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TBR News March 22, 2018

Mar 22 2018

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C. March 22 , 2018:” For the next Presidential elections, I propose a new candidate who is certain to sweep the boards and carry the United States to higher intellectual levels than Mt. Everest.

My suggested candidate is Valvolene Wong.

She is, on her mother’s side, black and Mexican, and on the paternal side, Chinese and Philippine. Valvolene in 6 foot seven and has only one eye (she lost the other one in a Lesbian bar fight in San Francisco) which makes her Handicapped.

Her material grandmother was an Orthodox Jewess and her father worships Vishnu and cows so she is very suited to the political clime in America today.

Valvolene is a typical product of the American educational system, which translates to functional illiteracy, but on the positive side, she is housebroken.

It took her father ten years and many beatings to accomplish this but the family now is proud of the fact they do not have to put paper on the furniture.

Valvolene is proud of the fact that she takes a bath every month, needed or not, and her mere presence on a public bus, especially during summer months, is enough to empty it quickly.

As to which political party she ought to identify with, there is still a question.

On the one hand, Valvolene is an advocate of unisex lavatories for humpbacked tri-sexual dwarves and marriage to a poodle, on the other, a firm believer that Vishnu and Yahweh will be seen riding into Jerusalem on a pibald donkey any day now.

Valvolene is a world-class text messenger as well, and she has an advanced degree in Incontinence from the Bad Seepage University of Sludge, Texas.

All in all, the Quintessential Milleneal!”

Table of Contents

  • Bring Back Bricker!
  • John Dowd, Trump’s lead lawyer in Mueller investigation, quits
  • Turkey ‘To Launch Wider Offensive Against Kurds’ After Taking Afrin
  • American Militaria actions
  • No sign of relief for Facebook shares after Zuckerberg apology
  • Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal: What you need to know
  • Paul Ehrlich: ‘Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades’
  • Secrecy News
  • US set to impose $50 billion worth of tariffs on China over intellectual property
  • Genetic tests reveal tragic reality of Atacama ‘alien’ skeleton

Bring Back Bricker!

An amendment to the Constitution to stop globalism

March 22, 2018

by Justin Raimondo

AntiWar

In this era of “America first,” when an upsurge of nationalism is sweeping the country (and, I might add, the rest of the world), the populist complaint is that ordinary people are being manipulated and exploited by the Davos crowd, a claque of would-be world-saving oligarchs. A political class that disdains Middle America and seeks to destroy their way of life is in the saddle, and one of their main weapons is the power to make international treaties. Such supra-national constructs as NAFTA, NATO, and the WTO are seen as sovereignty-destroying globalist schemes hatched by self-serving billionaires and their bought-and-paid-for politicians. Donald Trump won the White House on the basis of the former sentiment, railing against trade agreements and other treaties that he considers a “bad deal” for the American people.

Whether one agrees with Trump or not, the problem of international treaties superseding the U.S. Constitution and undermining the foundations of our republic is not a new one. The conservative movement of the early 1950’s, which rightly viewed the United Nations with extreme suspicion, was particularly sensitive to this threat, and they hit upon a solution: the Bricker Amendment.

Introduced into the Senate by Sen. John W. Bricker (R-Ohio) in February, 1952, as Senate Joint Resolution 130, the “Bricker Amendment” to the Constitution read as follows:

“Section 1. A provision of a treaty which conflicts with this Constitution shall not be of any force or effect.

“Section 2. A treaty shall become effective as internal law in the United States only through legislation which would be valid in the absence of treaty.

“Section 3. Congress shall have power to regulate all executive and other agreements with any foreign power or international organization. All such agreements shall be subject to the limitations imposed on treaties by this article.

“Section 4. The congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Mobilizing to support Bricker, conservatives built a grand coalition which included all the major veterans groups, the Kiwanis Clubs, the American Association of Small Business, and many women’s groups, as well as the conservative activist organizations of the time, such as the Freedom Clubs and the Committee for Constitutional Government. The conservative press joined in the campaign; writing in Human Events, Frank Chodorov, an early libertarian publicist and author, said that:

“The proposed amendment arises from a rather odd situation. A nation is threatened by invasion, not by a foreign army, but by its own legal entanglements. Not soldiers, but theoreticians and visionaries attack its independence and aim to bring its people under the rule of an agglomeration of foreign governments. This is something new in history. There have been occasions when a weak nation sought security by placing itself under the yoke of a strong one. But, here we have the richest nation in the world, and apparently the strongest, flirting with the liquidation of its independence. Nothing like that has ever happened before.”

The breach in our defenses, said Chodorov, is in Article VI of the Constitution, which provides that “… All Treaties …shall be the supreme Law of the Land… any Thing in the Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding.” At the time of the Founders, the division between foreign and domestic policy was clear enough; there was never any intention, as Jefferson wrote, to enable the President and the Senate to “do by treaty what the whole government is interdicted from doing in any way.”

However, as the concept of limited government was eroded – and under pressure from the endless stream of pacts, covenants, and executive agreements issuing forth from the White House as well as the United Nations and its American enthusiasts – the chink in our constitutional armor widened. Just as the growth of administrative law had threatened to overthrow the old Republic during the darkest days of the New Deal, so under Truman and Eisenhower the burgeoning body of treaty law threatened to overthrow US sovereignty. U.S. foreign policy had created administrative law of a new type; treaties which sought to regulate domestic economic and social behavior to a degree never achieved by FDR’s Brain Trusters.

