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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 21, 2018, 10:44:56 PM
"The dems already called the tune."

Only half way.
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Caveat Lector: Chutzpah Shumer paid $500k in support of shutdown vote. on: January 21, 2018, 08:35:14 PM
http://usanewscentral.com/update-charles-schumer-received-500k-donation-pro-illegal-alien-group-just-vote/
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NRO: Haley on: January 21, 2018, 07:52:38 PM

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455625/nikki-haley-un-ambassador-voice-america?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Week%20in%20Review%202018-01-21&utm_term=VDHM

4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MEF: Turkey, the Arab world is just not that into you. on: January 21, 2018, 07:49:18 PM
Turkey, the Arab World Is Just Not That into You
by Burak Bekdil
The Gatestone Institute
January 14, 2018
http://www.meforum.org/7162/arabs-are-just-not-that-into-turkey
Share:   

 
He runs around in a fake fire extinguisher's outfit, holding a silly hose in his hands and knocking on neighbors' doors to put out the fire in their homes. "Go away," his neighbors keep telling him. "There is no fire here!" I am the person to put out that fire, he insists, as doors keep shutting on his face. That was more or less how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's neo-Ottoman, pro-ummah (Islamic community), "Big Brother" game has looked in the Middle East.

After years of trial and failure Erdogan does not understand that his services are not wanted in the Muslim neighborhood: The Iranians are too Shiite to trust his Sunni Islamism; the (mostly Sunni) Kurds' decades-long dispute with the Turks is more ethnic than religious; and Sunni Arabs do not wish to revisit their Ottoman colonial past. Still, Erdogan insists.

Turkish textbooks have taught children how treacherous Arab tribes stabbed their Ottoman ancestors in the back during the First World War, and even how Arabs collaborated with non-Muslim Western powers against Muslim Ottoman Turks. A pro-Western, secular rule in the modern Turkish state in the 20thcentury coupled with various flavors of Islamism in the Arab world added to an already ingrained anti-Arabism in the Turkish psyche.

Erdogan does not understand that Arabs do not wish to revisit their Ottoman colonial past.

Erdogan's indoctrination, on the other hand, had to break that anti-Arabism if he wanted to revive the Ottoman Turkish rule over a future united ummah. The Turks had to rediscover their "Arab brothers" if Erdogan's pan-Islamism had to advance into the former Ottoman realms in the Middle East.

It was not a coincidence that the number of imam [religious] school students, under Erdogan's rule, has risen sharply to 1.3 million from a mere 60,000 when he first came to power in 2002, an increase of more than twenty-fold. Erdogan is happy. "We are grateful to God for that," he said late in 2017.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Education Ministry added Arabic courses to its curriculum and the state broadcaster, TRT, launched an Arabic television channel.

Not enough. In addition, Erdogan would pursue a systematic policy to bash Israel at every opportunity and play the champion Muslim leader of the "Palestinian cause." He has done that, too, and in an exaggerated way, by countless times declaring himself the champion of the Palestinian cause -- and he still does it.
 
Turkey hosted a high-profile summit of Arab-Islamic leaders in December 2017 to condemn U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The front row, from left to right: Emir Sabah of Kuwait, King Abdullah of Jordan, Erdogan, and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority.

Erdogan's Turkey championed an international campaign to recognize eastern Jerusalem as the capital city of the Palestinian state, with several Arab pats on the shoulder.
His spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, happily said that the dispute over Jerusalem after President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital "had in fact united the Muslim world."

A united Muslim front around the "Palestinian capital Jerusalem" is a myth. Iran, for instance, renounced Turkey's Jerusalem efforts because, according to the regime, the entire city of Jerusalem, not just eastern Jerusalem, should have been recognized as the Palestinian capital. Before that, Turkey accused some Arab countries of showing a weak reaction to Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The Turkish-Arab fraternity along Muslims lines is an even bigger myth. For instance, the Saudi-led Gulf blockade of Qatar imposed in June came as a complete shock. One of his Sunni brothers had taken out the sword against another?! Turkey's Sunni brothers had once been sympathetic to his ideas but no longer are.
Only two years ago, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were mulling the idea of a joint military strike in Syria.

For the Sunni Saudis, the Turks were allies only if they could be of use in any fight against Shiite Iran or its proxies, such as the Baghdad government or the Syrian regime. For the Saudis, Turkey was only useful if it could serve a sectarian purpose. Meanwhile, as Turkey, together with Qatar, kept on championing Hamas, Saudi Arabia and Egypt distanced themselves from the Palestinian cause and consequently from Turkey. Both the Saudi kingdom and Egypt's al-Sisi regime have viewed Hamas, an Iranian satellite, with hostility, whereas Turkey gave it logistical and ideological support. Another reason for the change in Saudi Arabia's position toward Turkey -- from "friendly" to "semi-medium-hostile" -- is Saudi Arabia's newfound alliance with Egypt's President el-Sisi. El-Sisi replaced the Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, in Egypt, while Turkey and Qatar, have effectively been the embodiments of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.

Erdogan offered to build a Turkish military base in the Kingdom, for example, but in June, Saudi officials turned him down.

Erdogan was a rock star in the Arab world when he visited Jerusalem in 2005. No longer.

Erdogan might benefit by being reminded of a few facts and shaken out of his make-believe world. For instance, he might recall, that his worst regional nemesis is an Arab leader, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, not an "infidel king." He must realize that he is no longer the "rock star" he was in the streets of Amman or Beirut that he once was – when the only currency he could sell on the Arab Street was his anti-Semitic rants. Turkey does not even have full diplomatic relations with the most populous Sunni Arab nation, Egypt.

More recently, a tiny sheikdom had to remind Erdogan that his expansionist, "ummah-ist" design for the Middle East was no more than a fairy tale he persistently wanted to believe. In December, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayan shared a tweet that accused Turkish troops of looting the holy city of Medina a century ago. In response, Erdogan himself lashed out:

Some impertinent man sinks low and goes as far as accusing our ancestors of thievery ... What spoiled this man? He was spoiled by oil, by the money he has.  But that was not the end of what looks like a minor historical debate. The row symbolized the impossibility of what Erdogan has been trying to build: An eternal Arab-Turkish fraternity.
 
UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash: The Arab world will "not be led by Turkey."

Anwar Gargash, UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said there was a need for Arab countries to rally around the "Arab axis" of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Did Erdogan hear that? If not, he should have heard this one: Gargash also said that "the Arab world would not be led by Turkey." In what better plain diplomatic language could the idea have been expressed?

Meanwhile Erdogan keeps living in his make-believe world. Last summer, as part of his futile "euphemizing Arab-Ottoman history" campaign, he claimed that "Arabs stabbed us in the back was a lie." Not even the Arabs claim they did not revolt against the Ottomans in alliance with Western powers.

If none of that is enough to convince Erdogan he should read some credible polling results. Taha Akyol, a prominent Turkish columnist, recently noted some research conducted by the pollster Zogby in 2016. The poll found that 67% of Egyptians, 65% of Saudis, 59% of UAE citizens, and 70% of Iraqis had an unfavorable opinion of Turkey.

Do not tell Erdogan, but if "polling" had existed a century ago, the numbers might have been even worse.

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Related Topics:  Turkey and Turks  |  Burak Bekdil



5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / King Abdullah and VP Pence on: January 21, 2018, 07:39:33 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/jordans-king-delivers-pointed-public-remarks-to-pence-in-wake-of-jerusalem-decision/2018/01/21/1369c282-fe92-11e7-bb03-722769454f82_story.html?undefined=&utm_term=.9de0ebe111ec&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: January 21, 2018, 07:32:26 PM
Yes , , , and there is a special degree of chutzpah to hacking the director of the CIA and getting sexually rude with his wife , , ,
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 21, 2018, 07:30:23 PM
Someday we will not be in power; going nuclear carries near certainty of blow back some day.

I'm open to the idea of carving out the military budget as an exception.
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel vs. Iraq's reactor; the Nork reactor in Syria that Israel destroyed on: January 21, 2018, 12:48:21 PM
Israel vs. Iraq's reactor:
https://www.israelvideonetwork.com/the-crazy-story-how-israel-stopped-saddam-husseins-nuke-program/?omhide=true


Strong rhetorical point about the Nork reactor in Syria was located in territory later controlled by ISIS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=40&v=zizjv2UDpYo

9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Germany on: January 21, 2018, 12:42:02 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/20/german-city-bans-new-refugees-anti-migrant-mood-increases/
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Go nuclear? on: January 21, 2018, 12:39:24 PM


http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/369971-trump-calls-for-republicans-to-go-nuclear-if-stalemate-continues 

What say we?
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Turkey strikes Syrian Kurds on: January 21, 2018, 07:59:56 AM
Updated Jan. 20, 2018 8:44 p.m. ET

Turkish jets began airstrikes on a Syrian Kurdish force allied with the U.S. in the fight against Islamic State, opening a new front in the seven-year Syrian war.


