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April 2017

The Dems’ Political Area 51 Conspiracy theories abound while media ignore the real story. Bruce Thornton

The Democrats and some Republican NeverTrump bitter-enders are still so addled by losing the election that they have lost themselves in a political Area 51. Like peddlers of space-alien autopsies and earthling abductions, they are spinning preposterous conspiracy theories straight out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, while the real story––the illegal leaks of classified intelligence involving American citizens––is ignored.

We all know the lurid scenario: Vladimir Putin, filled with hatred of Hillary for criticizing and sanctioning him for his invasions of his neighbors’ territories, “hacked” the election in order to tilt the outcome to Donald Trump. Trump, after all, said some vaguely nice things about Vlad during the campaign, and most likely has secret dodgy business interests in Russia. Several of Trump’s friends probably do too, and so they cooperated with Russian intelligence, its WikiLeaks minions, and its propaganda rag Russia Today to smear Hillary and the Democrats. And, don’t forget, it’s likely Vlad has some embarrassing untoward info on Trump he can use to blackmail the president. QED.

This conspiracy theory is preposterous, and the media’s and Dems’ continued use of the phrase “hacked the election,” as if voting machines were meddled with, is rank propaganda and confirms the continuing absence of real evidence. Of course Russia tried to influence the election, as it has tried to influence every American election since the 1930s. And we have tried, and continue to try, to influence elections in other countries all over the world. Have the Dems forgotten how Obama in 2015 interfered in Israel’s elections by spending $350 on “campaign infrastructure” to be used against Benjamin Netanyahu? As for Americans colluding with Russia during an election, where was all this high dudgeon when in 1983 Ted Kennedy offered Soviet premier Yuri Andropov a quid pro quo? As Forbes reports of the deal, “Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election.” Kennedy also offered to visit Russia and help them with access to the American media.

This typical Trumpophobic hypocrisy is also evident in the amnesia about who was really getting chummy with Putin––Obama and Hillary. Taking missile-defense installations out of Poland and the Czech Republic; working on a “reset” of relations that had soured because of Russian territorial theft in Georgia and Moldova; Obama in 2012 asking Russian president Dmitri Medvedev to assure Vlad of his “flexibility” after the election––all comprise evidence of Obama’s appeasement more solid than the innuendo and rumor supposedly proving Trump colluded with Vlad.

Apathy, Balcony Girls & Refugee Honor Violence in Sweden A socialist utopia’s heartless nightmare. April 5, 2017 Dawn Perlmutter

An article by Rachel Aviv titled ‘The Trauma of Facing Deportation’ describes an unusual disorder known as ‘uppgivenhetssyndrom’ or ‘resignation syndrome’ that only exists in Sweden and is specific to the children of immigrants. Published in the April 3, 2017 issue of The New Yorker, Aviv describes how refugee children suffering from resignation syndrome fall into a coma-like state after being informed that their families will be expelled from the country. The Swedish refer to the condition as ‘apathy’ and the children as ‘de apatiska’, the apathetic. There have been several hundred cases of resignation syndrome in the past decade. The symptoms are very severe and typically begin with depression followed by a gradual withdrawal into an unconscious state that requires tube feeding. The children are unable to move, eat, drink or respond even to painful stimuli and are in this state for months sometimes years. The only known cure is for their families to receive residency permits to stay in Sweden.

A simple objective cultural explanation for resignation syndrome is that it is another manifestation of honor violence. However, studies that suggested the family was staging the illness were labeled xenophobic while research that theorized the migratory process precipitated the condition became the basis for government policy. Hence, a 2013 guide for treating apathy published by the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare advised “A permanent residency permit is considered by far the most effective ‘treatment,’ and that a patient will not recover until his family has permission to live in Sweden.” In brief, political correctness tainted the studies because it was more politically expedient to grant residency to all families with children suffering from the syndrome than to acknowledge that this could be another manifestation of honor violence where cultural traditions allow parents to abuse their own children. If honor violence is proven to be the reason for the syndrome than Sweden’s immigration policy is the cause of the illness not the cure.

