Liberty News Daily LND - News The Networks Refuse To Use! en-us Complexities Behind Republican Repeal of Obama Privacy Regulations At first glance, it appears that Republicans simply repealed last year's FCC regulations requiring Internet service providers to do more to protect customers' privacy as a favor to big internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. Under the Obama regulation, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.

But the basis of internet providers complaints about the new rules lies in the fact that Google and Facebook are exempt from the rules, even though they gather most of the same information without consumer consent. The difference is that google and facebook are internal marketing companies that use the information in house rather than selling it to others for marketing purposes.

Internet broadband providers argue that holding them to a higher privacy standard than Google or Facebook puts them at a disadvantage in the lucrative marketplace of consumer data marketing. The dominance of Google in this market tends to bear that out. The solutions is not as simple as requiring Google and Facebook to obtain the same privacy permission as broadband providers. Google would argue that it isn't selling the information---just making millions off of it, in house.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Oklahoma Stand Your Ground Law under Scrutiny After 3 teen home invaders were shot dead with an AR-15 rifle, inside the home of the intended burglary victims, by the son of the homeowner, anti-gun activists are calling upon Oklahoma authorities to press charges against the home defender claiming he shouldn't have shot all of the teens. However, Oklahoma's Stand Your Ground law gives wide leeway to the victim of an intrusion in the use of whatever force necessary to defend the occupants in the circumstances of a criminal intrusion.

The fact that the 3 teens made a forced entry through a back door, and were wearing masks gave the homeowner's son logical cause to fear for his safety. One of the teens was armed with a knife and the other with brass knuckles. A young women accomplice was waiting in a car outside to help the teens escape, and was charged with an Oklahoma crime called “felony murder, having been an accessory to violent death, even though she did not directly cause it. That law is also being criticized by the Left as well.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
US Accepts some Responsibility for Mosul Civilian casualties Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of US forces in Iraq accepted partial responsibility for the March 17 air attack on a large building in Mosul that killed scores of civilians: “My initial assessment is that we probably had a role in these casualties," however he cautioned that, "the munition that we used should not have collapsed an entire building.”

This would imply that the building, which was being used by Islamic State fighters may have harbored a cache of ammunition and explosives as well. Contributing factors in this tragedy are the fact that Iraqi military forces have encouraged civilians not to flee, and that ISIS always fights from civilian areas in order to draw attacks that will kill civilians. This helps them depict Iraqi and US forces as the aggressors in the Sunni portions of the city.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
UK Gives Formal Notice to EU of Intention to Leave the Union Today, Prime Minister Teresa May gave formal notice, known as invoking Article 50, to European Union president Donald Tusk, that the UK was formally pulling out of the EU. Her formal notice was prefaced however by statements assuring Tusk that the UK wished to still remain part of Europe, while reclaiming UK sovereignty over normal affairs.

However that last statement stands in contrast to her statement reiterating what she had told Parliament at the begin of the Brexit process: " As I have announced already, the Government will bring forward legislation that will repeal the Act of Parliament - the European Communities Act 1972 - that gives effect to EU law in our country. This legislation will, wherever practical and appropriate, in effect convert the body of existing European Union law (the "acquis") into UK law. This means there will be certainty for UK citizens and for anybody from the European Union who does business in the United Kingdom."

Euroskeptics in the UK fear, however, that inculcating all of current EU law into British law negates the entire purpose of the Brexit, and binds the UK to the interfering social and trade statutes of the EU that triggered the Brexit vote.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
California Chooses to Prosecute Anti-Abortion Activists for filming criminal acts Basing their decision on a skewed version of privacy law, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has charged two antiabortion activists with 15 felony counts for violating the privacy of Planned Parenthood doctors who were illegally harvesting fetal body parts for sale. The two used false identities to infiltrate the organization in order to plant cameras that would record criminal actions by Planned Parenthood doctors. As a matter of legal principle, persons engaged in criminal acts have no right to privacy while engaging in criminal actions.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Battle Heating up over Gorsuch Confirmation Senator Republicans are trying hard to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch forthe vacancy in the Supreme Court before the April 7 two week recess. With Democrats promising a filibuster, it would take 60 votes in theSenate to close off debate (what is called cloture), and the Republicans do not have that many Senators without some Democratic support. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to use the "nuclear option," changing Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations, but he would need all but two Republican Senators to go along in order to pass this controversial rule change. Two liberal Senators, John McCain of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine are possible spoilers in this strategy, though they would face severe criticism of their peers if they went against what appears to be a very solid nominee to replace judge Antonin Scalia.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Dick Cheney Sides with US Propaganda on Russian Election Interference Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, siding with Democrats and the Deep State, jumped on the fake intelligence bandwagon claiming that Russia interfered with in the US election on behalf of Donald Trump. US intelligence has provided virtually zero hard evidence that Russia hacked into the DNC or any other form of election manipulation. In fact, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who published the leaked DNC documents, affirms the leak came from a disgruntled staffer within the DNC and not the Russians.

at a major speech in a conference in New Dehli, India Cheney said, "There was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic process." Cheney said he considered this an "act of war." Foreign leaders were amazed at US hypocrisy. It is well known in foreign circles that the US frequently interferes in foreign elections to elect candidates favorable to US or globalist policies. In Colombia, for example, the CIA used it's sophisticated surveillance equipment to spy on opposition leaders to discover illicit acts in order to help Mr. Fujimori get re-elected. Fujimori's spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, a CIA asset at the time, supervised the illegal surveillance.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Battle over Sanctuary Cities Heats Up Chicago Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel reveled in his city's status as a safe harbor of illegal immigrants, in response to President Trump's threat to cut off federal law enforcement funding for cities that harbor criminal aliens. Other Democratic controlled sanctuary cities are taking a similar rebellious approach. It is doubtful that the loss of law enforcement grants will deter the political agenda of Democratic supporters in sanctuary cities since they receive other millions in federal funds. But in rural California when conservatives still are in the majority, Sheriffs are working closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to remove illegal aliens who have committed crimes or who are repeat offenders of immigration law through entering the country again after being deported.

At a town hall meeting in the central valley of California, both supporters and critics of President Donald Trump's deportation policy faced off before a speech by Sheriff Scott Jones, who supports the current crackdown on illegal immigrants. The Sheriff hosted acting ICE Director Thomas Homan to address the public forum in the state capital, and he was met with jeers and disorderly conduct, which is typical of the recent conduct of anti-Trump Leftist activists.

Homan said that ICE was focused on individuals who either committed crimes or who had violated final deportation orders or had returned after being removed from the country. "We don't conduct neighborhood sweeps," he said over protestor shouts, "I don't want children to be afraid to go to school. I don't want people to be afraid to go to the doctor." However, he made it clear that his agency would "enforce the laws that are on the books."

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Mark Levin Blasts Republican Leaders for not Supporting Conservative Agenda On Tuesday’s Mark Levin show, so called conservatives, Sens John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell are attacking hardline conservatives and the Freedom Caucus as "purists." Levin said, "They should remember it is not about purity, but about integrity. Politicians made a promise, election cycle after election cycle to repeal Obamacare and they lied to the American people and the the Tea Party. You can’t ram through a massive new government spending bill in 18 days and start trashing conservatives when it doesn’t make it through. They have abandoned principles and the Declaration of Independence. The Republican Party has lost its identity. We didn’t hear a peep from Cornyn or McConnell when this replacement bill was in the House, because they wanted it to fail. They were never going to do the heavy lifting necessary to repeal Obamacare."

Republican leaders are all but ignoring, Sen. Rand Paul's healthcare plan which actually puts into practice the promises Donald Trump originally made, including an full repeal of Obamacare, opening competition for insurers across state lines and allowing individuals to join together in groups to seek out cheaper rates for insurance.

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trump's Budget Plan Offers Long Needed Cuts's-Budget-Plan-Offers-Long-Needed-Cuts The Trump administration presented a list of suggested spending cuts for this fiscal year, and are meeting with negative reactions for Democrats who have long championed social spending benefits as a way of attracting votes. There are also a large number of liberal Republicans who likewise support social welfare spending and grants for semi-private organizations promoting Leftist artistic causes.

The largest cuts are proposed to programs related to education, labor and health, according to the document, and many of the proposed cuts are to grant programs, which almost all state universities rely upon--having built huge research centers which depend upon a steady flow of federal grants. Cuts popular with conservatives are those which target Obama era creations which fund Leftist political cause like AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

“It is not a core function of the federal government to promote volunteerism, and therefore, these programs should be eliminated,” the Trump administration wrote. “To the extent these activities have value, they should be supported by the private and nonprofit sectors.”

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600's-Budget-Plan-Offers-Long-Needed-Cuts
Trump Reverses Obama Climate Change Regulations With a sigh of relief from the beleaguered coal industry as well as those scientists who strongly dispute the "carbon as pollutant" propaganda, President Donald Trump made good on another campaign promise by reversing a host of Obama administration climate change regulations which were killing the coal industry and threatening every other carbon based form of energy.

Done in the name of "Energy Independence" the new Executive Order rescinds a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, reverse rules on methane emissions from oil and gas production, and prohibits using climate change as the major impetus in new regulations. The White House said, "We're going to go in a different direction," vowing to "protect the environment while providing people with work."

Trump's order also reverses the US commitment to a global climate change accord signed by nearly 200 countries in Paris in December 2015. It is highly unlikely that other third world nations, highly dependent on carbon based power production facilities, will continue with their commitments to cut carbon use if the United States does not do so. Environmentalist organization promise to challenge the reversal in court.

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Democratic Leadership demands Republican Intelligence Committee Chair step down On Monday Democratic minority leader, Chuck Shumer of NY called on the Representative David Nunes, Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to recuse himself from the panel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and further, step down from his chairmanship. Shumer was angry that Nunes had briefed Pres. Trump on the fact that persons related to Trump's campaign had be caught up in a spying episode while agents claim they were surveiling a foreign agent.

Nunes defended his actions of briefing the president before his own Intelligence Committee because he had gone to the White House to receive the briefing and felt he should immediately relay his concerns to the president, which he did. Representative Trey Gowdy, also a member of the committee responded that "Chairman Nunes has clearly said, 'This has nothing to do with Russia'." So, why recuse himself from the Russia inquiry over this issue? Further, he challenged Shumer's complaint about briefing the president: "If the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee can't go to the White House to receive intelligence data, and can't update the Commander in Chief, we're in a really strange place."

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Hillary Clinton's Campaign also met with the Russian Ambassador's-Campaign-also-met-with-the-Russian-Ambassador As the mainstream media continues to push the tenuous narrative of Russian interference in the US election much has been made out of meetings Jared Kushner and others on the Trump staff had with Russian officials and a Russian bank subject to sanctions. Little, however, mention has been made of the fact that members of the Clinton campaign also met with Russian officials. Trump went on the offensive this week, asking in a Tweet why the House Intelligence Committee is not investigating the Clintons for various ties of their own to Russia. He then slammed the ongoing anti-Russian witch hunt, saying “the Russia story is a hoax... Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech, money to Bill, the Hillary Russian ‘reset,’ praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax," Trump said in two tweets on Monday.

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600's-Campaign-also-met-with-the-Russian-Ambassador
Breitbart News Denied Capitol Hill Press Credentials Breitbart News’ request for Capitol Hill press credentials was denied temporarily until “more answers” can be provided proving that White House senior adviser Steve Bannon, who used to run Breitbart, has severed ties with his former news organization. This is the first time such a standard has been applied. How does having a former chief taking a position in the White House disqualify a news organization from cover the news on Capitol Hill?

Larry Solov, president and CEO of Breitbart, told the press credentials office that Mr. Bannon had resigned in November 2016, and affirmed that Steve Bannon has "has no editorial, executive, financial or other role or interest” in Breitbart. However, the committee insists that it's not enough to take Larry's word. There has to be proof that he has cut all ties. There are two problems with that argument: 1) no where in law does it require a White House advisor not to have ties to a news organization, and 2) how do you prove a negative? ---that their are no ties?

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Attorney General Sessions Declares intend to defund Sanctuary Cities Jeff Sessions warned sanctuary cities, now numbering over 300, that the Trump administration will sever federal law enforcement funding of those cities who continue to assist the federal government in the enforcement of immigration law. In addition, counties and cities that have taken money in the past, despite refusing to cooperate with federal agents, may have to repay those funds as a violation the conditions of the grants. All major metro areas in the US are Democratic controlled cities and have flaunted the notion that they will continue to harbor illegal aliens, euphemistically called "undocumented immigrants."

The Trump administration is focusing on sanctuary city policies that refuse to hold illegals charged with crimes for federal agents. While court precedent has acknowledged that local and state jurisdictions do not have to enforce federal laws, states have always done so when it involves criminal behavior that is a threat to local citizens. By choosing to deny sanctuary cities federal funds, Sessions is avoiding the issue of forcing cities or states to enforce federal law, which still providing a penalty for failure to help out in immigration enforcement.

Sessions cited examples of "A college football prospect gunned down in his own yard, a young convenience store clerk killed over a pack of cigarettes, a young woman murdered in front of her parents in a popular tourist area of San Francisco." "Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk, especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators," Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned Monday.

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Conservative Republicans Still Seek to Repeal Obamacare In the wake of the Republican leadership's failure to repeal Obamacare and replace at the same time with the American Healthcare Act, which many have dubbed "Obamacare Lite", Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, has just introduced a bill in the House of Representatives doing just that. Called the 'Obamacare Repeal Act,'" the bill has just one sentence: "Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted," the bill states. Politically, this puts the pressure on proponents of a new system to find something palatable for the majority, rather than on Republicans wedded to the failed attempt to find a replacement while Obamacare is still in force.

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Sen. John McCain in daily contact with Trump's National Security Adviser's-National-Security-Adviser Trump supports have good reason to worry about who's side his National Security Advisor is on, especially as the Trump administration takes a more aggressive foreign policy in Yemen and Syria, despite Trump's campaign promises to put America first and not be so anxsious to intervene around the world. The Daily Beast reported this week that, Sen. John McCain, a virulent Trump critic, neoconservative and one who backs all globalist initiatives talks everyday with Trumps national security advisor, H. R. McMasters.

"Republican Senator John McCain revealed he hasn’t met the President Donald Trump in person since he took office. McCain said he’d met Trump "some years ago" when he was a businessman, but had not met him since. McCain said he did speak "almost daily" to National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, however. "He doesn’t seem to be that upset that he’s not talking to him," said German Marshall Fund’s Derek Chollet, a former Obama Pentagon official. [speaking of McCain] "He’s trying to run U.S. defense policy through Mattis and effectively ignore Trump."

This information is disturbing in much the same way as the admission at the 2009 Munich Security Conference by Obama's first National Security Advisor, Gen. James Jones, that he and the National Security Council receives its "daily marching orders" from Henry Kissinger and Associates," perhaps the most high profile globalist still alive.

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600's-National-Security-Adviser
Did Trump Bill Germany $400B for NATO expenses?$400B-for-NATO-expenses? President Trump discussed openly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the need for European nations to honor their committment to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on NATO defense. “I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense,” Trump said at the joint press conference. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe.”

But the London Times went so far as to claim that Trump handed Merkel a symbolic bill for nearly $400 billion -- money he claims Germany owes NATO -- during their White House meeting earlier this month, according to a British newspaper. It is doubtful that it was presented as a bill since Trump is not demanding that Germany any any particular sum to the US---perhaps a suggested calculation about how much Germany needs to make up in past obligations to NATO.

The Times reported that Trump prepared similar bills for other NATO members not meeting the 2 percent targets. The White Denied the story, but Merkel did respond positively to Trump's reminder when she said, “NATO is of prime importance for us, and it was not without very good reason that we said during our summit meeting in Wales that also Germany needs to increase expenditure. We committed to this 2-percent goal until 2024,” she said. “Last year we increased our defense spending by 8 percent, and we’re going to work together again and again on this.”

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600$400B-for-NATO-expenses?
Putin Clamps down on Anti-Corruption Protests in Moscow Aleksei Navalny is openly challenging Russian president Vladimir Putin but focusing on continued official corruption in Russia. Corruption was a way of life in Soviet Russia, and little has changed since the claimed "fall of the Soviet Union" since almost all Communist officials retained positions of lucrative control over the economy and continue to extract bribes and payoffs for all types of permits. This is a sore spot with ordinary Russians, and Navalny's anti-corruption movement is gaining a large following.

This past Sunday Russian police arrested hundreds of people in nationwide anti-corruption protests, including opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in Moscow, where thousands gathered for the biggest demonstration in five years against Putin. This is, perhaps, what Navalny wanted since it now puts him in the position of being a type of martyr for the cause, which accrue to increased political support. Russia has laws against gatherings not sanctioned by the Putin government so protestors did a "walk" along a major shopping street to avoid the ban. When police intervened, it made their actions appear arbitrary and unpopular---all classic counter government tactics in the fight against oppression.

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Turkey's Erdogan becoming more aggressive in Europe's-Erdogan-becoming-more-aggressive-in-Europe Besides Turkish president Erdogan's attempts to consolidate power in Turkey, with active suppression of the political opposition, he is also seems to be damaging Turkey's long term prospects of joining the European Union. In past months he has demanding more financial aid from the EU, threatening to unlease millions of refugees on the EU, currently pent up in Turkish refugee camps. But he also continues to engage in espionage on German Turks who sympathize with Erdogan's biggest challenger, Fethullah Gulen, who resides in the USA. According to AFP News,

German prosecutors have launched an investigation Tuesday into claims that Turkish agents are spying on alleged followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen in Germany. The probe came as a German state minister accused Turkey of the "unacceptable" espionage against supporters of Gulen, blamed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a failed coup attempt last year. The claims open a new front in the diplomatic row between NATO allies Germany and Turkey, whose relationship has been strained by a series of disputes centred on human rights issues. "It is clear that the Turkish secret service MIT is investigating people living in Germany,"

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600's-Erdogan-becoming-more-aggressive-in-Europe
Recriminations for Failure to Pass American Healthcare Act Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin was one of the few who had good things to say about the failure to pass the AHA. On Friday’s Mark Levin show, he extended hearty congratulations to the Freedom Caucus, the true constitutional conservatives in the House of Representatives, for stopping the "disastrous RINOcare bill from passing," in his words. Levin further noted that "Republicans should be listening to the Freedom Caucus who took a principled stand, but instead they are attacked... The Republican’s had 7 years to prepare for this to bring in different factions and address the fundamental problems of Obamacare. The problem is a big chunk of the Republican Party is Utopian progressive and many do not want to repeal large parts of Obamacare, including HHS Secretary Tom Price.", owned by globalist Rupert Murdoch, published an opinion piece by mainstream commentator Elizabeth Peak excoriating the Freedom Caucus. "It is hard to overestimate the damage the Freedom Caucus has done to the fledgling presidency of Donald Trump, and to the country. By blocking the American Health Care Act of 2017, the conservative group has guaranteed that Americans will struggle forward under the burden of Obamacare." She further claimed that "Republicans will own those higher rates," which is debatable. Had they passed Trumpcare, Republicans would have owned the higher rates that would have followed, but the public still associates the (un)Affordable Care Act with Obama and the Democrats.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trumpcare's Failure Lies in its Flawed Content's-Failure-Lies-in-its-Flawed-Content NY Magazine had an interesting insight into the roll of Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon in the battle over the AHA. "Publicly, Bannon has been working to help the bill pass. But privately he’s talked it down in recent days. According to a source close to the White House, Bannon said that he’s unhappy with the Ryan bill because it "doesn’t drive down costs" and was "written by the insurance industry." While the bill strips away many of Obamacare’s provisions, it does not go as far as Bannon would wish to "deconstruct the administrative state" in the realm of health care. Furthermore, Bannon has been distancing himself from the bill to insulate himself from political fallout of it failing. He’s told people that Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn — a West Wing rival — has run point on it."

It does appear that the insurance industry had a big hand in writing the bill, and may have been one of the reasons why House Speaker Paul Ryan kept the language of the bill hidden for so long. Conservatives wondered where that 30% premium penalty for a lapse in coverage came from, which would have cost those who opted out of Obamacare, a small fortune in premium increases, far exceeding the penalty paid under Obamacare. In fact, it would have been a powerful deterrent not to enter the new market for those now on the outside. The Trump/Ryan healthcare bill was also poison to conservatives since it preserved the damaging sense of entitlement for those with prior existing conditions, at government subsidies rates. As with Obamacare, that forces other healthy people to carry the burden with higher premiums. Additional mandates that insurance companies cover dental, maternity and other formerly optional services adds to the expense of premiums and disallows the consumer to shop for less coverage.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600's-Failure-Lies-in-its-Flawed-Content
Trump Sense of Revenge Rather than learn from the failure of his healthcare proposal, and those aspects which bad it unacceptable to his conservative base, Donald Trump has lashed out as conservatives who wouldn't compromise, and vowed to see them defeated in the next election. The NY Times reported that, "When Speaker Paul D. Ryan arrived at the White House on Friday to inform President Trump that the health care bill he had made his first major legislative push could not pass, Mr. Trump had one reaction: He wanted revenge. Furious at rebellious Republicans who refused to back the measure, Mr. Trump demanded that defectors cast "no" votes for all to see — even if it meant the measure’s high-profile defeat... "

Even the suposedly conservative Wall Street Journal chimed in with more condemnation for conservatives, noting that, "In business Mr. Trump liked to 'get even.' He's got some scores to settle with the Freedom Caucus." Conservatives are shocked at Trump's reaction, but they shouldn't be. This is typical behavior of a populist who has no set ideology and who seeks to please the majority who looks to government solve all of their problems. Health problems are almost always caused by bad lifestyle choices over the long run, and government guarantees of health remediation does little to cause people to take greater responsiblity for their own health.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Will heads roll over Trumpcare defeat? Various commentators are predicting that utter the "You're Fired" epithet to both Chief of Staff Rience Priebus and House Speaker Paul Ryan over their failure to deliver the votes. The NY Time's Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush wrote that, "On Friday evening, a somewhat shellshocked president retreated to the White House residence to grieve and assign blame. He asked his advisers repeatedly: Whose fault was this? ... Increasingly, that blame has fallen on Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, who coordinated the initial legislative strategy on the health care repeal with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, his close friend and a fellow Wisconsin native, according to three people briefed on the president's recent discussions.

Chris Ruddy, the head of attacked Reince Priebus, as weak and incompetent: ""The White House is showing not the amount of order that we need to see. I think there's a lot of weakness coming out of the chief of staff. I think Reince Priebus, good guy, well intentioned, but he clearly doesn't know how the federal agencies work. He doesn't have a really good system. He doesn't know how the communications flow ... the President's not getting the back-up he needs in the operation of the White House and sometimes the pushback he needs to have with a stronger ... White House chief of staff."

Others doubt that Trump will make any dramatic changes at this time, which would signal internal weakness and disorder in the White House. Although there is considerable criticism of Paul Ryan's leadership in the House, few want the kind of tough job Ryan has trying to please too many disparate factions within the Republican Party.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
London Parliament Attack not a Lone Wolf, nor religious person,-nor-religious-person Government spokespersons in London are saying the UK born, Muslim attacker who use a rental car to kill pedestrians and who then stabbed a policeman near London’s Parliament building acted alone in a "lone wolf attack." But the UK Independent says that is doubtful considering the history of such attacks where perpetrators are nearly always coached into their actions.

"The terrorist Khalid Masood was not a ‘lone wolf’ and others had played a key part in indoctrinating him and helping to carry out Wednesday’s deadly attacks in London, security officials believe….It has also emerged that 52-year-old Masood used the Whatsapp messaging service just minutes before he smashed his hired Hyundai car into the railings at the Houses of Parliament."

People are also wondering why a person such as Massood with a long rap sheet of criminal acts was still on the streets. Masood was born Adrian Elms and had a long criminal history. He spent only brief times spent in jail and prison including for a violent knife attack and attempted murder charges. Shortly after being released he converted to Islam and spend some time in Saudi Arabia teaching English.

He was kicked out of his apartment by landlady Cassie Havard, 43 who revealed that "he often got violent after benders on everything from crack cocaine to acid." She said, "He wasn’t a proper Muslim. He s*****d prostitutes, smoked copious amounts of crack and stuck knives in people’s faces... He was a madman. After one four-day crack session, one druggie pal got paranoid and accused him of being an undercover cop. Adrian went absolutely wild and ran to the kitchen to grab the biggest knife he could find. He went back in the room and slashed the guy’s face to pieces."

People are wondering how this kind of violence doesn't merit a long prison term. Conservative analysts like Joel Skousen have long noted a troubling pattern in "domestic terrorism" prosecutions, where US or British intelligence agents seek out young disturbed Muslim criminals which, after being threatened with prison time, are recruited as an alternative to prison, to act as "informers" for government or instructed on how to carry out terrorist attacks.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-nor-religious-person
Google censoring Right wing YouTube videos After refusing to honor advertizing agreements with Alex Jones and, Google is scrambling to justify these discriminatory actions. The internet search and advertizing giant now claims that mainstream advertizers like Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Walmart, Dish, Starbucks, and GM are complaining that their ads are being associated with "hateful and offensive content" Google claims that it cannot develop an algorithm to automatically screen where ads are placed (which isn't true) and thus must ban or censor certain content on Youtube in order to meet advertizer demands.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
WikiLeaks Unveils CIA Weapons Against Macs Wikileaks has revealed the next set of documents from its “Vault 7” leaks that reveal many of the CIA’s hacking tools developed the secretive Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) which reportedly has over 5000 members actively working to find and exploit weaknesses in computer software for spying and surveillance purposes.

This second set of documents revealed some of the CIA’s hacking toolset for Apple machines revealing malware and viruses to infect the routines that control the boot process. The online magazine “apple insider” tried to console other Apple users by noting that most of the hacks required physical access to machines to infect them through a USB device or cable connection. The much smaller size and scale of the hacking tools for Apple is some consolation for Mac users that their choice of operating system is harder to target.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
House Republicans Pull Obamacare Replacement Bill Before Vote GOP Speaker of the House Paul Ryan scuttled the vote process for a hotly contested bill to replace Obamacare on Friday after it became clear there would not be sufficient votes for it to pass. Democrats and the media could scarcely contain their enthusiasm. Democrats have been nursing their wounds after the rounding defeat in the past election and subsequent setbacks for the so-called “progressive” agenda of the Obama Administration. NPR crowed over the fractured defeat of Republicans who had to admit that ‘Obamacare… is going to remain the Law of the Land.’

“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose caucus was decimated in 2010 after the health care bill was passed, appeared flanked by Democratic leadership to gloat just a day after the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act.”

Republicans had previously passed several bills to repeal Obamacare, but apparently many voted for them just to appease their supporters knowing that the bill would be vetoed by President Obama. With a majority in both chambers of Congress and a Republican president, however, the same members refused to resubmit the same bills, knowing that they would bear the brunt of the unpopular task of taking away benefits, even from a program as unpopular as the Affordable Care Act (which has proved itself to be anything but affordable).

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Experts: British Parliament Attacker Was Not 'Lone Wolf', Likely Coached'Lone-Wolf',-Likely-Coached News reports are saying the attacker who plowed a rented car into pedestrians and stabbed a policeman near London’s Parliament building acted alone in a “lone wolf attack.” But the UK Independent says that is doubtful considering the history of such attacks where perpetrators are nearly always coached into their actions.

“The terrorist Khalid Masood was not a ‘lone wolf’ and others had played a key part in indoctrinating him and helping to carry out Wednesday’s deadly attacks in London, security officials believe….It has also emerged that 52-year-old Masood used the Whatsapp messaging service just minutes before he smashed his hired Hyundai car into the railings at the Houses of Parliament.”

Some are concluding that Masood was using the popular encrypted messaging service to communicate with handlers before starting on his rampage.

Masood was born Adrian Elms and had a violent past including time spent in jail and prison for prior knife attacks. Soon after his last time in prison he converted to Islam and married a Muslim woman, and then took a trip to Saudi Arabia presumably to teach English.

Analysts note a troubling pattern in these stories of “domestic terrorism” where the perpetrators usually have run-ins with police or intelligence agencies only to be publicly ignored, despite multiple warning signs. In past cases, perpetrators have been recruited during encounters with police and then coached by “informers” on how to carry out the attacks.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600'Lone-Wolf',-Likely-Coached
Muslim Mayor of London Says Religion Had No Bearing On Parliament Attack Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to hold the position of Mayor of London, tried to downplay the importance of religion as it was revealed that the car and knife attacker near the British Houses of Parliament, Khalid Masood, had converted to Islam several years before the attack that left 4 dead including a policeman that was stabbed. Khan called the attack “Part and parcel” of living in a big city.

There followed a media outcry, not over Khan’s calloused statement, but to anyone who dared attribute the attack to the influx of Muslims and Muslim ideology. Donald Trump Jr. was widely criticized just for tweeting “Are you kidding me?” to Khan. And Nigel Farage, the former leader the of the UKIP movement was criticized for “whipping up hate” for saying that he didn’t ever want these attacks to be commonplace in a city. Farage went on to recommend reviewing immigration policies similar to Trump’s attempt to restrict refugees until better vetting methods can be put in place.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
High School Rape a Result of Sanctuary City Policies on Public School District Parents are understandably outraged after two illegal immigrants, who liberals like to call “dreamers”, committed a brutal rape of a classmate in a Maryland high school. But Fox News reports that the parent’s objections are falling on deaf ears with the politicians of Montgomery County, that is trying to become a so-called “sanctuary status” where it formally refuses to cooperate with immigration officials working to enforce the law with regard to illegal aliens in their community.

“Parents of students at Rockville High School, where the victim was brutally assaulted in a boys bathroom by two immigrant classmates, ages 17 and 18, vented at a PTA meeting Tuesday night.

"’I'm very mad. I can't believe this is happening in my kids' school,’ said a parent who identified herself only as Liz. ‘There are a lot of people here that maybe don't belong here. They haven't been checked out and I really need to know that my kids are safe.’”

School and county officials at the PTA meeting just tried to cover their reputation, said attorney Robin ficker.

“The mood was simply, 'cover our reputation,'” Ficker said. "There were long speeches from the principal, from the superintendent, from others who were associated with them explaining why this could never have happened when it did. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound to cure it.”

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Ray McGovern Explains What's Behind the Anti-Russia media campaign.'s-Behind-the-Anti-Russia-media-campaign. This week in an interview with Russia Today (, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern gave his reason why he thinks the establishment is continuing to push their anti-Russia agenda:

1) They refuse to accept that Hillary Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate, and have created this Russian interference excuse to explain away her loss to Trump.

2) The globalist elite are trying to make sure there is no rapprochement with Russia under any circumstances, especially in the Syrian battle against ISIS.

(3) The establishment made false claims about Russian hacking, supposedly to help Trump win. It has now been repeated so often that it must be supported at all costs. McGovern rightfully insists that the so-called hacks of the DNC were really internal leaks by people inside the Clinton campaign who were disillusioned by Hillary’s tactics in stealing the election from Bernie Sanders.

4) McGovern also said that the claim that Putin wanted Trump to be elected "flies in the face of everything he knows about the Russians," whom he studied for more than 20 years. "Why would Putin want someone in the White House who is profiled as rash, impulsive, and unpredictable?" McGovern asked. Why would they bet on someone they thought was losing?"

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600's-Behind-the-Anti-Russia-media-campaign.
Was Trump Spied Upon? The "spying on Trump" story got more complicated this week as Fox News commentator judge Andrew Napolitano said confidential sources told him that British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) did the wiretapping of Donald Trump on behalf of Obama to evade being able to trace it through the US government. Predictably, that story was denied by spy agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. The British government’s denial were echoed by both FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers who, during congressional hearings this week also denied "finding evidence" of the unspecified claim by Trump that he had been the target of a wiretap at all.

But Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, appeared to muddy the waters by saying that the private communications of the presidential transition team may have been scooped up by American intelligence officials monitoring other targets and improperly distributed throughout spy agencies. However, mainstream media immediately responded that Trump was not spied upon directly but his conversations or those of his team were picked up "coincidentally" as Trump or his campaign people were talking to a foreign subject under legal surveillance.

Official denials cannot be trusted as long as there is a dark side to all intelligence agencies. All that goes on inside the Deep State is "secret" even from Congress specifically because it is illegal. That, in turn, creates a desperate need to hide illegal surveillance so that top agency leaders can claim "plausible deniability," —a term widely used within the CIA. Insiders like Comey and Rogers can go to the white side records, or even secret FISA court records (which don’t handle anything but a tiny amount of spy warrants) and report "finding nothing" on Trump spying, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Project Dragnet Revelations Prove Trump was Spied Upon: Dennis Montgomery is one of the most important whistleblowers on illegal government spying, having spent years inside the CIA and NSA as a contractor. As he left he was able to smuffle out 47 hard drives and over 600 million pages of information, much of which is classified. His purpose was to expose that spy agencies were engaged in systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump.

One of the major revelations to surface from the Montgomery data is evidence that the controversial Project Dragnet, designed to spying on US domestic targets, never was disbanded as the government claimed. The NSA electronic surveillance data was created by the NSA as part of the NSA’s illegal and unconstitutional Project Dragnet electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens, was first revealed by news reports published in 2015.

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Chief Investigator Michael Zullo have identified dozens of entries at various addresses, including both Trump Tower in New York City and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, under which Trump was under NSA electronic surveillance, as a result of the analysis they conducted on Project Dragnet records of U.S. citizens that were the targets of electronic surveillance from 2004, during President George W. Bush’s term of office, through 2009, the first year of President Obama’s presidency. The Project Dragnet database suggests Trump was under surveillance not only for phone conversations, but also for financial information, including most likely bank account transactions, credit card transactions, and tax filings.

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Confirmation Hearings on Neil Gorsuch dissappoint Conservatives Like all modern nominees for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch displayed a deft ability to evade attempts by Democratic Senators to get him to reveal any ideological or political bias he may possess. As NBC wrote,

"....every time Democrats tried to draw him out on a range of serious issues, including abortion and gay rights, Gorsuch answered in the same way: "I have declined to offer any promises, hints or previews of how I'd resolve any case." Gorsuch similarly wouldn't commit to a view on cameras in the Supreme Court, despite widespread support from senators on the Judiciary Committee."

But, while he refused to commit himself on even conservative legal philosophies like "originalism," he did make one dramatic admission on abortion which displeased Trump supporters. Trump had promised during the campaign to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe vs. Wade which created a "legal" right to abortion out of thin air. Sadly, Gorsuch has no such intentions on overturning Roe vs. Wade.

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trump Pressures Freedom Caucus Representatives over Objections to Trumpcare Thursday was the day for the scheduled vote on GOP’s American Healthcare Act, which is heavily supported by Trump, but that vote never came. Speaker Paul Ryan with the help of heavy pressure by President Trump did turn around several Republican "no" votes based upon future promises of changes, but the big group of "no" votes belong to the principled Freedom Caucus which wanted significant changes now, and not ephemeral promises that "we’ll change it after it passes," which often don’t come true.

Without winning over the Freedom Caucus, Ryan did not have the votes to pass the AHA in the House, and this would have been a major embarrassment for Trump, who has stubbornly supported this flawed bill, saying "there is no plan B." In other words, it’s this or nothing. He threatened to move on to other legislative priorities if Republicans failed again on Friday to force a vote. Wisely principled conservatives have said we’d rather have nothing than vote for something that is nearly as bad as Obamacare.

The Freedom Caucus thought they were close to a deal on Wednesday night with Paul Ryan, but Ryan backed out after being threatened by liberal Republicans. Fortunately, two of the Koch brothers (with libertarian/conservative leanings) are willing to support Freedom Caucus congressman against Trump’s threats. The Koch brothers are adamant that conservatives ought not to give into Trump pressure and is willing to put big money behind those willing to stand on principle.

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Tillerson Praises Rather than Confronts China in First Meet A disturbing pattern is starting to emerge in the diplomacy of Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—talk tough but no follow through. Rex Tillerson ended his first trip to China this week with warm words for President Xi. The meeting followed strong threats by Tillerson that the US would not allow China to access militarized manmade islands in the South China Sea which are in the territorial waters of Japan and the Philippines. There was virtually no discussion of these issues that only weeks ago precipitated loud counter-threats from China.

Many conservatives are worried that a similar pattern may develop of talking tough about North Korea but doing nothing to curtail NK aggressiveness in advancing their nuclear technology and long distance ICBMs which many believe can hit the continental USA.

The US had made 3 aid deals with North Korea in past decades on condition that North Korea would dismantle it's nuclear weapons program. Each time North Korean leaders have betrayed the agreements, and yet the West has gone through with their part of the aid package. Ever since the Korean War ended in 1952, the US has also guaranteed North Korea that it will not attempt to overthrow the regime militarity or even seek regime change. This long standing permissive policy stands in stark contrast with how the West has threatened Iran continually with military action if it did not desist in its nuclear program. Finally, the Trump administration has said that the "military option" is on the table relative to North Korea. Yet, conservatives wonder if, under pressure, the Trump administration would back down on this hardline policy as well.

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Wrongfully Convicted Idaho Man Set Free, But Not Exonerated,-But-Not-Exonerated More than twenty years after being arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, Idaho Falls resident Christopher Tapp will be released from prison as part of a deal with the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office, reports the Idaho Falls Post-Register. John Thomas, the Bonneville County appellate public defender, emphasizes that Tapp will not admit to guilt as part of the deal, which will be presented today (March 22) at a hearing before District Judge Alan Stephens.

Tapp was one of three young Idaho Falls men interrogated in late 1996 and early 1997 by Idaho Falls police following the June 13, 1996 rape and murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge. Police initially suspected a friend of Tapp named Ben Hobbs, who had been arrested in Ely, Nevada on a rape charge involving the use of an edged weapon. Although Hobbs was convicted of that crime and spent decades in prison as a result, he ardently denied involvement in the Angie Dodge murder. Investigators had pressured Tapp and his friend Jeremy Sargis into implicating Hobbs. Sargis obtained legal representation and invoked his rights under the Fifth Amendment. Hobbs refused to cooperate in the investigation.

