TBR News August 6, 2017

Aug 06 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., August 6 , 2017:” Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating.

Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges.

A Climate Central analysis finds the odds of “century” or worse floods occurring  are on track to double or more, over widespread areas of the U.S.

These increases threaten an enormous amount of damage. Across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide — a level lower than the century flood line for most locations analyzed. And compounding this risk, scientists expect roughly a 2 to 7 more feet of sea level rise within the next seven to ten years.

More than half of the area of 40 large cities (population over 50,000) is less than 10 feet above the high tide line, from Virginia Beach and Miami (the largest affected), down to Hoboken, N.J. (smallest). Twenty-seven of the cities are in Florida, where one-third of all current housing sits below the critical line — including 85 percent in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Each of these counties is more threatened than any whole state outside of Florida – and each sits on bedrock filled with holes, rendering defense by seawalls or levees almost impossible.

By the metric of most people living on land less than 10 ft above the high tide line, New York City is most threatened in the long run, with a low-lying population count of more than 700,000. Sixteen other cities, including New Orleans, La.; Norfolk, Va.; Stockton, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Jacksonville, Fla.; are on the list of places with more than 100,000 people below the line. (Much of New Orleans is already below sea level, but is protected, but only at today’s levels, by levees.)”

Table of Contents

  • Rise of the machines
  • ‘Nissan, you made us mad’: union promises to fight Mississippi defeat
  • Syrian army pushes IS out of last stronghold in Homs
  • U.S. Justice Department not looking to charge journalists for leaks: official
  • Department of Defense Domestic Military Order – Counterinsurgency Overview
  • Israel moves to shut down local operations of Al-Jazeera
  • Plans Underway for Construction of Third Temple in Jerusalem


Rise of the machines

August 5,2017

by Chico Harlan

The Washington Post

The workers of the first shift had just finished their morning cigarettes and settled into place when one last car pulled into the factory parking lot, driving past an American flag and a “now hiring” sign. Out came two men, who opened up the trunk, and then out came four cardboard boxes labeled “fragile.”

“We’ve got the robots,” one of the men said.

They watched as a forklift hoisted the boxes into the air and followed the forklift into a building where a row of old mechanical presses shook the concrete floor. The forklift honked and carried the boxes past workers in steel-toed boots and earplugs. It rounded a bend and arrived at the other corner of the building, at the end of an assembly line.

The line was intended for 12 workers, but two were no-shows. One had just been jailed for drug possession and violating probation. Three other spots were empty because the company hadn’t found anybody to do the work. That left six people on the line jumping from spot to spot, snapping parts into place and building metal containers by hand, too busy to look up as the forklift now came to a stop beside them.

In factory after American factory, the surrender of the industrial age to the age of automation continues at a record pace. The transformation is decades along, its primary reasons well-established: a search for cost-cutting and efficiency.

But as one factory in Wisconsin is showing, the forces driving automation can evolve — for reasons having to do with the condition of the American workforce. The robots were coming in not to replace humans, and not just as a way to modernize, but also because reliable humans had become so hard to find. It was part of a labor shortage spreading across America, one that economists said is stemming from so many things at once. A low unemployment rate. The retirement of baby boomers. A younger generation that doesn’t want factory jobs. And, more and more, a workforce in declining health: because of alcohol, because of despair and depression, because of a spike in the use of opioids and other drugs.

In earlier decades, companies would have responded to such a shortage by either giving up on expansion hopes or boosting wages until they filled their positions. But now, they had another option. Robots had become more affordable. No longer did machines require six-figure investments; they could be purchased for $30,000, or even leased at an hourly rate. As a result, a new generation of robots was winding up on the floors of small- and medium-size companies that had previously depended only on the workers who lived just beyond their doors. Companies now could pick between two versions of the American worker — humans and robots. And at Tenere Inc., where 132 jobs were unfilled on the week the robots arrived, the balance was beginning to shift.

“Right here, okay?” the forklift driver yelled over the noise of the factory, and when a manager gave him a nod, he placed on the ground the boxes containing the two newest employees at Tenere, Robot 1 and Robot 2.

Tenere is a company that manufactures custom-made metal and plastic parts, mostly for the tech industry. Five years earlier a private-equity firm acquired the company, expanded to Mexico, and ushered in what the company called “a new era of growth.” In Wisconsin, where it has 550 employees, all non-union, wages started at $10.50 per hour for first shift and $13 per hour for overnight. Counting health insurance and retirement benefits, even the lowest-paid worker was more expensive than the robots, which Tenere was leasing from a Nashville-based start-up, Hirebotics, for $15 per hour. Hirebotics co-founder Matt Bush said that, before coming to Tenere, he’d been all across America installing robots at factories with similar hiring problems. “Everybody is struggling to find people,” he said, and it was true even in a slice of western Wisconsin so attuned to the rhythms of shift work that one local bar held happy hour three times a day.

Inside the factory, there have been no major issues with quality control, plant managers say, only with filling its job openings. In the front office, the general manager had nudged up wages for second- and third-shift workers, and was wondering if he’d have to do it again in the next few months. Over in human resources, an administrator was saying that finding people was like trying to “climb Everest” — even after the company had loosened policies on hiring people with criminal records. Even the new hires who were coaxed through the door often didn’t last long, with the warning signs beginning when they filed in for orientation in a second-floor office that overlooked the factory floor.

“How’s everybody doing?” said Matt Bader, as four just-hired workers walked in on a day when Robot 1 was being installed. “All good?”

“Maybe,” one person said.

Bader, who worked for a staffing agency that helped Tenere fill some of its positions, scanned the room. There was somebody in torn jeans. Somebody who drove a school bus and needed summer work only. Somebody without a car who had hitched a ride.

Bader told them that once they started at Tenere they had to follow a few important rules, including one saying they couldn’t drink alcohol or use illegal substances at work. “Apparently, we need to tell people that,” Bader said, not mentioning that just a few days before he had driven two employees to a medical center for drug tests after managers suspected they’d shown up high.

