Liberty News Daily LND - News The Networks Refuse To Use! en-us President Trump: Deportation Campaign a “Military Operation”“Military-Operation” During a White House meeting with a group of manufacturing CEOs, President Trump casually described his administration’s border enforcement and deportation campaign as a “military operation,” which if true would be a violation of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act.

“We’re getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate nobody has seen before,” said the president in video-recorded remarks. “And they’re the bad ones. And it’s a military operation.”

The White House later issued a clarification saying that the president’s statement was intended to be metaphorical.

The domestic use of the U.S. military as a law enforcement agency is forbidden by the Third Amendment to the US Constitution, and by a post-Civil War statute commonly called the Posse Comitatus Act. On June 18, 1878, a federal appropriations bill was amended to include a one-paragraph rider forbidding the use of the U.S. Army “for the purpose of executing the laws” without specific authorization from Congress. This measure effectively ended the long post-war occupation of the reconquered southern states, and was intended to create a definitive segregation between the military and domestic law enforcement – a line that has often been ignored in practice.

Two decades ago, following the Oklahoma City Bombing, military planners at the elite Battle Command Training Program at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas discussed the possibility that “turbulence within the United States” would require the repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Military-Operation”
Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s Tax-Subsidized Benefits Racket,-Jr.’s-Tax-Subsidized-Benefits-Racket Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and receive disability benefits for that condition. A similar or larger number of Americans receive workers’ compensation because they are no longer able to work to support themselves. Very few of them receive more than $100,000 a year tax-free after serving a prison term for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, that list might contain a single name – that of former Illinois Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Divorce records show that the 51-year-old Jackson “receives about $138,400 a year – more than he made as a freshman congressman in 1995,” reports the Chicago Tribune. “Most of that – about $100,000 – is workers’ compensation and tax-free…. The rest of Jackson’s benefits are Social Security Disability Insurance payments, some of which may be taxable.” The disability payments are provided to Jackson because of his bipolar disorder diagnosis.

“Whatever benefits Jesse Jackson Jr. has, he earned them, and as a matter of law, he’s entitled to them,” insists his attorney, Barry Schatz. “If the government thought he wasn’t entitled to them, they wouldn’t be paying them.”

Jackson spent 17 years in Congress before resigning while under investigation by the FBI. He pleaded guilty in 2013 to using $750,000 in campaign donations to pay for vacations, luxury goods, and personal expenses. At the time of his resignation, be was being paid $174,000 a year.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Jr.’s-Tax-Subsidized-Benefits-Racket
WNBA Star Describes Persecution from League’s “Lesbian Culture”’s-“Lesbian-Culture” Women’s basketball standout Candice Wiggins brought her successful WNBA career to a premature end following eight seasons of what she described as constant abuse and harassment as a result of a pervasive culture of lesbianism in the professional sports league.

“It wasn’t like my dreams came true in the WNBA – it was quite the opposite,” Wiggins told the San Diego Tribune. “I wanted to play two more seasons of WNBA, but the experience didn’t lend itself to my mental state.” Like many other accomplished WNBA stars, she was understandably disappointed by the fact that the league wasn’t able to find a large audience. In addition, she continued, “I didn’t like the culture inside the WNBA, and without revealing too much, it was toxic for me – my spirit was being broken.”

“Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge,” Wiggins told the paper “I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist type of place. There was a whole different set of rules they [the other players] could apply.” She claims to have faced constant bullying on top of the intense competition among players for prominence in a commercially marginal sports league.

Wiggins, who was a star at Stanford before her professional career, stood by her remarks following the predictable backlash.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Lesbian-Culture”
“Your Papers, Please!”“Your-Papers,-Please!” Passengers on a Delta Airlines flight from San Francisco to New York City’s JFK International Airport were told that they would have to present their identification to agents of the Customs and Border Protection agency before being allowed to leave the plane.

Matt O’Rourke, a passenger on the flight, snapped a cell phone photograph of the ID inspection and told Rolling Stone magazine that a flight attendant had informed the travelers that “You’ll need to show your papers to agents waiting outside the door.”

The CBP has no constitutional or statutory authority to require identification from passengers on domestic flights. The agency claimed that it has been asked “to assist in locating an individual possibly aboard Delta flight 1583” who had been “ordered removed by an immigration judge,” which could have been done by examining the passenger manifest, rather than conducting an unlawful East German-style internal checkpoint.

For the past decade and a half, if not longer, the Border Patrol has operated checkpoints within 100 miles of the border, thereby creating a de facto “Constitution-free zone” that encompasses, by one estimate, two-thirds of the US population. The agency has apparently expanded that zone to include all commercial passenger service operating anywhere within the continental United States. Americans should take note of the fact that from the CBP’s perspective, their agents patrol a free-fire zone in which they can use lethal force at their discretion.

Two days ago, the Trump administration — inheriting a controversy from its predecessor — argued before the Supreme Court in defense of the proposition that a Border Patrol agent can, in effect, summarily execute someone who is outside the borders of the United States, because constitutional writ does not run beyond the border. That case involved the unlawful killing of a 15-year-old who was standing on the Mexican side of the border when he was shot in the face by the Border Patrol agent.

Two years ago, an appeals court in Texas threw out the victim’s lawsuit, claiming that constitutional protections didn’t apply to the victim because he was a non-citizen with few if any “voluntary” ties to the U.S.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Your-Papers,-Please!”
Philly Soda Tax Leads to Large-Scale Layoffs Philadelphia’s tax on sodas and other sugary drinks is costing city residents their jobs. One of the largest beverage distributors in the city is planning to cut one-fifth of its workforce, and similar effects are being felt at grocery stores and convenience stores as well. Not surprisingly, residents of Philadelphia, rather than paying the soda surcharge, are simply driving beyond city limits to buy beverages that aren’t subject to the tax.

As is always the case when social engineering schemes lead to disaster, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is blaming those on the receiving end of the policy.

“I didn’t think it was possible for the soda industry to be any greedier,” pouted Kenney in a statement to a local reporter. “They are so committed to stopping this tax from spreading to other cities, that they are not only passing the tax they should be paying onto their customer[s], they are actually willing to threaten working men and women’s jobs rather than marginally reduce [sic] their seven figure bonuses.”

As the late Joseph Sobran pointed out, the word “greed” as defined by members of political class refers to a desire on the part of the productive to keep the money they have earned.

Mayor Kenney flung the same accusation at the owners of grocery stores and restaurants, accusing them of “price gouging” for increasing their prices to reflect the city’s beverage tax.

Kenney and his ruling clique expected to collect about $7.6 million a month from the tax, but in January the total was only $2.3 million.

Pennsylvania State Representative Stephen Bloom, seeking to dispel Mayor Kenney’s comprehensive ignorance, explained that “Economics is to politics as gravity is to jumping.”

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Arizona Legislature Allows Racketeering Charges for Protests The Arizona State Senate has approved a bill that would lead to felony racketeering charges for participants and organizers of protests that turn violent. Unlike the federal RICO statute and other state laws modeled after it, the Arizona measure would allow prosecutors to file charges against anybody involved in the protest, whether or not they commit an overt criminal act. That provision most likely would not survive constitutional scrutiny, as it lacks the element called mens rea, or criminal intent, necessary for conviction of an offense. The proposed law, Senate Bill 1142, would allow prosecutors to seize the personal assets of people convicted under the statute.

Supporters of the measure insist that it is necessary to protect property and public order against riots of the kind that have occurred recently in several cities. All 17 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the bill. All 13 Democrats in the chamber voted against it, insisting that laws against rioting, property destruction, and assault are more than adequate. Critics also contend that the tangible impact of the bill would be to chill freedom of speech and the exercise of the right to petition the government for redress.

State Senator Steve Farley of Tucson described the bill as “a total perversion of the RICO process” and predicted that it would lead to “major Constitutional issues.”

“I don’t think this is going to do anything but get us into more lawsuits,” Farley declared.

The measure has now been sent to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Unrest in Anaheim after Off-Duty Cop Shoots Teen The release of a video showing an off-duty Los Angeles police officer firing a gun during a confrontation with a group of teenagers led to riots in Anaheim in which dozens were arrested, reports the Los Angeles Times. No injuries occurred during the incident, but the viral video clip “sparked a flurry of phone calls and emails to Anaheim police, who are investigating the officer’s actions,” the Times observes.

The confrontation on February 21 arose from what the Anaheim PD claims was an ongoing controversy between the officer and a group of juveniles who walk across his property without permission. After the off-duty officer cursed at a girl, one of her male companions rebuked his language. The officer responded by seizing the teenager, which constitutes a physical assault. He then swore at another male teenager as the first pleaded to be let go. Another teen rushed at the officer, shoving him over a row of bushes. A punch was thrown, and the officer reached into the waistband of his jeans for a gun. Seconds later a gunshot is heard.

Two teens were arrested – a thirteen-year-old on suspicion of battery and making criminal threats, and a 15-year-old on suspicion of assault and battery. The officer was not charged, nor has his name been released.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
FBI Authorized Provocateurs to Break the Law at Malheur Refuge Undercover FBI informants sent to infiltrate last year’s protest occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon, were authorized to break the law, FBI Special Agent Ronnie Walker admitted during a pre-trial hearing in Portland. At least nine FBI undercover assets were present during the protest, one of whom, Mark McConnell, was behind the wheel of the SUV carrying protest leader Ammon Bundy at the time of his arrest at a checkpoint set up by the FBI and the Oregon State Police.

Although Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Portland field office, claimed under oath that he had no “direct” knowledge of unlawful activity by informants during the standoff, Special Agent Ronnie Walker admitted that some informants had been given permission to engage in “otherwise unlawful activity” during their undercover mission.

Among the FBI assets on the site was Fabio Minoggio, who left the refuge on January 26, 2016 – just a few hours after protest spokesman LaVoy Finicum was killed by the FBI and Oregon State Police in an ambush on US Highway 395. At the time, Finicum, the Bundy brothers, and several other protesters were headed to a town hall meeting in the town of John Day.

While federal prosecutors have charged protesters with firearms-related offenses during the protests, Walker conceded that FBI assets were permitted to carry arms during the standoff, “in order to maintain credibility.” Minoggio was allowed to conduct training in firearms and hand-to-hand combat, and to organize security teams.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Arizona Congressman: Beware the Terrorist/Pothead Axis!! Unless a border wall is built, drug lords may eventually smuggle a nuclear weapon across the border in a bale of marijuana, suggested Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks in an interview on CNN.

“We used to make the point that if someone wanted to smuggle in a dangerous weapon – even a nuclear weapon – into America how would they do it?” stated Franks. “And the suggestion was made that we’ll simply hide it in a bale of marijuana.”

This was not the first time that Rep. Franks had made this suggestion. During a 2012 speech to the House of Representatives, Franks asked his colleagues to “imagine for a moment … the scenario of Hezbollah, one of Iran’s terrorist proxies, gaining possession of just two nuclear warheads and bringing them across the border into the United States, concealed, let’s say, in bales of marijuana, then transporting them into the heart of two different crowded, unnamed cities – then calling and telling the White House exactly when and where the first one will be detonated, and then following through sixty seconds later.”

Congressman Franks, who apparently aspires to become a successor to Tom Clancy, has not explained what tactical advantage would be gained by hiding a nuclear weapon inside a bale of contraband drugs that would be confiscated if it were found by law enforcement agents.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700!
China Prepares Response to US Carrier Deployment In response to an expanded US military presence in the South China Sea, the Communist Chinese People’s Liberation Army has carried out “counter-attack” drills, which potentially escalated tensions “at a time of great uncertainty in US-China bilateral relations,” reports the Daily Caller.

On February 18, a US Navy carrier battle group led by the USS Carl Vinson arrived in the South China Sea for what were described as “routine operations.” The carrier hosts more than 60 aircraft, and was accompanied by the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer. Beijing replied by deploying the missile destroyers Changsha and Haikou from the PLA’s Army-Navy South China Sea fleet.

Reacting to US military operations in the region, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Gen Shuang declared that "China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, which countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes any country's attempt to undermine China's sovereignty and security in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight." Commercial fishing crews from the Philippines and several other neighboring countries can attest that China has been less than fastidious in respecting freedom of navigation and in pressing illegitimate territorial claims.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Belated “Chinagate” Revelations“Chinagate”-Revelations Johnny Chung, the Chinese-American businessman who served as a key conduit for illegal campaign donations to Bill and Hillary Clinton from the Communist regime in Beijing, “Secretly filmed a tell-all video as an `insurance policy’ – because he feared being murdered,” reports the London Daily Mail. The video was obtained by author David Wead as research for his forthcoming book “Game of Thorns,” which chronicles Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid “and the Chinese government’s long-running operation to buy political influence in Washington.”

In excerpts provided to the Daily Mail, Chung “described how he feared for his life after he publicly admitted to funneling money from Chinese officials to President Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign. Chung cooperated in a federal inquiry and was eventually sentenced to probation for campaign finance and tax violations.

“The reason Johnny asked me to do this interview with him was … as a type of `life insurance’ since he was very concerned about his safety,” explained Bob Abernethy, who helped record the video. “His concern about his safety was understandable, given that there had been three attempts on his life which required FBI protection.” Chung was also intimidated by the death of Ron Brown, Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce, who perished in a plane crash after being “deeply involved in arranging – and selling seats on – Clinton administration trade missions to China,” Abernethy adds.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Chinagate”-Revelations
Leading Critic of Philippine President Duterte Arrested A regional court in a suburb of Manila issued an arrest warrant for Philippine Senator Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of the country’s increasingly authoritarian president Rodrigo Duterte. Last August, De Lima, former head of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, inaugurated an official investigation into the wave of extrajudicial killings ordered by Duterte for the supposed purpose of combating the narcotics trade. One month later she was stripped of her appointment, and the inquiry was squelched.

In a speech last December, de Lima described Duterte’s bloody campaign as a “betrayal of public trust.”

“That constitutes high crimes because mass murders certainly fall into the category of high crimes,” she explained. “High crimes [are] a ground for impeachment under the constitution.”

Duterte has responded by accusing de Lima of being in league with narcotics traffickers – an accusation he has consistently lodged against any public figure who has criticized him.

The charges in the warrant that was filed against de Lima draw on allegations made by inmates in the national penitentiary, who claim to have bribed de Lima while she was justice minister in order to continue trafficking narcotics behind bars. Alex Padilla, de Lima’s attorney, dismisses those claims, protesting that “The court made this decision based on nothing.”

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Administration’s Schizoid Take on “State’s Rights”’s-Schizoid-Take-on-“State’s-Rights” Defending the Trump administration’s welcome decision to rescind federal rules regarding so-called transgender bathrooms and locker rooms, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer invoked the reserved powers of the states under the Tenth Amendment.

“The president has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue and not one for the federal government,” Spicer asserted. “All you have to do is look at what the president’s view has been for a long time that this is not something that the federal government should be involved in. This is a states’ rights issue.”

Two days later, however, Spicer took exactly the opposite position with respect to enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws. While saying that the administration would be tolerant of the use of medical marijuana, he insisted that “there’s still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of … when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

There is no constitutional provision authorizing the federal government to criminalize the use or sale of any drug. The last attempt to carry out prohibition of that kind required a constitutional amendment, which took effect in 1920 and was repealed thirteen years later. No similar amendment was ever put in place authorizing the so-called war on drugs.

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Schizoid-Take-on-“State’s-Rights”
Arch-Neocon Senator Persuaded Trump to choose McMaster Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas is among the most hawkish members of Congress, particularly with respect to Iran. According to the Daily Caller, Cotton “spearheaded the effort for President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster for the post of national security advisor” following the forced resignation of Michael Flynn. Cotton, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, reportedly considered resigning in 2007 when McMaster was passed over for a promotion.

McMaster’s hawkish posture toward Russia helps explain Sen. Cotton’s enthusiasm for his appointment. Cotton’s views toward Moscow are closer to those of his colleague from Arizona, John McCain, than those of President Trump. In January, Cotton complained to Fox News that the Obama administration had “consistently looked the other way from Russia’s provocations and aggressions” and insisted that Washington needs to impose “a sense of new boundaries” on Russian President Putin.

“He needs to have a sense of boundaries and to know that costs are going to be imposed if he crosses those boundaries,” insisted Cotton. The senator had proposed a measure in the annual intelligence bill “that would enforce existing travel restrictions on Russian diplomats – by which I mean Russian spies who are traveling all around America without the proper approvals.” Cotton claimed that the Obama administration had pressured him to remove that provision from the bill “because it would be too provocative.”

This led Cotton to criticize Obama for being “weak on Russia” and for thwarting efforts from “Republicans and Democrats in Congress … to draw a firmer line.”

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Federal Court Effectively Overturns the Second Amendment For the first time, a federal court has explicitly ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect the right of civilians to own firearms classified as “weapons of war.” In upholding Maryland’s ban on private sales and ownership of so-called assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decreed that they fell within the category of “weapons that are most useful in military service,” a phrase contained in the US Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller v. District of Columbia decision.

“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage,” insisted the Fourth Circuit Court.

Many gun rights activists celebrated the 2008 Heller ruling without giving careful examination to the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s clear redefinition of the right to gun ownership as a limited, state-regulated privilege. Scalia wrote that “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home…. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited,” Scalia continued. “It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

A right that is subject to government-imposed limitations is not a right in any sense. There is overwhelming documentary evidence that the Framers of the Second Amendment intended for it to protect the right of the people – individually and in the aggregate – to retain the means to defend themselves against the government they had created.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
FBI Homeland Security Theater Operation Leads to Arrest of Army Veteran The FBI announced the arrest of Missouri resident Robert Lorenzo Hester, Jr. on charges of offering material support to ISIS.

Hester, who was born in Missouri and converted to Islam following a brief and unsuccessful stint in the U.S. Army and now calls himself Mohammed Junaid Al Amreeki, came to the attention of the FBI through a series of social media posts in which he condemned Washington’s foreign policy and what he viewed as the government’s consistent abuse of Muslims. Among his complaints were the Obama administration’s bombing of Yemen and – ironically – US and Israeli support for ISIS, which he did not recognize as representing authentic Islam. “A true Muslim,” Hester argued, “would never commit suicide bombing during Ramadan at the Prophet’s [mosque],” an incident that he took as demonstrating that ISIS was either apostate or a group controlled by enemies of his religion. Prior to being contacted by the FBI’s terrorism facilitator, Hester had considered moving to a Muslim country.

Last August, as documented in the federal criminal complaint, Hester was approached online by an FBI informant posing as a fellow Muslim who explored the depths of his grievances and carefully channeled them in the direction of prosecutable offenses. Over the next six months two FBI provocateurs guided Hester through the familiar ritual of radicalization, one of them threatening his family if he “talked about any plans” or otherwise defied the instructions of his handlers. Eventually he was told to obtain roofing nails and other materials for pipe bombs that were supposedly to be used in a series of attacks on President’s Day. He was arrested at a storage facility on February 17.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Americans Continue to Expatriate at Record Rates As the Trump administration continues preparations for construction of a wall to keep people from entering the country without official permission, an ever-growing number of US citizens are leaving the country in an effort to escape its increasingly onerous taxation, regulation, and enforcement agencies, reports financial adviser Mark Nestmann.

“2016 was another record-breaking year for the number of US citizens and its long-term residents expatriating, giving up their US citizenship and passport or green card,” Nestmann observes. The February 9 edition of the Federal Register documented that during the closing quarter of last year, 2,364 US citizens or long-term legal residents expatriated, bringing the total for 2016 to 5,409.

“That’s a 26 percent increase over 2015,” Nestmann emphasizes. “It’s more than 13 times as high was it was less than two decades ago” – and yet, he contends, this figure is “only the tip of the iceberg.”

The figures published in the Federal Register reflect only those expatriates who have filed IRS Form 8854, and “many former US citizens and green card holders don’t bother,” most likely “because the form requires that you certify whether or not you have been tax-compliant for the preceding five years. There are millions of Americans – especially those living outside the US – who aren’t.”

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Congressmen Petition Trump to Rein In Executive War Powers A letter signed by twelve House Democrats and one Republican urges President Trump to seek a formal declaration of war on the Islamic State prior to an expected escalation in the three-year-old military campaign. President Obama had invoked the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) as his supposed authority to conduct the anti-ISIS campaign, and similar campaigns in Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan.

“For too many years, Congress has ignored these ongoing wars,” declares the letter to President Trump. “Our brave service members face countless dangers for our nation and we owe it to them to act on an AUMF without delay.” The 2001 AUMF, the Representatives object, “has served as a blank check for war.”

It should be pointed out that even if a new AUMF were approved for ongoing military campaigns in the region, that measure would still fall short of the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war.

The lone Republican to sign the letter, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, represents a district heavily populated by active-duty military personnel and their families. He was initially one of the most passionate supporters of the Iraq War, but his views changed largely as a result of long and in-depth conversations with constituents who were bearing the burdens of that conflict.

Both President Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have spoken favorably of a new war resolution.

California Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the lead author of the letter to Trump, was the only member of Congress to vote against the post-9/11 AUMF, insisting that a formal declaration of war was necessary.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
US Client State Creates Military Tribunals for Civilians The Sunni-dominated Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain, a client state of Saudi Arabia and host to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, is preparing a constitutional amendment that would “allow civilians to be tried in military courts, [thereby] further empowering its security forces amid a crackdown on dissent at a level unseen since its 2011 Arab Spring protests,” reports the Associated Press. The measure was approved by the Council of Representatives, the lower house of the country’s National Assembly. This measure comes a month after a royal decree restored the power of the kingdom’s domestic spy service, the National Security Agency, to make arrests of suspected subversives.

Although the government of Bahrain is controlled by Sunni Muslims loyal to the neighboring Saudi dynasty, the majority of its subjects are adherents of the Shi’ite sect of Islam. The 2011 uprising was violently suppressed by the Saudis with the tacit support of the Obama administration as part of a deal in which Riyadh engineered an Arab League resolution in support of the US-led war to overthrow Libyan ruler Muamar Qadaffi. Dissent continues to percolate in Bahrain, prompting both occasional militant attacks on military targets and violent official crack-downs. The most recent round of repression began last April, and has seen the exile or imprisonment of prominent activists and the banning of the main Shi’ite opposition group.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Ex-CIA Agent to be extradited to Italian Prison Sabrina de Sousa, a US citizen and former CIA operative, was taken into custody in Lisbon on February 20 in preparation for extradition to Italy, where she will serve a four-year prison sentence for kidnapping. The 61-year-old was one of 26 Americans convicted by an Italian court, in absentia, for the 2003 abduction of radical Islamic cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nas, also known as Abu Omar, who was bundled into a van on the streets of Milan and taken to Egypt to be tortured. This was one of dozens of similar incidents that took place during the CIA’s rendition program, which began under Bill Clinton and was dramatically expanded by George W. Bush.

Owing to unfathomably bad operational security by the CIA operatives, the abduction was monitored in real time by Italian police, who were able to track the squad’s movements through its use of cell phones. The Italian government had not given permission for the CIA to conduct the operation, nor had it even been given prior notice of it. The US government did not honor Italian extradition requests or cooperate in any way with the legal process that led to the trials and convictions. De Sousa was arrested by Portuguese officials on the basis of an arrest warrant issued through the European Union’s criminal justice system.

De Sousa, who was born in India and holds both US and Portuguese citizenship, was en route to visit her elderly mother in India when she was detained at the airport. It is expected that she will file another appeal through the Italian court system once she has been extradited to that country.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Newly Released Cables Document Torture Career of new CIA Second-in-Command Abu Zubaydah, often described as a member of al-Qaeda’s inner circle, was subjected to lengthy sessions of torture at a CIA-run “black site” prison in Thailand.

“As the CIA’s video cameras rolled, security guards shackled Abu Zubaydah to a gurney and interrogators poured water over his mouth and nose until he began to suffocate,” narrates a report from Pro Publica, summarizing a recently published trove of previously classified CIA cables. “They slammed him against a wall, confined him for hours in a coffin-like box, and deprived him of sleep.”

In addition to being illegal, these torture methods “failed to elicit valuable intelligence not because he was holding back, but because he was not a member of al-Qaeda, and had no knowledge of any plots against the United States,” continues the Pro Publica account. After questions were raised about what had been done to Abu Zubaydah, “the chief of base began pushing to have the tapes destroyed. She accomplished her mission years later when she rose to a senior position at CIA headquarters and drafted an order to destroy the evidence, which was still locked in a CIA safe at the American embassy in Thailand.” Her supervisor signed an order to feed the 92 tapes into a shredder.

The woman who arranged that cover-up, Gina Haspel, has been selected by the Trump administration to serve as the CIA’s second-in-command.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Pay Pal Mogul’s Deep State Alliances’s-Deep-State-Alliances Regarded by admirers and detractors alike as an eccentric libertarian entrepreneur, Pay Pal creator and billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel was one of Donald Trump’s most visible early supporters. Thiel and co-investors Alex Karp and Joe Lonsdale helped create a key part of the electronic surveillance system over which Donald Trump now presides – Palantir Technologies, which was created in 2004 with start-up money provided through the CIA’s In-Q-Tel venture capital branch.

Palantir, which takes its name from a mystical surveillance object from Tolkien’s Middle Earth stories, has enjoyed at least $1.2 billion in federal contracts since 2009. Palantir’s Gotham system “is designed for the needs of intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security,” observes The Intercept. It works “by importing large reams of `structured’ data (like spreadsheets) and `unstructured’ data (like images) into one centralized database, where all of the information can be visualized and analyzed in one workspace…. [Its] chief appeal is that it’s not designed to do any single thing in particular, but is flexible and powerful enough to accommodate the requirements of any organization that needs to process large amounts of both personal and abstract data.”

Documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden prove that “Palantir has helped expand and accelerate the NSA’s global spy network,” including the agency’s British equivalent, the GCHQ.

“Palantir has worked for years to boost the global dragnet of the NSA and its international partners,” summarizes The Intercept.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Deep-State-Alliances
Connecticut Couple Being Charged $100 a Day after Vandals Attack Their Home$100-a-Day-after-Vandals-Attack-Their-Home Stamford, Connecticut residents Lexene Charles and Heather Lindsay are being fined $100 a day because they refuse to cover up a racial slur that was spray-painted on their garage door. According to Lindsay, this is just the most recent of several attacks of its kind, and the couple will not remove the offensive epithet until local authorities conduct a proper investigation.

Mr. Charles is black, and Lindsay is white. She told the New York Post that their home has been vandalized on previous occasions, and that her husband has been the subject of racial taunts by hostile neighbors. She maintains that the graffiti will remain until officials “do their job” and “not just cover it up and sweep it under the table as they have done in the past…. I’ve had it,” she declares.

Attorney Darnell Crosland complains that the police asked them to remove the offending word “and to just act normal, like nothing happened.”

Stamford police say that an investigation is ongoing, but no witnesses have been found. On February 7 the couple was given a blight citation, which carries a daily fine of $100. That citation claims that it “can be enforceable as a lien on your property.” The home is scheduled for a foreclosure trial in early March.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700$100-a-Day-after-Vandals-Attack-Their-Home
Court Issues Rare Denial of Cop’s “Qualified Immunity”’s-“Qualified-Immunity” The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has denied “qualified immunity” to a police officer who arrested an entirely innocent woman on spurious drug dealing charges, which resulted in her being incarcerated for 80 days. During that time, the victim, April Yvette Smith, lost her job. The officer responsible for this outrage remains safely employed, but he will not be allowed to take refuge in qualified immunity from Smith’s civil rights lawsuit.

Jason Munday, an Officer with the Lincolnton, North Carolina Police Department, gave sixty dollars to a confidential informant and told him to set up a drug deal. The informant, Rufus Lynch, bought a small quantity of narcotics from a woman he identified as April Smith. Neither of the recording devices given to Lynch operated correctly, so no firm identification of the suspected dealer was ever made. Munday browsed police databases in search of women named April Smith with previous drug offenses. He found three women with that name, one of whom lived in Lincoln County, albeit eleven miles from the address where the drug sale allegedly took place. Acting with the serene confidence of an official who considers himself immune to accountability, Munday arrested Smith – nine months after the controlled buy.

As the appeals court observed, “There is no evidence that [Munday and his partner] investigated Smith herself, or found any indication that Smith frequented the site of the drug sale that day, that month, or at all.”

Since It “would be unreasonable for any officer to view Munday’s dearth of evidence as sufficient to establish probable cause … qualified immunity does not apply” in this case, and Munday is individually liable for damages, concludes the court.

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Qualified-Immunity”
New Trump Policy to Leave “Dreamer” Protections Intact“Dreamer”-Protections-Intact After months of equivocation on the subject, and owing in part to pressure from House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Trump administration has indicated that it will leave in place protections for so-called “dreamers” -- immigrants who entered the country illegally as children, according to administrative guidelines issued for the Department of Homeland Security on February 21. The directive instructs that all other illegal immigrants would be considered subject to immediate deportation.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly moved on the same day to implement a number of other immigration enforcement policies ordered by President Trump. This includes directing agency heads to hire thousands of additional officers, end so-called "catch-and-release" policies that had been in place over the two previous administrations, and to initiate preparatory work on construction of the much-discussed U.S.-Mexico border wall.

In a conference call with reporters, “a DHS official stressed that the directives would not affect Obama-era protections for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and others given a reprieve in 2014” through an Obama executive order, reported Fox News. But outside those exemptions, Kelly emphasized, DHS "no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement."

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Dreamer”-Protections-Intact
The Russia Views of Trump’s New National Security Advisor’s-New-National-Security-Advisor General H.R. McMaster, who was chosen by President Trump to serve as his National Security Advisor, has expressed decidedly hawkish views toward Russia. In a May 2016 speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, McMaster depicted an insurgent Moscow that was exploiting what he characterized as American complacency.

“Even though it may have been apparent, at least since 2008, that Russia was changing its geostrategic behavior and engaging in … probing at the far reaches of American power, our strategic response was to accelerate our withdrawal” of combat forces from Europe, complained McMaster. “And what we’re seeing now is we’ve awakened to … this threat from Russia, who is waging limited war for limited objectives – annexing Crimea, invading Ukraine, at zero cost, and consolidating gains over that territory.”

According to McMaster, “What is required is forward deterrence [and the ability ]to be able to ratchet up the cost at the frontier.”

General McMaster’s perspective on Russia has earned the approval of Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, a frequent critic of President Trump who is also a passionate advocate of a more confrontational posture toward Moscow.

“I give President Trump great credit” for selecting McMaster, declared McCain, who also expressed approval for the president’s other national security cabinet choices.

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-New-National-Security-Advisor
Where Do You Turn When a Cop is a Sexual Predator? Elizabeth Restrepo, a convenience store clerk from South Carthage, Tennessee, was terrorized on several occasions by an armed male stranger who would torment her with vulgar remarks, and lewd comments about her anatomy. On one occasion he showed her a cell phone video of himself masturbating. At one point, Restrepo recalls, the unwanted visitor reached across the counter, grabbed her hair, and asked her to take a nude self-portrait.

Restrepo was desperate for help, but calling the police would pose a problem, since her tormentor, Frank Geisenhoffer, is a veteran officer with the South Carthage Police Department.

“Everything about Frank is scary, but it’s even more scary because he has a badge,” Restrepo told a local TV news investigative team. She eventually decided to make covert recordings of his visits so that when she filed a formal complaint it wouldn’t be the word of “an officer against a girl that just works at a convenience store.”

The victim’s protests eventually led to a disciplinary hearing, after which Geisenhoffer was suspended for two weeks without pay and put on administrative probation for a year. As of February 20, Geisenhoffer remains employed by the department.

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Massachusetts Police Department Seeks Drug War Alternatives Two years ago, former Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Chief Leonard Campanello, seeking to address a growing problem of heroin addiction, invited people struggling with addiction to come to the station, hand over their heroin, and then be set free to seek treatment – without being arrested or charged. Since that time, the Gloucester PD has recorded 530 cases in which drug users have sought help through what has come to be known as the “Angel” program – and some of them have traveled significant distances to do so.

Steve Lenikoski, the first to seek help, was “a heroin addict living in his car in San Jose, California when he read about the fledgling program on social media,” recalls the Boston Globe. “Soon, he was headed east, still high on heroin. A stranger from Danvers picked him up at Logan Airport and gave him a ride to the Gloucester station, where he arrived at 3:30 a.m.on a rainy and foggy night. The police then drove him to Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, where he waited until short-term space became available in a nearby detox facility. Longer treatment followed in California.”

Following the Glouster PD’s example, 200 agencies in 28 states have introduced similar programs. John Rosenthal, a Boston-area developer who supports the Angel program, explains that it “puts police in the lifesaving business instead of the spin-drying business of arresting and releasing. We estimate that approximately 10,000 people have been placed into treatment” through similar initiatives across the country.

Chief Campanello was forced out of his position last October after allegedly lying to city investigators probing complaints against him. It’s not yet clear that impact, if any, the scandal will have on the program he initiated.

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Republican Politicians Condemn Efforts to End Drug Prohibition Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has condemned Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg for announcing that as of March 1her office would no longer prosecute low-level marijuana charges. This decision was prompted, in part, by the urgent need to deal with an overcrowded county jail, and it reflects the prosecutor’s view that her office should focus on more serious crimes. According to Ogg, Harris County has spent a quarter-billion dollars over the past decade to lock up people arrested for possession of less than four ounces of marijuana, and she believes the taxpayers are entitled to a break – or, at least, that their money should be spent on prosecuting violent criminals, such as burglars and rapists.

Unreceptive to the logic of Ogg’s position, Patrick insists that “he does not believe that law enforcement has the discretion to choose what laws to enforce and what laws to ignore,” explained his press secretary, Alejandro Garcia. The Lt. Governor complained that the policy would turn the jurisdiction into a “sanctuary county” for low-level drug offenders.

Where the Texas Lt. Governor wants to crack down on a county in his own state, Idaho’s Republican Governor Butch Otter has asked President Trump to crack down on states with more liberal marijuana laws. In a recent letter to the president, Otter asked that the Federal government take action against neighboring states like Oregon and Washington, which have decriminalized pot. He also complained about Obama’s decision to de-emphasize enforcement of federal laws against marijuana.

“In that respect, Idaho is a virtual island of compliance, and we are paying the price,” Otter complained.

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Libertarian-Leaning Judge on list of Potential Trump Appointments Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett is reportedly in the pool of candidates for an appointment to fill one of two vacancies in the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. That New Orleans-based appellate court covers federal districts in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The fact that Willet’s name is in the list publicized by Legal Times is a heartening development for libertarian constitutional analyst Damon Root.

A concurring opinion written by Willett in the 2015 case Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is “effectively a call to judicial arms in defense of economic liberty,” Root observes. The case struck down a regulatory requirement that people who offered a non-invasive cosmetic procedure called eyebrow threading obtain an occupational license.

“This case is fundamentally about the American Dream and the unalienable human right to pursue happiness without curtsying to government on bended knee,” wrote Judge Willett. “It is about whether government can connive with rent-seeking factions to ration liberty unrestrained, and whether judges must submissively uphold even the most risible encroachments.”

Another potential nominee is former Texas solicitor general James Ho, who is a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Ho would be an interesting choice, given that he “is best known in legal circles for a 2006 law review article defending the constitutionality of birthright citizenship for the US born-children of undocumented immigrant parents,” writes Root, pointing out that his position “is directly at odds with the stated views of Donald Trump.”

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Wisconsin Congressman Wants to Use Asset Forfeiture to Build Border Wall Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin has proposed a bill bearing the contrived and unwieldy title Build Up Illegal Line Defenses With Assets Lawfully Lifted – or BUILD WALL -- Act of 2017. The measure would expand the use of asset forfeiture to confiscate money that would be used to erect a border barricade.

“As the national conversation on immigration continues to heat up, Republican lawmakers are working to find solutions that will protect our border while be conscientious of taxpayers’ money,” states the Congressman, who proffers his bill as a solution. If enacted, it would “require the US Attorney General to provide a detailed report on the amount of annual profits brought into the United States by Mexican drug cartels, as well as a study of how the Department of Justice can increase assets seized from such cartels.”

By targeting supposed “profits” from the drug market, the legislation would be focusing efforts on co-opting drug trafficking, rather than preventing or deterring it. The well-established logic of federal bureaucracy would inevitably require that all drug-related confiscations carried out anywhere in the country would be justified as an effort to comply with that mandate. The TechDirt news site points out that “the reality is that the billions the cartels make from drug sales are safely back in Mexico and … out of the reach of US law enforcement. That leaves everyone on this side of the border, who can now be viewed as unwilling donors to the cause.”

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
LAPD Arrests Hundreds in Blatant Rent-Seeking Operation Over the past year, the Los Angeles Police Department has arrested hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers in sting operations. This project was funded through a 20-cent tax on cab fares for the purpose of cracking down on so-called “bandit cabs” – including services that are not licensed by the city and do not run meters.

Unlike either licensed or unlicensed taxi services, drivers for Uber and Lyft arrange for fares through smart-phone apps, rather than responding to “street hails.”

“Here’s how the stings go down,” reports the Orange County Register. “Posing as ordinary pedestrians, undercover officers wave down cars with Uber logos. The drivers who stop typically think the person either needs help or can download the app on the spot. If drivers pull over, officers tell them they don’t have the Uber app but offer to pay in cash. Drivers who accept the fare are then met almost immediately by squad cars and handcuffs.”

More than 240 Uber and Lyft drivers were arrested in these entrapment operations during 2016, and the department’s entrapment scheme has continued into the present year. As the Register observes, “The rise in arrests just so happens to coincide with plummeting demand for traditional taxis. In just three years, the number of taxi rides has plunged by almost a third. Drops were even starker in Hollywood and downtown LA, where the number of trips fell by 44 percent.”

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Will Trump Administration Use “Alternate Facts” in its Budget?“Alternate-Facts”-in-its-Budget? Every presidential administration since FDR has used accounting legerdemain in composing a federal budget. Accordingly, Wall Street Journal economics analyst Nick Timiraos was not breaking new ground in reporting that the Trump administration is preparing to use unrealistic projections of economic growth in order to minimize the impact of its spending and tax policies on the deficit.

However, no previous administration has urged its supporters to dismiss all media criticism as “fake news,” or invoked the principle of “alternate facts” to defend claims that can’t be reconciled with the objective record. When President Trump unveils his budget projections, predicts Stan Collender of Forbes magazine, most credible independent economists “either will disagree with Trump outright, or to be diplomatic, will say that what the White House is assuming is in the extreme upper range of what’s acceptable.”

During his campaign, Trump promised significant tax cuts, dramatic increases in military spending, and a $1 trillion infrastructure program – will also claiming that he will be able to balance the budget.

The problem, Collender continues, is that unless Trump “issues an executive order repealing the laws of economics and budgeting or Congress rejects most of his tax and spending agenda, the federal deficit and debt will both be much higher than Trump will be forecasting.”

This suggests that the Trump administration and Republican congressional leadership will take refuge in accounting tricks while sending forth spokesmen to denounce critical coverage as “fake news.” That tactic may be popular with Trump’s most devoted constituency, but it won’t do anything to protect them from the economic consequences of continued federal profligacy.

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Alternate-Facts”-in-its-Budget?
Emerging Pence-Bannon Schism on Europe? A significant gulf appears to have opened between Vice President Mike Pence and chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon regarding Washington’s relationship with the European Union.

“The president did ask me to come here to Brussels, to the home of the European Union, and deliver an additional message,” Pence stated during a joint press conference with European Council President Donald Tusk. “So today it’s my privilege, on behalf of President Trump, to express the strong commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the European Union.”

“Whatever our differences, our two continents share the same heritage, the same values, and above all, the same purpose – to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy, and the rule of law” Pence continued.

A week earlier, however, White House Strategist Bannon “met with a German diplomat and delivered a different message,” reported Reuters, citing multiple unnamed sources briefed about the meeting. According to that account, Bannon described the EU as a “flawed construct” and indicated that the administration favors “conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis.”

A White House official confirmed that the meeting took place, but insisted that Bannon and the German diplomat “only spoke for about three minutes and it was just a quick `hello.’” The German government declined to comment on the meeting, describing it as confidential.

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Yates is Gone – But her Dangerous Prosecutorial Memo Remains–-But-her-Dangerous-Prosecutorial-Memo-Remains Former acting US Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by President Trump after she instructed Justice Department attorneys not to defend his controversial travel ban executive order. She insisted that the order contained serious constitutional flaws, an assessment that is debatable, but defensible. Howard Root, former CEO of Vascular Solutions, Inc., can testify that Yates was not consistently scrupulous about constitutional protections.

Root recently retired at age 56 from the company, which he started 20 years ago, in order to “avoid the risk of being criminally prosecuted under the federal government’s `responsible corporate officer’ doctrine for a second time,” he writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column. Following a false and malicious claim from a disgruntled former employee, Root’s company, which manufactures FDA-approved kits used to treat varicose veins, was targeted by the Justice Department for a campaign of legal persecution in which more than 100 employees were threatened with criminal charges. The company had to hire 121 lawyers at a cost of $125 million. The case went to trial a year ago and ended four days later with an acquittal on all charges. One juror told Root that “what the federal government did to you, your company and your employees is nothing short of criminal.”

The federal prosecutors who targeted Root followed “their marching orders, detailed in a five-page Justice Department memo written in 2015 by then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates,” he recalls. They were ordered to “focus on individual wrongdoing from the very beginning” of every corporate investigation, and to use all of the tactics at their disposal to recover “as much money as possible” in settlements extorted from companies thus targeted.

Sally Yates is gone, concludes Root, and “Now it’s time to tear up the Yates Memo.”

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700–-But-her-Dangerous-Prosecutorial-Memo-Remains
Greenspan Returns to his “Goldbug” Roots“Goldbug”-Roots Decades ago, long before being appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan had a reputation as a devoted academic defender of the free market and the gold standard.

“The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit,” wrote Greenspan in his 1966 essay “Gold and Economic Freedom.” Under a gold standard, “government deficit spending … is severely limited,” he explained. After being appointed Fed chief by Bill Clinton, Greenspan pursued policies directly opposed to the principles he once professed, unleashing monetary inflation that fueled two disastrous speculative investment bubbles – the so-called Tech Bubble, which burst in 2000, and the housing and mortgage bubble, the collapse of which in 2008 nearly destroyed the global economy.

Now well into his tenth decade of life, Greenspan appears to have circled back to his earlier views. In an interview with the World Gold Council, Greenspan warns that “The Eurozone isn’t working” and said that “I view gold as the primary global currency.”

“The European Central Bank has greater problems than the Federal Reserve,” Greenspan insists. “And I have grave concerns about the future of the euro itself.” This is why, in his view, “Investment in gold now is insurance.”

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Goldbug”-Roots
Campus Indoctrination Program Targets Psychologically Well-Adjusted Employees Employees at West Virginia’s Marshall University were targeted for “heterosexual privilege” indoctrination as part of the school’s “Safe Space” training for faculty and staff. The advertised purpose of this exercise is for campus employees to experience the “isolation” suffered by sexual minorities, and to promote a more “inclusive” environment. In practice, the program is yet another variant on the familiar tactic of collectivist gaslighting – a term that refers to a systematic effort to deprive people of their bearings on reality.

The perspective that informs the indoctrination sessions, summarized a local news report, is that “heterosexual white men in America have an advantage and may appear insensitive to culturally diverse students.”

“Our society is geared toward traditional heterosexual roles and relationships, and as a result, there are certain `privileges’ that heterosexuals in traditional relationships are afforded that they may take for granted that others in the LGBTQ community may not have,” declared Morgan Conley, a mental health specialist for the university. Employees dragooned into participating in the event were put through a series of exercises, one of which was called “Privilege for Sale.” Employees were separated into groups and handed a list of the supposed privileges mentioned by Conley, and then asked to select, as a group, which of the privileges they would keep if they were limited to a few of them.

Among those purported privileges was the ability to use a gender-specific restroom without being criticized or otherwise having difficulty.

Not surprisingly, Marshall University – once renowned for its resilient football team – is now famous for being a LBGTQ-friendly campus.

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Union Impedes Sheriff’s Effort to Expose Abusive Deputies’s-Effort-to-Expose-Abusive-Deputies Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has assembled a roster of roughly 300 deputies who have a history of serious misconduct – including domestic violence, theft, bribery, and brutality – who would have serious credibility issues if called on to testify in court. He has offered to provide those names to prosecutors for entry on the Brady List – a database of corrupt officers whose personal background must be provided to the defense during criminal trials.

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs “has taken the department to court,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The union contends that the so-called Police Officers Bill of Rights, a California statute that protects the professional privileges of law enforcement officers, forbids the disclosure of negative information from an officer’s personnel file. An appeals court agreed with the union, granting it a temporary injunction.

“California has some of the strictest protections on law enforcement officer records in the country,” notes the LA Times. “Discipline hearings, personnel files and even the names of officers accused in internal affairs investigations are secret. Prosecutors – and defense attorneys – require a special court order to glean even basic information from an officer’s personnel file.”

Assistant LA County Sheriff Todd Rogers insists that the department has “a clear constitutional obligation” to disclose the names of deputies whose history would create credibility issues. The sheriff sent the deputies written warning last October that their files contained evidence of “moral turpitude,” including such crimes as evidence tampering, obstructing investigations, falsifying records, and using unreasonable force.

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Effort-to-Expose-Abusive-Deputies
New Police App Would Turn Bodycams into Investigative Devices In recent years, pressure has mounted on police departments to issue body cameras to their patrol officers as a way of making objective records of their encounters with criminal suspects and other citizens. This push for transparency quickly inspired push-back in many jurisdictions in the form of laws and administrative policies intended to limit public access to bodycam video.

The Arizona-based Taser Company, which has built a profitable niche in providing police departments with its signature portable electro-shock device, has emerged as an industry leader in body-mounted cameras, and it has announced an initiative to combine bodycams with an artificial intelligence-enhanced surveillance capability.

Taser has acquired two AI-focused firms called Dextro and Fossil, from which it is developing an in-house artificial intelligence division that “will develop AI-powered tech specifically aimed at law enforcement, using automation and machine learning algorithms to let cops search for people and objects in video footage captured by on-body camera systems,” reports the tech news service Vocativ. This suggests that “body-worn cameras, which are already being used by police departments in many major cities, could soon become powerful surveillance tools” that could be used to identify people “both retroactively and in real time.”

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
CPAC Keynote Speaker Accused of Defending Pederasty Alt-Right celebrity troll Milo Yiannopoulos, who was chosen to offer the keynote address during this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, offered what appeared to be a defense of pederasty on social media. Following publication of the video-recorded comments, CPAC retracted its invitation.

Yiannopoulos, more commonly called Milo, spoke approvingly of what he described as “relationships between younger boys and older men – the sort of `coming of age’ relationship – those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents.”

The man with whom Yiannopoulos was conversing commented that what was being described “sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me.”

“And you know what?” replied Yiannopoulos. “I’m grateful for Father Michael,” an otherwise unnamed Catholic priest who supposedly served as a sexual tutor. He later claimed that as a 14-year-old he had been the aggressor in that illicit sexual relationship. He also emphasized that homosexual liaisons between adults and teenagers are not pedophilia, because that term only applies to the exploitation of children before they reach puberty. Milo was explicitly defending pederasty, which are sexual encounters between adults and post-pubertal but underage minors.

In a Facebook post he revised the story about his alleged encounter with a Catholic priest, insisting that it was a joke referring to “clerical sexual abuse committed against me when I was a teen.” He also insisted that treating the subject in an “edgy” way is his “prerogative” because of his “victim” status – a tactic, interestingly, often used by the feminist agitators and campus leftists whom Milo has frequently derided.

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Gender Revolutionaries Celebrate Steroid-Enhanced Female Wrestling Champion The use of performance-enhancing substances, such as testosterone or testosterone precursors, such as androstenedione, is banned by most professional sports leagues and amateur athletic associations. In the State of Texas, possession of steroids is a Class A misdemeanor, and every school and school district in the state is required to publish a notice that it is against the law to use human growth hormones for the purpose of body building or enhancing athletic performance.

That statute contains an exception allowing the use of testosterone and other growth hormones for a “valid medical purpose” – and, predictably, this includes prescribing testosterone to psychologically troubled girls who “identify” as boys. Among that number is 17-year-old Mack Beggs, a biological female who recently won the girls 110-pound Class 6A Region II wrestling meet because her opponent, Madeline Rocha, forfeited the match rather than compete against a steroid-enhanced opponent.

Nancy Beggs, the self-identified transgender wrestler’s grandmother and guardian, accuses her critics of displaying “bias, hatred and ignorance” by refusing to wrestle against a competitor whose use of an illegal performance-enhancing substance is depicted as part of a “transition” from female to male.

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Is Trump Planning to Invade Syria? Despite welcome indications that he would reconsider Washington’s interventionist foreign policy and avoid new misadventures in nation-building, President Trump appears ready to stage a large-scale invasion of Syria, writes former Congressman and two-time Republican presidential contender Ron Paul.

Approaching the president’s 30-day deadline for the Pentagon to devise a plan to defeat ISIS it appears that “the military is going to present Trump with a plan to do a whole lot more of what we’ve been doing and somehow expect different results,” by urging significant combat deployments to both Syria and Iraq, Dr. Paul observes. This would represent a significant escalation in both countries, and actually undermine the current Syrian cease-fire, in which Russia and Iran are actually working to resolve the conflict. Trump is also suggesting a major nation-building enterprise within Syria itself.

“In language reminiscent of his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the president told a political rally in Florida over the weekend that he was going to set up `safe zones’ in Syria and would make the Gulf states pay for them,” points out Dr. Paul. Among the significant problems with this proposal – even assuming that Syrian President Assad and his government would consent – is the fact that the same Gulf States “are the major backers of al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria – as the president’s own recently-resigned National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, revealed in a 2015 interview. Unless these safe zones are being set up to keep al-Qaeda and ISIS safe, it doesn’t make any sense to involve the Gulf States.”

Solving the ISIS problem, Dr. Paul concludes, “must involve a whole lot less US activity in the Middle East, not a whole lot more.”

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel-Rahman Dies in Prison“Blind-Sheik”-Omar-Abdel-Rahman-Dies-in-Prison Omar Abdel-Rahman, commonly known as the Blind Sheik, died on February 18 at the age of 78 in the Federal Correction Complex in Butner, North Carolina. Abdel-Rahman, who fled from Egypt in 1990 and established a network emanating from a New Jersey mosque, was convicted of conspiracy in the February 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center. Six people died in that attack, which involved using a bomb-laden Ryder truck to destroy the foundation of one tower, which was intended to topple it against the other tower in what had been planned to be a mass casualty incident.

Not noted in most press accounts of Abdel-Rahman’s passing was the fact that he became a CIA asset in 1987, in which capacity he recruited mujahedeen fighters in Afghanistan. He remained on the CIA’s payroll following the Red Army’s departure in January 1989. Despite being on the State Department’s terrorism watch list, the Sheik was issued a visa at the US consulate in Khartoum, Sudan by a CIA operative. After relocating to New Jersey he was welcomed into a terrorist cell that included at least two other US government assets – Mahmoud Abouhalima and former Special Forces Captain Ali A. Mohamed, who had also helped train Afghan jihadists. Mohammed was employed as an FBI informant, as was another member of the same cell, an Egyptian intelligence agent named Emad Salem.

In the months leading up to the 1993 World Trade Center attack, Salem gave repeated, precise warnings to his FBI handlers, which he had the foresight to document through covert recordings. Following the bombing, Salem rebuked his FBI associates.

“You saw this bomb [go] off … and you know that we could avoid that,” Salem chastised Special Agent John Anticev. “You get paid, guys, to prevent things like this from happening.”

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blind-Sheik”-Omar-Abdel-Rahman-Dies-in-Prison
The Taste of (relative) Freedom!! Students and faculty alike at Harrison County, Pennsylvania’s Penn-Trafford High School are celebrating the end of Michelle Obama’s School Lunch guidelines, which had imposed strict limits on calories, fat, sugar, salt, and practically anything else that makes food palatable – or, where government-grade food products are concerned, tolerable.

“In previous years when they headed to lunch, Penn-Trafford High School students had to wait in longer lines for fewer choices, and the district’s food-service program was losing money,” observes the Pittsburgh Tribune. “This year, administrators chose to have the high school opt out of the National School Lunch Program, and they are on a pace to be back in the black, budget-wise.”

By casting off the Obama-era regulatory yoke, the school is now set up like a food court, with a wide variety of selections that are both healthy and appetizing.

“You get to choose what you want instead of being sort of funneled in and only having one choice,” explains student Chase Zavarella. “I think everyone is happier with the new selection.”

During the Obama reign, students would rebel against the bland but supposedly healthy fare, which would end up filling garbage cans while the hungry students themselves would fill their bellies with junk food. District Business Manager Brett Lago points out that Michelle Obama’s regimented approach ignored the fact that students have differing nutritional needs – and that by the time they reach high school they are capable of making good choices for themselves.

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700!
What Is Trump-Era Conservatism? Donald Trump presides over a federal government that is unified under Republican control – but the conservative movement itself is showing evidence of a growing schism. Trump’s populist appeal has provoked the predictable opposition from globalist-minded neoconservatives, who are visibly frantic over the prospect of being evicted from power. His style of governance – and the antics of many of his followers within the Alternative, or “Alt-Right” – has also prompted push-back from other elements of the conservative movement, as well. Those schisms were made visible this week in anticipation of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

“Once upon a time speakers like Ronald Reagan and Jim Buckley gave important speeches at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference,” declared David Boaz of the libertarian Cato Institute. “This weekend CPAC and the American Conservative Union announced that Steve Bannon and Milo will take the podium that once hosted Reagan. CPAC should now be known as CARPAC, the Conservative/Alt-Right Political Action Conference.”

Robby Soave of Reason magazine, who has documented the antics of the campus-based radical left, perceives a kinship between the PC left and at least some elements of Alt-Right.

“The modern conservative coalition isn't a set of beliefs, it's a cult of personality around Donald Trump and Trump-esque figures,” Soave opines. “It doesn't matter whether they hold conservative views. It doesn't even matter if they're Republicans. To be a right-wing hero in today's right-wing bubble, all you have to do is bash the left and say Make America Great Again.”

Rod Dreher of the American Conservative grimly tells fellow religious and social conservatives that “there is no room for us in movement conservatism — at least not if our principles and self-respect matter to us.”

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Chooses New National Security Adviser President Donald Trump has chosen retired Lt. General H.R. McMaster, a career Army officer and strategist, to serve as his new National Security Adviser. Trump also announced that neo-conservative John Bolton, who had been interviewed for that post and had previously been considered for appointment as deputy Secretary of State, “will serve the administration in an unspecified capacity,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Widely regarded as one of the leading intellectuals in the US military, McMaster headed the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Virginia. He earned a great deal of notoriety from his 1997 book “Dereliction of Duty,” which offered a detailed critique of military leadership during the Vietnam War.

“I think it’s important in particular to understand your most recent experiences as an army, because a lot of times people say, `Gosh, the military, they’re always ready to fight the last war,’” McMaster said in a recent interview. “But actually the opposite is the case,” he continued. “The problems you have in the next war are oftentimes because you studied your last war only superficially – didn’t study it enough really to learn the lessons.”

McMaster has focused on revising military doctrine to deal with long-term counterinsurgency warfare.

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Sloppy Business of State-Licensed Larceny An attorney representing San Diego entrepreneur James Slatic, owner of the Med-West medical marijuana clinic, has filed a legal notice demanding the return of money seized from Slatic and his family following a January 2016 police raid on his legally operated facility. The joint task force raid followed a tip from an anonymous source that Med-West was supposedly using an illegal solvent to extract THC from marijuana.

Clad in body armor and carrying drawn guns, police confiscated the company’s equipment, products, and more than $300,000 in cash at the Med-West warehouse. Over the next several days police froze the personal bank accounts of Slatic, his wife, and two stepdaughters, claiming that the money constituted proceeds of an “illegal marijuana extraction” enterprise.

Because these acts of larceny were carried out in the name of civil asset forfeiture, no criminal charges were filed against any of the victims. The warrant targeting the bank accounts was issued on February 2, 2016, and Deputy District Attorney Jorge Del Portillo informed Judge Jay Bloom that the State of California had a year to begin formal forfeiture proceedings. Wesley Hottot, an attorney for the public interest litigation group called the Institute for Justice, filed a demand for the return of the stolen bank funds. Tanya Sierra, a spokesperson for the DA’s office, insists that the statute of limitations didn’t begin to run until June7 of last year, because on that date Judge Bloom signed an order to transfer the accounts to the DA.

Hottot points out that under California state law, the statute of limitations begins at the time of seizure, but that the DA’s office “is forcing us to litigate for the money’s return,” rather than obeying the law.

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How Freedom of Speech is Dying Government policy is not the most dangerous threat to freedom of speech in contemporary America, writes attorney David French. “Government entities that censor or silence citizens on the basis of their political, cultural, or religious viewpoint almost always lose in court,” French maintains. “With some exceptions, the First Amendment remains robust. Yet the culture of free speech is eroding away, rapidly.”

Political polarization and what French describes as the tendency of people to “cocoon” themselves in the company of like-minded associates on social media and elsewhere have combined “to create an atmosphere in which private citizens are increasingly weaponizing their expression – using their social and economic power not to engage in debate, but to silence dissent.”

“Corporate bullying, social-media shaming, and relentless peer pressure combine to place a high cost on any departure from the mandated norms,” French observes. Even in the section of rural Tennessee where he resides, French reports that he has “friends who are afraid to post about their religious views online or express disagreements during mandatory corporate-diversity seminars, lest they lose their jobs. One side speaks freely. The other side speaks not at all.”

Now that politically correct conformity has metastasized into the marrow of American society, he concludes, “There is no government solution to this problem.”

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Son of Columbian Cocaine Kingpin Claims his Dad was a CIA Asset The son of the late Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar has published a memoir claiming that his father was a CIA asset before being killed by Columbian police in a 1993 shoot-out.

Sebastian Marroquin, who was born Juan Pablo Escobar, now lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His new book “In Fraganti: What My Father Never Told Me,” describes growing up in a household where his father was not at all reticent about describing the family business, and piles of drugs were routinely displayed in front of him.

“In my book, I tell the story of my father working for the CIA selling cocaine to finance the fight against Communism in Central America,” Marroquin explained in a recent television interview.

“The business of drug trafficking is very different from what we imagine,” he elaborated. “What the CIA did was buy the [officials who] brought the drugs into their country.” In that scheme the elder Escobar had “direct relations with the CIA … the person who sold the most drugs to the CIA was Pablo Escobar,” his son insists.

The entire purpose of drug prohibition, from Marroquin’s perspective, is to create a controlled market that would accentuate the illicit profits harvested by Deep State agencies.

“Drug prohibition is a great business for those who close off all the points of entry,” he emphasizes. “I believe that prohibition is the best propaganda.”

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Administration Throws up Impediment to Gender Revolution Last year, US District Judge Reed O’Connor imposed a temporary injunction against the Obama administration’s administrative redefinition of the Title IX anti-discrimination law by substituting the term “gender” for “sex.” If it had been implemented, that arbitrary bureaucratic action would have required educational institutions to submit to the whims of self-designated transgender people by allowing biological males who identify as females to have access to rest rooms, locker rooms, and similar facilities reserved for psychologically well-adjusted females, and vice versa. Judge O’Connor sensibly ruled that Title IX “is not ambiguous” in defining sex as “the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at birth.”

In October, the Obama administration appealed the injunction and, in a separate legal filing, sought to preserve the gains made by the gender revolution by requesting that Judge O’Connor limit the ruling to 13 states that had initially appealed the directive. O’Connor ruled against the Obama administration, insisting that “A nationwide injunction is necessary because the alleged violation extends nationwide.”

Although a hearing on the injunction had been scheduled for February 14, the Trump administration filed a motion asking to withdraw from the previous administration’s motion. This happened shortly after Jeff Sessions was sworn in as US Attorney General.

Next month, the US Supreme Court is expected to take up a case in which a psychologically troubled female high school student from Virginia has demanded to use the men’s restroom – in spite of the fact that the school district had given her access to what amounts to a private restroom of her own.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Wisconsin Cracks Down on Contraband Butter Wisconsin residents who want to purchase Kerrygold Irish butter have to smuggle it in from out of state – and face potential fines or jail terms for violating an obscure 1970 statute requiring all butter sold in the Badger State to be tested by a panel of experts and assigned a letter grade for quality.

The state law “spends pages detailing the steps needed to sell butter, and the 32 different quality points on which it needs to be judged,” explains Milwaukee’s NBC affiliate TMJ4 News. “Violating the butter law can result in fines upward of $1,000, or jail terms of six months.”

Lisa Miller, marketing director for Oruna North America, the Irish dairy co-op that sells Kerrygold butter in every state except Wisconsin, says that the company “had no idea selling Kerrygold in Wisconsin was illegal until the state began contacting distributors about the law.”

