861: Hate Crime Manager

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 59m
September 18th, 2016
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US Central Command Says Airstrike on Syrian Army Killing 80 Was an Accident
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 00:18
Middle East22:49 17.09.2016(updated 01:43 18.09.2016) Get short URL
US military officials acknowledge responsibility for the bombing attack against Syrian Army positions that paved the way for a major Daesh offensive against Assad government forces and that killed 80 Syrian service personnel, but claimed that the attack was an accident with the intended target being Daesh terrorists.The attack was conducted by two F-16 fighter jets and two A10 ground attack aircraft that came into Syrian airspace through the Iraqi border without authorization from the Assad government.
The Russian Ministry of Defense immediately blasted the United States for the lethal attack observing that Daesh engaged in a major offensive after American forces crippled the Assad regime's position. "If this airstrike was carried out due to an error in the coordinates of the targetm it is a direct consequence of US side's unwillingless to coordinate its actions against terrorist groups with Russia," the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman emphasized.
(C) AP Photo/ Lefteris Pitarakis
The attack came amid a ceasefire in Syria agreed upon by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry one week earlier and that came into effect on September 12. The attack threatens to undermine the delicate ceasefire agreement with the Syrian government concerned that it will provide Daesh terrorists an opportunity to regroup and that the rebels will not hold to the arrangement. Nonetheless, the attack also highlights the importance of the ceasefire deal and the need for the United States and Russia to coordinate on intelligence.In the statement, Central Command says that "Coalition forces believed they were striking a Da'esh fighting position that they had been tracking for a significant amount of time before the strike. The coalition airstrike was halted immediately when coalition forces were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military."
The statement, provided in full below, goes on to imply that Russia is somehow to blame for the egregious accident that killed the 80 Syrian soldiers because the US claims that it "had earlier informed Russian counterparts of the upcoming strike."
Over 80 Syrian soldiers killed by US airstrikes in Deir Ezzor
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:11
DEIR EZZOR, SYRIA (10:00 P.M.) - A military source from the Qassem Units told Al-Masdar moments ago that over 80 Syrian Arab Army soldiers were killed by the U.S. airstrikes in Deir Ezzor.
The source added that the death toll will likely rise in the coming hours as more bodies are discovered in Jabal Thardeh.
Originally, the Syrian Armed Forces were able to pull 20 bodies from the rubble; however, since recovering most of Jabal Thardeh, they have discovered dozens of dead soldiers.
Most of the soldiers were killed when the U.S. Air Force dropped phosphorous bombs on their positions, killing the men instantly.
READ Putin says Syrian army honoring truce, militants 'regrouping'
American commandos 'forced to run away' from US-backed Syrian rebels
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:07
Video footage appears to show US commandos fleeing a Syrian town under a barrage of abuse and insults hurled at them by fighters from the American-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group.
The video appears to be the first evidence of US special forces cooperating with Turkish troops in their battle against Islamic State (Isil).
The incident illustrates the complex web of alliances and enmities in Syria, where many of America's allies are fighting each other and some rebel groups that receive US support still harbour strong anti-American sentiments.
The footage shows a crowd of rebel fighters in the town of al-Rai near the Turkish border, which was captured from Isil by Syrian rebel groups with the backing of Turkey. Turkey, which launched a military incursion into Syria in late August, has been backing the FSA.
The fighters scream anti-American chants as a column of pick-up trucks carrying US commandos drives away from them.
''Christians and Americans have no place among us,'' shouts one man in the video. ''They want to wage a crusader war to occupy Syria.''
Another man calls out: ''The collaborators of America are dogs and pigs. They wage a crusader war against Syria and Islam. ''
The US troops are not wearing traditional uniform but they carry American weapons and are wearing the distinctive round helmets favoured by US special forces.
Another video shows the US troops looking nonchalant and waving at the camera even as some of the rebels tell them to leave.
Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said the confrontation was sparked when FSA rebels accused the Americans of supporting the Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units (YPG).
''Heated tempers and YPG relations aside, this was a big mistake by FSA. But it does go to show the diplomacy now required to make it work,'' he said.
Turkey is vehemently opposed to the YPG and its FSA proxies have fought with Kurdish fighters even though they are in theory both US allies committed to fighting together against Isil.
It was not clear if the confrontation in al-Rai was spontaneous or ordered by senior FSA figures or even their Turkish allies.
The US troops are believed to have been operating alongside Turkish forces in northern Syria. Video footage shows the American trucks sharing a road with Turkish tanks.
A spokesman for US Central Command said they were aware of the video and looking into the incident.
Unbelievable '' Centcom Command Admits ''Mistake'', U.S. Break Cease-fire in Syria'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:58
Stunning is an understatement. This is beyond absurd. There has been a tenuous cease-fire in Syria for the past 4 days, negotiated by Russia, between Bashir Assad's Syrian Army and the militant fighters in the Islamic State (ISIS).
Today, the United States has broken the cease-fire; not Syria, not ISIS '' the U.S. broke the cease-fire, and actually attacked Syrian ground troops. U.S. Centcom commanders are now admitting they made a ''mistake''.
A mistake? '...that accidentally assists ISIS.
(Via Fox News) The U.S. military halted an air raid against the Islamic State terror group in eastern Syria on Saturday after learning it struck a Syrian military unit by mistake, a U.S. Central Command official confirmed to Fox News.
The official said the U.S. military was ''certain'' about the outcome of the strike. Officials had been watching these forces ''for a few days'' thinking they were ISIS.
Syria and Russia said the U.S.-led coalition had struck a Syrian military base in Deir el-Zour that was surrounded by ISIS fighters, enabling them to advance. The U.S. is not known to have directly struck Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces at any point during the five-year civil war.
The CENTCOM official described the target as ''irregular forces,'' adding that multiple U.S. aircraft struck six military ''troop carrier'' vehicles and one tank which were ''out in the open.'' The U.S. military informed Russian counterparts before the strike but ''did not share specifics'' of the target, just the airspace and general area.
A Russian Defense Ministry official said Syria has informed them that 62 of its soldiers were killed in the airstrike. Russia has been waging a year-old air campaign on behalf of Assad's forces and closely coordinates with them.
The CENTCOM official said the U.S. was making calls to Russia through diplomatic channels.
The CENTCOM statement read, ''the airstrike was halted immediately when coalition officials were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military.''
'....It added, ''coalition forces would not intentionally strike a known Syrian military unit.''Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the airstrike was conducted by two F-16s and two A-10s.
Konashenkov said Syrian authorities reported another 100 people wounded. The planes came from the direction of the border with Iraq, he added.
He said ISIS militants surrounding the air base launched an attack on the Syrian army positions after the strike. He added that if the coalition attack was launched by mistake, the reason for it was a ''stubborn reluctance by the American side to coordinate its action against terrorist groups in Syria with Russia.'' (read more)
Syria: Another Pipeline War - EcoWatch
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:00
The fossil fuel industry's business model is to externalize its costs by clawing in obscene subsidies and tax deductions'--causing grave environmental costs, including toxic pollution and global warming. Among the other unassessed prices of the world's addiction to oil are social chaos, war, terror, the refugee crisis overseas, and the loss of democracy and civil rights abroad and at home.
As we focus on the rise of ISIS and search for the source of the savagery that took so many innocent lives in Paris and San Bernardino, we might want to look beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology and focus on the more complex rationales of history and oil, which mostly point the finger of blame for terrorism back at the champions of militarism, imperialism and petroleum here on our own shores.
America's unsavory record of violent interventions in Syria'--obscure to the American people yet well known to Syrians'--sowed fertile ground for the violent Islamic Jihadism that now complicates any effective response by our government to address the challenge of ISIS. So long as the American public and policymakers are unaware of this past, further interventions are likely to only compound the crisis. Moreover, our enemies delight in our ignorance.
As the New York Times reported in a Dec. 8, 2015 front page story, ISIS political leaders and strategic planners are working to provoke an American military intervention which, they know from experience, will flood their ranks with volunteer fighters, drown the voices of moderation and unify the Islamic world against America.
To understand this dynamic, we need to look at history from the Syrians' perspective and particularly the seeds of the current conflict. Long before our 2003 occupation of Iraq triggered the Sunni uprising that has now morphed into the Islamic State, the CIA had nurtured violent Jihadism as a Cold War weapon and freighted U.S./Syrian relationships with toxic baggage.
During the 1950's, President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers rebuffed Soviet treaty proposals to leave the Middle East a cold war neutral zone and let Arabs rule Arabia. Instead, they mounted a clandestine war against Arab Nationalism'--which CIA Director Allan Dulles equated with communism'--particularly when Arab self-rule threatened oil concessions. They pumped secret American military aid to tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon favoring puppets with conservative Jihadist ideologies which they regarded as a reliable antidote to Soviet Marxism. At a White House meeting between the CIA's Director of Plans, Frank Wisner, and Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, in September of 1957, Eisenhower advised the agency, ''We should do everything possible to stress the 'holy war' aspect."
The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949'--barely a year after the agency's creation. Syrian patriots had declared war on the Nazis, expelled their Vichy French colonial rulers and crafted a fragile secularist democracy based on the American model. But in March of 1949, Syria's democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Kuwaiti, hesitated to approve the Trans Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria. In his book, Legacy of Ashes, CIA historian Tim Weiner recounts that in retaliation, the CIA engineered a coup, replacing al-Kuwaiti with the CIA's handpicked dictator, a convicted swindler named Husni al-Za'im. Al-Za'im barely had time to dissolve parliament and approve the American pipeline before his countrymen deposed him, 14 weeks into his regime.
Following several counter coups in the newly destabilized country, the Syrian people again tried democracy in 1955, re-electing al-Kuwaiti and his Ba'ath Party. Al-Kuwaiti was still a Cold War neutralist but, stung by American involvement in his ouster, he now leaned toward the Soviet camp. That posture caused Dulles to declare that ''Syria is ripe for a coup" and send his two coup wizards, Kim Roosevelt and Rocky Stone to Damascus.
Two years earlier, Roosevelt and Stone had orchestrated a coup in Iran against the democratically elected President Mohammed Mosaddegh after Mosaddegh tried to renegotiate the terms of Iran's lopsided contracts with the oil giant, BP. Mosaddegh was the first elected leader in Iran's 4,000 year history, and a popular champion for democracy across the developing world. Mosaddegh expelled all British diplomats after uncovering a coup attempt by UK intelligence officers working in cahoots with BP.
Mosaddegh, however, made the fatal mistake of resisting his advisors' pleas to also expel the CIA, which they correctly suspected, and was complicit in the British plot. Mosaddegh idealized the U.S. as a role model for Iran's new democracy and incapable of such perfidies. Despite Dulles' needling, President Truman had forbidden the CIA from actively joining the British caper to topple Mosaddegh.
When Eisenhower took office in January 1953, he immediately unleashed Dulles. After ousting Mosaddegh in ''Operation Ajax," Stone and Roosevelt installed Shah Reza Pahlavi, who favored U.S. oil companies, but whose two decades of CIA sponsored savagery toward his own people from the Peacock throne would finally ignite the 1979 Islamic revolution that has bedeviled our foreign policy for 35 years.
Flush from his Operation Ajax ''success" in Iran, Stone arrived in Damascus in April 1956 with $3 million in Syrian pounds to arm and incite Islamic militants and to bribe Syrian military officers and politicians to overthrow al-Kuwaiti's democratically elected secularist regime. Working with the Muslim Brotherhood, Stone schemed to assassinate Syria's Chief of Intelligence, its Chief of the General Staff and the Chief of the Communist Party and to engineer ''national conspiracies and various strong arm" provocations in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan that could be blamed on the Syrian Ba'athists.
The CIA's plan was to destabilize the Syrian government, and create a pretext for an invasion by Iraq and Jordan, whose governments were already under CIA control. Roosevelt forecasted that the CIA's newly installed puppet government would ''rely first upon repressive measures and arbitrary exercise of power."
But all that CIA money failed to corrupt the Syrian military officers. The soldiers reported the CIA's bribery attempts to the Ba'athist regime. In response, the Syrian army invaded the American Embassy taking Stone prisoner. Following harsh interrogation, Stone made a televised confession to his roles in the Iranian coup and the CIA's aborted attempt to overthrow Syria's legitimate government.
The Syrian's ejected Stone and two U.S. Embassy staffers'--the first time any American State Department diplomat was barred from an Arab country. The Eisenhower White House hollowly dismissed Stone's confession as ''fabrications and slanders," a denial swallowed whole by the American press, led by the New York Times and believed by the American people, who shared Mosaddegh's idealistic view of their government.
Syria purged all politicians sympathetic to the U.S. and executed them for treason. In retaliation, the U.S. moved the Sixth Fleet to the Mediterranean, threatened war and goaded Turkey to invade Syria. The Turks assembled 50,000 troops on Syria's borders and only backed down in the face of unified opposition from the Arab League whose leaders were furious at the U.S. intervention.
Even after its expulsion, the CIA continued its secret efforts to topple Syria's democratically elected Ba'athist government. The CIA plotted with Britain's MI6 to form a ''Free Syria Committee" and armed the Muslim Brotherhood to assassinate three Syrian government officials, who had helped expose ''the American plot." (Matthew Jones in The 'Preferred Plan': The Anglo-American Working Group Report on Covert Action in Syria, 1957). The CIA's mischief pushed Syria even further away from the U.S. and into prolonged alliances with Russia and Egypt.
Following the second Syrian coup attempt, anti-American riots rocked the Mid-East from Lebanon to Algeria. Among the reverberations was the July 14, 1958 coup, led by the new wave of anti-American Army officers who overthrew Iraq's pro-American monarch, Nuri al-Said. The coup leaders published secret government documents, exposing Nuri al-Said as a highly paid CIA puppet. In response to American treachery, the new Iraqi government invited Soviet diplomats and economic advisers to Iraq and turned its back on the West.
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Having alienated Iraq and Syria, Kim Roosevelt fled the Mid-East to work as an executive for the oil industry that he had served so well during his public service career. Roosevelt's replacement, as CIA Station Chief, James Critchfield attempted a failed assassination plot against the new Iraqi president using a toxic handkerchief. Five years later the CIA finally succeeded in deposing the Iraqi president and installing the Ba'ath Party to power in Iraq.
A charismatic young murderer named Saddam Hussein was one of the distinguished leaders of the CIA's Ba'athists team. The Ba'ath Party's Interior Minister, Said Aburish, who took office alongside Saddam Hussein, would later say, ''We came to power on a CIA train." Aburish recounted that the CIA supplied Saddam and his cronies a ''murder list" of people who ''had to be eliminated immediately in order to ensure success."
Critchfield later acknowledged that the CIA had, in essence, ''created Saddam Hussein." During the Reagan years, the CIA supplied Hussein with billions of dollars in training, Special Forces support, and weapons and battlefield intelligence knowing that he was using poisonous mustard and nerve gas and biological weapons'--including anthrax obtained from the U.S. government'--in his war against Iran.
Reagan and his CIA Director, Bill Casey, regarded Saddam as a potential friend to the U.S. oil industry and a sturdy barrier against the spread of Iran's Islamic Revolution. Their emissary, Donald Rumsfeld, presented Saddam with a pair of pearl-handled revolvers and a menu of chemical/biological and conventional weapons on a 1983 trip to Bagdad. At the same time, the CIA was illegally supplying Saddam's enemy'--Iran'--with thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to fight Iraq, a crime made famous during the Iran Contra scandal. Jihadists from both sides later turned many of those CIA supplied weapons against the American people.
Even as America contemplates yet another violent Mid-East intervention, most Americans are unaware of the many ways that ''blowback" from previous CIA blunders has helped craft the current crisis. The reverberations from decades of CIA shenanigans continue to echo across the Mid-East today in national capitals and from mosques to madras schools over the wrecked landscape of democracy and moderate Islam that the CIA helped obliterate.
In July 1956, less than two months after the CIA's failed Syrian Coup, my uncle, Senator John F. Kennedy, infuriated the Eisenhower White House, the leaders of both political parties and our European allies with a milestone speech endorsing the right of self-governance in the Arab world and an end to America's imperialist meddling in Arab countries. Throughout my lifetime, and particularly during my frequent travels to the Mid-East, countless Arabs have fondly recalled that speech to me as the clearest statement of the idealism they expected from the U.S.
Kennedy's speech was a call for recommitting America to the high values our country had championed in the Atlantic Charter, the formal pledge that all the former European colonies would have the right to self-determination following World War II. FDR had strong-armed Churchill and the other allied leaders to sign the Atlantic Charter in 1941 as a precondition for U.S. support in the European war against fascism.
Thanks in large part to Allan Dulles and the CIA, whose foreign policy intrigues were often directly at odds with the stated policies of our nation, the idealistic path outlined in the Atlantic Charter was the road not taken. In 1957, my grandfather, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, sat on a secret committee charged with investigating CIA's clandestine mischief in the Mid-East. The so called ''Bruce Lovett Report," to which he was a signatory, described CIA coup plots in Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all common knowledge on the Arab street, but virtually unknown to the American people who believed, at face value, their government's denials.
The report blamed the CIA for the rampant anti-Americanism that was then mysteriously taking root ''in the many countries in the world today." The Bruce Lovett Report pointed out that such interventions were antithetical to American values and had compromised America's international leadership and moral authority without the knowledge of the American people. The report points out that the CIA never considered how we would treat such interventions if some foreign government engineered them in our country. This is the bloody history that modern interventionists like George W. Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio miss when they recite their narcissistic trope that Mid-East nationalists ''hate us for our freedoms."
The Syrian and Iranian coups soiled America's reputation across the Mid-East and ploughed the fields of Islamic Jihadism which we have, ironically, purposefully nurtured. A parade of Iranian and Syrian dictators, including Bashar al-Assad and his father, have invoked the history of the CIA's bloody coups as a pretext for their authoritarian rule, repressive tactics and their need for a strong Russian alliance. These stories are therefore well known to the people of Syria and Iran who naturally interpret talk of U.S. intervention in the context of that history.
While the compliant American press parrots the narrative that our military support for the Syrian insurgency is purely humanitarian, many Syrians see the present crisis as just another proxy war over pipelines and geopolitics. Before rushing deeper into the conflagration, it would be wise for us to consider the abundant facts supporting that perspective.
A Pipeline War
In their view, our war against Bashar Assad did not begin with the peaceful civil protests of the Arab Spring in 2011. Instead it began in 2000 when Qatar proposed to construct a $10 billion, 1,500km pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.
Note the purple line which traces the proposed Qatar-Turkey natural gas pipeline and note that all of the countries highlighted in red are part of a new coalition hastily put together after Turkey finally (in exchange for NATO's acquiescence on Erdogan's politically-motivated war with the PKK) agreed to allow the US to fly combat missions against ISIS targets from Incirlik. Now note which country along the purple line is not highlighted in red. That's because Bashar al-Assad didn't support the pipeline and now we're seeing what happens when you're a Mid-East strongman and you decide not to support something the US and Saudi Arabia want to get done. (Map: ZeroHedge.com via MintPress News)
Qatar shares with Iran, the South Pars/North Dome gas field, the world's richest natural gas repository. The international trade embargo, until recently, prohibited Iran from selling gas abroad and ensured that Qatar's gas could only reach European markets if it is liquefied and shipped by sea, a route that restricts volume and dramatically raises costs.
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The proposed pipeline would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey which would pocket rich transit fees. The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America's closest ally in the Arab world. Qatar hosts two massive American military bases and the U.S. Central Command's Mid-East headquarters.
The EU, which gets 30 percent of its gas from Russia, was equally hungry for the pipeline which would have given its members cheap energy and relief from Vladimir Putin's stifling economic and political leverage. Turkey, Russia's second largest gas customer, was particularly anxious to end its reliance on its ancient rival and to position itself as the lucrative transect hub for Asian fuels to EU markets. The Qatari pipeline would have benefited Saudi Arabia's conservative Sunni Monarchy by giving them a foothold in Shia dominated Syria.
The Saudi's geopolitical goal is to contain the economic and political power of the Kingdom's principal rival, Iran, a Shiite state, and close ally of Bashar Assad. The Saudi monarchy viewed the U.S. sponsored Shia takeover in Iraq as a demotion to its regional power and was already engaged in a proxy war against Tehran in Yemen, highlighted by the Saudi genocide against the Iranian backed Houthi tribe.
Of course, the Russians, who sell 70 percent of their gas exports to Europe, viewed the Qatar/Turkey pipeline as an existential threat. In Putin's view, the Qatar pipeline is a NATO plot to change the status quo, deprive Russia of its only foothold in the Middle East, strangle the Russian economy and end Russian leverage in the European energy market. In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria ''to protect the interests of our Russian ally."
Assad further enraged the Gulf's Sunni monarchs by endorsing a Russian approved ''Islamic pipeline" running from Iran's side of the gas field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline would make Shia Iran instead of Sunni Qatar, the principal supplier to the European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran's influence in the Mid-East and the world. Israel also was understandably determined to derail the Islamic pipeline which would enrich Iran and Syria and presumably strengthen their proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.
Bashar Assad's family is Alawite, a Muslim sect widely perceived as aligned with the Shia camp. ''Bashar Assad was never supposed to be president," says journalist Sy Hersh. ''His father brought him back from medical school in London when his elder brother, the heir apparent, was killed in a car crash."
Before the war started, according to Hersh, Assad was moving to liberalize the country'--''They had internet and newspapers and ATM machines and Assad wanted to move toward the west. After 9/11, he gave thousands of invaluable files to the CIA on Jihadist radicals, who he considered a mutual enemy."
Assad's regime was deliberately secular and Syria was impressively diverse. The Syrian government and military, for example, were 80 percent Sunni. Assad maintained peace among his diverse peoples by a strong disciplined army loyal to the Assad family, an allegiance secured by a nationally esteemed and highly paid officer corps, a coldly efficient intelligence apparatus and a penchant for brutality which, prior to the war, was rather moderate compared to other Mideast leaders, including our current allies.
According to Hersh, ''He certainly wasn't beheading people every Wednesday like the Saudis do in Mecca." Another veteran journalist, Bob Parry, echoes that assessment. ''No one in the region has clean hands but in the realms of torture, mass killings, civil liberties and supporting terrorism, Assad is much better than the Saudis."
No one believed that the regime was vulnerable to the anarchy that had riven Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. By the spring of 2011, there were small, peaceful demonstrations in Damascus against repression by Assad's regime. These were mainly the effluvia of the Arab Spring which spread virally across the Arab League states the previous summer. However, Huffington Post UK reported that in Syria the protests were, at least in part, orchestrated by the CIA. WikiLeaks cables indicate that the CIA was already on the ground in Syria.
But the Sunni Kingdoms wanted a much deeper involvement from America. On Sept. 4, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional hearing that the Sunni kingdoms had offered to foot the bill for a US. invasion of Syria to oust Bashar al-Assad. ''In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing, the way we've done it previously in other places [Iraq], they'll carry the cost," he stated. Kerry reiterated the offer to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL27): ''With respect to Arab countries offering to bear the costs of [an American invasion] to topple Assad, the answer is profoundly Yes, they have. The offer is on the table."
Despite pressure from Republicans, Barrack Obama balked at hiring out young Americans to die as mercenaries for a pipeline conglomerate. Obama wisely ignored Republican clamoring to put ground troops in Syria or to funnel more funding to ''moderate insurgents." But by late 2011, Republican pressure and our Sunni allies had pushed the American government into the fray.
In 2011, the U.S. joined France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and England to form the ''Friends of Syria Coalition," which formally demanded the removal of Assad. The CIA provided $6 million to Barada, a British T.V. channel, to produce pieces entreating Assad's ouster. Saudi intelligence documents, published by WikiLeaks, show that by 2012, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were arming, training and funding radical Jihadist Sunni fighters from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere to overthrow the Assad's Shia allied regime. Qatar, which had the most to gain, invested $3 billion in building the insurgency and invited the Pentagon to train insurgents at U.S. bases in Qatar. U.S. personnel also provided logistical support and intelligence to the rebels on the ground. The Times of London reported on Sept. 14, 2012, that the CIA also armed Jihadists with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons from Libyan armories that the agency smuggled by ratlines to Syria via Turkey. According to an April 2014 article by Seymour Hersh, the CIA weapons ratlines were financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The idea of fomenting a Sunni-Shia civil war to weaken the Syrian and Iranian regimes so as to maintain control of the region's petro-chemical supplies was not a novel notion in the Pentagon's lexicon. A damning 2008 Pentagon funded Rand report proposed a precise blueprint for what was about to happen. That report observes that control of the Persian Gulf oil and gas deposits will remain, for the U.S., ''a strategic priority" that ''will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war."
Rand recommends using ''covert action, information operations, unconventional warfare" to enforce a ''divide and rule" strategy. ''The United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch a proxy campaign" and ''U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the sustained Shia-Sunni conflict trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world ... possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran."
WikiLeaks cables from as early as 2006 show the U.S. State Department, at the urging of the Israeli government, proposing to partner with Turkey, Qatar and Egypt to foment Sunni civil war in Syria to weaken Iran. The stated purpose, according to the secret cable, was to incite Assad into a brutal crackdown of Syria's Sunni population.
As predicted, Assad's overreaction to the foreign made crisis'--dropping barrel bombs onto Sunni strongholds and killing civilians'--polarized Syria's Shia/Sunni divide and allowed U.S. policymakers to sell Americans the idea that the pipeline struggle was a humanitarian war. When Sunni soldiers of the Syrian Army began defecting in 2013, the Western Coalition armed the ''Free Syrian Army" to further destabilize Syria. The press portrait of the Free Syria Army as cohesive battalions of Syrian moderates was delusional. The dissolved units regrouped in hundreds of independent militias most of whom were commanded by or allied with Jihadi militants who were the most committed and effective fighters. By then, the Sunni armies of Al Qaeda Iraq (AQI) were crossing the border from Iraq into Syria and joining forces with the battalions of deserters from the Free Syria Army, many of them trained and armed by the U.S.
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Despite the prevailing media portrait of a moderate Arab uprising against the tyrant Assad, U.S. Intelligence planners knew from the outset that their pipeline proxies were radical jihadists who would probably carve themselves a brand new Islamic caliphate from the Sunni regions of Syria and Iraq. Two years before ISIS throat cutters stepped on the world stage, a seven-page Aug. 12, 2012 study by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), obtained by the right wing group Judicial Watch, warned that thanks to the ongoing support by U.S./Sunni Coalition for radical Sunni Jihadists, ''the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (now ISIS), are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria."
Using U.S. and Gulf State funding, these groups had turned the peaceful protests against Bashar Assad toward ''a clear sectarian (Shiite vs Sunni) direction." The paper notes that the conflict had become a sectarian civil war supported by Sunni ''religious and political powers." The report paints the Syrian conflict as a global war for control of the region's resources with ''the west, Gulf countries and Turkey supporting [Assad's] opposition, while Russia, China and Iran support the regime."
The Pentagon authors of the seven-page report appear to endorse the predicted advent of the ISIS caliphate:
''If the situation continues unravelling, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor) and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime." The Pentagon report warns that this new principality could move across the Iraqi border to Mosul and Ramadi and ''declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria."
Of course, this is precisely what has happened. Not coincidentally, the regions of Syria occupied by ISIS exactly encompass the proposed route of the Qatari pipeline.
