Liberty News Daily LND - News The Networks Refuse To Use! en-us What Does “De-Policing” Mean?“De-Policing”-Mean? To the ears of reasonable people, the expression “de-policing” would refer to the process of abolishing police departments – not the exercise of restraint by police officers in the use of lethal force. The latter would be described as “de-escalation,” an approach that was once taught to, and expected of, officials whose formal designation, after all, is “peace officers.”

De-escalation is incompatible with the militarized mindset of police who have undergone “Bulletproof Warrior” and “No More Hesitation” training that indoctrinates them to view the public they supposedly serve as an undifferentiated mass of menace.

Ken Casaday, President of the Austin Police Association, used the term “de-policing” to explain why officers who responded to a bar fight confiscated a firearm from one of the antagonists, rather than summarily executing him. The man returned later with two weapons and was fatally shot by officers.

Rather than lamenting what may have been the necessary use of deadly force to deal with a violent offender, Casady is distraught that the officers refrained from taking that action until it became necessary – and he blames critics of police misconduct for that initial reluctance.

“They could have used that force earlier, but they didn’t,” complained Casaday in an interview with local ABC affiliate KVUE. “Officers are feeling so much pressure from the scrutiny the media have put on them. They just are just not making the stops and taking the risks that they used to.”

The problem is not that police are less willing to take risks – or that their occupation has become more dangerous, a claim not borne out by available data. In personal terms, police have always been risk-aversive, placing officer safety above everything else. Because of increased accountability, they may be required to expose themselves to risk, rather than killing people needlessly in the expectation that their actions – however criminally irresponsible in the eyes of reasonable citizens – would be ratified under the “reasonable officer” standard.

Unlike some police union commissars, Casaday doesn’t even bother to pretend that he’s concerned that the public is placed at risk when police become inhibited in the use of deadly force. His concern, KVUE summarizes, is that “one day, the caution officers are exercising may end up costing one of them their lives.”

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“De-Policing”-Mean?
“Trumpcare” Strongly Resembles Obamacare“Trumpcare”-Strongly-Resembles-Obamacare Shortly before assuming the presidency, Donald Trump promised that his reform of Obamacare will provide “insurance for all” -- although it is doubtful he can fulfill his promise without a worse mandate than Obamacare and even higher costs. Trump’s broad promises will surely complicate Paul Ryan and Tom Price’s job of putting together a more affordable replacement. Neither has promised insurance for all, and Trump’s overly generous assurances sounded very much like his former rival Bernie Sanders, who claimed that “health care is a right.”

Analyst Joel Skousen, an ardent advocate of understanding true “rights” says, “Sorry, Bernie, but no mandates that require other people to serve your needs can be a fundamental right.”

Skousen also takes issue with Trump’s populist promises on this issue, saying “Trump’s latest ‘insurance for all’ claim goes beyond his previous misstep in saying he would still require insurance providers to cover pre-existing conditions.” Insurance companies have been reeling under this Obamacare requirement and the costs of covering “high-risk” people even with the previously uninsured people paying in to their funds. Skousen thinks the media claim that 18 to 20 million who can’t get insurance because of pre-existing conditions is grossly exaggerated, but like all government benefits, it will still be extremely difficult to take it away, he says, no matter how much it is costing taxpayers.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trumpcare”-Strongly-Resembles-Obamacare
Dangerous Vulnerabilities in Electric Grid Some were heartened that the Obama Administration, in its closing days, was finally moving forward to protect the national electrical grid from electromagnetic pulses from either solar flares or EMP---a nuclear weapon detonated in the upper atmosphere. However, as Michael Maloof of WorldNetDaily explains, the new improvements are only aimed at modest protections from solar flares and not the more powerful EMP pulses.

“The Obama administration, on the eve of its transfer of power, is about to impose new standards to protect the nation’s life-sustaining electric grid from solar storms,” writes Maloof. “However, the new standards by a Democrat-dominated regulatory board, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will address only solar activities. Pointedly, it will not protect the vulnerable national grid from a man-made, high altitude, nuclear detonation that could create an electromagnetic pulse.”

William R. Graham, who chaired the 2008 congressionally mandated EMP Commission, thinks the Obama administration’s EMP strategy was pushed through at the last minute to keep the new Trump Administration from making changes to it. From Graham’s well-informed perspective, the weak standards are “likely to have far-ranging, seriously counterproductive national security implications.”

Graham has reportedly raised his concerns with the appointees and transition-team heads in the incoming Trump Administration.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Ted Cruz Lambastes Senate Democrats on “Rule of Law” Hypocrisy“Rule-of-Law”-Hypocrisy During the confirmation hearings of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, many of his Democratic colleagues tried to elicit a commitment from him that he would not allow President Trump to bypass Congress and defy the rule of law. While this is certainly a worthy line of inquiry, Senate Democrats have a strangely situational devotion to the rule of law, a fact noted by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

In a detailed and unvarnished speech, Cruz took the grandstanding Senate Democrats task over their hypocrisy, describing a long list of occasions in the past several years in which those same Senators passively allowed Barack Obama to defy the rule of law.

Cruz organized his indictment into twelve specific instances when the Obama Administration thwarted laws including the supposed sting operation “Fast and Furious,” the illegal targeting of conservative citizens by the IRS, “Operation Chokepoint” where the DOJ pressured banks to cut off credit to unfavorables like gun manufacturers, and several instances when the late democratic administration ignored and broke immigration laws to allow more illegal aliens into society.

In his last example Cruz recalled: “When the Obama administration released 5 Guantanamo terrorist suspects without the required notification to Congress, the Democrats on this committee were silent, and that’s been the pattern for eight years.”

To be fair, Senate Democrats could compile a similar list of examples from the Bush administration of Republican colleagues enabling the unconstitutional actions of the president when their party was in power. Hypocrisy regarding the rule of law is a well-entrenched bipartisan tradition.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Rule-of-Law”-Hypocrisy
German Editor Who Exposed CIA Media Control Found Dead Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the former editor of Germany’s largest newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, was fired from his job after publishing a bestselling book exposing CIA control of European journalists. Ulfkotte was threatened when went to publish the book, but proceeded anyway. Now he is dead. Baxter Dmitry suspects the book that cost him his job might have also cost him his life.

“Ulfkotte said most corporate media journalists in the United States and Europe are `so-called non-official cover,’ meaning that they work for an intelligence agency,” Dmitry recalls. According to Ulfkotte, “I think it is especially the case with British journalists, because they have a much closer relationship. It is especially the case with Israeli journalists. Of course with French journalists. … It is the case for Australians, [with] journalists from New Zealand, from Taiwan, well, there [are]many countries,” he said.

Among the stories Ulfkotte says he was ordered by the CIA to plant in his newspaper was a fake story that Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi was building poison gas factories in 2011.

His book is so controversial that the German media has been banned from reporting on it. Although he knew his life was at risk, Ulfkotte said that he considered himself better able to withstand the controversy than other journalists. “I don’t mind. You see, I don’t have children to take care of,” he remarked on one occasion.

His death was reported as a “heart failure” even though Ulfkotte was just 56 years old.

Former CIA director William Colby also died under suspicious circumstances after saying that “there wasn’t a major journalist that the CIA didn’t own.” Colby drowned in a surprising canoeing “accident.”

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Carries on Obama’s Drone-Bombing Legacy’s-Drone-Bombing-Legacy During the hours immediately after his inauguration, Donald Trump signed a number of executive orders. On the following day, he paid a brief visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where he made perfunctory remarks expressing support for the agency, and then spent several minutes complaining about press coverage of his Inaugural. On the second day of his administration, drone strikes were carried out in Yemen that killed three people described as “alleged al-Qaeda operatives” – a term used to describe practically anybody on the receiving end of a drone-fired missile.

If Trump had so desired, he could have called a halt to Obama’s drone-bombing campaign to review its legality, moral suitability, and effectiveness. He obviously had other priorities during the first days in office.

The military campaign in Yemen has no plausible connection to defending the United States. It is actually intended to bolster the Saudi regime, which has been carrying out a two-year military campaign against Shiite rebels who overthrew a Saudi-installed Sunni puppet ruler. The chaos and disruption created by that civil war has been a boon to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has seized territory in the southern and eastern parts of the country as the Saudi-led coalition carries out deadly airstrikes elsewhere.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Drone-Bombing-Legacy
Trump Administration Promises to Empower Police Within hours of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the White House website posted a policy statement denouncing what it calls the “dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America” and promising to “end” it.

“Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement, and more effective policing,” insisted the policy statement.

Civil libertarian commentator Radley Balko points out that “You don’t end an `atmosphere’ without some pretty drastic action. It sounds quite like a promise to crack down on speech and protest. Ominous as that sounds … absent some wanton, unheard of abuse of power like federalizing the National Guard to subdue the next round of protests against police abuse, there isn’t a whole lot Trump can do directly, at least not in the short term.”

Trump’s inaugural address described a surge in violent crime as a symptom of what he called “American carnage.” However, the overall crime rate in 2016 was roughly the same as it had been in 2012. Balko also makes the arresting observation that “of the 11 states with the highest violent crime rates, eight are Republican-led … most with the kind of pro-police, pro-law-and-order policies Trump supports.”

Also significant is the fact that while Gallup polls consistently show that Americans think crime is getting worse, the overwhelming majority respond that they believe their own neighborhoods are safe, and they are not fearful of walking alone in them at night.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Fatally Shoot Pennsylvania Man Defending His Family Christopher Mark Thompkins, a 57-year-old Larimer, Pennsylvania resident, was fatally shot by police officers after he fired several shots to chase off a burglar. The intruder, 23-year-old Juan Clark, was arrested and charged with trespassing. The officers who killed Thompkins have been placed on paid vacation while an internal review is conducted.

Brenda Richmond, Thompkins’s ex-wife who has reconciled with him, was startled awake shortly before 4:00 a.m. on Sunday by Clark’s presence in the couple’s bedroom. Concerned for the safety of his 78-year-old mother, an invalid because of a stroke, Thompkins asked Richmond for her handgun and pursued Clark out of their home, firing shots down a staircase. The two officers, who had been summoned by a silent burglar alarm, fired at Thompkins, fatally wounding him.

“I could see Mark shoot down the stairs at the guy,” recalled Richmond to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, using the victim’s middle name. “The cops came, and they shot through the door. Mark was shooting at the robber, not at the cops.”

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Gawker Lawsuit Team Targets TechDirt News Site The digital news platform TechDirt has been sued by an obscure figure named Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims – without foundation -- to have invented email in 1978. While Ayyadurai did play a minor role in refining the technology, which had already existed in some form for several years, his proprietary claim has been widely discredited by researchers and specialists and has been described as “quite shocking” by a panel of prominent academics.

By making a testable claim and publicizing himself as “The Inventor of Email” – which is the title of his website – Ayyadurai has made himself a public figure, which means that his libel claim will be dismissed unless he can prove that TechDirt has trafficked in conscious, malicious representation of documented facts. Although his suit is devoid of merit, it may prove ruinous for TechDirt and its founder, Mike Masnick, because of the involvement of an entrepreneurial litigation fund established by billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel, whose vendetta against the gossip site Gawker led him to fund celebrity wrestler Hulk Hogan’s defamation suit against the publication. The result was a $140 million jury verdict in Florida that drove Gawker into bankruptcy. Ayyadurai is being represented by Charles Harder, the same attorney who targeted Gawker.

As TechDirt has advised its readers, “Defamation claims like this can force independent media companies to capitulate and shut down due to mounting legal costs.”

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Utah Government Conceals Details of Amazon Tax Deal The Utah State Tax Commission is refusing to comply with provisions of the Government Records Access Management Act that require it to disclose the details of its deal with Amazon to collect taxes on sales made in that state. This has prompted an open records lawsuit by the Libertas Institute.

“Taxpayers have a right to know what terms their government agreed to in order to have Amazon collect a tax that they are not legally required to,” explained Libertas president Connor Boyack. “This agreement should be public for all to see.”

The deal with Amazon followed “failed attempts to deputize out-of-state companies as tax collectors for the state,” and enticed the company to play that role by “voluntarily” collecting the tax and “keep a piece of the pie themselves,” Boyack observes.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Hundreds of Drug Cases Dropped Because of Crime Lab Misconduct The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ordered prosecutors to drop “a large portion” of tens of thousands of drug prosecutions owing to the misconduct of former state drug lab chemist Annie Dookhan – a scandal that has been festering in the state’s criminal justice system for five years.

Rather than dismissing all of the cases outright, the Court instructed district attorneys to “exercise their prosecutorial discretion and reduce the number of relevant Dookhan defendants by moving to dismiss with prejudice all drug cases the district attorneys would not or could not reprosecute if a new trial were ordered.”

The cases affected by that ruling include some in which defendants were convicted, entered guilty pleas, or made “Alford pleas” in which they were given a deal contingent on an admission that the state had sufficient evidence to win a conviction, points out the Boston Globe.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump’s Treasury Secretary Pick Calls for Expanding the IRS’s-Treasury-Secretary-Pick-Calls-for-Expanding-the-IRS Former Goldman Sachs and Soros employee Steve Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of the Treasury, said in his Senate confirmation hearing that he would like to see the IRS expanded.

“The IRS headcount has gone down quite dramatically, almost 30 percent over the last number of years,” observed Mnuchin, referring to a development sound-thinking Americans would applaud, rather than lamenting. “I don’t think there is any other government agency that has gone down 30 percent – especially for an agency that collects revenues. This is something that I’m concerned about.”

Mnuchin also suggested that the IRS should undergo “structural and technological improvements,” reported the Daily Caller.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Treasury-Secretary-Pick-Calls-for-Expanding-the-IRS
Trump Transportation Secretary to Collect Paycheck from Wells Fargo If confirmed as the Trump administration’s secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao will receive a “golden parachute” of between $1 million and $5 million, reports The Intercept.

Chao, a board member of Wells Fargo since 2011, “has collected deferred stock options – a compensation perk generally designed as a long-term retention strategy – that she would not be able to cash out if she left the firm to work for a competitor,” continues the report. “Her financial disclosure notes that she will receive a `cash payout for my deferred stock compensation’ upon confirmation as secretary of transportation. The document discloses that the payments will continue through her time in government, if she is confirmed.”

The yearly payouts would commence in July of this year, and continue through 2021.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
States Refuse to Disclose Asset Forfeiture Details Reason magazine reports that “Asset forfeiture programs in the majority of states across the country suffer from a lack of transparence and accountability, leaving the public in the dark about how much property police seize from citizens, and where those proceeds go.”

Unlike criminal forfeiture, seizures made through civil asset forfeiture do not require a criminal conviction – or even formal criminal charges. A law enforcement agency confiscates money or other valuable property and then files suit against the property itself, and the victims of this institutionalized plunder are compelled to prove that the property was innocently acquired. This is done through a civil process in which the state does not have to establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the prohibitive legal costs involved generally deter victims from seeking to recover their stolen property.

Through the equitable sharing program, forfeiture booty is placed into federal custody, which provides another impediment to recovery. After the process is completed, the Feds kick back more than ninety percent of what their state and local accomplices have looted.

Citing a new report from the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, Reason notes that “26 states have little to no transparency requirements surrounding asset forfeiture, and 14 of those states `do not appear to require any form of property tracking, leaving in doubt even such basic questions as what was seized and how much it was worth, who seized it, when it was seized, and why it was seized.”

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Tillerson Confirmation Complicated by Exxon’s State Department Record’s-State-Department-Record As CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson “frequently pressed the US State Department for help in negotiating complex business deals and overcoming foreign opposition to its drilling projects,” reports The Intercept. Citing diplomatic cables obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, and some previously made available through WikiLeaks, the journal contends that the requests made by Tillerson “raise a whole new series of conflict-of-interest concerns” as the Senate reviews his nomination to serve as Secretary of State under Donald Trump.

Significantly, Tillerson’s company found a very effective advocate in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, under whose stewardship the department “started its own in-house energy promotion department, the Bureau of Energy Resources.” That Bureau’s Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program “has in the past engaged with ExxonMobil for projects in Poland and Eastern Europe.”

The assistance sought by Exxon from the State Department included “a request to help overcome local opposition to fracking in Germany; in Indonesia, the State Department acted as an advocate for ExxonMobil during contentious negotiations between the firm and the Indonesian government over a major gas field in the South China Sea; and in Russia, ExxonMobil asked the US ambassador to press the Russians to approve a major drilling program, noting that `a warming of US-Russian relations’ overall would also help the company,” narrates The Intercept.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-State-Department-Record
Economist for the Elite Demands End of US Cash Economy Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told members of the global elite gathered at the annual World Economic Forum that the United States should abolish paper money and embrace a purely digital currency. The rationale for this radical initiative would be the need to combat corruption and impose transparency on financial transactions.

“The lack of transparency in global financial markets, the secrecy havens that the Panama Papers exposed, just reinforced what we already knew,” Stiglitz said to an audience of people who make extensive use of such secrecy havens. “There is a global framework for both corruption and tax evasion and tax avoidance,” he continued.

“The fact that you can hide ill-gotten gains so easily in these secrecy havens really provides incentives for people to engage in this activity as they can get the economic returns and then enjoy the benefits of those returns,” Stiglitz pontificated. “If there were not these secrecy havens then the benefits from engaging in these kinds of illicit activity would be much diminished.”

What Stiglitz and his fellow elites desire is not to make their own dealings transparent to the public, but to expose the public at large to unstinting scrutiny and regulation. To that end, he summarized, “I believe very strongly that countries like the United States could and should move to a digital currency,” despite important issues of “privacy” and “cyber-security.”

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Canadian Surveillance Law Abolishes Medical Privacy C-51, a proposed law currently being debated by the Canadian Parliament, poses an acute threat to the privacy of Canadian citizens – especially where matters of personal health care are concerned. Nominally a counter-terrorism measure, C-51 would vastly expand the already energetic data collection efforts being carried out by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

“This past November, Federal Courts in Canada concluded that CSIS has been accessing the metadata of Canadian citizens for more than ten years, illegally,”observes the Irish Tech News. This is done through a program called the Operational Data Analysis Centre (ODAC), which collects and retains that information in secret, much like the NSA has done for decades. Not even that country’s courts were notified of the ongoing data collection until late last year. As the Canadian federal court summarized, “The program is capable of drawing links between various sources and enormous amounts of data that no human being would be capable of.”

More alarming still is the fact that the CSIS – like its Big Brother in the US, the NSA – “collected data on people who weren’t even under investigation. This is `associated data’ on third parties who aren’t even deemed to be threats to security, and for whom there were no warrants to surveil.” All of the data collected by CSIS are retained, whether or not they involve actual suspects. Despite perfunctory expressions of concern and outrage issued by various Canadian legislators and leftist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, C-51 would further extend the powers of CSIS, effectively rewarding it for decades of criminal misconduct.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Notorious Mercenary acting as Unofficial Trump Adviser For conservatives who seek to beat back the metastasizing federal bureaucracy, Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education is among his most encouraging appointments. However, she may be part of a very troubling package deal. DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of the notorious, scandal-plagued mercenary firm once called Blackwater International.

Prince is advising the Trump transition team “on matters related to intelligence and defense, including weighing in on candidates for the defense and state departments,” reports The Intercept, citing “a former senior US official who has advised the Trump transition.”

Last July, Prince told Steve Bannon, who will be a senior presidential adviser, “that the Trump administration should recreate a version of the Phoenix Program, the CIA assassination ring that operated during the Vietnam War, to fight ISIS,” recalls Jeremy Scahill, author of the definitive book on Blackwater and its record in Iraq. “Such a program, Prince said, could kill or capture `the funders of Islamic terror and that would even be the wealthy radical Islamist billionaires funding it from the Middle East, and any of the other illicit activities they’re in.”

During the Iraq war, whistleblowers within Blackwater disclosed how “Prince encouraged an environment in which Iraqis were killed for sport,” writes Scahill. Lawsuits and related investigations prompted Prince to sell Blackwater and open a Hong Kong-based mercenary firm called Frontier Services Group that now works on contract with the Communist government in Beijing.

“The Trump presidency could result in Prince working for both Beijing and the White House,” Scahill predicts.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Hollywood Addicted to Beijing’s Bucks’s-Bucks Hollywood was besotted with Barack Obama, and is openly antagonistic toward Donald Trump. It is also becoming increasingly dependent on investment capital from China – which may dry up quickly if the Trump administration acts on the President-elect’s frequent threats to pursue economic brinksmanship with Beijing.

“Chinese companies poured record amounts of capital into Hollywood in 2016 – a trend eagerly embraced by the US film industry,” observes the Hollywood Reporter. Dali Wanda Group purchased Legendary Entertainment – whose recent films include Christopher Nolan’s Batman series – and also bought Dick Clark Productions. Its rival, Jack Ma’s Alibaba conglomerate, “made a major investment in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment,” and a third Chinese company, Perfect World Pictures, “put $500 million into 50 films from Universal.”

Three years ago, Spielberg and fellow legendary director George Lucas warned that Hollywood was on the brink of a crisis owing to a developing entertainment glut and over-production of hugely expensive blockbuster films. Tinseltown’s wildly improvident spending habits have made it dependent on Chinese cash – which has produced its own set of complications.

Suspicious that some quasi-private companies are using overseas investment in Hollywood to disguise capital flight, the Communist government in Beijing is imposing tighter regulatory controls on such transactions. Trump’s appointment of Peter Navarro, whose published works include a book entitled Death by China, to head the White House National Trade Council prompted Beijing to warn of a potential “showdown with the U.S.” – a conflict in which Hollywood might become collateral damage.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Bucks
“Trumponomics” Taking Over Conservative Movement?“Trumponomics”-Taking-Over-Conservative-Movement? Decades ago, free market advocate Leonard Read composed a brief parable entitled “I, Pencil,” that described how that common, unglamorous writing instrument was tangible proof of the benefits of free trade. The spontaneous, profit-driven cooperation of people from many countries was necessary in order to create a common pencil. This was made possible, Read explained, by “the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring [the pencil] into being. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work.”

As Donald Trump prepares to become the 45th U.S. President, many conservatives, and even some professed libertarians, are abandoning their previous devotion to the free market and embracing the idea of Trump as an economic nationalist “master mind,” who will punish American-owned businesses if they relocate production abroad.

“Making products in the US isn’t inherently bad or good,” points out economic analyst John Sulzer. Those decisions are best made by the owners of the companies involved, who will decide whether outsourcing is economically wise. Some companies, such as Channellock, have sustained their domestic manufacturing for a century because their well-established reputation for quality earns the loyalty of consumers willing to pay higher prices.

“If Ford, Chrysler, Carrier, and other companies decide to stay in America because of expected deregulation and lower taxation, that’s good,” concludes Sulzer. “If they do so because of expected protectionism, that’s bad.”

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trumponomics”-Taking-Over-Conservative-Movement?
Trump Team Shuns Davos Elitist Gathering Bloomberg reports that the Trump transition team had made a conscious decision not to dispatch a representative to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A senior official told Bloomberg that “the president-elect thought it would betray his populist-fueled movement to have a presence at the gathering in the Swiss Alps. The group of billionaires and political leaders represents the power structure that fueled the populist anger that helped Trump win the presidential election, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss the matter.”

There was a brief meeting between Trump’s staff and World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab in December.

Leftist commentator Naomi Klein has expressed the view that Trump’s upset victory in November was a backlash against what she characterized as “The Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cozy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous.”

Previewing this week’s elitist assembly in Switzerland, Reuters observed that the 3,000 business, political and academic leaders meeting in the Swiss Alps “find themselves increasingly out of step with many voters and populist leaders around the world who distrust elites. And this time the increasingly angry world is closely watching.”

Understandably alarmed over the rising global tide of political populism, several prominent participants in this year’s Davos event have condemned populism as a threat to world peace.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump: “One China” Policy may be Renegotiated“One-China”-Policy-may-be-Renegotiated Beijing has been adamant about preserving the existing “One China” policy, in which the Communist government on the mainland is treated as the sole legitimate representative of both that country and the inhabitants of Taiwan. Donald Trump, however, has gone out of his way to say that the Kissinger-negotiated policy is subject to renegotiation.

Trump’s phone conversation with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in December prompted Beijing to file a formal complaint, and reportedly prompted the Communist government to seize an unmanned underwater vehicle in the South China Sea. Several prominent Chinese government spokesmen have said that preserving the One China policy is non-negotiable. Trump, however, considers himself the negotiator nonpareil, and maintains that he can persuade Beijing to be more flexible.

Defending his phone call with President Tsai, Mr. Trump pointed out that the U.S. “sold them $2 billion of military equipment last year. We can sell them $2 billion of the latest and greatest military equipment but we’re not allowed to accept a phone call. First of all it would have been very rude not to accept the phone call."

Reverting to a prominent campaign theme, Trump repeated his accusation that China is engaging in unfair trade practices by artificially devaluing its currency.

“Our companies can’t compete with them now because our currency is strong and it’s killing us,” he complained.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“One-China”-Policy-may-be-Renegotiated
Ryan: Mass Deportations “Not Happening”“Not-Happening” Whether or not Donald Trump intends to keep his promise to deport millions of immigrants illegally residing in the United States, House Speaker Paul Ryan has said definitively that this policy objective would not have his support.

According to CBS News, Ryan and other Congressional Republicans who have huddled with the Trump transition team working on the issue of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalspolicy are seek some solution that would allow immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids to remain in the country.

“Hundreds of thousands of these immigrants gained temporary protections and work permits from President Obama,” CBS points out. “While campaigning for president, Donald Trump promised to undo those protections, putting the immigrants at risk of deportation, although he said last month he hoped to `work something out’ to help them. “

When asked about the matter by a woman identifying herself as a DACA recipient during a CNN town hall, Ryan replied that “What we have to do is find a way to make sure that you can get right with the law, and we’ve got to do this in a good way so that the rug doesn’t get pulled out from under you and your family gets separated.”

Pressed by CNN anchor Jake Tapper about Trump’s plan for a “deportation force” to remove an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, Ryan responded, “I’m here to tell you in Congress, it’s not happening.”

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Not-Happening”
Food Stamps and Obesity Drinks Citing statistics from the Agricultural Department’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- more commonly referred to as food stamps – the New York Times reported that soda and other junk foods are high on the list of purchases made by poor households receiving the subsidy.

“For years, dozens of cities, states and medical groups have urged changes to SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to help improve nutrition among the 43 million poorest Americans who receive food stamps,” relates the Times. “Specifically, they have called for restrictions so that food stamps cannot be used to buy junk food or sugary soft drinks. But the food and beverage industries have spent millions opposing such measures, and the U.S.D.A. has denied every request, saying that selectively banning certain foods would be unfair to food stamp users and create too much red tape.”

Social engineers want to fine-tune the redistribution program in order to subsidize healthier choices. Of course, the US Constitution does not authorize federal subsidies of this kind to support sugar addicts or people who follow exemplary diets.

One interesting side note is the fact that the original version of the Times story overstated the findings of the USDA report. The Times initially claimed that food stamp recipients spend nearly ten percent of their grocery bills on soda. The USDA report says that the actual figure is 5.4 percent. In comparison, households that are not enrolled in the SNAP program spend an estimated four percent of their grocery shopping budget on soft drinks.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Popular Privacy App Vulnerable to Snooping Facebook subscribers who confide in assurances from the social media platform that no one can intercept messages sent through its WhatsApp encryption feature have been seriously misled, warns the Guardian of London.

A security vulnerability that can be used to allow Facebook and others to intercept and read encrypted messages has been found within its WhatsApp messaging service,” the paper reports. “Facebook claims that no one can intercept WhatsApp messages, not even the company and its staff, ensuring privacy for its billion-plus users. But new research shows that the company could in fact read messages due to the way WhatsApp has implemented its end-to-end encryption protocol.”

WhatsApp has become a preferred communication tool for diplomats, activists, and political dissidents. Its encryption “relies on the generation of unique security keys, using the acclaimed Signal protocol,” which are traded and verified between users. However, it also has the ability to generate new encryption keys for offline users, which compels the sender to re-encrypt undelivered messages using the new decryption keys. This effectively permits WhatsApp to intercept and read the users’ messages. Cryptography expert Tobias Boelter of the University of California, Berkley points out that “If WhatsApp is asked by a government agency to disclose its messaging records, it can effectively grant access due to the change in keys.”

WhatsApp’s vulnerability has made it “a gold mine for security agencies” and “a huge threat for freedom of speech,” argues Professor Kirstie Ball, co-director and founder of the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance, and Privacy.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama’s Last-Minute Clemency Includes Pardon for Baseball Immortal Willie McCovey’s-Last-Minute-Clemency-Includes-Pardon-for-Baseball-Immortal-Willie-McCovey Shortly after announcing the commutation of former Army Private Bradley Manning’s 35-year prison term, Barack Obama quietly issued a pardon for 64 others– including Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.

Following a career in which he hit 521 home runs – tying for the number 20 spot on the all-time list with fellow Cooperstown titans Ted Williams and Frank Thomas – McCovey, like many other retired ballplayers, supplemented his income with sales of autographed memorabilia. Acting with the ruthless hostility toward honest commerce for which they are properly notorious, investigators with the IRS filed tax evasion charges against McCovey. In 1996, he and fellow Hall of Famer Duke Snider pleaded guilty before US District Judge Edward R. Korman in Brooklyn, and were sentenced to two years of probation. They were also hit with a $5,000 fine.

“It’s one of those things that [were] overlooked at the time and I do accept responsibility for it,” declared McCovey at his sentencing hearing. “The only thing I’d like to say is while I’ve always tried to do the right things, I have never willingly tried to cheat the government.”

While his earnestness is obvious and his civic-mindedness commendable, McCovey should not upbraid himself for neglecting to pay every cent demanded of him by government-licensed extortionists. Obama’s whimsical gesture now relieves the baseball immortal of a federal criminal conviction that should never have existed.

Obama did not extend similar leniency to other so-called tax cheats, such as actor Wesley Snipes or economist Irwin Schiff, the latter of whom died in prison but could have been the recipient of a posthumous pardon.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Last-Minute-Clemency-Includes-Pardon-for-Baseball-Immortal-Willie-McCovey
Actress Zoe Saldana: Liberals Should Learn from Trump Like nearly everybody else in her profession, film actress Zoe Saldana is a devoted and outspoken liberal. Unlike most of her peers, however, she does not see Donald Trump’s election as an harbinger of the apocalypse, and insists that the Hollywood-centered Left needs to learn from that part of the American population that supported Trump.

“We got cocky and became arrogant and we also became bullies,” reflects Saldana, whose film credits include the Star Trek, Avatar, and Guardians of the Galaxy series. “We were trying to single out a man for all the things he was doing wrong – and that created empathy in a big group of people in America that felt bad for him and that are believing in his promises.”

In contrast to many who share her political views, Saldana says she is learning from Trump’s victory “with a lot of humility. … I just say he’s now elected and we as a country need to support whoever’s the president because that’s what the country’s based on. However that happened, he’s there, and let’s go.”

In her most recent film, “Live by Night,” the Dominican-American actress plays the consort of a Cuban gangster during the Prohibition era – a time when many police officials and judges publicly touted their affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan. Once again distinguishing herself from the hyperventilating Hollywood Left, Saldana insists that “If we have people continue to be strong and educate ourselves and stand by equal rights and treat everyone with respect, we won’t go back to those times.”

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Right Mimics “Safe Space” Political Correctness“Safe-Space”-Political-Correctness It is a Newtonian principle of politics that every radical action generates an equally radical opposite reaction, and the ongoing plague of political correctness is no exception to this rule. A bill introduced by two Republican legislators in Arizona would ban any courses or events in state-funded colleges that promote the concept of “social justice” or identity politics.

State Representative Bob Thorpe, co-sponsor of the bill, told a Tucson newspaper that the measure was inspired by an Arizona State University class on “Whiteness and Race Theory.”

“If you … look at an individual whose ancestors, because of their race … are linked to people that did something 100 to 200 years ago, that person who’s living today has little or no association with what happened 200 years ago,” Thorpe contends. “So let’s not have a wedge issue and cause that person to be vilified when they absolutely had nothing to do with some event that happened in the past.”

The proposed bill would not only impose restrictions on classroom curricula, but also ban “events or activities” that, among other things, are seen as promoting “division” or the “overthrow” of the federal government. Reason magazine commentator Anthony L. Fisher warns the bill’s sponsors that this clause of the bill “would probably not be of great benefit to the free speech rights of Second Amendment die-hards who frequently argue that the right to bear arms was always meant as a bulwark against a tyrannical government.”

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Safe-Space”-Political-Correctness
The View from the Left-Most Fringe Hillary Clinton “is the rightful president-elect, and courts must use their broad discretionary powers with which they are vested to enjoin an illegitimate president from taking office,” pleaded Huffington Post contributor Alex Mohajer, a self-described “political writer and commentator” who has also built a career at the periphery of Hollywood. Giving voice to the fantasy-derived hopes of a small, embittered fringe, Mohajer is demanding that the federal court system intervene prior to the Inauguration by ordering a new election.

In urging unprecedented judicial intervention, Mohajer – who claims to have a juris doctor degree – doesn’t cite the text of the Constitution. Instead he contends that “federal courts are vested with broad discretionary powers” in shaping “equity decrees.”

“While true that a presidential election has never been overturned, cases like Donohue v. Board of Elections, which arose from the 1976 presidential election, have ruled that the authority exists to order a special election, even at the presidential level.” A federal ruling in the 1994 case Marks v. Stinson resulted in the removal of a sitting state senator after the winning candidate was implicated in voter fraud. Neither of those cases offers a precedent suitable for the arguments made by Mohajer and his comrades, as there is no evidence that Trump benefited from irregularities or foreign interference in the voting process itself – even if we were to accept the still-unproven assertion that the Russian government was behind the damaging email leaks from the DNC’s email servers.

Mohajer’s frenzied polemic urges Americas to “resist our tendency to force closure” – which is to say, he – like others of his persuasion – intends to nurture this grievance during Trump’s entire tenure in office.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Amid Economic Disintegration, Venezuela Unveils New Fiat Currency,-Venezuela-Unveils-New-Fiat-Currency The Marxist government of Venezuela began issuing new currency notes on January 16 to replace the 100-bolivar bill, which has been made worthless through hyperinflation. At the time it was phased out, the 100-bolivar note, formerly the highest denomination in circulation, was worth a little less than three cents on the country’s black market – which, as is always the case in a state-dominated society, is the only place a functioning economy exists.

“I never thought I’d have such a big bill in my hands,” exclaimed 35-year-old sales clerk Milena Molina, as she examined a small handful of newly minted 500-bolivar notes she had retrieved from an ATM. “But with the inflation we’re suffering, the notes we had weren’t worth anything and you always had to go around with huge packages of bills.”

The new soon-to-be-worthless official Venezuela government scrip is issued in denominations ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars, and at the time of issue the highest-denomination was worth roughly $5.60 on the black market. Most of the larger bills were not available on the first day, and one bank where the 500 bolivar notes were available exhausted its supply within a few hours. Elsewhere anxious Venezuelans queued up at ATMs in the hope of withdrawing sufficient currency to meet their needs during the brief interval in which they will retain their spending power.

With the country’s inflation rate expected to hit four digits this year, the government of socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro reportedly is preparing to order another batch of currency with at least one more zero.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Venezuela-Unveils-New-Fiat-Currency
Wisconsin Congressman Wants to Abolish the ATF The agency known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly called the ATF) was born as the Bureau of Prohibition – a brief experiment in federal behavior control that was made possible by the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution. When that amendment was repealed, the agency lost any claim to legal legitimacy – yet rather than being abolished, it was rechristened and given an even more expansive mandate.

Over the past 25 years, the ATF has been consistently mired in misconduct, often of a murderous nature. The April 1993 slaughter of the Branch Davidians in their sanctuary outside Waco, Texas began with an unnecessary ATF armed raid called “Operation Showtime” – which was staged to deflect attention from an internal corruption scandal. More recently the agency was involved in the “Operation Fast and Furious” imbroglio, in which it pressured federally licensed gun dealers to sell weapons to agents of Mexican cartels in a supposed sting operation.

No provision of the US Constitution authorizes any agency of the federal government to regulate alcohol, tobacco, or explosives, and the Second Amendment explicitly forecloses federal infringement of the right to own and carry firearms. This means that the ATF is literally a bastard agency carrying out an illegitimate mission. Wisconsin Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has proposed a bill called the ATF Elimination Act that would impose an immediate hiring freeze at the agency and order its administrators to prepare a report on transferring its existing functions to the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other departments.

“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that has been branded by failure and lacks a clear mission,” declares Representative Sensenbrenner. Abolishing the ATF would be “a logical place to begin draining the swamp and acting in the best interest of the American Taxpayer,” he insists.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
BLM Landgrab in Southwest Oregon The Bureau of Land Management has announced that more than 100,000 acres of federally controlled lands in southwest Oregon will be withdrawn from development for at least 20 years. The affected acreage is found in Josephine and Curry counties.

According to the AP, the order, which was issued by the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, “withdraws these lands from settlement, sale, location, and entry” under federal statutes dealing with public lands and mining operations. The new restrictions, which purportedly protect watersheds from potentially adverse effects of commercial development, apply to mining claims and geothermal leases. Congress will use the 20-year-period to examine potential legislation that would make those restrictions permanent.

According to the BLM, the withdrawal “does not prohibit or restrict any other authorized uses on these lands, including “ongoing or future mining exploration or extraction operations on valid pre-existing mining claims.”

In defiance of constitutional restrictions on federal land ownership, the central government claims control over more than one-half of the land in the State of Oregon – including more than ninety percent of the acreage in the state’s south-east corner.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Embattled Idaho Legislator Evicted from Committees, Finds Allies,-Finds-Allies Idaho State Representative Heather Scott was removed from her committee assignments after making disparaging comments suggesting that female legislators could only obtain leadership positions in exchange for sexual favors. In a gesture of support for Scott, five other members of the state House of Representatives asked to be removed from their committee assignments.

The comments that prompted the punishment were made not in a public forum, but in a private conversation that was overheard by colleagues and then related to House Speaker Scott Bedke by state representative Christy Perry – who last year was exposed having an extra-marital affair with state senator Jim Guthrie.

“I’m deeply concerned about the integrity of this body and mixed messages being sent to the communities of Idaho,” protested State Representative Ron Nate, a Republican from Rexburg.

Representatives Scott and Nate are part of an informal grassroots caucus in the State Legislature that often finds itself at odds with the state’s dominant Republican establishment.

Scott has suggested that Bedke opportunistically sanctioned her as an act of retaliation. “It is probably no coincidence that the latest 'stir' from within the catacombs of 'leadership' comes on the heels of the recently published freedom web site to keep better tabs on legislation and legislators,” she declared shortly after being purged from her committee appointments.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Finds-Allies
Mexican Drug Lord “Ordered” To Pay Damages in 1984 Murder of DEA Agent“Ordered”-To-Pay-Damages-in-1984-Murder-of-DEA-Agent Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, the imprisoned co-founder of Mexico’s Guadalajara narcotics syndicate, has been ordered by a Mexican federal judge to pay $1 million in compensation to the families DEA agent Enrique Camarena and a Mexican official, who were kidnaped, tortured, and murdered in 1985. The order dictates that roughly $500,000 be paid to Camerena’s son, and an identical amount to the wife and five children of the Mexican pilot who was killed with him.

Fonseca, who is 86 and in poor health, is serving a 40-year sentence for his role in the murders, as is fellow crime boss Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo. Cartel co-founder Rafael Caro Quintero was also convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison, but was “mistakenly” set free in 2013, and is currently at large.

Former bodyguard Rene Lopez Romero, who was a key witness for the prosecution, testified that he saw “two Mexican Cabinet members and the governor of the state of Jalisco enter or leave two meetings” where the kidnapping and murder of Camarena was being planned, summarized a December 1992 Los Angeles Times account of the trial. He also testified that an employee of the US Consulate “pointed out the drug agent” to gunmen for the syndicate, who abducted him and took him away to be tortured and killed.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Ordered”-To-Pay-Damages-in-1984-Murder-of-DEA-Agent
Dutch Health Minister Endorses Eradication of Downs Syndrome People For decades, the government of The Netherlands has actively encouraged euthanasia for people suffering from incurable diseases, and from degenerative conditions associated with aging. It has now introduced a prenatal screening program that will be used to decide which developing children are genetically unfit to live.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing, or NIPT, can be used to detect a wide range of chromosomal and genetic variations through a blood test. That procedure is now available to all pregnant Dutch women. Following introduction of the NIPT protocol in Iceland, 100 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Downs syndrome were aborted; in Denmark, the corresponding figure was 98 percent.

During a recent hearing in parliament, members of the Dutch opposition party asked Minister of Health Edith Schippers “if she planned to take any measures to prevent the near elimination of babies with Downs syndrome, which has happened in other countries.”

“If freedom of choice results in a situation that nearly no children with Down syndrome are being born, society should accept that,” replied Schippers, reflecting the eugenicist assumption that the individual right to life is contingent on that life being valued by others. Renate Lindeman of Downpride points out that while the NIPT “can potentially detect hundreds of conditions,” it is being used in a targeted fashion by a “small group of experts” for whom elimination of people with Down syndrome is the “primary goal.”

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Biden no Bipartisan Role Model The spectacle of Barack Obama conferring the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Vice President Joe Biden moved NBC news personality Matt Lauer to tears. Lauer reportedly signed a contract extension under which he will be paid $20 million a year to recite potted liberal platitudes to a dwindling audience for a dying television network.

"I'm glad there were no cameras in my apartment yesterday because I was just sitting there weeping .... I just burst out crying when I saw that moment,” Lauer said on the “Today” program. NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell professed to be similarly moved by the scene, describing Obama and Biden as having a “bond like we’ve never seen before. At times, more like a White House buddy movie than a political partnership.”

In that “buddy movie,” Biden was the comic relief, an odd but avuncular figure who supposedly transcended partisan politics. However, as National Review recalls, Biden's career serves as a neat summary for much of the ruthlessness that Americans hate about our government, and he has managed to use his gaffe-prone nature to disguise his record of intense, bitterly partisan politicking.

“This trick was perhaps never more evident than in his egregious treatment of Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork - whom he successfully prevented from reaching the Court - and his similar but failed effort to prevent Clarence Thomas's confirmation,” continues the publication, referring to the Delaware Democrat’s long term as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Biden treated these two men disgracefully and in doing so played a crucial role in distorting our judicial-confirmation process so severely that it will likely never recover. “

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Saturation Coverage of Bogus “Hacked Election” Story“Hacked-Election”-Story No tangible evidence has ever been presented that the Russian government was behind the computer hack that led to an avalanche of damaging email disclosures about the Clinton presidential campaign. Nonetheless, millions of Americans believe that Clinton’s loss is the direct result of unproven, and unspecified, Russian meddling in the election. This reflects the still-formidable ability of the legacy media to define the public narrative.

The same declassified intelligence report accusing the Russians of infiltrating the DNC’s email server explicitly ruled out actual Russian sabotage of the election, stating that “the types of systems Russian actors [purportedly] targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.” This statement has been ignored by those responsible for propagating the “hacked election” meme.

From December 8 to January 8, analysts at the Media Research Center have documented, reporters and correspondents for ABC, CBS and NBC repeated some variant on the loaded phrase “Russian hacking” at least 49 times in their morning and evening broadcasts. Significantly, mainline media coverage has blurred the distinction between a cyber-attack on the actual voting process – which did not happen, and could not happen in the decentralized US system – and the alleged Russian hack of the DNC email servers – which has never been proven. Those two claims were amalgamated into a single seamless accusation that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened directly in the election to install Donald Trump – a claim which has since been invoked by dozens of Democratic congressmen who have announced they are boycotting the Inauguration.

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hacked-Election”-Story
Bernie Sanders Rebuked for Opposing Gender Revolution Bernie Sanders is an unabashed socialist, but apparently isn’t a gender revolutionary. During a CNN town hall meeting, correspondent Andrew Cuomo asked the former Democratic presidential contender what he would say to American voters who see that party as “more concerned with what bathroom people go into [than] how they earn a living?”

An ironic smile playing on his features, Sanders replied, “Very fair question.”

That response triggered Graham Vyse of The New Republic magazine, who ranted that “it wasn’t a fair question. It was based on a pernicious premise that the senator should have challenged.”

“Ensuring transgender Americans can use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identities isn’t some tertiary issue,” continue dVyse. “It’s a vital anti-discrimination measure. And, for transgender Americans in the workplace, it’s very much about being treated equally as they earn a living.”

Upbraiding Sanders for displaying inadequate understanding of his revolutionary duty, Vyse protested that during the town hall event, Sanders didn’t “mention bathrooms – or transgender Americans – even once. And he wonders why critics say he only cares about economic issues.”

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Cubans Claim Obama Migration Policy Change “Revenge” for Trump’s Win“Revenge”-for-Trump’s-Win The Obama administration’s decision to end the longstanding policy granting automatic residency to Cuban refugees was met with gratitude from the island’s Communist government, concern from the Cuban population, and outrage from many Cuban-Americans.

"Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian relief will be subject to removal,” declared Obama in announcing the new policy, under which the US will treat “Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries.”

Barack Obama’s announcement that Washington is ending the so-called “wet foot/dry foot” rule for Cuban migration – under which any Cuban who sets foot on US soil is granted refugee status – has left many fleeing Cubans “in limbo,” protested Cuban resident Leonardo Serrano. “They won’t be able to get there, and when they return they won’t have anything” because they have “sold houses [and] renounced everything” before setting out for the United States.

Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s top diplomat for US affairs, applauded Obama’s policy change, saying that the previous refugee posture “was creating serious problems for the security of Cuba, [and] for the security of the United States,” a matter for which the regime in Havana had not previously expressed concern. Many Cuban-Americans suspect that the change was motivated by a desire for political revenge, rather than a move toward normalization of relations with Cuba. Jose Enrique Manresa, a 47-year-old Cuban now stranded in Mexico as a result of the change in immigration policy on Thursday, suggested that the outgoing president's decision is aimed at punishing Cuban-Americans for supporting Trump.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Revenge”-for-Trump’s-Win
Title IX Jihadists Target Trump Nominee Militant feminists and other Title IX extremists are among the most strident critics of Betsy DeVos, who was nominated to become the Trump administration’s Secretary of Education, reports Reason magazine. Title IX is a federal statute enacted in 1972 that forbids sex-based discrimination at any educational institution receiving federal funding.

Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey, who is a member of the committee that will vote on Mrs. DeVos’s nomination, insists that she must give a detailed accounting for what he considers the unacceptable view “that it should be more difficult for campus sexual assault victims to receive justice” – a predictably dishonest representation of her views on the question.

In recent years, Title IX enforcement offices at colleges and universities have waged an unremitting war against due process rights for male students accused of sexual assault and similar misconduct. Prevailing feminist dogma treats all men as incipient rapists, and accusations by female students are taken as self-validating. Recognizing the innocence of the accused until his guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt is denounced as “blaming the victim.”

Since Mrs. DeVos has not spoken in detail about her opinions regarding Title IX, her critics are imputing views to her on the basis of the fact that she is a donor to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has been critical of campus feminism. Lisa Maatz of the American Association of University Women complains that Mrs. DeVos’s donations are “a red flag.”

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
To Fight Crime, Make Police Locally Accountable,-Make-Police-Locally-Accountable Federal control over local law enforcement is both practically unwise and constitutionally impermissible, and is opposed by many police unions and their supporters among law and order conservatives. That opposition, however, is not consistent. Police unions have complained that the Obama administration has hindered police by conducting Justice Department investigations into alleged local police abuse and corruption. But they have also condemned Obama for taking small steps to end federally subsidized transfers of Pentagon war-fighting equipment to local police agencies.

As one prominent exponent of the Support Your Local Police perspective summarized, they don’t oppose federal law enforcement subsidies; they object to the strings that come with them. In the wake of the Justice Department’s newly released report on police corruption in Chicago, many conservatives claim that federal scrutiny and public criticism have contributed to that city’s irrepressible violent crime epidemic. Commentator Radley Balko of the Washington Post suggests that one potential explanation for the crime surge is that “police practices have eroded residents’ respect for the police, the courts and the rule of law.”

“Whether it’s Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson and St. Louis County, or now Chicago, we’ve consistently seen that the cities in which violent crime remains aberrantly high are also served by police departments with long histories of institutional abuse, bigotry and/or corruption, and where transparency and real accountability are close to nonexistent,” Balko elaborates. “There are of course countless variables that contribute to a city’s crime rate. This isn’t the only one. But it’s one that’s chronically overlooked.”

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Make-Police-Locally-Accountable
Trump Would Replace Obamacare with … Trumpcare?…-Trumpcare? Following initial moves by the Republican-led Congress to repeal Obamacare, Donald Trump has announced his plan to replace that program with an initiative that would strongly resemble it – and might even impose even more onerous federal burdens on the health care system.

In a telephone interview with the Washington Post, Mr. Trump said that “he is nearing completion of a plan to replace President Obama’s signature health-care law with the goal of `insurance for everybody,’ while also vowing to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid.”

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” insisted Trump. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

As is his habit, Trump declined to flesh out his grandiose promises with mundane specifics. What he is describing appears to be something very similar to a government-mandated single-payer arrangement, which would involve even more radical government intervention that Obamacare imposed.

Referring to pharmaceutical companies, Trump said that “They’re politically protected, but not anymore.” Despite his reputation for business acumen, Mr. Trump continues to exhibit very little understanding of how the pricing mechanism works – or how government-dictated price controls result in shortages.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700…-Trumpcare?
California Governor Brown Seeks Huge Tax Increase to Save Employee Pensions Just as Chicago residents face steep tax increases this year in order to pay the cost of government employee pensions, Californians – who already are among the most over-taxed residents of the U.S. – will probably confront breathtaking new demands from the state’s revenue collectors this year, and for the same reason.

On January 9, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state’s General Fund Budget suffers a $1.6 billion deficit – despite increases in tax collection by more than fifty percent over the past nine years. To make up the shortfall, Brown is expected to propose a 42 percent increase in gasoline taxes – and an increase of 141 percent in vehicle registration fees.

This would be a severely regressive tax increase, meaning it would result in disproportionate hardship for low-income California residents. Much of it would be devoted to maintaining the exceptionally lucrative pensions enjoyed by government employees. The governor’s proposed 2017-2018 state budget includes a $524 million increase for the California Public Employee Retirement System, which would be an eleven percent increase over the $5.3 billion spent for that purpose in 2017.

California has a personal tax rate of 13.3 percent – the highest in the nation – and the sixth highest corporate tax rate, which is nearly nine percent. Predictably, the tax and regulatory burden have combined to make the state a net exporter in terms of both personal and business migration.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
The Lonely Stand of an academic “Hate Criminal”“Hate-Criminal” Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto became the focus of an international hate campaign because he insists on using clear, proper, respectful English when addressing students and fellow faculty. Because the psychology professor refuses to accommodate the demands of gender revolutionaries, he has been arraigned as a hate criminal by the pronoun police.

“The 54-year-old has been at the center of a debate about gender and free speech ever since he posted videos to YouTube last fall in which he said he would not use the preferred, gender-neutral pronouns of some students and faculty,” reports the Toronto Star, which goes on to explain that what is happening is not a debate, but rather a politically correct inquisition. “The videos drew fire from trans activists, faculty, and student and labor unions. Critics accused Peterson of helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive. Protests, sometimes violent, broke out on campus, and the controversy attracted international media coverage.”

Peterson went public with this resolution because of Bill C-16, a proposed amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “gender expression,” and a corresponding “human resources” initiative at the University of Toronto. Dr. Peterson insists that these measures imperil freedom of speech – and the demands that he be censured and suppressed eloquently validate his warnings.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hate-Criminal”
San Diego Ditches NFL Team, Saves Tax Victims,-Saves-Tax-Victims As it was in the days of decadent late-imperial Rome, contemporary professional sports are a government-subsidized enterprise. Corporate socialism at the municipal and state level is commonplace as owners of sports franchises demand taxpayer support for building and maintaining sports stadiums – often using the threat of moving a beloved team to a different city if those demands aren’t met.

When Dean Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers NFL team, issued that threat, tax victims living in that city didn’t blink. As a result, the Chargers are relocating to Los Angeles. They will play at least their first two seasons in a stadium built for that city’s Major League Soccer team.

Given the over-saturated sports market in that city, and the dismal record recently compiled by the Chargers, it is possible that the team might fold or relocate again before getting a stadium of their own. As nationally syndicated radio sports commentator Jim Rome observes, “L.A. doesn’t want the Chargers in L.A. The Rams don’t want the Chargers in L.A. The NFL doesn’t want the Chargers in L.A. And the Chargers really don’t want the Chargers here in L.A.”

Spanos had demanded the construction of a new, $1.2 billion stadium, with the NFL donating roughly one-quarter of that cost. Another $250-300 million was expected to come from corporate naming rights deal. This would have left nearly half of the estimated cost to be paid by the city – which is to say, by those who would be taxed through the city government.

“At the end of the day, the Chargers wanted a lot more taxpayer money than we could have ever agreed to," summarized San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "We could not support a deal that is not in the best interests of San Diego."

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Saves-Tax-Victims
Armed Citizen Rescues Ambushed Arizona State Trooper Many proponents of civilian disarmament insist that only military personnel and law enforcement officers should be permitted to carry firearms. Leaving aside the fact that disarming innocent people leaves them vulnerable to private criminals and abusive state employees, there are times when an armed private citizen will come to the rescue of a law enforcement officer under fire.

NBC News reports that “An armed passing motorist was credited with saving the life of an Arizona state trooper by shooting and killing a gunman who ambushed the trooper in the middle of a lonely interstate highway before dawn” on January 12. The 27-year-veteran trooper was hospitalized with gunshot wounds in his chest and right shoulder after responding to a shots-fired call when he encountered a rollover accident. As he began to lay down emergency flares, the trooper was shot twice and then attacked by an unknown assailant.

A passing motorist who witnessed the attack stopped, drew his personal firearm, and ordered the assailant to stop – and then fatally shot him when he refused.

"I would just say at this point, thank you, because I don't know that my trooper would be alive today without his assistance," Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said after he met with the seriously injured trooper at the hospital. The rescuer was identified as a man traveling to California in the company of his wife.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Law Enforcement Now Has Immense, Exploitable Database of Intercepted Communications,-Exploitable-Database-of-Intercepted-Communications Barack Obama has used the closing days of his presidency to expand the powers of the executive branch that his successor will inherit – including the use of covertly intercepted communications by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, notes the New York Times. The Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government's 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

“The new rules allow employees doing intelligence work for those agencies to sift through raw data collected under a broad, Reagan-era executive order that gives the NSA virtually unlimited authority to intercept communications abroad,” summarizes The Intercept. “Previously, NSA analysts would filter out information they deemed irrelevant and mask the names of innocent Americans before passing it along.”

Under Executive Order 12333, “the NSA taps phone and internet backbones throughout the world, records the phone calls of entire countries, vacuums up traffic from Google and Yahoo’s data centers overseas, and more.”

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden points out that “As he hands the White House to Trump, Obama just unchained NSA from basic limits on passing raw intercepts to others.”

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Exploitable-Database-of-Intercepted-Communications
Renowned Digital Savant Rudy Giuliani to Head the Trump Cybersecurity Team He wasn’t selected to be Secretary of State, or head of the Department of Homeland Security, but former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been rewarded for the canine loyalty he displayed toward Donald Trump on the campaign trail: He will serve as an unofficial adviser to Trump on cybersecurity issues.

Politico points out that “Giuliani chairs the global cybersecurity practice at the law firm Greenberg Traurig, advising companies on security data and responding to breaches.” In addition, through his own Giuliani Partners security consulting firm, he “has worked for cyber-related clients, including identity theft protection company LifeLock and insurance giant Aon.”

The tech news site Gizmodo comments that “Silicon Valley has always had close ties with the US government. But it appears the Trump administration would like to make those ties even more explicit” by appointing Giuliani to head the new task force, which will be “comprised of various private tech companies.”

Motherboard notes that Giuliani appears to have no specialized knowledge in the field of cybersecurity, and his published writings on the subject have focused on complaints regarding privacy regulations.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama Places Last-Minute Restrictions on Coal Leases During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to reinvigorate coal production as a way to meet the country’s ever-growing energy demands and to reinvigorate employment. That promise explains a great deal of his support in economically struggling coal-producing states. As time expires on Barack Obama’s presidency, however, he has approved a slate of regulations that would hamper Trump’s plans to revive the coal industry.

Bloomberg reports that “The outgoing Obama administration issued a blueprint for overhauling the way coal on federal land is sold, making it tougher for President-elect Donald Trump to resume sales under decades-old procedures. The report released [on January 11] lays out a menu of potential options for policy makers to consider, including tacking a carbon fee onto coal leases to account for climate change, requiring payments into a fund that could help out-of-work miners and devastated communities -- and even halting sales altogether.”

Roughly forty percent of US coal is found on lands claimed by the federal government, much of it in the Powder Basin in Wyoming and Montana. Competition from inexpensive domestic natural gas, coupled with increasing regulatory costs, combined to drive down demand for coal. The Interior Department imposed a halt on issuing new coal mining leases in 2015 amid a lawsuit filed by two eco-radical groups, Friends of the Earth and the Western Organization of Resource Councils. A new set of lawsuits is possible If Trump reverses course and rescinds the ban on coal leases.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama’s Unprecedented Resource Grab’s-Unprecedented-Resource-Grab Unconstrained by the prospect of facing the electorate again, Barack Obama unleashed a flurry of late-term executive orders, including national monument designations locking up more than 1.5 million acres in land throughout the western states. This action subverted local control of those lands, and closed down future energy development, uranium mining, oil drilling, natural gas production, and other productive use of the territory.

“While it’s nothing new,” comments MRC-TV, “Obama’s habit of unilaterally confiscating land has ramped up heading into the final stretch of his presidency. In the eight years he’s been in office, President Obama has seized more than 553 million acres of land” – including their associated water resources. This translates into 865,000 square miles of land seized and placed under federal control, which is sufficient “to cover the entire state of Texas more than three times over. This is the largest presidential land grab in US history. “

The 18 U.S. presidents who have held the office since passage of the Antiquities Act of 1906 have issued a total of 154 monument designations. Obama has invoked the act 29 times, meaning that he is personally responsible for about one-fifth of such executive actions over the course of more than 110 years. In 2016 alone, Obama used that provision to lock up more than 260 million acres, including a 100-million acre tract in Alaska that is roughly the size of the state of New Mexico.

Owing to executive actions of this kind, the federal government claims ownership of the majority of acreage in the western United States – including sixty-five percent of the land in Utah, and more than 80 percent of the land in Nevada.

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Unprecedented-Resource-Grab
Obama’s Lame Duck Land Lockup Continues’s-Lame-Duck-Land-Lockup-Continues On January 20th at 12:01 PM Eastern Time, Barack Obama will no longer be invested with the power to lock up federally controlled western lands by decree – and that prospect has clearly inspired him to exploit that power to the fullest extent before leaving office.

Obama issued an order on January 12 expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou national monument by 48,000 acres, thereby building on a previous lame-duck proclamation issued by Bill Clinton in 2000, just before he vacated the White House. This expanded monument encompasses land in Jackson and Klamath counties in Oregon, and California’s Siskiyou County.

In his six-page proclamation, Obama emphasized that the newly enhanced federal monument area “provides vital habitat connectivity.” That phrase is derived from the unratified United Nations Biodiversity Treaty, which was intended to supplant human ownership and use of land with a “biocentric” worldview in which preservation of animal and plant habitat would be treated as a paramount consideration. The UN-aligned non-governmental organizations that helped create the Biodiversity treaty are patiently implementing a scheme called the “Wildlands Project,” which envisions locking up at least half of the surface area of the United States in a series of interconnected biodiversity preserves – with human populations eventually herded into highly regulated urban governments.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Lame-Duck-Land-Lockup-Continues
Abortion Clinic “Blessed” by Religious Leaders“Blessed”-by-Religious-Leaders Whenever religious leaders assemble to promote protection for the right to life, the custodians of polite opinion depict such events as a threat to the civic order. No protests of that kind were prompted by a recent assembly of roughly two dozen religious leaders to confer their blessing on the newly completed Planned Parenthood abortuary in Washington, D.C., which is located next to the elite Two Rivers Public Charter School.

