TBR News July 30, 2017

Jul 30 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., July 30, 2017: “It is painfully obvious that Donald Trump has no diplomatic skills whatsoever. He loves to antagonize people, regardless of possible consequences, orders rather than consult, changes his mind more often than most women do, indulges in gross behavior as when he told off-color stories to a large meeting of Boy Scouts and never seems to slow down to take the trouble to govern. If he keeps up in his overbearing ways, it is to be seriously doubted if he will still be in office when his term there expires. He is disillusioning and angering all of the US allies in Europe with his posturing and bellicosity and now France, Germany and Russia are seriously considering a political and economic union that would seriously damage American influence in Europe. In short, if Trump does not maintain an even course and refuses to seek consensus rather than blind obedience, he walked off the end of a very short pier.”


Table of Contents

  • The Observer view on Donald Trump’s unfitness for office

Observer editorial

  • Trump Tries to Regroup as the West Wing Battles Itself
  • Trump threatens to end insurance payments if no healthcare bill
  • Exclusive: Majority of Americans want Congress to move on from healthcare reform – Reuters/Ipsos poll
  • War on weed: Veterans’ access to medical marijuana blocked by Republicans
  • Bacteria as a weapon of warfare
  • Saudi Arabia says calls for internationalization of holy sites ‘a declaration of war’
  • Men under 50 barred from Jerusalem holy site again
  • The Great Majority of Jews Today Have No Historical or Ethnic Relationship to Palestine
  • March of Folly to Crisis on Temple Mount
  • Kaczynski’s reckless confrontation course


The Observer view on Donald Trump’s unfitness for office

Observer editorial

The incompetence and infighting at the White House dismay America’s allies and encourage its enemies

July 29, 2017

The Observer

The sense of things falling apart in Washington is palpable – and a matter of growing, serious international concern. Donald Trump’s latest asinine act of gesture politics, the forced resignation of his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, has shone a spotlight on the extraordinary chaos inside the White House. Even normally sober, experienced Washington observers now refer to the West Wing as a viper’s nest of seething rivalry, bitter feuds, gross incompetence and an unparalleled leadership vacuum.

Like some kind of Shakespearean villain-clown, Trump plays not to the gallery but to the pit. He is a Falstaff without the humour or the self-awareness, a cowardly, bullying Richard III without a clue. Late-night US satirists find in this an unending source of high comedy. If they did not laugh, they would cry. The world is witnessing the dramatic unfolding of a tragedy whose main victims are a seemingly helpless American audience, America’s system of balanced governance and its global reputation as a leading democratic light.

As his partisan, demeaning and self-admiring speech to the Boy Scouts of America illustrated, Trump endlessly reruns last year’s presidential election campaign, rails against the “fake news” media and appeals to the lowest common denominator in public debate. Not a word about duty, service, shared purpose or high ideals was to be found in his gutter-level discourse before a youthful gathering of 30,000 in West Virginia. Instead, he served up a sad cocktail of paranoia and narcissism. It was all about him and what he has supposedly achieved against the odds.

Which, for the record, is almost precisely nothing. After more than six months in office, and despite full Republican control of Congress, Trump cannot point to a single substantial legislative achievement. The bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which finally went down in flames in the Senate last week, was the most spectacular and telling of Trump’s failures. His executive orders, such as the racist ban on Muslim travellers and last week’s bigoted attack on transgender people in the military, have mostly run foul of the courts or been pre-emptively ignored by those charged with implementing them.

Trump has instead squandered the political goodwill that traditionally accompanies a presidential honeymoon, shocked and outraged many middle-of-the-road voters who initially gave him the benefit of the doubt, thoroughly alienated Republican party traditionalists, who had tried in vain to swallow their doubts, and undermined the authority of the office of the president. Trump, a supposedly ace chief executive, has now lost a chief of staff, a deputy chief of staff, a national security adviser, a communications director and a press secretary in short order. To lose one or even two of his most senior people might be excused as unfortunate. To lose all five suggests the fault is his.

Perhaps John Kelly, the retired general hired to replace Priebus, can restore some semblance of order to the White House. It looks like a tall order. Kelly has no political experience beyond his brief tenure at the department of homeland security. Perhaps he will find an ally in HR McMaster, another army veteran, who is Trump’s national security adviser. But there is no good reason to believe the internal feuding, and Trump’s inability or disinclination to halt it, will end.

Anthony Scaramucci, the recently appointed, foul-mouthed communications director, has unfinished business with Steve Bannon, Trump’s top strategist. Trump seems determined to undermine his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Then there is the self-interested leverage exerted by Trump family lightweights Ivanka Trump, Donald Jr and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. On top of all that, Kelly must work out how to handle the ever-expanding investigations of special counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia. A good start would be to halt scurrilous White House efforts to dig up dirt on Mueller and his team.

Yet even if Kelly succeeds in cracking the whip, curbing the in-fighting and containing the Russia scandal, he still has to deal with Trump himself. He has proved far more interested in settling scores, berating adversaries and showing off than in advancing a coherent domestic policy agenda. The next prospective car crash, following the Obamacare pile-up, is a September deadline for a federal budget and linked tax reforms and increased military spending promised by Trump. A budget deal proved impossible last spring and may do so again. If there is no agreement, a government shut-down looms, an outcome in line with current Washington trends. Lazy, feckless Trump has no interest in the onerous business of lobbying Congress or working the phones. He wants quick, easy wins or else he walks away.

This latter is one of several disturbing truths about Trump absorbed, to varying degrees, by Washington’s friends and allies in the past six months. Naive, misguided Theresa May and Liam Fox, the Brexit trade secretary, still seem to think Trump’s word can be trusted and that he will deliver a favourable trade deal. It is one of many delusions explaining why Britain’s government is so disrespected. In sharp contrast, Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, heads the realist, pragmatic group of leaders who are learning to deal with a post-Obama world where the word of the American president cannot be trusted. In this new world, longstanding US commitments and treaties may not be honoured and future collaboration on key policies, such as climate change, Russia and Chinese military expansionism, is held hostage to presidential whim and the blinkered perspectives of the Ohio bar-room.

