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Trump's Record Spy Budget - What Do We Really Get For $86 Billion?

The Trump Administration has requested a huge increase in the US spy budget, including a whopping $23 billion for the "black" budget. The reasons given are the increasing threats from Russia and China. Does all this spy spending really protect us...or is it just welfare for the Beltway bandits and scaremongers? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Germany Backpedals On NATO Spending Promise As France Goes Full Throttle

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Germany is poised to renege on its promise to boost NATO spending, backtracking on a public commitment last year by Chancellor Angela Merkel to increase German military expenditure to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2024 - bringing it closer to the 2 percent level set by NATO themselves, according to the Wall Street Journal.
If confirmed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the move would mark a fresh step in the gradual estrangement between the US and its erstwhile loyal European ally and comes after Mr. Trump’s repeated attacks of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders for not meeting a 2 percent military-spending target. -WSJ
Berlin currently spends around €43 billion ($49 billion), equal to just over 1.2 percent of GDP on defense. Under a new plan unveiled on Monday by the finance ministry, the spending would rise to just 1.37 percent of GDP next year, then decrease again to 1.33 percent in 2019, 1.29 percent in 2022 and 1.25 percent in 2023.

"The commitment we have made to NATO states that spending should reach 2 percent if the budget conditions allow for it. We haven't abandoned the target but it remains a challenge that the federal government wants to master," said a senior government official.
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Attempt to Prosecute Assad at ICC is Aimed at Undermining Syrian Peace Process

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The announcement that “a group of Syrian refugees and their London lawyers” have found “a neat legal trick” to press for an indictment against Syrian President Bashar Assad by the International Criminal Court demonstrates, yet again, the dangerous corruption of international justice, against which I have been warning for over a decade.

The Syrian war is nearly over, thanks to the military successes of the Syrian army and its Russian and Iranian allies. Exhaustion on both sides has probably helped. Diplomatic overtures have started to re-integrate Syria into the international system, starting at the regional level: the United Arab Emirates have re-opened their embassy in Damascus; the Sudanese president, Assad's near namesake, Omar Al-Bashir, has visited Syria, as have senior Egyptian officials; Syrian officials have attended pan-Arab summits; even Israel is maintaining its dialogue with Russia over Syria. In short, the situation is being slowly normalised as Syria herself embarks on the painful search for internal peace.

The attempt to get Assad prosecuted is an attempt to stamp out these seedlings of peace before they take root. Any prosecution against Assad would scupper, or at least severely damage, this slow acceptance that the Syrian president is part of the solution. When even the British government has accepted that Assad is here to stay, and that peace must be made with him, his implacable enemies fear that their prize is about to slip out of their grasp. They do not want peace, if that means keeping Assad.
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Trump To Leave 1,000 Troops In Syria? What’s The Strategy?

Over the weekend the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump Administration had decided to keep 1,000 US military personnel stationed (illegally) in Syria, even though just three months ago the president said he would be bringing home all US troops in the country. That was followed by an announcement that 200, then 400, would remain. What's the point of the US occupation of part of Syria - especially now that al-Qaeda/ISIS is defeated? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Is Trump Really About to Attack Venezuela?

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Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered the last of the US diplomats out of Venezuela, saying their presence was a “constraint” on US policy toward the country. The wording seemed intended to convey the idea that the US is about to launch military action to place a Washington-backed, self-appointed politician to the presidency. Was it just bluster, designed to intimidate? Or is the Trump Administration really about to invade another country that has neither attacked nor threatened the United States?

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The Dialectics of Stupidity

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Someone astute once said "history repeats itself--the first as tragedy and then as farce." Oh, yes, it was Karl Marx in his Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. Quite relevant to the subject.

I have followed the beginning of the 2020 presidential campaign undecided whether to cry or laugh. That is to say, I am undecided whether to view the unfolding season as a tragic or farcical circumstance.

Of particular agony is the back-and-forth between President Trump and his sycophants on the one side and the nominal Democratic wunderkind AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for those living on another planet) on the other. Trumpers label her as a dangerous socialist and vow to defend America against a resurgence of socialism. AOC returns the volley by declaring that she is, indeed a socialist, and the socialistic redistribution of billionaire fortune is what's best for the United States. Mainstream Democrats are terrified that AOC and her Millennial fans will hijack the 2020 primary campaign and once again allow the Democrats to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.

Between AOC and The Donald, I doubt that a single page of the writings of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, or Mao Zedong have been read and digested.
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War Against Venezuela Is War Against Us All

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The American war on Venezuela continues to escalate with the sabotage of it’s electricity grid, the most serious action of all so far, which was not only an act of terrorism against the entire civilian population but also an attempt to shut down exports of Venezuelan oil.
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Winning the War on the War on Drugs - RPI Houston Conference!

As RPI Senior Fellow Adam Dick informs us in the below video, we have a very good news story to tell: we who oppose the idiotic four-plus decade "war on drugs" are actually winning one! Especially when it comes to marijuana prohibition, the news is mostly good from a liberty standpoint. Join the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity for a very special conference on winning the war on the war on drugs. The half-day event will feature Ron Paul, RPI senior fellow Adam Dick, Daniel McAdams, as well as special guest speakers Reason's Jacob Sullum and NORML's Paul Armentano. Get tickets here.
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