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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Emotional set of facts case on: February 09, 2017, 01:27:44 PM
Arguably not the sort of case with which to lead the way , , ,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/09/for-decades-immigration-authorities-gave-this-mother-a-pass-wednesday-when-she-checked-in-with-them-they-seized-her/?utm_term=.1747188dd724&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

Apparently INS has some 45 empty judge slots (thank you Obama) and this has contributed mightily to legal process delays.  Trump needs to fill these slots ASAP.



Why not? Time to enforce the law.

52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trained professionals! on: February 08, 2017, 09:46:56 PM

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/al-qaeda-kentucky-us-dozens-terrorists-country-refugees/story?id=20931131

Exclusive: US May Have Let 'Dozens' of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees

    By James Gordon Meek
    Cindy Galli
    Brian Ross

Nov. 20, 2013
QUANTICO, Virginia


Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky -- who later admitted in court that they'd attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq -- prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists' fingerprints.

"We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that," FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), said in an ABC News interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News' "World News with Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline".

"I wouldn't be surprised if there were many more than that," said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul. "And these are trained terrorists in the art of bombmaking that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me."

As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays, two U.S. officials said. In 2011, fewer than 10,000 Iraqis were resettled as refugees in the U.S., half the number from the year before, State Department statistics show.

Suspect in Kentucky Discovered to Have Insurgent Past

An intelligence tip initially led the FBI to Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, in 2009. The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home -- a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005. The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.

An ABC News investigation of the flawed U.S. refugee screening system, which was overhauled two years ago, showed that Alwan was mistakenly allowed into the U.S. and resettled in the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army's Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Alwan and another Iraqi refugee, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, were resettled in Bowling Green even though both had been detained during the war by Iraqi authorities, according to federal prosecutors.

Most of the more than 70,000 Iraqi war refugees in the U.S. are law-abiding immigrants eager to start a new life in America, state and federal officials say.

But the FBI discovered that Alwan had been arrested in Kirkuk, Iraq, in 2006 and confessed on video made of his interrogation then that he was an insurgent, according to the U.S. military and FBI, which obtained the tape a year into their Kentucky probe. In 2007, Alwan went through a border crossing to Syria and his fingerprints were entered into a biometric database maintained by U.S. military intelligence in Iraq, a Directorate of National Intelligence official said. Another U.S. official insisted that fingerprints of Iraqis were routinely collected and that Alwan's fingerprint file was not associated with the insurgency.

    "How do they get into our community?"

In 2009 Alwan applied as a refugee and was allowed to move to Bowling Green, where he quit a job he briefly held and moved into public housing on Gordon Ave., across the street from a school bus stop, and collected public assistance payouts, federal officials told ABC News.

"How do you have somebody that we now know was a known actor in terrorism overseas, how does that person get into the United States? How do they get into our community?" wondered Bowling Green Police Chief Doug Hawkins, whose department assisted the FBI.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Peter Boogaard said in a statement that the U.S. government "continually improves and expands its procedures for vetting immigrants, refugees and visa applicants, and today [the] vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years."

"Our procedures continue to check applicants' names and fingerprints against records of individuals known to be security threats, including the terrorist watchlist, or of law enforcement concern... These checks are vital to advancing the U.S. government's twin goal of protecting the world's most vulnerable persons while ensuring U.S. national security and public safety," the statement said.

Last year, a Department of Homeland Security senior intelligence official testified in a House hearing that Alwan and Hammadi's names and fingerprints were checked by the FBI, DHS and the Defense Department during the vetting process in 2009 and "came in clean."

After the FBI received the intelligence tip later that year, a sting operation in Kentucky was mounted to bait Alwan with a scheme hatched by an undercover operative recruited by the FBI, who offered Alwan the opportunity to ship heavy arms to al Qaeda in Iraq. The FBI wanted to know if Alwan was part of a local terror cell -- a fear that grew when he tapped a relative also living in Bowling Green, Hammadi, to help out.

The FBI secretly taped Alwan bragging to the informant that he'd built a dozen or more bombs in Iraq and used a sniper rifle to kill American soldiers in the Bayji area north of Baghdad.

"He said that he had them 'for lunch and dinner,'" recalled FBI Louisville Supervisory Special Agent Tim Beam, "meaning that he had killed them."

Alwan even sketched out IED designs, which the FBI provided to ABC News, that U.S. bomb experts had quickly determined clearly demonstrated his expertise.

'Needle in a Haystack' Fingerprint Match Found on Iraq Bomb Parts, White House Briefed

The case drew attention at the highest levels of government, FBI officials told ABC News, when TEDAC forensic investigators tasked with finding IEDs from Bayji dating back to 2005 pulled 170 case boxes and, incredibly, found several of Alwan's fingerprints on a Senao-brand remote cordless base station. A U.S. military Significant Action report on Sept. 1, 2005 said the remote-controlled trigger had been attached to "three homemade-explosive artillery rounds concealed by gravel with protruding wires."

"There were two fingerprints, developed on the top of the base station," Katie Suchma, an FBI supervisory physical scientist at TEDAC who helped locate the evidence, told ABC News at the center's IED examination lab. "The whole team was ecstatic because it was like finding a needle in a haystack."

"This was the type of bomb he's talking about when he drew those pictures," added FBI electronics expert Stephen Mallow.

Word was sent back to the FBI in Louisville.

"It was a surreal moment, it was a real game changer, so to speak, for the case," FBI agent Beam told ABC News. "Now you have solidified proof that he was involved in actual attacks against U.S. soldiers."

Worse, prosecutors later revealed at Hammadi's sentencing hearing that he and Alwan had been caught on an FBI surveillance tape talking about using a bomb to assassinate an Army captain they'd known in Bayji, who was now back home – and to possibly attack other homeland targets.

"Many things should take place and it should be huge," Hammadi told Alwan in an FBI-recorded conversation, which a prosecutor read at Hammadi's sentencing last year.

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller briefed President Obama in early 2011 as agents and Louisville federal prosecutors weighed whether to arrest Alwan and Hammadi or continue arranging phony arms shipments to Iraq that the pair could assist with, consisting of machine guns, explosives and even Stinger missiles the FBI had secretly rendered inoperable and which never left the U.S.

But agents soon determined there were no other co-conspirators. An FBI SWAT team collared the terrorists in a truck south of Bowling Green in late May 2011, only weeks after al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan and Obama had visited nearby Fort Campbell to thank the SEALs and Army Nightstalker pilots for their successful mission. The Kentucky al Qaeda case drew little attention as the nation celebrated Bin Laden's death.

Suspects Linked to Attack That Killed 4 US Soldiers

Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers who had served in Bayji in 2005 saw news reports about the two arrests, and Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Hedetniemi called the FBI to alert them to an Aug. 9, 2005, IED attack that killed four of their troopers in a humvee patrolling south of the town. The U.S. attorney's office in Louisville eventually placed the surviving soldiers in its victim notification system for the case, even though it couldn't be conclusively proven that Alwan and Hammadi had killed the Guardsmen.

The four Pennsylvania soldiers killed that day were Pfc. Nathaniel DeTample, 19, Spec. Gennaro Pellegrini, 31, Spec. Francis J. Straub Jr., 24, and Spec. John Kulick, 35.

"It was a somber moment for the platoon, we had a great deal of love and respect for those guys and it hit us pretty hard," Hedetniemi said in an interview in the Guard's armory near Philadelphia. "I think that these two individuals are innately evil to be able to act as a terrorist and attack and kill American soldiers, then have the balls to come over to the United States and try to do the same exact thing here in our homeland."

Confronted with all the evidence against them, Alwan and Hammadi agreed to plead guilty to supporting terrorism and admitted their al Qaeda-Iraq past. Alwan cooperated and received 40 years, while Hammadi received a life term which he is appealing. A hearing for Hammadi's appeal took place Tuesday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio.

"We need to take this as a case study and draw the right lessons from it, and not just high-five over this," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, who headed the military's Joint IED Defeat Organization until last May. "How did a person who we detained in Iraq -- linked to an IED attack, we had his fingerprints in our government system -- how did he walk into America in 2009?"

