The ‘Other’ Homeland   
When the country of my birth deeply disappoints me … my Mind always seems to drift back to the Birthplace of ‘All’  Mankind and where the birds of Eden sang.
          TS250: Beyonce, Burkinis, Hate Crimes, Guest Alia Shawkat   
This week Erin and Bryan revel in the musical stylings of Beyonce and Selena, one of whom just slayed at the VMAs. Also while Jean Valjean's homeland of France has outlawed the burkini to "protect women," hates crimes targeting the LGBTQ have spiked. BYOL, bring your own lube if you don't want bigots messing with your genitals! Also Alia Shawkat ("Arrested Development," the upcoming "Search Party"  on TBS) is here to talk middle eastern conferences, her family business and getting recognized as Ilana Glazer. 
          Trump’s Travel Ban Is Back   
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Travelers wait in line near an Emirates ticket counter at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

A limited version of President Trump’s controversial travel ban is back in place after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could impose restrictions on certain foreign travelers and refugees. The constant back-and-forth rulings have created a bureaucratic nightmare for those involved in the refugee resettlement process, and Thursday’s developments promise even more disruption.

While President Trump proclaimed victory, refugee and human rights advocates have been on tenterhooks this week. The high court’s decision was certainly a blow to opponents of the ban, but just how hard that blow is will depend on the Trump administration’s next moves.

The government’s new guidelines would significantly limit the total number of noncitizens and refugees that can enter the country, according to a State Department background briefing Thursday afternoon. The department released its guidance just four hours before the ban is scheduled to go into effect. However, the Department of Homeland Security, which controls border enforcement, has not issued its own guidance on the new policies.

During its short but turbulent existence, two versions of the travel ban have been issued, blocked by federal courts, and now given the go-ahead with certain restrictions. But the Supreme Court decision and the subsequent federal guidelines do not reassure refugees advocates. “Nothing is off the table when it comes to this travel ban,” says Justin Cox, a National Immigration Law Center (NILC) staff attorney. “We can’t assume smooth sailing.”

On Monday, the justices said that they would wait until October to hear two cases regarding Trump’s travel ban. Until then, the high court granted a partial stay to injunctions freezing the controversial executive order, allowing a limited version of the travel ban to go into effect.

Noncitizens who can show they have a “bona fide relationship” with a “person or entity” in the United States will be allowed to enter the country, as will anyone who has already been issued a visa. People who cannot prove that they have a close relationship with a U.S. citizen will be banned from entering the country for 90 days if they are from the six Muslim-majority countries included in the executive order. That time period increases to 120 days for refugees from any country who have not yet received permission to enter the U.S. 

The high court gave a few examples of what constituted a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., such as visiting a relative or traveling to work or study, but stopped short of providing comprehensive definitions, preferring to leave the work of coming up with more nuanced characterizations to the federal government and lower courts.

But under the new guidelines, relatives only include immediate family members already in the country: parents, spouses, children, adult sons or daughters, sons- or daughters-in-law, and siblings. Grandparents were not included in the guidelines.

Refugees who have already been admitted to the U.S. and are booked to travel before July 6 will be exempt from the ban. A senior administration official said that the fate of those who’ve been booked travel after that date would be addressed at a later time. The briefers also said that establishing valid connections with American entities by refugees would need to be “formal” and “documented”: Simply being connected to a resettlement agency would not be sufficient. Roughly one-third of refugees waiting to be admitted do not have family ties in the United States, according to resettlement agency estimates.

“This is an unduly restrictive approach,” says Eleanor Acer, director of Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection program. “Refugees who go through multiple security entities, are approved by the DHS [Department of Homeland Security], vetted by various government agencies, and have long relationships with resettlement agencies should all be viewed as having requisite bona fide relationships.”

The limited ban could still leave thousands of people in limbo. “This isn’t like postponing a vacation,” says Melanie Nezer, vice president of policy and advocacy at HIAS, a Maryland-based Jewish resettlement agency. “These are life or death situations that refugees could be forced to remain in.”

Of the top 10 countries for total numbers of refugees granted permission to enter the United States during the last fiscal year, only three—Somalia, Syria, and Iran—were listed in Trump’s original executive order. Iraq is also among the top 10, and there are tens of thousands of people who worked with the U.S. government who are waiting to get clearance to resettle in this country. Under these current guidelines, it’s not clear if they would be granted entry.

The reinstated ban has stoked fears of a return to the chaos that played out in airports across the country following the haphazard rollout of Trump’s first executive order.

Naureen Shah, Amnesty International’s senior director of campaigns announced that the organization would be sending researchers to airports to “monitor how the ban is being implemented.”

“There’s going to be massive confusion in airports around the world,” says Acer, who anticipates a heightened legal response to refugees connected to resettlement agencies being blocked from entering the country.

In his partial dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas warned that the court’s decision would “invite a flood of litigation”—a comment that will likely prove prescient in the months to come. Lawsuits challenging the original and updated versions of the travel ban have inundated federal courts.