Honor violence is a form of domestic violence that is committed by family members against other family members to either prevent the family from being dishonored or restore the families damaged honor. Victims of honor violence typically internalize the values of their family or community and feel guilty and responsible for the perceived offense against honor. Honor violence is typically attributed to assaults and murders of women who have refused arranged marriages or defiled the family’s honor by not following traditions. Honor violence is not always punitive for alleged violations of cultural traditions. Anything that preserves the family honor is permitted including forcing children into slavery or child marriage to settle a debt. Being deported back to a country where the family status and honor would be diminished could be motivation for shaming a child into staging resignation syndrome. The New Yorker article did not mention that the majority of mothers of the apathetic refugee children had been subjected to physical and/or sexual abuse and were described as severely traumatized. One study suggested a Munchausen by proxy scenario proposing the idea that the mother staged the illness as a method to cope with her own trauma. The theory characterized the syndrome as ‘lethal mothering’, a behavior that is consistent with honor violence. In honor based tribal cultures men can justifiably subject their wives to physical and sexual abuse and mothers can willingly harm their own children to preserve the family honor. A 2016 study claimed that almost all children with resignation syndrome suffered traumatization from physical abuse, harassment or by witnessing violence and abuse in the close family. Intrafamily violence is also consistent with honor crimes.

Susan Rice’s Unraveling Web of Lies Obama’s attack on our democracy becomes too clear to ignore. Joseph Klein

Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice is once again in the news, embroiled in a growing scandal. Bloomberg News has reported this week that Rice requested or directed the unmasking of the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports, who were involved with the Trump transition team. The communications of these individuals were apparently collected incidentally during the course of electronic monitoring of communications involving foreign officials of interest. Normally, Americans’ identities are masked, with generic references such as the title “U.S. Person One.”

According to Eli Lake’s Bloomberg report, “The intelligence reports were summaries of monitored conversations — primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials. One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.”

Daily Caller has reported that Rice “ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce ‘detailed spreadsheets’ of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president,” citing former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova as a source.

Circa has reported that Rice’s snooping actually preceded the election: “Susan Rice accessed numerous intelligence reports during Obama’s last seven months in office that contained National Security Agency intercepts involving Donald Trump and his associates.”

It also appears that the monitoring at issue had little if anything to do with the investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election.

These reports, and others along the same lines, raise serious questions about what Rice was doing with the unmasked identifiable information she obtained access to, even though nothing revealed so far indicates that Rice broke the law. She had the authority to request unmasking under certain circumstances where there was an intelligence need in the interest of national security for such information. But given Rice’s closeness to Obama and concern for preserving his legacy, politics, not national security, was more likely her primary motive.

Michael Doran, former National Security Council senior director, told the Daily Caller that “somebody blew a hole in the wall between national security secrets and partisan politics.” This “was a stream of information that was supposed to be hermetically sealed from politics and the Obama administration found a way to blow a hole in that wall,” he said.

It is a threat to our electoral democracy if a party in power is able to use the nation’s intelligence apparatus to do opposition research on the party out of power. This is what Rice appears to have done, perhaps to protect her boss’s legacy from being undermined by the new Trump administration. Rice denies all of this, of course.

Susan Rice’s White House Unmasking: A Watergate-style Scandal Her interest was not in national security but to advance the political interests of the Democratic party. By Andrew C. McCarthy —

The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations.

Remember that.

Why is that so important in the context of explosive revelations that Susan Rice, President Obama’s national-security adviser, confidant, and chief dissembler, called for the “unmasking” of Trump campaign and transition officials whose identities and communications were captured in the collection of U.S. intelligence on foreign targets?

Because we’ve been told for weeks that any unmasking of people in Trump’s circle that may have occurred had two innocent explanations: (1) the FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling in the election and (2) the need to know, for purposes of understanding the communications of foreign intelligence targets, the identities of Americans incidentally intercepted or mentioned. The unmasking, Obama apologists insist, had nothing to do with targeting Trump or his people.

That won’t wash.

In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA. All three agencies conducted a probe and issued a joint report in January. That was after Obama, despite having previously acknowledged that the Russian activity was inconsequential, suddenly made a great show of ordering an inquiry and issuing sanctions.

Consequently, if unmasking was relevant to the Russia investigation, it would have been done by those three agencies. And if it had been critical to know the identities of Americans caught up in other foreign intelligence efforts, the agencies that collect the information and conduct investigations would have unmasked it. Because they are the agencies that collect and refine intelligence “products” for the rest of the “intelligence community,” they are responsible for any unmasking; and they do it under “minimization” standards that FBI Director James Comey, in recent congressional testimony, described as “obsessive” in their determination to protect the identities and privacy of Americans.

Understand: There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. If there had been a real need to reveal the identities — an intelligence need based on American interests — the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies.

