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TBR News October 14, 2016

Oct 14 2016

The Voice of the White House


Washington, D.C.  October 14, 2016:”From the hacked, and very confidential, messaging from, and about, Hillary Cliinton, that are circulating,privately, among inhabitants of the Beltway, there are some very nasty surprises looming before the election in November. Although he is bombastic, opinionated and often annoying, rump resonates more with American voters than the slick, media-supported and thoroughly vicious Clinton. Her behavior while the First Lady is enough to send chills through Washington’s elite. Acompetely amoral, hardly honest, vicious and vindictive, she is indeed a candidate for the dim of wit. And a favorite of rabid feminists one should note. Where this campaign will go is anyone’s guess but the bleating, liberal media is making a bigger fool of itself than God ever did.”

Huge rise in Britons applying for Irish citizenship after Brexit vote

Embassy in London handles more cases in a month than in whole of 2015, while passport requests double in three months after referendum

October 13, 2016

by Henry McDonald and Pamela Duncan

The Guardian

Applications for both Irish citizenship and passports have soared since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June, as thousands of people seek to mitigate the effects of Brexit on their lives, government figures show.

In all, more than 37,000 people in the UK and Northern Ireland applied for Irish passports in the three months after 23 June – 83% more than for the same months in 2015.

Additionally, in the three months following the referendum, the Irish embassy in London received more than 2,800 applications for citizenship from people on the Foreign Births Register (individuals with Irish ancestry). This compares with 235 applications in the first three months of 2016. In July alone, more cases were handled than in the whole of 2015.

The Irish embassy has received 2,817 foreign birth applications in the year to date, compared with 689 in all of 2015,

The number of citizenship applications from British nationals resident in Ireland has also shot up, from 61 applications in the first nine months of 2015 to 351 in the same period in 2016, a six-fold increase.

351 Britons living in Ireland applied for citizenship in the first nine months of 2016, six times the 2015 figure.

Such is the increased volume of passport applications that the Irish passport office has extended the contracts of more than 100 temporary staff for three months.

Irish passport applications from the UK rose 83% in the three months after Brexit.

According to Office for National Statistics’ estimates for 2015, there are 332,000 Irish-born individuals living in the UK. However, the number of people who could be eligible for Irish citizenship in the UK is much greater.

Correspondence between the Irish Passport Service and the Irish Secretary General’s Office in July stated that an “initial and conservative estimate puts the number of people in GB and NI eligible for Irish citizenship and a passport … at 2.1m”, excluding those who already have citizenship.

According to the Irish Central Statistics Office, there were 117,000 UK nationals living in Ireland in mid-2015.

Such is the surge in interest that a member of Ireland’s parliament is now calling on the Dublin government to halve the cost of applying for citizenship to encourage more Britons to take Irish nationality. It costs almost €1,000 to become an Irish citizen, which is two times higher than the EU average.

Among those applying to become an Irish citizen after the Brexit vote is Michelle Heming, who has been in Ireland so long that when she returns to her native Nottingham no one outside her family believes she is English.

Married to an Irishman with two children in a prosperous part of south County Dublin, Heming said what while she would always support the England football and rugby teams, it was time for her to take up Irish citizenship.

“When we travel together, are we going to have go into different lines now? Am I going to be separated from husband and children in airports and ports? I don’t think I would have looked for Irish citizenship before Brexit but now I really would prefer no issues when I am travelling. Or what if we had to relocate due to a new job to another part of the EU? Being an Irish citizen would eliminate any hassle in employment too.

“If it wasn’t for Brexit I wouldn’t give up my British passport [in fact, it is possible to hold dual nationality] as I do see myself as British. I am not Irish even though I have an Irish accent, my children are Irish and I love living here.”

In another part of south County Dublin, close to the residency of the British ambassador, Jean Gargan Smith and her English husband are getting his citizenship application ready.

Dave Smith, who works as a manager for a biopharmaceutical company in Ireland, spends a lot of time travelling, including one week a month in the United States at his employer’s headquarters.

“After our second child was born Jean and I did discuss me applying for Irish citizenship but after the Brexit vote I became convinced I need to do so now. It highlighted the issue again. We were on holiday when the Brexit result was announced and we were shocked at the outcome. I still find it hard to believe to this day that the UK is heading out of the EU,” he said.

Like Michelle Heming, Smith has concerns about both work trips and family holidays, and the possibility of being separated from his wife and children at airports.

Smith, who comes from Derbyshire, feared Brexit would make it more complicated for those like him still having to travel on a UK passport.

“With an Irish passport I can travel freely on business anywhere around Europe. I am one of the unlucky ones as my ancestors emigrated in the 19th century to Australia and eventually returned to Britain. They were originally from Ireland but their roots are too far back for me to claim automatic citizenship. So there is only one route I have to take and that is to apply to become an Irish citizen.”

The process is not quick. Gargan Smith has been told it could take up to 12 months.

It’s not just Britons living in Ireland who are thinking of applying for citizenship. Expatriates living in France and Spain are making inquiries too, according to department officials.

Aside from the backlog in applications following Brexit, the other barrier in the way of Irish citizenship for Ireland’s Brits is the cost. At €975 Ireland, alongside Austria, is the most expensive place in the EU to apply to become a citizen.

Senator Neale Richmond from the ruling Fine Gael party, who knows the Gargan Smith family, is campaigning to halve the fee. “We have to make it easier for people to become Irish citizens and that has to start with the cost,” he said. “It is in our economic interest to encourage people like Dave and others in the same situation to become full citizens of this state

“The current fee is exorbitant and we should be doing everything we can to encourage tax-paying, wealth-generating, talented people living in Ireland from countries like Britain to become fully fledged Irish citizens,” Richmond said.

British citizens living in the Irish Republic are strictly speaking not “non nationals” under Ireland’s immigration laws. Thanks to the pre-EU Common Travel Area there is unique freedom of movement for Irish and British people between the two islands.

The 380,000 Irish people in the UK are also not considered to be from a foreign country under British law.

