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TBR News February 28, 2017

Feb 28 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. February 28, 2017: “The news usually comes in clumps, great excitement, frenzies of supposition, abounding theories, creative fictions, waning interest, silence and then another round.

The American media is living under the misapprehension that they are the voice of the people whereas they are now nothing more than the vice of the people.

Once a determining factor in American social and political life, the media is now reduced to discussing new pizza restaurants, bed weather and heart warming stories about shabby minorities who have made great strides in new hairstyles.

Before the last presidential election, the media boosted the Clinton woman (?) and ignored a Trump that could never, ever win the election because they wouldn’t support him.

Trump won and the post-election wailings of the media would have deafened a tornado.

And when Trump entered the Oval Office, the media, like a pack of starving Chihuahuas, yapped and squeaked about him as if he had stepped on their food bowl.

Which, in essence, he had.

When Trump retaliated by booting the worse ones out of his press conferences, one would believe the Constitution was being burnt in public by a legion of hooded dwarves.

The media and its owners lost.

Get used to it.”

Table of Contents

  • Lavrov vs. McCain: Is Russia an Enemy?
  • Door knocks in the dark: The Canadian town on front line of Trump migrant crackdown
  • House intel head: ‘No evidence’ of Trump campaign contact with Russia
  • The New Yorker’s Big Cover Story Reveals Five Uncomfortable Truths About U.S. and Russia
  • Berlin criminalizes Islamic State-linked ‘Fussilet’ mosque activity
  • Jewish centers and schools cope with another wave of bomb threats
  • Why John Bolton Isn’t Part of the Trump Administration
  • What is Islam? Who was Mohammed?
  • Letter to the Editor, TBR News

Lavrov vs. McCain: Is Russia an Enemy?

February 28, 2017

by Patrick J. Buchanan


The founding fathers of the Munich Security Conference, said John McCain, would be “be alarmed by the turning away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.”

McCain was followed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who called for a “post-West world order.” Russia has “immense potential” for that said Lavrov, “we’re open for that inasmuch as the U.S. is open.”

Now McCain is not wrong. Nationalism is an idea whose time has come again. Those “old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism” do seem everywhere ascendant. But that is a reality we must recognize and deal with. Deploring it will not make it go away.

But what are these “universal values” McCain is talking about?

Democracy? The free elections in India gave power to Hindu nationalists. In Palestine, Hamas. In Lebanon, Hezbollah. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, then overthrown in a military coup welcomed by the world’s oldest and greatest democracy. Have we forgotten it was a democratically elected government we helped to overthrow in Kiev?

Democracy is a bus you get off when it reaches your stop, says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, autocrat of Ankara, a NATO ally.

Is freedom of religion a “universal value”?

Preach or proselytize for Christianity in much of the Islamic world and you are a candidate for martyrdom. Practice freedom of speech in Xi Jinping’s China and you can wind up in a cell.

As for the Western belief in the equality of all voluntary sexual relations, in some African and Muslim countries, homosexuals are beheaded and adulterers stoned to death.

In Nuristan Province in U.S.-liberated Afghanistan this month, an armed mob of 300 besieged a jail, shot three cops and dragged out an 18-year-old woman who had eloped with her lover to escape an arranged marriage. Beaten by relatives, the girl was shot by an older brother with a hunting rifle and by a younger brother with his AK-47.

Afghan family values.

Her lover was turned over to the husband. An “honor killing,” and, like suicide bombings, not uncommon in a world where many see such actions as commendable in the sight of Allah.

McCain calls himself an “unapologetic believer in the West” who refuses “to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries.”

Lavrov seemed to be saying this:

Reality requires us here in Munich to recognize that, in the new struggle for the world, Russia and the U.S. are natural allies not natural enemies. Though we may quarrel over Crimea and the Donbass, we are in the same boat. Either we sail together, or sink together.

Does the foreign minister not have a point?

Unlike the Cold War, Moscow does not command a world empire. Though a nuclear superpower still, she is a nation whose GDP is that of Spain and whose population of fewer than 150 million is shrinking. And Russia threatens no U.S. vital interest.

Where America is besieged by millions of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico, Russia faces to her south 1.3 billion Chinese looking hungrily at resource-rich Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

The China that is pushing America and its allies out of the East and South China Seas is also building a new Silk Road through former Russian and Soviet provinces in Central Asia. With an estimated 16 million Muslims, Russia is threatened by the same terrorists, and is far closer to the Middle East, the source of Sunni terror.

Is Putin’s Russia an enemy, as McCain seems to believe?

Before we can answer that question, we need to know what the new world struggle is about, who the antagonists are, and what the threats are to us.

If we believe the struggle is for “global democracy” and “human rights,” then that may put Putin on the other side. But how then can we be allies of President el-Sissi of Egypt and Erdogan of Turkey, and the kings, emirs and sultans of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman?

But if the new world struggle is about defending ourselves and our civilization, Russia would appear to be not only a natural ally, but a more critical and powerful one than that crowd in Kiev.

In August 1914, Europe plunged into a 50-month bloodbath over an assassinated archduke. In 1939, Britain and France declared war to keep Poland from having to give up a Prussian port, Danzig, taken from Germany under the duress of a starvation blockade in 1919 and in clear violation of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the Danzigers’ right of self-determination. In the two wars, 50 million to 100 million died.

Today, the United States is confronting Russia, a huge and natural ally, over a peninsula that had belonged to her since the 18th century and is 5,000 miles from the United States.

“We have immense potential that has yet to be tapped into,” volunteered Lavrov. But to deal, we must have “mutual respect.”

Hopefully, President Trump will sound out the Russians, and tune out the Beltway hawks.


Door knocks in the dark: The Canadian town on front line of Trump migrant crackdown

February 28, 2017

by Rod Nickel


EMERSON, Manitoba-Jaime French was jarred out of bed in Emerson, Manitoba early one morning this month by pounding at her front door, just yards from the U.S. border. A face peered in through the window, flanked in the darkness by others.