The assault on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria follows weeklong threats from the Turkish government to crack down on the main Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG. The militia has proven to be the most effective partner on the ground in Syria to the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State. But Turkey, a U.S. NATO ally, is troubled that the Kurds have gained strength, land and a greater degree of autonomy in a region along the Turkish border through their role in battles against Islamic State.

Turkey has fought the separatist Kurdish movement PKK at home for decades and views the YPG as an extension of the PKK, branding both terrorist organizations.

While the YPG has been a strong American ally, the U.S. says it doesn’t directly support the Kurds in Afrin. Nevertheless, U.S. officials warned over the past week that a Turkish incursion into the area risked escalating tensions in northern Syria.  The top U.S. military commander in the region said Saturday he feared that the Turkish action could distract from efforts to counter Islamic State and urged a quick resolution and end to the hostilities.

“The fight against ISIS continues in Syria,” said Army Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command. “We’re still involved in day-to-day fighting with our partners against ISIS, trying to liberate the remaining parts of the terrain that they control.”

Gen. Votel said he spoke earlier Saturday with Turkey’s deputy defense chief, though he offered no details. “We would urge the parties to try to resolve this quickly and avoid escalation on it and try to get back to our common threat, which is ISIS,” he said.

Earlier Saturday, before the strikes began, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a military operation had “de facto” begun. He pledged to expand it to Manbij, another semiautonomous Kurdish area in northern Syria.

“Later we will, step by step, clear our country up to the Iraqi border from this terror filth that is trying to besiege our country,” Mr. Erdogan said.

Turkey has been an erstwhile support of the Syrian rebels throughout the conflict that began nearly seven years ago as an uprising against the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey stepped up its military foray into northern Syria in 2016, occupying parts of northern Syria with their allies in the Syrian rebel group Free Syrian Army.

A main objective of the Turkish mission, dubbed “Euphrates Shield,” was to capture the Kurdish enclave of Manbij, which Mr. Erdogan still swears he will do. While the Turkish mission was aimed both at defeating Islamic State and blocking the expansion of the Syrian Kurds, Turkey has recently turned its attention more narrowly to containing the Kurds.


This weekend’s strikes are the latest example of how the defeat of Islamic State in most of Syria and Iraq has rekindled old rivalries that were set aside temporarily to defeat a common enemy.

Russia’s Defense Ministry, whose troops control the area around Afrin as part of a de-escalation agreement with Turkey and regime ally Iran, said it had moved its forces from Afrin to the Tel-Adjar area “to prevent possible provocations, to exclude any threat to the lives and health of Russian service members.”

The withdrawal came after Turkish top military and intelligence officials on Thursday visited Moscow, which backs the Syrian regime in the country’s multisided war, to seek support for the operation.

The Russian Defense Ministry, In a separate statement, blamed “provocative steps” by the U.S., including “uncontrolled deliveries of modern weapons by the Pentagon to pro-American formations in the north of Syria,” that it said were aimed at segregating off territories with a predominantly Kurdish population. The ministry said that U.S. actions harmed peace negotiations “in which the Kurds should play a full part.”

The Turkish military said it had launched the offensive, called “Operation Olive Branch,” against Kurdish fighters in Afrin. Members of the Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group Free Syrian Army entered areas around Afrin in northern Syria close to the Turkish border, according to Syrian Kurdish fighters.

“Nearly all targets have been destroyed. As of tomorrow, in accordance with developments, our ground forces will also conduct necessary operations,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday. Turkish officials claimed their forces were also attacking Islamic State militants in the Afrin area.

However Sam Heller, a research fellow at the Century Foundation think tank, said earlier this week that the U.S. doesn’t support the YPG in Afrin because Islamic State fighters aren’t present in the area. “There is no ISIS there,” he said.

Urging the Turks not to attack Afrin, the State Department drew a distinction between the Kurdish territories and Islamic State.




“We don’t want them to engage in violence, but we want them to keep focused on ISIS,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday of Turkey.

The Turkish government intensified its rhetoric against the Syrian Kurds after the U.S. proposed about a week ago the creation a border force of 30,000 troops in northern Syria, a majority of whom would be Kurds.

Turkey views American backing for the Syrian Kurds as support for a Kurdish drive for independence and a threat to Turkish sovereignty. After Turkish protests, the Pentagon backtracked on its announcement about the proposed border force.

The Turkish military said the operation was being conducted within the framework of Turkey’s rights under international law and United Nations Security Council’s resolutions on fighting terrorism, the U.N. charter’s right to self-defense and in respect of Syria’s territorial integrity.

“In the planning and execution of the operation, only terrorists and shelters, control areas, weapons and equipment are being targeted,” the military said.

According to the opposition monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 10 Turkish aircraft carried out simultaneous strikes on Afrin and its outskirts at the start of the operation. More than hundred targets were hit according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

The Observatory also said the attacks caused civilian casualties, but didn’t provide any numbers.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed on Turkish NTV channel that those who were injured were “PKK/YPG terrorists.”

Mr. Cavusoglu said the Syrian regime in Damascus was provided with written information regarding the Afrin operation.

According to Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency, the chief of missions of the U.S., Iran and Russia in Turkey have been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry in relation to the latest developments on the operation.

On Saturday before the strikes, the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces warned that a Turkish attack on the Kurdish fighters could hamper the fight against Islamic State.

“The sudden and unjustified threats of offensive operations from Turkey into Afrin, Syria, threatens to breathe new life into Daesh,” the group’s spokesman Mustafa Bali said.

In a separate development in the war on Saturday, Syrian government forces captured the Abu al-Duhur air base in northern Idlib province—an advance in the regime’s offensive to retake the last rebel-held province in Syria. Turkey, which faces the possibility of a new influx of Syrian refugees if fighting in Idlib escalates, urged Iran and Russia to calm the Syrian government campaign there.
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Trump Paradox on: January 21, 2018, 07:56:55 AM
second post


By
Daniel Henninger
















 
Jan. 17, 2018 7:09 p.m. ET

 865 COMMENTS   
















































































What’s the difference between Mark Zuckerberg and Donald Trump ?

Mr. Zuckerberg saw that the destructive political forces set loose by social media were threatening the core of Facebook and made adjustments last week to protect his crown jewel.

A Twitter account and the tides of media are undermining Mr. Trump’s presidency, but he’ll never adjust.


Which leads us to the Trump Paradox: Donald Trump may be the most disliked president in the postwar era, even as he presides over one of the most solid first-year policy performances of that era, most notably a strengthening economy.

(A colleague asked if by “postwar,” I meant World War II or the American Revolution.)

For most of the first year, the Trump paradox didn’t matter much beyond the altered psychological state of his audience. Reacting to “Trump” became, like uncontrollable weather, a daily routine.

But in Year Two, the story line is about to change. Everything in 2018 will be defined in terms of its effect on the November midterm election. Including any meeting with Dick Durbin.

The phrase “political animal” was invented for people like Sen. Durbin. Lost down the Trump-Durbin you-know-what hole is a question: Why did Dick Durbin do it?

The answer is inescapable: Sen. Durbin poisoned the well of the immigration negotiations. He instantly recognized that Democrats would gain more politically from public exposure of Mr. Trump’s private words than they would from any DACA deal.


For Democrats, every waking moment has telescoped down to one thing: gaining control of the House in November. They have concluded, not without reason, that success at the polls will correlate directly to public dislike of Mr. Trump personally. For Sen. Durbin, the Trump expletive was a gift from the gods. As to the 800,000 dreamers who had a deal in sight at last Tuesday’s White House meeting, well, they can wait.

If the Trump economic record was pouring out of a different, more agreeable vessel, the Democrats would be floating out to sea. Instead, Democrats and the nonsectarian Trump opposition are billing him as the apotheosis of evil, arguing that his personality and words discredit all his policy accomplishments—whether the historically low black unemployment rate of 6.8% that eluded Barack Obama or the defeat of an Islamic State that beheaded journalists on camera and sold Yazidi girls into sexual bondage.

Teeing up Donald Trump as a cartoon villain is preposterous—but rational. Normally, politicians strive to enlarge the circles of empathy between themselves and the public. The empathy may be fake, but it’s necessary. Mr. Trump is uniquely content to limit his personal appeal.

The Democratic “resistance,” which looked pathetic and irresponsible in Year One, suddenly makes sense in Year Two. The generic-ballot numbers, which show the public preferring a Democratic Congress by an astounding 11-point average, are suddenly relevant. Suddenly it matters that Mr. Trump’s approval in Georgia, which he carried in 2016 with 51.3%, is now 38%.

This one-man meltdown is occurring almost entirely among women, driven by a relentlessly smirking, I-could-care-less demeanor. The beer-and-shot base loves it. Women? They just don’t. Women came out of the woodwork to vote against Mr. Trump in the Virginia gubernatorial election that Ed Gillespie lost.

