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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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The Super Bowl Promotes War

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Super Bowl 50 will be the first National Football League championship to happen since it was reported that much of the pro-military hoopla at football games, the honoring of troops and glorifying of wars that most people had assumed was voluntary or part of a marketing scheme for the NFL, has actually been a money-making scheme for the NFL. The U.S. military has been dumping millions of our dollars, part of a recruitment and advertising budget that's in the billions, into paying the NFL to publicly display love for soldiers and weaponry.

Of course, the NFL may in fact really truly love the military, just as it may love the singers it permits to sing at the Super Bowl halftime show, but it makes them pay for the privilege too. And why shouldn't the military pay the football league to hype its heroism? It pays damn near everybody else. At $2.8 billion a year on recruiting some 240,000 "volunteers," that's roughly $11,600 per recruit. That's not, of course, the trillion with a T kind of spending it takes to run the military for a year; that's just the spending to gently persuade each "volunteer" to join up.

The biggest military "service" ad buyer in the sports world is the National Guard. The ads often depict humanitarian rescue missions. Recruiters often tell tall tales of "non-deployment" positions followed by free college. But it seems to me that the $11,600 would have gone a long way toward paying for a year in college! And, in fact, people who have that money for college are far less likely to be recruited.
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Giving Peace Very Little Chance

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After nearly 15 years of Mideast war – with those conflicts growing ever grimmer – you might expect that peace would be a major topic of the 2016 presidential race. Instead, there has been a mix of warmongering bluster from most candidates and some confused mutterings against endless war from a few.

No one, it seems, wants to risk offending Official Washington’s neocon-dominated foreign policy establishment that is ready to castigate any candidate who suggests that there are other strategies – besides more and more “regime changes” – that might extricate the United States from the Middle East quicksand.

Late in Thursday’s Democratic debate – when the topic of war finally came up – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued toeing the neocon line, calling Iran the chief sponsor of terrorism in the world, when that title might objectively go to US “allies,” such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all of whom have been aiding Sunni jihadists fighting to overthrow Syria’s secular regime.

Israel also has provided help to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which has been battling Syrian troops and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters near the Golan Heights – and Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians has played a key role in stirring up hatred and violence in the Middle East.
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Ron Paul Says Entering Presidential Race as Libertarian Party Candidate ‘Not in the Cards’

In a new Fox Business interview, host Kennedy asks Ron Paul the question many people have considered the last couple days: With Paul’s son Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) having dropped out of the presidential race this week, how about the senior Paul jump into the 2016 presidential contest by seeking the Libertarian Party nomination? Paul responds that such a run is “not in the cards.”
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German Spy Chief Says ISIS Operatives Have Infiltrated Europe Disguised As Refugees

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"We are in a serious situation and there is a high risk that there could be an attack. But the security agencies, the intelligence services and the police authorities are very alert and our goal is to minimize the risk as best we can.”

That’s from Hans-Georg Maassen head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency (BfV) and it certainly doesn’t inspire much in the way of confidence.

In an interview with ZDF television, Maassen said the BfV has “repeatedly seen that terrorists ... have slipped into [Germany] camouflaged or disguised as refugees.”

And that’s not mere speculation. “This is a fact that the security agencies are facing,” he added.
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The Washington Post’s Interventionist Mindset

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If you have ever yearned for a perfect example of the interventionist mindset that undergirds the mainstream media, the Washington Post provided it last Sunday in an editorial entitled “Failure in Cuba.” The editorial could have easily been written by any member of US national-security establishment, especially those in the Pentagon and CIA who have been obsessing over Cuba for the past half-century.

What failure is the Post referring to? The editorial says that President Obama’s diplomatic outreach efforts to Cuba and his loosening of economic controls have failed to bring a “sea change” in Cuba’s domestic affairs. The Post points out that Obama’s efforts have done nothing to cause the Castro regime to release its tyrannical hold on power over the Cuban people. Obama, says the Post, should stop making unilateral concessions to Cuba and instead should secure positive changes from the Castro regime as a condition of further lifting US economic controls on Cuba.

Needless to say, the Post just makes the natural assumption that what goes on in Cuba is the business of the US government. That’s the mindset of the interventionist. He looks on the US government as an international imperialist daddy, one that must stick its nose in everyone else’s business and dictate what everyone else should do and not do.
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Your Perception Is Worth Big Bucks To The Military-Industrial Complex

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We all know how Hollywood and the crony media likes to portray the US military. It's almost always presented as this well-oiled machine, good looking people, white teeth, well-spoken, the whole nine yards. 

Hardly will you see how trillions of taxpayers dollars go up in smoke and how the Pentagon mysteriously "loses" track of where the money goes. No, the actual truth about how government bureaucracy works is not what you'll see in the latest blockbuster film.

Perceptions are critically important when running an operation that forcefully takes money from American citizens. Perception is worth big bucks! As a matter of fact, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had his hands out this week seeking yet another $600 billion.

Carter says:
Even as we fight today’s fights, we must also be prepared for the fights that might come 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.
Oh really?

This is where perception comes in. The belief that the US military (a) should be fighting for decades to come, and (b) that it's able to sit down and plan 10, 20 and 30 years down the road.
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Rand Out - Victory For Hawks?

Neocon scribblers like Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin are crowing about the demise of non-interventionism with the departure of Rand Paul from the presidential race. We are all neocons now, say Rubin and her allies in the war party. But not so fast! When have they been right about anything? The struggle for peace and prosperity is a struggle of ideas, not a race to elect politicians to office. And even the departure of the most non-interventionist candidate in the race does not mean the end of non-interventionism. Despite the propaganda, given the choice the people don't want war. No matter what Rubin or Kristol think. What is next for the non-partisan pro-peace movement? Tune in to today's Liberty Report for Ron Paul's take...
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