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Iran Agreement Boosts Peace, Defeats Neocons

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Last week’s successfully concluded Iran agreement is one of the two most important achievements of an otherwise pretty dismal Obama presidency. Along with the ongoing process of normalizing relations with Cuba, this move shows that diplomacy can produce peaceful, positive changes. It also shows that sometimes taking a principled position means facing down overwhelming opposition from all sides and not backing down. The president should be commended for both of these achievements.
 
The agreement has reduced the chance of a US attack on Iran, which is a great development. But the interventionists will not give up so easily. Already they are organizing media and lobbying efforts to defeat the agreement in Congress. Will they have enough votes to over-ride a presidential veto of their rejection of the deal? It is unlikely, but at this point if the neocons can force the US out of the deal it may not make much difference. Which of our allies, who are now facing the prospect of mutually-beneficial trade with Iran, will be enthusiastic about going back to the days of a trade embargo? Which will support an attack on an Iran that has proven to be an important trading partner and has also proven reasonable in allowing intrusive inspections of its nuclear energy program?
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Praise To Barack Obama For Stiffing The War Party — Peace Is Finally Being Given A Chance

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I have rarely found anything President Obama has done to be praiseworthy, and believe his domestic policies of Keynesian borrow and spend and incessant statist intervention in capitalist enterprise to be especially deplorable. But finally he has stood up to the War Party—and that could mark a decisive turning point in rolling back Washington’s destructive interventionism and imperial pretensions in the Middle East and, indeed, around the world.

The Iranian nuclear agreement is a decisive refutation of the War Party’s hoary claim that Iran is hell-bent upon obtaining nuclear weapons. This deafening but untruthful narrative was long ago debunked by the 2007 National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs). These authoritative findings were issued by the nation’s 16 top intelligence agencies in November 2007, and they held that what had possibly been a small-scale Iranian weapons research effort was abandoned in 2003 and never restarted. That NIE verdict has been reiterated several times since then.

Not surprisingly, it was also these NIE findings that stopped cold in its tracks George Bush’s plan to bomb the alleged Iranian nuclear sites in late 2007. In his memoirs the Great Decider admitted that it would have been hard to explain to the American public why he was launching another war to eliminate an alleged Iranian WMD threat when his own intelligence agencies had just concluded it did not even exist!
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US/Israeli/Saudi ‘Behavior’ Problems

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There is a madness in how the mainstream US media presents the world to the American people, a delusional perspective that arguably creates an existential threat to humanity’s survival. We have seen this pattern in the biased depiction of the Ukraine crisis and now in how Official Washington is framing the debate over the Iranian nuclear agreement.

In this American land of make-believe, Iran is assailed as the chief instigator of instability in the Middle East. Yet, any sane and informed person would dispute that assessment, noting the far greater contributions made by Israel, Saudi Arabia and, indeed, the United States.

Israel’s belligerence, including frequently attacking its Arab neighbors and brutally repressing the Palestinians, has roiled the region for almost 70 years. Not to mention that Israel is a rogue nuclear state that has been hiding a sophisticated atomic-bomb arsenal.
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Central Banking and War: Ron Paul’s ‘Swords Into Plowshares’ reviewed

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It’s July 17th, which means that Ron Paul’s new book “Swords Into Plowshares” is finally available. And what a book it is. Only the hardest of hearts and most closed of minds could read Dr. Paul’s new book and fail to be convinced of the futility of war. But what interests us the most is Dr. Paul’s discussion of the connection between central banking and war. Almost since the first banks were developed, bankers have funded government wars in exchange for receiving privileges from government. The relationship continues today, but very few politicians ever touch on it. So what does Dr. Paul have to say about central banking and warmaking?

Dr. Paul’s book starts off with personal reminiscences of life during times of war. It includes his personal experiences during World War II, his awareness of the possibility of being drafted to fight in Korea, and his eventual drafting into the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Included among his personal recollections are his comments on rationing during World War II. As a child, that was just the system that was in place, but his future understanding of Austrian economics allowed him to look back on that period of time and realize how detrimental to an economy war could be. In particular, it allowed Dr. Paul to continuously fight against those economists who repeat the lie that government spending in World War II pulled the United States out of the Great Depression. Au contraire – the government war effort did nothing for the common man, as the rationing system merely extended the misery of the Depression.