“I expect that we’ll be back in court soon,” says Cox of the NILC. “No one is going to take this lying down.”

Critics of the ban argue that refugees are already the most rigorously vetted group allowed into the U.S., undergoing a process that can take up to two years or more. “I don’t know how much more extreme the vetting can get, frankly,” says Cornell law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr.

This new wave of uncertainty unfolds at a time when the number of approved refugees approved to enter the U.S. had just started to bounce back after Trump’s initial immigration restrictions. Resettlement numbers plummeted in the wake of Trump’s first two attempted travel bans: In January, the U.S. admitted nearly 7,000 refugees admitted by March that number had declined to just 2,000 in March, according to State Department data

More than 46,000 refugees have been admitted and resettled in the U.S. in fiscal 2017, nearly reaching the 50,000 limit that Trump had specified in his original executive order, but still a long way off from the 110,000 ceiling that the Obama administration had put in place.

The Supreme Court allowed the U.S. to cap refugee arrivals, but justices did not allow the Trump administration to prohibit refugees with bona fide relationships, even if “the 50,000-person cap has been reached or exceeded.”

Officials at HIAS, one of nine agencies that work with the State Department to resettle refugees, were already worried they wouldn’t hit their resettlement targets before the travel ban was reinstated. Even in the “best-case” scenario, the agency expects to resettle 1,400 fewer than they had been approved to resettle at the beginning of the fiscal year. Other resettlement agencies have reported similar drops.

“The program changes on an almost weekly basis,” says Nezer. According to Nezer, these changes in policy can stall refugee case processing. That can often result in medical and security clearances expiring, which in turn creates even lengthier delays.

Trump had originally ordered federal agencies to wait 72 hours after the court’s decision to implement the ban. Trump maintains that the ban is necessary to protect the nation from terrorist activities and praised the court’s decision as “a clear victory for our national security.”


          Trump's Appointment to Gender Equality Office Has Hateful Anti-Trans Record    
PoliticsTransgenderFeminismWomenDonald Trump Tracy E. Gilchrist

Adding to his record of appointing people to posts they are fundamentally unqualified to hold, Donald Trump has named an anti-trans activist as a senior adviser to the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Bethany Kozma, who held positions in the White House and Homeland Security under George W. Bush, vehemently opposed guidelines issued by President Obama's administration that advised schools to let trans students use their preferred names and pronouns and use the restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, Buzzfeed reports. And to Google the woman who will advise on gender equality in the office that is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is to uncover a treasure trove of hateful, woefully misguided anti-trans propaganda. 

“A boy claiming gender confusion must now be allowed in the same shower, bathroom, or locker room with my daughter under the president’s transgender policies,” Kozma wrote in a 2016 piece about the Obama administration guidelines. “When I learned that predators could abuse these new policies to hurt children in school lockers, shelters, pool showers, or other vulnerable public places like remote bathrooms in national parks, I realized I had to do something.” 

In a disgusting attempt to equate trans women with sexual predators, Kozma’s story included a video of women sharing their stories of how they were sexually assaulted by cisgender men in spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms. 

While naming Kozma, who clearly doesn’t believe that trans women are equal to cisgender women, as an adviser at the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is a slap in the face to all women, her position in the office is further complicated by the fact that USAID has a long history of supporting programs that advance LGBT equality around the world, including a program that leverages financial contributions to support “LGBTI human rights and development in 14 countries around the world,” HIV and AIDS prevention efforts, and an initiative to empower Asia’s LGBT people, according to its website.

A spokesperson for USAID said Kozma’s appointment does not mean there has been a change in policy in terms of its commitment to LGBT rights, according to Buzzfeed. 

"USAID is committed to promoting a work environment that is free from sexual-orientation and gender-identity discrimination, in accordance with existing federal law," the spokesperson said. 

But Kozma's anti-trans crusade did not end with her campaign to oppose Obama’s protections for trans students in 2016. Earlier this year she wrote a piece for The Daily Signal (part of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation) in which she patted herself on the back for being a part of the movement that she believes helped influence the Trump administration to rescind those protections.  

“Trump’s decisiveness on this issue shows that he cares more about people than political correctness — that all our children deserve a safe and respectful learning environment, not just a very small minority, and that privacy and free speech are rights that American parents hold dear,” Kozma wrote this February. 

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          Bomb it 7   

Big Awesome bomb it squeal. New maps, skill, weapons, and power ups. Defend your homeland from villains, advance through the stages, and complete missions.


          Did You See It? Say Something!   
I am surprised at the number of people I’ve come in contact with lately who know nothing about the Homeland Security’s See Something, Say Something program, also known as See It, Say It in Brea. The program is our immediate call to action when we notice someone exhibiting strange behavior, or spot an item that […]
          The Pursuit of Happiness   
There are no peasants in America: thousands and then millions arrived from Europe and Asia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the pursuit of happiness, but they were quickly consumed within the maw of industrial capitalism. They no longer toiled for their own subsistence while transferring their agricultural surplus to their landlord as they had in their homelands More
          Administrative Assistant - Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Division of - Albany, NY   
Administer communication by preparing and keeping track of correspondence and answering questions from staff, the public, elected and appointed officials.... $55,082 - $68,351 a year
From StateJobsNY - Thu, 15 Jun 2017 20:40:18 GMT - View all Albany, NY jobs
          Women in National Security Law and U.S. Cybersecurity   
Streaming Audio

Panelists discuss how the roles and responsibilities related to U.S. cybersecurity are shared by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Defense and the private sector, and how each woman has become involved in this aspect of national security law.


