky and from some convenience stores in Missouri.
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Saudis Poised For Syria Invasion?

According to press reports yesterday, Saudi Arabia is assembling a 150,000 man military force to invade Syria from Turkish soil and fight against Islamist terrorists in that country. But surely the rest of the world knows that for the past five years or more, Saudi Arabia has been the main source of support for those same terrorists. If the invasion goes forward -- and it apparently has US backing -- it would pit Saudi forces directly against Iranian, Syrian, and probably Russian forces. The Russians already said it would be a "declaration of war." Is the US really ready to unleash WWIII over whether or not Assad stays in office? We ponder these questions in today's Liberty Report...
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Obama Caves To Neocons - Military Spending To Skyrocket

It looks like the neocons and the Beltway military-industrial complex are going to get their way, as President Obama's plan to scale back a few weapons systems has hit a brick wall in Congress. Meanwhile, citing the "Russian threat," the Pentagon announced that it would be quadrupling its military spending in Europe next year and that NATO would be stationing 40,000 troops on the Russian border. What is the relationship between the neocon think tanks, the mainstream media, the military-industrial complex, and Congress? They all conspire to create constant new threats to justify enormous military spending that is running the economy into the ground. They are ripping us off. More on this today in the Liberty Report...
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Coincidence? Baltic Invasion Story Reappears as Pentagon Seeks to Quadruple Europe Spending

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It seems that Putin is about to invade the Baltics. Again. 

With journalists and commentators distracted by Syria and Europe’s refugee crisis, Putin’s enduring desire to dash Westwards across the continent “recreating the Soviet Union” was seemingly put on the media’s back burner for a while. In fact, journalists had been oddly quiet on the subject of the Baltic states and a potential Russian invasion for months. 

A piece published by the Financial Times last July admitted that the “consensus” among diplomats and analysts was that Putin had “not embarked on a rampage” to recreate an empire “as some feared last year”. 

Given that new-found consensus, one might have suspected that the lull in stories about a forthcoming invasion could be chalked up to journalists deciding to put the subject to rest — but one would have been wrong. For they were back last week with a vengeance.
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An Exasperated John Kerry Throws In Towel On Syria: ‘What Do You Want Me To Do, Go To War With The Russians?!’

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“Russian and Syrian forces intensified their campaign on rebel-held areas around Aleppo that are still home to around 350,000 people and aid workers have said the city - Syria's largest before the war - could soon fall.”

Can you spot what’s wrong with that quote, from a Reuters piece out today? Here’s the problem: “could soon fall” implies that Aleppo is on the verge of succumbing to enemy forces. It’s not. It’s already in enemy hands and has been for quite some time. What Reuters should have said is this: “...could soon be liberated.”

While we’ll be the first to admit that Bashar al-Assad isn’t exactly the most benevolent leader in the history of statecraft, you can bet most Syrians wish this war had never started and if you were to ask those stranded in Aleppo what their quality of life is like now, versus what it was like in 2009, we’re fairly certain you’ll discover that residents aren’t particularly enamored with life under the mishmash of rebels that now control the city.

In any event, Russia and Iran have encircled Aleppo and once it “falls” (to quote Reuters) that’s pretty much it for the opposition. Or at least for the “moderate” opposition. And the Saudis and Turks know it.
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Mandatory Depression Screening is A Depressing Thought

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The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended mandatory depression screening for all Americans. The task force wants to force health insurance companies to pay for the screening. Basic economics, as well as the Obamacare disaster, should have shown this task force that government health insurance mandates harm Americans.

Government health insurance mandates raise the price of health insurance. Consumers will respond to this increase by either choosing to not carry health insurance or by reducing their consumption of other goods and services. Imposing new health insurance mandates will thus make consumers, many of whom are already suffering from Obamacare’s costly mandates, worse off by forcing them to deviate from their preferred consumption patterns.
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