Jean Smith, who enjoyed Kerrygold butter before the crack-down, quite reasonably suspects that the purpose of the law is corporate protectionism, rather than consumer safety.

“I feel suspicious,” Smith declares. “Who are you really trying to protect here? Are you protecting the consumers, [or] are you protecting Wisconsin dairies?’

Neither the state agency enforcing the statute, nor representatives of the Dairy Business Association, was willing to answer that question when it put to them by TMJ4 News.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Incarceration for Massaging a Horse? Tennessee resident Laurie Wheeler has studied horse massage therapy for the past seven years. She has been certified twice in equine massage by a specialized school in Indiana, and last year obtained a license to practice massage therapy on humans. She had planned to start a clinic offering massage therapy for humans and horses – until an anonymous complaint was made to the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Last April, “Wheeler received a letter from the board explaining that she wouldn’t be allowed to give horse massages in Tennessee without being licensed as a veterinarian – a process that would require years of additional, expensive schooling,” reports Reason magazine. “If she ignored the board’s letter and continued to practice, even if she gave massages for free rather than as a business … she could face fines of up to $500 and could be sent to jail for as much as six months for committing a class B misdemeanor.”

The relevant state law says nothing about animal massage therapy, and that subject is not dealt with in any veterinary school curriculum. A state resident can castrate or inseminate a horse without being licensed, which are invasive or surgical procedures of the sort a veterinarian would perform.

Wheeler describes the board’s intervention as “a power trip. It just seems so completely absurd to me. It seems like there are boards across the US that do this, and there just needs to be some reform.”

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Passing of Norma McCorvey Norma McCorvey, who died last Saturday at age 69, was the plaintiff listed as “Jane Roe” in the notorious 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that destroyed all legal protections for unborn children. She was once regarded as a feminist icon, not only for her role in legalizing abortion but for her long-time lesbian relationship and her direct involvement in the abortion industry. McCorvey was scorned and derided by the movement after she became a born-again Christian and an outspoken opponent of abortion.

McCorvey, who was an unwed borderline alcoholic employed at a gay bar in Dallas when she became pregnant for the third time in 1969, sought help from an activist attorney to obtain an abortion in Texas. At the time, six states had decriminalized the killing procedure, but she couldn’t afford to travel to any of them. McCorvey lied about becoming pregnant as a result of rape – a falsehood she admitted fourteen years later. By the time the ruling was handed down in January 1973, the child McCorvey had intended to kill was two and a half years old, having been given up for adoption.

She was employed at a Dallas abortuary in 1995 when the Christian activist group Operation Rescue moved in next door. She began visiting with them, and asking them to pray for her. Within a few months the group’s director baptized her -- and she became an outspoken advocate of the right to life.

McCorvey, who suffered from a heart condition, passed away at an assisted-living facility in Katy, Texas.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Legal Issues Raised by Michael Flynn’s Ouster’s-Ouster Retired General Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first choice to serve as national security adviser, was the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and an advocate for expanded surveillance of electronic communications. He should have known that his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kryslyak were being monitored by the National Security Agency – but he may not have anticipated that their contents would be leaked to the media in violation of federal law.

According to leaks to David Ignatius of Washington Post, the transcripts of those conversations reveal that despite his initial denials Flynn really did discuss sanctions with Russia before he was formally sworn in—a technical violation of the Logan Act that restricts civilian interference in foreign policy. Although a minor infraction, President Trump and Vice President Pence, who had publicly repeated Flynn’s original story, stood to be embarrassed by their overt claims supporting Flynn, and he had to resign to save face.

Many lawyers viewing the case are wondering why the leaks themselves aren’t raising more eyebrows. Glenn Greenwald, a civil liberties attorney and founder of The Intercept explains that the contents of those calls were “obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of [a] foreign government,” which in turn means that anyone who discloses them — or reports them to the public — is guilty of a felony under the [applicable] statute.”

Of immediate importance to President Trump is the fact that his own NSA is eavesdropping on his administration and illegally leaking damaging information thus obtained to the antagonistic press.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Ouster
The Deep State Revolt against the Trump Administration William Binney, the architect of the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance program, has become one of the most important whistleblowers regarding the agency’s illicit activities. He is deeply troubled by the fact that the NSA is not only monitoring the Trump administration, but is willing to break the law by disclosing potentially damaging information to the media.

In a recent interview with Aaron Klein Investigative Radio, the NSA whistleblower said that the recent leaks about Trump’s telephone conversation with the President of Australia and the details about his conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto all originate from within the NSA.

Regarding the recent forced resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Binney said that if the NSA wasn’t behind the leaks, “they certainly had the data.… And there’s no oversight or attempted oversight by any of the committees or even the FISA court. So, any way you look at it, ultimately the NSA is responsible because they are doing the collection on everybody inside the United States.”

The Obama administration claimed that the NSA’s electronic eavesdropping dealt only with so-called metadata, which would not contain the content of phone calls, emails, text messages, and similar communications. The fact that they produced transcriptions of Flynn’s conversations demonstrates that this is not true, as Binney and other whistleblowers have long maintained. In his recent interview Binney referred to a 2008 report referencing two NSA whistleblowers who said they worked at the agency’s station in Fort Gordon, Georgia and were asked not only to monitor phone calls of U.S. citizens but also to transcribe them.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
What is Fascism – Apart from a Handy Leftist Epithet?–-Apart-from-a-Handy-Leftist-Epithet? Donald Trump’s more impassioned detractors see in his administration the advent of American fascism, which they generally describe as a form of right-wing extremism. In its origins, however, fascism was kindred to Fabian Socialism, which allows nominal private property ownership but only under onerous government control. Prior to World War II, Benito Mussolini and his Fascist regime were widely admired by the American Left. As historians Charlotte Twight and John T. Flynn documented, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal was directly inspired by Benito Mussolini’s design for the corporate, or fascist, state.

To the extent that the US political system could be described as “fascist,” the problem originated long before the advent of President Trump.

Dr. Thomas Woods notes that “On social media people are saying things like, `Literal Nazis are in the White House.’” Such people apparently do not understand that “The Nazis actually believed specific things,” Woods continues, directing the reader to historian Thaddeus Russell’s inventory of the policies imposed on Germany by the National Socialist government:

*Opposition parties were banned;

*Government took control of major industries;

*There was ubiquitous state propaganda “promoting worship of Hitler and demanding the complete merger of individual identity with the nation-state”;

*Mass arrests of Communists, socialists, social democrats, homosexuals, prostitutes, alcoholics, juvenile delinquents, and the chronically unemployed;

*The creation of concentration camps for people thus targeted;

*Revocation of all civil rights, expulsion, incarceration, and ultimately genocide, of `racially inferior’ citizens, Gypsies, Slavs, and Jews;

*Conquest and colonization of territory said to belong to the “Aryan” race.

Whatever else can be said about the Trump administration, neither he nor any of his advisers can honestly be accused of pursuing anything remotely resembling the Nazi program.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700–-Apart-from-a-Handy-Leftist-Epithet?
Nothing New about Russian Treaty Violations The NY Times has reported that at least two battalions of a new nuclear-armed cruise missile have been deployed by Russia in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. According to the Times, Moscow considers this deployment necessary because of increasingly antagonistic relations with neighboring countries.

Under the INF Treaty, the Times recounts, Russia and the United States reportedly destroyed 2,692 missiles in Eastern and Western Europe at the end of the Cold War: “The missiles the Russians destroyed included the SS-20. The Americans destroyed their Pershing II ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles, which were based in Western Europe.”

But this selective rendering of history ignores documented instances of Russian cheating over the past two decades. In June of 2000, international affairs specialist Kenneth Timmerman reported that several batteries of the more advanced SS-23 missiles were not destroyed as the treaty had required, but were instead hidden deep in secret bunkers in Eastern Europe. Those missiles were finally discovered by Western intelligence analysts around the beginning of the year 2000, indicating a dangerous intent by the Russians to violate the treaty even before it had been signed.

“The Soviets secretly deployed the SS-23s in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria in 1986. In the event of war in Europe between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, they would have given the Soviets a clear military advantage by allowing them to launch a surprise nuclear strike at the heart of NATO forces in Germany,” said Timmerman.

The missiles were quietly sent to be dismantled in Slovakia at US taxpayer expense. This is but one example of the Western media giving very little press to glaring examples of duplicity and cheating by the Russians with disarmament treaties. Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen says that this also shows that Eastern governments were still acting as puppet regimes to Moscow by allowing the missiles to remain after the supposed fall of the Soviet Union—proving once again, Skousen says, that “the fall” was a carefully crafted deception.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Family’s Tax-Paid Travel Expenses to Eclipse Obama’s?’s-Tax-Paid-Travel-Expenses-to-Eclipse-Obama’s? Over the first month of the Trump administration, the First Family ran up $11.3 million in taxpayer-covered travel expenses, reports the London Independent. This includes three trips to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, to which he has referred as the “Winter White House” and the “Southern White House.” Those trips alone cost the federal treasury an estimated $10 million. By way of contrast the Obama family’s average annual travel expenses were $12.1 million.

A business trip by Eric Trump to Uganda, where he was promoting a Trump-branded condo tower, incurred hotel costs of nearly $90,000 for his Secret Service detail. Business visits by the Trump sons to the Dominican Republic and Dubai have incurred similar expenses for taxpayers.

Tom Fitton, president of the Judicial Watch public advocacy group, complains that “This is an expensive way to conduct business.” Through public records requests, Judicial Watch was able to document the Obama family’s extravagant travel costs – and Fitton believes that Trump’s business background should make him more sensible of the expenses involved in traveling.

“The unique thing about President Trump is that he knows what it costs to run a plane,” observes Fitton. “Going down [to Mar-a-Lago] ain’t free.”

During Barack Obama’s second term, Donald Trump frequently criticized his profligate travel habits.

“Obama’s motto: If I don’t go on tax payer funded vacations [and] constantly fundraise, then the terrorists win,” complained Trump in an August 25, 2014 post to Twitter. “President [Obama’s] vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars – unbelievable!” Trump protested in a separate tweet from January 2012.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Tax-Paid-Travel-Expenses-to-Eclipse-Obama’s?
NFL Enlists in the Gender Revolution The National Football League has enlisted in the gender revolution, threatening to ban the state of Texas from hosting future Super Bowls if its state legislature enacts a measure that would require government-operated facilities to retain sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms. Texas Senate Bill 6, which would apply to public schools, government buildings, and state-funded universities, would restrict access to intimate facilities on the basis of biological sex, rather than the individual’s subjective and self-defined “gender identity.”

“The NFL embraces inclusiveness,” lectured NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events and NFL policies prohibit discrimination on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law [in Texas], that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events.”

Nothing in that bill would apply to privately owned businesses, and it specifically exempts “convention centers, stadiums, and entertainment venues.” This would mean that any self-identified transgender people attending NFL games would be free to use the restroom of his or her choice, assuming that this would be approved by the owner of the venue.

Republican State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, who sponsored the measure, points out that “under Senate Bill 6, all Texas teams will be able to set their own policies at the stadiums and arenas where they play and hold their events.”

This arrangement is not satisfactory to the NFL, and the gender revolutionaries it seeks to placate.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Uncomfortable Truths about Disarmament Last week it was announced that Russia was secretly deploying a new land-based cruise missile that violates the 1997 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) arms control treaty. This isn’t really new since past US administrations had weakly protested the missile when it was in its testing phase. Some analysts think the missile was conveniently brought up again at this time in order to make it more difficult for President Trump to join forces with Russia in Syria against ISIS.

According to the New York Times, “The ground-launched cruise missile at the center of American concerns is one that the Obama administration said in 2014 had been tested in violation of a 1987 treaty that bans American and Russian intermediate-range missiles based on land. The Obama administration had sought to persuade the Russians to correct the violation while the missile was still in the test phase. Instead, the Russians have moved ahead with the system, deploying a fully operational unit. Administration officials said the Russians now have two battalions of the prohibited cruise missile.”

The nuclear-weapon tipped cruise missile is mounted on mobile launchers that transport half a dozen such weapons anywhere on land and are thus extremely difficult to target by opposing nations.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Merkel Offers to Pay Refugees to Leave Germany The UK Daily Mail reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel “will offer cash handouts worth millions of pounds for migrants to leave Germany in an effort to silence criticism of her ‘open-door’ border policy. In a highly-embarrassing U-turn over the ill-fated plan, which saw 1.2 million migrants flock to the country, Mrs. Merkel has now vowed to send many of them home. The German chancellor agreed [to] a package of measures to speed up the deportation process for an estimated 450,000 migrants who have been rejected [for] asylum.”

Merkel, writes geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen, has always been a crafty politician without clear principles: “She has gone from being a Communist in East Germany to the Prime Minister in a center-Right party, and cozies up to both Russia and the Western globalists.”

Skousen considers her more of a globalist now after risking her career to allow in over a million refugees last year with disastrous effects on Germany.

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Feds Threaten to Imprison Amish Farmer over Natural Product Samuel Girod, an Amish father of 12 from Bath County, Kentucky, has been incarcerated and now faces a 12-count federal indictment for the supposed crime of manufacturing a natural salve. He faces up to 68 years in federal prison.

Girod’s Chickweed salve is made from rosemary, beeswax, and olive oil. It has been used to treat a number of conditions, including some kinds of skin cancer. In 2013, an anonymous complaint to the state health department in Missouri led to an injunction from a federal judge forbidding Girod to continue manufacturing the product unless he submitted to FDA inspections and several other conditions.

Despite the fact that multiple tests had confirmed that Girod’s product contains no drugs, the FDA has insisted on classifying it as such. It should be recalled that the FDA has attempted to label walnuts as a drug, if they are packaged and marketed in a way that underscores their health benefits.

Suza Moody, a non-Amish neighbor of the Girod family, told WKYT News that “I can’t even figure out what he has done wrong.” Referring to his large family, which includes twenty-five grandchildren along with his twelve children, neighbor Sally Oh said, “They are just devastated. I mean, when they brought him out in handcuffs, it was just awful."

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Plan On Flying Overseas? Don’t Bring Your Phone’t-Bring-Your-Phone Tech consultant Quincy Larson teaches people how to encrypt their computers and digital devices to ward of hackers and other malicious intruders. However, as he points out, “all the security in the world can’t save you if someone has physical possession of your phone or laptop, and can intimidate you into giving up your password” – which is why he recently told his readers to leave those devices at home if they plan on traveling abroad.

Think about “all the apps you have on your phone,” Larson advises. “Email? Facebook? Dropbox? Your browser? Signal? The history of everything you’ve ever done – everything you’ve searched, and everything you’ve ever said to anyone – is right there in those apps.” Potentially incriminating materials laying around one’s home can’t generally be obtained by police unless they can contrive probable cause and get a warrant from a judge. No such protections exist for those who are returning to the country from abroad.

“What we’re seeing now is that anyone can be grabbed on their way through customs and forced to hand over the full contents of their digital life,” Larson warns. “Companies like Elcomsoft make `forensic software’ that can suck down all your photos, contacts – even passwords for your email and social media accounts – in a matter of minutes…. They can us these tools to permanently archive everything there is to know about you. All they need is your unlocked phone.”

Larson cites Cory Doctorow’s advice that “We should treat personal electronic data with the same care and respect as weapons-grade plutonium – it is dangerous, long-lasting and once it has leaked there’s no getting it back.”

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-Bring-Your-Phone
Putin: NATO Seeking to Provoke Confrontation In a February 16 address to officers of Russian’s FSB state security service, President Vladimir Putin criticized NATO for what he described as the alliance’s “newly declared official mission to deter Russia.” As a result, he warned, the international security situation “has not improved, but on the contrary, many existing threats have only become more serious.”

The advertised purpose of the NATO alliance was to contain the Soviet Union, and with the announced end of the Cold War more than a quarter-century ago, that rationale no longer existed. From Putin’s perspective, NATO’s most recent moves to counter what it describes as Russian aggression are the acts of an alliance seeking a pretext for its continued existence.

“This is the goal behind the expansion of this military bloc,” complained Putin. “It happened before, but now they have found a new justification which they believe to be serious. In fact, they are constantly provoking us, trying to drag us into a confrontation.”

Putin’s address also said that NATO countries are “continuing their efforts to interfere in our domestic affairs with the goal of destabilizing social and political order in Russia proper.” He also used the speech before Russia’s chief counter-intelligence agency to recount that “In the past year 53 foreign intelligence operatives and 386 agents of foreign intelligence services have been busted.”

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Christie Faces Criminal Charges in “Bridgegate” Affair“Bridgegate”-Affair Bergen County, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Roy McCready has found probable cause to charge Governor Chris Christie with official misconduct for his alleged role in what has become known as the “Bridgegate” scandal, the New York Post reported.

Two former gubernatorial aides were convicted of a scheme to close approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge in 2013 as retaliation against a mayor who had refused to endorse Christie’s reelection bid. Judge McCready cited their federal trial testimony in his ruling against the governor.

Christie, a former federal prosecutor and Republican presidential candidate, was considered as a potential running mate for Donald Trump during the 2016 election, then appointed to head the transition team following Trump’s victory. Concerns over potential legal fallout from the scandal led President Trump to decide against appointing Christie to a post in his administration.

Brian Murray, a spokesman for Governor Christie, insisted that the ruling was devoid of merit and accused Judge McCready of “violating the law, pure and simple.”

“This concocted claim was investigated for three months by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, which summarily dismissed it, after concluding that the very same evidence relied upon again by this judge was utter nonsense,” declared Murrary.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Bridgegate”-Affair
Washington Supreme Court Ratifies Persecution of Christian Florist The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist who had declined to provide a floral arrangement for a same-sex wedding because of her moral beliefs. Her attorneys have indicated that they will appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court.

Stutzman has never been accused of discriminating against homosexual customers. She had made and sold floral arrangements to the same couple on many occasions. In this case she is being punished solely because of her unwillingness to profit from participation in a burlesque of a marriage ceremony, and by doing so violate her personal moral convictions.

Robert Ingersoll, who sued Stutzman along with his partner Curt Freed, had professed to be her friend and often collaborated with her in making bouquets. As she told Ingersoll that she couldn’t design the flowers for the ceremony, Stutzman recommended a competitor, and according to the facts reviewed by the court that meeting ended with the two of them embracing. Obviously, the supposed victims had a change of heart.

“I’ve never questioned Rob’s and Curt Freed’s right to live out their beliefs,” Stutzman wrote in a Seattle Times op-ed column. “And I wouldn’t have done anything to keep them from getting married, or even getting flowers…. I just couldn’t see a way clear in my heart to honor God and the talents He has given me by going against the word He has given us.”

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Visit by Wife of Venezuelan Political Prisoner Prompts Shameful Reaction on Both Sides Lilian Tintori, wife of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, was given an opportunity to visit with President Trump as a guest of Florida Senator Marco Rubio. President Trump urged the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro to free Lopez immediately. This was in keeping with Trump’s campaign promises to support Venezuela’s oppressed people.

Lopez is a persecuted political dissident in a country whose economy – and whose very social infrastructure itself – are being destroyed by its unaccountable government. Rather than acknowledging the human plight of Tintori and her wrongfully imprisoned husband, left-leaning media figures mocked the dissident’s wife. But as Reason magazine’s Ed Krayewski points out, Trump’s embittered leftist critics weren’t the only political partisans to behave shamefully regarding developments in Venezuela.

“Trump supporters … this week celebrated the same socialist government Trump decries – because of its ban on CNN,” observed Krayewski. “Gateway Pundit, a peddler of fake news that nevertheless has acquired White House press credentials, reported the story under the headline `Venezuela Kicks CNN Out for Making Up fake News,’” and celebrated Maduro as “just the latest world leader to call them out for being downright dishonest.” The story that prompted Maduro to evict CNN was an accurate report about school food shortages.

Unfortunately, Reason concludes, “The ascendance of Trump has encouraged some on both sides to turn off their critical thinking skills.”

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Judge Orders Drug-Addicted Woman Not to Have Children New York Family Court Judge Patricia Gallaher has ordered a drug-addicted prostitute not to get pregnant again until she can regain custody of her newborn son, who is the fourth child to have been taken from the woman because of parental neglect.

“The testimony in this case clearly established that the mother had little or no prenatal care, that the baby was born prematurely with a positive toxicology for illegal drugs, and that the mother admitted use of illegal drugs during her pregnancy,” wrote the judge, who went on the say that “This court has seen about a half-dozen seemingly `nice couples’ show up as respondents in neglect cases where both are addicted to heroin and literally throwing their lives away – and the lives of their children – in just this year.”

Insisting that this case is one “where the respondent neglectful mother should be using birth control,” Judge Gallaher ordered the state Department of Human Services to cover any contraceptive expenses. She also ordered the woman, identified as Brandy F., to submit to regular supervision, and warned that she would be incarcerated if she becomes pregnant.

“Having no more pregnancies should be ordered like the drug treatment, mental health treatment and parenting classes provisions which are boilerplate now,” insists Gallaher.

More than a decade ago, Gallaher served as a clerk to a judge who issued a very similar no-pregnancy order that was eventually overturned by an appeals court.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Constitution, According to Michael Moore,-According-to-Michael-Moore Liberal director Michael Moore apparently considers himself to be a walking Constitutional Convention – or so it would seem, given his creative depiction of the presidential order of succession, the process of impeachment, and other critical constitutional mechanisms.

“I and tens of millions of Americans demand that the weak and spineless Democrats bring Congress to a halt until investigative hearings are held and impeachment charges are filed” against Donald Trump for supposedly “colluding with the Russians to throw the election to him,” wrote Moore in a Facebook post. “Attorney General J. Breauregard Sessions must immediately appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate these potentially treasonous acts,” he continued, not explaining what role a special prosecutor would play in a congressional impeachment proceeding: If Articles of Impeachment are approved by the House, that body selects Congressmen to prosecute the case in the Senate.

“So-Called President Trump could save the country a lot of time, money and pain by stepping down tonight,” Moore insisted. Under Article II and the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, this would make Mike Pence the US President – but Moore would find this to be unacceptable, as well.

“Somehow, our judicial system has to find a way to make restitution to this country. Pence can’t be president as he, too, was elected under this same fraud. The court has to rule either that the President is the winner of the popular vote or the election must be held over.”

That demand would require the abolition of the Electoral College, which cannot be done without amending the constitution. Nor is there a constitutional provision under which the 2016 election could be “held over.”

Moore does enjoy one advantage over other embittered Clinton supporters: He can produce a movie in the service of political wish-fulfillment in which Hillary wins, or Trump is driven from office.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-According-to-Michael-Moore
Taxation-through-Citation Will Hit New York Taxpayers Hard Between 2007 and 2015, NYPD officers issued nearly one million spurious citations for trivial offenses such as disorderly conduct and drinking in public. This was done in order to meet quotas, which were often disguised through various euphemisms.

A ticket of that kind is called a “c summons,” and the officer who issues one is required to state the probable cause for believing that an offense took place. Those details were usually omitted by officers under the pressure of performance expectations, and this led to a class-action lawsuit. The lead plaintiff in the suit, Sharif Stinson, was cited for trespassing and disorderly conduct after leaving his aunt’s apartment in the Bronx. Both of the tickets were dismissed by a judge.

Earlier this year that class action suit was settled. The city – meaning the taxpayers who shoulder the financial burden of the city government – will pay a total of $75 million to victims of the bogus ticket scheme, each of whom will receive no more than $150. The NYPD continues to insist that it never imposed ticket quotas – but has agreed to issue official notices that quotas are not allowed.

Among the revelations brought about through the lawsuit was the disclosure of what the plaintiffs called a “stunning pattern” of evidence destruction regarding the ticket quotas – such as the deletion of nearly all of former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s emails toward the end of his tenure.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Are US Ground Forces Headed to Syria? President Trump has repeatedly promised to destroy ISIS, and has ordered the Pentagon to devise a plan, before the end of February, to accomplish this. Strategists are reportedly giving serious consideration to a proposal that would require a sizeable deployment of US combat troops to fight on the ground alongside the Syrian army. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who was put in charge of devising a plan, has spoken of an “accelerated” ground campaign within Syria.

“Until now, only small teams made up largely of Special Operations forces have operated in Syria, providing training and assistance to anti-ISIS opposition groups on the ground,” observes CNN, without clarifying that several of those supposed opposition groups are actually allies of ISIS in the campaign to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. One official told CNN that “It’s possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground for some period of time” once the plan has been approved by President Trump.

What the mission of those troops would be has yet to be defined. One objective of US policy would be to “reassure Turkey that Kurdish forces are not posing a threat to Ankara’s interests,” elaborates CNN. “It’s possible some troops would deploy first to Kuwait and then move into Syria.”

There is also a possibility that the plan would require President Trump to eliminate the ceiling on US combat troops deployed to Iraq, in order to give commanders in the region greater tactical flexibility in Syria. This would require the permission of the government in Baghdad.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Wikileaks Publishes Directive for CIA Meddling in 2012 French Election The transparency group Wikileaks has published a previously classified 2012 CIA directive describing the Agency’s involvement in the 2012 presidential election in France. The spy agency’s program for meddling in the domestic election of an ally nation was laid out in three CIA tasking orders.

“All major French political parties were targeted for infiltration by the CIA’s human (`HUMINT’) and electronic (`SIGINT’) spies in the seven months leading up to France’s 2012 presidential election,” summarizes the group. “Named specifically as targets are the French Socialist Party (PS), the National Front (FN) and Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), together with current President Francois Hollande, then-President Nicolas Sarkozy, current round-one presidential front-runner Marine Le Pen, and former presidential candidates Martine Aubry and Dominique Strauss-Khan.”

CIA operatives were directed to obtain the “Strategic Election Plans” for the UMP, to gather information about schisms or alliances within that party’s elite, and to seek a change in that party’s ideological mission. That last objective departs from routine espionage into the field of direct intervention in the domestic political affairs of another country.

Agency operatives were also directed “to discover Sarkozy’s private deliberations `on the other candidates’ as well as how he interacted with his advisors.”

This CIA operation ran for ten months, from November 21, 2011 to September 2012, several months after the end of that year’s French presidential election.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
More than a Dozen North Carolina Police Officers Arrested in Counter-Drug Operation The I-95 highway corridor running through North Carolina is among the country’s most active narcotics smuggling conduits, and has been a fruitful location for asset forfeiture operations. As is always the case with prohibition enforcement, government-licensed highway robbery through forfeiture has been supplemented by extensive covert corruption, as drug syndicates recruit active-duty police to aid their operations.

A glimpse of that shadowy reality was provided by the arrest of more than a dozen law enforcement officers in the area as the result of an FBI sting operation. Thomas Walker, US Attorney for the Eastern District, reported that arrests in multiple locations had been carried out as part of an ongoing initiative called “Operation Rockfish.” Among the recently arrested suspects were eight current or former police officers, three correctional officers, two Virginia prison employees, and one 911 dispatcher from Virginia’s Northampton County. All of them are accused of using their positions to traffic heroin and cocaine.

In a February 15 arraignment hearing, a prosecutor claimed that all of the suspects “gave some sort of confession.” Unlike most similarly situated narcotics defendants who are not current or former police officers, nine of the defendants were granted bail.

“This crime is a breach of the public’s trust,” declared FBI Special Agent John Strong, saying that the arrested officers had used their positions “to line their own pockets.”

Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith described himself as “hurt and surprised … shocked and appalled” to learn that five of his deputies were among those arrested.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Washington Sheriff Surprised to learn that He’s Subject to “Gun-Free” Zones’s-Subject-to-“Gun-Free”-Zones Spokane County, Washington Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has had a running feud with county residents he characterizes as “right-wing extremists.” During a July 2015 address to a county Republican group, Knezovich condemned what he called “right-wing militia and patriot groups” for disseminating what he characterized as irresponsible and inflammatory rumors about impending gun confiscation and other threats.

“It is sad how many people believe this stuff,” the sheriff insisted, telling Republican leaders that they “need to figure [out] what you’re going to do with this group of individuals that are giving you all a bad name.”

Focusing particularly on activists who pledged to defy federal gun regulations that are incompatible with the strict text of the Constitution, Knezovich complained that “We’ve become a nation of `We don’t have to.’ We don’t have to obey anything we don’t agree with.”

Ironically, it was Sheriff Knezovich who sang that refrain on February 11 when he was told to leave his personal firearm at the door of the Spokane Arena when he arrived to attend a charity event. The arena, which is operated by the Public Facilities District, has a strict policy forbidding guns on the premises.

“They disarmed me at the door and I’m on duty,” groused the sheriff in an interview with KHQ News. “I had to put my gun in the car.”

To Knezovich, this policy “was just a new level of insanity. On-duty police officers do not get disarmed.”

From the perspective of the men who wrote the American founding documents, free citizens don’t get disarmed, either.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Subject-to-“Gun-Free”-Zones
Trump Order Beats Back IRS Among the executive orders signed by President Trump in the first days of his administration was a directive instructing executive branch agencies to ease off on enforcement of the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires US citizens either to provide proof of insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty, which bears the Soviet-style description of “shared responsibility payment.” This requirement is found in line 61 of the standard tax form. Those who claimed an exemption were required to fill out a supplemental document called form 8965. Filers who declined to answer the self-incriminating question would have their returns rejected by the IRS.

Taxpayers who were once required to fill out line 61 on their tax returns will now have the option of leaving it blank.Reason magazine points out that “Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow submission of 1040s with nothing on line 61. The IRS says it still maintains the option to follow up with those who elect not to indicate their coverage status, although it’s not clear what circumstances might trigger a follow-up.”

This change in policy, Reason insists, “is a direct result of the executive order President Donald Trump issued in January directing the government to provide relief from Obamacare to individuals and insurers, within the boundaries of the law.”

While that administrative decision doesn’t provide unqualified protection from IRS abuses, it does beat back one of the most notorious features of the Obamacare initiative.

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Homeland Security Department Hacked Idaho State Election Website Idaho Secretary of State Lawrence Denny has disclosed that Idaho is one of several states whose official election websites experienced unauthorized intrusions by the federal Department of Homeland Security during the 2016 election.

Following the election, Denny told the Idaho Falls Post-Register, “there was an interesting IP address that we found. That was our own Department of Homeland Security.” He was, understandably, frustrated that the federal agency had attempted to penetrate the state election website “without knowledge of why they would want to hack, and without telling us that they were trying to do penetration tests.” The discovery “really concerned me,” Denny explained, “and it concerned a number of other secretaries of state across the country.”

Like several other secretaries of state, Denny publicly opposed the Homeland Security Department’s decision to designate state election systems as “critical infrastructure” under federal supervision.

“We don’t know for sure what declaring elections as critical infrastructure means,” Denny complains.

Idaho’s Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst is concerned that the designation means that Washington is seeking to “nationalize elections.”

“If it’s to give states or counties access to expertise that the Department of Homeland Security has, that’s one thing,” comments Holt. “But if they’re just going to step in and do [the election] for you, that’s something else.”

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Was the Frankfurt Immigrant “Rape Mob” a Hoax?“Rape-Mob”-a-Hoax? Claims that dozens of Arab men in Frankfurt, Germany carried out a mass sexual assault against women during New Year’s celebrations are a “hoax,” police officials have determined.

The Bild newspaper reported on February 6 that a throng of at least 50 Arab men laid siege to restaurant patrons on Fressgass street, sexually molesting nearby women and stealing personal property. A 27-year-old woman identified only as “Irina A,” claimed to have been a victim, saying that the men “grabbed me under my skirt, between the legs and on my breast – everywhere.” The tabloid also quoted a chef named Jan Mai, who claimed to be a witness to the rampage. The alleged perpetrators were described as refugees who had been settled in Middle Hessia.

Speaking with the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, police officials said that “Interviews with the alleged witnesses, guests and employees led to major doubts [regarding] the version of events that had been presented. One of the alleged victims was not even in Frankfurt at the time the [crimes] are said to have taken place,” the police explained.

Prior to publication of the Bild report, no sexual assaults had been reported. The department has unequivocally concluded that “Masses of refugees were not responsible for any sexual assaults in the Fressgass over New Year. The accusations are completely baseless.”

Prosecutors are considering whether to file charges against Mai and the unnamed 27-year-old woman. Bild’s Editor-in-Chief Julian Reichelt has apologized for publishing the inaccurate account, and the paper has expressed regrets “for the untruthful article and accusations made in it. This article in no way met the journalistic standards of Bild,” the paper insisted in a retraction published on its website.

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Rape-Mob”-a-Hoax?
Transparency Advocate: The Leaks of Flynn’s Phone Calls were “Justified” Felonies’s-Phone-Calls-were-“Justified”-Felonies Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign after being caught lying about the nature of his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and the only reason the public was aware of Flynn’s lie “is because someone inside the US government violated the criminal law by leaking the contents of Flynn’s intercepted communications,” observes Glenn Greewald, a civil liberties attorney and founder of The Intercept.

“In the spectrum of crimes involving the leaking of classified information, publicly revealing the contents of SIGINT – signals intelligence – is one of the most serious felonies,” Greenwald elaborates. Officials who leak such information, and journalists who publish it, face prosecution that could lead to a ten-year prison sentence if they are convicted.

The “senior US official” who leaked the information about Flynn’s phone calls to Washington Post reporter David Ignatius “committed a serious felony,” he continues, as did the people identified by the Post as “nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls.”

So far, there has been no serious discussion of criminal charges against the officials responsible for the leak – and Greenwald, who has worked closely with whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, believes this is appropriate. In his view, “The officials leaking this information acted justifiably…. That’s because the leaks revealed that a high government official, Gen. Flynn, blatantly lied to the public about a material matter – his conversations with Russian diplomats – and the public has an absolute right to know this.”

Greenwald is among those who believe that Flynn’s departure was engineered by elements within the intelligence community who are compulsively anti-Russian in their outlook, and that they used them to destroy one of their “primary adversaries in the Trump White House.” What matters most, he contends, “is not the motive of the leaker but the effects of the leak,” which in this case was “the exposure of high-level wrong-doing.”

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Phone-Calls-were-“Justified”-Felonies
Will Obama’s Gender Revolution Foreign Policy Continue under Trump?’s-Gender-Revolution-Foreign-Policy-Continue-under-Trump? In what will be a disappointment to moral traditionalists, and a relief to advocates of the gender revolution, the Trump administration “has decided to keep President Barack Obama’s top advocate for gay rights issues at the State Department,” reports Foreign Policy magazine. Randy Berry, who boasts the exotic title of Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons – at least, that’s his designation pending the discovery of new “genders” and protected sexual proclivities – will remain “in his role under the current administration,” a State Department spokesperson announced on February 13.

That position “was created during the Obama years to fight back against the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the globe,” Foreign Policy recalls. Shortly before leaving office, Obama named Berry deputy assistant secretary to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, which helps define US government policies at the United Nations. He will continue in both roles under Donald Trump.

A directive signed by Obama dictated that the State Department would use the leverage of foreign aid “to build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons” and use multilateral agencies to “counter discrimination on the basis of LGBT status.”

The official policy of the Obama administration, observes Rod Dreher of the American Conservative, was to fight “traditional religious and cultural family values through official channels…. Does Donald Trump wish to continue funding America’s culture war mercenaries abroad?” asks Dreher, who ruefully concludes that “The signs do not look good.”

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Gender-Revolution-Foreign-Policy-Continue-under-Trump?
Canadian Judge: Violent Anti-White Assaults Not “Hate Crimes”“Hate-Crimes” Tamara Crowchief, an Indian citizen of Canada, exclaimed “I hate white people!” as she attacked a woman named Lydia White outside a pub in Calgary last November. The victim lost a tooth in what was described as an unprovoked attack.

According to witness accounts, White was standing outside the pub talking to another person when Crowchief, apropos of nothing, walked up to her, yelled “I hate white people!” and punched her in the face.

“I still get angry when I think about it,” White said in a recent court hearing. “I don’t understand why this woman did this. I never did anything to her. Never even spoke with her.”

When police located Crowchief, she complained that “the white man was out to get her,” but didn’t explain what that had to do with an unprovoked attack on a white, female stranger.

Given that Crowchief herself described the crime as motivated by racial prejudice, the assault seems like one perfectly suited for penalty enhancement under Canada’s hate crimes statute. Provincial Court Judge Harry Van Harten, however, ruled that the unambiguous expression of intent on the part of the assailant doesn’t count as evidence.

“The offender said `I hate white people’ and threw a punch,” the judge explained during the sentencing hearing. “There is no evidence either way about what the offender meant…. I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that this offense was, even in part, motivated by racial bias.”

The judge, insisting that the six months served by Crowchief in pre-trial detention was a sufficient term of incarceration, gave her twelve months’ probation and ordered her to undergo psychological counseling.

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hate-Crimes”
Pizza Magnate’s Secret Charity Revealed’s-Secret-Charity-Revealed In 1994, the late Rosa Parks, admired by many as an icon of the civil rights movement, was robbed and assaulted in her home in central Detroit. The 81-year-old woman, who was living on a fixed income, was compelled to move to a more expensive home – and she never paid rent for the next eleven years, because that expense was quietly paid by a benefactor named Mike Illitch.

Mr. Illitch was the founder of the Little Caesar’s pizza chain and owner of the Detroit Red Wings NHL franchise. When he read about what had happened to Parks, Illitch contacted US Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith, who was working with real estate developer Alfred Taubman to find a new home for her. Judge Keith was appointed executor on behalf of Parks to take care of her housing needs.

Following Illitch’s death on February 10, Judge Keith displayed a copy of a check for $2,000 the entrepreneur had written in 1994 to Riverfront Apartments on behalf of Rosa Parks.

“It’s important that people know what Mr. Mike Illitch did for Ms. Rosa Parks, because it’s symbolic of what he has always done for the people of our city,” Judge Keith told the Sports Business Daily. Illitch was “totally committed to Detroit,” the judge recalled. “He brought the Little Caesars corporate offices here. He saved the Fox Theater. He built Comerica Park, and he kept the hockey and baseball teams thriving here when times are tough.”

Following Illitch’s passing, Judge Keith and many other Detroit residents paid tribute to the businessman for countless other acts of private charity that had been done beyond the glare of publicity.

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Secret-Charity-Revealed
Life in Prison for Receiving Inappropriate Photos? Two years ago, a Virginia teenager named Zachary became involved in a social media relationship with a 13-year-old girl who shared his interest in computers, videogames, and fantasy fiction. As is often the case for people of their age, their relationship – such as it was – proved to be entirely virtual in nature, and their online exchanges were not always appropriate.

Shortly after Zachary turned 18, his online pen pal sent him five self-portraits in which she was clad in underwear. Those photos were found by police investigators after the young girl, who had been subjected to involuntary psychiatric confinement amid her parents’ tumultuous divorce, told a counselor about sending them.

Despite the fact that he had never touched the girl who sent the unsolicited photos, Zachary was arrested and charged with twenty felonies, including “indecent liberties with a minor,” “using a computer to propose sex,” and production of child pornography – even though the pictures did not meet the legal definition of pornography. He was threatened with a possible maximum prison sentence of 350 years.

Like many others in similar straits, Zachary accepted a deal in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of “indecent liberties with a minor.” Despite the fact that he never met the girl in person, and two psychological evaluations found no evidence of violent or distorted views of sex, the teenager will be required to register as a violent sex offender for the rest of his life.

Reason magazine points out that the teenager, who has been imprisoned without trial for more than a year, had no previous criminal record apart from one count of distracted driving.

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Government “Infrastructure” and Deadly Incompetence“Infrastructure”-and-Deadly-Incompetence The likely collapse of California’s Oroville Dam summons memories of the 2005 post-Hurricane Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans, although few people are sufficiently well-informed to recognize that that these natural disasters were made immeasurably worse by the politicized incompetence of the government agencies involved.

New Orleans survived the hurricane, recalls Ryan McMaken of the Mises Institute. The flood that devastated the city occurred because of “the failure of the levees built by the Army Corps of Engineers. In fact, incompetently built and poorly maintained government infrastructure was a major contributing factor in the severity and ultimate cost of the disaster.” The Oroville Dam was built by state officials in the 1960s as one of several projects that “offered huge risks and huge costs no private party could afford,” and its construction was rushed by state agencies without regard to future costs involved in its maintenance.

Twelve years ago, state and federal regulators were warned that the Oroville Dam was falling short of safety and maintenance standards, but no action was taken. Now more than 200,000 people have been ordered to evacuate homes and properties that will be destroyed if the dam collapses.

If the dam fails, “how will the disaster be remembered?” asks McMaken. “Will future commentators admit the role of the California and federal governments in laying the groundwork for this disaster? Or will the cause of the likely-deadly Great Oroville Flood of 2017 simply be listed as `rain’?”

Another possibility is that the tragedy will be integrated into official propaganda about the need for more assertive government measures to combat the supposed threat of “climate change.”

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Infrastructure”-and-Deadly-Incompetence
Trump’s National Security Adviser Forced Out’s-National-Security-Adviser-Forced-Out Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President Trump’s National Security Adviser, was compelled to resign late in the evening on February 13 amid allegations of improper contacts with the Russian government during the transition period – and failure to make full disclosure of those contacts. Multiple press accounts claim that Vice President Pence engineered Flynn’s departure. For his part, President Trump complained that the “real” story is “why are there so many illegal leaks in Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal with North Korea?” asked Trump via Twitter.

In his resignation notice, Flynn insisted that the “fast pace of events” during the transition led him “inadvertently” to provide Pence and other administration officials with “incomplete information” regarding phone conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

“I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology,” Flynn declared.

Flynn has tardily admitted that he had discussed Washington’s sanctions against Russia during conversations with Kislyak, which would be forbidden under the Logan Act. Shortly before Flynn’s resignation, the Washington Post – citing multiple anonymous official sources – reported that White House counsel Don McGahn had been warned prior to the inauguration that Flynn may be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russian government because of discrepancies between what he had told Ambassador Kislyak and Vice President Pence about those conversations.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-National-Security-Adviser-Forced-Out
Gen. Keith Kellogg Steps In as National Security Adviser Retired Lt. General Keith Kellogg, who was selected to replace Michael Flynn as Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser, is a former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and veteran of the scandal-plagued Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority. At the time of his retirement from the Army in 2003, Kellogg was director of command, control and communications for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

After leaving Iraq in 2005, Kellogg became an adviser to several military and intelligence contract firms that specialize in surveillance and high-tech warfare. He was an adviser to the homeland security division of the Oracle Corporation and vice president of strategic initiatives for Cubic Corporation, which provides technical support for the Pentagon. Of particular interest is Kellogg’s work as president of Abraxas, a specialized and secretive subsidiary of Cubic that was created by a clique of retired CIA operatives.

Five years ago, Abraxas received media attention for developing a surveillance system called TrapWire. According to classified materials released by WikiLeaks, TrapWire could be used to analyze images from surveillance cameras in order to identify potential terrorists.

For four years, Kellogg was a leading executive with CACI International, a contract agency that supplied interrogators who were implicated in the torture scandal at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Another Federal Judge Rules against Trump’s Travel Ban Order’s-Travel-Ban-Order Judge Leonie Brinkema of the US District Court for Eastern Virginia is the latest federal judge to issue a temporary injunction against President Trump’s travel ban executive order. Judge Brinkema, who presided over the trial in which so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted, acknowledged that the order reflects valid national security concerns, and that the president is allowed wide discretion in matters of both national security and foreign policy.

Her ruling found significant constitutional defects in the substance of the order, its implementation, and in the way it was defended by the administration. She also cited abundant statements by President Trump and key advisers in which they expressed an intention to impose what they called a “Muslim ban,” and alter immigration policy to favor Christian refugees from the Middle East. Both of those matters, Judge Brinkema contends, raise valid First Amendment and equal protection concerns.

As was the case with the recent ruling by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brinkema underscored the fact that the Trump administration described presidential power over immigration as immune to judicial review – a position in conflict with a long line of judicial precedents and the text and structure of the Constitution. Although the president’s power in foreign policy is substantial, “Every presidential action must still comply with the limits set by Congress’ delegation of power and the constraints of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights,” she wrote. In a 2001 ruling “the Supreme Court … made it clear that even in the context of immigration law, congressional and executive power `is subject to important constitutional limitations,’” she observed.

In dealing with court challenges to the executive order, the administration may have prevailed quite easily if it had presented a defense for the policy, rather than simply demanding deference to it.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Travel-Ban-Order
Oregon Residents Consider a Different Kind of “Sanctuary” Policy“Sanctuary”-Policy So-called sanctuary cities and counties for illegal immigrants may represent an unwise policy, but they are squarely in a tradition going back to 1798, in which a constitutional concept called “interposition” or “nullification” was employed by state and local governments to defy what were believed to be unconstitutional laws or edicts from the central government. Those claims were defended in detailed essays written by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, who invoked the principles of un-enumerated rights and reserved state powers found in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

The same concept is now being embraced by counties in eastern Oregon that are acting to pre-empt state laws restricting firearms ownership. Following passage of the Oregon Firearms Safety Act in 2015, which purports to regulate gun transfers between private parties, four counties have adopted Second Amendment Preservation ordinances citing the authority of counties, municipalities, and cities to disregard laws that are manifestly unconstitutional. Coos County resident Rob Taylor explains that such ordinances create “sanctuary counties” for gun owners in “the same way Oregon has become a sanctuary state for immigration.”

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Sanctuary”-Policy
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Denies Emergency Appeal in Support of Soda Ban The State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has denied an unusual legal motion called a King’s Bench petition from the City of Philadelphia, which has been sued over its proposed beverage tax. A King’s Bench petition is a direct appeal to the state Supreme Court, and Philadelphia insists that it needs an immediate ruling in order to avoid what it claims is significant harm that would result if the lawsuit proceeded through normal channels.

Last December, Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary Glazer dismissed a civil complaint filed by a group of food and beverage retailers and distributors insisting that the proposed surcharge on soft drinks is unlawful. That ruling was immediately challenged in court. This complicated matters for the city, which – in the familiar fashion of political bodies – had already spent the money it had planned to collect through the soda tax.

In its filing, the city recalled that it had already implemented an expanded pre-kindergarten program but that it depends on the “anticipated revenues” to be collected through the tax. It is also preparing a $500 million infrastructure program, but its “ability to afford bond financing for that initiative is premised on a final decision concerning the legal challenge” to the soda tax.

The ongoing legal challenge actually places the city’s fiscal stability in question, since “The money from the tax goes into the general fund, which is allocated however the city has chosen to allocate it,” explained the municipal government’s filing. The tax is expected to bring in $92 million annually.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Unprecedented Indiana Property Grab Following the Supreme Court’s notorious Kelo ruling a decade ago, which allowed governments to use eminent domain seizures for the benefit of politically connected private concerns, the Indianapolis state legislature enacted reforms intended to prevent such naked property grabs. They underestimated the perverse ingenuity of their follow politicians – such as Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall, who is using the code enforcement system to drive property owners out of a neighborhood coveted by a private real estate interest called Neace Ventures.

The Institute for Justice, which has filed a lawsuit on behalf of property owners in the town’s Pleasant Ridge neighborhood, recounts that “City inspectors have begun issuing crippling fines for property code violations, including even trivial ones such as a torn screen, chipped paint or a downed tree limb. The fines accumulate at a rate of at least $50 per day, per violation, quickly leaving homeowners with thousands of dollars in fines and no way to pay.”

Saddled with fines that would result in the loss of their homes and other properties, the owners are approached by Neace Ventures, which offers to buy them for a fraction of their fair market value – and once the transaction is completed, the city government waives the existing fines in exchange for promising to demolish the properties. So far more than 140 property owners in Pleasant Ridge have been forced to sell by this corrupt municipal combine.

“The city’s ultimate goal is oust the current residents, bulldoze their homes and build a fancy new subdivision for much wealthier people,” summarizes Jeff Rowes, Senior Attorney for the Institute for Justice.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Ohio Town Must Pay Back All Victims of Robo-Camera Racket The town of New Miami, Ohio will be compelled to pay back more than $3 million it extorted from drivers through an unconstitutional red light camera racket. Judge Michael A. Oster, Jr. of the Butler County Court of Common Pleas ruled that the robo-ticket operation run by a corporate vendor called Optotraffic systematically deprived drivers of due process protections. The company would issue letters demanding payment of $180 from each targeted driver who had been photographed passing through a section of the town, which occupies less than a square mile on US Highway 127.

“If the government has created an unconstitutional law/ordinance that has taken people’s money without affording them the necessary due process protections, should not justice demand, and the law require, restitution of that money to the people?” asked Judge Oster in his ruling. “Once the complexities of the law are analyzed, the answer is simple: Yes.”

Like other political cliques caught in acts of institutionalized corruption, the New Miami city government protracted the legal proceedings for as long as it could, insisting that it was immune to liability under the doctrine of “sovereign immunity.” Judge Oster wasn’t persuaded.

“Ohio law is clear that the reimbursement of monies collected pursuant to an unconstitutional enactment or invalid rule is equitable relief, not monetary damages, and is consequently not barred by sovereign immunity,” the judge observed. Accordingly, “No later than thirty days after the filing of this order, plaintiff is to file with the court an affidavit evincing monies paid under the invalidated ordinance, along with an Excel spreadsheet, so that the court can set the proper amount of restitution/refund as determined under the laws of equity.”

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
TSA Employees Face Life in Prison for Running Cocaine Smuggling Ring Twelve federal employees, including baggage screeners employed by the Transportation Security Administration, havebeen indicted on charges that could lead to life imprisonment for using their taxpayer-funded jobs to smuggle more than 100 million dollars’ worth of cocaine from Puerto Rico’s Luis Munoz Main International Airport into the continental United States. It is estimated that as much as 20 tons of cocaine was covertly imported by the smuggling ring over the last 18 years.

As summarized by AOL News, investigators believe that “A baggage handler in the ring picked up cocaine-filled suitcases at check-in counters and put them into TSA X-Ray machines that another suspect cleared.” The handler would then deliver the contraband to specially designated planes without being stopped by police or K-9 units. Up to five smugglers were used in each flight, each of them carrying up to 33 pounds of cocaine during the trip.

Six current and former TSA screening officers have been indicted as a result of the investigation. An Airport Aviation Services worker who was a baggage handler and ramp employee has been charged with making payments to TSA employees to advance the scheme. Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez, US Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, describes the arrests as a vindication of the “AirTAT Initiative … whose mission is to ensure that our airports are not used in the drug traffickers’ illicit businesses.”

This could also be seen as the most recent periodic reminder of the endemic corruption of the TSA, and the entire federal airport security apparatus. More than a decade and a half ago, former Customs inspector Diane Klieman discovered a smuggling ring that had been provided with secure keys allowing them to bypass Customs inspection. When she raised the issue with her supervisor, Kleiman was fired. She later discovered that the personnel involved in the smuggling ring were connected to a CIA affiliate called Evergreen.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Leaders Politely Dissent Regarding Trump Law and Order Agenda While police unions are ecstatic over President Trump’s recent executive order calling for expanded federal support for local law enforcement, the directive was given a more critical reception by a group called Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration. The libertarian-leaning group, which consists of more than 175 police officers and prosecutors, has been critical of the so-called war on drugs and what it perceives as an over-reliance on incarceration for non-violent offenses.

“We need not use arrest, conviction and prison as the default for every broken law,” wrote Ronal W. Serpas, a former police chief in Nashville and New Orleans, and former Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown in a report released last week. “For many nonviolent and first-time offenders, prison is not only unnecessary from a public safety standpoint, it also endangers our communities.”

Echoing the rhetoric of leading police unions, President Trump has described the country as being in the throes of a dangerous upsurge in violent crime. Serpas and Brown dispute that assessment, noting that the crime rate today is half of what it was in 1991.

“Dangerous, violent offenders should be behind bars,” they acknowledge, while insisting that “incarceration is not necessarily the best tool to put non-violent offenders back on the road to productive, law-abiding lives.” Too often, the current system creates “a perpetual cycle of catch-and-release that only diverts law enforcement resources from battling more serious threats to society.”

Rather than vigorously supporting the current system, President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should “take leadership roles in the ongoing cross-partisan efforts to reform our justice system,” the group maintains.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Left Rediscovers “States Rights”“States-Rights” During the first year of the Obama administration, invocations of the Tenth Amendment and the reserved powers of the states by Tea Party activists provoked some left-leaning commentators to accuse them of “sedition.” With Donald Trump now occupying the Oval Office, those roles have been reversed, with erstwhile Tea Party agitators championing centralized executive power, and the Left taking up the “states’ rights” refrain. This is most visible in California, which declared itself “the vanguard of the resistance” even prior to Trump’s inauguration.

“With a Democratic supermajority, the country’s largest immigrant population, and Governor Jerry Brown’s landmark policies on climate change, the state was gearing up for a battle against the Trump administration,” recalls the New Republic. “To that end, the California legislature hired Eric Holder, an attorney general under President Barack Obama, to represent the state in legal fights to come.” The state government and many municipalities are enacting measures intended to nullify federal policies regarding immigration and the environment.

“In a twist of history,” continues the New Republic, “California’s leftist leaders are now embracing state’s rights, decrying Washington as a threat to a local way of life. San Francisco’s lawsuit [against the Trump administration], for example, takes a page from Reagan’s playbook, accusing Trump of `striking at the heart of federalism.’ Brown has warned members of the new administration to `keep their hands off,’ while state Senate President Kevin de Leon is vowing `to protect the values of the people of California.’”

“Could a political strategy, devised long ago by California conservatives, be harnessed to defend the state’s progressive values?” asks the publication. A related question would be: Will California long survive the social and economic costs of those “progressive” values?

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“States-Rights”
Trump’s Iran Policy Might Aid ISIS’s-Iran-Policy-Might-Aid-ISIS The departure of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn removes one of the most bellicose opponents of Iran from President Trump’s cabinet. Another one, retired General James Mattis, remains firmly ensconced as Secretary of Defense, and he is joined by Chief White House Strategist Stephen Bannon, who is perhaps the president’s closest confidante. President Trump himself has repeatedly said that he favors a more confrontational posture toward Tehran. He has also repeatedly promised to crush ISIS. Veteran foreign affairs correspondent Patrick Cockburn says that those objectives may prove to be irreconcilable.

Mattis and the now-departed Flynn have been guilty of “threat inflation when it comes to Iran, though without providing any evidence for its terrorist actions, just as their [Bush-era] predecessors inflated the threat supposedly posed by Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMD and fictional support for al-Qaeda,” writes Cockburn. “This is all good news for ISIS, though it has so many enemies committed to its defeat that a switch in US policy may be too late to do it a lot of good,” continues Cockburn. “But its main enemies on the ground are the Iraqi and Syrian armies, whose governments are backed by Iran, and the Syrian Kurds who fear that the US may soon give them less support in order to appease Turkey.”

Over the next year or two, “when previous policies conceived under Obama have run their course, Trump may well feel that he has to show how much tougher and more effective he is than his predecessor,” which may result in military action against Iran, Cockburn predicts. This would be a great boon to ISIS, assuming the group can survive until then.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Iran-Policy-Might-Aid-ISIS
Honest Progressive Commentator Reminds the “Dyspeptic Left”: You Created Trump“Dyspeptic-Left”:-You-Created-Trump Leftist critics of Donald Trump who describe him as a reality-averse warmonger suffer from a convenient form of amnesia, writes Luciana Bohne in the progressive journal CounterPunch.

“Before Trump emerged from the electoral swamp the winner, everything already had been the contrary of everything,” she observes, rebuking liberals who claim that Trump is engaged in an Orwellian reengineering of reality. “The liberation of 100,000 civilians in Aleppo in December 2016 by the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian allies from four years of Western-backed terror, they called a `war crime.’ The separation of Crimeans from Ukraine by popular referendum … joining Russia, they called `Russian aggression.’”

Many of the same commentators who deride Trump as a “fascist” and demand that his administration not be “normalized” in the media were mute during Obama’s “reign of illegal wars, regime changes, ubiquitous sanctions, and terror proxy armies,” she continues. All of this was “studiously ignored or fictionalized by the scribbler-courtiers in the media, the punditry, think-tanks, foundations, and officialdom.”

The real danger represented by the Trump administration, from Bohne’s perspective, is not that he will represent a radical departure from existing norms, but rather that his administration will pursue continuity with the policies of his predecessors. “Long-standing objectives appear to be shared,” she concludes. “What seems to be the bone of contention is the method of dominating American public opinion.”

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Dyspeptic-Left”:-You-Created-Trump
Feds Ignored Warnings of Impending Oroville Disaster Amid warnings of the impending collapse of the Oroville Dam in northern California, nearly 200,000 people were urged to evacuate their homes by the Butte County Sheriff’s Department. The evacuation notice included Oroville and Thermalito, as well as Gridley, Biggs, Loma Rica in Butte County, as well as Hallwood, Marysville, and Oliverhurst in Yuba County. The warnings were issued because of concerns that erosion could bring about the failure of the dam’s emergency spillway.

According to the San Jose Mercury-News, over a decade ago federal and state officials and administrators from several state water agencies “rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Orville Dam … could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.” So severely under-maintained had the dam become that several environmental groups – including Friends of the River, the Sierra Club, and the South Yuba Citizens League – filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urging that the spillway “be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.”

The lawsuit said that the dam, which was built in 1968, “did not meet modern safety standards” because in the event of severe flooding, “fast-rising water would overwhelm the main concrete spillway,” eventually leading to a contingency called “loss of crest control.” This would pose an acute threat to the lives and property of people residing in the floodplain downstream from the dam.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Presidential Adviser: “The Powers of the President … Will Not Be Questioned”“The-Powers-of-the-President-…-Will-Not-Be-Questioned” Asked about the legal controversy precipitated by President Trump’s executive order on immigration, White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller offered a reply that was widely perceived as an expression of unalloyed authoritarianism.

President Trump’s order was enjoined by a Bush-appointed US District Judge in Seattle, and that injunction was upheld, pending further appeal, by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Miller declared that this episode “has been an important reminder to all Americans [that] we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become in many cases [the] Supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country,” he insisted.

While the administration is frustrated by the legal setback, Miller continued, “The end result of this … is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our county are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

It was this claim that the president’s decisions are not subject to review by any branch of government that actually prompted the Ninth Circuit Court to uphold the injunction against the executive order. The Ninth Circuit Court’s opinion acknowledged that under the existing statute, the president can exercise a great deal of discretion. Under existing precedents, however, “courts can and do review constitutional challenges to the substance and implementation of immigration policy.”

Rather than providing evidence that the order was imperative in order to prevent irreversible harm to the country, the Trump administration took the position that “the President’s decisions about immigration policy … are unreviewable,” observed the ruling. “There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure” of our constitutional system, the court asserted.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“The-Powers-of-the-President-…-Will-Not-Be-Questioned”
How Does the FBI Determine Who is a Potential Terrorist? Over the past year and a half, the FBI has employed “a secret scoring system to judge the likelihood that someone will carry out a violent attack,” reports The Intercept. This involves a classified 48-question survey entitled “Indicators of Mobilization to Violence,” a copy of which was obtained by that publication. The document is used by FBI Special Agents to evaluate subjects of an investigation by assigning points “based on factors like religious observance, travel history, financial transactions, and physical appearance”

While many of the questions are obviously relevant in determining whether a targeted individual harbors terrorist intent, some of them are innocuous, such as the use of encryption or efforts to conceal internet browsing habits – questions that assume the FBI investigator would have covert access to the subject’s personal computer or other digital devices. Other supposed indicators include an interest in previous bombings – which could demonstrate civic-mindedness, not criminal intent – or participation in “activities that simulate military or operational environments,” such as paintball, laser tag, shooting ranges, or even camping trips.

Other criteria are entirely subjective, such as questions about whether the subject holds “a belief or ideology that supports the use of violence” or whether he has “become more extreme in [his] beliefs.”

Beyond civil liberties concerns, the survey demonstrates that the FBI is “grasping at straws to try to figure out what the factors involved in radicalization are,” comments Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. “They are so individualized,” contends Dr. Greenberg. “ How much will algorithms really tell us about the threat?”

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Former Nixon, Reagan Aide: If We Face a Crisis, the President Should Act Like It,-Reagan-Aide:-If-We-Face-a-Crisis,-the-President-Should-Act-Like-It One significant problem with the Trump administration’s approach to border security, argues legal analyst Bruce Fein, is a severe disjunction between official rhetoric about an all-encompassing terrorist threat, and the casual behavior of the president himself. As a veteran of the Nixon and Reagan administrations, Fein has seen how presidents behave when the country faces genuine peril, and President Trump, in his view, appears to be “figuratively fiddling while Rome burns.”

“President Trump has bugled daily since his Executive Order banning travel to the United States by nationals of seven Muslim nations more than two weeks ago that without the ban we would be massacred by foreign terrorists,” wrote Fein on February 13. ”His [executive order] has been blocked for about 10 days by federal court rulings, and immigrants and refugees from the seven Muslim nations have been streaming over our borders. According to President Trump, this state of affairs means another … murderous abomination is imminent. Yet the President is dawdling over his Executive Order. He is not racing to the Supreme Court for review. He is not racing for an en banc review by the Ninth Circuit. He is not rewriting the [order] per the guidelines provided by the Ninth Circuit to purge it of constitutional infirmities. He is simply yelping that the judges are dumber than dumb high school students, which is a very unconvincing legal argument.”

