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EU Breaks With Trump Over Iran: Good 'Blowback'

The European Union is furious over President Trump's "capricious aggressiveness" in foreign policy, particularly after his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. While  Washington Beltway "deep state" denizens moan over losing influence in Europe, there is a silver lining in Trump's bombastic foreign policy: if Europe gets a divorce from the US there will be much less opportunities for US meddling. What will Russia do? Join today's Liberty Report...
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The ‘Fake News’ Story is Fake News

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Almost every day on public radio or public television, I hear reports about how fake news is undermining our democracy. These high-minded reporters and anchors seem truly to believe that a feverish menace is overwhelming the minds of once-sensible people.

This story is itself fake news for several obvious reasons. We’ve never had more good information than we have now; people are as well-informed as they want to be. There will always be outlets purveying lies; that is the nature of communication. And the insistence on the “fake news” issue is an effort to assign Trump’s victory not to those who brought it to us (the electorate, and the incompetence of the Clinton campaign) but on some nefarious agents.

The fact that we have more and better information today than ever almost goes without saying. When I started in the news business more than 40 years ago, few reporters carried tape recorders, largely because they worked for a guild and were never subject to correction. Today there are countless outlets, thanks to the internet, and important events are almost always recorded. The amount of data we have on public figures is vast compared to even ten years ago.

We can all argue about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing; but we are today awash in information. That information is more reliable than it has ever been before. My own work on Palestine and the Israel lobby has shown me that global consumers can get more accurate information about that conflict than they’ve ever had.
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I Am Julian Assange

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Julian Assange appears to be painfully close to being unceremoniously thrown out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. If that happens, the consequences for journalism, for freedom of speech, and for press freedom, will resound around the world for a very long time. It is very unwise for anyone who values truth and freedom to underestimate the repercussions of this. In essence, Assange is not different from any journalist working for a major paper or news channel. The difference is he published what they will not because they want to stay in power. The Washington Post today would never do an investigation such as Watergate, and that’s where WikiLeaks came in.
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The 'Bolton Effect': From Breakthrough To Breakdown With North Korea

If President Trump is serious in his desire to seal an historic deal with North Korea then his employees are actively working against him. Based on National Security Advisor John Bolton's bombastic CNN appearance over the weekend, the North Koreans have cancelled a high-level inter-Korea meeting scheduled for today and have suggested that the Trump/Kim summit scheduled for next month might be cancelled. Will warmongering Bolton trump Trump on Korea? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Why The Empire Never Sleeps: The Indispensable Nation Folly

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Like the case of Rome before it, the Empire is bankrupting America. The true fiscal cost is upwards of $1.o trillion per year (counting $200 billion for veterans and debt service for wars), but there is no way to pay for it. 

That's because the 78-million strong Baby Boom is in the driver's seat of American politics. It plainly will not permit the $3 trillion per year retirement and health care entitlements-driven Welfare State to be curtailed. 

The Trumpite/GOP has already sealed that deal by refusing to reform Social Security and Medicare and by proving to be utterly incapable of laying a glove politically on Obamacare/Medicaid. At the same time, boomers keep voting for the GOP's anti-tax allergy, thereby refusing to tax themselves to close Washington's yawning deficits. 

More importantly, the generation which marched on the Pentagon in 1968 against the insanity and barbarism of LBJ's Vietnam War has long since abandoned the cause of peace. So doing, boomers have acquiesced in the final ascendancy of the Warfare State, which grew like topsy once the US became the world's sole superpower after the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history in 1991.
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Gaza Violence: Blowback For Jerusalem?

As President Trump's daughter and son-in-law were celebrating the US embassy's move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinian protesters were being shot dead in Gaza protesting the move. Supporters of the embassy move say it will bring a new era of peace to the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestine, but it's hard to see their rosy predictions coming to pass. In fact, yesterday's violence seems to be a classic case of blowback from a wrong-headed US foreign policy move. Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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The Ruinously Expensive American Military

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America’s Republican politicians complain that “entitlements,” by which they mean pensions and medical care, are leading the country to bankruptcy even as they fatten the spending on the Pentagon, which now takes 12 percent of the overall budget. And it should be noted that while workers contribute to the social programs during all their years of employment, the money that goes to the military comes straight out of the pockets of taxpayers before being wasted in ways that scarcely benefit the average citizen unless one seriously thinks that folks over in Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan actually do threaten the survival of the United States of America.

I was in a Virginia supermarket the other day checking out when the woman behind the cash register in a perky voice asked me “Will you give $5 to support our troops?” I responded “No. Our troops already get way too much of our money.” She replied, “Hee, hee that’s a funny joke” and I said “It’s not a joke.” Her face dropped and she signaled to her boss over in customer service and asked her to take over, saying that I had been rude.

If there is any group in the United States that exceeds the sheer greed of our politicians it is the military, which believes itself to be “entitled” as a consequence of its role in the global war on terror. I am a veteran who began service in a largely draftee army in which we were paid “twenty-one dollars a day once a month” as the old World War 2 song goes. When we got out, the GI Bill gave us $175 a month to go back to college, which did not cover much.
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Is Gina Haspel Qualified To Be CIA Director?

Will the Senate confirm career CIA officer Gina Haspel to be the Agency's next director? Sens. McCain and Paul, who don't often agree, have both vowed to oppose Haspel due to her past involvement in torture and cover-up of torture. They have a good point. But is there a bigger issue in play here? If we are going to have the kind of government agency that the CIA has become -- fomenting coups, arming jihadists, paramilitary activities, etc. -- maybe, and sadly, she's just the right person for the job!
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Trump’s Ten Lies: A Response to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Speech

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After listening to Trump’s speech explaining his decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Trump’s speech contained "over ten lies." Khamenei didn’t go on to name the lies.

So, what were the lies Trump told?

Lie #1
"The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror"
The United States has long known that its ally, Saudi Arabia, and not its enemy, Iran, is the leading state sponsor of terror. All recent attempts to link Iran to terrorism have failed. Even America’s own reports on terrorism don’t list Iran as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorisms “rarely identifies a terrorist incident as an act by or on behalf of Iran.” And, the most recent Global Terrorism Index from the Department of Homeland Security clearly states that, not Iran, but “ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qaeda” are the biggest terrorist threats. None of these four groups is Shiite and none is aligned with Iran, but combined they are “responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths from terrorism.” The Index also clearly identifies “ISIL,” not Iran “as the deadliest terrorist group.”

As The US well knows, Saudi Arabia is the leading state sponsor of terror. As early as 2009, the State Department had already declared that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban . . . and other terrorist groups.” A widely circulated 2012 classified Defense Intelligence Agency Information Intelligence Report identified the "supporting powers" of ISIS to be "Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey." Two years later, Vice President Biden was still making the same case against, not Iran, but Saudi Arabia: "[O]ur allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria .
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Trump’s Plan for Iran: Put Terrorists in Charge

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Back in the 2008 presidential race, I explained to then-candidate Rudy Giuliani the concept of “blowback.” Years of US meddling and military occupation of parts of the Middle East motivated a group of terrorists to carry out attacks against the United States on 9/11. They didn’t do it because we are so rich and so free, as the neocons would have us believe. They came over here because we had been killing Muslims “over there” for decades. How do we know this? Well, they told us. Osama bin Laden made it clear why al-Qaeda sought to attack the US. They didn’t like the US taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict and they didn’t like US troops on their holy land.
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