Of real interest too is Dr. Paul’s discussion of how his views developed over time. While his personal experiences always led him to be uncomfortable with the idea of war, his nascent antiwar impulses took a long time to manifest themselves fully.
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New Law Says Web Sites Would Have to Inform Law Enforcement about Readers’ ‘Terrorist Activity’

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Social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube would be required to report “terrorist” videos and other content posted by users to federal authorities under legislation approved this past week by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The measure, contained in the 2016 intelligence authorization, still has to be voted on by the full Senate. The measure applies to “electronic communication service providers,” which includes e-mail services such as Google and Yahoo. “Posted content” would likely also apply to readers’ comments, and in theory to authors’ postings such as this one. 

Companies such as Twitter have recently stepped up efforts to remove terrorist content in response to growing concerns that they have not done enough to stem whatever the government deems propaganda. Twitter removed 10,000 accounts over a two-day period in April. Officials want more. “In our discussions with parts of the executive branch, they said there have been cases where there have been posts of one sort or another taken down” that might have been useful to know about, a Senate aide said.
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It’s Official: ISIS is No Threat to the US Homeland

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During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that took place earlier this week, Air Force nominee for Vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Paul Selva, stated that the "Islamic State" was currently "no threat to the US homeland."

Asked to prioritize the list of threats the US was actually facing, Gen. Selva gave the following answer: "Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and all of the organizations that have grown around ideology that was articulated by al Qaeda".

While the merits of listing China — one of America's top trading partners, but also a potential global rival — may be worth a discussion, and probably a few raised eyebrows both in DC and in Beijing, the fact that Russia and Iran feature prominently in this list says quite a lot about the level of confusion there is in the US military and political establishment as to the difference between strategic (structural and long term) opponents, and short/medium term rivalries that could be bridged through possible engagement, negotiation, and fair settlement of contentious issues.
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Freedom or the Slaughterhouse? The American Police State from A to Z

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Despite the best efforts of some to sound the alarm, the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.

All the while, the nation’s citizens seem content to buy into a carefully constructed, benevolent vision of life in America that bears little resemblance to the gritty, pain-etched reality that plagues those unfortunate enough to not belong to the rarefied elite.

For those whose minds have been short-circuited into believing the candy-coated propaganda peddled by the politicians, here is an A-to-Z, back-to-the-basics primer of what life in the United States of America is really all about.
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‘EU Periphery Countries Taking Brunt of US/EU Interventionist Policies in Ukraine’

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The EU and the US are the ones who created the chaos in Ukraine, said Daniel McAdams, of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. The countries on the EU periphery like Hungary have to take on the burden receiving thousands of refugees, he added.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has called for a crackdown on paramilitary units working in the country, saying no political force should have armed squads at its disposal. The statement came after a violent stand-off in the western town of Mukachevo, between far-right extremists from the Right Sector group and the police.

RT: What is the Right Sector to Ukraine, do you think? And what’s the Western attitude now to the radical groups in Ukraine?

Daniel McAdams: I think the Right Sector, and I don’t want to overemphasize this, but I think the Right Sector troops are to Ukraine what Al-Qaeda is in Syria. They’ve been necessary and they’ve been supported by the US and the EU because they are the best fighters. We just saw [yesterday] that a tank battalion in the regular Ukrainian army made a video saying “we’re not going to fight anymore.”You’ve had problems with morale in the conscripted Ukrainian army. They don’t want to be there, they would rather be home.
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MH17: The Blaming Putin Game Goes On

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Once upon a time CIA Stations overseas received what was referred to as an “Operating Directive” which prioritized intelligence targets for the upcoming year based on their importance vis-à-vis national security. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, penetrating Moscow and preventing the KGB’s repaying the favor in kind loomed large as Russia and its allies represented the only genuine threat that could in fact destroy much of the United States. Today’s Russia retains much of that military capability but somehow the perception that you have to deal with what is important first has been lost on our policymakers, possibly due to a false impression inside the beltway that Moscow no longer matters.

A working relationship with Moscow that seeks to mitigate potential areas of conflict is not just important, it is essential. Russian willingness to cooperate with the west in key areas to include the Middle East is highly desirable in and of itself but the bottom line continues to be Moscow’s capability to go nuclear against Washington if it is backed into a corner. Unfortunately, US administrations since Bill Clinton have done their best to do just that, placing Russia on the defensive by encroaching on its legitimate sphere of influence through the expansion of NATO. Washington’s meddling has also led to interfering in Russia’s domestic politics as part of a misguided policy of “democracy building” as well as second guessing its judiciary and imposing sanctions through the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. The damage to relations has been aggravated by the ill-advised commentary from American politicians on the make, including Senator John McCain’s dismissal of Russia as “a gas station masquerading as a country.”
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