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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Kurds Are About to Blow up Iraq on: August 20, 2017, 11:22:20 PM
http://www.meforum.org/6875/the-kurds-are-about-to-blow-up-iraq

The Kurds Are About to Blow up Iraq

by Michael J. Totten
World Affairs Journal
August 17, 2017



The overwhelming majority of Iraqi Kurds want an independent state.
Next month, on September 25, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil will hold a binding referendum on whether or not to secede from Iraq. It will almost certainly pass. More than a decade ago, the Kurds held a non-binding referendum that passed with 99.8 percent of the vote.

No one knows what's going to happen. Iraq is the kind of place where just about anything can happen and eventually does.

Kurdish secession could go as smoothly as a Scottish secession from the United Kingdom (were that to actually happen) or a Quebecois secession from Canada, were that to actually happen. It could unfold like Kosovo's secession from Serbia, where some countries recognize it and others don't while the Serbs are left to stew in their own juices more or less peaceably.

This is a serious business, though, because Iraq is not Britain, and it is not Canada. And there's a potential flashpoint that travelers to the region would be well advised to stay away from for a while.

Shortly after ISIS invaded Iraq from Syria in 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government effectively annexed the oil-rich governorate of Kirkuk. Ethnic Kurds made up a plurality of the population, with sizeable Arab and Turkmen minorities, before Saddam Hussein's Arabization program in the 1990s temporarily created an artificial Arab majority.



Since then, Kurds have been returning to the city en masse while many Arabs, most of whom had no history in the region before Saddam put them there, have left. No one really knows what the demographics look like now.

It's a tinderbox regardless of the actual headcount. Some of the Arabs who still live there could mount a rebellion at some point, either immediately or down the road. If they do, they might engage in the regional sport of finagling financial and even military backing from neighboring countries.

Then again, Arabs have been trickling north into the Kurdistan region for years because it's peaceful and quiet and civilized. It's the one part of Iraq that, despite the local government's corruption and inability to live up to the democratic norms it claims to espouse, works remarkably well.

I've been to Iraqi Kurdistan a number of times. It's safer than Kansas. My only real complaint is that it gets a bit boring after a while. If you're coming from Baghdad or Mosul, it's practically Switzerland.



Kurdish graffiti on the walls of an Iraqi army base outside Kirkuk reads, "We will not leave Kirkuk."
Kirkuk Governorate, though, is—or at least recently was—another story. The three "core" Kurdish governorates—Dohuk, Erbil, and Suleimaniyah—have been free of armed conflict since the toppling of Saddam Hussein, but Kirkuk was down in the war zone. I went there ten years ago from Suleimaniyah and was only willing to do so under the armed protection of Kurdish police officers. Had I wandered around solo as I did farther north, I would have risked being shot, kidnapped or car-bombed. I still could have been shot or car-bombed alongside the police, but at least kidnapping was (mostly) off the table. The very fact that Kirkuk was a war zone at a time when the Kurdish governorates to the north were not suggests that the Kurds may be swallowing more than they can digest.

Kirkuk has oil, though, while the governorates to the north mostly don't, so of course the Kurds want it. Baghdad, of course, wants to keep it for the same reason. Will Iraq's central government go to war over it? Probably not. Saddam Hussein lost his own war against the Kurds in the north, and he had far more formidable forces at his disposal than Baghdad does now. Still, it's more likely than a war between London and Edinburgh, or between Ottawa and Montreal.

The biggest threat to an independent Iraqi Kurdistan comes not from Baghdad but from Turkey.

The biggest threat to an independent Iraqi Kurdistan comes not from Baghdad but from Turkey. The Turks have been fighting a low-grade counter-insurgency against the armed Kurdish separatists of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) since the 1970s that has killed tens of thousands of people, and they're deathly afraid that a free and independent Kurdish state anywhere in the world will both embolden and assist their internal enemies.

While Turkey is no longer likely to invade Iraqi Kurdistan on general principle if it declares independence—a going concern shortly after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein—the Turkish government is making it clear that it is supremely unhappy with the KRG including Kirkuk in its referendum. "What really concerned us," a spokesperson for Turkey's president said in June of this year, "was that Kurdish leaders want to include Kirkuk in this process while according to the Iraqi constitution Kirkuk is an Iraqi city and is not within Kurdish boundaries ... If any attempts will be made to forcefully include Kirkuk in the referendum question, problems will be made for Kirkuk and its surrounding areas."

One can sympathize with Turkey's fears. The Marxist-Leninist Kurdistan Workers Party is, without question, a terrorist organization. Even so, nations have a right to exist even if they are inconvenient to Turkey—especially considering that Iraq's Kurds are not terrorists.

Iraq's Kurds are America's only reliable allies in the entire country.

Rather than terrorists, Iraq's Kurds are America's only reliable allies in the entire country. They're as pro-American as Texans; they're the only ones who didn't take shots at us during and after the overthrow of Saddam; and they were, for a time anyway, the only ones willing and capable of taking on ISIS directly and winning. They do not align themselves with Iranian-backed militias as the central government in Baghdad does, and they certainly aren't on side with Hezbollah and the Kremlin like the Syrian government. They are as allergic to political Islamism as Americans are. They view it, with some justification, as an alien export from the Arab world.

The Trump administration opposes Kurdistan's bid for independence. It could, says the White House, be "significantly destabilizing." Perhaps. But it's a bit rich for Americans, of all people, to say no to people who want to break away from a country that smothered them beneath a totalitarian regime, waged a genocidal extermination campaign against them, and then convulsed in bloody mayhem for more than a decade.

An independent Iraqi Kurdistan is far more likely to be stable with U.S. backing than without it.

We Americans mounted a revolution for our own independence against a government far more liberal and enlightened than Iraq's. And we support at least the notion of a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli state, the only properly functioning democracy in the entire region, despite the fact that the Palestinians have mounted one terrorist campaign after another for their own independence while the Kurds of Iraq never have.

An independent Iraqi Kurdistan is far more likely to be stable with American backing than without it, but the Kurds are going forward regardless. As Jack Nicholson's character Frank Costello said in Martin Scorsese's scorching film, The Departed, "no one gives it to you. You have to take it."

Michael J. Totten is a contributing editor at The Tower, a Middle East Forum writing fellow, and the author of seven books, including Where the West Ends and Tower of the Sun.
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / On Charlottesville, Trump, and Anti-Americanism on: August 20, 2017, 08:16:42 PM
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450626/charlottesville-donald-trump-alt-right-blame-both-sides-wrong?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Saturday%202017-08-19&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives

On Charlottesville, Trump, and Anti-Americanism

 by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY   August 19, 2017 4:00 AM @ANDREWCMCCARTHY


The president made some idiotic remarks, but he knows something the elites overlook. Susan Rosenberg was a terrorist in the early 1980s. Like her Weathermen comrades, she would have killed many people had she been a more competent terrorist. She was a fugitive plotting more bombings when she and a co-conspirator were captured in New Jersey, armed to the gills and toting over 700 pounds of dynamite. At her sentencing, she proclaimed, “Long live the armed struggle” against “U.S. imperialism.” Her only regret was that she hadn’t shot it out with the police who arrested her. A federal judge sentenced her to 58 years’ imprisonment. I know her story well because, when she claimed she was being denied parole unlawfully, I spent over a year as the prosecutor arguing that the court should keep her in the slammer. Finally, the court ruled against her. So . . . Bill Clinton sprang her. Her commutation may have outraged most Americans, but it was celebrated by the nation’s “progressive” opinion elites, the same ones who were cool with President Clinton’s release of the FALN terrorists. Granted, Rosenberg didn’t get the hero’s welcome at New York City’s Puerto Rican Day parade received by Oscar Lopez Rivera — the FALN terrorist released by President Obama. The teaching gig the Left arranged for her wasn’t quite as prestigious and long-lived as the ones her fellow Weathermen — and Obama pals — Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn fell into. She’ll never be a t-shirt icon, like Che Guevara or Tupac Shakur. The campaign to pretend she was innocent won’t rival the Alger Hiss fairy tale. There will probably be no statue of her, much less a performing-arts center like the one in Princeton named for Paul Robeson. In Political Skirmishes, Where are the Police? 00:06 00:54 Powered by But she hates America, so she’ll be remembered fondly in the places where the cultural tune is called. Her books — such as An American Radical: A Political Prisoner in My Own Country — will continue to be taken oh so seriously. Her Wikipedia entry does not describe her as a terrorist; it says Susan Rosenberg is a “radical political activist, author and advocate for social justice.”

That’s why you got Trump. It has nothing to do with statues of the dead. It is about the status of the living. You’re upset over President Trump’s idiotic remarks this week? Oh, right, I need to specify. Not the crackpot bit about General Pershing mass-murdering Muslim prisoners in the Philippines (well explained by David French, here). I mean the one about the “very fine people” in Charlottesville — the supposed “many” who joined neo-Nazis, KKK die-hards, and other white supremacists in a demonstration that could not have been more overtly racist and despicable. Yeah, I’m upset about that, too. That doesn’t mean I didn’t notice the anti-fa thugs were out there. It doesn’t mean I don’t see the hard Left’s seditionist shock troops, at war with the country, much like the Weathermen, the Panthers, and the Black Liberation Army back in the day. As we’ve seen many times now (and will, alas, see many times more), the radical Left doesn’t need tiki-torch twits to spur them to arson and mayhem.

This time, though, in Charlottesville, the white supremacists were the instigators. They caused it. They orchestrated this disgusting event, they came ready for the violence they knew they were provoking, and one of them committed a murder. If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t want to hear a bunch of imbecilic “there’s blame on both sides” moral equivalence. We’d want the most culpable bunch called out and condemned, by name — and without any irrational hedging about phantom “very fine people” who confederate with sociopaths on the latter’s terms. Making that distinction does not mean you can’t or shouldn’t call out anti-fa, too. But a young woman died here. And she didn’t die because, fully aware she was courting danger, she got herself into a scrap. She was standing where she had a right to be standing, expressing what she had a right to express, when she was murdered by a depraved racist who plowed a car into her and other human beings. Anyone commenting on this ghastly event ought to be able to prioritize his righteous rage. Especially if that anyone happens to be the president of the United States. Anyone commenting on this ghastly event ought to be able to prioritize his righteous rage. Especially if that anyone happens to be the president of the United States. You have good reason to be upset that this president couldn’t meet that modest standard.

If you’re on the political right, moreover, you may be even more upset by a poll that says two-thirds of Republicans actually approve of Trump’s response. They believe he ascribed blame accurately. Well, he didn’t. Does that make the poll result irrational? I don’t think so. It is not that two-thirds of the Right really think “very fine people” make common cause with the KKK. And it’s not that they really see two sides equally at fault. It is that, regardless of comparative fault, they know there were two sides out there. And they know the media has tried to obscure that fact. The poll is less indicative of settled belief than of gut reaction. People are fed up. If you dare notice the radical Left, you are not an observer of objective fact, you are a neo-Nazi sympathizer. If you dare notice that many of the “peaceful protesters” were swinging batons and spraying chemicals, you need a re-education course in “unconscious racism.” News about a radical leftist’s attempted mass murder of Republican House members that left Representative Steve Scalise on the brink of death faded quickly away — just a few days’ Kumbaya coverage along the lines of “Shaken Democrats joined Republicans in expressing outrage, etc., etc.”

But on Thursday in Barcelona, when Muslim terrorists reverted to the car jihad they have been using quite notoriously for years, the media speculated that the terrorist killing of 13 people by careening a van along a crowded street might just be a Charlottesville “copycat” attack. You get it: Islamic terrorists are just like the Klan, are just like bourgeois Americans in the Age of Trump. Or, as they say in Virginia, “Allahu akbar, y’all.” Don’t be sidetracked by the trendy debate over statues. Statuary is complicated. It is erected as much to signal the sentiments of the commissioners as to honor noteworthy lives. And it is built to last, so it stands even when sentiments change. A great deal of Confederate iconography was not commissioned in remembrance of soldierly valor or mawkish depiction of genteel Dixie. It was crafted in defiant 20th-century resistance to the extension of equal rights, dignity, and opportunity to black people. Trump’s ill-informed meanderings about “culture” aside, many people taking offense at the statues have every reason to feel offended because, taken all in all, the reasons why they stand are at least as offensive as the images they convey. Maybe if we grasp that, instead of getting hysterical over it, we can see why the loss of Robert E. Lee shouldn’t threaten Thomas Jefferson.

The disappearance of an honorable soldier in a dishonorable cause is not a slippery-slope rationale for casting out the founder who grafted onto America’s soul the conceit that we are all created equal — a solemn declaration of far more enduring consequence than its author’s flaws. Pegging it at 4,500 probably exaggerates the number of Saxon pagans beheaded by Charles the Great at Verden, but to call the episode an atrocity is no exaggeration. Nor, however, has Charlemagne’s ruthlessness in battle been adjudged reason to remove his famous statue from the cathedral entrance at Notre Dame de Paris. Without him, there might have been no Europe, no Western culture as we know it, no development of the university, no magnificent cathedrals still standing. It is a matter of perspective, of understanding changing times and our flawed nature. We can demand that our history not be erased and still realize that some of it is better recounted in book form than in stone or alloy. It should be left to the people most affected by evocative statuary to make that call. What bothers many ordinary Americans is that there is far more uproar over a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville than over one of Vladimir Lenin in Seattle. What bothers us is that elite opinion’s determination to conceal the presence of anti-fa at last weekend’s bloody debacle — the better to smear the American Right with the alt-right — is just phase one. Inevitably, phases two and three will follow: The presence of leftist radicals is grudgingly admitted but rationalized as a necessary defense against monstrous evil; then, in time, their presence is venerated as exemplary courage against a monstrously evil society.

Donald Trump’s buffoonery is self-defeating, but there is shrewdness beneath it. He grasps, in a way the people who cover him don’t seem to, that much of the country is sick of being told the country sucks. There are racists and they should be condemned without equivocation. But their existence in ever smaller numbers does not mean we are living in AmeriKKKa, or that there is high virtue in anti-Americanism. — Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450626/charlottesville-donald-trump-alt-right-blame-both-sides-wrong?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Saturday%202017-08-19&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Prohibited Imports on: August 20, 2017, 07:38:24 PM
Doug? Now that I have volunteered you...   grin


Well, Doug has published things on a blog with national viewership.

That would be great, thanks!
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A good analysis on what is happening on: August 20, 2017, 07:31:46 PM
From a post on facehuggerbook:

A brilliant friend who wishes to remain nameless reminds us why incidents like Charlottesville are all too inevitable in a nation with a hard left high command, an army of portable paid thugs, and a vast population of sentimental liberals who believe they stand only for truth and 'social justice.'
""The left could care less about this issue (Confederate statuary), as they could care less about any of their issues. "The issue is never the issue, the issue is always revolution". This is why they got gay marriage, then just moved on to Trans rights while shrugging off 50 gays getting killed in Orlando. When the transgender fight is over it'll be pedo rights or whatever.
... Very soon there will be a push to get rid of the entire American Revolution and all of the founding fathers. Jefferson will be first, but Washington won't be far behind.
Overriding all of this is the push to declare all of conservatism illegal. All religions not part of the cult of leftism are hate speech. Any support of the USA as a country is hateful, bigoted and evil. You supporting your own existence or political power is racism, nationalism and white supremacy.

The left has no limits. It's vital to understand that. No battle they pick is over the stated issue. Each is merely a step towards the goal of eradicating Western Civilization. They've set up a self reinforcing system of rewards, whereby SJWs out bid each other to come up with new ways to be offended. Thus it's become an ever more radical movement. It's not about the monuments. Of course glorifying slavery is bad. But should we not then tear down the Pyramids? Trust me, there is NO vestige of Western Civilization that could not be destroyed on the same premise. Every Castle in Europe occupied by a despot, every Church, every document, every classic of literature, etc. In world where a few degrees of separation join all things, guilt by association can be used to criticize anything, because its all a degree or two away from something that can be demonized. Look what's happening to Football; to the definition of family and gender, to every holiday. Anything can be destroyed if the standard is that it's related to something bad. Guess what that includes? Everything. SJWs in South Africa are going after Isaac Newton and Gravity as "western colonial science". Get it? Nothing is off limits. No. Single. Thing.

