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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH on Tillerson on: Today at 10:52:04 AM
When Rex Tillerson showed up for his first day of work at the State Department earlier this month, he moved quickly to allay the concerns of diplomats and others alarmed by President Trump’s security policies and his disparaging comments about allies and partners.

Addressing a crowd in the department lobby, the new secretary of state spoke of his “high regard” for the public servants he was appointed to manage, extolled the importance of teamwork and pledged to “depend on the expertise of this institution.” Mr. Tillerson generated good will that day, but there have since been worrying signs that the man many hoped would provide thoughtful balance to Mr. Trump’s more impetuous, hard-line advisers has in fact been marginalized, along with the department he runs, with potentially unfortunate consequences for the country and a world facing multiple crises.

Mr. Tillerson has largely been absent from White House meetings with foreign leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and reportedly was excluded from such major decisions as Mr. Trump’s withdrawal of support for a Palestinian state and his declaration that Iran is now “on notice” for testing ballistic missiles. Mr. Trump’s rejection of Mr. Tillerson’s choice for deputy secretary of state was a public rebuke that undermined the secretary within his department and raised further doubts about his standing with the president.

For now at least, Mr. Tillerson, a former CEO of Exxon Mobil who has no foreign policy or government experience, has been eclipsed by Jim Mattis, the defense secretary; Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser; and John Kelly, the secretary of homeland security. All three men are generals, and while they are respected experts in their fields, their backgrounds could lead to an overly militaristic approach to foreign policy. That makes the voice of the State Department, with its focus on diplomacy, more important than ever. But too often this voice has seemed muffled.

A case in point was Mr. Tillerson’s trip to Mexico this week to calm tensions inflamed by Mr. Trump’s criticisms of the Mexican people and his crackdown on immigrants. Mr. Tillerson wound up playing second fiddle to Mr. Kelly, who dominated the news on Thursday when he was forced to rebut Mr. Trump’s inaccurate description of moves along the border to deport undocumented immigrants as a “military operation.”
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Another complication is that Mr. Trump’s two closest aides, Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner, are both seeking to influence foreign policy, and both have close personal relationships with Mr. Trump. Even more than other recent presidents, Mr. Trump has centered decision making in the White House, a process Mr. Bannon has reinforced by setting up a structure called the Strategic Initiatives Group to compete with the National Security Council.

Mr. Tillerson has not helped himself by moving too slowly to build a competent staff. He is also said to have isolated himself from career diplomats who know the issues best by restricting the number and types of officials who attend senior staff meetings or have access to him. Every secretary needs his own people in top positions, but it is impossible to devise or execute good policies without the support of the institution — something Mr. Tillerson must know from his Exxon days.

Meanwhile, he has made few public statements, given no public interviews, tightly restricted the number of reporters he allows to travel on his plane and suspended the daily State Department press briefings — a decades-old practice that is useful in explaining the administration’s policies and reactions to world events. (The department said Friday that briefings would resume on March 6 but not necessarily on a daily basis.) No president can expect Americans to support his policies if they are not explained.

The bottom line: If Mr. Tillerson is going to be the secretary of state, he needs to start acting like one.
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sweden: Pravda on the Hudson seeks to cover its ass on: Today at 10:49:04 AM
Even POTH now has to admit there is something going on:
=========================================

Sweden, Nation of Open Arms, Debates Implications of Immigration
By MARTIN SELSOE SORENSENFEB. 24, 2017
Photo
The Rosengard district of Malmo, which has a large number of people with foreign backgrounds. Credit Gordon Welters for The New York Times

MALMO, Sweden — It has been only three years since she came to Sweden from Syria, but Hiba Abou Alhassane already says “we” when speaking about her new home country.

“Did we, I mean did Sweden, take too many refugees? Should we close the border?” she pondered this week after President Trump’s remarks that Sweden’s immigration policies had failed. “It already happened. People aren’t coming anymore.”

In many ways, Ms. Alhassane is a perfect example of Sweden’s long-held belief in the rightness of sheltering and helping to support migrants and refugees. She has worked hard to integrate. Already nearly fluent in Swedish, she teaches at two local primary schools.

But recently Swedes also find themselves questioning the wisdom of their generosity to outsiders in need, and its potential limits, leading to the country’s harshest debate ever over immigration.

Some residents see the clash as a refreshing chance to voice long-held concerns over immigration and its effects. Others see it as both racist and redundant, since Sweden is already changing its immigration policies.

Swedes are not rushing to a hard-line Trump-like approach to immigration, nor are they ready to throw out their country’s humanitarian values when it comes to sheltering refugees, values that remain firmly rooted in the national psyche.

Until a year and a half ago, Sweden offered lifetime protection, along with family reunification, to people deemed legitimate refugees. In 2015, about 163,000 people came and sought that protection, and the sheer numbers led this country of roughly 10 million to tighten the rules. Protection is now subject to review after one or three years and family reunification is more difficult, making Sweden less accessible and less attractive to immigrants.

“Sweden has been a top recipient of asylum seekers per capita in Europe, priding itself on a humanitarian approach to immigration,” said Daniel Schatz, a visiting scholar at Columbia University’s European Institute. “During the Iraq war, Sodertalje, a small Swedish municipality, took more Iraqi refugees than the U.S. and U.K. combined.”

“Sweden is experiencing a clash of ideals,” he added. “While the country seeks to maintain a humanitarian ideal, public concerns around immigration have begun to shift the politics of traditionally liberal Sweden to tighter immigration controls and more restrictive policies. The debate on migration is thus a very personal one for many Swedes.”

Mr. Trump is not the only person pointing to what he considers to be the troubling consequences of immigration to Sweden. This month, a seasoned investigator with the police department in Orebro, Peter Springare, caused a stir with a Facebook posting in which he discussed the case files on his desk.

“What I’ve been handling Monday-Friday this week: Rape, rape, serious rape, assault rape, black mail, black mail, assault in court, threats, attack against police, threats against police, drugs, serious drugs, attempted murder, rape again, black mail again and abuse,” Mr. Springare said. He went on to list the first names of the people he said were suspects, all but one of which were traditionally Middle Eastern.

The post, which was shared 20,500 times, led to an outpouring of support. People sent hundreds of flowers to Mr. Springare’s police station, and more than 170,000 people joined a Facebook group supporting him.

But both his superiors and the police in other departments said that they did not recognize his description, and that national levels did not resemble his claims.

Manne Gerell, a lecturer in criminology with Malmo University, said more immigrants than Swedes commit crimes, but the exact numbers are hard to determine. And on the national level, he said, the imbalance is not nearly as great as Mr. Springare suggested.

Still, it seems as if frustrations over the issue are spreading.

In 2014, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats gained 12.9 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections to become the country’s third-largest party, up from only 2.9 percent eight years earlier.

“Shunned by mainstream parties, their stance is increasingly resonating with some voters,” Mr. Schatz said.

Some of the party’s progress has to do with residents’ perceptions of crime, a significant issue here in Malmo, Sweden’s third-largest city with about 350,000 people, which is often called the “Chicago of the Nordic region.” The reference is not to its icy, windswept shores. The murder rate in Malmo is the highest among Scandinavian countries: 3.4 annually per 100,000 citizens, compared with 1.3 in Stockholm, the capital.