Bill & Hillary Clinton’s Wikipedia pages hacked, replaced with porn

October 13, 2016


Hillary and Bill Clinton’s Wikipedia’s pages have been hacked and replaced with pornography and a message supporting Donald Trump.

“Reminder that voting for Hillary Clinton this November means proving how much of a spineless, boring cuck you are,” a message on the page read. “Nuclear war will be inevitable, as will Bill Clinton raping more women and children. Save the America you know and love by voting for Donald.”

The message was signed “Meepsheep and the Gay Nigger Association of America [GNAA].”

Pentagon Video Warns of “Unavoidable” Dystopian Future for World’s Biggest Cities

October 13 2016

by Nick Turse

The Intercept

The year is 2030. Forget about the flying cars, robot maids, and moving sidewalks we were promised. They’re not happening. But that doesn’t mean the future is a total unknown.

According to a startling Pentagon video obtained by The Intercept, the future of global cities will be an amalgam of the settings of “Escape from New York” and “Robocop” — with dashes of the “Warriors” and “Divergent” thrown in. It will be a world of Robert Kaplan-esque urban hellscapes — brutal and anarchic supercities filled with gangs of youth-gone-wild, a restive underclass, criminal syndicates, and bands of malicious hackers.

At least that’s the scenario outlined in “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” a five-minute video that has been used at the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations University. All that stands between the coming chaos and the good people of Lagos and Dhaka (or maybe even New York City) is the U.S. Army, according to the video, which The Intercept obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

The video is nothing if not an instant dystopian classic: melancholy music, an ominous voiceover, and cascading images of sprawling slums and urban conflict. “Megacities are complex systems where people and structures are compressed together in ways that defy both our understanding of city planning and military doctrine,” says a disembodied voice. “These are the future breeding grounds, incubators, and launching pads for adversaries and hybrid threats.”

The video was used as part of an “Advanced Special Operations Combating Terrorism” course offered at JSOU earlier this year, for a lesson on “The Emerging Terrorism Threat.” JSOU is operated by U.S. Special Operations Command, the umbrella organization for America’s most elite troops. JSOU describes itself as geared toward preparing special operations forces “to shape the future strategic environment by providing specialized joint professional military education, developing SOF specific undergraduate and graduate level academic programs and by fostering special operations research.”

Megacities are, by definition, urban areas with a population of 10 million or more, and they have been a recent source of worry and research for the U.S. military. A 2014 Army report, titled “Megacities and the United States Army,” warned that “the Army is currently unprepared. Although the Army has a long history of urban fighting, it has never dealt with an environment so complex and beyond the scope of its resources.” A separate Army study published this year bemoans the fact that the “U.S. Army is incapable of operating within the megacity.”

These fears are reflected in the hyperbolic “Megacities” video.

As the film unfolds, we’re bombarded with an apocalyptic list of ills endemic to this new urban environment: “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” and a “growing mass of unemployed.” The list, as long as it is grim, accompanies photos of garbage-choked streets, masked rock throwers, and riot cops battling protesters in the developing world. “Growth will magnify the increasing separation between rich and poor,” the narrator warns as the scene shifts to New York City. Looking down from a high vantage point on Third Avenue, we’re left to ponder if the Army will one day find itself defending the lunchtime crowd dining on $57 “NY Cut Sirloin” steaks at (the plainly visible) Smith and Wollensky.

Lacking opening and closing credits, the provenance of “Megacities” was initially unclear, with SOCOM claiming the video was produced by JSOU, before indicating it was actually created by the Army. “It was made for an internal military audience to illuminate the challenges of operating in megacity environments,” Army spokesperson William Layer told The Intercept in an email. “The video was privately produced pro-bono in spring of 2014 based on ‘Megacities and the United States Army.’… The producer of the film wishes to remain anonymous.”

According to the video, tomorrow’s vast urban jungles will be replete with “subterranean labyrinths” governed by their “own social code and rule of law.” They’ll also enable a proliferation of “digital domains” that facilitate “sophisticated illicit economies and decentralized syndicates of crime to give adversaries global reach at an unprecedented level.” If the photo montage in the video is to be believed, hackers will use outdoor electrical outlets to do grave digital damage, such as donning Guy Fawkes masks and filming segments of “Anonymous News.” This, we’re told, will somehow “add to the complexities of human targeting as a proportionally smaller number of adversaries intermingle with the larger and increasing number of citizens.”

“Megacities” posits that despite the lessons learned from the ur-urban battle at Aachen, Germany, in 1944, and the city-busting in Hue, South Vietnam, in 1968, the U.S. military is fundamentally ill-equipped for future battles in Lagos or Dhaka.

“Even our counterinsurgency doctrine, honed in the cities of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, is inadequate to address the sheer scale of population in the future urban reality,” the film notes, as if the results of two futile forever wars might possibly hold the keys to future success. “We are facing environments that the masters of war never foresaw,” warns the narrator. “We are facing a threat that requires us to redefine doctrine and the force in radically new and different ways.”

Mike Davis, author of “Planet of Slums” and “Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb,” was not impressed by the video.

“This is a fantasy, the idea that there is a special military science of megacities,” he said. “It’s simply not the case. … They seem to envision large cities with slum peripheries governed by antagonistic gangs, militias, or guerrilla movements that you can somehow fight using special ops methods. In truth, that’s pretty far-fetched. … You only have to watch ‘Black Hawk Down’ and scale that up to the kind of problems you would have if you were in Karachi, for example. You can do special ops on a small-scale basis, but it’s absurd to imagine it being effective as any kind of strategy for control of a megacity.”

The U.S. military appears unlikely to heed Davis’s advice, however.

“This is the world of our future,” warns the narrator of “Megacities.” “It is one we are not prepared to effectively operate within and it is unavoidable. The threat is clear. Our direction remains to be defined. The future is urban.”

Searching for the True Britain

What happened to Britain? It’s a question many Europeans are currently asking. I traveled through the country on the search for answers — and found a deeply divided land.