Although DNA samples at the murder scene excluded Tapp, Sargis, and Hobbs, investigators isolated Tapp and manipulated him into confessing some unspecified role in the murder, despite the fact that his statement was riddled with errors that showed he knew nothing about the crime that hadn’t been shared with him by the police. An investigation conducted last year by the prosecutor’s office concluded that Tapp’s confession was false.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-But-Not-Exonerated
On Travel Restrictions, Trump Gets Tangled in his Own Tongue – and Twitter Account,-Trump-Gets-Tangled-in-his-Own-Tongue-–-and-Twitter-Account President Trump continues to be frustrated in the courts over his efforts to impose new restrictions on immigration from countries designated as terrorist havens – and many legal analysts insist that this is his own fault. The president’s compulsive need to comment on the legal controversies, both in speeches and through his Twitter account, have probably driven his legal advisers to distraction, comments the National Law Journal.

Judges in Hawaii and Maryland “cited Trump’s statements, and those of his aides, during campaign rallies and media interviews as evidence that his revised immigration order was still probably intended to ban Muslims from the country,” notes the Journal. Existing precedents do not allow a ban based on religious identity. Although the administration has appealed both of the injunctions, President Trump’s reaction to the rulings will complicate matters.

“I wasn’t thrilled, but the lawyers all said, `Oh, let’s tailor it,’” Trump told an enthusiastic partisan crowd in Tennessee a few hours after the first injunction was announced. The revised executive order “is a watered down version of the first one,” he continued. “I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.”

While those remarks played well as applause lines in a speech to the president’s supporters, they will give ammunition to his critics as the legal appeals proceed.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-Trump-Gets-Tangled-in-his-Own-Tongue-–-and-Twitter-Account
“Troubled” Florida Police Officer Arrested for Data Theft“Troubled”-Florida-Police-Officer-Arrested-for-Data-Theft The long and cluttered disciplinary history of Hialeah, Florida Police Officer Raul Castellon has been expanded to include a felony indictment on federal data theft charges. Castellon was arrested and charged with illegally accessing a private database and providing license plate and Social Security numbers to a woman named Neilin Gonzalez Diaz, in exchange for unspecified “gifts.” Gonzalez Diaz, along with several others, used that private information to gain access to credit cards and purchase nearly $6,000 worth of goods from various stores.

Castellon and Gonzalez Diaz have been charged with extortion, aggravated identify fraud, and related offenses involving unauthorized access to digital devices. Castellon was also charged with illegally using his position to access Florida’s Driver Vehicle Information Database for personal gain. The indictment accuses him of obtaining dozens of screen shots of license plates and Social Security numbers and providing them to his accomplices.

Over the past eleven years, Castellon has been the subject of five internal affairs investigations and four suspensions, received 13 reprimands, crashed his vehicle five times, and was fired – before union-required arbitration resulted in the restoration of his job. The 38-year-old officer was suspended, with pay, last October following the initial disclosure of his most recent alleged felonious misconduct. The Hialeah PD has endured decades of scandal, including a gun-trafficking ring involving an officer and his wife, and another case in which a Sergeant arrested on drug charges blamed the situation on his wife’s pimp.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Troubled”-Florida-Police-Officer-Arrested-for-Data-Theft
Fox News Legal Analyst Suspended Over Intelligence Claims Retired Judge Andrew Napolitano, a best-selling author, widely respected legal scholar, and senior judicial analyst for Fox News, was conspicuously absent during the first day of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Fox News belatedly acknowledged that Napolitano has been indefinitely suspended by the network following a diplomatic controversy that grew out of claims made by the judge regarding President Trump’s accusation that his predecessor illegally wire-tapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In comments made on the air and in a subsequent syndicated column, Judge Napolitano claimed that “intelligence sources” had told “Fox News” that President Obama had circumvented established surveillance procedures by seeking transcripts of Trump’s intercepted phone calls from the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence service, that country’s analogue to the National Security Agency.

“By bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no American fingerprints,” claimed Napolitano.

Both Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred reporters to Napolitano’s claims when pressed to substantiate the president’s accusations. The British government formally and explicitly denied the claims, and Fox’s news division also denied that it had spoken about the matter with intelligence sources, and disavowed the story. FBI Director James Comey and National Security Director Michael Rogers likewise denied Napolitano’s claim. The Judge insists that he “reported what the sources told me, reported it accurately and I do believe the substance of what they told me.”

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Does a Trump Hat Make its Wearer a “Specially Protected” Person?“Specially-Protected”-Person? In recent years, business owners across the country – such as florists, bakers, and wedding photographers – have been sued and hit with severely punitive fines for refusing to provide goods or services for so-called same-sex weddings.

An Oregon couple who ran a bakery was run out of business by the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony in 2013 – at a time when the state government didn’t recognize such ceremonies. The same agency shut down a Portland bar after its owner had made comments that were seen as discriminating against a club of self-identified transgendered women who had driven business away on Friday nights.

In all such cases, government agencies and pressure groups have insisted that private businesses should be punished for discriminating against people who are regarded as part of a “specially protected class” – usually defined in terms of ethnic or sexual identity. Cultural conservatives have reasonably denounced this as a form of government-imposed political correctness, and the resulting frustration helped propel Donald Trump’s upset victory in last year’s presidential campaign.

At least one of Trump’s diehard supporters apparently believes that his political affiliation makes him part of a specially protected class. Philadelphia resident Greg Piatek has filed a discrimination lawsuit against a New York bar called The Happiest Hour, accusing its staff of refusing to serve him because he was wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap. Piatek claims that a manager told him that “anyone who supports Trump – or believes what you believe – is not welcome here, and you need to leave right now because we won’t serve you.”

Trump supporters, of all people, should understand and respect the free market principle that a business proprietor reserves the right to refuse service to anyone of his choosing – and also that consumers have the power to give their patronage to entrepreneurs who don’t alienate a large population of potential customers.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Specially-Protected”-Person?
LGBT Militants Pressuring YouTube to Cancel Parental Controls Google’s YouTube video-sharing service is under fire from LGBT militants who complain that its “family-restricted” filtering option impedes children from accessing “videos about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues,” reports the New York Times. Gender revolutionaries who create and disseminate propaganda targeting children are pressuring YouTube to change its filter settings in order to prevent parents from exercising discretion over the question of whether that propaganda can be available to their children – and the service appears ready to make concessions.

“The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should,” sniveled Johanna Wright, YouTube’s vice president for product management, in response to criticism. “We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it.”

This controversy comes after YouTube and its corporate owner, Google, have offered assurances that they will implement new policies to restrict content deemed to be “hate speech” – and after many channels that offer politically controversial content, generally deemed “right-wing” in perspective, have been de-monetized.

Rod Dreher of The American Conservative points out that “it is not the right of a transgender person or anyone else to decide what someone else’s children can and cannot watch. That decision belongs to the parents…. [T]his is par for the course on the left, especially the sexual left,” Dreher continues, “disempower parents so they can propagandize children.”

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Gorsuch: Roe v. Wade a Binding Precedent Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch told his Senate confirmation hearing on March 21 that the highly contested 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling is a binding precedent.

“It is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” Gorsuch stated in response to a question about his views on the Roe ruling. “So a good judge will consider it as a precedent of the United States Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent like any other.”

During last year’s presidential campaign, Donald Trump – who had previously described himself as “very pro-choice” regarding abortion – promised social conservatives that he would appoint a Supreme Court justice who would vote to overturn the Roe ruling. At present, the undermanned High Court appears to be divided equally between judges who would preserve Roe and those who would reconsider or repeal it.

When pressed about Trump’s remarks last year, Gorsuch said that as a settled precedent, Roe “adds to the determinacy of the law. What was once a hotly contested issue is no longer a contested issue. We move forward.”

The Roe ruling struck down the abortion laws of all fifty states, replacing them with a federally created license to kill unborn children at any point during the pregnancy if doing so can be justified as necessary to preserve the mother’s vaguely defined well-being. In a forceful and prescient dissent to the ruling, Justice Byron White observed that the majority went beyond its proper role by creating a new law through the exercise of “raw judicial power.”

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
FBI “Russian Influence” Probe to Investigate Alternative News Sites“Russian-Influence”-Probe-to-Investigate-Alternative-News-Sites In his March 20 congressional testimony, FBI Director James Comey explicitly denied President Trump’s claim that Barack Obama had unlawfully wiretapped the then-candidate’s business operations during last year’s presidential campaign. He also said that the Bureau was actively investigating suspected efforts by the Russian government to interfere in the election. This may include official investigation of independent news sources that supported Trump’s candidacy.

The McClatchy News Service reports that “Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories – some fictional – that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.”

Of particular interest is the role played by computer hackers employing programs called “bots” that were designed “to blitz social media with links to pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in the race against Democrat Hillary Clinton….” Those stories – some of which have been proven to be complete fabrications from internet pranksters – were widely disseminated through Twitter and Facebook links. Other stories were sourced to alternative media outlets, such as Breitbart and InfoWars, that, while highly partisan, are legitimate news operations – or to Russian government-aligned publications such as RT News and Sputnik News.

Even if plausible connections were made between this media activity and the Russian government – a claim for which no evidence has been presented – it would not validate accusations that Russia had “hacked” the election, let alone that it did so with the active participation of the Trump campaign.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Russian-Influence”-Probe-to-Investigate-Alternative-News-Sites
“Legal Jeopardy” for Trump – or Overt Conflict with Deep State?“Legal-Jeopardy”-for-Trump-–-or-Overt-Conflict-with-Deep-State? The dramatic March 20 congressional appearance by FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers “was all but unprecedented,” insisted Huffpost global affairs editor Howard Fineman. “Not since a White House aide named Alexander Butterfield told the Watergate committee in 1973 that President Richard Nixon had bugged his own Oval Office has an investigative hearing made it so clear that a presidency was in serious legal jeopardy.”

Accepting the claims made by Comey and Rogers as gospel, Fineman asserted that “we know for sure that, while no one `tapped’ Trump’s phones, his campaign circle is in the gunsights of the FBI. The issue is whether Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose interference in the 2016 election is now an accepted fact, tried to rig the outcome with the knowledge or collusion of Team Trump.”

What Fineman describes as an “accepted fact” is actually an insistent accusation for which no evidence of any kind has been presented. The intelligence community represented by Comey and Rogers has pronounced its “consensus” that Russian interference had occurred, but has yet to produce a particle of proof to sustain its pronouncements.

Until and unless such evidence is made public, the charges against the Trump campaign remain unsubstantiated allegations from an intelligence community that is obviously ill at ease with an unconventional president, and – as Fineman acknowledged – “seethes” with hostility at WikiLeaks, which has exposed illegal surveillance and other criminal undertakings by the NSA, CIA, and their sister agencies.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Legal-Jeopardy”-for-Trump-–-or-Overt-Conflict-with-Deep-State?
Austin Police Department Finds Millionaire Athlete’s Football Jersey’s-Football-Jersey According to the most recent figures compiled by the FBI, the Austin, Texas Police Department in 2015 had a 16.3 percent “clearance” rate for offenses designated as “Part I Index Crimes.” This is a category that includes murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and auto theft. Crimes can be “cleared” either through an arrest or by “exception” – the latter being a circumstance that prevents an arrest, such as the death of a suspect, or a refusal on the part of a victim to cooperate with police and prosecutors.

Despite the fact that the Austin PD’s clearance rate means that nearly eighty-five percent of serious crimes against persons and property remain unsolved, this figure actually represents an exceptional performance, at least by the department’s undemanding expectations for itself. The City of Austin had set a 14.3 percent clearance goal for 2015, which is the most recent year for which those statistics are available.

While the Austin PD is doing a less than impressive job investigating routine violent crimes, the department’s performance was apparently impressive enough to earn its embattled former Police Chief, Art Acevedo, a job in Houston – a city whose department has been even less impressive in carrying out its advertised function of investigating crimes and arresting suspects. Murderers, kidnapers, and rapists continue to elude the Houston PD, but Acevedo took time on March 20 to hold a press conference at which he proudly announced that his department had recovered a Super Bowl football jersey stolen from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Super Bowl had been held in Houston earlier this year.

“You don’t come to Texas and embarrass us here on our home turf,” boasted Acevedo, who said that the case was solved through a tip from an informant.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’s-Football-Jersey
Oregon Legislators Introduce another Anti-Self-Defense Bill Two Oregon state legislators, one of whom was elected with generous out-of-state financial support from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have introduced a bill that would require gun owners to make their legally obtained firearms essentially useless in an emergency –or face lengthy prison terms and ruinous fines.

Senate Bill 1026, co-sponsored by state Senator Chuck Riley and state Representative Barbara Smith Warner – both of whom, predictably, are Democrats – would create the criminal offense of “endangering a minor by allowing access to a firearm.” That offense would occur if a gun owner “leaves an operable firearm, loaded or unloaded, in a location where the person knows or reasonably should know that a minor could gain unsupervised access to the firearm,” and a minor “obtains the firearm without the express prior consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian.”

The supposed harm would consist only of access to the firearm, not injury or death resulting from its misuse. The bill grants exceptions for incidents involving break-ins, firearms that are retrieved without permission from a locked container, or guns that are disabled by a trigger lock. This would translate into a requirement that personal defense firearms be locked or stored – and thus not immediately accessible in the event they’re needed in a hurry.

If enacted, the potential penalties for violating the statute would be up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $125,000, or both.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trump Threatens Republicans Who Oppose Obamacare Revision Republican congressmen who oppose President Trump’s revision of the wildly unpopular Obamacare program have been given an ultimatum from the White House: Either support the bill, or expect to face political retaliation in 2018.

Politico reports that during a closed-door meeting with the House GOP conference, “the president gave a full-throated endorsement to the House repeal bill that will come to the floor for a vote on Thursday,” warning that if the Republicans don’t pass the bill, “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018.”

This Thursday we have a chance to repeal and replace Obamacare, and this time you’ve actually got someone who will sign the bill,” Trump reportedly told the Republican congressmen. “I’m asking for your vote.”

Perhaps “asking” was the wrong term. According to several sources, Trump focused his attention on the bill’s most outspoken critic, Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina. Trump reportedly told the congressman, “Mark, I’m gonna come after you” if he remained critical of the measure.

Speaking with reporters later, Meadows insisted that there are “more than enough” members of the Freedom Caucus who oppose Trump’s re-write of Obamacare to block the bill from passing. The current bill, Meadows pointed out, “does not lower premiums for the vast majority of Americans, and that’s what we need to do.”

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Long-Time Establishment Chief David Rockefeller Heads for Interesting Eternity David Rockefeller, the patriarch of arguably the world’s most powerful banking dynasty, long-time head of Chase Manhattan Bank and the Council on Foreign Relations, and founder of the Trilateral Commission, died in his sleep at his home in Pocatino Hills, New York on March 20 at the age of 101.

Although his personal fortune was estimated at $3 billion, the Standard Oil heir to the Standard Oil enjoyed influence that vastly outstripped his considerable financial holdings. More than any other figure in decades, Rockefeller embodied a trans-national establishment that seeks to consolidate political, economic, and even religious power over the entire globe. Although seen as an arch-capitalist, Rockefeller was very comfortable in the company of Communist dictators. In 1973, following a visit to Communist-ruled China, Rockefeller published an op-ed column praising what he regarded as the accomplishments of the regime, which by some estimates slaughtered more than sixty million of its subjects.

“Whatever the price of the Chinese Revolution, it has obviously succeeded, not only in producing more efficient and dedicated administration, but also in fostering a high morale and community propose,” Rockefeller wrote. “The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao’s leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history.”

In the early 1980s, PBS correspondent Bill Moyers summarized Rockefeller’s place in the global establishment: "David Rockefeller is the most conspicuous representative today of the ruling class, a multinational fraternity of men who shape the global economy and manage the flow of its capital. Rockefeller was born to it, and he has made the most of it. But what some critics see as a vast international conspiracy, he considers a circumstance of life and just another day's work.”

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
The Pro-Trump “Women’s Movement”“Women’s-Movement” In defiance of establishment opinion, Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral victory was not a triumph of male chauvinism. It was propelled, in large measure, by an insurgent women’s movement that incorporates some elements of feminism and combines them with a populist and nationalist sensibility, reports Foreign Policy magazine.

“While only 42 percent of female voters backed Trump, he got 53 percent of the white female vote,” points out the publication. This isn’t limited to conservative women who had been influenced by the late Phyllis Schlafly, continues the report. Some are “pro-choice and pro-gay Republican activist[s]who praise[d] Clinton for breaking a historic barrier for women….”

“Some of the most prominent backers of Trump’s campaign have been women, such as former wrestling magnate and current Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon, a pro-choice Republican who criticized Trump’s taped remarks but did not withdraw her support, and billionaire heiress and businesswoman Rebekah Mercer,” Foreign Policy elaborates. A similar trend is seen within the populist movement in Europe:

“Today, some of those heroines are on the other side of the Atlantic: the French presidential contender and National Front leader Marine Le Pen and her niece, parliament member Marion Maréchal-Le Pen…. The Le Pen women are a reminder of a striking fact. In Europe, women are increasingly visible both as leaders and foot soldiers in the nationalist and populist revolt widely seen as a parallel to the Trump phenomenon in America.”

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Women’s-Movement”
Will the EU Turn to China for its Next Bailout? The Financial Times reports that China has eclipsed the Eurozone as the world’s largest banking center. With the global financial center of gravity shifting eastward, Brussels may look to Beijing for its next bailout, predicts economic analyst Kenneth Schortgen. This would be to Beijing’s advantage, as well.

Over the past two decades, China has used “its growing monetary power to create new infrastructures meant to compete with, if not supplant, Western control over the global financial system,” such as a partnership with Russia to allow oil transactions to be conducted in the yuan and the ruble, rather than the dollar. Beijing and Moscow have also collaborated through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and organized the so-called BRICS political coalition, which is composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. China is eagerly buying resources in Africa and establishing a political and military presence on that continent.

According to Schortgen, Beijing is now targeting Europe. If China “could coax the member states of the EU, or the bureaucracy of the Union itself to switch sides and move into China’s camp voluntarily, then it would isolate the United States, [which would] culminate in a bloodless change in the balance of power setting the stage for the 21st Century to become a Chinese century,” Shortgen writes.

Although Beijing has long enjoyed a cash surplus, there are significant signs that China’s increasingly overleveraged economy is headed for a severe downturn, as well. A collapse of China’s debt bubble could have catastrophic consequences not only for the Eurozone, but for the larger global economy.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Senator Paul Introduces Civil Asset Reform Bill For decades, law enforcement agencies have profited from the practice of civil asset forfeiture, through which they can seize money and property without filing criminal charges against the owner. All that is necessary is to file a lawsuit against the confiscated property by claiming that it was proceeds of an alleged criminal offense. The owners must then prove that the money or property was legitimately obtained in a legal forum where the standard of evidence is lower than in a criminal prosecution. Owing to the expense involved, most victims of civil asset forfeiture don’t contest the seizures.

Last week, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky re-introduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR), a companion measure for a bill sponsored in the House by Republican Tim Walberg of Michigan. That bill was initially introduced three years ago.

“The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime,” explains Senator Paul. The purpose of his legislation is to “protect Americans’ Fifth Amendment rights from being infringed upon by ensuring that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of US citizens without due process.”

The bill would place the burden of proof on the government, rather than the victim; it imposes a “clear and convincing” evidence standard, requires proceeds to be sent into the Treasury’s general fund, rather than to the agency that confiscates them, and ends the practice of “equitable sharing” between federal and local police agencies.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Retired Police Chief Describes Customs Harassment at JFK Airport Hassan Aden, a retired police chief from Greenville, North Carolina, took to Facebook to describe his recent detention at JFK International Airport as he returned from a trip to Paris with his mother. As he passed through the Customs check, Aden’s cell phone was confiscated, he was told that he could not communicate with anybody – but the officials responsible insisted on pretending that he was free to leave.

Aden identified himself as a retired police chief, a career police officer, and a US citizen, and was told by the CBP officer that “he had no control over the circumstance and that it didn’t matter what my occupation was.” Aden was told that his name had been flagged and that he would have to be “cleared” before being allowed to return to his own country.

The CBP officer “had the audacity to tell me I was not being detained,” recalled Aden. “His ignorance of the law and the Fourth Amendment should disqualify him from being able to wear a CBP badge – but maybe fear and detention is the new mission of the CBP and the Constitution is a mere suggestion.”

Aden, who spent 30 years in law enforcement, points out that he had “frequently attended meetings at the White House and advised on national police policy reforms. All that [I can say is] that if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone with attributes that can be `profiled.’ No one is safe from this type of unlawful government intrusion.”

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Budget Redistribution, Not Budget-Cutting, Under Trump,-Not-Budget-Cutting,-Under-Trump While the Trump administration’s proposed budget “takes a big step toward draining the swamp in Washington” by targeting domestic boondoggles, its “defense and homeland security spending increases will squander bounties that should be reserved for taxpayers, not bureaucrats and bombs,” writes commentator James Bovard in USA Today.

As head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson will preside over an agency taking “one of the biggest cuts – down $6 billion or$13 percent,” Bovard points out. “The administration aims to sharply cut spending on rental vouchers that are notorious for redistributing violent crime from public housing projects to previously safe urban and suburban neighborhoods.” Also on the chopping block are the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, both of which are largely funded through private philanthropies in any case.

“There is no justice in taxing dishwashers in Arkansas to subsidize programs such as Synetic Theater’s Silent Shakespeare,” Bovard opines. Subsidies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are likewise zeroed out in the budget framework.

While these reductions are all welcome, “Trump proposes to devote almost all of the savings from cutting domestic programs into the Pentagon, whose budget would rise by $52 billion, roughly 10 percent…. The specter overhanging Trump’s budget is the possibility that he could jettison his campaign promises and plunge the nation more deeply into conflicts” overseas, Bovard concludes.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-Not-Budget-Cutting,-Under-Trump
Librarian Died Because Cop Mistook Bullets for Blanks The 73-year-old librarian who was fatally shot by a Punta Gorda, Florida police officer during a training exercise died because the officer didn’t know the difference between blanks and live rounds, investigators have concluded.

Former Officer Lee Coel shot Mary Knowlton during a “shoot/don’t shoot” role-playing exercise in a Citizens’ Police Academy event last August 9th. That drill was intended to help citizens experience confrontations with “adversarial or violent people.” Knowlton was among the attendees randomly chosen for the exercise, in which she took the role of a police officer, and Coel played a suspect. After loading four Blazer hollow-based wad cutters into his personal .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, Coel briefly spoke with Knowlton, then fired four rounds at her while moving around a parked car. Neither Coel, nor two other officers involved in the exercise, checked the ammo, as they were required to.

“There is no evidence that Officer Coel intended to use lethal ammunition while participating in the role play scenario with Mary Knowlton,” concluded an investigative report compiled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The agency also found that it was the inability of Coel and other officers on the scene to distinguish between blanks and live wad-cutter rounds that “resulted in Mary Knowlton’s death.”

Coel, who was charged with manslaughter, has been fired from his positon with the Punta Gorda Police Department.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Abortion-Worshipers in Argentina Attack Church, Hold Obscene Demonstration,-Hold-Obscene-Demonstration For decades, defenders of the government-sanctioned child murder called abortion have often said that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. For a sizeable portion of the feminist movement, abortion has sacramental status, and hatred of the Christian tradition is central to their worldview. This has been memorably illustrated in two recent demonstrations in Argentina, the home country of the current Roman Catholic Pope.

To celebrate UN-designated International Women’s Day on March 8, a mob of feminists assembled outside a cathedral in Tucuman, where “a group of women pretended to [commit] an abortion on a woman dressed like a very pregnant Virgin Mary,” reports the Catholic Crux Now news service. Described as an “artistic presentation,” the protest included a display of what appeared to be blood and fragments of a dismembered child. The demonstrators denounced the Christ Child as a symbol of what they called “the raping system that mandates us to forced maternity.”

During another demonstration in the southern city of Bahia Blanca, a mob of topless feminist radicals ignited a fire in front of a cathedral at which Pope Francis once officiated. While some of them chanted nursery-rhyme-grade leftist slogans, a small group attempted to storm the house of worship, and attacked a young man who volunteered to defend it.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-Hold-Obscene-Demonstration
Leading Climate Alarmist: Humanity Must Repeal the Industrial Age One paradox of radical environmentalism is that it urges the masses to embrace a dismal standard of living that would be no better than the dystopian vision that supposedly awaits if we ignore their recommendations. Witness the comments offered by German physicist Joachim Schellnhuber in a recent interview with Deutsche Welle.

In order to deal with what he insists is catastrophic, man-caused climate change, “by 2030, we have to phase out the combustion engine,” insists Schellnhuber. “And we have to completely phase out the use of coal for producing our power. By 2040 we will probably have to replace concrete and steel for construction by wood, clay, and stone,” he continues. The German government, acting within the framework of the European Union, has a national goal of a 40 percent reduction in supposed greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. But this isn’t adequate, he insists: “It looks fairly bleak, actually, with the current policies in place we will not even meet our own target. Something fairly disruptive needs to happen, like closing down some of the operating coal-fired power stations.”

Schellnhuber is a long-time member of the Club of Rome, which has been promoting severe restrictions on economic growth and schemes for population control for several decades. He is also a highly influential adviser to the EU, the United Nations, and – despite being a devout and outspoken atheist – the Vatican.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Gorsuch’s Record on Gitmo’s-Record-on-Gitmo As an attorney with the Office of White House Counsel under George W. Bush, Neil Gorsuch contributed to a proposed presidential signing statement that would have asserted the authority to order torture as an interrogation method – and forbidden judicial review of that decision. He also recommended that federal judges visit the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in order to cultivate sympathy for the administration’s “litigating positions.”

“If the DC judges could see what we saw, I believe they would be more sympathetic to our litigating positions,” wrote Gorsuch in a 2005 email to Justice Department officials. That message and many other contemporaneous emails were provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee in advance of Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings.

Gorsuch visited Gitmo in 2005 and offered praise for the facility’s commandant.

“You and your colleagues have developed standards and imposed a degree of professionalism that the nation can be proud of, and being able to see firsthand all that you have managed to accomplish with such a difficult and sensitive mission makes my job of helping explain and defend it before the courts all the easier,” Gorsuch declared during his visit. To his colleagues in the Justice Department, Gorsuch suggested that “A visit, or even just the offer of a visit [to Gitmo] might help dispel myths and build confidence in our representations to the Court about conditions and detainee treatment.”

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’s-Record-on-Gitmo
Families of 9/11 Victims Sue Saudi Arabian Government A lawsuit has been filed against the Saudi Arabian monarchy in a Manhattan federal court on behalf of the families of 800 9/11 victims. The lawsuit accuses the Saudi government of direct complicity in the attack, which – according to the official narrative – was carried out by 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were identified as Saudi nationals.

According to the lawsuit, diplomatic officials from Saudi embassies offered material support for hijackers Salem al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar during the year and a half leading up to the 9/11 attacks. Saudi officials are accused of helping the future hijackers find apartments, learn English, and obtain funding in the form of cash and credit cards. The lawsuit also presents evidence that Saudi diplomats in Germany helped support Mohamed Atta, who has been designated as the lead hijacker. It also claims that a Saudi official was lodged in the same Virginia hotel with several hijackers the night before the attacks.

New York’s Pix11 news reports that “Many of the revelations in the lawsuit are culled from findings of an FBI investigation into the terrorist attacks.” The alleged motive for official Saudi involvement in the attacks was an effort “to curry favor with fundamentalists to avoid losing power,” which has also led the Royal Family to send supposedly charitable donations that were funneled to al-Qaeda.

At some point, that lawsuit should be amended to target the FBI, the Justice Department, the CIA, and other officials such as former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who evidence suggests had prior knowledge of the impending attacks.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Saudis Slaughter Refugees at Sea The government of Somalia has accused Saudi Arabia of carrying out an attack on a ship carrying at least 42 Somali refugees near the coast of Yemen. The assault was reportedly carried out by a military naval vessel and a helicopter gunship.

Referring to the attack as “horrific” and “terrible,” Somalia’s foreign minister, Abdisalam Omer, insisted that “the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen is responsible for it.” Laurent De Boeck, head of the Yemeni office for the International Organization for Migration, reports that the occupants of the craft were registered refugees fleeing Yemen for Sudan, many of them hoping eventually to return to Somalia.

One survivor recalled that terrified refugees had waved flashlights at the crew of the attack helicopter in an effort to show that they were non-combatants. The Saudi-commanded coalition has been conducting heavy bombardment in the area in response to what it claims have been arms-smuggling operations by Houthi rebels.

The Saudis have responded to international outrage over the incident by calling for the United Nations to assume control of the Yemeni port from which the refugees had embarked on their journey.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
What Happened to the “Major Meeting” on Veteran’s Affairs?“Major-Meeting”-on-Veteran’s-Affairs? During a March 17 White House press conference, President Trump told reporters that he was planning a “major meeting” on the scandal-plagued department of Veterans Affairs with VA Secretary David Shulkin, who at the time was sitting to the president’s left. The discussion would take place at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, Trump explained, because “that seems to be the most convenient location. Everybody always wants to go to the Southern White House.”

Turning to Shulkin, the president asked if he would be at the club that evening. Without speaking, the VA secretary shook his head.

Nothing on the president’s official schedule indicated that a formal meeting on veteran’s affairs took place either Friday night or on Saturday, although the White House later claimed that he “spent the early morning and afternoon [on Saturday] on issues concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs and the military,” and that in the evening he “had another meeting, including dinner, concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs and how to turn it around for the benefit of our great veterans.”

While the official schedule mentioned no meetings devoted to caring for combat veterans, the president did discuss the possibility of creating more of them. President Trump met with National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to discuss “the threat of North Korea.” While VA Secretary Shulkin wasn’t on hand at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump was photographed dining with Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Comics, who donated $1 million to his campaign last year. One correspondent on scene reported that the president had spent four and a half hours at his golf club that afternoon.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Major-Meeting”-on-Veteran’s-Affairs?
Judge Authorizes Unprecedented Police Search of Google Users Police in Edna, Minnesota secured a court order requiring Google to provide the identity of a user who employed the search engine to look up the name of a local financial fraud victim, reports the Ars Technica news site. The warrant, issued by Hennepin County Senior Judge Gary Larson, demands that Google aid the police “determine who searched for variations of the victim’s name between December 1 of last year through January 7, 2017.”

The search would focus on an online photo of a person whose name is identical to that of a local resident whose image was used in a fake passport, which was in turn employed to arrange a fraudulent transfer of $28,500 from the victim’s account. The bogus passport image was faxed to the credit union using a “spoofed” phone number.

Andrew Crocker, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, suggested that the case could give rise to an appellate court ruling entitled “In Re Minnesota Unconstitutional General Warrant.” The Fourth Amendment was written for the express purpose of avoiding “general warrants” of the kind used by British customs and tax officials and enforced by British occupation troops. It requires police to list specific persons and places to be searched. Ars Technica describes the Hennepin County warrant as “the most expansive one we’ve seen unconnected to the US national security apparatus and, if carried out, could set an Orwellian precedent[.]”

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
“Qualified Immunity” Protects Summary Execution by Cop in Florida“Qualified-Immunity”-Protects-Summary-Execution-by-Cop-in-Florida Police officers are under no legal responsibility to identify themselves or state their purpose for being on private property before killing armed citizens who confront officers on their own property, ruled the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

That ruling emerges from the killing of Florida resident Andrew Scott, who heard a loud banging on his door late at night, retrieved his licensed handgun, and opened the door with it pointed safely toward the ground. Seeing a dimly lit figure holding a pistol, Scott retreated into his residence, and was fatally shot six times by Deputy Richard Sylvester. The deputy had no warrant to be on Scott’s property, nor did he have probable cause to suspect either Scott or his girlfriend of committing a criminal offense. Sylvester did not identify himself as a police officer. He simply opened fire once he saw that the citizen had armed himself to deal with a dangerous stranger.

According to Judge Frank M. Hull, Deputy Sylvester’s lethal actions are covered by the spurious constitutional doctrine of “qualified immunity” because there was no “clearly established law” forbidding the summary execution of innocent citizens by police officers. Hull also defended the deputy’s unlawful presence on Scott’s property as an application of the “knock and talk” rule, placing the blame for the lethal encounter on the victim who – the judge contends – could simply have declined to open the door.

Dissenting Judge Beverly Martin pointed out that “there was no talk here. This was knock and shoot.” In effect, as Judge Martin observes, Scott was killed for exercising his rights under the Second Amendment: “If Mr. Scott was subject to being shot and killed, simply because (as the District Court put it) he made the `fateful decision’ to answer a late-night disturbance at the door to his house, and did so while holding his firearm pointed safely at the ground, then the Second Amendment … had little effect.”

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Qualified-Immunity”-Protects-Summary-Execution-by-Cop-in-Florida
South Carolina Police Break Down Door, Shoot Man Without Warning – And Lie About It,-Shoot-Man-Without-Warning-–-And-Lie-About-It A SWAT team from South Carolina’s 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit used a battering ram to break down the door of Myrtle Beach resident Julian Betton, who had allegedly made two $50 marijuana sales to a friend who had been recruited as a police informant. The raiders fired at least 57 shots at the 31-year-old man, hitting him nine times. He is now crippled, emasculated, and will need to use a colostomy bag for the rest of his life.

Officers claimed to have knocked and announced themselves several times, and then opened fire after Betton shot at them.

The Washington Post reports that “as it turns out, Betton didn’t fire on [the SWAT team]. Ballistics tests later showed that this gun had never been fired. The cops then altered their story to say that Betton merely pointed his gun at them.”

The assailants told nearly identical stories, which have been demolished by video footage of the assault. None of the officers displayed police insignia. None of them knocked on the door prior to the raid. Just as significantly, the officers did not have a no-knock search warrant – which means that if Betton had opened fire on them, he would have been legally justified in doing so.

All of the officers were cleared through an internal review. Betton was forced to plead guilty to two drug charges in exchange for the dismissal of gun-related charges.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-Shoot-Man-Without-Warning-–-And-Lie-About-It
No Criminal Charges for Deputies Who Boiled a Man to Death Miami-Dade county State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle will not pursue criminal charges against four prison guards who literally boiled a mentally ill prison inmate to death five years ago.

Darren Rainey, a schizophrenic man who was serving a sentence for cocaine possession, was locked in a shower for two hours, where his skin was literally scalded from his body by the relentless onslaught of 180-degree water. Witnesses heard Rainey screaming to let him out, as the guards laughed at and taunted him. When his lifeless body was retrieved from the shower, nurses found burns on 90 percent of his body.

The victim’s body temperature was too high to measure with a thermometer, and his skin fell off as his body was being handled. Inmate Mark Joiner was given a bottle of Clorox and ordered to clean up the chunks of skin left behind in the shower.

According to the prosecutor’s office, “The shower was itself neither dangerous nor unsafe. The evidence does not show that Rainey’s well-being was grossly disregarded by the correctional staff.”

Rundle inherited her position from another prosecutor who became notorious for an incident involving death by burning and lack of accountability for the officials responsible: She took over the Miami-Dade Prosecutor’s Office from Janet Reno after she was chosen to serve as US Attorney General by Bill Clinton, just a few weeks before scores of people perished in flames while under siege by the FBI near Waco, Texas.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Venezuelan Regime Seizes Bakeries Food shortages are an inescapable feature of every Communist-run economy, as are crackdowns on producers who are scapegoated for the hardships inflicted on the country by the ruling elite. The Marxist government of Venezuela is being true to this pedigree by detaining bakers and seizing their businesses.

The National Superintendet for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights has announced that four people had been arrested and charged with waging “economic war” and “destabilizing” the country by baking pastries instead of bread. According to the regime, bakeries are required to produce pan canilla – common white bread – and that it is illegal to produce specialty items with government-imported flour. Two bakeries were seized as punishment for violating restrictions on the items they produce and the prices they can charge.

“The government isn’t importing enough wheat,” complained Juan Crespo, president of the Industrial Flour Union. “If you don’t have wheat, you don’t have flour, and if you don’t have flour, you don’t have bread.” Of course, it is difficult to import adequate foreign-produced grain when the country’s currency is practically worthless.

Marxist Ruler Nicolas Maduro has inaugurated what he calls “Plan 700” to address what he calls the “bread war.” This will mean spot checks of bakeries nation-wide, and will almost certainly result in more arrests and seizures – and an even more acute bread shortage that inevitably will be blamed on those who produce the bread, rather than the government that is impeding production.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Sanders Rebukes American Materialism – And Immediately Regrets It–-And-Immediately-Regrets-It “We are living in a nation which worships wealth rather than caring for the poor. I don’t think that is the nation we should be living in,” pontificated Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator and former presidential candidate from Vermont, by way of a March 18 Twitter post that he must have immediately regretted.

Unlike more than ninety percent of the population, Sanders – who has never had an honest job in the productive sector – owns three homes, most recently closing the deal on a $600,000 lakefront summer house in an exclusive enclave last year. He also paid a tax rate of 13.5 percent in 2014, despite being a wealthy man – and routinely rebuking the wealthy for not paying what he calls their “fair share.”

Following Sanders’ self-righteous Twitter post, one user asked him, “Which of [your] three homes did you tweet that from?”

“If he is preaching about wealth redistribution, he needs to lead by example,” suggested another.

