Comment on NSFW: Lets talk About The Naked Trump Statue In Union Square by Everything You Need To Know About The All Seeing Trump Machines IN NYC - Secretnyc   
[…] from Banksy to the Naked Trump statue creators have been attributed to the stunt. reports that the actual creators of the […]
          Trump’s odd tanty over ‘internet tax’   
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has attacked The Washington Post and Amazon on Twitter, arguing that the online retailer was not paying “internet taxes”.
          MyMCMedia: Immigration   
Montgomery County is known for its diversity with residents from 170 different countries calling the county home. Immigration is a hot topic following the election of President Donald Trump who has moved forward a couple of executive orders that have raised concerns and questions for some residents. It’s a topic that local leaders are talking about […]
          Nasdaq logs best daily gain in about 8 months as banks, tech rally   

U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday, fueled by a surge in financial and tech shares, which helped Wall Street to partially shake off Tuesday's sharp fall. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index enjoyed a run deep into positive territory, helping it cut into Tuesday's 100-point drop, and marking its best daily rise since Nov. 7, when it surged 2.4%, according to FactSet data. On Wednesday, the Nasdaq rose 1.4% to 6,234. The S&P 500 index climbed 0.9% at 2,440, representing the benchmark's best daily rise since April 24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7% at 21,454. Those moves come a day after equities saw their worst selloff in more than a month on the back of doubts about President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda. The small-cap Russell 2000 nearly closed at a record, finishing up about 1.5% on the day, and highlighting the broad-based nature of the rally. Helping to support a bid for bank shares was a rise in government bond yields, with the 10-year Treasury note yield at 2.22%. Those gains were aided by European Central Bank officials attempting to tamp down the market's bearish reaction to ECB President Mario Draghi's comments on Tuesday, which were interpreted as hawkish, pushing the euro and yields globally markedly higher.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit for more information on this news.

          Kommentarer till Tantstrumpor. av Lena   
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          Kerry's Poll Position   

PALM BEACH, Fla.—John Kerry's campaign professes to be unconcerned about the multiple national polls that have shown a small but discernible downward movement for the Democratic nominee since the third presidential debate. But the campaign's studied nonchalance doesn't extend to how the press covers the polls. During Sunday's flight from Columbus, Ohio, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., reporters on the Kerry plane receive a "Polling Update," a two-page explanation of how the campaign would like us to view the latest public polls. The very first sentence: "The race is tied."

The abbreviated Kerry spin: 1) Bush pollster Matthew Dowd told the Austin American-Statesman on March 21 that "presidents finish roughly the same as their job approval rating." Zogby has Bush's job approval at 47, Newsweek has it at 47, and Time has it at 49. 2) Among registered voters, the Zogby, Newsweek, and Time polls show a statistical tie. (The release doesn't mention it, but the same is true for the just-released Gallup Poll. President Bush leads Kerry among likely voters by 8 points, 52-44, but among registered voters it's Bush 49, Kerry 46, with a 3 percent margin of error.) 3) Kerry's ahead in the battleground states, which is what really matters.

The release isn't internally consistent. It treats Kerry's narrow deficit in national polls differently than his narrow lead in state polls: Kerry's one-point shortfall among registered voters in the Newsweek poll is called a tie, but Kerry's two-point leads in Minnesota and Pennsylvania are "consistent with repeated polls showing a Kerry edge." That, of course, is the Bush campaign's argument at the national level: Every poll released since the third debate has shown a Bush lead of between two points and eight points.

Until Sunday, that is. A new Democracy Corps poll conducted by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg shows the race as a statistical tie, but this time it's Kerry who has the higher horse-race number, 50 to Bush's 47, with a three-point margin of error. Greenberg and Joe Lockhart held a conference call to trumpet the results. The Kerry plane was in the air at the time, but the campaign released a transcript of the call. The message: At the third debate, Kerry consolidated his base. He gained among African Americans and union households. Greenberg calls this a "one-time consolidation of Democrats that is not going to be easily eroded."

Lockhart dismisses the Newsweek poll's fluctuations over the course of the past two months: "It's just not credible. The electorate has not swung 20 percent, from 13 down to one up to eight down. It's just not what's happening in the electorate, so it's just not something we take very seriously." Lockhart also emphasizes that in the 2000 election, polls of registered voters were more accurate than polls of likely voters. That echoes Ruy Texeira's Emerging Democratic Majority Weblog, which lately exists to argue that Kerry isn't doing as badly in the polls as he seems. And Lockhart emphasizes what Al Gore discovered: "This election is not going to take place nationally. It's going to take place in the battleground states."

Which raises the obvious question: Could Kerry win the presidency but lose the popular vote? At Daily Kos, political scientist Tom Schaller says it's unlikely but possible, particularly because Kerry is underperforming Gore's numbers in blue states, including Massachusetts and New Jersey. If that's not far-fetched enough for you, here's a scenario I discovered while playing with the Los Angeles Times' electoral map: Bush wins Ohio, Florida, and Colorado. Kerry sweeps the rest of the battleground: Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The result: a 269-269 tie. Democrats cry that Bush gets "selected" again, this time by the House of Representatives. Maybe that's the kind of trick fate plays when you nominate a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

          Bush's Aura Returns   

When the Bush campaign released its TV ad last week featuring footage of John Kerry windsurfing, Kerry spokesman Mike McCurry told me it was a good sign for his candidate. The windsurfing footage was a bullet that he knew the Bush campaign would use in an ad eventually, McCurry said, and the fact that they fired it now shows that they're worried, that they think Kerry is narrowing the gap with Bush. I wasn't sure whether McCurry actually believed this or if he just wanted to put the ad in the best possible light for the Democrats. But Sunday's Washington Post made me suspect that the Bush campaign really does think things are going poorly right now. Why? Because Republicans are starting to make preposterously overconfident predictions of a Bush landslide.

National polls show that the presidential race has gotten closer since the Republican Convention. A Bloomberg News report Monday noted that five national polls have Bush up by 4 points or less. The Republican reaction to this tightening was to announce to the Post that Bush is thinking about campaigning in Washington state and New Jersey—states that any winning Democrat should carry handily—to "expand a potential victory well beyond the states he won in 2000."

It's well-known that Karl Rove believes that swing voters like to vote for the winner. Therefore, one of the central political strategies for Bush has been to create an "aura of inevitability" that, theoretically, will bring people to his side. If everyone believes you're a political juggernaut, the theory goes, then you will become a political juggernaut.

The worse things get for Bush, the more likely his aides are to declare that he is invincible. The Bushies are starting to sound like Baghdad Bob, trumpeting a decisive victory for Saddam Hussein as the American military zooms into Iraq's capital city. Whenever Bush is in trouble, someone—usually Rove—declares that things are going just swimmingly. The most memorable example of this was Bush's 2000 campaign trip to California to make it look like his election was going to be a walk even though polls showed that the race was a toss-up. Bush also took a day off from campaigning as a sign of confidence in his impending landslide. On Election Day, of course, Al Gore won more votes than Bush did, and eventually Bush won the presidency with only one more electoral vote than he needed to take office.

But there are other, less notable examples. Bush stuck with the same strategy during the 2000 primaries. In January of that year, as John McCain looked to be mounting a serious challenge to Bush's nomination, Rove told the Austin American-Statesman that "Bush is entering the 2000 election season in a stronger position than any candidate in the history of an open presidential race on the Republican side." A month later, Bush lost by 18 points to McCain in New Hampshire. The concept of "inevitability" was so central to Bush's campaign strategy that Dana Milbank wrote a piece in the Washington Post after New Hampshire that was titled, "If Bush Is No Longer Inevitable, What Is He?"

In September 2000, a little more than four years ago, Rove told Ken Herman of the Austin American-Statesman the same thing that the Bush campaign is telling reporters now: "The neat thing is we are fighting on [Gore's] territory rather than him fighting on ours." Rove told Herman that Bush had a shot in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, too, just as the Bush campaign is declaring now. Granted, Bush did have a shot, and the races were close, but Gore took all three of those states. (Rove did predict to Herman that Bush would take West Virginia and Missouri.)

During a conference call earlier this month, senior Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart told campaign reporters that with regard to states like Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, "what we do will indicate our level of concern." And until now, the Kerry campaign has not done much in those states. But John Edwards is holding a rally Tuesday in Newark, N.J. That doesn't mean Democrats should start panicking, but it's worth remembering that although Bush's victories in the 2000 primaries and general election weren't inevitable, it's still true that he did win them.

          Great Expectations   

PHILADELPHIA—On the Kerry plane Thursday, reporters asked Mike McCurry why the campaign agreed to make the foreign-policy debate first, as the Bush campaign wanted, instead of third, as the Commission on Presidential Debates had scheduled it. "You know, we have to take anything like that and turn it into an opportunity," McCurry said. So, you see it as an opportunity? Not quite: "I'm supposed to lower expectations, not raise them."

Maybe McCurry should tell the candidate. I counted six times this week that Kerry raised his debate expectations by disparaging President Bush's intelligence or knowledge, seven if you count a comment made by Sen. Joe Biden during a Friday rally here. During his Monday night appearance on David Letterman, Kerry said that during the debates, "George Bush is gonna sit on Dick Cheney's lap," an apparent reference to the widespread Democratic belief that the vice president is the ventriloquist/puppeteer and Bush is the dummy. (At least, I hope that was the reference.) On Tuesday's Live With Regis & Kelly, Kerry said of the just-concluded debate negotiations, "The big hang-up was George Bush wanted a lifeline where he could call," an allusion to Regis Philbin's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? game show. That night in Orlando, Kerry said that President Bush says he would have gone to war "even if he knew there was no connection of al-Qaida and Sept. 11 and Iraq—which we knew, but even if he knew that." In Columbus on Thursday, Kerry mocked Bush's claim that the CIA was "just guessing" about Iraq in its National Intelligence Estimate by implying that the president didn't understand the nature of the report and hadn't looked at it: "It's called an analysis. And the president ought to read it, and he ought to study it, and he ought to respond to it." On Friday on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania *, Biden compared the two candidates for president by saying, "John Kerry understands and has actually read history." Earlier that morning, during Kerry's war-on-terror speech at Temple University, Kerry noted that the president agreed to testify before the 9/11 commission "only with Vice President Cheney at his side," and he ridiculed Republican claims that a new president wouldn't be able to get more allies involved in Iraq and the war on terror by saying, "I have news for President Bush: Just because you can't do something doesn't mean it can't be done."

Good lines all—well, except the sitting-in-Cheney's lap one. But was this the week to trot out the Bush-is-an-idiot-controlled-by-Cheney meme? I thought the campaigns were supposed to talk up their opponents before the debates, not deride them. Kerry is Cicero and Bush is Rocky Marciano, the man who has never lost.

Other than this minor misstep in the expectations game, however, Kerry set himself up well this week for Thursday's debate, which will be the most decisive event in the presidential campaign so far. The foreign-policy debate deserves to go first, because this is a foreign-policy election. At Kerry's town halls, even the ones that are supposed to be about health care or Social Security or the economy, the majority of voters ask him questions about Iraq. Here's one way to think about next week's face-off: Bush and Kerry are running for leader of the free world, not just president of the United States, and both candidates want to cast themselves as a global Abraham Lincoln while defining their opponent as an international version of John C. Calhoun.

Bush lays claim to the mantle of Lincoln the Emancipator: Like the 16th president, Bush believes that individual liberty trumps state sovereignty (the international version of states' rights). Sure, Saddam Hussein was sovereign, but he was a tyrant and a menace to his people, Bush says, so America's invasion was a just one. Kofi Annan says Bush's invasion of Iraq was a violation of international law, but Bush appeals to a higher law that says that some laws and some rulers are illegitimate. Bush laid out his Lincolnesque doctrine of liberty over sovereignty in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention: "Our nation's founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom." Bush wants to paint Kerry as a global Calhoun, a man who prefers French sovereignty to Iraqi freedom.

Kerry, on the other hand, casts himself as Lincoln the preserver of the Union (while at the same time questioning Bush's competence and highlighting the disparity between the president's "fantasy world" ideals and the "world of reality" on the ground). I don't want to overstate this, because the Republican caricature of Kerry as a one-worlder who would let France exert a veto over American security is inaccurate. But Kerry clearly believes in the international structures and institutions that have been created since World War II, and he sees Bush, shall we say, nullifying them. In this version of the story, it's Bush who is Calhoun, the man who would elevate the shortsighted rights of his state over the compact that every state has entered to promote the greater good.

This analogy, like all historical analogies, is flawed in many ways. It may be particularly unfair to Kerry, who on the stump talks about relying on allies out of pragmatism rather than idealism. But it gets at the factor that I think will determine the winner of next week's debate: Which candidate will be able to present himself as the internationalist and his opponent as the isolationist? Bush says Kerry would turn his back on the people of the world who suffer under tyranny. Kerry says Bush has already turned his back on the world and has replaced dictatorship in Iraq with chaos, not the freedom he claims.

It will be an uphill battle for Kerry. So far, he's been successful at pointing out the flaws in Bush's policies, but he hasn't convinced enough people that President Kerry's policies would be any better. And Bush's bounce out of the Republican convention showed how attractive the president's principles, if not his policies, are.

In July, voters seemed to have decided that they'd like to get rid of Bush. But when they turned their attention to his potential replacement, they were disappointed by what they discovered. The Republican convention exploited that disappointment, and now there are more undecided voters than ever—because voters found out they don't like either guy.

Bush lost the incumbent's referendum, then Kerry lost the one on the challenger. Now we don't know what we want. That's why Thursday will be so critical. For Kerry to win, he needs to argue successfully that liberty and the international order, like strength and wisdom, are not opposing values.

Correction, Sept. 27, 2004: This article originally said that Biden spoke at the University of Philadelphia. He spoke at the University of Pennsylvania. (Return to corrected sentence.)

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          The Final Days   

MILWAUKEE—We're at the point in the movie where you know how it's going to end, but you stay up late to watch anyway, no matter how painful it gets. The only reason we're here is to watch the beheading of Howard Dean, one reporter declares in the press room after Sunday night's debate. But didn't we see that part already? The end of Dean's quest for the Democratic presidential nomination is winding up with the leisurely pace of the interminable conclusion of The Return of the King. After New Hampshire, there's been nothing but denouement.

Wisconsin was supposed to be Dean's dramatic last stand. Instead, it has all the excitement of the Missouri primary, but at least Missouri had the excuse that there weren't any candidates there. Members of the Dean campaign staff used Saturday to tour the Miller brewery—some are now sporting Miller High Life lapel pins—and I mentioned that I thought that was a pretty smart use of their free day, since Dean was in Vermont that night watching his son's final high-school hockey game. "They're pretty much all free days now," a campaign staffer replied.

But Dean isn't the only candidate facing a death watch. I hear rumors before the debate that both John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich are dropping out. I don't believe either rumor, but I can't decide whether it's more shocking that people believe Edwards is leaving or that Kucinich is.

Kucinich will never drop out. He's said so several times, and he's the one candidate who I believe means everything that comes out of his mouth. He really means it when he talks about the "militarization of thought," about being a "peace president," and about wanting to "change the metaphor of our society from war to peace." He was serious when he said in the spin room after Sunday's debate that unless we pull out of Iraq, "we're going to have a draft." Irony is not the long suit of the man who extended his wingspan Saturday night in front of a few hundred Democrats and helicoptered silently for several long seconds before shouting "No strings! No strings! No strings! No strings! I'll take you to the White House with no strings attached!" (Mean joke: Sure, he's got no strings to hold him down, but he still needs to be turned into a real candidate.) I feel bad about that joke—not bad enough not to print it—because, as Christopher Hitchens wrote last week, "Dennis Kucinich is the sort of guy who we need in politics." My wife thinks Kucinich is great, except for his crazy positions. I think that's about right.

As for Edwards, what's the point of winning the battle to be the last man standing against Kerry if you're not going to follow through on your long-shot strategy? Edwards did better than expected in Iowa after being endorsed by the state's largest newspaper, followed by a superior performance in the state's final debate. Well, Edwards did pretty well Sunday night—it's fairer to say that Kerry did poorly—and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just endorsed him.

How bad was Kerry's night? It wasn't disastrous, but it's as bad as I've seen him. He sounded like the meandering, orotund Kerry of last summer. His answers to questions about diversity and gay marriage were muddled incoherence, and he claimed that it wasn't his fault that the Bush administration has abused the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the congressional Iraq war resolution. But if you vote for broadly written laws that are abused by the administration in power when you passed them, aren't you at least partly to blame for the consequences? You wouldn't let your 6-year-old drive the family car and then blame him for the accident. And you can be certain that if the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and the war were popular with Democratic voters, Kerry would be taking credit for them.

Edwards fired off the night's best line in response to Kerry's tortuous answer to a question about whether he feels "any degree of responsibility for the war and its costs and casualties": "That's the longest answer I ever heard to a yes or no question. The answer to your question is: of course; we all accept responsibility for what we did." (The Dean campaign followed up with a press release stating only, "Memo to John Edwards: You are so right.")

But I don't think that moment offsets the fact that Edwards is torching his centrist reputation with his antitrade rhetoric. Granted, it's not only him. Alleged liberal Howard Dean was the only candidate on stage willing to unabashedly defend the passage of free trade agreements such as NAFTA ("I think the free trade agreements were justified"), though he does want to change them now. Kerry seemed evasive when he defended his votes for NAFTA and permanent normal trade relations with China by citing side agreements that dealt with labor and environmental standards.

But Edwards goes much further than Dean and Kerry. His campaign issued a press release trumpeting his votes against "fast track" and against trade agreements with Chile, Singapore, Africa, and the Caribbean. And on stage, he criticized Dean and Kerry for supporting "free trade, as they always have." The anti-NAFTA consensus was the most striking thing to me about Sunday's debate. Was it really more than 10 years ago that Al Gore handed that picture of Reed Smoot and Willis Hawley to Ross Perot on CNN?

Later in the debate, Edwards toned down his rhetoric. "The truth is, some of these jobs are gone," he said. "We're not going to get them back." And I was grateful that no candidate elected to bash Greg Mankiw, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (as Kerry did in a speech Saturday night), for suggesting that the outsourcing of some jobs is good for the American economy in the long run. Bush administration economists have told enough lies—Mankiw's predecessor asserted that there was no connection between the deficit and interest rates, despite writing about the connection in his own textbook—that they deserve some applause when they tell an unpopular truth.

          Winning Isn't Everything   

OKLAHOMA CITY—"Oh baby we got jobs tomorrow!" says one jubilant Wesley Clark campaign staffer to another. It's 10 minutes before 8 p.m., and the crowd gathered at the convention center here has erupted over CNN's report that Clark has unexpectedly surged into second place in South Carolina from a distant fourth. The information turns out to be flat wrong, and the room calms down. But the staffer's conclusion was right. She still has a job, and just a few hours ago it looked like she wouldn't.

For much of the day Tuesday, it appeared that Clark was about to withdraw from the presidential campaign. The early exit polls in Oklahoma showed Clark in third place (though taking into account the presumed margin of error, it was a dead heat). His son, Wes Clark Jr., was speaking about the campaign in the past tense. Only 20 minutes or so before the Clark staffer's celebratory exclamation, Clark sounded like he was conceding that the Oklahoma primary, rather than marking his first-ever victory in a political campaign, could mark the end of his presidential run. "This could be over, [or] it could be a long way from over," he said.

But as the returns flowed in and Clark threatened to overtake John Edwards as the first-place candidate on the Oklahoma results displayed on CNN's crawl, the crowd began sending up a huge cheer every time CNN rotated in the Sooner State numbers. (They watched CNN on a huge TV screen in the smallish room for Clark's primary night party.) "80 votes! 80 votes! Yeah!" calls out a man watching the election returns with the attentiveness of a football fan during the Super Bowl. With 74 percent of the precincts reporting, Clark goes up by seven votes.  "We're ahead! We're ahead! We're ahead!" a supporter screams. It's the political version of the Giants winning the pennant.

Minutes later, Clark is down again, this time by 63 votes. Then it's 62 votes. With 80 percent of the precincts reporting, he goes in front of Edwards by 11 votes. Then Edwards takes over by 105 votes, then 62 votes again. But the late precincts break heavily for Clark. With 87 percent of the precincts reporting, Clark is up by 959 votes. "He's up by a thousand! Clark's up by a thousand!" With 99 percent of the precincts counted, and up by nearly 1,300 votes, Clark declares victory, even if CNN hasn't. And he heads to Tennessee to campaign before the Feb. 10 primary there (held on the same day as Virginia's), instead of going home to Little Rock, as some thought he might.

A win's a win, and some Clark partisans argue that Clark's Feb. 3 showing trumps Edwards' decisive South Carolina victory because Clark placed second in three states, while Edwards finished in second place in only two. I don't buy that. Neither candidate had a particularly strong day. Edwards finished in fourth place in three states, and Clark finished fourth twice, and in Delaware he finished fifth. (For futility, neither compares to Joe Lieberman's failure to land even 100 votes in North Dakota.) It's hard to see how either man argues that he deserves to go mano a mano with John Kerry.

At some point, either Clark or Edwards will have to prove that he can win the support of Democratic voters in states in which the Democratic nominee will actually have to campaign in the general election. Clark may be the choice of Oklahoma Democrats, but Oklahoma hasn't cast its electoral votes for a Democratic presidential candidate since LBJ's 1964 landslide. South Carolina has been a solid GOP bet for decades—it was one of the six * states to go for Goldwater in '64—though it did side with Jimmy Carter in 1976. Granted, Edwards demonstrated the ability to garner significant support in Iowa, but Iowa hasn't gone Republican since Ronald Reagan's 1984 rout of Walter Mondale.

In the general-election swing states of New Hampshire, Arizona, Missouri, and New Mexico, the combined number of Clark and Edwards voters fell far short of the number of Kerry voters—by double-digit percentages in each state except Arizona, where Kerry still garnered 9 percent more voters than Clark and Edwards put together.

As Howard Dean might tell the two men, we can do better than this. If not, their campaign staffers won't have jobs for much longer.

Correction, Feb. 5, 2004: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that Barry Goldwater carried five states in the 1964 presidential election. He carried six. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

          Is He Still Here?   

MANCHESTER, N.H.—I knew John Kerry was the man of the hour, but what made the feeling more than an abstraction was the Baltimore-Washington airport bookstore. It stocked a display of Kerry's campaign book, A Call to Service, above the latest books by Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter. Yes, it's the Washington area, but still—it's an airport bookstore.

Kerry continued his winning streak at tonight's debate, the final one among the seven remaining Democrats before the New Hampshire primary. Debates have been Kerry's best format during this campaign. He's a TV candidate, cool and authoritative, and the time-cramped medium comes to his aid by forcibly restricting his long-winded oratorical perambulations. But until tonight's context, Kerry's debate performances seemed as irrelevant as Al Sharpton's zingers.

The moment when Kerry won the debate, I thought, was when he answered Manchester Union-Leader reporter John DiStaso's question about his decision to throw his medals (or was it his ribbons?) away in protest during the Vietnam War. "I could not be more proud of the fact that when I came back from that war, having learned what I learned, that I led thousands of veterans to Washington, we camped on the Mall underneath the Congress, underneath Richard Nixon's visibility," Kerry said. "He tried to kick us off. And we stood our ground and said to him, 'Mr. President, you sent us 8,000 miles away to fight, die and sleep in the jungles of Vietnam. We've earned the right to sleep on this Mall and talk to our senators and congressmen.'" Kerry used the occasion to cast himself as both pro-veteran and antiwar, surely the sweet spot he hoped to squeeze his candidacy into before he got bogged down over the meaning of his vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution.

I'm beginning to suspect that Kerry's lack of clarity on the Iraq war actually benefits his candidacy. One, because voters from a wide spectrum can find ways to square his position with theirs, and two, because his muddled ambivalence best captures the way I suspect the great majority of Democrats feel. (Kerry may have best explained his stance in October 2002 when he said, "My vote was cast in a way that made it very clear, Mr. President, I'm voting for you to do what you said you're going to do, which is to go through the U.N. and do this through an international process. If you go unilaterally, without having exhausted these remedies, I'm not supporting you. And if you decide that this is just a matter of straight pre-emptive doctrine for regime-change purposes without regard to the imminence of the threat, I'm not going to support you." The quote is taken from Walter Shapiro's One-Car Caravan.)

But wouldn't Kerry know it? Even during his rosy post-caucus glow, he can't escape the man he once exasperatedly referred to as "Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean." Whether the Vermont governor is riding high in the polls or flaming out, he's the candidate the media fixate on. The local ABC affiliate in Manchester trumpeted its Nightline broadcast of the debate by mentioning only one candidate, Dean, by name. And if Dean's last-ditch effort to save his candidacy wasn't already the story of the day, his campaign ensured that it would be by sending their candidate on a televised triple play: the debate, his (and his wife's) interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's Primetime Live, and his appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman. I watched all three from the comfort of my hotel room.

There are advantages to watching political events on television rather than attending them in person. For one, you get to see them as the viewers do. I was on the scene in Iowa during this campaign's defining moment, the Dean Scream, and I didn't even notice it. The crowd was so noisy during what appeared to be typical Dean behavior during a stump speech, not unlike his listing off of the industrialized countries with universal health care ("the British and the French and the Germans," on and on to "the Danes, the Swedes, the Japanese, even the Costa Ricans have health care!"), that no one in the room seemed to hear the "part growl, part yodel," as the Boston Globe put it. Second, when you attend a political debate, all you really do is watch it on TV anyway, except you watch it in on TV in a room filled with other journalists. Third, I had no idea that Ernie Hudson, aka "the fourth Ghostbuster," had his own show on ABC.

A couple things struck me from the Primetime interview. Dean said he was "speaking to 3,500 kids" on caucus night. I didn't formally survey the demographics of Dean's volunteers in Iowa, obviously, but his reference to the "under-30 generation" during his post-caucus speech elicited mild boos from the crowd. When I followed three Dean volunteers as they canvassed for votes in Des Moines, one was 33, one was 55, and one was 58. They weren't atypical. From my experience, nothing tweaks Dean supporters more than the idea that they are angry children, and they're right that the widespread belief that Dean is the kiddie candidate gives voters a reason not to take him seriously.

The second thing that occurred to me was something from Howard Dean: A Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would Be President, the book by a team of Vermont reporters. In it, one journalist notes that as Vermont governor, Dean never quite grasped that he was something other than an ordinary person, and that his words had unusual power. Sure, he had an uncommon job, but other than that, Dean thought he was just a regular guy. To a great extent, Dean has behaved on the campaign trail as if he still feels the same way.

Dean's regular-guy status is one of the most appealing things about his candidacy, and it's one of the most fun things about covering him. He's willing to let himself be a normal person to a reporter in a way that most politicians won't. But in another way, a presidential candidate, and especially a president, isn't a regular guy. Presidents can't do or say the things that even senators and governors can. Neither can first ladies. That may not be fair, but that's the way it is.

It looks as if Howard and Judy Dean have decided that if they can't remain "just ordinary folks," they don't want to be president and first lady. That's admirable. But I also suspect that that decision, and not some pirate yell, is the biggest obstacle that would keep them from the White House.

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          President Trump's inaugural address put the "we" back into We The People   

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          NJ's two senators don't exactly crown themselves with glory grilling Trump's nominees   

          Once Again, Jorge Ramos Smears Lawful Gun Owners   
... these days is pretty much limited to pet issues and boogeymen, and last week's column is emblematic of that...Trump and guns. What is notable about the column, though, is that Unvision has reverted to that old time-worn habit of deleting Ramos' most ...
          Media hacks in the tank for Obama and Clinton whine that Trump won't bow before them   

          Congratulations President-Elect Trump!   

          Trump Openly Ogles Irish Reporter While On Phone With Ambassador   
STEPHANIE RUHLE : All right, I have to, have to share with you the bizarre exchange President Trump had yesterday with a female reporter who came to the White House. She was in the Oval Office.
          Trump-Supporting Doctor On MSNBC Says The NRA Is The Solution To Health Care   
Dr. Alieta Eck drew ridicule from MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle on Wednesday by suggesting that the way to give Americans better health care was to allow people to buy insurance through the National Rifle Association . During a discussion with a panel of doctors who support President Donald Trump's effort to "repeal and replace Obamacare," Ruhle asked Eck how legislation could improve the health care system.
          Jay Sekulow Demands President Obama Be Investigated Over Russia   
Yeah it was a hoax and fake news mere moments ago, but hey! If Trump can blame Barack Obama for Russia hacking our election, then Russian hacking all of a sudden is real. Most of Trump's tactics involve, "nothing is ever Trump's fault" and if it looks like it is then "blame everybody else."
          President Trump singles out Irish journalist to comment on her 'nice smile'   

          Time Magazine Asks Trump To Remove Phony Cover Hanging In 4 Of His Golf Courses   
Landing on the cover of Time Magazine is an impressive accomplishment, and President Trump actually has a cover featuring himself.
          Politics Aside, Counting Crowds Is Tricky   
Updated at 3 p.m. ET on Jan. 27 There has been a lot of arguing about the size of crowds in the past few days. Estimates for President Trump's inauguration and the Women's March a day later vary widely. And for crowd scientists, that's pretty normal. "I think this is expected," says Mubarak Shah , director of the Center for Research in Computer Vision at the University of Central Florida. Shah says he encountered something similar during mass protests in Barcelona, Spain a couple of years ago. "The government was claiming smaller number than the opposition was claiming," he says. Counting quarrels have popped up during previous events in the U.S. as well. During the Million Man March in 1995, the National Park Service estimated the crowd to be far smaller than the organizers claimed. The controversy led Congress to bar the Park Service from doing head counts on the National Mall. The reason that disagreements frequently arise is that there's no foolproof way to get an accurate head
          Albert Almora denies flipping off President Donald Trump during White House visit   
The Chicago Cubs visited President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday, and one picture gave a lot of people the impression outfielder Albert Almora flipped him off while in the Oval Office. Here’s the picture that got people talking. — MLS Insider Bernie (@SimulacruMusial) June 28, 2017 However, Almora strongly denies he […]
          President Donald Trump during meeting with Cubs: ‘Where’s Dan Gilbert?’   
The Chicago Cubs were in our nation’s capital on Wednesday for a special meeting with President Donald Trump. It was a sort of encore performance by the world champions, who visited with President Barack Obama back in January. The Cubs presented the president with a No. 45 jersey, which represents Trump as the 45th president […]
          Trump’s Backward Stance on Climate Ignites Cities, States   

The silver lining beneath Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is that we're seeing action on the city and state level like we've never seen before.

The post Trump’s Backward Stance on Climate Ignites Cities, States appeared first on Sustainable Business.

          coelhinha pagando chupada (amador)   
facial, amateur, teens, brazil, cam, safada, novinhas, casal, esposa, foda, funk, famosas, suruba, carro, amadoras, corno, mato, favela, caseiras, teanna trump
          Like Chanticleer   
Like Chanticleer   I crowed like Chanticleer: “Your bitch got beat!” That was the night Trump kicked Frau Klinton’s ass. Isn’t that why we find these moments sweet? The foes that we have hungered to harass Face clear humiliation. It’s first class, The thrill that their discomfiture supplies. It isn’t just a glory: it’s a […]
          料理白癡第一發- 咖哩烏龍麵!之 停水了怎麼辦!   
由於你也知道 本人呢!最近很悲哀的在家~~ 所以不做點事覺得人生虛度的感覺 女人嘛~ 呆在家 除了念英文 看書 聽聽音樂 喝喝下午茶 打掃 還有什麼事必做呢!! 就是我的罩門!!  煮菜 其實也不是什麼罩門啦! 只是我這人怕麻煩 所以燒菜是很看心情的 偏偏呢! 我又住在古亭 前有公館後有師大 我怎麼可能會突然發瘋自己煮呢?!(敲腦門)   但是 我前幾天發了瘋在costco 買了咖哩1KG和烏龍麵超大包   這可怎麼辦呢! 你也知道costco 根本就是開給開店賣吃的人 份量大到不行 (右手背敲左手心) 好吧!>"< 我只好來煮了   在這裡 我先簡介一下本人的下廚資歷 (請腦中自行配音樂並配合我本人拿個鍋鏟將手交叉於胸前的畫面 攝影機要繞著我旋轉喔!) 哇某人 2X歲 沒住在外地過! 自小走蕩在古亭一帶! 有個吃素的媽媽 但家中其他人吃肉  家中習慣 各自買便當解決 最愛吃排骨便當這種簡單的東西  不過什麼東西都可以吃 都可以接受 超不挑食 只有很偶爾 (真的很偶爾 大概是過年過節之類的) 才會幫媽媽燒燒菜 僅限於切切菜 炒炒菜 平時只有煮煮泡麵之流 N年前很想要做菜 曾做出一些義大利麵的料理 但你也知道 阿就肉醬拌一拌 炒一炒 煮一煮 總結:資歷零  重點是 之前下廚從沒一個人獨立完成過  大多有媽媽或男友在一旁   本次!!哈哈哈 (插腰大笑) 我終於要自己做菜啦!!! 沒有人在旁邊碎念的感覺真好!!!!!   首先  先上網查了資訊:打入咖哩烏龍麵 找到一篇網誌  要看的請按此 最吸引我的當然是它寫的title "懶人版" 乖乖的把材料和作法抄下來後 我就出發 騎著腳踏車 前往頂好買材料啦! 買了 馬鈴薯x2 洋蔥X2 小黃瓜 胡蘿蔔 牛肉 杏包菇(包打不出來>"<) 雞湯塊 玉米罐頭  玉米筍(我個人很愛 想說加加看吧!:P)   好! 正當我要把袖子捲起來  要開始的時候 悲劇發生了 瞎咪   瞎咪     瞎咪   瞎密!!! 竟然  竟然停水了!!!!! (註: 我家是舊公寓 水塔常常會因為蓄水量不足 就突然停水 重點是也不知該怎麼解決 沒地方再放新的水塔了)   我猶豫要不要放棄  轉念一想 唉優 就當這是一種貧苦的挑戰吧! 還好 我家才剛燒了一壺的水 (大約有1000c.c) 我只好看看能不能用這一壺的水  做出料理!!! 挑戰省水料理start!   首先 先把該削皮的東西削一削  用水0   但是這些東西削完後  還是得沖一沖  所以我就拿那壺水把它們沖一沖了! 水量剩下:   接下來呢! 我就把水沖了一下  將要拿來煮咖哩的鍋子  和 湯匙 (非常省....大概才100c.c..................) 以及把水沖洗  杏笣菇和玉米筍 ....話說...這兩個東西是不是農藥很多呀>"< 唉....可是我又沒水....我只能大概沖一下  搓一搓 洗一洗 再把將近半壺的水拿來燒開 此時我的水只剩下:   挨唷威 ... 在等水燒滾的過程中呢! 我加入了咖哩塊  因為不知道要放多少  所以我是切一塊 煮開後慢慢去試味道的 一定有人問  那高湯塊呢.....我是很想做啦  但是齁 我媽吃素 想來想去  算了  煮出來只有我和我媽吃  另外兩個在外吃飯 我只好煮素的了! 就只放了咖哩塊 然後把材料都切塊.....   結果我切了一整個洋蔥  竟然沒有像我想像中的潸然淚下.... 但是胡蘿蔔和馬鈴薯我只用半個...因為料真的多到爆了...... 全部都是一塊一塊的東西載浮載沉在我的湯上..... 我都還沒放麵耶  都快滿出來了.... 我只好又洗了一個大鍋  緊急換了一個大鍋....  (在倒的時候好害怕呦....) 就在這些雜七雜巴的東西  順便來學英文吧!其實是中文選字好煩 (馬鈴薯Potato  胡蘿蔔Carrots 洋蔥Onion 杏包菇  king trumpet mushroom or king oyster mushroom 玉米筍 Baby corn 玉米粒 corn grain) 加入後就煮到滾 滾了以後 直接加入麵條 再煮一陣子   就好了耶!!!!   非常的隨便!   最後我換大鍋 有再加一些水 所以最後水量剩   有水當思無水之苦呀!!!!!>"<     盛碗後長這樣:     看起來沒有很好吃齁 事實上也沒有很好吃..................     味道有點淡  不過剛好可以拿來喝湯!!!! (我只加 咖哩塊喔! 啥調味都沒再加了...) 但是敗筆是  Carrot 和baby corn =_=  真的太硬了! 我應該要把它們煮久一點的! 其實洋蔥應該要一開始加點奶油去煎一下 再加入水 但我忘啦... 所以我水還沒煮開我就先加了一大堆洋蔥! 不過它的甜味有跑出來呦! 還有 king trumpet mushroom 口感上真的很搭喔!  我喜歡!!! 加在裡面好好吃呀! 最好吃的料就是它了! 我媽吃了以後  給我的建議是 以後要先把Carrot 煮爛一點  再依序煮其它軟硬食材 不能一起丟啦! 不過她還是賞臉的說  好吃!   評分時間到   評審是!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YA 圓圓   由它的表情可知 本次的料理     59分!!!!  評審說明: 食材料理草率  有些塊太大 有些太小  有些有太硬 玉米筍非常不搭!                口味偏淡  有極大的改進空間!     後記: 我買了這些食材呀 costco那兩個 花我400 其他今天買的這些食材也要400 我買一個悟饕池上飯包  有大雞腿  也才90 我真是吃力不討好耶我!!!   唉唷~~ 在台北  又要省錢  感覺還是買便當划算吧~~~  囧~~~~~~   不過我食材是都沒用完啦....  下次來個乾咖哩烏龍麵吧~~~~~   MY GOD~~~~      
          Air pollution exposure may hasten death, even at levels deemed 'safe,' study says   

At a time when the Trump administration is moving to delay and dismantle air quality regulations, a new study suggests that air pollution continues to cut Americans’ lives short, even at levels well below the legal limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The nationwide study of...

          Hagmann: Child/Human Trafficking Is The Currency Of The Elite   
The globalists are running worldwide sex rings, but Trump is going after them.
          CNN Admits They Lied To Viewers About Trump Russia-Gate   
Fake news aficionados at CNN only want ratings.
          Gorsuch is already pushing the Supreme Court right on religion, guns and gay rights   

When Judge Neil M. Gorsuch went before the Senate in March as President Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, he sought to assure senators he would be independent and above the political fray.

“There is no such thing as a Republican judge or Democratic judge,” he said more than once. “We...

          Air pollution exposure may hasten death, even at levels deemed 'safe,' study says   

At a time when the Trump administration is moving to delay and dismantle air quality regulations, a new study suggests that air pollution continues to cut Americans’ lives short, even at levels well below the legal limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The nationwide study of...

          Kodėl viskas taip greitai sulūžta?   
Naujųjų metų šventės tik ką baigėsi, tačiau jau galima paklausti: ar jūs vis dar naudojate dovanotus žaislus, prietaisus, ar jau padėjote juos į sandėliuką? Ar negavote naujausios technologinės naujovės, kaip Kalėdų dovanos tik tam, kad suprastumėte, kad ji yra beveik identiška tai, kurią jums padovanojo pernai? Kodėl gi mūsų dienomis, beveik viskas tarnauja tokį trumpą laiką?

          Brent markės naftos kaina 2017 metais sieks 53,50 JAV dolerio už barelį - EIA   
Šiemet vidutinė Šiaurės jūros naftos Brent kaina sieks 53,50 JAV dolerių už barelį. Apie tai kalbama kasmetinėje trumpalaikėje JAV energetikos departamento Energetikos informacijos valdybos (EIA) prognozėje. Brent kainos prognozė šiems metams padidėjo, lyginant su žinybos gruodžio mėnesio prognoze. Pagal praėjusių metų rezultatus, atsižvelgiant į Energetikos departamento duomenis, vidutinė Brent naftos kaina buvo 43,74 dolerio. Tikimasi, kad 2018 metais vidutinė naftos kaina bus 56,18 dolerio.

          LOOP: Senate GOP delays health care vote for a week   
HEALTH CARE // Lacking the 50 votes need to pass health care, Senate Majority Leader delayed a vote on the GOP plan for a week. Senate Republicans then visited with President Trump at the White House where he warned them of the ‘cost of failure.’ HEALTH CARE // A pro-Trump group decides to pull ads slamming a Republican Senator who attacked [...]
          We need compassion as a priority in how we care for people like Michael and Kathleen   
Throughout the country, decisions are being made for reasons that trump people’s relationships and families.
          March 2009 Time cover of Trump displayed in his golf clubs is fake   
A Time magazine cover featuring Donald Trump hangs on the walls of at least four of the president's golf clubs, in Florida, Virginia, Ireland and Scotland. But closer inspection reveals that the March 1, 2009, cover is false.
          Indian IT Giant Wipro Touts New U.S. Jobs   
Amid a tighter visa regime under President Trump.
          Republicans Aren’t Sure President Trump Is the Best Person to Sell Health Care   
"Add some money to it!" he said
          ‘Let’s Talk Together.’ Schumer Challenges Trump on Health Care Plan   
"Either Republicans will agree and change the status quo, or markets will continue to collapse and we’ll have to sit down with Sen. Schumer”
          President Trump Calls on Congress to Pass Bills Aimed at Undocumented Immigrants   
President Trump hosted the families of victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants at the White House on Wednesday as a part of an effort to put pressure on Republicans in the House to pass legislation targeting so-called sanctuary cities. “You lost the people that you love because our government refused to enforce our nation’s…
          June 28th 2017, 2-3pm   

President Trump welcomed the World Champion Chicago Cubs to the White House today. The State of Illinois may not be able to pay lottery winners. Republican leaders have put a hold on a healthcare bill in the Senate. James Capretta is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Mark takes calls on healthcare.

          Når kommer Trump til oss i Moskva? Han lovte jo!   
En skulle kanskje tro at Russia-gate plager russere flest. Men mange føler seg heller en smule beæret over at Russland tillegges så stor vekt i USA, verdens sterkeste makt.
          The Covenant and the Cargo Cult: Concluded   


Let's get this out of the way first - SPOILERS! Then this: Alien: Covenant is not a very good movie. 

It's not offensively terrible, in fact it goes out of its way to be as inoffensive as possible. Even the gore seems polite. 

I'd give you a synopsis but you can just as easily take all your favorite scenes from the Alien franchise, arrange them however you please, add in a cartoon villain whose motivations are entirely incomprehensible and then go fix yourself up some Jiffy Pop.

Alien: Covenant goes to great lengths to piss away the entire ontology proposed in the film it's meant to act as a sequel to, ostensibly annihilating the god-like Engineer race in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it CGI eruption that has all the heft and drama of a 80s video game. 

But at the same time it seems to tell a story beneath the surface narrative. And a lot of its riffs will be well familiar to anyone versed in Ancient Astronaut Theory. Which, let's face it, was arguably extraneous to the running plot of Prometheus (space mission finds remains of alien race mixed up with the xenomorph progenitors).

As Gordon and I discussed, it also feels like it meant to originally serve as the advance guard for a new AAT media blitz*, a plan that appears to have been scuttled in the wake of Hurricane Trump and the resultant cold (for the time being) civil war the country has been plunged into. 

I've never seen divide-and-rule politics as divisive as what we're seeing today, with the ostensible goal being to atomize the population into impotent, squabbling subsects in order to preempt any potential challenge to oligarchal rule, even if the oligarchy itself is itself carved up into mutually antagonistic camps. (I should mention here that this whole program seems to have fired up in the wake of the Occupy movements).

Of course there's also the fact that the easiest social grouping (tribe, country, empire, etc) to conquer is one that's divided against itself. 

Just saying.

But even this miserable turn of events seems to resonate with the AAT perspective as well, specifically the "gods at war" subplot running through Zecharia Sitchin's bibliography, as well as some of the theorizing emerging on the fringe science circuit.

Now, there's a strand of thinking among those who wrestle with the Fermi Paradox, essentially arguing that high technology is inherently anti-adaptive and inevitably leads to self-destruction. 

What this theory essentially proposes is that we've not had any (acknowledged) contact with extraterrestrial races because they've all been wiped out by their own advanced technology (read: 'weaponry'). This of course is a wildly egocentric assumption ("extraterrestrial races are all as savage and murderous as we are") and automatically presumes that our own high technology is not in fact some kind of alien intrusion, even if it behaves every bit like one.

I bring this up because there are two running themes in Alien: Covenant I do want to unpack, because they do (obliquely) reference some of the basic tenets of AAT (the film seems to keep a lot of its AAT on the DL).

First off is David's genocide of the Engineer planet. This was a fairly ridiculous subplot, essentially chucking everything we were told about these beings in the first film. This is a billions year-old race that seeded all life on Earth and yet they're all defeated by a lone android who had hijacked one of their spacecraft? Huh?

Wouldn't they naturally have some kind of defense infrastructure that would have intercepted this ship before it ever reached orbit? There's no attempt at following the story's own internal logic.

Now there are all kinds of ways you could have made sense of this. The Engineers had degenerated over the millennia and lost their high technology, that they'd become so drunk on their own power that they never expected any exterior challenge, etc etc etc. But the film makes absolutely no attempt to sell any of that.

But by the same token there's a fascinating allegory at work here, even if it's unintentional, and that ties back to the war of the gods theme running through a lot of AAT theorizing. 

Note that the Engineers aren't decked up in their Gigeresque finery in the apocalypse scene but look more like the kind of quasi-Medievals familiar to space fantasy fans. They also look pretty stupid gazing up at the approaching ship like the hapless New Agers in Mars Attacks. 

But were they in fact the Engineers? Some fans don't seem to think so.

A closer look at the (humanoid) aliens in the film may suggest that this in fact was another descendant race, the clue being the skintone (matte and pinkish as opposed to chalky white and moderately reflective). They also don't seem quite as black-eyed. Another clue is their reaction to the ship, arguably suggesting these people were expecting their gods to return.


Is this a fakeout or a reference to another covert subplot altogether? It's possible there was a revelation that this was just a descendant race in the original script but that all got lost in the rewriting process. 

Perhaps David's apparent plan to kill off the human colonists- who are both his progenitors and another descendant race- are the clue here. Either way, the story (mankind's cousins wiped out by a space invader) ties in pretty neatly with the theories put forth by plasma physicist Dr. John Brandenburg:
"Dr. Brandenburg has previously theorized that the red color of Mars and the radioactive substances in its soil are the result of a thermonuclear explosion from natural causes. He now says that the “high concentration” of Xenon-129 in the Martian atmosphere and uranium and thorium on the surface are remnants of two unnatural nuclear explosions, most likely triggered by alien invaders. 
"Who were these aliens invading and eventually wiping out? Brandenburg believes Mars once had a climate like Earth and was inhabited by two civilizations – one in a region called Cydonia Mensa and another at Galaxias Chaos. Why these two regions? 
'Analysis of new images from Odyssey, MRO and Mars Express orbiters now show strong evidence of eroded archeological objects at these sites.'
According to Brandenburg, the Martians maintained a high civilization, albeit a non-technological one:
He says Mars once had an Earth-like climate home to animal and plant life, and any intelligent life would have been about as advanced as the ancient Egyptians on Earth.
There's also David's genetic tinkering with the xenomorph genome. As a self-styled god, David here is playing the part suggested by AATheorists, who postulate that the Anunaki went through a series of experiments in creating the modern human genome and eradicated unwanted models while they did so. 

