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Obama’s Phony Foreign-Aid Reform

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Four years ago, President Obama promised in a United Nations speech to “change the way we do business” with foreign aid and “seek partners who want to build their own capacity to provide for their people.” A year earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained that “a lot of these aid programs don’t work” and lamented their “heartbreaking” record of failure. However, Mr. Obama, like numerous prior presidents, is more devoted to boosting aid spending than to fixing its flaws.

The Agency for International Development (AID), the largest foreign-aid bureaucracy, was caught last week massively suppressing audit reports revealing waste, fraud and abuse. More than 400 negative findings were deleted from a sample of 12 draft audit reports, The Washington Post reported. In one case, more than 90 percent of the negative findings were expunged before the report was publicly released. Acting Inspector General Michael Carroll buried the embarrassing audit findings because he “did not want to create controversy as he awaited Senate confirmation to become the permanent inspector general,” according to some AID auditors.

The most brazen case involved hushing up $4.6 million in illegal ransom money that AID paid in March 2012 to secure the release of the son of Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Sam Lahood and 15 other Americans had been arrested after they entered Egypt illegally and engaged in prohibited political activism. At the time, a State Department official brazenly lied, denying that the payoff came from the U.S. government. This novel use of foreign-aid money might have caused an uproar if it had been revealed prior to Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election.
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Putin’s Complaint: Is Washington a Revisionist Power?

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The idea that the United States must exercise "global leadership" is rationalized by our interventionists as a necessary perquisite for maintaining some type of "world order."Who will guard the sea lanes? Who will deter "aggression"? Who will defend the "rules" against those "rogue states" just waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc, if not the United States of America?

No "mainstream" politician dares challenge this mythology, and those academics and popular writers who do so risk being marginalized. Challenging the motives of our wise rulers isn’t good for your career: that is, not if you want to have any influence in Washington. And while it’s okay to question whether this episode of meddling or that murderous invasion is really in our interest, the benevolence and historical legitimacy of the American empire is not to be questioned. Because, after all, the theoreticians of imperialism say, without the stability enforced by America’s military supremacy "liberalism" could not exist.

This is how the world is seen inside the Washington Beltway, where the monuments of Empire loom large and more than half the population owes its livelihood to the Imperium. Outside that bubble of hubris and skyrocketing real estate values, however, the world looks to be quite a different place – as does America’s role in it.

To an Iraqi citizen, who has watched his nation be torn to pieces by the American eagle, stability is the last thing he associates with the Americans. To a Libyan who had hopes his country might evolve into something more than Gaddafi’s playground, "order" fled the moment the Americans intervened. To a resident of eastern Ukraine who voted in an internationally-recognized election for Victor Yanukovych – and who awoke one morning to discover his government had been overthrown by force – America is anything but the champion of liberal democracy.
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Time Mag to Ron Paul: Stop Telling The Truth!

Time Magazine is very angry with Ron Paul. How dare he point out that the media has been over-reacting to the Ebola outbreak? How dare he mention that Canada's 13 years of bombing Muslim countries has irritated plenty of people on the receiving end of those bombs? How dare he tell the truth about US history: that if the colonies were told they could never leave it is unlikely there would ever have been a United States?

Ron Paul is a "professional provocateur," screeches Time's Denver Nicks.
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Don't Let Lunatics Make Our Policies

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Things seemed crazy in the US and Canada last week, with a shooting on normally tranquil Parliament Hill in Ottawa and a grisly hatchet attack on two New York City policemen.

Add in an American doctor who returned to the big city from Ebola-stricken West Africa and proceeded to run around all over town – from the Bronx to the west Village to a bowling alley in Brooklyn – just as he was coming down with the dreaded sickness. New Yorkers are a pretty tough bunch, so panic was mild, but in this crowded city, it was still a big scare.

Because of this alarm, imposing quarantine on arrivals from disease-ridden West Africa seemed to make more and more sense. The governors of New York and New Jersey just called for such a sensible safety procedure. The Obama administration has opposed quarantines, likely for fear of angering black voters.
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Once-Peaceful Canada Turns Militaristic; Blowback Follows

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In 1968 the government of Canada decided to openly admit Americans seeking to avoid being drafted into the US war on Vietnam. Before, would-be immigrants were technically required to prove that they had been discharged from US military service. This move made it easier for Americans to escape President Johnson’s war machine by heading north. 

Although a founding member of NATO, Canada did not join the United States in its war against Vietnam. The Canadian government did not see a conflict 7,000 miles away as vital to Canada’s national interest so Canada pursued its own foreign policy course, independent of the United States.