Outside were 16 asylum seekers, arriving at one of the first houses they saw after crossing a lightly monitored border between Canada and the United States.

“They banged pretty hard, then ‘ring ring ring’ the doorbell,” said French, a mother of two young girls. “It was scary. That really woke me up.”

The town has become the front line of an emerging political crisis that is testing Canada’s will to welcome asylum seekers.

Hundreds of people, mainly from Africa but also the Middle East, are fleeing U.S. President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants, migrants and refugee agencies say. Many asylum seekers say Trump’s election and subsequent crackdown on illegal migrants spurred their plans to head north.

Those arriving in Emerson come on foot in the dead of night, unnerving its 650 residents. Some fear the influx of unscreened migrants while others are frustrated by the cost and effort forced on the community.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increased pressure from the left, which wants him to let more in, and from the right, which is fearful of an increased security risk. Trudeau must tread carefully to ensure the issue does not complicate relations with Trump.

The cooling welcome in Emerson is a microcosm of growing discontent over Canada’s open door policy for refugees.

Last week, an Angus Reid poll found that while 47 percent of respondents said Canada is taking in the right number of refugees, 41 percent said the number is already too high

“It could become a real political liability for the government,” said Christian Leuprecht, a politics professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, noting that spring will lead to more crossings as travel gets easier.


After the 16 migrants left French’s home, without being admitted, they found truck driver Brad Renout two doors down leaving for work.

“I was going to leave them all outside,” Renout said. “I figured, to hell with (them) for coming over the border in winter.”

When he saw children among the group, Renout allowed three women, three toddlers and two teenagers into his kitchen.

Early Sunday, Reuters witnessed at least seven migrants bundled in new parkas and bulging backpacks walking into Canada from Minnesota, following railway tracks in the icy dark.

Ismail, a 25-year-old Somali man, said they had walked for 22 hours without sleep across North Dakota. As police lights flashed distantly, Ismail said he was afraid to walk toward them.

He thought the group was still on U.S. soil.

Canadian police caught up with them shortly afterward and arrested them for illegally entering Canada. The group squeezed, uncuffed, into a police minivan and headed to a government office for questioning.

“We feel sorry for the people,” said retired grain farmer Ken Schwark. “I just wish they would come through the legal way.”

A 2004 agreement between Canada and the United States means asylum seekers must submit applications in the United States if they arrive there first. But if they find a way into Canada, they can apply for refugee status there.

It’s an avenue that has spurred north illegal migrants in the United States, especially Somalis settled in Minnesota, which shares a land border with Manitoba. After pricey taxi rides to North Dakota, many like Ismail walk for hours in darkness and -20 C (-4°F) temperatures to dimly lit Emerson, in the shadow of the bright glare of the international border crossing.

The lucky migrants get rides dropping them off less than a mile from Noyes, Minnesota, within sight of Emerson’s southern edge. From there they duck under a metal crossing-arm gate, walk across the border and often use their own cellphones to dial police.

Others are dropped 30 or more kilometers (19 miles) from the border, and follow rail lines into Emerson, crossing a border marked in most areas only by scattered concrete boundary markers.

Faye Suderman, a four-decade Emerson resident, said she is sympathetic but draws a line between those fleeing persecution and those who have simply run out of chances in the United States: “How difficult is it to get rid of those people and give help to those truly in need?”

Emerson Cafe manager Jacquelyn Reimer, who has fed shivering asylum seekers for free, wondered why the Canadian government is helping refugees when the country has its own homeless problem. “We can’t even take care of our own,” she said.


Due to its border-hugging location, Emerson’s encounters with migrants are not new, but the scale of their arrivals is.

In the first two months of 2017, 143 mainly Somali people walked illegally over the border into Emerson, representing 40 percent of Manitoba’s full-year total in 2015/16. Quebec and British Columbia are the two other major illegal crossing points, but police there refused to provide data.

Emerson residents don’t encounter the migrants for long before police arrive and whisk them to the local Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office for questioning. From there, they are ferried to Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital, to file asylum claims.

Despite some residents’ fears, asylum-seekers have not caused any trouble, said Bill Spanjer, Emerson’s emergency coordinator.

“They’re going to be on their best behavior because otherwise their refugee claim is certainly going to be affected,” he said.

When police receive a call, they summon the town’s volunteer firefighters to treat any health concerns, as the nearest ambulance is 25 minutes away. In December, two men from Ghana lost all of their fingers to frostbite.

Firefighter callouts cost Emerson about C$500 each time. The costs may add up to C$30,000 since last spring, representing 10 percent of its firefighting budget, said Emerson-Franklin’s elected leader Greg Janzen. The provincial government directed more resources to Emerson last week, including paramedics and paralegal and transportation services.

Since the influx sped up in January, the strain on Emerson has grown. In early February, police intercepted 18 migrants from Somalia and Djibouti and CBSA asked Emerson to temporarily house them in the town’s ice rink.

Brenda Piett and other volunteers laid folding banquet tables on the concrete floor, and layered them with blankets for makeshift mattresses. At the migrants’ request, they served white bread sandwiches with Nutella hazelnut spread.

“The groups are getting bigger, and the stories are scary, how far they’ve walked,” said Piett, an inventory clerk at Emerson’s duty-free store. “But it does affect our town. Some people are very scared of it.”

(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Amran Abocar and Ross Colvin)

 House intel head: ‘No evidence’ of Trump campaign contact with Russia

February 27, 2016

by Katie Bo Williams

The Hill

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday rejected reports that members of President Trump’s campaign team had regular contact with Russian officials.

“There is no evidence that I’ve been presented [by the intelligence community] of regular contact with anybody in the Trump campaign,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters.

“The way it sounds like to me is, it’s been looked into and there’s no evidence of anything there.”

Nunes’s committee is investigating Russian efforts to influence U.S. presidential election, including any links between campaign officials and Moscow.

The scope of the review has been under fierce scrutiny following Trump’s dismissal of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who misled Vice President Pence about the subject of a pre-inauguration call with the Russian ambassador, which included talk of sanctions against the country.