One worker stifled a yawn. Another asked about getting personal calls during the shift. Another raised his hand.

“Yes?” Bader asked.

“Do you have any coffee?” the worker said.

“I don’t,” Bader said.

After an hour the workers were heading back to their cars, one saying that everything “sounds okay,” another saying the “pay sucks.” Bader guessed that two of the four “wouldn’t last a week,” because often, he said, he knew within minutes who would last. People who said they couldn’t work Saturdays. People who couldn’t work early mornings. This was the mystery for him: So many people showing up, saying they were worried about rent or bills or supporting children, and yet they couldn’t hold down a job that could help them.

“I am so sick of hearing that,” Bader said. “And then they wonder why things are getting automated.”


The new robots had been made in Denmark, shipped to North Carolina, sold to engineers in Nashville, and then driven to Wisconsin. The robots had no faces, no bodies, nothing to suggest anything but mechanical efficiency. If anything, they looked similar to human arms, with silver limbs and powder blue elbows and charcoal-colored wrists.

Each had been shipped with a corresponding box of wires and controls. Each weighed 40.6 pounds. They had been specifically designed to replicate movements with such precision than any deviation was no greater than the thickness of a human hair — a skill particularly helpful for Robot 1, which had been brought in to perform one of the most repetitive jobs in the factory.

As the engineers prepared it for operation, Robot 1 had been bolted in front of a 10-foot-tall mechanical press. It was rigged with safety sensors and programmed to make a three-foot path of motion, one that it would use to make part No. 07123571. More commonly, Tenere called this part the claw.

The purpose of the claw was to holster a disk drive. Tenere had been making them for two years, at two separate mechanical presses, where workers fed 6-by-7 inch pieces of flat aluminum into the machine, pressed two buttons simultaneously, and then extracted the metal — now bent at the edges. Tenere’s workers were supposed to do this 1,760 times per shift.

Robot 1, almost programmed now, started trying it out. It snatched the flat metal from its left side, then swiveled back toward the press. It moved noiselessly. It released the part into the mouth of the machine, and as soon as it withdrew, down came the press to shape the metal into a claw: Wallop. The robot’s arm then retrieved the part, swiveling back to its left, and dropping the claw on a conveyor belt.

“How fast do you want it?” Hirebotics co-founder Rob Goldiez asked a plant manager supervising the installation.

First the robot was cycling every 20 seconds, and then every 14.9 seconds, and then every 10 seconds. An engineer toggled with the settings, and later the speed bumped up again. A claw was being produced every 9.5 seconds. Or 379 every hour; 3,032 every shift; 9,096 every day.

“This motion,” Goldiez said, “will be repeatable for years.”

Some distance away, in front of another mechanical press, was a 51-year-old man named Bobby Campbell who had the same job as Robot 1. He’d wound up with the position because of an accident: In February, he’d had too much to drink, tumbled off a deck at his daughter’s house, and broken his neck. When he returned after three months, Tenere pulled him out of the laser department and put him on light duty. Now, as the testing continued on a robot that he said “just looks like something you see in the damned dentist’s office,” Campbell was starting his 25th consecutive workday feeding claws to the machine. He’d punched the same two buttons that activated the press 36,665 times.

“Beat that robot today,” Campbell’s supervisor said.

“Hah,” Campbell said, turning his back and settling in at his station, where there were 1,760 claws to make and eight hours until he drove home.

He set his canvas lunch container on a side table and oiled his mechanical press. He cut open a box of parts and placed the first flat piece of metal under the press. A gauge on the side of the press kept count. Wallop. “1,” the counter said, and after Campbell had pressed the button 117 more times, there were seven hours to go.

Unlike the employees on the assembly line, Campbell worked alone. His press was off in a corner. There was no foot traffic, nobody to talk to, nothing to look at. Campbell stopped his work and removed a container of pills. He took a low-dose aspirin for his neck, another pill for high blood pressure. He snacked on some peppers and homemade pickles, fed 393 more parts in the machine, and then it was time for lunch. Four hours to go.

“Monday,” he said with a little shrug. “I’ll pick it up after I get some fuel.”

Campbell had been at Tenere for three years. He earned $13.50 per hour. He had a bad back, a shaved and scarred head, a tear duct that perpetually leaked after orbital surgery, and aging biceps that he showed off with sleeveless Harley-Davidson shirts. He liked working at Tenere, he said. Good people. Good benefits. Some days he hit his targets, other days he didn’t, but his supervisors never got on him, and the company had always been patient with him, even as he dealt with some personal problems.

He lived 31 miles and 40 minutes away, provided he didn’t stop. The problem was, sometimes he did. Along the drive home there were a dozen gas stations and minimarts selling beer, and Campbell said he couldn’t figure out why some days he would turn in. He’d tried everything he could think of to stop himself. Calling his daughters, calling his wife. Turning up the music and listening to Rod Stewart. He’d been to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, he said. He’d spent 28 days at a treatment center. He’d looked for jobs that would cut down on the commute. He’d faced a family intervention where the whole family read him letters, as he sat there feeling like what he called a “kindergartner.”

Sometimes, Campbell said, he almost thought he was through the worst — sober for weeks at a time — but then came Saturday, when he was supposed to work an eight-hour shift and instead clocked out after three hours, stopping on the way home and downing a 12-pack of beer before sundown. Then came Sunday, another 12 beers out on the lake. Now it was Monday, and Campbell said he was sure he’d be okay if he could just get home. There, his wife only allowed him to have nonalcoholic beers. But that was 31 miles away. “Just the uncertainty,” Campbell said, and he tried not to think about it, with the lunch break over, and 3 hours and 40 minutes to go.

He stepped onto the floor pad in front of the press and got back to work. A box of flat metal pieces was to his left, a hopper of finished claws sat on his right, and Campbell’s hands moved in a rhythm, grabbing and inserting. “As long as I’ve got parts in front of me, I’m all right,” he said. Twenty minutes without looking up. Then 40. Then nearly 60. The gauge said 912.

“All right,” Campbell said, when there was an hour left to go, still pressing the buttons.

