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TBR News February 10, 2017

Feb 10 2017

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C. February 10, 2017: “I have learned from a source in the German BND that his people are scared literally shitless over the news, gleaned from a very competent German intelligence service, that a group, totally off the screen, not Muslim and probably American-based, have managed to crack the entrance information into the electronic, international banking wire and transfer system. These are:

  • SWIFT (Bruxelles)

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions

  • CHAPS (London)

Clearing House Automated Payments System

  • CHIPS (New York) – Private Sector

Clearing House Interbank Payments System

  • FEDWIRE (New York) – US Government

Fedwire Funds Service

If, as the German reports have rumored, someone or some group successfully sabotages these systems, the world of international banking and the entire country would suffer a terrible blow that would take months, if not years, to recover from.

Billions of dollars in bank transfers would vanish instantly and replicating the data, if the attackers know what they are doing, would take eons to try to replace. For instance, the BofA transfers $200.000,000 to a bank in Germany and in a nano second, the transfer vanishes.

No money is sent and none received.

I do not know if this operation is connected with other very disruptive activities that our Brave Defenders of Liberty are trying to track but the Germans seem to feel that the elements involved are not Arabs or Russians but Americans because of the idiomatic English in the messages they have decoded.”

 Table of Contents

 

  • Psychobabble about Trump as seen in the controlled media headlines today
  • Trump must break judicial power
  • Court rules against Böhmermann’s Erdogan poem
  • Defamation Poem
  • The Warlords of Kiev
  • A New Study of Modern Bigotry: Different…but the same!
  • The Puppet Master’s Willing Tools: The Neocons
  • Castigating Trump for Truth-Telling
  • U.S. Hypocrisy on Election Meddling
  • What if the Internet stopped working for a day?
  • Twitter Struggles to Capitalize on Influence and Posts Lackluster Earnings

Psychobabble about Trump as seen in the controlled media headlines today

  • The 9th Circuit deals a blow to the imperial — and incompetent — president
  • Why Donald Trump can’t bully China on trade
  • Donald Trump: a man so obnoxious that karma may see him reincarnated as himself
  • I’m a rabbi who was arrested protesting Trump’s travel ban. It was a holy act.
  • U.S. senators denounce Trump plan to focus counter-extremism program on Islam
  • Jeff Sessions wasn’t just Donald Trump’s doing. Blame radical Republicans, too
  • Trump’s terror policies are bad enough now. What about after an attack?
  • Why Donald Trump can’t bully China on trade
  • Credibility of Trump’s EU ambassador pick called into question by leading MEP
  • The audacity of planning a general strike against President Trump
  • Trump Administration Prepares to Execute “Vicious” Executive Order on Deportations
  • Intercepted Podcast: President Trump’s Cabinet of Killers and Why Orange Is the New Anti-Black
  • Details of Trump-Putin call raise new White House leak concerns
  • Trump is changing the presidency more than the presidency is changing Trump
  • U.S. senators denounce Trump plan to focus counter-extremism program on Islam
  • Trump rule chills Energy Dept. nuclear whistleblowers
  • Hundreds of thousands rally in Iran against Trump, chant ‘Death to America’
  • D.C. students walk out of class to protest Trump
  • What Trump got wrong on Twitter this week
  • Signs promoting diversity taken down at Virginia high school
  • A potentially historic number of people are giving up their U.S. citizenship
  • Roommates Wanted. Trump Supporters Need Not Apply.

Note: Why not criticize Trump for the color of his tie? Obviously this is a truly evil issue without question! Or suggest that he roasts cute kittens in the Oval Office microwave? And listen to György Schwartz, the Puppet Master, before you print anything about his bete noire . He might not like it and you know what that means! Mobs with anti-Trump signs will set fire to your car and the ‘Save the Goats League’ will brutally condemn you.

 Trump must break judicial power

February 10, 2017

by Pat Buchanan

wnd

“Disheartening and demoralizing,” wailed Judge Neil Gorsuch of President Trump’s comments about the judges seeking to overturn his 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from the Greater Middle East war zones.

What a wimp. Did our future justice break down crying like Sen. Chuck Schumer? Sorry, this is not Antonin Scalia. And just what horrible thing had our president said?

A “so-called judge” blocked the travel ban, said Trump. And the arguments in court, where 9th Circuit appellate judges were hearing the government’s appeal, were “disgraceful.” “A bad student in high school would have understood the arguments better.”

Did the president disparage a couple of judges? Yep.

Yet compare his remarks to the tweeted screeds of Elizabeth Warren after her Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed as attorney general.

Sessions, said Warren, represents “radical hatred.” And if he makes “the tiniest attempt to bring his racism, sexism & bigotry” into the Department of Justice, “all of us” will pile on.

Now this is hate speech. And it validates Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to use Senate rules to shut her down.

These episodes reveal much about America 2017.

They reflect, first, the poisoned character of our politics. The language of Warren – that Sessions is steeped in “racism, sexism & bigotry” – echoes the ugliest slander of the Hillary Clinton campaign, where she used similar words to describe Trump’s “deplorables.”

Like the reporting you see here? Sign up for free news alerts from WND.com, America’s independent news network.

Such language, reflecting as it does the beliefs of one-half of America about the other, rules out any rapprochement in America’s social or political life. This is pre-civil war language.

For how do you sit down and work alongside people you believe to be crypto-Nazis, Klansmen and fascists? Apparently, you don’t. Rather, you vilify them, riot against them, deny them the right to speak or to be heard.

And such conduct is becoming common on campuses today.

As for Trump’s disparagement of the judges, only someone ignorant of history can view that as frightening.

Thomas Jefferson not only refused to enforce the Alien & Sedition Acts of President John Adams, his party impeached Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase, who had presided over one of the trials.

