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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Emergency plan in case of jihad on: May 24, 2017, 09:00:08 AM
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Enabling Murder on: May 24, 2017, 08:48:55 AM

Enabling Murder
Western politicians worry more about being called “Islamophobic” than they do about stopping jihadist slaughter.
Bruce Bawer
May 23, 2017 Public safetyPolitics and law

Damn these jihadist murderers of children. And damn the politicians who have, in many cases, helped make these murders possible but who are quick, this time and every time, to serve up empty declarations of “solidarity”even as the bodies of innocents are still being counted.
London mayor Sadiq Khan (who recently dismissed terrorist attacks as “part and parcel of living in a big city”): “London stands with Manchester.” Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer (who, in the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre, proclaimed a CAIR-backed “Muslim Women’s Day”—you know, the kind of event that proclaims hijabs “empowering”): Orlando “stands in solidarity with the people of the UK.” L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti (who went berserk when Trump tried to impose that temporary travel ban from a half-dozen Muslim countries): “Los Angeles stands with the people of Manchester.”
Meaningless words, all of them. But Angela Merkel takes the cake: “People in the UK can rest assured that Germany stands shoulder to shoulder with them.” Well, isn’t that . . . reassuring. In what way do such words help anybody to “rest assured” of anything? In any case, how dare she? This, after all, is the woman who opened the floodgates—the woman who, out of some twisted sense of German historical guilt, put European children in danger by inviting into the continent masses of unvetted people from the very part of the world where this monstrous evil has its roots.
Then there was this from European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: “Once again, terrorism has sought to instill fear where there should be joy, to sow division where young people and families should be coming together in celebration.” Beneath the innocuous-seeming surface of this statement is a slick rhetorical ruse: Juncker to the contrary, these savages aren’t out to “sow division”—they’re out to kill infidels. By introducing the concept of “division,” Juncker, like so many others, is implying that the important message here is: Hey, whatever you do, don’t let this little episode put any bad thoughts about Islam into your head!
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese also spoke of “fear” and “division”: “Manchester is a proud, strong city and we will not allow terrorists who seek to sow fear and division to achieve their aims.” Guess what, pal? They did achieve their aims: they killed 22 people, including children, and injured several dozen. Dead infidels: that’s their objective, period. (Or, as you would say, full stop.)
Naturally, Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, put out a statement. Burnham, as it happens, is a radical socialist who has wrung his hands for years about Islamophobia and has fought tooth and nail against a nationwide “anti-extremism” program called Prevent on the grounds that it “singles out one community for different treatment.” After yesterday’s atrocity, Burnham said: “We are grieving today, but we are strong.”
Strong? No, Mr. Burnham, you are anything but strong. You are cowards, all of you. You are more scared of being called bigots than of the prospect of children under your official protection being slaughtered by jihadists.
Three-quarters of a century ago, Britain stood shoulder to shoulder in true solidarity while under violent assault by the diabolical ideology of Nazism. Today, its leaders speak of the same kind of solidarity—but it’s nothing but talk. In Rotherham, gangs of Muslim men sexually abused 1,400 girls—and police and other officials who knew about it did nothing for years lest they be accused of racism or Islamophobia. Almost certainly, similar mass-scale rapes are still occurring right now in other British cities, with similar silence and inaction on the part of pusillanimous authorities. Today, British leaders refuse to deport imams who preach murder but ban from their shores respected writers and knowledgeable critics of Islam who dare to take on those imams and their theology.
Strength? Don’t you dare speak of strength. You have the blood of innocent children on your hands.
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nearly half of females fail army infantry training, standards lowered. on: May 23, 2017, 09:14:21 PM

I'm sure our current and future enemies will be sure to take it easy on them.
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, Sleaze, Skullduggery, and Treason on: May 23, 2017, 08:59:09 PM
So don't make it easy for them.

Trump was Trump before the election. It isn't like he has changed. I am more concerned with him following through on his promises.
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, Sleaze, Skullduggery, and Treason on: May 23, 2017, 07:24:25 PM
Seems like high risk for bad optics.

No matter what Trump does or doesn't do, the MSM will spin it in the worst possible light.
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, Another look inside that parked car on: May 23, 2017, 11:55:03 AM

This story intersects Race, Religion, Urban issues and Homeland Security.  Assault rifles and bomb parts, this could have been the Manchester story if not for the action of a concerned citizen, a black man who took offense that these Muslims were tossing their trash into our streets.  The altercation led to the discovery of perhaps a threat in progress.

Funny how the NSA's dragnet of all global comms never rolls these guys up.
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: May 23, 2017, 11:53:58 AM
" I expect Marc Rich's computer to go missing or get lost somehow. "

Or hard drive removed tampered with then put back or replaced with only partial data. This is what I have seen though not at national security levels obviously.
  Though I agree it  simply disappearing ala Hillary/Bill/DNC would be the safest mode of disposing of incriminating evidence.
  (Oh but it's storage is safe in a DC police station.   rolleyes)

Why would Comey not have demanded access to it and had it forensically evaluated?  Is not that the death was mysterious, the victim a noted disgruntled Sanders supporter enough grounds to look into the possibility that he not Russia etc gave the  emails to Wikileaks?

yet we take the word of some DNC hired Ukranian security firm as though it is gospel.  (as pointed out by Rush L)

Bottom line :

If it helps republicans the MSM makes it into some "crazy right wing conspiracy" theory.  But if it helps libs it is "proof", and a  guilty to proven innocent attitude ,yada yada......

The whole reason it was taken by law enforcement would be for the purpose of examining the contents of the computer. If Rich had forwarded the DNC emails from this computer, that would be easy to determine. Unless it had been wiped like Hillary's servers.

58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / According to Libertarian theory, this shouldn't be happening on: May 23, 2017, 11:32:31 AM

Black market marijuana business booming in Colorado

Black market marijuana business booming

DENVER -- The Denver Police Department said Colorado’s illegal marijuana business is thriving.

"The black market marijuana is booming," Cmdr. James Henning said.

Last year, Denver police arrested 242 people for illegally growing, selling or extracting marijuana. Henning's team seized 8,913 pounds of marijuana last year.

“That’s driven simply by the old laws of supply and demand. People are buying marijuana for a low price and buying low and selling it high," he said.

Local police work with the Drug Enforcement Administration to eradicate illegal grows across the state, including several outdoor cultivation sites in Pueblo, Mesa, El Paso and Garfield counties.

Pictures released by the DEA and police show hundreds of potted, pruned and THC-producing plants confiscated on the black market. Police say the illegal business is not only booming, it’s increasingly more dangerous.

“We are finding more weapons, They are a little edgier. We know that in that black market, there’s a lot of ripoffs and robberies going on, but nobody reports it to us because you don’t report that you are robbed while doing an illegal activity," Henning said.

Law enforcement said the illegal market is flooded with high-quality Colorado medicinal marijuana. Red card users can buy 2 ounces a day for $100 to $150. Users can turn around and sell an ounce for $350 to $400.

Statistics from state patrol agencies across the country show Colorado marijuana mainly goes to seven states, with 65 percent of the weed coming from Denver.

In just three years, law enforcement across the country have seized about 4.5 tons of marijuana from Colorado.

Ads on Craigslist promise “safe dealings” and “overnight delivery” to out-of-state buyers. Police say it’s all buying and selling on the black market.

“We also have many local investigations anywhere from your small Craigslist operation where a guy is on Craigslist saying or offering you marijuana right now or I can ship marijuana anywhere in the United States. It’s all 100 percent illegal,” said Henning.

Users said Colorado’s marijuana market might have stopped low-quality weed from coming into the state, but it has opened the door for millions worth of top quality illegal weed to be sold tax free outside the state.

59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe and pre-emptive dhimmitude on: May 23, 2017, 10:57:20 AM
Religion of peace.  It never turns out​ to be the Lutheran extremists anymore, does it?

"Known" wolf, as opposed to lone wolf.  Bad analogy. Wolves don't do this.

A tweet about the first identified victim:
"There was not one bad bone in her body she was a true ray of sunshine and loved everyone for who they were.”

I've never heard of the singer, took a look at a couple of her videos. One has a billion views on YouTube.  There is a young, cute, sexiness to the music.  Young male Muslims want young virgins and rape young women, but can't handle young cute sexiness.

When do we start calling islamist extremism a dangerous mental disorder instead of a religion.

If we started facing the hard truth rather than the usual teddy bears and flowers and sad faces on social media, we might have to do something about it. Can't have that.
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: No need for them to worry on: May 23, 2017, 10:52:08 AM

Always happy to see gun control advocates being protected by men with guns.
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: May 23, 2017, 10:50:00 AM

Mr. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, said Tuesday that he became concerned last year that the Russian government was trying to influence members of the Trump campaign to act — wittingly or unwittingly — on Moscow’s behalf.

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” Mr. Brennan told lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee.

Continue reading the main story

Continue reading the main story

“It raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals,” he said, adding that he did not know whether the Russian efforts were successful.

He added, “I don’t know whether such collusion existed.”


me:   can anyone imagine if he had instead said there is 8no evidence of any collusion*?  Slightly re wording this makes all the difference.  Even if a conclusion finally comes , God knows when, that no collusion was found the LEFT will for ever and ever claim it existed but was just not found.   

The right should start labelling them as quack "conspiracy theorists "

Why are not the intelligence agencies investigating reports of the DNC staffer being the source of the DNC email leaks to wikileaks?

Because that would be too easy to prove or disprove. I expect Marc Rich's computer to go missing or get lost somehow.
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, Sleaze, Skullduggery, and Treason on: May 23, 2017, 10:47:42 AM
If Hillary had done this, or Chelsea their pictures would be on the cover of all the women's journals with God like adoration.


The Huff compost would have a soundbite of glass shattering and a heroines welcome mat for Ivanka.

Seems like a good PR idea.   IS the World Bank trustworthy with all this money?

No, it's not.
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe and pre-emptive dhimmitude on: May 23, 2017, 10:46:58 AM

Even if they can never prove it, you and I know who was really behind the Manchester bomb attack.

Even if we can never find the link it is clear the Russians were colluding with the suicide bomber(s).

The Russians and Fox News!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 23, 2017, 10:05:58 AM
Every now and then I see an ad in medical journals for jobs posted for IHS.  Don't know much about it or anyone here who has worked for them.

What single payer looks like.
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH: Elite Fracture on: May 23, 2017, 09:07:27 AM
The "elites" are really clueless to the anger in the places they only pretend to care about. What comes after Trump will make the coastal "elites" much less happy, or safe and secure.

Thursday, May 18, 2017 »

Welcome to the Interpreter newsletter, by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, who write a column by the same name.