          US Blacklists China Bank, Revving Up Pressure Over NKorea   

The United States has blacklisted a small Chinese bank accused of illicit dealings with North Korea, escalating the pressure on Beijing to rein in its wayward ally amid increased signs of frustration among President Donald Trump and his top advisers with China’s diplomatic efforts. The Treasury Department on Thursday declared the Bank of Dandong a “primary money-laundering concern,” proposing to sever it entirely from the U.S. financial system, pending a 60-day review period. Although Trump’s treasury secretary said the move didn’t target China, it comes a week after the president lamented that China’s promise to help with North Korea “has not worked out.” Calls to Bank of Dandong rang unanswered on Friday. Beijing, however, criticized Washington’s action, saying that unilateral sanctions outside the U.N. Security Council were inappropriate. “We also firmly oppose any individual country to exercise long-arm jurisdiction under its own domestic law,” said Lu Kang, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry. Lu added that Beijing will investigate possible wrongdoings by Chinese individuals and entities under Chinese laws. Trump had been leaning on President Xi Jinping to help stop the North’s development of nuclear weapons before they can threaten the U.S. homeland. A main focus of the coordination has been getting China to fully enforce international sanctions intended to starve North Korea of revenue for its nuclear and missile programs. The U.S. action is likely to anger China, which handles about 90 percent of North Korea’s external trade, and whose banks and companies are said to provide Pyongyang access to the U.S.-dominated international financial system. The sanctions bar Americans from doing business with Bank of Dandong, which is based in a northeastern Chinese city on the North Korean border that serves as a gateway for trade with the isolated nation. The U.S. also slapped sanctions Thursday on a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese people that it said have facilitated illegal activities by North Korea. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. still wants to work with Beijing on combating the North Korean threat. “We are in no way targeting China with these actions,” Mnuchin told a White House news briefing. The punitive steps were presaged by a tweet from Trump last week reflecting dissatisfaction with Beijing’s efforts. “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” Trump tweeted on June 20. The Trump administration may be struggling to maintain international pressure on Pyongyang. The president was to meet for the first time Thursday with South Korea’s new leader, President Moon Jae-in, who has long advocated outreach to North Korea. His predecessor had staunchly backed Trump’s harder line. Mnuchin said the Bank of Dandong has facilitated millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. Anthony Ruggiero, a sanctions expert and former Treasury Department official, described it as a small Chinese bank “sitting at the heart” of trade between North Korea and China. “This is a strong message to Chinese leaders that the Trump administration will act against North Korea’s sanctions evasion in China,” he said. The other targeted Chinese entities are: —Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., which Treasury accused of transporting 700,000 tons of freight annually, including coal and steel products, […]

The post US Blacklists China Bank, Revving Up Pressure Over NKorea appeared first on Yeshiva World News.


          National Guard unit supports local, state, federal agencies   
While most South Dakota Army National Guard units focus their yearly training on missions for a combat theater, one aviation unit is honing its skills to support homeland security.
National Guard unit supports local, state, federal agencies [Image 1 of 3]
          Homeland Security officer charged with kicking handcuffed man in the head   

A sworn officer with the Department of Homeland Security has been charged with kicking a handcuffed man in the head outside a federal building in Pomona.

Jason Rouswell, 46, was indicted Thursday and accused of violating the civil rights of the handcuffed man during the Oct. 20, 2016, incident,...


          Will HBO dramas ‘Westworld’ and ‘The Leftovers’ benefit from ‘Game of Thrones’ ineligibility at 2017 Emmys?   
When HBO announced that Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” would air outside the current Emmy eligibility period, every other TV drama let out a huge sigh of relief. Not only does the “Game of Thrones” absence mean that we’ll likely see a new winner as Best Drama Series (“Homeland” is the only other former champ still […]
          U.S. warns businesses of hacking campaign against nuclear, energy firms   
TORONTO (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation this week privately warned American businesses about a hacking campaign targeting the nuclear, energy and manufacturing sectors, according to a report by the agencies.

          US demands more security on international flights to US   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Homeland Security Department is demanding that airlines around the world step up security measures for international flights bound for the United States or face the possibility of a total electronics ban for planes....
          US blacklists China bank, revving up pressure over North Korea   
WASHINGTON — The United States has blacklisted a small Chinese bank accused of illicit dealings with North Korea, escalating the pressure on Beijing to rein in its wayward ally amid increased signs of frustration among President Donald Trump and his top advisers with China's diplomatic efforts.