Jackson defied Chief Justice John Marshall’s prohibition against moving the Cherokees out of Georgia to west of the Mississippi, where, according to the Harvard resume of Sen. Warren, one of them bundled fruitfully with one of her ancestors, making her part Cherokee.

When Chief Justice Roger Taney declared that President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus violated the Constitution, Lincoln considered sending U.S. troops to arrest the chief justice.

FDR proposed adding six justices to emasculate a Supreme Court of the “nine old men” he reviled for having declared some New Deal schemes unconstitutional.

President Eisenhower called his Supreme Court choices Earl Warren and William Brennan two of the “worst mistakes” he made as president. History bears Ike out. And here we come to the heart of the matter.

Whether the roll-out of the president’s temporary travel ban was ill-prepared or not, and whether one agrees or not about which nations or people should be subjected to extreme vetting, the president’s authority in the matter of protecting the borders and keeping out those he sees as potentially dangerous is universally conceded.

That a district judge would overrule the president of the United States on a matter of border security in wartime is absurd.

What do YOU think? What should be Trump’s No. 1 priority? Sound off in today’s WND poll!

When politicians don black robes and seize powers they do not have, they should be called out for what they are – usurpers and petty tyrants. And if there is a cause upon which the populist right should unite, it is that elected representatives and executives make the laws and rule the nation. Not judges, and not justices.

Indeed, one of the mightiest forces that has birthed the new populism that imperils the establishment is that unelected justices like Warren and Brennan, and their progeny on the bench, have remade our country without the consent of the governed – and with never having been smacked down by Congress or the president.

Consider. Secularist justices de-Christianized our country. They invented new rights for vicious criminals as though criminal justice were a game. They tore our country apart with idiotic busing orders to achieve racial balance in public schools. They turned over centuries of tradition and hundreds of state, local and federal laws to discover that the rights to an abortion and same-sex marriage were there in Madison’s Constitution all along. We just couldn’t see them.

Trump has warned the judges that if they block his travel ban, and this results in preventable acts of terror on American soil, they will be held accountable. As rightly they should.

Meanwhile, Trump’s White House should use the arrogant and incompetent conduct of these federal judges to make the case not only for creating a new Supreme Court, but for Congress to start using Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution – to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and to reclaim its stolen powers.

A clipping of the court’s wings is long overdue.

Court rules against Böhmermann’s Erdogan poem

A court in Germany kept in place a ban on the more explicit passages of a satirical poem about Turkey’s President Erdogan. Comedian Jan Böhmermann caused a diplomatic row when he read the poem on his TV show last year.

February 10, 2017

DW

A Hamburg court delivered its verdict on German comedian and television presenter Jan Böhmermann on Friday, nearly a year after his satirical poem criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan upset the leader in Ankara and led to a diplomatic row. A ban on the re-publication of the most offensive passages will remain in place.

In March 2016, a separate video mocking the Turkish leader made Erdogan so furious he summoned the German ambassador to Ankara. A few days later, Böhmermann cited Erdogan’s array of lawsuits in Turkey and further afield against perceived “insults,” and said that he had written a poem designed to demonstrate the difference between legitimate criticism and simple slander.

On his late-night show “Neo Magazin Royale,” the comedian then read the poem which not only criticized Erdogan for human rights abuses and increasingly autocratic tendencies, but was sprinkled with expletives and graphic sexual references.

In the banned parts of the poem, Böhmermann made references to child abuse, bestiality and government persecution – mixing wild stereotypes with more valid complaints specific to Turkey.

An irate Erdogan tried and failed to prosecute with the help of Germany’s government, making use of a law against insulting foreign heads of state. This case failed, but Erdogan continued to pursue the civil suit, seeking a ban on the circulation of the poem. The same Hamburg court had already prohibited certain parts of the poem from being published.

Both sides had said they would appeal the verdict if they lost, but so far Böhmermann has made no comment as to whether he’ll follow through.

Merkel: Apology was a ‘mistake’

Chancellor Angela Merkel faced criticism over the case, less for ordering public prosecutors to investigate a potential violation of the law, but rather for her apology to Erdogan for Böhmermann’s actions. Merkel later walked back her apology after hefty criticism, calling it a “mistake.”

After investigating the case and interviewing Böhmermann, public prosecutors later announced that there was insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal case against the comedian.

Germany then moved to repeal the relevant passage of the law altogether, announcing in January that it would scrap the measure offering special protection to foreign leaders by the end of 2017.

“The idea of lese majesty arose in an era long gone by. It no longer belongs in our criminal law,” said Justice Minister Heiko Maas, adding that foreign leaders with hurt feelings still retained the right to pursue civil suits for slander or libel.

Defamation Poem

by Jan Böhmermann

Note: This is a translation of a German comedian’s satiric attack on Turkey’s emerging dictator, Erdogan. It has been forbidden in Germany and the Turkish Embassy has requested that it never be published in the United States.

Stupid as fuck, cowardly and uptight,

Is Erdogan, the president,

His gob smells of bad döner,

Even a pig’s fart smells better,

He’s the man who hits girls,

While wearing a rubber mask,

But goat-fucking he likes the best,

And having minorities repressed,

 

Kicking Kurds,

Beating Christians,

While watching kiddie porn,

And even at night, instead of sleep,

It’s time for fellatio with a hundred sheep,

 

Yep, Erdogan is definitely

The president with a tiny dick,

Every Turk will tell you all,

The stupid fool has wrinkly balls,

From Ankara to Istanbul,

They all know the man is gay,

Perverted, louse-infested, a zoophile,

Recep Fritzl Priklopil

 

Head as empty as his balls,

Of every gang-bang party he’s the star,

Till his cock burns when he has a piss,

That’s Recep Erdogan,

The Turkish president.