If the president is serious about the threats he describes, Fein urges, he should address them immediately. “A person who shouts that an emergency is upon us and then gallops off to play golf or dance the polka is not to be believed,” Fein concludes.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Reagan-Aide:-If-We-Face-a-Crisis,-the-President-Should-Act-Like-It
Arizona Barber Faces Government Harassment for Giving Free Haircuts to the Poor In keeping with the unofficial but universally observed government mandate to obstruct human progress and cultivate misery, the Arizona State Government’s Board of Cosmetology is investigating a complaint against a cosmetology student who has been giving free haircuts to the homeless.

Juan Carlos Montesdeoca, who had been studying at a local Regency Beauty school until it closed last September, has been homeless himself, and when he learned that people living in a nearby park hadn’t had haircuts for several months he decided to offer his services to them for free. His deeds were observed by someone who, acting with the anonymous malice upon which every police state depends, filed a complaint with the Cosmetology Board.

Donna Aune, executive director of the Board, declined to answer media inquiries about the matter, taking refuge in the familiar bureaucratic dodge that she couldn’t comment about an “active investigation.” She cited a section of Arizona’s state code dictating that “A person shall not perform or attempt to perform cosmetology without a license or practice in any place other than a licensed salon” – a provision that, if applied with the Pharisaical rigor Aune appears to favor, would make it a crime for a mother to cut her own child’s hair at home.

As a result of offering free haircuts without receiving government authorization, Motesdeoca points out, the board that presumes to grant such favors “can suspend [me] even before I even try to get a license.”

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The TPP Dog is dead, but Its Tail Still Wags,-but-Its-Tail-Still-Wags The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) had stalled in Congress before President Trump issued the directive that serves as its death certificate, but reports of its demise may be premature. Writing at CounterPunch, trade analyst Pete Dolack warns that “Some of the countries involved in negotiating the TPP [are] seeking to find ways to resurrect it in some form,” but this isn’t strictly necessary, since the multilateral trade accord is still alive in the form of the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA). According to Dolack, the TISA is “even more secret than the Trans-Pacific Partnership [and] more dangerous.”

Currently being negotiated among 50 countries, TISA “would prohibit regulations on the financial industry, eliminate laws to safeguard online or digital privacy, render illegal any `buy local’ rules at any level of government, effectively dismantle any public advantages to be derived from state-owned enterprises and eliminate net neutrality.”

Covert negotiations began in April 2013, and have passed through 21 rounds so far. The only reason such details are publicly available is because a cache of negotiating papers was published by WikiLeaks, with a second batch more recently disclosed by another transparency group called

Some of the proposals under discussion might be desirable, if enacted locally or made possible through action by accountable political representatives at the national level. Like the TPP, the TISA accord seeks to create a distant, unaccountable global body that would usurp both national governments and consumers in the countries that would be absorbed into that new entity.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-but-Its-Tail-Still-Wags
US-Born NASA Scientist Recounts Bizarre Airport Detention Despite his exotic name, Sidd Bikkannavar is a native-born US citizen. As a research scientist employed by NASA, Bikkannavar has been subjected to background checks. Because he is a frequent traveler, he has enrolled in Global Entry, a Customs and Border Protection program allowing people who have been through detailed background checks to have expedited entry to the United States.

Despite all of this, Bikkannavar was detained at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on January 30 and forced to give Border Patrol agents his smartphone and provide them with his password. That phone, which was issued by NASA and most likely contained sensitive material not to be shared outside the agency, wasn’t returned to Bikkannavar until a half-hour later. NASA employees are under a professional obligation to protect all work-related information, no matter how trivial it might seem. Because his phone had been compromised, Bikkannavar was required to get a new one.

Bikkannavar had traveled to Patagonia in mid-January to participate in a solar-powered car race as part of the Chilean team. During his two-week stint abroad, the Trump administration entered office and issued an executive order imposing new entry restrictions that were supposed to target nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries. Nothing in President Trump’s executive order should apply to Bikkannavar, but in the chaotic roll-out of the new restrictions it appears that some Border and Customs agents exceeded the mandate.

“Sometimes I get stopped and searched, but never anything like this,” commented Bikkannavar. “Maybe you could say it was one huge coincidence that this thing happens right at the travel ban.”

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Columnist to Trump Critics: You Need to Pace Yourselves Less than a month into the first of two possible Donald Trump presidential terms, the Left is already starting to show signs of outrage fatigue, observes syndicated commentator Megan McArdle, who is not among the incumbent president’s admirers. Trump’s unfettered rhetorical style and propensity for social media provocation will continue to supply his detractors with grist for their omnivorous mills – which is why, McArdle advises, they need to learn to pace themselves.

“I’m already tired of writing the `Trump had done something outrageous’ column, because how many times can I point out that the man keeps acting in a distressingly un-presidential manner?” she observes. “And even if I write it, how long are readers going to be willing to read the same thing, over and over, with only the details changed for variety?”

“When his supporters dismiss criticisms as hysteria, saying `It’s not that bad,’ in some sense, they’re right,” she continues. “So far, he has not openly defied the courts, ala Andrew Jackson, nor explicitly threatened people who threaten his business interests.” Her concern is that “the way you get to `that bad’ is often through a succession of `At least he hasn’t…’ until finally, he does, and you find that the permission granted for earlier transgressions has created a blanket hall pass for gross abuses of power.”

For their part, conservatives and other Trump supporters should understand that the behavior they are applauding now becomes a precedent for Trump’s future successors.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Presidential Strategist Predicts War with China and Iran Although headlines announced “Steve Bannon: 'We're going to war in the South China Sea ... no doubt'” it’s obvious that Chief White House Strategist Bannon, one of President Trump’s closest political advisors, doesn’t believe this war to be imminent. Under the headline used for its story, the UK Guardian specified that Bannon draws his opinions on the antagonistic nature of the countries in question.

“You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated,” Bannon said during a February 2016 radio interview. “They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian West is on the retreat.”

His view is shared by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, reports geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen, who takes comfort in the fact that “we clearly have at least two China realists in the White House, compared to a host of China apologists in past decades. Although China is not yet ready for war with the US, I see the recognition of an eventual war with China as a welcome dose of reality compared to previous administrations which completely downplayed the China threat.”

Bannon’s views on an “inevitable war” with Iran seems to be gaining traction with Trump, who appears ready to back away from his campaign rhetoric about “non-interference” in other countries. Trump’s first steps towards Iran have been rattling the sabers with threatened military action against Iran and some mild sanctions imposed again on Iran. The sanctions were aimed at military technology companies supporting Iran’s missile program, so they don’t harm Iran’s beleaguered population as did the prior sanctions. Sanctions against the population only exacerbate the Iranian people’s hatred toward the US, says Skousen, which is unnecessary and unproductive.

In Skousen’s view “Islam isn’t an ‘existential threat’ as the neocons are claiming. Existential implies a threat to our entire civilization. The only reason Islam has risen to become a terror threat is because of globalist false-flag engineering, funding and arms. Without that Islamic terrorism would have never gotten past the occasional incident in the Middle East stage.”

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Ukraine Fighting Resumes Thirty-three are dead this week as the worst fighting since 2015 has broken out in Eastern Ukraine, reports the Associated Press: “While the warring sides have regularly exchanged gunfire despite a February 2015 peace deal brokered by France and Germany, this week has seen a sharp spike in hostilities. Fighting has raged around the government-controlled industrial town of Avdiivka, just north of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk, catching residential areas in the crossfire... Each side blamed the other for the upsurge of violence, but the Ukrainian military says its troops have gained some ground. Associated Press reporters saw heavy weapons on both sides of the front line, in clear violation of the 2015 peace deal that envisaged their pullback.”

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Fillon Scandal Upends French Political Contest Moral and financial corruption is not uncommon in the political world of France, where friends and family often find their way onto the public payroll, but some election analysts are warning that France’s voters are tired of the political class’s “gilded culture of immunity and privilege” reports the New York Times.

Free train and plane tickets, first-class travel, chauffeurs, all in a setting of marble and tapestries — “can no longer be taken for granted,” according to French political analysts cited by the Times.

The changing political landscape is likely to hit François Fillon, the leading candidate for president, hard. “Penelopegate” – named after Mr. Fillon’s wife who, along with their children, reportedly received nearly $1 million of public funds – is raising the ire of voters. The scandal has “tapped a wellspring of anger in the French electorate and called into question the standard operating procedures of the political class… [and] is helping propel the far-right National Front candidate, Marine Le Pen.”

Le Pen is ahead in the polls right now and the election of the National Front in France would likely be as big a shakeup for the establishment there as was the election of Donald Trump in the US. Polls show that Europeans are so fed up with difficulties of Muslim refugees imposed on their societies, that a majority want a total ban on Muslim immigration. The French are clearly worried about losing
their national heritage, language and celebrated culture. The National Front is riding this wave of discontent and could end up on top if the globalists don’t find a way to save their grasp on
French politics.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How Serious is Voter Registration Fraud? President Trump has been denigrated in the press for calling for an official investigation on voter registration fraud in the US. Trump continues to tout the yet-unsubstantiated estimates by Greg Phillips that there were “3 million” illegals voting in the 2016 election. Realizing the depth of contention over the results of his research, Phillips has not disclosed any more results from his voluntary fact-finding efforts which should really be a proper investigation done by the government, say some analysts. But Trump’s efforts to do just that have been stymied by none other than supposed ally Sen. Majority leader Mitch McConnell. The leader of the Senate has said he won’t lead Congress to fund such an investigation.

As reported by World News Daily, “McConnell told CNN’s Jake Tapper that, although there are instances of voter fraud, he believes that it’s not ‘as widespread as Trump claims’ and that combating voter fraud should be an issue ‘best left to the states’ instead of the federal government.”

But as political analyst Joel Skousen notes, “Every time the states try and tighten up on voter registration fraud by requiring ID and a birth certification, the federal courts shut them down. Only an
official investigation (that wasn’t a cover-up) would balance the skewed hand of the courts.”

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Will Fed Be Reined in At Last? With a new president is at the helm, members of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress are optimistic about pushing changes through that have been stymied in the past. Rand Paul has reintroduced his legislation
to audit the FED, a private banking cartel with no current government oversight despite intervening in huge aspects of the economy and government.

Patrick McHenry of the Financial Services committee also just sent a letter to Janet Yellen of the Federal Reserve warning her to stop making international agreements on behalf of the US. As a private
entity, the FED has no legal authority to do anything on behalf of the government.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
CNN Caught Feeding Questions To Planted Audience Members in Obamacare Debate The February 7 CNN-sponsored debate on the future of Obamacare between Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders was manipulated, it has been revealed. details how CNN apparently stacked the deck against Sen. Cruz by writing tear jerking questions for the audience to read during the debate and play on the listeners’ sympathies.

Audience management is hardly a novelty for CNN – and Senator Sanders has been a victim. Last October, WikiLeaks revealed that CNN commentator and former chair of the DNC Donna Brazile had funneled questions to Hillary Clinton ahead of a major Democratic primary debate. She was fired as DNC chair and let go as commentator shortly after the revelations came to light. One month later, WikiLeaks again revealed that CNN was caught asking the DNC to prepare questions for Wolf Blitzer’s interview with then-candidate Donald Trump.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
From the Pentagon to the Local Police Precinct While transfers of battlefield-grade weaponry from the Pentagon to local police tapered off somewhat during the closing year of Barack Obama’s presidency, departments nation-wide continue to receive high-tech surveillance gear, reports DefenseOne – and it is often employed without constitutionally required warrants.

For several years, the Chicago Police Department has deployed surveillance vans capable of eavesdropping on all cell phone communications in their vicinity. The same technology has been provided to the fifty largest police department in the country.

“Access to such devices was once largely limited to intelligence agencies like the NSA and the FBI; their acquisition by local police departments is a relatively recent, less-discussed part of a wider police militarization trend,” comments DefenseOne. “With only a few clicks, police can now map out individuals’ social networks, communication timelines, and associates’ locations, based on data captured by these surveillance tools.”

This surveillance method, called “pattern of life analysis,” was employed in counter-insurgency warfare during the Iraq war over the last decade, and has now been seamlessly integrated into domestic law enforcement. Even more ominously, the same form of analysis has been used by the CIA and the military in selecting targets overseas for drone strikes.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Georgetown Professor Defends Slavery During a recent lecture at Georgetown University, a professor named Jonathan Brown defended the practice of slavery in the Islamic world as more humane than the version that had existed in the Western world, including the United States. Brown occupies the Al-Waleed bin Talal Chair in Islamic Civilization, which is funded by the Saudi prince from which it gets the name. During his lecture, the professor claimed that “Slavery wasn’t racialized” in Muslim societies, and that slaves were protected under Sharia law.

The lecture drew severe criticism from a Muslim student named Umar Lee, who condemned the fellow Muslim academic for falsifying history in the service of what Lee described as “North Korean-style … propaganda.”

“Not knowing what to expect from Brown I was shocked when he basically went into a 90 minute defense of slavery which included an explicit endorsement of non-consensual sex,” wrote Lee. The caricature of the historic practice of Islamic slavery presented by Brown omitted “kidnappings, harems, armies of eunuchs, and other atrocities,” Lee elaborated, pointing out as well that the professor was similarly dishonest in his treatment of contemporary abuses in the Muslim world. The professor asserted that “It’s not immoral for one human to own another human,” and “Consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex.”

“Brown constructs a world where the wrongs of the West excuse any wrongs (if he believes there are any) in the Muslim world,” Lee summarized.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Judge Gorsuch a “Natural Law” Jurist“Natural-Law”-Jurist If he is confirmed to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch will be one of two Justices – the other being Clarence Thomas – who has written extensively about the concept of “natural law.” That school of thought evaluates the soundness of government actions from a perspective in which innate individual rights are the paramount consideration.

“Natural law is among the oldest philosophical traditions,” observes legal affairs commentator Timothy Sandefur. “Some of history’s greatest geniuses, from Aristotle to Thomas Jefferson, devoted their most brilliant arguments to it, often differing about details but agreeing on the broad outlines. Natural law was the basis on which America’s founders wrote the Constitution.”

However, “most judges today – including liberals and conservatives – reject natural law,” Sandefur notes. “They embrace a different view, `legal positivism,’ which holds that individual rights or concepts of justice are really manufactured [by] government fiat. Even Justice Antonin Scalia [whom Gorsuch would replace] rejected natural law arguments.”

Although Gorsuch and Thomas disagree about some aspects of natural law theory, they both see the concept of innate individual rights “as a basis for attacking legal protections for abortion and euthanasia – because they contradict the sanctity of life,” Sandefur elaborates. Gorsuch’s view of euthanasia draws a provocative distinction by insisting that while a patient has the right to refuse treatment, but does not have the right to commit suicide, thereby assuming a government duty to foreclose an individual’s choice to kill himself.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Natural-Law”-Jurist
Whatever Happened to Interposition? Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, reiterating his promise to crack down on municipal and county officials in his state who promote so-called “sanctuary” policies, declared in a February 12 Fox News interview that “Law enforcement officials don’t get to pick and choose which laws they will apply. They have to apply the law of the United States.”

Like many other Republican officials, Abbot is a recent convert to the unitary view of government power – and his conversion coincided precisely with the inauguration of a Republican president. During the reign of Barack Obama, Abbot – once again, like a number of other prominent Republican leaders – asserted that state and local officials should combat federal enactments that intruded on their reserved powers under the Tenth Amendment. As Texas attorney general, Abbott filed lawsuits against federal agencies that exceeded their constitutionally delegated powers, rather than simply clicking his heels and applying what those agencies insisted was “the law of the United States.”

At one point, Abbot proposed a convention to amend the US Constitution in order to realign what he regarded as the dangerously unbalanced relationship between Washington and the states. While Abbott never fully embraced the valid concept of nullification, he clearly understood that local officials have not only the right but the duty to resist extra-constitutional policies described as “lawful” by the central government. Perhaps his memory will improve next time a Democrat occupies the Oval Office.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
CIA Veteran Files Lawsuit against Pentagon in Support of NSA Whistleblower Seven years ago, the Obama administration charged former National Security Agency analyst Thomas Drake with espionage for giving an interview to the Baltimore Sun in which he revealed the existence of illegal domestic surveillance initiatives called ThinThread and Trailblazer. His chief complaint was that the program was riddled with fraud and mismanagement.

Like too many others facing spurious federal prosecutions, Drake was innocent of the charge but compelled to accept a deal in which he pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor. While the ThinThread project was cancelled key elements of it – without privacy protections – were incorporated into a Fort Meade-based program called Stellar Wind.

Former CIA analyst Pat Eddington has now taken up Drake’s cause by filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Defense demanding the release of still-classified documents that would vindicate the whistleblower. Not only were the collection programs an unconstitutional violation of citizen privacy, they effectively prevented diligent analysts from recognizing legitimate threats.

Former NSA analyst Bill Binney explained to The Intercept that “Bulk collection kills people. You collect everything, dump it on the analyst, and they can’t see the threat coming, can’t stop it.” Another former NSA official, Kirk Wiebe, agrees that “Bulk acquisition” doesn’t work – an assessment that represents a revised opinion on his part: At the time of Drake’s legal problems, Wiebe was among those who defended the ThinThread program.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
CIA Confers Counter-Terrorism Award on Saudi Crown Prince The Saudi monarchy is deeply involved in promoting radical Islamism – including Islamic terrorism – throughout the Middle East. It also plays a central role in propping up the dollar through the four-decade-old petro-dollar accord created by Henry Kissinger during the Nixon administration.

After Nixon severed the links between the US currency and gold, Kissinger persuaded the Saudis to accept the now unbacked currency in exchange for the world’s most coveted commodity, petroleum. In exchange, Washington agreed to provide military support and protection for the Saudi kingdom – which, in practice, means countenancing both the domestic oppression imposed by the monarchy, and its unstinting support for terrorism abroad. It also means that Washington clings tenaciously to the fiction that the Saudis are partners in the so-called war on terrorism.

It was in the service of that cynical fiction that CIA Director Michael Pompeo recently conferred upon Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior for the Kingdom, the George Tenet Medal. This was done in recognition of what was described as the prince’s “key role in the fight against terrorism and … all forms or manifestations of terrorism.”

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Former Democratic Presidential Contender: The Party Has gone Hard-Left The Democratic Party moved “very far to the left” during the Obama era, and left it without a message that will resonate with most of American society, insisted former Democratic Senator and one-time presidential aspirant Jim Webb during a February 12 “Meet the Press” interview. Rather than focusing on matters of substance that address real problems, party leaders and activists have become consumed with identity politics, “and they’ve lost the key part of their base,” he contends.

“When you can’t have a Jefferson-Jackson dinner, which was a primary celebratory event of the Democratic Party for years, because Jefferson and Jackson were slaveholders,” the party has clearly lost its political bearings, Webb declared. “They were also great Americans in their day. Something different has happened to the Democratic Party,” he continued. “[They’ve] lost white working people [and] flyover land, and you saw in this election what happens when people get frustrated enough that they say, `I’m not going to take this.’”

While pointedly declining to say how he had voted in the 2016 presidential election, Webb said that Trump’s victory could have a lasting positive impact.

“There is an aristocracy now that pervades American politics,” Webb observed. “It’s got to be broken somehow in both parties, and I think that’s what the Trump message was that echoed so strongly in these flyover communities.”

While insisting that “my vote is private to me,” Webb acknowledged that “I did not endorse Hillary Clinton.”

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Republican Senator: Many Texans Aren’t Eager for a Border Wall’t-Eager-for-a-Border-Wall The Senate’s second-highest ranking Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, believes that many residents of his state would not welcome the proposed wall on the border with Mexico.

“I think people would say, if you are talking about a physical wall, it would rate very low,” Cornyn said during an interview with New York radio host John Catsimatidis. His constituents would prefer what he calls a “layered” approach to border security that includes “fencing, technology and boots on the ground.”

While agreeing that the Trump administration had botched the implementation of the proposed temporary travel ban, Senator Cornyn believes that the president has the authority to enact new restrictions, and insists that the executive order was largely misrepresented.

“I think there [are] a lot of people trying to create misunderstanding” by people who “have said this is a … ban based on religion, which it’s not. It applies to only seven countries and countries with failed governments which are a source of a lot of terrorism,” the senator explained. “I think the president is within his right to hit the pause button and say we need to double-check these folks … in the interest of national security.”

Cornyn had generous praise for Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s choice to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, describing him has “about the best nominee I’ve ever seen for the United States Supreme Court.”

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-Eager-for-a-Border-Wall
No Punishment for Cops Who Shot Innocent 76-Year-Old in Wrong-Door Raid New Jersey State Troopers who shot Gerald Sykes in his home during a wrong-door raid last July will face no punishment – and now the victim, who survived the assault, is considering a lawsuit.

Sykes was sleeping with his wife in their Cumberland County home when their dogs began barking at intruders. Acting out of concern for his family, Sykes grabbed his shotgun to investigate. Seeing shadowy figures through a sliding glass door to his living room, Sykes fired a single round. Police officers also opened fire, hitting Sykes three times. There is a dispute as to which party fired first: According to family members on the scene, one of the officers fired the first shot, prompting Sykes to return fire. Despite being seriously wounded, Sykes dialed 911, believing that he was the victim of a non-government-approved home invasion.

The official inquiry, predictably, ruled that the near-homicide on the part of the state troopers was a “justified” use of force. Attorney Rich Kaser, who is representing Sykes, commented that this is the usual outcome when the state investigates itself.

The police claimed to have been investigating a 911 hang-up call at the time they responded to the Sykes residence. However, Sykes did not call the emergency number until after he had been shot. Displaying the competence that typifies all government services, the officers went to the wrong address. Fortunately for them, the officers are shielded by the spurious legal doctrine called “qualified immunity,” which means they cannot be held individually liable – and that Cumberland County taxpayers will be compelled to underwrite whatever civil judgment or settlement is awarded to their 76-year-old victim.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Zumwalt’s Assessment of the Threat Posed by “Political Islam”’s-Assessment-of-the-Threat-Posed-by-“Political-Islam” Islam is a religion, but also a political ideology that is often used to justify intolerance and violence against unbelievers, contends former Marine officer James Zumwalt, the son of the late Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr. From his perspective as a non-Muslim strategic analyst, Zumwalt argues that the teachings of Islam toward nonbelievers can be summarized in one word: intolerance. Most of the tenets taught by Islam, Zumwalt asserts, are political ideas, not derived from the “believer’s relationship with Allah.”

Similar views are expressed Professor Bill French, a Ph.D. mathematician and physicist who, under the pseudonym Bill Warner, founded the Center for the Study of Political Islam. Using the tools of statistical analysis, rather than theology or a related discipline, Dr. French undertook a research project to map the ideologies of Islam related to non-believers. He categorized them into two groups, “political” and “religious.”

By applying this novel method, French concluded that the Koran teaches that non-believers “may be murdered, tortured, plotted against, enslaved, robbed, insulted, beheaded, demeaned, mocked and so forth. “

Applying the ethical principle called the Golden Rule to the central pillars of the Islamic faith would require a large amount of its teachings to be eliminated as purely political, rather than religious, French asserts. He determined that 61 percent of the teachings in the Koran, and 75 percent of the Suras – parables about Muhammad and his life – would qualify as militantly political in nature. According to Dr. French, “The worst error in thinking about Islam is that it is a religion … religion is the smallest part of Islam.”

It should be acknowledged that French has yet to apply his research methods to other religious traditions whose history includes violence, such as Christianity and Judaism.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Assessment-of-the-Threat-Posed-by-“Political-Islam”
Conservative Replacement Appointed for Senator Sessions Alabama’s embattled Republican Governor Robert Bentley has appointed a strong conservative, Luther Strange, to replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate. On February 9, Sessions was sworn in as the US Attorney General. Prior to his appointment to the Senate, Strange was Alabama’s attorney general, and in that capacity he has filed suit against EPA overreach, Obama’s transgender regulations, and Obamacare. He favors the development of clean coal, reportedly has expressed skepticism about climate change alarmism, and supports the right to life and the right to armed self-defense.

A 6’9” former collegiate basketball player, Strange is known by the nickname “Big Luther,” and his appointment gives Governor Bentley the opportunity to name another state attorney general -- one who might be friendlier amid an ongoing investigation into the Governor’s illicit sex scandal with his attractive and married chief advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

Bentley has already intervened in the investigation by firing Alabama’s chief Law Enforcement Agent, Spencer Collier, who reportedly gathered crucial evidence against Bentley and confronted him about it.

Bentley fired Collier and replaced him with his top security officer who allegedly helped bury a crucial cell phone text of a sexual nature from Mason to Bentley. The scandal is particularly damaging to
Bentley’s reputation because it paints him as a hypocrite after touting himself as a saved “born again” Christian and vocal supporter of conservative family values.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
India’s Demonetization Campaign Intensifies’s-Demonetization-Campaign-Intensifies The Corbett Report has revealed ongoing efforts in India to eliminate the use of cash. This demonetization campaign began last November 8, when the Indian Government suddenly issued a recall demand for all 500 and 1000 Rupee notes. Citizens were told that they had to exchange them for new 500 and 2000 Rupee notes within two months. Because an inadequate supply of the new notes was made available, citizens are being forced to start using digital money. The Indian government has made it clear that it wants everyone in the country with a smart phone to become a walking ATM, transferring funds in private transactions with a fingerprint reader. This is in combination with an Indian system called AADHAAR, which gives everyone a 12 digit tracking number that is tied to both Iris scans and fingerprints.

Flushing out petty cash is likely to provide a windfall to the national government by outing the “black economy,” penalizing opposition political parties that rely on cash, rebooting troubled
Indian banks that benefit from the cash that has to be deposited and favoring certain special interest corporations that have invested in processing cash digitally.

Corbett notes that Bill Gates met with the Indian PM the week of demonetization, but the main role is played by USAID and its “strategic partnership” with India’s Ministry of Finance, called “Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payments Partnership.” India’s fledgling economy had previously benefited from small cash transactions and is now reeling under the restructuring and taxes and regulations that
were skirted previously.

The US initiative in India is buried behind a bureaucratic wall within the USAID database to discourage investigators from finding out the details. Corbett concludes that there is a global effort afoot to
digitize money and India is at the forefront not only of becoming the first cashless society but also the first to be totally biometrically tracked.

He notes as well that in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the Japanese government wants to pre-register all guests with fingerprints tied to credit card infomation so they only have to use their finger to buy
anything. The next step is to force the world into a fingerprint-controlled credit card. But they have to eliminate cash first so you can’t refuse to accept the new changes in cards.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Demonetization-Campaign-Intensifies
How Deeply in Debt is California? California is the scene of a serious secession movement – and not a moment too soon, if the rest of the country is to be spared the potential impact of bailing out its deeply indebted state government.

The California Policy Center (CPC) estimates that state and local governments in the Golden State “owe $1.3 trillion” as of June 30, 2015. That analysis “is based on a review of federal, state and local financial disclosures” and includes “bonds, loans and other debt instruments as well as unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits promised to public sector employees.”

Astoundingly, this figure represents more than half – fifty-two percent – of California’s Gross State Product of $2.48 trillion.

“When added to the state’s share of the national debt, we find that California taxpayers are shouldering debt burdens on a par with residents of peripheral Eurozone states,” advises the CPC.

Furthermore, this assessment of California’s indebtedness does not include “billions of dollars in deferred maintenance and upgrades” to the state’s infrastructure. Nor did the study anticipate “the impact of any possible increase in required payments on state and local government budgets.” If, as expected, CalPERS and other public employee pension systems reduce their discount rates, “pension payments will increase substantially for state and local governments.”

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Will Trump Approve an Afghan Troop “Surge”?“Surge”? The Afghan War has lasted more than a decade and a half, and the commanding general of NATO forces in that country has told Congress that a new troop surge will be necessary.

“I believe we are in a stalemate,” General John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 9. Over the past year, Afghan forces have suffered severe losses in fierce fighting with insurgent forces. Unlike the 2009 “surge” ordered by Barack Obama, in which 30,000 combat brigade troops were deployed to the country, General Nicholson is asking for “expeditionary packages” of advisors to assist Afghan government units.

While the specific numbers will have to be discussed in greater detail, Nicholson estimates that the number of troops he is seeking would be “below the corps level” and could be either American personnel or from NATO allies participating in Operation Resolute Support. Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected to present a request to NATO defense ministers during next week’s meeting in Brussels.

A troop ceiling imposed by Obama has not reduced the size of the US commitment to the conflict, General Nichols explains: “We have substituted contractors for soldiers in order to meet our force requirement levels.” There are currently two contractors on the ground for every soldier deployed to Afghanistan.” Asked how long the interminable conflict is expected to last, General Tony Thomas of the US Special Operations Command declined to provide a firm estimate, insisting that ever-proliferating terrorist groups in the region will “necessitate an enduring counterterrorism platform.”

The Afghan War has cost more than $117 billion, and continues to siphon away at least $13 million every day.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Surge”?
Buffalo, New York Mother Arrested, Loses Kids for Homeschooling,-New-York-Mother-Arrested,-Loses-Kids-for-Homeschooling Kiarre Harris, a single mother from Buffalo, New York, was arrested and lost custody of her children after informing the local school district of her intent to withdraw them from government schools and be educated them at home.

Last November, concerned over the lack of progress being made by her two elementary school-aged children, Harris began learning about homeschooling, and began filing the needed paperwork.

“I felt the district was failing my children, and that’s when I made the decision to homeschool,” she told the local NBC affiliate.

On December 7, Harris completed and submitted all of the required documentation at Buffalo City Hall. She spoke with the district’s homeschool coordinator, and “she told me from this point on my children were officially un-enrolled from school,” Harris recounts. A week later, however, the bureaucracy calling itself Child Protective Services called her, demanding to know why the children weren’t in school.

“I told them my kids were homeschooled now and that I could furnish the documents if they need to see them,” she explains. Shortly thereafter CPS operatives and police materialized at Harris’s home to demand that she surrender her children. When she refused, she was arrested for “obstruction.”

Harris’s abducted children are hidden somewhere in the New York State foster system. She hasn’t seen them for more than three weeks.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-New-York-Mother-Arrested,-Loses-Kids-for-Homeschooling
FBI’s Fake News Operation at Bunkerville May Complicate Trial’s-Fake-News-Operation-at-Bunkerville-May-Complicate-Trial Posing as journalists and television crews, FBI operatives “Tricked the Bundy ranching family and their supporters into giving on-camera interviews that prosecutors may use in upcoming trials,” reports the Guardian of London.

In a court filing, defense attorneys representing Cliven Bundy have described how the FBI created a “fake film production company” called Longbow Productions as part of a “wide-reaching deceptive undercover operation” that manipulated several defendants into making what are described as “boastful, false, and potentially incriminating statements” during what they believed to be media interviews. The prosecution has admitted that FBI agents did act “in an undercover capacity as independent documentary filmmakers.”

“When the jury finds out this is a tactic they used, none of them will think it’s OK,” predicts defense attorney Daniel Hill, who is representing Ammon Bundy in an upcoming trial in Las Vegas.

Greg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, contends that “If you think every reporter you meet could be an agent of law enforcement, it really has an immediate impact on any journalist coming to try and cover that story.”

During the recent trial of Ammon and Ryan Bundy and several others on federal charges arising from last year’s protest occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, revelations about the role played by paid FBI informants helped secure acquittals.

“The jury did not like hearing there were undercover agents,” recalls Lisa Bundy, Ammon’s wife. “They’re using your and my tax dollars to hurt other Americans.”

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Fake-News-Operation-at-Bunkerville-May-Complicate-Trial
President Trump Seeks to Federalize Prosecution of Assaults on Law Enforcement During the swearing-in ceremony for newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump announced three “executive actions” that he said are “designed to restore safety in America.” One was described as a weapon that would “break the back of the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth”; the second calls for creation of a national violent crime task force; the third instructs Sessions and the Justice Department to devise a plan “to stop violence against law enforcement officers.”

One of the executive orders issued by Trump announced that his administration would “pursue appropriate legislation … that will define new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing Federal crimes, in order to prevent violence against Federal, State, tribal and local law enforcement officers.” This could make the act of resisting arrest a federal felony.

During the campaign, following an endorsement from a police union, Mr. Trump promised that he would issue an executive order mandating the death penalty for the killing of a police officer. While that cannot be done through a presidential directive, this executive order appears to be intended to bring about the same result through legislation – which would mean ignoring the Constitution’s limits on federal criminal jurisdiction.

The Constitution limits federal law enforcement jurisdiction to three crimes – treason, piracy, and counterfeiting – and delegates no authority whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to punish other violent crimes.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Directive Will Expand Gitmo What Bush built, and Obama preserved, will be expanded under Trump. The Trump administration “is finalizing an executive order that effectively tells allies and Islamic State fighters alike: Guantanamo is open for business,” reports Foreign Policy magazine.

The draft executive order “temporarily bars the transfer of any current detainees and instructs the US military to bring any new detainees – explicitly including Islamic State militants – to the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” continues the report. This would mean prolonging the confinement of dozens of detainees who were cleared for release but unable to find somewhere else to go.

Some officials privy to discussions of the Trump administration’s counterterrorism priorities have claimed that the disastrous January 29 raid in Yemen was intended, at least in part, to capture new detainees to be imprisoned and interrogated in the Gitmo facility.

One side-effect of the Gitmo executive order may be action by Congress to update the ongoing statutory authorization for the War on Terror. The Obama administration based its military campaign against ISIS on congressional authorizations for the use of military force in 2001 and 2002, which targeted al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime, respectively. New congressional authorization might be considered necessary to address potential legal challenges posed on behalf of new Gitmo detainees.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Abolishing Hippocratic Medicine The ancient Greek medical doctor and philosopher Hippocrates revolutionized medical ethics by defining the role of the physician exclusively as that of a healer. Central to the Hippocratic Oath is the promise that a medical doctor will not do intentional harm to his patient. In recent decades, this patient-centered moral principle has been subverted by redefining the physician’s role as an agent of society. Thus physicians have been employed to administer lethal injections to carry out capital punishment. Many others have committed abortions, a killing procedure explicitly forbidden by the original Hippocratic Oath.

The journal Bioethics recently published an essay contending that doctors have no right to refuse what is called “medical assistance in dying,” or participating in abortions, irrespective of their religious or ethical convictions. Conscientious objectors who refuse to carry out such killing procedures, the authors contend, should be systematically weeded out of the medical profession.

“Medical schools and training programs should carefully outline the nature of the job and screen for conscientious objection where it is relevant to job performance,” the authors maintain. “Requirements of the job should be written into the contract.” They observe that Sweden, Finland , and several other European countries have quietly implemented measures of this kind. Omitted from that list, significantly, is the most important example – National Socialist Germany, where the Hippocratic Oath itself was re-written to redefine the physician’s role as representing the interests of the Volk, as defined by that government, rather than those of any individual patient.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Appeals Court Refuses Administration Appeal on Temporary Travel Ban A three-judge panel from the San Francisco-based United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has refused a motion by the Trump administration to void a restraining order against the president’s executive order imposing a temporary travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries. The administration must now decide whether to file an immediate appeal to the US Supreme Court, which will be shorthanded until a replacement Justice is seated for the late Antonin Scalia. It is anticipated that as presently constituted, the High Court would deadlock 4-4 over the issue of the executive order.

In a unanimous ruling, the three-judge panel wrote that “Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all.” While granting that “courts owe considerable deference to the President’s policy determinations with respect to immigration and national security,” the ruling asserted that “it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive actions.”

Meeting with sheriffs in the White House, President Trump told reporters that “We’re going to take it [the appeal of the 9th Circuit ruling] through the system. It’s very important for the country.”

The Ninth Circuit Court has a reputation for being the most frequently overruled jurisdiction in the federal court system.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Mississippi Legislature Completing a “Blue Privilege” Law“Blue-Privilege”-Law Two bills being reconciled in the Mississippi State Legislature will, if signed into law, add that state to the growing list of jurisdictions in which police officers are treated as a specially protected class for the purpose of hate crimes prosecutions.

House Bill 645, titled the “Back the Badge Act of 2017,” would triple the penalties for committing an act of violence against law enforcement officers or other first responders. Rep. Jeff Hale, a Republican, admits that there is growing tension between police and the public at large, but insists that this is entirely the fault of the media for “putting the twist on it the way they do.” Several of his colleagues in the Legislature used debate over the measure to describe personal experiences of abuse at the hands of police officers.

Rep. Bell had tried, without success, to amend his bill to require a ten percent salary increase for law enforcement officers and firefighters. The bill was passed the House by a vote of 85-31.

A similar measure, Senate Bill 2469, the “Blue, Red, and Med Lives Matter Act,” has passed that chamber of the state Legislature. That bill designates police and other first responders as a specially protected class for the purpose of hate crimes prosecution. Mississippi state law currently doubles penalties for crimes targeting people belonging to specially protected classes.

The bills must now be reconciled before being sent to the governor for his signature.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blue-Privilege”-Law
Trump Administration Prepares Massive Military Aid Package for Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, where ISIS-style beheadings are commonplace, and whose ruling royal family bankrolls countless radical Islamist cells, was not on the list of nations subject to President Trump’s executive order calling for a temporary travel ban. The president is reportedly preparing to do the Saudi oligarchy another favor by approving a $300 million arms package for Riyadh and an even larger one for its Gulf State puppet regime in Bahrain.

The Washington Times, citing congressional sources, says that the Saudis would receive $300 million in precision-guided missile technology. Bahrain will be given a multibillion-dollar F-16 deal. All of this is part of the Trump administration’s increasingly confrontational posture toward Iran.

“These are significant sales for key allies in the Gulf who are facing the threat from Iran and who can contribute to the fight against the Islamic State,” one official told the Washington Times. “Whereas the Obama administration held back on these, they’re now in the new administration’s court for a decision – and I would anticipate the decision will be to move forward.”

That assessment neatly inverts the strategic relationship regarding ISIS, which is composed of militant Sunnis. Iran has actually been doing battle against ISIS while the Saudis and their allies have quietly supported the nihilistic terrorist group.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Polls Show Americans More Inclined to find Trump “Truthful” than the Media“Truthful”-than-the-Media It’s not clear whether this is an endorsement of the president’s credibility, or a resounding indictment of the media, but according to a recent poll conducted by Emerson College “voters find the Trump administration to be more truthful than the news media.” Of those who responded to the poll, 49 percent consider President Trump and his associates to be truthful, and 48 percent regard them to be untruthful. The news media, by way of contrast, is regarded as untruthful by an absolute majority of those surveyed – 53 percent. Those who described it as truthful constituted 39 percent of respondents.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Truthful”-than-the-Media
NOAA Operatives Manipulated Climate Data Bureaucrats employed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration manipulated temperature findings to create the illusion that global warming accelerated following 2000, reports the London Daily Mail. Citing now-retired NOAA climate scientist John Bates, the Mail reports that a 2015 study published in Science magazine was created to convince policy makers and the media-consuming public of the need to adopt the UN’s Paris Agreement on climate change, which supposedly would curb emissions of carbon dioxide through the use of fossil fuels.

The lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, was the director of the National Centers for Environmental Information, the NOAA section producing climate data. Dr. Bates reports that Karl insisted on “Decisions and scientific choices that maximized warming and minimized documentation … in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy.”

Dr. Bates asserts that both sea surface and land temperature data were manipulated by Dr. Karl in order to create spurious warming trends. In February of last year, the journal Nature Climate Change published an article by a widely respected group of researchers led by Canadian climate scientist John Fyfe that contradicted the politicized NOAA study. A second study published in Science Advances claims to validate the NOAA study. As long-time science commentator Ronald Bailey points out, this demonstrates that, contrary to the climate alarmist mantra, the science is not settled where the issue of climate change is concerned – and should not be settled through political means.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Will the Department of Education Be Abolished? Since the 1980 Ronald Reagan presidential campaign, the Republican Party’s platform has called for the abolition of the US Department of Education. Under the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution, education is a matter falling entirely within the purview of state and local governments, and the central government has no authority whatsoever to intervene in educational affairs.

As he signed legislation creating the Education Department in October 1979, President Jimmy Carter claimed that “the Federal Government has for too long failed to play its own supporting role in education as effectively as it could,” describing it as the role of a “junior partner” rather than a “silent partner.” By the reign of Barack Obama, there was no longer any excuse to see Washington as a “junior partner.” This was made clear by, among other developments, invasive mandates to advance the gender revolution by directing local schools to indulge the delusions of young students who claimed to identify with a “gender” other than their irrevocable biological sex.

Carter’s creation of the Education Department was a payoff to the National Education Association (NEA) in exchange for its unprecedented endorsement of Carter in the 1976 campaign, and it earned the union’s endorsement in 1980. During the 1976 Democratic National Convention, the largest block of delegates – 180 – were members of the teachers’ union, and Carter called in favors from the NEA to help him secure re-nomination in the face of a stern challenge by the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.

The approval of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education has prompted many liberals to reexamine the merits of home-schooling. Kentucky Republican Representative Thomas Massie has introduced a bill – consisting of a single sentence – that would abolish the Department on December 31, 2018. With both the legislative and executive branches under Republican control, the GOP has no excuse not to make good on its long-standing promise to dismantle the agency created by Carter as a favor to the teachers’ union.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Was the Yemen Raid a Botched Job? The government of Yemen has rescinded its permission to allow US Special Operations missions on its territory following the first commando raid authorized by President Trump. The fifty-minute firefight on January 29 resulted in the death of 14 people identified as enemy combatants and SEAL Team 6 member William Owens. In addition, dozens of non-combatants were killed, including women and children, among them 8-year-old US citizen Ramza al-Awlaki.

The raid was originally planned in the waning days of the Obama administration, but Obama deferred approval of the mission to his successor. The New York Times reports that the president gave his approval on January 25 “over dinner … with his top national security aides, rather than in the kind of rigorous review in the Situation Room that became fairly routine under President George W. Bush and Mr. Obama.” President Trump’s aides insist that despite the informal setting, the mission was given proper scrutiny prior to being approved.

NBC News, citing an anonymous source, claimed that the target of the raid was named Qassim al-Rimi, head of an Islamist group called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. On Sunday, al-Rimi released an audio recording deemed authentic by Pentagon officials in which he taunted President Trump, saying that “The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands.”

Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for US Central Command, insists that al-Rimi was not the target of the operation. An individual identified as “a senior White House official with direct knowledge of the discussions” told NBC that the capture of al-Rimi would have been a “game-changer” and that national security advisers “told Trump they doubted that the Obama administration would have been bold enough to try it.”

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Stockman to Trump: Focus on Fixing the Economy Whatever the merits of Donald Trump’s executive order imposing a temporary pause on immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations, the issue was handled badly and the “misfire” detracts from the urgent need to fix the economy, contends financial analyst and commentator David Stockman. The former Congressman and one-time head of Ronald Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget, Stockman was among the first pundits to predict Trump’s victory, and while critical of him in some details believes that President Trump embodies the potential for positive and long-overdue changes – if he can focus and prioritize.

Americans are much likelier to perish from a lightning strike than in a terrorist attack, Stockman observed. However, every middle class household is suffering the economic consequences of bad policies imposed by Washington for the benefit of Wall Street.

“Trump was elected because flyover America is hurting economically,” Stockman recalled during a CNN interview. “The voters of Racine, Wisconsin and Johnstown, Pennsylvania are imperiled not because of some refugees, they’re imperiled because their jobs have all been disappearing for decades. The problem is far more the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, [and] the bubbles they’re creating on Wall Street.”

Stockman also chastised Trump for neglecting his resonant promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington by casting out Establishment figures. Rather than emptying that bog, President Trump has been filling it with “other creatures that will build up homeland security, border control, more money for defense, more money for spying and national security.”

The people with whom Trump is surrounding himself will blunt his better instincts, Stockman regretfully predicts.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“Extreme Vetting” means “Give Us Your Passwords”: Homeland Security Chief“Extreme-Vetting”-means-“Give-Us-Your-Passwords”:-Homeland-Security-Chief Visitors to the United States may soon be required to supply social-media passwords as part of an “extreme vetting” border enforcement regime, according to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

“We want to get on their social media, with passwords – what do you do, what do you say?” Kelly explained in testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee. “If they don’t want to cooperate then [they] don’t come in.”

Kelly said that this procedure is one of several “things we are talking about,” and that discussion has yet to coalesce into a set of formal proposals.

Compelling visitors to surrender social media passwords at the border was among the border enforcement measures discussed by top Homeland Security officials during the Obama administration, but was never implemented. If that policy is adopted it would apply to both foreign nationals and US citizens.

Border Patrol and Customs officials have long been granted discretion to search electronic devices – such as cellphones and laptop computers – belonging to people entering the US from abroad. Through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the ACLU learned that between October 2008 and June 2010, more than 6,500 people crossing a US border were subjected to searches of their electronic devices. Roughly half of them were US citizens.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Extreme-Vetting”-means-“Give-Us-Your-Passwords”:-Homeland-Security-Chief
Trump’s Endorsement of Asset Forfeiture Prompts Legislative Response’s-Endorsement-of-Asset-Forfeiture-Prompts-Legislative-Response- During a meeting in the White House with a group of county sheriffs, President Trump expressed outrage over state-level efforts to reform or abolish the practice of civil asset forfeiture. This is a procedure in which police officers confiscate money or other property from people who are described as criminal suspects but not convicted of an offense. Often, they are not even charged with one. Through the Justice Department’s “equitable sharing” program, the money and property are turned over to federal custody until the forfeiture process is complete, and then ninety percent of it is given back to the local law enforcement agency that stole it.

During the White House meeting, reports Reuters, President Trump asked acting U.S. Attorney General Dana Boente, who was at the gathering, whether executive orders or legislation were needed to support forfeiture. Boente said that was unnecessary but law enforcement agencies needed encouragement.

One public official who will not encourage police carrying out asset forfeiture is Republican Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan. Responding to the White House event, Amash criticized what he called the president’s endorsement of “stealing property from law-abiding Americans who haven't been charged with—let alone convicted of—any crime.”

“My staff and I will work to introduce a bill to end civil asset forfeiture,” promised Amash. “I always will stand up for limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. And I always will keep my oath to support and defend the Constitution.”

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Endorsement-of-Asset-Forfeiture-Prompts-Legislative-Response-
Executive Action Undertaken to Revive Pipeline Projects President Trump was careful to employ the phrase “executive actions” rather than “executive orders” as he issued instructions to the US Army Corps of Engineers to proceed on the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline Projects. Tom Murse, a contributing writer on U.S. government policies, emphasizes that “Executive actions are any informal proposals or moves by the president. The term executive action itself is vague and can be used to describe almost anything the president calls on Congress or his administration to do…. A good way to think of executive actions is a wish list of policies the president would like to enact.”

By whatever name they are called, making federal land use policy through executive actions creates a condition called “regime uncertainty” that has severely negative consequences for property rights.

Last July, the Army Corps issued an environmental impact statement finding that the Dakota Access Pipeline would have “no significant impact” on the local watershed, and that an easement under nearby Lake Oahe was appropriate. This was contradicted by a memorandum issued last December by acting Assistant Director of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, who ordered a more comprehensive environmental assessment that could take up to two years. That memorandum was voided by Mr. Trump’s directive to the Corps to finish its assessment “in an expedited manner.”

Commentator Ronald Bailey writes that “those of us concerned about the rule of law on which activists, oilmen, and all other citizens hope to rely” should be left unsettled by the way “the pipeline was stalled at the whim of one president and is evidently being green-lighted now at the whim of another. Whimsical regulation is bad for everybody.”

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Can a Judge Order a Single Man to Stay Celibate for Life? Marital fidelity and pre-marital chastity are praiseworthy – but is judicially ordered celibacy a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment?

Cody Duane Scott Herrera, a 19-year-old Twin Falls man was convicted of the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl two years ago, when both were underage. Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker sentenced Herrera to a year-long therapeutic prison program. Although he was not designated a sexual predator, which would place his name on a permanent registry, Herrera was told by Judge Stoker that he would face a form of indefinite probation during which “you will not have sexual relations with anyone except who [sic] you’re married to, if you’re married.”

The judge said that this unprecedented condition was imposed, in large measure, because Herrera had told presentence investigators that he’s had 34 sexual partners.

“I have never seen that level of sexual activity by a 19-year-old,” insisted Judge Stoker.

If Herrera is found to have had extra-marital relations at any point following his therapeutic sentence, he would be subject to arrest and imprisonment for a term of up to fifteen years in prison.

Shaakirra R. Sanders, an associate professor at the University of Idaho College of Law, contends that Stoker’s innovative sentence is unenforceable and “infringes on constitutional rights.” The professor cites two Supreme Court cases – one out of Texas, the other from Oklahoma – that protect the privacy rights of adults to engage in sexual intimacy with other consenting adults.

While people on probation are subject to monitoring by law enforcement, “how would you even enforce this?” asks Sanders. “It seems to be quite intrusive if they can just bust into his bedroom to make sure he’s not getting it on.”

If Herrera appealed, “he would win,” predicts Professor Sanders.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Arizona Legislature Seeks to Criminalize Being a Passenger without ID If enacted into law, a measure before the Arizona State Legislature would make it a criminal offense – punishable by a $750 fine and up to four months in jail – for a passenger in an automobile not to produce identification when demanded by a police officer. State Representative Anthony Kern, a Republican representing Glendale, told the Arizona Republic that he developed the bill with input from police agencies.

“We want to make sure passengers identify themselves correctly in any vehicle that’s stopped by a police officer,” Kern insists. “This is about giving officers the ability to do their job correctly. An officer needs to know who is in the vehicle. It’s about safety, from an officer’s standpoint.”

As is so often the case, this perspective on “officer safety” prioritizes the security of a public official over that of members of the public that official is supposed to serve. There is no constitutional basis for compelling citizens to provide identification to police officers unless they are operating a motor vehicle or suspected of involvement in an ongoing crime.

Although Kern insists his bill is not designed for the purpose, an essay published by the legal commentary journal Mimesis Law concludes that it would almost certainly “Serve as an ad hoc immigration enforcement scheme.”

If the measure is enacted, “Jumping in the car with your wife to run down to the store to score some Huggies for Junior and not having an ID could land you in jail,” unless “you can show up to court and prove you had a valid ID at the time of the ticket,” the essay warns readers.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Nordstrom Drops Ivanka’s Product Line: Political Correctness, or Free Market at Work?’s-Product-Line:-Political-Correctness,-or-Free-Market-at-Work? Upscale retailer Nordstrom has announced that they would no longer carry Ivanka Trump’s signature clothing line, a development some analysts believe reflects the success of a boycott organized by President Trump’s political critics. A spokesman for the chain told Forbes magazine that the store will generally rotate about ten percent of its brands each year during the normal course of affairs, ditching lines that aren’t selling well. The representative insists that “We’ve said all along we make buying decisions based on performance. In this case, based on the brand’s performance, we’ve decided not to buy it for this season.”

President Trump spared a few moments to post a statement on Twitter complaining that “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom. She is a great person – always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”

As a businessman, the president should understand decisions based on profit-and-loss calculations. As a political figure who has urged his supporters to be discerning news consumers, President Trump is no stranger to the practice of using consumer decisions to express a political preference.

Last year, for example, mid-line retailer Target suffered significant financial losses when conservative Christians and other traditionalists boycotted the chain to protest its policy allowing self-identified transgender people to invade the privacy of well-adjusted people who use restrooms and changing rooms appropriate to their biological sex.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Product-Line:-Political-Correctness,-or-Free-Market-at-Work?
Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Protests “Demoralizing” Criticism of Judges’s-Supreme-Court-Nominee-Protests-“Demoralizing”-Criticism-of-Judges Constitutionalists and libertarians alike have applauded President Trump’s appointment of federal appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia. A widely respected jurist and scholar, Judge Gorsuch is also seen as an independent figure who may surprise the president who nominated him. Indeed, he may have done so already by criticizing President Trump for attacking US District Judge James Robart, who issued a restraining order against the recent executive order dealing with immigration.

President Trump’s critical comments, which include a disparaging description of Robart as a “so-called judge,” are “disheartening and demoralizing,” Gorsuch said during a private meeting with Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Supreme-Court-Nominee-Protests-“Demoralizing”-Criticism-of-Judges
Senate Neocons Seek to Tie Trump’s Hands on Russia Sanctions’s-Hands-on-Russia-Sanctions Economic sanctions are a form of conflict akin to war. The World War I-era Trading With the Enemy Act, under which foreign nations and interests can be targeted for sanctions, clearly defines that practice as an exercise of war powers. Toward the end of his second term, Barack Obama imposed economic sanctions on Russia – including some targeting the private scholar Alexander Dugin – to punish Moscow for its role in the Ukrainian conflict.

During his successful presidential bid, Donald Trump urged a less confrontational approach toward Russia, and following his inauguration he indicated his intent to lift the economic sanctions – which, once again, are only appropriate in the context of a war. The Ron Paul Institute reports that three of the most bellicose Senate Republicans – Marco Rubio of Florida, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and John McCain of Arizona – are joining with several Democrats to propose legislation that would impede President Trump’s effort to de-escalate tensions with Russia. The first, entitled the “Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017,” would expand anti-Russian sanctions.

Senator Graham and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland are preparing another bill called “The Russian Review Act” that would require the White House to submit a report explaining why sanctions should be lifted as part of a 120-day review period during which Congress could take action to prevent the easing of financial penalties.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Hands-on-Russia-Sanctions
Celebrity Sheriff Faces Civil Rights Suit, Plans Senate Campaign,-Plans-Senate-Campaign Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke has been sued by local resident Dan Black for abusing the powers of his office.

Clarke and Black shared a flight to Milwaukee from Dallas, Texas on January 15 following an NFL playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. Clarke, who is a passionate Dallas Cowboys fan in a state where supporting the Packers is nearly an established religion, was wearing Cowboy fan attire. Black, who had gone to Dallas for a wedding, asked Clarke if he was the sheriff. After Clarke replied that he was, Black shook his head – a gesture reflecting his surprise that the hometown sheriff was rooting against the Packers.

Offended by Black’s gesture, Clarke attempt to provoke a confrontation, but Black didn’t respond. Once the plane landed in Milwaukee, Black found himself surrounded by armed deputies who detained and questioned him on the sheriff’s orders. After Black filed an ethics complaint, Clarke published a Facebook post declaring that “Next time [Black] pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out” – and a second one saying that if he had intended to harass Black, he “wouldn’t be around to whine about it,” which is an oblique death threat.

Issuing threats of this kind through social media has been prosecuted under a federal law that makes it a felony to threaten to injure someone if those statements are transmitted through “interstate commerce.”

While Clarke has cultivated a significant national following through regular appearances on Fox News, a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling suggests that he faces a resounding defeat if he seeks reelection next year: He is burdened with a 62 percent disapproval rating, and 65 percent of county residents surveyed believe he has had a negative impact on the county’s image. Although the sheriff’s local political prospects are fading, a group of out-of-state interests have organized a political action committee for a potential Senate campaign in 2018.

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Plans-Senate-Campaign
Trump: “Dishonest Press” is Covering up Terrorist Attacks“Dishonest-Press”-is-Covering-up-Terrorist-Attacks-- Terrorist attacks are among the most widely and extensively covered events, yet President Trump – going off-script during an address to military officers at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base – accused the “dishonest media” of deliberately covering up those atrocities.

“It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” the president said during remarks to senior officers from US Central Command. “And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”

Asked to clarify the president’s claim, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that “He felt members of the media don’t always cover some of those events to the extent that other events might get covered. Protests will get blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t necessarily get the same coverage.”

The White House later provided a list of 78 attacks that the administration insists received inadequate media coverage – nearly all of which were covered by mainstream media, many of which received saturation coverage.

One possibility is that the President believes that terrorism coverage in the legacy media, while abundant, has been less than forthright in describing the problem as rooted in radical Islam, or young Muslim males. In Europe, for example, the media often neglects to tell their readers that the perpetrator of a crime is a Muslim refugee.

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Dishonest-Press”-is-Covering-up-Terrorist-Attacks--
Republicans May Use Military Appropriation to fund the Border Wall Project The Mexican government has clearly and emphatically said that it will not pay for the proposed border wall. President Trump has said that the costs of constructing the wall would be covered by tariff increases, which means that US consumers would pay for the project – even though Mr. Trump has insisted that Mexico would somehow be made to reimburse the US Treasury for those costs.

John Kelly, head of the Department of Homeland Security, has claimed that the wall will be completed sometime before the end of Mr. Trump’s first term, which means that money for the project would have to be found immediately. House Republican leaders, reports the Washington Examiner, are preparing to appropriate $15 billion for the wall project as part of a supplemental military spending request anticipated within the next three months.

“Supplemental requests are considered emergency spending and, therefore, circumvent [budget] offset requirements,” observes the Examiner. “Republican leaders have said it is not fiscally irresponsible to approve funds for the wall without finding equal cuts elsewhere in the budget.”

“It is our belief that we can offset it and yet at the same time I’ll stay true to my commitment that we’re going to give the president the tools necessary,” promises North Carolina Republican Representative Mark Meadows. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas reports that “border security” requests in the supplemental military requests will include $15 billion for the wall.

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Feds Cover Up Road Safety Studies, With Lethal Results,-With-Lethal-Results According to conventional wisdom, one of the most vital services offered by government – both at the federal and state level – is road construction and maintenance, including the provision of traffic safety measures, such as stoplights. As Richard Boltuck, an economist from Bethesda, Maryland has learned, the process through which state and local governments make critical traffic safety decisions is secretive and designed to prevent accountability when those decisions have lethal consequences.

For nearly a decade, Boltuck has been lobbying for the installation of a left-turn traffic light at an accident-prone intersection near his home. A few months ago, three members of a local family were killed in a blind-side accident at that intersection. Boltuck argues that the tragedy “highlights the need for the engineering studies we have been requesting.”

If his numerous records requests had been answered over the past several years, the problems with the intersection might have been addressed. However, bureaucrats obstructed those requests using an obscure provision of federal law called Section 409, which allows agencies to withhold public disclosure of studies, surveys and other data about dangerous highways, intersections, and bridges “if there is even a remote possibility that someone might one day sue the government for failing to make needed redesigns or repairs,” explains former Washington Post editor Miranda Spivack in an article for Reveal News. Most states “keep the information out of public view and away from tenacious residents who might use [it] as leverage, to lobby the government to fix the routes.”

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-With-Lethal-Results
Trump Suggests “Destroying” State Senator Seeking Asset Forfeiture Reform“Destroying”-State-Senator-Seeking-Asset-Forfeiture-Reform Sheriff Harold Eavenson of Texas’s Rockwall County is upset with an unnamed state senator who is seeking to reform the practice of civil asset forfeiture, in which law enforcement agencies confiscate money and other property without filing criminal charges. Eavenson used a White House meeting to express his frustrations to President Trump.

“There’s a state senator in Texas that was talking about legislation to require conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money,” groused Eavenson, whose legal education apparently didn’t delve into the rudimentary due process principle that punishment can only be inflicted following conviction for a criminal offense. Exhibiting the same variety of ignorance, the President exclaimed, “Do you believe that?”

“I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed,” continued Eavenson, suggesting that only Mexican drug lords take issue with the routine highway robbery committed by American police agencies in the name of asset forfeiture.

“Want to give his name?” Trump suggested. “We’ll destroy his career.”

The remark drew appreciative laughter from the sheriffs gathered in the Oval Office.

The Dallas Morning News observes that “Eavenson is in line to become president of the National Sheriff’s Association in June.”

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Destroying”-State-Senator-Seeking-Asset-Forfeiture-Reform
Loose Talk by Trump Featured in Legal Appeals The expression “Bully Pulpit” reflects the fact that a president’s words have extraordinary weight, both in terms of setting policy into motion and motivating the public. This is why part of the definition of what is called a “presidential” demeanor includes the ability to use words judiciously. Donald Trump’s chief appeal to his constituency is his uninhibited style of speaking, which is devoid of political correctness and, often, even rudimentary courtesy. That trait, which was a selling point during the campaign, has quickly become a liability now that Trump is in office.

“Trump himself recently explained that his rhetoric about Muslims is popular, winning him `standing ovations,’” notes the Washington Post. “No one apparently gave him anything like a Miranda warning: Anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law. And that’s exactly what’s happening now in the epic court battle over his travel ban, currently blocked by a temporary order set for argument … before a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”

Lawsuits filed on behalf of the states of Washington and Minnesota, which seek to block the order, “are citing the president’s inflammatory rhetoric as evidence that the government’s claims – that it’s not a ban and not aimed at Muslims – are shams.” Court papers filed on behalf of those states cite copious examples from Trump’s public addresses that they insist demonstrate that the order, rather than being neutral, proceeds from a “desire to harm a particular group.”