This is about enshrining the left as The One True Religion. They will replace everything with their own cultish iconography. They will likewise replace all ideas with their own. The fight over the Google memo is identical to this fight. It's about declaring all things non-leftist outside the scope of even debate. This is not about the confederacy. That's yet another in a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long list of fronts. It's about the existence of anything outside of leftism. It's about eliminating debate and installing a global Religion of Leftism. And make no mistake, that religion plans on replacing monuments, books, science and facts, liberty, the white population, the concept of natural rights, the rule of law, free speech, Christianity, the USA, Europe and all of Western Civilization. In fact, if you defend any of those things, you are a Nationalist, a white supremacist and a bigot. You must go. You must be replaced.

Many many a totalitarian ideology goes under the banner, "Join or Die". This is no different. And the left has done this before, many times. Pol Pot, The French Revolution, Mao, Lenin. The push to erase history and start over as a means of revolution is not new by any means. And if you think they have some limit, look to these past revolutions to see that they just don't. The ideology is self-reinforcing towards runaway radicalism. The only thing that stops it is pushback prior to their take over or burnout after it takes over and fails. It has no internal limits.
So while I agree with the Rabbi and have zero interest in defending Nazis or the Confederacy, I know that this has almost nothing to do with those things to the left. Those just create convenient foils. The left is filled with strawmen - they paint all of us as Nazi, bigoted, white male oppressors. Finding the occasional real life one is great for the left and they will use it to pretend all their other strawmen are likewise real. Understand that Marxism does not study policy and governance the way that conservatives and libertarians do. They study propaganda, power and revolutions. They are masters of it. Which is why repeated failure at governance never deters the next revolution.
Leftism. The One True Religion. Join or Die. That's their goal."
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Forest of Rhetoric on: August 20, 2017, 07:25:29 PM
http://rhetoric.byu.edu/

The Forest of Rhetoric
silva rhetoricae
Thank you for your patience as Silva Rhetoricae undergoes upgrades during 2016.
If you have trouble finding anything, please email rhetoric@byu.edu


How to Use This Site
FAQ
Citations & Awards
Scholarly Disciplines Served

This online rhetoric, provided by Dr. Gideon Burton of Brigham Young University, is a guide to the terms of classical and renaissance rhetoric. Sometimes it is difficult to see the forest (the big picture) of rhetoric because of the trees (the hundreds of Greek and Latin terms naming figures of speech, etc.) within rhetoric.

This site is intended to help beginners, as well as experts, make sense of rhetoric, both on the small scale (definitions and examples of specific terms) and on the large scale (the purposes of rhetoric, the patterns into which it has fallen historically as it has been taught and practiced for 2000+ years).

A forest is the metaphor for this site. Like a forest, rhetoric provides tremendous resources for many purposes. However, one can easily become lost in a large, complex habitat (whether it be one of wood or of wit). The organization of this central page and the hyperlinks within individual pages should provide a map, a discernible trail, to lay hold of the utility and beauty of this language discipline.

Don't be scared of the intimidating detail suggested by the odd Greek and Latin terms. After all, you can enjoy the simple beauty of a birch tree without knowing it is Betula alba and make use of the shade of a weeping willow without knowing it is in fact Salix babylonica. The same is possible with rhetoric. The names aid categorization and are more or less conventional, but I encourage you to get past the sesquipedalian labels and observe the examples and the sample criticism (rhetoric in practice). It is beyond the definitions that the power of rhetoric is made apparent.

Your input (contributions of examples, explanations, links, and bibliography, or your clarifications and corrections) is heartily welcomed.

 

How to Use this Site

If you'd like an overview of the entire "forest" (the subject) of rhetoric, consult the "trees" (major categories) in the left frame.

If you'd like to look up specific terms of rhetoric, either scroll through the list of figures of speech (or "flowers" of rhetoric) on the right, or Search the Forest (above or here).

Cross-references throughout the website will help you see the relationship between, for example, a topic of invention, such as "comparison" and its related figures of speech, "metaphor," etc.

For students of rhetoric, literature, or communication, don't forget to look at the examples of Rhetorical Analysis (at the bottom of each of the "trees").
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The zombietime blog on: August 20, 2017, 07:21:40 PM
http://zombietime.com/

Well worth reading.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Prohibited Imports on: August 20, 2017, 07:19:04 PM
Well, Doug has published things on a blog with national viewership.



I need your help. Please report the list below to blogs and the news outlets to let the world know how cruel and absurd the Maduro regime really is:

Prohibited Imports

Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press.



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!

Denny Schlesinger
 

8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack on: August 20, 2017, 06:03:24 PM
As the "Russia, Russia, Russia" narrative falls apart, it's getting memory-holed and replaced with "Teh Trump is a nazi!!!!"


https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack
Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.
By Patrick LawrenceTwitter AUGUST 9, 2017



It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.



We are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception.
Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept—as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate.” This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.
This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. Before proceeding into this material, several points bear noting.


One, there are many other allegations implicating Russians in the 2016 political process. The work I will now report upon does not purport to prove or disprove any of them. Who delivered documents to WikiLeaks? Who was responsible for the “phishing” operation penetrating John Podesta’s e-mail in March 2016? We do not know the answers to such questions. It is entirely possible, indeed, that the answers we deserve and must demand could turn out to be multiple: One thing happened in one case, another thing in another. The new work done on the mid-June and July 5 events bears upon all else in only one respect. We are now on notice: Given that we now stand face to face with very considerable cases of duplicity, it is imperative that all official accounts of these many events be subject to rigorously skeptical questioning. Do we even know that John Podesta’s e-mail address was in fact “phished”? What evidence of this has been produced? Such rock-bottom questions as these must now be posed in all other cases.

Two, houses built on sand and made of cards are bound to collapse, and there can be no surprise that the one resting atop the “hack theory,” as we can call the prevailing wisdom on the DNC events, appears to be in the process of doing so. Neither is there anything far-fetched in a reversal of the truth of this magnitude. American history is replete with similar cases. The Spanish sank the Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. Iran’s Mossadegh was a Communist. Guatemala’s Árbenz represented a Communist threat to the United States. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh was a Soviet puppet. The Sandinistas were Communists. The truth of the Maine, a war and a revolution in between, took a century to find the light of day, whereupon the official story disintegrated. We can do better now. It is an odd sensation to live through one of these episodes, especially one as big as Russiagate. But its place atop a long line of precedents can no longer be disputed.

Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in our national-security institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty.
Three, regardless of what one may think about the investigations and conclusions I will now outline—and, as noted, these investigations continue—there is a bottom line attaching to them. We can even call it a red line. Under no circumstance can it be acceptable that the relevant authorities—the National Security Agency, the Justice Department (via the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the Central Intelligence Agency—leave these new findings without reply. Not credibly, in any case. Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in these very institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty. Silence now, should it ensue, cannot be written down as an admission of duplicity, but it will come very close to one.

It requires no elaboration to apply the above point to the corporate media, which have been flaccidly satisfied with official explanations of the DNC matter from the start.

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. This article reflects numerous interviews with all of them conducted in person, via Skype, or by telephone.

The customary VIPS format is an open letter, typically addressed to the president. The group has written three such letters on the DNC incident, all of which were first published by Robert Parry at www.consortiumnews.com. Here is the latest, dated July 24; it blueprints the forensic work this article explores in detail. They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation. In a letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the group explained that the NSA’s known programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. “We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks,” the letter said. “If NSA cannot produce such evidence—and quickly—this would probably mean it does not have any.”


The day after Parry published this letter, Obama gave his last press conference as president, at which he delivered one of the great gems among the official statements on the DNC e-mail question. “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking,” the legacy-minded Obama said, “were not conclusive.” There is little to suggest the VIPS letter prompted this remark, but it is typical of the linguistic tap-dancing many officials connected to the case have indulged so as to avoid putting their names on the hack theory and all that derives from it.

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any.

Donald Rumsfeld famously argued with regard to the WMD question in Iraq, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” In essence, Binney and others at VIPS say this logic turns upside down in the DNC case: Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said in an interview. “They’re playing the Wizard of Oz game.”

New findings indicate this is perfectly true, but until recently the VIPS experts could produce only “negative evidence,” as they put it: The absence of evidence supporting the hack theory demonstrates that it cannot be so. That is all VIPS had. They could allege and assert, but they could not conclude: They were stuck demanding evidence they did not have—if only to prove there was none.

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations.
Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. This bears brief explanation.

The Forensicator’s July 9 document indicates he lives in the Pacific Time Zone, which puts him on the West Coast. His notes describing his investigative procedures support this. But little else is known of him. Adam Carter, in turn, is located in England, but the name is a coy pseudonym: It derives from a character in a BBC espionage series called Spooks. It is protocol in this community, Elizabeth Vos told me in a telephone conversation this week, to respect this degree of anonymity. Kirk Wiebe, the former SIGINT analyst at the NSA, thinks Forensicator could be “someone very good with the FBI,” but there is no certainty. Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.


Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known—they were published last September—and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege,’ meaning a key.”

What has Forensicator proven since he turned his key? How? What has work done atop Forensicator’s findings proven? How?

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public on July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate.
Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

Time stamps in the metadata indicate the download occurred somewhere on the East Coast of the United States—not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone.
What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second—half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between—but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads—conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like—degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator wrote, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”
In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting. “It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.

It is not yet clear whether documents now shown to have been leaked locally on July 5 were tainted to suggest Russian hacking in the same way the June 15 Guccifer release was. This is among several outstanding questions awaiting answers, and the forensic scientists active on the DNC case are now investigating it. In a note Adam Carter sent to Folden and McGovern last week and copied to me, he reconfirmed the corruption of the June 15 documents, while indicating that his initial work on the July 5 documents—of which much more is to be done—had not yet turned up evidence of doctoring.

In the meantime, VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.
It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent.”

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment, the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers—an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

“We continue to stand by our report,” CrowdStrike said, upon seeing the VIPS blueprint of the investigation. CrowdStrike argues that by July 5 all malware had been removed from the DNC’s computers. But the presence or absence of malware by that time is entirely immaterial, because the event of July 5 is proven to have been a leak and not a hack. Given that malware has nothing to do with leaks, CrowdStrike’s logic appears to be circular.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. The investigators deserve a response, the betrayed professionals who formed VIPS as the WMD scandal unfolded in 2003 deserve it, and so do the rest of us. The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden’s answer: impossible based on the data. “The laws of physics don’t lie,” Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. “It’s QED, theorem demonstrated,” William Binney said in response to my question. “There’s no evidence out there to get me to change my mind.” When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, “I’ve looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn’t do the work. That’s the 10 percent. I’m a scientist.”

Editor’s note: In its chronology, VIPS mistakenly gave the wrong date for CrowdStrike’s announcement of its claim to have found malware on DNC servers. It said June 15, when it should have said June 14. VIPS has acknowledged the error, and we have made the correction.

Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.”



Patrick LawrenceTWITTERPatrick Lawrence is a longtime columnist, essayist, critic, and lecturer, whose most recent books are Somebody Else’s Century: East and West in a Post-Western World and Time No Longer: America After the American Century. His website is patricklawrence.us.

9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack on: August 20, 2017, 06:01:08 PM
https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack
Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.
By Patrick LawrenceTwitter AUGUST 9, 2017



It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.



We are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception.
Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept—as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate.” This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.
This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. Before proceeding into this material, several points bear noting.


One, there are many other allegations implicating Russians in the 2016 political process. The work I will now report upon does not purport to prove or disprove any of them. Who delivered documents to WikiLeaks? Who was responsible for the “phishing” operation penetrating John Podesta’s e-mail in March 2016? We do not know the answers to such questions. It is entirely possible, indeed, that the answers we deserve and must demand could turn out to be multiple: One thing happened in one case, another thing in another. The new work done on the mid-June and July 5 events bears upon all else in only one respect. We are now on notice: Given that we now stand face to face with very considerable cases of duplicity, it is imperative that all official accounts of these many events be subject to rigorously skeptical questioning. Do we even know that John Podesta’s e-mail address was in fact “phished”? What evidence of this has been produced? Such rock-bottom questions as these must now be posed in all other cases.

Two, houses built on sand and made of cards are bound to collapse, and there can be no surprise that the one resting atop the “hack theory,” as we can call the prevailing wisdom on the DNC events, appears to be in the process of doing so. Neither is there anything far-fetched in a reversal of the truth of this magnitude. American history is replete with similar cases. The Spanish sank the Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. Iran’s Mossadegh was a Communist. Guatemala’s Árbenz represented a Communist threat to the United States. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh was a Soviet puppet. The Sandinistas were Communists. The truth of the Maine, a war and a revolution in between, took a century to find the light of day, whereupon the official story disintegrated. We can do better now. It is an odd sensation to live through one of these episodes, especially one as big as Russiagate. But its place atop a long line of precedents can no longer be disputed.

Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in our national-security institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty.
Three, regardless of what one may think about the investigations and conclusions I will now outline—and, as noted, these investigations continue—there is a bottom line attaching to them. We can even call it a red line. Under no circumstance can it be acceptable that the relevant authorities—the National Security Agency, the Justice Department (via the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the Central Intelligence Agency—leave these new findings without reply. Not credibly, in any case. Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in these very institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty. Silence now, should it ensue, cannot be written down as an admission of duplicity, but it will come very close to one.

It requires no elaboration to apply the above point to the corporate media, which have been flaccidly satisfied with official explanations of the DNC matter from the start.

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. This article reflects numerous interviews with all of them conducted in person, via Skype, or by telephone.

The customary VIPS format is an open letter, typically addressed to the president. The group has written three such letters on the DNC incident, all of which were first published by Robert Parry at www.consortiumnews.com. Here is the latest, dated July 24; it blueprints the forensic work this article explores in detail. They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation. In a letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the group explained that the NSA’s known programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. “We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks,” the letter said. “If NSA cannot produce such evidence—and quickly—this would probably mean it does not have any.”


The day after Parry published this letter, Obama gave his last press conference as president, at which he delivered one of the great gems among the official statements on the DNC e-mail question. “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking,” the legacy-minded Obama said, “were not conclusive.” There is little to suggest the VIPS letter prompted this remark, but it is typical of the linguistic tap-dancing many officials connected to the case have indulged so as to avoid putting their names on the hack theory and all that derives from it.

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any.

Donald Rumsfeld famously argued with regard to the WMD question in Iraq, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” In essence, Binney and others at VIPS say this logic turns upside down in the DNC case: Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said in an interview. “They’re playing the Wizard of Oz game.”

New findings indicate this is perfectly true, but until recently the VIPS experts could produce only “negative evidence,” as they put it: The absence of evidence supporting the hack theory demonstrates that it cannot be so. That is all VIPS had. They could allege and assert, but they could not conclude: They were stuck demanding evidence they did not have—if only to prove there was none.

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations.
Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. This bears brief explanation.

The Forensicator’s July 9 document indicates he lives in the Pacific Time Zone, which puts him on the West Coast. His notes describing his investigative procedures support this. But little else is known of him. Adam Carter, in turn, is located in England, but the name is a coy pseudonym: It derives from a character in a BBC espionage series called Spooks. It is protocol in this community, Elizabeth Vos told me in a telephone conversation this week, to respect this degree of anonymity. Kirk Wiebe, the former SIGINT analyst at the NSA, thinks Forensicator could be “someone very good with the FBI,” but there is no certainty. Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.


Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known—they were published last September—and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege,’ meaning a key.”

What has Forensicator proven since he turned his key? How? What has work done atop Forensicator’s findings proven? How?

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public on July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate.
Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

Time stamps in the metadata indicate the download occurred somewhere on the East Coast of the United States—not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone.
What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second—half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between—but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads—conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like—degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator wrote, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”
In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting. “It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.

It is not yet clear whether documents now shown to have been leaked locally on July 5 were tainted to suggest Russian hacking in the same way the June 15 Guccifer release was. This is among several outstanding questions awaiting answers, and the forensic scientists active on the DNC case are now investigating it. In a note Adam Carter sent to Folden and McGovern last week and copied to me, he reconfirmed the corruption of the June 15 documents, while indicating that his initial work on the July 5 documents—of which much more is to be done—had not yet turned up evidence of doctoring.

In the meantime, VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.
It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent.”

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment, the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers—an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

“We continue to stand by our report,” CrowdStrike said, upon seeing the VIPS blueprint of the investigation. CrowdStrike argues that by July 5 all malware had been removed from the DNC’s computers. But the presence or absence of malware by that time is entirely immaterial, because the event of July 5 is proven to have been a leak and not a hack. Given that malware has nothing to do with leaks, CrowdStrike’s logic appears to be circular.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. The investigators deserve a response, the betrayed professionals who formed VIPS as the WMD scandal unfolded in 2003 deserve it, and so do the rest of us. The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden’s answer: impossible based on the data. “The laws of physics don’t lie,” Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. “It’s QED, theorem demonstrated,” William Binney said in response to my question. “There’s no evidence out there to get me to change my mind.” When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, “I’ve looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn’t do the work. That’s the 10 percent. I’m a scientist.”

Editor’s note: In its chronology, VIPS mistakenly gave the wrong date for CrowdStrike’s announcement of its claim to have found malware on DNC servers. It said June 15, when it should have said June 14. VIPS has acknowledged the error, and we have made the correction.

Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.”



Patrick LawrenceTWITTERPatrick Lawrence is a longtime columnist, essayist, critic, and lecturer, whose most recent books are Somebody Else’s Century: East and West in a Post-Western World and Time No Longer: America After the American Century. His website is patricklawrence.us.
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / James Mattis: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy on: August 20, 2017, 05:54:51 PM
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450464/james-mattis-no-better-friend-no-worse-enemy

James Mattis: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy
 by JIM PROSER   August 15, 2017 4:00 AM

The highly popular secretary of defense brings a unique mix of compassion, ferocity, and discipline to the job. Plenty of book learning, too. Jim Mattis, retired Marine four-star general, was the first person President Trump nominated to his cabinet. Mattis received nearly unanimous (99 to 1) bipartisan support for his nomination. He then received an extremely rare waiver of the guidelines that exclude recently active military leaders from the position of secretary of defense. It has been more than 60 years since the last such waiver. What could create such unprecedented unity, even enthusiasm, amid the hyper-partisan political rancor of 2017? This overwhelming support goes beyond enthusiasm for his record of military competence. His sometimes shocking public statements and quiet triumphs point to both an extraordinary level of compassion and the capacity for ferocious lethality. So who is this guy, really, who commands this unique place of respect in modern America? Mattis chose a path in life that has brought him repeatedly into mortal combat with the most barbaric evil of our time, Islamist terrorism. Yet he continues to defeat it with insight, humor, fighting courage, and fierce compassion not only for his fellow Marines who volunteer to follow him through hell’s front door but also for the innocent victims of war. He encouraged his beloved Marines in Iraq with this advice: “Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” He spoke plainly, from his heart, warning civilian tribal leaders of the Sunni Awakening in Iraq’s Anbar province: “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for the next 10,000 years.”

Mattis has long been a living legend in the Marine Corps, earning the odd nickname of “the Warrior Monk.” Robert H. Scales, a retired United States Army major general, described him as “one of the most urbane and polished men I have known.” Mattis’s personal library of more than 7,000 books — including many obscure, scholarly titles — is as famous as his habit of carrying a personal copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius with him into battle. UP NEXT Confederate Monuments 00:36 00:52 Powered by He is a fearsome warrior to a mostly admiring but often misunderstanding public that has stuck him with the nickname Mattis himself dislikes: “Mad Dog,” a moniker implying that he loses control. People perhaps mistake his ferocious aggression for a lack of discipline. Anyone who has served with him will tell you just the opposite: As a field commander, he maintains strict discipline, even sleep discipline, continually striving for “brilliance in the basics.” In his meticulous preparations for the untested “maneuver warfare” that was about to be used in the second Iraq War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, he created a scale model of the battlefield from the border of Kuwait to the objective, Baghdad. It was the size of half a football field. A week before the invasion began, he dressed representatives from the dozens of coalition military units in color-coded football jerseys and had them walk through the battle plan as he narrated the maneuvers over loudspeakers to the assembled field commanders. He encouraged his beloved Marines in Iraq with this advice: ‘Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.’ At the end of this rehearsal, Mattis answered questions and then dismissed the group. Mike Murdoch, one of the British company commanders, leaned over to U.S. Marine Captain Stephen Coerr and asked, “Mate, are all your generals that good?”

His competence and level-headedness are so trusted that the president of the United States has given him essentially a free hand to fight America’s wars as he sees fit. Characteristically, in announcing the change of policy toward ISIS from one of “attrition” to “annihilation,” Mattis credited his boss with the decision. One might call this political discipline. As of this writing, after only seven months, the barbaric Islamists of ISIS are on the brink of annihilation in their own capital city of Raqqa. The ‘Warrior Monk’ The legend of the Warrior Monk started 45 years ago when 18-year-old Jim Mattis signed up for the Marine’s Platoon Leaders Course (PLC). He had often admired the challenge to excel offered by the Marine Corps. With typical humility, he now downplays the decision to join up: I don’t think I had the intention of making it a career at that point. I wasn’t closed-minded about it, but it was to go in, look around, and do my time. In those days we had the draft, so there was little choice. And then look around and see what else was out there. But the decision was not as casual as he implies. In Vietnam, the Tet Offensive had just killed 4,000 and wounded 6,000 American soldiers and Marines, so the American military was aggressively seeking new recruits to refill the ranks. Joining the Marine Corps at the time, even with a temporary deferment as a full-time student, was a socially ostracizing and potentially fatal decision. After six weeks of training — as Jim Mattis was hearing around his college campus of Central Washington College — they put a rifle in your hands and sent you to the front of the line, walking the point, on patrol looking for a gunfight in the booby-trapped jungles of Vietnam. And socially, he could forget about the free love, campus hippie chicks that occupied much of his brain space at the time. In spite of the social cost and potential danger, his commitment to the Marine Corps led him to get a master’s degree in history from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Particularly useful for a career in the Marine Corps was his study of The Art of War, a recently translated treatise dating from the fifth century b.c., by Sun-Tzu, a legendary Chinese general. The emphasis on duality in Sun-Tzu’s philosophy, the yin and yang of war, coincided with Mattis’s deep appreciation for the ebb and flow of the natural world and human interaction. Sun-Tzu’s concept of “winning hearts and minds” was a natural fit for Mattis and would serve him well in the wars to come in the East. On July 20, 1978, Captain James Mattis took command of Kilo Company of the Third Marine Battalion of the Third Marine Division (3/3) under the command of Colonel Ken Jordan, a Vietnam veteran.

His life was now out of classrooms and onto the rolling decks of warships. In September, he deployed as part of the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit on a “float” to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Okinawa, and Korea. On this first deployment, the Marines rescued hundreds of “boat people” — war refugees in overloaded, uncovered fishing boats often floating aimlessly and out of fuel in the open sea. This human aftermath of the American military retreat from Vietnam and resulting political instability crowded every available inch of deck space around Mattis. Refugees filled the sweaty hold of the ship, clutching their children and meager possessions and often shaking with fear and trauma. This was Mattis’s first real-world experience of war as a Marine. As the Navy’s ground troops — the first in and often the last out of smaller, Third World conflicts — Marines frequently end up with the responsibility for evacuation of war victims. Compassion is a necessary part of an officer’s training, and Mattis’s was put to the test as he shared overheated sleeping spaces, food, and few toilets, often for days on end, with successive swarms of desperate, frequently ill people who didn’t speak English. Compassion is a necessary part of an officer’s training, and Mattis’s was put to the test as he shared overheated sleeping spaces, food, and few toilets, often for days on end, with successive swarms of desperate, frequently ill people who didn’t speak English. Back in Haneohe, Hawaii, home base of the 3/3, a place literally crawling with lonely Marines, Mattis found an attractive and unattached young lady we will call Alice. (Alice’s real name is being withheld as requested by friends of the Mattis family.) The relationship began slowly and remained unknown to most of his closest colleagues. Alice seemed to share a studious, reverential view of the world and had a deep appreciation for the sacrifices endured by Marines. Quietly, the two kindled a romance. Now, as a young captain, comfortable in the simple, Spartan lifestyle of a Marine officer, Mattis turned to sweet, brown-haired Alice to lead him in matters of the heart. On August 4, 1980, Mattis assumed command of the relatively new configuration of a weapons company for the 3/3. Lieutenant David Pittelkow commanded a Dragon anti-armor squad under Mattis. While reviewing Pittelkow’s performance, Mattis noticed the young lieutenant giving orders to his men correctly but not pitching in quite as much with the physical work of setting up the heavy and dangerous equipment. He pulled his lieutenant aside and counseled him like a kind uncle on the shared work ethic of the Marine Corps: “Y’know, Dave, the privilege of command is command. You don’t get a bigger tent.”

Mattis earned the following fitness report from Ken Jordan, his commanding officer: Recommended for the Leftwich Award for outstanding leadership, Mattis exceeds all expectations for tactical knowledge, leadership ability and operational skill. A dedicated, hard-working, dependable officer, he was instrumental in assisting this BLT [Battalion Landing Team] to attain a score of 97 on the recent CRE [Combat Readiness Evaluation], the highest score in the brigade. His company consistently excels in quantifiable areas, and he sets the example for this men. He is intelligent, and expresses himself well verbally and in writing. ’Alice’ At this point, Mattis is engaged to marry Alice. The ceremony is set for late June to coincide with his return from scheduled extensive exercises of the 3/3 in the East. It is to be a quiet, private ceremony with close family and few friends. A few days before departure, Alice suddenly realizes that as a Marine’s wife, she will move frequently to different parts of the world and will face the constant threat of having officers knocking on her door one day in full dress uniform to deliver the worst possible news. As much as she respects the sacrifices that Marines make, she is not prepared to do the same. She insists that Mattis resign, that he choose her or the Corps — he cannot have both. Mattis frets over the decision but ultimately follows his heart. He agrees to resign his commission and begins the process. The upcoming float will be his last. Alarmed at the loss of such a rising star and well-liked leader, Mattis’s Marines launch a love offensive. They send their wives and fiancées to call and visit Alice, some meeting her for the first time, some with their men in tow to vouch for the realities of life with a Marine. The avalanche of support is overwhelming. Alice has deep misgivings but is reassured by the extended Marine family that surrounds her, pledging their love to her and her Jim, and to their family that may come. She finally relents, with only hours left before the 3/3 ships out. The wedding is back on. Mattis trashes his resignation forms and, riding the roller coaster of his emotions, packs his seabag for a long deployment. Nothing stays private very long during months at sea in close quarters, so when they make landfall at various ports, Mattis is repeatedly subjected to hair-raising bachelor parties. They are at sea this time for more than four months. Back in Hawaii, preparations for the wedding proceed with the customary frenzy. As relatives from the mainland begin to arrive and caterers prepare, word comes to Mattis that all is again not well with his bride. His rise in fortune within the Marine Corps is not reflected outside of it. Alice has reconsidered. She simply can’t imagine their married life being anything other than an unhappy waiting game for her and so a burden to him and his career. This time, only a few truly close friends rush to the couple’s support. They beg Alice to reconsider, to be patient, to understand that Jim Mattis is worth the wait. The men tell her, truthfully, that he hasn’t looked at another woman since their engagement. Finally, Mattis and Alice have the talk. She is not swayed. Their engagement is off, the wedding is cancelled. On July 28, 1981, Mattis relinquishes command of 3/3 weapons company Kilo. He is promoted to the rank of major and leaves Hawaii to return home to the Pacific Northwest. He takes command of a quiet Marine recruiting office in Portland, Ore., near the banks of the beloved Columbia River of his childhood. Like the first Marines who remained unmarried while in the Corps, he returns to the simple, monkish life of reading and fishing that he knew before Alice and the 3/3, even before the Marine Corps. He will never marry. Instead, he will devote himself to his adopted family of Marines. Christmas Day The legend of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is chock-full of tales of heroism and victories on the battlefield, but the story that most reveals the man underneath the general’s stars takes place on a Christmas Day after 40 years of leading young men and women into battle, always from the front lines.

General Charles Krulak, commandant of the Marine Corps, every year, starting about a week before Christmas, baked hundreds of Christmas cookies with his wife. They packaged them in small bundles, and on Christmas Day, at about 4 a.m. Krulak drove himself to every Marine guard post in the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore area to deliver the cookies to the Marines pulling guard duty that day. This year at Quantico he arrived at the command center and gave a package to the lance corporal on duty. He asked, “Who’s the officer of the day?” The lance corporal said, “Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.” And Krulak said, “No, no, no. I know who General Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day today, Christmas Day?” The lance corporal, feeling a little anxious, said, “Sir, it is Brigadier General Mattis.” About that time, Krulak spots in the back room a cot, or a daybed. He said, “No, Lance Corporal. Who slept in that bed last night?” The lance corporal answers, “Sir, it was Brigadier General Mattis.” Just then, Mattis came in, in a duty uniform with a sword, and Krulak said, “Jim, what are you doing here on Christmas Day? Why do you have duty?” Mattis told Krulak that the young officer who was scheduled to have duty on Christmas Day had a family, and he had decided it was better for the young officer to spend Christmas Day with his family. So he chose to have duty on Christmas Day in his place. READ MORE: In Defense of Trump’s Generals Trump and His Generals On Defense Readiness, Mattis Steps Up — Jim Proser is the author of No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy, a biography of General James Mattis, to be released by HarperCollins this fall.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450464/james-mattis-no-better-friend-no-worse-enemy
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Confederate Statues Honor Timeless Virtues — Let Them Stay on: August 19, 2017, 05:13:48 PM
Confederate Statues Honor Timeless Virtues — Let Them Stay

by ARTHUR HERMAN   August 19, 2017 4:00 AM @ARTHURLHERMAN

Don’t let extremists on both sides destroy honor and valor, even as they seek to destroy everything else. There are times when I wonder if we’re coming to the harsh, bitter end of the American experiment. The weekend of August 12 was one of them. My wife and I have lived in Charlottesville for the past 14 years, and on Saturday we got to see the sick political culture that’s infected this country for the past couple of decades sweep over our fair city, leaving three dead and many more seriously injured. Beth and I like to run in the mornings, and that Saturday morning we headed over to the big four-story parking garage at John Paul Jones Arena, which we sometimes use as our running track when it’s raining or it’s very hot and sunny. Usually the garage is completely empty; that Saturday every bay was filled with a Virginia State Police car, with dozens of other police cars and vans parked along the side. Seeing them gave us both an eerie feeling filled with foreboding; I’d felt the same eeriness that Friday night, when white supremacists held their torchlight vigil at the University of Virginia, in a scene reminiscent of Nazi-party rallies in the 1930s.