If the New Deal had failed to completely socialize America, to conservatives it often seemed as if the United Nations seemed determined to finish the job. According to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, human beings were endowed with all sorts of “rights,” including the right to a job and the right to “security.” There were, however, certain significant omissions, chief among them the right to own and maintain private property. Another equally glaring omission was the unqualified right to a free press, the regulation of which is left up to member nations. When three Supreme Court justices, including the Chief Justice, cited the UN Charter and the NATO treaty in support of their argument that Truman had the right to seize the steel mills, conservatives went into action – and the fight for the Bricker Amendment began in earnest.

The Eisenhower Administration, and particularly the US State Department, went all out to defeat the Amendment. Leading the opposition was Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. This was the same John Foster Dulles who had said, two years previously, that “The treaty power is an extraordinary power, liable to abuse,” and warned that

“Treaties can take powers away from the Congress and give them to the President. They can take powers from the states and give them to the federal government or to some international body and they can cut across the rights given to the people by their Constitutional Bill of Rights.”

Hammered with this quote by Clarence Manion, Dean of Law at Notre Dame University, and a leading proponent of the Bricker Amendment, Dulles could only take refuge in the argument that this President would never compromise US sovereignty.

Although the Bricker Amendment started out with fifty-six co-sponsors, it eventually went down to defeat in the U.S. Senate, 42-50, with 4 not voting. (A watered-down version, the “George proposal,” lost by a single vote.) The defection of Senators William Knowland and Alexander Wiley from conservative Republican ranks on this occasion was particularly significant, and marked the beginning not only of Wiley’s chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but also the decline of the movement to put and keep America first.

As the late Murray N. Rothbard put it in The Betrayal of the American Right, the Bricker Amendment was the “swansong of the Old Right,” the last major organizing effort of a conservative movement that was radically anti-statist and “isolationist” (i.e., pro-peace). Now, with the election of Trump and the rise of the old America First sentiment in the GOP, the Old Right is back – and it’s entirely appropriate that today’s activists pick up where their ideological ancestors left off.

In arguing against Bricker, the Eisenhower administration averred that it would unduly restrict the power of the President to conduct foreign policy. Bricker’s supporters argued that nothing less than the sovereignty of the country was at stake, and that, in any case, the President had no such exclusive power.

The Bricker Amendment is especially pertinent today, when the struggle to reassert congressional authority over US foreign policy – and specifically the war-making power – is taking center stage. The US is obligated by treaty to go to war if any one of the NATO countries is attacked – which means American troops may die to defend, say, Albania (a NATO member), or Montenegro (population less than one million) from an attack, either real or imagined. Congress can be bypassed because – the interventionists claim – we are obligated by the NATO treaty.

The trade agreements drafted by globalist bureaucrats are in Trump’s sights: the adoption of the Bricker Amendment would invalidate them all with a single blow. In short, Bricker is the perfect crusade for conservatives in the Age of Trump.

As Frank E. Holman, president of the American Bar Association, and the sparkplug of the original Bricker Amendment movement, wrote:

“In the destiny of human affairs a great issue like a righteous cause does not die. It lives on and arises again and again until rightly won. However long the fight for an adequate Constitutional Amendment on treaties and other international agreements, it will and must be won. This will be the history of the Bricker Amendment as it has been the history of all other great issues and causes.”

Holman’s comments were published in 1954 as Story of the Bricker Amendment, (The First Phase) – a title that one can only hope is prophetic.

 

John Dowd, Trump’s lead lawyer in Mueller investigation, quits

  • Dowd confirms departure and says: ‘I wish the president well’
  • 77-year-old said on Saturday he hoped investigation would end

March 22, 2018

by Ben Jacobs in Washington

The Guardian

John Dowd, Donald Trump’s lead lawyer in the Mueller investigation, has resigned.

The news was first reported by the Washington Post. In an email to the Guardian, Dowd confirmed his departure and said: “I love the president and wish him well.”

The 77-year-old left Trump’s legal team days after the hiring of Joseph DiGenova, a cable news commentator and former US attorney who has claimed the investigation into Russian election interference and alleged links between Trump aides and Moscow is an attempt to frame the president, carried out by the FBI and Department of Justice.

The shakeup comes less than two weeks after Trump insisted on Twitter he was “VERY happy” with his legal team and said his lawyers were “doing a great job”.

Dowd attracted attention on Saturday when he told the Daily Beast he hoped Mueller’s investigation would be shut down.

In an email, Dowd said “I pray” deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller, “will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility [OPR] and attorney general Jeff Sessions”, who fired deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe on Friday.

That, Dowd said, would “bring an end to alleged Russia collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier”.

Dowd first said he was speaking for the president but then rowed back, saying he had spoken in a personal capacity. He then told Axios that Trump “didn’t have any problem” with his statement.

Dowd had attracted controversy before. In December, he insisted “the president cannot obstruct justice” after Trump tweeted: “I had to fire [former National Security Advisor Michael] Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.”

The tweet raised questions about whether Trump had attempted to obstruct justice when he asked then FBI director James Comey to halt an investigation into Flynn the day after he was fired.

Dowd later insisted that he wrote the tweet in question, not Trump.

Before representing Trump, Dowd was best known for his role in Major League Baseball’s investigation of the all time hits leader Pete Rose, for gambling. As a result of Dowd’s controversial report, Rose was banned from baseball and made ineligible for induction in the Hall of Fame.

Turkey ‘To Launch Wider Offensive Against Kurds’ After Taking Afrin

March 19, 2018

The Independent

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening to follow up the capture of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin by launching an across-the-board military offensive against the remaining Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria and the main Yazidi population centre in the Sinjar region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

He claimed that the next target of Turkish troops would be the cities of Manbij, which the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) captured from Isis in 2016, and Kobani, which withstood a famous siege by Isis that ended in 2015. Unlike Afrin, both places are protected by the US Air Force, backed by 2,000 US specialised ground troops.