Strangely enough, this also correlates to the AAT-friendly origin myth put forth by the ancient Greek writer Hesiod in his landmark Works and Days. Hesiod, significantly, was apparently deeply influenced by Babylonian literature, the Enuma Elish in particular

And the war of the gods certainly correlates to the Titanomachy, or the wars between the Olympians and their progenitors, the Titans.

So is there an unspoken inference that David is the titular Prometheus, defying the "gods" and shepherding the engineered development of the xenomorph race? In the context of the film itself it's really hard to care one way or the other but it does suggest that there was in fact a lot more meat on the bone in previous drafts of the script.


But it's worth noting that the Alien franchise is not only another example of a major SF property that revolves around AAT it's also an example of a SF franchise onto which AAT was grafted midstream (at the same time it was grafted onto the Predator franchise). 

Some franchises have AAT baked into their genome at conception (Star Trek (more or less), the Space Odyssey series, Battlestar Galactica) but many more seem to have it implanted sometime into their runs (Quatermass, Doctor Who, X-Files, Indiana Jones, Transformers, Jonny Quest, Godzilla, Doom, Halo, Assassin's Creed). 

When the Olympics came to Hollywood

This raises a very simple question: why? Is there in fact a AAT cargo cult at work in the entertainment industry? I mean that sounds ridiculous, right? 

Well, maybe it seems a bit less so when you look at the influence the Nine had on the Star Trek franchise (relaunching on television this year) or the fact that one of the most powerful cults in Hollywood is explicitly AAT-oriented right down to its very core. There's also the Mormon Church, which is at the very least AAT-compatible.

On the other hand, there's also the Brookings Report. 
The report has become noted for one short section entitled "The implications of a discovery of extraterrestrial life", which examines the potential implications of such a discovery on public attitudes and values. The section briefly considers possible public reactions to some possible scenarios for the discovery of extraterrestrial life, stressing a need for further research in this area. It recommends continuing studies to determine the likely social impact of such a discovery and its effects on public attitudes…" 
One detail that caught the eye of researchers like Richard Hoagland is the mention of possible artifacts discovered on our neighbors, artifacts that might call our entire view of our planet and our very existence into question.
"While face-to-face meetings with it will not occur within the next twenty years (unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit Earth), artifacts left at some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus." 
And then there's this passage, which basically explains why so many STEM types are so deeply wounded by AAT:
"It has been speculated that, of all groups, scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature, rather than with the understanding and expression of man. Advanced understanding of nature might vitiate all our theories at the very least, if not also require a culture and perhaps a brain inaccessible to Earth scientists."  

And the money quote: suggestions for how that eventuality- or some kind of alien contact- might be managed by the Managers.
Continuing studies to determine emotional and intellectual understanding and attitudes -- and successive alterations of them if any -- regarding the possibility and consequences of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life. 
Historical and empirical studies of the behavior of peoples and their leaders when confronted with dramatic and unfamiliar events or social pressures. Such studies might help to provide programs for meeting and adjusting to the implications of such a discovery. Questions one might wish to answer by such studies would include: How might such information, under what circumstances, be presented to or withheld from the public for what ends?  
And lo and behold, 57 years after the Brookings Report we get this:
The solar system that humanity calls home may have once been inhabited by an extinct species of spacefaring aliens, a top scientist has suggested. 
A space scientist has suggested ancient extraterrestrials could have lived on Mars, Venus or even Earth before disappearing without a trace. 
In a fascinating academic paper about “prior indigenous technological species,” Jason T. Wright from Pennsylvania State University raised the fascinating possibility that evidence of these extinct aliens could exist somewhere in the solar system. 
Wright is an astronomer who received global attention after suggesting an “alien megastructure” had been spotted in orbit around a distant star.Now the stargazer has said advanced aliens may have left behind “technosignatures” for us to find — if only we knew where to look for them.
Of course, this is exactly what Richard Hoagland has been talking about- and has been roundly attacked for doing so- for at least the past 40 years. But I suppose it's different when the very same theorizing comes from within the priesthood.

It's funny; last night I was cutting the grass and thinking about stuff. You know, like you do when you're cutting the grass. Then I started mulling over how simplistic and repetitive the Ancient Aliens show is and how quickly Giorgio Tsoukalos transformed himself into a cartoon character. 

But then I realized that's how educational indoctrination works in our culture. 

All kinds of teaching and training materials in public schools use cartoon characters, right? Walt Disney probably made a fortune licensing his characters for educational films. And it's through repetition that people really learn anything. 

So Ancient Aliens might chew over the same gristle year after year but that helps keep its messaging consistent as its audience ebbs and flows (read: enters/graduates high school). Love it or loathe it, you have to acknowledge that there's a cogent methodology at work there. 

Government-conditioning program or cult indoctrination, they all work out of the same toolbox.

Is it all leading up to some major revelation, the way 'Disclosure' advocates expect? Or is all leading up to some massive Project Blue Beam type of hoax? 

Well,  why would anyone expect it to? Why would anyone expect the skies to open- or not- as the climax of all this conditioning? 

The answer, of course, is Hollywood. Because that's the way it works in the movies. Real life doesn't usually work that way. 

However, no matter who or what is behind all this the fact remains that, like it or don't, AAT (and the UFO topic in general) have already dramatically changed our culture, our technology and our society. Certainly our popular culture. 

Being a bit long in the tooth it still boggles my mind how many younger people take the basic assumptions of AAT for granted, even if they haven't read a page of Sitchin or Von Daniken or even watched a single Ancient Aliens. They don't have to. So much of their favorite pop culture is neck deep in it.

*You can toss in the Sekret Machines project here, spearheaded by former Blink 182 guitarist Tom Delonge and Peter Levenda of Necronomicon and Sinister Forces fame, and involving all kinds of Deep State heavies such as John Podesta.

          Covenant and the Cargo Cult, Part 2: Hollywood Babylon   

Several years ago I blogged on the Oscars and the enigma of the Hollywood and Highland complex they're held in, specifically the very odd presence of the Babylon Gate, recreated from DW Griffith's epic flop, Intolerance. As I wrote back in 2008:
The rear entrance to the theatre is a massive recreation of the Babylon Gate from D.W. Griffiths’s Intolerance (Griffith was yet another Hollywood Freemason)... Near the top rim of the gate is a border design made of 17 keyhole-shaped objects. It seems only appropriate that behind the Babylon Gate stands the Renaissance Hotel, located on the 1700 block of Highland Ave. 
All well and good, right? Now ask yourself- what in Heaven's name is this doing in the courtyard of the venue where the World's most prominent awards ceremony is held every year? What connection is this alleged to have to the Oscars? I mean, the symbolism is obvious but what's the cover story?
Well, apparently the cover story is that the legendary writer Ray Bradbury- the poet laureate of science fiction-- insisted that the Gate be installed at the plaza. Why exactly and exactly how he had such pull with the H&H developers is a real brain-teaser. Bradbury is quoted thusly:
"I told them that somewhere in the city, they had to build the set from the 1916 film Intolerance by D. W. Griffith. The set, with its massive, wonderful pillars and beautiful white elephants on top, now stands at the corner of Hollywood and Highland avenues. People from all over the world come to visit, all because I told them to build it. I hope at some time in the future, they will call it the Bradbury Pavilion." 
Well, that's all well and good but the fact remains that the planners probably wouldn't have gone to the trouble and expense of recreating the Gate simply to humor a writer, no matter how respected he may be. And there's the blindingly obvious symbolism to be unpacked here.

Because what we're talking about here is the literalizing of "Hollywood Babylon," which you have to admit is kind of a ballsy, in-your-face kind of move. Note you don't see any other pseudo-cyclopean artifacts from any other ancient culture there. Of course, what it also does is make a very specific and definitive statement as to what Tinseltown holds most sacred. 

I mean, Babylon. Think about it for a moment. 

Did I mention that they hold the Oscars here, the 800-pound gorilla of all award ceremonies?

As you may already know, Babylon is a Greek rendering of the Akkadian bav-ilim, which means "Gate of the Gods." So the H&H gate is in fact a symbolic representation of a portal to the world of the gods, or a stargate if you prefer.

What's more, Babylon was founded by the great usurper Sargon of Akkad, who we discussed last year not only for his conquest of Sumer-- and all that implies-- but for the possible fingerprints he might have left on several Bible stories as well as the Prometheus mythologies.
Now, pay close attention to what happened next- the devil, as always, is in the details: A Lugal- a giant- bound in chains to appease a sky god: why does that sound so familiar?  
Oh yeah, because that's Prometheus' story as well.
 Lugal-zagesi marched his army from Kish to meet Sargon in battle and was defeated. Sargon then put Zagesi in chains, tied a rope around his neck, and took him to the city of Nippur, sacred to the god Enlil upon whom Lugalzagesi had relied, and forced him to march in humiliation through the Enlil's gate. 
Again with the gates.

So the Babylon Gate doesn't just connect back to Sumer and the foundation of Western civilization and the monotheistic religions (Abraham was actually Sumerian), it also ties into-- you guessed it-- Ancient Astronaut Theory, specifically through the influential work of Zecharia Sitchin. 

For whatever problems Sitchin's work may have, no one did more to identify Sumer with ancient astronauts in the public imagination. 

Did I mention that many of the biggest SF movie/TV franchises coming out of Hollywood have Ancient Astronaut Theory as the basis of their mythology? I did? Good. 

I would argue that the Gate also ties into the Lucifer archetype through the Zagesi-Prometheus link, not to mention through the fascinating constellation of mysterious yet crucially important Sumero-Akkadian fire gods, variously known as Gibil (Gilgamesh is a rendering of Gi-bil-aga-mis, which literally means "Gibil is commander"), Girra (which literally means "Light-Bringer"), Nusku (the guardian of dreams and lord of the night) and others. 

This Babylonian Lucifer was described in language anyone raised Christian would recognize (such as "first-born son of God," for starters) two-thousand years before Jesus walked the Earth. 

This Babylonian Lucifer was also a binary god. He Incarnated the elemental power of fire, so over the years there were both benevolent and malevolent fire gods. The badass fire god was Nergal, god of the underworld (also known as Lugalgirra, Erra, etc). Like Osiris (immortalized in the Oscar statuette itself) Nergal was believed to represent the Sun in the underworld.

This of course re-emerged in the form of the much-later innovation of Satan and Lucifer representing the dark and light natures of the Princes of Hell. How exactly that little arrangement arose in the Middle Ages, when the original Akkadian/Babylonian texts were believed to have been long lost, is another puzzler altogether.

The Babylonian Lucifer not only surfed his way along the waves of cultural displacement,  the Assyrians saw him as a bulwark against black magic and witchcraft, as recorded so famously in the astonishing Maqlu grimoire (which Necromonicon fans should really take the time to read).

So I should probably insert the fact that Gordon referred to Alien: Covenant as a "Space Lucifer" movie, for reasons I get even though I haven't seen the movie yet. Well, I should say that haven't seen the last third of the movie that hasn't been previewed or clipped on YouTube.


I have to admit it blows my mind  how the Sumerian religion-- which existed for millennia before the Sumerians were displaced from the roll of history-- was adopted with only superficial innovations by their conquerors. And their conquerors. And their conqueror's conqueror's conquerors. 

You're looking at a tradition that arose out of Neolithic times-- at the least-- and persisted up until the time of the Muslim conquests (albeit in a relatively-reduced form as "Chaldean Magic"). And of course it had a major influence on the Biblical tradition as well as on Zoroastrianism (which seems to be very heavily informed by Girra/Nusku temple practices brought back to Iran after the Achaemenid conquest of Babylon).

And in a way the Sumerian religion endures to this day. Not only in the influence it had on the Abrahamic religions but also in its Space Age makeover as the backbone of AAT and alien conspiracy theory, which themselves are slowing evolving into (neo-Gnostic) religions of their own. 

Don't believe me? Go to YouTube and run a search on Anunaki. I just did and it coughed up a whopping 399,00o results.

But the Anunaki aren't the only Sumerian gods in town these days. There are also the Igigi, who some have compared to the Greys of UFO lore fame. And more recently, there seems to be a rediscovery of the Seven Sages, aka the Apkallu.

It is noted, “The Apkallu were seven demigods created by Enki, one of the chief Sumerian gods…Enki referred to as ‘Ea,’ which is the name he was later given in Babylonian and Akkadian mythology.” As a styled sidenote, see Seven gods of chaos. Also, you may recall the reference to Enkin in Is the Bible an Anunnaki control mechanism? 
(A)s per the Sumerian mythology “These beings were sent by Enki to teach human beings the arts of civilization: agriculture, writing, building, and so on.” Which correlates to the Book of Enoch noting that various Angels called “Watchers” taught humanity various skills.
Indeed they do. The Apkallu are practically a godsend to any Ancient Astronaut theorist worth his aluminum. Note that Apkallu are usually depicted with wings, being the origin of  the association of angels and wings. Well, the ones that aren't depicted as fish like our old friend Adapa, better known as Oannes.

What's more, the Apkallu are yet another example of what Gordon White calls the "civilizing trickster gods." Maybe one of the first, actually.

Gee, kind of like what's-his-name. You know, Prometheus:

(T)he origin of Watchers derives from the Mesopotamian mythology of the antediluvian sages (apkallus). More precisely, it is proposed that the mythology of Watchers and their sons the giants derived from inverted versions of various Mesopotamian myths and beliefs about apkallus. On some layers of Mesopotamian mythology and ritual practices, the sages were already regarded as dangerous and potentially malicious creatures, upon which the Jewish authors could build their parody.  
Among other associations, the apkallus had strong ties to Mesopotamian demonology, and they were occasionally counted as evil beings, capable of witchcraft. This shows that the wickedness of antediluvian teachers of humankind in Jewish sources was not wholly an inversion of the Mesopotamian traditions by Jewish scholars, but was partly taken from already existing trends in Mesopotamian demonology.

So it's probably here that I should mention that the figures on the Hollywood Babylon Gate are actually Apkallu. Yeah, how about that, huh?

Then I should mention that this very oddly-specific bit of product placement ties back to a very ancient practice indeed:
Figurines of apkallus were buried in boxes as foundationdeposits in Mesopotamian buildings in order to avert evil fromthe house. The term massar, ‘watchers’, is used of these setsof gurines in Akkadian incantations according to ritual texts.This appellation matches the Aramaic term yryn, ‘the wakefulones’, for both good angels and the Watchers.
So the more you look at it, the more significant that gate looks. And the less likely it was put there on Ray Bradbury's suggestion. Unless he too was part of the cult.

Which cult am I referring to here? Well, indulge me for a moment.

Take all the major franchises, minor franchises, movies, cartoons and TV shows (not to mention video games) that center around Ancient Astronaut Theory, then factor the Hollywood & Highland Babylon Gate into the equation. 

Thanks to Reader Brooke

You'll probably see why I strongly suspect there may be a secret cargo cult at the very heart of the entertainment industry. I'm not alone in this. A lot of Christian conspiracy theorists believe AAT is the "Great Deception" the Bible warns of.

I should also remind everyone that AAT made a big, bad splash into the entertainment racket mere weeks after Kenneth Arnold and Roswell, in the form of "Son of the Sun," written by occultist Millen Cooke.

So what you're probably asking yourself is what difference does all this make in the Age of Trump and 'the Resistance' and all the rest of it? Well, Trump will probably be gone soon (my guess at least*) and so too will the endless shitstorm he's kicked up in his wake.  

And all of this Anunaki stuff will still be there, waiting patiently. It's had thousands of years to practice. It's seen quite a few Trumps and 'Resistances' come and go. It all seems to be following a very specific arc and moving towards a very specific destination.


* As I wrote in the FB group, "The Praetorians engineered Trump's election precisely because they planned to remove him. They would have done the same with Hillary but figured Trump was a softer target." History teaches us that's the way Praetorians roll.

          The Cold War Kabuki   

Well, you all know what the big story was this past week. I wasn't going to post on it but enough people have asked and it seems germane to the ongoing Reality Show we're all unwitting (and unwilling) extras in. In case you've been on media blackout or a vision quest, here's a brief thumbnail sketch:
The United States launched a military strike Thursday on a Syrian government airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians earlier in the week. 
On President Donald Trump's orders, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase that was home to the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks, US officials said.
As it happens, the airstrikes apparently didn't even seem to have the desired deterrent effect. The air base was up and running soon after the strikes:
Syrian warplanes took off from the air base hit by US cruise missiles yesterday to carry out bombing raids on rebel-held areas, in a defiant show of strength. 
Just hours after the al-Shayrat airfield was bombed with 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships in the Mediterranean, aircraft struck targets in the eastern Homs countryside, according to a monitoring group. 
The airstrikes were carried out on Khan Sheikhoun - the same town Bashar al-Assad’s regime is accused of attacking with chemicals - and seven other towns around eastern Homs, some of which controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
This rebound seemed to catch the War Party off guard, since CNN reported on the same story but appeared to ascribe the airstrikes to phantom warplanes. I mean, it couldn't be the Syrians or the Russians, right?:
(CNN) New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to "send a message" to the Assad regime. 
It wasn't immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.
CNN, who've been hammering Trump around the clock since he humiliated their network head in a post-election tantrum, suddenly changed their tune when he started raining bombs on Syria. Sam Kriss reports:
The media was kind to Trump’s attack on Syria. Every pompous outlet that has spent the last five months screaming incessantly about the threat to democracy, the inevitable deaths and the terror of wars, had nothing but applause as soon as the wars and the deaths actually got going. 
 A fleshy and dangerous idiot, a vulgarian, an imbecile – until those first perfect screaming shots of Tomahawk missiles being fired were broadcast – that’s our guy, you show them Donny! This is when, as Fareed Zakaria put it on CNN, Trump ‘became the president.’
The same mainstream media, which has become a hornet's hive of conspiracy theorizing since the election, was quick to shoot down any conspiracy theories about the Syria Bombshow.
A volley of US cruise missiles had barely been launched into Syria before the internet filled up with fact-free theories about the real reason for the international crisis.
A popular one on the right-most fringes: the US government actually carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria last week - a "false flag" to trick President Donald Trump into retaliating, thus entangling himself in a foreign war. 
A slightly more convoluted strain on the left: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia by provoking the missile strike.
Alt-left conspiracy theorists prefer the idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia.
Ron Paul, whose son Rand is now a rising star in the Senate, was perhaps the most prominent public figure to cast shade on the Syria op:
“Before this episode of possible gas exposure and who did what, things were going along reasonably well for the conditions,” the former Texas congressman stated. “Trump said let the Syrians decide who should run their country, and peace talks were making out, and Al Qaeda and ISIS were on the run.” 
“It looks like, maybe, somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode, and the blame now is we can’t let that happen because it looks like it might benefit Assad.”
For his part, Doctor Bones speculates that the real mark for a possible elaborate sting wasn't Assad or Putin, but in fact another player altogether. The timing seems hard to argue with:
A gas attack launched by the fleeing Syrian rebels, a side quickly losing it’s CIA-sponsorship and well aware it’s continued health depends on American funds, sure has a shit-ton more to gain from wide swathes of civilians dying on camera. Even better if they die particularly gruesomely and in a way the rebels claim they couldn’t be responsible for despite being photographed with all the tech to do so. 
How does Trump’s seemingly pointless explosion-show play into this? The answer: perfectly...
Consider also that the Chinese President was in Mar-a-Largo when the strike was underway, that Trump not only told him it was going to happen but actually ate dinner with him as it went on and the event spirals into even greater significance. A show of force full of technical prowess in a contested warzone while the Russians stood back and watched sends a powerful message to a foreign leader currently dining in enemy territory.
Is this just swivel-eyed speculation? Is there any reason to believe this wasn't all some improbable coincidence, that Xi Jinping was indeed dining with Trump while the Bombshow began? Because if it's not a coincidence then it's one hell of a psyop; running a mindfuck on your most dangerous frenemy during a state visit. What's this all about then? Joseph Farrell reports:
While there have been a spate of articles recently about growing Russo-Chinese defense and security ties, matching their growing financial and economic ties, this one left me stunned, for there was a statement within it that caught my eye, and Mr. B's as well, and I'm sure the reader saw it as well. As one can imagine, this one fueled my "high octane speculation" mode to the nth degree. Here's the statement, and a bit of surrounding context:
Russia and China are tired of Washington's "defensive" military installations in their backyards — and they're already taking action. 
According to the Atlantic Council and other responsible thinkers, the Untied States reserves the right to park its missile shields anywhere it wants, whether it be in Europe, East Asia, or the dark side of the Moon.  
I guess we should have seen all this coming, no? Shortly before the Bombshow, Trump's top Praetorian removed Trump's assumed consigliere from the NSC:
President Trump on Wednesday removed controversial White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the National Security Council, part of a sweeping staff reshuffling that elevated military, intelligence and Cabinet officials to greater roles on the council and left Bannon less directly involved in shaping the administration’s day-to-day national security policy. 
The restructuring reflects the growing influence of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general who took over the post after retired general Michael Flynn was ousted in February and who is increasingly asserting himself over the flow of national security information in the White House. 
Do yourself a favor and set a news alert for "McMaster." That's a name you're going to be hearing more of in the days ahead. Or you won't. Which is probably the more troubling scenario.

And with Bannon off the NSC there's apparently an effort to shuffle him off to some fat-salaried thinktank glue factory.  The not-news of Bannon's interest in The Fourth Coming was dragged out yet again, this time by The New York Times. But the article planted a helpful hint of why Bannon is on the elbow list and might be giving us a grim preview of the year ahead:
Bannon’s Views Can Be Traced to a Book That Warns, ‘Winter Is Coming’

WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon has read the book three times. He still keeps a copy of it — one that’s creased and copiously underlined — in a library with the rest of his favorites at his father’s house in Richmond, Va. 
The book, “The Fourth Turning,” a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner. 
It also leads to unavoidable questions about war and whether Mr. Bannon, who has recommended the book to countless friends and made a film about it in 2010, is resigned to catastrophic global conflict. He says he is not. 
And he remains unconvinced that the United States can effectively intervene in overseas conflicts like the one unfolding in Syria. As one of the voices in the administration who expressed skepticism about a military strike in response to the Assad regime’s chemical attack on its own citizens, Mr. Bannon insists he is no warmonger.
Well, there you have it.

Is the Syria proxy war threatening to heat up again, or is this all just another dance in the Cold War Kabuki? Have actions like the Bombshow  become like sacrificial actions in ongoing magical actions? Or is the real war is for your mind and is playing out in thousands of manufactured headlines, blizzards of 30 second videos with deceptive text crawls and the endless babbling of overpaid talking heads?

I feel stupid even asking the question.

Just in case you're worried that this is all leading to nukes raining down on American cities,  the cognitive warriors seem to be trying to defuse any expectations of impending Armageddon: 
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster says that while the U.S. would push for regime change in Syria, “We’re not the ones who are going to effect that change.” 
“What we’re saying is, other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions,” McMaster said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." “Russia should ask themselves, ‘What are we doing here?’ Why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population and using the most heinous weapons available?’”
Translation: No way in Hell we have the readiness needed for a hot war with a military superpower.

And since the mindfuck is the mother's milk of Cog-War, the careful inoculation of mixed messages into the mediafeed becomes just as vital a weapon as a cruise missile. Scratch that- much, much more so.
Trump Administration Is Contradicting Itself On Regime Change In Syria 
The Trump administration appears divided on whether the U.S. is pursuing a policy of regime change in Syria, days after the first direct American military attack against the Syrian government. 
Thursday’s strike “was related solely to the most recent horrific use of chemical weapons,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. The goal of the attack was to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and its ally Russia that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate the use of chemical weapons, he continued. “Other than that, there is no change to our military posture.”
But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power. “There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.​”​
Though Haley stopped short of indicating the U.S. would take military action to overthrow the Syrian dictator, her comments reflect a sharp change from the administration’s previous position.
The difference here, of course, is that Tillerson sets and executes policy and Haley sits in a glorified debating society and blows smoke and fairy dust for a bunch of bored bureaucrats wishing they had their real government jobs back, the ones they enjoyed before being pushed upstairs to their present posts. The media only pays attention when bombs are falling.

It's all black magic, make no mistake about it. There are different terms and epithets for it all now,  but when you strip all the twenty-dollar words and the credentials and the technology away the intent and the effect is no different than a witch doctor's curse. 

William S. Burroughs understood this, since his uncle Ivy Lee was the creator of one of these modern strains of black magic, so-called "public relations." Burroughs considered his uncle a bonafide "evil genius." And Lee was a piker compared to the algorithm-fired masters of the dark arts striding the globe today.

Here's a story that probably won't pop up on your Facebook feed. Anyone paying attention to the Russia hacking story probably knows how incredibly weak the hacking evidence actually is,* but now Wikileaks is teasing out the Seth Rich mystery again.
‘Guccifer 2.0’ Chat With Nude Model Sparks New Conspiracy Theories About Murder of DNC’s Seth Rich 
New chat logs between alleged Democratic National Committee hacker Guccifer 2.0 and a Playboy centerfold model surfaced today via Wikileaks on Twitter, throwing more fuel on the conspiracy theories surrounding murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. The Twitter conversation, conducted via direct messages, purports to reveal Rich as the primary leaker of the DNC e-mails that proved highly disruptive during the 2016 presidential election. 
In direct messages dated August 25, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 mentioned having a whistleblower at the DNC, and said he was looking for a “person of trust who can be a guarantee in case anything happens.”
When Young suggested trusting Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.0 called him “unsafe” and that he “may be connected with Russians” despite being his hero. 
“I’d like to find a journalist who can do an investigation and teel [sic] the real story of his life and death,” he said, and revealed that the whistleblower he was referring to was none other than a person named “Seth.” 
“I suppose u know who I’m talking about,” he said, adding that he felt sorry about the murdered DNC staffer’s parents and that he wished for journalists to uncover the truth of his murder.
Seth Rich, a 27-year-old mid-level DNC staffer, was shot and killed in the early morning of July 2016 in Washington DC, while he was walking home from a bar and talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. Rich’s killers left his watch and wallet untouched on his body. 
This wasn't floated by Alex Jones or David Icke, it popped up on Heat Street, which is owned by the Dow Jones Company and Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp. This story looks like it's going to grow some legs yet.

So are you sick of the Cog-War and the Cold War Kabuki yet? Tired of your social media hijacked by proxy warriors fighting battles for cliques within the Intelligence community? Burnt out on the whole Reality Show Presidency and its discontents altogether?

Start looking into ashrams in Sri Lanka, then. This machine is just getting warmed up. 

*Maybe some bright young spark should see if maybe the hacking an inside job by intel people who correctly judged a Trump White House would be easier to dominate than a bloated, top-heavy Clinton one. Just throwing that out there for giggles and grins.

          Twin Peaks: Can You Go Home Again?   

Back in 1990, the Boston Phoenix ran a review of the first few episodes of Twin Peaks along with the plot of the sitcom Wings. 

It was an odd juxtaposition, intentionally so, contrasting David Lynch's highly-anticipated boutique series against a paint-by-numbers half-hour comedy. But the reviewer was a cynical bastard, and cast a jaundiced eye on the potential of a quirky auteur like Lynch to appeal to a mainstream television audience. 

The verdict was that Wings would stick around but Twin Peaks would not, its tone and style too idiosyncratic for a medium that, at the time, counted its audience in the tens of millions.

I tuned into the first season of Twin Peaks-- a miniseries, really-- but found it to be a bit too much of a compromise between Lynch's surrealist vision and the narrative demands of mainstream television. There was also a creeping absurdism that sometimes threatened to undermine the grim procedural drama that framed it.

I had high hopes for the project, having been brain-seared four years earlier by Blue Velvet. The first time I saw it I almost had an out of body experience- and not the pleasant kind- since it seemed so disturbingly familiar to me. Frank Booth was like any number of dangerous men that floated through the edges of my world, strange presences in bars in Weymouth Landing or Quincy Center. 

Frank Booth also reminded me all too much of a recently-released ex-convict my friend's mother had taken in as a boarder; a volatile alcoholic who drove a big old Cadillac and who, presciently, believed that cable TV was being used to spy on people.

A few years after seeing Blue Velvet I'd work for a woman who was close friends with Dennis Hopper's daughter Marin, who I'd later meet. I was told that Hopper wasn't actually acting in Blue Velvet, that that was basically his behavior on any given night before he rehabbed. Hopper told Lynch as much while auditioning for the part, insisting that he was Frank Booth.

Frank Booth was the black hole of Blue Velvet, the irrestible center of gravity around which the rest of the film revolved. I saw Blue Velvet twice at the Waverly Theater on Sixth Ave in Greenwich Village, and once Hopper blasted off you could feel the physical pressure descend upon the room. People walked out, not just a few, that's how intense it was. I brought two friends the second viewing and their knuckles were white the whole time. 

They were from Braintree, so they knew.

Twin Peaks didn't have nearly as compelling a focus, not Leland Palmer, not Bob, not anyone. Given the strictures of early 90s broadcast television it couldn't have. Instead the show went for mood and atmosphere and slowly-building tension. That, the lush scenery, appealing cast and seductive Angelo Badalamenti soundtrack were enough to sustain the series at first. 

But it failed to answer the central question ("Who killed Laura Palmer?") in its initial miniseries run and subsequently lost a lot of the curious and more besides. (AMC's remake of The Killing would make the same mistake more recently).

Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost distanced themselves from the series in the second season, for a number of varying reasons, including Lynch's work on Wild at Heart, which would star Nicholas Cage and Lynch muse Laura Dern. 

Even so, Lynch would direct episodes at the beginning and end of the season. But the spell the series had cast had been broken. The new production team didn't quite get a handle on Lynch's mix of darkness and whimsy (as if anyone else really could) and the new episodes seemed to lapse into self-parody without the author's oblique ability to square the contradictions.

But there were glimpses of a deeper magic, including cryptic subplots dealing with an alien satellite, demonic possession, doubles of dead characters and scenes inside the mysterious extradimensional portal, the Black Lodge. In short, the second series had a ton of potential on the conceptual end but a lot less so execution-wise. Plus, it was all a bit too challenging for network drama then. It would probably be just as much so today, which is why it's being revived on Showtime.

By the time it was cancelled Twin Peaks had been moved to the Saturday night death-slot and had slumped badly in the ratings. Lynch wanted another crack at it, however, so a spinoff film was planned. But Kyle MacLachlan felt betrayed that Lynch and Frost had bailed out on the show's second season (and by its resultant quality slippage), so after initially turning the picture down he agreed to a limited role. Chris Isaak, then a hot property, stepped in to play a ringer. Lara Flynn Boyle opted out for the same reasons as MacLachlan, forcing Lynch to recast the role with a non-lookalike replacement.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is one of those special kinds of films that has garnered a type of cult audience that tends to overlook what a total catastrophe it was in its initial release. Fire was outright butchered by the critics and didn't even earn back half its production budget in the US. Twin Peaks Fever had long since, uh, peaked, and the movie doesn't even try to meet a mainstream audience halfway. 

There's no wondering why: it's an incredibly dark and polarizing film and can be as hard to watch as Blue Velvet, if not for different reasons.

But it certainly follows a vision; it's not a cash-in on any level. It may not be light entertainment but in the long run it didn't hurt Twin Peaks' rep, in fact it undid most of the damage inflicted on the franchise by the frivolity of the second season. 

Even so, it would five years before Lynch would release another feature, 1997's Lost Highway. That too would be a deeply polarizing commercial disappointment.

It's been 11 years since Lynch released a feature film, 2006's masterpiece, Inland Empire. That in turn came five years after another masterpiece, 2001's Mulholland Dr. Both films are deeply informed by the vision Lynch cultivated on Twin Peaks, even if they bear little resemblance thematically, or even stylistically. It's more a feeling.

Mulholland Dr -- which Inland Empire models itself on in many important ways-- also began life as a TV pilot for ABC and was only morphed into a feature after the network passed. 

For my money, Mulholland Dr and Inland Empire remain Lynch's best, most fully-realized works. Like all of his creations they mine dream reality to a level of numinosity that most film-makers are incapable of reaching. It's both telling and damning that he's either been unable to secure financing or unwilling to jump through the requisite hoops needed to have followed up on them. 

I really don't know if Lynch felt a burning desire to return to Twin Peaks but I do know he's a better artist now than he was when he worked on the series. However, the power of a brand name trumps artistic vision in this environment. In that Mulholland and Inland are just as much elegies as films.

Judging from the press releases for the revival it seems Lynch's absence from longform film-making hasn't been for lack of energy. He directed all 18 episodes, wrote a 400 page screenplay (whether this was for the first episode or the series itself is unclear) and cast 217 actors. So both the spirit and the flesh seem to be willing in this case.

But is his mind in that space? This is the danger of the revival syndrome. 

It's been 27 very long years since the series first aired and we're living in an entirely different world now. The 1950s world that informed Lynch's vision isn't even a memory anymore. And the actors are no longer young, hot unknowns; many are more than twice as old as they were back then and some have come out the wrong end of Hollywood's merciless grinder. 

The inherent promise of the revival (or the reunion) is that the intervening years will melt away and we can vicariously return to the Garden, back to our innocence. It's not only the promise but the danger; woe betide you if you don't fire up that time machine for your audience. With an artist as quirky and unpredictable as David Lynch that danger only multiplies. Exponentially.

Lynch has already proven himself unwilling to pander with the Twin Peaks franchise, having unleashed a film as caustic and uncompromising as Fire Walk with Me. You get the sense he bores very easily, and might well use this opportunity to unleash all kinds of ideas he's been warehousing for other projects. That's both exciting and worrying. Exciting creatively and artistically, worrying critically and audience-wise.

Last year we saw Chris Carter use the X-Files revival as a soapbox for some truly confrontational storytelling, and the similar hype parade we're seeing now for Twin Peaks is giving me a bit of deja vu. But The X-Files was a bonafide cultural phenomenon, a game-changer. It's part of the common lexicon, worldwide. 

Twin Peaks is more a cult thing, an artifact of the Curator Era. Lynch could bring his absolute A-game and still confuse the hell out most of his new audience. And in the Internet Age that could go south very quickly.

Twin Peaks may have been a high point for Lynch as far as visibility but it also presaged a difficult stretch for him creatively, commercially and critically, with Wild at Heart and Lost Highway-- as well as Fire Walk with Me-- damaging his rep as an auteur. He restored his glimmer starting with The Straight Story but, frankly, he's a weird guy and you never know where his muses will carry him.  

The story of Twin Peaks, the franchise, is one about a boatload of potential that was never fully realized. Here's hoping Lynch closes the deal this time around. That will make it a story for the ages. has a documentary on the revival here.

          Spy vs Spy: Stuck in the Funhouse   

Funhouses are only fun when you can leave them. When the distorting mirror images become your new, day-to-day reality construct, then it's not so much fun anymore. 

I dreaded the 2016 Election because I had a very strong feeling that no matter who won we'd be plunged into a dystopian paradigm in which major power blocs would erupt into all-out warfare. And I sensed that neither Trump nor Clinton possessed the political skills or the communicative powers to keep the carnage fully out of our view. Or our path.

And I was right.

Trump's only been in office for a little over two months and I'm exhausted already. I'm certainly not alone in this. It all feels like a TV sitcom in its seventh season, well after the writers ran out of story ideas. The shark has been good and jumped. And the ratings (the approval ratings, in this case) are plunging too.

What is truly demoralizing though is the utter transparency of the secret war playing out, the seemingly endless spy vs spy thrust and counter-thrust, and the obvious deceptions. Even more so is the Animal Farm-like metamorphosis of the Democratic Party into a full-blown, funhouse mirror of McCarthy-era Republicans, but with Glenn Beck-worthy conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure.

I don't know about you but all of a sudden the world seems especially cold, hard, gray, harsh. Masks are coming off, velvet gloves tossed into wastebins. It doesn't seem to matter who wins the scorpion fight, you're still stuck with a scorpion.  

We can't call out the play-by-play because it's largely being acted out behind closed doors. But we can look at the collateral damage and make certain speculations. There's no doubt that it would all be just as bad-- probably worse-- if Hillary won. Even so, this all feels especially grating.

You've probably seen this story:
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Friday apologized to the owner of a Washington pizzeria that became the subject of a conspiracy theory about human trafficking last year. 
Pizza shop Comet Ping Pong was thrust into the spotlight last year after a gunman allegedly fired a shot inside the restaurant. The suspect said he was investigating the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, were operating a child sex trafficking ring out of the restaurant. 
The theory, which became known as Pizzagate, had circulated among far-right conspiracy theory websites and social media accounts. 
“In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones, who runs Infowars, said in a video. James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong. 
Jones said his website relied on reporters who are no longer employed by Infowars and that video reports about Pizzagate were removed from the website. He also invited Alefantis onto the show to discuss the incident.
It was preceded by this story:
According to McClatchy News, the FBI’s Russian-influence probe agents are exploring whether far-right news operations, including the pro-Donald Trump sites Breitbart News and Infowars, “took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives.”  Trump’s ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son, a member of the Trump transition team, were among those who boosted the so-called “PizzaGate” pedophile conspiracy theory.
I doubt this will quell the fervor among the Pizzagaters on sites like 4chan and Voat. Given the suspicion many on the fringes regard Jones with it may in fact give the flagging movement a fresh jolt. Jones' apology may also have to do with the drive to purge YouTube of "extremist" content and the controversy over the use of advertising on videos corporate clients find objectionable. A World without Sin, as our Gordon might put it. 

Washington Post headline, pre-election.

So much for theories that the FBI was ready to make mass arrests of prominent Washington figures related to Pizzagate.  Has any "mass arrest" Internet story ever panned out?  

Maybe it has:
Donald Trump became president on Jan. 20. And in one short month, there were more than 1,500 arrests for sex crimes ranging from trafficking to pedophilia.  
Big deal? You bet. In all of 2014, there were fewer than 400 sex trafficking-related arrests, according to FBI crime statistics. Liz Crokin at has put together a great piece on the push by the Trump administration to crack down on sex crimes. And she notes that while "this should be one of the biggest stories in the national news... the mainstream media has barely, if at all, covered any of these mass pedophile arrests. This begs the question – why?
This may have nothing to do with Trump-- in fact, it's likely it doesn't-- since these kinds of actions are planned out months in advance. The arrests continue, in case you were wondering, with major busts going down on a near-weekly basis. Someone's cleaning house. 

For what it's worth, I always reckoned that Pizzagate was in fact cover/distraction for a more hidden struggle, one that would take place under the radar*. As I noted back in November:

No one is saying as much but this very much feels connected to a deeper, more covert war. 
Why would I say such a thing? Because at the same time the Pizzagate story went dark we've seen major strikes taken against international pedophilia, which actually is a global conspiracy, with its own networks, secret codes and moles within established centers of power such as schools, police departments and governments.  
With such combustible accusations-- and such potential for a scandal that could quickly spread out of control (ie., involve political figures you're not trying to destroy)-- you'd naturally expect the action to go dark and the fall guys to be placed pretty far down the foodchain. (Remember that a prior investigation bagged one of the most powerful people in Washington at one time, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert).†


It may be sheer coincidence, but James Alefantis' former partner suffered a major heart attack this week
Media Matters for America founder David Brock was rushed to a hospital on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. 
According to a press release from MMA, the founder of the liberal media watchdog and analysis website was rushed to the hospital early Tuesday afternoon and received treatment.
Sure, it may be coincidence. But I couldn't help but remember this story, published soon after the election
Dems to David Brock: Stop Helping, You Are Killing Us 
Democrats know they need someone to lead them out of the wilderness. But, they say, that someone is not David Brock.

As David Brock attempts to position himself as a leader in rebuilding ademoralized Democratic Party in the age of Trump, many leading Democratic organizers and operatives are wishing the man would simply disappear.
"Disappear." Huh. 
Many in the party—Clinton loyalists, Obama veterans, and Bernie supporters alike—talk about the man not as a sought-after ally in the fight against Trumpism, but as a nuisance and a hanger-on, overseeing a colossal waste of cash. And former employees say that he has hurt the cause.
It's worth remembering that Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack at the age of 43. A year before he'd posted a cryptic tweet that some have since linked to the Pizzagate imbroglio.  Just before his death he hyped some revelation about Barack Obama's past. 

A coroner in the office handling Breitbart's body subsequently died of arsenic poisoning. The day Breitbart's autopsy results were revealed, in fact.


We also saw James Comey revive Russiagate, which had been flatlining after Vault 7. Any illusions among Trump fans that the FBI was secretly on their side were ground into powder, between this revelation and the Pizzagate conspiracy investigations. 

One can't help but wonder if the New Praetorians (I've noticed that the Praetorian meme has been picked up by more prominent commentators, but you heard it here first) are losing their last shred of patience with Donald Trump's shenanigans and are planning imminent regime change: 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is investigating whether Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats. 
In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.
How surreal is the world in which you know live in? So much so that mainstream political site The Hill is comparing the action in Washington to a Stanley Kubrick film, one which has become notorious for the conspiracy theories that have been projected onto it (and is well familiar to Synchronauts):
On the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Shining, Stephen King must be wondering if Washington is working on its own sequel. For the last couple months, Washington has been on edge, like we are all trapped in Overlook Hotel with every day bringing a new “jump scare,” often preceded by a telltale tweet. Indeed, a Twitter whistle has replaced suspenseful music to put the entire city on the edge of their seats. 
In this Shining sequel, however, people are sharply divided on who is the deranged ax-wielding villain in this lodge, the president or the press. Ironically, with the recent disclosure that some of the Trump campaign may indeed have been subject to surveillance, the president is looking more like Danny Torrence, a character dismissed for constantly muttering “redrum, redrum” until someone finally looked in a mirror at the reverse image to see the true message.
Yeah, I'm not really feeling that metaphor there, but whatever. It's been that kind of year.

Now the Internet is burning up with theories that disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has "turned" and is going to testify against the Trump Administration, or at least figures attached to it. 

It's hard to imagine a three-star general can be stupid enough to be guilty of things Flynn's been accused of but that may speak to a culture of impunity in Washington, in which your misdeeds are only punished if you get on the wrong side of the wrong people.


One wonders if the secret war has spread outside Washington. Car service giant Uber seems to be having a major run of rotten luck lately: 
Uber Technologies Inc. is suspending its self-driving car program after one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a high-impact crash in Tempe, Arizona, the latest incident for a company reeling from multiple crises. 
In a photo posted on Twitter, one of Uber’s Volvo self-driving SUVs is pictured on its side next to another car with dents and smashed windows. An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the incident, and the veracity of the photo, and added that the ride-hailing company is suspending its autonomous tests in Arizona until it completes its investigation and pausing its Pittsburgh operations.

The incident also comes as Uber, and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, are currently under scrutiny because of a series of scandals. The ride-hailing company has been accused of operating a sexist workplace. This month, the New York Times reported that Uber used a tool called Greyball to help drivers evade government regulators and enforcement officials. Kalanick said he needed "leadership help" after Bloomberg published a video showing him arguing with an Uber driver.
So who did Kalanick piss off? 

Coincidentally- there's that word again- the crash comes soon after Wikileaks revealed that CIA hackers had the ability to override the computer systems in automobiles. From Mashable:

WikiLeaks has published a trove of files it says are linked to the CIA's hacking operations — which apparently includes efforts to hack into cars.  
The first in a series called "Vault 7," "Year Zero" supposedly comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.  
"Year Zero" details the CIA's malware arsenal and "zero day" exploits against Apple iPhones, Google's Android operating system, Microsoft Windows and even Samsung TVs.  
 According to a document from 2014, the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. 
Oh, that's reassuring. Speaking of control systems, apparently pimps are controlling prostitutes with RFID chips:
It turns out this 20-something woman was being pimped out by her boyfriend, forced to sell herself for sex and hand him the money. 
 “It was a small glass capsule with a little almost like a circuit board inside of it,” he said. “It's an RFID chip. It's used to tag cats and dogs. And someone had tagged her like an animal, like she was somebody's pet that they owned.” 
This is human trafficking. It’s a marginal issue here in the U.S. for most of us. Part of that is because the average person isn’t sure what human trafficking – or modern day slavery – actually means.
Technology is our friend, right? And now this: 
Turkish Hackers Threaten To Wipe Millions Of iPhones; Demand Ransom From Apple 
Today, courtesy of CIO, we learn that a group of hackers referring to themselves as the "Turkish Crime Family", has been in direct contact with Apple and is demanding a $150,000 ransom by April 7th or they will proceed to wipe as many as 600 million apple devices for which they allegedly have passwords. 
The group said via email that it has had a database of about 519 million iCloud credentials for some time, but did not attempt to sell it until now. The interest for such accounts on the black market has been low due to security measures Apple has put in place in recent years, it said.

Since announcing its plan to wipe devices associated with iCloud accounts, the group claimed that other hackers have stepped forward and shared additional account credentials with them, putting the current number it holds at over 627 million.

According to the hackers, over 220 million of these credentials have been verified to work and provide access to iCloud accounts that don't have security measures like two-factor authentication turned on.
Of course, if credible, with an ask of just $150k, this is the most modest group of hackers we've ever come across.
Given the war that's erupted between the increasingly aggressive Turkish government and the EU, money may clearly not be the object here. Turkish PM Erdogan is clearly set on reconstructing the old Ottoman Empire and shivving Apple might just be part of the march.

Besides, Turkey is taking that recent coup attempt-- which is almost universally blamed on the CIA-- very personally.

Speaking of the EU, we've seen stories that Trump advisor Steve Bannon wants to dissolve the union. Which may be why Trump-adversary John McCain announced his unalloyed support for it- and the "New World Order" (his words, not mine):
The world "cries out for American and European leadership" through the EU and Nato, US senator John McCain said on Friday (24 March). 
In a "new world order under enormous strain" and in "the titanic struggle with forces of radicalism … we can't stand by and lament, we've got to be involved," said McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate who is now chairman of the armed services committee in the US Senate. 
Speaking at the Brussels Forum, a conference organised by the German Marshall Fund, a transatlantic think tank, he said that the EU and the US needed to develop "more cooperation, more connectivity". 
"I trust the EU," he said, defending an opposite view from that of US president Donald Trump, who said in January that the UK "was so smart in getting out" of the EU and that Nato was "obsolete". 
He said that the EU was "one of the most important alliances" for the US and that the EU and Nato were "the best two sums in history", which have maintained peace for the last 70 years. "We need to rely on Nato and have a Nato that adjusts to new challenges," he said.
Would McCain speak this way to a domestic audience? Of course not. Or maybe he would- I can't tell which way is up anymore. But either way it's good to know where he really stands.

Like McCain, China continues to sound a similar note of support for globalization, on which its very economic survival so desperately depends:
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli told a gathering of Asian leaders that the world must commit to multilateral free trade under the World Trade Organization and needs to reform global economic governance. 
“The river of globalization and free trade will always move forward with unstoppable momentum to the vast ocean of the global economy,” Zhang said. China will remain a strong force in the world economy and for peace and stability, he said, adding that countries must respect one another’s core interests and refrain from undermining regional stability. 
I suppose this is why China is off the target list for our new Cold (?) Warriors.