That has earned Malmo an unsavory reputation well beyond Sweden’s borders, but the assessment lacks context: Chicago’s homicide rate was 28 per 100,000 citizens last year, and Saint Louis’s was 59, according to one analysis. A murder in Malmo remains so rare that it still generates headlines nationwide.

More than 40 percent of the city’s residents or their parents are foreign-born, a fact that is often linked to Malmo’s crime rates, but Mr. Gerell, the criminologist, said a correlation was not clear, and even if there was one, immigration was not the only contributing factor.

“Immigration has most likely played a part in the crime rates,” he said. “But we have many, many poor people living in poor areas so it’s not only about immigration. That said, poverty doesn’t necessarily cause crime, but when there are lots of social problems there will be more of other problems.”

Even some longtime immigrants concede that integration has not always gone smoothly, and that Sweden needs a more robust debate about what has gone wrong and what could be done better.

Maher Dabour, who came to Sweden from Lebanon in the 1980s, said the main problem lay in how migrants are schooled in societal differences.

“They didn’t manage to explain to us how to be citizens,” he said. “In legal terms it’s not difficult, and they’ve been more than generous, but it’s not enough to give money.”

Thirty years after leaving Lebanon, Mr. Dabour drives a Volvo and instinctively buckles his seatbelt like a Swede, but he breaks with tradition and chain smokes.  He said that Swedes had built a society based on the individual’s respect for the state, discipline and rules, but that many newly arrived people come with no respect for, or trust in, government authorities, but great regard for family and elders.

“The authorities say everything is O.K. and in order, but it’s not true,” Mr. Dabour said. “We need to have an open and honest discussion about the problems,” he added, referring to crime among immigrants.

In Malmo, the Rosengard district has for years been named by the national police as having a high crime rate, although that has improved recently. It is home to 25,000 people, 86 percent of them with foreign backgrounds. Low-rent housing is clustered around a shopping center, where shops bear names like Noor, Najib and Orient Musik.

“We try to not focus on the problems,” said Maria Roijer, the chief librarian at the public library. She tries to act as a bridge between the many nationalities of Rosengard and Swedish society.

Ms. Roijer said many people of foreign origin come to the library and join the language cafe to practice their Swedish, to borrow books and use the computers.

“They need them to be able to communicate with authorities,” she said.

For decades area residents have felt they got more negative attention from the media than positive responses from municipal officials.

“They built a nice waterfront and created 10,000 jobs in the western part of town, but all we got was two mosques,” said Mira Dekanic, a retiree and nearby resident.

But change is coming. Recently three new real estate companies bought apartment blocks here and one also acquired the shopping center. The companies say that while they must make a profit for their shareholders, they are also committed to the area’s social development so people who live in Rosengard will have jobs, better houses and more places to meet and things to do in their free time.

“We’re aiming for the long term,” said Birgitta Bengtson, a representative of Trianon, one of the developers.

If all goes well, more native Swedes and Swedish retailers may move to Rosengard. “H&M and Espresso House is a dream,” she said.

In a Turkish restaurant, a Syrian refugee, Mohammed Hoppe, was clearing tables and washing dishes. He said he had been too busy to keep up with Mr. Trump’s remarks about Sweden, but after three and a half years in the country, he hadn’t seen anything bad happen.

And for her part, Ms. Alhassane, was not interested in the comments, either.

“Honestly, everything coming from the U.S. these days is a kind of joke,” she said. “I wasn’t even curious to find out if what he said was true. I didn’t need to.”
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Surprise: Clinton and Obama NSC and State Dept players unhappy with Gorka on: Today at 10:42:59 AM
second post

The Islamophobic Huckster in the White HouseBy STEVEN SIMON and DANIEL BENJAMINFEB. 24, 2017


The new point man for the Trump administration’s counter-jihadist team is Sebastian Gorka, an itinerant instructor in the doctrine of irregular warfare and former national security editor at Breitbart. Stephen K. Bannon and Stephen Miller, the chief commissars of the Trump White House, have framed Islam as an enemy ideology and predicted a historic clash of civilizations. Mr. Gorka, who has been appointed deputy assistant to the president, is the expert they have empowered to translate their prediction into national strategy.

Mr. Gorka was born and raised in Britain, the son of Hungarian émigrés. As a political consultant in post-Communist Hungary, he acquired a doctorate and involved himself with ultranationalist politics. He later moved to the United States and became a citizen five years ago, while building a career moderating military seminars and establishing a reputation as an ill-informed Islamophobe. (He has responded to such claims by stating that he has read the Quran in translation.)

In 2015, he caught Donald Trump’s eye, perhaps appealing to someone who had no government experience by declaring everything done by the government to be idiotic. Most notably, Mr. Gorka derides the notion that Islamic militancy might reflect worldly grievances, like poor governance, repression, poverty and war. “This is the famous approach that says it is all so nuanced and complicated,” Mr. Gorka recently told The Washington Post. “This is what I completely jettison.”

For him, the violence emanates from the “martial language” of the Quran, which has hard-wired aggression into Islam. Like the recently fired national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and Mr. Bannon and Mr. Miller, the architects of the ill-conceived executive order barring the entry of citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, Mr. Gorka sees Islam as the problem, rather than the uses to which Islam has been put by violent extremists. The contrast between them and the policy makers of the previous three presidential administrations could not be clearer: For their predecessors, the key has been to fight terrorists, not assault an Abrahamic religion.
Continue reading the main story
Related Coverage

    H.R. McMaster Breaks With Administration on Views of Islam FEB. 24, 2017
    Who Is Sebastian Gorka? A Trump Adviser Comes Out of the Shadows FEB. 17, 2017

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The gist of Mr. Gorka’s worldview is that the United States is locked in an ideological conflict with “radical Islam.” A report he wrote with his wife assesses that “it is the key failing of U.S. efforts to fight terrorism that we have not understood the importance of ideology.” He attributes this failure to a “systematic subversion of the national security establishment under the banner of inclusivity, cultural awareness and political correctness.”
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This is a supremely uninformed and ahistoric claim, as evidence demonstrates. Consider the raft of recently declassified United States government assessments of Islamic militancy going back nearly 40 years. The C.I.A. has produced in-depth analyses of Sunni radicalization dating to 1979, when Wahhabi messianists seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

In the mid-1980s, the intelligence community published and disseminated widely a major, detailed assessment of Islamist trends. The recent death of Omar Abdel Rahman, the sheikh who proffered divine approval for the first attempt to destroy the twin towers in 1993, is a reminder that the intimate ideological and religious sponsorship of Islamic militancy was on the United States’ radar for nearly a decade before Sept. 11. There were few national security professionals somnolent enough not to appreciate the salience of the jihadist threat after 1993, and the 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa. But for those few, Sept. 11, 2001, was the ultimate wake-up call.

After Sept. 11, the American government, its allies, the academy and myriad journalists undertook to dissect the phenomenon of radicalization, explore its pathways, unpack Quranic language on violence and understand the sociology of Islamic terrorism. The suggestion that Mr. Gorka brings new insight is self-gratifying, grandiose malarkey.

What emerged from these decades of engagement with jihadism was a nascent counterterrorism strategy. That was scuttled when the United States took a sharp wrong turn with the invasion of Iraq, a misstep that was a profound boon to extremists. But even so, counterterrorism strategy has evolved into a sustainable program of counter-radicalization and targeted military operations. Mr. Gorka seems oblivious to this legacy. For him, a huge effort that gathered momentum decades ago somehow amounts to “downplaying the seriousness of the threat.”