Merkel suggested earlier this year that the US (and Britain) could no longer be wholly relied upon. While not entirely true, for instance in the case of Anglo-American security guarantees for Germany and its sheltered exporters, it was plain what she meant. And this lesson has been understood by America’s enemies, too. In provocatively firing off another long-range, possibly nuclear-capable missile last week, North Korea seems to be testing how far it can go, geographically and politically. It is counting on Trump proving to be the blowhard that, until now, he has appeared to be.

Recent months have produced a litany of Trump threats and boasts over North Korea. There was no way, he said, that Pyongyang would deploy an ICBM capable of hitting the mainland US. “It’s not going to happen,” he tweeted. Wrong again, Donald. It did. By conducting its own satellite launch last week, ignoring western concerns, Iran has similarly thumbed its nose at Washington. Iran’s leaders should understand there would be “very serious” consequences if they pursued their ballistic missile programme, Trump had warned. Additional hints from Rex Tillerson, US secretary of state, and Jim Mattis, Pentagon chief, about regime change in Iran further darkened the strategic horizon. But guess what? Tehran took no notice at all. It went ahead anyway.

Or take Russia. Having played Trump to its advantage, Moscow’s open hand is turning into a clenched fist as it threatens reprisals over a new Congressional sanctions package. It was not hard to see this tactical switch coming, once it was clear Trump could not deliver the sort of concessions on Ukraine Putin craves. Except, in his fecklessness and blind vanity and courting Putin to the end, Trump didn’t see it coming at all. You can almost see Putin’s lip curl.

The common factor in all these situations is Trump’s self-induced powerlessness and ignorance, his chronic lack of credibility and presidential authority and consequent perceptions of US and western weakness. And in the case of all three actual or potential adversaries – North Korea, Iran and Russia – these perceptions are highly dangerous. Precisely because US responses, actions and reactions can no longer be relied upon or predicted, by friends and enemies alike, the potential for calamitous miscalculation is growing. This uncertainty, like the chaos in the White House and the extraordinary disarray of the American body politic, stems from Trump’s glaring unfitness for the highest office. As is now becoming ever plainer, this threatens us all.



Trump Tries to Regroup as the West Wing Battles Itself

July 29, 2017

by Peter Baker

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump enters a new phase of his presidency on Monday with a new chief of staff but an old set of challenges as he seeks to get back on course after enduring one of the worst weeks that any modern occupant of the Oval Office has experienced in his inaugural year in power.

With his poll numbers at historic lows, his legislative agenda stalled and his advisers busy plotting against one another, Mr. Trump hoped to regain momentum by pushing out his top aide, Reince Priebus, and installing a retired four-star Marine general, John F. Kelly, to take command. But it is far from certain that the move will be enough to tame a dysfunctional White House.

The shake-up followed a week that saw the bombastic, with-me-or-against-me president defied as never before by Washington and its institutions, including Republicans in Congress, his own attorney general, the uniformed military leadership, police officers and even the Boy Scouts. No longer daunted by a president with a Twitter account that he uses like a Gatling gun, members of his own party made clear that they were increasingly willing to stand against him on issues like health care and Russia.

The setbacks came against the backdrop of a West Wing at war with itself, egged on by a president who thrives on conflict and chaos. Mr. Kelly, who had been serving as secretary of homeland security, brings a career of decisive leadership to his new assignment as White House chief of staff. But he confronts multiple power centers among presidential aides, all with independent lines to the man in the Oval Office who resists the discipline and structure favored by generals.

“Everybody knows what needs to be done to fix it, and I think everybody is coming to accept that they’re not going to happen,” said Sara Fagen, a White House political director under President George W. Bush. “And the reason they’re not going to happen is the person at the top of the food chain is not going to change. This is the new normal. This goes down as one of the worst weeks he’s had politically and P.R.-wise, but I don’t think anything will change”.

The palace intrigue spilled into public with a vulgarity-laced rant by Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, who called Mr. Priebus a “paranoid schizophrenic” and vowed to take him down. While aides fought with one another, Mr. Trump’s signature promise to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care program went down in flames.

“Anyone in a position of responsibility in G.O.P. politics is quickly losing patience with President Trump,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and former adviser to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. “The dysfunction is beyond strange — it’s dangerous.

“If Trump’s poll numbers were above 50 percent,” Mr. Conant continued, “health care reform would have passed. Instead, he’s spent more time responding to cable TV chatter than rallying support for his agenda.”

Presidential historians found it hard to recall precedents for the combination of internal warfare and external legislative troubles. Jeffrey A. Engel, the director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, said the best examples were John Tyler and Andrew Johnson in the 19th century. Both men were serving as vice president when their bosses died in office, each during a time of great turmoil in his political party.

“In either case, we are forced to go well back over a century in the past to find an administration in such an open state of infighting coupled with legislative disarray,” he said.

Presidents can recover from a difficult first six months, as Bill Clinton did, Mr. Engel said. “But certainly, like both Tyler and Andrew Johnson, we see today a president at war with his own party, and that to my mind never turns out well,” he said.

The repeated defiance of Mr. Trump this past week indicated diminishing forbearance. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, publicly derided by Mr. Trump as “VERY weak,” refused to resign under pressure. Senate Republicans forced the president to back off his threats by warning that they would block any effort to replace Mr. Sessions, either during their recess or through the confirmation process.

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees, both led by Republicans, summoned Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, to Capitol Hill to explain his contacts with Russia during and after last year’s campaign. With near-unanimous, veto-proof bipartisan majorities, Congress passed legislation curtailing Mr. Trump’s power to lift sanctions against Russia, a measure the president had to swallow and agree to sign.

After Mr. Trump abruptly wrote on Twitter that he was barring transgender people from the military, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that the policy would not change unless the president gave a proper order. The Boy Scouts of America condemned Mr. Trump’s speech to its national jamboree as overly political and apologized to scouts, while some police organizations repudiated his call to be rougher on suspects.