The bedrock Trump base, always around 35%, carried him through the presidential competition. But the 2016 victory was made possible by adding the topsoil of wealthier suburban voters. The Trump topsoil is eroding. Men who voted for Mr. Trump in these suburban towns won’t bother trying to talk their wives out of turning their 2018 vote into an anti-Trump statement. Donald Trump never had a bad day in his life. His supporters have one every week.

It will be a remarkable accomplishment if the Democrats pull this off—a victory not linked to an opposition’s major policy failure, an unpopular war or economic downturn. Beyond the Trump persona, the policy substance of the Democratic case is approximately zero. But running every candidate on the ballot against Donald Trump relieves them of having to think much.




Post-2018, the Pelosi-resurrected House would use the threat of impeachment, however baseless, to make Mr. Trump do deals with them on issues like infrastructure, while poking him just enough to keep him in a snarling rage until a professional empathizer like Joe Biden arrives in 2020. Tempting and taunting Donald Trump will be the capstone to Nancy Pelosi’s career.

The Democrats, now dominated by street-theater progressives, could blow it by making their return to public view more annoying than Mr. Trump’s tweets. They are planning to attend the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday dressed in black, like Hollywood stars, and carrying #HandsOff signs. That would be the people whose eight years of hands on the American economy put Donald Trump in the White House
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Shumer in Charge on: January 21, 2018, 07:47:42 AM



By The Editorial Board
Updated Jan. 20, 2018 1:12 p.m. ET

Donald Trump spent 90 minutes talking to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the White House on Friday trying to avoid a government shutdown, and after he left Mr. Schumer vouchsafed that “we made some progress.” But not enough to stop him and his fellow Democrats from filibustering a government funding bill and shutting down the government on Saturday. This is what Mr. Trump’s life will be like, times about 10, if Democrats retake the House and Senate in November. They’re going to torture him like a dancing bear.


The most important political fact of this latest shutdown melodrama is that Democrats feel they can get away with it. Democrats are essentially doing what GOP Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee tried in 2013 over repealing ObamaCare: Refuse to fund the government over an unrelated policy issue.

Democrats pilloried Republicans for that one, and Nancy Pelosi called them “legislative arsonists.” But now Mr. Schumer has rallied Democrats, or perhaps they’ve rallied him, to shut down the government over an immigration deadline that is still six weeks away and has nothing to do with funding the government. The audacity is impressive.


The House has passed its funding bill for 30 days along with some policy priorities Democrats profess to want, such as a six-year extension of the CHIP program for children’s health care. Mr. Trump says he’s waiting to sign it. But Mr. Schumer still wants to hold Mr. Trump and the government hostage to the minority’s political priority on immigration.

Democrats are insisting on their timetable for a deal to legalize the so-called Dreamers even though the two sides have only begun to negotiate in earnest and even though Mr. Trump has said he wants to work something out. Mr. Schumer is showing Mr. Trump who’s really in charge.

Democrats are pulling this shutdown stunt because they think they will pay no political price. They see Mr. Trump’s low approval rating. They saw the GOP rout in November in Virginia. They saw Democrats pick up the state Senate seat in Wisconsin this week that Republicans have held for 17 years. They have the press in their pocket. Above all, they figure that Mr. Trump is incapable of making a consistent, credible argument to the American people about the shutdown that might explain what Democrats are really doing.

And why not? Mr. Trump can give a speech saying one thing one day and issue a tweet contradicting himself the next. He nearly scuttled the House funding bill this week with a tweet that said CHIP funding shouldn't be part of any short-term spending bill. The other day he almost scuttled the renewal of Section 702 intelligence-gathering authority with another impulsive, ignorant tweet. Republicans on Capitol Hill could only roll their eyes and try to repair the damage.

Our guess is that this shutdown, if it happens over the weekend, will be short-lived as the sides work out some deal. But with another fight looming over a two-year budget, and another over raising the debt ceiling, the Schumer Democrats will be back at the same stand soon enough if they think it will play to their advantage. They want chaos in Washington because they think it will contribute to their emerging campaign theme that Mr. Trump is a dangerous man who can’t govern and must be checked by the opposing party.

This is the price Mr. Trump is paying for his reckless habit of tweeting before he thinks and squandering his credibility with false or uninformed statements. Even the 10 Democratic incumbents running in states Mr. Trump won in 2016 aren’t afraid of voting for a shutdown. Imagine how Democrats will treat him if the polls are right and Democrats run all of Congress next year. After a few months Mr. Trump may want to be impeached.
14  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / WSJ: How to save football players' brains on: January 21, 2018, 07:42:21 AM


How to Save Football Players’ Brains

One simple rule change would solve much of the problem: Require the linemen to stand up.
By Paul S. Auerbach
Jan. 19, 2018 6:12 p.m. ET

Football is entertaining to watch, but it’s a violent collision sport that causes the majority of traumatic brain injuries in athletes. During a high-school season, one study finds, nearly 1 in 5 players on any given team will suffer a concussion. Many will suffer more than one. The football establishment needs to address this issue emphatically—and it can do so without changing the essence of the game that millions of Americans love.


Concussions occur when the brain moves suddenly and forcefully within the skull, back and forth or rotationally, like a lump of Jell-O in a box. The brain may require weeks to recover; what effects ultimately linger, doctors cannot fully predict. They diminish brain function, including cognition, memory, attention span, learning ability, emotional and behavioral stability and other features of “executive function.” A repeat concussion that occurs before the first one has healed can cause second-impact syndrome, which is far more severe.

Beyond the acute suffering, football concussions lead to permanent neurological impairments, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, whose symptoms can include depression, aggression and dementia. The cascade begins with the first injury, which might occur in a youth football league. Each year on the field, the risks are compounded—with concussions, prevention is everything, because there is no treatment except to hope that there is no permanent impairment.

I’ve served on the sidelines as a team physician at high-school, college and professional football games, so I know the sport well and its potential to cause harm. As an emergency physician, I have diagnosed and treated too many concussions, and worse traumatic brain injuries, suffered while playing football. After all this experience, I’m convinced that adding one new rule would go a long way toward ending the scourge of football head injuries. That change would be to eliminate opposing “down linemen” from the game.

Down lineman are the large, heavy and strong players positioned at the line of scrimmage, usually in a crouching stance with one or both hands touching the turf. On the offense, they block opposing players, protecting or clearing a path for the quarterback and running backs. On the defense, they try to tackle the ball carrier. When the ball is snapped, these opposing linemen collide head to head like rams in a territorial dispute. Their brains decelerate quickly—play after play after play.

The players wear helmets, but there is virtually no evidence that they prevent concussions. A helmet cushions the head but does not sufficiently prevent the brain from dangerously sliding and rotating within the skull. Down linemen are believed to incur frequent “subconcussive” hits—concussions that are asymptomatic or nearly so. Thousands of these over the course of a career may cumulatively cause permanent and devastating brain damage. While the NFL and other football leagues have taken steps to address the most dramatic collisions, which produce the visible, severe acute injuries, they have largely neglected the nonobvious repetitive injuries that pose the greatest danger of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.


I am not aware of any doctor, coach, parent or player who argues against players’ safety. But if everyone knows what is happening to the brains of these players, why is it taking so long to make the rules changes necessary to protect them?

The answer is that football is a massive ecosystem of socioeconomic forces. Colleges, coaches, owners, municipalities, advertisers and television networks pay and are paid large sums to maintain a culture of football. Players are influenced by personal goals, peer pressure, family preferences and the media. They imagine scholarships and professional contracts and glory, which are elusive for all but a very small percentage. Coaches want to win, and some get paid to do it. Companies selling equipment that is ineffective at preventing concussions—helmets, mouth guards, face masks—tout their products’ effectiveness.


We’ve seen advances in educational programs, protective devices, neck-muscle training and diagnostic tools. Yet rule changes are the only interventions that have been proven to prevent concussions. The most common argument against them is that rule changes would make the sport less appealing to spectators: “It just wouldn’t be the same.”

It wouldn’t—but making football safer might make it better. Eliminating opposing down linemen would only push the game in the direction it already is evolving, toward more passing and less running. If opposing linemen simply started each play upright, in a knees-bent “ready” position, with their hands in front of them, it would nearly guarantee that their hands and arms, rather than their heads, would be the first body parts in contact.

Even then, football would still have concussion risks: strikes to the helmet with hands or forearms, tackling maneuvers, falls to the turf, and errant blows. All of these occur most often during contact practice, because players spend more time in practice than in games.

To further lessen the number of concussions while preserving the spectator value, the rules could be rewritten to discourage as many unnecessary brain decelerations as possible. There have been some attempts to accomplish this—penalties for targeting, limiting the amount of contact during practice, and removing kickoffs and abusive tackling drills in youth football.