But then in 2014, our Sunni proxies horrified the American people by severing heads and driving a million refugees toward Europe. ''Strategies based upon the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend can be kind of blinding," says Tim Clemente, who chaired the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force between 2004 and 2008 and served as liaison in Iraq between the FBI, the Iraqi National Police and the U.S. Military. ''We made the same mistake when we trained the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. The moment the Russians left, our supposed friends started smashing antiquities, enslaving women, severing body parts and shooting at us."
When ISIS' ''Jihadi John" began murdering prisoners on TV, the White House pivoted, talking less about deposing Assad and more about regional stability. The Obama Administration began putting daylight between itself and the insurgency we had funded. The White House pointed accusing fingers at our allies. On Oct. 3, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden told students at the John F. Kennedy, Jr. forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard that ''Our allies in the region are our biggest problem in Syria." He explained that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were ''so determined to take down Assad" that they had launched a ''proxy Sunni-Shia war" funneling ''hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons to Jihadists of the al-Nusra front and al-Qaeda"'--the two groups that merged in 2014 to form ISIS.
Biden seemed angered that our trusted ''friends" could not be trusted to follow the American agenda. ''ISI[S] is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion," declared Obama, disassociating himself from the Sunni rebellion, ''which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot." As if to demonstrate their contempt for America's new found restraint, our putative allies, the Turks responded to the U.S. rebukes by shooting down a plane belonging to our other putative ally, the Russians'--probably to spoil a potential deal between Russia and the U.S. that would leave Assad in power.
Across the Mid-East, Arab leaders routinely accuse the U.S. of having created ISIS. To most Americans immersed in U.S. media perspective, such accusations seem insane. However, to many Arabs, the evidence of U.S. involvement is so abundant that they conclude that our role in fostering ISIS must have been deliberate. On Sept. 22, 2014, according to the New York Times, Iraqi leader, Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, told Baghdad demonstrators that ''the CIA created ISIS." Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Bahaa Al-Araji, echoed al-Sadr's accusation. ''We know who made Daesh," Iraq's Treasury Secretary, Haidar al-Assadi, told the Digital News Aggregate, ''The Islamic State is a clear creation of the United States, and the United States is trying to intervene again using the excuse of the Islamic State."
In fact, many of the ISIS fighters and their commanders are ideological and organizational successors to the Jihadists that the CIA has been nurturing for 30 years. The CIA began arming and training the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in 1979 to fight the Soviets. Following the Soviet withdrawal, the CIA's Afghan Mujahedeen became the Taliban while its foreign fighters, including Osama bin Laden, formed Al-Qaeda. In 2004, then British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that Al-Qaeda took its name'--meaning ''database" in Arabic'--from the voluminous CIA database of Jihadists'--Mujahedeen foreign fighters and arms smugglers trained and equipped by the CIA during the Afghan conflict.
Prior to the American invasion, there was no Al-Qaeda in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Bush destroyed Saddam's secularist government and his viceroy, Paul Bremer, in a monumental act of mismanagement, effectively created the Sunni Army, now named ISIS. Bremer elevated the Shiites to power and banned Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party laying off some 700,000, mostly Sunni, government and party officials from ministers to school teachers. He then disbanded the 380,000 man army, which was 80 percent Sunni.
Bremer's actions stripped a million of Iraq's Sunnis of rank, property, wealth and power; leaving a desperate underclass of angry, educated, capable, trained and heavily armed Sunnis with little left to lose. General Petraeus' decision to import dirty war tactics, including torture and death squads, from the CIA's El Salvador conflict in order to shock and awe the Sunni resistance, instead ignited a shockingly bloody spiral of sectarian violence that devolved quickly into escalating atrocities topped finally by the Sunni Army signature head cutting. The Sunni insurgency named itself Al-Qaeda Iraq (AQI).
Beginning in 2011, our allies funded the invasion by AQI fighters into Syria. In June 2014 having entered Syria, AQI changed its name to ISIS. According to the New Yorker, ''ISIS is run by a council of former Iraqi Generals ... many are members of Saddam Hussein's secular Ba'ath Party, who converted to radical Islam in American prisons." The $500 million in U.S. military aid that Obama did send to Syria almost certainly ended up benefiting these militant Jihadists. On Sept. 16, 2015, incredulous senators from the Armed Services Committee listened to U.S. General Lloyd Austin, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, explain that the Pentagon had spent $500 million to train and arm ''moderate" insurgents in Syria and had only ''four or five reliable moderate fighters" to show instead of the promised 5,000. The remainder apparently deserted or defected to ISIS.
Tim Clemente told me that the incomprehensible difference between the Iraq and Syria conflicts are the millions of military aged men who are fleeing the battlefield for Europe rather than staying to fight for their communities. ''You have this formidable fighting force and they are all running away. I don't understand how you can have millions of military aged men running away from the battlefield. In Iraq, the bravery was heartbreaking'--I had friends who refused to leave the country even though they knew they would die. They'd just tell you it's my country, I need to stay and fight," Clemente said.
The obvious explanation is that the nation's moderates are fleeing a war that is not their war. They simply want to escape being crushed between the anvil of Assad's Russian backed tyranny and the vicious Jihadi Sunni hammer that we had a hand in wielding in a global battle over competing pipelines. You can't blame the Syrian people for not widely embracing a blueprint for their nation minted in either Washington or Moscow. The super powers have left no options for an idealistic future that moderate Syrians might consider fighting for. And no one wants to die for a pipeline.
What is the answer? If our objective is long-term peace in the Mid-East, self-government by the Arab nations and national security at home, we must undertake any new intervention in the region with an eye on history and an intense desire to learn its lessons. Only when we Americans understand the historical and political context of this conflict will we apply appropriate scrutiny to the decisions of our leaders.
Using the same imagery and language that supported our 2003 war against Saddam Hussein, our political leaders led Americans to believe that our Syrian intervention is an idealistic war against tyranny, terrorism and religious fanaticism. We tend to dismiss, as mere cynicism, the views of those Arabs who see the current crisis as a rerun of the same old plots about pipelines and geopolitics. But, if we are to have an effective foreign policy, we must recognize the Syrian conflict is a war over control of resources indistinguishable from the myriad clandestine and undeclared oil wars we have been fighting in the Mid-East for 65 years. And only when we see this conflict as a proxy war over a pipeline do events become comprehensible.
It's the only paradigm that explains why the GOP on Capitol Hill and the Obama administration are still fixated on regime change rather than regional stability, why the Obama administration can find no Syrian moderates to fight the war, why ISIS blew up a Russian passenger plane, why the Saudi's just executed a powerful Shia cleric only to have their embassy burned in Tehran, why Russia is bombing non-ISIS fighters and why Turkey went out of its way to down a Russian jet. The million refugees now flooding into Europe are refugees of a pipeline war and CIA blundering.
Clemente compares ISIS to Colombia's FARC'--a drug cartel with a revolutionary ideology to inspire its foot soldiers. ''You have to think of ISIS as an oil cartel," Clemente said. ''In the end, money is the governing rationale. The religious ideology is a tool that inspires its soldiers to give their lives for an oil cartel."
Once we strip this conflict of its humanitarian patina and recognize the Syrian conflict as an oil war, our foreign policy strategy becomes clear. Instead, our first priority should be the one no one ever mentions'--we need to kick our Mid-East oil jones, an increasingly feasible objective, as the U.S. becomes more energy independent. Next, we need to dramatically reduce our military profile in the Middle East and let the Arabs run Arabia. Other than humanitarian assistance and guaranteeing the security of Israel's borders, the U.S. has no legitimate role in this conflict. While the facts prove that we played a role in creating the crisis, history shows that we have little power to resolve it.
As we contemplate history, it's breathtaking to consider the astonishing consistency with which virtually every violent intervention in the Middle East since World War II by our country has resulted in miserable failure. The long list of CIA and military adventures has each cost us dearly in national treasure, in liberty at home, in our moral authority abroad and in our national security. Without any memorable exception, every violent intervention has resulted in a catastrophic blowback far more costly to our country than any problems the authors our meddling intended to solve. Our mischief has neither improved life in the Middle East nor has it made America safer.
A 1997 U.S. Department of Defense report found that ''the data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and an increase in terrorist attacks against the U.S." Let's face it, what we call the ''war on terror" is really just another oil war. We've squandered $6 trillion on three wars abroad and on constructing a national security warfare state at home since oilman Cheney declared the ''Long War" in 2001. The only winners have been the military contractors and oil companies who have pocketed historic profits. We have compromised our values, butchered our own youth, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, subverted our idealism and squandered our national treasures in fruitless and costly adventures abroad. In the process, we have turned America, once the world's beacon of freedom, into a national security surveillance state and an international moral pariah.
America's founding fathers warned Americans against standing armies, foreign entanglements and, in John Adams' words, ''going abroad in search of monsters to destroy." Those wise men understood that imperialism abroad is incompatible with democracy and civil rights at home. They wanted America to be a ''city on a hill"'--a model of democracy for the rest of the world.
The Atlantic Charter echoed their seminal American ideal that each nation should have the right to self-determination. Over the past seven decades, the Dulles brothers, the Cheney Gang, the neocons and their ilk have hijacked that fundamental principle of American idealism and deployed our military and intelligence apparatus to serve the mercantile interests of large corporations and particularly, the petroleum companies and military contractors who have literally made a killing from these conflicts. It's time for Americans to turn America away from this new imperialism and back to the path of idealism and democracy. We should let the Arabs govern Arabia and turn our energies to the great endeavor of nation building at home. We need to begin this process, not by invading Syria, but by ending our ruinous addiction to oil.
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US troops 'forced to flee Syrian town' after FSA rebel threats | Middle East Eye
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:24
US special forces soldiers were reportedly forced to flee a town in northern Syria after Free Syrian Army fighters threatened to "slaughter" them for their "invasion," according to videos and reports posted on social media on Friday.
The US soldiers were working with Turkish forces as they advanced on al-Rai in preparation for an offensive against nearby al-Bab, which is controlled by the Islamic State (IS) group.
The FSA is allied with Turkish forces and ostensibly supported by the US as a "moderate" rebel group fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
However, Friday's confrontation highlights the complex nature of the war in Syria.
In the video, fighters from the FSA chant that US forces are "pigs," "crusaders" and "infidels".
"Dogs, agents of America," one man can be heard to say in Arabic, while others chant: "They are crusaders and infidels, down with America, get out you pigs," and, "They are coming to Syria to occupy it."
A voice on a megaphone can be heard to say there will be a "slaughter". The US forces were reportedly forced to leave the town after the protests.
The video was posted on Twitter hours after pictures showing men in US military uniforms in al-Rai. Another video showed US soldiers in a column of armoured vehicles and Turkish tanks speeding out of al-Rai, which is known in Turkish as Cobanbey.
A voice in the video can be heard saying in Arabic: "We won't accept any Americans participating alongside us."
A senior rebel source told the Reuters news agency that "five or six" US soldiers were forced to withdraw towards the Turkish border after the protests. A monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also reported the incident and said the US forces had left al-Rai, but were still on Syrian soil.
One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that initial reports appeared to confirm the incident. The US defence department has not officially commented.
US supporting Turkish incursion
The footage is the first time US soldiers have been seen supporting Turkish forces during operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched by Turkey late last month to liberate border areas from IS control and roll back advances by Kurdish YPG militias.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said: "We would call on our partner forces not to fly the American flag on their own. I would imagine that that would be communicated if indeed that's taken place in this instance."
Elections 2016
Third-party candidates miss cut for first debate | TheHill
Sat, 17 Sep 2016 13:55
It's still possible Johnson or Stein could be invited to the presidential debates scheduled for Oct. 9 and Oct. 19, but they would have to attract more support in polls.
''I would say I am surprised that the CPD has chosen to exclude me from the first debate, but I'm not," Johnson said in a statement.
"After all, the Commission is a private organization created 30 years ago by the Republican and Democratic parties for the clear purpose of taking control of the only nationally-televised presidential debates voters will see. At the time of its creation, the leaders of those two parties made no effort to hide the fact that they didn't want any third party intrusions into their shows."
The commission required that candidates register an average of 15 percent support in five recent polls the commission had selected. Johnson and Stein both failed to meet that threshold for the first presidential and only vice presidential debate on the schedule.
In the commission's sample of polls, Johnson averaged 8.4 percent support and Stein averaged 3.2 percent.
The Stein campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Both have railed against the commission's criteria, saying that it unfairly limited voters' options in an election cycle where the two major-party nominees are both historically disliked.
"It is unfortunate that the CPD doesn't believe such a voice should be heard," Johnson said. "There are more polls and more debates, and we plan to be on the debate stage in October.''
In an interview with The Des Moines Register earlier this month, Johnson said that even though his poll numbers are low compared to Clinton's and Trump's, the results show he is supported by millions of people.
''Our polling is ticking up,'' Johnson said. ''It's ratcheting up. And so if we're not in the first debate, there's a good chance we'll be in the next debate. But I'll just ask you this: When you're representing 13 million people, how do you discount that? How do you say 13 million people shouldn't be represented on the stage?"
Evan McMullin, who launched an independent presidential bid in August, said in a tweet that the debates are "rigged" and proposed that he, Stein and Johnson hold their own debate.
Though Johnson and Stein are securing just single-digit support in most polls, many voters still want to see them in the debates.
A Morning Consult poll earlier this month showed that 52 percent of voters wanted Johnson on the stage at the first debate, and 47 percent said the same about Stein.
- Updated at 4:01 p.m.
US diplomats cry foul as Obama donors take over top embassy jobs | US news | The Guardian
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 02:03
US officials are increasingly concerned about the size of donations raised by political supporters who go on to take up top foreign postings. Photograph: Alamy
Barack Obama has rewarded some of his most active campaign donors with plum jobs in foreign embassies, with the average amount raised by recent or imminent appointees soaring to $1.8m per post, according to a Guardian analysis.
The practice is hardly a new feature of US politics, but career diplomats in Washington are increasingly alarmed at how it has grown. One former ambassador described it as the selling of public office.
On Tuesday, Obama's chief money-raiser Matthew Barzun became the latest major donor to be nominated as an ambassador, when the White House put him forward as the next representative to the Court of St James's, a sought-after posting whose plush residence comes with a garden second only in size to that of Buckingham Palace.
As campaign finance chairman, Barzun helped raise $700m to fund President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. More than $2.3m of this was raised personally by Barzun, pictured, according to party records leaked to the New York Times, even though he had only just finished a posting as ambassador to Sweden after contributing to Obama's first campaign.
Obama's chief money-raiser, Matthew Barzun. Photograph: AlamyState Department veterans are increasingly concerned about the size of donations raised by political supporters who go on to take up top foreign postings. Thomas Pickering, who recently led the investigation into lethal attacks on the US embassy in Libya and represented the US at the United Nations, claimed the practice had become nothing more than "simony" '' the selling of public office.
"All these people want to go to places where the lifestyle issues [are pleasant], and to some extent that produces this notion that life in these western European embassies is like Perle Mesta," he told the Guardian, referring to the "hostess with the mostest" who was ambassador to Luxembourg between 1949 and 1953 and who was known for her lavish parties.
"It has the effect of diminishing perhaps the sense that the US is treating these countries with the respect they deserve," Pickering said.
Susan Johnson, president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), which represents career US diplomats, added: "The giving of ambassadorships to people who have raised a lot of money for the campaign has increased and that's a concern to us in particular.
"There was some thought that with Obama being such a 'change agent' that he might really do things differently '' but it has just been a bigger let down."
Clutch of foreign appointmentsObama has made a clutch of foreign appointments recently. The 16th century Villa Taverna in Rome has just gone to John Phillips, a Washington lawyer who raised at least $500,000. John Emerson, a Los Angeles fund manger, will get to meet future contacts as ambassador to Germany after he raised $1.5m. Jane Stetson, heiress to the IBM fortune, is tipped as frontrunner for Paris after she raised $2.4m for Obama.
In total, nine sought-after postings in Europe, the Caribbean or Asia have been given to major donors in recent weeks, with a further three in France, Switzerland and Hungary earmarked to come soon. Of these 12, the precise bundling data is available for 10. According to a Guardian analysis, using the figures leaked to the New York Times, the average amount raised by each donor is $1.79m.
Official campaign finance records give only minimum figures for how much each donor raised among friends and family (a process known as bundling). Even using the published 'minimum' donations declared for these bundlers, the amount raised by donors rewarded with foreign postings has soared. The appointees to those same 10 embassies raised at least $5m in 2013, compared to a minimum of $3.3m in 2009, at least $1.3m under George W Bush in 2005 and at least $800,000 for Bush donors in 2001.
Many of the capitals have grown resigned to the process. "All that really matters is that the ambassador is close to the White House '' and his top fundraiser usually is," said one British diplomat, speaking anonymously about Barzun's appointment.
But to State Department veterans, the notion that only fundraisers can get messages through the West Wing is even more alarming. "To some extent, this question of having the ear of the president, and who has it, shows the seriousness of the issue," said Ambassador Pickering.
Johnson, the AFSA president, said many donors have less political influence than their host countries like to imagine. "Some foreign countries like the idea that they are getting a friend of the president, but our experience has been that genuine friends are pretty small; most of these people are friends of friends; and they don't get to call the president right away," she said.
"In a few exceptional cases they are not detracting from credibility of diplomatic service, but at the scale it's being done it is undermining the concept of a career diplomatic service and weakening the strength and capacity of the diplomatic service."
Johnson estimates the percentage of ambassador posts given to political appointees rather than career diplomats has remained roughly steady under Obama at around 30%, but most of these are in parts of the world unattractive to wealthy donors. The share taken by political appointees in western Europe and wealthier Asian capitals has reached between 70% and 85%, the AFSA estimates.
One factor cited by defenders of the practice is that private means are needed to fund the lifestyle led by ambassadors, but the importance of this is disputed by State Department veterans.
"In the embassies I've been in, normally you have a representation budget," said Johnson. "Whether we skimp on it in places like London and Paris and these people add to it so they can serve the best champagne and canapes I don't know, but I don't think it's necessary to be wildly wealthy any more."
She also said many are disappointed by the reality of embassy life. "If the dog ruins the furniture, you have to pay for it. It's like being a guest in someone's house."
Dysfunctional leadershipThis can cause problems of its own. A report by the State Department inspector general into a crisis at the embassy in the Bahamas found that Obama campaign finance chair Nicole Avant presided over "an extended period of dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement, which has caused problems throughout the embassy". Prior to her appointment as ambassador, Avant was vice president of Interior Music Publishing and was absent from the embassy 276 days between September 2009 and November 2011, according to the report. In response to the report Avant said she "had inherited a dysfunctional embassy".
Another official report into the Obama campaign donor appointed to Luxembourg, Cynthia Stroum, found she had been "aggressive, bullying, hostile and intimidating" and left her embassy in a "state of dysfunction". Stroum resigned after the report.
State Department veterans say motivations vary among political donors. "Some go to pleasant islands where the climate and residence are delightful, others just want the title, like British people lust after peerages," said AFSA's Johnson. "People think: gee, I really want to call myself ambassador, so I can go buy myself one. Others are perceived to want to just meet people, broaden their contacts of future business contacts people who can help them in their day job."
The White House insists all its ambassadors are well qualified, regardless of their campaign history. "I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles," said Obama in a statement issued with Barzun's appointment.
The Foreign Service Act of 1980, states that "contributions to political campaigns should not be a factor in the appointment of an individual as a chief of mission."
At at time when the US is reaching the limits of its "hard power", career foreign service staff argue it is time for professional diplomacy to mount a comeback.
"We tried a lot of military stuff and have we come to the realisation that not every problem out there can be solved by troops, no-fly zones and drones," concludes Johnson.
"Diplomacy and managing the inter-relationships between countries is actually important, and we ought to be taking it more seriously, preparing people for it and seeing it as a long-term career '' not as just something you do for a few years while you are preparing to do something else."
Donald Trump Wants Peter Thiel On The Supreme Court, Sources Say | Huffington Post
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 05:58
Donald Trump has made it clear he will nominate Peter Thiel to the Supreme Court if he wins the presidency, Thiel has told friends, according to a source close to the PayPal co-founder.
Trump ''deeply loves Peter Thiel,'' and people in the real estate mogul's inner circle are talking about Thiel as a Supreme Court nominee, a separate source close to Trump told The Huffington Post. That source, who has not spoken to Trump directly about Thiel being nominated to the Court, cautioned that Trump's offers often fail to materialize in real life.
It's not clear whether Trump has indeed offered to nominate Thiel '• only that Thiel has said Trump would nominate him and that Trump's team has discussed Thiel as a possible nominee. Both sources requested anonymity, given that Trump and Thiel have each demonstrated a willingness to seek revenge against parties they feel have wronged them. In Thiel's case, he secretly financed lawsuits against Gawker.com with the intention of destroying the publication. He succeeded, and his role in the assault was only revealed in the final stages.
Trump's press secretary, Hope Hicks, denied that Thiel had been offered a seat on the Supreme Court or that the campaign was discussing the idea. ''There is absolutely no truth to this whatsoever,'' she told HuffPost.
''Peter hasn't had any conversations about a Supreme Court nomination and has no interest in the job,'' said Thiel spokesman Jeremiah Hall.
Were Trump to actually nominate Thiel, he would be by far the richest Supreme Court nominee of the modern era, with an estimated net worth of$2.7 billion.
Thiel is a venture capitalist who co-founded the CIA-backed data-mining firm Palantir in addition to PayPal. He also started a now-withered hedge fund and was the first outside investor in Facebook. He is a Facebook board member and the chairman of Palantir.
Thiel attended Stanford Law School and worked at Sullivan & Cromwell, a prestigious New York law firm, for seven months. If nominated and confirmed, he would be the first openly gay member of the Court.
Trumphas saidthat Republicans who don't like him ''have to vote for me anyway. You know why? Supreme Court judges.'' On the campaign trail, he's praised the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and said he would appoint jurists in his mold.
Trump released a list of 11 potential Supreme Court nomineesin May. The list, which consisted entirely of sitting state and federal judges with years of experience on the bench, wasn't intended to be definitive. Rather, it was a ''guide,''Trump said, that was meant to be ''representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value.''
A gay tech billionaire who supports marriage equality, Thiel is a self-described libertarian and pursues quixotic projects like government-free sea colonies and infinite life extension. He would be a radical departure from the nominees on Trump's list, but his nomination would be in keeping with Trump's willingness to make unorthodox, contradictory decisions.
Thiel is deeply conservative, however, and his more fanciful ideas can sometimes obscure his support for broadly mainline Republican policies and candidates. Thiel has given millions of dollars in total tocandidates like Ron Paul, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. Like Trump, Thiel's core political belief appears to be that his financial success validates his ideas.
In a 2009 essay,Thiel wrote: ''I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.'' Part of the reason for that incompatibility, Thiel argued, was that women had gained the right to vote and that the government sometimes helps poor people.
''Since 1920,'' he wrote, ''the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women '-- two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians '-- have rendered the notion of 'capitalist democracy' into an oxymoron.'' (He laterclarified his comments, saying he didn't want to disenfranchise anyone.)
In his 2014 book Zero to One,Thiel praised monopolies, arguing that competition destroys value rather than creating it. He also wrote about applying for clerkships with Scalia and Justice Anthony Kennedy as a younger man. Both justices ultimately turned him down.
''If only I got the clerkship, I thought, I would be set for life,''he wrote. ''But I didn't. At the time, I was devastated.'' Thiel explained that the rejection helped set him on the path to becoming an investor.
UPDATE: 12:50 p.m. '• After this story was published Thursday morning, Hall went beyond his initial comments, issuing the following statement to Forbes and HuffPost: ''Huffington Post's sources are lying. The truth is Peter hasn't had any conversations about a Supreme Court nomination and has no interest in the job.''
Cristian Farias contributed reporting.
Editor's note: Donald Trump regularlyincites political violenceand is aserial liar,rampant xenophobe,racist,misogynistandbirtherwho has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims '-- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion '-- from entering the U.S.
Does Donald Trump Pay Any Income Taxes at All? - The New Yorker
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 05:26
Court documents and other public records show that Donald Trump paid no income tax in 1978, 1979, 1992, and 1994.Credit PHOTOGRAPH BY ANGELO MERENDINO / GETTYThe Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold is rightly getting a lot of attention for his stellar reporting on Donald Trump's charitable giving, or the lack thereof. Fahrenthold and his colleagues have spent more than six months contacting hundreds of charities that Trump claims to have given money to through his family charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
''So far, the Post's search has turned up little,'' Fahrenthold and Danielle Rindler wrote in August. ''Between 2008 and this May'--when Trump made good on a pledge to give $1 million to a veterans' group'--its search has identified just one personal gift from Trump's own pocket.'' As Fahrenthold and Rosalind S. Helderman had already revealed, in April, many of the donations that Trump claimed to have made turned out to be gifts in kind from his businesses, such as free rounds of golf for charity auctions.
Fahrenthold's latest revelation, which the Postpublished on Sunday, was that Trump has ''found a way to give away somebody else's money and claim the credit for himself.'' Apparently, the Trump Foundation raises money from other charities, and from individuals with whom Trump has done business. Then it gives away the money with Trump's name on the check. The last donation Trump made to his charity, Fahrenthold reported, came in 2008. Since then, nada.
Which brings us back to an interesting question: Is it possible that Trump is also paying nothing in income tax? A number of journalists and tax experts who have looked at Trump's finances think it may well be.
Last month, James Stewart, a Times columnist, wrote about Trump's taxes, and compared him with Mitt Romney, who was criticized in 2012 for paying just $4.9 million in federal income tax. ''No one should be surprised, though, if Donald J. Trump has paid far less'--perhaps even zero federal income tax in some years,'' Stewart wrote. ''Indeed, that's the expectation of numerous real estate and tax professionals I've interviewed in recent weeks.'' These experts explained to Stewart that the federal tax code is so generous to real-estate developers'--so stuffed with deductions, credits, and loopholes they can exploit'--that it may well have allowed Trump to bring his taxable income down to nothing, or next to nothing. Which might help explain why he is so reluctant to release his tax returns.
To be clear, the latest revelations about the Trump Foundation didn't contain any explicit information about Trump's personal tax returns. (Fahrenthold himself has pointed out that the unavailability of Trump's returns has made it a lot harder to track his charitable activities.) But the two stories could well be connected. Perhaps one of the reasons that Trump didn't give any money to his foundation was that he didn't need any charitable deductions to reduce his tax bill'--because it was already zero, or close to it.
We know for sure that Trump does everything he can to avoid sending money to the I.R.S. In May, he told ABC News's George Stephanopoulos, ''I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.'' We also know that one way wealthy people reduce their tax bills is by making contributions to qualified charities, contributions that are usually fully deductible. Surely a man as determined and tax-averse as Trump, in seeking to reduce his tax obligations, would exploit every option that the tax code offers, including this very obvious one. Unless, of course, he didn't need to.