Barbero is credited with leveraging the Kentucky case to help the FBI get funding to create a new state of the art fingerprint lab focused solely on its IED repository in a huge warehouse outside Washington. The new FBI lab assists counterterrorism investigations of suspected bombmakers and IED emplacers and looks for latent prints on 100,000 IED remnants collected over the past decade by the military and stored in the vast TEDAC warehouse.

The only man in the Humvee to survive the 2005 IED bombing in Bayji, Daniel South, who is now an Army Black Hawk helicopter pilot in Texas, said he was stunned to learn al Qaeda-Iraq insurgents were living in Kentucky -- but he's glad they were finally brought to justice for attacking U.S. troops in Iraq.

"I kind of wish that we had smoked [Alwan] when it happened, but we didn't have that opportunity so I guess this is second best," South told ABC News.
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Exclusive: US May Have Let 'Dozens' of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees on: February 08, 2017, 09:43:32 PM
Bet it's much more than dozens

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/al-qaeda-kentucky-us-dozens-terrorists-country-refugees/story?id=20931131

Exclusive: US May Have Let 'Dozens' of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees

    By James Gordon Meek
    Cindy Galli
    Brian Ross

Nov. 20, 2013
QUANTICO, Virginia


Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky -- who later admitted in court that they'd attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq -- prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists' fingerprints.

"We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that," FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), said in an ABC News interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News' "World News with Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline".

"I wouldn't be surprised if there were many more than that," said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul. "And these are trained terrorists in the art of bombmaking that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me."

As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays, two U.S. officials said. In 2011, fewer than 10,000 Iraqis were resettled as refugees in the U.S., half the number from the year before, State Department statistics show.

Suspect in Kentucky Discovered to Have Insurgent Past

An intelligence tip initially led the FBI to Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, in 2009. The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home -- a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005. The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.

An ABC News investigation of the flawed U.S. refugee screening system, which was overhauled two years ago, showed that Alwan was mistakenly allowed into the U.S. and resettled in the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army's Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Alwan and another Iraqi refugee, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, were resettled in Bowling Green even though both had been detained during the war by Iraqi authorities, according to federal prosecutors.

Most of the more than 70,000 Iraqi war refugees in the U.S. are law-abiding immigrants eager to start a new life in America, state and federal officials say.

But the FBI discovered that Alwan had been arrested in Kirkuk, Iraq, in 2006 and confessed on video made of his interrogation then that he was an insurgent, according to the U.S. military and FBI, which obtained the tape a year into their Kentucky probe. In 2007, Alwan went through a border crossing to Syria and his fingerprints were entered into a biometric database maintained by U.S. military intelligence in Iraq, a Directorate of National Intelligence official said. Another U.S. official insisted that fingerprints of Iraqis were routinely collected and that Alwan's fingerprint file was not associated with the insurgency.

    "How do they get into our community?"

In 2009 Alwan applied as a refugee and was allowed to move to Bowling Green, where he quit a job he briefly held and moved into public housing on Gordon Ave., across the street from a school bus stop, and collected public assistance payouts, federal officials told ABC News.

"How do you have somebody that we now know was a known actor in terrorism overseas, how does that person get into the United States? How do they get into our community?" wondered Bowling Green Police Chief Doug Hawkins, whose department assisted the FBI.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Peter Boogaard said in a statement that the U.S. government "continually improves and expands its procedures for vetting immigrants, refugees and visa applicants, and today [the] vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years."

"Our procedures continue to check applicants' names and fingerprints against records of individuals known to be security threats, including the terrorist watchlist, or of law enforcement concern... These checks are vital to advancing the U.S. government's twin goal of protecting the world's most vulnerable persons while ensuring U.S. national security and public safety," the statement said.

Last year, a Department of Homeland Security senior intelligence official testified in a House hearing that Alwan and Hammadi's names and fingerprints were checked by the FBI, DHS and the Defense Department during the vetting process in 2009 and "came in clean."

After the FBI received the intelligence tip later that year, a sting operation in Kentucky was mounted to bait Alwan with a scheme hatched by an undercover operative recruited by the FBI, who offered Alwan the opportunity to ship heavy arms to al Qaeda in Iraq. The FBI wanted to know if Alwan was part of a local terror cell -- a fear that grew when he tapped a relative also living in Bowling Green, Hammadi, to help out.

The FBI secretly taped Alwan bragging to the informant that he'd built a dozen or more bombs in Iraq and used a sniper rifle to kill American soldiers in the Bayji area north of Baghdad.

"He said that he had them 'for lunch and dinner,'" recalled FBI Louisville Supervisory Special Agent Tim Beam, "meaning that he had killed them."

Alwan even sketched out IED designs, which the FBI provided to ABC News, that U.S. bomb experts had quickly determined clearly demonstrated his expertise.

'Needle in a Haystack' Fingerprint Match Found on Iraq Bomb Parts, White House Briefed

The case drew attention at the highest levels of government, FBI officials told ABC News, when TEDAC forensic investigators tasked with finding IEDs from Bayji dating back to 2005 pulled 170 case boxes and, incredibly, found several of Alwan's fingerprints on a Senao-brand remote cordless base station. A U.S. military Significant Action report on Sept. 1, 2005 said the remote-controlled trigger had been attached to "three homemade-explosive artillery rounds concealed by gravel with protruding wires."

"There were two fingerprints, developed on the top of the base station," Katie Suchma, an FBI supervisory physical scientist at TEDAC who helped locate the evidence, told ABC News at the center's IED examination lab. "The whole team was ecstatic because it was like finding a needle in a haystack."

"This was the type of bomb he's talking about when he drew those pictures," added FBI electronics expert Stephen Mallow.

Word was sent back to the FBI in Louisville.

"It was a surreal moment, it was a real game changer, so to speak, for the case," FBI agent Beam told ABC News. "Now you have solidified proof that he was involved in actual attacks against U.S. soldiers."

Worse, prosecutors later revealed at Hammadi's sentencing hearing that he and Alwan had been caught on an FBI surveillance tape talking about using a bomb to assassinate an Army captain they'd known in Bayji, who was now back home – and to possibly attack other homeland targets.

"Many things should take place and it should be huge," Hammadi told Alwan in an FBI-recorded conversation, which a prosecutor read at Hammadi's sentencing last year.

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller briefed President Obama in early 2011 as agents and Louisville federal prosecutors weighed whether to arrest Alwan and Hammadi or continue arranging phony arms shipments to Iraq that the pair could assist with, consisting of machine guns, explosives and even Stinger missiles the FBI had secretly rendered inoperable and which never left the U.S.

But agents soon determined there were no other co-conspirators. An FBI SWAT team collared the terrorists in a truck south of Bowling Green in late May 2011, only weeks after al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan and Obama had visited nearby Fort Campbell to thank the SEALs and Army Nightstalker pilots for their successful mission. The Kentucky al Qaeda case drew little attention as the nation celebrated Bin Laden's death.

Suspects Linked to Attack That Killed 4 US Soldiers

Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers who had served in Bayji in 2005 saw news reports about the two arrests, and Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Hedetniemi called the FBI to alert them to an Aug. 9, 2005, IED attack that killed four of their troopers in a humvee patrolling south of the town. The U.S. attorney's office in Louisville eventually placed the surviving soldiers in its victim notification system for the case, even though it couldn't be conclusively proven that Alwan and Hammadi had killed the Guardsmen.

The four Pennsylvania soldiers killed that day were Pfc. Nathaniel DeTample, 19, Spec. Gennaro Pellegrini, 31, Spec. Francis J. Straub Jr., 24, and Spec. John Kulick, 35.

"It was a somber moment for the platoon, we had a great deal of love and respect for those guys and it hit us pretty hard," Hedetniemi said in an interview in the Guard's armory near Philadelphia. "I think that these two individuals are innately evil to be able to act as a terrorist and attack and kill American soldiers, then have the balls to come over to the United States and try to do the same exact thing here in our homeland."