“I don’t think we should live in a country where you can say this while having three houses and [paying] a lower tax rate than I do,” added a third.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600–-And-Immediately-Regrets-It
Meals on Wheels Not Facing Extinction News of the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the subsidized Meals on Wheels program prompted an outpouring of private donations to the charity, according to CNN.

“Meals on Wheels received fifty times the typical amount of daily donations on Thursday after the White House proposed cuts to some of the program’s sources of funding,” the network reported on March 16. “Volunteer sign-ups also jumped, increasing by 500 percent, according to Jenny Bertolette, a spokeswoman for Meals on Wheels America.” Ellen Horwitz of the West Los Angeles Meals on Wheels also said that there was an “abundance of people calling in the last two days saying, `Can we help?’”

The proposed budget framework produced by the White House recommended elimination of the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant Program, through which tax subsidies are provided to Meals on Wheels programs across the country.

It’s true that the federal contribution to the charitable program is a microscopic fraction of its budget – and it’s also true that the subsidy is largely symbolic. Reason magazine points out that of the hundreds of locally operated Meals on Wheels programs nation-wide, the overwhelming majority receive most of their funding “from charitable giving, not government funds. In 2015, for instance, the national Meals on Wheels reported that government grants accounted for just three percent of its annual revenues of $7.5 million.”

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Military Hardliners Take Control in Trump White House Despite campaign promises to stop globalist interventions around the world, President Trump is ramping up US military involvement in both Yemen and Syria, and has indicated that he will be taking a more confrontational posture toward China and North Korea. Political analysts point to the military hardliners surrounding the President, such as Defense Secretary Mattis and National Security Advisor McMaster , who have been antagonistic toward Iran and favor working with Saudi Arabia. Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen warns that this will bring more of the same foreign intervention that produced massive Middle Eastern conflict in the past.

During the campaign, Trump made it clear that he considers Iran to be the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism and the most important threat in the Gulf Region. Skousen concludes that Trump has foolishly fallen for the narrative that his predecessor had been “soft on Iran” because of the Iran nuclear deal.

“This was not a deal meant to help Iran, or establish peace with the West, it was just the opposite—a future trap with conditions set so strict that Iran will surely violate some aspect of the agreement,” Skousen contends. “Even though none of the parties signed the agreement, it was put into a binding Security Council resolution that automatically authorizes a war against Iran should a violation be detected. “

“One of the psychological twists in the deal is that Republicans and Trump think they are taking up the opposite position from Obama, not realizing that this action is exactly what the globalists really want,” he elaborates. “In the end, Republicans will be blamed for the war with Iran, not the globalists.”

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Iraqi Army Leader Claims US Helicopters Rescued ISIS Commanders in Mosul A growing number of international affairs experts are convinced that U.S. and British intelligence are the most important supporters of the world’s most vicious terrorist groups. Those claims appear to be supported by an admittedly partisan claim made by Iranian and Iraqi sources. A commander in the Iraqi army fighting ISIS in the beleaguered city of Mosul reports that after surrounding the enemy, American Special Forces operators arrived on the scene -- not to finish off the terrorist leaders, but to carry them to safety. As the Iraqis watched in disbelief, the US special operations helicopters picked up the ISIS commanders and ferried them away to safety deeper into Syria.

Javad al-Talaybawi, the field commander, claimed that “the US forces carried out the heliborne operation in one of the Western neighborhoods of Western Mosul, evacuating two senior ISIS commanders to an unknown location after the commanders came under siege by Iraqi government forces in intensified clashes in Western Mosul.”

This is but the latest example of the US helping ISIS in Iraq. In February, “US forces [also] tried hard to evacuate ISIS commanders from the besieged city of Tal Afar West of Mosul,” Talaybawi recalls.

There are also photos and videos showing US planes dropping air packages of supplies and aid over ISIS-held regions. Many local eyewitnesses report several instances of US aircraft dropping food, arms and fighting tools to ISIS positions that appeared to be helplessly besieged.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trump-Russian Connection based on “Fake Intelligence”“Fake-Intelligence” Last fall, major news outlets including CNN, The New York Times and Slate, reported supposed evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, after a computer server in Trump Tower was supposedly found in communication with a Russian bank. It now appears that the entire story was based on planted computer code by a US-based hacker. reported this week:

“The controversy over President Trump's servers talking to Russia may have been an elaborate digital ruse. A Russian bank has reported to U.S. authorities that mysterious communications resumed recently between one of its computers and an email server tied to President Trump’s business empire, and it has developed evidence the new activity may be the work of a hacker trying to create a political hoax, Circa has learned.”

“Alfa Bank is asking the U.S. Justice Department for help solving the mystery and pledged its full cooperation,” continued the report. “Alfa bank wants U.S. authorities to help unmask a computer inside the United States that it believes has been used to launch cyberattacks spoofing the appearance of a backdoor communication channel between Moscow and America’s 45th president, according to a source directly familiar with the bank’s request.”

The original leaks about the supposed connection in Trump Tower came from “L. Jean Camp, an Indiana University [computer science] researcher who made 22 donations totaling more than $1,500 to Hillary Clinton last year. She told Circa that her political donations had no bearing on her concerns about the data gathered by a loose group of colleagues who legitimately believed the connections should be investigated.”

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Fake-Intelligence”
Is Trump Cutting Funds to the UN? Since its inception, the United Nations has relied for its existence on funding extorted from American taxpayers. Nothing in the US Constitution authorizes appropriating money for international bodies of any kind, or US membership in organizations that compromise national independence. Roughly a week after his inauguration, President Trump indicated that he wants to reassess all funding for international organizations and that until such a review is complete all current disbursements are on hold.

Liberty Hangout reports that this might result in cutting billions of dollars in funds to the world body. At present, Washington sends more than $10 billion to the UN each year, which accounts for twenty-eight percent of all of its funding.

Conservatives organizations like the John Birch Society have been petitioning for years to “Get U.S. Out of the U.N.” -- not only to save our overblown budget but also to extricate our country from an international agency that they see as working at every turn to undermines principal tenets of American ideals, including sovereignty, property ownership, and individual ownership of firearms.

President Trump, however, may not follow through on his threats to cut UN funding following the inevitable pushback from political and corporate interests that are connected to the organization. This includes self-described Republican internationalists who are critical of the world body’s performance but who accept the claim that it embodies a noble aspiration and does worthwhile work.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Republican Congressmen Sign “Climate Resolution”“Climate-Resolution” Seventeen Republican members of Congress, ten of whom are in either their first or second terms, “are bucking long-time party positions and the new occupant of the White House” by supporting a brief statement called the “Republican Climate Resolution,” reports Bloomberg News. The short draft resolution doesn’t embrace every tenet of the Climate Change dogma, offering instead a statement of support for the supposed consensus that Climate Change is a proven danger requiring concerted effort growing out of “our tradition of American ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Elise Stefanik of New York, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania. Rep. Curbelo, one of the chief authors of the resolution, is co-founder of the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus. Eleven of that group’s thirteen Republican members have co-sponsored the Climate Resolution.

“Our founding fathers set up a political system that was to be reason-based – they didn’t believe in `alternative facts,’” stated South Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Sanford, who supports government action to abate the supposed menace of climate change. He has not addressed on record the abundant evidence that the UN-centered climate alarmism movement has deliberately created so-called “alternative facts” by manipulating data.

On the basis of what Sanford admits is largely anecdotal evidence, the congressmen says that he’s convinced that anthropogenic climate change is real and “dangerous.”

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Climate-Resolution”
Geert Wilders and Fellow Populists Fall Short in The Netherlands The populist Dutch Party for Freedom, or PVV, fell short in its bid for control of the national legislature, even though it did peel away several seats from the ruling People’s Party, or VVD. The PVV, led by the insurgent and divisive figure Geert Wilders, is seen as part of a world-wide populist revolt against progressivism, open borders, and trans-national political institutions, such as the European Union.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, celebrating his party’s victory, said that the Dutch had rejected what he called “the wrong kind of populism.” Wilders described Rutte’s remarks as “very worrying, as if populists [were] semi-Nazis,” adding “Rutte has not seen the back of me.”

Battered by Brexit and intimidated by the Trump movement, Eurocrats gloated over the defeat of Wilders and his party.

Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, described the Dutch election results as “A vote for Europe [and] a vote against extremists.” Holger Schmieding, chief economist for the EU-aligned Berenberg bank, insisted that the results represented “a victory for common sense,” and commended the Dutch electorate for defying what he called “the siren songs of the populists.”

Behind this celebratory façade, the Europhiles might be hearing footsteps: Rutte’s party lost eight seats in the most recent election, and French populist candidate Marine Le Pen, who has emerged as a very serious presidential contender, has commended Brexit “for showing us the way out of this huge prison” that is the EU.

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Federal Judges Halt Revised Trump Administration Travel Ban Addressing a rally in Nashville just hours after visiting the gravesite of President Andrew Jackson, President Donald Trump denounced as “judicial overreach” a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii that placed a nation-wide hold on the administration’s revised travel ban.

Mr. Trump’s revised executive order would impose a 90-day ban on travel for citizens of six majority-Muslim countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Iraq, which had been mentioned in the earlier order, was dropped from the new draft, which also deleted a provision that would have prioritized members of religious minorities. The new order also exempted people holding green cards and visas.

Judge Watson, referring to Mr. Trump’s public statements as a candidate and as president, insisted that the clear purpose of the order was to target members of one religious group. According to Watson, “It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent. It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam,” the judge continued. “Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not.”

Watson also criticized what he called “the questionable evidence supporting the Government’s national security motivations” and ruled that “the balance of equities and public interests justify” granting the motion for a nation-wide injunction.

Hours after Watson’s ruling was published, US District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland imposed a temporary block of his own, insisting that “The history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trump Administration Cuddles Up to Saudi Arabia The Saudi government was a very generous benefactor to the Clinton Foundation prior to the 2016 election, but it has quickly warmed up to the figure who handed Hillary an unexpected defeat. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described his meeting with President Trump as an “historical turning point” in the relationship between Washington and Riyadh, who share a common view of Iran as the leading threat to peace and stability in the Gulf region.

Reuters observes that “Saudi Arabia had viewed with unease the administration of … Barack Obama, whom they felt considered Riyadh’s alliance with Washington less important than negotiating the Iran nuclear deal. Riyadh and other Gulf allies see in Trump a strong president who will shore up Washington’s role as their main strategic partner and help contain Riyadh’s adversary Iran in a region central to US security and energy interests[.]”

Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute points out that Saudi Arabia, whose ruling clique is deeply implicated in promoting Sunni Islamic militancy world-wide, controls a very powerful foreign lobby in Washington that distorts the government’s foreign policy priorities.

“The Saudis throw millions of dollars around,” comments McAdams. “It doesn’t matter who is elected, it doesn’t matter who is running things, because the Saudis have got so much power, because they hire all kinds of lobbyists ….”

During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump challenged Hillary Clinton to return $25 million donated by the Saudis to the Clinton Foundation. Now, McAdams observed, “It looks like [Trump and the Saudis] are getting along quite well.”

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
McCain Accuses Republican Senate Colleague of Being Russian Agents In a splenetic outburst on the Senate floor that was unprecedented even by his standards, Arizona Republican John McCain accused colleague Rand Paul of Kentucky of being an agent of the Russian government. McCain’s harangue was provoked by Paul’s objection to a proposal that Montenegro, a small former province of Yugoslavia, be brought into the NATO alliance.

“The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin,” snarled McCain, offering no evidence to substantiate that accusation – and violating Senate rules of comity in doing so.

Asked about McCain’s calumny on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, Paul stated that McCain “makes a really, really strong case … for term limits. I think maybe he’s past his prime. I think maybe he’s gotten a little bit unhinged.”

“We currently have combat troops in about six nations,” Senator Paul pointed out. “We have troops … actively stationed in a couple dozen others. We have a twenty-trillion-dollar debt.”

Paul referred to an article he had read in which a photograph of McCain’s glowering face – an icon called an “Angry McCain” – was placed on every country where the senator has urged active military deployments.

“If you put an `Angry McCain’ on the globe, on the map [where he wants to send troops] – it’s virtually everywhere,” Paul recalled. “So his foreign policy is something that would greatly endanger the United States – greatly over-extend us. There has to be the thought as to whether it’s in our national interest to pledge to get involved in war if Montenegro has an altercation with anyone.”

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Export-Import Bank Survives Trump’s Budget Cleaver’s-Budget-Cleaver Although dozens of federal agencies are targeted for cuts – or at least cuts in the expected rate of growth – by President Trump’s proposed budget, the corporate welfare trough called the Export-Import Bank has been spared any potential hardship.

Established during the New Deal, the ExImBank, as it is also known, subsidizes foreign buyers of goods manufactured by politically favored corporations. It has also been used by the so-called Deep State – the partially submerged, self-sustaining network of covert intelligence and financial institutions – to fund initiatives that have led to war and other tragedies. For example, the ExImBank was used as a conduit during the mid-1980s to subsidize purchases of goods and services by Saddam Hussein’s regime as part of its arms build-up and its war with Iran. During the 1990s, ExImBank offered lucrative aid to the Halliburton Corporation under Dick Cheney’s leadership. It has also been a tremendous boon to Boeing.

The Washington Examiner observes that “Candidate Trump said he would abolish the Export-Import Bank” and recalled that his “earliest budget framework listed Ex-Im among independent agencies to abolish. But the White House’s latest budget framework leaves Ex-Im off the hit list. This follows many reports from congressional fans of Ex-Im that Trump has been persuaded to love the agency….”

ExImBank’s sister agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), may still fall under the axe. “OPIC subsidizes US companies that want to set up business overseas, such as a Ritz Carlton in Turkey or a Wendy’s in the Republic of Georgia,” explains the Examiner.

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’s-Budget-Cleaver
City of Tacoma Hit with $50,000 Fine for Violating Open Records Law$50,000-Fine-for-Violating-Open-Records-Law Last fall, privacy rights activist Phil Mocek and his Center for Open Policing filed a lawsuit against the City of Tacoma after it had refused to provide an unredacted version of its Stingray non-disclosure agreement with the FBI. Stingray is a warrantless police surveillance system that uses cell tower emulators to identify, locate, and track cell phones. The FBI provides Stingray technology to local police agencies, which are required to sign detailed non-disclosure agreements forbidding police to talk about how they are operated – and to drop criminal charges where necessary in order to prevent disclosure of the surveillance methods in court.

The documents Mocek received through his public records request had been redacted to the point of being unreadable. According to city officials, the redactions were imposed at the urging of the FBI. The Tacoma News-Tribune reports that Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson ordered the City to pay a $50,000 fine and legal fees for this violation of the Washington State Public Records Act.

The Judge “said that this was a paradigm case in which the city favored its interest in maintaining good relations with the FBI at the expense of the public’s right to open government under the Public Records Act,” stated attorney David Whedbee, who represented the Center for Open Policing.

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600$50,000-Fine-for-Violating-Open-Records-Law
CIA-Aligned Google to “Flag” Supposedly Offensive Search Terms“Flag”-Supposedly-Offensive-Search-Terms Tech giant Google, which by some accounts benefited from CIA-connected start-up capital, is adding a category labelled “upsetting-offensive” to its search results,according to the AP. Described by the company as an effort “to improve the quality of its search results,” this new feature could also create cyber-ghettos for social and political commentary from people who dissent against so-called mainstream opinions.

“With the change, content with racial slurs could now get flagged,” explains the AP report. “So could content that promotes hate or violence against a specific group of people based on gender, race or other criteria.”

The decision to flag supposedly inappropriate content would be made by review teams “comprised of contractors known as `quality raters’”; reviews of this kind are already underway to flag “questionable items such as pornography.” The new “upsetting-offensive” designation was added to its latest set of guidelines for quality raters. Among the examples cited to illustrate the new category is a search return on the terms “Holocaust history” that produces a page entitled “Top 10 reasons why the holocaust [sic] didn’t happen.”

Quality raters are instructed to “flag … all web results that contain upsetting or offensive content from the perspective of users in your locale, even if the result satisfies the user intent.” Being flagged by a “quality rater” as “offensive-upsetting” doesn’t mean that “the results won’t show up at all when someone searches for them,” but rather that it will be designated as “inappropriate.”

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Flag”-Supposedly-Offensive-Search-Terms
Senate Intel Committee: No Evidence of Anti-Trump Wiretap If, as President Trump has claimed, his predecessor illegally wiretapped Trump Tower for political reasons during last year’s campaign, the evidence has yet to be provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee or its analogue in the House of Representatives.

“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” asserted a joint statement filed by Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina and Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia.

California Republican Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had previously said that with respect to Trump’s wiretapping claim, “we don’t have any evidence that that took place. In fact,” Nunes continued, “I don’t believe … there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.”

In an interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, President Trump – in an aside of the sort that must by now make his aides and press spokespeople flinch – claimed that “I just want people to know that the CIA was hacked and a lot of things taken. That was during the Obama years, that was not during us, that was during the Obama situation.”

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, responded to Trump’s ill-considered statement on national television by pointing out that “the president appears to have discussed something that, if true and accurate, would otherwise be considered classified information.”

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
British Intelligence Service Denies Claim it Aided Trump Wiretap Great Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency, that country’s analogue to the National Security Agency, has emphatically denied claims that it assisted former President Barack Obama to conduct electronic surveillance on then-candidate Donald Trump.

On March 14, citing three unnamed intelligence community sources, Judge Andrew Napolitano, a legal affairs analyst for Fox News, claimed that in carrying out the alleged cyber-surveillance of Trump, “President Obama went outside the chain of command – he didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI and he didn’t use the Department of Justice – he used GCHQ.” If he had instructed the Justice Department to petition the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, Obama most likely could have gotten a warrant for surveillance, but this would have left a record.

By using a back-channel to GCHQ for information that agency had obtained, Judge Napolitano said during his appearance on Fox & Friends, Obama would ensure “there were no American fingerprints on it.”

This account, which relies entirely on anonymous sources, is plausible, but unproven – and it was eagerly embraced by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who quoted Judge Napolitano in reply to questions from reporters about the absence of corroboration for President Trump’s claims. Spicer also admitted that the question “has not been raised” by President Trump in conversations with British Prime Minister Theresa May. The GCHQ described “Recent allegations made by media commentator Andrew Napolitano” that the agency was involved in wiretapping Trump “are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Americans Are Paying for the Border Wall – Twice–-Twice At every campaign stop, and on every occasion that presented itself, then-candidate Donald Trump would engage in a call-and-response ritual with his audience. After promising to build a border wall, Trump would ask his supporters, “Who’s going to pay for it?” With one voice the reply would come: “Mexico!”

Writing in the Ron Paul Liberty Report, budget analyst Nick Bernabe explains to taxpayers, “You’re paying for it, not Mexico, and Trump’s newly released White House budget has made it official.”

The Trump administration’s first budget outline, which was released on March 15, “calls for taxpayers to fund $4.1 billion through 2018 for Trump’s wall along the southern border of the United States,” Bernabe elucidates. “But that’s just for the initial construction. According to DHS estimates, the overall cost to taxpayers could be $21.6 billion, a figure that will likely be even higher considering the government’s penchant for going over budget and deadlines” – and the fact that maintenance costs tend to grow geometrically.

“But wait, there’s more,” Bernabe adds. “Because Mexico has made it abundantly clear that it will not pay for America’s `great’ wall, Trump has floated the idea of slapping a 20 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico to make up for the cost. This idea may sound legitimate if you disregard the laws of economics, but the reality is that Americans will wind up paying for the tariffs through higher food and consumer prices.”

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600–-Twice
One Hopelessly Confused Family Presents the Gender Revolution in Microcosm Corey Maison, a 14-year-old resident of Michigan, decided that he wanted to be the daughter his mom never had. His mom, Erica, is reciprocating by becoming the Dad she thinks Corey needs. At least, that appears to be what passes for the logic behind their respective decisions to undergo elective medical mutilation as part of a supposed “transition” to the other sex.

Two years ago, Erica gave her son a surprise birthday present in the form of emasculating hormone treatments, which is the sort of gift that keeps on giving – in the form of an ever-deepening psychosis. In this case, the derangement was of a highly communicable variety, since Erica, claiming to be “inspired” by her son’s “transgender decision,” has decided to follow suit by becoming male. The method she chose was to undergo a double mastectomy and change her name to Eric, which makes exactly as much sense as cutting off a horse’s two front legs and calling it a kangaroo.

As if to confirm the depth of her psychological disturbance, Eric – as she wants to be called – told the Australian version of 60 Minutes that “When I was younger, I used to wish for cancer so I would have to get a mastectomy.”

Her husband Les professes to have no problem with his wife’s decision, observing that he is “still married to the same person I married…. That’s all there is to it.”

This may be the only semi-rational statement made by the family during the interview: No matter what indignity Corey or Erica inflicts on his or her body, each of them remains inescapably a genetic male or female. The true tragedy is that Corey is young enough that he will someday regret his adolescent decision to succumb to a self-destructive social fad.

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Former London Mayor: The West Created Radical Islamism The humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the Middle East, the Gulf region, and Northern Africa represents the harvest of what was sown by Washington decades ago,contended former London Mayor Ken Livingstone in an interview with RT News.

“You have to go back to the 1980s when America started funding Muslim fundamentalist groups, and the Saudis were funding the most extreme, like al-Qaeda,” Livingstone declared. “The West is in denial about Islamist terrorism, as its origins go right back to the 1980s,” he continued. “There were instances when President Carter, who was briefed by the CIA in 1979, saying that if we [meaning the US] give arms to the mujaheddin in Afghanistan, Russia will have to intervene to actually stop that and it will create Russia’s Vietnam.”

The strategy described by Livingstone was outlined in boastful detail by Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission and one-time National Security Adviser to Carter.

When Carter approved the scheme presented to him by Brzezinski, “It never occurred to him he was lighting the fuse that would lead to 9/11,” laments Livingstone, giving Carter the benefit of the doubt. Now “the West has got to come to terms [with] the fact that we funded the creation of Islamist fundamentalism and the terror that has come from that. And we’ve got to make sure we stop, that means pressure on Saudi Arabia, which remains the principal funder of the extremist terrorist groups in the Muslim world.”

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Cleveland Police Dispatcher Given Suspension in Tamir Rice Killing Two and a half years after 12-year-old Cleveland resident Tamir Rice was gunned down by police while he was playing with a pellet gun in a park, the police department has imposed an eight-day suspension on dispatcher Constance Hollinger, who handled the 911 call that led to the deadly encounter.

Chief Calvin Williams says that Hollinger violated department protocol by not informing the responding officers that the caller had said the figure supposedly pointing a gun at people was a juvenile, and that the gun he was carrying could be “fake.” Rice was fatally shot within seconds of the police cruiser arriving on the scene. The youngster was given no time to comply with an order to drop the pellet gun.

The officer who fired the fatal shots, Timothy Loehmann, had been fired by a police department in Independence, a smaller suburb, prior to being hired by the Cleveland PD. His supervisor found him to be emotionally unsuited for law enforcement, and to be incompetent in the handling of firearms. He has received a disciplinary letter for failing to disclose the circumstances of his termination from the Independence Police Department.

Neither Loehmann nor his partner, Frank Garmback, has been criminally charged, and both of them are still employed by the department. Last year, Cleveland taxpayers were compelled to underwrite a $6 million payout to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Tamir Rice’s parents.

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Sessions Promises More Action to Federalize Local Police A year ago, law-and-order conservatives and police unions denounced the Obama administration for seeking to “federalize” local police departments. Now the same interests are applauding President Trump and Attorney General Sessions for their own efforts to expand federal involvement in local law enforcement – because unlike their predecessors they are offering financial and material aid to local police while at the same time making their departments less accountable to the public.

“To turn back rising crime, we must rely heavily on all of you in state and local law enforcement to lead the way – and you must know that you have our steadfast support,” Sessions told a March 15 gathering of police officials in Richmond, Virginia. “The federal government should use its money, research, and expertise to help you figure out what is happening and determine the best ways to fight crime,” he continued. “We should strengthen partnerships between federal and state and local officers. And we should encourage the proactive policing that keeps our neighborhoods safe. This Department of Justice will do just that.”

Sessions, like President Trump, insists that the country is seeing a dramatic nation-wide increase in violent crime, a claim that is not supported by the FBI’s crime statistics. Sessions also promises to revive federal support for marijuana prohibition, while inexplicably insisting that efforts to decriminalize marijuana are somehow connected to a recent upsurge in opioid abuse, which is being driven by the diversion of prescription painkillers.

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Is Chelsea Clinton Going into the Family Business? Following her mother’s unexpected defeat in last November’s presidential election, Chelsea Clinton was reportedly being “groomed” to run for Congress, most likely as a replacement for New York Democrat Nita Lowey, who turns 80 this year. At the time, one former Clinton adviser wearily suggested that it might be better to “let the dust settle a bit before we start talking about another Clinton race.” However, as The Hill reports, “that skepticism is starting to fade,” and there are indications that the youngest Clinton could run for the New York Senate seat currently occupied by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, if the latter decides to mount a 2020 presidential run.

Many of the Clinton family’s aides and long-time advisers remain gun-shy about a potential Chelsea Clinton campaign.

“Longtime aides, donors and supporters of the Clintons are still reeling from President Trump’s victory,” observes The Hill. “With feelings still so raw, the timing might not be right for Chelsea Clinton to make the jump.”

“Even if it’s a year or two or three from now, I still don’t think the timing would be right,” one veteran of Hillary’s 2016 campaign insists. “I know it’s not fair to [Chelsea], but nothing feels right about it. It feels too forced.”

Chelsea Clinton continues to serve as the vice chair of the family’s scandal-ridden foundation and has a position as an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where she teaches a class on “global health governance.”

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
A Dog-napping in Colorado The Abbato family of Aurora, Colorado has had its dog, Capone, for nearly as long as 11-year-old Ciara Abbato has been alive. On February 24, the ten-year-old German shepherd mix jumped a fence, which was the first incident of its kind since the family moved to Aurora seven years ago.

After Capone was captured by the city’s Animal Control officer, Tracey Abbato was issued citations for an animal running at large, keeping an aggressive animal, and keeping an exotic or wild animal – because the Animal Control officer claimed that Capone is a wolf hybrid. The dog has been detained in the Aurora Animal Shelter while the city awaits the results of a genetic test. If the results confirm that suspicion, Capone will either be sent to a wolf sanctuary or euthanized if no room is found for him.

The officer who confiscated Capone justified doing so on the basis of “mannerisms, behavior and physical characteristics” that suggested he may be part wolf. The family’s veterinarian, who unlike the animal control officer is a medical specialist, insists that the dog has no wolf ancestry. The family acquired Capone from the Adams County Animal Shelter, a government-operated facility which would not be legally allowed to adopt out the dog if it had lupine progenitors. Now Tracey Abbato faces a city fine for owning a supposedly illegal “exotic” animal she had acquired from a county facility.

“Capone is a family member,” Tracey Abbato insists, saying that she’s still in shock. “We’ve had him for ten years. He has grown up with my kids; it’s devastating.”

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
“Transgender” Athlete Sentenced to Prison for Attempted Murder of UK Sports Official“Transgender”-Athlete-Sentenced-to-Prison-for-Attempted-Murder-of-UK-Sports-Official A male British athlete calling himself Lauren Jeska and demanding to be treated as a woman has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the attempted murder of a UK Athletics official after that agency voided Jeska’s racing awards over failed test results.

Jeska, who was born and will remain a male for the rest of his life, describes himself as a transgender woman. He won championships in four British women’s racing events between 2010 and 2012. However, those victories were voided in September 2015 because he had refused to provide testosterone levels and other documentation to the competition’s governing body.

A year ago, Jeska drove to the office of UK Athletics and demanded to see Ralph Knibbs, head of human resources and welfare for the organization. Security cameras recorded Jeska’s vicious knife attack on Knibbs, who was stabbed repeatedly in the head and neck and has been left with permanent disabilities as a result.

The would-be murderer’s parents say that the “stress and confusion” of Jeska’s experience with the commission triggered “flashbacks which caused fantasies of doing something drastic” in retaliation. In 2000, Jeska underwent the variety of surgical mutilation commonly called “gender reassignment surgery,” which altered some of his physical characteristics but did not change his underlying genetics. His family has said that Jeska struggled for acceptance and believed that he found it through self-mutilation – only to face rejection as a supposedly female athlete.

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Transgender”-Athlete-Sentenced-to-Prison-for-Attempted-Murder-of-UK-Sports-Official
Former Trump National Security Nominee Lands on Her Feet Author, columnist, and former Fox News personality Monica Crowley was forced to withdraw her nomination to serve as a national security spokesperson for Donald Trump following revelations of serial plagiarism in both her media and academic career. However, her loyalty to Trump may have helped her land a lucrative gig as a registered foreign lobbyist on behalf of the Ukrainian government.

On March 10, Crowley filed documents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act to work on behalf of Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk. The form explains that Crowley will work under the supervision of political analyst Doug Schoen and will be providing “outreach services” to Pinchuk on a part-time basis.

The Washington Examiner notes that “Pinchuk’s foundation donated $150,000 to the Trump Foundation in 2015 for a speech Trump delivered to a European security meeting held by an NGO founded by Pinchuk.” The Ukrainian oligarch also made larger donations to the Clinton Foundation.

As owner of an investment advisory firm called EastOne, Pinchuk is one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men, with assets valued at $1.52 billion as of last year. The $150,000 Trump Foundation donation was made in exchange for a video address by the future president to a conference held “to develop strategies for Ukraine and Wider Europe and promote Ukraine’s European integration.” During that speech Mr. Trump insisted that “Part of the problem that Ukraine has with the United States is that Putin does not respect our President whatsoever.”

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Government: We’re Not Always Right, But We Can Never Be Wrong’re-Not-Always-Right,-But-We-Can-Never-Be-Wrong Government bureaucrats are often wrong, but never in doubt. They never explain their errors, or apologize for them, even when they disrupt the lives of people who unwisely confide in them. This was demonstrated in the recent, underwhelming winter storm in the Northeastern States.

For several days, government-aligned media outlets dutifully retailed grim warnings of what was described as a potentially apocalyptic onslaught. However, as the AP reports, “Before the first snow fell, US meteorologists realized there was a good chance the late winter storm wasn’t going to produce giant snow totals in the Northeast as predicted. But they didn’t change their forecasts because they said they didn’t want to confuse the public” –as if confusion is what results when people are given reliable information.

Officials from National Weather Service offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington “held a conference call Monday afternoon about computer models that dramatically cut predicted snow amounts,” elaborates the AP. “They decided to keep the super snowy warnings,” on the assumption that the public might get the message “that the storm was no longer a threat.”

“The nature of the beast is that there’s always uncertainty in every forecast,” conceded Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Prediction Center in Maryland. This is something that should be kept in mind when “climate change” alarmists confidently predict climate disasters in the distant future on the basis of contemporary computer models.

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’re-Not-Always-Right,-But-We-Can-Never-Be-Wrong
Blue Privilege May Spare Cleveland Police Officer from Prison As a popular aphorism informs us, if a citizen lies to a government official, it’s a crime – but when government officials lie to the citizenry, it’s public policy. Cleveland resident Valerie Thompson could have faced a three-year prison term for tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice after lying to investigators about a bar fight. Because the 51-year-old is a veteran of the police department, however, she will escape time behind bars as part of a plea agreement.

Last April, Thompson was moonlighting as a security guard at a bar when a fight erupted at closing time. A female customer recorded the altercation on her cellphone. Thompson bullied the customer into deleting the video, then filed a false police report accusing customer Matthew Heben of punching security guard Kevin Brenis “without provocation.” Heben was charged with felonious assault as a result of that false report.

An investigation subsequently discredited Thompson’s report, which led prosecutors to drop the charge against Heben.

Thompson, who has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of tampering with government records, has agreed to resign from the Cleveland Police Department and will surrender her Ohio police certification. Prosecutors have indicated that they would not object to a term of probation as punishment for several very serious crimes that could have led to the imprisonment of a man falsely accused of a felony.

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Federal Jury Delivers Dramatic Asset Forfeiture Rebuke A federal jury in Manhattan took only three hours to rule against a federal asset forfeiture lawsuit filed against Efans Trading Corporation, from which investigators had seized several luxury automobiles and $3 million in cash from the company’s business account. Yifan Kong and Erxin Zhou, the Chinese immigrants who own the Memphis-based import company, were suspected of using “straw buyers” to purchase luxury cars from US dealers for quick re-sale at large profits in China.

Acting on requests from auto manufacturers, the Justice Department accused Efans of “defraud[ing] dealerships, insurance companies and authorities in its scheme to export luxury automobiles in violation of the law.” However, the Justice Department could not find a suitable criminal charge. Instead, the Feds filed a civil case to seize the cars and money through asset forfeiture in a forum in which the burden of proof would be on the accused, rather than the plaintiff. The case was prosecuted by Preet Bharara, the former US Attorney for the Manhattan District, who was fired by President Trump on Saturday after he refused to tender his resignation. The unanimous jury verdict on behalf of Efans was a rarity in federal court – and nearly unprecedented for a civil asset forfeiture case.

Attorney Benjamin Razi, who represented Efans, described the verdict as a well-deserved rebuke to “government overreach.”

“There is a great risk of abuse with these laws, and we hope [government officials] take that into account,” Razi told the New York Times.

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trump Authorizes CIA Drone Strikes, Reversing Obama Restrictions,-Reversing-Obama-Restrictions Despite his frequent criticism of the CIA and accusations that the agency is working to undermine his presidency, Donald Trump “has given the Central Intelligence Agency secret new authority to conduct drone strikes against suspected terrorists,” reports the Wall Street Journal, citing administration officials. This represents a reversal of restrictions that had been put in place by Barack Obama, which limited the CIA’s paramilitary role and placed the drone-killing program under the Pentagon’s supervision.

According to the Journal, “The CIA first used its new authority in late February in a strike on a senior al Qaeda leader in Syria, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri,” who is identified as a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden. The results of that strike have not been disclosed.

President Trump extended the authorization to the CIA during his first visit to its Langley, Virginia headquarters on January 21, the day after his inauguration. At the time, Trump’s nominee to become CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, had not been confirmed by the Senate.

Human rights advocates and other critics of the drone-killing program have long maintained that if it is to remain in place it should be conducted through the military, which is at least subject to some measure of public oversight. The new arrangement has enhanced competition between the CIA and the Pentagon over lethal drone operations.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-Reversing-Obama-Restrictions
Rep. Amash to Republican Colleague: Am I Less of an American than You? Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King precipitated a great deal of criticism with a Twitter post in which he commended Dutch nationalist politician Geert Wilders, who supports severe restrictions on immigration and an outright ban on adherents of the Islamic faith in The Netherlands. According to King, “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

Rep. King is correct that European countries are literally dying off in large measure because their native birthrate is below replacement levels – a triumph of modern secularism and the Planned Parenthood worldview. He also makes a sound point, from a conventional conservative perspective, about the primacy of culture in any civilization, including that of the United States. What inspired the predictable outrage on the left was King’s reference to “demographics” – which in this context refers to race or ethnicity. While most negative reactions to King’s statement were expressed by the predictable assortment of race-fixated leftists, one of the congressman’s most conservative colleagues took issue with it, as well.

Republican Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan is a second-generation Syrian-American and devout Christian who is unassailably conservative on social issues and the strictest constitutionalist in either chamber of Congress.

“I’m an American no less than you are,” wrote Amash in a reply to Rep. King. “I love our Constitution and traditions. Am I `somebody else’s baby’ because my parents were immigrants?

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Planned Parenthood Head: “Obscene and Insulting” to Fund Everything but Abortion“Obscene-and-Insulting”-to-Fund-Everything-but-Abortion Planned Parenthood is the world’s largest facilitator of the government-sanctioned crime of abortion, and for decades its operations have been lavishly underwritten with money extorted from tax victims. At every opportunity the organization and its representatives indignantly insist that the organization is devoted to women’s health care, minimizing – if possible, to the point of invisibility – its role in abortion.

In a genuinely brilliant gambit, the Trump administration has laid bare the fact that Planned Parenthood – which, it must be acknowledged, Donald Trump supported for his entire adult life prior to his presidential run – is fixated to the point of monomania on the issue of abortion. President Trump offered to support a half-billion dollars in tax subsidies to Planned Parenthood – none of which, it must be said, are authorized by the Constitution – if the organization would stop committing abortions.

In a fundraising letter, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards accused the administration of “bullying” the organization, and denounced the offer as “obscene and insulting.”

“Planned Parenthood health [sic] centers don’t turn patients away because of what they look like,” preened Richards, as if committing child slaughter on an equal opportunity basis were in some sense a virtue.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Obscene-and-Insulting”-to-Fund-Everything-but-Abortion
How bad was the Congressional IT Breach? Former congressional IT contractors currently under criminal investigation “had full access to members’ `correspondence, emails, confidential files,’ and there was almost no tracking of what they did,” reports the Daily Caller.

According to an account provided by a former House technology worker, Imran Awan, who was in charge of IT for several Democratic members of Congress, bullied the central IT staff “to bend the rules for him so there wouldn’t be a paper trail about the unusually high permissions he was requesting,” continues the Daily Caller. Because those actions were not properly logged, “members have no way of knowing what information” Amran and four of his relatives, who were also employed on the Hill, may have taken.

Imran, Abid, and Jamal Awan were put on payroll by dozens of House Democrats, and reportedly were paid a combined $4 million between 2010 and late 2016. The US Capitol Police have named them as subjects of a criminal probe and banned them from further access.

According to a former House Information Resources technology worker, although IT staff is carefully scrutinized – down to “every keystroke they make” – the Awan brothers “were granted access to the Member’s computer systems [without] oversight or tracking of what they may be doing…. [T]hey could make a copy of anything on the Member’s computer system to a thumb drive or have it sent to a private server they had set up and no one would know.”