I've resisted posting on all this because it's all so depressing. I've actually written a few pieces on this chicanery that I ended up roundfiling. But I suppose I just wanted to go on the record about all this skullduggery, for posterity's sake.

UPDATE: Sex trafficking arrests and trials continue to proliferate. Most recent bust, an international ring in Minnesota. There is way too much activity going down in too short a time for this to be spontaneous.

* Which is exactly why I refrained from commenting on it here for the most part, instead noting that it had become a kind of memetic virus in much the same way that the Franklin/Boy's Town scandal had in the 90s. (Note that prior to the election-- and Pizzagate-- Trump nemesis the Washington Post was all over the issue of sex trafficking in the nation's capital). 

† The ongoing legal and police actions coinciding with the moves to shut down the Pizzagate fringes on the Web seem like the exact kind of action one would expect if there were a serious operation at work. Shutting down the Internet chatter makes perfect sense in this context because it can only complicate cases made by prosecutors. 
          The Present Can Only Be Viewed from the Past   

2017 might seem like the hangover after a particularly-nasty meth, glue and Thunderbird bender, but it's actually a year of major anniversaries. We're coming up on the 70th Anniversary of Kenneth Arnold and Roswell (as well as the National Security Act), the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love and the centennial of the Russian Revolution. But there are a lot more observances, all kinds of 'ennials to observe. 

I thought I'd dig into a few anniversaries germane to The Secret Sun and the topics we look at here. Readers are encouraged to weigh in with their own (observations that can be counted in multiples of five and ten, that is) in the comments.

December will see the fifth anniversary of the 2012 apocalypse/ascension/ absurdity (depending on your point of view). Needless to say, most of us are still here and the skies didn't open and Nibiru didn't come crashing into the moon. So there goes another apocalypse. 

I can't help but wonder about the 2012 meme, though. As I wrote a couple years back, it certainly seems like something changed that year, that the bottom fell out somewhere but no one seemed to notice it at the time. 

I mean, Donald Trump is sitting in the White House, isn't he? If even you're a Trump supporter you have to admit this would have seemed impossible five years ago.

Maybe the Apocalypse works on a different timeline than it does in the movies. Maybe we're living in one only we can't see the forest fire for the burning trees. History can only be written from a distance.

2007 was the year Our Gods Wear Spandex was published and the year I began actively blogging on this site, so Happy Ten Year Anniversary to me. It's also the year that a newly-elected Senator - with a weird, oblique connection to the Council of Nine - announced his candidacy for President.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Heaven's Gate suicides, an event I've gone into some detail on this blog. Whatever the media might have you believe the Gate were a bonafide modern Gnostic sect, were serious and rigorous about their work and were deeply troubled by the emergence of the techno-surveillance state they saw emerging at the time. 

This week also marks the 20th anniversary of the last of the Order of the Solar Temple "suicides" ( rendered in quotes since many investigators suspect foul play by outside parties with the OST mass deaths). I wrote in some detail about the OST and their influence on pop culture here (the X-Files writers seemed especially fascinated with the OST and their unique status and history and the lingering questions over their deaths).

Postmortem reports claimed that the OST committed ritual suicide in order to spiritually ascend to Sirius, where they believe their souls originated from. If this is true this is another troubling link to the "Walk-Ins from Sirius" theme from Ruth Montgomery's seminal Aliens Among Us, which has also been linked to the Heaven's Gate suicides.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the Phoenix Lights flap, a controversial UFO sighting that caused a major media meltdown and has been the focus of a growing mythology ever since. What is particularly interesting about the Phoenix episode- however you view it-- is that it took place right down the highway from the Heaven's Gate compound in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. 

It may have been seen as the final sign that their ride was here, seeing as how the web-savvy cult was monitoring all kinds of infostreams for omens and portents. 

Next week also marks the 20th anniversary of the Outer Limits episode "Double Helix," which plays out like an idealized fantasy world version of Marshall Applewhite's most cherished beliefs. 

Seeing as how the suicides were discovered before its airing it plays like an elegy, a bizarre epitaph for the cult, its leader and their beliefs. How the hell that happened is anyone's guess.

Speaking of double helixes, 1997 saw the announcement that the first major cloning had been done, of "Dolly" the sheep. The news was broken in Roslin, Scotland, of all places (Dan Brown fans take note). More ominously it was also the year IBM's Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in chess. 

Coincidentally or not, Steve Jobs returned to Apple a few months later and changed the world as we knew it. One of his last projects was designing the Apple HQ, which looks like a friggin' flying saucer.

Why do all those events feel so closely entwined? We can't say we weren't warned.

1987 is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Whitley Strieber's seminal autobiography Communion, which brought the concept of alien abduction out of the fringes and into book store in America and other parts of the world. 

It's hard to explain to younger people what a phenomenon this book was, the controversy it engendered, and the effect it had on the culture. Strieber was a well-known author of best-selling horror novels, a couple of which had been adapted into movies (Wolfen and The Hunger) but never enjoyed a success like Communion, which stayed on the New York Times best-sellers list for months and sold millions worldwide.

Daytime talkshows were suddenly fora for abductees, whether real or imagined, as were popular tabloid TV shows like Unsolved Mysteries. The craze made celebrities out of Strieber, abduction researchers like Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs and later, Harvard psychologist John Mack. 

Oldline UFO researchers stewed on the sidelines, having traditionally regarded abduction reports with suspicion, if not contempt. Communion would lead to other projects, the Travis Walton biopic Fire in the Sky, The X-Files (which became an even greater phenomenon than Strieber's book), and the Steven Spielberg maxi-series Taken (which would be the SciFi Channel's most-watched series at the time of its airing).

1987 was also the year New Age seeped into the mainstream and has been insidiously rewriting its host body like a computer virus ever since. Pop culture was the medium yet again- a miniseries based on Shirley MacLaine's "spiritual authobiography" Out On a Limb was aired on ABC and planted the seeds for the Me Generation's catch-as-catch-can Theosophy 2.0. 

1987 saw "Ramtha" go wide with the publication of JZ Knight's autobiography, A State of Mind. Channeling soon became a multimiilion dollar industry, with hundreds of mini-Ramtha's popping out of the woodwork dispensing greeting card homilies for a spiritually-indiscriminate polity.

All you needed to do was squint, loll your head around meaningfully, adopt a weird quasi-British accent and learn to spout pseudo-profoundities and you were in clover.

Again, the New Age craze is hard to explain today, though in large part because the New Age is so ubiquitous today it's woven into the cultural fabric of most Western- and many non-Western- cultures. 

Yoga studios can be found in every sizable American town. Acupuncture and other "alternative" modalities are often covered by health insurance programs. Health food stores are slowly displacing conventional supermarkets and many more traditional houses of worship offer New Age programs (meditation, yoga, self-actualization) to their congregants.

1987 also saw the Harmonic Convergence (aka the "New Age Woodstock"), meant to act as the movement's big hop over the cultural fence. But its organizers (which included the original 2012 guru, Jose Arguelles) deeply misjudged the true nature of the movement and how it actually existed in the ideational biosphere. 

This wasn't a revolution, it was a slow-moving insurrection, one that subverted culture from within, all the while denying its very existence (the hallmark of a true New Ager is that they deny actually being a New Ager). Big, showy events weren't going to do the work. Tenacious, relentless but quieter actions were going to insinuate New Age into the mainstream.

1987 saw the Iran-Contra Affair- in which arms were sold to Iran in exchange for American hostages held by Iran-controlled radicals and the profits then diverted to anti-Sandinista militants in Nicaragua- become the major news story, dominating the headlines and Sunday talk shows for the entire year and into the next. 

Iran-Contra is also arguably the impetus for the true mainstreaming of conspiracy theory (just in time for the dawning of the Internet Era). Conspiracy research wasn't a fringe hobby then, it was front page news all across the world. It's just that the virus escaped from the lab and filtered down into places the mainstream media would have rather it hadn't.

But the real groundwork for the rise of conspiracy culture would be laid ten years earlier when the first fully-functional home computer, the Commodore PET was debuted at a trade show. 

Conspiracy theory may have thrived on talk radio (and short wave and ham radio, not to mention mail order) but it would explode on the Internet, even in the crudest venues of the BBS dial-in days.

At the same time the Commodore was unveiled, a new President from Plains, Georgia took office who swore to tear the lid off government corruption (and significantly, UFO secrecy) in Washington. 

Things, predictably, wouldn't work out so well for him.

1977 saw the commoditization of the modern Hollywood blockbuster-- already having birthed itself in 1975 with Steven Spielberg's Jaws. 

George Lucas' spiritual SF epic Star Wars and Spielberg's UFO fantasia Close Encounters of the Third Kind changed the rules forever (you can throw in Saturday Night Fever if you like, as it spawned the rise of the blockbuster soundtrack as well) and, as many would argue, planted the seeds for the eventual creation empoverishment of the Hollywood they created.

In today's market, doubles and triples are no longer be enough, you need to either write a movie off as a tax loss or score a grand slam blockbuster, complete with merchandising and ancillary rights.

But Star Wars and Close Encounters were such monsters because they filled a genuine void in the culture, a need for miracle and transcendence in a rapidly-secularlizing culture. In their wake the movies would become the dream theater of the masses, in the same way the great cathedrals were to the peasants of the Middle Ages.

Both films struck at the right time- NASA tested its first space shuttle at the beginning of the year, promising a new era in space exploration. One that has yet to come to pass, 40 years later. Even so the mood was right at the time.

On the other end of the ritual spectrum 1977 also saw the arrest of David Berkowitz, whom the media named as the sole "Son of Sam" killer despite the fact that witnesses had cogently and explicitly described other shooters not matching his description. 

Berkowitz himself would later claim he was a member of a sect of the Process Church of the Final Judgement, he was not the only shooter and that the killings were human sacrifices. And as fate would have it two of the men he claimed as his accomplices would die under mysterious circumstances not long after Berkowitz was arrested. 

And their father was named Sam.

Also in the summer of 1977, Elvis Presley died after a long struggle with obesity and prescription drug abuse. 

It was poetic in a Greek tragedy kind of fashion since '77 not only saw the precipitous rise of Disco as an all-consuming craze (Donna Summer had the first hit with a totally-synthesized record, "I Feel Love," that year) but also the breakthrough of punk rock and first-wave New Wave (the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello and Talking Heads all released their debuts), which took the basic, four to the floor rock 'n' roll Presley cut his teeth on and wed it to postmodernism, Dada and other weird, Continental theories that old-timers like the King would never have anything to do with.

Not that most of America even noticed. The Eagles' Hotel California, Pink Floyd's Animals and Fleetwood Mac's Rumors were albums most of the public were actually buying. Punk bombed bad in its first assault on American record stores and most of the first wave bands would soon break up or radically water down their styles in a bid to make it to the US Top 40. 

New Wave, which began as a marketing ploy to ease punk into the American market, would become the musical equivalent of New Age, a contagion that would insinuate itself into the host and rewrite the matrix from within. 

40 years later New Wave concepts are so dominant (irony and sarcasm not the least among them) in pop they're no longer recognized as distinct or unique. But that process began in earnest over 35 years ago, when MTV began beaming art school weirdos from England into a growing number of American living rooms. 

In short order even Jethro Tull and Bob Dylan- the onetime crunchiest of the crunchy- were recording with drum machines and sequencers.

There's more to come. 

          DJ Ricker - Dance Mechanic (April)   
itunes pic
EDM is all about dancing but nobody is doing it. Most people at clubs and festivals nowdays just stare at DJ's, wave their hands and bob their heads. I decided to keep it funky and disco feverish with this release. Keep it movin and groovin...lets get back to jackin yo body.. Block & Crown - Slowdown Girl DJ Falk, 2 Elements - FB (Dave Kurtis Remix) My Digital Enemy - Wasted (MDE Remix) Lissat & Voltaxx - Dangerous Society Ronn Carroll - Velvet Heaven Gary Caos, Lanfree, Grada - Never gonna give you up Jerome Robbins, Martin Villenueve, Hoxton Whores - Dreaming (JL Afterman) Hoxton Whores - Everybody dance now Greiner & Boyle - Your cheating (Tavo Remix) Ivan Pica - Freak (eSquire Groove Mix) Stefano Noferini & CriminalVibes - Trumpet Game Jochen Simms - You're not alone DJ Flight - Shake your boogie Lady Tago & Tavo - Happiness Sergio Mendes, Simon Fava - Magalenha (Tradelove Remix) Sean Finn feat. Ricardo - Infinity 2014
          William Manchester: The Reasonable Warrior   
“War is literally unreasonable,” wrote the author, biographer and historian William Manchester in his 1979 Pacific combat memoir Goodbye, Darkness.
“Today’s youth cannot understand it; mine, I suppose, was the last generation to believe audacity in combat is a virtue. And I don’t know why we believed it. The mystery troubled me and baffled me, for some of my actions in the early 1940s make no sense to me now.
“On Okinawa, on Saturday, June 2, 1945, I suffered a superficial gunshot wound just above my right kneecap and was ship back to a field hospital. Mine was what we called a ‘million-dollar wound.’ Although I could hear the Long Toms in the distance, I was warm, dry and safe. My machismo was intact; I was simply hors de combat.
“The next day I heard that my regiment was going to land behind enemy lines on Oroku Penisula. I left my cot, jumped hospital, hitchhiked to the front and made the landing on Monday.
“Why had I returned to terror? To be sure, I had been gung ho at the outbreak of war. But I had quickly become a summer soldier and a sunshine patriot. I was indifferent toward rank, and I certainly sought no glory. ‘We owe God a death,” wrote Shakespeare. So we do, but I hoped God would extend my line of credit indefinitely. I was very young. I hadn’t published a short story, fathered a child or even slept with a girl. And because I am possessed, like most writers, by an intense curiosity, I wanted to stick around until, at the very least, I knew which side had won the war.
“So, craftily, I became the least intrepid of warriors, a survivor, not a hero, more terrier than lion. If there was a coward’s way, I took it. The word hero, to me, is redolent of Nelson Eddy in his Smokey Bear hat, with Jeanette McDonald shrieking in his ear, or of John Wayne being booed in a Hawaiian hospital by an audience of wounded Marines from Iwo Jima and Okinawa, men who had macho acts, in a phrase of the day, up their asses to their armpits.
“To be sure, I was not an inept fighter. I was lean and hard and tough and proud. I had tremendous reserves of stamina. I never bolted. I was a crack shot. I had a shifty, shambling run, and a lovely eye for defilade — for what the Duke of Wellington called ‘dead ground,’ that is, a spot shielded from flat-trajectory enemy fire by a natural obstacle, like a tree or a rock — coupled with a good sense of direction and a better sense of ground. To this day, I check emergency exits immediately after registering in a hotel, and in bars you will find me occupying a corner table, with my flanks secure.
“But that was the sum of my military skills. I had walked through the valley of the shadow of death and had been terribly frightened. Afterward, those few of us in my unit who had survived received a document from Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal citing us for ‘gallantry,’ ‘valor,’ ‘tenacity’ and ‘extraordinary heroism against enemy Japanese forces,’ but those shining words didn’t really apply to me. Indeed, at times it seemed that they applied to no one except the dead. I agreed with Hemingway: ‘Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the number of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.’
“For us, they had been Buna and Suribachi; the Kokoda Trail and Tarawa; the First Marine Division and the Eleventh Airborne; the Kumusi and the Asa Kawa; December 7, 1941, and V-J Day. I honored them while hating the whole red and ragged business of war.”
Manchester, who had harrowing experiences as a Marine in World War II, was an eloquent and even compassionate writer with a determined honesty, and yet a blind spot.
Reading his memoir, you find it easy to spot a theme that constantly reappears. It’s that the concerns and fates and white male warriors are the only things that really matter, and that their extreme sacrifices somehow sanctified that principle. Only his band of brothers and their fathers were fully real existentially. All others were somewhat shadowy figures who owed them gratitude.
By 1979, Manchester felt himself to be someone whom time was passing by. And he was right. It was and it has. A growing awareness of justice has entirely swept his worldview away, leaving the reader to admire him, yes, but also to feel a little embarrassed for him. But how few of us manage not to embarrass our descendants.
“War monuments have never stirred me,” Manchester wrote. “They are like the reconstructed buildings at Colonial Williamsburg, or elaborate reproductions of great paintings; no matter how deft the execution, they are essentially counterfeit.
“In addition, they are usually beautiful and in good taste, whereas combat is neither. Before the war I thought that Hemingway, by stripping battle narratives of their ripe prose, was describing the real thing. Afterward I realized that he had simply replaced traditional overstatement with romantic understatement.
“War is never understated. Combat as I saw it was exorbitant, outrageous, excruciating and above all tasteless, perhaps because the number of fighting men who had read Hemingway or Remarque was a fraction of those who had seen B movies about bloodshed. If a platoon leader had watched Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Errol Flynn, Victor McLaglen, John Wayne or Gary Cooper leap recklessly about, he was likely to follow his role model.
“In crises, most people are imitative. Soldiers received ‘Dear John’ letters copied from those quoted in the press. The minority who avoid Hollywood paradigms were, like me, people who watched fewer B movies than we had read books. That does not mean we were better soldiers and citizens. We certainly weren’t braver. I do think that our optics were clearer, however — that what we saw was closer to the truth because we weren’t looking through MGM or RKO prisms.”
Manchester’s already passé notions about gender roles mixed with melancholy about humanity’s fate when he visited Tinian, the island from which, on the late afternoon of Aug. 6, 1945, the B-29 named Enola Gay took off to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
“There is an air of forbidding stillness on the isle, a desolation unmatched in, say, rebuilt Hiroshima,” Manchester wrote. “This is where the nuclear shadow first appeared. I feel forlorn, alienated, wholly without empathy for the men who did what they did. This was not my war. In my war, a single fighter with one rifle could make a difference, however infinitesimal, in the struggle against the Axis. It was here that the role of men as protectors began to fade until women, seeing how much it had diminished, left their own traditional roleas behind and shouldered their way upward.”
The bored Marines stood at attention, listening to Buck Rogers describe homosexual sex acts.
Manchester recalled that his captain, “Buck” Rogers, would read aloud from Navy courts-martial arising from sexual indiscretions.
“As unsubtly as possible, we were being warned that no matter how horny we got, we couldn’t go down on each other,” Manchester wrote. “It mystified us. Youth is more sophisticated today, but in our innocence we knew almost nothing about homosexuality.”
“There was so much excitement (and apocrypha about) heterosexuality that we seldom gave homosexuality a second thought. Had we been told that practitioners of oral sodomy wanted to live together openly, with the approval of society, and insisted on being called ‘gay,’ we would have guffawed. That just wasn’t one of the rights we were fighting to protect. We weren’t exactly prejudiced. It was, literally, mindlessness. We hadn’t thought about it. That didn’t make it unique. We weren’t fighting for the emancipation of housewives, either, or for the right of blacks, who performed menial, if safe, tasks far behind the lines, to bleed alongside us. Like most soldiers in most wars, we were fighting for status quo ante bellum. And like the others, we were doomed to disappointment.”
All those bored Marines knew were that perverts were guys who lisped and longed to put on a dress. “Therefore the other NCOs and I laughed when our sergeant major told us, in a drunken moment (and an unusual one, because liquor was generally reserved for officers; enlisted men, including sergeants, got beer), that he had slept with men. Mike Powers was in the regular Marine Corps, a professional soldier; he had served in Nicaragua, Haiti and on Gibraltar. It was on Gibraltar that he had, by his soused account, violated Chapter Two Specification Seventeen almost nightly. His lovers had been civilians, he said, some of them distinguished European civilians.”
Powers told them that when he retired, he planned to write a book calledFamous Cocks I Have Sucked.
“We didn’t take him seriously, partly because in the Marine Corps there was a constant rivalry to see who could be coarsest,” Manchester wrote. “His behavior was in many ways regrettable, but always in macho ways which, we thought, were the exact opposite of homosexuality. Six feet two, blond and virile, he was heavily muscled and deep voiced.”
Powers was tough and brave, but he had a flaw in combat. “Our strutting, bullying, powerfully built sergeant major just couldn’t stand the strain of concentrated enemy shellfire,” Manchester said. “He could take small-arms fire, and once he demolished a Nambu light-machine-gun nest with a hand grenade. But artillery turned his bowels to water.”
And so one night, when the firing stopped after a sustained attack from 81-millimeter mortar shells, Powers cracked up. The Marines knew that the silence was a tactic to draw them out in the open so they could relieve themselves, at which point they’d be caught in a fresh fusillade. Powers began ranting and yelling and ordering a charge that would have gotten them all killed, so Manchester was forced to relieve Powers and get him to a battalion aid station.
Manchester never saw Powers again, but he learned Powers’ fate much later, when Manchester, bedridden in a naval hospital, heard the officer of the day describe the court martial of one Michael J. Powers. Powers had been caught having oral sex with the young medical corpsman who had soothed and befriended him when Manchester left him at the aid station. And he’d been sentenced to 85 years in Portsmouth Naval Prison for it.
One perverse irony of war, Manchester found, is how it sanctifies bloody disasters while underrating undramatic military victories.
“Time (magazine) trumpeted the defense of the American tactics: ‘Last week some 2,000 or 3,000 United States Marines, most of them now dead or wounded, gave the nation a name to stand beside those of … the Alamo, Little Big Horn and Belleau Wood. The name was Tarawa,’” Manchester wrote. As a sergeant, he’d been in the middle of that 76-hour battle in which roughly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans and Americans died, mostly on and around the small coral island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll.
“That made everyone on Betio stand tall, but it deserves second thoughts. The Alamo and Little Big Horn were massacres for Americans, and the Fifth and Sixth Marines had been cut to pieces in Belleau Wood. Time’s comment may be attributed to a curious principle which seems to guide those who write of titanic battles. The longer the casualty lists — the vaster the investment in blood — the greater the need to justify the slain. Thus the fallen are honored by hallowing the names of the places were they fell, thus writers enshrine in memory the Verduns, the Passchendaeles, the Dunkirks and the Iwo Jimas, while neglecting decisive struggles in which the loss of life was small.
“At the turn of the 18thcentury, the Duke of Marlborough led 10 successful, relatively bloodless campaigns on the Continent, after which he was hounded into exile by his political enemies. In World War I, Douglas Haig butchered the flower of England’s youth on the Somme and in Flanders without winning a single victory. He was raised to the peerage and awarded 100,000 pounds by a grateful Parliament...”
“Similarly, in World War II, Anzio and Peleliu are apotheosized, though neither contributed to the defeat of Germany and Japan, while the capture of Ulithi, one of the Pacific’s finest anchorages, is unsung since the enemy had evacuated it, and Hollandia, (Gen. Douglas) MacArthur’s greatest triumph in that war, is forgotten because the general’s genius outfoxed the Japanese and limited his losses to a handful of GIs.
“In the Pacific, we received ‘pony’ editions — reduced in size, with no ads — of Time and the New Yorker. The comparison of Tarawa with great battles of the past didn’t impress most of us; we saw it for what it was: wartime propaganda designed to boost the morale of subscribers, a sophisticated version of the rhapsodies about the Glorious Dead who had Given Their All, making the Supreme Sacrifice. Our sympathies were with those who protested the high casualties.”
From his vantage point on the battlefield, Manchester immediately saw through military myth-making, but years would pass before he could bring himself to cast a cold eye on other hypocrisies of war. “At the time it was impolitic to pay the slightest tribute to the enemy, and Nip determination, their refusal to say die, was commonly attributed to ‘fanaticism,’” he recalled. “In retrospect, it is indistinguishable from heroism. To call it anything less cheapens the victory, for American valor was necessary to defeat it.”
Memory was Manchester’s thing. He remembered sights like this: “You could always tell whether men were moving up or coming off the line. Usually those coming off had samurai swords jutting from their packs. And they had a different look — dull, sightless eyes showing the strain, misery, shock, sleeplessness and, in veteran fighters, the supreme indifference of young men who have lost their youth and will never recover it. The Spanish poet Frederico Garcio Lorca caught their expressions. They had ‘sad infinite eyes, like those of a newborn beast of burden.’”
Manchester remembered, even as he watched others forget. “When a man reaches his late fifties almost any change empties him a little,” he wrote. “It is disconcerting to feel quaint.”
Thirty-five years after the war, Manchester ticked off the Marines he had known well and seen killed.
“Shiloh Davidson II, Williams ’44, a strong candidate for his family’s stock exchange seat, crawled out on a one-man twilight patrol up Sugar Loaf. He had just cleared our wire when a Nambu burst eviscerated him. Thrown back, he was caught on improvised wire. The only natural light came from the palest wash of moon, but the Japs illuminated that side of the hill all night with their green flares. There was no way that any of us could reach Shiloh, so he hung there, screaming for his mother, until about 4:30 in the morning, when he died.
“After the war, I visited his mother. She had heard, on a Gabriel Heatter broadcast, that the Twenty-ninth was assaulting Sugar Loaf. She had spent the night on her knees, praying for her son. She said to me, ‘God didn’t answer my prayers.’ I said, ‘He didn’t answer any of mine.’’
Recalling Okinawa, Manchester wrote, “I was in the midst of satanic madness: I knew it. I wanted to return to sanity: I couldn’t. All one could do, it seemed to me, was to stop combat from breaking you in half, to keep going until you reached the other side of your immediate objective, hoping it would be different from this side while knowing all the time, with the weary cynicism of the veteran, that it would be exactly the same. It was in this mood that we scapegoated all cases of combat fatigue — my father’s generation of infantrymen had called it ‘shell shock’ — because we felt that those so diagnosed were taking the dishonorable way out. We were all psychotic, inmates of the greatest madhouse in history, but staying on the line was a matter of pride. Pride was important to young men then. Today it is derided as machismo. But without that macho spirit, California and Australia would have been invaded long before this final battle.”

          Rising Waters: On Omar El Akkad’s ‘American War’   

El Akkad deploys a subtle critique of torture as not only immoral, but ineffective -- and a direct critique of the Bush administration’s embrace of torture and Donald Trump’s lurid flirtation with it.

The post Rising Waters: On Omar El Akkad’s ‘American War’ appeared first on The Millions.

          Comment on Eric Clanton Ex-Professor Charged with Alleged Assault During Trump Event in April by Git Rekt   
The Anarchist invokes his right to an attorney. LOL
          Trump attacks Washington Post, Amazon over 'internet taxes'   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump attacked The Washington Post and Amazon on Twitter Wednesday, arguing that the online retailer was not paying &quot;internet taxes.&quot;...
          Eagles soar above state parks   

WEST ALTON, Mo. -- Quinn Kellner had the frigid facts on bald eagle watching in winter in Missouri.

“On the coldest, most miserable days, you see the most birds,” said Kellner, who is natural resource manager of Edward “Ted” and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park, which sits at the meeting of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers at West Alton.

“When the river gets ice on it, they really congregate around open water to feed on fish,” Kellner said. “You can have a couple dozen eagles on the ice close to each other.”

With the resurgence of our national bird over the past decades, spotting an eagle has become a common, but still exhilarating, occurrence at many of Missouri’s state parks. Seeing an eagle is not guaranteed, just a bonus.

You can eagle watch from the warmth of your vehicle, or hike the park trails. The only required equipment is binoculars, or a spotting scope.

Most of the eagles in Missouri are migrants that head south each winter from the Great Lakes and Canada when freezing temperatures block them from the fish that are their main food supply. They begin arriving in late November, and stay around until March, depending on the weather.

But Missouri also now has permanent residents with eagles building nests along the state’s rivers and major lakes. Resident eagles have become a featured attraction of summer float trips on many Ozark rivers.

State parks centered on big lakes – Mark Twain, Pomme de Terre, Table Rock, Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Wappapello, Harry S Truman, Long Branch, and Stockton – can have resident eagles year-round, joined by migrants from the north in winter.

“Stockton Lake has an average count of 110 birds,” said Doug Rusk, natural resource manager at Stockton State Park. “It is common to see 10 to 15 eagles along the shoreline. As Stockton Lake starts to freeze, you can watch eagles trying to pick the shad out of the ice.”

Five youngsters

The Mississippi and Missouri rivers are prime viewing spots in winter.

Eagles frequent Big Lake, Lewis and Clark, and Weston Bend state parks on the Missouri north of Kansas City, and can be seen from Katy Trail State Park along the river near Portland in mid-Missouri.

On the state’s eastern border, eagles can be found on the Mississippi River from Wakonda State Park north of Hannibal south to Trail of Tears near Cape Girardeau.

Parks on smaller rivers also get their share. Eagles can be seen at Meramec, Castlewood, and Route 66 state parks on the Meramec River. Sam A. Baker State Park gets an occasional winter visitor on Big Creek and the St. Francois River. And a hiker at Cuivre River State Park recently saw five mottled juvenile eagles from the top of Frenchman’s Bluff. Bald eagles don’t get their distinctive white heads and tails until they are about five years old. Then both the male and female have similar plumage.

Eagles at the Trout Parks

Anglers aren’t the only ones that appreciate the fish stocked at the state’s three trout parks – Roaring River, Bennett Spring, and Montauk state parks.

Up to 25 eagles gather in the mornings in the sycamore trees at Roaring River State Park, and roost in the afternoon sun on the hillside across from the park’s nature center. Bennett Spring State Park has both migrating eagles and permanent residents, which built a nest south of the park along the Niangua River.

“Twenty years ago, there were only winter migrants that stayed through the cold months,” said Diane Tucker, naturalist at Bennett Spring State Park. “In the past few years, at least one breeding pair has stayed year-round and had offspring.”

At Montauk State Park, a pair of eagles has been nesting in the park since 2001, but had abandoned the eggs each March 1, frightened off by the hubbub of the opening of trout season. This year, park naturalist Stephen Bost tried a new tactic.

The nest is in the tallest pine on a ridge overlooking the bridge where the governor traditionally fires several shots with a starter’s pistol to open trout season. This year, for several weeks before the opening of the season, Bost went to the bridge and clanged on it to acclimate the birds to sharp noises.

On opening day, the siren sounded, Gov. Jay Nixon fired the pistol - and the birds stayed put. They hung around and raised three eaglets, providing year-round entertainment for floaters on the upper Current River.

Nine kayakers leaving Montauk State Park on a November float watched in amazement as an adult eagle snatched a fish from the river, and landed on a limb just above them to have a leisurely lunch.

A common goal

Jones-Confluence Point State Park, which opened in 2004, is at the only spot where you can put one foot in the Mississippi, and the other in the Missouri. It also is the perfect spot for winter eagle watching.

The park has 1,121 acres, but its neighbors are even larger. When added together, they serve as a 10,000-acre welcome mat for migrating birds and waterfowl.

The park is on the same road as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, a mosaic of 3,700 acres of waterways and wetlands next to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam on the Mississippi. The dam itself is a magnet for birds in bad weather when its outflow may be the only unfrozen water.

Also nearby is the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, which was created with wildlife and waterfowl in mind and adds 4,318 acres of prime habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently took over management of the 1,470 acres of Cora Island in the Mississippi.

“It all works in conjunction,” Kellner said. “I’ve never been in a setting where you’ve had so many agencies working toward a common goal.”

A bounty of birds

While eagles are the stars, they are not the only rare birds that gather around the confluence in winter.

“We have great egrets for much of the year, and some snowy egrets,” Kellner said. “We get American white pelicans frequently. Trumpeter swans start showing up in November-December. We get several dozen.”

On a drive through the park, a familiar face was behind a spotting scope braced on the window of an idling van. Richard Coles is a retired Washington University professor and a leading birder in the St. Louis area.

“I probably come out here three or four times a month,” Coles said. Asked what he was watching, he replied, “There’s a group of gulls over there, and what may be a long-billed dowitcher.

“A friend of mine witnessed a merlin, a rare small falcon, dismembering and eating a ring-billed gull. Back there is a really beautiful group of pintails in breeding plumage. That’s one of our prettiest ducks, with chocolate-brown heads and long tails.”

As eagle watchers get more accomplished, Coles suggested they turn their binoculars on the rest of the bounty of birds.

“The eagle is a real jazzy, sexy bird for the general public,” he said. “But for those of us out on a regular basis, you get a little benumbed.”

          Almost 100 Veterans Died Waiting For Health Care At Los Angeles VA Hospital   
President Donald J. Trump signed into law a Veterans Affairs reform bill that will streamline the firing process for bad employees and shield whistleblowers.
          Mexiko-Schönheit Sainz: Respekt vor deutscher Härte    

Ihr Gesicht hat jeder deutsche Fußball-Fan schon gesehen. Ihre Kurven auch.

Ines Sainz, Sportreporterin des mexikanischen Fernsehsenders TV Azteca, hat schon bei der WM 2006 "Schweini und Poldi" den Kopf verdreht  - die Interviewszene in "Deutschland – ein Sommermärchen" ist legendär.

Elf Jahre später ist die sexy Blondine die bekannteste Sportjournalistin Lateinamerikas. Mit den Nationalteams von Mexiko und Deutschland (das Confed-Cup-Halbfinale ab 20 Uhr im LIVETICKER) kennt sich das ehemalige Bikini-Model bestens aus.

Sainz: "Deutsche haben Wettbewerbshärte"

"Auch die Spieler der jungen DFB-Auswahl in Russland haben die deutsche DNA. Das heißt, sie haben Wettbewerbshärte und eine klare Vorstellung, wie sie spielen wollen", sagt die 38-Jährige exklusiv zu SPORT1.

"Die Stars wie Julian Draxler und Marc-Andre ter Stegen sind hier zu Säulen einer sehr gut zusammengestellten Mannschaft geworden." Das deutsche Team habe Persönlichkeit, Charakter und sei daher immer gefährlich.

Sainz von Draxler angetan

Besonders bei Draxler gerät Sainz geradezu ins Schwärmen: "Der Kapitän sticht hier heraus. Er ist der Leader und wird es in nicht zu ferner Zukunft auch sein, wenn die Mannschaft alle Stars dabei hat."  

Auch die Leidenschaft, die Laufwege und das Spielverständnis von Joshua Kimmich gefallen ihr.

Dennoch drückt die Mutter von vier Kindern natürlich ihren Landsleuten die Daumen.

Chicharito und Fabian sind Deutschland-Insider

"Es wird uns sicherlich helfen, dass Chicharito und Marco Fabian die Bundesliga ganz genau kennen", meint Sainz.

"Sie haben die physischen Stärke des DFB-Teams, seine Schnelligkeit und das schnelle Passspiel auf dem Schirm."

Das Duo wisse aber auch, wie deutsche Abwehrreihen reagieren. "Sie werden ihre Freiräume finden. Sie haben nicht umsonst so viele Tore in der Bundesliga erzielt (Chicharito 39, Fabian 7, Anm.d.Red.)." 

Chicharito soll es richten

Auf dem Leverkusener ruhen dabei die größten Hoffnungen. "Von ihm erwarten wir, dass er seine Cleverness einsetzt und trifft", sagt Sainz.

"Sein Torriecher und die Fähigkeit, den Ball bei jeder Gelegenheit sofort aufs Tor zu bringen, sind seine großen Stärken. Er sollte möglichst jede Chance nutzen. Denn an Effektivität mangelt es uns manchmal."

Unter dem Kolumbianer Juan Carlos Osorio, der 2015 als Nationaltrainer übernahm, hat "El Tri" eine enorme Widerstandsfähigkeit entwickelt.

In Russland lagen die Mexikaner in den Gruppenspielen drei Mal zurück. Sie gewannen zwei Partien und spielten einmal Remis. "Wir zweifeln nicht mehr an uns", erklärt Sainz diesen Umstand. "Und wir verlieren nicht die Kontrolle."

Mentaltrainer ist Mexikos Trumpf

Warum das so ist, erklärt ihr Kollege Kaziro Aoyama von Telemundo Deportes.

"Seit November 2016 ist der spanische Mentaltrainer Imanol Ibarrondo Teil des Trainerteams", sagt der TV-Kommentator zu SPORT1.

"Er hält Motivationsansprachen, stärkt das Selbstvertrauen der Spieler  und den Mannschaftsgeist. Dadurch haben sie eine mentale Stärke entwickelt, die sie Rückschläge überwinden lässt und befähigt, immer wieder zurückzuschlagen."

 Fünf Mal hat Mexiko bislang bei großen Turnieren gegen Deutschland gespielt, fünf Mal verloren.

"Diesmal haben wir die Qualität, Deutschland auf Augenhöhe zu begegnen", behauptet Ibarrondo. "Der Glaube ist da, Deutschland wirklich schlagen zu können."

          Download Free Bathroom Graffiti Ebook PDF Free   

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          Stop eating our own   
Resisting Trump should bring us together at Equality March
          Trump’s victory: the morning after   
This is bad.* I don’t know how to process what I’ve just seen. This feels like a disjuncture. It’s a historical fork in the road. It changes things to such an extent that we will one day discuss things as … Continue reading
          No, Politico, Google Can’t Rig the 2016 Election (without trying REALLY hard, at least)   
Psychologist Robert Epstein has written a piece for Politico, titled “How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election.”  He’s trumpeting his recently-published study of “Search Engine Manipulation Effects” (SEME), stating with bluster that “Google has the ability to control voters.” Epstein clearly … Continue reading
          Comment on Specific Trumps General by Dixie Taylor   
I love reading that you have identified what it is you love and want to be involved in. Remember that if you love what you do, it is not a job as "job" is usually defined.
          Comment on Specific Trumps General by Matthew Hill   
Kevin, congratulations on your new career path and moments of clarity! I thoroughly enjoy consulting/advising and I'm sure you'll be great as well.
          Comment on Non-compete Agreement by Specific Trumps General |   
[…] a while ago I wrote a post about career opportunities. Okay, I know that it’s been a while since I wrote about anything. But, I did write about […]
          Beeler cartoon: Trumpcare    
Nate Beeler cartoon on the GOP's health care plan.
          Beeler cartoon: Trumpcare    
Nate Beeler cartoon on the GOP’s health care plan.
          Granlund cartoon: Trump travel ban    
Dave Granlund cartoon on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
          Granlund cartoon: Coal miner jobs    
Dave Granlund cartoon on President Donald Trump and coal miner jobs.
          Cold War Spy Series 'The Americans' Taps Into Today's Concerns About Russia   
Last week, when news surfaced about various meetings between the Russian ambassador and members of Donald Trump's campaign, Huffington Post editor Howard Fineman appeared on MSNBC and said, "If you think the Russian ambassador is just an ambassador, you haven't been watching The Americans." Well, I have been watching — and it's been fascinating from the start. But now, with Cold War intrigue hotter than it's been in decades, many curious new viewers are likely to flock to this series. At first, they may be quite surprised, because The Americans, more than anything else, is a family drama, in which the parents just happen to be Russian spies living in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. The husband and wife, Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, were paired by mother Russia long ago to emigrate to the United States and have a couple of kids and run a small travel agency, while taking on serious and sometimes dangerous spy missions. Their kids are now teens, and their daughter Paige is old
          Schumer to Trump: Meet with Democrats on healthcare – The Hill (blog)   

The Hill (blog) Schumer to Trump: Meet with Democrats on healthcareThe Hill (blog)Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is asking President Trump to meet with Democrats to discuss a bipartisan deal on healthcare. “President Trump, I challenge you to invite us, all 100 of us, Republican and Democrat, to Blair House to …Hello, is anybody…

link: Schumer to Trump: Meet with Democrats on healthcare – The Hill (blog)

          Fox News Live Stream Now 24/7 – America’s Breaking News – White House President Donald Trump News – Politics Video   


link: Fox News Live Stream Now 24/7 – America’s Breaking News – White House President Donald Trump News – Politics Video

          Trump Today: President says Republicans will get health-care ‘over the line,’ targets Amazon’s Bezos again – MarketWatch   

Trump Today: President says Republicans will get health-care ‘over the line,’ targets Amazon’s Bezos againMarketWatchThis column provides a daily update on key presidential actions as well as comments, whether spoken aloud or on Twitter, by President Trump. Like the stock market, the deadline for Trump Today action is 4 p.m. Eastern time, even as we…

link: Trump Today: President says Republicans will get health-care ‘over the line,’ targets Amazon’s Bezos again – MarketWatch

          The Entire Trump Agenda Is Now at Risk   

Ryan Lizza: “The GOP has adopted a major—even radical—agenda: transforming a massive sector of the economy, slashing taxes and rewriting the entire tax code, passing a budget that would dramatically reduce the size of government, and, in the middle of all of that, raising the debt limit. They have a plan to accomplish almost all…

link: The Entire Trump Agenda Is Now at Risk

          How Should We View the Obama Legacy? – New York Times   

New York Times How Should We View the Obama Legacy?New York TimesDo you know why President Trump is working so hard to tear down former President Barack Obama’s legacy? Because Mr. Obama represents everything that Mr. Trump is not: an articulate orator, a deep thinker and someone who is elegant in style, words and … Source…

link: How Should We View the Obama Legacy? – New York Times

          Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort belatedly registers as foreign agent – USA TODAY   

USA TODAY Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort belatedly registers as foreign agentUSA TODAYWASHINGTON – Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort belatedly registered as a foreign agent for a pro-Russia group in Ukraine, disclosing that his firm was paid slightly more than $17 million over two years, according to documents filed with the … and…

link: Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort belatedly registers as foreign agent – USA TODAY

          Condoleezza Rice: Despite Style, Trump Committed to American Values   
President Donald Trump believes in American values and works to serve the best interests of the United States, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday.
          Trump: US Immigration Policies Are 'Liberating Towns'   
President Donald Trump on Wednesday touted his administration's immigration enforcement aimed at booting out criminal illegals, including foreign gang members — describing the effort as "liberating towns" across the country.
          Former CNN CEO Supports Ending Live Press Briefings   
The idea of terminating live press briefings is not an idea exclusive to the Trump administration.
          Schumer to Trump: Get Dems Involved in Fixing Healthcare   
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers to work with Democrats in fixing healthcare, the Washington Examiner reported.
          Is The U.S. Close To Achieving ‘Energy Dominance’?   
If you hadn’t heard, the Trump Administration has declared this week to be “Energy Week”, a week during which the President and his senior officials are focusing on the theme of “U.S. Energy Dominance.” Not “energy independence” or “energy security”, both themes past presidential administrations have focused upon – “energy dominance.” So, what does it all mean, and can the United States actually achieve it? Good questions. Here are some answers. First, when President Trump…
          Levi Tillemann, Obama administration alum, set to join crowded race to unseat Mike Coffman   
The Aurora Democrat had been publicly flirting with a run for Congress since mid-May, when he called President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders "a unique and terrible threat to American democracy."
          RESUMEN DE NOTICIAS DEL MUNDO........Seeking Alpha   
La segunda etapa de las pruebas de resistencia bancarias anuales de la Fed se dará a conocer hoy. Los resultados del CCAR determinarán si las 34 instituciones financieras estadounidenses más grandes pueden seguir adelante con sus planes de distribución de capital, incluyendo mayores dividendos o recompras de acciones. ¡Manténganse al tanto! Los accionistas del banco y los inversionistas generales estarán observando atentamente, ya que los resultados es probable que mueva el mercado.

El euro ha alcanzado un nuevo máximo de 2017 de $ 1,1369, ya que los mercados digerieron los recientes comentarios de Mario Draghi. El banco central podría "ajustar" su política en respuesta a "mejorar las condiciones económicas", declaró en un evento en Sintra, Portugal. Mientras tanto, Janet Yellen dijo ayer que no esperaba otra crisis financiera en "nuestras vidas" y advirtió contra cualquier relajación de las reformas financieras.

¿Un golpe a la agenda de Trump? Los mercados bursátiles estadounidenses se vendieron el martes después de que los líderes republicanos pospusieran una votación en el Senado sobre la reforma de la salud hasta después del receso del 4 de julio. El líder republicano del Senado, Mitch McConnell, dijo que hay una "muy buena oportunidad" de que el proyecto de ley sea finalmente aprobado a pesar de la demora y un número de legisladores republicanos expresando sus reservas.

Lo llamó "La Red de Engima". Hace seis semanas, David Webb, un inversionista activista y ex director de la bolsa de Hong Kong, emitió un informe sobre "50 acciones que no son propias". Ayer, la mayoría de las acciones que nombró abruptamente se desplomaron, señalando problemas crónicos de regulación sobre las acciones de pequeña capitalización en el centro financiero asiático. Hang Seng tomó otra pierna hacia abajo durante la noche, cayendo un 0.6% a 25.684.

El presidente Trump está cada vez más frustrado con China por su inacción sobre Corea del Norte y asuntos comerciales bilaterales y ahora está considerando posibles acciones comerciales contra Pekín, dijeron a Reuters tres altos funcionarios del gobierno. Está estudiando una gama de opciones, incluyendo los aranceles sobre las importaciones de acero. Las noticias llegan cuando los negociadores japoneses y de la UE que se reúnen en Tokio presionan con un acuerdo de libre comercio que tiene como objetivo contrarrestar el proteccionismo estadounidense.

Bahrein ha acusado a Doha de una "escalada militar" en la crisis que ha afectado a la región, advirtiendo que habría consecuencias después de que Turquía desplegara tropas adicionales en su base en Qatar. Varios estados árabes han cortado las relaciones diplomáticas con la nación, así como los vínculos comerciales y de viajes, en la más grave crisis interna desde la formación del Consejo de Cooperación del Golfo.

Las tensiones son altas en Venezuela cuando un helicóptero de la policía disparó 15 disparos al Ministerio del Interior durante la noche y dejó caer cuatro granadas en la Corte Suprema, sin embargo, no hubo informes de lesiones. Se adelanta a la votación del presidente Maduro el 30 de julio para un super cuerpo especial llamado Asamblea Constituyente, que podría reescribir la carta nacional y reemplazar a otras instituciones como el Congreso controlado por la oposición.

Un comité del Senado brasileño revisará hoy un proyecto de ley que desaceleraría la ley laboral mazelike del país, que ha sido un gran disuasivo para la inversión. Los mercados se han reunido a medida que avanzaban a través de la Cámara Baja a principios de este año, pero nuevas acusaciones de corrupción contra el principal partidario de la propuesta, el presidente Temer, han aumentado la oposición, lo que complica su aprobación.

Los piratas informáticos han golpeado de nuevo en otro ciberataque a gran escala que apunta a algunas de las mayores corporaciones del mundo y la infraestructura gubernamental. Se trata de un malware conocido como "Petya", que bloquea las computadoras de las víctimas y les pide que paguen un rescate basado en Bitcoin de 300 dólares. La interrupción se ha extendido a Maersk (OTCPK: AMKAF), Merck (NYSE: MRK), WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), Reckitt Benckiser (OTCPK: RBGLY) y Rosneft (OTC: RNFTF).

Facebook ha llegado a 2B usuarios activos mensuales, lo que representa una duplicación de su base de usuarios en los últimos cinco años. Llegó a la marca de usuario 1B en octubre de 2012, el año en que se hizo público. Es el último de unos cuantos hitos métricos para Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), que celebró 250 millones de usuarios diarios de Instagram Stories la semana pasada, e Instagram alcanzó 700 millones de MAUs en abril.