He hummed a song. He whistled. He fed 11 pieces of metal to the machine in a minute, and then 13, then nine. His eyes darted from left to right. He nodded his head.

The press’s clutch was hissing and exhaling, hissing and exhaling, and Campbell added a last pump of oil to the machine with 15 minutes to go. Out came a few more parts, and he fed them into the hopper, checked the gauge, and shrugged. “Not so bad,” he said.

Time to go home. He had punched the buttons another 1,376 times, 384 shy of his target, and now he got in the car.


Robot 2 had a different job than Robot 1. It was to be part of a team — the assembly line. The team worked along a 70-foot row of tables lined with workstations that were always at least a few workers shy, where employees snapped and riveted metal pieces, building silver, rectangular containers. Each container, by the time it reached the last assembly workstation, was outfitted with either 13 or 15 miniature drawer slots. It was the job of the third-to-last worker on the line to fill each with a claw. That would become the sole task of Robot 2, one that it started to test out after days of programming and setup.

The claws arrived at Robot 2’s station on a conveyor belt. From there, the robot made a three-foot motion of its own. Grabbing the claw with its gripper. Swiveling 90 degrees. Reaching its arm toward the container. And then, inserting the claw into one of the drawer slots with an intricate push: forward 80 millimeters, down five millimeters, forward another 20 millimeters, up eight millimeters, forward another 12.

“A delicate move,” Bush said.

One that Robot 2 would be able to make every seven seconds once it joined the line.

Days earlier, Annie Larson, the woman who would work alongside Robot 2, had been at home, the end of another shift, laid out in a recliner sipping a Mountain Dew mixed with what she described as the cheapest vodka she could find. There’d been six years at Tenere of days like these. Trying to unwind. Alone in her one-bedroom apartment. Bedtime at 9. Alarm at 5:40 a.m. Out the door at 6:20. Into her old Chevy. Six miles up the street. Then into the Tenere parking lot, clocking in just before 7, the next day of trying to keep pace. Except this time, as a forklift came to a stop nearby, she saw four boxes being dropped off at the end of the line.

“What in the hell?” she thought.

Her line supervisor, Tom Johannsen, had told workers a few weeks earlier the robots were coming. But he hadn’t said when they would arrive, or what exactly they would do. He hadn’t described how they would look. He’d just said nobody was losing their jobs, and not to worry, and that Tenere was “supplementing some of the people we can’t find.”

Now, though, the boxes were being opened up, wires everywhere, and Larson started to worry. The machines looked too complicated. Maybe they’d break down. Maybe they couldn’t keep pace. Maybe they’d be just one more problem at the factory, and already, their boxes were getting in the way. Only six people were on the line, which meant Larson was leapfrogging from one workstation to the next, trying to do the work of two or three. She could feel everybody falling behind. She nearly tripped over a floor mat that had buckled to make space for the robot. Larson turned to one of the robot engineers and said, “We have no room over here. It sucks.” When the end-of-the-shift buzzer sounded, the line had made 32 fewer containers than it was supposed to, and that night, Larson said, she had more drinks than her usual one or two.

But then came the next day: Back again, on time. Always on time. Larson was one of the steadiest parts of an assembly team in which so many other workers had lasted for weeks or months. “My line,” Larson called it. Her supervisor called her “old school.” A manager called her “no nonsense.” Others moaned about the job during lunchtime breaks. Larson, wanting no part of that, pulled up a stool to the assembly line every day and ate by herself.

“If the job is that bad, go!” she said.

She was 48, and she had no plans to leave. Rural Wisconsin was tough, but so what; she couldn’t start over. Her roots were here. Her mother lived four blocks away. Her father lived six blocks away. Her son, daughter and grandchild were all within 15 miles. Larson couldn’t afford vacations or new clothing, but she paid every bill on time: $545 for rent, $33 for electric — every amount and due date programmed into her phone.

But it was the numbers at work that had been leaving her feeling more drained than usual lately. The team felt as if it was forever in catch-up mode. She and her co-workers were supposed to complete 2,250 containers per week. But with so many jobs unfilled, they missed the mark by 170 the week before the robots arrived. They were off 130 the week prior. The line got a pep talk from the supervisor, Johannsen, who said he could notice Larson in particular “getting frustrated.”

“Are there any claws in that box?” Larson said now, motioning across a table.

Another worker checked. “No.”

“Ugh,” Larson said, and she grabbed the empty box and darted down the line, pony tail bobbing. She returned 15 seconds later with an overflowing pile of claws. “Here,” she said, dropping the box on an assembly line table. She reached over to the pile of containers and began filling them. Fifteen claws. Then 30. Her shirt was darkened with sweat. Forty-five claws. Sixty.

“You’re power-hauling,” another worker said.

Her co-workers were always changing. For now, they were a Linda, another Linda, a Kevin, a Sarah, a Miah, a Valerie and a Matt. Valerie was a good worker, Larson said, and so was one of the Lindas. But a few of the others struggled to keep pace. Larson told them sometimes how they could be more efficient in their jobs. How they could line up rivets in parallel rows, for instance. But who was paying attention?

“There’s no caring,” Larson said. “No pride.”

Friday now, and Larson was tired. There was one more shift before the weekend, but this time, when she showed up for work, she saw something different at the end of the line. The robots no longer looked like a mess. Their wires had been tucked into control boxes. Their stations had been swept clean. They were surrounded by new conveyor belts.

“They’re pretty,” she said, and several hours later, mid-shift, she noticed an employee who’d missed the last few weeks with knee surgery wander over, stopping at the robot.

“Ohh,” the employee said, “they’re taking somebody’s job.”

“No, they’re not,” she said.

She was surprised by her response. That she had come to the robot’s defense. But then she looked at what the robot was going to do: Put a claw in the slot. Put another claw in the slot. Put another claw in the slot.

“It’s not a good job for a person to have anyway,” she said.