The Warlords of Kiev

Ukraine militarists restarting conflict with separatists

February 10, 2017

by Justin Raimondo,

AntiWar

The warlords of Kiev are going on the offensive, violating the terms of the Minsk peace accords, and attacking separatist rebels in the eastern part of the country in a desperate bid to provoke open conflict with Russia. What motivates them is fear of President Donald Trump, who has often expressed a desire to “get along with Russia” and who has openly said Ukraine is not a vital US national security interest. What motivates their new aggression is the possibility that the US subsidies that have kept their vicious war on their own people going – 10,000 killed so far – will dry up.

Ever since US and European Union-backed shock troops overthrew the democratically elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych, the coup leaders in Kiev have waged a relentless war against their rebellious subjects in the east. As “President” Petro Poroshenko put it:

“We will have jobs, they won’t! We will have pensions, they won’t! We will have benefits for retirees and children, they won’t! Our kids will go to schools and daycares, their kids will sit in the basements! They can’t do anything about it… And only this is how we will win this war! ”

To the great shame of American policymakers, the United States has backed this monster to the hilt, sending billions in “foreign aid” to what is no doubt the most corrupt country in Europe and even sending US soldiers to “train” Poroshenko’s killers. Yet even Washington’s propagandists at “Radio Free Europe” have reported that the Ukrainian army is responsible for the current upsurge in fighting:

“Since mid-December Ukraine’s armed forces have edged farther into parts of the gray zone in or near the war-worn cities of Avdiivka, Debaltseve, Dokuchaievsk, Horlivka, and Mariupol, shrinking the space between them and the separatist fighters.”

These actions are a clear violation of the “Minsk II” accord, signed by “President” Poroshenko and representatives of the EU nations and Russia on February 15, 2015, which provide for a ceasefire and a “gray zone” separating the two sides. The Ukrainian military has violated both of these provisions, and the coup leaders in Kiev have stubbornly resisted all efforts to implement the political reforms stipulated in the agreement: local autonomy for the eastern provinces, the resumption of government services, new elections, and the ending of the economic blockade that stopped the delivery of everything but coal. And now even coal deliveries coming from the east to fuel-starved western provinces are being blocked by ultra-nationalist paramilitary groups, which have joined the fighting and announced that they are there to stop “smuggling” by separatists. Oh, but don’t worry, Uncle Sam will step in to save the day.

Ukrainian incursions into Crimea, which resulted in the death of a Russian soldier and a Russian FSB officer, have now been supplemented by the assassination of rebel commanders: comically, Western “reporting” attributes these killings – about half a dozen so far – to the Russians, although the evidence they present consists solely of assertions by the Kiev authorities and their supporters. And this is in spite of the fact that the so-called “People’s Militia” – a clandestine pro-Ukrainian outfit operating in the breakaway Luhansk Republic – has taken responsibility for at least two of these terrorist attacks.

“Fake news” is especially rife when it comes to reporting on Ukraine.

While deputy NATO chief Rose Gottemoeller has announced the “unanimous” support of the alliance for this latest escalation of Ukraine’s war against its own people, President Trump may not concur. “We don’t really exactly know” what is happening in Ukraine, Trump told Fox News in an interview, but he vowed to find out. He added that he’d be “surprised” if Russia escalated the conflict shortly after he talked with Putin by phone, as Sen. John McCain, a longtime supporter of the Kiev regime, avers. What seems more likely is that Ukraine launched its renewed military campaign after news of the Trump-Putin call hit the headlines.

During the presidential campaign, Trump’s comments on Ukraine reflected his general inclination to stay out of the conflict. Asked about the issue by the New York Times, he said:

“And one of the things that I hated seeing is Ukraine…. Why is it always the United States that gets right in the middle of things, with something that – you know, it affects us, but not nearly as much as it affects other countries.”

Trump snubbed a meeting with Poroshenko, even as then Prime Minister Arsenyiv Yatsensuk denounced him for committing “a breach of moral and civilized principles.” And the efforts by the Ukrainian government to ambush candidate Trump during the campaign, which led to the resignation of Paul Manafort as Trump’s campaign manager, are well-known.

Trump’s defiance of the anti-Russian hysteria that has gripped the political class and the media makes a continuation of Washington’s unconditional support to Kiev unlikely. However, there are factions within the Trump administration that are sure to resist any settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, not to mention a rapprochement with Russia. That UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s first act was to repeat the same baloney about “Russian aggression” – when it is clearly the Ukrainians who are upping the ante – is not a good sign.

My guess is that President Trump will be so preoccupied with the war at home – battling powerful forces in both parties out to undermine his administration – that he’ll have little time to focus on Ukraine. And his efforts to establish a détente with Russia are being harried on all sides: a bipartisan coalition in Congress is readying legislation to prevent him from lifting the sanctions on Russia, and in the media the campaign to paint him as “Putin’s puppet,” as media darling Hillary Clinton often put it, has been unrelenting. So the prospects of stopping the war in Ukraine as part of a comprehensive agreement with Vladimir Putin are fading, even as Ukrainian military provocations reach a deadly climax.

The Ukraine issue is linked to number of local hotspots that can only be resolved peacefully if détente with Russia is achieved – and there are so many actors, both foreign and domestic, determined to quash this outcome that Trump will have a major problem overcoming them. The War Party’s favorite foreign proxies – not only the coup leaders in Kiev but also Syria’s Islamist “rebels” – are counting on their allies in the capitals of Europe and in Washington, D.C., to prevail. Whether Trump can stand against this tide and carry out his “America first” foreign policy despite this powerful resistance remains to be seen.

A New Study of Modern Bigotry: Different…but the same!

February 9, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

In this article, a preview of his coming book, the author draws strong parallels between the Evangelical Christians and the Holocaust Jewish religious/political movements.

And these parallels are most certainly there.

Both are oriented to gaining political and economic power.