Among those in attendance at the ceremony were several self-identified Christian clergy, a rabbi, several Hindu priests, and a Muslim imam who participated via Skype. Prior to the public dedication, the religious representatives participated in what was described as a “prayer circle,” although the identity of the deity to whom the prayer was addressed was not disclosed in press accounts.

According to Laura Myers, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, the decision to kill a developing child is the product of “a sense of deep spirituality.” The dedication of the new abortion mill, she emphasized, was intended to “shift” the public narrative – from emphasizing the sanctity of life to pretending that the destruction of a child is in some sense a sanctified act.

“In almost every message to our staff, I talk about doing our sacred work,” Myers declared. The presence of religious figures at the event, she insisted, “confirms the sacredness of the work we do.”

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blessed”-by-Religious-Leaders
Authoritarianism and the “Trump Effect”“Trump-Effect” In an interview with left-leaning late night host Seth Meyers, Trump transition adviser Kellyanne Conway boasted of what she calls the “Trump Effect.”

“He has major employers deciding to move their factories out of Mexico and back to the United States and keep those jobs here,” Conway asserted, at some expense to the facts. “That’s what leaders do – they do that even before they are sworn in,” she claimed.

Meyers asked Conway if she was “OK with the [President-elect] sort of picking winners and losers in the free market via Twitter – because that seems like what he’s doing sometimes?”

“Not at all,” Conway replied. “What he’s doing is laying down incentives.”

As commentator Rick Miller of the free-market-focused Economic Policy Journal observes, Conway – speaking on behalf of the incoming Trump administration – “is telling us that this administration is not going to allow many individuals to employ their capital as they would like to.”

“The character of the Trump government could be described as proudly interventionist without an identifiable limiting principle,” Miller continues. “Property rights be damned. Trump in his omniscience knows and has always known how to better things for others; he is the personification of Hayek’s ‘fatal conceit.’”

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trump-Effect”
Marshals Seize Property from Deputy to Pay Settlement to his Victim Adams Lin literally fainted after reading a court order authorizing marshals to seize his car, clothes, flat-screen television, furniture, golf clubs, Samurai sword, fishing rods and computer.

The property was confiscated after Lin’s boss failed to make a $200,000 payment toward the $22.4 million civil damage award granted to a man who was left paralyzed through Lin’s occupational misconduct. Lin’s boss is Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, and he has adamantly refused to make payments to Dontrell Stephens, who was shot by Lin after the panicking deputy mistook the 19-year-old’s cell phone for a gun.

“There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait and find out what this is and get killed,” whined Sheriff Bradshaw on the day of the shooting. His department quickly exonerated Lin and promoted him – and then video of the encounter was released proving that the victim had never posed a threat to the deputy.

Florida law imposes a cap of $200,000 for civil settlements, which means that the state legislature will have to enact a special appropriation to pay the damage award. Rather than complying with the court order, Bradshaw filed an appeal. After the award was upheld last May, Bradshaw appealed again – which triggered an injunction leading to the seizure of property from the deputy who was directly responsible for the unlawful shooting of an innocent teenager.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Prince was a Goldbug The late pop artist known as Prince was renowned for his apparently inexhaustible talent as a composer, musician, and performer – and for his equally expansive collection of eccentricities. Owing to the fact that he died without adequate provision for the disposal of his estate, the IRS is now greedily taking inventory of the assets he acquired during a long and very productive career. This includes tens of millions of dollars in real estate, a fleet of expensive cars, and a vast catalog of unreleased music the value of which is difficult to calculate.

By one estimate, Prince – who was born Prince Rogers Nelson – owned nearly $300 million in assets, of which the ghoulish IRS is expected to claim roughly half. Perhaps the most intriguing line entry in the late pop star’s portfolio was a collection of 67 10-ounce gold bars that were classified as “Other Personal Property” and valued at more than $800,000. He also had more than $55,000 in cash on hand at the time of his death by a drug overdose.

Prince’s interest in gold reflects his skepticism about banking – and his interest in conspiratorial views of politics, which was shaped in some measure by black activist Dick Gregory. His non-mainstream views included acceptance of conspiracy theories regarding chemtrails and covert efforts to bring about radical depopulation.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Court Challenge to Cellphone Ban US government agencies, especially at the federal level, have created what could be described as the societal equivalent of a one-way mirror: Every public action and private communication of the citizenry is made transparent, while the most critical deliberations and decisions of the ruling class are made opaque. This is true even of what we are told are public trials. Only a few jurisdictions allow video recordings of trials, and even where this is permitted, only accredited news organizations are allowed to bring cameras into the courtroom.

Michigan resident Robert McKay attempted to record court proceedings on his iPhone but was forbidden to do so by a bailiff. He has filed a petition to the US Supreme Court, insisting that banning the private recording of court proceedings violates rights protected by the First, Fifth, and 14th Amendments.

“Recording and disseminating court proceedings serves the cardinal First Amendment value of protecting and promoting the free discussion of government affairs,” McKay contends in his petition for a Writ of Certiorari.

Because McKay was not directly threatened with prosecution, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed his claims. In his appeal to the Supreme Court, McKay contends that “the mere `existence of a statute’ implies a threat to prosecute,” and cites the 2014 Supreme Court Ruling in Susan B. Anthony List vs Driehaus to bolster his argument that “a plaintiff has standing to request pre-enforcement review of a statute or regulation when circumstances `render the threatened enforcement sufficiently imminent’” to merit judicial consideration.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Malware Expert: No, the Russian Hacking Claim Isn’t Credible,-the-Russian-Hacking-Claim-Isn’t-Credible McAfee anti-virus system creator John McAfee has presented detailed criticisms of the Obama administration’s claim that a Russian malware program the administration christened “Grizzly Steppe” connects the Russian government to the alleged hacking of DNC emails.

The administration’s theory focuses on four elements: The presence of some Russian language in the malware; the claim that the keyboard employed in the hack used the Cyrillic alphabet; the compiler had a date/time stamp on it corresponding to Moscow’s timezone; and the IP address pointed to a Russian source.

McAfee points out that each of these is surpassingly easy to create in order to lay down a fake evidence trail; in fact, he asserts, any second rate hacker would know how to do so. And of course, the CIA also knows how to falsify each of these elements to throw any investigation off their trail.

Also of note is the fact that the malware used on the supposed DNC hack was a year and a half old, and there have been many subsequent updates. This raises an obvious question: Why would Russian intelligence agencies, or contractors in their employ, use an out-of-date program?

The government’s claim that this malware (APT-28 and APT-29) came from two organizations related to the Russian government (in Ukraine) is also false, McAfee contends. These two designations of the software come from a teen hacking organization that tracks hacking all over the world. It’s not specific to Russia, or Ukraine even though they may use these tools. Hacking tools are disseminated all over the world and it’s impossible to say who is behind them.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-the-Russian-Hacking-Claim-Isn’t-Credible
Trump Offers Arrangement to Avoid Conflicts of Interest Trump’s first formal news conference as president-elect was a contentious affair, and lost in the furor generated by salacious accusations in an unsourced dossier was the fact that the President-elect called the conference to explain how he would avoid any conflict of interest as president with his vast international business holdings. This includes placing his business empire in a trust controlled by his oldest sons, but he would not divest himself of his business holdings.

Trump also proposed “turning over to the United States Treasury any profits received at his hotels from foreign government clients. An ethics officer and, separately, a chief compliance counsel will be appointed at the Trump Organization to watch its operations and ensure that it is not receiving special terms, payment or favors as a result of its ties to Mr. Trump,” summarized the New York Times.

Critics in the media have been pushing for Trump to divest himself of all his business, which no law requires, and which would have disastrous tax consequences for Trump. The law only requires that a government official not take advantage of his position for monetary advantage, and the burden of proof is upon the government.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Intel Leaks as Political Weapons The country’s intelligence agencies are directed to gather the most accurate information possible about our nation’s enemies and thus help the nation’s leaders take appropriate action. But this process is apparently being abused to make the facts fit the political agenda of powerful groups in Washington, asserts geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen.

“I have long documented how the US has falsified intelligence about Iran and its nuclear program to suit what the neocons and globalists want presented at any given time.” Now the compromised elements of the intelligence community are increasingly revealing their true colors as they battle an increasingly skeptical President-elect, Skousen says. “The intel community is scrambling to cover their tracks as it now becomes obvious that they are deliberately leaking anything remotely damaging about Trump to the press.”

At issue is the unsubstantiated leaked dossier of supposed blackmail material held by the Kremlin on Trump. The substance of the blackmail was leaked by the intelligence community and given significant air-time recently by major media outlets who normally disregard this kind of salacious material until it becomes proven and relevant.

Sen. Rand Paul thinks that the intelligence agents who leaked the questionable material should be fired and given jail time, as he said in a Fox News interview.

“What I would say is that if there is private information that someone is blackmailing a public figure and the public figure or someone takes it to the intelligence agencies, you would think it would be private,” Paul declared. “And really, this is so important that I think whoever leaked it should be prosecuted.”

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Claims “Sting” Operation to Unveil Leakers“Sting”-Operation-to-Unveil-Leakers President-elect Donald Trump is in the midst of what could be called a “war” not just with an antagonistic media but with the nation’s intelligence services that are supposed to serve him and the country. After being disappointed with the quality of the daily security briefing given him, Trump refused to give them his time daily and every meeting since has been become fodder for the media including when Trump had a security briefing and what information was given him.

Trump has been so annoyed with the leaks of his supposedly confidential briefings that he a set up a private test to see where the leak was coming from. To rule out a leak from within his office he kept the next meeting a secret, he related in a recent press conference.

“Nobody knew – not even Rhona, my executive assistant for years. She didn’t know – I didn’t tell her. Nobody knew,” Trump explained. “The meeting was held. They left, and immediately the word got out that I had a meeting.”

Trump concluded that the leaks were coming from the intelligence community itself which is a serious breach of protocol with significant consequences if the source of the leaks can be caught. Although the press conference included all major media outlets, no one aired this story except the British tabloid the Daily Mail. Perhaps the other media outlets were embarrassed over their collusion with the intelligence community who had been feeding them details.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Sting”-Operation-to-Unveil-Leakers
Dick Cheney Emerging as Key Influence on Trump Voters who selected Donald Trump over other establishment politicians were dismayed to learn that Trump will allow one of the most prominent establishment globalists into his regime as an advisor to Rex Tillerson, who is fighting an uphill battle to be confirmed as Secretary of State.

According to Eliana Johnson of Politico, “It’s a scenario no one could have possibly foreseen: that one of the key architects of the Iraq War, which Trump slammed on the campaign trail, is now being enlisted as an emissary for a man Trump wants to help steer his ship of state.”

Dick Cheney is a friend of Tillerson and has been listed as an oil executive, although critics point out that this is a product of his “revolving door” relationship with big businesses who nominally appoint Washington insiders to their board of directors when the opposing party is in power. The expectation is that following their next appointment, they will treat their erstwhile employers favorably.

Cheney’s contacts extend beyond just Tillerson, however, Johnson reports: “The former vice president is also in close contact with senior Trump aides. Cheney speaks frequently with the vice president-elect, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who himself serves as a liaison between the president-elect and Capitol Hill, and who has said he hopes to model his vice presidency on Cheney’s.”

Veteran political analyst Joel Skousen sees a big problem with this cozy relationship with Pence, since Pence would assume command if Trump ever gets assassinated or impeached. Cheney, Skousen argues, ran a disproportionate amount of the White House while Vice President under George W. Bush. Cheney’s staff numbered in the hundreds and most critical decisions where rumored to have come from him.

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Why Wasn’t the Fort Lauderdale Shooter on the “No-Fly List”?’t-the-Fort-Lauderdale-Shooter-on-the-“No-Fly-List”? Three months before he killed 5 people and wounded 8 at a Fort Lauderdale Airport baggage claim area, Esteban Santiago walked into the FBI office in Anchorage and complained that the “government controlled” his mind and he was being forced to read and watch videos of ISIS propaganda. The FBI officers understandably took away the concealed weapon he had with him, but instead of taking him into custody as a terror threat, they handed him over to the local police who put him into psychiatric care.

Rather than putting him on a “no fly” list, or the “terror watch list” – something that has happened to scores or hundreds of entirely harmless people – the FBI returned his weapon to him following his discharge from psychiatric care. That is the same weapon he eventually used in his airport murder spree. Both the federal government and several states make a point of confiscating firearms from people deemed to be psychologically unfit; indeed, California’s state department of justice has a dedicated law enforcement agency that specializes in such gun seizures. In this case, the FBI’s priority was to ensure that a man who had explicitly claimed to have been radicalized retained possession of his firearm.

In an editorial demanding “better answers” from the FBI, the Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper asked:

“How many warning signs, red flags and alarm bells does the agency need to recognize that someone poses a danger, deserves ongoing scrutiny and shouldn't be allowed to possess — let alone fly — with weapons and ammunition?”

“Had agents stayed on the case, they might have discovered Santiago also faced charges for domestic violence and criminal mischief,” continues the editorial. “His aunt, Maria Ruiz, told reporters in Union City, New Jersey, that ‘it was like a month ago, he lost his mind.’"

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-the-Fort-Lauderdale-Shooter-on-the-“No-Fly-List”?
Social Workers Claim Not to Know Perjury is a Crime Ruling in a case that has lasted for the better part of two decades, the US District Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has stated what should be obvious: Social workers do not have the legal right to perjure themselves and conceal evidence in order to seize children from their parents.

In 2000, a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of families who had been ripped apart by child welfare bureaucrats in Orange County, California. Retaining the hyper-expensive law firm Lynberg & Watkins, which specializes in defending abusive police officers, Orange County officials have maintained that social workers who lie to judges and suppress exculpatory evidence are shielded by the pernicious legal fiction called “qualified immunity.” The county also pretended that social workers have not been provided with adequate notice that such conduct is illegal.

During oral argument last October, Judge Stephen S. Trott asked attorney Pancy Lin, “How in the world could a person in the shoes of your client possibly believe that it was appropriate to use perjury and false evidence in order to impair somebody’s liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of that person’s children? How could they possibly not be on notice that you can’t do this?”

While admitting that the argument against criminal misconduct “seems to be common sense,” Lin maintained that there was no “clearly established right” on the part of parents to be protected from a court order that had been obtained through criminal means employed by her clients.

Speaking on behalf of the plaintiffs, attorney Dennis Inglos summarized that “Lying is bad, it’s obviously bad. It’s constitutionally bad…. The lies are on paper in a transcript - -the deliberate falsehoods.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Venezuela Becomes an Undisguised Kleptocracy “Venezuela is no longer a country with a government, institutions and a civil society,” writes Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation in a New York Post op-ed column. “It’s a geographic area terrorized by a criminal enterprise that pretends to govern, with a civil society made up of two sets of people: accomplices and victims. More than 30 million of the latter.”

The undisguised plunder of the country was inaugrated under the reign of Socialist President Hugo Chavez in 2000, when the country’s public sector was given over entirely to institutionalized bribery, graft, and looting. All government ministries were riddled with “phantom payrolls,” phony government-grant programs siphoned huge sums from the budget, and the ruling elite began “the sacking of Venezuela’s gold reserves and a massive currency-exchange scam,” Halvorssen continues.

In this fashion, more than one trillion dollars in wealth has been strip-mined from the country by its Marxist elite, “some of it wasted on social programs that produced nothing — and a staggering amount has ended up in bank accounts in Andorra, Panama, New York, Hong Kong and Switzerland.”

Not surprisingly, “the pillaging has turned Venezuela into a dystopian landscape. There are shortages of every imaginable foodstuff and basic necessity; diseases once thought eradicated are back with a vengeance; and a crime wave that has given Caracas the highest murder rate in the world.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
New Cuban Interior Minister Imposes Vicious Post-Fidel Crack-down Vice Admiral Julio Cesar Gandarilla, the newly appointed Interior Minister for Cuba’s Communist government, began his tenure by imposing a severe crack-down that included the arrest of two activists who posted a protest sign in Havana.

Following the arrests of Jesus Romero and Alexis Rodriguez, Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba said that “The increase in repression is due to several causes, among them a push that the government is making in the last days of Barack Obama’s administration to make it clear to [President-elect] Trump that they do not care about the policy change he has announced toward Cuba.”

Dissident leader Katrina Galvez, editor of the magazine Convivencia, was arrested and her home searched amid charges of tax evasion. Oscar Elias Biscet, founder of the Emilia Project, was also briefly detained.

Ferrer told the online opposition news service Translating Cuba that “After the death of his brother, Raul Castro needs to increase terror levels to maintain power. They know people are tired of the same thing,” continued Ferrer. “When in April we mobilized more than 1,000 people the political police told us that we would never do something like that again.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Did the Deep State Take a Slap at Trump? New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer would appear to agree with many of Donald Trump’s supporters that disclosure of an opposition research dossier containing lurid allegations against the president-elect is an act of retaliation by the intelligence community for his frequent criticism of the CIA.

“Let me tell you – you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back on you,” the Senate Minority Leader told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on January 3, more than a week before the dossier was made public. Schumer and Maddow were discussing Trump’s public comments disagreeing with the intelligence report claiming that the Russian government had intervened in the 2016 presidential election, and complaining that his intelligence briefing on the matter had been delayed in order to manipulate public opinion.

“Even for a practical supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this,” Schumer contended.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Double Jeopardy Protection Disappearing Among the most valuable due process protections is the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against what is called double jeopardy – that is, the government cannot make a person “subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” As with nearly every other guarantee found in the Bill of Rights, ambitious prosecutors and compliant judges are working to eradicate that vital protection, warns legal commentator George Leef.

Writing in Forbes, Leef refers to the ongoing case Walker v. Texas, which is before the US Supreme Court. Walker, an electrician, was indicted by state officials on criminal fraud charges in 2013 – two years after federal authorities had extracted a plea bargain with him on identical charges. Although on its face this is a violation of the clear prohibition against double jeopardy, under existing precedents this second prosecution is permissible because it is being carried out within a separate jurisdiction – and the protection against double jeopardy is not applied to the states.

Devised roughly a century ago, the incorporation doctrine has been used to expand federal power at the expense of powers reserved to the separate states. Its proponents will often invoke abuses of individual liberty by state governments to justify federal intervention – but in this case the court contrived what it calls a “dual sovereignty” exception to the incorporation principle. Thus practically the only case in which the Feds recognize state sovereignty is in the power of prosecutors to violate the Fifth Amendment by trying citizens twice for the same offense.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Why Prosecutors Don’t Pursue Abusive Police Officers’t-Pursue-Abusive-Police-Officers A federal judge has authorized a malicious prosecution lawsuit to proceed against Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, who has pursued criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers involved in the still-unsolved death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury in custody. The lawsuit claims that the officers – who took part in the arrest and detention of Gray on an invalid weapons charge, and who died in a police van en route to jail – had suffered defamation and invasion of privacy.

Prosecutors generally enjoy extraordinary immunity in the course of their official duties, and malicious prosecution lawsuits are nearly non-existent. In this case, the plaintiffs themselves enjoy both “qualified immunity” as police officers, and the un-legislated but very real status that has been called “Blue Privilege” – social and institutional deference given to the police as the enforcement arm of the criminal justice system. Plaintiffs acquitted on homicide charges in similar circumstances who were not police officers would almost certainly not be permitted to pursue a lawsuit against the prosecutor.

Mosby, who has been widely criticized as a race agitator, is one of the few in her position to seek prosecution of suspected lethal police misconduct. Civil liberties commentator Taylor Pendergrass notes that prosecutors often face retaliation for efforts to expose and combat police corruption.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-Pursue-Abusive-Police-Officers
Is a Coup Underway? Civil libertarian and transparency activist Glenn Greenwald is a longstanding opponent of the Deep State – the self-sustaining covert government of which the CIA is the most visible element. He is also an outspoken critic of Donald Trump. A liberal in his political inclinations, Greenwald is alarmed by the way nearly everyone on the Left has suddenly embraced the CIA out of reflexive partisanship.

“The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest,” writes Greenwald in The Intercept. “There [is] a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combatting those threats … from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach.”

“But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the US election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive,” Greenwald advises. For six decades, the Deep State has “produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit…”

Embittered Clinton partisans and militant leftists have embraced the narrative that Trump was installed by the Russian government, and that skepticism toward the CIA’s claims is unpatriotic. Greenwald replies that “casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
What Should We Think about the “Trump Dossier”?“Trump-Dossier”? Citing anonymous officials within the intelligence community, the Washington Post reports that “the decision had been unanimous to attach the two-page summary” of the now-notorious Trump dossier “to a sweeping report on Russian election interference commissioned by the White House and briefed to Obama, Trump and congressional leaders.” One anonymous source reportedly told the Post that this was “fully explained” and “put into context” when it was presented to the president-elect.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said that he personally told Trump that the allegations digested in the dossier had been compiled by a “private security company” and that government intelligence agencies had “not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.” According to Clapper, “part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.” Clapper claims to be dismayed that the dossier was leaked to the public.

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, who has been a supporter of Donald Trump, concludes that the dossier is “a composite of some fact, a lot of speculation, and even some fiction. It is very similar to the types of media-focused disinformation produced by both the CIA and KGB in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s…. In this case, the original intent might well have been to discredit Trump personally,” perhaps with the objective of narrowing his options “on recalibrating with Russia.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Trump-Dossier”?
What Does Trump Really Believe about Russia “Hacking” the Election?“Hacking”-the-Election? Russian government interference in the 2016 US presidential election would be a grave affront to national independence and an unprecedented domestic and diplomatic crisis. This is understood by people who uncritically accept the unproven allegations of Russian meddling made by the CIA, NSA, and FBI. Until his January 11 press conference, President-elect Trump had been dismissive of those claims – but he now appears to be equivocating on the matter.

“The closest Trump ever came to acknowledging the prospect of Kremlin attribution for the online attacks came before the election, when he half-jokingly called on Russia to pilfer messages deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private email server,” recall correspondents Robert Mackey and Sam Biddle of The Intercept. In his press conference, however, Trump pivoted seamlessly from a posture that could be described as “Yeah, right,” to a view that could be summarized as, “So what?”

“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Mr. Trump said in reply to a question as to whether he believed the intelligence briefing he had received on alleged election interference. “I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people. And, I can say that you know when, we lost 22 million names and everything else that was hacked recently, they didn’t make a big deal out of that. That was something extraordinary. That was probably China…. We had much hacking going on.”

The incident to which Trump referred was a cyber-attack on the Office of Personnel Management in 2014 and 2015. While that was a devastating attack, Trump seemed to be lost in the details of the current controversy, apparently conceding that Moscow interfered in the election while suggesting that it was a relatively trivial matter.

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Hacking”-the-Election?
Trump Secretary of State Pick: Russia a “Danger”“Danger” Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, selected by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of State, used his Senate confirmation hearing to describe Russia as a “danger” to U.S. interests, and to call for concerted action to destroy the Islamic State.

“Russia today poses a danger,” asserted Tillerson. “It invaded Urkaine, including Crimea, and violated the laws of war. But it’s an absence of American leadership that left this door open.” Russia and the United States “do not have the same values,” he continued. “But there is scope to define a different relationship to bring down the temperature of the conflict we have today. Dialogue is critical so these things do not spin out of control.”

Confronting ISIS is an undertaking in which joint efforts might be possible, Tillerson suggested, describing the effort to defeat the group and destroy its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria as “our first priority.”

Where President-elect Trump has been open to reassessing the US role in NATO, Tillerson pointedly described the European alliance’ss mutual defense guarantee as “inviolable.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Danger”
Czech Republic Tells its Citizens to Arm Themselves As the European Union escalates efforts to disarm civilians in the name of public safety, the government of the Czech Republic is pursuing exactly the opposite course. Czech President Milos Zeman – insisting that the influx of Muslim refugees could lead to a “super-holocaust” – has urged citizens to acquire firearms.

Zeman, a 71-year-old Communist retread who is now affiliated with the Social Democrat Party, apparently considers gun ownership as a matter of national security, as opposed to individual self-defense, and sees the country’s Muslim population – roughly 3,500 people out of 10.5 million – as an incipient threat akin to Nazism. An interesting question not publicly explored by Zeman is whether he believes that Muslim citizens and legal residents should be encouraged to arm themselves as well.

The Czech Republic has some of the least restrictive gun laws in Europe: To purchase a firearm, a resident must be at least 21 years of age, pass a safety test, and have no previous criminal record. The government’s interior ministry is promoting a constitutional amendment that would recognize the right of citizens to use firearms in the event of a terrorist attack. Zeman’s government strongly dissented from a recent European Commission directive calling for a complete ban on sales of rifles such as Kalashnikovs or AR-15s, and limiting ammo magazines to twenty rounds. Compliance with that mandate, contended the government in Prague, would undermine the country’s ability to maintain an “internal security system.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Promises to Punish Companies “Getting Away with Murder”“Getting-Away-with-Murder” During his January 11 press conference, President-elect Trump once again threatened to impose “a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder.”

Commentator Matt Welch observes that Trump’s views regarding trade are largely in harmony with those of Hillary Clinton, who threatened on the campaign trial that “companies who … walk out on America are going to pay a price. And if they shift jobs overseas, we’re going to make them give back the tax breaks they received here at home, because we can take that money and put it to work investing in communities that are left behind.”

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Getting-Away-with-Murder”
Sessions: As AG, I will Prosecute Pornographers,-I-will-Prosecute-Pornographers The United States Constitution lists three federal crimes: Treason, counterfeiting, and piracy. All other criminal offenses are violations of state and local laws, and within the jurisdiction of those governments. Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who has frequently expressed reverence for the Constitution, forgot about the principle of federalism during the confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions’ nomination to become US Attorney General under Donald Trump.

Hatch, who seeks to criminalize the production and consumption of pornography, asked sessions if he would “vigorously” prosecute those who create and sell obscene materials involving adults. Hatch also asked if Sessions would re-instate the Justice Department’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, which was shut down by former Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Those laws are clear and are being prosecuted today and should continue to be effectively prosecuted in the cases that are appropriate,” Sessions replied, promising as well that he would consider reviving the federal task force.

As it happens, the president under whom Sessions would serve is a veteran of the pornography business, having appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine and in at least three soft-core so-called adult films produced by Playboy Enterprises. The left-leaning publication Slate points out that Hatch has expressed frustration “that the Justice Department didn’t do enough to prosecute larger distributors of more mainstream pornography,” such as Playboy.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-I-will-Prosecute-Pornographers
Leftist Professor Laments Obama’s “Sad Legacy”’s-“Sad-Legacy” Dr. Cornel West, who is currently a professor of philosophy at the Union Theological Seminary, is one of the most prominent left-wing critics of Barack Obama, and he used an op-ed column in the Guardian of London to lament what he called the “sad legacy” of America’s first black president.

“The reign of Obama did not produce the nightmare of Donald Trump – but it did contribute to it,” writes West, reflecting the views of his left-leaning political faction. “And those Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility.” West rebukes Obama for protecting corrupt Wall Street interests, noting that “not one Wall Street criminal executive went to jail” following the 2008 market melt-down.

In similar fashion, Obama impeded accountability for US officials who had carried out torture of terrorism suspects, and radically escalated the drone war overseas, while concealing all of the germane details about that program from the public.

Where police unions and law-and-order conservatives assail Obama for supposedly abetting a “war on police,” West condemns him for public speeches in which he described “the difficult plight of police officers.” Obama praised liberal New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009, West recalls, while overlooking the fact that “more than 4 million people were stopped-and-frisked under Bloomberg’s watch.”

Among Obama’s gravest delinquencies, insists West, was his pursuit and persecution of Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, “and other truth-tellers” who exposed official misconduct.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Sad-Legacy”
Where Has Meryl Steep’s Conscience Been Hiding?’s-Conscience-Been-Hiding? Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech “reeked” of “pure, unadulterated hypocrisy,” insists RT correspondent Danielle Ryan, who describes herself as a long-time fan.

In anticipation of Donald Trump’s presidency, Streep urged her professional colleagues to support the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“She’s right, of course,” wrote Ryan. “But one wonders if Streep is even aware, for instance, that the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all of his predecessors combined? It’s a tradition Trump is likely to continue, of course, but it’s rather strange that the issue never crossed her mind until now.”

“And where was Streep … when Obama was helping Saudi Arabia level Yemen, bombing funerals and wedding parties?” Ryan continues. “Or when his `humanitarian intervention’ in Libya went so disastrously wrong that it turned the country into a failed state, allowing the terrorist group ISIS to flourish? Or when the great uniter earned himself the nickname `The Drone King’ as he expanded the US drone program and conducted ten times more strikes than George W. Bush? Also a tradition Trump will likely be only too happy to uphold.”

“The fact is, many of the outrages that Streep and the Hollywood elite are now up in arms about are not Trump-specific – and they’re not new,” she concludes. “They’re already happening. Hollywood hero Obama has made it even easier for Trump to go after journalists and whistleblowers and bomb innocents if that’s the path he chooses.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Conscience-Been-Hiding?
Does Moscow have “Kompromat” on Trump – Or is it the US Deep State at Work?“Kompromat”-on-Trump-–-Or-is-it-the-US-Deep-State-at-Work? Every state intelligence service keeps dossiers on prominent people, especially politicians and other public officials. Founding FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover became the most feared man in Washington because he was the keeper of his notoriously extensive files, which included so-called “raw” – or uncorroborated – intelligence that could damage reputations.

Russian intelligence services since the days of Feliks Dzherzinsky, Hoover’s contemporary who founded what would become known as the KGB, have called such material “kompromat.” In December, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, a truculent critic of Russia and political rival of Donald Trump, provided FBI Director James Comey with documents alleging that Russia’s intelligence services possess kompromat on the president-elect.

The documents – which have since been posted online by Buzzfeed, were “a series of reports on Trump’s relationship with Moscow” and were composed “by a former western counter-intelligence official, now working as a private consultant.” This is to say that the material has no primary-source documentation, but is entirely speculative at best, and lurid gossip, at worst.

Those documents were originally produced by Republicans who were seeking opposition research on Trump during the primary season. Trump himself complains that he is being targeted in “a total political witch hunt.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Kompromat”-on-Trump-–-Or-is-it-the-US-Deep-State-at-Work?
Federal Prosecutors Ask Judge to Void First Amendment in Coverage of Malheur Refuge Trial Still smarting from their ignominious defeat in the first round of prosecutions in the Malheur Refuge trials, and furious over exposure of the undercover FBI informant-provocateurs involved in the case, federal prosecutors are asking trial Judge Anna Brown to expand a protective order forbidding defense attorneys to reveal information about the snitches.

After California blogger and activist Gary Hunt published the names of FBI informants, the FBI demanded that he delete the posts – thereby confirming the accuracy of his reporting. Hunt’s legally unassailable argument is that using testimony from anonymous informants violates the rights of the defendants under the Sixth Amendment to confront the witnesses against them publicly. He also asserts that the protective order applied only to the defense attorneys, and that as a journalist he is not subject to it. Prosecutors have unwittingly validated that argument as well by asking Judge Brown to expand her initial order to forbid both “direct and indirect violations—wherever they may occur.”

Brown has asked prosecutors to file a brief arguing what legal authority the court would have to order a third party to obey a protective order, and how she could compel someone outside the state of Oregon to comply.

Hunt insists that he is not in contact with the defense team. Under California’s journalist shield law, neither state nor federal authorities can compel him to disclose his sources, or any unpublished information that could reveal their identity.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Nothing “Safe” about “Legal” Abortion“Safe”-about-“Legal”-Abortion Proponents of legalized abortion loudly decry any effort to require abortion facilities to maintain minimum health and sanitation standards as an effort to restrict access to the procedure. Indeed, the child-killing industry is the only business most left-leaning politicians and activists want to de-regulate. This has consequences for the health and safety of the women who procure abortions, in addition to consistently lethal consequences for the children destroyed thereby.

The direct action group OperationRescue recently obtained five “Statement of Deficiency Reports” that document citations of the Planned Parenthood abortuary in St. Louis, Missouri “for 39 classes of violations involving 210 incidents,” more than half of which “were related to failure to provide a safe and sanitary environment,” reports Life News.

“Each year that the St. Louis Planned Parenthood has been inspected, the number of incidents has increased,” comments Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This is hard evidence that things at Planned Parenthood are getting worse, not better…. If a restaurant was cited this many times, it would be shut down, but somehow, Planned Parenthood has been allowed to continue placing the lives of women at risk.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Safe”-about-“Legal”-Abortion
Massachusetts Sheriff: Use Inmates as Slave Labor, Charge them Daily Fees,-Charge-them-Daily-Fees Bristol County, Massachusetts Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who has proposed conscripting jail inmates as unpaid labor to build Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, is also seeking to reinstate a program that charged inmates a $5 daily fee for their incarceration.

It is worth remembering that inmates in county jails are often being held prior to trial, which means that they have not been convicted of offenses.

Hodgson, a four-term sheriff, was in office in 2010 when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that he did not have legal authority to charge inmates a daily fee for their time in his jail. Following his swearing-in ceremony on January 4, the sheriff told reporters that he would be lobbying the state Legislature to enact a law authorizing the imposition of that fee. One Republican legislator, State Rep. Steven Howitt, said that the fee “does not seem unreasonable and it is something I would consider supporting.”

Sheriff Hodgson was part of the Special Commission to Study the Feasibility of Establishing Inmate Fees, which was created following the 2010 state Supreme Court ruling. That committee’s report – to which Hodgson registered a dissent – concluded that the fees would generate a “host of negative and unintended consequences,” including impediments to inmates seeking reintegration in society.

Hodgson claimed that from 2002 to 2004, the daily incarceration surcharge produced $750,000 in gross revenue.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Charge-them-Daily-Fees
FBI Recruited “Geek Squad” as Informants“Geek-Squad”-as-Informants In Communist East Germany, the Stasi secret police kept nearly the entire population under surveillance – and recruited most of the population to inform on each other. The US government’s electronic surveillance is much more comprehensive than anything the relatively backward East German government could have devised, and the FBI – the world’s oldest existing political police organ – has been using computer technicians in a fashion of which the Stasi would have approved.

The Best Buy electronics retail chain has long boasted a customer support service called the Geek Squad, which will make service house calls to treat ailing personal computers and other underperforming digital devices. A federal child pornography case in Orange County, California has revealed that the FBI has been using taxpayer funds to bribe Geek Squad members to act as informants, tasking them to conduct warrantless searches of computer hard drives and report their findings to the FBI.

In addition to the criminal misconduct involved in the unconstitutional search, “The FBI undertook a series of dishonest measures in hopes of building a case,” defense attorney James D. Riddet recounts. Agents “conducted two additional searches [of a defendant’s] computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records.”

The evidence used in the Orange County case was obtained using sophisticated forensics tools – and its existence may not have been known to the owner of the computer.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Geek-Squad”-as-Informants
Crowley Accused of Plagiarizing Portions of Dissertation Syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley, appointed by President-elect Trump to serve as a national security spokesperson, continues to be plagued with accusations of plagiarism – not only in her recent New York Times best-selling book, and in a 1999 Wall Street Journal column, but now in her Ph.D. dissertation.

Crowley’s dissertation, “Clearer Than Truth: Determining and Preserving Grand Strategy – The Evolution of American Policy Toward the People’s Republic of China Under Truman and Nixon,” was submitted to Columbia University in 2000.

Politico, which obtained a copy of the dissertation through the academic database ProQuest, asserts that a careful examination of the document “and the sources it cites identified more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted, with little to no changes, from other scholarly works without proper attribution. In some instances, Crowley footnoted her source but did not identify with quotation marks the text she was copying directly. In other instances, she copied text or heavily paraphrased with no attribution at all.”

The examples of large-scale borrowing without proper attribution came from six books or scholarly articles on foreign policy, one of which was published just prior to Crowley finished her dissertation.

Following the discovery in 1999 that a Wall Street Journal column published under Crowley’s byline included large sections lifted verbatim from a 1988 Commentary magazine essay by historian Paul Johnson, the paper’s editor published anote declaring that “Had we known of the parallels, we would hot have published the article.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Child Welfare Worker Accused of Dismembering Daughter The horror induced by the murder and dismemberment of a child in Easton, Pennsylvania is compounded by the fact that the adoptive mother accused of the unspeakable crime “previously worked as an adoption supervisor for a children’s welfare agency,” as reported by Fox News.

Sara Packer and her boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, were arraigned on numerous charges including criminal homicide, rape, and abuse of a corpse. Sullivan apparently admitted to the killing of 14-year-old Grace Parker as he was led into court,according to the Intelligencer newspaper.

“I’m sorry for what I did,” Sullivan declared. “It was wrong.”

Prosecutors charge the couple with sexually abusing the adopted girl, torturing her, and then killing her “as part of a rape-murder fantasy.” Investigators claim that after killing the child, the couple concealed the remains in the attic of their home, and packed her traumatized body with cat litter in an attempt to mitigate the odor of decomposition. They allegedly dismembered and sought to dispose of the body in October after being alarmed by a visit from the police. Hunters in nearby Luzerne County found the child’s torso in a park, and K-9 search teams found her legs and arms nearby.

The couple continued to cash the daughter’s monthly $700 Social Security disability checks following her disappearance. They reportedly made a suicide pact and attempted a lethal overdose on prescription narcotics on December 30.

Packer’s ex-husband, David Packer, pleaded guilty to child sex abuse charges in 2011 and was sentenced to a term of six months to five years in prison.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Kitty Litter Possession Leads to Unwarranted Drug Arrest Harris County, Texas resident Ross LeBeau displays a weary, resigned smile in the booking photo taken after he was arrested by deputies on suspicion of drug possession – but he had every right to be angry. The deputies “thought they had the biggest bust in Harris County – this was the bust of the year for them,” LeBeau commented after the charge was dropped.

It turned out that the mound of supposed contraband discovered in LeBeau’s car during a traffic stop was kitty litter, which he uses to keep his windshield from fogging up. Despite the fact that kitty litter bears no resemblance to crystal meth, LeBeau was arrested – and his prospects grew grimmer when two field tests conducted with the notoriously unreliable “Nik Kit” initially gave positive results for the drug. A third test – this one conducted by competent forensic technicians, rather than inept patrol deputies -- confirmed that the substance was precisely what LeBeau claimed it to be.

In addition to being detained and jailed without cause, and seeing his reputation tarnished by publication of his mug shot, LeBeau lost his job as a result of the spurious drug arrest, and now faces a lengthy and expensive struggle to expunge his record

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Wealthy Chinese “Princeling” Defendant Seeks to Finance a Luxurious “House Arrest”“Princeling”-Defendant-Seeks-to-Finance-a-Luxurious-“House-Arrest” New Jersey resident Dan Zhong faces serious criminal charges, but as a person of great wealth and privilege he might be able to await trial in luxurious surroundings, rather than a cold and barren cell.

Zhong, a former Chinese diplomat, is accused of forcing Chinese immigrants to work on construction projects at Chinese diplomatic facilities in the United States. Although presently held in pre-trial detention at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, he has proposed paying $144,000 a month to retain a security firm that would enforce pre-trial detention at his two-story home in Livingston.

Defense attorney Thomas Fitzpatrick recently told a judge that Zhong’s “family in China is willing to spend that money to get him out of the MDC.”

Zhong’s family is both extravagantly wealthy and immensely influential, both in Communist China and within America’s ruling elite. His uncle, Chinese billionaire Wang Wenliang, “has drawn scrutiny over his large donations to American political campaigns and nonprofits like the Clinton Foundation,” reports the AP. If the judge agrees to his proposal, Zhong would join an elite list of privileged defendants allowed to live at home while awaiting trial. Some of them, including financial conman Bernard Madoff and Chinagate figure Ng Lap Seng, are also connected to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Princeling”-Defendant-Seeks-to-Finance-a-Luxurious-“House-Arrest”
Private Peace Officer Sentenced to Prison After Thief Kills Herself If American Fork, Utah resident Kenneth Lee Drew had been a government-employed law enforcement officer, rather than a private repossession agent, he would likely have received a commendation following the admittedly tragic death of Ashleigh Holloway Best, who killed herself by slamming a 2002 Lincoln Navigator into a tree. Instead, the 50-year-old man faces a lengthy prison term.

Drew had been employed by On Demand Repos to take possession of the car after Best and her husband failed to make the necessary payments. During his visit to the household last May, Drew agreed to wait while Best’s husband tried to update the payment plan – but Best climbed into the car and sped off, thereby committing an act of theft through fraud. According to police investigators, Best’s husband, Brennan, abetted the theft by “trying to place himself in front” of Drew’s tow truck “to prevent it from following the Navigator.”

Drew pursued the stolen vehicle, eventually making use of an aggressive tactic similar to a PIT – or Precision Immobilization Technique – maneuver. Unfortunately, Best lost control of the vehicle, and died in the ensuing collision.

Grief-stricken and guilt-ridden, Drew pled guilty to manslaughter late last year as part of a plea bargain in which prosecutors asked for a suspended prison sentence. Utah Fourth District Judge Robert Lunnen discarded that plea agreement, imposing a sentence of one to fifteen years in prison.

Unlike police officers, Drew – who was a privately employed peace officer enforcing a legitimate property rights claim – was not protected by the legal fiction called “qualified immunity.”

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Supreme Court: “Blue Privilege” is the Default“Blue-Privilege”-is-the-Default A New Mexico State Police officer who unlawfully killed an armed citizen cannot be held personally liable for his act because there was “no settled Fourth Amendment principle” dealing with his misconduct, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on January 9.

Two State Police officers were sent to the address of Daniel Pauly after a 911 report that the car he was driving had been swerving on the highway. Since they weren’t witnesses of his alleged erratic driving they didn’t have probable cause for an arrest or to enter his home without permission. The officers bracketed the home and demanded to be let in. In making that demand, the officers used a profane epithet, rather than identifying themselves. Daniel and his brother, Samuel, refused to open the door to the strangers, and warned them that they were armed.

Having no lawful authority to do so, the officers invaded the home, prompting Daniel to unload a shotgun blast in their direction. Had he fatally shot an officer in those circumstances, it would have been an act of justifiable homicide, given that the police were acting without a warrant or probable cause. The officers opened fire. As the exchange was underway, a third officer who arrived on the scene, opened fire without issuing a warning or learning details of the situation. That officer, Ray White, fatally shot Samuel Pauly.

In an unsigned opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that White’s actions are covered by “qualified immunity” because judicial precedents do not require an officer to “second-guess” comrades involved in the use of deadly force – even when doing so is facially unconstitutional.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blue-Privilege”-is-the-Default
Cleveland Doctor Punished for Vaccination Skepticism Like a medieval heretic who recants his beliefs after being summoned before the Grand Inquisitor, Dr. Daniel Neides of the Cleveland Clinic has been compelled to apologize for publishing a newspaper column questioning the wisdom of mass vaccination.

“I am tired of all the nonsense we as American citizens are being fed while big business – and the government – continue to ignore the health and well-being of the fine people in this country,” exclaimed Dr. Neides in his January 6 essay. “Why am I all fired up, you ask? I, like everyone else, took the advice of the Centers for Disease Control … and received a flu shot. I chose to receive the preservative free vaccine, thinking I did not want any thimerasol (i.e. mercury) that the `regular’ flu vaccine contains.”

Although his vaccine was mercury-free, it contained formaldehyde, “a known carcinogen.” As a result, Dr. Neides complained, people were “being lined up like cattle and injected with an unsafe product. Within 12 hours of receiving the vaccine, I was in bed feeling miserable and missed two days of work with a terrible cough and body aches.”

After being chastised by the Holy Office of the Pharmaceutical cartel, Dr. Neides apologized. The hospital promised that he would be subjected to what it called “appropriate discipline.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Fox News Settles Sexual Harassment Claim against Bill O’Reilly, Jack Abernethy’Reilly,-Jack-Abernethy Fox News has reportedly reached what has been described as “a very quiet settlement arrangement with former Fox News host Juliet Huddy,” who had threatened a sexual harassment lawsuit against prominent Fox personality Bill O’Reilly and newly appointed network co-President Jack Abernethy. Huddy had filed notice of her intent to sue in July following the ouster of Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who was the focus of similar accusations at this time of his departure.

Huddy joined the network in 1998, had been a host on the weekend edition of Fox & Friends, and beginning in 2010 had a regular segment as part of the nightly O’Reilly Factor program. In her letter to the network, Huddy claimed that she lost her position on O’Reilly’s show “in retaliation for rebuffing Mr. O’Reilly’s advances.” She specifically accused O’Reilly of explicitly propositioning her on several occasions, harassing her with inappropriate phone calls, and attempting to kiss her. She made similar allegations against Abernethy. Huddy’s father, John Huddy Sr., has longstanding personal ties to Fox News founder Roger Ailes. Ms. Huddy left the network shortly after it announced a $20 million settlement of sexual harassment claims by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

In comments to the online publication, one Fox official insisted that “There was no sexual harassment” and that “Any purported claim made by Ms. Huddy would be nothing more than an opportunistic fabrication concocted to cash in on the legal settlement from Fox News.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’Reilly,-Jack-Abernethy
Trump’s Protection Racket’s-Protection-Racket Article II of the United States Constitution, which describes the duties of the president of the united States, contains a little more than one thousand words, which are organized into four sections. Section 2 contains an exhaustive list of the delegated powers of the office. Nowhere in that section’s 225 words can be found a syllable authorizing the president to run the country or its economy – let alone to use the threat of punitive taxation to bully the owners of private companies into locating their manufacturing facilities in the USA.

Even before taking the oath of office, President-elect Trump is displaying contempt for the constitutional duties of the presidency, indifference regarding the separation of powers, and expansive economic ignorance by using his Twitter account to threaten auto manufacturers to build their products in the USA “or pay big border tax!” That threat has been directed not only at American-owned companies, but at the Japanese automaker Toyota, as well. According to Trump, “Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences” – a decree that suggests a metaphorical border wall intended to trap people inside a country increasingly subject to the lawless whims of a capricious president.

Threats and other expressions of hostility from the incoming president have inflicted economic damage on the targeted companies by causing investors to sell off their stock.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Protection-Racket
Trump’s Protectionist Hypocrisy’s-Protectionist-Hypocrisy In defiance of popular criticism of outsourcing, a prominent businessman and university chairman published an essay entitled “Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run.”

"We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs. But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance,” he began. Although there is short-term pain involved in outsourcing, "we have to look at the bigger picture,” he continued. “Last year, Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Lawrence R. Klein, the founder of Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, co-authored a study that showed how global outsourcing actually creates more jobs and increases wages, at least for IT workers. The study found that outsourcing helped companies be more competitive and more productive. That means they make more money, which means they funnel more into the economy, thereby, creating more jobs."

“I know that doesn’t make it any easier for people whose jobs have been outsourced overseas, but if a company’s only means of survival is by farming jobs outside its walls, then sometimes it’s a necessary step,” he concluded. “The other option might be to close its doors for good.”

That economic analysis was published in the August 29, 2005 edition of “The Trump Blog,” with the byline identifying its author as “Donald J. Trump, Chairman, Trump University.”

Commentator A. Barton Hinkle, who exhumed that essay from the Internet Memory Hole, notes that Mr. Trump’s businesses “sell products made in Mexico – not to mention China, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Honduras, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Turkey, and Slovenia.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Protectionist-Hypocrisy
Miami Police Officers Practice the Dying Art of De-Escalation In defiance of long-established professional customs in which police officers are trained to see “officer safety” as the most important consideration in any encounter with a citizen, two officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department exercised patience, self-restraint, and no small amount of personal courage to de-escalate a potentially deadly encounter with a suicidal Marine veteran who was armed with a knife.

After arriving on the scene, one officer parried the troubled man’s threats to harm him while the other saw to the safety of bystanders on the scene.

Video of the encounter showed the severely depressed man asking to be shot, telling the officers that if they approached him he would use the knife and that “I’ve been shot before.”

One officer pleads with the distraught man, telling him “I don’t want to hurt you, put it down…. Just relax, just drop it…. Come on, talk to me brother,” he urged, as both he and his partner carefully approached the man. Eventually they were able to take him into custody without seriously harming him, and he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Municipal Lawsuits Drive L.A. to Borrow Money for Payouts Like Chicago, New York, and other major cities, the municipal government of Los Angeles will have to borrow money in order to cover the expenses incurred from settling several high-profile lawsuits.

According to the Los Angeles Times, city budget officials have warned “that the city needs to immediately borrow tens of millions of dollars to avoid dipping into its emergency reserve fund” following the legal settlements. The city ordinarily budgets $60 million a year for its legal liability fund, but since the fiscal year began on July 1 it has already paid out $135 million.

Among recent legal expenses incurred by Los Angeles are a $200-million settlement by the City Council in a housing-related lawsuit brought by disabled groups, and an $8-million settlement to end lawsuits related to the fatal Los Angeles Police Department shootings of three unarmed men in separate incidents. The $200 million total will be paid out over 10 years.

The Los Angeles City Administrative Office has recommended that the city borrow $50 million to $70 million to address cases that are part of a what it calls a “new trend of increased liability payouts.” The report also urges that the city issue a bond, and advises against dipping into the city’s reserve fund, which is for financial emergencies.

As of November, points out the L.A. Times, the city’s reserve fund “stood at about $295 million, which the report said is `only precariously above’ the minimum amount required under city policy — 5% of the General Fund budget.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Israeli Diplomats Caught Discussing Interference in British Parliamentary Elections A journalistic sting carried out by a reporter for the Al-Jazeera network apparently caught an official at Israel’s embassy in London discussing a “hit list” of British legislators who were seen as that country’s political enemies, reports the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Shai Masot, an officer in the Israeli Defense Forces and a senior political officer at the London embassy, referred to potential action targeting several British MPs, asking a civil servant, “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?... If you look hard enough, I’m sure there is something that they’re trying to hide. A little scandal, maybe.” One figure mentioned specifically was Deputy Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan, who is a prominent supporter of Palestinian statehood. Crispin Blunt, chair of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, was also mentioned as a name on the “hit list” for his support of the Palestinians.

Israeli diplomatic officials disavowed Masot’s remarks and promised that he would soon be removed from his post at the London embassy. During a January 9 session of Parliament, Conservative Party MP Sir Hugo Swire, chair of the party’s Middle East Council, demanded an investigation of the matter. The British Foreign Office has said that the matter is “closed.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Judge Napolitano: New FBI Email Dump Shows “Smoking Gun”“Smoking-Gun” Without warning or explanation, the FBI released another batch of 300 Hillary Clinton emails over the weekend, and this collection contains what Fox News legal affairs analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano characterizes as a “smoking gun” regarding the former Secretary of State’s violations of federal law.

“The highly sensitive nature was 301 pages of emails which Mrs. Clinton sent on a regular basis to a non-government person,” Napolitano explained. “We have reason to believe it was Sid Blumenthal, with whom she [exchanged emails] on a regular basis, several times a day. What we now know -- what Donald Trump feared and argued on the campaign trail, and what rogue FBI agents who profoundly disagreed with Director Comey’s decision to recommend against indictment – was true,” Napolitano continued. “That the information Mrs. Clinton regularly sent to her emailer was hacked by foreign intelligence agencies, of countries unfriendly to us, and friendly to us.” Citing sources within the Bureau, Napolitano identified the countries as Russia and China, which he characterized as “unfriendly,” and Israel, described as “friendly.”

These revelations occurred the day before the opening of Senate confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s choice to serve as Attorney General. Asked by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley whether he would investigate Mrs. Clinton’s misconduct, Sessions replied: “I believe that could place my objectivity in question. I believe the proper thing would be for me to recuse myself.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Smoking-Gun”
When Showbiz Celebrities Twitter-Feud In her melodramatic and much-discussed Golden Globes acceptance speech last Sunday evening, Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep offered unsolicited advice to President-elect Donald Trump while playing to the bottomless vanity of her Hollywood audience, whom she described as belonging to “the most vilified segments in American society right now.”

“Think about it,” Streep urged her wealthy and privileged colleagues, who needed little encouragement to indulge the pretense of being persecuted. “Hollywood. Foreigners. And the press.” Absent the redemptive influence of Hollywood and all it represents, she intoned, “you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Streep’s self-satisfied panegyric to Hollywood played well in the room, but didn’t resonate with most of the population upon which the entertainment industry depends for its livelihood. Predictably, the President-elect at whom it was aimed – himself a former showbiz celebrity and “Reality TV” star – responded with a flurry of indignant Twitter posts in which he dismissed Steep as “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.”

Trump had expressed a decidedly different opinion of Streep in 2015, referring to her as an “excellent” actress and “a fine person, too.” Following her public criticism, Trump dismisses Streep as “a Hillary flunky who lost big” – which may be true, but this doesn’t alter the fact that when he takes the presidential oath Trump will promise to defend and protect her rights, as well as those of all the other citizens he has described as his “enemies.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Wheelchair-Bound Man Gets DUI Conviction Overturned Lincoln County, Oregon resident James Richard Greene was arrested in 2012 after the motorized wheelchair he was operating struck the side of a moving pickup. A year later, the DA charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and won a conviction following a two-day trial. The state, taking a predictably expansive view of the statute, insisted that the wheelchair met the legal definition of a motor vehicle. However, a section of the statute pointedly ignored by the prosecutor defined “pedestrians” as “any person afoot or confined to a wheelchair.”

The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned that conviction, ruling that at the time of the collision – which occurred inside a crosswalk – Greene was a pedestrian, not a motorist. Since the issue was not implicated in Greene’s case, the court did not offer an opinion regarding the legitimacy of a DUI prosecution involving the use of a motorized wheelchair in a public road or a public parking lot.

Portland attorney Ben Elder, who specializes in DUI defense, told the Oregonian newspaper that he had never heard of a case of that kind in more than a decade of practicing in Oregon.

“Several arrests in similar cases across the US in recent years have made national headlines,” observes the Oregonian. “That includes a 48-year-old Michigan man who was cited for DUII in October 2016 after police say he was drunk and backed his motorized scooter over some plants and into a Kroger store.”

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Do Property Rights Actually Exist in America? When someone owns a piece of property, he or she has full control over it and all the uses that can be derived from it. Few, if any, citizens of the United States who have clear title to their private property actually own it, in the truest sense of the term. Property taxes effectively turn home owners into renters of the land and houses they have legally obtained. Through zoning ordinances and municipal land use codes, city and county governments exercise proprietary claims on those tracts of nominally private property. Those claims are violently enforced by state agents who assert the supposed authority to impose financial penalties on people who use their own property in a way not approved by municipal authorities – and kill any property owner who resists.

Amy McKinnon of Augusta, Georgia was recently sent to jail for 120 days for building a home on her own property for her sick mother. Code enforcement officials who presumed to regulate McKinnon’s use of her property had deigned to allow her to erect a gazebo in her yard, but cited her for having two structures on one parcel of land when it became clear that it had exceeded the 562 square feet anticipated for the gazebo.

McKinnon’s neighbor, Don Gilmore, denounced her half-completed home as “a monstrosity” and – displaying an attitude appropriate to a subject of Communist East Germany – applauded city officials for imprisoning his neighbor.

“I want to see this thing come down yesterday!” Gilmore told the local Fox affiliate.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Tillerson Allegedly Violated Iran Sanctions as Exxon CEO Between 2003 and 2005, ExxonMobil allegedly conducted business in Iran in defiance of economic sanctions imposed by Washington, reports USA Today. This was during the period when Rex Tillerson, appointed by Donald Trump to serve as US Secretary of State, was CEO of the company. SEC filings unearthed by American Bridge, an opposition research group connected to the Democratic Party, showed $53.2 million in sales to Iran, as well as $1.1 million in business with Syria, during that three-year period.

The sales were conducted by a subsidiary called Infineum, which was based in Europe. ExxonMobil officials insist that the transactions did not violate the sanctions because they did not involve US employees.

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Orwellian “Peace Institute” Promotes Intervention, War“Peace-Institute”-Promotes-Intervention,-War This week, the US Institute of Peace (USIP) will convene a two-day gathering entitled “Passing the Baton 2017: America’s Role in the World.” Among the featured speakers at that event will be several of the most prominent advocates for foreign intervention and aggressive war – including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton, retired Lt. General and Trump National Security Advisor designate Michael Flynn, and incumbent National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

Albright is notorious for her blithe comment to 60 Minutes in 1995 that sanctions imposed on Iraq were “worth it” despite their role in killing an estimated half-million Iraqi children. She also promoted the 1999 US-led NATO terror bombing of Serbia, and on one occasion actually rebuked Colin Powell, at the time Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his reluctance to commit US troops to foreign conflicts not directly related to national defense. Cotton, an Iraq War veteran, is a vociferous proponent of war with Iran. Flynn has been a “war on terror” hawk, and Rice has promoted both the Obama administration’s ongoing drone war and its disastrous military intervention in Libya.

Also on the program is an event entitled “A Conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham.” The South Carolina Republican is among the most conspicuous advocates of unlimited war in the Middle East, and a zealot for confrontation with Russia.

The tax-funded USIP, which was created during the Reagan administration, has been controlled since its inception by the so-called neoconservative faction, which eagerly promotes military adventurism abroad.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Peace-Institute”-Promotes-Intervention,-War
The Nobel Peace President’s Bloody Legacy’s-Bloody-Legacy Medea Benjamin of the peace activist group Code Pink was a passionate critic of the Bush administration. Unlike most of her colleagues on the Left, however, she was also a critic of the Obama administration, ignoring partisan loyalty in favor of fidelity to her principles.

“While candidate Obama came to office pledging to end George W. Bush’s wars, he leaves office having been at war longer than any president in U.S. history,” writes Benjamin in the Guardian of London. “He is also the only president to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.”

Although Obama did reduce the number of U.S. ground troops deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan – following through on plans made by his predecessor – “he dramatically expanded the air wars and the use of special operations forces around the globe,” Benjamin elaborates. “In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70 percent of the world’s nations, 138 countries – a staggering jump of 130 percent since the days of the Bush administration.”

In 2016 alone, the final year of Obama’s presidency, the US military dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that “every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day,” concludes Benjamin, summarizing the legacy of a president who began his first term by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Bloody-Legacy
Supreme Court to Hear Case Involving Post-Acquittal Punishment Under the ancient Old Testament Law of Moses, which is renowned for its severity, judges and other public officials who wrongfully convicted innocent people would be liable to the same punishment they inflict. In the contemporary American criminal justice system, courts frequently impose fines and other punishments even after defendants have been acquitted of all charges, or exonerated following a wrongful conviction.

The US Supreme Court on January 9 heard arguments in the case of Nelson v. Colorado, in which Shannon Nelson and Louis Alonzo Madden were initially convicted of child sexual abuse and then exonerated by an appeals court, which found that the verdict had been engineered through judicial misconduct. Both defendants had been required to pay extravagant sums for various fees prior to trial. The appeals court ordered that they be reimbursed, but the state Supreme Court reversed that decision, claiming that the victims weren’t entitled to restitution because they had not been sent to prison.

Legal Commentator Garret Epps notes that “there is no legal crime for which either [Nelson or Madden] owed fines or restitutios. Nonetheless, the [Colorado Supreme Court] said, Nelson and Madden were out of luck unless they could prove their innocence” – which was not their burden as defendants, and once they were exonerated on appeal the state was given the burden of proving their guilt. In an inversion of due process, Colorado’s brief focuses on the gravity of the accusations, rather than acknowledging the legal innocence of its now-exonerated victims.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Already Demanding Investigations of Media Leaks Donald Trump incontestably benefited from leaked information during the 2016 presidential campaign, and both the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign were outraged by those disclosures. Weeks prior to his inauguration as president, however, Trump is already demanding “investigations of leaks to the press – an indication that he’ll emulate and possibly surpass President Obama’s practice of criminalizing disclosures to the media,” observes The Intercept.