If the governing bodies that control the sport need evidence to make rule changes, my suggestion is that they could be easily tested at different levels—youth, high school, college and professional—and then outcomes compared.

A few ideas:

• There should be no tackling in youth (pre-junior high school) football.

• In high school and beyond, there should be no live tackling during scrimmage in practice. Instead tackling instruction and drills could be used to teach proper techniques.

• Targeting—intentionally and forcefully striking the helmet of an opposing player during a game—should be cause for ejection from the current and the following game.

These would help, but eliminating opposing down linemen is the most important reform. It would diminish the head-to-head collisions that cause brain degeneration without acute symptoms. To completely evaluate the effect would likely require advanced diagnostic techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, and long-term follow-up studies on chronic brain disorders. We have the technology to do this, and we should use it.


It would be impossible to eliminate all injuries in a sport that involves tackling players to the ground. But much more could be done to prevent concussions, beginning with the elimination of opposing down linemen—or at the very least studying the idea. To do neither is to ignore a proposal for safety, to reject the pursuit of knowledge, and to continue subjecting players to needless harm. The football establishment should do something before the game ruins the brains and futures of another generation of players.

 Dr. Auerbach is a professor of emergency medicine at Stanford.
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: China's startup founders unimpressed by Silicon Valley on: January 21, 2018, 07:27:18 AM
second post



For These Young Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley Is, Like, Lame

China’s startup founders used to see a pilgrimage to tech’s mecca of innovation as a rite. Now, not so much.
By Li Yuan 
Updated Jan. 18, 2018 11:39 p.m. ET

Last week, a group of Chinese startup founders and investors made a pilgrimage to Silicon Valley. They toured a Tesla assembly line, complained to senior Apple executives about its slow app-reviewing process in China and brunched on baked eggs and avocado at Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner’s hilltop mansion.


Silicon Valley has loomed large in China’s tech world in the past two decades. China’s internet industry started by copying Silicon Valley technologies and business models. That’s why there’s the Google of China ( Baidu  Inc. ), the Uber of China (Didi Chuxing Technology Co.) and the Groupon of China (Meituan-Dianping). Some of the biggest Chinese internet companies, such as e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding  Ltd. , were funded by Silicon Valley money. Translations of best-selling books by Silicon Valley sages, such as “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel and “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz, became instant best sellers in China too.



 
Fast Money

China leads the world in e-commerce and mobile payments—far surpassing the U.S., the world's largest economy.



For These Young Entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley Is, Like, Lame


So the trip to Silicon Valley is something of a rite for ambitious Chinese startups and investors looking for inspiration in global tech’s mecca of innovation.

But for most of the 18 entrepreneurs and investors, and especially for those in their 20s and 30s, last week’s visit largely failed to impress. To many in the group, northern California’s low-rise buildings looked shabbier than the glitzy skyscrapers in Beijing and Shenzhen. They can’t believe Americans still use credit cards and cash while they use mobile payment for almost everything back home, including settling bets for their Texas Hold’em games one night in Palo Alto.


Google and Intel Beware: China Is Gunning for Dominance in AI Chips

Chinese companies want to take the lead in building processors that use artificial intelligence to make phones, cars and home appliances interact with us more seamlessly. And they have a lot going in their favor.
Click to Read Story
 

In 2018, Tech’s Cowardly Lions Need Courage

In 2017, Silicon Valley did some soul-searching about tech’s role in spreading fake news that exacerbated social divisions in the U.S. Chinese tech firms should do some soul-searching too, given they work with an authoritarian government skilled in using technologies to try to control society.

Click to Read Story
 



 



They didn’t see the shared bikes that are ubiquitous in China’s cities nor could they order meal-delivery service at any hour. Office buildings don’t use facial recognition to gain entry.

As China’s internet industry has grown larger and its companies have become more competitive and confident, Silicon Valley’s allure is fading.

“The age that Silicon Valley serves as the teacher and China follows step by step is becoming the past, at an accelerating pace,” Li Gen, founder of online media startup QbitAI in Beijing, wrote about the trip on his company’s official WeChat social-media account.

That feeling was reinforced throughout their trip. Mr. Milner, an early Facebook investor who has also backed big Chinese startups, told his brunch guests that China leads the world in mobile payments, e-commerce and online services.

At several meetings, presentations included slides showing the volumes of China’s online meal delivery and mobile payments are many times that of the volumes in the U.S. Their slides also said e-commerce makes up more than 20% of China’s retail revenue while making up about 10% in the U.S.

“I’ve read about this before from the media and wasn’t sure if it’s for real,” says Ding Jichang, founder and chief executive of Mobiuspace, a mobile app developer. “Now I know we’re not self-delusional.”


That Chinese entrepreneurs had to travel to the U.S. for a shot of confidence about their tech prowess isn’t so strange. China blocks Facebook, Google’s search engine and some other U.S. internet services while Chinese companies are hitting barriers in the U.S. too. As a result, the biggest companies in the two markets rarely compete head-to-head.

One startup founder didn’t recognize the famous “like” button in the Facebook giftshop. On a giant digital world map showing where Facebook’s two-billion-plus monthly active users are, China is a big black blotch. A company employee told them that the only other country strangling access to Facebook is Iran (North Korea is largely disconnected from the global internet).

Last week’s tour was put together by Kai-Fu Lee, chief executive of Beijing-based venture firm Sinovation Ventures and former head of Google China. Mr. Lee believes that China has the talent and competitiveness to go head-to-head with the U.S. in the next important tech frontier—artificial intelligence.





Still, Mr. Lee thinks Chinese tech entrepreneurs have much to learn and should be less focused on financial results and on going public. He tried to expose the group to the more creative side of Silicon Valley, arranging for them to spend an afternoon listening to futuristic ideas at Singularity University. The think tank’s co-founder Peter Diamandis wowed the group with his asteroid-mining venture, Planetary Resources Inc., in which Sinovation Ventures is an investor.

They were wowed again when meeting with two startup founders funded by Coatue Management LLC, a hedge fund. One of the founders, a serial entrepreneur working on an artificial-intelligence chip startup, told the group that his firm has spent $30 million in two years on research and development and won’t have a product until later this year.

While the few older 40-somethings in the group admired Silicon Valley’s idealism, the younger ones were less impressed. They said that moonshot ideas and long development times don’t work in China because investors are less patient and copycats are so rife that businesses have to get products to market superfast.

“China is like a startup. The U.S. is like a big corporation,” says Mr. Ding, whose company is developing an app to improve video-watching even on cheaper smartphones popular in emerging markets. “China runs very fast, tweaking along the way. The U.S. runs at a steady pace, doing a lot of research and development. It’s hard to tell who will win in the end.”

Write to Li Yuan at li.yuan@wsj.com
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Electricity (including EMP, electro magnetic pulse, CME) on: January 21, 2018, 07:08:44 AM
Pithily stated.
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GPF: Japan-Australia VFA on: January 21, 2018, 06:49:43 AM
Australia: Australia’s prime minister is visiting Japan, where he is expected to sign a visiting forces agreement. Some reports say this is a prelude to a formal alliance. How long has this been in the making? Is it a stark change of policy, or is it the formalization of aligned Australian-Japanese interests? How will China respond?
•   Finding: Talks on a VFA have been ongoing since 2014 but picked up steam early last year following Donald Trump’s election. This is a landmark step for Japan, since it would be its first VFA (its agreement with the U.S. is somewhat different) and one that would add further momentum to its remilitarization. Notably, Japan is also negotiating a VFA with the United Kingdom, with which it is also eager to more regularly conduct joint drills. But it’s not a shift in trajectory; both Japan and Australia have gradually been building toward this. The basic utility of a VFA is to put formal structures in place that make it easier to conduct joint drills, position materiel at each other’s bases and so on. The functional goal of the emerging “quad” framework (involving the U.S., Japan, Australia and India) is to have these sorts of technical matters ironed out so that the quad can be elevated into a more formal alliance quickly should the need arise.
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Testing the wall prototypes on: January 21, 2018, 12:37:42 AM


http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2018/01/19/border-wall-models-thwart-military-tests/
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rocket launcher plane on: January 20, 2018, 08:59:31 PM
https://us12.campaign-archive.com/?e=9627475d7f&u=b7aa7eddb0f2bb74bfa4f6cb5&id=3d9f28d05f
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / SDF backed by US? on: January 20, 2018, 08:43:42 PM
https://us12.campaign-archive.com/?e=9627475d7f&u=b7aa7eddb0f2bb74bfa4f6cb5&id=3d9f28d05f
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Googlag vs. Dennis Prager on: January 20, 2018, 08:39:59 PM
 




We Are Suing YouTube for Censoring Our Videos


Dear Valued Subscriber,
As you know, PragerU’s videos are available on a number of platforms, one of which is YouTube. And as you may also know, YouTube has chosen repeatedly to restrict some of our videos for violating their “Community Guidelines.”  Those guidelines are meant to protect users against viewing sexual content, violent or graphic content, and hate speech.
As a PragerU viewer, you know as well as I do that our videos contain nothing even remotely close to any of these categories.
To date, YouTube has restricted nearly 40 PragerU videos, addressing topics ranging from religion and freedom of speech to the history of the Korean War.
More than a year ago, we filed a complaint with YouTube, hoping that there was some kind of innocent mistake.
That’s when we were told by YouTube that after reviewing our videos they determined that they were indeed “not appropriate for a younger audience.” Of course, we have this in writing.
Think about the millions of actually inappropriate videos on YouTube and then ask yourself, “Why is our content restricted?”
Unfortunately, the answer is rather obvious, isn’t it?  YouTube has restricted PragerU videos for only one reason: Ideological discrimination.
Of course, YouTube is owned by Google, which was founded to, ironically, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

YouTube has made some of our most important videos inaccessible to the very audience PragerU seeks to reach: young people.