Toshiba (OTCPK: TOSYY) dijo que presentaría una demanda contra Western Digital (NYSE: WDC), reclamando ¥ 120B ($ 1.07B) en daños por interferir con la venta de su división de chips de memoria. Toshiba también decidió excluir a los empleados de Western Digital -basados ​​fuera de la planta de chips de Yokkaichi- de acceder a información relacionada con la empresa conjunta de ambas compañías.

Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) está cerrando un acuerdo para adquirir la filial de software de ZTE (OTCPK: ZTCOY), dijeron fuentes a Bloomberg, citando un precio de entre 2 y 3 millones de yuanes (294 millones a 441 millones de dólares) ). Una venta también ayudará a reponer las arcas de ZTE, agotadas por una multa récord de 1,2 millones de dólares impuesta este año por el gobierno de Estados Unidos por violar las sanciones a las exportaciones de tecnología.

El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional comenzará la construcción de cuatro a ocho prototipos para un muro fronterizo en el área de San Diego este verano, aunque todavía no ha elegido proveedores. El financiamiento para el muro no fue incluido en el presupuesto presentado por la Casa Blanca para el año fiscal 2018, pero el DHS ha asignado $ 20M de otros programas para pagar los prototipos. Posibles beneficiarios: ACM, CX, CXW, EXP, FLIR, FLR, GEO, GVA, KBR, MLM, NUE, STLD, SUM, TPC, TTEK, USCR, USG, VMC, WMS, X

CNN se retractó de una historia falsa que sugirió un vínculo entre un asociado de Trump y un fondo ruso tras ser amenazado con una demanda por difamación de 100 millones de dólares, según el NY Post. El drama se produjo en medio del escrutinio federal de la empresa matriz Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) en espera de compra por parte de AT & T (NYSE: T) y la creencia generalizada entre los ejecutivos de medios que Jeff Zucker no puede sobrevivir a una fusión.

Japan Tobacco (OTCPK: JAPAY) espera alcanzar el "IQOS" de Philip Morris (NYSE: PM) en el tabaco sin humo al ampliar el número de lugares públicos que permiten que su producto vaping "Ploom Tecnología Las firmas tabacaleras ven a Japón como el centro de pruebas de la industria vaping, ya que los cigarrillos electrónicos que usan líquido con nicotina no están permitidos bajo las regulaciones farmacéuticas del país.

Philips (Nyse: PHG) ha aceptado comprar Spectranetics (NASDAQ: SPNC) por 38,50 dólares por acción en efectivo, o un valor total de 2,2 millones de dólares, incluida la deuda. Spectranetics utiliza técnicas como láseres y pequeños globos cubiertos de drogas para limpiar el interior de venas y arterias que se han atascado debido a enfermedades del corazón. SPNC + 25% pre-venta.

La selección del jurado en el juicio de Martin Shkreli está programada para entrar en su tercer día, ya que la dificultad de encontrar un jurado imparcial se hace evidente en un caso que involucra a la compañía farmacéutica Retrophin (NASDAQ: RTRX). "Yo entiendo que el Sr. Shkreli, Dios lo bendiga, ha traído esta notoriedad sobre sí mismo", dijo su abogado al Juez de Distrito Kiyo Matsumoto. "Sin embargo, Shkreli tiene derecho a tener jurados que no estén sesgados".

La Junta de Comisionados de Port Canaveral tiene previsto considerar la propuesta de SpaceX (Private: SPACE) hoy en las instalaciones en expansión para almacenar sus propulsores de cohetes reutilizables, ya que aumenta el ritmo de sus lanzamientos. ¿Otro sueño de Elon Musk? Está hablando con el alcalde de Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, sobre la posibilidad de excavar un túnel desde el centro de la ciudad hasta el aeropuerto O'Hare.

Acelerando la seguridad aeroportuaria ... American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL) está comprando nuevos protectores de bolsas de mano 3-D que desplegará en ocho aeropuertos de Estados Unidos una vez que las máquinas sean certificadas por la TSA. Los escáneres 3-D no sólo dan a los agentes de TSA una visión más clara de los problemas potenciales, sino que las máquinas - construidas por Analogic (NASDAQ: ALOG) - están diseñadas para ir dos veces más rápido que las bolsas de mano.

La NASA ha despejado un hito significativo para revivir los viajes supersónicos de pasajeros en los Estados Unidos. Se completó una revisión preliminar del diseño de un avión, elaborado con Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) como contratista líder, que utiliza la tecnología supersónica silenciosa, Golpe "en lugar de un fuerte auge sonoro. El auge es lo que llevó a las autoridades federales a prohibir el vuelo supersónico de pasajeros por tierra en 1973.

          The Cubs' Albert Almora apparently has a special message for President Trump   
Albert Almora's trip to the White House may have included a not-so-nice gesture toward the president.
          Cubs make second White House visit to celebrate 2016 championship   
While in D.C. to take on the Nationals, the Cubs stopped by the White House to visit President Trump.
          Iskreno (i neiskreno) sta mislite o osobi iznad   
Nema komsija pojma, ko mu je komsinica... lol lol Adriana Limić. lol
Imamo i mi zeta Donalda Trumpa. wink

Duhovita devojka. Wink
          Sex and the City   
A movie with the same title of this post was made a couple of years ago in which our favorite "Carousing  Cougars", Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha decided to wing their way to Abu Dhabi and relieve a few wealthy Sheiks of their dish-dash-ah's and dignity.

While WWE hurtles toward SummerSlam, its annual summer showcase, there's another name in pro wrestling that's pulling the headlines in a time of political turmoil: The Progressive Liberal Dan Richards.

It's not that Richards is a bad guy who just so happens to be a progressive liberal. For fans of the  Appalachian Mountain Wrestling (AMW) promotion, he's a bad guy (or "heel" in wrestling terms) specifically because he's a progressive liberal. He does, though, clearly relish playing up the "condescending liberal angle." 

More about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Pro Wrestling, Daniel Richards, and Culture
          Trump Org told to remove phony Time magazine issues   
Time magazine has asked the Trump Organization to remove a number of issues featuring President Donald Trump from its golf clubs after they were proven to be fakes.
          Comment on Thoughts on a Gloomy Day: Hoping to Hear He’s Been Impeached by Lily   
You can always move to a third world country and then want to escape to America to get away from the tyranny you think you have here. Crazy lady..Trump is the best thing that happened to America.
          President Donald Trump’s Impressive Car Collection!   

President Donald Trump’s Impressive Car Collection! In this video we will see some of the President Donald Trump’s prized rides. Starting from aircraft and yachts, the new US president knows for sure how to spend his money. Apparently, one of his favorite ways to spend some cash is buying luxury and expensive cars. Here are the highlights from […]

The post President Donald Trump’s Impressive Car Collection! appeared first on American Muscle Club.

          The DNC Will Be Betraying Reformist Muslims If They Pick Keith Ellison As Chairman   
Following the election of Donald J. Trump, the Left went into a veritable frenzy – from predicting that president-elect Trump will rule like the worst dictators in history to organizing mass protests not just of his comments, but of the election itself....
          I Will Take My People OUT OF   

10/7/05 From The Lord, Our God and Savior - The Word of The Lord Spoken to Timothy, For the Churches of Men, and For All Those Who Have Ears to Hear

Thus says The Lord: Churches of men, you do always twist the Scriptures! You cease not from adding to and taking away from the Word of God, as you continue to stand firm upon your own cracked foundations which your forefathers laid!... Foundation upon foundation throughout your generations, built ever higher according to the pride and vanity of men, an arrogance which has no equal!
How long shall you contend with Me?! How long shall you pervert the Truth?! Churches of men, shall I lie to My prophets and give them false testimony?! Or… Continue reading…

I Will Take My People OUT OF was first published at ChristianBlog.Com

          All We Are kÜndigen neues Album "Sunny Hills" an   

Vor ein paar Wochen haben sich All We Are mit ihrer großartigen neuen Single "Burn It All Out" zurückgemeldet. Nun kündigt das Trio aus Liverpool sein zweites Album "Sunny Hills" an, das am 09.06.2017 via Double Six / Domino veröffentlicht wird. Produziert wurde es von Kwes (Solange, Kano) und zeigt eine neue Seite der Band, denn sie haben ihre Soundpalette um Psychedelia, Krautrock und Post-Punk erweitert.

Zusammen mit der Albumankündigung präsentieren All We Are auch ihr neues Video zu "Human", das von Eoin Glaster gedreht wurde. Es ist der erste Teil einer Trilogie über die Geschichte eines kleinen Dorfs, durch das eine Autobahn gebaut werden soll. Am Anfang führt das zu Unruhen unter den Bewohnern, bis sie sich zusammen tun, um sich gemeinsam gegen den Bauunternehmer zur Wehr zu setzen.

All We Are sind Guro Gikling aus Norwegen (Gesang, Bass), Luis Santos aus Brasilien (Gitarre) und Richard O'Flynn aus Irland (Drums, Gesang). Mit ihrer Musik wollen sie der derzeitigen düsteren Stimmung, die weltweit um sich greift etwas entgegensetzen und zeigen, dass es okay ist nicht dazu zugehören und sich anders zu fühlen. Als Resultat daraus liegt nun das Album "Sunny Hills" vor, was unwiderstehlich tanzbar, düster und gleichzeitig aufbauend ist. Es zeigt, was es bedeutet, die Macht der Freundschaft und Zusammengehörigkeit in der heutigen Zeit zu spüren, die darauf fixiert ist, uns auseinanderzutreiben.

Das spiegelt auch das Artwork von "Sunny Hill" wider. Dazu erklärt die Band: „It shows an old house sandwiched between two large buildings under development. The woman who owned the house refused to sell to a number of developers including Donald Trump. She resisted for years while the developers even bought the space above the house. She finally won the case and stayed there for a further decade until her death. Before that, she watched Donald Trump’s casino fail and close its doors. There is a feeling of powerful resistance in this story that we relate to along with a real sense of defiance and eventual victory against a bigger power.“

Politisch, poetisch, tanzbar und bestärkend – All We Are haben ihr neues Album "Sunny Hills" für alle Bürger der Welt gemacht.

All We Are live:
08.06.2017 Auster Club - Berlin Tickets

Vorbestellen: iTunes / CD + LP / LPX

All We Are LPX

          6/28/2017: ZE SVĚTA: Svět vidí Trumpovy USA s rostoucím despektem   

Průzkum agentury Pew Research napříč světem je pro Donalda Trumpa i USA zničující. Řada médií neodolá pokušení prohlásit Trumpa za viníka všeho, ale důvodů je víc –a v něčem je i oběť. Nejdřív čísla: Trumpovi důvěřuje jen 22 procent obyvatel světa,...
          President Trump tweets that he is 'being investigated for firing the FBI Director'    
  President Donald Trump appeared to confirm Friday that he is under investigation for obstruction of justice, claiming that he is being investigated for firing FBI Director James Comey by the man who told him to do it. It wasn't clear whether the president was b …
          I'm the Union Leader Donald Trump Attacked. I'm Tired of Being Lied to About Our Jobs. - The Washington Post   
I’m a union leader in Indianapolis. I represent the Carrier workers whose jobs Donald Trump has pledged to save. And I’m tired of being lied to. In February, corporate officials came to our plant and announced that they were closing the facility. They would mo …
          Trump takes Mobile, Alabama   
A crowd of more than 30,000 people is expected tonight in Mobile, Alabama, to hear what Donald Trump has to say. NBC News’ Katy Tur is standing by in Alabama and MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, Joy Reid, and Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman discuss the “Summer o
          Selling the GOP health care bill: Does Trump help or hurt?   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It was a platform most politicians can only hope for: A captivated, 6,000-person crowd and more than an hour of live, prime-time television coverage to hype the Republican vision for a new health care system....
          The Latest: Trump promises 'big surprise' on health care   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on Republican legislation to repeal and replace the Obama health care law (all times local):...
          Campaigner-in-chief: Trump's politicking raises ethics flags   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Barely five months into office, President Donald Trump keeps taking time out from governing to run for re-election....
          Trump Toady: Jeff Sessions Remix   

Trump Toady: Jeff Sessions Remix

Trump Toady: Jeff Sessions Remix (2017)


The tell-both-sides media attitude that generally works in the free world falls apart completely when dealing with a dictatorship that doesn’t operate in good faith, that lies and actively fabricates constantly.
--Garry Kasperov


          Trump Toady: Kellyanne Conway Remix   

Trump Toady: Kellyanne Conway Remix

Trump Toady: Kellyanne Conway Remix (2017)


I'll answer it this way: Think about what you just said to your viewers. That's why we feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there.
--Kellyanne Conway


          Trump Toady: Kellyanne Conway   

Trump Toady: Kellyanne Conway

Trump Toady: Kellyanne Conway (2017)


Whereas President Bush offered America the illusion of morality clarity, President Trump offers an ever-shifting phantasmagoria of sense impressions and unreliable information, barely held together by a fog of anxiety and bewilderment. Think Kafka more than Lord of the Rings.
--Ned Resikoff


          Trump Toady: Reince Priebus Remix   

Trump Toady: Reince Priebus Remix

Trump Toady: Reince Priebus Remix (2017)


Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus condemned Donald Trump's sexually aggressive comments about women in a curt statement: “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.”


          Trump Toady: Sean Spicer   

Trump Toady: Sean Spicer

Trump Toady: Sean Spicer (2017)


We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.
--Sean Spicer

          Trump Transition Team 20 Remix   

Trump Transition Team 20 Remix

Trump Transition Team 20 Remix (2016)


Former Vice President Joe Biden said “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value.”

...Donald Trump’s budget tells us plenty about what he values—but it tells us even more about what he doesn’t value.

Trump values military hardware. He values a border wall. He doesn’t value people’s lives—feeding people or keeping them warm, doing medical research to prevent and heal diseases, job training or college preparation for disadvantaged youth. He doesn’t value the environment, or parks, or the arts. Trump’s America, the America he is trying to build with this budget, is ignorant, unskilled, sick, hungry, cruel, and violent. It’s bleak and barren and devoid of joy.
--Laura Clawson


          Trump Transition Team 20   

Trump Transition Team 20

Trump Transition Team 20 (2016)


If you were trying to create in a lab a person with character traits more unbecoming in a president, it would be hard to outdo the one we have.
--Charles M. Blow, "Trump and the Parasitic Presidency," New York Times


          Trump Transition Team 18   

Trump Transition Team 18

Trump Transition Team 18 (2016)


I think whatever ideological coloration we think actually applies to Trump, we can be pretty confident that he sees the American state as a mechanism to make sure that people called Trump are rich forever.
--Timothy Snyder

          Trump Transition Team 16   

Trump Transition Team 16

Trump Transition Team 16 (2016)


If fascism ever comes to the United States, it’ll be because the people voted it in.
--Irving Wallace, The R Document


          Trump Transition Team 12   

Trump Transition Team 12

Trump Transition Team 12 (2016)


There is no more painkiller.
--Samuel Beckett, Endgame


          Trump Transition Team 5 Remix   

Trump Transition Team 5 Remix

Trump Transition Team 5 Remix (2016)


Trump seems to not be interested in fighting real battles or even engaging in genuine politics. It’s all a pageant to him, a fixed narrative, a rigged game in which he’s is supposed to be the big winner in the end, with the cheering and the booing just being all in good fun. But nobody’s having any fun, least of all him. And putting on a show is all he knows how to do.
--Digby (Heather Parton)


          Trump Transition Team 2 Remix   

Trump Transition Team 2 Remix

Trump Transition Team 2 Remix (2016)


[So long as] the proles can be distracted from their own despair by media-created pseudo-events, including the brief and bloody war, the super-rich will have little to fear.
--Richard Rorty


          Saint Stool Pigeon   

Saint Stool Pigeon

Saint Stool Pigeon (2017)


We turned down the lights and I had my team bring in some candles so Mike could show me how he speaks in tongues. I had seen this on TV before. He asked for the blood of a stool pigeon to dip his fingers in before we talked about the sanctity of life.
--Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof

          Trump Press Conference   

Trump Press Conference

Trump Press Conference (2017)


You're attacking us. Can you give us a question?
--Jim Acosta, CNN

Don't be rude. No, I'm not going to call on you. You're fake news.
--Donald Trump

          Trump Transition Team 21 Remix   

Trump Transition Team 21 Remix

Trump Transition Team 21 Remix (2016)


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

          Trump Transition Team 21   

Trump Transition Team 21

Trump Transition Team 21 (2016)


You always want to go by what comes out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.
--Kellyanne Conway


          Trump Transition Team 14   

Trump Transition Team 14

Trump Transition Team 14 (2016)


I think computers have complicated lives very greatly.
--Donald Trump


          Trump Transition Team 12 Remix   

Trump Transition Team 12 Remix

Trump Transition Team 12 Remix (2016)


During his campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed to "drain the swamp" -- leading chants of the phrase at his rallies -- part of an anti-establishment, anti-Washington message that was predicated on rooting out corruption and bringing an outsider's perspective to government...Critics have used it to assail Trump's high-level appointments of Wall Street and DC veterans, like former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary and Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Ron Klain, a former Obama administration official, tweeted, "Sure, Drain the Swamp. Congrats to all you outsiders who thought that Hillary Clinton was too establishment."
--David Wright, CNN

          Trump Transition Team 10 Remix   

Trump Transition Team 10 Remix

Trump Transition Team 10 Remix (2016)


It does strike me as an odd way of draining the swamp to bring in a new alligator from Wall Street.
--Angus King


          Trump Transition Team 9 Remix   

Trump Transition Team 9 Remix

Trump Transition Team 9 Remix (2016)


To identify what's wrong with conservatism and Republicanism -- and now with so much of America as we are about to enter the Trump era -- you don't need high-blown theories or deep sociological analysis or surveys. The answer is as simple as it is sad: There is no kindness in them.
--Neal Gabler


          Trump Transition Team 7 Remix   

Trump Transition Team 7 Remix

Trump Transition Team 7 Remix (2016)


When I suggested a few weeks ago that Trump’s worldview resembled the narcissistic simulated universe of “The Matrix,” I had no idea how far the analogy would go. His election represents the moment when roughly half our voting population — slightly less than that, to be fair — spoke out clearly: Give us the blue pill! That’s the one where you wake up in your beds and believe whatever you want to believe, leaving reality behind. If onetime movie star Ronald Reagan was the first postmodern president (the word still meant something back then), Trump will be the first post-reality president.
--Andrew O'Hehir


          VIDEO: THE GREAT COMET's Lulu Fall Enlists Denee Benton and More for 'Pretty For A Dark Girl' Single   
D.C.-born vocalistcomposer Lulu Fall, actress in the Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and Kris Johnson, director of Jazz Studies at the University of Utah trumpeter, soloist, and arranger with the Count Basie Orchestra, have just released themusic video and single for 'Pretty For A Dark Girl'from their upcoming album 'The Unpaved Road,'which will be out viaArtist Centric Music, LLC on August 22, 2017. Fellow 'Great Comet' star Denee Benton is also featured in the video - check it out below
          Keep Calm and Hack On   

KDE Project:

I've just got back from the Qt Contributor's Summit, and I had a really good time.

I arrived on Wednesday evening and we had arranged to meet in a bar called 'Brauhaus Lemke' in Hackescher Markt which is quite near Alexanderplatz. It did look easier to find on the map than it actually was, but Hackescher Markt is a great place. There is a big square with loads of bars that have seats outside. The Lemke is slightly off the main square.

When I got there we had about one and a half giant tables full of KDE people. I was really impressed with the beer menu; they had four brews which they make themselves. A 'Saison' which means seasonal and could be anything, a Pils, a Weiz beer and a very nice 'Lemke Original' which was amber coloured which an interesting depth of taste, and that was my personal favourite. You really need to go through all four at least twice I would say to get started, and you can get a 'test kit' with small samples of each to do that. They have vegetarian food, and I thought the Swiss Rusti - potato cakes with fried eggs on top - was particularly good.

So for the Desktop Summit I don't think you could go far wrong with arranging to meet people at one of the bars in Hackescher Markt. It's even got 'Hacke..' in the name after all..

The following morning we arrived at the Summit for a morning of keynotes.

The conference was held in an East German 'retro modernist' building (if that is the right word). The rooms were named after space things like 'Vostok' or 'Mars' and there was even a Sputnick sculpture above a mural of 'herioc workers' type stuff at the front. My only criticism was that there were so many attendees that the rooms were packed and the air conditioning couldn't keep up and it got really hot.

After Alex Leisse introduced the conference, the first keynote was from the Nokia guy running the Open Source software program - I didn't take a note of his name. He reassured us that an Open Source plan does actually exist contrary to what you might think from the public reports. One major theme of the conference is that what is really happening in private isn't quite the same as the public image of Nokia although they couldn't tell us anything about what they called 'confidential things.'

Then Lars Knoll gave an account of the plans for Qt5 in detail. This is what I had mainly been looking forward to finding out about, and I was very impressed. They want to make the QML scene graph 3d the main focus of UI development although imperative QPainter based apis for drawing will still be there if you need them (I assume that is in the QtGui module). The biggest change was that QWidgets were being moved out of QtGui into their own module. I don't think the idea was to make them 'legacy only', but instead to optimize memory usage for small devices which don't need them. Other than those major changes most other things were just clean ups and tidying that would be reasonably source compatible.

The aim was to try and move as fast as possible, but not include too much in the 5.0 release so that either quality would be compromised or feature creep would cause delays. From the point of view of KDE we will need to just wait and see, and make sure we don't commit too early. We have plenty of other things to do at the moment, and I don't think we absolutely must switch when Qt 5.0 comes out, and instead just do enough research to have a thorough understanding of what it's about.

The first bindings guy I hadn't met before was Matti who runs the PySide project. He told me he wasn't too technical, but he could relay any issues we came up with for bindings back to the guys in Brazil.

After the keynotes, we had lunch which was a box with sandwiches and stuff in it. Half the sandwiches and food were vegetarian throughout the conference, which was pretty good, and I didn't end up being distracted by feeling really hungry as I couldn't eat any of the food, like had happened once or twice at the recent UDS conference in Buderpest.

The first discussion sessions started in the afternoon, and I was particulary interested in one about slots/signals changes in Qt5. I had read a blog on Qt Labs by Olivier Goffart about proposals for new slots/signals (I can't seem to find it via Google at the moment). The proposals looked as though they might be a bit 'boosty', and that they would screw up language bindings projects by changing to entirely statically typed signals/slots. It turned out that wasn't the plan, and in fact the new functor style slots weren't replacements for Qt's QMetaObject based slots, but were in addition to them. Attaching a C++ lamda directly to a signal looked pretty neat, and pretty similar to what we've done with QtRuby with invoking ruby blocks attached to signals.

In the Thursday evening we had a party and listened to the Troll's house band who did some good covers of sometimes 'dodgy' original material. I probably liked Pierre's trumpet riffs best - they were appropriate, to the point and not overdone. Similar to how I like code I suppose. We had a robot dance from the legendary Knut Yrvin along with some lessons on how to do his basic moves - only feasible for normal humans after quite a few Becks I would say.

On the Friday there was a second QMetaObject session about dynamically generating them. There were some minor issues about how to handle the function that is used by qt_static_metacall(), but mainly it seems pretty good from a bindings point of view and I don't think we're going to need to drastically redesign the slots/signals stuff and it will carry on working much the same.

There was this guy there who talked about Python in the QMetaObjects session, but he had his name badge reversed so I couldn't actually confirm who I suspected it was. After the session I introduced myself and found out that he was indeed Phil Thompson of PyQt fame. I had wanted to meet Phil for a while - every now and then he posts a helpful mail to the kde bindings mailing list and I had been impressed with the PyQt code when I studied it.

We went downstairs outside and had lunch outside sitting on benches in the sunshine which was very pleasant. We had a long chat about bindings issues and agreed that Qt4 was mainly fine from the point of view of bindings and Qt5 looked like it was carrying on being much the same.

A common issue was what on earth to do about QML integration. We have some problems about how to do custom QML types in bindings languages, but far more important is the effect of mixing two dynamic languages with different syntaxes in the same application. Phil's approach was to provide basic support for QML for those who wanted to use it, but he is working on a very ambitious sounding Python based declarative language that would be used instead of QML, not as well as QML. I had thought about that for Ruby, but decided that it wasn't really option. So we'll have to see how it turns out for PyQt.

On the Friday evening I went back to the Lemke bar for some more 'research' and was pleased to find there were a pile of people from the conference already there.

We finished up on Saturday with more follow on session mainly to expand on what had already been discussed. I had a language bindings session and we went over a few things especially QMetaObject stuff again with Olivier.

So that was it. I have been impressed with what I've learned about Qt5, and think that Berlin is a great place and am looking forward to the Desktop Summit. I really, really must get my flight and hotel booked this week.

Oh, one last thing. Why is this blog called "Keep Calm and Hack On"? It is because we were all given t-shirts with that phrase in big green letters with a pair of crossed swords at the top. Are we all the 'Right Stuff' in other words. I think we will be..

          Georgia Special Election Portends What the "Trump Effect" Will Be on GOP-Leaning Congressional Districts in 2018   
Today voters in the northern Atlanta suburbs go to the polls to vote in a special election, the most expensive congressional race in history.  Democrat Jon Ossoff faces Republican Karen Handel in the battle to replace former congressman and current Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Georgia House District #6.  Both parties, but especially Democrats, have poured money into the competition for a district that Price won by 23% in 2016, but President Trump only carried by 1%. The national media is focusing on the race as a referendum on Trump.  Republicans have won previous GOP-leaning special districts this year, but in every instance the Republican share of the vote has been substantially down over previous years.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls show Handel with a .2% lead.  Obviously a dead heat.

Karen Handel
Is too much made of this special election as a referendum on President Trump?  Certainly too much is based on who wins or loses.  If Handel, for example, wins by a handful of votes instead of losing by a handful of votes, there shouldn't be too much read into the result. However, the GOP is having to defend this heavily Republican seat is a significant development, apart from the actual result that rolls in tonight.  It should be noted that Georgia HD #6 has a highly education population.  Indeed it is in the top 10 in that measure.  The other nine congressional districts with the most educated populations are represented by Democrats.  There was a time when the more education one had, the more likely a person would be a Republican.  That appears to be changing.

While far from an inspiring candidate, Handel's moderately conservative views better fit the district than the bland Ossoff.  Politically, Ossoff, who is only 30 years old, is a traditional liberal who would be much better suited for a Democratic-leaning congressional district in Massachusetts or California, rather than a Republican-leaning district in Georgia.  Even more importantly than his age and liberal views being a handicap in the district, the biggest negative for Ossoff is that he doesn't actually in House District #6. While not a legal requirement, that issue has proven to be a deal-breaker for challengers who have attempted to convince voters they can properly represent a district in which they don't live. 

What I find most remarkable is that the Democrats, despite recruiting an extremely poor candidate for the district, have a real chance of winning tonight. That speaks volumes about the drag that President Trump will be on the Republicans going into the 2018 congressional elections.  Call it the "Trump Effect."
          Cabinet Meeting an Embarrassing Spectacle, Puts President Trump's Deep Personal Insecurities on Full Display   
From Day 1 of his candidacy, I, and many others, have argued that Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit for the Office of the Presidency.  It seems like very day since then , Donald Trump, now President Trump, finds new ways to prove that assertion correct.  Yesterday was no exception.

On Monday, President Trump held his first cabinet meeting.  He began with a completely false personal assessment of the first nearly five months of his Presidency, which included this whopper of a lie:
"Never has there been a president....with few exceptions...who's passed more legislation, who's done more things than I have."
I can only assume that President Trump doesn't know what the term "legislation" actually means. He apparently thinks it includes the numerous executive orders he's issued, most of which are nothing more than press releases.

But then the cabinet meeting got even more bizarre.   After the President's opening, he prompted each cabinet member to give obviously prepared speeches on how great President Trump is and how fortunate they are to work for such a great man.  The New York Times reports on the spectacle:

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” Mike Pence said, starting things off.
“I am privileged to be here — deeply honored — and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers,” said Alexander Acosta, the secretary of labor.
Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, had just returned from Mississippi and had a message to deliver. “They love you there,” he offered, grinning across the antique table at Mr. Trump.
Reince Priebus, the chief of staff whose job insecurity has been the subject of endless speculation, outdid them all, telling the president — and the assembled news cameras — “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.”
So it went on Monday in the Cabinet Room of the White House, as Mr. Trump transformed a routine meeting of senior members of his government into a mood-boosting, ego-stroking display of support for himself and his agenda. While the president never explicitly asked to be praised, Mr. Pence set the worshipful tone, and Mr. Trump made it clear he liked what he heard.
It is disconcerting that President Trump feels such personal insecurity that he needs to have his ego publicly stroked, especially by members of the cabinet who supposed to be giving him honest advice, not simply being "yes" men and women.

The cabinet is made up of many successful generals, business men and women and government officials.  It is appalling that almost all of them were willing to set aside their pride and integrity, to grovel at the feet of President Trump, kissing his ring.

There were a few exceptions, the most notable being General Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense, who deviated from the scripted praise of Trump to say it is an "honor to represent the men and women of the Department of Defense, and we are grateful for the sacrifices our people are making in order to strengthen our military so our diplomats always negotiate from a position of strength."   
Trump, who sat next to Mattis, was clearly not pleased.
          Polls Show Georgia CD #6 Special Election a Toss-Up   
In what is considered the best barometer of politics post-Trump presidency,  the candidates in the special election run-off or Georgia's 6th Congressional District appear to be in a statistical dead heat. The latest poll conducted by WSB-TV/Landmark at the end of June shows Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Karen Handel 49-48, well within the 4.4 margin of error. All other polls reported by Real Clear Politics, except one, show the margin as 2 points are less.  The outlier, a poll conducted by WXIA-TV/Survey USA, in mid-May, showed Ossoff leading by 7 points.

The district was formerly represented by Tom Price who was appointed Secretary of Health and
Human Services by President Donald Trump.  In the 2016 election, Price received 61.6% of the vote. While the Atlanta suburban district is normally reliably Republican, Trump performed poorly in the district barely edging out Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Despite the Republican-leaning nature of the district, Democrats have outspent Republicans in an effort to boost Ossoff.    Ossoff has been called an uninspiring candidate who has been criticized for residing outside the 6th district (Residency in a particular congressional district is not required to be a candidate for that district.)  Ossoff's strategy appears to make the special election, to be held on June 20th, a referendum on Trump who he has tied closely to Handel.
          Turkish President's Bodyguards Beat Peaceful Protesters in Washington, DC   
The Wall Street Journal reports;
WASHINGTON—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security team was accused Wednesday of taking part in an unprovoked attack on protesters in the U.S. capital, marring a Washington visit for the second year in a row. 
District of Columbia police have joined the Secret Service and State Department in an investigation of what Police Chief Peter Newsham said appeared to be an unprovoked and “brutal attack on peaceful protesters” that sent nine people to the hospital on Tuesday. One police officer and two members of the Secret Service were also injured in the clashes, according to the police and a U.S. official. 

The attacks were captured on video and shared widely on social media, drawing denunciations from the State Department, U.S. lawmakers, the city’s mayor, and the police chief. 
“This is the United States of America,” U.S. Sen. John McCain, (R., Ariz.), said on Twitter. “We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this thuggish behavior.”
According to protesters and video showing the attacks, a few dozen demonstrators marched to the Turkish ambassador’s residence, where Mr. Erdogan was speaking, to protest his first official visit to Washington to meet President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday. 
The demonstrators included a mix of people opposed to Mr. Erdogan’s crackdown on opposition lawmakers, journalists, diplomats and military officers. They were met by a group of Erdogan supporters, District of Columbia police and members of the Turkish president’s security detail. 
The Turkish Embassy cast the demonstrators as terrorist sympathizers of Kurdish separatists known as the PKK who were “aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled” to support Mr. Erdogan. The Erdogan supporters “responded in self-defense,” leaving one seriously injured, the Embassy said. 
“The violence and injuries were the result of this unpermitted, provocative demonstration,” the Embassy said. “We hope that, in the future, appropriate measure will be taken to ensure that similar provocative actions causing harm and violence do not occur.”
Former President Barack Obama refused to meet with Erdogan who has jailed journalists and suppressed civil liberties in a crackdown on political opponents following a coup attempt.  President Trump, however, has praised the Turkey strongman who since has assumed dictatorial powers. President Trump offered no criticism of the beatings of peaceful protesters.  The State Department, however, told reporters that it was communicating corn about the incident to the Turkish government "in the strongest possible terms" and that {v]iolence is never an appropriate response to free speech."

          Quinnipiac Polls Americans For One Word Description of Donald Trump   
A Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday showed that President Donald Trump support had fallen back to near record lows of 36%. Probably the most interesting part of the poll though is when the university asked "the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?"   Here are the top 10 results:

1.  Idiot  9
2.  Incompetent 31
3.  Liar   30
4.  Leader  25
5.  Unqualified  25
6.  President  22
7. Strong  21
8.  Businessman 18
9.  Ignorant  16
10. Egotistical  15
11. Asshole  13
11. Stupid  13
13. Arrogant  12
13.  Trying  12
15.  Bully  11
15.  Business  11
15.  Narcissist  11
15. Successful 11
19.  Disgusting 10
19.  Great  10
          Vice President Pence Damages His Reputation in Conveying False Narrative About Comey Firing   
Probably no one has done a better job of remaining unscathed by association with the administration of Donald Trump than Vice President Mike Pence.  In that capacity, Pence has acquitted himself quite well in the aftermath of a rocky term as Indiana Governor.

That all changed with the Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, Pence and other Trump spokespeople went out to spread the narrative that Trump had acted on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to fire Comey because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.    Pence's mission was to convey that message to
members of Congress.

The problem was the Trump-Comey talking points were not true.   Journalists began digging and found that the Comey firing was because of every increasing Trumpian furor over the continued Russian investigation led by Comey.  Indeed, Comey had just requested it be expanded, with additional financial and personnel resources devoted to the investigation. The Rosenstein memo turned out to be after-the-fact cover for the decision.

The problem for Pence is that he was in the meeting during which Trump announced his plan to fire Comey, a meeting at which Trump requested Rosenstein write a memo to offer a false motive for his action.  So when Pence was on Capitol Hill he was knowingly offering a lie about how President Trump arrived at his decision.  The White House has since admitted the original tale spun by the Trump spokespeople, including Pence, wasn't true.

Pence's loss of credibility is a most unfortunate development.  I would rate the odds better than 50-50 he will be President before the official end of Trump's term and that he will lead the Republican ticket in 2020. His being damaged by his actions as Vice President further hurt GOP efforts to keep control of the White House and the Senate.

As far as the U.S. House, that most likely be won by the Democrats in 2018.  A Quinnipiac poll released yesterday showed that Americans by a 54-38 margin Americans want Democrats to win control of the U.S. House in 2018.  That 16 point spread is by far the widest margin ever measured on that question.
          Liberals Show Contempt for Free Speech in Silencing Ann Coulter   
By now many if not most people have heard that "conservative" columnist Ann Coulter's planned speech at the University of California at Berkeley has been cancelled.  Liberals on and off the campus acted to shut down the speech.  Fox News now reports on the latest development, support from a prominent actor:
Rob Schneider attacked UC Berkeley for cancelling conservative commentator Ann Coulter's speech, saying the university should "add burning
Ann Coulter
books to the curriculum." 
"UC Berkeley, after you done eliminating speech you don't like & words you don’t like what’s next?" the comedian wrote on Twitter adding, "Maybe add burning books to the curriculum." 
The outspoken star also tweeted, "Freedom of thought, speech, conscience & informed consent to medical risk taking. There's no greater calling for Americans in the 21st Century." 
Earlier this month, a bloody brawl broke out in downtown Berkeley at a pro-Trump protest that featured speeches by members of the white nationalist right. They clashed with a group of Trump critics who called themselves anti-fascists. 
In February, violent protesters forced the cancellation of a speech by right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who like Coulter was invited by campus Republicans.
I am no fan of Coulter.  I find her to be utterly repulsive, an ideological faud who has hijacked the "conservative" label to promote ideas that are full of hate and not at all conservative.   It is people like her, and President Trump, who are destroying the once great conservative movement that convinced me to become a Republican.

Nonetheless, college campuses should be venues where the open exchange of ideas is welcomed, even when those ideas are an anathema to many who study and work at the school.  One of the most unfortunate trends in recent years is the increasing lack of tolerance for free speech by people on the left, particular at our colleges and universities.  If you want to read a great book on the subject, written by a liberal Democrat no less, pick up The Silencing by Kirsten Powers.

          President Trump Defends Fox's Bill O'Reilly: "I Don't Think Bill Did Anything Wrong"   
A few days ago, the New York Times broke news about  sexual harassment lawsuit settlements involving Fox "The Factor" host Bill O'Reilly:

For nearly two decades, Bill O’Reilly has been Fox News’s top asset, building the No. 1 program in cable news for a network that has pulled in billions of dollars in revenues for its parent company, 21st Century Fox.
Behind the scenes, the company has repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly as he faced a
Bill O'Reilly
series of allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.
An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.
Two settlements came after the network’s former chairman, Roger Ailes, was dismissed last summer in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, when the company said it did not tolerate behavior that “disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.”
The women who made allegations against Mr. O’Reilly either worked for him or appeared on his show. They have complained about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating, according to documents and interviews.
The reporting suggests a pattern: As an influential figure in the newsroom, Mr. O’Reilly would create a bond with some women by offering advice and promising to help them professionally. He then would pursue sexual relationships with them, causing some to fear that if they rebuffed him, their careers would stall.
O'Reilly has tried to dismiss the settlements as merely payoffs for nuisance suits. As an attorney, I've seen many nuisance suits.  Settlements for nuisance suits are generally a few thousands of dollars, certainly never millions.  These suits would not have been settled for such sums if there wasn't serious wrongdoing involved.

President Trump, however, disagrees.  In an interview with the New York Times, Trump stated:

“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Mr. Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office with Times reporters. “Because you should have taken it all the way; I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Mr. Trump said.
President Trump likewise thought the sexual harassment suits against former Fox News Chief Roger Ailes were also baseless:
"I think they are unfounded just based on what I've read," Trump said of the accusations against Ailes. "Totally unfounded, based on what I read."
I guess we shouldn't be surprised by Trump's reaction considering his own history with women.

          More Flynn Foreign Payments Revealed; Trump-Friendly National Enquirer Labels Flynn a "Russian Spy"   
A few weeks ago it was revealed that General Michael T. Flynn, who advised President Trump on foreign policy, and briefly served as National Security Adviser in the Trump administration, was acting as an agent of of a foreign government, namely Turkey.  Flynn's company received $530,000 for 90 days of work to investigate and undermine a political opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who engaged in a political crackdown after surviving a military coup.

That's $5,889 a day that Flynn's firm was being paid by Turkish interests, all the while traveling around
General Michael T. Flynn
the country with the Donald Trump campaign.  It's a good gig if you can get it.

But it turns out, there were more payments. Recently, Flynn amended federal disclosure documents to show payments from Russian outfits, i.e. Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Kapersky Government Security Solutions, Inc, each of which paid him $11,250.  Flynn was also paid $45,000 by RT, the state Russian news agency, for a speech he gave in 2015, another payment he failed to disclose.

Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, indicated the payments might result in a referral to the General Accounting Office, which might ask for a return of all the money.  As Rep. Chaffetz notes, former military officers simply are not allowed to take these type of payments.  It is not a stretch to think there might be criminal liability involved with the payments, which might further explain why Flynn is requesting immunity for his testimony.

An interested and related development comes from of all places, the National Enquirer.  Last week's edition of the supermarket tabloid had blazened across the front page the headline:  "TRUMP CATCHES RUSSIAN'S WHITE HOUSE SPY!"    Here is a summary:

Add caption

Here is the start of the article inside the paper:

National Enquirer's CEO David Pecker is a good friend of President Trump.   Pecker's publication has enthusiastically supported his campaign for President.  During various points in the campaign, the National Enquirer published scandalous (and unverified) stories about Trump's opponents which Trump then used on the campaign stump.  These National Enquirer stories includes the bizarre piece claiming that Sen. Ted Cruz's father was involved in the plot to assassinate President Kennedy.  Despite the absurd stories that regularly appear in the magazine, President Trump has on several occasions said the Enquirer is a credible source of information..

While the Enquirer has zero credibility as a news source, the story calling Flynn a Russian spy is noteworthy for this reason:   The story almost certainly didn't go to print with Trump's direct or indirect blessing.  The story represents the beginning of the new spin that Trump wasn't personally complicit with Russian meddling in the campaign, that he was instead a victim from unscrupulous Russian agents like Flynn.

General Flynn take a look at the Trump bus.  You're going to soon find yourself underneath it.
          Trump Campaign May Have Coordinated with Russians on Release of Information Damaging to Clinton Campaign   
CNN reports:
The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN.   
This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, according to one source.   
The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel,
business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings, according to those U.S. officials. The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.   
In his statement on Monday Comey said the FBI began looking into possible coordination between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives because the bureau had gathered "a credible allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable basis to believe an American may be acting as an agent of a foreign power."  
One law enforcement official said the information in hand suggests "people connected to the campaign were in contact and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready." But other U.S. officials who spoke to CNN say it's premature to draw that inference from the information gathered so far since it's largely circumstantial. 
The FBI cannot yet prove that collusion took place, but the information suggesting collusion is now a large focus of the investigation, the officials said.   
The FBI has already been investigating four former Trump campaign associates -- Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Carter Page -- for contacts with Russians known to US intelligence. All four have denied improper contacts and CNN has not confirmed any of them are the subjects of the information the FBI is reviewing.
Yesterday in a bizarre turn of events House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) briefed President Trump on intelligence he had seen in which names of the Trump transition team (of which Nunes himself was a member) had appeared in intelligence intercepts relating to foreign targets, intercepts he didn't bother to share with anyone else on the committee.   While this was in fact old news, Nunes held a press conference to claim that the information somewhat supported Trump's claim that Trump Tower phones were wiretapped by President Obama.  In the next breath, however, Nunes said that the information did not show Trump's claim was true.
The big development though may well be that Nunes has shown himself to be an agent of President Trump and, thus, unable to conduct a fair and impartial investigation of matters relating to the Trump campaign.  Nunes might lose his chairmanship as a result of the stunt he pulled yesterday. At the very least he made the appointment of a independent committee much more likely.

          A "Big, Gray Cloud" Descends Over the Trump Presidency   
Today, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that there exists a current FBI investigation into possible coordination between members of Trump's campaign team and Russian officials in the latter's interference into the 2016 election.  Fox News reports:
FBI Director James Comey said during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee today that there is an ongoing investigation into possible "coordination" between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia.
Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016
FBI Director James Comey
presidential election. 
"That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts," he stated.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who was a member of the Trump transition team, complained that Comey's testimony created a "big, gray cloud" over the White House and urged a quick conclusion to the investigation. 

Comey also confirmed that Trump's tweets claiming former President Trump had ordered his phones "wiretapped" at the Trump Tower were simply not true.  Also confirmed as inaccurate was the new claim that British intelligence had wiretapped Trump at President Obama's request.

When the media begins examining more closely Trump campaign connections to Russian officials, , expect a few names to come to the forefront quickly, most notably Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and Carter Page.  In an apparent attempt to head off damaging association, administration spokesman Sean Spicer today incredulously noted that Manafort had only a "limited role" with the Trump campaign.  A mighty strange way to characterize the former MANAGER of the Trump campaign.

          VP Pence Shows Pres. Trump How Conservatives Can Successfully Handle The Liberal Media   
The Indianapolis Star reports:
WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence joked Saturday night that the most embarrassing part of the recent news that he used a personal email account while Indiana’s governor is that millions of Americans learned he was one of the few people in the country to still have an AOL account. 
Vice President Mike Pence
“My wife said it was good for my image,” Pence said at the Gridiron Club dinner, a white-tie dinner of speeches, skits and songs put on by Washington's oldest journalism organization. “She said now America knows I’m not stuck in the ‘50s. I’m just stuck in the ‘90s.” 
Pence also read some of the comments made on Twitter after IndyStar broke the story Thursday that raised questions about the security and government transparency of the AOL account, which was hacked last summer.  
Among the social media slams: “Your grandma is hipper than Mike Pence.” Another said: “This is the most I’ve heard about American Online since I last saw the free disks on a counter at Blockbuster. #MakeAOLGreatAgain.” 
Pence was the headline speaker at the dinner, which takes a humorous look at the political scene.  He wore a black tie to the white-tie event, which he said he thought he could get away with until House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked him to refill her coffee.  
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who represented the Republicans, said she’s impressed that Pence never needs a teleprompter. “Maybe that’s because every speech begins with, `Let me explain what the president meant to say,’” Ernst said. “And thank you for that. 
The Mike Pence I remember from law school was an outspoken, unapologetic conservative. But he also had an engaging personality and a wonderful sense of humor that won over even die-hard liberals at that school.  I am not sure where Pence's personality and sense of humor went during his four years as Governor (I blame his advisers who didn't know how to use Pence's greatest assets), but they appear to have returned as Vice President.  It is good that they did.  He will need those tools given the train wreck that the Trump presidency appears to be.

Pence's performance at the Gridiron shows how conservatives should handle the media.  No doubt most journalists have a liberal-bent and want to see conservative politicians fail.  But journalists also have many other things that influence their writing, even more so than political philosophy.  Pence appears to understand that and knows that winning them over as a "nice guy" goes a long way to developing more positive news coverage.

          Attorney General Jeff Sessions Met Twice With Russian Ambassador in 2016 While Member of Trump Campaign Team   
In what appears to be a direct contradiction to his confirmation testimony, it is now being reported that Attorney Genera Jeff Sessions twice met with a Russian ambassador in 2016, while a member of the Trump campaign. The Washington Post reports:
Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) spoke twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Justice Department officials said, encounters he did not disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow during Sessions’s confirmation hearing to become attorney
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
One of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.
The previously undisclosed discussions could fuel new congressional calls for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s alleged role in the 2016 presidential election. As attorney general, Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which have been leading investigations into Russian meddling and any links to Trump’s associates. He has so far resisted calls to recuse himself.   
When Sessions spoke with Kislyak in July and September, the senator was a senior member of the influential Armed Services Committee as well as one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers. Sessions played a prominent role supporting Trump on the stump after formally joining the campaign in February 2016.
At his Jan. 10 Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 campaign.“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
In January, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Sessions for answers to written questions. “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?” Leahy wrote. 
Sessions responded with one word:  "No."
It is difficult to conclude that Sessions' testimony was anything but untruthful.  To complicate matters, it appears Sessions' himself could be a focus of an investigation into Trump's Russian ties.   These developments will only increase the push for the appointment of a special prosecutor to probe the Trump campaigns' interaction with Russian officials leading up to the 2016 election.
          Trump Administration Vows to Crack Down on Pot, Enthusiastically Embraces Other Failed Criminal Justice Policies   
The Hill reports:
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday suggested the Trump administration will step up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana.  
“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, while adding the exact policy is “a question for the Department of Justice.” 
It’s the latest sign President Trump is poised to take a tougher approach than the
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Obama Justice Department did in states that have legalized the use of recreational marijuana.  
Spicer telegraphed the administration won’t take a get-tough approach against medical marijuana, saying Trump believes in its ability to "comfort" people suffering from debilitating diseases.  
But he said he takes a different view of recreational marijuana, linking it to the abuse of opioid drugs in states across the U.S.  
There is little evidence showing a link between abuse of the two drugs. Some researchers believe medical marijuana could help reduce demand for opioid-based painkillers.  
Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Twenty others have laws allowing medical marijuana. 
If revival of the failed War on Drugs (at least against marijuana) was not enough, Trump's administration appears ready to enthusiastically embrace other 1980s era criminal justice failures.  Trump has already signaled support for civil forfeiture, which has a well documented history of abuse.  His administration also appears ready to end the Obama-era moratorium on the feds renewing contracts for the use of private prisons, another enormous policy failure.  Is federal sentencing reform out the window as well?  Could be as Attorney General Jeff Sessions worked to block sentencing reform while in the U.S. Senate, despite widespread bipartisan support.
The sad thing was that pre-Trump the GOP was moving in the right direction on all these issues.  Reform though seems endangered by a "law and order" Republican President who seems oblivious to the failed history of the policies his administration supports.

