Updates from December, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Jack 8:54 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: flying car   

    Flying Car 

    Flying car coming in Spring 2018 has 200mph top speed and 450 miles of range.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2B08Xlc

     
  • Jack 4:08 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Islamic Extremism 

    Who is Purest of Them All?

    Link: http://bit.ly/2ksi71R

     
  • Jack 4:04 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , trey gowdy, ,   

    Reps Jim Jordan & Trey Gowdy Question Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 

     
  • Jack 4:00 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: dick morris, ,   

    Proof: The Deep State & Bruce Ohr Orchestrated The Dossier! 

     
  • Jack 3:57 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: Alabama special election, ,   

    Voter Fraud? 

    Election security experts question Alabama’s decision to destroy ballot copies.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2ksPT6X

     
  • Jack 3:52 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |  

    Dirty Voter Registration Rolls 

    Judicial Watch Sues California and Los Angeles.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2yrvh4h

     
  • Jack 3:49 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |  

    Republican Defeats: Republican Rethinking 

    Newt Gingrich writes that the GOP are doing a lot of losing lately and need to wake up.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2jUhHSi

     
  • Jack 3:45 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: anti-semitism,   

    Anti-Semitism Scandal Hits McMaster University 

    Anti-Israel students at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada have published multiple social media posts praising Adolf Hitler, demonizing Jews and glorifying terrorist organizations.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2AqeMHa

     
  • Jack 3:41 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: ,   

    “What The Hell Is Going On?” 

    Trey Gowdy Absolutely Destroys Farcical Mueller Probe In Epic Monologue

    Link: http://bit.ly/2BnWdXU

     
  • Jack 3:11 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: edmonton sun, , , , ,   

    Bad Judgement 

    It’s as if even the Wynne Liberals know it’s time to stick a fork in them, cause they’re done.

    That after 14 years in power, they’ve lost touch with ordinary Ontarians, most of whom work in the private sector.

    Take last week’s bizarre defence of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s minimum wage hikes by Barrie Liberal MPP Ann Hoggarth, who served up this gem:

    “If you’re going to go out of business on the backs of your employees because you can’t afford to pay them this, then perhaps you should reassess your business plan and reassess whether you should be an employer at all.”

    Hoggarth was no doubt drawing on her vast experience running a small business as a career elementary school teacher and past president of the Simcoe County Elementary Teachers Federation, before entering politics.

    Since my late father did run a small business — Al’s Men’s Wear on Yonge St. — and I was a teenager before I realized not all fathers worked six days a week, for at least 60 hours and often more, let me suggest what Hoggarth doesn’t understand.

    First, it’s not that Wynne hiked the minimum wage that has the Ontario Legislature’s Financial Accountability Office predicting it will put at least 50,000 jobs at risk, while the TD Bank says 90,000 and the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, an employers’ group, 185,000.

    It’s that Wynne announced a 31.6% hike to the minimum wage out of the blue in May, increasing it from $11.40 an hour to $15 in 15 months, from Oct. 1, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2019.

    Hoggarth apparently doesn’t understand hiking the minimum wage doesn’t just increase the payroll costs to small businesses for minimum wage workers, but for those earning more than the minimum wage as well.

    For example, when government raises the minimum wage from $11.40 to $15 over 15 months, small businesses also have to increase the salaries of employees who were earning $12 to about $17 an hour before the minimum wage hike was announced, in a similar time frame, if they want to keep good staff.

    A government that understood the vital importance to small businesses of cost predictability would have increased the minimum wage gradually over the Liberals’ 14 years in power, not hit them with massive hikes — particularly the increase from $11.60 on Oct. 1, 2017 to $14 on Jan. 1, 2018 — less than six months before the June, 2018 election.

    Does Hoggarth know anyone who has seen their salaries increase 31.6% over 15 months?

    If not, how does she expect small businesses to increase their revenues enough to cover a 31.6% hike to the minimum wage over that period?

    Because if you can’t increase revenues that quickly, then the only option is to reduce expenses by cutting back on labour costs.

    Finally, in addition to the minimum wage, Wynne is increasing the costs faced by small businesses for employee vacations, emergency leave, part-time and temporary work and shift cancellations.

    That’s to say nothing of the escalating costs small businesses have faced under Liberal policies to pay for such things as skyrocketing electricity bills and increasing natural gas costs, the latter caused by Wynne’s cap-and-trade carbon pricing scheme.

    On Monday, Wynne rejected calls from the Progressive Conservatives for Hoggarth to apologize for her arrogant and ignorant remarks.

    More proof the Liberals shouldn’t be in the business of government at all.

    lgoldstein@postmedia.com

    Source…

     
  • Jack 4:33 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , ,   

    This is fun. Elect a progressive birdbrain and become instantly poorer.

    http://cbsloc.al/2Aj109g

     
  • Jack 4:09 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: New site   

    Obviously the template needs a bit of work but I accomplished this change in about five minutes. I’ll come back at it tomorrow. For now nothing has been lost.

