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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Flash of Light at Conception on: March 21, 2017, 04:16:45 PM
http://www.dailywire.com/news/5285/flash-light-occurs-moment-conception-james-barrett
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Left's betrayal of Ex-Muslims on: March 21, 2017, 03:44:58 PM
http://quillette.com/2017/03/16/on-betrayal-by-the-left-talking-with-ex-muslim-sarah-haider/
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 21, 2017, 03:31:29 PM
https://www.wsj.com/articles/buying-appetite-returns-to-global-markets-1490063629
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ/Stpehens: Demographics, Immigration, and "other people's babies" on: March 21, 2017, 03:25:32 PM
 By Bret Stephens
March 20, 2017 7:02 p.m. ET
583 COMMENTS

Tokyo

Japan is an excellent place to test the proposition that countries do better with low levels of immigration. In a land of 127 million people, there are just over two million foreign residents, and only a third of them are here for the long term. The number of illegal immigrants, which peaked at a modest 300,000 in the early 1990s, is down by 80%.

As for refugees, in 2016, Tokyo entertained 10,000 requests for asylum. It accepted a grand total of 28. Steve Bannon would smile.

The result, say immigration restrictionists, is plain to see. Japan’s crime and drug-use rates are famously low. Life expectancy is famously high. Japanese students put their American peers to shame on international tests. The unemployment rate clocks in at 3.1%. All this is supposed to be a function of a homogenous society with a high degree of cultural cohesion—the antithesis of cacophonous, multiethnic America.

Just one problem: The Japanese have lost their appetite for reproduction. To steal a line from Steve King, the GOP congressman from Iowa, the only way they can save their civilization is with “somebody else’s babies.”

Japan’s population shrank by nearly a million between 2010 and 2015, the first absolute decline since census-taking began in the 1920s. On current trend the population will fall to 97 million by the middle of the century. Barely 10% of Japanese will be children. The rest of the population will divide almost evenly between working-age adults and the elderly.

Imagine yourself as a 35-year-old Japanese salary man. You can expect that an ever-larger share of your paycheck will go to the government to fund the pensions and health care of your parents—who, at 70, can reasonably expect to live another 10 or 15 years, and who aren’t likely to vote for politicians promising to strip their entitlements.

Being Japanese, you were raised to make financial sacrifices for your elders, even if it means not having children of your own. Besides, it’s hard to want children with the economy in such bad shape. As Morgan Stanley’s Ruchir Sharma has noted, lousy demographics mean a lousy economy: The average rate of GDP growth in countries with shrinking working-age populations is only 1.5%. In 2016, Japan’s growth rate was 1%—and that was a relatively good year by recent standards.

What if the government paid you to have babies? Alas, along with millions of your countrymen, you suffer from what the Japanese call “celibacy syndrome” and aren’t interested in sex, never mind procreation. You’re also unhappy: In 2016, Japan ranked 53rd on the U.N.’s World Happiness Report, a notch above Kazakhstan but below El Salvador and Uzbekistan.

So Japan is in trouble, and the government knows it. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tinkered with formulas to bring in lower-skilled temporary workers for housecleaning and farm jobs, and he has promoted various tax breaks and subsidies to ease the burden of raising children and caring for aging parents.

But whatever their other benefits, “pro-family” policies won’t reverse the demographic trend. Only large-scale immigration can do that, and the Japanese won’t countenance it. The flip side of cohesion is exclusion. The consequence of exclusion is decline.

Which brings us back to Mr. King and the U.S. immigration debates. A decade ago, America’s fertility rate, at 2.12 children for every woman, was just above the replacement rate. That meant there could be modest population growth without immigration. But the fertility rate has since fallen: It’s now below replacement and at an all-time low.

Without immigration, our demographic destiny would become Japanese. But our culture wouldn’t, leaving us with the worst of both worlds: economic stagnation without social stability. Multiethnic America would tear itself to pieces fighting over redistribution rights to the shrinking national pie.

This doesn’t have to be our fate. Though it may be news to Mr. King, immigrants aren’t a threat to American civilization. They are our civilization—bearers of a forward-looking notion of identity based on what people wish to become, not who they once were. Among those immigrants are 30% of all American Nobel Prize winners and the founders of 90 of our Fortune 500 companies—a figure that more than doubles when you include companies founded by the children of immigrants. If immigration means change, it forces dynamism. America is literally unimaginable without it.