Trump took to Twitter on January 6 to demand that “the chairs of the House and Senate committees … investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it.” The NBC report actually digested a Washington Post story regarding the unclassified – and entirely uncorroborated – intelligence reports describing alleged Russian efforts to influence the US election. The Post did receive a leaked copy of the same report that was made available a few hours later – long after Trump could have seen the same material, had he chosen to do so.

Trump was not complaining about a security breach, but rather asking Republicans in Congress to use their open-ended investigative powers to retaliate against a news organization whose coverage had offended him. Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who has been critical of the Obama administration’s civil liberties record, asks: “After January 20, will Trump be personally directing investigations whenever a news story annoys him?”

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Tax Victims Force to Subsidize Incarcerated Gender Revolutionaries Tax victims in California will be forced to underwrite the surgeon-assisted sexual self-mutilation of a prison inmate calling himself Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who is serving a life sentence without prospect of parole for first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery for ransom. After undergoing what officials call “sex-reassignment surgery” – which will modify the external signifiers of his sex, while leaving him male at a genetic level – Quine will be transferred to a women’s prison. He will there be surrounded by authentic female inmates, many of whom are serving convictions for non-violent offenses.

Quine was convicted of murdering Shahid Ali Baig, a 33-year-old father of three, in February 1980, in order to steal $80 and his car. California Department of Corrections official Terry Thornton insists that denying the murderer the privilege of taxpayer-assisted “sex reassignment” surgery would violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Farida Baig, the daughter of Quine’s victim, contends that forcing tax victims to underwrite Quine’s unusual demand is a form of state-inflicted cruelty on the innocent.

“My dad begged for his life,” she recalls, saying that “it just made me dizzy and sick” to learn of the tax-funded transgender operation. “I’m helping pay for his surgery,” she continues. “I live in California. It’s kind of like a slap in the face.”

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama Administration Nationalizes the US Election System The US Constitution does not authorize the federal government to operate the election system, which is controlled through state governments and their subsidiaries. Because the Framers of the Constitution did not trust the central government to control the mechanism used to select congressmen, senators, and presidential electors, the power to conduct elections was reserved to the separate states through the Tenth Amendment.

With just weeks to go before the end of a presidency characterized by expansive contempt for the US Constitution, Barack Obama has approved a directive that designated the election system part of the country’s “vital” infrastructure.

“Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure,” insisted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. The decision to nationalize the election system in defiance of constitutional prohibitions “came after months of review and despite opposition from many states,” notes ABC News. “It was announced the same day a declassified US intelligence report said Russian President Vladimir Putin `ordered’ an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.”

That report did not claim that Russian hackers had infiltrated any element of the decentralized US election system. In fact, the only documented instance of an attempted cyber-infiltration was traced to the Department of Homeland Security by Georgia’s Secretary of State.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Plans Significant Expansion of Navy Owing to their concern over standing military establishments, the Framers of the Constitution limited congressional budget authorizations for the Army to two years apiece, while delegating to that body the power to “maintain” a Navy. This was because the Founders understood that a navy would be useful in defending the republic from foreign threats, and protecting citizens pursuing commercial interests overseas.

Since World War II, Washington has consistently maintained the largest and most active navy in history. In recent decades it has been increasingly used for power projection and involvement in foreign military conflicts not plausibly connected to defense of the country. Although Donald Trump has repeatedly called for a less interventionist foreign policy, he has likewise demanded that the Navy be expanded. As a result, notes the AP, “the Navy is proposing the biggest shipbuilding boom since the end of the Cold War to meet threats from a resurgent Russia and saber-rattling China.”

The service has outlined a 355-ship program that “is even larger than what [the President-elect] had promoted on the campaign trail,” which would include a new aircraft carrier, 16 large surface warships, 18 attack submarines, and additional amphibious assault ships, expeditionary transfer docks, and support ships.

Not surprisingly, this initiative is being touted as a Keynesian “boost to shipyards that have struggled because [of] budget caps that have limited … funding for ships,” the AP report continues. The new gusher of military funding would be directed at congressional districts in Virginia, Maine, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and other states.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Odd Alliance Between Leftist California AG and Trump’s Treasury Pick’s-Treasury-Pick A memo compiled by investigators for California Attorney General Kamala Harris accused Steven Mnuchin, the Goldman Sachs vet selected by Donald Trump to be Secretary of the Treasury, of repeatedly violating that state’s foreclosure laws between 2009 and 2015, reports the Intercept.

The AG’s Consumer Law Section identified over a thousand legal violations in one small subsection of loans issued by Mnuchin’s OneWest bank, and advised Harris to file a civil enforcement action against the lender. The 22-page memo contained a sample legal complaint that would seek injunctive relief and millions of dollars in penalties.

Mnuchin, through OneWest, has been accused of illegally foreclosing on thousands of homes. The memo compiled by the AG’s office also claimed that OneWest “obstructed the investigation by ordering third parties to refuse to comply with state subpoenas.”

Confronted by The Hill over her refusal to pursue the matter, Harris – who was elected to the Senate last November – declined to offer a substantive reply, dismissing the matter as “a decision my office made.”

Harris, once described by Barack Obama as his favorite state attorney general, has been touted by some Democratic Party activists as a rising figure and potential presidential candidate.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Treasury-Pick
New York Federal Court Consents to Fourth Amendment Violation Several months after his parole on narcotics offenses, New York resident Kemal Lambus was required to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his compliance with a curfew. He was assured that this arrangement would be ended after no more than six months – yet probation and parole officials unlawfully extended the tracking period to 791 days. This was done in the effort to gather evidence on Lambus and his associates, who were suspected of involvement in a drug trafficking syndicate.

A New York federal appeals court acknowledged that this open-ended monitoring was a clearly unconstitutional search.

“A state cannot use a parolee as a sort of fly paper, trailing him around the community for years, trolling for criminals,” wrote the court. Despite acknowledging that the officials who imposed these restrictions on Lambus behaved unlawfully, the court insisted on rewarding their criminal misconduct by refusing to suppress the evidence that was illegally obtained. The court justified that perverse ruling, in part, by describing the facially illegal monitoring as “a legitimate supervisory objective” and blaming the indigent defendant for not having the financial means to obtain competent legal representation.

“If Lambus had been represented by counsel during his parole, he might have challenged … this continuing search,” writes the court. “It is an unfortunate and common occurrence in our country that rights without counsel are no rights.”

One purpose of the appeals system, the court apparently forgot, is to vindicate the rights of citizens in such circumstances.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Unions Hail Sessions a “Police-First” AG Selection“Police-First”-AG-Selection The advertised purpose of the justice system is to protect the lives and property rights of the citizens against criminal violence, whether from private actors or state officials. Within that framework the US Attorney General is responsible for carrying out what James Madison called the “few and defined” legal functions of the federal government, leaving most law enforcement functions within the “numerous and indefinite” powers reserved to the states.

During the Obama administration, many conservatives and law enforcement lobbying groups complained that Attorney General Eric Holder and his successor, Loretta Lynch, improperly expanded the federal role in state and local law enforcement. They contradictorily condemned the administration for its trivial reduction in the transfer of military-grade weapons and other war-fighting assets from the Pentagon to local police. Now that Donald Trump is poised to become president, the country’s largest police unions and lobbying groups -- the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the National Sheriffs Association -- have abandoned any pretense of opposition to federalization of law enforcement under an administration they anticipate will be more congenial to their interests.

According to The Hill, “Law enforcement groups view [Trump’s Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions] as someone who will bring a `police-first’ mentality to [the Justice Department] that they say was absent during President Obama’s eight years in office.”

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Police-First”-AG-Selection
Zero Evidence of Anything but Hypocrisy in “Intel” Report“Intel”-Report The much-publicized intelligence report supposedly confirming Russian interference in the recent US election offers evidence of nothing but Washington’s hypocrisy, contends Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute.

One of the key contentions in the report is that the Russian government-funded RT news network helped influence public opinion. McAdams observes that “The Kremlin funds RT to the tune of $190 million per year … and its audience keeps growing. The report does not mention that the US government spends vastly more — $780 million for 2017 — on its worldwide propaganda effort through the government-funded Broadcasting Board of Governors.”

“Another problem the US spy agencies have with RT is that it reports on the surveillance state created by those same spy agencies,” McAdams continues. Washington’s intelligence organs complain that “RT’s reports often characterize the United States as a ‘surveillance state’ and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties.”

“So RT is guilty of being a Kremlin plot to undermine our freedom because it points out that the US government has already undermined our freedom,” McAdams sarcastically observes, noting as well that “National Intelligence Director James Clapper told the Senate [that] pointing out US government hypocrisy is itself indicative of a Russian influence operation in action.”

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Intel”-Report
Intel Report on Russian Hacking: Assertions, Not Evidence,-Not-Evidence The 25-page unclassified intelligence assessment regarding alleged Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 US presidential election offers assertions, but no evidence. The much-discussed report offers a candid acknowledgment in its preface that it will not provide confirmation of the conclusions presented therein, while claiming that the CIA, NSA, and FBI all believe that the Russian government hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, stole a large volume of emails, and released them to the public in an effort to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Only two pages of the report deal with the actual mechanics of cyber-intrusions, without making a compelling case that the Russian government or its agents were involved in raiding the DNC’s computers. Rather than providing proof of its most incendiary claims, the report focuses on what it describes as motives for such an attack, and spends several pages examining the operations of the Russian government-controlled English-language RT media network. This section of the report, observes commentator Scott Shackford, is intended “to highlight how Russian propaganda is reaching American listeners.”

One prominent complaint lodged in the report is that RT supposedly subverted the two-party system by hosting a third-party presidential debate and provided a platform for activists who believe that the existing political cartel doesn’t serve the interests of the electorate. They also object to the network’s coverage of police abuse, domestic surveillance, and the increasing reliance of the Obama administration on drone warfare.

Rather than serving as a compelling indictment of Russian cyber-warfare, the intelligence report promotes the idea that political and media figures who criticize the abuses of the federal law enforcement and intelligence system are either paid or unwitting dupes of the Kremlin.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Not-Evidence
Plagiarism Charges against Trump National Security Appointee Syndicated columnist and former Fox News commentator Monica Crowley, chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council, “plagiarized large sections” of her 2012 book “What The (Bleep) Just Happened,” charges a feature story published by CNN. The network lists “upwards of 50 examples” of unattributed duplication in Crowley’s book, “including copying with minor changes of news articles, other columnists, think tanks, and Wikipedia.” The book, a New York Times best-seller published by HarperCollins, “contains no notes or bibliography.”

The allegations against Crowley strike a serious blow at both her character and her academic credibility. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Crowley holds a Ph.D in international relations from Columbia University. In her book she copied, almost verbatim, entire essays from other sources. Furthermore, this is not the first time she has been charged with plagiarism: In 1999, prior to receiving her doctorate, Crowley was accused of essentially duplicating a 1988 article published by the neoconservative journal Commentary.

Neither HarperCollins nor Crowley responded to CNN’s allegations. The Trump transition team expressed continued support for Crowley, insisting that her “exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration…. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country,” the transition team concluded.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Yes, There are “Fake News” (Disinformation) Stories on the Right,-There-are-“Fake-News”-(Disinformation)-Stories-on-the-Right Since the election, the Obama administration, the Clinton campaign, and most organs of the legacy media – aided now by the leading US intelligence agencies – have labored tirelessly to discredit all independent media as purveyors of “fake news.” This campaign is largely a reflection of political disgruntlement on the part of formerly complacent liberals, and professional jealousy on the part of their media allies. Regrettably, it can exploit occasional instances of sloppiness or dishonesty on the part of independent media figures – and the recent mass murder in Fort Lauderdale produced an example of that kind.

Infowars, the Gateway Pundit, the website of former Florida Republican Congressman Allen West, and countless Right-leaning social media accounts all retailed what was described as a contrast between an “un-doctored” photograph of accused murderer Esteban Santiago, and one supposedly used by CNN. The former showed a dusky-skinned young man of Latino ancestry; the second one had been over-exposed in such a fashion that he appeared to be Caucasian. The charge was the CNN deliberately altered the photograph to make the suspect appear white – the reverse of the notorious Time magazine cover story from 1994 in which OJ Simpson was made to appear darker.

At the time the story of the doctored Esteban Santiago photo was put into circulation, CNN had yet to air a picture of the suspect. Furthermore, the photograph used in the story that was given such extensive circulation in the Right-wing blogosphere was of another individual named Esteban Santiago – not the man allegedly responsible for the airport murder spree.

“Why is CNN attempting to make the shooter look more white? Bizarre,” wrote Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson. “It appears CNN doctored the photo to make the suspect look more white – sad,” commented Gateway Pundit publisher Jim Hoft, who has a long track record of retailing misattributed photos and unreliable accounts.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-There-are-“Fake-News”-(Disinformation)-Stories-on-the-Right
Feds Seek Suppression of Information about FBI Informants Seeking to intimidate a California blogger and liberty activist into suppressing valuable information in the ongoing trials of Cliven and Ammon Bundy and their associates, the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for Oregon have validated his reporting about undercover FBI informant-provocateurs.

Gary Hunt, a retired county land surveyor, is publisher of an independent media site called Outpost of Freedom, which began more than two decades ago as an independent newspaper. Hunt has run a lengthy series of articles called “Burns Chronicles,” discussing the protest occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and the ensuing trials. During the trial of the first set of defendants, which ended in acquittals on all of the most serious charges, it was revealed that fifteen people associated with the 41-day protest had been paid informants for the FBI. His reporting has focused on several people named in FBI documents as Cooperating Human Informants (CHIs), including William Kullman, Mark McConnell, Thomas S. Dyman, and Robert Seever.

In anticipation of the federal trial for a second group of standoff defendants, federal prosecutors asked the judge to order Hunt to remove the material about FBI informant-provocateurs from his website. Contacted by FBI Special Agent Matthew Catalano, Hunt refused to delete the material, insisting that an existing protective order did not apply to journalists like himself and that under the Sixth Amendment the defendants have the right to confront their accusers in public.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Climatologist Commits “Career Suicide” in the service of Sound Science“Career-Suicide”-in-the-service-of-Sound-Science Citing her “growing disenchantment” over the way climate alarmists have politicized her field, Dr. Judith Curry resigned as chair of the School and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

One of the most deeply learned and careful researchers in a very rarefied field of specialists, Curry has spoken out against dogmatic claims that the climate science “is settled.” Science is a process in which researchers constantly test their assumptions, and all conclusions are provisional. Once conclusions are regarded as final, defending them is not science, but apologetics – in this case, defense of political policy disguised as science. Curry’s public exposure of the abundant uncertainties involved in climate science, and her resolute defense of sound methods of scientific inquiry, prompted accusations that she was “anti-science.”

“A deciding factor [in my resignation] was that I no longer know what to say to students and [post-doctorate researchers] regarding how to navigate the craziness in the field of climate science,” wrote Dr. Curry. “Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment – funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, [and] professional recognition…. [H]ow young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and if often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide,” she laments.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Career-Suicide”-in-the-service-of-Sound-Science
“Mr. Rogers” for Intel Chief?“Mr.-Rogers”-for-Intel-Chief? Indiana Republican Senator Dan Coats, selected by President-elect Trump to serve as Director of National Intelligence, has a demeanor that has earned comparisons to the famously mild-mannered Mr. Rogers – yet his embrace of torture as an interrogation method might strike some as being akin to the notorious Inquisitor Torquemada.

“In the past, Coats has railed against President Barack Obama’s attempts to close” the Guantanamo Bay detention and torture facility, reports The Intercept, asserting that it has been “a valuable tool in our counterterrorism efforts.” He has derided the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the CIA’s practice of torture as a “partisan account,” and was personally implicated in arranging the abduction, detention, and torture of German citizen Khaled Masri. As ambassador to Germany, Coats pressured the German minister of the interior to suppress information about the Masri case.

Chris Anders of the ACLU insists that the Senate should withhold action on the Coats nomination “until he comes clean on the cover-up of the kidnapping and torture of an innocent German citizen.”

Coats is also a hardliner toward Russia, and is banned from entering that country following his high-profile promotion of sanctions against Moscow for its annexation of Crimea.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Mr.-Rogers”-for-Intel-Chief?
Fort Lauderdale Gunman Claimed he was Radicalized by US Intel Agencies According to the New York Times, federal law enforcement officials were aware of accused mass murderer Esteban Santigo prior to his rampage at the Fort Lauderdale Airport on January 6, and had been investigating whether he “was mentally disturbed and heard voices in his head telling him to commit acts of violence.”

An individual identified by the Times as “a senior law enforcement official” said that Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq combat veteran, “walked into the F.B.I. office in Anchorage in November and made disturbing remarks that prompted officials to urge him to seek mental health care.” Appearing “agitated and incoherent,” the recently discharged soldier told FBI officials “that his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency.”

Other officials said it was too early to tell whether Mr. Santiago, who was captured in the airport, had been inspired by terrorist groups, including the Islamic State. The officials said he had viewed extremist materials on the internet.

Relatives of Santiago have reported that he was receiving psychological treatment prior to the November incident in which he reached out to the FBI’s Anchorage field office. “How is it possible that the federal government knows [about his condition], they hospitalize him for only four days, and then give him his weapon back?” asked his incredulous brother, Bryan Santiago

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Nat Hentoff, Civil Libertarian and Jazz Connoisseur, Passes at 91,-Civil-Libertarian-and-Jazz-Connoisseur,-Passes-at-91 Nat Hentoff, whose lengthy and variegated writing career included music criticism, novels, and unstinting defense of the Bill of Rights, died at age 91 “surrounded by family listening to Billie Holiday,” reported his son, Nick. Hentoff, a former syndicated columnist for the Washington Post and long-time featured writer for the liberal Village Voice, was also published in the conservative online journal WorldNetDaily, whoseeditor, Joseph Farah, referred to Hentoff as “America’s conscience” in a tribute published last fall.

“When people talk about old-school liberals who’d defend to the death your right to say anything you want, chances are good that Hentoff is the fellow they’ve got in mind,” declared Jesse Walker of the libertarian journal Reason. For decades, Hentoff “pounded away at the evils of censorship, and he didn’t care if the censor had a left-wing agenda or a right-wing one. If anything, he seemed especially perturbed when people he expected to share his values started stomping on individual liberties.”

A self-described “liberal atheist Jew,” Hentoff was also a passionate defender of the right to life and an outspoken opponent of abortion.

In an interview with John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, Hentoff excoriated Barack Obama, describing him as “much worse” that George W. Bush in his abuses of executive power.

“Obama seems to have no firm principles that I can discern that he will adhere to,” Hentoff observed. “His only principle is his own aggrandizement. This is a very dangerous mindset for a president to have.”

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Civil-Libertarian-and-Jazz-Connoisseur,-Passes-at-91
German Intelligence Facilitated Christmas Truck Attack Last week witnessed a blockbuster revelation indicating that the driver of the hijacked truck that was used in a murderous terrorist attack at a Berlin Christmas market last under the control of German government informants, who had been planted within radical Islamic organizations.

Peter Schwartz of revealed that Anis Amri, the driver of the weaponized truck, was closely monitored by an undercover agent known as “VP,” who reportedly helped Amri with his plans.

On Friday evening, the ARD television program `Focus’ (`Brennpunkt’) cited a file according to which an `informant’ (`VP’) for the North Rhine-Westphalian state criminal office had already made contact with Amri at the end of 2015,” reported Schwartz. “In the ensuing days, Amri stated that he wanted to carry out attacks in Germany using weapons of war (AK 47s, explosives).”

“Between February and March of 2016, Amri was driven from Dortmund to Berlin by a `secret informant for the Intelligence Service’ to whom he related his plans,” continues the account. “The note in the file adds: `He was driven by VP and stated that his mission was to kill on behalf of Allah.’”

Schwartz stated that this is but the latest example of state security forces that refrained from intervening and even protected alleged perpetrators of high-profile terrorist attacks. In every case, Schwartz points out, the attacks provided the pretext for building up the state apparatus increasing domestic surveillance and enhancing police state powers.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Turkish Government Candidly Accuses Washington of Arming ISIS Both private eyewitnesses and government officials in the Middle East have implicated the US government as conscious supporters of radical Islamist groups in Syria -- including funding and arming ISIS, thereby escalating what increasingly appears to be an ersatz war on terror.

Most of these revelations, however, haven’t made it into the news diet of the ordinary Americans, and independent journalists have long maintained that this reflects biased coverage by major Western media organs that are aligned with US government official pronouncements and their agendas.

Last week, Turkey’s President Erdogan accused the US of “supporting and arming ISIS,” and said he has "confirmed evidence" to back up his claim, reported the independent news commentary site "They give support to terrorist groups including ISIS" Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara on Tuesday, adding that US coalition forces "give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It's very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos."

Predictably, the Obama administration has denied Erdogan's allegations, and accused Turkey of spreading "fake news,” while ignoring other accounts from sources in and around Syria that have reported the same US covert support for the radical elements fighting in Syria.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Yet Another Israeli Prime Minister Faces Criminal Corruption Probe Every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin has been accused of, or involved in, serious corruption scandals. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, for instance, was forced to step down in 2008 over corruption allegations, for which he has since been indicted.

Now investigations are ongoing against Benjamin Netanyahu, reports the Associated Press: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was grilled by police investigators for over three hours at his official residence Monday night, opening what could be a politically damaging criminal investigation into suspicions that he improperly accepted gifts from wealthy supporters.”

A report from Israel’s Channel 2 TV claims that Netanyahu stands accused of accepting "`favors’ from businessmen in Israel and abroad and that he is the central suspect in a second investigation that also involves family members.”

Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen is inclined to believe the charges and suspects it is just “the tip of the iceberg.”

“Netanyahu has long been the recipient of globalist favors ever since the Kissinger group paid for his US education and set him up in an office on Wall Street,” Skousen recounts. “Netanyahu came to Israel with very little money and is now extremely wealthy. It’s the same way Barack Obama became wealthy in office after having only made $60K a year as a community organizer.”

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
US Government Waging Global War on Cash Cash is a fluid medium of exchange that is completely anonymous and untraceable—traits that concern centralized planners in government who want the ability to track, tax or restrict every business negotiation. Their increasing effort to ban or reduce cash and rely solely on credit and debit cards has been called a “war on cash.” The first step toward a cashless society is to eliminate large denomination bills, thus forcing all high-end purchases into traceable transactions. $1,000 and $500 bills were eliminated back in 1969, and similar efforts are underway against the €500 and CH1,000 notes but Americans have thus far resisted retiring the $100 bills in circulation.

That hasn’t stopped US-based globalists from “practicing” on other countries first, says German researcher Norbert Haring. He traces an ill-conceived plan by the Indian government to eliminate their two largest denomination bills to negotiations between USAID under the deceptive title “Catalyst: Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership” to supposedly create “a quantum leap in cashless payment in India.” Nearly 80 percent of circulating cash by value was retired in a short timeframe in India and the subsequent disruption was terribly painful to the poorer classes.

On November 8, Haring recalls, “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the two largest denominations of banknotes could not be used for payments any more with almost immediate effect. Owners could only recoup their value by putting them into a bank account before the short grace period expired at year end, which many people and businesses did not manage to do, due to long lines in front of banks. The amount of cash that banks were allowed to pay out to individual customers was severely restricted. Almost half of Indians have no bank account and many do not even have a bank nearby. The economy is largely cash based. Thus, a severe shortage of cash ensued. Those who suffered the most were the poorest and most vulnerable. They had additional difficulty earning their meager living in the informal sector or paying for essential goods and services like food, medicine or hospitals. Chaos and fraud reigned well into December.”

The plan backfired. After significant economic disruption the experiment appears to be failing, leading some to hope that other countries will be more resistant to the US war against cash.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Degenerate Agitprop “Art” Displayed at US Capitol“Art”-Displayed-at-US-Capitol At the US Capitol complex, each congressman is allowed to submit artwork from his district for public viewing, but one piece showing police officers as pigs in the middle of black protestors is drawing criticism from more than just art critics. Congressional Democrat Lacy Clay from a district in St. Louis chose to elevate the painting by a local high school senior despite the obvious institutional slur against police.

Policemen assigned to security duties at the Capitol and local police unions predictably expressed outrage over the caricature, and Congressional Republicans are protesting it as unnecessarily inflammatory and demeaning.

“It is disheartening to see this depiction of law enforcement hanging in the hallway of our nation's Capitol where officers work every day to protect our safety and freedoms,” Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., told The Independent Journal Review. “Unfortunately, many people of influence have taken part in promoting offensive and inaccurate caricatures of the very people who do the most to protect our families.”

One resident of St Louis observed that “If any other ethnic, religious, or work group were depicted this way, the art piece would be determined to be `hate speech,’ and removed from the wall, and the artist subject to criminal and civil penalties. Everyone is calling for better police-community relations, and in ST. Louis, I have seen the beginning of this through many efforts. But if this teenage ‘artist’ is allowed to scapegoat police, it only sets us back,” he concludes.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Art”-Displayed-at-US-Capitol
Horrifying Abduction in Chicago Four young Chicago males and one female are in police custody and being questioned in connection with the abduction and torture of a mentally disabled man in an incident that was live-streamed on Facebook. The video depicted a visibly terrified young white man who had been tied up and was bleeding from the head while his captors – who are black – beat him and assail him with racist abuse and profane references to Donald Trump. At one point the suspects express the hope that the video will go viral.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi describes the video as “reprehensible. It’s sickening. You know it makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that.”

The victim, who was found walking alone in shorts, despite severe cold, is believed to have been the classmate of one of the suspects.

The political and racial content of the video has prompted many commentators to describe the offense as a hate crime. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson initially insisted that the evidence for such a charge hadn’t been found.

“I think some of it is just stupidity, people just ranting about something that they think might make a headline,” he observed, underscoring the recorded statements by suspects about wanting to create a viral video. “I don’t think we have anything concrete to really point us in that direction, but we’ll keep investigating and we’ll let the facts guide us on how this concludes,” added Johnson. Hate crimes charges were eventually filed against the suspects.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama’s “Napoleon Moment”’s-“Napoleon-Moment” When Napoleon Bonaparte was named emperor in December 1804, he took the crown from Pope Pius VII and placed it on his own head. He thereby signified that there was none worthy to confer that title but himself – not even the religious official widely recognized as the Vicar of Christ.

As his presidency expires, Barack Obama has had what could be called a “Napoleon Moment” in which he effectively awarded himself the Pentagon’s Distinguished Public Service medal. The actual award was conferred by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during the Armed Forces Full Honor Farewell Review at Commy Hall in Virginia’s Joint Base Myer-Henderson.

A military award ribbon similar to those given to active-duty military personnel, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award is the highest commendation of its kind given by the military to civilians. The Defense Department explains that the award “is presented to a small number of civilian employees whose careers reflect exceptional devotion to duty and significant contributions of broad scope in policy, scientific, technical or administrative fields that increase effectiveness and efficiency.”

Mr. Obama, of course, is not a Defense Department employee or technical advisor. In effect, this commendation represents the boss giving himself an award.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Napoleon-Moment”
Assange, WikiLeaks May Sue CNN over “Pedophile” Slur,-WikiLeaks-May-Sue-CNN-over-“Pedophile”-Slur WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has lived in asylum for several years in the Ecuadorian consulate in London. The government of Sweden has sought extradition on disputed charges of sexual assault. Assange, who stoutly denies the accusations, has expressed concerns that Sweden – which has an extradition treaty with the United States – would deliver him into the custody of the U.S. government, which seeks to prosecute him on espionage charges arising from WikiLeaks’ publication of diplomatic cables provided by Army whistleblower Bradley Manning.

During a January 1 panel discussion, CNN contributor Philip Mudd, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, referred to Assange as “a pedophile who lives in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.” Under pressure from Wikileaks, CNN removed the video of that exchange from its website and issued a statement apologizing for broadcasting Mudd’s claims.

“CNN has no evidence to support [Mudd’s] assertion,” admitted the network. “Assange is currently wanted for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations there, and no evidence suggests that the women involved were minors. We regret the error.”

Following that apology, however, CNN broadcast a second panel discussion in which Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers stated that Assange “is wanted for rape of a minor” and is “hiding in the basement of an embassy because he is a fugitive from justice.”

WikiLeaks has announced that it is preparing to file a defamation suit against the network.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-WikiLeaks-May-Sue-CNN-over-“Pedophile”-Slur
Cultural Assault on Marriage Takes a Bizarre Turn The purpose of marriage, as defined in the Jewish and Christian scriptural canon, is to unite a man and a woman as “one flesh,” thereby creating a lasting communion between them. In its Obergefell ruling in 2015, the US Supreme Court arrogated to itself the supposed authority to redefine a millennia-old institution that existed before any political government – and whose origin, according to the faithful, was a primordial act by the Creator Himself.

Good Housekeeping magazine, a woman’s publication that, decades ago, was devoted to sharing useful tips for middle-class housewives, reports on what it calls the “small but growing movement” of people who “marry” themselves. This burlesque of matrimony has spawned a small industry of “consultants and self-wedding planners…. In Canada, a service called Marry Yourself Vancouver launched this past summer, offering consulting services and wedding photography. In Japan, a travel agency called Cerca Travel offers a two-day self-wedding package in Kyoto: You can choose a wedding gown, bouquet, and hairstyle. And pose for formal wedding portraits. On the website I Married Me, you can buy a DIY marriage kit: For $50, you get a sterling silver ring, ceremony instructions, vows, and 24 `affirmation cards’ to remind you of your votes over time. For $230, you can get the kit with a 14-karat gold ring.”

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Republican Legislatures, Democrat Municipal Governments at Odds,-Democrat-Municipal-Governments-at-Odds Hillary Clinton won the aggregate popular vote in November, but Donald Trump carried an overwhelming majority of counties. Republicans now control a majority of the state houses, and in some states control both the executive and legislative branches. Sandwiched between the GOP-controlled federal government and Republican-led state governments are a number of large municipalities that are governed by Democrats – and they may soon see their hands tied by “pre-emption” laws enacted by Republican legislatures.

The Hill notes that those laws would “prevent cities and counties from passing new measures governing everything from taxes to environmental regulations and social issues.”

Many Republican legislatures complain that “liberal cities and counties vastly overstepped their bounds by implementing new taxes on sodas and sugary beverages, by raising local minimum wages or through strict new environmental regulations.” Under the federalist principle, such enactments – while liable to criticism as foolish or counterproductive – would be less dangerous at the local level than at the state level. Furthermore, many causes traditionally associated with the GOP have worked through municipalities to circumvent liberal state governments; for instance, grassroots conservatives have promoted measures allowing cities to opt-out of state-level “smart growth planning” policies.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Democrat-Municipal-Governments-at-Odds
Armed Texas Grandmother Drives Off Intruder Rebbie Robertson, a 74-year-old resident of Bowie County, Texas, didn’t panic when she saw an armed, masked intruder preparing to break into her home. Instead, she walked resolutely to a nearby table and retrieved her own firearm.

“I had to walk right out in front of him,” she recalled to the local ABC affiliate. “I didn’t know if he was going to kill me or what. I reached over there and grabbed this gun. And when I swerved around, I pointed it at him, and he ran.” She briefly pursued him, firing several shots.

“I’m not sure I didn’t hit him,” she declares. “I sure tried – I was sure hoping.” Despite the composure she displayed in dealing with the intruder, Mrs. Robertson describes the incident as “the scare of my life.”

Bowie County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Neal told ABC News that officers are still seeking the suspect.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Union Chief Puzzled that Citizens Resent Seeing Cops Act like Robbers Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, complains that public outrage over civil asset forfeiture – a process in which police and prosecutors can seize money and property from citizens without filing criminal charges – is a “fake issue.” Although some states have sought to reform – if not abolish – this practice, the federal government’s “equitable sharing” program allows police to take the confiscated property and return ninety percent of it to the local agency that seized it.

Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as the next Attorney General, is a passionate supporter of asset forfeiture and the equitable sharing program. Not surprisingly, as Canterbury points out, “Not a single major law enforcement organization supported legislation ending the equitable sharing program.”

“One of Canterbury’s arguments is that asset forfeiture provides the police with money to buy things that they want,” observes Reason magazine. “It’s literally an argument in favor of stealing.”

Canterbury describes civil asset forfeiture as a way to “deprive criminals of both the proceeds and tools of crime” – but this can be done through criminal forfeiture following conviction for an offense. Nor does he acknowledge that asset seizure has been used as a means to deprive defendants of the funds they need to defend themselves against charges in court. In one outrageous case in Oregon, money confiscated from a man operating a medical marijuana coop in a state where such facilities were legal was used to pay the prosecutor who tried his criminal case.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Dylan Roof’s Impenitent Depravity’s-Impenitent-Depravity Six weeks after he murdered nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylan Roof wrote in his journal that “I would like to make it crystal clear, I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”

That journal entry was placed at the center of the death penalty case presented by prosecutors as the trial of the now-convicted mass murderer enters its sentencing phase. Roof was convicted last month for hate crimes under a federal statute. Under the Constitution, murder is a state offense – and federal pre-emption of this case might actually make it more difficult for state prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

“Since the federal death penalty statute was reinstated in 1988 and expanded in 1994, the government has taken a little more than 200 such cases to trial, and juries have handed down punishments of life in prison about twice as often as they have opted for the death penalty,” points out the Washington Post. “Roof’s case presents a complication because the ninth-grade dropout has chosen to represent himself – and to offer almost no real defense.”

In his brief opening statement Roof told the jury that he had fired his lawyers because he did not want them to offer mitigation evidence regarding his mental health.

“There’s nothing wrong with me psychologically,” he emphasized.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Impenitent-Depravity
West Virginia Sheriff Charged With Grand Larceny to serve Meth Addiction Newly elected Roane County, West Virginia Sheriff Bo Williams had barely been sworn in before he found himself incarcerated in his own jail, facing a felony charge of grand larceny. Williams, who was sworn in on New Year’s Day, had resigned from his position as city police officer in nearby Spencer last December after evidence went missing.

County Prosecutor Josh Downey, Spencer Police Chief Greg Nichols and a state police sergeant claim that Williams told them in November that he had been addicted to methamphetamine for more than a year. He has been charged with stealing $1,000 in drug evidence, and faces a prison term of up to ten years if he is convicted.

The sheriff was released following arraignment on a $50,000 property bond. He has not yet resigned, and has not said whether he intends to do so. He is subject to a court order barring him from having access to the sheriff’s office and the courthouse evidence room. The Roane County Commission has begun removal proceedings, which would require a ruling from a special three-judge panel. Former Sheriff Todd Cole has been appointed to serve as chief deputy in charge of law enforcement operations until the incumbent sheriff is either formally removed, or exonerated.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Would Trump’s Border Wall be built with Prison Labor?’s-Border-Wall-be-built-with-Prison-Labor? America’s manufacturing base has eroded over the past decade, and the market for both residential and commercial real estate has fluctuated, but the prison boom that began in the early 1990s shows no signs of tapering off. If the policy vision of arch-drug prohibitionist Jeff Sessions, chosen by Donald Trump to become the next Attorney General, prevails, the US prison population – which is already the largest in the world – will expand. One sheriff in Massachusetts has suggested that the federal government should conscript inmates to help build Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,” insisted Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson during the swearing-in ceremony for his fourth term. “Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in their communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful.”

Hodgson used his inaugural speech to announce an initiative her calls Project N.I.C.E. – National Inmates’ Community Endeavors – through which prison convicts and inmates of county jails would provide what he calls “volunteer” labor for disaster relief and other government public works projects.

“We need to turn this country around and put law and order back in place,” insisted Hodgson. “That’s why today, I am making a formal offer to President-elect Trump that inmates from Bristol County and others from across the nation through Project N.I.C.E. will help build the wall.”

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Border-Wall-be-built-with-Prison-Labor?
Houston Police, Prosecutor Nullify Marijuana Statutes,-Prosecutor-Nullify-Marijuana-Statutes Houston residents accused of misdemeanor marijuana offenses will no longer be sent to jail, announced newly inaugurated Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

“I’ve never felt good about putting marijuana users in the same jail cells as murderers,” Ogg explained during brief public comments following her swearing-in ceremony. “It’s just not fair, it doesn’t make any sense, and our country is resoundingly against that.” Accordingly, “All misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases will be diverted around jail.”

Those accused of felony charges, such as possession with intent to deliver, will still face criminal prosecution and potential prison sentences, however.

According to Ogg, “I’m going to look at our legislature to take another look at the drug laws and the penalties that are imposed under Texas law. As long as it’s the law, I’ll follow it. But our office is going to use the discretion that the legislature gave us to handle marijuana cases differently.”

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Prosecutor-Nullify-Marijuana-Statutes
Three Senators Threaten Embassy Security Funding over Israel Dispute The status of Jerusalem – a city regarded as holy by all three Abrahamic religious traditions – is among the most inflammatory questions in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, like many of his predecessors, insists that an undivided Jerusalem is the “eternal capital” of Israel. If Israel were to act definitively on that belief, it would prevent Palestinians from establishing a state that includes East Jerusalem.

This matter would appear to exemplify the kind of foreign controversy the United States should avoid, were the US government to heed George Washington’s timeless advice. However, in 1995 Congress enacted a measure directing that the US embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Each successive president has invoked a national security waiver allowing them to defer action on that directive. Donald Trump has indicated that he would approve relocating the embassy.

Three Republican senators – Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Dean Heller of Nevada – have introduced a bill that would immediately reduce embassy security funding by half, and eliminate it entirely by 2018, if the US embassy is not moved to Jerusalem.

As The Intercept observes, both Cruz and Rubio have previously written op-ed columns excoriating the Obama administration for what they described as inadequate funding for embassy security.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Arkansas Judge Removed for Extorting Sexual Favors District Judge Tim Parker of Carroll County, Arkansas was forced to resign and has been barred from the bench for life after he reportedly offered plea deals to female defendants in exchange for sexual favors.

An investigation by the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission concluded that Parker “engaged in a pattern of personal relationships with many female litigants” between 2013 and 2016. Investigators also learned that he had conducted business using jail phones and swapped cash and prescription pills for sex acts.

Under questioning from the panel, Parker admitted to releasing some defendants, and reducing bail for others, who were friends or former clients. The investigation included video-recorded testimony from more than a dozen women accusing Parker of sexual abuse. Parker didn’t contest the accusations, insisting that he found them indecent.

The judicial fitness panel only has jurisdiction regarding disciplinary sanctions. Jason Barrett, a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the matter, is reviewing the panel’s findings to determine if criminal charges would be appropriate.

Parker is the second Arkansas judge accused of undermining the administration of justice in exchange for sexual favors. Former Cross County District Court Judge Joseph Boeckmann was indicted in October on several federal charges, including wire fraud and witness tampering.

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Tillerson to get “Signing Bonus” From Exxon if Confirmed as Secretary of State“Signing-Bonus”-From-Exxon-if-Confirmed-as-Secretary-of-State Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson will have to surrender more than two million shares in his oil company if he is confirmed as Secretary of State under Donald Trump. His losses would be cushioned somewhat by the $180 million retirement package he would receive. This would be equal in value to the shares he would sell, and the bonus would be placed into a trust overseen by a third party.

“Tillerson’s selection raised potential conflict-of-interest issues because Exxon has business interests around the globe, including Russia,” observes the AP. “Putting his retirement nest egg into a trust is intended to ease concerns that Tillerson could make decisions as Secretary of State that would financially help himself or his former associates.”

This announcement from Exxon “comes as pressure mounts on [President-Elect] Trump to make clear how he would separate himself from his company,” continues the report. “Presidents are exempt from federal ethics rules, though most recent holders of the office have sold off their financial holdings and put them in trusts as if the rules did apply to them.”

Trump has said that he would surrender management control over his businesses to his two adult sons, “but has given no indication be plans to sell his ownership interest in his company.”

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Signing-Bonus”-From-Exxon-if-Confirmed-as-Secretary-of-State
Alabama Court: The Unborn Are Human Beings Overturning the trial court’s verdict in a tragic and highly contested lawsuit, the Alabama Supreme Court took judicial notice of the fact that the term “person” includes “an `unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability,’” under state law.

Kimberly Stinnett filed suit against Dr. Karla G. Kennedy, an OB/GYN who performed a dilation and curettage procedure after Stinnett went to the emergency room experiencing fever and severe abdominal cramping. The mother had previously experienced an ectopic pregnancy – a condition that occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus – and Dr. Kennedy misdiagnosed the symptoms. She administered a drug called methotrexate intended to destroy the developing fetus.

When Stinnett was examined by her regular physician, it was discovered that the pregnancy was actually normal. A few weeks later she miscarried.

The trial court dismissed Stinnett’s wrongful-death claim. The state supreme court reversed that verdict, citing the state’s Homicide Act, which explicitly recognizes the individual humanity of a pre-born child. In a concurring opinion, Judge Thomas Parker expanded on the majority’s opinion, writing that “The fact that life begins at conception is beyond refutation…. Members of the judicial branch of Alabama should do all within their power to dutifully ensure that the laws of Alabama are applied equally to protect the most vulnerable members of our, society, both born and unborn.”

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
In Detroit, Inmates are charged to stay at the “Crowbar Motel”,-Inmates-are-charged-to-stay-at-the-“Crowbar-Motel” “Crowbar Motel” is among the slang terms used to refer to the county jail. The Michigan State Legislature apparently takes that description literally: Under the “Prisoner Reimbursement to the County Act,” people who are incarcerated – whether or not they are actually convicted of criminal offenses – are charged up to $60 a day for the supposed service rendered to them by depriving them of their liberty. In Macomb County, a housing fee of $45 a day is imposed on inmates. This translates into a supplemental fee of more than $16,000 a year for an inmate incarcerated for a misdemeanor.

The Detroit News has called for the repeal of that statute, noting that people who have been incarcerated “already face challenges reintegrating into their communities. Adding a financial burden many have little hope of meeting is counterproductive.” The paper contends that “government should not continue to penalize people who have served their time.”

Although proponents of the jail housing fee contend that “penalties force criminals to take responsibility for their actions,” imposing a substantial financial penalty at the time of their discharge enhances the likelihood that convicts will re-offend once they are released – either by failing to make payments, or committing additional crimes in an effort to pay their fees.

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Inmates-are-charged-to-stay-at-the-“Crowbar-Motel”
Texas Judge Rules against Obamacare Abortion and Sex Change Mandate In a ruling announced as 2016 expired, Judge Reed O’Connor of the US District Court for Northern Texas issued an injunction preventing enforcement of a federal mandate that could have compelled doctors to perform abortions and sex-change operations.

The Franciscan Alliance, a Roman Catholic hospital system, the Christian Medical & Dental Association, and the state governments of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona, Kentucky, and Mississippi, had filed a legal challenge against a regulation by the US Department of Health and Human Services forbidding health care providers to “discriminate” on the basis of “gender identity,” and to provide a procedure called “termination of pregnancy” irrespective of the moral, ethical, or religious beliefs of the provider in question.

Pregnancy, of course, is a self-terminating condition, so the euphemistic language of the directive would have compelled doctors to commit the act of abortion or face prosecution under federal anti-discrimination guidelines. In similar fashion, doctors would be required to assist psychologically disturbed people mutilate themselves to suit their “individual sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.” The regulation specified that doctors were to accommodate those desires “regardless of their contrary religious beliefs or medical judgment.” Ordering a doctor to suspend his or her “medical judgment” in deference to the politically dictated prescriptions of a bureaucratic appointee would destroy the Hippocratic foundation of the health care system.

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Hannity Now Embraces “Criminal” Assange“Criminal”-Assange Soviet ruler Vladimir Lenin digested all political questions into a simple formula: The central question, he insisted, was “Who does what to whom.” Truth and morality were always subordinated to the need for the right people to be the “who” – those who exercise power – rather than the “whom” on the receiving end of power.

The contemporary American Left certainly follows that prescription. This is demonstrated by the fact that the same people who applauded as bakers, florists, and wedding photographers were prosecuted and ruined for withholding service from gay couples now defend business owners who withhold services from Trump supporters and other right-wing opponents. The same attitude is prevalent on the Right, however – as illustrated by Sean Hannity’s eager embrace of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

In 2010, Hannity treated Assange as an ally of terrorists and demanded that he be arrested and prosecuted for publishing documents provided to him by Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. Hannity denounced Obama as “weak” for failing to extradite and prosecute Assange.

This week, Hannity went to London to interview Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy that has been his refuge, and to defend him against Obama’s charges that he collaborated with the Russian government to undermine the recent presidential election.

Former Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has performed a similar about-face, apologizing to Assange now that he is seen as an ally of the Republican Party.

For its part in this dialectical do-se-do, the partisan Left that once applauded Assange is denouncing him as a tool of Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, and his Republican defenders as “traitors to America.”

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Criminal”-Assange
Facebook Bans Reporter who Disparaged Trump Supporters Vanity Fair contributor Kevin Sessums has partisan opinions and is not shy about sharing them on social media – but he found himself temporarily placed in what has come to be known as “Facebook jail” after writing a disparaging post about Donald Trump’s supporters.

Sessums shared a Facebook post from ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd, who reported that “In the last few hours I have been called by lovely `Christian’ Trump fans: a Jew, faggot, retard. To set record straight: divorced Catholic.”

Commenting on Dowd’s post, Sessums wrote that Trump followers of the kind who had swarmed him “are a nasty fascistic lot. Dowd is lucky he didn’t get death threats like [Newsweek writer] Kurt Eichenwald.” He then broadened his indictment beyond a narrow cohort of nasty partisans, insisting that “If you voted for Trump and continue to support him and you think you are better than these bigoted virulent trolls, you’re not…. We’re past describing you as collaborators at this point. That lets you off the hook. You’re Russo-American oligarchical theocratic fascists.”

Sessums’s denunciation of a large swath of the American electorate was every bit as unfounded and nasty as anything directed at Dowd or Eichenwald. Facebook responded by describing his comments as a violation of community standards, removing the post, and temporarily banning Sessums from the forum—which he described, correctly, as an act of “arbitrary censorship.”

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Decorated Michigan School Resource Officer Charged in Shooting Bay Area, Michigan Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Brown faces a potential six-year prison sentence after being criminalyl charged in a negligent shooting that led to a school lockdown.

In November 2015, Brown, a school resource officer at Bay City Western High School and Middle School, used a machine in a robotics classroom to test the trigger pull on his backup pistol, a Sig Sauer .380. In violation of rudimentary firearms safety practices, the deputy neglected to unload and clear his gun. Once the trigger was pulled, a round was sent through an intervening wall into a classroom, hitting teacher Brenda Amthor in the neck while she was teaching 30 students.

After being assigned to investigate the shooting, Brown -- a former “officer of the year” – recovered the bullet and hid it nearby. He also concealed his backup handgun – then called a police union representative, who abetted the cover-up. He also lied to investigators when asked about the incident. The police accountability publication Photography is Not a Crime notes that “School administrators also went into the silent mode, refusing to provide details to the parents of students” and instead sending out an automated voice message saying only that “there was an incident involving a gun being discharged by an officer.”

Brown has since been charged with felony evidence-tampering and two misdemeanors.

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
California Minimum Wage Hike Causes Businesses to Flee the State On New Year’s Day, California’s minimum wage increased to $10.50 an hour, en route to $15 an hour by 2021 in Los Angeles County, and 2022 state-wide. Rather than being a boon to low-skilled, low-wage employees, the minimum wage increase is prompting many small businesses to relocate to neighboring Nevada. As one California State University economist told the Los Angeles Times, “the exodus has begun.”

Among those looking to relocate elsewhere is Houman Salem, who owns a small fashion design house and clothing manufacturing company in San Fernando.

“Here’s what the math looks like,” writes Salem. “I pay my employees $10.50 an hour, plus productivity bonuses. In addition, I pay payroll taxes and one of the highest worker compensation rates in the state. Even still, I could likely absorb a minimum wage hike as high as $11.50 an hour. But a $15-an-hour wage for my employees translates into $18.90 in costs for me…. When the $15 minimum wage is fully phased in, my company would be losing in excess of $200,000 a year.”

“That may be a drop in the bucket for large corporations,” he continues, “but a small business cannot absorb such losses. I could try to charge more to offset that cost, but my customers – the companies that are looking for someone to produce their clothing line – wouldn’t pay it. The result would be layoffs.”

Nevada’s minimum wage is $8.25, and it has far lower regulatory and tax burdens. Accordingly, if Salem relocates to that state he “can keep my current pay structure or possibly increase wages.”

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Lawsuit Continues in a horrible case of Post-Sandy Hook Child Abuse A federal district court has allowed a lawsuit to proceed on behalf of a New Jersey child who was arrested, detained, and strip-searched after his geometry teacher saw him drawing a sketch of a superhero with flames shooting from his hands. This happened three days following the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The child, identified by the initials K.J., was pulled out of class the following day by a resource officer at the Greater Egg Harbor High School. His home was searched by police and the Fire Department, and bomb-sniffing dogs were unleashed on the school, causing a panic.

K.J. was taken to a juvenile detention center, where he was strip-searched and cavity-searched and held without charges for more than two weeks. Upon his release he was placed on house arrest and compelled to wear an ankle bracelet for five months. Although he was cleared of all charges, school officials attempted to expel him. The lawsuit also claims that school district officials “harassed, intimidated, bullied, retaliated against, and cyber-bullied” the child, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He has been described as “a very gifted child in the areas of chemistry and engineering, and likes to do experiments,” according to the suit – and those aptitudes were treated as suspicious solely on the basis of his teacher’s misunderstanding of a superhero picture the bored student had doodled during class.

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Puerto Rico Judiciary Slaps Down Abusive Prosecutor Two federal judges recently slapped down an aggressive prosecutor who had attempted to build a case on the basis of Fourth Amendment violations. This didn’t actually happen in the any of the united States, however – but in the territory of Puerto Rico.

Suspected drug dealer Jose Silva-Rentas was charged with narcotics and firearms offenses following an arrest made on the basis of an anonymous tip, which claimed that a drug deal was about to be made and that a white SUV would somehow be involved. Several agents surrounded Silva in a parking lot with guns drawn, without identifying themselves.

After the agent who supposedly received the anonymous tip failed to testify, Silva filed a motion to suppress the evidence found on the scene. US Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin ruled in favor of the defendant, noting that “With the exception of a white [SUV’s] presence [on the scene], nothing in the tip had been corroborated. The agents did not observe anything specifically indicating a drug-related crime.”

Rather than moving on, federal prosecutors took the same facts to a second judge, Daniel Dominguez of the US District Court for Puerto Rico, who dismissed the case a second time on the basis of a doctrine called “collateral estoppel,” which forbids the government to seek “infinite opportunities to use previously suppressed evidence against a defendant in subsequent proceedings in separate cases.” Allowing this conduct would violate “the Constitution’s protections against Double Jeopardy,” concluded Judge Dominguez.

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Chooses Goldman Sachs Attorney to head the SEC President-elect Donald Trump has selected elite Wall Street attorney Jay Clayton to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, insisting that this appointment will help beat back regulations and unleash the economy’s “job-creating power.”

“We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers,” insisted Trump as he announced the appointment.

Clayton is currently a partner at the boutique firm Sullivan & Cromwell, which defended a number of mega-banks following the 2008 market meltdown. Among its clients were Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Barclays. Clayton himself was involved in securing mortgage settlements on behalf of investment firms who were investigated for toxic investments and suspected fraud.

CNN notes that “Clayton … has advised Goldman Sachs on its government bailout and his wife Gretchen currently works at the bank as a private wealth adviser.”

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Police Corruption Leads to 450 Drug Convictions Being Overturned Over the past three years, more than 400 drug convictions in Philadelphia have been overturned following the conviction of former Philadelphia PD Officer Jeffrey Walker, who was arrested by the FBI after planting drugs inside a Philadelphia resident’s car and then breaking into the victim’s home to steal $15,000 in cash. Walker was charged with attempted robbery and carrying a firearm in the commission of a violent felony, and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

If he serves his entire sentence – which is unlikely – Walker will be incarcerated for about a year and a half longer than LeRoy Gonzalez, who was a victim of what has proven to be standard operating procedure for some elements of the Philadelphia PD. In May 2009, Gonzalez was assaulted in his car by Officer Thomas LiCardello, who dragged him from his car, threw him to the ground, and handcuffed him. LiCiardello, along with officers Michael Spicer, Sean O’Malley, and Perry Betts, planted drug evidence near the victim, and charged him with narcotics offenses. Gonzalez was eventually compelled to accept a deal in which he pleaded guilty to a single charge of drug possession with intent to deliver.

It wasn’t until after he was released from prison that Walker, as part of a plea bargain of his own, implicated the officers who had framed Gonzalez for planting “false evidence on suspects, in their homes and other areas,” carrying out “police raids without probable cause and based on false information,” and falsifying police reports. Gonzalez has filed a federal civil rights suit against the City of Philadelphia.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Fake News Story about Russian Hacking Falls Apart Few media organs have been more outspoken, or more sanctimonious, in denouncing independent media for propagating so-called “fake news” than the Washington Post—and even fewer have been more feckless in retailing unreliable claims linking new media to the Russian government.

Just days after the Post cleaned up the mess it had made by repeating uncorroborated allegations of Russian influence peddled by the anonymous blog PropOrNot, the paper published another breathless – and, as it turned out, worthless – expose claiming that Russian agents had hacked into the U.S. electrical grid. The Post headline asserted that Moscow’s cyber-agents had “penetrated [the] U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont” – a genuinely alarming prospect. This story followed the Obama administration’s decision to impose sanctions on Russia in retaliation for unproven claims that its agents had interfered in the recent presidential election.

News of the infiltration of a Russian malware code into the US power grid was quickly propagated throughout the establishment media. However, the Burlington Electric utility, which was the source of the story, debunked the Post’s claims by pointing out that the malware code was found on an employee’s laptop computer that had never been connected to the grid. Furthermore, there was no evidence that the Russian-made code had been implanted by a Russian agent.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How Nixon Intervened in LBJ’s Vietnam Peace Talks’s-Vietnam-Peace-Talks John A. Farrell, author of a forthcoming biography of Richard Nixon, claims to have found decisive evidence that Nixon and Henry Kissinger sabotaged a potential peace accord between the administration of Lyndon Johnson and the Communist North Vietnamese government shortly before the 1968 election.

Nixon, understandably, has long denied that accusation. According to Farrell, “Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H.R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election.” Specifically, an October 22, 1968 memo reveals that Nixon directed Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the negotiations.

Working through Anna Chennault, a longtime Nixon supporter and key GOP donor, Nixon had a back channel to South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, who feared that the Johnson administration was selling him out. “Keep Chennault working on” the Vietnamese situation, Haldeman recorded in his notes, reflecting his directions from Nixon. The Nixon campaign also contacted a number of prominent members of the anti-Communist Nationalist Chinese Lobby – including Taiwanese President Chiang Kai-shek. Through Vice Presidential candidate Spiro Agnew, Nixon also put pressure on CIA Director Richard Helms, saying that his prospects for continued employment in a Republican administration required that he keep them apprised of the peace negotiations.

While it is understandable that South Vietnam would resist a proposed peace plan with the Communist North, Nixon’s actions violated the Logan Act, which forbids private citizens to meddle in official US diplomatic initiatives.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Vietnam-Peace-Talks
Should Federal Judges Check Executive Power Grabs? Over the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency, liberal commentators have taken up a protest more commonly offered by conservatives as judges have struck down some of Obama’s executive decrees, such as new regulatory measures imposed through the Labor Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“When voters elected a Republican Congress, President Obama famously vowed to act by decree: `I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.’ And `We can’t wait,’” recalls legal affairs analyst Walter Olson. Immediately thereafter, “Agencies began to quick-march rules in lieu of legislative action.” This led to a string of adverse rulings handed down by “judges appointed by Obama or other Democratic presidents.”

The president’s partisans have denounced the judges as “meddlesome activists and [called] for more judicial deference to the president’s power to set national policy with the help of what are seen as expert federal agencies,” recalled Olson. Addressing those critics directly, Olson continues: “Bad idea, guys. If you’re worried about President-elect Donald Trump, this is exactly the wrong moment to reproach judges for standing up to executive-branch power grabs.”

Rather than being examples of judicial over-reach – which actually occurs when judges impose policy changes from the bench – those rulings reflect the “watchful spirit against the encroachments of presidential power” that is one of their constitutionally prescribed duties, Olson concludes.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
New Disclosures about the Turkish Nightclub Massacre The assailant who carried out a New Year’s Eve massacre at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul fired non-stop for at least 20 minutes, according to the Daily Caller. The attacker, who is believed to be associated with ISIS, was captured on security camera video unloading on bystanders with an AK-47 rifle while exclaiming “Allahu Akbar.”

Twenty minutes is too long for one assailant to maintain continuous fire using a rifle of that kind. This suggests that the murderer may have had accomplices.

"We thought that there were several of them because it just didn’t stop,” recalled Younis Turk, a French citizen who survived the onslaught. “And there was some kind of bombing as well, he threw some explosives," said Turk.

Francois al-Asmar, who was wounded in the arm during the rampage, described how the attacker systematically executed the wounded. Bartender Mehmet Yilan said that the gunman “stormed in and immediately headed for the people to the left, which is always more crowded…. He was shooting randomly but aiming for their upper bodies. He didn’t just want to injure them.”

Reina is a popular tourist destination, and most of those who were murdered in the attack were of foreign origin – including one Canadian, one Belgian, and a Russian. One US citizen was among the injured.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How Your “Smart House” Will Spy on You“Smart-House”-Will-Spy-on-You The emergence of the “internet of things” – in which so-called “smart appliances” and other household systems will be wired to the Web – will give police and other government agencies new avenues for surveillance and evidence collection. The London Telegraph reports that “Detectives are currently being trained to look for gadgets and white goods which could provide a `digital footprint’ of victims or criminals.”

“The new Samsung Family Hub Fridge has cameras that carry a live feed of its contents, so shoppers can tell what they need when they are out at the shop,” continues the report. “The dates and times that people log on to the fridge, therefore could provide alibis or prove people were not were they said they were.”

According to Mark Stokes, head of the digital, cyber and communications forensics unit at London’s Metropolitan Police, “Wireless cameras within a device, such as a fridge, may record the movement of owners and suspects. Doorbells that connect directly to apps on a user’s phone can show who has rung the door and the owner or others may then remotely, if they choose, to give controlled access to the premises while away from the property.”

“All of these leave a log and a trace of activity,” he concludes. “The crime scene of tomorrow is going to be the internet of things.”

Stokes predicts that detectives in the near future may carry a “digital forensics toolkit” which would allow them to analyze microchips and download data at the scene, rather than removing devices for testing.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Smart-House”-Will-Spy-on-You
Will a GOP-Dominated Government Repeal Obamacare? Now that the Republicans are poised to control the White House and both chambers of Congress, GOP leaders are promising, once again, to make repealing Obamacare an early priority – and they have the means to do so. But this is just the beginning of a very ambitious agenda, reports Fox News. The Republican-led Congress “will also look at a tax overhaul, reversing Obama-era environmental regulations and other conservative priorities. However, such efforts will have to share center stage with the Senate confirmation hearings for Trump's Cabinet picks in the days and months that follow the president-elect's swearing-in.”

Ironically, confirming Trump’s choices “should be easier for Republicans … after Democrats changed the Senate's filibuster rules in 2013. Still, Democrats have pledged to fight many of the nominations, highlighting what they call the hypocrisy of Trump's populist message and his wealthy, corporate-favoring nominees for several posts.”

Trump’s appointments include Reagan administration veteran Robert Lighthizer to serve as US Trade Representative. In addition to his time as deputy trade representative under Reagan, Lighthizer, a high-powered corporate attorney in Washington, has been vice chairman of the board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Beijing’s Big Media Push’s-Big-Media-Push China's main state-run television network has launched a new international media platform to sell a positive image of China abroad in a soft power push to boost China’s influence. China Central Television (CCTV) launched the China Global Television Network Saturday, CCTV reports. The new network includes six TV channels and one new media agency. That announcement came in the wake of several years of Chinese frustration over the international success of Western media, and the formidable increase in the presence of English-language Russian media efforts.

