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Trump’s Tweets End the Myth of Fed Independence

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President Trump’s recent Tweets expressing displeasure with the Federal Reserve’s (minor) interest rate increases led to accusations that President Trump is undermining the Federal Reserve’s independence. But, the critics ignore the fact that Federal Reserve “independence” is one of the great myths of American politics.
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Washington's Vindictive Iran Policy is Doomed to Fail - Here's Why

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Like every other major move in the Middle East, Washington's latest raft of economic sanctions against Iran are doomed to fail. Not because the policy instrument itself doesn't actually work, but because our government is making the same mistakes of the past. 

Now get back inside your Delorean and set the clock for the fall of 2002, back when the United States was preparing to wage war against Iraq. Those of us who were awake then knew exactly what kind of disaster was unfolding, and we mobilized accordingly, in the millions and onto the streets, sending a clear message to our respective governments that the public would not suffer fools and neocon criminals gladly. While that protest didn't deter the historic disaster of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the meager consolation prize was that we were clearly right, while the US and UK governments and the entire lap dog mainstream press were all wrong. No, in that tragic scenario the only payoff is a lesson learnt for future generations, that maybe, never again would we allow our spineless bureaucrats and corporate raiders to take the western world to war based on patent lies and false pretenses. Granted, it wasn't long until Obama broke that covenant with Libya, and with a series of devastating proxy ventures in Syria and Yemen.

So here we are again, and for some reason some of us (maybe it's our good-natured naïveté), still can't believe that the current US Administration is preparing the nation to repeat one of the worst mistakes the country has ever made.
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The Looming War Against Iran

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President Donald Trump and his neocon advisors have been trying to provoke a war with Iran and Syria for many months. The neocons are echoing Cato the Elder’s cry, "delenda est Carthago!" Iran must be destroyed.
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US Maximalist Stance on Denuclearization Holds Korean Peace Process Hostage

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For the first time since the Singapore summit, a shadow of doubt has been cast over the Korean peace process. Its source is the United States’ unyielding demand for complete North Korean nuclear disarmament before ending the Korean War and prior to allowing the sanctions exemptions needed for carrying out North-South peace initiatives.

The US’ unwillingness to take a more conciliatory approach on these two issues stems from the misguided conviction among senior Trump administration officials that maximum pressure was the key to bringing Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table in the first place. These officials believe declaring the end of the war would eliminate the leverage of a military option, while sanctions exemptions would weaken the economic pressure put on North Korea, creating an environment in which their nuclear weapons arsenal is tacitly accepted.

On the contrary, the administration’s reversion to a hardline approach has exhausted the momentum provided by the Singapore summit, and their reluctance to declare an end to the war as a confidence-building measure threatens to stall the peace process completely.

More than ever, the burden rests on the shoulders of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to drive negotiations forward by pushing back against Washington’s uncompromising position. However, given the intractable nature of the current impasse, if Moon fails to convince the Trump administration to soften its stance, his government will eventually be forced to make an existential decision about South Korea’s future role in Northeast Asia.
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I traced missile casings in Syria back to their original sellers, so it’s time for the west to reveal who they sell arms to

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Readers, a small detective story. Note down this number: MFG BGM-71E-1B. And this number: STOCK NO 1410-01-300-0254. And this code: DAA A01 C-0292. I found all these numerals printed on the side of a spent missile casing lying in the basement of a bombed-out Islamist base in eastern Aleppo last year. At the top were the words “Hughes Aircraft Co”, founded in California back in the 1930s by the infamous Howard Hughes and sold in 1997 to Raytheon, the massive US defence contractor whose profits last year came to $23.35bn (£18bn). Shareholders include the Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. Raytheon’s Middle East offices can be found in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Kuwait.

There were dozens of other used-up identical missile casings in the same underground room in the ruins of eastern Aleppo, with sequential codings; in other words, these anti-armour missiles – known in the trade as Tows, “Tube-launched, optically tracked and wire-guided missiles” – were not individual items smuggled into Syria through the old and much reported CIA smugglers’ trail from Libya. These were shipments, whole batches of weapons that left their point of origin on military aircraft pallets.

Some time ago, in the United States, I met an old Hughes Aircraft executive who laughed when I told him my story of finding his missiles in eastern Aleppo. When the company was sold, Hughes had been split up into eight components, he said. But assuredly, this batch of rockets had left from a US government base. Amateur sleuths may have already tracked down the first set of numbers above. The “01” in the stock number is a Nato coding for the US, and the BGM-71E is a Raytheon Systems Company product. There are videos of Islamist fighters using the BGM-71E-1B variety in Idlib province two years before I found the casings of other anti-tank missiles in neighbouring Aleppo. As for the code: DAA A01 C-0292, I am still trying to trace this number.
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Trump Threatens Turkey with Sanctions. What if He’s Serious?