Confronted with all the evidence against them, Alwan and Hammadi agreed to plead guilty to supporting terrorism and admitted their al Qaeda-Iraq past. Alwan cooperated and received 40 years, while Hammadi received a life term which he is appealing. A hearing for Hammadi's appeal took place Tuesday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio.

"We need to take this as a case study and draw the right lessons from it, and not just high-five over this," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, who headed the military's Joint IED Defeat Organization until last May. "How did a person who we detained in Iraq -- linked to an IED attack, we had his fingerprints in our government system -- how did he walk into America in 2009?"

Barbero is credited with leveraging the Kentucky case to help the FBI get funding to create a new state of the art fingerprint lab focused solely on its IED repository in a huge warehouse outside Washington. The new FBI lab assists counterterrorism investigations of suspected bombmakers and IED emplacers and looks for latent prints on 100,000 IED remnants collected over the past decade by the military and stored in the vast TEDAC warehouse.

The only man in the Humvee to survive the 2005 IED bombing in Bayji, Daniel South, who is now an Army Black Hawk helicopter pilot in Texas, said he was stunned to learn al Qaeda-Iraq insurgents were living in Kentucky -- but he's glad they were finally brought to justice for attacking U.S. troops in Iraq.

"I kind of wish that we had smoked [Alwan] when it happened, but we didn't have that opportunity so I guess this is second best," South told ABC News.

54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trained professionals! on: February 08, 2017, 09:39:37 PM
 Re: Trained professionals!

« Reply #1170 on: Today at 02:34:12 PM »

Quote from: G M on Today at 10:56:27 AM
https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/2016/04/20/author-u-s-official-who-issued-visas-to-911-hijackers-still-works-for-state-department/2/

How dare Trump keep these professionals out of the loop!

https://www.google.com.fj/amp/amp.dailycaller.com/2015/10/01/u-s-refugee-chief-didnt-know-boston-bombers-were-refugees/?client=safari
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trained professionals! on: February 08, 2017, 02:34:12 PM

https://www.google.com.fj/amp/amp.dailycaller.com/2015/10/01/u-s-refugee-chief-didnt-know-boston-bombers-were-refugees/?client=safari
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Elizabeth "Forked Tongue" Warren, Fauxcahontas, Harvard's first woman of color on: February 08, 2017, 02:13:29 PM
Blocking her from quoting MLK's widow is a real tough sell.

Did she start off with "as a black woman, myself..."
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trained professionals! on: February 08, 2017, 10:56:27 AM
https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/2016/04/20/author-u-s-official-who-issued-visas-to-911-hijackers-still-works-for-state-department/2/

How dare Trump keep these professionals out of the loop!
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / virtue signalling on: February 08, 2017, 06:43:10 AM

vir·tue sig·nal·ing
noun
noun: virtue signalling

    the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue.
    "it's noticeable how often virtue signaling consists of saying you hate things"



http://memecrunch.com/meme/BFE9Q/virtue-signalling/image.jpg
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bipartisan Ex-Senior Officials: Order Endangers National Security on: February 07, 2017, 08:22:36 PM
https://www.justsecurity.org/37332/bipartisan-group-senior-officials-ninth-circuit-immigration-order-harms-furthers-national-security/

“The ‘considered judgment’ of the President in the prior cases where courts have deferred was based upon administrative records showing that the President’s decision rested on cleared views from expert agencies,” their statement reads. “Here, there is little evidence that the Order underwent a thorough interagency legal and policy processes designed to address current terrorist threats [and] we know of no interagency process underway before January 20, 2017 to change current vetting procedures.”

How dare the US not allow potential terrorists in!

 rolleyes
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: What Happened to Trump’s Secret Hacking Intel? on: February 07, 2017, 08:20:05 PM
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/02/what-happened-to-trumps-secret-hacking-intel/515889/?utm_source=polfb

“I know a lot about hacking,” Trump said to the reporters, according to The New York Times. “And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else.” He was referring to the intelligence community’s determination that Russia was behind the cyberattacks.

Then, a bombshell: “And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.” Asked what he was talking about, Trump replied, “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.”

Tuesday and Wednesday came and went without any new information on the cyberattacks from the president-elect.

Still nothing from anyone resembling proof, showing who accessed the dem's emails.
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Good Analysis of Amer-Intel report on "Russian hack of election". on: February 05, 2017, 03:28:18 PM
See my Reply #397.


Lots of conjecture, nothing resembling evidence.

Even a lefty from the NY Review of books sees how weak the report is.


http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/01/09/russia-trump-election-flawed-intelligence/


Russia, Trump & Flawed Intelligence
Masha Gessen   
US Defense Under Secretary for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers testifying before the Senate, Washington, D.C., January 5, 2017
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
US Defense Under Secretary for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers testifying before the Senate, Washington, D.C., January 5, 2017

After months of anticipation, speculation, and hand-wringing by politicians and journalists, American intelligence agencies have finally released a declassified version of a report on the part they believe Russia played in the US presidential election. On Friday, when the report appeared, the major newspapers came out with virtually identical headlines highlighting the agencies’ finding that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” to help Donald Trump win the presidency—a finding the agencies say they hold “with high confidence.”

A close reading of the report shows that it barely supports such a conclusion. Indeed, it barely supports any conclusion. There is not much to read: the declassified version is twenty-five pages, of which two are blank, four are decorative, one contains an explanation of terms, one a table of contents, and seven are a previously published unclassified report by the CIA’s Open Source division. There is even less to process: the report adds hardly anything to what we already knew. The strongest allegations—including about the nature of the DNC hacking—had already been spelled out in much greater detail in earlier media reports.

But the real problems come with the findings themselves. The report leads with three “key judgments”:
ADVERTISING

    “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election”;
    “Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls’”;
    “We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.”

It is the first of these judgments that made headlines, so let us look at the evidence the document provides for this assertion. This evidence takes up just over a page and contains nine points. The first four make the argument that Putin wanted Hillary Clinton to lose. I will paraphrase for the sake of brevity and clarity:

    Putin and the Russian government aimed to help Trump by making public statements discrediting Hillary Clinton;
    the Kremlin’s goal is to undermine “the US-led liberal democratic order”;
    Putin claimed that the Panama Papers leak and the Olympic doping scandal were “US-directed efforts to defame Russia,” and this suggests that he would use defamatory tactics against the United States;
    Putin personally dislikes Hillary Clinton and blames her for inspiring popular unrest in Russia in 2011-2012.

None of this is new or particularly illuminating—at least for anyone who has been following Russian media in any language; some of it seems irrelevant. (Though the report notes that the NSA has only “moderate confidence” in point number one, unlike the CIA and FBI, which have “high confidence” in it.) The next set of points aim to buttress the assertion that Putin “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton.” The following is an exact quote:

    Beginning in June, Putin’s public comments about the US presidential race avoided directly praising President-elect Trump, probably because Kremlin officials thought that any praise from Putin personally would backfire in the United States. Nonetheless, Putin publicly indicated a preference for President-elect Trump’s stated policy to work with Russia, and pro-Kremlin figures spoke highly about what they saw as his Russia-friendly positions on Syria and Ukraine.

The wording makes it sound as though before June 2016 Putin had been constantly praising Trump in his public statements. In fact, though, Putin had spoken of Trump exactly once—when asked a question about him as he was leaving the hall following his annual press conference in December 2015. At that time, he said,

    Well, he is a colorful person. Talented, without a doubt. But it’s none of our business, it’s up to the voters in the United States. But he is the absolute leader of the presidential race. He says he wants to shift to a different mode or relations, a deeper level of relations with Russia. How could we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it. As for the domestic politics of it, the turns of phrase he uses to increase his popularity, I’ll repeat, it’s not our business to evaluate his work.

Nothing in this statement is remarkable. At the time, Trump, who was polling well in the Republican primary race, was the only aspiring presidential candidate to have indicated a willingness to dial back US-Russian hostilities. The topic was clearly judged not important enough to be included in the main body of Putin’s more-than-four-hour press conference but deserving of a boilerplate “we hear you” message sent as Putin literally headed out the door.