''If you have little or no taxable income, then why would you make a charitable contribution?'' David Cay Johnston, a veteran investigative journalist who recently published a biography of Trump that includes extensive discussions of his financial affairs, told me on Thursday. ''The fact he hasn't made any contributions to his foundation since 2008 is another strong indication he doesn't pay income taxes.''
Cay Johnston was the tax reporter for the Times from 1995 until 2008, and in 2001 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the loopholes in the federal tax code that favor corporations and rich people. He pointed out that court documents and other public records show that Trump paid no income tax in 1978, 1979, 1992, and 1994. More recently, Cay Johnston said, New York State tax records show that Trump has several times received a type of tax rebate that is restricted to property owners who report taxable income of less than half a million dollars, known as a STAR credit. ''It is likely that Trump has not paid any income tax since 1978, or maybe a little bit in a couple of years,'' Cay Johnston told me.
Of course, it's still possible that Trump gave money to charities directly and privately, rather than through the Trump Foundation. That is what he claims to have done, and if this is true he could have deducted those donations from his income for tax purposes. But neither Fahrenthold nor Cay Johnston has been able to find much trace of this type of philanthropy, either. ''There is absolutely no evidence that he has given these charitable gifts,'' Cay Johnston said. ''Can you imagine Donald Trump making anonymous gifts to anybody?''
To be sure, the theory that Trump hasn't paid any income taxes is just speculation. But it's informed speculation based on knowledge of the tax laws and inspection of the limited information about Trump's finances that is publicly available. And, of course, if Trump wants to put an end to this type of theorizing, he knows how to do it: put out those returns.
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Watch: What events might put the country in the hands of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?
Yes He Can: Obama Absolutely Has The Authority To Release Donald Trump's Tax Returns
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 23:15
It's Not A Matter of Can Obama Release Them. It's A Matter of Should He.The Executive office has the legal authority to make Trump's' tax returns available to the public.
Transparency has become the word of the week in the 2016 presidential campaign in light of Hillary Clinton's bout with pneumonia. After the Democratic nominee fainted leaving a 9/11 memorial service, pundits and opportunistic opponents alike questioned why she didn't announce her diagnosis earlier and called for the release of her medical records. Clinton quickly obliged. But transparency on the other side of the aisle has not been so easy. Fifteen months after he began his campaign and less than two months before Americans go to the polls, Donald Trump is still yet to release any of his tax returns. Despite calls from both Democrats and past Republican nominees, Trump remains defiant to a long-standing bi-partisan tradition. But there's one person who could render this whole debate moot. One man has the sole authority to order any of Trump's tax returns be publicly released: President Barack Obama.
Section 6103g of the Internal Revenue Code explicitly states:
(1)In generalUpon written request by the President, signed by him personally, the Secretary shall furnish to the President, or to such employee or employees of the White House Office as the President may designate by name in such request, a return or return information with respect to any taxpayer named in such request. Any such request shall state'--
(A) the name and address of the taxpayer whose return or return information is to be disclosed,
(B) the kind of return or return information which is to be disclosed,
(C) the taxable period or periods covered by such return or return information, and
(D) the specific reason why the inspection or disclosure is requested.
The White House Says The Release Is 'Unlikely'When pressed on the issue by Politico at the White House daily press briefing on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted he was unfamiliar with the provision, but skeptical that the President would utilize his authority on the matter:
''I've not heard of this potential option. I think it is rather unlikely that the president would order something like that,'' White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday when asked by POLITICO whether Obama would invoke a provision in the Internal Revenue Code that allows the president to make a written request for any taxpayer's returns.
While campaigning for Clinton in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Obama spoke emphatically about the transparency debate. The Philadelphia Inquirer notes:
Obama also argued that questions raised about Clinton's conduct paled to those surrounding Trump. While Clinton came under fire last weekend for not revealing she had pneumonia, Obama targeted Trump's failure to disclose his tax returns.
''America's got a lot of businessmen and women who succeeded without hiding their tax returns or leaving a trail of lawsuits,'' Obama said.
Earnest may have called the possibility unlikely, but his admitted ignorance about the code definitely offers some intrigue. As Republicans love to consistently remind us, the US Tax Code is extremely complex. It's quite understandable that the White House Press Secretary is unfamiliar with all of its intricacies. Furthermore, this has been an issue since the early days of the campaign, it's not as if the media has been frequently hounding the White House about the possibility. It's conceivable that most media outlets were equally unaware. And that brings an entirely new dynamic into the race.
RELATED: Billionaire Will Pay Vets $5M If Trump Releases Tax ReturnsThe power of incumbency has a longstanding tradition in electoral politics. Historically, it's why the party in power holds the second convention. More recently, it allowed George W Bush to tinker with the Terror Alert System during the 2004 campaign. It gave Obama the opportunity to reaffirm leadership during Superstorm Sandy in the final days before the 2012 election. But a sitting President ordering that the IRS to release the tax returns of the opposition party's nominee would bring that power to a new, and possibly uncomfortable, level. Furthermore, it would feed the GOP narrative that Obama is a president reliant solely on executive power. And though it's hard to imagine when you look at the changing demographics of America, there could be a day when Republicans control the White House again. This precedent could easily backfire.
Yet this legislative branch has had an opportunity to decided whether or not to compel all nominees to release their returns. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill in May that would do just that. And like almost every other bill or nomination to come before this particular Senate, they did absolutely nothing. So in a sense, if Obama did release Trump's returns, it would follow the trend of acting with executive authority only on matters where congress has failed to act at all.
Perhaps the mere knowledge that the President can order this information made public will be enough to amplify the pressure on Trump, or more importantly, force undecided voters to seriously consider what the alleged billionaire is hiding in his refusal. Either way, it's one heck of a ''trump card'' in the President's deck.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Hillary Clinton Campaign Manager Admits 2008 Birther Link
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 21:52
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Patti Solis Doyle, who was Hillary Clinton's campaign manager in 2008 until the Iowa caucuses, admitted on Friday that a Clinton campaign staffer had, in fact, circulated the Birther conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born outside the U.S. and therefore potentially ineligible to serve in the presidency.Doyle made the admission on Twitter, as she responded to former George W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. Fleischer said that Clinton's staff had spread the rumor. Doyle said that was a ''lie'' '-- but admitted, in the same tweet, that she had fired the ''rogue'' staffer who had used email to spread the Birther conspiracy theory.
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Doyle appeared about an hour later on CNN with Wolf Blitzer to address the issue once again. She denied that Hillary Clinton had started the Birther theory '-- then admitted that someone in the Clinton campaign had, in fact, been involved. Here is part their exchange:
Blitzer: Someone supporting Hillary Clinton was trying to promote this so-called Birther issue? What happened?
Doyle: So we '-- absolutely, the campaign nor Hillary did not start the Birther movement, period, end of story there. There was a volunteer coordinator, I believe, in late 2007, I believe, in December, one of our volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa '-- I don't recall whether they were an actual paid staffer, but they did forward an email that promoted the conspiracy.
Blitzer: The Birther conspiracy?
Doyle: Yeah, Hillary made the decision immediately to let that person go. We let that person go. And it was so, beyond the pale, Wolf, and so not worthy of the kind of campaign that certainly Hillary wanted to run.
Doyle went on to relate how she personally called Obama campaign manager David Plouffe to apologize, and he accepted. Blitzer then asked her about the Mark Penn memorandum, in which the campaign's strategist proposed exploiting Obama's ''lack of American roots.'' Doyle asserted, and Blitzer agreed, that the memo had nothing to do with Birtherism.
Earlier Friday morning, in a speech in Washington, D.C. largely devoted to veterans and military endorsements, Republican nominee Donald Trump briefly addressed the Birther issue:
Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the Birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again. Thank you very much.
Journalists, furious that they had devoted nearly a half hour of coverage to Trump's veterans event before he addressed the Birther issue they wished to press, asserted on several networks and platforms that Trump had falsely accused Clinton of starting the Birther controversy.
As Breitbart News has long documented, Hillary Clinton supporters were the original ''Birthers,'' and Obama himself muddied the waters by allowing his literary agent to claim for years that he had been ''born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia.''
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can't Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
Dem senator to Trump: 'Blood will be on your hands' if Clinton killed | TheHill
Sat, 17 Sep 2016 17:07
''Hey @realDonaldTrump, if you keep suggesting your supporters kill @HillaryClinton, someone will listen. The blood will be on your hands,'' Murphy tweeted Saturday morning.
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Trump said Friday night at a campaign rally that Clinton's Secret Service detail should have their guns taken away to ''see what happens to her.''
''I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons,'' he said. ''Take their guns away. She doesn't want guns '... let's see what happens to her. Take their guns away, OK? It'd be very dangerous.''
Democrats have reacted angrily to Trump's comment, calling it an incitement of violence.
Clinton's campaign called on Republican leaders to denounce the statement.
"Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of Commander in Chief," campaign manager Robby Mook said.
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords '-- the victim of a mass shooting in 2011 '-- said Trump's comments prove he is ''reckless, irresponsible and unworthy of the office he seeks.''
Trump's Friday comment appeared to be similar to another gun rights remark he made in August when he suggested that ''Second Amendment people'' could stop Clinton from nominating Supreme Court justices if she's elected.
Murphy reacted similarly to that, saying it qualified as an assassination threat and calling for a Secret Service investigation.
Ivanka Trump Walks Out Of Interview After Questions About Anti-Gay Policies | NewNowNext
Sat, 17 Sep 2016 18:05
by Matthew Tharrett9/15/2016Ivanka Trump refused to acknowledge the anti-gay nature of her father's newly proposed child care and maternity leave policies during an interview with Cosmopolitan this week.
Asked several times to clarify whether the new plan, which offers new mothers six weeks of paid maternity leave after giving birth, would also apply to same-sex couples where both parents were men, the 34-year-old businesswoman all but confirmed it would not.
Moments later, Trump walked out of the interview early, citing the interviewer's ''negative'' tone during additional questions about Donald Trump's previous disparaging comments about women.
Asked if she believed same-sex couples not being entitled to maternity or paternity leave could be seen as an equality issue, Trump repeatedly referred back to ''the mother'' of said child, refusing to state the obvious'-- that two men who have a child together simply wouldn't be eligible to receive maternity or paternity leave under a Trump administration.
During the interview, Trump dodged the direct question a total of three more times:
Cosmopolitan: OK, so when it comes to same-sex'--
Ivanka Trump: So it's meant to benefit, whether it's in same-sex marriages as well, to benefit the mother who has given birth to the child if they have legal married status under the tax code.
Well, what about gay couples, where both partners are men?
The policy is fleshed out online, so you can go see all the elements of it. But the original intention of the plan is to help mothers in recovery in the immediate aftermath of childbirth.
So I just want to be clear that, for same-sex adoption, where the two parents are both men, they would not be receiving special leave for that because they don't need to recover or anything?
Well, those are your words, not mine. [Laughs.] Those are your words. The plan, right now, is focusing on mothers, whether they be in same-sex marriages or not.
Ivanka ultimately left the interview after a few more probing questions about her father's past comments, telling the interviewer ''I think that you have a lot of negativity in these questions.''
Matthew Tharrett is a writer, filmmaker, and above all else, a Britney fan. He once shared a milkshake with Selena Gomez.
@mattharrett
Donald Trump just made his most direct comment yet about violence against Hillary Clinton - The Washington Post
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 00:23
At a campaign rally in Miami on Sept. 16, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is "very much against the Second Amendment" and therefore her bodyguards "should drop all weapons" and "disarm." Trump added doing so would be "very dangerous" for Clinton. (Reuters)
The New York Times says Donald Trump on Friday night "once again raised the specter of violence against Hillary Clinton." The Guardian, meanwhile, titled its tweet "Trump hints at Clinton's assassination again."
If you just glanced at those recaps and noted the word "again," you might think Trump had brought up his controversial "Second Amendment people" comment '-- the one about how Republicans could prevent a President Clinton from appointing liberal judges.
But Trump was actually repeating a formulation that he has used many times before, about how Clinton should have her guards disarm if she believes so strongly that guns aren't the answer to stopping violence.
And it's not even an argument that's unique to him. It's an extension of a favored argument used by the National Rifle Association -- "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" -- and it's one the gun rights crowd has used with gusto against Democrats who support gun control, including President Obama. There was even a White House petition a few years back calling on the White House to disarm security guards for Obama, Vice President Biden and their families, given the White House's stance on guns.
So Trump was on well-trodden ground here. The difference Friday night, though, is that he took a comment that was worn and not all that interesting and spun it forward with just a few extra words, giving it new life by painting a more violent picture.
Let's recap what he has said about this, first from Friday night (emphasis ours):
She goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before. I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm. Right? Right? I think they should disarm immediately. What do you think? Yes? Yes. Yeah. Take their guns away. She doesn't want guns. ... Let's see what happens to her. Take their guns away, okay? It would be very dangerous.
Here's what he said all the way back in January:
Here's what he said in May:
He told the NRA a couple days prior:
''Heartless hypocrites like the Clintons ... want to get rid of guns, and yet they have bodyguards that have guns,'' Trump said, calling on the Clintons' bodyguards to ''immediately disarm.''
''And let's see how good they do,'' Trump said. ''Let's see how they feel walking around without their guns and their bodyguards. In the meantime, nobody else can have the guns.''
So Trump has floated the idea of Clinton disarming her guards on many occasions before. And Trump supporters will wonder why this is suddenly news. You can see the cries of media bias now.
But it's clear that what Trump said Friday night went beyond what he'd said previously. The "specter of violence" raised was much more directly. When Trump said, "Let's see what happens to her," and "It would be very dangerous," he's taking things to a new level and talking about the actual result '-- not just Clinton allegedly putting her money where her mouth is on how guns aren't safe.
That's even further than he went with his very oblique and suggestive "Second Amendment people" quip about how such people might be the only ones who could stop Clinton from appointing liberal judges.
"If she gets to pick her judges: Nothing you can do, folks," Trump said in August, adding: ''Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know. But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day.''
This is classic Trump. He takes something old and dips it in controversy, letting the media raise a fuss about it. Then he accuses us of being too hard on him, and his supporters point out that he has said similar things before.
The funny thing is that Trump seems to think this works for him. He probably thinks that because the presidential race is close. But that's not because Trump is doing much right; it's because his opponent has her own problems. A huge majority of Americans don't think Trump has the temperament to be president, and they don't trust him nearly as much with things like the nuclear codes. This is a big part of the reason.
In the end, mere hours after trying to put the birther sideshow behind him, Trump created another one.
And to be clear, there's very good reason for that.
Jigsaw
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:04
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8105: Fusion International and Haiti (fwd)
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:19
8105: Fusion International and Haiti (fwd)[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
From: Max Blanchet REVIEW & OUTLOOK (Editorial) Haitian Connections05/29/2001 The Wall Street Journal Page A22 (Copyright (c) 2001, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)One of the famous foreign policy interventions of the Clinton Presidency wasthe controversial decision to return Jean Bertrand Aristide to power inHaiti in 1994. This newspaper supported Mr. Clinton, arguing that with U.S.prestige committed and with the restoration of democratic government in theimpoverished island as a goal, the President deserved support.So it is worth revisiting the status of Haiti today, especially to ask howit came to pass that in the wake of this intervention, President Clinton'spolitical associates -- including a former Democratic Party finance chair, aformer White House counselor and Joseph P. Kennedy II -- ended up incommercial relationships with the Aristide government's monopoly-ownedtelephone company.Since 1994, both as president and later as the power broker behind thepresidency of Rene Preval and the Lavalas Party, Mr. Aristide has ruledHaiti like a mob don. He has extorted the business community, trampled onthe 1987 constitution and terrorized his political and economic opponents.Just this past week the Coast Guard sent a ship of 121 Haitian refugees backto the island. Nearly 700 have tried to escape by sea this year.Haiti 's November 26 Presidential election, in which less than 5% ofHaitians voted, was a sham. Five international human rights organizationsreleased a joint statement in January denouncing the election's violentpolitical climate. Amnesty International called upon the Lavalas Party tocondemn acts of intimidation and violence committed in the party's name. TheEuropean Union voted to withhold aid.In response, the Clinton Administration in January sent Anthony Lake, aformer Clinton national security adviser, to Port-au-Prince. He came backwith an eight-point agreement in which Mr. Aristide promised better behaviorin the future.The Lake agreement was one free pass too many for Mr. Aristide's batteredopponents (just this past Monday, a house was shot up where oppositionleaders were meeting, wounding three). They have grown increasingly eager totell what they know about Mr. Aristide's business activities -- both now andin Washington during the 1991-94 exile that followed his overthrow byGeneral Raul Cedras.Regarded as Haiti 's legitimate president at that time, U.S. authoritiesgranted Mr. Aristide access to the country's frozen assets, most notably thelong distance telephone royalties due to Haitian Teleco. According toChristopher Caldwell, writing in the July 1994 American Spectator, Mr.Aristide "raised hackles at the Latin America division of AT&T by orderingthe proceeds from Haiti 's international phone traffic moved to a numberedPanamanian account."In November 1993, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Aristide waspaying Democratic Party operative Michael Barnes $55,000 a month to lobbyfor U.S. action to reinstate him. With the help of U.S. troops, he returnedto Haiti . After regaining Haiti 's presidency, the telephone monopolycontinued to be useful. Because Haiti is one of the top three markets in theregion for long distance calls from the U.S., the monopoly is a cash cow.Mr. Aristide placed loyal Lavalas followers in charge of it, keeping itunder his control.According to the Federal Communications Commission, the most recentofficially negotiated settlement rate -- the cost Teleco charges U.S.carriers for handling a long distance call in Haiti -- is 46 cents a minute.But digital switching allows the company to charge what it wishes and toterminate calls in favor of any long distance carrier that it chooses.Moreover, if long distance carriers use Internet protocols to "bypass"official lines, the FCC cannot count the traffic. Two different longdistance suppliers shopping the Haitian market have reported to us thatTeleco officials offered them access to the local network at rates wellbelow the official settlement rate in exchange for payment made to speciallydesignated accounts.Based on telecom settlement processes, a company with privileged access tothe network would also receive a high proportion of return traffic fromHaiti , also a big money maker. Says one U.S. telecom expert with knowledgeof Haiti 's system: "The real sweetheart deals are the ones that have aconnection inside Teleco. Those are the deals that make people filthy rich."A U.S. official specializing in international telecom says, "This is exactlywhat we've been seeing in Haiti for years. The money doesn't go anywherethat leads to a network build-out. Calls get through and someone gets veryrich." Despite high rates justified for the purposes of expanding service,the number of phone lines serving the country remains paltry; most Haitiansare relegated to the use of "call centers" to make phone calls. Thosecenters are now in the hands of Lavalas.The wide recognition in Haiti that such deals are available has made thepresence of independent U.S. long distance provider FusionTelecommunications International a topic of much discussion among theHaitian business community. Fusion's board of directors reads like a who'swho of Democratic Party heavyweights.Fusion's CEO is Marvin Rosen, who was the finance chairman of the DemocraticNational Committee during the 1996 Clinton fund-raising scandals. Fusion'sboard of directors includes Joseph P. Kennedy II, former MississippiGovernor Raymond Mabus and Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff andArkansas confidant Thomas "Mack" McLarty, now with Kissinger McLartyAssociates. Mr. McLarty traveled the region as the White House's SpecialEnvoy to the Americas. The Fusion board also includes Joseph R. Wright, aformer director of the Office of Management and Budget under PresidentReagan. Listed as chairman of the Fusion Advisory Board is former PresidentBush's White House Chief of Staff John Sununu. The full listing is availableat www.fusiontel.com/about.html.Last fall, when we began to inquire about Fusion's long distance service toHaiti , the company's in-house counsel refused to either confirm or denythat it even offered service in that market. Numerous follow-up calls sinceto her and other members of management were never returned. Mr. McLartydenied any knowledge altogether about Fusion's involvement in Haiti . Mr.Kennedy did not return our query.It was only after our Mary O'Grady independently confirmed Fusion's activityin Haiti and wrote about it for the Americas column ("Clinton's Haiti PolicyDeserves Prompt Scrutiny," January 26, 2001), that Mr. Kennedy's office gaveus a statement: "Joe has no joint venture, partnership or businessarrangement with the president of Haiti or for that matter, anyone in Haiti." The statement also says that Mr. Kennedy is not involved in runningFusion. Mr. Kennedy's denial is interesting given his February 7 op-ed inthe Boston Globe where he wrote on the occasion of Mr. Aristide'sinauguration: "I was proud to help bring more than $1 million in privateinvestment from Fusion into Haiti ."We are not suggesting that Fusion's business in Haiti is illegal. And we arenot so naive as to be shocked at the spectacle of prominent politicalfigures exploiting their former lives as public officials. We are sayingthat Fusion's Haiti deal is sleazy. For people connected with the ClintonPresidency-cum-political machine to attach themselves like pilot fish to thebleeding ruin of Haiti under Jean Bertrand Aristide, in the wake of anenormous commitment of American prestige and money on behalf of Haiti 'speople, doesn't survive any conceivable smell test.It also smells that it is so hard for Fusion's Clintonites to acknowledgesecret business deals with Mr. Aristide, the sole owner and operator of theHaitian economy, who is in power thanks to a U.S. intervention. And yes, wedo wonder if this is the tip of yet another Clinton iceberg. The BushAdministration, particularly Colin Powell at State, should be alert to thisphenomenon as it revisits the venues of the Clinton foreign policy legacy.8105: Fusion International and Haiti (fwd)[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
From: Max Blanchet REVIEW & OUTLOOK (Editorial) Haitian Connections05/29/2001 The Wall Street Journal Page A22 (Copyright (c) 2001, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)One of the famous foreign policy interventions of the Clinton Presidency wasthe controversial decision to return Jean Bertrand Aristide to power inHaiti in 1994. This newspaper supported Mr. Clinton, arguing that with U.S.prestige committed and with the restoration of democratic government in theimpoverished island as a goal, the President deserved support.So it is worth revisiting the status of Haiti today, especially to ask howit came to pass that in the wake of this intervention, President Clinton'spolitical associates -- including a former Democratic Party finance chair, aformer White House counselor and Joseph P. Kennedy II -- ended up incommercial relationships with the Aristide government's monopoly-ownedtelephone company.Since 1994, both as president and later as the power broker behind thepresidency of Rene Preval and the Lavalas Party, Mr. Aristide has ruledHaiti like a mob don. He has extorted the business community, trampled onthe 1987 constitution and terrorized his political and economic opponents.Just this past week the Coast Guard sent a ship of 121 Haitian refugees backto the island. Nearly 700 have tried to escape by sea this year.Haiti 's November 26 Presidential election, in which less than 5% ofHaitians voted, was a sham. Five international human rights organizationsreleased a joint statement in January denouncing the election's violentpolitical climate. Amnesty International called upon the Lavalas Party tocondemn acts of intimidation and violence committed in the party's name. TheEuropean Union voted to withhold aid.In response, the Clinton Administration in January sent Anthony Lake, aformer Clinton national security adviser, to Port-au-Prince. He came backwith an eight-point agreement in which Mr. Aristide promised better behaviorin the future.The Lake agreement was one free pass too many for Mr. Aristide's batteredopponents (just this past Monday, a house was shot up where oppositionleaders were meeting, wounding three). They have grown increasingly eager totell what they know about Mr. Aristide's business activities -- both now andin Washington during the 1991-94 exile that followed his overthrow byGeneral Raul Cedras.Regarded as Haiti 's legitimate president at that time, U.S. authoritiesgranted Mr. Aristide access to the country's frozen assets, most notably thelong distance telephone royalties due to Haitian Teleco. According toChristopher Caldwell, writing in the July 1994 American Spectator, Mr.Aristide "raised hackles at the Latin America division of AT&T by orderingthe proceeds from Haiti 's international phone traffic moved to a numberedPanamanian account."In November 1993, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Aristide waspaying Democratic Party operative Michael Barnes $55,000 a month to lobbyfor U.S. action to reinstate him. With the help of U.S. troops, he returnedto Haiti . After regaining Haiti 's presidency, the telephone monopolycontinued to be useful. Because Haiti is one of the top three markets in theregion for long distance calls from the U.S., the monopoly is a cash cow.Mr. Aristide placed loyal Lavalas followers in charge of it, keeping itunder his control.According to the Federal Communications Commission, the most recentofficially negotiated settlement rate -- the cost Teleco charges U.S.carriers for handling a long distance call in Haiti -- is 46 cents a minute.But digital switching allows the company to charge what it wishes and toterminate calls in favor of any long distance carrier that it chooses.Moreover, if long distance carriers use Internet protocols to "bypass"official lines, the FCC cannot count the traffic. Two different longdistance suppliers shopping the Haitian market have reported to us thatTeleco officials offered them access to the local network at rates wellbelow the official settlement rate in exchange for payment made to speciallydesignated accounts.Based on telecom settlement processes, a company with privileged access tothe network would also receive a high proportion of return traffic fromHaiti , also a big money maker. Says one U.S. telecom expert with knowledgeof Haiti 's system: "The real sweetheart deals are the ones that have aconnection inside Teleco. Those are the deals that make people filthy rich."A U.S. official specializing in international telecom says, "This is exactlywhat we've been seeing in Haiti for years. The money doesn't go anywherethat leads to a network build-out. Calls get through and someone gets veryrich." Despite high rates justified for the purposes of expanding service,the number of phone lines serving the country remains paltry; most Haitiansare relegated to the use of "call centers" to make phone calls. Thosecenters are now in the hands of Lavalas.The wide recognition in Haiti that such deals are available has made thepresence of independent U.S. long distance provider FusionTelecommunications International a topic of much discussion among theHaitian business community. Fusion's board of directors reads like a who'swho of Democratic Party heavyweights.Fusion's CEO is Marvin Rosen, who was the finance chairman of the DemocraticNational Committee during the 1996 Clinton fund-raising scandals. Fusion'sboard of directors includes Joseph P. Kennedy II, former MississippiGovernor Raymond Mabus and Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff andArkansas confidant Thomas "Mack" McLarty, now with Kissinger McLartyAssociates. Mr. McLarty traveled the region as the White House's SpecialEnvoy to the Americas. The Fusion board also includes Joseph R. Wright, aformer director of the Office of Management and Budget under PresidentReagan. Listed as chairman of the Fusion Advisory Board is former PresidentBush's White House Chief of Staff John Sununu. The full listing is availableat www.fusiontel.com/about.html.Last fall, when we began to inquire about Fusion's long distance service toHaiti , the company's in-house counsel refused to either confirm or denythat it even offered service in that market. Numerous follow-up calls sinceto her and other members of management were never returned. Mr. McLartydenied any knowledge altogether about Fusion's involvement in Haiti . Mr.Kennedy did not return our query.It was only after our Mary O'Grady independently confirmed Fusion's activityin Haiti and wrote about it for the Americas column ("Clinton's Haiti PolicyDeserves Prompt Scrutiny," January 26, 2001), that Mr. Kennedy's office gaveus a statement: "Joe has no joint venture, partnership or businessarrangement with the president of Haiti or for that matter, anyone in Haiti." The statement also says that Mr. Kennedy is not involved in runningFusion. Mr. Kennedy's denial is interesting given his February 7 op-ed inthe Boston Globe where he wrote on the occasion of Mr. Aristide'sinauguration: "I was proud to help bring more than $1 million in privateinvestment from Fusion into Haiti ."We are not suggesting that Fusion's business in Haiti is illegal. And we arenot so naive as to be shocked at the spectacle of prominent politicalfigures exploiting their former lives as public officials. We are sayingthat Fusion's Haiti deal is sleazy. For people connected with the ClintonPresidency-cum-political machine to attach themselves like pilot fish to thebleeding ruin of Haiti under Jean Bertrand Aristide, in the wake of anenormous commitment of American prestige and money on behalf of Haiti 'speople, doesn't survive any conceivable smell test.It also smells that it is so hard for Fusion's Clintonites to acknowledgesecret business deals with Mr. Aristide, the sole owner and operator of theHaitian economy, who is in power thanks to a U.S. intervention. And yes, wedo wonder if this is the tip of yet another Clinton iceberg. The BushAdministration, particularly Colin Powell at State, should be alert to thisphenomenon as it revisits the venues of the Clinton foreign policy legacy.