The committee has settled on the scope of its investigation, Nunes said Monday, but has not received all of the evidence it expects from U.S. intelligence agencies. He described his inquiries to those agencies regarding Trump’s campaign associates as “initial.”

“As of right nowI don’t have any evidence of any phone calls. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I don’t have that,” he reiterated. “What I’ve been told, by many folks, is that there’s nothing there — but we’re absolutely looking into it.”

Nunes also dismissed calls from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others for Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuse himself from any FBI investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia.

“At this point, what are we going to appoint a special prosecutor to do, exactly? Chase stories of American citizens that end up in newspaper articles?” he said, adding that if there was any evidence of serious crime, the committee would “consider” the need for an independent prosecutor.

Rather than any links between the White House and Russia, Nunes insisted, the only “serious crime” of which the committee had any evidence is a myriad of media leaks, apparently from the intelligence community.

The contents of the transcript of the wiretapped phone call between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyac were made public through leaks to The Washington Post earlier this month. The report revealed that Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia in the Dec. 29 call, despite his insistence to the contrary.

Nunes on Monday said he was “very interested” in who made the decision to expose the contents of the intercepted phone call to the media.

“What laws did they use to decide to unmask Flynn’s name?” he said.

In discussing the concerns over the leak, Nunes appeared to reveal the mechanism by which the government was able to legally surveil Flynn, a U.S. citizen, something that has been speculated about since the transcripts were leaked.

Referring to the calls as “FISA-warranted communications,” Nunes said that he believed Flynn’s side of the conversation was captured inadvertently. Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the government may retain communications by U.S. citizens that are “inadvertently” intercepted if the material contains foreign intelligence or evidence of crime.

“The good thing is about FISA and the way it works, there should be a record of who in the government knew about Gen. Flynn talking to the Russian ambassador and from there we should be able to know who’s in the realm of the possibles of who we would need to talk to,” Nunes said Monday.

The White House has repeatedly characterized the “real story” as the leaks, not Trump’s alleged connections to Russia.

The administration has sought to counter a number of unflattering media stories, and apparently asked the FBI to publicly dispute a report that agents had uncovered contact between Russian officials and the president’s campaign.

The White House also reportedly enlisted Nunes, who was a member of the executive committee of Trump’s transition team, to counter the narrative.

Nunes denied a coordinated effort by the White House to push back on the stories.

“If anything, it was the opposite,” he said. “All it was was a White House communications person passing a number and a name of a reporter over to me if I would talk to them following up what I had already told all of you in the days before that.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee’s ranking member, plans to speak to reporters concerning the investigation for later Monday afternoon.

The New Yorker’s Big Cover Story Reveals Five Uncomfortable Truths About U.S. and Russia

February 28 2017

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

The New Yorker is aggressively touting its 13,000-word cover story on Russia and Trump that was bylined by three writers, including the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, David Remnick. Beginning with its cover image menacingly featuring Putin, Trump and the magazine’s title in Cyrillic letters, along with its lead cartoon dystopically depicting a UFO-like Red Square hovering over and phallically invading the White House, a large bulk of the article is devoted to what has now become standard – and very profitable – fare among East Coast news magazines: feeding Democrats the often-xenophobic, hysterical Russia-phobia for which they have a seemingly insatiable craving. Democratic media outlets have thus predictably cheered this opus for exposing “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence on the presidential election.”

But buried within the article are several interesting, uncomfortable, and often-looked facts about Putin, Trump and Democrats. Given that these points are made here by a liberal media organ that is vehemently anti-Trump, within an article dispensing what has become the conventional Democratic wisdom on Russia, it is well worth highlighting them:

  1. Obama and Clinton have radically different views on Russia.

A major irony in the Democrats’ current obsession with depicting Putin as the world’s Grave Threat – and equating efforts to forge better relations with Moscow as some type of treason – is that it was Barack Obama who spent 8 years accommodating the Russian leader and scorning the idea that Russia should be confronted and challenged. Indeed, Obama – after Russia annexed Crimea – rejected bipartisan demands to arm anti-Russian factions in Ukraine, and actively sought a partnership with Putin to bomb Syria. And, of course, in 2012 – after Russia invaded Georgia and numerous dissidents and journalists were imprisoned or killed – the Obama-led Democrats mercilessly mocked Mitt Romney as an obsolete, ignorant Cold War relic for his arguments about the threat posed by the Kremlin.

Clinton, however, had a much different view of all this. She was often critical of Obama’s refusal to pursue aggression and belligerence in his foreign policy, particularly in Syria, where she and her closest allies wanted to impose a no-fly zone, be more active in facilitating regime change, and risk confrontation with Russia there. The New Yorker article describes the plight of Evelyn Farkas, the Obama Pentagon’s senior Russia advisor who became extremely frustrated by Obama’s refusal to stand up to Putin over Ukraine, but was so relieved to learn that Clinton, as President, would do so:

The Russian experts heralded by the article also feared that Clinton – in contrast to Obama – was so eager for escalated U.S. military action in Syria to remove Assad that a military conflict with Russia was a real possibility.

It’s impossible to overstate how serious of a risk this was. Recall that one of Clinton’s most vocal surrogates, former acting CIA chief Michael Morell, explicitly said – in a Dr-Strangelove-level creepy video – that he wanted to kill not only Iranians and Syrians but also Russians in Syria:. There’s a reason that those who were so eager for U.S. military intervention in both Syria and Ukraine were so passionately supportive of Clinton. They knew there was a high likelihood that she would do what Obama refused to do: risk war with Russia in pursuit of these foreign policy goals.

One can, of course, side with the Clinton wing on the ground that the U.S. has been too soft on Russia, but what should not be suppressed – and what the New Yorker article makes clear – is that the hawkish views on Russia now dominant (even obligatory) in the Democratic Party were exactly what Obama resisted up until the last day that he left office.