The Russian word for “colorful”—yarkiy—can be translated as “bright,” as in a “bright color.” That must be how Trump came to think that Putin had called him “brilliant,” an assertion that the US media (and, it appears, US intelligence agencies) failed to fact-check. In June 2016, at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, American journalist Fareed Zakaria, moderating a panel, asked Putin, “The American Republican presumptive nominee, Donald Trump—you called him ‘brilliant,’ ‘outstanding,’ ‘talented.’ These comments were reported around the world. I was wondering what in him led you to that judgment, and do you still hold that judgment?” Of the epithets listed by Zakaria, Putin had used only the word “talented,” and he had not specified what sort of talent he had seen in Trump. Putin reprimanded Zakaria for exaggerating. “Look at what I said,” he said. “I made an off-hand remark about Trump being a colorful person. Are you saying he is not colorful? He is colorful. I did not characterize him in any other way. But what I did note, and what I certainly welcome, and I see nothing wrong with this—Mr. Trump has stated that he is ready for the renewal of a full-fledged relationship between Russia and the United States. What is wrong with that? We all welcome it. Don’t you?” Zakaria looked mortified: he had been caught asking an ill-informed question. Putin, on the other hand, was telling the truth for once. As for the American intelligence agencies marshaling this exchange as evidence of a change of tone and more—evidence of Russian meddling in the election—that is plainly misleading.

The next two points purporting to prove that Putin had a preference for Trump are, incredibly, even weaker arguments:

    Putin thought that he and Trump would be able to create an international anti-ISIS coalition;
    Putin likes to work with political leaders “whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia, such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.”

Number 6 is puzzling. Nominally, Russia and the United States have already been cooperating in the fight against ISIS. The reference is probably to Putin’s offer, made in September 2015 in a speech to the UN General Assembly, to form an international anti-terrorist coalition that, Putin seemed to suggest, would stop the criticism and sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Obama snubbed the offer then. Then again, this is my conjecture: the report contains no elucidation of this ascertainment of Putin’s motives. As for Number 7, not only is it conjecture on the part of the report’s authors, it is also anachronistic: Schroeder was a career politician before becoming a businessman with interests in Russia, as his term in political office was drawing to a close.

The final two arguments in this section of the report focus on the fact that Russian officials and propagandists stopped criticizing the US election process after election day and Russian trolls dropped a planned #DemocracyRIP campaign, which they had planned in anticipation of Hillary Clinton’s victory. (Notably, according to the intelligence agencies, whatever influence the Russians were trying to exert, they themselves seem to have assumed that Clinton would win regardless—and this is in fact supported by outside evidence.) The logic of these arguments is as sound as saying, “You were so happy to see it rain yesterday that you must have caused the rain yourself.”

That is the entirety of the evidence the report offers to support its estimation of Putin’s motives for allegedly working to elect Trump: conjecture based on other politicians in other periods, on other continents—and also on misreported or mistranslated public statements.

The next two and a half pages of the report deal with the mechanics of Russia’s ostensible intervention in the election. It confirms, briefly, earlier reports that the intelligence agencies believe that the hacks of the Democratic National Committee were carried out by an individual connected to the General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). It also notes, without elaboration, that “Russian intelligence accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards,” though, according to the Department of Homeland Security, not the type of systems that are involved in vote tallying. And then the report goes from vague to strange: it lists the elements of Russia’s “state-run propaganda machine” that ostensibly exemplify the Kremlin’s campaign for Trump and denigration of Clinton. These include RT, the Russian English-language propaganda channel (as well as Sputnik, a state-funded online news site); a Russian television personality; and a fringe Russian politician named Vladimir Zhirinovsky. According to the report:

    Pro-Kremlin proxy Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, proclaimed just before the election that if President-elect Trump won, Russia would “drink champagne” in anticipation of being able to advance its positions on Syria and Ukraine.

In the Russian political sphere, Zhirinovsky is far from the mainstream. A man who has advocated mobilizing the Russian military to shoot all migratory birds in order to prevent an epidemic of bird flu, he is a far-right comic sidekick to the Kremlin’s straight man. Dictators like to keep his kind around as reminders of the chaos and extremism that could threaten the world in their absence. In Hungary, for example, the extremist Jobbik party allows Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to look moderate in comparison. The particular statement about drinking champagne was made during a televised talk show in which several Russian personalities get together to beat up rhetorically on a former insurance executive named Michael Bohm, who has fashioned a career of playing an American pundit on Russian TV. Here is the exchange that preceded Zhirinovsky’s promise to drink champagne:

    They threaten to cut Russia off from international financial systems. They can do that! But then we won’t give America a single dollar back. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars! Hundreds of billions! If they cut us off, they cut off the repayment of all our debts. Hundreds of billions! They are not dumb, so they’ll never do it. Never. As for the arms race, sometimes we are ahead and sometimes they are. We’ve got parity. But there is another danger to America. They have a hundred nuclear power stations. And we can reach all of them. And the destruction of a single nuclear power station kills every living thing on a territory of five hundred thousand square kilometers. That’s fifty million square kilometers. But all of America is just ten million square kilometers. So a single explosion will destroy America five times over. Same thing with us. But our stations are on the fringes. Theirs are in densely populated areas. So blowing up their nuclear reactors will kill more people in America. Plus, we have lots of empty space. So they have weighed it: Russia’s survival rates will be higher than America’s. More of them will die in case of nuclear war.

    Host: Remember you also told us about magnetic weapons that will make us stick to our beds and incapable of getting up?

    Zhirinovsky: Yes, there is that, too.

    [A brief exchange about the arms race between two other participants]

    Zhirinovsky: I hope that Aleppo is free of guerrilla fighters before November 8!

    Sergei Stankevich [a largely forgotten Yeltsin-era politician]: But then we have to think about what happens November 9, if we’ve already liberated Aleppo.

    Zhirinovsky: We are going to be drinking champagne to celebrate a Trump victory! [to Bohm] And to the defeat of your friend Hillary Clinton!

Remarkably, the report manages not only to offer a few words thrown out during this absurd exchange as evidence of a larger Russian strategy, but also to distort those words in the process: contrary to the report’s assertion, Zhironovsky made no mention of being able to advance Russia’s positions in Syria and Ukraine following a Trump victory. Of course, he could have—indeed, he could have said anything, given the tenor of the conversation. Whatever he said, it’s difficult to imagine how it could be connected to Russia’s ostensible influence on the American election.

Other evidence in this part of the report includes the statement, “Russian media hailed President-elect Trump’s victory as a vindication of Putin’s advocacy of global populist movements—the theme of Putin’s annual conference for Western academics in October 2016.” This statement is false. The theme of Putin’s annual conference, known as the Valdai Club, was “The Future Begins Today: Outlines of the World of Tomorrow.” The program reads like the program of the annual World Affairs Council conference in San Francisco—which last year, coincidentally, was called “Day One: The World That Awaits.” This is not to say that Putin has not supported populist movements around the world—he demonstrably has. But once again the particular evidence offered by the report on this point is both weak and false.

Finally, the bulk of the rest of the report is devoted to RT, the television network formerly known as Russia Today.

    RT’s coverage of Secretary Clinton throughout the US presidential campaign was consistently negative and focused on her leaked e-mails and accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health, and ties to Islamic extremism. Some Russian officials echoed Russian lines for the influence campaign that Secretary Clinton’s election could lead to a war between the United States and Russia.

In other words, RT acted much like homegrown American media outlets such as Fox News and Breitbart. A seven-page annex to the report details RT activities, including hosting third-party candidate debates, broadcasting a documentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement and “anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health”—perfectly appropriate journalistic activities, even if they do appear on what is certainly a propaganda outlet funded by an aggressive dictatorship. An entire page is devoted to RT’s social media footprint: the network appears to score more YouTube views than CNN (though far fewer Facebook likes). Even this part of the report is slightly misleading: RT’s tactics for inflating its viewership numbers in order to secure continued Kremlin funding has been the subject of some convincing scholarship. That is the entirety of the case the intelligence agencies have presented: Putin wanted Trump to win and used WikiLeaks and RT to ensure that outcome.