The Treasury Department on Thursday declared the Bank of Dandong a "primary money-laundering concern," proposing to sever it entirely from the U.S. financial system, pending a 60-day review period. Although Trump's treasury secretary said the move didn't target China, it comes a week after the president lamented that China's promise to help with North Korea "has not worked out."

Calls to Bank of Dandong rang unanswered on Friday. Beijing, however, criticized Washington's action, saying that unilateral sanctions outside the U.N. Security Council were inappropriate.

"We also firmly oppose any individual country to exercise long-arm jurisdiction under its own domestic law," said Lu Kang, spokesman for China's foreign ministry.

Lu added that Beijing will investigate possible wrongdoings by Chinese individuals and entities under Chinese laws.

Trump had been leaning on President Xi Jinping to help stop the North's development of nuclear weapons before they can threaten the U.S. homeland. A main focus of the coordination has been getting China to fully enforce international sanctions intended to starve North Korea of revenue for its nuclear and missile programs.

The U.S. action is likely to anger China, which handles about 90 percent of North Korea's external trade, and whose banks and companies are said to provide Pyongyang access to the U.S.-dominated international financial system.

The sanctions bar Americans from doing business with Bank of Dandong, which is based in a northeastern Chinese city on the North Korean border that serves as a gateway for trade with the isolated nation. The U.S. also slapped sanctions Thursday on a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese people that it said have facilitated illegal activities by North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. still wants to work with Beijing on combating the North Korean threat.

"We are in no way targeting China with these actions," Mnuchin told a White House news briefing.

The punitive steps were presaged by a tweet from Trump last week reflecting dissatisfaction with Beijing's efforts.

"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" Trump tweeted on June 20.

The Trump administration may be struggling to maintain international pressure on Pyongyang.

The president was to meet for the first time Thursday with South Korea's new leader, President Moon Jae-in, who has long advocated outreach to North Korea. His predecessor had staunchly backed Trump's harder line.

Mnuchin said the Bank of Dandong has facilitated millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

Anthony Ruggiero, a sanctions expert and former Treasury Department official, described it as a small Chinese bank "sitting at the heart" of trade between North Korea and China.

"This is a strong message to Chinese leaders that the Trump administration will act against North Korea's sanctions evasion in China," he said.

The other targeted Chinese entities are:

—Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., which Treasury accused of transporting 700,000 tons of freight annually, including coal and steel products, between China and North Korea. It cited a U.N. expert panel as saying the company has violated a ban on trade in luxury goods with the North.

—Chinese national Sun Wei, said to have been running a cover company for North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank, which is already subject to U.S. sanctions.

—Chinese national Li Hong Ri, said to have established several front companies that end up benefiting Koryo Bank, a U.S.-sanctioned conduct for financial transactions on behalf of North Korea.


          Travel ban takes effect but less chaos expected   
WASHINGTON – A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump's travel ban took effect Thursday evening, stripped of provisions that brought protests and chaos at airports worldwide in January yet still likely to generate a new round of court fights.

The new rules, the product of months of legal wrangling, aren't so much an outright ban as a tightening of already-tough visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Refugees are covered, too.

Administration officials promised that implementation this time, which started at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT), would be orderly. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dan Hetlage said his agency expected "business as usual at our ports of entry," with all valid visa holders still being able to travel.

Still, immigration and refugee advocates are vowing challenge the new requirements and the administration has struggled to explain how they will make the United States safer.

Under the temporary rules, citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who already have visas will be allowed into the United States. But people from those countries who want new visas will now have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business in the U.S.

It's unclear how significantly the new rules will affect travel. In most of the countries singled out, few people have the means for leisure travel. Those that do already face intensive screenings before being issued visas.

Nevertheless, human rights groups on Thursday girded for new legal battles. The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups challenging the ban, called the new criteria "extremely restrictive," ''arbitrary" in their exclusions and designed to "disparage and condemn Muslims."

The state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion Thursday asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce the ban against relatives – such as grandparents, aunts or uncles – not included in the State Department's definition of "bona fide" personal relationships.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer met with customs officials and said he felt things would go smoothly.

"For tonight, I'm anticipating few issues because, I think, there's better preparation," he told reporters at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night. "The federal government here, I think, has taken steps to avoid the havoc that occurred the last time."

Much of the confusion in January, when Trump's first ban took effect, resulted from travelers with previously approved visas being kept off flights or barred entry on arrival in the United States. Immigration officials were instructed Thursday not to block anyone with valid travel documents and otherwise eligible to visit the United States.

Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the rules "would slam the door shut on so many who have waited for months or years to be reunited with their families.

Trump, who made a tough approach to immigration a cornerstone of his election campaign, issued a ban on travelers from the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. His order also blocked refugees from any country.

Trump said these were temporary measures needed to prevent terrorism until vetting procedures could be reviewed. Opponents noted that visa and refugee vetting were already strict and said there was no evidence that refugees or citizens of those six countries posed a threat. They saw the ban as part of Trump's campaign promise to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

Lower courts blocked the initial ban and a second, revised Trump order intended to overcome legal hurdles. The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the revised ban but exempted travelers who could prove a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity. The court offered only broad guidelines.