Both have made extensive use of fictional writings. In the case of the Evangelical Christians, the Rapture and the Battle of Armageddon  which are recent inventions (ca 1910) by a Charles Parham Fox and are not in the Bible. Parham Fox was a convicted thief and child molester.

Also, note that none of the Gospels were contemporary with the purported career of Jesus and in the ensuing centuries, have been constantly rewritten to suit current political needs. Further, the mainstay of Evangelical Christians is the so-called ‘Book of Revelations’ purported to have been written by John the Devine, Jesus’ most intimate friend. This was certainly not written by someone living at the time of Jesus’ alleged ministry but over fifty years later. The actual author was one John of Patmos who was resident at the Roman lunatic colony located on the island of Patmos. This particular work is beloved of Evangelicals because it is so muddled, obscure and bizarre that any meaning can, and is, attributed to it.

I refer the reader to “Foundations of Christianity” by Karl Kautsky (a Jewish German early Communist and secretary to Engels)

The nationalistic Zionist movement does not have a great body of historical supportive material so, like the early Christians, they have simply invented it. These fictions include, but certainly are not limited to, “The Painted Bird” by Kosinski, (later admitted by its author to be an invented fraud before his suicide, ) and “Fragments” by “Binjimin Wilkomersky” ( A Swiss Protestant named Bruno Dossecker who was born in 1944) that is mostly copied from the Kosinski book and consists of ‘recovered memory,’ and of course the highly-propagandized favorite “Anne Frank Diary” which was proven, beyond a doubt, by the German BKA(Bundes Kriminal Amt, an official German forensic agency) as a forgery, made circa 1949 (ball point ink was used on paper made after 1948 and the handwriting completely different from the original Frank girl’s school papers still extant) All of these frauds have been, and still are,  considered as seminal truths by the Holocaust supporters and the discovery of fakery loudly denied by them, and questioners accused of being ‘Nazis.’  This closely parallels the same anger expressed by the Evangelicals when their stories about the Rapture or the Battle of Armageddon are questioned by anyone. Here, doubters are accused of being ‘Satanists’ and ‘Secular Humanists.’

I refer the reader to “The Holocaust Industry” by Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish academic and the son of genuine survivors of the German Concentration Camp system.

When confronted with period and very authentic evidence that the death toll among Jewish prisoners never approached even a million, or that there were no gas chambers in use at any prison camp, the standard, and badly flawed counter argument is that while the accuracy of the period German documents is not in question, as everyone knows that 6 millions of Jews perished, therefore the names are on so-called ‘secret lists.’

When asked where a researcher could view these documents (the actual German SS records, complete, are located in the Russian Central Archives in Moscow) the ludicrous response is that because these lists are secret, no one has ever seen them! This rationale does not even bear comment.

The Christians have their Passion of the Christ, which may or may not have happened, (it was in direct opposition to Roman law which governed Judea at the time,) and the Jews have their long agony of  the Holocaust, which is an elaborate and fictional construction based on fragmentary facts. A Jewish supporter, Deborah Lipstadt ( a well-known academic) has said repeatedly that the word holocaust must be capitalized and can only be used to discuss the enormous suffering of the Jewish people. The huge genocidal programs practiced by the Turks against Armenian Christians in 1916 and the even larger massacres by Pol Pot in Southeast Asia may never be likened to the absolutely unique Jewish suffering, according to current Zionist-Holocaust Jewish dogma.

Both stress the suffering and death of their icons, in the former case, the leader of their cult, which initially consisted entirely of very poor Jews, and in the second, an entire people. Both sides have enormous public relations machinery in place which is used constantly to promulgate both faiths and both are hysterically opposed to any questioning or debate on any aspects of their faith.

The issues of suffering, death and prosecution are both used to fortify their positions in society and render it difficult for anyone to attack them. These issues are also used to gain political power (for the Evangelicals) and money (for the Zionist-Holocausters)

Both of these groups seek a high moral ground from which to attack any questioning of their faith and because many of the adherents to both beliefs are aware that their houses are based on sand, fight fiercely lest a storm arise, beat upon both houses and thereby cause a great fall (to be Biblical in expression.)

The Puppet Master’s Willing Tools: The Neocons

February 10, 2017

by Horst Grubermann

bnx

The Neo Cons are a well-organized group of conservative intellectuals with powerful allies in the Republican party that became the primary driving force that pushed the United States to invade Iraq and is also orchestrating growing U.S. criticism, as a prelude to military invasion, of Iran.

These individuals first emerged in the 1960s when a group of intellectuals, most of them Jewish and all passionately anti-Communist, became disillusioned with what they saw as a dangerous radical drift within the Democratic Party to which they then belonged.

Advocating a tough policy of building up the U.S. military and confronting the Soviet Union instead of merely using nuclear deterrence to maintain a balance of power, the movement’s founders gradually shifted to the Republican Party, becoming a dominant voice in the anti-Russian foreign policy of President Ronald Reagan.

Twenty years later, this radical conservatism is trying to return to power in a new guise.

This time, its proponents inside and outside the Administration urged an invasion of Iran to topple the government and to launch a bombing attack on southern Lebanon to disrupt the caches of missiles Hezbollah has hidden there. This has been coupled with a policy of unquestioning military, political and economic support for the State of Israel and growing criticism of non- democratic governments in the Arab World, notably Saudi Arabia.

“By liberating Iran and establishing a decent, tolerant government in Tehran, the United States will achieve a tremendous beneficial effects in the entire Middle East,” said Ken Adelman, who was head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under Reagan.

Among these benefits, proponents argue, would be an instant strengthening of reformist forces in Iran and a weakening of radical Islamic forces throughout the Middle East, including among the Palestinians.

“My old mentor Donald Rumsfeld taught me years ago that if a problem seems intractable, like the Israeli-Palestinian Problem does today, what you need to do is enlarge your terms of reference. By destroying Saddam Hussein, we would give peacemakers the opportunity to gain the upper hand over the suicide bombers among the Palestinians,” said Adelman.

