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Nearly 60 Percent of Republicans Support Candidates Who Oppose Ousting Assad

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The Russian air campaign in Syria is netting some impressive gains – for Russia, Syria, and – although many of us are loath to admit it – the West: Russian air power, working closely with the Syrian Arab Army, has stymied the efforts of ISIS and other violent extremists to overthrow the secular, religiously tolerant, multi-confessional government of Syria. Gains have been made on the ground in and around Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Latakia. And there is evidence the Russian campaign was instrumental in the victory of US ally Iraq in Ramadi. That’s good (but then I speak as a Christian who believes the moderate, secular government of Assad is better for Christians than the horrendous US-backed jihadis who would replace it).

Not least among the happy consequences of Russia’s intervention has been its impact on US politics: recent polls reveal that close to 60 percent of Republican voters support candidates (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee) who think Assad should stay. The latest Reuters’ rolling 5-day poll (January 4, 2016) gives Trump (41.7 percent), Cruz, (13.2 percent), Paul (2.6 percent), and Huckabee (2.4 percent) for a combined 59.3 percent.

This represents an increase over other recent Reuters polls. A CNN/ORC poll published December 23rd gave Trump and Cruz alone a combined 57 percent of the poll (39 percent and 18 percent, respectively). Both candidates forthrightly expressed their support for Assad in the most recent Republican presidential debate (December 15th).
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Gun Control? What About US Arms Sales?

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While President Obama was tearing up to support his call for gun control, the US military-industrial complex was celebrating its continued leadership in the sale of weaponry to foreign regimes. According to the New York Times, US foreign arms deals increased nearly $10 billion in 2014. Total sales went from $26.7 billion in 2013 to $36.2 billion in 2014, a 35 percent increase.

Meanwhile, American statists, including those in the mainstream press, continue to scream about gun-show loopholes here in the United States but remain mute about the US government’s #1 position in sales of guns and other weapons around the world. (Russia and China, which US national-security state officials perceive to be “rivals” of the US Empire, are #2 and #5.)

Not surprisingly, billions of dollars of armaments went to brutal pro-US dictatorships, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar. While US officials justify such sales as “defense,” everyone knows that the armaments are used to fortify the dictatorships’ brutal hold on power in their countries. If citizens begin making waves against the US-supported tyranny under which they are suffering, they’re labeled terrorists. If they continue to make waves, that’s where US guns, tanks, and other armaments come into play.
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US (In)Justice Department Created Mess In Oregon

What is the role of federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the current Oregon standoff? At its core the dispute is about a federal government that runs roughshod over states, forcing otherwise peaceful ranchers like the Hammonds to be charged under federal terrorism laws for a controlled burn that accidentally scorched some federal government parkland. Setting aside the sideshow that is the armed occupation of a federal building in the remote nature preserve, the real issue is one of federal government over-reach and bullying. More today on the Liberty Report with special guest Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine...
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New ‘Jihadi John?’ ISIS Video Features English-Speaker

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For those who still don’t get why the War of Terror continues to fail after 14+ years, here is another lesson.

We all remember “Jihadi John,” who of course was never called that except in the western media. John (real name: Mohammed Emwazi) was a British citizen who became radicalized, joined ISIS and went on to do horrible things, including beheadings. The media, in hand with the White House and Downing Street, fluffed this one loser guy up into an international super villain. 

So, when eventually the world’s most powerful nation finally killed him in November 2015 with million-dollars air sorties and drones, we were all supposed to go full-out-bin-Laden-celebration, on the road to victory over Islamic State, with a little old fashioned Wild West vengeance thrown in for the feel good.

And so now guess what?

There’s a new guy to replace Jihadi John. He doesn’t have a stupid nickname yet, so let’s be the first and call him Haji Hank. He executed five persons claimed to be British spies, creating the video you see above in the process.
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North Korea Nukes: A Case For Non-Intervention?

Cries of glee must have emanated from the military-industrial complex and the Beltway think tanks as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made another of his periodic pleas for global attention. The nuclear detonation is looking less likely as powerful and thus significant than the North Korean government initially claimed, but that is not stopping vested US interests in playing up the threat. To some, like Donald Trump, it's all China's fault. To others, like Jeb Bush, it's all the fault of the Obama/Hillary foreign policy. To the think tankers, more policy papers are being feverishly crafted all calling for more of the same to produce different results. More military spending and more sanctions! But the North Korean "problem" is a direct result of US interventionism and the uncertainty it produces. After all, the Libyans gave up their nuclear program and not long afterward were "regime changed" by Washington. No one thinks a similar attack on North Korea is imminent. So as a deterrent, North Korea's nuclear policy actually works well. Why would anyone expect them to change? Perhaps taking away the incentive for such a deterrent would be more successful? Don't count on new thinking among the entrenched elite. Instead, turn to the Ron Paul Liberty Report...
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Enough Already! It’s Time To Send The Despicable House Of Saud To The Dustbin Of History

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recent column by Pat Buchanan could not be more spot on. It slices through the misbegotten assumption that Saudi Arabia is our ally and that the safety and security of the citizens of Lincoln NE, Spokane WA and Springfield MA have anything to do with the religious and political machinations of Riyadh and its conflicts with Iran and the rest of the Shiite world.

