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A Bad Foundation will Lead to More Spending and More Militarism

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A $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. More military spending than any time in history. How did things get to this point?

Even some of the most loyal supporters of President Trump have expressed both frustration and dismay that he signed an omnibus spending bill larger than all but one signed by former President Obama.

Angry opposition has come from the likes of Laura Ingraham, Amy Kremer, and Ann Coulter. But not everyone is upset.

Matt House, communications director for Sen. Chuck Schumer, said on Twitter that he’s “tired of all the winning.” Schumer himself was excited about all that was included in the spending bill. He said, “It's a funny thing. In a certain sense, we're able to accomplish more in the minority than we were when we had the presidency or even were in the majority.” And Defense Secretary James Mattis said he was “humbled” by receiving the “largest military budget in history.”

Many people may have been stunned by the President signing such a bill, especially if they were only paying attention to the claims of mainstream politicians and pundits the last two years. On the left, the great fear was that Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress would slash and burn all kinds of federal programs. On the right, and in some libertarian circles, the great hope was pretty much the same.
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20 More Questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case

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To my knowledge, none of the questions I wrote in my previous piece – 30 questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case – has been answered satisfactorily, at least not in the public domain. Yet despite the fact that these legitimate questions have not yet been answered, and many important facts surrounding the case are still unknown, the case has given rise to a serious international crisis, with the extraordinary expulsion of Russian diplomats across many EU countries and particularly the United States on March 26th.

This is a moment to stop and pause. A man and his daughter were poisoned in the City of Salisbury on 4th March. Yet despite the fact that investigators do not yet appear to know how they were poisoned, when they were poisoned, or where they were poisoned, a number of Western nations have used the incident as a pretext for the co-ordinated expulsion of diplomats on a scale not witnessed even during the height of the Cold War. These are clearly very abnormal and very dangerous times.

I pointed out in my previous piece that it is not my intention to advance some sort of conspiracy theory on this blog. It remains the case that I simply don’t have any holistic theory — “conspiracy” or otherwise — for who carried this out, and I continue to retain an open mind. But since the Government of my country has rushed to judgement without many of the facts of the case being established, and since this has led to the biggest deterioration in relations between nuclear-armed nations since the Cuban Missile Crisis, it seems to me that it is more important than ever to keep asking questions in the hope that answers will come.
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Trump's War Cabinet And The Fiscal Doom Loop

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Last week the Donald's incipient trade war got Wall Street's nerves jangling, but that wasn't the half of what's coming. To wit, Trump has now essentially formed a War Cabinet and signed a Horribus spending bill that is a warrant for fiscal meltdown. Indeed, the two essentially comprise a self-fueling doom loop which means Washington’s descent into fiscal catastrophe is well-nigh unstoppable; it’s all over except for the screaming in the bond pits.
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Russia's Mistake in Skripal Case is Hoping to Deal With Honest Players – Analyst

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Nearly two dozen countries have joined the UK in expelling Russian diplomats over the poisoning of ex--spy Sergei Skripal in southern England. Speaking to Sputnik, Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity, shared his thoughts on the broader implications of the case, and what Russia's approach should be.

Sputnik: What are your thoughts on what’s going on with this expulsion of the Russian diplomats?

Daniel McAdams: I think it's something that's very well coordinated. I don't think anybody would claim that this is some sort of a spontaneous act that arose out of an alleged poisoning. 

We haven't seen the alleged victims of the poisoning. We haven't seen any evidence whatsoever. In fact the High Court in the UK contradicted what Prime Minister Theresa May said when she said she was certain that [Skripal and his daughter] were poisoned with a military grade nerve gas and certain that it was of the Novichok variety. The Court itself in their investigation of the blood contradicted that. So this is a well-coordinated attack, probably by the US and the UK.
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UK Government Falling Apart, Changes Subject by Kicking Russia

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The British government has never been more unpopular amongst the British people. It’s being crushed by problems entirely of its own making and undone by its own neglect and incompetence over a disastrously handled Brexit, crippling austerity measures, a general public still reeling from the horror of the Grenfell fire, and an ever-failing National Health Service, which, given that it is the fourth largest employer in Europe, is a deeply worrying and resonant issue.


In light of this, the response by British diplomat Mr. Stuart Gill OBE in his OpED to the Sunday Times of Malta, where he asserts that, “Today, only Russia combines a record of state-sponsored assassinations with an avowed motive for targeting Sergei Skripal – and a history of producing ‘Novochok’ agents,” reads like another desperate repetition of the falsehoods and insults towards Russia issued by Theresa May’s lame duck Government. (Note that the inventor of Novochok moved to the US over twenty years ago.)

Mr. Gill’s remark is just one of numerous outrageous and childish insults currently bandied around. Outbursts from UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the inexperienced Minister of Defence, Gavin Williamson -- such as Russia should, “Shut up and go away” or “Putin is like Hitler” and “Russia probably did it” -- have been unprofessional, to say the very least, not to mention an offence to Russians of today and their relatives who died in the tens of millions fighting Hitler and the Nazis in WWII. 

But word on British streets suggests something different afoot, with many members of the public stating that they have serious reservations about the veracity of their government’s statements. Not just the public, but professionals and academics from all over the world have been clear that they think it’s nonsense. 
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Let's Investigate John Brennan

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Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan, a Barack Obama friend and protégé as well as a current paid contributor for NBC and MSNBC, has blasted President Donald Trump for congratulating President Vladimir Putin over his victory in recent Russian national elections. He said that the U.S. President is “afraid of the president of Russia” and that the Kremlin “may have something on him personally. The fact that he has had this fawning attitude toward Mr. Putin …continues to say to me that he does have something to fear and something very serious to fear.”