The arch-conservative case is pushed relentlessly by conservative magazines like Commentary, and the Weekly Standard, edited by William Kristol, whose parents Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb helped found the arch-conservative movement.

Conservative think-tanks such as the Hudson Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century, add weight to the cause.

Gary Schmidt of the Project for the New American Century cast the debate over Iraq as between “old realists” who believed in working through diplomacy using the United Nations and arch-conservatives who advocated a “Reagan Policy of military strength and moral clarity.”

“I don’t think there is any question that President Bush will come down on our side,” he said. “I firmly believe he has made up his mind to use military force to remove Saddam Hussein,” he said.

An important voice in the movement is Richard Perle, yet another former Reagan Defense Department Hawk who served as Chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, a formerly backwater committee of foreign policy old timers that Perle refashioned into an important advisory group.

The Board invited RAND Corporation analyst Laurent Murawiec to deliver a paper arguing that Saudi Arabia ought to be considered an adversary of the United States. The briefing was promptly leaked to the Washington Post.

Backers of an Iraqi invasion were delighted by a Washington Post opinion piece by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who throughout his long career was a staunch advocate of a “balance of power” foreign policy.

But in his densely-argued article, Kissinger seemed to be ready to support military force against Iraq under certain conditions.

This is undoubtedly the reason that Bush appointed Kissinger to head a long-delayed commission to investigate the causes of the 9/11 attack. The resultant outcry over the use of the badly tainted former Secretary of State caused Kissinger to quickly resign his assignment.

Opponents believe the arch-conservative doctrine is dangerously simplistic and stated, correctly as it has turned out, that an invasion of Iraq, far from boosting democratic forces in the Middle East, will only fuel anti-American rage, embolden radicals, weaken U.S. Allies and lead to more terrorism.

“The neocons have a view of the world that divides it into absolute good versus absolute evil. Their attitude towards an Iraq invasion is, if you have the ability and the desire to do it, that’s justification enough,” said James Zogby, Chairman of the Arab American Institute.

Other critics see blind and unconditional support for Israel as central to arch-conservative thinking.

“A small but well-placed group of neoconservative officials and commentators is primarily interested in eliminating what they regard as a threat to Israel,” said Stephen Walt, a dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Castigating Trump for Truth-Telling

President Trump says much that is untrue, but he draws some of Official Washington’s greatest opprobrium when he speaks the truth, such as noting that senior U.S. officials have done a lot of killing

February 7, 2017

by Robert Parry

consortium news

Gaining acceptance in Official Washington is a lot like getting admittance into a secret society’s inner sanctum by uttering some nonsensical password. In Washington to show you belong, you must express views that are patently untrue or blatantly hypocritical.

For instance, you might be called upon to say that “Iran is the principal source of terrorism” when that title clearly belongs to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf state allies that have funded Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Islamic State. But truth has no particularly value in Official Washington; adherence to “group think” is what’s important.

Similarly, you might have to deny any “moral equivalence” between killings attributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and killings authorized by U.S. presidents. In this context, the fact that the urbane Barack Obama scheduled time one day a week to check off people for targeted assassinations isn’t relevant. Nor is the reality that Donald Trump has joined this elite club of official killers by approving a botched and bloody raid in Yemen that slaughtered a number of women and children (and left one U.S. soldier dead, too).

You have to understand that “our killings” are always good or at least justifiable (innocent mistakes do happen from time to time), but Russian killings are always bad. Indeed, Official Washington has so demonized Putin that any untoward death in Russia can be blamed on him whether there is any evidence or not. To suggest that evidence is needed shows that you must be a “Moscow stooge.”

To violate these inviolable norms of Official Washington, in which participants must intuitively grasp the value of such “group think” and the truism of “American exceptionalism,” marks you as a dangerous outsider who must be marginalized or broken.

Currently, President Trump is experiencing this official opprobrium as he is widely denounced by Republicans, Democrats and “news” people because he didn’t react properly to a question from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly terming Putin “a killer.”

“There are a lot of killers.” Trump responded. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think — our country’s so innocent. You think our country’s so innocent?”

Aghast at Trump’s heresy, O’Reilly sputtered, “I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.”

Trump: “Well — take a look at what we’ve done too. We made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.”

O’Reilly: “But mistakes are different than —“

Trump: “A lot of mistakes, but a lot of people were killed. A lot of killers around, believe me.”

‘Moral Equivalence’

Though Trump is justly criticized for often making claims that aren’t true, here he was saying something that clearly was true. But it has drawn fierce condemnation from across Official Washington, not only from Democrats but from Trump’s fellow Republicans, too. Neoconservative Washington Post opinion writer Charles Krauthammer objected fiercely to Trump’s “moral equivalence,” and CNN’s Anderson Cooper chimed in. lamenting Trump’s deviation into “equivalence,” i.e. holding the U.S. government to the same ethical standards as the Russian government.

This “moral equivalence” argument has been with us at least since the Reagan administration when human rights groups objected to President Reagan’s support for right-wing governments in Central America that engaged in “death squad” tactics against political dissidents, including the murders of priests and nuns and genocide against disaffected Indian tribes. To suggest that Reagan and his friends should be subjected to the same standards that he applied to left-wing authoritarian governments earned you the accusation of “moral equivalence.”

Declassified documents from Reagan’s White House show that this P.R. strategy was refined at National Security Council meetings led by U.S. intelligence propaganda experts. Now the “moral equivalence” theme is being revived to discredit a new Republican president who dares challenge this particular Official Washington “group think.”

