Aug 30, 2016
Weeks have passed since five Dallas police officers were murdered in a sniper attack during a protest march last July, and yet “Authorities have … refused to release even the most basic information about the slayings, including any details about the weapons used, the autopsy findings and ballistics tests that could establish whether any officers were hit by friendly fire,” observes the Associated Press. During that time, the department has also focused unusual attention on its most prominent critic, Dominique Alexander, who has been arrested on multiple occasions on warrants that include unpaid traffic tickets.
Alexander, who organized the rally last July, has been convicted of forging a check, evading police, and theft. He is on probation for felony injury to a child in an incident that he maintains was an accident. He claims that the victim, a two-year-old child, fell off a couch. Alexander, who was babysitting the toddler, has said that he took a plea bargain because he could not afford adequate legal representation. His uncle was killed by police during what was described as a shootout in 2010. Alexander claims that he became a police critic following a 2014 incident in which a high school friend was found dead in an abandoned building. The woman’s family complained that police had ignored their pleas for help in finding her.
On August 26, Alexander’s probation was revoked and he was ordered to prison. Damon Crenshaw, vice president of the Next Generation Action Network, suggests that this decision was made either as a distraction or as retaliation for Alexander’s role in organizing the July 7 protests.
Aug 30, 2016
While it does not necessarily confirm Donald Trump’s claims that the November elections have been “rigged,” the FBI has issued a notice that foreign hackers have penetrated state election systems.
A “flash” alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division claims that the agency “has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems", reports Yahoo News. The disclosure “prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to convene a conference call with state election officials on August 15, in which he offered his department’s help to make state voting systems more secure….”
While there were no “specific or credible cyber security threats” to the election, there was evidence that voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois had been infiltrated by foreign hackers. In Illinois, election officials “were forced to shut down the state’s voter registration system for ten days in late July, after the hackers managed to download personal data on up to 200,000 state voters”; the Arizona attack involved the introduction of malware into the voter registration system.
Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer for the private cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect, describes these incidents as a “big deal… Two state election boards have been popped, and data has been taken. This certainly should be concerning to the common American voter.”
Aug 30, 2016
Gilbert Chagoury was welcome at the Clinton Foundation, but banned from entry to the United States. Seven years ago, Chagoury, a Nigerian billionaire of Lebanese extraction, pledged to donate $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative, and has donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Last year, however, the State Department denied Chagoury entry to the United States following a review of alleged ties to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah, whose name means “Party of God,” is an Iran-backed Shiite group in Lebanon formally listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
Recently disclosed email correspondence from 2009 between Hillary Clinton’s intimate aide Huma Abedin and Doug Band of the Clinton Foundation documented an effort to arrange a meeting between Chagoury and a US diplomat in Lebanon.
The decision to ban Chagoury from the US was based on an FBI intelligence report claiming that he had donated money to Michel Aoun, founder of the Free Patriotic Movement party, which entered into an alliance of convenience with Hezbollah in 2006. Chagoury and Aoun are both Lebanese Christians.
The decision to deny Chagoury entry last year was not the first time he had been turned away at the US border. In January 2010, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, Chagoury’s private jet was grounded at a New Jersey airport . He eventually received a formal apology from the Department of Homeland Security.
In response to a Los Angeles Times story about his ties to Hezbollah and the Clinton family’s financial interests, Chagoury praised the Clinton Global Initiative for what he called its philanthropic work in Africa, and insisted that his last personal conflict with either Bill or Hillary Clinton occurred ten years ago.
Aug 30, 2016
The Open Society Justice Initiative, part of the constellation of foundations, pressure groups, and front groups for globalist billionaire investor George Soros, seeks “international regulation of private actors’” decisions on `what information is taken off the Internet and what may remain,’” according to internal documents reviewed by the Daily Caller. The envisioned regulations would favor those whom the organization deemed “most supportive of [an] open society.”
Within the trove of 2,500 leaked documents from the Open Society Justice Institute that were published by a hacker collective called DCLeaks is a 34-page document entitled “2014 Proposed strategy” that calls for international regulation of the internet.
While praising the use of the internet and social media by reform activists in Asia and the Middle East, the group claimed that the web presents “under-addressed challenges, including a lack of regulation of private operators that are able to decide, without due process procedures, what information is taken off the Internet and what may remain.” While criticizing “undemocratic governments that seek to impose their hostility to free speech on the general online environment,” the group appears to support official regulation that would supposedly establish “an appropriate balance between private and free expression….”
Ironically, or perhaps predictably, the section of the DCLeaks website containing the Soros disclosures has been removed from the Web.
Aug 30, 2016
In every witch hunt, the first person to express skepticism about the accusations will always be accused of being in league with the enemy. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appears to be following that classic formula by accusing the leading critic of his anti-drug campaign of “taking bribes from jailed drug lords,” Reuters reports.
Senator Leila de Lima, who called for an investigation into the surge of extra-judicial killings of suspected drug dealers and users, used a recent news conference to demand that Duterte “stop this madness.” The president responded by personally threatening the senator.
“De Lima, you are finished,” Duterte declared during a news conference in Davao City, where he reportedly organized anti-crime death squads as mayor. At the event Duterte distributed a diagram that he claimed showed links between imprisoned drug dealers and various political officials. Senator de Lima’s name was at the top of the list. The senator dismissed the accusations as “nonsense and baseless.”
Although the slogan of Duterte’s anti-drug campaign is “Kill them all,” The Philippines is not one of the 33 nations ruled by governments that formally impose the death penalty for narcotics offenses.
Since 1898, the United States has played a dominant role in Philippine affairs, first as colonial occupier and then as the senior member of a regional alliance. The Obama administration has expressed “concerns” about the ongoing killings but has given Duterte’s government wide berth.
“Duterte's methods may be bloodier than those typically employed by American prohibitionists, but his logic is similar, casting peaceful transactions—the exchange of money for psychoactive substances—as acts of aggression that pose an existential threat to the nation,” observes the libertarian publication Reason. “This is war, after all, so there is no room for legal niceties.”
Aug 30, 2016
Traffic stops represent the most common form of interaction between police officers and the public. As one instructor told police during an officer safety seminar, traffic stops are “our bread and butter for enforcement.” The Obama administration wants to use traffic stop training exercises to indoctrinate police in the ideology of the transgender revolution – knowing that by doing so police will help evangelize the public on behalf of that revolution.
The Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, which deals with civil rights issues, has released a propaganda video intended to instruct police officers regarding the politically correct etiquette for situations involving drivers who identify with the opposite biological sex. Such people, officers are lectured, are “just trying to be their true selves and live their lives as members of our communities just like anyone else.”
In the event an officer is unsure of the gender of the detained motorist, they are told to ask: “Do you prefer if I call you ma’am or sir?” An officer identified as Sgt. Brett Parson urged police not to be “unprofessional and disrespectful” by making jokes or engaging in laughter when dealing with awkward situations involving “non-gender-conforming” people. He also admonished officers to rebuke their comrades when they display disrespect by using sex-specific pronouns in a way deemed offensive by people who claim an identity apart from their biological sex.
Aug 30, 2016
Former New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner destroyed a promising political career through his cyber-infidelity – and now it appears that his marriage to long-time Hilary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is coming to an end as well. A recently revealed text and photo exchange between Weiner and a woman included sexually explicit messages sent by the former congressman while he was in bed next to his young son. Weiner admitted the incident to the New York Post, saying that he and the unnamed woman “have been friends for some time.”
“She has asked me not to comment except to say that our conversations were private, often included pictures of her nieces and nephews and my son and were always appropriate,” he insisted, without describing a definition of propriety that would include sexting while sharing a bed with his young son.
“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband,” Abedin announced in an August 29 press release.
A few weeks ago, following Donald Trump’s statement urging Russian spies to locate Hillary Clinton’s missing official emails – a remark he insists was a joke – Weiner, in a moment of what proved to be misguided self-confidence, commented to the New York Times that “the Trump phenomenon has led a lot of people to say to me, `Boy compared to inviting the Russians to come hack someone’s email, your thing seems almost quaint.’”
Aug 30, 2016
The “Three A.M. Knock” is a signature move of a totalitarian police state. Agents from the Venezuelan secret police chose that hour to arrest former Caracas Mayor Daniel Ceballos, a leader of the opposition movement to the regime of socialist President Nicolas Maduro, on August 27, at his home in San Cristobal. His wife Patricia, who published an Instagram photo of the abduction, says that Ceballos was seized and shoved into an ambulance, where he was shown an order transferring him to a prison in a distant state.
Ceballos has been accused of inciting nation-wide protests against the socialist government, and has been under house arrest for medical reasons. Attorney Juan Carlos Guitierrez, who has represented the former mayor, describes the early-morning arrest and transfer to a distant prison as “one more link in a chain of human rights violations against prisoners of conscience” in Venezuela.
Over the weekend, the Venezuelan foreign ministry confirmed that the regime had expelled a group of Ecuadoran legislators who had met with opposition leaders in Caracas, accusing them of “destabilizing” the government. The Ecuadoran officials were detained outside a military prison where Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been confined.
“What we have lived through in Venezuela was terrifying,” wrote Ecuadoran Congresswoman Cynthia Viteria upon the group’s return to their home country.
Aug 30, 2016
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick incited nearly universal disapproval for his decision not to stand while the National Anthem was played before a preseason game with the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick described his gesture as a political protest that will continue until he sees significant progress regarding police brutality and race relations in the United States.
Kaepernick, a multi-millionaire professional athlete who was adopted, raised, and loved by white parents, admits that he has been blessed, but believes he can act on behalf of those less fortunate who don’t have access to the public.
“This stand wasn’t for me. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice,” he explained in an interview. “People that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard and affect change. I’m in a position where I can do that, and I'm gonna do that for people who can’t.”
Kaepernick has criticized both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and believes that there is inadequate public accountability for police and policymakers.
“You can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist,” he points out. “That’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.”
The star quarterback says that his silent protest will continue until “I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent.”
Aug 30, 2016
Following the annual elite retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, members of the Federal Reserve’s so-called Federal Open Market Committee offered typically cryptic remarks about the possibility of an interest rate increase. MarketWatch concludes that what “clearly has emerged” from the meeting “is a sense that an interest-rate hike is near, given the strong jobs data.”
“Whether that increase comes in September or December is open to debate, as is the smaller possibility that the Fed could lift interest rates twice this year,” continues the report.
In an unusually blunt request for the Fed to intervene in presidential politics, former Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Barney Frank has pleaded with Fed Chair Janet Yellen to avoid raising interest rates prior to November 8.
“I think it would be a mistake to [raise rates] this close to the election,” Frank insisted just prior to the Jackson Hole meeting. “It will be interpreted, over-interpreted.”
The Clintons have long benefited from a favorable relationship with the Federal Reserve. The leftist magazine Dissent recalls that shortly after being elected in 1992, Bill Clinton met privately with then-Fed chair Alan Greenspan and accepted what detractors call “the financial markets strategy,” in which interest rates were kept low during his two terms. This created a speculative bubble that provided the illusion of prosperity – and collapsed near the end of his second term in 2000.
Aug 30, 2016
Las Vegas casino magnate and newspaper publisher Sheldon Adelson is among the Republican Party’s most generous donors. He is also among the most outspoken pro-Israel hawks in the party. Adelson initially supported Florida Senator Marco Rubio. When Donald Trump emerged as the likely nominee, Adelson he indicated that he would be willing to provide him with up to $100 million in financial support.
The Guardian of London reports that last week Adelson met with Trump in New York to express concerns about his apparently faltering campaign.
“I believe there’s an emerging consensus in the party that Trump isn’t going to win,” declares former Minnesota Republican Representative Vin Weber, who is raising money for GOP congressional candidates. “We need to shift resources as much as we can [to state congressional races].” Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, who helps lead a so-called “dark money” group called the American Action Network, adds that “If the guy at the top of the ticket is going to lose by double digits it’s a cause of concern.”
Aug 30, 2016
Any owner of an iPhone or an iPad is vulnerable to a hack that can turn that device into the equivalent of a GPS ankle bracelet allowing government to track the owner’s movements and intercept all voice and data communications conducted through the device. The NSO Group, a tech firm located until recently in Herzliya, Israel, created a spyware program that allows remote operators to take control of the Apple-manufactured handheld devices, to the extent that they can activate its cameras and microphones at will.
The NSO Group, which was created in 2010, is a key contractor in providing so-called “lawful intercept” software for government agencies world-wide. Its client list includes the governments of Mexico, Panama and the United Arab Emirates, and the company has an online presence in Turkey, Thailand, Qatar, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Morocco, Yemen, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Bahrain.
McClatchy News describes how Rafael Cabrera, an investigative reporter in Mexico, avoided falling prey to what is called a “jailbreak” takeover of his iPhone by either government agents or assets of a narcotics cartel – which in Mexico are often conjoined. Mysterious text messages would appear on his device, but Cabrera refused to take the bait. If he had, his phone would have been converted into a “surveillance tool … transmitting his every move, email, and contact list entry.”
Aug 29, 2016
As government schools reopened in Idaho, state First Lady Lori Otter introduced a new project called the “Idaho Office of School Safety and Security.” Created through a measure sponsored by State Representative Wendy Horman and signed into law by Governor Butch Otter earlier this year, the measure is essentially a public works project for security consultants packaged as a student and campus safety program. The core of the program is a new tax-funded security consulting group with the mildly Orwellian title “Educators Eyes.” That firm will conduct security assessments of government schools throughout the state, and provide training for teachers and administrators.
According to a press release, the program is also associated with a public awareness campaign entitled “See Tell Now!” that “encourages students to become more aware of their surroundings and immediately report anything out of the ordinary – such as an unknown adult in the hallway or an unidentified package on a playground – to the nearest teacher or administrator.”