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Michigan Vice Cops Can “Legally” Consort With Prostitutes“Legally”-Consort-With-Prostitutes In the late 19th Century, an extravagantly corrupt and relentlessly brutal NYPD officer named Alexander “Clubber” Williams created a small kingdom of vice within his precinct. He freely sampled, and profited from, the illicit practices within his domain, including prostitution. Prostitutes and pimps were free to ply their trade in exchange for paying off Williams.

“All my life I have never had anything but chuck steak – but now I’m going to get me some tenderloin,” Williams gloated on one occasion, thereby giving the vice district its enduring nickname.

As Professor Alfred W. McCoy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has written, officers who enforce laws against vice act as “an informal regulator, controlling the volume of vice trading and setting the level of syndication.” This is how Clubber Williams made himself rich. While police officers in Michigan cannot directly profit from vice as Williams did, they can enjoy some of the same perks: That is the only state where police can have sexual relations with prostitutes – including potential human trafficking victims – without legal consequences, and then arrest the women after finishing that transaction. Until a few years ago, Hawaii’s laws against prostitution and sex trafficking had a similar loophole, which was closed following a public outcry.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Legally”-Consort-With-Prostitutes
Kentucky County Faces Bankruptcy Because of Jail Over the past two decades, economically ailing rural communities across the country acted on the slogan, “If you build it, they will fill it” by issuing bonds to construct jails and prisons. Among them was Grant County, Kentucky, which like many other communities believed that the prison economy was recession-proof – only to find that the jail that was expected to be a cash cow has turned instead into what one local mayor calls a money “sinkhole.”

“Grant County sold about $5.3 million of bonds to refurbish the facility two years ago, pledging to use the government’s general funds, instead of just jail revenue, to cover the debt,” explains a report in Bloomberg News. Now the jail is only two-thirds full after the state government moved inmates convicted of state offenses to other detention facilities. But despite the loss of prisoners, “the county [has] decided it was more expensive to close the indebted facility than to keep it running.” The $2.5 million budget shortfall that resulted has left Grant County scrambling “to avoid becoming the state’s first county to file for bankruptcy since the Great Depression.”

Grant County’s fiscal court, which administers its annual spending plan, is looking at tax increases in order to close the gap. One option would be a job-license tax increase, which would be expected to bring in $3.4 million over the next year, claimed Grant County treasurer Peggy Updike. The problem with that approach, of course, is that imposing a tax on something is a very efficient way to get less of it, which in this case would be grim news for people looking to start businesses or to find suitable employment in the economically depressed county.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Deeply Indebted Sheriff’s Department Blows Money on Bling’s-Department-Blows-Money-on-Bling The scandal-plagued and deeply indebted Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is spending $300,000 on an initiative that would supposedly help “make deputies look more professional in their jobs and could help make them safer,” observes the Los Angeles Times. Sheriff Jim McDonnell is using the funds to purchase new brass belt buckles and other metallic uniform appointments, which will make their uniforms more color-coordinated.

“A consistent uniform appearance is part of the tactical package,” argued a recent essay in the first issue of Inside the LASD, a departmental newsletter. “The first impression you give can add to your credibility and safety.” Sheriff McDonnell insists that this cosmetic makeover “is important to maintaining a professional look for deputies on the job,” and that a sharply turned-out deputy will intimidate suspects who might otherwise flee or fight.

Many of the deputies serving under McDonnell have joined with other critics who complain that the funds could better be invested elsewhere – such as hiring qualified new officers for the understaffed department, or applying the funds to help close its annual budget deficit.

Plowing money into gaudy new belt buckles “is something that would be better suited to a department that’s running like a well-oiled machine, but not a department that’s in turmoil,” insists Detective Ron Hernandez, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’s-Department-Blows-Money-on-Bling
Come Not Between a She-Dragon and Her Baby “Come not between the dragon and his wrath,” King Lear advised his loyal subject, the Earl of Kent, who was puzzled and hurt by the ruler’s disavowal of his equally loyal daughter Cordelia, who loved her father too much to flatter him. Lear’s tragically misdirected wrath led to the dispossession of his beloved daughter and the banishment of his dear friend.

There was nothing misdirected about the dragon-grade wrath unleashed by Christa Moore on the man who grabbed her two-year-old daughter on a Kansas City playground on March 10. After 24-year-old William L. Bates, Jr. seized the child, pulled down her diaper, and began to thrust against her, Moore’s maternal instinct took over. The mother, who had seen Bates “eyeballing” the children, charged the assailant, knocking him to the ground and raining down punches on his head.

“I wanted to hurt him,” Moore recalled to the local CBS affiliate. “I wanted to put him in pain.” She had seen Bates at the park on previous occasions, but he had never before harmed or threatened anyone.

After Bates fled, a family friend named Devan Barnes pursued him into a fenced-in parking lot, detaining him until police arrived.

“If cops didn’t show up, I was going in,” Barnes explained.

Bates, whose mugshot shows a face bearing the tokens of a battle he lost when he came between a righteously enraged mother and her helpless child, was charged with first-degree attempted sodomy and attempted sodomy with a person less than 12 years old.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Snowden’s Advice to President Trump’s-Advice-to-President-Trump While not validating President Trump’s yet-undocumented accusation that Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden acknowledged that Trump, like all private citizens, was subjected to the NSA’s electronic eavesdropping dragnet – and he urged Trump to rein in the surveillance apparatus he inherited.

“If Donald Trump or anyone else wants us to take this seriously, they have to show evidence,” Snowden said during a remote interview with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill as part of the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas. “And the fact that [the administration has not offered evidence] despite the severity of this allegation means that they’re trying to make political hay – I suspect – out of something that affects all of us, which is that mass surveillance is making all of us vulnerable.”

Referring to the “Upstream” program conducted under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Snowden pointed out that the agency’s existing system allows any analyst with the requisite clearance to search an immense database of communications for specific phone or IP addresses connected to anyone – including presidential candidates, or even the incumbent president.

“The problem is not, `Oh, you know, poor Donald Trump,’” Snowden pointed out, addressing the current chief executive. “You’re the president. You should be asking questions about, `Why was this possible in the first place?’ and `Why haven’t I fixed it?’”

Rather than trying to eliminate the NSA’s surveillance activities under Section 702, President Trump has actually asked Congress to extend them past the end of this year, rather than allowing them to expire.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’s-Advice-to-President-Trump
Nobody’s Data or Devices Are Safe at the Border’s-Data-or-Devices-Are-Safe-at-the-Border A detailed report by NBC News documents that Customs and Border Protection agents are acting as data-collection assets for other federal agencies by seizing cell phones from US citizens at the border, demanding passwords, and then sharing whatever information they steal with their comrades. This procedure became common during the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency, and has been newly invigorated by President Trump’s increased emphasis on border security.

“Data provided by the Department of Homeland Security shows that searches of cellphones by border agents [have] exploded, growing fivefold in just one year, from fewer than 5,000 in 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2016,” recounts NBC. DHS officials predict that 2017 “will be a blockbuster year.” Five thousand devices have been seized and searched at the border in February alone – a total equivalent to the entire number confiscated and plundered during all of 2015.

It is important to understand that this is being done to US citizens, in addition to foreigners seeking access to the country. Furthermore, the data confiscation targets people who are exiting the country, rather than just focusing on people seeking to come in. This illustrates, yet again, the underappreciated principle that a border wall has two sides, and can be used to detain Americans seeking to exercise their freedom to travel, as well as prevent people from gaining unauthorized entry.

Several media outlets, including the New York Times, have suggested that Americans who plan to travel may have to leave their smart phones at home and buy short-term “burner” phones. Reason magazine predicts that before long “even technologically incompetent Americans will deploy the evasion techniques of master criminals.”

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’s-Data-or-Devices-Are-Safe-at-the-Border
German Government Threatens $53 Million Fine for “Fake News”$53-Million-Fine-for-“Fake-News” The land that gave the world book-burnings and the omnipresent Stasi secret police is pioneering new ground in punitive surveillance of dissidents. Heiko Maas, the official claiming the title of Germany’s Justice Minister, is proposing the imposition of a 50 million euro fine – the equivalent of $53 million at current rates of exchange – for social networking sites that fail to remove content deemed “fake news” and thus illicit by the German government.

Under pressure from Germany, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have implemented voluntary measures intended to address defamation and content deemed to be “hate speech.” However, insists Maas, “This isn’t sufficient,” referring to official research claiming that Facebook has only deleted 39 percent of content considered “illegal” in Germany, and Twitter has only suppressed one percent of the illicit opinions.

Germany is demanding that social media sites provide a round-the-clock service for users to flag “illegal content,” which would have to be removed within seven days. Social media companies would also be required to publish a quarterly report documenting their efforts to suppress politically incorrect content. Each site would also have to appoint an official responsible for reviewing complaints – and he or she would be personally liable for fines of up to 5 million euros if the company fails to act as required by Germany’s official censors.

Facebook has indicated that it is willing to study the German proposal.

“We have clear rules against hate speech and are working hard to remove such content from our platform,” grovelled a spokesperson for Facebook, explaining that it was eager to collaborate with Maas in imposing the new thought-policing scheme.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600$53-Million-Fine-for-“Fake-News”
IRS Targets Cancer Survivor for Donations that Saved Her Life Four years ago, Omaha resident Casey Charf survived a car crash that broke her neck and back in several places – only to discover that she was afflicted with pheochromocytoma, a rare form of cancer of the spine. Through social media, Charf was able to contact specialists who could treat her, and organized fundraisers to pay for the treatments. More than a thousand people around the world donated to a GoFundMe account set up on her behalf, raising roughly $50,000 – all of which was spent on the young woman’s lifesaving medical treatment, including travel to hospitals in Maryland and Louisiana.

While the cancer is in remission, Charf is still struggling with the deadly disease – and is now being pursued by an equally deadly and persistent stalker, the Internal Revenue Service. A few weeks ago, the IRS sent Charf – who is now a mother – a notice claiming that the donations that had paid for her treatment were considered income, and demanding more than $15,000 in back taxes and more than $3,500 in penalties.

“We’ve already used that money for my doctors’ bills and everything that I’ve needed,” Charf points out. “It’s donations, it’s not income. So how can they tax you on that?”

The tax status of donations received through GoFundMe is ambiguous. Chad Brown, President of the Liberty Tax Service tax preparation franchises in Omaha and Iowa, insists that the money received by Charf through GoFundMe is “a gift” and that “She’s going to have no tax consequence, or should not.”

The IRS refuses to comment on the case.

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Should “Originalist” Judges be banned from The Supreme Court?“Originalist”-Judges-be-banned-from-The-Supreme-Court? Neil Gorsuch, the veteran federal appellate judge nominated by President Trump to serve on the US Supreme Court, is a proponent of what is called the “originalist” view of the Constitution – which means he would apply its provisions as written, informed by published works that document the intention of the men who wrote and ratified it. Professor David Rudenstine of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, insists that Gorsuch’s loyalty to the text of the Constitution and the views of its Framers should be considered grounds for disqualification from a place on the Supreme Court.

Originalism, Rudenstine claims, “requires judges to be historians, and judges are not educated to be historians.” The demands of their office make it impossible to carry out adequate research “not only with secondary sources, but with primary sources such as diaries, letters, memoranda and newspapers.” That specious criticism ignores the fact that the defining interpretive documents – such as Madison’s Notes on the Philadelphia Convention, the Federalist Papers, and the Anti-Federalist essays – are by no means obscure. It’s also the case that federal judges employ clerks to do much of the work in researching more complicated matters of history.

As is usually the case with critiques of this kind, Rudenstine’s real objection is that the Constitution itself is outmoded because its provisions have been ignored by people sworn to uphold the document. Originalism doesn’t deal with presidential usurpation of congressional war powers, or address what he calls “unenumerated rights” that are now regarded as “fundamental” – meaning, inevitably, abortion and same-sex marriage.

Liberals have long been critical of jurists who adhere to the written Constitution, rather than devising ways to impose trendy liberal prejudices – but this is the first time a prominent legal scholar has frankly declared that adherence to the Constitution is a disqualification for service on the Supreme Court.

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Originalist”-Judges-be-banned-from-The-Supreme-Court?
Fourth Circuit Court: Police Not Responsible When K9s Maul Innocent People Police officers who unleash attack dogs on innocent people are not legally liable for the injuries thereby inflicted – and in such incidents the needs of “officer safety” take precedence over the rights of the citizens assaulted by police dogs, decreed the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a recent ruling.

Seven years ago, Officer Terence Garrison had used a police dog named Bikkel to trace a robbery suspect to an abandoned house in High Point, North Carolina. As Garrison and Bikkel approached the front porch, the dog suddenly attacked a nearby man, who was mauled for about ten seconds before the officer realized that the victim didn’t match the description of the suspect. Nonetheless, acting purely in the interest of officer safety, Garrison demanded that the victim show his hands before calling off his attack dog – something that is nearly impossible to do for someone on the receiving end of such an onslaught.

Despite the fact that the man’s only role in this incident was to endure an unlawful assault that left him bloody and suffering from multiple deep lacerations, Garrison and a backup officer handcuffed him while they awaited paramedics.

After the victim filed a civil rights lawsuit, Garrison was granted summary judgment on the grounds of qualified immunity. That claim was upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court, which insists that “qualified immunity protects government officials from liability, even in cases with plainly bad outcomes, if `their conduct does not violate clearly established rights of which a reasonable person should have known.’”

To the extent an abusive police officer can profess ignorance of the law and constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, the courts will not hold him individually liable for actions that injure innocent people.

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
President Trump Seeks Looser Rules on Counter-Terror Operations One of Donald Trump’s most insistent and frequently repeated campaign promises was to unshackle the military and intelligence agencies in pursuing counter-terrorism operations worldwide. As President, Trump is making good on that promise, which was regarded as problematic by some of libertarian and traditionally conservative supporters.

According to the New York Times, “The Trump administration is exploring how to dismantle or bypass Obama-era constraints intended to prevent civilian deaths from drone attacks, commando raids, and other counterterrorism missions outside conventional war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq…. Already, President Trump has granted a Pentagon request to declare parts of three provinces of Yemen to be an `area of active hostilities’ where looser battlefield rules apply,” continues the Times account. “That opened the door to a Special Operations raid in late January in which several civilians were killed, as well as to the largest-ever series of American airstrikes targeting Yemen-based Qaeda militants, starting nearly two weeks ago,” administration officials disclosed to the paper.

Mr. Trump is also expected to approve a similar Pentagon request to designate some parts of Somalia as a battle zone subject to similarly emancipated rules of engagement.

All of this comes at a time when the Trump administration is preparing a budget that will reallocate funds from diplomatic initiatives to the military.

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Is Being “Triggered” Unhealthier than Obesity?“Triggered”-Unhealthier-than-Obesity? In keeping with Canada’s long-established role of being a bellwether for absurd trends in political correctness, Carleton University in Ottawa announced that it would remove scales from its gym in order to encourage what was called “a more holistic approach to a healthy body image.”

“Although it can be used as a tool to help measure certain aspects of fitness it does not provide a good overall indication of health and here at athletics we have chosen to move away from focusing solely on bodyweight,” declared Bruce Marshall, manager of wellness programs at the college. As one student explained to The Charlatan, a campus newspaper, “Scales are very triggering” to people who are overweight or who claim to suffer from eating disorders.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if – for example – someone who is dangerously overweight is “triggered” in a way that leads to an effort to achieve a healthier weight. Accurate bodyweight measurements are important for objective health assessments. They are also indispensable for competitive athletes such as boxers, wrestlers, and rowers.

The college’s decision proved to be little too P.C. even for Canada, at least if it is assessed by the reaction of Carleton students in social media.

“Next it will be mirrors,” complained a comment that typified countless others. “Are you for real, Carleton? What a sick joke.”

“This is absolutely ridiculous,” added another student. “Why is society becoming stupidly sensitive?”

Following a brief but furious backlash, the college administration says it is reconsidering the decision.

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Triggered”-Unhealthier-than-Obesity?
Southern Baptist Convention May Purge Trump Critic Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, was an outspoken critic of Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. Now the SBC, which presides over the country’s largest Protestant denomination, is reportedly considering the possibility of firing Moore after more than 100 of its 46,000 churches have cut off financial support for the SBC.

The Washington Post reports that the committee “is studying whether the churches are acting out of displeasure with Moore because it has received more threats to funding over him than over any other `personality issue’ in recent memory,” according to Frank Page, president of its executive committee.

Moore, a talented scholar, deeply committed traditional Christian, and political conservative, attracted criticism with last year’s Erasmus Lecture, which was entitled “Can the Religious Right Be Saved?” He was gently but unflinchingly critical of what he called “a cultural Christianity cut off from the deep theology of the Bible” and more obsessed with current events and partisan political questions. Rather than teaching about salvation and the need for a moral witness in a fallen world, protested Dr. Moore, for many people “Christianity was just a means to an end.”

The cynicism decried by Dr. Moore was most prominently displayed by the Evangelical Church’s embrace of Donald Trump, an unabashedly materialistic man who had reveled in a libertine lifestyle.

Following Trump’s election, Moore encouraged Christians to pray on his behalf while lamenting that “conservative evangelicals are politically homeless –whether they know it or not.” He also urged Christian believers to understand that “the church must stand against the way politics has become a religion, and religion has become politics.”

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Utah Confronts the “Rock-Climbing Industrial Complex”“Rock-Climbing-Industrial-Complex” Yvon Chouinard, founder of the outdoor gear company Patagonia, has demanded a boycott of the biannual Outdoor Retailer trade shows in Salt Lake City to punish the state for its resistance to Barack Obama’s designation of the Bear Ears National Monument last December. That decree would lock up 1.35 million acres of land in southeastern Utah. The Utah Legislature has passed a resolution asking President Trump to rescind that designation, and to reduce the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which was decreed by Bill Clinton in 1996.

As the founder and owner of a business catering to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts, Chouinard is understandably interested in the preservation of wilderness areas. His call for a boycott is not a purely public-spirited venture, points out Terry Anderson, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana.

Profits from recreation “are what drive the politics of federal land management,” observes Anderson. “More wilderness for backpackers means that wealthy, healthy Gen Xers and millennials will buy more backpacks, tents, boots, mountain bikes and high-tech clothing for trekking into the backcountry.” The foundation for the profits enjoyed by Chouinard “is an enormous subsidy from the American taxpayer,” Anderson continues. “Every year the federal government spends millions to support recreation, without earning much revenue from those campers, bikers and hikers.”

A 2015 study by PERC concluded that for every dollar spent on recreation by the US Forest Service and BLM from 2009 to 2013, “they took in less than 30 cents.

“In short,” Anderson concludes, “companies like Patagonia benefit from taxpayer subsidies for recreation.”

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“Rock-Climbing-Industrial-Complex”
Arsonist Thought Victims Were Muslims, Said the Crime was Patriotic,-Said-the-Crime-was-Patriotic When the police came to arrest 64-year-old Fort Pierce, Florida resident Richard Leslie Lloyd, the accused arsonist calmly put his hands behind his back and asked the officers to “take me away.” He eagerly admitted to setting a fire intended to burn down a convenience store in Port St. Lucie because he believed that its owners were Arab Muslims, and that he was “doing his part for America” by trying to run them out of the country. The dumpster fire he set caused some minor smoke damage to the store.

After being taken into custody, “Lloyd told investigators he went to the store a few days earlier to buy a bottle of Tropicana Orange Pineapple Juice,” reports the UPI. “After learning the store didn’t sell it, he became angry. And Lloyd also said he was mad because the `worker was Arab’ and he assumed him to be Muslim,” according to the official report. He also expressed anger over “what they’re doing in the Middle East,” which investigators perceived as a blanket condemnation of Arabs.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Muslim when, in fact, they are of Indian descent,” declared St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara, who went on to explain that the nationality or ethnic background of the victim doesn’t make any difference.

Not surprisingly, Lloyd told investigators that he had a long history of mental health issues. After his arrest he was sent to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. He is charged with first degree arson.

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-Said-the-Crime-was-Patriotic
Spanish Government Bans Pro-Independence Politician Artur Mas, former president of Spain’s Catalonia region, has been barred from public office for two years as punishment for holding an informal referendum on secession from the country in 2014. Two colleagues who had also participated in the plebiscite, former Catalan Vice President Joana Ortega and former Education Minister Irene Rigau, were hit with bans of 21 and 18 months, respectively. Prosecutors had sought to disqualify Mas for 10 years, and his advisers for nine.

Catalan is Spain’s wealthiest region, and it has become frustrated by the financial demands of bailing out the collapsing welfare state administered by the central government in Madrid. The Catalan people suffered greatly under the forty-year reign of military dictator Francisco Franco. During the country’s civil war, Franco defeated the so-called Republicans – who were an exceptionally vicious faction of Communists supported by Moscow. He also maintained the country’s independence during World War II. However, Franco brutally suppressed potential separatist movements among both the Catalans and the Basques, which were culturally and linguistically distinct from Spain. Despite the fact that the Catalans tend to be politically conservative, the mistreatment they suffered under Franco won them allies on the Spanish Left.

Despite the fact that the 2014 Catalan independence referendum was ruled illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court, a second one is planned for this September.

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Is Washington Planning a War with North Korea? South Korea’s YonHap News reports that SEAL Team Six, along with elements of the Army Rangers, Delta Force, and Green Berets are involved in this year’s Foal Eagle and Key Resolve joint training exercises between the US and South Korean armies, which began on March 1. This year’s version of the exercise will include scenarios involving infiltration of North Korea to demolish key military facilities and to “remove the North’s war command.” This has not been lost on the Communist regime in Pyongyang, which characterizes the ongoing training exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion.

North Korean official propaganda constantly accuses Washington and South Korea of plotting an invasion – but there is reason to suspect that Pyongyang’s assessment of Washington’s intentions may be more accurate than usual.

The National Interest, drawing on fragmentary accounts in the Japanese and South Korean press, reports that US Operations Plan (OPLAN) 5015 suggests that a “decapitation” strike on the regime of Kim Jong-un is under consideration.

“He might be assassinated by US and South Korean special forces, or buried in his bunker by a bunker-buster bomb,” observes The National Interest, alluding to those media accounts. “Other smart bombs might take out his command posts and nuclear facilities. The authoritarian state of North Korea could become a state without authority, its leadership decapitated by precisely targeted strikes.”

Amid the latest wave of North Korean ballistic missile tests, the Pentagon has reportedly begun to consider pre-emptive action that would favor stealthy lightning strikes, rather than a “big-unit conventional war with US and South Korean forces first stopping the enemy and then counterattacking into North Korea.”

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
False Confessions and Wrongful Convictions Lead to Reconsideration of Interrogation Methods For decades police detectives have relied upon an interrogation method called the “Reid Technique,” which was first formulated by attorney, police investigator, and laboratory technician John Reid in 1936. It is a nine-step process intended to create rapport between a suspect and an interrogator seeking to elicit self-incriminating statements from him, and in recent years an ever-growing number of wrongful convictions involving false confessions has led to increased criticism of the method.

Last week, Wicklandder-Zulawski & Associates, a consulting group that has worked closely with law enforcement agencies for decades and has trained detectives in the Reid Technique since 1984, announced that it will discontinue using that method in its instructional programs. Company President and CEO Shane Sturman says that this surprising development reflects feedback from law enforcement clients. He describes this as “a big move for us, but it’s a decision that’s been coming for quite some time.”

“While the Reid Technique has been the enemy of defense attorneys for some time, this admission by such a large player in law enforcement has shaken the profession,” notes “Over the past 50 years, several hundred thousand law enforcement officers have taken the course. It is regarded by the law enforcement community as the gold standard in interviewing and interrogating suspects in criminal investigations[.]”

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
New Jersey Port Authority Chair Given Light Punishment for Shakedown David Samson, former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has been sentenced to house arrest and community service for shaking down United Airlines, reports the Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina.

For more than a year, Samson – a South Carolina native -- compelled the airline to operate an underutilized once-a-week route between Newark, New Jersey and Columbia, South Carolina so he could spend his weekends at his home in Aiken. That flight was eliminated a few days after Samson stepped down from his position. The Port Authority controls the major airports in and around New York City.

A subsequent corruption probe implicated United CEO Jeff Smisek, who lost his job. The airline paid nearly $5 million in federal fines while the government official at the heart of the matter escaped any significant punishment.

Following a guilty plea last year, Samson was sentenced to a year of house arrest in his mansion in the heart of South Carolina’s horse country. Prosecutors had sought a two-year prison sentence for Samson, saying that allowing him to serve a period of house arrest in the mansion that had inspired his shakedown is “beyond ironic.”

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Syrian President: U.S. Troops are Invaders, and Not Welcome,-and-Not-Welcome Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not welcome the presence of US combat troops in his country, and was not asked about the deployment prior to the Trump administration’s announcement.

“Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders – whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one,” pronounced Assad in a recent television interview with a reporter from the Chinese media outlet Phoenix TV. “And we don’t think this is going to help,” he continued. “To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq. They had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They don’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.”

US Marines have been deployed in northern Syria in support of Washington-backed forces in Raqqa, the self-designated capital of ISIS. Roughly 100 Army Rangers have also taken up positions in and around the Syrian city Manbij for the reported purpose of deterring hostilities. Analysts familiar with the history of US military deployments in the region over the past thirty-five years might be reminded of the ill-fated mission to Lebanon from 1982 to 1984, in which US Marines were sent to serve as “observers” during the multi-factional civil war. That mission ended soon after the September 1983 suicide bombing attack on a poorly defended Marine encampment in Beirut in which 241 Marines were killed.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600,-and-Not-Welcome
Divided Verdict in Second Malheur Refuge Trial Demonstrators Jason Patrick and Darryl Thorn were convicted of conspiracy in the January 2016 protest occupation of the vacant Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but the same federal jury acquitted two others, Duane Ehmer and Jake Ryan, of the same charge. Ehmer and Ryan were found guilty of willfully damaging property claimed by the federal government by using an excavator to dig two trenches. Thorn was also found guilty of possessing a firearm on a federal facility.

Of the ten defendants brought to trial in separate prosecutions, eight have been acquitted of the most serious charge – conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their duties through intimidation, threat, or force. Among them are Ammon and Ryan Bundy, regarded as the leaders of the 41-day protest occupation, who now face trial on a separate group of charges arising from the standoff between the Bundy family and their supporters against a paramilitary BLM force and Clark County Sheriff’s deputies in April 2014. That standoff, which was provoked by the BLM’s criminal seizure of the Bundy family’s cattle, succeeded in liberating the stolen livestock from federal control.

As the jury was brought in to deliver last week’s verdict in a Portland federal courthouse, Mr. Patrick made what sounded like a turkey call, prompting a deputy US marshal to silence him. This provoked defense attorney Matthew Schindler, who was seated among the spectators, to ask, “So, who’s getting Tased?” Schindler, who represented Ammon Bundy during last fall’s trial, was assaulted by marshals and subjected to a Taser stun after moving that Bundy be released from custody. As is customary, the officials who assaulted Schindler justified their actions by filing criminal charges against their victim.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Lawsuit Filed over Dehydration Death in Milwaukee County Jail Terrill Thomas, who was held for ten days in solitary confinement in the Milwaukee County Jail last April, pleaded for water for several days before dying from dehydration, recount his family in a lawsuit filed against the jail and Sheriff David Clarke. The family describes the experience as “a form of torture.”

Thomas was arrested on April 14 after a rampage during which he shot a man outside his parents’ house and fired a gun inside a nearby casino. After being arrested, Thomas was taken to a hospital for examination because he had displayed symptoms of “acute psychological disorders.” He was cleared and taken to the county jail, where detention deputies turned off his water because he had reportedly flooded his previous cell.

While county officials refused to comment about the lawsuit, Sheriff Clarke focused on the serious charges against Thomas and complaints about media coverage. Characterizing the inmate who died in his custody as “a career convicted felon,” Clarke assailed the local media, insisting that it “never reports that in stories about him.”

There may have been felons on both sides of the cell bars in the jail for which Clarke is legally responsible. The AP reports that “the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office indicated in court documents it is considering felony charges against jail staff who were on duty when Thomas died.”

Four people died in the Milwaukee County jail last year, including a newborn baby who was denied medical attention after her mother gave birth while incarcerated.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trump Administration Radically Escalates Bombing Campaign in Yemen Despite campaigning on a promise to wind down long-term military ventures in the Middle East and the surrounding region, Donald Trump is presiding over a radical escalation of the bombing campaign in Yemen – and that onslaught is doing nothing to protect the United States, argues foreign affairs analyst Daniel McAdams.

During the second week of March, President Trump ordered a larger number of bombing strikes in Yemen than Barack Obama had approved during all of last year.

Although this escalation “is sold back home as another aggressive front in the war against al-Qaeda, in fact US operations in Yemen are actually helping al-Qaeda as well as its chief sponsor, Saudi Arabia,” writes McAdams, who covers foreign and military affairs for the Ron Paul Institute. The Saudis are seeking to regain control over Yemen, which until 2015 was ruled by a Sunni puppet dictator who was backed by the Obama administration. He was overthrown by Shi’ite Houthi rebels who have been described as proxies for Iran.

A Saudi-led military coalition, supplied and aided by the US and Great Britain, have killed tens of thousands of civilians over the past year and a half. Drone strikes have contributed greatly to the slaughter, and the Trump administration is “doubling down” on the policies of its predecessor, McAdams concludes.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Washington Demands Payment of “War Debt” from Cambodia“War-Debt”-from-Cambodia Decades after the end of the Vietnam War, which the Nixon administration spread into neighboring Cambodia through an intensive bombing campaign targeting Viet Cong sanctuaries and supply lines, Washington is demanding that the country pay $500 million in what the US describes as a “war debt.”

The Bombing campaign, which was supposed to target a supply and reinforcement route called the “Ho Chi Minh Trail,” resulted in widespread collateral slaughter of civilians, many of whom in desperation sought help from the hyper-Marxist Khmer Rouge. The bombing also destabilized the US-backed government of Lon Nol, which was overthrown by the Communists in 1975. Under the deranged rule of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge carried out the most intensive genocidal slaughter in recorded history, annihilating more than one-quarter of the country’s population.

The bloodbath came to an end in 1979 after Cambodia was invaded by its Communist neighbor Vietnam, which – with the help of Communist China – overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime. The post-genocide Cambodian government in Phenom Penh was unable to repay the initial $274 million loan to the Lon Nol government. Over the past year, the US government has been pressuring the International Monetary Fund to withhold development loans to Cambodia until its government repays the initial loan, with accumulated interest.

James Pringle, who covered the Nixon-era bombing as a war correspondent for Reuters, told the Sydney Morning Herald that “Cambodia does not owe a brass farthing to the US for help in destroying its people, its wild animals, its rice fields and forest cover.” Even today, Pringle observes, “There are a lot of grenades and bombs left. That’s why so often Cambodian children are killed, because they don’t know that they are unexploded ordnance. And who did it? It’s America’s bombs and grenades.”

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600“War-Debt”-from-Cambodia
Michael Flynn’s Foreign Lobbyist Payments Revealed’s-Foreign-Lobbyist-Payments-Revealed If Michael Flynn had not resigned as National Security Advisor, by now he would surely be mired in a more substantive scandal than the one that drove him from his job. Flynn resigned over concerns he had lied when he denied discussing anti-Moscow sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Those denials were issued under the pressure from a flurry of uncorroborated media claims about Russia intervening in the US election on behalf of Trump. Now Flynn has acknowledged his consulting firm accepted $530,000 in lobbying fees from a Dutch firm owned by Turkish businessmen.

According the paperwork filed with the Department of Justice, Flynn Intel. Group, Inc. was paid to collect information about Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating a failed coup against Erdogan’s regime. Flynn’s company was also paid to lobby US officials to take action against the cleric. Erdogan has been accused of manufacturing the coup as an excuse to crack down on critics of his administration, journalists and western-leaning academics, in an effort to squash those who favor a secular government as opposed to the Islamic regime Erdogan is building.

This conflict of interest surrounding Flynn was initially reported in November by the Intercept, but was ignored until Flynn’s amended paperwork proved the case. Some critics of President Trump have pointed to this scandal as another example of the president falling short on his promise to “drain the swamp” of lobbyists in his Administration.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’s-Foreign-Lobbyist-Payments-Revealed
Skeletons in the Closet of Trump Labor Secretary Nominee As Miami’s U.S. attorney, Alex Costa – who has been nominated by President Trump to serve as Secretary of Labor -- actively prosecuted a pedophile case against a Florida man who travelled overseas for illicit relations with underage girls, which is to be expected in such cases. However, he also presided over a far more sordid case just a few months later that ended in what the Miami Herald called a “sweetheart of a deal.” In the latter case the accused was Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, a longtime friend of both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, who received a trivial punishment despite a sordid history as a serial sexual predator.

According to the Miami Herald: “Epstein, then 55 and defended by an all-star legal team, pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting minors for prostitution. He registered as a sex offender in Florida and agreed to pay damages to 40 female victims ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old. As part of the plea agreement negotiated by Acosta’s office, Epstein wouldn’t be charged in federal court — even though the feds had drawn up a proposed 53-page indictment that carried potential punishment ranging from a mandatory 10 years in prison up to a life sentence.”

Epstein’s year in a Palm Beach County Stockade was hardly punitive; it would be difficult to describe it as a serious inconvenience. He was allowed freedom of movement during six days out of each week. Acosta also approved a “non-prosecution” agreement – initially concealed from Epstein’s victims – that immunized several of his alleged co-conspirators from federal prosecution.

Epstein, who has significant connections to the rich and famous in the US and UK, is notorious for flights on his personal jet, called the “Lolita Express,” to a private island to indulge in sordid and illegal activities related to underage minors. Flight logs show Epstein frequently ferried high profile politicians, executives and world leaders to this debauchery, including Tony Blair, Prince Andrew and former President Bill and Clinton, who accompanied Epstein to the island at least 26 times. Donald Trump has also called Epstein a friend and was a frequent visitor to his mansion.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Trump’s Odd Choice for Undersecretary of Defense’s-Odd-Choice-for-Undersecretary-of-Defense Some conservatives are puzzled and angered by President Trump’s reported consideration of Anne Patterson to serve as undersecretary of defense. Patterson’s record as U.S. Ambassador to Egypt under the Obama Administration prompted the Conservative Review to designate her as the “female [version of] John Kerry” after she “fully embraced the policies of President Obama that aligned with radical Islamic actors.”

“In 2012, Patterson lobbied for closer ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that seeks to impose a global Islamic caliphate,” recalled the Conservative Review. “She went as far as to meet with Muhammed Badi, the ‘supreme guide’ of the Brotherhood. Badi has called for the destruction of the United States and Israel, and has described the U.S. as an ‘infidel’ nation that is ‘heading toward its demise.’

“Patterson’s antics outraged the Egyptian people, who were planning to take to the streets in protest of the authoritarian Muslim regime that had just seized power,” continued the publication. “Some marched in the streets with signs declaring her and President Obama supporters of ‘terrorism in Egypt.’”

As assistant Secretary of State under Obama, Patterson also covered for the Palestinian Authority’s salaries for terrorists, despite the evidence and reports proving the funds were flowing to radical jihadists. In testimony before Congress, “Patterson disputed the charge, refusing to use the word ‘terrorist’ to describe the jihadists,” notes the Conservative Review. “Moreover, she pushed back against Congressman Randy Weber … who advised that the U.S. should ask the Palestinian Authority to stop paying stipends to terrorists and their families.”

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600’s-Odd-Choice-for-Undersecretary-of-Defense
Assange: WikiLeaks Will Release CIA Hacking Tools after Countermeasures are Available Last week WikiLeaks released thousands of pages of documents showing the extent of the CIA’s hacking tools and abilities. WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange called it the greatest cyber-war arsenal ever developed, and ridiculed the CIA for not protecting it better, given the ease with which it also may have fallen into the hands of criminals.

According to a WikiLeaks press release, the trove of cyber-weapons was allowed to be passed among government cyber contractors and one of these provided copies to WikiLeaks. Assange said even more details of the hacking tools will be released in the future, but first they are releasing them to internet security firms so they can develop countermeasures.

“We want to disarm [them] before publishing,” Assange insists.

NBC cited a “senior intelligence official” who confirmed that the documents published by WikiLeaks “included authentic materials, some of which were classified `Top Secret’.” The nearly 9,000 documents detailed some of the CIA’s most important proprietary hacking secrets, and included evidence that “the agency is able to turn smart televisions into listening devices and defeat encrypted communication tools widely used by journalists and sources.”

Former Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul applauded the disclosure of the so-called Vault 7 documents, saying that while it demonstrates that “liberty is in big trouble … the fact that we’re getting this information out is fantastic.”

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Alternative Media Facing Ad Revenue Crackdown Several popular alternative media sources on the Right are seeing their marketing revenue strangled by Google. Two widely viewed websites created by broadcaster Alex Jones, and, have been cut off from their normal Google advertising revenue stream, which is costing them between $3 and $5 million annually. Mike Adams’ Natural News has received the same treatment from the tech conglomerate, which decreed that it was in violation of vague advertising rules. Both Jones and Adams are planning on taking Google to court.

As a private entity, Google is entitled to set and enforce its own advertising policies. As the Daily Bell, a libertarian publication, points out, there are many indications that Google, rather than being a purely private venture, has deep ties to the government, including early start-up funding from the CIA, and these ties could well have influenced their decision to ostracize websites critical of the government.

“[An] Insurge Intelligence article entitled How the CIA Made Google shows that one of the founders of Google, Sergey Brin, virtually reported to the Pentagon/ CIA while developing the project that would eventually become Google,” recounts the Daily Bell. “Interestingly, later in the article, people close to the CIA and Pentagon are quoted as denying a close relationship. So obviously there is a good deal of sensitivity around the topic.”