Every virtue has its defect and vice versa. The Japanese are in the process of discovering that the social values that once helped launch their development—loyalty, self-sacrifice, harmony—now inhibit it. Americans may need reminding that the culture of openness about which conservatives so often complain is our abiding strength. Openness to different ideas, foreign goods and new people. And their babies—who, whatever else Mr. King might think, are also made in God’s image.

Write bstephens@wsj.com.

Appeared in the Mar. 21, 2017, print edition.
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Humor on: March 21, 2017, 02:30:16 PM
https://patriotpost.us/humor/48074
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WaPo: No lap tops on certain airlines on: March 21, 2017, 02:11:06 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/03/21/trump-wont-allow-you-to-use-ipads-or-laptops-on-certain-airlines-heres-the-underlying-story/?utm_term=.d56be5183de4&wpisrc=nl_&wpmm=1
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Thanks to Merkel, sanctions continue on: March 21, 2017, 02:04:49 PM
We Built the Russia Sanctions to Last
Europe has stayed united behind them, and now Merkel seems to have brought Trump along.
By Edward Fishman
March 20, 2017 7:00 p.m. ET


Western sanctions on Russia have always seemed on the brink of collapse. Business interests have opposed them, and perspectives on Russia within the European Union—which requires unanimity to make foreign-policy decisions—have been anything but uniform. Skeptics claimed the West has only a passing interest in Ukraine, whereas Ukraine’s geopolitical disposition is of crucial importance to Russia. The implication was that Moscow could surely wait out Washington and Brussels.

Yet here we are: Sanctions remain in place three years after the West first imposed them and two months after the inauguration of President Trump. And there are few signs that is about to change.

In an otherwise awkward press conference last Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Trump sounded harmonious notes on Ukraine policy. Mr. Trump praised Mrs. Merkel’s “leadership” on conflict resolution in Ukraine, and Mrs. Merkel noted that she was “very gratified to know that the American administration and also the president, personally, commits himself to the Minsk process.” That suggests Mr. Trump assured Mrs. Merkel he will stand by the existing policy of maintaining sanctions until Russia pulls back from eastern Ukraine.

As one of the diplomats involved in creating the sanctions, I am not surprised they have endured. We designed them to be sustainable—to apply meaningful pressure on Russia without risking a short-term economic crisis or overly burdening any one constituency in the U.S. or Europe. And good communication has prevented minor disagreements between Washington and European capitals from snowballing into threats to trans-Atlantic unity.

Why have sanctions proved so resilient? For starters, the EU has shown remarkable leadership and solidarity. Although semiannual decisions on whether to renew sanctions have caused jitters, the outcomes were never seriously in doubt. Despite frequent anti-sanctions rhetoric, no EU leader has challenged them head-on, and the EU’s biggest player—Mrs. Merkel’s Germany—has been a consistent supporter.

Even though any single EU member could veto sanctions, potential spoilers such as Russia-friendly Greece and Hungary have never posed a practical threat. That’s because a motion to break unanimity by a small country could cause a constitutional crisis in the EU. Many EU states might even refuse to implement a veto, undermining the legal and normative solidarity of the union writ large. None of the would-be spoilers are interested in accelerating the deterioration of the EU, so the veto option has never made sense.

Another reason sanctions have endured is that they haven’t harmed the U.S. or European economy in any serious way. Western sanctions on Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer by output, did not push oil prices upward, even as they froze some of the company’s major development projects. The same is true for sanctions against Russia’s six largest banks, which squeezed their finances but did not lead to broader contagion.

Because blowback was so limited, “sanctions fatigue” was turned on its head. Instead of becoming harder to stomach over time, sanctions faced their most intense business opposition in the beginning. As American and European companies have found alternative markets, living with Russia sanctions has become progressively easier for them.

A third reason for the durability of sanctions is that the U.S. and EU quickly settled on criteria for lifting them. In March 2015, all 28 EU leaders agreed that the core economic sanctions were “clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements,” the peace accords to resolve the Ukraine conflict. The Group of Seven leaders echoed the sentiment in June 2015.