On our minds: The Trump administration has had a rough week, and a few legislators have started dropping the I word — impeachment — in public statements. But political science can help us understand what might be going on behind the scenes.

What President Trump Can Learn from Venezuela

We’ve been writing about Venezuela lately, where the embattled president, Nicolás Maduro, is struggling to contain huge public protests against his regime. That means we’ve been thinking a lot about “elite fracture” — a political science theory that says that while protests matter, the real trigger for regime change is usually when an authoritarian leader loses the support of important elites. That may be happening in Venezuela right now, but it also could apply to our country.

In a blog post that was the talk of political science Twitter this week, Tom Pepinsky, a political science professor at Cornell University, suggested that elite fracture is a good way to understand the dilemmas that Democrats and Republicans in Congress are facing over the latest round of scandals relating to the Russia investigation and President Donald J. Trump’s firing of the F.B.I director, James B. Comey.

Loyalty, it turns out, is basically a collective-action game played by self-interested politicians. While it’s always nice to hope that politicians will put their country’s interests over their own, research suggests it would not be smart to count on that. Rather, elites will most likely abandon a leader if they think that it will leave them better off, and will stay loyal, even in the face of public unrest, if they think that is the best option for them personally.

So in many ways Republican members of the House and Senate are facing a decision similar to the one that Mr. Maduro’s allies in Venezuela are most likely debating right now. Is it wiser to stay loyal to the president, who is broadly unpopular but still commands the loyalty of the Republican base? Or is it time to cut their losses and start separating from him?

Research on elite fractures is usually used to explain seismic events like coups or impeachments, but it’s also relevant to the smaller steps that lead to those outcomes. The same collective-action game is how, say, Republicans decide whether to defend Mr. Trump publicly each time news breaks of some development in the Russia situation, or how the congressional committees they lead decide on how actively to investigate his campaign’s alleged contacts with Russia.

But, Pepinsky points out, elite fracture research suggests that there’s another big issue here that the public debate has largely overlooked: whether Democrats will be willing to compromise with Republicans to encourage them to abandon Trump.

In other countries where elite fractures have led to regime change, there’s usually some kind of bargain between the opposition and the faction of elites who split from the regime. The specifics vary — maybe the rebel faction gets immunity from prosecution, or promises of cabinet posts, or valuable contracts — but the big takeaway is that there’s pretty much always some kind of tit-for-tat.

Right now, Pepinsky writes, Democrats are so deep in the partisan trenches that they would probably reject any compromise with moderate Republicans. And partisan polarization is so strong that Democrats have a strong incentive to go on the attack against all Republicans; it’s what the voters demand and reward. But if Democrats don’t compromise with moderate Republicans, the Republicans will be more likely to stick together -- making elite fracture less likely, at least for now.

66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe and pre-emptive dhimmitude on: May 23, 2017, 08:44:36 AM

The bomber has been identified as Salman Ramadan Abedi.

Authorities unsure if his motivations for the attack will ever be known.

So, what is the official "I have the sads for the latest terror attack" meme for social media today?
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / These are professional journalists with credentials! on: May 22, 2017, 09:53:20 PM

But make sure to swallow all the other scoops about Trump without question.
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another misunderstander of the religion of peace on: May 22, 2017, 07:32:41 PM

Quaker extremist? Uppity Lutherans?
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, Sleaze, Skullduggery, and Treason on: May 22, 2017, 02:31:10 PM
Citations on that?  We need something specific to respond to the innuendo that is sure to come.
Saudi Arabia, UAE pledge $100 million to Ivanka Trump-backed women's fund

May 22nd 2017 11:47AM

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged a combined $100 million to the World Bank's Women Entrepreneurs Fund, a campaign that is the brainchild of Ivanka Trump.

The pledge comes during President Trump's first foreign trip, signaling the president's eldest daughter may have been instrumental in securing this significant contribution.

The World Bank announced the donation at an event on Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reports. The goal of the Ivanka-inspired fund is to help female entrepreneurs start their own businesses.

During President Trump's visit, Ivanka spoke to young Muslims saying she has seen the entrepreneurial spirit in their country.

The fund itself is new. We first heard about it from the presidential assistant during the Women 20 summit in Berlin, when Ivanka Trump called for a worldwide investment in women.

Some, though, are calling the fund hypocritical for appearing similar to the Clinton Foundation.

President Trump had criticized the Clinton Foundation for accepting funds from countries with human rights concerns -- calling it pay-for-play. This women's fund, though, is exclusively run by the World Bank.

70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Keep Watching the News, But Be Very Skeptical of Everything You Are Told on: May 22, 2017, 12:41:07 PM

Keep Watching the News, But Be Very Skeptical of Everything You Are Told

President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
It took a few years of police work to turn me into a discerning consumer of news. My family had subscribed to the Los Angeles Times as I grew up, a practice I continued as I went off to college and later joined the Los Angeles Police Department. The paper’s left-of-center leanings didn’t much concern me at the time as I, after coming of age in the days of Watergate and President Nixon’s downfall, and after being indoctrinated at a Jesuit high school and in college, shared many of these same leanings.

Then I became a cop, a job that offered an unequaled view of the many ways liberal politicians infantilize and enfeeble the very people they purport to help. It was on this Road to Damascus journey that I also learned to read and watch the news with a critical eye. I was working in South Central L.A. in a time of escalating gang violence, and even as it reached horrific levels it was largely ignored by the Los Angeles Times and other local media. And when crime was covered, it was most often in a way that made the police seem at least as responsible as the criminals for what ailed the city.
This was especially so in the Los Angeles Times, whose reporters and editors – even its editorial cartoonist – seemed to harbor a grudge against the police in general, the LAPD in particular, and police chief Daryl Gates most of all. I found that as I read the Times’s stories about the LAPD, the facts were invariably presented in a light that was more favorable to police critics than the police themselves. If any nuance was implied, the benefit of the doubt was always given to the crooks, never to the cops. This was most obvious to me when I read stories about incidents in which I had been involved. I once watched a Times reporter working through the crowd that had gathered after a racially charged incident in South Central L.A. Though I was within earshot as she interviewed people who expressed reasonable opinions on what had happened, when the story appeared the next day it was the loudest, most obnoxious, and most ignorant voice in the crowd who was quoted. The story itself wasn’t false, or “fake news” in today’s parlance, but it was incomplete, presenting only one version of events when others had been given to the reporter. This could only have been by design.

It has been with this experience in mind that I have read newspapers and watched television news ever since. In the frothing media maelstrom that now surrounds the Trump administration, it is important to maintain a certain level of skepticism. A reader taking in a story about the president in any major newspaper would be wise to imagine a prologue at the outset, one that goes something like this:

The story you are about to read was written and edited by people who a) voted for Hillary Clinton, b) think Donald Trump is a menace, and c) are appalled that 63 million of their fellow citizens – all those ignorant rustics out there in the howling wilderness between Beverly Hills and the Hudson River – could have so abased themselves as to choose Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton. Furthermore, these same reporters and editors go about their daily lives with no contact with anyone who might have a different opinion, and if they were to encounter one by accident they would run shrieking from the room. Every one of these people hope to be their own era’s Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein and be remembered as the journalist who saved America and the world from Donald Trump. And finally, these aspiring Woodwards and Bernsteins have ready access to what seems to be an endless supply of aspiring Deep Throats, anonymous “administration sources” equally desirous of seeing President Trump impeached, jailed, or otherwise rendered impotent.
Which brings us to the latest (at least as of this writing) media revelation of something certain to doom the Trump presidency—the “Comey memo.” Perhaps like you, I first heard of the memo on radio and television, where it was breathlessly described as “devastating” and “extremely serious” and in other similarly grave terms. “The president obstructed justice,” we were told. “This may finish him.”

And then I read the New York Times’s story on the matter, after which I said, “That’s it?” As reported by the New York Times, now-former FBI Director James Comey wrote a memo on a meeting he had with the president, who, we are told, urged Mr. Comey to drop the inquiry into Michael Flynn’s foreign ties. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump allegedly told Mr. Comey. Keep in mind that the Times reporter, Michael Schmidt, had not himself seen the memo, but relied on portions of it that were read to him over the telephone by an anonymous source.
So, we have a portion of a memo we have not seen and whose entire contents is unknown, being read over the phone by a person we do not know. From this we are to conclude the president should be impeached. Count me among the unpersuaded.

To start with, absent the larger context of the complete memo, if it indeed exists, it’s impossible to determine how damning it truly is. Did the president attach any conditions to his expressed hope for an end to the Flynn investigation? Did he say, for example, “If the evidence doesn’t pan out, I hope you can let this go”? Or did he say, “No matter how much dirt you have on Flynn, I hope you can let it go”? Judging from the way the New York Times (and almost everyone else) has covered the Trump administration, my suspicion is that the quote was isolated precisely for its inflammatory implications, but that when viewed in its full context the memo will amount to little.

But now to the larger point: By firing James Comey, did President Trump hope to end the Flynn investigation and any other FBI inquiries into his administration’s ties to Russia? If so, he’ll be disappointed. I can’t claim to have much inside knowledge of the FBI, but over the years I have worked with some agents on joint investigations. Based on this admittedly limited knowledge, I find it inconceivable that the investigation would shut down based on Mr. Comey’s ouster. If anything, the tempo and aggressiveness of the investigation would only increase, as the involved agents would be all the more eager to demonstrate their independence from political considerations.

So, the investigation will indeed continue, but now under the direction of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And with the continuing investigation will come all the leaks and rumor-mongering to which we are growing so wearily accustomed. Let us hope that Mr. Mueller can uncover the facts and let justice be done quickly.

In the meantime, Mr. Trump might enjoy any number of successes that will be overlooked in favor of the latest “explosive revelation.” Mr. Trump could simplify the tax code, he could bring peace to the Middle East, he could cure cancer, he could part the Red Sea, and the front-page, above-the-fold story in the New York Times would still be about how he failed to rewind a Blockbuster video in 1983.

Keep watching the news, gentle readers, but be skeptical of what you are told.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Chinese are aware of the west's slow motion suicide on: May 22, 2017, 09:53:45 AM

The curious rise of the ‘white left’ as a Chinese internet insult
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Daily KOS: Saudis give $100M to Ivanka Foudation?!? on: May 22, 2017, 08:43:52 AM

From what I could find, the fund is Ivanka's idea, but is run by the World Bank. It's not a personal slush fund like the Clinton Crime's Family's foundation.
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: May 21, 2017, 11:46:30 AM
"So why would anyone think the Times or Post or CNN is simply not paying off moles inside the White House?"

Because they know better than anyone that secrets are not kept.  The blow back would blow them the fk up and the know it.