Let me be clear: they don’t like what we teach and so they intend to stop us from teaching it. This kind of censorship is what we have seen on college campuses for years. But it is far more dangerous in this circumstance because the internet is where the world goes to get informed.
 
Can you imagine if the left owned the internet the way they own our universities?
Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?

Well, this is why Prager University filed suit again YouTube and Google. We are not fighting this only for PragerU—we are taking this on for America and possibly the world.
Can we count on your support as we fight to end the censorship of our conservative ideas by Google/YouTube?

 
Now, I have to tell you ... this was not an easy decision.
Over the summer, former Governor of California Pete Wilson — who has been a longtime supporter of PragerU — approached us and posited the idea: “We have to sue them,” he said. “Google is hubris.”
Those words weighed heavy on our entire team as we considered our options.
Obviously, a fight with Google will be hugely difficult and costly, and we hate the idea of deploying energy and resources away from producing more content and reaching new audiences.  We simply cannot do that.
So, before taking any such action, we decided we’d attempt a more diplomatic approach one last time. On the one-year anniversary of Google blocking our content, or the “BANniversary” as we had come to call it, we renewed our complaints to YouTube and re-circulated an online petition urging Google to change course. Many articles have been written and many people, including many very prominent and influential people, rallied in support of our cause. To date, well over a quarter-of-a-million people have added their names to our petition.
What was the result of our efforts?
Nothing. YouTube ignored us. In fact, they have since restricted 11 more PragerU videos.
With our hands tied, we knew Governor Wilson was right—Google’s hubris had to be challenged.
So, we have built an all-star legal team, including Governor Wilson’s Law Firm, Eric George, Alan Dershowitz, Barak Lurie, Kelly Shackelford, Mat Staver, and more.
It’s an impressive group, because this is an important case; not only for PragerU, but for the fundamental American right to freedom of speech.
But this is not going to be easy and it isn’t going to be cheap.
Despite the fact that our amazing attorneys have agreed to reasonably cap their legal fees, there will be additional personnel, research, marketing and public relations costs to PragerU.
This case will be tried in the court of public opinion as much as in the courtroom, and we intend to win in both venues.
However, we cannot deplete our operating budget to fight this case. Thanks to you, PragerU has reached more than 1-out-of-4 Americans on the internet. Sixty-three percent of them are under 34. We plan to continue to focus on this growth and reach 3 out of 4 Americans. We can’t let up now.

We are fully committed to the lawsuit but we won’t let them slow the growth of PragerU.

This is why our board of directors and many staff members have donated, in addition to our annual gift, to what we are calling the “YouTube Action Fund.” Dennis Prager, Allen Estrin, and I have all given extra this year.

Now, here is how you can help:
1.   Please go to our website and sign the petition against YouTube censorship. It already has nearly 400,000 signatures; please add yours if you haven’t done so already, and ask 10 of your friends to do the same.
2.   More importantly, please contribute to our action fund if you can, over and above your planned support for PragerU. Our initial goal for the legal fund is $1 million, and we think we can reach that goal with your help.
Many of you have already given so generously and I am embarrassed to ask for more. But if you think this fight is important please support us in whatever way you can.

It seems like a lot to ask…until you consider how much we have to lose.

Perhaps Goliath could teach Google a little bit about where hubris leads ... when a David comes slinging.

Thank you, and God bless you.

Marissa Streit
CEO, PragerU


Can we count on your support as we fight to end the censorship of our conservative ideas by Google/YouTube?



22  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife Law on: January 20, 2018, 03:55:05 PM
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1103550698648&ca=fcc5ff04-ff96-415f-ba88-23ff4c38381c
23  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife Law on: January 20, 2018, 02:04:59 PM
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1103550698648&ca=fcc5ff04-ff96-415f-ba88-23ff4c38381c
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / EMP not as bad as feared on: January 20, 2018, 02:03:20 PM
http://havokjournal.com/national-security/emps-dont-work-like/?utm_source=Havok+Journal&utm_campaign=c1c6a2ceaa-Havok_Journal_Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_566058f87c-c1c6a2ceaa-214571297
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MEF offers $1M to UNRWA on: January 20, 2018, 01:47:49 PM
MEF Offers One Million Dollars to UNRWA
News from the Middle East Forum
January 18, 2018
http://www.meforum.org/7168/mef-offers-one-million-dollars-to-unrwa
Share:   

A few minutes ago, we sent out a press release offering one million dollars to UNRWA provided it meets one simple condition (see below), adding that the "offer is valid until June 30, 2017." No, this wasn't a punch line; it was a regrettable first-of-the-year typo. The deadline is June 30, 2018, and the offer is serious. To the many subscribers who pointed this error out to us, our sincere thanks.

The Middle East Forum
 
PHILADELPHIA – January 18, 2018 – The Middle East Forum announces a donation of one million dollars to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

After the U.S. Government partially withheld funding, UNRWA's head called on "people of good will in every corner of the globe where solidarity and partnerships exist for Palestine Refugees" to "join us in responding to this crisis and #FundUNRWA."

The Middle East Forum has responded: "Despite UNRWA's long record of misbehavior: incitement against Israel, supporting violent attacks on Jews, and corruption, we are prepared to help UNRWA, conditional on it making some reforms," said Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum. "We are delighted to contribute in solidarity if UNRWA takes steps to end the Palestine refugee problem.

"The Forum's contribution requires UNRWA to end the automatic registering in perpetuity of (1) the descendants of refugees, (2) those who hold a nationality, and (3) those who live in their purported homeland, the West Bank and Gaza. Making these technical changes puts it in line with all other refugee agencies and reduces the number of Palestine refugees from 5.3 million to around 20,000. Our one-million-dollar donation will go a long way to meet the humanitarian considerations of this small and diminishing number."

The Middle East Forum has long pressed for a tightening of requirements for the "Palestine refugee" status, seeing this as both improving Palestinian lives and diminishing the threat to Israel.

"The current UNRWA definition breeds a victimhood mentality that perpetuates Palestinian-Israeli conflict," notes Gregg Roman, director of the Middle East Forum. "We hope our funding can inspire improvements in the lives of those in need while bringing the conflict closer to resolution."

On its own, UNRWA can adjust the definition of a refugee and has done so. In 1950, UNRWA defined a refugee as "a needy person, who, as a result of the war in Palestine, has lost his home, and his means of livelihood." There was no reference to descendants. In 1965 and 1982, UNRWA unilaterally decided to extend refugee status to all descendants, which meant the number of "Palestine refugees" now expands without limit.

The Middle East Forum is ready to help UNRWA out of this predicament. The offer is valid until June 30, 2018. MEF's management alone will decide when the conditions for payment have been fulfilled.
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Straftor: 2018 world wide jihadi trends on: January 20, 2018, 01:42:09 PM
Editor's Note

With the start of a new year, we once again examine the state of the global jihadist movement. Shared from Threat Lens, Stratfor's unique protective intelligence product, the following column includes excerpts from a comprehensive forecast available to Threat Lens subscribers.
In some ways "the global jihadist movement" is a misleading phrase. Rather than the monolithic threat it describes, jihadism more closely resembles a worldwide insurgency with two competing standard-bearers: al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To make matters more complicated, grassroots extremists have been known to take inspiration from each group's ideology — and, in some cases, both.
 
This complex network of international organizations, local militancies and individual adherents cannot be dismantled by simply killing its members and leaders one by one. Instead, governments around the globe will have to split off local groups from the Islamic State and al Qaeda ideologies they have chosen to adopt and tackle them separately using the principles of counterinsurgency if the jihadist movement is to be eradicated once and for all.
Al Qaeda: Surviving Under Pressure
Last year was a tough one for the al Qaeda core:

 
(Stratfor)
Throughout 2017, the group tried to promote Hamza bin Laden — the son of Osama bin Laden — as its new figurehead. But while Hamza's rhetoric seems to have found a receptive audience in the world of jihadism, it is unclear whether the warm welcome will translate into new recruits for his father's cause.
 
