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Real Cost of 'Defense' - RPI's Daniel McAdams on 'Mises Weekends'

Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams sat down with his old Ron Paul Congressional Office colleague, Mises Institute President Jeff Deist, to discuss the real costs of our massive yearly military spending bill. How does the new nuclear weapons "modernization" program fit in? How big is the US military budget -- how does it compare to the budgets of Washington's rivals? What should the role of the US be in the world?
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Turkish Invasion Pits Neocons Against Traditional Imperialists

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US foreign policy in the Middle East is not merely adrift, it is in a state of severe crisis. Even as Turkish tanks and warplanes continue to pound US allies in northwestern Syria (The Kurds), power-brokers in the White House and the Pentagon are unable to settle on a way forward. The frantic attempts to placate their NATO ally, Turkey, while trying to assuage the fears of their mostly Kurdish proxy-army (Syrian Democratic Forces) has further underscored the dismal absence of a coherent policy that would not only address the rapidly-changing battle-space but also deal with the prospect that a critical regional ally (Turkey) might seek strategic objectives that are directly at odds with those of Washington.
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The Biggest Threat to our Country

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The New York Times recently profiled three military veterans who are running for Congress. All three are women and all three graduated from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. The Times highlighted the military experience of the women, which they plan to rely on to establish their credentials for running for Congress.

Of course, hardly anyone asks the obvious question: Why should serving in the military operate as a credential for serving in Congress? At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the members of Congress don’t personally do the types of things soldiers do, such as drop bombs on people, torture people, or assassinate people. So, why should a person’s military service operate as any special credential for serving as an elected representative in Congress?

Some people might say, “Because they served their country.” That seems to be the mindset of at least one of the three women, Mikie Sherrill, who said, “It’s incredibly important that I decided to serve my country before deciding to run for office.”

But there is one big important thing about her statement: It’s not true. Sherrill, like other US soldiers, was not serving her country when she was a soldier. She was serving her government. There’s a difference, a big one.
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We Have 1,000 Bases In 80 Countries. Do You Feel Safer?

The Pentagon spends hundreds of billions of dollars maintaining some 1,000 US bases overseas -- in every corner of the globe. The rest of the world combined maintains a total of 77 military bases outside of national borders. In this "we're number one." But what is the cost? As Professor Robert Pape has extensively researched, it is the sense of being occupied by a foreign power that most motivates potential suicide terrorists. Is a US worldwide military empire really keeping us safe...or is it just making the military-industrial complex rich? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Meet the Corrupt Billionaire Who Has Brought About a New Cold War

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One has to ask why there is a crisis in US-Russia relations since Washington and Moscow have much more in common than not, to include confronting international terrorism, stabilizing Syria and other parts of the world that are in turmoil, and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In spite of all that, the US and Russia are currently locked in a tit-for-tat unfriendly relationship somewhat reminiscent of the Cold War.

Apart from search for a scapegoat to explain the Hillary Clinton defeat, how did it happen? Israel Shamir, a keen observer of the American-Russian relationship, and celebrated American journalist Robert Parry both think that one man deserves much of the credit for the new Cold War and that man is William Browder, a hedge fund operator who made his fortune in the corrupt 1990s world of Russian commodities trading.

Browder is also symptomatic of why the United States government is so poorly informed about international developments as he is the source of much of the Congressional “expert testimony” contributing to the current impasse. He has somehow emerged as a trusted source in spite of the fact that he has self-interest in cultivating a certain outcome. Also ignored is his renunciation of American citizenship in 1998, reportedly to avoid taxes. He is now a British citizen.

Browder is notoriously the man behind the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which exploited Congressional willingness to demonize Russia and has done so much to poison relations between Washington and Moscow. The Act sanctioned individual Russian officials, which Moscow has rightly seen as unwarranted interference in the operation of its judicial system.
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The US Empire Has up to 1,000 Military Bases in 80 Countries

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On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Baltimore University hosted more than 200 activists in the peace, environment, and social justice movements to launch a new initiative known as the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, the Nation reported.

In a series of panels that lasted over two days, the conference attendees highlighted the horrors of American foreign policy despite the fact Martin Luther King warned against these horrors over 50 years ago, a fitting reminder to heed the warnings of Dr. King.

According to the panel, the U.S. has over 800 formal military bases in 80 countries, “a number that could exceed 1,000 if you count troops stationed at embassies and missions and so-called ‘lily-pond’ bases, with some 138,000 soldiers stationed around the globe,” the Nation notes.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas Harm America and the World, maintaining bases and troops overseas cost $85 to $100 billion in 2014, while the total for bases and troops in war zones was between $160 billion and $200 billion.

The Nation also highlighted Vine’s claim that only some 11 other countries have bases in foreign countries, around 70 altogether. Russia is believed to have at least 26 bases in nine countries. They are mainly in former Soviet states, as well as Syria and Vietnam. The U.K., France, and Turkey have around four to ten bases each, and a handful of global bases are occupied by India, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. This might all change in the years to come, however, as China may be looking to build bases of its own in the Middle East.
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Making America Great...Or Poorer? Dissecting The State Of The Union Speech

President Trump called for much more military spending in last night's State of the Union speech. He also called to keep Guantanamo open and to even add new prisoners. More money for nuclear weapons "modernization." And he wants $1.5 trillion to spend on infrastructure projects. He takes credit for a booming economy, but will he take blame when the Fed's bubbles begin to burst? Today's Liberty Report looks at the policy behind last night's "feel good" speech...
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The People v. Trump: Is There a Case for the 25th Amendment?

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The media is of one mind: Donald Trump is mentally incompetent and must be removed from office before he blows us all to hell. It says so on Vox, New York Review of BooksCNNThe InterceptCNBCThe NationBill MoyersSalon, and theNYT. A new book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, concludes “Trump’s mental state presents a clear and present danger to our nation and individual well-being.”

The solution is in the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. The 25A creates a mechanism aside impeachment to remove an “incapacitated” president, and Trump’s mental state, some believe, qualifies him. Is there a case?

Dr. Bandy Lee, one of the editors of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trumpsays yes. Her primary evidence is tweets Trump sent threatening Kim Jong Un. She really has no other ammunition: no doctor who says Trump is insane, including Lee, has examined him. No doctor that has examined him says he is insane. Third party anonymous accusations of incompetence are shot through with gossip. A book written by a Hollywood trash reporter is otherwise held up as critical evidence of the inner workings of the president’s mind.

So is there a case without the tweets? Not really. Lee adds while Trump has not committed violent acts against himself or others, his “verbal aggressiveness, history of boasting about sexual assault, history of inciting violence at his rallies, and history of endorsing violence in his key public speeches are the best predictors of future violence” and thus concludes he will destroy the world. Lee also weakly points to Trump “being drawn to violent videos.” Oh my.
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Ron Paul's 'The Real State Of The Union'

Tonight's State of the Union speech will be in equal measure gloating and glumness depending on which political party you ask. As usual there will be plenty of mugging for the cameras with the artificial idea that there really any fundamental differences between the two. The warfare state will get its big boost as will the welfare state. Plenty for everyone in the dreamland that is the US global empire. But what is the real state of the United States? How about our security? Our prosperity? Our liberty? Today's Liberty Report is completely uninterested in political parties or making bumper-sticker points. We're digging down to the real state of the union. Please join us...
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