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Executive Power In The Age Of Trump

Although the Founders expected the legislative branch of government to be first among equals, especially in the past 20 years the executive branch has consolidated power at the expense of Congress and the Courts. But the two losing branches have been more than complicit in the process. What does this bode for our future? We turned to noted Constitutional scholar, Louis Fisher, who has written more than 500 articles and 24 books on this important issue. You won't want to miss this episode of the Liberty Report...
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Who Is Michael Morell?

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“No doubt Putin is playing Trump!” Yes, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell is indeed at it again. During the presidential campaign he repeatedly attacked Donald Trump as an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” In the same vein, anonymous CIA officials have supposedly provided evidence of our new president’s nefarious dealings with the Kremlin and its agents.

Didn’t Trump’s own lawyer, Michael Cohen, meet in Prague with a Kremlin agent in August 2016? And isn’t this final proof of the ongoing secret liaisons between the tycoon and the tyrant? ‘​Fraid not. But it is déjà vu. Fifteen years ago, Morell vetted and took to the White House, a preliminary report that 9/11 hijacker, Mohamed Atta, met with an Iraqi intelligence officer, Ahmad Samir, Al-Ani at the Iraqi embassy in Prague on April 9, 2001. Both reports have turned out to be bogus.

On August 6, 2001, Morell served as the CIA debriefer for President Bush’s most critical ever Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB); the one that read, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” It was essential that he impress upon Bush the importance of the memo. But he didn’t. Morell recollected in his memoir that NSC staffer Steve Biegun, who accompanied Morell to the Crawford Ranch where Bush was vacationing, apparently relayed to others that he, Morell, had indicated to the president, “there was no need to worry about an Al Qaida attack on the homeland...” Morrell himself directly observed that in retrospect, “I did not treat it as a ‘hair on fire’ or action-forcing piece and the president did not read it that way either.”
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Antiwar And Anti-Violence: The Revolutionary MLK

Martin Luther King's 1967 sermons and speeches against the Vietnam war may not be as well-remembered as his famous "I have a Dream" speech, but they demonstrate a commitment to the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize he won in 1964. Others who have won this award have not pursued a peaceful course, including the outgoing US president. King's war opposition was strongly opposed by those who championed his work in favor of civil rights, including the LBJ administration. It may also be what got him killed. We look at the antiwar King in today's Liberty Report...
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Abolish the CIA

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Every American who looks at the CIA objectively or in a balanced way and judges it by any number of criteria, such as moral, legal and pragmatic, should reach the conclusion that the CIA should be abolished. JFK wanted to break it into a million pieces. Trump is right to dismiss its intelligence reports about DNC hacking. The CIA war on Trump shows us immediately that the CIA is a rogue organization within the U.S. government and a severe threat to America.

The CIA is an internal threat to the rule of law and to the government that it supposedly serves. Senator Schumer acknowledges the CIA’s unbridled power, its subversive power, its power to undermine even a president, especially one that wishes to control or alter the organization, when he says

“Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. For a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

Schumer is saying that the CIA is so powerful that a president should not attempt to control it or else! The CIA is so powerful that elections do not matter when it comes to the CIA. The CIA stands alone. The Constitution that empowers the president as the Executive, the boss of government operations, does not matter. Basic American institutions and laws must bow before the threats that the CIA possesses. This is the assessment of a Senator beginning his 4th term and who is the highest ranking Democrat in the Senate in his post as minority leader.
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Protesters Succeed In Preventing Conservative Speakers From Appearing At The University of California At Davis

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We have been discussing the largely successful efforts by students and faculty to prevent certain conservative speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos from being able to speak on campuses. The latest such example is University of California at Davis where protesters succeeded in preventing fellow students and faculty from hearing Yiannopoulos. There is one promising element to the story however. Unlike school administrators who have either supported or yielded to the “heckler’s veto,” Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter denounced the effort to not only silence an opposing voice but to deny the right of others to hear that voice on campus. While the school professes “let there be light” on its seal, the school is now cloaked in a forced silence after the ignoble victory of protesters in curtailing the exercise of free speech.