2 Clinton supporters in '08 reportedly shared Obama 'birther' story | McClatchy DC
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:42
Two supporters of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign reportedly shared the claim that then-rival Barack Obama was not born in the United States and thus was not eligible to be president.
One was a volunteer in Iowa, who was fired, Clinton's former campaign manager said Friday. The other was Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, according to a former McClatchy Washington Bureau chief.
The issue arose Friday as Donald Trump finally acknowledged that Obama was born in the U.S. Trump, a leading champion of the debunked ''birther'' conspiracy theory for years, attempted to blame Clinton for starting it when she ran against Obama in 2008 for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In fact, there were several people publicly pushing the theory, which was repeated extensively on conservative news outlets. There were the two Clinton supporters, but there is no evidence that Clinton herself or her campaign spread the story.
Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton's campaign manager during part of the 2008 race, told CNN on Friday that an Iowa campaign worker had passed on an email about the birther conspiracy and that Clinton quickly fired him.
Solis Doyle said she'd called Obama campaign official David Plouffe at the time ''to apologize and basically say that this was not coming from us. It was a rogue volunteer coordinator.''
Phil Singer, Clinton's 2008 campaign press secretary, said by email Friday: ''The idea that the Hillary Clinton campaign had anything to do with spreading the birther issue has as much credibility as the birther issue itself: none. It didn't happen.''
Meanwhile, former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher tweeted Friday that Blumenthal had ''told me in person'' that Obama was born in Kenya.
''During the 2008 Democratic primary, Sid Blumenthal visited the Washington Bureau of McClatchy Co.,'' Asher said in an email Friday to McClatchy, noting that he was at the time the investigative editor and in charge of Africa coverage.
''During that meeting, Mr. Blumenthal and I met together in my office and he strongly urged me to investigate the exact place of President Obama's birth, which he suggested was in Kenya. We assigned a reporter to go to Kenya, and that reporter determined that the allegation was false.
''At the time of Mr. Blumenthal's conversation with me, there had been a few news articles published in various outlets reporting on rumors about Obama's birthplace. While Mr. Blumenthal offered no concrete proof of Obama's Kenyan birth, I felt that, as journalists, we had a responsibility to determine whether or not those rumors were true. They were not.''
Blumenthal, who worked in the White House with President Bill Clinton and later was employed by the Clinton Foundation, could not be reached Friday but said in an email to The Boston Globe, ''This is false. Period.''
The birther issue was long the province of conservative talk show hosts and far right politicians who opposed Obama's candidacy and then his presidency. Trump used it as his platform into politics five years ago, despite numerous reports that exposed it as false.
He reversed field Friday at the end of an appearance before veterans and former military officials who support him. But instead of ending the controversy, he fueled it further, with his claim about Hillary Clinton's involvement.
Clinton, at a speech in the nation's capital, said Trump needed to apologize.
''For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president,'' she said. ''His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie.''
The Trump campaign issued a news release with a portion of Solis Doyle's interview and a link to memos back then to Clinton from Mark Penn, her 2008 pollster. One raises the issue of Obama's ''lack of American roots.'' Obama was born in Hawaii. His father was Kenyan and his mother was from Kansas.
Penn's memo said, ''Every speech should contain the line that you were born in the middle of America in the middle class in the middle of the last century.''
CYBER
Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet - Lawfare
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 22:29
Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don't know who is doing this, but it feels like a large a large nation state. China and Russia would be my first guesses.
First, a little background. If you want to take a network off the Internet, the easiest way to do it is with a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS). Like the name says, this is an attack designed to prevent legitimate users from getting to the site. There are subtleties, but basically it means blasting so much data at the site that it's overwhelmed. These attacks are not new: hackers do this to sites they don't like, and criminals have done it as a method of extortion. There is an entire industry, with an arsenal of technologies, devoted to DDoS defense. But largely it's a matter of bandwidth. If the attacker has a bigger fire hose of data than the defender has, the attacker wins.
Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them. Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they're used to seeing. They last longer. They're more sophisticated. And they look like probing. One week, the attack would start at a particular level of attack and slowly ramp up before stopping. The next week, it would start at that higher point and continue. And so on, along those lines, as if the attacker were looking for the exact point of failure.
The attacks are also configured in such a way as to see what the company's total defenses are. There are many different ways to launch a DDoS attacks. The more attack vectors you employ simultaneously, the more different defenses the defender has to counter with. These companies are seeing more attacks using three or four different vectors. This means that the companies have to use everything they've got to defend themselves. They can't hold anything back. They're forced to demonstrate their defense capabilities for the attacker.
I am unable to give details, because these companies spoke with me under condition of anonymity. But this all is consistent with what Verisign is reporting. Verisign is the registrar for many popular top-level Internet domains, like .com and .net. If it goes down, there's a global blackout of all websites and e-mail addresses in the most common top-level domains. Every quarter, Verisign publishes a DDoS trends report. While its publication doesn't have the level of detail I heard from the companies I spoke with, the trends are the same: "in Q2 2016, attacks continued to become more frequent, persistent, and complex."
There's more. One company told me about a variety of probing attacks in addition to the DDoS attacks: testing the ability to manipulate Internet addresses and routes, seeing how long it takes the defenders to respond, and so on. Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services.
Who would do this? It doesn't seem like something an activist, criminal, or researcher would do. Profiling core infrastructure is common practice in espionage and intelligence gathering. It's not normal for companies to do that. Furthermore, the size and scale of these probes'--and especially their persistence'--points to state actors. It feels like a nation's military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar. It reminds me of the U.S.'s Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.
What can we do about this? Nothing, really. We don't know where the attacks come from. The data I see suggests China, an assessment shared by the people I spoke with. On the other hand, it's possible to disguise the country of origin for these sorts of attacks. The NSA, which has more surveillance in the Internet backbone than everyone else combined, probably has a better idea, but unless the U.S. decides to make an international incident over this, we won't see any attribution.
But this is happening. And people should know.
Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet - Schneier on Security
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 04:44
Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don't know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.
First, a little background. If you want to take a network off the Internet, the easiest way to do it is with a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS). Like the name says, this is an attack designed to prevent legitimate users from getting to the site. There are subtleties, but basically it means blasting so much data at the site that it's overwhelmed. These attacks are not new: hackers do this to sites they don't like, and criminals have done it as a method of extortion. There is an entire industry, with an arsenal of technologies, devoted to DDoS defense. But largely it's a matter of bandwidth. If the attacker has a bigger fire hose of data than the defender has, the attacker wins.
Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them. Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they're used to seeing. They last longer. They're more sophisticated. And they look like probing. One week, the attack would start at a particular level of attack and slowly ramp up before stopping. The next week, it would start at that higher point and continue. And so on, along those lines, as if the attacker were looking for the exact point of failure.
The attacks are also configured in such a way as to see what the company's total defenses are. There are many different ways to launch a DDoS attack. The more attack vectors you employ simultaneously, the more different defenses the defender has to counter with. These companies are seeing more attacks using three or four different vectors. This means that the companies have to use everything they've got to defend themselves. They can't hold anything back. They're forced to demonstrate their defense capabilities for the attacker.
I am unable to give details, because these companies spoke with me under condition of anonymity. But this all is consistent with what Verisign is reporting. Verisign is the registrar for many popular top-level Internet domains, like .com and .net. If it goes down, there's a global blackout of all websites and e-mail addresses in the most common top-level domains. Every quarter, Verisign publishes a DDoS trends report. While its publication doesn't have the level of detail I heard from the companies I spoke with, the trends are the same: "in Q2 2016, attacks continued to become more frequent, persistent, and complex."
There's more. One company told me about a variety of probing attacks in addition to the DDoS attacks: testing the ability to manipulate Internet addresses and routes, seeing how long it takes the defenders to respond, and so on. Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services.
Who would do this? It doesn't seem like something an activist, criminal, or researcher would do. Profiling core infrastructure is common practice in espionage and intelligence gathering. It's not normal for companies to do that. Furthermore, the size and scale of these probes -- and especially their persistence -- points to state actors. It feels like a nation's military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar. It reminds me of the US's Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.
What can we do about this? Nothing, really. We don't know where the attacks come from. The data I see suggests China, an assessment shared by the people I spoke with. On the other hand, it's possible to disguise the country of origin for these sorts of attacks. The NSA, which has more surveillance in the Internet backbone than everyone else combined, probably has a better idea, but unless the US decides to make an international incident over this, we won't see any attribution.
But this is happening. And people should know.
This essay previously appeared on Lawfare.com.
EDITED TO ADD: Slashdot thread.
EDITED TO ADD (9/15): Podcast with me on the topic.
Tags: cyberwar, denial of service, essays, Internet, Verisign
Posted on September 13, 2016 at 2:09 PM ' 118 Comments
Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.
Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Resilient, an IBM Company.
Rand Beers heads to White House - The Washington Post
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 14:05
Rand Beers, a veteran counter-terrorism official who has been serving as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is moving to the White House where he will serve as a senior adviser to President Obama.
For more than four years, Beers, 71, has served as the department's undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, responsible for protecting the nation's computer networks, communications systems, and physical infrastructure. He has held the position of acting director since September, when former Secretary Janet Napolitano left the post to head the University of California system.
At the White House, Beers will hold the title of Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, serving as Lisa Monaco's deputy in that role.
A former Marine officer who commanded a rifle company in Vietnam, Beers has spent much of his government career at the State Department, including as the assistant secretary of state in charge of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. He has worked on the National Security Council staffs of presidents from both parties.
In a message to DHS employees Friday, Secretary Jeh Johnson, confirmed by the U.S. Senate last month, wrote: ''While Rand will be greatly missed at DHS, we will continue to benefit from his leadership and expertise as he transitions into the role of Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. There is no one more suitable for this position. We wish Rand all the best as he continues his lifetime of service and commitment to protecting our nation.''
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Scott Wilson is the chief White House correspondent for the Washington Post. Previously, he was the paper's deputy Assistant Managing Editor/Foreign News after serving as a correspondent in Latin America and in the Middle East.
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Caliphate!
The Reference Frame: Operation Ronce: is French army ready to re-conquer Islamic no-go zones?
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 04:26
Yesterday, our glorious confederate EU leaders have decided to kickstart the greatest "humanitarian" gesture in the EU history, in their efforts to at least infinitesimally please their new great friend Erdogan.
All the illegals who are currently in Turkey and plan to continue their illegal trip to the EU have been donated free debit cards with '‚¬0.348 billion on them. The money should make it easier for them to buy boats, get to Greece or Turkey, or take a flight to Western Europe, and neutralize some cops or other Europeans who would dare to try to enforce the law.
Fighters in Daesh were given gift cards to stay in any EU hotel of their choice and those who have already murdered some infidels have received life-long permits valid in all EU brothels including the headquarters of the European Commission. OK, I made the previous sentence up but even the second paragraph is just stunning. The EU has officially turned into one of the most generous sponsors of terrorism in the world.
Meanwhile, provocative writer ‰ric Zemmour '' whose parents were Algerian Jews '' has been interviewed by RTL, a French TV. This interview optimistically suggests that the freedom of expression isn't dead in France yet. I guess that such an interview couldn't appear at the most influential German TV stations anymore.
Among other things, Zemmour has been explaining that "Islam" and "Islamism" are the same thing. When such basic questions are being contested, I always think of the 1968 fairy-tale An Insanely Sad Princess where two royal advisers (from the opposing kingdoms) debate whether the tattered man and the prince are one men or two. The prince has sent the tattered man to... pick the princess. Needless to say, the adviser who said that the prince and the tattered man were the same man was right.
Alternatively, if you want some French, try this Fio bank ad. The two clients are asked a puzzle: "Which of the two of us is me? He or me?" The men guess "he" and point their fingers to both jockeys (representatives of the untrustworthy banks '' who speak French or Italian), Netto and Brutto, and both of them are beaten.
OK, back to the main topic. Zemmour says that the term "Islamism" was invented in the 19th century France in complete analogy with "Judaism" and "Christianism" '' a normal French term for Christianity '' for Islam to sound the same. But it's the same thing as Islam. The political goals are the core of Islam. Islam isn't a faith focusing on the spiritual questions. It's a political movement emulating Prophet Mohammed who was a warrior or a politician '' and a mass killer.
The RTL host seems not to understand this basic point. Or maybe he doesn't want to understand.
Zemmour talked about the no-go zones in France where the French are no longer in charge. More optimistically, he claims to know an unnamed person very close to the top commanders of the French army who said that with the help of some Israeli military experts '' who are clearly the world's elite in similar business '' the French army has already completed plans for "Operation Ronce" ("Operation Blackberry" or "Operation Brambles", if you wish), in which the no-go zones where the Islamic rules de facto beat the French law now will be reconquered by the French Republic. If I understood well, Zemmour presented the operation as a modern analogy of the 1830 invasion of Algiers and he said that Ronce-like plans are being planned or used in Gaza. RT compares Zemmour to Goebbels, a boyfriend of a famous Czech actress, and the Sun mention that some people call Zemmour a "racist cretin" and his claimed leak a "military conspiracy".
For a while, they called this possibly looming operation a "civil war". But it's confusing because depending on the breadth of the definition of a "civil war", France is either already in a civil war, or the operation will (hopefully) be easier than a full-fledged proper civil war.
I don't know whether Zemmour made it up '' or misunderstood something or was fooled '' but I actually find it rather plausible. I do think that regardless of the public pronouncement by the top French politicians, many folks in the French army must be realizing the worrisome extent of the problem and they must be thinking about fixes. And yes, given the fact that even innocent attempts to enforce the French laws are met with massive angry protests by the Muslims, the fix will need quite some brute force.
In 2014, Zemmour published a French bestseller "The French Suicide" blaming immigration, feminism, and homosexuality for most of society's ills.
Invasion of Algiers in 1830 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 04:27
Invasion of AlgiersPart of the French conquest of AlgeriaAttack of Algiers from the sea, on 29 June 1830, by Th(C)odore Gudin.Date14 June '' 7 July 1830LocationAlgiers, Regency of AlgiersResultDecisive French victoryAnnexation of Algiers by FranceBelligerents Kingdom of France Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leadersAdmiral Duperr(C)Louis Auguste Victor, Count de Ghaisnes de BourmontHussein Dey Hasan Agha Ibrahim AghaBey Haj AliStrength103 warships464 transports37,612 combatants27,000 sailorsHeavy Artillery: 8310,000 combatantsRegular troops: 3,000 janissaries1,000 MoorsVolunteers: 3,000 Arabs and 2,000 BerbersOthers: 1,000Artillery: 20Casualties and losses415 killed and 2160 wounded [1]unknown (Estimated: between 600 and 1500)The Invasion of Algiers in 1830 was a large-scale military operation by which the Kingdom of France, ruled by Charles X, invaded and conquered the OttomanRegency of Algiers. Algiers had been a province of the Ottoman Empire since the Capture of Algiers in 1529 by Hayreddin Barbarossa.
A diplomatic incident in 1827, the so-called Fan Affair (Fly Whisk Incident) served as a pretext to initiate a blockade against the port of Algiers. After three years of standstill and a more severe incident in which a French ship carrying an ambassador to the dey with a proposal for negotiations was bombarded, the French determined that more forceful action was required. Charles X was also in need of diverting attention from turbulent French domestic affairs that culminated with his deposition during the later stages of the invasion in the July Revolution.
The invasion of Algiers began on 5 July 1830 with a naval bombardment by a fleet under Admiral Duperr(C), and a landing by troops under Louis Auguste Victor de Ghaisne, comte de Bourmont. The French quickly defeated the troops of Hussein Dey, the Ottoman ruler, but native resistance was widespread. This resulted in a protracted military campaign, lasting more than 45 years, to root out popular opposition to the colonisation. The so-called "pacification" was marked by resistance of figures such as Ahmed Bey, Abd El-Kader and Lalla Fatma N'Soumer.
The invasion marked the end of several centuries of Ottoman rule in Algeria and the beginning of French Algeria. In 1848, the territories conquered around Algiers were organised into three d(C)partements, defining the territories of modern Algeria.
Background[edit]During the Napoleonic Wars, the Regency of Algiers had greatly benefited from trade in the Mediterranean, and of the massive imports of food by France, largely bought on credit. The Bourbon Restoration limited trading, while the Mediterranean was completely controlled by the British Royal Navy, and the rebuilding French Navy. The dey attempted to remedy the decrease of his revenues by increasing taxes, which was resisted by peasants, increasing instability in the country and leading to widespread piracy against shipping from Europe and the young United States of America. This in turn led to the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War, which culminated in August 1816 when Lord Exmouth executed a naval bombardment of Algiers.
The wide unpopularity of the Bourbon Restoration also made France unstable. In an attempt to distract his people from domestic affairs, King Charles X decided to engage in a colonial policy.
In 1827, Hussein Dey, Algeria's Ottoman ruler, demanded that the French pay a 28-year-old debt, contracted in 1799 by purchasing supplies to feed the soldiers of the Napoleonic Campaign in Egypt. The French consul Pierre Deval refused to give answers satisfactory to the dey, and in an outburst of anger, Hussein Dey touched the consul with his fly-whisk. Charles X used this as an excuse to initiate a blockade against the port of Algiers. The blockade lasted for three years, and was primarily to the detriment of French merchants who were unable to do business with Algiers, while Barbary pirates were still able to evade the blockade. When France in 1829 sent an ambassador to the dey with a proposal for negotiations, he responded with cannon fire directed toward one of the blockading ships. The French then determined that more forceful action was required.[2]
King Charles X decided to organise a punitive expedition on the coasts of Algiers to punish the "impudence" of the dey, as well as to root out Barbary corsairs who used Algiers as a safe haven. The naval part of the operation was given to Admiral Duperr(C), who advised against it, finding it too dangerous. He was nevertheless given command of the fleet. The land part was under the orders of Louis Auguste Victor de Ghaisne, comte de Bourmont.
On 16 May, a fleet comprising 103 warships and 464 transports departed Toulon, carrying a 37,612-man strong army. The ground was well-known, thanks to observations made during the First Empire, and the Presque-isle of Sidi Ferruch was chosen as a landing spot, 25 kilometres (16 mi) west of Algiers. The vanguard of the fleet arrived off Algiers on 31 May, but it took until 14 June for the entire fleet to arrive.
Order of battle[edit]French Navy[edit]Invasion[edit]French troops landed at Sidi Ferruch on 14 June 1830 against minimal opposition. Within a few days, however, troops of Algerian caids started to rise against the invaders. On 18 June, Hussein Dey assembled a 10,000-man army, comprising 1,000 Janissaries, 5,000 Moors and 3,000 Arabs and Berbers from Oran, Titteri and Medea. Bourmont merely kept the counter-attacks at bay until 28 June, when siege weapons were landed, making it possible to attack Algiers itself.
Sultan-Khalessi, the main fort defending the city, was attacked on 29 June and fell on 4 July. The Bey then started negotiations, leading to his capitulation the next day. At the same time, in France, the July Revolution led to the deposition of Charles X. French troops entered the city on 5 July, and evacuated the Casbah on 7 July. The French had 415 killed.
The Dey was exiled to Naples, and some of the Janissaries to the Ottoman Empire. Bourmont immediately instituted a municipal council and a governmental commission to administer the city.
Before the new status of Algiers could be settled, Bourmont struck at Blida and occupied B´ne and Oran in early August. On 11 August, news of the July Revolution reached Algiers, and Bourmont was required to pledge allegiance to Charles' successor Louis-Philippe, which he refused to do. He was relieved of command and replaced by general Bertrand Clauzel on 2 September. Negotiations were started with the beys of Titteri, Oran and Constantine to impose a French protectorate, spreading French influence over the entire former Regency.
References[edit]
CGI
Bill and Hillary Clinton Sell Access and Influence Under The Guise of a Birthday Bash'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:37
Grifters gotta grift. Despite the brutally obvious conflict-of-interest represented by charging $250,000, $100,000 or $50,000 to join Bill and Hillary for a birthday bash (proceeds to benefit the Clinton Foundation *nudge, nudge* '... *wink, wink* '... ''say-no-more, say-no-more''), Bill and Hillary just can't help themselves.
It's what they do. It's what they know.
New York '' For a giant, flashing sign that the Clintons' influence-peddling will never end, look no further than Bill's 70th birthday party Friday night at the Rainbow Room '-- which of course is a Clinton Foundation fundraising bash.
Yup, that's right; show 'em the money, money, money: Donors must give $250,000 to be a ''chair'' of the party, six figures to be a co-chair, 50 grand to be a vice chair.
True, buying a ticket will get you some glam '-- Barbara Streisand, Jon Bon Jovi and Wynton Marsalis are all to perform. But how many others hope their gift will at least get them onto some future White House guest list, and possibly buy even larger favors?
Oh, and the foundation won't disclose the night's donors, despite earlier promises to do so. And it will keep taking all ''gifts'' right up through Nov. 7 (at least).
What's really remarkable here is the Clintons' utter shamelessness '-- or the compulsive need to raise cash. The event, notes Politico, has ''induced cringes among some Clinton supporters, who cast it as an unnecessary show of excess at a sensitive time in the presidential race.'' Ya think? (read more)
Obama admin, big businesses abandon Clinton Global Initiative: Column
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:35
Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Clinton Global Initiative's meeting on Sept. 24, 2014, in New York.(Photo: Michael Loccisano, Getty Images)
More bad news for the Clintons. With Hillary's presidential campaign slipping in the polls against Sen. Bernie Sanders and facing a potential fresh challenge from Vice President Joe Biden, six giants of the corporate world are bailing out on the Clinton Global Initiative.
On Sept. 26, CGI, a branch of the Clinton Foundation, convenes its 11th annual meeting with a star-studded cast. Bill and Chelsea Clinton will be joined by Ashley Judd, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Ted Danson, Tina Brown, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates and George Soros. What will be missing is more than a million dollars from a who's who of corporate behemoths that sponsored the meeting last year. Six high-profile firms ended their cash donations, to be replaced with only one similar high-profile corporate donor so far.
USA TODAY has confirmed that sponsors from 2014 that have backed out for this year include electronics company Samsung, oil giant ExxonMobil, global financial firms Deutsche Bank and HSBC, and accounting firm PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). Hewlett-Packard, which just announced major layoffs, will be an in-kind donor instead of a cash contributor, and the agri-chem firm Monsanto has cut back its donation. Dow's name is missing from the donor list as well, but the chemical company's exit is not confirmed.
USA TODAY
Petraeus prosecutor: Clinton committed no crime
USA TODAY
Clinton and Nixon both really sorry: Updated Column
High-profile corporations might not be the only key supporters backing away from association with the Clinton family's charitable arm. In 2014, eight national leaders, kings, presidents and prime ministers, appeared on the program for CGI's annual meeting, including the president of the United States and the prime minister of Japan. This year, only leaders from Colombia and Liberia are currently on the program.
The Obama administration is backing away as well. In 2014, the cabinet officials heading the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Commerce, as well as key White House adviser Valerie Jarrett spoke at the conference. This year no Obama administration appointees as prominent are on the program.
USA TODAY
Hillary Clinton's real troubles may be with moderates, not the left
USA TODAY
Fact-checking Hillary: Column
In emails, Craig Minassian, chief communications officer of CGI, said that more speakers and sponsors are yet to be announced. The event will be attended by nearly two dozen heads of state. "Revenue is actually slightly better than last year ... so there isn't a decline in support," he wrote.
Unless there is a sudden surge in high-profile corporate support in the coming days, the exodus of well-recognized brands could represent a setback for the Clinton campaign's effort to maintain an aura of inevitability. Questions about ill-considered private email use while secretary of State and about the former first lady's honesty already dog her efforts in Iowa and New Hampshire, where she is no longer considered a sure winner.
The corporate skittishness could be driven by a politically toxic atmosphere around the charity. Controversy over foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was secretary of State has tarnished the globally prominent foundation's reputation. Some reporting has raised concerns that corporations and foreign governments were trying to curry favor with Clinton in an effort to influence government decision-making. The sluggish global economy could be a factor as well.
In any case, the corporate pullouts can't be a morale builder for Team Clinton, where personnel have shifted freely among campaigns, government service and the family foundation.
It is not all bad news. According to the foundation website, Microsoft has increased its donation to the event and well-known retailer GAP, Inc. has joined the roster, but other names signing on are unknown to most Americans: Consolidated Contractor Company, a Middle East construction firm; Delos, a real estate company; and Cheniere, a natural gas pipeline and terminal company.
As in years past, a number of widely known corporate brands are sticking with sponsorship of the Clinton event. Barclays, CocaCola, P&G, Cisco, Goldman Sachs and Western Union remain sponsors, as they were in 2014. Senior executives from other companies, including Sodexo and Unilever, will appear on stage. And non-profit support for the event has not dropped off.
New details about corporate pullout from The Washington Examiner.
Why are CNN, New York Times, Washington Post helping promote Clinton Global Initiative? from The Washington Post.
A Clinton Foundation official told USA TODAY that the changes in sponsorship are not out of the ordinary and that this is not a new trend. But the high-profile turnover appears greater than usual. Last year, Samsung, Monsanto, PWC, HSBC and Blackstone were added as sponsors of the CGI meeting, while Duke Energy, Pfizer, Booz Allen, ApCo Worldwide and Toyota left. The companies that joined tended to donate at higher levels. For example, HSBC joined at the $1 million "Convening Sponsor" level, while Booz Allen, Toyota and Pfizer ended donations at the lowest level of giving, "Meeting Sponsor," representing donations of $250,000.
It's a long way until Election Day, but the corporate rejections are another sign that all is not well for Clinton Inc.
David Mastio is the deputy editorial page editor of USA TODAY. Follow Mastio on Twitter. Mairead McArdle, a USA TODAY intern,'‹ contributing reporting to this article.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1Kl3h3V
EuroLand
EU Wants U.S. and Canada to Take In More Refugees - WSJ
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 13:15
BRUSSELS'--Europe expects more help from the U.S. and Canada on refugees as it struggles with a rise in populism and xenophobia, a senior European Union official said, as the world's leaders gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
More than 60 million people are seeking refuge around the world, European migration commissioner...