Lots of Killing

The unpleasant truth is that all leaders of major countries and many leaders of smaller countries are “killers.” President Obama admitted that he had ordered military strikes in seven different countries to kill people. His Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejoiced over the grisly murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi with a clever twist on a famous Julius Caesar boast of conquest: “We came, we saw, he died,” Clinton chirped.

President George W. Bush launched an illegal war against Iraq based on false pretenses, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them children and other civilians.

President Bill Clinton ordered a vicious bombing campaign against the Serbian capital of Belgrade, which included intentionally targeting the Serb TV building and killing 16 civilian employees because Clinton considered the station’s news reports to be “propaganda,” i.e., not in line with U.S. propaganda

President George H.W. Bush slaughtered scores of Panamanians who happened to live near the headquarters of the Panamanian Defense Forces and he killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, including incinerating a civilian bomb shelter in Baghdad, after he brushed aside proposals for resolving Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait peacefully. (Bush wanted a successful war as a way to rally the American people behind future foreign military operations, so, in his words, the country could kick “the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all.”)

Other U.S. presidents have had more or less blood on their hands than these recent chief executives, but it is hard to identify any modern U.S. president who has not been a “killer” in some form, inflicting death upon innocents whether as part of some “justifiable” mission or not.

But the mainstream U.S. press corps routinely adopts double standards when assessing acts by a U.S. president and those of an “enemy.” When the U.S. kills people, the mainstream media bends over backwards to rationalize the violence, but does the opposite if the killing is authorized by some demonized foreign leader.

That is now the case with Putin. Any accusation against Putin – no matter how lacking in evidence – is treated as credible and any evidence of Putin’s innocence is ridiculed or suppressed.

That was the case with a documentary that debunked claims that hedge fund accountant Sergei Magnitsky was murdered in a Russian prison because he was a whistleblower when the documentary showed that he was a suspect in a massive money-laundering scheme and died of natural causes. Although produced by a documentarian who started out planning to do a sympathetic portrayal of Magnitsky, the facts led in a different direction that caused the documentary to be shunned by the European Union and given minimal distribution in the United States.

By contrast, the ease with which Putin is called a murderer – based on “mysterious deaths” inside Russia – is reminiscent of how American right-wing groups suggested that Bill and Hillary Clinton were murderers by distributing a long list of “mysterious deaths” somehow related to the Clinton “scandals” from their Arkansas days. While there was no specific evidence connecting the Clintons to any of these deaths, the sheer number created suspicions that were hard to knock down without making you a “Clinton apologist.” Similarly, a demand for actual evidence proving Putin’s guilt in a specific case makes you a “Putin apologist.”

However, as a leader of a powerful nation facing threats from terrorism and other national security dangers, Putin is surely a “killer,” much as U.S. presidents are killers. That appears to have been President Trump’s point, that the United States doesn’t have clean hands when it comes to shedding innocent blood.

But telling such an unpleasant albeit obvious truth is not the way to gain entrance into the inner sanctum of Official Washington’s Deep State. The passwords for admission require you to say a lot of things that are patently false. Any inconvenient truth-telling earns you the bum’s rush out into the alley, even if you’re President of the United States.

U.S. Hypocrisy on Election Meddling

January 31, 2017.

by Ted Galen Carpenter

The Huffington Post

Although Donald Trump has taken the oath of office as president, speculation continues to swirl about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections to his benefit. The evidence that Moscow’s actions were designed to help Donald Trump is anemic. Nevertheless, politicians, pundits, and mainstream journalists express outrage at Russia’s supposed election hacking and insinuate that it tarnishes Trump’s victory. Senator John McCain even asserted that such cyber activities constituted an act of war.

This indignation about Russian interference in America’s election reflects astounding hypocrisy on multiple levels.

For example, mainstream U.S. media and politicians have done little to address Ukraine’s meddling in the presidential election. There is credible evidence of blatant interference by the Ukrainian government to undermine Trump’s candidacy and boost Clinton’s prospects. Kiev’s intelligence apparatus leaked numerous bits of negative information about Trump and several of his advisers. All of those leaks sought to portray the GOP candidate and his associates as tools of Vladimir Putin.

The greater hypocrisy, though, is that Washington’s hands have never been clean about meddling in the political affairs of other countries—including democratic nations.

It is indisputable that the CIA helped fund and otherwise assist pro-Western parties against their leftist opponents in both France and Italy during the early years of the Cold War. But that was mild interference compared to the Agency’s conduct in other countries. The CIA helped overthrow democratic governments in both Iran and Guatemala in the mid-1950s and help install brutal, autocratic successor regimes. Indeed, Washington meddled in elections in more than two dozen countries, both during the Cold War and since then.

Indeed, the U.S. has found any number of creative ways to influence foreign politics. There are several ostensibly “nongovernmental organizations” (NGOs), most notably the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, that exist supposedly to help educate populations in newly democratic countries about the mechanics and virtues of democracy. The reality is that they fund and help train political factions that are deemed friendly to the United States, and specifically to Washington’s foreign policy. Despite the “nongovernmental” label, such organizations receive federal funds and are hardly free of influence from U.S. officials.

Recent years have been no exception to the rule. Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the Obama administration, openly boasted about the expenditure of some $5 billion to assist “pro-democracy” forces in Ukraine since 1991. Although such funding was not inherently hostile to the duly elected government of pro-Russian President Victor Yanukovych, it did strengthen the anti-Yanukovych factions that took to the streets during the 2013-2014 political crisis in that country.

When demonstrators tried to unseat Yanukovych, Nuland and her colleagues engaged in even more blatant meddling. A leaked telephone call between Nuland and then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt revealed their attempt to select the personnel for a successor government. Other political leaders reinforced such efforts. John McCain, for example, showed up in Kiev to urge on the demonstrators in their bid to unseat the elected government before the expiration of its term in 2016.

