866: Delay or Avoid

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 59m
October 6th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Sir Ty Tran, Sir Ryan Knight of the Tesla Coil, An Onomous, Terrance Harris, Sir Pnonymous

Associate Executive Producers: Greg Passmore, Richard Riley, Sir Norman McDonough Baron of Partridge Island New Brunswick

Cover Artist: Sir_Sluf


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5 Stories the Media Ignored While Reporting on the Kim Kardashian Robbery
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 21:15
One of the saving graces of the ailing corporate media '-- for the folks setting the agenda, anyhow '-- is its relentless ability to hyper-focus the public's attention on altogether meaningless events.
Take, for instance, an armed robbery that sees property stolen but no one harmed. Such an event is unfortunate, yes, but such is life. People get robbed. It certainly isn't something that should consume the news cycle '-- particularly when developments of actual importance are unfolding around the world.
Yet that's exactly what happened this week after reality TV star Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in Paris on Monday morning. Kardashian, who was in town for Fashion Week, was forced into the bathroom of her hotel room, tied up, and robbed at gunpoint. The perpetrators, men dressed as police officers, stole about $10 million.
Again, it was an unfortunate incident, but the starlet is fine, and Paris officials have assured the Kardashian clan the perpetrators will be brought to justice. At this point, had the celebrity been an average citizen, the media would have likely concluded there was nothing more to the story and moved on. But then, if she were an average citizen, the media wouldn't have covered the story in the first place.
And that's the point.
In truth, the Kim Kardashian incident is precisely the type of filler story the corporate media has used time and again to keep the celebrity-obsessed masses distracted from reality. And while '-- in this instance '-- the bought and paid for networks fixated on the fact that the assailants are still at large, interviewed the starlet's friends about her mental state, and tried to pass off reports of her being tailed prior to the incident as breaking news, there were events taking place in the world that the masses following Kim Kardashian should be informed of.
As such, here are five stories you might've missed while the corporate media was obsessed with Kim Kardashian and her stolen jewelry.
1. DIPLOMACY BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE US IN SYRIA IS DEADFollowing weeks of failed talks and escalating violence in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, diplomatic efforts between Russia and the United States officially cratered on Monday, with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister declaring ''there has been no exchange of information'' between the two countries of late and State Department spokesman John Kirbysaying the U.S. is ''suspending its participation in bilateral channels'' with Russia.
For those paying attention, the news shouldn't have come as a shock. Following a U.S. airstrike that killed 62 Syrian soldiers '-- for which the U.S. blamed bad intel '-- and an attack on a U.N humanitarian convoy near Aleppo that killed a dozen aid workers '-- for which the U.S. blamed Russia '-- the latest Syrian ceasefire brokered by Washington and the Kremlin officially collapsed two weeks ago.
Since then, the fighting in Aleppo has intensified, and the accusations being hurled have grown bolder. One U.S. ambassador equated the Russian air campaign in Syria to ''barbarism.'' Indeed, all the official breakdown of diplomacy regarding Aleppo really means is that the fighting will go on and it will undoubtedly get much worse. The only difference is that now, our leaders don't have to pretend to be trying to talk a way out of it.
2. THE PENTAGON DUMPED HALF A BILLION DOLLARS INTO MAKING PROPAGANDA FOR TERRORISTSOn Monday, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported on the revelation the Department of Defense spent more than $500 million from 2007 to 2011 creating fake news and propaganda for terrorist groups in Iraq. The largest recipient of said funding was a British PR firm.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism writes:
''The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda programme in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.
''Bell Pottinger's output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.''
Once the propaganda items were created, ''the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played,'' says former Bell Pottinger worker Martin Wells.
He goes on:
''If one is looked at in the middle of Baghdad'...you know there's a hit there. If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that's the more interesting one, and that's what they're looking for more, because that gives you a trail.''
In truth, this all sounds like par for the course given what we know about the machinations of the War on Terror.
3. THE PUBLIC GOT A RAW LOOK AT HILLARY CLINTONAudio from hacked emails, recently made public by the Washington Free Beacon, once again highlights Hillary Clinton's flip-flopping ideological nature and her true thoughts about voters. On Monday, the Intercept reported on the new audio, which was recorded at a campaign function in February, pointing out her contradictions:
''Clinton has been inconsistent in the past about espousing political labels. She has at times touted herself as a stalwart liberal. For instance, she said last July: 'I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record in standing up and fighting for progressive values.' But a few months later, she told a group in Ohio: 'You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty.'''
In the new clips, Clinton seems to affirm her fluid ideological state, saying of this year's election cycle that on one hand there's ''the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates,'' and on the other it's ''a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we've done hasn't gone far enough'...''
Of her place in that pageantry, she added:
''I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right. And I don't have much company there. Because it is difficult when you're running to be president, and you understand how hard the job is '-- I don't want to overpromise. I don't want to tell people things that I know we cannot do.''
She also spoke of the supporters of then-challenger Bernie Sanders, suggesting it was disillusionment with the future '-- and not any genuine dislike of her '-- that drove young people to favor the senator from Vermont.
''They're children of the Great Recession,'' she said, ''and they are living in their parents' basement.'' She added that ''if you're feeling like you're consigned to, you know, being a barista'...then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is appealing.''
4. MILLIONS OF RUSSIAN CITIZENS PREPARE FOR NUCLEAR WAROn the heels of the official breakdown of talks to halt the fighting in Aleppo, Syria, the Kremlin ordered emergency preparedness drills to be carried out among the Russian citizenry beginning Tuesday. As Common Dreams reported:
''Amid collapsed diplomatic efforts over Syria and increasing tensions with the United States, the Russian government is beginning emergency response exercises on Tuesday that will include the participation of thousands of government officials and many millions of citizens who will respond to a mock nuclear attack or other large-scale catastrophe.
''The four-day drill will reportedly include 200,000 rescue professionals, tens of thousands of emergency vehicles, and an estimated 40 million civilians from around the country.''
The drills are purportedly intended to ''practice organization of management during civil defense events,'' according to Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov. Though, given the timing '-- literally hours after DOD spokesman John Kirby confirmed U.S.-Russian diplomacy in Syria was over '-- it isn't a reach to interpret this move as the next logical step toward another cold war with Russia.
5. BEES PUT ON ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST FOR FIRST TIME EVERWhile it may not grab headlines like endless global warfare or rampant political criminality, the fate of the bumblebee nevertheless has an extreme impact on the existence of human beings. And as was reported Tuesday, for the first time ever, the bumblebee was recently labeled an endangered species.
''Seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bee in the genus Hylaeus, once the most abundant insects on the tropical islands,'' writes the Free Thought Project, ''are now so scarce that they are one of the state's least observed pollinators.''
The pollination habits of bees are vitally important to the native flowering plants of the ecosystems they occupy. If the bees disappear, certain plants will disappear, which will lead to certain animals disappearing, and so on '-- creating a domino effect.
And that effect would touch human beings as well, as the Free Thought Project highlighted:
''Not only is this driving many species to extinction, but it also poses a grave threat to our agricultural integrity'...The bumblebees' contribution to farms is estimated at $3.5 billion.''
What Kim Kardashian and her jewelry contribute to society is, at the current date, yet to be determined.
An Ex-Pink Panther on His Old Crew Blamed for Robbing Kim Kardashian - The Daily Beast
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 21:49
Expert thieves took $9 million in jewels without leaving a scratch and left on bicycles. A veteran safe cracker says it sounds like his old friends and shares how and why they might have done it.
A gang of armed robbers tied Kim Kardashian up, held her at gunpoint and stole $9 million in jewelry from her at the Hotel de Pourtales in Paris, France. Kardashian was attending Paris Fashion Week and her accommodations were not really a hotel, but a residence of 8 apartments reserved for multi-millionaires. The five-man robbery team quickly overpowered the concierge and specifically asked him to point out Kardashian's apartment. The robbers found her alone in the apartment at around 3 a.m.
Speculation has run rampant in the media concerning the bold and daring heist. With France on lockdown due to the terror recent terror attacks, not many robbers would even brave such a move. In the eyes of the media only the infamous Pink Panthers, a Serbian robbery collective, would be worthy of such a heist. The coordinated, precise, and non-violent strike fits the Pink Panther's modus operandi. It appears that the gentleman robbers with the Mission Impossible playbook have struck again, adding to their mythology and infamy in the criminal underworld.
I asked former Pink Panther and safe cracker extraordinaire, Palve ''Punch'' Stanimirovic, what he thought about the Kardashian heist. Punch used to plan robberies for the YACS, which stands for Yugoslavians, Albanians, Croations, and Serbians. They were the the Pink Panther's predecessors. Stanimirovic's father, Vojislav, pulled off the Vizcaya Heist, robbing Miami's Vizcaya museum of $250,000 in antique silver in 1971 and set the trend for Eastern European burglary crews.
There seems to be a lot of speculation in the media concerning the Kim Kardashian robbery in Paris and who did it. The Pink Panther's name has been floated as the perpetrators. As an ex-member what do you think?
There's a lot of speculation going on behind who did it. If it was the Pink Panthers then they carried out and executed a perfect crime. They just took $9 million worth of jewelry. The media is speculating saying it's the Serbian Pink Panthers. But a lot of people don't have a good picture on the entire Pink Panther organization. They think it's one organization with 400 members and one boss.
And the boss that they're claiming, Dragan Mikic, is only 33-year-old, the same age as Kim Kardashian. This guy was in jail before. A bunch of guys- Montenegrins, Bosnians, Croatians, Serbians- all criminals are a part of this group. And you have the ex-military guys that came from the former Yugoslavia too. These people were a part of the military and when the country broke up they became Ronin, like the Samurai. They don't have a master. No leader. No head and no tail. All they do is they go by their intelligence.
Nobody would be crazy enough to operate in Paris after all the terrorist affairs that just happened in Nice and the South of France. Unless of course they're already in Paris or they travel with the fashion show or the tennis players or the athletes. This is a very prestigious affair. We are talking about Monte Carlo and Paris. These guys do heists and they jump on boats and get away like that. Very movie-like.
(C) Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters
Why do you think Kim Kardashian was targeted and why in Paris?
Kim Kardashian is very active on social media. She likes to expose what she has. She had a diamond ring that's worth $4-5 million. She puts it on social media and therefore everybody else knows about it. This happened to her at this hotel she stayed in. I'm happy that's she not hurt and happy that she didn't have her family there, like her kids. She helped the bandits, the ones that pulled the caper off, because she advertises what she has. Everybody knows that Kanye gave her that ring. She wears it with pride.
If you're a burglar or a robber or someone that was involved with the Pink Panthers you'd want to get something like that. They're claiming $9 million, but you know how much the bandits are going to get? They're only going to get like $2-3 million if they're lucky, if they're very fortunate. If they get $200,000 to 300,000 each for the five or six of them involved that's a score.
If I was an active member of the Pink Panthers today I'd be in Monte Carlo. I'd be in Paris, France. This is where I'd be. This robbery was done in the same exact way that I'd do it. They executed the heist just like I would. I would put on a cop uniform or UPS uniform. Two guys would go in. Three guys outside. You have to have lookouts and they got away on bicycles, not motorcycles, bicycles. That's a very Parisian thing to do.
News reports have claimed that the Pink Panthers are this big organized crime group and it's the same robbers over and over again. How do they plan their heists and more importantly how do they get away with them?
In 1994 they went into the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, three masked men with two lookouts outside. They came in and they took 60 million in diamonds and jewelry. They shot up the place with fully automatic weapons and everybody hit the deck, but not one bullet hole was found. It was all acting, all a show. That's what makes the Pink Panthers amazing thieves. Because the ones that did this, do you think you'll find them? No way, they're probably in Ibiza with Paris Hilton.
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People think it's the same people over and over again, but it's not. It's the one they don't have it. Once you get some money you're relaxing for several years. Everybody knows that Kim Kardashian is an easy target. She's by herself and you know who the people are that work in the service industry in Paris and all over Europe. These are the Croatians and Serbians. These are the waiters, door men, and cleaning people. They work in the modeling industry. And they have friends that have friends that have friends.
It's so easy to pick up a phone and say hey Kim Kardashian is here in room so and so. You know how fast they can set this up? They know the area. They know the hotel because she came there a couple of times already. They just waited for her and they knew she was coming for fashion week. This was a preplanned inside job and they pulled it off. It's only a couple of pieces of jewelry. Five guys went in, they got the concierge, got him to open Kardashian's room. They went in, tied her up, gagged her and took the jewelry and left on bicycles.
Where did the Pink Panther name come from, where did the group originate and what are they like as people?
The Pink Panther name derived from someone hiding some diamonds in a jar of cream like the Peter Sellars movie. That's how they got the name. The Pink Panthers were established in New York a long time ago. They were the YACS and when they got extradited back to Europe that's when they started to become the Pink Panthers. They just changed the name. They're still the YACS.
The YACS were Yugoslavians, Albanians, Croations, and Serbians. That spells YACS and that's the name they gave the crime group. The YACS committed hundreds of robberies in New York in the early '90s. The feds started arrested a bunch of YACS in the New York area. One group was doing ATM's, some doing super markets, others shopping malls, some banks- in every industry there was someone doing burglaries.
I feel like I'm one of the originators of the Pink Panthers. I've been doing this in New York since 1990 and my father before me. I was the youngest and highest ranking member of the YACS. It no longer exists because it was disbanded. What I did was strictly burglaries and robbers, but I went after stuff that is insured. Just like the Pink Panthers. That's why they hit Kim Kardashian. She definitely would have been a target of mine if I was active.
All the Pink Panthers have college educations. They speak multiple languages fluently. They all play soccer. They're athletes. But they blend in. They know how to look like a local. The Pink Panthers they got balls and they show it over and over. They don't hurt anyone. It's not lucrative for them to hurt anyone. That's why I'm thinking this job with Kardashian is the Pink Panthers. She was an easy target and you can't really combat somebody that has a plan. These guys are experts.
The reason they never get caught is because they take two weeks to execute the plan and they're together the whole time. They don't separate until the job is complete. They know each other from the military or prison or the criminal underworld. They don't do this stuff for the notoriety, they do it for the money and the money is in places like Dubai and Tokyo and Paris.
Elections 2016
The New York Times Paid No Taxes in 2014 - Breitbart
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 20:31
The New York Times has excited the Clinton campaign and the rest of the media with a revelation that Republican nominee Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss in 1995 that might have resulted in him not paying taxes in some subsequent years.The implication, reinforced by CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union on Sunday morning, is that Trump ''avoided'' paying taxes, when in fact his tax liability was zero.
But the Times itself has ''avoided'' paying taxes '-- in 2014, for example.
As Forbesnoted at the time:
'... for tax year 2014, The New York Times paid no taxes and got an income tax refund of $3.5 million even though they had a pre-tax profit of $29.9 million in 2014. In other words, their post-tax profit was higher than their pre-tax profit. The explanation in their 2014 annual report is, ''The effective tax rate for 2014 was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations.'' If you don't think it took fancy accountants and tax lawyers to make that happen, read the statement again.
New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended Trump on Sunday, telling NBC News' Meet the Press that Trump was a ''genius'' in business who was simply doing what the tax code allows every American to do by counting losses against tax liabilities, and bouncing back from failure to success.
That would include the New York Times '-- which, however, is still struggling.
As Jazz Shaw of HotAir.com notes, the Times '-- or whoever was its source '-- likely obtained Trump's tax document illegally.
The ongoing IRS scandal, in which the federal government targeted conservative organizations, involved several cases in which the agency illegally shared taxpayer information with other branches of government, and in one case leaked taxpayer information to a conservative organization's political opponents.
In 2008, the confidential tax information of Joe ''the Plumber'' Wurzelbacher, who emerged as a critic of then-Sen. Barack Obama, was leaked illegally by an Ohio state official.
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.
"I'm A Bernie Sanders Voter.. Here's Why I'll Vote Trump" | Zero Hedge
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 16:33
Authored by Eric Zuesse,
Sometimes, things in politics are the opposite of the way they seem. The Presidential contest between the 'liberal' Hillary Clinton' and the 'conservative' Donald Trump is perhaps the most extreme example of this '-- for ten reasons that will be documented here.
I have never voted Republican in my life, starting with my first vote in the 1960s. I've consistently supported Bernie Sanders for President (even before he entered the contest). The reason for that support is his record in public office, regarding especially these ten key issues, where Sanders's actions in public office contrast sharply against Hillary Clinton's actions in public office. (Her policy-words lie often; but her policy-actions never have lied '-- actions speak the truth.) Trump has no record at all in public office. Even if he's as bad as he sometimes projects to be, he's not as bad as Hillary's policy-record already is. But his clear superiority over her isn't merely his lack of any record in public office; because, as will be demonstrated here, his words on some of the crucial public-policy issues have been consistently far more progressive than her actions on those same issues have been (and sometimes more progressive than her words on these issues have been) '-- and, in Donald Trump's case, words are all that we have to go by, because his record as a businessman displays nothing about his authentic views about public policy, but only about his self-interest. Both of these two candidates are liars, and any intelligent voter knows it by now.
First, here, will be stated these ten key issues, on each of which issues Bernie and Hillary are opposites, and then Trump's stated position regarding each of the ten will be presented.
At the end will be presented the reason I won't vote for Jill Stein.
Here are the ten key issues:
1: Sanders favors ''breaking up the big banks.'' Hillary Clinton opposes that.
2: Sanders has fought consistently against Obama's mega-'trade' deals. Hillary consistently favored them.
3: Sanders favors working with Russia against jihadists in Syria. Hillary opposes that.
4: Sanders says jihadists are America's top foe. Hillary says both jihadists and Russia are equally anti-American, equally dangerous to America. Hillary is simply a neoconservative; Sanders isn't. Her having voted to invade Iraq was no mistake on her part; it was consistent with her entire international outlook, all of which is neoconservative, like invading Libya, Syria, etcetera. Bernie's vote against invading Iraq was likewise consistent with his international outlook.
5: Sanders has been consistently opposed to fossil fuels. Hillary has aggressively supported them.
6: Sanders says that the system is rigged. Hillary says that it's not.
7: Sanders says the system is rigged specifically against the poor. Hillary says the problem that keeps people poor is instead individual bigots '-- against Blacks, Hispanics, women, gays, etc. Not the system itself. She is proud to represent the system. She's not against it. She's for it.
8: Sanders's political career has been financed by small-dollar donations. Hillary's has been financed by mega-donations.
9: Sanders favors every possible means of reducing the influence big-money donations to politicians has over politics. Hillary opposes that idea.
10: Sanders favors socialized health insurance, like exists in the European nations that spend per-capita half what America does but have higher life-expectancy than America does. Hillary opposes that '-- she favors the existing profit-based system of health-care, and opposes the European system where basic healthcare is a right, no privilege (that's based only on ability-to-pay).
* * *
I support Sanders not because his rhetoric on these matters is correct in my view, but because his record on them is correct: he has voted in Congress consistently in the ways that his rhetoric has said he believes '-- and I agree with his record, and thus too with his rhetoric (since it's the same as his rhetoric). Hillary has instead contradicted herself frequently '-- and even voted in Congress, and acted as the U.S. Secretary of State '-- in ways that directly contradict her mealy-mouthed progressive statements. Her record shows that she's actually the anti-Bernie, the opposite of Bernie. Trump (as I shall document here) is definitely not that (despite his frequent appeals to conservatives for their votes). This article will document the reasons why any reasonable and well-informed progressive will vote for Donald Trump.
* * *
Here are the positions of Trump and of Clinton on these ten key issues:
1: Sanders favors ''breaking up the big banks.'' Hillary Clinton opposes that.The real meaning of ''breaking up the big banks'' is separating investment banks from commercial banks: it has nothing actually to do with a bank's size. It has to do with a bank's function. It's structural, not an issue of mere size (which Bernie's opponents pretend it to be).
As Morning Consult reported on 18 July 2016, Bernie Sanders required as a precondition in order for him to endorse Hillary Clinton for President, the inclusion in the Democratic Party platform of a recommendation that the FDR-era Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated investment banking (stock-brokerage) from commercial banking (checking and savings accounts), be restored. Bill Clinton had killed Glass-Steagall, and that's one big reason why Wall Street heavily funds the Clintons. The elimination of Glass-Steagall returned the U.S. in 2000 to the structure that had produced the Great Depression, in which billionaires were gambling with the money of depositors '-- gambling with depositors' checking accounts and savings accounts. That ending of Glass-Steagall set the groundwork for building the bubble which ended with the 2008 economic crash. Both Clintons have been against restoring Glass-Steagall, but Sanders forced this into the platform, even though a party's platform is pure PR, no real policy-statement. This was purely Bernie's statement, not at all Hillary's. (In fact, at the very same time she did this merely nominal act, she selected as her VP pick Senator Tim Kaine, who is a longtime agent for Wall Street and international corporations, and who just before she selected him, was the subject of an article by Zach Carter at Huffington Post, on July 20th, headlined ''Tim Kaine Calls To Deregulate Banks As He Campaigns To Be Clinton's VP''. Kaine also had provided one of the 60 votes to pass Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority, the enabling act for ultimate passage of Obama's TPP, which will give international corporations unprecedented power if passed. Fast Track needed 60 votes in order to pass, and that's exactly what it got; each of those 60 votes, including Tim Kaine's, was essential for it. Hillary supported Fast Track. Clearly, she also will deregulate further the financial firms; what her husband did in 1999 wasn't bad enough to suit her. With this VP pick, she was stabbing Sanders in the back, right at the start of the Democratic National Convention.)
When Bill Clinton ended Glass-Steagall, it was by his signing a piece of legislation titled the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and all three of those names attached to it were Republicans '-- this was the fulfillment, the very culmination, of a longtime Republican Party effort to end Glass-Steagall. Bill Clinton was a right-wing Democrat (though not as far-right as Hillary) who, by moving the Democratic Party to the right, forced the Republican Party even farther to the right than it had been, in order for Republican candidates to be able to continue to attract conservative voters. Barack Obama has perfected this strategy (of moving America's political center toward the right) even further. Hillary Clinton would carry it much farther still. The congressional vote on Gramm-Leach-Bliley occurred near the end of Bill Clinton's Presidency, by which time, there was almost as high a percentage of congressional Democrats who voted to repeal that Democratic Party (FDR) milestone law as there was of Republicans who voted to repeal it, but only Republicans would attach their names to this far-right bill. Gramm-Leach-Bliley was a sell-out to Wall Street. Hillary Clinton always supported strongly that sell-out; Bernie forced her now to nominally oppose it.
That same Morning Consult article also reported that, ''Paul Manafort, campaign chairman of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, told reporters in Cleveland today that the Republican platform will include language calling for the reinstatement of the law that was repealed in 1999.'' That was shocking news.
When Donald Trump forced into the Republican platform a restoration of the Democratic Glass-Steagall Act, this was his statement, not something that somebody else forced upon him. He knew that doing this would antagonize Wall Street, but he did it anyway. Trump actually wants to 'break up the big banks'. He would allow the traditional Republican lower-class voter-base favorites of banning abortions, etc. (he needs those people's votes in order to win), but he wouldn't allow Gramm-Leach-Bliley to continue (he apparently doesn't think he'll need those people's money in order to win).
On 9 August 2016, the far-right American Enterprise Institute headlined ''How Can Trump Support Deregulation and Glass-Steagall?'' and opened by saying, ''The Republican platform's proposal to reinstate Glass-Steagall is hard to understand, even in the confused policy mishmash created by Donald Trump. The best interpretation is that it's an awkward outreach to the disappointed 'progressive' supporters of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The worst is that it calls into question whether Donald Trump really supports financial deregulation. The key problem for those Republicans who are now warily supporting their presidential nominee is that it is not clear where he will lead the party in this election '-- and the country '-- if he wins.'' That's precisely true. Conservatives view this with alarm. By contrast, few progressives have yet been equally smart, to even recognize that it exists '-- the fact that Donald Trump is, perhaps, as much of a closeted progressive, as Hillary Clinton is a closeted fascist (servant of international corporations, their chosen government dictator).
The AEI article continued: ''But how can we believe any of this [Trump's anti-regulatory statements]? More than anything else, the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall suggests that the government, and not private decision-making, should determine the structure of the economy. One can't believe in the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall and still believe in the repeal or significant modification of Dodd-Frank. It's like saying free markets work, but price controls can help.''
The answer to that is: Trump recognizes ''that the government, and not private decision-making, should determine the structure of the economy,'' and that this is one of the fundamental reasons government even exists '-- to establish ''the rules of the road'' for the economy.
On 28 January 2016, Chris Arnade headlined in Britain's Guardian, ''I worked on Wall Street. I am skeptical Hillary Clinton will rein it in'', and he wrote: "Ask anyone who has spent the last two decades on Wall Street which politicians have worked for them the hardest and most will grudgingly admit it's the Clintons.'' Those millions of dollars didn't come from Occupy Wall Street '-- they came from Wall Street.
Any really well-informed progressive knows that Dodd-Frank was largely a sell-out to the mega-corporations, which competitively gain, from the enormously complex Dodd-Frank Act, a huge advantage against the smaller firms, because the more complex a regulatory law is, the more that the required paperwork to comply with it will cripple small firms and so provide added competitive advantage to large firms (for which such paperwork is inevitably a far smaller percentage of their total costs of doing business). Dodd-Frank is a Wall Street monstrosity, and AEI knows it, but they're appalled that the Republican Presidential nominee stands against the mega-firms that pay AEI's bills. This is not something that AEI is accustomed to, from a Republican Presidential nominee. After all: the Dodd-Frank Act was Barack Obama's law he wanted to pass in order to placate Democrats who were demanding restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act. It's not something that a progressive would support. It was the way to avoid doing what progressives wanted to be done '-- restoring Glass-Steagall. (Similarly: Obamacare was the way for Obama to avoid pushing a single-payer health insurance plan, such as by opening Medicare to everyone.)
The AEI commentary closed: ''The Trump proposal to reinstate Glass-Steagall '-- only a technical idea of no particular consequence to most American voters '-- has major implications for the credibility of the candidate in whom so many Republicans have now placed their trust. Like the canary in the coal mine, it's small but significant.'' They know that though the public don't pay attention to such things (the things that are important), the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall is an enormous threat to the ability of America's billionaires to gamble with the money in the public's checking accounts and savings accounts '-- their ability to take the gambling-profits and to leave the government holding the bag in the event that those aristocrats' gambles don't pay off (like the Wall Street bailouts in 2008). They favor 'socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor'. So does the Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton; and, thus, AEI is part of the Republican Party elite's move away from Trump, toward Hillary. They're increasingly recognizing such ''canaries in the coal mines,'' from Trump. Progressive Democratic voters should recognize it too, before they help elect Wall Street's favorite candidate by not voting for Trump.
2: Sanders has fought consistently against Obama's mega-'trade' deals. Hillary consistently favored them.
Like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump has passionately condemned those treaties, and is urging members of Congress to vote against TPP if and when Obama tries to get it passed into law right after the November 8th elections (which is when members of Congress are maximally willing to do what their funders want and their voters oppose).
Hillary's 2003 Living History (p. 182) actually bragged about her husband's having passed NAFTA, and she said: ''Creating a free trade zone in North America '-- the largest free trade zone in the world '-- would expand U.S. exports, create jobs and ensure that our country was reaping the benefits, not the burdens, of globalization.'' This was one of, supposedly, her proudest achievements, which were (p. 231) ''Bill's successes on the budget, the Brady bill and NAFTA.'' But Hillary in her 2008 primary campaign against Obama was demanding that he apologise for his campaign flyer's having said: ''Only Barack Obama fought NAFTA and other bad trade deals.'' That statement was just a fact. (Only after Obama started his second Presidential term in 2012 did he staff-up for, and start an operation to institute, mega-'trade' agreements that are much bigger, and much worse, even than NAFTA. For that purpose, he hired Michael Froman, who had been the Clinton-operative and longtime Obama friend who had personally introduced Obama in 2004 to the top people on Wall Street who had financed the Clintons' political careers.)
On 20 March 2008, the day after Hillary finally released her schedule during her White House years, The Nation's John Nichols blogged ''Clinton Lie Kills Her Credibility on Trade Policy'', and he said: ''Now that we know from the 11,000 pages of Clinton White House documents released this week that [the] former First Lady was an ardent advocate for NAFTA; ... now that we know she was in the thick of the maneuvering to block the efforts of labor, farm, environmental and human rights groups to get a better agreement; ... now that we know from official records of her time as First Lady that Clinton was the featured speaker at a closed-door session where 120 women opinion leaders were hectored to pressure their congressional representatives to approve NAFTA; now that we know from ABC News reporting on the session that 'her remarks were totally pro-NAFTA' and that 'there was no equivocation for her support for NAFTA at the time'; ... what should we make of Clinton's campaign claim that she was never comfortable with the militant free-trade agenda that has cost the United States hundreds of thousands of union jobs?''
The next day, Jennifer Parker at Jake Tapper's ''Political Punch'' blog, headlined ''From the Fact Check Desk: The Clinton Campaign Misrepresents Clinton NAFTA Meeting'', and she reported: ''I have now talked to three former Clinton Administration officials whom I trust who tell me that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton opposed the idea of introducing NAFTA before health care, but expressed no reservations in public or private about the substance of NAFTA. Yet the Clinton campaign continues to propagate this myth that she fought NAFTA.'' Hillary continued this lie even after it had been repeatedly and soundly exposed to be a lie. Her behavior in this regard was reminiscent of George W. Bush's statements on WMD in Iraq, and on many other issues.
Only a sucker would believe Hillary's statements in which she says she has changed her mind and now opposes TPP. She knows that when she helped Obama to win Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority, she had the only impact on that matter which she will ever have, and that it's because of that law, which she helped Obama to pass, that TPP might be approved in Congress even before the next President enters the White House.
3: Sanders favors working with Russia against jihadists in Syria. Hillary opposes that.Trump says: ''The approach of fighting Assad and ISIS simultaneously was madness, and idiocy. They're fighting each other and yet we're fighting both of them. You know, we were fighting both of them. I think that our far bigger problem than Assad is ISIS, I've always felt that. Assad is, you know I'm not saying Assad is a good man, 'cause he's not, but our far greater problem is not Assad, it's ISIS. '... I think, you can't be fighting two people that are fighting each other, and fighting them together. You have to pick one or the other.'' Assad is allied with Russia against the Sauds, so the U.S. (in accord with a policy that George Herbert Walker Bush initiated on 24 February 1990 and which has been carried out by all subsequent U.S. Presidents) is determined to overthrow Assad, but Trump is firmly opposed to that policy.
Months before that, Trump had said: ''I think Assad is a bad guy, a very bad guy, all right? Lots of people killed. I think we are backing people we have no idea who they are. The rebels, we call them the rebels, the patriotic rebels. We have no idea. A lot of people think, Hugh, that they are ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can't be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad. Assad is fighting ISIS. He is fighting ISIS. Russia is fighting now ISIS. And Iran is fighting ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can't go '-- and I watched Lindsey Graham, he said, I have been here for 10 years fighting. Well, he will be there with that thinking for another 50 years. He won't be able to solve the problem. We have to get rid of ISIS first. After we get rid of ISIS, we'll start thinking about it. But we can't be fighting Assad. And when you're fighting Assad, you are fighting Russia, you're fighting '-- you're fighting a lot of different groups. But we can't be fighting everybody at one time.''
In that same debate (15 December 2015) he also said: ''In my opinion, we've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could've spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we've had, we would've been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we've done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It's not like we had victory.
It's a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.''
His thinking about this matter is in the same direction as Bernie Sanders's but far more fully thought-out, with the connections being made in a prominent way even to domestic spending. If there is anything that is clearly and carefully thought-out in Trump's policy-positions '-- and war-peace and the avoidance of precipitating a nuclear war is the very biggest single issue of all '-- then this issue is it.
Here was the debate-segment about this issue between Bernie and Hillary:
Bernie Sanders's response to that was: "I worry too much that Secretary Clinton is too much into regime change and a little bit too aggressive without knowing what the unintended consequences might be. Yes, we could get rid of Saddam Hussein, but that destabilized the entire region. Yes, we could get rid of Gadhafi, a terrible dictator, but that created a vacuum for ISIS. Yes, we could get rid of Assad tomorrow, but that would create another political vacuum that would benefit ISIS. So I think, yeah, regime change is easy, getting rid of dictators is easy. But before you do that, you've got to think about what happens the day after. And in my view, what we need to do is put together broad coalitions to understand that we're not going to have a political vacuum filled by terrorists, that, in fact, we are going to move steadily '-- and maybe slowly '-- toward democratic societies, in terms of Assad, a terrible dictator. But I think in Syria the primary focus now must be on destroying ISIS and working over the years to get rid of Assad. That's the secondary issue.''
4: Sanders says jihadists are America's top foe. Hillary says both jihadists and Russia are equally anti-American, equally dangerous to America. Hillary is simply a neoconservative; Sanders isn't. Her having voted to invade Iraq was no mistake on her part; it was consistent with her entire international outlook, all of which is neoconservative, like invading Libya, Syria, etcetera. Bernie's vote against invading Iraq was likewise consistent with his international outlook.Trump has repeatedly said that jihadists are America's #1 foe. He constantly says that fundamentalist Muslims '-- jihadists, such as have been sent out and paid by the Sauds to countries around the world to punish and conquer people who don't share the Sauds' particular fundamentalist faith '-- are the biggest danger to American national security. On this basis, Trump says that America's invasion of Iraq was wrong:
Trump turned the conversation back to Iraq. "Where were the weapons of mass destruction, Brian?" Trump asked Kilmeade. Again, Kilmeade defended the former president: [Former Secretary of State] "Madeleine Albright said they were there, [former President] Bill Clinton said they were there, [former French President] Jacques Chirac said they were there, the Portuguese prime minster said they were there, [former Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak said they were there.'' Trump retorted: "Well, they weren't there, they didn't find them. They found nothing. Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn't the Iraqis, it was Saudi '-- take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents."
This is called by some people 'non-interventionist', but actually it's more correctly called opposition to the continuing take-over of the U.S. government by the military-industrial complex. Trump says: ''Right now we're protecting, we're basically protecting Japan, and we are, every time North Korea raises its head, you know, we get calls from Japan and we get calls from everybody else, and 'Do something.' And there'll be a point at which we're just not going to be able to do it anymore. Now, does that [intervention] mean nuclear? It could mean nuclear. It's a very scary nuclear world. Biggest problem, to me, in the world, is nuclear, and proliferation.'' On the same basis, he especially wants to ratchet-down, not up (like Clinton does), the U.S. arms-race with Russia, which restoration of the 'Cold War' is beneficial to arms-makers and their investors, but not to anyone else. And he's especially against continuing our existing relationship with the Sauds, the royal family who own Saudi Arabia. He says: ''We're not being reimbursed for the kind of tremendous service that we're performing by protecting various countries. Now Saudi Arabia's one of them. I think if Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection, '... I don't think it would be around. It would be, whether it was internal or external, it wouldn't be around for very long. And they're a money machine, they're a monetary machine, and yet they don't reimburse us the way we should be reimbursed. So that's a real problem.'' The Saud family, the royal owners of their nation, compete against the government of Russia as the leading suppliers of oil to the world. Russia's main export market was Europe, and the Sauds have wanted to replace Russia's oil and gas dominance there. The Saud family are also the world's leading buyer of weaponry. U.S. weapons-makers profit enormously from continuing this relationship '-- the Sauds buy America's weapons, and the U.S. joins the Sauds' wars, which are basically against the allies of Iran and of Russia, the Sauds' chief competitors. The Sauds helped us end the Soviet Union, by sending Osama bin Laden into Afghanistan etc. and creating Islamic terrorism, both there and subsequently inside Russia, in Chechnia. After King Fahd had a stroke in 1995, Osama bin Laden's advice was even sought by the Saud Princes to determine which of them should become the next king, and he supplied that advice to them in a letter, which was delivered by a private courier. Since the U.S.-Saudi creation of Islamic terrorism helped end the Soviet Union by 1991, the Sauds have been just a huge drain and embarrassment to America. Only the armaments firms benefit from continuing the campaign, now directed against Russia and its allies (such as were Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, and Viktor Yanukovych), instead of against the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact (which are gone).
Trump is much more explicit about these things than Sanders has been, and Trump has been even so bold as to assert: ''I have two problems with NATO. No. 1, it's obsolete. When NATO was formed many decades ago we were a different country. There was a different threat. Soviet Union was, the Soviet Union, not Russia, which was much bigger than Russia, as you know. And, it was certainly much more powerful than even today's Russia, although again you go back into the weaponry. But, but '' I said, I think NATO is obsolete, and I think that '' because I don't think '' right now we don't have somebody looking at terror, and we should be looking at terror. And you may want to add and subtract from NATO in terms of countries. But we have to be looking at terror, because terror today is the big threat.''Though there was his usual incoherence '-- NATO is ''obsolete'' but ''you may want to add and subtract from NATO in terms of countries'' (instead of to end it) '-- his statement isn't nearly as incoherent as, for example, Hillary's proposing to bring peace to Syria by going to war there against Russia. And he clarified his view further when he went on to say of NATO, that not only are its member-countries wrong for today's challenges, but that ''it was set up to talk about the Soviet Union,'' and the big problem today is terrorism, and ''I think, probably a new institution maybe would be better for that than using NATO which was not meant for that.'' So: he actually knows that it's got to be ended. A military alliance that's ''obsolete'' is dangerous. Perhaps no U.S. Presidential candidate has spoken in such depth about foreign affairs. In this matter, he has delved far beyond the fashionable political platitutudes, to the basic realities, which no politician wants to talk about. Doing this requires guts. He's correct not only regarding TPP etc., but regarding fundamental military strategy.
Then, the May/June 2016 issue of Politico magazine headlined ''The Kremlin's Candidate'', and Michael Crowley, formerly of The New Republic (the top Democratic Party neoconservative magazine), portrayed Trump in the way that Joseph R. McCarthy had been famous in the old days for portraying people such as Robert La Follette Jr.: as being a traitor. The far-right 'media-watchdog' organization, Accuracy In Media (AIM), headlined on 20 April 2016, 25 years after the end of the Soviet Union, ''Trump Hires 'Fixer' With Soviet Connections''. Hillary Clinton's shills are all over the newsmedia proclaiming Trump to be Putin's fool, or Putin's secret agent, or even to be both at once (which simply exposes how little respect they have for the people who believe their lies).
Trump's basic message is that the actual Cold War against the Soviet Union and its communism ended in 1991 when the U.S.S.R. and its Warsaw Pact ended, and that until Islamic terrorism arose after that, America really had no enemy after the end of communism '-- that Islamic jihadists are America's real enemy, and Mitt Romney was profoundly wrong to allege that "Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe.'' Mitt supported the invasion of Iraq, just as did Hillary. Hillary was also the one member of the Obama Administration who most effectively argued for and persuaded President Obama to invade Libya. (Both Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi were friendly toward Russia, which neoconservatives especially and viscerally hate. Thus, there was Hillary's famous ''We came, we saw, he died '-- ha, ha!!'') Trump says something that Sanders himself has merely hinted at: NATO's emphasis against Russia '-- the very basis of NATO '-- is, after 1991, outdated, and needs to be replaced by an entirely new U.S. defense-strategy, one directed instead against jihadists, no longer against Russia, which isn't even communist anymore, and doesn't even have the Soviet Union's Warsaw Pact military alliance anymore. He's looking long-term, and saying that national security against jihadists is a real concern, but that the war against Russia needs to stop and has no reason to continue, and that, to the contrary, the U.S. and Russia have shared interests in eliminating jihadists and jihadism. He says we'll need to work together in order to end Islamic terrorism, which will mean a profound change in today's Islamic world '-- a change that will benefit Moslems even more than anyone else, but that will also benefit us enormously. The idea of fighting both jihadists and Russians makes no sense at all to him: ''You can't be fighting two people. '... You have to pick one or the other.'' That's a stronger statement than Sanders's (''I think in Syria the primary focus now must be on destroying ISIS and working over the years to get rid of Assad. That's the secondary issue.''), but it's in exactly the same direction.
Already, the Obama Administration and NATO have pushed the anti-Russian agenda, and are expanding NATO, to such an extent that ''The US leadership has done everything it could to push the situation to the brink of disaster.'' Beyond that brink is nuclear war. A potential ally in the global war against jihadists is thus instead ''without question, our number one geopolitical foe,'' and declared by Obama to be the world's most ''aggressive'' nation. That's being said of a nation which wants to be America's strongest ally, in America's '-- and Russia's '-- real war: against jihadism.
5: Sanders has been consistently opposed to fossil fuels. Hillary has aggressively supported them.Trump, like all Republican Presidential contenders (except for Ted Cruz), is no longer outright, and with certainty, denying that global warming is a real problem. On 11 February 2016, MSNBC headlined about this, ''How Trump and company warmed to climate change''. However, no Republican Presidential candidate can afford to speak about the necessity to end reliance on fossil fuels, which constitute that Party's chief and most reliable financial support. A Democrat, such as Hillary Clinton, can afford to speak about it, even if, like Clinton, the given candidate is actually also in the bag for fossil fuel companies. The Trump-Clinton rhetorical difference on global warming can't be evaluated in a vacuum that's devoid of these funding-realities. During all of Hillary's time in public office, she has '-- by heractions though not always by her words '-- been a reliable supporter of fossil fuels, and fossil-fuels companies have responded with their money. Trump has no policy-record at all, but only rhetoric (pro-fossil-fuels, of course), and even his rhetoric hasn't been consistently Republican on this quintessentially Republican issue. The biggest organizer of fossil-fuels political donations, the Koch brothers, are directing all of the Presidential-campaign cash to the Clinton campaign, none to Trump.
Her record does show that she represents those lobbyists, not the public. As I had reported previously, the Hillary Clinton State Department's two environmental impact statements on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline were triple-hoaxes that totally and scandalously ignored the proposed pipeline's impact on climate-change but that did discuss the impact of climate-change on the proposed pipeline (as if anybody even cared about that); neither of the two studies had even one climatologist on the team that prepared the report; and the State Department didn't do either of the reports themselves, but instead hired two oil-industry contractors that were proposed to the State Department by TransCanada Corporation, which is the company that was proposing to build and own the pipeline. So: those 'studies' were rigged to enable the President to approve the Pipeline '-- which he ultimately decided not to do.
Furthermore, on 2 May 2013, Steve Horn headlined, "Digging Into TransCanada's Lobbying History,'' and he found that, indeed, Hillary Clinton was surrounded by TransCanada lobbyists while the reports were being prepared by TransCanada's chosen oil-industry contractors.
Hillary Clinton is also a big champion of fracking. In September 2014, Mariah Blake bannered "How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World,'' and reported that, "As part of its expanded energy mandate, the State Department hosted conferences on fracking from Thailand to Botswana. It sent US experts to work alongside foreign officials as they developed shale gas programs.'' The energy-companies didn't pay for those sales-calls by the U.S. Secretary of State; taxpayers did.
Though Clinton verbally endorses the view that global warming is the world's biggest problem, she doesn't care about it in her actual actions as a public official. It's mere rhetoric to her. Trump seems more honest, by saying: ''When people talk global warming, I say the global warming that we have to be careful of is the nuclear global warming [blowing up the world]. Single biggest problem that the world has. Power of weaponry today is beyond anything ever thought of, or even, you know, it's unthinkable, the power. You look at Hiroshima and you can multiply that times many, many times, is what you have today. And to me, it's the single biggest, it's the single biggest problem.'' Furthermore, that statement was his response to an interviewer's question, ''Would you be willing to have the U.S. be the first to use nuclear weapons in a confrontation with adversaries?'' Trump's response indicated that the nuclear-war issue brought to his mind the issue of global warming: it showed that the mental association in his mind is that these two issues are the two most important issues that a U.S. President must address. He answered the question about nuclear war, by asserting that nuclear war is an even bigger concern for him than is global warming. That's the correct priority, but it also shows that Trump is no conservative when the issue is global warming. No conservative thinks ''global warming'' when being asked about nuclear war.
In order for Trump to hold his conservative base, he must include among his nominal 'economic advisors' some rabid anti-environmentalists. One of them is the libertarian Stephen Moore, chief economist for the Heritage Foundation, and founder of the Club for Growth. On 10 August 2016, Morning Consult bannered, ''Trump Adviser Not Sweating Consequences of Promised Coal Boom'', and Moore criticized Trump for not being sufficiently pro-fracking. Moore even condemned environmentalists by saying ''Fracking reduces global warming, you morons!'' Of course, that statement of his is false. He then lambasted Barack Obama: ''I think he believes totally in this lunatic idea that somehow everything's going to be underwater in 20 years. '... I think Obama is the most fanatical politician I've ever met on global warming.'' The kicker in the article was this: ''Hillary Clinton, however, appears to be 'less extreme' than Obama in opposing fossil fuels, Moore said.'' Moore, a 'former' lobbyist himself, knows that she's in the fossil-fuels industries' pockets. Trump, on the other hand, is just a question-mark. Clearly, Trump is seen as the enemy, by the biggest anti-environmentalist political spenders of all: the strongly pro-Hillary Koch brothers.
Furthermore, though the issue of global warming wasn't raised by the interviewer or anyone else in the September 26th U.S. Presidential nominees' debate between Hillary and Donald; Trump, and he alone, chose to bring it up during the discussion of nuclear war, when Hillary said there that, ''his cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling. That is the number-one threat we face in the world.'' He replied: ''I agree with her on one thing. The single greatest problem the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons, not global warming, like you think and your '-- your president thinks. Nuclear is the single greatest threat.'' Yet again, he was showing the link that exists in his mind between these two premier issues; he was showing an implicit acknowledgement that though nuclear war is the top threat, global warming '-- if it is occurring '-- would be #2. If he becomes President, then not only the scientific consensus that it's happening and is human-caused would be constantly pressing in upon him to acknowledge this reality publicly, but his 'yielding to it' and 'changing his mind' (if that's really what it would be) about it, will be far more effective at reducing the shockingly high percentage of the American public who deny this terrible reality, than would a President Clinton's acknowledgement that it's real. It could cause the entire Koch-Exxon-etc. campaign of lies about it to collapse (much as happened with regard to the lies that the tobacco industry so successfully had peddled for so long about smoking). The U.S. would become far more cooperative with the international movement against fossil fuels than this country ever has been.
6: Sanders says that the system is rigged. Hillary says that it's not.
7: Sanders says the system is rigged specifically against the poor. Hillary says the problem that keeps people poor is instead individual bigots '-- against Blacks, Hispanics, women, gays, etc. Not the system itself. She is proud to represent the system. She's not against it. She's for it.
On 18 March 2016, Jason Linkins at Huffington Post bannered ''How To Explain Hillary Clinton's Fundraiser With Failed Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes: Scenes from the wreckage of the Democratic party'', and he reported that, '''At some point,' [Thomas] Frank tells the Huffington Post, '[the Democrats] decided that they weren't all that interested in the concerns of working people anymore.' Rather, Frank says, they became fixated on 'the concerns of the professional class, people with advanced degrees, people at the very top of our economic society.''' Those are the voters whom Hillary Clinton's policies aim to please. Trump, like Bernie, is pitching to working people. By making economic regulations so complex that only large corporations can afford the costs of compliance with them, more lawyers are needed, and more accountants are needed. By reducing and blocking taxpayer-funded healthcare, more doctors and more bill-collection agencies and more lobbyists are hired at higher salaries, in order to produce any given quality-level of healthcare. 8: Sanders's political career has been financed by small-dollar donations. Hillary's has been financed by mega-donations.Trump's stated positions are basically like Sanders's: Trump has stated:
As regards proposed solutions, Trump's focus is different from Sanders's, which proposes both limits on donations, and also total transparency of mega-donations so that the public will accurately know who actually was behind each particular mega-donation. Trump recognizes that the Republicans on the Supreme Court have eliminated the former (size-limits), and that they have also opened up a huge door to increased non-transparency, regarding whom the actual mega-donors to a candidate are. Trump has said:
Hillary Clinton has opposed Sanders's proposal regarding limiting the size of campaign-contributions, and she has been vague on everything else except ''Overturn Citizens United'', which is one of the Republican judges' decisions (starting with Buckley v. Valeo in 1976) that unleashed mega-donations by declaring that in political campaigns, money is first-amendment-protected ''speech,'' and that therefore the more money that's spent advertising any candidate, the more ''free speech'' there is, and therefore, the better it is. In other words: Clinton has no actual position on money-in-politics (the idea that 'money is speech'), she has only empty rhetoric, though she's long been in public office collecting mega-donations. Clinton made it all the way through the primaries against Sanders and never even asserted (as if one can even trust what she says) a coherent position on the matter, other than the bumper-sticker ''Overturn Citizens United,'' to please liberal fools to vote for her. Meanwhile, the lawyer Glenn Greenwald has pointed out that Hillary was lying, even on the little she says about Citizens United '-- the one money-in-politics decision she condemns. Greenwald wrote: ''The Clinton argument actually goes well beyond the Court's conservatives: In Citizens United, the right-wing justices merely denied the corrupting effect of independent expenditures (i.e., ones not coordinated with the campaign). But Clinton supporters in 2016 are denying the corrupting effect of direct campaign donations by large banks and corporations and, even worse, huge speaking fees paid to an individual politician shortly before and after that person holds massive political power.'' Donald Trump has spoken clearly against all of that '-- he opposes, in principle, the type of opacity in donations, which the Democratic Party under Clinton encourages; and he also opposes, in principle, the opacity (such as Clinton's being allowed to hide from the public her 91 paid secret speeches to mega-corporations and to their lobbying organizations). Trump, like Bernie, says the system itself is corrupt and corruptiing. The corruptors don't like him much more than they liked Bernie.
The effort [by Republican mega-donors against Trump] is centered on the recently formed Our Principles PAC, the latest big-money group airing anti-Trump ads, which is run by GOP strategist Katie Packer, deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012. The group, initially funded by $3 million from Marlene Ricketts, wife of billionaire T.D. Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, wants to saturate the expensive Florida airwaves ahead of the state's March 15 primary with hopes of denying Trump a victory that could crush the hopes of home state Sen. Marco Rubio. A conference call on Tuesday to solicit donors for the group included Paul Singer, billionaire founder of hedge fund Elliott Management; Hewlett Packard President and CEO Meg Whitman; and Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts, one of Joe and Marlene Ricketts' three sons. Wealthy Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein is also expected to help fund the effort. Jim Francis, a big GOP donor and bundler from Texas, was also on the phone call on Tuesday
The Washington Post reported that ''Money Raised as of June 30'' of 2016, produced the following ratios, advantaging Clinton over Trump:Ratio of Hillary Clinton Campaign $ divided by Donald Trump campaign $ = 3.21
Ratio of Clinton Super PACs $ divided by Trump Super PACs $ = 12.71
18% of Clinton-campaign money came from donations of $200 or less. 27% of Trump-campaign money did. But that 27/18 ratio, of Trump/Clinton small donations, under-represents the true extent to which Trump was being backed by small donations, because Super PACS are almost entirely big-money donations, and an additional $106.8 million of Super PAC money helped Clinton's campaign, whereas an additional mere $8.4 million of Super PAC money helped Trump's campaign. Clearly: Clinton attracts the big money; Trump repels it. (He even condemns it.)
9: Sanders favors every possible means of reducing the influence big-money donations to politicians has over politics. Hillary opposes that idea.Trump during the Republican primaries was so averse to selling the Presidency to his fellow-billionaires, that he ran his campaign, against his competitors, on a virtual shoestring. After the primaries, he needs lots more money to campaign, especially against Hillary's campaign that's funded more heavily than any political campaign in history, from almost every special-interest group (and see here the list of closed-to-the-public speeches she's given to the various lobbying organizations). She's offering the U.S. government for sale. Trump is thus-far getting very few billionaires to pony up for his campaign. That's extraordinary: normally, Republican candidates get even more from mega-donations than Democratic candidates do. However, Trump's being starved by his fellow-billionaires means that he needs to rely even more heavily upon the Republican Party's grassroots voting base: especially fundamentalist Christians, gun-rights fanatics, and anti-immigrant voters. The more that he can rely upon Bernie's voters to win, the less he'll need to rely upon those traditional Republican groups. If Bernie's voters show up at the polls for him, this will greatly encourage a future President Trump to surprise the nation with how progressive he actually is. But he can't afford, right now, to make any overt policy-pitches to Bernie's voters, because that could scare away lots of the Republican voting-base he'll definitely need in order to win.
Also, Trump, unlike Sanders, is running in the traditional big-money Party, the Republican Party. Though Sanders was able to be viable while categorically refusing any assistance from Super PACs, Trump wasn't, and isn't. Trump, if he wins, will pull the Republican Party toward the ''peace and justice'' left; congressional Democrats will then need to move along with them in that same direction, in order to be able to retain their existing base. By contrast, a Clinton victory would move the Democratic Party to the right, and then congressional Republicans will need to move even farther to the right, in order to retain their existing voting-base. To move America's center in the direction of progressivism, Trump is the clear choice.
Hillary Clinton is the Democrats' deceiver-in-chief; she is actually the Democratic Party's Richard Nixon. By contrast, the ''huckster'' Trump is, if anything, too honest for his own good. Maybe he thinks that he's a good-enough sheer salesman to be able to do that and still win, but he'll need a lot more support from Bernie-voters in order to make it happen.
10: Sanders favors socialized health insurance, like exists in the European nations that spend per-capita half what America does but have higher life-expectancy than America does. Hillary opposes that '-- she favors the existing profit-based system of health-care, and opposes the European system where basic healthcare is a right, no privilege (that's based only on ability-to-pay).Trump says he favors taxpayer-paid healthcare for Americans who cannot afford to pay for the basic healthcare they need:
Here's what that ''so much money on the other side'' might refer to:
The latest OECD data on healthcare costs show that the U.S. spends by far the world's highest percentage of GDP on healthcare, 16.9 percent; and also show that the average U.S. life expectancy is 78.7 years; by contrast, Canada spends 10.2 percent, and their life expectancy is 81.0 years. The OECD average expenditure is 9.3 percent , and life expectancy is 80.1 years. So: the U.S. spends almost twice as high a percentage of GDP as every other OECD nation, and gets markedly inferior results. This makes the U.S. far less economically competitive than it otherwise would be; but, the healthcare industries finance conservative politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and all Republicans; so, those politicians don't like single-payer '-- it would take much of the excess profits out of exploiting the sick, and those excess profits help to fund their campaigns.The American people's financial losses produce exceptional financial gains for the investors in healthcare-related stocks, and also inflate the pay for executives in those firms. This helps to fund lots of what conservatives such as Antonin Scalia lovingly call ''free speech'' '-- campaign commercials.
Here are the latest available data, and they show that, still, the U.S. is somewhat worse than average, for quality of care, and astronomically higher than any nation on both per-capita healthcare costs, and the percentage of GDP that goes to healthcare costs. For examples: across 45 countries tabulated by the OECD, the U.S. healthcare-expenditure per capita was $8,713 and 16.4% of GDP, whereas the average OECD country paid $3,453 and 8.9% of GDP. France paid $4,124 and 10.9% of GDP, and Japan paid $3,713 and 10.2% of GDP. The U.S. also was tied with Brazil, Chile, and South Africa, for having the highest percentage of healthcare-costs that's paid privately rather than by the government.
In any case, with our existing healthcare-for-profit, instead of healthcare-as-a-right, system, the U.S. ends up paying lots more than our competing nations, yet getting inferior results. (Apparently, postponing care until one is being rushed into an emergency-room is both atrociously poor care, and extremely expensive care. But it's the most profitable for the healthcare-industries.)
Trump might have been referring to data such as those. If so, then he was correct about ''we're going to save so much money on the other side.'' Hillary's statements against the European-Canadian-Japanese system '-- basic healthcare as a right, instead of as a privilege '-- are false, and she knows it, she simply lies (for money).
Hillary condemns Bernie Sanders' support of taxpayer-funded health isurance for all (or 'Medicare for all' or ''single-payer'' health insurance). She says, "People who have health emergencies can't wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.'' (There is no 'theoretical debate': many of those other countries do retain a role for private insurance, but not as big a role as ours, and not the same role.) That CBS News story, 29 January 2016, by a reporter who clearly favored Hillary, was headlined ''Hillary Clinton: Single-payer health care will 'never, ever' happen'', and that reporter summarized by saying, ''The debate over health care underscores the difference between Clinton's campaign pitch as a pragmatic, effecitve leader and Sander's pitch as a candidate with vision,'' or, in other words, Clinton was saying, and CBS was simply assuming to be true, and not challenging at all: the U.S. must stay with its existing system, which produces lower life-expectancies and twice the cost; Bernie's belief that we can do what Europe, Japan, etc. have done, is impossible for Americans; our country is too corrupt for that, she's saying (and CBS reported without questioning or challenging). The CBS news-report continued by approvingly quoting Hillary: '''As someone who has a little bit of experience standing up to the health insurance industry, that spent, you know, many, many millions of dollars attacking me, and probably will so again. '... I think it's important to point out that there are a lot of reasons we have the health care system we have today,' she said. 'I know how much money influences the political decision-making. '... However, we started a system that had private health insurance.''' That news-report closed by quoting, also approvingly, Hillary's statement in 1994: '''If, for whatever reason, the Congress doesn't pass health care reform, I believe, and I may be totally off base on this, but I believe that by the year 2000 we will have a single payer system,' she said. 'I don't even think it's a close call politically. I think the momentum for a single payer system will sweep the country. '... It will be such a huge popular issue ... that even if it's not successful the first time, it will eventually be.''' Back in 1994, she was citing single-payer as being a threat '-- never a goal. Wall Street knows where she stands, even if her voters don't.
Obamacare continues this status-quo, but adds, to it, more federal and state regulations, which make the system even more complex, and thereby further disadvantages small businesses, in their competing against big ones. Hillary Clinton likes Obamacare, and opposes single-payer health insurance. Back in 2008, she said regarding both her own 1993 Hillarycare proposal, and her then-current 2008 campaign proposal: ''I never seriously considered a single payer system. ... I think that, you know, there's too many bells and whistles that Americans want that would not be available.'' She said, ''Talking about single payer really is a conversation ender for most Americans, because then they become very nervous about socialized medicine and all the rest of this.'' However, that too was a lie. She reads polls. Just months earlier, on 14-20 December 2007, an Associated Press/Yahoo poll of 1,523 registered voters, including 847 Democrats and 655 Republicans '-- about the same proportions Democratic and Republican as the U.S. population generally, at that time '-- asked respondents whether ''the United States should adopt a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers,'' and also asked them ''Do you consider yourself a supporter of a single-payer health care system, that is a national health plan financed by taxpayers in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan''; and 65 percent said yes to the first, and 54 percent said yes to the second. The public wanted single-payer. Hillary had designed her 1993 Hillarycare proposal for the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) industry; and she designed her 2008 position for the drug companies and the private insurance companies. Single-payer would replace those big political contributors, which she doesn't want to do; she wants their money.
What she had said in 1994 about Hillarycare needing to be passed into law because of the danger that ''by the year 2000 we will have a single-payer system,'' was being said by her in private to the top people at Lehman Brothers Health Corporation. She knew that single-payer was popular and would become more so. Consequently, when she said to the public, in her 2008 Presidential campaign, that ''single payer really is a conversation ender for most Americans,'' she was just blatantly lying. Her real masters are clear: it's not the public. She instead treats the public like suckers. (Trump just has a different way of doing it, and evidently not so clearly a malignant purpose for it.)
Furthermore, she implicitly has condemned the Canadian and other nations' single-payer healthcare systems by saying, ''We don't have one size fits all; our country is quite diverse. What works in New York City won't work in Albuquerque.'' (In 2015, according to the OECD, in 2015, the U.S. spent 16.9% of its GDP on healthcare, and Canada spent 10.2%. Canada also has higher life-expectancy.) Her presumption was that what works in Canada or some other large single-payer country cannot work here '-- that local control must trump everything in order to fix what's wrong with American health care. She was implying that our healthcare system delivers superior healthcare at a lower cost than those single-payer countries'. However, as we've shown, that too is a lie: we pay more, and get less, and she knows it; she lies.
This is how the Clinton scam works: most of the Democratic Party voters are either totally ignorant of it, or else in denial about it. They think that because she's not nominally a ''Republican,'' she's less right-wing than Republicans are. That's the reason why she won the votes of enough Democrats to become the nominee: they are fooled by her public rhetoric, and don't know about her actual record in public office, which is simply atrocious.
A Washington Post interview published on August 11th, was titled ''The Donald Trump interview that should terrify national Republicans'', and the questioners there were shocked at the extent to which Trump's economic proposals reflected Democratic and not Republican economic policies '-- far more so than Hillary Clinton's do. Trump in this interview made the distinction between the U.S. government borrowing money at record all-time-low interest rates such as now, versus when interest rates are high, and he said that in a time like this, the repairing and rebuilding of our infrastructure will repay maximum returns for the future, because of those record-low interest-rates. He was proposing to more than double the amount that Hillary Clinton is proposing to spend to restore America's crumbling infrastructure up to world-class standards, because doing this now will reduce instead of increase costs long-term. ''Roads, tunnels, hospitals. I mean, everything. We have to fix the airports. Our airports are like third world countries.''
The health of the public is America's human-resources infrastructure (notice that he included there ''hospitals''), and Trump '-- not Hillary '-- is the candidate who recognizes this fact, and who thinks in this way. It's something that the great Democrat, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (the creator of Social Security, and of the Works Progress Administration), recognized and put into practice starting in 1938, and immediately the U.S. economy boomed, from then on. The FDR boom didn't start on December 7, 1941, with World War II; it started when FDR first came into office in 1933, and really sped up in 1938 going full speed ahead with Keynesianism. (Keynes's theory wasn't even published until 1936.) Trump is correct to say (in effect) that now is the time for FDR2 '-- not another Herbert Hoover (or, since Hillary is corrupt, Warren Harding).
* * *
My vote for Trump will be the first Republican vote in my life, and I hope that this will be the only time in my life when the Democratic candidate is so abysmal that I'll have to do this. It's not because I like Trump; it's because he's vastly better than the Democratic nominee, whom I consider to be by far the worst Democrat ever. To me, choosing between Trump, who has no political record, and Hillary, who has the worst record in public office of any Democrat ever, is easy. On all other ballot lines, I shall, as always, vote Democratic. In fact, that will be the best way to block from getting to President Trump's desk the Republican bills that he'll likely be wanting to sign, such as any bill to eliminate the estate-tax. But I don't expect that Democrats will at all oppose what might be his boldestprogressive initiatives, such as, perhaps, a European-style healthcare system. If Democrats would block something like that, they'd then be killing their own Party (and cursing their country), and there aren't many Democrats who are (like Hillary Clinton would be) corrupt enough to carry things quite that far in the conservative direction, as to persist in sustaining healthcare-by-corruption. (As former President Jimmy Carter says of today's U.S.: ''Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president.'') Perhaps a President Trump would get so many congressional Democrats and Republicans to vote for a single-payer health insurance proposal, that such a piece of legislation could be signed into law much likelier than if a President Sanders (who would be voted against in Congress by virtually every Republican member) were to be pushing for exactly the same type of legislation and getting only some congressional Democrats (and no Republicans then) to vote for it. Indeed, we all might even turn out to be surprised to find that a President Trump will be the most effective progressive President since FDR. If Democrats control Congress, then he might turn out that way, and become widely revered '-- and the neoconservatives, who are America's fascists, will then have to become curses upon some other land, perhaps Israel, because they wouldn't be able, any more, to make life hell for Americans (such as by our invading Iraq and Libya). They'll then be like the Soviet Union's die-hard communists were, after communism ended: failed 'prophets' without a country.
Hillary Clinton's constant refrain against Trump is that he's a racist. However, as the progressive John V. Walsh argued, on 29 December 2015, in a superb essay, ''Who Is the Arch Racist: The Donald or Hillary?'' the answer to that question is clearly Clinton, not clearly Trump, despite Trump's frequent use of racist rhetoric in order to hold enough of the Republican base to be able to win the election. Anyone who believes what either of the two candidates asserts is believing a confirmed and persistent liar, but only Hillary is a consistent liar for the biggest-money interests. With Trump, we really don't know what his policies would be, because he has no record in public office, but with Hillary Clinton, we do '-- and it's truly horrific.
John Pilger said, ''Trump's views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than those of David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama.'' (Pilger's disgust against liars and hypocrites such as Obama, reflects his extraodinarily pure progressivism. Obama has been the most effective '-- and effectively closeted '-- Republican President; he has been the ultimate deceiver. For example, Blacks have actually lost wealth under Obama, the most of any ethnic group, yet they constantly support him the most of any ethnic group.) And anyone who thinks that Hillary Clinton would be less conservative than Barack Obama has been, is in for a sore disappointment if she becomes the next President. By contrast, a President Donald Trump could well surprise strongly on the upside, because, unlike Hillary, whose record in public office makes clear that she would be horrifying, Trump has no such record at all, and the people who are demonizing him are themselves individuals whose records in public office (or else as journalists) are as despicable as Hillary Clinton's record is.
Both sides in this election are concentrating on personal attacks against the other, but the ten issues that have been discussed here are vastly more important than, for examples, whether Donald Trump (and/or Bill Clinton) is a rapist (or whether Hillary Clinton hired thugs to make life hell for Bill's rape-victims), or whether the Trump University scam from which Trump profited, is worse than the Laureate International Universities scam from which Bill and Hillary Clinton profited. At the economic top in America, is unimaginable corruption and rampant psychopathy; and, so, one can reasonably question whether this nation is still a democracy at all, but the scummiest people have funded Hillary Clinton's career, vastly more than Donald Trump's. Hillary owes a lot of billionaires a lot of money on their investments in her. Trump does not.
We're going to be placing this country into the hands of either Hillary Clinton's enemies, or else Donald Trump's enemies, and the latter group are by far the worse of the two. Not to vote, in such a situation, or else to vote for a 'protest' candidate and so throw one's vote away (even if the voting-machine will only be programmed to misreport it), is irresponsible. If America is not a democracy, then, still, a voter's obligation is to do whatever he or she can in order to maximize the chance that it might become one. As between the two viable options here, Clinton is the clear police-state option, but Trump might possibly fight to restore America's democracy. The choice of Trump over Clinton is easy to make, because, even in the reasonable worst-case scenario, the damage Trump would likely cause the country (and the world) is vastly less than the damage '-- nuclear war against Russia '-- that Clinton would likely cause. This is certainly no 'Tweedledee, Tweedledum' election. Not even close to that.
By voting for Trump, you add 1 vote to him, and 0 vote to Hillary, and so that's a real action in the real world of electoral politics: it puts Trump up 1. By voting for Hillary, you add 1 vote to her, and 0 vote to Trump, and so that too is a real action in the real world of electoral politics: it puts Hillary up 1. Either vote is a real vote.
* * *
The real world of electoral politics is the foundation of democracy, without which it can't function at all. Fantasy votes are not votes that can even possibly participate in democracy. For example: by voting instead for Jill Stein, you add 0 vote to each of the two real-world contestants, just the same as you would be doing by staying home on Election Day.
Regarding the question of whether voting for Jill Stein is at all rational:
The U.S. Presidency is determined in the Electoral College, in which each state's entire delegation votes the given state's Election-Day choice, winner-take-all for all of that state's electors.
Neither Nader nor Perot won even one state, neither of them came even close to winning even a single state.
Jill Stein definitely won't win even one state.
Voting for her is nothing but a sucker-punch on the ballot there.
When Nader ran, and received 2.74% of the nationwide vote at his peak in 2000, he was on the ballot in 49 states, yet still he won not even a single state. Instead, because he drew off more than enough Gore voters in both New Hampshire and Florida so as to throw NH to Bush and to cause FL to be so close that the outcome there was decided by the 5-4 Republican-majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, Nader made George W. Bush President. If Nader hadn't been on the FL ballot and drawn 97,488 votes there, Gore would have won FL decisively; Bush's '537 vote win' couldn't even possibly have occurred, because Gore's winning margin there would have precluded any recount at all. (Gore would have won FL by around ten thousand votes.) There would have been no invasion of Iraq. The problem of global warming wouldn't have been shunted off to the side, as it was by Bush.
In a Presidential system such as the U.S. (though not in a parliamentary system), only fools vote third-party. These people are either so ignorant they can't count, or so stupid they think that to 'register a protest' is somehow more patriotic than to register a vote that might make an actual difference in the resulting winner, the resulting President.
The stakes in the current election are actually huge: the Tweedledee Tweedledom argument certainly doesn't apply here (neither did it apply in 2000) to excuse a voter from really participating in the ultimate outcome. It's our duty to vote only for candidates who might possibly win, even if the electoral system is rigged (such as it is in Iran, to eliminate from having even a real chance to win the Presidency, all candidates who are so good they'd pose a threat to the behind-the-scenes dictators). If the electoral system is rigged, voting is the only way to protest, that has even a possibility of being effective (unless a violent revolution might improve matters, which seems unlikely here). To be a fool is never good. It harms everyone. It's certainly not an ethical choice, if anyone actually chooses it. (Of course, if the person is too stupid to be said to 'choose' it, then one can't blame the person, but merely feel sorry for his unintended victims.)
The only realistic choice that is offered is either Clinton or else Trump. Even if it's a choice between two bad candidates, one of them is far worse than is the other. With Trump as President, there is a realistic possibility of getting a reasonably good President, someone who won enough independents and fooled enough Republicans, to enable him to win the Republican Party's nomination. With Clinton as President, there's a realistic possibility of nuclear war with Russia, but a virtual certaintly that this nation will be ruled behind-the-scenes, by-and-for America's international corporations. That is the real choice we have, if we have any at all. Fantasists have the freedom to stay with their fictions, but realists are obliged not to. Realism is a prerequisite to progressivism. Trump is the clear, and the only reasonable, choice for progressives in this election.
Our choice, Bernie, didn't make it to the finals. (Hillary and her big-money people beat him '-- sometimes cheated him.) We are stunningly fortunate that the voters in the other Party's primaries ended up giving us (for once) a realistic chance to have, as the next U.S. President, a person who is at least no worse than, and is on many of the most important issues far better than, the atrocity (Hillary) that is being offered to us by the Democratic Party. How often does the Republican Party provide the better candidate? In the opinion of this Bernie-supporter, such a thing has never happened since the time of Abraham Lincoln. Donald Trump might not be another Abraham Lincoln, but he might be another Franklin Delano Roosevelt '-- the greatest progressive of them all. Thank you, Donald Trump, for having given us this opportunity '-- the realistic possibility to salvage, for America, a progressive future. It couldn't have happened without you '-- if it does happen, at all.
''Over the span of two days, the Republican nominee for president has proposed new child-care subsidies, new mandatory benefits to be provided by business, the removal of millions of families from the income-tax rolls, and an increase in tax rates on single people making from $112,500 to $190,000 a year. Oh, and he put in a good word for Medicaid too, leaving the impression with many people that he favors expanding it. '... None of these positions seem to be costing him any of his supporters, just as his opposition to entitlement reform and free trade did not keep him from winning the Republican nomination. '... He has exercised more [ideological] freedom than Republican politicians dreamed they had. For years, they have been complaining that purists had imposed a series of litmus tests that kept their party from winning elections or governing well. '... That stranglehold now appears to be broken.''
Trump is rapidly moving America's political center in the opposite direction from the direction that Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, did, which was toward conservatism, away from progressivism: those conservative Democratic Presidents and (now) would-be President, have moved America's political center considerably toward the right (the international-corporate agenda). A President Trump would reverse the political direction that this country has been heading in ever since 1993.If we progressives don't help Trump to do that, we shall be throwing away the only such opportunity that the U.S. oligarchy (slipped-up and) allowed us to have. A President Hillary Clinton would have the support of almost all congressional Democrats no matter how right-wing her proposals are, and her big-money financial backers will buy enough congressional Republicans to make her the most effective most conservative Democratic President in decades if not centuries. The prospect is chilling.
* * *
Donald Trump Rape Lawsuit Refiled With New Witness | Law News
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 05:57
Two weeks ago, ''Jane Doe'' dismissed her rape lawsuit against Donald Trump and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, but promised to refile. It happened on Friday. She and her attorney brought forward an amended complaint to The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. This one includes a new witness.
The original lawsuit claimed Trump raped the then-13-year-old plaintiff in the 1990s. There was also a second anonymous woman, known as ''Tiffany Doe.'' She said that Epstein had her pickup teenage girls for his parties. One of these girls was Jane, and Tiffany said she witnessed Trump and Epstein rape the plaintiff several times.
The new complaint adds a third woman. She's known in court documents as ''Joan Doe.''
''In the 1994-95 school year, I was told by the plaintiff in Jane Doe v. Trump and Epstein (1:16-cv-04642, SDNY) that the plaintiff was subject to sexual contact by the Defendants at parties in New York City during the summer of 1994,'' her declaration states.
The complaint also builds on the lawsuit's original defamation claim.
Trump's attorney Alan Garten flatly denied the original lawsuit in a June interview with LawNewz.com, and he has now denied this amended complaint.
''As I have said before, the allegations are categorically untrue and an obvious publicity stunt aimed at smearing my client,'' he told LawNewz.com on Saturday. ''In the event we are actually served this time, we intend to move for sanctions for this frivolous filing.''
This is actually the third time the plaintiff has filed the lawsuit, and there are some definite legal complications. From our June article about the lawsuit:
There are also some obvious legal hurdles based merely on the claims in the suit that would also make this case quite difficult.
For one, the statute of limitations on many of the claims including sexual misconduct, assault and battery has run up. Other than an affidavit by another unidentified woman who claims to have witnessed the encounters, there appears to be no other evidence concerning what happened. This woman does not indicate that she ever went to police. In addition, no other evidence like DNA or taped conversations has surfaced.
The plaintiff in this case has additionally claimed that she was ''defamed'' after Trump's attorney said her allegations were ''categorically false'' following her first lawsuit in California. At this point, the real identity of whoever is behind these lawsuits has yet to surface. It would be hard to prove that an anonymous woman suffered damage to her reputation if no one knows who she is.
This analysis stands since the new witness is the only major addition in the refiled complaint.
LawNewz.com obtained the court documents, so you can read these below. They are, in order, 1) the amended complaint, 2) Jane Doe's declaration, 3) Tiffany Doe's declaration, and 4) Joan Doe's declaration.
Amended Complaint Filed 9/30/2016 by LawNewz on Scribd
Jane Doe Declaration as Filed by LawNewz on Scribd
Tiffany Doe Declaration by LawNewz on Scribd
Joan Doe Declaration by LawNewz on Scribd
[image via Gino Santa Maria and Shutterstock]
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FBI agreed to destroy laptops of Clinton aides with immunity deal, lawmaker says | Fox News
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:10
Immunity deals for two top Hillary Clinton aides included a side arrangement obliging the FBI to destroy their laptops after reviewing the devices, House Judiciary Committee sources told Fox News on Monday.
Sources said the arrangement with former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson also limited the search to no later than Jan. 31, 2015. This meant investigators could not review documents for the period after the email server became public -- in turn preventing the bureau from discovering if there was any evidence of obstruction of justice, sources said.
The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee fired off a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking why the DOJ and FBI agreed to the restrictive terms, including that the FBI would destroy the laptops after finishing the search.
''Like many things about this case, these new materials raise more questions than answers,'' Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News.
''Doesn't the willingness of Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson to have their laptops destroyed by the FBI contradict their claim that the laptops could have been withheld because they contained non-relevant, privileged information? If so, doesn't that undermine the claim that the side agreements were necessary?'' Goodlatte asks.
The immunity deals for Mills and Samuelson, made as part of the FBI's probe into Clinton's use of a private email server when she served as secretary of state, apparently included a series of ''side agreements'' that were negotiated by Samuelson and Mills' attorney Beth Wilkinson.
The side deals were agreed to on June 10, less than a month before FBI Director James Comey announced that the agency would recommend no charges be brought against Clinton or her staff.
Judiciary Committee aides told FoxNews.com that the destruction of the laptops is particularly troubling as it means that the computers could not be used as evidence in future legal proceedings, should new information or circumstances arise.
Committee aides also asked why the FBI and DOJ would enter into a voluntary negotiation to begin with, when the laptops could be obtained condition-free via a subpoena.
The letter also asked why the DOJ agreed to limit their search of the laptops to files before Jan. 31, 2015, which would ''give up any opportunity to find evidence related to the destruction of evidence or obstruction of justice related to Secretary Clinton's unauthorized use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.''
Aides expressed shock at the parameter, saying it is especially troubling as Mills and Samuelson already had immunity from the consequences of whatever might be on the laptop.
''You're essentially extending immunity to everyone,'' one aide said.
The letter to Lynch sought to determine how many documents were blocked from FBI investigators because they fell outside of the date range agreed to by the DOJ.
Fox News' Catherine Herridge and FoxNews.com's Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
Libya: Clinton's Grudge against Gaddafi Slid Country into Chaos, US Peace Activist | The North Africa Post
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:07
US Presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State has been blamed for chaos in Libya after she opposed, for personal reasons, a peace deal signed by Muammar Gaddafi to organize democratic elections in 2011, Dr Kilari Anand Paul; a US peace activist who oversaw the deal told the media.
In 2011, NATO forces had backed the Libyan revolution to topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi blamed for decimating his own population.
Dr Kilari Anand Paul, a naturalized American of Indian origin, who oversaw peace efforts in Libya before the revolution told infowars.com that Hillary Clinton nixed the peace deal accepted by Gaddafi to end the political crisis in the country and to organize democratic elections.
Dr Paul, well-known for his peace initiatives, arrived in Libya on August 5, 2011 upon invitation from the Libyan ruler to assist in the peace efforts. After ten days of negotiation, Gaddafi agreed to end the conflict and organize democratic elections set to end his long reign in Libya.
The deal was rejected by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who wanted the Libyan ruler gone.
According to the peace activist, Clinton wanted to set record straight with Gaddafi for refusing to back her for the run-up to the US 2008 election. Gaddafi chose Barack Obama over Hillary something the US presidential hopeful bitterly swallowed.
''It's well known in Libya that Gaddafi supported Obama over Clinton in the run up to the '08 elections, although the Clinton team approached Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Gaddafi, and asked the family to invest in Hillary's campaign and foundation, which they did not,''
Libya has been embroiled in anarchy with several armed factions tearing the country apart for power. Terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (IS) have found fertile land in Libya following Gaddafi's death. UN-backed unity government has been struggling to impose its authority.
Last month, a committee in the British parliament laid out a report pinning the Libyan debacle on former minister David Cameron assisted by France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy. The report blamed the NATO leaders for ignoring Gaddafi's positive moves.
''They wanted him dead'', the report stressed.
Posted by Kamailoudini TagbaKamailoudini Tagba Independent Journalist, Freelance Interpreter and Toastmasters International Competent Communicator (CC), speech writer, based in Togo, West Africa Attended Central China Normal University (China), MA in Linguistics and Communication. Kamailoudini Tagba is UNESCO scholarship Alumni, interested in International Relations studies and Security Studies. Kamailoudini Tagba, trained as journalist at Togo state radio, worked for the African Network of Culture Promoters and Entrepreneurs (rapec) as news writer. Studying to become Middle and Near East Politics expert for Africa
The Obamacare Risk Adjustment Trap
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:08
Forbes WelcomeHTTP/1.1 200 OK Content-Type: text/html;charset=utf-8 Content-Language: en-US Content-Encoding: gzip Vary: Accept-Encoding Server: Backend: templates X-YourTtl: 300.000 Content-Length: 1674 Accept-Ranges: bytes X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN X-Cnection: close Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:08:56 GMT Connection: keep-alive
Clinton Foundation
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:40
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prohibit certain charitable organizations from accepting contributions from persons connected to foreign governments.IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESMr. Gohmert (for himself and Mr. Olson) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and MeansTo amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prohibit certain charitable organizations from accepting contributions from persons connected to foreign governments.Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, This Act may be cited as the ''Contributions Legally Interdicted from Noncitizens To Our Nonprofits Act of 2016'' or as the ''CLINTON Act of 2016''.SEC. 2. CERTAIN CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS PROHIBITED FOR ACCEPTING CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PERSONS CONNECTED TO FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS.(a) In General.'--Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:''(s) Prohibition On Acceptance Of Contributions From Persons Connected To Foreign Governments By 501(c)(3) Organizations Established By Certain Federal Officials.'--''(1) TERMINATION OF TAX-EXEMPT STATUS.'--A Federal official organization shall not be treated as described in subsection (c)(3) with respect to any period after the date on which such organization knowingly or willingly accepts or solicits any contribution from any person connected to a foreign government. If a Federal official organization accepts a contribution from any person and learns that such person is connected to a foreign government after such acceptance, such organization shall not be treated for purposes of this subsection as knowingly or willingly accepting such contribution from such person if such contribution is returned to such person not later than the date which is 30 days after the date on which the organization so learns the status of such person.''(2) FORFEITURE OF PROHIBITED CONTRIBUTIONS.'--There is hereby imposed a tax on any Federal official organization which knowingly or willingly accepts any contribution from any person connected to any foreign government in an amount equal to the amount of such contribution.''(3) FEDERAL OFFICIAL ORGANIZATION.'--For purposes of this subsection, the term 'Federal official organization' means any organization described in subsection (c)(3) (or which would be so described without regard to paragraph (1)) if one or more Federal officials established, control, or actively participate in the management of, such organization. For purposes of the preceding sentence, service in a merely honorary capacity shall note be treated as control or active participation in management.''(4) FEDERAL OFFICIAL.'--For purposes of this subsection, the term 'Federal official' means any individual who'--''(A) at any time prior the date of the contribution referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), is serving or has served as President or Vice-President, or''(B) at any time during the 20-year period ending on the date of the contribution referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), holds or has held any of the following positions in the Federal government:''(i) Any Member of Congress (including any Delegate and Resident Commissioner).''(ii) Any officer or employee appointed by the President, Vice-President, or any agency head and subject to confirmation by the Senate.''(iii) Any of the following positions which are held at the pleasure of the President:''(I) Assistant to the President.''(III) National security advisor.''(IV) Deputy chief of staff.''(iv) Any Federal judge, without regard to the article of the Constitution pursuant to which appointed.''(5) PERSONS CONNECTED TO FOREIGN GOVERNMENT.'--For purposes of this subsection, the term 'person connected to a foreign government' means the following:''(A) Any department, agency, or instrumentality of a foreign government.''(B) Any public international organization (as defined in section 104 of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (15 U.S.C. 78dd''2)).''(C) Any officer or employee of any entity described in subparagraph (A) or (B).''(D) Any individual who was described in subparagraph (C) at any time during the 20-year period ending on the date on which the contribution from such individual is accepted or solicited.''(E) Any person acting in an official capacity for or on behalf of any entity described in subparagraph (A) or (B).''(F) Any person belonging to a ruling or royal family by virtue of sanguinity or marriage.''(G) Any person related within four degrees of consanguinity to a person described in subparagraph (E) or (F).''.(b) Effective Date.'--The amendment made by this section shall apply to contributions made after the date of the enactment of this Act in taxable years ending after such date.
Words Matter
Every British swear word has been officially ranked in order of offensiveness | indy100
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:57
Every swear word in the English language has been ranked in order of offensiveness.
The UK's communications regulator, Ofcom, interviewed more than 200 people across the UK on how offensive they find a vast array of rude and offensive words and insults.
People were asked their opinion on 150 words in total. These included general swear words, words linked to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, body parts and health conditions, religious insults and sexual references, as well as certain hand gestures.
They were asked to rate words as mild, medium, strong or strongest.
And this is what Ofcom found.
For general swear words, the following words were seen as...
Mild:ArseBloodyBuggerCowCrapDamnGingerGitGodGoddamJesus ChristMingerSod-off
Medium:ArseholeBallsBintBitchBollocksBullshitFeckMunterPissed/pissed offShitSon of a bitchTits
Strong:BastardBeaverBeef curtainsBellendBloodclaatClungeCockDickDickheadFannyFlapsGashKnobMingePrickPunaniPussySnatchTwat Strongest:Words rated as mild were thought to be okay to use around children, whereas medium words were seen by most to be potentially unacceptable before the 9pm watershed. The vast majority thought the strong words should definitely be saved for after 9pm.
For sexual insults, most words were rated as strong.
The only words rated mild or medium were:
Words rated strong were:
Ofcom, which says this has been its most in-depth research yet, found that TV viewers are becoming less tolerant of racist and discriminatory language.
Most words relating to gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity, were seen as strong, whereas most relating to disability were seen as mild or medium.
An Ofcom spokesperson told indy100:
The findings are from new research on people's attitudes towards potentially offensive language and gestures in broadcasting, the biggest study of its kind carried out by Ofcom.
The results are vital in supporting our broadcasting standards work to protect viewers and listeners, especially children.
Russia's Putin suspends plutonium cleanup accord with U.S. because of 'unfriendly' acts | Reuters
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 13:44
Mon Oct 3, 2016 | 8:23 AM EDT
ByDmitry Solovyov|MOSCOW
MOSCOW Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday suspended an agreement with the United States for disposal of weapons-grade plutonium because of "unfriendly" acts by Washington, the Kremlin said.
A Kremlin spokesman said Putin had signed a decree suspending the 2010 agreement under which each side committed to destroy tonnes of weapons-grade material because Washington had not been implementing it and because of current tensions in relations.
The two former Cold War adversaries are at loggerheads over a raft of issues including Ukraine, where Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and supports pro-Moscow separatists, and the conflict in Syria.
The deal, signed in 2000 but which did not come into force until 2010, was being suspended due to "the emergence of a threat to strategic stability and as a result of unfriendly actions by the United States of America towards the Russian Federation", the preamble to the decree said.
It also said that Washington had failed "to ensure the implementation of its obligations to utilize surplus weapons-grade plutonium".
The 2010 agreement, signed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, called on each side to dispose of 34 tonnes of plutonium by burning in nuclear reactors.
Clinton said at the time that that was enough material to make almost 17,000 nuclear weapons. Both sides then viewed the deal as a sign of increased cooperation between the two former adversaries toward a joint goal of nuclear non-proliferation.
"For quite a long time, Russia had been implementing it (the agreement) unilaterally," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with journalists on Monday.
"Now, taking into account this tension (in relations) in general ... the Russian side considers it impossible for the current state of things to last any longer."
Ties between Moscow and Washington plunged to freezing point over Crimea and Russian support for separatists in eastern Ukraine after protests in Kiev toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich.
Washington led a campaign to impose Western economic sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis.
Relations soured further last year when Russia deployed its warplanes to an air base in Syria to provide support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops fighting rebels.
The rift has widened in recent weeks, with Moscow accusing Washington of not delivering on its promise to separate units of moderate Syrian opposition from "terrorists".
Huge cost overruns have also long been another threat to the project originally estimated at a total of $5.7 billion.
(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
Russia interested in cooperation with U.S. regarding hackers' attacks | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 15:52
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova. Source: Sergey Pyatakov/RIA Novosti
Russia is interested in cooperation with the U.S. on hacker attacks, blame for which is apportioned to Russian IT specialists, Maria Zakharova, the official spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda radio.
"In this context, we're interested in the sharing of information with us if the investigation is moving ahead," she said. "We're interested in getting data and, quite probably, in providing data at a query. We on our part would also request data on this investigation."
Still there are no signs of interest in this on the part of Washington while the hacking attacks are mostly used as instruments in the U.S. presidential race to whip up public agitation.
"There's silence on the opposite side and it proves all of this (the hacking attacks) is a yet another factor used to stir public interest, the interest of the electorate in certain personalities," Zakharova said.
Source: TASS
Are the U.S. elections really a turning point for global geopolitics?
U.S. assistant secretary Nuland to arrive in Moscow late on Oct. 4 '-- source
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:50
Victoria Nuland. Source: AP
U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland will arrive in Moscow on Oct. 4 evening, a diplomatic source has told TASS.
"Today Victoria Nuland is in Brussels as part of the delegation of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. She will arrive in Moscow by plane in the evening," the source said.
Nuland is expected to hold the scheduled meetings in Moscow on Oct. 5.
The U.S. State Department announced on Oct. 3 that Nuland will travel to Moscow "to meet with senior Russian government officials to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine and next steps to implement the Minsk agreements in support of the Normandy countries and the Trilateral Contact Group."
Source: TASS
Forgotten Baba vanga prophecies - Alamongordo.Com
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 17:25
The Forgotten Baba vanga prophecies about World War III !Many people look at Baba Vanga as a false prophet because the 2010 prophecy about World War III did not happen '... but, check this out :
List of Baba Vanga predictions :
Assassination / murder attempts on four heads of states that becomes one of the causes for the start of WWIII.The start of WWIII in 2010. The war will begin around November of 2010 and will end around October of 2014. Will start as a normal war, then will include usage of nuclear and chemical weapons.Due to the radioactive showers in Northern Hemisphere in 2011 '' animals and/or plants will dieMuslims will wage chemical war against Europeans/NATO around 2013.More and more of the people in this world in 2014 will have skin cancer and skin related diseases.Around 2016, Europe is almost empty.China becomes the new world power around 2018.Earth's orbit will change slightly around 2023.Development of a new energy source around 2028. Hunger slowly stops being a problem.Around 2033 all of the Polar ice caps melt and World ocean levels rise.By 2043 the world economy is prosperous and Muslims will be running Europe.Any organs can be mass produced by 2046 and exchange of body organs becomes the favorite method of treatment.During it's attack on Rome around 2046 (which is under control of the Muslims) U.S.A. uses a new method of weapons.Because af a new disease around 2088, people are getting old in few seconds, this can be cured by 2097.We will just talk about the first six prophecies
Assassination / murder attempts on four heads of states that becomes one of the causes for the start of WWIII :Several ''leaders'' got killed in the last few years : Hamas leader Mahmºd al-Mabhouh killed in Dubai on January 19, 2010 (assasination), Polish leader Lech Kaczynski dead '' April 10, 2010 (under suspicious circumstances), Kadhaffi got killed and a few years ago Saddam Hussein got killed. You have to look at the ''ARAB SPRING'' to understand most prophecies AND remember that the prophet Edgar Cayce prophesied that IF there will be a WWIII, it wil start in the area of Tunis, Libya, Egypt and Damascus. It's weird that those are the places where the ''ARAB SPRING'' started isn't it ???
The start of WWIII in 2010. The war will begin around November of 2010 :Most people have a problem with this prophecy, they say WWIII did not start in November 2010 but think about it AND don't forget the Edgar Cayce prophecy about WW-III, in November 2010 the people in Tunesia (Tunis) started up facebook groops that sparked and started the ''ARAB SPRING'' early 2011, after this the Arab Spring started in Egypt, than in Lybia and at this very moment it is happening in Syria (capital DAMASCUS), just the place Edgar Cayce named as last city before the start of the Third World War !!! So i think when you look at it and IF there will be a third world war because of the crisis in Syria that after this people will say WORLD WAR III started with the first Arab Spring in Tunis.
Due to the radioactive showers in Northern Hemisphere in 2011 '' animals and/or plants will die :Many people read this prophecy and thought about a nuclear war, no '... On March 11, 2011 : FUKUSHIMA happened and believe me, if you know the truth about the radioactive stuff in the air and sea at the moment you would shit your pants ! This prophecy can also be found in the Bible : 1/3 of the animals in the sea will die '' Also before this the Hopi Prophecy happened, the Sea will be black and many animals will die !!! Ring any bells ??? The BP disaster made the Gulf of Mexico BLACK. when in 1986 the disaster in Tjernobyl happened they lied on television about the radioactive clouds, same thing is happening now.
Muslims will wage chemical war against Europeans/NATO around 2013 :This is very possible because Syria has a massive amount of chemical weapons and the support of Iran that has nuclear weapons (read prophecies for 2009 on Alamongordo : In 2010 Iran will have a nuclear weapon). Also Syria has the support of Russia (Antichrist Vladimir Putin). If NATO attacks Syria and/or Iran, all shit will start and Syria will defend itself with chemical warfare. Also Russia said on May 30th 2012 : If NATO attacks Syria we will stop them '...
More and more of the people in this world in 2014 will have skin cancer and skin related diseases :This will happen first of all because of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, people are allready getting sick at this moment, it also could be because of the coming Solar Peak early 2013 or because of the prophesied third world war 2010 '' 2014 that would start as ''a normal war'' (happening at this moment) and will lead to a chemical and nuclear war in 2013.
Around 2016, Europe is almost emptyBecause of the nuclear war Europe will be empty by 2016.
Other Baba Vanga Prophecies for the Future
2100 '' Man made Sun is lighting up the dark side of the planet Earth.2111 '' People become robots.2123 '' Wars between small countries. Big countries don't get evolved.2125 '' In Hungary the signals from Space are received. (People will be reminded of Vanga again)2130 '' Colonies under water (advices from aliens)2154 '' Animals become half-humans.2167 '' New religion2170 '' Big drought.2183 '' Collony on Mars becomes nuclear nation and is asking for independence from the Earth. (same way as U.S. did from England)2187 '' Successfully two volcano eruptions are stopped.2195 '' Sea colonies are fully supplied with energy and food.2196 '' Full mixture between Asians and Europeans.2201 '' Thermonuclear reactions on the Sun slow down. Temperatures Drop.2221 '' In the search of Alien life, human beings engage with something very freighting.2256 '' Spaceship brings a freighting new disease into Earth.2262 '' Orbits of planets start to change progressively. Mars is under a threat of being hit by a comet.2271 '' Physic properties are calculated over, since they changed.2273 '' Mix of yellow, white, and black race. New race.2279 '' Energy out of nothing (probably from vacuum or black holes)2288 '' Travel through time. New contacts with the aliens.2291 '' Sun cools. Attempts to fire it up again are taken.2296 '' Bright flashes on the Sun. Force of gravity changes. Old space stations and satellites begin to fall2299 '' In France, there is a partisan uprising against Islam.2302 '' New important new laws and mysteries about the universe are uncovered.2304 '' The mystery of the Moon is uncovered.2341 '' Something frightening is closing in with Earth from the space.2354 '' Accident on one of the man made suns, will result in drought.2371 '' Mighty hunger.2378 '' New and fast growing race.2480 '' Two man made suns will collide. Earth is in the dark.3005 '' War on Mars. Trajectory of planets changes.3010 '' Comet will ram into the Moon. Around Earth there is a belt of rocks and dust.
Sberbank and MasterCard launch Apple Pay on Russian market
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:49
Apple Pay works with iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and later, and Apple Watch. Source: Invision for Disney Store / AP
Sberbank and MasterCard launched Apple Pay system (Apple Corporation payment system) on the Russian market, according to Sberbank statement published on Oct. 4 on its official website.