This benchmark greatly simplified the EU’s semiannual decisions to renew sanctions. As long as Russia and its proxies continued to control parts of eastern Ukraine, there was no justification to undo sanctions. Only new rollback criteria endorsed by all EU leaders could alter this dynamic.

It is fair to ask whether the rise of Donald Trump has changed this equation. It isn’t far-fetched to assume Mr. Trump might try to cancel sanctions or that his rhetoric will erode cohesion in the EU.

The president does have the authority to end U.S. sanctions unilaterally. Unlike in the Iran context, Congress has been a paper tiger on Russia, frequently denouncing the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine but passing no significant laws that enhance or even codify existing sanctions. And in Europe, Mr. Trump’s “America first” rhetoric will only increase suspicions—hitherto groundless—that the U.S. is using sanctions to strengthen the competitive positions of American companies.

But it now seems doubtful that trans-Atlantic sanctions will end in the way most frequently envisioned: with the EU throwing in the towel. The irony of the present moment is that the EU—so often dismissed as “soft” on Russia—has emerged as the West’s bulwark. Even German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, one of Europe’s most vocal critics of sanctions, is encouraging Washington to hold firm.

Brussels’ unity on this critical issue should stand as a lesson that the EU is hardly feckless; it is a tremendous boon to American foreign policy. It may be frustrating to corral a bloc of more than two dozen European states, but when the EU settles on a policy, it can be a potent and steadfast force.

Mr. Fishman, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, served at the State Department, 2013-17.
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: March 21, 2017, 01:58:07 PM
"He also won the peeing for distance women's championship."

 cheesy cheesy cheesy
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: March 21, 2017, 01:57:15 PM
"If you combine the other right leaning candidates vote percentages of Libertarian Gary Johnson and conservative alternative candidate Evan McMullen with Trump's total, 53% chose Trump or one of these over Hillary Clinton."

This raises the possibility of a potential interesting talking point:

If we assign the third party votes to the probable Rep/Dem candidate (e.g. Green to Hillary, Libertarian to Trump, etc) who would have won the popular vote?

60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WaPo (POTP) Manafort laundered payments? on: March 21, 2017, 01:53:45 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/new-documents-say-trump-aide-hid-payments-from-pro-moscow-ukraine-party/2017/03/21/92ec85f2-0e11-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.f58361f099e9&wpisrc=nl_&wpmm=1
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FOX pulls Napolitano on: March 21, 2017, 11:22:38 AM
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fox-pulls-napolitano-air-trump-report-023807823--politics.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2017/03/17/the-battle-within-fox-news/?tid=paid_outbrain&utm_term=.c97dfa6a0f45
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cinco de Mayo cancelled in Philadlephia on: March 21, 2017, 11:20:31 AM
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/20/cinco-de-mayo-canceled-mexicans-fear-trump-deporta/?utm_source=activeengage&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=activeengage
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glick defends Gorka on: March 20, 2017, 02:47:07 PM
https://pjmedia.com/spengler/2017/03/17/i-denounce-the-shameful-slanders-against-sebastian-gorka-friend-of-israel/
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Most of NATO coming up way short on spending, including Germany on: March 19, 2017, 11:53:39 PM
http://thefederalistpapers.org/us/trump-doesnt-mince-words-tells-germany-to-pay-up
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VDH: The End of Identity Politics on: March 19, 2017, 11:31:17 PM
http://www.hoover.org/research/end-identity-politics

66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Napolitano: Obama did spy on Trump via the Brits on: March 19, 2017, 11:10:12 PM
From three days ago:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/16/andrew-napolitano-did-obama-spy-on-trump.html
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Flint, Michigan on: March 19, 2017, 10:56:45 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/09/us/flint-mayor-water-crisis-lawsuit/index.html
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A Threesome , , , on: March 19, 2017, 10:55:42 PM
http://cw33.com/2017/03/18/mosque-protest-and-counter-protest-in-richardson-upstaged-by-third-group/
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WH installs aides at cabinet agency meetings to be Trump's eyes and ears on: March 19, 2017, 10:51:09 PM


https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/white-house-installs-political-aides-at-cabinet-agencies-to-be-trumps-eyes-and-ears/2017/03/19/68419f0e-08da-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.cbb9bb16a8e0
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, and Morris Dees on: March 19, 2017, 10:48:13 PM
I remember giving to his anti-KKK campaign, but stopped when I saw what he was , , ,