What has been learned during this long effort from law enforcement, intelligence community analyses and an abundance of scholarship on jihadists is that religious doctrine is not their sole or even primary driver. The issues that Mr. Gorka so defiantly “jettisons” actually do play a role.

Declaring a religious war now would only validate the jihadist narrative and force fence-sitters to procure AK-47s. Having elevated a huckster weak on jihadist history and doctrine and unaware of what his own government has learned over decades, the Trump administration now risks exacerbating the very security challenges it hopes to surmount. H. R. McMaster, the newly appointed national security adviser — a strong choice — will quickly have to exorcise Mr. Bannon and Mr. Miller’s worldview if the administration is to forge a sound national security policy. Getting rid of Mr. Gorka should be an early priority.

Steven Simon, a professor at Amherst College, served on the National Security Council in the Clinton and Obama administrations. Daniel Benjamin, the director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, was the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator from 2009 to 2012. They are the authors of “The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam’s War Against America.”
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michael Yon: China's hate farm on: Today at 10:38:07 AM
Yes, this is the same Michael Yon of the heroic reportage in Iraq and Afghanistan:

http://japan-forward.com/the-hate-farm-china-is-planting-a-bitter-harvest/
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / White House initiative to defeat radical Islam on: Today at 10:36:19 AM
http://www.meforum.org/6541/a-white-house-initiative-to-defeat-radical-islam?utm_source=Middle+East+Forum&utm_campaign=adaa7ae9cd-pipes_daniel_2017_02_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_086cfd423c-adaa7ae9cd-33691909&goal=0_086cfd423c-adaa7ae9cd-33691909
6  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: Today at 10:31:00 AM


The acrid political atmosphere between the United States and Mexico created by the issue of immigrant deportation dominated the visit to Mexico City by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and John Kelly, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The shifting U.S. stance toward immigration enforcement will play a significant part in shaping Mexico's domestic political landscape and will affect future relations between the two countries.

The most recent dispute between Mexico City and Washington revolves around memos written by Kelly to his department and made public Monday concerning how to implement executive orders issued by President Donald Trump that give authorities greater latitude to deport foreigners who break U.S. immigration law. Under Kelly's instructions, the United States could send those people to the contiguous country nearest to their point of detention — meaning Mexico in tens of thousands of cases — until their immigration hearings were resolved, although he said people whose cases were decided would be transported directly back to their home countries.

What is a Geopolitical Diary?

The policy outlined by Kelly, who at a press conference Thursday promised to prioritize the deportation of criminals and take a cooperative approach with Mexico in the matter, opens the door to increased deportation of Mexican-born migrants. This will create a number of headaches for authorities in Mexico City. Adding thousands of deportees to the ranks of the unemployed is certainly an unappealing prospect for Mexican officials, who are already dealing with federal budget cutbacks spurred by slumping oil prices. But increased deportations of Mexican citizens also could damage the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ahead of the 2018 presidential race by creating the impression among voters that the PRI's leaders are weak in the face of unfavorable U.S. policy. This could drive up support for opposition parties such as the PRI's traditional foe, the National Action Party (PAN), or the upstart National Regeneration Movement (Morena), founded by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The prospect of voters flocking to Morena is a major concern for Mexico's business and political elite. The private sector knows what to expect from PRI or PAN, but Morena has never held power. Lopez Obrador is not exactly a political outsider: He was previously mayor of Mexico City under the Party of the Democratic Revolution and twice ran unsuccessfully for president. But 2018 could produce a different result for him; polls indicate that he has the support of around a third of the electorate, and the current tussle with the United States could add to his popularity. But even as Lopez Obrador has publicly signaled a shift to the center by meeting with business leaders, economic and regulatory risks abound concerning his election. For example, he has repeatedly vowed to slow the pace of the country's 2013 energy reforms, which opened exploration and production in Mexico's oil and natural gas sectors to private foreign investment. Most recently, a Lopez Obrador spokesman said that if elected, the Moreno leader would halt Mexico City's oil and gas licensing rounds and review existing agreements. Lopez Obrador most likely made the promise in the hopes of bolstering support in areas hit hard by the downsizing of state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos and then riding a wave of nationalism to the presidency.

While his shot at the energy reforms may merely represent populist rhetoric intended to appeal to voters already angry with the government, it suggests that if Lopez Obrador assumes office, he would use his presidential powers to slow the pace of private capital entering Mexico's energy sector. This in turn raises the specter of political gridlock and infighting at a time when Mexico can ill afford it. With the United States pushing the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), such a divisive energy issue could be in front of Mexico's congress at the same time it might need to address changes in the trade status with the United States, a priority that congressional infighting could delay.

But aside from the political difficulties that changes in U.S. immigration policy could create, another angle of the issue has raised concerns in Mexico City. Accepting deported migrants from other countries (mostly those from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) without any promise of assistance from the United States would put Mexico in a difficult position. Though Mexico would accept its own citizens, the establishment of communities of largely jobless, sometimes criminal migrants from other nations (many of whom would never leave Mexico) would create long-term difficulties for the country. The number of Central Americans attempting to enter the United States illegally has surged, and the economic pressures that influence them to cross Mexico's southern border are not diminishing. That, combined with the Mexican administration's fears of a voter backlash if it acquiesces to the DHS directive, makes it no surprise that Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Mexico would not entertain cooperating on that portion of the new orders, although Mexico could face U.S. pressure to give in.

Discussions on security issues, particularly on ways to counter illegal migration and organized crime, will continue parallel to the NAFTA discussions, slated to begin in June. Before then, one of the main tools Mexico will use to shape negotiations on security and economic matters will be the threat of refusing to help the United States rein in illegal migration. Mexico has already suggested that it would reduce security cooperation if the United States pushes for changes to NAFTA that are unfavorable to Mexico. But putting that threat into practice will be a risky proposition for Mexico. The Trump administration can retaliate by cutting off most U.S. government assistance, a threat set up by the language of the DHS memos instructing agencies to identify any sources of aid to Mexico.

The ultimate intent of such a policy seems to be to pressure Mexico to accept U.S. demands, whether to agree to the suggestion that Mexico fund a border wall between the countries or to concede points in NAFTA negotiations. A reduction in Mexico's security cooperation with the United States, whether on intelligence gathering or migrant interdiction, could lead to retaliation from Washington, which could replace NAFTA with a bilateral trade agreement. The demise of NAFTA would result in more uncertainty for Mexico, which would find itself in the difficult position of negotiating a bilateral trade deal at a time when political relations with the United States are at an ebb.

Mexico's government would probably want to divorce security cooperation from the economic talks, but doing so may no longer be possible. As the negotiations go on, long-standing security issues such as migration and drug trafficking (and Mexican cooperation on those issues) will intersect with the purely economic aspects of Mexico's relationship with the United States. Mexico would clearly be at a disadvantage in NAFTA negotiations, but for now, Mexico City will wait to see what constraints limiting the White House's ability to act on NAFTA present themselves. The future of NAFTA is uncertain, even among Washington policymakers, and Mexican leaders likely hope that uncertainty will give way to a renegotiation of the pact, rather than to a rapid deterioration in economic and political ties.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: Today at 10:30:36 AM


The acrid political atmosphere between the United States and Mexico created by the issue of immigrant deportation dominated the visit to Mexico City by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and John Kelly, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The shifting U.S. stance toward immigration enforcement will play a significant part in shaping Mexico's domestic political landscape and will affect future relations between the two countries.