Yet even with all these policemen in riot gear, no one could control the violence when extremists from the left and extremists from the right battled each other in the streets in Charlottesville — or the national political firestorm it set off. And all this happened because our city council decided in June it could score some liberal points by having the statue of Robert E. Lee removed from a park downtown, and by changing the name from Lee Park to Emancipation Park. UP NEXT UP NEXT UP NEXT UP NEXT UP NEXT CBS News figure Misrepresents Facts on Terror 00:57 01:00 Powered by They’re not alone, of course; they’re part of a trend that’s sweeping — or, I prefer to say infecting — the country right now, and not just in the South. I’ve heard many arguments as to why statues commemorating Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and other Confederate war heroes should come down in Charlottesville; and not many why they should stay, except from white supremacists who have no honest or rational views on the matter. So maybe it’s time for someone who is a scholar, a historian — a Pulitzer Prize finalist historian, and the New York Times–bestselling author of nine books — and a lifelong Civil War buff to rehearse the reasons why they should remain, and why, if they come down now under violent pressure from the Left, we may be losing a lot more than statues of dead Confederate heroes. these are not ‘Confederate monuments.’ They are monuments to the dead, soldiers who fought and often died for the Confederate cause. First of all, these are not “Confederate monuments.” They are monuments to the dead, soldiers who fought and often died for the Confederate cause. They were erected years after the Civil War.

For example, the bronze Lee statue in Lee Park dates to 1924. It was begun by a French sculptor, completed by an Italian-immigrant artist, and then cast by a company in the Bronx. These monuments were dedicated to memorialize the courage and sacrifice that these Southern men and, in some cases, women (one of the sculptures in Baltimore pulled down earlier this week was dedicated “to the Confederate women of Maryland”) brought to a cause that they believed at the time deserved the same “last full measure of devotion” that their Northern counterparts brought to theirs. Of course, some of those who paid for and erected these statues also believed that cause had been right, not wrong. (I’ll say more about that in a minute.) But in the final analysis, they are monuments to timeless virtues, not to individuals. Nor are they monuments to “traitors.” Abraham Lincoln set that issue aside as soon as the war ended, by making it clear that there would be no trials or punishments for the rebels who had fought for the Confederacy and that the national agenda would be reconciliation, not retribution, in order that Americans might come together again as one nation, indivisible. And that has been the lasting legacy of the Civil War, ever since. It is in fact the true face of American exceptionalism, that we Americans could fight a savage and bloody civil war, in which more than 600,000 died and thousands more were maimed and wounded, and still be able to honor the heroes of both sides.

That never happened with other civil wars. It didn’t happen in Ireland or Spain or Russia, and it won’t happen in Iraq. This is a personal issue for me. My great-great-grandfather fought for the Union in that war and was severely wounded at the Battle of Stone’s River. (I still have the rebel Minié ball the medics pulled out of his knee.) But I know that neither he nor the men he served with in his Wisconsin regiment would want, 150 years later, to change those parks’ names — any more than would Ulysses S. Grant or Lincoln, who after the war famously spoke of the need for “charity to all and malice towards none.” Lincoln sought “to bind the nation’s wounds” in the aftermath of America’s bloodiest conflict. It was a process of reconciliation and healing, which the Left is now determined to tear up and destroy. This is why making Lee the target of these attacks is both ironic and tragic. Just before the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, one of his officers proposed instead that they draw off into the hills to continue the fight against the Federals in a guerilla war. Lee firmly said no. The South had fought its war and lost; after the surrender, he wanted his men to return to their homes and return to being Americans. As any reader of Jay Winik’s book April 1865 also knows, after the war Lee also worked for reconciliation between black and white, in hopes that together they could build a new South now that the slaveholding version was gone forever. It’s true that Lee failed. His dream of a new South descended into Jim Crow after he died. This is in fact the best argument that those who want these statues gone can make: that the “reconciliation” between North and South was done on the backs of blacks, and that the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow were the price America paid to have peace in the aftermath of civil war. From a historical point of view, it’s almost convincing, even though what American blacks suffered under segregation was nothing compared to what liberalism has inflicted on them since the 1950s, as it destroyed their families, their schools, and their young men and women’s lives through drugs and guns and the gangster-rap culture “lifestyle,” which is really a death style. It’s a deceptively specious proposition. We must remove these statues, is how the argument goes, as a form of symbolic reparation to African Americans who suffered not only slavery but its Jim Crow aftermath. The monuments may be to the right people — men who served with honor, dedication, and valor — but they were too often erected for the wrong reasons, not to close the books on a bitter war but to open a new chapter in a segregationist South. They are monuments to Southern heroes, symbols of Southern courage and heroism.

The subtext was: When the South rises again, it will produce heroes like these again. But again, this argument runs up against the monuments themselves. They’re not to leaders of the Ku Klux Klan or the architects of segregation or to George Wallace or Lester Maddox. They are monuments to Southern heroes whom the segregationists could cling to as unexceptionable symbols of Southern courage and heroism. The subtext was: When the South rises again, it will produce heroes like these again. Instead it got Theodore Bilbo and George Wallace and Robert Byrd; but that was not Lee or Jackson’s fault, any more than an American flag displayed at a KKK rally is a reason to ban the Stars and Stripes. In that sense, one could say that these statues and monuments were vice’s tribute to virtue, and Jim Crow’s tribute to dead heroes, because even Jim Crow knew they represented human qualities — duty, honor, valor, sacrifice — that transcend race, color, and political ideology. *** That is, of course, what those who want the statues torn down deny. Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and sundry activists who gathered to do battle in Charlottesville that day believe that there are no intrinsic human virtues, only politics and power. They are our totalitarian Left: Their ideological roots run much deeper than Ferguson. Reared on Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, they see America as the Evil Empire and the Confederacy as a face of that evil. The people who led the destruction of the statues in Durham, for example, were members of the World Workers Party, a Communist faction that supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The party’s latest cause happens to be defending North Korea. Tearing down statues of dead Confederates is just one more means to their Marxist end. Those who convince themselves that removing these monuments will calm political passions and make the issue go away know not with whom they are dealing. The totalitarian Left is just getting warmed up. To them this is not a campaign about racism or slavery; it’s one more step in transforming America by effacing and defacing every aspect of its history, going back to the founding. Once Lee and Jackson are gone, attention will turn to Thomas Jefferson. (It already has here in Charlottesville, where he made his home at Monticello, and at the University of Virginia, which he founded). Jefferson was a slaveholder, after all, who actually knew it was wrong; why are so many statues and highways named after him, and likewise after his fellow slaveholders James Madison and George Washington? Clearly we need to start correcting that. And what about Lincoln himself? How would he pass the latest litmus test on what constitutes racism? Or how would many or even most of the men who wore blue and fought for the Union, including my great-great grandfather? They may be heroes for now, but when Governor Andrew Cuomo says he has ordered removing the names of Lee and Jackson from street signs because New York “stands against racism,” where does that leave most Americans born before the Second World War?

The truth is that, while Cuomo, Black Lives Matter, and the Workers World Party claim to hate racism, what they really hate is America. America is a country where the process of conflict and reconciliation, combined with the passage of time, brings out and embeds the qualities that make the United States one people and one community. That process includes the Civil War. This is not my insight, it was Abraham Lincoln’s. He believed that the Southerners who had left the Union in 1861 and had fought a war with every ounce of savagery and bitterness could be welcomed back in 1865 and that the nation could made whole again, because the virtues (not the vices) the South displayed in that conflict — honor, valor, sacrifice — were in fact American virtues. Now 150 years later, extremists on both sides have brought the anger and bitterness back, deliberately. When I think about the riots in Charlottesville, I hear these lines from Dover Beach: “We are here as on a darkling plain / Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight / Where ignorant armies clash by night” — and while statues of dead heroes watch impassively overhead. So when should those statues come down? I’d say when honor, valor, and sacrifice no longer count for anything in this country. Until then, let them stay. Don’t let extremists on both sides destroy the virtues they stand for, even as they seek to destroy everything else. — Arthur L. Herman is Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of the forthcoming 1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder and Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450622/virginia-confederate-statues-robert-e-lee-stonewall-jackson-virtues-honor-sacrifice-valor?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Saturday%202017-08-19&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 19, 2017, 10:45:22 AM
Two nuclear powers fighting with stones...looks like the Chinese are learning from the pakis (masters of stone throwing). One side is Chinese, the other is Indian, location: Pangong lake, Ladakh, India. Complete with one flying kick. All one needs is a bullet to be fired and then the balloon will be up. The frustration on the Chinese side is building up. Recently Chinese came up with a video mocking India and India did the same (Winnie da pooh). The Winnie da pooh video is classier...psyops from both sides

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww6ppQBH03w&feature=youtu.be

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/18/asia/china-xinhua-india-video/index.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-40627855
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Escape the Goolag on: August 19, 2017, 10:04:13 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmaM-Mar_oA

You have options.
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / When Obama Declared That There Were "Many Sides" to Blame for Islamist Terrorism on: August 19, 2017, 09:28:44 AM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/371190.php

August 18, 2017
Flashback: When Obama Declared That There Were "Many Sides" to Blame for Islamist Terrorism -- Especially Christianity -- Media Not Only Defended Him, But Castigated Critics Who'd Dispute Obama's "Many-Sides-ism"
Let's go all the way back through the mists of time, to a forgotten era of dinosaurs and wizard-kings, an age of wonder and mystery called "February 2015."

In this mythological age, evoking "many sides" to blame for violence was not considered "racist," but in fact was hailed as the very pinnacle of rationality and cosmopolitanism.

Despite the fact that it is always Islamists responsible for Islamist terrorism (see the name; just what it says on the tin), President Lord God Obama proclaimed that many sides were in fact responsible for the rivers of blood spilled by Islamists, including, most notoriously, the Christians.

His latest challenge came Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.
"Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history," he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. "And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

When Trump spoke of "many sides" offering violence, he was referring to the fact -- the fact -- that antifa thugs attacked the Nazis and, when the cops drove the Nazis from the park, surrounded them and attacked them with apparent police complicity.

When Obama spoke of many sides being to blame, he was going back to... the Crusades between 1100 and 1350 AD. Oh, and, of course, the famous Christian enslavement of Muslims, which did not happen.

The response from the media was not -- get this -- anger and bitter denunciation, but rather a moistened-crotched panting, along with a sneering dismissal of critics of the "many sides" talk as "the usual quarters."

President Obama is drawing some heat -- mostly from the usual quarters -- for invoking the Crusades while talking about Islam and terrorism on Thursday.
At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Obama noted there was a time when people mass-murdered in the name of Christianity, too:

And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
As many were quick to point out, the Catholic church's Crusades began more than 900 years ago, and the Inquisition began in the 13th century.

In the context of Obama's long-standing remarks on Islam and terrorism, though, invoking the Crusades and the Inquisition are wholly unsurprising. What is more surprising is that he hasn't done this sooner.

I'm not surprised the leftwing media has completely ignored its own history of defending "many sides to blame" arguments from the president.

I am surprised, however, that so many members of the #FakeNews "rightwing" media have, however.

More: At the eulogy for five dead Dallas cops assassinated by a Black Lives Matter terrorist, Barack "Many Sides" Obama offered this observation:

"We have all seen this bigotry in our lives at some point," obama told an audience of about 2,500 at a concert hall in Dallas. "None of us is entirely innocent. No institution is entirely immune. And that includes our police departments. We know this."
Telling cops they're racist at a funeral for their own was, by the media's estimation, the height of cosmopolitan nuance and sophistication.

Thanks to Soothsayer for that quote.


digg this
posted by Ace at 07:01 PM



 


15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The hypocrisy of the MSM/left in one chart on: August 18, 2017, 12:49:15 PM
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DHcdogQXoAAEY3g.jpg

16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media decides antifa now the new greatest generation on: August 17, 2017, 09:02:21 PM

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” -G. Orwell




https://i.redditmedia.com/Q58W_Y0WuL1CbKX2LRdQdUbhCt-nJzbHlK94_SSMXRo.jpg?w=800&s=702e32cdbe520cd85b0c10008e296f19

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Third-International

Third International
ASSOCIATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES
WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
See Article History
Alternative Titles: Comintern, Communist International


Third International, also called Communist International, byname Comintern, association of national communist parties founded in 1919. Though its stated purpose was the promotion of world revolution, the Comintern functioned chiefly as an organ of Soviet control over the international communist movement.

The Comintern emerged from the three-way split in the socialist Second International over the issue of World War I. A majority of socialist parties, comprising the International’s “right” wing, chose to support the war efforts of their respective national governments against enemies that they saw as far more hostile to socialist aims. The “centre” faction of the International decried the nationalism of the right and sought the reunification of the Second International under the banner of world peace. The “left” group, led by Vladimir Lenin, rejected both nationalism and pacifism, urging instead a socialist drive to transform the war of nations into a transnational class war. In 1915 Lenin proposed the creation of a new International to promote “civil war, not civil peace” through propaganda directed at soldiers and workers. Two years later Lenin led the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, and in 1919 he called the first congress of the Comintern, in Moscow, specifically to undermine ongoing centrist efforts to revive the Second International. Only 19 delegations and a few non-Russian communists who happened to be in Moscow attended this first congress; but the second, meeting in Moscow in 1920, was attended by delegates from 37 countries. There Lenin established the Twenty-one Points, the conditions of admission to the Communist International. These prerequisites for Comintern membership required all parties to model their structure on disciplined lines in conformity with the Soviet pattern and to expel moderate socialists and pacifists.

The administrative structure of the Comintern resembled that of the Soviet Communist Party: an executive committee acted when congresses were not in session, and a smaller presidium served as chief executive body. Gradually, power came to be concentrated in these top organs, the decisions of which were binding on all member parties of the International. Moreover, Soviet domination of the Comintern was established early. The International had been founded by Soviet initiative, its headquarters was in Moscow, the Soviet party enjoyed disproportionate representation in the administrative bodies, and most foreign communists felt loyal to the world’s first socialist state.

The realization that world revolution was not imminent led in 1921 to a new Comintern policy in order to gain broad working-class support. “United fronts” of workers were to be formed for making “transitional demands” on the existing regimes. This policy was abandoned in 1923, when the Comintern’s left wing gained temporary control. Joseph Stalin’s assault on the left group of his party, however, brought the expulsion of the Comintern’s first president, Grigory Y. Zinovyev, in 1926 and a further rapprochement with moderate socialism. Then Stalin’s move against the right wing of his party led to another turn in Comintern policy. In 1928 the sixth congress adopted a policy of “extreme leftism” set forth by Stalin: once again, moderate socialists and social democrats were branded as the chief enemies of the working class. The dangers of the rising fascist movement were ignored. In Germany in the early 1930s, the communists focused their attacks on the social democrats and even cooperated with the Nazis, whom they claimed to fear less, in destroying the Weimar Republic. World revolution was once more to be considered imminent, despite Stalin’s own concentration on “building socialism in one country.” At the Comintern’s seventh and last congress in 1935, Soviet national interests dictated a new policy shift: in order to gain the favour of potential allies against Germany, revolutionary ardour was dampened, and the defeat of fascism was declared the primary goal of the Comintern. Now communists were to join with moderate socialist and liberal groups in “popular fronts” against fascism. By now the Comintern was being used as a tool of Soviet foreign policy. The program of popular fronts ended with the signing of Stalin’s pact with Adolf Hitler in 1939. Soon, however, Germany and the Soviet Union were at war, and in 1943 Stalin officially dissolved the Comintern in order to allay fears of communist subversion among his allies. From the Soviet point of view, Moscow was confident of its ability to control the foreign communist parties; and, in any case, much of the Comintern organization was preserved intact within the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1947 Stalin set up a new centre of international control called the Cominform, which lasted until 1956. The international communist movement broke down after 1956 owing to a developing split between the Soviet Union and China, among other factors.
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How To Know You’re In a Mass Hysteria Bubble on: August 17, 2017, 03:26:57 PM
http://blog.dilbert.com/post/164297628606/how-to-know-youre-in-a-mass-hysteria-bubble

How To Know You’re In a Mass Hysteria Bubble
Posted August 17th, 2017 @ 12:36pm

History is full of examples of Mass Hysterias. They happen fairly often. The cool thing about mass hysterias is that you don’t know when you are in one. But sometimes the people who are not experiencing the mass hysteria can recognize when others are experiencing one, if they know what to look for.