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The frequency with which US President Donald Trump holds out threats to other countries is such that he is no longer being taken seriously. The list of countries threatened by Trump so far includes North Korea, Germany, Canada, China, Venezuela, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Turkey.

In all fairness, Trump makes no distinction between enemies, adversaries, friends or allies. Turkey, a NATO ally, holds a record of sorts as the country most threatened by the Trump administration. In separate tweets on Thursday, Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence gave an ultimatum to Turkey that unless Andrew Brunson, an American evangelical pastor of a small Protestant church in western Turkey, is released from detention immediately, Ankara should be “prepared to face the consequences” in the form of “significant sanctions.”

For the benefit of the uninitiated, Brunson who has been living in Turkey for 23 years was arrested in the aftermath of the failed 2016 coup attempt to overthrow Erdogan, charged with spying and involvement in the failed coup. The Turkish government had probably hoped for a tradeoff – Brunson in exchange for the Islamist preacher Fetullah Gulen who is living in Pennsylvania whom Ankara regards as having masterminded the 2016 coup attempt to overthrow Erdogan. Ankara has been pressing Gulen’s extradition and Washington has been stonewalling. It’s a complicated case history, since Gulen has had links in the past with the CIA.
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Julian Assange and the Dying of the Light

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One thing that’s not receiving enough attention in the respective Assange and Russia coverage is to what extent both protagonists are needed in each other’s narratives to keep each of these alive. Without explicitly linking Assange to Russia, allegations against him lose a lot, if not most, of their credibility. Likewise, if Assange is not put straight in the middle of the Russia story, it too loses much. Linking them is the gift that keeps on giving for the US intelligence community and the Democratic party. 

In that light, as the shameful/shameless treatment of Julian Assange continues and is on the verge of even worse developments, I was wondering about some dates and timelines in the whole sordid affair. And about how crucial it is for those wanting to ‘capture’ him, to tie him to Russia in any form and shape they can come up with and make halfway credible. 

10 days ago in The True Meaning of ‘Collusion’ I mentioned how Robert Mueller in his indictment of 12 Russians -but not Assange- released on the eve of the Trump-Putin summit, strongly insinuated that WikiLeaks had actively sought information from Russians posing as Guccifer 2.0, that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. I also said that Assange was an easy target because, being closed off from all communication, he cannot defend himself. From the indictment...
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Who Killed The Tea Party - How, Why, When?

Most in the liberty movement trace the birth of the "tea party" to the December, 2007 "money bomb" for Ron Paul's presidential campaign, where that commemoration of the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party raised $6 million for Paul and broke online fundraising records. But a more institutionalized "Tea Party" followed, with plenty of groups and politicians eager to jump on board with a movement combining grassroots excitement with fundraising prowess. But, as today's Liberty Report guest Matt Kibbe has written, the Tea Party is not totally dead. So what happened? Where to in the future? Is something new emerging? Tune in to today's Liberty Report:


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The Madness Gripping Washington

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The United States and Israel have been threatening Iran for something like twenty years, using the pretext that it was developing a nuclear weapon initially, but also more recently declaring that Tehran has become a threat to the entire Middle East. Both contentions are essentially lies, concocted by an Israel and Saudi Arabia that would prefer to have Iran removed as a possible impediment to their own ambitions. And they would like the United States to do the removing.

Iran is the hottest of all hot spots in the American view, but the tendency of the White House to threaten first before engaging in negotiations has meant that most nations have come to see the United States as the greatest threat to peace worldwide. In a recent interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin observed how the US believes it can intervene militarily anywhere in the world because it is “spreading democracy,” a justification that no one believes in any event as the results of recent crusades in Afghanistan, Syria and Libya have been less that encouraging. Putin commented that Washington should treat all other nations with respect and it will then get respect – and cooperation - in return.

The track record of the Trump White House is not encouraging. It has twice launched barrages of cruise missiles against targets in Syria based on fabricated or incomplete intelligence suggesting that the government in Damascus had used chemical weapons against its own people. It also uniquely added juvenile humiliation to the American diplomatic arsenal, with Trump describing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a “rocket man” before going off into a rhapsody about how the nuclear arsenal button accessible to Trump was “bigger and more powerful” than that available to Pyongyang.
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'Shock' Poll: Most Americans Support Another Trump/Putin Summit...But Congress Says 'No!'

According to a new poll by HarrisX Polling Company and The Hill newspaper, more than half of all Americans - and nearly 90 percent of Trump voters - support President Trump's invitation to his Russian counterpart to the US for another meeting. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan and his colleagues in Republican leadership are steadfastly opposed. What does it mean for Congressional leaders to be so out of step with Americans - and their president - on this issue? Tune in to today's Liberty Report:


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