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A Country That Has Lost Its Way: U.S. Government and Corporations Combine to Strip Citizens of Their Rights

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The American people have increasingly become aware that government surveillance and corporate censorship have combined to keep people ignorant and controlled. What is taking place has generated some dark humor. A friend of mine, also a former CIA officer, wrote to me recently and said tongue-in-cheek that he retains a lot of respect for the Agency because it is the only major government national security entity that does not read our mail and emails. Those jobs are the responsibility of the NSA and FBI. I responded that I would imagine that CIA does in fact read quite a lot of mail where it operates overseas but it is probably done the old-fashioned way by recruiting an underpaid mail clerk as an agent.

The whole issue of the government spying illegally on its own citizens has again made the news with the claims by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson that NSA has been spying on him, presumably because he has connections that the government regards either as subversive or, in the new reckoning, as “extremists” who are potential “domestic terrorists.” Given the reasonable assumption that anyone who voted for Donald Trump might well fall under those categories, that means that something like half the US population could be under suspicion.

Mass electronic surveillance of literally trillions of phone calls and messages worldwide without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment restrictions on searches without probable cause or a proper warrant issued by a judge has been the regular NSA authorized procedure at least since 9/11 and there is no reason to assume that it is no longer the practice. It basically is initiated by the agency involved (normally NSA or FBI) going to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court or to some other appropriate judge to get a warrant on an individual where there is some probable cause. Probable cause can consist of “someone searching the web for suspicious stuff.”
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Can Mass Subjugation Save American Democracy?

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“Beatings will continue until morale improves” has morphed from an old joke to the latest prescription for national salvation. “Compulsory National Service Could Unite America,” whooped a New York Times Op-ed headline last week. Prominent media outlets, think tanks, and too many professors and former generals are calling for government to commandeer a year of young Americans’ lives to forcibly restore their faith in the political system. 

Rep. John Delaney made a one-year mandatory service requirement for every 18-year-old a keystone of his Democratic presidential campaign. Last year, the congressionally-created National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service recommended reserving “mandatory service as a last resort” to force Americans to serve as politicians demand. From the Aspen Institute to the Brookings Institution, from the Washington Post to Politico, national service is being whooped up as a silver bullet for all that ails America. 

Congress last month created a new federal holiday, Juneteenth Day, spurred in part by focus on the horrors of slavery. But compulsory service advocates are rewriting the script for American history. Apparently, slavery was evil not because of the unjust subjugation but because plantation owners, not politicians, were the profiteers. If the federal government is the beneficiary of forced labor, any quibbles about the 13th Amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude are moot.
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NSA Vs. Tucker Carlson: Are We A Banana Republic?

After the shocking revelation that the US National Security Agency had intercepted Fox News host Tucker Carlson's emails and then leaked them to media in an effort to smear him, the question all Americans should be asking is: how did we get to this banana republic state? Will there be any accounting for this lawlessness? Also today: Iraqi militias keep firing on US bases in Iraq. So why not leave? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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New York Times Pushing the Envelope on Russia

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If Wednesday morning’s passive-voice ("Russian hackers are accused of"), evidence-free New York Times article titled "Attempted Hack of R.N.C. and Russian Ransomware Attack Test Biden" has a familiar ring, look who wrote it. The senior author is David Sanger, the NYT’s chief Washington correspondent. Based on Sanger’s unenviable record, the story he wrote with Nicole Perlroth can be dismissed as a proverbial nothingburger with Sanger sauce.

The article claims that Russian hackers breached a contractor for the Republican National Committee (RNC) last week "around the same time that Russian cybercriminals launched the largest global ransomware attack on record". Sanger and co-author Nicole Perlroth cannot resist editorializing in the first paragraph that the "incidents are testing the red lines set by President Biden" at the June 16 summit with Russian President Putin. Biden, they noted, "presented Mr. Putin with a list of 16 critical sectors of the American economy that, if attacked, would provoke a response".

The NY Times does not seem to know if the RNC is included among those 16. Indeed, there is little sign that the Times actually knows what those 16 critical sectors are. No worries, the Russians nonetheless "are accused" of activities that "test those red lines".