Google isn’t the only dominant name in Silicon Valley to get startup money from the CIA. Facebook received millions from PayPal founder – and Trump adviser -- Peter Thiel, who may have channeled money on behalf of the CIA. Thiel cofounded PayPal with Elon Musk, and currently owns a company called Palantir that runs secret algorithms for the CIA. For his part, Musk has diversified into surface transportation and aerospace ventures that are public-private partnership with the federal government, receiving taxpayer subsidies and other government-provided advantages, rather than being funded through private capital.

“Companies that owe their existence and direction to public intelligence agencies are not private,” summarizes the Daily Bell. “They ought not to be run as [if] they were.”

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Democrats Quietly Admit: No Direct Evidence of Russian Role in 2016 Election Scarcely an hour goes by without publication of a media report, or a statement from a radio or television pundit, to the effect that it has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that Moscow interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

Every disclosure of pre-election contacts between Trump administration figures and Russian officials is fitted into the dominant narrative of “collusion” between the campaign and the government of Russian ruler Vladimir Putin. Hyper-partisan MSNBC routinely runs detailed presentations made by Rachel Maddow and other commentators who treat theories about a Moscow-Trump connection as if they were incontestably rooted in fact.

BuzzFeed, an online news platform that has been expansively critical of Trump, has found that the evidence to support those claims is non-existent.

“Even some Democrats on the Intelligence Committee now quietly admit, after several briefings and preliminary inquiries, they don’t expect to find evidence of active, informed collusion between the Trump campaign and known Russian intelligence operatives, though investigators have only just begun reviewing raw intelligence,” reports BuzzFeed. “Among the Intelligence Committee’s rank and file, there’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation.”

One official quoted in the story advised that “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations” and predicted that “I don’t think any of the contacts are going to be referred” to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Mistaken Nickname Leads to 14 Years of Imprisonment and Torture Abdul Zahir, a 45-year-old man from Afghanistan, spent fourteen years of his life unlawfully detained in the Guantanamo Bay prison after being mistaken for another man who shared his nickname. After he was abducted from his home in a village called Hesarak, military officials claimed to have found “suspicious substances” in his possession, including a white powder. Those materials were later found to be salt, sugar, and petroleum jelly, rather than chemical or bio-warfare agents.

US Air Force Lt. Col. Sterling Thomas, who was Zahir’s military defense counsel, says that despite the lack of evidence that Zahir had been involved in terrorism, prison guards at Gitmo “gave him the treatment that they thought” all detainees deserved – meaning that “they tortured him.” He was subjected to beatings, exposure to severe cold, stress positions, and even sexual assault. Zahir “spent a year in a room that he called `a cage for animals,’” recalled Lt. Col. Thomas. On one occasion after Zahir protested the abuse, a SWAT-style Forced Cell Extraction team “damaged his spine so badly that they had to conduct surgery.” He was left with permanent damage to his spine and internal organs.

A military commission charged Zahir with conspiracy and material support for terrorism, citing as evidence statements extracted through torture, but he was never brought to trial. Ten years later the status review panel concluded that he should never had been detained in the first place, because he had been “misidentified as the individual [of a similar name] who had ties to an al-Qaeda weapons facility.”

In a recent interview with Trump media surrogate Hugh Hewitt, Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticized Obama for not making more extensive use of the Gitmo facility and said that the Trump administration is eager to expand the ranks of those detained therein.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Wyoming Judge “Censured” For Statement on Marriage“Censured”-For-Statement-on-Marriage Ruth Neely, a magistrate judge and justice of the peace from Pinedale, Wyoming, has been censured by the state supreme court for alleged violations of the judicial conduct code by criticizing the novel institution called “same-sex marriage.” Judge Neely’s detractors had demanded her removal, but the court, by a 3-2 majority, ruled that such a sanction would “unnecessarily circumscribe protected expression.”

The court also decreed that “Judge Neely shall either perform no marriage ceremonies or she shall perform marriage ceremonies regardless of the couple’s sexual orientation,” wrote Judge Kate Fox on behalf of the majority. The dissenting justices correctly observed that “Wyoming law does not require any judge or magistrate to perform any particular marriage, and couples seeking to be married have no right to insist on a particular official as the officiant of their wedding.” The ruling therefore creates a spurious obligation on the part of a judge to perform a so-called same-sex wedding ceremony.

Significantly, Wyoming state law states that judges and other officials – including clerics – “may” perform weddings, but are not required to do so. The Wyoming State Supreme Court’s ruling against Judge Neely may, and most likely will, be used by gender revolutionaries to dictate an obligation to all officials, both secular and religious, to perform such ceremonies.

Judge Neely’s views about marriage were elicited from her by gay rights activist Ned Donovan, who acting in the guise of a journalist had targeted her for removal on account of her religious views. After getting Judge Neely on record, Donovan attempted to blackmail her, saying that if she would “state a willingness to perform same-sex marriages” he wouldn’t publish the story.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Censured”-For-Statement-on-Marriage
Indiana Man Exonerated After 25 Years in Prison – May Be Tried Again–-May-Be-Tried-Again William E. Barnhouse of Muncie, Indiana, was released from prison after being incarcerated for a quarter-century for a rape he didn’t commit – and yet he is not a free man, and may stand trial again.

DNA tests conducted over the last several months proved that another man had deposited genetic residue in the body and on the clothing of the victim who had identified Barnhouse as the perpetrator. In 1992, he was convicted of rape and criminally deviate conduct and sentenced to eighty years in prison.

Barnhouse, who was diagnosed with mental illness at the time of his unjust conviction, was released for treatment at an Indianapolis mental health facility. As she announced that his conviction had been set aside, Judge Kimberly Dowling told Barnhouse that “You’ve got to do everything they say” because he is still a custodial war of the state, despite being allowed to leave the courtroom rather than being sent back to prison for processing.

The Indianapolis Star reports that “The case against Barnhouse is not technically over. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Hoffman told the judge he and Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold would make a decision in coming weeks on whether to bring Barnhouse to trial a second time.”

Given the presence of genetic evidence implicating a man other than the victim of the previous wrongful prosecution, it’s not clear what legal basis would justify a second trial for Barnhouse.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700–-May-Be-Tried-Again
“Pay Gap” Feminists Don’t Understand Economics“Pay-Gap”-Feminists-Don’t-Understand-Economics If employers can hire competent female employees for less than their male competitors, why doesn’t “Pinksourcing” -- an institutional preference for lower-cost female labor – exist?

That question was raised on March 8, “International Women’s Day” – by Donald J. Boudreaux of the Foundation for Economic Education. Boudreaux addressed a widely circulated video narrated by actress Kristen Bell that depicts a fictional company that exploited the alleged pay gap by “Pinksourcing” work to sweatshops occupied by female employees.

That feminist propaganda clip “unintentionally … makes an important and correct point about this pay gap – namely, if this pay gap really does reflect widespread underpayment of women, then [it] would be a huge profit opportunity for entrepreneurs of the fictional sort whose company is featured in this video,” Boudreaux observes. “Of course, the actual producers of this video … do not understand that the sort of fictional entrepreneurial business featured in this video is precisely what would arise if women were generally underpaid,” he points out. “Like most economically uninformed people, the actual producers of this video likely conclude that women are underpaid merely from the fact that women’s average pay is less than men’s average pay. “

Women are not required to continue working for firms that underpay them, and every competitive business “has strong incentives to search for, and compete to hire, workers, both men and women, who are currently underpaid,” Bordreaux writes, explaining the rudiments of economics to progressives and others who don’t understand them. The fact that there is no real-life equivalent of the “Pinksourcing” service depicted in the video “is strong evidence that women are not generally underpaid,” Bourdreaux concludes.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Pay-Gap”-Feminists-Don’t-Understand-Economics
Feds Drop Child Porn Case to Protect Hacking Methods After the FBI used a hacking method referred to as a “Network Investigative Technique” to exploit the TOR anonymity network, and creating what was the world’s largest online child porn collection, the Justice Department moved to dismiss a child porn indictment in order to protect the Bureau’s hacking methods, Wired News reports.

“Because the government remains unwilling to disclose certain discovery related to the FBI’s deployment of a `Network Investigative Technique’ (`NIT’) as part of its investigation into the Playpen child pornography site, the government has no choice but to seek dismissal of the indictment,” wrote US Attorney Annette Hayes in the motion. She described this decision as “an effort to balance the many competing interests that are at play when sensitive law enforcement technology becomes the subject of a request for criminal discovery.”

“In other words,” Wired News summarizes, “the Feds are letting an alleged child pornographer free so that officials can potentially catch other dark-web using criminals in the future.”

Late last year, federal prosecutors were compelled to reveal that the FBI had seized control of the Playpen website and used it to disseminate malware that tagged computers used to visit the site. Three federal judges ruled that this mass hack, and the subsequent searches conducted through it, were unconstitutional.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Administration Invades Syria Senior Pentagon officials disclosed on March 8 that a contingent of at least 200 US Marines “have been deployed into Syria with heavy artillery guns” in preparation for combat in the ongoing battle to reclaim Raqqa from ISIS. In addition, Washington is preparing to send hundreds of additional troops to Kuwait in order to join the battle in the event they are needed. The unnamed official said that the total number of troops deployed for the mission would be fewer than 1,000.

This comes after the deployment of what was described as “dozens” of US Army troops to the outskirts of Manbij, Syria in what the Pentagon called a “reassure an deter” mission. The troops, who were dispatched in large, heavily armored vehicles displaying the US flag, were sent “to keep a lid on tensions in the area,” according to the Pentagon.

The Pentagon is also reportedly considering a large supplemental ground force for Syria, with commanders on the ground given discretion to call on reserves as they deem it to be tactically necessary.

President Trump had instructed the Pentagon to develop a plan to defeat ISIS within the first thirty days of his administration. Although there has been no formal announcement of a completed plan, the Department of Defense said last week that the plan had been completed, and the controlled release of deployment details suggests that the plan is being implemented.

None of the available accounts suggest that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made a request for US military intervention in the country. Nor has the administration ended material support for al-Qaeda and ISIS-connected rebel groups seeking to overthrow Assad’s government.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Colorado Man Exonerated 20 Years after his Children and Family Were Stolen Colorado Springs resident Brad Pitman was never convicted of, charged with, or arrested for a criminal offense, yet he suffered one of the worst imaginable punishments a parent can experience when al El Paso County family court judge terminated his parental rights on the recommendation of the Department of Human Services. This happened after a stranger broke into a home occupied by his ex-wife and sexually assaulted Pitman’s four-year-old daughter.

Police who investigated the assault more than twenty years ago obtained a statement from the victim saying that the assailant was a stranger. Asked in a videotaped interview if her dad had attacked her, the child replied that she had never seen the person before, but he was “dark” like her dad. Fingerprints and a palm print found on the windowsill used to gain access to the victim’s home did not match the father. However, after being manipulated for several months by social workers, the child gave another videotaped interview in which she said, that her dad had “hurt” her.

Without obtaining an indictment or a conviction, social workers issued an order demanding that he “take responsibility for the sexual/physical abuse” of his daughter and that he “participate in a psychological and/or sex offender evaluation.” When he asserted his innocence, the Department of Human Services filed a motion to terminate parental rights, which was granted.

Last October, the fingerprint obtained from the kitchen window screen was used to convict a man named Joel Market of several sex crimes committed in the same jurisdiction decades ago. Like Pitman, Market is a black man.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Federal Judge: Cops Can’t Make Multiple Use of a Single GPS Warrant’t-Make-Multiple-Use-of-a-Single-GPS-Warrant Police officers who used a GPS to track the movements of a car after it had been sold to a new owner violated the Fourth Amendment, ruled US District Judge Christine M. Arguello, who granted the second owner’s motion to suppress drug evidence allegedly obtained through the illegal search.

The Fourth Amendment dictates that a search warrant cannot be issued unless it applies to a specific place to be searched “and the persons or things to be seized.” In May of last year, officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department had obtained a warrant to track a 2001 white BMW owned by a suspect in a narcotics investigation. A month later, police surreptitiously attached a GPS tracking device to the car.

The owner subsequently sold the vehicle to a man named Charles Jason Wood, and police began to shadow him without obtaining a second search warrant. Officers allegedly witnessed Wood conducting a drug transaction. A search of the vehicle allegedly discovered illicit narcotics, guns, and money.

During the evidentiary hearing, one of the detectives involved in the case admitted that subsequent to the sale of the BMW, he had doubts that the subject of police surveillance was the suspect named in the initial warrant.

Judge Arguello said that this testimony demonstrates that he and his colleagues “had `notice of risk’ that he was pursuing a warrant unsupported by probable cause.”

While granting the motion to suppress was “an extraordinary remedy,” law enforcement officers have “the extraordinary duty … to ensure that they pursue their important work with an appropriate regard for the foundational constitutional rights of those they police,” wrote Judge Arguello. Because the officers in this case were aware of the Fourth Amendment violation, Arguello granted the motion to suppress.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-Make-Multiple-Use-of-a-Single-GPS-Warrant
Attorney General Sessions: More Drug Prohibition, Expanded Role for Gitmo,-Expanded-Role-for-Gitmo Attorney General Jeff Sessions promises both aggressive federal action to enforce marijuana prohibition and an expanded role for the military detention facility at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay.

In a radio interview with Sessions, broadcaster Hugh Hewitt, one of the Trump administration’s most outspoken media surrogates, described his proposal that the Justice Department file a RICO anti-racketeering prosecution against a single marijuana retailer in a state that has decriminalized its use.

“Will you be bringing such a case?” Hewitt asked Sessions, who replied that “We will – marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws.”

Sessions suggested that more than one such RICO prosecution might be necessary in order to deal with what he calls the “serious matter” of decriminalization.

Hewitt also inquired if the Trump administration plans to make greater use of the Gitmo facility to detain captured terrorist suspects and “unlawful combatants.” This would be handled through the Defense Department, Sessions explained, because prosecuting terrorist suspects through the federal courts would give them “discovery rights to find out our intelligence” – an argument that does not alter the due process rights of all criminal defendants, including accused terrorists.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Expanded-Role-for-Gitmo
Liberals are Buying Guns During the Obama era, the reign of a president possessing an undisguised hostility toward individual firearms ownership provided an unexpected windfall for the gun industry.

“When President Obama left office, gun sales nationwide were at an all-time high,” recalls National Review magazine. “FBI background checks, one of the strongest indicators of national gun sales, totaled 27.5 million in 2016, shattering the record of 23 million” – which had been set a year earlier.

Despite his long history of skepticism toward personal gun ownership, Donald Trump’s campaign conversion to the cause of armed self-defense, combined with the unqualified endorsement of the National Rifle Association and the benefit of a militantly anti-gun opponent, led to a large turnout on his behalf from Second Amendment advocates. As a result, gun sales have tapered off – except for one ironic and unexpected niche market: Liberals who had previously been hostile to private firearms possession.

As National Review notes, “while the number of guns being purchased may have decreased since Trump was elected, the demographic makeup of those purchasing firearms has changed.”

The Washington Post reports that “Gun clubs and shops that cater to black and LGBT clients say there has been an uptick in interest in firearms since November among those who fear that racial and ethic-based violence could increase during Donald Trump’s presidency.”

According to Cleveland gun dealer Kevin Jones, “Whether it’s perceived or true, a lot of people feel that there’s a lot more racially oriented violence out there right now.”

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Attorney Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in Porn Blackmail Scheme Attorney John J. Steele pleaded guilty on March 5 to federal wire fraud and conspiracy charges in an elaborate blackmail scheme involving pornography and threats of a copyright infringement lawsuit.

In his plea agreement, Steele admitted to creating pornographic videos and placing them on piracy websites – and then sending lawsuit threats to people who downloaded the videos.

Steele admitted in his plea agreement that those targeted in the scam “often were either too embarrassed or could not afford to defend themselves.” Many of them paid Steele and his law partner, Paul Hansmeier, $3,000 demanded from them as a so-called settlement in order to avoid additional financial demands, and “being publicly shamed for allegedly downloading pornographic movies,” the plea agreement elaborated.

Prosecutors claimed that hundreds of people across the country were lured into the trap set by Steele and Hansmeier, who admitted to raking in millions of dollars in extortion payments before a few of their victims contacted attorneys, who exposed what a federal judge called a “porno-trolling collective.”

Steele now faces up to forty years in federal prison, with his fate now in the hands of a federal Justice Department that, through the FBI’s child porn stings, has been carrying out very similar entrapment racket.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Ex-Cop Involved in Controversial Shootings Now a DA Investigating Cop Shootings Six years ago Cody Berne, a deputy district attorney in Oregon’s Multnomah County, was one of three police officers involved in a fatal confrontation with Keaton Otis, a mentally ill man who was shot 23 times in what was described as a “traffic stop gone terribly wrong.” Otis drew a gun and allegedly fired a shot that wounded an officer. Acting on training and instinct, Berne pulled his gun and fired 11 shots at Otis.

A bullet containing the wounded officer’s DNA was traced to Otis’s gun. A grand jury ruled that the shooting was justified. However, enhanced audio from a cell phone video of the encounter captured Otis exclaiming “I got my hands up!” just before an officer yells “Let’s do it”” – and thirty-two shots, twenty-three of which found their target, are heard in a matter of seconds.

The Chief Deputy District Attorney who presented the case to the grand jury insisted that the video wasn’t credible. Many activists in Portland aren’t satisfied that the prosecutor pursued the matter with sufficient diligence, and complain that there is no independent agency in the city to investigate controversial police use-of-force complaints.

Concerns about the intimate relationship between the Portland Police Bureau and the DA’s office that investigates use-of-force episodes have been amplified by the fact that former Portland Police Officer Berne, who was among those exonerated by the DA’s office, is now employed by that office as a prosecutor.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Is Bonneville County Preparing a Plea Deal for Wrongfully Convicted Man? The legal advocacy group Judges for Justice, which consists of retired judges, FBI investigators, and legal specialists, has learned of a potential plea deal in the case of Idaho Falls resident Christopher Tapp, who has been wrongfully imprisoned for more than twenty years for a murder he did not commit.

The only evidence against Tapp is a confession that the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office has now conceded was false. No material evidence or eyewitness testimony connected Tapp to the June 1996 sexual assault and murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge, whose mother Carol has become the most passionate advocate on his behalf. Tapp is scheduled for two judicial hearings on April 25, at which Judges for Justice will present the overwhelming case for his innocence. He has been relocated to the Bonneville County Jail in Idaho Falls – and the Bonneville Prosecutor’s Office is now trying to wring a plea bargain from him to pre-empt a legal defeat next month.

The group’s CEO, retired trial Judge Michael Heavey, recently learned that the Bonneville County Prosecutor is offering Tapp a deal that would likely involve an Alford Plea – under which he would assert his innocence while admitting that the prosecutor could prove his guilt in court. This would allow Tapp to be sentenced to the time he has already served, and perhaps a brief term of probation.

“If you accept an Alford deal, then you spent 20+ years in prison for nothing,” Judge Heavey explained in a letter to Tapp. Anything short of complete exoneration “is a big loss for you,” Heavey advised him. “The prosecutor’s office has done everything they can to keep you in prison for the rest of your life, they are not honorable people. They have the leverage, for about one more month…. Don’t give in, you are an innocent man.”

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Supreme Court Declines “Transgender” Restroom Case“Transgender”-Restroom-Case The US Supreme Court has declined to hear the lawsuit filed on behalf of a high school student who calls herself Gavin Grimm, and insists on people indulging her delusion that she is a boy, rather than a girl.

Arguments in the case had been set for March 28. Instead, the Court has thrown out an appeals court ruling that the Gloucester County, North Carolina school board had violated federal civil rights law by sensibly denying the psychologically troubled young woman access to bathrooms and locker rooms used by male students. Grimm had been offered the use of a private bathroom facility of her own, but complained that she feels alienated because the school will not compel psychologically well-balanced young men into forced intimate association with her.

The lower court will now have to reconsider whether the federal Title IX statute, which prohibits sex discrimination at federally subsidized schools, applies to this case.

Last year the Obama administration’s Department of Education handed down a bureaucratic decree redefining Title IX to apply to an individual’s self-identified “gender,” rather than his or her immutable biological sex, in matters of policy and legal liability. Those guidelines – which represented an executive usurpation of the legislative function, in addition to an ideologically inspired assault on science and logic – have been repealed by the Trump administration.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Transgender”-Restroom-Case
Chinese Troops are active in Afghanistan While tensions are rising between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea, the proximity of Chinese military forces to US occupation troops in Afghanistan has apparently prompted little concern on the part of the Pentagon, according to the Military Times.

“There is mounting evidence that Chinese ground troops are operating inside Afghanistan, conducting joint counter-terror patrols with Afghan forces along a 50-mile stretch of their shared border and fueling speculation that Beijing is preparing to play a significantly greater role in the country’s security once the US and NATO leave,” reports the publication.

“We know that they are there,” conceded a Pentagon spokesman, which appears to be the limit to which military officials are willing to go in commenting about the matter. Although Beijing denies that elements of the People’s Liberation Army are deployed in Afghanistan, it has admitted that its People’s Armed Police have been conducting joint counter-terror operations. Beijing is concerned about support from the Taliban for Uighur Muslim separatists, who have also sent jihadists to fight alongside ISIS in Iraq.

Reports of Chinese military activities in Afghanistan first arose last year when India’s Wion News published photos of Chinese armored vehicles operating in a region called Little Pamir, a stark plateau near the country’s eastern border with China. In January, state-run Chinese media disseminated what was most likely a propaganda story claiming that Chinese PLA troops had rescued a US Special Forces team that had come under attack.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Oregon Politicians Ponder Pot Protections Amid ominous indications that the Justice Department under arch-prohibitionist Jeff Sessions will escalate enforcement of federal marijuana statutes, Oregon lawmakers are seeking to enact protections for that state’s legal pot market.

A state legislative committee “that crafts Oregon’s pot policies has proposed legislation that requires marijuana businesses to destroy customers’ personal information, such as names, addresses and birthdates, gathered for marketing purposes, within 48 hours,” reports the AP.

“I could see where the federal government would come in and try to gather this information from businesses that have stockpiled it and retained it in their records,” observed Democratic state Senator Floyd Prozanski, a former prosecutor who co-sponsored the bill. “I think we as legislators have a duty to protect our citizens.”

Among states where marijuana is legally available for either medical or recreational use, Colorado and Alaska forbid businesses to retain private information on customers. In Washington, retaining that information is discouraged, but not officially prohibited.

Some Oregon legislators point out background checks for firearms purchases include questions about marijuana use – which raises the possibility that the information could be used for backdoor gun confiscation.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Supreme Court: Racial Bias by Jurors Can Nullify Verdict After Miguel Pena Rodriguez was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct and harassment involving teenage girls, two jurors told the trial judge that a third member of the jury referred to by the initials H.C. had made numerous racist remarks about the defendant and several alibi witnesses. The juror adamantly maintained that the defendant must be guilty because “he’s Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want,” and accused the defense witnesses of being dishonest because of their shared ethnic background. H.C. derisively referred to one witness as “an illegal,” when in fact he demonstrated that he was a legal resident of the United States.

H.C.’s views were considered weighty by the other jurors because he was a retired police officer.

Although the trial judge admitted that there were substantive questions of juror bias, he denied Pena a new trial. That decision was upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court. Pena appealed the case to the US Supreme Court – which has now overturned his conviction, ruling that he was deprived of a fair trial. In doing so, the Court created a potentially dangerous exemption to the ancient Anglo-Saxon principle requiring confidentiality for jurors in their deliberations – and that treats jury verdicts as generally unimpeachable.

The statements made by the ex-cop juror “were egregious and unmistakable in their reliance on racial bias,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the five-judge majority. “Not only did juror H.C. deploy a dangerous racial stereotype to conclude petitioner was guilty and his alibi witness should not be believed, but he also encouraged other jurors to join him in convicting on that basis.”

Writing in dissent on behalf of himself, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas objected that the ruling focused on political questions and “race relations” rather than the legal questions implicated in this specific case.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Dispatcher Arrested for Hoarding 200 Pounds of Pot A Cincinnati Police Dispatcher was one of several people arrested following the seizure of nearly 600 points of marijuana, reports NBC affiliate WLWT. Roughly 400 pounds of pot were confiscated from a tractor-trailer. An additional 200 pounds of contraband were found in a home owned by Teneal Poole, a dispatcher for the Cincinnati Police Department, where she has been employed for thirteen years.

Poole and her boyfriend, Damian Gray, were charged with drug possession and trafficking. They may face additional charges or a sentence enhancement after handguns were found in the same home where the marijuana was being stored.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
TSA to Cops: Give us a Break on Sexual Assault Investigations Anticipating complaints from travelers subjected to invasive and degrading airport pat-down procedures that are tantamount to sexual assault, the Transportation Security Administration has instructed its employees “to contact airport law enforcement and brief them on the procedures in case they are notified that a passenger believes a [screener] has subjected them to an abnormal screening practice,” according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

“Passengers who have not previously experienced the now standardized pat-down screening may not realize that they did in fact receive the correct procedure, and may ask our partners, including law enforcement at the airport, about the procedure,” wrote TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson in the March 3 message.

The TSA decided to standardize the most abusive of the five potential pat-down methods in order to “reduce the cognitive burden on [employees] who previously had to choose from various pat-down procedures depending on the type of screening lane,” according to the agency. Validating yet again the dismal expectations of those who understand how government works, the agency opted to increase the misery of taxpayers who travel, rather than requiring a little more effort from their employees, or trying to hire cognitively adequate people to replace them.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“Blue Privilege” Bill in Kansas Would Undermine Police Accountability“Blue-Privilege”-Bill-in-Kansas-Would-Undermine-Police-Accountability The Kansas State Legislature is considering a measure that would cut off public access to records containing complaints against, and official investigations of, law enforcement officers in the state. House Bill 2070, currently being debated by the state senate, would exempt disciplinary and personnel records held by the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training from the state Open Records Act.

Supporters of this bill are framing this enhancement of the special status of police officers – sometimes referred to as “Blue Privilege” – as a minor inconvenience for citizens. Critics contend it undermines public transparency and accountability.

“If the agency refuses to produce the information, then you have the right, for $185 and a lawyer, to go to court and say, `This ought to be released and here’s why,’” declared Democratic State Representative John Carmichael. “I don’t like that approach,” he adds, “I would like to think of a better approach. “

Republican Representative Stephanie Clayton, who voted against the measure, complained that it “kind of locks things up.”

Commission officials insist that the public can get access to the records by filing requests with other law enforcement agencies.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blue-Privilege”-Bill-in-Kansas-Would-Undermine-Police-Accountability
New Surveillance State Toy for the Cops In decades past, local beat cops spent years getting to know the neighborhoods they patrol, cultivating friendships and learning to serve the citizens. A new cyber-product called FirstTwo will make all of this unnecessary, giving instant access to an immense, detailed dossier on everybody in a given neighborhood.

“FirstTwo draws from social media, public information databases and a host of other sources to provide a mini-profile of everyone associated with any address,” explains PoliceOne tech columnist Tim Dees. “The interface is a simple map,” he continues. “Enter an address or allow the mobile application’s GPS link to find your location on a map, and you’ll see a map (street or satellite view, your choice) of that neighborhood, with the names and sometimes the ages of everyone associated with each address superimposed on the location. Each address has a numbered icon above the names. Touch or click the icon, and the app displays an expanded view of the information associated with that address.”

By datamining public records and social media – along with any information compiled in law enforcement databases – First Two will allow an officer to know “the names, ages, backgrounds, and proclivities of everyone in the household.”

Significantly, Dees advises officers to take steps to conceal their own personal information from social media and search engines such as Intelius.

“Where people wanted by the police try to stay `below the radar’ for many purposes, it’s as difficult for the bad guys to keep their information out of the systems as it is for the cops,” he observes without taking into the consideration that many harmless and law-abiding people likewise prefer to remain “below the radar.”

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
No, Opposing a President Isn’t “Treason” or “Sedition”,-Opposing-a-President-Isn’t-“Treason”-or-“Sedition” In a videotaped address to a partisan Democratic audience, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch complained that the Trump administration threatens civil rights, and invoked the Civil Rights movement as inspiration for its opponents. In previous eras, activists have “marched, they’ve bled, and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again.”

This cliché-heavy invocation of the Civil Rights era was widely misrepresented within the conservative blogosphere as an act of sedition – an incendiary call for bloodshed in the streets. Clearly, Lynch – who has much to answer for as a public official – was playing to the conceit that her allies would suffer violence, rather than urging them to commit it.

More than a few of President Trump’s supporters, including some congressmen, have suggested that it is a form of treason to criticize him. Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King, for example, has used the term “purge” with reference to those he accuses of “treasonist” [sic] actions. Fox News commentator Matthew Vadum has repeatedlycalled for critics of Trump to be executed for “treason.” The behavior of such Trump loyalists is not significantly different from that of Obama supporters who accused the Tea Party movement of fomenting “sedition.”

“The entire right wing” is guilty of “sedition in slow motion,” by offering “incitement to revolt” against Obama, complained Sara Robinson of the Campaign for America’s Future in a 2009 essay. In a similar vein, professor and MSNBC pundit Melissa Harris said that by comparing Obama to despots like Hitler and Mao, the Tea Party was guilty of treasonous sedition.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Opposing-a-President-Isn’t-“Treason”-or-“Sedition”
Hawking: World Government Necessary to Prevent Tech from Destroying Humanity Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who has expressed misgivings about artificial intelligence, insists that a world government is necessary in order to identify and defeat potential technological threats to human survival.

Aggression “is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution,” declares Hawking, who is a devoted secular humanist. “Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason.”

This would be the task of “some form of world government,” he contends, while allowing that the people who administer it would not be miraculously free of the aggressive tendencies he decries. A global government “might become a tyranny,” Hawing concedes. “All of this may sound a bit doom-laden,” he continues, “but I am an optimist. I think the human race will rise to meet these challenges.”

Hawking has previously speculated that Artificial Intelligence could someday supplant humanity.

“A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble,” he said in an online conversation two years ago. Using the analogy of humans flooding an anthill in order to build a hydroelectric dam, Hawking urged, “Let’s not place humanity in the position of those ants.”

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Chooses Anti-Russia Hawk as NATO Ambassador Richard Grennell, who represented the George W. Bush administration at the United Nations and was chief foreign policy spokesman for the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign, has reportedly been chosen by President Trump to be the US ambassador to NATO. Grennell has urged a more confrontational posture toward Moscow. His appointment, argues The Intercept, is the latest of several indications that Trump “is reacting to criticism that [he] is too soft on Russia by pivoting to the other extreme.”

Following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, Grennell published an essay for Fox News urging the Obama administration to “offer advice and training to Ukraine, and sell it the lethal weapons required to contend with Russian armored personnel carriers and missiles.” He also insisted that Obama should leave the possibility of direct US military intervention against Russia “on the table.”

“The Obama doctrine only persuades Putin that he need never fear the US military – the world’s most powerful deterrent,” wrote Grinnell. “Even if Obama would never start a war with Russia, he should stop swearing off military action in public. Instead, President Obama should rhetorically leave military action on the table.”

As recently as this week, Grinnell has publicly reiterated his support for sending lethal military aid to Kiev.

An early Trump supporter during the 2016 campaign, Grennell had previously been considered for the post of UN representative. If selected as NATO ambassador, he would be the highest-ranking openly gay official in the Trump administration.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Is TMZ Real or “Fake” News?“Fake”-News? President Trump has expressed expansive contempt for the legacy media and imposed access restrictions on many outlets he accuses of propagating “fake news.” On March 1, he granted about an hour-long interview in the Oval Office to an unorthodox media figure – Los Angeles tabloid mogul Harvey Levin, founder and host of TMZ, a website and television show that focuses heavily on show business gossip and scandal-mongering.

Levin, an attorney who came to national prominence two decades ago as a commentator on the OJ Simpson murder trial, founded TMZ in 2005. Its Hollywood-based operation “is known for its scoops and its guerrilla interviews with celebrities at airports and other public places,” observes the New York Times, a newspaper President Trump routinely berates as “fake news.”

Mr. Levin’s meeting with the president was not noted in the publicly released White House schedule.

Levin interviewed Trump last fall for a Fox News special entitled “Objectified: Donald Trump.” According to White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks, “The show was a huge success, and [the president and Mr. Levin] were discussing future opportunities.”

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Fake”-News?
Was Trump Critic Prevented from Traveling Abroad? Virginia attorney Khizr Khan, who criticized then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in a memorable speech at last year’s Democratic National Convention, claims that he was prevented from traveling to Canada to address a human rights event. Khan, a naturalized citizen from Pakistan, said on March 6 that he had been told that his “travel privileges” were “under review.”

Asked by Reuters to confirm Mr. Khan’s claim, the US Customs and Border Protection service said that any US citizen with a passport is allowed to travel out of the country, and that it would not comment specifically regarding Khan’s case, because of privacy concerns.

In his address to the DNC, Khan invoked the memory of his late son, US Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in action protecting his unit from a suicide bomber in Iraq. A devout Muslim and attorney who specializes in international business and immigration affairs, the elder Khan has been active in opposing the Trump administration’s proposed travel restrictions. His claims about being singled out for a review, while widely reported, have not been confirmed.

Seeking to learn the details of this story, the Daily Beast made inquiries with the CBP, which – without prompting – brought up the issue of the Global Entry program, suggesting that Mr. Khan’s membership in that program was under review. Last month it was reported that some Muslim Americans had their Global Entry status revoked without explanation.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Jewish Cemeteries Not Vandalized Reports of anti-Semitic violence and harassment, and heartless vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, have accumulated in recent weeks, and many of President Trump’s detractors cited those reports to accuse him of fomenting bigotry and chiding him for not denouncing such acts. In recent days, that narrative has begun to unravel. A left-leaning freelance reporter and outspoken critic of Trump has been arrested and charged with harassment for making bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers in New York – and now the general manager of a Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn has officially disavowed the claim that it has been targeted by vandals.

The New York Daily News reports that the 42 fallen headstones at the Washington Cemetery “were not caused by vandals” but “had naturally tipped over due to age.”

“It definitely was not vandalism,” insisted Marisa Tarantino, general manager of the Washington Cemetery. “The older sections, as the stones wear, they do fall over or are unstable,” she elaborated. “What we do is we lay them across the grave to keep them memorialized rather than taking [them] away.”

An NYPD spokesman agreed that “There’s no evidence of vandalism,” he emphasized. “In conference with managers of the cemetery, it appears to be a result of neglect of maintenance combined with environmental factors, such as the soil giving way.”

Despite such assurances, some local officials insist that further investigation is needed.

“Anti-Semitism is on the rise in this country,” asserted City Controller Scott Stringer, maintaining that “When we hear tombstones falling, it is our obligation to come and find out what’s going on” – which apparently is what the cemetery manager and police did.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Facebook Reports Journalists to Police – For Investigating Child Exploitation–-For-Investigating-Child-Exploitation The social media giant Facebook reported BBC journalists to the police after their reporters sent them images related to suspected child pornography sites – despite the fact that Facebook had demanded that the reporters provide them with the images.

As part of an investigative series dealing with online child sexual exploitation, the BBC had found dozens of recent photos depicting children in sexualized situations, which were combined with enticements to view even more explicitly obscene content. This included Facebook pages devoted to men “with a sexual interest in children” or groups devoted to sharing “stolen images of real children.”

Reporters for the BBC flagged the images as inappropriate in a test of Facebook’s self-policing policies, but more than 80 percent of them remained available because the platform’s internal review concluded that they did not violate “community standards.” BBC contacted Facebook director of policy Simon Milner, who declined to be interviewed on the record until he had been provided with samples of the obscene content. After the BBC complied with that condition, Facebook reported the individual journalists to the UK’s National Crime Agency.

“It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation,” declared Facebook is a self-justifying press release. “When the BBC sent us such images we followed our industry’s standard practice and reported them to [the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center in the United Kingdom]. We also reported the child exploitation images that had been shared on our own platform. This matter is now in the hands of the authorities.”

David Jordan, the BBC’s director of editorial policy, commented that “One can only assume that the Facebook executives were unwilling or certainly reluctant to engage in an interview … about why these images are available on the Facebook site.”

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700–-For-Investigating-Child-Exploitation
Why Does the Justice Department Foment Community Tensions? The Justice Department’s Community Relations Service (CRS) has long been a conduit through which federal subsidies have flowed to left-wing community action groups at the local level. Not surprisingly, during the eight-year presidential reign of a former “community organizer,” the CRS took a much more active role in directing funds to left-leaning nonprofit organizations – a situation characterized by some congressional Republicans as a partisan “slush fund.”

“Advocates for big government and progressive power are using the Justice Department to extort money from corporations,” asserts Tom Fitton, president of the conservative public interest legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. One example of the process alluded to by Fitton is the Justice Department’s practice of filing discrimination or mortgage abuse lawsuits against banks, which give rise to settlements in the form of donations to third-party non-profit groups that were never named as victims in the litigation.

“So far,” observes Fox News, “investigators have accounted for $3 billion paid to `non-victim entities.’”

Ted Frank of the Competitive Enterprise Institutes notes that “The underlying problem with the slush funds is we don’t know exactly where the money is going. Using enforcement authority to go after corporate defendants, [Justice Department] bureaucrats are taking billions away from taxpayers to fund their pet projects, overriding congressional preferences.”

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Arizona Seeks an end to Federal “Money Monopoly”“Money-Monopoly” While there may be no immediate hope for abolishing the Federal Reserve System, and its inflationary practice of officially sanctioned counterfeiting, the State of Arizona is challenging the Fed’s money monopoly.

On March 8, the Arizona State Senate’s Finance and Rules Committee will consider HB 2014, which would officially define gold, silver, and other precious metals as legal tender within that state. This is in compliance with Article I, section 10 of the United States Constitution, which specifies that “No State shall … make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in payment of Debts.” No constitutional provision authorizes the federal government to issue paper currency.