That’s why people like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, along with various neocon organs, relentlessly attacked Obama on the ground that he was too accommodating of Putin in Syria, Ukraine and beyond. The post-election Democratic Party orthodoxy on Russia has deliberately obscured the fact that the leading accommodationist on Putin was named Barack Obama, and in that, he had a radically different approach than Clinton advocated.

  1. The risk of a new Cold War is very real and very dangerous.

The most astonishing aspect of the post-election discourse on Russia is how little attention is paid to the risks of fueling a new Cold War, let alone of military confrontation between the two nuclear-armed powers. A different New Yorker in December, by Eric Schlosser, described how many times the two countries came quite close to nuclear annihilation in the past, and how easy it is now to trigger a nuclear exchange merely by miscommunication or misperception, let alone active belligerence.

Today, the odds of a nuclear war being started by mistake are low—and yet the risk is growing, as the United States and Russia drift toward a new cold war. . . . The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict.

Constantly ratcheting up aggressive rhetoric and tension between Washington and Moscow is not a game. And yet it’s one that establishment Democrats – and their new allies in the war-loving wing of the GOP – are playing with reckless abandon, and with little to no apparent concern about the risks. They have re-created a climate in the U.S. where a desire for better relations with Russia triggers suspicions about one’s loyalties.

The New Yorker article is rife with warnings about how close the two countries are to returning to full-blown Cold War animosity, with all the costs and horrors the prior one entailed.

Some old foreign policy hands in the Clinton circle believe the U.S. and Russia are already in a second Cold War, and are angry that Trump is not doing enough to win it (and, even though they are loathe to say it, they believed the same about Obama):

There are, as usual, numerous highly influential factions in Washington that would stand to benefit enormously from the resurrection of the Cold War. They’re the same groups that benefitted so much the first time around: weapons manufacturers, the think tanks they fund, the public/private axis of the Pentagon and intelligence community, etc. And the people who exert the greatest influence over U.S. discourse continue to be the spokespeople for those very interests. When all of that is combined with the Democratic Party’s massive self-interest in inflating the Russia threat – it gives them a way to explain away their crushing 2016 defeat – it is completely unsurprising that the orthodoxy on Russia has become hawkish and pro-confrontation.

One can debate whose fault it is that the two nations are so close to re-starting the Cold War. A primary obligation of Good Patriotism is to insist that it’s always the other side’s fault.

But regardless of where one wants to pin blame for these heightened tensions, the risks of heightening them further are incredibly high – one could plausibly say: incomparably high. Yet in the name of being “tough” on Putin, those risks are virtually never discussed, and anyone who attempts to raise them in the context of advocating better relations will almost instantly be accused of being a Kremlin stooge, or worse.

  1. The U.S. media refuses to say if the U.S. interferes in Russia’s domestic politics.

U.S. media accounts often note that “Putin believes” that the U.S. Government has repeatedly interfered in Russia’s political process. Given how often Putin publicly makes this claim, that’s hard to suppress. But what they almost never comment on is the rather significant question of whether Putin’s claims are true: does the U.S., in fact, try to manipulate Russian politics the way Russia now stands accused of interfering in the U.S. election?

The New Yorker article demonstrates how steadfastly this question is ignored. Here’s a classic formulation of it.

So, the New Yorker notes, Putin claims Clinton’s State Department supported and promoted anti-Kremlin protests during Russia’s parliamentary elections, yet offers no evidence. But is that true? Did that happen? As most media outlets typically do, the New Yorker simply does not say. Here’s another classic example from this genre:

Is it true, as Putin claims, that the U.S., in fact, “has long funded media outlets and civil-society groups that meddle in Russian affairs”? Again, the article believes it’s significant enough to note that Putin claims this, but never bothers to tell its readers whether it is actually true, or even if evidence exists for it.

What makes this steadfast silence so bizarre is that there’s virtually no question that it is true. Some have noted the 1996 Time Magazine cover boasting of how U.S. advisors helped the U.S.’s preferred candidate, Boris Yeltsin, win Russia’s presidency. And, of course, the U.S. has continually and repeatedly interfered in the domestic political processes, including democratic elections, of more countries than one can count.

But far more relevant, and more recent, are the very active efforts on the part of the U.S. Government to alter Russian civic society more to its liking. Many of these efforts, needless to say, are covert, but many are not. Here’s the National Endowment for Democracy – funded by the U.S. Congress through the State Department – openly touting the dozens of Russian political groups it funds.

In response to all this, one can offer the same cliché that is invoked when it’s pointed out after a terrorist attack that the U.S. has killed countless innocent people all over the world: it doesn’t matter because two wrongs don’t make a right. That may well be true, but just as it’s difficult to actually fight terrorism if one refuses to grapple with its causes or if one objects only when one’s own side is the victim but not the perpetrator, it’s very difficult to credibly object to – let alone prevent – other countries from interfering in U.S. politics if you make no effort to object to U.S. interference in theirs.

And at the very least, U.S. journalists who discuss Putin’s claims in this regard should not just convey those claims but report on whether they are valid. The refusal to do so is as conspicuous as it is troubling.

  1. The U.S. Government still has provided no evidence of its theories about Russian hacking.

That Putin ordered Russian hacking of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails in order to help Trump win is now such consecrated orthodoxy that it’s barely acceptable in Decent Company to question it. But that obscures, by design, the rather important fact that the U.S. Government, while repeatedly issuing new reports making these claims, has still never offered any actual evidence for them. Even the New Yorker article, which clearly views the theory as valid, acknowledges this fact.

Recall that even hardened Putin critics and western journalists in Moscow were aghast at how evidence-free these government reports have been. The lack of evidence for these theories does not, of course, prove their falsity. But, given the stakes, it’s certainly worth keeping in mind.

And it further underscores the reasons why no conclusions should be reached absent a structured investigation with the evidence and findings made publicly available. Anonymous claims from agenda-driven, disinformation-dispensing intelligence community officials are about the least reliable way to form judgments about anything, let alone the nature of the threats posed by the governments they want Americans to view as their adversaries.