    This is what I’ll be going to when I go live at A2 hosting. I’ve always liked Instapundit (which is a microblog) and in time I’ll be looking for helpers who will also be able to link stories at that site. This one will be gone as of June 2018 and I’ll be working with one site again.

    Just FYI for now.

     
  • Jack 4:00 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    A video…

     
  • Jack 3:58 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    Second link…

    https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2017/12/13/the_top_10_technologies_that_concern_millennials.html

     
  • Jack 3:57 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    First link…

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nb-staff/2017/12/13/mrcs-bozell-negative-trump-coverage-weve-never-seen-anything-it

     
  • Jack 3:55 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: New template   

    Something new. This template is called a microblog and I’m going to give it a try to see if it improves my hits.

     
  • Jack 3:40 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Investigative Disaster 

    Special prosecutors, investigators, and counsels are usually a bad idea. They are admissions that constitutionally mandated institutions don’t work — and can be rescued only by supposed superhuman moralists, who are without the innate biases inherent in human nature.

    The record from Lawrence Walsh to Ken Starr to Patrick Fitzgerald suggests otherwise. Originally narrow mandates inevitably expand — on the cynical theory that everyone has something embarrassing to hide. Promised “short” timelines and limited budgets are quickly forgotten. Prosecutors search for ever new crimes to justify the expense and public expectations of the special-counsel appointment.

    Soon the investigators need to be investigated for their own conflicts of interest, as if we need special-special or really, really special prosecutors. Special investigations often quickly turn Soviet, in the sense of “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller has led what seems to be an exemplary life of public service. No doubt he believes that as a disinterested investigator he can get to the bottom of the once contentious charge of “Russian collusion” in the 2016 election. But can he?

    A Mandate Gone Wild

    Something has gone terribly wrong with the Mueller investigation.

    The investigation is venturing well beyond the original mandate of rooting out evidence of Russian collusion. Indeed, the word “collusion” is now rarely invoked at all. It has given way to its successor, “obstruction.” The latter likely will soon beget yet another catchphrase to justify the next iteration of the investigations.

    There seems far less special investigatory concern with the far more likely Russian collusion in the matters of the origins and dissemination of the Fusion GPS/Steele dossier, and its possible role in the Obama-administration gambit of improper or illegal surveilling, unmasking, and leaking of the names of American citizens.

    Leaks from the Mueller investigation so far abound. They have seemed calibrated to create a public consensus that particular individuals are currently under investigation, likely to be indicted — or indeed likely guilty.

    These public worries are not groundless. They are deeply rooted in the nature and liberal composition of the Mueller investigative team — whose left-leaning appointments just months ago had understandably made the liberal media giddy with anticipation from the outset. Wired, for instance, published this headline on June 14: “Robert Mueller Chooses His Investigatory Dream Team.” Vox, on August 22, wrote: “Meet the all-star legal team who may take down Trump.” The Daily Beast, two day later, chimed in: “Inside Robert Mueller’s Army.”

    Whose ‘Army,’ Whose ‘Dream Team,’ and Whose ‘All-Stars’?

    Special Counsel Mueller was himself appointed in rather strange circumstances. Former FBI director James Comey (now reduced to ankle-biting the president on Twitter with Wikipedia-like quotes) stated under oath that he had deliberately leaked his own confidential notes about conversations with President Trump, hoping to prompt appointment of a special investigator to investigate a president — whom he said, also under oath, that he was not investigating.

    Comey’s ploy worked all too well. Department of Justice officials, now in the Trump Justice Department but who once served in Barack Obama’s administration, selected Comey’s close friend and long associate Robert Mueller as investigator. From that germination, an innate conflict of interest was born — given that Mueller’s appointment assumed that Comey himself would not come under his own investigation, a supposition that may be increasingly untenable.

    Okay — but one such conflict of interest swallow does not make a discredited spring.

    But then there was the weird position of Comey subordinate and deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe. He ran the Washington, D.C., office that was involved in the Clinton email investigations. For some strange reason, McCabe did not recuse himself from the email investigation until one week before the presidential election, even though just months earlier his wife, Jill McCabe, had announced her Democratic campaign for a state senate seat in Virginia — and had received a huge donation of more than $675,000 from the political organizations of Governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton supporter and intimate. Like it or not, the behavior of the FBI during the Clinton email investigations also extends to the Russian-collusion probe, especially as it pertains to the Clinton-funded Fusion GPS/Steele dossier.

    Okay — Washington is an incestuous place, and such conflicts of interest may be unavoidable. Perhaps McCabe himself was not really so directly involved in the FBI investigations of Clinton, and perhaps he had not even talked about the current Mueller investigations.

    But then it was announced that at least six of Mueller’s staff of 15 lawyers, who previously had donated (in some cases quite generously) to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns, were now investigating her arch foe Donald Trump.

    Okay — no doubt, such apparent conflicts of interests are not what they seem (given the overwhelming preponderance of liberal lawyers in general and in particular in Washington). After all, no one should be disqualified from government service for his or her political beliefs.