They don't need sources to just make sh#t up.
74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria on: May 20, 2017, 10:54:25 AM
Fair points all-- OTOH what happens if we leave the Middle East to the Russian-Iranian Axis?

Let it burn. The latest Sunni-Shia war can kick off and we can watch.
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: year in review on: May 19, 2017, 10:18:34 PM

China doesn't have a strong legal argument against complying with international law? NFW!  shocked

China has the world's oldest argument: "Come over here and make me do it, Motherf*cker".

MANILA — China’s president warned the Philippines that it would go to war if Manila insisted on enforcing an international arbitration decision rejecting China’s claims over disputed areas of the South China Sea, the Philippine president said in a televised speech on Friday.

Although both sides pledged for now to talk and to avoid confrontation, the remarks by the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, highlighted the stakes in a part of Asia that has become a geopolitical flash point. The warning — which Beijing did not immediately confirm — also draws attention to a policy dilemma for the United States, which is trying to maintain its naval dominance in the Pacific in the face of China’s military buildup and its construction of artificial islands in disputed waters.

In a landmark ruling last July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, delivered a sweeping rebuke of China’s behavior in the South China Sea, including the creation of islands that could be used for military purposes, and found that its claim of sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis. However, there is no legal mechanism for enforcing the decision, and Beijing has refused to abide by it.

In a speech on Friday to the Philippine coast guard, in the southern city of Davao, Mr. Duterte claimed that President Xi Jinping of China had cautioned him against trying to enforce the ruling. Mr. Xi said the two countries could eventually discuss it, “but it cannot be done now,” Mr. Duterte said.

“We intend to drill oil there, if it’s yours, well, that’s your view, but my view is I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth, because it is ours,” Mr. Duterte quoted Mr. Xi as telling him.

Mr. Duterte described Mr. Xi’s position as, “We’re friends, we don’t want to quarrel with you,” but “if you force the issue, we’ll go to war.”
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: May 19, 2017, 08:56:23 PM
The whereabout in the white house of Obama : a *source* told me Obama was screwing an intern during the Benghazi attack.  That is why it was hushed up.  And worse that that was after a dinner in which he had *TWO* scoops of ice cream while forcing everyone else present to suffer with only *ONE* scoop. 

So why is this not "breaking news" with power delirious news (democrat party employees) people  urinating all over themselves ranting and raving about this "scoop" 24/7?

Any guesses what his name was? Does this mean Reggie Love was out of town?
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nanzi Pelosi used to like Assad on: May 19, 2017, 07:49:44 PM
Pelosi shrugs off Bush’s criticism, meets Assad
Democrat raises issues of Mideast peace, Iraq with Syrian president

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Wednesday.
updated 4/4/2007 9:28:36 AM ET
Print Font:
DAMASCUS, Syria — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday for talks criticized by the White House as undermining American efforts to isolate the hard-line Arab country.
Pelosi said Assad assured her of his willingness to engage in peace talks with Israel, and that she and other members of her congressional delegation raised their concern about militants crossing from Syria into Iraq, as well the Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas.
The Californian Democrat spoke to reporters shortly after talks with Assad at the end of a two-day visit to Syria.
She said the delegation gave the Syrian leader a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert whose essence was that Israel was ready to hold peace talks with Syria.
She did not say more about the message, but Israel has previously made such talks conditional on Syria’s cutting off its support for hard-line Palestinian groups and Hezbollah.
“We were very pleased with the assurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process. He’s ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi and accompanying members of Congress began their day by holding separate talks with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa and then met Assad, who hosted them for lunch after their talks.

Pelosi’s visit to Syria was the latest challenge to the White House by congressional Democrats, who are taking a more assertive role in influencing policy in the Middle East and the Iraq war.
Bush voices criticism
Bush has said Pelosi’s trip signals that the Assad government is part of the international mainstream when it is not. The United States says Syria allows Iraqi Sunni insurgents to operate from its territory, backs the Hezbollah and Hamas militant groups and is trying to destabilize the Lebanese government. Syria denies the allegations.
“A lot of people have gone to see President Assad ... and yet we haven’t seen action. He hasn’t responded,” he told reporters soon after she arrived in Damascus on Tuesday. “Sending delegations doesn’t work. It’s simply been counterproductive.”
Pelosi did not comment on Bush’s remarks but went for a stroll in the Old City district of Damascus, where she mingled with Syrians in a market.
Wearing a flowered head scarf and a black abaya robe, Pelosi visited the 8th-century Omayyad Mosque. She made the sign of the cross in front of an elaborate tomb which is said to contain the head of John the Baptist. About 10 percent of Syria’s 18 million people are Christian.
At the nearby outdoor Bazouriyeh market, Syrians crowded around, offering her dried figs and nuts and chatting with her. She bought some coconut sweets and looked at jewelry and carpets.
On Tuesday night, Pelosi met Syrian human rights activists, businessmen and religious leaders at the U.S. ambassador’s residence.
‘Better late than never’
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem was quoted Wednesday as saying that Pelosi and other members of Congress were “welcome” in Syria.
“Better late than never,” he told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anba in an interview. He said the visits were taking place because Americans and Europeans had realized that their policy of trying to isolate Syria had failed.
However, the Syrian ambassador to Washington, Imad Moustapha, was quoted as saying Syria was “wary of the sudden U.S. openness” and would respond cautiously.
“Syria will not hurriedly offer concessions when it refused to offer them under much greater pressure from the United States in the past,” he said in an interview with the Al-Baath newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling party.
“Syria will take a step forward every time the Americans take one,” he added.

Toward U.S. engagement with Syria?
Democrats have argued that the United States should engage its top rivals in the Mideast — Iran and Syria — to make headway in easing crises in Iraq, Lebanon and the Israeli-Arab peace process. Last year, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommended talks with the two countries.
Bush rejected the recommendations. But in February, the United States joined a gathering of regional diplomats in Baghdad that included Iran and Syria for talks on Iraq.
Visiting neighboring Lebanon on Monday, Pelosi noted that Republican lawmakers had met Assad on Sunday without comment from the Bush administration.
She said she hoped to rebuild lost confidence between Washington and Damascus.
‘No illusions’
“We have no illusions but we have great hope,” said Pelosi, who met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah earlier Tuesday.
Relations between the United States and Syria reached a low point in early 2005 when Washington withdrew its ambassador to Damascus to protest the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Many Lebanese blamed Syria — which had troops in Lebanon at the time — for the assassination. Damascus denied involvement.
Washington has since succeeded in largely isolating Damascus, with its European and Arab allies shunning Assad. The last high-ranking U.S. official to visit Syria was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in January 2005.
The isolation, however, has begun to crumble in recent months, with visits by U.S. lawmakers and some European officials.
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves on: May 19, 2017, 03:24:14 PM

This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves
Kurt  Schlichter |Posted: May 18, 2017 12:01 AM 
This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves


The blizzard of lies and distraction blowing through Washington is not just any routine stuffstorm, but a calculated attempt to bring down a president – our president, not the establishment’s president. And more than that, it’s an attempt to ensure that we never again have the ability to disrupt the bipartisan D.C. cabal’s permanent supremacy by inserting a chief executive who refuses to kiss their collective Reid.

This is a coup against us. It’s a coordinated campaign by liberals and their allies in the bureaucracy and media to once and for all ensure their perpetual rule over us. We need to fight it, here and now, so we don’t have to fight it down at the bottom of this slippery slope.

It’s brazen. It’s bold. It’s insulting to our intelligence. They aren’t even trying to hide their lies anymore. Truth is irrelevant; this is a choreographed dance routine and everyone has his moves. Call it Breakin’ 2: Electric Leakaroo, except instead of trying to save the community center they’re trying to save their power and prestige.

To buy the media narrative on this latest Russian nonsense, you must believe:

1. That whatever was revealed was super-secret, though we don’t know exactly what it was. When in doubt, assume it’s on par with the nuclear codes!

2. That there was no good reason to share this info with Russia, like coordinating our fight against our joint enemy or to prevent another Russian airliner massacre. Because why would we want another power fighting ISIS or civilians not to be blown out of the sky?

3. That LTG McMaster, who literally wrote the book on soldiers standing up to misbehaving civilian leaders and displayed immense personal courage in battle, turned chicken and sat there silently as Trump monologued about this unknown mystery info of doomsday-level import.

4. That LTG McMaster lied on camera. Twice. And that Secretary of State Tillerson lied too.

5. That random anonymous sources in an intelligence community that hates Trump with a burning passion must be believed without question, though we don’t know their identities or their motives.

6. That these anonymous randos must be believed, even though they were not actually in the room to, you know, actually hear what happened. The traditional bar on hearsay is apparently now just a bourgeois conceit.

7. That when the Washington Post and the rest of the media publishes classified stuff (including intelligence provided by allies) leaked by anyone not named “Donald Trump,” it’s awesome.

8. That the Washington Post and the rest of the media, which has been wrong over and over again in their reporting, are not wrong again.

9. That the Washington Post and the rest of the media are objective and have no anti-Trump bias, even though they are literally cheering the hits on the president.

10. That there are unicorns.

The latest pseudo-scandal is that Trump doesn’t think Mike Flynn did anything wrong, and told James Comey so back in February. So basically, Trump expressed the same view he had of the whole Flynn nonsense to Comey as he has expressed to every interviewer. Comey did nothing, and said nothing (even when testifying to Congress) for nearly three months, because it was nothing. The Russian snipe hunt continued throughout unabated. That off-hand comment was a pretty poor attempt at obstruction of justice since it didn’t obstruct anything – to the limited extent these Russian witch hunts can be confused with “justice” at all.

So the Menschian thinkers who usually scream “Treason!” are now screaming “Obstruction of Justice!” It’s adorable when they learn new terms and try to use them correctly; they’re so proud of themselves and their vocabulary building that you almost feel bad having to point out that they sound like idiots.

It is nice, though, to have liberals finally come out against the abuse of executive power, misuse of classified material, and Russians. Welcome to the party, except we know you’re full of Schumer.

It’s all lies, and they know it and we know it. Normal people just shake their heads and wonder why Washington is so consumed with political nonsense instead of solving problems. But then, Washington does not produce solutions. It produces only political nonsense.

This is a concentrated, coordinated effort by elite insiders to take down not this president – Trump’s not the point here – but to take down us, the normal American they seek to rule. Someone came to Washington who wasn’t part of the club, and that’s intolerable. So they are desperate to expel him, and by extension, us.

Every day will be a crisis, every action he takes will be the worst thing that has ever happened, and every step towards keeping his promises a crime.


Talk to Russians? IT’S TREASON!

Telling Comey he wishes this nonsense would stop? OBSTRUTION OF JUSTICE EVEN THOUGH NOTHING WAS OBSTRUCTED!