          Skomentuj Bądź jak Trump. Postaw na social media., którego autorem jest Tymek   
Kurde, ale Clinton wcale nie przegrała dużym procentem.... ale fakt, trzeba inwestować w SM. Tam jest ogromna siła wizerunkowa i zasięgi !
          Trump attacks Washington Post, Amazon over 'internet taxes'   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump attacked The Washington Post and Amazon on Twitter Wednesday, arguing that the online retailer was not paying &quot;internet taxes.&quot;...
           5 Videos That Went Viral AF This Week    
5 Videos That Went Viral AF This Week

5 Videos That Went Viral AF This Week
Don't be fooled, this week's videos are just trying to trick you into saying the word "penis."
Submitted by: best GOAT
Keywords: funny videos viral videos trolls penis black jack kids animals horses chicken wearing blue jeans fails dogs cats donald trump
Views: 21,942

           The Best Reactions To The Trump Kids' Creepy Attempt At Appealing To Millennials    
The Best Reactions To The Trump Kids' Creepy Attempt At Appealing To Millennials

The Best Reactions To The Trump Kids'...
Why can't we just elect The Internet as President?
Submitted by: Best of the Web
Keywords: funny photoshop trump trump kids #millenialsfortrump ivanka trump donald trump jr the other one donald trump reactions
Views: 70,509

           Here's All The Vines Worth Six Seconds Of Your Time This Week #53    
Here's All The Vines Worth Six Seconds Of Your Time This Week #53

Here's All The Vines Worth Six Second...
This week's Vines got a little too excited about the return of basketball.
Submitted by: best GOAT
Keywords: funny Vines best of the week memes mashups jokes fails kids nba donald trump dogs
Views: 29,712

           Here's All The Vines That Don't Suck This Week #39    
Here's All The Vines That Don't Suck This Week #39

Here's All The Vines That Don't Suck ...
This week's Vines are on absolutely on fire!
Submitted by: best GOAT
Keywords: funny Vines best of the week kids fails animals Trump fire dogs
Views: 15,511

           9 Things That Are Internet AF Right Now    
9 Things That Are Internet AF Right Now

9 Things That Are Internet AF Right Now
This week's best internet things include a very scary Donald Trump, a very sleepy hamster, and a very short film directed by Jennifer Lawrence.
Submitted by: best GOAT
Keywords: funny best of the week viral videos best internet best of the web donald trump horror movies justin bieber segways justin bieber what do you mean fails lol fails jazz for cows videogame toilets videogame toilet museum sleepy hamster hamster roll videobombs nba videobombs spongebob mashup spongebob mashup black sabbath mashup spongebob
Views: 15,377

          Comment on What They’re Not Telling You About Trump’s Fake Time Magazine Cover by og   
I need to dig up my fake Sports Illustrated cover from Little League.
          Comment on What They’re Not Telling You About Trump’s Fake Time Magazine Cover by traderconfessions   
Seriously Fly? You're asking why? Let me see.. why would an insecure narcissist put fake TIME covers on his walls. Ummm. Why would an insecure narcissist have members of his cabinet throw compliments his way on TeeVee. Any ideas? Jest?? Now that's hilarious.
          Comment on What They’re Not Telling You About Trump’s Fake Time Magazine Cover by indie   
Why oh why? Now come on... This is not some duffus billionaire. It's your president... and he has a fake Time magazine cover on the wall of his hotel. No need to make a blog post about it. it's retarded. Period.
          Trump targets Amazon after Washington Post reports on fake Time covers   
President Donald Trump targeted Inc. and the Washington Post in a tweet Wednesday morning. Owned by Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, the Post reported Tuesday that Trump golf courses displayed fake Time magazine covers featuring Trump, which seemed to trigger the president's latest "FAKE NEWS" tweet. "The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!" Trump tweeted. It's not clear whether Trump was…

          Trump assistirá ao desfile de 14 de julho com Macron na França   

Presidência francesa anunciou que convite foi aceito nesta quarta.
          Happy 2013! Our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day Celebration    
Happy 2013 everyone! This is another photo overload post! Two weeks before New Year's Eve, I suggested to have a camping themed celebration to make it more fun for the kids since we owned 2 kiddie tents. We didn't have much preparation. I changed the list of food we were supposed to prepare for New Year's Eve. The easiest camping food to prepare I had in mind were S'mores, hotdogs and grilled corn. I made the food tags 2 days before the celebration. We ditched using sparklers this year. All we used were colorful flashing sticks, lightsaber toys and party trumpets. We stayed up till  past 1 AM!

 I turned this table into a kiddie tent to accommodate the kids...

and the kid at heart!


 I used melted chocolate to stick the teddy grahams to the marshmallows.

Credits:  food tag cliparts from, all-free-download, cliparts101

 Camping just isn't the same without s'mores!

 BBQ Grill cupcakes baked by sis


gummy snakes, pretzel sticks and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheddar

 Aside from grilled corn, the kids had steamed corn

 gummy worms with crushed oreos

 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Colors, gummy fish

 Trying to catch a fish in the pond

a plastic fish is easier to catch!

 lotsa junk food!

 hotdog fixings

 footlong hotdogs

 BBQ Chicken Packets prepared by sis

Yema cake from my cousin

 waiting for the clock to strike 12!

 enjoying S'mores till night!

 Painting with light

 playing with lightsaber toys and enjoying glowing lollipops

 Greeted 2013 by blowing party trumpets!

watched fireworks

We had a simple New Year's day celebration. The kids had a blast with the parlour games!

 Sun Ripened Mixed Fruits ( I didn't like the taste of this!)

 Pasta and Garlic breadsticks

 Tacos ( I forgot to take a photo of the shredded lettuce!)

 Pizza dip, focaccia and pretzels prepared by sis

I made a few Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes for the kids

 Kid friendly Sangria


We had 2 pabitins. One for the big kids and one for the small kids.

 Basagan ng Palayok

The kids had to blow the flour in order to find the hidden coins. Whoever gets the 3 coins first using  her mouth wins the game.

 We ended our New Year celebration with an icing fight! Ykaie was crying because she thought it was poop! lol!

          Pertemuan Tak Terduga Jurnalis Irlandia dengan Donald Trump   
Jurnalis Irlandia terkesan mendapat kesempatan menguping pembicaraan Donald Trump dengan PM mereka, Leo Varadkar.
          Great Job, Internet!: Gloriously dumb video has Obama dunking on Trump, rapping Drake’s “Back To Back”   

The NBA2K series specializes in wish fulfillment. Its create-a-player mode allows you to watch somebody who looks like you turn into the most statistically astonishing player the game has ever seen. There’s been a model for former President Barack Obama in NBA2K for years, thanks to a cut scene that had your create-a-player meeting him after winning the championship. So it was only a matter of time before someone put together a video of our jump-shooter-in-chief dunking all over our current, meatloaf-loving schlub of a president, who actually does not believe in exercise. Please enjoy a video of the ensuing chaos, but mostly, please enjoy the creator’s remarkable impression of Obama rapping a full cover of Drake’s “Back To Back”:

While the video itself is impressive, and probably a fair prediction of what a game of hoops would be like between presidents 44 and 45, the corny ...

          Trump Criticized at Senate Panel Hearing on Response to Russian Hacking    
A former top diplomat in Republican U.S. president George W. Bush’s administration criticized President Donald Trump for being “unwilling to act against Russia” in retaliation for the Kremlin’s interference in last year’s election. Nicholas Burns, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the Bush administration, told lawmakers, “I find it dismaying and objectionable that President Trump continues to deny the undeniable fact that Russia launched a major cyber attack...
          Trump Optimistic on Health Care Overhaul, But Concedes It Will Be 'Very Tough'   
President Donald Trump voiced optimism Wednesday that fractious Republican senators would be able to reach agreement to overhaul national health care policies, but he concedes it will be "very tough." "I think we’re going to get at least very close, and I think we’re gonna get it over the line," Trump said. He offered his assessment the day after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell dropped plans to vote this week on a Republican proposal to dismantle much of the...
          Comment on Saibaba ‘given’ life = court takes life from a nice guy in awful #repressive state anti #maoist trumped up show trial.  by john hutnyk   
Hi. J
          Comment on Saibaba ‘given’ life = court takes life from a nice guy in awful #repressive state anti #maoist trumped up show trial.  by Richard Harkinson   
What is "Democracy and Class Struggle"? Looking to links for information/ agitprop
          Comment on 21-24•02•2017 The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom by Donald Trump en Hildegard von Bingen – Psallentes Plainchant & Polyphony   
[…] in ongeveer veertien cd’s. Het eerste ervan ligt binnenkort in de winkel, maar is momenteel na onze concerten samen met Het Collectief al te […]
          Questions and answers about officers who enforce travel ban   
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will be key players in putting President Donald Trump&apos;s revised travel ban into effect on Thursday, affecting visitors from six mostly Muslim countries....
          Black Boys Build Businesses in the Age of Trump   
black boys“Empowering black boys in the age of Trump is about more than reading and math…
          President Trump’s Best Bet With Communities of Color   
presidentSupporting minority entrepreneurs and small businesses may be President Trump’s best bet to successfully engage…
          Travel ban issue will be moot before SCOTUS date — here's why   
President Donald Trump filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of adverse decisions in two circuit courts on his March 6 executive order, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” He also petitioned the...
          EUA endurece los controles de seguridad en los vuelos desde el extranjero     

La Prensa


El secretario de Seguridad Nacional de EUA.

, John Kelly, anunció hoy un endurecimiento de los controles de seguridad para los pasajeros que vuelen hacia el país, pero excluyó ampliar la prohibición de computadores a bordo de vuelos procedentes de Europa.

"Vamos a plantear un camino claro para alentar a las aerolíneas y aeropuertos a adoptar protocolos de seguridad más sofisticados (.



) Es hora de elevar el estándar global de seguridad aérea mundial", dijo Kelly en una conferencia en Washington.

Kelly subrayó que "los terroristas quieren derribar aviones" ya que "los ven como el objetivo más importante".

Trump celebra veto migratorio como una "victoria para la seguridad" de EUAEntre estas medidas, mencionó "una mayor revisión de los aparatos electrónicos, controles más estrictos de los pasajeros y nuevas medidas diseñadas para mitigar potenciales ataques desde dentro".

Pese a las informaciones previas sobre la posibilidad de que se extendiese la prohibición de llevar computadores a bordo de los vuelos procedentes de Europa, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional decidió no hacerlo.

En marzo, el Gobierno de Estados Unidos prohibió los aparatos electrónicos grandes en el equipaje de mano en vuelos sin escalas procedentes de diez aeropuertos internacionales de ocho países de mayoría musulmana: Jordania, Kuwait, Egipto, Turquía, Arabia Saudí, Marruecos, Catar y Emiratos Árabes Unidos.

Sudán del Sur mantiene el veto a veinte periodistas extranjerosLa agencia federal evitó detallar gran parte de estas nuevas exigencias por cuestiones de seguridad, pero aseguró que de no contar con la colaboración de las compañías o autoridades extranjeras podría ampliar esta prohibición a otros países o aeropuertos.

Este reforzamiento de la seguridad afectará a 2,000 vuelos y 300,000 pasajeros diarios.

          La Habana tendrá una réplica de la estatua de José Martí situada en Nueva York   

La Prensa

La Habana, Nueva York.

La estatua ecuestre del prócer cubano José Martí que se encuentra desde 1950 en el Central Park de Nueva York, obra de la escultora estadounidense Anna Hyatt Huntington, tendrá una réplica a partir de septiembre en el casco histórico de La Habana, informaron hoy medios estatales de la isla.

Se trata de una escultura en bronce de 5,6 metros de altura que inmortaliza a Martí sobre su caballo en el momento en que cae herido de muerte durante la batalla independentista de Dos Ríos (1895), y que fue un regalo del pueblo de Cuba al pueblo de Estados Unidos decidido por el entonces Gobierno republicano del país caribeño.

El emplazamiento elegido para la reproducción de la obra es un "gran jardín" en el Parque 13 de Marzo, en La Habana Vieja, dijo al diario Juventud Rebelde la directora de Comunicación de la Oficina del Historiador de La Habana (OHCH), Magda Resik.

La iniciativa ha sido durante más de una década un empeño del propio historiador de la ciudad, Eusebio Leal.

"Nuestro país regaló esa escultura a Estados Unidos, y una reproducción en estos momentos históricos significa extender las manos al pueblo de EE.


y desde el pueblo de EE.


, para favorecer un abrazo solidario entre pueblos", ha afirmado Leal sobre el proyecto.

"El proceso" de Kafka vuelve a Berlín donde empezó la historia de la obraCuba y EE.


-bajo la Administración de Barack Obama- reanudaron sus relaciones en diciembre de 2014 y reabrieron embajadas en 2015 tras más de medio siglo de enemistad, aunque el nuevo presidente del país norteamericano, Donald Trump, anunció este mes varias medidas que suponen un retroceso en el "deshielo" bilateral.

La escultura fue fundida en Filadelfia (EE.


) y será colocada en La Habana en la primera quincena de septiembre, "de cara al mar, al puerto de La Habana, y mirando a la nación que (José Martí) conoció como pocos", aseveró el historiador de la capital cubana.

La base de la estatua, un pedestal de granito, también es una fiel reproducción de la que se erige en Nueva York, y su dedicatoria, según Eusebio Leal, rezará: "Del pueblo de Estados Unidos al pueblo de Cuba, englobando en el concepto de pueblo estadounidense no solo a sus ciudadanos, sino también a los cubanos patriotas que allí fijaron su residencia".

Resik recordó que la escultura original, que fue la última gran estatua ecuestre concebida por Anna Hyatt a los 82 años, comparte una plazuela en el área sur de Central Park con los monumentos consagrados a los héroes independentistas americanos Simón Bolívar y José de San Martín, en el inicio de la Avenida de las Américas".

Se supone que ese célebre espacio verde neoyorquino fue muy frecuentado por Martí durante la época en que residió en la ciudad estadounidense, entre 1880 y 1895.

La Habana cuenta con otras obras de Hyatt Huntington como "El relevo", en las cercanías de la Plaza de la Revolución, o el conjunto escultórico "Los portadores de la antorcha".

          Trump acepta invitación de Macron a la Fiesta Nacional francesa   

La Prensa

París, Francia.

El presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump, ha aceptado la invitación de su homólogo francés, Emmanuel Macron, para asistir en París al desfile del 14 de julio, la Fiesta Nacional francesa, informó hoy el Palacio del Elíseo.

La sede de la presidencia francesa precisó en un comunicado que la participación del mandatario en los festejos se enmarca dentro de la conmemoración del centenario de la entrada de las tropas de EUA en la Primera Guerra Mundial (1914-1918).

Soldados estadounidenses, según la nota, desfilarán junto a sus homólogos franceses en presencia de los dos dirigentes.

Trump recauda fondos para Trump en su hotelEl jefe de Estado francés invitó a Trump este martes durante una conversación telefónica en la que ambos abordaron además "la necesidad de trabajar para una respuesta común en caso de un ataque químico en Siria".

El Gobierno estadounidense había alertado antes de esa charla de que había identificado "potenciales preparativos" del régimen del presidente sirio, Bachar al Asad, para efectuar un nuevo ataque con armas químicas en su país, y advertido de que, de ocurrir, el mandatario y sus Fuerzas Armadas "pagarán un alto precio".

La crisis en el Golfo Pérsico y la "necesidad de evitar toda escalada en la región", así como el combate contra el terrorismo y su financiación, vistos como "un desafío común", fueron otros de los temas de su conversación de ayer.

Unas 111 Personas optaron por el suicidio asistido en CaliforniaAntes de su participación conjunta en la conmemoración francesa, Macron y Trump celebrarán un encuentro bilateral durante el G20 de los próximos 7 y 8 de julio en la ciudad alemana de Hamburgo.

Su primera reunión cara a cara se remonta al pasado 25 de mayo al margen de una cumbre de la OTAN, en la que el terrorismo, la economía, el clima y la energía coparon su agenda.

De ese encuentro, no obstante, prevaleció como imagen su firme apretón de manos, interpretado por los medios como un pulso entre ambos y del que Macron reconoció posteriormente que no fue "algo inocente" sino una forma de demostrar que Francia no tiene intención de hacer "pequeñas concesiones".

Trump se reúne con víctimas de crímenes cometidos por inmigrantesSus divergencias se han reflejado también desde entonces en la lucha contra el cambio climático: Macron parafraseó el eslogan electoral de Trump para bautizar una plataforma digital con la que su país prevé facilitar la movilización internacional al respecto.

Bajo el nombre de "Hagamos nuestro planeta grande otra vez", el dirigente socioliberal instó a todos investigadores, asociaciones, ONG y sociedad civil a instalarse en Francia para proseguir con sus esfuerzos en ese campo.


          Trump recauda fondos para Trump en su hotel   

La Prensa

Washington, Estados Unidos.

Las próximas elecciones estadounidenses están a más de 1,200 días de distancia, pero el presidente Donald Trump ya está pidiendo dinero para financiar su campaña, y eligió al Trump International Hotel, a dos pasos de la Casa Blanca, como recaudador de fondos.

El miércoles, el presidente de Estados Unidos participará en una cena a beneficio del Partido Republicano y de su propia campaña de reelección, con lugares en la mesa a partir de los 35,000 dólares.

Unas 111 Personas optaron por el suicidio asistido en CaliforniaMientras que la situación es para muchos incómoda, ha sido parte de la vida política estadounidense por mucho tiempo que el presidente contribuya con los eventos de recaudación de fondos, sean para su partido o para su propia causa.

Pero en el caso del magnate de negocios convertido en presidente, las cosas son un poco más complicadas: los ricos donantes que van a escucharle hablar el miércoles por la noche estarán contribuyendo no sólo con su futura campaña, sino también con su imperio inmobiliario.

Hotel internacional de Trump en Washington.

AFP/ArchivoAunque el millonario mandatario ha confiado a sus hijos la gestión cotidiana de sus intereses empresariales, conservó toda su participación en la Organización Trump.

Unos 200 legisladores demócratas recientemente presentaron una demanda contra Trump, argumentando que está violando la Constitución al aceptar pagos extranjeros a través de su imperio de hoteles, campos de golf y otras propiedades.

Acusan de abuso sexual a pareja que atrajo a menor a vivir en EUAOtra demanda presentada por los fiscales generales de Maryland y Washington DC afirma que el Trump International Hotel, que abrió unas semanas antes de las elecciones de noviembre, goza de una ventaja injusta sobre los locales rivales debido a sus vínculos con la presidencia.

La ubicación del hotel de lujo, en un antiguo edificio de correos, es un símbolo en sí mismo: la Avenida Pensilvania une a la Casa Blanca con el Capitolio, sede del Congreso.


          Unas 111 Personas optaron por el suicidio asistido en California   

La Prensa

Los Ángeles, Estados Unidos.

Un total de 111 personas optaron por el suicidio asistido en California en los seis primeros meses tras la aprobación de una ley, en junio del año pasado, que permite a los enfermos terminales solicitar una serie de fármacos para acabar con su vida.

Según un estudio publicado hoy, esas personas se encontraban dentro de un grupo de 191 enfermos que recibieron las prescripciones necesarias por parte de sus doctores, y por lo tanto no todos decidieron finalmente emplear los fármacos.

La llamada "End of Life Option Act" entró en efecto hace un año y convirtió a California en el quinto estado de la nación en permitir a determinados pacientes, aquellos con una esperanza de vida menor a seis meses, solicitar una serie de fármacos a sus médicos para acabar voluntariamente con sus vidas.

Acusan de abuso sexual a pareja que atrajo a menor a vivir en EUALas cifras oficiales del estudio presentado hoy por el estado aseguran que seis de cada 10,000 muertes en California entre junio y diciembre de 2016 se llevaron a cabo mediante este procedimiento.

Se trata de un porcentaje muy inferior comparado con el 37,2 por ciento de cada 10,000 muertes el año pasado en el estado de Oregón, el primero en legalizar esta práctica, en 1998.

En cualquier caso, Oregón también presentó una cifra muy baja durante 1998, ya que únicamente 24 personas solicitaron los fármacos.

El 59 por ciento de las 111 personas que optaron por el suicidio asistido en California sufría de cáncer.

Trump se reúne con víctimas de crímenes cometidos por inmigrantesLos datos aportados por el estado reflejan, asimismo, que un total de 173 médicos fueron los encargados de autorizar las 191 prescripciones.

Según la ley, para que una persona tenga acceso a la prescripción, al menos dos doctores deben confirmar que el paciente tiene una esperanza de vida inferior a los seis meses y que se encuentra en condiciones mentales aptas para tomar la decisión de suicidarse.

Para ello no se requiere de una evaluación psiquiátrica, pero para aquellos casos en los que haya dudas, los médicos deben referir a los pacientes a una consulta con un especialista.


          Trump se reúne con víctimas de crímenes cometidos por inmigrantes   

La Prensa

Washington, EUA.

El presidente de EUA, Donald Trump, se reúne este miércoles en la Casa Blanca con víctimas de crímenes cometidos por inmigrantes indocumentados, mientras el Congreso tramita una ley que intensifica las penas a los deportados que reingresen al país.

Trump recibirá a esas víctimas a partir de las 15.

00 hora local (19.

00 GMT) y prevé urgir a la Cámara de Representantes a aprobar una ley para "salvar vidas estadounidenses", según la agenda divulgada por la Casa Blanca.

Esa ley en cuestión está siendo debatida y la Cámara Baja quiere aprobarla esta semana, antes del receso por el festivo del 4 de julio.

Bautizada como Ley de Kate en memoria de una joven que murió en 2015 por un disparo de un indocumentado, la medida busca incrementar las penas para los inmigrantes condenados por ciertos crímenes que, tras ser deportados, han vuelto a ingresar a EUA de manera ilegal.

Kate Steinle, de 32 años, murió por un disparo efectuado por un inmigrante que se encontraba en situación irregular en EUA mientras caminaba en un muelle de San Francisco con su padre.

El sospechoso, Juan Francisco López Sánchez, había sido deportado varias veces y tenía varias condenas por delitos graves en su expediente cuando acabó con la vida de la joven.

La Cámara baja, controlada por los republicanos, también prevé votar esta semana antes del receso una ley para quitar fondos a las llamadas "ciudades santuario", que protegen a los inmigrantes, si no colaboran con los agentes del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE).

A comienzos de año, en su primer discurso ante una sesión conjunta del Congreso, Trump llevó a su palco de invitados a víctimas de inmigrantes indocumentados.

Además, en abril el Gobierno anunció la apertura de la "Oficina de Enlace para Víctimas de Crímenes por Inmigración", destinada a dar "voz" a esos afectados y a cumplir una de las promesas de campaña de Trump.

Desde la campaña Trump ha relacionado la inmigración irregular con un aumento de la criminalidad procedente del narcotráfico con el fin de justificar la necesidad de una política migratoria más dura, pese a que las estadísticas oficiales no respaldan esa teoría.

          President’s Executive Order on Cybersecurity   
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order on cybersecurity as a response to the WannaCry ransomware attack. This executive order is entitled as “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.”  The executive order contains three main sections and a fourth category that includes some definitions of terms that are contained in the […]
          Trumpcare Vote Delayed   
McConnell doesn’t have the votes.  In fact, the bill has lost support since the CBO Report came out. Not the time to let up, though.  Make your opposition clear.  Hey, we (almost) all have friends and relatives from out-of-state.  Urge them to call their R senators.
          igra istine   
nikad nisam mrgudA lol osim ako moram da provedem neko vrijeme sa licemjernim osobama evil

A i na volim Mrguda, ja volEm drugog strumpfa Tongue

Bi li plata danas? lol

          Open Thread For June 26, 2017   
Kushner, Trump, Russia, Loans, Deutsche Bank.  Emoluments. Not just for the President any more. Kushner got a $285 mill lifeline loan month before election.  So many conflicts-of-interest, so little time (to secure that credit line). Great reporting from WaPo. British PM Theresa May Cuts Deal With RWNJ Fringe Party To Stay In Office.  Homophobia and […]
          Open Thread For June 25, 2017   
Joy Reid: Leave Nancy Pelosi Alone!  I agree with her. We’re gonna put that centrist asshole from Ohio in her spot? Hope not. The Business Of Compensating Victims:  Turns out it’s mostly a mom-and-pop operation. Interesting read from the NYTimes. Trumpcare Not Draconian Enough For the Koch Heads. When the history of our democracy’s demise […]
          Open Thread For June 24, 2017   
Putin was Directly Involved In Electing Trump.  Simply one of the most important stories of this or any other year. Read it, even if it means subscribing. In fact, you should subscribe. As the Washington Post’s masthead reads, “Democracy Dies In Darkness”. But the Trump Administration Isn’t Concerned, Even If Intelligence Agencies Are.  It doesn’t help that […]
          Open Thread For June 22, 2017   
Could Abortion Language Deep-Six Trumpcare?  Only the Parliamentarian knows for sure. But, it’s quite possible. Yes, Trump Asked Key Intel Figures To Deny Collusion Charges.  Will it matter in an oligarchy? Pelosi Thrown Under Bus. Let me just state what I think should be obvious: Should Pelosi fall on her sword, the Rethugs will just […]
          14 juillet : Trump accepte l'invitation de Macron   
A cette occasion, des soldats américains participeront à ce défilé aux côtés de leurs camarades français. Le président de la République ne se pliera pas à l’exercice de la traditionnelle interview télévisée.
          USA: Weißes Haus veröffentlicht Liste angeblicher Desinformation   
Donald Trump beschwert sich mal wieder über die Medien. Diesmal geht es nicht um ihn selbst. Medien würden gezielt Terrorakte verschweigen, schimpft der US-Präsident - und lässt eine ominöse Liste veröffentlichen.
          Niega Disney World 'enmudecer' a Trump   
La versión robot del Mandatario de EU sí tendrá diálogos en el 'Salón de los Presidentes', aunque hubo una petición para que fuera mudo.
          Heads I Win...Tails You Lose   

One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace,
good people don't go into government.
~Donald Trump

Donald Trump contradictions in his own words <...
          A Challenge against the Constitution   

Trump’s Immigration Order Remains Suspended
The court is set to hear oral arguments by phone on Tues, February 7 at 6 p.m. ET, in the next critical legal test of the constitution.

The only justification for an unvetted, fact-bare and hastily issued ban would be a TIME OF EMERGENCY. As in President Bush’s response to 9/11: when he shut down United States airspace.
          I feel like Ormie   


232 195 232 195 232 195

The news continues to drive me crazy...and with good reason.
Remember the banking fiasco that drove us into Recession.
Well...hold on to your wallets...

Trump begins rollback of Dodd-Frank fin...
          The Terminator was Priceless   

Just for Laughs - Theatro Hugo & Ines - the MIME

these days I try to take my mind off the news and find something to smile about.
but even Trump news can be comical.
Trump missed a perfect opportunity to try to bring people t...
          Panic is becoming the new norm   

Trump downgraded the role of military advisers on his National Security Council
in favor of Steve Bannon. The National Security Council (NSC) is a committee
created to advise the President on ALL NATIONAL SECURITY MATTERS,
including domestic, military, and foreign matters.
Trump ADDED White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon to "the principals committee," and Re...
          Officials finalizing details of Trump's revived travel ban   

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security are finalizing criteria that visitors from six mostly Muslim must meet to avoid the Trump administration's revived travel ban.

The White House deliberations come as U.S. embassies and consulates await instructions later Wednesday on how to implement this week's Supreme Court order that partially reinstated the ban after it was blocked by lower courts.

          Restricting Steel Imports Would Hurt Our Allies, Not China   

The Trump administration’s investigation of steel imports as a possible national security concern is the latest in a line of aggressive actions designed to boost... Read More

The post Restricting Steel Imports Would Hurt Our Allies, Not China appeared first on The Daily Signal.

          List Of Blogger-Celebrities   
Not celebrity/entertainment bloggers! Oh, my enthusiasm just died after visiting their so-called "fan blogs". Haha. How silly could you get when you actually thought that they're going to give out their personal blog sites?! Hahaha! And why do I have this nagging feeling that every word they say has a double-meaning of "showbizness" in it? LOL. Anyway, it is still fun to snoop around when you are getting as bored as I am. It is just annoying to be greeted with "Hello everyone" and when they add an ending note like "See you soon, John Mayer" Argh. And you slightly feel a bit of disgust with the way they always seem to communicate with their readers as their fans, which is..well, the truth. Haha. And that's what makes it irritating, in a way.

So, here are the 66 celebrities who blog and I hope you pick a substantial quote from them or something that could be equally useful. Have fun!
  1. Wil Wheaton
  2. Bill Maher
  3. David Beckham
  4. Alec Baldwin
  5. Zach Braff
  6. Mark Cuban
  7. No Doubt
  8. Moby
  9. Meredith Viera
  10. Fred Durst
  11. Barbra Striesand
  12. Jeff Bridges
  13. Lily Allen
  14. John Mayer
  15. Rosie O’Donnell
  16. Margaret Cho
  17. Dave Barry
  18. Jamie Oliver
  19. William Shatner
  20. Ant
  21. Alyssa Milano
  22. Alyssa Milano’s baseball blog
  23. Dave Navarro
  24. Julia Sweeney
  25. Lisa Whelchel
  26. Donald Trump
  27. Tom Green
  28. Kevin Smith
  29. Mariska Hargitay
  30. Adam Curry
  31. David Byrne
  32. Kasim Sulton
  33. Susan Powter
  34. Curt Schilling
  35. Anna Kournikova
  36. Bob Mould
  37. Roseanne
  38. Kanye West
  39. Billy Morrison
  40. Jason Mraz
  41. Elisha Cuthbert’s Hockey Blog
  42. Tori Amos
  43. Kathy Griffin
  44. MC Hammer
  45. Flea
  46. Pamela Anderson
  47. Bobby Rivers
  48. John Cusack
  49. Elyse Sewell
  50. Adrienne Curry
  51. Al Roker
  52. Brian Williams
  53. The Dixie Chicks
  54. Anderson Cooper
  55. Thomas Dolby
  56. Dane Cook
  57. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
  58. Victoria Beckham
  59. Tori Spelling
  60. Bare Naked Ladies
  61. Neil Young
  62. Deepak Chopra
  63. Jenna Elfman
  64. Jamie Lee Curtis
  65. Michael Moore
  66. Tommy LaSorda
Oh, and I almost forgot the most important one...

67. Myself

Of course, you can add yourself too if you feel like a celebrity! Haha.

          J. Geils - Gone at age 71 - A Guitar Retrospective   
J. Geils

J. Gelis was the leader of what was perhaps the preeminent band to come out of the Boston rock scene in the 1970’s.

The J. Geils Band

His group started up In Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967 and by 1970 the band had released their first album. By the 1980’s The J. Geils Band had a string of chart topping hits, including Centerfold, Love Stinks, Come Back, and Freeze-Frame.

While Peter Wolf stood out as the lead singer and front man, J.Geils was the guitarist and the name behind the band. .

You're Gettin' Even,
While I'm Gettin' Odd

The bands final album, Your Gettin’ Even, While I’m Gettin’ Odd, was released in 1984. The following year the band officially split.

1999 Reunion Concert

The group reunited for a reunion show in 1999. However in 2012 Geils filed a lawsuit against the band for conspiring to go on tour without him and unlawfully using the band’s trademarked name.

Bluestime - J. Geils and Magic Dick

After leaving the band Jay Geils remained a busy musician in the Boston area. In the mid 1990’s he put together a band called Bluestime along with The J. Geils Band harmonica player, “Magic” Dick Salwitz.

New Guitar Summit -
Geils,Beaudoin, and Robilard

By the next decade he remained active as a Jazz guitarist and recorded three solo albums. J. Geils was part of the New Guitar Summit along with Duke Robillard and Gerry Beaudoin.

Geils - KTR Motorsport Shop
As a young man, Geils attended the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and studied mechanical engineering. He parlayed that knowledge into restoring, collecting, driving, and racing sports cars.

Geils even started the KTR European Motorports Shop in a garage in Carlisle, Massachusetts which serviced vintage Italian sports cars; especially Ferraris and Maseratis. He eventually sold the business in 1996. But he remained active in the vintage car community, attending shows and displaying some of his personal automobiles.

John Warren Geils was born February 20th, 1946.

J. Geils 1946 - 2017

He was found dead in his home on April 11th of this year when police responded to a well-being call. He died of natural causes at the age of 71.

Aside from collecting automobiles, Jay had a wonderful collection of vintage guitars and amplifiers.

Modified '58 Flying V

During the years with The J. Geils Band he could be seen playing a Les Paul, a Fender Stratocater, or even a Gibson Flying Vee.

J. Geils with Gibson ES-335
In later years he performed with a Gibson ES-335, or some of his hollow body archtop jazz guitars.

His taste in archtop guitars was influenced by his love and admiration for the guitarists that he believed changed the way we played guitar; Charlie Christian, T-Bone Walker, and B.B. King.

He sought out the instruments similar to the ones that they played.

1936 Gibson ES-150
For Charlie Christian this included purchasing a Gibson ES-150 with the single coil pickup unit that came to be known as "The Charlie Christian" pickup.

He owned this guitar as well as a Gibson ES-250 with a Charlie Christian pickup, just like the guitar Christian used later in his career. In the picture you can also see an ES-150 tenor guitar. These are paired with Gibson EH-150 and EH-185 amplifiers. He parted with the Gibson ES-250.

1939 Gibson L-5
Part of the Geils' collection includes a Gibson L-5 that was previously owned by jazz guitarist Howard Alden.

Stromberg Deluxe
Geils owned a few Stromberg instruments that were made in his beloved city of Boston. One of these came with a Charlie Christian pickup, although the pickup was not original to the guitar.

Geils Archtop Collection

In fact Geil's collection of archtop guitars represented each of the major builders of archtop guitars.

Geils Archtop Collection

These included a Gretsch Synchromatic, an Epiphone Emperor, a D'Angelico New Yorker, a Gibson Super 400, and the Stromberg archtops.

1950's Fender Deluxe Amplifier

Geils also collected amplifiers. He states that he wanted to get the sound similar to what his guitar triumvirate of Christian, Walker, and King used to get "their sound".

Jay even owned an early 1950's Fender TV panel Deluxe amp that was decorated with the same wording as the one that B. B. King had used as a young man.

Jay got his love of Jazz music from his father, who encouraged him and exposed him to well known Jazz acts by taking him concerts when Jay was a child. As a boy Geils played trumpet up until he was almost out of high school. At this point he took up the guitar.

Geils' '60's ES-345

In 1967 Geils had purchased a 1960’s Gibson ES-345 after seeing B.B. King in concert playing an ES-335 through a Fender Super Reverb.

Geils with 1956 Les Paul
Upon hearing Eric Clapton playing with Mike Bloomfield, Geil set his sights on acquiring  a Gibson Les Paul. He found a 1956 Les Paul Custom at a New York city music store. This guitar  had an alnico and a P-90 pickup. Shortly after purchasing this guitar the J. Geils Blues Band was formed and the group started out by playing local gigs.

J. Geils with 1959 Les Paul
It was at one of these events he ran into a kid that wanted to sell his 1959 Les Paul Standard. The guitar needed a standard tailpiece, and someone had tried to varnish it with a brush. Despite its appearance, Geils spotted a treasure and offered to swap his ‘56 Les Paul Custom for that guitar. He took the guitar to a tech that scraped away the varnish, found the requisite parts, and took the covers off of the PAF pickups. He played this guitar on most of the J. Geils Band Records.

J. Geils with a Fender Stratocaster

During that era he also purchased a Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster and a Martin D-28 for use in the studio.

Geils' '58 Flying V
He also found a 1958 Gibson Flying V and got it by trading a Gibson ES-350 and a National Steel guitar. He took the Flying V on the road to play in concerts.

During his band years he purchased a 1958 Gibson Cherry Les Paul and put it to use. Geils later sold this guitar for three times what he originally paid for the guitar. The 1959 Les Paul is still part of the Geils' collection.

Ampeg Gemin II

As for amplifiers, his first amp was an Ampeg Gemini  II.

Late 1950's Gibson GA-40

During the early J. Geils Band recordings, he played through a tweed Gibson GA-40.

Fender Bandmaster Reverb

On the road he played through a pair on Fender Bandmaster Reverb amps, each with a cabinet housing two Electro-Voice SRO’s.

MusicMan RD112-100

During the final days of the band he was using a 100 watt Music Man amplifier.

KTR European Motorsports
As stated before, after leaving the J. Geils Band, Jay immersed himself in restoring classic Italian sports cars  opening his own shop; the KTR European Motorsports Shop.

Eventually he came back to the guitar, but this time as a Jazz player.

J.Geils and Gerry Beaudoin

He ran into guitarist Gerry Beaudoin, a notable jazz player, who invited him to join him on one of his regular gigs. This lead to his career as a Jazz guitarist.

Geils at a jazz gig with ES-250

He utilized several of the guitars in his collection at his jazz gigs, including the Howard Alden L-5 and his Gibson ES-250. He usually played through different Fender combo amplifiers.

J. Geils and Tennie Komar
in front of Jay's 1961 Ferrari.
Geils lead a most interesting life and his career revolved around the things he loved. Jay was a very dear friend to one of my childhood friends, Tennie Komar. Jay certainly left his mark on the world. Though his first love was playing Jazz guitar, he will always be remembered by most for his work in the J. Geils Band.

Please click on the links under the pictures to find the sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.

©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)

          Project Veritas Investigation: CNN’s Van Jones Appears to Call Russia Controversy a ‘Big Nothing Burger’   

According to journalist James O'Keefe, a video released Wednesday appears to show CNN commentator Van Jones calling the controversy surrounding alleged connections between Russia and the Trump campaign a “big nothing burger”--a day after another video was released showing a CNN producer calling the Russia controversy “mostly bullshit.”
          Who is Mel Bay?   
Dodd's Music was in the white building

I started taking guitar lessons when I was 13 years old; first at the YMCA in a group setting and then at Dodd’s Music Store, in Covington, Kentucky.

One of the acts on WLW radio

My teacher at Dodd's was an old guy named George Olinger. George made a living playing guitar in Country groups around town as well as being a staff guitarist on WLW radio, back in the days when the station played live music.

George taught me the basic chord patterns mainly from the books he had me purchase, which seemed to all be written by one man; Mel Bay.

Tommy Flint
Last week I learned that a fairly well-known guitarist named Tommy Flint had passed away. It seems that Mr. Flint was not only an excellent finger-style guitarist, in the style of Chet Atkins, but also an author of guitar instruction books that were published by Mel Bay.

This got me to wondering, who was Mel Bay?

Mel 1928 with National Triolian

Mel grew up in a small Missouri town in the Ozark Mountains. He bought his first guitar at the age of 13 from a Sears and Roebuck catalog. Within months of acquiring the guitar, he was playing in front of people. Mel Bay never had a guitar teacher.  He watched other guitar player perform and memorized their fingering on the fretboard.

That is the way I learned to play guitar.  I stood in front of bands and watched the lead guitar player and copied his fingerings. I am certain many of you reading this article honed your skills in much the same manner.

Bay was not satisfied to just learn the guitar. No sir. He went on to learn fingerings on the tenor banjo, mandolin, ukulele and Hawaiian slide guitar. This was all back in the 1920's when he was still a young man.

D'Angelico with "Melbourne Bay"
engraved on the pickguard
Mel Bay became hooked on playing in front of audiences and decided to make a career out of being a professional musician. So he moved to St. Louis in 1933 and joined numerous local and traveling bands. He also was hired by several radio stations as a staff guitarist.

He put together The Mel Bay Trio, which consisted of him, a bass player and a drummer. And this became his steady gig for the next 25 years. His career was briefly interrupted by a stint in the US Army during WWII.

His custom D'Angelico New Yorker
As a working musician he had extra time and was able to teach guitar to others. In fact Mel Bay taught as many as 100 students a week. During those years he found out there was not a lot of instructional material available at the time.

He determined some of the material availabe was flawed. It only offered students chord patterns; not the ability to learn notes on the guitar.

So Mel began writing his own instruction books. These books became the basis for the Mel Bay Publication House.

Mel Bay's 1st Book
After getting out of the Army, he published his first instruction book in 1947 and called it The Orchestral Chord System for Guitar. This book was the first of many to be published it under his own business; Mel Bay Publishing Incorporated. Amazingly this the book is still in print, but now it is titled The Rhythm Guitar Chord System. This book has been used by countless students to learn how to play guitar.

Mel Bay's 2nd Book

By 1948 another book was published called Modern Guitar Method. Through the years Modern Guitar Method has sold more than 20 million copies in its original version.

Mel teaching guitar to
high school students

By the mid 1950’s Elvis Presley's career was the talk of the nation, and this caused the guitar to experience a surge in popularity. During these years Mel Bay traveled around the country talking to guitar teachers and their students about his publications with the goal of selling them as texts.

In doing this he came to know most every guitar teacher in the United States on a first name basis. Guitar Player Magazine dubbed him as The George Washington of Guitar.

Mel Bay playing a mandolin

Since first publishing guitar instruction books, his company has branched off into publishing method books for violin, banjo, mandolin, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, harmonica, folk instruments, and accordion. His books for guitar include methods for differing styles, including folk, jazz, classical, rock, blues and jazz.

Mel Bay Book by Tommy Flint
Getting back to Tommy Flint, who I mentioned early on; Mr. Flint was the author of Mel Bay’s books on Finger Style guitar, Chet Atkins style picking, as well as Bluegrass Guitar and Christmas Songs for Fingerstyle Guitar.  In all, Tommy Flint wrote over 40 books for Mel Bay Publishing

Mel Bay received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guitar Foundation of America from the Retail Print Music Dealers Association and he also received the Owen Miller Award from the American Federation of Musicians.

Bay received a Certificate of Merit from the St. Louis Music Educators Association, as well as a resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives honoring his achievements. He ever was sent a letter of commendation from President Bill Clinton, and was honored by St. Louis mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. Making October 25, 1996 “Mel Bay Day” for citizens of that fair city.

Mel's D'Angelico New Yorker 
I often wondered about the image of a D’Angelico guitar on the cover of the Mel Bay instruction book that I purchased so many years ago. A similar guitar image also shows up on the cover of other Mel Bay guitar instruction books. It seem that Mel used to sell D’Angelico guitars and kept a half a dozen D'Angelico guitars at his home that were for sale to perspective students.

One of Mel's personal guitars was a New Yorker model with a cutaway and a slightly thinner neck custom made for him.

Mel Bay

Mel Bay kept playing guitar every day until his death at age 84 in 1997.

From St. Louis WOF Inductees
On June 30 of 2011, the city of St. Louis, Missouri honored him one more time by inducting him into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. There is also a Mel Bay Jazz Festival held annually in DeSoto, Missouri; the town where he grew up. The music center at the town’s high school is named in his honor.

Ode To Mel Bay

A song was written by Michael “Supe” Granda of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils called “Ode to Mel Bay”. It is featured on the album by Tommy Emmanuel and Chet Atkins called The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World. It sort of makes fun of Mel’s instruction books.

Mel Bay Books
Today Mel Bay Publications offers hundreds of books for a variety of instruments that were written by many different authors including Mel’s son, William Bay, who is a very proficient guitarist as well as an author and runs Mel Bay Publications.

The links under the pictures will take you to the source. The links in the text will take you to more interesting information.


          Comment on Librarians Trolled Ivanka Trump on Twitter by Sucker   
Oo, me! Catfish me!
          Frank Gaffney: ‘Team JIHAD’ Ebook Chronicles Hard Left Alliance with Radical Islam   

Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about the Supreme Court opinion on President Trump’s immigration orders, the launch of a new book about the alliance between radical Islam and the American left, and the phenomenon of “Ramadan rage.”
          Comment on Melania Trump Surprises Kids With Easter Baskets in $1,200 Sparkling Ladylike Sandals by Pastor M. Stauss   
This company and all of its employees need to grow up. The Trump family is wealthy and you apparently aren't. This makes you jealous and crazy with insults. Instead of always insulting what our First Lady and her family are wearing, start recognizing the good they are accomplishing. I would never subscribe to anything you would put out in the public eye. Not your website, magazine/newspaper or broadcasts that you back. You are despicable and need to do some serious growing up.
          John Oliver turns 20-year-old children's book into bestseller   
What happens when John Oliver uses your 1996 children's book about a kid running for president to poke fun at the 2016 election? You have a belated bestseller.

Dan Gutman wrote "The Kid Who Ran For President" in the 1990s, and has had a steady career in children's books for decades, but when that book cover was prominently featured on screen, people flocked to Amazon to buy it. The slim volume tells the tale of a 12-year-old class clown who runs for President, and the humorous lessons he learns along the way.

Oliver used the book to illustrate similarities between a child who has never read the constitution and the verbiage used by Republican candidate Donald Trump, ending the bit with an invitation for the candidate to appear on his show.

No matter what happens between Trump and Oliver, the real winner is Gutman. As of August 31, his book ranked #6 in its category on Amazon.

"That's the highest any of my books have ever been in my 30-year career," said Gutman in an IndieWire interview. He added that he regularly watches the show, but that the mention came as a complete surprise to him. He surmised that someone on Oliver's staff read the book as a kid, remembered it and came up with the idea for the bit.

"The book has probably sold over a million copies in the last 20 years," Gutman said in the interview. "But it's nice to have it get a little publicity now of all times."

The full segment is available on YouTube.

          Comment on Melania Trump Surprises Kids With Easter Baskets in $1,200 Sparkling Ladylike Sandals by James Douglas   
Melania has class. Your publication doesn't.
          Multiple Arrests in Los Angeles after Leftists Threaten Trump Supporter Who Pulls Gun   
Cudahy incident (Julia Wick / Screenshot / YouTube)
A Trump supporter who is also a licensed to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) was arrested Monday in a tiny town in southeast Los Angeles County known as Cudahy for allegedly pulling a gun and brandishing it as a left-wing mob surrounded his car at a gas station after a protest rally outside the city hall.
          Joy Behar Feels ‘Sorry’ for Melania Trump: She Had to Sleep with Donald ‘At Least Once’   

Left-wing comedian Joy Behar took aim at First Lady Melania Trump during an appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers Tuesday night.
          San Francisco Gay Pride, Like Los Angeles, Is About ‘Resistance’   
San Francisco Gay Pride parade resist (Elivah Nouvelage / Getty)
The San Francisco Gay Pride Parade this past weekend was just as political as the Los Angeles "#ResistMarch" the week before, fueled by the left's hatred for President Donald Trump.
          Holiday Gift Ideas for Flat Broke Writers   
You’re a writer, the holidays are creeping up and your bank account is so empty, it echoes. Being a participant in involuntary simplicity doesn’t mean your friends and family go gift-free. You have the skills and savvy to make their holidays brighter without setting your stocking on fire.