Mr Erdogan undoubtedly intends in the long term to eliminate the de facto Kurdish state that developed in northern and eastern Syria as the result of the advance of the YPG, backed by US air power, in the war against Isis. But it is unlikely that he will seek a confrontation with the US, which is sending out patrols of armoured vehicles into the front lines around Manbij, a strategically placed city between Aleppo and the Euphrates.

Speaking soon after the Turkish invasion of Afrin on 20 January, Gen Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command, said that withdrawing US forces from Manbij was “not something we are looking into”.

The Turkish leader threatened that his country’s troops could cross into Iraq to drive out Kurdish militants from Sinjar, if the Iraqi government did not oust them from there itself. The area is under the strong influence of the YPG, which intervened militarily in 2014 to protect the Yazidi community who were being massacred, raped and enslaved by Isis, which was then at the peak of its power.

The threat of a widening offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces is probably a manoeuvre by Mr Erdogan to divert attention from the situation in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, which Turkish-backed forces captured on Sunday. There is a mass exodus of more than 200,000 people, according to a senior Kurdish official. “The people with cars are sleeping in the cars, the people without are sleeping under the trees with their children,” Hevi Mustafa, a top member of the Kurdish civil authority in the Afrin area, told a news agency.

The UN says that 98,000 recently displaced people from Afrin have registered with it at three centres outside the enclave. Another report said that 120,000 Kurds are not being allowed to enter Syrian government held territory and are unable to return to Afrin. The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” by the humanitarian situation.

There may be less than meets the eye in a Turkish promise to leave Afrin once military operations are over. “We are not permanent there [in Afrin] and we are certainly not invaders,” said Bekir Bozdag, a deputy prime minister. “Our goal is to hand the region back to its real owners after clearing it of terrorists.” The reference to “real owners” may refer to a Turkish claim that many Arabs have been driven out of Afrin in the past and will now recover their homes, a form of enforced “re-Arabisation” that would take advantage of the flight of much of the Kurdish population. A Turkish military withdrawal, even if it took place, would not mean much because Turkey and Turkish-controlled territory surrounds Afrin on three sides and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) units, which would presumably stay in Afrin, take their orders from Turkey.

Turkish-led forces are carrying out widespread looting of government offices, shops and homes in Afrin as well as stealing vehicles, such as farm machinery, tractors and trailers according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It says that the looting and arrests are fuelling growing resentment among displaced people. Pictures from the area show tractors being driven away by uniformed militiamen.

The Kurdish YPG, which did not make a final stand in Manbij, says that it will revert to guerrilla warfare, something in which its commanders have great experience. But this may not be easy to do in a place like Afrin, which is isolated from the main Kurdish-held territory east of the Euphrates river. Guerrilla attacks are likely to provoke retaliation against the remaining Kurdish civilian population who might then leave Afrin and further open the door to ethnic cleansing.

 

American Militaria actions

March 22, 2018

by Christian Jürs

SOUTH DAKOTA

1890 (-?)

Troops

300 Lakota Indians massacred at Wounded Knee.

ARGENTINA

1890

Troops

Buenos Aires interests protected.

CHILE

1891

Troops

Marines clash with nationalist rebels.

HAITI

1891

Troops

Black workers revolt on U.S.-claimed Navassa Island defeated.

IDAHO

1892

Troops

Army suppresses silver miners’ strike.

HAWAII

1893 (-?)

Naval, troops

Independent kingdom overthrown, annexed.

CHICAGO

1894

Troops

Breaking of rail strike, 34 killed.

NICARAGUA

1894

Troops

Month-long occupation of Bluefields.

CHINA

1894-95

Naval, troops

Marines land in Sino-Japanese War.

KOREA

1894-96

Troops

Marines kept in Seoul during war.

PANAMA

1895

Troops, naval

Marines land in Colombian province.

NICARAGUA

1896

Troops

Marines land in port of Corinto.

CHINA

1898-1900

Troops

Boxer Rebellion fought by foreign armies.

PHILIPPINES

1898-1910(-?)

Naval, troops

Seized from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos.

CUBA

1898-1902(-?)

Naval, troops

Seized from Spain, still hold Navy base.

PUERTO RICO

1898(-?)

Naval, troops

Seized from Spain, occupation continues.

GUAM

1898(-?)

Naval, troops

Seized from Spain, still in use as base.

MINNESOTA

1898(-?)

Troops

Army battles Chippewa at Leech Lake.

NICARAGUA

1898

Troops

Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur.

SAMOA

1899(-?)

Troops

Battle over succession to throne.

NICARAGUA

1899

Troops

Marines land at port of Bluefields.

IDAHO

1899-1901

Troops

Army occupies Coeur d’Alene mining region.

OKLAHOMA

1901

Troops

Army battles Creek Indian revolt.

PANAMA

1901-14

Naval, troops

Broke off from Colombia 1903, annexed Canal Zone 1914-99.

HONDURAS

1903

Troops

Marines intervene in revolution.

DOMINICAN REP.

1903-04

Troops

U.S. interests protected in Revolution.

KOREA

1904-05

Troops

Marines land in Russo-Japanese War.

CUBA

1906-09

Troops

Marines land in democratic election.

NICARAGUA

1907

Troops

“Dollar Diplomacy” protectorate set up.

HONDURAS

1907

Troops

Marines land during war with Nicaragua.

PANAMA

1908

Troops

Marines intervene in election contest.

NICARAGUA

1910

Troops

Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.