According to the Asia Times, China's media ambitions don't stop at promoting its own industry. Beijing is also pushing what it calls “journalism with Chinese characteristics” onto the world’s media stage, and in particular on its trading partners in developing nations - some of whose leaders, the paper observes, “welcome a style of journalism that is tailored to meet the needs of the state and not the people.”

By way of the China-Africa Media Cooperation Forum, for example, the Communist Chinese government offers to help train African journalists in its style of reporting. Chinese President Xi's view of what that style should be “was made clear in February after a visit to CCTV's offices in Beijing,” continues the report. “All news media run by the Party must work to speak for the Party's will and its propositions and protect the Party's authority and unity, Xi said,” according to the state-run Xinhua network.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Big-Media-Push
Executive Branch Agencies Rush to Fill their Ranks Prior to Trump Inaugural Continuing a tradition that dates back to 1801, when the outgoing administration of Federalist President John Adams rushed to appoint fellow party members to executive branch posts before Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated, the Obama administration is frantically filling out an immeasurably larger executive bureaucracy in anticipation of the Trump presidency.

The Washington Post reports that “Several federal agencies are accelerating hiring in the final days of the Obama administration to ensure that as many new employees as possible are in place before President-elect Donald Trump imposes a promised hiring freeze. Leaders at these agencies are filling open positions with transfers and outside hires and are making internal promotions before Trump takes office Jan. 20, according to internal documents and interviews.”

This last-minute hiring binge comes amid tensions “between the Trump transition team and the Obama administration – a relationship that has grown worse in recent days due to disagreements over how the United States should handle its relationship with Israel and the issuance of new sanctions against Russia over its role in hacking incidents tied to the election,” continues the Post, causally reciting allegations against Moscow for which no evidence has been provided. Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer complained that Obama has violated a December 1 agreement to impose a hiring freeze on the executive branch.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
CNN Displays Video Game Still as Evidence of Russian Hacking At the core of the ongoing establishment media frenzy over so-called “fake news” is the conceit that journalism is something that should be left to the purported professionals – such as those who produce broadcasts for CNN. Without the financial resources and the large, well-compensated team of writers and fact-checkers boasted by the cable network, amateurs who report on current events would mislead the public by offering unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, or perhaps present forged or misrepresented documentation in support of those claims.

Actually, this appears to be a brief description of CNN’s corporate standards, at least regarding unsupported claims that the Russian government intervened in the 2016 US presidential election.

Yahoo News – which is facing legal action from gun rights activists who were defamed by Yahoo correspondent Katie Couric in a recent broadcast – summarizes CNN’s unforced error:

“In a recent story about President Obama proposing sanctions against Russia for its role in cyberattacks targeting the United States, CNN grabbed a screenshot of the hacking mini-game from the extremely popular [Role-Playing Game] Fallout 4.” The graphic CNN selected “shows the menacing neon green letters that gamers will instantly recognize as being from the game.”

This mistake, which blew by CNN’s legions of fact-checkers, was quickly spotted by amateur commentators assembled through the Reddit social media site.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
No “Qualified Immunity” for Deputies Who Fatally Suffocated a Veteran“Qualified-Immunity”-for-Deputies-Who-Fatally-Suffocated-a-Veteran The legal concept of “qualified immunity” will not protect Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff’s deputies from liability in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of the late Ernest Atencio, a 44-year-old Gulf War veteran who died of suffocation in 2011 at the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix.

Atencio, who had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, was arrested following a report that he had kicked in a woman’s door. Official reports described him as “humorous and jovial” as he posed for a mugshot, but his mood took a grave turn once he was moved into a different section of the jail. After the mentally disturbed man refused to remove his shoes, Officer Nicholas French applied a chokehold on Atencio as a squad of other officers piled on top of him. Sgt. Jason Weiers attacked him three times with a Taser, and Officer Anthony Hatton struck him repeatedly in the face. Atencio was moved to a cell, where he was later found unconscious. He died at a hospital shortly thereafter.

The officers who assaulted the victim knew, or should have known, that they were “prohibited from the type and amount of force used against Atencio, including multiple strikes to the face, repeated tasering, and a knee strike, when Atencio was at most passively resisting, he posed no threat to the officers, and was already being physically restrained by several officers,” ruled the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a December 30 memorandum order.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Qualified-Immunity”-for-Deputies-Who-Fatally-Suffocated-a-Veteran
The Encroaching Obsolescence of Jury Trials The State of Indiana is near the geographic center of the United States, and its Governor will soon assume the vice presidency. In many ways, that state could be seen as the country’s veritable heartland – and thus it is noteworthy that the practice of trial by jury, one of the pillars of our due process system, is becoming obsolete in the Hoosier State.

“In 2015, there were 1,160 jury trials across the state’s 92 counties out of 1,361,787 new criminal, civil, infraction and ordinance violations filed in Indiana,” notes the Indianapolis Times. That figure represents “a sharp decline from the 1,514 cases resolved by a jury in 2010, and the 2,450 jury trials in 2005, according to data published by the Indiana Office of Court Services.”

This reflects a nation-wide trend: Jury trials in the federal court system dropped 52 percent between 1997 and 2015, even as the population of people convicted of offenses rose dramatically.

Pre-trial settlements of civil cases, and the success of prosecutors in using the threat of onerous sentences to extract plea bargains, are among the trends that have contributed to the declining number of jury trials.

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama Working on another Last-Minute Land Grab As Barack Obama’s presidency expires, he has offered five possible management plans that would limit mining and other resource extraction on federally controlled western lands for the announced purpose of protecting the greater western sage grouse. Among the possible options would be a 20-year ban on new mining activity on 15,000 square miles of land identified as sage grouse habitat in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller called the proposals an “11th-hour attack on Nevada and the West,” and promised that he would work to overturn any new restrictions on mining. The Trump administration would choose from the proposed land restriction options after the public comment period on the administrative policy ends in March.

Up to a half-million sage grouse remain in 11 Western states. Contested studies by environmental activists claim that the population has fallen as a result of human development of resource-rich lands presently under federal control.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Texas Denies Cars to people in Child Support Arrears Texas parents – generally fathers – who are hit with child-support decrees they can’t afford find themselves caught in a vicious predicament: They need to drive to work in order to pay child support, but when they get in arrears on child support they are not allowed to register their automobiles.

In August, reports the Houston Chronicle, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan disclosed that “we are now being directed to act as enforcement for the Texas Attorney General and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and that concerns me.” The new policy went into effect in December, collecting an estimated $160,000 in child support. Contrary to public perceptions, most of that money will be absorbed by the administrative bureaucracy, rather than being used to support single parents and their children.

As the New York Times pointed out in 2015, child support orders often “exceed parents’ ability to pay. When parents fall short, the authorities escalate collection efforts, withholding up to 65 percent of a paycheck, seizing bank deposits and tax refunds, suspending driver’s licenses and professional licenses, and then imposing jail time.”

It should be remembered that Houston resident Willie Carson endured more than a decade of wage garnishments for child support, despite the fact that a DNA test proved he wasn’t the father of the child in question. His case was one of several of its kind.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
FBI Doesn’t Fully Believe Official 9/11 Story’t-Fully-Believe-Official-9/11-Story The Miami Times reports that “As late as October 2012, federal prosecutors and FBI agents in New York City were actively exploring filing charges against a suspect for providing material support to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers and other crimes.” That suspect’s identity was redacted from an FBI investigative summary discussing “`Updates and Initiatives [as of 5 October 2012]’ about 9/11.” That document was obtained by the Florida Bulldog transparency group as part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking access to the records of the official 9/11 Review Commission.

The report was heavily censored for reasons of national security and privacy, and won’t be declassified until December 31, 2037. The unclassified portions thereof “indicate the New York investigation targeted an apparent US support network for two of the 9/11 suicide hijackers – Saudis Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar – who with three other terrorists crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon,” relates the Miami Herald.

Former Democratic Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the congressional Joint Inquiry regarding the attacks, told the Herald that “This has never been disclosed before and it’s to the contrary of everything the FBI has produced so far that has indicated that 9/11 is history.” Graham also said it was “interesting that it took them 11 years to get there, and a [Freedom of Information Act lawsuit] to get this information to the public.”

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’t-Fully-Believe-Official-9/11-Story
Leftist Celebrity Chef Denounces Arrogant East Coast Liberals Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is not shy in expressing his liberal political views, and he is wearily disgusted by what he describes as the insufferable arrogance of his fellow “privileged Eastern liberal” peers.

“The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now,” Bourdain told the libertarian journal Reason.

According to Bourdain, “I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do – the best they can to get by and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good.”

Bourdain vehemently opposed Donald Trump and continues to do so, but he has no use for “The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left – just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of opposition,” which he said “does not win hearts and minds.”

“We should be breaking bread with each other and finding common ground wherever possible,” urges Bourdain.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Former Google Employee Sues Company over Internal Spying Program Tech Giant Google, which plays a key role in the federal government’s surveillance programs, has been sued by a former product manager who accuses the company of running an internal espionage network in which employees are encouraged to inform on each other.

The complaint lodged with the National Labor Relations Board claims that Nest, a company specializing in so-called smart homes, which is owned by Google’s parent firm, Alphabet – conducted illegal surveillance of employees through their electronic devices in an effort to deter them from speaking out about workplace conditions. The former employee claims that he was terminated after publishing a Facebook post containing complaints from several employees about CEO Tony Fadell.

As is the case with numerous other Silicon Valley firms, Google’s company guidelines impose a severe regimen of secrecy, specifying that “Everything we work on at Google – all the data and information we create, details of what we do, how we operate, and our plans for the future – is at a minimum, confidential.” Attorney Chris Baker, who is representing the former employee, describes that policy as over-broad and illegal.

The concerns expressed about Google’s corporate culture of surveillance by that former employee are publicly relevant amid the emergence of the so-called “internet of things” in which appliances and residential systems other than personal computers will be connected to the Web.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Man Faces Prosecution for Negative Business Reviews Nobody likes a critic, and internet trolls are thoroughly obnoxious – but is it a crime to give wide circulation to a negative reviews?

Dallas resident William Laurence Stanley was indicted by a federal court on December 6 for blog posts he had published about Generational Equity, a merger and acquisitions company with which he was once employed. He is charged with retaliation against the company, after being convicted last year of extortion. Stanley, who owns a search engine optimization, or SEO, company, had threatened to flood the internet with negative stories about the company unless it paid him nearly $30,000.

After being released from federal custody on November 4, Stanley wrote a series of critical blog posts from a half-way house. He was arrested on November 30 and charged with the new offense following a complaint from the company to the FBI regarding the negative reviews.

Whatever the merits of the extortion charge, Stanley maintains that his most recent posts, while negative, are documentably true, which would mean that they are not libelous and are protected under the First Amendment.

“This is America and you cannot shut up someone who is speaking the truth,” he told the Dallas Morning News. Among the claims made by Stanley is that the company paid him for “black hat SEO work” against some of his competitors, and that he is seeking to expose the company’s illegal activities.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Punishment First, Charges Later,-Charges-Later Sheriff Eddie Soileau of Louisiana’s Evangeline Parish recently asked permission from the state Attorney General’s office to restrict his duties to tax collection, as opposed to law enforcement. This actually might provide a respite to the residents of Ville Platte, a town of about 7,000 people in the parish who have suffered tremendous hardship from the practice of unlawful “investigative holds” – in which people would be arrested and detained and charges would be filed later.

Summarizing a report from the US Department of Justice, Reason magazine recounts that in Ville Platte, “People [would be] held for days without charging them with crimes, but often [on suspicion] of having committed crimes…. [T]he detention was partly because the police thought these people were guilty of something but lacked actual evidence, so police used the opportunity to keep them behind bars while they looked for something to [charge] them with.”

These arrests would often be carried out as a result of a “hunch” or a “feeling” on the part of the arresting officer.

Detainees would often be “forced to sleep on the floor in jail and were not allowed to contact the outside world and let people know what had happened to them. They were essentially `disappeared’ by law enforcement officials.”

This practice, which defies the ancient Anglo-Saxon habeas corpus guarantee and is better suited to a communist dictatorship, was carried on not only by the Ville Platte Police Department, but also by the sheriff’s department, which would hold people without a warrant or probable cause for up to a week.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Charges-Later
Federal Judge Steps in to Preserve CIA Torture Report Judge Royce C. Lambert of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, a Ronald Reagan appointee, has been a consistent critic of the federal government’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation policies. Just weeks before the end of the Obama administration, Judge Lambert issued a terse order directing the president to deliver a full, intact copy of the Senate’s report on the CIA’s torture practices at Guantanamo Bay and other black sites.

Lambert’s order directs the government to “preserve and maintain all evidence, documents and information, without limitation, now or ever in [its] possession, control or custody, relating to the torture, mistreatment, and/or abuse of detainees held in the custody of the executive branch” since September 11, 2001.

Judge Lambert issued the order in the context of a long-running court challenge filed by former CIA detainee Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a 51-year-old Saudi national who was subjected to waterboarding and rectal force-feeding. He is still awaiting trial by a military commission on charges arising from the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. Seventeen US sailors were murdered in that attack.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How Would the US Fare in a Trade War with China? In the event an outright trade war were to occur between Washington and Beijing, which economy would suffer the most?

James Wang, a professor at the City University of Hong Kong who publishes a monthly commentary for the $1 billion Pine River China Fund, says that a trade war should be regarded as a “distinct possibility” during Donald Trump’s term, and predicts that Chinese firms that are owned or majority controlled by the Communist government would emerge stronger from the conflict – while privately owned Chinese businesses may be devastated.

“By design, decision-makers in a democracy face difficulties coordinating a relief effort and must eventually face a political backlash from impacted domestic producers,” insists Wang. “On this basis, the Chinese may have more runway to play the long game in a trade war.”

US residents who depend on cheaply produced consumer goods would suffer the economic effects of a trade war, as would the big box retailers where those goods are sold. Chinese exporters of what Wang calls “Wal-Mart type” products, such as clothing, furniture, footwear and textiles would suffer if tariffs were raised. Among the cards Beijing could play would be reductions in aircraft orders from Boeing and new restrictions on automobile and agricultural imports.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Is there a downside to eliminating fatal traffic accidents? Driverless automobiles will revolutionize the way Americans travel and many other aspects of the way we live. Slate magazine points out that as “technology takes the wheel, road deaths due to driver error will begin to diminish.” Difficult though it may be to find a downside to a reduction in fatal traffic accidents, the left-leaning cyber-publication manages this feat by complaining that this “transformative advancement … comes with consequences in an unexpected place: organ donation.”

“It’s morbid, but the truth is that due to limitations on who can contribute transplants, among the most reliable sources for healthy organs and tissues are the more than 35,000 people killed each year on American roads,” continues Slate. “Currently, one in five organ donations comes from the victim of a vehicular accident. That’s why departments of motor vehicles ask drivers whether they want to be donors.”

The most ethical solution to the chronic shortage of transplant-suitable organs would be the creation of organ donation markets in the United States, Slate suggests – before undermining that proposal by calling for a “presumed consent” rule. This would mean that recipients of driver’s licenses would be presumed to consent to organ donation unless they state otherwise.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Public Pension Perversity More than one-quarter of the 116,000 residents of El Monte, California live below the poverty line, and the municipal government is facing bankruptcy, in large measure because of the cost of employee pensions. Former city manager James Mussenden “could very well be the face of California’s municipal pension crisis,” states Reason magazine. He is receiving more than $216,000 a year in retirement benefits, along with free health insurance and annual cost of living increases. This is because he is receiving two pensions – one from the city, the other from the state – because of a loophole devised in 2000 that allows city employees in El Monte to double-dip without legal liability.

Another retired El Monte city manager, Harold O. Johanson, receives a quarter-million dollars in annual benefits. After retiring at age 58, Johanson has extracted $3 million in pension double-dipping.

El Monte, where the median household income is just $32,000, does not require its employees to pay between seven and nine percent of their paychecks into the pension system, unlike other cities in California. Since the 1980s, city employees have not had to contribute a dime to the pension system.

Thus it is hardly surprising that Mussenden reports that his golf buddies – who themselves are not among El Monte’s lower class residents – “get very angry about my pension because they don’t have anything like it.”

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Student Loans Making College Unaffordable Beginning in 2009, the Obama administration opened the student loan floodgates, promising that doing so would make college affordable for everyone. Precisely the opposite has proven to be the case, as subsidies have inflated the price of a college education – a development that is not at all surprising to anybody with an understanding of basic economics.

Average net tuition costs have more than doubled during that time frame. According to a new academic study entitled “Accounting for the Rise in College Tuition,” Grey Gordon and Aaron Hedlund conclude that “demand shocks – which consist mostly of changes in financial aid – account for the lion’s share of the higher tuition [costs].”

Rather than encouraging more widespread college enrollment, “the tuition response completely crowds out any additional enrollment that the financial aid expansion would otherwise induce, resulting instead in an enrollment decline from 33 percent to 27 percent,” continue the researchers.

As the Foundation for Economic Education summarizes, “the Econ 101 insight that subsidies increase prices (even for those who are not fully subsidized) holds true.”

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Did A&E Stage Klan “Documentary”?“Documentary”? An oxymoron is a self-contradictory statement – such as “married bachelor” or “reformed Communist.” One of the most common specimens of this figure of speech is “Reality Television,” a label attached to cheaply produced programs that supposedly document daily, spontaneous actions of regular people, but are actually carefully scripted and staged melodramas.

The A&E cable network recently cancelled plans to air a program entitled “Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America,” which was created by a Venice, California-based production company called This Is Just a Test. Initial press coverage suggested that A&E scrapped the program weeks in advance of its scheduled January 10 premiere because of widespread outrage over the prospect that it would humanize the Klan. The show business trade publication Variety reports that the Klan leaders involved in the production claim that “significant portions of what was filmed were fabricated by the producers.”

“Some KKK leaders divulged that they were paid hundreds of dollars in cash each day of filming to compel them on camera to distort the facts of their lives to fit the documentary’s predetermined narrative: tension between Klan members and relatives of theirs who wanted to get out of the Klan,” continues the report. They claim to have been “wooed with promises the program would capture the truth about life in the organization; encouraged not to file taxes on cash payments for agreeing to participate in the filming; presented with pre-scripted fictional story scenarios,” and that the production company “even paid for material and equipment to construct and burn wooden crosses and Nazi swastikas.”

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Documentary”?
Et Tu, Waffle House? Waitress Fired for Shooting at Armed Robbers,-Waffle-House?-Waitress-Fired-for-Shooting-at-Armed-Robbers Gun owners and self-defense advocates are rallying behind Newnan, Georgia resident Heather Burkinshaw-Stanley, who was fired from her job as a waitress at a Waffle House after she pulled a personal firearm and opened fire on three men who had robbed the restaurant.

After the suspects finished their meal, they handed the cashier a note in which they threatened to kill everyone in the building if they didn’t receive the money in the cash register. As they fled on foot, Stanley grabbed a gun from her car and fired a warning shot over the heads of the robbers.

“I wasn’t sure if they were coming back,” she told the Newnan Times-Herald newspaper. “I was in fear for my life, my co-workers’ lives, and I did what I thought was right.”

Corporate officials for Waffle House declined to offer specific comments on Stanley’s termination, insisting that personnel matters are dealt with by the management of local franchises.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700,-Waffle-House?-Waitress-Fired-for-Shooting-at-Armed-Robbers
Obama’s Executive Order Rampage’s-Executive-Order-Rampage As the final grains of sand run through the hourglass of Obama’s presidency, he is energetically using executive decrees to bind the hands of his successor,notes The Hill.

“Obama’s decision Thursday to sanction Russian entities for election-related hacking is just the latest obstacle he has placed in Trump’s way,” notes the publication. “Days before the sanctions were unveiled, the Obama administration allowed the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement activity – something that could have an indelible impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama has also permanently banned oil and gas drilling across large swaths of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, closed off 1.6 million acres of Western land to development and scrapped the last vestiges of a registration system used largely on Muslim immigrants.”

Significantly, Obama has not yet fulfilled a campaign promise to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention and torture facility, which Trump has promised to expand. He has also presided over the creation of an official multi-agency “disinformation” unit that has been described by critics as a Ministry of Truth.

President-elect Trump used Twitter, as is his wont, to respond to Obama’s twilight bout of legacy-protection degrees.

“m best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks,” wrote Trump. “Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700’s-Executive-Order-Rampage
Oregon Family Seeks Answers Regarding Police Killing The family of Bend, Oregon man Michael Tyler Jacques is demanding a “fair and honorable investigation” of the fatal police shooting that claimed his life. Officers reportedly fired four or five times at Jacques, who was stopped for driving erratically and then was accused of resisting arrest. Before opening fire, one of the officers attempted to subdue Jacques with a Taser, which had no effect. At the time he was killed, Jacques was at the wheel of the vehicle, belted into his seat.

At the time of his death, Jacques, 31, had a service dog with him that was part of a medical prescription for severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He had been paroled from a sex abuse conviction in California, and had relocated to Bend in an attempt at a fresh start. His family is disturbed that investigators they had employed were rebuffed by witnesses who told them that law enforcement officials had directed them not to speak to anyone but the police, reports the Oregonian.

Police Chief Jim Porter described the killing as an “unavoidable, tragic situation,” which suggests that the official investigation will be an exercise in validating the use of lethal force. Jacques’ family issued a statement demanding that the Bend PD and Oregon State Police “conduct a fair and honorable investigation of this shooting not with the goal of exonerating the officers but with the sole purpose of determining the truth of what occurred that night.”

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Bend Officer Seeks “Blue Privilege” Exoneration in Traffic Accident“Blue-Privilege”-Exoneration-in-Traffic-Accident Robert Emerson was given a $260 fine for running a red light after he struck a pedestrian and plowed his vehicle into a donut shop earlier this year. At the time, Emerson’s vehicle was clocked at 66 miles per hour in a 35 MPH zone.

In most incidents of this kind, the guilty party would face serious criminal charges for an offense involving both personal injury and property destruction – and probably face a license suspension and a potential prison term. Emerson, however, is a corporal with the Bend Police Department, which means that he was given a $260 traffic citation – and now he is seeking to have that trivial punishment reversed.

At the time of the incident, Emerson was attempting to stop a suspected car thief, which he did by destroying the allegedly stolen car. After t-boning the vehicle, Porter’s police vehicle skidded out of control, side-swiping an unfortunate pedestrian and – in a whimsical bit of irony – crashing into the Dough Nut shop.

Police Chief Jim Porter describes Emerson as an “otherwise exemplary officer,” and suggests that the ten internal commendations he has received during his 13-year career outweigh what he described as the “mistakes” he made during that March 5 pursuit.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700“Blue-Privilege”-Exoneration-in-Traffic-Accident
Distracted Driving Could Lead to Prison in Oregon Drivers who are caught glancing at cell phones in Oregon could face fines of up to $125,000 – and prison time – under a bill that will be considered by the legislature in the coming year. The measure, sponsored by Oregon State Senate President Peter Courtney, would place texting while driving on a par with drunk driving in terms of the severity of official punishments. It does not address other potential distractions, such as eating, drinking, or smoking.

Courtney’s bill would make texting and driving a felony and impose a $6000 fine and a one-year prison term for the first offense. Multiple offenders would face a five-year prison sentence and a fine of $125,000. Nor would it be necessary for violators to be involved in an accident. According to Courtney, “They get cited, it’s over.”

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Chicago Residents Brace for Tax Onslaught in 2017 Already battered by an endless string of criminal homicides and buried beneath official corruption, residents of Chicago will find themselves under siege by tax collectors in 2017, even as the administration of Obama ally Mayor Rahm Emanuel cuts back on municipal services. Homeowners will face steep increases in property taxes, water and sewer bills will spike, and hidden taxes will show up in phone and cable television bills.

The tax increase comes amid self-congratulatory announcements by the Emanuel administration regarding cost-savings on some services – but those savings won’t be passed along to the long-suffering taxpayers. Nor will the cash grab be used to improve the quality of life for the city’s productive population. Instead, it will guarantee the subsidized retirements enjoyed by the political class. Jared Labell of Chicago-based Taxpayers United of America explains that “They’re going to pay for pensions.” Not surprisingly, Labell continues, “Those who can afford to leave Chicago are doing so, in droves. They’re leaving Cook County and they’re leaving Illinois.”

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Thriving Polar Bears Still Endangered? The New York Times, in concert with most other major legacy media organs, trumpeted another dire warning of polar bear populations dying off due to receding Arctic sea ice this week. Despite mentioning the up to 80 well-fed bears who plague the Arctic Circle town of Kaktovik, Alaska, and cause the residents there to carry bear spray or a firearm on the streets at night, the Times still trumpeted the warning of impending doom for these apex arctic predators.

“The continuing loss of sea ice does not bode well for polar bears, whose existence depends on an ice cover that is rapidly thinning and melting as the climate warms,” claimed the Times. “As Steve Amstrup, chief scientist for Polar Bears International, a conservation organization, put it, ‘As the sea ice goes, so goes the polar bear.’”

That assessment is neither uniform among specialized researchers in the field, nor is it the opinion of the leading experts therein. Dr. Judith A Crockford, an adjunct professor of zoology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and one of the leading polar bear scientists, offers a strikingly different view in an essay published on her website

“Polar bears have experienced those supposedly deadly low-ice summers for almost a decade but the global population did not drop by 2/3 as predicted and not a single one of the ten subpopulations predicted to be extirpated under those conditions has been wiped out,” writes Dr. Crockford. In fact, most polar bear populations have increased, and bear observers say they seem healthy and well-fed. This may suggest that even polar bears find it easier to survive in slightly warmer conditions.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
European Globalists Face Growing Opposition In concert with American voters who favored Trump over establishment favorite Hillary Clinton, an avowed globalist, European voters are also in the midst of a minor rebellion against the EU establishment. The EU policy of open borders and the slow increase of EU mandates in social and economic affairs of member countries have increasingly irritated the normally liberal Europeans. Although the centralization of power in Brussels has been slow and steady for years the grassroots energy to act for preserving their culture and independence was brought to a head by the sudden influx of millions of refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

Nothing has been more shocking and threatening to Europeans than to see centuries-old towns overwhelmed by refugees in just a few years. Globalist leaders have ousted citizens from government subsidized apartments to make room for refugees and last year many of the young male refugees, which predominate among the displaced, began to prey upon women in Germany and France. Local populations have turned to fledgling nationalist parties as they seek some sanity to preserve their way of life.

Despite advances by the opposing parties, the anti-EU Freedom Party candidate in Austria was defeated this fall and similar attempts are being made to defeat other nationalist contenders in the upcoming elections in Belgium and France. The Germans have been the last to fight the establishment but there is now a growing anti-EU party there too called “Alternative for Germany” which has doubled in size in just two years.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Russian Military Tested 150 New Weapons in Syria Although Russia’s stated goal in Syria is to prevent “the disintegration of the Syrian State” the armed conflict also provides a very real opportunity for Russian air crews and Special Forces to gain battlefield experience and for the Kremlin to test new weapon systems. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said over 150 new weapons have been tested in Syria, according to the Russian-owned news agency RT.

The news story did not reveal all of the systems tested but did mention that “Among the systems tested in Syria were Su-30SM and Su-34 fighter jets, Mi-28N and Ka-52 helicopters, and Kalibr cruise missiles, as well as other arms. According to Shoigu, 10 of the 162 weapons tested revealed flaws that had not been identified on test ranges…”

The Russian article complained that NATO and American surveillance of the area had been stepped up to gather intelligence on the Russian military’s capabilities. Some military analysts point out that this is the exact reverse situation when the Russians were carefully observing US tactics during prior Gulf Wars.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
How Many Nukes Do Moscow and Beijing Possess? Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen has been watching the arms buildup by Russia and China over many years. He notes that although the US has been unilaterally disarming for decades, the Russians have consistently cheated or backed out of the core parts of the many weapons dismantling agreements over the years. The only weapons they have allowed to be dismantled (at US taxpayer expense) have been old, obsolete missiles and even then they refused actually to destroy most critical components and warheads.

Russia is rapidly building new weapons systems and their official tally of nuclear weapons is now larger than it has been in decades. But even the official numbers, scary as they are, don’t represent the whole picture, Skousen argues. “The US has never been able to inspect Russia’s secret underground nuclear and missile factories and has no idea how many missiles or warheads are there.”

“Neither do we have any idea how many the Chinese have in their 3,000 miles of underground tunnel systems,” he continues. “I heard one ‘expert’ say this week that China has about 200 warheads. He would only say those were intelligence ‘estimates.’ Those are laughable given China’s massive militarization effort that has been going on for decades.”

The US continues slowly to dismantle even the minor deterrent of its aging force of fewer than 450 1960s-era Minuteman III nuclear missiles given the ever-growing threat not just from Russia but from the increasingly antagonistic Chinese.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Rapid Growth of Chinese Military in 2016 The Chinese, who despite an ailing economy still have substantial cash reserves, have dedicated a huge portion of their government spending toward rapid development and expansion of their military strength, reports long-time Asian defense analyst Bill Gertz in the Asian Times:

“As the year ended, China conducted a flight test of a new missile known as the Dong Ning-3 that the Pentagon believes is a missile designed to hit US satellites in space in a crippling attack in the early phases of a conflict that would limit American military forces from navigating forces, pinpointing targets and gathering intelligence.”

“2016 was also a year in which PLA began deploying multiple warhead weapons,” Gertz continues. “China’s most potent intercontinental ballistic missile, the new DF-41 was flight tested in December 2015 and confirmed by the Chinese Defense Ministry.” This new longer range intercontinental ballistic missile with the ability to carry multiple independent nuclear warheads represents a “quantum increase in strategic nuclear lethality,” warns Gertz.

Meanwhile in the Pacific the Chinese have stepped up the pace on their lone aircraft carrier the Liaoning to make it “combat ready” much faster than the typical 3 to 5 years needed to train a carrier force.

Surrounded by much smaller and weaker countries, this rapid expansion of military muscle is a dangerous sign that China likely has offensive plans in the future, predict several military analysts. China’s neighbors including Japan are increasingly worried about the expansive ambitions of this massive Asian country.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Are Central Bankers Losing their Keynesian Mojo? Mervyn King, a prominent British economist who teaches at New York University and the London School of Economics, “is the British Ben Bernanke,” writes David Gordon of the Mises Institute. For a decade, King was the Governor of the Bank of England, and yet, as Gordon points out, in his newest book, “The End of Alchemy,” King strikes a tone reminiscent of Murray Rothbard and other critics of the modern banking system.

“The idea that paper money could replace intrinsically valuable gold and precious metals, and that banks could take secure short-term deposits and transform them into long-term risky investments came into its own with the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century,” King recalls. “It was both revolutionary and immensely seductive. It was in fact financial alchemy — the creation of extraordinary financial powers that defy reality and common sense. Pursuit of this monetary elixir has brought a series of economic disasters — from hyperinflation to banking collapses.”

Alchemy of this kind works on a temporary basis, King explains because of the believe that “depositors would never all choose to withdraw their money at the same time.” The vulnerability of this system led to creation of central banks as lenders of last resort. But the moral hazard created by this arrangement encourages improvident lending and borrowing, which in turn lead to crises like that of 2008, in which the entire system seized up. Astoundingly, King – despite his background – writes favorably of one hundred percent reserve banking, which from the perspective of his peers is a grave heresy.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Man Facing Prosecution because his Son Walked to School Jeffry Wagner of Berwick, Pennsylvania faces criminal charges because his five-year-old son MItchell, eager to attend kindergarten, walked unaccompanied to school on a snowy Saturday morning.

Mitchell woke his father up at about 7 a.m. and asked his dad to help him get ready for school. Weary after a long workweek, Wagner explained to the child that it was Saturday, and told him to go back to bed, before retiring himself. Mitchell, who dressed himself, inexplicably decided to walk to the nearby bus stop – and when the school bus didn’t materialize, he started walking to school. A motorist saw the child and called the police, who picked him up.

Rather than returning the child to the safety of his home – which is how peace officers would deal with the situation – the officers filed an entirely gratuitous child endangerment charge against Wagner.

Striking an appropriately sarcastic note, Leonore Skenazy of Reason magazine writes that the assumption embedded in that criminal charge is that “only the children of criminally negligent parents ever do anything unexpected. And any child who ventures outside is immediately in such grave danger, no parent should ever allow it, even if they’re asleep.”

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Audi Joins the Gender Revolution Luxury automobile manufacturer Audi is beta-testing a television advertisement that none-too-subtly promotes the gender revolution conceit that so-called gender identity is fluid, rather than being defined by an individual’s inescapable biology.

The animated advertisement by Audi Spain, which debuted on YouTube on December 17, is entitled “La Muneca que eligio conducir” (“The Doll that Chose to Drive”) is set in a toy store divided between a pink aisle and a blue aisle. Rather than choosing a pink car, the doll opts for a blue model, which she drives through the store as other toys make similarly non-stereotypical selections.

At the end of the ad, a boy and his mother visit the store, and he grabs both the blue car and the doll. A closing title card lectures the audience that “playing, like driving, should not be influenced by gender stereotyping. Let’s change the game this Christmas.”

Given that the advertisement is only tangentially about the company that produced it, the television spot should be seen as an unabashed venture in political propaganda by the German auto manufacturer.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Real Journalist Victim of Establishment Fake News Story In counterpoint to the Elite’s orchestrated outrage over what it calls “fake news,” the Guardian of London created, and widely disseminated, an article falsely attributing quotes to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept, a former contributor to the Guardian who has worked with Assange on occasion, points out that the December 24 article “made two primary claims – both of which were demonstrably false. The first false claim was hyped up in the article’s headline: `Julian Assange gives guarded praise of Trump and blasts Clinton in interview.’ This claim was repeated in the first paragraph of the article…. The second claim was an even worse assault on basic journalism,” Greenwald continues. The author set up that claim “by asserting that Assange `long had a close relationship with the Putin regime.’ The only `evidence’ for this extraordinary claim was that Assange, in 2012, conducted eight interviews that were broadcast on RT.” That false claim was the foundation for the even more dishonest assertion that Assange had told the Italian newspaper la Repubblica that “there was no need for WikiLeaks to undertake a whistleblowing role in Russia because of the open and competitive debate he claimed exists there.”

The Guardian piece contained no original reporting, and the author of the article for la Repubblica has denounced the British paper for badly distorting her interview with Assange. The Guardian disinformation piece was designed to “play directly into the biases of Clinton supporters and flatter their central narrative about the election: that Clinton lost because the Kremlin used its agents, such as Assange, to boost Trump and sink Clinton,” Greenwald summarizes.

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0700
Obama’s Executive Order Rampage’s-Executive-Order-Rampage As the final grains of sand run through the hourglass of Obama’s presidency, he is energetically using executive decrees to bind the hands of his successor, notes The Hill.

“Obama’s decision Thursday to sanction Russian entities for election-related hacking is just the latest obstacle he has placed in Trumps way,” notes the publication. “Days before the sanctions were unveiled, the Obama administration allowed the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement activity – something that could have an indelible impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama has also permanently banned oil and gas drilling across large swaths of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, closed off 1.6 million acres of Western land to development and scrapped the last vestiges of a registration system used largely on Muslim immigrants.”

Significantly, Obama has not yet fulfilled a campaign promise to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention and torture facility, which Trump has promised to expand. He has also presided over the creation of an official multi-agency “disinformation” unit that has been described by critics as a Ministry of Truth.

President-elect Trump used Twitter, as is his wont, to respond to Obama’s twilight bout of legacy-protection degrees.

“Doing by best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks,” wrote Trump. “Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Executive-Order-Rampage
Oregon Family Seeks Answers Regarding Police Killing The family of Bend, Oregon man Michael Tyler Jacques is demanding a “fair and honorable investigation” of the fatal police shooting that claimed his life. Officers reportedly fired four or five times at Jacques, who was stopped for driving erratically and then was accused of resisting arrest. Before opening fire, one of the officers attempted to subdue Jacques with a Taser, which had no effect. At the time he was killed, Jacques was at the wheel of the vehicle, belted into his seat.

At the time of his death, Jacques, 31, had a service dog with him that was part of a medical prescription for severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He had been paroled from a sex abuse conviction in California, and had relocated to Bend in an attempt at a fresh start. His family is disturbed that investigators they had employed were rebuffed by witnesses who told them that law enforcement officials had directed them not to speak to anyone but the police, reports the Oregonian.

Police Chief Jim Porter described the killing as an “unavoidable, tragic situation,” which suggests that the official investigation will be an exercise in validating the use of lethal force. Jacques’ family issued a statement demanding that the Bend PD and Oregon State Police “conduct a fair and honorable investigation of this shooting not with the goal of exonerating the officers but with the sole purpose of determining the truth of what occurred that night.”

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Bend Officer Seeks “Blue Privilege” Exoneration in Traffic Accident“Blue-Privilege”-Exoneration-in-Traffic-Accident Robert Emerson was given a $260 fine for running a red light after he struck a pedestrian and plowed his vehicle into a donut shop earlier this year. At the time, Emerson’s vehicle was clocked at 66 miles per hour in a 35 MPH zone.

In most incidents of this kind, the guilty party would face serious criminal charges for an offense involving both personal injury and property destruction – and probably face a license suspension and a potential prison term. Emerson, however, is a corporal with the Bend Police Department, which means that he was given a $260 traffic citation – and now he is seeking to have that trivial punishment reversed.

At the time of the incident, Emerson was attempting to stop a suspected car thief, which he did by destroying the allegedly stolen car. After t-boning the vehicle, Porter’s police vehicle skidded out of control, side-swiping an unfortunate pedestrian and – in a whimsical bit of irony – crashing into the Dough Nut shop.

Police Chief Jim Porter describes Emerson as an “otherwise exemplary officer,” and suggests that the ten internal commendations he has received during his 13-year career outweigh what he described as the “mistakes” he made during that March 5 pursuit.

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Blue-Privilege”-Exoneration-in-Traffic-Accident
Distracted Driving Could Lead to Prison in Oregon Drivers who are caught glancing at cell phones in Oregon could face fines of up to $125,000 – and prison time – under a bill that will be considered by the legislature in the coming year. The measure, sponsored by Oregon State President Peter Courtney, would place texting while driving on a par with drunk driving in terms of the severity of official punishments. It does not address other potential distractions, such as eating, drinking, or smoking.

Courtney’s bill would make texting and driving a felony and impose a $6000 fine and a one-year prison term for the first offense. Multiple offenders would face a five-year prison sentence and a fine of $125,000. Nor would it be necessary for violators to be involved in an accident. According to Courtney, “They get cited, it’s over.”

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Chicago Residents Brace for Tax Onslaught in 2017 Already battered by an endless string of criminal homicides and buried beneath official corruption, residents of Chicago will find themselves under siege by tax collectors in 2017, even as the administration of Obama ally Mayor Rahm Emanuel cuts back on municipal services. Homeowners will face steep increases in property taxes, water and sewer bills will spike, and hidden taxes will show up in phone and cable television bills.

The tax increase comes amid self-congratulatory announcements by the Emanuel administration regarding cost-savings on some services – but those savings won’t be passed along to the long-suffering taxpayers. Nor will the cash grab be used to improve the quality of life for the city’s productive population. Instead, it will guarantee the subsidized retirements enjoyed by the political class. Jared Labell of Chicago-based Taxpayers United of America explains that “They’re going to pay for pensions.” Not surprisingly, Labell continues, “Those who can afford to leave Chicago are doing so, in droves. They’re leaving Cook County and they’re leaving Illinois.”

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
SJW Inquisition Underway at University of Oregon University of Oregon Law Professor Nancy Shurtz was suspended for an alleged act of “racial harassment” after she appeared at an off-campus Halloween party dressed as a black physician. This was in keeping with the theme of the informal gathering, to which attendees were asked to wear costumes reflecting “a popular book title.” Shurtz had chosen the recently published, and widely acclaimed, memoir “Black Man in a White Coat: Reflections on Race and Medicine.”

The disciplinary investigation admitted that Shurtz “was inspired by this book and by the author [and] she greatly admires and wanted to honor him, and that she dressed as the [author of] the book because she finds it reprehensible that there is a shortage of racial diversity, and particularly of black men, in higher education.”

Those eminently progressive sentiments availed nothing, given that her actions could be subjectively interpreted as symbolically racist by people even more progressive than she. Legal affairs commentator Eugene Volokh observes that under the standard used to punish Professor Shurtz, “a faculty member could be disciplined for suggesting that homosexuality may be immoral or dangerous,” or that “biological males who view themselves as female should be viewed as men, not as women,” or for “suggesting that there are, on average, biological differences in temperament or talents between men and women.”

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Obama’s Lame Duck Land Grab’s-Lame-Duck-Land-Grab Making good on what environmental collectivists regarded as a promise, and defenders of federalism and property rights deemed a threat, Barack Obama issued decrees locking up more than one and a half million acres of western lands as federal monuments.

A 1.35 million acre tract in Utah’s San Juan County has been designated as the Bears Ears National Monument – named after two protruding volcanic buttes – and 300,000 acres in southern Nevada has been cordoned off as the Gold Butte National Monument. The latter is near the property owned by Cliven Bundy, the rancher and land rights activist who faces a federal trial early next year for his actions in freeing cattle that had been unlawfully seized by the BLM.

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch denounced the seizure of the lands in San Juan County as an “attack on an entire way of life” and an “astonishing and egregious use of executive power” exceeding the powers delegated under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

“In the next Congress under President Trump, I will do anything in my power to reverse this travesty,” Hatch promised, saying that he will meet soon with Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke, who was chosen to be the Secretary of the Interior, to explore potential options.

Fellow Utah Senator Mike Lee also promised that “This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand” and that he would likewise work to “undo this designation.”

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Lame-Duck-Land-Grab
Federal Court: Cops Can Shoot any Dog that Moves or Barks A privately owned dog that behaves in predictable fashion in the presence of an armed stranger can be legally shot – if that stranger is a police officer, ruled the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

“The standard we set out today is that a police officer’s use of deadly force against a dog while executing a warrant to search a home for illegal drug activity is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” wrote the court, invoking the familiar “totality of circumstances” and “reasonable officer” concepts in the service of what appears to be the most important of all imaginable policy considerations, “officer safety.”

Battle Creek, Michigan residents Mark and Cheryl Brown filed a lawsuit after officers who searched their home in order to enforce unconstitutional drug laws slaughtered their pit bulls. One of the invaders killed a dog that “had only moved a few inches,” a gesture the officer interpreted as a “lunge,” then pursued the retreating dog to the basement and killed it, as well as a second dog. The second dog, according to the account of the functionaries that killed it, was not acting in a threatening fashion.

Inverting the familiar standard of law, the court insisted that the owners of the destroyed canines, rather than the officers who killed them, had the burden of proof regarding the officers’ claim that the first dog had “lunged” at them.

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Connecticut Court Delivers Victory for the Fourth Amendment Police officers who conducted a warrantless search of an apartment complex using a drug-detecting dog violated the Fourth Amendment, acknowledged a December 22nd ruling from the Connecticut Supreme Court.

In May 2012, acting on an anonymous tip, police in Berlin, Connecticut obtained permission from the owners and managers of an apartment complex to carry out what was called a “canine examination of the common areas of the building.” A drug-detecting dog named Zeusz was deployed in the hallway of each floor of the complex, and allowed to sniff at the bottom of each door. Zeusz displayed what is called a “passive alert” at unit 204, which prompted the officers to obtain a search warrant. This led to the discovery of several marijuana plants.

The trial court threw out the evidence as the product of a Fourth Amendment violation. The State of Connecticut appealed the case to the state Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court’s decision. The appellate court cited a long string of federal judicial precedents – including a recent ruling in a very similar case from Florida – describing the use of warrantless “canine sniffs” as a violation of common law property rights and the un-enumerated right to personal privacy.

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Austin ADA Lawyer Conducts Shakedown in the Guise of Helping the Disabled The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is among the most ambitious pieces of social engineering ever devised by the federal government. On the pretext of guaranteeing access to handicapped individuals, and accommodating those with recognized disabilities, the legislation can be used to regulate literally every centimeter of every private business or public facility. One attorney from Austin, Texas who has become notorious for filing inventive ADA claims is engaged in what appears to be a campaign of vulgar extortion.

Austin NBC affiliate KXAN reports that attorney Omar Weaver Rosales is targeting “healthcare businesses across the state with letters asking the recipient to pay $2,000 or be sued for alleged ADA website violations.” Demand letters dispatched by Rosales “have landed in mailboxes from Amarillo to Beaumont.”

Civil rights attorney Jim Harrington, who has been critical of Rosales in the past, told KXAN that “This is about as close to a shakedown as you can get. Rosales sends a draft of a suit, with himself as plaintiff, to scare people into paying him $2,000. This is a perverted use of the ADA.”

Harrington has announced the creation of a group called the Texas ADA project, which will battle “exploitative” threats of litigation.

Rosales and Harrington have clashed before. Earlier this year, Rosales filed a federal civil rights complaint against Harrington for referring to him in an email as “El Sapo,” which is Spanish for “The Toad.” Rosales described the expression as a racist epithet. Harrington, who is married to a woman of Mexican ancestry, dismissed that charge by pointing out that it is common border slang.

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Steve Martin to SJWs: “Well, Ex-CUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE Me!”“Well,-Ex-CUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE-Me!” Comedian, author, actor, screenwriter, Grammy-winning recording artist, and political activist Steve Martin found himself arraigned before the court of politically correct opinion on thought crime charges after he posted a gracious and heartfelt tribute to the late Carrie Fisher following the beloved actress’s untimely death earlier this week.

“When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher … was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen,” recalled Martin. “She turned out to be witty and bright as well.”

Martin is a Hollywood liberal, albeit of a generation that had not declared war on the very concept that humanity is divided between two distinct yet complimentary sexes. His reflection acknowledged Fisher’s obvious physical beauty while appreciating her creative and intellectual gifts. Expressing a viewpoint common among self-appointed cultural commissars, the editorial collective of New York Magazine rebuked Martin, commanding him: “Remember Carrie Fisher for her talent, her feminism, her commentary on mental health – not for the way she looked.”

Facing a gale-force outpouring of theatrical outrage from the Legion of the Perpetually Aggrieved, Martin deleted the offending post from his Twitter account – thereby consigning evidence of his thoughtcrime down the Orwellian Memory Hole.

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Well,-Ex-CUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE-Me!”
Liberals Discover that Property Rights Include the Right to Refuse Service As the Obama era wanes and the Trump era looms on the horizon, left-leaning Americans who have used boycotts and litigation to punish business owners for declining certain customers are now defending the right to refuse service. In addition to fashion designers who will not accept Inaugural business from the Trump family and entertainers who have rejected overtures to perform at the event, an Hawaiian restaurant called Café 8 ½ has posted a sign announcing that “If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis.”

Supporters of Trump flooded social media sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor with spurious one-star reviews, some of them including overtly political commentary. One accused the owners of being “unpatriotic” and “anti-Semitic,” another predicted that “You will be out of business this time next year, and America will be a better place. #Trump2016.”

Robert and Jali Warner, the married couple who own Café 8 ½, told Fox News that they hadn’t meant to instigate a national controversy, because “There is enough trouble in the world.”

Similar controversies erupted earlier this year, notes the food service industry publication Eater. Owners of a Louisville steakhouse received death threats after he banned Trump from his restaurant.

The progressive website Crooks & Liars, which joined the chorus denouncing florists, bakers, wedding photographers, and others who declined business from couples planning same-sex weddings, stoutly defended the right to free association as it applies to liberal restaurant owners, insisting – correctly – that the Warners “have a right to post” a sign invoking their unqualified right to refuse service.

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Judge Refuses Standoff Defendant’s Request to Withdraw Guilty Plea’s-Request-to-Withdraw-Guilty-Plea Facing the prospect of a lengthy prison term, and under relentless pressure from prosecutors who imposed an artificial deadline, Ryan Payne offered a guilty plea on conspiracy charges arising from last winter’s protest occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The opportunistic prosecutors bullied Payne into entering the plea even before they had submitted a summary of the facts regarding the charge to which he was admitting guilt. He had also been told that the plea would be part of a “global offer” involving a separate set of charges arising from the April 2014 standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada. Predictably, the prosecution welshed on that part of the deal.

As the trial of his fellow protesters progressed, Payne filed a motion to withdraw his plea. This was done before that trial ended in the acquittal of the defendants on all conspiracy-related charges. US District Judge Anna J. Brown has rejected Payne’s motion, dismissing it as a specimen of “buyer’s remorse.” Using the judge’s metaphor, a more apt description would be consumer fraud on the part of the prosecution: Payne was manipulated into signing a blank check in a transaction that amounted to a prosecutorial bait-and-switch.

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Request-to-Withdraw-Guilty-Plea
Audit Reveals Half of Idaho Rape Kits Not Sent to Lab A state audit of evidence collected by Idaho police agencies investigating alleged sexual assaults has disclosed that roughly half of all rape kits have not been sent for lab tests.

Earlier this year, the Idaho Legislature enacted a measure requiring public release of a statewide evidence audit by the Idaho State Police. That law also “implemented a timeline for police who decide to send the evidence to a state forensic laboratory for testing, unless the victim requests otherwise,” notes the AP. Agencies are also required to get approval from their county prosecutor if they don’t believe a specific rape kit should be tested. A statewide database was also established for collecting and tracking DNA evidence of sexual assault that would be obtained from samples of bodily fluids. That evidence can be especially valuable for reviewing suspected cases of wrongful conviction.

Matthew Gamette, director of the Idaho State Police forensic services labs, told the AP that “There has definitely been a cultural shift when it comes to investigating sexual assault. The use of databases is now a consideration. The game has changed.”

The review examined 2,538 rape kits from 116 local police departments, sheriff’s offices, and regional ISP districts. Roughly one-third of the agencies did not provide kits to the audit.

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Venezuela’s Misery Deepens’s-Misery-Deepens The destruction of Venezuela’s economy has given rise to both street crime and mob violence, and a human rights organization reports that at least one resident is lynched each day – often in retaliation for suspected petty crimes. By one estimate, the country has suffered nearly 29,000 homicides in 2016 – a rate of three killings per hour – giving the country a murder rate second only to El Salvador.

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro has placed the military in charge of the country’s ever-depleting food supply, with predictable results. The Washington Post reports that “instead of fighting hunger, the military is making money from it.”

Grocer Jose Campos has described midnight visits to an illegal market operated by the military to purchase corn flour – for which he paid 100 times the officially set price.

“The military would be watching over whole bags of money,” Campos recalled. “They always had what I needed.”

“With much of the oil country on the verge of starvation and malnourished children dying in pediatric wards, food trafficking has become a big business in Venezuela. And the military is at the heart of the graft, according to documents and interviews with more than 60 officials, company owners and workers, including five former generals,” observes the Post.

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Misery-Deepens
Did Donald Trump Bring Back Thousands of Sprint Jobs? Following a string of severe reversals in his real estate development career in the early 1990s, future President Donald Trump devised a new business model based on building his brand by licensing the use of his name. Cynics might describe this as a way of profiting from the accomplishments of others – and might suggest that Trump is employing a similar strategy as president-elect.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump told reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that “Because of what’s happening and the spirit and the hope, I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they’re going to be brining 5,000 jobs back to the United States and taking them from other countries.” In subsequent remarks to reporters, Trump bluntly declared that “Because of me they’re doing 5,000 jobs in this country.”

A Sprint spokesman later clarified to ABC News that “the 5,000 jobs are part of the 50,000 jobs that [Japanese tech mogul] Masa Son announced a few weeks ago.”

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Eight-year-old Girl Who Claims to be a Boy Denied Cub Scout Membership The eight-year-old daughter of Secaucus, New Jersey resident Kristie Madonado claims to be a boy, and is treated as if she were a boy by the local school district. The Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts, however, refuses to indulge that pretense, and has denied the troubled girl – who goes by the name of Joe – that she cannot participate in the local Cub Scout pack.

“Joe’s case could be the first time someone has been barred from participating in Scouting because of transgender identity,” observes, thereby propounding a falsehood: Like every other biological female, Joe is eligible to participate in the local Girl Scout troop. This arrangement would not be suitable to the sensibilities of gender revolutionaries, who are determined to break every institution to their whims.

Over the past two and a half decades, the Scouts have been bullied into abandoning their traditional policies regarding sexual morality, admitting open homosexuals not only as members but as Scoutmasters and in other positions of adult leadership. Oil magnate Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s choice to be Secretary of State, helped bring about that change while he was president of the Boy Scouts of America.

The organization has no written policy regarding “gender identity,” but allows psychologically confused children to participate in coeducational programs. Justin Wilson, director of a pressure group calling itself Scouts for Equality, insists that “the Boy Scouts as a national organization have a decision to make. Are they going to exclude a transgender boy for the first time, or welcome transgender boys?”

A more accurate rendering of that question would be: Will the Boy Scouts abandon their institutional commitment to honesty in order to accommodate a politically correct falsehood?

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
America’s “Reform through Labor” Prisons’s-“Reform-through-Labor”-Prisons In Communist China, millions of inmates are confined to “reform through labor” prisons called Laogai, where they manufacture consumer goods. Similar arrangements are commonplace in the American prison system as well – which has the largest inmate population in the world. Through corporate contracts, many prisons lease inmate labor at far less than minimum wage. In California, some inmates work for as little as 35 cents an hour, reports The Intercept.

Injury logs from the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) document that “Since 2012, inmates in California have reported more than 600 injuries … from fingers being smashed in steel molds or being sucked under sewing machine needles…. In some severe cases, inmates’ appendages were amputated after being crushed or severed in machinery.”

According to a CALPIA official, inmates who suffered job-related amputations had been provided with workers’ compensation forms, “but the injured prisoners could take no action to pursue their claims until released from prison. California state law prohibits inmates from receiving workers’ compensation while still incarcerated, meaning that inmates serving life without parole sentences would never be entitled to a penny of compensation even for losing limbs on the job.”

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Reform-through-Labor”-Prisons
Illegal Missouri Debtor’s Prison Results in $4.7 Million Federal Settlement’s-Prison-Results-in-$4.7-Million-Federal-Settlement For decades, residents of Jennings, Missouri, a tiny suburb of St. Louis, were ticketed for countless trivial infractions, often finding themselves incarcerated and buried under vicious fines and fees they couldn’t afford to pay – which left them subject to further detention in what was described as a modern debtor’s prison.

In 2014, the city court issued more than 2.1 arrest warrants per household, which amounted to 1.4 for each adult resident.

City officials in Jennings “built a municipal scheme designed to brutalize, to punish, and to profit,” complained a federal civil rights suit filed on behalf of roughly 2,000 people who had been illegally jailed after being cited for minor offenses. Last July, a settlement was announced in that lawsuit, and on December 20 a judge awarded $4.7 million to the plaintiffs.

Jennings is one of more than a dozen small St. Louis suburbs that have become notorious revenue plantations, in which “they ticket everything in sight to keep the town functioning,” says Larry Schwartztol, executive director of Harvard University’s Criminal Justice Policy Program. The most infamous of those villages is Ferguson.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Prison-Results-in-$4.7-Million-Federal-Settlement
NSA Official Benched for Retaliating Against Whistleblower George Ellard, inspector general for the National Security Agency, has been placed on administrative leave – which is, essentially, a lavish tax-funded vacation – on charges of retaliating against an agency whistleblower. NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers has found Ellard’s misconduct serious enough to warrant termination.

The NSA whistleblower had reported financial misconduct by NSA officials during a conference in Nashville. After raising those concerns with the inspector general, the agency employee’s name was disclosed – a violation of whistleblower protection laws – and he was denied an assignment for which he was qualified in an act of apparent retaliation.

Two years ago, Ellard denounced former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden for going outside of official channels, and then fleeing the country, in order to expose the agency’s illegal mass surveillance programs. He claimed that any substantive objections expressed by Snowden would have led to an independent assessment – which from Ellard’s perspective would have vindicated the agency. Before publicly exposing the NSA’s institutional misconduct, Snowden had reported his concerns to several superiors, who took no action.

“Perhaps it’s the case that we could have shown, we could have explained to Mr. Snowden his misperceptions, his lack of understanding of what we do,” Ellard insisted.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Saudis: More than 2,000 Jihadists Are On the Loose,000-Jihadists-Are-On-the-Loose At least 2,000 Saudis are among jihadist groups involved in foreign military conflicts, and more than 70 percent of them are active in Syria, General Mansour al-Turki, a spokesman for the government’s interior ministry, told the Al-Hayat newspaper.

The number of Saudis “proven to be in conflict areas is 2,093,” stated General Mansour, going on to explain that 1,540 are in Syria, 147 are active in Yemen – home to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – and 31 are believed to be in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Mansour also claims that only five Saudi nationals are active in Iraq. Seventy-three Saudis are currently detained abroad on terrorism-related charges.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,000-Jihadists-Are-On-the-Loose
Kansas Supreme Court: Fourth Amendment Rights Can’t Be Waived by Proxy’t-Be-Waived-by-Proxy Gerald Cleverly was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by his friend Chris Jones when El Dorado, Kansas Police officer Brent Michael Buckley stopped them for not wearing seat belts. Buckley would later admit that he had executed a pretext stop for the purpose of arranging a “consensual” search of the vehicle and its occupants. Both Jones and Cleverly submitted to a pat-down search – which they were not legally required to do – and nothing was found.

Buckley issued the citation, and then – employing a deceptive tactic taught by police training programs such as Desert Snow – he said that although the motorist was free to go, the officer wanted to ask “a few more questions” and requested permission to search the truck. A search of the interior produced a cigarette into which Cleverly had hidden a small amount of methamphetamine. He was found guilty of drug possession and sentenced to eighteen months of probation. The court dismissed a motion to suppress the drug evidence on the grounds that it was produced through a consensual search. The Kansas Supreme Court has now reversed the conviction.

The rights protected by the Fourth Amendment and its state equivalent, wrote the court’s majority, belong to the individual and are “not merely inconvenient technicalities designed to irritate government agents.” Furthermore, “A driver of a vehicle subjected to a traffic stop does not have the authority, as a matter of law, to waive the Fourth Amendment rights of passengers in the stopped vehicle.”

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’t-Be-Waived-by-Proxy
No Accountability for Police Officers Who Nearly Killed a Teacher in High-Speed Pursuit The magical legal doctrine of “qualified immunity” protects five Ohio police officers from personal accountability in a July 2011 crash that left one person dead and a teacher severely injured. Grade school teacher Pamela Argabrite faced multiple surgeries, confinement to a wheelchair, and nearly a year of recuperative therapy after the car she was driving collided head-on with a vehicle driven by 19-year-old burglary suspect Andrew Barnhart in the streets of Miami Township. She filed a lawsuit describing the high-speed chase through commercial and residential areas at a time of heavy traffic as “wanton and reckless,” especially in light of the fact that the suspect was not sought for a violent crime.

The Ohio State Supreme Court ruled on December 26 that the officers were shielded by qualified immunity from Argabrite’s lawsuit, even though individual judges disagreed as to the precise nature and extent of that protection.

Writing for the majority, Judge Judith French acknowledged that police are expected to “protect the public, but that expectation does not mean that an officer must sit idly by while a suspect flees the scene of a crime” – apparently even when giving pursuit to a suspected non-violent offender actually increases the danger to the public.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Utah AG Blows Child Exploitation Case Police, politicians, and prosecutors all enjoy a high-profile child pornography bust, and representatives of all three groups congregated at a West Valley City, Utah residence in September 2014. Ironically, it was one of the latter – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes – who blew the case by snapping cell phone photos in the basement of the home.

Under the Supreme Court’s Brady vs. Maryland ruling, prosecutors are required to disclose all of the evidence that might be useful to the defense. Although investigators from the multiagency Internet Crimes Against Children task force (ICAC) reported seeing Reyes take photos at the crime scene, they were deleted before the case evidence was provided to the defense. Kristine Knowlton, who at the time was Utah’s Assistant Attorney General, decided to drop all ten felony counts of child sexual exploitation against the defendant over concerns that Reyes’s actions had contaminated the case.