To put a child- friendly gloss on a campaign to cultivate paranoia within students, the scheme will feature a llama as a mascot and fund a media blitz through television and radio advertisements.
Aug 29, 2016
In 1981, a mentally handicapped woman named Cathy Woods was convicted of murdering 19-year-old Michelle Mitchell in Reno five years earlier. She was convicted on the basis of a confession extracted from her during interrogations at a psychiatric hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana while she was undergoing treatment for paranoid schizophrenia. The detectives who questioned Woods did not allow the benefit of an attorney. The chief investigator, a Reno police officer, didn’t record the interview, and his report wasn’t completed until two days later.
During the trial, according to Woods’s attorney, Lee Hotchkins, “She was portrayed as a monster. Just a deviant monster.” The prosecution’s theory was that Woods, who was believed to be a lesbian, killed Miss Mitchell after the victim resisted her sexual advances. However, at the time Woods’s name was mentioned, police and prosecutors believed that a male suspect was responsible for the murder. Describing Woods as a spurned and vengeful lesbian “was part of their way to try and explain away the fact that they had been looking for a man,” asserts appellate attorney Elizabeth Wang.
The only significant piece of physical evidence on the murder scene was a cigarette. A forensic examination of the cigarette confirmed that DNA deposited on it was left by Rodney Halbower, who is suspected of killing several people in Northern California at roughly the same time Mitchell was killed in nearby Reno.
Woods’s conviction was vacated in 2014. The 66-year-old woman has filed a civil rights lawsuit against officials in both Reno and Shreveport, accusing them of conspiring to steal more than half of her life through deprivation of her constitutional rights.
Aug 29, 2016
The criminal conviction of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is still sending aftershocks through the state’s law enforcement system. Douglas Gansler, a Washington-based attorney who was appointed by Kane to act as special prosecutor in the so-called “Porngate” scandal, has prepared a report naming “several hundred” state employees who had used state computers to email pornography and similar material.
Release of that report has been blocked after attorneys representing the Fraternal Order of Police and a union representing state narcotics investigators threatened legal action. The request for an injunction claims that release of the report would “irreparably injure personal reputations across the commonwealth.”
Kane hired Gansler in late 2015 to investigate discovery of pornographic, racist, and other offensive materials that had been circulated on state-owned computers during work hours by members of her staff. According to warning letters sent by Gansler to some employees, the report lists 38 people described as “high-volume senders,” which means that they sent or forwarded at least 50 offensive emails between 2008 and 2015. An appendix to that document reportedly names “several hundred government employees,” but will not provide more details about their behavior.
The FOP accuses Gansler of acting as “the propriety police.” To date, the probe has cost nearly $400,000.
Aug 29, 2016
In late 1998, with a Republican-led House of Representatives preparing to vote on articles of impeachment, then-President Bill Clinton ordered a brief but highly destructive bombing campaign against Iraq code-named “Desert Fox.” The stated reason for this onslaught was supposed violations of UN Security Council resolutions requiring inspection of suspected weapons sites. The timing of the attack, however, suggested to many critics that Clinton was seeking to distract the public and rally public support for him as Commander-in-Chief.
Among those who made that accusation was Sina Ali Musati, a contributor to the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, which was edited by Saudi academic Saleha Mahmood Abedin, whose daughter, Huma Abedin, was an assistant editor. At the time of the “Desert Fox” campaign, Ms. Abedin was a key aide to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Musati’s essay, “Arab/Muslim `Otherness’: The Role of Racial Constructions in the Gulf War and the Continuing Crisis with Iraq,” was published in 2002, during the build-up to the second Iraq War.
“The crisis with Iraq … probably benefited Clinton, serving as a good deterrent of attention from personal crisis, such as his campaign funding scandals, legislative failures, or the Monica Lewinsky affair,” wrote Musati. “By occasionally bombing Iraq in the name of humanity, he [was] able to look strong and presidential.”
Aug 29, 2016
Not only are Venezuelans starving to death because of food shortages inflicted by their socialist government, the regime’s debasement of the currency has left them too poor to bury their dead properly.
Alejandro Blanchard and Elio Angulo, entrepreneurs from Valencia, developed a cardboard coffin intended as an option for ecologically minded people who reject conventional wood and brass receptacles.
“Three years on, with the oil-rich country mired in deep economic crisis, their `bio-coffins’ are becoming a viable option because of high prices for wooden coffins and shortages of brass ones,” reports Reuters. Socialism, like war, is a boon to the undertaker, and Blanchard and Angulo are among the few members of the country’s embattled productive class whose prospects are improving. Blanchard’s actions may be rooted more in ideology than the profit motive. In addition to producing the bio-coffins, he heads an environmentalist non-governmental organization and expressed the hope that he can make a supposed virtue out of government-imposed necessity by helping to “raise ecological consciousness” on the part of his countrymen.
According to Miguel Salazar, president of a funeral home chain in central Venezuela, “The bio-coffin can reduce funeral costs by around 80 percent.”
Aug 29, 2016
At one point, the Riverside County, California District Attorney’s office operated an eavesdropping program so extensive that it accounted for almost one-fifth of all wiretaps in the United States. The program, which went on from 2010 to 2014, was supervised by county prosecutor Paul Zellerbach, who authorized police to intercept literally millions of phone calls and text messages. One Riverside County Judge in 2014 authorized 624 wiretaps – three times as many as any other state, federal, or county judge in the U.S. Most of this was done at the behest of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which used the California wiretaps to conduct arrests as far away as Kentucky, Virginia, and New York.
Eventually the program was reeled in after a federal judge ruled that Riverside County had issued so many wiretaps “that constitutional requirements cannot have been met.” Zellerbach, a former county judge, has admitted that he delegated approval of wiretap applications to an underling, and didn’t personally review them. Now he finds himself facing possible arrest: A bench warrant was issued for Zellerbach after he refused to answer a subpoena in a lawsuit filed by a defendant in an ongoing wiretap-related case. The warrant was “held,” which means that he will not be arrested unless he fails to appear at a scheduledSeptember 30 hearing. The former DA insists that the warrant is invalid, because it is supposedly based on “lies and misinformation.”
Aug 29, 2016
More than a decade ago, the world was sickened and astounded by images of grotesque torture – including sexual degradation of prisoners – carried out by US military personnel and CIA contractors at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Many of the worst offenses were cataloged by Major General Antonio Taguba, who did his career no favors by investigating the charges diligently and insisting on upholding the Laws of Land Warfare and the Uniform Code of Military Justice at a time when both were being ignored for the sake of expediency.
Among the exceptionally violent inmates held at Abu Ghraib’s Hard Site was Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry, whose serial number was US9IZ-157911CI. He is now known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the nihilistic death cult called the Islamic State. The Intercept reports that Baghdadi was imprisoned in Abu Ghraib, “just a stone’s throw from where he was captured in Fallujah, for eight of the 10 months he was in detention.” He was then taken to Camp Bucca, about 400 miles south of Baghdad, in October 2004, where he was held an additional two months before being released.
During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, “U.S. facilities like Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca developed a reputation as `jihadi universities’ where hard-line extremists indoctrinated and recruited less radical inmates,” continues The Intercept. “Analysts have long suspected that Baghdadi took full advantage of his time at Bucca to link up with the jihadis and former Iraq military officials who would later fill out the Islamic State’s leadership.”
Aug 29, 2016
The humanitarian crisis created by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-coordinated bombing campaign in Yemen has driven Doctors Without Borders to leave the country. Now the Red Cross “has taken the unusual step of donating entire morgue units to Yemeni hospitals,” according to The Intercept.
Rima Kamal, a Red Cross spokesperson in Yemen, explains that “The hospitals were not able to cope. You could have more than 20 dead people brought into one hospital on one single day. The morgue capacity at a regular hospital is not equipped to handle this influx of dead bodies.”
On occasion, Kamal reports, “several dead bodies had to be stored on one shelf to avoid further decomposition. The situation was not sustainable.” The Red Cross has provided three Yemeni hospitals with body bags and refrigerated storage machines in the hope of abating a sanitary crisis that could compound the carnage with a disease outbreak.
The Saudi-led onslaught, which began in March 2015 after Houthi rebels seized control of the capital city and forced Saudi-backed ruler Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee the country, has claimed at least 6,500 lives. Tens of billions of dollars in weaponry have been supplied by the U.S. and UK to the Saudi-led coalition.
Aug 29, 2016
Disgraced former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz faced a torrential outpouring of disapproval from delegates from her home state of Florida on the first day of the convention in Cleveland. Revelations in hacked emails regarding the DNC’s corrupt favoritism toward the Hillary Clinton campaign led to Wasserman Shultz’s resignation from that post – and her rapid appointment to a sinecure with Clinton’s national campaign. Those developments haven’t been helpful to her prospects of winning a seventh term in Congress.
She faces a stern test in the August 30 primary against law professor Tim Canova, who is running ads depicting Wasserman Shultz as an entrenched symbol of a corrupt system. She is not the only incumbent Democrat dealing with a bitter primary. On the same day, Representatives Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson will contend for the party nomination to do battle for the Senate seat held by former Republican presidential aspirant Marco Rubio in the general election.
Grayson, long a favorite of the leftist progressive faction in the Democratic Party, has drawn criticism for managing a Cayman Island hedge fund – a potential conflict of interest seen as incongruous with the Congressman’s populist posturing regarding banking interests. Grayson was also injured by domestic abuse allegations made by his ex-wife. Murphy is the son of an immensely wealthy Florida homebuilder, Thomas Murphy, who recently donated $1 million to the Democratic Party’s Senate Majority PAC. Murphy is the prohibitive favorite, with a thirty point lead in a recent Florida poll.
Aug 29, 2016
The Washington Times reports that of the 154 people from private interests who met with Hillary Clinton while Secretary of State, over half were donors to the Clinton Foundation. The Foundation has been accused of being a slush fund for the Clintons where donors could get special favors in a “pay-to-play” scheme. Between them the donations that poured in to the foundation totaled as much as $165 million. Many of the donors represented foreign countries with values opposed to those advocated by the Democratic presidential nominee.
In fact, documents provided by government watchdog group Judicial Watch revealed that making a donation to the Foundation was sometimes the only way to get an audience with the Secretary:
“Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment,” Judicial Watch added. The meeting took place two days after a donation of six figures was made to the foundation.
Aug 29, 2016
Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter went back to the National Archive files to find a recorded testimony that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton verbally berated longtime business associate, Vince Foster, shortly before his death. But when he reviewed the archives, Kessler says in an article for the Daily Mail, the report he had personally seen was missing: “On a second visit, archivist James Mathis provided what he said were those same documents. While the box contained dozens of FBI reports concerning Foster's death…the reports on Hillary Clinton's role in his death were absent.”
The Daily Mail further reports that other Clinton documents have vanished from the National Archive: “In March 2009, the archives found that an external hard drive from the Bill Clinton White House containing confidential documents was missing.”
Aug 29, 2016
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was sold to the Dept. of Defense as a single fighter platform that could be customized to fit the needs of the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and various foreign air forces. However, it has turned into the most costly weapons system ever and is still not fully deployed in all its variations. Costs have doubled and delays in deployment exceed seven years, and counting. Worse, the per-unit cost has skyrocketed to nearly $100 million causing several NATO partners to pull out of the deal. The jet is also projected to cost 80% more to maintain than the competition.
Meanwhile the proliferation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) threatens the entire concept of piloted vehicles. UAVs are cheaper, lighter, and potentially more capable. They don’t need oxygen or food and they aren’t limited by G-forces like human pilots. Best, of all, they can be built in sufficient numbers to overwhelm defenses by swarms.
UAVs can do almost everything that manned aircraft can do. They can drop bombs and shoot missiles with precision. And, the military has now developed computerized flight controls to the degree that the Navy can even land them on aircraft carriers without pilots. The last hurdle is aerial dogfighting but programmers are teaming up with experienced pilots to tackle even this challenge. In the end, the cheaper, efficient drones could spell the end of the F-35 before it is actually deployed.
Aug 29, 2016
Russia and China are developing maneuvering hypersonic warheads to penetrate US anti-ballistic missile defenses, reports Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon. Boris Obnosov, director of the Russian Tactical Missiles Corp. told the Russian News Agency the hypersonic missiles “will be capable of flying through the atmosphere at speeds of seven to twelve times the speed of sound, all [air] defense systems will be weakened considerably.” The new warheads could be deployed by the early 2020s according to Obnosov.
The Free Beacon reports that China is also building hypersonic strike vehicles for use on its intercontinental ballistic missiles. “China… has conducted seven tests of the DF-ZF high-speed glider.” This includes a recent test in April.
Admiral Cecil Haney, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command is worried about the significant advantage this technology gives our potential enemies. He recently told attendees at a missile defense conference in Alabama, “The ability to find, fix, and track and hold … these types of capabilities are becoming increasingly more difficult. Hyper-glide vehicle technology can complicate our sensing and our defensive approaches.”
The US has only 30 land-based anti-ballistic missile systems located in Alaska and Vandenberg AFB in California. The US missile defenses have no warhead and instead rely on a kinetic-kill vehicle that must physically collide with the incoming missile to stop it. This feat becomes nearly impossible when the incoming warheads come in at hypersonic speeds.
Aug 29, 2016
Amber Lyon, a three-time Emmy award winning journalist, and three other journalists traveled to Bahrain in the midst of an Arab Spring uprising during 2011. Despite the personal danger and the outright intimidation by the government there, they captured significant footage documenting an oppressive government torturing, imprisoning and killing activists. Although this kind of first-hand content is usually very valuable to a news corporation like CNN, in was pulled from the schedule without justification. According to Glenn Greenwald (then reporting for the UK Guardian): “Even in the face of numerous inquiries and complaints from their own employees inside CNN, it continued to refuse to broadcast the program or even provide any explanation for the decision.”