HONDURAS

1911

Troops

U.S. interests protected in civil war.

CHINA

1911-41

Naval, troops

Continuous occupation with flare-ups.

CUBA

1912

Troops

U.S. interests protected in Havana.

PANAMA

19l2

Troops

Marines land during heated election.

HONDURAS

19l2

Troops

Marines protect U.S. economic interests.

NICARAGUA

1912-33

Troops, bombing

20-year occupation, fought guerrillas.

MEXICO

19l3

Naval

Americans evacuated during revolution.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

1914

Naval

Fight with rebels over Santo Domingo.

COLORADO

1914

Troops

Breaking of miners’ strike by Army.

MEXICO

1914-18

Naval, troops

Series of interventions against nationalists.

HAITI

1914-34

Troops, bombing

19-year occupation after revolts.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

1916-24

Troops

8-year Marine occupation.

CUBA

1917-33

Troops

Military occupation, economic protectorate.

WORLD WAR I

19l7-18

Naval, troops

Ships sunk, fought Germany  and Austria-Hungary

RUSSIA

1918-22

Naval, troops

Five landings to fight Bolsheviks.

PANAMA

1918-20

Troops

“Police duty” during unrest after elections.

YUGOSLAVIA

1919

Troops

Marines intervene for Italy against Serbs in Dalmatia.

HONDURAS

1919

Troops

Marines land during election campaign.

GUATEMALA

1920

Troops

2-week intervention against unionists.

WEST VIRGINIA

1920-21

Troops, bombing

Army intervenes against mineworkers.

TURKEY

1922

Troops

Fought nationalists in Smyrna (Izmir).

CHINA

1922-27

Naval, troops

Deployment during nationalist revolt.

HONDURAS

1924-25

Troops

Landed twice during election strife.

PANAMA

1925

Troops

Marines suppress general strike.

CHINA

1927-34

Troops

Marines stationed throughout the country.

EL SALVADOR

1932

Naval

Warships sent during Faribundo Marti revolt.

WASHINGTON DC

1932

Troops

Army stops WWI vet bonus protest.

WORLD WAR II

1941-45

Naval,troops, bombing, nuclear

Fought Axis for 3

years; 1st nuclear war.

DETROIT

1943

Troops

Army puts down Black rebellion.

IRAN

1946

Nuclear threat

Soviet troops told to leave north (Iranian Azerbaijan).

YUGOSLAVIA

1946

Naval

Response to shooting-down of U.S. plane.

URUGUAY

1947

Nuclear threat

Bombers deployed as show of strength.

GREECE

1947-49

Command operation

U.S. directs extreme-right in civil war.

CHINA

1948-49

Troops

Marines evacuate Americans before Communist victory.

GERMANY

1948

Nuclear threat

Atomic-capable bombers guard Berlin Airlift.

PHILIPPINES

1948-54

Command operation

CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion.

PUERTO RICO

1950

Command operation

Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.

KOREA

1950-53

Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats

U.S.&

South Korea fight China & North Korea to stalemate; A-bomb threat in 1950, & vs. China in 1953. Still have bases.

IRAN

1953

Command operation

CIA overthrows democracy, installs Shah.

VIETNAM

1954

Nuclear threat

Bombs offered to French to use against siege.

GUATEMALA

1954

Command operation, bombing, nuclear threat CIA directs exile invasion after new gov’t nationalizes U.S. company lands; bombers based in Nicaragua.

EGYPT

1956

Nuclear threat, troops

Soviets told to keep out of Suez crisis; Marines evacuate foreigners

LEBANON

1958

Troops, naval

Marine occupation against rebels.

IRAQ

1958

Nuclear threat

Iraq warned against invading Kuwait.

CHINA

1958

Nuclear threat

China told not to move on Taiwan isles.

PANAMA

1958

Troops

Flag protests erupt into confrontation.

VIETNAM

1960-75

Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats Fought South Vietnam revolt & North Vietnam; 1-2 million killed in longest U.S. war; atomic bomb threats in 1968 and 1969.

CUBA

1961

Command operation CIA-directed exile invasion fails.

GERMANY

1961

Nuclear threat Alert during Berlin Wall crisis.

CUBA

1962

Nuclear threat

Naval

Blockade during missile crisis; near-war with USSR.

LAOS

1962

Command operation

Military buildup during guerrilla war.

PANAMA

1964

Troops

Panamanians shot for urging canal’s return.

INDONESIA

1965

Command operation Million killed in CIA-assisted army coup.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

1965-66

Troops, bombing Marines land during election campaign.

GUATEMALA

1966-67

Command operation Green Berets intervene against rebels.

DETROIT

1967

Troops

Army battles Blacks, 43 killed.

UNITED STATES

1968

Troops

After King is shot; over 21,000 soldiers in cities.

CAMBODIA

1969-75

Bombing, troops, naval Up to 2 million killed in decade of  bombing, starvation, and political chaos.

OMAN

1970

Command operation U.S. directs Iranian marine invasion.

LAOS

1971-73

Command operation, bombing U.S. directs South Vietnamese invasion; “carpet-bombs” countryside.

SOUTH DAKOTA

1973

Command operation Army directs Wounded Knee siege of Lakotas.

MIDEAST

1973

Nuclear threat World-wide alert during Mideast War.

CHILE

1973

Command operation CIA-backed coup ousts elected marxist president.

CAMBODIA

1975

Troops, bombing Gas captured ship, 28 die in copter crash.

ANGOLA

1976-92

Command operation CIA assists South African-backed rebels.

IRAN

1980

Troops, nuclear threat, aborted bombing Raid to rescue Embassy hostages;  8 troops die in copter-plane crash. Soviets warned not to get involved in revolution.