    But then we came to the inexplicable case of Peter Strzok, an FBI investigator assigned to the Mueller investigation of Russian collusion. Strzok and Lisa Page, a consulting FBI lawyer (part of Mueller’s once-ballyhooed “dream team”), were for some reason relieved from the investigation of Trump in late summer 2016. Mueller’s office refused to explain the departure of either, other than to let the media assume that the departures were both unrelated and due to normal revolving or transient appointments.

    Okay — even dream-teamers and all-stars occasionally move on, and the less said, the better.

    But then we learn that the two, while part of Mueller’s investigation of Trump, were having an extramarital affair, and exchanging some 10,000 texts, of which at least some were adamantly anti-Trump and pro-Clinton. One wonders, Why did that information, now confirmed, come out through leaks rather than through official Mueller communiqués? In other words, if there is nothing now deemed improper about the two Trump investigators’ amorous political expressions or in the anti-Trump nature of their exchanges, why was there apparently such a reluctance in August and September to avoid full disclosure concerning their abrupt departures?

    Okay — perhaps indiscreet electronic communications and affairs in the workplace are no big deal in Washington.

    But then Strzok apparently was also responsible for changing the wording of the official FBI report on the Clinton email affair. He crossed out the original finding of “grossly negligent,” which is legalese that under the statute constitutes a crime, and replaced it with “extremely careless,” which does not warrant prosecution.

    Okay — perhaps we can shrug and suggest that Strzok surely did not have the final say in such verbal gymnastics. Or perhaps his anti-Trump, pro-Clinton sentiments were not germane to his mere copy editing or his reliance on a thesaurus.

    But then we learned that Andrew Weissmann, who is another veteran prosecutor assigned to Mueller’s legal team, praised Sally Yates, an Obama-administration holdover at the Trump Department of Justice, for breaking her oath of office and refusing to carry out President Trump’s immigration order (Yates was summarily fired). “I am so proud,” he emailed Yates, on the day she publicly defied the president. “And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.”

    Okay — it certainly does not look good that a disinterested government attorney investigating the president was so indiscreet as to write his admiration to a fellow Obama holdover who was fighting with Trump. But to give the anti-Trump attorneys the benefit of the doubt, perhaps Weissmann was merely reacting to Yates’s panache rather than to her shared political views?

    But then again, we learned that another attorney on the Mueller staff, Jeannie Rhee, was at one time the personal attorney of Ben Rhodes, the Obama deputy national-security adviser who is often mentioned as instrumental in making last-minute Obama-administrative-state appointments to thwart the incoming Trump administration. Rhee also provided legal counsel to the Clinton Foundation and was a generous donor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

    Rhee seemingly could not be a disinterested investigator of Trump, given that she has had financial interests with those, past and present, who are fiercely opposed to the current likely target of her investigations.

    Okay — but perhaps in Washington’s upside-down world, lawyers are mere hired guns who have no real political loyalties and they investigate, without bias, those whose politics they detest. Why should they feel a need to be shy about their political agendas?

    But then again, most recently, it was disclosed that a senior Justice Department official, Bruce G. Ohr, connected with various ongoing investigations under the aegis of the Justice Department, was partially reassigned for his contact with the opposition-research firm responsible for the Clinton-funded, anti-Trump “dossier” — which in theory could be one catalyst for the original FBI investigation of “collusion” and thus additionally might be the reason cited to request FISA orders to surveil Trump associates during the 2016 campaign. And note that it was also never disclosed that Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, whose expertise was Russian politics and history, actually worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign, when the opposition research firm’s discredited anti-Trump dossier alleging Russian collusion was leaked shortly before Election Day 2016.

    Okay — perhaps Ohr, as part of his job, was merely learning about aspects of the dossier from one of its owners, for future reference.

    But then again, we learned of the strange career odyssey of yet another person on Mueller’s legal team, Aaron Zebley (supposedly known in the past as Mueller’s “right-hand hand”). He once served as Mueller’s chief of staff while employed at the FBI and was also assigned to both the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and the National Security Division at the Department of Justice. In addition, Zebley served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the National Security and Terrorism Unit in Virginia. Yet Zebley, as late as 2015, represented one Justin Cooper. The latter was the IT staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s likely illegal and unsecure server at her home, and who purportedly smashed Clinton’s various BlackBerries with a hammer in fear they would be subpoenaed. Zebley had come into contact once earlier with congressional investigators, when he was legal counsel for Cooper — and yet Zebley now is on Mueller’s team investigating Donald Trump.

    What’s Next?

    By now there are simply too many coincidental conflicts of interest and too much improper investigatory behavior to continue to give the Mueller investigation the benefit of doubt. Each is a light straw; together, they now have broken the back of the probe’s reputation.

    In inexplicable fashion, Mueller seems to have made almost no effort to select attorneys from outside Washington, from diverse private law firms across the country, who were without personal involvement with the Clinton machine, and who were politically astute or disinterested enough to keep their politics to themselves.

    Indeed, the special-counsel investigation has developed an eerie resemblance to the spate of sexual-harassment cases, in which the accused sluff off initial charges as irrelevant, unproven, or politically motivated, only to be confronted with more fresh allegations that insidiously point to a pattern of repeated behavior.