I’ll teach you what to look for.

image
A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it. The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known example of mass hysteria. The McMartin Pre-School case and the Tulip Bulb hysteria are others. The dotcom bubble probably qualifies. We might soon learn that the Russian Collusion story was mass hysteria in hindsight. The curious lack of solid evidence for Russian collusion is a red flag. But we’ll see how that plays out.

The most visible Mass Hysteria of the moment involves the idea that the United States intentionally elected a racist President. If that statement just triggered you, it might mean you are in the Mass Hysteria bubble. The cool part is that you can’t fact-check my claim you are hallucinating if you are actually hallucinating. But you can read my description of the signs of mass hysteria and see if you check off the boxes.

If you’re in the mass hysteria, recognizing you have all the symptoms of hysteria won’t help you be aware you are in it. That’s not how hallucinations work. Instead, your hallucination will automatically rewrite itself to expel any new data that conflicts with its illusions.

But if you are not experiencing mass hysteria, you might be totally confused by the actions of the people who are. They appear to be irrational, but in ways that are hard to define. You can’t tell if they are stupid, unscrupulous, ignorant, mentally ill, emotionally unstable or what. It just looks frickin’ crazy.

The reason you can’t easily identify what-the-hell is going on in the country right now is that a powerful mass hysteria is in play. If you see the signs after I point them out, you’re probably not in the hysteria bubble. If you read this and do NOT see the signs, it probably means you’re trapped inside the mass hysteria bubble.

Here are some signs of mass hysteria. This is my own take on it, but I welcome you to fact-check it with experts on mass hysteria.

1. The trigger event for cognitive dissonance

On November 8th of 2016, half the country learned that everything they believed to be both true and obvious turned out to be wrong. The people who thought Trump had no chance of winning were under the impression they were smart people who understood their country, and politics, and how things work in general. When Trump won, they learned they were wrong. They were so very wrong that they reflexively (because this is how all brains work) rewrote the scripts they were seeing in their minds until it all made sense again. The wrong-about-everything crowd decided that the only way their world made sense, with their egos intact, is that either the Russians helped Trump win or there are far more racists in the country than they imagined, and he is their king. Those were the seeds of the two mass hysterias we witness today.

Trump supporters experienced no trigger event for cognitive dissonance when Trump won. Their worldview was confirmed by observed events.

2. The Ridiculousness of it

One sign of a good mass hysteria is that it sounds bonkers to anyone who is not experiencing it. Imagine your neighbor telling you he thinks the other neighbor is a witch. Or imagine someone saying the local daycare provider is a satanic temple in disguise. Or imagine someone telling you tulip bulbs are more valuable than gold. Crazy stuff.

Compare that to the idea that our president is a Russian puppet. Or that the country accidentally elected a racist who thinks the KKK and Nazis and “fine people.” Crazy stuff.

If you think those examples don’t sound crazy – regardless of the reality – you are probably inside the mass hysteria bubble.

3. The Confirmation Bias

If you are inside the mass hysteria bubble, you probably interpreted President Trump’s initial statement on Charlottesville – which was politically imperfect to say the least – as proof-positive he is a damned racist.

If you are outside the mass hysteria bubble you might have noticed that President Trump never campaigned to be our moral leader. He presented himself as – in his own words “no angel” – with a set of skills he offered to use in the public’s interest. He was big on law and order, and equal justice under the law. But he never offered moral leadership. Voters elected him with that knowledge. Evidently, Republicans don’t depend on politicians for moral leadership. That’s probably a good call.

When the horror in Charlottesville shocked the country, citizens instinctively looked to their president for moral leadership. The president instead provided a generic law and order statement. Under pressure, he later named specific groups and disavowed the racists. He was clearly uncomfortable being our moral lighthouse. That’s probably why he never described his moral leadership as an asset when running for office. We observe that he has never been shy about any other skill he brings to the job, so it probably isn’t an accident when he avoids mentioning any ambitions for moral leadership. If he wanted us to know he would provide that service, I think he would have mentioned it by now.

If you already believed President Trump is a racist, his weak statement about Charlottesville seems like confirmation. But if you believe he never offered moral leadership, only equal treatment under the law, that’s what you saw instead. And you made up your own mind about the morality.

The tricky part here is that any interpretation of what happened could be confirmation bias. But ask yourself which one of these versions sounds less crazy:

1. A sitting president, who is a branding expert, thought it would be a good idea to go easy on murderous Nazis as a way to improve his popularity.

or…

2. The country elected a racist leader who is winking to the KKK and White Supremacists that they have a free pass to start a race war now.

or…

3. A mentally unstable racist clown with conman skills (mostly just lying) eviscerated the Republican primary field and won the presidency. He keeps doing crazy, impulsive racist stuff. But for some reason, the economy is going well, jobs are looking good, North Korea blinked, ISIS is on the ropes, and the Supreme Court got a qualified judge. It was mostly luck.

or…

4. The guy who didn’t offer to be your moral leader didn’t offer any moral leadership, just law and order, applied equally. His critics cleverly and predictably framed it as being soft on Nazis.

One of those narratives is less crazy-sounding than the other. That doesn’t mean the less-crazy one has to be true. But normal stuff happens far more often than crazy stuff. And critics will frame normal stuff as crazy whenever they get a chance.

4. The Oversized Reaction

It would be hard to overreact to a Nazi murder, or to racists marching in the streets with torches. That stuff demands a strong reaction. But if a Republican agrees with you that Nazis are the worst, and you threaten to punch that Republican for not agreeing with you exactly the right way, that might be an oversized reaction.

5. The Insult without supporting argument

When people have actual reasons for disagreeing with you, they offer those reasons without hesitation. Strangers on social media will cheerfully check your facts, your logic, and your assumptions. But when you start seeing ad hominem attacks that offer no reasons at all, that might be a sign that people in the mass hysteria bubble don’t understand what is wrong with your point of view except that it sounds more sensible than their own.

For the past two days I have been disavowing Nazis on Twitter. The most common response from the people who agree with me is that my comic strip sucks and I am ugly.

The mass hysteria signals I described here are not settled science, or anything like it. This is only my take on the topic, based on personal observation and years of experience with hypnosis and other forms of persuasion. I present this filter on the situation as the first step in dissolving the mass hysteria. It isn’t enough, but more persuasion is coming. If you are outside the mass hysteria bubble, you might see what I am doing in this blog as a valuable public service. If you are inside the mass hysteria bubble, I look like a Nazi collaborator.

How do I look to you?



I wrote a book about how to persuade yourself to success. Based on reader comments, it is working.

My upcoming book, Win Bigly, tells you how to persuade others. (For good.) That comes out October 31st.
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What if we had a president who marched with a racist group? on: August 17, 2017, 12:47:43 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEIsreNjN1E

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/12/03/reminder-president-obama-marched-with-the-black-panthers-n1926857
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender wars , victimhood, intolerance, facts, google on: August 17, 2017, 12:36:28 PM
I'm not as sensitive as others to the victimhood of women in technical fields since my mother was an aerospace/aeronautical engineer and my daughter a math major earning more in her first year than most men in our family ever made.  

By taking on the Google dissident, The Economist draws more attention and validity to his claims IMHO:

https://www.economist.com/news/21726276-last-week-paper-said-alphabets-boss-should-write-detailed-ringing-rebuttal

By re-printing this graph and attempting to refute his inferences, they re-publicize the merits:



The side that chooses to categorize individuals by the group they belong to, as if that is their defining quality, brings with that the statistical differences measured in those groups.  If a population has a different mean and similar standard deviation, and if that measure and difference is meaningful, then the differences in numbers of people is far more extreme at the edges of the distribution.  

A better idea than diversity obsession in race would be for us to become as nearly a color blind society as possible, and in gender hiring and promoting, how about trying to be gender blind and merit based?

Because the left isn't interested in merit, only power.
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Irony Alert: Charlottesville Candlelight Vigil Features Song From Racist Son of on: August 17, 2017, 11:54:48 AM
http://www.jammiewf.com/2017/irony-alert-charlottesville-candlelight-vigil-features-song-from-racist-son-of-a-klansman/

Irony Alert: Charlottesville Candlelight Vigil Features Song From Racist Son of a Klansman

http://www.laweekly.com/music/little-known-fact-woody-guthrie-was-a-big-ol-racist-2412272
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Irony Alert: Charlottesville Candlelight Vigil Features Song From Racist Son of on: August 17, 2017, 11:51:44 AM
http://www.jammiewf.com/2017/irony-alert-charlottesville-candlelight-vigil-features-song-from-racist-son-of-a-klansman/

Irony Alert: Charlottesville Candlelight Vigil Features Song From Racist Son of a Klansman
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media decides antifa now the new greatest generation on: August 17, 2017, 11:47:00 AM

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” -G. Orwell
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration, McMaster continued on: August 17, 2017, 11:40:37 AM
Reading two sides of this story and with VDH on his side, I will just keep an open mind about the value of this guy.  Here is the Jerusalem Post with military opinion that McMaster is a friend to Israel:  http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Former-top-Israeli-security-officers-McMaster-is-a-friend-to-Israel-502294

And I notice a Powerline post taking a second look at what was written previously:

"I continue to have reservations about him. However, I now believe that one of my posts on the subject was unfair and needs to be revisited. "  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/mcmasters-obama-holdovers-a-second-look.php

If nothing else I think we can assume he is hundreds of times more competent and more right thinking than whoever would be in that position if the other side had won.

Very good point.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media decides antifa now the new greatest generation on: August 16, 2017, 07:13:15 PM
http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/16/now-theyre-comparing-antifa-to-american-vets/?utm_source=site-share

I recall being told that these are professional journalists.
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Moral Courage and Moral Arbitrage on: August 16, 2017, 06:47:59 PM
http://thedeclination.com/moral-courage-and-moral-arbitrage/


Moral Courage and Moral Arbitrage
by Dystopic | Aug 16, 2017 |

Every good capitalist is on the look out for imbalances in the market, opportunities to earn a profit off of a thing that either the market lacks completely, or current businesses do very inefficiently and ineffectively. You can consider it a form of arbitrage.

Today’s politicians, media talking heads, celebrities and the like are moral capitalists, even though they are economic collectivists. That is to say their morality is a form of arbitrage, always for sale to the highest bidder, where each statement they issue is calculated to profit them personally.
Take Marco Rubio, who today issued a series of tweets condemning Donald Trump for suggesting that the Charlottesville attack, and other similar incidents between Antifa and White Supremacists, was equally the fault of both parties. Donald Trump’s position is that both are hate groups, and both are quick to resort to violence to further their political goals, and that putting them together like that was surely going to stir up violence.

Personally, I think Trump is somewhat understating the case. White supremacists are exceedingly rare, even if they’ve received a shot in the arm from SJWs harping on white people all the time (hint: that tends to manufacture more supremacists, not less). What happened in Virginia may very well represent peak white supremacism, the very most such groups are capable of. Antifa and militant Marxists, meanwhile, enjoy far greater support from media, financiers (oh, the irony), and society-at-large. Antifa dwarfs Klansman and Neo-Nazis. Militant Marxists are, by far, the greater threat currently.

But that being said, Trump did put his finger on the central point: both groups espouse violent ideologies that are incompatible with freedom.
Marco, meanwhile, in his own words, pins 100% of the blame onto the supremacists.
rubio

This argument is remarkably similar to Antifa and other Marxist groups saying that mean words justifies violence, that speech they don’t like justifies burning down cities and attacking people. It is okay for them to violently shut down anybody right-of-center on college campuses around the country, but it is not okay for anyone right-of-center to speak.
Marco is on a continuum with the SJWs on this matter. He concedes the central point, that violence is an acceptable response to speech deemed offensive. Yes, in the case of Neo-Nazis and Klansmen, the speech actually is offensive. But it is still speech. Until it isn’t, anyway.

But if you’re a regular reader of The Declination, you already know my position on freedom of speech, and how speech alone does not justify violence.
To be fair, a lot of people are saying this, though, so let’s analyze this a little differently. Why does Marco denounce the white supremacists so readily, yet lets militant Marxists off the hook? As a man of Cuban ancestry, he ought to be very familiar with the depredations and dangers of Marxists. Why is he so willing to assign them 0% of the blame?
There is moral arbitrage here. When some politician or celebrity denounces Neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and other assorted white supremacists, he is cheered. He is called stunning and brave. He is bashing the fash, taking a brave stand against the most evil ideology of man. In other words, he gets a huge moral bonus in the eyes of the media. It is easy to denounce white supremacists, who probably represent less than a tenth of a percent of the population. And it is profitable to do so, as well.

If it’s cheap and profitable, expect everyone to jump on the bandwagon. The explosion of Nazi denunciations is like the proliferation of those little fidget spinners that cost 10 cents to make and sell for $7.99 in every convenience store from here to Seattle. Everybody wants a slice of that action.
Meanwhile, taking a similar stand against Marxism is expensive. If a politician or celebrity stands up and denounces Marxism as a hateful, murderous ideology that is at least as evil as Nazism, he is often shot down. Real Marxism, of course, has never been tried. Real Marxism is a good theory, a good idea that maybe just hasn’t been implemented quite right. It’s morally true and righteous, and even if it has some problems, surely bashing the fash has to take precedence, right?

Except Marxism has a much higher share of the population. Marxism is celebrated openly on college campuses around the country. Marxists trash cities, riot, commit acts of violence with frightening regularity, and Marco assigns them 0% of the blame, because somewhere, there is an inbred Neo-Nazi off his meds tweeting from his mother’s basement.
Marco obtains a moral profit from denouncing white supremacism. He incurs a moral cost from denouncing Marxism. Playing the moral arbitrage for profit thus demands he pin the blame for political violence on only one participant. Then he is “stunning and brave” in the eyes of the body politic.
Marxists have been doing this as long as I’ve been alive. It is correctly seen as stupid and disgusting to wear an Adolf Hitler t-shirt. Yet somehow Che Guevara t-shirts are absurdly common. The Nazi swastika is correctly seen as a hate symbol, yet the Soviet hammer & sickle is given a pass. It is a historical tragedy that Communism was not discredited with the same vigor as Nazism was.
It is socially cheap to oppose Nazism. It is socially expensive to oppose Communism.

Donald Trump, whatever his other faults, possesses enough moral courage to speak the truth: both groups are hateful. And he paid the price for speaking that truth. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, lacks the stones, even though as descendant of Cubans, he ought to know better than most.
I’m very disappointed in him. I expect this from Democrats who have lacked moral courage as long as I’ve been alive, I even expect it from Republicans who have no history with Marxism. But I do not expect it from a Cuban Republican. Of all people, Marco, YOU should know better. Stop playing the moral arbitrage and speak honestly.

After all, even Donald Trump is showing more honesty and integrity than you are, right now.
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Where are the videos? on: August 16, 2017, 02:13:08 PM
http://gatesofvienna.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/bracken_charlottesville-video.jpg



VSP and VANG acting as force multipliers for antifa?
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Anti-Trump ‘Activist’ Executes His Republican Neighbor, U.S. Media Yawns on: August 15, 2017, 03:27:28 PM
http://www.jammiewf.com/2017/anti-trump-activist-executes-his-republican-neighbor-u-s-media-yawns/

Anti-Trump ‘Activist’ Executes His Republican Neighbor, U.S. Media Yawns
Posted by Jammie on Aug 15, 2017 at 3:14 pm
ClaytonCarter

Weird how this happened a week ago, yet we’ve yet to have any national conversation about violent liberals.

An anti-Trump activist has been accused of executing his neighbor who was a prominent Republican supporter.