Now, this campaign isn’t aimed at us. Normal people, people who don’t live in DC or NYC or LA, just tune it out. After all these years, and with the help of the web, we normals know the game. We’re woke, as the dorky leftists say.

The target of this constant barrage is the soft and the stupid, the smug and the sanctimonious, the wusses and the surrender flunkies. That’s why you get the girlish-handed likes of David Brooks writing dainty columns that give Trump such a pinch! That’s why David Frum starts using words like “courage” to impugn actual men who have done actual man-things, like LTG McMaster. That’s why Kasich spews his bilious funk of sanctimony and submission, among other funks. It’s all to appeal to the Fredocons, the soft-headed RINOs who are smart, not dumb like everyone says, who just want something for themselves – attention, approval, and media pats on their pointy little heads.

So these fussy ninnies, fresh from having some v-capped crone screeching at them that they will vote to take away her right to have taxpayers fork cash over to kill the baby no man will ever give her, wander outside into a wall of mics and cameras and pause. Then they talk, and when what they say trashes Trump sufficiently, the smiles from the press come, and the nods, and then the faux respect. Now they are no longer mean old Rethuglicans but dauntless heroes, at least in Georgetown, because they are willing to dance and caper to the tune of the establishment.

This tsunami of baloney isn’t aimed at us. It’s aimed at them, the Republicans who are foolish enough to believe their new friends when they whisper words like “honor” and “patriotism.” Some of the marks are real patriots who fall prey to these liars when they couch their bogus narrative in national defense terms. But the majority of the marks are just morons.

When targeting the dummies, the goal is simple. Draw off enough weak, attention-addicted RINOs to make it impossible for the President to govern. Then, hopefully, us normals will shrug, and slink away, having relearned our place. After all, we’re deplorable.

And when the liberal establishment retakes power, and the mavericks and goody-goodies get tossed aside, the bureaucracy, media and the Democrats will conspire to ensure that no one can ever take their power from them again. But they haven’t considered the consequences. We’ll object.

So we have to fight against this cable network coup. Because, if we don’t fight now, we all may end up fighting later.
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Twice, Comey declined to charge the Clintons on: May 19, 2017, 03:08:50 PM
Papers reveal FBI's 'public corruption' probe into Bill Clinton's pardon of fugitive Marc Rich, whose wife Denise gave $450K to his presidential library – and $100K to make Hillary a senator

Read more:

Bill Clinton pardoned fugitive financier Marc Rich on his last day in the White House
Rich faced an indictment for racketeering, tax evasion, wire fraud, and illegally trading oil with Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis
He was in Switzerland when a federal Grand Jury indicted him, and never came back to the U.S.
His wife gave $450,000 to build Bill's presidential library, $100,000 to Hillary's U.S. Senate campaign, and far more to other Democratic causes

The FBI released 129 pages of heavily redacted documents on Monday related to the criminal investigation of the pardon – just 7 days before Hillary's big election day
PUBLISHED: 20:17 EDT, 1 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:03 EDT, 2 November 2016

SCANDAL: Fugitive financier Marc Rich was indicted for racketeering, fraud, tax evasion and illegal oil trading with Iran, but Bill Clinton pardoned him on his last day in the White House

The FBI on Monday released 129 pages of documents related to former president Bill Clinton's lame-duck pardon of a fugitive financier whose family contributed $450,000 to help build his presidential library and millions more to other Democratic Party causes.

Rich's wife Denise also contributed $100,000 to Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign as the first family prepared to clear out of the White House.

The disclosures will prove embarrassing to the former first family as Hillary Clinton tries to avoid a career-ending defeat next Tuesday at the hands of Donald Trump.

The FBI investigated the case of Marc Rich, who died in 2013, more than a decade ago, assigning it to the ominous sounding 'Public Corruption Unit.'

The documents released Monday leave much to the imagination, mostly redacted by government lawyers for privacy reasons and to preserve the secrecy of a federal Grand Jury.

But merely bringing the episode back up so close to Election Day has put an old Clinton black eye back on the front burner.

Rich, a legendary oil commodities and hedge-fund trader in his day, was charged with multiple counts of tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, and cutting petroleum deals with Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

Rich was in Switzerland when he was indicted, and never returned to the United States. He hired Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel to Clinton, as his lawyer.

His wife later renounced her U.S. citizenship and moved to Austria where she already had dual citizenship – saving herself tens of millions of dollars in taxes.

Rich passed away in 2013 and was laid to rest in  Tel Aviv.

Pardoning Rich on his last day in office turned out to be one of Bill Clinton's most controversial acts of president.

The FBI concluded that Clinton did not follow established procedures when he finalized the pardon, and only informed one person at the Department of Justice that Rich had sought the pardon: future Obama administration attorney general Eric Holder.

FBI director James Comey, then a federal prosecutor, ran the investigation into the Rich pardon. He criticized Holder's involvement in the controversy, calling the pardon 'a huge misjudgment.'

But he never recommended criminal charges against anyone embroiled in the scandal.

Read more:
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: May 19, 2017, 02:56:56 PM
Very helpful GM--  can you find the one(s) of the Obama team woman inadvertently admitting everything in a TV interview?
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: May 19, 2017, 11:18:05 AM
Could someone find the citation(s) for that Team Obama woman who let the cat out of the bag about how they left landmines for Trump, and also relevant citations about Obama expanding Super Duper Top Secret stuff from a handful of people to 17 agencies?
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What If There's No Scandal for the FBI to Find? on: May 18, 2017, 05:51:28 PM

May 18, 2017
Democrats and NeverTrumpers Worry:
What If There's No Scandal for the FBI to Find, After We've Staked What Remains of Our Credibility on Suggesting There are High Crimes in Play?

Bluffed called, assholes.

Eli Lake is right: The DOJ's appointment of widely-respected former prosecutor Robert Mueller to lead the special inquiry into the Trump campaign's potential collusion with Russia is a reprieve for a Trump Administration in crisis--a reprieve that it will almost certainly squander, but a reprieve nonetheless.
How do we know? Because the responses from Trump’s most dogged critics on the Russia question betray a kind of anxiety about the Mueller appointment--an anxiety that the no-nonsense law enforcement wise man will lower the temperature in Washington without actually uncovering enough damaging material to bring down the President.

Take, for example, Josh Marshall declaring that while he has confidence in Mueller to identify and expose any criminal activities undertaken by Trump or his associates, he won’t be able to prosecute the real Trump-Russia wrongdoing: a labyrinthian "conspiracy" which may not even involve any illegal behavior.

It is critical to understand that the most important details we need to know about the Russian disruption campaign and the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with it may not be crimes. Indeed, I would say that the crimes we’re likely to discover will likely be incidental or secondary to the broader actions and activities we're trying to uncover. Just hypothetically, what if Russia had a disruption campaign, Trump campaign officials gave winks and nods to nudge it forward but violated no laws? That’s hard to figure but by no means impossible. (Our criminal laws are not really designed for this set of facts.)...
And here’s David Frum in the Atlantic making a similar objection:

The special counsel will investigate whether people in the Trump campaign violated any laws when they gleefully leveraged the fruits of Russian espionage to advance their campaign.
By contrast, what happened in plain sight --cheering rather than condemning a Russian attack on American democracy--will be treated as a non-issue, because it was not criminal, merely anti-democratic and disloyal.

Since the summer before the election, Trump's critics have been suggesting or sometimes stating outright that Russia is involved with a criminal conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of Trump’s inner circle. But now that an unimpeachable bulldog prosecutor has been named to probe these very allegations, the critics seem to be trying to move the goalposts, saying that the real problem isn't criminality, but the sleaze and outlandish behavior of the Trump campaign more generally...

Indeed. One question I keep asking -- and which I encourage people to ask of these assholes -- is this: "What specific crime, including what specific acts, are you accusing Trump of?"

Note that in Hillary's case, critics were quite specific about what crimes she had committed: She violated the Espionage Act by transferring classified information to non-authorized users. She also set up this system precisely to avoid her FOIA obligations -- repeatedly telling people there were no responsive documents, when she was deliberately not searching for such documents on the secret serve she knew they were on.

I don't know if that last one is a crime, but I can definitely make that specific description of the bad conduct I'm alleging.

What similar specifics can these assholes offer re: Trump? They keep citing "contacts" -- but it's not a crime to have a "contact" with anybody. Literally, there is no person in the world, not even Osama bin Ladin's Satan-raped ghost, that it's illegal to have a "contact" with.

They also use the very vague word "collusion" to mask the fact they have no idea what Trump and Putin "colluded" about, or how. What quid pro quo are they alleging? How was this contract formed? Who negotiated this contract?

They have no idea, because they don't even really believe such a thing happened.

If they really believed such things happened, they would specifically say "Trump Aide X, with Trump's knowledge and permission, negotiated to trade American policy Y to Russia in exchange for Russian act Z."

They don't ever say that, because this is all bullshit. They just keep talking about the non-crime "contacts" and the deliberately vague, purposefully elusive word "collusion."

83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Flashback: Obama, Over Objections of the British, Gave Russia the Serial Numbers on: May 18, 2017, 04:34:07 PM

May 18, 2017
Flashback: Obama, Over Objections of the British, Gave Russia the Serial Numbers of the Trident Nuclear Missiles We Sold to the UK, Confirming the Size of the UK Nuclear Arsenal

But that's okay, because Obama was The Prince Who Was Promised.

But where were these Democratic and left-wing Krakatoas [Ponuru uses "volcanoes" as a metaphor for Democrats suddenly erupting with natsec Concern -- ace ] when Obama gave Putin the identity and whereabouts of Great Britain's nuclear missiles?
The Telegraph of London cited U.S. Embassy cables that it received via Wikileaks and summarized in its February 4, 2011, edition. "A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the 'New START' deal," Matthew Moore, Gordon Rayner, and Christopher Hope wrote.

According to their report on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), "the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK's Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US."

The authors continued:

Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.
"This appears to be significant because while the UK has announced how many missiles it possesses, there has been no way for the Russians to verify this," Professor Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute told The Telegraph. "Over time, the unique identifiers will provide them with another data point to gauge the size of the British arsenal."

Obama's treaty was amazingly cold as it back-stabbed America's cousins, from the Scottish Highlands to the white cliffs of Dover. The secret U.S. cable originated in "Mission Geneva." Dated February 25, 2010, it summarizes a meeting that had occurred on February 9 between American and Russian arms negotiators, including decisions on submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Item No. 13 detailed "An agreed statement on the transfer of Tridents II SLBMs to the United Kingdom."