Even so, the al Qaeda core and many of its franchises remain intact at the start of 2018, albeit under mounting strain. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), for instance,
(Stratfor)
Al Qaeda's offshoots in Egypt have made inroads among the locals as well, in part by criticizing their Islamic State rival in the area — Wilayat Sinai — for attacking civilians. (By contrast, Jund al-Islam and Ansar al-Islam tend to target Egyptian security forces.) The latter al Qaeda branch, led by former Egyptian special operations forces officer Hisham Ashmawy, is a particularly capable force. But Jund al-Islam has worked to earn the trust of Bedouin tribes in Sinai that have been appalled by Wilayat Sinai's brutality; the group has even attacked some of the Islamic State affiliate's fighters outright.
 
Some of al Qaeda's partners throughout the Middle East and Africa had bigger problems to grapple with last year. Amid Yemen's protracted civil war;
(Stratfor)

In much the same way, the United States cracked down on the positions of al Shabaab, al Qaeda's Somali franchise.
(Stratfor)

Despite the renewed pressure brought to bear against them, these groups have maintained their allegiance to the al Qaeda core. The same may not be true of al Qaeda's erstwhile ally on the Syrian battlefield, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The group now belongs to an umbrella organization called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham that advocates a nationalist agenda rather than al Qaeda's transnationalist goals.
(Stratfor)
Either way, Jabhat al-Nusra's decision to rebrand itself as a group with more interests at home than abroad will make it more difficult for al Qaeda to launch far-flung attacks from Syria this year.
Islamic State: Resorting to Old Tactics
Once the United States and its coalition partners started launching airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in August 2014, the group was bound to lose its grip on the vast territory it had claimed. The so-called caliphate met its inevitable fate in 2017 as the Islamic State was beaten back from most of its strongholds in the region.
(Stratfor)
The Islamic State core may no longer function as an effective polity, but it still thrives as an insurgency and terrorist group. As a result, the Islamic State will keep planning and conducting attacks across Iraq and Syria over the coming year, in part to stoke ethnic and sectarian unrest.
 
The group's foreign partners will follow suit as the Islamic State's ideology continues to resonate around the globe. But like the central organization with which they have aligned, many of these branches have met stiff resistance in their traditional havens.
 
Among them is Wilayat al Sudan al Gharbi, the Islamic State's Nigerian cell that is often better known by its former name, Boko Haram. The group has split into two factions with somewhat different means and ends: One led by Abubakr Shekau, whose use of women and children in suicide bombings has caused even the Islamic State to rebuke him, and one led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram's founder. The first wing, though larger, has had to retreat from most of its holdings in northeastern Nigeria into the Sambisa Forest, where it now wages a deadly campaign of insurgent and terrorist attacks throughout the region. Meanwhile, the second wing has concentrated its operations in Lake Chad Basin, where it harries military and security forces.

We believe al-Barnawi's faction would like to conduct attacks against Western interests in Nigeria, such as bombings or kidnappings.

To the north, Wilayat Barqa — the Islamic State's Libyan offshoot and, at one point, its strongest franchise — has likewise sought shelter from the punishing advances of its enemies.
(Stratfor)

Next door, however, another Islamic State affiliate has risen to prominence as Wilayat Barqa has faded from view: Wilayat Sinai. Though the Egyptian group has lost much of its manpower since its peak in 2015, Wilayat Sinai may be the largest and most capable Islamic State branch left today.
(Stratfor)
The Islamic State has fared better than we expected in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well. There the organization's Khorasan chapter has shown an impressive resilience to operations against it by Afghan security forces, the Taliban and the United States. Rather than being crippled by these efforts, Khorasan remains able to launch raids against rural communities and suicide attacks against the Afghan capital of Kabul.
 
But the Islamic State's most surprising success of 2017 was the capture of Marawi City in the southern Philippines. The group's supporters defied our forecast by drawing hundreds of heavily armed fighters to their cause and trying to seize territory — just as the Islamic State had in Iraq and Syria.
(Stratfor)
Grassroots Jihadists: A Rare but Present Danger
Since 9/11, al Qaeda and the Islamic State have struggled to project their terrorist power beyond their core operating areas. Consequently, grassroots jihadists — rather than the trained professionals among the ranks of established jihadist groups — have been responsible for most of the terrorist attacks waged on the West in recent years.
(Stratfor)
Inspired jihadists were responsible for the bulk of the terrorist attacks to hit the West last year. Even in operations involving cells of extremists, such as the London Bridge incident in June 2017 and a series of attacks in Barcelona in August, the perpetrators had no contact with and received no direction or equipment from their professional peers.
 
There were some noteworthy exceptions to this pattern, though.
(Stratfor)

Grassroots jihadists may not boast the sophisticated terrorist tradecraft needed to launch spectacular attacks, but it would be unwise to dismiss the danger they pose. At the right place and the right time, an inexperienced terrorist can still wreak havoc, leaving devastation in his or her wake. That said, circumstances rarely align in grassroots jihadists' favor — and certainly not as often as the groups calling them to action would like.
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GPF echoes my ideas about Trade War with China on: January 20, 2018, 12:51:50 PM
With US Trade, China Plays a Dangerous Game

January 19, 2018

The U.S. has promised to get tougher on China for almost a year now. On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Donald Trump promised that, under his administration, China would not be allowed to take advantage of the U.S. through its trade practices. The tough talk ended once Washington realized it needed China’s help resolving the North Korea crisis. And now that that appears to have hit a dead end, Trump may soon make good on the threats he issued during the presidential campaign.


(click to enlarge)

The United States would have the upper hand in a trade war, but Beijing is not without weapons of its own. U.S. companies have made a fortune in China over the past 20 years, and they would like to make more over the next 20 years. Beijing knows this and is sending a message to those companies that they access the Chinese market at the pleasure of the Chinese Communist Party. Last week, the Shanghai branch of the state cyberspace administration shut down Marriott International’s website in China because the hotel chain listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries in a customer questionnaire. The questionnaire set off a firestorm on Chinese social media that eventually made its way to China’s Foreign Ministry. A spokesperson for the ministry said that if foreign businesses wanted to continue to do business in China, they should “respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by Chinese law, and respect the Chinese peoples’ feelings.”

Then, on Jan. 12, China’s aviation authority singled out the second-largest U.S. airline, Delta, for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website. It called for an investigation and an immediate apology.

The businesses were not chosen randomly. Marriott owns 569 properties in the Asia-Pacific region, 300 of which are in China. The chain plans to build or acquire at least 300 more hotels there, which would mean nearly 10 percent of its properties would be located in China. For its part, Delta is in the midst of a multi-year restructuring of its Asia-Pacific operations. It plans to move its main hub in the region from Tokyo to Shanghai – the “hub of the future” in the words of Delta’s CEO.

The significance of U.S.-China trade relations shouldn’t be understated. Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, economic dependence has been the only thing tying U.S. and Chinese interests together. China sees the coming storm and is demonstrating what it can do if the Trump administration gets tough on trade, the area where the U.S. can hurt China the most. China is playing a dangerous game, but at this point it has no other choice
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Another Long War unfolds in Syria on: January 20, 2018, 12:45:49 PM
Though many interesting points are made and valid questions raised, I find this piece rather empty when it comes to what I see as a central geopolitical issue-- the Iranian drive for a land bridge to the Mediterranean.  The merits of keeping the Kurds strong also seems to go unconsidered.   The cautions at the end of the piece may well prove prescient however.

==================================

Another Long War Unfolds in Syria
By Charles Glass
Board of Contributors
Charles Glass
Charles Glass
Board of Contributors
Children survey the damage to a building just outside Damascus that sustained a missile attack from forces loyal to the Syrian government Jan. 18.
(ABDULMONAM EASSA/AFP/Getty Images)
Contributor Perspectives offer insight, analysis and commentary from Stratfor’s Board of Contributors and guest contributors who are distinguished leaders in their fields of expertise.
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The war in Syria should be ending. The Islamic State has lost all the territory it seized in 2014. The Syrian army, backed by Russia and Iran, has confined other anti-government rebels to besieged pockets in the south, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus and in the northwest. Opposition hopes of removing Syrian President Bashar al Assad have vanished. But the war refuses to die. It just takes new forms.

The latest phase has little to do with Syria, apart from the fact that it's taking place there. The antagonists are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the United States, which has declared a post-Islamic State mission that will keep American advisers and their local surrogates in Syria for years to come. The mission calls for the United States to train, arm and advise a 30,000-strong, mostly Kurdish border security force. Following the announcement of the project Jan. 14, Erdogan pledged "to strangle it before it's even born." He has moved Turkish military units to the border and launched artillery shells at Kurdish positions in their western enclave of Afrin.