In guidance issued late Wednesday, the State Department said the personal relationships would include a parent, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States. It does not include other relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. On Thursday, the State and Homeland Security departments had both expanded the range of bona fide relationships to include fiancés.

Business or professional links must be "formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading" the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules.

Refugees from any country will face similar requirements. But the U.S. has almost filled its quota of 50,000 refugees for the budget year ending in September and the new rules won't apply to the few remaining slots. With the Supreme Court set to consider the overall ban in October, the rules could change again.

The travel ban may have the largest impact on Iranians. In 2015, the most recently available data, nearly 26,000 Iranians were allowed into the United States on visitor or tourist visas. Iranians made up the lion's share of the roughly 65,000 foreigners from the six countries who visited with temporary, or non-immigrant visas that year.

American journalist Paul Gottinger, said he and his Iranian fiancee applied for a visa nearly a year ago but are still waiting on a decision. Gottinger says they were to wed at a Japanese garden in his parents' home state of Minnesota this month but postponed the ceremony until August because they had not yet received the visa.

Now, he expects they will have to delay again.

"Every twist and turn of the courts, we're holding our hearts and our stomachs are falling to the floor," he said by phone from Turkey.

The new regulations are also affecting the wedding plans of Rama Issa-Ibrahim, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

She is Syrian-American and had planned to get married this fall. While her father in Syria may be able to get a visa, her aunts and uncles may well be blocked.

"I would love for them to be at this wedding, and unfortunately, they aren't going to be able to be here," she said, adding that the ceremony would be postponed.

___

Associated Press writer Amy Taxin and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles and Michael Noble in New York contributed to this report.


          Re: BDS France disrupts Israel’s Elbit Systems exhibition at Paris Air Show   

Typical!

I speak to you politely and put some challenging questions to you and you reply with a torrent of insults. However, I am not easily intimidated.

Mondoweiss is NOT independent so let's not go there.

The Ashkenazi are not converted Jews. I asked you to prove to me that the Ashkenazi were converts and you failed to provide any evidence. Here is the background to the Ashkenazi Jews that you can share with Mondoweiis.

After the destruction of the second temple, 70 ACE, many Jews left Jerusalem to seek their futures in another lands. By 136 ACE the failed rebellion by the Maccabees resulted in the re-naming of Judea Sumera and Israel to Syria-Palestina (Greek Philistina). By 490 ACE the Roman empire was finished. The routes of the migrating Jews from the crumbling Roman Empire was NW in to France and Germany and NE to the Ukraine.

The Jews that settled in NE Germany were called Ashkenazim. The name Ashkenaz comes from the book of Genesis. They thrived until the introduction of the guilds where no Jew was allowed to be a member. At this point Poland was becoming a developing realm. The Jews were invited in to Poland. The rest is history.

During the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for Jews and non-Jews to marry each other. Conversions occurred on both sides, but not on a notable scale. Many Jewish communities throughout Europe remained close knit.

Forget Khazaria. That period only lasted 200 years and only affected the people of the Caucases.

The other Jews of the diaspora, including my lineage, went via Baghdad to Central Asia. Persia Mesopotamia and surrounding Arab lands. Like the Jews of the west, they stayed in close knit communities and yes there were conversions especially by the Emirs, but nothing on a grand scale.

Ashkenazi or Sephardi is irrelevant. One either has a Jewish soul and is believes in a Jewish homeland, or not.