“To date, this documentary has never aired on CNNi,” Greenwald continues. “Having just returned from Bahrain, Lyon says she ‘saw first-hand that these regime claims were lies, and I couldn’t believe CNN was making me put what I knew to be government lies into my reporting.’” Greenwald concludes that“CNNi refused to allow it to air because the Bahrain Government had paid them not to show it.”
Aug 26, 2016
Donald Trump’s chief appeal during the Republican primaries was his bluntness and the perception that he would never equivocate about even the most controversial policy proposals – such as his repeated promise to erect a physical wall at the border with Mexico, and deport people who have immigrated to the U.S. without official sanction. This week he has abandoned both of those proposals in favor of an approach that is similar to the existing policy under Barack Obama.
“The first thing we’re going to do if and when I win, is we’re going to get rid of all the bad ones,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly. “What people don’t know is that Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country. Bush, the same thing. Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. Well, I’m going to do the same thing.” He also explicitly promised that he would not place illegal immigrants into detention centers. The most significant difference in his approach, Trump said, is that he would pursue the same policy with “more energy.”
In a subsequent appearance in Austin, Texas with fellow Fox News personality – and unofficial campaign adviser – Sean Hannity, Trump clarified that he would not seek to extend citizenship to immigrants illegally residing in the U.S., and that he would require that they pay back taxes.
“There’s no amnesty, as such … but we [will] work with them,” the Republican presidential nominee insisted.
Although columnist Ann Coulter, one of Trump’s most passionate supporters, described the candidate’s revised position as “a mistake,” most of his hardline proponents – such as Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Iowa Representative Steve King, and Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, defended his change in direction as a sound campaign tactic.
Aug 26, 2016
After naming five high-ranking police officers under investigation for alleged ties to drug traffickers, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed critics and reminded the public that he had promised during his campaign to shame corrupt police officers.
“What due process?” Duterte said during an address to fellow alumni at the San Beda College of Law. “Due process … is given once you are in the court. It is not given by the president. I am not the court. Why should I give you due process?”
The five officials accused of protecting drug syndicates are retired police deputy director Marcelo Garbo, Jr. former National Capital Region Police Director Joel Pagdilao, former Quezon City Police Chief Superintendent Edgardo Trinio, Western Visayas regional police director Bernardo Diaz, and retired police General Vicente Loot, who was recently elected mayor of the city of Daanbatayan.
Duterte also named three people he accused of being the country’s top-tier narcotics traffickers, and claimed that he knew of at least 35 local government executives implicated in the drug trade.
In his address, Duterte said that police officials accused of narcotics-related corruption should have the opportunity to defend themselves in court. This stands in dramatic contrast to his public endorsement of vigilante violence and extra-judicial killing of suspected drug dealers.
Aug 26, 2016
Transgenderism is a behavioral fad, not a physical characteristic, according to a new interdisciplinary report that examined peer-reviewed studies in several fields.
“Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences [we find] that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence,” write Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, and Dr. Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Their findings were published in the journal The New Atlantis.
The Obama administration has issued what it calls “guidance” to school districts requiring them to accommodate public school students – including grade schoolers – who supposedly “identify” as members of the opposite biological sex. After exhaustively evaluating the available scientific literature, professors Mayer and McHugh conclude that “Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood” and advise that they are “disturbed and alarmed by the severity and irreversibility of some interventions being publicly discussed and employed for children.”
The prevailing dogma that sexual orientation is “an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings … is not supported by science,” they continue. “While minor differences in the brain structures and brain activity between homosexual and heterosexual individuals have been identified by researchers, such neurobiological findings do not demonstrate whether these differences are innate or are the result of environmental and psychological factors.” That is to say, the observed differences might be a result of individual behavior, rather than the cause of it.
Aug 26, 2016
As medical advisers to CIA interrogators in Guantanamo Bay, psychiatrists James Elmer Mitchell and John Jessen designed, supervised, and participated in the torture of terrorism suspects. Jessen reverse-engineered the U.S. military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training in order to devise torture protocols that would be used to “break” and “exploit” detainees. Mitchell, a former Air Force Psychologist, also provided hands-on instruction in the use of such methods as prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, waterboarding, and “rectal feeding.” Mitchell and Jessen were paid more than $80 million for their role in creating and carrying out the torture program in Guantanamo.
Both physicians have faced punitive sanctions from the medical profession, and they are defendants in a lawsuit filed by several victims, who accuse them of operating a “criminal enterprise” in violation of what the US Constitution calls the “Law of Nations.” Under the Alien Tort Statute, the former CIA contractors can be held personally liable if the plaintiffs prevail in court – and the government that availed itself of their expertise, and paid them lucratively in the process, is now treating them as tainted and deniable assets.
On August 22, Mitchell and Jessen filed a motion to compel the Federal Government to produce CIA and Justice Department documents that they consider critical to their defense. Although subpoenas have been issued, “the Government has not yet produced a single document in response … or even provided a date certain on which it expects to produce responsive documents,” their motion complains. Citing a long list of statutes, executive orders, and various kinds of “privilege,” the government contends that the necessary documents must remain classified.
Aug 26, 2016
On many occasions, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has referred to the Clinton Foundation as a “slush fund.” He has recently accused Mrs. Clinton of displaying personal corruption akin to what is commonly found in the Third World. The role of the Clinton Foundation – a purported charity – in what has been demonstrated to be a pay-to-play scheme during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State figures prominently in Mr. Trump’s indictment of the Democratic presidential nominee as “Crooked Hillary.”
As it happens, a 2009 tax return filed by the Donald J. Trump Foundation shows a $100,000 donation to the William J. Clinton Foundation. The itemized list of donations suggests that at the time Mr. Trump regarded the Clinton Foundation to be a legitimate charity, akin to the commendable charitable groups that also received donations from Mr. Trump that year.
In addition to acting as a pass-through for powerful people seeking privileged access to then-Secretary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation has clearly exploited the goodwill of sincere people who want to invest in charitable causes. In 2013, the organization received more than $140 million in grants and donor pledges but allocated just $9 million in direct aid. It spent more on “conferences, conventions, and meetings” than on charitable activities. Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation, a left-leaning watchdog group, agrees with Trump’s assessment that “It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund.”
Aug 26, 2016
Prospective First Lady Melania Trump took wasn’t particularly disturbed when the New York Post published decades-old nude photos from her modeling career, some of which depicted her in poses suggesting lesbian acts. She has taken issue, however, with the Daily Mail of London and other publications that claim she had worked as an escort – a term often used as a euphemism for “prostitute”– in the years immediately after she arrived in the United States.
The original Daily Mail story, which called into question the legitimacy of the future Mrs. Trump’s modeling career, “was based entirely on speculation and [hearsay] without any actual evidence,” summarizes commentator Cassandra Fairbanks. It was given wider circulation by many other outlets, including The Week and Politico.
Mrs. Trump has retained attorney Charles Harder, who represented professional wrestler Hulk Hogan in his successful defamation suit against Gawker, a celebrity gossip website which has been driven out of business as a result.
“Mrs. Trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including the Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an `escort’ in the 1990s,” declares Harder in an email news release. “All such statements are 100 percent false, highly damaging to her reputation, and personally hurtful.”
As a British publication, the Daily Mail has the greatest legal exposure, given that in the UK the burden of proof in a libel action is on the defendant.
Aug 26, 2016
Early in the American War for Independence, a band of 400 Maryland volunteers held off a larger, better-trained, and better-equipped force of British Regulars at Gowanus Swamp in Brooklyn in a desperate rearguard action. This gave the main body of the Continental Army a chance to retreat, regroup and eventually prevail. More than 260 of the Marylanders were captured or killed by the Redcoats. General Washington immortalized them as saviors of the new nation, and their heroic sacrifice earned Maryland the nickname the Old Line State.
Among the abuses that precipitated the War for Independence was the arrogance and invasiveness of British occupation troops, including the use of “writs of assistance” – self-issued warrants allowing troops and officials to commit searches and seizures without probable cause. If the heroic Maryland residents who suffered and died at Gowanus Swamp could have foreseen what has been happening in Baltimore since January of this year, they would have been justified in concluding that life under British rule wasn’t particularly disagreeable.
A lengthy and detailed expose published by Bloomberg News describes how the Baltimore Police Department has used a specially equipped airplane to overfly the city for up to 10 hours per day recording and storing everything visible to its sensors – without a warrant or notifying the public. The information collected by this patently unconstitutional process has been used by police to investigate all kinds of offenses, including petty thefts and vandalisms.
The program, funded by a private donor, was carried out through Dayton, Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems. It is adapted from the military’s Angel Fire system, which was used in Iraq to “cast an unblinking eye on an entire city.”
Aug 26, 2016
Accusing him of displaying “open defiance” of her court’s authority, US District Judge Anna Brown has informed land rights activist Ryan Bundy that she considers him to be unfit to act as his own attorney and will require him to obtain legal counsel unless he can “show cause” for her to rule otherwise.
Ryan Bundy is among 26 defendants charged with federal felonies as a result of their actions in last January’s month-long protest occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. They face trial in a federal court in Portland.
Ryan, his brothers Ammon and Dave, their father Cliven, and dozens of others also face charges arising from the April 2014 stand-off against the BLM in Bunkerville, Nevada. Ryan Bundy was recently forced to undergo an involuntary surgical procedure to remove bullet fragments from his shoulder, an injury that occurred during the January 26 roadside ambush in which Oregon State Troopers and FBI agents fatally shot rancher and activist LaVoy Finicum. Along with Finicum’s widow and family, Ryan Bundy is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Oregon State Police and the FBI.
Acting as his own attorney in the Portland trial, Bundy has unsuccessfully challenged the court’s jurisdiction. Judge Brown claims that allowing him to continue as a pro se defendant “would create an unacceptable risk that he would continue to flout this Court’s orders” and that his conduct in the upcoming trial “would prejudice the fair administration of justice….”
Aug 26, 2016
Among the suspicious donors to a pro-Clinton super-PAC, or political action committee, is a Turkish college professor named Adil Oksuz, reports USA Today. Two years ago, Harmony Enterprises, an apparently fictitious company created by the professor, “made a $5,000 donation to the Ready for Hillary PAC.” The company is supposedly a paper-manufacturing concern. Its business address listed in corporate records is a used car lot next to a highway in tiny Lodi, New Jersey. Its telephone number is disconnected.
Under US election laws, foreign nationals are not allowed to make campaign donations, but foreign-owned companies can contribute from US-generated profits, as long as that decision is made by U.S. citizens employed by the company. No existing records confirm that Harmony Enterprises complied with election laws.
The $5,000 donation from Oksuz’s company was one of a half-dozen made to the Ready for Hillary PAC on the same day from Turkish Americans living in and around the same small town in New Jersey. Most of the donors were members of an academic and religious movement connected to self-exiled Turkish cleric Fetullah Gullen, who lives in nearby Pennsylvania. Some of them have also donated to the Clinton Global Initiative. Gullen is the subject of an extradition demand by Turkish President Erdogan, who has accused him of organizing last July’s abortive coup attempt.
Aug 26, 2016
A few years ago, the Obama administration signed a UN treaty that requires coordinated international action targeting the proliferation of small arms – defined as firearms under 30mm in caliber. The treaty, which is opposed by supporters of the Second Amendment-protected right to individual gun ownership, demands that signatory governments undertake to establish “norms of non-possession” by private citizens.
This grows out of a fifteen-year campaign by the UN to demonize private possession of small arms as one of the leading causes of terrorism and other armed violence. During roughly the same period, however, the US Department of Defense has literally flooded the world with firearms. The London-based advocacy group Action on Armed Violence examined Pentagon arms contracts since 2001 and learned that huge amounts of weapons supplied to troops and allies in the primary theaters of the so-called War on Terror cannot be accounted for.
Only three percent of the roughly 1.45 million small arms sent to Iraq and Afghanistan are listed in the contract database.
“Our findings raise concerns about the [Pentagon’s] own transparency and accountability when it comes to issuing contracts,” declares Iain Overton, director of investigations for the group. “We also know the US government has acknowledged they don’t know where many of these weapons now are.”
Aug 25, 2016
During the flooding crisis in Louisiana, dozens or scores of local residents spontaneously organized a rescue effort called the “Cajun Navy.” This was just one of numerous examples of private relief efforts that met needs that government couldn’t fill. Government’s contribution to a crisis is to capitalize on catastrophe by expanding its powers at the expense of the public, and punish those who have taken the initiative to help others without official supervision – and Louisiana’s political class has performed exactly as we should expect.
Republican state senator Jonathan Perry seeks to reward the Cajun Navy by proposing legislation that would require disaster relief volunteers to undergo expensive training, pay a permit fee, and obtain a government-issued certificate before they can render assistance to their neighbors next time floods descend on the state. One purpose of this arrangement, he says, is to confer government “authority” on a private effort that proved more than capable of addressing needs without it.
In a Facebook video, Perry sought to correct what he called “misinformation” about his proposal, insisting that “The intent of what I want to do is to completely unregulate [the delivery of emergency services], to where our volunteers are not stopped from going out. It is basically to remove any restrictions and allow people to get to our citizens quicker.”
Aug 25, 2016
Captain Clay Higgins of Louisiana’s St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office has become a folk hero in the state, and a social media celebrity, for his Crime Stopper videos in which he enlists the help of the public in tracking down and apprehending criminal suspects. His public persona is that of an old-school peace officer who wants to protect persons and property – stern toward those who break the law, kind toward the public, and fair in all circumstances. His local popularity prompted Higgins to announce that he is running for Congress.
