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Ron Paul Blasts US Ukraine Policy

Speaking with RT's Sophie Shevardnadze, RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul presents a masterful, in-depth critique of the US government’s actions related to Ukraine. Among many matters discussed, Paul addresses the US government’s foolhardy imposition of sanctions as part of its Ukraine policy.
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Why Are Americans Paying to Be Searched, Spied On, Shot At and Robbed Blind by the Government?

Duck

The State Department wants $400,000 to purchase a fiberglass sculpture of a camel looking at a needle for its new embassy in Pakistan. They’ve already spent their allotted $630,000 to increase the number of “likes” and fans on their Facebook and Twitter pages. The NATO ambassador for the U.S. needs $700,000 for landscaping and gardening, the National Science Foundation would like $700,000 to put on a theatrical production about climate change, and the Senate staffers need $1.9 million for lifestyle coaching. Also, Yale University researchers could really use $384,000 so they can study the odd cork-screw shape of a duck’s penis.

I promise this is no belated April Fools’ joke. These are actual line items paid for by American taxpayers, whose tax dollars continue to be wasted on extravagant, unnecessary items that serve no greater purpose than to fatten the wallets of corporations and feed political graft (such as the $1 million bus stop, complete with heated benches and sidewalks which can only shelter 15 people and provides little protection from rain, snow, or the sun).

Case in point: despite the fact that we have 46 million Americans living at or below the poverty line, 16 million children living in households without adequate access to food, and at least 900,000 veterans relying on food stamps, enormous sums continue to be doled out for presidential vacations ($16 million for trips to Africa and Hawaii), overtime fraud at the Department of Homeland Security (nearly $9 million in improper overtime claims, and that’s just in six of the DHS’ many offices), and Hollywood movie productions ($10 million was spent by the Army National Guard on Superman movie tie-ins aimed at increasing awareness about the National Guard).
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Can the West Get Out of Its (Self-Made) Cul-de-Sac in Syria?

Obamakillingsyrian

In recent years, the limits on America’s ability to shape important outcomes in the Middle East unilaterally—or even with a few European partners—have been dramatically underscored by strategically failed interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Last year, President Obama’s inability to act on his declared intention to attack Syria after chemical weapons were used there in August made clear that Washington can no longer credibly threaten the effective use of force in the region.

Still, American and other Western elites persist in thinking they can dictate the Middle East’s future by helping armed insurgents overthrow Syria’s recognized government. If Western powers don’t drop their insistence that President Bashar al-Assad leave power—even though he retains the support of a majority of Syrians and is winning his fight against opposition forces—and get serious about facilitating a political settlement between Assad and parts of the opposition, they will do further damage to their own already distressed position in the Middle East.

Since protests broke out in parts of Syria in March 2011, Western policy has focused on destabilizing President Assad and his government.  American, British, and French decision-makers calculated that, by undermining Assad, they could inflict a damaging blow to Iran’s regional position. They also reckoned that targeting Assad would help coopt the Arab Awakening that had emerged in the months preceding the start of unrest in Syria.
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Ft. Hood: An Avoidable Tragedy

Last week we saw yet another tragedy at Ft. Hood, Texas, as a distraught Iraq war veteran killed three of his fellow soldiers before killing himself. It is nearly five years after the last Ft. Hood shooting, where 13 people were killed. These tragedies are heartbreaking and we certainly feel much sympathy for the families of the victims.

While there is much focus on the mental illness that appears to have driven many of these men to murder, what is left unsaid is the cause of the tragedy. Government officials and the media only talk about the symptoms that lead to these tragic events. They will tell us that there are people who get post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and kill themselves and others. They will all call for more government intervention into the lives of those in the military to root out and “treat” mental illness.
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US Government's Regime Change Obsession Rears Its Ugly Head Again

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The US government’s 116-year-old obsession with controlling Cuba has suddenly manifested itself again. Yesterday, the Associated Press, based on secret records that it obtained, reported that USAID, the federal agency that distributes billions of dollars in US-taxpayer funded foreign aid and which has long served as a front organization for the CIA, has been engaged in a super-secret, covert operation to effect regime change in Cuba.

The USAID scheme involved illegally securing the cell phone numbers of tens of thousands of Cubans, most of whom were presumed to be young people. Then, using a series of several private front companies, which is a classic CIA modus, they established a twitter-type service that enabled U.S. officials to feed messages to the recipients. The plan called for feeding messages that would incite young people to rise up with mass spontaneous protests against the Cuban communist regime.