The end-of-the-shift buzzer sounded, and Larson got back into her car. Then back into the recliner, where she poured her drink and tried to think about how the assembly line was going to change. Maybe the robots would actually help. Maybe the numbers would get better. Maybe her next problem would be too many humans and not enough robots.

“Me and Val and 12 robots,” Larson said. “I would be happy with that.”


Eight days after arriving in boxes, the robots’ first official day of work had arrived. In between the end of the overnight shift and the start of the first shift, the engineers did a last run-through and then picked up the touch screens that controlled the robots. Robot 1 began grabbing the metal rectangles, feeding them into the mechanical press, then extracting them as claws. Robot 2 began swiveling and grabbing the claws, placing them into a few containers that had been assembled overnight. The robots were six feet apart from one another, at stations producing the only noise in an otherwise quiet factory. Every 9.5 seconds: the wallop of the press. And then, the snapping of a claw sliding into a slot.

And then, the 7 a.m. buzzer to start the day.

In came the workers, some of whom took a moment to stand near the robots and watch.

“It’s pretty amazing,” one said.

“Gosh, it doesn’t take breaks,” another said.

“Can I smack it if I need to?” Larson asked, and then she said, “Okay, let’s go.”

The people took their stations. In one corner, Robot 1 was pounding out claws, laying them on a conveyor belt. Along a half-empty row of workstations, six people were constructing containers. At the end of that row, Robot 2 was filling those containers with claws. And at the other side of the factory, Campbell was stamping out claws the old way, feeding the metal and pressing the buttons, 320 in the first hour, even as he pulled a tissue out of his pocket every few minutes to dab his leaky eye.

“This machine is getting hot, I’m working it so hard,” Campbell said.

At the assembly line, Larson and the others were moving fast because they needed to. Robot 2 was filling a container with claws every 1 1/2  minutes, and the humans could barely keep pace. They shoveled 10 containers down the line, and Robot 2 filled them with claws. For a minute, as more containers were being riveted together, the robot sat idle.

“We have to keep leapfrogging,” Larson shouted. “The robot needs some work.”

Within an hour, the workers of the first shift had filled a shipping box with finished containers — the first batch made by both humans and robots. Then came a second box, and then a third, and then a buzzer sounded for a break. The work paused, and a manager, Ed Moryn, grabbed the Hirebotics engineers and asked them to follow.

He took them through a passageway and into another building, stopping at two more workstations where he said the company needed help. A press brake job. An assembly job. “Can we do these?” Moryn asked. The engineers studied the work areas for 15 minutes, took some measurements, and two days later offered Tenere one version of a solution for a company trying to fill 132 openings. Tenere looked at the offer and signed the paperwork. In September, the engineers would be coming back, arriving this time with the boxes holding Robot 3 and Robot 4.


Nissan, you made us mad’: union promises to fight Mississippi defeat

United Automobile Workers fails in bid to organize in southern car plant

New charges with National Labor Relations Board could prompt new vote

August 5, 2017

by Mike Elk in Canton, Mississippi

The Guardian

Nissan workers in Canton, Mississippi, voted against unionizing on Friday by a margin of 2,244 to 1,307. The vote was a disappointing defeat for those who hoped to open the door for union organizing across the American south.

With this vote, the voice of Nissan employees has been heard,” said Nissan spokesperson Parul Baraj in a statement. “Our expectation is that the [United Automobile Workers] will respect and abide by their decision and cease their efforts to divide our Nissan family.”

Pro-union workers said they had no intentions of leaving any time soon. Hardball company tactics against the vote have attracted the attention of federal labor authorities, which could call for a new ballot.

“It ain’t over yet,” union leader Morris Mock told a crowd of dozens Nissan workers. “It ain’t over yet. Nissan, all you did was make us mad. We are gonna fight a little harder next time. We are gonna stand a little harder next time. We are gonna shout a little harder next time because next time we are never gonna give up.”

Mock’s speech was interrupted by chants of “six months” – the time in which workers hope the National Labor Review Board (NLRB) will grant them a new election.

“Fight to win, fight to win, fight to win!” cried Hazel Whiting, whose son, Derrick Whiting, died after collapsing on the factory floor in 2015.

Activists who fought for 14 years for the vote said they were proud that 1,307 people had voted to join a union. Nissan managers held one-on-one sessions with workers to discourage them. The company blitzed local media with anti-union ads.

“I don’t take this as a loss because I have learned so much, so much, during this process,” union leader Betty Jones told a crowd of activists shortly after the vote count was announced. “I have made so many friends, family – y’all are my family!”

The attempt by the United Automobile Workers (UAW) to organize at Nissan in Canton, Mississippi, was unprecedented in size for the south. Under the banner of the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFN), the UAW organized a coalition of student groups, clergy, community, labor, environmental and civil rights groups.

Through civil disobedience, the group helped win the reinstatement of fired UAW activist Calvin Moore. Their protests lead Nissan to adopt changes that benefited long-term temp workers employed at the plant.

For more than a decade, a formal union seemed out of reach. Then, this spring, more than 5,000 union activists showed up for an historic March for Mississippi against Nissan, featuring the Vermont senator and 2016 candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Bernie Sanders.

The march gave the union drive an unexpected burst of energy. In the following month, the UAW gained 386 members at the Canton plant. Despite having only a narrow majority of Nissan workers signing cards, the union decided it was time to call an election and force a discussion about workers’ rights in the south.

Major factories like the 6,000-person Nissan plant in Canton often unionize after multiple attempts. Through workplace struggle and defeat, many workers learn valuable lessons. Many at the Canton plant realized they might lose but saw the election as the beginning of a long-term struggle.

“It’s the beginning of a war,” said one, Robert Hathorn. “They light a torch for us.”

The fight at Canton has pitted union activists against those who see unionization as antithetical to growth in a poverty stricken state.

“If you want to take away your job, if you want to end manufacturing as we know it in Mississippi, just start expanding unions,” governor Phil Bryant said last week.

All over town, businesses put up signs saying “Our Team, Our Future, Vote No August 3-4”. Local TV featured a similar message. Many workers reported pressure from friends, neighbors and others to vote against the union, so the plant would not close.