For everyone
Throw down some words. We’ve all had non-writing friends and relatives ask what we do for a living, and when we say “Write,” they always ask “Did you write a book? Have you met Stephen King yet?” Ha ha, Grandma.  But actually seeing something you’ve written gets the message across, and it’s a gift from the heart. Pen a lovely poem, sarcastic haiku or even a bit of flash fiction starring your father and that Dodge Charger he gave up when you were born. It could be the nudge he needs to forgive you for existing, and if that doesn’t express the holiday sentiment, nothing else does. Extra points if you print something out and frame it. People love frames.

For readers and writers
When you write, your first go-to move for gifts usually involves books. It's easy to drop fifty bucks (if you have the cash) on a couple of hardcovers at the bookstore, but you can trump that with the wonder of the Internet. We live in a glorious world of free ebooks, digital entertainment as far as the eye can see. We’re not talking piracy, either, because that’s wrong and an erudite grizzly bear will smack you in the face with a rolled-up newspaper filled with bologna if you do it. Every major book selling site offers freebies, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, All Romance, etc., and don’t forget classic sites like OpenCulture and Project Gutenberg.

It works best if the giftee shares a home with you, so you can download books to a reader on a shared computer or their personal ereader. If they know how to manage data transfers, you can save the goodies to a flash drive and wrap it in some snazzy paper to make your gift look even cooler. When giving free ebooks, don’t focus on scoring their favorite authors, although you’ll occasionally find one or two offering freebies. You’ll have better luck matching them up with new reads and fresh voices in the same style or genre they already enjoy. You may introduce them to a new favorite author or two, and they’ll buy more books. Yay! Everyone wins!

For writers

Don’t worry about the taxidermied rabbits dressed like Pride & Prejudice characters that you just spied on eBay; the best thing you can give writers is attention. Designate a “Pimp Day” for each of your writer friends and publicize their work. Give them a lovely Amazon review, tweet their book links, splash their book covers on Pinterest, talk them up on Goodreads and Facebook. If some of your friends don’t have books, pimp out what they do have! Comment on their blogs, share their articles, and let the world know how talented they are. Your gift will distract them from obsessing over their inboxes and drinking wine in the morning. Helpful hint: tell them about their Pimp Day first, so they have something for you to promote, and only do one Pimp Day a week on all your social media outlets so you don’t overwhelm your own readers. We all crave attention, but no one wants to be the spammy coal in the bottom of the stocking.

          Buzzfeed: CNN Has a Sad After Fake News Scandal   
CNN Jeff Zucker (Tim Sloan / AFP / Getty)
The CNN newsroom is reportedly down in the dumps following the sacking of three employees for publishing a fake news story on the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory, and after James O'Keefe's exposé on how the network is pushing the false Russia narrative for ratings.
          Trump's Lawyers Deny He Has Russian Income Or Debt, 'With A Few Exceptions'   
In a letter released Friday, President Trump's lawyers said a decade's worth of his tax returns show that he doesn't owe money to Russian lenders and that he has received no income from Russian sources, "with a few exceptions." The exceptions include this: "In 2008, Trump Properties LLC sold an estate in Florida, that it had acquired in 2005 for approximately $41 million, to a Russian billionaire for $95 million." That buyer was Dmitry Rybolovlev, who never moved into the 62,000-square-foot mansion before tearing it down. Another exception was the $12.2 million made from holding the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, according to the letter signed by attorneys Sheri A. Dillon and William F. Nelson. The lawyers also noted that Trump very likely has received undisclosed payments from Russians for hotel rooms, rounds of golf and Trump-licensed products, such as wine, ties and mattresses. The March 8 letter was addressed to Trump, who passed it along to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
          Kushner Family Business Pitch In China Prompts Questions About Investor Visas   
Networking, connecting, pitching — it's all routine in the business world. But a connection pitched in China over the weekend — involving ties between President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and a real-estate project — has prompted ethics experts to raise objections, and some lawmakers to call for change. There are concerns about potential conflicts of interests, but also about a visa program for investors. At the White House press briefing on Monday, spokesman Sean Spicer said Kushner has taken necessary steps to prevent conflicts of interest. "Jared has done everything to comply with the ethics rules to make sure and that had nothing to do with him per se, he wasn't involved," Spicer said. But Larry Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center , says, "The strong feeling is that they — the Trump family, the Kushner family — see the White House and being in the government as a marketing opportunity." The controversy began when reporters from The Washington Post and The New
          Amid Presidential Access Questions, Former Trump Campaign Manager Quits Lobbying Firm   
Shortly after the November election, President Trump's initial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski launched a new career — co-founding a lobbying firm called Avenue Strategies . But he did not register as a lobbyist. That caused critics to demand investigations into his lack of registration, and now, Lewandowski is quitting. Barry Bennett, who co-founded the firm, said in an email to NPR that Lewandowski has left "to focus on his speeches and some politics ... Avenue of course continues with the other partners." Lewandowski's quick change in career plans comes in the wake of reports about his efforts to promote his ties to Trump while working with Avenue Strategies, which set up shop on Pennsylvania Avenue, less than a block from the White House. For his part, Lewandowski has said that he focused on strategy not lobbying. In recent days, Politico has turned up documents that it said showed Lewandowski had been "pitching clients around the world by offering not only policy and political
          Disney: Animatronic Trump Will Have Speaking Role in Disney World Hall of Presidents   

Disney has confirmed that a talking robot version of President Donald Trump will be added to Disney World's iconic Hall of Presidents attraction later this year, despite a petition to keep him silent.
          State Department Removes Webpage Featuring Trump's For-Profit Club, Mar-A-Lago   
Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET An article on a State Department website about President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has been removed after criticism that it was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds. Critics complained that resources were being used to tout the for-profit club, which Trump refers to as the Winter White House. The club, in Palm Beach, Fla., is held in Trump's trust, of which he is the sole beneficiary. "The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post," a State Department official said in a statement that has now replaced the original article . The ShareAmerica website says it "is part of the Bureau of International Information Programs , which works with U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries to engage with people around the globe on U.S. foreign policy and American society." But on the webpage about Mar-a-Lago, there was no discussion of
          As Trump Inquiries Flood Ethics Office, Director Looks To House For Action   
Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub Jr. is calling on the chairman of House Oversight Committee to become more engaged in overseeing ethics questions in the Trump administration. In an interview with NPR on Monday, Shaub said public inquiries and complaints involving Trump administration conflicts of interest and ethics have been inundating his tiny agency, which has only advisory power. "We've even had a couple days where the volume was so huge it filled up the voicemail box, and we couldn't clear the calls as fast as they were coming in," Shaub said. His office is scrambling to keep pace with the workload. But while citizens, journalists and Democratic lawmakers are pushing for investigations, Shaub suggested a similar level of energy is not coming from the House Oversight Committee, which has the power to investigate ethics questions, particularly those being raised now about reported secret ethics waivers for former lobbyists serving in the Trump administration.
          At Trump's D.C. Hotel, A U.S.-Turkey Relations Conference Stirs Up Ethics Questions   
This spring, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., will host a three-day event co-hosted by a business group. That's not unusual. But here's what is: The group's chair founded the company that paid President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lobbying work that may have benefited the Turkish government. This mashup of money involving Turks, Flynn and Trump has concerned ethics experts who worry about a "pay to play" atmosphere in Washington. Here are the basics: What: The 36th Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations is scheduled for May 21-23. Where: At the Trump hotel, just blocks from the White House. It had been held in recent years at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington. Who: The Turkey-U.S. Business Council , known as TAIK, and the American Turkish Council are the sponsors. The former group is chaired by a Turkish-American businessman, Ekim Alptekin, who has ties to the Turkish government . More about who: Alptekin also is the founder of
          China OKs 38 Trump Trademarks; Critics Say It Violates Emoluments Clause   
President Trump is on his way to getting something he has wanted for a long time: dozens of valuable "Trump" trademarks in China. China's Trademark Office has now given preliminary approval to 38 new trademarks, covering everything from hotels to golf clubs, insurance and more. After AP reported the news Wednesday, Senate Democrats expressed outrage, noting that Trump's lawyer Sheri Dillon had promised in January that there would be "no new foreign deals" during the Trump presidency. But by pursuing new trademarks, the Trump Organization, which the president continues to own, may be laying the groundwork for expansions in China. Maryland's Ben Cardin said, "For a decade prior to his election as president, Donald Trump sought, with no success, to have lucrative and valuable trademarks granted in the world's biggest market. He was turned down each and every time. The floodgates now appear to be open." Cardin called on the federal departments of Justice, State and Commerce to "brief
          NPR Launches New Tool To Monitor President Trump's Ethical Promises   
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: Now let's talk about a new tool that NPR's digital team created. It's the Trump Ethics Monitor. It's a digital project on that lets us and you keep an eye on President Trump's business interests and what he's doing to rid himself of conflicts of interest related to them. Here to talk about this tool is Marilyn Geewax, NPR's senior business editor. Marilyn, welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us once again. MARILYN GEEWAX, BYLINE: Hi, Michel. MARTIN: So very quickly, remind us of what President Trump has said about these ethical issues. I mean, he reminds us often, as does the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, that presidents are not subject to the same conflict of interest rules that other government employees and even Cabinet secretaries are. So what has he said about this? GEEWAX: Right. Even though he, on the one hand, says he's exempt from those conflict rules - and he is - he has made a number of
          Countries Listed On Trump's Refugee Ban Don't Include Those He Has Business With   
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: We are continuing our coverage of the Trump administration's executive orders implementing a permanent ban on those coming from Syria and a temporary ban of citizens coming from six additional Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan. Now, one aspect of the new policy that has drawn notice are countries that are not on the list, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. And those are the countries of origin of a number of people who carried out terrorist attacks in the U.S. starting with September 11, 2001. Those countries also happen to be places where President Trump and his family have business interests. That's one reason ethics experts continue to raise questions about how President Trump is addressing potential conflicts or even the appearance of them. NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax is heading up our coverage of this issue, so she is with us now to talk us
          Who Can Settle Questions About Donald Trump's Conflicts Of Interest?   
Since Donald Trump won the presidential election last month, his conflicts of interest have come into sharper focus. Ethics experts say that to clearly separate his role as president from his role as businessman, he must sell off his holdings. Trump has so far rejected that recommendation, saying via Twitter that he intends to have his two oldest sons run the Trump Organization. But those sons have been deeply engaged in the transition work of the incoming Trump administration. So now what? Ethicists say Trump must sell; Trump has shown no willingness to do so. For example, he had planned to hold a news conference to discuss conflicts of interests last week, but he has postponed it indefinitely. Can someone or something force Trump to comply with the ethics guidance that he has so far rejected? The best answer seems to be that only Congress can force Trump to make any changes. Let's walk through this messy, unprecedented situation one step at a time. The problem As the head of the
          Outlining Trump's Potential Conflicts Of Interest   
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: Now it's time for our regular segment, Words You'll Hear. That's where we take a word or phrase that will be in the news next week and talk about what it means and why it matters. This week, the phrase is conflict of interest. We're already hearing it during the transition to the Trump administration because of the president-elect's wide-ranging business interests. Donald Trump said in an interview on Fox News this morning that he will allow his adult children to manage his businesses. And he doesn't plan to sell his business operations. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) DONALD TRUMP: They're not making deals, and they're going to run my company. I have a lot of property and great stuff. They're going to run it. They're going to run it. Hopefully they're going to run it properly. I'm sure they're going to run it properly. But I'm not going to do deals. And I think, you know, I think that's going to be good. MARTIN: This
          Trump's Businesses And Potential Conflicts: Sorting It Out   
Trying to understand the Trump Organization is a daunting task. President-elect Donald Trump has not released tax documents, so the best clues about his privately held business interests come from a financial disclosure form he released in May. The document covers scores of pages with small type, and suggests he is financially involved with hundreds of companies, including some that simply license his name. A sort through that disclosure form , submitted to the Office of Government Ethics, shows his largest sources of revenue are golf courses and office-tower rents. But his interests are far flung, and include media, retail, entertainment and much more. Those business interests are affected by government agencies and policies. Below is an overview of some of his business assets and operations (excluding debts) and the possible areas where conflicts may arise. Trump himself noted that there are ethical concerns about his dealings. He said in tweets that he would hold a "major news
          After 22 Years, Is NAFTA Headed Back To The Drawing Board?   
Pull out your blue pencils, green eyeshades and rule books; it may soon be time to start rewriting NAFTA. Leaders in the United States, Canada and Mexico say they're open to giving the North American Free Trade Agreement, in place since 1994, a hard look. Here's what's been happening: In the wee hours of Wednesday, Republican Donald Trump claimed victory in the U.S. presidential election. In his action plan for his first 100 days in office, the president-elect said he would "renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw." On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is " open to talking ." He told reporters, "If the Americans want to talk about NAFTA, I'm more than happy to talk about it." Also on Thursday, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told Reuters in a phone interview that his country was "ready to talk," though not ready to rip up the agreement. At this point, "we're simply talking about dialogue," he told the news agency. NAFTA covers nearly 500 million consumers
          Trump Team Promises To 'Dismantle' Dodd-Frank Bank Regulations   
During his presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump said he would "get rid of" Dodd-Frank — the sweeping legislation passed in 2010 to address problems underlying the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Many Republicans hate the 2,300-page law, saying it is layered with far too many regulations. But Democrats say it provides valuable oversight of an industry that they believe took too many risks on Wall Street and too much advantage of customers on Main Street. Now President-elect Trump's transition team is promising to "dismantle" the complex Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act . "Bureaucratic red tape and Washington mandates are not the answer" to improving the financial system, the team said Thursday on its website . Repealing the entire law probably would take more time and attention than Congress could muster in a 100-day rush. In fact, Dodd-Frank is such sprawling legislation that it has taken years to write and implement all of the detailed rules. But even if
          3 Ways President-Elect Trump May Shake Up Trade Policy   
During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump often was fuzzy on details of his economic plans. But he was clear about one goal: getting much tougher on trade relations with our most important partners, i.e., China, Canada and Mexico. Analysts say they don't doubt he will follow through. "We are definitely shifting to a world where the landscape is far less favorable to trade," said Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University. These are the three most likely steps to be taken in this new environment: Step 1: Kill TPP. For years, the Obama administration has been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact involving 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the United States, Japan and Australia. President Obama had hoped to get Congress to approve the pending deal after the election. But Trump has said TPP would benefit special interests that plan to "rape" this country. In coming weeks, Republican leaders wouldn't want to pass an agreement that would not get
          Financial Markets Plunge As Trump Emerges Victorious   
Updated 10:28 a.m. ET On Tuesday night, as the presidential election's outcome headed toward an unexpected Trump victory, stock futures plunged. Investors had bet heavily Monday on Democrat Hillary Clinton. As Republican Donald Trump picked up many more votes than polls had predicted, markets reacted violently to the change in expectations. But then on Wednesday morning, U.S. investors reassessed – and calmed down. After the opening bell on Wall Street, stocks rose across the board by a slight 0.2 percent, then drifted down about 0.2 percent. That minor seesawing did not reflect how tough the night had been for equities and currencies around the world. In the immediate aftermath of Trump's victory, Japan's Nikkei index closed down more than 5 percent. The Hang Seng Index was down more than 2 percent. European stocks fell too, though less dramatically. In general, global investors were shifting money out of stocks and into safe havens. The Japanese yen shot up against the U.S. dollar
          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: Phoebe Patten, and Susan Franklin discuss intuitive awareness and Cate Montana shares dealing with the Trump Effect   
EpisodePhoebe and Susan will explore the lens through which we see our world using a gentle curiosity about the choices we make. Learn how to work within a safe space  to lovingly see and appreciate yourself and others. We call it 'interior sign posting'- the quickest way to home. Intuitive awareness is a powerful tool for cleaning and focusing our lens.  Embody a new perspective for yourself!   Cate Montana will discss what can women do to mitigate the impact of a Trump ...
 | Condoleezza Rice: Trump understands 'value of alliances'   
Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice is giving President Donald Trump a vote of confidence on international diplomacy.
          Ali Velshi destroys lying GOP Congressman as he schools him on Trumpcare (VIDEO)   
Ali Velshi destroys lying GOP Congressman as he schools him on healthcare (VIDEO)

Ali Velshi did not allow this Republican Congressman to misinform on the air. He schooled him not only on Trumpcare but healthcare in general.

The post Ali Velshi destroys lying GOP Congressman as he schools him on Trumpcare (VIDEO) appeared first on

          Trump oder der Papst – wer hat die meisten Follower auf Twitter?   
Twitter ist eines der beliebtesten sozialen Netzwerke – auch bei Weltpolitikern. Insgesamt 276 Staatsoberhäupter sind auf der Social Media Plattform aktiv. Doch wer von ihnen besitzt die meisten Follower auf Twitter? Was glauben Sie?
          Erkennen, was der Kunde will – physische Kundennähe als Trumpf?   
Proximity Marketing als reines B2C-Werkzeug? Von wegen! Auch B2B-Unternehmen können durchaus davon profitieren, wenn sie wissen, wo welcher Kunde welchen Bedarf hat. Wie das funktioniert, zeigt das folgende Szenario.
          Twitter has issues, and President Trump is on the cover - CNET   
Twitter users react to the president's fake Time magazine cover by making a pile of parody versions.
          Voices of Women with Host Kris Steinnes: Vajra Ma, The Fourth Wave of Feminism: Embodied Spirituality Giving Rise to New Politics, a Key to Planetary Peace.   
Guest"More than a grassroots revolution--a womb-roots Evolution" Some say a fusion of spiritual and political values are generating a Fourth Wave of Feminism. Vajra Ma maintains that spirituality trumps politics, that the spiritual values of a culture determines its politics as well as its family structure, laws, institutions and specifically how women, children and the Earth are treated. Vajra Ma shows that humanity's original spirituality emerged from the female body, womb, menses and ecstatic ...
          Festival della soft economy e Seminario Estivo,il senso dell’Italia per il futuro per Symbola   
Appuntamento con Fondazione Symbola tra Macerata e Treia per il Festival della soft economy, dal 4 al 6 luglio, e il seminario estivo il 7-8 luglio.

“Possiamo influenzare il futuro se gli diamo un senso”. Dargli un senso significa contrastare il cambiamento climatico, lavorare per la pace e lo sviluppo nei luoghi di origine dei flussi migratori, rendere più equo e inclusivo il nostro sistema sociale ed economico. Così Fondazione Symbola introduce il Festival della soft economy che torna a Macerata e Treia dal 4 al 6 luglio, seguito dal seminario estivo di Treia venerdì 7 e sabato 8 luglio.

In questo percorso ambizioso, l’Italia può essere protagonista. Anzi, lo è già. Ma si trova di fronte a sfide cruciali. Alcune derivano dalla sua posizione geografica, che la pone come crocevia e partner importante del progetto della nuova Via della Seta. Altre, non meno decisive, le vive al suo interno: è il caso della ricostruzione post-sisma dell’Appennino Centrale. Questi sono alcuni dei temi di cui si parlerà nei cinque giorni di eventi e dibattiti organizzati da Symbola. LifeGate, che anche quest’anno è media partner, vi terrà aggiornati sulle novità e le testimonianze più interessanti.

Italia-Cina, un legame sempre più stretto

Sarà il convegno dedicato alla nuova Via della Seta ad aprire i lavori del Festival della soft economy, martedì 4 luglio. Da diversi punti di vista si rifletterà sul ruolo sempre più cruciale della Cina sullo scacchiere globale. Anche alla luce del fatto che, da sempre, il gigante asiatico ha un occhio di riguardo per l’Italia: pensiamo agli investimenti nel nostro Paese, alla calorosa accoglienza che è stata riservata al presidente della Repubblica Sergio Mattarella, al legame privilegiato col Centro Italia. Sarà dunque l’occasione per analizzare gli sviluppi e le prospettive della collaborazione italo-cinese, in particolare sui versanti dell’ambiente e della cultura. A differenza del presidente americano Donald Trump che ha scelto di uscire dall’Accordo di Parigi, infatti, Pechino ha voluto confermare l’impegno preso.

Appennino, obiettivo ricostruzione

Un Festival che parla di costruire il futuro, e lo fa in uno dei borghi più incantevoli del Centro Italia, non a caso dedica molto spazio alla rigenerazione territoriale e alla ricostruzione. Protagonista sarà la zona dell’Appennino, con la sua voglia di ripartire dopo il trauma del terremoto dello scorso anno. Tra le date da segnare in agenda c’è mercoledì 5 luglio, quando si esporranno le linee guida per la ricostruzione dei comuni del Cratere Sisma 2016 e le idee sulla rigenerazione urbana progettate dalla Fondazione RIUSO, in collaborazione con Officina L’Aquila. Nel pomeriggio di venerdì 7 luglio, inoltre, il Seminario Estivo di Treia prevede un’intera sessione dedicata al Centro Italia.

Un’iniziativa accolta con favore dal sindaco di Treia Franco Capponi: “Di particolare interesse anche le sessioni specifiche dedicate al ricostruire non dov’era com’era ma dov’era come sarà, approfondendo il rapporto tra ricostruzione e sicurezza, ricostruzione  e territorio, ricostruzione e sviluppo di una nuova economia proprio per un’area, quella degli Appennini, che è stata la culla della civiltà europea”.

Geografie del nuovo made in Italy

Un altro degli appuntamenti-chiave, in programma a Treia la mattina del 7 luglio, sarà la presentazione del rapporto 2017 I.T.A.L.I.A. Geografie del nuovo made in Italy di Fondazione Symbola, Unioncamere e Fondazione Edison. In chiusura, sabato 8 luglio, il seminario Il senso dell’Italia per il futuro, che vedrà confrontarsi politica, impresa, associazioni, società civile e istituzioni. Tutti alle prese con alcune domande fondamentali: come dare senso al futuro? Come rilanciare il nostro paese, in un mondo sempre più complesso e interconnesso?

La presidente nazionale di Legambiente Rossella Muroni, che sarà tra i partecipanti, un’idea ce l’ha già: “In questi anni si sta assistendo a una crescita progressiva, lenta ma inesorabile, di tutti gli indicatori economici e sociali che attestano una maturazione da parte dei cittadini di scelte e comportamenti ecosostenibili. È un’Italia forse sconosciuta ai più ma già ben radicata, che crede fortemente e opera nell’interesse generale. Questa è l’Italia che ritrova la strada per il futuro. Un futuro che già funziona. Fatto da migliaia di persone che immaginano e realizzano, dal basso, nuovi modelli di welfare, di cura del territorio, di produzione di beni e servizi, di utilizzo dei beni comuni”. A concludere i lavori, tirando le fila di questo mosaico di suggestioni e proposte, il presidente di Fondazione Symbola, Ermete Realacci.

Valentina Neri Lifegate

          Putin Accuses "Foreign Spy Agencies" Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia   
Putin Accuses Foreign Spy Agencies Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia In the first public accusation that "foreign spy agencies" are seeking to destabilize Russia made in recent years, during a meeting with Russia's foreign intelligence agency President Vladimir Putin said that "some foreign special services" are directly supporting extremist and terrorist groups to destabilize the situation near Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.

“In general, the growing activity of foreign special services against us and our allies is obvious,” Putin said quoted by Bloomberg during the televised speech in Moscow on Wednesday, without specifying which nations he was referring to. *“There are operations to influence the domestic political and social processes in our country.*”

Tangentially, the AP reported that according to an unclassified report by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, released on Wednesday, *Kremlin leaders are convinced America is intent on regime change in Russia, *"a fear that is feeding rising tension and military competition between the former Cold War foes."

"The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine," the report says, referencing the claims by President Vladimir Putin's government that the U.S. engineered the popular uprising that ousted Ukraine's Russia-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovich, in 2014. Russia responded by annexing Ukraine's Crimea region and supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Thursday's report, prepared long before Trump's election, reflects the Pentagon's view of the global security picture shifting after nearly two decades of heavy American focus on countering terrorism and fighting relatively small-scale wars across the Middle East. Russia, in particular, is now at the center of the national security debate in Congress, fed by political divisions over how to deal with Putin and whether his military buildup, perceived threats against NATO and alleged election interference call for a new U.S. approach.

According to the AP, the 116-page report portrays Russia as increasingly wary of the United States. It cites Moscow's "deep and abiding distrust of U.S. efforts to promote democracy around the world and what it perceives as a U.S. campaign to impose a single set of global values." One almost wonders why.

"Moscow worries that U.S. attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving license for foreign meddling in Russia's internal affairs," the report says. Titled "Russia Military Power," it is the agency's first such unclassified assessment in more than two decades.

The report also discusses recent military developments, with a focus on the middle east.

It cites the example of Moscow's 2015 military intervention in Syria. The Kremlin cast the effort as designed to combat Islamic State fighters. Washington saw Moscow largely propping up Assad by providing air support for the Syrian army's offensive against opposition forces.


The report says the Syria intervention is intended also to eliminate jihadist elements that originated on the former Soviet Union's territory to prevent them from returning home and threatening Russia. In any case, the report credits the intervention for having "changed the entire dynamic of the conflict, bolstering the Assad regime and ensuring that no resolution to the conflict is possible without Moscow's agreement."


"Nevertheless, these actions also belie a deeply entrenched sense of insecurity regarding a United States that Moscow believes is intent on undermining Russia at home and abroad," the report says.

The report harkens to Cold War days when the intelligence agency published a series of "Soviet Military Power" studies that defined the contours of the superpower rivalry. Those reports ended with the 1991 demise of the Soviet Union. Now they return, DIA's director, Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, says, with an eye on the future of U.S.-Russian relations.

"*Within the next decade, an even more confident and capable Russia could emerge," *Stewart wrote in a preface to the report. No new, global ideological struggle akin to the Cold War is forecast, but the report cautions that Moscow "intends to use its military to promote stability on its own terms."

Which is why the "deep state", the Military-Industrial Complex. the neo-cons or whatever one wants to call the permanently bellicose wing in control, will *never *allow Trump to pursue a detente with Putin. To be sure, while Trump's campaign rhetoric was widely seen as sympathetic to Russia, ties have not improved in his first six months of his presidency. In April, *Trump said U.S.-Russian relations "may be at an all-time low." *Trump is expected to meet Putin for the first time at an international summit in Germany next week.

Meanwhile, to perpetuate the anti-Russia witch hunt, on Wednesday Rep. Adam Smith, the House Armed Services Committee's top Democrat, issued a "national security manifesto" on Russia. *He and a group of lawmakers writing in Time magazine cited the threat of "Putinism," which they termed "a philosophy of dictatorship" that seeks to extinguish democratic ideals such as government transparency by exploiting "discontented facets of democratic polities worldwide.*"

Which, of course, is not to be confused with CIA-ism, which is a philosophy of suberting any government around the globe with promises of globalist, credit-card driven expansion, and if that fails, with outright threats (and actions) to overthrow the existing regime by supporting its closest adversaries, both domestic and foreign.

Taking McCarthyism to the next level, at a Senate intelligence committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel's ranking Democrat, said Russia is becoming more brazen.

*"Russia's goal is to sow chaos and confusion - to fuel internal disagreements and to undermine democracies whenever possible, and to cast doubt on the democratic process wherever it exists," *Warner said.

In other words, Russia is becoming just like the US... One can see why the Deep State and Democrats are so terrified. Reported by Zero Hedge 16 minutes ago.
          Nonprofit Says EPA Refuses to Release Docs on Website Changes   

A nonprofit environmental advocacy group claims in court the Trump administration unilaterally removed information on climate change from government websites and refuses to produce information related to those actions.

The post Nonprofit Says EPA Refuses to Release Docs on Website Changes appeared first on .

          Russia Isn’t on Radar for Haley at UN, She Tells Congress   

Jostled from her boast about preventing a chemical attack in Syria this week, United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley stunned members of Congress on Wednesday by saying she and President Trump have never discussed Russia’s 2016 election meddling.

The post Russia Isn’t on Radar for Haley at UN, She Tells Congress appeared first on .

           Ivanka Trump's blue dress matches her husband Jared's tie    
The 35-year-old first daughter donned a cornflower blue dress that matched 36-year-old Jared's tie as she stepped out of her Washington, D.C. home on Tuesday morning.
           Ivanka Trump wears an American flag pin on her dress    
Ivanka, 35, was photographed leaving her Washington, D.C. home on Monday morning with an American flag pin on the lapel of her sleeveless Altuzarra dress.
          Mia and me - Der magische Trumptus - Gesellschaftsspiel ab 6 Jahren   
15,99 EUR
Gedächtnisspiel Mia and me - Der magische TrumptusKinderspiel aus dem Hause Schmidt Spiele.Inhalt: 1 Kartoneinsatz mit Schlitzen 4 Elfenablagetafeln 1 Panthea-Ablagetafel 32 Spielplättchen 8 Munculus-Spielplättchen 1 WürfelGebrauchsanleitung: DE, IT, FRSpielanzahl: 2 - 4Altersempfehlung: ab 6 JahrenSpieldauer: ca. 15 min.Maße Box: ca. 27 x 19 x 6,5 cmStückpreis ACHTUNG! Nicht für Kinder unter 36 Monaten geeignet, verschluckbare Kleinteile!

          Strumpfhose - Flower Power - Blumenmädchen - Kostümergänzung   
5,50 EUR
Bunte Strumpfhose Flower-PowerDiese bunt gemusterte Strumpfhose in Einheitsgröße passt perfekt zum Hippie-Kostüm oder ergänzt Verkleidungen mit dem Hingucker-Effekt durch das wilde Muster auf der Strumpfhose.Die dickere Strumpfhose mit 40 DEN ist auch dazu geeignet, kleine Unebenheiten zu kaschieren und ist auch schon für das Tragen bei kühleren Tagen gedacht, d.h. längeren Aufenthalt im Freien. Bei den DEN-Angaben gilt: je Höher die Zahl, desto schwerer bzw. dicker ist das verwendete Garn.Die Strumpfhose besteht aus 100 % Nylon und ist mit Handwäsche waschbar.

          Cheeps and Chirps for April 2017 (more catch-up)   
By Matthew E. Milliken June 23, 2017 You got it: Yet more catching up from my Twitter feed! • ZOMG Donald Trump! Astounding. Trump and company seem determined to obtain the worst possible policy outcome with everything they do. — (( Matt Milliken )) (@memomoment) April 6, 2017 Congratulations to President Short-Attention Span and […]
          Cheeps and Chirps for March 2017 (catching up)   
By Matthew E. Milliken June 19, 2017 More catching up from my Twitter feed! • ZOMG Donald Trump (and comrades)! Thread on March 1 revelations regarding Russia and the Trump campaign/administration. — (( Matt Milliken )) (@memomoment) March 2, 2017 Interesting analysis of Sessions' and the Trump campaign/administration's Russian contacts. — (( Matt Milliken […]
          Strumpfhose - Retro - Einheitsgröße - bunt   
4,99 EUR
Strumpfhose - 70iger Style - Blumenmädchen - HippieDie Strumpfhose wird mit buntem Retromuster geliefert.Einheitsgröße für Erwachsene100 % NylonHandwäsche

          Trumps atomvåpen   
Donald Trump har, også når det gjelder atomvåpen, kommet med flere utspill som har vært noe motstridende. De første kommentarene hans om atomvåpen under presidentvalgkampen, kom i form av spørsmål til militæreksperter om hvorfor man ikke brukte dem mer, i og med at de er såpass billige i bruk i forhold til konvensjonelle våpen. Så kom […]
          6月28日(水)のつぶやき その2   


— 千葉周作 (@sj30super2) 2017年6月28日 - 19:00

ドナルドトランプ グッズ ペン立て 文鎮 おもしろグッズ アメリカ 大統領 政治家 文具 ギフト プレゼント [並行輸入品] Dump-a-Trump… @amazonJPさんから


— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 19:08


— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 2017年6月24日 - 06:32

天ぷら落ちた日本死ね!トランプ大統領が小西洋之議員をブロックか? @ksl_liveさんから

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 19:12


— 美鶴 (@koolannad) 2017年6月28日 - 13:47

@koolannad ジーナス姉妹並のグラマーさ

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 19:14

@tokyo_satokei 佐藤さん

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 19:19

マクロス35周年×羽田健太郎 10th Memorial「超時空管弦楽」 remember ヘルシー・ウィングス・オーケストラ

— yas0@🏴JUNNA非公式FC会員 (@yas0san) 2017年6月28日 - 15:32

@yas0san これを聞いた自分は羨ましさのあまり、ずっこけました。

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 19:26


— スランプ気味な星乃 (@H0ShlNo_) 2017年6月28日 - 17:31


— スランプ気味な星乃 (@H0ShlNo_) 2017年6月28日 - 17:30

— スランプ気味な星乃 (@H0ShlNo_) 2017年5月31日 - 19:13

@tokyo_satokei 訂正文 佐藤さん あなたこそ、学ぶべきでは? 織田包囲網という名の一つの勢力を追い詰めるために共闘し最終的に負ける事になった理由とやらを?

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:08


— Gilgamesh (@tomyrou) 2016年6月29日 - 12:09

#マクロス 彼女にするならば 地球人?メルトラン? どっち?

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:21

@jgdjgdjgd 万乗ジェネレーター暴走の光景を目撃なう。

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:25

@jgdjgdjgd ドン引きされ・・・・万乗旅団の兵士(フォロワー)が減るよ。

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:31

@jgdjgdjgd ですね♪

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:35

@jgdjgdjgd 来たな・・・・・・・・・・・陸戦型ガンキャノン部隊を発進じゃ!!

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:38


— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:41

@jgdjgdjgd ぐあぁぁぁぁぁぁぁぁぁぁぁぁ

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:42


— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 21:45


— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 22:34


— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 22:35


— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 22:38


— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 22:40


— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 22:40

@jgdjgdjgd エリス「この馬鹿!!戦場は山の天気のように急変するんだぞ!シュミュレータ―を過信するな!!死ぬぞ!!」

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 22:57

一人ごと・・・・・・・・・・文章力をあげたい 画力がうまくなりたい!!

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 23:09

「第88話 セオドア・ウィルソン大尉」

— 長田義家/平義家/平良兼末裔 (@XSiFmCIoWi5iBNQ) 2017年6月28日 - 23:27
          Kinderkostüm - Fliegenpilz - Cape und Hut - Einheitsgröße   
14,99 EUR
Kinderkostüm FliegenpilzDieses Kostüm ist ein echter Hingucker, denn mit dem typischen Punktemuster ist Ihr Kind im Karneval nicht zu übersehen.Wahlweise mit einer weißen Strumpfhose oder einer weißen Jeans getragen, ist die Verkleidung ruck-zuck erledigt und für den Straßenkarneval oder für Festivitäten im Saal geeignet.Der Hut trägt sich sehr bequem, da im Inneren ein Gummiband eingelassen ist, welches dafür sorgt, dass die Kopfbedeckung dort bleibt, wo sie hingehört: Auf den Kopf.Das Cape wird einfach übergeworfen und sorgt so für viel Bewegungsfreiheit. Gerade beim Kinderkarneval ist dies ein wichtiges Kriterium. Nach unten endet der Überwurf in Wellenlinien.Material: 100 % PolyesterUniversalgrößeHandwäscheLieferumfang: Kopfbedeckung und ÜberwurfCape, Halsausschnitt: ca. 17 cmCape, Länge: ca. 31 cmHut Durchmesser: ca. 32 cmHöhe: ca. 30 cm Sonstige abgebildete Dekoartikel oder Zubehörteile, die nicht in der Artikelbeschreibung aufgeführt sind, sind nicht Gegenstand des Angebots

          Strümpe - Stulpen für Kinder - Tolle Ergänzung zum Karnevalskostüm   
7,99 EUR
Stulpen für Kinder3 x 3 macht 6 ... wiedewiede wer wills von mir lernen....Hier erhalten Sie schöne Kniestrümpfe in Kindergröße. Der eine Strumpf ist geringelt (Farben gelb-grün-orang) und der andere Strumpf ist einfarbig rot. Die Länge ist ca. 50 cm und ergänzt das Kinderkostüm optimal.Material: 100 % Polyacryl  

          Kostüm - Cape Marienkäfer für Kinder - sehr niedlich Gr. 98   
17,99 EUR
Marienkäfer-Cape für die KleinenNiedliches Kinderkostüm für die Kleinen. Der rote Umhang mit schwarzen Punkten besitzt eine angenähte Kapuze mit Fühlern - das ist sehr praktisch, da Kinder öfter mal dazu neigen, sich die Kopfbeckungen vom Kopf zu reißen. So bleibt die Kapuze immer am Kostüm und geht nicht verloren.Das Cape kann wahlweise außerhaus über dicke Anziehsachen getragen werden oder im Haus mit Strumpfhose und Hemd. Der Trend in dieser Karnevalssaison.Größe: ca. 98 cm Körpergröße (für 1-2 Jährige)Lieferumfang: Cape mit KapuzeMaterial: 100 % PolyesterHandwäsche möglich   

          Bastrock - Hularock - Hawaii - knielang - bunt oder natur - ca. 40 cm   
5,00 EUR
Bastrock bunt oder naturFür das Hawaiifeeling sorgt jetzt dieser schöne Bastrock in bunten Farben und der Hula tanzt sich fast wie von selbst. Zu erwerben ist dieses Hularöckchen auch in naturfarben.Der knielange Bastrock (ca. 40 cm) in Universalgröße (für Jugendliche oder Erwachsene) ist für viele Verkleidungen zu gebrauchen, z.B. Motto Hawaii oder Südsee Afrika Schulende-Party Schlagerparty.Wer den Rock in unseren Breitengraden anziehen möchte, sollte es jedoch vorziehen, eine Leggins/dicke Strumpfhose darunter zu tragen. Material: 75 % Polyprophylen, 22 % Polyester, 3 % GummiDekoartikel oder Zubehörteile, die nicht in der Artikelbeschreibung aufgeführt sind, sind nicht Gegenstand des Angebots.Hinweis: Das Foto 1 zeigt die Farbgebung des Rockes, das Foto 2 zeigt die Rocklänge von ca. 40 cm. Das Produkt ist bunt gestaltet (s. Foto 1) mit einer Länge von ca. 40 cm (s. Foto 2).

          Three Lingering Questions For Trump’s New Plan to Fight ISIS   

If Trump sends more American boots to Syria, who will fight alongside them, and—still—what comes next?

          Labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard   

The Donald J. Trump administration would be correct to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Mark Dubowitz. Terrorism has been a defining feature of the IRGC since its inception in 1979, and the power of the IRGC needs to be curbed before the Islamic Republic can be tamed.

          Women Are Key to Counterterrorism   

Investing in women will go further to fight terror than Donald Trump's refugee ban ever will.

          Slapdash Trump Order Ignores Real Danger   

Trump’s xenophobic edict doesn't address our vulnerability to Americans radicalized from afar.

          Trump’s Vetting Plan Would Weaken U.S. Security   

His draft executive order on immigration would both disrupt travel and compromise U.S. safety.

          Nebraska-Omaha trumps Southern Homecoming, 44-36 - Carthage Press   
Nebraska-Omaha trumps Southern Homecoming, 44-36Carthage PressHowever, that homecoming was trumped by the homecoming of sorts for Nebraska-Omaha's Levi Terrell. The true freshman from Arnold, Mo., ...
          Why Trump Is the Islamic State’s Dream Candidate   

Trump’s reaction to terrorism — his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his misunderstanding of Middle Eastern politics — is exactly what extremists want in a U.S. president.

          White House eyes Kearns for ITC commissioner    
WASHINGTON D.C. — President Trump plans to nominate Jason Kearns, chief international trade counsel for the Democratic staff to the U.S. House's Committee on Ways and Means, to be a commissioner of the U.S.
          President Trump’s Reinstated Travel Ban Leaves Sudanese Refugees in Legal Limbo   
"We're the victims but we are paying the price of perpetrators"
          Šéf General Electric odchází, investoři ho neměli rádi   
Jeffrey Immelt po 16 letech odchází z vedení GE. Koncern od základů změnil, trhy ale jeho vize neocenily. Uškodilo mu i spojenectví s Donaldem Trumpem. Žádná z amerických korporací neutratila tolik peněz za lobbing jako právě GE pod Immeltovým vedením.
          David Daley Joins FairVote as Senior Fellow   


April 5, 2017


David Daley, senior fellow, (347) 721-4576 or
Austin Plier, manager of communications (301) 270-4616,

National best-selling author joins FairVote to report on and analyze democracy solutions

David Daley, the former editor-in-chief of Salon and author of a national best-seller on the strategy, technology and politics behind Republican redistricting successes during the 2010 cycle, has joined FairVote as a senior fellow.

In this new position, Daley will continue expand his writing, reporting and speaking on redistricting and democracy issues, while also guiding FairVote’s communication efforts and building a team to expand original journalism efforts and the organization’s social media presence.

“This is a pivotal time to cover redistricting and the democracy agenda, with new legal and political strategies and new awareness that elections in the next three years may define most people’s representation in the 2020’s. With so many people thinking seriously about the state of our democracy, it’s the ideal moment to build awareness around FairVote’s analysis and essential reforms,” said Daley. “Extreme partisan gerrymandering is dangerous for democracy – especially when powered by sophisticated map-making software and all-knowing data sets. FairVote’s nonpartisan reforms hold the solution.”

Daley led Salon’s resurgence as an essential voice on politics and culture, launched the careers of dozens of today’s most vital and diverse voices, and more than quadrupled the site’s readership during his three years as editor in chief. His book, “Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy” (W.W. Norton/Liveright) was hailed by the New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker, Vox and Vice as one of the most important political books of the year. Daley has spoken about the book on CNN, National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air,” “Here and Now,” “On the Media” and many other broadcasts, and before audiences in 20 states.

Daley’s work has appeared in New York magazine, the Boston Globe and many other publications, including in the Washington Post Outlook section on April 2nd. He has been a digital media fellow at the University of Georgia’s Wilson Center and Grady School of Journalism. He has also lectured at Duke University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan University, Boston College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California, and many other leading universities. He is also a former reporter and editor at the Hartford Courantthe Louisville Courier-Journal and senior editor of Details magazine.

“We’re thrilled to add a journalist of David’s caliber to our team, and a high-profile national voice on gerrymandering and democracy,” said Rob Richie, FairVote’s executive director. “Everyone is thinking right now about ways to make our democracy more functional and representative, and David will be a great help in advancing our ideas into this vital national conversation – and have the space to create his own independent analysis as well.”

FairVote is a longtime proponent of ranked choice voting, as approved by Maine voters for all their major elections in 2018, and as central to the Fair Representation Act proposal to be introduced in Congress later this year. When evaluated by academics and political strategists, the fair representation form of ranked choice voting has been rated as likely to have the single most powerful positive impact on elections, such as at the April 2015 National Democracy Slam at the Washington College of Law and in an August 2015 report based on ratings by 14 leading political scientists and law professors.

To learn more about FairVote’s fair representation plan for Congress, read FairVote’s Monopoly Politics report, which highlights the winner-take-all problem facing U.S. House elections, and explore resources associated with the proposed Fair Representation Act. Highlights of Daley’s writings are available on his FairVote bio page.

For more information, contact Daley at DDaley[at] or manager of communications Austin Plier at aplier[at]

          Presumptive Nominees Represent Small Portion of Eligible Voters   


May 10. 2016


Michelle C. Whittaker (301) 270-4616 or


FairVote Analysis Reveals Presumptive Nominees Represent Small Portion of Eligible Voters

Wasted Votes Impact Military and Overseas Voters


Takoma, Park, MD — FairVote, the Center for Voting and Democracy, has compiled and posted an online Popular Vote 2016 spreadsheet with detailed state-by-state data on votes cast in the presidential primaries and caucuses to date. The data tracks vote totals for individual presidential candidates in each state that has held a primary or caucus. Additional information includes voter turnout, “wasted” votes cast for withdrawn candidates, and each candidate's share of the total voting population. Data analysis is available for voter turnout in primary elections only since caucus votes are not fully reported to the public.

View the data at

Frontrunners Garner Votes from Small Percentage of Eligible Voters

Overall, only 4.7% of eligible voters cast a ballot for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee after both Ted Cruz and John Kasich suspended their campaigns following the Indiana primary. The Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, has received only 5.6% of eligible voters nationwide. “It’s telling that barely a tenth of eligible voters have voted for either of the two presumptive nominees,” remarks FairVote’s executive director Rob Richie, “even in a year of relatively high primary turnout.”

Trump has won 10,706,130 votes out of 26,590,345 counted in Republican contests so far, representing:

  • 40.2% of all Republican votes counted so far

  • 21.9% of all votes counted so far this year in 2016 presidential contests

  • 4.7% of all eligible voters in the United States

  • 4.3% of all adult residents in the United States

  • 3.3% of all people living in the United States

Hillary Clinton has won 12,575,576 votes out of 23,376,193 counted in Democratic contests, representing:

  • 56.2% of all Democratic votes counted so far

  • 25.7% of all votes counted so far this year in 2016 presidential contests

  • 5.6% of all eligible voters in the United States

  • 5.0% of all adult residents in the United States

  • 3.9% of all people living in the United States 

Richie notes, “we ultimately should explore ways of opening up our general elections in November to greater choice through reforms like ranked choice voting.”

Votes Cast for Candidates after Withdrawal

More than 700,000 votes were cast and counted for a candidate that has withdrawn from the race, with a significant portion (619,261) cast in the Republican primary. In Indiana, for example, 28,038 votes were cast for one of the six Republican candidates listed on the ballot but no longer in the race on Election Day (May 3). Other notable vote totals cast for withdrawn candidates came out of Florida (117,187), Arizona (99,306), and Pennsylvania (35,576). In New York, such wasted votes aren’t even reported &mdash including a significantly higher percentage of votes cast by overseas military personnel who received ballots in advance of the primary that often include many withdrawn candidates.

Such absentee and early voters are among those most obviously affected by candidates that drop out of the race between the time when they cast their vote and Election Day. Some voters chose on Election Day to cast a vote for a candidate that had already dropped out. “It’s time for states to uphold voting rights for our troops and all those voting early by using ranked choice voting ballots,” says Richie, “as done already in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina in congressional elections that might go to a runoff.”

The Horserace: Primaries vs. Caucuses

FairVote’s Popular Vote 2016 spreadsheet includes sheets with all results by party as well as ones with votes only cast in caucuses and only cast in primaries. One key finding shows that comparisons overstate similarities between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders supporters. In primaries only, Sanders’ share of the vote is 41.62% compared to 65.14% in caucuses. For Trump, however, he earns 40.73% of primary votes as compared to 27.24% of caucus votes.