For a country with such a lengthy track record of interference in the political affairs of other democratic nations, expressing outrage about Russian interference ratchets hypocrisy to a new level. U.S. conduct, of course, does not excuse Moscow’s activities, especially if a detailed and objective investigation confirms that such meddling occurred. But Washington also needs to clean up its own conduct and practice what it preaches.

What if the Internet stopped working for a day?

For many people, going without the internet even for a few hours is unthinkable. But if it did stop working, the impact might not be what you’d expect.

February 7, 2017

by Rachel Nuwer

BBC News

Jeff Hancock likes to give his Stanford University students weekend assignments that let them experience concepts discussed in class for themselves. Before 2008, he would sometimes challenge his students to stay off the internet for 48 hours and then discuss how it affected them. But when Hancock returned to work in 2009, after a year-long sabbatical, things had changed.

“When I tried to introduce the task, there was a class revolt,” says Hancock, who studies the psychological and social processes involved in online communication. “The students emphatically said the assignment was impossible and unfair.”

They argued that going offline even for a weekend would prevent them from completing work in other classes, ruin their social lives, and make their friends and family worry that something terrible had happened to them. Hancock had to concede and cancelled the activity – and he’s never attempted it again. “That was 2009, and now with mobile as present as it is, I don’t even know what students would do if I asked them to do that,” he says. “They’d probably report me to the university president.”

But with our always-connected lifestyles, the question is now more relevant than ever: what would happen if the internet stopped for a day? It turns out the impact might not be quite what you’d expect.

In 1995, fewer than 1% of the world’s population was online. The internet was a curiosity, used mostly by people in the West. Fast-forward 20 years and today more than 3.5bn people have an internet connection – nearly half of all humans on the planet – and the number is growing at a rate of around 10 people a second.

According to the Pew Research Centre, a fifth of all Americans say they use the internet “almost constantly” and 73% say they use it at least daily. Figures in the UK are similar: a 2016 survey found that nearly 90% of adults said they had used the internet in the previous three months. For many, it is now virtually impossible to imagine life without the internet.

“One of the biggest problems with the internet today is that people take it for granted – yet they don’t understand the degree to which we’ve allowed it to infiltrate almost every aspect of our lives,” says William Dutton at Michigan State University, who is the author of the book Society and the Internet. “They don’t even think about not having access to it.”

But the internet is not inviolable. In theory, it could be taken away, on a global or national scale, for a stretch of time. Cyberattacks are one possibility. Malicious hackers could bring the internet to a standstill by releasing software that aggressively targeted vulnerabilities in routers – the devices that forward internet traffic. Shutting down domain name servers – the internet’s address books – would also cause massive disruption, preventing websites from loading, for example.

Cutting the deep-sea cables that carry vast volumes of internet traffic between continents would also cause significant disruptions by disconnecting one part of the world from another. These cables may not be easy targets for attackers, but they are sometimes damaged accidentally. In 2008, people in the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia were plagued by major internet outages on three separate occasions when submarine cables were cut or interfered with.

Some governments also have “kill switches” that can effectively turn off the internet in their country. Egypt did this during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 to make it more difficult for protesters to coordinate their activity. Turkey and Iran have also shut off internet connectivity during protests. China is rumoured to have a kill switch of its own. And American senators have proposed creating one in the US as a means to defend the country from cyberattack.

Building a kill switch is not easy, however. The larger and more developed the country, the harder it is to shut down the internet completely ­– there are simply too many connections between networks both inside and outside national borders.

The most devastating strikes could come from space, however. A large solar storm that sent flares in our direction would take out satellites, power grids and computer systems. “What bombs and terrorism can’t do might be accomplished in moments by a solar flare,” says David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Stanford University and author of Why the Net Matters. “The next major geomagnetic storms are eventually coming.”

But most outages would not last long. “There’s an army of people ready to put things right,” says Scott Borg at the United States Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit organisation. “The internet service providers and the companies that make the routing equipment have plans and personnel in place for getting things up and running again if unexpected vulnerabilities are exploited.” We are so used to having an always-on internet connection that even relatively short disruptions would have an effect, however. It just might not be what you would expect.

For a start, the impact to the economy may not be too severe. In 2008, the US Department of Homeland Security asked Borg to look into what might happen if the internet went down. Borg and his colleagues analysed the economic effects of computer and internet outages in the US from 2000 onwards. Looking at quarterly financial reports from the 20 companies that claimed to be most affected in each case, as well as more general economic statistics, they discovered that the financial impact of an outage was surprisingly insignificant – at least for outages that lasted no more than four days, which is all they studied.

“These were instances where enormous losses were being claimed– in the hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars,” Borg says. “But while some industries like hotels, airlines and brokerage firms suffered a bit, even they didn’t experience very big losses.”

It turned out that losing internet access for a few days just made people fall behind on their work. “People carried out all the same activities they would have done had the internet been up, but they just did it two or three days later,” Borg says. “The economy is set up to deal with what essentially amounts to a holiday weekend.”

In some cases, shutting down the internet for a short time might even increase productivity. In another study, Borg and his colleagues analysed what happened when a company suffered an internet outage that lasted four hours or more. Rather than twiddle their thumbs, employees did things that they would normally put off, such as dealing with paperwork. The result was a boost for business. “We jokingly suggested that if every company turned off their computers for a few hours each month and made people do the tasks they postponed, there’d be an overall productivity benefit,” Borg says. “I see no reason why that wouldn’t also apply to basically the whole economy.”

Travel probably would not be affected too much in the short term, either – so long as the blackout lasted no more than a day or so. Planes can fly without the internet, and trains and buses would continue to run. Longer outages would start to have an effect on logistics, however. Without the internet it would be hard for businesses to operate. “I’ve suggested that people and businesses should have a plan in place in the event of internet loss, but I haven’t heard of anyone doing that yet,” Eagleman says.