Then one-on-one meetings started. Thousands of workers were forced to sit alone with bosses and describe how they felt about the union drive. In such meetings, workers were told of the threat a union would represent. They were told unionization would make the plant more rigid and would lead to many workers not being able to get favors from bosses when they needed time off.

They were repeatedly warned that a union would make the plant a place of conflict.

“You feel threatened, and it’s a real fear,” said Mock. “If you want a day off, you want to spend time with your family, or you are too sick, you have to call this person and explain the situation is. It’s like, ‘If I don’t do it, then I am going to be treated differently.’”

Many were told that if workers unionized, the company would take away special lease rates on new cars.

“When Nissan said, ‘We are going take away your leased vehicle,’ everything changed,” said worker Betty Jones. “And the more they were saying that, the more people were wearing their [anti-union] shirts.”

Then, management said the company would maintain an “open door” policy to address complaints. Many workers received long-sought-after raises and special deals on car purchases.

Late last month, the NLRB charged Nissan with illegally threatening workers and bribing workers to vote against the union. On the day of the election, the UAW filed seven more unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB. If the federal body decides that Nissan broke the law, it could re-order another election within six months.

Nissan has denied the charges and plans to appeal. For now, despite not having a union, workers say they must act like a minority union on the shop floor.

“They don’t understand that they are the union,” said worker Michael Carter. “There is not a third party coming in there, the union is already in there, and that’s what we gotta make them understand, that they are the union.”

Union activists say they look forward to a new election. They hope that in that time, workers will realize the necessity of a union.

“The company is gonna help us win this next campaign and they don’t even realize it because they are not going to keep their word,” said worker Castes Foster. “Once a snake, always a snake.”

Syrian army pushes IS out of last stronghold in Homs

Syrian regime forces have seized the key town of Sukhna in Homs from the “Islamic State” (IS), opening the way to a besieged pro-government garrison. The jihadists also face an attack in their de facto capital of Raqqa.

August 6, 2017


The town was captured after heavy artillery shelling and Russian air strikes, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday. The central town of Sukhna is some 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the ancient city of Palmyra.

Earlier on Saturday, state news agency SANA said that the Damascus forces attacked the city from three sides. However, the government did not immediately confirm that Sukhna was taken.

Road to Deir el-Zour

Sukhna is the last major urban stronghold of the IS militia in Syria’s Homs province. Its capture marks a key strategic victory for the pro-government forces as it clears the way for them to aid their allies under IS-siege in the city of Deir el-Zour. The Islamist militia controls most of the province and parts of the city, and has kept some 200,000 people living in government-controlled areas since early 2015.

Syria’s Deir el-Zour province borders Iraq, and links the IS’ de facto capital of Raqqa with IS-controlled areas in Iraq.

The “Islamic State” has been losing ground in both Iraq and Syria, faced with the onslaught from US-backed Kurdish and Iraqi forces, as well as with pro-Damascus forces backed by Russia. It was recently routed from its long-held stronghold of Mosul in Iraq. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Defense Forces now control more than half of the Syrian metropolis of Raqqa, which serves as de-facto capital for the “Islamic State.”


U.S. Justice Department not looking to charge journalists for leaks: official

August 6, 2017

by Pete Schroeder


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One of the top officials at the U.S. Justice Department said Sunday that the agency’s heightened focus on policing leaks of classified information is not intended to put journalists in legal jeopardy.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein emphasized that the department’s renewed effort to prosecute leaks of classified information is not aimed at the news media.

“We’re after the leakers, not the journalists,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We don’t prosecute journalists for doing their jobs.”

But Rosenstein would not rule out potentially charging journalists in the future altogether, saying reporters could face charges if they deliberately violated the law.

“Generally speaking, reporters who publish information are not committing a crime, but there might be a circumstance in which they do,” he said. “I wouldn’t rule it out if there were a case where the reporter was purposefully violating the law.”

On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that his department was tripling the number of investigations into leaks of classified information. President Donald Trump has been fiercely critical of the high number of leaks coming from the federal government since he took office.

Rosenstein said the Justice Department has experienced a “surge” of referrals pertaining to leaks of government information. He also said that the department would pursue charges against “anybody who breaks the law” leaking information, including members of Congress and top White House officials.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

 Department of Defense

NUMBER 2905.17

June 13, 2017 USD(I)

SUBJECT: DoD Domestic Military Order-Counterinsurgency Overview :

See Enclosure 1


Domestic Military Order – Counterinsurgency Overview

Understanding Insurgency

Domestic insurgencies date to the earliest forms of government and will continue to exist as long as the governed harbor grievances against authority that they believe cannot be resolved by peaceful means.

What is a domestic  insurgency? The Department of Defense (DOD) defines domestic insurgency as “an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.” Simply put, a domestic  insurgency is a struggle between a non-ruling group and their ruling authority. Domestic insurgents use political resources, to include the increased use of the media and international opinion, as well as violence to destroy the political legitimacy of the ruling authority and build their  own political legitimacy and power. Examples of this type of warfare range from the American Revolution to the previous situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conflict itself can range from acts of terrorism to the more conventional use of the media to sway public opinion. Whatever form the insurgency takes, it serves an ideology or political goal.

Some of the motivating factors in the current politico/sociological situation are:

Massive and continuing unemployment in all levels of American business and industry. Only those who are technically proficient, i.e. in fields of computer science, are employable. Another point of contention is the huge influx of illegal foreign immigrants and the perception that these prevent Americans from obtaining work and also are perceived as draining the national welfare rolls. Also, a growing functional illiteracy in the American public, which has sharply diminished the reading of newspapers and increased the popularity of the Internet with its brief “sound bites.”A growing public perception of both disinterest and corruption on the part of National and State legislators has caused massive disillusionment on the part of the people. The recent revelations that the American (and foreign) public is closely watched and spied upon by governmental organs at the behest of the President has created a very volatile and very negative attitude towards any and all official programs.