As is usually the case, the blame in this matter was assigned to the responsible subordinate, rather than the head of the agency. In late June 2015, Knowlton was invited to lunch at a high-brow restaurant by her supervisor, who informed her that she was being transferred from the ICAC to the welfare-fraud division – a reassignment that was effectively punishment for making her boss look bad by holding him accountable to existing legal guidelines.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Dial 911 – and Be Ignored–-and-Be-Ignored As the oft-recited truism tells us, when second counts, the police are just minutes away. There is a lengthy string of appeals court rulings documenting that police have no legally enforceable duty to protect an individual citizen from criminal violence – yet critics of the individual right to armed self-defense insist that dialing 911 is a better, safer, and more “responsible” option than providing for one’s personal defense.

Even if police were required to help, they generally won’t arrive until after the crisis has passed, and often their role is to draw chalk outlines and string up crime scene tape. A recent report from the Oregonian newspaper in Portland underscores another deadly reality about calling 911: Quite frequently, those pleas for help are either ignored, misplaced, or go unheard.

“Whenever a 911 call is disconnected, operators with Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications are supposed to call the number back to make sure the caller is OK,” notes the Oregonian. “But at least 18,482 people never got that call last year…. That amounts to roughly 50 ignored calls each day, some of them potentially serious.” More alarming still is the fact that this has been going on for more than a decade.

In addition, the number of 911 calls on hold for more than two minutes increased from 229 in 2014 to 423 in 2015.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700–-and-Be-Ignored
Monetizing Bogus Arrests For generations, Americans on the receiving end of unwanted police attention leading to a dubious arrest have been counseled that they might beat the rap, but they can’t beat the ride. In a number of jurisdictions, even those who beat the rap can’t avoid being fined – or otherwise punished.

Corey Statham, who was arrested in Ramsey County, Minnesota, was charged with disorderly conduct, and released from jail after two days when the charge was dismissed. When he recovered his personal effects, Statham discovered that forty-six dollars in cash he had at the time of his arrest had been stolen as a “booking fee.” He was given $21 on a debit card, but most of that amount was tied up through a variety of other spurious fees. It eventually cost him more than seven dollars to withdraw what remained of his money. This practice, which imposes punishment without a criminal conviction, is standard procedure in Ramsey County – and in many other communities nation-wide.

In Kentucky, municipal governments routine bill people held in jail “for the cost of incarcerating them, even if all charges are later dismissed,” observes a New York Times report. “In Colorado, five towns raise more than 30 percent of their revenue from traffic tickets and fines. In Ferguson, Missouri, `city officials have consistently set maximizing revenue as the priority for Ferguson’s law enforcement activity,’ a Justice Department report found last year.”

A civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of Statham and other victims of the municipal incarceration racket is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court during its current term.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Mysterious Death of NATO Investigator The lifeless body of NATO Auditor General Yves Chandelon was found in the Belgian city of Andenne two days before Christmas. Authorities quickly described the unexpected death as a suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, but as the Free Thought Project points out, “there are troubling details suggesting Chandelon indeed might not have taken his own life.”

The NATO official’s assignment dealt with “counteraction against terrorism financing issues.” His body was found more than 62 miles from his home in Lens, and roughly 87 miles from his workplace in Luxembourg. He owned three registered firearms, but an unregistered gun was discovered near his body. Several of his associates reported that Chandelon told them “he thought he had been followed and had received `strange’ calls.” In the days immediately prior to his death, Chandelon had been heard to say that he “felt threatened.”

Given his work in examining terrorist financing, and the documented role played by NATO member state Turkey in supporting the Islamic State and allied Islamist rebels in Syria, many observers have speculated that Chandelon had provoked the lethal attention of shadowy, protected figures connected to terrorism.

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Church Fined for Following the Sermon on the Mount Baltimore has a large homeless population, and until recently the Patapsco United Methodist Church offered sanctuary to the unfortunate by allowing them to sleep on its property. Displaying government’s unerring gift for maximizing misery and punishing private compassion, the church was hit with a $12,000 municipal citation for violating an ordinance prohibiting “non-permitted rooming and boarding.”

The city inspector demanded that the church “cease exterior use of property as housing units” and informed them that it would either have to evict the homeless or pay a fine that could drive the congregation into extinction.

The church could have avoided the entirely fruitless controversy – which started with a complaint filed by an uncharitable neighbor – if it had posted a “no trespassing sign,” which congregants see as incompatible with the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount.

“I’m not trying to be adversarial with anyone,” explained Katie Grover, who heads the congregation. “We’re just trying to do what a church is called to do, and that’s to love people. In scripture, it talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick. Whatever we’ve done to the least of these, it’s as if we’ve done it to Christ Himself.”

“Mary and Joseph gave birth to the Messiah in a stable because there wasn’t any room for them anywhere else,” Grover recalls. “Here we are in this Christmas season where we celebrate the coming of Christ, and we’re battling whether a person can sleep outside on a bench.”

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
China Drawing “Red Line” in the Sea“Red-Line”-in-the-Sea Beijing appears to be drawing a “red line” in the South China Sea, and this could lead to open conflict with the United States, warns the Asia Times.

That region of the Pacific Ocean “is the beating heart of Asia’s economy,” points out the publication. “This vital part of the global commons, home to some $5.3 trillion in seaborne trade, is the world’s richest shipping route, carrying critical natural resources that power China, Japan, South Korea and many other Asian economies. “ It is now emerging as a theater for a low-intensity conflict “between the world’s two largest economies and militaries over an island nation that was thought by many to be relegated to the past as being a source of tension” – namely, Taiwan, home to the anti-Communist Republic of China.

President-elect Trump’s open courtship of Taipei defies the Kissinger-created One China Policy, under which the Communist government of Beijing is treated as the legitimate ruler of both mainland China and the population of Taiwan.

This is “perceived as a slap in the face by the Chinese leadership,” one Shanghai-based academic told the Asia Times. By way of reply, Beijing is saying, “Don’t mess with our perceived sovereignty over Taiwan, our own `red line’ you cross at your peril.”

The Chinese navy’s recent seizure of an American-owned underwater drone was meant as an expression of that resolve, the academic said, who also claims that he knows many officials “who wanted a much more robust response.”

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Red-Line”-in-the-Sea
IMF Chief Guilty of Corruption – But Will Not Be Punished–-But-Will-Not-Be-Punished Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, committed an act of corrupt negligence as French finance minister when she approved an enormous government payout to tycoon Bernard Tapie – but she will not be punished, ruled Judge Martine Ract Madoux. Although Lagarde “should have done more” to prevent the payout of nearly a half-billion dollars, the judge was content to take note of the misconduct without imposing a sentence. Lagarde herself did not bother to attend the hearing in person.

Tapie, who had owned the Adidas sportswear company, claimed that he had been defrauded by the Credit Lyonnais bank, which allegedly undervalued his company, and argued that the French government – the bank’s largest shareholder – should compensate him. Rather than allowing that claim to be tested in an adversarial legal procedure, Lagarde routed the controversy to a special arbitration panel, which as expected ruled in favor of Tapie, a major financial supporter for then-President Sarkozy.

Lagarde is the second consecutive French official at the head of the IMF to be accused of criminal misconduct. Former IMF Director Dominique Strauss Kahn resigned five years ago after being accused of raping a maid in a New York City hotel. The case against Strauss-Kahn was dismissed, and a lawsuit filed against him by Nafissatou Diallo, the alleged victim, was settled for an undisclosed amount. Genetic evidence found on Diallo’s clothes confirmed that a sex act had occurred, but the prosecution concluded that it would not be able to prove that it was non-consensual.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700–-But-Will-Not-Be-Punished
Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Earns Schumer’s Support’s-Infrastructure-Plan-Earns-Schumer’s-Support Many conservative and libertarian-leaning Republicans are leery at best, and hostile at worst, to Donald Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure stimulus proposal, which to them savors of Obama-style Keynesian economics. Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, is an enthusiastic – but not unqualified -- supporter of Trump’s plan.

“We think it should be large,” the New York Democrat said during a recent ABC News interview. “He’s mentioned a trillion dollars. I told him that sounded good to me.”

The one potential deal-breaker for Schumer is the facet of the still-undeveloped plan that has been a selling point for some Republicans – the use of economic incentives, rather than tax appropriations or deficit financing, the pay for the initiative. Schumer told ABC News that he would rebel at what he calls “gimmicks,” such as tax breaks for corporations and private sector investors in the program.

“We’re not going to oppose something simply because it has the name Trump on it,” Schumer declared, “but we will certainly not sacrifice our principles just to get something done.” The “principles” to which he alluded involve wealth redistribution and government control over infrastructure, as opposed to deregulation and privatization.

Schumer also said that Trump’s views on trade are more closely aligned with traditional Democratic priorities than were those of outgoing President Barack Obama.

“I’m more close to [Trump’s perspective] than I am to Barack Obama or George Bush’s [positions] and so are a lot of Democrats,” he insisted.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Infrastructure-Plan-Earns-Schumer’s-Support
Corrupt, Vindictive Prosecutor Suspended, Not Prosecuted,-Vindictive-Prosecutor-Suspended,-Not-Prosecuted Former Philadelphia Deputy District Attorney Lynn Marietta Nichols has been placed on non-reporting probation and 30 months of professional suspension after filing false police reports to retaliate against a former romantic partner.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that Nichols, former assistant chief of homicide at the District Attorney’s Office, became involved with a landscaper whose ex-girlfriend had accused him of stealing her pickup truck. Nichols intervened with the police to have the vehicle’s status changed in order to allow her boyfriend to add his name to its title. About a year later, after learning that the man had begun a relationship with another woman, Nichols called the same police detective to demand that the vehicle’s status be listed as “stolen” once again.

When the detective balked, Nichols contacted the man’s previous girlfriend and the two of them filed a false police report. She then impersonated the other woman in a phone call to police in New Jersey. The girlfriend eventually acted on her misgivings by contacting authorities to confess the entire affair.

Nichols’s lenient sentence reflects not only her professional privilege, but the Disciplinary Board’s conclusion that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder that had been “activated by her experience” of an unpleasant break-up.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Vindictive-Prosecutor-Suspended,-Not-Prosecuted
Three Corrupt Philadelphia Judges Removed from Office Two judges from Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas have been removed from office for violations of the Pennsylvania state constitution and the canons of judicial ethics. A third is serving a prison sentence of more than two years for criminal misconduct.

Former judges Angeles Roca and Dawn Segal “were found earlier this year to have violated the state constitution and the Code of Judicial Conduct by engaging in ex parte contact with former Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr., who was later charged criminally and sentenced to 24 months in prison for fixing cases [for] political donors,” reports the Legal Intelligencer. Ex parte communication occurs when judges communicate with only one side of a criminal or civil case.

Former Judge Waters contacted Segal on four occasions to request “special consideration” in three cases, one of which was a tax enforcement case against his own son. Segal testified that Water’s requests left her feeling “very politically threatened,” but claimed that her rulings did not reflect undue influence. However, she later told Waters that she “took care of” his requests. The court ruled that her conduct was “so extreme that it brought disrepute upon the judicial office itself” and that there was nothing in the record “which even remotely suggests that [Segal’s] misconduct was anything but fully voluntary and done to protect her own political welfare.”

Roca had also been contacted by Waters in the hope of intervening on behalf of his son. All three of the judges were subjected to FBI wiretaps.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Medicinal Marijuana Mom Denied Custody of Children Gooding, Idaho mother Kelsey Osborne, who faces criminal charges for using a cannabis-infused smoothie to treat her young daughter Madyson’s seizures, was denied custody of her children shortly before Christmas but allowed supervised visits with them at the home of her ex-husband.

Tom Curl, Osborne’s attorney, told the Twin Falls Times-News that “This is not the absolute worst-case scenario. She’s obviously upset, but I told her this was probably going to happen, so at least we were a little mentally prepared.”

Significantly, during the child endangerment hearing, the physician who testified admitted that “there was no injury to Madyson,” Curl continued. “The doctor said he doesn’t prescribe marijuana, obviously, because it’s illegal in Idaho, but it’s being studied for just this type of application. The [Child Protective Services] case worker agreed there was no injury.”

However, because the legal standard for separating a mother from her children is lower than that used to determine criminal guilt, the judge ruled that the state “met their burden” for denying custody, the attorney concluded.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Obama Signs Anti-Free Speech Provision The recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, contains a provision called the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016. Sponsored by Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, that measure is intended to create a governmental agency described by critics as a “de facto Ministry of Truth.”

“These countries spend vast sums of money on advanced broadcast and digital media capabilities, targeted campaigns, funding of foreign political movements, and other efforts to influence key audiences and populations,” complained Portman, referring to Russia’s government-owned RT News. “Surprisingly, there is currently no single US governmental agency or department charged with the national level development, integration and synchronization of whole-of-government strategies to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.”

The measure signed by Obama would direct the Secretary of State, acting in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors,” to establish “a Center for Informational Analysis and Response,” which would identify what has now become known as “fake news” and “develop and disseminate `fact-based narratives’” to counter it. This would amount to taxpayer-subsidized imposition of an official government line – precisely the function served by the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s resiliently prophetic novel.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Social Security Administration Gun-Grab An administrative regulation announced by the Social Security Administration (SSA) on December 19 will permit the agency to add to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 who has been diagnosed with a “mental disorder” and receives benefits through a “representative payee.” This would make such people ineligible for legal firearms purchases. The rule does not specify what disorders would qualify, or how they would be diagnosed.

“We are not attempting to imply a connection between mental illness and a propensity for violence, particularly gun violence,” insists the SSA. “Rather, we are complying with our obligations under the NIAA [ the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007], which require us to provide information from our records when an individual falls within one of the categories” defined in federal statutes that would make it “unlawful” for such a person “to deal in firearms.”

The SSA has previously specified that a referral to the NCIS would occur “If we have information that the beneficiary has a mental or physical impairment that prevents him or her from managing or directing the management of benefits,” a formula offering a wide field for potential mischief.

Public reaction to the proposed rule during the comment period was almost uniformly negative, a fact that did not deter the SSA from achieving what was clearly a foregone conclusion. The National Rifle Association describes the enactment as “one more reminder of the petty, partisan politics of Barack Obama” and his long campaign “against the nation’s law-abiding gun owners.”

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
“Climate Heretic” Reflects on His Experiences“Climate-Heretic”-Reflects-on-His-Experiences Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. is a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado and a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. He is among those who accept the theory of anthropogenic, or man-caused, climate change, and supports the imposition of a carbon tax. Yet he takes issue with activists, journalists, and political opportunists who claim that “hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or drought have become more frequent or intense in the US or globally,” as Pielke wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “In fact, we are in an era of good fortune when it comes to extreme weather.”

Pielke’s insistence on tempering climate change ideology with fact-based research was sufficient to earn him the designation of “climate dis-informer,” and have his name inscribed on what appears to be a literal index of “climate heretics.”

After one reporter quoted him in a 2015 Los Angeles Times article, the reporter “was pilloried by her peers in the media.”

“You should come with a warning label: Quoting Roger Pielke will bring a hailstorm down on your work from the London Guardian, Mother Jones, and Media Matters,” she informed the academic. After publishing a temperate and well-sourced essay in early 2014, Pielke became the focus of a campaign to have him fired from the media platform FiveThirtyEight. Editor Mike Wilson “demoted me from staff writer to freelancer,” Pielke recalls. “A few months later I chose to leave the site after it became clear it wouldn’t publish me.”

This year’s WikiLeaks disclosures included an email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta from a staffer at the Center for American Progress – which was founded by Podesta – bragging to a billionaire donor that the group had been responsible for silencing Pielke.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Climate-Heretic”-Reflects-on-His-Experiences
Governments Crack Down on Social Media and Independent Journalism The concept of “fake news” promoted by the Obama administration and the embittered Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has been seized upon by authoritarian governments abroad eager to stifle political dissent.

A measure before the Israeli parliament would authorize official demands that Facebook and other social media platforms “remove content deemed as incitement,” according to Bloomberg News. The Egyptian government has detained 51-year-old Mahmoud Hussein, a reporter for the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network, on charges of “incitement and fabricating news.” The Egyptian prosecutor’s office issued a statement claiming that Hussein was being investigated on charges he had “incited against the state and broadcast fake news and documentaries.”

In Turkey, the increasingly authoritarian government of President Erdogan has arrested at least 1,656 social media users since last July’s abortive coup. Charges filed against them include “provoking hatred,” “insulting statesmen,” and “targeting the indivisibility of the state or safety of citizens.”

The German government, which is led by former East German Communist Party member Angela Merkel, is creating a division within the Interior Ministry that will investigate and act upon journalism deemed “fake news” during the upcoming elections.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Did GOP Chair bid us all a “Merry Trumpmas”?“Merry-Trumpmas”? Having lost the presidency, the Democratic Party leadership and its partisans are just now becoming acutely aware of the dangers of an unchecked Executive Branch, and suspicious of Americans who display reverence toward the occupant of that office. That is the same party, of course, that portrayed Barack Obama in quasi-messianic terms, and depicted Hillary Clinton in similarly exalted fashion, so perhaps its reaction to a Christmas message from the Republican National Committee reveals more about the mindset of the DNC, rather than that of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

“Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind,” wrote Priebus and co-Chair Sharon Day on Christmas. “Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.”

The poor construction of that sentence provided critics of the GOP and the incipient administration to claim that Priebus was referring to President-elect Donald Trump as the “new King” whose advent is to be celebrated during this season. Warming up for what promises to be a stimulating tenure as White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer clarified to critics that “Christ is the King. He was born today so we could be saved. It’s sad and disappointing you are politicizing such a holy day.”

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Merry-Trumpmas”?
Police Union’s Political Correctness’s-Political-Correctness Chuck Canterbury, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, has written to Walmart CEO C. Douglas McMillion demanding that the company stop selling “offensive shirts and sweatshirts” – specifically, that it no longer allow third party sales of attire containing the expressions “bulletproof” and “Black Lives Matter.”

That demand was immediately granted by the retail giant. But Canterbury and his police union are not relenting in their effort to make retail sales a safe space for their delicate sensibilities.

“After effectively stifling free speech at Walmart, Canterbury penned another open letter to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos urging him to support the FOP in `increasing the bonds of trust between the men and women of law enforcement and the communities they serve,” reports the Free Thought Project. The FOP chief pouted that “my members are very upset that you and Amazon are complicit in the sale of this offensive merchandise.” This “will not help our local police and communities to build greater trust and respect for one another.”

The same is true of a wide variety of decals, t-shirts and other products displaying slogans such as “Blue Lives Matter” or tributes to the “Thin Blue Line” – many of which include a stylized skull called the “Punisher” logo, and that continue to be sold through both Walmart and Amazon. That symbol is derived from a hyper-violent comic book describing the antics of a murderous vigilante, and has been widely adopted by police officers – including a rogue unit in Milwaukee that became notorious for acts of abuse and torture. That crime spree included one October 2004 incident in which members of the “Punisher” clique beat, kicked, and choked a male dancer, then one of them put a knife to the victim’s throat and jammed a pen into one of his ears. The victim was left with permanent brain damage.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Political-Correctness
Two Years after Being Struck by Cop, Texas Cyclist Receives Settlement,-Texas-Cyclist-Receives-Settlement For two years, Austin, Texas resident Mark Collins tried to receive compensation from the city after he was struck and seriously injured by APD Officer Brett Bailey, who was driving an unmarked police car.

Bailey plowed into the unsuspecting bicyclist after crossing several lanes of traffic in order to make an illegal turn. Collins did what he could to avoid the collision, was thrown into the air, and was left intermittently unconscious. While lying traumatized on the sidewalk, Collins was approached by an officer who tried to take a statement in which he would acknowledge causing the damage to Bailey’s vehicle. As he underwent treatment in the Emergency Room, Collins was afraid that he was going to be arrested.

The City’s legal department initially refused to pay Collins’s medical bills, insisting that he was to blame for being blindsided by a criminally negligent police officer. After the victim obtained the services of a law firm specializing in cases of this kind, the officer was forced to make a deposition in which he insisted on blaming the bicyclist but could provide no necessary details. Most critically, when the officer was asked about the ordinance dictating that motorists maintain a safe distance from cyclists and pedestrians, Bailey replied that “I’m not familiar with that rule.”

The City of Austin issued a $3,000 check to settle Collin’s complaint – and then promoted the officer whose culpable negligence could easily have resulted in an act of vehicular manslaughter.

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Texas-Cyclist-Receives-Settlement
European Judges Indict Dutch Leader for anti-PC “Offense”“Offense” Political correctness continues to eclipse freedom of speech in Europe. Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, who has surged in popularity recently on a platform of restricting the open immigration policy in the Netherlands, was recently convicted by a panel of judges for “inciting discrimination and of insulting a group for saying that the Netherlands would be safer with fewer Moroccans.”

Using the designation “right-wing” to describe Wilders, the NY Times summarizes:

“The three-member judiciary panel found that Mr. Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom, had violated Dutch law with his remarks on March 19, 2014, but it elected not to convict him of inciting hatred, and it imposed no punishment, rejecting the prosecutors’ request to fine him 5,000 euros, or about $5,300.”

Although the ruling was clearly intended to embarrass Wilders and undermine his political viability, it actually enhanced his popularity and that of his populist-leaning political party. In a fashion akin to the meteoric rise of Donald Trump in the United States, Europeans are increasingly rallying behind the few politicians who have made the preservation of national independence and western values the central planks of their platforms. For their part, the custodians of respectable opinion ritually denigrate such politicians; and private citizens engaged in activism opposing open borders and globalism in general will be labeled as “right wing nationalists” who are supposedly allies of Nazi skinheads and similarly disreputable people.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Offense”
On-The-Scene Reports from Syria Dispel Establishment Agitprop Eva Bartlett, an independent reporter in Syria, has published several first-hand reports from Aleppo and Syria on her blog, which is entitled In Gaza. Her on-the-scene journalism has captured a vastly different picture of what is going on in Aleppo from what has been conveyed through most major press accounts. She describes, for instance, how the rebels are committing terrible atrocities including setting mines in civilian areas, targeting hospitals and using civilians as human shields.

In a press conference organized by the Syrian mission to the UN, Bartlett accused the mainstream news with misrepresenting the Syrian conflict. A skeptical mainstream reporter challenged her, demanding that she explain “what might be the agenda from us in the Western media and why we should lie?… Why the international organizations on the ground should lie?”

By way of response Bartlett challenged the press to name any international organizations on the ground in Syria, a request that was met with silence. On the basis of her own investigation, Bartlett pointed out that the sources relied on by the media are only front groups for the radical rebels.

“These organizations are relying on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [SOHR], which is based in Coventry, UK, which is one man,” she pointed out. “They're relying on compromised groups like the White Helmets.” Although inevitably described as a humanitarian organization in the mainline media, and portrayed rescuing civilians from the rubble in Aleppo, the White Helmets “can be found carrying guns and standing on the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers,” Bartlett reminded the press.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
The US-Led “Regime Change Agenda” in Syria“Regime-Change-Agenda”-in-Syria Independent foreign affairs correspondent Eva Bartlett insists that the supposed humanitarian campaign waged by Washington and its allies in Syria is actually “the agenda of regime change,” and the government-aligned media is deeply complicit in it.

“How can the New York Times… [or] Democracy Now… maintain until this day that this is a civil war in Syria?” asked Bartlett, who has done extensive first-hand reporting, during a press conference at the United Nations. “ How can they maintain until this day that the protests were unarmed and non-violent until say 2012? That is absolutely not true. How can they maintain that the Syrian government is attacking civilians in Aleppo, when every person that's coming out of these areas occupied by terrorists is saying the opposite?"

"They have manufactured stories, and I can give you a precise account," she elaborated. "In April this year," there was a story about "a hospital called the Al-Quds Hospital – which in a concerted effort all media said was attacked, targeted and badly damaged by either the Syrians or the Russians. In fact the Russians had satellite imagery showing that this hospital was in the shame shape that it was in October 2015. No difference; it was not attacked."

Months later, she recalled, the Guardian featured the supposedly destroyed hospital in a story about so-called chemical weapons attacks: “So even the media that is lying is inconsistent in their lies." In the meantime, she added, unfortunately, Western governments and the media have ignored real attacks on hospitals throughout Syria by anti-government rebels and terrorists.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Regime-Change-Agenda”-in-Syria
Attempted Electoral College Rebellion Expands Trump’s Victory Margin’s-Victory-Margin The last great electoral challenge to Donald Trump’s victory has passed. Despite funding efforts by avowed globalists like George Soros to push for freeing electors from their state’s election results, most electors still voted according to the popular vote in their state. Some states do not have state laws that bind electors to the popular vote, however, and political analyst Joel Skousen expects that state legislators will be more careful who they select to represent their state from now on. The allegiance of electors can no longer be taken for granted.

Perhaps the most interesting results of the minor Electoral College rebellion was that Hillary Clinton ended up losing more protest votes than Trump (7 to 2).

Three Democratic electors tried to vote for Bernie Sanders instead of Clinton — one in Maine, one in Minnesota and one in Colorado. But these occurred in states where electors are bound by the popular vote, so their votes didn’t count. Four electors in Washington State defected from Clinton with 3 voting for Colin Powell and one for a Native American on the Dakota Pipeline protest, named Faith Spotted Eagle.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Victory-Margin
Harry Reid Takes the Fifth A dedicated prosecutor in a small county in Utah is investigating Senator Harry Reid for allegedly taking a $2 million bribe from the now defunct online gaming company “Full Tilt.” According to NewsMaxTV in Las Vegas: “Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings is investigating whether [a $2 million check] went into a Marshall Islands account in the name of Searchlight Holding Inc. to benefit, or even bribe, Harry Reid, the once-powerful majority leader of the U.S. Senate whom online poker companies had been courting to push a bill to legalize their gaming across the nation.”

Senator Reid has been known to use the “Searchlight” title for various business endeavors. But although Rawlings is ready to empanel a Grand Jury, he lacks the estimated $300,000 in his small county to move forward.

“Mr. Rawlings’ bulldog attitude has driven him to even take on the Obama administration over their efforts to block key witnesses from testifying against Reid and others,” continued the NewsMax account. Rawlings said “Initially the local FBI was interested in the case but the Obama DOJ shut them down. Instead they filed protective orders to hide key documents from our investigation.”

Rawlings is confident of his case against Reid. After investigating for three years, he sent Reid a list of questions to answer in a formal letter, but Reid declined to answer invoking his Fifth Amendment privileges.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Fukushima Radiation Reaches West Coast Despite unconfirmed fears generated by melodramatic claims from environmental groups that vast quantities of “fish in the Pacific are dying” and that “clouds of radiation are descending upon North America,” the radioactive pollution effects on the US from the Japanese Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe have not materialized. The dilution effect associated with such long distances has reduced the impact of the initially dangerous doses generated by the nuclear accident.

Scientists on America’s West Coast – who have, understandably, been tracking these developments with great care -- have now confirmed that seaborne radiation has finally been detected, but so far the levels are still very small.

USA Today reports: “For the first time, seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on the West Coast of the United States. The levels are very low and shouldn't harm people eating fish from the West Coast or swimming in the ocean, according to Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.”

Buesseler said the radiation is largely due to radioactive cesium that remains radioactive for long periods, but even if people spent considerable time in the ocean the combined effect over a year would still be about “1000 times smaller than one dental x-ray."

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
National Menorah Lighting Ceremony Includes Condemnation of UN Vote Rabbi Levi Shem Tov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch, used the occasion of the National Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony to condemn the recent UN resolution that criticized Israeli settlements – and the Obama administration for abstaining, rather that exercising its Security Council veto.

The Obama administration’s representative at the event, acting treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Adam Szubin, used his remarks to comment on the menorah being a symbol of fighting darkness with light. Playing on those comments, Rabbi Shem Tov recalled “those words being spoken to a particular man” by the late Rabbi Mehachem Schneerson, the leader of the Lubavitcher movement.

“The Rebbe told him you are working in a place where there is great grief and darkness, but remember that in that place of darkness, you can only counter it by lighting a candle – by creating light,” Shem Tov reflected. “That man was Benjamin Netanyahu, and he was at the time the ambassador to the United Nations.” Netanyahu, of course, is the incumbent Israeli Prime Minister, and has had very pronounced disagreements with the Obama administration.

Referring to Friday’s 14-0 UN Security Council vote on the resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the disputed territories, Shem Tov commented that “I know some of us are so sad at what happened there with regard to Israel.”

The event marked the first full day of the annual eight-day celebration of Hanukkah.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Assange Offers Cautious Praise for Trump, Criticism for Clinton,-Criticism-for-Clinton WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange arguably did more than any other media figure to influence the recent election, by publishing a huge volume of leaked emails that were embarrassing to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. In a post-election interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Assange presented some qualified praise for Donald Trump, while offering unstinting criticism for Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton’s election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States,” stated Assange. Of the Republican President-elect, Assange said: “Donald Trump is not a DC insider, he is part of the wealthy ruling elite of the United States, and he is gathering around him a spectrum of other rich people and several idiosyncratic personalities.”

Trump and his appointees “do not by themselves form an existing structure, so it is a weak structure which is displacing and destabilizing the pre-existing central power network within DC,” Assange continued. “It is a new patronage structure which will evolve rapidly, but at the moment its looseness means there are opportunities for change in the United States – change for the worse and change for the better.”

Assange excoriated Hillary Clinton for being the “chief proponent and architect” of the disastrous US-led Libyan military campaign, and for helping to imprison former Army Private Bradley Manning, who provided WikiLeaks with evidence of war crimes in Iraq.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Criticism-for-Clinton
Arizona Police Announce Arrest of Suspected ISIS “Lone Wolf” Supporter“Lone-Wolf”-Supporter The pre-Christmas arrest of an Arizona felon suspected of planning a “lone wolf” terrorism incident gives a glimpse of the all-encompassing scrutiny practiced by the FBI and allied agencies – which, in turn, should prompt curiosity regarding those instances in which such constantly watched terrorism suspects succeed in staging attacks.

Derrick Thompson, who also refers to himself as Abu Talib al-Amriki, and describes himself as a jihadist, was arrested on December 22 on suspicion of planning an attack on worship services. That arrest followed an FBI notice that attacks of that kind could occur on or near Christmas. A probable cause statement claims that Thompson, who has felony convictions for armed robbery and aggravated assault, “attempted to obtain a handgun from a seller on” in January of 2015, although he was rebuffed by the seller because of his criminal record.

Thompson is the subject of “over two years” of surveillance by the FBI, which had compiled a long and detailed dossier of his online search habits and social media posts. Owing to his interest in ISIS-related subjects, and occasional endorsements of attacks on military and civilian targets, Thompson’s attempted illegal firearms purchase was described as displaying “material support” for ISIS. The probable cause statement also notes that Thompson’s Google account “has been used as recently as October 2016 to search for `Midnight Mass’” and to search for a Fatwa, or Islamic religious decree, regarding “killing civilians.”

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Lone-Wolf”-Supporter
TSA Increases Pressure for a National ID Card No constitutional provision authorizes the federal government to create a national identification card – an internal passport akin to travel documents used by the Soviet Union and apartheid-era South Africa. All powers dealing with such matters are reserved to the states through the Tenth Amendment. Exercising that plenary grandtof authority, the governments of nine states have rejected requirements imposed through the Real ID act that would turn state-issued driver’s licenses into de facto national ID cards.

The Transportation Security Administration, which likewise exists without valid constitutional warrant, is quietly escalating pressure on state governments to submit to the Real ID requirements. The McClatchy News Service reports that “Signs have already begun to pop up at airports across the country: If you live in nine particular states and are counting on your driver’s license to get you through security, you’ll soon be left grounded.”

“Starting January 22, 2018, you will need a driver’s license or ID from a state compliant with the Real ID Act, a state that has an extension for compliance, or an alternate ID to fly,” announce the signs, directing travelers to visit the TSA’s website to find “a list of acceptable IDs.”

Fifteen states that have not adopted the Real ID requirements have received extensions through 2018. The residents of nine others will be denied access to commercial air travel beginning on the coming January 30, unless they have federally approved ID cards. They will likewise be denied entry to military bases or federal buildings on the same basis.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
California Resident Cited for Driving Under the Influence of Coffee California resident Joseph Schwab was pulled over in August 2015 and cited for driving under the influence by an agent from the California department of alcoholic beverage control. The agent, who was driving an unmarked vehicle, claimed that Schwab had cut her off and was driving erratically.

Schwab, a 36-year-old glazier who was detained by the tax-feeder on his way home from an honest job, underwent a breathalyzer test that showed a 0.00 percent blood alcohol level. He was nonetheless booked into jail and forced to undergo a blood draw, which produced a full-spectrum negative result for all controlled substances. A second screening registered the presence of only one potentially mood-altering substance – caffeine. Charges were filed against him last June, and he faces trial next month.

Solano County chief deputy district attorney Sharon Henry claims that “The charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in [Mr. Schwab’s] system.” Defense attorney Stacy Barrett points out that “I have not been provided with any evidence to support a theory of prosecution for a substance other than caffeine at this time. Nor have I received any statements [or] reports documenting any ongoing investigation since the [toxicology report] dated 18 November 2015.”

Jeffrey Zehnder, a forensic toxicologist and frequent expert witness, describes the Solano County DA’s pursuit of Schwab as “really stupid.” Now in his fifth decade as a toxicologist, Zehnder told the Guardian of London that he had never seen a caffeine-based DUI prosecution.

If it is illegal to drink coffee while driving, he declares, “they better come and arrest me.”

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Interior Secretary Nominee Faces Potential Confirmation Trouble Montana Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke, selected by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of the Interior, “committed travel fraud when he was a member of the elite Navy SEAL Team 6, according to three former unit leaders and a military consultant,” reports The Intercept.

While attached to Seal Team 6, Zinke “was caught traveling multiple times to Montana in 1998 and 1999 to renovate his home” while submitting travel vouchers claiming that the trips were carried out for the purpose of his official duties. He received tax-paid compensation for those trips.

An investigation uncovered a “pattern of travel fraud,” The Intercept relates, citing two sources. Confronted by superiors, Zinke admitted that he had used the trips to restore his home in Whitefish, Montana. Although he was warned about the practice, Zinke “continued to travel home and submit the expenses to the Navy. The offense would normally have been serious enough to have ended Zinke’s career, but senior officers at SEAL Team 6 did not formally punish him.”

Rather than being charged with criminal offenses, or subjected to a non-judicial disciplinary process, Zinke was actually promoted to commander, the rank he held at the time of his retirement in 2008.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Innocent Man Paid $75 Compensation for 31 Stolen Years$75-Compensation-for-31-Stolen-Years Lawrence McKinney was 22 years old when the Memphis resident was wrongfully convicted on rape and burglary charges in 1978. Thirty years later, DNA evidence cleared McKinney, who remained in prison for an additional year while the prison bureaucracy processed his release. In lieu of an apology for stealing thirty-one years of his life, the Tennessee Department of Corrections gave him a check for $75 dollars – which he couldn’t cash for three months because he had no identification.

Being formally cleared of charges is not the same thing as legal exoneration, however, and the so-called criminal justice system has formidable financial incentives to prolong the legal fiction that McKinney was justly convicted of an offense. The Tennessee Board of Parole, which makes recommendations to Gov. Bill Haslam, voted unanimously in September to deny the innocent man’s request. If approved, that request would make it possible for McKinney to collect $1 million in compensation for the three decades he was unjustly imprisoned.

Among the reasons cited by the Parole Board to deny exoneration is a list of 97 infractions he committed while serving his unwarranted prison sentence – which include incidents in which he fought in self-defense. They also noted that 28 years into his sentence, McKinney admitted to the crime he had long denied – something he did at the urging of lawyers who told him that any prospect of early release depended on him admitting to something.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700$75-Compensation-for-31-Stolen-Years
Live by the Leak, Die by It? Tillerson’s Russia Ties Under Scrutiny,-Die-by-It?-Tillerson’s-Russia-Ties-Under-Scrutiny The path to Senate confirmation for ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as Donald Trump’s Secretary of State may have become more challenging as a result of leaked documents showing his deep business ties to the Russian government.

The Guardian of London reports that Tillerson “was the long-time director of a US-Russia oil firm based in the tax haven of the Bahamas,” according to a leaked 2001 corporate registry. That document was one of more than a million files given to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source.

There is nothing illegal about the corporate partnership with the Russian firm Neftgas Limited. The relationship will raise questions about Tillerson’s ability to be even-handed in his dealings with Moscow, and the use of an offshore tax haven would seem to conflict with Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric excoriating American corporate leaders for stashing their money abroad.

Also of potential concern is the fact that Tillerson retains a financial stake in Exxon, and, by derivation, with its Russia-related business interests. He currently owns an estimated $218 million in Exxon stock, which he is expected to sell off – but he also has an Exxon pension worth roughly $70 million.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Die-by-It?-Tillerson’s-Russia-Ties-Under-Scrutiny
Trump’s CIA Pick Wants a Full-Spectrum Police State’s-CIA-Pick-Wants-a-Full-Spectrum-Police-State Kansas Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo, nominated by Donald Trump to be the next CIA director, insists that all “Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed,” and seeks the creation of a comprehensive, immediately accessible database that would effectively contain all information about everything everybody does, anywhere on the planet.

“Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database,” Pompeo wrote in a January op-ed column for the Wall Street Journal. In a separate article for National Review, Pompeo boasted of sponsoring the “Liberty through Strength Act II in the House of Representatives to restore the NSA’s tools” – that is, to reverse the insignificant reforms undertaken to reduce, albeit in nearly imperceptible fashion, that agency’s unlawful surveillance programs.

Commentator Jack Hunter notes that “Coordinating individuals’ metadata into government databases means virtually anything we do – what we read, where we shop, who our doctor is, who we chat with online, who we call on the phone who we date – becomes government info.”

Pompeo, a West Point graduate who postures as a constitutionalist, has no use for Americans who share the founding view that the most acute threat to life, liberty, and property is the government that rules them.

“Less intelligence capacity equals less safety,” asserted Pompeo in a phrase that in German translation would have been well-suited to the Stasi, or if rendered into Russian could have been uttered by Dzherzhinsy, Beria, or any of the other founders of the Soviet secret police.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-CIA-Pick-Wants-a-Full-Spectrum-Police-State
How the Tax Thieves Live When they aren’t busy seizing the honestly earned money of their moral betters, IRS employees find creatively self-indulgent ways to spend the plundered loot. A report from the Senate Finance Committee examining IRS travel expenses “found that the 27 agents who traveled for more than half the year [in 2015] cost taxpayers, on average, $1.4 million per person,” summarizes Reason magazine. “More than half of the travel expenses logged by those employees were for visits to Washington, D.C., and many times the IRS paid for luxury lodgings that the committee called `excessive and inappropriate.’”

Former IRS chief technology officer Terry Miholland lived at the Grand Hyatt in Washington D.C. for nearly half the year at a cost of nearly $40,000. Although the IRS Building is within walking distance of the hotel, Miholland would take a taxi to and from his job every day, adding another $1,500 in expenses. He would likewise make the agency’s victims underwrite his weekly air commute to and from his home in Texas. Another employee spent $43,000 for long-term lodging at the Pentagon City, Virginia Ritz Carlton, and nearly $30,000 for accommodations at other Washington-area hotels.

One IRS functionary rented a four-bedroom townhouse in Arlington, Virginia at a rate of $4,900 a month; another rented separate luxury apartments in both Washington and Chicago. A miscreant identified only as “Employee 16” displayed the kind of creative arithmetic that would in another context trigger a tax audit, submitting 381 days’ worth of travel expenses for the 365-day calendar year.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Lamenting a Missed Opportunity for Murder Many women who choose career over family find themselves regretting that they never had a child. Celebrity feminist and alleged actress Lena Dunham recently lamented that she has never had an opportunity to murder one.

“I’m a pro-choice woman,” Dunham said during a recent interview on the Women of the Hour program, using that expression to dissimulate her support for the state-sanctioned murder of pre-natal human beings. Paying tribute to her mother, a feminist ideologue, Dunham said that “From an early age, she taught my younger sibling and me to say `anti-choice’ instead of `pro-life,’ because she wanted to make sure that we knew that everyone is pro-life. Some people are anti-choice.”

Like others who insist that the child-slaughter industry must receive tax subsidies, Dunham is decidedly anti-choice regarding the question of compelling people who oppose abortion to pay for the killing procedure. She also made it clear that she is not pro-life by even the most emancipated definition, complaining that abortion continues to be stigmatized rather than celebrated, even by many people who support the barbaric practice.

She commended friends who had an abortion for the “bravery” the supposedly displayed by killing a child, rather than caring for her, and even lamented that while “I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
EU Imposes New Civilian Disarmament Regulations One day after another lethal terrorist attack on the continent that was carried out with a motor vehicle, rather than a conventional weapon, the European Union agreed to impose new restrictions on gun ownership, reports Reuters.

“We have fought hard for an ambitious deal that reduces the risk of shootings in schools, summer camps or terrorist attacks with legally held firearms,” intoned European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a self-approving press release. That statement contained a critical, self-nullifying caveat – the qualifier “legally held.” Terrorists and other criminals would have no difficulty obtaining firearms illegally. The new regulations would simply increase their tactical advantage by impeding efforts of innocent people to obtain self-defense tools.

Juncker admitted that “Of course, we would have liked to go further” by banning private citizens from owning semi-automatic rifles. That proposal was vetoed by Finland, which has a mandatory military service program requiring all male citizens to be part of an armed voluntary reserve. Despite its opposition to that specific element of the EU’s anti-gun measure, Finnish Interior Minister Paula Risikko said that her government was “very pleased with the outcome” of the EU’s civilian disarmament initiative.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Duterte’s China-Focused Strategy’s-China-Focused-Strategy Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s penchant for unvarnished and often bellicose rhetoric has earned him comparisons to Donald Trump, and the two reportedly shared a very congenial phone conversation shortly after Trump’s election. Writing for the Ron Paul Institute, analyst Adam Dick suggests that Duterte’s apparent pivot toward China “may be designed to place him in a good position to strike a more advantageous US aid deal” with the incoming Trump administration.

While Duterte has suggested that his government considers itself better off without aid from Washington, and that it might terminate military cooperation with the U.S., “it is too early for noninterventionists to celebrate,” writes Dick. “At the same time Duterte was saying `bye-bye’ to the US he also said his nation can instead receive aid from the Chinese government…. Knowing Trump’s repeatedly expressed concerns about China, what better way to ensure much US aid continues to flow to the Philippines government, and maybe even increases substantially, than to threaten to end military cooperation with the US and increase ties with China?”

Like Trump, Duterte sees him “as a great dealmaker,” Dick observes, and despite his overtures to Beijing, and his hostility toward Obama, the Philippine president has spoken very warmly about Trump.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-China-Focused-Strategy
Aftermath of Turkish Assassination The assassination of Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, was “undeniably a provocation aimed at derailing the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations and the peace process in Syria, which is actively promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in the settlement of the internal conflict in Syria,” proclaimed Russian President Vladmir Putin in the wake of the crime. “There can be only one response – stepping up the fight against terrorism – which the criminals will find out firsthand.”

Putin reported that “Russia’s Investigative Committee has already opened a case on the murder,” and that an official joint investigation would be carried out with the government of Turkish President Erdogan.

“We must find out who directed the killer’s hand,” Putin emphasized.

The assassin, who described the act as retaliation for the Russian-supported Syrian recapture of east Aleppo from US-backed Islamist militants, was a 22-year-old plainclothes police officer identified as Mert Altintas who used his law enforcement credentials to enter the exhibition hall where Ambassador Karlov was taking part in a Russian photo exhibition. He was gunned down by other police officers as an Associated Press photographer and other journalists recorded the scene. The Turkish government quickly detained the assailant’s relatives. In what was believed to be a separate incident, a gunman identified as Sahin S fired several shots from a pump-action rifle near the US embassy in Ankrara.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
DEA Moves to Criminalize Medicinal Cannabis Derivative CBD oil, a non-intoxicating derivative of cannabis, has been widely used to treat epilepsy and related illnesses in states that permit the medicinal use of marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Administration, which is allowed by Congress to usurp its legislative role by issuing edicts that are enforced as if they were legitimately enacted laws, has designated CBD oil as a “Schedule 1” drug – which means that parents who administer it to children who suffer from Dravet’s Syndrome, for instance, could face federal prosecution, confiscation of their assets, and prison terms.

Despite the fact that CBD contains only a faint trace of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, the DEA’s new regulation – which, oddly, uses the archaic, “Reefer Madness”-era spelling, “marihuana” – treats the derivative as a narcotic.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Names Bankruptcy Attorney as Ambassador to Israel Donald Trump’s resonant campaign theme of putting “America First” apparently contains an unspoken codicil regarding Washington’s long-standing entanglement with Israel. This in any case is the perspective of David Friedman, Trump’s former bankruptcy attorney, who has been chosen by the President-elect to serve as US ambassador to Israel.

Under a Trump administration, “America and Israel will enjoy unprecedented military and strategic cooperation, and there will be no daylight between the two countries,” promised Friedman in a Jerusalem Post column during the campaign.

Friedman seems an unlikely choice in light of Trump’s announced intention to seek a peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. A devoted supporter of Bet El, a hyper-nationalist group that raises money on behalf of fundamentalists who build illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Friedman has been not only dismissive, but hostile toward, both Israeli and American Jews who have supported a two-state solution to the as-yet intractable impasse.

In an essay published by the Israel National News, Friedman compared the liberal Jewish organization J Street to kapos – Jewish prisoners who collaborated with the Nazis during the attempted Final Solution.

“From where Friedman stands,” comments Haaretz columnist Chemi Shalev, “most Israelis, never mind most American Jews, are more or less traitors.”

Friedman has been a personal attorney to Trump for more than a decade and a half, and was an adviser on Middle East affairs during the campaign. He represented the future president in bankruptcy proceedings for his Atlantic City casinos.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Charlotte SJW City Council Rescinds Transgender Bathroom Ordinance A municipal ordinance that turned North Carolina into a major Gender Revolution battleground was repealed on Monday. As part of what amounts to a negotiated political cease-fire, the City of Charlotte rescinded a measure that would place its enforcement apparatus behind demands by sexually confused people to have access to bathrooms and similar intimate facilities based on their subjective, self-defined gender, rather than their immutable physical sex. That ordinance prompted the state legislature to enact HB2, which protected the privacy rights of sexually well-adjusted people who sought to use those facilities without being forced into intimate association with strangers of the opposite sex.

Outgoing North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory called the legislature into a special session on December 21 to repeal HB2 in fulfillment of a deal with the City of Charlotte.

The Associated Press observes that a pressure campaign organized by gender revolutionaries harmed the state’s economy. This included cancellations of concerts, conventions, and other revenue-generating events – particularly the NCAA and ACC basketball championships, which were moved to another state.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
FBI Protected Harry Reid in Corruption Probe Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid can enjoy retirement untroubled by the prospect of an FBI inquiry into bribery charges, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Davis County, Utah District Attorney Troy Rawlings suspects that a $2 million cashier’s check drawn on a bank in the southern Utah city of St. George “may have been intended to reward Reid for his help with a bill to legalize online poker under federal law.” The FBI was made aware of the check – which was deposited in a Swiss account -- in 2013, but waited nearly three years to pursue financial records and other evidence that could have led back to Reid.

“Court papers and other records reveal Rawlings has made multiple attempts to get investigative materials from federal agencies without success,” states the Tribune. “Rawlings has said he suspects higher-ups in the Department of Justice have blocked efforts to investigate.”

“The [Department of Justice] has never let the local FBI investigate this matter, even though they would have done so if they had not been shackled,” Rawlings complains. He plans to empanel a state grand jury to hear evidence about the potential payoff, and other related matters. He has also been seeking to post a $50,000 reward for information that would advance the investigation, but has yet to receive authorization from the Utah state government.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Are the Trump Sons Running a Pay-to-Play Foundation? A newly created, Texas-based nonprofit entity operated by Donald Trump’s adult sons, Eric and Donald, Jr., “is offering access to the freshly minted president during inauguration weekend – all in exchange for million-dollar donations to unnamed `conservation’ charities,” reports the Center for Public Integrity, citing documents filed with the Texas Secretary of State. The donors would remain anonymous.

“Prospective million-dollar donors to the `Opening Day 2017’ event – slated for January 21, the day after inauguration, at Washington, D.C.’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center – receive a `private reception and photo opportunity for 16 guests with President Donald J. Trump,’ a `multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for 4 guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump, and team,” as well as tickets to other events and `autographed guitars by an Opening Day 2017 performer,” continues the report.

Larry Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, describes the arrangement as “problematic in so many ways” because it “seems [to be] a way of basically just selling influence and selling the ability to meet with the president.”

It isn’t difficult to imagine how Trump supporters would have viewed a similar attempt to sell access to the Clinton family had Hillary won the election.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Survivors, Families of Orlando Shooting Sue Social Media Companies,-Families-of-Orlando-Shooting-Sue-Social-Media-Companies Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been sued in federal court on behalf of the families of three victims of last summer’s mass shooting in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. The lawsuit accuses the social media giants of providing “material support” to the Islamic State and helping to radicalize the mass murderer Omar Mateen, who invoked ISIS as he carried out the assault.

“Without Defendants Twitter, Facebook, and Google [including YouTube], the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible,” asserts the civil complaint. Attorney Keith Altman, who represents the families of the three named victims, told Fox News that “Mateen was radicalized by ISIS using the defendants [sic] tools for that express purpose.”

At issue in the lawsuit is Section 230 of the Clinton-era Communications Decency Act, which specifies that internet companies cannot be treated as the publisher or speaker “of any information provided by another information content provider.” What that means, according to Buffalo School of Law professor Mark Bartholomew, is that “If you set up a place for people to talk, but don’t communicate on it yourself, then you are basically immune from prosecution.”

Mateen, a 29-year-old former security guard, murdered 49 people and wounded 53 others during a rampage at the gay nightclub on June 12.

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Families-of-Orlando-Shooting-Sue-Social-Media-Companies
Judge Orders Release of FBI Search Warrant for Weiner Laptop On the day that Donald Trump formally became the US President-elect, US District Judge P. Kevin Castel ordered the release of the FBI search warrant that was used to access a laptop computer used by former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife Huma Abedin, an intimate adviser to former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. That laptop played a key role in the election-eve announcement by FBI Director James Comey that the Bureau had reopened the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s illegal diversion of classified State Department communications to a non-secure private email server.

Weiner was already under federal investigation for allegedly exchanging sexually explicit messages with an underage girl in another state. In pursuing that investigation, FBI agents discovered the laptop that had been jointly used by Weiner and Abedin, the latter of whom regularly received work-related messages from Clinton.

According to the search warrant application, the FBI’s examination of the laptop discovered “27 email chains containing classified information” on the device, which “was never authorized for the storage or transmission of classified or national defense information.” Out of that number “six email chains contained information that was classified at the Secret level at the time the emails were sent, and information in four of those email chains remains classified at that level now.”

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
German Government Seeks to Impose Censorship, Heavy Fines on “Fake News”,-Heavy-Fines-on-“Fake-News” The German government is considering a measure that would impose fines of up to a half-million euros against Facebook and other social media platforms that do not censor stories designated as “fake news.” Who would make that designation, and what criteria would be used in doing so, have yet to be determined.

“Market dominating platforms like Facebook will be legally required to build a legal protection office in Germany that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” states Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary chair of the Social Democratic Party. “If, after appropriate examination, Facebook does not delete the offending message within 24 hours, it should expect individual fines of up to 500,000 euros.”

Volker Kauder, a senior official in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Party, complains that “There has been only talk now for too long” and predicts legislative action on the matter at the beginning of the new year.

Facebook told Ars Technica that the company has been “engaging with key politicians and digital experts from all parties and relevant ministries in this matter.”

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Heavy-Fines-on-“Fake-News”
Trump Bestows Odd Compliment on his Supporters When Hillary Clinton dismissed a large number of Donald Trump’s supporters by assigning them to a proverbial “basket of deplorables,” both the candidate and his constituents were understandably offended. Yet Trump himself used a recent stop on his “thank you” tour to cast aspersions on his voters – perhaps unwittingly.

“You people were vicious, violent, screaming, `Where’s the wall? We want the wall!’ Screaming, `Prison! Prison! Lock her up!’ I mean, you are going crazy,” Trump said of his pre-election audiences during an address in Orlando, Florida. “I mean, you were nasty and mean and vicious and you wanted to win, right?”

Their disposition has now changed with victory, Trump continued: “But now, you’re mellow and you’re cool and you’re not nearly as vicious or violent, right? Because we won, right?”

The ardor of a political campaign often cools into complacency with the election of a preferred candidate – but it is when the challenger becomes the incumbent that citizens must be most vigilant and impassioned in their desire to enforce accountability.

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
US-Supported Rebels Set Fire to Refugee Buses in Syria The BBC reports that “Several buses sent to transport the sick and injured from two government-held villages in Syria’s Idlib province have been burned by rebels.” This attack, which was conducted by supposedly moderate US-backed rebel forces, brought to a halt the Syrian government’s efforts to evacuate non-combatants from conflict sites in and around Aleppo.

The convoy, which was composed chiefly of Shia refugees, attempted to leave Aleppo on Sunday but turned back.

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Kissinger: Trump a “Phenomenon Foreign Countries Haven’t Seen”“Phenomenon-Foreign-Countries-Haven’t-Seen” As the de facto figurehead of the globalist establishment, Henry Kissinger embodies everything that Donald Trump’s nationalist campaign treated with disdain, and it would be expected that Kissinger, like others of his ilk, would reciprocate that sentiment. After meeting with the President-elect on several occasions, Kissinger has made a number of prominent public statements in which he expresses support for Trump – most recently in an extended interview on the venerable CBS Sunday morning program “Face the Nation.”

Trump has the potential to be remembered in history as a “very considerable president,” commented Kissinger in a studiously ambiguous assessment.

“Donald Trump is a phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen,” he elaborated. “So it is a shocking experience to them that he came into office, and the same time, [it is an] extraordinary opportunity.”

“I think he operates by a kind of instinct that is a different form of analysis [from] my more academic one,” Kissinger elaborated. “But he’s raised a number of issues that I think are important, very important. And if they’re addressed property, [they] could lead to good – great – results.”

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Phenomenon-Foreign-Countries-Haven’t-Seen”
Remember when Washington Fixed a Russian Presidential Election? Lost amid the all-encompassing furor over the Russian government’s supposed stealthy interference in the recent presidential election is the well-documented fact that the US government intervened directly in Russia’s presidential contest twenty years ago. Former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts, whose anti-Communist credentials are beyond dispute, reminded his readers of a July 15, 1996 Time magazine feature story describing how “a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated” in guiding Boris Yeltsin’s successful re-election campaign, in which he defeated the Communist Party’s candidate, Gennadi Zyuganov.

The publicly identified Yeltsin campaign manager was a young computer scientist with no political experience. All of the strategic decisions were made by a group of American political consultants and PR specialists who worked out of a two-room suite at Moscow’s President Hotel. They were provided with a car, a former KGB agent as a chauffeur, and two additional bodyguards. Using modern techniques of opinion sampling and working in close collaboration with another ex-KGB officer named Mikhail Margolev, who specialized in propaganda campaigns, the American consultants engineered an upset victory. One key turning point came when the Yeltsin campaign – taking a page from the professional wrestling playbook – orchestrated a confrontation with Bill Clinton in which Yeltsin would posture as an assertive nationalist leader standing up to an overbearing US president, who was actually in on the joke.

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
The Deep Misanthropy of “Population Control”“Population-Control” Physician and epidemiologist Hans Rosling “has become a trusted counsellor and speaker of plain truth to United Nations leaders, billionaire executives such a Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and politicians including Al Gore,” declares a laudatory profile published by Nature magazine. “Even Fidel Castro called on the slim, bespectacled Swede for advice … and he has been listed among the 100 most influential people in the world by the magazines Time and Foreign Policy.”

Given the circles in which he travels, Rosling has often encountered people whose progressive politics disguise a deep strain of misanthropy, which is informed by the anti-natalist myths popularized by population control fanatic Paul Ehrlich, author of the long-discredited 1968 tract The Population Bomb.

“Melinda Gates says that after a drink or two, people often tell her that they think the Gates Foundation may be contributing to overpopulation and environmental collapse by saving children’s lives with interventions such as vaccines,” recounts Nature. “She is thrilled when Rosling smoothly uses data to show how the reverse is true….”

Although Bill and Melinda Gates are certified environmentalists whose promotion of vaccinations does have problematic aspects, they at least have the rudimentary decency to be shocked by the blunt suggestion that allowing sick and starving children to die would be justified in the name of saving the planet.

“I’ve watched people have this `aha’ moment when Hans speaks,” recalls Mrs. Gates. “He breaks these myths in such a gentle way.”

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Population-Control”
Syrian Government Provides Evidence of Chemical Weapon Attack by Rebels Russian state-owned media outlet RT News reports that Syrian government officials have provided the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with documents containing evidence that US-backed rebels have used a banned chemical agent against civilian targets near Aleppo. This includes samples from a shell reported to contain traces of mustard gas. “We have provided all the documents to the [OPCW], they were vetted and accepted,” said Samer Abbas, spokesman for the Syrian government agency tasked with monitoring implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Abbas says that the Geneva-based agency will send another team to Syria to collect and analyze samples from the site of the suspected chemical weapons attack.

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
National Geographic Joins the Gender Revolution Avery Jackson is the confused nine-year-old son of two even more deeply disturbed Kansas City parents who have fallen prey to the delusion that their biological son is actually a transgendered girl. Avery is depicted on the January 2017 cover of National Geographic magazine wearing female clothing, bubblegum-tinted, shoulder-length hair, an outfit appropriate for a girl his age, and displaying the haughty pout of a runway model. Beneath the carefully staged cover photo is a quote from the young boy in which he asserts that “The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”

The cover story, entitled “Gender Revolution,” was prepared as a companion piece to a documentary produced by Katie Couric for the National Geographic Channel. That length exercise in trendy agit-prop demonstrates at length and in detail that supposedly responsible adults in various disciplines are willing to pretend that young boys are actually girls in spite of their irreducible genetics – and they compose the spearhead of a movement that will not long tolerate dissent from those who resist their revolution.

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Prohibitionist “Zero Tolerance” Policy Sabotages High School Senior’s Life“Zero-Tolerance”-Policy-Sabotages-High-School-Senior’s-Life-- Springfield, Missouri high school senior Gavin Devic never smoked marijuana, but caught a ride to a school dance at Parkview High School with a friend who did. However, just as some people claim to experience a “contact high” by exposure to marijuana smoke, innocent people can suffer from “contact culpability” under the drug war’s “zero tolerance” dogma.

Devic, who has maintained a 4.0 GPA and whose success as a wrestler had attracted multiple scholarship offers, was suspended from school for ten days, barred from athletic competition for a month, and lost his A+ scholarship eligibility because he accepted a ride from a friend who had smoked pot. The friend has provided a signed statement attesting that Devic did not smoke marijuana, and Devic paid for a drug test proving that he did not have THC – the psychoactive component of marijuana – in his system. An incident report filed by the school resource officers who prowled the December 2 dance in pursuit of young lives to ruin admits that “nothing illegal or prohibited” was found on Devic’s person.

School officials refuse to relent, however, ignoring Devic’s nearly stainless disciplinary record and the lack of courtroom-suitable evidence of an offense on his part.

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Zero-Tolerance”-Policy-Sabotages-High-School-Senior’s-Life--
The Passing of an Unheralded Vietnam Hero In the midst of an active battle zone in Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr., commanding a three-man helicopter crew, gave an order to door gunner Larry Colburn, who was manning an M-60 machine gun: “Y’all cover me! If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!”

“You got it, boss – consider it done,” Colburn promptly replied.

Thompson’s order didn’t refer to the Vietcong, but to a platoon of US soldiers under Lt. William L. Calley, who had just annihilated a village of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in one of the most notorious massacres in US military history. More than 200 villagers were slaughtered in the atrocity. Thompson, Colburn and crew chief Glenn Andreotta were able to rescue about a dozen survivors, and then reported the war crime to their superiors. They were later awarded Bronze Stars for their valor in defense of helpless civilians, but accepted the commendation with reservations, since it is presented for courage in the face of an enemy assault, rather than for confronting friendly fire.