German upset: Anti-immigrant party beats Merkel in her home district - CSMonitor.com
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 06:20
Berlin '-- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats were beaten into third place by the anti-immigrant and anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in a north-eastern state election on Sunday, TV exit polls showed.
In a stinging defeat for Merkel in her home district that could weaken her chances of a fourth term in next year's federal elections, the upstart AfD took 21.9 percent of the vote behind the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in their first election in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern by campaigning hard against the chancellor's policies on refugees, according to a projection by ARD TV at 1815 GMT.
"This isn't pretty for us," said Michael Grosse-Broemer, one of Merkel's top deputies in parliament in Berlin in a ZDF TV interview. "Those who voted for the AfD were sending a message of protest."
Merkel's approval rating has plunged to a five-year low of 45 percent, down from 67 percent a year ago, due to spreading disenchantment with her open-door policies on refugees.
According to a Der Spiegel magazine report, Merkel wanted to announce her intention of running for a fourth term this year but put that on hold due to resistance from her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union. The arch-conservative CSU has demanded that Merkel put limits on the numbers of refugees.
"This was a dark day for Merkel," Thomas Jaeger, a political scientist at Cologne University, told Reuters. "Everyone knows that she lost this election. Her district in parliament is there, she campaigned there, and refugees are her issue."
The election took place exactly a year after Merkel's decision to open Germany's borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees and the discontent in the state was palpable.
"This is a slap in the face for Merkel -- not only in Berlin but also in her home state," said Frauke Petry, co-leader of the AfD. "The voters made a clear statement against Merkel's disastrous immigration policies. This put her in her place."
The AfD's win was cheered by the leader of France's far-right National Front party, Marine Le Pen, who posted on Twitter: "What was impossible yesterday has become possible: the patriots of AfD sweep up the party of Ms Merkel. All my congratulations!"
The SPD, which has ruled the rural state on the Baltic coast with the CDU as junior coalition partners since 2006, won 30.2 percent of the vote, down from 35.6 percent in the last election in 2011. The CDU won 19 percent, down from 23 percent in 2011, and its worst result ever in the state, ARD TV said.
The Left Party won 12.7 percent, down from 18.4 percent five years ago, while the Greens won 4.9 percent, down from 8.7 percent, and fell out of the assembly. The far-right NPD was also knocked out of the state legislature, falling below the 5 percent threshold for the first time since 2006.
Despite losing support, the SPD (26 seats) and the CDU (16) won enough seats to be able to continue their coalition in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with the AfD as the second-largest bloc in the 71-seat state assembly with 18 seats. The SPD, which could also form a coalition with the Left Party, said it was leaving its options open.
Voters already punished Merkel in three state elections in March, voting in droves for the AfD and rejecting Merkel's Christian Democrats.
Founded in 2013, the AfD now has won seats in nine of the 16 state assemblies across the country. However, it has no chance of governing in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since the other parties have said they would not form a coalition with the party.
The AfD is also making gains nationwide, a new poll showed on Sunday. If the national election were held next week, the AfD would win 12 percent of the vote, making it the third-largest party in Germany, according to a poll conducted by the Emnid institute for the Bild newspaper and published on Sunday.
Merkel had made a last-minute campaign appearance on Saturday in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, warning against the politics of "angst" offered by AfD with its virulent anti-refugee stance.
De Tweede Kamer heeft het medisch beroepsgeheim gisteren stilletjes afgeschaft | Motherboard
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 13:23
Terwijl iedereen zich druk aan het maken was om een maatregel die heel veel mensen alleen maar ten goede kan komen, heeft de Tweede Kamer ook stilletjes een veel ingrijpender voorstel aangenomen: een afkalving van het medisch beroepsgeheim ten behoeve van zorgverzekeraars en ten koste van patinten.
Het voorstel van Minister Schippers (VVD) dat gisteren door CDA, PvdA, PVV, SGP en VVD door de kamer is gewerkt, geeft zorgverzekeraars de mogelijkheid om zonder toestemming het medisch dossier van patinten in te zien, als ze het vermoeden hebben dat er gefraudeerd wordt.
Nogmaals: zorgverzekeraars kunnen dus voortaan zonder jouw toestemming in je medisch dossier kijken. De enige reden die ze hoeven te hebben is een verdenking van fraude. En ze moeten binnen drie maanden nadat ze hebben gesnuffeld in de meest persoonlijke informatie die je bezit, jou vertellen dat ze dat gedaan hebben.
Dit is uiteraard compleet krankzinnig, maar wacht even tot je de argumentatie hoort waarmee dit wetsvoorstel is aangenomen. Het idee is dat zorgverzekeraars hiermee fraude bij het declareren van kosten kunnen inperken. Die fraude kostte ze in 2015 namelijk 11 miljoen euro. Dat klinkt als veel, maar het komt volgens Privacy Barometer neer op 0,015% van het zorgbudget. Daar komt nog bij dat 9,4 miljoen van die 11 miljoen fraude gepleegd wordt door tussenpersonen of zorgverleners. Patinten zelf '' degenen die geraakt worden door deze maatregel '' frauderen dus in totaal voor 1,4 miljoen.
Komt 'ie: De Tweede Kamer heeft dus het medisch beroepsgeheim voor patinten opgeheven om iets te kunnen doen aan een verspilling van 0,002% van het zorgbudget. Twee duizendste van een procent! Krankzinnig is een woord dat de lading niet dekt.
Nog een totaal gestoord feit: in de wet '' die dus al is aangenomen '' is nergens geregeld in hoeverre zorgverzekeraars inzage krijgen in het medisch dossier van mensen. In feite is het nu dus zo dat ze ongelimiteerd kunnen browsen in je medische geschiedenis, omdat ze ergens denken dat je een heel klein deel van hun budget verkeerd gedeclareerd hebt.
Begrijp me niet verkeerd. Fraude, vooral bij verzekeringen, is verkeerd en moet vooral aangepakt worden. Maar begin dan godverdomme met het aanpakken van de instellingen die de meeste fraude plegen en niet bij het afpakken van basisrechten van normale burgers.
Dit is weer een voorbeeld van het afpakken van de privacy van heel veel mensen omdat een nauwelijks te bevatten kleine groep dingen verkeerd doet. Dit is een reflex die in vrijwel alle gevallen (wereldwijde totaalsurveillance, war on drugs, ik noem maar wat) nauwelijks effect heeft.
Bovendien is dit probleem hartstikke makkelijk op te lossen zonder een wetswijziging die alleen maar ten nadele van het overgrote deel van de patinten kan werken. Een zorgverzekeraar zou bij vermoeden van fraude een andere dokter '' die ook beroepsgeheim heeft '' in kunnen schakelen om het dossier van een patint te controleren. Maar dat vindt de Kamer blijkbaar niet goed genoeg. Die wil blijkbaar liever dat winstge¶rienteerde bedrijven onbeperkt inzage kunnen krijgen in vertrouwelijke informatie.
Misschien moeten we ons hier even over laten horen, in plaats van ons zo druk te maken om een maatregel die met een simpele handeling op te lossen is. Dit is iets wat voorbij politieke principes gaat. Het afbrokkelen van het medisch beroepsgeheim in het voordeel van zorgverzekeraars is een stap richting een staat die niet gecontroleerd wordt door een gekozen overheid, maar door megacorporaties die geen fuck om jou of je organen geven, maar wel om het verdienen van meer geld.
Het voorstel kan nog in de Eerste Kamer sneuvelen, maar dan moet het wel heel duidelijk zijn dat we hier als burgers met zijn allen tegen zijn. En dat kan alleen als iedereen dit leest.Volg ons op Facebook, we brengen best vaak ook leuk nieuws:
Verkrachting meisje 'onder de pet gehouden' | Telegraaf.nl
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:46
vrijdag 16 september 2016, 5:30 Burgemeester van der Knaap: 'zaak voor het OM'.. (C) Foto ANPInwoners van Ede en plaatselijke politici willen weten waarom de verkrachting van een 18-jarig meisje uit de Gelderse gemeente drie weken is stil gehouden. Ze vermoeden dat politie en lokale overheid er tot op heden bewust het zwijgen toe hebben gedaan om de discussie over opvang en huisvesting van asielzoekers in Ede niet opnieuw te laten oplaaien.
De jonge vrouw heeft meteen aangifte gedaan bij de politie, nadat ze in de nacht van 22 op 23 augustus was misbruikt nabij station Ede-Wageningen. Volgens een woordvoerder van de familie kwam het meisje daar kort na middernacht met de trein aan, waarna ze op haar fiets wilde stappen om naar huis te gaan.
'žMaar bij het station werd ze aangesproken door drie lichtgetinte mannen die haar dwongen met hen mee te gaan naar het nabijgelegen Norabos. Tot ongeveer vier uur 's nachts is ze daar in een leegstaand gebouw van Stichting Karakter - een instelling voor kinder- en jeugdpsychiatrie - vastgehouden en door (C)(C)n van de mannen misbruikt en verkracht'', aldus de woordvoerder.
Volledig overstuur is ze daarna naar huis gegaan, waarna de 18-jarige met haar ouders slachtofferhulp heeft ingeschakeld en aangifte heeft gedaan. De familiewoordvoerder: 'žHet verhaal gonst al dagen rond in Ede, maar vanuit officile instanties bleef het stil. Er is DNA beschikbaar van de dader, maar de familie hoort niets over het onderzoek.''
Meer artikelen in Binnenland
Megavechtpartij met zo'n veertig 'jongeren' in Veghel, 30 man politie rukt uit | ThePostOnline
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:49
Bij een grote vechtpartij in Veghel zijn vrijdagavond laat acht aanhoudingen verricht, zo meldt de politie. De ongeregeldheden begonnen op de kermis in het centrum van de Brabantse plaats.
Een groep terreurjongeren richtte vernielingen aan, waarbij onder meer een winkelraam en de ruit van een politieauto sneuvelden. Ook werd een politieman geslagen.
De politie rukte uit met twintig tot dertig agenten en enkele honden en wist in de vroege nacht de orde te herstellen.
In Veghel is, net als in Zaandam, al jarenlang sprake van stelselmatige straatterreur door 'jongeren' (voor Trouw-lezers: 'Boefjes') van veelal Marokkaanse en Ethiopische afkomst. Net als in Zaandam zijn de 'jongeren' de baas op straat en lukt het de politie en gemeente niet grip te krijgen op de jongeren. Ook Veghel is, net als Zaandam, een schoolvoorbeeld van falend openbaar bestuur.
Onder aanhoudende druk van de publieke opinie hebben bestuurders van Veghel onlangs nog aangekondigd 'harde maatregelen' te nemen: zo kwam er, uiteraard, 'meer cameratoezicht', zijn er 'samenscholingsverboden' van kracht en blijft de gemeente 'in gesprek' met de jongeren.
Bewoners van vooral het centrumgebied lijden al zeker zes jaar onder de terreur van de jongeren, maar voelen zich steeds meer ge¯ntimideerd waardoor de bewoners minder vaak aangifte durven te doen. Sommige bewoners durven 's avonds hun huis niet meer uit.
Gelukkig voor de burgers van Veghel begrijpt burgemeester Ian Adema (VVD) de zorgen van de bewoners. ''Het is bijzonder vervelend dat bewoners overlast ervaren en we nemen dit dan ook zeer serieus'', zo liet zij in juni van dit jaar schriftelijk aan Omroep Brabant weten.
Anp/TPO
Lees ook:dossier Veghel.
Youtube-videobeschrijving:
''De politie heeft vrijdagavond laat haar handen vol gehad aan een grote groep jongeren in het centrum in Veghel. Zij moest in actie komen voor een massale vechtpartij op Vlas en Graan, in de buurt van de Aldi. Ooggetuigen meldden dat er zo'n honderd personen aanwezig waren bij de schermutselingen, hiervan waren er zo'n dertig daadwerkelijk betrokken bij de vechtpartij. De politie heeft pepperspray gebruikt en acht aanhoudingen verricht. Ook op de Molenwieken is iemand aangehouden. Daar is bij een kledingzaak een ruit ingetrapt. Ook een ruit van een politieauto is vernield en een politieman is geslagen. Er is veel politie, ook met diensthonden, op de been. Er staan meerdere eenheden paraat bij het politiebureau voor als het weer escaleert.''
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Nieuws overzicht20:43Beeld: boze burgers demonstreren tegen azc in Oude Pekela
19:59Agenten die Mitch Henriquez aanhielden, stapelden fout op fout
17:44Marokkaanse jongeren kregen toegangsverbod Eindhovens zwembad wegens misdragingen
17:26Auto van Duitse AfD-leider Frauke Petry in fik gestoken
17:10Rapper Boef is w(C)(C)r vrij man
16:51NPO-website liegt glashard over nieuwe privacywet Edith Schippers
16:49Vals terreuralarm rond kerk Parijs
Shut Up Slave!
Misogyny could be treated as a hate crime by police across UK | The Independent
Sun, 11 Sep 2016 20:25
Misogyny could be treated as a hate crime by police forces across England and Wales in a bid to tackle sexist abuse.
The move comes after Nottinghamshire Police reportedly launched 20 investigations in the first two months of its pioneering scheme to tackle misogyny.
The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for women's rights, praised the development but called for the policy to be entereed in to the law.
Treating abuse targeting women as a hate crime would bring it in line with attacks motivated by hostility and prejudice towards race, religion and sexuality.
Police in Devon and Cornwall are among those interested in the reclassification as are those in Durham and Lincolnshire, according to The Observer, which reported that specially-trained officers investigated misogyny every three days in July and August.
Dave Alton, Nottingham Police's hate crime manager, told the newspaper: ''The number of reports we are receiving is comparable with other, more established, categories of hate crime.
"We have received numerous reports and have been able to provide a service to women in Nottinghamshire who perhaps wouldn't have approached us six months ago. The reality is that all of the reports so far have required some form of police action.
''There has been quite a lot of interest in the action we have taken. Both our chief constable and our commissioner have been contacted by forces and commissioners nationally to discuss how we have made the changes and what the impact has been so far.''
So far, officers in Nottinghamshire say they have received reports ranging from verbal harassment to sexual abuse, while two men have been arrested for public order offences and actual bodily harm, which were recorded as misogynistic.
Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, told The Independent: "This is what the Fawcett Society has been calling for. It is good to see other police forces now looking to follow Nottinghamshire's lead. But we need a change in the law.
''We need to call out misogyny for what it is - a hate crime. Women and girls face a tidal wave of abuse and harassment every day. Our law has to send a clear signal that this is not acceptable. It is a crime.''
Recording the abuse of women as a hate crime will allow charities and policymakers to analyse the scale of incidents.
It also means victims can report incidents that might not be considered a crime and officers will investigate.
Officers will then consider how a victim can be supported and how repeat abuse can be prevented.
Nottinghamshire Police defines misogyny hate crime as ''incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman''.
The force's chief constable, Sue Fish, said the move would make the county a safer place when it was announced in July.
''What women face, often on a daily basis, is absolutely unacceptable and can be extremely distressing,'' she said.
''It's a very important aspect of the overall hate crime work being conducted and one that will make Nottinghamshire a safer place for all women.''
Reuse content
NYC Bombing
Blast rips through Chelsea street: 'Everybody started running' - NY Daily News
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:32
An explosion ripped through a Chelsea street Saturday night '-- injuring at least 29 people and sending horrified witnesses scattering, Fire Department sources said.
The blast blew out the ground floor windows of the Associated Blind Housing facility at 135 W. 23rd St. near Sixth Ave. at about 8:30 p.m., a witness and an FDNY spokesman said.
"Officials are on the scene of an explosion on West 23 St in Manhattan at least 26 people injured. An unknown device was inside a dumpster," Sergeants Benevolent Association head Ed Mullins tweeted.
The NYPD Counterterrorism Unit tweeted a photo of a mangled piece of the dumpster.
Pipe bomb explodes at Marines charity race on N.J. boardwalk
Police and FDNY units also responded to reports of a possible second explosive device found in a Dodge Caravan on 27th St., between 6th and 7th Aves., just before 11 p.m.
The NYPD was questioning a possible suspect picked up about eight blocks away from the blast, sources said.
A witness said he felt and heard the blast while entering the 23rd St. subway station with his family.
Ryan McMillen, a history professor at Mercy College, turned around and saw the back of an SUV "totally blown out."
"Everybody started running and screaming," McMillen said. "It felt like a pipe bomb. It wasn't huge. It was some sort of a bomb. It wasn't a car backfiring."
Others said that the streets turned to chaos after the blast.
Architect Anthony Morali, 58, was walking from his home in Chelsea to the nearby Slattery's bar to play darts when the explosion nearly knocked him to the ground.
"What I first heard was a tremendous loud sound, boom!" he said. "I thought it was a gas explosion. It sounded like when they drop those huge steel plates on the street.
"I just saw a lady with a baby carriage running. The police were guiding her right through," he said.
Olive McFarland, 40, from the Bronx, was working in the display window at Burlington Coat Factory, on 6th Ave., when the explosion sent people rushing into the store from the street.
"We all heard a big explosion," she said. "A lot of people were coming into the store. They didn't know what happened so they kept rushing in. They were panicking."
11 photos view gallery
Explosion in ChelseaChelsea residents said the explosion rattled buildings blocks away.
"I ran because the building was shaking. I saw smoke. It was like a huge mushroom cloud. My ear was ringing," said Soleil Filomena, 64. "It was so scary. Everybody started running."
The street was flooded with NYPD officers who immediately began clearing the streets and searching garbage cans and other areas for secondary devices as a precaution.
The explosion comes just hours after a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, N.J.
The device, which was placed in a garbage can, went off as the Semper Five K Charity Run was about to start. There were no reported injuries.
As a result of the blast, E and F trains are currently bypassing 23 St in both directions.
The NYPD Bomb Squad is on scene investigating along with the FBI and ATF.
The device may have been a pipe bomb, sources said.
President Obama has been apprised of the explosion "the cause of which remains under investigation," according to CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner James O'Neill and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro were expected to hold a press conference around 11 p.m.
Saturday was O'Neill's first full day on the job after replacing Bill Bratton as NYPD commissioner.
The 29 injured were all taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, according to a source.
Meanwhile in Colorado Springs '-- before any official word on what caused the blast was announced '-- GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump stepped off his private jet at 9 p.m. and told supporters "a bomb went off in New York."
"Nobody knows exactly what's going on, but boy we are living in a time," he said. "We better get very tough, folks."
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign said that she had been briefed and was monitoring the situation.
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War on Weed
Why Is Marijuana Banned? The Real Reasons Are Worse Than You Think '' Anonymous
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 14:41
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By: Johann Hari
Editor's Note: This article was originally published by The Influence, and is reprinted here with permission.
Across the world, more and more people are asking: Why is marijuana banned? Why are people still sent to prison for using or selling it?
Most of us assume it's because someone, somewhere sat down with the scientific evidence, and figured out that cannabis is more harmful than other drugs we use all the time'--like alcohol and cigarettes.
Somebody worked it all out, in our best interest.
But when I started to go through the official archives'--researching my book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs'--to find out why cannabis was banned back in the 1930s, I discovered that's not what happened.
Not at all.
In 1929, a man called Harry Anslinger was put in charge of the Department of Prohibition in Washington DC. But alcohol prohibition had been a disaster. Gangsters had taken over whole neighborhoods. Alcohol'--controlled by criminals'--had become even more poisonous.
So alcohol prohibition finally ended''and Harry Anslinger was afraid. He found himself in charge of a huge government department, with nothing for it to do. Up until then, he had said that cannabis was not a problem. It doesn't harm people, he explained, and ''there is no more absurd fallacy'' than the idea it makes people violent.
But then'--suddenly, when his department needed a new purpose'--he announced he had changed his mind.
He explained to the public what would happen if you smoked cannabis.
First, you will fall into ''a delirious rage.'' Then you will be gripped by ''dreams'... of an erotic character.'' Then you will ''lose the power of connected thought.'' Finally, you will reach the inevitable end-point: ''Insanity.''
Marijuana turns man into a wild beast. If marijuana bumped into Frankenstein's monster on the stairs, Anslinger warned, the monster would drop dead of fright.
Victor Lacata
Harry Anslinger became obsessed with one case in particular. In Florida, a boy called Victor Lacata hacked his family to death with an axe. Anslinger explained to America: This is what will happen when you smoke ''the demon weed.'' The case became notorious. The parents of the US were terrified.
What evidence did Harry Anslinger have? It turns out at this time he wrote to the 30 leading scientists on this subject, asking if cannabis was dangerous, and if there should be a ban.
Twenty-nine wrote back and said no.
Anslinger picked out the one scientist who said yes, and presented him to the world. The press'--obsessed with Victor Lacata's axe'--cheered them on.
In a panic that gripped America, marijuana was banned. The US told other countries they had to do the same. Many countries said it was a dumb idea, and refused to do it. For example, Mexico decided their drug policy should be run by doctors. Their medical advice was that cannabis didn't cause these problems, and they refused to ban it. The US was furious. Anslinger ordered them to fall into line. The Mexicans held out'--until, in the end, the US cut off the supply of all legal painkillers to Mexico. People started to die in agony in their hospitals. So with regret, Mexico sacked the doctor'--and launched its own drug war.
But at home, questions were being asked. A leading American doctor called Michael Ball wrote to Harry Anslinger, puzzled. He explained he had used cannabis as a medical student, and it had only made him sleepy. Maybe cannabis does drive a small number of people crazy, he said'--but we need to fund some scientific studies to find out.
Anslinger wrote back firmly. ''The marijuana evil can no longer be temporized with,'' he explained, and he would fund no independent science. Then, or ever.
For years, doctors kept approaching him with evidence he was wrong, and he began to snap, telling them they were ''treading on dangerous ground'' and should watch their mouths.
Today, most of the world is still living with the ban on cannabis that Harry Anslinger introduced, in the nation-wide panic that followed Victor Lacata's killing spree.
But here's the catch. Years later, somebody went and looked at the psychiatric files for Victor Lacata.
It turns out there's no evidence he ever used cannabis.
He had a lot of mental illness in his family. They had been told a year before he needed to be institutionalized'--but they refused. His psychiatrists never even mentioned marijuana in connection to him.
So, does cannabis make people mad?
The former chief advisor on drugs to the British government, David Nutt, explains'--if cannabis causes psychosis in a straightforward way, then it would show in a straightforward way.
When cannabis use goes up, psychosis will go up. And when cannabis use goes down psychosis will go down.
So does that happen? We have a lot of data from a lot of countries. And it turns out it doesn't. For example, in Britain, cannabis use has increased by a factor of about 40 since the 1960s. And rates of psychosis? They have remained steady.
In fact, the scientific evidence suggests cannabis is safer than alcohol. Alcohol kills 40,000 people every year in the US. Cannabis kills nobody'--although Willie Nelson says a friend of his did once die when a bale of cannabis fell on his head.
This is why, in 2006, a young man in Colorado called Mason Tvert issued a challenge to the then-mayor of Denver and eventual governor, John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper owned brew-pubs selling alcohol across the state, and it made him rich. But he said cannabis was harmful and had to be banned. So Mason issued him a challenge'--to a duel. You bring a crate of booze. I'll bring a pack of joints. For every hit of booze you take, I'll take a hit of cannabis. We'll see who dies first.
It was the ultimate High Noon.
Mason went on to lead the campaign to legalize cannabis in his state. His fellow citizens voted to do it'--by 55 %. Now adults can buy cannabis legally, in licensed stores, where they are taxed'--and the money is used to build schools. After a year and a half of seeing this system in practice, support for legalization has risen to 69 %. And even Governor Hickenlooper has started calling it ''common sense.''
Oh'--and Colorado hasn't been filled with people hacking their families to death yet.
Isn't it time we listened to the science'--and finally put away Victor Lacata's axe?
About the AuthorJohann Hari is a British journalist and author. This article is adapted from his New York Times best-sellling book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. To find out why Glenn Greenwald, Noam Chomsky, Bill Maher, Naomi Klein and Elton John have all praised it, click here.
Correction: This post has been updated to clarify that John Hickenlooper was the mayor of Denver in 2006. He became governor of Colorado in 2011.
**This article is re-printed here with permission from The Influence, a site covering the full spectrum of human relationships with drugs. Follow them on Facebook and on Twitter.**
Snowden
Pardon
On September 8, 1974, president of the United States Gerald Ford issued Proclamation 4311, which gave Richard Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he might have committed against the United States while president.
Pardon of Richard Nixon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
VW Gate Anniversary
From a Producer
From an Automotive Engineer (not at VW) who would like to stay anonymous. I know coworkers who listen regularly.
Gentlemen,
It's VW's Diesel-gate anniversary!!!
Bosch is the Engine Control Unit (ECU) supplier for VW. VW may set the engine maps internally, but Bosch actually has to hard-code everything on the chip that controls the engine. Been waiting for the Justice Department to go after Bosch for some time now...
VIDEO (AutoNews, Trade Publication):
http://www.autonews.com/article/20160916/VIDEO/309169952/autonews-now-a-grim-anniversary-for-vw
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-15/bosch-role-in-vw-diesel-scandal-reviewed-by-german-prosecutors
Bosch produces diesel engine parts for automakers including diesel emission treatment systems such as SCR, or selective catalytic reduction. Bosch warned Volkswagen in a letter in 2007 that the way the carmaker planned to use the software installed in diesel engines was illegal, Bild-Zeitung reported on Sept. 27, without saying where it got information.
http://www.autonews.com/article/20160818/COPY01/308189978/bosch-had-key-role-in-vw-emissions-fraud-lawyers-claim
Bosch ranks No. 1 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide sales to automakers of $44.8 billion in 2015. The company has extensive manufacturing and r&d operations around the world, with about 20 percent of its automotive revenue generated in North America.
The company, from the beginning of the scandal, has publicly acknowledged its role in developing the software. Last September Bosch said it supplied software and components to VW.
U.S. Is Investigating Bosch in Widening VW Diesel-Cheat Scandal
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-16/vw-diesel-cheat-probe-widens-as-u-s-said-to-investigate-bosch
U.S. prosecutors are investigating whether Germany’s Robert Bosch GmbH, which provided software to Volkswagen AG, conspired with the automaker to engineer diesel cars that would cheat U.S. emissions testing, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Among the questions the Justice Department is asking in the criminal probe, one of them said, is whether automakers in addition to VW used Bosch software to skirt environmental standards. Bosch, which is also under U.S. civil probe and German inquiry, is cooperating in investigations and can’t comment on them, said spokesman Rene Ziegler.
The line of inquiry broadens what is already the costliest scandal in U.S. automaking history. Wolfsburg-based VW faces an industry-record $16.5 billion, and counting, in criminal and civil litigation fines after admitting last year that its diesel cars were outfitted with a “defeat device” that lowered emissions to legal levels only when it detected the vehicle was being tested.
More than a half dozen big manufacturers sell diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. The people familiar with the matter declined to say whether specific makers are under scrutiny.
Second Supplier
A second supplier may also be part of the widening probe: When prosecutors in Detroit outlined their case last week against a VW engineer who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the matter, they said he had help from a Berlin-based company that is 50 percent owned by Volkswagen, described as "Company A" in a court filing. That company, according to a another person familiar with the matter, is IAV GmbH, which supplies VW and other automakers.
IAV employees were part of a group working with Bosch and VW to develop emissions functions, according to U.S. court filings in a separate case.
IAV didn’t respond to requests for comment. Volkswagen said it is continuing to cooperate with the Justice Department. Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment.
In Germany, prosecutors have said they are investigating whether Bosch employees helped VW rig software to cheat on emissions tests. In the U.S., Bosch is defending itself against a civil suit by drivers who allege that it not only conspired with VW to develop defeat devices, but also asked for legal protection from VW if the devices were used on American roadways.
Bosch, in filings in San Francisco federal court, has called the suit “wild and unfounded.”
People familiar with the industry have said it’s common for carmakers to buy software from a company such as Bosch and adapt it to their own vehicles.
Diesel Universe
There’s a limited universe of diesel-engine vehicles sold in the U.S., including cars made by VW, Daimler AG and BMW AG and light trucks by General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler NV Automobiles.
Bosch provides components for several of these, including GM’s GMC Sierra, Ford’s F-250, Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and models by Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz.
Informed in general about a government look into whether automakers beyond Volkswagen may have used defeat devices, spokespeople for Daimler, Fiat Chrysler, BMW, GM and Ford declined to comment.
IAV, the parts-maker that is half-owned by Volkswagen, provides engineering and expertise to automakers mainly for new-car development, including software, electronics and technology support. Volkswagen is that company’s largest customer, according to documents unsealed last week in Detroit federal court, with other clients including Bosch, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM and Daimler.
Special Access
Under an agreement signed by VW and Bosch in 2006, IAV employees were among 35 individuals who were granted special access to documentation on “expanded software” created for certain emissions functions, according to a filing in a civil lawsuit. The agreement, which the plaintiffs say they received from VW during discovery in the case, shows the extent to which Bosch sought control over any modifications to its software, they allege in the filing. Bosch has yet to respond in court to the allegations.
Beyond VW, other automakers face emissions-cheating lawsuits in the U.S. or accusations overseas of poor emissions performance.
Daimler said in April that it was asked by the Justice Department to investigate the certification process of its cars and is the subject of a lawsuit by car owners alleging some of its diesel cars violated emissions standards. Daimler, which said it was fully cooperating with U.S. authorities, has called the class-actions lawsuit “baseless.”
Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz has no 2017 diesel models listed among the more than 50 entries on the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov website. For 2016, the 70-plus models included the diesel-powered GL350 Bluetec SUV and E250 Bluetec sedan. The brand hasn’t announced a date for any diesel models to go on sale.
Earlier this month, the German Transport Ministry asked the European Union to investigate allegations that three Fiat Chrysler vehicles sold in Europe had defeat devices. Italy and Fiat have denied the accusations, with the Italian Transport Ministry sayings its own tests showed no unauthorized devices on the vehicles.