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Alex Jones: I Would Die for Trump Austin, Texas-based independent radio host Alex Jones has built a career out of opposition to the federal government, often expressed in conspiratorial terms. Jones has described himself as a libertarian, often warning his audience about the dangerous consolidation of power in the hands of the presidency and the militarization of domestic law enforcement. He has long been on friendly terms with former Congressman Ron Paul, who himself is widely recognized as one of the most influential voices in the libertarian movement.

While Ron Paul’s unalloyed commitment to individual liberty and the Constitution are admirable, Jones said during a recent broadcast, he is much more taken with Donald Trump’s more forceful approach.

“Trump is so fire-breathing, so energetic, so cunning, so real, and he’s having results so amazing that it just makes me endeared to Trump,” proclaimed Jones. “I’m ready to die for Trump, at this point … it’s the same feeling I have for America, because he is America…. I’ve never seen anything like this. This is bigger than 1776 if Trump can deliver.”

“And then I see the news – I’ve got articles today, `Ha, ha, there’s tens of thousands of bureaucrats that are going to leak everything you’re doing militarily and sabotage you,’” Jones continued. “That’s called treason. That’s executionable [sic]”.

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Other Border “Wall”“Wall” Walls can keep people out, or they can be used to hold people in. President Trump has spoken extensively about imposing punitive taxes on US businesses that relocate production overseas, thereby creating the rhetorical equivalent of a wall intended to keep those companies within the country. The Internal Revenue Service recently announced new measures to keep Americans it considers tax delinquents from leaving the U.S.

“If you have seriously delinquent tax debt, IRS can notify the State Department,” explains Forbes magazine contributor Robert W. Wood. “The State Department generally will not issue or renew a passport after receiving certification from the IRS.”

The State Department, following that notification, will hold the passport application for ninety days in order to allow the so-called tax delinquent either to make full payment of the claimed tax debt, or make other arrangements the IRS considers satisfactory. No grace period is offered prior to the revocation of a passport.

These new restrictions are found in Section 7345 of the US Tax Code, which was enacted in late 2015. The IRS says that certification of so-called tax delinquents will begin within the next few weeks.

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Wall”
Violent Threats for Yarn Store Owner Who Criticized “Women’s March”“Women’s-March” Elizabeth Poe operates “The Joy of Knitting,” a yarn store in Franklin, Tennessee. Following the recent so-called Women’s March in Washington, D.C., Poe was approached by a woman who wanted to purchase pink yarn to make a knitted hat similar to those prominently displayed by the protesters -- which were referred to by a vulgar slang expression for intimate female anatomy.

Repelled by what she had seen and heard of the event in Washington, Poe used her company’s Facebook page to ask those seeking to knit those protest hats to “shop for yarn elsewhere.”

“The vulgarity, vileness and evilness [sic] of this movement is absolutely despicable,” Poe declared. “That kind of behavior is unacceptable and is not welcomed at The Joy of Knitting. I will never need that kind of business to remain open.”

Within a few hours, the Facebook page was inundated with comments, many of them overt threats of violence. Hundreds of phone messages were left on her answering machine, some of which contained threats of “rape and other violent acts,” recounts The Federalist. Although disgusted, Poe is not intimidated by the attention – and taking a stand on behalf of her principles by declining certain kinds of business has actually been profitable.

“Last week paid for new floors,” Poe told the Federalist, referring to an influx of orders from every state and from as far abroad as Hong Kong. “I’ve done in these four days what I normally do in a month,” she pointed out.

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Women’s-March”
Torture Advocate, War Criminal: Trump Is Abusing His Power,-War-Criminal:-Trump-Is-Abusing-His-Power As a legal adviser to President George W. Bush, John C. Yoo drafted a document called the “Bybee Memorandum” that provided a rationale for presidential approval of torture. A few years later, during a debate at Notre Dame University, Yoo claimed that the president can order his subordinates to crush a child’s genitals in order to extract information from his parents – if the president certified that doing so was in the interest of national security.

Yoo, who now teaches law at the University of California-Berkeley, was a critic of Donald Trump during the presidential election. He has now written a New York Times op-ed column accusing President Trump of exceeding the constitutional powers of his office – a remarkable critique, coming from a legal scholar who supports an expansive view of presidential authority.

During his first weeks in office, Trump has repeatedly usurped powers reserved to other branches of the federal government, Yoo contends. Trump “should share [Alexander] Hamilton’s vision of an energetic president leading the executive branch in a unified direction, rather than viewing the government as the enemy,” Yoo continues. “He should realize that the Constitution channels the president toward protecting the nation from foreign threats, while cooperating with Congress on matters at home.”

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-War-Criminal:-Trump-Is-Abusing-His-Power
Omaha Restaurant Owner Faces Criminal Charges over a Tweet Last August, the Nebraska State Patrol arranged a “compliance check” – that is, a sting operation. Two 17-year-olds were recruited by the police and instructed to ask owners of restaurants and convenience stores to sell them alcoholic beverages.

John Horavatinovich, owner of the Salt 88 restaurant, turned down the teenagers’ request to purchase beer – and then posted their photo on Twitter to warn other business owners not to sell them alcohol.

“We were presented with two minors trying to buy alcohol at our restaurant,” the businessman later recalled. “Had I known they were minors working with authorities in a compliance check, I would have deleted it immediately. But we didn’t find that until 12 days after [I posted ] the tweet.”

Rather than being commended for his public-spirited compliance with state law, Horavatinovich has been charged with the misdemeanor criminal offense of “obstructing a government operation.”

Recently retired State Patrol Sergeant Robert Elliot, who canceled the sting operation after the teenagers’ cover was blown, insists that the tweet posed a safety risk to his undercover operatives. During cross-examination, Horavatinovich’s defense attorney asked Elliott how the restaurant owner could have interfered with a government operation when he wasn’t aware that one was underway.

The sting operation was carried out in coordination with a public-private advocacy group called “Project Extra Mile,” which is partially funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The organization claims to have carried out 10,000 compliance checks over the past twenty years.

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“Gender-Neutral Parenting” is Checkmated by Biology“Gender-Neutral-Parenting”-is-Checkmated-by-Biology Millions of parents unduly influenced by mass media programming and the pressures to conform to political fads have adopted so-called “gender-neutral” approaches to child-rearing. This includes “not revealing the baby’s sex at birth, dressing them and their bedroom in various shades of oatmeal, [and] encouraging them to play with gender-neutral toys,”writes neuroscientist Debra Soh of Toronto’s York University. “There’s also pressure on corporations to help; parental complaints led Target to stop sex-segregating its toys, for instance.”

In Dr. Soh’s opinion it is an “undeniably positive thing” to offer children “the opportunity to pursue what they’d like, freed from societal expectations” – a form of license most parents would consider dangerously overbroad. However, she advises that “the scientific reality is that it’s futile to treat children as blank slates with no predetermined characteristics. Biology matters.”

“A large and long-standing body of research literature shows that toy preferences, for example, are innate, not socially constructed or shaped by parental feedback. Most girls will gravitate toward socially interesting toys, like dolls, that help social and verbal abilities develop. Most boys will gravitate toward toys that are mechanically interesting, like cars and trucks, fostering visuo-spatial skills.” A recent peer-reviewed study found that “these preferences emerge as early as nine months of age – before children are developmentally aware that gender differences exist….” In addition, she continues, “An immense body of neuroimaging research has shown brain differences between the sexes.”

“Acknowledging inherent sex differences isn’t harmful or sexist,” she concludes; “differences don’t necessitate one sex being better than the other.”

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Gender-Neutral-Parenting”-is-Checkmated-by-Biology
Spurious Libel Suit Seeks to Punish Climate Heretics Professor Michael Mann of Penn State is pursuing a libel lawsuit that would create a legal precedent for punishing media commentators who express skepticism toward establishment claims about “climate change.”

“Mr. Mann is famous as the creator of the `hockey stick’ graph, which portrays a dramatic trend in global warming over the past century,” explain attorneys Michael A. Carvin and Anthony Dick in the Wall Street Journal. “Numerous critics have cast doubt on the quality and accuracy of his work. They argue that his historical temperature proxies are unreliable, his data presentation misleading, and his statistical techniques skewed.” Even some of those who accept climate change dogma, such as David Hand, former president of Britain’s Royal Statistical Society, “have singled out Mr. Mann’s work as sloppy and exaggerated.”

Rather than defending his work academically, “Mr. Mann has sued them,” continue Carvin and Dick. “One target of his lawsuit is the political magazine National Review, which published a 270-word blog post criticizing Mr. Mann as `the man behind the fraudulent … `hockey stick’ graph.” The suit focuses on a quote from the post in which commentator Mark Steyn described Mann as “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.”

For his part, Mann has accused those who disagree with him of promoting “the fraudulent denial of climate change” and accepting “corporate payoffs for knowing lying about the threat climate change [poses] t o humanity.” Despite being devoid of legal merit, Mann’s lawsuit has not been dismissed by federal courts.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Truth about the “Bowling Green Massacre”“Bowling-Green-Massacre” Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, already a somewhat risible figure for coining the unfortunate expression “alternative facts” to defend otherwise indefensible administration claims, may have earned social media immortality by inventing the “Bowling Green Massacre” to defend the president’s temporary Muslim travel ban. In two media interviews, Conway claimed that President Trump was simply acting as his predecessor had in suspending the Iraqi refugee program in 2011 after two Iraqi refugees came to the US, got radicalized, and then “were the masterminds of the Bowling Green attack on our brave soldiers.”

The Iraqi refugees to whom Conway referred, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, were vetted by the federal government and allowed to immigrate to the U.S. – despite the fact that one of them was a known insurgent. After settling in Kentucky, the 28-year-old Alwan was approached by an FBI undercover provocateur and invited to join in a plot to stage attacks against US troops occupying his home country. After Alwan had been lured into the pseudo-plot, the FBI’s role-playing stooge claimed that he had received money from Osama bin Laden. The Bureau's bit player proposed that Alwan help train Iraqi insurgents in the manufacture and use of IEDs, and assist in smuggling weapons and a large amount of money to Iraq.

Alwan had been let into the country in April 2009. A few weeks later, 21-year-old Hammadi, who would be recruited by Alwan into the federally-choreographed "conspiracy," arrived in the U.S. The sting operation began just a few weeks after Alwan's arrival. They were eventually arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned for conspiring to kill US nationals abroad – as part of a plot that was devised, facilitated, and supervised by the FBI.

Rather than being a failure of the vetting process, the Bowling Green incident was a peculiar kind of success: The evidence suggests that Alwan and Hammadi were allowed to enter the U.S. for the precise purpose of being lured into an FBI false flag operation.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Bowling-Green-Massacre”
How Does the Government Properly “Vet” an Incoming Refugee?“Vet”-an-Incoming-Refugee?-- The Trump Administration is developing new guidelines for better vetting potential refugees and immigrants from abroad, particularly majority-Muslim countries. The changes to the immigration policies must address all the refugees that were prosecuted for terror after getting through the Obama administration vetting procedures. Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen says the first step is to fix a core flaw in the vetting process – its total dependency on the terrorist database.

“Although the current vetting procedure has multiple layers of checking, involving the FBI, DHS, CIA, and NSA, they are all looking for positive matches with people already on their potential watch lists for terror,” Skousen explains. “If they don’t find you on the list, they assume you are not a terrorist.”

A more effective approach, Skousen suggests, would be to look for positive information about their stability, similar to the process for gaining a visa. A visa applicant is required “to show financial resources, a job in the US and other things that show why [he or she would be] a good candidate to return to the US and not violate your visa requirements.” Certain exceptions can be made for the families of these professionals, even though there is always a possibility that their children could become radicalized once admitted to the country.

Perhaps the most effective way to prevent the radicalization of young Muslim immigrants – especially young males – would be to abolish the long-standing FBI entrapment program, which has been responsible for targeting and radicalizing scores or hundreds of American Muslims through false-flag operations over the past decade and a half.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Vet”-an-Incoming-Refugee?--
Should the US Government GPS-Tag Refugees? The standoff between the Trump administration and the judiciary over the president’s travel ban executive order is shaping up to be a legal stalemate, likely to wind up before a still-divided Supreme Court. Many legal observers believe that the likely confirmation of appellate Judge Neil Gorsuch to the High Court would give Trump a 5-4 majority – but that expectation might be confounded, given that Gorsuch has already written a key opinion defending the procedural rights of immigrants who have been kept out of the country through an administrative rule change.

President Trump insists that imposing new restrictions on immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations is an exceptionally urgent necessity, and that every second’s delay exposes the country to unacceptable risk. If he is sincere in that belief, suggests George Washington University Law Professor John Banzhaf, Trump should “look to Germany’s model of using [GPS] trackers on those it suspects of having terror ties – not all refugees,” reports the Washington Examiner.

“There have now been several major terrorist incidents in which authorities pointed out that they were suspicious of the perpetrator, but did not have sufficient information to arrest him, nor the vast resources necessary to provide effective surveillance of everyone under suspicion,” writes Banzhaf. “GPS systems incorporated in ankle bracelets permit one agent to track hundreds of suspects in real time, and provide computer-generated alerts if he goes anywhere suspicious [such as a nuclear power plant, or] meets with other persons likewise wearing ankle monitors.”

One potential problem is the fact that the Trump administration’s current threshold of “suspicion” regarding arrivals from overseas mandated the handcuffing of a seven-year-old boy from Maryland who is a US-born citizen.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Federalism: Sauce for the Liberal Goose, and the Conservative Gander,-and-the-Conservative-Gander Several years ago, the US Supreme Court ruled on behalf of the plaintiffs in the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, voiding a provision of the so-called Affordable Care Act through which the president could have denied Medicaid funds to states who refused to comply with the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. Two liberal Justices joined the Court’s five conservatives in agreeing that this provision was “`coercion,’ and that Uncle Sam does not have limitless authority to withhold `non-germane’ funds that don’t have anything to do with the policy in question,” recalls Reason magazine’s Shika Dalmia.

Barack Obama’s conservative critics celebrated that ruling as a blow to presidential autocracy, and his frustrated liberal supporters bewailed it as a betrayal of their president’s historic mandate to address a domestic crisis. Those roles are now neatly reversed, Dalmia observes, because the same principle will prevent President Trump from carrying out his threat to withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities.”

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-and-the-Conservative-Gander
Bible Study Group Thwarts Kidnaping Attempt The police weren’t around on the evening of February 1 to save a 21-year-old Cleveland woman who was seized by two men wearing ski masks, who stuffed her into the back seat of her car and attempted to drive away.

The woman managed to get out of the car and cry for help. One of the men grabbed her and started to drag her away. Her cries had alerted several of her friends who – like the victim – had assembled in a nearby home for Wednesday evening Bible study. The men ran to the aid of their friend, causing the assailants to flee the scene.

“It could have happened to anybody, and it’s unfortunate that it happened to somebody I know, and somebody who was just coming here to go to a Bible study at the church,” neighbor Sam Hartman told the local Fox affiliate.

This was the second violent crime to occur in that section of Cleveland in recent weeks, local resident Chris Black pointed out.

“It’s a nice area, but it’s frightening to have things happen like that – the Shaker Square bank holdup two weeks ago,” Black lamented. “They are kind of black marks on what should be a nice neighborhood.”

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
UN Lifts Sanctions on Afghan Warlord, Imposes “Trusteeship” on South Sudan,-Imposes-“Trusteeship”-on-South-Sudan Although the UN has been operating outside the international spotlight in recent years, the body continues quietly to act on its founding conceit that is a de facto world-government-in-waiting.

The Security Council recently announced that it would discontinue sanctions against Afghan strongman Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, potentially paving the way for one of the world’s most notorious warlords to reestablish his sphere of influence in that country. The Afghan government requested the move as part of a peace deal with Hekmatyar and his militant group, Hezb-i-Islami, last September. The deal, which includes a pardon for Hekmatyar and his band of militants, was criticized by some Afghans and human rights groups.

Working through a regional affiliate called the African Union, and in collaboration with the globalist Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations has continued its longstanding intervention in South Sudan. The world body is planning to put that nation under what is being termed a "UN trusteeship," an arrangement similar to the one inflicted in Libya following the Obama administration’s UN-sanctioned war on that country six years ago. Despite its implications regarding national independence, the officials involved in the South Sudan scheme have touted the proposed arrangement as a potential model for other conflict-torn nations.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Imposes-“Trusteeship”-on-South-Sudan
Trump: Any Negative News is “Fake News”“Fake-News” Spanish philosopher George Santayana is best-known for the deathless – and tirelessly recited – truism “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” One of his lesser-known maxims, “Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect,” applies to both political figures and the media sources that cover them.

The legacy media has endured an overdue and well-deserved bout of public skepticism, much of it embodied in the newly minted term of art “fake news.” Unfortunately, that expression has been quickly repurposed into a cliché deployed to dismiss any report that doesn’t validate the prejudices of those who use it. Thus liberals refer to conservative-leaning media outlets as purveyors of “fake news,” and conservatives – particularly passionate adherents of President Trump – deflect any and all critical accounts as “fake news” unworthy of notice.

The President has eagerly embraced that approach, contemptuously dismissing CNN as “fake news” and ordering his staffers not to grant interviews to that network. Going well beyond principled criticism into something dangerously close to autocratic solipsism, Trump used a February 4th Twitter post to insist that “Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.”

While Trump was correct in saying many – by no means all -- pre-election polls proved unreliable in the 2016 election, as they had been in previous contests, “public opinion polling of the kind Trump is talking about – gauging Americans’ views on a policy issue or even on the president – doesn’t suffer from this weakness,” contends Stephanie Slade of Reason magazine, who has written extensively on polling techniques. The political danger to President Trump is that he will ignore public opinion and cocoon himself within a tight group of sycophantic advisers who refuse to share troubling but necessary news. A president who behaves that way will become an acute danger to the country, as well.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Fake-News”
Chicago Expands its Cyber-Police State The Chicago city government has announced a significant expansion of its ShotSpotter system which “attempts to pinpoint the location of gunfire by electronically monitoring and capturing sound,” reports Chicago resident Jared Labell of the Libertarian Institute. “ShotSpotter will now cover 13.5 square miles,” an area encompassing the Englewood and Harrison police districts identified as two of the city’s highest crime areas.

ShotSpotter involves the placement of 15-20 sensors per square mile, each of which bundles a microphone, GPS, memory and processing, and a cell unit to transmit data. The sensors are deployed about twenty feet above the ground, and constantly record audio and scrutinize it for the aural signature of gunshots. The data are recorded and locally stored by the sensor, and then overwritten on a routine cycle. A sound matching the profile of a gunshot is reported through a timestamp to a centralized “LocServer.” Three or more matching results will generate a report to a review center, where they are reviewed and, if considered reliable, forwarded to local police.

The Chicago PD will also “broaden the footprint of the Police Observation Device cameras by twenty-five percent to monitor the areas in conjunction with ShotSpotter,” Labell continues. The department will also staff newly created Strategic Decision Support Centers and use a software program called HunchLab “to create predictive data methods to anticipate where violent crime will occur.”

Jay Stanley of the ACLU points out that “once the microphones become an embedded, accepted part of our urban landscape, they’re not going to disappear…. I am concerned over the precedent of allowing our cities to be sprinkled with live microphones[.]”

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“Neo-Nazi” Flyers a Political Dirty Trick“Neo-Nazi”-Flyers-a-Political-Dirty-Trick Many residents of the DaLinda Estates subdivision in Greenwood, Kentucky were alarmed, disgusted, or perhaps amused to find flyers on their doorstep advertising an “introductory meeting” of the National Socialist Movement (NSM). Decorated with the neo-Nazi group’s stylized swastika logo and other Nazi iconography, the handouts claimed that the NSM would work to “Make DaLinda Estates Safe and Secure” by restricting the Home Owners Association to white, Christian membership.

“We believe the White Race is the only race qualified to be in charge of our HOA,” declared the flyer. “We do not want any religion besides Christianity to be represented in our neighborhood. We do not want any Muslims, Jewish people, Negroes to be at our pool, sharing our common areas, or representing us in our community in anyway [sic]…. We will unite, have a white pride neighborhood parade, plan activities for white Christians, fly our flags proudly, and let all know that we believe in defending WHITE LIVES THAT MATTER THE MOST, like our President believes.” An address was given where the meeting would supposedly take place on February 11.

The Greenwood Police Department insists that the flyers are a “hoax,” maintaining that no evidence has been found that the NSM is active in the area or has planned a meeting of any kind. Kim and Kenny Zoeller, whose address was printed on the handout, suspect that they were targeted by rivals in the Home Owners Association, for which Kim Zoeller is a board member. The couple told the Lee’s Summit Journal that they have been the victims of malicious rumors in the past, and that “they worry their safety is now in jeopardy after more than 100 of the fliers [sic] were distributed to residents in the area.”

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Neo-Nazi”-Flyers-a-Political-Dirty-Trick
Federally Funded Paranoia “When it comes to mindless excess in the war on terror, it is difficult to compete with the more than seventy fusion centers bankrolled by the Department of Homeland Security,” contends author and investigative journalist James Bovard. Although those joint federal/state/local entities were created after 9/11 to track terrorist threats, “the centers have been a world-class boondoggle from the start,” according to Bovard.

“Until 9/11, police departments had limited authority to gather information on innocent activity, such as what people say in their houses of worship or at political meetings,” points out the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice. “Police could only examine this type of First Amendment –protected activity if there was a direct link to a suspected crime. But the attacks of 9/11 led law enforcement to turn this rule on its head.”

As a result, Bovard observes, “Fusion centers do a far better job of stoking paranoia than of catching terrorists. Various fusion centers have attached the `extremist’ tag to gun-rights activists, anti-immigration zealots, and individuals and groups `rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority’ – even though many of the Founding Fathers shared the same creed. A 2012 [Department of Homeland Security] report went even further, stating that being `reverent of individual liberty’ is one of the traits of potential right-wing terrorists. Such absurd standards help explain why the federal terrorist watchlist now contains more than a million names.”

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Utah City Punishes Family for Sharing Their Home Sue Fullmer of Spanish Fork, Utah is a widow with six grown children who are no longer residing with her. She decided to make use of her large home as a site in the Airbnb peer-to-peer lodging network – only to find herself being targeted by municipal code enforcers claiming that her peaceful, productive use of her own property is illegal.

“The income I made in the last month for renting temporary space to travelers allowed me to pay my bills by myself for the first time in over three years,” Fullmer explained in an interview with the Libertas Institute. “I have the right to have family in my home; I have the right to have guests in my home. What changes when there is value given for that?”

In Utah, explains the Libertas Institute, “many cities prohibit or heavily restrict a property owner’s right to rent their own home, threatening fines or jail time for those who do so.” Provo zoning administrator Carrie Walls complains that Airbnb is “a concern” because it “impacts our hotel and motel businesses” – more specifically, it deprives the city government of commercial tax revenue harvested from hotel and motel patrons. In a classic example of the corrupt arrangement called rent-seeking, hotel and motel chains are collaborating with municipal governments to suppress competition – through extortion and threats of imprisonment.

St. George, Utah residents Stephen and Karina Palmer have been sent cease and desist notices from the city, and threatened with property liens after a code enforcement commissar observed what he described as a “code violation” on their property – out-of-state license plates on vehicles parked in their driveway.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Virginia Law Would Forbid Naming Police Officers Involved in Fatal Shootings A bill before the Virginia State Legislature would forbid the public release of the name of a police officer involved in a lethal force incident for six months or until the investigation is complete. Publicizing an officer in such circumstances would be a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a $2,500 fine and a one-year jail sentence.

Republican Delegate Jackson H. Miller, who sponsored the measure, is a retired police officer. He says that the bill, which is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, would “standardize” disclosure policies throughout the state. Miller admitted to the Richmond Dispatch newspaper that he had no firsthand knowledge of incidents in which Virginia police officers had been threatened following a shooting.

Last year, Virginia State Senator John A. Cosgrove, Jr. sponsored a bill that would have allowed the names of all police officers in the state to be withheld from the public. That measure passed the Senate, but was killed in a House subcommittee that advanced Miller’s bill earlier this year.

Cosgrove, significantly, is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, which creates model bills to be introduced in legislative bodies across the nation.

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Milo Planned to “Out” Illegal Immigrant Students“Out”-Illegal-Immigrant-Students Before his spech at the University of California-Berkley was cancelled amid violent and destructive protests by a left-wing mob, Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos had reportedly planned to use the event to identify individual students as illegal aliens, according to the Independent of London. Yiannopoulos, who has often staged deliberately provocative campus events, has described the claim as “a total fabrication.”

On the day prior to the planned speech, the university’s Office of Student Affairs sent a letter to the Berkeley College Republicans stating that “Milo’s event may be used to target individuals, either in the audience of by using their personal information in a way that causes them to become human targets to serve a political agenda.” Following the riot, during which several Trump supporters were specifically targeted for violent assaults by Milo’s critics, supporters of the mob insisted that shutting down the speech was justified as a way of supposedly preventing violence.

Breitbart reported that at a campus speech at the University of New Mexico a few days before the scheduled Berkley address, Milo – wearing a police costume and telling the audience he was acting “in the spirit of Trump’s agenda” -- displayed the number of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement hotline and encouraged students to report any of their peers suspected of being an illegal immigrant. The poster containing the ICE hotline number also displayed the tagline, “Support women and homosexuals; purge your local illegals.”

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Out”-Illegal-Immigrant-Students
FBI Deputizes Employers to Collect Personal Data on Employees An FBI program called “Rap Back” is “quietly transforming the way employers conduct background checks, reports The Intercept. Unlike conventional employment background checks that offer a “snapshot” of an applicant’s prior criminal history, if any, employers who participate in the Rap Back programs “receive ongoing, real-time notifications and updates about their employees’ run-ins with law enforcement, including arrests at protests and charges that to not result in convictions.”

“RAP” is an acronym for “Record of Arrest and Prosecution,” and “back” refers to background checks. In 2015 congressional testimony, FBI Director James Comey suggested that the more comprehensive system is necessary because “People are clean when they first go in, then they get in trouble five years down the road [and] never tell the daycare about this.” The FBI describes Rap Back as a way of targeting individuals in “positions of trust,” such as daycare workers and people who work with the elderly or disabled.

“Civil liberties advocates fear that under Trump’s administration the program will grow, with serious consequences for employee privacy, accuracy of records, and fair employment practices,” observes The Intercept. The biometric and other personal information collected by employers is shared with the FBI and retained forever.

In July 2015, Utah became the first state to enlist in the federal Rap Back program. Last June, Hawaii became the first state to put all gun owners within its jurisdiction into its Rap Back system, which notifies law enforcement whenever a gun owner is arrested anywhere in the country.

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
UN’s Civilian Disarmament Indoctrination’s-Civilian-Disarmament-Indoctrination The United Nations has created a classroom program intended to teach students “about the benefits of civilian disarmament and to familiarize them with `the process by which the international community, regional organizations, and the UN encourage the practice of disarmament,” writes constitutional attorney Joe Wolverton II.

Teachers using the UN’s “Disarmament Education Programme” will “indoctrinate students to accept the UN as a global government and an engine of peace with the goal of creating a `world without weapons’” – other than those used by military and police personnel acting on behalf of UN member states and the world body itself, Wolverton elaborates. Students are instructed that “they must cooperate in `creating a culture of change at local, national, and global levels’” for the purpose of promoting the UN’s campaign to “ban small arms and light weapons.”

After relentlessly immersing schoolchildren in negative messages about the dangers of individual gun ownership, the final installment challenges them to devise “ideas to convince locals to turn in their weapons.”

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Civilian-Disarmament-Indoctrination
Washington Officer Pleads Guilty to Rape, Gets No Prison Time,-Gets-No-Prison-Time In May of last year, Wapato, Washington resident Travis Disney was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment and sexual assault. Officers were sent to Disney’s address after the victim dialed 911 but neither spoke to the dispatchers nor answered when they called back -- although at one point a female could be heard crying in the background. The victim informed investigators that following an argument, Disney held her down and attempted to rape her.

On February 1, Disney entered a guilty plea to a rape charge – in exchange for an exceptionally lenient sentence of 12 months of “community custody.” This means that he will not serve any time behind bars beyond that already spent in pre-trial detention. He did, however, lose his job as an officer with the Wapato Police Department.

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Gets-No-Prison-Time
No Drug Charges for Idaho AG’s Former Spokesman’s-Former-Spokesman Todd Dvorak, former communications director for Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, will not face trial on charges of marijuana possession. Last September, Dvorak received citations for possession of marijuana and related paraphernalia when security personnel at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport found marijuana in his luggage. The contraband was “packaged in a commercial baggie from Green Junky Farms, a Spokane marijuana distributor, and was labeled as Pineapple, an Indica Dominant Hybrid,” reported the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “The package contained the warning, `This product may be unlawful outside Washington state.’”

Nez Perce County Judge Kent J. Merica dismissed the charges against Dvorak on January 25 at the request of the Lewiston city prosecutor. Neither the prosecutor, Dvorak’s defense attorney, Charles Stroschein, nor his former employer, Attorney General Wasden, would comment on the development.

Prior to being hired as Idaho AG Wasden’s media spokesman in 2014, Dvorak was chief of the Associated Press’s Boise bureau. After resigning from Wasden’s staff following his arrest, Dvorak was hired as city editor at the Idaho Press Tribune in Nampa. He told the Idaho Statesman that “I’m pleased to have this resolved and behind me, but now I’m focused on moving forward to the next stages of my professional life and career.”

Elsewhere in the Gem State, Gooding mother Kelsey Osborne, who used butter infused with cannabis oil to treat her daughter’s epileptic symptoms, has lost custody of both of her children and is facing trial on charges of “injury to a child.”

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Former-Spokesman
Utah Bill Would Allow, But Not Require, Punishment of Misbehaving Prosecutors,-But-Not-Require,-Punishment-of-Misbehaving-Prosecutors Both the Sixth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Brady vs. US ruling require prosecutors to provide defense attorneys with all evidence they have acquired that could be used to establish a defendant’s innocence. Prosecutors who withhold such evidence are guilty of what the courts call a “Brady violation,” and federal Judge Alex Kozinski has lamented what he calls an “epidemic of Brady violations” nation-wide.

Since prosecutors, like judges, enjoy “absolute immunity” for their official conduct, they can only be prosecuted for such misconduct in the rarest of circumstances. The Utah State Legislature is considering a bill that “would give judges discretion to punish prosecutors through public reprimands, fines, or even jail time if they have not disclosed all evidence during the discovery process after a case is filed,” reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

The bill would not make such punishment mandatory, and would exempt prosecutors whose offices have an “open records” policy in which the evidence would be available to the public. As the Tribune points out, many county prosecutors in Utah often do not ask for all of the available evidence during the discovery phase of the trial, during which they are required to share it with the defense. According to Public defender Edward Flint, this means that on “the morning of trial, some `new’ evidence like a body cam video” will suddenly appear – and under the terms of the proposed reform, prosecutors who win a conviction using such tactics may, or may not, be sanctioned for doing so.

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-But-Not-Require,-Punishment-of-Misbehaving-Prosecutors
Pentagon Fails to Disclose Hundreds of Airstrikes in 2016 According to the Military Times, the Pentagon “has failed to publicly disclose potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes conducted over several years in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan” – including at least 456 in Afghanistan during 2016 alone. Those strikes were not recorded as part of an open-source database maintained by the US Airforce, which is relied upon as definitive by Congress, military analysts, and others seeking to make accurate assessments of the human cost of overseas operations – and the likely consequences of them.

“Most alarming is the prospect [that] this data has been incomplete since the war on terrorism began in October 2001,” comments the Military Times. “If that is the case, it would fundamentally undermine confidence in much of what the Pentagon has disclosed about its prosecution of these wars, prompt critics to call into question whether the military sought to mislead the American public, and cast doubt on the competence with which other vital data collection is being performed and publicized.”

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Former Nixon and Reagan Adviser Warns Trump to Respect the Judiciary Early Sunday morning the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined a Trump administration request to reinstate a temporary travel ban. The administration had filed a brief arguing that “Judicial second-guessing of the President’s determination that a temporary suspension of entry of certain classes of aliens was necessary” impermissibly intruded on his “plenary constitutional authority over foreign affairs, national security, and immigration.”

Judge James L. Robart of the US District Court for Washington issued an injunction blocking enforcement of President Trump’s temporary travel ban. During a golfing trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the president denounced Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, as a “so-called judge,” and accused him of leaving the country vulnerable “to potential terrorists and others that [sic] do not have our best interests at heart.” Legal commentator Bruce Fein, a Justice Department official under Nixon and Reagan, warns that President Trump’s apparent disdain for the judiciary poses a danger to due process.

“I was there as special assistant to the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel when President Nixon declared he would flout an order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directing him to disclose presidential tapes to a grand jury,” Fein recalls. “The President was threatened with impeachment, conviction, and removal from office under Article 4, section 2 of the Constitution for defying its separation of powers, [which was designed] to protect the American people from tyranny. President Nixon backed down and complied.”

“The White House should learn from the Nixon example as litigation over President Trump's executive orders over immigrant visas and refugees reaches a climax,” Fein advises. “Due process is the demarcation line between civilization and savagery.”

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Refusal to Carry out Obama Refugee Policy Denounced as “Poor Diplomacy”“Poor-Diplomacy” The turmoil surrounding President Trump’s proposed temporary travel ban is teaching the new chief executive that the Executive Branch includes many officials whose agenda differs from that of their nominal boss. Tens of thousands of career employees, many of them in obscure branches of government, and even some within Trump’s own staff remain from past administrations, or are not philosophically in sync with him. This is why Trump’s intention to stop accepting un-vetted refugees apparently is not shared by all the actors in government. Political analyst Joel Skousen refers to this conflict as “Trump vs. the Deep State.”

This conflict was thrust to the surface by Trump’s recent Executive Order barring Muslim immigrants from 7 countries until better vetting procedures can be put in place. Skousen says that at least one part of the order was crafted opposite to Trump’s intentions.

“Apparently administration officials loyal to the deep state had inserted a clause into the Executive Order on Muslim immigration creating an exception for ‘prior international agreements.’” Skousen observes. “Then, they relied on that language to announce that an agreement with Australia to accept thousands of refugees would proceed. Apparently, someone close to Trump and loyal to his restrictive view on Muslim immigration found out and told Trump—who was not pleased.”

The refugees trying to reach Australia had been redirected to outlying islands normally reserved for prisoners. This festering situation was creating a headache for Australian Prime Minister Turnbull. Trump has no intention to honor Barack Obama’s promise to take more than a thousand refugees Australia doesn’t want, and broaching this subject reportedly led to some tense moments on the phone between the Trump and Turnbull.

Despite a wave of media headlines describing the conversation as acrimonious, and criticizing Trump’s approach to diplomacy, Turnbull was embarrassed by the leaks of their phone conversation and clarified that the call ended “courteously.”

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Poor-Diplomacy”
Trump Retains LGBTQ Employment Protections Despite his own sordid personal history, Donald Trump was embraced by Evangelical Christian voters and other cultural conservatives who saw him as an indispensable ally in the struggle with the gender revolution – which includes federal anti-discrimination policies threatening to punish employers and business owners who make decisions informed by their moral and religious values. Even though Trump used his first two weeks in office to reverse a number of policy positions taken by his predecessor, he announced that he would not rescind Barrack Obama’s 2014 executive order banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination in government.

During the campaign, Trump played down issues of that kind, at one point deflecting an inquiry about so-called transgender rights by declaring during the election that at Trump Tower, people could use the bathroom of their choice. This was prompted by agitation by gender revolutionaries against laws requiring people to use bathrooms and similar facilities reserved for those of their biological sex, rather than their subjective “gender identity.”

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Administration Takes Bellicose Stand Toward Tehran Last week both National Security Advisor Flynn and Trump condemned and threatened Iran for testing a ballistic missile. “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” Flynn said, speaking to reporters in the White House briefing and also issuing a written statement. He didn’t specify what “on notice” means, but geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen predicts that both globalists and neocons hope that it is a prelude to war.

Skousen maintains that the Iran “nuclear” deal seems more designed to trigger war than stop it. Even though the agreement has never been formally signed by Iran or the US, the US did get it implemented into a UN Security Council resolution, with the stipulation that any violation of the agreement would allow the UN to automatically authorize a military response from member nations. In the last round of negotiations, the US pressured Iran into accepting restrictions on conventional weapons and missiles, which Iran never formally agreed to. Skousen says the architects of this agreement know that it is almost impossible for Iran not to violate the agreement in some way and Trump and Flynn appear more than willing to enforce what Skousen calls “a carefully crafted globalist trap set for Iran.”

Technically, there is a clear disagreement on the terms of the missile restriction in the agreement. The US claims it precludes any missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and the Iranians say it only restricts missiles actually carrying a nuclear warhead—which the tests did not have.

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
China Developing World’s Longest-Range ICBM’s-Longest-Range-ICBM With the Trump administration promising a more confrontational approach to China, Beijing has responded with strong rhetoric, saber rattling and outright threats, reports Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon.

“The Chinese state television channel CCTV-4 last week broadcast nuclear threats, including graphics showing new DF-41 missiles deployed in northern China and graphics showing the missiles' strike path into the United States,” writes Gertz. “The January 25 broadcast included a graphic of a 10-warhead MIRV bus for the DF-41.”

The DF-41, China’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile, was first flight-tested last April and has an estimated range of 9,000 miles. This would make it the world’s longest range missile, easily capable of striking anywhere in the US. Now it is being outfitted to carry a ten-warhead payload. The Chinese are also expected to produce these warheads for a version of their current ICBMs, the DF-5, which was also used to test the ten warhead bus last week over a Chinese test range.

The Minuteman III, the only ICBM currently deployed by the US, has recently been retrofitted backwards to carry only one warhead. The US has fewer than 450 Minuteman III missiles remaining in its arsenal.

Gertz warns that the Chinese have many more nuclear weapons than the oft-reported claim of just 250 warheads: “Estimates of China's nuclear arsenal for decades put the number of strategic warheads at the relatively low level of around 250 warheads.…Uploading Chinese missiles from single or triple warhead configurations to up to 10 warheads means the number of warheads stockpiled is orders of magnitude larger than the 250 estimate.”

Although the Chinese like to boast about their latest military technology they have always been very secretive in disclosing hard numbers that could provide a reliable measure of its military strength.

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Longest-Range-ICBM
Did Trump Threaten to Invade Mexico? The White House is dismissing as “lighthearted” comments that were made by President Trump in a phone call with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto in which he appeared to threaten a military invasion of that country .

According to a partial transcript of that phone conversation provided to the Associated Press, Trump told Pena Nieto that “You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

The Mexican government denied that the “negative statements” reported by the AP and the Mexican press had taken place during the hour-long phone call. The White House initially refused to comment on the matter when asked about it by the AP.

President Trump also reportedly took a similarly confrontational posture during a phone call with Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, upbraiding him over a refugee resettlement agreement that had been made under Barack Obama. One Australian press account described Trump as “yelling” at Turnbull before abruptly ending the call after twenty-five minutes. The conversation had been scheduled to last an hour.

In his remarks to the February 2 National Prayer Breakfast, Mr. Trump admitted that his phone conversations with other world leaders have been brusque.

“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it, just don’t worry about it,” he insisted, saying that the world is “in trouble” and “We’re going to straighten it out. That’s what I do. I fix things.”

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Media Takes Sudden Interest in Presidential Drone-Killing Lethal drone strikes overseas were integral to Barack Obama’s presidency, beginning literally within hours of his inauguration in 2009. Like his immediate predecessor, Obama ordered lethal drone strikes targeting US citizens – including one US-born 16-year-old boy, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was apparently singled out because his father, Anwar, who was also killed in a drone strike, had been designated as a leader of al-Qaeda.

The mainstream media gave extensive coverage of the Obama administration’s drone-killing policy and the legal arguments contrived by then-Attorney General Eric Holder to defend it. Many legislators from both sides of the aisle criticized the program, and the media gave significant coverage to a filibuster staged by Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul in protest of the policy.

In a major campaign address devoted to foreign policy, Donald Trump promised that drone strikes would continue to be part of his counter-terrorism strategy. True to Trump’s word, Reaper drones played a role in the first counter-terrorist raid he authorized as president – a Special Forces assault on a village in Yemen described as an al-Qaeda stronghold. Among the casualties in that raid was an eight-year-old US citizen named Nawar al-Awlaki, the daughter of Anwar.

During his February 1 briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked several pointed questions by reporters about the killing of Nawar al-Awalki – something his Obama-era predecessor did not confront following the 2011 killing of her brother in a drone strike. This could reflect the institutional partisanship of the White House Press Corps – or sudden media concern about the dangers of unaccountable presidential power. Experience suggests the former, but the latter would be a welcome development.

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“Repressive Tolerance” at Berkeley“Repressive-Tolerance”-at-Berkeley A planned speech at the University of California-Berkeley by Breitbart editor and conservative gadfly Milo Yiannopolis was canceled amid an orgy of violence and property destruction by leftist protests. It was anticipated that Yiannopolis would speak out against so-called “sanctuary campuses” that offer refuge to foreign students suspected of residing illegally in the United States. The speaker was asked to leave the campus after protesters destroyed barricades and began to throw projectiles – including rocks and fireworks.

Following the speech’s cancellation, rioters surged into streets near the campus, attempting to block traffic and vandalizing property. A local Walgreen’s store was defaced with slogans such as “Kill Fascists” and “Kill Trump.” ATMs at a nearby Bank of America were destroyed. Several people present to support Trump were attacked by the mob – some of them struck with flagpoles, at least one of whom was attacked with pepper spray while giving an interview with a TV reporter. One man was knocked out and then beaten with metal poles while he was unconscious.

Numerous commentators have noted the ironic fact that fifty years ago, Berkley was the birthplace of the so-called “Free Speech Movement” – and has now come to symbolize the suppression of dissenting viewpoints in an exercise of what leftist philosopher Herbert Marcuse called “repressive tolerance.”

Rod Dreher of the American Conservative points out that the now-familiar spectacle of leftist mobs attacking people with whom they disagree is politically counterproductive.

“Can anybody think of a time in American history where film and photographs of fanatical mobs using violent tactics on non-violent protesters led to a national change of heart in which a majority of people got behind government efforts to suppress the mob and give the protesters what they were asking for?” asks Dreher. A likelier outcome, he suggests, is consolidation of support behind the presidential administration being condemned by the rioters. Although it’s not clear how this would be done, Trump has threatened to cut off federal aid to Berkeley.

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Repressive-Tolerance”-at-Berkeley
Fox Affiliate Corrects Iraq Travel Ban Story Detroit resident Mike Hager, a naturalized citizen who fled Iraq during the early 1990s, claimed to have lost his mother as a result of the temporary travel ban enacted last week by the Trump administration. According to his story, which was originally broadcast by the Detroit Fox affiliate, Hager, his mother, and his niece and his nephew made a brief trip to Iraq to visit family. As they prepared to return, they were informed at the airport in Iraq that Hager would be allowed back into the country, but that his relatives holding green cards would not. He was concerned about the impact on his ailing, wheelchair-bound 75-year-old mother.

When Hager arrived home, he told the local Fox affiliate, he was informed that his mother had died.

“I really believe this in my heart – if they would have let us in, my mom … would have made it and she would have been sitting right here next to me,” Hager asserted. “She’s gone because of him” – that is, President Trump.

On the day following that report, Detroit’s FOX 2 reported that the leader of a mosque in Dearborn informed them that while Hager’s mother did indeed die recently, Hager had lied to reporters about the time of his mother’s passing.According to FOX 2. “Imam Husham Al-Hussainy, leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn, says Mike Hager’s mom did not pass away this weekend after being barred from traveling to the United States. The Imam confirms that Hager’s mother died before the ban was put in place.”

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Gorsuch Nomination Gets Another Grudging Liberal Semi-Endorsement Professor Dan Farber, who teaches constitutional and environmental law at the University of California-Berkeley, is an unabashed progressive and was a fervent supporter of Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court – and he is opposed to liberal efforts to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill the High Court’s vacant seat. He also perceives Gorsuch to be a principled, intelligent jurist, despite substantial disagreements with him on matters of policy.

“I had never heard of Gorsuch until I read and blogged about one of his opinions that came down in July 2015,” recalls Professor Farber. “The case involved a challenge to a Colorado law mandating that utilities get at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources... Gorsuch wrote a clear, persuasive opinion in favor of upholding the renewable energy law. What I have read about his other opinions — and what I have heard from colleagues who knew him at earlier points in his life — reinforces my view that he is a thoughtful, principled judge, albeit one who is more conservative than I would like.”

While Farber agrees with liberals who believe Garland is somehow entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court, he advises them that “blocking a nominee for a year when you have a majority of the Senate is one thing; blocking any appointment for four years when you’re in the minority is much less feasible (and more damaging to the court).”

Just as importantly, he emphasizes, “the key thing about Gorsuch from my point of view is that he’s principled — and he seems to have enough backbone to stand up to Trump. We could use that on the court.”

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Gorsuch’s Ambivalence on Marijuana Prohibition’s-Ambivalence-on-Marijuana-Prohibition Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has written about the contradictions in existing federal policies regarding marijuana – but his own views regarding government prohibition of marijuana use remain ambiguous.

In a recent case in the Tenth Circuit, Gorsuch joined the majority in ruling against a Colorado dispensary that tried to avoid reporting its financial data to the IRS out of fear that in doing so it would be vulnerable to federal efforts to enforce existing federal anti-marijuana statutes.

“This case owes its genesis to the mixed messages the federal government is sending these days about the distribution of marijuana,” he wrote in his opinion. While the Obama-era Justice Department “twice instructed field prosecutors that they should generally decline to enforce” federal marijuana statutes, Gorsuch wrote, officials at the IRS refuse to recognize business expense deductions by marijuana dispensaries in states where such enterprises are legal “on the ground that their conduct violates federal criminal drug laws.”

“So it is that today prosecutors almost always overlook federal marijuana distribution crimes in Colorado but the tax man never will,” he observed.

While he may regard anti-marijuana statutes to be dubious at best, Gorsuch ruled in a 2013 case that a police officer who fatally tazed a man seeking to evade a marijuana-enforcement arrest acted “reasonably” because he had “been trained that people who grow marijuana illegally tend to be armed and ready to use force to protect themselves and their unlawful investments.”

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Ambivalence-on-Marijuana-Prohibition
Trump Administration Rattles Sabers at Iran Condemning the government in Tehran for a ballistic missile test that was described as a violation of a UN Security Council resolution, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn used a White House press briefing to declare that the Trump administration is “putting Iran on notice.” Flynn also condemned Iran for an attack on a Saudi naval vessel that was “conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants in Yemen” as evidence of what he called “Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the entire Middle East.”

John Glaser, an international affairs analyst for the Cato Institute, observes that “The nuclear deal [with Iran] doesn’t prohibit these missile tests.” Nor did that test violate any existing Security Council resolution – and such violations would be significant only to those who believe that the US government is constitutionally obliged to enforce the world body’s decrees.

Flynn’s bellicose statement “indicates an eagerness to stir up tensions with Iran over relatively innocuous issues,” contends Glaser. “This will undoubtedly be perceived in Tehran as threatening, thereby bolstering more hawkish voices in Iran and undermining the future viability of the Iran nuclear deal.”

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Strategist: “No Doubt” of a US-China War“No-Doubt”-of-a-US-China-War Before becoming Donald Trump’s Chief White House Strategist, and a member of the “principals committee” of the National Security Council, Steve Bannon predicted another “major” war in the Middle East and insisted that there is “no doubt” that within the next decade Washington and Beijing will go to war in the South China Sea.

“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years,” Bannon insisted during a March 2016 radio program he hosted as chairman of the Breitbart media network. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those,” continued the former naval officer. “They come here to the United States in front of our face – and you understand how important face is – and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”

Bannon sees the United States under siege by both China and insurgent Islamic forces.

“You have expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China,” he declared during a February 2016 radio broadcast. “They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian West is on the retreat.” In yet another installment, Bannon insisted that “we’re in a war. We’re clearly going into, I think, a major shooting war in the Middle East again.”

Bannon’s influence on President Trump is apparent from his comment during Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast that “the world is under serious, serious threat in so many different ways. And I've never seen it so much and so openly as since I took the position of president. The world is in trouble, but we're going to straighten it out.”

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“No-Doubt”-of-a-US-China-War
Milwaukee Taxpayers to Underwrite $2.5 Million Settlement to Police Rape Victim$2.5-Million-Settlement-to-Police-Rape-Victim Iema Lemons of Milwaukee called the police in 2013 after finding that someone had thrown a brick through her bathroom window. The responding officer, Ladmarald Cates, sent Lemons’ boyfriend away on an errand, then maneuvered her into the bathroom, where he forcibly sodomized and raped her.

Immediately after the assault, Lemons -- barefoot and wearing tattered clothing -- ran screaming from the house. Cates stormed out of the house and grabbed the victim by the waist, causing her feet to strike his partner. This gave the officers an excuse to arrest the battered and traumatized woman for “assaulting an officer.”

She was taken to jail and held for 12 hours before receiving medical aid. After the hospital visit, she was sent back to jail for four days before being released without charges.

This was not Cates's first assault -- but the department wasn't willing to take disciplinary action of any kind until DNA evidence corroborated the rape victim's account. Instead of prosecuting Cates, the department fired him for "idling or loafing on duty." He was eventually convicted of federal civil rights charges.

Nearly four years after the assault, the Milwaukee City Council has authorized the expenditure of $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed against the city by Lemons.

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700$2.5-Million-Settlement-to-Police-Rape-Victim
Could Key Neo-Con Become Trump’s Deputy Secretary of State?’s-Deputy-Secretary-of-State? Traditional conservatives and libertarians who were ambivalent about Donald Trump during the last presidential campaign took heart from the fact that he was an outspoken critic of the political faction called neo-conservatism. The neo-cons, as that movement’s adherents are known, support a large, interventionist welfare state at home and an aggressive foreign policy overseas. The administration of George W. Bush was rife with neo-cons, many of whom were key architects of the disastrous 2003 Iraq war, which Trump volubly condemned on the campaign trail.

Elliott Abrams, who is reportedly being considered to serve as deputy to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is among the most resilient members of the neo-con faction. He served on the National Security Council staff under George W. Bush, where he energetically promoted the Iraq war and clandestine operations in both the Middle East and Latin America.

During the Reagan administration, Abrams served as assistant secretary of state for human rights. He was an outspoken defender of authoritarian governments in Guatemala and El Salvador, and the CIA-backed anti-Communist insurgency in Nicaragua. In 1991, he was convicted of lying to Congress during investigations of the so-called Iran-Contra scandal, but was one of several officials who were pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Deputy-Secretary-of-State?
Libertarian Party Wins Lawsuit against FEC The Libertarian Party and several allied plaintiffs have won a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission’s support for a policy that bans third parties from participation in nationally televised presidential debates. The plaintiffs had accused the FEC and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) of operating “a deliberate duopoly for the two major parties,” thereby violating existing statutes and regulations requiring them to act in a non-partisan fashion.

Reason magazine points out that although the FEC was the named defendant, the lawsuit ultimately targets the Commission on Presidential Debates, which it accuses of employing a “biased, anti-democratic, and fundamentally corrupt and exclusionary polling rule” to bar debate participation by candidates representing third parties.

Writing on behalf of the majority, Judge Tanya Chutkan described the CPD’s policy as an illicit campaign contribution to establishment parties.

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Question “Pro-Choice” Advocates Will Not Address“Pro-Choice”-Advocates-Will-Not-Address During an appearance on Fox News, California Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell resolutely defended the supposed right to procure an abortion, while adamantly refusing to characterize the individual destroyed by that procedure.

“Do you think it is the taking of a human life?” asked Fox host Tucker Carlson.

“I think that, right now … before viability, a woman should be able to make her own decision,” Swalwell evasively replied. “After viability, in the case of her own psychological health, in the case of rape or incest, she should also be able to make that decision,” he continued, reciting the Roe v. Wade formula under which any abortion can be justified at any time during the pregnancy.

“OK – but is it the taking of a human life?” Carlson persisted.

“That is a woman’s personal decision,” Swalwell said by way of a non-responsive reply.

“I’m not asking about the decision,” Carlson emphasized. “I mean is it human life or not?”

“She’s terminating something that she does not want, and that’s her own choice,” Swalwell insisted, continuing to beg a question for which he knew he could not offer an honest answer. His final comment on the question was to say that “courts have decided this and it’s a woman’s decision.”

At one point, Rep. Swalwell may or may not recall, the same Supreme Court that said an unborn child is never fully human ruled in 1857 that black people have no rights that white men were bound to respect.

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Pro-Choice”-Advocates-Will-Not-Address
Largely Favorable Reviews on the Right for Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee’s-Supreme-Court-Nominee The selection by President Trump of federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia has precipitated the expected frenzied outrage on the Left, and enthusiastic approval from the Right. The 49-year-old jurist’s supporters include prominent libertarian figures such as Fox News legal affairs analyst Andrew Napolitano, who described him as an ideal replacement for Scalia. The nomination also received the endorsement of Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash, who has been critical of many other actions taken thus far by President Trump.

A prolific writer, much like the Justice he would replace, Gorsuch has a lengthy and detailed paper trail that is even now being mined by Senate staffers in preparation for the confirmation hearings.

One dissenting note on the Right was offered by commentator and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein, who believes that Gorsuch will be pliant to the demands of the executive branch.

“By far the greatest constitutional issue confronting the nation is limitless executive power to wage war, indiscriminately kill and spy on American citizens, substitute executive agreements for treaties, and operate secret government with no congressional or public oversight or check,” writes Fein, who believes it would have been better to select a jurist who had served in the Legislative Branch, such as Utah Senator Mike Lee. Fein predicts that “Gorsuch will vote to further aggrandize executive power to the verge of monarchy.”

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Supreme-Court-Nominee
Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Earns Unexpected Liberal Applause’s-Supreme-Court-Pick-Earns-Unexpected-Liberal-Applause Georgetown law professor and former Obama administration solicitor general Neal K. Katyal describes himself as “hard-pressed to think of one thing President Trump has done right” – until Tuesday evening, “when he nominated an extraordinary judge and man, Neil Gorsuch, to be a justice on the Supreme Court.”

Writing in the New York Times, Katyal describes Gorsuch as a superbly qualified nominee who will help restore “public confidence in our system of government [and] the impartiality and independence of the courts.”

“I believe this, even though we come from different sides of the political spectrum,” continues Katyal. “I was an acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama; Judge Gorsuch has strong conservative bona fides and was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush. But I have seen him up close and in action, both in court and on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee (where both of us serve); he brings a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nation’s highest court.”

Interestingly, Katyal refers to a pair of immigration cases, De Niz Robles v. Lynch and Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch, in which “Judge Gorsuch ruled against attempts by the government to retroactively interpret the law to disfavor immigrants. In a separate opinion in Gutierrez-Brizuela, he criticized the legal doctrine that federal courts must often defer to the executive branch’s interpretations of federal law, warning that such deference threatens the separation of powers designed by the framers. When judges defer to the executive about the law’s meaning, he wrote, they `are not fulfilling their duty to interpret the law.’”

“Right about now, the public could use some reassurance that no matter how chaotic our politics become, the members of the Supreme Court will uphold the oath they must take: to `administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” concludes Katyal. “I am confident Neil Gorsuch will live up to that promise.”

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Supreme-Court-Pick-Earns-Unexpected-Liberal-Applause
Academics Outline “Global Population Engineering” Regime“Global-Population-Engineering”-Regime The supposed threat posed by climate change justifies “population engineering, the intentional manipulation of the size and structure of human populations,” asserts an academic paper co-written by Georgetown University philosophy professors Colin Hickey and Jake Earl and Professor Travis N. Rieder of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University.

Accepting as incontestable the highly dubious claim that the planet faces catastrophic, human-caused global warming, the authors insist that a central authority, guided by the insights of a cognitive elite, must make dramatic interventions to reduce population growth and, indeed, to reduce the aggregate human population. That program would integrate “three types of policies … 1) choice enhancement, 2) preference adjustment, and 3) incentivization.”

“Choice enhancement” would consist of promoting birth control and abortion in the developing world. “Preference adjustment” would focus on mass indoctrination efforts and politically designed cultural changes intended to discourage large families. “Incentivization” includes undisguised coercion, beginning with punitive taxation for people whose families are deemed inappropriately large. The authors admit that officially sanctioned anti-natalist coercion has led to “straightforward violations of citizens’ autonomy or bodily integrity,” such as “forced abortions and sterilization” or “biomedical interventions on the body without informed consent.”

While disavowing support for such “clear human rights violations,” the authors admit that their global “population engineering” design is built upon what they call a “coercion spectrum.”

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Global-Population-Engineering”-Regime
FCC Chief Opposes “Net Neutrality”“Net-Neutrality” Ajit Pai, chosen by President Trump to head the Federal Communications Commission, “is a critic of the Net Neutrality rules the agency passed two years ago,” observes Reason magazine. That administrative framework allows the FCC to regulate the Internet “under Title II rules originally designed to control telecommunications utilities.” This would permit the agency to ban differential pricing and services among competing internet service providers, which allows politically connected services to collude against potential competition from smaller start-ups.

Net Neutrality has been marketed as a way to keep the Internet “open and fair.” In practice, however, it has been used to limit competition and consumer choices.

In a 2015 interview, Pai described Net Neutrality as “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.” His preferred approach is to clear away what he calls “the regulatory underbrush that stands in the way of some upstart competitors providing [competition] – streamlining local permit rules, getting more wireless infrastructure out there to give a mobile alternative, making sure we have enough spectrum in the commercial marketplace….”

If the objective is to expand competition and benefit consumers, Pai insists, “these kind of Title II common carrier regulations, ironically, will be completely counterproductive. It’s going to sweep a lot of these smaller providers away who simply don’t have the ability to comply with all these regulations, and moreover it’s going to deter investment in broadband networks – so… this hypothetical problem that people worry about is going to become worse because of the lack of competition.”

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Net-Neutrality”
Possible Child Porn Charges against Anthony Weiner Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Hillary Clinton’s intimate aide Huma Abedin, may face child pornography charges, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The US Attorney’s office in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are considering felony charges as they investigate material found on Weiner’s devices, including a laptop computer and a cellphone. The investigation began after it was learned that Weiner had exchanged sexually explicit messages with a 15-year-old girl living in another state. Those messages allegedly included photographs.

“In recent weeks,” the Journal recounts, “attorneys for Mr. Weiner have had discussions with federal prosecutors in Manhattan in hopes of dissuading them from bringing charges, or at least from bringing the most serious one – production of child pornography, which carries a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction.” Sources close to the case told the paper that Weiner solicited explicit images from the under-age girl.

Other potential charges include receipt of child pornography, for which the mandatory minimum sentence is five years, and possession of child pornography, which doesn’t have a mandatory minimum. Wiener and his defense attorneys have suggested that the former congressman could be the victim of a hoax; late last fall, he provided the New York Daily News with copies of two emails from the teenager that he said “raised questions about her claims.”

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Gorsuch Earns Praise from Liberal Civil Rights Attorney Denver civil rights attorney David Lane, who has represented many victims of police abuse, describes himself as a proud progressive – and he is a very enthusiastic supporter of Judge Neil Gorsuch, a conservative jurist appointed by President Trump to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia.

In a local television news interview, Lane referred to a recent lawsuit he had filed on behalf of a Denver family who had been victimized by a wrong-door SWAT raid.

"Judge Gorsuch was so outraged at the conduct of the Denver Police officers, that he made that outrage known to the city of Denver,” Lane recalled. “That inspired a $1.6 million settlement. So I was very gratified to see that Judge Gorsuch took a civil rights violation like this extremely seriously.”

Gorsuch “is a very conservative guy, but he is a very intelligent man,” continues Lane, expressing unjustified surprise that intelligence and conservatism can coexist. “He certainly is qualified for the job, whether he would have been my first choice, I really seriously doubt it, but that man knows his stuff. And he's very conservative... on the short list that [President Trump] put together, he would be my choice on that list."

Lane has been very active in pursuing civil rights lawsuits on behalf of victims of abuse from the Denver Police Department. Among his clients is US Army Special Forces veteran James Moore, who “flat-lined” – that is, was briefly medically dead – after being swarmed, hog-tied, and beaten by police without cause.

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Some Conservative Concerns about Gorsuch While generally complimentary toward Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Trump to serve on the US Supreme Court, some constitutionalists are expressing concerns about some parts of his record.

Lawrence D. Pratt of Gun Owners of America and attorney William J. Olson point to Gorsuch’s concurring vote in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in U.S. v. Rodriguez, which involved an incident in which a police officer detained and forcibly disarmed a convenience store clerk who was carrying a concealed handgun. After investigating, the clerk was found to have a felony conviction and arrested. However, the police officer acted without probable cause or reasonable suspicion that Rodriguez was violating the law.