After his role in the incident became public knowledge, Colburn – like his colleagues – received death threats for supposedly betraying their comrades.

Calley was the only member of Charlie Company to be prosecuted and convicted for war crimes. Initially sentenced to life in prison for 22 counts of murder, Calley saw his sentence reduced to ten years, and was released in 1974 after serving three years when President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence.

Colburn, the last surviving member of Thompson’s helicopter crew, died last week of liver cancer at his home in Canton, Georgia. He was 67 years old.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Israeli Advocacy Group Asks US Court to Block Boeing’s Deal with Iran’s-Deal-with-Iran The Shurat-Hadin-Israel Law Center, which represents Israeli citizens identified as victims in attacks by Iranian-sponsored militant groups, has asked a federal court in the U.S. to place a lien against Boeing to prevent completion of a $16.6 billion sale to Iran Air, which is majority-owned by the Iranian government. The lien would be released if Tehran pays two billion dollars in damages to Israeli citizens who have filed claims against the Iranian government.

“We are going to seize all 100 airplanes,” declares Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Israeli legal organization. “If Boeing thinks it will simply sell to Iran Air, which is 60 percent owned by the Iranian government, and pretend it is providing some sort of humanitarian civilian aid to a non-governmental entity, we will reveal the truth.”

Shurat Hadin has filed similar lawsuits against Syria and the Palestinian authority. Darshan-Leitner claims that she has collected about $200 million in seized Iranian bank accounts and assets through American courts.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Deal-with-Iran
The Russian “Hack”: Where’s the Proof?“Hack”:-Where’s-the-Proof? Although he remains skeptical of widely publicized – and as-yet unverified – claims that the Russian government was behind hack attacks targeting the Democratic Party during the last election, Donald Trump has promised that he would denounce Moscow and seek redress if the US intelligence community provides him with “incontrovertible” proof, a key member of his transition team announced on December 16.

“I think that once we have a little bit more immersion into these details, if the facts are incontrovertible, then of course he’ll accept that and he’ll denounce it,” explained Anthony Scaramucci, a member of the transition team’s executive committee, in an interview with MSNBC. “[Y]ou tell me after more intelligence briefings and more understanding from the intelligence community that this is 100 percent true, you can be sure that there will be a denunciation by the new administration about these acts.”

Striking a similarly skeptical note, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Tokyo that the Obama administration should “Either stop talking about [Russia’s supposed hack of the DNC] or finally provide some evidence. Otherwise it looks indecent.”

President Obama said on December 16 that he was convinced of Russian culpability, and would pursue unspecified reprisals against Moscow.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Hack”:-Where’s-the-Proof?
Greek Financial Crisis Spurs Talk of “Grexit”“Grexit” Ignoring the terms of its EU bailout, the government of Greece announced last week that it would divert $600 million to its failing pension plan in order to avoid a default on benefit payments to more than one million beneficiaries. Under the terms of the EU compact, Athens had been required to impose austerity measures, expand tax collection, and seek permission from EU supervisors prior to making any revisions to its budget.

Populist anger over international control of the country’s domestic finances has prompted speculation of a potential Grexit – that is, Greek exit from the EU. Unlike Great Britain and other countries either contemplating or undertaking that move, Greece is an economically devastated country with little, if any, export economy.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Grexit”
Police State Over-reaction: Man with Umbrella Prompts Four-School Lockdown Four schools in Riverside, California went on lockdown for several hours on December 15 as police scoured several neighborhoods in search of an armed marauder. One report described the male figure as carrying a gun; another described the weapon as a sword.

Justin Grayson, a campus security supervisor at Poly High School, eventually spotted the man meeting the frantic descriptions and identified his mysterious weapon as a common umbrella.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
On his way out, Obama Slams “Domestic Propagandists”,-Obama-Slams-“Domestic-Propagandists” During a discursive two-hour press conference touching on a number of topics, soon-to-be-ex-President Barack Obama complained that his would-be successor Hillary Clinton suffered from an unfair “disadvantage” during the campaign because of “how the US media covered her.”

“I don’t think she was treated fairly during the election. I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling,” asserted Obama, an assessment difficult to reconcile with the nearly worshipful deference displayed by most of the media – which included, for example, Newsweek’s ill-conceived “Madam President” cover story.

The focus of Obama’s complaint, of course, was not coverage by the establishment media, but rather the influence of the alternative media in covering damaging leaks revealing corruption and primary-rigging by the DNC.

“It’s worth us reflecting how it is that a presidential election of such importance … came to be dominated by a bunch of these leaks,” groused Obama, intimating that measures would be put in place to contain the influence of what he called “domestic propagandists.”

He also took the opportunity to taunt Russia, which he continues to insist was behind the hacking attacks.

“They’re a small country, they’re a weak country, they don’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy,” he insisted.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Obama-Slams-“Domestic-Propagandists”
John Bolton’s Dismal Iraq Record’s-Dismal-Iraq-Record John Bolton, nominated by Donald Trump to be deputy secretary of state under Rex Tillerson, would be given expansive responsibilities in setting foreign policy priorities for the administration – and his track record suggest that those priorities would be wildly at odds with those expressed by Trump during the campaign.

Over the past year and a half, Trump has consistently denounced the Iraq war as a costly and disastrous geopolitical blunder, and the administration of George W. Bush – as well as the CIA – for deceiving the public about Saddam Hussein’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Bolton, notes The Intercept, “is arguably the man most responsible for hiding the truth about Iraq’s nonexistent WMDs.”

As undersecretary of state for arms control under Bush, John Bolton “took the lead” in ousting Jose Bustani, the Brazilian diplomat at the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Iraq indicated its willingness to sign a 1993 treaty banning manufacture and use of chemical weapons, which would include invasive verification by the OPCW. This would have undermined the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam’s government was stockpiling chemical weapons – so the administration, at Bolton’s initiative, threatened to cut off funding for the organization, which resulted in Bustani being cashiered. In addition, Bolton was prominent in the Bush administration’s disinformation chorus, retailing now-disproven claims about Saddam’s weapons program – claims Trump has correctly described as lies.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Dismal-Iraq-Record
FBI Imprisons Man Until He Reveals Location of Gold Most Americans who have studied the criminal justice system, and the due process guarantees in the Bill of Rights, assume that it is impossible for the government to imprison a citizen indefinitely without a trial and a criminal conviction. The case of treasure Hunter Tommy Thompson demonstrates that this is not true. He has been incarcerated in an Ohio jail for two years, and will remain there on the orders of a federal judge until he tells the FBI where he has hidden a trove of gold he recovered from the wreck of the steamship SS Central America in 1988.

The Central America sank in the Atlantic Ocean in September 1857, taking with it a large quantity of gold coins destined for banks in California. The disaster led to a string of bank failures that precipitated a recession. Thompson used a robot called “Nemo” to locate the shipwreck and its cargo. In 2000, several investors filed a lawsuit against him, claiming that he had defrauded them. In 2012, a federal arrest warrant was issued after Thompson failed to appear in court. He was arrested two years later – but the FBI didn’t find the treasure, and Thompson refuses to tell them where it is. He was found in contempt of court in April 2015, but claimed his impaired memory wouldn’t provide him with the location of the gold, which is supposedly hidden in Belize.

A civil contempt ruling amounts to an open-ended prison sentence. Thompson will remain in jail, facing fines of $1,000 a day, until he provides the FBI with the answers it demands. He could conceivably be imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
U of Minnesota Football Team Threatens Boycott over Title IX Abuses The entire University of Minnesota football team briefly threatened to boycott all future games in support of ten players who were suspended for incidents of sexual misconduct. The players were not defending the alleged conduct, but protesting what they called an “unjust Title IX investigation without due process.”

“We are concerned that our brothers have been named publicly with reckless disregard in violation of their constitutional rights,” explained Drew Wolitarsky, who was chosen by the players to act as their spokesman. “We are now compelled to speak for our team and take back our program.”

Title IX is a federal anti-sex discrimination act that has become a formidable weapon in the hands of campus feminists. At many colleges and universities male students have been subjected to harsh discipline over unproven allegations of sexual misconduct in forums where their guilt is assumed, and due process rights are nonexistent. Minnesota player Carlton Djam, who was accused of assaulting a female student, was able to provide evidence to the police that the encounter was consensual, and no charges were filed against him. The University of Minnesota’s Title IX compliance office, acting on feminist dogma rather than the actual law, suspended 10 players, and recommended that one of them be expelled. All ten of the students targeted by the campus enforcement system are black – a detail that in any other context would most likely be taken as evidence of “systemic racism.”

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Venezuela’s Terminal Economic Crisis?’s-Terminal-Economic-Crisis? Every socialist command economy will eventually embrace outlandish official conspiracy theories in order to explain away their failures, and justify unbearable impositions on populations that are hostage to their rule. The baroque theory outlined by Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol has few precedents in the dismal history of socialist propaganda.

“More than 300 million of Venezuela’s highest-denomination bank notes have been ferried out of the country in recent months,” relates the Washington Post, summarizing a presentation made by Reverol to explain why the government of Nicolas Maduro is removing 100 bolivar notes from circulation. “Huge stacks of 100-bolivar bills now sit in warehouses throughout Central and Eastern Europe – Poland, Ukraine, Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Macedonia – all part of a devious plot hatched by the US Treasury Department. Working through local nongovernmental organizations and local mafia syndicates, the plotters have spirited the actual physical banknotes first by land to neighboring Colombia and later by air to Europe in an ambitious bid to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist government by choking off the supply of paper money, setting off chaos and destabilizing the economy.”

The paper currency will supposedly be purchased by the US government – but only after the Maduro government is overthrown, according to this theory, which makes as little sense as that government’s economic policies. If Venezuela suffers from a currency shortage, removing large-denomination bills – and announcing their replacement with the even larger 500 bolivar note – wouldn’t be a suitable remedy.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Terminal-Economic-Crisis?
Anaheim Rebels Against Disney’s Crony Capitalism’s-Crony-Capitalism Voters in Anaheim, California appreciate the economic contributions made by Disney, which has deep roots in the city – but they have rebelled against the crony corporatist arrangements that enrich the wealthy corporation at the expense of tax victims, writes Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut.

“What’s good for Disney isn’t always good for Anaheim,” points out Greenhut. Disney has benefited from local subsidies amounting to more than a half-billion dollars that until 2014 were guaranteed by a municipal election system that protected officials who were loyal to the corporatist arrangement. By replacing the at-large election system with one based on districts, the price of political campaigns was radically reduced, allowing grassroots candidates to compete. The result was a municipal version of the populist rebellions against long-entrenched political establishments on the national and international scene

During the run-up to the recent election, Disney – perhaps sensing that the political landscape had shifted -- invested nearly $1,000,000 into a complicated network of groups supporting various candidates for local office – all of whom were defeated by a bipartisan coalition led by Republican Mayor Tom Tait. That political alliance includes everyone from Tea Party conservatives to self-identified left-wing progressives, who have united against a corrupt municipal clique.

“Nobody likes crony capitalism, except for the people who profit from it or get invited to the VIP events,” explains newly elected Councilman Jose Moreno. He had mounted an unsuccessful campaign under the previous at-large system, and says that its demise means that “You don’t need a lot of money [to campaign now]. You just need enough money.”

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Crony-Capitalism
Nuke Watchdog: Iran Holding to Arms Deal In conjunction with the news that a bill extending sanctions on Iran for ten years would become law without Barack Obama’s signature, the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency certified that Tehran is in compliance with its informal nuclear pact with Washington.

“We are satisfied with the implementation of the [agreement] and hope that this process will continue,” announced Yukiya Amano, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency. “Iran has been committed to its engagement so far and this is important,” Amano told reporters following a meeting with Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of the Iranian nuclear program.

News of the renewed US sanctions prompted Tehran to instruct its nuclear scientists to begin work on systems for nuclear-powered marine vessels, a decision that will likely increase tensions with Washington as the Trump administration takes charge. Some nuclear analysts believe that the program, details of which won’t be available for several months, would likely require the enrichment of uranium “to a fissile purity above the maximum level set in the nuclear deal” with the US, Reuters explains.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump: US, West Should Create “Safe Zones” in Syria,-West-Should-Create-“Safe-Zones”-in-Syria Days after reiterating his campaign pledge to pursue a less interventionist foreign policy, President-elect Donald Trump – citing the ongoing carnage in the Syrian city of Aleppo - told an audience in Pennsylvania that his administration would create “safe zones” in that country.

“When I look at what’s going on in Syria, it’s so sad,” Trump said during a speech in Hershey. “It’s so sad, and we’re going to help people. We’ll build and help build safe zones in Syria, so people will have a chance.”

As Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute observes, the heart-rending scenes to which Trump refers were produced by the successful efforts of the Syrian army, with Russian assistance, “clearing the last of the al-Qaeda rebels out of eastern Aleppo,” which allowed residents “to return to homes they had abandoned.” It was the rebels, not the Syrian army, that had prevented many civilians from fleeing combat zones, and who had deliberately established arms caches near hospitals, schools, and other civilian targets.

“When Donald Trump says the US will build `safe zones’ in Syria, what does he mean?” inquires McAdams. “Does he know? Does he mean safe zones to protect the people from ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups? Those `safe zones’ are already being built by the Syrian army with allied assistance… Or does he mean `safe zones’ to protect the various terrorist groups from being further routed by Syrian government forces? That is the neocon plan, the Hillary plan…. Is that now Trump’s plan, too?”

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-West-Should-Create-“Safe-Zones”-in-Syria
Killer Cop’s “Reefer Madness” Defense’s-“Reefer-Madness”-Defense A defense memo filed on behalf of Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot motorist Philando Castile earlier this year, claims that the victim was “culpably negligent and was the substantial cause of his own demise,” because a toxicology test showed the presence of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, in the victim’s blood stream.

The memo asserts that Castile was driving while impaired, a charge that cannot be validated by a postmortem blood test, since THC can remain in the bloodstream for several days, long after its impact as an intoxicant has worn off.

Castile’s actions were not those of the dope fiend Yanez’s defense counsel is seeking to portray. He was deferential to Yanez, explained that he was carrying a licensed firearm, and was shot after explaining to the officer that he was retrieving his driver’s license and his conceal carry permit.

Yanez later claimed that he had identified Castile as a potential robbery suspect. More recently he and his attorneys have claimed that the officer smelled marijuana during the traffic stop.

The officer has been charged with manslaughter, and was released on his own recognizance after attending his arraignment.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-“Reefer-Madness”-Defense
Donald Trump Refuses Daily Intelligence Briefings President-elect Donald Trump has been roundly criticized in the media for refusing daily intelligence briefings provided by US intelligence agencies – a choice indicating that Trump suspects he has been getting a very biased perspective from the CIA.

"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," explained the transition team in response to media criticism. This is not strictly true: the CIA’s normal intelligence vetting procedures were deliberately bypassed by a clique acting out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. The key figure in that arrangement, John Bolton, has been selected by Trump to serve as deputy secretary of state, a position that would allow him to manipulate the actionable intelligence that will eventually be presented to President Trump.

Intelligence analysts have also expressed concerns about the quality of information being used by decision makers. According to one report, “More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials.”

Those complaints have prompted the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence. “The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official has protested.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
US Hypocrisy on Election Interference As the self-designated “mainstream media” indulges in self-serving alarm over alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, few pundits have taken note of the hypocrisy in the US government’s professed outrage. The CIA is notorious for interfering in elections around the world – its first significant campaign following World War II, for instance, involved election-rigging in Italy.

Geopolitical analyst Joel Skousen recalls that the CIA ran covert surveillance operations ostensibly to help elect president Alberto Fujimori in Peru, but then used that surveillance against him:

“Early on, when Fujimori was fully cooperating with US demands, Vladimiro Montesinos [the head of Peru’s intelligence service] was given secret assistance by the CIA to set up elaborate surveillance capabilities to help Fujimori maintain power over his opposition,” Skousen writes. “Bribery and payoffs of opposition leaders is common in South America. When Fujimori fell out of grace with the US, the CIA used its own surveillance system to turn the tables on Montesinos, showing him in the act of making a payoff to another Peruvian legislative leader. With predictable media outrage, that’s all it took to bring down Fujimori’s government. Fujimori said he would step down, but tried to protect his faithful cadre of anti-Communist military leaders by proposing a trade--amnesty for the military in exchange for new elections. No deal. The left smelled blood and knew the US was on their side and would deliver the victims without compromise. Fujimori fled to Japan for safety.

Skousen describes this as but one example of the very real interference by the US in foreign elections. There are many more examples, in Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
US Lawmakers sponsor bill to Prohibit Washington from Funding Syrian Terrorists With the email leak from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which she admitted that ISIS is being funded and armed by US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, a few Congressmen and women feel more at liberty to expose US backing of ISIS.Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has broken free of the corporate media’s narrative by accusing the United States of funding and arming terror groups al-Qaeda and ISIS. “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail,” she correctly points out.

Gabbard and Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, who is co-sponsoring a bill, want the U.S. government to also stop financing, arming and providing military intelligence support to terrorists. Although the White House maintains that they are only supporting “moderate” rebel groups in Syria, the weapons and support continually end up in the hands of ISIS or al-Qaeda-linked groups. A report in 2015 by a British think tank concluded “it was ultimately pointless to make a distinction between the various rebel groups on the ground since the majority of these groups share ISIS’s core belief system (and would impose Sharia law if they came into power).”

The bill would also prohibit the US from funneling support through other governments. “The CIA has also been funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda,” Gabbard said from the House floor last week.

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
NATO “Ally” Directly Aids ISIS“Ally”-Directly-Aids-ISIS Last week a leaked email from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State revealed that it was common knowledge among US intelligence agencies that ISIS was funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, foreign countries that have received huge amounts of military aid from the US. Saudi Arabia, in particular, has been implicated in supporting the terrorists blamed for the 9/11 attacks.

Last week, Fox News reported that a definitive connection had been established between ISIS and supposed US ally Turkey, when a weapons factory was uncovered in part of the recently retaken ISIS stronghold of Mosul:

“The Islamic State group was manufacturing weapons in and around Mosul on an industrial scale with products largely purchased in bulk from Turkey, according to a report published by an arms research group Wednesday. The findings show that ISIS maintained a `robust and reliable’ supply chain between Turkey and Iraq that allowed the fighters to produce tens of thousands of weapons, the London-based Conflict Armaments Research said. The group's researchers studied ISIS weapons found at manufacturing facilities and on the battlefield during the Iraqi operation to retake Mosul that is underway.”

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Ally”-Directly-Aids-ISIS
Evidentiary Hearing Set for Wrongfully Convicted Idaho Man Idaho District Judge Alan Stephens has scheduled two hearings in April for post-conviction relief on behalf of Christopher Tapp, who was wrongfully convicted in 1998 of murdering Idaho Falls resident Angie Dodge.

Although the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office now concedes that Tapp’s confession – evidence upon which his conviction relied – was uncorroborated and unreliable, it has ruled out releasing him from prison and is resisting motions for a new trial. Repeated DNA tests, most of which have been requested by Tapp’s appellate public defender, have failed to produce evidence that Tapp was at the murder scene in July 1996.

Retired Judge Michael Heavy, founder of the advocacy group Judges for Justice, explained to Liberty News Daily that under the legal principle called the “corpus delicti rule,” an unsupported confession is not sufficient grounds for a murder conviction. In support of Tapp’s continued imprisonment, the Bonneville prosecutor cites the 1998 courtroom testimony of Destiny Osborne, a drug offender who claimed that Tapp had confessed the murder to her prior to his arrest. Her testimony was torn to pieces during cross-examination, and the trial judge instructed the jury to disregard it. The prosecutor also refers to a similar claim made by another woman named Brenda Muchow, who never testified under oath – and whose story therefore has the legal status of gossip. The only evidence supporting the guilty verdict remains Tapp’s now-discredited confession, which was the product of police coercion.

In January, Tapp will have been incarcerated, either in prison or pre-trial detention, for twenty-one years.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Will Forensic Review Overturn Texas Robbery Conviction? Houston resident George Powell III is serving a 28-year sentence after being convicted of robbing a convenience store at gunpoint in June 2008. The clerk had originally reported that the perpetrator was a short man – roughly 5 feet, six inches in height – but picked Powell out of a police lineup. Powell is 6 feet, three inches tall.

Clerks from several other stores in the area that had been robbed were called to testify during the trial, and none of them could positively identify Powell as the offender. The prosecution replied with a jailhouse informant who claimed that Powell had confessed the crime to him. Jailhouse snitches are easy to obtain and difficult for honest jurors to believe, so the prosecution supplemented a dubious lineup identification and the informant’s even less credible account with the “expert” testimony of former Florida police officer Michael Knox, who was presented as an expert in a forensic discipline called photogrammetry. On the basis of measuring the store’s doorway, Knox claimed that the robber was at least 6 feet one inch in height. This was enough to secure a conviction.

Last month, the Texas Innocence Project filed a post-conviction appeal, citing an April 2016 report from the Texas Forensic Science Commission that criticized Knox’s assessment as based on flawed and outdated methods. Several other analysts in the field, including Grant Fredericks, a former FBI instructor in video analysis, have concluded that the robber captured in the photograph is no taller than 5 feet, 9.4 inches.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Homeland Security Attempted to Hack Georgia Election Database Ten Times While partisan supporters of failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton continue to insist – without providing evidence – that the Russian government hacked the 2016 presidential election, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office has reportedly confirmed that its own election network was subjected to ten separate cyber-attacks – all of which were traced back to the federal Department of Homeland Security.

“The first one happened on February 2, the day after Georgia’s voter registration deadline,” reports WSB-TV in Atlanta. “The next one took place just days before the SEC primary. Another occurred in May, the day before the general primary, and then two more took place in November, the day before and the day of the presidential election.”

“It makes you wonder if somebody was trying to prove a point,” remarks Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. He says that several of the infiltration attempts came at about the same time he testified before Congress in opposition to a DHS plans to classify election systems as “critical infrastructure” akin to power plants and financial systems, which would mean placing them under federal supervision.

Kemp had previously written to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding an explanation for a massive mid-November cyberattack on the Georgia election system that was traced to his office. The DHS first replied that the attack originated in a US Customs and Border Protection gateway – and then blamed a contractor in Georgia. An investigation by Georgia’s cyber-security vendor then revealed the previous DHS-originated attempts to hack the state’s election system.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
“Progressive” Commentator: America Held Hostage by “Fly-Over” States“Progressive”-Commentator:-America-Held-Hostage-by-“Fly-Over”-States During every presidential election, each party’s presidential candidate will pose as the tribune of the forgotten residents of “Fly-over America” – those sections of the country sandwiched between New York and Los Angeles, the cities that dominate the media culture. This year, as in 2000, that section of the country defied the expectations of the entrenched elite by supporting a candidate they find unacceptable – and at least one self-appointed spokesman for the progressive elite believes that coexistence with Fly-over America is no longer possible.

Predicting the rise of “cultural fascism,” commentator Duane Townsend writes in The Hill that Fly-over America is holding the rest of the country “hostage.”

“The United States is living in social and cultural check,” he contends. “The poor will get no practical relief…. Environmental issues will intensify to unknown crisis proportions…. Race relations will devolve to tribal levels of disdain and mistrust. The American melting pot will become a cauldron boiling over with contempt.”

“There is a cultural war happening in America, it’s in the cold propaganda phase, going back to the 1990s,” he continues. “The election of Trump signals this cultural conflagration will heat up.”

According to Townsend, “treaty and consensus” will probably not be possible in this conflict.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Progressive”-Commentator:-America-Held-Hostage-by-“Fly-Over”-States
The CIA’s Media Collaborators’s-Media-Collaborators-- Ken Dilanian, a former national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times who now covers the intelligence beat for the Associated Press, “routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication,” reports The Intercept, citing email exchanges and other documents.

In one email to a CIA press officer, Dilanian wrote: “I’m working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys.” While several congressmen complained “that there is no meaningful oversight” of the targeted killing program, Dilanian told his CIA contact that the story he was writing was intended to be “reassuring to the public” and would be useful in dispelling what he characterized as “the misinformation about strikes that sometimes comes out of local media reports.”

In covering CIA operations in Yemen, Dilanian – following a lengthy exchange with the CIA official -- dutifully submitted a full draft of his unpublished article beneath the subject line, “Does this look better?”

Dilanian’s email traffic shows that he “enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage,” observes The Intercept. He was hardly alone: Dilanian’s correspondence was found among hundreds of pages of documents provided by the CIA that included similar exchanges with reporters from the AP, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other media entities.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Media-Collaborators--
Indiana Town Loses Entire Police Department Bunker Hill, Indiana, is a village of 900 people. It probably doesn’t need a police department, so it probably won’t miss the one it had until recently, when the town marshal and his four reserve deputies walked off the job on December 12 to protest decisions by the town board.

“We have had issues with the town board, and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former town marshal Michael Thomison explained. Most of the complaints had to do with proposed budget cut-backs, and a refusal on the part of the council to purchase body armor for all five members of the department.

“I did not want to send someone out there with bad body armor,” Thomison complains. “I told them we have to provide this…. They were just not receptive to having a police department,” he summarizes.

Since crime is practically non-existent in Bunker Hill – the most recent report lists one violent and ten property crimes in the village – and the village is fifteen minutes away from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in the county seat of Peru, it’s reasonable to consider the police department as an unnecessary expense, and a potential source of avoidable trouble. That latter consideration, ironically, was underscored by the disgruntled officers themselves, who have accused town councilors of asking them to conduct unlawful background checks on each other.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
California Democrats Load up anti-Trump Legislative Agenda Since Democrats hold a supermajority in the California state legislature, they are in a position to enact legislation on an “urgency” basis, and many legislators are preparing to do so in anticipation of the Trump administration.

“By passing urgency bills, Democrats in Sacramento predict they will be able to act fast-counter-punching in real time-if Republican President-elect Donald Trump signs federal laws or adopts policies they perceive as hostile to California,” reports The Desert Sun. “Legislative Democrats hope to demonstrate the old adage that there's strength in numbers when it comes to issues over which they are at odds with Trump, including the environment, healthcare, and particularly immigration. On Dec. 5 they launched a preemptive strike, opening the new legislative session by proposing two bills to boost legal aid for undocumented immigrants in response to Trump's threats of deportation. One would train public defenders in immigration law, the other would fund lawyers to represent undocumented immigrants facing deportation. Both are `urgency’ bills that require support from two-thirds of the Legislature to pass.”

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Bernie Sanders: Trump’s Victory a Repudiation of Political Correctness’s-Victory-a-Repudiation-of-Political-Correctness Donald Trump didn’t defeat Hillary Clinton because of Russian interference, insists former Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, but rather because mainstream Americans are weary of political correctness. At least, according to the maverick leftist Senator, that sentiment helped Trump overcome doubts about his temperament and character.

“He said that he will not be politically correct,” Sanders told an audience at a town hall sponsored by MSNBC. “I think he said some outrageous and painful things, but I think people are tired of the same old politically correct rhetoric. I think some people believe he was speaking from his heart and willing to take on everybody.”

Sanders defines the expression “politically correct” somewhat differently than would many of Trump’s supporters.

“What it means is you have a set of talking points which have been poll-tested and focus group-tested and that’s what you say rather than what’s really going on,” he explained. “And often what you are not allowed to say are things which offend powerful people. “

While Trump “was going after these consensus things … he was always saying things frankly that when we talk about political correctness are basically just rules about not being a jerk,” Sanders added.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Victory-a-Repudiation-of-Political-Correctness
Kissinger Parises Tillerson Pick Henry Kissinger has expressed approval of Donald Trump’s selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as Secretary of State.

“I think it’s a good appointment…. I pay no attention to this argument that he is too friendly with Russia,” Kissinger stated at a Manhattan gathering of the Committee of 100, an organization promoting closer relations between the U.S. and China. “He would be useless at the head of Exxon if he was not friendly with Russia.”

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Sen. Graham: The Russians Hacked Me, Too,-Too As a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham couldn’t make the needle twitch where voter interest is concerned, but he claims to have attracted the interest of Moscow. Graham startled CNN host Wolf Blitzer by claiming that his campaign’s email account was hacked by Russia.

“I do believe the Russians hacked into the DNC,” Graham declared, referring to the massive leak of embarrassing emails from the Democratic National Committee. “I do believe they hacked into [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta’s email account. They hacked into my campaign account. I do believe that all the information released publicly hurt Clinton and didn’t hurt Trump. I don’t think the outcome of the election is in doubt. What we should do is not turn on each other but work as one people to push back on Russia.”

“They’re trying to destabilize democracy all over the world, not just here,” he continued, referring to the government of Vladimir Putin. “We should tell the Russians that [in] no uncertain terms, you interfere in our elections, we don’t care why, we’re going to hit you and hit you hard, we’re going to introduce sanctions, it’ll be bipartisan.”

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Too
Louisiana Sheriff: I’m a Tax Collector, not a Peace Officer’m-a-Tax-Collector,-not-a-Peace-Officer Sheriff Eddie Soileau of Louisiana’s Evangeline Parish is dealing with budget cuts, layoffs, and a Justice Department civil rights investigation, and is determined to pare operations down to the basics. To that end, he asked for an advisory opinion from the state’s Attorney General regarding the following question: Can he legally operate “without having law enforcement duties,” and simply carrying out the role of a tax collector?

The Louisiana State Constitution, replied the Attorney General’s office, specifies that he is to be “the collector of state and parish ad valorem taxes and such other taxes and license fees as provided by law.” Where law enforcement is concerned, the sheriff’s duties are a matter of discretion. He is required to “keep the peace and make arrests,” but is not required to appoint a specific number of deputies to carry out that function. “Should a sheriff choose not to appoint deputies to assist in his law enforcement role, we could cite no statute that would forbid such a choice,” concluded the AG’s opinion.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’m-a-Tax-Collector,-not-a-Peace-Officer
Hollywood Leftists Have a New Favorite Constitutional Provision Before the election in November, a group of left-leaning Hollywood celebrities distributed a video appeal to the electorate on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Now another handful has assembled under the label “Unite for America” to make an appeal to the Electoral College – a body few, if any, of them most likely had known of before the election. This time they’re not seeking votes for Hillary Clinton, but rather pleading for 37 Republican electors to vote for someone other than Donald Trump. That is an option compatible with the constitutional powers of the Electoral College – but that might be foreclosed to some electors by the laws of their respective states.

“As you know, the Founding Fathers built the Electoral College to safeguard the American people from the dangers of a demagogue,” lectures Martin Sheen, who has never run for president but played one on television for seven seasons on the NBC program “The West Wing.” The electors have a responsibility to ensure that the president is someone who is to “an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications,” he continued, citing Alexander Hamilton’s treatment of the matter in the Federalist Papers.

“The Electoral College was specifically created to prevent an unfit candidate from becoming president,” intoned James Cromwell, who also portrayed a chief executive in the film “The Sum of All Fears,” and whose scholarly credentials also include winning an Oscar for playing a farmer who owned a talking pig. Other even less distinguished celebrities—some of them barely recognizable through tragically ill-conceived cosmetic surgery -- appealed to the electors to choose anybody other than President-elect Donald Trump.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Venezuela Continues Descent into Barbarism, Misery,-Misery Under the reign of socialist President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela is plumbing new depths of misery. Reuters reports that “three local councils and four national welfare groups all confirmed an increase in parents handing children over to the state, charities, or friends and family” because they cannot earn enough money to support them.

“It’s better that she has another family than go into prostitution, drugs, or die of hunger,” Zulay Pulgar told a reporter by way of explaining the decision to let a neighbor take care of her six-year-old daughter. Both Zulay and her husband are unemployed, and the entire household – which includes seven children and her father – lives on the father’s pension, which is the equivalent of $6 a month.

Nancy Garcia, the neighbor who volunteered to take in Pulgar’s daughter, explained that she couldn’t bear the sight of the youngster going hungry.

Last year, the social services center in Carirubana, which supervises the Pulgar family, received at least one daily request from parents seeking help in caring for children. This year, the daily average is more than a dozen.

“The parents come in crying,” says Angeyeimar Gil, who directs a welfare office in Sucre. “We’re seeing a lot of cases of malnutrition and children that come to [the] hospital with scabies.”

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Misery
Tillerson Helped Queer the Boy Scouts As President of the Boy Scouts of America, ExxonMobil CEO and Secretary of State-designee Rex Tillerson “led the charge to open the Boy Scouts to gay troop leaders,” recalls Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Perkins, an outspoken social conservative who supported Trump, predicts that Tillerson “may be the greatest ally liberals [will] have in the cabinet for their abortion and LGBT agendas.”

Perkins says that he knows Tillerson “all too well, having worked for years to put the brakes on his reckless agenda for a Scouting organization that was already dealing with staggering numbers of sexual abuse cases.” As BSA president, Tillerson “ultimately caved to the pressure of the far-Left, irreparably splitting the Scouts and destroying a proud and honorable American tradition.”

Tillerson would most likely not have much influence on domestic policy, Perkins concedes. However, when Hillary Clinton was in charge to the agency, the State Department was used “as a club to beat other nations into submission on sensitive cultural issues -- a tradition that successor John Kerry has been all too eager to continue,” Perkins elaborates. “Now, after two terms of exporting radical social policy, Americans [had hoped] to see the light at the end of the Obama administration tunnel.”

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
A Gracious End to an Ugly Campaign Incident What began as an ugly incident at a North Carolina Trump campaign rally in March ended with a handshake and a hug in a Fayetteville courtroom as John Franklin McGraw, who sucker-punched a protester named Rakeem Jones and suggested that he was a terrorist who might need to be shot, apologized to the victim and asked for his help in healing the country’s political divisions.

“We’re caught up in a political mess today, McGraw told Jones, his voice thick with emotion. “And you and me, we’ve gotta heal our country.”

“It just felt good, being able to shake his hand, and being able to actually face him,” Jones said later. The two had actually communicated with each other prior to the hearing through a podcast called “Panacea Open Courtroom. Their personal reconciliation helped persuade the trial judge to grant McGraw, 79, one year of unsupervised probation on the assault and battery charge. Jones did observe that McGraw’s sentence is much lighter than that of a friend who faces a possible five-year prison sentence for a similar offense.

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Texas Man Who Shot at SWAT Team Vindicated on Self-Defense Grounds In harmony with the law, but in defiance of the expectations of many, Corpus Christi, Texas resident Ray Rosas was acquitted on three counts of attempted murder for shooting three police officers who invaded his home.

A SWAT team raided Rosas’s home to execute a no-knock warrant naming his nephew as a narcotics suspect. The prosecution offered testimony from eleven of the invaders claiming that they had identified themselves as police – as they hurled flash-bang grenades into the residence. Any non-government-licensed gang laying siege to a home could do the same thing, of course.

The prosecution did what it could to deprive Rosas of a fair trial. Before closing arguments, Judge Guy Williams read a list of 22 items of evidence that the prosecution had failed to preserve that would have benefited the defense.

As defense attorney Lisa Greenberg explained during her closing arguments: “The case is so easy. This is a self-defense case.”

One female juror told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that “the officers didn’t seem credible. Their stories didn’t match – and it kind of made me feel like if they’re lying about this, what else are they lying about?” Some officers claimed that Rosas was combative when taken into custody, others described him as cooperative and told them he opened fire because he didn’t know they were police.

Rosas was freed after nearly two years in pre-trial detention.

One reason the Fourth Amendment exists is to prevent violent home invasions of the kind Rosas experienced – and that happen, on average, more than one hundred times a day in the United States.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Tillerson’s High-Octane Connections with “Oily Despots”’s-High-Octane-Connections-with-“Oily-Despots” ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s selection to serve as Secretary of State, “sees the world through a prism of oil,” asserts a critical profile published by USA Today. In pursuit of his business interests, Tillerson has cultivated relationships with authoritarian rulers in oil-rich regions, from the near East to Russia.

“In the Middle East, where any secretary of State must be prepared to invest considerable time and effort and where Trump has pledged to find an end to the interminable dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, ExxonMobil and Tillerson have won oil contracts in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Iraq,” explains the paper. “All four have barely functioning democracies, and the latter two are plagued by violence and tribal or sectarian warfare that ExxonMobil has made little effort to manage or control.”

ExxonMobil is likewise active in Angola, Chad and Equatorial Guinea, the last of which has been described by Freedom House as the "worst of the worst" for its human rights record.

The choice of Tillerson has been praised by those who want to see more amicable relations between Washington and Moscow, and the fact he has been awarded the Order of Friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen as a hopeful portent. ExxonMobil’s partner in Russia’s Arctic region is the state-owned Rosneft conglomerate. Tillerson faces a potential conflict of interest, given that his company’s drilling rights are of little use because of sanctions imposed by the US and the EU growing out of the conflict in Ukraine.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-High-Octane-Connections-with-“Oily-Despots”
Anti-Russia Liberals Claim the American Electorate has been Mesmerized by Putin Vladimir Putin’s KGB background, his gimlet-eyed demeanor, and his authoritarian methods all combine to make him a cinematic geopolitical villain. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton famously sought a “re-set” of US-Russian relations on more congenial terms, but changed her tone dramatically as her 2016 presidential campaign went into gear. On more than one occasion she compared Putin to Hitler, and during the waning weeks of the contest she candidly accused Donald Trump of being a puppet of the Russian government – a theme her supporters eagerly embraced, and have never relinquished.

Clinton’s frustrated supporters how treat entirely unproven claims of Russian intervention in this year’s election as if they were irrefutable truth. No tangible evidence has been provided that Moscow was behind the WikiLeaks disclosures, or that its agents infiltrated our country’s decentralized voting system. The left-leaning online journal Slate offers an explanation that takes such claims out of the empirical realm: It argues that the Russian government didn’t “hack the election,” but instead “It hacked us – the voters.”

“Why [mess] around with inefficient, resource-intensive brute force hacks on voting machines to flip ballots when you can simply convince voters to do it for you?” writes Slate contributor Theodore R. Johnson, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. “In other words, by targeting voters’ decision-making processes instead of the machines that record their decisions, Russia could influence the election without breaking into a single electoral computer.”

From this perspective, voters who supported Trump were not merely mistaken, in the estimation of Hillary’s supporters, but are either conscious agents or unwitting dupes of the Kremlin.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Tillerson Supports the UN “Climate Change” Treaty“Climate-Change”-Treaty During the campaign, Donald Trump often expressed skepticism regarding the theory of anthropogenic – that is, man-caused – global climate change, and promised to “scrap” the UN’s Paris climate change treaty. This led to a mad dash by governments supporting that pact to ratify it, thereby supposedly making it international law, prior to Trump’s inauguration.

The Washington Post observes that “one person who might not agree with Trump on this matter is the person who would be dealing directly with the fallout” if the Trump administration were to withdraw from the treaty: Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of State.

“At ExxonMobil, we share the view that the risks of climate change are serious and warrant thoughtful action,” Tillerson declared in a November conference in Abu Dhabi. “Addressing these risks requires broad-based, practical solutions around the world. Importantly, as a result of the Paris agreement, both developed and developing countries are now working together to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, while recognizing differing national responsibilities, capacities, and circumstances.”

Tillerson “made very similar remarks about the Paris accord” in a speech a few weeks earlier, the Post continues, and has “endorsed the idea of a carbon tax as a tool for curbing carbon emissions.”

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Climate-Change”-Treaty
Behind the UN’s Pro-Terrorist Narrative in Aleppo’s-Pro-Terrorist-Narrative-in-Aleppo Behind the all-encompassing media narrative about the carnage in the eastern sector of the Syrian city of Aleppo is a complicated reality that does not reflect well on the West, writes veteran Middle East war correspondent Robert Fisk: The estimated 250,000 civilians who were trapped in the city amid a ferocious joint bombardment by the Syrian government and the Russian military were imprisoned by US-supported Islamists who cynically used them as human shields.

The Syrian rebels supported by Washington and its European allies “are among the cruelest and most ruthless fighters in the Middle East,” states Fisk with the authority of someone who has covered more than a dozen conflicts on the ground. Among the people he recently interviewed is “one of the very first Muslim families to flee eastern Aleppo during the ceasefire,” who condemned the US-backed Islamist militants for “putting weapons close to hospitals,” thereby drawing fire from the Assad government and its Russian allies.

“After months of condemning the iniquities of the Syrian regime while obscuring the identity and brutality of its opponents in Aleppo, the human rights organizations – sniffing defeat for the rebels – began only a few days ago to spread their criticism to include the defenders of eastern Aleppo,” Fisk points out. This is why the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, along with NGOs and media organs that retail the UN’s line, are starting to temper their condemnation of Damascus and Moscow with tentative acknowledgments of rebel atrocities.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Pro-Terrorist-Narrative-in-Aleppo
Assad: ISIS re-took Palmyra with US Help ISIS troops driven out of Mosul in Iraq were given a clear route to retake the Syrian city of Palmyra, and when they arrived they had newly provided weapons from their allies in Washington, claimed Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad in a recent interview on Syrian state television.

“We cannot link the Palmyra issue only with Mosul, because ISIS exists in Syria, in al-Raqqa in the north, where the American alliance is supposed to have been shelling ISIS for the past two years, which is not true,” Assad claimed. “ISIS is there in Deir Ezzor where the American forces and warplanes, together with the alliance, have shelled Syrian forces instead of ISIS. Our real perception of the latest ISIS attack a few days ago on Palmyra in large numbers of fighters, with sophisticated weapons which ISIS did not have before … means that ISIS received direct support from states.”

“How could they bring heavy artillery from Mosul?” continues Assad. “What have American warplanes in Mosul or al-Raqqa been doing? The fact is that the large majority of those came from al-Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, either through direct American support, or at best the Americans knew but turned a blind eye and left the implementation of the operation, in terms of funding and support, to Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. This is the reality of what's happening in Palmyra today, and it is not only linked to Mosul.”

These developments follow a December 8 presidential waiver issued by Barack Obama authorizing arms deliveries in support of what he called “Special Operations to combat terrorism in Syria.” If Assad’s account is accurate, Obama’s edict authorized new arms shipments to ISIS.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
British Diplomat-Whistleblower: US Intelligence, not Russian, Behind DNC, Podesta Hack,-not-Russian,-Behind-DNC,-Podesta-Hack “I have watched, incredulous, as the CIA’s blatant lie has grown and grown into a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatever to substantiate it,” writes Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. “There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton’s corruption,” he continues. “Yet this rubbish has been the lead … in the Washington Post in the US, and the Guardian here [in London], and was the lead item on the BBC main news.”

Murray was purged from his job as punishment for exposing the crimes of former Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov, the KGB-trained Communist retread who ruled the former Soviet central Asian republic. Karimov operated one of the CIA’s most notorious torture programs, in which he would literally boil people alive with the approval of his paymasters. Few if any know better than Murray how the Deep State deals with whistleblowers and dissenters.

“The CIA claims they `know the individuals’ involved” in the hack, Murray emphasizes. “Yet under Obama the US has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution of whistleblowers, and its pursuit of foreign hackers through extradition. We are supposed to believe that in the most vital instance imaginable, an attempt by a foreign power to destabilize an election, even though the CIA knows who the individuals are, nobody is going to be arrested or extradited[.]”

Nor has the Obama administration sought to impose sanctions against these supposedly known culprits, as it has against Russian academic Alexander Dugin as punishment for his public support of ethnic Russian separatists in Ukraine.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-not-Russian,-Behind-DNC,-Podesta-Hack
China Reportedly Installing Weapons Systems on Artificial Islands China is installing weapons systems, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile batteries, on all seven of the artificial islands it has created in the South China Sea, claims the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), citing evidence provided by recent satellite imagery. Despite frequent assurances from Beijing that it does not intend to militarize the islands, which trace one of the world’s most important trade routes, the AMTI says that the hexagonal structures display clear signs of being fortified into military installations.

"This is the first time that we're confident in saying they are anti-aircraft and CIWS [Close-In Warfare Systems] emplacements,” AMTI director Greg Poling told the Reuters news service. “We did not know that they had systems this big and this advanced there. This is militarization. The Chinese can argue that it's only for defensive purposes, but if you are building giant anti-aircraft gun and CIWS emplacements, it means that you are prepping for a future conflict.”

It should be noted that the AMTI is a project of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a neo-conservative think-tank created about two decades ago as part of a constellation of similar organizations radiating from the globalist Council on Foreign Relations. The CSIS has consistently supported a very interventionist US foreign policy.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Documented Voting Irregularities in More than One-Third of Detroit Precincts Efforts in Michigan to conduct a state-wide vote recount at the request of Democratic leaders ran into an obstacle in Wayne County when it was discovered that “Voting machines in more than one-third of all Detroit precincts registered more votes than they should have during last month’s presidential election,” reports the Detroit News. A detailed accounting provided by the office of Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett “show optical scanners at 248 of the city's 662 precincts, or 37 percent, tabulated more ballots than the number of voters tallied by workers in the poll books.”

“There’s always going to be small problems to some degree, but we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit. This isn’t normal,” commented Krista Haroutunian, chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers.

Elections Director Daniel Baxter has reported that 87 optical scanners malfunctioned on Election Day, many of them becoming jammed after voters repeatedly attempted to stuff single ballots into the devices. This can generate erroneous vote counts if poll workers don’t make the necessary adjustments. However, former mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, who has long been critical of the city’s elections system, insists that “The city is responsible” for the mess, not isolated poll workers.

“This didn’t happen because of crazy, dyslexic senior citizens who are working as poll workers, like they want to portray this,” he maintains, saying that city officials “are trying to deny responsibility.”

Voting irregularities in Detroit have spurred plans for an audit by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's office, Elections Director Chris Thomas said Monday.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Texas Republican Elector Explains Why He Won’t Support Trump’t-Support-Trump Texas Republican Christopher Suprun was chosen as an elector in that state’s 30th district – and he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump. Whether acting out of sincere devotion to the dictates of his conscience, or as an act of moral grandstanding, Suprun maintains that he has legitimate concerns about Trump’s temperament, qualifications, and claims of foreign meddling in the election.

“Fifty of my Republican colleagues who are experts in foreign policy and national security … said he would be a danger if he were president,” Suprun said in a video distributed by the Soros-funded Democratic pressure group The fifty “colleagues” to whom Suprun refers are veterans of the foreign policy establishment who signed a New York Times op-ed column denouncing Trump several months ago.

“The CIA report [alleging Russian intervention] is frightening and it should concern every American.” Trump’s first reaction to that claim, Suprun contends, “was to defend Vladimir Putin.”

Suprun urged Barack Obama to make the CIA’s findings available to members of the Electoral College by December 19 so that they could examine the evidence, whatever it may be, prior to casting the vote that would actually chose the next president.

Following Suprun’s repudiation of Trump, he became the first known elector to be the subject of an “opposition research” operation: Trump-allied researchers exhumed evidence from the 2012 hack of the Ashley Madison site appearing to show that Suprun, who was married with three children, had paid for a membership, describing himself as an “attached male seeking [a]female.” The moral inference behind that disclosure would appear to be that presidential electors should be held to a higher standard than the candidates whose qualifications they consider.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’t-Support-Trump
Disney, Fox Win Bid to Close Down Sanitized Video Streaming Service,-Fox-Win-Bid-to-Close-Down-Sanitized-Video-Streaming-Service Utah-based VidAngel, Inc., which charges clients $1 to watch movies that have been sanitized of profanity, nudity, and excessive violence, has lost a court battle with Disney, Time Warner, and 21st Century Fox, reports Bloomberg news. The media giants had sought an injunction against the company while they pursue a lawsuit accusing it of carrying out an “end run” around copyright protections.

US District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. concluded that the studios are likely to win the case on its merits and agreed with their claims that they would be “irreparably harmed” if VidAngel were allowed to continue its alleged infringement while the civil case proceeds.

The company operates an unlicensed video-on-demand service in which they purchase DVD and Blu-ray copies of newly released films. Each is then transferred to a master copy which can be filtered according to the preferences of a customer who pays a $1 rental fee. This follows a similar model to a Utah-based company that had rented sanitized versions physical movie discs.

VidAngel cites the Family Movie Act, a 2005 law authorizing for-profit companies to stream lawfully obtained movies for home viewing with any objectionable content removed.

VIdAngel CEO Neal Harmon says that the most recent lawsuit is part of a “decades-long campaign to put movie filtering services out of business by seeking a shut-down decision in trial court.” He promises that the company will “aggressively” pursue an appeal.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Fox-Win-Bid-to-Close-Down-Sanitized-Video-Streaming-Service
Could the Electoral College be Flipped? Harvard University constitutional law professor Larry Lessig, who briefly considered running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, may play a role in denying the Republican nominee victory in the Electoral College. Lessig claims that twenty Republican electors are considering casting their votes for another candidate. That figure “would put anti-Trump activists more than halfway toward stalling Trump’s election” when the Electoral College convenes on December 19, notes Politico. Lessig has not provided evidence to confirm his claim.

Assuming that all of the Democrat electors supported Hillary Clinton, a total of 37 Republicans would have to change their vote in order for Trump to be denied victory. The election would then be decided in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, which would choose from among the top three candidates in the popular vote. Each state delegation would have one vote, which would give the GOP a very small advantage.

Lessig has created a group called “Electors Trust” which “has been offering pro bono legal counsel to Republican electors considering ditching Trump and has been acting as a clearinghouse for electors to privately communicate their intentions,” continues the report.

So far, only Texas elector Chris Suprun has publicly announced that he would vote for another candidate when the College assembles next Monday. Some states have laws that would compel electors to support the nominee of their party, or be replaced by an alternate who would do so. It is not known how many of Lessig’s GOP rebels are from states where such laws are in place.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump’s Overt Embrace of Keynesianism’s-Overt-Embrace-of-Keynesianism In a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with Time magazine for its Person of the Year cover story, President-elect Donald Trump gave what might be his most explicit endorsement of Keynesian economics – that is, the idea of government intervention to promote economic growth.

“Well sometimes you have to prime the pump … in order to get the jobs going and the country going, because look, we’re at 1% growth,” Mr. Trump replied when asked about the U.S. economy. He also promised to intervene personally to deter owners of large companies from relocating production facilities abroad.

“I want to get a list of companies that have announced they’re leaving,” Trump declared. “I can call them myself five minutes apiece, they won’t be leaving. Okay. It’s hard when they say the foundations are already in. That’s tough.” He also promised to bring down drug prices, and recalled telling Tim Cook that “it’s my ambition to get Apple to build a great plant, your biggest and your best, even if it’s only a foot by a foot bigger than some place in China.”

Trump appears to have boundless confidence in the power of his personal intervention to revive the American economy. He predicts that “we’re going to have a lot of jobs brought back. I think we’re going to have a lot fewer companies leaving our country…. And people are seeing very good things for business in this country. So I think we’re going to have a lot of victories.”

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Overt-Embrace-of-Keynesianism
Trump Supporter: President-elect Used Romney Vetting to Humiliate a Critic. During his transition from candidate to president, Donald Trump has continued to use both his public pronouncements and private vetting sessions for potential cabinet members in seeking retribution against his critics – from an otherwise obscure leader of a union local in Indiana, to a former Republican presidential nominee.

Veteran Republican activist Roger Stone, who has long acted as an informal adviser to Trump, told radio personality Alex Jones that Trump had been manipulating Mitt Romney by interviewing him at length as a possible Secretary of State selection.

“Donald Trump was interviewing Mitt Romney for Secretary of State in order to torture him,” asserted Stone. “To toy with him. And given the history, that’s completely understandable. Mitt Romney didn’t just oppose Trump, which is his democratic right, he called him a phony and a fraud. And a con man. And that’s not the kind of man you want as Secretary of State.”

Romney played a key role in in his own degradation, emerging from an interview to praise the same man he had derided as a con artist as “The very man who can lead us to [a] better future.”

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Oxford Institutionalizes Assault on the English Language For centuries, England’s Oxford University has played a central role in shaping the common tongue of the Anglo-Saxon world. Since 1879, the eponymous Oxford English Dictionary has reigned as the most authoritative record of the English language. Of late, however, Oxford has succumbed to the gender revolution’s pronoun police, who seek the destruction of sex-specific expressions.

The London Daily Mail reports that “Oxford University is encouraging students to use the gender-neutral pronoun `ze’ instead of `she’ and `he.’”

“It is a positive thing to not always emphasize gender divisions and barriers,” insisted homosexual agitator Peter Tatchell. “It is good to have gender-neutral pronouns for those who want them but it shouldn’t be compulsory…. It’s about acknowledging the fact of changing gender identities and respecting people’s right not to define themselves as male or female,” he continued, gliding over the inconvenient point that in a growing number of jurisdictions, acknowledgement of unconventional gender identities is rapidly becoming mandatory.

Cambridge University, long Oxford’s bitter rival, is an ally in the effort to deconstruct the King’s English.

“Events start with a speaker introducing themselves using a gender neutral pronoun,” explains Cambridge Students Union welfare officer Sophie Buck.

Gender revolutionaries have also targeted Eton, whose notable alumni include George Orwell. England’s Boarding Schools Association has ordered Eton and similar schools to adopt a “new language” devoid of sex-specific pronouns in order to advance what they unblushingly call “queering the education system.”

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Anti-Gun Rights Movie Suffers Historic Box Office Disaster Hollywood’s politically pliant corporate elite alternates between producing hyper-violent, commercially successful films and sanctimonious political homilies on film that repel audiences. “Miss Sloane,” an anti-gun-rights melodrama whose heroine is a lobbyist for the Brady Campaign seeking to enact anti-gun legislation, earned less than $2 million in its first weekend of release.

“Willing to bend the rules for her clients, Elizabeth Sloane … remains one of the most sought-after lobbyists in Washington, D.C.,” intones the film’s plot summary. “When asked to help oppose a bill that imposes regulations on firearms, she instead joins a scrappy boutique firm that represents the backers of the law. Her defiant stance and determination to win now makes her the target of powerful new enemies who threaten her career and the people she cares about.”

The film’s villains, naturally, are representatives of the ubiquitous and apparently all-powerful “gun lobby.”

With a $13 million production budget, the film would have to make a little more than $26 million to turn a profit, according to standard Hollywood accounting practices. Released to 1,100 theaters in North America, the film’s per-screen average was a little more than $1,100, which suggests that theater owners, distributors and the movie’s producers will all take a substantial financial loss.

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Venezuela Begins Demonitization of its Currency Having wrecked its country’s economy through state intervention, price controls, and money creation, the socialist government of Venezuela has discovered another way to torment the people suffering under its misrule: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Maduro regime “is taking nearly half the country’s bank notes out of circulation beginning Wednesday, threatening to ruin the holiday season for Venezuelans already suffering from dire cash shortages, hyperinflation and an economic meltdown.”

The largest-denomination Venezuelan bill, the 100 bolivar note, is currently worth three U.S. cents on the black market. Like subjects of other countries ravaged by hyperinflation, Venezuelans conduct transactions based on the cumulative weight of the government’s ever-depleting currency.

“Venezuelans have just two days to deposit into banks the more than six billion targeted bills currently in circulation,” notes the Journal. “Anyone wanting to exchange the worthless bills after that will have 10 days to submit them at the central bank after being questioned by the secret police.”

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Texas Governor Selected to Head Energy Department During a memorable moment of forgetfulness in a 2011 Republican presidential debate, Texas Governor Rick Perry drew a blank while trying to remember the name of an executive branch department he intended to abolish. He began confidently enough, saying that there were “three agencies of government when I get [to the White House] that are gone – commerce, education, and the, um, what’s the third one? Let’s see.”

Perry cast an imploring glance at fellow candidate Ron Paul, as if expecting the Texas Congressman to prompt him with the answer. For a moment or two he suggested that the EPA would be targeted for abolition, before he decided that it could be “rebuilt” instead. Eventually the governor shrugged and sheepishly told the audience, “I can’t – the third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

Perry’s campaign later explained that the third agency he earnestly sought to abolish was the US Department of Energy. On December 13, President-elect Donald Trump named Perry to preside over the agency whose name had eluded him in that awkward moment five years ago – a department that would no longer exist if Perry had been elected and kept that campaign promise.

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Canada Pushes Back the Frontiers of Gender Politics “Currently, LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA is believed to be the world’s longest acronym used to describe human sexual orientations and gender identities,” writes Canadian civil libertarian Fred Litwin in the C2C Journal. “Chances are it’s already been surpassed by an even longer acronym with the self-discovery of yet another person, or group of persons, with a unique gender fixation…. If this rate of letter propagation continues, we’ll soon have an acronym that spans several lines and will be worth well over two thousand points in Scrabble. Forget about it being featured on Wheel of Fortune.”

More than three decades ago Litwin enlisted in the gay rights movement, but the revolution has long since left him in the dust, facing the uncomfortable prospect of being denounced as a reactionary – or prosecuted as a hate criminal.

“It’s probably pointless to try to memorize what all the letters stand for, because theoretically there’s no limit to the proliferation of sexual identities,” Litwin observes. “But some of them come with unique pronouns, and you had better learn those. Otherwise you might run afoul of new federal and provincial human rights and hate crimes laws.”

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
DOA: Obama Administration Sends UN Arms Trade Treaty to the Senate Three years ago, Secretary of State John Kerry signed the UN Arms Trade Treaty. Last week, the Obama administration sent it to the Senate for ratification, which would require a vote of two-thirds of the senators “present” during the session.

The announced objective of the treay is to regulate the sale and transfer of small arms and light weapons, a category that includes all civilian-owned firearms. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon claims that the pact “Will help keep warlords, pirates, terrorists, criminals, and their like from acquiring deadly arms.” It would actually do nothing of the sort: The 15-page document contains not a single provision that would prevent governments from arming terrorists and criminals. In fact, Article 2, Section 3 specifies that nothing in the treaty would apply to the “international movement of conventional arms by, or on behalf of, a State Party for its use provided that the conventional arms remain under that State Party’s ownership.”

At the center of the treaty is a provision mandating the creation of “a national control system” to regulate export of arms and ammunition. If the US government were to comply with that directive, it would have to bring all firearms and ammunition dealers under the supervision of the State Department. The treaty itself is a key component of the world body’s longstanding campaign to bring firearms “under the control of states,” and to establish “norms of non-possession” by civilians.

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Former Oregon Crime Lab Tech Sent to Prison Nika Elisa Larsen, who was found guilty of stealing more than 700 pills seized in drug cases over a two-year period, was sentenced to three years in federal prison on December 12. She pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud and deception. A state police investigation discovered that she stole hundreds of pills – including morphine, hydrocodone, diazepam, methamphetamine, oxycodone, and methadone, from fifty different evidence samples.

“What started as a perceived easy and painless means of escaping my past and agonizing daily life turned into egregious acts that deeply impacted my friends, family and colleagues in the law enforcement and the legal community,” wrote Larsen in a statement to the sentencing judge. “I allowed my addiction to cloud my judgment, which obscured the gravity of my actions…. I had no idea at the time how insidious my actions were and how deeply they would affect those involved.”

Among those involved whom Larsen didn’t mention are thousands of people whose criminal cases were affected by her misconduct, scores of whom may have been improperly charged or convicted as a result. Discovery of Larsen’s actions led prosecutors to dismiss or drop more than 150 convictions or active criminal cases.

The Deschutes County District Attorney told the court that Larsen had violated her position of trust “on a massive scale unprecedented in Oregon history.”

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Maryland Top Cop Gets Caught in Prostitution Sting Among the dozens of defendants swept up in a Baltimore undercover prostitution sting is 71-year-old Larry Harmel, who is certainly too old for foolishness of that kind. Harmel also has professional reasons to know better: He is a thirty-year veteran Maryland state trooper and the executive director of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association.

The Baltimore Sun recounts that Harmel was arrested after approaching an undercover vice officer in a section of southeast Baltimore known as a hot spot for prostitution transactions.

Asked what he was looking for, Harmel reportedly replied, “You know.” Playing the role of a drug addict, the undercover officer promised to perform a sexual favor for “not a lot,” saying that “I haven’t had my medicine today. I just need to get my medicine.” At various points, each of the parties asked the other if he or she was a cop. Eventually she climbed into his truck – and handed him a summons.