October 13, 2016

by Christoph Scheuermann


Europe seems to have come up with a narrative about the United Kingdom: The British are losing their minds. An otherwise extremely rational people, according to this oft-repeated tale, succumbed to a fit of irrationality in listening to populist clowns and turning their backs on the European Union. All that’s left to us is to prevent the virus from jumping the Channel and infecting the Continent.

Europe had long viewed the UK as a rather eccentric, but nevertheless pragmatic and open neighbor, one less interested in political ideology than in free markets. A nation of commerce whose colonial history has made it familiar with the world at large, a nation that has shaped pop-culture with exports from the Beatles to Adele. Cool Britannia. In recent years, however, the European view of the country has become more distrustful, more skeptical.

First came the financial crash of 2008, after which the UK slipped into the worst economic crisis in decades. Then came the Scotland referendum two years ago, which came within a hair of breaking apart the UK. Parliament also long refused to approve military deployment in Syria, and even during the Ukraine conflict, the British remained quiet. While the British government sent money to Syrian refugees, it simultaneously fortified its borders. The former world power had seemingly withdrawn from the world at large and become even more eccentric. And then came Brexit.

Prior to the referendum, I had begun a trip across the island to better understand this country and to write a book. The journey was to take half a year. The British have become foreign to us, making it all the more important to find out what drives them and, now, to find out how the Brexit catastrophe could have happened and what will happen next.

The simple answer, after speaking to pawnbrokers in Blackpool, unemployed miners in Wakefield and many others, is this: Many in Britain are concerned about the same things many Europeans are. They are disappointed by Europe, angry at the elites, disgusted with politicians who promise wealth and then cut pensions and social services. Populists aren’t unique to the Britain, of course, but they unfortunately happen to be better organized here.

Splintering Nation

The more complicated answer is this: Fault lines have appeared in British society that are larger and more extreme than elsewhere. The gap between the rich and poor is greater here than in almost any other country in the EU and nowhere else do billionaires and the destitute live so closely together. The per capita gross domestic product of London is 186 percent of the EU average, and yet several of the city’s neighborhoods are among the poorest in the country. In parts of Wales, some people earn less than people in Sicily. Lots of societies are splintered, and the UK has never been an exception, but these gaps have now become virtually unbridgeable. Matters have been made worse by the blow the economic crisis dealt to a the self-confidence of a country that defines itself through its thriving trade, economic strength, diversity and global influence.

Many Brits no longer feel represented by the parliament in Westminster and have become cynical about the London political, media and banking elites. Last year, 4 million people voted for UKIP, the right-wing populist party. But because the UK uses a first-past-the-post system, which works to the disadvantage of small parties, UKIP only has one representative in parliament. That may have a practical advantage, but it’s not a great selling point for democracy and the big parties are feeling the repercussions.

Labour and the Conservatives have always positioned themselves in accordance with the country’s social divisions: Labour for the workers, Tories for the businesspeople. The EU referendum confirmed that this logic no longer applies. Labour has largely split in two: an urban left-wing liberal middle class that voted against Brexit on the one hand and an independent worker class that was in favor of leaving the EU on the other. The Tories, meanwhile, is made up of nationally patriotic EU opponents as well as business-oriented globalists.

British society has become more complex, but its political system doesn’t reflect that. The working class of Charles Dickens novels and George Orwell essays has disappeared. Sociologists now divide them into “prosperous workers,” the “technological middle class,” and “up-and-coming service-sector workers.” The steel factories, mines and shipyards that provided millions of families with their identities and daily bread are dead. The forces that tie together the “working class” have weakened.

It wasn’t that long ago that England was the roaring, groaning workshop of Europe. Coal played an important role in the rise of the empire and in industrialization. During the 1980s, coal fueled the conflict between the country’s miners and the government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The strikes, the extended protests, the clash between the workers and the state — all that is deeply burned into the collective consciousness.

Coal united the country and tore it in two. When the mining industry slowly died, it spurred a phantom pain that can still be felt today. The country’s last coal mine closed just before Christmas of last year in Knottingley, near Leeds. An ex-miner who worked in the mines for 47 years told me he was sad that so many of his friends were losing their jobs. Even sadder, he said, was the fact that he was being prevented from finishing the job of extracting all of the region’s coal.

Economics Trumps Politics

The white working class feels abandoned: Its older members, who have no sense of direction in the globalized, multicultural UK, and its younger ones, because they feel like they’ve been denied a future. New forms of exploitation have emerged: temporary contracts, precarious positions as drivers or messengers on the darker end of the “sharing economy.” Many of these jobs are hollow and unsatisfying. “This new work doesn’t do what the old work did: it doesn’t offer a sense of identity or community or self-worth,” London author John Lanchester wrote recently in the London Review of Books.

Since the financial crisis, the most common sentiment has been bafflement, incomprehension, disorientation. The phrase one hears most often is: “Something here is going wrong.” In that sense, the Brexit camp’s promise to “take back control” was as strategically adroit as it was dishonest.

The nation I encountered during my travels was hungry for freedom but unsure where to find it. For decades, the UK has been measuring itself against its past, and the saying by former US Secretary of State Dean Acheson from 1962 still applies: “Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a new role.”

During the Brexit campaign, tragedy and farce overlapped in a way that’s only possible in the land of Shakespeare. The strangest part, though, was how obvious it all became: Rarely had so many people lied so much, rarely so many untruths been unmasked. It was as if it was all a vast irony, a wink, a game without consequences played by Eton alumni.

Eton Boys

Half of the UK is run by Old Etonians, including law firms, banks and government ministries. The search for why the establishment is behaving so egocentrically and recklessly necessarily leads to the boy’s boarding school in the shadow of Windsor Castle. Prime Minister Theresa May, daughter of a vicar from the southern English countryside, may distance herself from the privileged class, but that doesn’t mean its influence is disappearing. Another Eton graduate, Boris Johnson, is the government’s foreign secretary.