Aware that his opposition to the U.S.-backed Kurdish force pits him against his largest NATO ally, Erdogan told members of parliament from his Justice and Development Party, "Hey, NATO! You are obliged to take a stance against those who harass and violate the borders of your members." The mission threatens to tear the military bloc apart and to commit the United States to a long-term presence in a country where it has no strategic interest.  (Marc:  What about stopping Iran's drive for land bridge, positioning itself to go after Israel?)

Irreconcilable Differences

Erdogan sees the backbone of the proposed border security force — a Kurdish militia known as the Yekineyen Parastina Gel (YPG), or People's Protection Units — as an arm of the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistane (PKK), or ‎Kurdistan Workers' Party. Turkish security forces have been fighting the PKK off and on since 1984. In fact, Turkey regards the group as a terrorist organization and long ago persuaded the United States and European Union to do the same. No one doubts the PKK's influence over the YPG or the role its fighters played, alongside other Kurdish groups, in defeating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. To pull off its plan, the United States must either take the PKK off the register of terrorist groups or sell its NATO allies on the idea that the group is a terrorist organization in Turkey but not in Syria.

Erdogan's resistance to a prolonged U.S. presence in Syria under the guise of the new force has received support even from Turkey's adversaries in the Syrian civil war — namely al Assad's government, Russia and Iran. These three entities undoubtedly see the U.S. scheme as a pretext to keep a military presence in Syria, deprive Syrian authorities control over large swaths of the country and gain leverage over the war's putative victors.

A Precedent for Peril

In his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 11, David Satterfield, the State Department's senior bureau official for near eastern affairs, explained the new border force. Satterfield described it as an effort "to not only diminish Iranian foreign influence in Syria generally, but to protect our allies from the very real threat Hezbollah poses in southwest Syria to our allies." But that raises the question: How often have Hezbollah or other militias backed by the Syrian government attacked Israel across the cease-fire lines Henry Kissinger negotiated in 1974?

The answer is never. Israel is capable of protecting its border with Syria, where a U.N. disengagement force has been in place for 40 years. A U.S. presence in the form of a Kurdish-dominated militia, particularly one that is overextended in areas with Arab majorities, is unlikely to increase border security. It will, however, present a tempting target for attacks by groups loyal to the Syrian government, which will do everything in its power to remove the United States and its clients from Syrian territory. Tensions have already surfaced in the Kurdish-occupied town of Manbij, where members of the Arab al-Bouna tribe protested the death by torture of two young Arabs held by the Kurds.

One of the leading American experts on Syria, Joshua Landis at the University of Oklahoma's Center for Middle East Studies, wrote:

    "By controlling half of Syria's energy resources, the Euphrates dam at Tabqa, as well as much of Syria's best agricultural land, the US will be able to keep Syria poor and under-resourced... The US should be helping the PYD [Partiya Yetikia Demokrat, or Democratic Union Party, the civilian wing of the YPG,] to negotiate a deal with Assad that promotes both their interests: Kurdish autonomy and Syrian sovereignty. Both have shared interests, which make a deal possible. Both see Turkey as their main danger. Both need to cooperate in order to exploit the riches of the region. Both distrust radical Islamists and fear their return. Neither can rebuild alone."

In the absence of U.S.-Russian-Syrian cooperation to end the war in Syria, U.S. troops on the ground will be hostages to guerrilla warfare against them. There is a precedent for successful Syrian covert action against the United States and Israel. It was set in Lebanon after Israel's 1982 invasion when assassination, suicide bombings and direct attacks drove the United States out in 1984 and forced a total Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon 16 years later. The current U.S. administration may be unaware of this history, but Damascus isn't. And this time, its agents will be operating in their own country with the full support of Iran and Russia, and with Turkey's acquiescence. Syria would thus join Iraq and Afghanistan as the locale of a long, unwinnable American war.
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Samantha Powers, HBO documentary on: January 20, 2018, 12:40:20 PM


http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455590/hbos-final-year-samantha-power-reflects?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Saturday%202018-01-20&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CA Gov. Brown admits pension cuts coming? on: January 20, 2018, 12:33:49 PM


http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/on-the-chopping-block-gov-brown-joins-the-chorus-of-those-predicting-coming-pension-cuts/
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / CA Gov. Brown admits pension cuts coming? on: January 20, 2018, 12:33:22 PM
http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/on-the-chopping-block-gov-brown-joins-the-chorus-of-those-predicting-coming-pension-cuts/
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Simpson lied to/misled Congress on: January 20, 2018, 12:32:12 PM
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/01/simpson-tried-to-deceive-congress-on-the-fusion-gps-obama-doj-connection.php
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CA AG Becerra on: January 19, 2018, 11:45:18 PM


http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article195434409.html
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 3.5 Million Dreamers? on: January 19, 2018, 08:24:01 PM
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/01/18/there-3-5-m-dreamers-and-most-may-face-nightmare/1042134001/
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Cape Town about to go Mad Max on: January 19, 2018, 08:18:37 PM


https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/01/18/mad-max-scenario-cape-town-run-out-water-90-days/#1c9b789e5414
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: January 19, 2018, 07:46:10 PM
second post

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/369851-fierce-battle-erupts-over-declassifying-intelligence-report
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Israel apologizes on: January 19, 2018, 06:55:38 PM


 

Jan 19, 2018 | 19:28 GMT
Israel: Government Sends An Apology To Jordan
(Stratfor 2018)



In Stratfor's 2018 Annual Forecast, we said that external players such as the United States and Egypt would continue attempts to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. As part of this effort, the United States appears to be offering firm support in exchange for encouraging Israel to maintain peace with its neighbors, such as Jordan.

See 2018 Annual Forecast

As Israel grows more secure about the Trump administration's support, the country has begun mending fences with its neighbor, Jordan. Israel recently sent Jordan a memorandum expressing regret over the killing of two Jordanians at Israel's Amman embassy during the summer. Following the incident, Israel brought home the security guard involved in the killing, while Jordan closed the embassy and sought criminal charges. The affair has tested the relationship between the two, as Jordanians have pressed King Abdullah II to demand the return of the security guard so he can face trial.

Israel's rare public apology has given the king a chance to reopen the embassy and still maintain domestic support. In a region where symbolism remains politically potent, the apology benefits both sides by allowing Abdullah to claim a victory in the name of the victims, while also letting Israel show commitment to its peace treaties with its neighbors. Furthermore, the memorandum underlines just how high a premium both Jordan and Israel place on maintaining peace with one another (even after Abdullah condemned the U.S. declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital).

Washington's decision on Jerusalem and its increased pressure on Iran both likely contributed to Israel's unusually conciliatory mood. Such evidence of U.S. support has Israel's right-wing elements feeling more secure about the stability of their country than they did when former U.S. President Barack Obama was in office. The Trump administration, which is getting high marks from everyday Israelis, may well have leveraged that support by encouraging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to patch up relations with Jordan, a move that would benefit ongoing U.S. attempts to broker a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal.

The current U.S.-Israel dynamic has precedent: former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who did not have a reputation as a peacemaker when he entered office in 2000, famously withdrew settlements and troops from the Gaza Strip in 2005 under pressure from President George W. Bush. Sharon's bold move would have been unthinkable if not for the reassurances he received from Bush, another American president popular in Israel for his perceived willingness let the country solve security challenges on its own terms.

But if the United States is hoping a patch-up between Jordan and Israel will nudge along the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, it's overlooking obstacles within the Palestinian camp. Political parties Hamas and Fatah have yet to make a unity deal, as the two sides maintain opposing stances about how to respond to the American decision on Jerusalem. And without an established Palestinian representative, peace negotiations will struggle.

Still, Israel can overlook that for now. A secure frontier with Jordan, with whom it must cooperate to secure water supplies as well as prevent militant infiltration, is currently a greater priority. So, with an apology and an expression of regret, Israel has prevented the further disruption of that relationship. 
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: January 19, 2018, 06:33:50 PM
Interesting catch Doug.

Though the prospect of transparency on the Dossier seems quite promising for our side, I do have one deep worry-- prompted by the Andrew McCarthy article I posted a few days ago.  If I have it right, it was and is within President Trump's power to declassify the FISA warrant application.  Why hasn't he?  Per McCarthy, it may be because the Dossier was not the only thing in support of the warrant application and Trump fears whatever else it is that is in there e.g. money laundering stuff.
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc. on: January 19, 2018, 06:28:45 PM
From my FB page in response to this:

 Not sure Capoliticalreview read the part of the bill requiring the driver’s license holders be CA citizens eligible to vote in order to be registered. The driver licenses for noncitizens are restricted and clearly designated with "Federal Limits Apply" in big red letters signifying status. Those folks can't get registered as they are not eligible due to their status and the licenses they are issued. If someone comes into the DMV(per the bill) they get registered IF they are eligible to vote. Noncitizens are not eligible and their drivers licenses are clearly marked physically and in the computer systems. They cannot be registered. This story and the like seems to be a scare tactic to ruffle the feathers of republicans fearful of additional eligible Latino voters registering as opposed to an actual threat to democracy. I'm confident they know these facts and choose not to include them in their not so honest stories.