    What then is going on here?

    No one knows. We should assume that there will be almost daily new disclosures of the Mueller investigation’s conflicts of interest that were heretofore deliberately suppressed.

    Yet Donald Trump at this point would be unhinged if he were to fire Special Counsel Mueller — given that the investigators seem intent on digging their own graves through conflicts of interest, partisan politicking, leaking, improper amorous liaisons, indiscreet communications, and stonewalling the release of congressionally requested information.

    Indeed, the only remaining trajectory by which Mueller and his investigators can escape with their reputations intact is to dismiss those staff attorneys who have exhibited clear anti-Trump political sympathies, reboot the investigation, and then focus on what now seems the most likely criminal conduct: Russian and Clinton-campaign collusion in the creation of the anti-Trump Fusion GPS dossier and later possible U.S. government participation in the dissemination of it. If such a fraudulent document was used to gain court approval to surveil Trump associates, and under such cover to unmask and leak names of private U.S. citizens — at first to warp a U.S. election, and then later to thwart the work of an incoming elected administration — then Mueller will be tasked with getting to the bottom of one of the greatest political scandals in recent U.S. history. Indeed, his legacy may not be that he welcomed in known pro-Clinton, anti-Trump attorneys to investigate the Trump 2016 campaign where there was little likelihood of criminality, but that he ignored the most egregious case of government wrongdoing in the last half-century.

    Source…

    See Also:

    (1) Trump lawyer wants separate special prosecutor to probe DOJ-Fusion conflicts

    (2) FBI’s McCabe ‘has an Ohr problem,’ will not testify on Tuesday, source says

    (3) Inside the Trump dossier handoff: McCain’s ‘go-between’ speaks out

     
  • Jack 3:39 am on December 12, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

    Sincere Advice 

    The American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is an inspired move and the Canadian government’s decision to respond judiciously is very commendable. Nothing useful in the Middle East peace process has occurred in 25 years, but the correlation of forces in the region and the ambitions of the Arab powers have evolved. For decades, Israel’s most fanatical enemies were Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and the first two countries have disintegrated and Saudi Arabia is now an Israeli ally with Egypt and against Iran. The Arabs dislike the Palestinians at least as much as they dislike the Jews and the Lebanese Christians — all are considered commercial elites where they have been minorities in Arab countries, and as there are no more Jews and very few Christians in Arab countries, that animosity has abated. For decades the Arab powers used the Palestinian question as a red herring to enflame the Arab masses and distract them from the chronic misgovernment the Arab rulers were inflicting on their peoples. Now, for the first time since the British relinquished Palestine, and Jordan and France vacated Lebanon and Syria, 70 years ago, there is a physical encroachment on the Arab world, from their ancient Persian enemy.

    The Arab Spring was nonsense — the notion that democracy can easily take hold where it has never been and no institutions exist to promote it was a fantasy worthy of George W. Bush, whose aggressive championship of democracy handed Lebanon to Hezbollah and Gaza to Hamas, and contributed to the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, where it had been the 900 pound gorilla in the Arab house for 75 years. (By the dumb luck of the Brotherhood’s incompetence, the West dodged the bullet and the Egyptian army took back the government.) The only way forward is authoritarian government seeking economic growth and gradual social progress. This was essentially the course followed by the Shah of Iran, the most enlightened ruler Persia has had since Alexander the Great’s transitory regime 23 centuries ago, and he lost control of events to mad medieval theocrats. Saudi Arabia, a state that has been a joint venture between the House of Saud and the Wahhabi radical Islamic leadership, is now modernizing and becoming a benign and more secular dictatorship, leading the resistance to Iran. The new government of Saudi Arabia has proposed to the Palestinians a settlement of its affairs with Israel less generous than the Israelis have themselves offered, and it implicitly acknowledges that Jerusalem is Israeli.

    There will be no significant opposition to this move, apart from festive burnings of American flags and pictures of Donald Trump in the West Bank and Gaza. The Arab masses don’t care what happens to the Palestinians or Jerusalem (and the U.S. will presumably put its embassy in an uncontested section of Western Jerusalem). The Chinese and Russians object because they consider themselves rivals to the United States and are happy when the United States is mired in Middle Eastern conflicts as a prolonged, low-key Vietnam, as it was for 13 years under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. China has no dog in that hunt, and Russia fancies it has a role to play as champion of factions in several of the fictional or failed states in the region. The Western Europeans object because they think they have a role there as former colonial powers. In fact, there has never been a West European post-Second World War policy in that region except to await the American position and then stake out something more favourable to the Arabs.