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/03/19/the_hate_group_that_incited_the_middlebury_melee_133377.html
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTP: First Generation Chinese oppose Sanctuary Cities on: March 19, 2017, 10:41:14 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/these-first-generation-chinese-americans-are-loudly-opposing-sanctuary-laws/2017/03/17/92728e94-09db-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.a8870bfda161
72  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Community Stick/Staff Fights in Berkeley and Elsewhere on: March 19, 2017, 10:40:34 PM
Mick C:

Yes, you get it.
73  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Murder or Self-Defense in No Knock Raids on: March 19, 2017, 10:38:18 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/18/us/texas-no-knock-warrant-drugs.html?emc=edit_ta_20170319&nl=top-stories&nlid=49641193&ref=cta&_r=0

74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A left attack backfires on: March 19, 2017, 07:47:20 PM
http://thefederalistpapers.org/us/leftists-attack-melania-trump-immediately-backfires?utm_source=FBLC&utm_medium=FB&utm_campaign=LC
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A Eulogy for Alex on: March 19, 2017, 04:37:20 PM
A Eulogy for Alex
By Brett & Kate McKay on Mar 18, 2017 09:11 pm
 
Editor’s note: Ten days after his son, Alex, drove off a bridge and was killed in a car accident, Reverend William Sloane Coffin delivered the following sermon to his congregation at Riverside Church in New York City.

I was first introduced to this sermon years ago in a college communications course, and I have thought of it with surprising regularity ever since. Its presence in my mind has been so frequent, especially recently after the loss of a dear friend, that I finally decided to share it here. Not because our diverse readership will agree with all of its theological underpinnings, but because I think it offers wise advice on what to say (and not say) when someone dies tragically, a poignant window on the human experience, and a lesson in the art of effective rhetoric (hence why we were discussing it in a communications class). It’s just one of those things I think is worth a read by all. Actually, it’s even more worth a listen; it’s considerably more powerful in the oral form in which it was delivered, and the audio can be accessed here.

__________________
As almost all of you know, a week ago last Monday night, driving in a terrible storm, my son — Alexander — who to his friends was a real day-brightener, and to his family “fair as a star when only one is shining in the sky” — my twenty-four-year-old Alexander, who enjoyed beating his old man at every game and in every race, beat his father to the grave.

Among the healing flood of letters that followed his death was one carrying this wonderful quote from the end of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms:
“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.”

My own broken heart is mending, and largely thanks to so many of you, my dear parishioners; for if in the last week I have relearned one lesson, it is that love not only begets love, it transmits strength.

When a person dies, there are many things that can be said, and there is at least one thing that should never be said. The night after Alex died I was sitting in the living room of my sister’s house outside of Boston, when the front door opened and in came a nice-looking, middle-aged woman, carrying about eighteen quiches. When she saw me, she shook her head, then headed for the kitchen, saying sadly over her shoulder, “I just don’t understand the will of God.” Instantly I was up and in hot pursuit, swarming all over her. “I’ll say you don’t, lady!” I said.

For some reason, nothing so infuriates me as the incapacity of seemingly intelligent people to get it through their heads that God doesn’t go around this world with his fingers on triggers, his fists around knives, his hands on steering wheels. God is dead set against all unnatural deaths. And Christ spent an inordinate amount of time delivering people from paralysis, insanity, leprosy, and muteness. Which is not to say that there are no nature-caused deaths — I can think of many right here in this parish in the five years I’ve been here — deaths that are untimely and slow and pain-ridden, which for that reason raise unanswerable questions, and even the specter of a Cosmic Sadist — yes, even an Eternal Vivisector. But violent deaths, such as the one Alex died — to understand those is a piece of cake. As his younger brother put it simply, standing at the head of the casket at the Boston funeral, “You blew it, buddy. You blew it.” The one thing that should never be said when someone dies is “It is the will of God.” Never do we know enough to say that. My own consolation lies in knowing that it was not the will of God that Alex die; that when the waves closed over the sinking car, God’s heart was the first of all our hearts to break.