How the world has changed. Canada’s wise caution about military adventurism even at the height of the Cold War has given way to a Canada of the 21st century literally joined at Washington’s hip and eager to participate in any bombing mission initiated by the D.C. interventionists.
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Anti-Assad Warmongers Drag in the Holocaust

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“The irony is that the Nazi holocaust has now become the main ideological weapon for launching wars of aggression,” Norman Finkelstein tells Yoav Shamir in “Defamation,” the Israeli filmmaker’s award-winning 2009 documentary on how perceptions of anti-Semitism affect Israeli and U.S. politics. “Every time you want to launch a war of aggression, drag in the Nazi holocaust.” If you’re looking for evidence in support of Finkelstein’s thesis today, you need look no further than the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibit of images of emaciated and mutilated bodies from contemporary Syria.

The small exhibit, entitled “Genocide: The Threat Continues,” features a dozen images said to be from an archive of 55,000 pictures allegedly smuggled out of the country by “Caesar,” a mysterious source who claims to have defected from his job as a Syrian military photographer after having been ordered to take photos of more than 10,000 corpses. Emphasizing the threat of an impending genocide, the reportedly conscience-stricken defector warns that a similar fate awaits the 150,000 people he says remain incarcerated by President Bashar Assad’s government.

“They’re powerful images, and viewers are immediately reminded of the Holocaust,” Cameron Hudson, the director of the museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide, was cited as saying in an Oct. 15 Associated Press report. Hudson, whose intriguing career in genocide prevention includes a stint as intelligence analyst in the CIA’s Africa Directorate, added, “They show a side of the Syrian regime that hasn’t really been really seen. You might have heard about it, read about it, but when you’re confronted with these images, they’re impossible to ignore.”
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Fragile Fact-Checking: How The Media Fell in And Out of Love With The Sikorski ‘Revelations’

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What’s worse than a junior neocon? A junior neocon trying to make a name for himself. Ben Judah’s meteoric rise, aided by his staunch anti-Russian credentials in a climate of fear, has imploded as quickly as it began.


As I learnt the hard way, when you are a young man in a hurry it’s easy to trip up. The first few times you’ll, probably, be forgiven but once it becomes a trend, even the most ardent supporters will abandon you. The fewer redeeming features you possess, the faster it’ll happen. When it has the potential to create an international diplomatic crisis, I can only assume it’s fatal to that once promising career.

On Sunday, the niche US journal Politico published a piece which, briefly, rocked the Russia-related media world. In a rambling, rabble-rousing diatribe by Ben Judah came a, seemingly amazing, scoop - Vladimir Putin had allegedly proposed, in a 2008 Moscow meeting, that Russia and Poland divide Ukraine between them. The source for this, supposed, latter-day Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was given as ex-Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Carl Bildt was also included — but the less said about him the better — in a veritable neocon tea party. After reading about the ostensible carve-up, I was wondering what century I was in.


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Hollow Justice and Courts of Order in an Age of Government-Sanctioned Tyranny

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“The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of the people.”—Justice William O. Douglas

Justice in America makes less sense with each passing day.

A Michigan couple that has been raising chickens in their backyard as a source of healthy food for their family could get up to 90 days in jail for violating a local ban on backyard hens. A Kentucky prison guard who was charged with 25 counts of sexual abuse against female inmates, trafficking controlled substances, and 50 counts of official misconduct walks away with no jail time and seven years’ probation. A 53-year-old Virginia man is facing 20 years in jail for kidnapping, despite the fact that key evidence shows him to be innocent and his accuser a liar, yet the courts claim they’re unable to do anything about it. Meanwhile, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear the case of Jones v. U.S.,judges can now punish individuals for crimes of which they may never have been convicted or even charged.

With every ruling handed down, it becomes more apparent that we live in an age of hollow justice, with government courts, largely lacking in vision and scope, rendering narrow rulings focused on the letter of the law. This is true at all levels of the judiciary, but especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.


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The Cuban Embargo is an Attack on Both Cubans And Americans

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Sen. Robert Menendez

In its October 11 Sunday edition, the New York Times published an editorial calling for the lifting of the 45-year-old Cold War-era economic embargo against Cuba. The Times pointed out:

Over the decades, it became clear to many American policy makers that the embargo was an utter failure. But any proposal to end the embargo angered Cuban-American voters, a constituency that has had an outsize role in national elections.

Among those who got upset this time by the proposal to lift the embargo was Robert Menendez, the senior senator from New Jersey and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who wrote a letter of objection to the editor.

Mendendez says that President Obama shouldn’t “waste finite diplomatic resources on a country that abuses human rights and diametrically opposes our democratic ideals, at a time when the Islamic State is waging brutal war and Russia continues to undermine all international norms through its continuing invasion of Ukraine.”


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National Service is Anti-Liberty and Un-American

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Former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently called on the government to force young people to spend two years either “serving” in the military or performing some other type of government-directed “community service.” Neoconservative Senator John McCain has introduced legislation creating a mandatory national service program very similar to Reich’s proposal. It is not surprising that both a prominent progressive and a leading neocon would support mandatory national service, as this is an issue that has long united authoritarians on the left and right. 

Proponents of national service claim that young people have a moral obligation to give something back to society. But giving the government power to decide our moral obligations is an invitation to totalitarianism. 


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