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Top Spy Agency Doesn’t Support Russian Hack Theory’t-Support-Russian-Hack-Theory The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees all seventeen US intelligence agencies, has “not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber-attacks were aimed at helping Republican president-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election,” reports Reuters. While the office “does not dispute the CIA’s analysis of Russian hacking operations, it has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton,” continues the report.

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’t-Support-Russian-Hack-Theory
Following Fatal Cop Shooting, Detroit Police Act Quickly – But Arrest the Wrong Guy,-Detroit-Police-Act-Quickly-–-But-Arrest-the-Wrong-Guy Just hours after the fatal November 22 shooting of Wayne State University police officer Colin Rose, fellow officers arrested DeAngelo Davis. Officer Rose had been investigating a man identified as Davis for a suspected bike traffic violation, and was shot in the head shortly after calling for backup to conduct an arrest.

Davis was familiar to local officers, having been previously charged with resisting arrest and pleading guilty in a separate case to a charge of assaulting an officer. Davis spent two weeks in jail, and was widely identified in the Detroit-area media as the suspect in a cop-killing, before charges against him were dropped. A surveillance camera at another location provided him with an alibi. His neighbors also told officers that Davis suffers from a leg injury that would make it impossible for him to ride a bicycle. Officer Rose reportedly suspected that the bike rider may have been involved in a string of local robberies.

“The murder of Sgt. Rose was a tragic loss to the community and law enforcement, but it was also wrong to snatch Mr. DeAngelo Davis off the street and try this case in the media despite a lack of evidence connecting him to the crime,”complained defense attorney Nicole James.

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Detroit-Police-Act-Quickly-–-But-Arrest-the-Wrong-Guy
Neoconservative Pundit Resigns at the Weekly Standard William Kristol, the son of neoconservative godfather Irving Kristol and self-appointed head of that political movement, has announced his resignation as editor of the Weekly Standard magazine, which he founded more than two decades ago. Kristol, who first rose to prominence as an adviser to Indiana Senator-turned-Vice President Dan Quayle, was a vehement critic of Donald Trump and was responsible for persuading former CIA officer Evan McMullin to mount a quixotic independent presidential run.

In the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks, the Weekly Standard was the most influential journal promoting war with Iraq. Several of its contributors, most notably Stephen Hayes, worked tirelessly to devise a theory connecting Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda. Twenty years ago, Kristol and fellow neo-conservative Robert Kagan published a manifesto in Foreign Affairs magazine called “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” which urged Washington to impose what they called a “benevolent world hegemony.” Those views helped influence the neo-conservative cabal calling itself the Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, of which Kristol and Kagan were members. In the years leading up to 9/11, PNAC dictated an ambitious program for “regime change” throughout the Middle East, while predicting that it would take another Pearl Harbor-style event to precipitate that campaign.

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Families of California Prison Inmates File Suit Over “Extortionate” Phone Fees“Extortionate”-Phone-Fees Nine counties in California “have been hit with class action lawsuits this year claiming jails `extort’ mostly poor and minority families that are trying to stay in contact with incarcerated family members,” reports NBC affiliate KNTV. “For a boy or girl speaking with their father, or a wife calling her husband, those fees can be cost-prohibitive. In parts of the Bay Area, families can spend more than $30 for a one-hour conversation.”

Earlier this year the Federal Communications Commission approved, by a 3-2 vote, a limit on the fees that prisons and jails can impose on an in-state phone conversation. However, that ruling was blocked by a federal court.

Inmates sentenced for criminal offenses “are paying their time for what they did,” observes Shirley Banks, whose husband Alfred is serving four years in prison for burglary. “There’s no reason why their loved ones have to be punished.”

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Extortionate”-Phone-Fees
Kissinger Endorses “Trump World Order”“Trump-World-Order” During his successful presidential bid, Donald Trump railed incessantly against what could be called the Kissinger legacy – an interventionist foreign policy, US entanglement in multilateral alliances, and the creation of global trade blocs that undermine our national economic health. Most recently he has suggested that his administration would not be bound by the “One China Policy” devised by Kissinger as part of the Nixon administration’s outreach to Beijing.

Despite taking issue with some of Trump’s rhetorical flourishes, Kissinger told an audience in Stockholm that the incoming administration should be given an opportunity “to put forward its vision of international order.”

“The international debate should be over evolving American policy, not over campaign rhetoric,” Kissinger continued.

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Trump-World-Order”
Gorbachev Offers Anniversary Lamentation on Soviet Demise On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the apparent demise of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, the final president of the Soviet Union, lamented what he perceived as the opportunistic refusal of the West to prevent what he continues to regard as a tragedy.

“They were rubbing their hands in joy – the Union that had been a concern for decades ate itself up,” Gorbachev said in an interview with the AP. He credited his refusal to use military force to prevent the breakup, recalling that “the country was loaded to the brim with weapons – including nuclear weapons. And it would immediately have pushed the country into a civil war.”

Gorbachev is ambivalent toward President Vladimir Putin, describing him as “a worthy president” and a “strong person…. I almost fully supported him at first, and then I began to voice criticism.” American criticism of Putin does nothing but fortify his domestic support, Gorbachev asserts.

Regarding Donald Trump, Gorbachev notes that “He has little political experience – but maybe that’s good.”

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
DEA Admits to Systematic Violations of Fourth Amendment The federally abetted practice of “civil asset forfeiture” – that is, confiscation of money and property from people prior to conviction of a crime, and often without filing criminal charges – entails frequent “Fourth Amendment” problems, officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration have admitted.

A recent audit from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General lambasted the DEA for allowing extensive “fraud, waste and abuse” of its Confidential Source program, which uses paid informants to initiate drug investigations.

A November 30 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform prompted by that report led to testimony by both Inspector General Michael Horowitz and DEA spokesman Melvin Patterson in which they acknowledged that forfeiture operations often involve abuse of citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Horowitz conceded that “the DEA’s policies are warping priorities by prioritizing asset forfeiture rather than the seizure of drugs.” For his part, Patterson admitted that his agency doesn’t even bother to track the effectiveness of its informant program, keep an accurate accounting of expenditures, or take a reliable tally of its convictions and property seizures.

The Institute for Justice, a public interest group that combats asset seizure abuses, notes that those admissions follow “former DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart’s stubborn, year-long obstruction of the [Inspector General’s] efforts to hold the agency accountable.”

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Suggests Changes in “One-China” Policy“One-China”-Policy President-elect Donald Trump provoked a warning from Beijing for his statement in a December 11 Fox News interview that his administration will not consider itself bound by Washington’s long-standing “One China” policy, in which it eschews formal diplomatic ties with the Republic of China and treats the Communist government in Beijing as the representative of both the mainland population and that of Taiwan.

“I don’t know why we have to be bound by a `One China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” declared Trump. Geng Shuang, a spokesman for Beijing’s foreign ministry, replied that the “sound and steady growth of China-US relations” would be considered “out of the question” if the Trump administration were to repudiate the One China policy devised by Henry Kissinger during the Nixon administration.

The status of Taiwan as what Beijing considers a breakaway province is among that government’s “core interests” and part of the “political bedrock” of bilateral relations with Washington, Geng elaborated. Speaking on behalf of the Communist mainland government, Geng urged Trump to deal with “Taiwan-related matters” in what it regards as “a prudent manner so as not to disrupt or damage the overall interests of the bilateral relationship.”

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“One-China”-Policy
Will Congressional Hearings on Russian Intel Lay Bare CIA Meddling? Congressional Democrats, and a smattering of Republicans, have called for hearings to investigate unsourced and unsubstantiated claims that Russian intelligence was behind the hacking attacks that triggered an avalanche of damaging email disclosures from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Those claims, which were reportedly made by the CIA prior to November 8, have subsequently been expanded to include accusations of an active role by Russian intelligence to interfere in the election itself – a claim that rests on unalloyed speculation.

Legal scholar Bruce Fein, who served in the Reagan-era Justice Department, is not a Trump supporter, nor has he ever displayed a soft spot for Russian President Vladimir Putin or his government. Fein warns that an honest congressional inquiry into foreign election interference could raise questions neither Congress nor the CIA would like to confront.

“The ongoing hysteria over Russia seeking to influence our presidential election to favor Trump is moronic,” writes Fein. “That is what all countries and intelligence services do. Hillary Clinton rebuked the Bush administration for supporting elections in Gaza without rigging the vote against Hamas. The CIA's maiden covert action was to throw Italian elections to the Christian Democrats and against the PCI. It did the same in Chile hoping to defeat Salvador Allende. Depend upon it. The scheduled congressional hearings will never publicly ask our intelligence agencies whether they have sought to influence foreign elections to avoid exposing our monumental hypocrisy.”

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Police Expect Trump to Resume Law Enforcement Militarization Over the past two years, in reaction to growing public criticism of the militarization of law enforcement, Barack Obama has imposed a few modest restrictions on the Pentagon’s 1033 program, through which battlefield-grade weaponry, armored vehicles, and other military assets are transferred to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies. Through the Law Enforcement Support Organization, any police department or sheriff’s office in the country has long been able to obtain military assets of that kind on concessionary terms. This includes such items as grenade launchers, bayonets, and other war-fighting gear without legitimate law enforcement applications.

During the recent presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to rescind a 2015 Obama executive order that placed some limits on the Pentagon equipment transfer program. Since that time, federal officials have recalled an estimated 1,800 items, including armored vehicles, many of which have been used up in target practice or otherwise destroyed.

In a September letter to the national leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police, Trump wrote that “The 1033 program is an excellent program that enhances community safety. I will rescind the current executive order.” FOP Executive Director Jim Pasco says that his organization is inclined to take the President-elect at his word. Jonathan F. Thompson of the National Sheriffs’ Association, and William J. Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, have both pressed the issue with members of the Trump transition team.

It is worth remembering that the law enforcement groups lobbying for expanded federal subsidies and Pentagon transfers to local police also consistently complain about federal “interference” in their affairs. As one police apologist put it, “It isn’t the equipment itself – it’s the strings that come with the equipment that we don’t like.” To paraphrase a venerable truism: If you take the federal nickel, you get the federal noose, as well.

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
British Man Involved in Brussels Bombing Was Recruited by MI5 Zakaria Boufassil, a 26-year-old resident of Birmingham, England, is suspected of involvement with an organizer of the March 2015 terrorist bombing at the Brussels Airport. Boufassil and 27-year-old Mohammed Ali Ahmed have been convicted of terrorism charges after giving three thousand pounds to Mohamed Abrini shortly after the bombing. Abrini is the enigmatic figure known as the “man in the hat” after being captured on security camera at the airport. He is also a suspect in last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Boufassil and Ahmed gave the money to Abrini during a meeting in Birmingham’s Small Heath Park several weeks after the Brussels attack. Abrini was arrested by British police in April of this year. They apparently were aided by Boufassil, who claims that he was “pumped and dumped” by Britain’s MI5 intelligence service.

“He found himself approached by the security service and he was reluctant at first, then more gradually, he told them what he knew about Abrini and the meeting in the park,” Boufassil’s defense attorney Dorian Lovell-Park said during his trial earlier this year. “He was told by MI5 he wasn’t in any trouble and was told they were interested in signing him up or having him on their books.” By his account, the suspect was plied with gifts from the spy agency, including money, cigarettes, clothing, and a Samsung mobile phone. He also enjoyed an all-expenses-paid vacation trip to Morocco, after which he was arrested.

Citing newly released court documents, the Guardian of London reports that “The prosecution said they could `neither confirm nor deny’ Boufassil’s claim, which is a standard response from MI5.” The trial judge refused to allow testimony regarding that claim.

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
What Can the Trump Administration do about “Sanctuary Cities”?“Sanctuary-Cities”? In a recent meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel urged reconsideration of Trump’s promise to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities such as Chicago, which provide social services to all residents, including illegal immigrants. Those municipalities likewise do not allow their police departments to participate in federal immigration raids or similar enforcement actions.

Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior legal affairs analyst, points out that the Tenth Amendment, and Supreme Court rulings applying it, forbid Washington to “commandeer” state or city governments. Trump “cannot use a stick to bend the governments of sanctuary cities to his will, but he can use a carrot,” Judge Napolitano observes. “He can ask Congress for legislative grants of funds to cities conditioned upon their compliance with certain federal immigration laws.”

Former White House legal adviser David Rivkin and legal scholar Elizabeth Price Foley argue that the “anti-commandeering doctrine” doesn’t apply when the Feds seek information from state or city governments, and recommend that Trump use the financial leverage provided by grants to compel sanctuary city officials to turn over information on suspected illegal immigrants to the Feds.

The problem with that suggestion, writes George Mason University law professor Illya Somin, is that “few if any current federal grants are conditioned on cooperation with deportation efforts. Any such conditions would need to be newly enacted by Congress, would apply only to future grants … and not be so severe as to be `coercive’” in order to withstand judicial scrutiny.

“This is one of a number of ways in which constitutional federalism of a sort long advocated by conservatives might help impede the Trump agenda,” Somin concludes.

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Sanctuary-Cities”?
Trump EPA Pick a Situational Federalist Under the Tenth Amendment, the roles not explicitly delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states respectively, and to the people thereof. For decades, constitutional conservatives have championed the reserved powers of the states as a way of beating back ambitious federal regulators with respect to such issues as environmental policy and gun rights. This reflects the true meaning of federalism – a government in which powers are diffused by being divided among central government agencies, with most of them retained by the states that created the central government.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who was selected by Donald Trump to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is among the most outspoken critics of that agency, and he has filed several lawsuits against it citing the Tenth Amendment to restrict its regulatory ambitions. Pruitt even established a specialized “Federalism Unit” for the purpose of defending his state’s sovereignty against encroachment by Washington – and, presumably, from global entities such as the United Nations that promote global eco-regulation.

Although Pruitt is a passionate federalist where environmental regulations are concerned, his ardor for federalism wanes when he turns to the subject of drug prohibition. In 2014, Pruitt’s office joined a lawsuit filed by Nebraska claiming that Colorado’s Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana consumption, was null and void because it conflicts with the federal Controlled Substances Act and with United Nations treaties dealing with global narcotics enforcement efforts.

That lawsuit was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Liberal commentator Mark Joseph Stein of Slate correctly notes that “Had Pruitt prevailed, he would have seriously diminished states’ rights, removing the 10th Amendment safeguard that prevents the federal government from coercing states into enforcing federal regulations. His anti-marijuana crusade would have crushed state autonomy in a way that no EPA regulation ever could,” contends Stein.

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
The FBI Doesn’t Agree with CIA’s Allegations of Russian Election Interference’t-Agree-with-CIA’s-Allegations-of-Russian-Election-Interference Without providing a particle of evidence to support its claims, the CIA has convinced key legislators, most mainstream news organs, and an eager audience of embittered Hillary Clinton supporters that the recent presidential election was impermissibly tainted by interference from Russian intelligence agencies. The FBI, which traditionally has been at odds with the CIA, apparently finds the Agency’s claims less than compelling.

According to the Daily Caller, “A senior FBI counterintelligence official met with Republican and Democrat members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in order to give the Bureau’s view of a recent CIA report.” Democrats on that Committee were reportedly frustrated when the FBI official “did not concur with the CIA,” dismissing its findings as “fuzzy” and “ambiguous.”

“The different conclusions reached by the two intelligence agencies [are] a reflection of their different institutional styles,” elaborates the Daily Caller. “CIA officials often use past behavior and analysis based on gathered intelligence to advise leaders, whereas the FBI comes from a more legalistic background which relies on hard evidence to make a case.”

The Obama administration has ordered a comprehensive investigation of the CIA’s claims to be made prior to his departure from office on January 20. Congressional Democrats are demanding hearings into the issue as well. While describing the claims of Russian interference as “disturbing,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the Senate Intelligence Committee will investigate the allegations.

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’t-Agree-with-CIA’s-Allegations-of-Russian-Election-Interference
“Brady Bunch” Actress-turned-Pundit Loses Radio Gig for Politically Incorrect Facebook Rant“Brady-Bunch”-Actress-turned-Pundit-Loses-Radio-Gig-for-Politically-Incorrect-Facebook-Rant This winter has been cruel to alumni of the beloved 1970s TV sitcom “The Brady Bunch.” Florence Henderson, who played Carol Brady in that program, passed away at age 84 on November 24. Susan Olson, who played Cindy, the youngest of the three Brady daughters, has now been fired from her job as a Los Angeles talk radio host following what was called a “homophobic rant” against openly gay actor Leon Acord-Whiting.

Following an appearance on “Two Chicks Talkin’ Politics,” a program co-hosted by Olson, Acord-Whiting called for her to be purged from the media, complaining that “It is wildly irresponsible for LA Talk Radio to allow a Trump fanatic to co-host one of their programs, where she can spew her idiotic lies unchecked.”

“As much as I love [Olson’s co-host] Sheena Metal, I think LA Radio needs to give `Cindy Brady’ her walking papers,” the privileged gay celebrity concluded. “I will not listen to or appear on any shows there from this point forward until she’s gone.”

Falling into the familiar trap of passive-aggressive political correctness, Olson decanted a profane rant on her Facebook page.

“Sheena is a much better person than I am,” Olson wrote. “She tells me to take the high road.” Instead, Olson described the actor as a “snake in the grass … [a] lost soul [with] an ankle to bite” and a “nasty little man” who had been superficially friendly on the program before calling for her termination. Olson liberally seasoned her posts with anatomically derogatory epithets. Not enjoying the cultural immunity or job security afforded to people belonging to a specially protected class, Olson was fired – just as Acord-Whiting had demanded.

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Brady-Bunch”-Actress-turned-Pundit-Loses-Radio-Gig-for-Politically-Incorrect-Facebook-Rant
Gender Revolutionaries Destroy Academy Award Categories Kelly Mantle, who participated in celebrity transvestite RuPaul’s reality program “Drag Race,” describes himself as a “gender-fluid” performer. He played a transgender prostitute in the independent film “Confessions of a Womanizer,” the type of conspicuously progressive role often referred to in the industry as “Oscar bait.” Indeed, the role was designed for that specific purpose: The film’s producers filed paper work with the Academy for Mantle to be considered for a Best Supporting Actor award – and they have succeeded in persuading the Academy to allow him to be nominated either as a male or a female, thereby doubling his chances of winning an award.

The Wrap, a publication focusing on the entertainment industry, points out that this wouldn’t have been an issue until quite recently.

“The Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences divided the Acting … list into male and female categories just two years ago,” recalls The Wrap. “Previously, [it] didn’t distinguish potential nominees by gender – all eligible cast members were listed together. But Mantle is the first person to be submitted in both male and female categories – and is eligible to take home hardware in either one.”

In addition to putting more pressure on the Academy to fulfill its duty to the Gender Revolution by giving Mantle an award, his gambit may inspire similar efforts by future Oscar-hungry actors whose ambitions override their scruples.

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Former CIA Analyst: Russia Didn’t Elect Trump, but Trump Shouldn’t Dismiss Concerns’t-Elect-Trump,-but-Trump-Shouldn’t-Dismiss-Concerns Claims that Russia interfered in the presidential election are impossible to validate at this point – but Donald Trump is making a serious mistake by dismissing those concerns, writes former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi.

The Trump transition team has deflected the CIA’s still-unsubstantiated conclusions as the product of “the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction … it is now time to move on.”

Giraldi insists that “The Trump response is frivolous because the vulnerability of the US election process to outside interference is a serious issue involving both private and public information-sharing systems.” Just as importantly, neo-conservatives on Capitol Hill, such as Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are opportunistically “exploiting the allegations to block any possible initiatives by Trump to improve ties with Moscow, which might have serious consequences down the road.”

While there is no substantive evidence that Moscow meddled in the election, the Russian government, like that of every other country, “employs espionage when dealing with others and works on promoting its own interests through the use of its intelligence and other national resources. That should surprise no one,” Giraldi writes. The real scandal here resides not in vague accusations of Russian involvement in the WikiLeaks hack, but rather in the casual and irresponsible way that Hillary Clinton and her confidants discussed sensitive matters through unsecure channels.

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’t-Elect-Trump,-but-Trump-Shouldn’t-Dismiss-Concerns
Liberals Suggest Novel Legal Argument to Void Trump Victory With the punditocracy treating unsubstantiated allegations of Russian interference in the presidential election campaign as unassailable fact, liberal commentator Alex Mohajer suggests that a Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruling from 1995 could be used to invalidate Donald Trump’s victory, irrespective of what happens in the Electoral College on December 19.

“In 1995, the US Supreme Court let stand the ruling of a federal district judge in Pennsylvania that invalidated a state senate election due to fraud, ordering the winner be removed and the subsequent vacancy be filled by the losing candidate,” recalls Mohajer. He contends that this offers “federal legal precedent that high courts may rule the outcome of an election invalid due to fraud or interference.”

Reacting to that essay, international human rights attorney and Trump critic Scott Horton – who believes a Trump presidency would be a disaster – is constrained to disagree.

“I am not at all persuaded by this analysis,” writes Horton.” Intelligence community assessments provide no immediate basis for a judicial determination of fraud. The Justice Department or others with standing would have to make the case, and make it before December 19. That's not going to happen.”

That state of affairs, Horton continued, “points to a gross flaw with our system. In Austria, for instance … far more trivial grounds was invoked by the Austrian Supreme Court to void the presidential election results and require a new election just a few weeks ago. That's the way things should work. But the American system is hopelessly complex and rickety.”

That objection, like a great deal of other commentary about this unprecedented election campaign, contributes to the growing chorus demanding structural change in the constitutional system – such as abolition of the Electoral College.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Dutch Court Convicts Parliamentarian on “Hate Speech” Charge“Hate-Speech”-Charge A Dutch court has convicted Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom, on charges of discrimination and incitement arising from a 2014 speech in which he called for restrictions on Moroccan immigration into the Netherlands. The court ruled that evidence had “legally and convincingly proven” that by referring to Moroccan criminals as “scum,” he had insulted members of that ethnicity as a group.

Judge Hendrik Steenhuis told the media that the court had decided not to impose a sentence on Wilders, concluding that the verdict itself was sufficient punishment.

Wilders, who has described the prosecution as politically motivated, referred to the verdict as “madness” and resolves to appeal it.

“Three [Freedom Party]-hating judges declare that Moroccans are a race and convict me and half of the Netherlands,” wrote Wilders. Insisting that his political faction is the largest and most popular opposition party in the country, Wilders declared that “I will never be silenced.”

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Hate-Speech”-Charge
Corpus Christi Man faces Attempted Murder Charge of Shooting Police in No-Knock Raid Ray Rosas, a 48-year-old resident of Corpus Christi, Texas, was startled when a party of armed strangers materialized on his doorstep on February 19, 2015. He grabbed a rifle and fired 15 shots at the intruders, who turned out to be members of a SWAT team conducting a no-knock raid on his home to arrest his nephew, who was suspected of involvement in a drug operation.

Three of the officers received non-life-threatening injuries. Rosas was arrested and now faces trial for three counts of attempted murder of a peace officer.

Rosas claims, plausibly, that he did not know that the assailants were police officers. In a similar case from December 2013, Somerville, Texas resident Henry Magee was startled awake by a no-knock marijuana raid at dawn, and opened fire, killing a sheriff’s deputy. In early 2015, a grand jury refused to indict Magee, ruling that he acted out of a reasonable fear for his life and that of his pregnant girlfriend, and that the killing was justifiable homicide in self-defense.

In 2014, another very similar episode occurred at the Killeen home of Marvin Louis Guy, whose home was subjected to a no-knock raid on the basis of a spurious anonymous accusation. Guy opened fire and killed one SWAT operator and wounded three others. Guy now faces a capital murder charge, and the judge has imposed a gag order on the case.

Magee, whose self-defense claim was accepted, is white. Rosas is Mexican-American, and Guy is black.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump: “Lock Her Up” was Just for the Campaign“Lock-Her-Up”-was-Just-for-the-Campaign Among the many promises, slogans, and catchphrases that characterized Donald Trump’s successful political insurgency was the refrain, “Lock her up” that punctuated nearly every campaign rally in the waning days of the contest. Trump himself explicitly promised that if elected he would seek the appointment of a special prosecutor to re-open the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illegal diversion of classified communications while she was Secretary of State, going so far as to tell her bluntly in one debate that if he were president she would be in jail.

Since winning the election, Trump has abandoned that pledge, telling the New York Times that he was no longer interested in pursuing the matter because Mrs. Clinton has “suffered greatly” and the investigation is “just not something I feel very strongly about.”

During a December 9 appearance in Grand Rapids, Michigan, President-elect Trump offered a definitive dismissal of the matter after supporters spontaneously began to chant “Lock her up.”

“That plays great before the election,” Mr. Trump said in an aside. “Now we don’t care, right?”

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Lock-Her-Up”-was-Just-for-the-Campaign
How Socialists Celebrate Christmas Having destroyed most of the country’s productive capacity, its import economy, and the purchasing power of its currency, the socialist government of Venezuela has “sent a small army of bureaucrats and soldiers to force more than 200 retail stores in Caracas to hold Christmas sales,” reports the AFP.

After armed government functionaries posted a “Sale” sign in front of his shoe shop, business owner Juan Veira complained, “What good is it to sell shoes if I’m giving away my product?”

In every command economy, government intervention destroys the price system and lays waste to the standard of living – and then accuses the productive citizenry of sabotaging society through greed. Faithful to its totalitarian pedigree, the government of Nicolas Maduro has accused store owners of jacking up prices by 300 to 500 percent – a development made inevitable by the government’s inflationary money creation.

“Our worker-president has ordered us to guarantee fair prices for the people, and we are complying,” announced William Contreras, head of the National Superintendecy for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights. “These economic hit men can’t take away our merry Christmas,” Contreras continued, using the celebration of a divine event in which Marxists do not believe as an excuse to impose the economic superstition that supposedly justifies their rule.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Family of Mentally Ill Inmate Fatally Beaten Receives Multi-Million Dollar Settlement Tax victims living in Santa Clara County, California will underwrite a $3.6 million settlement with the family of Michael Tyree, who was fatally beaten last yearwhile detained in the county jail. Tyree, who suffered from severe mental illness, had been arrested for violating probation for a minor drug offense. District Judge Steven Manley had ordered that Tyree be taken to a treatment center, but the victim was diverted to the jail to await a vacancy, on the assumption that he would be safer behind bars than on the streets.

Three correctional officers in their late 20s – Jereh Lubrin, Matthew Farris, and Rafael Rodriguez – were arrested a week after the fatal beating and charged with murder. They are also accused of beating another mentally ill inmate, Juan Villa, before the attack on Tyree. A detainee whose name was withheld out of fear of retaliation told the San Jose Mercury-News that guards “kind of pick on the mentally ill. They’re not someone who is going to fight back or who has family that is going to press the issue.” Juan Perez, an inmate who was locked up directly across the hall from Tyree, saw the three guards enter the cell and recounted how Tyree begged for mercy and screamed in agony.

The gang beating inflicted on Tyree caused his spleen to explode, inducing fatal internal bleeding. His body was covered with contusions from his head down to his ankles, and he was so severely disfigured that his family arranged a closed-casket funeral. Attorneys for the accused murderers initially claimed that Tyree had killed himself by jumping from his bunk bed.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Colombian President, Nobel Laureate: “Rethink” the Global War on Drugs,-Nobel-Laureate:-“Rethink”-the-Global-War-on-Drugs Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the decades-old civil war in his country, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos urged world leaders to reconsider the war on drugs.

“The manner in which this war against drugs is being waged is equally or perhaps even more harmful than all the wars the world is fighting today, combined,” President Santos said during his address in Stockholm. “I have served as a leader in times of war … and I have served as a leader in times of making peace, [and] it is much harder to make peace than to wage war.”

The largest rebel group in the conflict, the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym FARC, has used narcotics proceeds to fund its war, which began in 1964. The economics of prohibition dictate that efforts to suppress drug traffic made it more profitable to those who are willing and able to employ violence – and few organizations have been more violent than the FARC.

“We have moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community,” insisted President Santos. “It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States.”

Santos has pledged to donate the Nobel Prize money – roughly $925,000 – to a fund intended to help victims of his country’s civil war.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Nobel-Laureate:-“Rethink”-the-Global-War-on-Drugs
FBI’s Effort to Frame Assange Rebuffed by Icelandic Government, Minister Claims’s-Effort-to-Frame-Assange-Rebuffed-by-Icelandic-Government,-Minister-Claims An effort by the FBI to frame WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange failed after the government of Iceland refused to play along, according to Ogmundur Jonasson, who was the country’s interior minister at the time.

In June 2011, the Obama administration suggested to Icelandic officials that hackers were targeting that government’s software systems, and offered to assist them. A few weeks later, Jonasson recalls, the administration “sent a planeload of FBI agents to Iceland seeking our cooperation in which I understood as an operation set up to frame Julian Assange and WikiLeaks,” he continues. “Since they had not been authorized by the Icelandic authorities to carry out police work in Iceland, and since a crackdown on WikiLeaks was not on my agenda … I ordered that all cooperation with them be promptly terminated and I also made it clear that they should cease all activities in Iceland immediately.”

If required to choose between WikiLeaks on the one hand, or either the FBI or CIA on the other, “I would have no difficulty in choosing,” Jonasson concludes. “I would be on the side of WikiLeaks.”

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Effort-to-Frame-Assange-Rebuffed-by-Icelandic-Government,-Minister-Claims
Did the DHS Try to Hack Georgia’s Election?’s-Election? Confident but unsubstantiated assertions by the establishment media notwithstanding, there is no credible evidence that the Russian government attempted to intervene in the recent presidential election. However, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, has reason to suspect that the US Department of Homeland Security attempted to breach his office’s firewall. State-level secretaries of state are generally responsible for overseeing elections. The apparent attempted breach occurred a week after the November 8 election.

“At no time has my office agreed to or permitted DHS to conduct penetration testing or security scans of our network,” Kemp wrote in an official letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “Moreover, your department has not contracted my office since the unsuccessful incident to alert us of any security event that would require testing or scanning of our network. This is especially odd and concerning since I serve on the Election Cyber Security Working Group that your office created.”

Significantly, prior to the election Georgia was one of two states that refused so-called “cyber-hygiene support and penetration testing” by DHS. At the time, Kemp complained that federal officials “now think our whole system is on the verge of disaster because some Russian’s going to tap into the voting system.”

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Election?
Trump Not Planning to Scrap NAFTA Although Donald Trump campaigned against the so-called North American Free Trade Agreement, which created a managed trade system that that favored US companies relocating south of the border, there are indications that the new Trump Administration will not undo this much-criticized pact. According to “Anthony Scaramucci, a senior advisor on the Trump transition team, told a group of business leaders convened at a bipartisan meeting by the group No Labels that President-elect Donald Trump is a free-trader who is looking to make trade deals more fair, not scrap them.”

“I don’t think we’re looking to rip up NAFTA as much as we are looking to right-size it and make it fairer,” he concludes.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Will the Trump Administration Formally Recognize Taiwan’s Independence?’s-Independence? Since 1979, the US government has officially treated the Republic of China on Taiwan as a de facto province of the Communist-ruled mainland, a posture referred to as the “One-China Policy.” When he took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s President Tsai, Donald Trump was criticized by many pundits for committing a radical breach of globalist diplomacy. Ms. Tsai favors independence from Communist China.

The Obama administration emphatically affirmed Washington’s formal support for the One-China Policy, which was engineered by Henry Kissinger – who, as it happens, had a second meeting with President-elect Trump shortly after news of the call from Taipei was made public.

Mainland Communist China maintains that the anti-Communist Chinese who fled to Taiwan under the leadership of Chang Kai-shek are subject to Beijing’s rule. Chiang retreated to the island of Taiwan after Western aid promised to his Free Chinese forces failed to arrive. Pro-independence sentiment is rising on the island, where many have been encouraged by the prospect that Trump may repudiate the One-China stance and formally recognize Taiwan as an independent country.

Analyst Joel Skousen notes a clear double standard behind criticism of Trump for taking President Tsai’s phone call, pointing out that “The media never protested about offending China when Obama met with the Dalai Lama in the White House in 2010.” During the campaign, Trump criticized Beijing for currency manipulation, excessive taxation of US imports, and for creating “a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea.”

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Independence?
Congressional Republican Leadership Punts on IRS Abuses IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has “stonewalled and obstructed justice” in the investigation of biased actions by the IRS against conservative groups, said Rep. Jim Jordan as he pushed for passing of House Resolution 828 calling for Impeachment of the Commissioner.

“Under his watch, with subpoenas and preservation orders in place, John Koskinen not only allowed 422 back-up tapes containing as many as 24,000 Lois Lerner emails to be destroyed – he then failed to tell Congress about it in a timely manner,” Jordan points out. “John Koskinen has been able to get away with stonewalling Congress, obstructing justice, and breaching the public trust. It’s time that Congress held him accountable for his actions.”

Congressional Democrats tried to kill the motion but their motion failed 180-to-230. But Republicans did just that: “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R.-Va.) offered a motion to table to his committee, which passed 342-to-72.”

With only 10 business days left on the session’s calendar this effectively kills the bill and defeats the effort to get justice from the IRS.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Showdown in Aleppo The UN Security Council passed a binding resolution demanding a ceasefire in Aleppo just as the Syrian government is in the final stages of taking control over the rebel controlled area which is totally surrounded. The Russians and Chinese vetoed it for good reason, as reports:

“Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said the resolution was an attempt to impede the fight against terrorism. “

According to Ja’afari, “From the very first days of the terrorist war imposed on my country, Syria, the United States, France and Britain indeed deserve the name of the three musketeers defending terrorism.”

The ambassador added that the Syrian government forces released some 100,000 civilians held prisoner by militants.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Erdogan’s Duplicity’s-Duplicity Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to justify further military incursions into Syria by insisting on the necessity of ending the rule of President Bashar Assad, whom he accused of terrorism and causing the deaths of thousands.

“We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” Erdogan insisted, maintaining that Turkey has no territorial claims in Syria, but instead wants to hand over power to the Syrian population, adding that Ankara is seeking to restore “justice.”

Some of Erdogan’s critics believe that his true purpose is to target Kurdish resistance fighters---whom Ankara has been fighting for years. RT News points out that “many observers have said that Ankara aims to suppress Kurdish forces in Syria and prevent them from connecting three de facto autonomous Kurdish areas into one enclave south of the Turkish border.”

During the month of October, the Turkish air force killed between 160 and 200 fighters of the Kurdish YPG militia group in 26 airstrikes conducted in just one night. The Turkish military campaign in Syria has also led to increasingly strained relations with Assad’s government.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Duplicity
War on Drugs Continues to Fail In 2015, opioid-related deaths surpassed 30,000 for the first time in recent history, a CDC report revealed on December 8. That represents an increase of nearly 5,000 deaths over the toll recorded in 2014. Fatalities related to synthetic opiates such as fentanyl rose nearly 75 percent. Fatal heroin overdoses also increased by more than 2,000 – but abuse of prescription opioids appears to be driving the trend.

In 2007, gun-related homicides outnumbered heroin deaths 5-to-1. Last year, more people died from heroin than from gunshots for the first time on record.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
How Carrier Plans to Use the Tax Break At least part of the seven million dollars in tax credits promised to United Technologies by the State of Indiana as an inducement to keep manufacturing jobs in that state will be used to automate production – thereby eventually eliminating those positions altogether.

“We’re going to … automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive,” United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told CNBC. “Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower-cost labor? No,” he continued. “But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Media Campaign to Withdraw LDS Church’s Tax Exemption’s-Tax-Exemption- Fred Karger, a California Republican activist who has long been a critic of the political role played by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – more commonly called the Mormon Church – has organized a media campaign to demand revoking that church’s tax-exempt status. Karger’s crusade began in 2008, when the Mormon Church, along with leaders from several other denominations, supported Proposition 8, which was intended to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. The LDS leadership does not endorse or oppose candidates for office, but does issue public guidance on policy matters that it regards as moral issues.

Karger, a gay rights activist, says that he seeks to build “the biggest, loudest and most comprehensive” legal campaign to repeal the Mormon Church’s tax exemption, and that he has created a coalition of attorneys, researchers, and like-minded activists. He recently visited Salt Lake City to collect on-camera interviews with Mormons and ex-Mormons “aggrieved by the Utah-based faith’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender policies,” reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

The 66-year-old Karger, who was the first openly gay candidate to seek the Republican presidential nomination, claims that the Mormon Church’s teachings on sexual morality are causing “damage and suffering” to those who reject them.

Tax law scholar Sam Brunson, who teaches at Loyola University, insists that there is no legal basis for the demand that the Mormon Church lose its tax exemption.

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Tax-Exemption-
The Trump Phenomenon: Republicans Reject the Free Market "Our men and women in uniform represent the absolute best of us,” proclaimed President-elect Trump during a recent address in Fayetteville, North Carolina. “We must follow their example working in unison toward a shared goal across every social, racial and economic line. They understand that to accomplish the mission we must all be pulling in the same direction. We have to get together."

The bulk of that speech was devoted to Trump’s vision of economic nationalism, in which the free market is subordinated to what the federal government will define as the country’s economic national interest. Although the Republican Party has never been a stranger to protectionism, Donald Trump will be the first Republican president to embrace that perspective without at least paying rhetorical tribute to the free market. A case could be made that Trump’s economic views are more akin to those of Bernie Sanders than those of Ronald Reagan – and the mainstream GOP is following his lead.

Although the 2016 Republican platform invokes the market dozens of times, and contains a broadside condemning “cronyism” and other distortions of the free market, a recent poll conducted by YouGov shows that self-identified Republicans and conservatives are more likely than Democrats to agree with Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s recent statement that “the free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing.”

Intriguingly, the demographic breakdown within those results shows that while 71 percent of retirement-age respondents agreed with Pence, that view was held by only a minority of those under the age of thirty. This suggests that Trump’s authoritarian management of the economy may alienate the younger voters the party needs to remain viable.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Chooses General for Homeland Security Chief When asked during the campaign about how he would carry out the mass deportation of illegal immigrants, Donald Trump invoked the Eisenhower-era program called “Operation Wetback,” in which Border Patrol agents fanned out through the Southwest, rounding up suspects and deporting them on buses, trains, and ships. Following the well-publicized arrest and forcible expulsion of tens of thousands of suspected illegal immigrants – a population that included more than a few US citizens who had been caught in the dragnet – more than one million others fled the country over the course of roughly one year.

The INS carried out this program under the command of General Joseph Swing, Eisenhower’s West Point classmate and a combat veteran of the 101st Airborne, who organized it as a military operation. Many of the people targeted for deportation had initially come to the U.S. as authorized seasonal agricultural workers through the bracero program, which began in the 1940s as a way to address the wartime labor shortage. The Mexican government, which at the time was dealing with its own labor shortage, cooperated in the repatriation of its citizens, which simplified things for Washington.

Circumstances are markedly different now, beginning with the fact that Trump’s deportation proposals would target a vastly larger population, and his administration will not be able to rely on help from the Mexican government. His selection of retired Marine General John Kelly to head the Homeland Security Department suggests that the President-elect is serious about pursuing an updated version of Eisenhower’s approach to immigration enforcement. Until last year, Kelly was head of the US Southern Command, an assignment in which he worked closely with the agency he has now been chosen to lead.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Utah Government to Extract Sales Tax on Amazon Purchases Cyber-retail giant Amazon has entered into an agreement with the Utah state government to act as a tax collector on purchases made by state residents. As of January 1, the company will extract the 4.7 percent plunder surcharge on purchases required by the state tax-consuming class. According to Utah State Tax Commission spokesman Charlie Roberts, Amazon now has similar agreements with nearly half of the states in the union. The Utah government complains that by making purchases through Amazon, state residents had avoided being shaken down for an estimated $200 million a year.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Slaps Back at Carrier Union Leader Displaying his long-established inability to countenance criticism, President-elect Trump has inaugurated a feud with Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 in Indianapolis, who has accused Trump of lying about the deal recently struck between the government of Indiana and the Carrier manufacturing company. Trump has taken credit for that deal, which will save about 800 jobs.

“He didn’t tell the truth” about the deal, Jones told CNN. “He inflated the numbers, and I called him out on it.” While grateful that hundreds of union workers will keep their jobs, and giving Trump credit for getting involved, Jones said that Trump’s self-serving exaggeration had led to disappointment on the part of many who had expected that they would remain employed.

Replying by way of his Twitter account, Trump sneered that Jones “has done a terrible job representing workers, No wonder companies flee [the] country!”

“If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana,” he continued. “Spend more time working – less time talking. Reduce dues.”

Jones reports that he has received personal threats after criticizing Trump, but emphasizes that “I’ve got a little … thicker skin maybe than I did many years ago.” The same obviously cannot be said of the President-elect.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump’s Homeland Security Chief Will Escalate Drug War’s-Homeland-Security-Chief-Will-Escalate-Drug-War Donald Trump’s selection of retired Marine General John Kelly, former head of the US Southern Command, to head the Department of Homeland Security suggests that his administration will escalate the domestic war on drugs. As SOUTHCOM chief, Kelly had been in charge of military counter-narcotics operations in Latin America, and just prior to retirement he had condemned what he called the “hypocrisy” of waging war on drugs abroad even as states were legalizing the use of marijuana.

Kelly told the Military Times that Latin American governments being pressured to “do more to stop the flow of drugs” were correct to say, “Wait a minute. As we look north, the real problem is the demand. So why don’t you do more to stop the demand for drugs…. Why would we do more when you seem to be legalizing this stuff?”

While Kelly did concede that he is receptive to the idea that marijuana has a medicinal use, he appears to support continued criminalization of recreational use. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports decriminalization, describes the retired general as a “drug war zealot.”

“This is looking really bad,” Nadelmann declared, pointing out that Trump’s cabinet selections have included arch-prohibitionists Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and Representative Tom Rice as secretary of Health and Human Services. Now he has chosen “yet another old-style drug war character for Homeland Security.”

“It looks like Donald Trump is revving up to re-launch the failed drug war,” Nadelmann concludes.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Homeland-Security-Chief-Will-Escalate-Drug-War
Convicted Pennsylvania Congressman Seeks Leniency Former Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania is seeking a modification of his sentence of 17 to 22 years in prison following conviction on multiple felonies involving racketeering and bribery.

“While it is true that Chaka Fattah now stands before this court convicted of serious crimes, he is also a man that has dedicated his entire life to the service of others,” argues attorney Mark Lee in a motion filed before US District Judge Harvey Bartle III. Lee claims that the 60-year-old former Representative has worked to promote education and curb gang violence among youth in Philadelphia and urges a reduction in the sentence to a term of 11-14 years. He also insists that Fattah and his family “have already suffered tremendously and will continue to suffer” because of a trial that “put their lives on public display,” and that he will lose his federal pension.

Prior to his election to Congress in 1995, Fattah had been a pillar of Philadelphia’s Democratic establishment. His legal troubles grew out of a failed 2007 mayoral race, which left him with significant debts he sought to repay through illegal loans, diversion of federal grants and charitable donations, and the use of earmarks to sluice taxpayer money into a nonexistent nonprofit organization.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Conscientious Peace Officer Fired for Exposing “Stop-and-Frisk” Abuses“Stop-and-Frisk”-Abuses Former Miami Gardens Police Officer Jose Rosado has filed a lawsuit against the department and the city government asserting that he was fired in retaliation for being a whistleblower. For a five-year period between 2008 and 2013, the Miami Gardens Police Department, which supposedly serves a mostly black city of 110,000 people, conducted an indiscriminate stop-and-frisk program involving nearly 100,000 investigative detentions of more than 65,000 residents --- including the elderly and at least one five-year-old child.

A man named Earl Sampson was targeted for extraordinary abuse: He was detained 419 times and arrested 62 times for trespassing-related offenses, most of which supposedly occurred at the convenience store where he worked. Former Chief Matthew Boyd resigned in December 2013 after Sampson filed a civil rights lawsuit naming him and more than 75 of his subordinates.

Rosado was among the named defendants in Sampson’s lawsuit, but he eventually provided a sworn affidavit confirming his allegations. The former officer reports that his supervisors, including Maj. Anthony Chapman, directed him to “target black males between the ages of 15 and 30 and to conduct more field contacts with all such individuals regardless of probable cause.” Upset with the patently unconstitutional policy, Rosado expressed concerns to municipal officials. He was terminated in 2015.

“He was a former officer, and he decided to blow the whistle and received the short end of the stick and was relieved of his duty,” recalls attorney Philip Ortiz.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Stop-and-Frisk”-Abuses
Michigan Traffic Stop Leads to Thanksgiving Tragedy Pitcarin, Michigan residents David Lee Bianco, his fiancé, Kaylie Meininger, and the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Annika, were killed on Thanksgiving Day when their vehicle was struck by one driven by Demetrius Coleman, who was fleeing from a traffic stop.

Coleman was pulled over by East McKeesport Police Officer Scott Lowden following a parking violation. He told the officer that he didn’t have a valid license. After Lowden discovered a warrant for a probation violation, he called for backup and was joined by two officers from North Versailles. As they approached Coleman’s car, he sped off, inaugurating a chase that ended when Coleman’s vehicle t-boned Bianco’s car. Three others were injured when Bianco’s car collided with a van.

While Bianco’s relatives are understandably furious over Coleman’s actions, the long-established pursuit policy of the East McKeesport PD suggests that the officers who gave pursuit own at least a portion of the blame. Coleman was arrested on non-violent drug charges in 2015, served six months in jail, and was given three months of probation. Since 2004, the department’s policy manual has restricted high-speed pursuits only in “those situations where an expeditious response to a complaint may well prevent or intervene in a life-threatening situation.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the department “is reviewing surveillance video to determine whether officers were right” in conducting a high-risk pursuit of a non-violent offender who had been stopped for a parking violation.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
British Government Announces “Strategic Partnership” with Arab Coalition“Strategic-Partnership”-with-Arab-Coalition Great Britain and six Arab states announced a “strategic partnership” against Iran at the December 7 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Bahrain. The communique announced that the signatories would “oppose and will work together to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region,” and that they had “decided on a set of common principles” regarding military, diplomatic, and economic priorities in the Gulf. This includes promises of reconstruction aid to Yemen following the end of the destructive Saudi-led bombing campaign, which is intended to reinstate the country’s ousted Sunni dictator.

Of particular importance was a promise that the UK government would cooperate in an effort to “develop GCC defense capability … including for humanitarian and peace support operations.” Defying domestic criticism for supporting authoritarian Sunni governments in the region, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to expand military and security relationships with GCC member states.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Strategic-Partnership”-with-Arab-Coalition
Potential Trump Secretary of State Pick: US Should Ally with Russia against China, Radical Islam,-Radical-Islam Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California, believed to be on Donald Trump’s short list of potential candidates for Secretary of State, told Yahoo News that Washington should seek more cordial relations with Moscow in the interest of restraining China and doing battle with “radical Islam.”

Expanded cooperation with Russia “in order to defeat radical Islam and to pull China back a bit” would be “a good thing,” Rohrabacher declared. “Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. There’s a bunch of people here who want to treat it like it’s still the Soviet Union and get in the Cold War. That’s not what Donald Trump wants, it’s not good for America, and it’s better to cooperate with them to actually take on real enemies.”

During the 1990s, Rohrabacher met with – and actually arm-wrestled – Vladimir Putin when the future Russian President visited Washington, D.C. At the time, Putin was a deputy mayor of St. Petersburg.

In an exchange that suggests an interesting view of diplomacy, Rohrbacher parried questions about human rights abuses posed by Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Brianna Golodryga, dismissing them as “baloney” and asking, “where do you come from?” When Golodryga replied that she had come to the United States as a political refugee from the former Soviet republic of Moldova, Rohrabacher snapped, “Then the audience knows you’re biased,” ignoring the possibility that the correspondent might be more familiar than he is with conditions in her former homeland.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Radical-Islam
“Pizzagate” Fad Expands to Texas, Brooklyn“Pizzagate”-Fad-Expands-to-Texas,-Brooklyn Cobbled together from a few ambiguous lines culled from John Podesta’s hacked emails, and padded with an ample portion of urban legend, the so-called “Pizzagate” social media story inspired one near-tragedy in Washington, D.C. and a great deal of opportunistic disapproval from the self-designated mainstream media.

Last Sunday, a rifle-toting man from North Carolina strode into the Comet pizza restaurant and reportedly fired a single shot in what he described as an effort to investigate rumors that the business was ground zero of an international child sex slavery ring operated by Podesta and Hillary Clinton. After being arrested, the suspect later admitted that his “intel wasn’t one hundred percent.”

Untethered from any objective facts, the “Pizzagate” story achieved weightlessness in social media, where it was endlessly recycled by highly suggestible people eager to believe the worst about Clinton and her associates – and were unsatisfied with the abundant solid evidence of more pedestrian criminal misconduct on their part. The meme appears to have proliferated with the help of “bot” programs, a number of which operate out of the Czech Republic, Cyprus, and Vietnam, according to Professor Jonathan Albright, a media analyst at North Carolina’s Elon University.

The frenzied speculation has not been limited to one Washington pizzeria. East Side Pies in Austin, Texas has been targeted for online and telephone harassment following published speculation that it has ties to the Illuminati and the occult, and an employee of Roberta’s, a Brooklyn pizza restaurant, reportedly received a death threat after a YouTube video publicized accusations that the business was part of a satanic underground.

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Pizzagate”-Fad-Expands-to-Texas,-Brooklyn
Illinois Government Upholds Denial of Property Rights A three-member panel within the body calling itself the Illinois Human Rights Commission has upheld a ruling imposing a punitive fine on TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast, whose Christian owner declined to host a so-called gay wedding on their property. The panel refused even to hear the appeal filed by Jim Walder and his wife, who have indicated that they will file an appeal to the full commission.

“Citizens should only decide not to obey a law after much thought and only in extreme circumstances,” Walder insists. “In our opinion, forcing a small business with one employee to host a gay marriage which violates the owners’ sincerely held biblical belief that marriage is between one man and one woman is an extreme circumstance, especially when marriage has been understood for thousands of years to be a union between one man and one woman.”

As is true in all cases of this kind, the Christian business owner is being punished despite the fact that he did not break an existing law.

Walder turned down that request in 2011, four years prior to the US Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling, which purported to redefine the ancient institution. At the time, President Barack Obama and future Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton still publicly asserted their belief in the exclusive, conventional definition of marriage. Walder’s expression of the same opinion, and his willingness to forego the opportunity to profit from violating his convictions, was treated as a civil offense, even though the same state government that is now punishing him for discrimination did not legally recognize same-sex marriages at the time.

“We will never host same-sex civil unions,” insisted Walder. “We will never host same-sex weddings, even if they become legal in Illinois.”

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
CIA Psychologist Promotes Memoir, Return to Torture,-Return-to-Torture At the Nuremberg Tribunal following World War II, German physicians who had participated in the torture and abuse of prisoners were prosecuted and sentenced for war crimes.

In 21st Century America, physicians who collaborated in the torture of terrorism suspects go on book tours, and offer policy advice.

James Mitchell, a CIA contract psychologist who helped design and carry out the agency’s torture program under George W. Bush, made a recent appearance at the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative think tank, to promote his new book Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America. During the Bush administration, Mitchell and his colleague, John Jessen, were paid $81 million to design a program to break the resistance of detainees. Many of the methods they employed were identical to those used by the Nazis and their Imperial Japanese allies to interrogate Allied POWs. The euphemism used to describe such procedures – “enhanced interrogation” – is a direct English translation of the German expression “Verscharfte Vernehmung,” which was employed in the Gestapo’s official interrogation manual.

Rather than serving time in prison for violations of federal law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and international conventions against torture, Mitchell is agitating for incoming President Donald Trump to make good on his repeated promise to resume “waterboarding and worse” methods of what Mitchell calls “legal coercion” of detainees.

Mitchell and Jessen are facing a civil suit filed by two of their victims and the family of a third, Gul Rahman, who was fatally tortured by the CIA in the notorious Afghan dungeon known as the “Salt Pit.”

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Return-to-Torture
Donald Trump’s Ambivalent Foreign Policy’s-Ambivalent-Foreign-Policy President-elect Donald Trump used a post-election rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina to address elements of what has been called a “non-interventionist foreign policy” – but that label doesn’t appear to be a comfortable fit.

While he has repeatedly and explicitly repudiated the practice of “regime change” that characterized the Bush and Obama administrations, Mr. Trump appears to embrace a more active role for the US military in fighting terrorist groups overseas.

“We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” Trump told a large audience in an event held near Ft. Bragg. “Instead, our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS, and we will.”

Global affairs analyst Jason Ditz notes that “while a US military policy focused on fighting terror does seem like it reduces a lot of superfluous deployments, any hope that this might mean a massive reduction in US deployments abroad may be premature, as ISIS alone is in dozens of countries, with terror groups like al-Qaeda adding to that number and leaving a large chunk of the planet which could still be a warzone in a terror-focused US policy.”

While pledging to divert money that would be used on regime-change and nation-building to domestic purposes, Trump has also insisted that he would pursue additional military spending “as an act of prevention.”

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Ambivalent-Foreign-Policy
Boise Police Officer, Wife Face Charges for Embezzling from FOP,-Wife-Face-Charges-for-Embezzling-from-FOP The median annual household income in Boise, Idaho is roughly $49,000. Mark Furniss, 46, was making almost $20,000 a year in excess of that figure when he resigned from his job as a Boise Police Officer on October 20, the same day he and his wife Sara filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. His wife Sara was employed as a “safe schools assistant” in the recently created West Ada School District.

Between them, Mark and Sara Furniss easily clearly $100,000 a year in salary and benefits, which is more than enough for their family of four to enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle in Boise. Yet Mark and Sara allegedly used their positions as president and office manager, respectively, with Treasure Valley Lodge #11 of the Fraternal Order of Police to embezzle $73,000 over a five-year period. The couple has been arrested and charged with grand theft. The FOP is listed among the “creditors” in the couple’s joint bankruptcy application.

Their financial disclosure lists a total of $572,992 in assets, including a Meridian home valued at $230,000. Their estimated liabilities are $384,095, which includes “more than a dozen credit cards and five charge accounts,” observes the Idaho Statesman. Their monthly income was listed at $869, their claimed monthly expenses were $5,742, and at the time of their filing the total value of the family’s checking accounts was $864.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Wife-Face-Charges-for-Embezzling-from-FOP
Orange County Deputies’ Records Describe Jail Snitch Network’-Records-Describe-Jail-Snitch-Network A 242-page collection of records kept by detention deputies from the Orange County, California Sheriff’s Office describes an extensive network of jailhouse informants, and details the corrupt methods used to recruit and reward inmates who testify against each other – or to deceive them into confessions of dubious reliability.

The records, referred to as a “Special Handling Log,” show that “officers committed perjury in at least two death penalty cases, hid evidence in murder trials and routinely conducted unconstitutional operations with jail informants to help prosecutors convict unwitting defendants,” summarizes the OC Weekly.

In 2014, Deputy William Grover testified that “I don’t work with informants; I rarely work with informants. And to be honest with you, I try and avoid jailhouse informants.” His name is prominently listed in the newly disclosed documents as someone who was deeply involved in their recruitment. The same is true of Deputies Ben Garcia and Seth Tunstall, who have been found by a judge to have “either intentionally lied or willfully withheld information” during the murder trial of Scott Dekraai.

The most significant disclosure may be an entry noting a secret meeting between Deputy Grove and informant Fernando Perez two days before Perez supposedly heard a confession from Dekraai. Deputy Tunstall, who has been vague and self-contradictory in describing his knowledge of jailhouse informants, is depicted by one of his colleagues as tutoring fellow deputies as to “what it takes to cultivate a [snitch] on the street and walk us through the paperwork and such.”

Some inmates were routinely given material inducements and promises of leniency in order to testify against others, and deputies would run elaborate scams in which informants would be subjected to fake punishments in order to build their credibility with targeted detainees.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals had issued several discovery orders requiring the sheriff’s office and DA to turn over the records.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’-Records-Describe-Jail-Snitch-Network
The Seen vs. the Unseen in the Carrier Deal Frederic Bastiat, the 19th century French parliamentarian and defender of free markets, explained that economic decisions lead to a number of effects – some of them seen, others unseen. A bad economist or decision-maker “pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come,” he pointed out, while a person of sounder judgment “pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.”

The deal announced by President-elect Donald Trump to keep some of the Carrier company’s manufacturing jobs in Indiana, rather than relocating production to Mexico, must be evaluated on the basis of Bastiat’s insight regarding its unseen costs, writes Tom Mullen in an essay published by the Foundation for Economic Education.

“What is not seen is all the consequences of Carrier not moving those jobs to Mexico, where they could produce their products at a lower cost,” Mullen observes. “Carrier was moving the jobs to Mexico because it could produce the same air conditioner there at a lower cost, which it could then pass on to its customers. Keeping the jobs in Indiana raises the cost of production above what it would be with the move. That forces Carrier to raise its prices.”

This in turn means that consumers who purchase Carrier air conditioners, perhaps out of nationalist sentiment, have less disposable income to spend on other products, the creation of which would provide jobs for other Americans.

“When the whole ledger is balanced, the jobs lost in the US at least equals those … retained [by the Carrier deal] and likely far exceeds them,” Mullen concludes.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Outraged Liberals Suddenly Discover Federal Tyranny The basic question in politics, explained founding Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin, is “Who does what to whom.” The “what” in that equation refers to what Lenin called the exercise of “power without limit, resting directly on force.” In the constitutional system designed by America’s Founders, government power was supposed to be strictly limited by law and dispersed through a federated system of governments, with the central government carrying out a small number of modest functions as the agent of the state governments that created it.

By the mid-20th century, however, what was once a federated constitutional republic had become a thoroughly centralized national government operated on the basis of mass democracy. The powers exercised by Washington – chiefly through the executive branch – were limited only by the imagination of the rulers, and the gullibility of the ruled. Efforts at the state level to block federal excesses, or to restore the usurped power of state governments, have been denounced by the left as seditious. Following the election of Barack Obama, some leftist commentators insisted that such efforts were both racist and potentially treasonous.

That has changed with the election of Donald Trump.

Sensing a shift in the who/whom relationship, leftists who extolled the supposed virtues of unlimited federal power in the hands of Obama are suddenly speaking the language of states’ rights, nullification, and even tax rebellion. Writing in Time magazine, commentator Mike Weston, author of a new book entitled The Runner-Up Presidency, urges Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton to sign a pledge declaring “We won’t pay taxes to the federal government.”

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Donald Trump: Trade is Warfare by Other Means All free economic exchanges are non-zero-sum propositions: A transaction will not occur unless both sides benefit. Warfare operates on precisely the opposite principle: One side will benefit entirely at the expense of the other.

President-elect Donald Trump, who made his fortune in the business world, should understand that principle. His approach to trade, however, is that of a war-maker, rather than an entrepreneur. Addressing an audience in North Carolina on December.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump insisted that his administration would “defeat the enemy on jobs.”“defeat-the-enemy-on-jobs.” “And we have to look at it almost as a war, because that’s what happened to us,” he elaborated. “That’s what’s happened to our workers.” Significantly, Trump has made it clear that this “war” would target enemies both foreign and domestic, promising that “there will be consequences, big consequences” for any company that relocates production overseas and seeks to sell its products to willing US consumers.

Trade wars frequently lead to undisguised military conflicts. Otto T. Mallery, a 19thcentury British free market economist, warned that “if soldiers are not to cross international boundaries, goods must do so. Unless the shackles can be dropped from trade, bombs will be dropped from the sky.” Mallery’s contemporary, Henry George, wrote that “trade extinguishes war,” and that through protectionist measures the government does to us “in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.”

Millions of Americans voted for Trump in the hope that he would bring relief from years of unremitting war – but his trade policy may intensify existing conflicts, and instigate new ones.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“defeat-the-enemy-on-jobs.”
Prosecutorial Misconduct Alleged in Orem, Utah Murder Conviction,-Utah-Murder-Conviction After he was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife four years ago, 33-year-old Orem resident Conrad Truman maintained his innocence and told the judge that “I’m still here and I’ll be fighting this thing until I die, if I must.”