  1. Fixating on Russia continues to be used to distract from systemic failures of U.S. elites.

Denouncing the autocratic abuses of foreign adversaries such as Putin has long been the go-to tactic to distract attention from the failures and evils of U.S. actions — including the unpleasant fact that support for the world’s worst despots has long been, and continues to be, a central precept of U.S. policy. Or, as then-Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton put it in 2009 about the decades-ruling Egyptian tyrant: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family. So I hope to see him often here in Egypt and in the United States.”

That Putin abuses the civic freedoms of Russians plainly answers none of the policy debates over Russia, given how ready and eager the U.S. is to align with the planet’s worst monsters. It’s instead designed to encourage Americans to fix their gaze on bad acts by people thousands of miles away in order to obfuscate the corruption of their own society and savagery by their own leaders. In several places, the New Yorker article warns against exploiting and inflating claims about Putin as a means of ignoring that the real causes of America’s problems reside not in Moscow but at home:

It is true that Putin is used to avoiding confronting the fact that Trump is “a phenomenon of America’s own making.” It’s also true that it’s used to avoiding confronting the fact that Trump is a by-product of the extraordinary and systemic failure of the Democratic Party. As long as the Russia story enables pervasive avoidance of self-critique – one of the things humans least like to do – it will continue to resonate no matter its actual substance and value.

And this avoidance of self-examination extends to the west generally.As Even The New Yorker Admits™, the primary reason for Trump, for Brexit, and for growing right-wing über-nationalism throughout Europe is that prevailing neoliberal policies have destroyed the economic security and future of hundreds of millions of people, rendering them highly susceptible to scapegoating and desperate, in a nothing-to-lose sort of way, for any type of radical change, no matter how risky or harmful that change might be. But all of that gets to be ignored, all of the self-reckoning is avoided, as long we get ourselves to believe that some omnipotent foreign power is behind it all.

Using Russia – yet again – to whitewash our own sins and systemic failures is bad enough. Let’s just hope it doesn’t lead the two countries back into a devastating Cold War or, worse still, direct military confrontation. With tensions rising and rhetoric becoming harsher and more manipulative, both of those outcomes are more likely than they’ve been in many years.

Berlin criminalizes Islamic State-linked ‘Fussilet’ mosque activity

More than 400 police officers took part in raids linked to the mosque. Prosecutors have launched criminal investigations into the association’s activity, which is suspected of being a meeting point for radical Islamists.

February 28, 2017


Berlin’s office of the interior banned the mosque association known as “Fussilet 33” on Tuesday. The organization is suspected of being a meeting point for radical Islamists, prosecutors said.

Anis Amri, a Tunisian national who launched an attack on a Berlin Christmas market in December that left 12 people dead and dozens more injured, frequented the mosque, according to authorities.

Last week, authorities in Berlin arrested three men suspected of links to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (IS) militant group in an anti-terror raid. Police said the men had visited the mosque operated by the association.

Police raided 24 locations across Berlin early Tuesday morning with more than 400 law enforcement officers participating in the operation, local authorities said in a tweet.

Authorities closed the mosque following raids last week. The mosque has been under surveillance since 2015 for its suspected links in recruitment activities. It had also raised donations to support terrorist attacks in Syria.

Counterterrorism measures

Banning the association means that the group is formally disbanded and can no longer rent mosques for their activities.

Germany has taken proactive measures to curb terrorist threats and tackle radicalization following the Berlin attack.

The measures include launching dozens of raids across the country and proposing legislation to detain foreign nationals suspected of extremist activity who have been denied residency, a precursor for deportation.

According to Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, more than 500 individuals have been classified as a potential threat in Germany, of which roughly half of them are non-German nationals.

Jewish centers and schools cope with another wave of bomb threats

Fifth wave of threats against community centers and institutions since January is being investigated after headstones were vandalized at another Jewish cemetery

February 27, 2017

The Guardian

Jewish centers and schools around the country are coping with another wave of bomb threats as officials in Philadelphia begin raising money to repair and restore headstones that were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery over the weekend.

Jewish Community Centers and day schools in at least a dozen states received threats, according to the JCC Association of North America. No bombs were found. All 20 buildings – 13 community centers and seven schools – were cleared by Monday afternoon and had resumed normal operations, the association said.

It was the fifth round of bomb threats against Jewish institutions since January, prompting outrage and exasperation among Jewish leaders, as well as calls for an aggressive federal response to put a stop to it.

“The justice department, Homeland Security, the FBI and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out and speak out forcefully against this scourge of antisemitism impacting communities across the country,” said David Posner, an official with JCC Association of North America. “Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities.”

The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said on Monday that recent bomb threats made against Jewish groups are “unacceptable” and a “very serious and destructive practice”.

The FBI and the justice department’s civil rights division are investigating the threats.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, police investigated what they called an “abominable crime” after several hundred headstones were toppled during the weekend at Mount Carmel Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery dating to the late 1800s.

Police, who are conducting a criminal mischief-institutional vandalism investigation, said the vandalism appeared to be targeted at the Jewish community, though they cautioned they had not confirmed the motive. Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney said authorities were doing everything possible to find those “who desecrated this final resting place”.

Money was being raised to repair and restore the vandalized headstones, while the Anti-Defamation League and a police union are offering a $13,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

A man visiting Mount Carmel Cemetery on Sunday called police to report that three of his relatives’ headstones had been knocked over and damaged. The discovery came less than a week after similar vandalism in Missouri, where more than 150 headstones were vandalized, many of them tipped over.

The Missouri incident prompted a response from Donald Trump, who had been criticised by Jewish groups and political opponents for a lack of comment on an increase in threats against Jewish community centers around the US and a White House statement to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews or Judaism.

Questions regarding Trump’s attitude to antisemitism and possible antisemitic views among his aides and supporters have persisted since he announced his run for the White House. During the campaign, Trump attracted criticism for tweeting an alleged antisemitic image – he denied any intent to do so but deleted and replaced the image in question – and running ads that critics said employed timeworn antisemitic tropes.

