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Afghanistan Boondoggles Get Rep. Walter Jones’ Goat

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), speaking Tuesday at a hearing of the US House Armed Services Committee, returned to a subject he has addressed many times — the US government’s incredible waste of money and lives in Afghanistan. Providing one example to illustrate the “boondoggles” that permeate US activity in Afghanistan, Jones shed light on the six million dollars the US spent on a program involving importing “rare blonde Italian goats” to Afghanistan. The pricey goats, Jones relates, may have then just been eaten instead of being used to boost the cashmere industry in Afghanistan.
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The Strange World of The State Department Spokespersons...And a Modest Suggestion

Anyone wondering why the rest of the world sees the US administration as insane -- or worse -- need only spend a few minutes watching a daily briefing from the White House or especially the US State Department. These are not endeavors by intelligent and rational representatives of the US government to help explain US policies to the press corps and thereby to the rest of the world, but rather mind-numbingly sophomoric and barely literate diatribes.

Who can forget the exchange between AP's top diplomatic reporter Matt Lee and State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, where Mr. Lee questioned Harf on her assertion that US "evidence" for its claim that Russia was involved in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over Ukraine came from "social media." Pressing Harf for any evidence, he asked "is there anything other than social media" to back US claims? Yes, she said, but only offered that the US assessment was based on "common sense."
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Making the Super Bowl Super Authoritarian

After months of preparation, national, state, and local police have rolled out a comprehensive mass surveillance effort in the San Francisco Bay Area as the Super Bowl approaches. If you happen to be in the area over the next few days, you can expect much high-tech gadgetry and police time will be used to watch, catalogue, and analyze your activities.
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Minnesota GOP Rules Change after Ron Paul Delegates Win May Give Donald Trump the Win

The Republican National Committee (RNC) was not happy that Ron Paul, who had won second place in Minnesota’s February of 2012 caucuses, ended up with over three-quarters of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention. The RNC was not happy with Paul’s delegates’ large wins in other states either.

The rules had allowed an outsider to win. Therefore, the insiders decided the rules needed to be changed. Well, what do you know! Because of the new rules for allotting delegates to the winner on caucus night, the insiders are now fretting that the winning of the state’s delegates by another party outsider — Donald Trump — may be unstoppable in 2016.
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You Won't Believe What This US Ambassador Said About al-Qaeda's Syrian Allies

Robert Ford was US Ambassador to Syria when the revolt against Syrian president Assad was launched. He not only was a chief architect of regime change in Syria, but actively worked with rebels to aid their overthrow of the Syrian government. 

Ford assured us that those taking up arms to overthrow the Syrian government were simply moderates and democrats seeking to change Syria's autocratic system. Anyone pointing out the obviously Islamist extremist nature of the rebellion and the foreign funding and backing for the jihadists was written off as an Assad apologist or worse.
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Guantánamo Parole Board Clears Victim of Mistaken Identity — After 13 Years

This story makes me so angry that I can’t even come up with my usual snarky introduction. I only weep.

The Guantánamo parole board approved the release of a Yemeni “forever prisoner,” dismissing intelligence that imprisoned the man for 13 years without trial. And if that level of evil and scorn for justice doesn’t radicalize a 100 people to join ISIS, then nothing can.
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A New Large-Scale US Military Attack in Libya

In 2011 President Barack Obama directed, without any congressional authorization, a US military attack on Libya that was marketed as “humanitarian intervention.” As RPI Director Daniel McAdams observed in August of 2014, the result of military action by the US and other governments against Libya was destruction, violence, and chaos, not the promised “democracy, prosperity, and freedom from tyranny.”
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Ron Paul’s Upcoming Speeches in Texas

Ron Paul will deliver two speeches in Texas this week and next. First, the former presidential candidate and member of the United States House of Representatives will be speaking close to home in Houston, Texas on January 30. Three days later, on February 2, Paul will be in North Texas for an Arlington, Texas speech.
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Report: Clinton Emails Contained Human Intelligence Classified At Highest Levels

There is another surprising report out today on the Clinton email scandal. Fox News Reporter Catherine Herridge is reporting that at least one of the emails on Hillary Clinton’s private server contained extremely sensitive information identified as “HCS-O,” the code used for reporting on human intelligence sources in ongoing operations. We previously discussed the disclosure that emails had been identified with Special Access Program information that even the Inspector General could not review without added clearances.

In the meantime, some in the Clinton camp may be singing “Let It Snow, Let It Snow.” The State Department is citing the winter storm for yet another delay in releasing the remaining emails — possibly pushing their release past the first primary contests. Any break would likely be welcomed, particularly after a growing number of people including Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have said that Clinton’s decision to use an unsecure private email system probably resulted in the emails being hacked by various hostile powers.
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Al-Qaeda Allies to Represent Opposition in Upcoming Syria Peace Talks

A Saudi-backed opposition committee representing the rebels fighting to overthrow the Assad government in Syria have agreed on a chief negotiator for peace talks scheduled to begin in Geneva next week. The rebels will be represented by Mohammed Alloush, political leader of Jaysh al-Islam, when the talks begin. 

Mohammed Alloush's brother, Zahran, led Jaysh al-Islam until he was killed in an airstrike at the end of December. Under Zahran's rule, Jaysh al-Islam was a fiercely Islamist group that insisted strict Sharia law must govern Syria. He maintained close ties with the al-Nusra Front, otherwise known as al-Qaeda in Syria.
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