Protesters blocked efforts to have Yiannopoulos and controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli speak on campus. Screaming “shut it down,” the protesters threatened the safety of organizers and attendees, according to the sponsors who finally cancelled the event.

I have been a critic of the erosion of free speech values on our college and university campusesAs discussed recently, Yiannopoulous has been the target of some of the most aggressive efforts to silence certain speakers and prevent other students from hearing opposing views.
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Will Trump Continue the Bush-Obama Legacy?

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This week, Congress passed a budget calling for increasing federal spending and adding $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. Most so-called “fiscal conservatives" voted for this big-spending budget because it allows Congress to repeal some parts of Obamacare via “reconciliation." As important as it is to repeal Obamacare, it does not justify increasing spending and debt.

It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obamacare repeal would be used to justify increasing spending. Despite sequestration’s minor (and largely phony) spending cuts, federal spending has increased every year since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. Some will attribute this to the fact that the Republican House had to negotiate with a big-spending Democratic president — even though federal spending actually increased by a greater percentage the last time Republicans controlled the White House and Congress than it did under President Obama.
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Is Trump Already Finished?

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It did not take long before we knew there was no hope of change from President Obama. But at least he went into his inauguration with an unprecedented number of Americans on the Mall showing their support for the President of Change. Hope was abundant.

But with Trump, we are already losing faith, if not yet with him, at least with his choice of those who comprise his government even before Trump is inaugurated.

Trump’s choice for Secretary of State not only sounds like the neoconservatives in declaring Russia to be a threat to the United States and all of Europe, but also sounds like Hillary Clinton in declaring the South China Sea to be an area of US dominance. One would think that the chaiman of Exxon was not an idiot, but I am no longer sure. In his confirmation hearing, Rex Tillerson said that China’s access to its own South China Sea is “not going to be allowed.”

Here is Tillerson’s statement: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops, and second, your access to those islands also not going to be allowed.”

I mean, really, what is Tillerson going to do about it except get the world blown up. China’s response was as pointed as a response can be:

Tillerson “should not be misled into thinking that Beijing will be fearful of threats. If Trump’s diplomatic team shapes future Sino-US ties as it is doing now, the two sides had better prepare for a military clash. Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear power stategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories.”
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The Secret Trump Dossier -- What Does It Mean?

The strange UK "former" spy-produced report on information the Russians may have to compromise President-elect Donald Trump has been widely denounced and the website that released it in its entirety, BuzzFeed, criticized for irresponsibility. However, Buzzfeed has actually done us a service by letting us look at the cockamamie report in its entirety rather than filtered through biased media sources. So says RPI Director Daniel McAdams in this RT panel discussion...
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One Final Expansion of the Surveillance State as Obama Heads for the Door

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President Barack Obama's administration ending its eight-year rule by expanding the sharing of intercepted communications and data between federal agencies may feel a little bit like a final giant middle finger to the many critics of the massive, secretive surveillance state.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch just signed off on changes that will increase the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) to share some raw intercepted data with other agencies before the process of filtering out private information from people unconnected to actual targets. The snooping itself is not changing, but more people will have access earlier in the process.

Specifically this is surveillance authorized by Executive Order 12333, the provisions that outline the conduct of intelligence agencies. These are rules separate from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the PATRIOT Act, and the new USA Freedom Act. The 12333 rules are specifically intended to oversee surveillance of foreign targets and foreign countries. It has very little oversight outside of the executive branch.
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Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich Ask President Obama to Free Chelsea Manning

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Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich sent a letter this week to President Barack Obama requesting that Obama “grant the application for clemency submitted by Chelsea Manning and commute her sentence to time served.” The result of Obama taking this action would be the whistleblower’s prompt release from prison.

Noting that Manning “has already spent more time in prison than anyone previously convicted for providing information to the media,” the two former US House Members who have both run for president in their respective parties’ primaries, declare their belief that Manning “received a sentence that was excessively punitive and intended to send a chilling message to future potential whistleblowers acting in the public interest.”
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