“I did not kill my wife,” Truman emphatically stated. “I can’t say sorry for something I did not do.”

Truman maintains that his wife was the victim of a suicide.

Truman’s conviction has now been overturned after his defense attorney was able to demonstrate that jurors used incorrect home measurements in determining that he was the one who held the gun when his wife was killed in September 2012. Defense attorneys have filed a motion seeking dismissal of charges against Truman for what they describe as “outrageous government misconduct” in investigating and prosecuting the case.

Attorneys Ann Marie Taliaferro and Mark Moffat contend that prosecutors were aware of severe defects in the case – such as the fact that the police officer who measured the home recorded inches as feet – and that they knew that Truman had no financial motive to murder his wife, yet presented that claim to the jury anyway. The prosecution also claimed that gunshot residue evidence, which was exculpatory in this case, was not reliable, despite using the same testing methods in many other successful prosecutions.

“This `outrageous government misconduct’ has so pervaded and tainted every phase of this prosecution, every piece of material evidence, every witness, and every theory of prosecution, that the misconduct has irreparably corrupted these proceedings to the prejudice of Truman,” declares the motion.

Trial Judge Samuel McVey of Utah’s 4th Judicial District is deciding whether to convene a second trial.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Utah-Murder-Conviction
The Military-Industrial-Immigration Control Complex Major corporate contractors for the Homeland Security Department expect to thrive under the incoming Trump administration, assuming that the President-elect makes good on his promise to expand immigration enforcement and deportation of illegal immigrants.

The Intercept reports that “Leidos, Infosys and CACI International, among the largest defense contractors in the US, have told investors in recent days that they are poised to take advantage of Trump’s immigration policies.”

In remarks at an investor conference in Palm Beach, Florida, CACI chief financial officer Tom Mutryn was asked by Rob Spingarn, an analyst for Credit Suisse, if the contractor would have an “opportunity to play a role” in the new administration.”

“Yes, I think absolutely, yes,” Mutryn replied, explaining that CACI can provide “a better system to kind of track people in the United States, an IT system where there’s a more robust visibility into people who are living in the United States.”

At a separate investors conference held that same day in Boca Raton, Unisys chief financial officer Inder Singh boasted that his company has received Homeland Security contracts to develop and deploy facial recognition technology at New York’s JFK International Airport. The company now has 1,000 employees with security clearances who are tasked to “screen all passengers entering and exiting the United States through any border.” The same technology is applied to license plate scanners that can “identify who’s in the vehicle, who owns the vehicle, [and] what’s the history [of the vehicle.]”

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Republican Leadership Promotes Involuntary Chipping Bill A bill that would mandate federal support for state and local agencies to create “locative tracking technology programs” was scheduled for a vote on the House floor this week, according to the Daily Caller: “The initiative would be directed at finding `individuals with forms of dementia, such as autism, who have wandered from safe environments.” It would also instruct the US Attorney General to establish “the criteria used to determine which individuals would benefit from the use of a tracking device; who should have direct access to the tracking system; and which types of tracking devices can be used in compliance with the standards and best practices.”

Rick Manning, a spokesman for Americans for Limited Government, protests that the bill “would allow for the Attorney General to authorize tracking chips to be inserted involuntarily into people who are incapacitated with Alzheimer’s and other fatal dementias.”

“That is not the least restrictive means of tracking patients, of course, when a simple GPS tracking bracelet, for example, might do the trick, if a doctor thought one would be helpful for a specific patient.”

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Carrier Announces Price Increase in Wake of Trump Deal The division of United Technologies Corp. that includes the Indiana-based Carrier company says that it will “raise the amount it charges for residential and commercial HVAC equipment by as much as five percent” on January 1, reports Bloomberg News. This comes a few days after Carrier announced that it would retain several hundred manufacturing jobs in the US, rather than relocating them to Mexico, as part of a deal with the Indiana state government for which President-elect Donald Trump has claimed credit.

Bloomberg points out that “Shutting the gas-furnace plant and moving jobs abroad would have helped United Technologies save about $65 million a year,” which would have helped keep costs down for consumers. More than 1,000 Carrier jobs currently being carried out in Indiana will be phased out and corresponding ones created in Mexico.

Many makers of heating and cooling equipment, including Lennox International Inc. “are taking steps such as raising prices to counter the effects of higher raw material costs.”

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Officer Caught Embezzling Required to Pay Discounted “Restitution”“Restitution” Michael Simmons of Richfield, Ohio admits to embezzling more than $26,000 from a charity fund that was used to buy Christmas gifts for poor children – but he was the one who received an unearned gift from the judge. Rather than being sent to prison for felony theft, the 42-year-old Simmons was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence, two years of probation, and 500 hours of community service. He will also be required to pay back only $15,000 of the money he stole.

Simmons’s attorney, Mark Guidetti, says that the judge’s leniency will allow Simmons to move on with his life and get another job – most likely not in the same field, which was law enforcement.

The funds Simmons pilfered were part of the “Shop with a Cop” program, which is intended to help “kids bond with and trust police.” Rather than using money donated by generous citizens to buy toys for poor children, Simmons spent thousands of dollars on personal expenses and luxuries, including electronics, clothing, tools, and tickets to sporting events.

According to Richfield, Ohio Police Chief Keith Morgan, one reason Simmons won’t be required to pay back the full amount is because “the program’s lax bookkeeping made it difficult to pin down exactly how much was stolen and how much went to legitimate purchases,” reports the Akron Beacon Journal.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Restitution”
New York Governor Blackballs Private Businesses for Divestment Stance New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order barring the state government from investing public funds in businesses that support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which seeks to bring pressure to bear on the Israeli government to change its policies regarding management of the disputed Palestinian territories.

“New York stands in solidarity with Israel today and always,” Cuomo said as he signed the order. “This state will not stand for the politics of discrimination in any form, and we will continue to demonstrate our unwavering support for the people of Israel[.]”

The Jerusalem Post observes that “The businesses on the list are not American…. The institutions which the order prevents state agencies from investing in include several European banks and businesses.”

Cuomo’s order prompted criticism from Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who complained that “whenever the government creates a blacklist based on political views, it raises serious First Amendment concerns, and this is no exception.” Radhika Sainath, an attorney at Palestine Legal, declares that “The Supreme Court has made this crystal clear – boycotts to effect political, social and economic change are protected by the First Amendment.”

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Bob Dole Paid by Taiwan to Lobby for Trump Phone Call The brief congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen to US President-elect Donald Trump was the culmination of a long lobbying effort by the Washington law firm Alston & Bird, whose chief rainmaker is former Senate Majority Leader and 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole.

“It’s fair to say that we had some influence” on arranging the phone call, Dole told the New York Times. The government of Taiwan has paid Dole’s firm $20,000 a month between May and October to advance its interests, which included contacting Trump aides to arrange a visit by a Taiwanese delegation to last July’s GOP convention in Cleveland.

“The effort has continued in the weeks since the election, with Mr. Dole on Tuesday saying he was trying to fulfill a request from a special envoy from Taiwan who was visiting Washington to see [incoming White House chief of staff] Reince Priebus … and [Trump adviser] Newt Gingrich.”

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump’s Surprise Meeting with Al Gore’s-Surprise-Meeting-with-Al-Gore During the late campaign, President-elect Donald Trump was frequently criticized by liberals for his skeptical comments regarding the theory of human-caused climate change. The announcement that former Senator and Vice President Al Gore, the most prominent proponent of that theory, would meet with Ivanka Trump on December 5 caused eyebrows to rise on the part of people from many points along the political spectrum – and that reaction became more pronounced after Gore explained that he had actually met with the president-elect.

"I had a lengthy and very productive session with the President-elect," Gore said, according to a media pool report. "It was a sincere search for areas of common ground. I had a meeting beforehand with Ivanka Trump. The bulk of the time was with the President-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I'm just going to leave it at that."

One conservative critic of the meeting suggested that the meeting was actually arranged by Ivanka as a way of hedging her political bets with the activist left in order to protect her commercial brand in the face of an effort to organize a retaliatory boycott.

“The announcement feels less like something done at Trump’s behest than done at Ivanka’s behest, to signal to her political and social circles that she may be part of Team Trump but she’s not wavering in her own views,” writes the pseudonymous contributor Allahpundit at the widely read Hot Air commentary site. “The Trumps are all about branding. Ivanka is making sure her brand remains somewhat distinct from her father’s.”

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Surprise-Meeting-with-Al-Gore
Pentagon Covers Up Huge Volume of Waste An audit produced in January 2015 but quietly buried in the bureaucracy found $125 billion in administrative waste in the Pentagon’s business operations, reports the Washington Post. That report was concealed “amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget,” the paper recounts, based on confidential memos and interviews conducted with whistleblowers.

“Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power,” explains the Post. “But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.”

The study was conducted by the Defense Business Board, an advisory panel of corporate executives, and advisors from McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm. The analysis suggested a program for saving $125 billion over the course of five years without a reduction in forces or even layoffs of civil service personnel. It would have arranged for reduction in the bureaucracy through early retirements and attrition, and cutting back on cost-plus contracts to favored military contractors.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Gen. Mattis, “Patron Saint of Chaos”,-“Patron-Saint-of-Chaos” Retired Marine General and former Centcom Commander James Mattis, who is Donald Trump’s choice to serve as Secretary of Defense, told a 2015 gathering of ASIS International that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was “probably a mistake.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, we will probably look back on the invasion of Iraq as a mistake- a tragic mistake,” Mattis told the Anaheim gathering of security professionals. “I think people were pretty much aware that the US military didn’t think [the invasion of Iraq] was a very wise idea. But we gave a cheery `Aye-aye sir.’ Because when you elect someone commander-in-chief – we give our advice. We generally give it in private.”

The Intercept points out that “Mattis was one of the Iraq campaign’s most important ground commanders. He led the 1st Marine Division during the invasion and later oversaw the bloody retaking of Fallujah from insurgents in 2004.”

Global affairs analyst Pepe Escobar fills in additional details of Mattis’s military career, noting that “he was on the front line of the 2001 assault on Afghanistan” and that the Marine Corps Special Operations Command referred to him as “Saint Mattis of Quantico, Patron Saint of Chaos.” Mattis’s chief priority as Defense Secretary under Trump would be to preside over rebuilding the military from the damage it has experienced from propagating “chaos across the Cheney regime-coined `Greater Middle East,” Escobar predicts.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-“Patron-Saint-of-Chaos”
Louisiana Man Given 13 Years for Two Joints Told he Should Be Grateful for Sentence Reduction Louisiana resident Bernard Noble, a 50-year-old father of seven who was sentenced to thirteen years in prison six years ago for possessing a minuscule amount of marijuana, saw his sentence reduced to eight years – and received a lecture from a judge about his supposed duty to prostrate himself in gratitude to the state.

“Congratulations to you, sir,” declared Criminal Justice Court Judge Franz Zibilich after approving the prosecution’s motion for a reduced sentence. “I think you have a debt of gratitude to the state.” He then remanded Noble to the custody of the state prison, where he will serve the remaining two years of his reduced sentence. He appeared in the courtroom in shackles, as if he were a violent offender, rather than someone sent to prison under a prohibitionist regime that is now in remission in much of the country.

Noble, a high school dropout, was sentenced under a draconian repeat-offender law for his fourth offense. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, who is notoriously aggressive in pursuing maximum sentences, demanded the severe punishment and the state Supreme Court refused to allow lower court judges to alter it.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
California Police Department Deliberately Plants “Fake News”“Fake-News” As the legacy media eagerly propagates public alarm over what it calls “fake news,” relatively little attention is paid by self-appointed gatekeepers regarding their own role in disseminating official disinformation. In one exception to that general trend, the Guardian of London points to a false news story that was planted by the Santa Maria, California Police Department claiming that it had arrested two suspected gang members, Jose Santos Melendez and Jose Marino Melendez, on identity theft charges.

“The police had lied,” recalls the Guardian. “For weeks, the department had been running a surveillance operation on a gang called MS-13, with active wiretaps. Listening to MS-13 conversations, the police learned that the Melendez cousins, members of a rival gang, were targeted for murder. Detectives took the cousins into protective custody…. As a cover, the police wrote a fake news release to deceive the MS-13 assassins. When the would-be killers returned to look for the cousins, police eavesdropped on a phone conversation and heard the hitmen talking about local news reports of the arrests.”

Police Chief Ralph Martin claims that by enlisting the unwitting local media in the operation, the department was able to arrest 17 suspects.

“It was a moral and ethical decision, and I stand by it,” Martin insists, saying that he won’t rule out a similar disinformation gambit in the future. Martin justifies this as a matter of expediency in dealing with a rash of gang-related murders. Greg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, points out that the tactic “undermines the credibility of an entire police department” – both in the eyes of the public and, potentially, of “the gang members [who] won’t believe them in the future.”

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Fake-News”
UN Inquiry names 41 “Peacekeepers” As Child Molestation Suspects“Peacekeepers”-As-Child-Molestation-Suspects In a December 5th briefing, the office of the UN secretary general announced that 41 troops assigned to peacekeeping duty in the Central African Republic have been identified as suspected child molesters.

“The investigators relied primarily on the testimony of possible victims and witnesses, given the lack of medical, forensic, or any other physical evidence,” explained Stephane Dujarric, press spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. “This was due to the fact that the majority of the allegations referred to incidents that took place a year or more earlier. Everyone who came forward with claims, both minors and adults, were assisted by national and international partners.”

Sixteen of the blue helmeted troops are from Gabon, and the other 25 are from Burundi. They were attached to a multi-national military contingent deployed to the CAR in 2013 for the advertised purpose of protecting civilians amid a military conflict between Muslim rebels and Christian militias. Instead, according to accusers and witnesses, the troops preyed upon children and other vulnerable people who had been displaced from their homes by the violence.

Notes the Guardian of London, “The UN was previously heavily criticized for not responding more quickly to allegations of sexual exploitation by French peacekeepers in CAR in 2014.” This prompted aid worker Anders Kompass to leak an internal report on the abuse to French prosecutors. The UN’s initial response was to suspend Kompass.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Peacekeepers”-As-Child-Molestation-Suspects
The FBI: World Champion Child Porn Distributors Over a year ago, the FBI conducted an unprecedented hacking operation in which the agency deployed malware to more than one thousand accounts identified as visitors to a single dark web child pornography site. Using more than 8,000 IP addresses, the Bureau hacked computers in 120 different countries.

In a federal court hearing on the case, defense attorney Colin Fieman observed that “We have never, in our nation’s history as far as I can tell, seen a warrant so utterly sweeping – 100,000 potential targets, something like 8700 IP addresses captured. At least 1152 open investigations – and now, oddly enough, only about 214 arrests.”

“What’s even more disturbing, even if they disagree about the efficacy of some of those methods, we now know … there was absolutely no discussion at the Department of Justice or the FBI about protocols in terms of handling this stuff or whether these methods of limiting, at least limiting the most egregious distribution were viable. Nobody cared.”

By seizing control of those computers, “the FBI actually created a child porn `catalog,’ mailed it to sting targets, and sent the targets the child porn they requested,” points out the cyber-journal TechDirt. After establishing themselves as the world’s largest child porn distributors, the FBI “kept the site live and not only distributed what was already hosted there, but allowed users to upload new images to be shared and redistributed.”

Furthermore, “this is the second time the FBI has seized a child porn site only to keep it running.” The agency had previously done the same thing in 2012.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Trump Suggests Canceling Costly Air Force One Contract In a brief announcement made through Twitter, his preferred media conduit, President-elect Donald Trump suggested that he may cancel the Pentagon’s contract with Boeing to manufacture a new specially equipped 747 to replace the existing Air Force One.

“The contract for the planes was to be about $3 billion, but costs have been reported to be rising,” Trump tweeted early Tuesday, "Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!" In a follow-up, Trump wrote: "I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money."

If Mr. Trump is sincerely interested in saving taxpayer money, and wants to remove incentives for companies to send their production facilities abroad, he should work with Congressional critics of the Export-Import Bank who want to abolish that corporatist welfare agency. To use Mr. Trump’s expression, it is through its role as a lobbyist for the Ex-Im Bank that Boeing is really “doing a number” on the taxpayers.

As is generally the case, Trump’s pronouncement on this subject may have followed a personal slight: His anti-Boeing tweet came roughly an hour after company CEO Robert Reed had published a Chicago Tribune column criticizing Trump for his endorsement of anti-China tariffs.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Taiwan Deals with Diplomatic Blowback from Trump Call While the details of Donald Trump’s congratulatory phone call with Taiwan’s President remain ambiguous, the economic and diplomatic consequences are being felt by Taipei. The Wall Street Journal reports that following the election of nationalist-minded Tsai Ing-wen earlier this year, the Communist government in Beijing, which treats the Republic of China as a rebellious breakaway province, “switched off its tourist flows as economic punishment” for electing the candidate who has “many pro-independence supporters.”

Among the island’s small business owners who felt the immediate impact of Beijing’s vindictiveness was Chen Tang-peng, owner of Taipei’s Chia Te bakery, which had become a preferred destination for tourists and natives alike. Owing to the sanctions imposed by Beijing, the celebrated chef now says that the Communist mainland government has the island “by the throat.”

“This vindictiveness is why many in Taiwan aren't celebrating Ms. Tsai's telephone call with Donald Trump, the first time a Taiwan leader has spoken with a U.S. President-elect since at least 1979, when Washington broke off formal ties and recognized Beijing,” observes the Journal.

Reason magazine’s Ed Krayewsi points out that “the phone call was not an unprecedented breach of protocol in U.S.-China relations—in 1980 and 1981 the incoming Reagan administration sought to renormalize relations with Taiwan, inviting senior officials to various inauguration events. When the Chinese government suggested the U.S. revisit the Taiwan Relations Act, which governs U.S. relations with Taiwan, Reagan told his envoy the act should be even tougher.”

“Beijing stopped pushing and the Reagan administration enjoyed a far more productive and stable U.S.-PRC relationship than his predecessors, while simultaneously deepening trust with Taiwan," Foreign Policy's Michael Green wrote, acknowledging that the Trump administration would find it "difficult to sustain this first move when there are so many other thorny issues they will have to work with Beijing."

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Eurocrats Breathe a Sigh of Relief Over Austrian Election Results European elitists stunned by England’s Brexit vote in July, and alarmed over the outcome of an Italian referendum on December 4th, doubtless heaved a sigh of relief over the outcome of the Austrian presidential election on the same day. The populist tide appears to have crested at Austria, whose voters elected a left-leaning environmentalist as their president, rejecting his right-wing rival, Norbert Hofer or the Freedom Party. Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the country's Green Party who ran as an independent, soared to victory on a pro-European platform, defeating Hofer by a projected 53.3 percent to 46.7 percent.

In another piece of unwelcome news for Eurocrats, British government lawyer James Eadie said that, contrary to recent judicial rulings, the Brexit referendum was definitive, and that there is no legal necessity for Parliament to ratify the decision, much less reconsider it.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Tech Giants Collaborate in Purge of “Extremist” Content“Extremist”-Content At the urging of political elites from Washington to Berlin, and the legacy media gatekeepers allied with them, web giants YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft will escalate efforts to remove so-called “extremist” content from their websites. The tech companies have announced that they will create a common database listing providers of supposedly extremist content, and will share 'hashes' - unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos – to identify content they have removed from their websites. This will enable their comrades in the cyber-collective to identify and suppress the same content on their platforms.

One major front in the crackdown on what the establishment regards as “extremist” views is the denunciation of so-called “fake news” – an expression often used with reference to websites that have been accused of generating disinformation, or even retailing Russian government propaganda during the recently concluded presidential campaign.

One of the websites The Washington Post labeled "fake news" in a November story demanded a retraction and threatened the paper with a defamation lawsuit in a demand letter Sunday. A lawyer for Naked Capitalism accuses WaPo of running a debunked list of "fake news" sites in the "sensational" story compiled by a dubious team of researchers, without substantiating their claims or giving Naked Capitalism a chance to respond to the allegation. The Washington Post's actions constitute defamation, the lawyer writes in the letter published Monday.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Extremist”-Content
An Uncertain Future for the Dakota Access Pipeline Although protest leaders celebrated when the US Army Corps of Engineers told the company building a North Dakota oil pipeline that it cannot extend the project beneath a reservoir near tribal land, declaring this to be an historic victory may prove premature. Dismissing the Army Corps announcement as political, the company made clear its intention to pursue the project – and anticipated that this setback would be reversed after Barack Obama leaves office.

In an interview with NBC News in November, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren said he was "100 percent sure that the pipeline will be approved by a Trump administration": "I believe we will have a government in place that believes in energy infrastructure," he said. Last June, Warren donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee for Trump's campaign, and made another $3,000 contribution directly to the Trump campaign. For his part, Trump's campaign financial disclosure forms revealed that the President-elect has investments totaling between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners – another in a lengthy list of potential conflicts of interest between Mr. Trump’s extensive business holdings and his duties as US President.

As the weather has gotten colder, the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline heated up in rather ugly ways. Just days before Thanksgiving, law enforcement officers tried to disperse protesters with high-pressure water cannons in 25-degree weather and employed other "less than lethal," though still harmful, dispersal methods. One protester may lose her arm as a result of injuries suffered during the violence. The Army Corps of Engineers also plans to close one of the camps of "water protectors" next week, which may embolden law enforcement to take a more forceful approach.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
FBI Succeeds in Convicting Another of Its Own Terrorist Recruits Since 2002, observes investigative author Trevor Aaronson in his deeply researched book The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, the FBI has been spending roughly $3 billion a year “to hunt an enemy that is largely of its own creation.” The 30-year prison sentence imposed on 22-year-old Ohio resident Christopher Lee Cornell represents a typical return on that dubious investment.

Cornell was arrested last year in connection with what the FBI claimed was a plot to carry out a massacre in Washington, D.C. At the time Cornell possessed 600 rounds of ammunition and a single semi-automatic rifle, as well as a quantity of defective pipe bombs assembled with instructions provided by FBI undercover agents posing as terrorist recruiters.

In his charging affidavit, FBI Special Agent John Barrios insisted that the public was never in danger at any time from the agency’s false-flag operation.

In a juxtaposition illustrating the public consequences of the FBI’s perverse priorities, Cornell – who was never a legitimate terrorist threat – was sentenced in Ohio just days after what appears to be an attempted terrorist attack at Ohio State University by Somali refugee Abdu Razak Ali Artan, who apparently eluded the FBI’s scrutiny.

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Post-Partum “Abortion” Baby Murder Results in Probation“Abortion”-Baby-Murder-Results-in-Probation Courtney Saul, a 19-year-old woman from Kamloops, Canada, was given two years’ probation after drowning her newborn son so she wouldn’t miss a college exam.

Roughly a year ago, Saul gave birth to the boy in the bathroom of her basement apartment and even gave him the name George Carlos before drowning him in the sink. She then packaged the dead infant’s remains in a box, concealed the box inside a backpack, and then deposited the backpack in the trunk of her car and drove to school. She apparently intended to bury the baby in the woods, but never got around to doing so. Several weeks later, Saul lent her car to a friend who was involved in an accident, and the badly decomposed body of George Carlos was found by police.

Under questioning by police, Saul admitted to killing the child, claiming that she wasn’t aware of her pregnancy until it was well-advanced. She also claimed to have gotten pregnant while drunk at a party, describing the circumstances of conception as a “sexual assault,” rather than the result of her own irresponsibility.

Judge Len Marchand described the killing of George Carlos as “an abhorrent act and it was inflicted on a vulnerable and completely helpless person” – but insisted that the crime committed by the baby’s mother was somehow mitigated by the alleged conduct of the man who impregnated her.

Canadian pro-life activist Jack Fonesca observes that Miss Saul “truly didn’t see a moral difference between the `illegal’ post-birth murder and the legal pre-birth killing.” Significantly, the US Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which demolished all legal protection for human beings subject to discretionary killing in utero, did not define birth as the beginning of legal personhood, with all of its attendant protections.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Abortion”-Baby-Murder-Results-in-Probation
General Mattis’s Priorities and Potential Conflicts’s-Priorities-and-Potential-Conflicts- Retired General James Mattis is seen as the quintessential Marine – a personality honed to a fine cutting edge, not given to euphemism or pretense, and yet a man of considerable intellectual depth and academic accomplishment. His chromosome-level attachment to the Marines has left him with a deep and apparently incurable grudge against Iran with its origins in the murderous 1983 car-bomb attack on a Marine barracks in Lebanon in which 241 American troops were killed, 220 of whom were members of the Corps. The suicide bomber who carried out the attack was apparently trained by Iran.

On many occasions while in active service, Mattis frequently repeated that the three biggest threats to the U.S. are “Iran, Iran, and Iran.” Politico reports that “Mattis’ anti-Iran animus is so intense that it led President Barack Obama to replace him as Centcom commander.” That decision understandably outraged the general’s admirers, but some high-ranking Pentagon officials who would be under Mattis’ supervision as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Defense have expressed concern that his hostility toward Tehran might skew the department’s priorities.

Mattis would be the first former general appointed to head the Defense Department, which raises concerns about the principle of civilian oversight of the military. He will require a congressional waiver in order to win Senate confirmation. His hearings should explore potential conflicts of interest: Mattis is currently listed as one of 13 independent directors of General Dynamics, a weapons manufacturer that is heavily reliant of contracts that are overseen by the Defense Secretary. While on the board of that company, Mattis has offered congressional testimony in opposition to caps on the military budget.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Priorities-and-Potential-Conflicts-
French Government Forbids Positive Portrayal of Down Syndrome People A French court has ruled that a public service announcement depicting people born with Down syndrome as happy, productive adults is “inappropriate” because it might disturb the tranquility of women who aborted unborn children who showed genetic markers for the condition.

Washington Post columnist George F. Will, whose adult son Jonathan has Down syndrome, recalls that “In 2014, in conjunction with World Down Syndrome Day … the Global Down Syndrome Foundation prepared a two-minute video titled `Dear Future Mom’ to assuage the anxieties of pregnant women who have learned that they are carrying a Down syndrome baby. “ One of the women featured in the presentation says, “I’m scared. What kind of life will my child have?” In reply to that question, children with that condition from several nations attest that the woman’s child “will hug, speak, go to school, tell you he loves you, and `can be happy, just like I am – and you’ll be happy too.’”

“The French state is not happy about this,” continues Will. “The court has ruled that the video is … `inappropriate’ for French television. The court upheld a ruling in which the French Broadcasting Council had banned the video as a commercial. The court said the video’s depiction of happy Down syndrome children was `likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices.’”

Will notes that this ruling proceeds from the same sensibility that leads to totalitarian “safe space” speech restrictions on American college campuses: “The court has said, in effect, that the lives of Down syndrome people – and by inescapable implication, the lives of many disabled people – matter less than the serenity of people” who have concluded that the lives of the disabled are not worth living, Will concludes.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Every California Household “Owes” Nearly $100,000 for Employee Pensions“Owes”-Nearly-$100,000-for-Employee-Pensions The State of California has the most extravagant employee pensions in the country, which are managed by a system that actively encourages double-dipping by some officials – police and fire chiefs being among the most notorious examples.

In his book Plunder! How Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives, and Bankrupting the Nation, Orange County Register columnist Stephen Greenhut recalls that over the past several decades, "politicians have been dramatically increasing the pay and especially the benefits for all categories of government [employees]. The pay structure also has a sort of multiplier effect. Because they receive such generous pensions, public-safety workers are encouraged to retire at an early age, thus leading to `shortages' in law enforcement in particular. The taxpayer gets hammered twice, as he pays full freight for retired employees and then has to pay for a full-time replacement."

California’s employee retirement system is one of the largest unfunded liabilities in the state budget. Citing a recent study by Stanford University, economist Martin Armstrong reports that “The real amount owed by every household in California to cover state pensions jumped to $93,000 in 2015, up from $77,700 per household in 2014.”

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Owes”-Nearly-$100,000-for-Employee-Pensions
Will The Trump Administration Escalate the Drug War? Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte may be a maniac, but he has never been accused of being a liar. Following a telephone call with Donald Trump, Duterte claimed that the US President-elect commended him for his hyper-violent campaign to suppress narcotics use, which has resulted in thousands of summary executions and extra-judicial killings by both police and vigilante groups since July.

“He was quite sensitive to our war on drugs and he wishes me well in my campaign and said that we were doing, as he so put it, `the right way,’” claimed Duterte in a Davao City press conference. The Trump transition team has neither confirmed nor denied Duterte’s account, or his claim that Mr. Trump extended an invitation for him to pay an early visit to the White House. Although Donald Trump – a teetotaler who neither smokes nor has ever used narcotics – has occasionally suggested that the federal government’s war on drug use should end, his nominee to serve as Attorney General is much closer to Duterte’s perspective on the subject.

Bucking a nation-wide trend toward legalizing both medical and recreational use of marijuana, Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions protests that states enacting such measures have made a “tragic mistake” and has condemned the Obama administration for being insufficiently zealous in its enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws (which, it should be noted, are not constitutionally valid, unlike Prohibition-era laws against alcohol distribution, which were enacted following a short-lived constitutional amendment).

“You can’t have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink,” Sessions protested on the Senate floor earlier this year, without elaborating on why one form of recreational drug use is more scandalous than the other.

Politico observes that “With little more than the stroke of his own pen, the new attorney general will be able to arrest growers, retailers and users [of marijuana], defying the will of more than half the nation’s voters, including those in his own state” of Alabama, where he is a long-serving Republican senator.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
An Interesting Footnote to the Trump-Pence Carrier Deal Donald Trump has a small but significant financial interest in the Indiana-based Carrier manufacturing company, which was the subject of a job-saving deal worked out by Indiana Governor – and incoming Vice President – Mike Pence, for which Trump is taking credit.

The Indianapolis Star reports that “Trump earned interest income of $2,501 to $5,000 from an investment in a United Technologies Corp. bond, according to a new financial disclosure form he filed Wednesday with federal election officials. The company owns two affiliates – Carrier Corp. and UTEC – that announced in February that they were laying off workers at plants in Indianapolis and Huntington and moving manufacturing operations to Mexico. The companies make heating and air conditioning products.”

Given that his interest in Carrier is minuscule and derivative, and that he had been critical of, and threatening to, its corporate leadership, it’s quite likely that Trump didn’t know about this potential conflict.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Austrian Economist Explains the Negative Consequences of Trumpian Protectionism After Republican Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, a Ron Paul-style libertarian, criticized Donald Trump’s deal with the Carrier company, syndicated cartoonist and diehard Trump defender Scott Adams objected, saying that the whole point of threatening to impose punitive tariffs “is that no company would move with that risk hanging over them. So no tax is triggered.”

Amash had pointed out that “American consumers are taxed even if no companies move. Tariff increases production costs [and] limits competition. This is basic economics.”

Dr. Donald J. Boudreaux, Professor of Economics and Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, wrote a brief treatment of the issue to explain to Adams why “Rep. Amash is right and you are wrong.”

“Although no formal tax collection is triggered if Mr. Trump’s threats prevent all offshoring, Trump’s tariff – by restricting competition – would artificially reduce outputs and raise prices,” wrote Dr. Boudreaux. “American consumers would pay unnecessarily higher prices, an outcome inseparable from the very purpose of the tariff. That consumers pay these extra, unnecessary amounts to domestic producers rather than to domestic customs agents is irrelevant: the tariff forces all consumers of these products to pay extra, unnecessary amounts to some small group of fellow Americans who, rather than earn these higher payments, extract them using threats of state coercion.”

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Pence: Trump Will Make Economic Decisions on a “Day-by-Day” Basis“Day-by-Day”-Basis The deal with the Carrier manufacturing company is a foreshadowing of the Trump administration’s invasive approach to managing the economy in the interest of job preservation, indicated Vice President-elect Mike Pence in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program.

Donald Trump’s task, Pence told George Stephanopoulos, will be to “roll back regulations, repeal and replace ObamaCare and make American manufacturing come back to life.” To that end, Trump will make decisions regarding taxation and regulatory policy “on a day-to-day basis in the course of transition and in the course of the administration.”

If Pence’s description is accurate, economic choices would be controlled not by the invisible hand of the free market, but by edicts handed down by the president, who would be the Great Helmsman at the tiller of the manufacturing sector.

Stephanopoulos, who is hardly an advocate of the free market, asked Pence if the president were going to “call all these other companies who are going to move overseas” and use the power of his office to choose “winners and losers.”

“No, I don’t think it’s picking winners and losers at all – what the president-elect did with Carrier was simply reach out one American to another and just ask them to reconsider,” Pence insisted, omitting mention of threats Trump had made to impose ruinous tariffs and inflict other “consequences” if they relocated production to Mexico.

In a note that wouldn’t be out of place in a hagiographic profile of a socialist ruler, Pence described the visit to Carrier as “one of the most emotional experiences that I’ve had in my public career, the way people reached out, grabbed our president-elect by the hand and just said thank you.”

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Day-by-Day”-Basis
Man Serving Life Sentence for Marijuana Offenses Denied Parole Despite the fact that several states have legalized possession, sale, and use of marijuana for various purposes, Ferrell Scott will continue serving a life sentence for violating federal marijuana statutes. Scott, a non-violent offender, has an exemplary disciplinary record and filed an appeal with the Obama administration for presidential clemency.

Scott is eight years into his sentence, and although established guidelines specify that a candidate should have served at least ten years in prison, that is not a binding requirement. The president rarely if ever reviews individual appeals for clemency, relying instead on recommendations presented by the Justice Department. Unless Donald Trump takes an active interest in Scott’s case, or his likely Attorney General Jeff Sessions revises his long-established opinion that marijuana use is a grievous offense, Scott will serve at least four more years in prison before he is considered for clemency.

“We are devastated for Ferrell and his family and believe this is why President Obama must consider a plan that will reduce the life sentences of every nonviolent lifer to no more than 20 years,” declared Amy Povah of CAN-DO, an advocacy group for nonviolent drug offenders. Ferrell’s sentence is especially disproportionate, Povah maintains, because it is a “nonviolent pot case.”

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Italian PM Resigns, Shaking up EU,-Shaking-up-EU The increasingly vulnerable European Union absorbed another shock on Sunday as leftist Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, a staunch EU supporter, lost a referendum in a landslide, leading to his resignation. The referendum dealt with proposed constitutional changes that would have effectively neutered the Senate and centralized political authority in the executive branch. This would deprive ordinary Italians of any voice in public affairs as the EU-aligned national government moved to integrate the country into the continent-spanning socialist superstate.

A populist movement called the Five Stars organized grassroots opposition to the proposal, which was defeated by a twenty-point margin at the polls on December 4.

Nigel Farage, the hero of England’s successful anti-EU Brexit referendum, said that the movement to defeat Renzi’s proposal was “more about the euro than constitutional change.” Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s Economic Affairs Commissioner, did his best to reassure fellow Eurocrats by insisting that Italy remains a “very committed country in Europe.” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier took a contrary view, complaining that the Italian voting public’s assertion of self-rule was “not a positive message to Europe at a difficult time.”

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700,-Shaking-up-EU
Trump’s Evangelical Adviser: Christians Cannot “Re-Litigate” Redefinition of Marriage’s-Evangelical-Adviser:-Christians-Cannot-“Re-Litigate”-Redefinition-of-Marriage More than a few conservative Evangelical Christians supported Donald Trump’s presidential bid entirely out of hope that he would select sound constitutional jurists as Supreme Court nominees. Some of them entertained the hope that a reconfigured Supreme Court majority would revisit the 2015 Obergefell ruling that redefined the ancient institution of marriage to include same-sex couples. Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, an intimate adviser to, and prominent supporter of Trump, was not among them.

"This is not going to be re-litigated by the Supreme Court,” Jeffress, who heads the First Baptist Church in Dallas, said in a recent interview with Good Morning Texas. “That is the law of the land. I wish it were different, but it's not different. And actually I had to argue against some hard-right Catholics and evangelicals who wanted to make that a campaign issue. I said 'guys, forget it. It's over. We need to go on to other things, like protecting the unborn.’”

Donald Trump himself told “60 Minutes” in his first interview as President-elect that the marriage issue is “irrelevant because it was already settled. It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done…. And I’m fine with that.”

Although Pastor Jeffress may not understand the principle, the same is true regarding legal protections for the unborn as well: Since 1973, for those who erroneously believe that the Supreme Court can define the law, rather than applying it, it has been “settled law” that the unborn child has no right to life, and can be killed for any reason the mother deems suitable.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Evangelical-Adviser:-Christians-Cannot-“Re-Litigate”-Redefinition-of-Marriage
Trump Proclaims Economic Nationalist Policy Following the announcement that the Indiana-based manufacturing firm Carrier would not relocate several hundred assembly jobs to Mexico, President-elect Donald Trump declared that his administration would pursue an economic nationalist program. His program would reward businesses that remain in the United States, and punish those that relocate abroad.

“The US is going to substantially reduce taxes and regulations on businesses, but any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in another county, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S., without retribution or consequence, is wrong,” wrote Trump. “There will be a tax on our soon-to-be-strong border of 35% for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, [and air conditioner units] back across the border. This tax will make leaving financially difficult, but these companies are able to move between all 50 states, with no tax or tariff being charged. Please be forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake!”

Nothing in the Constitution authorizes any branch of the federal government – least of all the executive – to create a national industrial policy, or to impose punitive tariffs. The tax Trump describes would have to be enacted by Congress, and it would be imposed on consumers, rather than the companies he would seek to punish. If Trump had a background in free market economics, rather than crony capitalism, he would understand that the most important objective of a business owner is to turn a profit by serving consumers, rather than currying favor with governments.

Although Trump’s message ended with the optimistic proclamation that “The United States is open for business,” the course he prescribes would be politically popular and economically ruinous.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Vice President-elect Pence: America Must be protected from the “Free Market”“Free-Market” During a tour of the Indiana manufacturing plant operated by the Carrier company, Vice President-elect Mike Pence – who will be governor of that state until January -- defended government intervention to prevent the company from moving operations to Mexico.

“The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Pence told the New York Times, prompting President-elect Donald Trump to interject, “Every time, every time.”

“I don’t want them moving out of the country without consequences,” Trump observed, recalling campaign speeches in which he threatened to seek punitive tariffs on goods manufactured by the company abroad. “This is the way it’s going to be,” he insisted. “Corporate America is going to have to understand that we have to take care of our workers also.”

While both Trump and Pence are incorrect to describe the international system of managed trade as the “free market,” their embrace of a nationalist form of corporate socialism prompted criticism from defenders of the actual market economy. Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash points out that the 35% punitive tariff Trump wants to impose on companies that relocate operations overseas “would be a 35% tax on all Americans – a tax that especially hurts low-income families. Maybe the slogan should be #MakeAmericaVenezuela.”

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Free-Market”
Wife of Dallas Cyber-Entrepreneur Uncovers Secret Service Scandals Dallas resident Malia Litman is a retired attorney who is married to David Litman, founder of and CEO of She thus has the time, legal background, and financial resources to pursue a worthwhile, public-spirited hobby:Filing Freedom of Information Act requests to investigate corruption within the U.S. Secret Service.

A few years ago, after news broke of sex scandals in the Secret Service, Litman – a former senior partner at the Dallas law firm Thompson and Knight – began filing information requests with the Department of Homeland Security. Since that time, she has spent $100,000 in legal fees and filed 89 FOIA requests, which eventually produced nearly 4,000 pages in government documents revealing a deeply entrenched culture of corrupt privilege within the Secret Service.

Agents assigned to accompany the president abroad have adopted the motto “Wheels up –rings off,” which means that they are free to indulge their sexual whims. Consorting with prostitutes is routine and perhaps even expected. Sexual demands by superiors, and favors offered by subordinates, are commonplace. One supervisor choked a female subordinate after she parried his sexual demands. One male agent’s gun was stolen by a male prostitute whom he had solicited online, and the sidearm was never recovered. A manager in the National Threat Assessment Center compelled employees to get drunk in his office “so he could trust them.” The same official was accused of multiple incidents of sexual harassment.

All of this is important, summarizes the Dallas Morning News, because of the potential for blackmail: “Misbehaving agents are put at risk, and to protect their careers they could be blackmailed, putting those they protect in an unforeseen vulnerability.”

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Revenue Collectors Ignore the Death of a Victim At some point between November 12 and November 15, 62-year-old Jacob Morpeau died in the front seat of his SUV, which was parked about three blocks away from the Broward County Courthouse in Miami. An autopsy determined that Morpeau died from natural causes attendant to hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Carolyn White, who discovered the deceased man, reported that he had a credit card in his hand.

The most striking thing about the scene of Morpeau’s passing was the fact that his windshield was covered with tickets that had been issued by parking enforcement officers who could easily see the driver in the front seat of his Isuzu – but didn’t spare a moment to speak with him. It is possible, if not likely, that at least one of them had arrived on the scene at a time when medical aid could have saved his life.

“I can understand why the meter person probably didn’t see him from the driver’s side,” commented White. “He was underneath the steering wheel, his head was in the middle of the seat, between the two seats. But you could see him on the passenger’s side. That’s how I [saw] him, from the sidewalk.”

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Sarah Palin Chides Trump for “Corporatism”“Corporatism” Former Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin was among Donald Trump’s earliest and most enthusiastic supporters – and she has emerged as one of his earliest critics as President-elect, chiding him for an inclination toward “corporatism.” This is an economic system in which government gives tax and regulatory breaks – and often direct subsidies -- to politically favored private companies.

“I am ecstatic for Carrier employees!” wrote Mrs. Palin in an op-ed column following Trump’s announced deal with the Indiana-based company to keep several hundred manufacturing jobs in the United States. “Their bosses just decided to keep shop onshore…. We don’t yet know [the] terms of the public/private deal that was cut to make the company stay, but let’s hope every business is equally incentivized to keep Americans working in America.”

The problem with Trump’s intervention, Palin continued, is that when “government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies” – or, in this case, specially targeted tax incentives, which aren’t the same thing as subsidies – “favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail.”

Trump’s approach, on first impression, is not materially much different from that of Barack Obama, which lead to the corrupt Solyndra enterprise, stimulus boondoggles, “and all their other taxpayer-subsidized anchors on our economy,” warned Palin.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Corporatism”
Senate Officially Defines Criticism of Israel as “Anti-Semitism”“Anti-Semitism” Publicly funded colleges and universities that convene events where the government of Israel is criticized may be subject to federal investigation of suspected “anti-Semitic discrimination” under the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which was quietly passed by the Senate two days after it was introduced.

The bill directs the Department of Education use a very broad definition of anti-Semitism in deciding whether to investigate whether campus events and activities can be classified as discriminatory under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The guidelines for that determination are found in a 2010 State Department memo which refers to “delegitimizing” or “demonizing” Israel, “applying double standards” in assessing the Israeli government’s conduct, and “focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations” as examples of anti-Semitic policies by foreign governments.

That State Department memo, of course, would apply such strictures to diplomatic conduct overseas. They would not be appropriate in domestic policies involving the expression of controversial viewpoints in a fashion expressly protected by the First Amendment. Furthermore, the act of criticizing a foreign government, or urging changes in official US policy toward that government, cannot legitimately be described as invidious discrimination against U.S. citizens. This measure will give legal leverage to one party in political disputes dealing with Middle East policy, which they may be able to use to suppress expression of viewpoints they find offensive.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Anti-Semitism”
Retired LEO: I was “treated like a slave” by Police in Case of Mistaken Identity“treated-like-a-slave”-by-Police-in-Case-of-Mistaken-Identity Ronald Lanier, a retired corrections officer from Nassau County, New York, was assaulted, handcuffed, and verbally abused by police at the Western Beef Supermarket in Mineola, when he was mistaken for a shoplifting suspect who was later arrested elsewhere.

“I’ve never been cursed, physically abused, beaten and treated like a slave as I was two days ago,” Lanier recalled to New York City’s CBS affiliate. “For somebody to grab me by the neck in the supermarket, and I’m telling you, `I’m one of you’ and you disrespect it – it was like you’re just another black dude.”

Attorney Fred Brewington added, “They cursed at him, they abused him verbally, they then start[ed] to beat him. He was taking blows with his hands cuffed behind him as he laid face-down.” Lanier was detained for twenty minutes in a squad car before a sergeant told the officers to let him go.

“The sergeant, without any apology or any other way of making it clear that they were acknowledging the mistake that they had made, just said cut him loose,” Brewington recalled.

The officers were from the Garden City Police Department, and they later located the shoplifting suspect on the roof of the store. Lanier intends to file a lawsuit against the department and demands that the offending officers be cashiered from the force.

“I’m tired of hearing officers constantly talking about how we have to retrain,” he complained. “We don’t have to retrain, we got to let them be held accountable for their actions. Imagine if I had my gun at that time. It could have went [sic] either way.”

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“treated-like-a-slave”-by-Police-in-Case-of-Mistaken-Identity
Snowden: Petraeus A Much Bigger Offender Where Classified Documents Are Concerned Former NSA contractor-turned-fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden protests that “We have a two-tiered system of justice in the United States, where people who are either well-connected to government or they have access to an incredible amount of resources get very light punishments.”

One very good illustration of this inequity is the case of General David Petraeus, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in 2015 for the mishandling of classified information. The former CIA Director, who has been seriously considered as a potential Secretary of State in the incoming Donald Trump administration, “shared information that was far more highly classified than I ever did with journalists,” observed Snowden, who has been threatened with both imprisonment and execution by various federal officials. “And he shared this information not with the public for their benefit, but with his biographer and lover for personal benefit – conversations that had information, detailed information, about military special-access programs, that’s classified above top secret, conversations with the president and so on,” Snowden pointed out in an interview with Yahoo News. “He never spent a single day in jail, despite the type of classified information he exposed.”

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Evangelicals See Trump as Anti-PC Protector Donald Trump won an unprecedented number of votes from conservative Evangelical Christians in the 2016 election, despite a well-documented lifestyle of extreme sexual permissiveness and unabashed materialism. Left-leaning cultural commentator Megan McArdle opines that Trump appeals to many Evangelicals as a potential protector against militant political correctness – which could threaten not only their social standing but also their ability to make a living.

“I’ve heard from a number of Evangelicals who, despite their reservations about the man, ended up voting for Donald Trump because they fear that the left is out to build a world where it will not be possible to hold any prominent job while holding onto their church’s belief about sexuality,” writes McArdle. “Discussions I’ve had in recent days with nice, well-meaning progressives suggest that this is not a paranoid fantasy…. When you think that you may shortly see your church’s schools and your religious hospitals closed, and your job or business threatened in the private sphere by the economic equivalent of `convert or die,’ you will side with whoever does not seem to set its sights on your conservative beliefs,” she continues. “If that side is led by an intemperate man who more than occasionally says awful things – well, at least he doesn’t want to destroy you.”

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Will The Electoral College Survive? Although most Americans use the term “Democracy” to refer to our political system, the Founding Fathers of the American government designed a constitutionally-limited republic in which a simple majority could not expropriate a minority and arrogate to itself government benefits. A vital element of that system is the Electoral College, a single-purpose, limited-term body intended to give slightly more weight to states with low populations, in part so that big population states alone couldn’t always choose the federal chief executive.

Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 election provoked Hillary Clinton’s supporters and other liberals to denounce the “outdated” Electoral College. (Trump himself had called for its abolition in 2012.)Approximately 2.5 million more individual votes are estimated to have been cast for Clinton, but there are several complaints about vote fraud; one independent researcher believes that at least 3 million illegals voted for Clinton in states with lax voting laws. describes the latest attack on the Electoral College:

“Anti-Trump forces are preparing an unprecedented assault on the Electoral College, marked by a wave of lawsuits and an intensive lobbying effort aimed at persuading 37 Republican electors to vote for a candidate other than Donald Trump.”

Analyst Joel Skousen warns that “Behind the overt anti-Trump push is a covert agenda: If the courts establish that individual electors can switch allegiances, supporting candidates other than those who win their states, it would inject so much uncertainty into the process that states may be willing to junk the Electoral College in favor of a popular-vote winner.”

Abolishing the Electoral College would require a constitutional convention to amend the core document at the heart of the American system.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Attack at OSU Underscores Weakness of Refugee “Vetting”“Vetting”-- The Ohio State University car attack and stabbing is not the first knife attack by a Muslim Somali refugee. In September there was a stabbing spree at a mall in Minnesota, but this pattern is carefully avoided by most media reports.

Another issue carefully avoided by the media is the issue of vetting refugees, particularly those from Muslim countries that have carried out so many attacks on Western countries in recent years. The OSU attacker, named Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was an un-vetted refugee that came to the US through Catholic Charities. points out that Republicans in Congress played a key role in bringing so many Somalis to this country:

“Since 2001, the United States has permanently resettled nearly 100,000 migrants from Somalia…. In a single year, a Republican-led Congress funded visas for nearly 300,000 (temporary and permanent) Muslim migrants, which is a population that is nearly twice the size of the entire population of Dayton, Ohio. … As the Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported, Minnesota, which is home to the nation’s largest Somali population, `leads the nation in would-be ISIL terrorists from the U.S.,’ according to a 2015 Congressional report. `During the last two years, more than 20 Somali-Americans from Minnesota have left to fight alongside terrorists under the banner of ISIL,’ a report from 2015 states. “

According to the Washington Examiner, “Earlier this year, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly asked Speaker Ryan specifically about the Somali refugee crisis in Minnesota…. Ryan replied by claiming that he and the House had `passed a bill pausing this refugee program.’ However, Ryan’s declaration was demonstrably false. As NumbersUSA’s Rosemary Jenks explained, the House bill championed by Ryan did not in any way pause the Somali refugee program and, in fact, would `not have affected the Somali refugee program at all.’”

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Vetting”--
Did Campus PC Indoctrination Help Radicalize OSU Assailant? Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the Muslim Somali immigrant responsible for the car and knife attack at Ohio State University last week had complained about Islamophobia and perceived mistreatment of Muslims. Disregarding the obvious harm to the image of peaceful Muslims, Ali Artan carried out an attack to inflict the most possible harm against fellow students when he drove his car into a group of them and jumped out slashing wildly with a knife.

Media reports of the attack have downplayed any connection between Artan and radical Muslim fundamentalism---in line with the current rules of political correctness. But the same politically correct mindset may have actually contributed to the terrible attack. According to another student at OSU Ali Artan was involved in a course that specifically inflames student’s reaction to violations of political correctness, as points out: “According to OSU student Hallie Crow, ISIS-inspired jihadist Abdul Razak Ali Artan was part of a group assignment working on a presentation about `microaggressions.’ Microaggressions are a set of words and behaviors characterized by far left professors and radicals as being politically incorrect, racist or offensive towards minorities.”

“According to different universities, microaggressions include `identifying as American’ and using the word `American’ because it is `problematic,’” continues the report. “Other discouraged words and phrases included, `obese,’ `normal,’ `mothering,’ `fathering,’ `homosexual,’ `illegal alien,’ and `senior citizens.’”

Rather than de-fusing tensions, this instruction likely exacerbated Artan’s worst impulses, fortified his sense of grievance, and reinforced whatever rationales he had devised for committing a grotesque act of criminal violence.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Mainstreaming “Fake News”“Fake-News” The Washington Post precipitated a firestorm of protest from the alternative media by using an anonymous blog to smear media critics—accusing a long list of alternative news sites as purveyors of either “fake news” or repeating Russian propaganda. Except for a few wildly exaggerated sites, none of the supposed “fake news” sources listed are guilty of propaganda or falsifying facts. Several of the blackballed sites are considering defamation lawsuits.

In the world of news, the method of covering so-called “hard facts” allows much room for interpretation and skewing of opinion based on words chosen and which facts get emphasized. The selection of items to cover reflects editorial judgment, and every published account reflects a point of view – something discerning news consumers can recognize. But intentionally tampering with facts from the ground is truly grounds for accusing a site of “fake” news and propaganda.

The blog referenced by the Post is unlikely to add the prestigious BBC to its list of bad news sources, yet none other than the British Broadcasting Corporation was found guilty of altering video and audio footage of a story on Syrian “atrocities” to make it look like the Assad regime was guilty of using chemical weapons. Ironically,, one of the outlets excoriated by the Post, documented several instances in which the BBC used actors to fake wounds, play dead, and otherwise set up photo opportunities for producing fake news stories. But the most troubling was where they took a video of a doctor emerging from a hospital room saying that Syrian forces had used “napalm” on civilians. An identical video is used a couple of months later—but the word “napalm” has been changed to “chemical weapons.”

This was not a crude job of editing in a similar voice. A voice analysis shows that the word substitution was done by sophisticated electronic means that precisely duplicated the sound and tone of the woman doctor’s voice. This inescapably leads to the conclusion that the BBC was engaged in a conscious, deliberate effort to frame Assad for using chemical weapons on his people, and that in the pursuit of that objective they went to substantial lengths to fabricate this forged voiceover.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Fake-News”
Illegal Immigration Wave Continues Unabated In addition to the thousands of South Americans and Mexicans crossing the porous Southern border of the United States, thousands of immigrants from Haiti, an unknown number of whom are refugees from Hurricane Matthew, are massing on the US/Mexican border. Many, perhaps most, of them hope to obtain green cards on the very easy terms on which they were made available following previous natural disasters in that country. However, there are far more refugees than slots issued by the government. Some have waited patiently for a slot to open up, but current policies dealing with illegal immigration offers an undeniable incentive for unauthorized border crossings.

Most immigrants are likely aware that only a few hundred of the thousands crossing each month are deported, and if they get caught they will be housed in US detention centers or allowed to go free with only a notice requesting them to appear before a future court date.

Virtually all US detention space in Nogales Arizona, is already filled, and in order to fund the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Feds are raiding medicare and other citizen accounts according to the Washington Examiner.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
WikiLeaks Outlines ISIS’s CIA Pedigree’s-CIA-Pedigree Julian Assange, founder of the transparency advocacy group WikiLeaks, has provided a detailed commentary to the organization’s release of more than a half-million diplomatic cables dating back to 1979. The essay is a concise history of the role played by Washington in creating contemporary radical Islamism – which led to the creation of ISIS.

At the center of these developments, writes Assange, is “Zbigniew `Zbig’ Brzezinski ,” Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser and founder of the Trilateral Commission. “He would become the architect of the destabilization of Soviet-backed Afghanistan through the use of Islamic militants, elements of which would later become known as al-Qaeda. Brzezinski continues to affect US policy as an advisor to Obama. He has been especially visible in the recent conflict between Russia and the Ukraine.”

“If any year could be said to be the `year zero’ of our modern era, 1979 is it,” asserts Assange. “The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR would see Saudi Arabia and the CIA push billions of dollars to Mujahideen fighters as part of Operation Cyclone, fomenting the rise of al-Qaeda and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union,” he continues, hewing closely to the familiar narrative that the USSR collapsed, rather than mutating into a somewhat different version of the same state.

Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in early 1989, elements of the Afghan Mujahideen continued to receive support from the CIA. The September 11 attacks eventually led to the US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq “and over a decade of war, leaving, at its end, the ideological, financial and geographic basis for ISIS,” Assange concludes. His overview highlights passages from John Podesta’s hacked email server documenting how nominal US allies in Qatar and Saudi Arabia continue to support ISIS. As he pointed out in a typically plangent interview with Australian journalist John Pilger. ISIS and the Clinton Foundation have been “funded by the same money.”

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-CIA-Pedigree
NSA and other Fed Agencies to Have Expanded Snooping Powers under Trump Senator Jeff Sessions and Congressman Mike Pompeo, who were selected by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Attorney General and CIA Director, respectively, support expanded surveillance powers for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Bloomberg News observes that confirmation hearings into their nominations “will set up an early test of Trump’s relationship with Silicon Valley giants including Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.” During the campaign, Trump indicated that he would be taking a harder line when “he urged a consumer boycott of Apple for refusing to help the FBI hack into a terrorist’s encrypted iPhone.”

Sessions has opposed restraints on the National Security Agency’s all-encompassing electronic eavesdropping, and in June said that he would support legislation to expand the kinds of internet data the FBI can intercept without obtaining search warrants.

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Presidential Texting App Will Make Trump’s Messages Inescapable’s-Messages-Inescapable Donald Trump is famous – or perhaps the proper word is “notorious” – for his lack of Twitter discipline, and when he becomes president in January he will be given the means to impose his random, briefly stated thoughts on any US resident who has a smartphone through the congressionally mandated Wireless Emergency Alert system.

Wireless Emergency Alerts “are part of a program put in place after Congress passed the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) act, in 2006,” recalls New York Magazine. WEAs allow for targeted messages to be sent to every cell phone getting a signal from certain geographically relevant cell towers (or, in a national emergency, all of them).”

Most cell phone users have received text alerts dealing with sudden severe weather, or Amber Alert notifications about a missing child. The Federal Communications Commission lists “alerts issued by the President” as one of three categories of messages that will be delivered to all cell phones through the WEA system. Interestingly, cell phone carriers participating in the system can allow subscribers to block Amber Alert notifications, or warnings about “imminent threats to safety or life” – but presidential alerts cannot be blocked. While the WEA messages are limited to ninety text characters – compared with the 140 characters allowed by Twitter – President Trump will be able to send out compulsory notifications on any subject, assuming that they are approved by FEMA.

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700’s-Messages-Inescapable
The NDAA and “Fake News”“Fake-News” The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 contains a provision that essentially nullifies the habeas corpus guarantee by allowing for the indefinite detention of US citizens designated “unlawful enemy combatants.” Another troubling facet of that law overturned previous legislation prohibiting the government from conducting disinformation campaigns that target the citizenry – a matter that has garnered new relevance amid the ongoing discussion of so-called “fake news,” an expression generally used by the legacy media cartel to dismiss independent news outlets.

An amendment to the NDAA sponsored by Republican Congressman Mac Thornberry of Texas and Democrat Adam Smith of Washington neutralized the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which banned the use of government-sponsored “psychological operations” intended to influence US public opinion. Thornberry complained that the law as it stood“ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others [read CIA] by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.”

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Fake-News”
Apple Purges Supposed “Fake News” Site“Fake-News”-Site Like many other news platforms – both in the legacy press and the new media -- Breitbart News has an undisguised partisan viewpoint. It currently ranks 28thon the list of Top 100 US Media sites as compiled by SimilarWeb, and boasts of 168 million page views in October. Now that Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon has been appointed by Donald Trump to be chief White House strategist, the controversial media site will enjoy access to the incoming presidential administration.

All of those facts suggest that whatever one thinks of the content and perspective offered by Breitbart, media companies should be eager to capitalize on its success, if they can. Apple Inc., which owns the iTunes marketplace, decided to act on other priorities by removing Breitbart from its app as part of the cultural left’s attempted purge of independent media outlets it insists are “fake news.”

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700“Fake-News”-Site
Police and Prosecutors Obstruct Idaho Efforts to Reform Asset Forfeiture Practices Idaho state representatives Illana Rubel, a Democrat from Boise, and Steven Harris, a Republican from Meridian, have collaborated on legislation that would address abuses committed through the practice of asset forfeiture. This is the seizure of cash, cars, and other property suspected of being involved in criminal activity, even if the owner is never charged with an offense. A civil case is filed against the property itself, and the burden is placed on the owner to prove that the property stolen by the police had not been illicitly acquired.

Rubel and Harris have proposed limiting the kinds of property that can be seized. They are also seeking to abolish civil asset forfeiture – which can occur without criminal charges – by replacing it with criminal forfeiture, which can only happen if the owner is actually convicted of a crime. Not surprisingly, their proposals have collided with a barricade of obstruction through up by lobbyists representing police and prosecutors’ organizations.

Idaho Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Vaughn Killeen insists that when property is confiscated by police without criminal charges, “often what law enforcement knowns about individuals when they seize property is much more than a general citizen knows.” Killeen either ignores or doesn’t understand the constitutional principle that juries composed of “general citizens” must convict the accused of a criminal offense before punishment is imposed.

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0700
Potential Complications for Petraeus President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly interviewed retired General and former CIA Director David Petraeus for a potential position in his administration – perhaps even as Secretary of State. Trump describes himself as “very impressed” with Petraeus, but so far hasn’t commented on his considerable baggage – beginning with the fact that he is currently serving probation after being convicted on charges very similar to those that inspired the