Some observers pointed to the influence of advisers including campaign chairman and now senior White House counsel Steve Bannon, the former head of the “alt-right” Breitbart website who was accused by his ex-wife of making antisemitic remarks, an accusation he denied.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is Jewish. The president’s daughter, Ivanka, converted when she married Kushner.

Well-intentioned volunteers rushed to the Philadelphia cemetery after the damage was discovered on Sunday to begin putting the headstones back up, complicating efforts to tally the damage and perhaps investigate the crime, said Steven Rosenberg, chief marketing officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

A day later, Jewish Community Centers in nearby Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware and a day school in the Philadelphia suburbs were among those getting bomb threats that Rosenberg called a “complete nuisance”.

“There’s plenty of people who are scared,” said Rosenberg, who denounced the hoaxers as “an embarrassment to civilized society”.

Some 200 people were evacuated from a Jewish Community Center in York, Pennsylvania, after a caller told the front desk there was a bomb in the building, said Melissa Plotkin, the York JCC’s director of community engagement and diversity. Police entered the building and cleared it, she said.

Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s governor who has long ties to the York center, having served on its board, called the bomb threats and cemetery vandalism reprehensible.

“These acts are cowardly and disturbing,” Wolf told reporters in a conference call on Monday. “We must find those responsible and hold them accountable for these hate crimes.”

Jewish centers and schools in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia were also threatened, according to the JCC Association of North America.

Since January, the group has tracked a total of 89 incidents in 30 states and Canada.

Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, a nonprofit founded by several national Jewish groups to bolster security in the Jewish community, said Jewish Community Centers and other Jewish institutions have extensive security protocols in place.

After dealing with Monday’s threats, he said, the “Jewish community is back in business”.

Why John Bolton Isn’t Part of the Trump Administration

There isn’t much in the man’s worldview that rings consonant with President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.

February 27, 2017

by Daniel R. DePetris

The American Conservative

John Bolton, the most hawkish of Washington’s hawks, strutted onto the stage Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference and presented what can only be described as a Boltonian view of the world: America’s influence around the world is declining; its exceptionalism is being neutered by a shadowy group of global elites. By the end of the ten-minute speech, you might have gotten a hint as to why the Trump administration passed on hiring the former ambassador to the United Nations for jobs in the White House and State Department.

Bolton’s lambasting of global aristocrats aside, there isn’t much in the man’s worldview that rings consonant with President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy. Throughout the campaign, Trump made a compelling argument that struck a chord with America’s blue-collar and middle classes: the U.S. has been spending the past 15 years on a wild-goose chase in the Middle East, spending trillions of taxpayer dollars in order to overthrow and undermine governments we don’t like and using hundreds of thousands of American soldiers to reconstruct broken societies. Where Barack Obama referred to Iraq as the “dumb war” that distracted the U.S. military from the “good war” in Afghanistan, Donald Trump went several big steps further, labeling the Iraq adventure a disaster that tore the region apart. The invasion “may have been the worst decision anybody has made, any president has made in the history of this country,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper at a February 2016 town hall.

You know who doesn’t think the invasion of Iraq was a terrible blunder? John Bolton. Indeed, a full ten years after U.S. troops drove Saddam Hussein into a spider-hole and disbanded the Iraqi army—a decade in which much of Washington admitted that the management and assumptions powering the invasion and occupation were beyond hubristic—Bolton told the Washington Examiner that the decision was the right one. “I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam was correct,” Bolton said. “I think decisions made after that decision were wrong, although I think the worst decision made after that was the 2011 decision to withdraw U.S. and coalition forces.” With beliefs like that, is it any wonder why Bolton was passed over for three national-security jobs in the administration?

Donald Trump is receiving incoming from all directions for the comments he’s made, some of the executive orders he’s signed, and the tweets he’s posted, but

Americans can breathe easy knowing he didn’t hire Bolton as secretary of state, deputy secretary of state, or national-security advisor. Trump likely would have seen his vision of a more restrained America overseas thrown out and replaced by the neoconservative, reflexively interventionist positions that he campaigned against so ferociously.

We can only imagine how policies would change if Bolton were given authority. The Iran deal? Bolton has blasted the accord as appeasement (one of his favorite words) of a radical Islamist regime that wants to wipe the West off the face of the earth; it would likely be ripped apart and replaced with the very economic sanctions that created the need for the deal in the first place. The fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified on multiple occasions that Tehran is following its commitments wouldn’t matter to Bolton, because the Iranians are inherently mischievous and the IAEA is part of the exclusive club of global bureaucrats who put their faith in multilateral cooperation.

What about North Korea, a hated regime for sure but one that the U.S. has always tried to contain rather than destroy? During his CPAC address, Bolton said that the only way to solve the North Korean problem for good is to change the government in Pyongyang and reunite the Korean Peninsula under Seoul’s leadership. While he may ultimately be correct on this point, the cost in American blood and treasure to achieve that goal doesn’t seem to be of particular concern to the former diplomat. Bolton may think that China can and should take care of the problem for us, but anticipating such an action would be a fantastical illusion; for a man who professes to know the world, Bolton fails to grasp that Beijing, like Washington, has a set of core interests that it aims to protect. Removing Kim Jong-un and thereby destabilizing a nuclear North Korea, with all of the refugees that would pour across the North Korea-China border as a result, definitely isn’t one of them.

Donald Trump is president, so he has the privilege to take counsel from anyone he would like. Bolton’s appearance at CPAC was a reaffirmation of why he was not chosen.

What is Islam? Who was Mohammed?

A retrospective

February 28, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

Islam is a strictly monotheistic religion, articulated by the Qur’an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God and by the Prophet of Islam Muhammad’s teachings.

Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and that the purpose of life is to worship God They regard their religion as the completed and universal version of a primordial, monotheistic faith revealed at many times and places before, including, notably, to the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Islamic tradition holds that previous messages and revelations have been changed and distorted over time. Religious practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five obligatory acts of worship. Islamic law touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from banking and warfare to welfare and the environment.