Marc Denny  I'll readily agree Capolitical Review is not always a responsible source, but if I understand correctly, the point is that anyone can lie and declare themselves to be a citizen-- yes?



Erik Lilliedahl:  Not from what I understand. You need to prove who are (16 yro and US citizen) via US birth certificate and SSN in order to get a US resident license the first time. Out of state DL holders use the previous state's DL. You don't have those forms of ID if you are a nonresident. Now you can still get a license in CA if your are a nonresident as we know. You still have to provide forms of identification proof but it doesn't give you resident status. That is a whole different discussion on the pros and cons of that. However, as it stands as a nonresident your DL is marked physically with a "Federal Limits Apply" and likewise in the system. Your DL is in another electronic bucket so to speak. These nonresidents cannot be registered to vote. The politicians know there is always human error so they included a provision in the bill. If you are registered to vote somehow and should not have been, through no fault of your own, and this eronious registration happened via the DMV system. You as an individual will not be held liable for the illegal action. However this shouldn't be able to happen with nonresidents as they cannot be registered. This would be a citizen with restrictions like a felon and what not. Are there going to be mistakes? Probably, but they will be far and few between and nowhere near the 800,000 numbers alarmists are mentioning. But be sure once a mistake happens capolitical and the like will be all over it.
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / NIFLA vs. Becerra 1.5 on: January 19, 2018, 06:25:50 PM
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455601/trump-administration-pro-life-free-speech-case-dangerous?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Monday%20through%20Friday%202018-01-19&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Aussie Complaint to FBI: Bill lied to us about Clinton Foundation on: January 19, 2018, 12:32:38 PM


https://www.lifezette.com/polizette/aussie-complaint-tells-fbi-clinton-misled-government-down-under/
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Russia's Fraying Financial Safety Net Hangs by a Thread on: January 19, 2018, 11:46:44 AM


Russia's Fraying Financial Safety Net Hangs by a Thread

Russia's sovereign wealth reserves, once bloated by years of abundant petroleum revenue, are today just shadows of their former selves. And on Feb. 1, the country's Reserve Fund, designed to help the government balance its budget, will officially disappear as it is legally recombined with the National Wealth Fund, a separate pot of money that backs up Russia's pensions. But the merger is a move in name only: It will come after the country's Finance Ministry appears already to have drained the Reserve Fund's remaining $17 billion in cash to plug a looming budget hole. With Russia's financial security blanket wearing thin, the question as national elections approach will become whether its people will continue to trust the current administration to manage the country's increasingly shaky finances.
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Orwellian Tech Octopus on: January 19, 2018, 11:39:00 AM
https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-u-s-companies-may-lose-the-ai-race-1516280677
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CA automatically registering illegal aliens starting April 1. on: January 19, 2018, 11:37:29 AM


http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/alert-starting-april-1-california-dmv-will-automatically-register-illegal-aliens-to-vote-by-court-order/
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 19, 2018, 11:22:28 AM
https://www.dailywire.com/news/26075/watch-cnn-stunned-what-democratic-ohio-voters-ryan-saavedra?utm_source=cnemail&utm_medium=email&utm_content=011918-news&utm_campaign=position1
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glick: Time to cut the cord on: January 19, 2018, 11:20:24 AM


http://carolineglick.com/time-for-trump-to-cut-the-cord-on-the-palestinians/
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Truth behind Trump Storm on: January 19, 2018, 12:26:58 AM
https://www.city-journal.org/html/truth-behind-trump-storm-15676.html

48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / SEc Ed DeVos: Common Core is dead at DOE on: January 18, 2018, 09:45:47 PM
http://www.wpxi.com/news/trending-now/betsy-devos-common-core-is-dead-at-us-department-of-education/685118228
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prager vs. youtube on: January 18, 2018, 09:28:57 PM
Third post

We Are Suing YouTube for Censoring Our Videos


Dear Valued Subscriber,

As you know, PragerU’s videos are available on a number of platforms, one of which is YouTube. And as you may also know, YouTube has chosen repeatedly to restrict some of our videos for violating their “Community Guidelines.”  Those guidelines are meant to protect users against viewing sexual content, violent or graphic content, and hate speech.

As a PragerU viewer, you know as well as I do that our videos contain nothing even remotely close to any of these categories.

To date, YouTube has restricted nearly 40 PragerU videos, addressing topics ranging from religion and freedom of speech to the history of the Korean War.
More than a year ago, we filed a complaint with YouTube, hoping that there was some kind of innocent mistake.

That’s when we were told by YouTube that after reviewing our videos they determined that they were indeed “not appropriate for a younger audience.” Of course, we have this in writing.

Think about the millions of actually inappropriate videos on YouTube and then ask yourself, “Why is our content restricted?”

Unfortunately, the answer is rather obvious, isn’t it?  YouTube has restricted PragerU videos for only one reason: Ideological discrimination.

Of course, YouTube is owned by Google, which was founded to, ironically, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

YouTube has made some of our most important videos inaccessible to the very audience PragerU seeks to reach: young people.

Let me be clear: they don’t like what we teach and so they intend to stop us from teaching it. This kind of censorship is what we have seen on college campuses for years. But it is far more dangerous in this circumstance because the internet is where the world goes to get informed.
 
Can you imagine if the left owned the internet the way they own our universities?

Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?

Well, this is why Prager University filed suit against YouTube and Google. We are not fighting this only for PragerU—we are taking this on for America and possibly the world.

Can we count on your support as we fight to end the censorship of our conservative ideas by Google/YouTube?

 
Now, I have to tell you ... this was not an easy decision.

Over the summer, former Governor of California Pete Wilson — who has been a longtime supporter of PragerU — approached us and posited the idea: “We have to sue them,” he said. “Google is hubris.”

Those words weighed heavy on our entire team as we considered our options.  Obviously, a fight with Google will be hugely difficult and costly, and we hate the idea of deploying energy and resources away from producing more content and reaching new audiences.  We simply cannot do that.  So, before taking any such action, we decided we’d attempt a more diplomatic approach one last time. On the one-year anniversary of Google blocking our content, or the “BANniversary” as we had come to call it, we renewed our complaints to YouTube and re-circulated an online petition urging Google to change course. Many articles have been written and many people, including many very prominent and influential people, rallied in support of our cause. To date, well over a quarter-of-a-million people have added their names to our petition.

What was the result of our efforts?

Nothing. YouTube ignored us. In fact, they have since restricted 11 more PragerU videos.

With our hands tied, we knew Governor Wilson was right—Google’s hubris had to be challenged.

So, we have built an all-star legal team, including Governor Wilson’s Law Firm, Eric George, Alan Dershowitz, Barak Lurie, Kelly Shackelford, Mat Staver, and more.
It’s an impressive group, because this is an important case; not only for PragerU, but for the fundamental American right to freedom of speech.

But this is not going to be easy and it isn’t going to be cheap.

Despite the fact that our amazing attorneys have agreed to reasonably cap their legal fees, there will be additional personnel, research, marketing and public relations costs to PragerU.

This case will be tried in the court of public opinion as much as in the courtroom, and we intend to win in both venues.

However, we cannot deplete our operating budget to fight this case. Thanks to you, PragerU has reached more than 1-out-of-4 Americans on the internet. Sixty-three percent of them are under 34. We plan to continue to focus on this growth and reach 3 out of 4 Americans. We can’t let up now.

We are fully committed to the lawsuit but we won’t let them slow the growth of PragerU.

This is why our board of directors and many staff members have donated, in addition to our annual gift, to what we are calling the “YouTube Action Fund.” Dennis Prager, Allen Estrin, and I have all given extra this year.

Now, here is how you can help:

1.   Please go to our website and sign the petition against YouTube censorship. It already has nearly 400,000 signatures; please add yours if you haven’t done so already, and ask 10 of your friends to do the same.

2.   More importantly, please contribute to our action fund if you can, over and above your planned support for PragerU. Our initial goal for the legal fund is $1 million, and we think we can reach that goal with your help.

Many of you have already given so generously and I am embarrassed to ask for more. But if you think this fight is important please support us in whatever way you can.

It seems like a lot to ask…until you consider how much we have to lose.

Perhaps Goliath could teach Google a little bit about where hubris leads ... when a David comes slinging.

Thank you, and God bless you.

Marissa Streit
CEO, PragerU


Can we count on your support as we fight to end the censorship of our conservative ideas by Google/YouTube?



50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tucker Carlson and Mark Steyn on: January 18, 2018, 09:17:09 PM
Second post

see 28:00 of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5XiNojeHF8
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