FairVote will continue to update our Popular Vote 2016 spreadsheet (see following the release of official vote totals in every nomination contest, so it can continue to serve as an analysis tool for any journalist interest in voter turnout trends. We will also be releasing an in-depth analysis of presidential primary voter turnout trends.

FairVote is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to make elections fair, functional, and fully representative. The data provided in the spreadsheet has been collected from publicly available state election pages, state party pages & other sources as indicated.

          New Poll & Report: How Better Polling Tells Us What Republican Voters Really Think   

Download PDF Version of Release

WASHINGTON, DC -- The College of William of Mary and the nonpartisan electoral reform organization FairVote have released a report on a national survey offering new insights into voter preferences and views on electoral reform. In partnership with YouGov and scholars Alan Abramowitz (Emory University) and Walter Strone (UC-Davis), they conducted a national online survey of a representative sample of 1,000 Republican and independent voters, with half of the sample from January 21-25 (before the Iowa caucuses) and half from February 4-8 (before the New Hampshire primary).

Read Full Report

The new survey’s innovative methodology incorporated presidential candidate rankings (with more than nine in ten respondents ranking all 11 candidates who were surveyed), issue analyses, and opinions on electoral reforms. “Our survey provides journalists, pollsters, and campaigns with valuable insights into voter preferences that have been largely overlooked in national polling,” said FairVote executive director Rob Richie.

The full report, with analyses and appendices with all responses and crosstab information for questions involving electoral reform, is available at The ranking data is also presented at with an interactive data tool that allows users to see how candidates fare against each one-on-one, who is the second choice of backers of different candidates and which candidate would win under a ranked choice voting, “instant runoff” election system.

A panel discussion will be held today at 1 pm at the Zenger Room at the National Press Club. Featured panelists are:

  • Ronald Rapoport, John Marshall Professor at the College of William and Mary,
  • Rob Richie, Executive Director at FairVote – The Center for Voting and Democracy,
  • Emily Ekins, Research Fellow, Cato Institute, and
  • John Fortier, Democracy Project Director of the Bipartisan Policy Center

Key Findings

● Presidential Race - Trump’s high floor comes with relatively low ceiling as underscored by loss to Ted Cruz in instant runoff: The College of William and Mary/FairVote survey echoes most other national polls indicating that Donald Trump is far ahead in voter intentions, with 38.5%, compared to 17.8% for Ted Cruz, and 12.3% for Marco Rubio. However, when a ranked choice voting tally is run that results in a one-on-one “instant runoff” between Trump and Cruz, Trump trails 51% to 49% and loses ground to other candidates in every single round of the tally. Although Trump does defeat all other candidates one-on-one, including a 54% to 46% over Marco Rubio and 66% to 34% over Jeb Bush, he is the last choice of more than one in five respondents.

● Republican and independent voters are ready for electoral rule changes: Voters are generally ready to embrace changes in the nature of congressional elections and the composition of Congress, albeit some hesitation and uncertainty exists. As consistent with past surveys of right-of-center voters more than four in five respondents on an absolute scale support voter identification requirements (86.5%) and term limits for Congress (82.6%). Support was also high for a voter registration system that registers all eligible voters while blocking ineligible voters (78.6%), easier ballot access for third parties and independents (73.2%), limits of political donations, (72.7%) impartial redistricting (66%), and a national popular vote for president (66.4%). Ranked choice voting was backed most strongly for primary elections (51.8%) and local elections (49.3%), and had more support than opposition for its use at every level of election. When it comes to imagining changes by 2030, large majorities of those with an opinion support a Congress with more third parties, women, people of color and major party representatives from the opposition party’s strongholds – with no more than 18.9% opposing any of these changes.

 Voters ready for presidential nomination rules changes: Although respondents are not passionate about any single change to the nomination process, they have little support for the rules as they are. Strong majorities are ready to support ranked choice ballots in the nomination process ((57.1%), a national primary among the top candidates (57%), changing the schedule so Iowa and New Hampshire don’t always come first (55.8%), and delegates in all states being awarded proportionally rather than by winner take all (51.7%).

● Millennials most ready for electoral changes: Millennial voters (under 30) had the highest intensity of support for electoral changes when compared to other age groups. For example, 23% of millennials in the survey strongly favor having more third party and independents in Congress, as opposed to 13% of respondents over 60. Substantial, if slightly smaller gaps exist between those age groups for having more women and people of color in Congress. When it comes to reform, ranked choice voting had the backing of 61% of all respondents with an opinion about it, but a whopping 79% of millennials.

● The Tea Party remains influential: A majority of Republicans identify as Tea Party supporters (53%) to some extent, and in 2014, Tea Party supporters accounted for more than two-thirds of active Republicans (those Republicans who campaigned, donated to, advocated for, or voted for a Republican candidate). An overwhelming majority of Ted Cruz supporters are Tea Party supporters (84%), however, Donald Trump receives high support from both Tea Party and non-Tea Party supporters.

● A three-party race in November: Only about one-in-four Republicans are willing to support the Republican ticket both with Donald Trump as the nominee and with Marco Rubio as the Republican nominee against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and an independent candidate.

The data-rich report, with detailed questions about a wide range of issues and more information about how voters see the election, is available in full on-line. The interactive feature allowing users to see the impact of voter rankings of candidates is at

For more information, contact FairVote communications director Michelle Whittaker at or call its offices at (301) 270-4616.

FairVote is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to make elections fair, functional, and fully representative.

The College of William and Mary is the second-oldest college in the nation, known for cutting-edge research.  

          The Angle: Lurking Trumpcare Edition   

Not dead yet: Sen. Mitch McConnell’s announcement on Tuesday that he’ll delay the vote on Trumpcare didn't settle Jim Newell’s nerves overmuch. The Republican leadership in the Senate could still come back after the July Fourth break and offer holdouts just enough to get their support.

          Simpson wants Idaho sheep research station to stay open despite Trump's budget    

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: DUBOIS, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson will try to keep open an Idaho sheep experiment station despite President Donald Trump's proposed budget calling for its elimination. The Post-Register reported ( ) Tuesday that Clark County economic development officials worry closure of the station could have a major negative impact on the economy. The U.S. Sheep Experiment Station employs 14 full-time researchers. It's one of the most significant employers in the county that about 860 people live in. The station's annual budget stands at about $2.1 million for 2017, but Trump's budget would send that figure to zero and lay off all 14 researchers. It would cancel a $1.7 million project aimed at increasing the efficiency of sheep production on rangeland, as well as a $711,000 project examining technologies for rangeland management.

          Labrador's bill to limit refugee resettlement clears House Judiciary on party-line vote    

Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador’s legislation to limit refugee resettlement cleared the House Judiciary Committee this morning on a 15-11 party-line vote, with all Republicans present supporting it and all Democrats opposing it. The bill was reported out to the full House with just one amendment, sponsored by Labrador, to delete one section that sought to limit when victims of violence in foreign countries could be considered refugees. Nearly a dozen other amendments proposed by Democrats on the panel were rejected along party lines. You can read my full story here at

Labrador said in a statement, “I am very pleased the committee approved my bill today. As Americans, we have a long tradition of helping refugees who, through no fault of their own, are fleeing war and persecution and wish to become contributing members of our society.  However, our first priority when it comes to America’s refugee program is ensuring the safety and security of the American people. There are already documented cases of terrorists infiltrating the program, and with ISIS vowing to exploit it further, the time for congressional action is now.”

The bill would reduce the maximum number of refugees resettled in the United States from 110,000 to 50,000 a year, a change sought by President Trump; give states and local governments veto power over any refugee resettlement within their borders; step up security monitoring of resettled refugees until they qualify as permanent residents; and require a review of all prospective refugees’ social media postings, among other provisions.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., called the bill “an un-American assault on our country’s bipartisan humanitarian record of welcoming those who are fleeing violence.” She said right now, one person is being displaced every 3 seconds in the world, and said, “We are going to meet the 50,000 cap next week, at a time when there is such turmoil in the world and such a need to welcome refugees.”

Labrador’s bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; it also has drawn eight other GOP co-sponsors. Labrador introduced a similar bill last year, setting the maximum number of refugees at 60,000 a year. It drew 25 co-sponsors, all Republicans, and passed the Judiciary Committee last March, but didn’t proceed beyond that.

Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee criticized the bill as mean-spirited and lacking in compassion, but none of their proposed amendments were approved. When Jayapal proposed an amendment she said would protect victims of sex trafficking and forced prostitution from being rejected for refugee status due to having committed crimes, Labrador told her he was willing to work with her on that issue, but not to accept her amendment, which he said would go beyond just those victims.

“I oppose the amendment, but I would invite the gentle lady to work with us to see if there’s some language that we can do what you said in your words, which is not what the amendment does,” Labrador told her. “What you said in your words is that you’re trying to protect victims of forced prostitution. And I think we can agree that maybe that’s something we can do. But if you read the language of your amendment, it is much broader than that. … It protects people from any crime they have committed, not just forced prostitution.”

At Goodlatte’s request, Jayapal withdrew her proposed amendment.

The one approved amendment deletes Section 13 of the bill, according to Labrador’s office, because Labrador decided that issue could be addressed in other legislation. Here is the deleted section:


Section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)) is amended by inserting “For purposes of this paragraph, a person may not be considered a refugee solely or in part because the person is displaced due to, or is fleeing from, violence in the country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, the country in which such person last habitually resided, if that violence is not specifically directed at the person, or, if it is directed specifically at the person, it is not directed at the person on account of that person’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” before “The term ‘refugee’ does not include”.

The bill now can proceed to a vote in the full House, at the discretion of House GOP leaders.

          Wiretapping in the Workplace   
The recent turmoil, investigation and controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey has thrust the issue of wiretapping into the public and political spotlight. “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!,” President Trump tweeted on May 12, 2017,... Continue Reading
          Comment on Carl Edwards, Jr.’s reason for skipping the Cubs’ visit to the White House is… interesting by historiophiliac   
No, the Deplorables voted FOR Trump.
          Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Registers As A Foreign Agent   
Paul Manafort's firm took in more than $17 million working for Ukraine's Party of Regions, which is widely considered to have had strong ties to the Kremlin.
          Melania y Barron Trump se mudan a la Casa Blanca   
Según el guión previsto, Melania Trump y su hijo Barron acaban de trasladarse oficialmente a...
          The Nash Announces July Lineup of Artists   
The Nash announces its calendar of shows for July. The live jazz club features a wide array of jazz styles, jam sessions, lectures and matinee shows to appeal to all tastes and ages.

The Nash is located at 110 E. Roosevelt St on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. Tickets for all shows and jam sessions are available at or by calling 602-795-0464.
Advance tickets are on sale at or may be purchased at the door.
The Nash offers extensive wine and beer service at all shows with a wonderful selection of full and half bottles of wine as well as an assortment of craft beers for our patrons' enjoyment.

July 1: Pete Pancrazi Quartet @ The Nash 7:30 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004Tickets: $20 adults/$10 students or 602-795-0464
Pete Pancrazi-guitar/vocals, Claudia Bloom-piano, Vic Kottner-bass, Todd Chuba-drums
Pete Pancrazi has studied and performed music for most of his life. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of music degree in jazz performance. Being named by Downbeat Magazine as "one to watch" and a guitar player "deserving greater attention" is no surprise to those who have heard him perform.

July 2: Dr. Chris Wells Jazz History/Culture Discussion @ Freedom Now: Jazz and The Civil Rights Movement 3:00 - 5:00 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004Tickets: $30 or 602-795-0464
Join Dr. Chris Wells for a discussion of jazz history and culture and its relationships to time and place. No prior knowledge of jazz or instrumental experience is required. All are welcome! Freedom Now: Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement This workshop will focus on Max Roach and Oscar Brown's groundbreaking composition We Insist!: The Freedom Now Suite as both a breathtaking piece of art and a window into jazz musicians' broader involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1960s. We will discuss the Freedom Now Suite's history and genesis and listen closely to its many striking features with a special emphasis on the work of singer Abbey Lincoln. Christopher J. Wells is Assistant Professor of Musicology at Arizona State University's Herberger Institute School of Music and Managing Editor of the Journal of Jazz Studies.

July 2: Sunday Jam Session @ The Nash6:00 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004Tickets: $8 general, $5 students, free for instrumentalists and vocalists who sit in or 602-795-0464
Stan Sorenson - guitar/bandleader
Every Sunday the true spirit of jazz plays out on stage at The Nash, as student and pro musicians play together, unrehearsed, in a variety of combinations. There's always a solid core trio. Student jazz musicians are welcome, with house band, grand piano, guitar and bass amp, drum set and sound all provided. Singers welcome. Event open to all ages! Great opportunities for audiences to enjoy 3 hours of jazz.

July 7: FIRST FRIDAY John Ettinger @ The Nash
7:30 PM
The Nash 110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004 Tickets: FREE or 602-795-0464 John Ettinger-violin, Bryon Ruth-saxophones, Ted Sistrunk-bass, Jacob Eary-drums With three well-received recordings under his own name featuring Tony Malaby, Todd Sickafoose, Scott Amendola, Devin Hoff, Art Hirahara, and Pete Forbes, John Ettinger has also performed and recorded with an array of noteworthy artists over the years, including Honeycut (on DJ Shadow's Quannum Records); composer/clarinetist Beth Custer (on her CD Vinculum Symphony and the Hans Wendl-produced soundtrack to the 1929 Russian silent film My Grandmother); and vocalist PerCy Howard (Incidental Seductions with Living Colour's Vernon Reid, King Crimson's Trey Gunn and This Heat's Charles Hayward). Ettinger served as a co-founding member of several bay area bands, including eclectic improv groups Overdriven Cultists (with Grassy Knoll members Dave Revelli and Jonathan Byerly) and electric jazz-jam band Hurlo Thrumbo (with Jon Preuss, Andrew Luthringer, and Tod Preuss).

July 8: Jimmy Nistico & Jazz Express 7:30 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004Tickets: $20 adults/$10 students or 602-795-0464
Jimmy Nistico-sax, Denny Monce-trumpet, Dave Henning-piano, Selwyn Reams-bass, Bruce Stodola-drums Jim Nistico was born in Syracuse, NY, and raised in a musical home with older brother Sal Nistico paving the way on saxophone. Jim got started on clarinet at age 10, switching to tenor sax (Sal's hand me down) at age 15. He played his first professional gig at 16 and continued playing in local clubs until age 21, when he landed a "pit band "gig at 3 Rivers Inn in upstate NY, backing Patti Page, Jerry Vale, Al Martino , and several other music legends of the day. From there, he joined Stan Collela and the official N.Y.State band playing for Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, Maxine Sullivan, Jack Jones, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole and the whole Motown Circuit.

July 9: Jazz Matinee - Mary Patrick & JeAnne Newhall @ The Nash 3:00 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004Tickets: $15 adults/$12 seniors/$5 students with IDYouth under 12 FREE or 602-795-0464
JeAnne Newhall-vocals/piano, Mary Petrich-saxophones

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, pianist JeAnne Newhall returns to her native Phoenix to team up with local jazz saxophonist Mary Petrich for an afternoon of original compositions, pop tunes and standards. Both musicians have been pushing the boundaries of their individual creativity and now reunite to collaborate in a new musical project

July 9: Sunday Jam Session @ The Nash6:00 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004Tickets: $8 general, $5 students, free for instrumentalists and vocalists who sit in or 602-795-0464
Russ Schmidt- piano/bandleader
Every Sunday the true spirit of jazz plays out on stage at The Nash, as student and pro musicians play together, unrehearsed, in a variety of combinations. There's always a solid core trio. Student jazz musicians are welcome, with house band, grand piano, guitar and bass amp, drum set and sound all provided. Singers welcome. Event open to all ages! Great opportunities for audiences to enjoy 3 hours of jazz.

July 14: Catch a Rising Star
Eric Nakamoto, bass
7:30 pm

The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Road, Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-795-0464

Tickets: $15 adults/$8 students
Alex Price-trumpet, Joe Thomas-saxophone, Greg Hasson-guitar, Ben Cortez-piano, Eric Nakamoto-bass, Sam Russo-drums

Eric Nakamoto is a bass player from Phoenix, Arizona who has been an active participant in the local scene since he was 15. Formerly a guitar player, Eric started playing the violin in elementary school. Shortly after, he switched to the double bass, primarily studying classical music. Eric discovered jazz during his sophomore year of high school. Since then, he has participated combos at Scottsdale community college, the Young Sounds of Arizona, The Nash Legacy Ensemble Blue, and the All-State jazz bands. Eric has studied and been mentored by many Phoenix musicians such as Eric Rasmussen, Will Goble, Dr. Ben Hedquist, Andrew Gross, and Chris Finet. Currently, Eric studies classical bass with Dr. John Ebinger of the Phoenix Symphony. This fall, he will continue his studies at Northern Arizona University as a music major. Eric's musical influences include Ray Brown, Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, and James Jamerson.

July 15: Pam Morita @ The Nash 7:30 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004Tickets: $20adults/$10 students or 602-795-0464
Pam Morita got hit with the jazz bug as a graduate classical piano student when she heard Joe Williams sing with the Count Basie Band at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The band swung so hard that it influenced Pam to pursue a career in jazz piano and voice. At that moment she knew she had to play jazz!

July 16: Sunday Jam Session @ The Nash6:00 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004Tickets: $8 general, $5 students, free for instrumentalists and vocalists who sit in or 602-795-0464
Beth Lederman- piano/bandleader
Every Sunday the true spirit of jazz plays out on stage at The Nash, as student and pro musicians play together, unrehearsed, in a variety of combinations. There's always a solid core trio. Student jazz musicians are welcome, with house band, grand piano, guitar and bass amp, drum set and sound all provided. Singers welcome. Event open to all ages! Great opportunities for audiences to enjoy 3 hours of jazz.

July 20: 3rd THURSDAYS JAZZ HAPPY HOUR @ The NashWE 35:00 PM
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004

          Young Jazz Sensations to Perform at The Nash   
The Nash announces its "Catch A Rising Star" Summer Concert Series featuring performances by young Arizona jazz artists. The musicians range from high school to recent college graduates between ages of 18 - 24, who either are based or were raised in Arizona. Curated by The Nash, this series provides a platform for these emerging artists to gain prominence in the jazz community.

All "Catch a Rising Star" musicians are offered a clinic by an experienced local jazz educator in advance of their performance at The Nash. This concert series melds the educational mission of The Nash to develop jazz musicians for the future along with providing an entertaining concert series for the summer. Tickets are $15 for general admission/$5 for students. More information is available at The Nash is located at 110 E. Roosevelt St on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix.

CHRIS CLEMENTS, trombone FRIDAY JUNE 23 AT 7:30 PM Tickets: $15 adults/$5 students The Nash 110 E. Roosevelt Road, Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-795-0464
Alex Yuwen-tenor saxophone, Chris Clements-trombone, Ross Lewicki-piano, Eric Nakamoto-bass, Ryan Anthony-drums

A past member of the Thunderbird High School Jazz I Big Band and the Young Sounds of Arizona, trombonist Chris Clements is currently attending William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ, as a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies under the tutelage of John Mosca, Bill Charlap, and Dr. David Demsey. While in high school, Chris earned outstanding soloist awards at jazz festivals across the state as well as a full-ride scholarship to the Berklee Global Jazz Workshop at the Newport Jazz Festival where he studied under Danilo Perez, George Garzone, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Chris has performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, Vanderbilt Mansion, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, and various venues in the New York City/New Jersey area. In addition to performing at The Nash, Chris will be working as a Teacher's Assistant to both Vincent Gardner and James Burton III at the Juilliard School this summer.

CONNOR SAMPLE, drums FRIDAY JUNE 30 AT 7:30 PM Tickets: $15 adults/$5 students The Nash 110 E. Roosevelt Road, Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-795-0464

Connor Sample is a jazz drummer and composer based out of Phoenix, Arizona. His experience includes ten years of formal music education and six years as a professional musician working around the Phoenix area. Sample's love for music began with the drums at the age of ten and at age twelve, Connor started playing piano as well as classical percussion repertoire.

He first took an interest in jazz at the age of sixteen upon joining a jazz combo class at Paradise Valley Community College. There he began to draw inspiration from jazz composers such as Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, and David Binney, who continue to be among Sample's favorite composers. Moving forward, Connor was admitted to the Arizona State University Jazz Studies Department, where he is currently finishing his bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance under the mentorship of drummers Dom Moio and Lewis Nash.

Connor has also been a member of the Nash's very own Nash Composers Coalition since 2016.

ERIC NAKAMOTO, bass THURSDAY JULY 14 AT 7:30 PM Tickets: $15 adults/$8 students The Nash 110 E. Roosevelt Road, Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-795-0464
Alex Price-trumpet, Joe Thomas-saxophone, Greg Hasson-guitar, Ben Cortez-piano, Eric Nakamoto-bass, Sam Russo-drums

Eric Nakamoto is a bass player from Phoenix, Arizona who has been an active participant in the local scene since he was 15. Formerly a guitar player, Eric started playing the violin in elementary school. Shortly after, he switched to the double bass, primarily studying classical music. Eric discovered jazz during his sophomore year of high school. Since then, he has participated combos at Scottsdale community college, the Young Sounds of Arizona, The Nash Legacy Ensemble Blue, and the All-State jazz bands. Eric has studied and been mentored by many Phoenix musicians such as Eric Rasmussen, Will Goble, Dr. Ben Hedquist, Andrew Gross, and Chris Finet. Currently, Eric studies classical bass with Dr. John Ebinger of the Phoenix Symphony. This fall, he will continue his studies at Northern Arizona University as a music major. Eric's musical influences include Ray Brown, Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, and James Jamerson.

About The Nash Recognized by Downbeat Magazine as one of the top jazz venues in the United States, The Nash is named for "the most valuable player" in jazz (Modern Drummer Magazine), Phoenix native Lewis Nash.
Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix on "Roosevelt Row, The Nash brings a full calendar of live performances and ensures the future of the iconic art of jazz through its educational and outreach programs.

The Nash hosts classic jazz and new music concerts; performances by student musicians, local pros and touring artists; weekly jazz jam sessions; workshops; master classes; and clinics. Educational programs are offered ranging from one-on-one private lessons to combo labs, guided listening, jazz in film, jazz camps and more.

About Lewis Nash Internationally acclaimed jazz drummer Lewis Nash, named the most valuable player in jazz by Modern Drummer Magazine, was described by Ira Gitler of The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz as "Perhaps the most talented drummer of his generation." Lewis grew up in south Phoenix and by the early age of 10 years old began playing drums. At age 21 he moved to New York City, where he became the drummer of choice for an incredible array of artists - from jazz masters to the hottest young players of today. His 30-year career includes performance on 10 Grammy award-winning albums and an impressive discography of over 400 recordings with jazz legends such as BetTy Carter, Tommy Flanagan, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner, Hank Jones, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter and Clark Terry, as well as such contemporary jazz artists as Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Joe Lovano and Roy Hargrove.

A highly respected educator and clinician, Lewis joined the faculty of the ASU School of Music in January 2017 as the Bob and Gretchen Ravenscroft Professor of Practice in Jazz.

          1070 Approaches Opening at Herberger Theater   


"1070", a new play by James Garcia, premieres at the Herberger Theater Center on June 23 with performances running through July 9th. Tickets are $15 - $25 and are on sale now at

In this full-length drama, Dulce Avila and her family faces life after the passage of the passage of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070.

"Ultimately, immigration is about the people it affects, and regrettably that's often when folks start arguing over the topic," said Garcia. "The play explores the consequences the law had on one family, as well as the wider community, including what happened in political and economic circles. I think most people today agree that SB 1070 put Arizona on the map for all the wrong reasons, and we're still recovering from the black eye it left on our state's reputation."

Anna Flores, "Dulce Avila"

The play stars Anna Flores, currently a student at Arizona State University, and a graduate of Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix. Flores began performing at Carl Hayden when she was 16.

"I'm so grateful to be a part of this production," said Flores, "not only because I think it's a great part and a great play, but because as Dulce Avila, my character, I find myself experiencing on stage many of the same experiences my own family and friends have gone through. The sad thing is that it seems to be happening all over again."

The play will be staged over three weekends at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe in Phoenix. It opens in the KAX Theater June 23 to July 2. Then for the final weekend, July 8-10, "1070" will move to the larger Stage West venue in the Herberger to accommodate what Garcia predicts will be larger audiences, including some of the people registered to attend the annual National Council de La Raza (NCLR) convention in Phoenix.

Garcia said more than four thousand people are expected to register for the convention. NCLR, which was founded in Phoenix in 1969, is the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization.

After SB 1070 passed, NCLR, now based in Washington, D.C., led a national economic boycott against Arizona. NCLR President Janet Murguia has said the organization agreed to return to Arizona because of the progress the state has made countering the damaging effects of SB 1070.

"I think it says a lot that NCLR is willing to bring its convention to Arizona, even though we know things are far from perfect," said Garcia. "For one thing, there's the new wave of attacks aimed at immigrants by Trump. It remind us that immigration is a national and even global issue that's unresolved. Sadly, there are literally millions of immigrants and their families who are living in fear thanks of Trump's cruel and bigoted agenda. One of the things I hope this play does is speak not only to the extraordinary pain and damage that laws like 1070 wreake, but that good people in Arizona and around the country, many with very different backgrounds, have been willing over the years to fight back."

Dates & Times: June 23 - July 9, 2017, Friday and Saturday night performances at7:30 p.m., and Sunday afternoon matinee, 2 p.m. The show is two hours and 15 minutes long.

Tickets are $15 to $25, and $5 off for students and seniors 65 and up. All NCLR convention registrants receive the discounted student/senior rate.

To buy tickets:

Opening Night Dinner Reception: June 23 at 5:30 pm, Arizona Latino Arts Cultural Center, 147 E. Adams, Phoenix. The package is $40 which includes wine or beer and tickets to the show. Catering provided by Chef Lorenzo Santillan.

Location: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 (KAX Theater, June 23-July 2 and Stage West theater July 8-10, 2017)

Presented by: New Carpa Theater Co. ( and Sociedad Activa ( in association with the Herberger Theater Center.

About New Carpa Theater Co.

New Carpa Theater Co. was founded in 2002. The nonprofit troupe presents new works by established and emerging Latino and multicultural artists. James E. Garcia is the founder and producing artistic director of New Carpa and the author of more than 30 plays. He has an MFA in Creative Writing/Playwriting from Arizona State University.

James E. Garcia Biography

James is a journalist, playwright and a Valley-based media and communications consultant. He is the director of communications and strategic public policy for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the owner of Creative Vistas Media. As a journalist, he has worked as a reporter, columnist, foreign correspondent and television and radio commentator. He was the founding editor of Latino Perspectives Magazine in Phoenix; the first Latino Affairs correspondent for KJZZ, the Valley's National Public Radio affiliate; and the first Latino editor of major alternative news weekly in the U.S., the San Antonio Current. Mr. Garcia also has taught ethnic studies, Latino politics and creative and journalistic writing courses at Arizona State University. An accomplished playwright and theater producer, James is the founder and producing artistic director of New Carpa Theater Co., which stages Latino and multicultural works. He is an actor, director and author of more than 30 plays. His upcoming play, "1070", premieres in June 2017 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. His most recent works include "Land of a Thousand Dances" (about the 60s East L.A. rock band, Cannibal and the Headhunters), "Mallecho" (a modern adaptation of Hamlet by William Shakespeare set in Texas politics), and "American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Raul H. Castro" (Arizona's only ever Hispanic governor). His media and communications consulting clients have included Chispa Arizona, Mesa Public Schools, the Smithsonian Institution, One Arizona, Promise Arizona, Ohio Against Hate, the Arizona Opera, Gina's Team, the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, the family of former Arizona Gov. Raul H. Castro, and United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona. You can contactJames at or call 623-252-2772.


          Hillary Needs All the Help TRUMP and the GOP Can Give Her   
Obama called Hillary,"Not Nearly Enough BAD" in his own unique way, but with Michele as VP...and TRUMP Perot-ing away critical GOP votes, she can at last grasp "The BRASS RING".

On the very day after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her favvorite hat "in the ring" for president of the United States, she hobnobbed at a Chipotle in Ohio with top advisor Huma Abedin. Both wore sunglasses and the same color dress probably. Few photos exist, if any. They did not hold hands but ordered at the counter where nobody noticed, saying,"WOW, There is the former first former lady!" They sat down at a table and guess what... nobody noticed. They sat at the table for 25 minutes, paid their bill FIRST because who gets to eat it THEN pay, and ambulated out. Nobody noticed that they were "incognito".
Nobody had to take a purloined pistol from an exasperated Democrat because she had failed to be distraught, depressed, and even grab one to pretend to be "ending it all". Hang your head, and say, "AW SHUCKS!"

Down Low but otherwise upper echelon Democrats who "sabe mas como el BURRO" and want to appear to know seem to believe that Hillary Clinton has magic. The Democratic National Committee all but prayed over her and anointed her with cottonseed oil as their nominee just scant moments after her lollapaloosa announcement. Barack Obama almost endorsed her. The media drooled on their bibs, swooned over her statement that she would be going on a tour in a van, and got all excited. 
Nevertheless that episode in the Chipotle says and ingonito Hillary and good buddy, Nana, can go anywhere and do not need a "rope barrier" to corral the over-caffinated and wild-eyed adoring media. Hillary is 100 percent infamous on name identification. She is not an anonymous Chicago senator with a paper-thin resume who recommends abortion, writes bills that are ignored and gets major attention anyway. She is better than hot fudge on a stick - she’s an unapproachable, insincere, - elitist who proudly calls herself the B-word. And most of all, everybody is all too well aware of her "status".

there are three HUGE reasons that Hillary is no B.O. or whatever people want to call him:

Hillary lacks that "I'm Special" racial appeal. The hierarchy of major victimhood in the leftist thought system places blacks at the top with 300 free points on job-related qualifying tests. Latinos get 150 and gays and lesbians are ranked somewhere below blacks and Latinos free-points-on-test-wise because they were mostly whites rowdy at Stonewall Bar and Grill. Latinos and Native Americans rank below both groups, then women. Jews and Asians, mainly an afterthought in the rankings take the lower tiers because they are the most taken for granted. Barack Obama promised that as a half-black man, his election would unify the country, and people bought that jive, hook, line and sinker. Barry Soetoro was elected to moving America beyond the racial polarization of the past. Naive Republicans joined equally naive Democrats in celebrating the symbolism of his election, although some knew it was a power grab beyond all expectations that it quickly became.  Senator Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote in his book that he cried when Obama was elected. and stated:

    I was so proud to be an American, and so moved by the powerful symbolism of the moment, I couldn’t stop myself from tearing up."

Nobody will peel onions and become all leaky-eyed when Hillary is elected, because nobody, down deep, believes a woman cannot be elected in America. Three out of four US Secretaries of State were women and there are presently and have been - numerous overly-powerful female senators. Hillary Clinton is in no way, shape or fashion - a victim.

Even more telling, Barack Obama’s 2012 election, representing a wised-up example of his actual support level, relied heavily on black electoral support. Palefaces and "browns" intilidated by dozens of blacks in voting lines expected to vote for you-know-who, did not bother to vote. Likewise, Obama needed and got - critical black support in the 2008 primaries. Had it not been for black support in 2008, Obama would have been beaten by Hillary Clinton. Hillary can "shuck and jive" practically plastic-like and robotically but lacks that same level of support from blacks in either the primaries or the general election.

Hillary is a somewhat lackluster female. Hillary may have a child that Mike Obama can never have to be truly female, but Hillary will emphasize the fact that she is female in her own boring, repetative fashion but the fact remains that her bond-ability with female voters leaves something to be desired. Her upper middle class elitist upbringing helped her to "marry well"- snaring the future governor of Arkansas. The Arkansas governor's coattails landed her in a prestigious law firm, then First Lady, Senator, and as a consolation prize, Secretary of State. She does not emote or bond particularly well with moms or grandmothers, in spite of her baking cookies and lying about Chealsea jogging at the Twin Towers. The mainstream alphabet TV and print media tries valiantly to portray her as a regular human being, but falls flat on its collective face.

Hillary Clinton rhetorically wants assist students heavily in debt by taxing the rich, especially the rich who favor everyone paying 1% and incrementally more topping at 15% for millionaires.
Hillary Clinton's her backpedaling on coal reveals her coal miner roots may be a total fabrication.
An August 2015, polling on the pubs holds that Hillary Clinton is somewhat dominant with 'somewhat liberal' voters percentage-wise (57 to 22), moderates (54 to 18), women (56 to 21), and seniors (58 to 19). For Hillary Clinton,  designated 'very liberal' voters are (49 to 39), males (47 to 30), and younger voters sometimes called "wippersnappers" and "skulls full of mush" (46 to 31).

hillary is ancient in age. Under 30 voters constituted about 19 percent of 2012 voters. That bodes ill for Hillary, who must rely on contributions from women and youth (Yutes) to pick up the slack she is sure to see with a diminished black vote turnout. With Hillary, they have seen "Par-ee" so it will be difficult to keep them "on the plantation" or farm - in the tank - for her. The ageing face full of wrinkles is bad news for Hillary. Pollsters easily predicted that Hillary would do well with youth voters when an early April Fusion poll piled up victories over Jeb (Common Core lover) Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Governor Scott (Dynimite) Walker, Bobby Jindal and Marko Rubio. In these days of looking important on TV, Hillary polls well when she goes missing-in-action (MIA), but when the ones polled actually SEE HER, they are UNDERWHELMED.

Perhaps more than anything else, Hillary represents the past. Marko Rubio presented a  contrast splendidly in his "gonna run for POTUS " announcement speech which punted "patooty" posteriorly:

Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for President by promising to take us back to yesterday. But yesterday is over, and we are never going back.

Similarities of Hillary remain for comparison to Obama since the mainstream media will automatically favor her as a Democrat giving her softball questions instead of gruelling headache-inducing ones she deserves. Similarly, her checkered-infamous past will be whitewashed. As an Ivy League elitist, she comes across as a fake intellectual, having no Rhodes Scholar or epic grades from long ago when the chisels recorded court transcriptions.  Unlike Obama, nobody will just GIVE HER the presidency because she is a Democrat and the Republicans will grovel and worship at her feet.  She will have to pump up her own following. And when Hillary forced to portray herself, she is at a loss to "act naturally". 
If she had done a few hundred homicide trials, she would have that stony demeanor that would set her apart as a rock between steel and a hard place.

          IMF cuts US growth outlook amid lack of policies   

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The lack of details on President Donald Trump’s plans to reform the US economy prompted the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) to cut its growth forecast for this year and next. The IMF in January raised the estimates on the expectation of fiscal stimulus from the Trump administration, but have [...]

The post IMF cuts US growth outlook amid lack of policies appeared first on The Manila Times Online.

          Peso softens to fresh 10-yr low at P50.50:$1   

The Philippine peso weakened further against the US dollar on Wednesday, touching a new low in more than 10 years, as external developments such as Federal Reserve’s recent rate hike pronouncements and uncertainties on Trump administration’s tax policies affected the market. The local currency closed 21 centavos weaker at P50.50:$1 on Wednesday. It was its [...]

The post Peso softens to fresh 10-yr low at P50.50:$1 appeared first on The Manila Times Online.

          The Latest: Reporters barred from Trump fundraiser after all   
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s first re-election fundraiser (all times local): 5:30 p.m. The White House has gone back on its plan to let reporters hear President Donald Trump’s speech at his first re-election fundraiser. In a break from tradition, the White House had planned to bar reporters from Trump’s speech. Reporters […]
          Trump þiggur heimboð Macron   
Trump og Macron í Brussel. Donald Trump Bandaríkjaforseti hefur þegið boð Emmanuel Macron Frakklandsforseta um að taka þátt í hátíðarhöldum í París á Bastilludaginn, 14. júlí. Trump verður m.a. viðstaddur skrúðgöngu eftir Champs-Elysees, þar sem bandarískir hermenn munu ganga við hlið franskra hermanna til að fagna því að öld er liðin frá því að Bandaríkin gengu til liðs við bandamenn í fyrri heimstyrjöldinni.
          Trump safnar fyrir Trump á hóteli Trump   
Trump International Hotel stendur við Pennsylvania Avenue, götuna sem liggur á milli Hvíta hússins og þinghússins. Það eru meira en 1.200 dagar í næstu forsetakosningar í Bandaríkjunum en Donald Trump er þegar farinn að safna. Í kvöld mun hann sitja fjáröflunarkvöldverð í þágu Repúblikanaflokksins og hans eigin kosningaherferðar en viðburðurinn fer fram á Trump International Hotel í Washington; aðeins steinsnar frá Hvíta húsinu.
          Fölsuð forsíða Donalds Trump    
Forsíða Trum á Time tímaritinu 2009 er fölsuð. Ljósmynd sem sýnir Donald Trump Bandaríkjaforseta á forsíðu tímaritsins Time frá 1. mars 2009 er fölsuð að sögn forsvarsmanna Time. Málið hefur vakið töluverða athygli enda hangir umrædd mynd á veggjum golfklúbba sem eru í eigu Trumps.
          Taka stefnu Obama fram yfir Trump   
Michael Bloomberg og Jean-Claude Juncker, forseti framkvæmdastjórnar Evrópusambandsins. Borgarstjórar fleiri en 7.400 borga víðsvegar í heiminum hafa heitið því að grípa til aukinna aðgerða í baráttunni gegn loftslagsbreytingum í ljósi þess að Donald Trump Bandaríkjaforseti hefur ákveðið að draga Bandaríkin úr Parísarsamkomulaginu svokallaða.
          France, US to act jointly if Syria uses chem weapons   
France, US to act jointly if Syria uses chem weaponsMacron, Trump spoke via telephone
          Cruising the Web   
I never thought that Trump's travel order was necessary, but I didn't doubt that he had the power to issue that order. Given that he first issued the order about five months ago and it was only temporary while the administration figured out new vetting procedures for issuing visas. Well, that original time has now just about elapsed and there are going to be three to four months until the Supreme Court hears the case. So, the whole question may become moot by then if the administration actually does what it said it was going to do.

Jonathan Turley chastises the legal pundits and appellate judges who thought that the order wasn't within the president's executive authority.
For those of us who have long argued that the legal authority supported Trump, the order was belated but not surprising. However, the order does offer a brief respite for some self-examination for both legal commentators, and frankly, the courts. At times the analysis surrounding the immigration order seemed to drop any pretense of objectivity and took on the character of open Trump bashing.
Turley argues quite accurately that Trump's persona and his own attacks on the media have driven the media so crazy is that they've dropped their supposed standards and ethics. The same appeared to be happening with the lower courts.
For those of us who have long argued that the legal authority supported Trump, the order was belated but not surprising. However, the order does offer a brief respite for some self-examination for both legal commentators, and frankly, the courts. At times the analysis surrounding the immigration order seemed to drop any pretense of objectivity and took on the character of open Trump bashing....

The court ruled “when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.” The preliminary ruling on this type of stay indicates that, when the final merits are decided, a majority of the court is likely to make the changes permanent and binding.

Indeed, three justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch — did not want any limitation on lifting the injunction and dissented from that part of the opinion. To use Johnson’s rhetoric, the date of the hanging is set for the October term absent a dramatic shift on the court. That gives us some time to contemplate how this controversy has impacted our core institutions.

I previously wrote that Trump seems at times to bring out the worst of people — supporters and opponents alike. Yet, his signature attacks often cause people to fulfill the very stereotypes that he paints, particularly among some reporters and judges. Ironically, Trump’s attacks on the media as biased may not have been true at the outset but they are true now. Mainstream media have become openly hostile to Trump.

There is often little distinction on some cable networks between the hosts and their guests in attacking Trump, who brings much of this criticism on himself in ill-considered and often insulting attacks. However, the media is trained to resist such personal emotions and retain objectivity. Throughout much of its history, it has done precisely that ... until Donald Trump.

He seems like the itch that reporters and commentators just have to scratch and frankly sometimes it seems like a few are enjoying it too much. With ratings soaring, hosts and legal experts have shown little interest or patience in the legal arguments supporting his case, even though the Obama administration advanced similar arguments in court.

The hostile (and often distorted) analysis in the media was disconcerting but predictable, given the trend toward greater opinion-infused coverage. Networks are fighting for greater audience shares based on formulaic coverage — offering echo-chamber analysis to fit the ideological preferences of viewers. For the anti-Trump networks, the legal analysis is tellingly parallel with the political analysis. These cable shows offer clarity to viewers in a world without nuance. The law, however, often draws subtle distinctions and balancing tests. In this way, viewers are being given a false notion of the underlying legal issues in these controversies.

What has been more concerning is the impact of Trump on the courts. Trump shocked many in both parties by his personal attacks on judges as well as general disrespect shown to our courts. These were highly inappropriate and inaccurate statements from a president. However, once again, courts seemed to immediately become the very stereotype that Trump was painting.

Of course, the White House gave the courts a target-rich environment in the first travel order, which was poorly drafted, poorly executed and poorly defended. Yet, the courts did not just strike those portions that were problematic. Where existing case law requires courts to use a scalpel in striking down provisions, judges pulled out a meat ax. They enjoined the entirety of the order while lashing out at Trump’s most sensational campaign rhetoric....

In the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, judges brushed over the obvious improvements and again relied on Trump’s own comments and tweets. It seemed like sensational tweets were more important than long-standing precedent or official statements from the administration.

The level of reliance on campaign statements by the courts was wrong in my view, as I have repeatedly stated. The record had conflicting statements from Trump and his associates but courts seemed to cherry-pick statements, relying on those that fulfilled their narrative while ignoring those that did not. The analysis of the order should have turned largely on the face of the document. While such political statements can be relevant to analysis (particularly in areas like racial discrimination), the court has always minimized such reliance in favor of more objective textual analysis.
That doesn't mean that the order was good policy. But the basis on which the lower courts decided was to stretch the law just to deliver a blow to Trump.
Courts that once gave President Obama sweeping discretion in the immigration field seemed categorically opposed to considering the same accommodation for President Trump. For commentators, viewers were given a highly distorted view of the existing law — brushing aside decades of cases while supporting the notion that a major federal policy could live or die by the tweet.
The Supreme Court notably didn't pay any attention to Trump's statements. If all you knew about the executive order was what you heard in the MSM, you would be amazed that the Supreme Court struck down most of the injunctions against the implementation of the order. The media will have to search out

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Andrew McCarthy explains why the Supreme Court order on the travel order is not as big a deal as perhaps President Trump would like to brag.
This ruling is unworkable and actually doesn’t much narrow the lower-court stays.

Let’s try to keep it simple here. The lower courts granted standing to challenge the travel ban to American persons and entities that had special relationships with aliens outside the United States. Ostensibly, the lower courts claimed that the rights of these Americans were harmed by the travel ban’s exclusion of aliens — specifically, aliens who a) are close relatives whose exclusion would deny family reunification to an American; or b) are scholars whose exclusion would deprive their contributions to American universities that had extended offers to them. In effect, however, the lower courts were vicariously granting American legal rights to aliens outside the United States, despite the judges’ grudging admission that the aliens technically had no such rights.

In its order this morning, the Supreme Court did not disturb this arrangement.

To be sure, the justices rejected the lower courts’ extension of vicarious rights to aliens who did not have such special “bona fide relationships” with American persons or entities. The lower courts’ reasoning for that extension heavily relied on the imputation to Trump of anti-Muslim bias — that’s part of why we can infer that most of the justices are not persuaded by that rationale. Nevertheless, six of the nine justices, at least for now, appear inclined to rule that Americans in these “bona fide relationships” with aliens have not only standing but legal interests sufficiently compelling to block enforcement of presidential orders that address national-security threats.
Read the rest of his post for the evidence he marshals to criticize the Supreme Court's Monday ruling.

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Rich Lowry refutes the idea that the GOP health care bills are doing anything all that radical in reforming Medicaid. What was radical is how the program expanded on Obama.
The Democrats now make it sound as if the Obama expansion is part of the warp and woof of Medicaid. In fact, it was a departure from the norm in the program, which since its inception has been, quite reasonably, limited to poor children, pregnant women, the disabled and the ailing elderly. ObamaCare changed it to make a priority of covering able-bodied adults.

ObamaCare originally required states to enroll able-bodied adults with incomes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line starting in 2014. The Supreme Court re-wrote the law to make the expansion voluntary, and 31 states and the District of Columbia took it up.

Traditionally, the federal government had paid more to poor than rich states, with a match ranging from 75 percent for the poorest state, Mississippi, to 50 percent for the rich states. ObamaCare created an entirely new formula for the Medicaid expansion population. It offered a 100 percent federal match for the new enrollees, gradually declining to a 90 percent match — supposedly, forever.

So, perversely, ObamaCare had a larger federal match for the able-bodied enrollees in Medicaid than for its more vulnerable populations.

“This higher federal matching rate,” writes health-care analyst Doug Badger, “allows states to leverage more federal money per state dollar spent on a non-disabled adult with $15,000 in earnings than on a part-time minimum-wage worker with developmental disabilities, who earns barely half that amount.”

According to Badger, West Virginia received seven times as much federal money for spending $1 on an able-bodied adult than for spending $1 on a disabled person.

This obviously makes no sense, and the Senate health-care bill phases out the enhanced funding over four years. But it doesn’t end the expanded Medicaid eligibility for the able-bodied. And a refundable tax credit will be available for low-income people that is meant to pick up any slack from Medicaid. This is hardly social Darwinism.
THe other change is a change in how the federal government funds Medicaid in the states.
The other, longer-term change in the House and Senate bills is moving to a per-capita funding formula for Medicaid, with the Senate bill ratcheting the formula down to per-capita growth plus the inflation rate — in 2026. Maybe this will prove too stringent, but it used to be a matter of bipartisan consensus that the current structure of Medicaid creates an incentive for heedless growth in the program.

The way it works now is that Mississippi, for instance, gets nearly $3 from the federal government for every $1 it spends. Why ever economize? In the 1990s, the Clinton administration advanced what it portrayed as an unobjectionable proposal to make Medicaid more efficient while preserving the program’s core function — namely, a per-capita funding formula.
So remember all this when you hear Democrats moaning that the GOP is set to kill millions of people. As Lowry analogizes, for progressives, the welfare state has become the equivalent of the Brezhnev Doctrine that once the Soviets dominated a country, it could never break free. Now once the welfare state has been expanded, it should never be trimmed back.

Guy Benson is also trying to refute the Democrats' demagogic hysteria about the Senate plan.
Republicans' plan would make Medicaid fiscally sustainable, and gradually revert back to a model that prioritizes help to the poorest people, who need the most help. It's perverse that the federal government provides a more generous funding formula for Medicaid's better-off, better-situated expansion enrollees than the original, neediest population for whom Medicaid was supposedly created in the first place. And while the GOP proposal would reform the structure of the program by offering a capped per-capita annual allowance to each state (which would foster restraint, prioritization, innovation, and creativity), the notion that it makes drastic "cuts" to the overall program is deeply misleading. ...

This funding increase of tens of billions of dollars is nevertheless cast as a "cut" because it would spend less than Obamacare would.