A large communication breakdown would probably disproportionately affect small businesses and blue-collar workers. In 1998, as many as 90% of the 50 million pagers in the US stopped working because of a satellite failure. In the days following the blackout, Dutton surveyed 250 pager users in Los Angeles and found clear socioeconomic divisions in people’s reactions to being cut off. Upper-middle-class individuals with managerial or professional jobs did not perceive the event as largely problematic. “To them, it felt like a snow day,” Dutton says. “It was a relief.”

But many blue-collar freelancers such as plumbers and carpenters relied solely on their pagers for getting jobs and found themselves out of work for a few days. Single mothers who left their children at daycare also reported significant distress at not being able to be paged if a problem occurred. “So you have to realise that your reaction to the idea of losing the internet is likely to be based on your socioeconomic status,” Dutton says.

Psychological effects, like feelings of isolation and anxiety, would hit people across the board, however. “Most of the internet is designed for one purpose: to allow us to communicate with each other,” Hancock says. We are used to being able to connect to anyone, anywhere and at any time. “An inability to do that would be unsettling.” It’s a feeling Borg recognises too. “I know when I realise I’ve left my smartphone behind, I feel slightly naked,” he says. “I suddenly have to think, ‘Do I actually know where I’m going? What if my car breaks down, could I talk anyone into letting me use their phone to call for help?’”

History supports this. In 1975, a fire at the New York Telephone Company cut off the phone service in a 300-block area of Manhattan for 23 days. In a survey of 190 people carried out immediately after lines were restored, researchers found that four-fifths of respondents said they missed the phone, especially its ability to connect them with friends and family. Over two-thirds said the lack of service made them feel “isolated” or “uneasy,” and nearly three-quarters said they felt more in control when their service was restored.

“There’s this idea that maybe people would become more social and more in touch with friends and family if they didn’t have use of the internet, but I think that’s really mistaken,” Dutton says. “Most people using the internet are actually more social than those who are not using the internet.”

Stine Lomborg at the University of Copenhagen agrees. “It’s not like we’d be more likely to speak to strangers at the bus stop if we didn’t have our smartphones – not at all,” she says. The loss of connection may make people more social in specific situations, such as forcing co-workers to speak to each other rather than sending emails, but overall the experience is likely to be distressing. “The world wouldn’t fall apart if we didn’t have access to the internet for a day,” she says. “But for most people I think even one day without it would be terrifying.”

The feeling would be fleeting, however. Losing the internet may make people recognise its importance in their lives, but we would soon be taking it for granted again, says Hancock. “I’d like to say an internet blackout would cause a shift in our thinking, but I don’t think it would.” Even so, that’s still not enough to persuade his students to give it up for a weekend.

Twitter Struggles to Capitalize on Influence and Posts Lackluster Earnings

February 9, 2017

by Mike Isaac

The New York Times

Sports fans were glued to it during the Super Bowl. Millions used it to track American election night results. In the morning, the president of the United States sends a daily missive in the form of a tweetstorm.

“You don’t go a day without hearing about Twitter,” Jack Dorsey, the company’s chief executive, said on a conference call with investors Thursday morning.

There is just one problem: For all of its influence, Twitter cannot seem to capitalize on its wide reach.

The company reported disappointing earnings on Thursday, with sales totaling $717 million in the fourth quarter, up only about 1 percent compared with a year ago. That fell far short of analysts’ expectations of $740 million. Twitter lost roughly $167 million over that period, or 23 cents per share, from a loss of about $90 million in the quarter last year.

The results reflect the service’s struggle since its initial public offering in 2013 to compete with networks like Facebook, which has much more users and engagement.

Twitter, which has long aspired to bring its social network to wider audiences globally, added only two million users in the fourth quarter of 2016, taking its total number to 319 million over all. Facebook, by contrast, added tens of millions, its strongest user growth since it became a public company, and it is closing in on two billion worldwide users.

That difficulty growing its user base has finally caught up to its financial performance. The company noted that as it moves to “reset” itself and tries to focus on making its product more attractive to wide audiences, revenue growth will slow and may continue to do so in the future.

Shares of Twitter fell 12 percent to $16.41, erasing the gains made this month.

Part of Twitter’s problems are Facebook and Google, the 900-pound gorillas that dominate digital advertising. Over the first half of 2016, marketers spent some $5.7 billion on Facebook advertising alone in the United States, which represented 43 percent of digital advertising growth domestically, according to estimates from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

As a result, Twitter is going back to figure out the different types of ads it can offer advertisers.

Some of those may be focused on the company’s live video products, an effort borne out of deals negotiated by Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief operating officer. Mr. Noto said that video advertising was the company’s most valuable ad product for the quarter and that it would be a focus for the future.

Others said they believed that Twitter’s renewed focus on cleaning up problems with abuse of users on its platform, which Mr. Dorsey said would be a priority in 2017, might make coming to Twitter more attractive for new users and, important, new advertisers.

“They’ve been rolling out many new features and tackling issues such as abuse, all positively received by both users and brands,” said Joshua March, chief executive of Conversocial, a social media customer engagement company. “I think they’ll be seeing more revenue in the future as they become a partner to major brands across the customer life cycle.”

But the challenge for Twitter will be its ability to convince Wall Street it is moving quickly enough to reverse many of the negative trends it has faced for years. Investors have grown impatient with Mr. Dorsey, who returned roughly 18 months ago to run the company he founded, and are convinced that Twitter’s leadership may not be doing enough to right the ship.

Twitter’s management team pushed back on those concerns, pointing to the year ahead as an opportunity for growth after a long, painful 2016. The message was simple: Trust us.

“It may have felt like we weren’t changing much this past year, but those hundreds of little changes added up to more predictable and sustained growth we will now use as a foundation to be more inventive and take bigger risks,” Mr. Dorsey said Thursday morning. “And that’s exactly what we’re now going to do.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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