However, under federal law, the U.S. Dollar, in various denominations, is defined as “legal tender,” meaning that it must be accepted as payment for “all debts, public and private.” Since August 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon severed the last links between the dollar and gold, the Federal Reserve Note has not been backed by precious metals or commodities of any kind. Its value is provided by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. Government – which means, in practice, that people accept it in payment only because the federal government forces them to.

If enacted, the Arizona legal tender measure would “protect people’s right to use alternatives to what may soon be virtually worthless Federal Reserve [Notes],” explains former Congressman Ron Paul, the most conspicuous critic of the Federal Reserve and its fiat money system. Dr. Paul was scheduled to testify on behalf of HB 2014, and to address a rally in the Arizona state capitol demanding an end to the Fed’s monetary monopoly.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Money-Monopoly”
Justice Clarence Thomas: Civil Asset Forfeiture Leads to “Egregious” Abuses“Egregious”-Abuses Like many thousands of other Americans, James and Lisa Leonard were victimized in an act of highway robbery perpetrated by police. An April 1, 2013 pretext traffic stop in Texas led to the discovery of a safe in the Leonards’ vehicle containing more than $200,000 and a bill of sale for a house in Pennsylvania. No evidence of a criminal offense was found – but through the practice called civil asset forfeiture, none was necessary: The police stole the money and filed a civil action to “forfeit” it in a forum in which the victim bears the burden of proving that the money was not proceeds of criminal activity. Predictably, the court ruled in favor of the privileged thieves who had stolen it.

The Leonards appealed this ruling to the US Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case, thereby passively ratifying the robbery. Although the Court is not required to explain or comment on a decision not to hear a case, Justice Clarence Thomas published an explanatory note describing the history of asset forfeiture, and criticizing the court system’s role in the process.

Civil asset forfeiture, in which property can be seized without its owner facing criminal charges, has “become widespread and highly profitable” in recent decades, in no small measure “because the law enforcement entity responsible for seizing the property often keeps it, [and thus] have strong incentives to pursue forfeiture,” Thomas wrote. “This system – where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use – has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuse…. These forfeiture operations frequently target the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings,” he continued, urging the federal court system to reevaluate its reasoning in approving a practice that amounts to a wholesale denial of due process protections.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Egregious”-Abuses
WikiLeaks Releases “Vault 7” Trove of CIA Secrets“Vault-7”-Trove-of-CIA-Secrets The WikiLeaks transparency organization, with the help of a disgruntled former government-employed contract hacker, has released what it calls “Vault 7,” a compendium of documents describing the Agency’s cyber-hacking capabilities. Among the weapons and tactics described in the newly released documents is the use of a computer hack to commandeer vehicles by remote control. That disclosure has fueled renewed speculation that the traffic accident in which investigative journalist Michael Hastings was killed may have been a “car cyber-attack,” as former counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke suggested at the time.

“As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks,” summarizes a WikiLeaks press release. “The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.”

The new release encompasses 8,761 documents to which WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange has given the title “Year Zero.” The archive “appears to have been circulated among former US government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive,” the group reports. This includes samples of the CIA’s “malware arsenal and dozens of `zero day’ weaponized exploits against a wide range of US and European company products, includ[ing] Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”

“Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook,” explains WikiLeaks. The CIA, has, in effect, created its own NSA “with even less accountability” than that super-secret surveillance agency.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Vault-7”-Trove-of-CIA-Secrets
“Blue Privilege”: Officer Implicated in Ticket Scam Reinstated, Paid $400,000 in Back Salary“Blue-Privilege”:-Officer-Implicated-in-Ticket-Scam-Reinstated,-Paid-$400,000-in-Back-Salary James Dunn was one of eight officers who were implicated in an overtime fraud scandal several years ago. The officers were accused of falsifying traffic tickets in order to steal overtime money that was paid through a federal Selective Traffic Enforcement Program. Six officers surrendered their peace officer licenses, and were spared from both criminal and further administrative punishment. Two others, Dunn and Maurice Middleton, refused to relinquish their licenses, and avoided prosecution after the Tarrant County DA’s office withdrew the case.

Dunn’s persistence has now been rewarded by an arbitration panel, which ordered his reinstatement on the police force and awarded him $400,000 in back pay – which doesn’t include seven years of retirement contributions, as well as unused vacation and sick leave. His attorney, Terry Daffron, describes the ruling as one of the largest awards in city history.

“Officer Dunn is very excited to finally be vindicated after living the last six-and-a-half years in a nightmare,” and “is looking forward to wearing the FWPD uniform again,” Daffron declared. Strictly speaking, Dunn wasn’t “vindicated”; he merely evaded prosecution. The hearing examiner acknowledged that the officer had indeed falsified government records: Dunn claimed to have written traffic tickets in improbably precise 15-minute intervals over a six-year period. Rather than characterizing this as fraud, however, hearing examiner Norman Bennett blamed Dunn’s supervisors for their “failure to instruct him regarding worksheets and times on tickets.”

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blue-Privilege”:-Officer-Implicated-in-Ticket-Scam-Reinstated,-Paid-$400,000-in-Back-Salary
Feds Demand Half-Million Dollars from Hage Family Following a decades-long battle with the federal government, the family of the late Wayne Hage, a rancher and land rights activist in Nevada, has been ordered to pay $587,294 for what a federal district judge described as “repeated willful unauthorized grazing” on lands illegally claimed by the federal government. The judge who imposed that ruling, Gloria Navarro, is also presiding over the trial of Cliven Bundy and five co-defendants on charges arising from their successful effort to recover cattle stolen by the BLM in April 2014.

Navarro was not the first US District Judge to enter a ruling on this controversy. In May 2013, US District Judge Robert E. Jones ruled that the BLM and other agencies had engaged in “a literal, intentional conspiracy to deprive the Hages not only of their [grazing] permits but also of their vested water rights.” This included a pattern and practice of unabashed criminal intimidation of witnesses on behalf of the Hage family as they sought to vindicate their rights in court. As Judge Jones recalled, the BLM “sent trespass notices to people who leased or sold cattle to the Hages … in order to pressure other parties not to do business with the Hages, and even to discourage or punish testimony” in the family’s lawsuit.

The US Attorney to whom Judge Jones issued that order is Daniel G. Bogden, who is presiding over the show trial of the Bundy family and their associates. Rather than complying with the order, Bogden and his superiors filed an appeal in a different venue, obtaining a ruling that by describing the criminal misconduct of the BLM Judge Jones exhibited “animus toward the federal agencies” that had targeted the Hages and their neighbors.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Witnesses in Refuge Trial Describe Agent Provocateur’s Actions’s-Actions Jeff Banta, one of the defendants in the second trial of activists involved in last year’s protest occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, described the actions of FBI informant Fabio Minoggio, a former tribal police officer from Arizona who infiltrated the group shortly after the January 2016 protest began.

Posing as a sympathizer, Minoggio “led military-style training for the Bravo security team at the refuge,” summarizes the Oregonian newspaper. “Minoggio told Bravo members, of which Banta was one, to meet him at the refuge boat launch,” where the FBI asset “conducted scenario-type training, teaching occupiers how to pull a motorist from a vehicle to interrogate them at gunpoint.”

Minoggio also trained occupiers “how to use a fire hose to disable a vehicle,” Banta recalled.

Banta, who had no prior military experience, described how the FBI plant led activists in target shooting. After organizing the men in formation and firing at targets, Minoggio would “discharge his firearm behind us,” Banta recalled. “He was basically kind of seeing how we reacted under pressure.”

Minoggio, who had introduced himself as “John Killman,” was exposed as an FBI provocateur during the first trial by private citizens who shared the information with defense attorneys. Video of the military-style training orchestrated by the FBI asset was used by prosecutors in the first trial of Refuge protesters in an attempt to depict them as potentially violent and a threat to the nearby town of Burns.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Actions
Oregon Congressman Introduces Bill to Rein in Prosecutorial Overreach The 2016 protest occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge grew out of protests over the abusive treatment of ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were sent back to prison after serving their assigned sentences for arson. Their supposed offense was to set fires on their own property to abate an invasive species. The fires temporarily got out of control and burned a small tract of land illegally claimed by the BLM.

Despite the fact that the Hammonds had already served prison time, a vindictive federal prosecutor named Amanda Marshall – who has since been forced to resign for her own criminal misconduct – demanded that they serve an additional four years under a provision of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

The trial judge in the Hammond case explained that imposing the prescribed sentence in the Hammond Case “would result in a sentence which is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses here.” Nonetheless, Marshall – who would later seek leniency for criminal conduct that included sexual harassment and lying to federal investigators, a felony – objected that it was “illegal” to reduce the sentences.

Seeking to foreclose future abusive prosecutions of this kind, Oregon Republican Representative Greg Walden has introduced a measure called the “Resource Management Practices Protection Act” (HR 983). Among its provisions is an exemption for fires that are set in the course of agricultural work.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Feds Seek to Nullify Jury Acquittal in West Virginia Case Four years ago, West Virginia resident Miguel Quinones was acquitted of murder charges. Immediately after the acquittal, federal prosecutors filed gun charges against Quinones, who was eventually convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Now, federal prosecutors want to use the evidence a jury found insufficient to convict Quinones of murder to obtain a more severe sentence on the firearms charge. This is an attempted work-around of the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against double jeopardy – and an effort to nullify the jury’s verdict in the first trial. It also violates the Sixth Amendment right to confront and rebut the witnesses and evidence used against the defendant, since the prosecution seeks to select only those portions of the transcript that would reflect badly on Quinones.

Federal prosecutor Jennifer Rada insists that the government should present evidence regarding the alleged – but unproven – involvement by Quinones in the murder, under the “preponderance of evidence” standard.

“In this case, the Government has made plain by its actions that it is dissatisfied with the decision of the citizens who served as jurors in State v. Quinones,” his defense counsel observed in a motion objecting to the prosecution request. “The Government’s clear intent … is to seek a significant punishment for Mr. Quinones primarily for his acquitted conduct in an unrelated state case. Were the government to have its way, evidence of Mr. Quinones’ acquitted conduct will be the `tail which wags the dog of the substantive offense.’”

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Secretary of Transportation Cuts Fed Funds for California Train Wreck Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has cut off federal subsidies for California Governor Jerry Brown’s much-touted “bullet train” project, which is years behind schedule and at least $3.6 billion over budget. By withdrawing $647 million in federal funds, Chao has effectively killed the proposed high-speed Caltrain line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. This decision came after all 14 Republican members of California’s congressional delegation sent a letter to Chao calling for “the Caltrain money to be put on hold until a full audit is done on high-speed rail,” observes the Los Angeles Times.

If, as expected, Chao’s decision ends the Caltrain project, it may also stave off efforts by the State of California to seize privately owned property along the anticipated train route through eminent domain. Among the intended victims were the owners of the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo, whose property was coveted by Caltrain as the future site of a new train station.

Legal affairs commentator Leslie Eastman wryly suggests that Governor Brown may now have to choose between two of his most cherished projects. If the State of California “can’t build a bullet train using our own money, then how was the state going to pay for a satellite to monitor climate change, such as the one proposed by Brown in his epic, post-election rant against the President?” asked Eastman, concluding that “It appears that Governor Brown has just been hit by the Trump Train on its stop in Sacramento during its journey through Karma.”

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Campus Leftists Shut Down Scholar’s Speech, Assault Professor’s-Speech,-Assault-Professor Professor Allison Stranger of Middlebury College was assaulted and seriously injured by campus protesters who were part of a leftist mob that shouted down a speech by author Charles Murray. Stranger required hospitalization and a neck brace after one of the demonstrators pulled her hair and twisted her neck.

Murray is the author of The Bell Curve, a book published in 1994 dealing with the role IQ plays in class stratification in American society. Because the research findings examined in the book suggest measurable differences in IQ between white and black people, it has been inaccurately characterized as a defense of discriminatory public policy – and Murray himself has been falsely characterized as a white supremacist.

Stranger, a registered Democrat who does not agree with Murray’s opinions, confronted the mob that shouted him down in defense of his right to express those views.

“I was genuinely surprised and troubled to learn that some of my faculty colleagues had rendered judgment on Dr. Murray’s work and character, while openly admitting that they had not read anything he had written,” wrote Professor Stranger on her Facebook page. Those proudly ignorant faculty members “offered their leadership to enraged students, and we all know what the results were” – a “sea of students yelling obscenities … screaming and chanting and chair-pounding in the room,” she continues.

Dr. Murray points out that while he is no newcomer to campus protests, last week’s episode was the first incident in which a mob actually shut down one of his speeches.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Speech,-Assault-Professor
Bar Patrons Disarm, Detain Robber,-Detain-Robber One day after patrons of a bar in downtown Idaho Falls disarmed and detained a gun-wielding assailant, customers at another bar and grill arrested a man who had stolen $400 at gunpoint, reported the Post-Register newspaper.

A 27-year-old man was accosted outside the Peppertree Lounge by 32-year-old Adam L. Kennedy, who wielded a handgun and demanded the victim’s money. After Kennedy fled with the cash, the victim went into the bar and told those inside that he had just been robbed. One employee called the police, while several others took off in pursuit of the culprit. They managed to chase him down about a block from the lounge and detained him until officers arrived.

Kennedy, a resident of Boise, was found to be in possession of the victim’s cash and a portion of an airsoft pellet gun. He had walked off a work-release detail while serving a 60-day jail term for driving a vehicle without its owner’s consent. His lengthy list of prior offenses includes a conviction a decade ago for grand theft. He has been charged with felony robbery.

On February 28, the night just before Kennedy was tracked down and detained by customers at the Peppertree Lounge, regulars at the Roadhouse Saloon in Idaho Falls swarmed and violently subdued a drunken man named Trevor Bennion, who had been ordered away from the establishment earlier and returned with two firearms. While the police in Idaho Falls have proven competent in booking violent offenders, it appears that the town’s bar patrons are the most efficient first responders.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Detain-Robber
Republican Obamacare Replacement Bill Dismissed as “Obamacare Lite”“Obamacare-Lite” Following weeks of covert discussions, the House Republican leadership made public its legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare on March 6– and the result was immediately dismissed by Michigan Representative Justin Amash as “Obamacare Lite.”

Summarizes Reason magazine: “The bill would replace Obamacare’s subsidies with a system of tax credits and halt the law’s Medicaid expansion at the end of the decade while grandfathering in many beneficiaries over the long term and giving states $100 billion in funding to work with to care for hard-case patients.” The result is “a fairly conventional Republican plan, modified in ways designed to mitigate recent political objections.”

The tax credits, which will extend to recipients who have no tax liabilities, are in effect a subsidy. Rather than being based on income, as was the arrangement under Obamacare, the Republican alternative appears to be based on age.

In essence, the plan devised by House Republicans would swap out one set of insurance subsidies with another based on slightly different criteria, leaving most of the current regulatory arrangement intact. The only substantive advantage to the proposed plan would be an end to the Obamacare individual mandate. Significantly, the existing bill does not have an official cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, and reports suggest that Speaker Paul Ryan and his allies intend to introduce it in committee without any idea of what it would cost. Ryan’s Democratic predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, notoriously said that Obamacare would have to be passed in order to learn what was in it; Ryan might be forced to say the same thing regarding the bill’s estimated price tag.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Obamacare-Lite”
Deep State Plays Russia Card Against Trump – Again–-Again President Trump’s dramatic allegations that he had been surveilled by Barack Obama during last year’s campaign came amid a fusillade of unsubstantiated accusations that his campaign was aided by the Russian government. Veteran news analyst Joel Skousen suspects that the Russian-themed attacks against Trump are carefully crafted traps set by the Deep State and a willing media to hamper Trump and bring down his non-establishment appointees.

“Trump ought to realize by now that the NSA is spying on him and everyone else in the government,” Skousen points out. “They are collecting data on Russian contacts and setting the same traps for his officials with unsubstantiated rumors first, in order to elicit a denial, and then leaked transcripts to embarrass the target and demand a resignation.” This strategy was used in the leaks targeting former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after details of his phone conservations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak were publicized by David Ignatius of The Washington Post.

Although Flynn’s phone calls with Russian diplomats were defensible, the suspicions flying about collusion with Russia before the election predictably encouraged Flynn to deny the rumors. According to Skousen “the trap was sprung” when the media revealed they had seen leaked transcripts proving Flynn was a liar.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was targeted for similar treatment last week, Skousen asserts. Democratic Senator Al Franken got Sessions to deny “communications with the Russians.” Then the Washington Post tried to trap the new AG by revealing private conversations between Sessions and Ambassador Kislyak.

Sessions had a better defense than that offered by Flynn, however, since those meetings were appropriate in his position as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Nonetheless, the uproar extracted a concession from Sessions that he would recuse himself from any investigations into Russia, which will prove difficult, given that as Attorney General he presides over the department that will conduct such inquiries.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700–-Again
Fourth Circuit’s Anti-Second Amendment Ruling’s-Anti-Second-Amendment-Ruling The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has upheld Maryland’s ban on what it calls assault-style weapons – which in essence are any semi-automatic rifles containing certain features shared with firearms used by the military. As the dissent in that ruling pointed out, the standards used to justify the ban on so-called assault weapons could be used to designate nearly any semi-automatic rifle or handgun a “military weapon,” and thus subject to a similar ban.

“Our ruling on Second Amendment protection is limited and clear: Because the FSA-banned assault weapons and large capacity magazines are like M16s, in that they are most useful in military service, they are not protected by the Second Amendment,” wrote Judge Robert B. King on behalf of the 10-4 majority.

Commentator Brandon Morse observed that “The court stated that 81 weapons, as well as semi-automatics that use detachable magazines, and can sport two or more features such as a flash suppressor, or a folding stock as ‘dangerous and unusual’ and being ‘exceptionally lethal weapons of war’” – a claim rooted more in anti-gun hysteria than in constitutional history. At the time the Second Amendment was written and ratified, its Framers were well aware of the fact that colonial militiamen of the time had access to the same weaponry used by the regular army.

“Apparently the majority of Justices in the 4th Circuit either don’t know the history of the militias in the Revolutionary War or they are choosing to ignore it,” comments analyst Joel Skousen. “ Militiamen used their own personal rifles for military purposes. How then can the Second Amendment, which makes direct reference to militias not include military weapons? How is that `unusual’ given the history of the amendment?”

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Anti-Second-Amendment-Ruling
Globalists in Trump Administration Alex Newman of the New American magazine keeps careful of track who’s who in the globalist world. While the Trump administration has the fewest members of the globalist Council on Foreign Relations of any administration in recent history, the numbers are growing.

“After crushing the establishment and delivering a series of blows to globalism, President Donald Trump's winning spree against the powerful forces that opposed him appears to be slowing down,” writes Newman. “In fact, with his recent selection of Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser and Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court — both of whom have been listed as members of the establishment globalist swamp known as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) — concerns are growing even among Trump supporters and grassroots conservative activists. There were already several CFR-linked officials before the latest additions — the very same forces that viciously libeled and attacked him in their failed bid to stop the swamp draining.”

Founded in 1921 as the American affiliate of an international network of covert political, banking, and academic elitists, the CFR has long been acknowledged – by both defenders and detractors – as the most visible element of the Power Elite. It provides an institutional nexus between public officials who shape policy on terms favorable to internationalism, media elites to shape the public mind to support that policy, academics who devise that policy, banking interests that fund and benefit from it, and the covert institutions that carry it out. This is a tremendous concentration of power in the hands of fewer than 4,000 people, whose members routinely find their way into key positions of government influence.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Florida Supreme Court: No Protection for Open Carry Following on the heels of a federal court ruling upholding Maryland’s ban on private ownership of so-called assault weapons, the Florida State Supreme Court had ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect the right of citizens to carry firearms openly.

The Florida ruling mines vein of legal sophistry opened in the late Antonin Scalia’s much-misunderstood majority opinion in the US Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller ruling, which held that the Second Amendment only expressly protects the right to use firearms “for lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” By listing that specific example, Scalia, in effect, invited legislators and other judges to limit the right to keep and bear arms to home defense. Proponents of incremental civilian disarmament have happily accepted that invitation.

In upholding Florida’s law prohibiting open carry of firearms in public, the state Supreme Court’s majority drew heavily on an essay published in 2012 by the Fordham Urban Law Journal entitled “The Right to Carry Firearms Outside of the Home: Separating Historical Myths from Historical Realities.” Seeking to fortify what the author called “the nation’s relatively anemic gun control regime,” that essay insisted that the Heller ruling “established no right to carry firearms outside the home” and that “the Founders decided to constitutionalize the right [to bear arms] only in the home.”

On the basis of this historic caricature, “Self-defense beyond the home implicates far broader questions of public safety,” and thus supposedly provides for great flexibility in imposing restrictions on private citizens who seek to exercise that right in public. The essay contends that the historic tradition of open carry is “limited to the slave South,” where that right was purportedly used for the purpose of threatening, subduing, and punishing rebellious slaves – a claim that would be considered plausible only in academic circles in which racism is ritually invoked to justify any government imposition on personal liberty.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Secular “Heresy Trial” in Britain Leads to Conviction of Street Preachers“Heresy-Trial”-in-Britain-Leads-to-Conviction-of-Street-Preachers Two street preachers have been convicted under England’s Crime and Disorder Act of 1998 by the Bristol Magistrates’ Court. The supposed offense committed by Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell was publicly quoting excerpts from the King James Bible in a way that was adjudged to be “abusive” and “criminal.”

According to prosecutor Ian Jackson, “To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.”

Overd, a British citizen, and Stockwell, who lives in New York, were arrested last July while preaching at a public market in Bristol. The theme of their presentation was the differences distinguishing Christianity from Islam. Bodycam video recorded police officers accusing the preachers of inciting “homophobia” and “challenging Muslims.” Chief Inspector Andy Williams of the Avon and Somerset Police Department insists that the court’s ruling demonstrated that the preachers “crossed that line and used their platform to comment on other religions and sexuality using disparaging and offensive language.”

Each of the preachers was fined 300 pounds and ordered to pay a “victim surcharge” of thirty pounds – although no specific victim was identified – and also jointly to pay court costs of more than 3,300 pounds. Their defense attorney described the proceedings as a “modern-day heresy trial.”

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Heresy-Trial”-in-Britain-Leads-to-Conviction-of-Street-Preachers
Trump Reportedly Considered Appointing Tony Blair as Mideast Envoy Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has denied reports of a secret meeting with President Trump to discuss the possibility of serving as a special Middle East envoy.

The UK Daily Mail reported that the former Prime Minister “held talks with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner” on March 1st to discuss “becoming a Middle East peace envoy for Trump.” Blair was said to have met three times with Kushner in secret since last September, and visited the White House for a three-hour summit in the West Wing.

While not denying the meetings, Blair insists that he has “made no such `pitch’ to be the president’s Middle East envoy, neither has he had any discussions about taking such a role or any role working for the new president,” according to a spokesman. The former Prime Minister has spent the last ten years as an envoy for the Quartet, an informal international coalition that includes the US, Russia, the UN, and the European Union.

Blair first met Kushner at a September gathering sponsored by the elitist Aspen Global Leadership Network. His reputation and legacy have been severely damaged by the findings of the Chilcott Inquiry, which condemned his role in maneuvering Britain into the 2003 Iraq War on the basis of falsified intelligence. President Trump has acknowledged on several occasions that the administration of George W. Bush – of which Blair was the most outspoken foreign supporter – lied the world into that unnecessary war.

For his part, Blair has expressed alarm over the populist movement exemplified by Trump’s political success, and the victory of last year’s Brexit referendum calling for England’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Sikh Man Shot by Assailant telling him “Go Back to Your Own Country”“Go-Back-to-Your-Own-Country” Police in Kent, Washington have been searching for a man accused of shooting a local resident and telling him to “Go back to your own country.” The victim, a 39-year-old Sikh, was wearing traditional attire and working in his driveway when the assailant approached him. The suspect was described as a stocky white male who is approximately six feet tall and was wearing dark clothing and a mask that partially covered his face.

Sikhs are from India’s Punjab region, and they follow a religion that focuses on both communal self-defense and service to others. The males wear colorful turbans, often accessorized with ceremonial daggers called kirpan, and refrain from shaving their beards. Because of their headwear and dark complexions, Sikhs are frequently mistaken for Muslims – and since 2001 several have been murdered in crimes inspired by that mistaken identity. Five years ago, six Sikh worshippers were murdered, and four others wounded, in a shooting rampage at a temple near Milwaukee.

One of the most egregious incidents of anti-Sikh violence took place in March 2006, when Kuldip Singh Nap was assaulted on his front lawn in Joliet, Illinois by a police officer who called him an “[expletive] Arab immigrant” and told him to “go back to your [expletive] country before I kill you.”

Singh, a US citizen, is an honorably discharged veteran of the US Navy who served in the first Gulf War.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Go-Back-to-Your-Own-Country”
What the War on Drugs Has Created Elijah Pontoon of Aiken, South Carolina was a passenger in a car driven by Lakeya Hicks that was subjected to a pretext traffic stopthree years ago. The officer told Hicks that she had been stopped because of paper tags on the newly purchased car – which is not an infraction of any statute. The officers demanded identification from Pontoon, who as a passenger was not required to provide it.

Falsely claiming that a ten-year-old drug conviction in Pontoon’s background gave them probable cause, the officers called for a drug-detection dog, which failed to alert during an unlawful search of the vehicle. The officers then compounded that offense by ordering an invasive body search of both Hicks and Pontoon. The driver was forced to undergo a pat-down search that exposed her breasts in public. Pontoon was given an invasive body cavity search involving repeated anal examinations by more than one officer.

After this atrocity yielded no evidence that either Hicks or Pontoon was in possession of contraband, their captors freed them with a “courtesy warning.”

Understandably, the victims have filed a lawsuit. The City of Aiken has changed the official story by claiming that the pretext stop was “conducted as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation based on information received from a documented, reliable informant.” Rather than mitigating the behavior of the police, that claim actually underscores how the war on drugs has turned the United States into a prison society in which the bodily integrity of any citizen can be violated at the whim of a police officer.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Persecuted Oregon Couple: “We Lost Everything”“We-Lost-Everything” Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Christian couple from Oregon who were assaulted with a legally unsupportable $135,000 fine for declining to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony, made their first appearance before the state Court of Appeals. Their appeal is being argued by a public interest law firm called the First Liberty Institute. The couple was compelled – by both the unwarranted legal harassment and an unremitting campaign of personal harassment resulting from the case – to close their family-operated bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

“When we opened our bakery, we loved serving all customers who came into the shop, regardless of their identity or beliefs,” Melissa Klein recalled in a recent interview. “My bakery wasn’t just called `Sweet Cakes Bakery,’ it was called `Sweet Cakes by Melissa’ because I pour my passion and heart into each cake I make. My faith is part of that.”

The Kleins had previously served one of the supposed victims when she had requested a wedding cake for her mother’s second wedding. Their refusal was based not on the identity of the customer, but on the nature of the product being requested. Nothing in Oregon statutes required them to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, and at the time of the incident –2013 – the same state government that is persecuting the Kleins refused to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages. In essence, the State of Oregon is punishing the couple for a course of action that was in compliance with the law – which gives them grounds for mounting a legal defense on the basis of a principle called “entrapment by estoppel.”

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“We-Lost-Everything”
Left-Wing Journalist Arrested, Accused of Anti-Semitic Threats,-Accused-of-Anti-Semitic-Threats Amid widespread media attention prompted by a wave of incidents involving anti-Semitic harassment, a suspect has been arrested and charged with making bomb threats against Jewish community centers and the Anti-Defamation League. Juan Thompson, a 31-year-old freelance reporter from St. Louis, has been charged with cyberstalking in the state of New York by carrying out what prosecutors describe as a “campaign to harass and intimidate” a former girlfriend.

Thompson allegedly targeted the woman, whom he now describes as “a disgusting nasty racist white woman,” in a series of “defamatory emails and faxes” to her employer, and filed false reports of criminal activity – including possession of child pornography and threats against the life of President Trump. The emailed bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers were also made in her name.

This is not the first time Thompson had fabricated emails for self-serving purposes.

A former staff writer for The Intercept, Thompson was fired a year ago after he was caught fabricating sources and quotes in stories published in 2015. In some instances, Thompson went so far as to create false email accounts to deceive his editor regarding his purported sources. In the interest of transparency, The Intercept published a detailed description of the steps it had taken in correcting the record, which included the addition of disclaimers to several of Thompson’s stories, and contacting other media outlets that had cited those articles. Some stories were so fraught with misrepresentations that they were deleted entirely – a decision, once again, that The Intercept publicly acknowledged.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Accused-of-Anti-Semitic-Threats
Unlawful Strip Search May Lead to Revised Prison Term Robert Evans was sentenced to decades in prison for narcotics and gun offenses following a January 2012 traffic stop. Evans was detained in a Vineland, New Jersey motel parking lot on a warrant check. The outstanding warrant was for a $6.50 traffic ticket. A body search found $2,245 in Evans’s pockets. After being arrested and taken to the police station and compelled to undergo a strip search that revealed two small packages of crack cocaine, and nine containing heroin. A search warrant was issued for the car that turned up a handgun loaded with hollow point bullets.

Under federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, a Cumberland County judge sentenced Evans, who was 25 years old at the time, to 40 years in prison, which is essentially a life sentence. He would not be eligible for parole until 2032.

The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division ruled on February 28 that the strip search did not follow Attorney General guidelines. Because Evans was not known to be involved in narcotics activity, the warrant was for a trivial traffic infraction, and there was no obvious evidence that he was carrying contraband at the time of the first search, the search of the car was unreasonable, according to the court. A new trial has been ordered on the handgun offense, and a hearing will be held to review the search warrant.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Sessions “Pullback” Threatens Jailhouse Snitch Scandal Investigation“Pullback”-Threatens-Jailhouse-Snitch-Scandal-Investigation Attorney General Jeff Sessions has promised police that he plans to “pull back” on investigations of corruption and official misconduct. Among those who will welcome this development are Orange County, California prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies who are under investigation for withholding evidence and illegal use of jailhouse informants.

“I don’t think [Attorney General Sessions’ announced pull-back] bodes well,” complains Jonathan Smith, former chief of special litigation for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Characterizing Sessions’ comments as “very disturbing,” Smith told the Orange County Register that “There is a crisis in this country on police accountability. The federal government ought to have a principal role in helping to deal with this problem.”

The Justice Department’s inquiry into the so-called Orange County snitch scandal began last December following a request from District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and similar pleas from three dozen former prosecutors and legal scholars across the country. Over the previous four years, six cases involving murder and attempted murder have fallen apart, resulting in overturned convictions, reductions of sentences, and dismissals of charges following revelations of official misconduct by prosecutors and detention deputies.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Pullback”-Threatens-Jailhouse-Snitch-Scandal-Investigation
Idaho Woman Summoned as Witness Cited for Acting on Beliefs Iva Henderson, a 59-year-old resident of Riggins, Idaho was summoned to Portland by federal prosecutors to serve as a witness in the second trial of activists accused of conspiracy in last year’s protest occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. Both Iva and her husband, Rich, spent two nights at the refuge during the standoff. They made that trip in order to protest the abusive prosecution of the Hammonds, local ranchers who were imprisoned on terrorism charges for conducting a controlled burn on their property that inadvertently damaged public land claimed by the federal government.

After making a long trip from Idaho, Mrs. Henderson was told that she wouldn’t be called to testify, but was invited to remain in the courtroom and listen to the trial until her flight home. When the jury was called in, the trial judge instructed the audience to stand. Mrs. Henderson declined to do so, nor did she stand on a second occasion. When asked by a marshal why she didn’t stand, she explained that it was against her beliefs. Told that she would have to leave the courtroom, Mrs. Henderson complied – and was issued a citation for “failure to comply with courthouse signs.” She was ordered to return to court in May or face an $80 fine, reports the Oregonian newspaper.

Mrs. Henderson explained that she didn’t carry out the familiar courthouse ritual of standing for the jury “because I vow to no one. I do not recognize their oath. I do not recognize their authority. It’s against my belief system,” she elaborated, in which she recognizes God alone as a legitimate judge. If she had known about the requirement to stand, she wouldn’t have attended the court hearing.

Unsure whether or not she will pay the fine, Mrs. Henderson frankly declares that “I’m not coming to Portland ever again.”

Defense attorney Jesse Merrithew told the Oregonian that declining to stand is “her First Amendment right.”

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
California City Agrees to Record Police Misconduct Settlement The City of El Centro, California has agreed to pay the largest police misconduct settlement in Southern California history -- $4.1 million – to the family of the late Charlie Sampson, who was denied medical attention while in police custody and died from a drug overdose.

Sampson was stopped by police about two blocks from his house on December 3, 2013, for rolling through a stop sign. A search of his truck uncovered a meth pipe and shotgun. The officers took him into custody and returned him to his home to conduct a probation check.

At some unspecified time while he was in custody, Sampson apparently ingested a large quantity of methamphetamine in a panic. The overdose symptoms were obvious to his family, who pleaded with the officers to get medical help. The officers parried those pleas by insisting that Sampson was “putting on a show” because he “knew he was going to jail.”

Sampson’s nurse, a medical professional, urged the officers to check his vital signs, but was ignored. When Sampson’s family tried to call 911 to request paramedics, one of the officers – in an act of depraved, criminal sadism – called dispatchers and ordered them to ignore the call. Sampson’s symptoms were obvious to the rookie officer assigned to take Sampson to jail, who diverted immediately to a hospital. The victim suffered fatal cardiac arrest en route and was pronounced dead on arrival.

The department’s internal investigation concluded that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the officers responsible for Sampson’s death, and no criminal charges were filed.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
BLM Ranger Admits in Court He Turned Off BodyCam during Bunkerville Standoff Body cameras are a vital tool for police accountability, but are of no use if they are deactivated during encounters between law enforcement and citizens – especially when those encounters involve the use of force. When a police officer makes the conscious decision to deactivate a bodycam in such circumstances, he is committing an act that should be prosecuted as obstruction of justice.

Bureau of Land Management Ranger Patrick Apley has admitted under oath to committing that offense during the April 2014 standoff with the Bundy family and their supporters in Bunkerville, Nevada.

“I was mad,” Apley explained on the witness stand in the opening of the trial of Cliven Bundy and five other defendants in Las Vegas. “I felt like we were going to be in a firefight, and I really didn’t want to record that.”

A firefight is precisely the kind of incident for which bodycam evidence is indispensable – especially in conflicts where there are legitimate questions about potential misconduct on the part of law enforcement.

The bodycam recording played in the courtroom captured Apley saying “It’s gonna get Western” before he shut off the unit. Asked by defense attorney Jesse Marchese “What’s the purpose of having a body camera?” Apley replied, “The purpose of a body camera is to record the incident – however, I was under a lot of stress at that point and I just didn’t want to continue with all that.”

The stress attendant to a law enforcement officer’s duties is no excuse for obstruction of justice.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Leftists Brutally Attack Trump Supporters in Berkeley Leftist protesters assaulted supporters of President Trump during contending demonstrations in Berkley, California, leaving several wounded – including two men who were left bloody, and a senior citizen writhing on the ground after being pepper-sprayed. A sign reading “Free Speech” was seized from pro-Trump demonstrators by the left-wing counter-demonstrators and burned, thereby creating an imperishable image whose irony was probably lost on the perpetrators.

According to the London Daily Mail, during the Berkley clash “supporters and counter-protesters were wearing goggles, motorcycle helmets, gas masks or [had] their face[s] half-covered with bandanas while pushing, throwing punches and hitting each other with the sticks that were holding their signs. Video of the scattered fights shows smoke bombs being thrown at the crowd.”

Riot-equipped Berkley police officers were present during the standoff between roughly 500 demonstrators, with supporters and detractors of the president apparently represented in roughly equal numbers.

Other rallies on behalf of President Trump were held in other locations across the country, including the Washington Monument, outside Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, and Trump Tower in downtown Manhattan. At a “March 4 Trump” rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, six counter-protesters were arrested on felony riot charges after they lit fireworks inside the Minnesota State Capitol building. Two arrests took place at a demonstration at the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville, and four others occurred at a rally in Olympia, Washington.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Airport Pat-Downs to Become More Invasive Frequent fliers are going to have the unwanted opportunity to become intimate acquaintances of strangers in TSA uniforms, reports Bloomberg News.

“While few have noticed, US airport security workers long had the option of using five different types of physical pat-downs at the screening line,” Bloomberg observes. “Now those options have been eliminated and replaced with a single universal approach. This time, you will notice.”

At Denver International Airport, officials have notified employees and flight crews that a “more rigorous” pat-down protocol means that searches “will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”

TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson advises that “People who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn’t involved will notice that the [new] pat-down is more involved.” It will apply not only to passengers, but also pilots and flight crews.

These invasive and unpleasant guidelines were inspired, in part, by a 2015 audit by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, which showed that airport officers had failed to detect handguns and other weapons smuggled onto flights by agency testers. The new policy also ends a program allowing frequent fliers to use PreCheck lanes at peak travel times.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How Many “Terrorism” Stings are FBI False Flags?“Terrorism”-Stings-are-FBI-False-Flags? The FBI routinely announces dramatic arrests of terrorism suspects who reportedly plan to carry out mass casualty attacks. The fine print beneath the headlines almost always contains a disclosure that the suspect had been tracked by the FBI and that the public was never at risk. Scores of these so-called false-flag operations, orchestrated by officials referred to in federal court as “terrorism facilitators,” have been conducted since 2002, and at least one former FBI Special Agent has criticized the agency for confecting plots, rather than investigating real ones.