"Sberbank clients, holders of Mastercard cards, can now use Apple Pay, which will let them make secure and convenient contactless and online payments," the press release said.
"Apple Pay is driving the popularization of contactless payments in Russia and globally. Many of Sberbank clients actively use new technologies, and an increasing number of them will prefer cash-free and contactless payment using their smartphones," Alexander Torbakhov, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, commented on the news.
According to Sberbank, Apple Pay can be easily set up in the Sberbank Online mobile application, which is familiar to all Sberbank cardholders. Users can enjoy contactless payment service while continuing to receive all the benefits from using their credit and debit cards.
Apple Pay works with iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and later, and Apple Watch.
Apple Pay system was introduced by Apple Inc. in September 2014. The payment system allows purchases using NFC (Near Field Communication) technology on smartphones, which can be used for payment in actual stores by holding an iPhone near the reader or within apps.
In the fall 2015, Apple's South Korean competitor - Samsung - also announced the launch of its own NFC payment system called Samsung Pay.
Source: TASS
Syria turning into proxy war with Russia in eyes of Americans '' U.S. expert
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:46
International experts have expressed pessimism about the prospects for improving Russia-U.S. relations, urging leaders in Moscow and Washington to remain cautious while dealing with each other in Syria.
Lack of trust between the Russians and the Americans is a fundamental obstacle to reaching an understanding that could resolve the Syrian conflict. Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, on Spet. 5, 2016. Source: Reuters
The Syrian conflict is stoking mistrust between Russia and the U.S. that will be difficult to overcome in the near future, participants of a special panel on Russia-U.S. relations organized in Moscow by the Valdai Club international discussion forum have concluded.
Former UK Defense Minister Desmond Browne (2006-2008) and former UK ambassador to Russia Roderic Lyne (2000-2004) joined Robert Legvold, Professor Emeritus at Columbia University and a prominent expert on Russia, on Sept. 30 in Moscow to discuss why Russia-U.S. relations have deteriorated so much recently.
According to Legvold, the Syrian conflict is turning into a proxy war between Russia and the U.S. in the eyes of the American public.
Less than a week after the discussion in Moscow, on Oct. 3, the U.S. State Department announced its decision to terminate dialogue with Moscow on Syria, as if fulfilling the grim predictions of the participants. Russia, in turn, responded (in Russian) by arguing the Obama administration was either unable or unwilling to fulfil key conditions of continued cooperation with Moscow on Syria.
'''...what's happened in Syria is the mistrust overwhelmed the chance to build trust, and now Syria is going to become rather than a positive influence and a way to move forward in this current, what I call Cold War, it's now going to contribute to the deepening of the Cold War,'' said Legvold.
A question of trustLack of trust between the Russians and the Americans is a fundamental obstacle to reaching an understanding that could resolve the protracted conflict, along with the sides' inability to fully exert their influence on the conflicting parties in Syria, according to the experts.
By 2015, said Legvold, senior staff in the Obama administration had concluded that Moscow saw the U.S. as actively pursuing the strategy of regime change in various countries. Hence the U.S. and Russia developed an inherent sense of mistrust with regard to each other's intentions that later manifested itself particularly evidently in Ukraine and Syria.
According to experts, the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine are hotspots that could put Moscow and Washington into an open conflict, should the sides fail to behave more cautiously.
''The first thing we need to do collectively is to [refrain] from actions that make the situation worse. Ukraine and Syria are particular hotspots. If the leaderships of East and West want better relations then they've got to start behaving with some restraint in those areas,'' said Roderic Lyne, former UK ambassador to Russia.
Desmond Browne, who served as the British Defense Minister at the time the Russian-Georgian conflict broke out, said that the August war of 2008 was a ''collective wake-up call'' that both Russia and the West chose to ignore, thus laying the foundations for future conflicts.
''It did seem to me that unless we address this issue of trust and confidence, form some form of a dialogue and a common perception of at least the dangers we were engaging with, then other things were likely to happen,'' said Browne.
A way out?Although the experts were largely pessimistic about the current state of relations between Russia and the U.S., they agreed that Moscow and Washington could still try to put relations back on track by focusing on the common challenges the two countries share.
''We can identify a number of issues on which we continue to have common interests,'' said Lyne, pointing out the North Korean nuclear program as an area of particular concern.
''Just as we we able to work together on Iran we need to work together on [North Korea]. Then we need to start addressing issues that have driven us apart, which is going to be a slow process because it is not only about interests, it is about values,'' added the former diplomat.
According to the pundits at the panel in Moscow, Russia and the U.S. can still revive their former bond if the leaders in Moscow and Washington do not further aggravate the current mistrust, which is similar to that which prevailed during the heights of the Cold War. However, Washington's decision to terminate bilateral dialogue with Moscow on Syria leaves little hope for now.
Read more: Russia in Syria 1 year on>>>
Will Russia deploy a new air defense system to Syria?
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:42
According to military experts, the S-300V4 advanced anti-missile system will protect troops from possible air attacks after the failure of Russian-American cooperation in Syria.
The S-300VM "Antey-2500" system is capable of destroying enemy ballistic missiles, flying towards to the target at a speed of 1.5 miles per second, with a range of 93 miles. Source: Sergei Savostyanov / TASS
Russia has deployed an S-300VM "Antey-2500" air defense system to Syria, Fox News television has reported, citing sources in the U.S. intelligence community.
According to the report, American intelligence have been observing the shipment of the system for several weeks, as components of the system, classified as SA-23 Gladiator by NATO, arrived at Russia's naval base in Tartus.
The S-300V4 system is yet not operational, and, according to Fox News sources, is still in crates. The Defense Ministry declined to comment when contacted by RBTH.
According to an RBTH source in the military, the deployment of the new equipment is in response to the U.S. statement on Washington's move to "plan B" in Syria '' an increase in the number of sorties, the transfer of special forces to the region and new arms deliveries to the moderate opposition.
"The new air and missile defense systems in the area of operations will help avoid incidents similar to the events in Deir ez-Zor, when the U.S.-led Coalition mistakenly delivered airstrikes on Syrian military positions," the RBTH source said. That attack killed 62 Syrian soldiers and wounded more than 100.
What the S-300V4 is and why it is neededThe S-300V4 is an upgrade of the S-300 air and missile defense system. Unlike its precursor, the newer system uses tracks rather than wheeled chassis, and is intended to cover troops in combat positions.
"It is adapted for movement on rough terrain in a convoy of armored vehicles: tanks, armored personnel carriers (APCs), and so on," Viktor Litovkin, the TASS news agency's military expert, told RBTH. "Its mission is to cover the ground troops in a war zone from missile and air attacks."
According to Litovkin, the S-300VM "Antey-2500" system is capable of destroying enemy ballistic missiles, flying towards to the target at a speed of 1.5 miles per second, with a range of 93 miles.
Strengthening of the Syrian groupAccording to a number of Russian media, Russia also deployed Sukhoi Su-24 and Su-34 fighter-bombers to Syria a few days earlier.
The Su-25 attack aircraft are also being prepared for relocation. Russia's Defense Ministry also refused to comment on this information.
The Syrian deadlock: Where do the sides go now?
Do We Really Want Nuclear War with Russia?
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:58
Special Report: The U.S. propaganda war against Russia is spinning out of control, rolling ever faster downhill with a dangerous momentum that threatens to drive the world into a nuclear showdown, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Through an endless barrage of ugly propaganda, the U.S. government and the mainstream American press have put the world on course for a potential nuclear showdown with Russia, an existential risk that has been undertaken cavalierly amid bizarre expressions of self-righteousness from Western institutions.
This extraordinarily dangerous moment reflects the insistence of the Establishment in Washington that it should continue to rule the world and that it will not broach the possibility of other nations asserting their own national interests even in their own neighborhoods.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]
Rather than adjust to a new multi-polar world, the powers-that-be in Washington have deployed a vast array of propaganda assets that are financed or otherwise encouraged to escalate an information war so aggressively that Russia is reading this onslaught of insults as the conditioning of the Western populations for a world war.While that may not be the intention of President Obama, who in his recent United Nations address acknowledged the risks from imposing uni-polar order on the world, a powerful bureaucratic machinery is in place to advance U.S. propaganda goals. It is operating on a crazed auto-pilot hurtling toward destruction but beyond anyone's ability to turn it off.
This machinery consists not just of outlets and activists funded by U.S. tax dollars via the National Endowment for Democracy or the U.S. Agency for International Development or NATO's Strategic Communications Command, but like-minded ''human rights'' entities paid for by billionaire currency speculator George Soros or controlled by neoconservative ideologues who now run major U.S. newspapers, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times.
This propaganda apparatus now has so many specialized features that you get supposedly ''progressive'' and ''anti-war'' organizations promoting a major U.S. invasion of Syria under the guise of sweet-sounding policies like ''no-fly zones'' and ''safe zones,'' the same euphemisms that were used as the gateway to bloody ''regime change'' wars in Iraq and Libya.
There exists what intelligence veterans call a Mighty Wurlitzer, an organ with so many keys and pedals that it's hard to know where all the sounds come from that make up the powerful harmony, all building to the same crescendo. But that crescendo may now be war with nuclear-armed Russia, which finds in all this demonizing the prelude to either a destabilization campaign aimed at ''regime change'' in Moscow or outright war.
Yet, the West can't seem to muster the sanity or the honesty to begin toning down or even showing skepticism toward the escalating charges aimed at Russia. We saw similar patterns in the run-up to war in Iraq in 2002-2003 and in justifying the ouster, torture and murder of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Western propaganda also has enveloped the conflict in Syria to such an extent that the American people don't understand that the U.S. government and its regional ''allies'' have been supporting and arming jihadist groups fighting under the command of Al Qaeda and even the Islamic State. The propaganda has focused on demonizing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while downplaying or ignoring the real nature of the ''moderate'' opposition.
Taking Aim at Putin
In many ways, the Western insistence on ''regime change'' in Syria ties in directly to the extraordinary escalation of that strategy to seek ''regime change'' in Russia. In August-September 2013, America's neocons and liberal war hawks were salivating over the prospect of a U.S. military bombing campaign to devastate Assad's army as punishment for his alleged role in a sarin gas attack outside Damascus.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria ''Toria'' Nuland, addresses Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]
Although the intelligence was weak regarding Assad's ''guilt'' '' and subsequent evidence has pointed to a likely provocation by radical jihadists using home-made sarin and a jerry-rigged rocket '' Official Washington was rubbing its hands at the prospect of a retaliatory bombing operation that would punish Assad and advance the cause of ''regime change.''At the last minute, however, President Obama listened to the doubts from his intelligence advisers and rejected what he later called the Washington ''playbook'' of a military response to a complex problem. To the annoyance of Washington insiders, Obama then collaborated with President Putin in a diplomatic settlement in which Syria surrendered all its chemical weapons while still denying any role in the sarin attack. Obama was accused of weakness for not ''enforcing his red line'' against chemical weapons use.
The despair over Obama's failure to bomb the Syrian government and open the path for a long-desired ''regime change'' in Damascus led to a search for other villains, the most obvious one being Putin, who then became the focus of neocon determination to make him share their pain and disappointment.
National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman took to the op-ed page of The Washington Post in late September 2013 to declare that Ukraine was now ''the biggest prize'' and represented an important interim step toward eventually toppling Putin in Russia.
Gershman, who is essentially a neocon paymaster dispensing $100 million a year in U.S. taxpayers' money to activists, journalists and various other operatives, wrote: ''Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.''
Within weeks, U.S. neocons '' including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain '' were encouraging right-wing Ukrainian nationalists to overthrow Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych, a coup accomplished on Feb. 22, 2014, touching off a civil war between Ukraine's west and east.
As part of that Western propaganda barrage, the Ukraine coup ousting the elected president was hailed as a victory for ''democracy'' and Yanukovych's supporters in the south and east who resisted this imposition of illegitimate authority in Kiev became the target of a U.S.-backed ''Anti-Terrorism Operation'' or ATO.
Led by The New York Times and The Washington Post, the Western media fell in line behind the preferred narrative that there was ''no coup,'' that there were ''no neo-Nazis'' spearheading the non-coup (or maybe just a few), that the ''Heavenly Hundred'' who died in the putsch against Yanukovych had given their lives for Ukraine's ''freedom'' even though some of the ''heavenly'' inconveniently were neo-Nazi street fighters, part of a paramilitary force that had killed some 16 police officers.
Killing 'Terrorists'
Given the West's pro-coup propaganda themes, it became necessary to justify the thousands of eastern Ukrainians slaughtered in the ATO as the killing of ''terrorists'' or Russian ''stooges,'' getting what they deserved. The 96 percent vote in Crimea's referendum to reunify with Russia had to be a ''sham'' since the West's narrative held that the Ukrainian people were thrilled with the putsch, so the Crimeans must have voted that way at Russian gunpoint.
Screen shot of the fatal fire in Odessa, Ukraine, on May 2, 2014, killing scores of ethnic Russians trapped inside. (From RT video)
The explanation of Crimea's secession from Ukraine was that Russia ''invaded'' and ''annexed'' Crimea although there were no images of an invasion (no tanks crossing Crimea's borders, no amphibious landings, no paratroopers descending from the sky '' because Russian troops were already in Crimea as part of a basing agreement and helped protect Crimea's inhabitants so they could hold their vote which did represent their desires).
Because the Western propaganda insisted that the new authorities in Kiev were wearing white hats, the Russians had to be fitted with black hats. Every bad thing that happened was automatically Putin's fault. So, when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, the West's propaganda machinery whirred into action, blaming Russia for supposedly giving the ethnic Russian rebels powerful Buk anti-aircraft missiles.
The propaganda momentum was so strong by then that there was no Western support for Russia's request for a United Nations investigation. Instead the inquiry was largely turned over to the torture-implicated Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU, upon which the Dutch and Australians, the other two principal members, became increasingly dependent (by their own admissions). Belgium and Malaysia played lesser roles.
The Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) considered no serious alternatives to the Russians and the rebels being responsible. For instance, when the JIT released its ''report'' on Sept. 28, 2016, there was no explanation offered for why Dutch intelligence (i.e. NATO intelligence) had concluded that the only missile systems in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, capable of shooting down MH-17 were controlled by the Ukrainian military. The JIT ''report'' was silent about where those Ukrainian Buk missile systems were at the time of the shoot-down.
It's also a bit of a misnomer to describe the JIT's findings as a ''report'' since they were really expressed in a series of videos featuring computer-generated graphics supposedly showing a Russian Buk crew driving around Ukraine, mixed in with a few photos from social media of a Buk convoy.
Key to the JIT's findings were phone intercepts provided by the SBU and assembled to reinforce the impression of Russian guilt. The problem, however, was that except for one intercept in which someone said he'd like to have Buks, the word ''Buk'' is not mentioned; nor the word ''missiles''; nor the word ''aircraft''; nor any discussion about shooting down a plane. That was all supposition with an authoritative narrator filling in the gaps.
Ignoring Contrary Evidence
The JIT also ignored evidence that contradicted its conclusions, such as other intercepts reporting that a Ukrainian convoy had penetrated close to the eastern city of Luhansk. The significance of that revelation is that it confirms a point that has been largely ignored, that the Ukrainian military could move almost at will across ''rebel-controlled territory.'' The notion that the Ukrainian civil war was like World War I with fixed trench lines was simply a fallacy.
Screen shot from the Joint Investigation Team's video report citing where a Russian Buk missile battery allegedly crossed into eastern Ukraine.
The JIT also had to impose a bizarre route for the Russian Buk battery to follow on its way to the supposed firing location south of the remote eastern town of Snizhne. Because the ''social media'' photos show the Buk convoy heading east toward Russia, not west from Russia, the JIT had to map out a journey that ignored a simple, direct and discreet route from the Russian border to Snizhhe in favor of a trip more than twice as long roaming around eastern Ukraine all the way to Donetsk before turning eastward past a number of heavily populated areas where the Buk convoy, supposedly on a highly secret mission, could be photographed.
The alleged firing location also conflicts with the alleged reason for the Russians taking the extraordinary risk of introducing a Buk system '' that it was needed to defend rebel soldiers then fighting mostly in the north against Ukrainian troops and aircraft. For that purpose, the positioning of a Buk battery far to the southeast makes little sense, nor does the decision for a Russian Buk crew to shoot down a commercial airliner flying at 33,000 feet.
JIT's account of the post-crash exfiltration of the Buk convoy back to Russia also is curious, since again the shortest, easiest and least populated route was ignored in favor of one that went far to the north past Luhansk, the alleged site of the supposed ''getaway'' video (although the supposed location of the ''getaway'' video was misplaced by Western media groups trying to pin the blame on Russia).
The confirmed parts of the Buk convoy's route, i.e., along highways east of Donetsk, would fit better with a scenario that, I'm told, received serious consideration from U.S. intelligence analysts, that a Ukrainian Buk system under the control of a rogue military unit loyal to a fiercely anti-Putin oligarch traveled east into what was considered ''rebel-controlled territory'' to fire on what was hoped to be Putin's official plane returning from a state visit to South America, i.e. to kill Putin.
A source briefed by these analysts said the missile was fired despite the unit's doubt that the plane was Putin's. Although it's unclear to me exactly what the U.S. intelligence consensus ultimately turned out to be on MH-17 (since I have been refused official updates), there would be logic in a Ukrainian hardliner staging such an audacious missile attack deep inside ''rebel territory,'' since any assassination of Putin would have to be explained as an accidental attack by his own allies, i.e., the ultimate case of Putin being hoisted on his own petard.
To evaluate which scenario makes more sense '' that the Russians dispatched a Buk missile battery on a wild ride across eastern Ukraine or that a Ukrainian Buk battery penetrated into supposedly rebel-controlled territory with the intent of attacking a civilian plane (although not MH-17) '' it would be crucial to have an explanation of where the Ukrainian Buk batteries were located on July 17, 2014.
Silence on Dutch Intelligence
Some of the Russia-did-it crowd have dismissed claims that Ukrainian Buk systems were in the area as Russian disinformation, but their presence was confirmed by a report from the Dutch intelligence service, MIVD, relying on NATO information to explain why commercial airliners were still being allowed over the war zone.
A photograph of a Russian BUK missile system that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt published on Twitter in support of a claim about Russia placing BUK missiles in eastern Ukraine, except that the image appears to be an AP photo taken at an air show near Moscow two years earlier.
The MIVD's explanation was that the only anti-aircraft missiles that could hit a plane at 33,000 feet were controlled by Ukraine, which was presumed to have no interest in attacking commercial aircraft, and that the rebels lacked any missile system that could reach that high. Clearly, there was an intelligence failure because either some Ukrainian Buk operators did have an intent to strike a civilian plane or the rebels did have a Buk system in the area.
If the JIT were operating objectively, it would have included something about this intelligence failure, either by showing that it had investigated the possibility that Ukrainian Buk missiles were used by a rogue unit or explaining how Western intelligence could have missed Russia's introduction of a Buk system into eastern Ukraine.
Instead, there was just this video that includes cryptic phone intercepts, assertions about unnamed witnesses and computer-generated graphics ''showing'' the movement of a Russian Buk convoy along darkened roads in Ukraine.
Despite the unusual nature of this ''indictment,'' it was widely accepted in Western media as the final proof of Russian perfidy. The evidence was called ''overwhelming'' and ''conclusive.''
Rather than treating the video report as a prosecutor's brief '' a set of allegations yet to be proved '' Western journalists accepted it as flat fact, much as they did Secretary of State Colin Powell's similar presentation on Feb. 5, 2003, ''proving'' that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. (Powell also used computer-generated images '-- of Iraq's ''mobile chemical weapons labs'' that, in reality, didn't exist.)
The day after the JIT video report was issued, The New York Times' lead editorial was headlined, ''Mr. Putin's Outlaw State.'' It read:
''President Vladimir Putin is fast turning Russia into an outlaw nation. As one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, his country shares a special responsibility to uphold international law. Yet, his behavior in Ukraine and Syria violates not only the rules intended to promote peace instead of conflict, but also common human decency.
''This bitter truth was driven home twice on Wednesday [Sept. 28]. An investigative team led by the Netherlands concluded that the surface-to-air missile system that shot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine in July 2014, killing 298 on board, was sent from Russia to Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night. '...
''Russia has tried hard to pin the blame for the airline crash on Ukraine. But the new report, produced by prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, confirms earlier findings. It uses strict standards of evidence and meticulously documents not only the deployment of the Russian missile system that caused the disaster but also Moscow's continuing cover-up. '...
''President Obama has long refused to approve direct military intervention in Syria. And Mr. Putin may be assuming that Mr. Obama is unlikely to confront Russia in his final months and with an American election season in full swing. But with the rebel stronghold in Aleppo under threat of falling to the government, administration officials said that such a response is again under consideration.
''Mr. Putin fancies himself a man on a mission to restore Russia to greatness. Russia could indeed be a great force for good. Yet his unconscionable behavior '-- butchering civilians in Syria and Ukraine, annexing Crimea, computer-hacking American government agencies, crushing dissent at home '-- suggests that the furthest thing from his mind is becoming a constructive partner in the search for peace.''
Rich Irony
Granted, there is some rich irony in a major U.S. newspaper, which helped justify illegal aggression against Iraq with false reporting about Iraq buying aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges, pontificating about international law.
Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who co-authored the Times' bogus story about Iraq buying aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges.
Indeed, the very idea that any serious person in the United States would lecture other countries about international law would be laughable if the hypocrisy were not delivered in such a serious set of circumstances. For decades now, the United States has been a law onto itself, deciding which countries should be bombed and who should be assassinated.
President Obama himself has acknowledged authorizing military strikes in seven countries during his presidency and many of those attacks were done outside international law. Indeed, the Times editorial appears to urge Obama to launch illegal military strikes against the Syrian government and, not surprisingly, doesn't mention the U.S. airstrike that killed some 62 Syrian government soldiers just last month, delivering a death blow to the partial ceasefire.
Instead, you get a medley of the Times' greatest anti-Russian propaganda hits while ignoring the U.S. role in destabilizing and overthrowing Ukraine's elected government in favor of a harshly anti-Russian nationalist regime that then began slaughtering thousands of ethnic Russians who resisted the coup.
Nor does the Times mention that Russia is operating inside Syria by invitation of the sovereign government, while the U.S. has no such authority. And the Times leaves out how the U.S. government and its allies have covertly armed and funded jihadist rebels who have inflicted many of the hundreds of thousands of dead in Syria. Not everyone, including Syrian soldiers, was killed by Assad and the Russians, although that's the impression the Times leaves.
A more nuanced account would reflect this murky reality in which sophisticated U.S. weapons, such as TOW missiles, have ended up in the possession of Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate and its jihadist allies. It would acknowledge that many sides are at fault for these tragedies in Syria and Ukraine '' not to mention all the bloodshed that has followed the U.S.-led and U.S.-enabled wars that have torn apart the Middle East over the past decade and a half.
The Times might also admit that Putin was helpful in resolving the 2013 sarin crisis in Syria and achieving a breakthrough on the Iran nuclear talks in 2014. But that would not fit the propaganda need to demonize Putin and ready the American people for another, even more terrifying ''regime change,'' this time in Moscow.
What we can now expect are a series of legal actions brought against Russia in connection with the MH-17 case and other controversies. The goal will be to further demonize Putin and to destabilize Russia, a process already underway with economic sanctions that have helped throw Russia's economy into recession.
The neocon plan is to ratchet up tensions and pain so Putin's elected government will somehow collapse with the neocons hoping that some U.S. lackey will take over and allow another round of ''shock therapy,'' i.e. the plunder of Russia's resources to the benefit of a few favored oligarchs and their American consultants.
However, given the dreadful experience that the average Russian faced from the earlier round of ''shock therapy'' in the 1990s '' including a stunning decline in life expectancy '' the more likely outcome from even a successful neocon scheme of ''regime change'' would be the emergence of a much more hard-line Russian nationalist than Putin.
Whereas Putin is a calculating and rational leader, the guy who follows him might well be an ideologue ready to use nuclear weapons to protect Mother Russia's honor. After all, it's not as if one of these neocon ''regime change'' calculations has ever gone wrong before.
Yet, whichever way things go, Official Washington '' and its complicit mainstream media '' now appear determined to push Russia into a corner with military encroachments from NATO on Russia's borders and with criminal accusations before biased international ''investigations.'' Any misstep in this dangerous game could quickly end life as we know it.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book,America's Stolen Narrative,either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
US is considering the direct fight against Russia in Syria - DWN
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:14
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Russia tells citizens 'nuclear war with the West could happen soon' | Metro News
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 21:26
(Photo by Lambert/Getty Images)As tensions rise in the middle East, an official TV channels in Russia has issued a chilling warning that war with the West could be imminent.
Zvezda, a nationwide TV service run by the country's Ministry of Defence, said last week, 'Schizophrenics from America are sharpening nuclear weapons for Moscow.'
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday proposed a law suspending a Moscow-Washington agreement to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium.
Officials said on Friday that underground shelters had been built which could house 12 milion people '' enough for the entire population of Moscow.
MORE: Banksy has 'been unmasked' as video catches him red-handed spray painting wallMORE: Teenager secretly lived with 7-inch tail for 18 years '' before having it chopped offRussia has clashed with the Western powers over its policy in Syria '' where it's accused of bombing civilians '' and the U.S suspended negotiations with the country yesterday.
Both Russia and NATO are still in the position to unleash global-scale nuclear attacks '' and the weapons are armed and ready.
The Arms Control Association says, 'United States and Russia still deploy more than 1,500 strategic warheads on several hundred bombers and missiles '' far more than necessary to deter nuclear attack '' and they are modernizing their nuclear delivery systems.
What would a nuclear blast actually do?No state with a large nuclear arsenal '' such as Russia or America '' actively WANTS nuclear confrontation.
What observers fear is a military or political confrontation which builds up tensions around a nuclear missile attack '' possibly leading one side to fire.
Hydrogen bombs would destroy most civilian buildings in a 10-mile radius (based on a 20-megaton weapon exploding 3.3 miles above the ground), according to calculations in Physics and Nuclear Arms Today.
The effects on people nearby would be even more frightening, with a blast killing thousands or millions instantly, followed by poisoning from radioactive fallout from the blast.
Witnesses of the Hiroshima attack said that people near the centre of the blast 'vanished'.
William Burchett said, 'Of thousands of others, nearer the centre of the explosion, there was no trace. They vanished. The theory in Hiroshima is that the atomic heat was so great that they burned instantly to ashes '' except that there were no ashes.'
Ministry of Truth
NO FLY ZONE-Inside the Shadowy PR Firm That's Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria | Alternet
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:55
Posing as a non-political solidarity organization, the Syria Campaign leverages local partners and media contacts to push the U.S. into toppling another Middle Eastern government.
On September 30, demonstrators gathered in city squares across the West for a "weekend of action'' to ''stop the bombs'' raining down from Syrian government and Russian warplanes on rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Thousands joined the protests, holding signs that read "Topple Assad" and declaring, "Enough With Assad." Few participants likely knew that the actions were organized under the auspices of an opposition-funded public relations company called the Syria Campaign. By partnering with local groups like the Syrian civil defense workers popularly known as the White Helmets, and through a vast network of connections in media and centers of political influence, The Syria Campaign has played a crucial role in disseminating images and stories of the horrors visited this month on eastern Aleppo. The group is able to operate within the halls of power in Washington and has the power to mobilize thousands of demonstrators into the streets. Despite its outsized role in shaping how the West sees Syria's civil war, which is now in its sixth year and entering one of its grisliest phases, this outfit remains virtually unknown to the general public.
The Syria Campaign presents itself as an impartial, non-political voice for ordinary Syrian citizens that is dedicated to civilian protection. ''We see ourselves as a solidarity organization,'' The Syria Campaign strategy director James Sadri told me. ''We're not being paid by anybody to pursue a particular line. We feel like we've done a really good job about finding out who the frontline activists, doctors, humanitarians are and trying to get their word out to the international community.''
Yet behind the lofty rhetoric about solidarity and the images of heroic rescuers rushing in to save lives is an agenda that aligns closely with the forces from Riyadh to Washington clamoring for regime change. Indeed, The Syria Campaign has been pushing for a no-fly zone in Syria that would require at least ''70,000 American servicemen'' to enforce, according to a Pentagon assessment, along with the destruction of government infrastructure and military installations. There is no record of a no-fly zone being imposed without regime change following '--which seems to be exactly what The Syria Campaign and its partners want.''For us to control all the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia. That's a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I'm not going to make,'' said Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee this month.While the military brass in Washington seems reluctant to apply the full force of its airpower to enforce a NFZ, The Syria Campaign is capitalizing on the outrage inspired by the bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo this year to intensify the drumbeat for greater U.S. military involvement.
The Syria Campaign has been careful to cloak interventionism in the liberal-friendly language of human rights, casting Western military action as ''the best way to support Syrian refugees,'' and packaging a no-fly zone '-- along with so-called safe zones and no bombing zones, which would also require Western military enforcement '-- as a ''way to protect civilians and defeat ISIS.''Among The Syria Campaign's most prominent vehicles for promoting military intervention is a self-proclaimed "unarmed and impartial" civil defense group known as the White Helmets. Footage of the White Helmets saving civilians trapped in the rubble of buildings bombed by the Syrian government and its Russian ally has become ubiquitous in coverage of the crisis. Having claimed to have saved tens of thousands of lives, the group has become a leading resource for journalists and human rights groups seeking information inside the war theater, from casualty figures to details on the kind of bombs that are falling.But like The Syria Campaign, the White Helmets are anything but impartial. Indeed, the group was founded in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)'s Office of Transitional Initiatives, an explicitly political wing of the agency that has funded efforts at political subversion in Cuba and Venezuela. USAID is the White Helmets' principal funder, committing at least $23 million to the group since 2013. This money was part of $339.6 million budgeted by USAID for ''supporting activities that pursue a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria" -- or establishing a parallel governing structure that could fill the power vacuum once Bashar Al-Assad was removed.Thanks to an aggressive public relations push by The Syria Campaign, the White Helmets have been nominated for the Nobel Prize, and have already been awarded the ''alternative Nobel'' known as the Right Livelihood Award. (Previous winners include Amy Goodman, Edward Snowden and Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.) At the same time, the White Helmets are pushing for a NFZ in public appearances and on a website created by The Syria Campaign.The Syria Campaign has garnered endorsements for the White Helmets from a host of Hollywood celebrities including Ben Affleck, Alicia Keyes and Justin Timberlake. And with fundraising and ''outreach'' performed by The Syria Campaign, the White Helmets have become the stars of a slickly produced Netflix documentary vehicle that has received hype from media outlets across the West.But making the White Helmets into an international sensation is just one of a series of successes The Syria Campaign has achieved in its drive to oust Syria's government.
Targeting the UN in Damascus
When an aid convoy organized by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs came under attack on its way to the rebel-held countryside of West Aleppo in Syria this September 18, the White Helmets pinned blame squarely on the Syrian and Russian governments. In fact, a White Helmets member was among the first civilians to appear on camera at the scene of the attack, declaring in English that ''the regime helicopters targeted this place with four barrel [bombs].'' The White Helmets also produced one of the major pieces of evidence Western journalists have relied on to implicate Russia and the Syrian government in the attack: a photograph supposedly depicting the tail fragment of a Russian-made OFAB 250-270 fragmentation bomb. (This account remains unconfirmed by both the UN and SARC, and no evidence of barrel bombs has been produced).Ironically, the White Helmets figured prominently in The Syria Campaign's push to undermine the UN's humanitarian work inside Syria. For months, The Syria Campaign has painted the UN as a stooge of Bashar Al-Assad for coordinating its aid deliveries with the Syrian government, as it has done with governments in conflict zones around the world. The Guardian's Kareem Shaheen praised a 50-page report by The Syria Campaign attacking the UN's work in Syria as "damning." A subsequent Guaridian article cited the report as part of the inspiration for its own ''exclusive'' investigation slamming the UN's coordination with the Syrian government.At a website created by The Syria Campaign to host the report, visitors are greeted by a UN logo drenched in blood.The Syria Campaign has even taken credit for forcing former UN Resident Coordinator Yacoub El-Hillo out of his job in Damascus, a false claim it was later forced to retract. Among the opposition groups that promoted The Syria Campaign's anti-UN report was Ahrar Al-Sham, a jihadist rebel faction that has allied with Al Qaeda in a mission to establish an exclusively Islamic state across Syria.A Westerner who operates a politically neutral humanitarian NGO in Damascus offered me a withering assessment of The Syria Campaign's attacks on the UN. Speaking on condition of anonymity because NGO workers like them are generally forbidden from speaking to the media, and often face repercussions if they do, the source accused The Syria Campaign of ''dividing and polarizing the humanitarian community'' along political lines while forcing humanitarian entities to ''make decisions based on potential media repercussions instead of focusing on actual needs on the ground.''
The NGO executive went on to accuse The Syria Campaign and its partners in the opposition of ''progressively identifying the humanitarian workers operating from Damascus with one party to the conflict,'' limiting their ability to negotiate access to rebel-held territory. ''As a humanitarian worker myself,'' they explained, ''I know that this puts me and my teams in great danger since it legitimizes warring factions treating you as an extension of one party in the conflict.
''The thousands of Syrians that signed up with the UN or humanitarian organizations are civilians,'' they continued. ''They not only joined to get a salary but in hopes of doing something good for other Syrians. This campaign [by The Syria Campaign] is humiliating all of them, labelling them as supporters of one side and making them lose hope in becoming agents of positive change in their own society.''
This September, days before the aid convoy attack prompted the UN to suspend much of its work inside Syria, The Syria Campaign spurred 73 aid organizations operating in rebel-held territory, including the White Helmets, to suspend their cooperation with the UN aid program. As the Guardian noted in its coverage, ''The decision to withdraw from the Whole of Syria programme, in which organisations share information to help the delivery of aid, means in practice the UN will lose sight of what is happening throughout the north of Syria and in opposition-held areas of the country, where the NGOs do most of their work.''Despite The Syria Campaign's influence on the international media stage, details on the outfit's inner workings are difficult to come by. The Syria Campaign is registered in England as a private company called the Voices Project at an address shared by 91 other companies. Aside from Asfari, most of The Syria Campaign's donors are anonymous.Looming over this opaque operation are questions about its connections to Avaaz, a global public relations outfit that played an instrumental role in generating support for a no-fly zone in Libya, and The Syria Campaign's founding by Purpose, another PR firm spun out of Avaaz. James Sadri bristled when I asked about the issue, dismissing it as a ''crank conspiracy'' ginned up by Russian state media and hardcore Assadist elements.However, a careful look at the origins and operation of The Syria Campaign raises doubts about the outfit's image as an authentic voice for Syrian civilians, and should invite serious questions about the agenda of its partner organizations as well.
A creation of international PR firms
Best known for its work on liberal social issues with well-funded progressive clients like the ACLU and the police reform group, Campaign Zero, the New York- and London-based public relations firm Purpose promises to deliver creatively executed campaigns that produce either a ''behavior change,'' ''perception change,'' ''policy change'' or ''infrastructure change.'' As the Syrian conflict entered its third year, this company was ready to effect a regime change.
On Feb. 3, 2014, Anna Nolan, the senior strategist at Purpose, posted a job listing. According to Nolan's listing, her firm was seeking ''two interns to join the team at Purpose to help launch a new movement for Syria.''At around the same time, another Purpose staffer named Ali Weiner posted a job listing seeking a paid intern for the PR firm's new Syrian Voices project. ''Together with Syrians in the diaspora and NGO partners,'' Weiner wrote, ''Purpose is building a movement that will amplify the voices of moderate, non-violent Syrians and mobilize people in the Middle East and around the world to call for specific changes in the political and humanitarian situation in the region.'' She explained that the staffer would report ''to a Strategist based primarily in London, but will work closely with the Purpose teams in both London and New York.''On June 16, 2014, Purpose founder Jeremy Heimans drafted articles of association for The Syria Campaign's parent company. Called the Voices Project, Heimans registered the company at 3 Bull Lane, St. Ives Cambridgeshire, England. It was one of 91 private limited companies listed at the address. Sadri would not explain why The Syria Campaign had chosen this location or why it was registered as a private company.Along with Heimans, Purpose Europe director Tim Dixon was appointed to The Syria Campaign's board of directors. So was John Jackson, a Purpose strategist who previously co-directed the Burma Campaign U.K. that lobbied the EU for sanctions against that country's ruling regime. (Jackson claimed credit for The Syria Campaign's successful push to remove Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad's re-election campaign ads from Facebook.) Anna Nolan became The Syria Campaign's project director, even as she remained listed as the strategy director at Purpose. ''Purpose is not involved in what we do,'' The Syria Campaign's Sadri told me. When pressed about the presence of several Purpose strategists on The Syria Campaign's board of directors and staff, Sadri insisted, ''We're not part of Purpose. There's no financial relationship and we're independent.''
Sadri dismissed allegations about The Syria Campaign's origins in Avaaz. ''We have no connection to Avaaz,'' he stated, blaming conspiratorial ''Russia Today stuff'' for linking the two public relations groups.
However, Purpose's original job listing for its Syrian Voices project boasted that ''Purpose grew out of some of the most impactful new models for social change'' including ''the now 30 million strong action network avaaz.org.'' In fact, The Syria Campaign's founder, Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans, was also one of the original founders of Avaaz. As he told Forbes, ''I co-founded Avaaz and [the Australian activist group] Get Up, which inspired the creation of Purpose.''New and improved no-fly zone
The Syria Campaign's defensiveness about ties to Avaaz is understandable.
Back in 2011, Avaaz introduced a public campaign for a no-fly zone in Libya and delivered a petition with 1,202,940 signatures to the UN supporting Western intervention. John Hilary, the executive director of War On Want, the U.K.'s leading anti-poverty and anti-war charity, warned at the time, "Little do most of these generally well-meaning activists know, they are strengthening the hands of those western governments desperate to reassert their interests in north Africa'... Clearly a no-fly zone makes foreign intervention sound rather humanitarian'--putting the emphasis on stopping bombing, even though it could well lead to an escalation of violence.''John Hilary's dire warning was fulfilled after the NATO-enforced no-fly zone prompted the ouster of former President Moamar Qaddafi. Months later, Qaddafi was sexually assaulted and beaten to death in the road by a mob of fanatics. The Islamic State and an assortment of militias filled the void left in the Jamahiriya government's wake. The political catastrophe should have been serious enough to call future interventions of this nature into question. Yet Libya's legacy failed to deter Avaaz from introducing a new campaign for another no-fly zone; this time in Syria.''To some a no-fly zone could conjure up images of George W. Bush's foreign policy and illegal Western interventions. This is a different thing,'' Avaaz insisted in a communique defending its support for a new no-fly zone in Syria. Sadri portrayed The Syria Campaign's support for a no-fly zone as the product of a ''deep listening process'' involving the polling of Syrian civilians in rebel-held territories and refugees outside the country. He claimed his outfit was a ''solidarity organization,'' not a public relations firm, and was adamant that if and when a no-fly zone is imposed over Syrian skies, it would be different than those seen in past conflicts.
''There also seems to be a critique of a no-fly zone which is slapping on templates from other conflicts and saying this is what will happen in Syria,'' Sadri commented. He added, ''I'm just trying to encourage us away from a simplistic debate. There's a kneejerk reaction to Syria to say, 'It's Iraq or it's Libya,' but it's not. It's an entirely different conflict.''
Funding a "credible transition"
For the petroleum mogul who provided the funding that launched the Syria Project, the means of military intervention justified an end in which he could return to the country of his birth and participate in its economic life on his own terms.
Though The Syria Campaign claims to ''refuse funding from any party to the conflict in Syria,'' it was founded and is sustained with generous financial assistance from one of the most influential exile figures of the opposition, Ayman Asfari, the U.K.-based CEO of the British oil and gas supply company Petrofac Limited. Asfari is worth $1.2 billion and owns about one-fifth of the shares of his company, which boasts 18,000 employees and close to $7 billion in annual revenues.Through his Asfari Foundation, he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to The Syria Campaign and has secured a seat for his wife, Sawsan, on its board of directors. He has also been a top financial and political supporter of the Syrian National Coalition, the largest government-in-exile group set up after the Syrian revolt began. The group is dead-set on removing Assad and replacing him with one of its own. Asfari's support for opposition forces was so pronounced the Syrian government filed a warrant for his arrest, accusing him of supporting ''terrorism.''In London, Asfari has been a major donor to former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party. This May, Cameron keynoted a fundraiser for the Hands Up for Syria Appeal, a charity heavily supported by Asfari that sponsors education for Syrian children living in refugee camps. The Prime Minister might have seemed like an unusual choice for the event given his staunch resistance to accepting unaccompanied Syrian children who have fled to Europe. However, Asfari has generally supported Cameron's exclusionary policy.Grilled about his position during an episode of BBC's Hardtalk, Asfari explained, ''I do not want the country to be emptied. I still have a dream that those guys [refugees] will be able to go back to their homes and they will be able to play a constructive role in putting Syria back together.''In Washington, Asfari is regarded as an important liaison to the Syrian opposition. He has visited the White House eight times since 2014, meeting with officials like Philip Gordon, the former Middle East coordinator who was an early advocate for arming the insurgency in Syria. Since leaving the administration, however, Gordon has expressed regret over having embraced a policy of regime change. In a lengthy September 2015 editorial for Politico, Gordon slammed the Obama administration's pursuit of regime change, writing, ''There is now virtually no chance that an opposition military 'victory' will lead to stable or peaceful governance in Syria in the foreseeable future and near certainty that pursuing one will only lead to many more years of vicious civil war.''Asfari publicly chastised Gordon days later on Hardtalk. ''I have written to [Gordon] an email after I saw that article in Politico and I told him I respectfully disagree,'' Asfari remarked. ''I think the idea that we are going to have a transition in Syria with Assad in it for an indefinite period is fanciful. Because at the end of the day, what the people want is a credible transition.''
For Asfari, a ''credible'' post-war transition would require much more than refugee repatriation and the integration of opposition forces into the army: ''Will you get the Syrian diaspora, including people like myself, to go back and invest in the country?'' he asked on Hardtalk. '''...If we do not achieve any of these objectives, what's the point of having a free Syria?''
The Independent has described Asfari as one among of a pantheon of "super rich" exiles poised to rebuild a post-Assad Syria '-- and to reap handsome contracts in the process. To reach his goal of returning to Syria in triumph after the downfall of Assad's government, Asfari not only provided the seed money for The Syria Campaign, he has helped sustain the group with hefty donations.Just this year, the Asfari Foundation donated $180,000 to the outfit, according to The Syria Campaign's media lead Laila Kiki. Asfari is not The Syria Campaign's only donor, however. According to Kiki, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also contributed $120,000 to the outfit's $800,000 budget this year. ''The rest of the funds come from donors who wish to remain anonymous,'' she explained.
Shaping the message
Among The Syria Campaign's main priorities, for which it has apparently budgeted a substantial amount of resources, is moving Western media in a more interventionist direction.
When The Syria Campaign placed an ad on its website seeking a senior press officer upon its launch in 2014, it emphasized its need for ''someone who can land pieces in the U.S., U.K. and European [media] markets in the same week.'' The company's ideal candidate would be able to ''maintain strong relationships with print, broadcast, online journalists, editors in order to encourage them to see TSC as a leading voice on Syria.'' Prioritizing PR experience over political familiarity, The Syria Campaign reassured applicants, ''You don't need to be an expert on Syria or speak Arabic.'' After all, the person would be working in close coordination with an unnamed ''Syrian communications officer who will support on story gathering and relationships inside Syria.''Sadri acknowledged that The Syria Campaign has been involved in shopping editorials to major publications. ''There have been op-eds in the past that we've helped get published, written by people on the ground. There's a lot of op-eds going out from people inside Syria,'' he told me. But he would not say which ones, who the authors were, or if his company played any role in their authorship.
One recent incident highlighted The Syria Campaign's skillful handling of press relationships from Aleppo to media markets across the West. It was August 17, and a Syrian or Russian warplane had just hit an apartment building in rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Sophie McNeill, a Middle East correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, received a photo from the Syrian American Medical Society, which maintains a WhatsApp group networking doctors inside rebel territory with international media.The photo showed a five-year-old boy, Omran Daqneesh, who had been extracted from the building by members of the White Helmets and hoisted into an ambulance, where he was filmed by members of the Aleppo Media Center. The chilling image depicts a dazed little boy, seated upright and staring at nothing, his pudgy cheeks caked in ash and blood. ''Video then emerged of Omran as he sat blinking in the back of that ambulance,'' McNeill wrote without explaining who provided her with the video. She immediately posted the footage on Twitter.''Watch this video from Aleppo tonight. And watch it again. And remind yourself that with #Syria #wecantsaywedidntknow,'' McNeill declared. Her post was retweeted over 17,000 times and the hashtag she originated, which implied international inaction against the Syrian government made such horrors possible, became a viral sensation as well. (McNeill did not respond to questions sent to her publicly listed email.)Hours later, the image of Omran appeared on the front page of dozens of international newspapers, from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to the Times of London. CNN's Kate Bolduan, who had suggested during Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 2014 that civilian casualties were, in fact, human shields, broke down in tears during an extended segment detailing the rescue of Omran.Abu Sulaiman Al-Muhajir, the Australian citizen serving as a top leader and spokesman for Al Qaeda's Syrian offshoot, Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, took a special interest in the boy. "I cannot get conditioned to seeing injured/murdered children," Al-Muhajir wrote on Facebook. "Their innocent faces should serve as a reminder of our responsibility."Seizing on the opportunity, The Syria Campaign gathered quotes from the photographer who captured the iconic image, Mahmoud Raslan, and furnished them to an array of media organizations. While many outlets published Raslan's statements, Public Radio International was among the few that noted The Syria Campaign's role in serving them up, referring to the outfit as ''a pro-opposition advocacy group with a network of contacts in Syria.''On August 20, McNeill took to Facebook with a call to action: ''Were you horrified by the footage of little Omran?'' she asked her readers. ''Can't stop thinking about him? Well don't just retweet, be outraged for 24 hours and move on. Hear what two great humanitarians for Syria, Zaher Sahloul & James Sadri, want you to do now.''Sadri happened to be the director of The Syria Campaign and Sahloul was the Syrian American Medical Society director who partnered with The Syria Campaign. In the article McNeill wrote about Omran's photo, which was linked in her Facebook post, both Sahloul and Sadri urged Westerners to join their call for a no-fly zone'-- a policy McNeill tacitly endorsed. (Sahloul was recently promoted by the neoconservative columnist Eli Lake for accusing Obama of having "allowed a genocide in Syria." This September, Sahloul joined up with the Jewish United Federation of Chicago, a leading opponent of Palestine solidarity organizing, to promote his efforts.)As the outrage inspired by the image of Omran spread, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (a friend and publisher of Syria Campaign board member Lina Sergie Attar) called for ''fir[ing] missiles from outside Syria to crater [Syrian] military runways to make them unusable.'' Meanhwile, on MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough waved around the photo of Omran and indignantly declared, "The world will look back. Save your hand-wringing'...you can still do something right now. But nothing's been done.''As breathless editorials and cable news tirades denounced the Obama administration's supposed ''inaction,'' public pressure for a larger-scale Western military campaign was approaching an unprecedented level.
Damage control for opposition extremists
The day after Omran made headlines, the left-wing British news site the Canary publicized another photograph that exposed a grim reality behind the iconic image.