Despite its brevity, the report makes many repetitive statements remarkable for their misplaced modifiers, mangled assertions, and missing words. This is not just bad English: this is muddled thinking and vague or entirely absent argument. Take, for example, this phrase: “Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity.” I think, though I cannot be sure, that the authors of the report are speculating that Moscow gave the products of its hacking operation to WikiLeaks because WikiLeaks is known as a reliable source. The next line, however, makes this speculation unnecessary: “Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.”

Or consider this: “Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.” Did Putin’s desire to discredit Clinton stem from his own public statements, or are the intelligence agencies basing their appraisal of Putin’s motives on his public statements? Logic suggests the latter, but grammar indicates the former. The fog is not coincidental: if the report’s vague assertions were clarified and its circular logic straightened out, nothing would be left.

It is conceivable that the classified version of the report, which includes additional “supporting information” and sourcing, adds up to a stronger case. But considering the arc of the argument contained in the report, and the principal findings (which are apparently “identical” to those in the classified version), this would be a charitable reading. An appropriate headline for a news story on this report might be something like, “Intel Report on Russia Reveals Few New Facts,” or, say, “Intelligence Agencies Claim Russian Propaganda TV Influenced Election.” Instead, however, the major newspapers and commentators spoke in unison, broadcasting the report’s assertion of Putin’s intent without examining the arguments.

The New York Times called it “a strong statement from three intelligence agencies,” and followed its uncritical coverage with a story mocking Trump supporters for asking, “What’s the big deal?”

“How is it possible, if these intelligence reports are true, to count the 2016 Presidential election as unsullied?” asked New Yorker editor David Remnick in a piece published Friday. But since when has “unsullied” been a criterion on which a democratic process is judged? Standard measures include transparency, fairness, openness, accessibility to all voters and to different candidates. Anything that compromises these standards, whether because of domestic or external causes, may throw a result into doubt. But Remnick’s rhetorical question seems to reach for an entirely different standard: that of a process that is demonstrably free of any outside influence. Last month Paul Krugman at The New York Times railed, similarly, that the election was “tainted.” Democracy is messy, as autocrats the world over will never tire of pointing out. They are the ones who usually traffic in ideas of order and purity—as well as in conspiracy theories based on sweeping arguments and scant, haphazard evidence.

The election of Donald Trump is anomalous, both because of the campaign he ran and the peculiar vote mathematics that brought him victory. His use of fake news, his serial lying, his conning his way into free air time, his instrumentalization of partisanship and naked aggression certainly violated the norms of American democracy. But the intelligence report does nothing to clarify the abnormalities of Trump’s campaign and election. Instead, it risks perpetuating the fallacy that Trump is some sort of a foreign agent rather than a home-grown demagogue, while doing further damage to our faith in the electoral system. It also suggests that the US intelligence agencies’ Russia expertise is weak and throws into question their ability to process and present information—all this, two weeks before a man with no government experience but with a short Twitter fuse takes the oath of office.
January 9, 2017, 10:17 pm
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Does France and the rest of western europe belong here yet? on: February 03, 2017, 02:08:58 PM
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2777113/how-france-has-become-the-number-one-target-for-extremists-in-europe-and-has-been-repeatedly-brutalised-in-terrifying-new-war-against-terror/

Francostan. No worries, it's a religion of peace.

Diversity is our strength!
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Arabic/Islamic Countries: Kuwait issues travel ban on: February 03, 2017, 01:38:07 PM
Racist! Islamophobia!


Phobia:. extreme or irrational fear

Well, not exactly...

More of the learned and rational kind.

Decades ago, I took a class on terrorism taught by a large western city Police Detective that was a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, and a FBI S/A also part of the JTTF. Half of the day was on domestic terrorism, which I felt was important, the later half was on islamic terrorism, which I thought was interesting, but at the time I decided wasn't going to be of much importance to me. I didn't bother to follow through on the advice that I read up on the violent elements of the theology.

Funny how things change, and why.
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Arabic/Islamic Countries: Kuwait issues travel ban on: February 03, 2017, 11:42:24 AM

Racist! Islamophobia!


65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why Can't the Left Accept a Defeat? on: February 03, 2017, 07:02:23 AM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/368229.php

Why Can't the Left Accept a Defeat?
Because Their "Politics" are a Messianic Cult, and Every Religious Zealot Knows You Cannot Repeal the Kingdom of Heaven Come to Earth

Sharp insight from John David Danielson at The Federalist.

    The obstinacy of Senate Democrats reflects the mood of their progressive base, whose panicked anger is the natural reaction of those for whom politics has become an article of faith. Progressives, as the terms implies, believe society must always be progressing toward something better. Always forward, never backwards. After eight years of Obama, they believed progressive politics in America would forever be on an upward trajectory.

    Trump shook that faith. But his election also unmasked the degree to which progressivism as a political project is based not on science or rationality, or even sound policy, but on faith in the power of government to ameliorate and eventually perfect society. All the protests and denunciations of Trump serve not just as an outlet for progressives' despair, but the chance to signal their moral virtue through collective outrage and moral preening--something that wasn't really possible under Obama, at least not to this degree.

    Not that they didn't try. Recall that during the Obamacare debate in 2009 Ezra Klein suggested that Sen. Joe Lieberman was "willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score," simply because he threatened to filibuster what would become the Affordable Care Act. This is the language of political fundamentalism--policy invested with the certainty of religious conviction.

    Religious fundamentalism of course rests on immutable truths that cannot be negotiated.

I'm not a big fan of any religion, but traditional religions are nicely circumscribed as far as their scope and ambition. I know what topics a traditional religious outlook will take an interest in -- those related to sex, marriage, childbirth, and the sanctity of life.

Most religions -- except for Islamism, which isn't really a religion but a totalitarian political movement with a quasi-religious justification -- focus chiefly on the metaphysical and the transcendent. They focus on the Kingdom to Come, not the temporal kingdoms of earth.

Therefore, fewer issues are sacralized. Someone who is focusing on your eternal soul is not therefore focusing on your healthcare decisionmaking.

The left politicizes everything, and given the left's increasing cultishness, that means they religicize everything. Everything -- not just a few rules about sodomy and marriage and abortion -- becomes a Sacred Principle which must be fought for with the passionate fury of the zealot, from whether private religiously-based organizations must pay for a woman's $9 per month birth control pills to whether the Pagan Deceiver Milo Yiannopolous can be allowed to step foot upon the sanctified ground of Berkeley Auditorium 3C.

The article linked above pairs nicely -- or pairs ominously -- with this excellent rumination on the death of liberalism (the good sort of classical liberalism) due to the left's insistence on their being only two categories of temporal actions: Those which are forbidden, and those which are mandatory.

The nutshell of his thesis is this: Liberalism was discovered -- not invented, but discovered -- in reaction to the very bloody religious wars that swept through Europe in the 1600s and 1700s. The previous rule that Politics Was Everything and whoever had the throne could inflict his will on everyone, down to mandating what god a citizen should bow to, resulted in endless war, death, misery, and mutual hatred and suspicion.

Classical liberalism was discovered (he's keen on insisting on this word) as a way of avoiding the religious wars that killed 8 million people. The state would be more rules-light, and leave more freedom to citizens, thus reducing the incentive to, or need for, resort to violent bloodshed when Your Guy wasn't on the throne.

He calls this rules-set "a minimum viable politics" -- the minimum possible state interference with the habits and preferences of citizens, yet still preserving of social stability and order. And this minimum viable politics necessarily was a pluralistic politics, permitting all sorts of sharply-disagreeing religions and philosophies. The main thing a "minimum viable politics" focuses on outlawing is illiberalism which itself threatens the minimum viable politics -- thus, a minimum viable politics focuses on protecting people's right to religious conscience, right to free speech and free thought, right to have a say in how they are governed (and later, by whom they are governed).

It does not mandate the tiny particulars of what you must or must not do. It does not require that you bake a cake for someone, for example. Rather, it mandates that you must respect others' freedoms.

Because the alternative is a return to the Thirty Years' War and bomb plots and priests hiding in priest holes as the King's Men search the town for them.