Now, one might ask: What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with the U.S. government’s helping the Cuban people achieve their freedom?

Well, for one, the freedom of the Cuban people is the furthest thing from the minds of US officials. Their objective has always been — and continues to be — control over Cuba. They couldn’t give a whit over whether the Cuban people are free or not, any more than they gave a whit over whether the Chilean, Guatemalan, and Iranian people were free after the CIA instigated regime change in those countries.
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For America, Perhaps Now is The Time For Neutrality

Among the most striking aspects of the current debate over U.S. foreign policy is the almost complete lack of perception among Americans about their country’s actual economic and military capabilities and its international influence. Whether it is Ukraine and Russia, the intensifying Islamist offensive on several continents, or the blatantly Potemkin Middle East peace talks, U.S. political leaders, academics, pundits, and most of the media speak as if today’s America is the America of 1945, 1984, or 1991, times when the United States was a nation of almost unlimited military and economic power and telling international influence.

Today, we are barely a shadow of that powerful nation. Indeed, while Washington under either party speaks as if it is the world’s voice of power and all-knowing authority, we are really the very picture of an overused, late-middle age Madam who eagerly displays her sagging wares but doesn’t seem to realize that she has lost her looks, allure, and persuasiveness, and is much more laughed at than lusted over.
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Afghan Elections for Another Fake Regime

Afghanelection

Afghanistan’s national election held this week is a sham. A group of candidates, handpicked by the US, will pretend to compete in an election whose outcome has already been determined – by Washington.

The candidates include US groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major war criminal and principal CIA ally who ordered the massacre of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners.

Such is the rotten foundation on which Washington is hoping to build a compliant Afghan “democracy” that will continue to offer bases to US troops and warplanes. Afghanistan’s majority, the Pashtun tribes, have little voice in the election charade.

The largest, most popular party in Afghanistan, Taliban, and its smaller ally, Hisbi-Islami, have been excluded as “terrorists” from the current and past elections. They are boycotting the vote, rightly claiming it will be rigged and run by the western powers and their local collaborators. We see this same pattern of faux democracy across the Mideast.
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NATO Exploits Ukraine Crisis to Demonstrate Its Relevance

NATO's bureaucrats — and the military-industrial complex that supplies them — are thrilled with the new lease on life given them by the Ukraine crisis. That is why NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen keeps telling anyone who will listen, that NATO is needed more than ever and it must be given even more new missions. Old cold warriors are coming out of the woodwork to wave NATO flags and talk about the glories of "collective security."

In the below edition of RT's Crosstalk, watch RPI academic advisor John Laughland and fellow NATO skeptic Eric Kraus debate a neoconservative hawk from the Heritage Foundation on the subject of whether NATO has any real value or purpose more than 20 years after the Warsaw Pact shut its doors. The inability of the hawk to provide any reasonable defense of NATO is very telling.
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The Theory Behind USAID Is Wrong...And in Practice It's Worse!

Usaidtroop

USAID (United States Agency for International Development) announces its theory as follows: “USAID says that its work helps ensure American security and prosperity – arguing that the world is more stable if there is less poverty and strife.”

If the U.S. government props up client states with aid, floods their markets with American agricultural goods, underwrites military purchases, introduces Keynesian economic practices, and provides disaster aid, this is supposed to make the people wealthier and reduce political strife. If the country becomes more indebted to the IMF and World Bank, building unprofitable signature projects, this is supposed to raise living standards, making people content and happy. And all of that improvement, which actually doesn’t happen, is supposed to make Americans more secure and prosperous, a very far-fetched theory.

Intra-domestic wealth transfers in the U.S. likewise have done more harm than good, producing greater dependency, worse education, more red tape, and higher debt while undercutting private capital growth that might have involved job creation. Why are we not to expect that foreign wealth transfers are likewise doing more harm than good?
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The US Government Should Butt Out of Venezuela

In an op-ed in the New York Times this week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro calls for peace in Venezuela. The socialist president has been besieged by demonstrations in which several protestors have been killed. The protesters focus on horrendous economic conditions brought about by Maduro’s socialist economic policies. Maduro is issuing a call for domestic peace.

The problem is that whenever a ruler who is independent of the US Empire is in power, the US national-security state apparatus, especially the CIA, oftentimes gets involved in the process, stirring up trouble and doing whatever it can to achieve the ouster of the ruler and his replacement with a pro-U.S. stooge, ideally one who is a military dictator. It’s no concern of the U.S. government how many foreign citizens die in the process.
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