Culled from the Facebook page of Mahmoud Raslan, the activist from the American-operated Aleppo Media Center who took the initial video of Omran, it showed Raslan posing for a triumphant selfie with a group of rebel fighters. The armed men hailed from the Nour Al-Din Al-Zenki faction. At least two of the commanders who appeared in the photo with Raslan had recently beheaded a boy they captured, referring to him in video footage as ''child'' while they taunted and abused him. The boy has been reported to be a 12-year-old named Abdullah Issa and may have been a member of the Liwa Al-Quds pro-government Palestinian militia.This was not the only time Raslan had appeared with Al-Zenki fighters or expressed his sympathy. On August 2, he posted a selfie to Facebook depicting himself surrounded by mostly adolescent Al-Zenki fighters dressed in battle fatigues. ''With the suicide fighters, from the land of battles and butchery, from Aleppo of the martyrs, we bring you tidings of impending joy, with God's permission,'' Raslan wrote. He sported a headband matching those worn by the ''suicide fighters.''
Despite its unsavory tendencies and extremist ideological leanings, Al-Zenki was until 2015 a recipient of extensive American funding, with at least 1000 of its fighters on the CIA payroll. Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute who has said his research on the Syrian opposition was ''100% funded by Western govts,'' has branded Al-Zenki as ''moderate opposition fighters.''This August, after the video of Al-Zenki members beheading the adolescent boy appeared online, Sam Heller, a fellow for the Washington-based Century Foundation, argued for restoring the rebel group's CIA funding. Describing Al-Zenki as ''a natural, if unpalatable, partner,'' Heller contended that ''if Washington insists on keeping its hands perfectly clean, there's probably no Syrian faction'--in the opposition, or on any side of the war'--that merits support.''This September 24, Al-Zenki formally joined forces with the jihadist Army of Conquest led by Al Qaeda-established jihadist group, Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham. For its part, The Syria Campaign coordinated the release of a statement with Raslan explaining away his obvious affinity with Al-Zenki. Sophie McNeill, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reporter who was among the first to publish the famous Omran photo, dutifully published Raslan's statement on Twitter, acknowledging The Syria Campaign as its source.Curiously describing the beheading victim as a 19-year-old and not the ''child'' his beheaders claimed he was, Raslan pleaded ignorance about the Al-Zenki fighters' backgrounds: ''It was a busy day with lots of different people and groups on the streets. As a war photographer I take lots of photos with civilians and fighters.''
Mahmoud Raslan may not have been the most effective local partner, but The Syria Campaign could still count on the White Helmets.
In Part II: How the U.S.-funded White Helmets rescue civilians from Syrian and Russian bombs while lobbying for the U.S. military to step up its own bombing campaign.
Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of Goliath and Republican Gomorrah. His most recent book is The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal..
BREAKING: Pentagon Caught Paying PR Firm $540 Million to Make Fake Terrorist Videos | EndingFed News Network
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 05:54
According to a new joint investigation by the Sunday Times and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Pentagon paid a PR firm based in the U.K. over half a billion dollars to make fake terrorist videos in Iraq as part of an enormous propaganda campaign.
PR firm Bell Pottinger fabricated short TV segments designed to imitate Arabic news networks and ''fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee,'' reports the Bureau.
High-ranking U.S. military officials worked with the firm's employees at Baghdad Camp Victory to create anti-terrorism propaganda to imitate the real thing, the Bureau claims.
Besides the Pentagon, Bell Pottinger's list of clientele reads like the who's who of unsavory characters '-- Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's foundation, Margaret Thatcher, and the government of Saudi Arabia, for example.
Bell Pottinger's former chairman, Lord Tim Bell, reportedly confirmed to the Times collaborated on a ''covert'' military operation ''covered by various secrecy agencies'' '-- and reported to the CIA, the Pentagon, and the National Security Council.
According to the report, the firm was brought to Iraq and began working shortly after the United States first invaded, under the condition it negatively portray Al Qaeda '-- and then track who watched the propaganda.
Both the White House and General David Petraeus, then commander of coalition forces in Iraq, signed off on the program '-- thus the president was almost certainly well aware of its existence.
''In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the US military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells '' who no longer works for the company '' told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was 'shocking, eye-opening, life-changing,''' the Bureau reports.
By tracking U.S. Army contracts, records of federal procurement transactions, reports for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, corporate records from Bell Pottinger, and more, the Bureau was able to discover the extent of the program.
One military contractor, who spoke with the outlet to explain the three types of labels given to media operations, or Ops, used in Iraq during that time, said:
''White is attributed, it says who produced it on the label. Grey is unattributed and black is falsely attributed. These types of black ops, used for tracking who is watching a certain thing, were a pretty standard part of the industry toolkit.''
Records revealed the operation involving the PR firm cost well over $100 million each year '-- and at its height, employed more than 300 British and Iraqi staff.
All told, the Bureau ''identified transactions worth $540 million between the Pentagon and Bell Pottinger for information operations and psychological operations on a series of contracts issued from May 2007 to December 2011.''
A former Bell Pottinger employee, Martin Wells, discussed his unusual job with the Bureau in an interview, saying he had no idea what the job was about when he came on board in 2006.
''You'll be doing new stuff that'll be coming out of the Middle East,'' the video editor was told by his agent.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/pentagon-fake-terrorist-videos/#iderJGqXiz4ZTMFy.99
''I thought 'That sounds interesting,''' Wells recalled. ''So I go along and go into this building, get escorted up to the sixth floor in a lift, come out and there's guards up there. I thought what on earth is going on here? And it turns out it was a Navy post, basically. So from what I could work out it was a media intelligence gathering unit.''
For the 'grey ops' portion of the work, the employees crafted television commercials showing Al Qaeda negatively, and others involved making segments designed to look as if they'd been ''created by Arabic TV,'' Wells noted.
Bell Pottinger film crews went on location to tape low definition bombings by Al Qaeda, which would then be edited appropriately for believability, voiced over in Arabic, and distributed to TV stations in the region '-- though the outlets weren't always made aware of the American involvement in such segments.
Writes the Bureau:
''The third and most sensitive programme described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. He told the Bureau how the videos were made. He was given precise instructions: 'We need to make this style of video and we've got to use al Qaeda's footage,' he was told. 'We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format, and we need to encode it in this manner.'
''US marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells said: 'If they're raiding a house and they're going to make a mess of it looking for stuff anyway, they'd just drop an odd CD there.'''
Those CDs were made to play using Real Player, which connects to the Internet to operate, and, as Wells told the Bureau, 'the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played.'
Only three people had access to who was tracked in this way, he explained '-- himself, a U.S. military commander, and a senior manager at the PR firm.
Bell Pottinger did work for the DoD under the Information Operations Task Force, the Pentagon confirmed for the investigation, but insisted the information it distributed was ''truthful.''
However, an unnamed and thus unverified U.S. defense official confirmed Wells' account that Bell Pottinger also performed work under the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF) '-- bringing to mind similarities to Operation Mockingbird.
Wells explained to the Bureau, ''We'd get the two colonels in to look at the things we'd done that day, they'd be fine with it, it would then go to General Petraeus. If [Petraeus] couldn't sign off on it, it would go on up the line to the White House, and it was signed off up there, and the answer would come back down the line.''
Clearly, the military would have interest in shifting the regional narrative in its favor '-- but continued government hijacking of the media seems at best highly questionable, and at worst, detrimental to the very idea of a free press.
Bell Pottinger cut ties with the U.S. military propaganda operation in 2011, when the unit it worked with left Iraq.
H/T: The Free Though Project
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US paid for fake Al Qaeda videos, Bell Pottinger and former CIA chief Petraeus involved '' report | InSerbia News
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 16:37
BELGRADE '' A controversial foreign PR firm known for representing unsavory characters was paid millions by the Pentagon to create fake terrorist videos, TheDailyBeast.com reports.
The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda program in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.
Bell Pottinger's output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.
The agency's staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.
Bell Pottinger's former chairman Lord Tim Bell confirmed to the Sunday Times, which has worked with the Bureau on this story, that his firm had worked on a ''covert'' military operation ''covered by various secrecy documents.''
Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq, he said.
Bell, one of Britain's most successful public relations executives, is credited with honing Margaret Thatcher's steely image and helping the Conservative party win three elections, TheDailyBeast.com reports. The agency he co-founded has had a roster of clients including Serbian government, repressive regimes and Asma al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian president.
In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the U.S. military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was ''shocking, eye-opening, life-changing.''
The firm's output was signed off by former General (later CIA chief) David Petraeus '' then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq '' and on occasion by the White House, he said.
American Fund ''KKR investment'', headed by former CIA chief General David Petraeus, from October 2013 until this day has put under its control a significant part of Serbian media.
Americans first bought SBB, the largest cable television network in Serbia, then became the owner of ''Grand production'' through which they exercise control over ''Prva TV'', then they founded CNN outlet ''TV N1'', bought shares of the internet portal of the Serbian daily ''Blic'', and more recently, as some sources claim, in the greatest secrecy they bought one Belgrade daily.
The fact is that Americans can, over the largest cable operator ''SBB'' and their media, control the flow of information in Serbia and are in a position to fully create public opinion in Serbia.
As Internet portal ''Vaseljenska'' found out, ''KKR investment'' will in the next few months formally take over control of the daily newspapers in whose operations they have already pumped substantial financial resources.
Bell Pottinger offers services such as lobbying, speech writing, search engine optimization and ''sorting'' Wikipedia articles to clients including companies, governments and high net worth individuals.
In March 2004 BPPA won a $5.8m (£3.2m) four-month contract from the U.S. supported administration in Iraq to promote the establishment of democracy ahead of the handover of power to the interim Iraqi authority on 30 June. According to PR Week, the contract also includes promoting the election of an Iraqi government.
In December 2011, it came under public scrutiny after managers were secretly recorded talking to fake representatives of the Uzbek government and abusing Wikipedia by removing negative information and replacing it with positive spin.
Is Ecuador holding up Wikileaks' next Hillary Clinton 'email dump'? | CuencaHighLifeCuencaHighLife
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 05:46
Oct 3, 2016 | CuencaHighLife |Views:5,706
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has cancelled a planned announcement about hacked emails from the campaign of U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The announcement was scheduled for Tuesday from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange lives in political asylum.
Julian Assange
NBC news reporter Jesse Rodriguez says the announcement was cancelled for ''security reasons'' but a Spanish journalist says it may be the result of pressure from the Ecuadorian government.
''Assange is a guest of Ecuador and if they kick him out of the embassy he will be arrested by British police,'' says Madrid freelance writer Rafael Marcos. ''It's a fact that Ecuador President Rafael Correa wants Clinton to win the election and he doesn't want leaked documents going out that will hurt her chances,'' he adds.
Marcos claims to have spoken to a former embassy employee who says that Ecuadorian officials told Assange that he could release Clinton's emails but only if he also releases information damaging to her Republican opponent, Donald Trump. Marcos did not offer other details.
Hillary Clinton with Correa in a 2010 Quito visit.
In a television interview in late July, Correa said that a Trump U.S. presidency would bolster the fortunes of leftist governments in Latin America. ''Because of his bias against Latinos, Trump would help rally progressives in the region,'' Correa said.
He added, however, that he believed Clinton's election was in the best interests of U.S. citizens. Despite his political disagreements with the U.S., Correa says he is on good terms with Clinton. For more on the interview, click here.
The second release of Clinton campaign emails by Wikileaks has be eagerly anticipated by the Trump campaign. Trump supporter Roger Stone said the release would be the ''October surprise'' that could tip the election in Trump's favor.
Assange appeared on Fox tv news in late August, claiming Wikileaks planned to release more hacked documents damaging to the Clinton campaign. He said he would offer a ''teaser'' of what the documents contained before leasing them. Assange also said that Wikileaks hackers were working to obtain documents from the Trump campaign, as well as the candidate's tax records.
Update: Julian Assange announced Monday morning that he would participate via video link in the 10th Anniversary celebration in Berlin of Wikileaks' founding. There was no mention of what his message would include.
October Surprise
Wikileaks Cancels Highly Anticipated Tuesday Announcement Due to 'Security Concerns'
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 20:15
Wikileaks has abruptly canceled a much-anticipated announcement on Tuesday, according to NBC News. The announcement had been expected to be founder Julian Assange's long-promised document dump on Hillary Clinton.
NBC's Jesse Rodriguez reported that the Tuesday announcement '-- which was to come from the balcony of London's Ecuadorian Embassy, where Assange has sought sanctuary for years '' was canceled due to ''security concerns''.
Wikileaks has not said when it will now make its ''announcement''.
Assange appeared on Fox News last month, repeating his assertion that Wikileaks has damaging documents on Clinton and suggested WikiLeaks may soon release ''teasers''. More than three weeks later, that release has yet to take place.
Clinton's more fervent opponents have hoped for weeks that the promised document dump would be an ''October surprise'' '' damaging and revelatory emails or the like '-- and inflict a mortal wound on her campaign. There's no evidence however that such damaging information even exists.
It was only this summer that Assange's group leaked thousands of embarrassing emails from the Democratic National Committee which showed their disdain for Bernie Sanders' insurgent campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The uproar over the disclosures forced DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to resign in disgrace on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.
The political provocateur and bomb-thrower Roger Stone, a fervent Donald Trump supporter, predicted Sunday morning that Wikileaks' revelations would doom Clinton's campaign.
It's unclear if Stone was aware that Wikileaks, according to NBC News, has canceled their Tuesday announcement.
Assange and his supporters have long claimed that his personal safety is at risk due to the danger he (supposedly) represents to Clinton's presidential ambitions. In August, liberal commentator Bob Beckel suggested in a TV appearance that Assange be murdered, proclaiming that someone should ''shoot the son of a bitch!''
Assange himself has also recently hinted publicly that low-level DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered this summer in Washington DC, had been the source for Wikileaks' document dump on the DNC. And that Rich's alleged role in the leaks was linked to his death.
There has been no evidence linking Rich to the leak and no evidence that his murder was anything more than a botched robbery.
Nonetheless, the cancellation of Tuesday's Wikileaks announcement already has anti-Clinton conspiracy theorists working up a frantic stew of speculation.
Under Intense Pressure to Silence Wikileaks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Proposed Drone Strike on Julian Assange | True Pundit
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 14:17
FeaturedPoliticsSecurityJulian Assange and his free-speech brainchild Wikileaks were once lauded as global heroes of public service among United States politicians and policy makers. But by 2010, four years after its inception during the President George W. Bush administration, Assange and his organization were no longer considered lovable troublemakers and mavericks.
A year into President Barack Obama's first term, Wikileaks was suddenly considered an out-of-control free-speech Frankenstein wreaking havoc on United States foreign policy and intelligence gathering at the direction of Assange, its proverbial Dr. Frankenstein.
The honeymoon for the whistle-blower web site, once a darling of the Democratic Party, was now over. Even more alarming, Assange's personal safety and organization were increasingly at risk from U.S. concerns.
By November 2010, Assange was a household name globally, but especially on Capitol Hill. And in the State Department alone his prowess of releasing otherwise secret, damning military documents and emails were filling conference rooms at Foggy Bottom and the White House with policy wonks and bureaucrats desperately seeking to squelch the upstart Wikileaks. At the State Department, meeting after meeting was conducted about how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her inner circle were going to squash Assange and Wikileaks latest planned document dump on the United States. Deemed ''CableGate,'' Assange planned to release confidential cables, or communications, unveiling damaging internal conversations between State Department personnel and its foreign assets and allies.
Prodded by the looming CableGate, Clinton met with staff on Tuesday November 23, 2010 shortly after 8 a.m. on Mahogany Row at the State Department to attempt to formulate a strategy to avert Assange's plans to release an enormous batch of 250,000 secret cables, dating from 1966 to 2010. Assange had professed for months to rain the internal cables down on Clinton and President Obama. The collective fear was the context of the secret cables would hamper U.S. intelligence gathering and compromise private correspondences and intelligence shared with foreign governments and opposition leaders. Splashing such juicy details on television news shows and the front pages of major newspapers in the country was great for the media but lousy for intelligence and foreign policy. Many, including Clinton and her elected boss, expressed fear these revelations would embarrass and expose intelligence allies of the United States and set America's already fragile foreign policy back decades.
''By its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information,'' White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement responding to Wikileaks' anticipated tidal wave release of intelligence. ''It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions.''
Clinton's State Department was getting pressure from President Obama and his White House inner circle, as well as heads of state internationally, to try and cutoff Assange's delivery of the cables and if that effort failed, then to forge a strategy to minimize the administration's public embarrassment over the contents of the cables. Hence, Clinton's early morning November meeting of State's top brass who floated various proposals to stop, slow or spin the Wikileaks contamination. That is when a frustrated Clinton, sources said, at some point blurted out a controversial query.
''Can't we just drone this guy?'' Clinton openly inquired, offering a simple remedy to silence Assange and smother Wikileaks via a planned military drone strike, according to State Department sources. The statement drew laughter from the room which quickly died off when the Secretary kept talking in a terse manner, sources said. Clinton said Assange, after all, was a relatively soft target, ''walking around'' freely and thumbing his nose without any fear of reprisals from the United States. Clinton was upset about Assange's previous 2010 records releases, divulging secret U.S. documents about the war in Afghanistan in July and the war in Iraq just a month earlier in October, sources said. At that time in 2010, Assange was relatively free and not living cloistered in in the embassy of Ecuador in London. Prior to 2010, Assange focused Wikileaks' efforts on countries outside the United States but now under Clinton and Obama, Assange was hammering America with an unparalleled third sweeping Wikileaks document dump in five months. Clinton was fuming, sources said, as each State Department cable dispatched during the Obama administration was signed by her.
Clinton and other top administration officials knew the compromising materials warehoused in the CableGate stash would provide critics and foreign enemies with a treasure trove of counterintelligence. Bureaucratic fears about the CableGate release ultimately proved to be well founded by Clinton, her inner circle and her boss in the White House. The revelations of these U.S. diplomat generated correspondences were damaging on many levels, and among thousands of examples, included:
One cable detailed a discussion between Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Gen. David H. Petraeus where Saleh indicates he would cover up and accept blame for America's missile strikes against al-Qaeda in Yemen.U.S. diplomats offered various countries a meeting with President Obama and untold millions of dollars, if these countries agreed to accept detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison.U.S. diplomats engaged in low-level spying by collecting foreign diplomats' personal information, including credit card numbers to track their global travel itineraries.The cables also exposed the sensitive behind-the-scenes diplomacy involved in winning sanctions against Iran,The cables exposed U.S. officials' plan to extract highly enriched uranium from Pakistan,Intelligence was divulged on North Korea's ties to Tehran's weaponry program, how it helped Iran obtain missiles that could strike Moscow and Western European cities.Documents were released naming Arab officials and their concerns and complaints about Iran's nuclear program,One such leak detailed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia pleading with the United States to ''cut off the head of the snake,'' meaning Iran's nuclear program.In cables from U.S. diplomats, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is described as an ''alpha-dog.''Afghan President Hamid Karzai, confidential U.S. diplomat correspondences alleged, was ''driven by paranoia.''German Chancellor Angela Merkel ''avoids risk and is rarely creative.''Gaddafi spends much time in public with a ''voluptuous blonde'' Ukrainian nurse.Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, ''appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin'' in Europe after receiving ''lavish gifts'' including large energy contracts thanks to the negotiations of a ''shadowy,'' Russian-speaking Italian intermediary.And thousands more of additional intelligence revelations along the same lines.Following Clinton's alleged drone proposal, another controversial remedy was floated in the State Department to place a reward or bounty for Assange's capture and extradition to the United States, sources said. Numbers were discussed in the realm of a $10 million bounty. A State Department source described that staff meeting as bizarre. One minute staffers were inquiring about the Secretary's blue and black checkered knit sweater and the next minute, the room was discussing the legalities of a drone strike on Assange and financial bounties, sources said.
Immediately following the conclusion of the wild brainstorming session, one of Clinton's top aides, State Department Director of Policy Planning Ann-Marie Slaughter, penned an email to Clinton, Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, and aides Huma Abebin and Jacob Sullivan at 10:29 a.m. entitled ''an SP memo on possible legal and nonlegal strategies re Wikileaks.''
''Nonlegal strategies.'' How did that phrasing make it into an official State Department email subject line dealing with solving Wikileaks and Assange? Why would the secretary of state and her inner circle be discussing any ''nonlegal strategies'' for anything whatsoever? Against anyone? Shouldn't all the strategies discussed by the country's top diplomat be strictly legal only? And is the email a smoking gun to confirm Clinton was actually serious about pursuing an obvious ''nonlegal strategy'' proposal to allegedly assassinate Assange? Numerous attempts were made to try and interview and decipher Slaughter's choice of email wording, however, she could not be reached for comment. Insiders said Slaughter is keeping a ''low profile'' in Princeton, NJ until she is nominated for a position in Clinton's cabinet if the Democrat is elected in November. Likewise, True Pundit attempted to contact Mills, Abedin, and Sullivan for their perspectives on this story. None commented on the record.
Slaughter's cryptic email also contained an attached document called ''SP Wikileaks doc final11.23.10.docx.'' That attachment portion of Slaughter's ''nonlegal strategies'' email has yet to be recovered by federal investigators and House committee investigators probing Clinton's email practices while at State. Even Wikileaks does not have the document. Slaughter, however, shed some light on the attachment: ''The result is the attached memo, which has one interesting legal approach and I think some very good suggestions about how to handle our public diplomacy.''
But did it also include details on the ''nonlegal strategies'' teased in the subject line?
Sources confirm Clinton took the email and attachment with her to the White House for an afternoon meeting with Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon prior to an additional evening meeting at the White House. President Obama, sources said, did not attend the early meeting with Gates as he was traveling with Vice President Joe Biden. President Obama did attend the second meeting, however, and Wikileaks and Assange's planned release of secret cables were discussed at length, sources said. Attending this meeting were President Obama, Clinton, Gates, Donilon, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral ''Mike'' Mullen, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright as well as a half dozen or more various policy aides, sources confirmed.
Did Clinton also share her alleged morning query of droning Assange with the members of the National Security Council and the President? Was it discussed among the top secret subjects in the meeting? Or was Clinton planning to conduct or hatch her own secret foreign policy in defiance of the President, a likely violation of the Logan Act?
Now, almost six years after allegedly threatening to assassinate Julian Assange, some former State Department personnel believe perhaps Clinton's comments were an attempt at brevity or humor by the former secretary of state, sources said. But since when is Clinton known for her beaming sense of humor and wit? Joking or not, is it appropriate for the top diplomat of the United States to even jest about droning the Wikileaks founder, largely considered an international journalist and whistle blower? State Department personnel would not talk on the record about the Assange meetings or Clinton's comments. But sources familiar with the meeting said their recollections were jarred again by a recently released report from the FBI's July interview with Clinton where she acknowledged a penchant for discussing drone strikes to eliminate troublesome foes.
The FBI's 302 report from Clinton's email investigation interview, again, specified that Clinton had ''many discussions'' related to ''nominating'' drone strikes on individuals:
''Clinton could not recall a specific process for nominating a target for a drone strike and recalled much debate pertaining to the concurrence process. Clinton knew there was a role for DOD, State and the CIA but could not provide specifics as to what it was. Due to a disagreement between these agencies, Clinton recalled having many discussions related to nominating an individual for a drone strike. When Clinton exchanged classified information pertaining to the drone program internally at State, it was in her office or on a secure call. When Clinton exchanged classified information pertaining to the drone program externally it was at the White House. Clinton never had a concern with how classified information pertaining to the drone program was handled.''
Sources said Clinton's comments on neutralizing Assange fits a pattern of callousness when combined with the FBI testimony that she often considered droning individuals and then coupled with her reaction to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's death in Oct. 2011.
Gaddafi was tortured and killed, largely due to Clinton's maneuvering in the Middle East and Libya. During a sit down interview with CBS News, a Clinton aide notified the room during a taping break of news reports that Gaddafi had been dragged throughout the streets of Libya and ultimately killed. Unaware the camera was still rolling, a jovial and proud Clinton pronounced: ''We came. We saw. He died.'' This was Clinton's initial response to the dictator's demise. A cackling Clinton was then joined in laughter by the CBS correspondent and off-camera aides and staff. Again, more proof of a disturbing habit of treating human life as a disposable commodity like a soiled diaper.
Unable to legally counter or stop Wikileaks, and likely abandoning any and all legal and ''nonlegal strategies,'' Clinton and her staff were forced to weather the collateral damage of CableGate. In fact, just five days after Clinton's meetings on Mahogany Row in the State Department and the White House, Wikileaks began releasing cables to news outlets globally on Sunday November 28, 2010.
Shortly after CableGate, the WikiLeaks founder sought refuge from authorities and threats by hiding at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Now 45, Assange is in his fifth year living quarantined inside the embassy. Clinton remains the Democratic nominee for the presidency of the United States.
Perhaps Democratic political operative Bob Beckel wasn't a party outlier during this controversial Fox broadcast. Likely, Beckel was projecting what others, including Clinton, had already privately proposed.
BREAKING: Guccifer 2.0 Clinton Docs Show TOP DEMS including NANCY PELOSI Funneled TARP Funds to their PACs
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 23:41
He tweeted this out less than an hour ago'.....
#Guccifer2 hacked #ClintonFoundationhttps://t.co/EDDoAj6FW8pic.twitter.com/kmSWJ9IKCA
'-- GUCCIFER 2.0 (@GUCCIFER_2) October 4, 2016
DEMOCRATS FUNNELED TARP FUNDS BACK TO THEIR PACS!That's tax-payer bailout money that went right to the pockets of Democrat PACs!
''It looks like big banks and corporations agreed to donate to the Democrats a certain percentage of the allocated TARP funds.''
The documents show that these top Democrats were involved in the scandal '-- including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi!
Pelosi is listed:
Barney FrankCarolyn MaloneyChris Van HollenDCCCJames ClyburnJohn LarsonLuis GutierrezMel WattsNANCY PELOSIPaul Kanjorski
The Establishment raided the Treasury'... And it took a hacker to catch them!
This is DEVASTATING News for Democrats!Thanks to the weak cyber security of the Clinton Foundation!
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N.S.A. Contractor Arrested in Possible New Theft of Secrets - NYTimes.com
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 19:33
WASHINGTON '-- The F.B.I. secretly arrested a National Security Agency contractor in recent weeks and is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed to hack into the networks of foreign governments, according to several senior law enforcement and intelligence officials.
The theft raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, an insider has managed to steal highly damaging secret information from the N.S.A. In 2013, Edward J. Snowden, who was also a contractor for the agency, took a vast trove of documents that were later passed to journalists, exposing N.S.A. surveillance programs in the United States and abroad.
The contractor was identified as Harold T. Martin III, 51, of Glen Burnie, Md., according to a criminal complaint filed in late August. He was charged with theft of government property, and unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents. During an F.B.I. raid of his house, agents seized documents and digital information stored on electronic devices. A large percentage of the materials found in his house and car contained highly classified information.
At the time, F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Martin, and he initially denied having taken the documents and digital files. The agency later said he had stated that he knew he was not authorized to have the materials. According to the complaint, he told the agency that ''he knew what he had done was wrong and that he should not have done it because he knew it was unauthorized.''
In a brief statement issued on Wednesday, lawyers for Mr. Martin said: ''We have not seen any evidence. But what we know is that Hal Martin loves his family and his country. There is no evidence that he intended to betray his country.''
The information believed stolen by Mr. Martin '-- who like Mr. Snowden worked for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, which is responsible for building and operating many of the agency's most sensitive cyberoperations '-- appears to be different in nature from Mr. Snowden's theft.
Mr. Martin is suspected of taking the highly classified computer code developed by the agency to break into computer systems of adversaries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. Two officials said that some of the information the contractor is suspected of taking was dated.
Document | F.B.I. Criminal Complaint Against Harold Martin, N.S.A. Contractor The F.B.I. secretly arrested Harold T. Martin III, an N.S.A. contractor, and is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified information.
Officials said Mr. Martin did not fit any of the usual profiles of an ''insider threat,'' and it is unclear whether he had political motives, as Mr. Snowden did when he exposed programs that he said violated the privacy of American citizens.
An administration official said the case had been handled secretively not in order ''to keep this guy from becoming another N.S.A. martyr,'' but because it was a continuing law enforcement case and the hope was that Mr. Martin would cooperate. The official said investigators suspected that Mr. Martin might have taken the material before Mr. Snowden's actions became public.
The official said that at the moment it did not look like an espionage case, but added the caveat that it is a continuing investigation. At the same time, the official said that investigators think Mr. Martin is not politically motivated '-- ''not like a Snowden or someone who believes that what we were doing was illegal and wanted to publicize that.''
Motivation is one of many unanswered questions about the case. It is not clear when and how the authorities first learned the contractor's identity, when they believe he began taking information, or whether he passed it to people outside the government. It is also not known whether he is believed to be responsible for a leak of classified N.S.A. code attributed to a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, or whether he had any role in a series of leaks of N.S.A. intercepts involving Japan, Germany and other countries that WikiLeaks has published since last year.
''We're struggling to figure him out,'' the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because no indictment has been publicly released.
Mr. Martin was charged in United States District Court in Baltimore. The government is allowed to charge people and bring them before a court in secret. That happens most often when defendants are cooperating or negotiating plea deals, or out of fear for their safety. But the secrecy could also indicate that the Justice Department requested it while analyzing the evidence, and that defense lawyers agreed.
For the N.S.A., which spent two years and hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars repairing the damage done by Mr. Snowden, a second insider leaking the agency's information would be a devastating blow. The agency's director, Adm. Michael Rogers, who previously ran the Navy's Fleet Cyber Command, was brought in to restore the agency's credibility, open it to more scrutiny and fix the problems that allowed Mr. Snowden to sweep up hundreds of thousands of documents.
It is also a potential setback for the Obama administration, which has sustained a series of huge disclosures of classified information. Along with Mr. Snowden's revelations, the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks in 2010 disclosed hundreds of thousands of State and Defense Department documents.
In response to those leaks, the administration has said it will crack down on the disclosures of classified information and that it has pursued more leak cases than all previous administrations combined.
The administration has prosecuted eight people for disclosing classified information to the news media, compared with three under all previous administrations. But the crackdown has sometimes backfired. Mr. Snowden, for example, has said he was inspired by the example of two previous leakers, Thomas Drake and Chelsea Manning, who claimed to have made disclosures to reveal government wrongdoing. The latest leak suggests again that the unprecedented string of prosecutions has not deterred all leaks.
Two former agency officials said that even as the Media Leaks Task Force, as the Snowden cleanup operation was called, was underway, there were rumors that a second insider was harvesting the agency's most secret data. But many inside the agency thought the leaks were leftovers from the Snowden episode. Some C.I.A. officials, meanwhile, quietly speculated that the N.S.A. had a ''mole,'' which many inside the N.S.A. doubted.
It is also potentially devastating for Booz Allen, which has built much of its business on providing highly technical services to the N.S.A. and other intelligence agencies.
A spokesman for Booz Allen declined to comment on Wednesday.
As investigators look into Mr. Martin's case, it is almost certain that they will focus on whether the contractor was behind a leak in August that exposed a collection of electronic tools used by the N.S.A. to break into networks around the world. That material, released by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, was thought by outside experts to have been obtained by hacking rather than from an insider. Now, in light of the arrest, that assumption may have to be revised. The code released by the Shadow Brokers was dated from 2013, meaning that it almost certainly has been overtaken by more recent code.
At the time of the Shadow Brokers release, many experts speculated that an N.S.A. operator had accidentally left some of the code on a computer server in a foreign nation '-- such servers are often used to hide the connection to the agency and to facilitate network break-ins '-- and that the code had been obtained by Russia.
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Mr. Snowden, in exile in Russia, wrote on Twitter that ''circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility'' for publishing the code. He interpreted it as a warning shot to the American government in case it was thinking of imposing sanctions against Russia in the cybertheft of documents from the Democratic National Committee.
At the time, the agency would not even return phone calls inquiring about the leak of the code, and froze out former employees with deep contacts in the agency. But in recent days officials said it was not clear that Russia was involved.
Bruce Schneier, an author on information security and fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, has tracked post-Snowden leaks from the N.S.A. and speculated about their possible source. But he had not heard that the government had identified any leaker.
Mr. Schneier noted that the agency has aggressively recruited in recent years at gatherings of young, tech-savvy programmers, including those who specialize in hacking. But officials have worried that the innovative free spirits they need to penetrate foreign computer systems may also include at least a few who are motivated by Mr. Snowden's example. The current suspect, however, does not appear to fit that profile.
''I wouldn't call it an epidemic,'' Mr. Schneier said. ''But there's a handful of leaks that clearly did not come from Snowden.'' He said events in recent years might both encourage and intimidate would-be leakers.
''On one side, there's the inspiration of Snowden,'' he said. ''On the other, there's the counterbalancing force of an agency coming down on you like a ton of bricks. Snowden is in exile. Manning is in prison.''
The tension between secrecy and public scrutiny at the nation's biggest intelligence agency goes back decades. But since Mr. Snowden's disclosures, and the rise of a sister military organization, United States Cyber Command, also led by Admiral Rogers, there has been a determined effort to speak more openly about the agency, its mission and the future of cyberconflict.
While the agency previously saw a few memos made public '-- in 2003, a linguist with its British equivalent was arrested after leaking to the news media a single N.S.A. memo calling for a ''surge'' of intercepts at the United Nations '-- it had not experienced a mass leak until Mr. Snowden's disclosures. He used an inexpensive bit of software to sweep up data in the agency's Hawaii networks, undetected. At the time, officials said that would not have been possible at Fort Meade, where data is far more protected. That claim will now come under far more scrutiny.
NSA Theft Suspect Worked For Contractor That Sells the Government Tech for Spotting Rogue Employees
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 01:39
Booz Allen Hamilton, the defense contracting giant whose employee was charged Wednesday in connection with the theft of hacking codes used by the National Security Agency, provides a fairly ironic service to the government: spotting rogue employees.
The highly secretive contractor in 2014 launched a special service called Insider4Sight designed to help the government spot ''insider threats,'' such as employees who steal confidential documents. ''Insider4Sight behavior-based assessment tools are applied against expected role models to detect rogue insiders before significant damage occurs,'' a company brochure boasts.
Booz Allen Hamilton's marketing asks: ''How do we detect insider threats before rogue employees can do significant damage?''
Screenshot from Booz Allen Hamilton brochure on Predictive Intelligence
Booz Allen Hamilton employee Harold Martin III, a contractor for the NSA, was charged today with illegally copying and taking home highly confidential code used for infiltrating the computers of foreign governments.
The incident is sure to refocus attention on the $5.4 billion company, which also employed Edward Snowden, another NSA private contractor who stole documents from the agency. Snowden acted in order to reveal vast government surveillance programs, some of which have been subsequently deemed by federal courts as unconstitutional. Martin's motives are not clear.
Horacio Rozanski, Booz Allen Hamilton's chief executive, highlighted the importance of its insider threat detection software on the company's investor call in July 2015. Discussing the firm's success in securing a three-year $39 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security, Rozanski said that the firm's ''Predictive Intelligence'' platform, which includes assessing insider threats, ''was a major differentiator in winning this work.''
In an interview with CNBC, assistant attorney general for national security John Carlin commented briefly on the arrest of Martin, noting that the Department of Justice is concerned about the risk posed by insider threats. ''We also need to take into account, whether it's economic espionage or traditional espionage, the focus on those who are trusted within our companies, within our government who can exploit that trust to cause enormous harm,'' Carlin said.
Booz Allen Hamilton, which declined to comment to The Intercept, provided a statement to the press noting that it is a ''102-year-old company, and the alleged conduct does not reflect our core values. Thousands of our employees support critical client missions with dedication and excellence each day. Their professionalism, values and ethics are what define our firm.''
As Bloomberg has noted, Booz Allen Hamilton's ability to continually win major government contracts appears ''ensured by the roster of intelligence community heavyweights'' on its payroll. The firm not only retains the services of lobbyists, but also employs a number of high level intelligence officials, including former NSA director Mike McConnell. James Clapper, the current Director of National Intelligence, is a former Booz Allen Hamilton executive.
Top photo: NSA headquarters
NSA contractor charged with stealing top secret data - The Washington Post
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 12:37
BOSTON '-- A federal contractor suspected in the leak of powerful National Security Agency hacking tools has been arrested and charged with stealing classified information from the U.S. government, according to court records and U.S. officials familiar with the case.
Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, who did technology work for Booz Allen Hamilton, was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, authorities said. According to two U.S. officials familiar with the case, he is suspected of ''hoarding'' classified materials going back as far as a decade in his house and car, and the recent leak of the hacking tools tipped investigators to what he was doing.
Martin was arrested in August after investigators raided his home in Glen Burnie, Md., and found documents and digital information stored on various devices that contained highly classified information, authorities said.
[Read the full criminal complaint filed against Harold Thomas Martin III]
The breadth of the harm Martin is alleged to have caused '-- and what might have motivated it, if proven '-- was not immediately clear, although officials said some of the documents he took home ''could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.''
Investigators are probing whether Martin, who had top secret clearance, was responsible for an apparent leak that led to a cache of NSA hacking tools appearing online in August, according to the officials familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
The FBI and NSA are trying to figure out what drove Martin. The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit is working on a psychological assessment, officials said. ''This definitely is different'' from other leak cases, one U.S. official said. ''That's why it's taking us awhile to figure it out.''
The leaked NSA tools included ''exploits'' that take advantage of unknown flaws in firewalls, for instance, allowing the government to control a network. They were posted by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. Current and former federal officials said their disclosure could allow targets of NSA spying to determine they were hacked by the United States, and some foreign spy agencies might be able to repurpose the tools.
''This will embolden many to retaliate, likely leading to an escalation of an already costly exchange of cyberattacks between the U.S. and some of its adversaries,'' said Leo Taddeo, a former FBI agent and chief security officer at Cryptzone, a cybersecurity firm.
Martin's arrest, first reported by the New York Times, marks another humiliating lapse for both Booz Allen and the NSA. In 2013, contractor Edward Snowden, who also worked for Booz Allen, passed a massive trove of documents to journalists, shedding light on massive government surveillance programs that have drawn criticism since they were revealed.
Even before that, the federal government had made detecting and deterring leaks a high priority. In 2011, President Obama created the National Insider Threat Task Force to assist in that effort, and the Justice Department under his administration has prosecuted more leakers than all of its predecessors combined. And after the Snowden disclosures, the NSA doubled down, adopting new technical measures to control information.
For example, officials instituted new rules on downloading sensitive data and implemented audit trails and more frequent screenings of network access by system administrators.
Strings of code were released to the Internet by a group calling themselves "the Shadow Brokers". They claim the code is a tool that can be used to hack into any computer. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that Martin's arrest made it ''painfully clear that the Intelligence Community still has much to do to institutionalize reforms designed to protect in advance the nation's sources and methods from insider threats.''
An NSA spokesman declined to comment on Martin's arrest. In a statement attached to an SEC filing, Booz Allen said that when it learned one of its employees was arrested, ''we immediately reached out to the authorities to offer our total cooperation in their investigation, and we fired the employee. We continue to cooperate fully with the government on its investigation into this serious matter.'' The company said there had ''been no material changes to our client engagements as a result of this matter.''
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday: ''This is certainly a situation that the Department of Justice takes seriously, as evidenced by their complaint. This is also a situation that President Obama takes quite seriously. And it is a good reminder for all of us with security clearances about how important it is for us to protect sensitive national security information.''
Military records and an online profile show that Martin was a former Naval officer and reservist with a broad interest in cyber issues. His attorney said he was a Navy lieutenant, and records show he served for more than a decade, spending some years on the USS Seattle before ending his military career in the inactive reserves.
According to his LinkedIn profile and school officials, Martin was in an information systems graduate program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and he had studied software and security engineering at George Mason University and economics at the University of Wisconsin. He wrote that his goal was ''to advance state of the art in several areas of computing practices in the public/private sector.''
Federal public defender Jim Wyda and first assistant federal public defender Deborah Boardman, who are representing Martin, said in a statement that the charges against Martin were ''mere allegations'' and that they had not yet seen prosecutors' evidence.
''There is no evidence that Hal Martin intended to betray his country. What we do know is that Hal Martin loves his family and his country,'' the attorneys said. ''He served honorably in the United States Navy as a lieutenant and he has devoted his entire career to protecting his country. We look forward to defending Hal Martin in court.''
Roy Rada, Martin's former mentor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, said in an email that Martin was ''highly motivated'' and had an ''intense personal and professional interest in the post-traumatic stress disorder.'' Rada, who retired from the school earlier this year, said Martin believed the school had the technology to diagnose PTSD earlier and sought funding to support his research, though, at least when Rada was involved, he did not received any.
Rada said Martin eventually sought a new mentor, and the two lost touch. He said Martin was ''thoughtful, sensitive, and dedicated,'' and the news of his arrest was unexpected.
''While he had a commanding physical presence, emotionally he suffered from the feeling that his relatively special situation was inadequately appreciated,'' Rada said.
When Martin was taken into custody on Aug. 27, a Saturday, neighbors could hear a boom from blocks away.
It was around 2:30 p.m., and Steve Cunningham, behind a house two doors down, was so startled that he dropped to the ground. Around the corner, Glen Bond had just cracked a Miller Lite and sat down to watch TV in his living room. He walked outside, suspicious that a neighbor had just set off a giant firework.
Federal agents dressed in tactical gear and toting drawn rifles were swarming around the small brick and vinyl-sided house. At least two federal vans and more than 20 vehicles shut down access to the area.
Murray Bennett walked out on his stoop just in time to see a dozen agents smash through Bennett's backyard fence.
''Get back in the house!'' a man in an FBI jacket yelled at him.
Not long after, he saw Martin escorted outside in handcuffs.
''Next thing you know, he was gone,'' Bennett said.
Until well past midnight, neighbors watched as the investigators ransacked Bennett's aging purple Chevrolet Caprice '-- still parked in the driveway '-- and carried out black trash bags from his home. Bennett said he knew Martin as a ''computer guy'' who was well educated and decent.
''Unreal,'' said Bennett, who has known Martin for about a decade. ''We passed out Halloween candy together.''
Neighbors described Martin as friendly but quiet. They said they hadn't noticed any change in him leading up to the raid.
Around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, a woman who identified herself as Martin's wife pulled up in a black Nissan Rogue and unloaded her groceries.
''The only thing I can say is that it's a matter under investigation. I have no comment,'' she told reporters before stepping inside.
Prosecutors did not reveal in the criminal complaint how they were tipped to Martin or what precisely they recovered. The complaint alleged that Martin initially denied to investigators that he took documents home, but once confronted with specific examples, he admitted he did so and that he knew the materials were classified. The complaint alleged that Martin ''stated that he knew what he had done was wrong.''
If convicted, Martin would face a maximum of 11 years in prison. The U.S. attorney's office in Maryland said he appeared in court on Aug. 29 and remains detained.
Zapotosky and Cox reported from Washington. Sari Horwitz, Peter Hermann, David Nakamura, Julie Tate and Jennifer Jenkins in Washington contributed to this report.
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Congress Approves IMF Change in Favor of Emerging Markets - Bloomberg
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 12:11
U.S. lawmakers approved changes to International Monetary Fund governance that will give more of a voice to emerging markets such as China and India in exchange for greater congressional oversight of the fund.
The House and Senate on Friday passed a $1.1-trillion spending plan that includes language implementing the IMF reforms, which have been awaiting congressional ratification since 2010, a delay that spurred global criticism of the U.S. President Barack Obama, who supported the change, signed the bill on Friday.
Ratification also clears the way for the Washington-based fund to begin reviewing another round of changes that could give China and other emerging markets an even bigger voting share. The IMF's executive board is expected to consider a timetable as early as January for the next review of the institution's share system.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the changes approved Friday will ''strengthen the IMF in its role of supporting global financial stability.''
''The reforms significantly increase the IMF's core resources, enabling us to respond to crises more effectively, and also improve the IMF's governance by better reflecting the increasing role of dynamic emerging and developing countries in the global economy,'' she said in a statement.
Last ResortThe IMF's executive board approved a plan in 2010 to increase the voting share of emerging economies and double the amount of permanent funding available to the Washington-based fund, which serves as a lender of last resort to countries that face capital shortfalls.
Some Republican lawmakers had previously said the shift would give too much influence to countries that don't share U.S. interests, while others questioned the need for international bailouts.
Emerging-market leaders had warned that the IMF would lose legitimacy if its voting structure didn't reflect the growing economic clout of countries such as India and China. The delay may have helped push China to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a development lender similar to the World Bank.
Lawmakers imposed several conditions on their support for the reforms. The Treasury Department must push to repeal the fund's so-called systemic-exemption policy, according to the budget bill. The policy allows the board to relax the IMF's lending standards when a country's default has major spillover risks. The board invoked the exemption in approving a bailout for Greece in 2010.
Congress must also approve any extension beyond 2022 of U.S. participation in a credit line provided to the IMF during the financial crisis to increase its capital.
Normal LimitsIn addition, the U.S. representative on the IMF's board must report to lawmakers when voting in favor of any loans that exceed the fund's normal limits.
China, the world's second-largest economy, currently ranks sixth in voting shares at the IMF, behind the U.S., Japan, Germany, France and the U.K. Under the 2010 plan, China would jump to third, while India would climb to eighth from 11th and Brazil would move up four spots to 10th.
The fund is primarily financed by shares, known as quotas, assigned to its 188 member countries. The proposal would double the number of total quotas, while rolling back by a corresponding amount the crisis-era credit line, known as the New Arrangements to Borrow.
Quota reform ''sounds esoteric to many people. What it stands for around the world is American leadership,'' U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in an interview with ''CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS'' that will air on Sunday. ''Things like approving quota reform mean we're going to stay very strong on the world stage,'' Lew said in a transcript provided by the network.