The left is of course undoing all this, turning our rules-light system into a very rules-heavy system, in which virtually everything is illegal, and what little is not illegal, is mandatory. It is reversing pluralism -- and the result of reversing pluralism will be what the result of an end to pluralism has been in the past.

Which is civil war, or, at best, not full civil war but roving bands of Religious Enforcement Vigilante night-riders who terrorize outsiders and pagans with the support and aid of their correligionists.

Which we're seeing more and more of.

Politicians, "journalists," and "celebrities" are actively encouraging punching people they call "Nazis" (which means anyone who disagrees with them; they should just say "Pagans") and "setting it all on fire."

The TV director who made this pronouncement said to open a history book -- it's the only way, she advised.

She should open a history book herself. She should point to me a single case where rampant political violence from one faction was not quickly met by equal or even greater political violence from the factions that were being preyed upon.

Does she think people are going to sit back and let themselves be beaten because the "arc of history" demands they take their lumps agreeably?

No, sister. Soon the people you punch will start punching back, and then, not long after that, they'll start punching first.

And what moral ground will you have to object to it? Your rules, Vagina Warrior.

If the left ever did bother to open a history book, they'd discover that every illiberal, gloriously bloody revolution invites its own equally bloody counter-revolution, it's own Vendee, its own final Thermidor.

If a thing is sacralized, that means you are bound by conscience and God Himself to fight for that. If an enemy is demonized, your are bound to slay that demon.

The more which is sacralized, the more blood, the more maimings, the more fires, the more murders.

In a minimum viable politics, people are free to sacralize what they will, assuming they do not break the rules of minimum viable politics and resort to vigilante violence to vindicate their religious beliefs.

But the left is determined to sacralize every flighty thought that gets into their heads -- like that men with penises should be free to use women's room, and if little girls are bothered by seeing a man's penis, why, they must just "overcome" their "discomfort" at seeing an adult man's penis -- and they are also determined to use the violence of the state or the violence of private vigilantes to enforce those Sacred Lunacies.

It won't end well. It will end, eventually. But not well, and not without many, many casualties, of both the guilty and innocent kind. Mass political violence is like a tornado, and tornadoes do not discriminate between the virtuous and the vicious.

They just kill everything in their path.
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hillbillary still at risk for prosecution on: February 03, 2017, 06:58:06 AM

 rolleyes
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Can't we just get a no jihad pinky promise? on: February 01, 2017, 10:12:58 PM
dailycaller.com/2017/01/31/jordanian-prince-on-syrian-refugees-we-cant-vet-these-people/

What could possibly go wrong?

68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, 494 out of 162,000 refugees in Sweden found work on: February 01, 2017, 09:06:01 PM

I wonder if the Swedes consider "rapist" an occupation, because if they do, the employment number might be even better!
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, 494 out of 162,000 refugees in Sweden found work on: February 01, 2017, 02:58:50 PM

A greater success than I imagined!
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More leftist hypocrisy, as usual on: January 31, 2017, 01:28:58 PM
http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/30/dem-congresswoman-forced-to-face-her-own-voting-history-after-calling-trumps-travel-ban-horrifying/
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mexico: Blame Canada on: January 31, 2017, 11:19:00 AM
https://strategypage.com/qnd/mexico/articles/20170131.aspx#foo

Mexico: Blame Canada



January 31, 2017: The government announced it would spend $50 million to hire lawyers in the United States to defend Mexican citizens there illegally and faced with deportation. This is all about money and a lot more than $50 million. The Mexican central bank tracks how much money Mexicans abroad send home and in 2016 it was $25 billion, almost all of it from Mexicans in the United States and much of it from Mexicans in the United States illegally. That remittance cash accounts for more foreign exchange than Mexican oil exports. The remittance income is rising. It was nearly $22 billion in 2013 and is expected to rise to $28 billion in 2017, unless the United States enforces its immigration laws like Mexico does. Mexico has for decades tolerated illegal migration to the United States because the corruption and bad government in Mexico did little to provide jobs for the growing number of unemployed Mexicans and created a lot of potentially troublesome young men and women. Tolerating and, for many Mexican politicians, openly supporting the illegal migrants, was a popular policy and the government came to regard it as a right. But it was also about money and the remittances created a huge source of foreign currency flowing back to Mexico.

There’s more to it than money. After years of being accused of permitting the abuse of Central American migrants who enter Mexico the government agreed pay more attention to border security on its own southern border. Many of the illegal migrants from Central American are heading for the United States and that was not seen as a Mexican problem. But criminal gangs increasingly robbed and kidnapped the migrants and the government did very little to stop that. The gangsters often attacked Mexican citizens as well. Mexico has more severe laws against illegal immigration and illegal migrants than the U.S.  It also enforces them more vigorously than does the U. S. By mid-2014 Mexico agreed to undertake Operation Sur which was supposed to curb illegal Central American migrants from entering Mexico. Operation Sur increased surveillance operations along Mexico’s southern border and improved border inspections. The government also tried to improve registration of legal migrants. In addition to the criminals, local police forces in southern Mexico have been accused of extorting money from illegal migrants and police corruption has long been a major problem. Despite Operation Sur, Mexico did little halt illegal migration across its northern border.

All this was noticed in the U.S. and politicians there found themselves under increasing pressure to enforce American migration laws as vigorously as Mexico (and Canada) did. By 2016 that brought to power an American government that seemed serious about applying Mexican practices to illegal migrants and actually did so. That was unpopular in Mexico and will probably lead to unexpected changes inside Mexico. But the practice of blaming your northern neighbor for your problems is losing its punch even in Mexico.

January 28, 2017: Police discovered the decapitated corpses of three policemen from the town of Huimanguillo (Tabasco state). The victims were slain near the border with Veracruz state.

January 27, 2017: In the south (Yucatan state) the government announced the arrest of three men suspected of smuggling drugs for the Sinaloa cartel. One of these, Roberto Najera Gutierrez, was described as a senior cartel leader and one of cartel boss Joaquin Guzman’s top lieutenants. The other two individuals are also Sinaloa cartel operatives. Gutierrez has directed drug trafficking operations from Central American countries and he has been especially active in Chiapas and Yucatan states.

January 24, 2017: The government confirmed the January 19 arrest (in Sinaloa state) of Juan Jose Esparragoza Monzon, the son of a senior member of the Sinaloa cartel. Monzon is suspected of investing cartel funds in real estate in Mexico as well as being involved in violent crimes in Baja California state.

January 23, 2017: Colima state had 607 murders in 2016 versus 189 in 2015. That is a 220 percent increase. A turf war between the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels is engulfing the state, with the seaport of Manzanillo the prize. Around 700,000 people live in Colima. The 2016 summary was announced just before state security officials said it believed that that Jalisco New Generation cartel gunmen were responsible for the murders of a dozen people in the state between January 19 and 23. Seven headless corpses were found near Manzanillo on January 21.

January 19, 2017: The government announced that Sinaloa cartel commander Joaquin Guzman had been extradited to the U.S. Media called the unexpectedly rapid extradition a “surprise.” In U.S. federal court in New York Guzman pled not guilty to a 17-count indictment. He faces narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges. He is also accused of ordering murders and kidnappings in the U.S.

January 17, 2017: Oil theft continues to plague the national oil company, Pemex. Attempts to sue U.S. oil companies that sold stolen petroleum products have not been successful. Pemex lost a lawsuit in December 2016 that ultimately involved 23 U.S. companies and several individuals. It was trying to recover money from the sale of stolen products. Cartels sell the stolen oil and (in some cases) refined products to all buyers, including buyers in the U.S. Pemex’s suit failed because the defendants successfully argued they did not know the oil was stolen.

January 16, 2017: Government once again said that foreign companies should not fear investing in Mexico due to fear of violence.

January 14, 2017: A Mexican federal court ordered a drug lord to pay around $1 million in indemnities for the 1985 murders of a Mexican pilot and a U.S. DEA agent. The criminal ordered to pay was identified as Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, a co-founder of the Guadalajara cartel. The murdered DEA agent was Enrique Camarena and his family will receive around $465,000.