Clayton Carter allegedly shot George Jennings, both 51, twice in the head outside his home in Pennsylvania in the early hours of August 8.

The men had already been arguing the previous night and police were called after Carter pulled a gun, but managed to diffuse the situation.

However, officers were called back just a few hours later to reports of a fatal attack, ABC 6 News reports.

The pair had been feuding for some time, neighbors said, adding that they were afraid of Carter’s unpredictable nature.

ABC reports that his yard was covered with hand-painted anti-Trump signs and was often filled with cars.

Jennings, meanwhile, was a member of the Chester County Republican Committee, though it is not thought their beliefs were directly responsible for the shooting.

In his defense he can just claim the guy was a Nazi, right?

Carter accused Jennings of shining a light into his eyes as he was returning home, and went inside to fetch a .380-caliber Ruger semi-automatic handgun.

Carter went back outside and parked his car up on Jennings’ lawn with his lights on full beam, according to a criminal complaint seen by Philly.com.

A heated argument then started and Carter shot Jennings in the head, knocking him to the ground, the complaint says.

Carter then shot Jennings in the head a second time while standing over his body, as his distraught wife watched from inside the house, it is alleged.

So a frothing anti-Trump “activist” executes a Republican in cold blood and it doesn’t even register on the national radar. Reverse the roles here and tell us this wouldn’t be a 24/7 story for days.
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Rise of Identity Politics Gives Birth, Get This, to a White Identity Politic on: August 14, 2017, 08:49:02 PM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/371122.php

August 14, 2017
The Rise of Identity Politics Gives Birth, Get This, to a White Identity Politics as Well

I think Identity Politics of all kinds are odious and poisonous to the individual -- if your value is your race or gender, well, you have branded yourself as someone of extraordinarily low value, haven't you?

But as John Sexton points out, you can't expect a culture to praise all sorts of Identity Politics -- flat-out racist groups and gender supremacists -- but say that one group doesn't get to play by the same rules.

Either it's all poisonous garbage, or it's all got something of merit to it.

I believe the former. But the media -- and the establishment right political class -- cannot continue with this incoherent claim that Identity Politics are permissible for e everyone except The One Group Which is Truly Odious and Cursed by God.

People will not accept that. No one will accept his subordination without a fight of some kind.

Tonight I watched Stephen Hayes accuse Mollie Hemingway of living in an "alternate reality" for pointing out, correctly, that we have -- and have had -- a serious problem with leftwing identity politics thugs for years, with an increasing tempo of violence. The most recent major event being the attempted assassination of a half-dozen Republican congressmen by a Bernie Sanders reporter.

This, Steven Hayes intoned, was an "alternate reality." There is no problem with leftist violence or tribalistic hate politics -- it's perfectly acceptable for them, and we should say nothing about it.

I guess you can play #FakeNews #PretendOpposition as long as a billionaire patron is paying your bills.

After he tires of his toy -- when he begins to realize he's paying for something with no influence or relevance -- who knows.

I guess it's on to CNN for Steve Hayes, then.

After the Scalise shooting -- which was like two months ago-- the media, including the #FakeNews #PretendConservatives, only seemed willing to talk about leftwing violence in an article equally condemning rightwing violence.

Now we have a situation of rightwing violence (and lots of antifa violence, too), but the #FakeConservatives now insist we can only talk about rightwing violence -- and cannot, as they themselves previously did, discuss right and left violence in context, as two things that reinforce each other.

Which is exactly the claim Rachel Maddow makes.

If the Weekly Standard now exists exclusively to parrot the claims made nightly on Rachel Maddow -- What is the point of you, exactly?

I think a lot of these shills have an Exit Strategy from the GOP planned, and I think it's time to hurry them to the door.
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Curse Of Identity Politics on: August 14, 2017, 11:19:24 AM
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-curse-of-identity-politics/

The Curse Of Identity Politics
By ROD DREHER • August 13, 2017, 2:12 PM
   

Charlottesville, August 12. Is this America’s future? (Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr)
Charlottesville is the kind of America that identity politics is calling into being. It’s time for straight talk about that.

On the Right, the story is fairly straightforward. Neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and their ilk have to be condemned in no uncertain terms, and marginalized. The president’s coy rhetoric, dancing around these people for fear of alienating them, has to end. (I don’t expect it to end, but others on the Right need to speak up to condemn him.)

It is not enough for conservative politicians and thought leaders to condemn these incidents. In their rhetoric, they need to start criticizing the principles of identity politics, across the board. They should emphasize what unites us as Americans. And this: pastors and other leaders within the church have to start teaching clearly and directly on this front. More than that, they have to recognize that racial tribalism is a strong god — a false one, but a strong one. The mild, therapeutic God that they preach, teach, and proclaim is weak in the face of it. Don’t misunderstand: I’m not talking about the actual God of the Bible. I’m talking about the way our priests, pastors, religious teachers, and families present Him to their flocks — especially their young men.

There’s a great book coming out in November — oh, how I wish it were available now! — called God Is Not Nice, by the Catholic theologian and college professor Ulrich Lehner. It’s a shocking title, but it’s meant to be: Lehner wants to wake up the church. It’s a broadside against Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, and the way every institution in our culture — including many churches and families — think of God (“as some kind of divine therapist … a psychiatrist who treats each of his patients the same way, a friend whom we can call in times of need”).

“Why change your life for such a God?” Lehner asks. “He makes no demands.”

Lehner writes that “we all need the vaccine of knowing the true transforming and mysterious character of God: the God who shows up in burning bushes, speaks through donkeys, drives demons into pigs, throws Saul to the ground, and appears to St. Francis. It’s only this God who has the power to challenged us, change us, and make our lives dangerous. He sweeps us into a great adventure that will make us into different people.”

Christians: if you don’t want to lose your sons to the false god of white nationalism, then you had better introduce them (and yourselves) to the God of the Bible, who is rather different from the God of the comfortable American middle class.

It is widely acknowledged among conservative Christians today that the white church in the South failed terribly in the civil rights era. The failure was not primarily because they stood for white supremacy (though some did). The failure was mostly because the churches did not preach against white supremacy, preferring instead to stay neutral, and cultivate an ethos that was suited to supporting the Southern white middle class at prayer.

Today, I am aware of young white men who attend comfortable middle-class churches, but who identify as white nationalists. I doubt very much their parents or their pastors know. But it’s happening. These aren’t young men who have been downtrodden by society; that would at least give some sort of social and economic rationale for their race radicalism. These are relatively privileged young men. Why do they find no anchor in the church? Why is the god of racial nationalism more appealing to them than the God of the Bible?

Finally, we on the Right have to start speaking out without fear against identity politics — and calling out people on the Left, especially those within institutions, for practicing it. The alt-right has correctly identified a hypocritical double standard in American culture. It’s one that allows liberals and their favored minority groups to practice toxic identity politics — on campus, in the media, in corporate America, on the streets — while denying the possibility to whites and males. By speaking out against left-wing identity politics, and by explaining, over and over, why identity politics are wrong and destructive, conservatives strengthen their position in chastising white nationalists on the Right.

But none of this will matter at all as long as the Left refuses to oppose identity politics in its own ranks. As I keep saying here, you cannot have an identity politics of the Left without calling up the same thing on the Right. Left-liberals who want conservatives to stigmatize and denounce white nationalism, but conservatives who do so will be sneered at by white nationalists as dupes and fools who advocate disarmament in the face of racist, sexist forces of the Left.

When the Left indulges in rhetoric that demonizes whites — especially white males — it summons the demons of white nationalism.

When the Left punishes white males who violate its own delicate speech taboos, while tolerating the same kind of rhetoric on its own side, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

When the Left obsesses over ethnic, sexual, and religious minorities, but ignores the plight of poor and working-class whites, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

When the Left institutionalizes demonization of white males in college classes, in political movements, in the media and elsewhere, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

When the Left attributes moral status, and moral goodness, to persons based on their race, their sex, their sexual orientation, or any such thing, it summons up the demons of white nationalism.

When the Left refuses to condemn the violent antifa protesters, and treats their behavior as no big deal, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

When the Left refuses to stand firm against aggressive manifestations of illiberalism — like we have seen over the past several years on certain college campuses — it summons the demons of white nationalism.

When the Left encourages within its ranks identification as a victim, and stirs up political passions based on perception that one is a victim of other groups in society, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

And on and on. The problem is not pointing out perceived injustices and inequities that afflict people of particular groups. This is a normal part of politics. The problem is in teaching people to identify passionately and wholly with their own tribe, to think of themselves and others in their tribe as innocent victims of the Enemy, and to conflate the interest of their tribe with the common good. In his new book The Once And Future Liberal, the liberal scholar Mark Lilla argues that identity politics is a dead end. In this passage, he talks about how corrupting identity politics is to college students. In this passage, he invites his reader to consider a young, politics-minded student entering a liberal college environment today:

She is at the age when the quest for meaning begins and in a place where her curiosity could be directed outward toward the larger world she will have to find a place in. Instead, she finds that she is being encouraged to plumb mainly herself, which seems an easier exercise. (Little does she know. …) She will first be taught that understanding herself depends on exploring the different aspects of her identity, something she now discovers she has. An identity which, she also learns, has already been largely shaped for her by various social and political forces. This is an important lesson, from which she is likely to draw the conclusion that the aim of education is not to progressively become a self through engagement with the wider world. Rather, one engages with the world and particularly politics for the limited aim of understanding and affirming what one already is.

And so she begins. She takes classes where she reads histories of the movements related to whatever she decides her identity is, and reads authors who share that identity. (Given that this is also an age of sexual exploration, gender studies will hold a particular attraction.) In these courses she also discovers a surprising and heartening fact: that although she may come from a comfortable, middle-class background, her identity confers on her the status of one of history’s victims. This discovery may then inspire her to join a campus groups that engages in movement work. The line between self-analysis and political action is now fully blurred. Her political interest will be real but circumscribed by the confines of her self-definition. Issues that penetrate those confines now take on looming importance and her position on them quickly becomes non-negotiable; those issues that don’t touch on her identity are not even perceived. Nor are the people affected by them.

Notice the last two lines in that passage. It explains why those on the Left most committed to identity politics make themselves blind to those outside their circles. They have little to no idea how others perceive them. The kind of identity politics dramas that work on college campuses or other highly liberal polities are not only ineffective in more moderate to conservative polities, they are positively harmful. Again: you cannot hold that identity politics is fine for non-white, LGBT, non-Christian people, but forbidden to those outside the circle of the Sacred Victims, without unavoidably providing a justification to all others in the polity to organize and advocate along the same lines.

And there’s this:

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Rethinking this. Should have said violent, not hate-filled. They were standing up to hate. https://twitter.com/sherylnyt/status/896575560650035200
4:20 AM - Aug 13, 2017
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Wrong, wrong, wrong. This is where ordinary liberals go off the rails. This attitude justifies violence as long as it’s being committed by people whose cause they agree with, against people whose cause they hate. It is exactly at this point — construing left-wing hate as a virtue — that conservatives are tempted to stop caring what kind of violence the fascists visit on leftists. People on the Right who don’t sympathize with the those thugs get so sick of this double standard by the media and other left-wing institutions that they may cease giving a damn what kind of damage the extremists do.

Few people on the Left want to hear any of this, because the ethos of the Left is so heavily characterized by identity politics, and the sense of righteousness on which it feeds. But they had better recognize that there are a lot of white males in this country, and it benefits no one to push them toward radicalization around race consciousness. Thirty-one percent of the US population is white and male. The percentage of whites relative to non-whites is declining, and demographers expect the US to become a majority-minority country in the 2040s. If America is going to manage this transition into greater pluralism without a rise in racial hatred and violence, people on both the Left and the Right have to abandon identity politics, and stigmatize it.

We had better find some other way to bind Americans together, and to conceive of a common good, or what happened in Charlottesville is a picture of our nation’s future. Given how both parties, and the strongest forces in American culture, have formed the moral imagination of all Americans around the individual Self and its desires, I have my doubts as to whether or not we can pull it off. But if we don’t try, the alternative is Charlottesville, and beyond that, Yugoslavia as it broke apart.

If you think the responsibility for preventing that future is exclusively on the Left or exclusively on the Right, you’re lying to yourself, and not without consequence.

UPDATE: Philadelphia’s Catholic Archbishop, Charles Chaput, gets it right in his public statement:

Racism is a poison of the soul. It’s the ugly, original sin of our country, an illness that has never fully healed. Blending it with the Nazi salute, the relic of a regime that murdered millions, compounds the obscenity. Thus the wave of public anger about white nationalist events in Charlottesville this weekend is well warranted. We especially need to pray for those injured in the violence.

But we need more than pious public statements. If our anger today is just another mental virus displaced tomorrow by the next distraction or outrage we find in the media, nothing will change. Charlottesville matters. It’s a snapshot of our public unraveling into real hatreds brutally expressed; a collapse of restraint and mutual respect now taking place across the country. We need to keep the images of Charlottesville alive in our memories. If we want a different kind of country in the future, we need to start today with a conversion in our own hearts, and an insistence on the same in others. That may sound simple. But the history of our nation and its tortured attitudes toward race proves exactly the opposite.

UPDATE.2: Great comment from reader Brendan:

I agree with the diagnosis of the problem, but I do not think that identity politics are going away, for several reasons.

The first, and most important/intractable, is that the left’s intellectual leadership is “all in” on identity politics. They see it as a moral imperative to achieving justice, and that abandoning it would lead to perpetuating injustice. You and I disagree with them, but they hold their views with a religious-like fervor, and these views constitute, in many cases, a core part of their self-esteem and self-conception as virtuous people. They will not abandon this — instead, in the wake of things like C’Ville and Portland, they will double down, and double down again.

Second, as you rightly say, because of my first point, ID politics on the right is going to bloom. It’s just getting started, and the doubling down that is certain to come from the left will stoke that growth even further. It is a dysfunctional feedback loop, to be certain, but I do not think it can be stopped, because the academic/cultural “pump” that drives it will refuse to turn itself off.

Third, for people on the political right who are not Christians (more on us [Christians] below), the idea of railing against identity politics will increasingly seem to be folly. The reason is that, as you say, it is *powerful*. The last several federal elections have been won (and lost) on identity politics and “who can get out their (identity) base” better. This is real and raw power. And that is the greatest intoxicant known to man. Secular conservatives will be split between the “principled” ones who reject this, and the “pragmatic” (i.e., “want to win”) ones who accept it, for a time. In the medium term, the folks who want to win will prevail (the raison d’etre of any political movement, after all, is to win) and they will increasingly embrace this, because it will be obvious that it is the only way to consistently challenge the left in federal elections, especially as we keep on importing left wing voters that continue to grow the left’s identitarian base.

For Christians the issue is easy, I think. Identity politics are evil and divisive and do not reflect the will of God, whether you are white, black, straight, gay or what have you. It is evil. But this requires a perspective that is aloof from “winning”, which I think is the appropriate perspective for Christians to have politically, anyway. We will know that our principled stand is right, morally, but we will also know that it dooms us to totalitarian identity politics of the left which will likely seek to utterly eliminate us at some stage. This is the difficulty of the Christian walk, I think, in this time, and one of the reasons why we need to have something like the BenOp, because in order to embrace this path of principled defeat, and even perhaps annihilation, we will need to be strong in an interior sense, personally, as individuals — much stronger than most of us are today.

I appreciate you saying this, Brendan. Like you, I am quite pessimistic that identity politics will go away. I was going to save that for another post. I think if we are going to avoid some terrible kind of conflagration in the next decade or two, we need to come together to do the things that I’m talking about in this post. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I hope I’m wrong.
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump’s Full-Court Press Is Squeezing the Nukes Out of North Korea on: August 14, 2017, 10:58:39 AM
http://observer.com/2017/08/donald-trump-north-korea-diplomatic-military-strategy/

Trump’s Full-Court Press Is Squeezing the Nukes Out of North Korea
The hermit kingdom is starting to blink now that China isn’t its shield
By Austin Bay • 08/14/17 8:00am
   

President Donald Trump with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster on August 11, 2017. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
The Trump administration’s “pressure strategy” is disrupting the North Korean regime.