As Pratt and Olson observe, “the precedent from the Rodriguez opinion will affect police-citizen relations in New Mexico, and possibly elsewhere … for many years to come. Not bothering to figure out the legality of Rodriguez’s firearm before detaining and disarming him, the officer’s initial actions would have been the same even if Mr. Rodriguez had been a lawful gun owner.”

Gorsuch did not write a separate opinion explaining his reasoning for concurring in the majority ruling validating the officer’s actions.

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Franklin Graham Given Trump Administration Post Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and namesake heir to the founder of the Moral Majority, “has been asked by President Trump to head up a new task force that will identify changes that should be made to the US Department of Education’s policies and procedures,” reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Falwell explained to the publication that his brief would be to focus on “overreaching regulation” and micromanagement by the Department of Education regarding accreditation and student recruitment.

“The goal is to pare it back and give colleges and their accrediting agencies more leeway in governing their affairs,” Falwell explained.

Falwell says that he had been offered the position of education secretary during a meeting at Trump Tower last November, but had declined that post because “I wanted a role that would allow me to stay at Liberty.” He was an early and conspicuous supporter of Trump, and one of his most passionate defenders following publication of a now-notorious videotape in which Trump used vulgar language in discussing his extra-marital sexual exploits.

Last October, Falwell pressured the Liberty Champion student newspaper to kill an editorial condemning Donald Trump’s sexual behavior, provoking a backlash from some students of the conservative Christian college who accused Falwell of courting power at expense to his professed principles.

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Ambivalent Messages from Trump Administration about Assassinating US Citizens Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama authorized the assassination of US citizens who were designated “unlawful combatants” or terrorism suspects. Asked whether the Trump administration would do likewise, White House Press Spokesman Sean Spicer initially ruled out such presidentially authorized killings, insisting that “no American citizen” would be targeted abroad for a drone strike or similar lethal action.

Shortly thereafter, another White House official issued what was described as a clarification of the administration’s position, insisting that “U.S. policy regarding the possible targeting of American citizens has not changed.” That official, reports The Hill, “cited former Attorney General Eric Holder’s legal justification for using lethal force against suspected terrorists with US citizenship, saying the military could target them if the government believes they pose an `imminent’ threat to the country. The Obama administration used that controversial legal determination to kill U.S.-born alleged al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.”

That same justification was cited, after the fact, for the subsequent killing of Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, who unlike his father had never been identified as a potential terrorism suspect. The first Trump-ordered counter-terrorism raid in Yemen resulted in the killing of eight-year-old US citizen Nawar al-Awlaki, Anwar al-Awlaki’s youngest child. Although U.S. military officials claimed the raid killed 14 “combatants,” local residents say that nearly sixty people were killed.

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
No Charges or Demotion for Kansas Cop Who Beat, Kidnapped Female Officer,-Kidnapped-Female-Officer William Burke was arrested after a Lawrence Police Officer accused him of beating her and forcing her into a dog kennel. Among the evidence collected in the investigation are text messages from Burke to the female officer in which he admits to beating her and says, “I’m not sure next time I won’t keep going.”

The Lawrence Journal-World newspaper reports that the female officer, with whom Burke was sexually involved, claimed that she was physically assaulted and choked into unconsciousness by the officer, then when she regained consciousness was ordered to undress and get inside a dog kennel. He then confiscated her cellphone and chained the kennel shut to imprison her. While she was confined therein, Burke pounded on the kennel with a hammer while telling her that she should “learn to keep her mouth shut” about their relationship. On several occasions Burke warned the woman that he could kill her and that “he knew people who could make her body disappear.”

Despite sufficient evidence to secure an indictment – and, most likely, a conviction or pre-emptive guilty plea to lesser charges – the case was dropped. Burke, as it happens, was a fellow officer of the Lawrence Police Department, and he claims that he was allowed to resign from the force in exchange for having the charges dismissed. The municipal government and Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson deny that any such agreement was reached.

Whether or not a deal was made, because he wasn’t charged and allowed to resign rather than being fired, Burke retains his peace officer license and is eligible for employment in another department. He has also filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the City of Lawrence, claiming that his property was unlawfully searched and his reputation was damaged by the allegations.

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Kidnapped-Female-Officer
Are Cops Victims of “The New Discrimination”?“The-New-Discrimination”? Writing in the online publication Law Officer, Major Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department complains that law enforcement officers are the victims of what he calls “The New Discrimination in America.”

“We see police officers being assaulted,” writes Yates. “We see police officers being murdered. And much of it, is just because they wear a uniform…. From slavery to the KKK to Jim Crow laws, nothing much has changed in this country,” he continues. “We continue to hate and we continue to kill and the only difference now is we are doing it to those in uniform.” He also mentions isolated incidents in which people have shunned police officers in restaurants, or encounters in which police officers have been called “vile and hateful names.” Another demonstration of what he calls anti-police bigotry was the executive order by Barack Obama placing modest limits on the transfer of war-fighting materiel from the Pentagon to local police agencies.

Like many others in the so-called Blue Lives Matter movement, Major Yates confuses a chosen occupation with an innate characteristic. He also ignores the critical distinctions between hateful and spiteful verbal abuse and the forceful criticism of officials who are, or at least should be, accountable to the public they claim to serve.

In a previous essay, Yates complained that citizens who are urging police to rediscover the lost skill of de-escalation in encounters with citizens are demanding that “police stop being police.”

“Follow the commands of a police officer, or risk dying,” Yates snarled in the previous essay, expressing the discretionary power to kill that was not enjoyed or exercised by slaves or those subject to Jim Crow laws.

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“The-New-Discrimination”?
Boy Scouts Succumb to Gender Revolution The Boy Scouts of America have institutionally repudiated the organization’s longstanding commitment to truthfulness by announcing that it will admit to its ranks psychologically disturbed young girls who want to be recognized as “transgender” boys. In a video message to intermediate and local Scouting leaders, chief executive Michael Surbaugh announced that the organization will now accept applicants who are identified as “boys based on the gender a parent puts on a child’s scouting application, ending a policy of accepting boys based on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate,” reports the Washington Post.

“Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child,” Surbaugh explained.

Kristie Maldonado, the mother of a disturbed young girl from New Jersey who wants to be recognized as a boy and had been denied admission to the Boy Scouts, had filed a discrimination complaint against the organization. Mrs. Maldonado told the Post that she believes the lawsuit helped bring about the organization’s policy change.

The new policy will go into effect immediately.

Zach Wahls, co-founder of a gender revolution pressure group called Scouts for Equality, celebrated the capitulation as “another historic day for the Boy Scouts of America.”

”The decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution,” Wahls gloated, without mentioning that this is a “step forward” for an institution standing on the brink of an abyss.

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Who Was Behind the Quebec Mosque Attack? Reacting to a murder rampage at a mosque in Quebec City, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declared: “We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant, and why the president is taking steps to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to our nation’s safety and security.”

The clear implication here is that the attack on Muslim residents of Canada was carried out by recent arrivals to that country from one of the seven countries covered by the newly enacted travel ban.

As the Toronto Star observes, the suspect arrested for allegedly killing six Muslims during evening prayers is Alexandre Bissonnette, an enigmatic 27-year-old native Canadian college student whose acquaintances say that he was sympathetic to the Trump campaign in the neighboring United States, as opposed to any exponent of Islamic radicalism.

“I can tell you he was certainly no Muslim convert,” insisted fellow Laval University student Vincent Boissoneault. “I didn’t even think of him as totally racist. But he was enthralled by a borderline racist nationalist movement. It never occurred to me that he might be violent.”

Employment counselor Francois Deschamps, who operates a pro-refugee Facebook page, claims that Bissonnette had frequently posted comments “denigrating refugees and feminism,” but didn’t display any inclination toward violence.

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Acting AG Fired by Trump During her 2015 confirmation hearing to serve as deputy attorney general, Sally Yates was lectured by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions about her responsibility to resist presidential actions she earnestly considered constitutionally unsound.

“Do you think the Attorney General has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something improper?” Sessions asked. If the proposed policies “a president wants to execute are unlawful, should the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General say no?”

Yates replied that “I believe the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General has an obligation to follow the law under the Constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president.”

“Like any CEO with a law firm, sometimes the lawyers have to tell the CEO, `Mr. CEO, you can’t do that. Don’t do that,” Sessions elaborated. “We’ll get us sued.”

“Do you feel that’s a duty of the Attorney General’s office?” Sessions asked Yates, who agreed that it was.

“You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things you just need to say `no’ about,” Sessions advised the nominee.

Sessions, who is now Trump’s nominee to be Attorney General, clearly believed that such dissent was appropriate during the Obama administration. Yates brought that perspective to the Trump administration as acting Attorney General in anticipation of Sessions’ confirmation – and ordered Justice Department attorneys not to defend Trump’s travel ban executive order, which she believed was legally flawed. That assessment may be mistaken, but it reflects the professional judgment Yates had been urged to exercise.

In response, the White House fired Yates and accused her of “betraying” the Justice Department by offering precisely the kind of principled dissent that was described to her as part of the job. Rather than a betrayal, Yates may have been guilty of an oversight: Her conscientious choice would have been to resign if her legal advice was rejected.

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Conscience and Partisan Politics Executive overreach – whether through legislating by way of executive order, or usurping Congress’s constitutional authority to declare war -- has been a trait of every presidential administration in recent memory. Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired because she refused to defend Donald Trump’s travel ban order, which she regarded as legally flawed. Whether or not that assessment of Trump’s order was sound, Yates had declined previous opportunities to take a principled stand against presidential abuses of power.

“Sally Yates should have resigned and volunteered her services to the ACLU to challenge President Trump's executive orders concerning immigration rather than defy the White House,” opined former Reagan administration Justice Department official Bruce Fein, a constitutional attorney who has been critical of Donald Trump. “The rule of law is not advanced by practicing lawlessness. During Watergate, Attorney General Richardson resigned rather than execute President Nixon's order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Following constitutional due process culminated in articles of impeachment against Nixon by the House Judiciary Committee and his resignation.”

“Equally if not more important, if Ms. Yates were truly concerned with presidential lawlessness she would have resigned long ago over President Obama's nine unconstitutional wars turning children into orphans and wives into widows on an industrial scale and turning foreign lands into wilderness that has created 65 million refugees and displaced persons,” continues Fein. “If you are not unalterably opposed to the warfare state, you are complicit in lawlessness.”

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Strategic Damage Done by Trump’s Executive Order’s-Executive-Order President Trump’s travel ban was imposed by an executive order that was drafted by his intimate advisers and signed before it had been reviewed by any of his cabinet appointees or any of the chairmen of the relevant congressional committees. Although the White House claims that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel had approved the order, the OLC was given scant time to conduct a very cursory review, which the office says was “conducted without the involvement of Department of Justice leadership.”

If Trump had sought the counsel of his advisors, it’s likely at least some of them would have identified potential strategic damage resulting from the executive order as it was drafted.

Constitutional lawyer and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein points out that the ban on travel from Iraq is a betrayal of Iraqis who had risked their lives on behalf of US troops deployed in combat there – and will also accentuate the risks faced by US military personnel.

“Our 5,000 brave American troops risking that last full measure of devotion in Iraq have been stabbed in the back,” writes Fein. “The Executive Order forbidding any Iraqi immigrant from entering the United States for at least 90 days and perhaps indefinitely means the end of Iraqi cooperation with American troops as translators, informants, or otherwise in fighting ISIS. This puts our troops at heightened risk for no benefit. No Iraqi national has killed or injured even one American since at least 9/11.”

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Executive-Order
Are We In the Early Stages of a Constitutional Crisis? Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order was enacted without being reviewed by any of the agencies tasked with enforcing it.

Multiple press accounts claim that the order was drafted by White House Strategic Adviser Steve Bannon and presidential counselor Stephen Miller, who overruled senior Department of Homeland Security officials who had exempted lawful permanent residents from the countries affected by the order.

Following that reversal, Daniel M. Renaud, Associate Director of field operations for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for the Department of Homeland Security, informed personnel by email that “Effectively [sic] immediately and until additional guidance is received, you may not take final action on any petition or application where the applicant is a citizen or national of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, and Libya.” They were instructed to await final guidance as new rules and procedures are created.

In a constitutional republic, the government is bound by laws and rules implemented pursuant to them. To be valid, a presidential executive order must comport to existing law – and sober legal critiques of Trump’s executive order conclude that parts of it are not in harmony with current statutes. Several judges have issued injunctions ordering the executive branch not to enforce the order until those questions are addressed. However, both presidential aide Stephen Miller and the Department of Customs and Border Protection insist that the order will be enforced.

While the administration is defying the courts, elements of the State and Justice Departments have criticized the policy and indicated a willingness to defy the order. Where significant portions of the federal government no longer agree about the rules that govern their actions, a constitutional crisis exists.

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Iran Ditches the Dollar Nearly than a decade ago, the government of Iran indicated its intention to ditch the US dollar as the global currency of choice for petroleum transactions by opening the Iranian Oil Bourse, a crude oil exchange that conducts business using a basket of non-US currencies. The regime in Tehran has now announced that it “will stop using the US dollar as its currency of choice in its financial and foreign exchange reports” in the new fiscal year beginning this March, reports the Financial Tribune, an English-language Iranian publication.

In a recent television interview, Valiollah Seif, governor of the Central Bank of Iran, acknowledged that this move wouldn’t have much substantive impact, since the US dollar accounts for a meager portion of the country’s foreign trade, and the country does most of its trade deals with China, the United Arab Emirates, and the European Union. Thus the Iranian government may either select “a basket of currencies or [choose] the currency that plays the biggest part in foreign trade,” which most likely would be the euro.

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Beijing: War with US is a “Reality”“Reality” According to Liu Guoshun, an official with the national defense mobilization unit of China’s Central Military Commission, Beijing clearly anticipates a war with the United States.

Amid increasing tensions in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula, “The possibility of war increases,” wrote Liu in an essay published on the official website of the People’s Liberation Army. According to Liu, “`A war within the president’s term,’ [and] `war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, but the reality.”

Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group, told CNBC that the essay was intended as strategic bluster on the part of Beijing.

“The Chinese government is quite concerned about the potential for direct confrontation with the Trump administration,” observed Bremmer.

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Reality”
Pentagon Orders Study of Russian, Chinese Leadership’s Nuclear Preparations,-Chinese-Leadership’s-Nuclear-Preparations The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) directs US intelligence agencies and the Strategic Command to evaluate the “survivability” of the political and military leadership class in both Russia and China. The review will include “an identification of which facilities various senior political and military leaders of each respective country are expected to operate out of during crisis and wartime,” and the “location and description of above-ground and underground facilities important to the political and military leadership and survivability.”

“Key officials and organizations of each respective country involved in managing and operating such facilities, programs, and activities” should also be identified, continues the NDAA.

Although the NDAA was drafted by the Obama administration and enacted by Congress prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration, Mr. Trump last December declared that the US “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” He also reportedly told an MSNBC correspondent that he welcomed a new arms race, insisting that “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Chinese-Leadership’s-Nuclear-Preparations
Trump Administration Arming Syrian Terrorists For several years, the Obama administration, along with the governments of Britain and Israel, have quietly supplied material and logistical support to radical Islamist guerrilla groups seeking to overthrow the Syrian government – despite the fact that they are allied with al-Qaeda. Reuters reports that this has continued into the Trump administration, which for the first time has provided armored vehicles to the Islamist rebels.

The arrival of armored vehicles and troop carriers “is evidence that there are signs of new support,” exulted Talal Silo of the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance. “Previously we didn’t get support in this form, we would get light weapons and ammunition.”

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Should High Schoolers Be Prosecuted for Skipping Religious Instruction? In Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and some parts of California, high school students who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly called the Mormon Church, can enroll in released-time religious instruction called Seminary. For decades many of those students have looked upon Seminary attendance as optional, sometimes skipping classes to study, grab a snack, or even take a nap. The LDS Seminary faculty in Syracuse, Utah is threatening to take such students to court.

An email sent by the faculty to parents announced that “any student caught at the high school during their seminary hour [would] receive a Trespassing Citation.” As Syracuse police detective Erin Behm told Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL, “A trespassing citation works just like any other citation. You have to go to the court and, most likely, pay a fine, talk to the judge about it.” The possibility that students would be prosecuted for skipping religious instruction is outlined in the documents signed by students and parents when the latter register for the Seminary program.

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Spicer: Yes, Handcuffing Five-Year-Olds Is Justified,-Handcuffing-Five-Year-Olds-Is-Justified Among the people detained at airports following Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order was a five-year-old boy who was handcuffed and held under guard for several hours on suspicion of being a “threat” to homeland security. The child is a US citizen who resides in Maryland.

Asked about the incident during a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that this was a prudent and defensible decision, rather than an overreaction.

“To assume that just because of someone’s age and gender that they don’t pose a threat would be misguided and wrong,” Spicer lectured reporters.

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Handcuffing-Five-Year-Olds-Is-Justified
How the FBI Conceals Payments to Snitches and Provocateurs The FBI employs a vast army of undercover operatives, many of them petty criminals who are paid extravagant fees for enticing people into committing prosecutable acts. Entrapment is particularly lucrative for those involved in FBI-orchestrated false-flag terrorism operations, which has been the Bureau’s chief occupation since 2002. Many of those in the FBI’s snitch stable also peddle their services to other federal agencies. Alex Diaz, for example, has become a millionaire during his 20-year career as an informant for the FBI, the IRS, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security.

“For the first time, we can now point to an internal government document that provides the framework for how informants are paid,” reports Trevor Aaronson of The Intercept. “The FBI’s Confidential Human Source Policy Guide, a nearly 200-page manual classified secret and obtained by The Intercept, describes how payments to FBI informants are accounted for and authorized and how these payments can quickly become serious money.”

The Bureau employs a variety of payment methods, both before and after a trial, such as reimbursements and a twenty-five percent share of the net value of asset forfeiture proceeds. A special agent in charge of “has the authority to pay cash to each of his office’s informants up to $100,000 per fiscal year,” summarizes The Intercept. “However, informants may earn substantially more as long as each additional $100,000 is approved by successively higher levels within the bureau. With deputy director approval … an informant may [receive] more than $500,000 per year.”

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Title IX Totalitarianism, Continued,-Continued A male student expelled from Amherst College for alleged sexual misconduct was denied due process and has a good case for reversing that ruling – but a federal judge has forbidden him from pursuing redress because doing so might hurt the feelings of his accuser.

According to the undisputed facts of the case, the supposed victim, who has been identified as Sandra Jones, engaged in sexual conduct with the alleged perpetrator in February 2012. After leaving the young man’s dorm room, Jones sent a text message to another male student inviting him to her room for sex, and then sent another text to a residential advisor decrying her own “stupid” decision to engage in relations with the first student. In those messages Jones described herself as the assertive party. She didn’t file a complaint accusing the now-expelled student until two years after the incident. Campus disciplinary officials never reviewed the text messages.

The former student, who is identified as John Doe in legal proceedings, has filed a lawsuit against Amherst College for abusing his due process rights. His legal team has subpoenaed the accuser to testify at the civil trial, and demanded that she provide records of statements she had made about the alleged assault. US District Judge John Robart has ruled that the accuser doesn’t need to comply with the obligations of a witness under the Sixth Amendment, because doing so would “force Ms. Jones to relive a night in which she asserts Mr. Doe assaulted her” and “impose emotional and psychological trauma upon Ms. Jones.”

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Continued
Critical Legal Background on Trump Refugee Order Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash, a strict constitutionalist and attorney, has been critical of President Trump’s recent executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations. He recently published a brief but detailed essay explaining the statutes governing the question.

Trump’s executive order has been criticized by both supporters and opponents who are conflating the terms immigrant – a category that includes green card holders – with “nonimmigrant” and “refugee.” Amash notes that “It's not lawful to ban immigrants because of `nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.’” This is made clear by the 1965 immigration statute. It is lawful to ban “nonimmigrants for almost any reason,” however, which means that tourists and students can legally be turned away. It is likewise lawful “to ban refugees for almost any reason,” even when doing so “is harsh and unwise,”Amash continued.

Because Trump’s executive order covers all three categories, it is unlawful under existing statutes, Amash contends. President Obama's 2011 action, often cited by defenders of Trump’s order, “covered only refugees and, therefore, did not violate the Constitution or the law, even if one finds it objectionable for other reasons,” the Congressman explains.

“Understanding these distinctions is important because supporters of President Trump's executive order continue to wrongly insist that the order is lawful and that President Obama did almost the same thing in 2011,” Amash summarizes. “And opponents of President Trump's executive order continue to wrongly insist that banning refugees violates the Constitution or the law.”

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
House Prepares Bill Authorizing Pre-emptive Attack on Iran House Joint Resolution 10, which was introduced at the beginning of the current congressional term, would “authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

The bill, which was introduced by Florida Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings, “is as it appears – an authorization for the President to use military force against Iran,” writes Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute. “But it is much worse than that… [because] it specifically authorizes the president to launch a pre-emptive war on Iran at any time of his choosing and without any further congressional oversight or input.”

Adams notes that the bill expressly authorizes the president “to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines necessary and appropriate in order to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

“President Trump – and importantly, his entire national security team – has been extraordinarily aggressive toward Iran, repeatedly threatening that country both at the negotiating table and on the battlefield,” Adams emphasizes. “H.J. Res. 10 would be just the blank check the Administration craves to realize such threats.”

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
EU Issues “Road Map” for New Cash Restrictions“Road-Map”-for-New-Cash-Restrictions Entrepreneur and international affairs commentator Simon Black warns that the European Commission, the European Union’s chief executive authority, has unveiled a plan that would “initiate continent-wide legislation against cash.” The document is entitled “Proposal for an EU initiative on restrictions on payments in cash,” supposedly for the purpose of interdicting efforts to finance terrorism. An “Inception Impact Assessment” provided by the European Commission claims that “The Action Plan builds on existing EU rules to adapt to new threats and aims at updating EU policies in line with international standards.”

Writing from the perspective of a free market advocate, Black advises that the program would be a significant escalation of the international elite’s effort to abolish the use of cash.

“There are already a number of anti-cash legislative measures that have been passed in individual European member states,” he points out. “In France, for example, it’s illegal to make purchases of more than 1,000 euros in cash. And any cash deposit or withdrawal to/from a French bank account exceeding 10,000 euros within a single month must be reported to the authorities.” Italy and Spain have both imposed severe limits on cash payments, and last year the European Central Bank announced “that it would stop production of 500-euro notes, which will eventually phase them out altogether. But apparently these disparate rules don’t go far enough…. So that’s why the European Commission is now working to standardize a ban on cash, or at least implement severe restrictions and reporting, across the entire EU.”

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Road-Map”-for-New-Cash-Restrictions
Gender Revolution Degeneracy Escalates in UK Physicians employed by Britain’s National Health Service “have been told not to call pregnant women `expectant mothers’ because it might offend transgendered people,” reported the Sunday Daily Mail newspaper. This demand was made through the official guidelines disseminated by the British Medical Association to its 160,000 members, which dictate that all mothers-to-be – including, of course, those who do not suffer from derangement regarding their ineluctable and immutable sexual identity – as “pregnant people.” The insurmountable fact that only biological females can become pregnant is to be cast into the Gender Revolution’s omnivorous Memory Hole.

The fourteen-page directive, called A Guide to Effective Communication: Inclusive Language in the Workplace states that “A large majority of people that [sic] have become pregnant or have given birth identify as women. However, there are some intersex men and trans men who may get pregnant” – a claim reflecting a politically protected delusion, rather than a sound understanding of medical science.

“This controversial advice to doctors … comes just weeks after it emerged that a Briton who was born a girl but is changing to a man put his operation on hold to have a baby,” continues the Daily Mail in a sentence reflecting the potentially lethal damage done to both language and logic by the Gender Revolution. Hayden Cross, 20, is described as “legally male” following hormone therapy. She – the only correct pronoun to describe this person – has not yet undergone elective medical mutilation, and is currently pregnant.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Syrian Christian Family Turned Away Because of Trump Order In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network recorded on the day he issued an executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations, President Trump emphasized that persecuted Middle Eastern Christians would be given priority in future refugee resettlement policy.

“We are going to help them,” Trump emphasized. “They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, [or] at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible…. And I thought it was very, very unfair.”

The relatives of US residents Sarmad and Sarah Assali are very well aware of the difficulties faced by Syrian Christian refugees seeking access to the United States. The six Syrian Orthodox Christians were “turned away at a Pennsylvania airport after they [had] tried for nearly 15 years to enter the United States,” as a result of Trump’s executive order, reports the London Daily Mail.

The two brothers, their wives and children were turned away by customs officials at the Philadelphia International Airport on the day after Trump issued his order and were forced to take an 18-hour flight back to Doha, Qatar. Sarmad Assali explained to CNN that the relatives had waited a decade and a half for an F-4 visa, and that their long-established American relatives had bought them a house and otherwise made preparations.

“The green cards have been paid for, the visas have been paid for, everything has been approved,” declared Sarah Assali. “To suddenly be told, `no, you no longer qualify to enter the country,’ it kind of comes as a slap in the face.”

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“Your Papers, Please” Baltimore Cops Demand of Indian-American Woman“Your-Papers,-Please”-Baltimore-Cops-Demand-of-Indian-American-Woman Bel Air, Maryland resident Aravinda Pillalamarri was accosted by police officers in her own neighborhood who illegally detained her and interrogated her about her immigration status.

Pillalamarri, who was born in India, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who has resided in the United States for more than thirty years. The only basis for the investigative stop was an anonymous phone call describing her as suspicious – on the basis of her skin color and ethnic attire.

After Pillalamarri complained about being detained for “walking while brown,” a police supervisor arrived, informed her that she wasn’t free to leave because he was “under criminal investigation,” and aggressively questioned her.

“Why don’t you have ID?” the supervisor demanded. “Are you here illegally?”

She was eventually allowed to return to her home – which was just a few doors away.

Pillalamarri, who shared the incident during a recent meeting of the Bel Air Board of Town commissioners, insists that “Public safety does not need to come at the cost of civil rights” and urged the police department to review its policy and procedures.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Your-Papers,-Please”-Baltimore-Cops-Demand-of-Indian-American-Woman
Duterte Reins in Drug Warriors After South Korean Businessman is Killed Following a nationwide anti-narcotics campaign that resulted in the extra-judicial killing of thousands of people, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced plans to dissolve all specialized anti-drug police units. This decision was prompted by the January killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, who had been missing for several months. The victim, who had been kidnapped and held for ransom, was strangled to death on the premises of the national police headquarters by members of Duterte’s anti-drug force.

Describing himself as embarrassed by the crime, Duterte gave the fugitive officers two days to turn themselves in, or be subject to a kill-or-capture order backed by a bounty of five million pesos (roughly $100,000 in US currency).

“You policemen are the most corrupt. It’s in your system,” Duterte declared in a news release, addressing the officers implicated in the kidnapping and murder. He also promised to “cleanse” the police force of corrupt officers who have been caught engaging in extortion and other long-protected criminal misconduct. Although he and national police chief Ronald de la Rosa plan to dissolve the specialized anti-drug units in order to “overhaul” them, Duterte has also promised that he would continue his anti-drug campaign “to the last day of my term.”

Duterte has also demanded the removal of US Special Forces from the southern region of his country, blaming Washington’s actions for the re-emergence of Islamist radicals in the area.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Divided States of America? Activists seeking for California to secede from the United States have begun collecting signatures to place a proposed independence measure on the ballot in 2018. Louis Marinelli, president of the Yes California Independence movement, told CNBC that his group is finding traction among liberal Californians who are deeply opposed to Donald Trump’s presidency.

Writing from a libertarian perspective, bestselling author Dr. Thomas Woods agrees with Marinelli’s assessment – which he thinks is also true of many states other than California.

“The election of Donald Trump has fast-forwarded the dissolution of the United States by 50 years, maybe even a hundred,” writes Dr. Woods. “Ideological and cultural differences have reached a point at which huge pluralities simply loathe each other. What one group considers holy and praiseworthy the other considers abominable and deplorable.”

Even during the violent and tumultuous 1960s, despite the most pronounced political disagreements “Americans shared quite a bit in common culturally, morally, and in the most basic standards of civilized behavior,” he continues. “That’s all gone now. The left is in my view getting pretty much what it deserves, after having brought nearly all of life under the purview of the state.”

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Does AG Nominee Sessions Still Want Capital Punishment for Drug Dealers? Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions has been one of the most outspoken critics of radical Islam. He is also one of the most impassioned proponents of drug prohibition – and in his previous career as attorney general for Alabama, Senator Sessions sought to impose Sharia-grade punishments on people convicted of drug trafficking.

“In 1996, when serving as Alabama’s attorney general, [Sessions] promoted… a state bill to establish mandatory death sentences for a second drug trafficking conviction, including for dealing marijuana,” recalls Stanford University law professor John Donahue. That legislation targeted offenders described as “kingpins,” but that term would have applied to nearly anybody who earned minimum wage selling drugs. At the time, the state minimum wage was $4.25 an hour.

The bill that had garnered Sessions’ support was facially unconstitutional. Roughly a decade earlier, the US Supreme Court banned mandatory death sentences, and nearly twenty years earlier had described the death penalty for criminal offenses other than murder as “grossly disproportionate” and “excessive.”

In spite of Sessions’ very public endorsement of the bill, the proposed capital punishment bill failed to pass the Alabama legislature in 1996. During his confirmation hearing, Sessions told Senator Patrick Leahy that he couldn’t recall supporting the death penalty for drug dealers when the Vermont Democrat asked him about the measure.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Ron Paul: There is an Alternative to a Border Wall As Thoreau would have put it, libertarian icon Ron Paul prefers attacking problems at the root, rather than hacking at the topmost branches. This includes the question of illegal immigration from Mexico. According to Dr. Paul, building a border wall won’t work – even assuming such a monumental project would ever be completed, a somewhat fanciful scenario, in light of the federal government’s incurable incompetence.

“Texas already started building a border fence about ten years ago,” recalls Dr. Paul. “It divided people from their own property across the border, it deprived people of their land through the use of eminent domain, and in the end the problem of drug and human smuggling was not solved.”

In addition to the counterproductive social and economic disruptions involved in constructing a border wall, the project will consume much more time and money than the public is being told, and those costs will inevitably be borne by American consumers and taxpayers.

Most importantly, “building a wall ignores the real causes of illegal border crossings into the United States” – the “welfare magnet that attracts so many to cross the border illegally,” the quarter-century-old US war in the Middle East that is driving the mass exodus from that region, and “the drug war that incentivizes smugglers to cross the border.”

“President Trump’s plan to build a wall will end up costing a fortune while ignoring the real problem of why people cross the borders illegally,” concludes Dr. Paul. “They will keep coming as long as those incentives remain.”

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump’s Travel Ban Applauded by ISIS Allies’s-Travel-Ban-Applauded-by-ISIS-Allies Whatever the merits – in both practical and constitutional terms -- of Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim nations, it has earned applause from Jihadist groups associated with ISIS, who say that the policy “validates their claim that the United States is at war with Islam,” reports the Washington Post, citing media platforms attached to the group.

One post published by an ISIS-aligned social media platform described President Trump as “the best caller to Islam.” Another insisted that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “has the right to come out and inform Trump that banning Muslims from entering America is a `blessed ban.’” The writer compared Trump’s executive order “to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Islamic militant leaders at the time hailed as a `blessed invasion’ that ignited anti-Western fervor across the Islamic world,” clarifies the Post.

“When US President Donald Trump says `We don’t want them here’ and bans the Muslim immigrants from Muslim countries, there is one thing that comes to our mind,” insisted another commenter, quoting predictions from American-born radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that the US “would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens.”

ISIS, a movement that has reportedly benefited from material support from US and other intelligence agencies, has often spoken of its desire to destroy what it calls the “Gray Zone” – meaning the basis of peaceful cooperation and coexistence between the Islamic world and the West.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Travel-Ban-Applauded-by-ISIS-Allies
Judge Imposes Stay on Trump Deportation Order In response to a habeas corpus petition filed by the ACLU, New York federal District Court Judge Ann Donnelly imposed a stay on President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.

The ACLU habeas corpus motion was filed on behalf of two Iraqi men detained at JFK International Airport on Friday evening after Trump issued his order. One of them, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army. Darweesh, who worked for a decade for the 101st Airborne in Baghdad and then for federally funded contractors, was given visas for himself, his wife, and their three children after their lives were threatened by anti-US Islamist forces. He had been vetted for three years and was not granted the visas until after he was able to demonstrate that his life was in immediate danger.

“America is the greatest nation on earth,” Dawreesh declared at an impromptu press conference after he was released from detention.

The temporary stay does not overturn Trump’s executive order, nor does it mean that those who were released from detention will be permitted to remain in the country permanently. It means that both the validity of the order, and the residency status of those previously lawful residents who had been barred from entry, will be subject to further judicial review.

More than a dozen petitions similar to the one filed on behalf of the two Iraqi detainees in New York have been filed by attorneys nation-wide.

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Homeland Security Officials Defied Court Order on Travel Ban The constitutional framework created by the Founders apportions powers among three separate, co-equal branches. In that scheme the role of the judiciary is to act as a check on potential abuses of power by the executive and legislative branches. As Alexander Hamilton pointed out in Federalist Paper 78, the judiciary exercises “neither force nor will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.”

President Andrew Jackson, whom Donald Trump has cited as a role model, reacted to a Supreme Court ruling upholding Cherokee treaty rights by declaring that Chief Justice John Marshall “has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” There are indications that some executive branch officials are reacting much the same way to a federal judge’s decision to impose a stay on President Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

The New York Post – an outlet whose coverage is generally favorable to Trump – reported that another legal fight may ensue “following reports that Muslim immigrants were still being forced to board planes out of the US despite a federal judge’s emergency order halting the deportations.”

A statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security declared that despite the judicial ruling, “The president’s executive orders remain in place – prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the US government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.”

The department said that it would continue to “enforce all of the president’s executive orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people.”

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
First US Casualties in Trump-approved Military Action A firefight with Islamic militants in Yemen resulted in the combat death of one Navy SEAL operator and injuries to three others in the early hours of January 29, reported the New York Times. The raid “was the first counterterrorism operation approved by President Trump since he took office.”

Commandos from the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 staged a surprise dawn raid on a target in the Bayda Province described as headquarters for Al-Qaeda in Yemen. The hour-long firefight reportedly ended with 14 suspected al-Qaeda members dead. Subsequent reports revealed that the casualties included an eight-year-old girl believed to be the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric and US citizen assassinated by a presidentially authorized drone strike in 2011. Awlaki’s 16-year-old US-born son Abdulrahman was murdered in a subsequent strike a few weeks later. The January 29 Navy SEAL assault followed a Trump-ordered drone strike in the region carried out just two days following his Inauguration.

US military operations in Yemen are being conducted in support of Saudi Arabia’s campaign to reinstate its puppet Sunni Muslim president, who was deposed two years ago by Houthi Rebels claiming to represent the country’s Shi’ite Muslim majority. Saudi military operations, supported by the United States and the United Kingdom, have been widely condemned as disproportionate and indiscriminate.

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
FBI: The World’s Leading Purveyor of Child Porn’s-Leading-Purveyor-of-Child-Porn “When Daryl Glenn Pawlak logged into a large child pornography website and downloaded images using his work computer, he was charged with receipt and possession of child pornography,” observes the Dallas News. “The operator of the website that was exploiting children, however, was not arrested. That’s because it was the FBI. And federal prosecutors are defending the agency’s decision to secretly hijack and peddle child porn for two weeks as part of a sting operation. During that time, tens of thousands of images of child pornography were uploaded to the site.”

A motion to suppress filed on behalf of Pawlak observes, “Not only was the government the largest distributor of child pornography … it was also the largest exploiter of children. This conduct is the essence of outrageousness, and a serious need for deterrence exists.”

Dozens of similar defense motions have been filed to suppress evidence collected through the sting, which was christened Operation Pacifier. Some have succeeded in persuading judges to throw out the criminal charges. Most have failed, however, even when judges have conceded that the FBI not only behaved irresponsibly, but violated the same anti-kiddie porn laws they are seeking to enforce. In reply to Pawlak’s motion to suppress, one federal prosecutor insisted that “The FBI’s process here should be encouraged, not deterred.”

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Leading-Purveyor-of-Child-Porn
Euthanasia Becomes Undisguised Murder in The Netherlands A Dutch physician was cleared of criminal misconduct in which she conspired with members of an elderly woman’s family to compel her to undergo involuntary euthanasia, reports the London Daily Mail. Jacob Kohnstamm, Chairman of the Regional Review Committee, declared that “I am convinced that the doctor acted in good faith, and we would like to see more clarity on how such cases are handled in the future.”

The victim, a woman in her 80s who suffers from dementia, had previously indicated a willingness to undergo euthanasia when she decided that “the time was right.” As her health degenerated, she was placed in a nursing home, whose medical director decided that the elderly woman was suffering “intolerably.” The physician secretly drugged the woman’s coffee, and then began to administer a lethal injection as the soporific took effect. This prompted the victim to wake up and fight for her life. Rather than relenting, however, the doctor asked family members to help restrain the victim.

The Review Committee conceded that the doctor “crossed the line” by using a sleeping agent, and that she should have stopped once the victim began to resist. Kohnstamm said that a trial would be appropriate – “Not to punish the doctor, who acted in good faith and did what she had to do, but to get judicial clarity over what powers a doctor has when it comes to the euthanasia of patients suffering from severe dementia.”

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump’s State Department “Housecleaning”’s-State-Department-“Housecleaning” It is customary for all appointed positions in the State Department to submit letters of resignation at the beginning of a new administration, even though these top administrators are often asked to stay on for a few months to ease the transition. Trump’s White House, however, accepted the resignation letters of several top officials in what one State Department source called “cleaning house.” summarized the news reports of the changeover: “Demonstrating just how ideologically [aligned] with the Obama administration was the entire US State Department … the [Washington Post] reported that ‘the entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.’”

But the story was later changed from a mass protest resignation to a mass firing by the White House. Citing an anonymous official, CNN reported: "Any implication that that these four people quit is wrong…. These people are loyal to the secretary, the President and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to diss the President. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House cleaning house."

"The department will not collapse," a second official told CNN. “Everyone has good deputies. It's a huge institutional loss, but the department has excellent subordinates and the career people will step up. They will take up the responsibility."

Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen believes the sea change was unavoidable to chart a new course in Foreign Policy.

“All [those leaving] are neocons and globalists” and would have been at odds with Trump eventually, he observes. Either way, the new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, will have a clean slate to start with at Foggy Bottom.

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-State-Department-“Housecleaning”
Ron Paul: The Left’s Culture War Created Trump’s-Culture-War-Created-Trump The American Left openly views the election of Donald Trump as an absolute calamity, writes former Republican congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul. Dr. Paul attributes Trump’s rise to a long-gestating backlash against a relentless cultural onslaught carried out by the radical Left over the course of several decades.

While the Left sees Trump’s ascent in nearly apocalyptic terms, this “is a calamity that they brought upon themselves,” contends Dr. Paul. “The left remained silent while the Obama administration spent two full terms at war. They excused Obama’s NSA scandals. They cheered the growth of an imperial presidency and an activist judiciary. But worst of all, the left poisoned America with vicious identity politics and a deeply false narrative of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and privilege. How could a backlash not occur? What matters most in the upcoming years is not what Trump can actually do in the face of this hatred. What matters is what he can undo.”

Trump’s first week as Chief Executive did produce a series of executive orders intended to undo many past globalist efforts. Although leftists are in dismay over the setback to their “progressive” agendas, Trump’s actions seem to be are striking a favorable chord with mainstream Americans. His popularity rating has already risen to 59% from the high forties the week before, reports Rasmussen.

Dr. Paul and other constitutionalist conservatives, however, are only cautiously optimistic, fearing that Trump’s version of big government could well turn into a slightly less onerous version of FDR’s New Deal.

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Culture-War-Created-Trump
The Media’s Slanted Culture Wars Narrative’s-Slanted-Culture-Wars-Narrative- Thousands of Pro-Life supporters marched on Washington on Friday to protest the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that destroyed all legal protections for unborn children threatened with destruction through abortion. The peaceful rally stood in stark contrast to the violent demonstrations by opponents of Trump during his inauguration ceremony and the vulgarity on display at the so-called “Women’s March” a day later. Although media pundits attempted to paint the earlier leftist protests as representative of a “divided nation” and the “spontaneous” reaction of women everywhere, local reporters on the ground found a different story.

A reporter for PJ Media documented the significant fringe elements making up a big portion of these Trump protests including satanists, groups with vulgar t-shirts, red-fist banners, and self-proclaimed “angry feminists” not to mention the violent protestors throwing rocks at police.

Asra Q. Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and self-described feminist declined to join the supposedly “grassroots” Woman’s March because, she noted “the march really isn’t a ‘women’s march.’ It’s a march for women who are anti-Trump.” Her research uncovered that the march was carefully organized by ardent anti-Trump groups over 50 of whom are funded by leftist billionaire George Soros.

Veteran news analyst Joel Skousen says these organized protests are just one of the volleys in an outright war between the American Left, as represented by a majority of journalists and news pundits, and the newly elected President: “[My] main point is that there’s definitely a war on. The civility and normalcy by the Left belies their savage criticism of Trump’s lack of civil speech. They not only want to deny Trump success, but they want to set American cities on fire with violent protests, disruptions and anarchy—and even hate speech for Trump.”

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Slanted-Culture-Wars-Narrative-
Possible Trump Supreme Court Pick Interrogates Judge over “Belief in God”“Belief-in-God” Trump’s short list of three potential Supreme Court appointees includes 11th U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, an unpopular name among Christians because of his actions against Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court, who was removed from the bar for refusing to tear down a monument of the Ten Commandments at his courthouse.

Although that display is frequently described as a violation of the First Amendment, the US Supreme Court’s chambers are decorated with a frieze depicting Moses carrying the Ten Commandments. That depiction wascreated seven decades ago by German-born sculptor Adolph Weinman, who also designed the Mercury dime and the “Walking Liberty” half-dollar coin.

As columnist and Pastor Chuck Baldwin explains, Pryor’s interrogation of Moore appeared to suggest that the real problem with displaying a similar Ten Commandments monument at the Alabama Supreme Court was the fact that Moore and other judges might actually believe in God.

“Does everyone understand what Bill Pryor was saying?” writes Baldwin. “He was saying that in order for Chief Justice Moore to resume his duties, he must not acknowledge God. The posting of the Ten Commandments did not even come up. Roy Moore's ‘crime’ was acknowledging God. For this, he was removed from the bench.”

In a separate case, Judge Pryor sided with an Augusta counseling school which dismissed a Christian woman student because she would not concede that homosexuality was acceptable conduct, and submit to “therapy” which included watching filmed homosexual acts. After many Evangelicals have protested Pryor’s appointment, it is rumored that Trump is expected to nominate one of the other two potential Supreme Court picks.

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Belief-in-God”
Private Confessions Disclose how Media Actually Works Jon Rappoport is an independent investigative journalist who has spent decades excavating stories others have buried. As a result, he has an abundance of contacts in the media among less intrepid reporters employed by mainstream news outlets. In private conversations he compiled a large number of dramatic revelations by other journalists complaining about the lack of true investigative journalism, the bias imposed on them by their editors, the media’s institutional dependence on bad government “facts,” and the necessity of covering up research to please the paper, the government or advertising revenue from big pharma and others.

“I saw what I called ‘the inch-below’ thing,” one frustrated reporter confided to Rappoport. “An inch below what we were reporting was the real story. It was about power players and what they were doing to make profit for major corporations. It kept coming up. Crimes. People should have been arrested. I could have written great stories. But nobody wanted them. I would have proved intent. I’m talking about wars. Not little stuff. Whole wars, and the money. The profits. In court, a lawyer could have taken what I had and made a great circumstantial case. The jury would have been convinced. When you can’t publish these stories, you sink into boredom after a while. Tremendous boredom. That’s why some reporters become drunks.”

While all of the quotes compiled by Rappoport are anonymous, based on paraphrased notes from private conversations, the story is consistent and reported by him in accordance with sound journalistic practices. He says that the conversations offer an “illuminating” glimpse regarding what the “guardians on the watchtower reveal.”

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obstacles to Building Trump’s Wall’s-Wall Newly inaugurated US President Donald Trump has made it clear he wants to move forward with plans to build a permanent wall along the southern border with Mexico, but as the geostrategic consulting group argues in an in-depth analysis, there are numerous challenges ahead for the project. The first hurdle, as it happens, inheres in the fact that Trump’s proposal didn’t originate with him. Although Congress has approved appropriations for a border “fence” in previous legislation, the wording was vague and non-binding, thereby allowing past administrations to skirt the process of actually building a barrier.

“Trump's team will most likely try to make a case for applying the Secure Fence Act's provision for placing barriers ‘along not less than 700 miles of the southwest border,’” Stratfor predicts. “A 2008 amendment to the 1996 law slightly changed that provision, specifying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can determine where it needs to install such fencing.” But even with these provisions, it will still need to get funding from Congress.

“An attempt to provide funding for construction could come within a year,” continues Statfor. The House of Representatives and the Senate are slated to vote on a continuing resolution in late April to fund government operations, giving lawmakers in favor of border fence construction a chance to attach a funding authorization to it.“

Delays within Congress coupled with legal battles that will likely ensue could push the project beyond a Trump presidency, Stratfor warns. Their custom map shows not only the poorly executed existing fence but also future legal issues like a golf course on the Rio Grande that doesn’t want a massive fence on their property.

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Wall
Trump: No Meetings with Mexican President Unless He Promises to Pay for Wall On Thursday, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced that “he had scrapped plans to meet Donald Trump next week after the U.S. president tweeted Mexico should cancel the meeting if it was not prepared to pay for his proposed border wall,” reported Yahoo News.

“Pena Nieto had been scheduled to meet with Trump on Tuesday to discuss immigration, trade and drug-war cooperation,” recounted the Washington Post. “But the Mexican leader came under intense political pressure at home after Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday launching the border-wall plan. The Mexican president called off the visit after Trump tweeted Thursday morning that it would be “better to cancel the upcoming meeting” if Mexico was unwilling to pay for the barrier.

“The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico,” Trump wrote “It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”

By way of reply, Pena Nieto issued a statement saying that “This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend the work meeting planned for next Tuesday” with President Trump.

“Mexico reiterates its willingness to work with the United States to reach accords that favor both nations,” the Mexican president concluded.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Milwaukee Sheriff Investigated for Unlawfully Detaining, Threatening Citizen,-Threatening-Citizen Sheriff David Clarke of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County is defying an investigation by the county ethics committee into a complaint filed by a local citizen who was unlawfully detained and questioned by his deputies following a January 15 flight from Dallas.

While settling in for a January 15 flight from Dallas to Milwaukee, Clarke – attired in Dallas Cowboys fan regalia – was asked by fellow passenger Dan Black if he was, indeed, the sheriff. After Clarke replied in the affirmative, Black shook his head and proceeded to his seat. From behind, Black heard Clarke ask if he had a “problem,” to which the puzzled man shook his head in reply.

When Black disembarked at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, he was surrounded by six of Clarke’s deputies, who detained and questioned him regarding his views of their boss. Black remained in custody until he was escorted from the airport.

After Black filed a complaint with the county commission, Clarke threatened to assault Black or any other citizen in similar circumstances.

“Next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out,” advised the sheriff’s office. “The sheriff said he does not have to wait for some goof to assault him. He reserves the reasonable right to pre-empt a possible assault.”

Clarke also published a meme of Black containing the caption: “Cheer up, snowflake – if Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.” Clarke has ordered his deputies to obstruct the ethics committee’s investigation, calling it a “political witch hunt.”

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Threatening-Citizen
Trump: Torture Works; Experts – No, It Doesn’t, and It’s Illegal;-Experts-–-No,-It-Doesn’t,-and-It’s-Illegal- In his first major media interview as US President, Donald Trump reiterated his support for torture as both an interrogation method and as a form of summary punishment for suspected terrorists.

“I have spoken, as recently as twenty-four hours ago, with people at the highest levels of intelligence, and I asked them the question – does it work? Does torture work? And the answer was, yes, absolutely,” claimed Mr. Trump. “Do I feel it works?” he continued, “Absolutely I feel it works.” While promising to be guided by his advisers – including Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has explicitly denounced torture, Trump said he would do everything “within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally [to] fight fire with fire.”

In seeking to extinguish a fire, using water is generally a more promising approach, and interrogation experts have repeatedly emphasized that torture is both ineffective in obtaining reliable information – and tends to propagate fires, rather than putting them out. It is also explicitly banned by international conventions, domestic statutes, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the U.S. Constitution.

According to the US Army Field Manual, “Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”

Former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, who was in charge of the bin Laden desk at the Counter-Terrorism Center, concurs with that assessment, explaining that “any information gotten through extreme methods of torture would probably be pretty useless because it would be someone telling you what you wanted to hear.”

There is, however, a codicil in anti-torture legislation allowing it to be authorized an exception to policy at the direction of the president -- which would allow Trump to order the use of torture despite the urgent advice of his advisers.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700;-Experts-–-No,-It-Doesn’t,-and-It’s-Illegal-
Is Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Order Unconstitutional?’s-Sanctuary-Cities-Order-Unconstitutional? Donald Trump’s executive order denying federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities “has serious constitutional problems,” contends legal analyst Ilya Somin of George Mason University. “Unless interpreted very narrowly, it is both unconstitutional and a very dangerous precedent. Trump and future presidents could use it to seriously undermine constitutional federalism by forcing dissenting cities and states to obey presidential dictates, even without authorization from Congress. The circumvention of Congress makes the order a threat to separation of powers, as well.”

The federal statute invoked in the executive order, Section 1373, requires states and municipal governments to comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts. Significantly, Somin observes, “longstanding Supreme Court precedent mandates that the federal government may not impose conditions on grants to states and localities unless the conditions are `unambiguously’ stated in the text of the law `so that States can knowingly decide whether or not to accept those funds.” Few federal grants are explicitly tied to compliance with Section 1373 – and most of those involve immigration enforcement efforts sanctuary jurisdictions are not carrying out.

Imposing new restrictions would require new congressional statutes – and denying other grants would violate the Supreme Court’s anti-commandeering doctrine, which describes such tactics as a violation of the Tenth Amendment.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Sanctuary-Cities-Order-Unconstitutional?
White House Strategist: “Humiliated” Media Should “Keep Its Mouth Shut”“Humiliated”-Media-Should-“Keep-Its-Mouth-Shut” In an interview with the New York Times, Chief White House Strategist Stephen K. Bannon, formerly the publisher of the Breitbart News media platform, described the mainline press as “humiliated” by an election outcome few among them had anticipated, and repeatedly described the media as “the opposition party” of the current administration.

“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Bannon insisted during a telephone interview with the Times.

“I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon emphasized. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

Bannon’s comments come less than a week after White House Press Spokesman Sean Spicer’s angry debut, in which he said that the administration would hold the media “accountable.” Bannon’s phone call with the Times was intended to discuss Spicer and the administration’s posture toward the press.

“The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” Mr. Bannon said, referring to the 2016 presidential election, calling it “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there.”

“The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign,” Mr. Bannon complained. “Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: they were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.”

Bannon, who converted Breitbart News from a right-leaning adversarial press outlet into an unabashed propaganda asset of the Trump campaign, did not provide specific examples of media figures he believes should be fired from their jobs.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Humiliated”-Media-Should-“Keep-Its-Mouth-Shut”
Appeals Court Denies Full Hearing in Data Surveillance Case An evenly divided federal appeals court said Tuesday it won't grant the federal government’s request for a new hearing about a previous decision allowing tech companies like Microsoft to deny official requests for customer emails that are stored abroad.

Four judges on the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals “wrote opinions dissenting from the decision not to rehear the case at the government’s request,” reports Yahoo News. “In July, a three-judge panel said prosecutors cannot force corporations to release customers’ emails … on servers overseas.”

Circuit Judge Susan L. Carney, the author of last July’s opinion, elaborated on it in an opinion issued Tuesday in which she said that the Stored Communications Act of 1986 “has been left behind by technology.”

“It is overdue for a congressional revision that would continue to protect privacy but would more effectively balance concerns of international comity with law enforcement needs and service provider obligations in the global context in which this case arose,” insisted Judge Carney.

Both the Republican-led Congress and the Trump administration are likely to support legislative revisions of the kind Carney recommended. While in Congress, CIA Director Mike Pompeo had urged new measures to make personal data, such as emails and other electronic communications by citizens, accessible to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Are Americans Overwhelmed by the “Carnage” of Violent Crime?“Carnage”-of-Violent-Crime? President Trump’s repeated claim that the country is under siege by violent crime is not sustained by the available data, argues Eric Boehm of Reason magazine. Nor is the president’s threat to federalize law enforcement in Chicago warranted by that city’s admittedly shocking rate of violent crime.

While Chicago saw more than 300 murders in the first half of 2016, according to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, the city’s per capita murder rate “actually is not one of the worst in the country,” Boehm writes. “That dishonor, at least for the first six months of 2016, belongs to St. Louis, Missouri, which had more than 27 murders for every 100,000 residents…. That’s more than double Chicago’s murder rate of 11.6 per 100,000 residents. Both Orlando, Florida, and Baltimore, Maryland had rates above 20-per-100,000 during the same period,” according to the FBI’s tabulation.

Opinion polls consistently show that a majority of voters believe that crime has increased since 2008; among those who voted for Trump, 78 percent held to that belief. The truth, Boehm observes, is that “violent crime fell by 19 percent and property crime fell by 23 percent between 2008 and 2015,” as measured, once again, by the FBI from data collected from more than 18,000 jurisdictions nation-wide. Despite widespread alarmism over a supposed uptick in the crime rate, gun-related homicides – one of the most important metrics -- are down more than 40 percent from their peak in the early 1990s.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Carnage”-of-Violent-Crime?
Federalizing Chicago Law Enforcement Would be Redundant, Analyst Contends,-Analyst-Contends Expressing outrage over Chicago’s violent crime rate, President Trump has threatened to send in the Feds – but they’re already running things in the Windy City, and a large part of the problem, notes criminal justice analyst Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute.

“If Mr. Trump’s reference to `the Feds” means federal law-enforcement officers, they’re already there,” wrote MacDonald in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column. “Local police in Chicago work on joint task forces with agents from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.” Those task forces were unleashed on the city during the Clinton administration to prosecute what MacDonald characterizes as “federal gun crimes, a focus that withered under President Obama’s denunciations of `mass incarceration’ for minorities.”

Of course, as MacDonald points out, “Policing is an overwhelmingly local function.” The Constitution gives the federal government no authority to prosecute criminal offenses or involve itself in local police affairs. Like many other law and order conservatives, MacDonald has called for the Justice Department to end its scrutiny of municipal police agencies while making it clear that “the federal government stands behind proactive policing,” such as pedestrian stops, investigative detentions of people deemed to be “suspicious,” and expanded arrests for narcotics offenses.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Analyst-Contends
Arizona Legislature Considers Wide-Ranging Nullification Bill In making the case for ratifying the U.S. Constitution, James Madison – one of its chief architects – explained that under its provisions “the powers delegated … to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” The federal government would deal chiefly with “external objects, [such] such as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce,” while those of the separate states would “extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs would concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

At present, the states of the union are regarded as administrative units of the central government, which is precisely the opposite of the system created by Madison and the other constitutional Framers. The Arizona state legislature is considering a measure, HB 2097, which would “prevent state officials from complying with unconstitutional acts of the federal government,” reports constitutional attorney Joe Wolverton II. The bill would apply to presidential executive orders, rules, regulations and policy directives propounded by federal executive branch agencies, constitutionally unsound rulings issued by federal courts, or constitutionally infirm legislative acts by Congress.

Notes Wolverton, “In what is perhaps the proposal’s most powerful provision, the public is authorized to present to the state legislature evidence of unlawful participation with unconstitutional federal programs and policies,” and the legislature is directed to examine those complaints and act on them if they are found meritorious.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Donald Trump’s Non-Secure Twitter Account is Vulnerable to Hacking’s-Non-Secure-Twitter-Account-is-Vulnerable-to-Hacking After leading dozens of campaign rallies in resounding chants of “Lock Her Up!” to underscore Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a non-secure email server, Donald Trump – of all people – should be fastidious about secure communications. Yet as President, Trump has left his Twitter account – a uniquely powerful media tool that can be used to precipitate world-changing events – vulnerable to a hostile takeover, reports The Intercept.

“Donald Trump has shown [that] his tweets can move the stock market, provoke foreign powers, and dominate news cycles,” observes The Intercept, “so the account’s potential to shake the world is unprecedented, and all that’s stopping an outsider from seizing control [of that Twitter account] could be someone’s personal Gmail password.”

“If you forget your Twitter password, the company allows you to easily reset the code through a link sent to an email address you designate in your account settings,” continues the report. “This same process makes it elementary to hijack that Twitter account if you have access to the email account in question: Just request a password reset, wait for the link to arrive, and lock your victim out of [his] own Twitter account.”

Hijackings of this kind are by no means uncommon, which is why the presidential Twitter account is “a national security disaster waiting to happen.”

“An unauthorized declaration of, say, imminent hostilities or economic sanctions coming from the president’s official account could destabilize the entire world,” The Intercept warns.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Non-Secure-Twitter-Account-is-Vulnerable-to-Hacking
Chief White House Economic Adviser Gets Platinum Parachute from Goldman Sachs For millions of undecided voters, Donald Trump closed the deal with a late campaign ad in which he made a forthright populist appeal as the champion of the common American against the predations of the financial elite – as embodied by investment banks such as Goldman Sachs. After winning the election, Trump promptly appointed several Goldman figures to high positions in his administration, including former president and chief operations officer Gary Cohn, who will join the cabinet as chief White House economic adviser.

To reward Cohn for his promotion, Goldman Sachs lifted restrictions or provided for accelerated delivery of roughly $123.7 million in stock and cash awards. The 56-year-old Cohn was paid $20 million by Goldman in 2016, which included a base salary of roughly $1.85 million and $18.15 million in what was described as “variable compensation.” On Monday, his erstwhile employer delivered nearly 100,000 restricted shares and lifted selling restrictions on another 100,000 that he had earned but had been unable to sell. This provided him with another $45.9 million windfall. He also received $47 million to settle outstanding awards extended to him over the past five years, and an $18 million cash payment for “outstanding performance shares.”

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Calls Private Manning “Traitor”“Traitor” Shortly before leaving office, Barack Obama commuted the 35-year prison sentence of former US Army Private Bradley Manning, who now insists on being called Chelsea and presents himself as a transgendered woman.

While in the service, Private Manning, who was an intelligence specialist assigned to monitor combat missions, became aware of war crimes being committed in Iraq. Frustrated after nobody in his chain of command would act on his findings, Manning leaked a massive quantity of mission logs and diplomatic cables to the transparency group WikiLeaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, is being sought by Washington for prosecution.

In late 2016, Assange – who has been granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London – offered to surrender to the US government in exchange for a pardon on behalf of Manning. Given the role played by WikiLeaks in exposing campaign corruption and chicanery on the part of Hillary Clinton, it is possible Assange believed that President Trump would deal with him leniently. That expectation took a blow on January 26, when Trump used his Twitter account to issue a denunciation of “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison.” Manning had criticized what he considered to be Obama’s less than zealous pursuit of a progressive policy agenda.

WikiLeaks corrected Trump’s statement by pointing out that Manning had not been charged with treason, and had been acquitted on the most serious charge, aiding the enemy.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Traitor”
Hands-On Management – Or Compulsiveness?–-Or-Compulsiveness? During his unsuccessful reelection campaign, President Jimmy Carter was portrayed as a compulsive micromanager who immersed himself in peripheral matters while giving inadequate attention to major world developments – such as the Iranian revolution and Soviet preparations to invade Afghanistan. During his first week in office, President Donald Trump has repeatedly evinced a preoccupation with media coverage of his Inaugural ceremony, and according to one account in an admittedly hostile media organ that preoccupation led to a Carteresque act of micro-management.

According to the Washington Post, “On the morning after Donald Trump’s inauguration, acting National Park Service director Michael T. Reynolds received an extraordinary summons: The new president wanted to talk to him.”

Mr. Trump, the Post reports, was angered by “a retweet sent from the agency’s account, in which side-by-side photographs showed far fewer people at his swearing-in than had shown up to see Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.”

Trump reportedly “ordered Reynolds to produce additional photographs” of the crowd gathered the previous day on the Mall, believing that this “might prove that the media had lied in reporting that the attendance had been no better than average.”

While confirming that the call had been made, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that it simply showed “that Trump’s management style is to be `so accessible, and constantly in touch.’”

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700–-Or-Compulsiveness?
Hackers Penetrate the Swift Global Interbank Network A 2015 cyber-attack resulted in the theft of an estimated $12 million from Ecuador’s Banco de Austro SA, reports Bloomberg. In a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo bank, the Ecuadorian bank claims that the hackers who carried out the heist obtained the access codes through Swift, a global interbank network that had been used to transfer funds from the US-based bank.