An insurgency is defined as an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict It is a protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken government control and legitimacy while increasing insurgent control. Political power is the central issue in an insurgency.

Each insurgency has its own unique characteristics based on its strategic objectives, its operational environment, available resources, operational method, and tactics For example, an insurgency may be based on mass mobilization through political action or the FOCO theory. Insurgencies frequently seek to overthrow the existing social order and reallocate power within the country.

The goal of an insurgency is to mobilize human and material resources in order to form an alternative to the state. This alternative is called the counterstate. The counterstate may have much of the infrastructure possessed by the state itself, but this must normally be hidden, since it is illegal. Thus the counterstate is often referred to by the term “clandestine infrastructure.” As the insurgents gain confidence and power, the clandestine infrastructure may become more open, as observed historically in communist regions during the Chinese Revolution, in South Vietnam after the North Vietnamese 1972 Easter Offensive, and in Colombia in the summer of 1998.

Successful mobilization provides active and passive support for the insurgency’s programs, operations, and goals. At the national level, mobilization grows out of dissatisfaction by some elite members with existing political, economic, or social conditions. At the regional level, members of an elite have become marginalized (that is, they have become psychologically alienated from the system), and have established links with followers by bringing them into the counterstate. At the local, district and province-levels, local movement representatives called the cadre address local grievances and do recruiting. The cadre gives credit to the insurgent movement for all local solutions. Loyalty to the insurgent movement is normally won through deeds but may occur through appeal to abstract principles. Promises to end hunger or eliminate poverty may appeal to a segment of the population, while appeals to eliminate a foreign presence or establish a government based on religious or political ideology may appeal to others. Nonetheless, these promises and appeals are associated with tangible solutions and deeds.

What are the root causes of a domestic  insurgency? For a domestic  insurgency to flourish, a majority of the population must either support or remain indifferent to insurgent ideals and practices. There must be a powerful reason that drives a portion of the populace to armed opposition against the existing government. Grievances may have a number of causes, such the lack of economic opportunity, restrictions on basic liberties, government corruption, ethnic or religious tensions, excessivly large number of illegal immigrants, especially those from  Central America who clog national welfare rolls and are perceived to take jobs from entry-level Americans,or an unassimilitable religious and ethnic minority such as the Muslims who are seen to harbor domestic terrorists. It is through this line of thought or ideal that insurgents attempt to mobilize the population.

Understanding Counterinsurgency

What is counterinsurgency?—DOD defines counterinsurgency as “those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.” Also called “COIN” The United States government intends to use a wide breadth of national capabilities to defeat any domestic insurgencies through a variety of means. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) use special teams to generate strategic objectives and assist the sitting government. The military will support those efforts by employing conventional forces, in combination with Special Operations Forces (SOF), in a variety of activities aimed at enhancing security and/or alleviating causes of unrest.



The cadre is the political activists and local political leaders of the insurgency. They are referred to as militants since they are actively engaged in struggling to accomplish insurgent goals. The insurgent movement provides guidance and procedures to the cadre, and the cadre use these to assess the grievances in local areas and carry out activities that satisfy those grievances. They then attribute the solutions they have provided to the insurgent movement itself. Deeds are the key to making insurgent slogans meaningful to the population.

Larger societal issues facilitate such action, because these larger issues may be blamed for life’s smaller problems. Insurgents, however, may have no regard for popular dissent or local grievances. The insurgents play by no rules, and they will use fear as a means to intimidate the populace and thereby prevent cooperation with the military or local law enforcement..


The mass base consists of the followers of the insurgent movement that are the population of the counterstate. Mass base members are recruited and indoctrinated by the cadre, who implement instructions and procedures provided by the insurgent leadership. Though they do not actively fight for the insurgency, mass base members provide intelligence and supplies. Mass base members may continue in their normal positions in society, but many will either lead second, clandestine lives for the insurgent movement, or even pursue new, full-time positions within the insurgency. Combatants normally begin as members of the mass base before becoming armed manpower.

The insurgent leadership thus provides organizational and managerial skills to transform regions into an effective base for armed political action, while the cadre accomplishes this same transformation at the community and mobilized individual level. What results, as in any armed conflict, is a contest of resource mobilization and force deployment. A state is challenged by a counterstate. No objective force level guarantees victory for either side. It is frequently stated that a 10 to 1 or 20 to 1 ratio of counterinsurgents to insurgents is necessary for counterinsurgency victory. In reality, research has demonstrated time and again there are no valid ratios that, when met, guarantee victory. As in conventional war, correlation of forces in an insurgency depends upon the situation. Though objective and valid force-correlation ratios do not exist, counterinsurgency has been historically manpower intensive. Time, which often works on the side of the insurgent, just as often places serious constraints upon counterinsurgent courses of action.


Rising up against constituted authority has been present throughout history. The causes for such uprisings have been as numerous as human conditions. Uprisings against indigenous regimes have normally been termed “rebellions.” Uprisings against an external occupying power have normally been termed “resistance movements.” Historical particulars can at times combine the two.

Rebellions and resistance movements are transformed into an insurgency by their in-corporation into an armed political campaign. A popular desire to resist is used by an insurgent movement to accomplish the insurgents’ political goal. The insurgency thus mounts a political challenge to the state through the formation of, or desire to, create a counterstate.

The desire to form a counterstate grows from the same causes that galvanize any political campaign. These causes can range from the desire for greater equity in the distribution of resources (poverty alone is rarely, if ever, sufficient to sustain an insurgency) to a demand that foreign occupation end. Increasingly, religious ideology has become a catalyst for insurgent movements. The support of the people, then, is the center of gravity. It must be gained in whatever proportion is necessary to sustain the insurgent movement (or, contrariwise, to defeat it). As in any political campaign, all levels of support are relative.