January 11, 2017: The price of tortillas is once again increasing. They have gone up almost 20 percent in the last six months. When the price of corn and other staple goods increase, the government faces instant criticism. For the record, the price of eggs and milk has also spiked. President Enrique Pena’s poll ratings are already miserable. The majority of Mexican citizens believes his government is corrupt. Pena is trying to blame macro-economic and a new administration in the U.S. Fuel prices have increased and the peso has slipped against the dollar.

January 10, 2017: Security official said that police used surveillance photos from a parking lot to identify and then arrest Zia Zafar. Is accused of shooting and wounding U.S. consular official in Guadalajara on January 6. Zafar is a U.S. citizen from California and was extradited to the U.S. on January 9.

January 8, 2016: Protests continue over the rise in gas and diesel prices. Prices have increased 20 percent since January 1 when the government began reducing fuel subsidies. Authorities now estimate 1,500 people have been arrested for looting businesses and attacking gas stations.

January 6, 2017: Police in Ciudad Juarez broke up a gas price increase protest demonstration that tried to block the international bridge to El Paso, Texas. On the evening of January 5 demonstrators occupied customs offices on the international bridge. A government spokesman in Mexico City said that at least four people have died in violence related to gasoline price increase protests.

Los Zetas cartel gunmen ambushed a senior state prosecutor and three police officers in Tamaulipas state. Ricardo Martinez Chavez was the regional director of the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office. The attack occurred near the town of Nuevo Laredo.

January 2, 2016: Protests against the increase in fuels prices are spreading throughout the country. The fuel price increase kicked in on January 1 and the violence began on January 2nd. The government is trying to create a competitive energy market. Protestors are using the term “gasolinazo” to describe their gripe. The term translates as “gasoline-punch.” A group of protestors in Mexico City noted that President Enrique Pena promised that prices would drop after competition was introduced. However, in the initial phases of the program, prices are increasing.

December 31, 2016: The government is saying that reports are false that gunmen in the Jalisco New Generation Cartel threatened to burn down gas stations to protest impending price increases. However, for some 24 hours the claim raced around the internet and the Jalisco Attorney Generals Office began an investigation of the allegation.

December 30, 2016: Los Zetas cartel gunmen in Nuevo Laredo kidnapped four Mexican citizens who had just been deported from the U.S. The four men were rescued by Mexican Army soldiers who stormed the house where the victims were being held for ransom.
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: That was then. Guess who rejected Viet refugeees? on: January 31, 2017, 11:13:24 AM

The left is always ready to leave our allies to the re-education camps and mass graves of socialism.
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law on: January 30, 2017, 09:37:03 PM
This is unbelievable.

We have all out civil war.  Just no guns .

and this now from the State Department
most fed employees are Democrats ; those who refuse to cooperate must all be fired.

all this because some people have to sit in an airport for some extra hours!



I'm pretty sure the guns part is coming...
74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / As usual, the left is utterly hypocritical... on: January 30, 2017, 09:36:22 PM
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/diaz-balart-where-was-the-outrage-when-obama-blocked-cubans/article/2613355?custom_click=rss#!


Diaz-Balart: Where was the outrage when Obama blocked Cubans?
By Susan Ferrechio (@susanferrechio) • 1/30/17 12:17 PM


Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., accused critics of President Trump's immigration ban of hypocrisy, pointing out that few complained when former President Barack Obama ended the nation's asylum program for Cubans just days before leaving office.

"I am struck by the double standard and hypocrisy of those who are offended by this executive order, but who failed to challenge President Obama when he took similar action against Cuban refugees, especially since President Obama's action was meant to appease the Castro regime and not for national security reasons," Diaz-Balart said in a statement Monday.

Diaz-Balart, a Cuban American, is a Republican who represents South Florida, which is home to many Cuban migrants.

Obama on January 12 ended the nation's "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy which for the past two decades had allowed Cubans to remain legally in the United States if they were able to set foot on U.S. land. The Cuban government had been seeking an end to the policy and it followed Obama's decision to renew diplomatic and economic ties with the country, which is still controlled by a dictatorship.

Subscribe today to get intelligence and analysis on defense and national security issues in your Inbox each weekday morning from veteran journalists Jamie McIntyre and Jacqueline Klimas.

Diaz-Balart said he supported Trump's decision to temporarily ban refugees from seven countries with terrorism problems.

"While it is always legitimate to express concerns with presidential executive orders, I understand the president's primary responsibility is to keep the American people safe," Diaz-Balart said. "The ban is only temporary until the administration can review and enact the necessary procedures to vet immigrants from these countries. The ban is based on countries the Obama administration identified as 'countries of concern' and not based on a religious test."
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jimmy Carter, history's greatest monster on: January 30, 2017, 09:20:42 AM
http://www.frontpagemag.com/point/261062/carter-banned-iranians-coming-us-during-hostage-daniel-greenfield

Carter Banned Iranians from Coming to US During Hostage Crisis
Trump is just like Hitler. Or Jimmy Carter.
December 8, 2015
Daniel Greenfield


Trump is a monster, a madman and a vile racist. He's just like Hitler. Or Jimmy Carter.

During the Islamic Revolution's Iranian hostage crisis in which Islamists took over the country, Carter issued a number of orders to put pressure on Iran. Among these, Iranians were banned from entering the United States unless they oppose the Shiite Islamist regime or had a medical emergency.

Here's Jimmy "Hitler" Carter saying it back in 1980.

    Fourth, the Secretary of Treasury [State] and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly.

Apparently barring people from a terrorist country is not against "our values" after all. It may even be "who we are". Either that or Carter was a racist monster just like Trump.

While Iran was a nation, it was targeted because it was overrun by Shiite Islamists who were engaging in terrorism against America. Sunni Islamists like ISIS have a big footprint in far more countries than Iran did so a visa ban targeting them needs to be much broader in scope than going after one country.

Meanwhile here's how the Iranian students who had become notorious for Anti-American protests in the US were treated.

    Carter orders 50,000 Iranian students in US to report to immigration office with view to deporting those in violation of their visas. On 27 December 1979, US appeals court allows deportation of Iranian students found in violation.

In November 1979, the Attorney General had given all Iranian students one month to report to the local immigration office. Around 7,000 were found in violation of their visas. Around 15,000 Iranians were forced to leave the US. The ACLU protested, lawyers sued over the deportations and lost. First Amendment objections were set aside by a Federal Appeals court.

Meanwhile any Iranians entering the US were forced to undergo secondary screening.

Interestingly enough, Carter did this by invoking the Nationality Act of 1952. A law originally opposed by Democrats for its attempt to restrict Communist immigration to the United States.

“If this oasis of the world should be overrun, perverted, contaminated, or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished,” Senator McCarran said of the law. He was a Democrat.

Now unlike Muslims, Iranians were not necessarily supportive of Islamic terrorism. Many were and are opponents of it. Khomeini didn't represent Iran as a country, but his Islamist allies. So Trump's proposal is far more legitimate than Carter's action. Carter targeted people by nationality. Trump's proposal does so by ideology.

Classifying Iranians as a group is closer to racism than classifying people by a racist supremacist ideology that calls for the mass murder and enslavement of non-Muslims, as ISIS is doing today.

One of the neater subsets of the 1952 Act barred the entry of, "(11) Aliens who are polygamists or who practice polygamy or advocate the practice of polygamy."

I wonder which creed this might apply to.

Maybe we can all calm down now long enough to have a rational conversation on the subject.
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bill Clinton on illegal aliens on: January 30, 2017, 09:16:51 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wxMTh_UzHM



Different, because?
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sec Def Mattis rethinking F-35? on: January 29, 2017, 08:58:32 PM

My very non-expert opinion is that the F-35 is gold plated junk.
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California trying to not pay federal taxes on: January 29, 2017, 08:04:42 PM
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/01/27/california-could-cut-off-feds-in-response-to-trump-threats/

This should be fun to watch.
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Just committing the crimes American's won't (illegal alien who shot AZ trooper) on: January 29, 2017, 08:02:08 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2017/01/17/driver-who-shot-and-beat-arizona-trooper-was-in-the-country-illegally/

Former Mexican law enforcement officer.
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Chris Kyles Iraqi interpreter speaks on: January 29, 2017, 07:45:05 PM

I agree with his opinion.
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CROBIT rampage on: January 29, 2017, 05:02:19 PM
https://westernrifleshooters.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/16265445_1405593456126757_4700181938390028164_n.jpg

82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California on: January 29, 2017, 02:25:37 PM
As opening stated in the Articles of Confederation after the Revolutionary War and carried forward by our Constitution in 1789 (?) with the words "In order to form a more perfect union", and as settled by force of arms in 1865, our Union is permanent and indivisible.  PERIOD.