The most recent dispute between Mexico City and Washington revolves around memos written by Kelly to his department and made public Monday concerning how to implement executive orders issued by President Donald Trump that give authorities greater latitude to deport foreigners who break U.S. immigration law. Under Kelly's instructions, the United States could send those people to the contiguous country nearest to their point of detention — meaning Mexico in tens of thousands of cases — until their immigration hearings were resolved, although he said people whose cases were decided would be transported directly back to their home countries.

What is a Geopolitical Diary?

The policy outlined by Kelly, who at a press conference Thursday promised to prioritize the deportation of criminals and take a cooperative approach with Mexico in the matter, opens the door to increased deportation of Mexican-born migrants. This will create a number of headaches for authorities in Mexico City. Adding thousands of deportees to the ranks of the unemployed is certainly an unappealing prospect for Mexican officials, who are already dealing with federal budget cutbacks spurred by slumping oil prices. But increased deportations of Mexican citizens also could damage the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ahead of the 2018 presidential race by creating the impression among voters that the PRI's leaders are weak in the face of unfavorable U.S. policy. This could drive up support for opposition parties such as the PRI's traditional foe, the National Action Party (PAN), or the upstart National Regeneration Movement (Morena), founded by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The prospect of voters flocking to Morena is a major concern for Mexico's business and political elite. The private sector knows what to expect from PRI or PAN, but Morena has never held power. Lopez Obrador is not exactly a political outsider: He was previously mayor of Mexico City under the Party of the Democratic Revolution and twice ran unsuccessfully for president. But 2018 could produce a different result for him; polls indicate that he has the support of around a third of the electorate, and the current tussle with the United States could add to his popularity. But even as Lopez Obrador has publicly signaled a shift to the center by meeting with business leaders, economic and regulatory risks abound concerning his election. For example, he has repeatedly vowed to slow the pace of the country's 2013 energy reforms, which opened exploration and production in Mexico's oil and natural gas sectors to private foreign investment. Most recently, a Lopez Obrador spokesman said that if elected, the Moreno leader would halt Mexico City's oil and gas licensing rounds and review existing agreements. Lopez Obrador most likely made the promise in the hopes of bolstering support in areas hit hard by the downsizing of state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos and then riding a wave of nationalism to the presidency.

While his shot at the energy reforms may merely represent populist rhetoric intended to appeal to voters already angry with the government, it suggests that if Lopez Obrador assumes office, he would use his presidential powers to slow the pace of private capital entering Mexico's energy sector. This in turn raises the specter of political gridlock and infighting at a time when Mexico can ill afford it. With the United States pushing the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), such a divisive energy issue could be in front of Mexico's congress at the same time it might need to address changes in the trade status with the United States, a priority that congressional infighting could delay.

But aside from the political difficulties that changes in U.S. immigration policy could create, another angle of the issue has raised concerns in Mexico City. Accepting deported migrants from other countries (mostly those from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) without any promise of assistance from the United States would put Mexico in a difficult position. Though Mexico would accept its own citizens, the establishment of communities of largely jobless, sometimes criminal migrants from other nations (many of whom would never leave Mexico) would create long-term difficulties for the country. The number of Central Americans attempting to enter the United States illegally has surged, and the economic pressures that influence them to cross Mexico's southern border are not diminishing. That, combined with the Mexican administration's fears of a voter backlash if it acquiesces to the DHS directive, makes it no surprise that Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Mexico would not entertain cooperating on that portion of the new orders, although Mexico could face U.S. pressure to give in.

Discussions on security issues, particularly on ways to counter illegal migration and organized crime, will continue parallel to the NAFTA discussions, slated to begin in June. Before then, one of the main tools Mexico will use to shape negotiations on security and economic matters will be the threat of refusing to help the United States rein in illegal migration. Mexico has already suggested that it would reduce security cooperation if the United States pushes for changes to NAFTA that are unfavorable to Mexico. But putting that threat into practice will be a risky proposition for Mexico. The Trump administration can retaliate by cutting off most U.S. government assistance, a threat set up by the language of the DHS memos instructing agencies to identify any sources of aid to Mexico.

The ultimate intent of such a policy seems to be to pressure Mexico to accept U.S. demands, whether to agree to the suggestion that Mexico fund a border wall between the countries or to concede points in NAFTA negotiations. A reduction in Mexico's security cooperation with the United States, whether on intelligence gathering or migrant interdiction, could lead to retaliation from Washington, which could replace NAFTA with a bilateral trade agreement. The demise of NAFTA would result in more uncertainty for Mexico, which would find itself in the difficult position of negotiating a bilateral trade deal at a time when political relations with the United States are at an ebb.

Mexico's government would probably want to divorce security cooperation from the economic talks, but doing so may no longer be possible. As the negotiations go on, long-standing security issues such as migration and drug trafficking (and Mexican cooperation on those issues) will intersect with the purely economic aspects of Mexico's relationship with the United States. Mexico would clearly be at a disadvantage in NAFTA negotiations, but for now, Mexico City will wait to see what constraints limiting the White House's ability to act on NAFTA present themselves. The future of NAFTA is uncertain, even among Washington policymakers, and Mexican leaders likely hope that uncertainty will give way to a renegotiation of the pact, rather than to a rapid deterioration in economic and political ties.
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Concierge medicine on: Today at 10:21:47 AM
http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/more-doctors-turn-to-fee-based-concierge-medicine-to-ease-insurance-woes/
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tuba vs. the KKK on: Today at 10:02:29 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs4P1kKK-5k
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Komodo dragon saliva vs. superbugs on: Today at 01:32:16 AM
http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/blood-dragons-destroy-antibiotic-resistance/
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chris Cuomo of CNN on: Today at 01:18:54 AM
second post

http://www.hannity.com/articles/hanpr-election-493995-493995/cnns-cuomo-underage-girls-should-be-15592533/
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Representative Keith Ellison's buddy Farrakhan on: Today at 01:17:07 AM
http://www.dailywire.com/news/13758/9-things-you-need-know-about-louis-farrakhan-aaron-bandler
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California bans students from traveling to anti-LGBT states on: Today at 01:15:07 AM
http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/22/california-bans-students-from-traveling-to-anti-lgbt-states/?utm_campaign=thedcmainpage&utm_source=Facebook&utm_term=ma&utm_medium=Social
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Chaotic Solar System on: Today at 01:02:22 AM
second post

http://news.wisc.edu/from-rocks-in-colorado-evidence-of-a-chaotic-solar-system/
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Chaotic Solar System on: Today at 01:01:55 AM
http://news.wisc.edu/from-rocks-in-colorado-evidence-of-a-chaotic-solar-system/
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reps intro bills in 17 states on: Today at 01:00:24 AM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/24/republican-lawmakers-introduce-bills-to-curb-protesting-in-at-least-17-states/?utm_term=.4d805c3c5ac1
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What a difference eight years makes on: February 24, 2017, 09:27:27 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/23/us/politics/23fox.html

18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A fantasy EO on: February 24, 2017, 09:21:45 PM
 DESIGNATION OF MILITIA RIFLES

By the authority vested in me as President and Commander in Chief of the Militia by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to ensure the ability of citizens of the United States to defend themselves, their communities and their States, as well as to ensure the safety and security of our Nation, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. Both individual and community safety are critically important to the national security of the United States. Terrorism, transnational criminal activity and potential acts of war by foreign nations present a significant threat to national security and our citizens, who have the right and the duty to defend themselves, their communities, their States and the Nation.