The Parties agree that, in order to increase transparency in relation to the use of "Trident-II" SLBMs, transferred by the United States of America to equip the Navy of Great Britain, the United States of America shall provide notification to the Russian Federation about the time of such transfer, as well as the unique identifier and the location of each of the transferred missiles.
Wait -- the location of the hidden missiles?

You may be hearing of this for the first time (I am myself), and that's because the media didn't report it.
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why is it always Democrats scheming to commit vote fraud? on: May 18, 2017, 01:54:56 PM

Dallas County Whistleblower Tapes Democrat Campaign Worker Describing Voter Fraud Schemes

Because they haven't yet managed to dissolve the current American population.
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Former Bush AG On Comey’s 2007 Brush With Scandal: ‘Jim’s Loyalty Was More To C on: May 18, 2017, 09:24:53 AM

Former Bush AG On Comey’s 2007 Brush With Scandal: ‘Jim’s Loyalty Was More To Chuck Schumer’
This isn't the first time James Comey placed himself at the center of a partisan attempt to oust a top Republican. He did the same thing in 2007.
Sean Davis By Sean Davis
MAY 17, 2017
The revelation by fired former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey’s close friends that he has kept meticulous records detailing President Donald Trump’s alleged attempts to improperly influence an ongoing FBI investigation has sent Washington into a tailspin. Did Trump really threaten a sitting FBI director in a private meeting? Did the former FBI director accurately record what happened? Could this be the beginning of the end of Trump?

At the moment, untangling fact from fiction is difficult, given that the event Comey allegedly describes took place only between Comey and the president. With no ability at this time to independently verify either man’s account, we are instead left with a he-said/he-said explanation of events, which means the credibility of the two men involved becomes the prime determinant of one’s view of the situation.

The narrative from the Acela corridor media establishment is that Trump is a known liar and Comey is a honest public servant above reproach, so clearly Comey’s word must be believed, the total absence of any other corroborating evidence notwithstanding. An examination of Comey’s history as the consummate Beltway operator, however, raises questions about whether the towering former U.S. attorney, deputy attorney general, and FBI director is as open and forthright as his allies would have you believe.

In fact, the current episode is not the first time Comey and his associates plotted to oust a sitting Republican official through highly orchestrated political theater and carefully crafted narratives in which Comey is the courageous hero bravely fighting to preserve the rule of law. To understand how Comey came to be FBI director in the first place, and how he operates in the political arena, it is important to review the last scandal in which Comey had a front-row seat: the 2007 U.S. attorney firings and the fight over the 2004 reauthorization of Stellar Wind, a mass National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program designed to mitigate terrorist threats in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The pivotal scene in the Comey-crafted narrative, a drama that made Comey famous and likely paved the road to his 2013 appointment by President Barack Obama to run the FBI, occurred in a Beltway hospital room in early 2004. In Comey’s view, Comey was the last honest man in Washington, the only person standing between a White House that rejected any restraints on its power, and the rule of law protecting Americans from illegal mass surveillance.

A former White House counsel and attorney general with extensive first-hand experience dealing with Comey, however, paints a very different picture of what happened in that hospital room, and disputes numerous key details. In this account, Comey’s actions showcase a duplicitous, secretive schemer whose true loyalties were not to the officials to whom he reported, but to partisan Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). To fully understand and appreciate Jim Comey’s approach to politics, the writings and testimony of Alberto Gonzales, who served as both White House counsel and attorney general during the events in question and is intimately aware of Comey’s history of political maneuvering, is absolutely essential.

Gonzales’s descriptions of his interactions with Comey, included in his 2016 book “True Faith And Allegiance,” are detailed and extensive. While his tone is measured, the language he uses to describe Comey’s actions in 2004 and 2007 leaves little doubt about the former top Bush official’s views on Comey’s character. Gonzales’s opinion is clearly colored by the fact that Comey cravenly used him to jumpstart his own political career by going public with surprise (and questionable) testimony that Gonzales had attempted to take advantage of a deathly ill man in order to ram through authorization of an illegal surveillance program.

Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft had taken ill and was in the hospital at a pivotal time. The legal authorization of a surveillance program meant to find and root out terrorist threats was days from expiring. What happened in Ashcroft’s hospital room in March of 2004 later became political fodder for a hearing in which Senate Democrats used Comey to dredge up the 2004 hospital meeting to tar Gonzales’ credibility and suggest he was unfit to continue serving as attorney general. As the 2004 and 2007 sagas show, Comey is clearly no stranger to using the unarguably legal dismissal of government employees as the backdrop for casting himself as the story’s protaganist standing up to the forces of corruption.

told my security detail that I needed to get to George Washington Hospital immediately. They turned on the emergency equipment and drove very quickly to the hospital,” Comey testified. “I got out of the car and ran up — literally ran up the stairs with my security detail.”

“I was concerned that, given how ill I knew the attorney general was, that there might be an effort to ask him to overrule me when he was in no condition to do that,” Comey said.

Comey’s use of the phrase “overrule me” is especially noteworthy, given that the authority he referenced belongs not to the deputy attorney general, but to the attorney general himself. However, unbeknownst to anyone at the White House on that day, Comey had assumed for himself the authorities attendant to Ashcroft’s position. Rather than personally informing anyone at the White House, including the president, the vice president, the White House chief of staff, or the White House counsel, the Department of Justice sent a mere fax to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue noting the change in power. For some reason, the newly designated acting attorney general didn’t feel compelled to personally inform any of his superiors that he was now a cabinet official.

It’s at this point in the narrative that Comey’s testimony took a turn for the dramatic:

I sat down in an armchair by the head of the attorney general’s bed. The two other Justice Department people stood behind me. And Mrs. Ashcroft stood by the bed holding her husband’s arm. And we waited.

And it was only a matter of minutes that the door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card. They came over and stood by the bed. They greeted the attorney general very briefly. And then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there — to seek his approval for a matter, and explained what the matter was — which I will not do.

And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me. He lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me — drawn from the hour-long meeting we’d had a week earlier — and in very strong terms expressed himself, and then laid his head back down on the pillow, seemed spent, and said to them, ‘But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not the attorney general.’


And as he laid back down, he said, ‘But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not the attorney general. There is the attorney general,’ and he pointed to me, and I was just to his left. The two men did not acknowledge me. They turned and walked from the room. And within just a few moments after that, Director Mueller arrived. I told him quickly what had happened. He had a brief — a memorable brief exchange with the attorney general and then we went outside in the hallway.
Gonzales was taken aback by Comey’s appearance and testimony. It turns out that was by design. Comey kept secret his pre-hearing planning with Schumer and his staff to maximize the fallout of the bomb he planned to drop on Gonzales and the Bush administration. In a significant breach of protocol, Comey also refused to share with the White House or the Department of Justice that he had planned to testify about his work at DOJ, a move which made it impossible for the White House to consider whether it needed to assert executive privilege over portions of Comey’s planned testimony.

As fate would have it, the Schumer staffer who spearheaded the entire spectacle was none other than Preet Bharara, a former employee of Comey’s in the U.S. attorney’s office in New York. Bharara, like Comey, was fired by President Donald Trump earlier this year. And Bharara, like Comey, owes his most recent position of authority in the U.S. government to Schumer and President Barack Obama.

“When I found out from our DOJ legislative liaison that Comey was testifying, I was surprised,” Gonzales wrote after noting that Comey hadn’t worked at DOJ for years when the U.S. attorneys were fired. “It was also odd that we had received no notice at DOJ regarding the appearance of one of the former members of our leadership team at a Senate hearing.”

“I called the White House counsel Fred Fielding, and Fred confirmed that he had no prior notice of Comey’s testimony either,” Gonzales continued. “I was disappointed that the man who had been given so much in his legal career — appointed by President Bush as a U.S. attorney and then as deputy attorney general — did not even notify the White House or me in advance of his testimony.”

“It felt to me that Jim’s loyalty was more to his friend Preet Bharara and to Chuck Schumer,” he wrote.

Gonzales also questioned whether Bharara’s role in ambushing the previous Republican presidential administration was the reason Obama later appointed Bharara to Comey’s old job as U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.

Comey’s 2007 testimony went off just as he, Bharara, and Schumer planned. It was shocking and dramatic. Comey weaved a tale that involved him being notified at the last possible second that Bush’s chief of staff and counsel planned to ambush Ashcroft in his hospital bed and force him against his will to sign a legal document authorizing an ongoing mass surveillance program that Comey and his deputy, Jack Goldsmith, had very recently decided was illegal despite multiple DOJ and National Security Agency legal opinions to the contrary. According to Gonzales, despite having been on the job for months, Comey and Goldsmith didn’t disclose their concerns to the White House counsel about the legality of the surveillance initiative until March 6, just five days before the program’s authorization expired.

The narrative Comey provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee was riveting. But according to Gonzales, it didn’t actually happen.
The narrative Comey provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee was riveting. But according to Gonzales, it didn’t actually happen the way it was presented. And the conflicting details between Comey’s and Gonzales’ account, given Comey’s current attempts to use his credibility and recollection of events witnessed only by himself to take down a Republican official, raise significant questions about the trustworthiness of Comey’s current claims.

According to Gonzales, rather than sitting directly next to Ashcroft, Comey and his two deputies, Goldsmith and Pat Philbin, never made their presence known, and neither Gonzales nor Andy Card, Bush’s chief of staff, had any clue they were there during the 10-minute meeting. To the contrary, Gonzales noted in his book that he assumed the small handful of people in the hiding in the periphery of a darkened room were actually Ashcroft’s security detail doing their best to stay out of the way.

More important, in Gonzales’ telling, Ashcroft never even mentioned Comey, let alone pointed him out to Gonzales as being physically present in the room.

“I was told this morning that I’m no longer attorney general,” Gonzales wrote was Ashcroft’s response to a request to re-authorize the Stellar Wind program, a far cry from the forceful declaration Comey attributed to Ashcroft.

“Certainly, had the vice president, Andy, or I known about the matter, we would have informed the president, and he could have simply summoned the deputy attorney general,” Gonzales wrote. “But none of us knew until John Ashcroft announced the news to us in his hospital room.”

President George W. Bush himself, in his book “Decision Points,” expressed his feeling of shock when he found out that Comey had seized the attorney general’s authority in March of 2004.

It’s unclear why Comey did not feel compelled to inform the president of the United States, his superior, that he had assumed for himself the powers of the office of attorney general.
“I was stunned,” Bush wrote. “Nobody had told me that Comey, John Ashcroft’s deputy, had taken over Ashcroft’s responsibilities when he went in for surgery. If I had known that, I never would have sent Andy and Al to John’s hospital room.”

To date, it’s unclear why Comey did not feel compelled to inform the president of the United States, his superior, that he had assumed for himself the powers of the office of attorney general. Gonzales minced no words in his characterization of the hero narrative Comey wove before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007.