The British elite is different from the leadership classes in other countries in that it has largely been left alone. For centuries, there have been no violent uprisings against the elite of the kind seen in France and Germany. And in Britain, the elite continues to recruit from just a few institutions, including Eton and the universites of Oxford and Cambridge.

Although only 7 percent of the population attended a private school, almost one third of the lawmakers in parliament and more than half of the country’s leading journalists were brought up in private educational institutions. Among military leaders and in the judiciary, it’s three-quarters.

Those who aren’t members of this club are forced to struggle, and for many, it is a struggle that confirms their feeling that they’re living in an economic system and not in a political system. For those who grow up in South Wales or the northwest of England, the UK is a gray, hyper-capitalist oligarchy in which anyone with lots of money or a famous last name can rise up the ladder. Cold Britannia.

Democracy works better when the economy is growing, which is why the Tories are trying to offer excluded voters a new home by becoming the new worker’s party. Theresa May has recognized this opportunity. Under old-school socialist Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party is in ruins. May won’t jeopardize the Conservatives’ status as the only party capable of governing by turning the Brexit ideologues within her party against her.

She is the second woman to become prime minister after Margaret Thatcher. Both share a disciplined, almost self-exploitative relationship to work, but that’s where the similarities end. At the Conservative Party Conference, May spoke highly of the state and that it must be prepared to do what individuals and markets cannot. She spoke about worker’s rights and said she would be firm with companies and conglomerates that avoid paying taxes.

For many within her party, those who would like the state to limit its activities to the military and garbage collection, such interventionist rhetoric is an affront. May, though, has bought herself the political leeway to take such a position by adopting a hard line against the EU and immigrants. She wants to be the woman who negotiates the British-European free-trade agreement. That will take years, maybe a decade. And afterwards, this country will be a different one.

EU citizens tell RT about their Brexit fears as campaign is launched to keep them in Britain

October 14, 2016


European citizens living in Britain have told RT about how they fear for their jobs, their safety, and their families as Prime Minister Theresa May’s “hard Brexit” plans threaten their residency rights.

On Thursday, charities, trade unions and lobbying groups launched a cross-party campaign to defend EU nationals in the UK. The “Write to Remain” movement aims to inundate the PM with letters demanding citizens from the remaining 27 member states are able to stay.

There are currently an estimated 3.5 million EU nationals living in the United Kingdom, many of whom have been here for several decades. May has hinted that their right to remain in the country would not be changed, but Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s proposal for companies to hand in lists of their foreign workers has left many frightened.

“My partner was in a state of shock for a couple of days,” father-of-one Ruben de Dios Armesto, who moved from Spain to the UK in 2004, told RT. “She started thinking ‘oh we have to move, we have to’, and I have to keep telling her ‘calm, this is two years, it’s not going to happen for at least two years, so…’”

And while he believed EU nationals should wait to see what deal is offered to them through the Brexit negotiations, he also worries about his little boy’s safety in school.

“Before I travelled without thinking about it, at the moment I go outside where I live which is Whitechapel and I haven’t had any problems whatsoever,” he added. “[Now] I feel weary, I think I’m scared of someone verbally abusing me or something like that because a couple of friends of mine have been verbally abused before, so I feel a bit weird about that.

“I want to be here, but if I am not welcome what’s the point of being here?”

Nearly 52 (17,410,742) percent of voters supported Britain leaving the European Union on the June 23 referendum. Only 48 percent (16,141,241) voted to stay.

Write to Remain, which counts on the support of politicians like Chuka Umunna, pledged to press for an “explicit commitment” from the government that EU citizens living in Britain are safe. The same respectful and welcoming treatment would be expected from European governments towards Brits living in their countries.

“EU nationals here and Brits living in the rest of the EU are people, not pawns to be used in Brexit negotiations,” said Umunna.

“EU citizens living here make an enormous contribution to our economy and our society and they and their families deserve to be given categorical assurances without further worrying delay.”

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary echoed the sentiment saying: “EU citizens living in the UK are our friends, neighbours, and workmates. They might be your doctor or your child’s teacher. It’s immoral to keep them in limbo, and inhuman to treat them as bargaining chips.

“The public believes they deserve to stay, and Brits living on the continent need a guarantee they can stay too. So we call on the prime minister to do the right thing and sign a joint commitment to the right to remain.”

Air Force investigates outage of secret computer network at its major drone base – report

October 14, 2016


The US Air Force is reportedly looking into a computer system outage at a base it uses to operate armed drones over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. The failure could be linked to a number of fatal battlefield incidents days after it was revealed.

However, the Air Force has kept silent, refusing to publicly elaborate on either the outage or the possible impact it had.

When contacted by BuzzFeed News, military spokesman Major Malinda Singleton only said that “the investigation into the issue is ongoing.”

The system failure dates back to September 9, but was only discovered nearly a month later from a contractor notice from the government.

The Air Force posted a bid on FedBizOpps, the government’s primary tender market, on October 7, saying that “the SIPRNet system currently in operation at Creech AFB failed and critical services were impacted.”

The notice read that the services were “somewhat restored” and stabilized via “multiple less powerful devices,” but help was need to upgrade the system.

SIPRNet stands for the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, a “hidden” intranet that lets the Department of Defense exchange classified information, intelligence, data on strategic targets and more.

The network is essential for Nevada-located Creech Air Force Base, a “launch pad” for America’s armed drones, such as Predators and Reapers, which the US military operates over Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Coincidentally or not, the outage was followed by a number of drone-involved incidents, in which dozens of people, both soldiers and civilians were killed.

On September 17, an airstrike by the US-led coalition hit Syrian government forces’ positions near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, killing 62 troops and wounding over 100 during a ceasefire.

At the time, US Central Command said that there had been no intention to strike the Syrian military unit and promised to investigate.

Nearly 10 days later, on September 28, a US military airstrike designed to target Islamic State militants in Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 15 civilians and injured another 13

On the same day, another US drone strike, but in Somalia, killed 22 local soldiers and civilians.

While all those strikes are being investigated, according to the US government, the Air Force spokesperson rejected any possibility that they could be linked to the outage.