Violence is the most potent weapon available to insurgents. Nonetheless, violence can alienate when not linked to a vision of a better life. Violence is often accompanied by a variety of nonviolent means that act as a potent weapon in an external propaganda war and assist recruiting. Historically, astute movements have recognized the efficacy of both means to the extent they have fielded discrete units charged with nonviolent action (for example, strikes in the transportation sector) to supplement violent action. The insurgents in Algeria rarely defeated French forces in the field; they employed indiscriminate violence, success fully initiated nonviolent strikes, developed associated propaganda for external use, and thereby handily won their war. “People’s war” in its Chinese and Vietnamese variants did this also.

Insurgency Development

Insurgent movements begin as “fire in the minds of men.” Insurgent leaders commit themselves to building a new world. They construct the organization to carry through this desire. Generally, popular grievances become insurgent causes when interpreted and shaped by the insurgent leadership. The insurgency grows if the cadre that is local insurgent leaders and representatives can establish a link between the insurgent movement and the desire for solutions to grievances sought by the local population.

Insurgent leaders will exploit opportunities created by government security force actions. The behavior of security forces is critical. Lack of security force discipline leads to alienation, and security force abuse of the populace is a very effective insurgent recruiting tool. Consequently, specific insurgent tactical actions are often planned to frequently elicit overreaction from security force individuals and units.


Leadership figures engage in command and control of the insurgent movement. They are the idea people and planners. They see solutions to the grievances of society in structural terms. They believe that only altering the way the institutions and practices of society fit together will result in real change. Reforms and changes in personalities are deemed insufficient to “liberate” or “redeem” society. Historically, insurgencies have coalesced around a unifying leader, ideology, and organization. However, this precedent can no longer be assumed. It is possible that many leaders at the head of several organizations with different ideologies but united by a single goal of overthrowing the government or ridding the country of a foreign presence will emerge.

Leadership is critical to any insurgency. Insurgency is not simply random political violence.It is directed and focused political violence. It requires leadership to provide vision, direction to establish and set the long-term way ahead, short-term guidance, coordination, and organizational coherence. Insurgent leaders must make their cause known to the people and gain popular support. Although, theoretically, the insurgent leader desires to gain popular support for the cause, that desire is often accompanied by a terror campaign against those who do not support the insurgents’ goals. Their key tasks are to break and supplant the ties between the people and the government, and to establish legitimacy for their movement. Their education, family, social and religious connections, and positions may contribute to their ability to think clearly, communicate, organize, and lead a an insurgency; or their lack of education and connections may delay or impair their access to positions where they are able to exercise leadership.

Insurgencies are dynamic political movements, resulting from real or perceived grievance or neglect that leads to alienation from an established government. Alienated elite members advance alternatives to existing conditions. (Culture defines elites. For example, in most of the world educators and teachers are members of the elite; in Islamic and many Catholic nations, religious leaders are elite members.) As their movement grows, leaders decide which body of “doctrine” to adopt. In the mass mobilization approach, leaders recruit, indoctrinate, and deploy the cadre necessary to carry out the actions of the movement. In the armed action approach, there is often a much more decentralized mode of operations, but this is usually guided by a central organization. Extreme decentralization results in a movement that rarely functions as a coherent body but is nevertheless capable of inflicting substantial casualties and damage.


The combatants do the actual fighting and are often mistaken for the movement itself. This they are not. They exist only to carry out the same functions as the police and armed forces of the state. They only constitute part of the movement, along with the planners and idea people. In many insurgencies the combatants maintain local control, as well as protect and expand the counterstate. Combatants who secure local areas are the local forces. The local forces use terror initially to intimidate and establish local control and later to enforce the will of the leadership. They conduct limited ambushes of government forces and police, also. Combatants who link local areas and provide regional security are the regional forces. Both of these elements normally are tied to specific AO. Main forces, in contrast, are the “heavy” units of the insurgent movement and may be deployed in any AO. Rather than employing terror (local forces) and guerrilla warfare (the main activity of regional forces), they engage in mobile warfare and positional warfare, both subsumed under the “conventional warfare” rubric but different in emphasis when used by insurgents. Due to the growing possibility of separate leaders in different regions with various goals, this force-role linkage may not be present. Instead, independent insurgent leaders may carry on military operations, to include terror, independent of other insurgent forces.Conventional warfare may be minimized. Ultimately, time is on the side of the insurgent. Fear, intimidation and violence—coupled with the television and internet—may achieve the social upheaval the insurgent seeks and force foreign powers to abandon the sitting government because of pressures from their own people at home.


Insurgent doctrine determines how insurgents actually implement the two types of insurgency. A defensive insurgency has much in common with a resistance movement, since the counterstate already exists and will normally adopt overt techniques necessary for self-defense. An offensive insurgency, on the other hand, is faced with the task of creating the counterstate from scratch. To do this, there are two basic approaches.

Mass mobilization. A first approach is to emphasize mobilization of the masses. This course places a premium upon political action by the cadre in local areas, with strategic and operational directives coming from above. Emphasizing mass mobilization results in a hierarchical, tightly controlled, coordinated movement. The insurgent movement that results will resemble a pyramid in its manpower distribution, with the combatants the smallest part of the movement (the apex of the pyramid).

Armed action. A second approach emphasizes armed action. This course favors violence rather than mass mobilization and normally results in an inverted pyramid, with the combatants themselves the bulk of the movement. This was the approach taken by Castro in Cuba during the 1950s and may be an approach some insurgents in Iraq have taken against the post-Saddam government, although some efforts to mobilize have been reported.


A mass base sustains the first approach. The second approach has a much smaller support base. The support base will not have the numbers of the mass base generated by the mobilization approach.