“The details later presented by Jim Comey, and facilitated by Senator Schumer’s staffer, Preet Bharara, describing flashing lights, sirens, and dashing up the hospital staircases may or may not be technically true, but they certainly do not depict what happened later in that hospital room,” Gonzales wrote. “Contrary to Hollywood-style myth, there simply was no confrontation.”

Gonzales even pointedly questioned the Comey narrative that Ashcroft’s health status had made it impossible for him to continue his duties.

“[Card and I] both agreed that Ashcroft had been competent and understood the intricacies of the disputed surveillance matter. He seemed to have been well briefed by [Comey], Goldsmith, and Philbin,” Gonzales wrote. “In an ironic twist, it is possible some or all of those briefings occurred while the attorney general was hospitalized and in a weakened condition, thus raising the question of whether his subordinates had taken advantage of him.”

This cynicism is not unwarranted, given that according to Comey’s own testimony, Ashcroft allegedly addressed Card and Gonzales in the hospital room with language that was “rich in both substance and fact…drawn from the hour-long meeting we’d had a week earlier.” If Ashcroft had such detailed command of facts he had only briefly discussed the previous week, then what exactly was the rationale for Comey continuing to assert the powers of Ashcroft’s position? Comey’s recollection of that conversation reveals an attempt to have it both ways: there was no choice but to designate Comey as acting attorney given Ashcroft’s medical state, and yet Ashcroft was competent enough to slap down Card and Gonzales in exquisite and detailed fashion. Which was it?

Gonzales’s belief, expressed in the book, that Comey and Bharara colluded in secret with Schumer in an attempt to take down a top Bush administration official is no unsupported conspiracy theory, as Bharara himself confirmed Gonzales’s suspicions about Comey’s scheme in a 2016 interview with The New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin:

As Bharara recalled, ‘Jim told me the whole story on the phone, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck, because I realized what a significant story this was, and I was sworn to secrecy and nobody knew about it. I told Chuck. He was, like, ‘Whoa!’ ” In the days leading up to the hearing, Bharara and Schumer told no one about the revelation that was coming. ‘I was afraid that if the story got out of what Jim was going to say the Bush Administration would figure out a way to prevent him from testifying,’ Bharara said. ‘We needed to preserve the element of surprise.’
That Bharara, a Senate staffer for Schumer, would plot with Comey to oust a top Republican official is no real surprise. After all, Bharara owes his federal prosecutor career to Comey, for whom Bharara worked when Comey was a U.S. attorney, and to Schumer, who recommended to Obama that Bharara be appointed as the top federal prosecutor in New York. Both men owed their fame and near-universal adoration by the Washington-New York media in the late 2000’s to the political theater they orchestrated at Gonzales’s expense.

This brings us back to 2017 and an emerging drama in which Comey and his former employees Bharara and Goldsmith are once again key actors. This clearly isn’t their first rodeo, nor the first time they have worked together to present a public narrative in which Comey plays the role of the last honest man who just wants to figure out if Col. Jessup ordered the Code Red.

This clearly isn’t their first rodeo, nor the first time they have worked together to present a public narrative in which Comey plays the role of the last honest man.
Is it possible that everything they and their friends are alleging about Comey and Trump is true? Absolutely. Everything they and their associates are anonymously providing to journalists eager to promote their narrative could be true, especially given Trump’s tendency to rhetorically shoot from the hip.

But given Comey’s history of secretly colluding with Democratic officials to craft a disputed narrative that makes everyone but himself look awful in order to oust a top Republican who didn’t sufficiently kowtow to Comey, there’s little reason to assume events transpired exactly the way Comey and his friends allege, especially given that both Comey and Bharara have rather obvious axes to grind on the matter. After all, Trump is the reason neither of them currently has a job. In light of Comey’s history of twisting private conversations and events, it’s probably a good idea to take anonymous leaks from him and his friends with a grain of salt.

“Over the years, various commentators and politicians have picked up on Comey’s remark to the president [about Bush’s staff knowing about Stellar Wind’s legal problems for weeks] and expanded it to say that President Bush’s staff knew of the specific surveillance problem for months before broaching it with the president,” Gonzales wrote in his book. “That is absolutely false, and the implication that the president was ill served by individuals attempting to keep information from him about a highly sensitive matter is also disingenuous.”

Sound familiar?

Now, Gonzales has publicly raised questions about the timing and rationale of Trump’s firing of Comey and stated the American people deserve a full account of what happened. And the former attorney general has thus far stayed out of the media fray regarding the latest alleged revelations about Comey and Trump.

So Comey could be telling the truth. Or he could be disingenuously characterizing private conversations with the president to get revenge against a higher-ranking official who got in Jim Comey’s way. It wouldn’t be the first time. Just ask Alberto Gonzales.

Sean Davis is the co-founder of The Federalist.
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Michael Yon on: May 18, 2017, 09:23:01 AM
Any discussion of Japan must include the subject of demographics.  That the birth rate falls FAR short of the replacement rate has profound implications.  The median age of the Japanese population is rising rapidly.  Among other things this means that the ratio of workers to retirees is falling.  Is this sustainable?  Or does the implied push to ever higher tax rates stifle the Japanese economy as its export driven model is increasingly challenged by anti-globalist winds?

Japan is on the path to becoming the first all robot nation.
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Legalized marijuana turns Colorado resort town into homeless magnet on: May 17, 2017, 08:54:09 PM

Legalized marijuana turns Colorado resort town into homeless magnet
By Joseph J. Kolb Published May 17, 2017 Fox News
From his sidewalk vantage point in front of an outdoor equipment store in downtown Durango, Colo., Matthew Marinseck has seen a transformation in this mountain resort town.

The picturesque town near the New Mexico border, once a vibrant, upscale community dotted with luxury hotels, is being overrun by panhandlers – thanks, in part, to the legalization of marijuana.

The town suddenly became a haven for recreational pot users, drawing in transients, panhandlers and a large number of homeless drug addicts, according to officials and business owners. Many are coming from New Mexico, Arizona and even New York.

“Legalized marijuana has drawn a lot of kids here from other states and the impact has not all been good,” said Marinseck, 58, while holding a cardboard sign asking for “help.”

Several people holding cardboard signs could be seen along the streets of Durango now. Some just ask for marijuana, or imply that’s what they want with a photo of a green pot leaf. But it’s not just pot users being drawn to Durango.

“[The] city really started freaking out when they started seeing needles in the streets” said Marinseck, a self-avowed former hippie.

Caleb Preston, a store manager in a gift shop and a former “street entertainer,” said the homeless and panhandling issue in Durango has gotten out of hand since the state legalized marijuana.

“Just this year there has been a major influx of people between 20 to 30 who are just hanging out on the streets,” Preston said. “The problem is while many are pretty mellow, there are many more who are violent.”

Preston said he’s become accustomed to kicking out vagrants who perch themselves in front of his store.

“Most of the kids here are from out of state, and I would say it has a lot to do with the legalized pot,” said Preston.

He said he’s also noticed an uptick in crime in the area. Shoplifting, he said, has become a major problem in Durango and business owners are becoming fed up.

The city’s Business Improvement District held a meeting May 12 to review the results of a survey completed by local businesses on how to address the panhandling issue, which has become an urgent matter as the city enters its busy summer tourist season.

Among the suggestions were stricter laws for panhandling and loitering, strategic placement of obstacles such as bistro tables and flower boxes to discourage sitting and lying on sidewalks. They also proposed launching a campaign discouraging tourists to give money to the pan handlers. A rudimentary effort is already in place with handwritten signs encouraging donations be made to charities that help the homeless rather than handing panhandlers’ money directly.

Related Image
durango pot charityExpand / Collapse
A hand-scrawled sign asking people to donate to homeless groups rather than to panhandlers directly.  (Joe Kolb/Fox News)
Tim Walsworth, executive director of Durango Business Improvement District, said he is frustrated. He said he has to walk a tightrope between the civil liberties of the homeless population and the reputation and attractiveness of the downtown area, which for years has been a hot tourist destination.

“We’re hoping to discourage the transient and professional panhandlers that are impacting the perceived safety and cleanliness of our downtown, as well as help those who are truly in need,” Walsworth said in a statement.

Conspicuously absent from the busy downtown: The presence of police patrols.

Durango Police Chief Kamran Afzal said he has only been on the job for a month and is still assessing where the needs are in the town. With a department of 50 officers and only five per shift who cover 20 square miles, the challenge is daunting, he said. He said the property crime rate is 12 percent higher than the national average.


“At this point, since I’m new here, I can’t definitively say this number is related to our homeless population,” Afzal said.

But he would not go so far as to say that the rise in panhandlers is directly attributed to the legalization of marijuana.

Related Image
durango pot business districtExpand / Collapse
Durango, Colo. is a vibrant, mountain resort town.  (Joe Kolb/Fox News)
“We are going to look at the behavior of individuals who cause discomfort for residents and visitors,” he said, through a Community Engagement Team. But, he said, the tricky part is figuring out when panhandlers cross the line to criminals.

Panhandlers like Marinseck may not exactly pose a threat to pedestrians shopping at the boutiques, souvenir stores or microbreweries in downtown Durango. But they don’t exactly evoke the wholesome image the business district wants to project.

Still, the city recently settled a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union allowing the homeless population to panhandle.

A clerk at a local hotel who declined to give her name told Fox News that since marijuana has become legal in Colorado, the quality of life in Durango has worsened.

She said she’s frequently harassed when she goes to the supermarket or local WalMart. Some of the local parks, she said, have been taken over by the homeless.

“I’ve lived here my entire life and don’t feel safe here anymore,” the clerk said. “If it wasn’t so beautiful here, I would probably move.”

Joseph J. Kolb is a regular contributor to Fox News.
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cyberwar and the crash potential on: May 17, 2017, 10:46:04 AM
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: May 17, 2017, 09:04:49 AM

"YES.  For example, if I have it right, the unsourced allegation that AAG Rowenstein threatened to resign has been contradicted by Rowenstein himself.  The unsourced allegation that Comey got fired after asking for more money to expand the investigation seems to have disappeared into the cyber ether as well."

It's all just endless attacks meant to churn emotions and spook the cattle.
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The war of the two Americas on: May 17, 2017, 08:51:48 AM

We are watching it happen in front of our eyes.
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / If Hillary were president... on: May 17, 2017, 08:37:45 AM
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Guests Remind NBC, CNN: Obama Gave Classified Intel to Russia on: May 17, 2017, 08:12:46 AM

Guests Remind NBC, CNN: Obama Gave Classified Intel to Russia
By Kyle Drennen | May 16, 2017 | 12:39 PM EDT

While NBC and CNN joined the rest of the media in rushing to condemn the Trump White House over an unconfirmed Washington Post report that the President inadvertently shared classified information with Russian officials, guests on both networks provided important context that the Obama administration intentionally shared classified intelligence with Russia less than a year ago.