“What I get concerned about is where the plot is being hatched by the FBI,” complained former Special Agent Michael German in an interview with the McClatchy News Service. “There has been a clear effort to manufacture plots.”

A new report from the Center on National Security at the Fordham University School of Law in New York found that out of the 126 ISIS-related cases prosecuted nation-wide since 2014, “nearly two-thirds involved undercover agents or informants.” This includes the recent case involving 25-year-old Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr., a Kansas man who was manipulated into a supposed bombing attack on a train station in Kansas City. At one point, FBI provocateurs threatened Hester with a knife and made threats against his family.

Daryl Johnson, a former analyst for the Department of Homeland Security, describes most terrorism prosecutions as “trumped-up [and] FBI facilitated. A lot of times, these people are just engaging in free speech. If they’re American citizens, they can say they hate America, they can say, `I support ISIS.’ Then they become targeted” for FBI sting operations.

Identical tactics were used by the FBI last year to entrap militia activists into a manufactured plot to attack an apartment complex that is home to a number of Muslim immigrants from Somalia.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Terrorism”-Stings-are-FBI-False-Flags?
Trump Administration Escalates Drone War Despite assurances that he would seek a significant change in Washington’s foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa, Donald Trump is presiding over a dramatic escalation in the undeclared wars he inherited from his predecessor.

In Africa, “US special forces are already on the ground” and drone attacks “have been scaled up,” reports the International Business Times. Over a two-day period last week, more than 30 drone strikes were conducted in support of Saudi Arabia’s effort to restore Sunni rule over a Shi’ite-majority population. While the Obama administration had tapered off somewhat in the drone campaign in Pakistan – a nominal ally and nuclear power – Reuters reports that a suspected US drone strike killed two men in a village near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan on March 2. The missile struck two men riding a motorcycle, which caught fire and exploded.

If that strike is confirmed, it “would be the first such attack inside the nuclear-armed nation since US President Donald Trump took office in January,” observes Reuters.

Similar strikes occurred last week in and around the Syrian province of Idlib, killing a figure identified as a top al-Qaeda leader. In keeping with convention, Voice of America described the target as “al-Qaeda’s deputy leader” – a title that has frequently been conferred on people killed in US drone strikes, whether or not that description is warranted.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Corrupt Texas Police Benefit from Unusual Prosecutorial Leniency In a demonstration of uncommon prosecutorial leniency, five police officers from Arlington, Texas were allowed to surrender their peace officer licenses earlier this week, rather than facing criminal charges for falsely reporting traffic stops. They joined eleven of their comrades who had previously benefited from this arrangement.

The officers under indictment whose cases were dismissed this week are Dace Warren, Brandon Christopher Jones, Christopher John Dockery, and Dane Alan Peterson. Dockery faced 14 counts of tampering with a government record with intent to defraud, which is a felony. The others confronted multiple counts of tampering with government records, each of which is a Class A misdemeanor. The indictments accused the officers of falsely reporting traffic stops on multiple occasions between February and May of last year. Five of the officers had been on paid leave for the better part of a year while an internal investigation was carried out.

An attorney representing former Officers Warren and Peterson claims his clients were pressured to make stops and write citations because of a traffic ticket quota.

Sam Jordan, a spokesman for the Tarrant County DA’s office, told the Star-Telegram that “They will never be able to be peace officers in Texas again.” A felony conviction would have had the same effect, while conspicuously validating the principle that that those who enforce the law should be subject to exceptional penalties when they violate it.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Baltimore Police Officers Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges Seven Baltimore Police Officers who were attached to what was described as an elite anti-gun unit have been indicted and arrested on federal racketeering charges, reports the Baltimore Sun. The officers are accused of conducting shake-downs of citizens, filing false court documents, and committing overtime fraud. The charges may result in the dismissal of scores of criminal cases involving firearms.

In announcing the indictments, US Attorney for Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein said that the Drug Enforcement Administration initiated the investigation into the officers a year ago while the agency was investigating a narcotics organization. This led to the involvement of the FBI and electronic surveillance of the officers – which included placing a recording device in a Baltimore police vehicle.

Rosenstein described the actions of the indicted officers as “a pernicious conspiracy scheme” that “tarnishes the reputation of all police officers.”

“These defendants were allegedly involved in stopping people who had not committed crimes, and not only seizing money but pocketing it,” asserted the federal prosecutor. “These are really robberies by people wearing police uniforms.”

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, a controversial figure owing to her unsuccessful prosecution of Baltimore PD officers involved in the in-custody death of Freddie Gray, played no role in the investigation, and said that the scandal “confirms the inherent difficulties in the BPD investigating itself.”

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
When Citizens Act as First Responders Fort Myers, Florida resident Brian Burch didn’t call the police when he discovered a burglar in his garage. When the intruder, who was identified as Josue Ortiz, attempted to flee, Burch – who has been studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for two years – took the man down and held him until police arrived, after being summoned by a neighbor. The officers found several of Burch’s tools inside Ortiz’s car – and told the suspect, who suffered a broken nose, that “he got exactly what he deserved,” Burch recalled to local NBC affiliate WBBH.

Bar patrons in Idaho Falls, Idaho – nearly a continent away from Fort Myers – acted in similar fashion when a drunk and obstreperous man named Martin Knowles materialized with a rifle and a .40-caliber pistol after he had been kicked out earlier that evening. Knowles had provoked an altercation with a man named Trevor Bennion – whom he had never previously met – by walking by and kicking his broken ankle, which was sheathed in a boot cast. The bartender ordered Knowles to leave – but 45 minutes later he returned with two firearms, and pointed his rifle at the crowd.

Acting on instinct, Bennion threw a beer mug at Knowles, which distracted him long enough for Bennion to rush him and seize the rifle. He and several other patrons took Knowles down and violently subdued him. When police arrived shortly thereafter they found a bloodied Knowles lying on the floor. He was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a broken nose and received six stitches. He has been charged with aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Scores of Police Chiefs Object to Federalization of Their Departments More than 60 police chiefs from across the United States, writing under the aegis of the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force, have signed an open letter protesting plans by the Trump administration to federalize local police as immigration enforcement officers.

“Immigration enforcement is, first and foremost, a federal responsibility,” the letter declares – which is true in terms of recent practice, rather than Constitutional principle, given that the Constitution does not explicitly assign that responsibility to the federal government. In any case, the police chiefs object to efforts to conscript them as federal enforcement officers at the expense of their local responsibilities – even though they also elicit additional financial and material support from Washington. The focus of the letter is concern over the possibility that the federal government would withdraw grants and other subsidies from “so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.”

“Threatening removal of valuable grant funding from jurisdictions that choose not to spend limited resources enforcing federal immigration laws is extremely problematic,” the letter contends. “Removing these funds that contribute to the health and well-being of communities across the nation would not make our communities safer and would not fix any part of our broken immigration system.”

It's quite likely that the local electorate in at least some of the jurisdictions represented by the signatories to this letter would prefer more active cooperation between local police and federal authorities in removing illegal immigrants. Furthermore, state legislatures do have the authority to mandate such cooperation, if they see fit to do so.

It should also be acknowledged that the federal funds referred to in the letter are granted without constitutional authority. Both sides in this controversy support federalization of local law enforcement, while differing on the priorities that it should serve.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Australian Children’s Author Recounts “Harrowing” Customs Experience’s-Author-Recounts-“Harrowing”-Customs-Experience Mem Fox, a 71-year-old Australian children’s book author, has made the long flight from her home country to the United States over one hundred times – and had never previously experienced anything remotely like her encounter with a Customs officer at LAX on February 6.

In an interview with the New Yorker, Fox describes how she felt “immediate aggression” from the female Customs officer. The official asked the familiar questions about Fox’s business in the US, and whether she would be compensated for it. Fox explained that she was traveling to Milwaukee to be the keynote speaker at a conference on children’s literacy, and that she was receiving a modest stipend to cover her traveling expenses. She was then escorted to a holding room containing about twenty people. Each of the room’s occupants was taken into small booths for questioning, which was aggressive and confrontational. When her turn came, she was interrogated by a young man who addressed her “with so much insolence I was rocked,” the elderly author recalled.

“He told me that I was travelling on my visa illegally, which I knew not to be correct, but I was not about to argue,” she explains, eventually making the despairing comment that this would “probably going to be my last trip to the United States anyway.” That remark that prompted another fusillade of verbal abuse from the Customs official, who barked out demands to know about the titles and contents of her books.

“I felt myself blind with rage that a young man could speak so arrogantly and impolitely to an old woman,” Fox wrote in her journal. She didn’t speak of her experience until she got home to Australia, out of fear of being detained in the United States.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Author-Recounts-“Harrowing”-Customs-Experience
Gender Revolution Begins to Punish Dissenters The Los Angeles conference of the US Professional Association for Transgender Health (USPATH) degenerated “into an ugly display of intolerance and identity politics, with gender-confused kids as ideological pawns,” reports Mary Hasson of The Federalist. Transgender activists and allied medical professionals “colluded to kick a dissenting expert (Kenneth Zucker) off the program, justified their censorship by indirectly blaming President Trump … and declared victory.”

The USPATH event, which was held from February 2-5, drew more than 600 medical clinicians and scientific researchers who deal with gender-confused adults, adolescents, and children. Gender dysphoria – a sense of acute discomfort with one’s biological sex -- is a recognized clinical condition in a minuscule portion of the human population, and in the overwhelming majority of cases that begin in adolescence the condition cures itself by adulthood. Dr. Zucker, a psychologist with years of experience treating this disorder, was scheduled to participate in several panels at the conference. Hasson describes him as “a token … voice representing politically disfavored but scientifically weighty research that cautions against labeling gender-confused children as `transgender.’”

A knot of militant “trans” activists disrupted the conference, denouncing it for “pathologizing our experiences” and then succeeded in having Zucker evicted from the event – which went on to include favorable discussion of experimental medical interventions on young people who succumb to the “transgender” social mania and “identify” with genders other than their biological sex.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
“Gender Non-Conforming” Officer Sues Ithaca Police Department“Gender-Non-Conforming”-Officer-Sues-Ithaca-Police-Department An openly gay female police officer from Ithaca, New York has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the department employing her, demanding millions of dollars in damages because of supposed injuries she has suffered because of the department’s “hetero-normative ideology.”

Sarah Crews, who has been employed by the Ithaca PD for ten years, complains that because she is openly gay she faces the risk of false accusations of sexual abuse from female prisoners. Like most departments, the Ithaca PD has a policy requiring that female prisoners be searched and transported by on-duty female officers. In her lawsuit, Crews denounces that policy as “outdated, stereotypical and inherently discriminatory.”

The lawsuit also claims that Crews has been singled out for retaliatory administrative discipline and punitive duty transfers after speaking out concerning the alleged mistreatment.

“This case is just another step up the ladder to bringing the light to the LGBTQ community that they deserve under our Constitution,” pontificates attorney Ed Kopko, who is representing Crews. This doesn’t address the fact that criminal suspects – and even those convicted of criminal offenses – enjoy legal and constitutional protections, which include a measure of privacy that is violated when female detainees are physically searched or otherwise scrutinized by male officers.

The lawsuit claims that in March 2011, Crews was harassed by a female prisoner who was aware that the officer is openly gay and threatened to invent false sexual misconduct accusations against her. A heterosexual male in similar circumstances would face the same potential risks.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Gender-Non-Conforming”-Officer-Sues-Ithaca-Police-Department
Wisconsin Property Rights Dispute Goes to US Supreme Court Wisconsin resident Donna Murr and her siblings have been trying for twelve years to sell a 1.25 acre parcel of land that has been in their family for decades. The State Department of Natural Resources has prevented the sale of the tract, which is located along the St. Croix River. The eco-bureaucrats demand that the Murr family demolish a cabin located on an adjacent parcel of land so that the tract they sell will be in compliance with regulations regarding the distance between waterways and buildings.

The family has paid property taxes on both pieces of land for more than fifty years. Since they have been forbidden either to sell or develop the vacant parcel, it has lost ninety percent of its value.

“We aren’t going to be allowed to sell the second parcel, unless we [tear] down the cabin next door,” Murr explained in a recent news conference. The family has paid more than $78,000 in property taxes on the undeveloped land since purchasing it as an investment.

“We couldn’t believe that the government would happily take our property tax dollars for fifty years, and then deny us the basic property rights here,” complains Murr, lamenting the routine criminal opportunism that characterizes every government at every level.

The Murr family has filed a lawsuit that is scheduled to be heard by the US Supreme Court. The family’s legal challenge is being led by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a California-based public interest group. PLF attorney John Groen explains that the case is typical of illicit property takings by regulatory bureaucrats in states across the nation.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Cuban Regime Arrests, Charges Libertarian Activists,-Charges-Libertarian-Activists Cuban libertarian activists Ubaldo Herrera Hernadez and Manuel Velazquez Visea, who were arrested on February 2, have been charged with “distributing enemy propaganda” by the Communist regime. Herrera and Velazquez were taken into custody outside of the recently opened Benjamin Franklin Library, which was opened in December “to provide Cubans access to libertarian ideas,” reports the Mises Institute.

Since their arrest, “the two have been moved to Melena II, a maximum security prison in the town of Melena del Sur,” continues the report. “The prison has a long history of housing political dissidents, including Andres Fidel Alfonso Rodriguez, a fellow human rights activist, and Du Bouchet Hernandez, an independent journalist.” Like every other facility of its kind in Cuba, Melena II has a long and sordid history of human rights abuses.

Herrera is a member of an informal group called Mises Cuba, which is not owned or affiliated with the Mises Institute in Alabama. The Cuban group promotes the free market ideals of Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and other scholars from what is called the Austrian School of Economics. The arresting officers initially charged the activists with “assault” when they refused to show their registration cards.

The persecution of these Cuban activists “is a solemn reminder of the incredible courage of those spreading ideas in countries where government routinely cracks down on political opposition,” observes Tho Bishop of the Mises Institute.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Charges-Libertarian-Activists
Climate Specialists and Other Scientists Petition President Trump to Dump Paris Treaty Hundreds of scientists from scores of countries have signed a petition to President Trump seeking an end to the UN’s climate treaty.

“We urge the United States government, and others, to withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” declares the brief statement at the beginning of the 21-page petition. “We support reasonable and cost-effective environmental protection,” the letter explains. “But carbon dioxide, the target of the UNFCCC, is not a pollutant but a major benefit to agriculture and other life on Earth. Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign – much less than the initial model predictions.”

Most, but not all, of the signatories are research scientists and engineers from climate-related fields.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Idaho Mother Given Probation for Treating Daughter with Cannabis Gooding, Idaho mother Kelsey Irene Osborne has been sentenced to probation and 100 hours of community service for the supposed offense of using marijuana-infused butter to treat her 3-year-old daughter’s severe epilepsy symptoms. Under Idaho’s pre-medieval marijuana laws, a limited number of families who are part of a government-supervised pilot program are permitted to use a synthetic cannabis derivate to treat similar conditions in their children.

Osborne, who pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor injury to a child, claims that her ex-boyfriend, whom she describes as “a Marine veteran PTSD sufferer [and] very unstable,” threatened her into accepting the plea deal, according to her attorney, Tom Curl. According to the attorney, “I have text messages [and] recordings” documenting the alleged threats.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
In Many States, Non-Attorneys Can Serve as Judges,-Non-Attorneys-Can-Serve-as-Judges Most Americans would agree that the country is overrun with lawyers. While many look upon lawyers with suspicion, when they find themselves hailed before a judge, most Americans would hope that the judge would be a lawyer—or at least have a suitable legal education. In Montana, however, anybody who completes a four-hour certification course can serve as a judge, with the power to impose fines or jail sentences.

“Twenty-eight states require all judges presiding over misdemeanor cases to be lawyers, including large states like California and Florida,” observes The Atlantic. “In 14 of the remaining 22 states, a defendant who receives a jail sentence from a non-lawyer judge has the right to seek a new trial before a lawyer-judge. But Montana and seven other states—Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New York, Texas, South Carolina, and Wyoming – allow non-lawyer judges to hand down jail sentences for misdemeanors without the right to a new trial before a lawyer-judge. Some states, like Montana, only allow the practice in rural or sparsely populated counties, while others allow it statewide.”

During the 19th century, courts were often more informal arrangements in which cases were decided on the basis of common law and equity. This was before the criminal code at every level of government became riddled with what former Attorney General Ed Meese calls “snares and traps for the average American” – who can find himself charged with an obscure offense before a judge who is as ignorant of the law as he is, and is employed by a government with an interest in securing a conviction.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Non-Attorneys-Can-Serve-as-Judges
Never Ignore the Obvious: Why Not Stop Arming Terrorists? Following a fact-finding trip to Syria, Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has proposed a novel solution to the refugee crisis.

“The most important question is, how do we address the cause of people fleeing their homes?” Gabbard pointed out in a recent press conference. Her answer is to “end the regime change in Syria” – and to put an end to Washington’s material support for al-Qaeda and ISIS-allied radical groups carrying out that strategy.

“For years, our government has been providing both direct and indirect support to these armed military groups, who are working directly with or under the command of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, all in their effort and fight to overthrow the Syrian government,” Gabbard observes. During her visit to Aleppo, Syria, Gabbard was approached by many local residents who “asked me, why [are] the United States and its allies providing support and arms to terrorist groups … who are on the ground there, raping, kidnapping, torturing, and killing the Syrian people.” Contrary to the US government’s assurances, the Syrians with whom she spoke told the congresswoman that “there are no moderate rebels.”

This is why Gabbard has sponsored HR 608, entitled the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” which would definitively ban the transfer of US taxpayer funds to rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda or ISIS.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Can a Gun Shoot Itself? Gun control advocates routinely act as if firearms are inherently violent, rather than being inert, morally neutral tools that can be employed for either benign or malevolent purposes. Strangely enough, this fallacy is also commonly found in official reports from law enforcement agencies of incidents involving irresponsible firearms use by officers – and media outlets generally retail those official statements without critical commentary.

The Tulsa World newspaper recently republished a statement from the Wagoner County, Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office describing how two citizens suffered minor injuries at a local restaurant when a reserve deputy’s firearm supposedly discharged itself. Michael Witham, the 25-year-old deputy, was eating dinner at the White River Fish Market in Broken Arrow when his Colt Mustang pistol “went off on its own accord” as he was leaving the restaurant, according to the statement. The round that was fired struck the ground outside the restaurant, throwing up debris that injured two bystanders.

According to the sheriff’s office, Witham, an unpaid reserve deputy, has met his state-mandated firearms qualifications and is current with all required training. He has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated by the department. No mention was made of any potential criminal charges involving the deputy’s irresponsible discharge of a firearm that resulted in injuries to civilians -- which would certainly be in play if the situation were reversed.

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Florida’s Tax-Subsidized Train to Nowhere’s-Tax-Subsidized-Train-to-Nowhere Seeking to describe government’s uncanny gift for destructive incompetence, Thomas Jefferson once declared that “Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want for bread.” As if inspired by Jefferson’s maxim, rather than taking it to be a warning, the state government of Florida has created the SunRail train line. This is “a train so bad it actually loses money issuing tickets,” reports Tho Bishop of the Mises Institute.

In 2000, voters approved an amendment to the state constitution “requiring construction of a high-speed rail line connecting Florida’s largest cities,” Bishop recalls. “As more details emerged on the project’s costs, however, voters repealed the amendment in 2004.”

Undeterred by the electorate, officials from several counties collaborated with then-Governor Charlie Crist to proceed with a less ambitious version of the project, a commuter train connecting the larger towns in the greater Orlando area. Like many other similarly dubious and unworthy projects, the SunLine was kept alive by the Obama administration’s stimulus package. Construction began in 2012 and ended two years later – and since then SunRail has operated deeply in the red.

Reports the Orlando Sentinel: “In the last half of last year, ticket revenue was $914,572, while ticket costs were $932,690. Since SunRail began in 2014, ticket revenue of about $5.4 million was $147,872 less than ticket expenses.”

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Tax-Subsidized-Train-to-Nowhere
“Dr. Liberty” Grades Trump’s Congressional Address“Dr.-Liberty”-Grades-Trump’s-Congressional-Address President Trump’s first address to Congress was littered with applause lines that earned ovations from Republicans, and for the most part stony silence from Democrats. The speech came in for a very rough review from Ron Paul, who was the GOP’s standard-bearer for strict fidelity to the Constitution during his congressional career and three presidential bids. Dr. Paul delivered his critique in a series of posts on Twitter, the president’s preferred mode of communication.

Where Trump was commended by some conservatives for explicitly describing “radical Islamic terrorism” as the enemy of the West, Dr. Paul insisted that it would be impossible to protect the country “until you understand [the] concept of blowback…. Non-intervention would make us safer.” Where Trump described the raid in Yemen as “highly successful,” Dr. Paul said it was a “disaster – a waste…. Our war in Yemen has nothing to do with US national security.” Referring to the moment in which the widow of Navy SEAL William Owen was recognized by Trump and the audience, Paul wrote: “Warmongering is alive and well…. What a terrible use of tragedy for political purposes.”

Trump’s speech promised “massive new spending on military and infrastructure,” and “more drug war,” Dr. Paul pointed out. “Where’s the money? [The] Fed will print it!” Referring to Trump’s promise to build a “Great wall on [the] southern border,” Paul wrote that it’s hopefully not being built “to keep us in.” Given Paul’s libertarian perspective, it’s not surprising that he noticed that the word “liberty” was “not mentioned once” in Trump’s address.

Assessing the speech as a whole, Dr. Paul gave the president a failing grade for plans and strategy.

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Dr.-Liberty”-Grades-Trump’s-Congressional-Address
What is the role of Congress? President Trump’s Tuesday night speech to Congress was not a formal State of the Union Address. Presidents traditionally don’t give a report on the state of the union until completing the first year of their term. While Article II, section 3 of the Constitution specifies that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union” and “may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses” for an address, there is no requirement that this take the form of a major presidential address. Thomas Jefferson began a tradition – which lasted for more than a century – of sending a written state of the union report to Congress, rather than convening a joint session for a speech.

The modern ritual has done a great deal to institutionalize the cult of the presidency by placing that official at the center of the federal system and clothing him in an aura of what has been called “institutionalized awe.”

“What was alarming about the President's address [this week] was his conspicuous exclusion of Congress from any voice in decisions to initiate or continue war or otherwise make national security policy,” writes former Reagan and Nixon Justice Department official Bruce Fein. “For 70 years, the Declare War Clause has been de facto deleted from the Constitution by a combination of executive usurpation and congressional cravenness. The result has been serial unconstitutional and self-ruinous presidential wars largely responsible for spiking the national debt to a shocking $20 trillion.”

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
5 Indiana Cops Live Like Kings on Asset Forfeiture Plunder Civil asset forfeiture, a process in which police can confiscate money and property without filing criminal charges, is often described by critics as “highway robbery” – and a new report documents how police agencies in Indiana have been making out like bandits through forfeiture.

The Justice Department maintains an “equitable sharing” program through which police agencies can shelter asset forfeiture proceeds while their owners seek to recover them. Given that the burden of proof is placed on the victims of forfeiture, rather than the perpetrators, most victims simply give up. Once this happens, the Feds keep a ten percent cut, and the rest is sent back to the agency that confiscated it – unless state law requires that proceeds be used for other purposes.

The State of Indiana does not allow police agencies to use forfeiture proceeds for salaries and other benefits. However, that didn’t prevent police agencies in Indiana from doing precisely that. An audit conducted by the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General found that more than $400,000 in asset forfeiture funds “went to pay the salaries, overtime and benefits for its officers,” reports the Institute for Justice. This was done through the Pro-Active Criminal Enforcement (PACE) task force, which draws on four local law enforcement agencies to patrol highways for the purpose of conducting forfeiture operations. Similar arrangements are commonplace in jurisdictions nation-wide.

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
AG Sessions Decides that Police Abuse won’t be a Priority’t-be-a-Priority When he was nominated to serve as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions was hailed by law enforcement unions for bringing a “police-first mentality” to the position. On the basis of his performance thus far it is apparent that Sessions will not make it a priority to investigate claims of systemic corruption and abuse by local police departments.

In a recent press briefing, Sessions said that he had seen summaries of reports compiled by the Civil Rights Division regarding police departments in Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri.

“Some of it was pretty anecdotal and not so scientifically based,” Sessions commented, which isn’t surprising, given that he was reading executive summaries, which do not provide research details. Asked about the depth of the review he had conducted, Sessions admitted: “I have not read those reports, frankly.”

In describing the role of his department, Sessions said that it would serve as “the leading advocate for law enforcement in America, and I hope to be able to fulfill my responsibility in that regard.” Law enforcement is only one element of “justice,” of course. Due process is at least equally important, as is public accountability when abuse of power occurs.

Attorney General Sessions and President Trump are not seeking to minimize the federal role in local law enforcement. Both have pledged to put federal power at the disposal of the police. What they have promised is a less active role in holding law enforcement agencies accountable when officers injure citizens through incompetence or criminal misconduct.

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-be-a-Priority
Fully Informed Jury Bill Advances in Utah Legislature A measure that would require state courts to inform jurors of their legal right – and duty – to judge both the facts and law of a criminal case has advanced in the Utah Legislature.

House Bill 332, sponsored by state Representative Mark Roberts, “would require that a jury be fully informed of the potential sentence for a guilty verdict and its power to find a defendant not guilty when a guilty verdict would be manifestly unjust,” explains the Tenth Amendment Center. Outside of New Hampshire, jurors are not informed of their authority to decide whether the law being applied is legitimate, and in most trials they are not given information about the severity of a potential sentence – or even if the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony.

“Discretion is available for police and prosecutors, [and] we argue it should be for juries as well,” observes Connor Boyack of the Libertas Institute, which supports the bill. “Jurors have rights of which they are not made aware – and this is detrimental to the cause of justice. Specifically, jurors can determine a person not guilty of a crime they may have actually committed, if the particular circumstances of the case create a manifest injustice.”

The bill’s provision requiring jurors to learn of potential punishment is also of great importance.

In most jurisdictions, “jurors in non-capital cases are not told what the likely punishment will be if the defendant is convicted,” wrote Judge Alex Kozinski of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a Georgetown Law Journal. “In fact, we tell jurors not to consider punishment in deciding guilt. I don’t understand why this is appropriate…. Jurors should be told the gravity of the decision they are making so they can take it into account in deciding whether to convict or acquit.”

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
New Disney Film Promotes Gender Revolution Over the past two decades, Disney – once the custodian of family-friendly entertainment fare -- has emerged as one of the chief corporate promoters of the gender revolution, and its new live-action cinematic version of the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” will continue in that tradition.

Disney “built its reputation on princesses finding their prince, living happily ever after in storylines which set the benchmark for romance for generations of children,” observes the London Telegraph. “Now, Disney is to move firmly into a new era as it introduces its first `exclusively gay moment,’ disclosing [that] the new version of Beauty and the Beast will star a manservant exploring his sexuality.”

The character, LeFou, “struggles with his feelings for ultra-macho leaning man Gaston,” continues the report. Director Bill Condon promises that the character’s story arc will have “its pay-off at the end” in what he describes as “a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”

Matt Cain, editor of the LGBTQ publication Attitude, who has seen a cut of the film, commends Disney for “representing same-sex attraction in [a] short but explicitly gay scene.” In doing so, “the studio is sending out a message that this is normal and natural – and this is a message that will be heard in every country of the world.”

Female lead Emma Watson has also revised the role of Belle to conform to prevailing feminist dogma. Disney has promised that it will soon produce a film featuring what it calls an “LGBTQ princess.”

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
President Trump Signs Pro-Gun Ownership Bill President Trump has signed into law a measure overturning an executive action by Barack Obama that denied Second Amendment protections to people who had been diagnosed with psychological problems and have court-appointed guardian conservators. Widely misrepresented by civilian disarmament advocates as a measure that would put guns into the hands of severely deranged people, the new law actually restores due process rights to an estimated 80,000 people who are mentally lucid and have no criminal history, but were faced with the loss of their gun ownership rights through an administrative ruling by the Social Security Administration.

Those affected by the Obama-imposed regulation, points out Reason magazine, “would have to fight the federal government to prove that they were not a danger and should be allowed to retain their gun rights.” That is the reverse of how due process operates under the Constitution: “The government is supposed to prove that a particular person’s mental illness is a disqualifying factor, not just use inclusion on some government list as shorthand.”

Obama’s executive action was opposed by more than a dozen activist groups. Predictably, that list included the National Rifle Association, but also the American Civil Liberties Union, which objected to its inversion of due process.

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Halifax Police Misplace Kilos of Drugs, Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Drug Proceeds,-Tens-of-Thousands-of-Dollars-in-Drug-Proceeds The Halifax Regional Police in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia have misplaced “Tens of thousands of dollars and several kilograms of illicit drugs” – yet Chief Jean-Michel Blais insists that there is no evidence that anything “untoward” was done to the evidence by officers under his command.

Nearly $100,000 in Canadian currency had turned up missing during an inventory of the evidence room. A frantic search eventually accounted for most of the missing funds, but more than $27,000 still can’t be found. The department still cannot locate more than eight kilograms of marijuana, 1,540 marijuana plants, three kilograms of hashish, more than a kilogram of cocaine, and an 80,000-volt stun gun. Striving to put a good face on the situation, Blais highlighted the fact that no firearms taken into evidence had disappeared – but he did admit that at least one case involving a defendant facing “numerous charges” was dropped because of absent evidence.

“We’re very confident that our officers did not do anything untoward,” Chief Blais insisted in a press conference. “What we are looking at and what we have determined is that there are some gaps in our process, in our policy, in the way we’ve done things.”

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Tens-of-Thousands-of-Dollars-in-Drug-Proceeds
Penn State’s Gender Revolution Guidelines’s-Gender-Revolution-Guidelines Professors at Penn State University have been given a checklist entitled “Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms” that is intended to help them confront what it calls an “implicit bias and stereotype threat,” reports The College Fix. Among the directives contained in that document is that instructors “Avoid assuming the gender of any student“

The list of admonitions and proscriptions was compiled in response to “reports from students that they experience implicit bias, stereotype threat, and micro and macro aggressions in our classroom.” Professors are told that in preparing classroom presentations that are to “use visuals that do not reinforce stereotypes, but do include diverse participants.” They should also conduct rigorous self-criticism, analyzing “the content of your examples, analogies, and humor” in order to avoid language and figures of speech that would “ostracize students.”

“Avoid religious holidays when scheduling tests,” continues the document. “Avoid expressing racially charged political opinions. Do not assume all students speak English fluently. Do not ask or expect students to represent an entire group, either by look or request…. Assign group membership randomly. Do not allow students to choose their own groups.”

Spencer Brown, a spokesman for the Young America’s Foundation, asserts that the provision forbidding the expression of “racially charged political opinions” would “be used almost exclusively against conservative students. Conservatives are falsely dubbed `racists’ by leftists for supporting school choice, the right to life, or even just observing the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.”

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Gender-Revolution-Guidelines
Pocatello Drops Charge against Good Samaritan – But Extracts a Price–-But-Extracts-a-Price During a severe snowstorm last December, Pocatello, Idaho resident Mitch Fisher acted when city maintenance workers didn’t by clearing the sidewalks in front of his home and that of an elderly neighbor. This act was witnessed by a police officer who, in obedience to the universal government mandate to harass productive people without cause, issued Fisher a $206 citation for “placing or depositing material on a public right of way.”

Of course, city-operated snowplows in Pocatello and other communities routinely deposit material from city streets onto private property.

After the story was publicized, Police Chief Scott Marchand defended the actions of his revenue farmer, claiming that Fisher had created a “safety issue for all drivers on the road” and stating that he had “directed officers who are investigating complaints or who observe people moving snow from private property into city streets to issue citations.”

Fisher had plowed his neighbor’s yard every year during the past nine winters without attracting the attention of the local tax-gatherers.

The story attracted national attention and no small measure of public outrage. For the past two months he has been fighting the citation with the help of attorney Paul Echo Hawk, who took the case pro bono. Earlier this week, the charges against Fisher were dismissed.

“For what he was trying to do, I didn’t feel like he deserved criminal punishment,” Echo Hawk explains.

However, since government officials can never concede that they were in the wrong, the court still managed somehow to extract a $75 fine as punishment for the Good Samaritan’s actions.

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700–-But-Extracts-a-Price
EEOC Makes a Man a “Hate Criminal” for a Word“Hate-Criminal”-for-a-Word A February 10 ruling by the administrative body calling itself the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission demonstrates how easily any employer or workplace supervisor can face federal punishment under the “hostile workplace environment” doctrine.

In an email exchange with a supervisor, a Workers’ Compensation Claims Examiner pointed out that government employees usually work shorter hours than their counterparts in the productive sector, and protested that she was “working like a civilian.”

The supervisor wryly replied that owing to his schedule “I’ve been working like a Hebrew slave the last nine years and don’t have enough time to take off.”

The work-averse government employee filed a harassment complaint alleging that the “Hebrew slave” comment was offensive – and the EEOC sided with the unmotivated tax-feeder, insisting that “under certain circumstances a single or limited number of epithets or slurs may constitute harassment under Title VII.” Because the privileged government functionary is Jewish and professed to have hurt feelings, the EEOC imposed a damage award of $10,000 and attorney’s fees of $10,980.

“There was no finding of any tangible discrimination, or any other offensive statements, or any real anti-Semitism,” points out legal commentator Eugene Volokh. The religious harassment finding, and the penalty were “based solely on this one statement.”

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hate-Criminal”-for-a-Word
Sessions Gears Up new Anti-Pot Jihad A recent Quinnipiac University public opinion poll found that 71 percent of the American public opposes federal enforcement of anti-marijuana statutes, and 59 percent favors nation-wide marijuana decriminalization. An outright majority of self-identified Republicans oppose federal anti-marijuana enforcement efforts within states that have legalized medical and recreational use.

President Trump has promised that his administration would respect the reserved powers of the individual states, which include the unqualified authority to determine whether or not to pursue drug prohibition. During his career in the Senate, Attorney General Jeff Sessions professed reverence for the Tenth Amendment and the principle of reserved powers it embodies. In 2013, Sessions cosponsored the Restoring the 10th Amendment Act, which recognized that the states “have, and have always had, rights that the Federal Government may not usurp.” As Attorney General, however, Sessions apparently believes that states’ rights must yield to the imperative of marijuana prohibition.

“I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana,” Sessions said during a recent exchange with reporters at the Justice Department. “States can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”

Sessions cited the unsubstantiated claim that “current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago” and insisted that unnamed “experts” are “telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Seeks “Historic” Increase in US Military Spending“Historic”-Increase-in-US-Military-Spending The Pentagon, which already outspends the next seven largest national military budgets combined and accounts for nearly forty percent of all military spending in the world, will receive what President Trump calls an “historic increase in defense spending” under his proposed budget.

“My first budget will be submitted to Congress next month,” the president told a group of governors at the White House. “This budget will be a public safety and national security budget…. And it will include a historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time when we most need it.”

That depletion reflects the over-ambitious use of the US military to police the world, not a lack of funding for the Pentagon. As former Republican Congressman Ron Paul recalls, President Trump himself has frequently made that very point – most recently in his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference just days before his White House address to the assembled governors.

The Intercept places Trump’s proposed military spending increase in perspective: “That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it’s more than 80 percent of Russia’s entire military budget in 2015.” If that budget is approved by Congress, Washington will outspend Moscow “by a margin of greater than 9 to 1.”

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Historic”-Increase-in-US-Military-Spending
Is a Deep State Coup Underway? Donald Trump’s increasingly nettlesome relationship with the CIA-led intelligence community summons memories of John F. Kennedy’s confrontation with Allen Dulles, which led Kennedy to fire the CIA director following the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961. In his book The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, David Talbot contends that Dulles played a role in the subsequent assassination of JFK. Historian Patrick Lawrence finds that claim credible – and is likewise concerned that a Deep State coup is underway against President Trump.

Writing in the left-leaning The Nation magazine, Lawrence expresses the view that “the descendants of Dulles [are mounting] what looks awfully like a coup operation against the president of our republic” – a political figure, it should be noted, for whom Lawrence has no affection and precious little respect. The campaign of leaks insinuating that Trump was installed with the help of the Russian government “is a perception-management campaign quite similar to those mounted decades ago in Iran, Guatemala, and elsewhere,” he continues. “The media are thoroughly complicit, and the objective is perfectly plain but nowhere mentioned.”

According to Lawrence, “We have an intelligence apparatus that has accreted autonomous power such that no president dares to control it,” and by seeking a less confrontational bilateral relationship with Russia Trump has proposed “to scrub the single most important passage in the narrative of fear and animosity on which this apparatus depends.”

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How a Trump Tariff Would Precipitate More Illegal Immigration Donald Trump famously intends to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country, and has threatened to seek dramatic increases in tariffs to fund construction of that wall, and to keep manufacturing companies in. Those proposals are at cross-purposes, warns economic analyst Benjamin Powell of the Independent Institute.

“President Trump’s threat to impose a tariff on Mexican imports to pay for the border wall he’s proposed could have a … stampede effect, causing more, not fewer, illegal immigrants to rush to the United States,” writes Powell. “The reason is simple: A 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports would be a disaster for the Mexican economy, destroying jobs and driving many of the jobless to seek work – legally or illegally – in the United States.”

At present, Mexico sends more than eighty percent of its exports to the United States – including cars, auto parts, medical instruments, agricultural produce, and oil. In 2015, Mexico exported more than $316 billion worth of goods and services to its northern neighbor, making it our country’s third-largest trading partner. The country’s rebounding export economy helps explain why, since 2009, more Mexicans have returned to their home country than have migrated to the U.S. A twenty percent tariff would crush many of Mexico’s export industries. While some of Trump’s adherents would regard this as an example of “winning,” the impact on Mexico’s unemployment rate would have immediate, and potentially catastrophic, effects on our own economy – even if the wall is eventually built.

