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The VA Scandal is Just the Tip of the Military Abuse Iceberg

President Obama held a press conference last week to express his outrage over reports that the Veterans Administration was routinely delaying treatment to veterans, with some veterans even dying while on alleged secret waiting lists. The president said that, “if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period.” He vowed that, together with Congress, he would “make sure we're doing right by our veterans across the board.”

The president is right to be upset over the mistreatment of US military veterans, especially those who return home with so many physical and mental injuries.  Veterans should not be abused when they seek the treatment promised them when they enlisted. But his outrage over military abuse is selective.
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Why We’re No Longer Number One

Last week World Bank economists predicted that China would soon displace the United States as the world’s largest economy. The fact that this one-time economic basket case is now positioned to surpass the US is one more sign of the damage done to American prosperity by welfare, warfare, corporatism, and fiat money.  

Some commentators have predicted that China’s reign as the world’s largest economy would not last long. This may be true. While China has made great strides since adopting free-market reforms in the 1970s, China is still run by an authoritarian government whose economic policies distort the market in order to benefit state-favored industries. These state-favored businesses are often controlled by politically-powerful individuals.
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Congress Investigates “Slush Fund” At USAID Used To Get Lawmakers To Pass Reforms

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Our government has long seemed to be descending into a type of Orwellian universe of double speak. The Libyan War was not a war but a “time-limited, scope-limited military action” under Obama. Torture of detainees was not torture but “enhanced interrogation” under Bush. Now it appears open bribery of foreign officials is not bribery but “incentives” to implement policies favorable to their own people.

Congressional members are moving to address what is being called a “slush fund” with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where millions are paid to political figures in foreign countries. We have previously discussed such payments by the CIA to the openly corrupt Afghanistan government, including suitcases of cash to President Hamid Karzai. What is most interesting is that an act that is a federal crime for citizens doing business abroad can be not only legal but an official program by government officials. It appears that in the handshake shown on the USAID seal, there is often a sawbuck or two in the palm.

The USAID routinely makes “incentive” payments to lawmakers to pass legislation or enact policies through the world. Even policies that benefit their own people like granting rights to women or protecting the democratic process are secured by greasing the palms of corrupt officials. In doing so, the United States perpetuates the rampant corruption in these countries and enriches officials who will only act if it benefits them personally.
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Russia Annexing Crimea is the Cost of US/EU intervention in Ukraine

One wonders how deep a hole the United States and the EU are going to dig for themselves in Ukraine. It was, of course, U.S. and EU leaders — and their media acolytes — who caused the problem we face today by intervening on behalf of self-styled “democrats” in Kiev who without foreign intervention could not have overthrown the Ukrainian president.

It is getting to be that any half-baked gaggle of protestors at any location on the planet need only to chant the word “democracy” and the West will come running to their aid with diplomatic assistance, money, and a fierce disregard for either the target nation’s sovereignty or regional stability. Indeed, it may well be that the whole Ukraine protest movement was primed for action by funds, advisers, and computer systems paid for by Hillary Clinton’s State Department in a program similar to those she ran in several Arab countries.
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Victoria Nuland: The Bride At Every Wedding

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The United States increases pressure on Ukraine while preparing sanctions against the country. It sends a high-level State Department official to visit the country only a month after her previous visit. US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is going to Kiev on Thursday, February 6. The event is coordinated with the European partners. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will also visit Ukraine on February 5.

According to US State Department’s statement, in Kiev the Assistant Secretary will meet with government officials, opposition leaders, civil society and business leaders "to encourage agreement on a new government and plan of action that can put Ukraine back on track toward fulfilling the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for democracy, respect for human rights, European integration and economic growth." It means the US is to lend a helping hand only to the Ukrainians who want to associate with the EU. Those who don’t should be looking for support somewhere else. No taking sides and meddling, of course. That’s how democracy and impartiality are interpreted by the State Department.

The visit is taking place against the background of announcements from the White House that the US is reportedly readying financial sanctions that could be levied against Ukrainian government officials and opposition leaders. U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden has made at least three phone calls in recent weeks to press Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to accept forming a government akin to Western interests.
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Sen. McCain, Interventionism's ‘Energizer Bunny’

If there are US-backed groups anywhere seeking the overthrow of their government, you will Mccain Ukrainefind John McCain in their midst. He is the Energizer Bunny of interventionism.

Fresh off his trip to Libya, where he was granted an award by the military on the same day the Libyan parliament declared Sharia law, McCain was this weekend on the streets of Kiev.

McCain walked among the protestors, giving encouragement to those who have occupied and trashed government buildings in attempt to overthrow the Ukrainian government. “I am proud of what the people of Ukraine are doing,” he said.

Of course, when peaceful antiwar protesters showed up at McCain’s own Senate office in 2007, he promptly had them arrested.
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We Are All Non-Interventionists Now!

InterventionWe are witnessing the triumph of Ron Paulism in the United States. The corporate media will avoid reporting it. They try their best to ignore Ron Paul's 30 plus year intellectual march through our institutions.

But the facts in Pew Research's 50 year survey of US views of "America's place in the world" do not lie: This year the highest percentage of Americans ever -- 53 percent -- agree with the statement that "the US should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." (See illustration below)

This means that despite the Mephistophelian temptations of the neoconservatives, offering war, interventionism, "responsibility to protect," and humanitarian bombs, Americans are behind Ron Paul and the peacemakers -- more than ever.
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Veterans Day and Foreign Interventionism

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Commemorating Veterans Day, people honored Americans who have served in the U.S. military, especially those who have fought and died in America’s foreign wars. In doing so, however, it’s easy to forget the fact that what the soldiers fought for and died for in those foreign wars wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Consider World War I. American soldiers fought and died in that war under the notion that it would finally be the war that would end all European wars into the future. It was also a democracy-spreading war — that is, the war that was supposed to make the entire world safe for democracy.

Alas, it was not to be. Within a relatively short time, Europe was it again, this time with World War II, which really was just a continuation of World War I.
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US Egypt Policies Don't Pass the Laugh Test

A military coup in Egypt yesterday resulted in the removal and imprisonment of the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, a closure of media outlets sympathetic to him, the house arrest of his advisors, and the suspension of the constitution. The military that overthrew Morsi is the main recipient of the $1.3 billion yearly US aid package to Egypt. You could say that the US “owns” the Egyptian military that just overthrew its democratically-elected leader.
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The Rise and the Fall of the Humanitarian Interventionists

Back in the Spring and Summer of 2011, the humanitarian interventionists inside the Obama Administration were riding high.  President Obama put American military force behind the overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya, on the grounds of preventing a humanitarian disaster in Benghazi.  When Congress balked at the idea that he had brought the nation to war without even seeking tacit Congressional approval, President Obama issued an executive order creating an Atrocities Prevention Board inside the White House.  Under the guise of preventing potential future atrocities, the President asserted the authority to wage preventive war.  Several months later, he used a visit to the Holocaust Museum to announce the appointment of Samantha Power, a former protege of hedge-fund billionaire George Soros who never met a regime that she did not wish to change on "humanitarian" grounds as the head of the APB.
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