And a Republican senator, John McCain, repaid Mr. Trump’s 2015 insult to his war service by torpedoing the president’s health care agenda with a dramatic middle-of-the-night thumbs down vote on the Senate floor.

Think about this week. Not once, not twice — any of these things would have been a nail in the coffin,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, a White House chief of staff under Mr. Obama and a Democratic member of the House before that. “They told the president to pound dirt. That’s an unbelievable statement on where his presidency is only six months in. And nobody fears the political repercussions.”

Indeed, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, received a call from Mr. Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, reportedly warning of repercussions for the state after her initial vote against proceeding with the health care debate. Undeterred, she voted against the president again on a bill to repeal parts of Mr. Obama’s program.

Aides insisted the president would keep fighting.

“People are counting him out after health care,” Kellyanne Conway, a White House counselor, said on Fox News. “I would never bet against Donald Trump. He’s not going to allow one misvote by the Senate to stop him to provide relief for all of these Americans who are suffering. He’s not going to allow personnel changes to get in the way of tax reform or pushing back against these MS-13 gangs.”

Ms. Fagen said that tapping a general for the White House staff chief might be successful, but that it depended on whether he would be empowered in a way that Mr. Priebus had not been. Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Kelly disclosed what commitments if any were made to Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Priebus never had full command. Two senior advisers in the White House are immune from the discipline of a chief of staff: Mr. Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter. When Mr. Scaramucci, the brash new communications director, was hired over Mr. Priebus’s objections, he boasted that he reported directly to the president, not to the chief of staff.

Even Mr. Priebus agreed it was time for a change. “I think actually going a different direction, hitting a reset button is actually a good thing, and the president did that,” he told Fox News on Friday. “So I think he’s happy, I got to tell you, although it’s always a little mixed when things like this happen.”

Mr. Kelly served as the senior military adviser to two defense secretaries, Robert M. Gates and Leon E. Panetta, and learned how to manage a sprawling operation with complicated politics. That gives hope to some.

“It’s not clear that John Kelly can succeed where Reince Priebus failed, because it appears that the president wants to act as his own chief of staff,” said Brian McKeon, who worked in Mr. Obama’s White House and Defense Department. “But given his background and experience, it seems likely that General Kelly will insist on a chain of command that runs through him, with no other staff reporting directly to the president.”

Ms. Conway said Mr. Kelly was a “generational peer” with the president but dismissed questions about chain of command.

“That’s just a pecking order question,” she said. “I think it’s beside the point, and here’s why: We all serve the president and this country. And in doing so, the president and his new chief of staff will decide what the right organizational structure and protocols are.”

Anyone who has studied the White House, however, knows that organization can be key to success. Chris Whipple, the author of “The Gatekeepers,” about White House chiefs of staff, said that Mr. Trump’s White House was broken and that the president needed to enable Mr. Kelly to fix it.

“Trump now has a chance at governing, but it may be only a slim chance,” Mr. Whipple said. “The fundamental problem is that Donald Trump is an outsider president who has shown he has no idea how to govern — who, more than any of his predecessors, desperately needs to empower a chief of staff as first among equals to execute his agenda and tell him hard truths.

“But does anyone believe that this president wants such a person around?”


Trump threatens to end insurance payments if no healthcare bill

July 29, 2017

by Joel Schectman


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Saturday to end government payments to health insurers if Congress does not pass a new healthcare bill and goaded them to not abandon their seven-year quest to replace the Obamacare law.

In a Twitter message on Saturday, Trump said “if a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

The tweet came a day after Senate Republicans failed to muster enough votes to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare.

The first part of Trump’s tweet appeared to be referring to the approximately $8 billion in cost-sharing reduction subsidies the federal government pays to insurers to lower the price of health coverage for low-income Americans.

The second part appeared to be a threat to end the employer contribution for Congress members and their staffs, who were moved from the normal federal employee healthcare benefits program onto the Obamacare insurance exchanges as part of the 2010 healthcare law.

Trump has previously threatened to suspend the payments to insurers, which are determined by the Department of Health and Human Services. In April, he threatened to end the payments if Democrats refused to negotiate over the healthcare bill.

Responding to Saturday’s tweet, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said that if the president carried out that threat, “every expert agrees that (insurance) premiums will go up and health care will be more expensive for millions of Americans.”

“The president ought to stop playing politics with people’s lives and health care, start leading and finally begin acting presidential,” Schumer said in a statement.

Trump later urged Senate Republicans to try again on a healthcare vote. The Senate is in session for another week before it is scheduled to begin an August recess.

“Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead! Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!” Trump said in a subsequent tweet.

Many insurers have been waiting for an answer from Trump or lawmakers on whether they will continue to fund the annual government subsidies. Without assurances, many plan to raise rates an additional 20 percent by an Aug. 16 deadline for premium prices.

With Republican efforts to dismantle Obamacare in disarray, hundreds of U.S. counties are at risk of losing access to private health coverage in 2018 as insurers consider pulling out of those markets.

In response, Trump on Friday again suggested his administration would let the Obamacare program “implode.” He has weakened enforcement of the law’s requirement for individuals to buy insurance, threatened to cut off funding and sought to change plan benefits through regulations.

Meanwhile, some congressional Republicans were still trying to find a way forward on healthcare.

Senator Lindsey Graham said in a statement issued late on Friday that he and two other Republican senators, Dean Heller and Bill Cassidy, had met with Trump after the defeat to discuss Graham’s proposal to take tax money raised by Obamacare and send it back to the states in the form of healthcare block grants.

Graham said the move would end Democrats’ drive for a national single-payer healthcare system by putting states in charge.

“President Trump was optimistic about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal,” Graham added. “I will continue to work with President Trump and his team to move the idea forward.”

However, a majority of Americans are ready to move on from healthcare at this point. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Saturday, 64 percent of 1,136 people surveyed on Friday and Saturday said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either “entirely as is” or after fixing “problem areas.