“It will take years to build a border wall,” Powell cautions. “It will take little more than talk to trigger a potential border-wall rush.”

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Wendy’s Joins Minimum-Wage Pushback’s-Joins-Minimum-Wage-Pushback Fast-food chain Wendy’s has joined a growing number of restaurants opting for touch-screen kiosks that permit customers to place orders to the kitchen directly without the intervention of a sales clerk. The Columbus Dispatch reports that “Wendy’s plans to install self-ordering kiosks in 1,000 of its stores – about 16 percent of its locations – by the end of the year.”

“There is a huge amount of pull from [local franchisees] in order to get them,” explained company spokesman David Trimm during a presentation to investors. “With the demand we are seeing … we can absolutely see our way to having 1,000 or more restaurants live with kiosks by the end of the year.”

The typical store would receive three of the kiosks for roughly $15,000, which should be paid off in less than two years. Higher-volume stores would be first in line to receive them, and some locations in central Ohio are already using them.

This move is being driven by customer preference – especially among younger consumers – and the need to reduce labor costs. Bob Wright, Wendy’s chief operating officer, points out that 2016 was a challenge for the company, owing to five percent wage inflation, and the company expects another four percent increase this year. Kiosks “always are courteous” and they “always show up for work on time,” comments Bob Welcher, president Restaurant Consultants, Inc. – factors that should be considered by the “Fight for Fifteen” movement as it seeks a minimum wage increase that would price unskilled workers out of the labor market.

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Joins-Minimum-Wage-Pushback
China Adjusts its Government-Imposed Population Restrictions During the 1950s, as he sought to industrialize and militarize Chinese society, Communist despot Mao Tse-Tung mandated large families as a way to accentuate the country’s demographic advantages. A decade later the Communist government threw population central planning into reverse by imposing a one-child policy that was enforced through brutal methods, including compelled abortion of unauthorized pregnancies.

Where people are treated as the collective property of the state, the central government can use coercive methods to regulate the number of births. Thus it isn’t terribly surprising to see that the Communist government in Beijing is reportedly considering financial incentives for couples to have a second child.

Wang Peian, vice-minister of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, told attendees at a February 25 social welfare conference that “To have a second child is the right of each family in China but affordability has become a bottleneck that undermines the decision.” This has led the Communist Party of China to consider the introduction of “birth rewards and subsidies to encourage people to have a second child,” reports the Guardian of London.

“China’s birth rate, one of the world’s lowest, is fast becoming a worry for authorities rather than the achievement it was considered at a time when the government feared over-population,” observes the publication. The one-child policy imposed in the 1970s has become a concern to the Party, which has projected that “the country’s dwindling workforce will not be able to support an increasingly aging population.”

It is estimated that the one-child policy, which was formally ended two years ago, prevented more than 400 million births.

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Pentagon Calls For World-Wide Escalation of anti-ISIS Campaign US combat troops would be deployed to Iraq and Syria, and world-wide military operations would substantially increase, under what the Pentagon has called a “preliminary framework” for a plan to defeat ISIS.

CNN reports that a “`principals committee’ of top administration officials” led by Defense Secretary James Mattis met on February 27 to discuss strategic options. While details of the proposed alternatives were not made public, White House and Defense Department sources have made it known that the deployment of conventional ground combat forces to Syria is under serious discussion, in addition to and expansion of the small combat force that has remained in Iraq. The plans also envision a more assertive military role in dealing with ISIS elements active outside of Iraq and Syria.

“This is not about Syria and Iraq – it’s about a trans-regional threat,” Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joe Dunford told an audience in Washington last week. “In this particular case, we’re talking about ISIS, but it’s also al-Qaeda and other groups that present a trans-regional threat.”

Among critical matters that need to be clarified is whether Washington plans to arm Syrian Kurdish forces – a move that would potentially infuriate NATO ally Turkey, which considers Kurdish rebels to be terrorists – and what changes would be made to Washington’s current policy of supporting al-Qaeda and ISIS-allied rebel groups that seek the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
New Study Debunks Climate Change Dogma Climate change alarmists who demand acceptance of the theory of anthropogenic, or human-caused, global warming typically ignore the well-documented role that solar variability plays in changes to the Earth’s climate. This reflects not only occasional changes in the Sun’s radiation output, but also slight but significant variations in the Earth’s orbit. These phenomena are sometimes referred to as the “chaotic Solar System” model.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University who have studied sedimentary rock layers in Colorado have published research that appears to confirm that so-called planetary chaos has played a role in climatic changes. The team searched for fluctuations in mineral levels that could be correlated with climate patterns. Solar and cosmic background radiation leaves a residue in the variegated layers of sedimentary rocks, which can be measured and compared using the appropriate instruments. Variations in the solar environment, the report summarizes, can “produce big changes in our planet’s climate – changes that can be reflected in the rocks that record Earth’s history.”

“Other studies have suggested the presence of chaos based on geologic data,” the researchers recall. “But this is the first unambiguous evidence, made possible by the availability of high-quality, radioisotopic dates and strong astronomical signal preserved in the rocks.”

Detailed long-term research of this kind is generally eschewed by the UN-centered climate change industry. Economist Martin Armstrong notes that “The entire data series used by the Global Warming crowdc is only from the mid-1800s, and that is like looking and the Dow from the past 10 days and concluding it only goes up.”

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Where Does the Buck Stop for the Commander-in-Chief? Responding to criticism from the father of fallen Navy SEAL William Ryan Owen, President Trump used a Fox News interview to minimize his role in approving the ill-fated January 26 raid in Yemen in which Owen was killed.

“This was a mission that was started before I got here,” the president explained. “This was something they wanted to do. They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do – the generals – who are very respected, my generals are the most respect that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.”

While generals and other military advisers can devise plans and make strong recommendations, the final decision resides with the president – or at least it does in the current extra-constitutional system that channels such decisions around Congress to the chief executive. Trump’s predecessor had been presented with essentially the same plan and had declined to approve it.

President Trump has earned plaudits from many conservatives for traveling to Dover Air Force Base when Owen’s body was brought home. Owen’s father, who was also present at the ceremony, told the chaplain on the scene that he did not want to speak with the president, and he has demanded an investigation of the decision-making process that led to the mission. In his interview, President Trump expressed sympathy for Owen’s family, stating that “I can understand people saying that” and that there is “nothing worse” for the fallen SEAL’s father than losing his son.

While Trump insists that the mission was a success, it reportedly yielded no actionable intelligence regarding the targeted group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Would the Border Wall Stop the Drug Trade? Since his much-discussed speech announcing his presidential candidacy in 2015, Donald Trump has consistently invoked drug trafficking in defense of his border security proposals. One purpose of building the border barricade, according to President Trump and his spokespeople, is to prevent the influx of narcotics from Mexico. There is a much less expensive approach that would have an economically devastating impact on the criminal syndicates that control the drug market: Legalize narcotics.

“It’s important to understand that the Drug War created the cartels, not the other way around,” observes David Bienenstock, who has covered the issue for more than a decade as a reporter for the pro-legalization publication High Times. “We’ve been wasting trillions of dollars for nearly 50 years on wholly ineffective, and even counterproductive, efforts to stop the flow of drugs into the United States, and those efforts have only made the cartels bigger, stronger, and more dangerous.”

No amount of enforcement, even outright militarization, “can remove the financial incentive of the black market,” Bienenstock explains. “In fact, every increase in enforcement only makes the black market more lucrative, and the fight to control this illicit trade more deadly and destructive.”

Precisely the same economic realities were evident in America’s short-lived and destructive experiment in alcohol prohibition a century ago.

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Bipartisan Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Advances in Idaho The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee of the Idaho Legislature has approved a bill that would reform the process of civil asset forfeiture.

The measure, co-sponsored by conservative Republican Rep. Steve Harris of Meridian and liberal Boise Democratic Rep. Ilana Rubel, is backed by a similarly broad-based coalition of groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the libertarian-leaning Idaho Freedom Foundation, and the Institute for Justice, a nation-wide legal activist group. It has been strongly opposed by the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association, and was initially opposed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association. The latter two groups withdrew their opposition after the bill was modified in committee.

In its current form, the bill would not abolish the use of civil asset forfeiture – through which money and property can be seized without criminal charges being filed against its owner – but would limit its use to high-level drug cases. Victims of seizures would be permitted to recover their property temporarily by posting a bond.

Michael Kane, chief lobbyist for the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association, denounced the initial version of the bill for language forbidding the seizure of large amounts of cash unless evidence is produced that it was the proceeds of illicit narcotics dealing. The current version, Kane complains, may still prevent such seizures, which he contends “put[s] the thumb on the scale in favor of the drug trafficker.”

Kane and his colleagues apparently aren’t familiar with the concept of due process, under which property can only be taken from defendants following conviction for a criminal offense.

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700
What Happened to Checks and Balances? Former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards served eight terms in the House of Representatives, and then taught government for 13 years at Harvard and Princeton. As a Congressman, he swore an oath to uphold the US Constitution, and as a professor, Edwards recalls, “I taught my students a system of government based on the Constitution. I thought I was teaching about current events,” he wrote in an essay for Politico. “Instead, I now realize, I was teaching ancient history.”

The separation of powers among three co-equal branches of the federal government no longer exists, Edwards laments. “The modern presidency has become a giant centrifuge, sucking power from both Congress and the states, making de facto law through regulation and executive order,” he observes. “Yet the growing power of the executive is not merely a case of presidential power lust.”

“Presidents have managed to accumulate such a prominent place at the top of what is now increasingly a pyramid rather than a horizontal structure of three connected blocks because for more than a generation, Congress has willingly abandoned both its constitutional responsibilities and its ability to effectively serve as a check on the executive even when it wishes to do so,” continues Edwards.

Significantly, Edwards singles out fellow Republican and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for criticism, claiming that many decisions described as streamlining and cost-cutting measures resulted in the House ceding power over spending decisions to “executive branch bureaucrats whose decisions about which government projects would be funded lacked any public transparency.” Even graver derelictions have occurred when Congress has essentially surrendered its constitutionally mandated authority to decide when and whether the US government will go to war.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Persistent Abuse Leads to Charges against Casper Police Officers Over the past decade, two police officers from Casper, Wyoming subjected adopted special-needs children to “extreme,” “militant,” and “demeaning” physical and psychological abuse, according to charges filed against them last week.

Laura Starnes-Wells and her ex-husband Todd, who adopted the children in 2006, have been accused of child abuse following an investigation by the Wyoming State Department of Family Services. Starnes-Wells is being sought for felony child abuse, which could lead to a ten year prison sentence. Todd Wells turned himself in and has been charged with a misdemeanor count of child endangerment.

A charging affidavit recalls that the boy adopted by the couple has seen numerous doctors, therapists, and counselors, and was taken into DFS custody in 2014. The department took custody of the girl two years later. Both of them had been under scrutiny since 2008, when teachers and social workers became concerned about what was described as “extreme punishment by the mother” – which included forcing them to “run stairs” until they threw up. On one occasion, Starnes-Wells allegedly punched her son in the neck, causing him to fall and hit the back of his head. The girl, who was seen with a black eye and other injuries, described being grabbed by the face, slapped, and having her head shaken to the point of having severe headaches.

Starnes-Wells, significantly, was a school resource officer, in which capacity she was partially entrusted with the care of other peoples’ children.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Liberal Municipalities Rediscover Nullification When Barack Obama was in the White House, Republican activists touted the principles of interposition and nullification as a way of beating back executive action on gun control and similar matters. Now that Donald Trump occupies the Oval Office, some Democrat-controlled municipal governments are attempting to use the same strategy – only to find that their efforts are being pre-empted by Republican-dominated state legislatures and, at least in principle, by the White House.

A report issued by the National League of Cities finds that 24 state governments “have pre-empted local minimum wage increases; 17 have stopped paid sick or family leave; scores of others have pushed back against local efforts to regulate home sharing and ride sharing, and 42 state measures have blocked local tax and spending increases.

Since the report was issued by a left-leaning organization it’s not surprising that most complaints focus on state-level actions that have impeded efforts to expand local government interference in the economy and property rights. Pre-emption by Republican-led state governments thus has been beneficial to business interests and property owners – but this could change dramatically if the political wheel were to turn and Democrats were to seize the reins. One important facet of federalism, as James Madison explained, is allowing states to act as policy-making laboratories within a competitive economy. This explains why businesses are fleeing California’s oppressive taxation and regulation for less oppressive surroundings in Nevada and Texas. The same competitive principles can work within individual states, as well.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
TSA to Deploy Retina Scan Devices As a frequent traveler, Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education has become quite familiar with “boarding pass checks, passport checks, scanners, pat-downs,” and the rest of the ritual harassment that occurs at airports. During a recent flight from Atlanta to Mexico, however, passengers were forced to undergo a new and unfamiliar invasion of bodily privacy.

“Halfway down the jetbridge, there was a new layer of security,” Tucker recalls. “Two US Marshals, heavily armed and dressed in dystopian-style black regalia, stood next to an upright machine with a glowing green eye. Every passenger, one by one, was told to step on a mat and look into the green scanner. It was scanning our eyes and matching that scan with the passport, which was also scanned (yet again).”

“Like everyone else, I complied,” relates Tucker. “What was my choice?”

Tucker and the other passengers – none of whom recalled a similar procedure in the past – were being subjected to a retina scan to confirm that biometric identifier with the information stored digitally in their passports.

“I will tell you how it made me feel – like a prisoner in my own country,” Tucker writes. “It’s one thing to control who comes into a country. But surveilling and [regimenting] American citizens as they leave their own country, even as they are about to board, is something else…. The scene reminded me of movies I’ve seen, like Hunger Games or 1984. It’s chilling and strange, even deeply alarming to anyone who has ever dreamed of what freedom might be like. It doesn’t look like this.”

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Bill Nye, the Eco-Inquisitor Guy,-the-Eco-Inquisitor-Guy Former Steve Martin impersonator-turned-tax subsidized kid’s program performer Bill Nye, who performs under the pretentious stage name “The Science Guy,” has added psychologist to his growing list of appropriated titles. In a Facebook live chat with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Nye insisted that people who reject climate change dogma are psychologically impaired.

“To the deniers out there, I want you to think about what is called cognitive dissonance,” Nye smugly declared, referring to a form of psychological paralysis that afflicts people when unalterable reality collides with their most deeply held beliefs. “Instead of accepting that the climate is changing, deniers are denying the evidence and dismissing the authorities,” Nye complained, insisting that “the long-term implications of doing nothing about climate change are catastrophic.”

Nye, who styles himself a scientist despite a lack of suitable academic credentials, is also an outspoken atheist who depicts religion as a refuge of the ignorant and uneducable. In promoting his gospel of climate alarmism, however, Nye is as inflexible and intolerant as a medieval inquisitor, rebuking skepticism – upon which all legitimate science depends – as sinful, demanding that the masses accept the views of supposed authorities on faith, and calling for prosecution of researchers and businessmen he claims are part of a vast conspiracy to promote what he calls “denialism.”

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-the-Eco-Inquisitor-Guy
Is Trump Conducting a Sex Trafficking Crackdown? Town Hall contributor Liz Crokin has rebuked the national media for supposedly ignoring what she describes as the Trump administration’s unprecedented crackdown on child sex trafficking rings. Since Trump’s inauguration, Crokin claims, “There have been a staggering 1,500-plus arrests,” as compared to the fewer than 400 sex-trafficking arrests that occurred in 2014.

“This should be one of the biggest stories in the national news,” Crokin complains. “Instead, the mainstream media has barely, if at all, covered any of these mass pedophile arrests. This begs the question – why?” From her perspective, the paucity of coverage reflects media hostility toward President Trump, who she says “genuinely cares about children and [has] vowed to make the human trafficking epidemic a priority.”

Examining the statistics and sources cited by Crokin, Reason magazine columnist Elizabeth Nolan Brown concludes that Crokin’s claims constitute what President Trump would call “fake news.”

The 2014 figure cited by Crokin “reflects incomplete state-level arrest numbers from just 26 states, Guam, and the Virgin Islands,” nor does it include arrest figures from several federal agencies, including the FBI.

Secondly, this year’s arrest tally “are part of annual sting operations, were the result of investigations in the works long before Trump took office, and/or had absolutely nothing to do with federal law enforcement directives or activities.” In addition, most of them involved adult women and men involved in consensual prostitution, a vice that does not necessarily involve child sex trafficking.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Kuwaiti Government Gives Trump a Chance to Fulfill Campaign Promise With a world-spanning network of hotels and other business ventures, President Trump confronts potential conflicts of interest unlike those faced by any of his predecessors. Shortly before last November’s election, Trump and his family opened the Trump Hotel in Washington, not far from the White House. This prompted questions about how he would handle revenue generated by diplomatic and other events held at the hotel by foreign governments. Just prior to Trump’s inauguration, his attorney, Sheri Dillon, promised on his behalf that any profits the hotel earned from foreign governments would be donated to the US Treasury.

The government of Kuwait has given President Trump an opportunity to make good on that promise.

Reuters reports that “The Kuwaiti government could pay up to $60,000 to President Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington for a party it held on [February 22] in an early test of Trump’s promise to turn over profits from such events….” The embassy rented space for several hundred people to celebrate Kuwait’s National Day, which had previously been commemorated at the Washington Four Seasons hotel.

Both the White House and Trump Organization general counsel declined to respond to request from Reuters for “comment on whether any profits from foreign government payments to the hotel have been donated.”

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Former Colorado Collegiate Athlete Describes Title IX Reign of Terror Grant Neal, a sophomore at Colorado State University-Pueblo, lost his wrestling scholarship and was expelled after the university’s Title IX compliance bureaucracy ruled that he had sexually assaulted his girlfriend – despite the fact that the supposed victim, identified as Jane Doe, never filed a complaint and emphatically testified, “I’m fine and I wasn’t raped.”

Title IX is a federal anti-discrimination law. On most college campuses, Title IX enforcement is carried out by doctrinaire feminists who see themselves as crusaders against so-called rape culture and conduct hearings from which any semblance of due process has been banished.

Neal’s girlfriend, a physical trainer at the school, was concerned about losing her job because of a campus rule forbidding trainers from dating athletes. She was seen at work with a hickey, which prompted an anonymous third-party complaint to Roosevelt Wilson, the school’s Title IX officer. Wilson carried out the now-familiar, Soviet-style inquisitorial ritual. Neal was presumed guilty, and not shown a summary of the charges against him until well into the process – and he was not allowed to obtain a copy of the document. The accused was allowed to bring a lawyer, but the attorney was not allowed to consult with him. Although Neal was told he could not be in contact with Doe during the investigation, his girlfriend continued to send him text messages. When Neal disclosed that fact to Wilson, he was instructed to show the message to Wilson – and then informed that by doing so he had violated the “no contact order.” In a system where an accusation is treated as proof – even, in this case, a third-party accusation – the outcome was never in doubt.

“One day I woke up and I had all my dreams in front of me and I was doing very well academically … and for that to be yanked away from me for no justifiable reason – that’s hard to cope with,” Neal told Reason magazine. He has filed a civil rights lawsuit against CSU-Pueblo.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
President Trump Tells Governors He Wants to Restore Reserved Powers President Trump used a White House meeting with dozens of governors to tell them that his administration seeks to restore the reserved powers of the independent states – while simultaneously promising to expand federal subsidies for law enforcement and infrastructure improvements.

The administration will do “whatever we can to restore authority to the states, when that is the appropriate thing to do,”Trump told state chief executives assembled in Washington for the annual National Governors Association conference.

“We have to let the states compete and see who has the best solutions,” he continued, assuring them that under his direction the federal government will “give you back a lot of the powers that have been taken away.”

He also lambasted previous US policy in the Middle East, referring to the estimated $6 trillion spent in ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, and lamented the $20 trillion national debt. While acknowledging that “The government must learn to tighten its belt,” Trump promised a substantial increase in military spending, in addition to expanded spending on law enforcement and national security. These new expenditures, he promised, would be balanced by savings in domestic programs.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
CNN Faces Defamation Lawsuit US District Judge Orinda Evans has allowed a federal defamation lawsuit filed against CNN to proceed. The plaintiff, Davide Carbone, is the former CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, and he claims that the network intentionally manipulated statistics to create a “series of false and defamatory news reports” regarding infant mortality rates at the hospital. CNN claimed that the mortality rate was three times the national average.

“In our case, we contended that CNN essentially made up its own standard in order to conduct an `apples to oranges’ comparison to support its false assertion that St. Mary’s mortality rate was three times higher than the national average,”declares Carbone’s attorney, L. Lin Wood. Following the CNN report Carbone lost his position and has struggled to find a suitable new position in the field of hospital administration.

“False and defamatory accusations against real people have serious consequences,” argues Wood. “Neither St. Mary’s or Mr. Carbone did anything to deserve being the objects of the heinous accusation that they harmed or put babies and young children at risk for profit.”

Libel and other defamation complaints require evidence of malicious disregard for the truth. In a preliminary ruling against CNN’s motion to dismiss the suit, Judge Evans wrote that “The Court finds these allegations sufficient to establish that CNN was acting recklessly with regard to the accuracy of its report, [that is] with `actual malice.’”

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Spain Holds Corrupt Elite Bankers Accountable Spain’s National Court, which deals with cases of official corruption and financial crimes, has convicted former International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato of embezzlement during his period as head of the Caja Madrid and Bankia. Rato, who also served as Spain’s economy minister, has been sentenced to a prison term of four years and six months. He remains free pending a possible appeal.

Rato and 64 other banking executives and board members are accused of siphoning away at least twelve million euros from the banks between 2003 and 2012 – a period during which Spain was suffering from one of the worst economic crises in its history. Summarizing the charges, the AFP reports that the bankers were accused “of having paid for personal expenses with credit cards put at their disposal by both Caja Madrid and Bankia, without every justifying them or declaring them to tax authorities. These expenses included petrol for their cars, supermarket shopping, holidays, luxury bags or parties in nightclubs.” Rato claims that these perks were included as part of a “discretionary spending” provision of the executives’ pay agreement.

Miguel Blesa, Rato’s predecessor at Caja Madrid, has been sentenced to six years behind bars for creating the corrupt system Rato inherited. Among the others convicted in the scandal is Inaki Urdangarin, the brother-in-law to Spanish King Felipe VI, who has also been given a six-year sentence and remains free pending his own appeal.

Rato is the third former IMF head to be accused or convicted of criminal misconduct. Christine Lagarde was found guilty of criminal negligence while serving as France’s finance minister. Dominque Strauss-Kahn was tried and acquitted on sexual exploitation charges in 2015.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Liberal Law Professor: Back Off of Kellyanne Conway Before becoming a spokeswoman for President Trump, Kellyanne Conway was an attorney licensed to practice in Washington, D.C. A group of 15 legal ethics professors have filed a disciplinary complaint against Conway with the District’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel, alleging that some of her dubious public statements on behalf of the administration are violations of professional guidelines forbidding “Dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.”

Legal ethics professor Steven Lubet believes that the complaint itself represents a violation of sound ethics.

“As a liberal Democrat, I have no sympathy for Conway’s habitual disregard for truth,” wrote Lubet in an op-ed column published by Slate. “As a professor of legal ethics, however, I think this complaint is dangerously misguided and has the potential to set a terrible precedent.” While some of her claims are factually infirm, they were “made in a clearly political context, not testifying before Congress or implementing an executive branch directive,” Lubet points out. “Political debate is protected by the First Amendment, even when it strays into questionable territory, and it should not be the job of bar authorities to police the exaggerations and misstatements of politicians just because they happen to be lawyers.”

If the DC bar succeeded in punishing Conway for making unreliable claims as part of a political debate, this would “inevitably lead to a slew of new complaints against attorneys involved in public debate,” Lubet predicts – including liberal lawyer-candidates like Hillary Clinton.

“If the Conway complaint works, every statement by a candidate or spokesperson is potential fodder for a politically motivated disciplinary complaint,” warns Lubet.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Father of SEAL Casualty Wants Answers from President Trump Bill Owens, the father of Navy SEAL William Owens, wants President Trump to explain what was accomplished by his son’s combat death in Yemen. When Bill and his wife Marie flew to Dover Air Force Base to receive their son’s remains, he told the chaplain that “I don’t want to meet the President…. I told [him] I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him.”

Like his son, Owens enlisted in the US military, and both understood the risks that come with serving. He is demanding to know why the raid in Yemen was approved, and what it accomplished.

“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration?” Owens asks. “For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen – everything was missiles and drones – because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?”

The Trump administration, referring to the younger Owens as an “American hero,” has suggested that those who question the mission’s success have dishonored his memory. Speaking with the moral authority of a father who has just buried his son, the elder Owens refuses to be silenced.

“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” he declares. “I want an investigation – the government owes my son an investigation.”

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Progressive Commentator Chides Fellow Liberals : Why did you Denigrate Ron Paul? Jonathan Taylor, a Professor at California State University in Fullerton and contributor to the left-leaning investigative journal CounterPunch, has a polite question for fellow leftists who are frantic over the Trump administration: Why did you denigrate Ron Paul when he was leading the struggle against open-ended warfare and the so-called “Deep State”?

During Dr. Paul’s Republican presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, Taylor recalls, “I’d harangue anyone who would listen that we had a unique occasion to … put someone in the White House who would permanently dismantle the American War Machine…. In his 2012 primary run in particular Paul made some astonishing promises that I’m pretty sure he meant to at least try to keep. For one, he was going to slash the US military budget in half. Along with that, no more unnecessary wars. For icing on the cake he was going to shutter the CIA’s entire operations wing, making The Company nothing more than an intelligence gathering analytical department. And NSA mass surveillance would soon be a thing of the past.”

“In other words,” Taylor elaborates, “Paul was planning to kill off the Deep State. Nobody knew this term then, but almost everyone does now.”

Like many on the left, Taylor was initially skeptical about Dr. Paul, but when he attended campaign rallies he noticed that “his crowd was far more diverse than very fake news had led me to believe.”

Those who are angry and scared by the Trump presidency should “remember that you had not one but two chances to put partisanship aside and join a movement to elect the most major party anti-war candidate in decades,” Professor Taylor concludes.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How Syrian War Propaganda is Made A Norwegian film crew employed child actors on a film set in Malta to produce dramatic scenes of a young Syrian boy braving sniper fire to rescue his sister, reports the UK Independent.

“The unidentified boy was labelled as a hero after footage circulated showing him apparently dodging a shower of bullets with the terrified girl to drag her to safety,” recounts the Independent. “After being shared by Syrian activists and the Shaam Network, it attracted international attention and has so far garnered more than five million views on YouTube.”

The Shaam Network is a decentralized group of Syrian expatriates who operate an online news channel through social media platforms, particularly YouTube. Its reports are often picked up by mainstream media outlets such as CNN, and are generally sympathetic with the rebel coalition seeking to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The vignette was actually scripted and filmed in Malta last summer “with professional child actors and Syrian refugees volunteering to `react’ in the background.” The project was underwritten by the government-funded Norwegian Film Institute, which provided 280,000 kroner to pay for the production.

“We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war,” director Lars Klevberg told BBC Trending. “We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video.”

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
What’s Really Happening in Sweden?’s-Really-Happening-in-Sweden? A casual remark from President Trump about Sweden’s immigration-related turmoil focused global attention on the socialist Scandinavian country.

That Sweden is dealing with violent crime and other social dislocations related to a dramatic influx of refugees and Third World immigrants is indisputable. For partisan reasons, however, that country’s domestic turbulence is either inflated into an apocalyptic crisis, or minimized to the point of invisibility. Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly ill-served his audience by presenting a supposed expert on Swedish affairs who was quickly exposed as a fraud.

During his February 23 program, O’Reilly introduced his audience to a man named Nils Bildt, who was described as a “Swedish Defense and National Security Advisor.” Bilt was brought on to contradict the views of Swedish journalist Ann-Sofie Naslund, US correspondent for the Expressen newspaper, who said that while Sweden has seen an increase in crime, it remains one of the safest countries in the world. Bilt insisted that Naslund was reciting the official government line, which suppresses “an honest and open debate about immigration.”

Whatever the merits of Bilt’s views, he is a proven liar and con artist. His actual name appears to be Nils Tolling, and he left Sweden more than twenty years ago. He was also convicted of a violent criminal offense in Virginia in 2014, and was sentenced to a year in prison. Fox News producer David Tabacoff said that Tolling had been booked for O’Reilly’s program on the basis of multiple recommendations.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Really-Happening-in-Sweden?
The Bush Family’s Planned Parenthood Legacy’s-Planned-Parenthood-Legacy Barbara Pierce Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush, is scheduled to provide the keynote address at the annual Fort Worth fundraising luncheon for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas.

Observes The Hill, “The announcement comes amid the continuing debate over federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides a variety of reproductive health services to women, including abortions.”

That boilerplate description of Planned Parenthood dramatically misrepresents the extent to which abortion is central to the self-appointed mission of the tax-subsidized organization. Planned Parenthood is the world’s largest provider of child-killing services, which cannot honestly be described as “reproductive health services” or legitimate medical treatment of any sort.

Although George W. Bush publicly promoted the pro-life view during his tenure as president, his wife Laura and his mother Barbara are both outspoken supporters of Planned Parenthood. As the left-leaning journal Mother Jones has documented, the Bush family played a central role in the rise of Planned Parenthood. Prescott Bush, the grandfather to George W. and Jeb Bush, was an active supporter of Planned Parenthood in the 1940s and was treasurer of its first national fundraising campaign in 1947.

Prescott’s son, future CIA chief and US President George HW Bush, was an indispensable congressional sponsor of the 1970 Title X legislation “through which millions of federal dollars flow every year to Planned Parenthood,” notes Mother Jones. The elder George Bush likewise promoted Planned Parenthood’s anti-natalist agenda on a global stage as US ambassador to the United Nations.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Planned-Parenthood-Legacy
Bill de Blasio’s New York City “Land-Grab”’s-New-York-City-“Land-Grab” A municipal initiative sponsored by New York City Major Bill de Blasio is being compared to forced collectivization programs under the reign of Soviet despot Josef Stalin.

“Mayor de Blasio is attempting a Soviet-style takeover of 1,200 privately owned co-op buildings in what critics charge is a blatant effort to artificially boost his affordable-housing numbers,” reports the New York Post. “The Stalinesque secrecy of the plot – developed over two years behind closed doors – has alarmed some lawmakers, who wrote to the city last week to put the plan on hold.”

The properties being considered for confiscation consist of a handful of once-abandoned residential buildings in Harlem, Washington Heights and the Lower East Side that were sold by the city three decades ago for as little as $250 a unit. Once blighted and unlivable, the properties have been refurbished and have helped revive their once moribund neighborhoods.

“Now, the city wants to seize control of what have become valuable assets, and livid residents are preparing for a legal war to stop it,” explains the Post.

Bill Palma, who lives in a Hamilton Heights co-op building next to neighbors who fled Castro’s Cuba, compares de Blasio’s scheme to the early years of Communist rule on that island.

“They’re seeing history repeat itself over here – this time without guns,” Palma told the Post.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-New-York-City-“Land-Grab”
Should Journalists Be Imprisoned for Criticizing Political Figures? Although President Trump has stiff-armed prominent organs of the legacy media in favor of more congenial conservative outlets, he has not proposed a revival of the 1798 Sedition Act.

Under that measure, which was signed by Founding Father John Adams in defiance of his better judgment, dozens of newspaper editors were arrested, and several imprisoned, for supposedly publishing “false, scandalous and malicious writing” against the president. Among them was Republican Representative Matthew Lyon of Vermont, who was imprisoned for writing a letter criticizing Adams for his “unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and self-avarice.” Lyon was reelected while serving time in prison.

Thus far, President Trump has not called for official retaliation against his media critics. This isn’t true of at least some of his more ardent supporters, including attendees at last week’s Conservative Political Action Convention who applauded the suggestion that the US government should revive an ancient Roman law allowing for the execution of citizens who “calumniate” – that is, defame – supposedly virtuous politicians.

“Let’s go back to ancient Rome,” urged former actor-turned-talk radio host Robert Davi, who is a passionate Trump supporter, to the enthusiastic applause of his audience. “If such laws existed today, we would see more men like Donald Trump and Mike Pence running for Congress or the Senate or the presidency and more fake reporters perhaps going to prison for the very lies they make up to commit cruel character assassination against the very best of our American heroes.”

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Conservatives Not Happy with Trump’s Labor Nominee’s-Labor-Nominee After Andrew Puzder withdrew from the nomination to be Labor Secretary, President Trump selected Alex Acosta, a sitting judge, to fill that post. Although widely praised by liberals and conservatives, Acosta has received mixed reviews from some commentators who recall his record in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division during the George W. Bush administration.

According to Paul Mirengoff of the Power Line blog, Acosta’s critics say that “during his time at DOJ, Acosta’s priority wasn’t the advancement of the administration’s policy goals. Rather, it was to stay on the good side of left-wing civil rights groups.”

“Acosta sought to accomplish this primarily by meeting their demands to bring certain kinds of cases and by not bringing cases the left didn’t like,” Mirengoff continues. “But Acosta’s appeasement of the left seems to have gone further than that. I’m told that in crunch time during the 2004 election, he was more accommodating to the Democrats than to the Republicans on voting issues with the potential to influence the outcome.”

It is also telling, Mirengoff maintains, that the new Labor Secretary nominee has been praised by big labor – as demonstrated by the positive endorsements Acosta garnered from big unions including AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who was openly opposed to Puzder.

The Department of Labor plays a key role in areas of major interest to conservatives, especially immigration, wage and hour law, and civil rights. Under Obama’s Labor Secretary, Tom Perez, the department was firmly in the leftist camp, and conservatives shouldn’t expect much of a shakeup considering Acosta’s past support for amnesty as a form of “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Labor-Nominee
Trump Continues Immigration Shake-up President Trump established new procedures that will allow authorities to seek expedited deportation proceedings against illegal immigrants. Under the Obama Administration, deportation was a priority for those who had been in the country for two weeks or less. Now, under Trump’s revised program, it will be applied to illegal immigrants who have been in the country for up to two years.

Another administrative change will require that illegal immigrants from Mexico to be deported pending the outcome of deportation hearings, rather than being housed in federal facilities during the proceedings. This new policy is expected to offer a strong deterrent to the growing wave of 150,000 unaccompanied minors who have come from Mexico and Central America over the past three years. Under the new policies, their parents in the United States could be prosecuted if they are found to have paid smugglers to bring the children across the border.

President Trump also ordered immigration agency chiefs to begin hiring 10,000 additional ICE agents and 5,000 more Border Patrol officers to help enforce immigration laws. Some Obama-appointed holdouts in the Border Patrol are still releasing aliens rather than deporting them, reports Brendan Kirby of Lifezette: “Some border patrol stations have been slow to carry out President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement executive order and instead have continued former President Barack Obama’s ‘catch-and-release’ policies, according to a union official.”

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told LifeZette that he raised concerns Thursday with U.S. Border Patrol Chief Ronald Vitiello. He said he is confident that issue soon will be corrected. “We’re still walking people out the door,” Judd reports. “The catch-and-release policy is still in place in some sectors.”

As recently as February 23, some border patrol stations were still releasing border-jumpers, often without even issuing notices to appear in immigration court hearings, according to Judd.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Dramatic Change of Administration in Maricopa County On New Year’s Day, for the first time in nearly a quarter-century someone other than Joe Arpaio took the oath of office as the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona -- and the change of administration has had immediate and dramatic results. Where Arpaio had achieved global prominence as an opponent of illegal immigration, his successor, Sheriff Paul Penzone, has embarked on a new policy to protect illegal immigrants, according to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

In a fashion similar to so-called sanctuary cities, the Maricopa County Jail has started releasing immigrants rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities. On average 400 immigrants every 10 days are let go into the Phoenix area, according to law enforcement sources, who claim that many of those being released are violent offenders. Under Arpaio, these immigrants were consistently transferred to federal custody.

Under a longtime partnership between the county and the feds, the Phoenix field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was notified when “aliens unlawfully present with additional Arizona charges” were released from the Maricopa County Jail, which is one of the nation’s largest with a population of about 8,000. That ended when Penzone, who refers to illegal immigrants as “guests,” took office this year and, though he formally announced the change last week, it was put into practice much earlier.

“The illegal aliens have state criminal charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, driving under the influence and drug offenses. ‘There’s no telling how many criminals he’s [Sheriff Penzone] putting on the streets,' said a high-ranking federal law enforcement official stationed in Arizona. Judicial Watch’s calls to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office were not returned.”

Without this transfer of custody, ICE would have to stand at the door to the jail and guess which people leaving need to be deported and then arrest them on the street, complained a federal agent stationed in Arizona.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Canada Welcomes Illegal Immigrants Fleeing US Crackdown With President Trump’s new emphasis on immigration enforcement, including deportation, many illegal immigrants from Mexico and points south are seeking an easier time in the neighbor to the North. Accordingly, an increasing number of refugees are crossing unguarded roads into Canada.

The Canadian government announced last week that it will continue to accept “asylum seekers” crossing illegally from the United States. Already the colder country has seen a rapid increase in immigrants, reported Yahoo News: “More than 7,000 refugee applicants entered Canada in 2016 through land ports of entry from the United States, up 63 percent from the previous year, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).”

Reflecting Canada’s distinctive culture of either compulsive politeness or political correctness – the label, one supposes, depends on the user’s political perspective -- border officials in that country refer to those who make illegal crossings as entering the country “irregularly.” Media accounts have included photos posted of smiling Canadian Police greeting the illegals, their demeanor a stark contrast to the businesslike expressions that have greeted many US citizens as Canadian customs officers grill them about whether they are bringing personal firearms into the gun-averse country.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0700
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 t