China's central bank said in a statement on Saturday that it welcomes the ratification of the 2010 quota and governance reforms by the U.S. Congress.
''Going forward, China will work closely with other member countries to support the IMF to continuously improve its quota and governance structure, to ensure that the IMF remains a quota-based and adequately resourced institution,'' the People's Bank of China said in the statement.
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SDR World Order : The Corbett Report
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 11:41
by James Corbettcorbettreport.comOctober 1, 2016
I'm not sure how to break this to you, but it appears the world is ending this weekend. Or at least that's what you'd believe if you were reading certain corners of the internet.
As you may have already heard, the UN is ''taking over the internet'' this weekend. But as you've also heard if you follow The Corbett Report, that is a complete misrepresentation of what is really happening. Worse, hyperbole about a ''UN takeover'' of the internet obscures the real solution to ICANN and the centralized DNS system.
But there's another ''end-of-the-world'' event taking place this weekend that you might not have picked up on: the SDR.
That's right, the IMF is formally adding the Chinese renminbi (aka the yuan) to their ''Special Drawing Rights'' basket on Saturday, October 1st. The move boosts the yuan to the status of global reserve currency alongside its basketmates, the pound, the euro, the yen and the dollar. At 10.92% it will be the third highest-weighted currency in the basket, behind the euro at 30.93% and the dollar at 41.73%.
For those who missed my previous reporting on the SDR and the significance of the yuan's inclusion, here's the primer:
The SDR is not a currency, but a potential claim on dollars, yen, euros, pounds, and now yuan.It is issued by the IMF and held (and traded) as a ''supplementary reserve asset'' by central banks.There are 204 billion SDRs outstanding, equivalent to $285 billion or about 2.5% of total global reserves.The upshot of the SDR is that it provides liquidity for global transaction settlement in times when dollars and gold are in scarce supply. Inclusion of a currency in the SDR basket means that there is a built-in demand for that currency as central banks tend to match their currency holdings to the basket's weighting, meaning that central bankers around the world are now (or have already) adjusted their aggregate holdings of yuan to about 10.92% of their portfolio. With $11.6 trillion of reserves globally, that equates to over $1 trillion worth of yuan being held in central bank coffers around the world.
More than that, the move is expected to boost investment in the yuan from both FX reserve managers and global portfolio managers. The FX inflows alone have been estimated at as much as $3 trillion in the coming years, with onshore bond buying accounting for a further $1 trillion of expected foreign investment.
Some outlets are hailing this as the largest transformation of the global monetary order since WWII.
Others, like Barron's Chi Lo, are putting a wet blanket on that hyperbole. In an article titled ''What Now for China as Renminbi Joins SDR?'' Lo argues that much of the re-balancing of global reserve portfolios have already been completed, and would have only amounted to an extra $31 billion of demand for the yuan, a drop in the bucket of global liquidity. And global investors, he says, will not base their investment decisions on China's SDR status, but on China's commitment to the structural reforms which have been put on the back burner since the yuan achieved SDR status:
''SDR inclusion of the renminbi is not relevant to the portfolio re-balancing decision (to increase the weighting of renminbi-denominated assets) of international investors. The impact on global portfolio decisions will come from foreign investors' assessment of China's fundamental outlook, the opening of China's capital account and the decision by international index providers, such as MSCI, to include Chinese A-shares in their global indices.''
So who's right? Is this the dawn of a new monetary order, or a blip of little significance in and of itself? Well, in a weird way perhaps both are right. China's SDR inclusion is not going to turn the world upside-down overnight. And if it was just the inclusion of one more currency in the global reserve basket (and only 10% of the basket at that), then this wouldn't be significant all by itself. But while you were sleeping another development came along that gestures to the potentially transformative nature of this SDR makeover.
In August the World Bank announced to relatively little fanfare an historic bond issue: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IRBD), one of the five institutions under the World Bank umbrella, would sell nearly $3 billion worth of SDR-denominated bonds. And the currency of settlement? The Chinese yuan.
SDR-denominated bonds were flirted with decades ago, most recently in 1981, but the market for SDR bonds did not develop and they soon went the way of the dodo. But now, lo and behold, 35 years later they're making a comeback, right in the heart of the world's rising economic dragon.
The issue, which went ahead on August 31st, serves a mundane, practical purpose: It allows Chinese investors to dabble in different currency assets without investing abroad. But at the same time it serves a much bigger purpose. In attempting to revive the long-dormant SDR bond market, China is tacitly backing the SDR as a reserve currency unto itself. Not a mere claim that is redeemed in other currencies by central banks in need of liquidity, but a settlement currency in and of itself.
As I explained before, this has been Beijing's plan since the 2009 crisis: not to have the yuan replace the dollar as the global reserve, but to have the SDR replace the dollar. This allows the Chinese government to avoid having to liberalize the yuan or ease up on its rigid capital controls, but still gives it a seat at the table in a new global monetary order while simultaneously dethroning their best frenemy, the US. It's win-win-win for China and, more importantly, win-win-win for the globalist oligarchs who want to bring in a New World Order of globally-administered currency.
As The Epoch Times puts it: ''This is the first step toward one world currency.''
And guess what? It's been in the planning for years, openly discussed in the central bankers' white papers, decision documents and conferences, but conveniently unreported by the media and completely overlooked by the public.
In March 2009, as the world was still reeling from the Global Financial Collapse, Zhou Xiaochuan, the Governor of the People's Bank of China, published an essay on March 23, 2009 in an essay bluntly titled ''Reform the international monetary system.'' In it, he argued that the world could no longer afford to be tied to the US dollar and the vagaries of the American financial system. Instead, it needed to be presided over by those trustworthy angels at the IMF:
''Compared with separate management of reserves by individual countries, the centralized management of part of the global reserve by a trustworthy international institution with a reasonable return to encourage participation will be more effective in deterring speculation and stabilizing financial markets. The participating countries can also save some reserve for domestic development and economic growth. With its universal membership, its unique mandate of maintaining monetary and financial stability, and as an international 'supervisor' on the macroeconomic policies of its member countries, the IMF, equipped with its expertise, is endowed with a natural advantage to act as the manager of its member countries' reserves.''
And in case that wasn't clear enough, Zhou also wrote that: ''The SDR has the features and potential to act as a super-sovereign reserve currency.''
The very next year the Bank for International Settlements (yes, that Bank for International Settlements), the European Central Bank and the World Bank jointly organized the Third Public Investors Conference, a chance for 80 central bankers, wealth fund and pension fund managers to hobnob at the BIS' headquarters in Basel and discuss their world domination schemes. The results of that conference were collected in an edition of ''BIS Papers'' and published on the BIS website. One of those papers, penned by George Hoguet and Solomon Tadesse of State Street Global Advisors, discussed ''The role of SDR-denominated securities in official and private portfolios'' and predictably pimped the revival of SDR bonds that we are currently living through:
''An investor can synthetically replicate the weights of an SDR-denominated bond, but a security denominated in SDRs is self-rebalancing and is likely to minimize rebalancing costs. Additional research, particularly on the coordination problem (which limits liquidity) and operational issues, including settlement, can facilitate the development of an SDR-denominated bond market. Williamson (2009a) suggests that greater private use of the SDR could possibly facilitate greater official use, including the pegging of currencies to the SDR rather than to a basket of currencies or to some bilateral exchange rate.''
In other words, SDR bonds create the market for SDRs generally and legitimate their use as a settlement currency in their own right.
Now, six years later, here we are with the World Bank helping China issue SDR-denominated bonds. This is the real reason that this bond issue is happening at all. As The Epoch Times points out: ''For the IBRD, there is no advantage because it is borrowing in strong currencies and getting paid in a relatively weak one.''
No, this is not about some wonderful new way for the World Bank to cheaply finance its bond issues; it is entirely about legitimizing the role of the SDR on the world stage as a potential world currency.
It remains to be seen whether this strategy will be successful. The first bond issue was a success, with a bid to cover ratio of 2.5 and 50 institutional investors'--from central banks to domestic banks, brokerages and insurance companies'--bidding on the instruments. But ZeroHedge quotes a fixed-income fund manager in Hong Kong who was not so impressed by the auction: ''We are not interested in SDR bonds and we can't see why Chinese investors should want these bonds since they can easily buy much higher yielding bonds in China.''
Whether SDR bonds will take off depends completely on whether the central bankers can convince the financial world of the benefits of scuttling the dollar reserve system. That will take some concerted effort, which is why we should expect to see an increase in stories raising awareness about SDRs and their potential utility in the coming years.
In that sense, the spate of stories this weekend about the yuan's SDR inclusion may not be so much the end of the world as the first wave of propaganda getting people ready for the end of the world.
Pando: The murderous history of USAID, the US Government agency behind Cuba's fake Twitter clone
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 20:12
''In a number of countries, including Venezuela and Bolivia, USAID is acting more as an agency involved in covert action, like the CIA, than as an aid or development agency.'' '--Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Last week, we learned from the Associated Press that USAID (United States Agency for International Development) '-- the government agency which manages billions in overseas ''humanitarian'' aid programs '-- plotted to overthrow Cuba's communist regime via a covertly-funded fake Twitter platform.
The idea was to get Cuba's youth to sign up for ZunZuneo (Cuban slang for the sound hummingbirds make'--get it?) without anyone knowing about USAID's involvement, get the kids hooked on pointless tweeting, collect all sorts of data on the users, and then rile them into an anti-regime rage '-- a ''Cuban Spring'' revolution.
Presumably the US government had been studying Twitter's ability to supercharge its users with outrage vapors here in the Free World, where legions of credulous idiots spend their waking hours chasing the outrage dragon. It was only a matter of time before some DC spooks and Northern Virginia contractors would see the angles.
Of course, the ZunZuneo plan failed. ZunZuneo collapsed, a bunch of money went missing (likely into the coffers of the Castro regime's state-controlled telecoms firm, or so they say), and the Communist Cuban menace still threatens the Free World's slick underbelly.
What really seems to be weirding people out here is the shock realization that USAID '-- the nice, humanitarian, democracy-promoting arm of American idealism '-- also engages in sleazy regime-change and subversion. The sorts of nefarious covert activities folks normally associate with the CIA.
Not that this is news to PandoDaily readers, of course: Earlier this year, we broke the story about USAID co-investing with Omidyar Network in Ukraine NGOs that organized and led the Maidan revolution in Kiev, resulting in the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych. That revolution hasn't turned out so well '-- thanks to the ''success'' of the USAID-Omidyar-funded revolution, there's talk of the West going to war with nuclear-armed Russia, Ukraine is losing entire chunks of territory like the proverbial leper on a waterslide, Kiev is run by a coalition of costume-party fascists and a handful of billionaire Mafia dons'--and Vladimir Putin has never been more popular, or more tyrannical.
Given USAID's ''success'' in Ukraine, perhaps we should be thankful that ZunZuneo failed as miserably and comically as it did.
For me, there wasn't anything all that surprising about the recent USAID revelations. I spent over a decade in Russia and the former Soviet Union, and witnessed for myself the good, bad and ugly that USAID funded'--mostly the bad and the ugly. I assumed that most reporters already understood what USAID gets up to overseas, often alongside private nonprofits like those run by Soros, Gates, Rockefeller, Ford and more recently, Omidyar.
The truth is, USAID's role in a covert ops and subversion should be common knowledge'--it's not like the record is that hard to find. Either USAID has developed those Men In Black memory-zappers, or else'--maybe we don't want to remember.
This selective amnesia doesn't do anyone else any good however, so I figured it might be useful to offer a brief look back at some of USAID's darkest, ugliest moments. It's important to note that not everything USAID does is patently evil '-- in fact, there are many programs that could even be described as good. But USAID, as with any agency of American power, is fully capable of and will continue to be an instrument of geopolitical and corporate force.
As Big Tech becomes increasingly intertwined with USAID's missions around the world '-- particularly as USAID's programs and language merge with the lexicon and interests of Silicon Valley (such as "Global Development Lab," USAID's new "DARPA-like" research arm) '-- now's a good time to refresh our memories about USAID's dark past.
I should warn you: some of what follows is horrifying.
1. Dan Mitrione and The Office of Public Safety (OPS):
''The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount to achieve the desired effect.'' '--Dan Mitrione, USAID official
Of the many dark-red blotches in USAID's record, none compares to the agency's Office of Public Safety (OPS) program '-- and its most notorious official, Dan Mitrione.
Brief background: After the end of World War Two, America emerged as the de facto inheritor of the Europeans' empires, a role America quickly grew to enjoy. The Marshall Plan offered an imperial blueprint on how America's dominant wealth and aid could manipulate the internal political futures of our Allies like France and Italy, where American aid was key in keeping Communists from taking power.
USAID grew out of programs like the Marshall Plan, but the agency itself wasn't established until 1961 under President Kennedy. Under Kennedy's reorganization, a police training program set up under President Eisenhower, the Office of Public Safety (OPS), was placed under USAID's authority. The OPS had been set up in 1957 to train friendly overseas police forces how to be more professional, more democratic, less corrupt, more like us '-- but in reality, the OPS was essentially a CIA proxy, headed by an agent named Byron Engle, its ranks covertly sprinkled with CIA spooks in hotspots across the globe.
Former New York Times correspondent A. J. Langguth wrote that the ''the two primary functions'' of the USAID police training program were to allow the CIA to ''plant men with local police in sensitive places around the world,'' and to bring to the United States ''prime candidates for enrollment as CIA employees.'' [''Police Program is Called CIA Cover,'' New York Times, May 7, 1978]
Dan Mitrione wasn't a CIA man himself. Mitrione was a small-town cop and a family man from Richmond, Indiana, who joined the FBI, and was sent to Brazil in the early 1960s under USAID's Office of Public Safety to train the fledging democratic government's police force. A few years later, in 1964, a US-backed coup overthrew Brazil's democratically-elected president Joao Goulart, and installed a right-wing military dictatorship that ruled for the next two decades, with largesse from USAID's coffers, and vital training and equipment supplied by USAID officials like Mitrione.
By the end of the 1960s, when Mitrione left for Uruguay, USAID had trained over 100,000 of Brazil's police in the dark arts of rule-by-terror; another 600 Brazilian police were brought to the US for special USAID training in explosives and interrogation techniques.
Brazil's military dictatorship murdered or disappeared hundreds of dissidents, and tortured and jailed thousands more. Among those tortured: a Marxist student named Dilma Rousseff, arrested in 1970 and subjected to beatings to her face that distorted her dental ridge, and electrical shocks from car batteries, resulting in the hemorrhaging of her uterus. Today, Rousseff is Brazil's president '-- and she's not too happy about the NSA tapping her phones.
The junta also murdered one ex-president in a staged car accident in 1976. Another ex-president who allegedly died of a heart attack in 1978 is now believed to have been poisoned.
With Brazil successfully pacified, in 1969 Dan Mitrione was transferred to a new hotspot: Uruguay, which was reeling under the increasingly popular left-wing Tupamaro rebels. After taking his post as the new head of USAID's police training mission in Uruguay, Mitrione secured a house in the capital Montevideo, and personally soundproofed the cellar. Mitrione thoroughly tested the sound-proofing by blasting Hawaiian music from a stereo in the cellar, and standing out on the street to listen; and later, by having one of his trainees fire a pistol inside his soundproofed cellar while Mitrione stood at different points on his neighborhood street.
Once satisfied, Mitrione began teaching human anatomy and the human nervous system to the elite Uruguayan police officials hand-picked by USAID for counter-insurgency training in America. Then '-- according to a CIA double-agent secretly working for Cuba, Manuel Hevia, and corroborated by journalist A. J. Langguth '-- Mitrione began performing gruesome live torture demonstrations on homeless beggars plucked off the streets of Montevideo. Four of Mitrione's human guinea pigs were tortured to death, including one woman '-- according to Hevia, testing on street beggars was something Mitrione learned to do while training Brazil's police.
In Langguth's book about Mitrione and USAID's torture programs, "Hidden Terrors," he quotes Hevia's eyewitness account of Mitrione's live torture demonstrations:
"As subjects for the first testing, they took beggars, known in Uruguay as bichicones, from the outskirts of Montevideo, along with a woman from the border with Brazil. There was no interrogation, only a demonstration of the different voltages on the different parts of the human body, together with the uses of a drug to induce vomiting '-- I don't know why or for what '-- and another chemical substance.
"The four of them died."
Mitrione taught local police specialized forms of electroshock torture, introducing wires so thin they could fit between the teeth and gums. He also demonstrated drugs that induced violent vomiting fits, and advised on psychological tortures, such as playing tapes of a woman and child screaming in a room next to the interrogation room, and telling the detainee those are his wife and child. And it was all done under the aegis of USAID.
Hevia eventually wrote about his experiences with the CIA, and gave few interviews about his experience serving as a Cuban double-agent inside the CIA, an assignment that brought him face to face working with Mitrione. In a 1978 New York Times article, Hevia is quoted saying,
''If you ask me whether any American official participated in torture, I'd say yes, Dan Mitrione participated. If you ask me whether there were interrogations, I'd say no, because the unfortunate beggars who were being tortured had no way of answering because they were asked no questions. They were merely guinea pigs to show the effect of electric shock on different parts of the human body.''
Hevia made a point of not blaming Mitrione, who was ''only carrying out policy.'' But Hevia was clearly bothered by Mitrione's cold, technocratic approach:
''The special horror of the course was its academic, almost clinical atmosphere. Mitrione was a perfectionist. He was coldly efficient, he insisted on economy of effort....A premature death, he would say, meant that the technique failed.''
In 1979, the Times' A. J. Langguth, who had resisted believing witnesses' testimony about Mitrione's torture sessions until then, described in a wrenching Times article, "Torture's Teachers," how he was finally forced to accept the awful truth after he was able to corroborate Manuel Hevia's story:
We can read the accusations, even examine the evidence and find it irrefutable. But, in our hearts, we cannot believe that Americans have gone abroad to spread the use of torture.
Mr. Mitrione has become notorious throughout Latin America. But few men ever had the chance to sit with him and discuss his rationale for torture. Mr. Hevia had once.
Now, reading Mr. Hevia's version, which I believe to be accurate, I see that I too had resisted acknowledging how drastically a man's career can deform him. I was aware that Mr. Mitrione knew of the tortures and condoned them. That was bad enough. I could not believe even worse of a family man. A Midwesterner. An American.
Langguth '-- today professor emeritus at USC's Annenberg J-school '-- quotes directly from Mitrione's own words:
''When you receive a subject, the first thing to do is determine his physical state, his degree of resistance, through a medical examination. A premature death means a failure by the technician.
''Another important thing to know is exactly how far you can go given the political situation and the personality of the prisoner. It is very important to know beforehand whether we have the luxury of letting the subject die . . .
''Before all else, you must be efficient. You must cause only the damage that is strictly necessary, not a bit more. We must control our tempers in any case. You have to act with the efficiency and cleanliness of a surgeon and with the perfection of an artist . . .''
Mitrione took over the USAID police training program in Uruguay in 1969, and within months, the country was racked by allegations of widespread torture and police abuses. In 1970, Uruguay's Senate opened an investigation and heard testimony from tortured men and women who'd been subjected to electrocutions, genital mutilation and psychological torture.
As things heated up in 1970, Hevia was recalled back to Havana to end his years working as a Cuban mole inside the CIA. Before leaving Uruguay, Hevia had one final meeting with Mitrione:
''The last time I talked to Mitrione was in his home one evening over drinks. He said that he considered interrogation to be a complex art. First you have to soften up the detainee with blows and the usual abuse. The objective was to humiliate the victim, separating him from reality, making him feel defenseless. No questions, just blows and insults. Then just silent blows.''
In August 1970, Tupamaro rebels kidnapped Mitrione and demanded the release of 150 Tupamaro rebels in exchange for freeing him. Publicly, the Nixon Administration's position was not to negotiate with terrorists. Ten days after Mitrione was kidnapped, his dead body was discovered in the trunk of a car.
Recently declassified cables show that behind the scenes, the Nixon Administration pushed hard to free Mitrione, not through negotiation, but through threats of terror. Nixon's people pushed their Uruguayan counterparts to threaten to kill not only the Tupamaros prisoners in their custody, but also to hunt down the prisoners' relatives and kill them too. As reported in the National Security Archives, after Mitrione's body was discovered, Uruguayan authorities did exactly as Nixon's people demanded:
The nine documents posted today by the National Security Archive contain evidence that the Government of Uruguay unleashed death squads activity in the wake of Mitrione's execution, and that the United States was aware of these extra-judicial operations.
* * * *
2. Other Offices of Public Safety (OPS's)
''At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.'' '--John Gilligan, director of USAID under Jimmy Carter [quoted in William Blum's book ''Killing Hope'']
Multiply Dan Mitrione's story by all the other Dan Mitrione's working in all the other USAID Offices of Public Safety that we rarely hear about, and you start to get a sense of how small USAID's failed Twitter revolution in Cuba is by the agency's standards.
A few more examples of other USAID police training ventures through the Office of Public Safety:
'-- The Vietnam War: USAID trained police and ran civilian jails. USAID also participated in the ''soft'' side of the Phoenix Program '-- funding the failed ''Land to the Tillers'' program granting peasants small plots of land, a program that has a poor track record, but serves some important foreign policy/propaganda purpose every time it's rolled out because it remains one of the most enduring boondoggles in the USAID kit.
-- Laos: In 1967, USAID Co-funded with the CIA a suspected private opium airliner, Xieng Khouang Air Transport. Later, as the CIA-backed Hmong were under attack from Lao Marxist rebels and North Vietnamese forces, USAID forcibly resettled Hmong families in the line of their advance to protect the pro-US government in Vientaine. According to Albert McCoy's classic investigative book, ''The Politics of Heroin,''
''Knowing that the Hmong fought better when their families were threatened, USAID ... seemed intent on keeping them in the area for a final, bloody stand against the North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao...Since USAID decided where the rice was dropped, the Hmong had no choice but to stand and fight.''
'--Guatemala: By 1970, USAID trained over 30,000 Guatemalan police to suppress local leftists, according to William Blum's book ''Killing Hope.'' Just over a decade later, Guatemalan death squads under US-backed dictator Rios Montt unleashed a genocide on the Mayan peasants.
According to Victoria Sanford's "Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala," USAID programs supported the death squads as they carried out the genocide:
Though the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) claimed complete dissociation from the army's security operations (which were veiled in development language) in fact AID provided several million dollars to the army's rural security.
...During the Guatemalan army's successive campaigns of genocide against the Maya, international aid continued to flow into Guatemala. Whether by design or through willful ignorance, U.S. AID, U.S. Food for Peace, UN WFP, private voluntary organizations (now called NGOs'--nongovernmental organizations), and the countries of Israel and Taiwan provided financial, technical, and material support to the Guatemalan army.
'--El Salvador: According to NYU historian Greg Grandin, in El Salvador, where 75,000 were killed between 1979 and 1992,
''[I]n the early 1960s agents from the State Department, Green Berets, CIA, and USAID organized two paramilitary groups that would become the backbone of that country's death squad system.''
In the brief window between Watergate and the Church Committee, Democratic Sen. James Abourezk managed to shut USAID's police training program down. Which meant that from then on, USAID would have to be a tad more subtle.
* * * *
3. Haiti:
After populist left-wing candidate Jean-Bertrand Aristide won the first democratic elections in Haiti in 1990, USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy began pouring funds into opposition groups opposed to Aristide. Noam Chomsky writes:
Aid for ''democracy promotion'' sharply increased, directed to antigovernment, probusiness groups, mainly through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), also the National Endowment for Democracy and AIFLD (the AFL-CIO affiliate with a notorious antilabor record throughout the Third World). One of the closest observers of Haiti, Amy Wilentz, wrote that USAID's huge ''Democracy Enhancement'' project was ''specifically designed to fund those sectors of the Haitian political spectrum where opposition to the Aristide government could be encouraged.''
A few months later, in 1991, Aristide was overthrown in a coup.
* * * *
4. Peru mass-sterilization:
In the early 1990s, Alberto Fujimori won Peru's presidency, and quickly imposed harsh shock therapy measures that impoverished millions. Peru's impoverished masses weren't responding to shock therapy the way Fujimori and the neoliberal consensus thought they should. So Fujimori '-- currently in prison for crimes against humanity '-- decided the only way to cut poverty among the indigenous population was to cut the number of poor indigenous people. Literally.
Between 1996-98, the Fujimori regime forcibly mass-sterilized some 300,000 women, mostly indigenous peoples in the Andes and Amazon regions. Fujimori's mass forced-sterilization program is one of only two such national programs known since the end of World War Two. And yes, it received enthusiastic funding from USAID, which donated $35 million to the program.
* * * *
5. Russia:
There were many ways to transform Russia in the 1990s, but thanks to funding from USAID, the path chosen was the most brutal and disastrous of all: Shock therapy, mass privatization, and the mass impoverishment of 150 million people. As Janine Wedel and my former eXile partner Matt Taibbi documented, USAID funding and support empowered a single ''clan'' from St. Petersburg led by Anatoly Chubais, who oversaw the complete destruction of Russia's social welfare system, and the handing over of lucrative assets to a tiny handful of oligarchs.
Under Chubais' stewardship, Russia's economic output declined some 60% in the 1990s, while the average Russian male life expectancy plummeted from 68 years to 56 years. Russia's population went into a freefall, Russia's worst death-to-birth ratio at any time in the 20th Century '-- which is amazing when you think that USAID's privatization program had to compete with the ravages Hitler, Dzerzhinsky and Stalin wreaked on Russia.
USAID funded Chubais through public-private organizations and a Harvard program that was so patently corrupt, Harvard and its program directors including economist Andrei Shleifer were sued by the US Department of Justice for "conspiring to defraud" the US government (not to mention Russians). USAID also paid public relations giant Burson-Marsteller to sell the disastrous voucher program to the Russian public, in a mass media advertising blitz that promoted Chubais' political party on the eve of parliamentary elections. It was this USAID funded privatization, and the USAID-backed Russia ''democrats,'' which soured Russians on market capitalism and democracy (renamed ''dermokratsia'' or ''shitocracy'' in Russian).
Since Putin came to power and American influence waned, USAID and other privately-funded NGOs have focused on exposing widespread corruption and election fraud'--areas that were of little interest to the same aid groups in the Yeltsin era.
* * * *
6. Palestine:
In 2006, the Washington Post revealed a covert $2 million USAID propaganda effort to help the ''moderate'' Palestinian Authority's election bid against Hamas:
The approximately $2 million program is being led by a division of the U.S. Agency for International Development. But no U.S. government logos appear with the projects or events being undertaken as part of the campaign, which bears no evidence of U.S. involvement and does not fall within the definitions of traditional development work.
U.S. officials say their low profile is meant to ensure that the Palestinian Authority receives public credit for a collection of small, popular projects and events to be unveiled before Palestinians select their first parliament in a decade. Internal documents outlining the program describe the effort as "a temporary paradigm shift" in the way the aid agency operates. The plan was designed with the help of a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer who worked in postwar Afghanistan on democracy-building projects.
Yes, just another ''temporary paradigm shift.'' Because as we know, under normal circumstances, USAID would never, ever act so secretively. That's not what USAID is about. Just ask the users of ZunZuneo.
[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]
Shut Up Slave!
Now Brussels clamps down on freedom of British press | UK | News | Daily Express
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 12:41
The ECRI suggested the British press should not report when terrorists are MuslimsA report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) found there was an increase in hate speech and racist violence in the UK from 2009 to March 2016.
Blaming the press, ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund, said: ''It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians.''
The report makes a whopping 23 recommendations to Theresa May's Government for changes to criminal law, the freedom of the press, crime reporting and equality law.
And despite the report not analysing coverage of the historic Brexit vote, Mr Ahlund saw fit to comment on the UK's decision to leave the EU.
Related articlesThe Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in 'anti-foreigner' sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority
ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund
In a sweeping statement, he said: ''The Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in 'anti-foreigner' sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority.''
The report lays into the British press and urges the government to ''give more rigorous training'' to reporters.
In the 83-page report, the Commission said: ''ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety.
Christian Ahlund weighed in on the impact of Britain's decision to leave the EUGETTY
The report makes a whopping 23 recommendations to Theresa May's Government''In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators' motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.''
Despite the creation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in 2014 as an independent regulator for newspapers and magazines, the ''ECRI strongly recommends that the authorities find a way to establish an independent press regulator according to the recommendations set out in the Leveson Report. It recommends more rigorous training for journalists to ensure better compliance with ethical standards.''
But as Britain prepares to leave the crumbling bloc, the Government waded in to defend freedom of expression.
The report noted Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of attacks such as ParisIn a written statement to the ECRI, the Government said: ''The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law.''
ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and racial discrimination.
The group writes reports on every member state every five years and says the documents are ''analyses based on a great deal of information gathered from a wide variety of sources.
ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of EuropeECRI visited the UK in November 2015 as it gathered evidence for the report.
In a statement, ECRI said: ''ECRI welcomed, among other things, the entry into force of the Equality Act 2010 and the generally strong legislation against racism and racial discrimination in the country, as well as the government's new hate crime action plan and substantial efforts to promote LGBT rights in the UK which have led to a significant change in attitudes.
''At the same time, the commission noted considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration. It said that hate speech continues to be a serious problem in tabloid newspapers, and that online hate speech targeting Muslims in particular has soared since 2013.''
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The Dutch are slowly recognizing that their blackface tradition of Zwarte Piet is racist and weird - The Washington Post
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 06:17
Over multiple years now, WorldViews has run stories about the problematic Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piet. Around Christmastime, myriad Dutch adults and children have customarily donned frilly wigs, patted themselves in blackface, painted their lips red and japed around in costumes as "Black Pete," the dark-skinned helpers of Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas.
For reasons that are both obvious and complicated, many people think the tradition is racist '-- one that is shaped by the country's not-so-distant colonial past and trades on garish racial stereotypes.
Others, including a significant proportion of the Dutch public, are less sure. They argue that the legend of Sinterklass and his swarthy sidekicks predates any colonial entanglements and the legacy of slavery. Dressing up as the trickster figure, they say, is an innocent, jovial children's pastime. Even minorities in the Netherlands embrace the tradition, some say. (Last year, we addressed each of those arguments here.)
Protests and demonstrations from minority groups have rocked Sinterklaas celebrations in recent years in Dutch cities. In August 2015, a United Nations-convened committee on racial discrimination in Geneva called on the Dutch government to "promote the elimination of those features of the character of Black Pete which reflect negative stereotypes and are experienced by many people of African descent as a vestige of slavery."
The growing backlash to Zwarte Piet seems to have had an effect. Last year, Dutch primary schools abolished the sporting of physical markings during Sinterklaas that could be deemed offensive, including blackface, thick lips and gold earrings. And on Friday, the country's children's ombudsman, a post linked to the government's oversight agency, issued a report arguing the tradition violates children's rights.
After interviews with Dutch children, Margrite Kalverboer, the ombudswoman, said Zwarte Piet should "be stripped of discriminatory or stereotypical characteristics." Otherwise, the Netherlands risked contravening conventions on children's rights to equal treatment and protection from discrimination.
"Many children of color say they experience discrimination in their daily lives and that it is worse around the time of Sinterklaas," the report states. Changing the long-standing characteristics of Zwarte Piet would enable all children to "experience the joy of the tradition."
Dutch politicians have largely tried to dismiss controversy surrounding Zwarte Piet as inconsequential, but one's attitude about such blackface antics is increasingly part of a political fault line in the country.
Far-right politician Geert Wilders has repeatedly spoken in defense of Zwarte Piet, even proposing a law that would ensure the character is preserved exactly as it is. Meanwhile, a burgeoning leftist, pro-immigrant party has called for a wider Dutch reckoning with the nation's multicultural identity that would include a museum about the history of slavery as well as the abolition of the black minstrel figure.
More on WorldViews
4 reasons to reject the racist Dutch tradition of Zwarte Pie
U.N. to the Dutch: This blackface thing is a problem
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Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.
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Donald Trump's hotel in D.C. vandalized with 'Black Lives Matter' graffiti | TheBlaze.com
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 13:58
The newest hotel of businessman and Republican nominee Donald Trump, located in Washington, was the site of vandalism over the weekend, according to D.C. police.
The phrases ''Black Lives Matter'' and ''No Justice No Peace'' were spray-painted on the concrete structure around 4 p.m. on Saturday at the entrance of the luxury hotel, police said.
Image via Twitter @TaraSetmayer
WRC-TV reports that a man in a yellow shirt and a hat walked straight up to the hotel's entrance and vandalized the building's face. Police are still searching for that man, according to WRC.
The hotel attempted to cover the graffiti with wooden boards. The graffiti was signed by someone named ''Van.''
According to Politico, the hotel operates under special requirements imposed by its 60-year lease with the federal government, given the historic nature of the building, which is known as the Old Post Office and Clock Tower.
(H/T: Mediaite)
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook:
Hungarian PM Orban: 'Faceless World Powers Destroying Europe Forever' - Citizen Analyst
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 05:44
. NOTE. Deception is the primary tool/ weapon,of any army, but which weapon is best defense, against Violent-Voodoo ? .(If you know, please tell Mr Flaccid (our current ''Sargent-at-Arms'' ) '... Muz-lam is, a ''can-never-end'' crime-cancer, against humanity, and still a '' human-shield,'' user, in their subversion battle-fields (your suburbs/ schools /hospitals/ markets/ media etc.,) against sanity, liberty, democracy, and enlightenment (and anyone's chance of a civilized future) .. Muz-lam always was a psychopathic-simple-plan (for controlling simpletons ) and has meant continuous war (mainly mid-east, self-culling cannibalism) for 1400 hundred years and in the now, ''too-civilized'' west, (via sharia/ blasphemy-laws and media-terrorism) means killing murderers, has now become ''too-PC.''.. and when you excuse traitorous-(anti-patriotic)-murderers, instead of killing them, ( or choose to look away, or become a ''usefull-idiot'', socialist-pawn helper), muz-lamic insanity, infidel-slavery (and endless infidel-slaughter / kebabing Christians etc) will just get more frequent (but not in the media) duh duh and duh. '..... The ''muziway-start'' was/ is, to ''cretinize-children'', (with Commo-Core type, indoctrination) into contemptuous, supremacist, (criminally-deluded) economically-destructive shit-heads (and plus into confident-rapists) and still is today, plus co-opting/ bribing, the already-stupid/ financially-illiterate, ''useful-idiot'', demo-rats, traitors-to-liberty, (subversive-SOBotagers) as just, (more), human-shield pawns '... .Then its all ''the Rabid-'n-Waiting'', on into the ''muzlumic Trojan-Camel'' / (for a muzslami-tsunami, of rapeUgees) ..for . . Stage 1. Deceive and infiltrate again'.....(or) .Stage 2. Subvert and weaken. (continuous) '... (or) Stage 3. (all daesh affiliates) convert or kill '...'... .Then 'mahdi'' will come with Stage 4. With the new ''flatter-than-flat'' replacement planet and every muzi gets drunk, in a river of wine (and with your grand-children (as their sex-slaves), to ''float-their-boats''). '...'...'.....This petty, sadistic, 7th-century Muslumic-Voodoo, rape-cult, has already killed / crippled millions of lives along the way and today In every mosque that was ever built (and to which-ever ''mecca'', they point to. the original in the north (on the old trade-route) or the new theme-park in the south, where recently 2,000 zombies trampled themselves to death, while trying to kiss stones (Plus them the beheading of a few dozen more scrape-goats) ) but your children are still being promised, (as tomorrows sex-toys), to these moronic assassins / mass-murdering (martyrs) in waiting '....And today, via fossil-oil, ( and the only fossil-use, that is never not media-demonized), mos-lam is both now insanely-rich and (still/ even-more?) insanely-insane. '...And today, anyone (or group), that isn't working for the elimination of its (colonic, kronic,) koranic-instruction/ direction-demand, (which is)'...'.... Stage 1. (infiltration of rapeUgees)'.... .. Stage 2. (general parasitic uncivil-vandalism/ economic-sabotage) '... Stage 3. (but only after sufficiently economic-weakening and wreaking general havoc (with Stage 2)) kill all non-moslums'.... (ISIS / boko / taliban / o'vomit /EU/ UN etc. is all now muzi-money controlled (and is Stage 2-3 in action.). '...'....Stage 4. Is the promised madhi-carrot/ reward, (of the new pedo-paradise/ rapist-heven, replacement-planet )'.... '.....NOTE actually any ''peace/ rights/ muz-lamic voodoo'' advocates group, (Saudi/soros bribe-taking, pseudo ''human-rights''/ ''legal'' / ''medical'' / ''union'' (extortion) etc. groups,,,(since the 7th century) is usually a total fraud, totally ignorant (of muzlamic-voodoo-insanity), or totally complicit with the current push, towards first crippling productive-capitalism, to be replaced with parasitic-socialism, to pave the way to the predictable/ inevitable, WW (flare-up again) No 3. (To hasten muz-lumic Armageddon). One will inevitably follow the other. duh '.... '...'..... '...'...'...'...This mini thesis also makes it obvious, why (juvenile-mentality) males, are the muzlumic (pawn) mainstay (plus also to explain the ''sticks'', that muz-lam uses to co-opt/ bribe/ extort/ intimidate, inmates/ useful-idiots generally) '...'...'...'...'.... '...'...'...'...'...NOTE The juvenile-misogynist ''Fantasy-rapist-future'', (supplied by their Mass-Murder-Motivator and Planet-Re-placer, Santa-Claus (who they call ''MAHDI'' / Uncle-Pervy) is to supply ''7 levels'' of ''muzi-(rapist) heven'','...'...'.... '.....All this cock & bull (Concocted originally) to help motivate-mentality, the massacre of the local (7th century Semite) neighbors, plus steal all land / products / assets in all the (then) known, flat-world'...'.... But, NOTE. ''mahdi'' will not bring. the ''sexual-sweets'' / river of wine / 300 sexy boys / new bigger cok/ sex 100 times a day etc. until any-place housing ''Jews'', is totally eliminated (today called Israel / USA?). '...'...'...'...'...That's why there will never be / can never be, (ever), a genuine truce. (or peaceful-end), to this 7th century insanity. (duh)'....
Nee-stem in Oekra¯ne-referendum blijft zonder gevolgen | NOS
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 20:14
Feest bij GeenPeil na de uitslag van het referendum in april ANP
Het lukt Nederland niet om in de EU steun te vinden voor het aanpassen van het Oekra¯ne-verdrag, zeggen bronnen in Brussel tegen de NOS. Een half jaar geleden wees een meerderheid van de Nederlandse stemmers in een referendum dat verdrag af, maar het ziet ernaar uit dat Europa toch met Oekra¯ne verdergaat.
Nederland heeft de zaak in Brussel niet hoog gespeeld en heeft nooit een concreet voorstel ingediend, zegt correspondent Arjan Noorlander. "Het is gebleven bij voorzichtig aftasten. Omdat er al veel andere belangrijke onderwerpen speelden, zoals de brexit en de vluchtelingencrisis, wilde Rutte dit niet hard spelen."
De premier zegt in een reactie dat hij nog steeds probeert iets in Brussel voor elkaar te krijgen en dat het te vroeg is voor conclusies. "Het kabinet heeft steeds aangegeven dat dit een complex proces is dat tijd vergt", laat de Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst weten.
Als Nederland niet verder komt, komt er vermoedelijk toch een verdrag met Oekra¯ne. De 27 andere EU-landen zullen daarover hoogstwaarschijnlijk op de komende EU-top, over drie weken, een besluit nemen.
Handel en samenwerkingHet associatieverdrag waarover de EU-landen het twee jaar geleden eens werden, was gericht op meer handel en samenwerking met Oekra¯ne. De actiegroep GeenPeil, voortgekomen uit de website GeenStijl, wist genoeg handtekeningen in te zamelen om een referendum over het verdrag af te dwingen.
Veel Nederlanders zagen in het referendum in april een mogelijkheid om een proteststem te laten horen tegen de Europese Unie, die niet verder zou moeten groeien. Veel kiezers beschouwden het verdrag als een opstap naar snelle toetreding van Oekra¯ne tot de EU. Met een opkomst van 32,3 procent werd de opkomstdrempel gehaald en 61 procent van de kiezers stemde tegen het associatieverdrag.
Niet veel te halenPremier Rutte was niet blij met de uitslag. Hij zei dat Nederland het verdrag na een geldig 'nee' niet zonder meer kon accepteren. Hij is maanden bezig geweest de kwestie in Brussel aan te kaarten, maar kreeg voor de zomer al het gevoel dat er niet veel te halen was, zeggen bronnen bij de EU.
Nederland zou hebben ingezet op het toevoegen van een korte tekst aan het associatieverdrag. De strekking daarvan zou moeten zijn dat het verdrag puur over handel en samenwerking gaat en dat het niet betekent dat Oekra¯ne lid wordt van de EU. Maar ook daarvoor kreeg Rutte de handen niet op elkaar.
Spaniards, Exhausted by Politics, Warm to Life Without a Government - The New York Times
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 12:43
That has produced an unprecedented public spectacle: Politicians scheme and plot but reject the difficult compromises needed to form a government. Voters watch ruefully with a mix of fascination and contempt.
On Saturday, the Socialists' leader, Pedro Snchez, stepped down in a move that could open the way for his party to agree to the re-election of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and a government led by his conservative Popular Party.
But while the Socialists' revolt could break the deadlock, it may do little to heal Spaniards' frustration with a crisis that has further eroded their faith in politicians.
Spain's leaders warned that having no government would mean chaos and deprivation. Instead, more than anything, the crisis seems to have offered a glimpse of life if politicians simply stepped out of the way. For many here, it has not been all that bad.
''Spain would be just fine if we got rid of most of the politicians and three-fourths of government employees,'' Rafael Navarro, 71, said inside his tiny storefront pharmacy in Madrid. Too little government is better than too much, he said.
In some ways, this is a phantom crisis for ordinary Spaniards. There has been no United States-style government shutdown. There are no mounds of uncollected garbage, no unpaid police officers, no shuttered ministries, no public trains or buses halted.
Budget money is still flowing. Government ministries are functioning. Social service recipients and civil servants are being paid. Even if no new government has been formed when the 2016 national budget expires this fall, the old budget will simply become the new budget for 2017.
But government is paralyzed in other ways. Nobody is proposing legislation, debating international affairs or even rotating Spain's ambassadors. Funding for many infrastructure and government projects is frozen. And nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque region continue to roil national politics.
Spain has been in political limbo since last October, when Mr. Rajoy called a general election while he held a parliamentary majority. His Popular Party then won the most votes in December and June, but did not win a majority. It now holds 137 of the 350 seats in Parliament.
The stalemate has come at an opportune moment. After a severe recession ended in 2013, Spain's economy rebounded. Growth is forecast to be 2.9 percent this year, almost twice the 1.6 percent eurozone average expected by the European Commission. Interest and energy rates are at historic lows.
Spain, a tourism superpower, expects 74 million visitors this year, six million more than last year, as terrorism fears elsewhere send visitors here. Cafes and museums are crowded, and hotels are booked solid.
But after trudging to the polls twice already in the last year, weary voters are in no mood to vote again. The political calendar dictates a vote on Christmas if no agreement to form a government can be reached by Oct. 31.
The impasse has dragged on so long that ''it's like 'Groundhog Day' every day,'' said Pedro Rodr­guez, an assistant professor of international relations at a private university in Madrid.
Until the recent and chaotic revolt within the Socialist Party, said Nacho Cardero, the editor of El Confidencial, a news website, reader clicks on stories about the crisis had dropped steadily.
''People are exhausted,'' Mr. Cardero said. ''They don't want to hear one more thing from these politicians.''
Spaniards were hopeful for better government in December, after two new parties, for the first time, won a third of the seats in Parliament. That set off a political free-for-all because no single party has been able to muster a majority.
Nine months later, many voters complain that the new parties have adopted the same cynical and corrosive politics practiced under the entrenched two-party system.
PhotoA crowd of Mr. Snchez's supporters gathered outside the Socialist Party meeting on Saturday.Credit Susana Vera/ReutersThe two traditional parties '-- the conservative Popular Party and the Socialist Party '-- could have agreed on a new government, but they refused to talk to each other.
''Negotiating or giving concessions is perceived as weakness,'' said Antonio Roldn, a lawmaker from the upstart Ciudadanos party.
Manuel de la Rocha Vzquez, an economic adviser in the Socialist Party, said Spain was so polarized that politics had turned almost into a brawl. ''There are only insults and blame and arrogance,'' he said.
In one survey by the polling company Metroscopia, respondents chose the same few words to describe their feelings about the political deadlock: disappointment, indignation, shame, weariness and deception.
In the same survey, Spaniards blamed politicians rather than the party system for the impasse, 58 percent to 20 percent.
Other surveys suggest that a December election would produce the same result as the previous two: a Popular Party victory but no majority, according to Metroscopia's president, Jos(C) Juan Toharia.
Angela Jover Pascual, 26, a waitress and mother of two, said she could not even remember which small party she had voted for in June. She said she had voted only as a protest against the bigger parties.
Asked whether she would be ready to vote for a third time in one year, Ms. Jover Pascual replied: ''No. It's useless.''
Mr. Rajoy, the caretaker prime minister, has been able to sit back as the Socialist Party tears itself apart. His party's powerful political machine and reliable conservative and elderly voters confer an advantage, especially if other frustrated voters stay home.
While still a low-grade fever for now, however, the crisis could yet flare into a debilitating illness.
Some economists warn that a day of reckoning is coming. Spain's debt and unemployment rates, for instance, are among the highest in Europe.
Madrid faces a fine of 5 billion euros, about $5.6 billion, if it fails to comply this year with its agreed deficit target from the European Commission of 4.6 percent of gross domestic product.
''We have really painted ourselves into a corner,'' said Jos(C) Mar­a de Areilza, a law professor in Madrid.
For now, things are fairly stable in part because Spain grants considerable powers to its 17 regional governments. They have continued to provide health care, education and other pillars of daily life.
''For a Spanish citizen, the most relevant government is the regional one,'' said Santiago Lago Pe±as, an economics professor in the Galicia region in northwest Spain.
But deep within government institutions in Madrid, the crisis is inflicting pain.
Joaqu­n Snchez Sanz, the director of a nuclear fusion lab for the government agency Ciemat, said he spent about 40 percent of every day dealing with cutbacks imposed by the caretaker government.
Just five days before a contract was to be signed to supply cooling equipment to a lab in Japan, the project was canceled, Mr. Snchez Sanz said. Moreover, every agency contract not already signed was canceled.
He does not blame the government crisis for every cutback, but it has created a climate of uncertainty.
''If you cannot honor your contracts, next time they want collaboration, they might look somewhere else because now we are not credible,'' Mr. Snchez Sanz said.
Many voters in outlying regions view the political fight in Madrid as a constant but distant irritant.
''We already knew that politicians were corrupt, but now we also see that they can't even make politics work,'' said Ana Cancela, a civil servant who voted on Sept. 25 in Galicia's regional elections in Santiago de Compostela, 370 miles from Madrid.
Nationwide, wrangling over how to form the next government has many voters wondering: What is the point?
''A lot of people said we would go to hell if we didn't form a government,'' said Ignacio Escolar, the editor of the news website eldiario.es. ''But we're still here.''
A version of this article appears in print on October 3, 2016, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Spaniards Warm to Life With No One Able to Rule.
Continue reading the main story
The Rise of DIY Prostitution in Italy
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:28
Deborah Malatesta runs a small clothing boutique in Rome that grosses just 1,500 euros ($1,685) per month. That's why she has found a part-time job as an indoor sex worker. ''This economic crisis seems never-ending,'' Malatesta says. ''With four kids, my husband and I have a hard time getting to the end of the month. This looked like the easiest way to earn extra cash. I prostitute myself in the evenings when my family is away '-- kids at the pool, husband doing extra shifts '-- just a few hours that allow me to earn 400 euros per week and double my income.'' Her husband is unaware of her second job.
Now, wouldn't it be better if sex houses were reopened '... ?
Italian senator Maria Spilabotte
Italy has yet to exit from a triple-dip recession '-- the worst in its postwar history '-- and the protracted crisis has seen the number of Italian sex workers surge more than 26 percent from 2007 to 2015, according to a report from CODACONS, Italy's top consumer lobbying group. The extended downturn also has fueled a proliferation of ''good'' women generating badly needed income by engaging in prostitution on the side as ''house practitioners.'' These otherwise normal bourgeois ladies have a university diploma, a neat house with a terrace, a good job, a nice husband, kids and a dog. This twist on the underground economy is going on all over the country, but it's mainly found in big cities like Rome and Milan, where bankers and other white-collar professionals create an ideal client pool.
According to the Department for Equal Opportunities, 35 percent of the 20,000 prostitutes in Italy, or some 7,000 women, are house practitioners. ''You'd be amazed by how many women do this,'' says Angela Rossi, who runs a Milan bookstore by day and works as a house practitioner by night. ''It could even be the sweet, elegant public employee living right next door who dresses in Armani.'' Adds Michel Venturelli, a criminologist who has researched the issue in Genoa, ''It's do-it-yourself domestic sex work. These ladies, many of whom lead parallel second lives, do not just sell their bodies in exchange for money but also for furs, jewels and extra holidays.''
Politics also is driving the trend. The Italian parliament banned prostitution in 1958, shuttering brothels. Since then it's been chaotic in the sex-for-sale industry. ''The paradox is that selling one's body [in Italy] is not illegal,'' says Maria Spilabotte, a Democratic Party senator who sponsored legislation to legalize red-light districts. ''What's a crime is the exploitation of prostitution, [and that includes] not just pimps but also clients who are now getting fined.''
Spilabotte's pro-sex workers bill has been stuck in parliament for years, along with other similar legislation sponsored by policymakers from a variety of political parties, many of which are in favor of reopening brothels. However, Italy is home to the Vatican, which opposes legalization, and devout Catholic politicians still follow what the church preaches.