The majority of Muslims belong to one of two denominations, the Sunni and the Shi’a. About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country.31% in the Indian Subcontinent, 20% in the Middle Eastand 15% in Sub-saharan Africa. Sizable communities are also found in China and Russia, and parts of the Caribbean. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world. With about 1.57 billion Muslims comprising about 23% of the world’s population (see Islam by country), Islam is the second-largest religion in the world and arguably the fastest-growing religion in the world.

Islam’s fundamental theological concept is the belief that there is only one god. The Arabic term for God is Allah. Other non-Arabic nations might use different names, for instance in Turkey, the Turkish word for God, “Tanrı” is used as much as Allah. The first of the Five Pillars of Islam, declares that there is no god but God, and that Muhammad is God’s messenger. In traditional Islamic theology, God is beyond all comprehension; Muslims are not expected to visualize God but to worship and adore Him as the Protector. Muslims believe the purpose of life is to worship God. Although Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet, they reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism. In Islamic theology, Jesus was just a man and not the son of God;

Muhammad (c. 570 – June 8, 632) was a trader and camel-breeder and who later became a religious, political, and military leader. Muslims now view him, not as the creator of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original, uncorrupted monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others. In Muslim tradition, Muhammad is viewed as the last and the greatest in a series of prophets—as the man closest to perfection, the possessor of all virtues. For the last 22 years of his life, in 610, beginning at age 40, Muhammad started receiving what he claimed were “revelations from God.” It now also appears that Muhammed suffered from some form of Alzheimer’s Disease and that his final days were given to long and senseless utterances that his supporters claimed were ‘revelations.’ The content of these revelations, known as the Qur’an, was memorized and recorded by his companions.

During this time, Muhammad preached to the people of Mecca, imploring them to abandon polytheism. Although some converted to Islam, Muhammad and his followers were persecuted by the leading Meccan authorities. After 12 years of preaching, Muhammad and the Muslims performed the Hijra (“emigration”) to the city of Medina in 622. There, with the Medinan converts and the Meccan migrants Muhammad established his political and religious authority. Within years, two battles had been fought against Meccan forces: the Battle of Badr in 624, which was a Muslim victory, and the Battle of Uhud in 625, which ended inconclusively. Conflict with Medinan Jewish clans who opposed the Muslims led to their exile, enslavement or death, and the Jewish enclave of Khaybar was subdued. At the same time, Meccan trade routes were cut off as Muhammad brought surrounding desert tribes under his control. By 629 Muhammad was victorious in the nearly bloodless Conquest of Mecca, and by the time of his death in 632 (at the age of 62) he and his followers ruled over the Arabian peninsula.

In 630 A.D. Mecca was re-taken followed by the battle of Hunain wherein the army under command of the Prophet, the non-Muslim tribes were defeated , and a large number of the enemy were killed but, under the Prophet’s order, no child was harmed. Often, after such a murderous battle, Muhammad had young children, both boys and girls, brought before him, had them stripped naked and then chose ones he wished “to lie with.”

One day after battle, Muhammad came back home and said to his daughter Fatima, “Wash the blood from this sword and I swear in the name of Allah this sword was obeying me all the time.” .

The number of military campaigns Muhammad led in person during the last ten years of his life is twenty-seven, in nine of which there was hard fighting. The number of expeditions which he planned and sent out under other leaders is thirty-eight

Muhammad’s last speech to his followers on Mt Arafat:

…..”I descended by Allah with the sword in my hand, and my wealth will come from the shadow of my sword. And the one who will disagree with me will be humiliated and persecuted.”

Muhammad told Abu Sufyan: “Woe to you! Accept Islam and testify that Muhammad is the apostle of God before your neck is cut off by the sword.” Thus he

professed the faith of Islam and became a Muslim. This man, Abu Sufyan, was not a believer at first, but he quickly “believed” after he was threatened by death.’

So, even before Muhammad pagans were worshipping this black stone in the Kaba. Are we surprised that although Muhammad proclaimed only one God, he continued to participate in idol worship at this pagan shrine (Kaba); and Muslims still do idol worship there today. The black stone of Ka’aba is nothing but a holdover within Islam, from pre-Islamic paganism.

There is evidence that black stones were commonly worshipped in the Arab world. In 190 A.D. Clement of Alexandria mentioned that “the Arabs worship stone”. He was alluding to the black stone of Dusares at Petra. In the 2nd century, Maximus Tyrius wrote; “The Arabians pay homage to I know not what god, which they represent by a quadrangular stone”. Maximus was speaking of the Kaaba (Ka’ba) that contains the Black Stone.

Muhammad led 27 military campaigns against innocent villages and caravans and planned 38 others“I am the prophet that laughs when killing my enemies.”

Muhammad posed as an apostle of God, yet his life was filled with lustfulness (12 marriages and sex with many children, both male and female, slaves and concubines), rapes, warfare, conquests, and unmerciful butcheries. The infinitely good, just and all holy God preached by Muhammad simply cannot tolerate anything in the least unjust or sinful. What Muhammad produced in the Qur’an is simply a book of gibberish consisting of later evil verses superseding earlier peaceful verses. These verses in Arabic poetically “tickle” the ears of Arab listeners.

Modern Islam is a caustic blend of paganism and twisted Bible stories. Muhammad, its lone “prophet”, who made no prophecies, conceived his religion to satiate his lust for power, sex, and money. He was a terrorist. And if you think these conclusions are shocking, additional research will easily uncover the evidence mostly from Islamic historians 70% of what is here is from Muslim and ex-Muslim historians – back to the 8th century.

Accordingly, after a degenerative disease of which the main symptom was headache, loss of memory, increasing skin eruptions and incontinence, he died in the arms of his favorite wife, Aysha, on Radiulawwal 11 A.H.—633 A.D.

After an objective and lengthy study of the life of Muhammed, the only rational conclusion is that Islam’s lone prophet was a ruthless terrorist, a mass-murderer, a thief, slave trader, rapist and aggressive pedophile.