In March of this year, the Trump foreign policy team of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and the Tweeter-in-Chief himself began a coordinated attack on Kim Jong-un’s regime, with the interim goals of disrupting its political and military plans, psychologically rattling its leaders, and exposing the regime’s grave weaknesses. The ultimate goal was to set conditions for achieving the long-range goal: denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.


The great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu said that the best strategy is to attack the enemy’s plans. With a soldier-scholar like Jim Mattis in the Trump administration, a stroke or two of Sun Tzu should surprise no one.

As a result, the Trump team is taking diplomatic, economic and military actions—not drawing feckless rhetorical red lines. Its actions are seizing the initiative, limiting the enemy’s options, and exploiting the enemy’s weakness. These actions are designed to force the thugs in Pyongyang to ditch their nuclear weapons and quietly rot within the starving confines of their Communist gulag.

* * *

We aren’t engaged in a game. This is the latest phase of the Korean War. Though war is not a sport, some sports analogies are instructive. Basketball’s full-court press is a defensive attack on the offense’s “plan” to score—which would be a sportscaster’s description of the Trump administration’s North Korea policy. In basketball, teams employ a relentless full-court press to degrade an opponent’s ability to move the ball, deny easy shot attempts, and disrupt shots the opponent takes. “Pressing” teams try to force their opponents to make mistakes that lead to turnovers. A sustained press that forces mistakes dispirits an opponent.

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The U.S. can do more than run an aggressive defense. America, when it decides to use it, has the premier global offense. North Korea cannot “press” American power; it can only provoke it.

And it has provoked America to the point that Trump is promising fire and fury.

* * *


Employing diplomacy, economic power, military power and information power (the ability to gather and communicate intelligence) in concert is a geo-strategic full-court press.

The acronym for the four elements of geo-strategic power is DIME: “Diplomatic,” “Information,” “Military” and “Economic” power. Coordinating these elements creates a synergistic force whose sum is greater than its parts. I explained this to an eighth grade history class and the kids got it. Diplomacy was my index finger, Information the middle finger, Military the ring finger, and Economic power the little finger. Individually, the fingers poke, but together they form a fist.

I showed the kids my fist and threw a punch in the air. I told them that in other circumstances this wasn’t a weapon but a grip on a tool. They got that, too.

Unfortunately, coordinating the elements of power is very difficult. The U.S. government’s civilian agencies don’t play well together—protecting their budgets and their political turf in the Washington swamp is their first priority. So in the field the military does it all ad hoc. Company, field grade and general officers become diplomats in helmets. Combat engineers are developmental aid experts.

* * *

Yet the Trump administration is using all elements of power in a coordinated effort to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Start with the D for Diplomacy. The U.S. has forged a solid alliance committed to Korean denuclearization. The U.S., Japan, South Korea and Australia are the principle front line nations, but western European nations and key members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) add economic and political weight. India is in the background. China is the man in middle, and it knows India is in the background.

All of the east and southeast Asian nations have a common security interest in denuclearization: They are already in range of North Korean missiles.

U.S. diplomats have also succeeded in getting the UN to impose harsh economic and political sanctions on North Korea.

I for Information began in earnest with Tillerson’s declaration that the era of strategic patience with the Kim regime is over. Trump’s threats of fury and fire mock Kim Jong-un. Yes, Trump outraged the pearl-clutchers in the American foreign policy establishment. American presidents aren’t supposed to talk like that!

Except they do. Take Harry Truman for example.

The theater of threat is a key element in North Korea’s intimidation and extortion routine. Trump’s fiery threat pushed Kim Jong-un off center stage. Now Trump has the rhetorical threat initiative, not the fat kid.

Trump also has a track record for following through on a threat. In April, he punished Syrian President Bashir al-Assad for using chemical weapons. Trump isn’t seeking a legacy like Bill Clinton; he isn’t bogged down in Iraq like George Bush; and he isn’t a faculty lounge poseur like Barack Obama touting red lines then failing to back words with deeds. Trump has demonstrated that he will act. That’s important information from the bad cop.

This information is a suavely packaged threat from the good cops: National Security Adviser Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster told ABC News “…We are not closer to war than a week ago, but we are closer to war than we were a decade ago.”

This information adds spine to the bad cop and good cops’ coercive diplomacy: Pyongyang’s insistent violation of previous deals and arrangements has left Washington, Tokyo and Seoul with nil interest in conceding anything to the dictatorship, but particularly on the issues of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

M for Military: The U.S. and its allies have massive and modern forces. They are full spectrum forces employing everything from the bayonet to ballistic missiles, anti-ballistic missiles and cyber weapons. South Korea’s ground forces are highly-trained and well led. Japan has quietly developed offensive strike capabilities. The allies have deployed a missile defense “thin shield” that is capable of shooting down a volley of North Korean IRBMs. Trump would use the entire arsenal if he had to, and China knows this.

E is for Economic, meaning sanctions and financial restrictions. However, the most pertinent policy tool can be summarized in a tweet. Recall that Trump indicated China would have a better trade deal if it helped curb North Korea.

How is the Trump team managing to pull it off? Here’s my guess: Trump and Tillerson aren’t from the D.C. swamp. Mattis was a combat soldier who also served as a diplomat with a helmet.

* *  *

America wants China to add additional pressure. It believes China has the power to squeeze the nukes out of North Korea.

But China has its own interests—some of which conflict with U.S. interests. For example, U.S. and Chinese interests conflict in the South China Sea. On August 7, the U.S., Australia and Japan urged ASEAN to create a “South China Sea code of conduct” defining rules for resolving disputes in the region that are “legally binding, meaningful, effective, and consistent with international law.” The three nations emphasized their “strong opposition to coercive unilateral actions,” which is a direct slap at Beijing. It appears the deal being offered does not demand that China withdraw from its man-made islets.

China knows it can ill-afford a trade war with the U.S., Japan and Europe. This code of conduct amounts to a “semi-win-win” if everyone in the region agrees to it and lives by it. It is an example of coordinated diplomacy to encourage China to help denuclearize North Korea—and help itself economically and politically.

* * *

Has the Trump pressure strategy produced positive results?

North Korea has blinked, but the sensationalist mainstream media, from The New York Times to CNN, have missed it.

But the sharp minds at 38north.org didn’t. They reported, “Anyone familiar with the North’s statements knows that over the past month there has been a major shift in Pyongyang’s formulation about negotiating.”

Yet CNN quoted North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho as saying “…We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table…”

38north provided the correction:

“Unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the U.S. against the D.P.R.K. are fundamentally eliminated, we, under no circumstances, will put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table and will not flinch even an inch away from our path of strengthening of the nuclear forces, which is chosen by ourselves.”

To interpret Pyongyang’s statement as the “we just might talk about getting rid of the nukes” signal it is requires that the interpreter possess certain skills.  The interpreter must know the relevant history, have common sense (a skill related to historical knowledge), pay close attention to current developments, and maintain an open mind free of ideological and emotional-political distortion. Unfortunately, the contemporary U.S. mainstream media fall short in all four skill sets.

Responding to Trump’s rhetorical fireworks, Kim threatened to fire missiles at Guam. Remember, Guam is U.S. soil.

It’s where America’s day begins.

Following that North Korean threat, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said his country would immediately come to the aid of the U.S. if North Korea attacks Guam.

Japan announced it may intercept the North Korean missiles with anti-ballistic missiles.

But here’s the big news: now China is warning North Korea that it’s on its own “if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil and there is retaliation…” China, however, “would intervene if Washington strikes first. ”

China is clearly separating itself from the Kim regime and saying it will not defend North Korea if North Korea attacks U.S. territory. China is no longer North Korea’s shield.

Did Trump’s in-your-face provoke Kim into a rhetorical threat that went too far, one that led to the Chinese warning? Fair question to ask.

When you read or hear so-called experts argue it’s too late to stop North Korea from obtaining operational nuclear weapons—turn the channel or cancel your subscription. The suits are spewing tripe.

* * *

Blinking is a good sign, but it isn’t retreat.

In an article that appeared in The Observer on July 11, I sketched the administration’s six options for courses of action.

In the last month, we’ve seen Option 1 (another “do the right thing” bid to Beijing) pursued with a stroke or two from Option 2 (coercive diplomacy directed at China).

The interim results have reduced but not eliminated the need for Option 6 (delayed reprisal and the war to denuclearize).

However, the threat to Guam increases the probability the Trump administration will employ Option 4:

“Return of serve. This is an operation that could support several diplomatic options. The U.S., South Korea and Japan could use their ABMs to intercept every North Korean test launch. They might also employ cyber warfare to disrupt tests (perhaps they have already done so). The objective of ‘Return of Serve’ is to stymie the test program and embarrass Kim Jong-un.“

Get in his face and block his shots. Pressure basketball? No, pressure diplomacy to stop a nuclear war.

Austin Bay is a contributing editor at StrategyPage.com and adjunct professor at the University of Texas in Austin. His most recent book is a biography of Kemal Ataturk (Macmillan 2011). Bay is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel.
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, TSA conducts behind-the-scenes security tours for Jihadis on: August 14, 2017, 10:16:15 AM
You can't make this stuff up.  This came out of the local newspaper coverage of the Minnesota trial of a Somali ISIS recruiting operation in the Twin Cities.

"...behind-the-scenes security tour with about 50 imams and other members of the Muslim community at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. "

http://m.startribune.com/prosecutors-say-member-of-alleged-isil-recruit-s-defense-team-preached-jihad/373733531/

Content redacted on a Freedom of Information Act disclosure.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/dhs-magical-mystery-tour-doing-the-work-the-star-tribune-wont-do-3.php

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/02/dhs-magical-mystery-tour-and-why-i-need-a-lawyer.php

Who brought these Jihadis here in the first place?!  Who else gets back room TSA tours?  Do you folks want a blueprint to take with you?

Makes you wonder who's side they are on.

32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Spy apps on: August 13, 2017, 09:48:13 AM
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/08/android-users-bombarded-with-4000-spy-apps-three-land-in-google-play/

33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Here’s the Memo That Blew Up the NSC on: August 11, 2017, 04:47:56 PM
http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/10/heres-the-memo-that-blew-up-the-nsc/amp/

Here’s the Memo That Blew Up the NSC

Fired White House staffer argued "deep state" attacked Trump administration because the president represents a threat to cultural Marxist memes, globalists, and bankers.
8 HOURS AGO
CATEGORIES: EXCLUSIVE
Jana Winter and Elias Groll
 Featured image

The memo at the heart of the latest blowup at the National Security Council paints a dark picture of media, academics, the “deep state,” and other enemies allegedly working to subvert U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a copy of the document obtained by Foreign Policy.

The seven-page document, which eventually landed on the president’s desk, precipitated a crisis that led to the departure of several high-level NSC officials tied to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The author of the memo, Rich Higgins, who was in the strategic planning office at the NSC, was among those recently pushed out.

The full memo, dated May 2017, is titled “POTUS & Political Warfare.” It provides a sweeping, if at times conspiratorial, view of what it describes as a multi-pronged attack on the Trump White House.

Trump is being attacked, the memo says, because he represents “an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative.” Those threatened by Trump include “‘deep state’ actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.”

The memo is part of a broader political struggle inside the White House between current National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and alt-right operatives with a nationalist worldview who believe the Army general and his crew are subverting the president’s agenda.

Though not called out by name, McMaster was among those described in the document as working against Trump, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the memo and the events. Higgins, the author, is widely regarded as a Flynn loyalist who dislikes McMaster and his team.

“It was about H.R. McMaster,” the source said. “So, when he starts reading it, he knows it’s him and he fires [Higgins].”

The story of the memo’s strange journey to the Oval Office captures the zeitgeist of what has become the tragicomedy of the current White House: a son trying to please his father, an isolated general on a mission to find a leaker, a right-wing blogger with a window into the nation’s security apparatus, and a president whose closest confidante is a TV personality.

The result is an even wider rift between the president and his national security advisor, marking what may be the beginning of the end of the general’s tenure, and a radical shift of power on the NSC.


The controversy over the memo has its origins in a hunt for staffers believed to be providing information to right-wing blogger Mike Cernovich, who seemed to have uncanny insight into the inner workings of the NSC. Cernovich in the past few months has been conducting a wide-ranging campaign against the national security advisor.

“McMaster was just very, very obsessed with this, with Cernovich,” a senior administration official told FP. “He had become this incredible specter.”

In July, the memo was discovered in Higgins’s email during what two sources described to Foreign Policy as a “routine security” audit of NSC staffers’ communications. Another source, however, characterized it as a McCarthy-type leak investigation targeting staffers suspected of communicating with Cernovich.

Higgins, who had worked on the Trump campaign and transition before coming to the NSC, drafted the memo in late May and then circulated the memo to friends from the transition, a number of whom are now in the White House.

After the memo was discovered, McMaster’s deputy, Ricky Waddell, summoned Higgins, who was told he could resign — or be fired, and risk losing his security clearance, according to two sources.

Higgins, who agreed to resign, was escorted out of the building. He later learned from his colleagues still at the NSC that his association to this now-infamous memo was the reason he was removed.

Following Higgins’s departure, McMaster set out to clean house, a source close the White House said — getting rid of NSC staffers linked to the memo, perceived as loyal to his predecessor, Michael Flynn, or simply those with whom he’d butted heads over foreign policy. Among those fired was Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the NSC’s top intelligence official, and Derek Harvey, who handled the NSC’s Middle East portfolio.

In the meantime, however, the memo had been working its way through the Trump White House. Among those who received the memo, according to two sources, was Donald Trump Jr.

Trump Jr., at that time in the glare of media scrutiny around his meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign, gave the memo to his father, who gushed over it, according to sources.

In a comedy of errors, Trump later learned from Sean Hannity, the Fox News host and close friend of the president, that the memo’s author had been fired. Trump was “furious,” the senior administration official said. “He is still furious.”

The memo lays out what it described as a concerted campaign to undermine the president.

“The administration has been maneuvered into a constant back-pedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses,” it reads. “The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them.”

The purpose of the memo, said a source familiar with the document, was to educate others in the White House about just what the president is allegedly up against.

“The memo maybe reads a little crazy, sure, but it’s not wrong and Rich isn’t crazy,” an administration official said.

Many inside the White House had only seen the first page or two of the memo — or had only read the excerpts published in the Atlantic, which first reported the existence of the memo, several sources said.

The memo’s repeated references to the Muslim Brotherhood — which is grouped among “key international players that includes the European Union and the United Nations — surprised few inside the NSC familiar with what been a Flynn obsession. “Oh look, it’s the newest member of the Muslim Brotherhood,” was a common joke among those critical of Flynn loyalists, and what they regarded as a conspiracy theory, a source close to the NSC said.

This 3,500-word memo was written in a personal capacity, according to a source familiar with its drafting. The source described it as a “technical assessment” of the current political situation, and said it was never disseminated from the NSC in any official manner, but shared with personal contacts from the Trump campaign.

“While opposition to President Trump manifests itself through political warfare memes centered on cultural Marxist narratives, this hardly means that opposition is limited to Marxists as conventionally understood,” the memo reads. “Having become the dominant cultural meme, some benefit from it while others are captured by it; including ‘deep state’ actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.”

“It’s not wrong per se,” said another official. “Actually, it’s not wrong at all. The not-wrong part is just, well, buried a bit I guess by some of the wackier parts.”

The memo calls out those pushing for rights “based on sex or ethnicity,” which is a “direct assault on the very idea of individual human rights and natural law around which the Constitution was framed.” It also says that “transgender acceptance” is “denying a person the right to declare the biological fact of one’s sex.”