In the meantime, the Italian police have cracked down on the street action and prostitution-linked online forums. According to Venturelli, clients now find the country's house practitioners on websites registered in countries where the trade is legal. The foreign hot spot is Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland. The sex workers never leave their houses in Italy; it's the clients who travel to them. Jessica Pili, 39, is a nurse and a part-time prostitute whose husband is supportive of his wife's second job. He leaves their duplex apartment in the border town of Ventimiglia when clients arrive; some of them have driven all the way from France.
''No rules, no safe, regulated places for sex workers to practice their profession, fines for clients,'' Spilabotte says. ''Now, wouldn't it be better if sex houses were reopened, or at least create red-light zones like in many other European countries?'' In the eight nations on the Continent where the profession is legal, sex workers pay taxes and usually can benefit from welfare services, including regular free medical checkups. Unlike these pros, many house practitioners ignore health risks, Venturelli says. ''Gynecologists' facilities are crowded these days with fine women who have incurred sexually related diseases, especially in their mouths. They don't use a condom when they practice oral sex.''
This new wave of second-job sex workers is just the latest of a series of changes that are pushing Italian prostitution indoors. Multinational streetwalkers share apartments and clients to cut down on expenses and boost revenues, while many massage rooms and beauty parlors now operate as brothels. In 2013 the baby squillo (baby ring) scandal rocked Rome's posh Parioli neighborhood, where high school girls from affluent families were delivering ''express'' sex services in the attics of lawyers and businessmen to earn extra pocket money for designer clothes and the latest iPhone.
''Getting indoors is a good way to escape from pimps, police crackdowns and from the perils of pacing up and down the streets at night,'' Venturelli says. ''But it does not solve the problem.'' Adds Spilabotte, ''It's like when madhouses were shut, crazy people were let to roam the country. The closure of brothels in Italy has only moved the practice from indoor to outdoor and now back indoor '-- but in a bad way.''
ISIS Calls for Random Knife Attacks in Alleys, Forests, Beaches, 'Quiet Neighborhoods' | PJ Media
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 03:08
ISIS Calls for Random Knife Attacks in Alleys, Forests, Beaches, 'Quiet Neighborhoods'
A new magazine issued by the Islamic State advises lone jihadists to get over any squeamishness about using knives and embrace sharp objects as "widely available" weapons of jihad in nighttime stabbing campaigns.
ISIS' Al-Hayat Media Center issued the second issue of its magazine Rumiyah, meaning Rome, in English, Turkish, German, French, Indonesian, Russian, Arabic and Uyghur. The design of the magazine is more simple than ISIS' English-language Dabiq. It's also much shorter: 38 pages compared to the 82 pages in the last issue of Dabiq.
In the first issue of Rumiyah, which debuted a month ago, jihadists were advised to target teens playing sports after school or even flower sellers hawking blooms on the street.
In the new PDF issue distributed widely via social media and Google Drive, an article on terror tactics assures would-be jihadists that "one need not be a military expert or a martial arts master, or even own a gun or rifle in order to carry out a massacre or to kill and injure several disbelievers and terrorize an entire nation."
A footnote in the article states that ISIS won't be using the term "lone wolf," but "just terror operations" -- "just" as an adjective for "justice." Al-Qaeda calls lone operations "open-source jihad."
Hinting that the article is one in a forthcoming series about terror tactics, ISIS focused on the benefits of knives to help potential terrorists with the "ocean of thoughts" that "might pour into one's mind" when considering an attack.
"Many people are often squeamish of the thought of plunging a sharp object into another person's flesh. It is a discomfort caused by the untamed, inherent dislike for pain and death, especially after 'modernization' distanced males from partaking in the slaughtering of livestock for food and the striking of the enemy in war," the unbylined article states. "However, any such squirms and discomforts are never an excuse for abandoning jihad."
ISIS suggested a "campaign of knife attacks" in which the attacker "could dispose of his weapon after each use, finding no difficulty in acquiring another one."
"It is explicitly advised not to use kitchen knives, as their basic structure is not designed to handle the kind of vigorous application used for assassinations and slaughter," the article states, further advising "to avoid troublesome knives, those that can cause harm to the user because of poor manufacturing."
Brussels police stabbed in 'terror attack' - BBC News
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 03:09
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption The stabbings happened shortly after Brussels Nord station was evacuated over a bomb scare Two police officers have been stabbed in Brussels in a possible terrorist incident, Belgian prosecutors say.
One officer was stabbed in the neck and another in the stomach, while a third officer who arrived at the scene in Schaerbeek district suffered a broken nose, Belgian broadcaster VRT reports.
The attacker was shot in the leg and taken away by ambulance.
Authorities have named the attacker as "Hicham D", 43, of Belgian nationality.
Belgian media report that Hicham D is known to Belgian police and is believed to have links to jihadists who travelled to Syria to fight. He also served as a Belgian army officer until 2009.
"We have reason to believe that the incident was a terrorist attack," a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor's office, Eric Van Der Sypt, said.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption One officer was stabbed in the neck and another in the stomach in the attack in Schaerbeek Belgian prosecutors said the officers had not suffered life-threatening injuries.
The attack happened near a main road in a region linked to previous terror attacks.
It comes just hours after commuters were evacuated from Brussels Nord station over a bomb scare.
Belgium has been on high alert following attacks in Brussels on the airport and the city's metro system in March, which killed 35 people and injured more than 300.
The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
Hungary referendum: 98 per cent of voters say 'no' to EU migrant quotas
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 13:46
Hungary has voted emphatically against accepting EU migrant quotas, exit polls suggest, in a cry of defiance against Brussels that is likely to cement the country's status as the leader of a ''counter-revolution'' against the bloc's central powers.
As many as 95 per cent of voters voted ''No'' to the quotas in Sunday's referendum, though there were fears on Sunday night that the result could be declared invalid due to a low turnout.
One opinion poll by the N(C)zőpont Institute put turnout at just 42 per cent, while a Hungarian government source said it was unlikely to have been higher than 45 per cent.
The referendum was the brainchild of Hungary's hardline conservative prime minister, Viktor Orban, who cast the ''No'' vote as being in defence of the country's sovereignty and independence.
His 18bn Forints (£50million) campaign focused heavily on the fact that Isil terrorists, such as those behind the Paris and Brussels attacks, posed as migrants in 2015 while returning from Syria along the so-called ''Balkans route'' of eastern European countries, including Hungary.
The country's counter-terrorism centre also revealed this week that Hungary became a ''logistics hub'' for jihadists in the months leading up to the November 13 massacre in Paris, which left 130 people dead and a further 368 injured.
The ''hub'' was used to co-ordinate Isil fighters who were posing as refugees with fake passports as they returned to central Europe, intelligence chiefs said.
Gergely Gulyas, Mr Orban's deputy, said the result was "a sweeping victory for all those who reject the relocation plan, for those who believe that only nation states should remain, and for those who believe in democracy."
Data analysts claimed on Sunday evening that Hungary's media overwhelmingly backed the ''No'' vote, with 95 per cent of TV broadcasts leading up to the referendum supporting the government's position.
They also said that 91 per cent of TV coverage about migrants in the same time period depicted them in a negative light.
Though the EU quotas would see only 1,924 migrants added to Hungary's population of 9.8 million, the vote is seen as highly symbolic of a tidal wave of anti-refugee sentiment sweeping across Europe.
Will the referendum change anything?It will only be declared valid if turnout exceeds 50 per cent, and it was unclear on Sunday evening whether that target had been reached.
Initial polls put turnout at around 30 per cent at 3pm on Sunday, which could potentially take the wind out of the Hungarian prime minister's sails.
However, Mr Orban has insisted that parliament will pass legislation to advance the referendum's goal even if turnout falls short of the mark.
"The most important issue next week is for me to go to Brussels, hold negotiations and try with the help of this result - if the result is appropriate - achieve for it not to be mandatory to take in the kind of people in Hungary we don't want to," he said after casting his vote at a primary school in the Buda hills.
''We are proud that we are the first" he added. "Unfortunately we are the only ones in the European Union who managed to have a (referendum) on the migrant issue."
The referendum asked voters: ''Do you want the European Union to be able to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary even without the consent of Parliament?"
Will other countries follow suit by rejecting quotas? The decisive Hungarian vote came as Sebastian Kurz, the Austria's foreign minister, said the European Union should drop its plan to distribute 160,000 refugees around the member states.
"The target is totally unrealistic," he said, in an interview with the German daily Welt am Sonntag warning that countries' disagreements over the plan could threaten "the cohesion of the entire European Union".
Mr Kurz also warned against western countries like Germany taking the ''moral high ground'' against the more recently-joined eastern EU states who have rejected the mostly-Muslim refugees as a threat to their white-Christian identity and culture.
The strength of opposition to the migrant quotas '' which were forced through by Brussels and Berlin on a qualified majority vote in September last year '' was demonstrated last month when the post-Brexit EU 27 states met in Bratislava for a so-called ''unity'' summit.
Then, Mr Orban ignored pleas from EU leaders, including the European Council president Donald Tusk, to stop attacking the EU, marching out of the summit to declare the refugees policy to be ''na¯ve and self-destructive''.
Could this spell the end of migrant quotas?Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Union's most senior official, indicated in his ''State of the Union'' address last August that he was open to the possibility of scrapping the quotas.
The referendum, whose result was never in doubt, was widely seen as an attempt to use the issue as a stick to beat Brussels as part of what Mr Orban has called a ''counter-revolution'' against the centralization of EU power.
It was also designed to bolster Mr Orban's position at home ahead of parliamentary elections in 2018.
He was been condemned as ''un-European'' by several EU leaders for his hardline stance on refugees last year, including a decision to erect a fence along Hungarian-Serbian border, but his government believes they were vindicated by events.
More than 5,600 migrants rescued in Med: Italy coastguard
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:17
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Afghanen terug in ruil voor Europees geld | Telegraaf.nl
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 11:37
woensdag 5 oktober 2016, 11:00 (C) ANPAfghanistan is bereid uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers en economische migranten terug te nemen. In ruil steunt de Europese Unie het land jaarlijks met 1,3 miljard euro en banenprojecten om de terugkerende migranten te laten integreren.
Dat hebben Afghaanse en Europese leiders afgesproken op een top over Afghanistan in Brussel. De Europese Commissie sprak van een win-winsituatie die een belangrijke bron van zorgen voor de EU kan wegnemen. In Europa verblijven vele tienduizenden Afghanen wier terugkeer de Afghaanse regering om verschillende redenen weigert.
Europa belooft ook opvangfaciliteiten. Verder is afgesproken dat mensensmokkelaars worden aangepakt. EU-president Donald Tusk bedankte de Afghaanse overheid woensdag voor haar ,,moed'' door akkoord te gaan met de ,,faire'' afspraken, die overigens nog verder moeten worden uitgewerkt. Hij tekende aan dat het terugsturen van migranten altijd humaan en in lijn met internationaalrechtelijke normen zal plaatsvinden.
Meer artikelen in Nieuws
Britain will be fastest growing G7 economy this year, says IMF | Business | The Guardian
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 16:28
Robotic arms assemble and weld the body shell of a Nissan car on the production line at Nissan's Sunderland plant. The IMF predicts UK growth will slow next year. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The International Monetary Fund has predicted the UK will be the fastest growing of the G7 leading industrial countries this year and accepted that its prediction of a post-Brexit-vote financial crash has proved overly pessimistic.
But while the Washington-based IMF said Britain would comfortably avoid recession with growth of 1.8% in 2016, it stuck to its view that the economy would eventually suffer from the shock EU referendum result and said expansion next year would be just 1.1% '' lower than it expected in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote.
The IMF used its half-yearly world economic outlook (WEO) to warn not just about the impact of the referendum result on the UK and the wider eurozone economies, but also about the weak growth and uneven division of the fruits of growth that caused 52% of those who voted on 23 June to end Britain's 43-year membership of the EU.
IMFMaurice Obstfeld, the IMF's economic counsellor, said: ''Taken as a whole, the world economy has moved sideways. Without determined policy action to support economic activity over the short and longer terms, sub-par growth at recent levels risks perpetuating itself '' through the negative economic and political forces it is unleashing.
''The slow and incomplete recovery from crisis has been especially damaging in those countries where the distribution of income has continued to skew sharply toward the highest earners, leaving little room for those with lower incomes to advance.
''The result in some richer countries has been a political movement that blames globalisation for all woes and seeks somehow to wall off the economy from global trends rather than engage cooperatively with foreign nations. Brexit is only one example of this tendency.''
The WEO predicted global growth of 3.1% this year, slightly lower than the 3.2% recorded in 2015. It expects a modest acceleration to 3.4% in 2017.
Obstfeld said the Brexit vote left unclear the future shape of the UK's trade and financial relations with the other 27 EU member states, with a likely impact on investment and hiring across Europe.
''Alongside economic anxiety and other factors, the Brexit vote reflects a resentment of cross-border migration that has fuelled nationalist sentiment in Europe and called into question the way forward for EU integration,'' Obstfeld said.
''Similar tensions afflict the US political scene, where anti-immigrant and anti-trade rhetoric have been prominent from the start of the current presidential election round. Across the world, protectionist trade measures have been on the rise.''
Apart from the sharp depreciation of the pound, the IMF said financial markets' reaction to Brexit vote had ''generally been contained'', with shares up and the appetite for taking risk recovering after an initial plunge.
The WEO noted that manufacturing in the UK had bounced back after falling steeply in July, and spending in the shops had held up. But it cautioned that economic data since the referendum had been limited and said the fall in sterling would prompt inflation to rise from 0.7% this year to 2.5% in 2017.
''In the United Kingdom, slower growth is expected since the referendum as uncertainty in the aftermath of the Brexit vote weighs on firms' investment and hiring decisions and consumers' purchases of durable goods and housing. Growth is forecast at 1.8% in 2016 and 1.1% in 2017, based on the assumptions of smooth post-Brexit negotiations and a limited increase in economic barriers.''
The IMF also cut its medium-term growth forecast for the UK from 2.1% to 1.9% as a result of what it assumes will be barriers to trade, migration and capital flows.
Chancellor Philip Hammond's hints of extra government spending for public investment in next month's autumn statement were given the support of the IMF.
Noting that the Bank of England's package of measures in August was aimed at boosting confidence and limiting the downside risks to the economy, the IMF said: ''As greater clarity emerges on the macroeconomic impact of the Brexit vote, the need for further near-term discretionary fiscal policy easing and the appropriateness of the medium-term deficit target should be assessed, possibly in the context of the forthcoming November fiscal review.''
Britain on path to Brexit, but don't bet on it just yet - The Globe and Mail
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 01:22
David A. Welch is CIGI chair of Global Security, Balsillie School of International Affairs, and senior fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation
British Prime Minister Theresa May said over the weekend that she will trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union by March, 2017, seemingly putting Britain on a sure track to Brexit. Don't bet on it quite yet.
Since British voters narrowly opted to leave the European Union 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent more than three months ago, there has been essentially no real progress toward Brexit. This is not surprising. No member state has ever left the EU, so there is no template. Preparing the to-do list is a daunting task all by itself, given the extent to which Britain has harmonized laws, regulations and systems for managing inflows and outflows of goods, services, capital and people. As divorces go, Brexit would rank as the world's all-time most complex.
Like sensible people everywhere, Brexit voters wanted to have their cake and eat it, too: greater independence from Brussels, both practical and symbolic; full control over immigration; release from financial obligations; and continued access to the EU's single market.
It is now clear this was wishful thinking. Both out of pique and out of concern not to set too easy a precedent, EU officials and leaders of EU states insist that Britain will get no special treatment. Moreover, they insist that Britain trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union before they negotiate post-Brexit arrangements. This leaves British leaders almost entirely in the dark about what kind of deal they might be able to strike, and only two years in which to strike it once they have given notice. It's a bit like being told to plunk down $50,000 without knowing which car you are buying. Who in their right mind would do it?
Ms. May opposed Brexit before the referendum and has given no indication that she has since converted to the cause. Like any savvy politician, she cannot simply ignore the express will of the voters, but she knows as well as anyone that Brexit would be bad for Britain '' and particularly bad for Theresa May. She has no interest in going down in history as a footnote to David Cameron's folly, the overseer of Britain's diminution, and possibly even the person who destroyed the United Kingdom, if Scottish voters prove sufficiently unhappy with the best deal London can strike with Brussels to vote to leave Britain and remain in the EU.
If Ms. May is preparing the groundwork to stay, she is doing it brilliantly. By stretching out the timetable as far as possible without raising anyone's suspicions, she has given ample time to let Brexit buyer's remorse gel. Bankers and major foreign investors such as Nissan have begun to signal their readiness to leave. Local councils are beginning to tally EU funds they will lose. Scottish nationalists are stirring.
Meanwhile, Ms. May has set up key Tory Brexit supporters to fail by giving them thankless cabinet assignments: Boris Johnson (Foreign Secretary), David Davis (EU Exit Secretary) and Liam Fox (International Trade). As time passes, it will become increasingly clear that none can hope to deliver what they promised the voters in June.
Don't be surprised in March if, instead of triggering Article 50, Ms. May calls a snap election asking for a mandate to be released from her Brexit obligation. Striking a stateswomanlike pose, she could persuasively argue there is no good Brexit deal to be had and that Brexit voters, sold a bill of goods by the likes of UKIP's Nigel Farage, voted in June on the basis of incomplete and inaccurate information and have a right to sober second thought. She could avoid the risk of a second referendum by correctly noting that a general election is the traditional means by which British governments seek mandates from the electorate. And she may be able to offer up a sweetener in the form of a ''better deal'' from Brussels than Mr. Cameron was able to muster.
An election call would catch the opposition in complete disarray. Jeremy Corbyn, who is popular only with his extended family and a diehard group of ideological fellow travellers, would be completely unable to offer a credible alternative. And many recent supporters of the Scottish National Party '' more concerned with staying in the EU than achieving independence '' would vote Conservative strategically to drive the final nail in the Brexit coffin.
As a result of these manoeuvres, Ms. May would win a massive majority, preside over what could very well prove to be Britain's largest postwar economic boom and go down in history as the greatest prime minister since Winston Churchill for having saved both Britain and the EU from almost certain disaster.
If you were Ms. May, which fate would you choose?
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Trains Good
New Jersey train engineer says he can't remember crash
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 16:04
HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) '-- The engineer at the helm of a train that smashed into a New Jersey commuter rail terminal, killing a woman and injuring more than 100 others, told federal investigators he was going only 10 mph as he approached the station, but has has no memory of the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
The statements from the engineer, Thomas Gallagher, came as investigators learned that an event data recorder that was supposed to record the New Jersey Transit train's speed and braking information wasn't functioning, according to NTSB vice chair T. Bella Dinh-Zarr. Investigators haven't been able to extract a second data recorder, located in the cab control car in the front of the train, because it is under a collapsed section of the train station's roof.
"It's likely that it's a newer event data recorder in the lead passenger car, the controlling car, so we're hopeful that will have information that will be functioning," Dinh-Zarr said at a Sunday news conference. "We'll just hope that the front event data recorder was working."
Federal regulations require commuter trains to have a working recorder in the lead car, according to Jim Southworth, the NTSB's lead investigator for the crash.
The regulations also require the recorders to be inspected every year. It was unclear when the recorders in the train were last inspected.
Gallagher told investigators that he was fully rested and that the train was operating properly Thursday morning before it crashed into the Hoboken Terminal. Killed was Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, who had paused her legal career, leaving the software company SAP in Brazil after her husband got a job with an international liquor company. More than 100 others were injured.
The 48-year-old train engineer told federal investigators that he remembered blowing the train's horn and looking at the speedometer as he pulled into the station and said the train was going 10 mph, Dinh-Zarr said. But, Gallagher told the investigators that he had no memory of the crash and only remembered waking up on the floor of the engineer's cab, she said.
Officials said they hoped to be able to gain access to the front of the train in the coming days.
The signals on the tracks leading to the train terminal appeared to working normally and officials who performed a walking inspection of the track found nothing that would have affected the train's performance, the NTSB said. Investigators also obtained video from other trains in the station, but found nothing of value, Dinh-Zarr told reporters.
Months before Thursday's deadly train crash, federal rail officials found dozens of violations during an audit that focused on NJ Transit's safety and operations, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
The official, who was familiar with the Federal Railroad Administration audit, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.
The audit was launched after the federal regulatory agency noticed an uptick in rail incident and found "dozens of safety violations" that needed to be fixed immediately, the official said. The commuter rail agency was fined as a result of the audit.
A spokesman for NJ Transit hasn't responded to requests for comment.
Since 2011, NJ Transit trains have been involved in more than 150 accidents that caused more than $4.8 million in damage to tracks or equipment's and has paid more than $500,000 to settle safety violations, according to federal data.
Information from the Federal Railroad Administration shows that NJ Transit has settled 183 safety violations '-- ranging from employee drug and alcohol use to violations of railroad operating rules or practices, since Jan. 1, 2011.
Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak in Philadelphia and Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton contributed to this report.
U.S. Signed Secret Document to Lift U.N. Sanctions on Iranian Banks - WSJ
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 20:24
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28 Pages
Iraqi Group to Sue US for 2003 Invasion
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:51
After the U.S. congress struck down sovereign impunity and allowed citizens to sue Saudi Arabia, Iraqis say they deserve to do the same against the U.S.
In the wake of the recently approved U.S. 9/11 bill, an Iraqi group is lobbying the country's parliament to sue the United States over the 2003 invasion that ousted late president Saddam Hussein, killed and displaced millions of people and unleashed a major sectarian conflict in Iraq and the region over the past 16 years.
RELATRED:US-Backed Militias Tortured and Killed Hundreds in Iraq
The Arab Project in Iraq said it was calling on the Iraqi parliament to approve a bill for forming an independent body made up of lawyers and legal experts that would seek compensation from the U.S. over civilian deaths and damage to property during and after the invasion.
The group said that as part of a 2008 agreement between Washington and Baghdad, individuals, families and government bodies were barred from suing U.S. and British forces operating in the country in Iraqi courts and that they could only do so in U.S. courts.
''From its end, the Arab Project in Iraq announces setting up a website for receiving applications for compensations from citizens, and will form a team of international lawyers to take these cases to U.S. courts,'' the group said in a statement signed by its secretary general Khamis Khanjar, according to iraqnewspaper.net.
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act was vetoed by President Barack Obama last week before the U.S. Congress overrode his veto and approved it in a dramatic showdown between lawmakers and the White House.
The bill was proposed after several families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks wanted to sue Saudi Arabia over alleged sponsorship of those who carried out the attacks. The majority of the attackers were Saudi nationals.
However, Obama warned that the law would see other countries attempting to do the same to the U.S. as the bill eroded the sovereign impunity the U.S. granted foreign countries against being sued for acts of terrorism.
Sovereign immunity, a doctrine practiced by most nations in the world, shields foreign countries from being answerable in another country's courts.
RELATED:Remembering the Price of Bush, Blair's 2003 Iraq War
Legal experts say nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, that have been affected by U.S. activities such as drones could now decide to hold Washington responsible for deaths and destruction caused by such policies. Countries receiving military aid, such as Israel and Palestine, could also sue.
"I'm sure some countries would be interested in saying our military aid to Israel is aiding and abetting things that they would allege are sometimes war crimes against the Palestinians,'' Philip Bobbitt, a law professor at Columbia University told ABC News last week. ''We normally benefit significantly by being able to say we have immunity from those kinds of claims around the world."
Most recent estimates say more than 200,000 Iraqis have been killed since 2003 as a direct result of the U.S. invasion, although some calculate the figure to be as high as a million people.
More than 70 percent of those were civilians. Meanwhile, more than three million people remain either internally displaced or have fled the country as refugees.
Deutsche Bank aangeklaagd in Itali | Telegraaf.nl
Sun, 02 Oct 2016 20:17
Deutsche bank is dit weekend officieel in staat van beschuldiging gesteld voor het derivatenschandaal bij de Italiaanse Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Daarmee heeft het geplaagde financile concern er weer een nieuwe kopzorg bij.
Een rechter in Milaan heeft het verzoek van de Italiaanse justitie om een strafzaak in gang te zetten tegen Deutsche Bank, een medewerker van het concern en vijf oud-bestuurders, toegewezen.
Ook enkele oud-bestuurders van de Japanse zakenbank Nomura en Monte dei Paschi zelf moeten voor de rechter verschijnen. Bij Monte dei Paschi, de oudste bank ter wereld, zouden tussen 2008 en 2012 via ingewikkelde financile constructies forse verliezen zijn gemaskeerd.
Deutsche Bank is een van de belangrijkste financile concerns ter wereld, maar staat zwaar onder druk door dreigende miljardenboetes en een reeks onopgeloste problemen uit het verleden. Dit zorgde de afgelopen week ook voor veel onrust op de beurzen.
Beleggers waren zelfs bang dat de problemen bij de grootste bank van Duitsland zouden overslaan naar andere banken en een wereldwijde bankencrisis zouden veroorzaken.
Die vrees werd vrijdag echter voor een deel weggenomen toen een gerucht naar buiten kwam dat Deutsche Bank dicht bij een voor de bank zeer gunstige schikking zou zijn met de Amerikaanse justitie.
Daardoor ging het aandeel Deutsche Bank, dat dit jaar bijna in waarde is gehalveerd, uiteindelijk met een flinke plus het weekend in.
Ook Monte dei Paschi staat er de laatste tijd niet goed voor. De bank zag dit jaar ruim vier vijfde van zijn beurswaarde verdampen door de zorgen over zijn toekomst.
Om er weer bovenop te komen, proberen de Italianen miljarden aan nieuw kapitaal op te halen en slechte leningen te verkopen.
rjohan2 op 2-10, 21:46Kom al 40 jaar in UK,prive/zakelijk. HET is even door de zure appel heen bijten. MAAR..ZE zijn dolblij dat ze van dat Brusselse gezeik en die bemoeials af zijn! EN..de EU-miljardenafdracht steken ze nu in hun EIGEN land! IETS voor NL?
herbert schouten op 2-10, 21:29en nederland betaald zonder inzage via dijselbloem brussels en pvda met onze miljatten zonder inzage om door te sluisen naar duistere praktijken welterusten nederland
Rob op 2-10, 21:24Wat zijn er toch weer een hoop roeptoeters die niet of nauwelijks weten hoe her in elkaar zit. De hele westerse wereld is op geld belust. Van particulier tot groot bedrijf. Er wordt gerommeld met uitkeringen, toeslagen, idiote salarissen, bonussen, verzekeringsmij-en oplichten met valse claims, doorrijden na schades te hebben veroorzaakt aan andere auto's, produkten vervalsen/pikken omzetten weg moffelen, zwart werk verrichten, zwart werk laten verrichten etc etc. Moet ik nog even door gaan?
Intelligent people tend to be messy, stay awake longer, and swear more - Business Insider Deutschland
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 06:04
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Were you annoyed as a kid, when your parents told you to clean your room, sent you to bed early and scolded you for cursing? There might be a reason for your behaviour.Studies suggest, that it can be linked to an increase of your IQ.
Intelligent people use more curse wordsYou always hear, that people who swear have a "limited vocabulary". But if you think about it, those who don't use any swear words are the ones who limit their own vocabulary, because they intentionally use fewer words than others.
In fact, there is a study deconstructing that myth about curse words. The result showed that people who could name the most swear words within a minute also tend to score higher on an IQ test. The study concludes that a rich vocabulary of swear words is a sign of rhetorical strength rather than the attempt to hide verbal deficits.
Intelligent people are night owlsLike to stay up late? This also could be a sign for intelligence. Scientific research has linked night owls with higher IQ scores for quite some time now. President Obama, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Keith Richards and Elvis Presley are all famous for nocturnal activities. If you tend to go to sleep rather late, you're definitely in good company.
A messy desk and intelligence go hand in hand.Flickr/Alan Cleaver
You swear a lot and stay awake late? Look, if you also tend to leave a bit of a mess behind, there's good news for you.
A study by the University of Minnesota suggests, that the messy desk of geniuses is actually linked to their intelligence. If you don't spend much time cleaning and organizing everything around you, your mind is obviously occupied with more important stuff.
The study went on to show that a messy enviroment led to a more creative workflow.
Psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs says: ''Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.''
This is a good day for all the swearing, messy night owls among you. Does any of this sound familiar?
Sabotage speculation gathers around SpaceX explosion
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 02:19
Rumors of potential sabotage are gathering around the investigation of the explosion during a recent SpaceX launch test.
SpaceX has been investigating the early September failure of a Falcon 9 rocket that caught fire and exploded on a Cape Canaveral launch pad just days before it was scheduled to launch.
The Washington Postreported on Friday that the inquiry has taken a "bizarre twist," suggesting SpaceX is considering sabotage a possible cause of the explosion. According to the Post, a SpaceX employee sought access to facilities belonging to SpaceX competitor United Launch Alliance '-- a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
SpaceX investigators came across something suspicious when reviewing video of the failure'--"an odd shadow and then a white spot" on the roof of a ULA building, according to the Post. A SpaceX employee seeking access to the building was turned away, but Air Force investigators later dispatched to the facility did not find anything on the roof.
SpaceX sent a statement CNBC saying that a "preliminary review of the data and debris suggests a breach in the second stage's helium system" on the Falcon 9, "but the cause of the breach is still unknown."
A ULA representative sent a statement to CNBC saying "ULA cooperated with the Air Force's 45th Space Wing, and nothing associated with the SpaceX accident was found."
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has also expressed puzzlement at what might have caused the breach. Earlier this month he tweeted "Particularly trying to understand the quieter bang sound a few seconds before the fireball goes off. May come from rocket or something else."
Musk has called this failure the "most difficult and complex failure we have ever had in 14 years," and that the explosion happened during a routine filling operation, when there were no engines on and no apparent heat source.
"The Accident Investigation Team has an obligation to consider all possible causes of the anomaly, and we aren't commenting on any specific potential cause until the investigation is complete," the SpaceX statement noted.
The rocket was carrying a satellite for a partnership between Facebook and Eutelsat to provide internet access to Africa. The Amos-6 satellite was owned by Israeli company Spacecom and estimated to be worth around $285 million.
Drone Nation
Obama Worries Future Presidents Will Wage Perpetual, Covert Drone War
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:45
President Obama warns in a new interview of a future in which a U.S. president could engage in perpetual covert wars ''all over the world.'' But he claims that the accountability and transparency measures he is instituting will make that less likely.
In the interview, with New York magazine's Jonathan Chait, Obama expressed agreement with one of the most salient critiques of his drone war, that it risks creating ''institutional comfort and inertia with what looks like a pretty antiseptic way of disposing of enemies.''
Obama explained that he had looked at ''the way in which the number of drone strikes was going up and the routineness with which, early in my presidency, you were seeing both DOD and CIA and our intelligence teams think about this.''
He continued: ''And it troubled me, because I think you could see, over the horizon, a situation in which, without Congress showing much interest in restraining actions with authorizations that were written really broadly, you end up with a president who can carry on perpetual wars all over the world, and a lot of them covert, without any accountability or democratic debate.''
[See update below, in which the White House press secretary says Obama was actually talking about how he felt before he instituted his reforms.]
The president expressed a sense of urgency to rein in these powers that seems particularly appropriate given that both candidates for the White House have indicated receptiveness to intensifying the use of military force abroad, with Donald Trump going so far as expressing openness to killing the families of suspected terrorists.
''By the time I leave here, the American people are going to have a better sense of what their president is doing,'' Obama said. ''Their president is going to have to be more accountable than he or she otherwise would have been. The world, I think, will have a better sense of what we're trying to do and what we stand for. And I think all of that will serve the American people well in the future.''
But the one existing transparency measure Obama touts as an example in the interview '-- the administration's release of its tally on civilian casualties from drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia '-- was viewed by many in the human rights community as a farce, largely because it pointed to a death toll far lower than outside observer tallies.
The release, made public on the Friday afternoon of Fourth of July weekend, reported that between 64 and 116 civilians were killed during Obama's two terms. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, by comparison, has estimated that between 492 and 1,077 civilians have been killed by drone strikes during the eight years of Obama's presidency.
And critical questions about those operations remain unanswered, such as the circumstances that led to the death of Momina Bibi, a 68-year-old Pakistani grandmother killed in an October 2012 airstrike; or the reason for the attack that took the life of Salim bin Ahmed Ali Jaber, an anti-al Qaeda imam in Yemen a month earlier; or the full story of how American forces came to target a wedding convoy, also in Yemen, a year later, killing 12 people.
Those questions remain unanswered, in part because when the administration released the civilian casualty report, it did so without detailing a single specific incident in which the deaths of civilians were confirmed '-- thus foreclosing any possibility for follow up or public accountability for those operations. (See The Intercept's series The Drone Papers describing the secret military documents that exposed the inner workings of Obama's drone wars.)
What's more, the alarming changes that Obama describes as over the horizon are already here.
''What's so interesting is that President Obama acknowledges this problem '-- that future presidents will be empowered to kill globally, and in secret. What he doesn't acknowledge is how much of a role his administration had in making that a bizarre normal,'' Naureen Shah, director of national security and human rights at Amnesty International, told The Intercept.
''There is something so strange about the person who many would say is very responsible for this situation actually acknowledging it and saying he tried to plan for it,'' Shah added. ''What we'll be left with from the Obama administration is a far more dangerous precedent of secret, global killings than what we started with.''
From the very beginning of his presidency, Obama tightly embraced legal arguments, including the ''state secrets privilege,'' to deflect inquiries into the government's use of lethal force in foreign countries; he fought vigorously for years to keep his rationale for assassinating an American citizen secret; he never explained how the U.S. came to kill that same American citizen's 16-year-old son; and he has never once forced his premier intelligence agency to publicly answer for the deaths of non-Western civilians '-- of which there have been many '-- during an eight-year covert bombing campaign.
In the New York magazine interview, Obama gave human rights groups and ''the left'' credit for pushing him on issues of transparency in targeted killing '-- but at the same time indicated they had little impact on his own decisions.
''I'm glad the left pushes me on this,'' Obama said. ''I've said to my staff and I've said to my joint chiefs, I've said in the Situation Room: I don't ever want to get to the point where we're that comfortable with killing. It's not why I wanted to be president, to kill people.''
''Do I think that the critiques are fair or fully informed?'' the president went on to say. ''Not always. Sometimes they are. Much of the time they're not. To give you the most basic example: People, I think, don't always recognize the degree to which the civilian-casualty rate, or the rate at which innocents are killed, in these precision strikes is significantly lower than what happens in a conventional war.''
While the Obama administration characterizes drones as a surgically precise weapon, the facts don't always support that conclusion. In 2013, for example, research by Larry Lewis, a former research scientist at the Center for Naval Analysis, found that drone strikes in Afghanistan were 10 times more likely to kill civilians than piloted airstrikes.
Obama's critique of Congress '-- that it doesn't seem to care enough to rein in the drone program '-- is both on point and ironic, coming from him. Far from encouraging Congress to weigh in, the Obama administration has actively fought Congress's attempts to even get basic information about drone strikes. The White House, for instance, refused to show the legal memos authorizing the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki to Congress until 2014, when Obama nominated the memos' author to become a federal judge, and a group of senators threatened to hold up the confirmation until they could read the memos.
Chris Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union said he was not impressed by Obama's own sense of restraint. ''The president has left behind very broad claims of executive authority to order lethal strikes away from traditional battlefields. Even if he's instituted some processes, and some minor levels of transparency '-- such as aggregate levels of casualties '-- it is still a very broad power with almost no meaningful checks on it.''
Update: 6:15 p.m. ETWhite House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday told reporters that Obama's comments about a future president potentially waging perpetual wars actually referred to a state of affairs in the past, which he has since averted.
''He was talking about the situation he inherited,'' Earnest said. ''In the early days of the administration, he was considering the tools that had been made available to him, and considering the way in which they were being used, and he was considering how, over the horizon, was a scenario in which there would not be sufficient transparency in place to contain this extraordinary authority that, based on new technology, could be wielded by the president of the United States.''
Earnest insisted that ''what the president and his team have steadily worked to do is to try to impose greater transparency and to impose constraints that would address those concerns that the president had from his earliest days in office.''
But rather than wind down a Bush-era program, Obama dramatically escalated the pace of drone warfare, conducting nearly nine times the number of strikes as his predecessor.
Obama's moves toward increased transparency and accountability are, as mentioned above, limited. And Congress has neither conducted oversight nor passed legislation that would restrain a future president.
And as Obama himself said in the interview, he has not arrived at ''a perfect solution.'' He told New York magazine that the country still needs to find a balance between ''not elevating every terrorist attack into a full-blown war'' and ''pretending as if we can just take shots wherever we want, whenever we want, and not be answerable to anybody. What I've tried to do is to move the needle in the right direction, to set some trends in the right direction. But there's gonna be a lot more work to do.''
Agenda 2030
Canada's New Carbon Tax '' To Save The Planet
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:41
On the 191st anniversary of Canada's worst forest fire, Prime Minister Trudeau is set to introduce a carbon tax, to save the planet and steal thousands of dollars from every Canadian. He hopes to make the climate safe again, like it was in 1825.
1 Oct 1908, Page 1 '' Cameron County Press at Newspapers.com
Edelman loses executives and clients over climate change stance | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:38
The We Mean Business coalition terminated a contract with Edelman after controversy arose over the firm's work for fossil fuel industry clients. Photograph: Oliver Berg/EPA
Edelman, which calls itself the world's largest public relations firm, has lost four executives who lead its corporate-responsibility practice '' at least in part because of the company's unwillingness to take a strong stand on climate change. Two influential clients have also left the firm over the climate issue.
The executives include Lisa Manley, Henk Campher and Freya Williams, who have left the firm or given notice in the last two months. The exits follow the departure of Christine Arena in December. All four worked in Edelman's Business and Social Purpose practice, which ''helps clients bring together profit and purpose.'' Williams ran the practice in New York, Manley in Chicago and Campher in San Francisco.
In the meantime, We Mean Business, a coalition of more than 100 companies advocating bold action on climate change, terminated a contract with Edelman last fall after controversy arose over the firm's work for fossil fuel industry clients, a spokesman for the coalition confirmed.
Nike declined to use Edelman on a climate-related project, said sources at both companies who spoke on condition of anonymity. And Unilever, a major client, also has expressed concern to Edelman over the climate issue, and is reviewing its relationship with the PR firm, sources said.
None of this will have much immediate financial impact on Edelman, which has more than 5,500 employees and reported worldwide revenues of $768m in the 2014 fiscal year. But the loss of the executives, who are well known in the world of corporate responsibility, could impact client business '' and, at minimum, dent Edelman's reputation.
The departures illustrate the challenges faced by PR firms, as well as professional services firms in such fields as accounting, law and management consulting, as they try to straddle the climate debate. Edelman has struggled for the last year to serve its fossil fuel industry clients, including Shell and Chevron, without putting off other clients or staffers who see climate change as a moral issue with clear rights and wrongs.
Richard Edelman, the firm's CEO and the 61-year-old son of its founder, Daniel Edelman, has told colleagues that he wants to boost the firm's revenues to $1bn. Turning away business won't help him achieve that goal; indeed, in the public relations business, controversial clients can often be very lucrative. That said, Edelman has strict policies against working for tobacco companies and gun manufacturers.
On climate, though, Edelman resembles most global PR companies who want to play on both sides of the debate over what to do about carbon emissions. Burson-Marsteller, a unit of communications giant WPP, helped design an ambitious campaign touting coal as a solution to poverty alleviation for Peabody Coal, which opposes any form of climate regulation.
FleishmanHillard, a unit of Omnicom, has worked for the anti-regulation American Petroleum Institute (API). At the same time, WPP and Omnicom joined forces last year to help build collectively.org, a digital platform urging young people to take action against climate change, albeit with such anodyne messages as ''We Need to Get Better at Talking About Climate Change'' and ''Synchronized Swimmers Want You To Know One Thing About Climate Change''.
Historically, Edelman has positioned itself as a different kind of PR firm: family-owned, less subject to the short-term earnings pressures of its rivals, and driven by a sense of purpose and a desire to make a difference in the world. Just last month, Richard Edelman told graduates of DePaul University's communications school to ''make communications marketing your version of The Avengers, the force for good aspiring to change the world''.
As perhaps the world's best known PR guru and a regular at the World Economic Forum's Davos confab, Richard Edelman frequently talks about the company's work on behalf of Walmart's sustainability initiatives, GE's Ecomagination campaign and CVS' decision to stop selling cigarettes. In a blog post headlined The Climate Change Imperative, Edelman described a dinner at the home of his Harvard University classmate Jeffrey Sachs, the director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, saying he had ''made a strong case for private sector involvement'' in the process of deeply reducing carbon emissions.
His company's formal position on climate change is more ambiguous.
In August, a survey by the Climate Investigations Center '' a small NGO run by former Greenpeace USA research director Kert Davies '' spotlighted Edelman's work for API and the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which vehemently oppose regulation of climate pollution; the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Export, which pushed on behalf of the coal industry and railroads for coal-export plants opposed by environmentalists; and TransCanada, which was advised by Edelman to take aim at environmental opponents of its Energy East pipeline. (TransCanada subsequently ended its relationship with Edelman. Edelman also no longer works for API.)
In response, Edelman released a statement saying it will not ''accept client assignments that aim to deny climate change''. But the statement does not preclude Edelman from advising fossil fuel clients on campaigns to oppose climate regulation, or to support projects such as Shell's arctic drilling or the exploitation of the Canadian tar sands that would make the climate problem worse. Edelman says only that its clients must commit to ''fact-based, truthful and transparent communications''.
Edelman executives declined to elaborate on the firm's climate position. Questions to Edelman were referred to a spokesman, Chris Allieri, who declined to comment, except to say that Edelman does not currently represent coal-industry clients.
This no-comment policy may be surprising considering that Richard Edelman has said: ''What people expect from business and government today is transparency, in word and in action. Business must explain both how and why it does what it does.''
The departing executives also declined to speak publicly about Edelman. Their clients included Hewlett Packard, The North Face, PwC, Starbucks, Unilever and the We Mean Business coalition, which was put together by executives from Ikea, Nike, The B Team, BSR, Ceres and The Climate Group.
Some clues about where Edelman is headed can be gleaned from a new set of values and a statement of purpose published last month. The statement makes explicit the company's willingness to work on both sides of controversial issues, including climate change:
We believe that independently held, opposing views deserve to be heard in the court of public opinion and we assert our role as a firm to being advocates for our clients.
Doing so doesn't condone every action every client takes or imply implicit support for every position a client may adopt, but does reflect our absolute commitment and support of their right to exercise their freedom of expression.
It also grants each employee the ''right to elect not to work on a piece of business that does not align with his or her personal beliefs.''
In a recent video to employees about the new statement of purpose, Matt Harrington, Edelman's global chief operating officer, said simply: ''We exist to be advocates for our clients.''
That makes Edelman a little more like every other big PR firm '-- and a little less like The Avengers, a force for good aspiring to change the world.
UN makes power play against Trump | TheHill
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:01
International governments have made a power play against Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump tells Reno crowd how to pronounce 'Nevada'Trump adds town hall event to schedule before debatePoll: Trump leads by 7 points in TexasMORE by ratifying an international climate deal earlier than expected, effectively preventing him from ''canceling'' the deal as he has promised to do.
The European Union's Tuesday decision to join the Paris climate deal will push the deal over the threshold for ratification; it will formally take effect in 30 days.
That means Trump, should he be elected president in November, could not ''cancel'' or renegotiate the terms of the agreement.President Obama committed the United States to reduce its emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 as part of the deal. The agreement is nonbinding, so Trump would be free to ignore it if he wins the White House.
Some say Trump's rhetoric about the deal helped speed up ratification.
Most officials expected the climate deal, negotiated in December in Paris, to take effect no earlier than next year. A similar international climate accord, the Kyoto Protocol, wasn't ratified for five years.
But the specter of a Trump presidency appears to have spurred the deal along.
''His threat stimulated this rapid series of ratifications '-- China, the USA, Europe, and many others,'' Robert Stavins, the director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, wrote in an email.
John Coequyt, the global climate policy director at the Sierra Club, said foreign leaders likely moved quickly to join the deal to close off any future debate over the need for international climate action.
''They want to be on the right side of the issue, and I believe that Trump showed the world that that isn't a foregone conclusion,'' Coequyt said, noting a summer study concluding that Trump would be the only head of state in the world to doubt the science behind climate change.
''I think having that idea out there, that the world still is debating this in some way, I think puts pressure on countries to act quickly, to solidify the process and continue to move forward.''
Once the deal takes effect, the United States cannot back out of the plan '-- or force changes to it '-- for at least four years.
Trump has opposed the Paris deal since before the United Nations meeting on the matter in December.
Once negotiators struck the agreement, the Republican presidential nominee ramped up his criticism. First he said he would renegotiate the agreement to get a more favorable deal for the United States. Then he told the energy industry in a May speech that he would ''cancel'' it if he were elected.
International officials pushed back.
In May, Patricia Espinosa, the U.N.'s new climate chief, said it wouldn't be ''feasible'' for Trump to change the terms of the pact. And the possibility of a Trump presidency reverberated among international climate negotiators, with Obama's international climate envoy this spring saying he had to reassure other countries the U.S. could meet its commitments under the deal despite domestic politics.
Before the U.S. joined the agreement in September, Obama's top climate change adviser, Brian Deese, said the dynamics of a change in presidential administration is ''certainly a discussion we have.''
''The history of these agreements is: Once they're in place and once the United States has not only supported and signed the agreement, but has formally joined the agreement, that we stay in the agreement that we commit to,'' Deese told reporters in early September.
''We're quite confident that the United States will continue to be a part of the agreement going forward.''
Still, Trump could ignore the goals that Obama has set '-- and some conservatives expect he would do just that.
William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, said Trump could also insist the Senate needs to ratify the deal and send it to lawmakers, who would likely vote it down.
Environmental groups, though, predict that Trump would find there are limits to how much of the climate push he can stop.
Coequyt predicted world leaders would use diplomacy to pressure countries that don't join the deal into taking action on climate anyway. Stavins predicted that several environment-related measures, like fuel standards for cars or regional climate efforts, would remain on the books.
''Yes, he could slow down action on climate change, but not as dramatically as he may think he could.''
But Trump would have the power to shape American policy in other ways, including by nominating a ninth justice to the Supreme Court.
The high court is likely to decide the fate of Obama's biggest climate change regulation, likely in its next term.
If the court struck down the rule, the U.S. might have a hard time meeting its commitments under the Paris deal.
''If you control the presidency, then you can exert a huge amount of power,'' Yeatman said. ''You can basically not implement your commitments, and you're not going to suffer anything on the world stage.''
Shut Up Slave!
Exclusive: Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence - sources | Reuters
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 19:40
SAN FRANCISCO Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company complied with a classified U.S. government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said two former employees and a third person apprised of the events.
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Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to a spy agency's demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.
It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified.