Other diesel vehicles in the U.S. include Nissan Motor Co.’s Titan XD pickup and Tata Motors Ltd.’s Land Rover Range Rover Sport Td6, which went on sale after the VW scandal erupted a year ago. Tata’s Jaguar has diesel versions of its 2017 F-Pace crossover and XE and XF sedans approved by the EPA and just starting to reach dealerships.
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MIC
15 F-35 Models Grounded Due to Wiring Issue
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:48
WASHINGTON '-- The US Air Force has ordered the grounding of 13 F-35A models, as well as a pair of Norwegian F-35As, following the discovery of "peeling and crumbling" coolant tube insulation.The issue appears to have been with a supplier of coolant lines, which are installed in the wings of the jet. During a routine maintenance check, it was discovered that the insulation on the lines were in some cases decomposing, which left residue in the fuel itself, according to a release from the Norwegian government on the grounding.
The issue has been traced back to the insulated coolant tubes manufactured by one particular provider that have only been installed in the wing fuel tanks of the 15 aircraft '-- 10 from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, two US and two Norwegian F-35As at Luke AFB, Ariz., and one plane at Nellis AFB, Nev.
The problem was first discovered this summer during depot maintenance of an F-35A being prepared for initial operational capability, Lockheed Martin spokesman Mike Rein said.
After maintainers found three aircraft with crumbling coolant tubes, Lockheed conducted subsequent tests that "indicated it was possible for this crumbling insulation to become lodged in the siphon lines connecting wing and fuselage fuel tanks," said US Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek. "This could result in excessive negative pressures in the fuel tanks during flying operations or excessive positive pressures during air or ground refueling. In either case, the under- or over-pressure could cause structural damage to the fuel tanks."
Lockheed works with several suppliers that are responsible for manufacturing the coolant lines, but Rein declined to disclose which of its subcontractors had been responsible for the nonconforming part. The company plans to continue to work with that supplier in future F-35 lots, he said.
"There has been no discussion about changing doing business with them," he said.
Stefanek said the Air Force ordered the temporary suspension of flight operations for those jets out of an "abundance of caution" regarding potential effects from the degraded insulation.
"Although testing and simulation are ongoing, initial indications are that impacts are either minimal or can be mitigated. However, it is too early to outline specific issues that might arise," she said. "Again, our primary concern is the safety of our pilots. This is a prudent precaution. Identifying and addressing issues is a standard part of the lifecycle of any of our aircraft."
The impact expands further than the operational F-35 inventory, as there are 42 aircraft currently on the production line that have received parts from the same provider. That includes three three Norwegian aircraft scheduled for delivery early next year. It is unclear if those parts will need to be replaced or if other nations planes will be impacted.
According to an Air Force press release, engineers from the F-35 Joint Program Office, Lockheed AFB and have inspected eight aircraft and are working on a plan for mitigate issues connected with the pause in flight operations. The service expects a proposed mitigation strategy as early as next week, but even after a fix is identified, it could take "days to weeks" to repair each airplane, Stefanek said.
Lockheed is developing potential fixes for the impacted jets that would allow them to return to flight as soon and as cheaply as possible, but Rein declined to comment on when the company would have a plan finalized. It is also working on a root cause analysis.
The F-35 JPO stressed that the problem was caused by a manufacturing defect rather than a technical problem that would affect the aircraft's performance.
"The root cause of the problem was determined to be use of nonconforming material for the tubing insulation and improper manufacturing processes during fabrication of the cooling lines," it said in a statement. "The non conforming material that was used is not compatible with fuel, causing degradation of the insulation and resulting in it falling off the tubing."
In a statement, Maj. Gen. Morten Klever, director of the Norwegian F-35 Program Office, emphasized that the issue was not a design flaw but instead was caused by a supplier using improper materials and techniques for the parts.
''I expect Lockheed Martin to identify the appropriate measures to correct this issue, and that they implement these as quickly as possible,'' Klever said.
This story is developing and will be updated.
Millennials
Statement from the Trump Hat Girl | iroots.org
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 06:24
Aaron Jones September 16, 2016This really doesn't need any commentary. Simply put, this is how fragile college students are these days. Poor kids'...
This was posted by the young woman who attacked a Trump supporter for wearing a hat. Apparently, a 'hate hat.' Infamous video posted down below.
Today I got into an altercation with a guy wearing a ''Make America Great Again'' hat. I went up and asked him if he would take the hat off, explaining a university should be a safe space. It was impossible to communicate to him why wearing a hat in support of a movement grown on the seeds of racism, bigotry and exclusion of diversity (sexual and cultural) could make some people afraid. People came out of the woodwork around us to support the hat, and after insulting me, they began filming my ''crazy'' behaviour at asking him to not wear the hat on campus. The video was posted and I made the mistake of reading the comments. I am so deeply saddened'... I don't want to draw anymore attention to the dysfunctional pawns that are being used by a system of power to oppress others. I do want to state that I stand by my belief that every space, but especially university spaces, should be made to make everyone feel SAFE. We need to seriously change our culture. We need to equally support and express movements and gestures of inclusive acceptance. I walked outside after the altercation, which ended up involving security and more concern for someone's ''private property'' then about anti-oppression and overt racism, feeling totally hopeless. Only to find the anti-abortion group posing with their graphic images and slogans of ''sin''. But'... Beside them was a group of courageous and beautiful humans, holding signs of ''we support your choice'' and kindly warning oncoming students about the graphic images so they could be avoided. (Thank you '...'..., '...'... and crew.) It makes me cry that there will always be battles of ''right'' and ''wrong'''... There will always be opposing parties'... Unfortunately for many people life does not exist without fear of oppression, violence or attack. But there are some warriors, who are not too tired. Some humans who want anyone being attacked (be it blatant or subtle) to know they are equally being a supported. I'm ready to make some noise YYC. I'm ready for some LOUD AF language of LOVE. That is the only thing that might have a chance of helping the world. So be a warrior and express your support for those who are attacked everyday because of who they are. #peace
Hills Health and Handbag
Producer account of pins
I was listing to the show and you were talking about people around Hillary Clinton having pins. This is what i know about the pins so take it for what its worth...
My friend works for a local state Democrat and helps out with things when people come to town. When Hillary came to town for a local fundraiser my friend was tasked with picking up a large van and meeting the campaign at the airport she flew into. He parked the van and opened all the doors, hood and left it to be inspected my the Secret Service. At this point pins were handed to the local people that were coded I can't remember if it is by color or shape. The pin codes easily represent to the Hillary staff roles and access during the visit. At one point someone either secret service or staff told my friend he had the wrong pin, I think it was a level above what he should of had. From my understanding Hillary had her own vehicle and driver so my friend only drove other people that came along with her. At the end of the night I believe the pins were to be collected but my friend accidentally kept his. Possibly in the future I may be able to get a photo but unfortunately I don't have one now.
Found his story interesting, hope it helps.
--
- Taylor
Pay to Play
Pay To Play email-WikiLeaks - Search the DNC email database
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 02:00
From:ComerS@dnc.org To: JacquelynLopez@perkinscoie.com Date: 2016-05-19 16:59 Subject: Re: SEC letters and donationsYes, that's perfect. Thanks Sent from my iPhone On May 19, 2016, at 2:59 PM, Lopez, Jacquelyn K. (Perkins Coie) wrote: Great, that time works for me as well. Scott, good on your end? Jacquelyn Lopez | Perkins Coie LLP ASSOCIATE* 700 Thirteenth Street, N.W. Suite 600 Washington, DC 20005-3960 D. +1.202.654.6371 F. +1.202.654.9949 E. JacquelynLopez@perkinscoie.com *Admitted in State of Florida; Admission to DC Bar pending. From: Brad Marshall [mailto:MARSHALL@dnc.org] Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2016 2:59 PM To: Alan Reed; Lopez, Jacquelyn K. (Perkins Coie); Comer, Scott Subject: RE: SEC letters and donations same From: Alan Reed Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2016 2:55 PM To: Jacquelyn Lopez; Comer, Scott; Brad Marshall Subject: RE: SEC letters and donations We've been doing the Operating Acct process set up by Graham for a while now but happy to do a call. Perhaps Tuesday around 4 pm? From: Lopez, Jacquelyn K. (Perkins Coie) [mailto:JacquelynLopez@perkinscoie.com] Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 3:35 PM To: Alan Reed; Comer, Scott; Brad Marshall Subject: SEC letters and donations Hi all, Can we set up a time for a very brief call to go over our process for handling donations from donors who have given us pay to play letters? Want to make sure we have a robust process in place to make sure that donations that come in from those donors, in any form, get put into the operating account. Let me know when would be a good time for you all. Thanks, Jackie Jacquelyn Lopez | Perkins Coie LLP ASSOCIATE* 700 Thirteenth Street, N.W. Suite 600 Washington, DC 20005-3960 D. +1.202.654.6371 F. +1.202.654.9949 E. JacquelynLopez@perkinscoie.com *Admitted in State of Florida; Admission to DC Bar pending. ________________________________ NOTICE: This communication may contain privileged or other confidential information. If you have received it in error, please advise the sender by reply email and immediately delete the message and any attachments without copying or disclosing the contents. Thank you. ________________________________ NOTICE: This communication may contain privileged or other confidential information. If you have received it in error, please advise the sender by reply email and immediately delete the message and any attachments without copying or disclosing the contents. Thank you.
BREAKING: WikiLeaks Releases Email Showing Hillary Receiving Info On Drug That Counters Effects Of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's | RedFlag News
Wed, 14 Sep 2016 21:15
RELEASE IN FULL
From: Sullivan, Jacob J Sent:Tuesday, October 25, 2011 9:29 PM To: Subject:Provigil
So I was wrong that it was invented by the military, but right about military use of/interest in it. Background on the drug below.
Provigil (Modafinil)
' Provigil is used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy or shift work sleep disorder (sleepiness during scheduled waking hours among people who work at night or on rotating shifts).
It is also often prescribed to treat excessive sleepiness in patients with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and multiple sclerosis. Additionally, it has also gained a following among students, truckers, and others who want to stay awake for extended periods of time.
...
Here is the email in its entirety:
War on Men
Women at the Obama White House have started using the trick of "amplification" to get heard, not interrupted '-- Quartz
Wed, 14 Sep 2016 20:20
The challenges of a job at the White House are tough and manifold, but at least one of them'--the challenge of getting heard'--has historically been tougher for women.
For one thing, there are fewer of them at the table: all presidents so far have been men, and among their top aides men have to date heavily outnumbered women. But another factor that weighs on how much women's ideas get heard and credited isn't confined to politics. Across sectors, and both in and outside work, women get interrupted more often than men'--by people of both genders.
The interruption disparity, backed up by decades of research, is now so recognized there's a word for it: manterrupting.
But at the White House, one former staffer explained to the Washington Post, women started using a simple rhetorical technique to stop interruptions and reinforce points made by other women. When a woman made a good point, another woman would repeat it, and give credit to the originator. This made the idea harder to ignore, or to steal. The women called the technique ''amplification.''
''We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it,'' one of president Barack Obama's former aides told the Post. ''It was an everyday thing.'' She said that Obama noticed and began calling on women more often.
The women, perhaps unconsciously, had noticed two things. First, that repetition is one of the simplest ways of reinforcing any point'--which can be seen through history across oratory and poetry. But secondly, that simply hammering a point home by repeating it oneself has limitations, especially in a competitive environment where everyone is clamoring to be heard. Some researchers have hypothesized that women are interrupted more because their conversational style tends to be collaborative, where men tend to be more competitive.
The trick may have come about organically, but it's by no means a given than women should support each others' ideas that way. The presence of only a few women in a room historically gave rise to a different response, noted Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In:
In the days of tokenism, women looked around the room and instead of bonding against an unfair system, they often viewed one another as competition'...women wound up being ignored, undermined, and in some cases even sabotaged by other women.
It's a safe bet that many Obama staffers, and those who come after them, will have read books like Lean In and taken the lessons away. The ideas of cooperation they promote are already making their way into the wider workplace.
The subtle misogyny in Matt Lauer's interview with Hillary Clinton was appalling.
Mon, 12 Sep 2016 13:05
Matt Lauer listens as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid on September 7, 2016.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Let's talk about the misogyny in the traveling carnival that is the presidential race, shall we? I don't mean the obvious strain of the disease, the DTs. Donald Trump sickness is a well-known contagion by now, a virus that attacks the especially vulnerable: aging, white men who never went to college. Their withdrawal from the elixir of power granted by the accident of birth has been painful to watch, and perhaps we should not be surprised when they raise their voices in a barking chorus to the good old days of Jim Crow and sodomy laws and no abortion rights, back when America was great, remember? A caterwauling, red-faced, orange-haired, psychopathic buffoon presides over a sea of followers trembling with deprivation, and in their delirium they hallucinate unclean spirits wielding the glittering knives of castration: Mexicans and blacks and Muslims and menstruating women. No, Donald Trump's overt hatred of women'--his reference to breastfeeding as ''disgusting,'' to various women as ''fat pigs,'' as 9s or 10s, as ''dogs,'' his suggestion that sexual assault in the military should be expected if men and women serve together, his routine humiliations of young women in beauty pageants, his references to Hillary Clinton as ''a nasty, mean enabler'' in her marriage, as a bigot, liar, and cheat'--has been well documented.
No, I am interested in the far more subtle variation of the misogyny illness, the one that lurks behind phrases such as ''even-handed'' and ''fair-minded,'' that low-grade fever that caused Matt Lauer to continually interrupt Hillary Clinton's sharp, specific answers to his questions in the Commander in Chief Forum on NBC (thank god Clinton stood up and ignored him), and which also prompted him to allow Donald Trump to ramble on in incoherent sentence fragments about secret plans for defeating ISIS in thirty days, as if such nonsense were serious political discourse. Would our ''fair-minded'' journalist have treated a male candidate the way he treated Hillary Clinton? I ask you to search your souls, men and women alike. My answer is no.
I can hear the yowls of opposition. As with racism, it is easy to blame sexism on something'--anything'--else. She's so unpopular. People don't trust her. What about the emails? Whatever errors were made, they seem to be more about appearance than reality. (See Fred Kaplan's explanation in Slate, ''The Hillary Clinton Email Scandal Was Totally Overblown.'') It has further been forgotten by the press that Clinton was a well-liked Secretary of State, that she had a high ''popularity rating.'' But a woman appointed to a cabinet position is different from a woman whose very presence on the campaign trail screams ambition. The woman has a quality alarming to many: Hillary Clinton believes she can be President of the United States. That in itself is an emasculating proposition. Men don't like to take orders from women. Perhaps you have noticed this. Many women don't like to take orders from women either. What appears attractive and natural in a man'--an aggressive defense of his principles, issuing decrees, rulings, proclamations, even firing people from their jobs on TV'--is perceived as unseemly, loud, uppity, grating, unnatural and even ugly in a woman.
It fascinates me that although few Democrats would deny that deep-seated prejudices against women exist in our culture, the sexism that has dogged Hillary Clinton her entire career, the absurd scrutiny of her hair and clothing and cleavage, has not elicited the outrage one might expect in the popular media, despite the fact that feminist sites on the Internet have kept a scrupulous record of the ongoing petty assaults on Secretary Clinton. Matt Lauer has done the country a service, and I thank him for it. Interrupting women, treating them with condescension and disdain are symptoms of the low-grade infection caused by the virus that has afflicted millions of people in the United States, and not only in red states. Watching it play out on national television caused countless women and men to express justifiable fury. There is no pill for the virus. What is required of every one of us is self-examination and a high degree of reflective consciousness about who we are as citizens of the United States and who we want to be in the future.
Pipelines
BREAKING: Massive U.S. Pipeline Blows Open Spilling 250k Gallons Of Gas, State Of Emergency Declared
Sat, 17 Sep 2016 14:09
More than 250,000 gallons of gasoline have spilled since a major Alabama pipeline exploded open. According to Colonial Pipeline officials, that is the equivalent of 6,000 barrels of gasoline. It should be noted that a spokesman for Colonial stated that number is only an estimation.
'It's not safe for our workers to recover much product off of the pond due to gasoline vapors. It's a challenge for us to do much because the vapors are not at safe levels for human health. So that presents a challenge to say how much has been released'
The Colonial Pipeline supplies much of the fuel for the Southeast and could lead to a fuel shortage and increased gas prices for much of the region.
'Based on current projections and consultations with industry partners, parts of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina will be the first markets to be impacted by any potential disruption in supply.
Colonial has briefed officials in these states and will continue to provide timely information to the public so that they can plan accordingly.'
In response, Alabama Governor Robert Bently has declared a state of emergency. This order allows for fuel truck drivers to work longer longer shifts and go over the allotted hourly limit set by the Department of Transportation. Additionally, Georgia governor Nathan Deal has also declared a state of emergency.
'I, Robert Bentley, Governor of the State of Alabama, do hereby declare that a State of Emergency exists in the State of Alabama and for the purpose pursuant to 49 CFR Section 390.23 of facilitating a waiver to the U.S. Department of Transportation- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, specifically 49 CFR Section 395 (Hours of Services for Drivers) as it relates to pipeline repair and transportation of fuel, I do hereby declare a State of Emergency for thirty (30) days unless sooner terminated. During this State of Emergency, any rule, regulation, or practice of the gas industry contrary to this declaration of emergency is hereby suspended until this Proclamation is terminated.'
Colonial Oil has stressed that there is no risk to the public safety and that the safety and health of their first responders are their main concern at the moment. They've also said that they are taking steps to ensure that the environmental impact is minimal.
'There has been no threat to public health or safety, and the safety of the responders remains the top concern. Measures to protect the environment have been in place since the early hours of the response. Out of an abundance of caution, the Federal Government has restricted the airspace above the release location to further protect responders, personnel and the public. This is a decision that Colonial supports.'
Theis pipeline spill is Colonial's largest in 20 years, but, so far, it has gotten little in the way of media coverage aside from local news outlets. This might be due to the fact that the spill, currently, appears to be under control though the increased gas prices could cause problems for the region's economy.
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No There There
LEAKED PENTAGON MEMO... [Disturbing] - Allen B. West - AllenBWest.com
Thu, 08 Sep 2016 05:18
I've often wondered what would happen if Barack Obama saw the real enemies of the State as he does his political opposition. If that were the case, we'd certainly have a more stable and secure global environment. When Obama tries to give Vladimir Putin a ''stare down,'' Putin knows there is no there, there.
However, one thing's for sure, Obama despises his political opposition and will do anything to destroy, denigrate and discredit them, and that includes damaging our national security'...as a recently uncovered Pentagon memo brings to light.
As reported by Politicopro.com, ''The Pentagon has crafted a secret plan to play ''hardball'' against House Speaker Paul Ryan's defense spending proposal, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO that calls for pitting the House and Senate against each other, capitalizing on the ''discomfort'' of one key Republican lawmaker and finding ways to undermine the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Advertisement - story continues belowThe five-page strategy blueprint also suggests possibly enlisting top military brass to help make the case that the Republican speaker's budget ''gimmick'' would weaken the nation's defenses.
The memo, prepared for Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Deputy Secretary Bob Work, reads at times like an intelligence assessment of congressional leaders. It provides an unusually clear window into the tactics the Defense Department's top officials are using in an increasingly partisan feud over their budget '' particularly striking for an agency that seeks to avoid the perception of involvement in election-year politics.
The strategy it lays out will come to a head as Congress returns Tuesday, and will probably spill into the lame-duck session, as the House and Senate decide whether to include an extra $18 billion in war funding in the final defense authorization and appropriations bills they send to President Barack Obama.The White House strongly objects to Ryan's proposal to boost the Pentagon's budget without increasing domestic spending, both of which are under tight caps imposed by a 2011 spending deal.''We should attack'' Ryan's plan ''and be prepared to play hardball opposing it,'' says the May 13 memo, which calls for applying both ''public and private pressure'' on lawmakers to ensure the House Republican proposal doesn't become law. That includes appealing to ''media commentators'' to help make the department's case and possibly having Carter lobby congressional Democrats at one of their caucus meetings '' a step that it acknowledges ''risks the appearance of partisanship.''
In assessing the motivations of House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry , the memo says the Texas Republican is ''still smarting'' from tactics the White House used in last year's bout with Congress over defense spending. Asked to respond to the memo, a Republican aide to Thornberry's panel said it was striking ''how cynical it is.''
''This isn't a game of poker '' this is national security,'' said the aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity. ''They see the chairman's legitimate oversight concerns and policy concerns that he is trying to address in the bill as nothing more than a talking point.'' Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said he would not discuss ''internal department deliberations'' but added the department's ''strong opposition to the House proposal should not be a surprise.''
If there's one thing that shouldn't be politicized, it's our national security. We're coming up on the 15th anniversary of 9-11 '-- sadly many don't even recall that fateful day. It's a day I'll never forget, watching the plane on a live feed, strike the second tower in NYC and then seeing the crash at the Pentagon, where a very close friend, retired LTC and Texas State Senator Brian Birdwell, was horribly burned and scarred for life.
On that day, the Islamic jihadists didn't seek out a building with Democrats or Republicans, they sought to kill Americans. And how utterly sad '-- pathetic actually '-- that we have a memo from the very same Pentagon using the terminology of ''attacking'' funding for our military. And how dare this ''president'' '' still struggling with that '-- hold our men and women in uniform and their families hostage for increased domestic spending for his vision of expanding the welfare nanny-state and the dependency society?
I will ask a simple question, what freaking rock did this guy crawl out from under? And even worse, how could we, this great nation, America, elect and reelect someone so seemingly demented and misguided in upholding the most vital oath, to protect the American people? What type of person is Barack Obama and his progressive socialist acolytes that they'd play Russian roulette with our national security?
And let me be very blunt: whom does Secretary of Defense Ash Carter serve?
So, this person masquerading as our SecDef is going up on Capitol Hill to lobby against our men and women in uniform? It appears he's nothing more than a puppet caring little about those in uniform who stand upon freedom's rampart, dedicated to safeguarding our way of life, liberty, and our pursuit of happiness.
We can ill afford to allow this scourge to hold power in America any more. Now, I've written on countless occasions about how we need to rein in the Department of Defense and make it fiscally accountable. I support auditing the DoD. But, who among you can agree with this memo '-- which obviously some brave person in the Pentagon leaked '-- someone with a conscience. And I can only imagine the witch hunt going on to find the leak. May God bless them and protect them.
There can be no debate that the sequestration has adversely affected our defense readiness. I abhor budget gimmicks, but at this time when we have combat aviation maintenance crews scouring bone yards and museums for spare parts we're at a critical moment. And instead of playing partisan political games, we should be ''providing for the common defense.''
''The newly obtained strategy memo spells out the Pentagon's tactics in greater detail. The blueprint '' written by Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord and legislative affairs chief Stephen Hedger, both former congressional aides '' describes Obama's threat to veto this year's defense policy and spending bills as ''the principal weapon at our disposal.''
But it also says Carter might have to take an ''all in'' approach to opposing the House GOP plan. At times, the memo appears to step up to the edge of what tactics are considered acceptable for the Pentagon as it lobbies Congress.
In discussing its efforts to keep outside experts ''informed'' about its opposition to Ryan's plan, for example, it adds that ''the department cannot advocate that such individuals take any specific actions.''
At issue is a move by House leaders this year and last year to use a supplemental war spending account, called ''Overseas Contingency Operations,'' to increase overall defense spending while leaving other federal agencies under strict congressional budget caps. The Defense Department's base budget is subject to these caps, but its war-spending account is not '' so Republicans have sought to game the system by using overseas money to fund base programs.''Now, perhaps if we had a commander in chief who didn't do as he did last year, and veto the first draft of last year's defense authorization bill over the very same issue, it wouldn't come to this. But obviously Obama doesn't understand we provide for the common defense'...not provide for the common welfare, in the Constitution.
Barack Obama and his minions have reached some very low lows, but this one beats them all, in my assessment. He's dispatching the Secretary of Defense to Capitol Hill to lobby against his political opposition seeking to strengthen our defense posture and care for those who bear the burden of our national security.
This memo reflects such a depraved state of mind and existence that it's unconscionable to believe this is happening in our America. So, let me close by saying, the day Obama departs the White House cannot come soon enough'...and think as you may, he must not be replaced by someone like Hillary Clinton who is even more corrupt, deceitful and destructive.
BLM
Cal State LA offers segregated housing for black students - The College Fix
Thu, 08 Sep 2016 03:25
Cal State LA offers segregated housing for black students
'A safe space for Black CSLA students '...'
California State University Los Angeles recently rolled out segregated housing for black students.
The arrangement comes roughly nine months after the university's Black Student Union issued a set of demands in response to what its members contend are frequent ''racist attacks'' on campus, such as ''racially insensitive remarks'' and ''microaggressions'' by professors and students. One demand was for a ''CSLA housing space delegated for Black students.''
''[It] would provide a cheaper alternative housing solution for Black students. This space would also serve as a safe space for Black CSLA students to congregate, connect, and learn from each other,'' the demand letter stated.
The newly debuted Halisi Scholars Black Living-Learning Community ''focuses on academic excellence and learning experiences that are inclusive and non-discriminatory,'' Cal State LA spokesman Robert Lopez told The College Fix via email.
The public university has 192 furnished apartments in a residential complex on campus, and the Halisi community will be located there, Lopez said, adding it joins other themed living-learning communities already housed there.
Lopez declined to answer any additional questions or provide more details on the new community, such as how many rooms it encompasses, and whether it's a whole floor or just a few rooms.
Cal State LA joins UConn, UC Davis and Berkeley in offering segregated housing dedicated to black students. While these housing options are technically open to all students, they're billed and used as arrangements in which black students can live with one another.
MORE: 'Orwellian,' 'ghettoization': Criticisms mount against UConn's dorm wing for black males
MORE: Universities, students of color embrace segregated spaces on campus
Meanwhile, at Cal State LA, campus leaders took down much of the online information on the new housing that it posted in late July. And university housing officials and other campus officials rebuffed requests by The College Fix for more details.
If campus leaders are proud of the new housing, they appear disinclined to talk about it.
CSULA's Housing Services page offers one paragraph on the new black living-learning community, calling it an effort to ''enhance the residential experience for students who are a part of or interested in issues of concern to the black community living on campus by offering the opportunity to connect with faculty and peers, and engage in programs that focus on academic success, cultural awareness, and civic engagement.''
In addition to the Black Student Union's housing demand, the group also demanded a $30 million dollar scholarship endowment to aid black students, three new black faculty counselors, a new anti-discrimination policy and cultural competency course for faculty and students, and finally, a meeting with the president for them to discuss the ''fulfillment and implementation of each demand.''
After the Halisi housing community was announced, the Black Student Union celebrated on its Instagram page, calling it a ''long overdue, but well deserved'' achievement, Young America's Foundation reports.
Members of Cal State LA's Black Student Union declined requests for comment from The College Fix.
Young America's Foundation quoted from the Halisi housing application prior to university officials taking it offline. Rules students who seek to live in Halisi must agree to include ''respect the differences of others that live in my community and look for positive thing to learn from them,'' ''be an advocate for change if the tools and resources available are deemed inadequate,'' and ''accept that I am still learning and need to be open to new ideas and experiences.''