          (USA-MI-BATTLE CREEK PLANT) Manufacturing Operations - Student Support   
Grow with us in a Temporary Student Support role on the Kellogg Supply Chain team – where we believe in your success. Are you interested in a broad range of meaningful, challenging experiences? Lead with us as you use your creativity and abilities to achieve great things. Learn with us as you develop your selling skills and collaborate across multiple teams. Together we’ll shape a stronger future for our company and your career. **WHAT WILL I BE DOING?** In your Operations Temporary Student Support role at Kellogg, you will be part of our success by: + Assist in the development and enhancement of Standard Operation Procedures and Conditions + Job shadowing all production positions, including but not limited to, Operations Supervisors and Operations Specialists + Participate and lead continuous improvement activities + Updating training materials, logging issues and other organizational tasks + Coordinating and planning small training projects + Inputting data and creating Key Performance Indicators + Provide input on process improvements **WHAT DO I NEED TO DEMONSTRATE?** As well as a hunger to learn and succeed in Supply Chain, to be considered for this position you must be able to meet the following requirements: Required: + Must be currently enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours at an accredited college or university working toward a degree in Supply Chain & Logistics or related field. + Must be willing to commit to working a minimum of 20 hours per week + Must live within a commutable distance to job location + Ability to handle multiple and sometimes conflicting priorities + Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively both written and verbally + Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite and the ability to learn new software quickly + Ability to work within timelines and in pressure situations + Strong problem solving, persistency and decision making skills + Minimum of 3.0 GPA (Major); 2.7 GPA (Cumulative) Preferred: + Previous experience in the food industry, manufacturing a plus + Previous Internship or Co-op experience + Knowledge of OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) regulations **WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?** The ability to work a full shift, come to work on time, work overtime as needed and the ability to work according to the necessary schedule to meet job requirements with or without reasonable accommodation is an essential function of this position. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, disability, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, sexual orientation, age, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Where required by state law and/or city ordinance; this employer will provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with information from each new employee’s Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. For additional information, please follow this Link at https://e-verify.uscis.gov/emp/media/resourcesContents/EverifyPosterEnglish.pdf for English or this Link at http://e-verify.uscis.gov/emp/media/resourcesContents/EverifyPosterSpanish.pdf for Spanish. **Title:** _Manufacturing Operations - Student Support_ **Location:** _USA-MI-Battle Creek Plant_ **Requisition ID:** _MAN004576_ **Job Function:** _Manufacturing and Distribution_ **Job Type:** _Internship/Graduate_ **Closing Date:** _Jul 30, 2017, 10:59:00 PM_ **Relocation Assistance:** _No_
          6/30/2017: FRONT PAGE: Security intensifies for laptops on flights   
WASHINGTON In a massive escalation of airline security worldwide, hundreds of thousands of travelers flying to the USA from overseas will face additional scrutiny for laptops and other electronics larger than cellphones, the Department of Homeland...
          (USA-MI-Battle Creek) Grounds Maintenance - Lead Worker - Navigations, I   
Navigations, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.uEssential Job Functions/uulliDirect supervision of grounds maintenance personnel during work hours. Report performance and discipline concerns to Grounds Supervisor. /liliOperate various equipment safely and effectively such as: Pick-up truck with snow plow and Salter, tractor with front end loader, pay loader, gators, lawn mowers, weed eaters, push mowers, edger, blowers, tillers, aerators, hand tools (i.e., rakes, shovels, chemical sprayers)./liliNotify Grounds Supervisor of materials needed/required to perform tasks per GSA contract. /liliFollow all policies and procedures outlined by Navigations, Inc. including all related to safety and ensures supervised employees do the same./liliPerform and supervise grounds maintenance per GSA contract direction and specifications./liliReport vehicle and equipment maintenance concerns and requests to Grounds Supervisor./liliConduct daily preventive maintenance on all equipment prior to use./liliInspect work performance of personnel and outside contractors to ensure compliance to all GSA contract requirements and report this to Grounds Supervisor./liliImmediately notify Grounds Supervisor of any concerns regarding safety or damage to premises./liliReport to Supervisor as requested or required./li/uluAdditional Duties/uulliPeriodically monitor company cell phone and promptly respond to calls, emails and text messages from Grounds Supervisor, Project Manager, or GSA./liliPerform other related duties and assignments as required or directed by Grounds Supervisor./liliPosition may include occasional night or weekend duties./li/ul uResults Expected/uulliEnsure grounds maintenance complies with the contract requirements./liliEnsure that equipment and supplies are adequate to meet contractual commitments./liliEnsure work performance of supervised personnel./liliCommunicate daily with Grounds Supervisor on any and all pertinent information regarding any schedule changes or special projects./li/uluPosition Qualifications/uulliHigh School Diploma or GED./liliMust be able to obtain/maintain Homeland Security Clearance/liliOne year prior work experience in the grounds maintenance industry./liliOne year of recent supervisory experience./liliWorking with, and knowledge of, personnel with disabilities helpful./liliGood communication and organizational skills. Basic computer skills. /liliAbility to maintain accurate records./liliMechanical repair skills and knowledge preferred. /liliAbility to obtain certification for pest management involving various pesticides, herbicides, and live trapping./liliFamiliarity with common irrigation equipment and practices./li/ul uPhysical Environment/Working Conditions/uulliOutdoors, All Weather Conditions (Hot, Cold, Rain, Snow)./liliWork around dangerous equipment./liliLifting, twisting, bending, reaching, standing, extended walking./liliMust be able to lift 50 lb occasionally/liliUse of all equipment listed in job functions above./liliExposure to chemicals normally used
          Lawyers across Canada on stand-by to monitor Trump’s travel ban   

On Friday morning, hundreds of volunteer lawyers and advocates gathered in major airports across the country to assist travellers affected by a subset of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which took effect on June 29.

The new travel restrictions tighten any entry to the United States of citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who already have visas will be allowed into the U.S.; but, people from those countries who want new visas will have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with a school or business in the U.S.

According to Corey Shefman, coordinator of the Pearson Airport team of lawyers, there was a lot of confusion the last time the travel ban was ordered.

“No one knew how to implement it,” said Shefman. “Airlines were making decisions about visas, when, really, it’s not up to Air Canada but customs.”

Shefman and his team of 400 volunteer lawyers have been at Toronto Pearson since 4 a.m, working shifts, “ready to respond if something happens.” They were there to provide support to travellers, provide information and make everyone aware of their presence.