The Times, and Sanger in particular, have shown themselves receptive to parts of our government (especially the security services) as well as to those who need an enemy to justify huge defense spending – all of whom have a deep vested interest in painting Russia and Putin in the most dangerous colors. It is a safe bet that this is what is going on here.
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The COVID-19 era taught us: Don’t trust, verify

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The past year and a half has acted as a consistent test of our ability to process fact from fiction. Turn on the TV and you’ll surely run into a CDC or Big Pharma sponsored commercial demanding the population-wide embrace of the latest radical “solution” to the “scary virus” out there. 
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The progressive civil war over Syria and Assad exposes an astonishing lack of intellectual curiosity by some on the American Left

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Truth and politics are often mutually exclusive concepts when dealing with the progressive American Left. This unfortunate fact is being driven home in spades in an ongoing spat between two lefty online personalities.

Anyone following Aaron Maté (149K followers on Twitter); The Young Turks (TYT, with 440K followers as an institution, and as many followers each tracking the activity of co-hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian); the comedian Jimmy Dore (274K followers); or any number of other Twitter personalities whose online paths have crossed with any of the above; knows these left-leaning social media stars have been engaged in a vicious feud. Full disclosure, I have appeared on both Maté’s podcast, Pushback, as well as The Young Turks radio show. At issue is Syria and, more pointedly, the contention by both Uygur and Kasparian that Maté is shilling for President Bashar Assad.

The sheer drama and vitriol which has emerged as a result of this feud has been entertaining for those who get a kick out of leftwing internecine warfare. Maté’s use of Jimmy Dore’s popular online program The Jimmy Dore Show as a platform for promoting his arguments has torn the scab off old wounds created when Dore left The Young Turks and struck out on his own, appears to underpin at least some of Uygur and Kasparian’s anti-Maté invective. However, more interesting is the fact that, as Maté pointed out in a recent interview with The Hill, the progressive wing of the American Left has hit a brick wall over the issue of Syria. Criticism of Assad has run up against the lies used to sustain US military hegemony in the Middle East.
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‘Rule Britannia, Britannia Rule the Waves…’

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Time was when Britain’s mighty fleets ruled a quarter of the earth’s surface. I’ve been savoring the names of its dreadnaughts and battle cruisers like George V, Prince of Wales, Hood, Princess Royal, Iron Duke and scores of other renowned warships.

Last week, the imperial British lion made a last, feeble roar by sending one of its new anti-aircraft destroyers, ‘Defender,’ to annoy the Russians by patrolling off the south-western coast of Crimea.

Russia and Ukraine both claim Crimea, which had been Russian since 1783. After a drunken dinner, the late Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, ‘gave’ the Crimean SSR to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.

Russia reoccupied Crimea, one of Russia’s most important naval bases, after a US-led coup overthrew Ukraine’s pro-Russian government in 2014. The UK, US and rest of NATO insist Crimea belongs to Ukraine. Of course they do. They engineered it.
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The Horrifying Rise Of Total Mass Media Blackouts On Inconvenient News Stories

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Two different media watchdog outlets, Media Lens and Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), have published articles on the complete blackout in mainstream news institutions on the revelation by Icelandic newspaper Stundin that a US superseding indictment in the case against Julian Assange was based on false testimony from diagnosed sociopath and convicted child molester Sigurdur Thordarson.

FAIR's Alan MacLeod writes that "as of Friday, July 2, there has been literally zero coverage of it in corporate media; not one word in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, Fox News or NPR."

"A search online for either 'Assange' or 'Thordarson' will elicit zero relevant articles from establishment sources, either US or elsewhere in the Anglosphere, even in tech-focused platforms like the Verge, Wired or Gizmodo," MacLeod adds.

"We have not found a single report by any ‘serious’ UK broadcaster or newspaper," says the report by Media Lens. "But in a sane world, Stundin’s revelations about a key Assange witness – that Thordarson lied in exchange for immunity from prosecution – would have been headline news everywhere, with extensive media coverage on BBC News at Six and Ten, ITV News, Channel 4 News, front-page stories in the Times, Telegraph, the Guardian and more."
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It’s Saigon in Afghanistan

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The end of the 20-year US war on Afghanistan was predictable: no one has conquered Afghanistan, and Washington was as foolish as Moscow in the 1970s for trying. Now, US troops are rushing out of the country as fast as they can, having just evacuated the symbol of the US occupation of Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base.
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