    We have just observed the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which Jews, or at least Israel, have generously celebrated as the first recognition of Israel’s right to a Middle Eastern homeland. In fact, and as I have had occasion to remark in the British House of Lords (I am a member of it), the British, more than any other country, created this mess by selling the same real estate to two buyers at the same time, and inciting the right to possession of both, with the professed ambition to create “a Jewish homeland” without compromising the “rights of the Palestinians.” This was moonshine and Britain checked out, leaving the new Jewish state, established on the motion of Stalin’s U.S.S.R. at the United Nations, seconded by President Truman’s America, to fight for its life. The Jewish people effectively faced a second attempt at annihilation just three years after the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

    While the Arab sections of Israel have been under-served, the Arabs enjoy liberties they cannot exercise in any predominantly Arab country and have a large representation in the Israeli Knesset and full civil rights. To some extent, Israel has carried out the second part of the Balfour Declaration and observed Palestinian rights, difficult though it is when the official policy of the Palestinian leadership is the eviction or extermination of the Jews, yet again, and as so often before. It ill behooves Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, to say that President Trump has been “unhelpful.” The British dalliance in the Middle East was a disaster, except for British Petroleum, and ended in the ignominy of Suez in 1956, where Lester Pearson and Louis St. Laurent, with American encouragement, did what they could to salvage any decorum for Britain and France.

    This recent and contemporary bunk about Israel as an apartheid state is the last gasp of the useful idiots of primeval anti-Semitism. The Jews are the majority, unlike the Afrikaaners; the Arabs have substantial rights; and Israel was not just admitted to the United Nations as a territory and jurisdiction, like Canada and the United States and other existing countries in 1945 were, but was created by the United Nations as a Jewish state. It is the ultimate, legitimate country. The agitation about Jerusalem as capital is nonsense — the Israeli Knesset and Supreme Court are there and Russia recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in April of this year, which makes their disapproval of Trump’s move this week a bit rich, even by the unvaryingly cynical standards of the Kremlin. Prior to 1967, when the Jordanians ruled East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Jews could not pray at the Western wall, could not attend the Hebrew University at Mount Scopus or be treated at the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, which Jews had founded decades before, and they could not live in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, where their ancestors had lived for 200 generations. Trump has undone the shame of Obama allowing the United Nations last year to condemn Israeli possession of these sites as “a flagrant violation of international law.”

    All has changed in the Middle East. The Palestinians no longer benefit from the patronage of the Arab leaders to keep the pot boiling with Israel — they were happy to be cannon fodder, to prevent the improvement of the wretched settler camps or the resettlement of their inhabitants, as long as it made them personally rich and world famous. They could have had a Palestinian state any time in the last 40 years if they had been prepared to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, its raison d’être. They preferred celebrity and violence and some of their leaders have called for a new Intifada this week; presumably, this time, the population will have the intelligence to resist the call — it’s not as if the last two Intifadas were a howling success. They have been abandoned by their former patrons and Israel is geometrically stronger than it was even 20 years ago, not at all isolated, and not threatened by Iraq and Syria.

    The answer has been obvious since the Taba meetings in January 2001: the West bank becomes narrower and the Gaza Strip thicker and the Palestinians have a secure road between them. It isn’t Israel, which is primarily for the Jews, or Jordan, which is majority Palestinian but ruled by the Bedouins and the Hashemite kings, but it is a state, and with foreign assistance, which would be plentiful, and Palestinian tenacity, which is proverbial even by local standards, it would flourish. There are 198 countries in the world — not every newly created state can expect to be a Canada, Australia, or Brazil.

    Donald Trump has recognized realities and done the Palestinians a favour, if they and their ancient terrorist leadership aren’t too punch-drunk to recognize the facts: the Palestinians were used and are no longer useful. Donald Trump is a realist and is not overly concerned with the American Jewish vote, which is now infested with Jew-hating Jews anyway. The Palestinians should take what they can get while they can get it.

    National Post
    cbletters@gmail.co

    Source…

     
  • Jack 3:49 am on December 11, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , jerusalem, , , , , ,   

    Newsflash 

    The Palestinians declared a three-day-long “rage” spree over US President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Thus far, however, it seems that the real anger is showing up in the international media, not on the Palestinian street.

    Question: How many foreign journalists does it take to cover the Palestinian reaction to Trump’s announcement? Answer: As many as the Israel-Palestinian-conflict-obsessed-West can manage to send.

    The massive presence of the international media in Jerusalem and the West Bank has taken even the Palestinians by surprise. Since Trump’s announcement on December 6, dozens of additional journalists and camera crews have converged on Israel to cover “the big story.”

    The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, once a favorite haunt of international reporters, is once again packed with journalists from around the world.

    Some of these reporters, including those working for American networks, have been flown in from their working posts in London, Paris, Cairo and New York to cover what many of them are already calling the “New Palestinian Intifada.” But is it really a new intifada, or is it simply wishful thinking on the part of the swarm of Palestinian and foreign reporters?

    In the past few days, we have seen wild exaggeration in the media as to what is really happening in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. What is evident, however, is that the number of journalists and photographers covering the protests in the city has thus far exceeded the number of Palestinian protesters.

    Let us start with Friday, December 8, the final day of the announced Palestinian “rage.” The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other Palestinian groups told us to expect mass rallies and protests after Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. So did the reporters.

    By early morning, at least six television production trucks were stationed in the small parking lot outside the Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. The trucks belonged to various television stations were presumably brought there to film live broadcasts of the anticipated mass protests. Another 70-80 journalists and photographers were waiting, some impatiently, for the Muslim worshippers to finish their prayers and start their protests against President Trump’s announcement.