“Airports and agents are pleased to see us,” said Shefman. Together, they have created a much more organized response and come up with a plan to deal with any issues that may become apparent.

Ottawa-based lawyer, Ronalee Carey, spent close to three hours at the airport briefing security and airline agents from Air Canada and United. They even left literature on the travel ban near custom forms.

“We really didn’t know what to expect. There was a lot of inconsistent information being released the night before,” said Carey. This was echoed by the team of lawyers in Toronto and Vancouver as well.

Homeland security’s website did provide clarification later on, which specified what constituted as a close family relationship. (Grandparents, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles don’t count.)

“What family means is different in different cultures,” said Shefman. “In the cultures where this ban is taking most effect, family is often more expansive than the government’s interpretation.”

Both Shefman and Carey clarified that even under the new restrictions no one travelling with a current visa and/or with a Canadian passport would be affected, regardless of their country of origin.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened. Last time Canadians were affected even though they weren’t meant to be,” said Shefman.

Being at the airport, equipped with information packages and connected to lawyers in the U.S who are fighting the ban, is a way to be prepared.

“I’d rather get there and have nothing to do then not go and there be someone who is stuck and is having difficulty and needs help,” said Carey. “We’re ready to go back if and when necessary.”


          Hans Wink   
Friday's Fabulous Flyer


Hans Wink

Han's Wink was born in East Germany in 1966, under the communist regime. He grew up in Magdeburg, East Germany, where life was anything but easy for him. His difficult childhood included the divorce of his parents, an abusive stepfather, and problems with school. Searching for a better life, he escaped through the Iron Curtain for freedom in the West, and found his way to America, where he now lives in Miami, Florida, and Mexico. 

While everyone faces life challenges, being born behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, at the height of the cold war, was a challenge of another kind. Han's knew he wasn’t going anywhere fast when he was forced out of vocational school at 16 for his “behavior unbecoming of a young communist.” He thought his only hope in a successful life would be to one day take over his father’s tailor shop. The only thing that kept him going was "a series of cheap romances fueled by even cheaper liquor." Sadly, before his 18th birthday his father died and his step-mother slammed the door in his face. Sometime thereafter he escaped to America. 


As a young man living in Miami Han's said that he, "Ran the gamut of the American experience, from tumultuous relationships to drugs and vice." In the year 2000 he escaped once again, but this time  it was from "The love of my life after a devastating breakup. This was a tragic fall that would have shattered me to pieces if not for the door that opened to a new profession—aviation!"



Once that aviation bug hit, Hans was destined to succeed when he became a commercial pilot. His path in life was anything but traditional. He flew from one challenge to the next, but when he earned his wings something change. He not only saved his life, but began saving countless other lives as he flew worldwide in air-ambulance missions. In 2009 he accepted a three-year contract with the United Nations to fly officials to the hot spots of Africa and Asia. Observing UN operations in war zones such as Libya and Afghanistan compelled Hans to write about his encounters. But he said his main objective was always to, "Reconnect with my alienated children."



Captain Hans Wink holds airline certifications for both Europe and the US. In addition to the military operations under UN mandate, he has flown both VIP and medical emergency response teams on a worldwide scale. The cultural and social differences he has encountered, and the pain and suffering he's lived and observed is what has formed his personality, his philosophy, and his approach toward living. Which brings us to his book: IN MID-AIR.

Hans graciously mailed me a copy, and what a great read this is. I have been at the ocean all week, and have been busy playing with the kids, but two nights ago when the little ones were all in bed, and the big kids ended the games for the night, I climbed into a bathtub and began to read. I stayed so long in the tub that I turned my water cold, then continued reading well into the night that turned into the morning. Last night was no different. Hans chose autobiographical narrative nonfiction to combine the dramas of his personal life with his experience traveling the world. What a fascinating story this is. 




"IN MID-AIR is the unbelievably true story of a rebellious teenager locked in an authoritarian regime. A coming of age drama of what it took to overcome his childhood and family, the Berlin Wall, culture shock, language barriers and a love so passionate that it nearly destroyed him. It is the story of a fairy-tale marriage, a beautiful family and a horrific divorce. It it’s about accepting defeat, yet never giving up and never losing hope. It’s about setting your goals high, starting over as many times as you have to and working hard to achieve those goals. The sky is literally the limit."


"IN MID-AIR is for anyone facing a challenge in life, 
for anyone who needs a little inspiration 
to help them get up, brush themselves off 
and get going again."

Now that Captain Hans has flown air-ambulance and diplomatic missions around the world for over two decades, you can say he’s been around the block a few times. His autobiography also includes some of his observations, seen from air bases in Afghanistan and Africa, and from his two homelands – Germany and the US.

There is action police interrogations, border guards and jail cells, to car chases, fights, and jet landings in war zones. IN MID-AIR is absolutely an extraordinary autobiography that will lift you you up and won’t let you down.