“If there are any issues on a SIPR network, it would not disrupt flight operations,” Singleton told BuzzFeed.

At the same time, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT that the failure could have played a role in those attacks.

“The timely flow of information, especially if you are talking about targeting information, can be delayed, and as a consequence they miss the opportunity or they may have had information, which was two or three days old and they hit that location and that group may have moved, such as in the case with the Syrians,” Maloof suggested. “If things are moving in real time, then you need to have information flow in real time, and if there is a delay, even for a day, that can be costly.”

In its report, BuzzFeed also pointed out that on the day SIPRNet crashed at Creech AFB, the Air Force announced a surprise cybersecurity inspection, warning its staffers about phishing attacks and urging everyone to be careful in securing their login credentials. The inspection was set to start “as early as October.”

However, Maloof does not believe the outage last month could have been a consequence of a hacker attack on the system.

“It probably was more technical than anything, because the system is used extensively – two departments, including the Intelligence Committee use [it] around the world,” he said. “I doubt that it was hacked, because of the algorithms that are used in the SIPRNet.”

Rocket attack hits touristy Antalya region

Multiple rockets have destroyed a fish restaurant in the Turkey’s coastal resort region of Antalya. No casualties have been reported in the rare daylight attack along the Mediterranean coastline.

October 14, 2016


Early reports Friday suggest up to three rockets fired by unknown assailants hit a roadside fish stall in the resort town of Kemer, the private Dogan news agency said.

No one was wounded or killed and it’s unclear why a restaurant would be targeted. The rockets appeared to have come from the mountainous highlands above the harbor.

One working theory is that a nearby tanker ship moored on the dock could have been the intended target.

Multiple rockets have destroyed a fish restaurant in the Turkey’s coastal resort region of Antalya. No casualties have been reported in the rare daylight attack along the Mediterranean coastline.

The number of foreigners visiting Turkey dropped over 40 percent in June to its lowest level this year as the impact of attacks for the vital tourism industry. (28.07.2016)

Early reports Friday suggest up to three rockets fired by unknown assailants hit a roadside fish stall in the resort town of Kemer, the private Dogan news agency said.

No one was wounded or killed and it’s unclear why a restaurant would be targeted. The rockets appeared to have come from the mountainous highlands above the harbor.

One working theory is that a nearby tanker ship moored on the dock could have been the intended target.

The Antalya region is one of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations although numbers have plunged this year as repeated attacks in the country have kept visitors away. Even so, Antalya is usually seen as one of the most stable and safe regions although it has on occasion seen minor roadside attacks blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Dangerous idiots: how the liberal media elite failed working-class Americans

Trump supporters are not the caricatures journalists depict – and native Kansan Sarah Smarsh sets out to correct what newsrooms get wrong

October 13, 2016

by Sarah Smarsh

The Guradian

Last March, my 71-year-old grandmother, Betty, waited in line for three hours to caucus for Bernie Sanders. The wait to be able to cast her first-ever vote in a primary election was punishing, but nothing could have deterred her. Betty – a white woman who left school after ninth grade, had her first child at age 16 and spent much of her life in severe poverty – wanted to vote.

So she waited with busted knees that once stood on factory lines. She waited with smoking-induced emphysema and the false teeth she’s had since her late 20s – both markers of our class. She waited with a womb that in the 1960s, before Roe v Wade, she paid a stranger to thrust a wire hanger inside after she discovered she was pregnant by a man she’d fled after he broke her jaw.

Betty worked for many years as a probation officer for the state judicial system in Wichita, Kansas, keeping tabs on men who had murdered and raped. As a result, it’s hard to faze her, but she has pronounced Republican candidate Donald Trump a sociopath “whose mouth overloads his ass”.

No one loathes Trump – who suggested women should be punished for having abortions, who said hateful things about groups of people she has loved and worked alongside since childhood, whose pomp and indecency offends her modest, midwestern sensibility – more than she.

Yet, it is white working-class people like Betty who have become a particular fixation among the chattering class during this election: what is this angry beast, and why does it support Trump?

Not so poor: Trump voters are middle class

Hard numbers complicate, if not roundly dismiss, the oft-regurgitated theory that income or education levels predict Trump support, or that working-class whites support him disproportionately. Last month, results of 87,000 interviews conducted by Gallup showed that those who liked Trump were under no more economic distress or immigration-related anxiety than those who opposed him.

According to the study, his supporters didn’t have lower incomes or higher unemployment levels than other Americans. Income data misses a lot; those with healthy earnings might also have negative wealth or downward mobility. But respondents overall weren’t clinging to jobs perceived to be endangered. “Surprisingly”, a Gallup researcher wrote, “there appears to be no link whatsoever between exposure to trade competition and support for nationalist policies in America, as embodied by the Trump campaign.”

Earlier this year, primary exit polls revealed that Trump voters were, in fact, more affluent than most Americans, with a median household income of $72,000 – higher than that of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supporters. Forty-four percent of them had college degrees, well above the national average of 33% among whites or 29% overall. In January, political scientist Matthew MacWilliams reported findings that a penchant for authoritarianism – not income, education, gender, age or race –predicted Trump support.

These facts haven’t stopped pundits and journalists from pushing story after story about the white working class’s giddy embrace of a bloviating demagogue.

In seeking to explain Trump’s appeal, proportionate media coverage would require more stories about the racism and misogyny among white Trump supporters in tony suburbs. Or, if we’re examining economically driven bitterness among the working class, stories about the Democratic lawmakers who in recent decades ended welfare as we knew it, hopped in the sack with Wall Street and forgot American labor in their global trade agreements.

But, for national media outlets comprised largely of middle- and upper-class liberals, that would mean looking their own class in the face.

The faces journalists do train the cameras on – hateful ones screaming sexist vitriol next to Confederate flags – must receive coverage but do not speak for the communities I know well. That the media industry ignored my home for so long left a vacuum of understanding in which the first glimpse of an economically downtrodden white is presumed to represent the whole.