The assault on the bank in Ecuador apparently followed the same tactics that were used in subsequent cyber-attacks directed at Vietnam’s Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank, also known as TPBank, and the central bank of Bangladesh. TPBank rebuffed a fraudulent transfer request for more than $1.1 million dollars that came through a third-party service it used to connect to the Swift interchange. In February of last year, the Bangladeshi central bank lost $81 million after its computer systems were infested with malware.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Administration: We Will Contest Beijing’s Claims in South China Sea’s-Claims-in-South-China-Sea White House Press Spokesman Sean Spicer said on January 23 that the Trump administration was committed to preventing China from exercising new territorial claims in the South China Sea. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson had previously said that Washington will not allow Beijing to have access to its archipelago of artificial islands, which are being transformed into military outposts.

“The US is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” Spicer declared in response to a question during his January 23 press briefing. “It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then, yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.”

By way of response, Beijing has pointed out that the US “is not a country directly involved in the South China Sea.” A nationalist tabloid called the Global Times warned that a move by the US to blockade the artificial islands could lead to a “large-scale war.” Mira Rapp-Hooper, a South China Sea specialist at the Center for a New Security, seconded that assessment, describing the threat to bar China’s access to the region as “incredible.”

“A blockade – which is what would be required to actually bar access – is an act of war,” she warned.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Claims-in-South-China-Sea
Is in the “Intelligence Community” Considering an anti-Trump Coup?“Intelligence-Community”-Considering-an-anti-Trump-Coup? Although President Trump used a pep talk at CIA headquarters to say that he supports the agency “one thousand percent,” some elements of the intelligence community are visibly uneasy with the new chief executive. Some of them anonymously complained to CBS News that the speech “made relations with the intelligence community worse,” and that they were “uncomfortable” with its tone and content.

CIA sources also claimed that the first three rows of the audience were seeded with “supporters of Mr. Trump’s campaign” – roughly forty people who had been invited by Trump, Vice President Pence, and incoming Director Mike Pompeo. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied that claim.

Mr. Trump has insisted that the perceived tension between him and the CIA is an artifact of media bias. Some analysts, citing criticism of Trump by former CIA Director John Brennan and others, have suggested that the rift is substantial, and that something akin to a “soft coup” is being carried out by Agency officials seeking to delegitimize his administration. Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi concedes that tensions exist, but contends that they are being wildly exaggerated.

“The CIA is not the departed John Brennan and his inner circle of heavily politicized senior managers,” writes Giraldi. “It is nearly 20,000 employees who are generally type-A personalities, headstrong and largely unwilling to have anyone tell them what is right and what is wrong.” On the basis of his experience in the agency, Giraldi asserts, “I would bet that an overwhelming majority of agency staffers, who normally identify as Republican anyway, actually voted for Donald Trump.”

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Intelligence-Community”-Considering-an-anti-Trump-Coup?
Elizabeth Warren’s Ethics Hypocrisy’s-Ethics-Hypocrisy Massachusetts Democratic Senator and self-appointed moral tutor Elizabeth Warren, who has never been reticent in condemning the ethical failures of other political figures, “took advantage of a loophole in ethics laws to avoid disclosing a $1.3 million credit line against her home,” observes the Washington Free Beacon.

“The line of credit was extended to Warren and her husband Bruce Mann in 2007 through financial giant Bank of America,” continues the report. That emolument was not recorded in the couple’s 2014 and 2015 financial disclosure filings, reported the Boston Herald.

Warren, a multi-millionaire faux populist who has postured as a bane enemy of the banking elite, has kept the details of the arrangement with Bank of America – such as the rate of interest on that line of credit – secret. An aide for Warren has insisted that a home equity line of credit doesn’t have the same liability disclosure requirements as a typical home mortgage. The aide also insisted that the senator has yet to borrow against that line of credit.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Ethics-Hypocrisy
“Alt-Right” Activists Crowd-Funding Anti-Twitter “Discrimination” Lawsuit“Alt-Right”-Activists-Crowd-Funding-Anti-Twitter-“Discrimination”-Lawsuit The loosely organized and largely web-centered political movement called the “Alt-Right” revels in mocking the sensibilities of social justice warriors and other “precious snowflakes” given to complaints about exclusion and discrimination. One faction of the Alt-Right appears to be emulating those it has mocked by using its crowdfunding platform, which is called WeSearchr, to raise money for a lawsuit against Twitter for discriminating against conservatives.

“Twitter hates us, folks,” explains the funding page. “We’re going to sue Twitter for its discrimination against conservatives, its censorship, its violation of antitrust regulation, and for everything else we can. We’re going to make Twitter the next Gawker.”

WeSearchr was founded by self-described investigative journalist Charles C. Johnson, who was banned from Twitter permanently in 2015 after urging his followers to “take out” left-wing activist Deray McKesson.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Alt-Right”-Activists-Crowd-Funding-Anti-Twitter-“Discrimination”-Lawsuit
Anniversary of a Patriot’s Passing’s-Passing January 26 marks the anniversary of the shooting death of Utah rancher Robert LaVoy Finicum, who was killed by operators from the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team and Oregon State Police troopers in an ambush on Oregon’s Highway 395. A member of an activist group called Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, Finicum had participated in the month-long protest occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County. At the time of the ambush, he was part of a convoy of vehicles ferrying activists to John Day, the seat of Grant County. They planned to meet with Sheriff Grant Palmer and conduct a town hall meeting.

If the objective had been to arrange the peaceful arrest of Finicum – along with Ammon and Aaron Bundy and their colleagues – Sheriff Palmer should have been informed, and tasked to take them into custody. However, Oregon’s ultra-liberal Governor Kate Brown and the FBI deliberately withheld that information from Sheriff Palmer, whom they regarded as a “security risk” because of his critical posture toward federal overreach within his jurisdiction.

After Finicum refused to stop at a checkpoint, his vehicle was illegally fired upon by FBI snipers as it approached a second barrier. At least one shot was fired at him as he emerged from the vehicle, and he was gunned down in a cross-fire seconds later. His killers claim that he was reaching for a handgun.

An investigation by former Malheur County DA Dan Norris ruled that the shooting by Oregon State Police officers was justified – but he pointedly did not clear the FBI’s HRT operators of wrongdoing.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Passing
Utah Legislature Seeks to Increase the Cost of Marriage Marriage is an institution created prior to the political state, and rests on a claim of authority transcending the state. This principle was understood more than a century ago by Utah legislators who defended the Mormon Church’s marriage practices against the regulatory demands of the federal government. It is occasionally invoked to criticize the Supreme Court’s effort to redefine the institution to include same-sex relationships.

Some social conservatives in the current state legislature, however, simply cannot resist the urge to micro-manage marriage relations. Among them is Republican State Senator Allen Christensen of North Ogden, who has proposed a bill that would increase the cost of a marriage license by twenty dollars – and remit that surcharge to engaged couples if they complete a state-approved course of premarital education or counseling.

A similar bill was proposed last year by State Representative Ed Redd, which passed the House but was not voted on by the senate.

As the Libertas Institute points out, “Government should not be in the business of marriage. Absent that needed change, it should certainly not increase the hurdle one must jump over in order to obtain the state’s permission to marry. While pre-marital counseling can be helpful, it should not be used as extortion to reclaim one’s money.”

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Utah Succumbing to “Hate Crimes” Regime“Hate-Crimes”-Regime Utah prosecutors “are backing legislation that would allow enhanced penalties when victims of crimes are selected based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or any other defining characteristic,” reports the Salt Lake Tribune. A statute of that kind is currently on the books, but over the past quarter-century “there has not been a single successful prosecution under the law.” The Tribune complains that “conservative Republicans [are] beating back every attempt to make the `toothless tiger’ [of that law] serve the purpose for which it was intended.”

That criticism ironically underscores the uselessness of so-called hate crimes laws, which are meant to correct politically unpopular attitudes, rather than punish crimes against persons and property. Laws against murder, assault, theft, and other violent crimes already exist, and their enforcement does not require grading victims on membership in specially protected categories. Some critics insist that the defining mechanism of hate crimes enforcement undermines the principle of equal protection under the law.

Utah state senator Daniel Thatcher of West Valley City is sponsoring this year’s hate crimes legislation, and has “spent the last year laying the groundwork for the bill, stating with a review by the National Conference of State Legislatures of the laws on the books of 50 other states,” explains the Tribune. The bill is also enthusiastically supported by “the state’s prosecutors, police chiefs and sheriffs, the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and other law-enforcement groups.”

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hate-Crimes”-Regime
Gender Revolution Gaslighting Continues The slang term “gaslighting” refers to a form of psychological manipulation in which a targeted individual is relentlessly barraged with absurd, patently false claims in an effort to deprive him of his bearings on reality – and to make him start to question his sanity.

There are few, if any, better examples of “gaslighting” than the ongoing gender revolution, whose exponents insist that humanity is not divided between anatomically distinct and complementary sexes, but rather arranged in an apparently limitless variety of mutable “genders” that have nothing to do with genetics.

Reviewing the recent Women’s March in the online journal Mic, Marie Solis complained that the event’s vulgar obsession with female genitalia “sent a clear and oppressive message to trans women” – namely, that having the relevant anatomical feature “is essential to womanhood.” Expressing that insurmountable truth, which was uncontroversial just a few years ago, is now considered a species of hate crime – even when it is done by fellow leftists at a mass protest intended to advance the feminist movement.

In early January, the UK’s state-run BBC network aired an agitprop documentary entitled “Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?” The program featured Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a leading authority on gender dysphoria who was recently fired from Canada’s largest specialist clinic for refusing to embrace the tenets of the transgender movement. The BBC was deluged with protests from transgender activists who insisted that allowing Dr. Zucker’s views to be aired would give the program “a transphobic undertone.”

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Congresswoman Calls for End of Syrian Regime-Change Effort Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman and Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard has called for an end to Washington’s regime-change war in Syria following an independent fact-finding visit to that afflicted country.

"My visit to Syria has made it abundantly clear: Our counterproductive regime change war does not serve America's interest, and it certainly isn't in the interest of the Syrian people,” declared Gabbard upon her return. "As I visited with people from across the country, and heard heartbreaking stories of how this war has devastated their lives, I was asked, 'Why [are] the United States and its allies helping al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups try to take over Syria? Syria did not attack the United States. Al-Qaeda did.' I had no answer.”

Gabbard says that her findings left her “with even greater resolve to end our illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government. I call upon Congress and the new Administration to answer the pleas of the Syrian people immediately and support the Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” which would cut off funding for Islamist rebel groups currently waging war against the government of Bashir al-Assad.

President Trump, who has previously urged a less interventionist approach in Syria, apparently reversed course on Wednesday by issuing an order that would require the State and Defense Departments to create a blueprint for “safe zones” in Syria within 90 days. This would require creation of corresponding no-fly zones, which would involve the possibility of a conflict with both Syria and Russia.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Moves on Immigration Promises President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered construction of a U.S.-Mexican border wall and punishment for cities shielding illegal immigrants.

Construction on a border wall would begin “within months” and be financed by US taxpayers – not by Mexico, Trump conceded during an interview with ABC News. Mindful of his repeated campaign assurances that Mexico would be compelled to pay for constructing the border barricade, Trump insisted that the US government will “absolutely” be “reimbursed at a later date” by Mexico in some unspecified “form” following bilateral negotiations.

Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto responded to Trump’s executive order by reiterating his government’s rejection of any demand that it fund the proposed border wall. Pena Nieto, who said that “Mexico offers, and demands, respect,” is scheduled to meet with Trump in Washington in the coming week.

In other executive actions, Mr. Trump issued an order directing that “federal funds be withheld from cities and counties” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. He also directed Homeland Security Director John Kelly to make public a comprehensive list of “criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Texas Governor Seeks to Federalize County Sheriffs Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News on January 25 that he and allies in the state legislature will seek to enact a measure that would mandate the removal of any county sheriff who does not “fully cooperate” with federal immigration officials. Abbot had previously threatened to deny state grants to Travis County if Sheriff Sally Hernandez does not repudiate her policy curtailing such cooperation. In his Fox News interview, however, Abbot declared that “We will remove her from office.”

Abbot is seeking legislation that would impose both civil and criminal penalties for sheriffs who do not cooperate with federal immigration detainers, which allow the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement department to investigate the immigration background of people suspected of being in the country illegally.

Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett has denounced Abbot’s proposal as an “unlawful demand.”

“Neither Governor Abbott nor the Legislature have any authority to remove a duly elected sheriff, whose office is established by the Texas Constitution,” observed Doggett. “The governor shows contempt for both the Texas Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution.”

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Imposes Ban on Refugees, Visitors from Seven Countries,-Visitors-from-Seven-Countries President Donald Trump announced an executive order that will ban Syrian refugees from the United States and also forbid visitor visas to Syrians and citizens of six other countries – Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya. According to the draft of the declaration, “In order to protect Americans, we must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward our country and its founding principles.” Residents of the countries named in the order are presumed to be hostile – a development that owes less to radical Islamist ideology than to US foreign policy.

What all seven countries have in common, observes The Intercept, “is that the United States government has violently intervened in them. The US is currently bombing – or has bombed in the recent past – six of them. The US has not bombed Iran, but has a long history of intervention including a recent cyberattack.”

The Intercept characterizes the new policy as “a twisted version of the you-break-it-you-buy-it Pottery Barn rule: If we bomb a country or help destabilize its society, we will then ban its citizens from being able to seek refuge in the United States.”

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut summarized the policy in a brief post on Twitter: “We bomb your country, creating a humanitarian nightmare, then lock you inside. That’s a horror movie, not a foreign policy.”

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Visitors-from-Seven-Countries
Senator Paul’s “Obamacare Replacement Act”’s-“Obamacare-Replacement-Act” Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul, who like his father is a medical doctor, has proposed the Obamacare Replacement Act of 2017. The bill is designed to remove the regulatory impediments to the creation of private health insurance cooperatives and interstate sale of health insurance, which would reduce costs and expand coverage.

In its summary of the measure, Reason magazine reports that Senator Paul’s bill would replace “the existing open-ended tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance with a universal deduction on both income and payroll taxes that would provide the same level of benefit regardless of how an individual obtains their health insurance.” It would also extend to individuals “the option of a tax credit of up to $5,000 per taxpayer for contributions” to a Health Savings Account, and remove “the maximum allowable annual contribution, so that individuals may make unlimited contributions” to such accounts.

Paul’s proposal would provide a two-year open-enrollment period under which people with pre-existing medical conditions would obtain coverage, and restore HIPAA protections regarding disclosure of such conditions. This element of the plan was designed to reassure “those who worry about mass insurance deprivation without Obamacare,” Reason observes.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Obamacare-Replacement-Act”
Horrible Accident Leads to Child’s Death, Felony Charge’s-Death,-Felony-Charge Laci Lynn Taylor, a 26-year-old mother from Des Moines Iowa, lost her newborn baby in a terrible accident four months ago. Her misery has been compounded by the fact that she was arrested and charged with child endangerment resulting in death, which could lead to a 25-year prison sentence.

Taylor briefly left her daughter unattended on a changing table while preparing a bottle on September 18. The child rolled over, which caused a fatal compression of her neck on the ledge of the table, cutting off her airway.

Des Moines Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek characterized the incident as an “accident,” and acknowledges that the mother “didn’t have any intent to kill her child.” The charge was justified, he insists, because “there was such a significant failure in parenting that it resulted in this child’s death.”

Don Taylor, the newborn girl’s father, does not support prosecuting his wife, describing the child’s death as a “horrible freak accident.”

“I have no ounce in my body that blames my wife at all,” Mr. Taylor insists.

Reason magazine observes that the charge against the grieving mother is “based on the sickeningly simplistic, self-satisfied belief that there’s no such thing as fate, only negligence.” It also reflects the totalitarian belief that the state, not the parents, has ultimate responsibility for the safety of children.

Mrs. Taylor remains in custody because the family cannot afford to pay the $100,000 bail.

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Death,-Felony-Charge
Debunking the Kitty Genovese Myth The rape and stabbing death of New York resident Kitty Genovese has often been invoked as a symbol of urban apathy – and the photographic negative of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Genovese was stalked, raped, and then murdered by Winston Moseley, a psychopathic serial killer and necrophiliac, in July 1964. Moseley, who died in prison last April at age 81, selected his victim at random, stabbed her at least 14 times as she was screaming and pleading for help, then raped and finally killed her in the vestibule of her apartment building in Queens. Initial accounts of the murder described the victim screaming for help while her neighbors, acting out of a combination of timidity and indifference, refused to intervene. The New York Times, reciting the police account, reported that “Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead.”

The iconic pull-quote from the Kitty Genovese story came from an anonymous witness who reportedly told the times: “I didn’t want to get involved.”

The victim’s brother, Bill Genovese, was 16 at the time of her murder. He has produced an independent documentary entitled “The Witness” that debunks the long-standing myth of neighborhood indifference, showing that several neighbors called the police – but they arrived on the scene too late to intervene. The myth of 38 indifferent witnesses originated in the Times story, which was reinforced by television reports filed by correspondent Mike Wallace and then canonized by the rest of the media.

The Times eventually revised its original reporting – but did so decades after the myth had become entrenched in the national discourse.

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Threatens Federal Intervention in Chicago to Stop “Carnage”“Carnage” Using his preferred means of publicity, President Trump advised municipal officials in Chicago that he might order federal intervention to address violent crime in that city.

“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible `carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” declared Trump in a post on Twitter. The New York Times notes that “The tweet came after the evening broadcast on Fox News of `The O’Reilly Factor,’ which featured a segment in which the host, Bill O’Reilly, explored whether and how the federal government could intervene in combating violent crime by having federal authorities prosecute some cases or calling in the National Guard.”

In the segment from the Fox News program, Horace Cooper of the National Center for Public Policy Research suggested that Trump could send “a Justice Department directive that says to the US attorneys in that jurisdiction … that they are going to work directly with the prosecutors. They’re going to have the FBI and the local law enforcement work together, and they’re going to pick which cases that they go across that they’re going to prosecute directly.”

“That doesn’t require change in law,” Horace contended, “this simply requires will.”

While this procedure is well-established in precedent, it violates the reserved powers clause of the Tenth Amendment, under which law enforcement matters – other than those dealing with piracy, treason, and counterfeiting -- are exclusively reserved to state and local jurisdictions.

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Carnage”
Trump Prepares to Resume CIA Detention and Torture Program During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump frequently promised to reinstate the CIA’s global program of detention and torture, insisting that he would authorize waterboarding and methods he described as “a hell of a lot worse” in dealing with suspected terrorists. The New York Times reports that the president is preparing to sign a three-page draft executive order entitled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants” that would accomplish that objective.

The executive order “would clear the way for the Central Intelligence Agency to reopen overseas `black site’ prisons, like those where it detained and tortured terrorism suspects before former President Obama shut them down,” observes the Times. It would also “revoke Mr. Obama’s directive to give the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all wartime detainees in American custody – another step toward reopening secret prisons outside of the normal wartime rules established by the Geneva Conventions.” It would also direct that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba be kept open “for the detention and trial of newly captured” terrorism suspects.

The draft order contains a signing statement criticizing Obama for supposedly refraining “from exercising certain authorities” in dealing with “radical Islamism.”

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Legendary Investigative Journalist Slams CIA and its Media Enablers Few if any journalists have done more to expose devious and immoral CIA undertakings than Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. In an interview with The Intercept, Hersh lambasted the legacy media for uncritically retailing unsubstantiated claims of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“The way they behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh told reporter Jeremy Scahill. “They were just so willing to believe stuff. And when the heads of intelligence gave them that summary of the allegations, instead of attacking the CIA for doing that, which is what I would have done,” they simply reported it as fact without investigating the claims. In their eagerness to advance a story that comported with their partisan prejudices, mainline media organs missed the actual story, Hersh points out, which was “the extent to which the White House was … permitting the agency to go public with the assessment.”

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“All You Have to Do Is Stay,” Trump Tells Business Leaders“All-You-Have-to-Do-Is-Stay,”-Trump-Tells-Business-Leaders In a very busy first official workday of his administration, President Donald Trump summoned a group of highly placed business leaders to demand that they maintain operations in the United States – or face a punitive tariff on goods manufactured abroad.

“All you have to do is stay,” Trump explained, telling the business executives that he would impose a “substantial border tax” on companies that relocate manufacturing abroad. “Some people say that’s not free trade, but we don’t have free trade now.”

Trump also promised to seek reductions in the regulatory burdens that are helping to drive manufacturing out of the country – while saying that he would not do so at the expense of worker safety.

CEOs Elon Musk of Tesla and Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin were among the business leaders who met with Trump. Both of those companies, significantly, do a great deal of business with the federal government.

Later in the day, Trump met with a delegation of representatives from several of the leading labor unions.

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“All-You-Have-to-Do-Is-Stay,”-Trump-Tells-Business-Leaders
The Difference between Brexit and “Trumpit”“Trumpit” Nigel Farage, who led the UK Independence Party to victory in last year’s Brexit referendum, has often been compared to Donald Trump. Both of them are businessmen who found success as populist politicians seeking to reassert the national independence of their respective countries. British free market economist Matt Ridley carefully draws some important distinctions between Brexit in the UK and what he calls the “Trumpit” movement in the United States.

“While it is true that both revolutions saw the intellectual and financial elites given a bloody nose by the forgotten provinces, nonetheless Brexit and Trumpit have crucial differences,” Ridley contends. “The biggest difference is with respect to trade. There is nothing protectionist about the case for Brexit. To the extent that there are differences between remainers [those who want Britain to stay in the European Union] and leavers about trade, they are about whether we can achieve tariff-free trade with Europe, not about whether we want it.”

Unlike the protectionist movement centered in Trump, Brexit is an outgrowth of a British free trade tradition that began in the 18th century, and is “a revolt against remaining a member of a customs union protected by a high external tariff,” insists Ridley.

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trumpit”
Resisting Arrest is now a “Hate Crime” in Louisiana“Hate-Crime”-in-Louisiana Citizens who resist arrest in Louisiana can now be charged with a “hate crime” under that state’s Blue Lives Matter statute, which was signed into law last year. St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Herbertinsists that the measure is necessary in order to save the lives of officers and the citizens they detain, and expresses the hope that similar statutes will be enacted across the country.

The chief purpose of that law is not to punish a criminal offense, but to reengineer public perceptions by treating police officers as a specially protected class. Claims by prosecutors and police unions notwithstanding, a police officer does not have unqualified authority to carry out an arrest. Resisting unlawful arrest, or an arrest made with clearly unnecessary force, is a long-recognized common-law right.

In a ruling issued nearly a century ago, the Georgia Court of Appeals set aside the homicide conviction of a man named Julius Holmes who shot and killed a citizen who was trying to help police arrest him. Police had tried to arrest Holmes, a black man living in a deeply segregated state, for a misdemeanor offense. Holmes agreed to appear in court the following day, but refused to go to jail – and he fled with the officers attempted to arrest him, despite the absence of a warrant.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the arrest was illegal, and that the officers “were trespassers in a double sense – trespassing upon the sacred right of personal liberty, and trespassers upon the right of domicile. The defendant had a legal right to resist both trespasses, and to use in resistance as much force as necessary to make that resistance effective.”

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hate-Crime”-in-Louisiana
Uber-Rich Join the ranks of “Doomsday Preppers”“Doomsday-Preppers” In 1999, the FBI issued a report entitled Project Meggido warning local police departments about the supposed threat from what it called domestic extremists – and “doomsday preppers” were prominently mentioned among those whom the police should keep under scrutiny.

More than a decade and a half later, the financial elite have embraced the prepper ethic, according to The New Yorker magazine.

“Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture – the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard [sic] of beans, the religious doomsayer,” observes the publication. “But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.”

Antonio Garcia Martinez, a 40-year-old former Facebook product manager from San Francisco, exemplifies the recent recruits into the prepper movement. Alarmed by the social schism laid bare by last year’s presidential campaign, Martinez “bought five wooded acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest and brought in generators, solar panels, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.”

“When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos,” Martinez explained, going to on say – using words that would in another context attract the interest of the FBI – that “you’re going to need to form a local militia” in the event of a social breakdown.

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Doomsday-Preppers”
Hastert Demands His Victim Pay Back Damages Convicted felon and confessed child rapist Dennis Hastert, who served as Speaker of the House despite a past as a sexual predator, is demanding the return of $1.7 million he had paid one of his victims to remain silent. Hastert was convicted of illegal “money structuring” in order to conceal sexual abuse of teenage boys while he was a wrestling coach and high school teacher. One of his victims, known only as “Individual A,” eventually broke his silence, which led to the exposure of Hastert’s financial chicanery and his pre-political career as a pederast.

Through an attorney, Hastert has now filed a counter-suit against his victim, insisting that “To the extent any contract existed between [Individual A] and [Hastert], plaintiff breached that contract.” Complaining that the victim’s public disclosure inflicted “damages” on the powerful figure who had sexually assaulted him as a child, Hastert’s attorneys insist that the victim “is accordingly required to return $1.7 million” to Hastert.

It was precisely because Hastert’s efforts to bribe his victim into silence were illegal that they were kept secret – which prompted the investigation eventually leading to his imprisonment. His victim went to the FBI after the transactions had been discovered, not to the media. Hastert’s inventive claim would depend on the proposition that a victim of molestation has an enforceable legal duty to remain silent after the criminal misconduct of his abuser is discovered by the authorities.

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Commentator: Trump Will Re-militarize Police, Cut Oversight,-Cut-Oversight Donald Trump’s presidency will quickly “reverse some of the anti-cop sentiment which has gripped the nation during the Obama administration,” predicts Doug Wyllie, editor of PoliceOne. Although the Constitution gives the president no role whatsoever in matters of local and state law enforcement, Wyllie and others in the law enforcement community see Trump as an ally, and the sentiment is clearly mutual.

“One of the inaugural galas that Trump attended on the first evening of his presidency was the Commander-in-Chief Ball, which is typically only open to enlisted members of the military,” Wyllie recalls. “This year, however, the Trump team opened the event up to firefighters, EMTs, and police officers.”

In terms of substantive policy, Trump is expected to make two “very concrete changes … almost immediately,” Wyllie writes. The first is to end Justice Department “consent decrees” imposed on scandal-plagued municipal police departments. Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions has condemned consent decrees as “one of the most dangerous, and rarely discussed, exercises of raw power” by the Obama administration, which issued at least 16 of them.

Police unions are eagerly anticipating that Trump will reverse Obama’s Executive Order 13688, which placed modest restrictions on the transfer of military equipment from the Defense Department to local police agencies.

All of this underscores the fact that police unions and law enforcement associations do not object to the federalization of local police. They prefer to see this happen under the aegis of the Pentagon, rather than the State Department, thereby militarizing police without the strings of federal oversight.

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Cut-Oversight
Keep Children Off-Limits While President Trump is fair game for criticism, his 10-year-old son Barron is off-limits, decided the producers of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” program, who suspended writer Katie Rich after she posted a tweet predicting that he “will be this country’s first homeschool shooter.”

Rich “was suspended immediately after her tweet, and her suspension is indefinite,” reported the New York Times. Rich posted a notice apologizing for the tweet, which she described as “offensive” and “inexcusable.” Her name did not appear in the closing credits of the Saturday Night Live program that was broadcast on the following evening.

Andrea Billups, a former reporter for People magazine and the Washington Times who now teaches journalism at the University of Florida, points out that Barron Trump “did not run for office. He did not sign up for this, and he’s ten years old.” Among most media figures, Billups claims, there is a tacit understanding that “this child’s life and all the things about him need to stay off-limits.”

Barron Trump has become a preferred target for some of Mr. Trump’s most outspoken critics, a few of whom have suggested – on the basis of malicious speculation – that the child suffers from autism. This prompted former First Child Chelsea Clinton to issue a rebuke, insisting that “Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does – to be a kid.” Recognizing an appropriate boundary between partisan political criticism and respect for political non-combatants, Clinton insisted that “Standing up for every kid also means opposing [Trump] policies that hurt kids.”

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
What Does “De-Policing” Mean?“De-Policing”-Mean? To the ears of reasonable people, the expression “de-policing” would refer to the process of abolishing police departments – not the exercise of restraint by police officers in the use of lethal force. The latter would be described as “de-escalation,” an approach that was once taught to, and expected of, officials whose formal designation, after all, is “peace officers.”

De-escalation is incompatible with the militarized mindset of police who have undergone “Bulletproof Warrior” and “No More Hesitation” training that indoctrinates them to view the public they supposedly serve as an undifferentiated mass of menace.

Ken Casaday, President of the Austin Police Association, used the term “de-policing” to explain why officers who responded to a bar fight confiscated a firearm from one of the antagonists, rather than summarily executing him. The man returned later with two weapons and was fatally shot by officers.

Rather than lamenting what may have been the necessary use of deadly force to deal with a violent offender, Casady is distraught that the officers refrained from taking that action until it became necessary – and he blames critics of police misconduct for that initial reluctance.

“They could have used that force earlier, but they didn’t,” complained Casaday in an interview with local ABC affiliate KVUE. “Officers are feeling so much pressure from the scrutiny the media have put on them. They just are just not making the stops and taking the risks that they used to.”

The problem is not that police are less willing to take risks – or that their occupation has become more dangerous, a claim not borne out by available data. In personal terms, police have always been risk-aversive, placing officer safety above everything else. Because of increased accountability, they may be required to expose themselves to risk, rather than killing people needlessly in the expectation that their actions – however criminally irresponsible in the eyes of reasonable citizens – would be ratified under the “reasonable officer” standard.

Unlike some police union commissars, Casaday doesn’t even bother to pretend that he’s concerned that the public is placed at risk when police become inhibited in the use of deadly force. His concern, KVUE summarizes, is that “one day, the caution officers are exercising may end up costing one of them their lives.”

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“De-Policing”-Mean?
“Trumpcare” Strongly Resembles Obamacare“Trumpcare”-Strongly-Resembles-Obamacare Shortly before assuming the presidency, Donald Trump promised that his reform of Obamacare will provide “insurance for all” -- although it is doubtful he can fulfill his promise without a worse mandate than Obamacare and even higher costs. Trump’s broad promises will surely complicate Paul Ryan and Tom Price’s job of putting together a more affordable replacement. Neither has promised insurance for all, and Trump’s overly generous assurances sounded very much like his former rival Bernie Sanders, who claimed that “health care is a right.”

Analyst Joel Skousen, an ardent advocate of understanding true “rights” says, “Sorry, Bernie, but no mandates that require other people to serve your needs can be a fundamental right.”

Skousen also takes issue with Trump’s populist promises on this issue, saying “Trump’s latest ‘insurance for all’ claim goes beyond his previous misstep in saying he would still require insurance providers to cover pre-existing conditions.” Insurance companies have been reeling under this Obamacare requirement and the costs of covering “high-risk” people even with the previously uninsured people paying in to their funds. Skousen thinks the media claim that 18 to 20 million who can’t get insurance because of pre-existing conditions is grossly exaggerated, but like all government benefits, it will still be extremely difficult to take it away, he says, no matter how much it is costing taxpayers.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trumpcare”-Strongly-Resembles-Obamacare
Dangerous Vulnerabilities in Electric Grid Some were heartened that the Obama Administration, in its closing days, was finally moving forward to protect the national electrical grid from electromagnetic pulses from either solar flares or EMP---a nuclear weapon detonated in the upper atmosphere. However, as Michael Maloof of WorldNetDaily explains, the new improvements are only aimed at modest protections from solar flares and not the more powerful EMP pulses.

“The Obama administration, on the eve of its transfer of power, is about to impose new standards to protect the nation’s life-sustaining electric grid from solar storms,” writes Maloof. “However, the new standards by a Democrat-dominated regulatory board, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will address only solar activities. Pointedly, it will not protect the vulnerable national grid from a man-made, high altitude, nuclear detonation that could create an electromagnetic pulse.”

William R. Graham, who chaired the 2008 congressionally mandated EMP Commission, thinks the Obama administration’s EMP strategy was pushed through at the last minute to keep the new Trump Administration from making changes to it. From Graham’s well-informed perspective, the weak standards are “likely to have far-ranging, seriously counterproductive national security implications.”

Graham has reportedly raised his concerns with the appointees and transition-team heads in the incoming Trump Administration.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Ted Cruz Lambastes Senate Democrats on “Rule of Law” Hypocrisy“Rule-of-Law”-Hypocrisy During the confirmation hearings of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, many of his Democratic colleagues tried to elicit a commitment from him that he would not allow President Trump to bypass Congress and defy the rule of law. While this is certainly a worthy line of inquiry, Senate Democrats have a strangely situational devotion to the rule of law, a fact noted by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

In a detailed and unvarnished speech, Cruz took the grandstanding Senate Democrats task over their hypocrisy, describing a long list of occasions in the past several years in which those same Senators passively allowed Barack Obama to defy the rule of law.

Cruz organized his indictment into twelve specific instances when the Obama Administration thwarted laws including the supposed sting operation “Fast and Furious,” the illegal targeting of conservative citizens by the IRS, “Operation Chokepoint” where the DOJ pressured banks to cut off credit to unfavorables like gun manufacturers, and several instances when the late democratic administration ignored and broke immigration laws to allow more illegal aliens into society.

In his last example Cruz recalled: “When the Obama administration released 5 Guantanamo terrorist suspects without the required notification to Congress, the Democrats on this committee were silent, and that’s been the pattern for eight years.”

To be fair, Senate Democrats could compile a similar list of examples from the Bush administration of Republican colleagues enabling the unconstitutional actions of the president when their party was in power. Hypocrisy regarding the rule of law is a well-entrenched bipartisan tradition.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Rule-of-Law”-Hypocrisy
German Editor Who Exposed CIA Media Control Found Dead Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the former editor of Germany’s largest newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, was fired from his job after publishing a bestselling book exposing CIA control of European journalists. Ulfkotte was threatened when went to publish the book, but proceeded anyway. Now he is dead. Baxter Dmitry suspects the book that cost him his job might have also cost him his life.

“Ulfkotte said most corporate media journalists in the United States and Europe are `so-called non-official cover,’ meaning that they work for an intelligence agency,” Dmitry recalls. According to Ulfkotte, “I think it is especially the case with British journalists, because they have a much closer relationship. It is especially the case with Israeli journalists. Of course with French journalists. … It is the case for Australians, [with] journalists from New Zealand, from Taiwan, well, there [are]many countries,” he said.

Among the stories Ulfkotte says he was ordered by the CIA to plant in his newspaper was a fake story that Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi was building poison gas factories in 2011.

His book is so controversial that the German media has been banned from reporting on it. Although he knew his life was at risk, Ulfkotte said that he considered himself better able to withstand the controversy than other journalists. “I don’t mind. You see, I don’t have children to take care of,” he remarked on one occasion.

His death was reported as a “heart failure” even though Ulfkotte was just 56 years old.

Former CIA director William Colby also died under suspicious circumstances after saying that “there wasn’t a major journalist that the CIA didn’t own.” Colby drowned in a surprising canoeing “accident.”

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Carries on Obama’s Drone-Bombing Legacy’s-Drone-Bombing-Legacy During the hours immediately after his inauguration, Donald Trump signed a number of executive orders. On the following day, he paid a brief visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where he made perfunctory remarks expressing support for the agency, and then spent several minutes complaining about press coverage of his Inaugural. On the second day of his administration, drone strikes were carried out in Yemen that killed three people described as “alleged al-Qaeda operatives” – a term used to describe practically anybody on the receiving end of a drone-fired missile.

If Trump had so desired, he could have called a halt to Obama’s drone-bombing campaign to review its legality, moral suitability, and effectiveness. He obviously had other priorities during the first days in office.

The military campaign in Yemen has no plausible connection to defending the United States. It is actually intended to bolster the Saudi regime, which has been carrying out a two-year military campaign against Shiite rebels who overthrew a Saudi-installed Sunni puppet ruler. The chaos and disruption created by that civil war has been a boon to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has seized territory in the southern and eastern parts of the country as the Saudi-led coalition carries out deadly airstrikes elsewhere.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Drone-Bombing-Legacy
Trump Administration Promises to Empower Police Within hours of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the White House website posted a policy statement denouncing what it calls the “dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America” and promising to “end” it.

“Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement, and more effective policing,” insisted the policy statement.

Civil libertarian commentator Radley Balko points out that “You don’t end an `atmosphere’ without some pretty drastic action. It sounds quite like a promise to crack down on speech and protest. Ominous as that sounds … absent some wanton, unheard of abuse of power like federalizing the National Guard to subdue the next round of protests against police abuse, there isn’t a whole lot Trump can do directly, at least not in the short term.”

Trump’s inaugural address described a surge in violent crime as a symptom of what he called “American carnage.” However, the overall crime rate in 2016 was roughly the same as it had been in 2012. Balko also makes the arresting observation that “of the 11 states with the highest violent crime rates, eight are Republican-led … most with the kind of pro-police, pro-law-and-order policies Trump supports.”

Also significant is the fact that while Gallup polls consistently show that Americans think crime is getting worse, the overwhelming majority respond that they believe their own neighborhoods are safe, and they are not fearful of walking alone in them at night.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Fatally Shoot Pennsylvania Man Defending His Family Christopher Mark Thompkins, a 57-year-old Larimer, Pennsylvania resident, was fatally shot by police officers after he fired several shots to chase off a burglar. The intruder, 23-year-old Juan Clark, was arrested and charged with trespassing. The officers who killed Thompkins have been placed on paid vacation while an internal review is conducted.

Brenda Richmond, Thompkins’s ex-wife who has reconciled with him, was startled awake shortly before 4:00 a.m. on Sunday by Clark’s presence in the couple’s bedroom. Concerned for the safety of his 78-year-old mother, an invalid because of a stroke, Thompkins asked Richmond for her handgun and pursued Clark out of their home, firing shots down a staircase. The two officers, who had been summoned by a silent burglar alarm, fired at Thompkins, fatally wounding him.

“I could see Mark shoot down the stairs at the guy,” recalled Richmond to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, using the victim’s middle name. “The cops came, and they shot through the door. Mark was shooting at the robber, not at the cops.”

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Gawker Lawsuit Team Targets TechDirt News Site The digital news platform TechDirt has been sued by an obscure figure named Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims – without foundation -- to have invented email in 1978. While Ayyadurai did play a minor role in refining the technology, which had already existed in some form for several years, his proprietary claim has been widely discredited by researchers and specialists and has been described as “quite shocking” by a panel of prominent academics.

By making a testable claim and publicizing himself as “The Inventor of Email” – which is the title of his website – Ayyadurai has made himself a public figure, which means that his libel claim will be dismissed unless he can prove that TechDirt has trafficked in conscious, malicious representation of documented facts. Although his suit is devoid of merit, it may prove ruinous for TechDirt and its founder, Mike Masnick, because of the involvement of an entrepreneurial litigation fund established by billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel, whose vendetta against the gossip site Gawker led him to fund celebrity wrestler Hulk Hogan’s defamation suit against the publication. The result was a $140 million jury verdict in Florida that drove Gawker into bankruptcy. Ayyadurai is being represented by Charles Harder, the same attorney who targeted Gawker.

As TechDirt has advised its readers, “Defamation claims like this can force independent media companies to capitulate and shut down due to mounting legal costs.”

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Utah Government Conceals Details of Amazon Tax Deal The Utah State Tax Commission is refusing to comply with provisions of the Government Records Access Management Act that require it to disclose the details of its deal with Amazon to collect taxes on sales made in that state. This has prompted an open records lawsuit by the Libertas Institute.

“Taxpayers have a right to know what terms their government agreed to in order to have Amazon collect a tax that they are not legally required to,” explained Libertas president Connor Boyack. “This agreement should be public for all to see.”

The deal with Amazon followed “failed attempts to deputize out-of-state companies as tax collectors for the state,” and enticed the company to play that role by “voluntarily” collecting the tax and “keep a piece of the pie themselves,” Boyack observes.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Hundreds of Drug Cases Dropped Because of Crime Lab Misconduct The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ordered prosecutors to drop “a large portion” of tens of thousands of drug prosecutions owing to the misconduct of former state drug lab chemist Annie Dookhan – a scandal that has been festering in the state’s criminal justice system for five years.

Rather than dismissing all of the cases outright, the Court instructed district attorneys to “exercise their prosecutorial discretion and reduce the number of relevant Dookhan defendants by moving to dismiss with prejudice all drug cases the district attorneys would not or could not reprosecute if a new trial were ordered.”

The cases affected by that ruling include some in which defendants were convicted, entered guilty pleas, or made “Alford pleas” in which they were given a deal contingent on an admission that the state had sufficient evidence to win a conviction, points out the Boston Globe.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump’s Treasury Secretary Pick Calls for Expanding the IRS’s-Treasury-Secretary-Pick-Calls-for-Expanding-the-IRS Former Goldman Sachs and Soros employee Steve Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of the Treasury, said in his Senate confirmation hearing that he would like to see the IRS expanded.

“The IRS headcount has gone down quite dramatically, almost 30 percent over the last number of years,” observed Mnuchin, referring to a development sound-thinking Americans would applaud, rather than lamenting. “I don’t think there is any other government agency that has gone down 30 percent – especially for an agency that collects revenues. This is something that I’m concerned about.”

Mnuchin also suggested that the IRS should undergo “structural and technological improvements,” reported the Daily Caller.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Treasury-Secretary-Pick-Calls-for-Expanding-the-IRS
Trump Transportation Secretary to Collect Paycheck from Wells Fargo If confirmed as the Trump administration’s secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao will receive a “golden parachute” of between $1 million and $5 million, reports The Intercept.

Chao, a board member of Wells Fargo since 2011, “has collected deferred stock options – a compensation perk generally designed as a long-term retention strategy – that she would not be able to cash out if she left the firm to work for a competitor,” continues the report. “Her financial disclosure notes that she will receive a `cash payout for my deferred stock compensation’ upon confirmation as secretary of transportation. The document discloses that the payments will continue through her time in government, if she is confirmed.”

The yearly payouts would commence in July of this year, and continue through 2021.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
States Refuse to Disclose Asset Forfeiture Details Reason magazine reports that “Asset forfeiture programs in the majority of states across the country suffer from a lack of transparence and accountability, leaving the public in the dark about how much property police seize from citizens, and where those proceeds go.”

Unlike criminal forfeiture, seizures made through civil asset forfeiture do not require a criminal conviction – or even formal criminal charges. A law enforcement agency confiscates money or other valuable property and then files suit against the property itself, and the victims of this institutionalized plunder are compelled to prove that the property was innocently acquired. This is done through a civil process in which the state does not have to establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the prohibitive legal costs involved generally deter victims from seeking to recover their stolen property.

Through the equitable sharing program, forfeiture booty is placed into federal custody, which provides another impediment to recovery. After the process is completed, the Feds kick back more than ninety percent of what their state and local accomplices have looted.

Citing a new report from the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, Reason notes that “26 states have little to no transparency requirements surrounding asset forfeiture, and 14 of those states `do not appear to require any form of property tracking, leaving in doubt even such basic questions as what was seized and how much it was worth, who seized it, when it was seized, and why it was seized.”

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Tillerson Confirmation Complicated by Exxon’s State Department Record’s-State-Department-Record As CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson “frequently pressed the US State Department for help in negotiating complex business deals and overcoming foreign opposition to its drilling projects,” reports The Intercept. Citing diplomatic cables obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, and some previously made available through WikiLeaks, the journal contends that the requests made by Tillerson “raise a whole new series of conflict-of-interest concerns” as the Senate reviews his nomination to serve as Secretary of State under Donald Trump.

Significantly, Tillerson’s company found a very effective advocate in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, under whose stewardship the department “started its own in-house energy promotion department, the Bureau of Energy Resources.” That Bureau’s Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program “has in the past engaged with ExxonMobil for projects in Poland and Eastern Europe.”

The assistance sought by Exxon from the State Department included “a request to help overcome local opposition to fracking in Germany; in Indonesia, the State Department acted as an advocate for ExxonMobil during contentious negotiations between the firm and the Indonesian government over a major gas field in the South China Sea; and in Russia, ExxonMobil asked the US ambassador to press the Russians to approve a major drilling program, noting that `a warming of US-Russian relations’ overall would also help the company,” narrates The Intercept.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-State-Department-Record
Economist for the Elite Demands End of US Cash Economy Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told members of the global elite gathered at the annual World Economic Forum that the United States should abolish paper money and embrace a purely digital currency. The rationale for this radical initiative would be the need to combat corruption and impose transparency on financial transactions.

“The lack of transparency in global financial markets, the secrecy havens that the Panama Papers exposed, just reinforced what we already knew,” Stiglitz said to an audience of people who make extensive use of such secrecy havens. “There is a global framework for both corruption and tax evasion and tax avoidance,” he continued.

“The fact that you can hide ill-gotten gains so easily in these secrecy havens really provides incentives for people to engage in this activity as they can get the economic returns and then enjoy the benefits of those returns,” Stiglitz pontificated. “If there were not these secrecy havens then the benefits from engaging in these kinds of illicit activity would be much diminished.”

What Stiglitz and his fellow elites desire is not to make their own dealings transparent to the public, but to expose the public at large to unstinting scrutiny and regulation. To that end, he summarized, “I believe very strongly that countries like the United States could and should move to a digital currency,” despite important issues of “privacy” and “cyber-security.”

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Canadian Surveillance Law Abolishes Medical Privacy C-51, a proposed law currently being debated by the Canadian Parliament, poses an acute threat to the privacy of Canadian citizens – especially where matters of personal health care are concerned. Nominally a counter-terrorism measure, C-51 would vastly expand the already energetic data collection efforts being carried out by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

“This past November, Federal Courts in Canada concluded that CSIS has been accessing the metadata of Canadian citizens for more than ten years, illegally,”observes the Irish Tech News. This is done through a program called the Operational Data Analysis Centre (ODAC), which collects and retains that information in secret, much like the NSA has done for decades. Not even that country’s courts were notified of the ongoing data collection until late last year. As the Canadian federal court summarized, “The program is capable of drawing links between various sources and enormous amounts of data that no human being would be capable of.”

More alarming still is the fact that the CSIS – like its Big Brother in the US, the NSA – “collected data on people who weren’t even under investigation. This is `associated data’ on third parties who aren’t even deemed to be threats to security, and for whom there were no warrants to surveil.” All of the data collected by CSIS are retained, whether or not they involve actual suspects. Despite perfunctory expressions of concern and outrage issued by various Canadian legislators and leftist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, C-51 would further extend the powers of CSIS, effectively rewarding it for decades of criminal misconduct.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Notorious Mercenary acting as Unofficial Trump Adviser For conservatives who seek to beat back the metastasizing federal bureaucracy, Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education is among his most encouraging appointments. However, she may be part of a very troubling package deal. DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of the notorious, scandal-plagued mercenary firm once called Blackwater International.

Prince is advising the Trump transition team “on matters related to intelligence and defense, including weighing in on candidates for the defense and state departments,” reports The Intercept, citing “a former senior US official who has advised the Trump transition.”

Last July, Prince told Steve Bannon, who will be a senior presidential adviser, “that the Trump administration should recreate a version of the Phoenix Program, the CIA assassination ring that operated during the Vietnam War, to fight ISIS,” recalls Jeremy Scahill, author of the definitive book on Blackwater and its record in Iraq. “Such a program, Prince said, could kill or capture `the funders of Islamic terror and that would even be the wealthy radical Islamist billionaires funding it from the Middle East, and any of the other illicit activities they’re in.”

During the Iraq war, whistleblowers within Blackwater disclosed how “Prince encouraged an environment in which Iraqis were killed for sport,” writes Scahill. Lawsuits and related investigations prompted Prince to sell Blackwater and open a Hong Kong-based mercenary firm called Frontier Services Group that now works on contract with the Communist government in Beijing.

“The Trump presidency could result in Prince working for both Beijing and the White House,” Scahill predicts.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Hollywood Addicted to Beijing’s Bucks’s-Bucks Hollywood was besotted with Barack Obama, and is openly antagonistic toward Donald Trump. It is also becoming increasingly dependent on investment capital from China – which may dry up quickly if the Trump administration acts on the President-elect’s frequent threats to pursue economic brinksmanship with Beijing.

“Chinese companies poured record amounts of capital into Hollywood in 2016 – a trend eagerly embraced by the US film industry,” observes the Hollywood Reporter. Dali Wanda Group purchased Legendary Entertainment – whose recent films include Christopher Nolan’s Batman series – and also bought Dick Clark Productions. Its rival, Jack Ma’s Alibaba conglomerate, “made a major investment in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment,” and a third Chinese company, Perfect World Pictures, “put $500 million into 50 films from Universal.”

Three years ago, Spielberg and fellow legendary director George Lucas warned that Hollywood was on the brink of a crisis owing to a developing entertainment glut and over-production of hugely expensive blockbuster films. Tinseltown’s wildly improvident spending habits have made it dependent on Chinese cash – which has produced its own set of complications.

Suspicious that some quasi-private companies are using overseas investment in Hollywood to disguise capital flight, the Communist government in Beijing is imposing tighter regulatory controls on such transactions. Trump’s appointment of Peter Navarro, whose published works include a book entitled Death by China, to head the White House National Trade Council prompted Beijing to warn of a potential “showdown with the U.S.” – a conflict in which Hollywood might become collateral damage.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Bucks
“Trumponomics” Taking Over Conservative Movement?“Trumponomics”-Taking-Over-Conservative-Movement? Decades ago, free market advocate Leonard Read composed a brief parable entitled “I, Pencil,” that described how that common, unglamorous writing instrument was tangible proof of the benefits of free trade. The spontaneous, profit-driven cooperation of people from many countries was necessary in order to create a common pencil. This was made possible, Read explained, by “the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring [the pencil] into being. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work.”

As Donald Trump prepares to become the 45th U.S. President, many conservatives, and even some professed libertarians, are abandoning their previous devotion to the free market and embracing the idea of Trump as an economic nationalist “master mind,” who will punish American-owned businesses if they relocate production abroad.

“Making products in the US isn’t inherently bad or good,” points out economic analyst John Sulzer. Those decisions are best made by the owners of the companies involved, who will decide whether outsourcing is economically wise. Some companies, such as Channellock, have sustained their domestic manufacturing for a century because their well-established reputation for quality earns the loyalty of consumers willing to pay higher prices.

“If Ford, Chrysler, Carrier, and other companies decide to stay in America because of expected deregulation and lower taxation, that’s good,” concludes Sulzer. “If they do so because of expected protectionism, that’s bad.”

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trumponomics”-Taking-Over-Conservative-Movement?
Trump Team Shuns Davos Elitist Gathering Bloomberg reports that the Trump transition team had made a conscious decision not to dispatch a representative to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A senior official told Bloomberg that “the president-elect thought it would betray his populist-fueled movement to have a presence at the gathering in the Swiss Alps. The group of billionaires and political leaders represents the power structure that fueled the populist anger that helped Trump win the presidential election, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss the matter.”

There was a brief meeting between Trump’s staff and World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab in December.

Leftist commentator Naomi Klein has expressed the view that Trump’s upset victory in November was a backlash against what she characterized as “The Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cozy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous.”

Previewing this week’s elitist assembly in Switzerland, Reuters observed that the 3,000 business, political and academic leaders meeting in the Swiss Alps “find themselves increasingly out of step with many voters and populist leaders around the world who distrust elites. And this time the increasingly angry world is closely watching.”

Understandably alarmed over the rising global tide of political populism, several prominent participants in this year’s Davos event have condemned populism as a threat to world peace.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump: “One China” Policy may be Renegotiated“One-China”-Policy-may-be-Renegotiated Beijing has been adamant about preserving the existing “One China” policy, in which the Communist government on the mainland is treated as the sole legitimate representative of both that country and the inhabitants of Taiwan. Donald Trump, however, has gone out of his way to say that the Kissinger-negotiated policy is subject to renegotiation.

Trump’s phone conversation with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in December prompted Beijing to file a formal complaint, and reportedly prompted the Communist government to seize an unmanned underwater vehicle in the South China Sea. Several prominent Chinese government spokesmen have said that preserving the One China policy is non-negotiable. Trump, however, considers himself the negotiator nonpareil, and maintains that he can persuade Beijing to be more flexible.

Defending his phone call with President Tsai, Mr. Trump pointed out that the U.S. “sold them $2 billion of military equipment last year. We can sell them $2 billion of the latest and greatest military equipment but we’re not allowed to accept a phone call. First of all it would have been very rude not to accept the phone call."

Reverting to a prominent campaign theme, Trump repeated his accusation that China is engaging in unfair trade practices by artificially devaluing its currency.

“Our companies can’t compete with them now because our currency is strong and it’s killing us,” he complained.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“One-China”-Policy-may-be-Renegotiated
Ryan: Mass Deportations “Not Happening”“Not-Happening” Whether or not Donald Trump intends to keep his promise to deport millions of immigrants illegally residing in the United States, House Speaker Paul Ryan has said definitively that this policy objective would not have his support.

According to CBS News, Ryan and other Congressional Republicans who have huddled with the Trump transition team working on the issue of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalspolicy are seek some solution that would allow immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids to remain in the country.

“Hundreds of thousands of these immigrants gained temporary protections and work permits from President Obama,” CBS points out. “While campaigning for president, Donald Trump promised to undo those protections, putting the immigrants at risk of deportation, although he said last month he hoped to `work something out’ to help them. “

When asked about the matter by a woman identifying herself as a DACA recipient during a CNN town hall, Ryan replied that “What we have to do is find a way to make sure that you can get right with the law, and we’ve got to do this in a good way so that the rug doesn’t get pulled out from under you and your family gets separated.”

Pressed by CNN anchor Jake Tapper about Trump’s plan for a “deportation force” to remove an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, Ryan responded, “I’m here to tell you in Congress, it’s not happening.”

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Not-Happening”
Food Stamps and Obesity Drinks Citing statistics from the Agricultural Department’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- more commonly referred to as food stamps – the New York Times reported that soda and other junk foods are high on the list of purchases made by poor households receiving the subsidy.

“For years, dozens of cities, states and medical groups have urged changes to SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to help improve nutrition among the 43 million poorest Americans who receive food stamps,” relates the Times. “Specifically, they have called for restrictions so that food stamps cannot be used to buy junk food or sugary soft drinks. But the food and beverage industries have spent millions opposing such measures, and the U.S.D.A. has denied every request, saying that selectively banning certain foods would be unfair to food stamp users and create too much red tape.”

Social engineers want to fine-tune the redistribution program in order to subsidize healthier choices. Of course, the US Constitution does not authorize federal subsidies of this kind to support sugar addicts or people who follow exemplary diets.

One interesting side note is the fact that the original version of the Times story overstated the findings of the USDA report. The Times initially claimed that food stamp recipients spend nearly ten percent of their grocery bills on soda. The USDA report says that the actual figure is 5.4 percent. In comparison, households that are not enrolled in the SNAP program spend an estimated four percent of their grocery shopping budget on soft drinks.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Popular Privacy App Vulnerable to Snooping Facebook subscribers who confide in assurances from the social media platform that no one can intercept messages sent through its WhatsApp encryption feature have been seriously misled, warns the Guardian of London.

A security vulnerability that can be used to allow Facebook and others to intercept and read encrypted messages has been found within its WhatsApp messaging service,” the paper reports. “Facebook claims that no one can intercept WhatsApp messages, not even the company and its staff, ensuring privacy for its billion-plus users. But new research shows that the company could in fact read messages due to the way WhatsApp has implemented its end-to-end encryption protocol.”

WhatsApp has become a preferred communication tool for diplomats, activists, and political dissidents. Its encryption “relies on the generation of unique security keys, using the acclaimed Signal protocol,” which are traded and verified between users. However, it also has the ability to generate new encryption keys for offline users, which compels the sender to re-encrypt undelivered messages using the new decryption keys. This effectively permits WhatsApp to intercept and read the users’ messages. Cryptography expert Tobias Boelter of the University of California, Berkley points out that “If WhatsApp is asked by a government agency to disclose its messaging records, it can effectively grant access due to the change in keys.”

WhatsApp’s vulnerability has made it “a gold mine for security agencies” and “a huge threat for freedom of speech,” argues Professor Kirstie Ball, co-director and founder of the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance, and Privacy.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama’s Last-Minute Clemency Includes Pardon for Baseball Immortal Willie McCovey’s-Last-Minute-Clemency-Includes-Pardon-for-Baseball-Immortal-Willie-McCovey Shortly after announcing the commutation of former Army Private Bradley Manning’s 35-year prison term, Barack Obama quietly issued a pardon for 64 others– including Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.

Following a career in which he hit 521 home runs – tying for the number 20 spot on the all-time list with fellow Cooperstown titans Ted Williams and Frank Thomas – McCovey, like many other retired ballplayers, supplemented his income with sales of autographed memorabilia. Acting with the ruthless hostility toward honest commerce for which they are properly notorious, investigators with the IRS filed tax evasion charges against McCovey. In 1996, he and fellow Hall of Famer Duke Snider pleaded guilty before US District Judge Edward R. Korman in Brooklyn, and were sentenced to two years of probation. They were also hit with a $5,000 fine.

“It’s one of those things that [were] overlooked at the time and I do accept responsibility for it,” declared McCovey at his sentencing hearing. “The only thing I’d like to say is while I’ve always tried to do the right things, I have never willingly tried to cheat the government.”

While his earnestness is obvious and his civic-mindedness commendable, McCovey should not upbraid himself for neglecting to pay every cent demanded of him by government-licensed extortionists. Obama’s whimsical gesture now relieves the baseball immortal of a federal criminal conviction that should never have existed.

Obama did not extend similar leniency to other so-called tax cheats, such as actor Wesley Snipes or economist Irwin Schiff, the latter of whom died in prison but could have been the recipient of a posthumous pardon.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Last-Minute-Clemency-Includes-Pardon-for-Baseball-Immortal-Willie-McCovey
Actress Zoe Saldana: Liberals Should Learn from Trump Like nearly everybody else in her profession, film actress Zoe Saldana is a devoted and outspoken liberal. Unlike most of her peers, however, she does not see Donald Trump’s election as an harbinger of the apocalypse, and insists that the Hollywood-centered Left needs to learn from that part of the American population that supported Trump.

“We got cocky and became arrogant and we also became bullies,” reflects Saldana, whose film credits include the Star Trek, Avatar, and Guardians of the Galaxy series. “We were trying to single out a man for all the things he was doing wrong – and that created empathy in a big group of people in America that felt bad for him and that are believing in his promises.”

In contrast to many who share her political views, Saldana says she is learning from Trump’s victory “with a lot of humility. … I just say he’s now elected and we as a country need to support whoever’s the president because that’s what the country’s based on. However that happened, he’s there, and let’s go.”

In her most recent film, “Live by Night,” the Dominican-American actress plays the consort of a Cuban gangster during the Prohibition era – a time when many police officials and judges publicly touted their affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan. Once again distinguishing herself from the hyperventilating Hollywood Left, Saldana insists that “If we have people continue to be strong and educate ourselves and stand by equal rights and treat everyone with respect, we won’t go back to those times.”

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Right Mimics “Safe Space” Political Correctness“Safe-Space”-Political-Correctness It is a Newtonian principle of politics that every radical action generates an equally radical opposite reaction, and the ongoing plague of political correctness is no exception to this rule. A bill introduced by two Republican legislators in Arizona would ban any courses or events in state-funded colleges that promote the concept of “social justice” or identity politics.

State Representative Bob Thorpe, co-sponsor of the bill, told a Tucson newspaper that the measure was inspired by an Arizona State University class on “Whiteness and Race Theory.”

“If you … look at an individual whose ancestors, because of their race … are linked to people that did something 100 to 200 years ago, that person who’s living today has little or no association with what happened 200 years ago,” Thorpe contends. “So let’s not have a wedge issue and cause that person to be vilified when they absolutely had nothing to do with some event that happened in the past.”

The proposed bill would not only impose restrictions on classroom curricula, but also ban “events or activities” that, among other things, are seen as promoting “division” or the “overthrow” of the federal government. Reason magazine commentator Anthony L. Fisher warns the bill’s sponsors that this clause of the bill “would probably not be of great benefit to the free speech rights of Second Amendment die-hards who frequently argue that the right to bear arms was always meant as a bulwark against a tyrannical government.”

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Safe-Space”-Political-Correctness
The View from the Left-Most Fringe Hillary Clinton “is the rightful president-elect, and courts must use their broad discretionary powers with which they are vested to enjoin an illegitimate president from taking office,” pleaded Huffington Post contributor Alex Mohajer, a self-described “political writer and commentator” who has also built a career at the periphery of Hollywood. Giving voice to the fantasy-derived hopes of a small, embittered fringe, Mohajer is demanding that the federal court system intervene prior to the Inauguration by ordering a new election.

In urging unprecedented judicial intervention, Mohajer – who claims to have a juris doctor degree – doesn’t cite the text of the Constitution. Instead he contends that “federal courts are vested with broad discretionary powers” in shaping “equity decrees.”