LIBYA

1981

Naval jets

Two Libyan jets shot down in maneuvers.

EL SALVADOR

1981-92

Command operation, troops Advisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war, soldiers briefly involved in hostage clash.

NICARAGUA

1981-90

Command operation, naval CIA directs exile (Contra) invasions,  plants harbor mines against revolution.

LEBANON

1982-84

Naval, bombing, troops Marines expel PLO and back Phalangists,  Navy bombs and shells Muslim and Syrian positions.

HONDURAS

1983-89

Troops

Maneuvers help build bases near borders.

GRENADA

1983-84

Troops, bombing Invasion four years after revolution.

IRAN

1984

Jets

Two Iranian jets shot down over Persian Gulf.

LIBYA

1986

Bombing, naval Air strikes to topple nationalist gov’t.

BOLIVIA

1986

Troops Army assists raids on cocaine region.

IRAN

1987-88

Naval, bombing US intervenes on side of Iraq in war.

LIBYA

1989

Naval jets Two Libyan jets shot down.

VIRGIN ISLANDS

1989

Troops

St. Croix Black unrest after storm.

PHILIPPINES

1989

Jets

Air cover provided for government against coup.

PANAMA

1989-90

Troops, bombing

Nationalist government ousted by 27,000 soldiers, leaders arrested, 2000+ civilians killed.

LIBERIA

1990

Troops

Foreigners evacuated during civil war.

SAUDI ARABIA

1990-91

Troops, jets Iraq countered after invading Kuwait; 540,000 troops also stationed in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel.

IRAQ

1990-?

Bombing, troops, naval Blockade of Iraqi and Jordanian ports, air strikes; 200,000+ killed in invasion of Iraq and Kuwait; no-fly zone over Kurdish north, Shiite south,   large-scale destruction of Iraqi military.

KUWAIT

1991

Naval, bombing, troops Kuwait royal family returned to throne.

LOS ANGELES

1992

Troops

Army, Marines deployed against anti-police uprising.

SOMALIA

1992-94

Troops, naval, bombing U.S.-led United Nations occupation during civil war; raids against one Mogadishu faction.

YUGOSLAVIA

1992-94

Naval

Nato blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.

BOSNIA

1993-95

Jets, bombing No-fly zone patrolled in civil war; downed jets, bombed Serbs.

HAITI

1994-96

Troops, naval

Blockade against military government; troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup.

CROATIA

1995

Bombing

Krajina Serb airfields attacked before Croatian offensive.

ZAIRE (CONGO)

1996-97

Troops

Marines at Rwandan Hutu refuge camps, in area where Congo revolution begins.

LIBERIA

1997

Troops

Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.

ALBANIA

1997

Troops

Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.

SUDAN

1998

Missiles

Attack on pharmaceutical plant alleged to be “terrorist” nerve gas plant.

AFGHANISTAN

1998

Missiles

Attack on former CIA training camps used by Islamic fundamentalist groups alleged to have attacked embassies.

IRAQ

1998-?

Bombing, Missiles

Four days of intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions.

YUGOSLAVIA

1999-?

Bombing, Missiles

Heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo.

YEMEN

2000

Naval

Suicide bomb attack on USS Cole.

MACEDONIA

2001

Troops

NATO troops shift and partially disarm Albanian rebels.

UNITED STATES

2001

Jets, naval

Response to hijacking attacks.

AFGHANISTAN

2001

Massive U.S. mobilization to attack Taliban, Bin Laden. War could expand to Iraq, Sudan, and beyond.

IRAQ

2003

Massive U.S. invasion to secure Iraqi oil. Iraqi Resistance kills over 3,000 U.S. troops, injures 15,000. Civilian losses between 15 and 30,000.

 

No sign of relief for Facebook shares after Zuckerberg apology

March 22, 2018

by Munsif Vengattil

Reuters

(Reuters) – Shares of Facebook Inc fell 3 percent in premarket trading on Thursday as an apology from Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg did little to quell Wall Street nerves about how much a row over user data privacy will cost the company.

Zuckerberg on Wednesday promised tougher steps to restrict developers’ access to user information, his first response to allegations that London-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed data to build profiles on American voters and influence the 2016 presidential election.

Analysts from several brokerages expressed relief that there were no signs in Zuckerberg’s status update on the row or in subsequent interviews of a more fundamental shift in the company’s advertising-driven revenue model.

Facebook shares, however, have fallen for two of the last three days, knocking nearly $46 billion off its market value, and some analysts said it was clear the company would have to carry extra costs to shore up its reputation in the months ahead.

Technology stocks have fallen along with Facebook this week as investors worried the row was likely to lead to much tighter scrutiny of global platforms like Google, Twitter and Snapchat.

“We expect more cautious FB investors to point to the potential for FB to spend more this year due to these increased safeguards…which will hold back earnings power,” Morgan Stanley’s Brian Nowak said in a morning note.

Stifel analyst Scott Devitt was the fourth major Wall Street name to cut his price target on Facebook, by $27 to $168, saying the uncertainty generated by the row demanded a higher discount.

“Facebook’s current plight reminds us of eBay in 2004 – an unstructured content business built on trust that lost that trust prior to implementing policies to add structure and process,” Devitt said.

“We would buy all of our Buy-rated stocks and many of our Hold-rated stocks before we would buy Facebook shares, given the information available to us,” Devitt added. He has a ‘Hold’ rating on Facebook.

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Amid the Facebook storm, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday morning to boast about his successful use of social media during his 2016 election campaign.