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About the Author
Jeremy Beaman studies English and Philosophy at the University of Mobile, AL. He writes for The College Conservative, Positive Press Mobile and contributes regularly to the university magazine, The Torch. He has also contributed to the state's major news organization, AL.com, as well as the Alabama Baptist state newspaper. His major interests include politics, languages, religion and public life. He is originally from Huntsville, AL.
Zika
Larvicide Manufactured By Sumitomo, Not Zika Virus, True Cause Of Brazil's Microcephaly Outbreak: Doctors : HEALTH : Tech Times
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 06:26
The microcephaly outbreak in Brazil, which coincided with the spread of the Zika virus, continues to stun the world, even months after the incident was first reported.
Pregnant women all over the world have been advised to take caution. The Zika virus infection has been linked to newborn babies with the birth defect microcephaly. This is a congenital condition in which babies are born with unusually tiny heads.
The notion, however, has recently been challenged by a group of Argentine physicians. The group suspects that the Zika virus is not to blame for the rise in microcephaly cases, but that a toxic larvicide introduced into Brazil's water supplies may be the real culprit.
Not A Coincidence?
According to the Physicians in Crop-Sprayed Towns (PCST), a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was injected into Brazil's water supplies in 2014 in order to stop the development of mosquito larvae in drinking water tanks.
The chemical, which is known as Pyriproxyfen, was used in a massive government-run program tasked to control the mosquito population in the country. Pyriproxyfen is a larvicide manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a company associated [PDF] with Monsanto. However, PCST has referred to Sumitomo as a subsidiary of Monsanto.
"Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen to drinking water is not a coincidence," the PCST wrote [pdf] in the report.
For instance, the Brazilian Health Ministry had injected pyriproxyfen to reservoirs in the state of Pernambuco. In the area, the proliferation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus, is very high, the PCST said.
Pernambuco is also the first state in Brazil to notice the problem. The state contains 35 percent of the total microcephaly cases in the country.
The group of Argentine doctors points out that during past Zika epidemics, there have not been any cases of microcephaly linked with the virus. In fact, about 75 percent of the population in countries where Zika broke out had been infected by the mosquito-borne virus.
In countries such as Colombia where there are plenty of Zika cases, there are no records of microcephaly linked to Zika, the group said.
When the Colombian president announced that many of the country's citizens were infected with Zika but that there was not a single case of microcephaly, the allegations soon emerged. Some 3,177 pregnant women in the country were infected with Zika, but the PCST report said these women are carrying healthy fetuses or had given birth to healthy babies.
Remain Skeptical
On its website, Sumitomo Chemical says pyriproxyfen poses minimal risk to birds, fish and mammals.
However, the evidence is overwhelming. The Washington Post reported in January that after experts examined 732 cases out of 4,180 Zika-related microcephaly, more than half were not related to Zika at all. Only 270 cases were confirmed as Zika-linked microcephaly.
On top of all the suspicions, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been careful not to explicitly link Zika to microcephaly.
"Although a causal link between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly '-- and I must emphasize '-- has not been established, the circumstantial evidence is suggestive and extremely worrisome," said WHO General Director Margaret Chan.
In the meantime, scientists are currently racing toward developing a vaccine for the mosquito-borne infection.
While there is no solid proof yet that the larvicide causes microcephaly, the local government of Grande do Sul in the southern portion of Brazil suspended the use of the chemical larvicide pyriproxyfen.
A Monsanto representative reached out to Tech Times to clarify that the company does not sell or manufacture pyriproxyfen.
"Neither Monsanto nor our products have any connection to the Zika virus or microcephaly. Monsanto does not manufacture or sell Pyriproxyfen. And, Monsanto does not own Sumitomo Chemical Company. It is, however, a business partner like others in the area of crop protection," the representative said.
Pyriproxyfen manufacturer Sumitomo Chemical also released a statement to reassure that its product is safe for use.
"Pyriproxyfen, after going through extensive toxicological testing, has shown no effects on the reproductive system or nervous system in mammals, and has been approved and registered for use in the past 20 years by the authorities of around 40 countries around the world," Sumitomo said. "...despite long term and widespread use in many different settings no correlation with microcephaly has been reported."
(C) 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-Obama angrily berates black caucus: You 'insult' my legacy if you don't turn out for Clinton - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 14:18
VIDEO-CIA director "wouldn't be surprised" by more hacks on election system - CBS News
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 13:35
The Colin Powell email hack is not the first -- and likely won't be the last -- leak of private information from within the U.S. political system.
John Brennan, the director of the CIA, told CBS News' Jeff Pegues that Russian hackers have been breaking into U.S. political websites for years.
PlayVideo
CBSNFBI investigating voting systems hackOfficials are saying that the U.S. has a "late start" in protecting state elections, and that Russia may be responsible for recent database hacki...
Brennan discussed the cyber attacks on state election systems and the Democratic National Committee, saying he does not specifically blame Russia -- but he did point to Russia's history of election meddling in other countries'‹.
He also told us that he expects more breached information to be released by hackers before the election.
''I certainly wouldn't be surprised if we see it coming out,'' Brennan told Pegues.
''I think there are capabilities that a number of our adversaries have -- and again I'm not just talking about nation states or other countries -- I'm talking about individuals who may want to demonstrate that they're able to hack into systems and release things for whatever their agenda might be, whether it be a political agenda or one that is just trying to undermine our system of democracy here.''
While Brennan didn't specifically blame Russia for the hacks, multiple law enforcement sources tell CBS News the evidence they are seeing points toRussia being behind the attacks atsome level'‹.
(C) 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-US Lashes Out at Russia Over Emergency Meeting - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:39
VIDEO-Obama Says "I Will Consider It A Personal Insult" If Donald Trump Is Elected!" - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:37
VIDEO-Renzi shatters illusion of unity in Bratislava
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:32
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Tap to find outItaly's prime minister has declared himself ''not satisfied'' by the first post-Brexit EU summit in Bratislava.
Matteo Renzi says he declined to share a podium with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande as he did not ''share their conclusions'' in the Slovak capital.
There has been minimal progress but the EU is still ''far'' from meeting the challenges it must address after Brexit, Renzi said.
What were his complaints?Renzi said there had been no step forwards on migration.
This, along with post-Brexit growth, was one of the two key topics on the agenda.
Solutions to the migrant problem, identified at a summit in Malta earlier this year, ''have remained a dead letter'' and ''we want to see facts on migrants'', Renzi told reporters.
''We are doing our bit on migrants and we are ready to do so alone if necessary.''
The EU's austerity policy clearly ''hasn't worked'', Renzi said, stressing the need for new approaches to try and stoke growth across the bloc.
The summit ''was not a waste of time, but describing today's document on migrants as a step forward requires an imagination worthy of 'word jugglers'. The usual things were said again''.
''Investing in growth, not austerity''''Clear choices'' must now be made ahead of a key EU summit in Rome next March, Renzi continued, ''if we want to be able to give responses to meet the challenges that have come with Brexit.''
Citing an earlier meeting on the Italian island of Ventotene to chart a post-Brexit course with Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, Renzi said Rome wanted to promote an idea of Europe that ''invests in growth, not austerity''.
What happened in Bratislava?EU leaders, struggling to overcome an historic crisis in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the EU, agreed to explore closer defence cooperation and boost security at their external borders.
However, they could not hide deep divisions over refugees and economic policy.
With the British contingent conspicuous by their absence, the 27 other members unveiled a six-month ''road-map'' of measures designed to restore public confidence in Brussels.
But several leaders, including Matteo Renzi and Hungary's Viktor Orban, shattered the facade of unity as soon as the meeting ended.
They underscored significant divisions after years of economic crisis, a record influx of migrants and a series of deadly attacks by Islamist militants.
The post-summit comments tarnished a meeting that had been meant to send out a message of unity.
The Brexit vote in June triggered what European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has described as an ''existential crisis'' for the EU.
VIDEO-EU tries to portray unity amid splits on migration
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:26
As EU officials admit, the European Union faces an existential crisis.
After the British voted to leave the bloc, splits have emerged on key polices such as migration and defence.
Time then, in true Brussels tradition, for a summit '' without the UK '' and a show of unity.
The meeting took place in Bratislava, Slovakia as that country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the EU was in a ''critical situation''
''You can't solve all Europe's problems in one summit. What we have to do is show in our deeds we can do things better in the realms of security and fighting terrorism, and in the field of defence,'' she added in a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande.
Brexit might not have been on the agenda, but future divorce talks with the UK very much overshadowed this meeting.
The British government will need to work out whether it is willing to swap the current terms for access to the single market in return for tighter immigration controls.
But Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who now leads the European Council, warned there would be no cherry-picking.
''It's nothing controversial among the 27 leaders that our procedures our rules described very precisely in our Treaty are here to protect our interests, the 27 countries', not those of the leaving country,'' he told reporters.
The leaders may want to project the image of being one big happy family, but it will take more than just talk to win back the trust of voters.
Other Eurosceptic parties are making gains across the continent, especially in France and Germany.
EU officials know they need to make a better case for Europe, otherwise Brexit may not be a one-off.
VIDEO-Crucial German vote looms on huge CETA trade deal
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:16
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Tap to find outA crucial voteThe political future of Germany's vice chancellor may hinge on the outcome of a vote next week by his Social Democrats (SPD) over whether to back a trade deal between the EU and Canada.
SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel has championed the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) as part of his remit as economy minister.
His centre-left party is understood to be keen to prove its business credentials.
CETA vs TTIPSigmar Gabriel ruffled feathers last month when he said talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) had ''de facto'' failed.
However, he views CETA, due to be signed by Brussels and Ottawa next month prior to full ratification by EU member states' parliaments, as a chance for the West to set new standards for trade deals and act as a counter-weight to China's economic might.
What do the critics say?They are sceptical about the benefits of both deals.
Some think it would give multinational companies greater access to European markets without creating jobs.
Vote due on MondayDelegates at Monday's SPD convention will vote on the CETA accord.
A failure to win a majority in favour could scupper Gabriel's chances of standing as the party's candidate for chancellor in national elections next year.
Analysts say it could also unleash a dangerous power struggle within the party.
The SPD is the junior partner in the coalition government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.
The politicsAnalysts say rejecting the CETA could further upset the balance within the coalition.
Merkel is looking to the SPD to counter a growing rift between her CDU party and its conservative CSU allies in Bavaria over her refugee policy.
They say a majority SPD vote in favour of CETA would give Gabriel a much-needed shot-in-the-arm.
Protests crank up the pressureOpponents of CETA and TTIP organised demonstrations against both agreements in seven cities across Germany on Saturday.
The organisers expected more than 250,000 to attend.
What they are saying''If he loses the vote and if he decided to step down on the back of it, then there will be chaos,'' '' Gero Neugebauer, Berlin Free University.
VIDEO-Reid Gets Angry About Polls Showing Trump Rise: 'Your Numbers Are Not Fair' - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:10
VIDEO-Nancy Pelosi blames Clinton's poll troubles on third-party candidates - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 06:07
VIDEO-Jake Tapper: Donald Trump rick-rolled us - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:57
VIDEO-CNN complains that mocking the media undermines American democracy, compares it to Iraq - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:52
VIDEO-Debbie Wasserman Schultz claims Al Gore won Florida in 2000, MSNBC reporter agrees - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:50
VIDEO-DVIDS - Video - Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Long Term Budgetary Challenges(Clean)
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 05:06
UNITED STATES09.15.2016Courtesy VideoDoD NewsSenate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Long Term Budgetary Challenges
Date Taken:09.15.2016Date Posted:09.15.2016 15:24Category:BriefingsVideo ID:483209Filename:DOD_103663310Length:02:10:56Location:USWeb Views:10Downloads:4High-Res. Downloads:4Podcast Hits:0PUBLIC DOMAIN This work, Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Long Term Budgetary Challenges(Clean), is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.
VIDEO-Rodrigo Duterte: Philippine leader's office denies claims he ordered death squad hits - CNN.com
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 04:56
Senate President Koko Pimentel announced on his verified Facebook page that Edgar Matobato won't be put in protective custody because his life has not been threatened.
"I've denied the request for protective custody of the witness (Edgar) Matobato because there is no Senate rule to justify it," he said. "There's even no showing that his life or safety is threatened."
"We'll be tackling this on Monday, but in the meantime we'll just have to find ways to make sure that our witness will be protected," Sen. Sonny Trillanes told CNN Philippines.
'Our work was to kill'
In testimony Thursday, Matobato said he was part of the 300-member "Davao Death Squad" (DDS), which he alleges was run on the orders of Duterte.
"Our work was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers. Those were the people we killed every day," Matobato said.
Duterte's office denied the claims made by Matobato on Thursday, and said the President was "unfazed" by the Senate investigation.
"The Duterte administration is committed to a platform of a peaceful, crime-free, corruption-free nation that is not affected by any controversy," presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
Unreliable witness?
Some have called Matobato's testimony into question, including Duterte's son Paolo -- the current Vice Mayor of Davao City.
Matobato said in his testimony that Paolo Duterte ordered the killing of Richard King, a billionaire businessman over a woman.
The King family's legal counsel, Deolito Alvarez, called the accusations "completely false" in a text message to CNN.
"I am convinced that the accused who are facing the charge in court are the perpetrators," he said. "The statement of witness Matobato in trying to cast cloud and put politics into the equation is not true."
Paolo Duterte responded in a statement, saying "What de Lima and this certain Matobato say in public are bare allegations in the absence of proof. They are mere hearsay. I will not dignify with an answer the accusations of a madman."
'Systematic failure'
A 2012 investigation by the Commission on Human Rights found that from 2005 until 2009, "there was a systematic practice of extrajudicial killings, which can be attributed or attributable to a vigilante group or groups dubbed in the media as the Davao Death Squad."It also found there was a "systematic failure on the part of local officials to conduct any meaningful investigation into said killings," and recommended that a local ombudsman investigate whether Duterte was criminally liable for "his inaction in the face of evidence of numerous killings committed in Davao city and his toleration of the commission of these offenses."
The report noted that there was a "dearth of evidence" to conclude that local police or local government was directly complicit in the extrajudicial killings.
Duterte's war on drugs
Duterte has come under increasing international criticism for his war on drugs.
Philippines National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa told CNN that as of 8 a.m. local time Friday, 2,035 deaths were under investigation -- though not all were classified as drug related -- and 1,105 people had been killed in police operations.
Testifying before the Senate committee on August 23, dela Rosa said that local police "follow the rule of law," and that there was no shoot-to-kill order despite the growing toll of bodies piling up in the wake of Duterte's crackdown.
Duterte came into office with huge public support after he vowed to clean up the country of drugs and corruption.
CNN's Ivan Watson, Chieu Luu, Tiffany Ap and Kathy Quiano and Christy Leung and journalist Charie Villa contributed to this report
VIDEO-National Guard in Area Training NYC Explosion Fox News Reporter 9/17/2016 - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 04:33
VIDEO-Black Woman Vegetarian Burrito Boom Fox News Interview NYC Explosion 9/17/2016 - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 04:28
VIDEO-Haitian President EXPOSES the Clinton Foundation: "Hillary Clinton tried to bribe me!" - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 03:15
VIDEO-Hilary Clinton supporters started the Obama 'birther' claims. - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 02:55
VIDEO-LiveLeak.com - Hillary Clinton Rally Greensboro, NC 9-15-2016
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 02:43
Hillary Clinton Rally Greensboro, NC 9-15-2016
Someone logically explain this bc I can't.
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VIDEO-Morning Joe And Mika REMIND Everyone Who ACTUALLY Began Birtherism!! - YouTube
Sun, 18 Sep 2016 02:39
VIDEO-Trump's Ritual Humiliation Of The Media Will Make Him Even More Popular - Breitbart
Sat, 17 Sep 2016 18:00
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It was a rout. A thrashing. A washout. Daddy Trump has conquered the media, burned its corpse, and salted the earth of its grave. I couldn't be more erect.The Donald executed a stunning bait-and-switch yesterday, first teasing the media that he was going to make a statement on Obama's birth certificate. Expecting a wild, outlandish comment that would reverse his polling surge, the cameras of the media descended on Trump's new hotel in Washington D.C '... only to witness a stream of military veterans endorsing Trump, which the media was forced to broadcast to the entire country.
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Trump's actual comments on Obama were limited to a single sentence: ''Obama was born in the U.S., period.'' Daddy managed to achieve free publicity for his new hotel, a nationwide broadcast of support for his campaign from military veterans, and simultaneously put to bed allegations that he is a ''birther'' '-- something that will ease concerns from independent and moderate voters. Jake Tapper called it a ''political rick-roll.''
Trolling the media, particularly with the effortless skill of Trump, is a guaranteed path to popularity in politics. Last week, a Gallup poll showed trust in the the media at a shocking 32 percent '-- an all-time low. The more Trump humiliates the media, the more he will gain in the polls.
The media may whine that they ''got played'' in the unintentionally hilarious words of CNN's John King, but very few voters are going to feel sorry for them. Instead, they will see Trump's tactics as a perfectly legitimate '' and masterful '' response to a biased, broken media.
The media have no right to feel sorry for themselves either. Their sycophantic attitude towards Hillary Clinton and the Democrats is now well-established, as is their deeply entrenched bias towards conservatives and Republicans. The media is constantly looking for opportunities to humiliate Trump, and Trump, in response, is looking to humiliate them.
They keep losing.
But they can't complain that he plays the game better than they do '-- after all, they're the ones who made the rules in the first place. In Trump's campaign arsenal, few tactics are more likely to cement his popularity than his hilarious ability to troll the media. In an age where journalists are rightly despised, even people who hate Trump are secretly cheering him on.
VIDEO-This Video Of Keith Olbermann's 176 Reasons Trump Shouldn't Be President Is Going Viral
Sat, 17 Sep 2016 14:47
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Famed television host Keith Olbermann returned to the public eye today with the launch of his webseries, The Closer with Keith Olbermann, which he began with a bang '' hitting Republican nominee Donald Trump and naming a list of 176 reasons why Donald Trump is unqualified to be the President of the United States.
'Every few generations we Americans are called upon to defend our country. To defend it not so much from foreign dictators or war or terrorism, but from those here who have no commitment to progress or Democracy or representative government, no commitment to anything except their own out-of-control minds and the bottomless pits of their egos' says Olbermann before launching into a lengthy dismemberment of the greedy, narcissistic real estate mogul's platform.
Olbermann's wit and excellent analysis returns just in time, with just two months until the election. We look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.
VIDEO-Bill Nye: Climate change to blame for Louisiana floods - CNN.com
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 22:16
"This is a result of climate change," Nye told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" Tuesday. "It's only going to get worse."
The unprecedented floods damaged more than 60,000 homes and killed 13 people. But because the flooding was caused by smaller individual storms, it didn't attract the attention and response that larger storms -- such as hurricanes Sandy, Katrina or Rita -- garnered.
Nye said due to the effects of climate change, the region will be hit again by these smaller storms and suffer more catastrophic floods.
"As the ocean gets warmer, which it is getting, it expands," he explained. "And then as the sea surface is warmer, more water evaporates. And so it's very reasonable that these storms are connected to these big effects."
Lost lives and damaged homes won't be the only tragic effects, either. The storms will be just as devastating in the long-term.
"What will probably happen is people will move," Nye said.
If enough people leave, the population loss would be a huge detriment to Louisiana's economy. It took more than five years for the state's population to return to the level it was before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
VIDEO-CANADA-SJW Attacking Student for Wearing "unsafe" Hat [MRU, Calgary, Canada] - YouTube
Fri, 16 Sep 2016 05:24
VIDEO-SJW Attacking Student for Wearing "unsafe" Hat [MRU, Calgary, Canada] - YouTube
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 23:13
-----START OF 861--VIDEO----Don't Let Obama Give Away the Internet | Ted Cruz | U.S. Senator for Texas
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 20:56
The Obama administration is pushing through a radical proposal to take control of Internet domains and instead give it to an international organization, ICANN, that includes 162 foreign countries. If that proposal goes through, countries like Russia, China, and Iran could be able to censor speech on the Internet, including here in the U.S. by blocking access to sites they don't like.
Right now, the Obama administration's proposal to give away the Internet is an extraordinary threat to our freedom and it's one that many Americans don't know anything about. It is scheduled to go into effect September 30, 2016. Congress must act before it's too late!
Op/Eds:
Additional Resources:
The Protecting Internet Freedom Act has received wide support from the technology and conservative communities:
''U.S. oversight has maintained an open and free Internet and there is no reason to doubt that that would continue if the current contract is extended to ensure that the new, substantially different ICANN will work as envisioned. Cruz's legislation would provide an important Congressional check on the system to ensure that any transition is in the best interest of the U.S. and Internet freedom more broadly.''- Heritage Action
''The power of the Internet should be free, open, and available for all Americans and all the people of the world. It should not be taxed, over-regulated, policed and/or spied on by Washington bureaucrats or bureaucrats overseas. The Cruz-Duffy legislation raises important questions as to how we best protect the Internet which has delivered great progress, promises more and threatens powerful interests--both political and economic.''- Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
''The Internet is far too important to rush this transition. Unfortunately, the Administration has viewed this transition as a cheap way to recover the global political credibility it lost because of the Snowden revelations and its own stubborn resistance to real surveillance reforms. They simply haven't been willing to negotiate to protect ICANN's multi-stakeholder model. Congress has already told NTIA to cease further work, and been ignored. It's time to mandate Congressional approval of the transition. This would not only ensure more meaningful transparency and accountability mechanisms, it could also address two potentially catastrophic legal issues: First, if a U.S. court finds that the IANA function constituted government property, it could unwind the deal. Second, without a contractual link to the U.S. government, ICANN may be vulnerable to antitrust suits. If that happened, it would push the organization right into the hands of the ITU to regain antitrust immunity '-- and the Internet would fall under the sway of foreign governments.''- Berin Sz"ka, President, TechFreedom
''Regimes around the world are dangerously intent on squashing Internet freedom. We must be very careful not to allow them to extend their influence over the very core of the Internet. The Protecting Internet Freedom Act will ensure that the representatives of the American people in Congress are convinced of the airtight merits of any proposed transition plan before it advances. There is only one shot to get such a move right.'' - Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO, National Religious Broadcasters
''In the wake of the announcement that ICANN's multi-stakeholder architect Fade Chehade will be a senior advisor to the Chinese government which seeks to dismantle the ICANN governance system, it would be dangerous and foolhardy to proceed with the Internet transition until the full impact of Chehade's changing sides has been taken into account.''- Rick Manning, President, Americans for Limited Government
''Senator Cruz's Protecting Internet Freedom Act is urgently needed to prevent the risk of a botched ICANN transition giving repressive foreign governments influence over the Internet's domain name system.'' '' Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment
''Proponents of the Internet give away tout a new ''multi-stakeholder'' model and use soothing terms like ''bottom-up'' and ''consensus'' that suggest everyone will work together for the greater good. But what they haven't demonstrated is how an ICANN independent of the United States and our Constitution will remain independent of the Chinese, Russians, North Koreans, Iranians and others around the globe who are unfriendly to democratic values and have used violence to silence their political opposition. As long as the Internet is accountable to the American public through its government and bound by the U.S. Constitution, the Internet will continue to be a modern miracle of freedom. We need every Representative and Senator in Congress to stand up for the American public and for free speech and guaranty that the Internet does not slowly become just one more technology controlled by despots.''- George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom
''As it currently stands, the proposed IANA Stewardship Transition fails adequately to resolve several crucial issues necessary to ensure ICANN's continued legitimacy. Despite all the seeming urgency to complete the transition, the work is far from finished '-- and that's a problem. It's one thing to leave some of the finer details to be worked out post-transition, but several fundamental governance issues remain outstanding, including ICANN's ability to thwart threats of foreign government intrusion, its willingness and ability to ensure a basic level of contractual compliance and respect for property rights among registrars and registries, and its avoidance of antitrust liability risk. In short, it remains clear that ICANN has failed to meet its basic commitments for this transition. By mandating that Congress assess and approve the transition plan, the proposed bill will help to ensure that ICANN remains effective and accountable as it begins its existence as an independent entity.''- Kristian Stout, Associate Director for Innovation Policy, International Center for Law and Economics
''Many among the global community do not respect the values which have allowed the Internet to prosper. Congress must ensure that authority over Internet governance is not granted to those who would undermine such an essential tool for expression and innovation.'' - Andrew F. Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
''The Obama Administration assures us that the surrender wouldn't empower tyrannical foreign governments like Iran, North Korea or Cuba, but that's precisely the result its scheme would have. Among other things, foreign governments would obtain power to determine ICANN's composition, and individual citizens and groups would possess no legal standing to protest. Remember, this is the same Obama Administration that promised, 'If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.' '' Timothy H. Lee, Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, Center for Individual Freedom
''The U.S. must carefully consider its role overseeing the Internet's foundation before turning it over to an unaccountable organization.'' '' Fred Campbell, Director, Tech Knowledge
''The abdication of U.S. oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) would have serious consequences for our national security interests and Constitutional freedoms. Such a move would diminish the role of the U.S. government in guaranteeing Internet freedom by 1) giving foreign governments, including hostile and authoritarian regimes, a greater say in Internet core operating functions, thereby increasing the risk that the Internet could be used as an instrument of warfare; and 2) further empowering foreign governments and non-governmental stakeholders, who are neither obligated to protect the First Amendment nor necessarily inclined to do so, to make decisions regarding Internet freedom that run counter to free speech. It is grossly irresponsible for any president to jeopardize core American interests this way, particularly in the absence of explicit congressional authorization, which the Protecting Internet Freedom Act requires.'' '' Center for Security Policy
''Relinquishing US control over ICANN and its freedom-preserving functions is perilous not just for America, but for the world. The Congress '' not the bureaucracy '' should have final say on whether control over the Internet is ceded to any foreign entity.'' - Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
*Groups supporting the Protecting Internet Freedom Act include: Heritage Action, Americans for Tax Reform, National Religious Broadcasters, American Center for Law and Justice, Center for Security Policy, Americans for Limited Government, TechFreedom, Tech Knowledge, Protect Internet Freedom, American Consumer Institute, Less Government, International Center for Law & Economics, the Center for Individual Freedom, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, American Commitment, Frontiers of Freedom and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.