It is an indication of how low we have sunk as a nation that a possible war criminal like Brennan can feel free to use his former official status as a bully pulpit to claim that someone is a foreign spy without any real pushback or objection from the talking heads and billionaire manipulators that unfortunately run our country. If Trump is actually being blackmailed, as Brennan implies, what evidence is there for that? One might reasonably conclude that Brennan and his associates are actually angry because Trump has had the temerity to try to improve relations with Russia.

It is ironic that when President Trump does something right he gets assailed by the same crowd that piles on when he does something stupid, leading to the conclusion that unless The Donald is attacking another country, when he is lauded as becoming truly presidential, he cannot ever win with the inside the Beltway Establishment crowd. Brennan and a supporting cast of dissimulating former intelligence chiefs opposed Trump from the git-go and were perfectly willing to make things up to support Hillary and the status quo that she represented. It was, of course, a status quo that greatly and personally benefited that ex-government crowd which by now might well be described as the proverbial Deep State.
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How the Military Controls America

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Unlike corporations that sell to consumers, Lockheed Martin and the other top contractors to the US Government are highly if not totally dependent upon sales to governments, for their profits, especially sales to their 
own government, which they control — they control their home market, which is the US Government, and they use it to sell to its allied governments, all of which foreign governments constitute the export markets for their products and services. These corporations control the US Government, and they control NATO. And, here is how they do it, which is essential to understand, in order to be able to make reliable sense of America’s foreign policies, such as which nations are "allies" of the US Government (such as Saudi Arabia and Israel), and which nations are its "enemies" (such as Libya and Syria) — and are thus presumably suitable for America to invade, or else to overthrow by means of a coup. First, the nation’s head-of-state becomes demonized; then, the invasion or coup happens. And, that’s it. And here’s how.

Because America (unlike Russia) privatized the weapons-industry (and even privatizes to mercenaries some of its battlefield killing and dying), there are, in America, profits for investors to make in invasions and in military occupations of foreign countries; and the billionaires who control these corporations can and do — and, for their financial purposes, they must — buy Congress and the President, so as to keep those profits flowing to themselves. That’s the nature of the war-business, since its markets are governments — but not those governments that the aristocracy want to overthrow and replace. 

The foreign governments that are to be overthrown are not markets, but are instead targets.  The bloodshed and misery go to those unfortunate lands. But if you control these corporations, then you need these invasions and occupations, and you certainly aren’t concerned about any of the victims, who (unlike those profits) are irrelevant to your business. In fact, to the exact contrary: killing people and destroying buildings etc., are what you sell — that’s what you (as a billionaire with a controlling interest in one of the 100 top contractors to the US Government) are selling to your own government, and to all of the other governments that your country’s cooperative propaganda will characterize as being "enemies" — Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, etc. — and definitely not as being "allies," such as are being characterized these corporations’ foreign markets: Saudi Arabia, EU-NATO, Israel, etcetera. 
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Trump Should Withdraw Haspel Nomination, Intel Vets Say

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Two dozen former U.S. intelligence officers urge President Trump to rescind Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA, citing torture that she oversaw while supervising a black site prison, as well as her role in destroying evidence. 

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Request to Withdraw Nomination of Gina Haspel

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

With respect, we veteran intelligence officers from CIA and other agencies urge you to withdraw the nomination of Gina Haspel for CIA director. From what is already known of her leading role in CIA torture 16 years ago, she has disqualified herself.

In 2002 Haspel supervised the first CIA “black site” for interrogation, where cruel and bizarre forms of torture were applied to suspected terrorists. And when the existence of 92 videotapes of those torture sessions was revealed, Haspel signed a cable ordering their destruction, against the advice of legal counsel at CIA and the White House.
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Neocons Are Back With a Big War Budget and Big War Plans



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On Friday, President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill for 2018. The $1.3 trillion bill was so monstrous that it would have made the biggest spender in the Obama Administration blush. The image of leading Congressional Democrats Pelosi and Schumer grinning and gloating over getting everything they wanted -- and then some -- will likely come back to haunt Republicans at the midterm elections. If so, they will deserve it.
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Trump To Expel 'Dozens Of Russian Diplomats' In Response To Skripal Poisoning

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On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German leader Angela Merkel said that following a meeting of the European Council, that UK PM Theresa May had shared "proof" of Russia's involvement in the assassination attempt against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, "convincing" the two leaders that Russia was behind the attack. And yet, despite the "convincing" evidence, no "proof" has yet been publicly disclosed. Furthermore, even as all leaders said they are in agreement that Russia was "the only reasonable culprit", the EC opted not to take any immediate action against Moscow, except issue a harshly worded statement.

Here things get even more bizarre because the EC statement issued said that it "agrees with the United Kingdom government's assessmentthat it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no plausible alternative explanation."

Wait, there is either proof that Russia did (or did not do) the attack, or there isn't.

Claiming that something is "highly likely" and that "there is no plausible alternative explanation" is what you say when there is no proof, and when you send in Colin Powell to the United Nations to lie to the world that a vial of sand is really anthrax and one should immediately launch a war to crush an evil regime just because, well, a vial of sand.
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