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08.15 RIDE FOR THE OVERRIDE

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08.26 John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point [18:12 video]

08.26 Diane Ravitch to Readers: Don't Let Charter Industry Silence John Oliver

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08.27 EV Revolution Set To Cripple More Than Just The Oil Industry

08.26 Fatigue, Migraines Linked to Fracking as Case Builds for National Ban

08.26 Study Finds Biofuels Worse for Climate than Gasoline

08.26 In Effort to Kill Pipeline, Groups Call Directly on Obama to Oppose Permits

08.26 Andrew Cuomo Administration Now Questions General Electric Move To End Hudson River Cleanup

08.26 NHS plans closures and radical cuts to combat growing deficit in health budget

08.25 EpiPen Uproar Highlights Company’s Family Ties to Congress [punish price-gougers by canceling patent rights, allow generic production]

08.25 Global warming is melting the Greenland Ice Sheet, fast

08.25 High birth rates and poverty undermine a generation of African children – report

08.25 Nigeria cannot overcome its gathering humanitarian crisis alone

08.25 Delhi schools offer safe space for children to speak up about sexual abuse

08.25 Liberian nurses learn to spot danger signs in babies as healthcare gets shot in arm

08.25 Climate change is thawing deadly diseases. Maybe now we'll address it?

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08.26 The newspaper ad collapse: Bad news for readers

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08.27 Which Republicans Oppose Donald Trump? A Cheat Sheet

08.27 A Guided Tour of the ‘Alt-Right,’ by the Trump Campaign Chief’s Website

08.27 Challenged Over 'Racist' Remarks, Maine Governor Leaves Unhinged Voicemail

08.27 Prison gerrymandering: incarceration weakens vulnerable voting communities

08.27 Steve Bannon, Trump campaign CEO, faced domestic violence charges

08.25 Could urban farming provide a much-needed oasis in the Tulsa food desert?

08.25 A sense that white identity is under attack’: making sense of the alt-right

08.24 Ties to Clinton Foundation are a knotty problem for Hillary’s campaign [more bad judgement]

08.24 BREAKING: ARMED WHITE SUPREMACISTS STORM NAACP OFFICE IN HOUSTON

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08.27 Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon is registered voter at vacant Florida home [how many more states has Bannon registered to vote? Absent a national voter registry, who knows?]

08.26 Mississippi Parents Demand an Answer: Are Charter Schools Constitutional?

08.26 Democracy Wins as 'Biggest Gerrymandering Case in Generation' Moves Forward

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08.23 UK in denial over Saudi arms sales being used in Yemen, claims Oxfam [US too...]

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08.27 Democrats Are Taking Full Advantage of Our ‘Broken Campaign-Finance System’

08.27 UBS whistleblower exposes 'political prostitution' all the way up to President Obama

08.26 Stiglitz Blasts 'Outrageous' TPP as Obama Campaigns for Corporate-Friendly Deal

08.24 PHARMA CEO GAVE HERSELF AN $18 MILLION RAISE AFTER HIKING EPIPEN PRICES

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08.27 Brexit is not inevitable, says former civil service chief

08.27 Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others Condemn 'Coup' in Brazil

08.27 Two Weeks in September: The Makings of Merkel's Decision to Accept Refugees

08.27 Syria à la Carte: Turkish Invasion Highlights Rapidly Shifting Alliances

08.26 The Guardian view on Turkey’s incursion into Syria: Ankara’s biggest concern is containing the Kurds

08.25 Italy in shock after Amatrice earthquake: 'This used to be my home'

08.25 US warns Europe over plan to demand billions in unpaid taxes from Apple

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  Thank You, Ron Paul
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COMMENTARY:

Thank You, Ron Paul

by Sheldon Richman
During the recent Republican debate, Congressman Ron Paul spoke the truth about U.S. Middle East policies and faced down attacks by hostile fellow presidential candidates.
Ron Paul, a Republican congressman running for president, is saying what needs to be said about the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war. Clearly, his rivals and the news media can't handle the truth.

At the most recent Republican debate, Paul not only repeated his opposition to the illegal and unconstitutional war, but he also identified 50 years of U.S. intervention in the Middle East as "a major contributing factor" in al-Qaeda's attacks in 2001.

"Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack[ed] us because we've been over there; we've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East," Paul said.

Paul thus becomes the first person in mainstream politics--he's been in Congress many years--to acknowledge that U.S. foreign policy has had bad consequences not only for people in the Middle East but for Americans at home as well. A government cannot take sides in so many deep-seated conflicts for as long as the U.S. government has without acquiring enemies and provoking retaliation.

It doesn't take much knowledge of history and human nature--not to mention the official 9/11 Commission report--to see this. It's about time it was said in such a prominent forum.

Of course, the reaction was stunningly absurd.

FOX News questioner Wendell Goler asked Paul a stunningly absurd and disingenuous follow-up question.
FOX News questioner Wendell Goler said in follow-up, "Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack, sir?"

Let's examine the question. To invite something is to desire the thing invited. Paul suggested no such thing. And who is "we"? Goler's question implies that Paul was saying the American people or "America" invited the attacks. But Paul was talking about American policymakers, not the American people. So the question was way off the mark and may have been an attempt to bait Paul.

He wouldn't take the bait. "I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it," he said. In other words, the people who masterminded the attack did not say they did it because we Americans are rich or free or non-Muslim. Their grievances relate to systematic U.S. intervention in the region: in particular, the presence of troops near holy sites in Saudi Arabia; a 10-year bombing campaign and killer embargo on Iraq (beginning in 1991), which cost hundreds of thousands of lives; and support for Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Rudolph Giuliani, also running for the nomination, responded demagogically, "That's an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq.... I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that."

"If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred," said Congressman Paul, "then we have a problem."
Of course, Paul never said "we invited the attack." And he didn't back down under Giuliani's grandstanding: "I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about 'blowback.' When we went into Iran in 1953 and installed the shah, yes, there was blowback. A reaction to that was the taking of our hostages and that persists. And if we ignore that, we ignore that at our own risk. If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem."

In saying "blowback," Paul was using the CIA's term for the unintended bad consequences of a government operation. He specifically mentioned Iran in 1953, when the Eisenhower administration sent the CIA to help drive an elected secular prime minister from office and return the despotic shah to power. The result was the 1979 Islamic revolution, the seizure of the American embassy, complete with hostages, and close to 30 years of hostility, with war perhaps to come.

U.S. imperialist polices in the Middle East have been good for special interests and power-loving politicians, but bad for the American people. Someone in government has finally had the courage to say so.

Thank you, Ron Paul.


Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation and editor of The Freeman magazine.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on May 18, 2007.
 

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