“Remember when they were saying, during the campaign, that Donald Trump is giving great speeches and drawing big crowds, but he is spending much less money and not using social media as well as Crooked Hillary’s large and highly sophisticated staff. Well, not saying that anymore!,” he tweeted.

Steve Bannon, who ran Trump’s 2016 campaign before falling out with the president last year, speaks at a Financial Times event on the “Future of News: Trust, Technology and Transformation in an Age of Upheaval” later on Thursday.

Zuckerberg said the social network would investigate thousands of apps that have used Facebook’s platform, restrict developer access to data, and give members a tool that lets them disable access to their Facebook data more easily.

Those plans did not represent a big reduction of advertisers’ ability to use Facebook data – the company’s lifeblood.

Open-source browser and app developer Mozilla said late on Wednesday it was suspending advertising on Facebook.

“We found that its current default settings leave access open to a lot of data – particularly with respect to settings for third party apps,” Mozilla said in a blog post. It would consider returning if Facebook strengthens its default privacy settings for third party apps.

The Times newspaper reported that British advertising group ISBA, which represents thousands of well-known brands, had threatened to withdraw ads if investigations show user data has been misused.

“We think this issue is more likely to snowball than recede and that advertisers are reaching a tipping point at which spending on not only Facebook and other online platforms, is re-evaluated,” brokerage Liberum said in a note. “The big beneficiary from any shift would be the TV Broadcasters.”

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Hugh Lawson

 

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal: What you need to know

A data analytics company has harvested information from more than 50 million Facebook users. That data was used to “change audience behavior” and advance political projects like Brexit and Donald Trump’s White House bid.

March 21, 2018

by Lewis Sanders IV

DW

Facebook has some explaining to do. To be more precise, the social media giant has to explain how personal data from 50 million users was harvested by Cambridge Analytica and used to further political agendas in the UK, US and even Kenya.

Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic have called on Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify as to whether the networking platform failed to protect user data. The scandal has also prompted campaigns urging users to delete their Facebook accounts.

How we got here:

The New York Times and UK-based Observer reported that more than 50 million Facebook users had their data harvested by Cambridge Analytica in what has been described as the social media platform’s largest data breach to date.

Cambridge Analytica reportedly used the data to target users with personalized political ads to further Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid and the pro-Brexit campaign.

It claimed that it “fully complies with Facebook’s terms of service,” denying any wrongdoing in harvesting data from the social media platform to further clients’ political projects.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company will implement three new measures to better protect user data after the revelations, including banning developers that misused personal data and further restricting developer access to user data.

Key facts:

Trump’s former far-right political strategist Stephen Bannon reportedly oversaw one of Cambridge Analytica’s programs which created voter profiles based on data garnered from Facebook. He served as the company’s vice president and secretary before joining Trump’s campaign in 2016.

The revelations have prompted a sell-off of Facebook stocks and those of other social media platforms, knocking off $50 billion (€40 billion) from Facebook’s market value and roughly $9 billion from Zuckerberg’s personal wealth, according to Forbes.

Cambridge Analytica is partially owned by American businessman Robert Mercer, who is known for backing conservative causes. The company, which says it “uses data to change audience behavior,” is the subject of ongoing criminal investigations for its role in the Brexit vote and the US presidential election.

Read more: Who are the Mercers? What you need to know about Breitbart’s backers

Key quote:

Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who worked alongside Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan to garner the data for Cambridge Analytica, told the Observer:

“We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we know about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

Wyle later said on Wednesday that he would testify about Cambridge Analytica’s activities before lawmakers in the US and UK.

 

Paul Ehrlich: ‘Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades’

Fifty years after the publication of his controversial book The Population Bomb, biologist Paul Ehrlich warns overpopulation and overconsumption are driving us over the edge

March 22, 2018

by Damian Carrington

The Guardian

A shattering collapse of civilisation is a “near certainty” in the next few decades due to humanity’s continuing destruction of the natural world that sustains all life on Earth, according to biologist Prof Paul Ehrlich.

In May, it will be 50 years since the eminent biologist published his most famous and controversial book, the Population Bomb. But Ehrlich remains as outspoken as ever.

The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.

Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.

The Population Bomb, written with his wife Anne Ehrlich in 1968, predicted “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death” in the 1970s – a fate that was avoided by the green revolution in intensive agriculture.

Many details and timings of events were wrong, Paul Ehrlich acknowledges today, but he says the book was correct overall.

“Population growth, along with over-consumption per capita, is driving civilisation over the edge: billions of people are now hungry or micronutrient malnourished, and climate disruption is killing people.”

Ehrlich has been at Stanford University since 1959 and is also president of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere, which works “to reduce the threat of a shattering collapse of civilisation”.

“It is a near certainty in the next few decades, and the risk is increasing continually as long as perpetual growth of the human enterprise remains the goal of economic and political systems,” he says. “As I’ve said many times, ‘perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell’.”

It is the combination of high population and high consumption by the rich that is destroying the natural world, he says. Research published by Ehrlich and colleagues in 2017 concluded that this is driving a sixth mass extinction of biodiversity, upon which civilisation depends for clean air, water and food.

The solutions are tough, he says. “To start, make modern contraception and back-up abortion available to all and give women full equal rights, pay and opportunities with men.

“I hope that would lead to a low enough total fertility rate that the needed shrinkage of population would follow. [But] it will take a very long time to humanely reduce total population to a size that is sustainable.”

He estimates an optimum global population size at roughly 1.5 to two billion, “But the longer humanity pursues business as usual, the smaller the sustainable society is likely to prove to be. We’re continuously harvesting the low-hanging fruit, for example by driving fisheries stocks to extinction.”