    What we got in the end was a small and peaceful protest of some 40 Palestinians, who chanted slogans against Israel, the US and Arab leaders — including Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who was dubbed a “traitor” and “Israeli spy.”

    Bjorn Stritzel, an honest and brave German journalist, tweeted from the scene: “More journalists than protesters after Friday prayers.”

    The media frenzy was echoed by several other reporters. “Three days of ‘rage’ have passed since Trump’s Jerusalem declaration and Armageddon hasn’t arrived,” remarked journalist Oren Kessler. “One is loath to make predictions of continued calm in the region, but thus far the doomsday prophecies have not materialized.”

    French journalist Piotr Smolar, who also waited for the “big” protest, wrote: “Dozens and dozens of journalists at Damascus gate, where nothing has happened until now.”

    Joe Dyke, a reporter with Agence France Press (AFP), tweeted this photo showing more journalists than protesters at Damascus Gate. He wrote: “Small Palestinian protest at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem broken up by the Israeli police. They seemed to object to a picture of Trump as a toilet.”

    Dyke later reported that he had “just walked through Jerusalem’s Old City and the situation is very calm. More police on streets but no issues as yet. Tourists milling about.”

    The following day, Saturday December 9, we witnessed a repetition of the same scenario in Jerusalem. The city was relatively quiet, but the presence of journalists and photographers loomed large. At noon, a small group of Palestinians (25-30) staged a protest on the main business thoroughfare of east Jerusalem, Salah Eddin Street, while chanting slogans against Israel and the US.

    Here is how the journalist Seth Frantzman of The Jerusalem Post, who was at the scene, described the situation: “There are more people with cameras here than anyone clashing (with police) at the moment.”

    Frantzman later had this to say about the “clash”: “There are as many media and onlookers taking photos here as there are youth and police waiting for the clashes.”

    There are nearly 300,000 Arabs living in Jerusalem, and the truth is that the vast majority did not take part in any of the small protests, which were staged deliberately as a show for the dozens of journalists who converged on the city. In fact, there were more protesters on the streets of Berlin, Cairo, Valencia (Spain) and Istanbul than in Jerusalem itself. With the exception of the two incidents at Damascus Gate and Salah Eddin Street, the remaining 28 Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem were mostly quiet, with nothing dramatic happening.

    The bored journalists were forced to don their helmets and bullet-proof vests and head to the West Bank, in the hope of capturing scenes of the “New Intifada.” What they found in the West Bank, however, was not unusual: minor “clashes” between stone throwers and Israeli soldiers occur almost every day.

    Protests against Israel and the US are not uncommon on the streets of Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem. But for the “war correspondents,” there is nothing more exciting than standing behind burning tires and stone throwers and reporting from the heart of the “clashes.” Such scenes make the journalists look as if they are in the middle of a battlefield and are risking their lives to bring the story home to their viewers. They might even receive an award for their “courageous” reporting from danger zones!

    That is what happens when you are afraid to go to Yemen, Libya, Syria or Iraq to cover the real bloodshed.

    Let us be frank. The large number of journalists dispatched to Israel expected — even hoped — that Trump’s announcement would trigger a new Palestinian intifada.

    This way, the media could blame Trump for “igniting violence,” instigating instability and “derailing” the peace process. It is all about media-based Trump-hatred. Of course, it is also about media-based Israel-hatred, searching for any excuse to blame the Jews for the “suffering” of the Palestinians. The journalists, however, will not let those pesky facts get in their way; they continue to report as if Jerusalem is engulfed in flames. The reality on the ground, though, is far from that.

    No peace process is about to be “derailed,” for the simple reason that there was not one on the first place — and there has not been one for years. Why? Mostly thanks to Palestinian rejectionism, indoctrination and incitement. The protests and violence we are witnessing in parts of Jerusalem and the West Bank constitute daily life here. It is not as if the Palestinians have not been carrying out terror attacks against Israel all these years. And it is not as if the Palestinians used to love Israel — or even recognized its right to exist — until Trump made his announcement last week.

    Newsflash for the journalists: There’s nothing new on the Palestinian street. Palestinian threats of violence and walking out of any “peace process” is old, old news. Jerusalem is not on fire. Jerusalem is tense, and has long been so, because the Palestinians have not yet managed to come to terms with Israel’s right to exist. That is the real story. The Palestinians rage and rage and rage for only one reason: because Israel exists. Put that in a story and publish it.

    Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

    Source…

    See Also:

    (1) Why Did Islamic State Kill So Many Sufis in Sinai?

    (2) Israeli defense chief calls for Arab boycott after protests

    (3) The Mullahs Overplay the Military Card

    (4) Why Radical Islam Is the Baby Boomers’ Fault

     
  • Jack 3:48 am on December 11, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , oscars, valerie richardson,   

    Fiction Award? 

    Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth” has ended up on the shortlist for Oscar consideration despite questions about its credibility raised by challenges to some of its climate-change claims.

    “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” was among the 15 films included by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on its list of those still in the hunt for 2017 Best Documentary, which will be pared down to five finalists when the nominees are announced Jan. 23.