When asked what they think Congress should do next, most picked other priorities such as tax reform, foreign relations and infrastructure. Only 29 percent said they wanted Republicans in Congress to “continue working on a new healthcare bill.”

Asked what they think Congress should do next, most respondents picked other priorities such as tax reform, foreign relations and infrastructure. Only 29 percent said they wanted Republicans in Congress to “continue working on a new healthcare bill.”

Additional reporting by David Lawder in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish


Exclusive: Majority of Americans want Congress to move on from healthcare reform – Reuters/Ipsos poll

July 29, 2017

by Chris Kahn and Michael Erman


NEW YORK (Reuters) – A majority of Americans are ready to move on from healthcare reform at this point after the U.S. Senate’s effort to dismantle Obamacare failed on Friday, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Saturday.

Nearly two-thirds of the country wants to either keep or modify the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, and a majority of Americans want Congress to turn its attention to other priorities, the survey found.

Republicans have vowed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act since Democratic President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010, and it appeared they finally had their chance when Republican President Donald Trump took office in January. But the law, which helped 20 million people obtain health insurance, has steadily grown more popular.

The July 28-29 poll of more than 1,130 Americans, conducted after the Republican-led effort collapsed in the Senate, found that 64 percent said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either “entirely as is” or after fixing “problem areas.” That is up from 54 percent in January.

The survey found that support for the law still runs along party lines, with nine out of 10 Democrats and just three out of 10 Republicans saying they wanted to keep or modify Obamacare.

Among Republicans, three-fourths said they would like their party’s leaders to try to repeal and replace Obamacare at some point, though most listed other issues that they would give a higher priority right now.

Disappointment among Republicans and happiness among Democrats about the repeal’s failure were palpable. Two-thirds of Republicans felt “bad” that the Senate failed to pass a healthcare bill, while three-fourths of Democrats felt “good,” according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.

When asked what they think Congress should do next, most Americans picked other priorities such as tax reform, foreign relations and infrastructure. Only 29 percent said they wanted Republicans in Congress to “continue working on a new healthcare bill.”

Gene Anderson, 81, a Trump voter living in a retirement community in Zionsville, Indiana, said the president should “refocus on some stability in his administration and some demonstration of being able to work together with Democrats in Congress.”

“I don’t understand why they had to push for healthcare reform before tax reform,” he said. “They ought to sit down and come up with a viable legislative, doable tax reform.”

Americans appear to be more supportive of some of the main features of Obamacare. For example, 77 percent said they were in favor of expanding Medicaid to low-income families, and 43 percent said they favored requiring U.S. residents to own health insurance. That was up from 66 percent and 36 percent, respectively, when Reuters/Ipsos first asked those questions in April 2012.

The latest Republican effort failed when Senator John McCain split from his party’s leadership and joined Republican colleagues Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowksi and Senate Democrats to vote against a so-called skinny repeal eliminating certain aspects of Obamacare. McCain later said the measure “offered no replacement to actually reform our healthcare system.”

Respondents said they thought a lot of people shared responsibility for the failure on healthcare. When asked who “is most responsible,” 20 percent picked Senate Republicans, 13 percent said Trump, and 11 percent said McCain. The rest picked Senate Democrats and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as Senators Collins and Murkowski.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,136 people, including 381 Republicans and 475 Democrats. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points.

Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Jonathan Oatis


War on weed: Veterans’ access to medical marijuana blocked by Republicans

July 29, 2017


Veterans hoping to use medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder have had their hopes extinguished after Republicans shot down the Veterans Equal Access amendment to allow doctors to discuss medicinal cannabis with patients.

Republicans on the House Rules Committee rejected the ‘Veterans Equal Access’ amendment this week that would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to discuss medical marijuana treatment with veterans in states where it is legal.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who sponsored the amendment said he was “bitterly disappointed” veterans had been failed, despite the amendment receiving bipartisan support from 9 Democrat and 9 Republican co-sponsors.

The lawmakers wouldn’t let the amendment be included in the House’s proposed VA funding bill for next year, meaning it won’t even be up for debate on the House floor.

While medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, it remains illegal on a federal level, so VA doctors are prevented from discussing it with patients.

The amendment would have allowed VA doctors to recommend and place patients on state medical marijuana programs.

“We would be far better off if our veterans had access to medical marijuana and less reliance on opioids, which is literally killing them,” Blumenauer told Stars and Stripes.

“Under this amendment, marijuana would not be dispensed by the VA or consumed on federal property — it simply ends the current gag rule that says doctors can’t talk to their patients about it, even if they think it’s appropriate.”

Veterans and support groups in the US have long pushed for access to marijuana, particularly for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as further research into its effects.

According to VA statistics, between 11 and 20 percent of veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars live with PTSD.

For context, the VA says 30 percent of all Vietnam vets and 12 percent of Gulf War vets battle the disorder each year.

The American Legion, a two million-strong conservative veterans group, called for a reduction in marijuana restrictions last year and, in May, called on President Donald Trump to allow marijuana research for veterans.

“We were hearing these compelling stories from veterans about how cannabis has made their lives better,” spokesman Joseph Plenzler said.

“They were able to use it to get off a whole cocktail of drugs prescribed by VA doctors, that it is helping with night terrors, or giving them relief from chronic pain.”

The VA has come under fire for its failure to adequately treat returning soldiers. Prescription drug abuse rates are higher among vets than the general public, with opioid pain medications proving to be the most problematic.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), pain relief prescriptions by doctors in the military increased four-fold from 2001 and 2009.

“Those with multiple deployments and combat exposure are at greatest risk of developing substance use problems,” the NIDA found, citing “the stresses of deployment during wartime and the unique culture of the military.”

“We need treatment that works,” Nick Etten of the Veterans Cannabis Project said in May. “We need treatment that is not destructive. The VA has been throwing opiates at veterans for almost every condition for the last 15 years. You are looking at a system that has made a problem worse the way they have approached treatment.”

Blumenauer introduced a similar amendment last year, which passed both the House (233-189) and the Senate (89-8). However, it was part of a larger appropriations bill that didn’t make the final cut after negotiations.