Ehrlich is also concerned about chemical pollution, which has already reached the most remote corners of the globe. “The evidence we have is that toxics reduce the intelligence of children, and members of the first heavily influenced generation are now adults.”

He treats this risk with characteristic dark humour: “The first empirical evidence we are dumbing down Homo sapiens were the Republican debates in the US 2016 presidential elections – and the resultant kakistocracy. On the other hand, toxification may solve the population problem, since sperm counts are plunging.”

Reflecting five decades after the publication of the Population Bomb (which he wanted to be titled Population, Resources, and Environment), he says: “No scientist would hold exactly the same views after a half century of further experience, but Anne and I are still proud of our book.” It helped start a worldwide debate on the impact of rising population that continues today, he says.

The book’s strength, Ehrlich says, is that it was short, direct and basically correct. “Its weaknesses were not enough on overconsumption and equity issues. It needed more on women’s rights, and explicit countering of racism – which I’ve spent much of my career and activism trying to counter.

“Too many rich people in the world is a major threat to the human future, and cultural and genetic diversity are great human resources.”

Accusations that the book lent support to racist attitudes to population control still hurt today, Ehrlich says. “Having been a co-inventor of the sit-in to desegregate restaurants in Lawrence, Kansas in the 1950s and having published books and articles on the biological ridiculousness of racism, those accusations continue to annoy me.”

But, he says: “You can’t let the possibility that ignorant people will interpret your ideas as racist keep you from discussing critical issues honestly.”

 

Secrecy News

From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2018, Issue No. 19

March 22, 2018

2017 NUCLEAR STOCKPILE TOTAL DECLASSIFIED

The number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. nuclear stockpile dropped to 3,822 as of September 30, 2017, down from 4,018 a year earlier.  (Retired weapons awaiting dismantlement are not included in the totals.)

Meanwhile, 354 nuclear weapons were dismantled in 2017, up from 258 the year before.

These figures were declassified in response to a request from the Federation of American Scientists and were made public yesterday.

The declassification of the current size of the US nuclear arsenal was a breakthrough in national security transparency that was accomplished for the first time by the Obama Administration in 2010.

It was uncertain until now whether or when the Trump Administration would follow suit.

Because the stockpile information qualifies as Formerly Restricted Data under the Atomic Energy Act, its declassification does not occur spontaneously or on a defined schedule. Disclosure requires coordination and approval by both the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense, and it often needs to be prompted by some external factor.

Last October, the Federation of American Scientists petitioned for declassification of the stockpile numbers, and the request was ultimately approved.

“Your request was the original driver for the declassification,” said Dr. Andrew Weston-Dawkes, the director of the DOE Office of Classification. “We regret the long time to complete the process but in the end the process does work.”

Earlier this week, FAS requested declassification of the current inventory of Highly Enriched Uranium, which has not been updated since 2013.

MODES OF CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION

The US Constitution leaves many basic questions of constitutional law unanswered, whether because they could not be anticipated or because the text is broadly worded or ambiguous.

Consequently, “Interpretation is necessary to determine the meaning of ambiguous provisions of the Constitution or to answer fundamental questions left unaddressed by the drafters,” a new report from the Congressional Research Service explains.

But there are different ways to perform such interpretation that may yield different results.

The new CRS report provides a helpful introduction to the most common “modes” of interpretation, including textualism, original meaning, judicial precedent, pragmatism, moral reasoning, national identity, structuralism, and historical practices.

Interpreting the Constitution is not a task left solely to the Supreme Court; it is also a responsibility of Members of Congress. “Members should vote upon legislation based on their own constitutional interpretations, which may be at odds with the Court’s,” wrote former Sen. Russ Feingold, but “they should not vote for legislation without any thought whatsoever regarding its constitutionality.”

See Modes of Constitutional Interpretation, March 15, 2018.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative, updated March 15, 2018

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), updated March 13, 2018

China-U.S. Trade Issues, updated March 14, 2018

Pass-Throughs, Corporations, and Small Businesses: A Look at Firm Size, updated March 15, 2018

Jurisdiction Stripping: When May Congress Prohibit the Courts from Hearing a Case?, CRS Legal Sidebar, March 15, 2018

Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile, updated March 19, 2018

Women in Congress, 1917-2018: Service Dates and Committee Assignments by Member, and Lists by State and Congress, updated March 19, 2018

 

US set to impose $50 billion worth of tariffs on China over intellectual property

US President Donald Trump has announced a raft of new tariffs against China over intellectual-property violations, targeting more than 100 different Chinese goods and potentially inviting a fierce response from Beijing.

March 22, 2018

DW

In what White House officials on Thursday billed as a historic move against Chinese “economic aggression,” President Donald Trump has signed an executive memorandum ordering US trade officials to levy tariffs on Chinese products worth an estimated $50 billion (€40.6 billion). Within 15 days, the officials are expected to provide a list of products in ten sectors, which Beijing identified as strategic under its “Made in China 2025” economic policy.

Those sectors included robotics, aerospace, maritime and modern rail equipment as well as electric vehicles and biopharma products.

Speaking at the White House in Washington, Donald Trump indicated the amount could even be higher, saying the punitive tariffs were coming after an investigation into China’s alleged theft of US intellectual property. “We’re going to be doing a section 301 trade action. It could be about $60 billion. But that really could be a fraction of what we’re talking about,” Trump said.

In addition, the US president also directed the US Treasury to propose measures that could restrict Chinese investments in the United States. Moreover, the United States would also pursue litigation in the World Trade Organization to address China’s discriminatory licensing practices.