Reuters was unable to determine what data Yahoo may have handed over, if any, and if intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo with this kind of request.
According to the two former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc."Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States," the company said in a brief statement in response to Reuters questions about the demand. Yahoo declined any further comment.
Through a Facebook spokesman, Stamos declined a request for an interview.
The NSA referred questions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which declined to comment.
The demand to search Yahoo Mail accounts came in the form of a classified directive sent to the company's legal team, according to the three people familiar with the matter.
U.S. phone and Internet companies are known to have handed over bulk customer data to intelligence agencies. But some former government officials and private surveillance experts said they had not previously seen either such a broad directive for real-time Web collection or one that required the creation of a new computer program.
"I've never seen that, a wiretap in real time on a 'selector,'" said Albert Gidari, a lawyer who represented phone and Internet companies on surveillance issues for 20 years before moving to Stanford University this year. A selector refers to a type of search term used to zero in on specific information.
"It would be really difficult for a provider to do that," he added.
Experts said it was likely that the NSA or FBI had approached other Internet companies with the same demand, since they evidently did not know what email accounts were being used by the target. The NSA usually makes requests for domestic surveillance through the FBI, so it is hard to know which agency is seeking the information.
Reuters was unable to confirm whether the 2015 demand went to other companies, or if any complied.
Alphabet Inc's Google and Microsoft Corp, two major U.S. email service providers, did not respond to requests for comment.
Under laws including the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, intelligence agencies can ask U.S. phone and Internet companies to provide customer data to aid foreign intelligence-gathering efforts for a variety of reasons, including prevention of terrorist attacks.
Disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and others have exposed the extent of electronic surveillance and led U.S. authorities to modestly scale back some of the programs, in part to protect privacy rights.
Companies including Yahoo have challenged some classified surveillance before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret tribunal.
Some FISA experts said Yahoo could have tried to fight last year's directive on at least two grounds: the breadth of the demand and the necessity of writing a special program to search all customers' emails in transit.
Apple Inc made a similar argument earlier this year when it refused to create a special program to break into an encrypted iPhone used in the 2015 San Bernardino massacre. The FBI dropped the case after it unlocked the phone with the help of a third party, so no precedent was set.
Other FISA experts defended Yahoo's decision to comply, saying nothing prohibited the surveillance court from ordering a search for a specific term instead of a specific account. So-called "upstream" bulk collection from phone carriers based on content was found to be legal, they said, and the same logic could apply to Web companies' mail.
As tech companies become better at encrypting data, they are likely to face more such requests from spy agencies.
Former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker said email providers "have the power to encrypt it all, and with that comes added responsibility to do some of the work that had been done by the intelligence agencies."
Mayer and other executives ultimately decided to comply with the directive last year rather than fight it, in part because they thought they would lose, said the people familiar with the matter.
Yahoo in 2007 had fought a FISA demand that it conduct searches on specific email accounts without a court-approved warrant. Details of the case remain sealed, but a partially redacted published opinion showed Yahoo's challenge was unsuccessful.
Some Yahoo employees were upset about the decision not to contest the more recent directive and thought the company could have prevailed, the sources said.
They were also upset that Mayer and Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell did not involve the company's security team in the process, instead asking Yahoo's email engineers to write a program to siphon off messages containing the character string the spies sought and store them for remote retrieval, according to the sources.
The sources said the program was discovered by Yahoo's security team in May 2015, within weeks of its installation. The security team initially thought hackers had broken in.
When Stamos found out that Mayer had authorized the program, he resigned as chief information security officer and told his subordinates that he had been left out of a decision that hurt users' security, the sources said. Due to a programming flaw, he told them hackers could have accessed the stored emails.
Stamos's announcement in June 2015 that he had joined Facebook did not mention any problems with Yahoo. (bit.ly/2dL003k)
In a separate incident, Yahoo last month said "state-sponsored" hackers had gained access to 500 million customer accounts in 2014. The revelations have brought new scrutiny to Yahoo's security practices as the company tries to complete a deal to sell its core business to Verizon Communications Inc for $4.8 billion.
(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Tiffany Wu)
Yahoo scanned customer emails for US intelligence agencies: report | TheHill
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 19:39
Yahoo developed software to help U.S. intelligence search its customers' incoming emails, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The internet portal allegedly developed a program to scan incoming email and attachments for key phrases to comply with a classified directive sent to Yahoo's legal team. The report indicates that the software was developed without consultation with Yahoo's security team, including prominent then-Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos.
Reuters says Stamos left the company after his team discovered the surveillance software, which they initially believed to be hackers attacking the system.
The report also says that employees were disappointed that chief executive Marissa Mayer decided to accept the 2015 directive and not challenge the order in court.
In 2007, five years before Mayer became CEO, Yahoo had challenged and lost a court fight over a directive forcing it to search customer accounts without a warrant.
Experts told Reuters this is the first case of a company agreeing to surveil all of its incoming emails. Large web-based companies have traditionally held an antagonistic relationship with intelligence agencies and refused to provide software to aid in surveillance.
Yahoo recently announced plans to have Verizon buy the company in a $4.8 billion deal. Yahoo has returned to the headlines in recent weeks after discovering a data breach compromising half a billion user accounts.
Rob Zombie's Most Insane Movie Yet: The Aristocratic Sadists and Killer Nazi Clowns of '31' - The Daily Beast
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 02:02
The hard rocker turned horror auteur opens up about his upcoming gorefest, horror influences, the state of metal, and much more.
Rob Zombie's horror movies don't just get under your skin'--they get in your face, challenging your tolerance for murder and mayhem while simultaneously making you question why such fiendishness is so appealing. The rocker-auteur's latest, 31, is no different, detailing the gruesome ordeal suffered by a traveling carnival troupe after they're abducted by psychos and forced to play a game in which they must survive for 12 hours against a horde or murderous clowns (including a Spanish Nazi little-person named ''Sick-Head'')'--all while sadists in powdered wigs and aristocratic English outfits (led by Malcolm McDowell) wager on their fates.
What transpires is an all-out assault of grindhouse gruesomeness, and while the film won't receive its proper release until Oct. 21, it arrived in select theaters for one-night-only advance screenings'--accompanied by music videos and a Q&A with Zombie'--this past week. During a moment of downtime on his nationwide tour alongside Korn in support of his latest album The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser (say that five times fast), Zombie spoke to us about his love of '70s horror cinema, 31's relationship to 2005's The Devil's Rejects, the current state of heavy metal, and his fondness for his movie monsters.
You're the rare modern filmmaker who seems to understand that memorably nightmarish visuals are more terrifying (and lasting) than jump scares. When you're conceiving a project, what comes first: the basic story idea or the images?
Sometimes, I'll have an image of something and I'll be like, ''I don't even know what this is for.'' You just see something in your head. But for the most part, [the films] just start as a vague idea, and that's it. Like a one-sentence idea where you go, ''OK, how do I flesh this out into something. Who's a part of this? What are the characters? Where is this going? What does it look like? What does it feel like?'' That's usually the journey of it. For the movies I make, I was never really into jump scares. I was always more into just developing a world that you sink into when you're watching the movie'--because I think people sometimes think, ''Well, if I jumped, it was scary.'' And to me, sometimes you jump because you were startled. I like movies that, after the fact, you go, ''Oh, I can't stop thinking about this movie. It's really freaking me out. Did it scare me? I don't know, but I can't stop thinking about it, there was something disturbing about it.''
2012's The Lords of Salem boasted a dreamy, unreal supernatural atmosphere, whereas your latest, 31, takes a grittier grindhouse-y approach to horror. Why that tonal shift?
I arrive at the tone based on what the story is. With The Lords of Salem, I toyed with it for a long time, because I could have made it more tonally like this [31] by the way the cameras moved, the way I lit it, the way I did things. Then I thought its story seemed like it wanted to be like an Italian art movie: slow, the camera's not moving a lot, the takes are drawn out, it's more about the mood it's creating, not the story it's telling, where the whole movie feels like a dream. That's what I always feel like when watching a [Dario] Argento film: ''I don't even know if this makes sense, it seems like a weird dream I had.'' Like Suspiria or something. With 31, it seemed like time to go back to something more grounded in a gritty sort of in-your-face reality. So tonally and style-wise, they're totally different.
How did you come up with the premise for 31?
The idea came out in a funny way. I'd been working on this movie Broad Street Bullies for like two years'--a true-life hockey film about the Philadelphia Flyers'--and it just wasn't going anywhere. Movies get caught up in this development phase, and you're like, ''God, this could go on for like 10 years.'' I was on the phone talking about it, and my frustration, and I go, ''I bet I could make up a movie right now on the phone, in one second, that we could sell and get made before I ever get this made.'' And I just blurted out, ''Five people get kidnapped on Halloween night and get taken to this place and they have to fight to survive against clowns.'' I almost said it as a joke. Then, on the other line, there's a pause, and then he's like, 'I think we could sell that.' [laughs] So it's weird how things go sometimes.
Broad Street Bullieshas been in development for years, and you're now trying to make Raised Eyebrows (about the final years of Groucho Marx's life). Is it difficult getting such projects off the ground when you're so closely associated with horror?
Not really. At this point, it's kind of all the same. The Groucho Marx film is good to go. That has been for a while. The only thing that's making that not happen yet was'--I'm not writing the script on that one. This other guy, Oren Moverman, who wrote Love and Mercy, the Brian Wilson movie, and a bunch of other film, he's writing it. So he'll write it, I'll get the script, I'll give him my notes, I'll give them back to him. It's just a much slower process. But as far as the money to make the film and all that type of stuff, it's all in place and ready to go.
Broad Street Bullies was all good as far as me making the movie. It was just one of those things'--it was just a lot of cooks in the kitchen, because you're dealing with real-life people, you're dealing with an NHL franchise, you're dealing with so many things. There were just so many hurdles to get over. Whereas, when you just come up with an original idea, you don't have to answer to anybody. You just do it.
Like a number of your prior films, 31 has a distinctly '70s look and feel to it (and, in fact, it's set in 1976). What is it about that era'--and that era's horror'--that you find so appealing?
'70s horror is almost like '70s punk rock, in a way: It existed, it happened, most people were not there for it, but for the people who were, it was just special. Now these films are so famous, but at the time, when you'd go see these movies, you were seeing them in these shit theaters in the middle of nowhere. I never like to use the term ''grindhouse,'' but I was lucky enough to live in New York City in the early '80s and go to 42nd Street to see movies like Cannibal Holocaust or Make Them Die Slowly. And it was a crazy thing. I mean, you felt like you were going to get killed just being in the theater. They were filled with junkies and prostitutes'--it wasn't really like going to the movies, because it was 42nd Street. It was dangerous and weird and you always saw people get into fights and get stabbed. It was crazy!
The movies and the surroundings became one and the same, almost. And most people didn't know about these movies. They weren't popular at the time. There was something special about them. There was just a vibe; they were movies being made for such a select audience that most people didn't know about. And I was fine with that. That's what I liked about it. They were so different, so outside the mainstream. If you could even find one other person in your high school who had even heard of these movies back then, it would be a miracle. Now, with the internet, everybody knows everything, nothing's special, everything's on a blu-ray, you can watch it whenever.
As you said, you were going for a hypnotic, Argento-style film with The Lords of Salem. Did any particular classics inspire 31?
Thank You!
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Not really. Whenever I'm working, I never look at other movies. You don't want to be influenced. Early on, you might look at stuff, or do research, but once you're in it, you don't. If anything, strangely enough, it was my own film The Devil's Rejects that was the most influential on it. I never want to go back and try to recreate something I've done, and I still didn't with this. But I wanted to capture that vibe again without remaking that movie.
You know, you're sort of always working against yourself once you have some success. The fans are comparing you to you all the time, and, ''Why don't you make another The Devil's Rejects?'' And it's like, ''Because I already made that movie, so why would I make another one?'' [laughs] But I would say 31 seems to me like a film that would satisfy that urge, as much as possible, without saying that that's what we were trying to do. That's how it seemed to me, anyway.
In The Devil's Rejects, and Halloween, and now in 31, it seems as if you're more interested in your monsters than your nominal protagonists. Is that a fair assessment?
Definitely. That's what draws me in, because really, what exposed me to these films at first, when I was a kid, was the classic stuff. We didn't even call them ''horror movies'' (I don't even know when I first heard that term); we used to call them ''monster movies.'' And what drew you into them was Frankenstein, or the Wolf Man, or the Creature From the Black Lagoon, or King Kong. You were all about the monster. You weren't all about [King Kong's] Fay Wray. Or all about [Frankenstein's] Colin Clive. You were all about Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi.
Especially with Halloween, when you're going back to something that already exists, I thought it seemed silly to just do what had already happened. How can I take this sort of legendary story and flip it on its head? And I thought, we'll get inside Michael's head, rather than Laurie's head'--or both their heads, but Michael more so, so the monster has some sort of other dimension to him, he's not just a ghostly shape in the shadows. Some people loved that, some people didn't, but it didn't matter. I just wanted to do something different, and I always thought I played Michael Myers more like he was Frankenstein. Because you know, all those monsters always had a sympathetic edge to them. There was always some sort of misunderstanding going on, or they were thrown into a world that they didn't understand, and what they did was horrible but they just didn't get it.
The Devil's Rejects' and 31's villains definitely get it, though.
With The Devil's Rejects, they're horrible and they get it, but I wanted to make them filled with personality so you're like, ''Why do I like the killers? They're horrible.'' Because they have pizzazz! People are always drawn to people with pizzazz. You know, if Charles Manson was boring we would never talk about him, but he's interesting, so we always talk about him. And with 31, it was the same thing: I wanted all the ''good people,'' who are all dirty carnies, to be interesting, and then we have the killers, who are all insane people. I always get bored when [in horror movies] you're given the most vanilla, nice people, and then there are the bad people. I'm like, ''Give me a break! Where do these super-nice everyday people live?'' Those are always the victims.
Even with Halloween, people were like, ''The girls are too foul-mouthed, they're too rough-edged.'' But they just seemed like regular teenage girls, because I made the crazy idea of casting teenagers as teenagers [laughs]. That's how they were. You know, teenagers are not sweet and innocent, by any degree. So rather than casting 35-year-olds to play teenagers, I figured it was better to get someone who was 17 and see how they act.
Are there any current horror filmmakers you particularly admire right now?
There's probably something I've seen recently that was great, but I can't think of what it is off the top of my head. I don't just sit around watching horror movies by any means, and if I do, I'll probably go back and watch old stuff again. I know a horror movie was No. 1 at the box office this weekend [Don't Breathe], but I haven't seen it. I thought that movie The Witch was cool. I dug that.
You're on tour with Korn supporting your new album [The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser]. How is that going, and how do you find the current state of the music industry, especially given that hard rock'--and metal, in particular'--now occupy such a small place in the mainstream?
It's two things. From my point of view, everything is great. We've toured with Korn many, many times since 1999, when I think we did our first joint tour. And of all the times we've toured together, this is the biggest tour we've ever done. Every night is huge. Even when we go to bed, we're like, ''What the hell, man? How can we be playing in front of 15,000 people every night?'' It's just huge. It's crazy. So from our point of view, it's alive and well and everything is awesome.
But the other thing I've also noticed is, most of the acts when we play festivals'--it's us, or older acts, that are at the top of the bill. So I can see how it's not been a great environment for new bands to break through, because rock radio is struggling to survive, and music videos are just thrown onto YouTube. There's nothing that's really driving it. So I do see how hard it is for newer bands. I wouldn't want to have to break through now, with so few outlets. Not that there were a ton back in the day, but at least you had [MTV's] Headbanger's Ball, so you knew that at least for one second, your video would get some kind of national exposure. And you would always feel the repercussions of that'--it would actually make quite a difference. So yeah, it's both'--everything's great, everything's bigger than it's ever been, but on the other hand, depending on who you are, it's a tough scene for people.
VIDEO-Air France condemns 'sabotage attempts' reports
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 13:48
Air France has condemned media reports that it has suffered a string of sabotage attempts on its planes by radicalised ground staff.
In a statement the airliner described the claims published in the Le Carnard Enchaine as completely false and unfounded rumours.
On Wednesday the investigative and satirical weekly reported that French Intelligence had raised the alarm following a series of incidents involving Air France passenger jets at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
That included an apparent attempt to cut the communication between the cockpit and the engines on several planes.
According to the paper around 40 planes were also daubed with ''Alahu akbar'' or ''God is great''on the fuel flap, which resulted in one pilot refusing to take off.
VIDEO-Ukip leadership favourite Steven Woolfe in 'serious' condition after 'altercation' - ITV News
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 13:45
Steven Woolfe was rushed to hospital on Thursday afternoon Credit: ITV NewsUkip leadership favourite Steven Woolfe is in a "serious" condition in hospital following an "altercation" at a meeting of Ukip MEPs in Strasbourg, Nigel Farage said.
The MEP for the North West was taken ill after walking out on a vote at the European Parliament.
In a statement, Mr Farage said he "deeply regretted" the incident, which happened on Mr Woolfe's 49th birthday.
Earlier a Ukip spokesman said: "Steven Woolfe MEP was taken suddenly ill in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg this morning.
"He has been taken to hospital in the city and he is undergoing tests."
Suzanne Evans, Ukip's former deputy chair who is said to be considering her own leadership bid, tweeted:
Steven Woolfe being treated by paramedics in the European Parliament. Credit: ITV NewsIt comes a day after Mr Woolfe put himself forward as a contender to be the next Ukip leader following the shock resignation of Diane James.
He was barred from standing in the last leadership contest after submitting his nomination papers 17 minutes late.
His announcement came as Nigel Farage confirmed he would be carrying on as interim leader until a permanent successor was in place.
Last updated Thu 6 Oct 2016
VIDEO-Karen Finney on leaked audio: Hillary Clinton was saying 'we have to be patient' with millennials - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 13:28
VIDEO-Biden says it's 'embarrassing' that his net worth is less than a socialist - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 13:27
VIDEO-Earnest: 'Everybody's Patience with Russia has Run Out' - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 13:24
VIDEO-'Why did he do that?': MSNBC panel speculates on a motive behind Bill Clinton's Obamacare slam | Video | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 12:23
Is jealousy of President Barack Obama and his legacy behind former President Bill Clinton's calling Obamacare the ''craziest thing in the world''?
MSNBC's ''Morning Joe'' debated that very topic Wednesday morning.
After playing Clinton's comments, host Joe Scarborough asked panelist Mike Barnicle, ''Why did he do that?''
Barnicle responded, ''You hear anecdotally from people within both administrations that the former president thinks his presidency and its historical span will be measured as practically a 'nothing burger,' that he will be remembered more for Monica Lewinsky than anything else.''
Referring to Obama's accomplishments, Barnicle mentioned the killing of Osama bin Laden and declared Obama to be ''more effective on the stump than Bill Clinton ever was.''
Bloomberg political editor and ''Morning Joe'' panelist Mark Halperin also mentioned the thinking that Bill Clinton ''doesn't want President Obama to get much credit.'' He speculated that the Clinton campaign is working on preventing this kind of outburst from happening again, adding, ''They're lucky it wasn't worse.''
Hearing Halperin's comment, Scarborough burst into laughter asking, ''How could it be worse?'' adding, ''Would he tear up a picture of the pope or Barack Obama?''
Halperin predicted Clinton's comments would be overwhelmed by the debate within the next two days.
In the next segment, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was discussing her candidate's debate prep when she jokingly noted the Bill Clinton Obamacare gaffe: ''President Clinton is our best surrogate. We're thinking of having him in the 'spin room' with us in St. Louis.''
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VIDEO-Iraqi group demands payments for US invasion after 'Sue the Saudis for 9/11' bill passes Congress - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 04:01
VIDEO-Why Barack Obama lies so much - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 03:58
VIDEO-Krauthammer Names Winner, Loser In Vice Presidential Debate
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 03:04
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Commentator Charles Krauthammer was clear that if there was a victory at Tuesday night's vice presidential debate, it belonged to GOP nominee Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
But the loser was not, in his estimation, Democratic candidate Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. Instead, he said, it was CBS anchor and debate moderator Elaine Quijano.
''Unfortunately, the big loser was the moderator. I don't envy her position, but she lost control of the debate very early,'' he said. ''The candidates were talking over each other.''
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Then when it was time to let them at it, Krauthammer said, Quijano pulled in the reins.
''Towards the end you were getting really good exchanges where they were going at each other, quite revealing, and she would say, 'We have to stop and go on to another subject,' to which I would say, 'Why?''' he said.
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Although Krauthammer gave the decision to Pence, he said the debate ''didn't move the needle.''
He praised Pence's strategy for ignoring Kaine's continual references to various comments and actions of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump
''Pence had made a decision not to go down that rabbit hole on any of these or otherwise he would never have talked about anything else,'' Krauthammer said.
Krauthammer said Pence's style helped make him the debate's winner.
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''I thought he won on tone '-- kind of Reagan saying to Carter, 'There you go again.'''
He also said that Pence's handling of criticisms of Trump said, in effect ''perhaps my guy has made some misstatements but your candidate and her people have been in charge for eight years and in a larger sense for 30 years and look at the state of the world.''
Krauthammer also said that having a cool head as the vice president helps bring confidence on the ticket when the top of the ticket is ''hot.''
''I think it helps the ticket to whatever extent the vice president can,'' he said.
What do you think?Scroll down to comment below.
VIDEO-CBS-2-Host Gayle King Insanely Claims Jon Stewart Tried to be Nonpartisan - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:43
VIDEO-CBS-Samantha Bee Doesn't Care if We Know the Real Hillary Clinton - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:41
VIDEO-Kaine Claims His Son Wouldn't Be Prosecuted If He Handled Classified Information Like Clinton - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:33
VIDEO-Boxer on Bill Clinton calling Obamacare a crazy system: ''He's saying it like it is' - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:09
VIDEO-Obama: Climate change agreement is our best chance to save the planet - YouTube
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 02:03
VIDEO-Clinton Campaign Caught Using Child Actor in Staged/Scripted Pennsylvania Town Hall'... | The Last Refuge
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 01:58
People often discuss how the media have lost their ability to influence the 2016 election. Here is an exceptional example of why this is the case.
A citizen researcher easily exposes the manipulative construct of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
The fact that not a single journalist has the integrity to do what an ordinary person is capable of doing, explains why the media is now a parody of its own Pravda.
Meet 15-year-old child actor ''Brennan Leach''. Actress, and daughter of a Pennsylvania Democrat State Senator, Daylin Leach.
Watch this video '' and stay with it:
Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach Bio includes:
['...] Locally, Daylin is on the Board of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, serves as the Chair of the Norristown Farm Park, and is a member of the Lower Merion Conservancy and the Philadelphia World Affairs Council. He is married to Jennifer Anne Mirak, a psychologist, with whom he has two children, Brennan and Justin. (pdf link)
Here's young Ms. Brennan Leach '' Acting/Casting Network biography (with pictures). Her acting bio also includes previous work in political commercials.
(Link to Acting / Casting Biography)
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 20:31
VIDEO-Mike Pence: Our Sons Would Be Court Martialed for what Hillary Did
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 17:19
I was honest about Donald Trump not doing well in the first debate. Last night with the Vice Presidential candidates? Mike Pence destroyed Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton. Completely. Like he'd used BleachBit.
Pence's best hit was on Hillary and classified information (see Even Liberal MSNBC: 'Hillary Should Lose Classified Status'...' and Surprise! New Hillary Emails Reveal Blatant Criminal Activity). Both Pence and Kaine have military sons. What if either of their sons had recklessly handled classified information the way Clinton did?
If your son or my son handled classified information the way Hillary Clinton did they'd be court martialed. It's absolutely true.
Kaine's performance was so bad, it wouldn't surprise me if Hillary made him find his own way home.
Notice how the ''moderator'' jumped in to change the subject as soon as Pence brought up the email scandal? You're a smart one, you. We noticed it as well. I'm sorry I can't remember who tweeted this, but someone said the moderator didn't need to wear an ''#ImWithHer'' t-shirt. Point was well made she was clearly in the tank for team Clinton. Could be why American's aren't super keen on the media these days. We're not all dummies. See also Top 5 Lester Holt Hillary-Shilling Moments.
Good on Pence for ignoring the shill trying to steamroll him, and instead steamrolled Kaine. A lovely plot twist that. What a smarmy little smirk Kaine had. Just before Pence put an uppercut in his chin. Pence isn't wrong, either. Hillary plays by her own set of rules the rest of us could never play.
The real meaningful question is, can the Trump campaign build on this performance? Was Donald taking notes to get ready for his next debate? Or was has he wondering what personal issue to tweet storm about next?
We'll find out next week. And yes, we'll be live streaming again'...
VIDEO-Did CNN Deceptively Edit the Charlotte Shooting Video?
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 17:12
Team CrowderWednesday October 5 2016
A pro-Police group has accused CNN of deceptively editing the Charlotte shooting video, where police shot Keith Scott. Hat tip to our friends at The Daily Wire.
Yes, as shocking as it sounds to accuse CNN of doing such a thing (see CAUGHT: CNN Forced to Apologize For Doctoring Violent Milwaukee Video), let's take a look. First, what CNN aired'...
Second, the unedited footage'...
Looks like a deceptive edit to me. CNN removed the clips where the police constantly yelled for Scott to ''DROP THE GUN!''
''The editing was clearly intended to give viewers the impression that Scott wasn't armed. By intentionally excluding information to promote the false narrative that the officer-involved shooting of Keith Scott was unjustified, CNN directly contributed towards inciting violence and destruction in the Charlotte riots. Innocent citizens were hurt during the Charlotte riots, but editing like this also incites violence against police officers long after the riots are over.''
This is what conservatives and anyone who cares about facts are up against (see RED-HANDED: Katie Couric Caught Editing Video to Push Anti-Gun Lies'... and CENSORED: White House Edits Video of French President Saying 'Islamist Terrorism'). The media will never let facts get in the way of their narrative unless they get called out.
To recap:
Media reports that Keith Scott was holding a book. Police say he was holding a gun.Police release a video that clearly has the officers yelling multiple times ''Drop the gun!''CNN edits out the officers yelling ''Drop the gun!''To the average person who works and raises a family and doesn't have the time to fact check the media (because they assume it's the media's job to fact check themselves), they just hear ''cops shoot black man holding book.''
Liberals know this. They run with it. They reap the consequences of their actions with ratings as cities like Charlotte burn. Media like CNN, with this editing trick, helped Black Lives Matter push the false narrative that cops are shooting unarmed black men. But no. Not so much, as this video shows.
And this is why we fight back.
VIDEO-Clinton: I don't recall joking about droning Julian Assange - POLITICO
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 17:10
By Madeline Conway
10/04/16 06:19 PM EDT
Responding to unconfirmed allegations circulating on right-wing websites, Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she does not remember ever joking about targeting the founder of WikiLeaks in a drone strike.
The conservative website True Pundit cited anonymous ''State Department sources'' in a report on Sunday to claim that Clinton in 2010 suggested to some staff members that the U.S. ''drone'' Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, whose website had embarrassed the U.S. when it published diplomatic cables, among other documents.
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''Can't we just drone this guy?'' the website claimed Clinton had said.
WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy organization that publishes documents from governments, corporations and other sources, tweeted out the quote from the True Pundit report on Monday. No mainstream news outlets have confirmed the claim.
''I don't recall any joke,'' Clinton said, when asked about the allegations at a press conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday. ''It would have been a joke, if it had been said, but I don't recall that.''
The same reporter also asked Clinton about Assange's recent promise to soon release documents that could affect the November election. WikiLeaks published a series of internal Democratic National Committee communications that embarrassed the party on the eve of its July convention, and suggested there was more to come.
''Are you worried that there's anything that could come out that would upend the race?'' the reporter asked Clinton.
''Well, I don't know anything about what he's talking about,'' Clinton said, before responding to the drone comment allegations.
VIDEO-Duterte: OBAMA GO TO HELL ! - YouTube
Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:18
VIDEO-Bill Nye: Science Illiterate Leaders Endanger Us All | Big Think
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 20:01
It's not unusual to hear someone openly say that they can't do math at all; that they can't figure out the percentage to tip on a bill. If someone said that chemistry hurts their brain and they can't even look at an equation, or that they have no idea how a certain part of the human body does what it does, that wouldn't be too surprising. These are usually light-hearted statements that go down well '' many of us would sympathize, nod and say: yeah, me too.
But turn the tables and imagine someone announcing jovially they can't read words that are over 3 syllables, or that a certain sentence is too beyond them to even try. That wouldn't be considered funny. En masse, we'd raise our brows and say: Excuse me?
The ignorance involved in both scenarios is comparable, but the shirking of effort when it comes to science and math is so normalized we don't always catch ourselves.
This is the bee in Bill Nye's bonnet today. An engineer by origin, he wants science literacy to be a national priority so that people can understand that the daily magic around them every day '' all the technology, medicine, and innovation that makes our lives easier, isn't some kind of wizardry '' it's cold, hard science. Understanding the way things work, from the basics to a minute level, is so profoundly important to a country's progress and its citizen's health and daily lives. As an example, Nye looks at the spread of a disease like Ebola in North America compared to Africa; the education levels about how germs are transmitted corresponds directly to the amount of deaths from this terrible illness. Understanding basic concepts like bacteria and hygiene saves lives.
Nye goes on to make an interesting point about some of the U.S.'s elected officials and their fluctuating stance on science. Those who panicked about Ebola '' rightly so '' and implemented preventative measures take a very different approach when it comes to a crisis such as climate change. Here, the U.S. has failed to make meaningful change and start measures to look out for the future. Nye also points to officials who cut funding to the Center for Disease Control, which demonstrates a serious lack of literacy about the nature of infectious disease. The Spanish Flu of the early 20th century killed an estimated 20-50 million people '' even at its most conservative estimate, that's more than all the deaths in WWI. In Nye's words, cutting disease research is ''not where you save your money, Congress!''
There is also a general mistrust of science among civilians and leaders, and unfortunately shady science practices, such as the sugar industry buying off Harvard scientists to write negative studies focusing on fats while omitting research that would hurt the sugar industry, does a lot of damage to the public perception of scientific method. Those stories make it a little easier to believe scientists can be bought, and therefore that science as a whole can be doubted.
But science largely stands strong, and research by Dan Kahan at Yale University shows that those with the strongest views tend to have the greatest scientific literacy. Kahan asked 1,540 Americans to rate the severity of climate change as a global threat on a scale of zero to ten. Interestingly those that rated it closest to zero or closest to ten had the highest levels of science comprehension.
That middle ground proves to be a dangerous place because the greatest sin in science is to not ask questions, and not challenge conventional wisdom. That's the whole point of scientific enquiry, but dismissing it or failing to understand it really is a crime, especially when you trace it to the tangible cost of human life from increasing natural disasters and preventable contagions. This idea is perhaps expressed best by Canadian-American physician and Nobel Laureate Charles Huggins, who said: ''Nature can refuse to speak but she cannot give a wrong answer.'' Science, when not corrupt, works as nature's translator. We have to trust it, not be blindly skeptical.
Bill Nye has spent his life promoting science education and while here he is visibly frustrated by this high-level mistrust of science in the U.S., another famous champion of science, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, brings reinforcement in the form of optimism. Tyson recently said to the Wall Street Journal: ''Science is being born into public consciousness in a very big way, for the first time. And we're doing it on the shoulders of those who struggled to get it going in that regard. I look forward to the impact it could have on the 21st century, where we have a next generation of people who only know science literacy as a fundamental part of an educated citizenry.''
Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.
VIDEO-Bill Clinton: ObamaCare Insurance Model ''Doesn't Work,'' ''Doesn't Make Any Sense'' - YouTube
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 17:02
VIDEO-Assange: Not targeting Clinton with next WikiLeaks dump | Reuters.com
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 16:13
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the organization will publish ''significant'' information before the U.S. elections, but denies that he is targeting Hillary Clinton. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Tuesday (October 4) the organisation would publish around one million documents related to the U.S. election and three governments, but denied the release was aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton. "There has been a misquoting of me and WikiLeaks publications," Assange said via videolink at an event to mark 10 year WikiLeaks. "In this particular case, misquoting has to do with we intend to harm Hillary Clinton or I intend to harm Hillary Clinton or that I don't like Hillary Clinton. All those are false." He said the documents would be released before the end of the year, starting with an initial batch in the coming week. He criticised Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, for demonising the group's work after a spate of releases related to the Democratic National Committee before the Democratic convention this summer. Assange said her campaign had falsely suggested that accessing WikiLeaks data would make users vulnerable to malicious software. But he denied the release of documents related to the U.S. election was specifically geared to damage Clinton, saying he had been misquoted. Assange also signalled changes in the way WikiLeaks is organised and funded, saying the group would soon open itself to membership. He said the group was looking to expand its work beyond the 100 media outlets it works with. Assange, 45, spoke via a video link at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the group's founding. He remains in the Ecuador Embassy in London where he sought refuge in 2012 to avoid possible extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations that he committed rape in 2010. Assange denies the allegations and says he fears extradition to the United States, where a criminal investigation into the activities of WikiLeaks is underway.
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton: I don't read the fine print - YouTube
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 16:05
VIDEO-Biden says it's 'embarrassing' that his net worth is less than a socialist - YouTube
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 16:01
VIDEO-Earnest: 'Everybody's Patience with Russia has Run Out' - YouTube
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:57
VIDEO-Joe Biden predicts clear Hillary Clinton victory in November - YouTube
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:49
VIDEO-Robby Mook won't say if Hillary Clinton agrees with Bill Clinton calling Obamacare a 'crazy system' - YouTube
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:48
VIDEO-MSNBC Debate Crowd's Women Yell 'No' When Asked if They Feel Connection to Clinton - YouTube
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:47
VIDEO-Internet Enraged By Assange / Wikileaks Standown / Trolling of Public - YouTube
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:36
VIDEO-DiCaprio: Climate change deniers shouldn't hold public office | TheHill
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 15:03
Politicians who don't believe in climate change should not hold public office, said actor Leonardo DiCaprio Monday at the White House before the screening of his new climate documentary.
"The scientific consensus is in and the argument is now over," DiCaprio said at the White House's South By South Lawn event.
"If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in facts, or in science or empirical truths and therefore, in my humble opinion, should not be allowed to hold public office."
DiCaprio screened his film "Before the Flood," a documentary about climate change. Ahead of the screening, he spoke on a panel with President Obama.
Obama called for the development of new technologies to address climate change, but stressed changes in policy and attitudes wouldn't happen overnight. "Climate change is almost perversely designed to be really hard to solve politically. It is a problem that creeps up on you," Obama said.
"The political system in every country is not well designed to do something tough now to solve a problem that people will really feel the impact of in the future."
In the film, DeCaprio travels to Greenland, the Pacific Islands, Sumatra and industrial regions of China to show the impacts of climate change.
DiCaprio, and the film's director, Fisher Stevens, hope to use it in the run-up to next month's presidential and Senate elections, according to The Guardian.
They plan to show it on college campuses and across swing states. It will be released via National Geographic later this month.
VIDEO-Son of former 'prostitute' claims he is Bill Clinton's love child and demands ex-president takes DNA test - Mirror Online
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:44
Claims that Bill Clinton fathered a love child with a woman who reportedly used to work as a prostitute have resurfaced nearly a month before Americans head to the polls to choose between the former president's wife and Donald Trump .
Danney Williams, who insists Clinton is his father even though he doesn't have any conclusive proof, has launched an online campaign to pressure the 42nd president to take a DNA test.
The 30-year-old's claims became a talking point in the presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and Trump today after they were reported again by conservative media.
His mother, Bobbie Ann Williams, reportedly claims she began a sexual relationship Clinton in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1984 while he was the state's governor and she was a 24-year-old prostitute.
Danney Williams is pushing for Bill Clinton to take a DNA testDanney and his mother Bobbie AnnIn exchange for a fee her claims were originally published by a tabloid magazine, Globe, in 1992 while Clinton was running for president against George H.W. Bush.
Clinton didn't submit to a paternity test and her claims were never proven as the story was largely ignored by the press.
She claimed Clinton was the father because her son's skin tone is light and the then-governor was her only white client at the time.
Clinton, left, and Williams at a young ageBobbie Ann told Globe: "When I told him that he was the father of my baby, he just laughed.
"He rubbed my big belly and said, 'Girl, that can't be my baby.' But I knew it was. I just had this kind of woman's feeling that this was his child."
In 1999 it was reported a DNA test found that Clinton was not Danney's father.
The news about the DNA test was first reported by conservative news website the Drudge Report, which carried a report on Danney's claims and social media campaign today.
Danney lists his surname as Williams-Clinton on a Facebook profileThe story from 1999 claimed Star magazine conducted the test using the analysis of Clinton's DNA from the Kenneth Star impeachment report and samples from both Danney and his mother.
There have since been claims the test was flawed or didn't even take place.
Read MoreDanney, who lists his surname as Williams-Clinton on Facebook, wrote in a recent post: "My name is Danney Lee Williams, I'm the son of the 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton.
"All I want to do is shake my father's hand. I have requested a DNA test."
VIDEO-See how people react when fake reporter convinces them Clinton dropped out of the race | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:28
Comedian Tyler Fischer, posing as a reporter for BBC America, took to the streets of New York over the weekend to convince people that Hillary Clinton had dropped out of the race for the White House.
Naturally, his bogus report was met with both excitement and defeat.
''She just dropped out, announced about five minutes ago,'' Fischer told one woman, who '-- clearly in shock '-- replied, ''Oh, my God.''
YouTube/Tyler Fischer
''No! You're kidding. I'll kill myself,'' another woman responded.
Another claimed to have predicted it: ''I knew it was gonna happen '-- after that thing when she had that seizure.''
''There goes another assassination,'' one passerby told the comedian. ''God help us,'' said another.
One group of people '-- seemingly thrilled at the news Clinton had suspending her campaign '-- asked Fischer if the former secretary of state was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He told one woman Clinton actually has the Zika virus and another that she has the bird flu.
Fischer also asked one man if he was ''surprised'' by fake news that Clinton was sexting disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
''What's good for the goose should be good for the gander,'' he said.
Watch the whole video below:
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VIDEO-New York Times columnist: 'Feminism sort of died' under President Bill Clinton | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:27
Feminism took a big hit under President Bill Clinton, according to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
''Feminism sort of died in that period,'' she told Yahoo News host Katie Couric Monday. ''Because the feminists had to come along with Bill Clinton's retrogressive behavior with women in order to protect the progressive policies for women that Bill Clinton had as president.''
During the height of the scandal surrounding Clinton's extramarital affairs, Dowd argued the women's rights movement was damaged by the former president calling on his wife and other women in his administration to defend him and deny the many accusations against him.
''All of these amazing, accomplished women that worked around him were kind of called to support him. And it's almost a class issue, because they would put these women down on class or '-- in Monica [Lewinsky]'s case '-- they would say she's a delusional stalker,'' Dowd said, speaking of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala.
She later told the Yahoo anchor that the women in Clinton's White House should not have been required to defend the then-president's actions in order to see pro-women policies advanced. Dowd referred to the exchange as a ''Faustian deal.''
The conversation between Dowd and Couric comes as Donald Trump and his surrogates bring up the issue on the campaign trail, knocking Hillary Clinton for the ways she treated the women with which her husband had affairs.
''I know that Hillary's campaign says that, you know, it's old, and we shouldn't be paying any attention,'' Dowd commented, ''but I do think feminism died a little bit.''
Watch the interview below:
(H/T: Washington Examiner)
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Tue, 04 Oct 2016 07:38
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Tue, 04 Oct 2016 05:19
VIDEO-Russell Brand Calls The Queen By Her REAL Family Name And The Media Goes Crazy! - Choice and Truth
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 01:43
EPIC rant!Russell Brand is at it again, this time going after the richest woman in the world...
Since openly stating what should be common sense, the sheeple and mainstream media have had a major outcry against Brand.
But what did he do wrong? Russell made a good point. Why should anyone be allowed to rule over another human being? Because they have a "special" blood line? Last time I checked that was called racism.
Now, as far as the Nazi comment goes it's understandable that some would get a bit upset, but did you know there are actually pictures of the Queen as a child doing the Nazi salute?
The truth is the "royal" family had ties to the Nazi regime and they continue to cover it up by refusing to release classified documents about their correspondence and relationship.
This is not the only time the family have been the topic of controversy relating to Nazi Germany, how many people remember "prince" Harry thinking it would be cute to wear a Nazi outfit to a party?
The royal family changed their name in the past to hide who they were, which makes you wonder how many times have they and other elite families actually done this type of thing?You can listen to Russel's epic rant below;You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Choice and Truth Sources;
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Mon, 03 Oct 2016 16:07
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VIDEO/Bail set at $2 million for store owner accused of food stamp fraud - Story
Mon, 03 Oct 2016 05:22
BUFFALO, N.Y.(WKBW) - The owner of a Buffalo deli is being held on $2 million bail for welfare fraud charges.
Ahmed Alshami, 37, is charged with criminal possession of public benefit cards, misuse of food stamps and criminal use of a public benefit card for defrauding the welfare system.
Alshami is the owner and operator of IGA Express Mart, a corner deli at 271 Ludington in the City of Buffalo.
According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, between October 9, 2014 and March 21, 2016 Alshami is accused of buying EBT (food stamp) cards from people willing to trade them for cash. He usually paid people half of what the cards are worth.
It is alleged that Alshami would use the food stamps to buy items to be sold in his store. In some instances, it is alleged the defendant would tell the original card holder to go to Tops, Wegmans, Walmart, or another "big box" store and buy the items for him.
The purchases totaled $3,811.56.
The DA's Office also says on March 16 of this year, Alshami allegedly knowingly and unlawfully entered an unoccupied rental property at 37 Davey St. He is accused of stealing the kitchen cabinets, hot water tank and baseboard heating units.
Alshami pleaded not guilty to the misuse of food stamps and burglary charges.
Outside of court on Tuesday, his daughter flipped off our cameras while his wife said, "Are you happy now? F&*& you. F&*& America."
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Sun, 02 Oct 2016 20:20
Media captionTheresa May calls for "a truly global Britain" after confirming the deadline for triggering Article 50 to leave the EUThe UK will begin the formal Brexit negotiation process by the end of March 2017, PM Theresa May has said.
The timing on triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty means the UK looks set to leave the EU by summer 2019.
Mrs May told the Tory Party conference - her first as prime minister - the government would strike a deal with the EU as an "independent, sovereign" UK.
Voters had given their verdict "with emphatic clarity", she said, and ministers had to "get on with the job".
In a speech on the first day of the conference in Birmingham, she also gave details of a Great Repeal Bill which she said would end EU law's primacy in the UK.
She attacked those who "have still not accepted the result of the referendum", adding: "It is up to the government not to question, quibble or backslide on what we have been instructed to do, but to get on with the job."
She told delegates: "We are going to be a fully independent, sovereign country - a country that is no longer part of a political union with supranational institutions that can override national parliaments and courts.
"And that means we are going, once more, to have the freedom to make our own decisions on a whole host of different matters, from how we label our food to the way in which we choose to control immigration."
Mrs May said a "truly global Britain is possible, and it is in sight", adding: "We don't need - as I sometimes hear people say - to 'punch above our weight' because our weight is substantial enough already."
Reacting to Mrs May's comments about Article 50:
The CBI said there was still an "urgent need for answers" on single market access and business regulationsThe cross-party Open Britain campaign warned Mrs May about being "gung ho" and said she should not "expect any favours from Parliament" on her repeal billLabour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said the Article 50 commitment was "meaningless" without the government saying what it wanted to achieveEuropean Council President Donald Tusk said the announcement brought "welcome clarity"Scotland's Brexit minister warned the Scottish Parliament might block the "Great Repeal Bill"Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was "depressing" that government decisions were "being driven by ideology of the hard Brexiteers, rather than interests of country"Leading Brexit campaigner Iain Duncan Smith said the PM had set a "fairly reasonable" timetable and thought Article 50 could be triggered sooner than MarchLib Dem leader Time Farron called for clarity before Article 50 was triggered, adding: "We can't start the process without any idea of where we're going"Media captionTheresa May confirms Article 50 deadline The PM, who had previously only said she would not trigger Article 50 this year, ended speculation about the government's timetable on BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning.
She said it would be done by "the first quarter of 2017", marking the start of a two-year exit process.
The process of leaving the EU would be "quite complex", she said, but added that she hoped there would now be "preparatory work" with the remaining EU members so that "once the trigger comes we will have a smoother process of negotiation".
She added: "It's not just important for the UK, but important for Europe as a whole that we're able to do this in the best possible way so we have the least disruption for businesses, and when we leave the EU we have a smooth transition from the EU."
The PM also said June's vote to leave the EU had been a "clear message from the British people that they want us to control movement of people coming into the UK".
AnalysisImage copyrightAPBy Laura Kuenssberg, BBC political editorTheresa May has appeared dozens of times on Tory conference platforms before, but before she had uttered a word, this afternoon marked an occasion that will matter to the party's history.
She may not have been elected as prime minister, but with four years until the next general election, far from sticking to David Cameron's plan, she plans not to waste a minute implementing her agenda.
It will be far from easy - former ministers are already muttering about her direction. She has a tiny majority, and no individual mandate for her reforms.
But on the biggest challenge before her - taking the UK out of the European Union - Theresa May still is characteristically reticent.
Read more from Laura
Mrs May also promised a "Great Repeal Bill" in the next Queen's Speech, to remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book and enshrine all existing EU law into British law.
The repeal bill will enable Parliament to amend and cancel any unwanted legislation and also end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.
Mrs May said this was an "important step", adding: "That means the UK will be an independent sovereign nation, it will be making its own laws."
The repeal of the 1972 act will not take effect until the UK leaves the EU under Article 50.
European Communities Act 1972Media captionTheresa May told the BBC's Andrew Marr that repealing the EU act will make the UK "sovereign and independent"In 1972 the UK Parliament passed the European Communities ActIt gave direct effect to EU law, so if there is a conflict between an act of the UK Parliament and EU law, Westminster loses out and EU law prevailsThe European Court of Justice (ECJ) became a kind of Supreme Court of Europe, interpreting EU law with judgements that were binding on all member statesDid the UK lose its sovereignty in 1972?
Reality Check: How would the UK rid itself of EU law?