During the recent flooding in south Louisiana, Higgins recorded a video showing his daughter’s devastated home, and panning through the streets to display other houses that had been wiped out. Although visibly holding back tears, Higgins spoke with obvious affection of the local residents of every “color and creed … working together as one. Just Americans pulling together. You don’t see no FEMA trucks out here, right? This is not government, baby. This is America. This is how things should be when disaster strikes – people helping each other and loving each other. What’s wrong with that?”
After giving viewers a panoramic glimpse of “devastation – as far as the eye can see,” Higgins resolutely declared: “But guess what? This is all gonna get cleaned up. We’re not going to stop working shoulder-to-shoulder, brother to brother, sister to sister – American patriots, baby. South Louisiana. The rest of the country ought to pay attention.”
Unfortunately, when Captain Higgins visited a local Red Cross shelter to pray with people left homeless by the flood, he was told that the organization’s policies wouldn’t permit him to do so.
Aug 25, 2016
In Federalist essay ten, James Madison famously warned against direct democracy, advising Americans that “such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
Madison, like the other key Founders, designed a constitutional republic in which the goveronment would be ruled by law and accountable to the governed. The Framers took great care to limit and qualify the delegated powers of the federal government. They were particularly concerned by the prospect that the presidency could become the instrument of the general will – a concept that led to bloody tyranny in the French Revolution. They also warned against the dangers of “party spirit,” and of “factions” or “combinations” that would exercise undue influence – what we would now call “special interests.”
Cartoonist Scott Adams, creator of the widely syndicated Dilbert comic strip and a surprisingly astute political pundit, has described Donald Trump as the “direct democracy” presidential candidate – a figure who will modify his positions in response to the public’s reaction.
“A Trump presidency is likely to be the first direct-democracy presidency,” Adams recently wrote. A Clinton presidency, on the other hand, “would still have the vestiges of a republic, with decisions being made by special interest groups and sold to the public….”
Adams insists that while direct democracy “in pre-Internet days was a bad idea,” that the arrival of social media has somehow made it beneficial, and that people who cling to the supposedly outmoded views of the Founders on this subject have been “hypnotized.”
Aug 25, 2016
Government schools have long embraced the principle called “In loco parentis,” which means that while students are in their care school officials who act in the place of the parents are to treat them as the parents would. Over the past several decades, as the public education system has become more overtly collectivist, the prevailing doctrine has encouraged officials to supplant parental authority, rather than supplementing it.
Where the trendy topic of transgenderism is concerned, some school districts are essentially cutting parents out of the equation altogether. Schools officials in Oregon, for example, have been instructed to maintain “Student confidentiality” regarding gender identity issues where they have reason to expect parental disapproval. Bob Mosier, chief communications officer for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland, has counseled school officials to withhold critical information from parents – even when this involves incidents in which female students are sharing intimate spaces with biological male “transgender” students on field trips, reports the Washington Times.
“[M]any of you might be asking yourselves, `So, I’m at an overnight field trip, and I have a student who’s biologically a male, [but] identifies as a female … and that student wants to sleep in the dorms … with the females,” Mosier states during a training video. “So what do we do? ... [T]he answer is, they sleep with the females. “ In addition, this information is not to be shared “with parents of all the other campers.”
“That’s not the easy answer,” Mosier insists, “it’s the right answer” – thereby ironically assuming that the terms “right” and “wrong” have fixed meanings, just as the terms “male” and “female” used to.
Aug 25, 2016
Performing stand-up comedy is not for the timid, and watching a comedy performance often isn’t for the easily offended. Nearly all humor is rooted in a wry appreciation of human frailty and disappointed expectations, so the laughter is often extracted from situations in which someone has experienced suffering – if only in the form of mild embarrassment.
Mike Ward is a comedian whose routine is often called “edgy” – which means that he will frequently examine touchy subjects in a way calculated to offend at least some people. Ironically, Ward is from Canada, a country with a well-earned reputation for courtesy. Unfortunately, Canada is also ruled by a government that will punish people for offensive speech, which is why Ward was recently fined $42,000 by a so-called human rights tribunal for telling a joke that offended the parents of a 19-year-old singer named Jeremy Gabriel who suffers from a debilitating disease called Treacher Collins Syndrome.
Discussing the immersive media coverage of Gabriel’s tragic condition, Ward pointed out that “he was supposed to die … why isn’t he dead yet?” Ward’s punch line, for what it’s worth, is that Gabriel “Stole a wish” and may in fact be immortal.
The joke is of dubious comic value, and can certainly be seen as offensive. In Canada, this is enough to warrant prosecution. Gabriel’s parents filed a complaint before a human rights tribunal, and the family was awarded the $42,000 fine. Ward is appealing the decision, and says that if he loses the case, he will “just move to Syria or Saudi Arabia or some other country [that] respects free speech as much as Canada does.”
Aug 25, 2016
Thousands of demonstrators, most of them members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, have assembled in Cannon Ball, North Dakota to protest the federally subsidized Dakota Access Pipeline. Leaders of the tribe contend that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the Energy Transfer Corporation official approval for construction of the 1,172-mile oil pipeline without the tribe’s consent. The pipeline would convey up to 570,000 barrels of oil across four states each day to a distribution hub in Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux argue that this arrangement threatens the Missouri River and violates their tribal sovereignty.
While the protest is largely driven by environmentalist concerns, land rights activists might see this as yet another example of the federal government usurping reserved rights to the land, whether the rights of the individual states or the rights protected by treaties with Indian tribes. It is worth recalling that there was a small but vociferous number of American Indian activists present in Bunkerville, Nevada in April 2014, supporting the Cliven Bundy family during its standoff with the BLM.
Some media accounts suggest that the Feds are employing heavy-handed tactics in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. The Free Thought Project reports that “North Dakota homeland security director Greg Wilz ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the protest encampment, despite sweltering heat.” This was done in response to allegations of “disorderly conduct” on behalf of demonstrators, including several reports that protesters have aimed laser pointers at surveillance aircraft.
Aug 25, 2016
The widow and survivors of Utah rancher and land rights martyr LaVoy Finicum have hired Pasadena-based attorney Brian Claypool in preparation for filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Oregon State Police and FBI.
Finicum was gunned down by state troopers and members of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team in a highway ambush in central Oregon on January 26 following a month-long protest occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns. At the time, Finicum and several others, including protest leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy, were headed to nearby John Day, where they planned to hold a town meeting to encourage ranchers and other rural land owners to organize in opposition to federal land use policies.
The killing took place in Harney County. An investigation by Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris, acting as a special prosecutor, ruled that the shooting by OSP troopers was justified. He did not clear the FBI agents of wrongdoing, however. According to Claypool, “there is now physical evidence (shell casings) that proves that two FBI agents lied during the law enforcement investigation by stating that they did not fire the first shots at Finicum’s vehicle.” A federal grand jury is presently investigating perjury and other misconduct by unnamed members of the FBI sniper team.
Claypool will also represent Ryan Bundy, who he says has been subjected to “multiple egregious constitutional violations by prison guards during his incarceration in a Portland jail while he awaits trial.” Bundy was recently dragged from his cell and compelled to undergo involuntary surgery to remove a shell fragment that is believed to be physical evidence in the Finicum shooting.
Aug 25, 2016
No Oregon state law compelled Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the Sweetcakes by Melissa bakery, to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013. At the time, the State of Oregon did not recognize same-sex marriages as legitimate, nor did county clerks issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
This means that it was official state policy to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples who wanted their unions to be recognized as if they were legitimate marriages. However, the same state bureaucracy that engaged in public discrimination slammed the Kleins with a $135,000 punitive damage award because they chose to decline the couple’s business. Nothing in state law or judicial precedent justified an award of that magnitude, which was imposed by Brad Avakian, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, or BOLI. Indeed, Avakian had issued a smaller damage award in a case involving actual physical harm to a victim of workplace discrimination.
The BOLI is an administrative body, not a legitimate court. Last April, the Kleins took the case to the Oregon Court of Appeals, arguing that the BOLI had violated their First Amendment rights and that Avakian – who collaborated with the LGBT pressure group that pursued the case – violated the canons of ethical conduct and should have recused himself from the controversy. Attorneys representing the State of Oregon have filed a brief in response to the Kleins, in which they insist that the First Amendment does not protect them against compelled speech – such as creating a work of art celebrating an event that violates their religious convictions.
Aug 25, 2016
The late pundit Joseph Sobran once wrote that secular fundamentalists insist that religious faith is a private matter – and then they promote government policies that effectively abolish privacy. For decades, the pressure group called Americans United for Separation of Church and State, or AU, has promoted litigation to suppress public expressions of religious faith, such as prayers at local government functions. It has now expanded its mandate to include ferreting out people who seek to remain true to their convictions in their private business undertakings.
AU has inaugurated a national campaign it is calling “Protect thy Neighbor," which seeks to enlist people as informants on people in their community who don’t comply with the ongoing gender revolution – such as bakers, florists, wedding photographers, or others who choose to decline business associated with so-called same-sex wedding ceremonies. The program also opposes legislation that would protect the rights of conscience of medical professionals regarding abortion and so-called transgender transition procedures. The targets of this campaign, AU explains, are those who “want to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to deny healthcare, refuse to provide services, and disobey laws protecting Americans from discrimination and abuse.”
The group ironically describes itself as “advocates for religious freedom” who are “fighting to protect our neighbors.” Its campaign clearly seeks to abolish religious freedom by encouraging people to collaborate in persecuting neighbors whose convictions are deemed politically incorrect.
Aug 25, 2016
The American Conservative magazine recently published an anguished letter from a mother whose daughter “lives in a fantasy land of her own creation and the school’s continual nurturing”; the teenager professes to be a transgender male living in the body of a young woman.
“The advice I received from the school was to become a member of PFLAG” – that is, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – “or similar groups so I could support my child and her decision.”
“I refuse to do this,” the mother continues. “My daughter is a girl. She acts like a girl when she is not consciously doing her boy act.”
As Liberty News Daily has previously reported, school officials in many jurisdictions are instructed to treat parents as potential adversaries in the ongoing gender revolution.
Aug 24, 2016
As the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton is receiving classified CIA briefings. If elected, she would preside over every aspect of the federal government’s massive and ever-expanding network of intelligence agencies. She and her supporters insist that her illegal use of a non-secure private email server to conduct official State Department business was a trivial mistake, despite the FBI’s findings that she exposed classified data to exploitation by foreign powers.
Despite the fact that his agency assembled evidence demonstrating criminal misconduct by Mrs. Clinton, FBI Director James Comey recommended against criminal prosecution. He reached that conclusion despite the fact that former CIA Director David Petraeus was compelled to take a plea bargain after being charged with felonies for leaks of sensitive information similar to those committed by Hillary. The US Army is not as sanguine about Mrs. Clinton’s mishandling of sensitive and classified information.
The Daily Caller reports that “A leaked Army operation security brief appears to show Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former CIA Director David Petraeus listed as two key examples of insider threats.”
An “insider threat” is an official with access to classified materials who is regarded as a potential security risk. Mrs. Clinton is mentioned in the company of convicted murderer and terrorist Nidal Hassan, and whistle-blowers Edward Snowden and Private Bradley Manning (who now refers to himself as Chelsea).
Aug 24, 2016
Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California, a colonel in the Air Force Reserves, is trying to stop Washington from providing financial and material support to Saudi Arabia’s continuing onslaught in Yemen.
A Saudi-led coalition is battling Houthi rebels who overthrew a Sunni monarch that had been installed and supported by Riyadh. Rep. Lieu has condemned the campaign as “indiscriminate killings … [that] look like war crimes” and points out that children as young as eight years of age have been killed in recent air strikes.
“By assisting Saudi Arabia, the United States is aiding and abetting what appears to be war crimes in Yemen,” Lieu declares, urging the Obama administration to “stop enabling this madness now.”
Unfortunately, Lieu told The Intercept. “Many in Congress have been hesitant to criticize the Saudis’ operational conduct in Yemen.”
A private, multi-national advocacy group called the Arms Control Coalition has accused the U.S., Britain, and France of violating the 2014 Arms Trade Treaty by selling weapons to Riyadh that have been used in attacks on civilian targets.
Aug 24, 2016
US Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte earned widespread media sympathy when he claimed that he and three teammates had been robbed at gunpoint in Rio. That sympathy curdled into hostility when evidence emerged suggesting that Lochte’s story was an attempt at misdirection following a drunken rampage in which he and his friends vandalized a gas station and were forced to make restitution. Lochte, a superb athlete of very modest verbal skills, didn’t help his case by offering a highly qualified apology in which he appeared to concede that he had lied about what took place in Rio – or that he had at least “over-exaggerated” what had happened to him.
An on-the-scene investigation by USA Today suggests that Lochte may have been right about some elements of the scandal, and calls into question the version provided by Rio police officers. The armed security guards involved in the incident were off-duty police officers seeking to supplement their income – a practice that is commonplace here in the United States, as well. They claimed to have detained the American swimmers after they had vandalized the business, and demanded compensation for the damage. The swimmers handed over the equivalent of about fifty dollars, but had all of their other valuables when they returned to the Olympic Village.
According to USA Today: “A Brazilian judge says police might have been hasty in determining the security guards, by how they dealt with the swimmers, did not commit a robbery.” Lochte and his colleagues had been drinking, none of them spoke Portuguese, and the truth of the murky and confusing affair may never be determined.
Aug 24, 2016
Hillary Clinton diverted classified State Department messages to a non-secure server for purely self-serving reasons. She faces no criminal charges, and is the prohibitive favorite to become the next president of the United States. After her inauguration she would have the power to pardon former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who may die in prison after being sent there in an act of official retaliation – although a capacity for clemency doesn’t appear to be part of her public character.