Section 2. Policy. It is the policy of the executive branch to:

(a) Support and defend the Constitution, including the Second Amendment right of citizens to keep and bear arms for Militia purposes,as well asself-defense.

(b) Encourage citizens to be prepared to act as members of the Militia to defend communities, States and the Nation, as part of the common defense contemplated by the Constitution of the United States.

(c) Discourage restrictions by States and political subdivisionson individual possession of firearms suitable for Militia purposes by citizens of the United States.

Section 3. Definitions.

(a) “Militia” has the meaning given the term in Title 10, Section 311 of the United States Code to include the Unorganized Militia, as well as the meaning given to the term “Militia” under equivalent State statutes.

(b) “Self-Defense” shall mean the actions of citizens to defend themselves and their families from physical attack.

(c) “Communities” shall mean neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and other political subdivisions of citizens who live in distinct geographic areas within a State.

(d) “State” shall mean one of the fifty States of the United States.

(e) “Militia Purposes” shall mean training, practice and preparedness which could improve the ability of a citizen to act,and to be armed in case of a need to act, as a member of a local, State or National organization commanded by government officials and responsive to a physical threat. Appropriate organizations include those commanded by an elected county or city Sheriff;those commanded by the Governor of a State through officers of that State’s Defense Force as authorized by Title 30, Section 109 of the United States Code, or through officers of that State’s National Guard;and organizations commanded by the President through officers of the Active or Reserve components of U.S. Armed Forces.

(f) “Militia Rifles” shall mean the firearms designated in Section 4 that are made in America and suitable for use in self-defense, community defense, defense of States and defense of the Nation.

Section 4. Designation of Militia Rifles. That the following firearms and accessories are authorized and appropriate for individual citizens to keep and bear for Militia purposes under the Constitution and the laws of the United States:

(a) The AR-15 and similar semi-automatic rifles, to include flash suppressors and bayonet lugs, magazines of up to thirty round capacities, M-7 bayonets, and ammunition in 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington, in all quantities.

(b) The M1A and similar semi-automatic rifles, to include flash suppressors and bayonet lugs,magazines of up to twenty round capacities, M-6 bayonets, and ammunition in 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester, in all quantities.

(c) The M1 Garand and similar semi-automatic rifles, to include flash suppressors and bayonet lugs, M-5 bayonets, and ammunition in.30-’06 Springfield, in all quantities.

(d) Bolt action rifles in the calibers of .30-’06 Springfield; 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester; 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington; or any substantially equivalent caliber, and ammunition appropriate for the rifles, in any quantity.

(This list could easily be expanded.)

Section 5. Pre-emption. This Executive Order is intended to pre-empt the laws of States or political subdivisions that infringe upon the rights of citizens to keep and bear the arms designated in Section 4.

Section 6. Judicial Notice. That the judges of all State and Federal Courts are hereby given notice that possession of the designated Militia Rifles and accessories by citizens should not be restricted or infringed upon by State laws or the laws of a political subdivision of a State and any such law should be reviewed under the strict scrutiny standard to determine whether it is a violation of the Constitution of the United States after judicial consideration of this Order and the fact that it was issued by the Commander in Chief of the Militia.

Donald J. Trump

THE WHITE HOUSE

March __, 2017

PROPOSED EXECUTIVE ORDER DESIGNATES MILITIA RIFLES FOR CITIZEN OWNERSHIP
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President Trump less authoritarian than Obama on: February 24, 2017, 09:19:28 PM
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445185/trump-less-authoritarian-obama
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / EVerything is fuct on: February 24, 2017, 09:18:41 PM
https://markmanson.net/everything-is-fucked
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Representative Keith Ellison on: February 24, 2017, 09:14:09 PM
Perez is seen by many as the probably winner.
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: February 24, 2017, 09:13:35 PM
I did not know that.  Point taken.
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: February 24, 2017, 09:11:35 PM
IMHO China's weakness is not its military, but its need to export, its' non-performing loans etc, and its demographics.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Just how warm was it? on: February 24, 2017, 09:09:47 PM
http://kirkmellish.blog.wsbradio.com/2017/02/23/just-how-warm-any-chill/
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Representative Keith Ellison's questionable ties on: February 24, 2017, 04:07:49 PM


http://www.meforum.org/6547/keith-ellison-questionable-ties?utm_source=Middle+East+Forum&utm_campaign=e1e13260bb-litwin_oren_2017_02_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_086cfd423c-e1e13260bb-33691909&goal=0_086cfd423c-e1e13260bb-33691909
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Spicer chooses press on: February 24, 2017, 01:28:17 PM
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/321049-white-house-hand-picks-select-media-for-briefing
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: February 24, 2017, 01:23:46 PM
Disagree.

If I have it right, as a matter of international law this is part of asserting the right of free passage in international waters.  If the right goes unasserted, it can be lost.
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: A defining rivalry in South Asia on: February 24, 2017, 01:21:48 PM

A Defining Rivalry in South Asia
Analysis
February 24, 2017 | 09:00 GMT Print
Text Size
Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar held a strategic dialogue with Chinese officials in Beijing on Feb. 22 to discuss some of the issues that have strained the countries' relationship over the past year. (BIJU BORO/AFP/Getty Images)
Summary

India and China have a complicated relationship. Though the two nations — home to over one-third of the world's population — are partners in a $70 billion trade relationship, they are also rivals. As China's economic and military clout has grown, it has worked to increase its influence in South Asia, undertaking infrastructure projects in countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In the process, however, it has encroached on what India traditionally considers its sphere of influence. It is within this context that Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar kicked off a three-nation tour Feb. 18, during which he participated in India's first strategic dialogue with the Chinese government. In fact, India's relationship with China colored the whole trip: Even Jaishankar's stops in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the other destinations on his trip, highlighted the economic and strategic competition in South Asia between the two countries.
Analysis

Over the past year, India's historically rocky relationship with China has gotten rockier. Jaishankar aimed to smooth over some of the problems by discussing militancy, India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the disputed region of Kashmir with China's state chancellor and foreign minister. The Indian government has been frustrated by China's refusal to approve the U.N. Security Council motion to sanction Masood Azhar, founder of Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad. It is similarly vexed that China vetoed India's accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group during last year's plenary session and that Beijing is moving forward with plans to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through Pakistan-administered Kashmir. (India objects to the CPEC, part of China's One Belt, One Road initiative, because it claims that by routing the project through Pakistan's share of Kashmir, China is implicitly recognizing Pakistan's sovereignty over the contested area.) Whatever the explicit focus of the talks, the subtext was clear: Pakistan is complicating China's relationship with India.
Bizarre Foreign Policy Triangle

In fact, the growing tension between India and China in 2016 roughly coincided with the flare-up between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. Pakistan is an important economic and strategic partner for China. The CPEC, which will connect China's underdeveloped Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan's Balochistan province, will offer China another export outlet to the Arabian Sea. China recognizes, moreover, that its strategic alliance with Pakistan makes any military threat from India easier to manage for the simple fact that two nuclear powers are stronger than one. With that in mind, China started supporting Pakistan's nuclear weapons program in the 1980s.