The national-security adviser is not an investigator. She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it. If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.

The FBI, CIA, and NSA generate or collect the intelligence in, essentially, three ways: conducting surveillance on suspected agents of foreign powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and carrying out more-sweeping collections under two other authorities — a different provision of FISA, and a Reagan-era executive order that has been amended several times over the ensuing decades, EO 12,333.

As Director Comey explained, in answering questions posed by Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), those three agencies do collection, investigation, and analysis. In general, they handle any necessary unmasking — which, due to the aforementioned privacy obsessiveness, is extremely rare. Unlike Democratic-party operatives whose obsession is vanquishing Republicans, the three agencies have to be concerned about the privacy rights of Americans. If they’re not, their legal authority to collect the intelligence — a vital national-security power — could be severely curtailed when it periodically comes up for review by Congress, as it will later this year.

Why President Trump Should Break the ‘One China’ Spell Standing up for Taiwan, a key democratic ally, will benefit American interests in the long run. By Jianli Yang —****

Accepting the “one China” policy was a meretricious appeasement of Communist China by Kissinger/Nixon which betrayed Taiwan….rsk

— Jianli Yang is the founder and president of Initiatives for China / Citizen Power for China and a former political prisoner of the Chinese government.
During China’s recent “Two sessions,” in which some 5,000 governing elites gathered in Beijing to rubber-stamp the agenda of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Wang Hongguang, a retired Chinese general, publicly dared the United States to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in Taiwan. He boasted that the deployment would provide the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with an excuse to use force to “liberate” the island.

Wang had earlier dared the U.S. to deploy Marines to guard the site of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto American Embassy on the island. He has threatened to use harsh countermeasures to retaliate against the government of Tsai Ing-wen, even though she had nothing to do with the decision to deploy the Marines in Taipei.

Wang’s threats came at the time of a major shift in President Trump’s tone and stance toward China. He has recently retreated from his strong rhetoric against the Chinese Communist regime and from his pre-inauguration position that the U.S doesn’t “have to be bound” by the so-called One China policy.

Trump’s flip-flop on the One China policy has caused unnecessary confusion in Asia. It has weakened the administration’s moral position and credibility and has arguably given Beijing the upper hand in the cross-Strait relationship.

In my view, the One China policy is a trap that has been plied by Beijing to legitimize and strengthen the CCP dictatorship, squeeze Taiwan’s international space, and force Taiwan to kneel at Beijing’s feet. President Trump should take a fresh look at the One China policy, and honor the “right” China.

The contentious One China policy arose from the reality of two Chinas: the Republic of China (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The United States recognized the ROC in 1913, two years after the Chinese overthrew the Manchus’ Qing Dynasty, in 1911. With Stalin’s support, the Chinese Communists won the civil war and founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The ROC, led by its authoritarian ruler Chiang Kai-shek, retreated to Taiwan.

University Warns Not Using ‘Gender-Sensitive’ Language Will Hurt Your Grades By Tom Knighton

When many of us were first learning how to use pronouns, it seemed unlikely that they’d ever be at the center of public debate. After all, the whole thing is pretty straightforward. John gets “he,” while Jane gets “she.” It wasn’t really rocket science, right?

Unfortunately, it’s a lot more complicated than that these days. At one university, that complication is being codified — students’ grades will suffer if they fail to use the approved language:

Students at Hull University are being told to use gender neutral language in their essays — or risk losing marks.

According to documents obtained by the Sunday Times, students are told to “be aware of the powerful and symbolic nature of language and use gender-sensitive formulations. Failure to use gender-sensitive language will impact your mark.”

The document, which was released following a Freedom of Information request, was part of a course on religious activism being taught at the university.

A senior lecturer in religion at the university said: “Should any student use language which is not deemed gender-neutral, they will be offered feedback as to why. Deduction of marks is taken on a case-by-case basis.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Real Collusion: the Clinton and Podesta Record By Daniel John Sobieski

So now it appears that short-lived national security advisor Mike Flynn made speeches before various Russian entities and was paid for it. To those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome this is further evidence of collusion with the Russians. Collusion to do what is to ever said, though it was probably Putin who kept Hillary from campaigning in Wisconsin, made Debbie Wasserman Schultz sabotage Bernie Sanders, and forced Donna Brazile to leak CNN debate questions to Team Clinton.