Part of the current glimpse is JD Vance, author of the bestselling new memoir Hillbilly Elegy. A successful attorney who had a precariously middle-class upbringing in an Ohio steel town, Vance wrote of the chaos that can haunt a family with generational memory of deep poverty. A conservative who says he won’t vote for Trump, Vance speculates about why working-class whites will: cultural anxiety that arises when opioid overdose kills your friends and the political establishment has proven it will throw you under the bus. While his theories may hold up in some corners, in interviews coastal media members have repeatedly asked Vance to speak for the entire white working class.

His interviewers and reviewers often seem relieved to find someone with ownership on the topic whose ideas in large part confirm their own. The New York Times election podcast The Run-Up said Vance’s memoir “doubles as a cultural anthropology of the white underclass that has flocked to the Republican presidential nominee’s candidacy”. (The Times teased its review of the book with the tweet: “Want to know more about the people who fueled the rise of Donald Trump?”)

While Vance happens to have roots in Kentucky mining country, most downtrodden whites are not conservative male Protestants from Appalachia. That sometimes seems the only concept of them that the American consciousness can contain: tucked away in a remote mountain shanty like a coal-dust-covered ghost, as though white poverty isn’t always right in front of us, swiping our credit cards at a Target in Denver or asking for cash on a Los Angeles sidewalk.

One-dimensional stereotypes fester where journalism fails to tread. The last time I saw my native class receive substantial focus, before now, was over 20 years ago – not in the news but on the television show Roseanne, the fictional storylines of which remain more accurate than the musings of comfortable commentators in New York studios.

Countless images of working-class progressives, including women such as Betty, are thus rendered invisible by a ratings-fixated media that covers elections as horse races and seeks sensational b-roll.

This media paradigm created the tale of a divided America – “red” v “blue”– in which the 42% of Kansans who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 are meaningless.

This year, more Kansans caucused for Bernie Sanders than for Donald Trump – a newsworthy point I never saw noted in national press, who perhaps couldn’t fathom that “flyover country” might contain millions of Americans more progressive than their Clinton strongholds.

In lieu of such coverage, media makers cast the white working class as a monolith and imply an old, treacherous story convenient to capitalism: that the poor are dangerous idiots.

Poor whiteness and poor character

The two-fold myth about the white working class – that they are to blame for Trump’s rise, and that those among them who support him for the worst reasons exemplify the rest – takes flight on the wings of moral superiority affluent Americans often pin upon themselves.

I have never seen them flap so insistently as in today’s election commentary, where notions of poor whiteness and poor character are routinely conflated.

In an election piece last March in the National Review, writer Kevin Williamson’s assessment of poor white voters – among whom mortality rates have sharply risen in recent decades – expressed what many conservatives and liberals alike may well believe when he observed that communities ravaged by oxycodone use “deserve to die”.

“The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles,” Williamson wrote. “Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin.”

For confirmation that this point is lost on most reporters, not just conservative provocateurs, look no further than a recent Washington Post series that explored spiking death rates among rural white women by fixating on their smoking habits and graphically detailing the “haggard face” and embalming processes of their corpses. Imagine wealthy white woman examined thusly after their deaths. The outrage among family and friends with the education, time, and agency to write letters to the editor would have been deafening.

A sentiment that I care for even less than contempt or degradation is their tender cousin: pity.

In a recent op-ed headlined Dignity and Sadness in the Working Class, David Brooks told of a laid-off Kentucky metal worker he met. On his last day, the man left to rows of cheering coworkers – a moment I read as triumphant, but that Brooks declared pitiable. How hard the man worked for so little, how great his skills and how dwindling their value, Brooks pointed out, for people he said radiate “the residual sadness of the lonely heart”.

I’m hard-pressed to think of a worse slight than the media figures who have disregarded the embattled white working class for decades now beseeching the country to have sympathy for them. We don’t need their analysis, and we sure don’t need their tears. What we need is to have our stories told, preferably by someone who can walk into a factory without his own guilt fogging his glasses.

One such journalist, Alexander Zaitchik, spent several months on the road in six states getting to know white working-class people who do support Trump. His goal for the resulting new book, The Gilded Rage, was to convey the human complexity that daily news misses. Zaitchik wrote that his mission arose from frustration with “‘hot takes’ written by people living several time zones and income brackets away from their subjects”.

Zaitchik wisely described those he met as a “blue-collar middle class”– mostly white people who have worked hard and lost a lot, whether in the market crash of 2008 or the manufacturing layoffs of recent decades. He found that their motivations overwhelmingly “started with economics and ended with economics”. The anger he observed was “pointed up, not down” at those who forgot them when global trade deals were negotiated, not at minority groups.

Meanwhile, the racism and nationalism that surely exist among them also exist among Democrats and higher socioeconomic strata. A poll conducted last spring by Reuters found that a third of questioned Democrats supported a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. In another, by YouGov, 45% of polled Democrats reported holding an unfavorable view of Islam, with almost no fluctuation based on household income. Those who won’t vote for Trump are not necessarily paragons of virtue, while the rest are easily scapegoated as the country’s moral scourge.

When Hillary Clinton recently declared half of Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables”, Zaitchik told another reporter, the language “could be read as another way of saying ‘white-trash bin’.” Clinton quickly apologized for the comment, the context of which contained compassion for many Trump voters. But making such generalizations at a $6m fundraiser in downtown New York City, at which some attendees paid $50,000 for a seat, recalled for me scenes from the television political satire Veep in which powerful Washington figures discuss “normals” with distaste behind closed doors.

When we talked, Zaitchik mentioned HBO talk-show host Bill Maher, who he pointed out “basically makes eugenics-level arguments about anyone who votes for Donald Trump having congenital defects. You would never get away with talking that way about any other group of people and still have a TV show.”

Maher is, perhaps, the pinnacle of classist smugness. In the summer of 1998, when I was 17 and just out of high school, I worked at a grain elevator during the wheat harvest. An elevator 50 miles east in Haysville, Kansas, exploded (grain dust is highly combustible), killing seven workers. The accident rattled my community and reminded us about the physical dangers my family and I often faced as farmers.