Appearing on Friday’s NBC Today, security analyst Juan Zarate warned: “The problem is the Russians aren’t trustworthy. The Russians have proven that when we’ve provided information in the past, they’ve used it against us.” He then proceeded to explain how former President Obama gave the Russians classified information just months ago:

Back in the summer of 2016, the Obama administration provided some information to the Russians about some of the things happening on the ground. Guess what happened? The Russians then attacked some of those sites of our allies, our proxies that we were working with. And that’s a problem.

Meanwhile, over on CNN’s New Day, political analyst Jeffrey Lord provided some “perspective” to anchor Chris Cuomo:

The only thing I would say here, Chris is perspective. Perspective is all. I'm holding two headlines from the Washington Post, one of May 25th, 2014, “White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan.” The Obama administration put the name of the CIA on the press release, exposed him and endangered his life. The second one, June 30, 2016, “U.S. Offers to share Syrian intelligence on terrorist with Russia,” which is to say the Obama administration wanted to give their intelligence to the Russians. All I'm saying here is there’s perspective. We need to find out the facts and let’s have perspective.

Incidentally, notice that the 2014 story was from the same Post reporter, Greg Miller, who wrote Monday's article.

In sharp contrast to the wall-to-wall media coverage of the Trump story, Obama offering to share intel with Russia was greeted with yawns from the press.

Here are excerpts of the May 16 exchanges on NBC and CNN:

7:10 AM ET


MATT LAUER: Can you just clarify something? This concerns an ISIS plot. The Russians are supposed to be our partners in fighting ISIS. So explain why sharing of information with them is so dangerous.

JUAN ZARATE: Well, two reasons. First of all, I think the President may think that he’s trying to create some degree of trust, maybe trying to create some cooperation on the ground. That may be in the back of his mind. The problem is the Russians aren’t trustworthy. The Russians have proven that when we’ve provided information in the past, they’ve used it against us.

Back in the summer of 2016, the Obama administration provided some information to the Russians about some of the things happening on the ground. Guess what happened? The Russians then attacked some of those sites of our allies, our proxies that we were working with. And that’s a problem.

And I think part of the challenge here is, how much can we trust the Russians? What you’re seeing here is a deficit of trust, a deficit of discipline, I think, on the part of the President.


New Day
6:34 AM ET

CHRIS CUOMO: All right. This latest self-imposed and perhaps most egregious error by the president is sparking all kinds of questions about competence, was his inability to protect highly classified information with Russian diplomats a sign that he's not up to the job. There's a New York Times op-ed you should read for your self from David Brooks. The headline is this, when the world is led by a child. It says, quote, “From all we know so far, Trump didn't do it,” talking about the classified information, “because he's a Russian agent or from any malevolent intent. He did it because he is sloppy, because he lacks all impulse control, and above all because he is a 7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires.” Let’s discuss Jeffrey Lord, former commentator and White House official and David from senior editor at the Atlantic. Jeffrey, I'm sure you have a robust defense for why this is a nor his criticism of the president is unwarranted so give it to us.

JEFFERY LORD: Okay. The only thing I would say here, Chris is perspective. Perspective is all. I'm holding two headlines from the Washington Post, one of May 25th, 2014, “White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan.” The Obama administration put the name of the CIA on the press release, exposed him and endangered his life. The second one, June 30, 2016, "U.S. Offers to share Syrian intelligence on terrorist with Russia," which is to say the Obama administration wanted to give their intelligence to the Russians. All I'm saying here is there's perspective. We need to find out the facts and let's have perspective. With all respect to David Brooks he's a never-Trumper. That's fine. But from that perspective, Donald Trump isn't going to do anything David Brooks likes. As I remember famously with David Brooks, he was certain Senator Obama would be a great president because of the crease in his slacks. I mean, with all due respect --

CUOMO: That was a rhetorical flourish from Brooks but let's put that to the side, you've made your point.

93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: May 16, 2017, 06:02:23 PM
"Donald, you stupid fk!"

If true then drain the swamp indeed.  What to bring in a new one?   cry angry

Way to hand a cudgel to the other side. Brilliant!
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Here’s How Facebook Knows Who You Meet In Real Life on: May 16, 2017, 03:34:37 PM

Here’s How Facebook Knows Who You Meet In Real Life
It may seem like Mark Zuckerburg is personally tracking your every move — but there's another explanation for those creepy friend requests you're getting
Social Media
Photo Illustration: Diana Quach
By Alejandro Alba
May 16, 2017 at 12:15 PM ET

A couple months ago a friend and I went to Colombia for vacation. While we were at the beach one day, we met a group of people and spent several hours hanging out with them. We never exchanged phone numbers or email addresses, we didn’t share much information about ourselves other than our names and where we lived, and we didn’t connect on social media. I didn’t even have my phone on me at the time. However, when I got back to New York and checked Facebook, I saw that two of the people we met popped up in my “People You May Know” recommendations. Weird, I thought. Actually, it’s creepy. Is Facebook tracking my every step?

Facebook’s brand is based on the community it creates, and its mission is to connect everybody in the world. So it only makes sense that the platform frequently suggests new friends for users to add to their networks. But in the past, the company’s suggestions for connecting users have raised some eyebrows.

For example, take the story about a psychiatrist who claimed her patients were popping up on her list of suggested friends (and on each other’s lists) after visiting her office, which is obviously problematic for medical privacy reasons. The psychiatrist is far from the only Facebook user to discover mysterious friend suggestions — for years there have been stories of people who go on dates, attend parties or browse through a book store only to see people they interacted with in person pop up in their Facebook at a later date. None of these connections are coincidences, of course. So how does it happen?

Just how the company goes about identifying potential new connections — especially when the users have no obvious digital connection to one another — isn’t always clear. The first possible reason, and most likely, for someone to appear in your “People You May Know” list is that one of you searched for the other, according to Facebook. So if Angel and Angie (two random strangers) go on a blind date and Angel searches Facebook for Angie’s profile, but doesn’t add her as a friend, Facebook will suggest both add each other. It only takes one person to trigger the algorithm.

Another possible explanation is that the two parties shared some type of digital information such as email or phone numbers, since most people use either to open a profile. So if you share your contacts with either Facebook or Messenger, someone you recently added to your contacts will be suggested first over someone you’ve had on your phone for years.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company does not see who users text, call or email, therefore the algorithm wouldn’t be able to make friend suggestions based on that. Yet, if you’re using email programs on your phone such as Gmail, you are saving email addresses to your phone and Facebook will be able to see them — again, only if you’re sharing your contacts with Facebook apps.

There is also a theory that Facebook tracks users’ web activity, but in a statement Facebook debunked it. Facebook apps use web cookies for targeting ads, but not for recommending new friends, a spokesperson said. Facebook also claims it no longer tracks its users with location data to rank friend suggestions based on where they live or work. The company said location tracking was just a brief test it ran last year at a very small city-wide scale.

Facebook said that its friend recommendations are based on variety of factors, which includes mutual friends, work and education information, groups you’re part of, and any digital information stored on your phone that is shared with Facebook. Other than that, Facebook deems all other connections coincidences.

Other social media platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr aren’t usually scrutinized about follow suggestions because they seem to be based on interests and mutual friends, rather than just random people you’ve met literally 10 minutes ago. Facebook, however, is not the only platform that has received criticism for the questionable ways it suggests new contacts. LinkedIn recently had to issue an apology because it pushed a new update that told iPhone users it would turn on their Bluetooth in order to share data with people nearby and “connect” them even when not using the app, if they didn’t opt out.

The update has since been “fixed” and LinkedIn apologized for confusing users, since the language used in the update did not specify which data was being shared and under what conditions. If all of this still seems freaky to you, shutting off Facebook’s access to your contacts is quite easy. All you have to do is go into your smartphone’s settings, look for your apps section, tap on Facebook and disable the “Contacts” access.

Experts also recommend that people disable Facebook from using location data, which can also be toggled under the same Settings menu. Another piece of advice for those who are concerned with privacy is logging off from Facebook whenever going to medical offices, big events, or even theme parks like Disney Land. But perhaps the most failsafe approach is just to uninstall the Facebook app from your phone and wait to see all your notifications from your desktop computer when you get home.
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel did it? on: May 16, 2017, 01:03:41 PM
We're looking for intel leaks right now, not just fibbing.

 shocked shocked shocked

Either this is a spectacular case of people not being able to keep their mouths shut, or the Israeli's are saving Donald's ass/covering for some Arab agency.

The NYT and unnamed sources have the same credibility as IMHO.

96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama 'Put a Target on Their Backs', SEAL Team 6 Family Members Say on: May 16, 2017, 11:45:56 AM

Obama 'Put a Target on Their Backs', SEAL Team 6 Family Members Say
Family members question SEAL Team 6's most deadly incident.

By Paul D. Shinkman, Senior National Security Writer | May 9, 2013, at 2:22 p.m.
Obama 'Put a Target on Their Backs', SEAL Team 6 Family Members Say

The families of some of the 17 SEAL Team 6 commandos who were killed in an ambush in Afghanistan during a helicopter flight to help Army Rangers pinned down by Taliban gunmen accused the Obama administration of deliberately endangering their loved ones for political ends.

[PHOTOS: America's Elite Navy SEALs]

During a press conference on Washington Thursday, family and advocates for the fallen troops called into question the rules of engagement that they say prohibited their sons from being able to return fire, and the White House's decision to announce shortly after the killing of Osama bin Laden that SEAL Team 6 was responsible for the raid.

"In releasing their identity, they put a target on their backs," said Doug Hamburger, whose son, Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Hamburger, served among the helicopter's crew.

The event was organized by Freedom Watch, a conservative advocacy group, at the National Press Club. One by one, fathers and mothers of the victims of the crash spoke about what they see as gaping holes or inconsistencies in the review of what U.S. Special Operations considers its most deadly incident.

In all, 17 members of the SEAL Team 6 counterterrorist force were on board the CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter, along with its Army National Guard aircrew, several support personnel and seven Afghan commandos. In all 38 troops died after the helicopter was shot down by what a review determined to be a Taliban RPG over Wardak Province, Afghanistan, on Aug. 6, 2011.


The team was responding to an Army Ranger unit that was engaged in a protracted firefight with Taliban fighters and needed reinforcements.

The families hope to raise awareness of the incident, which they say the government has largely forgotten since the official report was released in October 2011.

