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Obama and Cameron Issue Putin an Ultimatum

President Obama met with British Prime Minister David Cameron today in Brussels, where the two leaders issued an ultimatum to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader would have just one month to meet their demands or face deeper "structural" sanctions against Russia.

The three demands issued by Obama and Cameron include:

1) recognize Petro Poroshenko's election as the new leader in Kiev,
2) stop arms from crossing the border; and, 
3) cease support for pro-Russian separatist groups concentrated in eastern Ukraine.

The tough talk in Brussels took place in advance of a G7 meeting originally scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia, and include the Russian president. However after the unrest in Ukraine, which the US and EU blame on Russia, the G7 leaders moved the venue to Belgium and uninvited Putin.
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Judge Napolitano: NSA Intercepting Private Photos 'Blatantly Violates the Constitution'

Judge Andrew Napolitano condemns as a violation of privacy and the United States Constitution the recently revealed US National Security Agency practice of intercepting millions of images each day from communications including emails, text messages, and videoconferences. Napolitano, speaking on Monday with Melissa Francis on Fox Business, says the NSA’s actions blatantly violate the US Constitution and privacy rights.
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Obama Declares 'Holy War' in Poland

This week President Obama traveled to eastern Europe with one billion dollars in his pocket. He plans to use it to finance more NATO military exercises on Russia's border and to rotate more US troops into Poland and other new NATO member countries. Yes, the same countries who have decided NATO is their best big stick with which to beat back the Soviet Union. 

Never mind that there has been no Soviet Union for more than 20 years. Poland and the Baltics finally have the chance to extract their pound of flesh and they are looking to Washington dollars and Washington bullets to back up their tough talk.
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Sorry Obama, America is With Ron Paul

President Obama on Wednesday delivered one of the most bellicose foreign policy speeches of his presidency. 

Promising more, not less, US interventionism overseas, the president told the graduates of the US Military Academy at West Point:
[T]he question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.
Translation: US will continue to use force overseas to remake the world in the neocon and "humanitarian" interventionists' image. But, considering the results of each and every intervention over the past 14 years, where is the "peace and prosperity" he promises. Afghanistan? Iraq? Libya? Syria? Ukraine? Mali? 

Is anyone vacationing in a newly peaceful and prosperous Tripoli this summer?
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Lew Rockwell: Central Banks Make World Wars Possible

As people worry a new world war may rise out of Ukraine, RPI Advisory Board Member Lew Rockwell proposes Wednesday on the Tom Woods Show that the creation of central banks makes world wars possible. Rockwell's comments regarding central banking are made in a wide-ranging interview that begins with a discussion of Rockwell’s book Against the State, which will be published in June.

Looking back to Rome, Rockwell notes that successive reductions in the silver content of coins helped fund government activities. Rockwell then explains that limits of this old method of money debasement were overcome in Britain in the 17th century with the creation of the Bank of England “specifically ... to wage war.”


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Patriotic Blasphemy

A relative of mine attended the church of another relative of mine on the Sunday before Memorial Day. Here is the patriotic blasphemy he reports that he observed: Battle Hymn of the Republic sung to open the service, some kind of WWII memorial at the front of the church, patriotic songs sung during the song service, the Pledge to the flag recited, prayers for the troops, and some nonsense spoken about how Memorial Day is biblical because as Christ died for our sins so killers in the military died for our freedoms.

This is all patriotic blasphemy. It makes me want to scream. Had I been there, I would have walked out, as I did in a church in Sanford, Florida, one time when they opened the service with the singing of the Battle Hymn.
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Can Kinky Friedman Bring Legal Marijuana and Hemp to Texas?

Kinky Friedman, who is competing in a runoff election Tuesday for the Democratic Party nomination for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, describes his race as “kind of a referendum on lifting this prohibition on hemp and on pot.” Can Friedman, who has gained notoriety among potential Texas voters as a singer/songwriter, mystery book writer, Texas Monthly columnist, and Texas governor candidate, bring legal marijuana and hemp to Texas?

While many people may view Texas as among the least likely states for a candidate promoting marijuana and hemp legalization to win statewide office, polling indicates a majority of Texans support marijuana legalization. Nevertheless, Texas politicians are reluctant to legalize, likely in part because they are concerned about a backlash from the minority of Texans who support the war on marijuana.
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Walter Block’s Libertarian Journey: Booing Ayn Rand and Playing Risk with Murray Rothbard

In a new interview with Kyle Platt at Liberty.me, RPI Academic Board Member Walter Block — jovial as usual — tells the lively tale of his discovery of libertarian ideas as a young man. 

It all started in the early 1960s when Block, then — in Block’s words — a “pinko liberal,” attended an Ayn Rand speech where he “booed and hissed” the architect of the Objectivism. Afterward, Block challenged Rand and her associate Nathaniel Branden to a debate on socialism versus capitalism. This led to a conversation with Branden that drew Block into the social circle of Rand, Branden, and other leading Objectivist thinkers.
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Memorial Day and the Meaning of Freedom

Memorial Day provides the political class countless opportunities to ruin an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable holiday weekend.  Like clockwork, local congressmen, mayors, city council members, et al. materialize at parades, picnics, and churches to give speeches about “freedom.”

But what does freedom really mean?

Just as we should repudiate Junk English in economics, we should demand precision when it comes to the language of political posturing! In other words, we should insist that politicians use defined terms (I’m not holding my breath).


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Judge Napolitano on Obama Helping 'Targeted Killings Memo' Author Become Judge

Judge Andrew Napolitano, speaking with Shepard Smith on Fox News, denounces President Barack Obama’s ongoing delay in providing the legal arguments used to justify the executive branch’s “targeted killings” program. In particular, Napolitano criticizes Obama’s refusal to provide the memorandum describing the legal argument for the US government using a drone to kill US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. Obama’s delay, Napolitano says, will mean that the United States Senate will have approved the lifetime appointment of David Barron, the memo’s author, to a US federal court before the memorandum is made public.
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