In 2003, Sterling – who had left the Agency by the time – told staffers for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about a classified program called “Merlin” in which the CIA would provide faulty nuclear blueprints to Iran through a Russian scientist living in the U.S. He was concerned that the information would actually aid Tehran’s nuclear program. That disclosure wound up in New York Times reporter James Risen’s book “State of War.” The Bush administration tried to prevent publication of the book. The Obama administration wanted to prosecute Risen for publishing it, but settled on prosecuting Sterling under the same Espionage Act that defines Hillary Clinton’s actions as felonies. Last May he was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison.
Sterling’s wife Holly informs the Colorado Independent that her 49-year-old husband, who has a heart condition, is being “subjected to unresponsive and dismissive medical care” at the FCI Englewood prison. He suffers from chest pressure, shortness of breath, profuse sweating, and an uneven heartbeat, and his symptoms are being ignored by prison medical staff.
“I am concerned my husband may die,” Holly Sterling declares.
Aug 24, 2016
At least 1,800 people have been subjected to extra-judicial killings by police and vigilante groups in the Philippines since the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has openly and impenitently abetted the killing. In one speech, Duterte, a former prosecutor, promised to kill 100,000 suspected drug dealers and users and dispose of their bodies in Manila Bay until “the fish grow fat.”
In testimony before the Philippine Senate, National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa dismissed the police killings as incidents in which criminal suspects resisted arrest.
“If they did not fight it out with police, they would be alive,” the chief insisted, while acknowledging that at least 1,160 people were murdered in acts of vigilante violence. In one incident, eighty bodies were discovered with cardboard signs describing the victims as drug dealers.
Urging citizens to kill suspected drug dealers, President Duterte declared: “Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun – you have my support.”
Duterte has also reopened peace talks with the Maoist-led Communist insurgency that has been carrying out a guerrilla war in the Philippines for decades. Representatives of his government opened peace talks with the Communists in Oslo. Duterte has welcomed members of the National Democratic Front, the Communist Party’s political arm, into his government.
Despite his congenial treatment of Communists and his encouragement of death-squad violence, Duterte has earned modest applause from some US conservatives for threatening to withdraw his country from the United Nations.
Aug 24, 2016
US District Judge Anna J. Brown has ruled that federal employees at Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and in the nearby city of Burns cannot offer testimony about unspecified “subjective fears” that they experienced during last year’s protest occupation of the facility by land rights activists led by Ammon Bundy.
“The fact that an official feels incidentally threatened is not relevant” in proving the charge that the protester engaged in a conspiracy to intimidate federal employees, stated Judge Brown. “That may be a valid feeling, but that feeling is not evidence.”
“The fact that a person is intimidated doesn’t make it more probable than not that [the defendants] intended to intimidate,” she continued.
The prosecution plans to call seven employees from the Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service to testify in the September 7 trial.
In June, Judge Brown dismissed the most serious charge against the 26 protesters involved in the occupation, namely carrying a firearm “in relation to a crime of violence” – in this case, conspiring to intimidate federal employees. The defendants are seeking access to evidence produced in the ongoing grand jury investigation of FBI misconduct in the shooting of LaVoy Finicum. This would be used in support of their claim that they had carried arms in a peaceful protest in order to defend themselves against possible criminal abuse on the part of the FBI.
Aug 24, 2016
Within a very short time, predicts Mercer University professor David Gushee, religious institutions in the United States will no longer be permitted to “discriminate” against LGBT people on the basis of doctrinal beliefs.
“It turns out that you are either for full and unequivocal social and legal equality for LGBT people, or you are against it, and your answer will at some point be revealed,” wrote Dr. Gushee, a prominent member of what could be called the Religious Left, in a column for the Religion News Service. “Neutrality is not an option. Neither is polite half-acceptance. Nor is avoiding the subject. Hide as you might, the issue will come and find you.”
A growing number of institutions embrace “full LGBT equality” – meaning recognition of the novel institution called same-sex marriage, and compelled intimate association between the emotionally well-adjusted and disturbed people who “identify” as members of the opposite anatomical sex – as mandatory, Gushee continues. That list includes “any entity associated with the federal government, including the military and the civil service. And the vast majority of the education sector, its schools, trade groups, accreditors and staff, both because of the values of most educators and because of federal regulations.” The same is true of “the media and entertainment business,” clinical and helping professions, and much of the corporate world.
Gushee claims that he has encouraged holdouts to surrender to the victorious cultural left voluntarily, and he now warns that very soon private institutions – including religious bodies – who do not submit “will have the same legal rights and social acceptance as [those who have practiced] any kind of racial discrimination. Which is, none.”
Aug 24, 2016
Dylann Roof, accused of murdering nine members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015, was a self-radicalized white supremacist who carried out a terrorist “martyrdom operation,” according to a brief filed by federal prosecutors. The court filings contend that Roof’s “statements, writings, travel, personal interests and dress are consistent with the adoption of white supremacists beliefs … including a belief in the need to use violence to achieve white supremacy.”
Following his arrest last year, Roof was described by investigators as a “lone wolf” terrorist who had been radicalized through study of white supremacist teachings online. The most recent prosecution theory is that Roof’s alleged crimes are “consistent with the concept of leaderless resistance and martyrdom advocated by white supremacy extremist groups and self-radicalization leading to violence.” Several figures described by the prosecution as experts in white supremacy will be called to testify in his November trial.
Roof faces the death penalty for murder in South Carolina. Federal prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty, rejecting a defense offer to plead guilty in exchange for a promise that the Feds would take the death penalty off the table.
Since 1988, when the federal death penalty was reinstated, only three offenders sentenced to die have been executed – Timothy McVeigh, drug kingpin Juan Raul Garza, and Louis Jones, Jr., a decorated Iraq war veteran who was convicted of kidnaping, rape, and murder.
Under the United States Constitution, murder and lesser offenses fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the states. The only criminal offenses properly found in federal jurisdiction are treason, counterfeiting, and offenses against the “laws of nations,” such as piracy.
Aug 24, 2016
Five years ago, the Obama administration imposed an “exclusion zone” over Libya that quickly morphed into a “no-fly zone” – and then blossomed into a fully realized regime change operation. The escalation gradient has been somewhat gentler in Syria, but it does appear that the Obama administration, in its closing year, is preparing for a full-scale war in that country – that may grow into a military confrontation with Russia.
A careful reading of the Pentagon’s August 22 press briefing reveals “a bombshell policy shift,” warns Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute: “Syrian forces and their Russian partners are being told that conducting military operations in some parts of Syrian airspace opens them up to being shot down by the U.S. military.”
According to Pentagon briefer Peter Cook, “We will use our air power as needed to protect coalition forces and our partnered operations…. We advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of [those] areas.”
This is a directive from Washington to Damascus forbidding the Syrian government to defend its own territory against foreign-funded and foreign-supplied radical Islamic rebels. Asked if this amounts to a “no-fly zone,” Cook insisted that it is not – even though he could not explain a material difference between a no-fly zone, on the one hand, and a warning that Syrian and Russian planes operating in the airspace were subject to attack, on the other.
Asked if the Syrian government “has the right to fly over its own territory,” Cook recited the party line with the dogged determination of a Soviet apparatchik: “We will use our air power as needed to protect coalition partners and our partnered operations.”
Aug 24, 2016
An Associated Press analysis of relevant documents found that more than half of the non-government figures who met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “gave money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation.” Engaging in commendable understatement, the AP suggests that this indicates that Mrs. Clinton would face “possible ethics challenges if elected president.”
During her tenure as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton met with, or had phone conversations with, 154 people representing private interests. Of that number, at least 85 “donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs” – a total of $156 million. No fewer than 40 of them donated at least $100,000 apiece, and 20 coughed up more than $1 million in individual donations.
Bill and Hillary Clinton both have law degrees, and while facing impeachment then-President Bill Clinton displayed a gift for extracting self-serving nuances from common language – such as his fastidious distinctions regarding what sexual acts constitute adultery, and whether there is a settled definition of the word, “is.” The unmistakable pay-for-play arrangement that prevailed between Secretary Clinton and the family’s private foundation may not constitute a facial violation of the legal agreements the couple signed before she accepted her position. However, the new findings document “the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton,” the AP contends.
The Charity Watchdog accountability group doesn’t equivocate in its assessment of the Clinton Foundation: Just last month it placed it on its “watch list” of ethically dubious organizations, where it finds appropriate company alongside Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Aug 23, 2016
The new remake of the classic Charlton Heston film “Ben Hur” made scarcely a ripple at the box office over its first weekend, and will quickly disappear from theaters and soon be forgotten. This doesn’t mean that the LBGT lobby will neglect an opportunity to condemn the film for supposedly “straight-washing” the storyline.
The expression “straight-washing” is a newly minted politically correct term of art referring to the supposed offense of ignoring or misrepresenting gay characters or themes in literature, cinema, or other media. In this case, the Ben Hur remake has been castigated for omitting a specious gay subtext between the protagonist, the heroic first-century Jewish businessman Judah Ben Hur, and the villain, a Roman tribune named Mesalla. In the 1959 film, which itself was a remake of a classic silent movie, Judah and Mesalla were childhood friends who took separate paths. As adults they became enemies when Judah – a pious man and a patriot – refused to become an informant on behalf of Mesalla.
The vengeful Mesalla retaliates by having Judah, his mother, and his sister arrested and imprisoned. Judah becomes a galley slave in a Roman battleship, and his loved ones wind up in a leper colony. The rest of the story deals with Judah’s quest for vengeance, and his discovery of the power to forgive after his encounter with Jesus of Nazareth. The novel on which the movies are based, written by Civil War General Lew Wallace, is entitled: “Ben Hur, a Tale of the Christ.”
During production of the 1959 film, novelist and homosexual agitator Gore Vidal, who was briefly employed to touch up the script, supposedly told actor Steven Boyd – himself a homosexual – to play a key scene with Heston as if he were renewing ties with an old lover. (Judah’s love interest is a radiantly lovely young woman named Tirzah.) Heston wasn’t let in on the joke, which has now been canonized as part of the LGBT movement’s official mythology. Now the Lavender Lobby is aggrieved, or at least pretends to be, by the fact that the new film doesn’t contain an overt homosexual relationship where neither the author of the story nor the previous films had depicted one.
Aug 23, 2016
Four Texas men sentenced to life in prison for their supposed roles in a gang-rape and double murder are “actually innocent” and should be released, wrote the retired district judge who imposed those sentences in 1994.
Judge George Allen has urged the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to approve habeas corpus applications for Richard Bryan Kussmaul, James Edward Long, Michael Dewayne Shelton and James Wayne Pitts, Jr., who were convicted of rape and murder charges arising from the shooting deaths of two teenagers in 1992. Newly discovered DNA evidence “constitutes clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable juror would have found [them] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt had the new evidence been available at trial,” Allen pointed out in his four-page advisory opinion.
In addition, the three wrongfully convicted men testified in a July hearing that they offered perjured testimony against Kussmaul during his trial “because a prosecutor promised them probation and a deputy coerced their confessions by threatening them with the death penalty,” reports the Waco Tribune.
The three defendants who testified against Kussmaul claimed that they had taken turns raping a 17-year-old girl before Kussmaul shot her and a boyfriend in the back with a high-powered rifle. They recanted their confessions shortly after beginning their 20-year prison sentences. Long and Pitts each served a full 20-year sentence; Shelton was released after 17 years behind bars. Kussmaul is serving a life sentence.
DNA evidence has excluded all four men as perpetrators in the sexual assault. If the Court of Appeals finds that they were factually innocent, each would be eligible for compensatory awards of $80,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment.
Aug 23, 2016
President Obama could scarcely trouble himself to express words of sympathy for the victims of Louisiana’s apocalyptic floods, but his administration has made it a priority to tutor them about the need to display the proper racial sensitivities as they recover from the disaster.
A 16-page “guidance” document issued on August 16 – a time when residents of devastated Louisiana parishes were desperately trying to rescue neighbors and locate missing loved ones – hectored flood victims against “unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency).” People who had lost all of their possessions were admonished regarding what the Feds call “the importance of complying with nondiscrimination requirements of civil rights statutes, addressing the needs of the whole community, and ensuring equal opportunity to access recovery efforts.”
Louisiana native and American Conservative magazine contributor Rod Dreher points out that the memo was a gratuitous insult to “black folks and white folks [who were] loving on each other, helping each other through this crisis.” One of his Louisiana neighbors told Dreher: “Not many things get me seething, but this does,” denouncing Obama and his bureaucratic underlings as “dividers instead of uniters.”
Aug 23, 2016
College-age people have a moral obligation not to have children, and society should stop celebrating large families, insists climate change alarmist Travis Rieder.
“Here’s a provocative thought,” Rieder said in a recent address to students at James Madison University in Virginia. “Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them.”
Rieder, who calls himself a philosopher, is employed by the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife have a single daughter, despite the fact that his wife had wanted a large family. Rather than seeing individual human beings in terms of their creative potential, Rieder measures each of them in terms of anticipated carbon emissions – and thus as liabilities to the human collective.
By 2036, Rieder insists, “It’s gonna be post-apocalyptic movie time” owing to catastrophic global warming – a projection that is not supported by observational science.
In a letter of resignation to the American Physical Society, Hal Lewis, Professor Emeritus of physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, described how government subsidies and foundation grants have perverted environmental science into an arrogant priesthood in the service of the pseudo-scientific cult of climate alarmism.
The lavishly funded global warming scam “has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried [the American Physical Society] before it like a rogue wave,” Dr. Lewis lamented. “It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”
Aug 23, 2016
Like nearly every other Republican presidential candidate this year – libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul being an exception – Republican nominee Donald Trump has complained that the U.S. military is under-funded, and has pledged to appropriate more money to “rebuild” the military if he is elected.