I mentioned the healing flood of letters. Some of the very best, and easily the worst, knew their Bibles better than the human condition. I know all the “right” biblical passages, including “Blessed are those who mourn,” and my faith is no house of rest, came from fellow reverends, a few of whom proved they knew their cards; these passages are true, I know. But the point is this. While the words of the Bible are true, grief renders them unreal. The reality of grief is the absence of God — “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The reality of grief is the solitude of pain, the feeling that your heart is in pieces, your mind’s a blank, that “there is no joy the world can give like that it takes away.” (Lord Byron).

That’s why immediately after such a tragedy people must come to your rescue, people who only want to hold your hand, not to quote anybody or even say anything, people who simply bring food and flowers — the basics of beauty and life — people who sign letters simply, “Your brokenhearted sister.” In other words, in my intense grief I felt some of my fellow reverends — not many, and none of you, thank God — were using comforting words of Scripture for self-protection, to pretty up a situation whose bleakness they simply couldn’t face. But like God herself, Scripture is not around for anyone’s protection, just for everyone’s unending support.

And that’s what hundreds of you understood so beautifully. You gave me what God gives all of us — minimum protection, maximum support. I swear to you, I wouldn’t be standing here were I not upheld.

After the death of his wife, C.S. Lewis wrote, “They say ‘the coward dies many times’; so does the beloved. Didn’t the eagle find a fresh liver to tear in Prometheus every time it dined?”

When parents die, as my mother did last month, they take with them a large portion of the past. But when children die, they take away the future as well. That is what makes the valley of the shadow of death seem so incredibly dark and unending. In a prideful way it would be easier to walk the valley alone, nobly, head high, instead of — as we must — marching as the latest recruit in the world’s army of the bereaved.

Still there is much by way of consolation. Because there are no rankling unanswered questions, and because Alex and I simply adored each other, the wound for me is deep, but clean. I know how lucky I am! I also know this day-brightener of a son wouldn’t wish to be held close by grief (nor, for that matter, would any but the meanest of our beloved departed) and that, interestingly enough, when I mourn Alex least I see him best.

Another consolation, of course, will be the learning — which better be good, given the price. But it’s a fact: few of us are naturally profound. We have to be forced down. So while trite, it’s true:

I walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she;
But the things I learned from her
But oh, the things I learned from her
When sorrow walked with me.
–Robert Browning Hamilton

Or, in Emily Dickinson’s verse:

By a departing light
We see acuter quite
Than by a wick that stays.
There’s something in the flight
That clarifies the sight
And decks the rays.

And of course I know, even when pain is deep, that God is good. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Yes, but at least, “My God, my God”; and the psalm only begins that way, it doesn’t end that way. As the grief that once seemed unbearable begins to turn now to bearable sorrow, the truths in the “right” biblical passages are beginning, once again, to take hold: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall strengthen thee”; “Weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning”; “Lord, by thy favor thou hast made my mountain to stand strong”; “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling”; “In this world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”; “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

And finally I know that when Alex beat me to the grave, the finish line was not Boston Harbor in the middle of the night. If a week ago last Monday, a lamp went out, it was because, for him at least, the Dawn had come.

So I shall — so let us all — seek consolation in that love which never dies, and find peace in the dazzling grace that always is.
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Rand Paul looks to curtail Civil Forfeiture on: March 19, 2017, 11:03:46 AM
http://rare.us/rare-politics/populist/rand-paul-introduces-the-most-sweeping-reform-of-civil-asset-forfeiture-law-in-decades/
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hungary: Anti-semitism & Jews on: March 19, 2017, 10:45:56 AM
http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/227312/hungary-kirchick-end-of-europe?utm_source=tabletmagazinelist&utm_campaign=889bad77b0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_03_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c308bf8edb-889bad77b0-207194629
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump Administration searches for a MidEast policy on: March 19, 2017, 10:42:51 AM
The Trump Administration Searches for a MidEast Policy
A briefing by Thomas Parker
March 16, 2017
http://www.meforum.org/6595/the-trump-administration-searches-for-a-mideast
 
Thomas Parker teaches security studies at George Washington University. Previously, he served as a policy planner for the Middle East at the State Department and advised the secretary of defense. Mr. Parker briefed the Middle East Forum on March 6, 2017.