Contacted by FP, Higgins declined to comment on the memo or his departure from the NSC.

The recent NSC shake-up appears to go beyond concerns about the memo. The recently ousted NSC staffers had been brought in by Flynn, who resigned for allegedly lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the substance of a December phone call he had with a Russian official.

Flynn is now under investigation for, among other things, failing to report income for lobbying on behalf of Turkey shortly before he became involved in the campaign.

The elimination of Higgins, Cohen-Watnick, and Harvey has helped McMaster assert control of the NSC, which was staffed during the early days of the administration by those loyal to Flynn and Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist.

Late last week, McMaster also planned to put at least four other NSC staffers on the chopping block, but was prevented from doing so by newly installed Chief of Staff John Kelly, according to two sources. All but one of those staffers had ties dating back to the campaign or transition.

A source close to McMaster denied those planned firings.

The White House press office did not respond to FP‘s request for comment. A NSC spokesman declined to comment, citing a policy against speaking about internal personnel issues.

Despite Higgins’s firing, McMaster’s difficulties inside the White House aren’t going away anytime soon — though he might.

McMaster “doesn’t really have any allies,” said a source familiar with the NSC staff. “It doesn’t seem as though he has the ear of the president, which is obviously essential to his survival.”

Kate Brannen and Jenna McLaughlin contributed reporting to this article.
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jordan: on: August 10, 2017, 11:00:31 PM
Recently I heard a story about Israel insisting upon Jordan supplying it water.  Help in tracking this down?


http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Israel-PA-agree-on-water-deal-499575

This?
35  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / More on Garrity on: August 10, 2017, 12:49:48 AM
http://www.corrections.com/news/article/39796-the-garrity-rule-know-understand-your-rights

The exception to the Garrity Rule is that if an officer testifies in a criminal proceeding inconsistent with the 'compelled' statement, that statement may be used as a basis for impeaching the officer.

Therefore, as suggested above, a truthful statement is required under the Garrity Rule. Members should be aware that a 'compelled' statement may be used in any civil proceeding and may be used in any criminal proceeding except against the person that made the statement, subject to the impeachment provision.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / EARTH EX August 23, 2017 Emergency All-sector Response Transnational Hazard Exe on: August 09, 2017, 11:45:01 PM
http://www.eiscouncil.com/EarthEx

Today’s lifeline infrastructures are interconnected and resourced on unprecedented scales, with supply chains spanning the nation and, increasingly, the world.  With this growing integration and global reach, they have brought us remarkable capabilities.

At a price.   

Concerns have grown over the potential for severe malicious or natural “Black Sky” hazards associated with subcontinent scale, long duration power outages, with cascading failure of all our other increasingly interdependent infrastructures.  This creates a grim and difficult dilemma:  Restoration of any sector will only be possible with at least minimal operation of all the others. 
To deal with this deadlock, careful sector by sector and cross-sector resilience planning is crucial.  However, such plans, to be effective, must be exercised.  With the diversity and the national and global scale of the infrastructures we now depend on, this requires an unprecedented, multi-sector, national and international exercise series.

WHAT IS EARTH EX?
EARTH EX is an evolving, distributed, collaborative partner-developed exercise designed to meet this need.
37  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Minn newspaper gets Garrity partially right (Ofc. Noor) on: August 09, 2017, 10:57:23 PM
http://www.startribune.com/will-officer-mohamed-noor-ever-have-to-give-a-statement-on-the-justine-damond-shooting/436781813/

Will officer Mohamed Noor ever have to give a statement on the Justine Damond shooting?
High court ruling means internal affairs interview not useful for criminal trial.
By Brandon Stahl Star Tribune  JULY 26, 2017 — 9:20PM

Mohamed Noor has a constitutional right not to talk with anyone pursuing potential criminal charges in the shooting death of Justine Damond on July 15.

But he'll still likely have to talk with investigators.

If the Minneapolis Police Department opens an internal investigation into the shooting, the law requires him to talk if he wants to keep his job. But even if he does that, what he says to internal affairs can never be used in a criminal case. (GM Not true. If Noor should testify in a criminal trial, the Garrity compelled statements can be used to impeach his testimony)

"That's the trade-off the Supreme Court made," said Twin Cities employment attorney Marshall Tanick.

Tanick is referring to a 1967 ruling, Garrity vs. New Jersey, involving police in the Garden State accused of corruption. When the officers were questioned, they were told they could invoke their constitutional right not to talk, but if they stayed silent, they'd be fired. Prosecutors later used their statements to convict them.

The officers appealed, with the U.S. Supreme Court saying anything that public employees say as part of an internal investigation cannot be used in a criminal case.

"The Supreme Court wanted to encourage people to talk," Tanick said.

In Minnesota, public employees under internal investigation are now read a Garrity Warning, which says that though they are not legally required to say anything, their employer requires it. If an employee doesn't cooperate, or fails to tell the truth, they could get fired.

But the statement makes clear that any information gathered during an interview can't be used in a criminal case.

"Because you are being required to provide information under the threat of disciplinary action, the information you provide, and any evidence resulting from the information you provide, cannot and will not be used against you in any subsequent criminal proceeding," the warning reads.

Any use of information provided to internal investigators could derail a criminal case. Defense attorneys for two Minneapolis police officers charged with felony crimes unrelated to the Damond shooting are trying to use the Supreme Court's Garrity decision to help their clients.

For Christopher Reiter, who faces a felony third-degree assault charge for allegedly kicking a man in the face in May 2016, his attorney is arguing that police and prosecutors used information from Reiter's internal affairs interviews to help the criminal case. Reiter wants a hearing that could see the charges get dismissed.

Efrem Hamilton wants the Hennepin County attorney's office tossed from his case as he faces felony assault charges for allegedly shooting at a car. In May, his attorney filed a motion arguing that prosecutors used internal information gathered as part of their case.

Judges for both cases have not ruled on the motions.

It's worth noting that Garrity rights do not apply to private companies and employees. The constitution only protects people from the actions of government, said Don Taylor, a labor professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Garrity rights, Taylor said, are "a manifestation of the [U.S. Constitution's] Fifth Amendment rights that everybody has that you can't be compelled to incriminate yourself."

brandon.stahl@startribune.com 612-673-4626 b_stahl
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car on: August 09, 2017, 10:16:23 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4764208/Child-miners-aged-four-living-hell-Earth.html

Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car: Awful human cost in squalid Congo cobalt mine that Michael Gove didn’t consider in his ‘clean’ energy crusade
Sky News investigated the Katanga mines and found Dorsen, 8, and Monica, 4
The pair were working in the vast mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo
They are two of the 40,000 children working daily in the mines, checking rocks for cobalt


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4764208/Child-miners-aged-four-living-hell-Earth.html
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
39  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: How bad is the rioting and looting in the Twin Cities? on: August 09, 2017, 09:44:05 PM
Any chants of "No justice, no peace!"? Sporadic looting?

I figure both Minneapolis and St. Paul are burning now, right?

[Black Somalian cop shoots white Australian woman.]  I can tell you it's gone crazy.  I haven't seen anything like it - since last summer.   I don't know if a photo of a recent weekend can capture the level mayhem here in MN.  The mayor of Minneapolis is asking us to embrace the discomfort of transformation.  At the MacG compound, people were seen in a state of panic, fleeing in life rafts, utilizing boats of all types, wind and gas powered, paddling, some pulled by a rope behind a speed boat with only a ski underfoot, others under water, some running, biking, swimming for their lives.  Some accepted the defeat and just sat taking alcohol internally rather than flee.  Will try to keep you updated.

40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese Cyberwar capabilities on: August 09, 2017, 09:24:18 PM
Whoops! Missed the date. Knowing China's cyberwar abilities, I figured that's what they decided to do in this scenario.

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43604.pdf
___________________________________________________

https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Passcode/Passcode-Voices/2017/0320/How-China-is-preparing-for-cyberwar


Preparing for informationized wars

The 2015 Chinese Military Strategy White Paper states that the PLA must prepare for “informationized local wars” against technologically advanced adversaries. As a result, Chinese hackers breach Defense Department networks in order to better understand US military capabilities, accelerate the modernization of the People’s Liberation Army, and prepare of military conflict and the disruption of US forces.

Two PLA groups, Units 61938 and 61486, have reportedly stolen information from over two dozen Defense Department weapons programs, including the Patriot missile system and the US Navy’s new littoral combat ship. The most high-profile case has been the hacking of defense contractors involved in the F-35, which have forced the redesign of specialized communications and antenna arrays for the stealth aircraft. Department of Defense officials say that the most sensitive flight control data were not taken because they were stored offline, but the fuselage of China’s second stealth fighter jet, the J-31, is very similar to that of the F-35. In response to a question about attacks on defense contractors, Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told a congressional hearing, “I do not believe we are at this point losing our technological edge, but it is at risk based on some of their cyberactivities,” referring to China.

Chinese hackers also break into US networks in preparation for a potential military conflict. Chinese military analysts often write of the PLA’s need to seize information dominance at the beginning stages of a conflict with a technologically advanced adversary through cyber attacks against command and control computers as well as satellite and communication networks. The PLA would also attempt to disrupt US forces in the Western Pacific through attacks on transportation and logistics systems. Preparing for these attacks requires cyber espionage.

Chinese military writings also suggest that cyberattacks can have a deterrent effect, given American dependence on banking, telecommunication, and other critical networks. A highly disruptive or destructive attack on these networks might reduce the chances that the United States might get involved in a regional conflict. Some Chinese intrusions into critical infrastructure may intentionally leave evidence behind to act as a warning that the US homeland may not be immune to attack in the case of a conflict over Taiwan or the South China Sea.
______________________________________

http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/acupuncture-warfare-chinas-cyberwar-doctrine-and-implications-for-india/

If there is another conflict with China, it can be visualised that the war will begin in cyberspace much before a single shot is fired or the first missile is launched. In fact, frequent hacking attempts, some of them successful, are ongoing on a daily basis even now when there is peace at the border

Read more at:
http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/acupuncture-warfare-chinas-cyberwar-doctrine-and-implications-for-india/


These articles are 5 years old!. India is somewhat protected from Chinese hacks, because for the most part the country is still analog, compared to the USA where almost everything is electronic/digital and integrated. As India modernizes this willl change, but at present China cannot cause widespread disturbances. Local power shortage is pretty routine in north India (large population), especially during summers, though "load shedding" lasts only for a few hours during peak loads. Most well off houses and hospitals in cities have generator based back up power that comes up automatically. Heck until a few years ago and even now, there are tens of thousands of villages, where there is no electricity!. Modi govt is correcting  these things on a war footing.

My ancesteral home in the mountains next to China (until circa 1970), had a floor made of cowdung, cooking was done using chopped wood, electricity was sporadic and the water came for a 2-3 hours only. Today the cowdung floors have gone, cooking is with gas, but electricity and water are still sporadic, and this is the situation in middle class homes near the Himalayan foothills . In the surrounding villages not much has changed even today.
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Lena Dunham on: August 07, 2017, 11:50:05 AM

You will be made to conform.
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: USMC: All Male Units are better than Mixed Gender on: August 07, 2017, 07:12:19 AM
Let's see, not Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.  Outside of ccp and Reagan winning in Grenada, Japan 72 years ago was our last victory?

We must have had a bunch of LGTBQPWTF troops back then. It is the key to effective warfighting!
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / India's blackout on: August 06, 2017, 08:30:38 PM
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a7984/us-woefully-unprepared-for-a-blackout-like-indias-analysis-11413652/?src=soc_fcbk

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jul/31/india-blackout-electricity-power-cuts

I do not buy the official explaination for the blackouts. The timing and scale seem very suspicious.

Your thoughts, Ya?
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: August 06, 2017, 08:23:18 PM
Len Blavatnik is not exactly a secretive person.

http://www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/browse-edgar?action=getcompany&CIK=0001326628

Blavatnik's investment company's office is on the 20th floor of a large office building across the street from Trump Tower.  So is the Argentine Consulate and many other business.

The gist of the professor's article is that because Blavatnik may know Deripaska and because Deripaska is connected to Putin and other pro-Putin oligarchs, ergo, Blavatnik's donations to the Republican PAC's are motivated by pro-Putin interests rather by Blavatnik's interest in maintaining good relations with the party that might control the SEC and other regulators that have authority over his US based investment business. 

The author's bio

http://www.udallas.edu/cob/about/faculty/may-ruth.php

I am unimpressed with her reasoning in the article.  For example, 48% does not constitute a majority stake in any company.  I thought a CFP and a business professor would know that.  Also, it appears that she is connected with many of the same Ukrainian characters that attempted to assist Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign.  In other words, she does not seem all that more credentialed than many posters on this forum.  Yet, she published a sloppily written column designed to make a political point. 

http://www.opensecrets.org/search?q=Ruth+May&type=donors

Lots of donations to Hillary from a Ruth May, who just happens to work for the University of Dallas.

45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: USMC: All Male Units are better than Mixed Gender on: August 06, 2017, 10:19:49 AM
I thought that trannies were the key to military dominance.

Is winning wars still the objective of the US military?  Or is it a social spending program with an emphasis on social and cultural transformation? 



Anyone remember the last war we won?
46  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Rambling Rumination: Odin's Eye on: August 05, 2017, 09:52:01 PM

Go to the VA Jim. Talk to the vets there about your troubles.
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: USMC: All Male Units are better than Mixed Gender on: August 05, 2017, 09:40:29 PM

I thought that trannies were the key to military dominance.

Pretty sure that was the meme that was being pushed last week.
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: August 05, 2017, 09:36:49 PM
"China May Finally Be Ready to Work With the United States on North Korea"

This is all silly.
We have had this dance for decades and where are we now.  Only thing that will work is force.

Otherwise we accept NK a nuclear power - just as Krauthammer pointed out.

I am an optimist on this.  There are a lot of levers available other than force - and we have force too.  I wrote this before but wouldn't it be great if the art of the deal guy with all the levers of the leader of the free world, with logic, power, safety and ?everything else on his side, could get China to cooperate on this?

If they don't and if we don't take out the threat...  Japan, South Korea, Taiwan will go nuclear too, and others.  When the world's lowest tech country can go nuclear, they all will.  A nuclear Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines?  How is THAT in China's best strategic, control of their own backyard, interest?

It isn't. These are all pressure points that can be used.
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Snopes founder accused on: August 01, 2017, 04:12:22 PM

Shocking!   rolleyes
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DWS under ncreasing Pressure to Explain Why She Hired Imran Awan on: August 01, 2017, 03:57:10 PM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/370941.php

August 01, 2017
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Under Increasing Pressure to Explain Why She Hired Imran Awan and Why She Kept Him on the Payroll For So Long
Reasonable questions, right?

I'm sure Honest Truth-Teller Jake Tapper will get right on this.

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is coming under mounting pressure to explain why she kept an IT aide on the payroll for months after a criminal investigation was revealed, facing calls from Republicans to testify as well as a newly filed ethics complaint.
Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who led the Democratic National Committee until last year, terminated Imran Awan's "part-time" employment last week, when he was arrested at Dulles International Airport trying to fly to Pakistan. He was charged with a bank fraud count.

Guy was making like $160,000 per year. That's "part-time"?

Maybe part-time for a criminal.

This is very interesting, I think:

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), run by former U.S. Attorney Matthew G. Whitaker (a George W. Bush appointee), also filed a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday. The complaint urged an investigation, questioning why Schultz kept paying Awan after he was barred from the House computer system, noting "Members are directly responsible for ensuring their staff are only paid for official public work."
"There is something quite amiss as to why Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz continued to use taxpayer funds to employ former technology staff member, Imran Awan, even months after he was barred from accessing the House's computer systems and a number of her colleagues severed ties with Awan," Whitaker said in a statement.

If he wasn't being paid for his IT work -- given he was barred from using House computers -- what the hell was he being paid for?
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