In his personal life, Muhammad had two great weaknesses. The first was greed. By looting caravans and Jewish settlements he had amassed fabulous wealth for himself, his family, and his tribe

When we turn and look at the life of Muhammad we find that he clearly killed and robbed people in the name of Allah according to the Quran. He taught his disciples by example, command, and precept that they could and should kill and rob in Allah’s name and force people to submit to Islam.

His next greatest weakness was women and young boys. Although in the Quran he would limit his followers to having four wives, he himself took more than four wives, numerous concubines and young boys and girls into his bed.

The question of the number of women with whom Muhammad was sexually involved either as wives, concubines or devotees was made a point of contention by the Jews in Muhammad’s day.

“All the commentaries agree that verse 57 of Sura 4 (on-Nesa) was sent down after the Jews criticized Mohammad’s appetite for women, alleging that he had nothing to do except to take wives”

Since polygamy was practiced in the Old Testament by such patriarchs as Abraham, the mere fact that Muhammad had more than one wife is not sufficient in and

of itself to discount his claim to prophethood. But this does negate the fact that the issue has historical in terms of trying to understand Muhammad as a man.

It also poses a logical problem for Muslims. Because the Quran in Sura 4:3 forbids the taking of more than four wives, to have taken any more would have been sinful for Muhammad. He not only exceeded this fiat many times but also added young boys and girls to his harem in direct contravention of his own pronouncements.

While in Islamic countries an eight or nine-year old girl can be given in marriage to an adult male, in the West, most people would shudder to think of an eight or nine-year old girl being given in marriage to anyone

This aspect of Muhammad’s personal life is something that many scholars pass over because they do not want to hurt the feelings of Muslims, or, more pragmatically, they do not want to experience a knife in the dark. Yet, history cannot be rewritten to avoid confronting the facts that Muhammad had unnatural desires for little girls and, even more reprehensible, little boys.

The documentation for all the women in Muhammad’s harem is so vast and has been presented so many times by able scholars that only those who use circular reasoning can object to it.

Though a forbidden subject, pedophilia and homosexual practices were an active part of Muhammad’s life. Today, homosexuality and pedophilia is a very strong part of Muslim life. Adherents of Islam believe that these activities are fully approved, not only by the writings in the Quran but also by the examples set during his lifetime by the Prophet Muhammad himself. His harem did indeed have many women but many of them were as young as nine and there were also a significant number of pre-pubescent boys among them

In brief summation, the Prophet of the Muslim faith does not come off as a spiritual leader. He lied; he cheated; he lusted; he failed to keep his word, He was neither perfect nor sinless. By Western standards of the present time, Muhammad was a fraud, a common murderer, a letcher and a pedophile.

Letter to the Editor, TBR News

I have just returned from the Yearly-Kos Convention in Las Vegas and thought you might be interested in some of my observations. First off, the Kos Bloggers are not happy with your website for two reasons: One, you dare to criticize Israel and, most important, Two, you publish the ‘DailyPusBlog’ that obviously makes terrible fun of them. Markis Molitsas, the power behind the Daily Kos, takes offense at your pictures of some huge, fat slob lying nude on a bed and even worse, since he likes to put pictures of his baby on his site, your pictures of a terribly deformed monster child called “Mildew” is most offensive to him and his adoring acolytes. I was taking care of business in Los Angeles and a friend got me a ticket, telling me, breathlessly, that it was a “Must-Do” event” and that the top political intellects of the country would be there, including famous political figures. Right. Would you count Retired General Clark, once an unviable presidential candidate and as important as a Pasadena florist as either famous or a political figure? Not. And of course, Dr. John Dean, once another candidate who failed. Dean might be a good doctor but he is a flaming, raging nut and now runs the Democratic Party. Molitisas was his computer genius and generated a great deal of enthusiasm from the same types packing the convention. Now, I can tell you about the self-proclaimed New Leaders of America who have no problem recognizing their vital importance to the United States. Your send-ups in the ‘DailyPusBlog’ are so dead-on that I thought maybe I would see one of you at the convention, taking notes. In modern parlance, these are super-cyber-geeks and nothing more. They have convinced themselves that they, and they alone, have the key to the White House in their highwater pants and have absolutely no problem buttonholing you and informing you, sans any modesty whatsoever and with very bad breath, about their Shining Genius. The men are typical cyber-geeks, mostly with big guts, high-water chinos, pen pocket protectors with all kinds of significant colored pens and markers stuffed into them like Clarke’s ribbons, double or triple chins, thick glasses, thin hair, ratty beards that look like they were glued on pubic hairs and all kinds of pins, cards and other heroic items pinned to their oversized shirts. The women, and I think they are women, are also typical geekesses. Short and squat or tall and very skinny, they also have thick glasses but most favor the clear plastic rims rather than the black one the male geeks seem to love. Their hair looks as if it was caught in hurricane Katrina and sticks out in all directions. Most of them have buck teeth and look like very aggressive rabbits. They too wear clothes, very badly. Baggy jeans, T-shirts with inane slogans, jackets loaded with badges and all of them drag around be-sloganed tote bags bulging with bottled water, books no one can understand and only a geek would love, tattered manuscripts that they drag out like dead babies and jam at people. All of them, without any exception, speed-rap to you, spraying you with saliva and exposing you to their very bad breath while they inform you of their great discoveries in the national political scene. Their information, if you can understand three words on a page, seems to be that without them, Dean would still be a retired governor and if it hadn’t been for Evil Powers, he would be president now and all of them would infest the White House making all the major decisions in direction of our national policies. I can’t question their technical expertise but as functioning members of society, they are all failures. And herein lies their motivations: Lonely, unsocial, laden with feelings of being alien and Misunderstood, they have banded together for mutual psychological support. I would hope that is all they seek, for the thought of them in the sack with someone else causes instant nausea. Still, they have convinced themselves that they are the Keepers of the Sacred Flame, a flame that no one else has ever seen but them, and that only a fortunate early death or commitment will silence. I learned nothing at this meeting other than like gathers with like and God help all of us if any one of these misfits ever gets into public office.

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