“This is a subject that has gained a great deal more attention and momentum,” Blumenauer told McClatchy. “More people recognize that the VA has really failed our veterans when it has come to pain management, opioids and opioid dependency.”

There is some hope that the amendment will be approved, as the Senate’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill contains a similar amendment.

However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is staunchly against marijuana and penned a letter in May asking Congressional leaders to undo federal medical-marijuana protections.


Bacteria as a weapon of warfare

July 30, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

It has been said that no general staff ever developed a new weapon that they

did not fully intend to use. Although Hitler was strongly opposed to the use of poison gas, having been a victim of it in the 1914 war, German scientists developed terrible nerve gasses during the Second World War that were never used, but were certainly loaded into standard artillery shells for possible use. After the war, these shells were dumped into the Baltic Sea and it is only a matter of time before the metal casings corrode sufficiently to permit an enormous amount of lethal gas to escape, wreaking havoc on the Baltic states and parts of Poland.

Bacteriological warfare has been practiced in the past as witness the comments about infecting Indians with smallpox, and no doubt it will be practiced in the future. But Müller’s comments about the inability to control its spread should constitute the greatest reason for not utilizing it. Information has emerged in the 90s that during the Cold War, US military agencies have experimented to one degree or another with such substances, using their civilian population as guinea pigs. A number of outbreaks of diseases such as Legionnaire’s Disease and AIDS have been suggested by reputable epidemiologists as highly suspect in origin but as official governmental agencies strongly deny these allegations, such suggestions must be entirely discounted.

The case of Generalarzt Walter Paul Schreiber emphasizes the US government’s interest in the development of bacteriological agents for field use. The official German records show that Professor Dr. habil Walter Schreiber was born in Berlin on March 21, 1893. He served in various posts in the German Army including Chief of the Department for Science and Health at the Medical Corps, Headquarters of the German Army. Prior to 1939, Schreiber had visited the United States to study U.S. Military medical techniques in February and March of 1927. During the war, he had problems with the Gestapo because he raised objections to the development of and experimentation on Soviet prisoners of war with various bacteriological agents. Schreiber was eventually warned against further protests and returned to his duties. He was a specialist in communicable diseases and authored a work in 1944 on the plague in south-east Russia. Schreiber was the senior medical officer of Berlin, captured by the Russians, and worked with them until 1948 when he escaped to the West.

After extensive debriefing, Schreiber, his wife and son were brought to the United States under the CIA’s “Operation Paperclip” on September 8, 1951, and he was attached to the USAF School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, San Antonio, Texas. When Schreiber’s wartime activities were discovered by the media, he had to leave the United States.


Saudi Arabia says calls for internationalization of holy sites ‘a declaration of war’

July 30, 2017


DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called Qatar’s demands for an internationalization of the Muslim hajj pilgrimage a declaration of war against the kingdom, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Sunday, although it was unclear whether Qatar had actually made any such demand.

“Qatar’s demands to internationalize the holy sites is aggressive and a declaration of war against the kingdom,” Adel al-Jubeir was quoted saying on Al Arabiya’s website.

“We reserve the right to respond to anyone who is working on the internationalization of the holy sites,” he said.

However, it was unclear whether Qatar made the demand. It did accuse the Saudis of politicizing Hajj and addressed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion on Saturday, expressing concern about obstacles facing Qataris who want to attend hajj this year.

No one from the Qatari government was immediately available for comment.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain have previously issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar, which include curtailing its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera channel, closing a Turkish military base and downgrading its relations with Gulf enemy Iran.

On Sunday, foreign ministers of the four countries said they were ready for dialogue with Qatar if it showed willingness to tackle their demands.

Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi, editing by Larry King


Men under 50 barred from Jerusalem holy site again

Israel has again banned men under 50 from entering the contentious holy site in Jerusalem for Friday prayers. The move comes after more than 100 people were injured in clashes.

July 28, 2017


Despite fears of violence, Friday prayers at Jerusalem’s Haram a-Sharif or Temple Mount compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, were largely calm and ended peacefully. Police reported that several dozen young Palestinians shouted at officers and engaged in minor scuffles but nothing more. The Israeli army, however, reported that some violence did occur in the occupied West Bank at roughly the same time, including in the Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron areas. The army also reported that one Palestinian man had been shot dead after attempting to stab a soldier in the area.

After unrest on Thursday evening at the site, Israel reimposed restrictions on who could come to pray at the compound.

“Only men over the age of 50 will be permitted and women of all ages are permitted,” the police said in a statement. “A number of roads around the Old City will be limited to access and all necessary security measures are being taken to prevent and to respond to any outbreak of violence.”

The decision is only the latest development in the weeks’ old conflict over the site. On Thursday, over 100 Palestinians were injured in clashes with the police, with security forces using stun grenades as Palestinians threw stones and bottles.

Chants of “We will sacrifice ourselves for Al-Aqsa!” rang through the crowd as police tried to control the scene.

We just want to pray undisturbed,” a Palestinian told DW correspondent Tania Krämer in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered reinforcements deployed to Jerusalem because of the unrest. The order came as police were deciding on restricting the entrance to the compound for Friday prayers.

“I really hope they will open all of the gates, otherwise it won’t work,” Safia, a Palestinian woman who did not want to give her full name, told DW on Thursday.

End of the boycott

Earlier on Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement that prayers would resume at the 37-acre compound after two weeks of boycotting the site because of new security measures. The decision had been cautiously greeted as a sign of tensions around the site calming, until Thursday’s clashes broke out.

“They are playing monkey business now. They are opening one gate and closing the others. We just want to go pray in our mosque,” Mohammed, who refuse to give his full name, told DW.

Israel had installed medal detectors and CCTV cameras at the site after Arab gunmen shot and killed two police officers earlier this month. The Palestinians saw the move as an Israeli attempt to tighten their control over the site.

Five Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in the clashes that ensued after the new security measures were installed.