    “We are humbled to be on the Oscars shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. Our message is more important than ever,” said the film’s Twitter account after the list was released Thursday.

    The Oscar buzz comes despite pushback from skeptics, led by University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologist Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist who accused Mr. Gore of attributing natural phenomena to human-caused climate change.

    In September, Mr. Spencer published an 84-page e-book, “An Inconvenient Deception,” which blasted the film as “bursting with bad science, bad policy, and some outright falsehoods.”

    “An Inconvenient Truth” was similarly rebuked by skeptics — Danish academic Bjorn Lomborg challenged it in a book and film called “Cool It”—but the movie earned $24 million at the box office, making it the 11th-highest grossing documentary of all time, according to Box Office Mojo.

    “An Inconvenient Truth” also won the 2007 Academy Awards for Best Documentary and Best Original Song, and helped bring Mr. Gore the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on human-caused climate change.

    The sequel wasn’t exactly a bomb but fell short of expectations, earning $3.5 million since its July release despite endorsements from celebrities like Paul McCartney and Bono while registering a tepid 49 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Critics were kinder, giving the sequel a 78 percent rating, but even those who liked the movie were less than effusive in their praise, using accolades such as “workmanlike” and “a hugely effective lecture.”

    “Would I still recommend ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’? Sure, although I doubt there is much one could glean from this movie that couldn’t be obtained by rewatching ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’” said Salon reviewer Matthew Rosza.

    Mr. Spencer’s e-book, now in its second edition, wound up becoming a surprise Amazon bestseller in the categories of climatology, science and math, and environmental science.

    One hotly contested scene shows Mr. Gore walking in ankle-deep water in the streets of Miami Beach, which he blames on sea-level rise due to climate change but which Mr. Spencer describes as a “natural rise [that is] magnified because buildings and streets were constructed on reclaimed swampland that has been sinking.”

    Mr. Gore also says in footage featured in the trailer that he was proven correct when he predicted in “An Inconvenient Truth” that the 9/11 Memorial in New York City would be underwater, which Mr. Lomborg disputed.

    “Then viewers are shown footage of Manhattan taking on water in 2012 after superstorm Sandy, apparently vindicating Mr. Gore’s claims,” said Mr. Lomborg in a June 27 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. “Never mind that what he actually predicted was flooding caused by melting ice in Greenland.”

    The skeptics’ website Climate Depot challenged more than a dozen of the film’s assertions in an extensive fact-check, while climate blogger Joanne Nova accused Mr. Gore of relying on “cherry-picked extremes.”

    Mr. Gore, the former Democratic vice president, has not responded publicly to the criticism.

    Other documentaries on the academy’s 15-film shortlist include “Jane,” about wildlife biologist Jane Goodall; “Icarus,” which explores secret Russian doping, and “Last Men in Aleppo,” about rescue workers in the Syrian civil war.

    Source…

     
  • Jack 1:05 pm on December 10, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , dan de luce, , , elizabeth shackelford, foreign policy, , rex tillerson, state department exodus, ,   

    Career Shattered? 

    An award-winning U.S. diplomat who was seen as a rising star at the State Department has issued a scathing resignation letter, accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Donald Trump administration of undercutting the State Department and damaging America’s influence in the world.

    Elizabeth Shackelford, who most recently served as a political officer based in Nairobi for the U.S. mission to Somalia, wrote to Tillerson that she reluctantly had decided to quit because the administration had abandoned human rights as a priority and shown disdain for the State Department’s diplomatic work, according to her letter, obtained by Foreign Policy.

    “I have deep respect for the career Foreign and Civil Service staff who, despite the stinging disrespect this Administration has shown our profession, continue the struggle to keep our foreign policy on the positive trajectory necessary to avert global disaster in increasingly dangerous times,” Shackelford wrote in her Nov. 7 letter, which is published below. One phrase was redacted on Shackelford’s request.

    “With each passing day, however, this task grows more futile, driving the Department’s experienced and talented staff away in ever greater numbers,” she wrote.

    Her former colleagues said her departure — and the sentiments expressed in her letter — reflect a wider exodus of midcareer diplomats who have lost confidence in Tillerson’s management and the Trump administration’s approach toward diplomacy.

    “She’s emblematic of what we’re losing across the board,” said one of Shackelford’s former State Department colleagues. “She is the best among us. We should not be losing the best among us. And that should concern people that we are,” the former colleague said.

    In her letter, Shackelford said she was leaving with a “heavy heart” as she recognized the potential of the State Department’s mission. She said she was “shocked” when Tillerson appeared to cast doubt on the importance of human rights in remarks to department employees on May 3.

    The State Department’s role in internal government debates also had “diminished,” she wrote, with the White House handing over authority to the Pentagon to shape the country’s foreign policy. Meanwhile, unfilled vacancies and proposed budget and staffing cuts had left the department adrift, with weakened influence inside the administration and on the ground, she wrote.

    “The cost of this is visible every day in Mission Somalia, my current post, where State’s diplomatic influence, on the country and within our own interagency, is waning,” she wrote.