Nor is this only a recent development. In fact, for more than four decades Washington’s middle eastern policy has been dead wrong and increasingly counter-productive and destructive. The crisis provoked this past weekend by the 30-year old hot-headed Saudi prince, who is son of the King and heir to the throne, only clarified what has long been true.

That is, Washington’s Mideast policy is predicated on the assumption that the answer to high oil prices and energy security is deployment of the Fifth Fleet to the Persian Gulf. And that an associated alliance with one of the most corrupt, despotic, avaricious and benighted tyrannies in the modern world is the lynch pin to regional stability and US national security.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The House of Saud is a scourge on mankind that would have been eliminated decades ago, save for Imperial Washington’s deplorable coddling and massive transfer of arms and political support.
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Dollar Dominance: Deconstructing the Myths, Untangling the Web

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On December 16th, 2015, Federal Reserve Officials announced that after six years of 0 percent interest, they would finally raise the Federal Fund Rate. The move was seen by many as an attempt to provide markets with a boost of confidence. Although markets initially sold off on the news, they have in fact rebounded back to normal levels. Still, the question of whether or not the US economy is strong enough to maintain levels of growth has yet to be answered. Washington’s privileged position as issuer of the global reserve currency has allowed for an unprecedented monetary expansion with relatively low impact on global financial markets. 

Instead of consuming its own inflation, it exports it to producing economies who seem happy enough to send their hard-earned wealth to US consumers for what many people consider mere pieces of paper. The result of a repeat US economic engine stall, yet another round of monetary injection, doesn’t seem likely to draw the ire of the international order that subsidizes US consumption. Any criticism of Fed monetary policy or speculation concerning its implications would be met with the usual bromides about how the dollar is still strongest among weak rival currencies.

The Dollar’s much coveted and seemingly unshakable position as global reserve currency has caused many to speculate on the true nature of its relationship to US foreign policy and global international affairs. Washington’s ability to run massive deficits in the face of minimal international pressure compel many to believe that the US is somehow holding the world hostage. Lending credibility to this view, US military interventionism in Iraq and Libya, as well as an aggressive posture towards Iran, all happened to coincide with the governments of those countries adopting anti-dollar policies. Ever a popular villain in conspiracy mythology, the Fed is said to be a front operating at the behest of an international cabal of bankers hell-bent on controlling the world through a one world currency. In this scenario, the US government is painted as simply the enforcement arm of its puppet masters on Wall Street.
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US Politicians On Saudi Beheadings: It's All Iran's Fault!

Is House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce purposely deceiving the American public, or is he just that badly informed? As the Saudis beheaded 47 prisoners, including a prominent Shiite cleric, Royce went on CNN to blame the whole thing on the Iranians! The problems started when the Iranian military invaded Yemen, he said. But that is demonstrably untrue. It was the Saudis who invaded Yemen. The presidential candidates are no better, promising to use the US military to defend our "ally" the Saudis. Why are they so seemingly bought off by the Saudis? It could have to do with the hundreds of millions of dollars the Saudis spend on PR in Washington each year. More on these neocon lies in today's Liberty Report...
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2016: An Explosive New Year?

The Saudis and Iranians are at each other's throats after Saudi Arabia's penchant for executing the political opposition netted a prominent Shiite cleric. US reaction was muted. The Saudis have broken diplomatic relations after angry Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and Riyadh is considering banning citizens from traveling to Iran. Meanwhile, the Chinese stock market crashed today, leading to a big initial Dow drop and a spike in gold prices. If 2016 is coming in with a bang, can we expect even louder explosions as the year goes on? Tune in to today's Liberty Report with host Ron Paul and co-host Daniel McAdams...
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US Military Leadership Resisted Obama's Bid for Regime Change in Syria, Libya

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Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the US military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in US Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). 

That account and another report on a similar episode in 2011 suggest that the US military has a range of means by which it can oppose administration policies that it regards as unacceptable. But it also shows that the military leadership failed to alter the course of US policy, and raises the question whether it was willing to use all the means available to stop the funnelling of arms to al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups in Syria.

Hersh details a JCS initiative in the summer of 2013 to share intelligence on Islamic State and al-Qaeda organisations with other German, Russian and Israeli militaries, in the belief that the information would find its way to the Syrian army. Hersh reports that the military leadership did not inform the White House and the State Department about the “military to military” intelligence sharing on the jihadist forces in Syria, reflecting the hardball bureaucratic politics practised within the national security institutions.
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