“While true that a presidential election has never been overturned, cases like Donohue v. Board of Elections, which arose from the 1976 presidential election, have ruled that the authority exists to order a special election, even at the presidential level.” A federal ruling in the 1994 case Marks v. Stinson resulted in the removal of a sitting state senator after the winning candidate was implicated in voter fraud. Neither of those cases offers a precedent suitable for the arguments made by Mohajer and his comrades, as there is no evidence that Trump benefited from irregularities or foreign interference in the voting process itself – even if we were to accept the still-unproven assertion that the Russian government was behind the damaging email leaks from the DNC’s email servers.

Mohajer’s frenzied polemic urges Americas to “resist our tendency to force closure” – which is to say, he – like others of his persuasion – intends to nurture this grievance during Trump’s entire tenure in office.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Amid Economic Disintegration, Venezuela Unveils New Fiat Currency,-Venezuela-Unveils-New-Fiat-Currency The Marxist government of Venezuela began issuing new currency notes on January 16 to replace the 100-bolivar bill, which has been made worthless through hyperinflation. At the time it was phased out, the 100-bolivar note, formerly the highest denomination in circulation, was worth a little less than three cents on the country’s black market – which, as is always the case in a state-dominated society, is the only place a functioning economy exists.

“I never thought I’d have such a big bill in my hands,” exclaimed 35-year-old sales clerk Milena Molina, as she examined a small handful of newly minted 500-bolivar notes she had retrieved from an ATM. “But with the inflation we’re suffering, the notes we had weren’t worth anything and you always had to go around with huge packages of bills.”

The new soon-to-be-worthless official Venezuela government scrip is issued in denominations ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars, and at the time of issue the highest-denomination was worth roughly $5.60 on the black market. Most of the larger bills were not available on the first day, and one bank where the 500 bolivar notes were available exhausted its supply within a few hours. Elsewhere anxious Venezuelans queued up at ATMs in the hope of withdrawing sufficient currency to meet their needs during the brief interval in which they will retain their spending power.

With the country’s inflation rate expected to hit four digits this year, the government of socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro reportedly is preparing to order another batch of currency with at least one more zero.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Venezuela-Unveils-New-Fiat-Currency
Wisconsin Congressman Wants to Abolish the ATF The agency known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly called the ATF) was born as the Bureau of Prohibition – a brief experiment in federal behavior control that was made possible by the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution. When that amendment was repealed, the agency lost any claim to legal legitimacy – yet rather than being abolished, it was rechristened and given an even more expansive mandate.

Over the past 25 years, the ATF has been consistently mired in misconduct, often of a murderous nature. The April 1993 slaughter of the Branch Davidians in their sanctuary outside Waco, Texas began with an unnecessary ATF armed raid called “Operation Showtime” – which was staged to deflect attention from an internal corruption scandal. More recently the agency was involved in the “Operation Fast and Furious” imbroglio, in which it pressured federally licensed gun dealers to sell weapons to agents of Mexican cartels in a supposed sting operation.

No provision of the US Constitution authorizes any agency of the federal government to regulate alcohol, tobacco, or explosives, and the Second Amendment explicitly forecloses federal infringement of the right to own and carry firearms. This means that the ATF is literally a bastard agency carrying out an illegitimate mission. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has proposed a bill called the ATF Elimination Act that would impose an immediate hiring freeze at the agency and order its administrators to prepare a report on transferring its existing functions to the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other departments.

“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that has been branded by failure and lacks a clear mission,” declares Representative Sensenbrenner. Abolishing the ATF would be “a logical place to begin draining the swamp and acting in the best interest of the American Taxpayer,” he insists.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
BLM Landgrab in Southwest Oregon The Bureau of Land Management has announced that more than 100,000 acres of federally controlled lands in southwest Oregon will be withdrawn from development for at least 20 years. The affected acreage is found in Josephine and Curry counties.

According to the AP, the order, which was issued by the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, “withdraws these lands from settlement, sale, location, and entry” under federal statutes dealing with public lands and mining operations. The new restrictions, which purportedly protect watersheds from potentially adverse effects of commercial development, apply to mining claims and geothermal leases. Congress will use the 20-year-period to examine potential legislation that would make those restrictions permanent.

According to the BLM, the withdrawal “does not prohibit or restrict any other authorized uses on these lands, including “ongoing or future mining exploration or extraction operations on valid pre-existing mining claims.”

In defiance of constitutional restrictions on federal land ownership, the central government claims control over more than one-half of the land in the State of Oregon – including more than ninety percent of the acreage in the state’s south-east corner.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Embattled Idaho Legislator Evicted from Committees, Finds Allies,-Finds-Allies Idaho State Representative Heather Scott was removed from her committee assignments after making disparaging comments suggesting that female legislators could only obtain leadership positions in exchange for sexual favors. In a gesture of support for Scott, five other members of the state House of Representatives asked to be removed from their committee assignments.

The comments that prompted the punishment were made not in a public forum, but in a private conversation that was overheard by colleagues and then related to House Speaker Scott Bedke by state representative Christy Perry – who last year was exposed having an extra-marital affair with state senator Jim Guthrie.

“I’m deeply concerned about the integrity of this body and mixed messages being sent to the communities of Idaho,” protested State Representative Ron Nate, a Republican from Rexburg.

Representatives Scott and Nate are part of an informal grassroots caucus in the State Legislature that often finds itself at odds with the state’s dominant Republican establishment.

Scott has suggested that Bedke opportunistically sanctioned her as an act of retaliation. “It is probably no coincidence that the latest 'stir' from within the catacombs of 'leadership' comes on the heels of the recently published freedom web site to keep better tabs on legislation and legislators,” she declared shortly after being purged from her committee appointments.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Finds-Allies
Mexican Drug Lord “Ordered” To Pay Damages in 1984 Murder of DEA Agent“Ordered”-To-Pay-Damages-in-1984-Murder-of-DEA-Agent Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, the imprisoned co-founder of Mexico’s Guadalajara narcotics syndicate, has been ordered by a Mexican federal judge to pay $1 million in compensation to the families DEA agent Enrique Camarena and a Mexican official, who were kidnaped, tortured, and murdered in 1985. The order dictates that roughly $500,000 be paid to Camerena’s son, and an identical amount to the wife and five children of the Mexican pilot who was killed with him.

Fonseca, who is 86 and in poor health, is serving a 40-year sentence for his role in the murders, as is fellow crime boss Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo. Cartel co-founder Rafael Caro Quintero was also convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison, but was “mistakenly” set free in 2013, and is currently at large.

Former bodyguard Rene Lopez Romero, who was a key witness for the prosecution, testified that he saw “two Mexican Cabinet members and the governor of the state of Jalisco enter or leave two meetings” where the kidnapping and murder of Camarena was being planned, summarized a December 1992 Los Angeles Times account of the trial. He also testified that an employee of the US Consulate “pointed out the drug agent” to gunmen for the syndicate, who abducted him and took him away to be tortured and killed.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Ordered”-To-Pay-Damages-in-1984-Murder-of-DEA-Agent
Dutch Health Minister Endorses Eradication of Downs Syndrome People For decades, the government of The Netherlands has actively encouraged euthanasia for people suffering from incurable diseases, and from degenerative conditions associated with aging. It has now introduced a prenatal screening program that will be used to decide which developing children are genetically unfit to live.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing, or NIPT, can be used to detect a wide range of chromosomal and genetic variations through a blood test. That procedure is now available to all pregnant Dutch women. Following introduction of the NIPT protocol in Iceland, 100 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Downs syndrome were aborted; in Denmark, the corresponding figure was 98 percent.

During a recent hearing in parliament, members of the Dutch opposition party asked Minister of Health Edith Schippers “if she planned to take any measures to prevent the near elimination of babies with Downs syndrome, which has happened in other countries.”

“If freedom of choice results in a situation that nearly no children with Down syndrome are being born, society should accept that,” replied Schippers, reflecting the eugenicist assumption that the individual right to life is contingent on that life being valued by others. Renate Lindeman of Downpride points out that while the NIPT “can potentially detect hundreds of conditions,” it is being used in a targeted fashion by a “small group of experts” for whom elimination of people with Down syndrome is the “primary goal.”

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Biden no Bipartisan Role Model The spectacle of Barack Obama conferring the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Vice President Joe Biden moved NBC news personality Matt Lauer to tears. Lauer reportedly signed a contract extension under which he will be paid $20 million a year to recite potted liberal platitudes to a dwindling audience for a dying television network.

"I'm glad there were no cameras in my apartment yesterday because I was just sitting there weeping .... I just burst out crying when I saw that moment,” Lauer said on the “Today” program. NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell professed to be similarly moved by the scene, describing Obama and Biden as having a “bond like we’ve never seen before. At times, more like a White House buddy movie than a political partnership.”

In that “buddy movie,” Biden was the comic relief, an odd but avuncular figure who supposedly transcended partisan politics. However, as National Review recalls, Biden's career serves as a neat summary for much of the ruthlessness that Americans hate about our government, and he has managed to use his gaffe-prone nature to disguise his record of intense, bitterly partisan politicking.

“This trick was perhaps never more evident than in his egregious treatment of Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork - whom he successfully prevented from reaching the Court - and his similar but failed effort to prevent Clarence Thomas's confirmation,” continues the publication, referring to the Delaware Democrat’s long term as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Biden treated these two men disgracefully and in doing so played a crucial role in distorting our judicial-confirmation process so severely that it will likely never recover. “

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Saturation Coverage of Bogus “Hacked Election” Story“Hacked-Election”-Story No tangible evidence has ever been presented that the Russian government was behind the computer hack that led to an avalanche of damaging email disclosures about the Clinton presidential campaign. Nonetheless, millions of Americans believe that Clinton’s loss is the direct result of unproven, and unspecified, Russian meddling in the election. This reflects the still-formidable ability of the legacy media to define the public narrative.

The same declassified intelligence report accusing the Russians of infiltrating the DNC’s email server explicitly ruled out actual Russian sabotage of the election, stating that “the types of systems Russian actors [purportedly] targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.” This statement has been ignored by those responsible for propagating the “hacked election” meme.

From December 8 to January 8, analysts at the Media Research Center have documented, reporters and correspondents for ABC, CBS and NBC repeated some variant on the loaded phrase “Russian hacking” at least 49 times in their morning and evening broadcasts. Significantly, mainline media coverage has blurred the distinction between a cyber-attack on the actual voting process – which did not happen, and could not happen in the decentralized US system – and the alleged Russian hack of the DNC email servers – which has never been proven. Those two claims were amalgamated into a single seamless accusation that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened directly in the election to install Donald Trump – a claim which has since been invoked by dozens of Democratic congressmen who have announced they are boycotting the Inauguration.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hacked-Election”-Story
Bernie Sanders Rebuked for Opposing Gender Revolution Bernie Sanders is an unabashed socialist, but apparently isn’t a gender revolutionary. During a CNN town hall meeting, correspondent Andrew Cuomo asked the former Democratic presidential contender what he would say to American voters who see that party as “more concerned with what bathroom people go into [than] how they earn a living?”

An ironic smile playing on his features, Sanders replied, “Very fair question.”

That response triggered Graham Vyse of The New Republic magazine, who ranted that “it wasn’t a fair question. It was based on a pernicious premise that the senator should have challenged.”

“Ensuring transgender Americans can use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identities isn’t some tertiary issue,” continue dVyse. “It’s a vital anti-discrimination measure. And, for transgender Americans in the workplace, it’s very much about being treated equally as they earn a living.”

Upbraiding Sanders for displaying inadequate understanding of his revolutionary duty, Vyse protested that during the town hall event, Sanders didn’t “mention bathrooms – or transgender Americans – even once. And he wonders why critics say he only cares about economic issues.”

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Cubans Claim Obama Migration Policy Change “Revenge” for Trump’s Win“Revenge”-for-Trump’s-Win The Obama administration’s decision to end the longstanding policy granting automatic residency to Cuban refugees was met with gratitude from the island’s Communist government, concern from the Cuban population, and outrage from many Cuban-Americans.

"Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian relief will be subject to removal,” declared Obama in announcing the new policy, under which the US will treat “Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries.”

Barack Obama’s announcement that Washington is ending the so-called “wet foot/dry foot” rule for Cuban migration – under which any Cuban who sets foot on US soil is granted refugee status – has left many fleeing Cubans “in limbo,” protested Cuban resident Leonardo Serrano. “They won’t be able to get there, and when they return they won’t have anything” because they have “sold houses [and] renounced everything” before setting out for the United States.

Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s top diplomat for US affairs, applauded Obama’s policy change, saying that the previous refugee posture “was creating serious problems for the security of Cuba, [and] for the security of the United States,” a matter for which the regime in Havana had not previously expressed concern. Many Cuban-Americans suspect that the change was motivated by a desire for political revenge, rather than a move toward normalization of relations with Cuba. Jose Enrique Manresa, a 47-year-old Cuban now stranded in Mexico as a result of the change in immigration policy on Thursday, suggested that the outgoing president's decision is aimed at punishing Cuban-Americans for supporting Trump.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Revenge”-for-Trump’s-Win
Title IX Jihadists Target Trump Nominee Militant feminists and other Title IX extremists are among the most strident critics of Betsy DeVos, who was nominated to become the Trump administration’s Secretary of Education, reports Reason magazine. Title IX is a federal statute enacted in 1972 that forbids sex-based discrimination at any educational institution receiving federal funding.

Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey, who is a member of the committee that will vote on Mrs. DeVos’s nomination, insists that she must give a detailed accounting for what he considers the unacceptable view “that it should be more difficult for campus sexual assault victims to receive justice” – a predictably dishonest representation of her views on the question.

In recent years, Title IX enforcement offices at colleges and universities have waged an unremitting war against due process rights for male students accused of sexual assault and similar misconduct. Prevailing feminist dogma treats all men as incipient rapists, and accusations by female students are taken as self-validating. Recognizing the innocence of the accused until his guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt is denounced as “blaming the victim.”

Since Mrs. DeVos has not spoken in detail about her opinions regarding Title IX, her critics are imputing views to her on the basis of the fact that she is a donor to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has been critical of campus feminism. Lisa Maatz of the American Association of University Women complains that Mrs. DeVos’s donations are “a red flag.”

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
To Fight Crime, Make Police Locally Accountable,-Make-Police-Locally-Accountable Federal control over local law enforcement is both practically unwise and constitutionally impermissible, and is opposed by many police unions and their supporters among law and order conservatives. That opposition, however, is not consistent. Police unions have complained that the Obama administration has hindered police by conducting Justice Department investigations into alleged local police abuse and corruption. But they have also condemned Obama for taking small steps to end federally subsidized transfers of Pentagon war-fighting equipment to local police agencies.

As one prominent exponent of the Support Your Local Police perspective summarized, they don’t oppose federal law enforcement subsidies; they object to the strings that come with them. In the wake of the Justice Department’s newly released report on police corruption in Chicago, many conservatives claim that federal scrutiny and public criticism have contributed to that city’s irrepressible violent crime epidemic. Commentator Radley Balko of the Washington Post suggests that one potential explanation for the crime surge is that “police practices have eroded residents’ respect for the police, the courts and the rule of law.”

“Whether it’s Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson and St. Louis County, or now Chicago, we’ve consistently seen that the cities in which violent crime remains aberrantly high are also served by police departments with long histories of institutional abuse, bigotry and/or corruption, and where transparency and real accountability are close to nonexistent,” Balko elaborates. “There are of course countless variables that contribute to a city’s crime rate. This isn’t the only one. But it’s one that’s chronically overlooked.”

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Make-Police-Locally-Accountable
Trump Would Replace Obamacare with … Trumpcare?…-Trumpcare? Following initial moves by the Republican-led Congress to repeal Obamacare, Donald Trump has announced his plan to replace that program with an initiative that would strongly resemble it – and might even impose even more onerous federal burdens on the health care system.

In a telephone interview with the Washington Post, Mr. Trump said that “he is nearing completion of a plan to replace President Obama’s signature health-care law with the goal of `insurance for everybody,’ while also vowing to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid.”

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” insisted Trump. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

As is his habit, Trump declined to flesh out his grandiose promises with mundane specifics. What he is describing appears to be something very similar to a government-mandated single-payer arrangement, which would involve even more radical government intervention that Obamacare imposed.

Referring to pharmaceutical companies, Trump said that “They’re politically protected, but not anymore.” Despite his reputation for business acumen, Mr. Trump continues to exhibit very little understanding of how the pricing mechanism works – or how government-dictated price controls result in shortages.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700…-Trumpcare?
California Governor Brown Seeks Huge Tax Increase to Save Employee Pensions Just as Chicago residents face steep tax increases this year in order to pay the cost of government employee pensions, Californians – who already are among the most over-taxed residents of the U.S. – will probably confront breathtaking new demands from the state’s revenue collectors this year, and for the same reason.

On January 9, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state’s General Fund Budget suffers a $1.6 billion deficit – despite increases in tax collection by more than fifty percent over the past nine years. To make up the shortfall, Brown is expected to propose a 42 percent increase in gasoline taxes – and an increase of 141 percent in vehicle registration fees.

This would be a severely regressive tax increase, meaning it would result in disproportionate hardship for low-income California residents. Much of it would be devoted to maintaining the exceptionally lucrative pensions enjoyed by government employees. The governor’s proposed 2017-2018 state budget includes a $524 million increase for the California Public Employee Retirement System, which would be an eleven percent increase over the $5.3 billion spent for that purpose in 2017.

California has a personal tax rate of 13.3 percent – the highest in the nation – and the sixth highest corporate tax rate, which is nearly nine percent. Predictably, the tax and regulatory burden have combined to make the state a net exporter in terms of both personal and business migration.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Lonely Stand of an academic “Hate Criminal”“Hate-Criminal” Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto became the focus of an international hate campaign because he insists on using clear, proper, respectful English when addressing students and fellow faculty. Because the psychology professor refuses to accommodate the demands of gender revolutionaries, he has been arraigned as a hate criminal by the pronoun police.

“The 54-year-old has been at the center of a debate about gender and free speech ever since he posted videos to YouTube last fall in which he said he would not use the preferred, gender-neutral pronouns of some students and faculty,” reports the Toronto Star, which goes on to explain that what is happening is not a debate, but rather a politically correct inquisition. “The videos drew fire from trans activists, faculty, and student and labor unions. Critics accused Peterson of helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive. Protests, sometimes violent, broke out on campus, and the controversy attracted international media coverage.”

Peterson went public with this resolution because of Bill C-16, a proposed amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “gender expression,” and a corresponding “human resources” initiative at the University of Toronto. Dr. Peterson insists that these measures imperil freedom of speech – and the demands that he be censured and suppressed eloquently validate his warnings.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hate-Criminal”
San Diego Ditches NFL Team, Saves Tax Victims,-Saves-Tax-Victims As it was in the days of decadent late-imperial Rome, contemporary professional sports are a government-subsidized enterprise. Corporate socialism at the municipal and state level is commonplace as owners of sports franchises demand taxpayer support for building and maintaining sports stadiums – often using the threat of moving a beloved team to a different city if those demands aren’t met.

When Dean Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers NFL team, issued that threat, tax victims living in that city didn’t blink. As a result, the Chargers are relocating to Los Angeles. They will play at least their first two seasons in a stadium built for that city’s Major League Soccer team.

Given the over-saturated sports market in that city, and the dismal record recently compiled by the Chargers, it is possible that the team might fold or relocate again before getting a stadium of their own. As nationally syndicated radio sports commentator Jim Rome observes, “L.A. doesn’t want the Chargers in L.A. The Rams don’t want the Chargers in L.A. The NFL doesn’t want the Chargers in L.A. And the Chargers really don’t want the Chargers here in L.A.”

Spanos had demanded the construction of a new, $1.2 billion stadium, with the NFL donating roughly one-quarter of that cost. Another $250-300 million was expected to come from corporate naming rights deal. This would have left nearly half of the estimated cost to be paid by the city – which is to say, by those who would be taxed through the city government.

“At the end of the day, the Chargers wanted a lot more taxpayer money than we could have ever agreed to," summarized San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "We could not support a deal that is not in the best interests of San Diego."

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Saves-Tax-Victims
Armed Citizen Rescues Ambushed Arizona State Trooper Many proponents of civilian disarmament insist that only military personnel and law enforcement officers should be permitted to carry firearms. Leaving aside the fact that disarming innocent people leaves them vulnerable to private criminals and abusive state employees, there are times when an armed private citizen will come to the rescue of a law enforcement officer under fire.

NBC News reports that “An armed passing motorist was credited with saving the life of an Arizona state trooper by shooting and killing a gunman who ambushed the trooper in the middle of a lonely interstate highway before dawn” on January 12. The 27-year-veteran trooper was hospitalized with gunshot wounds in his chest and right shoulder after responding to a shots-fired call when he encountered a rollover accident. As he began to lay down emergency flares, the trooper was shot twice and then attacked by an unknown assailant.

A passing motorist who witnessed the attack stopped, drew his personal firearm, and ordered the assailant to stop – and then fatally shot him when he refused.

"I would just say at this point, thank you, because I don't know that my trooper would be alive today without his assistance," Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said after he met with the seriously injured trooper at the hospital. The rescuer was identified as a man traveling to California in the company of his wife.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Law Enforcement Now Has Immense, Exploitable Database of Intercepted Communications,-Exploitable-Database-of-Intercepted-Communications Barack Obama has used the closing days of his presidency to expand the powers of the executive branch that his successor will inherit – including the use of covertly intercepted communications by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, notes the New York Times. The Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government's 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

“The new rules allow employees doing intelligence work for those agencies to sift through raw data collected under a broad, Reagan-era executive order that gives the NSA virtually unlimited authority to intercept communications abroad,” summarizes The Intercept. “Previously, NSA analysts would filter out information they deemed irrelevant and mask the names of innocent Americans before passing it along.”

Under Executive Order 12333, “the NSA taps phone and internet backbones throughout the world, records the phone calls of entire countries, vacuums up traffic from Google and Yahoo’s data centers overseas, and more.”

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden points out that “As he hands the White House to Trump, Obama just unchained NSA from basic limits on passing raw intercepts to others.”

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Exploitable-Database-of-Intercepted-Communications
Renowned Digital Savant Rudy Giuliani to Head the Trump Cybersecurity Team He wasn’t selected to be Secretary of State, or head of the Department of Homeland Security, but former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been rewarded for the canine loyalty he displayed toward Donald Trump on the campaign trail: He will serve as an unofficial adviser to Trump on cybersecurity issues.

Politico points out that “Giuliani chairs the global cybersecurity practice at the law firm Greenberg Traurig, advising companies on security data and responding to breaches.” In addition, through his own Giuliani Partners security consulting firm, he “has worked for cyber-related clients, including identity theft protection company LifeLock and insurance giant Aon.”

The tech news site Gizmodo comments that “Silicon Valley has always had close ties with the US government. But it appears the Trump administration would like to make those ties even more explicit” by appointing Giuliani to head the new task force, which will be “comprised of various private tech companies.”

Motherboard notes that Giuliani appears to have no specialized knowledge in the field of cybersecurity, and his published writings on the subject have focused on complaints regarding privacy regulations.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama Places Last-Minute Restrictions on Coal Leases During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to reinvigorate coal production as a way to meet the country’s ever-growing energy demands and to reinvigorate employment. That promise explains a great deal of his support in economically struggling coal-producing states. As time expires on Barack Obama’s presidency, however, he has approved a slate of regulations that would hamper Trump’s plans to revive the coal industry.

Bloomberg reports that “The outgoing Obama administration issued a blueprint for overhauling the way coal on federal land is sold, making it tougher for President-elect Donald Trump to resume sales under decades-old procedures. The report released [on January 11] lays out a menu of potential options for policy makers to consider, including tacking a carbon fee onto coal leases to account for climate change, requiring payments into a fund that could help out-of-work miners and devastated communities -- and even halting sales altogether.”

Roughly forty percent of US coal is found on lands claimed by the federal government, much of it in the Powder Basin in Wyoming and Montana. Competition from inexpensive domestic natural gas, coupled with increasing regulatory costs, combined to drive down demand for coal. The Interior Department imposed a halt on issuing new coal mining leases in 2015 amid a lawsuit filed by two eco-radical groups, Friends of the Earth and the Western Organization of Resource Councils. A new set of lawsuits is possible If Trump reverses course and rescinds the ban on coal leases.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama’s Unprecedented Resource Grab’s-Unprecedented-Resource-Grab Unconstrained by the prospect of facing the electorate again, Barack Obama unleashed a flurry of late-term executive orders, including national monument designations locking up more than 1.5 million acres in land throughout the western states. This action subverted local control of those lands, and closed down future energy development, uranium mining, oil drilling, natural gas production, and other productive use of the territory.

“While it’s nothing new,” comments MRC-TV, “Obama’s habit of unilaterally confiscating land has ramped up heading into the final stretch of his presidency. In the eight years he’s been in office, President Obama has seized more than 553 million acres of land” – including their associated water resources. This translates into 865,000 square miles of land seized and placed under federal control, which is sufficient “to cover the entire state of Texas more than three times over. This is the largest presidential land grab in US history. “

The 18 U.S. presidents who have held the office since passage of the Antiquities Act of 1906 have issued a total of 154 monument designations. Obama has invoked the act 29 times, meaning that he is personally responsible for about one-fifth of such executive actions over the course of more than 110 years. In 2016 alone, Obama used that provision to lock up more than 260 million acres, including a 100-million acre tract in Alaska that is roughly the size of the state of New Mexico.

Owing to executive actions of this kind, the federal government claims ownership of the majority of acreage in the western United States – including sixty-five percent of the land in Utah, and more than 80 percent of the land in Nevada.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Unprecedented-Resource-Grab
Obama’s Lame Duck Land Lockup Continues’s-Lame-Duck-Land-Lockup-Continues On January 20th at 12:01 PM Eastern Time, Barack Obama will no longer be invested with the power to lock up federally controlled western lands by decree – and that prospect has clearly inspired him to exploit that power to the fullest extent before leaving office.

Obama issued an order on January 12 expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou national monument by 48,000 acres, thereby building on a previous lame-duck proclamation issued by Bill Clinton in 2000, just before he vacated the White House. This expanded monument encompasses land in Jackson and Klamath counties in Oregon, and California’s Siskiyou County.

In his six-page proclamation, Obama emphasized that the newly enhanced federal monument area “provides vital habitat connectivity.” That phrase is derived from the unratified United Nations Biodiversity Treaty, which was intended to supplant human ownership and use of land with a “biocentric” worldview in which preservation of animal and plant habitat would be treated as a paramount consideration. The UN-aligned non-governmental organizations that helped create the Biodiversity treaty are patiently implementing a scheme called the “Wildlands Project,” which envisions locking up at least half of the surface area of the United States in a series of interconnected biodiversity preserves – with human populations eventually herded into highly regulated urban governments.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Lame-Duck-Land-Lockup-Continues
Abortion Clinic “Blessed” by Religious Leaders“Blessed”-by-Religious-Leaders Whenever religious leaders assemble to promote protection for the right to life, the custodians of polite opinion depict such events as a threat to the civic order. No protests of that kind were prompted by a recent assembly of roughly two dozen religious leaders to confer their blessing on the newly completed Planned Parenthood abortuary in Washington, D.C., which is located next to the elite Two Rivers Public Charter School.

Among those in attendance at the ceremony were several self-identified Christian clergy, a rabbi, several Hindu priests, and a Muslim imam who participated via Skype. Prior to the public dedication, the religious representatives participated in what was described as a “prayer circle,” although the identity of the deity to whom the prayer was addressed was not disclosed in press accounts.

According to Laura Myers, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, the decision to kill a developing child is the product of “a sense of deep spirituality.” The dedication of the new abortion mill, she emphasized, was intended to “shift” the public narrative – from emphasizing the sanctity of life to pretending that the destruction of a child is in some sense a sanctified act.

“In almost every message to our staff, I talk about doing our sacred work,” Myers declared. The presence of religious figures at the event, she insisted, “confirms the sacredness of the work we do.”

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blessed”-by-Religious-Leaders
Authoritarianism and the “Trump Effect”“Trump-Effect” In an interview with left-leaning late night host Seth Meyers, Trump transition adviser Kellyanne Conway boasted of what she calls the “Trump Effect.”

“He has major employers deciding to move their factories out of Mexico and back to the United States and keep those jobs here,” Conway asserted, at some expense to the facts. “That’s what leaders do – they do that even before they are sworn in,” she claimed.

Meyers asked Conway if she was “OK with the [President-elect] sort of picking winners and losers in the free market via Twitter – because that seems like what he’s doing sometimes?”

“Not at all,” Conway replied. “What he’s doing is laying down incentives.”

As commentator Rick Miller of the free-market-focused Economic Policy Journal observes, Conway – speaking on behalf of the incoming Trump administration – “is telling us that this administration is not going to allow many individuals to employ their capital as they would like to.”

“The character of the Trump government could be described as proudly interventionist without an identifiable limiting principle,” Miller continues. “Property rights be damned. Trump in his omniscience knows and has always known how to better things for others; he is the personification of Hayek’s ‘fatal conceit.’”

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trump-Effect”
Marshals Seize Property from Deputy to Pay Settlement to his Victim Adams Lin literally fainted after reading a court order authorizing marshals to seize his car, clothes, flat-screen television, furniture, golf clubs, Samurai sword, fishing rods and computer.

The property was confiscated after Lin’s boss failed to make a $200,000 payment toward the $22.4 million civil damage award granted to a man who was left paralyzed through Lin’s occupational misconduct. Lin’s boss is Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, and he has adamantly refused to make payments to Dontrell Stephens, who was shot by Lin after the panicking deputy mistook the 19-year-old’s cell phone for a gun.

“There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait and find out what this is and get killed,” whined Sheriff Bradshaw on the day of the shooting. His department quickly exonerated Lin and promoted him – and then video of the encounter was released proving that the victim had never posed a threat to the deputy.

Florida law imposes a cap of $200,000 for civil settlements, which means that the state legislature will have to enact a special appropriation to pay the damage award. Rather than complying with the court order, Bradshaw filed an appeal. After the award was upheld last May, Bradshaw appealed again – which triggered an injunction leading to the seizure of property from the deputy who was directly responsible for the unlawful shooting of an innocent teenager.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Prince was a Goldbug The late pop artist known as Prince was renowned for his apparently inexhaustible talent as a composer, musician, and performer – and for his equally expansive collection of eccentricities. Owing to the fact that he died without adequate provision for the disposal of his estate, the IRS is now greedily taking inventory of the assets he acquired during a long and very productive career. This includes tens of millions of dollars in real estate, a fleet of expensive cars, and a vast catalog of unreleased music the value of which is difficult to calculate.

By one estimate, Prince – who was born Prince Rogers Nelson – owned nearly $300 million in assets, of which the ghoulish IRS is expected to claim roughly half. Perhaps the most intriguing line entry in the late pop star’s portfolio was a collection of 67 10-ounce gold bars that were classified as “Other Personal Property” and valued at more than $800,000. He also had more than $55,000 in cash on hand at the time of his death by a drug overdose.

Prince’s interest in gold reflects his skepticism about banking – and his interest in conspiratorial views of politics, which was shaped in some measure by black activist Dick Gregory. His non-mainstream views included acceptance of conspiracy theories regarding chemtrails and covert efforts to bring about radical depopulation.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Court Challenge to Cellphone Ban US government agencies, especially at the federal level, have created what could be described as the societal equivalent of a one-way mirror: Every public action and private communication of the citizenry is made transparent, while the most critical deliberations and decisions of the ruling class are made opaque. This is true even of what we are told are public trials. Only a few jurisdictions allow video recordings of trials, and even where this is permitted, only accredited news organizations are allowed to bring cameras into the courtroom.

Michigan resident Robert McKay attempted to record court proceedings on his iPhone but was forbidden to do so by a bailiff. He has filed a petition to the US Supreme Court, insisting that banning the private recording of court proceedings violates rights protected by the First, Fifth, and 14th Amendments.

“Recording and disseminating court proceedings serves the cardinal First Amendment value of protecting and promoting the free discussion of government affairs,” McKay contends in his petition for a Writ of Certiorari.

Because McKay was not directly threatened with prosecution, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed his claims. In his appeal to the Supreme Court, McKay contends that “the mere `existence of a statute’ implies a threat to prosecute,” and cites the 2014 Supreme Court Ruling in Susan B. Anthony List vs Driehaus to bolster his argument that “a plaintiff has standing to request pre-enforcement review of a statute or regulation when circumstances `render the threatened enforcement sufficiently imminent’” to merit judicial consideration.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Malware Expert: No, the Russian Hacking Claim Isn’t Credible,-the-Russian-Hacking-Claim-Isn’t-Credible McAfee anti-virus system creator John McAfee has presented detailed criticisms of the Obama administration’s claim that a Russian malware program the administration christened “Grizzly Steppe” connects the Russian government to the alleged hacking of DNC emails.

The administration’s theory focuses on four elements: The presence of some Russian language in the malware; the claim that the keyboard employed in the hack used the Cyrillic alphabet; the compiler had a date/time stamp on it corresponding to Moscow’s timezone; and the IP address pointed to a Russian source.

McAfee points out that each of these is surpassingly easy to create in order to lay down a fake evidence trail; in fact, he asserts, any second rate hacker would know how to do so. And of course, the CIA also knows how to falsify each of these elements to throw any investigation off their trail.

Also of note is the fact that the malware used on the supposed DNC hack was a year and a half old, and there have been many subsequent updates. This raises an obvious question: Why would Russian intelligence agencies, or contractors in their employ, use an out-of-date program?

The government’s claim that this malware (APT-28 and APT-29) came from two organizations related to the Russian government (in Ukraine) is also false, McAfee contends. These two designations of the software come from a teen hacking organization that tracks hacking all over the world. It’s not specific to Russia, or Ukraine even though they may use these tools. Hacking tools are disseminated all over the world and it’s impossible to say who is behind them.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-the-Russian-Hacking-Claim-Isn’t-Credible
Trump Offers Arrangement to Avoid Conflicts of Interest Trump’s first formal news conference as president-elect was a contentious affair, and lost in the furor generated by salacious accusations in an unsourced dossier was the fact that the President-elect called the conference to explain how he would avoid any conflict of interest as president with his vast international business holdings. This includes placing his business empire in a trust controlled by his oldest sons, but he would not divest himself of his business holdings.

Trump also proposed “turning over to the United States Treasury any profits received at his hotels from foreign government clients. An ethics officer and, separately, a chief compliance counsel will be appointed at the Trump Organization to watch its operations and ensure that it is not receiving special terms, payment or favors as a result of its ties to Mr. Trump,” summarized the New York Times.

Critics in the media have been pushing for Trump to divest himself of all his business, which no law requires, and which would have disastrous tax consequences for Trump. The law only requires that a government official not take advantage of his position for monetary advantage, and the burden of proof is upon the government.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Intel Leaks as Political Weapons The country’s intelligence agencies are directed to gather the most accurate information possible about our nation’s enemies and thus help the nation’s leaders take appropriate action. But this process is apparently being abused to make the facts fit the political agenda of powerful groups in Washington, asserts geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen.

“I have long documented how the US has falsified intelligence about Iran and its nuclear program to suit what the neocons and globalists want presented at any given time.” Now the compromised elements of the intelligence community are increasingly revealing their true colors as they battle an increasingly skeptical President-elect, Skousen says. “The intel community is scrambling to cover their tracks as it now becomes obvious that they are deliberately leaking anything remotely damaging about Trump to the press.”

At issue is the unsubstantiated leaked dossier of supposed blackmail material held by the Kremlin on Trump. The substance of the blackmail was leaked by the intelligence community and given significant air-time recently by major media outlets who normally disregard this kind of salacious material until it becomes proven and relevant.

Sen. Rand Paul thinks that the intelligence agents who leaked the questionable material should be fired and given jail time, as he said in a Fox News interview.

“What I would say is that if there is private information that someone is blackmailing a public figure and the public figure or someone takes it to the intelligence agencies, you would think it would be private,” Paul declared. “And really, this is so important that I think whoever leaked it should be prosecuted.”

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Claims “Sting” Operation to Unveil Leakers“Sting”-Operation-to-Unveil-Leakers President-elect Donald Trump is in the midst of what could be called a “war” not just with an antagonistic media but with the nation’s intelligence services that are supposed to serve him and the country. After being disappointed with the quality of the daily security briefing given him, Trump refused to give them his time daily and every meeting since has been become fodder for the media including when Trump had a security briefing and what information was given him.

Trump has been so annoyed with the leaks of his supposedly confidential briefings that he a set up a private test to see where the leak was coming from. To rule out a leak from within his office he kept the next meeting a secret, he related in a recent press conference.

“Nobody knew – not even Rhona, my executive assistant for years. She didn’t know – I didn’t tell her. Nobody knew,” Trump explained. “The meeting was held. They left, and immediately the word got out that I had a meeting.”

Trump concluded that the leaks were coming from the intelligence community itself which is a serious breach of protocol with significant consequences if the source of the leaks can be caught. Although the press conference included all major media outlets, no one aired this story except the British tabloid the Daily Mail. Perhaps the other media outlets were embarrassed over their collusion with the intelligence community who had been feeding them details.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Sting”-Operation-to-Unveil-Leakers
Dick Cheney Emerging as Key Influence on Trump Voters who selected Donald Trump over other establishment politicians were dismayed to learn that Trump will allow one of the most prominent establishment globalists into his regime as an advisor to Rex Tillerson, who is fighting an uphill battle to be confirmed as Secretary of State.

According to Eliana Johnson of Politico, “It’s a scenario no one could have possibly foreseen: that one of the key architects of the Iraq War, which Trump slammed on the campaign trail, is now being enlisted as an emissary for a man Trump wants to help steer his ship of state.”

Dick Cheney is a friend of Tillerson and has been listed as an oil executive, although critics point out that this is a product of his “revolving door” relationship with big businesses who nominally appoint Washington insiders to their board of directors when the opposing party is in power. The expectation is that following their next appointment, they will treat their erstwhile employers favorably.

Cheney’s contacts extend beyond just Tillerson, however, Johnson reports: “The former vice president is also in close contact with senior Trump aides. Cheney speaks frequently with the vice president-elect, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who himself serves as a liaison between the president-elect and Capitol Hill, and who has said he hopes to model his vice presidency on Cheney’s.”

Veteran political analyst Joel Skousen sees a big problem with this cozy relationship with Pence, since Pence would assume command if Trump ever gets assassinated or impeached. Cheney, Skousen argues, ran a disproportionate amount of the White House while Vice President under George W. Bush. Cheney’s staff numbered in the hundreds and most critical decisions where rumored to have come from him.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Why Wasn’t the Fort Lauderdale Shooter on the “No-Fly List”?’t-the-Fort-Lauderdale-Shooter-on-the-“No-Fly-List”? Three months before he killed 5 people and wounded 8 at a Fort Lauderdale Airport baggage claim area, Esteban Santiago walked into the FBI office in Anchorage and complained that the “government controlled” his mind and he was being forced to read and watch videos of ISIS propaganda. The FBI officers understandably took away the concealed weapon he had with him, but instead of taking him into custody as a terror threat, they handed him over to the local police who put him into psychiatric care.

Rather than putting him on a “no fly” list, or the “terror watch list” – something that has happened to scores or hundreds of entirely harmless people – the FBI returned his weapon to him following his discharge from psychiatric care. That is the same weapon he eventually used in his airport murder spree. Both the federal government and several states make a point of confiscating firearms from people deemed to be psychologically unfit; indeed, California’s state department of justice has a dedicated law enforcement agency that specializes in such gun seizures. In this case, the FBI’s priority was to ensure that a man who had explicitly claimed to have been radicalized retained possession of his firearm.

In an editorial demanding “better answers” from the FBI, the Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper asked:

“How many warning signs, red flags and alarm bells does the agency need to recognize that someone poses a danger, deserves ongoing scrutiny and shouldn't be allowed to possess — let alone fly — with weapons and ammunition?”

“Had agents stayed on the case, they might have discovered Santiago also faced charges for domestic violence and criminal mischief,” continues the editorial. “His aunt, Maria Ruiz, told reporters in Union City, New Jersey, that ‘it was like a month ago, he lost his mind.’"

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-the-Fort-Lauderdale-Shooter-on-the-“No-Fly-List”?
Social Workers Claim Not to Know Perjury is a Crime Ruling in a case that has lasted for the better part of two decades, the US District Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has stated what should be obvious: Social workers do not have the legal right to perjure themselves and conceal evidence in order to seize children from their parents.

In 2000, a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of families who had been ripped apart by child welfare bureaucrats in Orange County, California. Retaining the hyper-expensive law firm Lynberg & Watkins, which specializes in defending abusive police officers, Orange County officials have maintained that social workers who lie to judges and suppress exculpatory evidence are shielded by the pernicious legal fiction called “qualified immunity.” The county also pretended that social workers have not been provided with adequate notice that such conduct is illegal.

During oral argument last October, Judge Stephen S. Trott asked attorney Pancy Lin, “How in the world could a person in the shoes of your client possibly believe that it was appropriate to use perjury and false evidence in order to impair somebody’s liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of that person’s children? How could they possibly not be on notice that you can’t do this?”

While admitting that the argument against criminal misconduct “seems to be common sense,” Lin maintained that there was no “clearly established right” on the part of parents to be protected from a court order that had been obtained through criminal means employed by her clients.

Speaking on behalf of the plaintiffs, attorney Dennis Inglos summarized that “Lying is bad, it’s obviously bad. It’s constitutionally bad…. The lies are on paper in a transcript - -the deliberate falsehoods.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Venezuela Becomes an Undisguised Kleptocracy “Venezuela is no longer a country with a government, institutions and a civil society,” writes Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation in a New York Post op-ed column. “It’s a geographic area terrorized by a criminal enterprise that pretends to govern, with a civil society made up of two sets of people: accomplices and victims. More than 30 million of the latter.”

The undisguised plunder of the country was inaugrated under the reign of Socialist President Hugo Chavez in 2000, when the country’s public sector was given over entirely to institutionalized bribery, graft, and looting. All government ministries were riddled with “phantom payrolls,” phony government-grant programs siphoned huge sums from the budget, and the ruling elite began “the sacking of Venezuela’s gold reserves and a massive currency-exchange scam,” Halvorssen continues.

In this fashion, more than one trillion dollars in wealth has been strip-mined from the country by its Marxist elite, “some of it wasted on social programs that produced nothing — and a staggering amount has ended up in bank accounts in Andorra, Panama, New York, Hong Kong and Switzerland.”

Not surprisingly, “the pillaging has turned Venezuela into a dystopian landscape. There are shortages of every imaginable foodstuff and basic necessity; diseases once thought eradicated are back with a vengeance; and a crime wave that has given Caracas the highest murder rate in the world.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
New Cuban Interior Minister Imposes Vicious Post-Fidel Crack-down Vice Admiral Julio Cesar Gandarilla, the newly appointed Interior Minister for Cuba’s Communist government, began his tenure by imposing a severe crack-down that included the arrest of two activists who posted a protest sign in Havana.

Following the arrests of Jesus Romero and Alexis Rodriguez, Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba said that “The increase in repression is due to several causes, among them a push that the government is making in the last days of Barack Obama’s administration to make it clear to [President-elect] Trump that they do not care about the policy change he has announced toward Cuba.”

Dissident leader Katrina Galvez, editor of the magazine Convivencia, was arrested and her home searched amid charges of tax evasion. Oscar Elias Biscet, founder of the Emilia Project, was also briefly detained.

Ferrer told the online opposition news service Translating Cuba that “After the death of his brother, Raul Castro needs to increase terror levels to maintain power. They know people are tired of the same thing,” continued Ferrer. “When in April we mobilized more than 1,000 people the political police told us that we would never do something like that again.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Did the Deep State Take a Slap at Trump? New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer would appear to agree with many of Donald Trump’s supporters that disclosure of an opposition research dossier containing lurid allegations against the president-elect is an act of retaliation by the intelligence community for his frequent criticism of the CIA.

“Let me tell you – you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back on you,” the Senate Minority Leader told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on January 3, more than a week before the dossier was made public. Schumer and Maddow were discussing Trump’s public comments disagreeing with the intelligence report claiming that the Russian government had intervened in the 2016 presidential election, and complaining that his intelligence briefing on the matter had been delayed in order to manipulate public opinion.

“Even for a practical supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this,” Schumer contended.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Double Jeopardy Protection Disappearing Among the most valuable due process protections is the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against what is called double jeopardy – that is, the government cannot make a person “subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” As with nearly every other guarantee found in the Bill of Rights, ambitious prosecutors and compliant judges are working to eradicate that vital protection, warns legal commentator George Leef.

Writing in Forbes, Leef refers to the ongoing case Walker v. Texas, which is before the US Supreme Court. Walker, an electrician, was indicted by state officials on criminal fraud charges in 2013 – two years after federal authorities had extracted a plea bargain with him on identical charges. Although on its face this is a violation of the clear prohibition against double jeopardy, under existing precedents this second prosecution is permissible because it is being carried out within a separate jurisdiction – and the protection against double jeopardy is not applied to the states.

Devised roughly a century ago, the incorporation doctrine has been used to expand federal power at the expense of powers reserved to the separate states. Its proponents will often invoke abuses of individual liberty by state governments to justify federal intervention – but in this case the court contrived what it calls a “dual sovereignty” exception to the incorporation principle. Thus practically the only case in which the Feds recognize state sovereignty is in the power of prosecutors to violate the Fifth Amendment by trying citizens twice for the same offense.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Why Prosecutors Don’t Pursue Abusive Police Officers’t-Pursue-Abusive-Police-Officers A federal judge has authorized a malicious prosecution lawsuit to proceed against Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, who has pursued criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers involved in the still-unsolved death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury in custody. The lawsuit claims that the officers – who took part in the arrest and detention of Gray on an invalid weapons charge, and who died in a police van en route to jail – had suffered defamation and invasion of privacy.

Prosecutors generally enjoy extraordinary immunity in the course of their official duties, and malicious prosecution lawsuits are nearly non-existent. In this case, the plaintiffs themselves enjoy both “qualified immunity” as police officers, and the un-legislated but very real status that has been called “Blue Privilege” – social and institutional deference given to the police as the enforcement arm of the criminal justice system. Plaintiffs acquitted on homicide charges in similar circumstances who were not police officers would almost certainly not be permitted to pursue a lawsuit against the prosecutor.

Mosby, who has been widely criticized as a race agitator, is one of the few in her position to seek prosecution of suspected lethal police misconduct. Civil liberties commentator Taylor Pendergrass notes that prosecutors often face retaliation for efforts to expose and combat police corruption.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-Pursue-Abusive-Police-Officers
Is a Coup Underway? Civil libertarian and transparency activist Glenn Greenwald is a longstanding opponent of the Deep State – the self-sustaining covert government of which the CIA is the most visible element. He is also an outspoken critic of Donald Trump. A liberal in his political inclinations, Greenwald is alarmed by the way nearly everyone on the Left has suddenly embraced the CIA out of reflexive partisanship.

“The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest,” writes Greenwald in The Intercept. “There [is] a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combatting those threats … from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach.”

“But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the US election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive,” Greenwald advises. For six decades, the Deep State has “produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit…”

Embittered Clinton partisans and militant leftists have embraced the narrative that Trump was installed by the Russian government, and that skepticism toward the CIA’s claims is unpatriotic. Greenwald replies that “casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
What Should We Think about the “Trump Dossier”?“Trump-Dossier”? Citing anonymous officials within the intelligence community, the Washington Post reports that “the decision had been unanimous to attach the two-page summary” of the now-notorious Trump dossier “to a sweeping report on Russian election interference commissioned by the White House and briefed to Obama, Trump and congressional leaders.” One anonymous source reportedly told the Post that this was “fully explained” and “put into context” when it was presented to the president-elect.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said that he personally told Trump that the allegations digested in the dossier had been compiled by a “private security company” and that government intelligence agencies had “not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.” According to Clapper, “part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.” Clapper claims to be dismayed that the dossier was leaked to the public.

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, who has been a supporter of Donald Trump, concludes that the dossier is “a composite of some fact, a lot of speculation, and even some fiction. It is very similar to the types of media-focused disinformation produced by both the CIA and KGB in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s…. In this case, the original intent might well have been to discredit Trump personally,” perhaps with the objective of narrowing his options “on recalibrating with Russia.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trump-Dossier”?
What Does Trump Really Believe about Russia “Hacking” the Election?“Hacking”-the-Election? Russian government interference in the 2016 US presidential election would be a grave affront to national independence and an unprecedented domestic and diplomatic crisis. This is understood by people who uncritically accept the unproven allegations of Russian meddling made by the CIA, NSA, and FBI. Until his January 11 press conference, President-elect Trump had been dismissive of those claims – but he now appears to be equivocating on the matter.

“The closest Trump ever came to acknowledging the prospect of Kremlin attribution for the online attacks came before the election, when he half-jokingly called on Russia to pilfer messages deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private email server,” recall correspondents Robert Mackey and Sam Biddle of The Intercept. In his press conference, however, Trump pivoted seamlessly from a posture that could be described as “Yeah, right,” to a view that could be summarized as, “So what?”

“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Mr. Trump said in reply to a question as to whether he believed the intelligence briefing he had received on alleged election interference. “I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people. And, I can say that you know when, we lost 22 million names and everything else that was hacked recently, they didn’t make a big deal out of that. That was something extraordinary. That was probably China…. We had much hacking going on.”

The incident to which Trump referred was a cyber-attack on the Office of Personnel Management in 2014 and 2015. While that was a devastating attack, Trump seemed to be lost in the details of the current controversy, apparently conceding that Moscow interfered in the election while suggesting that it was a relatively trivial matter.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hacking”-the-Election?
Trump Secretary of State Pick: Russia a “Danger”“Danger” Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, selected by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of State, used his Senate confirmation hearing to describe Russia as a “danger” to U.S. interests, and to call for concerted action to destroy the Islamic State.

“Russia today poses a danger,” asserted Tillerson. “It invaded Urkaine, including Crimea, and violated the laws of war. But it’s an absence of American leadership that left this door open.” Russia and the United States “do not have the same values,” he continued. “But there is scope to define a different relationship to bring down the temperature of the conflict we have today. Dialogue is critical so these things do not spin out of control.”

Confronting ISIS is an undertaking in which joint efforts might be possible, Tillerson suggested, describing the effort to defeat the group and destroy its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria as “our first priority.”

Where President-elect Trump has been open to reassessing the US role in NATO, Tillerson pointedly described the European alliance’ss mutual defense guarantee as “inviolable.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Danger”
Czech Republic Tells its Citizens to Arm Themselves As the European Union escalates efforts to disarm civilians in the name of public safety, the government of the Czech Republic is pursuing exactly the opposite course. Czech President Milos Zeman – insisting that the influx of Muslim refugees could lead to a “super-holocaust” – has urged citizens to acquire firearms.

Zeman, a 71-year-old Communist retread who is now affiliated with the Social Democrat Party, apparently considers gun ownership as a matter of national security, as opposed to individual self-defense, and sees the country’s Muslim population – roughly 3,500 people out of 10.5 million – as an incipient threat akin to Nazism. An interesting question not publicly explored by Zeman is whether he believes that Muslim citizens and legal residents should be encouraged to arm themselves as well.

The Czech Republic has some of the least restrictive gun laws in Europe: To purchase a firearm, a resident must be at least 21 years of age, pass a safety test, and have no previous criminal record. The government’s interior ministry is promoting a constitutional amendment that would recognize the right of citizens to use firearms in the event of a terrorist attack. Zeman’s government strongly dissented from a recent European Commission directive calling for a complete ban on sales of rifles such as Kalashnikovs or AR-15s, and limiting ammo magazines to twenty rounds. Compliance with that mandate, contended the government in Prague, would undermine the country’s ability to maintain an “internal security system.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Promises to Punish Companies “Getting Away with Murder”“Getting-Away-with-Murder” During his January 11 press conference, President-elect Trump once again threatened to impose “a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder.”

Commentator Matt Welch observes that Trump’s views regarding trade are largely in harmony with those of Hillary Clinton, who threatened on the campaign trial that “companies who … walk out on America are going to pay a price. And if they shift jobs overseas, we’re going to make them give back the tax breaks they received here at home, because we can take that money and put it to work investing in communities that are left behind.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Getting-Away-with-Murder”
Sessions: As AG, I will Prosecute Pornographers,-I-will-Prosecute-Pornographers The United States Constitution lists three federal crimes: Treason, counterfeiting, and piracy. All other criminal offenses are violations of state and local laws, and within the jurisdiction of those governments. Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who has frequently expressed reverence for the Constitution, forgot about the principle of federalism during the confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions’ nomination to become US Attorney General under Donald Trump.

Hatch, who seeks to criminalize the production and consumption of pornography, asked sessions if he would “vigorously” prosecute those who create and sell obscene materials involving adults. Hatch also asked if Sessions would re-instate the Justice Department’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, which was shut down by former Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Those laws are clear and are being prosecuted today and should continue to be effectively prosecuted in the cases that are appropriate,” Sessions replied, promising as well that he would consider reviving the federal task force.

As it happens, the president under whom Sessions would serve is a veteran of the pornography business, having appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine and in at least three soft-core so-called adult films produced by Playboy Enterprises. The left-leaning publication Slate points out that Hatch has expressed frustration “that the Justice Department didn’t do enough to prosecute larger distributors of more mainstream pornography,” such as Playboy.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-I-will-Prosecute-Pornographers
Leftist Professor Laments Obama’s “Sad Legacy”’s-“Sad-Legacy” Dr. Cornel West, who is currently a professor of philosophy at the Union Theological Seminary, is one of the most prominent left-wing critics of Barack Obama, and he used an op-ed column in the Guardian of London to lament what he called the “sad legacy” of America’s first black president.

“The reign of Obama did not produce the nightmare of Donald Trump – but it did contribute to it,” writes West, reflecting the views of his left-leaning political faction. “And those Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility.” West rebukes Obama for protecting corrupt Wall Street interests, noting that “not one Wall Street criminal executive went to jail” following the 2008 market melt-down.

In similar fashion, Obama impeded accountability for US officials who had carried out torture of terrorism suspects, and radically escalated the drone war overseas, while concealing all of the germane details about that program from the public.

Where police unions and law-and-order conservatives assail Obama for supposedly abetting a “war on police,” West condemns him for public speeches in which he described “the difficult plight of police officers.” Obama praised liberal New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009, West recalls, while overlooking the fact that “more than 4 million people were stopped-and-frisked under Bloomberg’s watch.”

Among Obama’s gravest delinquencies, insists West, was his pursuit and persecution of Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, “and other truth-tellers” who exposed official misconduct.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Sad-Legacy”
Where Has Meryl Steep’s Conscience Been Hiding?’s-Conscience-Been-Hiding? Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech “reeked” of “pure, unadulterated hypocrisy,” insists RT correspondent Danielle Ryan, who describes herself as a long-time fan.

In anticipation of Donald Trump’s presidency, Streep urged her professional colleagues to support the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“She’s right, of course,” wrote Ryan. “But one wonders if Streep is even aware, for instance, that the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all of his predecessors combined? It’s a tradition Trump is likely to continue, of course, but it’s rather strange that the issue never crossed her mind until now.”

“And where was Streep … when Obama was helping Saudi Arabia level Yemen, bombing funerals and wedding parties?” Ryan continues. “Or when his `humanitarian intervention’ in Libya went so disastrously wrong that it turned the country into a failed state, allowing the terrorist group ISIS to flourish? Or when the great uniter earned himself the nickname `The Drone King’ as he expanded the US drone program and conducted ten times more strikes than George W. Bush? Also a tradition Trump will likely be only too happy to uphold.”

“The fact is, many of the outrages that Streep and the Hollywood elite are now up in arms about are not Trump-specific – and they’re not new,” she concludes. “They’re already happening. Hollywood hero Obama has made it even easier for Trump to go after journalists and whistleblowers and bomb innocents if that’s the path he chooses.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Conscience-Been-Hiding?
Does Moscow have “Kompromat” on Trump – Or is it the US Deep State at Work?“Kompromat”-on-Trump-–-Or-is-it-the-US-Deep-State-at-Work? Every state intelligence service keeps dossiers on prominent people, especially politicians and other public officials. Founding FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover became the most feared man in Washington because he was the keeper of his notoriously extensive files, which included so-called “raw” – or uncorroborated – intelligence that could damage reputations.

Russian intelligence services since the days of Feliks Dzherzinsky, Hoover’s contemporary who founded what would become known as the KGB, have called such material “kompromat.” In December, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, a truculent critic of Russia and political rival of Donald Trump, provided FBI Director James Comey with documents alleging that Russia’s intelligence services possess kompromat on the president-elect.

The documents – which have since been posted online by Buzzfeed, were “a series of reports on Trump’s relationship with Moscow” and were composed “by a former western counter-intelligence official, now working as a private consultant.” This is to say that the material has no primary-source documentation, but is entirely speculative at best, and lurid gossip, at worst.

Those documents were originally produced by Republicans who were seeking opposition research on Trump during the primary season. Trump himself complains that he is being targeted in “a total political witch hunt.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Kompromat”-on-Trump-–-Or-is-it-the-US-Deep-State-at-Work?
Federal Prosecutors Ask Judge to Void First Amendment in Coverage of Malheur Refuge Trial Still smarting from their ignominious defeat in the first round of prosecutions in the Malheur Refuge trials, and furious over exposure of the undercover FBI informant-provocateurs involved in the case, federal prosecutors are asking trial Judge Anna Brown to expand a protective order forbidding defense attorneys to reveal information about the snitches.

After California blogger and activist Gary Hunt published the names of FBI informants, the FBI demanded that he delete the posts – thereby confirming the accuracy of his reporting. Hunt’s legally unassailable argument is that using testimony from anonymous informants violates the rights of the defendants under the Sixth Amendment to confront the witnesses against them publicly. He also asserts that the protective order applied only to the defense attorneys, and that as a journalist he is not subject to it. Prosecutors have unwittingly validated that argument as well by asking Judge Brown to expand her initial order to forbid both “direct and indirect violations—wherever they may occur.”

Brown has asked prosecutors to file a brief arguing what legal authority the court would have to order a third party to obey a protective order, and how she could compel someone outside the state of Oregon to comply.

Hunt insists that he is not in contact with the defense team. Under California’s journalist shield law, neither state nor federal authorities can compel him to disclose his sources, or any unpublished information that could reveal their identity.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Nothing “Safe” about “Legal” Abortion“Safe”-about-“Legal”-Abortion Proponents of legalized abortion loudly decry any effort to require abortion facilities to maintain minimum health and sanitation standards as an effort to restrict access to the procedure. Indeed, the child-killing industry is the only business most left-leaning politicians and activists want to de-regulate. This has consequences for the health and safety of the women who procure abortions, in addition to consistently lethal consequences for the children destroyed thereby.

The direct action group OperationRescue recently obtained five “Statement of Deficiency Reports” that document citations of the Planned Parenthood abortuary in St. Louis, Missouri “for 39 classes of violations involving 210 incidents,” more than half of which “were related to failure to provide a safe and sanitary environment,” reports Life News.

“Each year that the St. Louis Planned Parenthood has been inspected, the number of incidents has increased,” comments Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This is hard evidence that things at Planned Parenthood are getting worse, not better…. If a restaurant was cited this many times, it would be shut down, but somehow, Planned Parenthood has been allowed to continue placing the lives of women at risk.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Safe”-about-“Legal”-Abortion
Massachusetts Sheriff: Use Inmates as Slave Labor, Charge them Daily Fees,-Charge-them-Daily-Fees Bristol County, Massachusetts Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who has proposed conscripting jail inmates as unpaid labor to build Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, is also seeking to reinstate a program that charged inmates a $5 daily fee for their incarceration.

It is worth remembering that inmates in county jails are often being held prior to trial, which means that they have not been convicted of offenses.

Hodgson, a four-term sheriff, was in office in 2010 when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that he did not have legal authority to charge inmates a daily fee for their time in his jail. Following his swearing-in ceremony on January 4, the sheriff told reporters that he would be lobbying the state Legislature to enact a law authorizing the imposition of that fee. One Republican legislator, State Rep. Steven Howitt, said that the fee “does not seem unreasonable and it is something I would consider supporting.”

Sheriff Hodgson was part of the Special Commission to Study the Feasibility of Establishing Inmate Fees, which was created following the 2010 state Supreme Court ruling. That committee’s report – to which Hodgson registered a dissent – concluded that the fees would generate a “host of negative and unintended consequences,” including impediments to inmates seeking reintegration in society.

Hodgson claimed that from 2002 to 2004, the daily incarceration surcharge produced $750,000 in gross revenue.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Charge-them-Daily-Fees
FBI Recruited “Geek Squad” as Informants“Geek-Squad”-as-Informants In Communist East Germany, the Stasi secret police kept nearly the entire population under surveillance – and recruited most of the population to inform on each other. The US government’s electronic surveillance is much more comprehensive than anything the relatively backward East German government could have devised, and the FBI – the world’s oldest existing political police organ – has been using computer technicians in a fashion of which the Stasi would have approved.