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Agenda 2030

Hurricane. It's REAL.m4a
Obama: Climate change agreement is our best chance to save the planet.mp3
SXSL-DiCaprio: Climate change deniers shouldn't hold public office.mp3


Herridge-DOJ Drops Charges Against Arms Dealer Who Threatened To Expose Deal By Hillary Clinton.mp3


Ukip leadership favourite Steven Woolfe in 'serious' condition after 'altercation'.mp3


Air France has condemned media reports that it has suffered a string of sabotage attempts.mp3

Elections 2016

Biden says it's 'embarrassing' that his net worth is less than a socialist.mp3
Boxer on Bill Clinton calling Obamacare a crazy system.mp3
CBS Host Gayle King Insanely Claims Jon Stewart Tried to be Nonpartisan-Smantha B.mp3
CNN host speculates Trump couldn't afford to pay his contractors.mp3
Full Bill CLinton Obama Care Gaffe.mp3
Hillary Clinton Plays Dumb About Proposing To Drone Strike WikiLeaks Founder---.mp3
Kaine Claims His Son Wouldn't Be Prosecuted If He Handled Classified Information Like Clinton.mp3
Morning Joe Tears Into Hillary Clinton About Trump’s Taxes- ‘Ge.mp3
Morning Joe: Jealous, 'weak' Bill Clinton needs to be taken off the campaign trail.mp3
MSNBC Debate Crowd's Women Yell 'No' When Asked if They Feel Connection to Clinton.mp3
Nicolle Wallace Warns Trump Not to Question Illegal Leak of Tax Docs.mp3
Samantha Bee Doesn't Care if We Know the Real Hillary Clinton.mp3
Tim Kaine one ups Pence on 911.mp3


Russell Brand Calls The Queen By Her REAL Family Name.mp3


Earnest: 'Everybody's Patience with Russia has Run Out'.mp3

JCD Clips

ABC gotcha clip leaves out Hillary punchline.mp3
anniversary of US bombing of hospital.mp3
anti samsung ABC One.mp3
anti samsung ABC Two.mp3
cameron blamed for hate crimes.mp3
future of the yuan.mp3
gucifer and the Clinton foundation.mp3
katz and hume One.mp3
katz and hume two.mp3
kelly Ayotte douchbag miosspoke.mp3
kid suicide.mp3
NSA ABC screwball report Agenda.mp3
sticker shock--charged to hug baby.mp3
the oh brother clip about trump tax returns.mp3
Trump update includes Bill's gaffe ABC.mp3

NSA Email Trap

NSA Exposed - Fmr Official: Hacked DNC Over Email Scandal - Judge Andrew Napolitano - Fox & Friends.mp3


Duterte: OBAMA GO TO HELL-.mp3

October Surprise

Assange: Not targeting Clinton with next WikiLeaks dump.mp3
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