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US Midterms Expose Russia Hacker Myth

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Don’t hold your breath for it, but there should be an abject apology coming from US politicians, pundits, media and intelligence agencies.

For months leading up to the midterm elections held last week, we were told that the Kremlin was deviously targeting the ballot, in a replay of the way Russian hackers allegedly interfered in the 2016 presidential race to get Donald Trump into the White House.

Supposedly reliable news media outlets like the New York Times and heavyweight Senate panels were quoting intelligence sources warning that the “Russians are coming – again”.

So what just happened? Nothing. Where were the social media campaigns of malicious Russian-inspired misinformation “sowing division”? Whatever happened to the supposed army of internet bots and trolls that the Kremlin command? Where are the electoral machines tampered with to give false vote counts?

Facebook said it had deleted around 100 social media accounts that it claimed “were linked” to pro-Russian entities intent on meddling in the midterms. How did Facebook determined that “linkage”? It was based on a “tip-off” by US intelligence agencies. Hardly convincing proof of a Kremlin plot to destabilize American democracy.
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Beltway BS on 'Speaking Truth to Power'

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Lying and piety go together in Washington like ham and eggs. After 9/11, a profusion of government falsehoods on Iraq and other topics ravaged official credibility. The political class responded with an endless profusion of promises to “speak truth to power.” Unfortunately, there are far more Washingtonians praising honesty than there are honest politicians.

According to Wikipedia, “Speaking truth to power is a nonviolent political tactic, employed by dissidents against the received wisdom or propaganda of governments they regard as oppressive or authoritarian.” Ironically, that phrase has become one of the favorite accolades in the least trusted city in America.

When seven-term congressman and low-watt Republican functionary Porter Goss was nominated in 2004 to become CIA chief, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) endorsed him after he promised to “always speak truth to power.” Fat chance: after he was confirmed, Goss speedily sent a memo to CIA employees muzzling them, declaring that their job was to “support the administration and its policies in our work.” Goss bungled the CIA so badly that the Bush administration heaved him out less than two years later. Columnist Walter Shapiro observed, “Normally under Bush, promoted-above-your-abilities incompetence is not a firing offense unless, of course, you drown an entire city.”
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The Korean War: The Moral Bankruptcy of Interventionism

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An article in Sunday’s New York Times entitled “Remembering the Forgotten War” demonstrates perfectly the moral bankruptcy of the philosophy of foreign interventionism. Calling for the Korean War to become more highly remembered, the author, Hampton Sides, extols some of the popular justifications for subjecting US troops to death, injury, and maiming in the Korean War.
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Chaos In Israel: Are Bibi's Days Numbered?

Just days into a ceasefire with Gaza, the Israelis sent commandos in to assassinate a Hamas leader. Hamas then surprised Israel with more than 400 rockets in retaliation, leading to another ceasefire agreed by Netanyahu. But this time his defense minister was having none of it. He wants a conflict and is threatening to bring down the government if he does not get one. What's next? Tune in to the Liberty Report...
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Iran Again Found 'In Compliance'...Yet Bolton Vows To 'Squeeze Hard!'

In the first International Atomic Energy Agency inspection since the Trump Administration slapped back all sanctions, Iran has been given a clean bill of health regarding the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement. Iran is keeping up its end of the bargain even as the US claims it is not doing so. Trump's neocon National Security Advisor John Bolton has vowed to "squeeze" Iran until the economy crumbles if Tehran does not bow to US demands. Will sanctions work? If US sanctions on Russia are any indication, they may well backfire. More in today's Liberty Report...
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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

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World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets.
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America Should Have Skipped the War, Not Just the Ceremony

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This weekend the Donald took some heavy duty flack from liberals, Dems, the MSM and harrumphing patriots for canceling his appearance at a wreath laying ceremony at the famous WWI battle site at Belleau, France owing to inclement weather. For instance, former Secretary of State, John Kerry got himself worked into high dudgeon:
Mr. Kerry criticized the president’s decision on Twitter, saying that the weather “shouldn’t have stopped an American President”.

“President @realDonaldTrump a no-show because of raindrops?” he wrote. “Those veterans the president didn’t bother to honor fought in the rain, in the mud, in the snow – & many died in trenches for the cause of freedom.”
We truly wonder whether Mr. Kerry gets the monumental irony. In his youth he was a courageous leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement based on the insanity of America’s role in a needless war in Southeast Asia of which he was a veteran.

Yet the only war of the 20th century more senseless than Vietnam was the so-called Great War, and most especially America’s intervention in an old world tragedy for no good reason whatsoever. That is to say, the Marine heroes of the bloody battle of Belleau Wood did not die "in the trenches for the cause of freedom."
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Brennan and Clapper Should Not Escape Prosecution

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Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the longtime chairman of the Judiciary Committee, made a dramatic announcement Nov. 1 that should lead to jail time for both former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

As reported, but widely overlooked amid the media focus on the midterm elections, Brennan ordered CIA hackers to intercept the emails of all potential or possible intelligence community whistleblowers who may have been trying to contact the congressional oversight committees, specifically to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hacking the Senate’s computer system constitutes illegal use of a government computer, illegal espionage and wire fraud.

Brennan and Clapper, in 2014, ostensibly notified congressional overseers about this, but in a way that either tied senators’ hands or kept them in the dark. They classified the notifications.
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100 Years After The 'War To End All Wars,' Lessons Of History Are Still Unlearned

No wonder the wars have continued - without pause - since WWI, the "war to end all wars": the lessons have still not been learned. That much was evident in French President Emmanuel Macron's speech over the weekend, blaming nationalism and populism for the war. In fact, the real reasons are far different and provide a stark warning for our times: a declining power (UK) sought to prevent a rising power (Germany) from presenting an economic threat to the old order. The parallels with our time, where the "unipolar moment" with the US at the apex has begun to fade and with that fade have come endless US threats against rising powers like Russia and China. Isn't there a better way than war? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Dirty Little Secret: ‘Think Tanks’ are Among Top Culprits in Media Disinformation Crisis

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Most consumers are unaware off the mainstream media’s dirty little secret. Think tanks are increasingly taking advantage of tight news budgets to influence the press agenda in favor of their sponsors.

Decades ago, these outfits generally operated as policy advisories. Although, some were comfortably enumerated ‘retirement homes’ for distinguished public servants or intellectuals. However, in modern times, they have become indistinguishable from lobbying firms. With the budgets to match.

On the Russia (and broader Eastern European) beat, think tank influence is becoming increasingly dangerous and malign. And it’s leading to a crisis in journalistic standards which nobody wants to acknowledge.

Two cases this week highlight the malaise.

Right now, Hungary and Ukraine are embroiled in a standoff regarding the rights of ethnic Hungarians in the latter country. The disagreement is entirely local, with roots in the 20th century carving-up of Budapest’s territory after it found itself on the losing side in both World Wars. As a result, lands were dispersed into other nations – former Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union.
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