So long as China is pursuing enhanced ties with Pakistan, it will continue to block India's requests to blacklist Azhar, admit it to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and modify the CPEC project. Beijing understands that yielding to the pleas from India and the United States to sanction Azhar, a proponent of Kashmiri secession, would hurt Pakistan's interests. Similarly, China vetoed India's accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group in part to protest Pakistan's exclusion from the organization. (China cited India's failure to sign on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the official reason for its vote.) It is unlikely that Jaishankar managed to sway Beijing on any of these issues during his talks with Chinese leaders Feb. 22.

Furthermore, the matters that Jaishankar raised in the strategic dialogue are only a few of the factors straining India's relationship with China. As part of his "Make in India" campaign to boost manufacturing in his country, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the "Neighborhood First" policy to strengthen India's trade ties with its neighboring countries. Interregional trade accounts for just 5 percent of total economic activity in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, a bloc that comprises India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. (By comparison, trade among the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations accounts for 25 percent of the organization's trade, and EU members conduct 60 percent of their trade within the bloc.) Modi hopes to increase trade with countries in South Asia, not only for economic gain but also to counter China's economic influence in the region.

Putting the Neighborhood First

China's sway in Sri Lanka has been increasing since 2005, when it increased its military aid to the island nation's government in Colombo. The support eventually helped the Sri Lankan government win its decadeslong civil war against the Tamil Tigers in 2009. Sri Lanka returned the favor by granting China control over key port projects, including the Hambantota port and the surrounding 6,000-hectare (15,000-acre) industrial zone. But as recent protests against the project revealed, many Sri Lankans are wary of China's growing involvement in their country.

India hopes to launch infrastructure projects of its own in Sri Lanka to offset China's endeavors in the country. To that end, India's Export-Import Bank granted Colombo an $800 million loan for the Northern Railway Rehabilitation Project. The initiative is part of New Delhi's effort to help members of the ethnic Tamil community living in Sri Lanka's northern and eastern regions, many of whom are still struggling after the war. Like China, however, India will have to navigate the delicate balance between Sri Lanka's Tamil minority and its majority-Sinhalese government — a challenge Jaishankar gamely accepted on his visit to the country. Meeting with leaders of the opposition Tamil National Alliance on his first stop in Sri Lanka, Jaishankar urged them to soften their calls to join the northern and eastern provinces into a Tamil-majority province. The party has been lobbying Colombo to include the merger in the country's new constitution, which aims to balance the competing demands of Sri Lanka's various political and ethnic groups.

On the last leg of his trip, Jaishankar stopped in Bangladesh, another South Asian country where China and India are investing in infrastructure. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed $24 billion in agreements with the government in Dhaka in 2016. Among the 27 deals he clinched was an agreement for a thermal power plant in Patuakhali district. India, meanwhile, has projects of its own in Bangladesh, including the Indo-Bangla Rampal plant, a 1,320-megawatt coal-based power plant close to the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest. In addition, Modi granted Bangladesh a $2 billion line of credit during a visit to the country in 2015.

Jaishankar's visits to Sri Lanka, China and Bangladesh touched on important themes in Indian foreign policy and highlighted the areas in which they run up against China's priorities. Though Modi regards South Asia as India's neighborhood, China — which borders five countries in the region — has made it increasingly clear that it feels the same way. The mounting competition between the two powers will doubtless continue to shape South Asia's strategic and economic trajectory for decades to come.
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bigot shoots Indians on: February 24, 2017, 12:29:37 PM
And may well include blazing stupidity like this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/24/get-out-of-my-country-kansan-reportedly-yelled-before-shooting-2-men-from-india-killing-one/?utm_term=.b72d992963d7&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VDH on false ID by illegal aliens on: February 24, 2017, 11:04:57 AM
‘False Documents’ Share article on Facebook share Tweet article tweet Plus one article on Google Plus +1 Print Article Adjust font size AA by Victor Davis Hanson February 23, 2017 11:02 AM @vdhanson The Wall Street Journal wrote an unfortunate and misleading op-ed today on the new protocols on illegal immigration issued by the Department of Homeland Security — epitomized by the Journal’s weird sentence, “Mr. Kelly’s order is so sweeping that it could capture law-abiding immigrants whose only crime is using false documents to work.” Only crime? (And what a string of oxymorons: “law-abiding”/“crime”/“false documents”!) The WSJ should know that “false documents” are seldom used just “to work,” but are part and parcel of a continuous process of misleading or defrauding the system in nearly every transaction with government and private enterprise. “False documents” do not imply a misspelled middle name or a day or two off the correct date of birth, or some sort of innocuous pseudonym. No, they involve the deliberate creation of a false identity, sometimes at the expense of a real person, and often with accompanying fraudulent Social Security numbers and photo identifications — crimes that both foul up the bureaucracy for law-abiding citizens, facilitate other crimes, and are the sort of felonies that most Americans would lose their jobs over and face either jail time or stiff fines. And often they are the second crimes — following not “law-abiding” behavior but the initial crime of entering and residing in the United States unlawfully. The WSJ’s editors some time should wake up and find a wrecked car sitting on their property (that went off the road and airborne and did thousands of dollars of damage), the driver having fled and the registration on the abandoned vehicle proving to be a “false document,” or better yet, discovering that one’s check-routing number was printed on “false document” checks to facilitate theft of thousands of dollars, or having someone speed off after hitting your mailbox only to find from sheriffs that the license-plate numbers revealed a “false document” identity, or going to a market in the San Joaquin Valley while the person ahead of you tries four EBT cards in succession under “false document” names before one is found to have a positive balance, or waiting in line in a doctor’s office as the receptionist politely explains to the person ahead of you that the health card presented has a name that does not match the driver’s license presented. The use of “false documents” is not an end game or mere infraction, but rather the doorway to all sorts of subsequent falsification and fraud that does enormous damage both to the system in general and to individuals in particular. As I wrote today, Americans are compassionate people and might well countenance allowing illegal-immigrant aliens without subsequent criminal records, but with a record of some years of established residence and a productive work history without dependence on social welfare, to pay a fine, apply for a green card, and become legalized residents — all the while maintaining residence in the U.S. But the idea that illegal immigrants who assume false identities or lie on government documents thereby commit minor infractions is, well, outrageous.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445176/wall-street-journal-immigration-editorial-false-documents-crime?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Trending%20Email%20Reoccurring-%20Monday%20to%20Thursday%202017-02-23&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian and/or Chinese solution to American stealth? on: February 24, 2017, 11:00:26 AM
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/stealth-killer-how-russia-or-china-could-crush-americas-f-35-19511
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: February 24, 2017, 10:17:45 AM
Very glad to see we are sailing an aircraft carrier there right now.
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mexico admits enabling Haitians to get to US border on: February 24, 2017, 10:16:51 AM
Strong article there GM.