“Our military is a disaster,” Trump has complained on several occasions.
Whatever else afflicts the U.S. military, a lack of money isn’t on that list. The Pentagon consumed nearly forty percent of the world’s aggregate $1.6 trillion in military spending during 2015, with the United States spending as much as the combined budgets of the next seven largest military budgets. That disparity is actually larger than simple budget figures would suggest, given that Saudi Arabia, which has the third-largest military budget, is a client state of Washington.
The Pentagon budget is riddled with non-essential expenditures. Consortium News points out that the Department of Defense spends nearly a half-billion dollars a year on live music – which is three times the entire budget of the National Endowment for the Arts, an agency that has no constitutional legitimacy.
It may be impossible to know how much money the Pentagon has burned up through waste and mis-allocation of funds. In June the Defense Department’s Inspector General found that the U.S. Army – which is just one element of the department – “made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year,” reports Reuters. “Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.”
Aug 23, 2016
Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, began his revolutionary career by founding a media organ – the newspaper “Iskra,” a Russian term meaning “spark.” Like others in his subversive tradition, Lenin sought to ignite a “fire in the minds of men” by identifying and capitalizing on grievances that could fuel mass uprisings. In his book “The Rise of Radicalism,” Dr. Eugene Methvin spent several chapters describing how Lenin pioneered the use of what we would now call opinion polls and focus groups to isolate and then weaponize grievances.
For Lenin, the central political question was contained in the Russia phrase, “kto kogo” – which loosely translated means, “Who does what to whom.” Objective truth didn’t matter, and the Golden Rule didn’t apply, in politics: All that eventually mattered was the question of which class or clique could exercise power.
As a recovering Marxist, historian Ronald Radosh of the neo-conservative Hudson Institute has written at length about the way the American Left has employed Lenin’s tactics. He has also been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump. Keeping both Dr. Radosh’s academic qualifications and partisan biases in mind, it is significant that Radosh claims that Brietbart News executive director Steve Bannon, the former Goldman Sachs executive who is now chairman of the Trump campaign, told him, “I’m a Leninist” during a book party in 2014.
According to Bannon, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
Bannon’s depiction of Lenin’s objectives skips an important step: Lenin indeed sought to destroy Russia’s Czarist state, replacing it with what he called a “scientific dictatorship” that would exercise “Power without limit, resting directly on force, restrained by no laws, absolutely unrestricted by rules.”
Aug 23, 2016
The activist group Judicial Watch has unveiled another set of previously unreleased emails sent by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State – and which had not been turned over to the State Department after she left that position, as federal law requires.
Within the 20 newly uncovered official email exchanges are messages in which Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Human Abedin, “provided expedited, direct access to Clinton donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation,” Judicial Watch summarizes. “In many instances, Clinton Foundation top executive Doug Band, who worked with the Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State, coordinated closely with Abedin.”
During a June deposition taken by Judicial Watch as part of its ongoing Freedom of Information Act suit, Abedin had admitted under oath that one of her functions as Mrs. Clinton’s taxpayer-funded aide was to take care of “Clinton family matters.” In that capacity, she appears to have been a key broker in the Clinton family’s “pay-to-play” scheme. In one instance, Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain was required to go through the Clinton Foundation, rather than conventional State Department channels, in order to make an appointment with then-Secretary of State Clinton.
Aug 23, 2016
A federal judge in Texas has issued an injunction blocking implementation of the Obama administration’s executive order requiring public schools to allow self-identified transgender students to use bathrooms and similar facilities that correspond to their subjective gender identity, rather than their biological sex. The 38-page order, which is laden with arguments dealing with administrative matters, concludes that school districts have a good chance of prevailing on the merits of their argument, which focuses on the fact that the executive order exceeds the terms of the 1972 sex discrimination law.
The key provision of that act, Title VII, requires that “facilities provided for students of one sex shall be comparable to such facilities provided for students of the other sex.” Nothing in the law addresses the question of so-called gender identity, as opposed to the irreducible anatomical sex of an individual.
USA Today notes that “The decision is at least the third legal setback for transgender rights in federal court this month.” In early August, the US Supreme Court blocked a lower federal court ruling that required a Virginia school district to force biological males to share restrooms and other intimate quarters with a female student who insists on calling herself a male. On August 19, a federal judge in Detroit ruled that “neither transgender status nor gender identity are protected classes” under anti-discrimination laws.
Aug 23, 2016
Beijing continues to crack down on civil society organizations that the communist government sees as impermissible intrusions on its monopoly on power. Reuters reports that new guidelines issued on August 21 by the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee and State Council are intended to “beef up” the Party’s role in non-government organizations, or NGOs.
Party leaders are directed to “Strengthen political thought education for responsible people [within] social groups, and guide them to actively support party building.” They are also required to “Promote the place of party building in the social group’s charters.”
This directive is likely to engender resistance from NGO activists, who are seeking to dilute the role of the ruling Communist Party in daily life, rather than entrenching it.
Local Party leaders are informed that scrutiny and regimentation of non-government groups must become one of their highest daily priorities – and that their loyalty and performance as Party members will be assessed on the basis of how effective they are at assimilating such groups into the government-controlled realm.
As of the end of last year, China had roughly 330,000 registered social groups. President Xi Jinping, as part of an ongoing campaign to assert central government control over media and civic life in China, has engaged in a crackdown on activists, lawyers, academics, and the press.
Aug 23, 2016
Police in Akron, Ohio have arrested and charged a group of seven suspects – five of them black, two white –who allegedly carried out a rampage in which they beat seven victims, all of them white, in the early hours of August 21. The attacks took place at the edge of the University of Akron Campus. Both campus police and municipal officers responded and played a role in apprehending the suspects, who were taken into custody nearby.
The assailants allegedly swarmed the victims, attacking them with bottles, hurling them to the ground where they were slugged and kicked. During each assault, the gang allegedly chanted, “Black lives matter.” One of the victims was beaten into unconsciousness, and several were robbed.
All of the suspects are between 18 and 25 years old. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that “The alleged attackers do not appear to be affiliated with the national Black Lives Matter activist organization.”
Aug 23, 2016
Olympia, Washington resident Daniel B. Rowe was jailed on $500,000 bond after stabbing a couple outside a bar. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and malicious harassment – the latter because of comments he made suggesting that the crime was inspired by his resentment over the fact that the victims were an interracial couple. The 47-year-old male victim, despite being stabbed in the abdomen, succeeded in apprehending Rowe by pursuing him on foot, then tripping him, causing the assailant to stumble face-first into a parked car and knock himself unconscious. In the adrenaline rush the victim hadn’t realized that he had been stabbed until after he had subdued the attacker. His 35-year-old girlfriend was slightly grazed by the suspect’s knife.
After being taken into custody by police, Rowe, 32, allegedly said that he had gone downtown after hearing about graffiti critical of the local police. The Olympian reports that Rowe “told police that if he were let go, he would head to a Donald Trump rally and stomp out more of the Black Lives Matter group.”
Rowe sports a number of white supremacy-themed tattoos, including “Skinhead,” “white power,” “hooligan,” and a Confederate flag. He has a prior conviction for second-degree robbery. He identified himself to police as a member of a white supremacist group, and claimed that he had taken a “blood oath” to do battle in the streets.
Aug 23, 2016
As if determined to prove the maxim that government can always make matters worse, the City of South Bend, Indiana is forcing residents affected by recent flooding to get building permits before they are allowed to rebuild their wrecked homes and businesses.
“Repairs and/or construction activities to structures that are located in the floodplain and were damaged due to disaster will require a local building permit from the South Bend/ St. Joseph County Building Department as required by local ordinance,” proclaimed an official media release. Depending on the location of the property, furthermore, “a permit may be required from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources prior to the start of any reconstruction activity. Failure to obtain the necessary permits could result in fines.”
Property owners are recovering from what is described as a “thousand-year rain event,” in which the city received more than twice its average rainfall for the entire month of August in a single day. One local resident reported eight feet of water in his basement. Two homes collapsed after being flooded. Given the scale of the tragedy, and the prohibitive burdens on local residents, the sensible thing would be to expedite recovery and rebuilding, rather than throwing up new bureaucratic impediments. The coercive sector, however, is a realm from which common sense has been banished.
Republican Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, who is also Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, canceled a planned appearance in Indianapolis to make a visit to flood-ravaged Baton Rouge, Louisiana as part of a campaign appearance. A spokesman for Pence said the governor had no plans for a similar visit to South Bend.
Aug 22, 2016
A report in the Jordanian Petra News Agency quotes Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as boasting that the Saudi kingdom has footed one-fifth the cost of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign – as part of its ongoing subsidy for both branches of the American political establishment.
“Saudi Arabia has always sponsored both Republican and Democratic Parties of America and … the Kingdom also provides with full enthusiasm 20 percent of the cost of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the presidential elections despite the fact that some influential forces within the country don’t have a positive outlook toward supporting the candidate because she’s a woman,” disclosed the crown prince, according to an English-language translation of the essay. A screen capture of the soon-deleted Arabic-language article was republished by the Washington Institute for Gulf Affairs.
While it is illegal for foreign governments or foreign interests to donate money to US political campaigns, the Clinton Foundation – which, in Donald Trump’s opinion, has operated as a “slush fund” for the once and possibly future First Couple – received an estimated $25 million from the Saudis in 2008. Other emirates, including Kuwait, Brunei, and Oman, have given millions to that foundation, as well. It should not be forgotten that twenty years ago, Bill Clinton’s presidential re-election campaign was funded, in significant part, by illegal campaign contributions connected to the Chinese military, many of them laundered through the Indonesia-based Lippo Group.
Aug 22, 2016
The leadership of the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly called the Mormons, has spoken in opposition to Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. In 1879, at a time when many Mormon leaders practiced polygamy, the US Secretary of State William M. Evarts asked President Rutherford B. Hayes to restrict, or ban outright, the immigration of Mormon coverts from Europe, characterizing them as “potential lawbreakers” who were part of a conspiracy to undermine America’s constitutional system.
That background, along with severe episodes of 19th century persecution, helps explain why Mormons remains sensitive to what they perceive as religious scapegoating, and contributes to the fact that Donald Trump is polling very badly in Republican-dominated Utah.
Former Colorado Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, a passionate advocate of immigration restrictions and an enthusiastic Trump supporter, depicts the Mormon Church as supporters of “open borders” and illegal immigration. In an essay for Breitbart News, Tancredo accuses Mormons of “moral incoherence, “ and insinuates that Mormons who oppose Trump are de facto sympathizers with radical Islam.
“ISIS leaders must be rolling in the mosque’s aisles in uncontrolled laughter over the Mormon concerns about Muslim immigration, considering that religious liberty is the first casualty wherever radical Islam and Sharia are enforced,” writes Tancredo.
Aug 22, 2016
Many of Donald Trump’s libertarian and constitutionalist backers support him as a “peace candidate,” owing to the criticism he has expressed regarding the Iraq war, his strong condemnation of nation-building overseas, and his desire to take a less bellicose posture toward Russia. Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University and heir to one of the founders of the Religious Right, sees Trump as a “strong leader” in the mold of Winston Churchill, who will not only hold the line against domestic liberalism, but will steel the country for a bloody conflict with radical Islam overseas.
“We are on the precipice of international conflict like nothing we have seen since World War II,” Falwell declared in a recent Washington Post column. “Obama and Clinton are the Neville Chamberlains of our time,” he continues, choosing to ignore the fact that unlike Chamberlain, Obama and Clinton have eagerly carried out military adventurism in distant lands, including Libya and Syria.
Donald Trump, from Falwell’s perspective, is nothing less than a providential figure who embodies the last chance to save America.
“Thank God we now have the opportunity to elect a strong leader, one who is not afraid to call the enemy by its name and to take the battle to that enemy if necessary,” he exults, demanding that “ Americans from all walks of life … unite behind Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence or suffer dire consequences.”
Aug 22, 2016
It’s hardly unusual for a military commander to warn that his troops would use overwhelming force to defend themselves if they are threatened. It is remarkable when that threat is directed at the sovereign government of a foreign country in which those troops are operating without official sanction.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of US troops in Iraq and Syria, has warned the government in Damascus, as well as its Russian allies, that American Special Forces troops operating in northern Syria would be authorized to use force against Syrian warplanes if they feel “threatened.”
“We’ve informed the Russians where we’re at … [and they] tell us they’ve informed the Syrians, and I’d just say that we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened,” Townsend told CNN.
Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute describes Townsend’s warning as “absurd,” pointing out that he is warning the Syrian military to limit counter-insurgency operations on their own territory, in order to avoid scaring U.S. troops in the region that are actually arming and equipping insurgent forces.
“The US government has a military `commander’ commanding US forces operating illegally – according to US and international law – on a foreign country’s soil,” McAdams observes. “Logic might suggest that if the US military does not want its Special Forces to feel threatened by Syrian government counter-insurgency activities, perhaps it should remove them from that foreign territory in which they are illegally operating.”
Aug 22, 2016
Joe Arpaio, the long-serving sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County who has cultivated a national reputation as the “world’s toughest sheriff,” faces the prospect of criminal prosecution for contempt of court.
US District Judge G. Murray Snow has referred Arpaio and three of his aides to the US Attorney’s office for federal prosecution, citing his findings that the sheriff has repeatedly and deliberately violated several orders arising from an 8-year-old racial profiling case. Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, ACSO Captain Steven Baily, and former Arpaio defense attorney Michele Iafrate are also listed in the criminal referral.
Arpaio and Sheridan have already been held in civil contempt of court by Judge Snow. Thus far the case has cost Maricopa County taxpayers more than $44 million. Arpaio, who is seeking his sixth term as sheriff, has raised $10 million for his campaign. If found guilty of criminal contempt, the 84-year-old Sheriff Arpaio – the proud proprietor of the notorious “Tent City Jail” – could find himself in federal prison.