I kept going to work like everyone else and, after a long day weighing wheat trucks and hauling heavy sacks of feed in and out of the mill, liked to watch Politically Incorrect, the ABC show Maher hosted then. With the search for one of the killed workers’ bodies still under way, Maher joked, as I recall, that the people should check their loaves of Wonder Bread.

That moment was perhaps my first reckoning with the hard truth that, throughout my life, I would politically identify with the same people who often insult the place I am from.

Such derision is so pervasive that it’s often imperceptible to the economically privileged. Those who write, discuss, and publish newspapers, books, and magazines with best intentions sometimes offend with obliviousness.

Many people recommended to me the bestselling new history book White Trash, for instance, without registering that its title is a slur that refers to me and the people I love as garbage. My happy relief that someone set out to tell this ignored thread of our shared past was squashed by my wincing every time I saw it on my shelf, so much so that I finally took the book jacket off. Incredibly, promotional copy for the book commits precisely the elitist shaming Isenberg is out to expose: “(the book) takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing – if occasionally entertaining –poor white trash.”

The book itself is more sensitively wrought and imparts facts that one hopes would dismantle popular use of its titular term. But even Isenberg can’t escape our classist frameworks.

When On the Media host Brooke Gladstone asked Isenberg, earlier this year, to address long-held perceptions of poor whites as bigots, the author described a conundrum:“They do subscribe to certain views that are undoubtedly racist, and you can’t mask it and pretend that it’s not there. It is very much a part of their thinking.”

Entertain a parallel broad statement about any other disenfranchised group, and you might begin to see how rudimentary class discussion is for this relatively young country that long believed itself to be free of castes. Isenberg has sniffed out the hypocrisy in play, though.

“The other problem is when people want to blame poor whites for being the only racist in the room,” she told Gladstone. “… as if they’re more racist than everyone else.”

That problem is rooted in the notion that higher class means higher integrity. As journalist Lorraine Berry wrote last month, “The story remains that only the ignorant would be racist. Racism disappears with education we’re told.” As the first from my family to hold degrees, I assure you that none of us had to go to college to learn basic human decency.

Berry points out that Ivy-League-minted Republicans shepherded the rise of the alt-right. Indeed, it was not poor whites – not even white Republicans – who passed legislation bent on preserving segregation, or who watched the Confederate flag raised outside state capitols for decades to come.

It wasn’t poor whites who criminalized blackness by way of marijuana laws and the “war on drugs”.

Nor was it poor whites who conjured the specter of the black “welfare queen”.

These points should not minimize the horrors of racism at the lowest economic rungs of society, but remind us that those horrors reside at the top in different forms and with more terrible power.

Among reporters and commentators this election cycle, then, a steady finger ought be pointed at whites with economic leverage: social conservatives who donate to Trump’s campaign while being too civilized to attend a political rally and yell what they really believe.

Mainstream media is set up to fail the ordinary American

Based on Trump’s campaign rhetoric and available data, it appears that most of his voters this November will be people who are getting by well enough but who think of themselves as victims.

One thing the media misses is that a great portion of the white working class would align with any sense before victimhood. Right now they are clocking in and out of work, sorting their grocery coupons, raising their children to respect others, and avoiding political news coverage.

Barack Obama, a black man formed by the black experience, often cites his maternal lineage in the white working class. “A lot of what’s shaped me came from my grandparents who grew up on the prairie in Kansas,” he wrote this month to mark a White House forum on rural issues.

Last year, talking with author Marilynne Robinson for the New York Review of Books, Obama lamented common misconceptions of small-town middle America, for which he has a sort of reverence. “There’s this huge gap between how folks go about their daily lives and how we talk about our common life and our political life,” he said, naming one cause as “the filters that stand between ordinary people” who are busy getting by and complicated policy debates.

“I’m very encouraged when I meet people in their environments,” Obama told Robinson. “Somehow it gets distilled at the national political level in ways that aren’t always as encouraging.”

To be sure, one discouraging distillation – the caricature of the hate-spewing white male Trump voter with grease on his jeans – is a real person of sorts. There were one or two in my town: the good ol’ boy who menaces those with less power than himself – running people of color out of town with the threat of violence, denigrating women, shooting BB guns at stray cats for fun. They are who Trump would be if he’d been born where I was.

Media fascination with the hateful white Trump voter fuels the theory, now in fashion, that bigotry is the only explanation for supporting him. Certainly, financial struggle does not predict a soft spot for Trump, as cash-strapped people of color – who face the threat of his racism and xenophobia, and who resoundingly reject him, by all available measures – can attest. However, one imagines that elite white liberals who maintain an air of ethical grandness this election season would have a harder time thinking globally about trade and immigration if it were their factory job that was lost and their community that was decimated.

Affluent analysts who oppose Trump, though, have a way of taking a systemic view when examining social woes but viewing their place on the political continuum as a triumph of individual character. Most of them presumably inherited their political bent, just like most of those in “red” America did. If you were handed liberalism, give yourself no pats on the back for your vote against Trump.

Spare, too, the condescending argument that disaffected Democrats who joined Republican ranks in recent decades are “voting against their own best interests,” undemocratic in its implication that a large swath of America isn’t mentally fit to cast a ballot.

Whoever remains on Trump’s side as stories concerning his treatment of women, racism and other dangers continue to unfurl gets no pass from me for any reason. They are capable of voting, and they own their decisions. Let’s be aware of our class biases, though, as we discern who “they” are.

Journalist? Then the chances are you’re not blue collar

A recent print-edition New York Times cutline described a Kentucky man:

“Mitch Hedges, who farms cattle and welds coal-mining equipment. He expects to lose his job in six months, but does not support Mr Trump, who he says is ‘an idiot.’”

This made me cheer for the rare spotlight on a member of the white working class who doesn’t support Trump. It also made me laugh – one can’t “farm cattle”. One farms crops, and one raises livestock. It’s sometimes hard for a journalist who has done both to take the New York Times seriously.