    In the closing paragraph of her letter, Shackelford called on Tillerson “to stem the bleeding by showing leadership and a commitment to our people, our mission, and our mandate as the foreign policy arm of the United States.

    “If you are unable to do so effectively within this Administration, I would humbly recommend you follow me out the door.”

    Shackelford was singled out as an especially promising diplomat and was selected for future senior leadership roles, which a veteran foreign service officer said was exceptional at her age.

    When asked about the criticisms in the letter, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said: “We are not able to comment on the career choices of each person at the Department.”

    “However, I can say that the Secretary has made clear that his objective is to make the State Department more efficient, more effective, and for staff to have a much more rewarding and satisfying career,” she added.

    Tillerson has faced a wave of criticism from lawmakers and former senior diplomats about what they say is the dismantling of the State Department amid a hemorrhaging of top talent, a hiring freeze, and plummeting morale. He has firmly rejected the criticism, insisting the media mischaracterizes the rate of those leaving the department and that his plan to “redesign” the State Department is employee-driven and prioritizes the staff’s well-being.

    “What it’s done,” Tillerson said of the hiring freeze on Friday, “was just a little bit of a blunt instrument to have everyone be a little more disciplined about filling their positions.”

    But even his harshest critics say much of the blame for the troubled state of the foreign service rests with the president, who has shown an impatience with diplomacy and has often sidelined Tillerson.

    Shackelford’s sentiments also reflect a long-held but growing concern among diplomats and experts that U.S. policy is increasingly dominated and shaped by the military, particularly in Africa. The Pentagon has expanded its footprint and operations on the continent with additional funding while the State Department and USAID face steep budget cuts and a dearth of ambassadors or top appointees in Washington.

    Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a retired career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said the U.S. military has a vital role to play in Africa and elsewhere but said the pendulum was swinging too far away from diplomacy. “You can’t just do military. You have to have the complement of diplomatic and development working alongside the military colleagues,” she told FP.

    Somalia reflects a balance that clearly favors the military, as the State Department lacks the manpower and resources of its Pentagon counterparts. In recent months, the U.S. military has expanded its role with hundreds of troops and more strikes against al-Shabab militants, while diplomatic efforts have ebbed following the departure of U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz in October.

    The staff at the U.S. mission have repeatedly asked Washington for permission to meet Somali political leaders at Villa Somalia, the presidential residence, but the State Department has rejected the request on security grounds. U.S. military officers are able to meet Somali officials at the presidential palace, and other foreign diplomatic missions regularly visit the building for talks.

    Friday was Shackelford’s last day as a foreign service officer after nearly eight years in the State Department.

    Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, the 38-year-old Shackelford graduated first in her class at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. She worked at a law firm, then the consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton on foreign aid projects before joining the foreign service in 2010.

    Shackelford distinguished herself in South Sudan for overseeing the evacuation of 1,000 Americans and other foreign nationals when violence erupted in Juba in December 2013. For her leadership skills and crisis planning in the evacuation effort, she received a department-wide Barbara M. Watson award for consular excellence.

    During her stint in South Sudan, Shackelford worked to document and focus attention on human rights abuses, according to those she worked with and a personal statement she submitted as part of an employee evaluation. She cultivated contacts with South Sudanese civil society organizations and met with victims and witnesses of atrocities committed in the country’s conflict. Convinced that there could be no lasting peace without coming to terms with crimes committed on both sides, she co-wrote a dissenting cable backed by some of her fellow diplomats making that argument.

    “Her view was if we don’t deal with accountability now, whatever peace that’s achieved is going to be temporary,” said another former colleague, who worked with her in Juba. “She made it her mission to get human rights material out the door.”

    Shackelford is not alone in accusing the Trump administration of backsliding on America’s support for human rights and democracy over the past ten months. Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote a letter to the president on Friday accusing his administration of failing to assert America’s commitment to human rights.

    The lawmakers wrote that “for much of the past year, our national voice on international human rights issues has been largely silent.”

    But Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday that in a recent tour of Africa, he repeatedly raised human rights concerns with governments in Ethiopia and Sudan, saying it was a crucial element in the fight against terrorist threats.

    “The United States continues to emphasize respect for human rights as a fundamental part of our counterterrorism strategy,” Sullivan told lawmakers.

    Six months ago, when Shackelford began considering leaving the foreign service, her mentors and colleagues encouraged her to stay the course, telling her she had a promising career ahead of her and that the difficulties would pass, she told FP.

    But in a sign of plunging morale in the foreign service, when she spoke to those same colleagues two months ago about resigning, she got a much different response.

    “It had completely changed to a person,” she said. “Nobody tried to talk me out of it. Everybody said, ‘Yep, I get it.’”

    Source…

    See Also:

    (1) Media Close 2017 Proving Trump 100 Percent Correct About Fake News

    (2) Nikki Haley Backs Trump’s Jerusalem Move in Face of Hostile UN: ‘Change is Hard’

    (3) Trump Demands Border Wall, Immigration Cuts at Swearing In of Pro-Amnesty DHS Secretary

     
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