Note the temporary visas granted Haitians so they can get to US border mentioned in this article:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/23/mexico-chides-us-on-trump-immigration-policies-adm/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTURFd1pUZzJZekl3T1RZeiIsInQiOiJwXC8rZ2FCd2s5R1lxbFBqVzAycnY3NGJjWGY1VW5sREVocCtDbGdvcjFKR2JrNnlaVzNMZUxxeHhkeDZZMERTTnF2dktzM243bDlsaFRMNHRCVFJrcGl6WG1mekVxOEFUR3NmUThzbzZ2QlZFVHh5MWRyc1VsU3dRVFRcL2dcL3hsQiJ9
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Brainstorming what to do about it on: February 23, 2017, 08:38:54 PM
second post

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445182/china-tests-trump-south-china-sea-taiwan-key?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Trending%20Email%20Reoccurring-%20Monday%20to%20Thursday%202017-02-23&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China says foreign subs must surface; surface tp air missiles? on: February 23, 2017, 08:10:03 PM
http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2017/02/beijing-wants-limit-foreign-submarine-operations-near-its-south-china-sea-islands/135582/

https://sofrep.com/75496/china-nears-completion-on-island-structures-that-may-house-long-range-missiles-in-south-china-sea/
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump open to legalizing pot/drugs? OTOH , , , on: February 23, 2017, 08:04:16 PM
http://livingresistance.com/2017/02/22/president-trump-legalizing-drugs-will-end-violent-cartels/

http://reason.com/blog/2017/02/23/white-house-expects-greater-enforcement
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: President Trump on: February 23, 2017, 07:55:02 PM
Note the subject line "Caveat lector" i.e.  "Let the reader beware"!
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Scalia humor on: February 23, 2017, 12:51:22 PM
http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/328728bb97/coheed-and-cambria-sing-antonin-scalia-s-dissenting-opinions
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reuters: McMaster on: February 23, 2017, 12:45:20 PM
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-mcmaster-idUSKBN1602Q5
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Illegals going to Canada on: February 23, 2017, 12:42:20 PM
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immgration-canada-border-idUSKBN1602NG
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Aging White South African Mercenaires hunting Boko Haram on: February 23, 2017, 12:35:37 PM
Kind of reads like a planted advertisement, but interesting nonetheless , , ,

http://afkinsider.com/96020/ageing-white-south-african-mercenaries-bring-boko-harams-reign-of-terror-in-nigeria-to-an-end/
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Caveat lector: Leaker identified? on: February 23, 2017, 12:33:53 PM
http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/02/breaking-report-white-house-deputy-chief-staff-nevertrumper-kate-walsh-source-leaks/
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Denmark: Blasphemy on: February 23, 2017, 11:19:38 AM
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/denmark-man-burned-quran-koran-video-blasphemy-facebook-islam-prosecuted-charged-46-years-a7594796.html
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Serious Read on Media Matters on: February 23, 2017, 11:10:08 AM
second post

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/225587/trump-american-press?utm_source=tabletmagazinelist&utm_campaign=9bc75bc0b3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_02_23&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c308bf8edb-9bc75bc0b3-207194629
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / AIM takes on CNN on: February 23, 2017, 09:51:05 AM
http://www.aim.org/aim-column/how-cnn-recycled-last-years-fake-news/
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Illegal aliens and Social Security on: February 23, 2017, 08:51:06 AM
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/22/feds-paid-1-billion-in-social-security-benefits-to-individuals-without-ssn.html

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/30/irs-doesnt-tell-1-million-taxpayers-that-illegal-i/
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Illegal aliens on: February 23, 2017, 08:50:27 AM
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/22/feds-paid-1-billion-in-social-security-benefits-to-individuals-without-ssn.html

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/30/irs-doesnt-tell-1-million-taxpayers-that-illegal-i/
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia's Borders in Thirty Years? on: February 23, 2017, 08:34:54 AM
http://www.hoover.org/research/russias-borders-thirty-years-vision-not-certainty
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: NASA continues its journey in Space on: February 23, 2017, 08:32:56 AM

NASA Continues Its Journey in Space
Geopolitical Diary
February 23, 2017 | 01:12 GMT Text Size
Print
NASA researchers have yet to find evidence of life on the seven planets in the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanet system, but looking for it provides discoveries of its own. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Life is a journey, not a destination." The sentiment applies as much to life on Earth as it does to the search for life beyond it. On Wednesday, a research team led by NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets in orbit around TRAPPIST-1, an ultracool dwarf star located nearly 40 light-years (about 378 trillion kilometers or 235 trillion miles) away. All seven planets may have liquid water on their surface, and three are located in the exoplanet system's habitable zone, the area that could sustain life, though researchers have yet to find evidence of either. Even if NASA confirms that life exists outside of our planet, it will likely be too far away for Earth's inhabitants to interact with it anytime soon. As the researchers acknowledged in their news conference, discovering life beyond Earth is not the point of looking for it. Instead, it's the process — and the discoveries and inventions born of it — that counts.

Since the V-2 rocket was first deployed in World War II, aeronautic and atmospheric research have been prized for their military applications. But deep space exploration, astrophysics and planetary science research have always been at the fringes of scientific research and, by extension, funding. The farther research efforts in the fields have ventured, quite literally, the more trouble governments have had determining their tangible benefits and justifying their continuation. NASA's budget has been in steady decline since the height of the space race with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Furthermore, only a small portion of its budget — less than 30 percent this fiscal year — goes to space science, excluding human spaceflight.

Space missions beyond low-Earth orbit fall more or less into three categories. The first is long-range space exploration missions such as projects to send spacecraft to other bodies in our solar system. The second encompasses the study of Earth and planetary science, which NASA considers its bailiwick, while the third covers manned missions beyond Earth orbit. Because each category builds on the others, and all are inextricably linked, they are all equally valuable, even if the tangible benefits of each area aren't equally apparent. Planetary science, astrobiology and Earth science missions make up the platform of knowledge from which manned and long-range exploratory missions are launched. In the next several decades, travel to Mars or the outer solar system through unmanned — and perhaps even manned — missions will become easier and more frequent. But to undertake these kinds of ambitious endeavors, researchers must first answer fundamental questions about where to go, what to study and how. Closer to home, space exploration offers invaluable insight into how our planet works. The study of solar irradiance, for instance, is important for understanding Earth's climate and the degree to which it is changing.

Even the most basic space missions, moreover, yield technological breakthroughs and inventions that pave the way for advances in engineering. Missions often require cutting-edge developments in areas such as solar energy storage and communication technology, high-temperature alloys and cryogenics. For example, NASA and its partners are currently developing the James Webb Space Telescope, an observational platform that will be instrumental in determining whether life exists in the TRAPPIST-1 system. One of the telescope's most important tools, the Mid-Infrared Instrument, will require scientists to use advanced cryogenic techniques that can then be employed in a growing number of applications in everyday life on Earth.

The breakthroughs and discoveries that a long-range exploratory mission produces are even more expansive. The number of engineering problems that must be overcome to send someone to Mars is staggering. And many questions — such as how to clean laundry — are not as simple as they might seem at first glance. Only space exploration gives scientists the chance to devise and test solutions to these problems, many of which exist in one iteration or another on Earth. The innovations required to support human life over the course of long-term missions, for example, will doubtless have applications back home.