“Criminal contempt serves to vindicate the Court’s authority by punishing the intentional disregard for that authority,” wrote Snow in his August 19 ruling. The judge insisted there is probable cause to believe that Arpaio has “intentionally made a number of false statements under oath” regarding his office’s alleged racial profiling of Latinos as illegal immigrants, and that “many if not all of the statements were made in an attempt to obstruct any inquiry into [the sheriff’s] further wrongdoing and negligence.” He accused Arpaio of having “a history of obfuscation and subversion of this court’s orders that is as old as this case.”
Aug 22, 2016
Huma Abedin, wife of disgraced ex-New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and top campaign aide to Hillary Clinton, “for a decade edited a radical Muslim publication that opposed women’s rights and blamed the U.S. for 9/11,” asserts New York Post columnist Paul Sperry.
Beginning in 1995, Abedin – who was Hillary’s chief aide at the State Department, and could conceivably be White House Chief of Staff if Mrs. Clinton is elected –worked as assistant editor of the Journal Muslim Minority Affairs, which is published by Saudi interests. In that capacity she worked under the supervision of her mother – who remains the magazine’s editor-in-chief. At the time, she was also a White House intern for Mrs. Clinton, who at the time was first lady.
The views expressed by Abedin in a 1996 essay entitled “Women’s Rights are Islamic Rights” aren’t that different from those endorsed by some conservative Christian groups. As summarized by Sperry, the article “argues that single moms, working moms and gay couples with children should not be recognized as families. It also states that more revealing dress ushered in by women’s liberation `directly translates into unwanted results of sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility and indirectly promote violence against women.’”
Sperry paraphrases that observation thus: “In other words, sexually liberated women are just asking to be raped.”
While it’s doubtful that Abedin’s writings, if read without identifying the author, would strike most American conservatives as abhorrent, those opinions might have a triggering effect on Hillary’s hard-core feminist followers.
Aug 22, 2016
The city of Manjib fell to the US-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) this week as the last few hundred ISIS fighters surrendered. After giving up their weapons, however, the fighters were allowed to leave the city in a convoy, even though they will likely rejoin other ISIS fighters in another city. The Russian-based news service RT said US Army Col. Carver, a spokesman for the SDF group, told reporters at the Pentagon that the ISIS fighters were allowed to leave because they had likely had civilians in the convoy as human shields: “Col. Carver described how IS had civilians in each of the vehicles, and the military wanted to avoid casualties. He didn’t know how many of the civilians had been in the cars voluntarily but said some were likely hostages.”
The spokesman declined to elaborate how the surrendering forces had taken such prisoners after giving up their weapons and why the fighters themselves weren’t taken prisoners after giving themselves up.
Aug 22, 2016
Russia’s relations with Turkey have been tense in the past year after Turkey shot down a Russian jet during a bombing mission near Turkey’s border. Russia accused Turkey of assisting ISIS in neighboring Syria and provided satellite photos of trucks carrying fuel from ISIS-controlled refineries into Turkey for sale on the black market as evidence. Recently, however, Russia announced it would mend relations with Turkey including allowing full diplomatic relations and future trade. Ankara appears to have accepted Putin’s overtures but not without souring relations with other NATO allies in the West. Now, the Germans have released documents showing Turkish collusion with ISIS according to the UK Daily Mail: “A leaked confidential report from the German government has accused the Turkish government of supporting terrorist groups across the Middle East. The document - produced by the Interior Ministry - says Turkish President Erdogan's government supports Palestinian Hamas, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and various Islamist groups fighting in Syria.”
The confidential report was leaked to German public news station ARD after being released to the leftist Die Linke party after a request for information.
Aug 22, 2016
Several groups founded by billionaire George Soros are the latest to get hit by hacktivists intent on revealing globalist and establishment manipulation of the levers of power across the globe. DCLeaks, an anonymous outlet for political hackers, released the 2,576 files most of which came from Soros’ Open Society Foundation. The website says the leaked documents “can shed light on one of the most influential network[s] operating worldwide. Structure of Open Society Network counts more than 50 global and regional programs and foundations. Soros is named as the architect and sponsor of almost every revolution and coup around the world for the last 25 years.”
Aug 22, 2016
Illegal immigration has accelerated under the Obama Administration, according to the 2014 US census report. Since 2010 more than 2.4 million people have crossed into the US illegally bringing the total to over 42.4 million back in 2014 but even this staggering number is likely underreported since few illegal immigrants would report themselves to a government agency like the census bureau.
While the Obama Administration and some members of Congress push for a form of amnesty for everyone here illegally, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which acts under the direction of the Obama Administration, has been consistently releasing criminal aliens instead of deporting them---and not just a few hundred but many thousands. In his opening remarks as chairman of the government oversight and reform committee, Rep. Jason Chafetz (R-UT) highlighted the shocking statistics of dangerous criminal illegal aliens being released back on the streets instead of deported or imprisoned:
“The Administration’s policies have led to the release of 86,288 criminal aliens who committed 231,074 crimes since 2013. ”He said, and these numbers are a direct result of “President Obama’s executive actions on immigration – announced in November 2014 –[which] increase risk to public safety.” Since Obama’s executive order “Arrests, detainers issued, and removals at ICE are down almost 40 percent.”
Chaffetz also argued that the DHS has had even more resources during this period, even while they allocated less money to ICE enforcement and beds to contain those captured.
Aug 22, 2016
The Obama Administration’s executive orders to the DHS and ICE to stop deportations of illegal aliens has officially been put on hold by a court order, but Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) reports that deportations have still plummeted. “Arrests, detainers issued, and removals at ICE are down almost 40 percent,” he said inopening remarks as chairman of the government oversight and reform committee. Law enforcers in all departments are being given the subtle message not to crack down on illegal immigrants.
Criminal illegal aliens are still being apprehended for crimes but even these dangerous people are being released according to the Center for Immigration Studies citing official statistics from ICE. They show that immigration judges released 19,723 criminal aliens in 2015 alone. And these criminals “had a total of 64,197 convictions among them…[including] 8,234 violent convictions and 208 homicide convictions.”
ICE was quick to point out that releases this year are lower than the past two years, but considering that the number of arrests has declined quite dramatically “the rate of releases is approximately the same — meaning that this is no progress at all, and certainly will be no consolation for the victims of these criminal aliens.”
The biggest offense resulting in arrest was Driving Under the Influence (DUI), the report said: “[T]here were 12,307 alcohol DUI convictions and 354 drug DUI convictions, for a total of 12,661. The 64,197 convictions work out to an average of 3.25 convictions per released alien.” The advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) claims that statistically there are 80 drunk drivers for each one caught.
Aug 19, 2016
As a junior senator from Illinois in 2005, Barack Obama condemned what he called the “unconscionable ineptitude” of then-President George W. Bush during the floods that laid waste to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
“I can say from personal experience how frustrating, how unconscionable it is, that it has been so difficult to get medical supplies to those in need quickly enough,” Obama said on the Senate floor following a brief visit to the scene of the tragedy. He revisited that theme during his 2008 presidential campaign, condemning FEMA for being “incompetent … paralyzed and powerless,” and Bush for only seeing “people from the window of an airplane instead of down there on the ground.”
With hundreds of thousands of people homeless in and around Baton Rouge, and coffins floating through the flooded streets, President Obama has not seen fit to interrupt his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, an omission that earned an editorial rebuke from a local newspaper.
“The optics of Obama golfing while Louisiana residents languished in flood waters was striking," opined the Advocate. “It evoked the precedent of the passive federal response to the state’s agony in 2005, a chapter of history no one should ever repeat.”
While commending the active involvement of FEMA head Craig Fugate, the paper suggested that Obama should cut his vacation short and “pay a call on communities who need to know that in a national catastrophe, they are not alone.”
This recommendation wildly overstates the practical value of presidential attention, but it does underscore the partisan hypocrisy Mr. Obama has exhibited in dealing with two monumental disasters in Louisiana.
Aug 19, 2016
An estimated 20,000 Louisiana residents whose homes have been destroyed in floods have been rescued by a spontaneously organized flotilla calling itself the “Cajun Navy.”
“The true Cajun Navy is the everyday Joe that had a full-time job and had a boat at his house and then launched his boat at the side of the highway,”Ascension Parish resident Warren Holmes explained to ABC News. “I knew if I was the one who couldn’t get out, there would be somebody who would come and get me. We are a people that stick together, take care of our own.”
Private relief efforts have helped minimize the human impact of the devastating floods, which have affected more than a dozen parishes in Louisiana.
Aug 19, 2016
Neither President Obama, nor Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has taken a public interest in the catastrophe in Louisiana – although Clinton has posted a statement on Twitter saying that she is “closely monitoring” the situation. Louisiana native Rod Dreher of the American Conservative points out that in the five days since the flood began, Obama had released disaster aid and dispatched his FEMA chief to the area, but had avoided commenting on the disaster. By way of contrast, two days after Hurricane Sandy assailed New Jersey, Obama was on the ground to distribute aid and offer gestures of sympathy for the victims.
“What a difference not running for election makes,” Dreher comments. This apparent indifference wasn’t limited to presidential candidates. One black resident of a flooded Louisiana parish posted a video in which he asked: “Where are the Black Lives Matter [activists] and the Black Panthers? I ain’t seen one Black Panther boat or one Black Lives Matter boat. All I see is our own people in the city, the Wildlife and Fisheries, and the police going in and rescuing people.”
On August 18 Republican nominee Donald Trump made a public statement of sympathy, expressing the view that when one state faces disaster, the entire country suffers.
Aug 19, 2016
In a striking alteration of his rhetorical style, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump apologized for inflicting “personal pain” through his public pronouncements – while avoiding any specific examples.
“Sometimes, in the heart of the debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing,” Trump said in scripted remarks in a North Carolina rally. … I have done that, and I regret it, particularly were it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.”
“I’ve never wanted to learn the language of the insiders, and I’ve never been politically correct – it takes far too much time, and can often make it more difficult to achieve total victory,” he emphasized. As is usually the case, however, Trump found a way to insist that he wasn’t to blame for any offense that resulted: “The establishment media doesn’t cover what really matters in this country…. They will take words of mine out of context and spend a week obsessing over every single syllable, and then pretend to discover some hidden meaning in what I said.”
Aug 19, 2016
Police officials in Rio de Janeiro are urging criminal charges against US Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen for filing a false report of a crime – and possibly for vandalism. One or more members of the US Olympic swim team vandalized a gas station bathroom in what appeared to be a drunken outburst, then fought with security guards – and capped off the rampage by claiming to have been victims of an armed robbery.
Lochte’s attorney, Jeffrey Ostrow, maintains that the swimmers were confronted by a gun-wielding assailant and “forced to get out of their cab and give up their money. No matter what happened at that gas station, the swimmers were robbed by people with a gun appearing to be law enforcement.”
That claim has yet to be corroborated – and it may never be, if the crime actually took place, and police officers were involved. Security camera video reportedly corroborates the claim that the swimmers vandalized the service station bathroom.
Aug 19, 2016
Citing billions of dollars in losses, the four largest health insurance firms have announced that they are withdrawing from the Obamacare insurance exchanges.
UnitedHealthGroup, Aetna, Anthem and Humana are “on track to lose at least $300 million each on their [Obamacare] plans this year,” reports Bloomberg News. Government-imposed price controls always result in shortages, which in turn leads to more demands for government intervention. That is the process unfolding in Venezuela, where food is becoming scarce. The same dynamic will probably take hold here in the health care sector. Leftist commentators are demanding that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who led an attempt to enact a system very much like Obamacare two decades ago, call for imposition of a “public option” – that is, outright socialization of the health care sector.
Aug 19, 2016
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was removed as head of the Democratic National Committee following publication of hacked emails documenting how she and her subordinates rigged the presidential primary system to favor Hillary Clinton, is the target of a class action lawsuit filed by supporters of former Democratic contender Bernie Sanders.
The class-action complain lists six claims – fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent conduct in receiving campaign donations, deceptive conduct, violation of fiduciary duties, and negligence in failing to protect sensitive donor information. The last claim is painfully ironic, in that it is based on the publication of the same hacked emails and other information that demonstrated Wasserman Schultz’s corrupt conduct.
The legal team pursuing the suit has previously filed successful civil actions against Yelp, Unilever, Korea airlines, and several fraudulent real estate investors.
Aug 19, 2016
The Black Lives Matter movement, which claims to represent a grassroots, street-level constituency, “is increasingly awash in cash, raking in pledges of more than $100 million from liberal foundations and others eager to contribute to what has become the grant-making cause du jour,” observes Valerie Richardson of the Washington Times.
Leading the donor pool are the Ford Foundation and the Borealis Philanthropy group, who have collaborated to create the Black-Led Movement Fund, a six-year campaign aimed at raising $100 million for the Movement for Black Lives coalition.
Aug 19, 2016
Speechwriter Richard Cross describes himself as a life-long Republican who grew up admiring Nixon and Reagan. The former congressional staffer, a native of Maryland, describes himself as a political moderate, and most recently wrote the speech presented at the Republican National Convention by Patricia Smith, the mother of a survivor of the September 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. That speech, which described Mrs. Clinton’s falsehoods regarding the origins of that attack, and the Obama administration’s response to it, ended with the devastating question: “If Hillary Clinton can’t give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency?”
Cross, the author of those words, seems to have reconsidered them – or perhaps he has found an answer he thinks is satisfactory. He used a Baltimore Sun guest column to announce that “Despite what I wrote in that nationally televised speech about Hillary Clinton, I may yet have to vote for her because of the epic deficiencies of my own party’s nominee.”