The new measures are Trump’s first trade action directly aimed at China, which he has blamed for the hollowing out of the American manufacturing sector and the loss of US jobs. They come under the US Trade Representative’s “Section 301” investigation into alleged misappropriation of US intellectual property by China.

IP investigation

In August last year, the US president instructed Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to probe allegations that China violates US intellectual property under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. After seven months of investigation, US officials found strong evidence that China uses foreign-ownership restrictions to compel American companies to transfer technology to Chinese firms.

The investigation also suspects Beijing directs firms to invest in the US with the purpose of engineering large-scale transfers of technologies that the Chinese government views as strategic. Moreover, there was reportedly strong evidence China supports and conducts cyberattacks on US companies to access trade secrets.

On Thursday, Trump tried to make it clear he wasn’t trying to provoke China. “I view them as a friend. I have tremendous respect for President Xi,” Trump said. But, the US’s trade deficit with China was “the largest deficit in the history of our world,” he added.

US companies from Walmart to Amazon have warned that sweeping sanctions against China could raise consumer prices and hit the stock market. But Lighthizer told the House ways and means committee on Wednesday that Washington was mindful of the potential impact on US households.

His staff had used an “algorithm” to formulate penalties that would “put maximum pressure on China and minimum pressure on American consumers.”

Chinese response

The sweeping US tariffs will test the resolve of Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose government has so far reacted in a measured fashion to Trump’s repeated complaints about the United States record $375 billion deficit with China.

But on Thursday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce warned that the measures could turn out to be “detrimental to both sides.” In a statement, the ministry said that China strongly opposed such unilateral and protectionist action, and would take “all necessary measures” to firmly defend its interests.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, added that it was “unrealistic and unreasonable to require complete equality in trade,” and noted the US itself was to blame for the huge deficit.

“China is the largest export market for US aircraft and soybeans, and the second largest export market for automobiles and cotton, Hua told reporters. “How many soybeans does China have to buy to match a Boeing? Or, if you will, how many C919 [Chinese civil airliners] does the US have to purchase in order to balance the number of Boeing aircraft the US has sold to China?”

However, in discussions behind closed doors, senior policymakers in Beijing on Thursday told a group of foreign dignitaries that China “will not overreact” to the US measures.

Growth effects

The decision comes as policy makers including IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warn of a global trade conflict that could undermine the broadest world recovery in years.

A simulation by Oxford Economics suggests a 25-percent US tariff on $60 billion worth of Chinese exports, with comparable retaliation, would reduce China’s growth by about a tenth of a percent this year and a little less next year. The US economy, on the other hand, would be less affected.

The think tank’s chief Asia economist, Louis Kuijs, warned however that the key risk was that tit-for-tat trade measures didn’t end with this baseline scenario. “More measures may follow, and tit-for-tat responses could lead to escalation. Collateral damage in other economies will be significant and could further complicate the trade friction.”

According to a Bloomberg Economics estimate, a global trade conflagration could wipe $470 billion off the world economy by 2020.

 

Genetic tests reveal tragic reality of Atacama ‘alien’ skeleton

Mummified remains from Chilean ghost town revealed to be baby girl with malformations so bizarre they led to speculation over alien life

March 22, 2018

by Ian Sample Science editor

The Guardian

When the mummified remains of a six-inch humanoid were found in an abandoned mining town in Chile’s Atacama desert 15 years ago, speculation on its origins ran wild. The skeleton, which was sold to a private collector in Spain, was so bizarre it appeared in a documentary as potential evidence for alien life.

Now scientists in California have extracted DNA from the mummy’s bones and pieced together the real and tragic story of the individual, known as Ata. Rather than a visitor from another world, Ata was a girl who appears to have been stillborn, or to have died immediately after birth, with devastating mutations that shaped her extraordinary body.

Ata’s remains were found in 2003 in La Noria, an old nitrate-mining town, reportedly wrapped in white cloth tied with a violet ribbon. The skeleton was remarkable in many ways. While only six inches tall, the bones had some features of a child aged six to eight. Instead of the usual 12 pairs of ribs found on humans, Ata had only 10 pairs. The head was an elongated cone shape.

The curious remains caught the eye of Garry Nolan, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University in California, who offered to study the specimen. In 2013, he concluded that Ata was human, but the reasons for the dramatic deformities were far from clear.

Nolan and his colleagues at the University of California in San Francisco have now published their analysis of Ata’s full genetic makeup. From DNA extracted from the bones, they found that Ata was a girl who carried mutations in at least seven genes that are known to cause major skeletal malformations or accelerate their development. Taken together they explain Ata’s size, abnormal ribs and skull shape, and the apparently advanced age of her bones. Beyond her skeletal malformations, Ata may have had a condition called congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a relatively common life-threatening birth defect in which the diaphragm does not develop properly. Further analysis found that Ata’s DNA most closely resembled that of other Chileans.

The discovery of mutations that may have aged Ata’s bones could in future help patients with skeletal problems, Nolan said. “Understanding the process might allow us to develop therapies or drugs that drive bone development for people in, say, catastrophic car crashes,” he said. Details of the work are published in Genome Research.

Nolan believes that Ata was stillborn or died immediately after her birth, perhaps 40 years before her remains were discovered. “She was so badly malformed as to be unable to feed. In her condition, she would have ended up in the neonatal ICU, but given where the specimen was found, such things were simply not available,” he said.

“While this started as a story about aliens, and went international, it’s really a story of a human tragedy. A woman had a malformed baby, it was preserved in a manner and then ‘hocked’ or sold as a strange artefact. It turns out to be human, with a fascinating genetic story from which we might learn something important to help others. May she rest in peace.”

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