The area is a significant religious site for both Jews and Muslims. The complex houses the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine, but it is also where the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple are located.

Death penalty for Palestinian teenager

Netanyahu is recommending the death penalty for a 19-year-old Palestinian who snuck into a West Bank home and stabbed three Israelis to death.

The Israeli prime minister visited the family of the Israelis. “I told the family that it is time to implement the death penalty for terrorists for extreme cases,” Netanyahu said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

Israeli law permits the death penalty, but it has only been used once – the execution of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1962.


The Great Majority of Jews Today Have No Historical or Ethnic Relationship to Palestine

by Issa Nakhleh  LL.B

The Jews of today are composed of the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi Jews. The Sephardi Jews are the Oriental Jews wo are descendants of the Jews who left Palestine during the Christian era and migrated to neighboring Arab countries., North Africa and Spain. Some of the Oriental Jews were also converts to Judaism, such as some Berbers of North Africa who were converted to Judaism. The Tunisian Jews, Albert Memmi, a Professor of Sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris, has expressed doubt as “to whether his own ancestors in the Saraha had any historic connection to Palestine. Perhaps, he suggested, they were just Berbers converted to Judaism, since according to his information, “most North African Jews are simply Berber nomads who have accepted Judaism.”

Arthur Koestler maintains that there were many Jewish converts outside of Palestine with no biblical family roots:

‘Witness to the proselytizing zeal of the Jews of earlier times are the black-skinned Falasha of Abyssinia, the Chinese Jews of Kai-Feng who look like Chinese, the Yemenite Jews with the dark olive complexion, the Jewish Berber tribes of the Sahara who look like Tauregs, and so on, down to our prime example, the Khazars.’

The Ashkenazi Jews who lived in Russian and Central Eastern Europe and later on migrated to Western and Southern Europe, are of Khazar origin and were converted to Judaism in the 9th century A.S. The Khazar Jews have no ethnic or historical connection with Palestine. The Ahakenazi Jews who migrated to Palestine during the British mandate and who committed the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people are descendants of the Khazars. The Jewish Encyclopedia refers to the Khazars and their conversion to Judaism:

“A people of Turkish origin whose life and history are interwoven with the very beginnings of the history of the Jews of Russia. The kingdom of the Khazars was firmly established in most of South Russia long before the foundation of the Russian monarchy by the Varangians(855)…Driven onward by the nomadic tribes of the steppes and by their own desire for plunder and revenge, they made frequent invasions into Armenia…

In the second half of the sixth century the Khazar move westward. They established themselves in the territory bounded by the Sea of Azov, the Don and the lower Volga, the Caspian Sea, and the northern Caucasus…In 679 the Khazars subjugated the Bulgars and extended their sway further west between the Don and the Dnieper, as far as the the head-waters of Donetsk….It was probably about that time that the Khaghan (Bulan) of the Khazars and his grandees, together with a large number of his heathen people, embraced the Jewish religion…

It was one of the successors of Bulan, named Obadiah, who regenerated the kingdom and strengthened the Jewish religion. He invited Jewish scholars to settle in his dominions, and founded synagogues and schools, the people were instructed in the Bible, Mishnah, and Talmud…

From the work Kitab al-Buldan written about the ninth century, it appears as if all the Khazars were Jews and that they had been converted to Judaism only a short time before that book was written….It may be assumed that in the ninth century many Khazar heathens became Jews, owing to the religious zeal of King Obadia,. “Such a conversion in great masses says Chwolson (Izvyestia o  Khazaraka, p 58), ” may have been the reason for the embassy of the Christians from the land of the Khazars to the Byzantine emperor Michael…

The Jewish population in the entire domain of the Khazars, in the period between the seventh and tenth centuries, must have been considerable…

The Russians invaded the trans-Caucasian country in 944…This seems to have been the beginning of the downfall of the Khazar kingdom…The Russian prince Sviatoslav made war upon the Khazars (c.974) the Russians conquered all the Khazarian territory east of the Sea of Azov. Only the Crimean territory of the Khazars remained in their possession until 1016, when they were dispossessed by a joint expedition of Russians and Byzanatines…Many were sent as prisoners of was to Kiev, where a Khazar community had long existed…Some went to Hungary, but the great mass of the people remained in their native country. Many members of the Khazrian royal family immigrated to Spain…

Professor Graetz describes the Khazar kingdom as follows:

“The heathen king of a barbarian people, living in the north,m together with all his court, adopted the Jewish religion…Their kings, who bore the title of Khakhan or Khaghan, had led these warlike sons of the steppe from victory to victory…

It is possible that the circumstances under which the Khazars embraced Judaism have been embellished by legend, but the fact itself is too definitely proved on all sides to allow any doubt as to its reality. Besides Bulan, the nobles of his kingdom, numbering nearly four thousand,m adopted the Jewish religion. Little by little it made its way among the people, so that most of the inhabitants of the towns of the H=Khazar kingdom were Jews…At first the Judaism of the Khazars must have been rather superficial, and could have had but a little influence on their mind and manners…

A successor of Bulan, who bore the Hebrew name of Obadiah, was the first to make serious efforts to further the Jewish religion. He invited Jewish sages to settle in his dominions, rewarded them royally, founded synagogues and schools, caused instruction to be given to himself and his people in the Bible and the Talmud, and introduced a divine service modeled on that of the ancient communities…After Obadiah came a long series of Jewish Khaghans, for according to a fundamental law of the state only Jewish rulers were permitted to ascent the throne…”

According to Dr. A.A. Poliak, Professor of Medieval Jewish History at Tel Aviv University, the descendants of the Khazars-“those who stayed where they were, those who emigrated to the United States and to other countries, and those who went ti Israel– constitute now the large majority of world Jewry.”