But space science is about more than new technologies or even discoveries. Practically every branch of science developed as an offshoot of another discipline. Astronomy probably evolved from the study of celestial bodies in religious or philosophical pursuits. After the scientific revolution some centuries later, mathematicians and physicists began sharing their views and adding to the field, laying the foundations of modern astronomy. When Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler first began looking at the sky, they could not have comprehended the applications that their findings would be used in centuries later. Today, the benefits of looking for life beyond Earth may seem elusive, but only time will tell what the journey has in store.
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jihadism: An eerily familiar threat on: February 23, 2017, 08:28:19 AM


By Scott Stewart

As part of my day-to-day job, I read a lot of news reports, books and scholarly studies. Though the never-ending avalanche of information sometimes feels like a mild version of electronic waterboarding, it also allows me to pick out interesting parallels between different events. Not long ago I re-read Blood and Rage, an excellent book by historian Michael Burleigh that outlines the cultural history of terrorism. As I flipped through the chapters on nihilist and anarchist terrorism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, I couldn't help but notice some intriguing similarities to jihadism. This week I'll share them with you to put the modern threat that jihadists pose into better context.

The technological tools today's jihadists use are certainly new; after all, the internet and social media only emerged over the past few decades. But many of the tactics they rely on are as old as terrorism itself. And despite the more primitive means at their disposal, anarchists were often far more successful than their jihadist counterparts in using propaganda and the media to recruit, radicalize and equip their followers.
Spreading the Word

For the most part, the guiding philosophies of anarchist and jihadist terrorism are quite different. Their views on the nature of man and universe radically diverge, as do the global systems each seeks to establish through political violence. But they are also pretty alike in a few key ways. Both anarchists and jihadists view themselves as a vanguard able to awake and mobilize their respective masses — the proletariat and the ummah — to destroy the current order and replace it with a utopian society. Moreover, both hold a strict dualistic view of the world. Whereas anarchists saw a global society divided into proletariat versus bourgeoisie, jihadists see it as true Muslims pitted against the rest of the world. And the hatred anarchists felt for the bourgeoisie is not unlike the loathing jihadists have for their apostate and non-Muslim enemies.

This dualistic worldview, founded on hatred of "the other," led first anarchists, and later jihadists, to welcome the idea of martyrdom if needed to conduct an attack. Many anarchists carried cyanide capsules to keep from being captured alive, flaunting their embrace of death in pursuit of their lofty ambitions. Like jihadists, they also relied on convoluted logic to justify mass casualty attacks that hurt or killed people who did not belong to the oppressive ruling class. Anarchists bombed theaters, restaurants, cafes, hotels, religious processions and train terminals — targets that modern jihadists would eventually set their sights on as well. Anarchists also attacked the press, bombing the Los Angeles Times building in 1910 and conducting what may have been the United States' first vehicle bombing in 1920. (That year, they used a horse-drawn wagon to carry a massive bomb to Wall Street's J.P. Morgan Bank before detonating it, killing 38 people — mostly couriers and other low-level workers — in the deadliest act of terrorism the country had ever seen.)

Though they didn't have the internet and 24-7 news outlets at their disposal, anarchists did have the telegraph and other communications technologies that greatly expanded the reach of the press in the late 1800s. In fact, these tools gave anarchists a way to broadcast their message and propaganda worldwide, while heavy and sensationalist media coverage of their attacks helped them to recruit grassroots followers to their cause. Just as jihadists have done today, anarchists encouraged and took credit for the actions of lone actors and small cells that answered their calls for action with guns, knives and bombs.

This also gave rise to copycats who were inspired by anarchists' activities abroad and attempted to mimic them, some perhaps even hoping to gain the fame and notoriety of the attackers highlighted in the press. For example, Leon Czolgosz — the anarchist who shot and killed U.S. President William McKinley — was motivated by Gaetano Bresci's assassination of Italian King Umberto I in July 1890. Investigators found that Czolgosz had collected several news clippings about Bresci and the assassination; he even purchased the .32-caliber Iver Johnson revolver that he used to kill McKinley after reading that it was the gun Bresci had used to shoot the king. Of course, this kind of transnational inspiration wasn't confined to the United States and Europe; grassroots anarchists also launched attacks in Argentina and Australia. By the early 1900s, propaganda and press coverage had turned anarchist terrorism into a global phenomenon, much as they have helped fueled the rise of grassroots jihadism today.
Different Degrees of Success

During their heyday, anarchists managed to assassinate a number of world leaders. In addition to McKinley and Umberto, they killed Russian Czar Alexander II, French President Sadi Carnot, Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Canovas, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Portuguese King Carlos I and his son, Crown Prince Luis Filipe, and Greek King George I. And those were just the attempts that succeeded.

Jihadists share similar ambitions, but so far they have fallen short. Though jihadists killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, they tried and failed to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Their efforts to urge supporters to kill international economic leaders have likewise failed to achieve the same success that anarchists did in their campaign against the world's industrialists. And while anarchists were never able to build a workers' paradise akin to the jihadists' caliphate, their ideological rivals — the Marxists — carried class warfare and the vision of a socialist utopia much further, and in a far more lasting way, than jihadists have in the Middle East.
A Recognizable Response

Anarchist terrorism, and the pervasive press coverage of it, generated widespread fear in the same way jihadist terrorism has today. According to a December 2015 Gallup poll, some 51 percent of Americans are very worried or somewhat worried that they or their family members will become a victim of terrorism. A figure this high hasn't been seen since October 2001, despite the fact that jihadists have not pulled off the follow-up attack to 9/11 they have long threatened. In fact, only 163 Americans have died in terrorist attacks of any kind since September 2001, coming out to an average of 10.87 deaths each year. In other words, the odds that a given American will die in a terrorist attack this year are about 1 in 29 million — and yet still more than half of Americans fear it will happen to them or their loved ones. A March 2016 Gallup poll asked Americans, "How much do you personally worry about the possibility of future terrorist attacks in the United States?" Of those who responded, 48 percent said "a great deal" and 23 percent said "a fair amount." Clearly, terrorism is still punching well above its weight because of the fear it engenders. And that kind of popular panic has been known to lead to dramatic policy changes.

In the wake of McKinley's assassination and a string of other anarchist attacks, Washington began to change the roles and responsibilities of the country's security agencies. The Secret Service took charge of protecting the president, and in time the FBI was created. Anarchist terrorism also forced law enforcement agencies to alter how they operated and collected intelligence. Their foreign counterparts made similar adjustments in countries such as the United Kingdom and France.

A second wave of change occurred in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The United States created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security. It also introduced a host of modifications to the way law enforcement and intelligence agencies worked. Comparable changes are now being made overseas in response to a spate of jihadist attacks in Europe — changes that continue to this day.

The public's response to terrorism is oddly familiar as well. By and large, anarchists in the United States were of foreign birth or extraction; Czolgosz, on the other hand, was actually American by birth. The activities of these radical bomb-throwers and assassins with foreign-sounding names such as Czolgosz, Sacco and Vanzetti sparked a popular and legislative backlash against immigrants. In March 1903, Congress passed an immigration law nicknamed the "Anarchist Exclusion Act" that was intended to block foreign anarchists from entering the United States. Regulations were tightened even further in 1918 after the law was deemed ineffective. The same type of sentiment is behind the recent U.S. executive order to temporarily prevent immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from reaching America's shores. Either way, it is clear that the evolution of the modern jihadist movement — and the public's responses to it — are not quite as unprecedented as some may think.
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