If emphasis is upon mass mobilization, the combatants exist to facilitate the accomplishment of the political goals of the insurgent movement. In local areas, terror and guerrilla action are used to eliminate resistance, either from individuals who are opposed to the movement or from the local armed representatives of the state, initially the police and militia, but later the military. Main force units, which are guerrilla units that have been “regularized” or turned into rough copies of government units but are usually more mobile and lightly armed, are used to deal with the state’s inevitable deployment of the military. The purpose of main forces is to engage in mobile (or maneuver) warfare. The intent is force-on-force action to destroy government main force units. Tactics may include major battles as well as ambushes and small-scale engagements. These battles and engagements result in the securing and expansion of the counterstate (which may be clandestine in all or part), but are not designed to seize and hold positions as in conventional warfare. This occurs only in positional warfare. Though the terminology is drawn especially from Soviet usage, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong (VC) used both mobile and positional warfare throughout the war in Vietnam. Examples of insurgencies that used the mass mobilization approach follow:

The NVA and VC frequently deployed battalions and regiments using classic mobile warfare, even as terror and guerrilla action continued against US forces from 1965 until the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973. Classic positional warfare was seen three times in the Vietnam War: the Tet Offensive in January–February 1968; the Spring 1972 “Easter Offensive,” which resulted in the permanent seizure and loss of portions of South Vietnamese territory; and the Spring 1975 offensive, which saw the fall of South Vietnam and its absorption into a unified Vietnam. In the latter two of these campaigns, enemy divisions and corps were used, with terror and guerrilla action assuming the role of special operations in support of conventional operations. During Tet, the NVA employed all 52 VC battalions exclusively, and multiple battalions attacked objectives simultaneously, though these battalions were under individual command and control. More recently, in El Salvador, where the United States successfully supported a counterinsurgency, government forces twice, in 1981 and 1989, had to beat back “positional warfare” offensives designed to seize widespread areas, including portions of the nation’s capital.

In Colombia, where the US is similarly involved in support of the counterinsurgency, the insurgents of FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) initiated their mobile warfare phase in 1996. There followed a string of Colombian Army defeats that culminated in a FARC positional warfare attack that seized a department capital, Mitu, in mid-1998. The relief of Mitu galvanized a military reform effort that led to government success in a half dozen major mobile war battles fought between 1998 and 2001. The largest of these involved a FARC force of eight battalion-equivalents engaged by an equal number of Colombian Army counterguerrilla battalions. FARC consequently returned to an emphasis upon terror and guerrilla action. In Nepal, where US assistance has played an important role in government counterinsurgency, the ’mass mobilization approach adopted by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or CPN (M), has progressed in classic fashion. Widespread use of terror and guerrilla action has been complemented by mobile warfare to overrun government positions of up to company size. Mobile warfare targets have been chosen operationally (that is, as part of campaign planning) to position the CPN (M) for anticipated positional war offensives, notably against major population centers.


If emphasis is on the second approach, armed action, the political goal is to be accom-plished primarily by violence rather than mass mobilization. The insurgents attempt to inflict such a level of casualties and destruction the state is incapable or unwilling to continue counterinsurgency actions. Both approaches emphasize inflicting casualties. The distinction is whether mobilization or armed insurrection is the initial emphasis. Insurgents may also employ terrorist tactics if they lack a mass base, do not have the time needed to create such a base, or have objectives that do not require such a base. In this approach, the combatant force rarely moves beyond terrorist and guerrilla actions. Units are small and specialized, frequently no more than squad or platoon sized. Sympathizers provide recruits for the support base, but these sympathizers are actively involved only occasionally, though they are often central to the information warfare component of the insurgent campaign. An illustration of the armed action approach is “The Troubles” of 1968–98 in Northern Ireland (Ulster). An initial mass mobilization approach followed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army was penetrated by the state; hence it was abandoned in favor of a cellular “active service unit” methodology. Normally composed of no more than 300 people, the active service unit network engaged almost exclusively in terror actions and was sustained by a support base that numbered only in the thousands out of a total 1.5 million population in an area the size of Connecticut.

Sympathizers came overwhelmingly from a minority within the Catholic community, thus forming a minority within a minority. At its peak, however, this sympathetic base proved capable of mustering 17 percent of the votes in democratic elections and served to keep open to question the legitimacy of British rule, which was actually favored by a substantial majority.

More recently, the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan have used the armed action approach. Terror and low-level guerrilla action have been focused on the indigenous supporters and infrastructure of the new regimes in Baghdad and Kabul. Simultaneously, attacks on US forces have sought to inflict casualties to break the will of the US public to continue. The foreign insurgents have recognized that the indigenous regimes cannot continue in the short term without US backing and assistance. Neither will the new regimes be able to continue if their populations can be suitably terrorized into sullen neutrality as the US begins to withdraw.

Israel moves to shut down local operations of Al-Jazeera

August 6, 2017


JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel plans to revoke press credentials of Al-Jazeera TV journalists, close their Jerusalem bureau and pull the Qatar-based station’s broadcasts from local cable and satellite providers, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said on Sunday.

Kara accused the station of “supporting terrorism” and said cable broadcasters had agreed to his proposal to take the station’s Arabic and English channels off air. Closure of the station’s office would require further legislation, he added.

Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Luke Baker

 Plans Underway for Construction of Third Temple in Jerusalem

May 30, 2017

by Amanda Casanova

Religion Today

Rabbi Richman, director of the International Department of The Temple Institute, says he is committed to rebuilding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Israeli Brigade Commander Col. Motta Gur captured the Temple Mount in 1967. After the capture, he announced: “The Temple Mount is in our hands! The Temple Mount is in our hands!”

Retaking the temple was important to the Jewish world because the site was where King Solomon built the first Jewish temple. When that temple was destroyed, a second temple was built, only to later fall in 70 AD to the Romans.

Recapturing the site meant the Jews could have their long-awaited third temple.

“It would be hard, I think, not to see what’s happened in the past 50 years as a tremendous – not just fulfillment of prophecy – but a tremendous jump start, a tremendous fast forward,” Richman said. “It’s more than prophetic. It’s like a kiss from Heaven. It’s like a divine kiss. It’s like an intimate brush with the reality of God’s compassion and love. He keeps His promises.”

The Institute is already working on blueprints for the new temple.

“Today there’s a lobby in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) of how many members of Knesset that are constantly speaking about Jewish rights to pray on the Temple Mount,” Richman said. “There are members of Knesset that actually talk about the rebuilding the Holy Temple.  Do you realize that 20 years ago these people wouldn’t have been given a moment on prime time television to say these things. They would have been laughed out.”








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