The Best Buy electronics retail chain has long boasted a customer support service called the Geek Squad, which will make service house calls to treat ailing personal computers and other underperforming digital devices. A federal child pornography case in Orange County, California has revealed that the FBI has been using taxpayer funds to bribe Geek Squad members to act as informants, tasking them to conduct warrantless searches of computer hard drives and report their findings to the FBI.

In addition to the criminal misconduct involved in the unconstitutional search, “The FBI undertook a series of dishonest measures in hopes of building a case,” defense attorney James D. Riddet recounts. Agents “conducted two additional searches [of a defendant’s] computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records.”

The evidence used in the Orange County case was obtained using sophisticated forensics tools – and its existence may not have been known to the owner of the computer.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Geek-Squad”-as-Informants
Crowley Accused of Plagiarizing Portions of Dissertation Syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley, appointed by President-elect Trump to serve as a national security spokesperson, continues to be plagued with accusations of plagiarism – not only in her recent New York Times best-selling book, and in a 1999 Wall Street Journal column, but now in her Ph.D. dissertation.

Crowley’s dissertation, “Clearer Than Truth: Determining and Preserving Grand Strategy – The Evolution of American Policy Toward the People’s Republic of China Under Truman and Nixon,” was submitted to Columbia University in 2000.

Politico, which obtained a copy of the dissertation through the academic database ProQuest, asserts that a careful examination of the document “and the sources it cites identified more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did not identify with quotation marks the text she was copying directly. In other instances, she copied text or heavily paraphrased with no attribution at all.”

The examples of large-scale borrowing without proper attribution came from six books or scholarly articles on foreign policy, one of which was published just prior to Crowley finished her dissertation.

Following the discovery in 1999 that a Wall Street Journal column published under Crowley’s byline included large sections lifted verbatim from a 1988 Commentary magazine essay by historian Paul Johnson, the paper’s editor published anote declaring that “Had we known of the parallels, we would hot have published the article.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Child Welfare Worker Accused of Dismembering Daughter The horror induced by the murder and dismemberment of a child in Easton, Pennsylvania is compounded by the fact that the adoptive mother accused of the unspeakable crime “previously worked as an adoption supervisor for a children’s welfare agency,” as reported by Fox News.

Sara Packer and her boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, were arraigned on numerous charges including criminal homicide, rape, and abuse of a corpse. Sullivan apparently admitted to the killing of 14-year-old Grace Parker as he was led into court,according to the Intelligencer newspaper.

“I’m sorry for what I did,” Sullivan declared. “It was wrong.”

Prosecutors charge the couple with sexually abusing the adopted girl, torturing her, and then killing her “as part of a rape-murder fantasy.” Investigators claim that after killing the child, the couple concealed the remains in the attic of their home, and packed her traumatized body with cat litter in an attempt to mitigate the odor of decomposition. They allegedly dismembered and sought to dispose of the body in October after being alarmed by a visit from the police. Hunters in nearby Luzerne County found the child’s torso in a park, and K-9 search teams found her legs and arms nearby.

The couple continued to cash the daughter’s monthly $700 Social Security disability checks following her disappearance. They reportedly made a suicide pact and attempted a lethal overdose on prescription narcotics on December 30.

Packer’s ex-husband, David Packer, pleaded guilty to child sex abuse charges in 2011 and was sentenced to a term of six months to five years in prison.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Kitty Litter Possession Leads to Unwarranted Drug Arrest Harris County, Texas resident Ross LeBeau displays a weary, resigned smile in the booking photo taken after he was arrested by deputies on suspicion of drug possession – but he had every right to be angry. The deputies “thought they had the biggest bust in Harris County – this was the bust of the year for them,” LeBeau commented after the charge was dropped.

It turned out that the mound of supposed contraband discovered in LeBeau’s car during a traffic stop was kitty litter, which he uses to keep his windshield from fogging up. Despite the fact that kitty litter bears no resemblance to crystal meth, LeBeau was arrested – and his prospects grew grimmer when two field tests conducted with the notoriously unreliable “Nik Kit” initially gave positive results for the drug. A third test – this one conducted by competent forensic technicians, rather than inept patrol deputies -- confirmed that the substance was precisely what LeBeau claimed it to be.

In addition to being detained and jailed without cause, and seeing his reputation tarnished by publication of his mug shot, LeBeau lost his job as a result of the spurious drug arrest, and now faces a lengthy and expensive struggle to expunge his record

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Wealthy Chinese “Princeling” Defendant Seeks to Finance a Luxurious “House Arrest”“Princeling”-Defendant-Seeks-to-Finance-a-Luxurious-“House-Arrest” New Jersey resident Dan Zhong faces serious criminal charges, but as a person of great wealth and privilege he might be able to await trial in luxurious surroundings, rather than a cold and barren cell.

Zhong, a former Chinese diplomat, is accused of forcing Chinese immigrants to work on construction projects at Chinese diplomatic facilities in the United States. Although presently held in pre-trial detention at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, he has proposed paying $144,000 a month to retain a security firm that would enforce pre-trial detention at his two-story home in Livingston.

Defense attorney Thomas Fitzpatrick recently told a judge that Zhong’s “family in China is willing to spend that money to get him out of the MDC.”

Zhong’s family is both extravagantly wealthy and immensely influential, both in Communist China and within America’s ruling elite. His uncle, Chinese billionaire Wang Wenliang, “has drawn scrutiny over his large donations to American political campaigns and nonprofits like the Clinton Foundation,” reports the AP. If the judge agrees to his proposal, Zhong would join an elite list of privileged defendants allowed to live at home while awaiting trial. Some of them, including financial conman Bernard Madoff and Chinagate figure Ng Lap Seng, are also connected to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Princeling”-Defendant-Seeks-to-Finance-a-Luxurious-“House-Arrest”
Private Peace Officer Sentenced to Prison After Thief Kills Herself If American Fork, Utah resident Kenneth Lee Drew had been a government-employed law enforcement officer, rather than a private repossession agent, he would likely have received a commendation following the admittedly tragic death of Ashleigh Holloway Best, who killed herself by slamming a 2002 Lincoln Navigator into a tree. Instead, the 50-year-old man faces a lengthy prison term.

Drew had been employed by On Demand Repos to take possession of the car after Best and her husband failed to make the necessary payments. During his visit to the household last May, Drew agreed to wait while Best’s husband tried to update the payment plan – but Best climbed into the car and sped off, thereby committing an act of theft through fraud. According to police investigators, Best’s husband, Brennan, abetted the theft by “trying to place himself in front” of Drew’s tow truck “to prevent it from following the Navigator.”

Drew pursued the stolen vehicle, eventually making use of an aggressive tactic similar to a PIT – or Precision Immobilization Technique – maneuver. Unfortunately, Best lost control of the vehicle, and died in the ensuing collision.

Grief-stricken and guilt-ridden, Drew pled guilty to manslaughter late last year as part of a plea bargain in which prosecutors asked for a suspended prison sentence. Utah Fourth District Judge Robert Lunnen discarded that plea agreement, imposing a sentence of one to fifteen years in prison.

Unlike police officers, Drew – who was a privately employed peace officer enforcing a legitimate property rights claim – was not protected by the legal fiction called “qualified immunity.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Supreme Court: “Blue Privilege” is the Default“Blue-Privilege”-is-the-Default A New Mexico State Police officer who unlawfully killed an armed citizen cannot be held personally liable for his act because there was “no settled Fourth Amendment principle” dealing with his misconduct, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on January 9.

Two State Police officers were sent to the address of Daniel Pauly after a 911 report that the car he was driving had been swerving on the highway. Since they weren’t witnesses of his alleged erratic driving they didn’t have probable cause for an arrest or to enter his home without permission. The officers bracketed the home and demanded to be let in. In making that demand, the officers used a profane epithet, rather than identifying themselves. Daniel and his brother, Samuel, refused to open the door to the strangers, and warned them that they were armed.

Having no lawful authority to do so, the officers invaded the home, prompting Daniel to unload a shotgun blast in their direction. Had he fatally shot an officer in those circumstances, it would have been an act of justifiable homicide, given that the police were acting without a warrant or probable cause. The officers opened fire. As the exchange was underway, a third officer who arrived on the scene, opened fire without issuing a warning or learning details of the situation. That officer, Ray White, fatally shot Samuel Pauly.

In an unsigned opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that White’s actions are covered by “qualified immunity” because judicial precedents do not require an officer to “second-guess” comrades involved in the use of deadly force – even when doing so is facially unconstitutional.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blue-Privilege”-is-the-Default
Cleveland Doctor Punished for Vaccination Skepticism Like a medieval heretic who recants his beliefs after being summoned before the Grand Inquisitor, Dr. Daniel Neides of the Cleveland Clinic has been compelled to apologize for publishing a newspaper column questioning the wisdom of mass vaccination.

“I am tired of all the nonsense we as American citizens are being fed while big business – and the government – continue to ignore the health and well-being of the fine people in this country,” exclaimed Dr. Neides in his January 6 essay. “Why am I all fired up, you ask? I, like everyone else, took the advice of the Centers for Disease Control … and received a flu shot. I chose to receive the preservative free vaccine, thinking I did not want any thimerasol (i.e. mercury) that the `regular’ flu vaccine contains.”

Although his vaccine was mercury-free, it contained formaldehyde, “a known carcinogen.” As a result, Dr. Neides complained, people were “being lined up like cattle and injected with an unsafe product. Within 12 hours of receiving the vaccine, I was in bed feeling miserable and missed two days of work with a terrible cough and body aches.”

After being chastised by the Holy Office of the Pharmaceutical cartel, Dr. Neides apologized. The hospital promised that he would be subjected to what it called “appropriate discipline.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Fox News Settles Sexual Harassment Claim against Bill O’Reilly, Jack Abernethy’Reilly,-Jack-Abernethy Fox News has reportedly reached what has been described as “a very quiet settlement arrangement with former Fox News host Juliet Huddy,” who had threatened a sexual harassment lawsuit against prominent Fox personality Bill O’Reilly and newly appointed network co-President Jack Abernethy. Huddy had filed notice of her intent to sue in July following the ouster of Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who was the focus of similar accusations at this time of his departure.

Huddy joined the network in 1998, had been a host on the weekend edition of Fox & Friends, and beginning in 2010 had a regular segment as part of the nightly O’Reilly Factor program. In her letter to the network, Huddy claimed that she lost her position on O’Reilly’s show “in retaliation for rebuffing Mr. O’Reilly’s advances.” She specifically accused O’Reilly of explicitly propositioning her on several occasions, harassing her with inappropriate phone calls, and attempting to kiss her. She made similar allegations against Abernethy. Huddy’s father, John Huddy Sr., has longstanding personal ties to Fox News founder Roger Ailes. Ms. Huddy left the network shortly after it announced a $20 million settlement of sexual harassment claims by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

In comments to the online publication, one Fox official insisted that “There was no sexual harassment” and that “Any purported claim made by Ms. Huddy would be nothing more than an opportunistic fabrication concocted to cash in on the legal settlement from Fox News.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’Reilly,-Jack-Abernethy
Trump’s Protection Racket’s-Protection-Racket Article II of the United States Constitution, which describes the duties of the president of the united States, contains a little more than one thousand words, which are organized into four sections. Section 2 contains an exhaustive list of the delegated powers of the office. Nowhere in that section’s 225 words can be found a syllable authorizing the president to run the country or its economy – let alone to use the threat of punitive taxation to bully the owners of private companies into locating their manufacturing facilities in the USA.

Even before taking the oath of office, President-elect Trump is displaying contempt for the constitutional duties of the presidency, indifference regarding the separation of powers, and expansive economic ignorance by using his Twitter account to threaten auto manufacturers to build their products in the USA “or pay big border tax!” That threat has been directed not only at American-owned companies, but at the Japanese automaker Toyota, as well. According to Trump, “Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences” – a decree that suggests a metaphorical border wall intended to trap people inside a country increasingly subject to the lawless whims of a capricious president.

Threats and other expressions of hostility from the incoming president have inflicted economic damage on the targeted companies by causing investors to sell off their stock.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Protection-Racket
Trump’s Protectionist Hypocrisy’s-Protectionist-Hypocrisy In defiance of popular criticism of outsourcing, a prominent businessman and university chairman published an essay entitled “Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run.”

"We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs. But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance,” he began. Although there is short-term pain involved in outsourcing, "we have to look at the bigger picture,” he continued. “Last year, Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Lawrence R. Klein, the founder of Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, co-authored a study that showed how global outsourcing actually creates more jobs and increases wages, at least for IT workers. The study found that outsourcing helped companies be more competitive and more productive. That means they make more money, which means they funnel more into the economy, thereby, creating more jobs."

“I know that doesn’t make it any easier for people whose jobs have been outsourced overseas, but if a company’s only means of survival is by farming jobs outside its walls, then sometimes it’s a necessary step,” he concluded. “The other option might be to close its doors for good.”

That economic analysis was published in the August 29, 2005 edition of “The Trump Blog,” with the byline identifying its author as “Donald J. Trump, Chairman, Trump University.”

Commentator A. Barton Hinkle, who exhumed that essay from the Internet Memory Hole, notes that Mr. Trump’s businesses “sell products made in Mexico – not to mention China, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Honduras, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Turkey, and Slovenia.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Protectionist-Hypocrisy
Miami Police Officers Practice the Dying Art of De-Escalation In defiance of long-established professional customs in which police officers are trained to see “officer safety” as the most important consideration in any encounter with a citizen, two officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department exercised patience, self-restraint, and no small amount of personal courage to de-escalate a potentially deadly encounter with a suicidal Marine veteran who was armed with a knife.

After arriving on the scene, one officer parried the troubled man’s threats to harm him while the other saw to the safety of bystanders on the scene.

Video of the encounter showed the severely depressed man asking to be shot, telling the officers that if they approached him he would use the knife and that “I’ve been shot before.”

One officer pleads with the distraught man, telling him “I don’t want to hurt you, put it down…. Just relax, just drop it…. Come on, talk to me brother,” he urged, as both he and his partner carefully approached the man. Eventually they were able to take him into custody without seriously harming him, and he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Municipal Lawsuits Drive L.A. to Borrow Money for Payouts Like Chicago, New York, and other major cities, the municipal government of Los Angeles will have to borrow money in order to cover the expenses incurred from settling several high-profile lawsuits.

According to the Los Angeles Times, city budget officials have warned “that the city needs to immediately borrow tens of millions of dollars to avoid dipping into its emergency reserve fund” following the legal settlements. The city ordinarily budgets $60 million a year for its legal liability fund, but since the fiscal year began on July 1 it has already paid out $135 million.

Among recent legal expenses incurred by Los Angeles are a $200-million settlement by the City Council in a housing-related lawsuit brought by disabled groups, and an $8-million settlement to end lawsuits related to the fatal Los Angeles Police Department shootings of three unarmed men in separate incidents. The $200 million total will be paid out over 10 years.

The Los Angeles City Administrative Office has recommended that the city borrow $50 million to $70 million to address cases that are part of a what it calls a “new trend of increased liability payouts.” The report also urges that the city issue a bond, and advises against dipping into the city’s reserve fund, which is for financial emergencies.

As of November, points out the L.A. Times, the city’s reserve fund “stood at about $295 million, which the report said is `only precariously above’ the minimum amount required under city policy — 5% of the General Fund budget.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Israeli Diplomats Caught Discussing Interference in British Parliamentary Elections A journalistic sting carried out by a reporter for the Al-Jazeera network apparently caught an official at Israel’s embassy in London discussing a “hit list” of British legislators who were seen as that country’s political enemies, reports the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Shai Masot, an officer in the Israeli Defense Forces and a senior political officer at the London embassy, referred to potential action targeting several British MPs, asking a civil servant, “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?... If you look hard enough, I’m sure there is something that they’re trying to hide. A little scandal, maybe.” One figure mentioned specifically was Deputy Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan, who is a prominent supporter of Palestinian statehood. Crispin Blunt, chair of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, was also mentioned as a name on the “hit list” for his support of the Palestinians.

Israeli diplomatic officials disavowed Masot’s remarks and promised that he would soon be removed from his post at the London embassy. During a January 9 session of Parliament, Conservative Party MP Sir Hugo Swire, chair of the party’s Middle East Council, demanded an investigation of the matter. The British Foreign Office has said that the matter is “closed.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Judge Napolitano: New FBI Email Dump Shows “Smoking Gun”“Smoking-Gun” Without warning or explanation, the FBI released another batch of 300 Hillary Clinton emails over the weekend, and this collection contains what Fox News legal affairs analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano characterizes as a “smoking gun” regarding the former Secretary of State’s violations of federal law.

“The highly sensitive nature was 301 pages of emails which Mrs. Clinton sent on a regular basis to a non-government person,” Napolitano explained. “We have reason to believe it was Sid Blumenthal, with whom she [exchanged emails] on a regular basis, several times a day. What we now know -- what Donald Trump feared and argued on the campaign trail, and what rogue FBI agents who profoundly disagreed with Director Comey’s decision to recommend against indictment – was true,” Napolitano continued. “That the information Mrs. Clinton regularly sent to her emailer was hacked by foreign intelligence agencies, of countries unfriendly to us, and friendly to us.” Citing sources within the Bureau, Napolitano identified the countries as Russia and China, which he characterized as “unfriendly,” and Israel, described as “friendly.”

These revelations occurred the day before the opening of Senate confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s choice to serve as Attorney General. Asked by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley whether he would investigate Mrs. Clinton’s misconduct, Sessions replied: “I believe that could place my objectivity in question. I believe the proper thing would be for me to recuse myself.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Smoking-Gun”
When Showbiz Celebrities Twitter-Feud In her melodramatic and much-discussed Golden Globes acceptance speech last Sunday evening, Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep offered unsolicited advice to President-elect Donald Trump while playing to the bottomless vanity of her Hollywood audience, whom she described as belonging to “the most vilified segments in American society right now.”

“Think about it,” Streep urged her wealthy and privileged colleagues, who needed little encouragement to indulge the pretense of being persecuted. “Hollywood. Foreigners. And the press.” Absent the redemptive influence of Hollywood and all it represents, she intoned, “you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Streep’s self-satisfied panegyric to Hollywood played well in the room, but didn’t resonate with most of the population upon which the entertainment industry depends for its livelihood. Predictably, the President-elect at whom it was aimed – himself a former showbiz celebrity and “Reality TV” star – responded with a flurry of indignant Twitter posts in which he dismissed Steep as “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.”

Trump had expressed a decidedly different opinion of Streep in 2015, referring to her as an “excellent” actress and “a fine person, too.” Following her public criticism, Trump dismisses Streep as “a Hillary flunky who lost big” – which may be true, but this doesn’t alter the fact that when he takes the presidential oath Trump will promise to defend and protect her rights, as well as those of all the other citizens he has described as his “enemies.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Wheelchair-Bound Man Gets DUI Conviction Overturned Lincoln County, Oregon resident James Richard Greene was arrested in 2012 after the motorized wheelchair he was operating struck the side of a moving pickup. A year later, the DA charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and won a conviction following a two-day trial. The state, taking a predictably expansive view of the statute, insisted that the wheelchair met the legal definition of a motor vehicle. However, a section of the statute pointedly ignored by the prosecutor defined “pedestrians” as “any person afoot or confined to a wheelchair.”

The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned that conviction, ruling that at the time of the collision – which occurred inside a crosswalk – Greene was a pedestrian, not a motorist. Since the issue was not implicated in Greene’s case, the court did not offer an opinion regarding the legitimacy of a DUI prosecution involving the use of a motorized wheelchair in a public road or a public parking lot.

Portland attorney Ben Elder, who specializes in DUI defense, told the Oregonian newspaper that he had never heard of a case of that kind in more than a decade of practicing in Oregon.

“Several arrests in similar cases across the US in recent years have made national headlines,” observes the Oregonian. “That includes a 48-year-old Michigan man who was cited for DUII in October 2016 after police say he was drunk and backed his motorized scooter over some plants and into a Kroger store.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Do Property Rights Actually Exist in America? When someone owns a piece of property, he or she has full control over it and all the uses that can be derived from it. Few, if any, citizens of the United States who have clear title to their private property actually own it, in the truest sense of the term. Property taxes effectively turn home owners into renters of the land and houses they have legally obtained. Through zoning ordinances and municipal land use codes, city and county governments exercise proprietary claims on those tracts of nominally private property. Those claims are violently enforced by state agents who assert the supposed authority to impose financial penalties on people who use their own property in a way not approved by municipal authorities – and kill any property owner who resists.

Amy McKinnon of Augusta, Georgia was recently sent to jail for 120 days for building a home on her own property for her sick mother. Code enforcement officials who presumed to regulate McKinnon’s use of her property had deigned to allow her to erect a gazebo in her yard, but cited her for having two structures on one parcel of land when it became clear that it had exceeded the 562 square feet anticipated for the gazebo.

McKinnon’s neighbor, Don Gilmore, denounced her half-completed home as “a monstrosity” and – displaying an attitude appropriate to a subject of Communist East Germany – applauded city officials for imprisoning his neighbor.

“I want to see this thing come down yesterday!” Gilmore told the local Fox affiliate.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Tillerson Allegedly Violated Iran Sanctions as Exxon CEO Between 2003 and 2005, ExxonMobil allegedly conducted business in Iran in defiance of economic sanctions imposed by Washington, reports USA Today. This was during the period when Rex Tillerson, appointed by Donald Trump to serve as US Secretary of State, was CEO of the company. SEC filings unearthed by American Bridge, an opposition research group connected to the Democratic Party, showed $53.2 million in sales to Iran, as well as $1.1 million in business with Syria, during that three-year period.

The sales were conducted by a subsidiary called Infineum, which was based in Europe. ExxonMobil officials insist that the transactions did not violate the sanctions because they did not involve US employees.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Orwellian “Peace Institute” Promotes Intervention, War“Peace-Institute”-Promotes-Intervention,-War This week, the US Institute of Peace (USIP) will convene a two-day gathering entitled “Passing the Baton 2017: America’s Role in the World.” Among the featured speakers at that event will be several of the most prominent advocates for foreign intervention and aggressive war – including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton, retired Lt. General and Trump National Security Advisor designate Michael Flynn, and incumbent National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

Albright is notorious for her blithe comment to 60 Minutes in 1995 that sanctions imposed on Iraq were “worth it” despite their role in killing an estimated half-million Iraqi children. She also promoted the 1999 US-led NATO terror bombing of Serbia, and on one occasion actually rebuked Colin Powell, at the time Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his reluctance to commit US troops to foreign conflicts not directly related to national defense. Cotton, an Iraq War veteran, is a vociferous proponent of war with Iran. Flynn has been a “war on terror” hawk, and Rice has promoted both the Obama administration’s ongoing drone war and its disastrous military intervention in Libya.

Also on the program is an event entitled “A Conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham.” The South Carolina Republican is among the most conspicuous advocates of unlimited war in the Middle East, and a zealot for confrontation with Russia.

The tax-funded USIP, which was created during the Reagan administration, has been controlled since its inception by the so-called neoconservative faction, which eagerly promotes military adventurism abroad.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Peace-Institute”-Promotes-Intervention,-War
The Nobel Peace President’s Bloody Legacy’s-Bloody-Legacy Medea Benjamin of the peace activist group Code Pink was a passionate critic of the Bush administration. Unlike most of her colleagues on the Left, however, she was also a critic of the Obama administration, ignoring partisan loyalty in favor of fidelity to her principles.

“While candidate Obama came to office pledging to end George W. Bush’s wars, he leaves office having been at war longer than any president in U.S. history,” writes Benjamin in the Guardian of London. “He is also the only president to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.”

Although Obama did reduce the number of U.S. ground troops deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan – following through on plans made by his predecessor – “he dramatically expanded the air wars and the use of special operations forces around the globe,” Benjamin elaborates. “In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70 percent of the world’s nations, 138 countries – a staggering jump of 130 percent since the days of the Bush administration.”

In 2016 alone, the final year of Obama’s presidency, the US military dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that “every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day,” concludes Benjamin, summarizing the legacy of a president who began his first term by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Bloody-Legacy
Supreme Court to Hear Case Involving Post-Acquittal Punishment Under the ancient Old Testament Law of Moses, which is renowned for its severity, judges and other public officials who wrongfully convicted innocent people would be liable to the same punishment they inflict. In the contemporary American criminal justice system, courts frequently impose fines and other punishments even after defendants have been acquitted of all charges, or exonerated following a wrongful conviction.

The US Supreme Court on January 9 heard arguments in the case of Nelson v. Colorado, in which Shannon Nelson and Louis Alonzo Madden were initially convicted of child sexual abuse and then exonerated by an appeals court, which found that the verdict had been engineered through judicial misconduct. Both defendants had been required to pay extravagant sums for various fees prior to trial. The appeals court ordered that they be reimbursed, but the state Supreme Court reversed that decision, claiming that the victims weren’t entitled to restitution because they had not been sent to prison.

Legal Commentator Garret Epps notes that “there is no legal crime for which either [Nelson or Madden] owed fines or restitutios. Nonetheless, the [Colorado Supreme Court] said, Nelson and Madden were out of luck unless they could prove their innocence” – which was not their burden as defendants, and once they were exonerated on appeal the state was given the burden of proving their guilt. In an inversion of due process, Colorado’s brief focuses on the gravity of the accusations, rather than acknowledging the legal innocence of its now-exonerated victims.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Already Demanding Investigations of Media Leaks Donald Trump incontestably benefited from leaked information during the 2016 presidential campaign, and both the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign were outraged by those disclosures. Weeks prior to his inauguration as president, however, Trump is already demanding “investigations of leaks to the press – an indication that he’ll emulate and possibly surpass President Obama’s practice of criminalizing disclosures to the media,” observes The Intercept.

Trump took to Twitter on January 6 to demand that “the chairs of the House and Senate committees … investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it.” The NBC report actually digested a Washington Post story regarding the unclassified – and entirely uncorroborated – intelligence reports describing alleged Russian efforts to influence the US election. The Post did receive a leaked copy of the same report that was made available a few hours later – long after Trump could have seen the same material, had he chosen to do so.

Trump was not complaining about a security breach, but rather asking Republicans in Congress to use their open-ended investigative powers to retaliate against a news organization whose coverage had offended him. Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who has been critical of the Obama administration’s civil liberties record, asks: “After January 20, will Trump be personally directing investigations whenever a news story annoys him?”

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Tax Victims Force to Subsidize Incarcerated Gender Revolutionaries Tax victims in California will be forced to underwrite the surgeon-assisted sexual self-mutilation of a prison inmate calling himself Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who is serving a life sentence without prospect of parole for first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery for ransom. After undergoing what officials call “sex-reassignment surgery” – which will modify the external signifiers of his sex, while leaving him male at a genetic level – Quine will be transferred to a women’s prison. He will there be surrounded by authentic female inmates, many of whom are serving convictions for non-violent offenses.

Quine was convicted of murdering Shahid Ali Baig, a 33-year-old father of three, in February 1980, in order to steal $80 and his car. California Department of Corrections official Terry Thornton insists that denying the murderer the privilege of taxpayer-assisted “sex reassignment” surgery would violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Farida Baig, the daughter of Quine’s victim, contends that forcing tax victims to underwrite Quine’s unusual demand is a form of state-inflicted cruelty on the innocent.

“My dad begged for his life,” she recalls, saying that “it just made me dizzy and sick” to learn of the tax-funded transgender operation. “I’m helping pay for his surgery,” she continues. “I live in California. It’s kind of like a slap in the face.”

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama Administration Nationalizes the US Election System The US Constitution does not authorize the federal government to operate the election system, which is controlled through state governments and their subsidiaries. Because the Framers of the Constitution did not trust the central government to control the mechanism used to select congressmen, senators, and presidential electors, the power to conduct elections was reserved to the separate states through the Tenth Amendment.

With just weeks to go before the end of a presidency characterized by expansive contempt for the US Constitution, Barack Obama has approved a directive that designated the election system part of the country’s “vital” infrastructure.

“Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure,” insisted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. The decision to nationalize the election system in defiance of constitutional prohibitions “came after months of review and despite opposition from many states,” notes ABC News. “It was announced the same day a declassified US intelligence report said Russian President Vladimir Putin `ordered’ an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.”

That report did not claim that Russian hackers had infiltrated any element of the decentralized US election system. In fact, the only documented instance of an attempted cyber-infiltration was traced to the Department of Homeland Security by Georgia’s Secretary of State.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Plans Significant Expansion of Navy Owing to their concern over standing military establishments, the Framers of the Constitution limited congressional budget authorizations for the Army to two years apiece, while delegating to that body the power to “maintain” a Navy. This was because the Founders understood that a navy would be useful in defending the republic from foreign threats, and protecting citizens pursuing commercial interests overseas.

Since World War II, Washington has consistently maintained the largest and most active navy in history. In recent decades it has been increasingly used for power projection and involvement in foreign military conflicts not plausibly connected to defense of the country. Although Donald Trump has repeatedly called for a less interventionist foreign policy, he has likewise demanded that the Navy be expanded. As a result, notes the AP, “the Navy is proposing the biggest shipbuilding boom since the end of the Cold War to meet threats from a resurgent Russia and saber-rattling China.”

The service has outlined a 355-ship program that “is even larger than what [the President-elect] had promoted on the campaign trail,” which would include a new aircraft carrier, 16 large surface warships, 18 attack submarines, and additional amphibious assault ships, expeditionary transfer docks, and support ships.

Not surprisingly, this initiative is being touted as a Keynesian “boost to shipyards that have struggled because [of] budget caps that have limited … funding for ships,” the AP report continues. The new gusher of military funding would be directed at congressional districts in Virginia, Maine, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and other states.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Odd Alliance Between Leftist California AG and Trump’s Treasury Pick’s-Treasury-Pick A memo compiled by investigators for California Attorney General Kamala Harris accused Steven Mnuchin, the Goldman Sachs vet selected by Donald Trump to be Secretary of the Treasury, of repeatedly violating that state’s foreclosure laws between 2009 and 2015, reports the Intercept.

The AG’s Consumer Law Section identified over a thousand legal violations in one small subsection of loans issued by Mnuchin’s OneWest bank, and advised Harris to file a civil enforcement action against the lender. The 22-page memo contained a sample legal complaint that would seek injunctive relief and millions of dollars in penalties.

Mnuchin, through OneWest, has been accused of illegally foreclosing on thousands of homes. The memo compiled by the AG’s office also claimed that OneWest “obstructed the investigation by ordering third parties to refuse to comply with state subpoenas.”

Confronted by The Hill over her refusal to pursue the matter, Harris – who was elected to the Senate last November – declined to offer a substantive reply, dismissing the matter as “a decision my office made.”

Harris, once described by Barack Obama as his favorite state attorney general, has been touted by some Democratic Party activists as a rising figure and potential presidential candidate.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Treasury-Pick
New York Federal Court Consents to Fourth Amendment Violation Several months after his parole on narcotics offenses, New York resident Kemal Lambus was required to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his compliance with a curfew. He was assured that this arrangement would be ended after no more than six months – yet probation and parole officials unlawfully extended the tracking period to 791 days. This was done in the effort to gather evidence on Lambus and his associates, who were suspected of involvement in a drug trafficking syndicate.

A New York federal appeals court acknowledged that this open-ended monitoring was a clearly unconstitutional search.

“A state cannot use a parolee as a sort of fly paper, trailing him around the community for years, trolling for criminals,” wrote the court. Despite acknowledging that the officials who imposed these restrictions on Lambus behaved unlawfully, the court insisted on rewarding their criminal misconduct by refusing to suppress the evidence that was illegally obtained. The court justified that perverse ruling, in part, by describing the facially illegal monitoring as “a legitimate supervisory objective” and blaming the indigent defendant for not having the financial means to obtain competent legal representation.

“If Lambus had been represented by counsel during his parole, he might have challenged … this continuing search,” writes the court. “It is an unfortunate and common occurrence in our country that rights without counsel are no rights.”

One purpose of the appeals system, the court apparently forgot, is to vindicate the rights of citizens in such circumstances.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Unions Hail Sessions a “Police-First” AG Selection“Police-First”-AG-Selection The advertised purpose of the justice system is to protect the lives and property rights of the citizens against criminal violence, whether from private actors or state officials. Within that framework the US Attorney General is responsible for carrying out what James Madison called the “few and defined” legal functions of the federal government, leaving most law enforcement functions within the “numerous and indefinite” powers reserved to the states.

During the Obama administration, many conservatives and law enforcement lobbying groups complained that Attorney General Eric Holder and his successor, Loretta Lynch, improperly expanded the federal role in state and local law enforcement. They contradictorily condemned the administration for its trivial reduction in the transfer of military-grade weapons and other war-fighting assets from the Pentagon to local police. Now that Donald Trump is poised to become president, the country’s largest police unions and lobbying groups -- the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the National Sheriffs Association -- have abandoned any pretense of opposition to federalization of law enforcement under an administration they anticipate will be more congenial to their interests.

According to The Hill, “Law enforcement groups view [Trump’s Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions] as someone who will bring a `police-first’ mentality to [the Justice Department] that they say was absent during President Obama’s eight years in office.”

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Police-First”-AG-Selection
Zero Evidence of Anything but Hypocrisy in “Intel” Report“Intel”-Report The much-publicized intelligence report supposedly confirming Russian interference in the recent US election offers evidence of nothing but Washington’s hypocrisy, contends Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute.

One of the key contentions in the report is that the Russian government-funded RT news network helped influence public opinion. McAdams observes that “The Kremlin funds RT to the tune of $190 million per year … and its audience keeps growing. The report does not mention that the US government spends vastly more — $780 million for 2017 — on its worldwide propaganda effort through the government-funded Broadcasting Board of Governors.”

“Another problem the US spy agencies have with RT is that it reports on the surveillance state created by those same spy agencies,” McAdams continues. Washington’s intelligence organs complain that “RT’s reports often characterize the United States as a ‘surveillance state’ and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties.”

“So RT is guilty of being a Kremlin plot to undermine our freedom because it points out that the US government has already undermined our freedom,” McAdams sarcastically observes, noting as well that “National Intelligence Director James Clapper told the Senate [that] pointing out US government hypocrisy is itself indicative of a Russian influence operation in action.”

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Intel”-Report
Intel Report on Russian Hacking: Assertions, Not Evidence,-Not-Evidence The 25-page unclassified intelligence assessment regarding alleged Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 US presidential election offers assertions, but no evidence. The much-discussed report offers a candid acknowledgment in its preface that it will not provide confirmation of the conclusions presented therein, while claiming that the CIA, NSA, and FBI all believe that the Russian government hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, stole a large volume of emails, and released them to the public in an effort to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Only two pages of the report deal with the actual mechanics of cyber-intrusions, without making a compelling case that the Russian government or its agents were involved in raiding the DNC’s computers. Rather than providing proof of its most incendiary claims, the report focuses on what it describes as motives for such an attack, and spends several pages examining the operations of the Russian government-controlled English-language RT media network. This section of the report, observes commentator Scott Shackford, is intended “to highlight how Russian propaganda is reaching American listeners.”

One prominent complaint lodged in the report is that RT supposedly subverted the two-party system by hosting a third-party presidential debate and provided a platform for activists who believe that the existing political cartel doesn’t serve the interests of the electorate. They also object to the network’s coverage of police abuse, domestic surveillance, and the increasing reliance of the Obama administration on drone warfare.

Rather than serving as a compelling indictment of Russian cyber-warfare, the intelligence report promotes the idea that political and media figures who criticize the abuses of the federal law enforcement and intelligence system are either paid or unwitting dupes of the Kremlin.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Not-Evidence
Plagiarism Charges against Trump National Security Appointee Syndicated columnist and former Fox News commentator Monica Crowley, chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council, “plagiarized large sections” of her 2012 book “What The (Bleep) Just Happened,” charges a feature story published by CNN. The network lists “upwards of 50 examples” of unattributed duplication in Crowley’s book, “including copying with minor changes of news articles, other columnists, think tanks, and Wikipedia.” The book, a New York Times best-seller published by HarperCollins, “contains no notes or bibliography.”

The allegations against Crowley strike a serious blow at both her character and her academic credibility. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Crowley holds a Ph.D in international relations from Columbia University. In her book she copied, almost verbatim, entire essays from other sources. Furthermore, this is not the first time she has been charged with plagiarism: In 1999, prior to receiving her doctorate, Crowley was accused of essentially duplicating a 1988 article published by the neoconservative journal Commentary.

Neither HarperCollins nor Crowley responded to CNN’s allegations. The Trump transition team expressed continued support for Crowley, insisting that her “exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration…. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country,” the transition team concluded.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Yes, There are “Fake News” (Disinformation) Stories on the Right,-There-are-“Fake-News”-(Disinformation)-Stories-on-the-Right Since the election, the Obama administration, the Clinton campaign, and most organs of the legacy media – aided now by the leading US intelligence agencies – have labored tirelessly to discredit all independent media as purveyors of “fake news.” This campaign is largely a reflection of political disgruntlement on the part of formerly complacent liberals, and professional jealousy on the part of their media allies. Regrettably, it can exploit occasional instances of sloppiness or dishonesty on the part of independent media figures – and the recent mass murder in Fort Lauderdale produced an example of that kind.

Infowars, the Gateway Pundit, the website of former Florida Republican Congressman Allen West, and countless Right-leaning social media accounts all retailed what was described as a contrast between an “un-doctored” photograph of accused murderer Esteban Santiago, and one supposedly used by CNN. The former showed a dusky-skinned young man of Latino ancestry; the second one had been over-exposed in such a fashion that he appeared to be Caucasian. The charge was the CNN deliberately altered the photograph to make the suspect appear white – the reverse of the notorious Time magazine cover story from 1994 in which OJ Simpson was made to appear darker.

At the time the story of the doctored Esteban Santiago photo was put into circulation, CNN had yet to air a picture of the suspect. Furthermore, the photograph used in the story that was given such extensive circulation in the Right-wing blogosphere was of another individual named Esteban Santiago – not the man allegedly responsible for the airport murder spree.

“Why is CNN attempting to make the shooter look more white? Bizarre,” wrote Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson. “It appears CNN doctored the photo to make the suspect look more white – sad,” commented Gateway Pundit publisher Jim Hoft, who has a long track record of retailing misattributed photos and unreliable accounts.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-There-are-“Fake-News”-(Disinformation)-Stories-on-the-Right
Feds Seek Suppression of Information about FBI Informants Seeking to intimidate a California blogger and liberty activist into suppressing valuable information in the ongoing trials of Cliven and Ammon Bundy and their associates, the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for Oregon have validated his reporting about undercover FBI informant-provocateurs.

Gary Hunt, a retired county land surveyor, is publisher of an independent media site called Outpost of Freedom, which began more than two decades ago as an independent newspaper. Hunt has run a lengthy series of articles called “Burns Chronicles,” discussing the protest occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and the ensuing trials. During the trial of the first set of defendants, which ended in acquittals on all of the most serious charges, it was revealed that fifteen people associated with the 41-day protest had been paid informants for the FBI. His reporting has focused on several people named in FBI documents as Cooperating Human Informants (CHIs), including William Kullman, Mark McConnell, Thomas S. Dyman, and Robert Seever.

In anticipation of the federal trial for a second group of standoff defendants, federal prosecutors asked the judge to order Hunt to remove the material about FBI informant-provocateurs from his website. Contacted by FBI Special Agent Matthew Catalano, Hunt refused to delete the material, insisting that an existing protective order did not apply to journalists like himself and that under the Sixth Amendment the defendants have the right to confront their accusers in public.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Climatologist Commits “Career Suicide” in the service of Sound Science“Career-Suicide”-in-the-service-of-Sound-Science Citing her “growing disenchantment” over the way climate alarmists have politicized her field, Dr. Judith Curry resigned as chair of the School and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

One of the most deeply learned and careful researchers in a very rarefied field of specialists, Curry has spoken out against dogmatic claims that the climate science “is settled.” Science is a process in which researchers constantly test their assumptions, and all conclusions are provisional. Once conclusions are regarded as final, defending them is not science, but apologetics – in this case, defense of political policy disguised as science. Curry’s public exposure of the abundant uncertainties involved in climate science, and her resolute defense of sound methods of scientific inquiry, prompted accusations that she was “anti-science.”

“A deciding factor [in my resignation] was that I no longer know what to say to students and [post-doctorate researchers] regarding how to navigate the craziness in the field of climate science,” wrote Dr. Curry. “Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment – funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, [and] professional recognition…. [H]ow young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and if often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide,” she laments.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Career-Suicide”-in-the-service-of-Sound-Science
“Mr. Rogers” for Intel Chief?“Mr.-Rogers”-for-Intel-Chief? Indiana Republican Senator Dan Coats, selected by President-elect Trump to serve as Director of National Intelligence, has a demeanor that has earned comparisons to the famously mild-mannered Mr. Rogers – yet his embrace of torture as an interrogation method might strike some as being akin to the notorious Inquisitor Torquemada.

“In the past, Coats has railed against President Barack Obama’s attempts to close” the Guantanamo Bay detention and torture facility, reports The Intercept, asserting that it has been “a valuable tool in our counterterrorism efforts.” He has derided the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the CIA’s practice of torture as a “partisan account,” and was personally implicated in arranging the abduction, detention, and torture of German citizen Khaled Masri. As ambassador to Germany, Coats pressured the German minister of the interior to suppress information about the Masri case.

Chris Anders of the ACLU insists that the Senate should withhold action on the Coats nomination “until he comes clean on the cover-up of the kidnapping and torture of an innocent German citizen.”

Coats is also a hardliner toward Russia, and is banned from entering that country following his high-profile promotion of sanctions against Moscow for its annexation of Crimea.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Mr.-Rogers”-for-Intel-Chief?
Fort Lauderdale Gunman Claimed he was Radicalized by US Intel Agencies According to the New York Times, federal law enforcement officials were aware of accused mass murderer Esteban Santigo prior to his rampage at the Fort Lauderdale Airport on January 6, and had been investigating whether he “was mentally disturbed and heard voices in his head telling him to commit acts of violence.”

An individual identified by the Times as “a senior law enforcement official” said that Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq combat veteran, “walked into the F.B.I. office in Anchorage in November and made disturbing remarks that prompted officials to urge him to seek mental health care.” Appearing “agitated and incoherent,” the recently discharged soldier told FBI officials “that his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency.”

Other officials said it was too early to tell whether Mr. Santiago, who was captured in the airport, had been inspired by terrorist groups, including the Islamic State. The officials said he had viewed extremist materials on the internet.

Relatives of Santiago have reported that he was receiving psychological treatment prior to the November incident in which he reached out to the FBI’s Anchorage field office. “How is it possible that the federal government knows [about his condition], they hospitalize him for only four days, and then give him his weapon back?” asked his incredulous brother, Bryan Santiago

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Nat Hentoff, Civil Libertarian and Jazz Connoisseur, Passes at 91,-Civil-Libertarian-and-Jazz-Connoisseur,-Passes-at-91 Nat Hentoff, whose lengthy and variegated writing career included music criticism, novels, and unstinting defense of the Bill of Rights, died at age 91 “surrounded by family listening to Billie Holiday,” reported his son, Nick. Hentoff, a former syndicated columnist for the Washington Post and long-time featured writer for the liberal Village Voice, was also published in the conservative online journal WorldNetDaily, whoseeditor, Joseph Farah, referred to Hentoff as “America’s conscience” in a tribute published last fall.

“When people talk about old-school liberals who’d defend to the death your right to say anything you want, chances are good that Hentoff is the fellow they’ve got in mind,” declared Jesse Walker of the libertarian journal Reason. For decades, Hentoff “pounded away at the evils of censorship, and he didn’t care if the censor had a left-wing agenda or a right-wing one. If anything, he seemed especially perturbed when people he expected to share his values started stomping on individual liberties.”

A self-described “liberal atheist Jew,” Hentoff was also a passionate defender of the right to life and an outspoken opponent of abortion.

In an interview with John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, Hentoff excoriated Barack Obama, describing him as “much worse” that George W. Bush in his abuses of executive power.

“Obama seems to have no firm principles that I can discern that he will adhere to,” Hentoff observed. “His only principle is his own aggrandizement. This is a very dangerous mindset for a president to have.”

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Civil-Libertarian-and-Jazz-Connoisseur,-Passes-at-91
German Intelligence Facilitated Christmas Truck Attack Last week witnessed a blockbuster revelation indicating that the driver of the hijacked truck that was used in a murderous terrorist attack at a Berlin Christmas market last under the control of German government informants, who had been planted within radical Islamic organizations.

Peter Schwartz of revealed that Anis Amri, the driver of the weaponized truck, was closely monitored by an undercover agent known as “VP,” who reportedly helped Amri with his plans.

On Friday evening, the ARD television program `Focus’ (`Brennpunkt’) cited a file according to which an `informant’ (`VP’) for the North Rhine-Westphalian state criminal office had already made contact with Amri at the end of 2015,” reported Schwartz. “In the ensuing days, Amri stated that he wanted to carry out attacks in Germany using weapons of war (AK 47s, explosives).”

“Between February and March of 2016, Amri was driven from Dortmund to Berlin by a `secret informant for the Intelligence Service’ to whom he related his plans,” continues the account. “The note in the file adds: `He was driven by VP and stated that his mission was to kill on behalf of Allah.’”

Schwartz stated that this is but the latest example of state security forces that refrained from intervening and even protected alleged perpetrators of high-profile terrorist attacks. In every case, Schwartz points out, the attacks provided the pretext for building up the state apparatus increasing domestic surveillance and enhancing police state powers.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Turkish Government Candidly Accuses Washington of Arming ISIS Both private eyewitnesses and government officials in the Middle East have implicated the US government as conscious supporters of radical Islamist groups in Syria -- including funding and arming ISIS, thereby escalating what increasingly appears to be an ersatz war on terror.

Most of these revelations, however, haven’t made it into the news diet of the ordinary Americans, and independent journalists have long maintained that this reflects biased coverage by major Western media organs that are aligned with US government official pronouncements and their agendas.

Last week, Turkey’s President Erdogan accused the US of “supporting and arming ISIS,” and said he has "confirmed evidence" to back up his claim, reported the independent news commentary site "They give support to terrorist groups including ISIS" Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara on Tuesday, adding that US coalition forces "give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It's very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos."

Predictably, the Obama administration has denied Erdogan's allegations, and accused Turkey of spreading "fake news,” while ignoring other accounts from sources in and around Syria that have reported the same US covert support for the radical elements fighting in Syria.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Yet Another Israeli Prime Minister Faces Criminal Corruption Probe Every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin has been accused of, or involved in, serious corruption scandals. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, for instance, was forced to step down in 2008 over corruption allegations, for which he has since been indicted.

Now investigations are ongoing against Benjamin Netanyahu, reports the Associated Press: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was grilled by police investigators for over three hours at his official residence Monday night, opening what could be a politically damaging criminal investigation into suspicions that he improperly accepted gifts from wealthy supporters.”

A report from Israel’s Channel 2 TV claims that Netanyahu stands accused of accepting "`favors’ from businessmen in Israel and abroad and that he is the central suspect in a second investigation that also involves family members.”

Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen is inclined to believe the charges and suspects it is just “the tip of the iceberg.”

“Netanyahu has long been the recipient of globalist favors ever since the Kissinger group paid for his US education and set him up in an office on Wall Street,” Skousen recounts. “Netanyahu came to Israel with very little money and is now extremely wealthy. It’s the same way Barack Obama became wealthy in office after having only made $60K a year as a community organizer.”

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
US Government Waging Global War on Cash Cash is a fluid medium of exchange that is completely anonymous and untraceable—traits that concern centralized planners in government who want the ability to track, tax or restrict every business negotiation. Their increasing effort to ban or reduce cash and rely solely on credit and debit cards has been called a “war on cash.” The first step toward a cashless society is to eliminate large denomination bills, thus forcing all high-end purchases into traceable transactions. $1,000 and $500 bills were eliminated back in 1969, and similar efforts are underway against the €500 and CH1,000 notes but Americans have thus far resisted retiring the $100 bills in circulation.

That hasn’t stopped US-based globalists from “practicing” on other countries first, says German researcher Norbert Haring. He traces an ill-conceived plan by the Indian government to eliminate their two largest denomination bills to negotiations between USAID under the deceptive title “Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership” to supposedly create “a quantum leap in cashless payment in India.” Nearly 80 percent of circulating cash by value was retired in a short timeframe in India and the subsequent disruption was terribly painful to the poorer classes.

On November 8, Haring recalls, “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the two largest denominations of banknotes could not be used for payments any more with almost immediate effect. Owners could only recoup their value by putting them into a bank account before the short grace period expired at year end, which many people and businesses did not manage to do, due to long lines in front of banks. The amount of cash that banks were allowed to pay out to individual customers was severely restricted. Almost half of Indians have no bank account and many do not even have a bank nearby. The economy is largely cash based. Thus, a severe shortage of cash ensued. Those who suffered the most were the poorest and most vulnerable. They had additional difficulty earning their meager living in the informal sector or paying for essential goods and services like food, medicine or hospitals. Chaos and fraud reigned well into December.”

The plan backfired. After significant economic disruption the experiment appears to be failing, leading some to hope that other countries will be more resistant to the US war against cash.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Degenerate Agitprop “Art” Displayed at US Capitol“Art”-Displayed-at-US-Capitol At the US Capitol complex, each congressman is allowed to submit artwork from his district for public viewing, but one piece showing police officers as pigs in the middle of black protestors is drawing criticism from more than just art critics. Congressional Democrat Lacy Clay from a district in St. Louis chose to elevate the painting by a local high school senior despite the obvious institutional slur against police.

Policemen assigned to security duties at the Capitol and local police unions predictably expressed outrage over the caricature, and Congressional Republicans are protesting it as unnecessarily inflammatory and demeaning.

“It is disheartening to see this depiction of law enforcement hanging in the hallway of our nation's Capitol where officers work every day to protect our safety and freedoms,” Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., told The Independent Journal Review. “Unfortunately, many people of influence have taken part in promoting offensive and inaccurate caricatures of the very people who do the most to protect our families.”

One resident of St Louis observed that “If any other ethnic, religious, or work group were depicted this way, the art piece would be determined to be `hate speech,’ and removed from the wall, and the artist subject to criminal and civil penalties. Everyone is calling for better police-community relations, and in ST. Louis, I have seen the beginning of this through many efforts. But if this teenage ‘artist’ is allowed to scapegoat police, it only sets us back,” he concludes.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Art”-Displayed-at-US-Capitol
Horrifying Abduction in Chicago Four young Chicago males and one female are in police custody and being questioned in connection with the abduction and torture of a mentally disabled man in an incident that was live-streamed on Facebook. The video depicted a visibly terrified young white man who had been tied up and was bleeding from the head while his captors – who are black – beat him and assail him with racist abuse and profane references to Donald Trump. At one point the suspects express the hope that the video will go viral.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi describes the video as “reprehensible. It’s sickening. You know it makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that.”

The victim, who was found walking alone in shorts, despite severe cold, is believed to have been the classmate of one of the suspects.

The political and racial content of the video has prompted many commentators to describe the offense as a hate crime. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson initially insisted that the evidence for such a charge hadn’t been found.

“I think some of it is just stupidity, people just ranting about something that they think might make a headline,” he observed, underscoring the recorded statements by suspects about wanting to create a viral video. “I don’t think we have anything concrete to really point us in that direction, but we’ll keep investigating and we’ll let the facts guide us on how this concludes,” added Johnson. Hate crimes charges were eventually filed against the suspects.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama’s “Napoleon Moment”’s-“Napoleon-Moment” When Napoleon Bonaparte was named emperor in December 1804, he took the crown from Pope Pius VII and placed it on his own head. He thereby signified that there was none worthy to confer that title but himself – not even the religious official widely recognized as the Vicar of Christ.

As his presidency expires, Barack Obama has had what could be called a “Napoleon Moment” in which he effectively awarded himself the Pentagon’s Distinguished Public Service medal. The actual award was conferred by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during the Armed Forces Full Honor Farewell Review at Commy Hall in Virginia’s Joint Base Myer-Henderson.

A military award ribbon similar to those given to active-duty military personnel, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award is the highest commendation of its kind given by the military to civilians. The Defense Department explains that the award “is presented to a small number of civilian employees whose careers reflect exceptional devotion to duty and significant contributions of broad scope in policy, scientific, technical or administrative fields that increase effectiveness and efficiency.”

Mr. Obama, of course, is not a Defense Department employee or technical advisor. In effect, this commendation represents the boss giving himself an award.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Napoleon-Moment”
Assange, WikiLeaks May Sue CNN over “Pedophile” Slur,-WikiLeaks-May-Sue-CNN-over-“Pedophile”-Slur WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has lived in asylum for several years in the Ecuadorian consulate in London. The government of Sweden has sought extradition on disputed charges of sexual assault. Assange, who stoutly denies the accusations, has expressed concerns that Sweden – which has an extradition treaty with the United States – would deliver him into the custody of the U.S. government, which seeks to prosecute him on espionage charges arising from WikiLeaks’ publication of diplomatic cables provided by Army whistleblower Bradley Manning.

During a January 1 panel discussion, CNN contributor Philip Mudd, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, referred to Assange as “a pedophile who lives in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.” Under pressure from Wikileaks, CNN removed the video of that exchange from its website and issued a statement apologizing for broadcasting Mudd’s claims.

“CNN has no evidence to support [Mudd’s] assertion,” admitted the network. “Assange is currently wanted for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations there, and no evidence suggests that the women involved were minors. We regret the error.”

Following that apology, however, CNN broadcast a second panel discussion in which Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers stated that Assange “is wanted for rape of a minor” and is “hiding in the basement of an embassy because he is a fugitive from justice.”

WikiLeaks has announced that it is preparing to file a defamation suit against the network.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-WikiLeaks-May-Sue-CNN-over-“Pedophile”-Slur
Cultural Assault on Marriage Takes a Bizarre Turn The purpose of marriage, as defined in the Jewish and Christian scriptural canon, is to unite a man and a woman as “one flesh,” thereby creating a lasting communion between them. In its Obergefell ruling in 2015, the US Supreme Court arrogated to itself the supposed authority to redefine a millennia-old institution that existed before any political government – and whose origin, according to the faithful, was a primordial act by the Creator Himself.

Good Housekeeping magazine, a woman’s publication that, decades ago, was devoted to sharing useful tips for middle-class housewives, reports on what it calls the “small but growing movement” of people who “marry” themselves. This burlesque of matrimony has spawned a small industry of “consultants and self-wedding planners…. In Canada, a service called Marry Yourself Vancouver launched this past summer, offering consulting services and wedding photography. In Japan, a travel agency called Cerca Travel offers a two-day self-wedding package in Kyoto: You can choose a wedding gown, bouquet, and hairstyle. And pose for formal wedding portraits. On the website I Married Me, you can buy a DIY marriage kit: For $50, you get a sterling silver ring, ceremony instructions, vows, and 24 `affirmation cards’ to remind you of your votes over time. For $230, you can get the kit with a 14-karat gold ring.”

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Republican Legislatures, Democrat Municipal Governments at Odds,-Democrat-Municipal-Governments-at-Odds Hillary Clinton won the aggregate popular vote in November, but Donald Trump carried an overwhelming majority of counties. Republicans now control a majority of the state houses, and in some states control both the executive and legislative branches. Sandwiched between the GOP-controlled federal government and Republican-led state governments are a number of large municipalities that are governed by Democrats – and they may soon see their hands tied by “pre-emption” laws enacted by Republican legislatures.

The Hill notes that those laws would “prevent cities and counties from passing new measures governing everything from taxes to environmental regulations and social issues.”

Many Republican legislatures complain that “liberal cities and counties vastly overstepped their bounds by implementing new taxes on sodas and sugary beverages, by raising local minimum wages or through strict new environmental regulations.” Under the federalist principle, such enactments – while liable to criticism as foolish or counterproductive – would be less dangerous at the local level than at the state level. Furthermore, many causes traditionally associated with the GOP have worked through municipalities to circumvent liberal state governments; for instance, grassroots conservatives have promoted measures allowing cities to opt-out of state-level “smart growth planning” policies.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Democrat-Municipal-Governments-at-Odds
Armed Texas Grandmother Drives Off Intruder Rebbie Robertson, a 74-year-old resident of Bowie County, Texas, didn’t panic when she saw an armed, masked intruder preparing to break into her home. Instead, she walked resolutely to a nearby table and retrieved her own firearm.

“I had to walk right out in front of him,” she recalled to the local ABC affiliate. “I didn’t know if he was going to kill me or what. I reached over there and grabbed this gun. And when I swerved around, I pointed it at him, and he ran.” She briefly pursued him, firing several shots.

“I’m not sure I didn’t hit him,” she declares. “I sure tried – I was sure hoping.” Despite the composure she displayed in dealing with the intruder, Mrs. Robertson describes the incident as “the scare of my life.”

Bowie County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Neal told ABC News that officers are still seeking the suspect.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Union Chief Puzzled that Citizens Resent Seeing Cops Act like Robbers Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, complains that public outrage over civil asset forfeiture – a process in which police and prosecutors can seize money and property from citizens without filing criminal charges – is a “fake issue.” Although some states have sought to reform – if not abolish – this practice, the federal government’s “equitable sharing” program allows police to take the confiscated property and return ninety percent of it to the local agency that seized it.

Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as the next Attorney General, is a passionate supporter of asset forfeiture and the equitable sharing program. Not surprisingly, as Canterbury points out, “Not a single major law enforcement organization supported legislation ending the equitable sharing program.”

“One of Canterbury’s arguments is that asset forfeiture provides the police with money to buy things that they want,” observes Reason magazine. “It’s literally an argument in favor of stealing.”

Canterbury describes civil asset forfeiture as a way to “deprive criminals of both the proceeds and tools of crime” – but this can be done through criminal forfeiture following conviction for an offense. Nor does he acknowledge that asset seizure has been used as a means to deprive defendants of the funds they need to defend themselves against charges in court. In one outrageous case in Oregon, money confiscated from a man operating a medical marijuana coop in a state where such facilities were legal was used to pay the prosecutor who tried his criminal case.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Dylan Roof’s Impenitent Depravity’s-Impenitent-Depravity Six weeks after he murdered nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylan Roof wrote in his journal that “I would like to make it crystal clear, I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”

That journal entry was placed at the center of the death penalty case presented by prosecutors as the trial of the now-convicted mass murderer enters its sentencing phase. Roof was convicted last month for hate crimes under a federal statute. Under the Constitution, murder is a state offense – and federal pre-emption of this case might actually make it more difficult for state prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

“Since the federal death penalty statute was reinstated in 1988 and expanded in 1994, the government has taken a little more than 200 such cases to trial, and juries have handed down punishments of life in prison about twice as often as they have opted for the death penalty,” points out the Washington Post. “Roof’s case presents a complication because the ninth-grade dropout has chosen to represent himself – and to offer almost no real defense.”

In his brief opening statement Roof told the jury that he had fired his lawyers because he did not want them to offer mitigation evidence regarding his mental health.

“There’s nothing wrong with me psychologically,” he emphasized.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Impenitent-Depravity
West Virginia Sheriff Charged With Grand Larceny to serve Meth Addiction Newly elected Roane County, West Virginia Sheriff Bo Williams had barely been sworn in before he found himself incarcerated in his own jail, facing a felony charge of grand larceny. Williams, who was sworn in on New Year’s Day, had resigned from his position as city police officer in nearby Spencer last December after evidence went missing.

County Prosecutor Josh Downey, Spencer Police Chief Greg Nichols and a state police sergeant claim that Williams told them in November that he had been addicted to methamphetamine for more than a year. He has been charged with stealing $1,000 in drug evidence, and faces a prison term of up to ten years if he is convicted.

The sheriff was released following arraignment on a $50,000 property bond. He has not yet resigned, and has not said whether he intends to do so. He is subject to a court order barring him from having access to the sheriff’s office and the courthouse evidence room. The Roane County Commission has begun removal proceedings, which would require a ruling from a special three-judge panel. Former Sheriff Todd Cole has been appointed to serve as chief deputy in charge of law enforcement operations until the incumbent sheriff is either formally removed, or exonerated.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Would Trump’s Border Wall be built with Prison Labor?’s-Border-Wall-be-built-with-Prison-Labor? America’s manufacturing base has eroded over the past decade, and the market for both residential and commercial real estate has fluctuated, but the prison boom that began in the early 1990s shows no signs of tapering off. If the policy vision of arch-drug prohibitionist Jeff Sessions, chosen by Donald Trump to become the next Attorney General, prevails, the US prison population – which is already the largest in the world – will expand. One sheriff in Massachusetts has suggested that the federal government should conscript inmates to help build Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,” insisted Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson during the swearing-in ceremony for his fourth term. “Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in their communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful.”