The physiological differences between the Ashkenazim, who are mainly of Turkic Khazar origin, the the Sephardim, who are mainly of Semitic Palestinian origin, has been confirmed by scientific evidence:

“By, and large, the Sephardim are dolichocephalic (long-headed), the Ashkenazim brachycephalic (broad-headed)…The statistics relating to other physical features also speak against racial unity…The hardest evidence to date come from classification by blood groups.”The thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler pps. 232-233

Thus both historical and physiological evidence negate any historical claims to being of Palestinian origin to the European Jews in Israel and to the majority of Jews in the world.


March of Folly to Crisis on Temple Mount

July 29, 2017

by Uri Avnery


My late friend, Nathan Yellin-Mor, the political leader of the LEHI underground, once told me that a certain politician is “not a great thinker and not a small fool.”

I remember that sentence every time I think about Gilad Erdan, our Minister of Public Security. His part in the events of the last few weeks, in which the entire Middle East almost exploded, confirmed this judgment.

On the other hand, Binyamin Netanyahu reminds me of the saying: “A clever person is one who knows how to extricate himself from a trap which a wise person would not have gotten into in the first place.”

About Netanyahu I would have said: “A very clever but not a very wise person.”

There are two ways to look at historic disasters. The one sees them as plots of evil persons, the other as acts of folly.

It is easy to understand the first school. After all, it cannot be possible that our very lives depend on a bunch of fools, who have no idea about anything.

For example, it is easy to believe that Binyamin Netanyahu sent a secret order to a security guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman to kill two Jordanians, so as to enable him (Netanyahu) to negotiate with the King of Jordan to release the guy in return for the removal of the metal detectors from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Pure genius.

The other version is much more prosaic. It says that the people who determine the lot of nations and countries – emperors and kings, statesmen and generals, leftists and rightists – are almost all perfect fools. A frightening idea. But it was always so, and still is. All over the world, and particularly in Israel.

One of my friends said this week: “There is no need to put cameras on the Temple Mount, as is now suggested. We should put the cameras in the cabinet room, because that is the source of the greatest danger to the future of Israel.


Barbara Tuchman, the American-Jewish historian, originated the phrase “the March of Folly”. She researched several historic disasters and showed that they were caused by sheer stupidity.

One example: Word War I, with its millions of victims, which was the result of a sequence of incredibly imbecilic acts.

A Serbian fanatic killed an Austrian archduke, whom he accosted by accident, after the planned attempt on his life had failed. The Austrian emperor saw an opportunity to show his prowess and delivered an ultimatum to little Serbia. The Russian Czar mobilized his army to defend his Slavic brothers. The German general staff had a contingency plan that provided that once the Russians started to mobilized their cumbersome army, the German army would cross into France and smash it before the Russians were ready to fight. The British declared war in order to help the French.

Not one of these actors wanted a war, least of all a world war. Each of them contributed just a little piece of folly. Together they started a war which left millions of dead, wounded and disabled. In the end, they all agreed that the only person to blame was the German Kaiser, who was not a little fool either.

The same historian would have been delighted to write about the latest incidents on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Three Palestinian fanatics, citizens of Israel, killed three Border Guard “fighters” there, who happened to be Druze. (The Druze are a separate semi-Muslim sect.)

Somebody, probably within the police, hit on the brilliant idea of installing metal-detectors to prevent such atrocities.

Three minutes’ thought would have sufficed to understand that this was a foolish idea. On a good day, hundreds of thousands of Muslims enter the Temple Mount, in order to pray in and near the al-Aqsa mosque, one of the three most holy places of Islam (after Mecca and Medina). Getting them to pass the detectors would have been like passing an elephant through the eye of a needle.

It would have been easy to phone the Waqf (Muslim trust) officials, who are in charge of the Mount. These would have quashed the idea, because it would have asserted Israeli sovereignty over the holy place. They could also have phoned the king of Jordan, who is formally in charge of the Waqf, who would have put an end to the nonsense.

But the idea reached Erdan, who grasped immediately that such an act would turn him into a hero. Erdan is 46 years old and was educated in a religious seminary. In the army, he did not serve in a combat unit, but in an office. The typical career of a right-wing politician.

Erdan behaved like a child playing with fire near a gasoline container. The metal detectors were put in place without informing the waqf or the king. At the last moment he informed Netanyahu, who was about to go abroad.

Netanyahu has many expensive hobbies, but his most cherished pleasure is to go abroad and meet with the world’s great, in order to prove that he is one of them. He was about to meet with the new president of France and after that four leaders of Eastern Europe, all of them half-democrats and quarter-fascists.

Netanyahu was not in the mood to deal with the nonsense of Erdan, one of his dwarfs, when he was about to meet with the world’s giants. Without quite understanding what he was doing, he agreed to the detectors.

It is not clear when the General Security Service (Shabak) was asked. But this body, which is deeply connected with the Arab reality, warned against it. So did army intelligence. But who are they compared to Erdan and his police commissioner, a kippah-wearing commander, who is no genius either.

The moment the detectors were put in place, events exploded. In the eyes of the Muslims, it looked like an Israeli attempt to change the status quo and become masters of the Temple Mount. The gasoline container caught fire.

The folly of the decision became clear at once. Jehovah and Allah entered the scene. The Muslim worshipers would not pass through the detectors. The multitudes started to pray in the streets.

The severity of the matter soon became evident. The Muslims, both Israeli citizens and subjects in the occupied territories, who a moment before were just a faceless mass, were suddenly revealed as a determined people, ready for a fight. That was a real achievement of Erdan’s. Bravo.

The detectors did not discover any weapons, but they revealed the dimensions of the government’s foolishness. Mass demonstrations took place in Jerusalem, in the Arab townships in Israel, in the occupied territories and in the neighboring countries. On the first weekend, seven persons were killed, hundreds were wounded.

The new idol was called “sovereignty”. The Israeli authorities could not remove the detectors without “giving up sovereignty” (and also “giving in to the terrorists”). The waqf could not give in without sacrificing “sovereignty” over the third holy place of Islam. By the way, not a single government in the world recognizes Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

The Muslims are afraid that if the Jews take over the Temple Mount, they will destroy the Dome of the Rock (the beautiful blue and gold-capped structure) and the al-Aqsa mosque, and build the Third Temple in their place. That may sound crazy, but there already exist in Israel fringe groups that are training priests and producing implements for the temple.