Some congressional lawmakers demonstrated their support for the group, including former Florida Republican Rep. Allan West -- an Iraq war vet -- and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

[PHOTOS: Killing Osama bin Laden]

While the press conference was long on speculation and short on concrete evidence, the family members and their supporters didn't pull any punches.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who served as deputy undersecretary of defense for Intelligence and was a commander in the Army's super-secret "Delta Force," denounced politicized rules of engagement as a "deliberate plot" within the American armed forces that he says puts political correctness above the safety of the troops.

"We've allowed politics to become more important than the lives and safety of those men and women," he says.

Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Vaughn was one of the SEAL Team 6 operators who died in the crash. His father Billy Vaughn recounted Thursday a phone call from his son following the White House decision to credit the highly secretive military unit for the bin Laden raid.

"He said, 'Mom, there's chatter. My life is in danger. Your life is in danger. Get everything off your social media. Our families are in danger,' " Vaughn recalled.

[PHOTOS: Fighting in Afghanistan Continues]

Aaron Vaughn's mother, Karen, also demanded an explanation for why her son and his team were not using a special operations aircraft, such as the Chinooks flown by special operations pilots, which have specialized defenses designed to fly commandos deep behind enemy lines. The CH-47D that embarked on the mission that day had been built in the 1960s, she said, and last retrofitted in the 1985.

It is not uncommon for commandos to fly some of their missions aboard such aircraft in the war zone, however.

She also said the team was hindered by rules of engagement that prohibited their firing on potential targets unless they could see a weapon. Military officials told her operating outside of these rules "damages our efforts to win the hearts and minds of our enemies."

"The hearts and minds of our enemy are more valuable to our government than my son's blood," she said. "We have an ideology problem with this war, and we need to address it."

Obama stonewalls SEAL Team 6 helicopter crash probe, watchdog says

Petty Officer First Class Ian Regnier (above left) carries the remains of Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Joseph Strange, a cryptology technician, killed alongside members of SEAL Team 6 when their helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan in 2011 (bottom). The families of Strange and the other victims are demanding the White House release documents relevant to the incident. (Associated Press)

By Rowan Scarborough - The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Obama administration is violating a judge’s order to turn over documents in the Aug. 6, 2011, shootdown of a U.S. helicopter — call sign Extortion 17 — that killed members of SEAL Team 6 in Afghanistan, a watchdog group is charging.
On the fourth anniversary of the worst one-day loss of military life in the war on terror, families of the dead say they are aghast that the government will not honor basic requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
“It has now been four years since Extortion 17 was shot down,” said Doug Hamburger, whose Army air crew son, Patrick, was one of the 30 Americans killed. “I find it quite disturbing that the government is not willing to give us the answers we deserve. I find it very irritating that we will not question the Afghans about their knowledge of what took place that night.”
U.S. Central Command’s official investigation concluded that a rocket-launched grenade from a Taliban fighter standing near the landing zone clipped a rotary wing, sending the Ch-47 Chinook into a violent downward spin. It was the worst day for fatalities in the history of naval special warfare.
The tragedy took some of the glow off SEAL Team 6’s grand achievement just three months earlier: A team penetrated Pakistan airspace, infiltrated a compound in Abbottabad and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The families accept the fact that a single shot brought down the helicopter. But some say the official report, which contained no direct criticism of decision-makers that day, did not delve deeply enough.

They believe SEAL Team 6 had a target on its back and that persons inside the Afghan National Security Forces may have tipped off the Taliban that night in Tangi Valley. That is why, they say, a fighter just happened to be stationed in a turret within 150 yards of a landing zone that had never been used before.
A Defense Department special operations official told a House subcommittee last year that there is no indication the mission was compromised by the Afghans.
Family members are hoping Freedom Watch, a watchdog legal group led by Larry Klayman, can force new disclosures using the power of the FOIA process.
Since filing a lawsuit, Mr. Klayman says, he has been “stonewalled” by the Justice Department, the Defense Department, the CIA and the National Security Agency.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon in February signed an order requiring the Obama administration to release documents on a continual basis through the spring and summer. The Justice Department said at least 50 documents in the Pentagon have been identified as relevant, but only one has been turned over. And Justice unilaterally set a new deadline for the release and then ignored it, Mr. Klayman said. Throughout, he said, Justice lawyers have refused to take his phone calls.
“They don’t even produce under their own self-imposed deadline,” Mr. Klayman told The Washington Times. “We’re pleading with the judge to do something, and he’s just sitting on it.”
In one of his motions, Mr. Klayman stated: “As this Court must be aware, this is not an ordinary Freedom of Information Act case, it involves obtaining records concerning the deaths of Navy SEAL Team 6 and other special operations forces on a mission with the call sign Extortion 17. The families of these deceased heroes have been stonewalled by the Obama Department of Defense and the Obama National Security Agency in disrespect over their sons’ unexplained tragic deaths. Many of these family members are undergoing psychological care over what has become a double tragedy: the deaths of their sons and the cover-up for which these family members feel betrayed by their own government.”
Mr. Klayman said the NSA has agreed to provide some information. Since the agency’s main task is to eavesdrop on phone and Internet messages, it may have recorded communications related to the attack.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said there would be no comment beyond its court filings. Its lawyers have told the judge that the process of locating relevant documents and removing classified information takes time.
The mission
It was exactly four years ago, at 2:22 a.m., that a rebuilt conventional CH-47 Chinook helicopter took off from a forward operating base, carrying some of the most skilled and advanced warriors ever molded by U.S. special operations.
Onboard were 17 members of SEAL Team 6; five naval special warfare operators, including one to intercept communications and another to handle Bart the war dog; five Army flight crewmen, including a National Guard and an Army Reserve pilot; and three Air Force personnel. The force included seven Afghan soldiers and an Afghan interpreter.
The mission itself has proven controversial to some family members. The immediate reaction force (IRF) was assembled hastily for insertion into Tangi Valley to help Army Rangers capture fleeing Taliban.
The Rangers were not in need of rescue. Military officers interviewed by investigators said they could not recall an IRF ever being sent for such a mission.
The Chinook was descending on a noisy battlefield where Apache helicopters and a C-130 gunship had been buzzing overhead for three hours, alerting Taliban fighters. Planners selected a landing zone that had never been used before. The Chinook had no Apache escort, as did the Ranger team that enjoyed the element of surprise when it touched down hours earlier.
The two Apaches, Gun 1 and Gun 2, on scene were never emphatically told to move near the landing zone to scan for threats. They stayed fixed on enemy “squirters,” or runners, until just a few minutes before landing.
“Honestly, sir, I don’t think anybody had really looked at the LZ,” said the pilot of Gun 1. “I mean, at any time if we would have found these squirters, or they would have found weapons, we were — the way I was understanding it, we were going to be clear to engage due to the fact that they had weapons, but we had to [positively identify] them first.”
He added: “So we hadn’t started looking at the LZ yet, just due to there was so much more of a threat to the east with the squirters. I would say that on the three-minute call is when Gun 2 started looking at the LZ, giving an LZ brief op. I would say that was the first time that we really had eyes on the LZ.”
No one saw two Taliban armed with grenade launchers standing on a mud-brick turret well within range of the descending chopper.
The navigator on the AC-130 gunship said there was simply too much gun and engine noise to think that the Chinook could make an undetected entrance.
“One of the other things that we did talk about — kind of what you’re hitting on, sir, is about the fact that, you know, for three hours we had been burning holes in the sky,” the officer told investigators. “You’ve got [Apaches] flying around, so there’s a lot of noise going on and, basically, this entire valley knows that there’s something happening in this area. So, to do an infil on the X or Y, you know, having that element of surprise in the beginning of an operation is good, but by the time we’ve been there for three hours, and the party’s up, bringing in another aircraft like that, you know, may not be the most tactically sound decision.”
Today, some family members are not just disappointed in the investigation and the FOIA process, but also in how the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security conducted a brief hearing in Feb. 2014.
No family members were allowed to testify. The Pentagon’s witness stuck to a theme that no mistakes were made that night, though the investigative file contained testimony from a number of witnesses saying the mission was riddled with missteps.
“The hearing as it took place was meant to honor the heroes of Extortion 17 instead of to answer our questions,” Mr. Hamburger said.
“During the last several years it is evident that our government has spent a lot of time and resources covering up the truth on many things from both our allies and the American public,” Mr. Hamburger added. “Things like Benghazi and the NSA. I am afraid that with this FOIA case that the government is purposely delaying turning over documents because they need the time to redact and to delete things they do not want the American public to become aware of.”
Charlie Strange, whose Navy cryptologist son, Michael, was on Extortion 17, told The Times last year that it was too much of a coincidence for Taliban to be standing so near the landing zone.
“Somebody was leaking to the Taliban,” said Mr. Strange. “They knew. Somebody tipped them off. There were guys in a tower. Guys on the bush line. They were sitting there, waiting. And they sent our guys right into the middle.”
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: May 16, 2017, 11:33:57 AM
If memory serves, Obama flapped his gums quite a few times e.g. regarding what was found in the OBL hit, giving data on Brit nukes to the Russians, and more.  Let's see if we can dig up some citations.

Good thing we haven't had a malignant narcissistic incompetent buffoon who discloses sensitive information to the Russians as president before.
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McMaster: “The president in no way compromised any sources or methods.” on: May 16, 2017, 11:32:22 AM

McMaster: “The president in no way compromised any sources or methods.”

Posted by Mary Chastain      Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 11:33am
McMaster described the discussion with the Russians as “wholly appropriate.”

Yesterday, The Washington Post caused mass hysteria when it released a report that President Donald Trump provided highly classified information to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador. Of course the publication used anonymous sources.

Now, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster will address the media over this story. He denied the story twice yesterday, stating “I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”

McMaster starts the conference by saying that Trump will speak to leaders of Muslim countries to confront radical Islam. He continues to describe his visit to Israel.

McMaster stands by his denial of the WaPo story and the premise of the article is false. Our national security is at risk when those violate confidentiality. Trump did not say anything inappropriate or violate our national security.

He again tells the press that the discussion was “wholly appropriate” and was standard info discussed with heads of states working together. He is also not concerned that others will start withholding information from us.

McMaster reminds the press that Tillerson and Powell were in the room as well and no one thought the information was inappropriate. He also said that it’s “wholly appropriate for the president to share whatever information necessary to advance the security” of our country.

The information he talked about was about operations already going on and known to the public.

The president in NO WAY compromised sources or methods during the conversation with the Russians.
99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: President Trump on: May 16, 2017, 09:18:46 AM

Good thing we haven't had a malignant narcissistic incompetent buffoon who discloses sensitive information to the Russians as president before.
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: UN Agency helps Norks with Chem War Patent on: May 15, 2017, 11:14:11 PM


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