Speaking of the Clinton News Network, CNN has been reduced to fact-checking jokes about Team Trump members using Russian dressing on their salads:

Proving that the rabidly partisan journalists at CNN have way too much time on their hands, reporter Michelle Krupa on Wednesday actually fact checked a White House joke about Russian salad dressing. During his daily briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer teased, “If the President puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russia connection.”

The humor-challenged CNN sprung into action. On CNN.com, Krupa wrote, “Thing is, Russian dressing isn’t Russian.” Wait for it, here is the devastating bombshell:

The mayo and ketchup concoction — often dressed up with horseradish and spices — was created in Nashua, New Hampshire.

It was grocer James E. Colburn who invented the spread in 1924, according to “New Hampshire Resources, Attractions and Its People, a History,” by Hobart Pillsbury. The Washington Post cites the 1927 text, which says Colburn sold the condiment to “retailers and hotels across the country, earning ‘wealth on which he was enabled to retire.'”

Democracy and our republic are safe. Another Team Trump lie has been exposed. For all the righteous indignation about Michael Flynn’s dealings as a private citizen with Russia, one would have thought he was Bill Clinton, making speeches to foreign entities seeking influence with his Secretary of State wife for ungodly sums while donations poured into the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments and individuals to pay, among other thigs, for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding dress and lifestyle.

One would have thought for all the outrage against Flynn and other members of Team Trump, maybe the chattering class has Flynn confused with John Podesta, the doofus whose password was “password” and may have violated federal disclosure laws for not disclosing he was paid to sit on the board of various Russian entities:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, may have violated federal law when he failed to fully disclose details surrounding his membership on the executive board of Joule Unlimited and the “75,000 common shares” he received. The energy company accepted millions from a Vladimir Putin-connected Russian government fund.

Podesta joined the executive board of Joule Unlimited Technologies — a firm partly financed by Putin’s Russia — in June 2011 and received 100,000 shares of stock options, according to an email uncovered by WikiLeaks. Podesta’s membership on the board of directors of Joule Unlimited was first revealed in research from Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large and Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer.

White House Officials Divided on Islam, ISIS, Israel and Iran by Soeren Kern

The decision to select Army Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond “H.R.” McMaster to replace retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as national security advisor is setting into motion a cascade of other personnel decisions that, far from draining the swamp, appear to be perpetuating it.

Trump has decided to retain Yael Lempert, a controversial NSC staffer from the Obama administration. Analyst Lee Smith reported that, according to a former official in the Clinton administration, Lempert “is considered one of the harshest critics of Israel on the foreign policy far left.”

Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who served as the NSC’s Iran director during the Obama administration, is now in charge of policy planning for Iran and the Persian Gulf at the Trump State Department. Nowrouzzadeh, whose main task at Obama’s NSC was to help broker the Iran Nuclear Deal, is a former employee of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), a lobbying group widely believed to be a front group for the Islamic dictatorship in Iran.

“The people who are handling key elements of those conflicts now are the same people who handled those areas under Obama, despite the results of the last election. No wonder the results look equally awful.” — Lee Smith, Middle East analyst.

The people U.S. President Donald J. Trump has chosen to lead his foreign policy team may complicate efforts to fulfill his inaugural pledge to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism” “from the face of the Earth” — a Herculean task even under the best of circumstances.

An analysis of the political appointments to the different agencies within the U.S. national security apparatus shows that the key members of the president’s foreign policy team hold widely divergent views on the threat posed by radical Islam — and on the nature of Islam itself. They also disagree on approaches to Iran, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the European Union, Russia, globalism and other national security issues.

The policy disconnect is being exacerbated by the fact that dozens of key positions within the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies remain unfilled. The result is that the administration has been relying on holdovers from the Obama administration to formulate and implement U.S. foreign policy.

Current foreign policy advisors can be roughly divided into several competing factions and ideological schisms: career staffers versus political appointees, civilian strategists versus military tacticians, Trump supporters versus Obama loyalists, politically correct consensus-seekers versus politically incorrect ideologues, New York moderates versus populist hardliners, Palestinian sympathizers versus advocates for Israel, proponents of the Iran deal versus supporters of an anti-Iran coalition — and those who believe that Islamism and radical Islamic terrorism derive from Islam itself versus those who insist that Islam is a religion of peace.

The winners of these various power struggles ultimately will determine the ideological direction of U.S. policy on a variety of national security issues, including the war on Islamic terror.

During his presidential campaign, voters were promised a radical shift in American foreign policy, and the consensus-driven foreign policy establishment in Washington was repeatedly blamed for making the world less stable and more dangerous.