Summary account by Marilyn Stern, Middle East Forum Communications Coordinator.

After the frustrating Obama years, the conservative Arab states and Israel look forward with cautious optimism to the Trump era. But can the new administration address the numerous problems left by its predecessor? A quick review of the region's main trouble spots offers some clues:

• Iran. While the nuclear agreement seems likely to stand, it remains to be seen whether the administration will sustain its tough approach to Tehran's ballistic missile tests, which were not covered by the agreement. Judging by their cancellation of a new missile test following the American reprimand, the Iranians are likely to adhere to the agreement in the foreseeable future for fear of a U.S. or Israeli strike. The moment of truth will come when the agreement sunsets in seven or eight years, allowing Tehran to develop nuclear weapons virtually undetected.

• Turkey and the Kurds. Given longstanding Turkish-Kurdish tensions, the administration will need to weigh the relative balance of costs and benefits attending the Kurdish contribution to the anti-ISIS campaign and the military bases offered by Turkey. The administration may seek to allay Ankara's fears of the growing Kurdish assertiveness by increasing U.S. military presence in Syria.
 
An estimated 400 U.S. marines were deployed to Syria early this month.

• Iraq, Syria, and the war against Islamic State (ISIS). In line with President Trump's repeated vows to defeat ISIS, hundreds of U.S. Marines have recently arrived in Syria to expedite the attack on the terror group's capital of Raqqa. A general loosening of the rules of engagement will allow a more proactive approach, which will in turn lead to ISIS's eventual defeat in Syria and Iraq. For its part, the Assad regime will likely remain in power given Moscow's preference for a secular ruler.

• Egypt. After the chilly Obama-Sisi relationship, a significant warming in U.S.-Egyptian ties is likely, and notably the resumption of close military cooperation.

• Israel. The widespread euphoria in right-wing circles over Trump's election has ebbed as the administration adopts a more conventional approach to both the West Bank and moving the embassy to Jerusalem. A consensus seems to be emerging in Washington whereby neighborhoods within the security barrier, comprising some 80 percent of the West Bank's Jewish population, would be allowed to expand but those outside the barrier would not. Thus far, most Israeli discussions with the administration, including in Netanyahu's meeting with Trump, have primarily focused on the Iranian threat rather than the Palestinian issue.

• Russia. Defying widespread predictions of doom, Moscow's Syrian intervention has greatly enhanced its regional prowess, and President Putin shows no intention to relinquish this new gain. President Trump may have thus overrated his ability to translate Russia's goodwill toward his administration to concrete collaboration against ISIS. On the contrary, attributing the ongoing regional mayhem to the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 Libyan intervention, Moscow seems bent on keeping Washington out of the region and views the persistence of U.S.-Iranian tensions as a useful means to this end.

Whatever President Trump's personal instincts, he has surrounded himself with mainstream advisors like Secretary of State Tillerson and Generals Mattis and McMaster, both military leaders with long experience and familiarity with the Arab world. This may result in a less revolutionary, yet more robust Middle Eastern policy.
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia, China approaching parity? on: March 19, 2017, 10:38:34 AM
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/324595-russia-china-making-gains-on-us-military-power
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: President Trump on: March 19, 2017, 10:30:22 AM
http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/324598-trump-brings-the-boardroom-to-washington
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump not hiring Border Patrol Agents as promised on: March 19, 2017, 10:28:40 AM
second post

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/16/trump-budget-goes-big-border-wall-short-agents/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT1RZd05qSXlPV1kzWVdGaiIsInQiOiJ4QzlqXC9YMGNKaFFtXC9cL3ZFRklZTjVCUGRkd0pqRGN4YjJaSlwvRXU1dXBrOXhLUVJkXC9NXC8xclczZ0UwRXEydFhzZU5yMGpUUjJKK0JrZlFsT1cxMDkwcUI3VDFjRHFCdmpGQnArWFZ1bHJUN2JYcjJuXC9CNXQ2dEVDMm1tNEE1QkQifQ%3D%3D
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Monica Crowley on: March 19, 2017, 10:17:01 AM
re Chelsea: White  privilege!  cheesy

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

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/323964-crowley-registers-as-foreign-agent-for-ukranian-billionaire
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Farm labor drying up despite higher wages vs. All you Americans are fired on: March 19, 2017, 10:15:09 AM
Pravda on the Beach (POTB) a.k.a. the LA Times:

Snark aside an interesting point is raised:

http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-fi-farms-immigration/

As best as I can tell is that there could/should be an increase in temporary work visas (specifying farm work?).  