While insisting that he is proud of his work in the GOP, Cross continues, “I am not proud of the present state of American politics … everything just feels awful and sad. The divisions in our national discourse are great, and there is no political hero waiting to rescue us from ourselves. Instead, we’re confronted by the awful spectacle of a `Mothra meets Godzilla’ election. And, just like in the movies, no matter who wins, Tokyo suffers.”
Aug 18, 2016
Police in Venezuela crushed thousands of confiscated shotguns and pistols in the capital city’s public square on August 17. According to Nester Reverol, Interior Minister for the Socialist government, the firearms had been confiscated through a combination of seizures by police and a turn-in program through which desperate Venezuelans were enticed to surrender their guns in exchange for scarce consumer goods.
Reports Reuters: “Venezuela has the world’s second highest murder rate and street gangs that plague its poor neighborhoods have become increasingly heavily armed in recent years, at a time when a deep recession has reduced resources available to police.”
The first priority of a government-employed police force is to defend the government that pays them, which is why an armed citizenry is always a better deterrent to violent crime. Like regimes ancient and modern, the government of Nicolas Maduro has made a priority of disarming the public to protect itself, rather than protecting it from the depredations of criminals.
The Socialist regime in Caracas banned private gun ownership in June 2012, which – in predictable fashion – was followed by a sharp spike in the homicide rate. The Crime Prevention Research Center notes that “The ban was preceded by an amnesty to get people to turn in their guns” – something many citizens were unwilling to do, given that “the homicide rate was already rising before the gun ban.” Civilian disarmament accentuated that existing trend.
Historically, a nation that experiences a collapsing economy, uncontrolled inflation, and civilian disarmament is becoming ripe for genocide.
Aug 18, 2016
Like many of their professional peers in the lower 48, police officers in Canada seek the power to compel citizens to divulge their electronic passwords.
According to RCMP Assistant Commissioner Joe Oliver, Canadian law is deficient because it doesn’t currently provide the means to compel the subject of an investigation to divulge passwords on demand. Borrowing a theme often invoked by law enforcement officials in the United States, Oliver insisted that unless the law is changed, child molesters, mobsters, drug lords, and similar offenders will exploit online anonymity to pretty upon the public.
“The victims in the digital space are real,” Oliver declares. “Canada’s law and policing capabilities must keep pace with the evolution of technology.” The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has passed a resolution demanding new legislation to empower judges to issue orders requiring citizens to surrender their passwords.
David Christopher of OpenMedia, a civil libertarian group seeking to restrain official surveillance of the internet, describes the proposed legislation as “wildly disproportionate.
“On the face of it, this seems like it’s clearly unconstitutional,” Christopher maintains. It should be remembered that Canada’s hate speech regulations could be used to prosecute people for politically unpopular opinions anonymously expressed online.
Aug 18, 2016
Top executives at the Minneapolis-based Target retail chain are mystified by a 2.2 percent decline in traffic during May and June – the first decline in a year and a half, and the most pronounced sales slide since the economic crisis of 2008.
“Target’s shelves are better stocked than ever before,” points out the Star-Tribune newspaper. “It has added thousands of new grocery items. And it has rolled out new offerings such as the jazzy in-house Cat & Jack kids clothing line. So why haven’t shoppers visited Target Corp’s stores in the last few months as they have in the past?”
Earlier this year, Target executives forecast growth of up to 2.5 percent in 2016. That forecast was radically revised this week, causing shares to fall by 6.4 percent. Executives are casting about for an answer, some suggesting that the chain has suffered as a result of changes to its in-store pharmacy, or soft electronics sales, or pressure from Amazon.com.
This is a strenuous exercise in avoiding the obvious. Nowhere in the Star-Tribune’s analysis can be found a mention of the ongoing consumer boycott of the retailer over its proudly progressive policy of allowing so-called transgender individuals to use restrooms and fitting rooms corresponding to their self-identified gender, as opposed to their biological sex. Middle-class Americans of a traditionalist outlook are increasingly taking their business to stores where their children won’t be forced to share intimate quarters with adults of the opposite sex. Financial analyst Dan Celia sarcastically describes Target’s policy as a “brilliant marketing strategy” that has alienated 1.4 million shoppers.
Aug 18, 2016
The status of Adams County, Idaho Sheriff’s deputies Cody Roland and Brian Wood, who fatally shot rancher Jack Yantis last November, remains ambiguous. Several weeks ago, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced that there would be no state or federal criminal charges in the killing of Yantis, who had been summoned by the sheriff’s office to put down a bull that had been struck by a car on Interstate 95 near the town of Council. The deputies claim that Yantis pointed his rifle at them, and may have fired a shot at Roland. That claim is unsupported by physical evidence, and contradicted by at least three eyewitnesses to the killing.
Shortly after Wasden announced his findings, Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman said that the deputies would be welcome to return to their patrol duties. On August 17, however, Zollman told Boise NBC affiliate KTVB that Roland “resigned from the sheriff’s office in December.” He took what was described as a temporary position out of state, but has since returned to Adams County. Wood remains on paid administrative leave, and has indicated that he wants to return to duty full-time.
That report was contradicted, however, by the Idaho Statesman. Citing the organizers of a group called Justice for Jack, the paper said that “multiple sources” had claimed neither deputy would be returning to work. The Idaho Peace Officer and Standards Training, which certifies all law enforcement officers in the state, told the Statesman that both Roland and Wood are listed as employees of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.
Aug 18, 2016
Former Navy Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier made an innocent mistake when he kept six cell-phone pictures taken inside classified sections of the submarine USS Alexandria in 2009. He was found guilty violating the Espionage Act, despite the fact that he didn’t share the information with anybody else. Yet federal prosecutors are demanding that Saucier spend at least five years in federal prison – and they have batted away a defense motion urging leniency on the grounds of what might be called the Hillary Clinton Defense.
Saucier’s defense attorney points out that Mrs. Clinton, who as FBI Director James Comey has acknowledged committed serial violations of the Espionage Act, will not face prosecution despite the fact that she had exposed, on a non-secure email service, eight email chains containing “Top Secret” information, and 36 others containing “Secret” information.
Notes Politico, “The contrast [in treatment] is fueling longstanding complaints that senior officials accused of mishandling classified information often get little or no punishment, while more junior-ranking offenders can be hit with severe consequences.”
It does appear that Saucier is being inexplicably singled out for severe punishment. Two of his shipmates who took similar photos of the same submarine were dealt with more leniently – one was reduced one grade in rank, the other had his paycheck docked $560.
Disclosure of sensitive information on Mrs. Clinton’s email server may have played a role in the recent execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist by the regime in Tehran. That scientist was convicted on espionage after reportedly cooperating with US intelligence.
Aug 18, 2016
Donald Trump’s Youngstown, Ohio speech on combatting terrorism displays both the benefits and hazards of his populist candidacy, writes libertarian analyst Justin Raimondo. That address contained “everything good and everything questionable about his brand of `America First’ nationalism,” according to Raimondo, describing “Trumpism” as “the common-sensical and the nonsensical interwined.”
For example, Trump’s claim that “The rise of ISIS is the direct result of policy decisions made by President Obama and Secretary Clinton” neglects the key role played by the administration of George W. Bush, “ whose invasion and occupation of Iraq created a power vacuum while unleashing the Shi’ite majority to overwhelm and immiserate the Sunni minority – thereby offering a generous supply of grievances for ISIS to exploit, and the space for the group to operate.
Trump likewise engaged in what Raimondo called “Fox News revisionist history” by depicting the Iranian regime as “aspiring to be a dominant world power” and claiming that Obama prematurely withdrew US troops from Iraq, when he was following the timetable established by his predecessor.
Most worrying to Raimondo was Trump’s repeated insistence that “we should have kept the oil” following the Iraq war.
“What this means, in effect, is that we’ll be in the Middle East forever,” he observes. While commending Trump for making ”a break with Bush republicanism,” Raimondo warns that “What he doesn’t get … is that we can’t allow ourselves to get sucked back into the Middle East … under the pretext of cleaning up the mess made by the globalists.”
Aug 18, 2016
In what might be another portent of a revived Cold War, the Russian government is constructing a large number of underground nuclear command bunkers,reports Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon.
Citing US intelligence sources, Gertz writes that “construction has been underway for several years on `dozens’ of underground bunkers in Moscow and throughout the country.
Former Pentagon nuclear policy analyst Mark Schneider of the Virginia-based National Institute for Public Policy, who has consistently warned about Moscow’s military posture, believes that “Russia is getting ready for a big war which they assume will go nuclear, with them launching the first attacks. We are not serious about preparing for a big war, much less a nuclear war,” he complains.
U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the US European Command, recently stated that “It is clear that Russia is modernizing its strategic forces.” According to Gen. Scaparrotti, “Russian doctrine states that tactical nuclear weapons may be used in a conventional response scenario.” Displaying a substantial gift for understatement, the general described that prospect as “alarming.”
Aug 18, 2016
It has been said that the practice of medicine begins with the study of disease. In much the same sense, inoculating students against collectivism means introducing them to the writings of Marx, Lenin, Hitler, and other exponents of that murderous political concept. It’s not clear that this is the reason why Karl Marx is the most assigned figure in US college classes.
The 1848 “Communist Manifesto,” the ten-plank program for revolution, is assigned reading in more than 3,000 course outlines. In his decades-old scholarly demolition of Marx, academic Thomas Sowell, who has training in economics, points out that Marx had none – yet economics professors insist on assigning his works as if they represent a valid contribution to that field of study. Other dubious notables in that field whose works are widely assigned are Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, and current or former Federal Reserve chairs Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, and Alan Greenspan -- in Greenspan’s case, the selection is his memoir of serving as Fed chair, not his earlier work defending the gold standard.
Other commonly assigned texts are Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Lenin’s “What is to Be Done?”
Aug 18, 2016
Owing in large measure to pressure from both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has tried to distance herself from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. This is a framework for an international trade and economic pact involving 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the U.S. Left-leaning critics like Sanders denounce the TPP as a fusion of corporate interests and unaccountable bureaucrats. Some conservatives, while agreeing that with critique, also point out that it would undermine U.S. independence and usurp the role of Congress.
Following a meeting with labor union leaders who oppose the pact, Mrs. Clinton flatly declared, “I did not work on TPP.” However, as financial analyst David Sirota documents, “During her tenure as US Secretary of State, Clinton publicly promoted the [TPP] 45 separate times…. [A]t a congressional hearing in 2011, Clinton told lawmakers that `with respect to the TPP, although the State Department does not have the lead on this – it it’s the United States Trade Representative – we work closely with [him].”
State Department cables show that Mrs. Clinton and top aides “were deeply involved in the diplomatic deliberations over the trade deal,” Sirota elaborates. “The cables from 2009 and 2010, which were among a trove of documents disclosed by the website WikiLeaks,” make it clear that Mrs. Clinton and her subordinates were deeply immersed in the TPP negotiations.
Aug 18, 2016
Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, said nearly a decade and a half ago that her husband should have resigned during the Monica Lewinsky adultery and perjury scandal, recalls The Daily Beast.
In 2002, amid a sex and bribery scandal in the Virginia House of Delegates, Kaine – at the time Virginia’s lieutenant governor – urged Vance Wilkins, the Republican who was speaker of the state house to resign. Wilkins paid $100,000 to buy the silence of a former female employee at his construction company who claimed that he had sexually harassed and assaulted her.
“If the allegations [against Wilkins] are true, he should definitely resign,” Kaine told the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, which said that Kaine also “held the same view about President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.
“That is an intolerable way to treat women and it’s not something that the state should be dragged through,” he continued. “Somebody in public life shouldn’t behave that way toward women. It’s tawdry.”
Aug 17, 2016
The refugee crisis in Europe presented “new opportunities” for George Soros’s organizations to expand their influence, according to a leaked memo from Soros’s Open Society Foundations. The May 12 memo, entitled “Migration Governance and Enforcement Portfolio Review,” was co-written by Open Society Foundation officials Anna Crowley and Katin Rosin. It dealt with a program called the International Migration Initiative, which is designed to influence international migration policy.
The initiative “has had to be selective and opportunistic, particularly at the global level, in supporting leaders … to push thinking on migration and better coordinate advocacy and reform efforts,” the memo, published by the DC Leaks hacker collective, explains. The document describes the group’s success in influencing the EU’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, which –according to the authors – “is creating space to reconsider the governance of migration and the international refugee regime.”
Where the nations of the EU are dealing with a crisis, the Soros organizations are finding “new opportunities,” the memo elaborates: “The current climate presents new opportunities for reforming migration governance at the global level, whether through the existing multi-lateral system, or bringing together a range of actors to think more innovatively.” The document boasts that “we have many of the right partners and are in position to help others navigate this space.”
Aug 17, 2016
Russian bombers and strike fighters operating out of Iran’s Hamadan airbase attacked ISIS targets in Syria on August 15. This is the first time that the Iranian government has permitted a foreign power to conduct military operations from its territory since the 1979 revolution that overthrew Shah Reza Pahlavi, a surrogate of the US government. On previous occasions, Russian warplanes had used the same bases to transfer supplies and refuel jets, rather than to launch military strikes. Before securing Iran’s cooperation, Russia had to launch airstrikes from its own territory. Operating out of western Iran reduces the distance by more than half.
Government-aligned RT News claims that the Iran-aided Russian airstrikes “eliminated five major terrorist weapons depots and training compounds … as well as three command posts and a significant number of terrorists….” Under a military accord between Iran and Russia that was signed in January, Tehran “has agreed to share its military facilities and capacities with Moscow.”
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told the state-run news agency that “Cooperation between Tehran and Moscow against terrorism in Syria is of a strategic character. We must unite our potential and capabilities.”