To the contrary is to surrender to the reconquista.

NO.


After California collapses, we can go in and retake it by force.

83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Global Warming killing the children on: January 29, 2017, 02:22:35 PM
Gaia be praised!

http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/01/09/california-storms-fill-drought-parched-reservoirs/

It's a Global Warming miracle!


It's causing flooding in Nevada and California right now. Is there anything Climate Change can't do?

Right, a lot like the dogs saying the Russians pooped in the hallway.


If you live on an island in a global economy more than 2000 years after the invention of desalination and die of a drought, your cause of death is poverty, not someone else's prosperity.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/heavy-snowfall-in-oregon-idaho-alaska-is-causing-buildings-to-collapse/

Damn you, Global Warming!
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: vincent tolliver on: January 29, 2017, 02:14:38 PM
Does not surprise me the Dem party will respond to their losses by moving farther left.   Tolliver who is apparently running for the DNC chair is presently s "substitute teacher" according to this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/vincent-tolliver

The path to certain victory!
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: January 27, 2017, 01:27:36 PM
I can tell you from firsthand experience, illegal aliens I dealt with while working in law enforcement were almost always demonstrating a very arrogant demeanor and sense of entitlement to be here. Fcuk Mexico.
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Goldberg: Wall should not cost Mexico honor/money on: January 27, 2017, 11:54:12 AM

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444318/donald-trump-border-wall-shouldnt-cost-mexico-money-honor

In that Trump's honor is in play as well, this does look problematic.

Also worth noting is that the remittances of Mexicans in the US to back home are a major (one of the top 3 IIRC) source of hard currency for Mexico.

Time to levy a 50% tax on remittances.
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: January 26, 2017, 01:26:15 AM

Mexico can suck it.

Resentfully.
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: January 25, 2017, 12:05:56 PM
"Perhaps Bush was able to handle his reelection loss with such equanimity and show such generosity to the man who turned him out of office precisely because he had such a modest view of himself, because he trusted the many over the mighty, because he understood that voters might have seen something that he couldn’t, and because he had such faith in our institutions, even when those institutions produced outcomes not to his liking"

compare this humility to the conceit , arrogance, narcissism , braggadocio, smugness, know it all, first marxist Prez we just endured and who will surely not go away gracefully and will surely be there to annoy the Right for years to come.

It's ok, he will continue to act as a GOTV mechanism for Trump's reelection.
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Keeping Comey on: January 25, 2017, 11:58:00 AM
Fired and investigated. A serious mistake, IMHO.


I'd have fired him!
===================

WSJ:

Regrets, they’ll have a few. That’s our prediction for the Trump Administration on news that the White House has asked James Comey to stay on as FBI director.

“Extraordinarily competent” is how Chief of Staff Reince Priebus described Mr. Comey in a TV interview earlier this month. The director even got something approaching a hug from President Trump at a weekend event to honor law enforcement officials and first responders.

If experience is a guide, Mr. Comey is the sort of man to be embraced with extreme political caution. Democrats cheered last summer when he invented a legal distinction between extreme carelessness and gross negligence to give Hillary Clinton a legal pass for mishandling classified information. Now they blame him for throwing the election to Mr. Trump for informing Congress, 11 days before the election, that he was reopening the investigation.

Republicans have also been burned by Mr. Comey, not just over his Clinton gymnastics but also his efforts to undermine the Bush Administration’s antiterror efforts during a prior stint as Deputy Attorney General. Now he will be responsible for current investigations into suspected links between the Russian government and some of Mr. Trump’s close associates.

We believe as much as anyone that FBI directors should be willing to go after criminality irrespective of politics. The trouble with Mr. Comey is that he is nothing if not political, especially when it comes to opportunities to burnish his personal reputation by going after the objects of liberal wrath.

Ask Frank Quattrone, the investment banker wrongly targeted by Mr. Comey in the post-Enron prosecution frenzy; or Scooter Libby, victim of the Javert-like exertions of Mr. Comey’s close friend Patrick Fitzgerald during the Plamegate hysteria.

It’s possible the Administration decided to keep Mr. Comey to spite Democrats who want him fired, or perhaps to avoid another nomination battle, though former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would probably sail to confirmation. Maybe the Administration is also betting Mr. Comey will be a more pliable director if he feels a debt to the President for not firing him.

If so, that’s a bad bet. Mr. Comey has repeatedly demonstrated that he is willing to abuse his authorities in order to court Beltway favor. Whether or not that someday comes to haunt the Trump Administration, it makes him unfit to lead the FBI. 
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cotton v. Schumer on: January 24, 2017, 11:12:51 PM
http://theresurgent.com/schumer-makes-the-mistake-of-sarcastically-asking-military-vet-tom-cotton-where-he-was-8-yeats-ago/?utm_content=buffer5a7d0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc. on: January 24, 2017, 11:02:06 PM
Another prediction.... Dems don't know it yet, but they've just slammed their hand in the door on voter ID, by accusing Russia of interfering in the elections. There will be legislation passed before 2020, that the Dems will want, that will only be passed by allowing the Conservatives to write in voter ID laws.



I hope you are correct. Usually the republicans never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: President Trump on: January 24, 2017, 11:00:28 PM
I do. Funny...no one ever responds to anything I write unless there's a mistake in it. Actually came back here specifically to fix it; yet, there you were. Imagine that. In any event, he'll be president again. Calling it now.

Calling Trump from the outset last time was nice. See how I do this time. Anyone want to bet?

I'm hoping he does such a great job it's an easy re-election. I still keep waiting for him to fcuk us over, sell us out. Thus far, I'm pretty happy with what he's done.
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 1/3 of California wants Calexit on: January 24, 2017, 05:10:10 PM

I strongly support them.
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stand against Trump's islamophobia! on: January 24, 2017, 06:57:32 AM


Forward to all your lefty contacts.
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WaPo vs. Spitzer on crowd size on: January 23, 2017, 12:11:14 PM

Unlike Obama's cultists, Trump's supporters have jobs.
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: another one on: January 23, 2017, 08:55:20 AM
moving front and center:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-rep-kennedy-democrats-must-heed-voters-economic-161117541.html

Just doesn't end.
The journolist/Dem pol complex mantra - we need to be bipartisan and Trump is not inclusive .   

Now they don't hold majorities we need to do what they never do when they are in power.



When the left wins, it's I won! When they are out of power, then we need to compromise.
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Soros behind "Women's March" on: January 23, 2017, 12:23:04 AM

http://twitchy.com/samj-3930/2017/01/22/ha-here-are-some-of-the-best-aka-ridiculous-signs-captured-at-the-womens-march/

Must see!
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / America's 2nd civil war kicking off ? on: January 22, 2017, 09:50:33 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLqcwVcVuLX4cjmdKLCMlSiIcFYoAH0mRN&v=oGe3pypQWl0

Unvetted, but worth looking at.
99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Soros behind "Women's March" on: January 22, 2017, 09:19:51 PM

https://westernrifleshooters.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/c20hmisvqaalpka-1.jpg

100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Snow outside of Vegas today on: January 22, 2017, 09:00:40 PM
http://www.reviewjournal.com/weather/rain-snow-cause-red-rock-scenic-loop-some-mountain-roads-close

It snowed on the Joshua trees just outside of Vegas today. Damn you, global warming!

We have always been at war with eastasia!

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/12/one-of-the-longest-running-climate-prediction-blunders-has-disappeared-from-the-internet/
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