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

OTOH

https://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicagarrison/all-you-americans-are-fired?utm_term=.vaDXKljAkQ#.bvLbY7mJZ2
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration Pause petition on: March 19, 2017, 09:38:31 AM
http://www.immigrationpause.org/

85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 30 countries refusing to take back illegal aliens convicted of serious crimes on: March 19, 2017, 09:36:20 AM

http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/18/30-countries-are-refusing-to-take-back-illegal-immigrants-convicted-of-serious-crimes/?utm_campaign=thedcmainpage&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social#ixzz4bhe6R1ZD

which is an example of why signing this petition is a real good idea:

http://www.immigrationpause.org/
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glick goes after McMaster on: March 19, 2017, 09:19:36 AM
The man's resume impressed me greatly, but this concerns me greatly , , ,

http://raymondibrahim.com/2017/03/16/evidence-mcmaster-shares-obamas-views-islam-terror/
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: March 19, 2017, 09:09:58 AM
Threatening to sue is something Trump does.  Frankly, as a businessman it looks like has bullied "smaller" people with this tactic , , , not infrequently.  It is quite unappealing about him.

As for time in Florida, to a certain extent I can get his wanting to get out of Washington, but , , ,

Wherever he is, I'd like to see him exert the CEO skills he purports to have and fill the second tier.


88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Technology (nano, 3D, robots, etc) on: March 19, 2017, 01:19:33 AM
"This will make for an interesting evolution in hijacking trucks and cyberterror."

 shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Was Hitler Socialist? on: March 19, 2017, 01:01:01 AM
https://www.quora.com/Was-Hitler-socialist
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Was Hitler Socialist? on: March 19, 2017, 01:00:29 AM
https://www.quora.com/Was-Hitler-socialist
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rising on the right for Russia coverage on: March 19, 2017, 12:47:09 AM
Let's take a look at this one too:

http://thehill.com/homenews/324589-news-outlet-rising-on-the-right-for-russia-coverage
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Twoweeksagonews.com on: March 19, 2017, 12:22:38 AM
As recommended on Tucker Carlson-- looks very promising!

http://www.twoweeksagonews.com/

93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: March 19, 2017, 12:21:12 AM
DDF, please post that here as well:  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=550.0
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Socialism requires a dictator on: March 19, 2017, 12:19:46 AM
https://fee.org/articles/socialism-requires-a-dictator/
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Twoweeksagonews.com on: March 19, 2017, 12:16:57 AM
As recommended on Tucker Carlson-- this site looks quite promising!

www.twoweeksagonews.com
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: March 18, 2017, 12:27:55 PM
Jews have always been heavily Dem.  These numbers may well be an improvement.
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump-Russia Accusations and the possible Silent Coup on: March 18, 2017, 12:26:22 PM
Concur.
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Flynn-Russia connections on: March 18, 2017, 03:24:55 AM
http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/324322-flynn-worked-for-multiple-russian-firms
99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Caveat Lector: RT on: March 18, 2017, 03:13:39 AM


http://pamelageller.com/2017/03/you-are-the-future-of-europe.html/
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 5 9th Circuit judges go medieval on Anti-Trump EO decision on: March 17, 2017, 05:09:59 PM
http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/five-9th-circuit-judges-dish-out-ruthless-take-down-to-anti-trump-travel-ban-decision/
(the actual decision is at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2017/03/15/17-35105%20en%20banc.pdf )


Five 9th Circuit Judges Dish Out Ruthless Take Down to Anti-Trump Travel Ban Decision
by Robert Barnes | 8:56 am, March 16th, 2017
submit to reddit

In one of the most ruthless opinions issued of fellow panel judges, five judges from across the political spectrum in the Ninth Circuit went out of their way to issue an opinion about a dismissed appeal, to remind everybody just how embarrassingly bad the prior Ninth Circuit stay panel decision was on Trump’s travel ban. The five judges included the famed, and most respected intellectual amongst the Ninth Circuit, Alex Kozinski. The others included Jay Bybee, Consuelo Callahan, Carlos Bea and Sandra Ikuta.  Nobody other than the original panel came to the defense of the original panel decision, a less than promising start for future approvals of district court interference in Presidential immigration policy.