The main reason that national media outlets have a blind spot in matters of class is the lack of socioeconomic diversity within their ranks. Few people born to deprivation end up working in newsrooms or publishing books. So few, in fact, that this former laborer has found cause to shift her entire writing career to talk specifically about class in a wealth-privileged industry, much as journalists of color find themselves talking about race in a whiteness-privileged one.

This isn’t to say that one must reside among a given group or place to do it justice, of course, as good muckrakers and commentators have shown for the past century and beyond. See On the Media’s fine new series on poverty, the second episode of which includes Gladstone’s reflection that “the poor are no more monolithic than the rest of us.”

I know journalists to be hard-working people who want to get the story right, and I’m resistant to rote condemnations of “the media”. The classism of cable-news hosts merely reflects the classism of privileged America in general. It’s everywhere, from tweets describing Trump voters as inbred hillbillies to a Democratic campaign platform that didn’t bother with a specific anti-poverty platform until a month out from the general election.

The economic trench between reporter and reported on has never been more hazardous than at this moment of historic wealth disparity, though, when stories focus more often on the stock market than on people who own no stocks. American journalism has been willfully obtuse about the grievances on Main Streets for decades – surely a factor in digging the hole of resentment that Trump’s venom now fills. That the term “populism” has become a pejorative among prominent liberal commentators should give us great pause. A journalism that embodies the plutocracy it’s supposed to critique has failed its watchdog duty and lost the respect of people who call bullshit when they see it.

One such person was my late grandfather, Arnie. Men like Trump sometimes drove expensive vehicles up the gravel driveway of our Kansas farmhouse looking to do some sort of business. Grandpa would recognize them as liars and thieves, treat them kindly, and send them packing. If you shook their hands, after they left Grandpa would laugh and say, “Better count your fingers.”

In a world in which the Bettys and Arnies of the world have little voice, those who enjoy a platform from which to speak might examine their hearts and minds before stepping onto the soap box.

If you would stereotype a group of people by presuming to guess their politics or deeming them inferior to yourself – say, the ones who worked third shift on a Boeing floor while others flew to Mexico during spring break; the ones who mopped a McDonald’s bathroom while others argued about the minimum wage on Twitter; the ones who cleaned out their lockers at a defunct Pabst factory while others drank craft beer at trendy bars; the ones who came back from the Middle East in caskets while others wrote op-eds about foreign policy – then consider that you might have more in common with Trump than you would like to admit.

 A Clinton Win Means an Expanded War in Syria

October 13, 2016

by Daniel Larison

The Amrerican Conservative

Michael Brendan Dougherty hopes Clinton is lying about her Syria policy:

And that is what is so nerve-wracking about the way that Clinton has now begun redefining America’s mission in Syria once again. At first, Obama went over the top of public opinion to avenge American honor against ISIS. Slowly, America’s mission has crept to include some form of regime change with the ouster of Assad. Now Clinton is selling the American people on greater military interventions so that the U.S. can challenge Putin.

Clinton seems unable to distinguish between what is of vital interest to the Russians and peripheral interest to America. She combines this with her bias toward always taking action — of any sort, for good or ill. The combination is dangerous. And it makes the Republicans’ inability to field someone capable of challenging her intelligently on these terms even more egregious.

Unfortunately, we have every reason to believe that Clinton intends to escalate U.S. involvement in the Syrian war. She has repeatedly affirmed that this is what she wants to do, her running mate agrees with her, and her likely advisers and Cabinet appointees are at least as hawkish as she is. She isn’t winning any votes by promising to risk confrontation with Russia there, but this has been her public position for well over a year. She took that position again in Sunday’s debate. It is doing her no favors with progressives, but she hasn’t hedged on her hawkishness in the slightest as a candidate.

We also can’t dismiss this as nothing more than “tough” talk that doesn’t tell us what she will do once she is president. The more hawkish her campaign rhetoric is, the more likely it is that she will be boxed in by it when she takes office. There is also the problem that there has been a steady drumbeat of demands for greater U.S. intervention in Syria for years, and Clinton routinely sides with the D.C. conventional wisdom on what the U.S. “must” do overseas. No matter what she says about force being a “last resort,” no one thinks that she is reluctant to resort to force in a foreign conflict. Syria hawks that have wanted the U.S. to increase its role in the conflict will be pushing on an open door, and unless there is another public backlash like the one we saw in 2013 we should assume that Clinton will escalate in Syria sometime next year.

Leonid Bershidsky also finds Clinton’s approach to Russia disturbing:

I took part in the 2011 protests and I agree with Clinton’s assessment of Putin. And yet I, too, think a Clinton presidency would be bad for Russia — and that would ultimately hurt the U.S. as well.

Clinton’s positions on Russia are based on simplistic ideological lines.

Bershidsky sees Clinton as too inflexible and inclined to clash with Russia in both Syria and Ukraine, and that seems indisputable based on her past record and current positions. Because Clinton is on record supporting sending arms to Ukraine, there is real danger that the conflict there could get much worse if she follows through on that:

Poroshenko’s fondest wish is to get lethal weapons from the U.S., but granting it would probably lead to an even more destructive and deadly phase of the now-frozen conflict. What will the U.S. do if Ukraine is overrun by Russian troops as a result? Neither Clinton nor anyone else in Washington has even discussed this possibility in public.

Advocates for arming Ukraine don’t discuss this because it draws attention to the glaring flaw in their proposal that critics have been pointing out for months.

Noah Millman noted the other day that one of the reasons that Clinton exaggerates the threat from Russia is her overall hawkishness, but he suggests it also could be because “she’s an American primacist and therefore ideologically can’t come to an accommodation with any other power about spheres of influence.” I think both of those are correct. The danger of a Clinton presidency is that she really seems to believe the bromides about U.S. “leadership” in the world that she repeats, and she hasn’t been and won’t be shy about using force to put them into action. She has told us explicitly many times that this is what she means to do in Syria. If there is to be any chance of stopping that, that needs to be taken as a given and the opposition needs to start organizing now.









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