According to Barbara Tuchman, leaders can be accused of folly only if at least one wise person had warned them. In our case, such a person was Moshe Dayan, who, immediately after the conquest of the Mount in 1967, ordered the Israeli flag to be removed and forbade the soldiers to enter.

Nobody knew how to get out of the impasse.

Netanyahu did not interrupt his successful tour abroad in order to hurry home and take things into his own hands. Why would he? If he hurried home every time one of his minions committed a foolish act, how could he and Sara’le, his wife, enjoy the world?

And then a divine miracle happened. God Himself entered the fray.

A Jordanian handyman was working in the apartment of an Israeli security guard in the Israeli embassy in Amman. Suddenly he attacked the guard with a screwdriver and slightly wounded him. The guard drew his revolver and shot him dead. For good measure, he also shot and killed the owner of the apartment, a Jordanian physician.

It is not clear whether the incident happened because of a quarrel over money or whether the handyman suddenly decided to become a “shahid” (martyr). Neither is it clear why the guard shot him dead, instead of shooting him in the leg or using the unarmed combat techniques in which he was trained.

The former Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir, not a small terrorist himself, once pronounced that no (Arab) terrorist should be allowed to leave the scene of a terror act alive. And indeed, since then hardly one has left alive, whether a girl with scissors or a man swinging a screwdriver. Even a seriously wounded attacker, lying on the ground and bleeding severely, was shot in the head. (The shooter was released from detention this week.)

Anyhow, for Netanyahu and Erdan the Amman incident was a gift from heaven. The Jordanian king agreed to release the security guard without investigation, in return for the removal of the metal detectors in Jerusalem. With a sigh of relief that could be heard throughout the country, Netanyahu agreed. No Israeli could refuse to remove the detectors in return for the saving of one of our gallant boys. It was not a giving up of “sovereignty”, it was the saving of a Jew – an old Jewish commandment.

All the members of the embassy staff were returned to Israel – about an hour’s drive – and Netanyahu feted their “salvation” – though nobody had threatened them.

In the meanwhile another thing happened.

Netanyahu does not fear God or the Arabs. He fears Naftali Bennett.

Bennett is the leader of the “Jewish Home” party, the successor of the National-Religious party, once the most moderate party in the country. Now they are the most extreme right-wing party. It is a small faction, with only eight Knesset members (out of 120), but that is enough to break up the coalition and bring the government down. Netanyahu is mortally afraid of them.

When the fury over the detectors was at its peak, a young Arab entered Halamish settlement and killed three members of a settler family. He was wounded and captured, miraculously left alive and hospitalized.

Just a few hours later, Bennett and his female Minister of Justice demanded that the assailant be executed. There is no death penalty in Israel, but for some reason this penalty was not stricken from the codex of military courts. So Bennett and his beautiful Justice Minister demanded its use.

In all the history of the State of Israel, only two people have ever been executed by legal process. One was Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust. The other was an engineer convicted of espionage (wrongly, it later appeared) in the first weeks of the state.

The demand for the death penalty is incredibly stupid. Every Muslim “terrorist” dreams of becoming a “shahid” – one who sacrifices his life for Allah and reaches paradise. His execution would fulfill his dream. And nothing arouses national and international emotion more than an execution.

There is something sick about enthusiasts of the death penalty and the public that supports them. If their demand were accepted – no chance – this would constitute a great victory for the Muslim fanatics. Fortunately, all the Israeli security services object strenuously to the demand.

But in an establishment dominated by folly, even this folly attracts some attention and support.


Kaczynski’s reckless confrontation course

Political confrontation in Poland is escalating. It has moved far beyond a battle for political power and has become a battle over the political culture of the country

July 30, 2017

by Rosalia Romaniec


The images coming from Poland last week give cause for hope. Yes, that is true. I was there myself and saw thousands of my compatriots out on the streets protesting for judicial independence and against political radicalization. That is indeed a reason for some optimism.

On the other hand: The fact that it is necessary to take to the streets to demand free courts in the middle of Europe is terrible, and grounds for fear. Another thing that causes fear is the radicalism with which the governing PiS is forcing through its political reforms, as well as the lack of respect with which it dismisses every form of resistance to them.

The government describes its restructuring of the country as a “good transformation.” That is just as cynical as a party that forces the conformity of every aspect of government to suit it own desires calling itself “Law and Justice.”

Fight over political culture

This is not about “law and justice”: It is about power and money. But not just that – it is also about ideology and a monopolization of historical interpretation. No, the government is not acting prudently and benevolently – quite the opposite. It is “sorting” the country’s citizens into good and bad. What is currently taking place in Poland is much more than a battle for political power; it has long become a battle over political culture.

On the one side are the blockheads that blindly follow their emperor and are immune to any and all criticism and serious dialogue. On the other side are those who want to enjoy the same freedoms and rights as other Europeans, and see their country with a certain self-confident national pride, but also see it as a country based on liberal values. Not least of all, the thing that makes them sick is the ruthless confrontation course that the government insists upon – in terms of foreign and domestic policy and also as regards society as a whole. The government is not interested in dialogue, but in division. One easily recognizes that in its controversial decisions, as well as in its choice of words.

In the eyes of the ruling PiS, the opposition is not simply “another political force” – no, it is a “total opposition,” deserving “total defeat.” That sounds like total insanity to me. Citizens’ peaceful protests are not seen as an opportunity for dialogue by the government in Warsaw. PiS politicians defame demonstrators as “political rabies.” How will this all end? The government will certainly not give in. It repeatedly calls on members not to succumb to “pressure from the streets” or “from abroad.”

Kaczynski & Co. will hold fast to their plan to radically transform Poland. As a consequence, more mass demonstrations are to be expected. The fronts are growing ever more entrenched and divisions in society ever deeper. That does not bode well for political stability in a large country in the heart of Europe. And it does not bode well for Europe itself.







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