The language of the opinion was almost Scalian: the five Ninth Circuit judges noted their “obligation to correct” the “manifest” errors so bad that the “fundamental” errors “confound Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent.” The district court questioned any judge issuing a “nationwide TRO” “without making findings of fact or conclusions of law” on the merits of the matter and conducting published opinions on seminal matters of national security based on “oral argument by phone involving four time zones.”

Aside from the procedural defects of the process, the five panel jurists then noted the deep legal problems with the panel’s order: its a-historicity, it’s abdication of precedent, and its usurpation of Constitutionally delegated Presidential rights. Mirroring much of the Boston judge’s decision, the five judges then detail and outline what other critics, skeptics and commentators have noted of the prior panel decision, including critical commentary from liberal law professors and scribes Jonathan Turley, Alan Dershowitz, and Jeffrey Toobin. The original 3-judge panel “neglected or overlooked critical cases by the Supreme Court and by our making clear that when we are reviewing decisions about who may be admitted into the United States, we must defer to the judgment of the political branches.” Of particular note, the five panel judges note how the 3-judge panel decision in “compounding its omission” of Supreme Court decisions and relevant sister Circuit precedents, also “missed all of our own cases” on the subject. The 5 judges conclude the panel engaged in a “clear misstatement of law” so bad it compelled “vacating” an opinion usually mooted by a dismissed case.

The five judges note some of the absurdities in the original 3-judge panel decision: claiming a consular officer must be deferred to more than the President of the United States; claiming first amendment rights exist for foreigners when the Supreme Court twice ruled otherwise; the claim that people here could claim a constitutional right for someone else to travel here, a decision specifically rejected by the Supreme Court just a year ago; and analogous Trumpian kind of immigration exclusion was uniformly approved by Circuit courts across the country in decisions issued between 2003 and 2008. As the five panelists conclude, the overwhelming precedent and legal history reveals a court simply cannot “apply ordinary constitutional standards to immigration policy.”

The five judges don’t quit there, though. They go on to identify other “obvious” errors. As the 5 judges note, the 3-judge panel hid from the most important statute, noting the 3-judge panel “regrettably” “never once mentioned” the most important statutory authority: section 1182(f) of title 8. Additionally, the 3-judge panel failed to even note the important Presidential power over immigration that all courts, Congress, and the Constitution expressly and explicitly gave him in all of its prior precedents.

Unsatisfied with that harsh condemnation, the five judges go even further. The judges concur with the Boston judge’s understanding of “rational basis” review, and condemn the Seattle judge’s and the 3-judge panel’s misapplication and elemental misunderstanding of what “rational basis” is. As the 5 judges note, “so long as there is one facially legitimate and bona fide reason for the President’s actions, our inquiry is at an end.” The issue is whether a reason is given, not whether a judge likes or agree with that reason. That means the executive order sufficed, and no further consideration of the reasons for Trump’s order were allowed.

The five judges still weren’t finished. Next up, the ludicrous suggestion the President had to produce classified and national security information to explain and explicate publicly all the empirical reasons he felt the order needed for safety rationales. As the five judges panel note, judges are not New York Times editors here to substitute for the President at their unelected will. A gavel is not a gun; a judge is not the commander in chief. And, again the 5 panel judges noted the Supreme Court specifically condemned just this kind of demand from judges — demanding classified information to second guess executively privileged decisions. As the court concluded, “the President does not have to come forward with supporting documentation to explain the basis for the Executive Order.”

The panel wraps up its ruthless condemnation of its fellow 3-panel decision by noting their errors are “many and obvious,” including the failure to even “apply the proper standard” of review. As the five judges wisely note: “we are judges, not Platonic guardians,” and the great losers of the 3-panel decision are those that believe elections matter and the rule of law deserves respect, as both were sacrificed for results-oriented judges who ignored the law and evaded the historical precedent to try to reverse the policy outcome of the recent election.
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