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Birtherism

Andrea Mitchell-2015-Hilary Clinton supporters started the Obama 'birther' claims.mp3
CNN Burnett-2-Birther Movement Black Pastor Scott-Not Racial.mp3
CNN Burnett-Birther Movement deconstructed-Clinton Launched It.mp3
CNN complains that mocking the media undermines American democracy, compares it to Iraq.mp3
Hillary Clinton Former Campaign Manager Patti Doyle Admits They Originated “Birtherism”…..mp3
Morning Joe And Mika REMIND Everyone Who ACTUALLY Began Birtherism-MAY 2016.mp3

CGI

Bill Clinton-Daily Show-1-Hillary's Healthifinal.mp3
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Elections 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz claims Al Gore won Florida in 2000, MSNBC reporter agrees.mp3
FBI investigating voting systems hack.mp3
Jake Tapper: Donald Trump rick-rolled us.mp3
Jason Chaffetz Made FBI ADMIT That They Covered Up Hillary’s LIES On LIVE TV.mp3
Obama angrily berates black caucus: You 'insult' my legacy if you don't turn out for Clinton.mp3
Quomo on CNN with Nancy Pelosi blames Clinton's poll troubles on third-party candidates.mp3
Reid Gets Angry About Polls Showing Trump Rise: 'Your Numbers Are Not Fair'.mp3
Trump in Miamai-Les Deplorables.mp3
Trump Jr Taxes and Gas Chamber.mp3

F-Russia

BBC WADA-1.mp3
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Donna Brasil with Brolf F-Russia HACKS.mp3
Samantha Power-1-US Lashes Out at Russia Over Emergency Meeting.mp3
Samantha Power-2-Russian UN Ambassador responds.mp3
WHAT NEXT FOR SYRIA'S CEASEFIRE? UN MEETING CANCELLED AT LAST MINUTE.mp3

JCD Clips

ABC report on Trump birther.mp3
Big EU confab italy bails.mp3
bootcamp one.mp3
bootcamp two.mp3
briana keeler cut off.mp3
bruges.mp3
chaffetz serves FBI.mp3
crowd ISO.mp3
Gyerte best clip.mp3
koch brothers fake cakk with walker.mp3
Mainstream media RT.mp3
Matthews told to shut up.mp3
NBC birhter TEASE.mp3
NBC birther Four nAME CALLING.mp3
NBC birther One.mp3
NBC birther Three.mp3
NBC birther Two.mp3
Obama pays for drone strike wtf.mp3
Rachel on birther insance report.mp3
Rachel Two.mp3
Russian embassy Ukraine attacked.mp3
seaside park NJ bomb.mp3
weirdness in Syria.mp3

MIC

Feinstein-attack certain feb 2010.mp3
McCain asks General Sequestration-No Protection-Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Long Term Budgetary Challenges.mp3

Millennials

SJW Attacking Student for Wearing unsafe HatMRU Calgary Canada.mp3

NA-Tech News

Ted Cruz-Don't Let Obama Give Away the Internet.mp3

National Anthem

Southpark national anthem.m4a

NYC Bombing

Black Woman Vegetarian Burrito Boom Fox News Interview NYC Explosion Spet 17 2016.mp3
Hillary Clinton Says “Bombings In New York” – 40 Seconds Later Criticizes Use of Word “Bombing”….mp3
National Guard in Area Training NYC Explosion Fox News Reporter .mp3
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