Just imagine what the media would be saying if Claire McCaskill were a member of Trump's administration.
n March, Sen. Claire McCaskill was unambiguous. The Missouri Democrat said she never once met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in her 10 years serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever," McCaskill tweeted. "Ambassadors call members of Foreign [Relations Committee]."
Soon after that tweet, it was revealed she did interact with the Russian ambassador.

And now, CNN has learned, McCaskill spent an evening at a black-tie reception at the ambassador's Washington residence in November 2015.

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Yesterday I speculated that the Supreme Court's ruling in the Trinity Lutheran case might be used to overturn states' Blaine amendments blocking state aid to schools with a religious affiliation. Well, it seems that that was indeed the Court's intention with an order remanding a case back to the lower courts that they issued on Tuesday. The WSJ reports,
In 2011, Colorado’s Douglas County adopted a Choice Scholarship Program to let 500 students attend a local private school. But groups including the American Civil Liberties Union sued. The Colorado Supreme Court killed the program citing the state’s version of the Blaine Amendment, one of many state anti-Catholic laws from the 1800s to prevent public money from funding religious schools ( Doyle v. Taxpayers for Public Education).

The Douglas County School District and the Institute for Justice, which represents three families in Colorado, appealed to the Supreme Court in 2015, but the Justices held the petition pending the resolution of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer on Monday. On Tuesday the Court vacated and remanded Doyle to the lower court for reconsideration in keeping with Trinity Lutheran’s holding that Missouri’s application of the Blaine Amendment violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.

The High Court typically vacates and remands only when the Justices think there is a “reasonable probability” that the lower court got it wrong. Colorado’s do-over is a warning to other states that might use Blaine Amendments to derail school choice programs that threaten teachers unions and the public school monopoly.
I'm for as much choice as possible in education. I've seen what it means at the charter school where I teach and at the charters in Washington, D.C. where my daughter has worked. The more opportunities there are for students to get out of bad schools and for their parents to choose other options, the better.
The win comes at a good time for school choice advocates who have been building momentum in the states. In May three families successfully challenged a Montana rule that prevented a voucher program from being used at religious schools. On Monday the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously upheld a program of tax credits for scholarships to some 13,000 students to attend private schools.

School choice is spreading because parents want the chance to get their child a better education than they receive in local public schools. Sometimes that enhanced opportunity is offered by religious schools, and the First Amendment does not allow the state to discriminate on the basis of religion.

          Widespread uncertainty as U.S. travel ban start looms   
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - One day before President Donald Trump's temporary ban on all refugees and travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries is scheduled to take effect, there is still widespread uncertainty about how the administration will implement it.

          Trump calls on Congress to crack down on illegal immigration   
He asked the House to "honor grieving American families" by passing two bills dealing with undocumented immigrants

          Trump tweet highlights complex relationship with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos   
The president called the newspaper Bezos owns, the Washington Post "FAKE NEWS" and linked to an accusation that Amazon doesn't pay internet taxes

          BOOK EXCERPT: From Author Yohuru Williams in United We Stand Divided We Fall: Opposing Trump’s Agenda – Essays on Protest and Resistance   

BOOK EXCERPT: From Author Yohuru Williams in United We Stand Divided We Fall: Opposing Trump’s Agenda – Essays on Protest and Resistance Book: United We Stand Authors: 17 contributing authors (see list below) (192 pp.) $14.95 ISBN: 978-1942146575 Paperback: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones | IndieBound (local bookstore) | Books-A-Million | Indigo Books Ebook: Amazon “The Principles […]

The post BOOK EXCERPT: From Author Yohuru Williams in United We Stand Divided We Fall: Opposing Trump’s Agenda – Essays on Protest and Resistance appeared first on Garn Press.

          Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gets the Bieber treatment   
Some teenage girls may not be able to tell Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from Justin Bieber. In the latest evidence that hormones trump brains among teenagers, girls are taking to social media to defend the accused 19-year-old Boston Marathon bomber, some of them using the Twitter hashtag #freejahar. The New York Post writes: “The swooning teens will
          Trump Kicks Off 2020 Re-Election Campaign Tonight With $35,000 Per Person Fundraiser at His DC Hotel   
  • Event Expected to Raise $10 Million

  • Some Will Pay $100,000

  • Protestors Expected

          'Fantastic Tribute to Our Country': Watch Trump Lie About the GOP Health Care Bill for Two Minutes Straight   

'A Health Care That Will Take Care of People Finally for the Right Reasons' Trump Says. What Are the 'Right Reasons'?

          Academy Signs on to Letter from Science Community   
Academy Signs on to Letter from Science Community to Pres. Trump to Fill Key OSTP Position
          Academy signs onto scientific community letter to President Trump against EO   
In collaboration with more than 150 partners, The Academy signed onto this letter on behalf of the health education, research, and patient care communities in response to the President’s Jan. 27 executive order on immigration.
          What’s Actually in the Manafort FARA Filing?    

On June 27, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort retroactively filed disclosure forms under the Foreign Agents Registration Act detailing his business relationship to the pro-Russia Ukrainian Party of Regions. The forms describe $17.1 million in receipts to Manafort’s company, DMP International, LLC ("DMP"), all from the Party of Regions. They also describe $3.9 million in expenses, including $2.6 million in travel and living expenses. DMP earned a net total of $13.2 million from Party of Regions. Here’s the 87-page filing Manafort made yesterday:


What follows is a detailed summary of the material contained in the disclosure. While Lawfare does not normally summarize FARA disclosures, given the intense interest in this one in the press, we thought it would be useful to give some detail about what’s in it.

One notable thing that is not in this document: any reference to the often-reported $12.7 million in cash payments Manafort is alleged to have received from the party. According to The New York Times, these payments were recorded in a handwritten ledger that also showed evidence of payments to election officials. The filing makes no reference to anything of the kind, perhaps because yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Ukrainian prosecutors found no proof of illegal payments to Manafort.

The registration statement (Form NSD-1) lists the registered agent as DMP, a Delaware corporation formed on June 29, 2011 and wholly-owned by Manafort. Manafort and Richard W. Gates III are listed as the company’s principal and employee, respectively, that “render services to the registrant directly in furtherance of the interests” of the foreign principal. The foreign principal is listed as Ukrainian Party of Regions.

The registration statement notes that DMP received money from the party starting in 2011. A footnote to this section notes that “An agent must register within ten days of becoming an agent, and before acting as such.” DMP received nothing of value other than money during that period. The registration form is signed by Manafort, dated June 27, 2017.

Exhibit A (Form NSD-3) provides information about the foreign principal. Exhibit A describes the foreign principal as the Ukrainian Party of Regions, a foreign political party based in Kyiv. The “official with whom the registrant deals” is Vladimir Rybak, first deputy head of the party. Public records show that Rybak was previously Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and served as chairman of the Ukrainian parliament for part of the period that DMP worked for the party. The principle aim of the party is described as: “decentralization of power with transfer of maximum authority to the regions, build a Western democratic political party, turn Ukraine into the most attractive state for investment in the region.”

Exhibit B (Form NSD-4) provides information about the terms and conditions of the agreement between the foreign principal and agent. It states that the agreement “is the result of neither a formal written contract nor an exchange of correspondence between the parties.” DMP performed the following services:

1. “Focused on electing Party of Regions’ candidates at the national and regional levels in the Ukraine by implementing pro-democratic campaign activities, engaging in party building activities, developing a party platform and political agenda, and implementing election planning, election integrity, and international election monitoring programs”

2.“Communicated with the U.S. Embassy regarding developing events in the Ukraine”

3.“Provided strategic counsel and advice to members of the Party of Regions regarding their interactions with U.S. government officials and other Western influential persons to advance the goal of greater political and economic integration between the Ukraine and the West”

4. “Provided advice to the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which was also working for the same purpose”

The form notes that the third listed activity constitutes “political activity” as defined in FARA.

Exhibit C is a copy of the operating agreement of DMP International, LLC. That document corroborates that the company is a Delaware-registered limited liability company. Pages 2 and 5 note that the only member, and the managing member, is Manafort, though Gates signed the operating agreement as well.

Two short form registration statements (Form NSD-6) provide information on each partner, officer, director, associate, employee, and agent of the registrant. The first provides information on Manafort. It describes Manafort  as an “Attorney and businessman,” who acts as a partner of DMP. Manafort provides the following services for the party:

1.“Focused on electing Party of Regions’ candidates at the national and regional levels in the Ukraine by implementing pro-democratic campaign activities, engaging in party building activities, developing a party platform and political agenda, and implementing election planning, election integrity, and international election monitoring programs”

2.“Provided strategic counsel and advice to members of the Party of Regions regarding their interactions with U.S. government officials and other Western influential persons to advance the goal of greater political and economic integration between the Ukraine and the West”

3.“Communicated with the U.S. Embassy regarding developing events in the Ukraine.”

The statement notes that the second service listed constitutes a political activity for the purposes of FARA. These services are rendered on a full time basis in exchange for compensation in the form of an undefined salary. The statement further notes that during the period between the date 60 days prior to Manafort’s obligation to register as a foreign agent to the time of the filing, Manafort did not “make any contributions of money or other things of value from [his] own funds or possessions and on [his] own behalf in connection with any election to political office or in connection with any primary election, convention, or caucus held to select candidates for any political office.” The supplemental documents also note a donation of $2,500 by Manafort to Vernon Parker, a candidate for state office in Arizona, and of $1,000 to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on March 21, 2017. The document is signed by Manafort, June 27, 2017.

The second short form registration statement provides information about Gates. The form describes Gates as a “Political Consultant” and an employee of DMP. It describes the same services rendered for Party of Regions as described by Manafort, also on a full time basis and for an unspecified salary. The statement specifies no donations of the type previously described during the period beginning 60 days prior to Gates’ obligation to file as a foreign agent to the date of filing. The statement is signed by Rick Gates, dated June 27, 2017.

The documents include supplemental statements (Form NSD-2), which are normally filed every six months to provide information about monies received and disbursed by the foreign agent, for the six-month periods ending June 30, 2012, December 31, 2012, June 30, 2013, December 31, 2013, and June 30, 2014. The statements specify no changes to the name, ownership, location, management, or employment rolls of the company. They specify four instances that constitute political activities for the purposes of FARA.

●October 30, 2012: Sent an email to Ambassador John Tefft “regarding U.S. statement on Ukrainian elections.”

●March 19, 2013: Met with Paula Dobriansky from the Kennedy School of Government

●March 19, 2013: Met with Nadia Diuk of the National Endowment for Democracy

●March 19, 2013: Met with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

The supplemental forms include separate responses with a list of all monies received and disbursed by DMP, as well as money spent on travel, meals, and living expenses. Between January 2012 and January 2014, Party of Regions paid DMP $17,149,539.70 for services rendered. Party of Regions paid DMB once per month during that period, except that no payments were reported in July or December 2012. Payments ranged from $165,039.70 to $4,399,500.

DMP disbursed $1,268,539.70 to six contractors from May 2012 to January 2014. Over that period, DMP made the following payments:

●To Fabrizio Ward Associates LLC, seven payments totaling $278,500 for “Polling and surveys”

●To Rabin Strasburg LLC, five payments totaling $369,320 for “Media consulting services” and “Consulting services and expenses”

●To Steven J. Brown, five payments totaling $40,000 for “Political and media outreach”

●To Christopher Spence, one payment of $10,000 for “Election data analysis”

●To Clear Dialogue LLC, four payments totaling $39,935.44 for “Election integrity consulting services”

●To Konstantin Kilimnik, fourteen payments totaling $531,000 for “Professional services and administrative overhead for Kiev operations”

Except for a payment to Ward on August 8, 2013, all payments after April 2013 until the end of the principal-agent relationship were to Kilimnik. The last payment took place on January 28, 2014. DMB spent a total of $2,203,409.99 on travel and $428,352.44 on meals and living expenses from January 2012 until February 2014.

DMP earned a net total of $13,249,021.83 from Party of Regions after accounting for disbursements and other expenses.

          Today's Headlines and Commentary    

The ongoing ransomware attack across Europe, the United States, and Asia has raised concerns over the growing frequency of large-scale cyberattacks, The New York Times writes. The NotPetya attack is the second worldwide ransomware hacking since May, when the WannaCry virus disrupted the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. The Times runs through what we know and don’t yet know about the malware.

The Journal reports on Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s comments that the lack of a chemical weapons attack showed that the Trump administration’s warning to the Assad regime in Syria worked. Late on Monday, the U.S. threatened to use force against Syria in the case of another chemical attack after the Pentagon saw indications that an attempt may have been looming. Politico describes the process behind the drafting and release of the administration’s abrupt warning: while Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster were all involved, the statement left numerous top officials across the State and Defense Departments blindsided.

The White House may shift the State Department’s bureaus of Consular Affairs and Population, Refugees, and Migration to the Department of Homeland Security, CNN tells us. A White House official indicated that the proposal resulted from a “brainstorming session” dedicated to “improving efficiencies across government,” and is not yet a formal plan.

The Trump administration is considering taking a harsher stance on its relations with Pakistan in an effort to cut back Pakistani support for militant groups that have used the country as a base from which to conduct attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, Reuters reports. Options on the table include increased drone strikes, withholding of aid, and weakening Pakistan’s status as a U.S. ally. In a separate report released Tuesday, the Pentagon indicated that Pakistan was the most significant external factor affecting Afghan stability through governmental support of the Taliban and Haqqani Network. The Pakistani embassy in the United States warned the U.S. against using it as a “scapegoat” to explain challenges in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, the Qatari Foreign Minister met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a closed-door meeting in Foggy Bottom, the Post reports. The two discussed the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, which has shown no signs of resolution following Qatar’s rejection of the list of demands presented to it by the Gulf Cooperation Council States that recently cut their ties with Qatar. The Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister told the press yesterday that the demands were non-negotiable and were a prerequisite to re-engagement with Qatar. Later in the day, Tillerson also met with the Kuwaiti Minister of State, whose government has attempted to mediate the weeks-long dispute.

Oil companies have expressed concern over the Senate’s new package of Russian sanctions, which would prevent American participation in any oil production projects in which a Russian firm is involved anywhere in the globe, the Washington Post reports. But Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), who is shepherding the bill through the approval process, has said the issues can be “easily addressed.” The bill has stalled in the House over procedural concerns, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) has called on the Senate to complete a fix prior to the July 4th recess.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has been under scrutiny amidst the various probes into Russian election interference, registered retroactively as an agent of a foreign government yesterday, reports The Wall Street Journal. The disclosure to the Justice Department’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) unit marked an acknowledgement that a portion of Manafort’s lobbying work on behalf of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych aimed to influence U.S. government officials and journalists. Manafort’s spokesman said Manafort began working with the FARA unit to navigate the registration process in September of 2016, prior to the election results and the investigation into Russian election interference.

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that a Canadian court can grant an injunction anywhere in the world, if such a move is required to secure the injunction’s effectiveness, The Guardian reports. In the case, the Court forced Google to remove links to one company’s content from all versions of its search engine across the globe—not only the Canadian version—following an intellectual property dispute with a competitor. Critics fear that the decision could lead to corporations and governments increasing censorship requests that then eliminate permissible content from the entire internet, no matter the location. 

The trial of accused NSA leaker Reality Winner has been set for October, according to The Hill. Winner is charged with providing a top-secret NSA report on a 2016 Russian cyberattack on a voting software company to the news outlet The Intercept.

President Trump accepted French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to meet in Paris on July 14th in celebration of Bastille Day as well as the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entrance into World War I, CNN reports. The two are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including coordination on counterterrorism efforts.

A helicopter attacked Venezuela’s Supreme Court yesterday, CNN reports. Prior to the attack, an ex-policeman posted a video online announcing that his group planned to launch an air and land assault to restore democracy to Venezuela. From the helicopter, attackers threw grenades and shot at the building, though no one was injured. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro activated the government security forces in response. The nation has been in the depths of a political and economic crisis which has seen many calls for a change in leadership. Some have claimed that the entire incident may have been staged by the government to generate legitimacy for a harsher crackdown on dissent.


 ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Charlie Savage described the changes in the new, paperback edition of his book Power Wars, which provides a history of national-security legal policymaking in the Obama era.

Paul Rosenzweig asked if the cyberattack in Ukraine yesterday was a precursor to war, but updated the post after news broke that the cause was an outbreak of the Petya ransomware.

Shane R. Reeves examined previous attempts at creating “safe zones” in Syria and argued that without serious commitment, newly proposed zones will be just as ineffective or dangerous.

J. Dana Stuster posted the Middle East Ticker, covering the recent Saudi succession shakeup, the Gulf States’ demands to Qatar, and U.S. policy in Eastern Syria.

William I. Hitchcock reviewed Melissa Feinberg’s Curtain of Lies: The Battle over Truth in Stalinist Eastern Europe (Oxford Univ. Press, 2017).

Matthew Kahn posted the video of yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Section 702 reauthorization.

Andrew Kent examined the Supreme Court’s decision in Hernandez v. Mesa.

Jack Goldsmith announced the supplement to the new edition of Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials (6th Ed. 2017), the casebook he co-authored with Curtis Bradley.

Daniel Byman analyzed whether Al Qaeda is in decline.

Josh Blackman looked at the scope of the Supreme Court’s decision in IRAP v. Trump.

Benjamin Wittes posted a copy of his FOIA request for internal FBI communications surrounding the firing of James Comey. 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

          In Praise of the Intelligence Oversight Process: Our New Anti-Populist Paper    

Years ago, when Lawfare was still in its infancy, the two of us made an entirely serious video (well, maybe not entirely serious) for YouTube about the emergent problem of abusive internet comments. Entitled "Comment or Vote," it proposed a constitutional amendment to deprive of the franchise anyone who left a comment on any website. For some time after we posted it, until it was finally removed, the first comment on the YouTube site read: "You guys are faggots." No, we're not making that up. 

The issue "Comment or Vote" spoofed was not a joke. Lawfare does not take comments, and it's always interesting to watch how offended some readers are by that. It's as though people think they have some inalienable right to participate, including in a website published by someone else. 

The broader issue of which this expectation is only a tiny slice—the populist cult of mass participation—is really not a joke. It is wreaking havoc on our political system. And it is the subject of a Brookings paper we released late last month, entitled, "More Professionalism, Less Populism: How Voting Makes Us Stupid and What to Do About It." The full paper is available below. An interview we did yesterday on the subject with the Brookings podcast, Intersections, is available here:

Most of this paper has little to do with the national security law and policy. But one section is a real exception, which we wanted to highlight here: A key case study of how anti-populist institutions function better than highly participatory ones focuses on the intelligence oversight system. We thought the thematic connections between Lawfare's subject matter and this discussion warranted excerpting it here. So what follows is the paper's introduction, along with the section on the intelligence oversight system:

“Americans—especially, but not exclusively Trump voters—believe crazy, wrong things,” runs a post-election Washington Post headline. The article, by columnist Catherine Rampell, worried about polls showing that more than a third of the public (and about half of Republicans) believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and that Hillary Clinton was involved with a satanic pedophilia ring (“Pizzagate”)—among many other things. “To me, they’re terrifying,” Rampell wrote of the public’s misconceptions. “They result in misused resources, violence and harassment, health risks, bad policy, and, ultimately, the deterioration of democracy.”

Political scientists might be excused for emitting an exasperated yawn. The literature on voter ignorance is one of the oldest, best established, and most dismaying in all of political science. Every so often, journalists and commentators dip into it and emerged “terrified.” In recent years, however, a wave of research has shown ignorance and irrationality to be even bigger problems than previously believed, and has cast new doubt on standard remedies. Neither theory nor practice supports the idea that more participation will produce better policy outcomes, or will improve the public’s approbation of government, or is even attainable in an environment dominated by extreme partisans and narrow interest groups.

Such scholarship has not shaken the faith of many commentators and reformers that increasing popular involvement in politics and government is the remedy for the ills of our political culture—the chicken soup of political reforms. Unfortunately, the country and the political-reform community have come to expect far too much from increased political participation. Participation is effective only when supplemented by intermediation, the work done by institutions (such as political parties) and substantive professionals (such as career politicians and experts) to organize, interpret, and buffer popular sentiment. In this essay, we argue that restoring and strengthening political institutions and intermediation belong at the center of a modern political-reform agenda. More specifically, we advance the following contentions:

  • Always empirically questionable at best, the populist-progressive idea that more participation will reliably improve either the products or the popularity of governance has taken a pounding in recent years, to the point where it is basically untenable. The populist model assumes that voters are better informed, more rational, and more engaged than is the case—or ever will be.
  • Even implausibly well-informed and rational voters could not approach the level of knowledge and sophistication needed to make the kinds of decisions that routinely confront the government today. Professional and specialist decisionmaking is essential, and those who demonize it as elitist or anti-democratic can offer no plausible alternative to it.
  • Professional intermediaries make democracy more inclusive and more representative than direct participation can do by itself. In complex policy spaces, properly designed intermediary institutions can act more decisively and responsively on behalf of the public than an army of “the people” could do on its own behalf. Intermediated systems are also less likely to be paralyzed by factional disputes and distorted by special-interest manipulation than are systems designed to maximize voter participation and direct input.
  • Nonetheless, the predominant ethos of the political-reform community remains committed to enhancing individual political participation. This is a costly oversight. Some populist reform ideas are better than others, but, as a class, they have eclipsed a more promising reform target: strengthening intermediating actors such as political professionals and party organizations.

James Madison and the other Founders were right to reject both direct democracy and elite rule. Instead, they insisted on a hybrid of both, believing that the two together would achieve better representation and better governance than either could achieve on its own. We believe that the country can benefit from relearning what they knew.

. . . 

[M]odern anti-institutional populism, with its instinctive suspicion of anything or anyone deemed “elite,” often underestimates and unfairly denigrates how much intermediation has to offer—and how successful it has been.

Here it is worth distinguishing between two types of intermediaries, types that play very different roles in our democratic culture. The first is the political intermediary: people such as elected officials and political party professionals. These people’s job is to make political judgments on behalf of the electorate or to help candidates and politicians frame their—and the public’s—choices. A second type is the substantive intermediary: the technical expert or specialist whose job is actually to know things about the policy space in which the government acts. The lines between these two types are not bright ones; some people play both roles at once. But broadly speaking, the political intermediary stands in for the voter in deciding fundamental policy choices: Should Congress adopt the Affordable Care Act? Should it repeal and replace it? The substantive intermediary, by contrast, frames responsible policy choices and implements them in a fashion consistent with law and technical realities. Neither of these functions is one which voters can perform competently on their own.

To see vividly the successful interaction of voters, political intermediaries, and substantive intermediaries, let’s take a close look at the area in which our system functions at its least populist: intelligence oversight.

The intelligence oversight system has been largely immune to populist reform, but not because the area has lacked for reformist instincts. (It has actually seen a lot of reform over the years.) Rather, the very nature of intelligence makes it resistant to populism. The public has no access to the CIA and the NSA and their day-to-day work. In sharp contrast to the public’s regular interaction with law enforcement officers, members of the public don’t generally interact with intelligence professionals doing their jobs. And the oversight system for all of it is uniquely opaque. Intelligence oversight is technically dense across a number of different dimensions; some of the law at issue is arcane and unusually intricate, and much of the subject matter involves highly technical electronic surveillance taking place on complex computer networks. It also involves material that is nearly always classified at the highest levels. So while the activities of the intelligence community stoke all manner of public passions, the subject is simply not amenable to populist reform. There is just no way to involve the public in decisions that, by their very nature, have to be kept from the public.

The result is that reforms in intelligence oversight have empowered intermediary actors—politicians and experts—to stand in for the public. And these mechanisms have proven remarkably durable and effective.

The intelligence oversight system operates in all three branches of government. Within the executive branch, a series of compliance regimes, inspectors general, and Justice Department officials oversee operations, particularly those involving technical collection at the National Security Agency. Collectively, those actors investigate suggestions of misconduct, rigorously count more mundane compliance failures, and review activity for legal compliance—and they report errors both internally and to the other branches of government. They also build legal compliance into the very design of technical systems; to see certain data, for example, analysts often have to enter into computer systems the facts and analysis that would justify their access to the information they seek. 

In the judiciary, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court both reviews applications for national security surveillance of U.S. persons and, more broadly, reviews the legality of surveillance programs taking place domestically but targeting overseas actors. The FISA structure does not merely put a federal judge between the intelligence community and electronic surveillance targets. It also creates bureaucracies within intelligence agencies that are designed to speak to that federal judge—bureaucracies deeply invested in keeping their agencies within the law and maintaining credibility before the judiciary. Representing the agencies before the court are Justice Department lawyers, who likewise act to keep the agencies in line. The system of judicial intermediaries thus dramatically reinforces and empowers executive-branch intermediaries, who have ongoing reporting obligations to the judicial branch.

The executive and judicial branch intermediaries are, generally speaking, substantive experts. But the intelligence oversight system uses political intermediaries too, particularly in Congress. The congressional intelligence committees review intelligence programs, get briefed on covert actions, and investigate major matters within the intelligence agencies—everything from torture to Russian hacking of the 2016 election. Unlike other congressional committees, they are staffed with intelligence community professionals cleared at the highest levels, and they have access to the most sensitive programs the government runs. The public never sees the vast majority of the work these committees do, but anyone in the intelligence community will tell you that fear of upsetting congressional overseers is a major restraint on intelligence community behavior. Note that the members of these committees are not specialists; they are just regular members of Congress. Their job is to stand in for the members of the public who cannot know what the intelligence community is up to, and to make major political decisions in the public’s stead and on behalf of the rest of the legislature.

Most people who have engaged the congressional intelligence committees agree—notwithstanding the House committee’s recent flap over the behavior of its chairman, Devin Nunes—that they function on average dramatically better than other committees do. The reasons are all related to their intermediary, non-populist nature. The professional nature of the staff reduces partisanship, for example. And the secrecy with which they operate discourages political grandstanding on the part of the members. A hearing of a normal congressional committee, which takes place in public, is a show whose audience is the public. Witnesses are chosen for C-SPAN. Questions are asked because they offer opportunities for theatrics and gotchas. By contrast, most intelligence-committee hearings have no audience beyond the staff and members. They are actually designed to convey information from the executive branch to Congress. They are arguably the only part of Congress for which hearings still consistently serve that role.

While the intelligence oversight process is decidedly intermediary-based and non-populist, it has not proven itself remote from “the people” or incapable of responding to public concerns. To the contrary, it has proven over the years to be highly responsive to public sensibilities. In other words, if the populist anxiety is that relying on intermediaries makes government distant and unrepresentative, the experience of the intelligence oversight process suggests otherwise.

The most recent example of this responsiveness is the system’s response to the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA activity in 2013. The congressional oversight process was critical in helping the community weather the storm, as when the bipartisan intelligence committee leadership spoke up publicly in defense of the legality and propriety of NSA’s programs. But the system also adapted relatively swiftly in response to the revelations and generated serious change. Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, substantially altering one of the key programs that Snowden revealed and generating new transparency with respect to certain categories of NSA and FISA Court activity. It is currently considering reauthorization of a much larger program, and further reforms are certainly on the table as it does so.

These adaptions are only the latest in a long string of legislative updates to FISA and other authorities—major changes to which took place at least in 1994, 2001, 2007, 2008, and 2012. This flurry of loving attention to the statutory scheme over time—legislative attention to make sure the statutory architecture of intelligence remains up-to-date as technology and public attitudes change—stands in sharp contrast to the more general environment of legislative dysfunction. In what should be a sharp challenge to reformers who believe that increasing public participation makes the policy process more responsive to public concerns, the portion of Congress that is least populist is exceptionally capable of actually responding to public concerns.

The long-term success of this oversight system is actually hard to overstate. America is a country, after all, whose popular culture produces movies like “Minority Report” and “Enemy of the State,” and whose civil libertarian culture is predicated on a deep suspicion of intelligence operations and government power generally. It is also a country with a history of genuine intelligence community abuses. Yet, even within the context of this culture, the oversight system allows the intelligence community the political and legal latitude to wield extraordinary powers.

And, amazingly, it does so with relatively high confidence from the population in general. The Pew Research Center has for more than a decade been polling Americans on whether they believe the government has “gone too far restricting civil liberties” or whether they believe the government has “not gone far enough to protect the country.” With the exception of a brief blip around the time of the Snowden revelations, many more Americans believe the latter than the former. Although good data on public attitudes toward the intelligence community over time do not exist, this poll question—asked since 2004—suggests that majorities do not believe the intelligence community is out of control. At a time of rock-bottom confidence in public institutions, it is notable that the intelligence oversight system, a system with hardly a trace of populism in its design, actually works effectively at its core purpose: assuring the public that the intelligence community is doing its job within the law.

The system shows that when intermediation is designed and empowered carefully, it can accomplish in a durable and robust fashion many of the objectives that populist reformers purport to seek.


          Secret Saudi-Israel Arms Deals   

The “landmark” $110-billion arms deal Donald Trump announced on his visit to Saudi Arabia is like the president himself – a lot of hype but little substance. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA counter-terrorism expert and National Security Council advisor in four administrations, said there’s no deal, just “a bunch of letters of interest or intent, […]

The post Secret Saudi-Israel Arms Deals appeared first on The Blogs | The Times of Israel.

          22 Million Americans Could Lose Health Insurance Under Senate Bill   


The Congressional Budget Office says the number of uninsured people in the United States would rise to 22 million within the next ten years under the Senate health care bill.

The Senate’s bill would replace the Affordable Care Act, a law that former President Barack Obama supported. The Affordable Care Act is often called Obamacare. Republicans have spent about seven years attempting to cancel Obamacare.

The CBO said in a study released Monday that the Senate bill would decrease the federal budget deficit by $321 billion by 2026.

This is the second health care bill to be considered in Congress. Both the House and the Senate have different health care bills. In order for a bill to become law, it needs to pass both the House and the Senate and be signed by the president.

Senate leaders plan to vote after the July 4th holiday on their version of the bill. Currently, Americans are required to buy health insurance or pay a fine if they do not. The Senate’s bill would end that requirement.

In addition, the bill would end subsidies meant to help lower-income people buy insurance. It would also decrease some taxes on higher-income people. And it would cut billions of dollars of government funding for the health care program for poor and disabled people over the next few years.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. and his fellow Democratic Senators, hold photographs of constituents who would be adversely affected by the proposed Republican Senate healthcare bill Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. and his fellow Democratic Senators, hold photographs of constituents who would be adversely affected by the proposed Republican Senate healthcare bill

Opposition to the bill

To pass a bill in the Senate, a majority of senators must vote for the bill. If there is a tie, the vice president can vote to break the tie. Currently Republicans hold 52 of the 100 seats in the Senate. All 46 Senate Democrats are expected to vote against the bill. In order for the bill to pass, Republicans can risk losing only two of their senators.

A group of Republican senators has already said they will not vote for the bill in its current form.

When Obamacare became law in 2010, it passed without any Republican votes. Since the 2016 elections, Republicans gained control of the presidency, the House and the Senate. A change to Obamacare could be possible now.

About 20 million people have received insurance with Obamacare. Many of those people are covered under the government’s Medicaid program for the poor and disabled.

The two bills to change Obamacare propose to cut about $800 billion in federal funds for Medicaid over the next few years. President Donald Trump had stated during his campaign for office that he would not cut Medicaid funding.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told ABC that he hopes that Republicans will talk with Democrats and work together on a solution to make Obamacare better.

I’m Mario Ritter.

And I’m Olivia Liu

Olivia Liu adapted this story for Learning English from VOA News and AP reporting. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Words in This Story

uninsured –adj. not having an agreement with a company or agency that helps pay for the cost of a service such as health care

subsidiesn. government payments to producers or individuals that reduce the cost of a good or service to make it easier to get

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

          Supreme Court Allows Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect   


The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing parts of President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries to be enforced.

The court said Monday it will consider the case in October after its summer break. The Trump administration had requested that the ban be put in place while the case is considered in the courts.

The restrictions halted travel from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. It also barred all refugees from entering the United States.

The latest travel ban came about through an executive order signed by Trump. But it was blocked by lower courts.

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, May 15, 2017, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, May 15, 2017, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle.

In its 6 to 3 ruling, the Supreme Court made an exception for one group of foreigners. It said the travel ban cannot be enforced against any 'foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in the U.S.

The court also said it would allow a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States to go into effect with the same exception.

Three of the court's conservative justices said they would have allowed the full travel bans. Justice Clarence Thomas said the government's interest in ensuring national security should outweigh any hardship to people denied entry into the U.S.

The court’s decision was seen as a victory for Trump, who had repeatedly criticized federal courts for blocking his order. He has said the temporary travel ban was necessary to keep dangerous people out of the country while stronger vetting policies were created.

Trump praised Monday's Supreme Court decision, calling it a “clear victory for our national security.” In a statement, he said his “number one responsibility” is to keep Americans safe.

Some immigration lawyers said the limited nature of the ban raises questions about how much impact it will have. They noted that most people coming to study, work or visit family members in the U.S. already have sufficient relationships with others already in the country.

Protesters gather before marching through the streets in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Approximately 100 students at Portland State University joined a nationwide campus walkout to protest President-elect Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Protesters gather before marching through the streets in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Approximately 100 students at Portland State University joined a nationwide campus walkout to protest President-elect Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Even though the Supreme Court is expected to hear the travel order case in October, it noted that the case could be moot at that time. This is because measures in the order are meant to be temporary, while the government reviews its security procedures.

Trump said last week the travel ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts.

A statement by the Department of Homeland Security said the order will be implemented “professionally, with clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from VOA News, the Associated Press and Reuters. Hai Do was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

credible – adj. reasonable to trust or believe

bona fide adj. real or genuine

entityn. something that exists apart from other things

exclusionn. leaving out

ensure v. make certain something happens

vettingn. thorough investigation of someone or something

impact n. major effect on something

moot n. no longer important or relevant

implement v. put in place

          Foxconn May Spend Over $10 Billion in US Expansion   


A Taiwanese electronics company says that it may spend more than $10 billion to develop factories in the United States.

Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn, made the announcement to reporters Thursday. In January, the company said it would build a display panel factory, estimated to cost as much as $7 billion. Gou did not provide details Thursday about where building might take place.

Manufacturing Giant

Foxconn is the biggest contract manufacturer for smartphones. It makes products for Apple, Sony, Blackberry and other companies.

Gou told shareholders that Foxconn will create U.S. manufacturing and software development operations in artificial intelligence and automation.

He said that Foxconn has been in contact with the Trump administration. He added that he expects to finish negotiations by the end of July or early August.

The first investment agreements could involve at least three U.S. states. Three others could be added later, Gou said.

'We will provide at least tens of thousands of job opportunities,' Gou said Thursday.

He said Foxconn hopes to work with American states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas.

Implications of Foxconn's expansion to the U.S.

In January, Gou said that Pennsylvania was the top candidate for the panel factory. It would be linked with the Sharp electronics company.

Foxconn bought the Japanese company in March 2016 for $3.5 billion.

Expansion into the United States would decrease Foxconn's dependence on China. The company has about 1 million employees and most of its operations in that country.

I'm John Russell.

Joe McDonald and Johnson Lai wrote this story for AP. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

display panel – n. a part of an electronic device (such as a computer monitor) that shows information

contract - n. legal agreement between companies, people, etc..

smartphone – n. a mobile telephone that can be used to send and receive e-mail, connect to the Internet, take photographs, etc.

artificial intelligence – n. an area of computer science that deals with giving machines the ability to seem like they have human intelligence

automation – n. running or operating (something, such as a factory or system) by using machines, computers, etc., instead of people to do the work

opportunity - n. a situation in which something can be done

          Can Trump's Non-Diplomatic Team Make Progress in Middle East?   


U.S. President Donald Trump is taking a new approach in trying to get Israel and the Palestinians to sign a peace deal.

He sent two negotiators with no international diplomatic experience to meet with both sides.

The team that traveled to Jerusalem and the West Bank was led by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior aide. Also taking part was Jason Greenblatt, an assistant to the president in charge of international negotiations.

Kushner, 36, is a former New York real estate businessman and newspaper publisher. Greenblatt also has a background in real estate. For many years, he also worked as the chief lawyer in the Trump Organization. In that position, he oversaw large business deals for the company.

For the past 50 years, the United Nations and many U.S. presidents have tried – but failed – to bring about lasting peace in the Middle East.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. President George W. Bush, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Jordan's King Abdullah walk to the podium for their final statement at the end of a summit in Aqaba, June 4, 2003. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. President George W. Bush, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Jordan's King Abdullah walk to the podium for their final statement at the end of a summit in Aqaba, June 4, 2003.

​These efforts included many rounds of negotiations involving Israeli and Palestinian officials. Experienced diplomats and international negotiators led the talks, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former World Bank president James Wolfensohn and longtime diplomat Dennis Ross.

The first major success in Arab-Israeli peace talks came in 1978, under the leadership of U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords in Washington, D.C.

Egypt and Israel had been in a state of war.

The Camp David Accords led to a formal peace treaty signed between the two nations in 1979. And Sadat and Begin received the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.

In this March 26, 1979, file photo, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, left, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, center, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin clasp hands on the North lawn of the White House as they completed signing of the peace treaty In this March 26, 1979, file photo, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, left, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, center, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin clasp hands on the North lawn of the White House as they completed signing of the peace treaty

Every American president since has launched their own Middle East peace efforts.

In the Trump administration’s approach, Kushner and Greenblatt will bring their business experience to the negotiating table.

A spokesman for Kushner recently told Politico he had the president’s goals in mind as he put together his team.

“Jared brought in people he trusts, and they are embracing the fact that they are not career diplomats but great listeners with deal-making experience who can try a new approach.”

Guy Ziv is a professor at American University and an expert in Israeli-Palestinian relations. He says the Trump administration’s approach is much different than past efforts.

“It's different in the sense that Trump has assigned the most difficult, the most intractable conflict to individuals with next to no experience and very little knowledge on the issues.”

Trump has said that he considers a possible peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians “the ultimate deal.” He made a visit to the region last month. He appeared to have started a good working relationship with both sides.

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands before beginning their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands before beginning their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017.

Many issues have prevented a peace agreement. Among them are disputes over borders and competing claims to Jerusalem. Others include the future of millions of displaced Palestinians and demands for more economic opportunities for Palestinians.

Ziv says he does not agree with the argument that, since previous negotiations by experienced diplomats have not led to an agreement, a completely new approach is needed.

“I'm very skeptical in this regard because we're dealing, as I said, with some of the most difficult, complex issues that take years to learn. And they're getting a crash course on something that takes years to learn.”

He added that when it comes to actual policy, not much has changed from the Obama administration.

“Despite all the rhetoric, we are not seeing a different approach on any of the specifics. The (American) embassy (in Tel Aviv) is not being relocated (to Jerusalem). The administration is maintaining longstanding U.S. support for a two-state solution.”

The two-state solution would create an independent Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel.

Ziv added that the Trump administration is also expressing opposition to new Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This issue has long been a major dispute between the two sides.

Shortly before Kushner arrived in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted a photo of construction work being done on a new settlement. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the move a “serious escalation” designed to set back peace efforts.

During his trip, Kushner first met in Jerusalem with Netanyahu, who is a friend of his father’s. He then held talks with Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

After the talks, the White House said in statement that Netanyahu and Abbas had “reaffirmed their commitment” to the goal of getting a lasting peace agreement.

However, the statement also said that establishing peace “will take time.” It added that U.S. officials urged both sides to do “everything possible to create an environment conducive to peacemaking.”

Professor Ziv said he believes the only way a peace agreement will have a chance is if the Trump administration is willing to put pressure on both sides.

“Without a massive amount of pressure at the highest level, I don't think you're going to see any progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

And I'm Caty Weaver.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from VOA News, the Associated Press and Reuters. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

framework – n. basic structure of something

approach n. way of doing something

embracev. gladly accept something

intractableadj. not easily managed

opportunity n. chance to do something

crash coursen. class in which a lot of information is taught in a very short period of time

rhetoric – language intended to influence people

escalation n. a rise or increase in activity

forge v. create something

conducive adj. make something possible of likely to happen

massive adj. large amount

          American's Death Raises Concerns about N. Korean Rights Violations   


The death of an American college student is raising concerns about human rights violations in North Korea.

Twenty-two-year-old Otto Warmbier died on Monday.

Warmbier returned home to the United States last week. U.S. officials say he was unable to communicate and in a coma after his release from a North Korean prison.

Doctors said Warmbier had suffered severe brain damage while in North Korea.

In January of 2016, the student was arrested on a visit to Pyongyang. North Korean officials accused him of attempting to steal a propaganda sign at a hotel. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labor.

North Korean officials said Warmbier became sick from botulism while in detention and was given medication to help him sleep. They said he fell into a coma 15 months ago and never awoke.

After his release from North Korea, Warmbier was taken to a hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Doctors there disputed the North Korean explanation of what happened. But they could not say what caused his brain damage.

His parents said in a statement on Monday their son was “at peace.”

“Unfortunately, the awful, torturous treatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today,” the statement said.

Visitors and medical personnel enter a transport plane carrying Otto Warmbier, before he is transferred to an ambulance at Lunken regional airport, June 13, 2017, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visitors and medical personnel enter a transport plane carrying Otto Warmbier, before he is transferred to an ambulance at Lunken regional airport, June 13, 2017, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sympathy and anger

U.S. President Donald Trump offered his sympathy to the family. “There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life,” he said.

Trump added that Warmbier’s death strengthens his desire to prevent future tragedies “at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.”

Tensions between the two countries have increased in recent months because of North Korea’s missile and nuclear activities. North Korea has launched more than 20 missiles and carried out two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of last year.

U.S. officials have said they are concerned about three Korean-Americans who are being held in North Korea. At least six South Koreans are also believed to be jailed there. Some were Christian religious workers. The North Korean government accuses them of spying. Others were reportedly kidnapped by North Korean agents while helping defectors in China.

The U.S. government says North Korea uses the detainees for political reasons. North Korea accuses the United States and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government.

Abuses in North Korea

“The North Korean regime also wages war on their own citizens,” noted Marion Smith, the director of The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

In 2014, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) report compared current abuses in North Korea to those that took place in Nazi Germany during World War II.

The report said the North Korean government is holding between 80,000 and 120,000 political prisoners in four large camps. It accused the government of using torture during questioning. And it said North Koreans suspected of major political crimes often “disappear” without trial or judicial order into prison camps.

The report also noted that North Korea’s policy of carrying out executions in public causes people to fear the government.

U.S. student Otto Warmbier cries at court in an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 16, 2016. U.S. student Otto Warmbier cries at court in an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 16, 2016.

“The ruling Kim dynasty has shown time and time again that they have no regard for human rights,” said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch. “They have no regard for human life, and that whatever is necessary for them to hold onto power, they will do,” he said.

Robertson added that Warmbier’s treatment should cause other countries to restart efforts to hold North Korea responsible for human rights violations.

After the COI report was released in 2014, the U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution to send North Korea to the International Criminal Court. It called for the North Korean government to face charges of crimes against humanity. But the Security Council has yet to approve the measure. Experts believe North Korea’s allies, China and Russia, are stopping the Council from taking action on the resolution.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

And I'm Ashley Thompson.

VOA’s Smita Nordwall and Chris Hannas wrote this story for Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section, or visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

coma - n. a state in which a sick or injured person is unconcious for a long time

botulism - n. a serious illness caused by eating food filled with bacteria

torturous - adj. causing great pain

prime - n. a period in life when a person is best in health, strength, etc.

regime - n. a form of government

decency - n. behavior and attitude that show respect for other people

defector - n. a person who leave a country, political party, organization, etc.

dynasty - n. a family of rulers

regard - n. care or concern

          Apocalypse Averted   

It turns out that the doomsday predictors were wrong. Even the Mayans are probably wrong.
President Barack Obama was re-elected and the sky didn't fall. Hell did not freeze over. The dollar is still worth basically a dollar. The Dow did not go to zero. Hedge fund managers did not jump out of the windows of their boardrooms. People did not take to the streets en masse toting semi-automatic assault rifles.
President Barack Obama
The President won this election because his appeal was universal. Ironically, the only group that didn't support the President was composed of white men who for some reason still feel threatened by this President. The GOP shamelessly appealed to this group to the exclusion of everyone else and the results showed up on election night. The days when white men dominate this country are over and the GOP needs to recognize that it will not survive as a political force by only appealing to white males and white evangelicals. These two groups have a difficult time recognizing that they are now just two minority groups among so many other minority groups. Unfortunately for the GOP, there are still remnants of hostile, arrogant white males who feel entitled and resent that the rest of the country has a growing piece of the democratic pie. Most baffling of all, is the paranoia among the well-heeled, many of whom act as if they live in a banana republic where the ruler can just arbitrarily confiscate all their wealth.
Exemplifying this latter group is Donald Trump who still acts like the buffoon-in-chief. His antics ranging from his sham run for the presidency to his obsession with the president's birth certificate, college records, and other trivial matters not related to governance would be simply be fodder for comedians if it did not have serious resonance among swaths of the population. When George W. Bush was President, Trump couldn't have cared less about his college records. But he felt these issues were important when it came to the current President. Trump’s narcissism knows no bounds. Here are the comments he tweeted after the announcement of Obama's win:
“This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”
Donald Trump
“More votes equals a loss...revolution!”
“Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.”
“We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!”
“He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!”
“House of Representatives shouldn't give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare.”
“The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”
“Hopefully the House of Representatives can hold our country together for four more years...stay strong and never give up!”
Donald Trump is an embarrassment to himself, to the Republican Party and to the nation. The bigger point, however, is that the Republican Party has lost credibility when it allow statements of this low caliber to reflect on themselves. If the GOP is to become a relevant political force in the future it has to figure out a way of weeding out this kind of anachronistic thinking. This is not a trivial point. In order for us to succeed as a country we need the adults to take over and work together.

This is a plea for people, all people, 
especially politicians, to behave as adults, 
and not as spoiled children. 

There is no time for infantile antics à la the Tea Party. We have already witnessed what happens when the Tea Party Congressmen stamped their feet during the debt ceiling debate with the unfortunate result of our bond rating getting downgraded. For the Nation to succeed we will need the cooperation of both parties. The President has repeatedly indicated that he is willing to work with the opposition. It is really up to the responsible people in the Republican Party to accept this challenge and work constructively with the newly re-elected President.
This is not a plea to muzzle any thoughts. People are free to think as they wish in America. We have a Constitution that guarantees that. This is a plea for people, all people, especially politicians, to behave as adults, and not as spoiled children. The GOP has some serious thinking to do. Do they continue to allow clowns like Trump. Limbaugh and Bachmann  to speak for the Party with impunity? At what point does the Republican leadership disavow their messengers of intransigence?
Mitt Romney made a good concession speech in which he exhorted his party to work with the President to solve problems. In Romney's own words, “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work, and we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.” The GOP would be wise to follow Romney's advice, not only for their own survival as a Party, but for the sake of a nation that needs more solutions and less chest-thumping.
I predicted on October 31 on this blog [The Next Four Years] that President Obama's second term will be characterized by more bipartisanship and more consensus building now that the obsession with making the President a one-termer is past. I believe that the American people collectively harbor this hope and that is why they re-elected him. Let's hope we are all right.

I thought that was the logical next step