Although much can change, the current incarnation of the national security team indicates that the administration’s foreign policy, especially toward the Middle East and the broader Islamic world, may end up being more similar than different to that of the Obama administration. Those hoping for a radical change to the politically correct status quo may be disappointed.

Suicide Bomber Identified in Russia Subway Blast; Death Toll Raised to 14 Authorities identified the attacker based on genetic evidence and surveillance camera footage; no group has claimed responsibility By Nathan Hodge

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia—Russian authorities identified a 22-year-old man from the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan as the suicide bomber who caused a deadly subway-train blast in Russia’s second-largest city on Monday, underscoring Moscow’s concerns about radicalization in Central Asia.

In a statement Tuesday, Russia’s Investigative Committee identified the attacker as Akbarjon Jalilov.

The explosion occurred Monday on a train between Sennaya Ploshchad, a busy downtown subway intersection, and Technological Institute station.

According to the statement, forensic experts found genetic traces of Mr. Jalilov on a bag containing an explosive device that was found and disarmed at Ploshchad Vosstaniya, another subway station not far from the site of Monday’s explosion. Investigators also drew their conclusions based on surveillance-camera footage, the statement said.

Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said Tuesday morning that 14 people had been killed and 49 remained in hospital.

Earlier Tuesday, the Investigative Committee said that an explosive device could have been detonated by a man whose fragmented remains were found in the third carriage of the subway train.

Rakhat Sulaimanov, the official representative of the Kyrgyz security agency, said the person responsible was likely a native of Kyrgyzstan who then became a Russian citizen. Mr. Sulaimanov said Kyrgyz security services were in contact with Russian authorities over the matter, but declined to provide further details.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast. It occurred during a visit to the city by Russian President Vladimir Putin, raising official concerns that the attack was timed to his stay. CONTINUE AT SITE

Fake News and the Digital Duopoly Google and Facebook have created a dysfunctional and socially destructive information ecosystem.By Robert Thomson *****

‘Fake news” has seemingly, suddenly, become fashionable. In reality, the fake has proliferated for a decade or more, but the faux, the flawed and the fraudulent are now pressing issues because the full scale of the changes wrought upon the integrity of news and advertising by the digital duopoly—Google and Facebook —has become far more obvious.

Google’s commodification of content knowingly, willfully undermined provenance for profit. That was followed by the Facebook stream, with its journalistic jetsam and fake flotsam. Together, the two most powerful news publishers in human history have created an ecosystem that is dysfunctional and socially destructive.

Both companies could have done far more to highlight that there is a hierarchy of content, but instead they have prospered mightily by peddling a flat-earth philosophy that doesn’t distinguish between the fake and the real because they make copious amounts of money from both.

Depending on which source you believe, they have close to two-thirds of the digital advertising market—and let me be clear that we compete with them for that share. The Interactive Advertising Bureau estimates they accounted for more than 90% of the incremental increase in digital advertising over the past year. The only cost of content for these companies has been lucrative contracts for lobbyists and lawyers, but the social cost of that strategy is far more profound.

It is beyond risible that Google and its subsidiary YouTube, which have earned many billions of dollars from other people’s content, should now be lamenting that they can’t possibly be held responsible for monitoring that content. Monetizing yes, monitoring no—but it turns out that free money does come at a price.

We all have to work with these companies, and we are hoping, mostly against hope, that they will finally take meaningful action, not only to allow premium content models that fund premium journalism, but also to purge their sites of the rampant piracy that undermines creativity. Your business model can’t be simultaneously based on both intimate, granular details about users and no clue whatsoever about rather obvious pirate sites.

Another area that urgently needs much attention is the algorithms that Silicon Valley companies, and Amazon, routinely cite as a supposedly objective source of wisdom and insight. These algorithms are obviously set, tuned and repeatedly adjusted to suit their commercial needs. Yet they also blame autonomous, anarchic algorithms and not themselves when neofascist content surfaces or when a search leads to obviously biased results in favor of their own products.

Look at how Google games searches. A study reported in The Wall Street Journal found that in 25,000 random Google searches ads for Google products appeared in the most prominent slot 91% of the time. How is that not the unfair leveraging of search dominance and the abuse of algorithm? All 1,000 searches for “laptops” started with an ad for Google’s Chromebook—100% of the time. Kim Jong Un would be envious of results like that at election time. CONTINUE AT SITE