You can Find Hans at: 

Twitter: @hans_wink


Now... it's time for me to continue reading! From what I've read so far, you will not be disappointed! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 




          Comment on There’s no Pride in Israeli occupation of Palestine by lnm3921   
There is no logic in anything you say. Only your opinions and insane support for terrorism! There is no science behind your rantings for Palestinian suicide bombings and no nation that doesn't promote terrorism itself would agree there is! It's just political propaganda to push your agenda! You don't educate you only babble Dr. Frankenstein! We've had enough of your monster! You should be on a watch list by homeland security! You're not stable Mabel!
          Somalia: Diaspora returnees and locals resolve to work together in rebuilding Somalia   
Source: African Union Mission in Somalia
Country: Somalia

Mogadishu, 30 June 2017 – A symposium bringing together Somali diaspora returnees and homeland communities ended yesterday with a call for regular dialogue to strengthen relations with between the two groups.

Participants at the two-day meeting said it was important for diaspora returnees and locals to dialogue regularly to understand each other and iron out the false perceptions that exist among them.

The symposium also agreed to embark on awareness campaigns to highlight the importance of peaceful coexistence and the need for stronger partnerships in rebuilding the country after decades of conflict.

The recommendations were read by Naima Aden Elmi, the Chairperson of Save Somali Youth Organization (SASOYO), at the end of the symposium which was attended by government officials, members of the civil society, businesspersons, women and youth among others.

“We have agreed to set up committees in our subsequent sessions. Both sides will be represented in these committees which will be tasked with taking forward the process so that we deepen collaboration and we arrive at a common objective,” Ms. Naima stated at the end of the symposium organized by the Department of Diaspora in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SASOYO with support from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Ms. Naima added; “the outcome of the workshop exceeded our expectations and we intend to hold more discussions as requested by the delegates so that we accomplish the tasks ahead. This will be an ongoing programme.”

Muna Hassan Mohamed, a local participant, hailed the workshop, saying it provided both groups the opportunity to engage and resolve their differences.

“It was an important workshop in that it brought together diaspora returnees and the locals. The engagements were amicable as the diaspora returnees and their local counterparts held discussions so as to get to understand each other,” Ms. Muna stated.

Nuzaiba Abdullahi Ali, also a local participant, echoed Ms. Muna’s sentiments, saying the groups learned important lessons from each other.

During the discussions it was revealed that individuals born and raised in the country view themselves as having more rights than their counterparts returning home from the diaspora, while the latter believe they are better placed to contribute to the peace and stability of the country, owing to their superior education, experience and exposure.

The locals have also accused the diaspora returnees of taking up the plum jobs in government leaving them marginalized.

Mohamed Mohamoud Sheik, one of the diaspora returnees, however noted that the differences can be resolved through dialogue and appreciating the role each group plays in rebuilding Somalia.

“I think it is a really good point that we have reached to understand each other. I think more events like this will help further integrate the locals and the diaspora returnees. It is a matter of just talking to each other,” Mr. Mohamed observed.

Nimco Ahmed, another diaspora returnee, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the symposium and called for similar meetings to be held in the federal states.

“I would definitely like this kind of consultations to continue because not everyone was here both today and yesterday. There is a larger section of the society within the regions and towns who probably have these concerns as well. So we should definitely broaden these consultations,” Ms. Nimco stated.

Prof Abdilatif Egeh, an academician, asked the participants who were mainly youth to find solutions to the challenges facing Somalia.

“The majority of people here are youth and you will benefit from this country especially if solutions to the challenges facing Somalia come from you. There’s a famous saying that when we pull together we can achieve more (united we stand). I urge you to maintain that position,” Prof Egeh told the participants.

AMISOM Political Officer, Dr. Walters Samah, said the African Union Mission will continue supporting initiatives aimed at stabilising and unifying Somalia.

“One of the reasons AMISOM is supporting this great initiative is because cooperation and partnership between Somali Diaspora Returnees and Homeland community is critical for the stability and long-term development of Somalia,” Dr. Walters said.


          For The Cardinal-Prefect, "My Day in Court"   
For all the spectacles the Vatican tends to witness, this one was simply surreal.

At the same dais where the Pope's major documents are unveiled and the global press briefed on Catholicism's showcase events – on what's usually one of the most joyous feasts of the year – today the Curia's third-ranking cardinal addressed his new fate as the church's most senior figure by far to face criminal charges of sexual abuse:


To understand the full import of Cardinal George Pell's return to Australia to appear in court and "clear my name," there's more to it than his current profile as the founding Secretary for the Economy, initially entrusted by Pope Francis with sweeping powers over finances and personnel across the Holy See's sprawling apparatus.

Indeed, what makes the 76 year-old prelate's quick move to go home for an 18 July initial hearing so significant is that Pell has not returned to his homeland since departing in early 2014 to take up his Vatican post – neither for the late 2014 installation of his hand-picked successor in Sydney, Archbishop Anthony Fisher, nor for what became a four day summons to testify before the national inquiry on religious institutions' handling of child abuse, obtained by video link from Rome.

With the scenario of a first-ever court process against a cardinal on sex crimes alleged by "multiple claimants" – the precise nature of which have not been clarified by law enforcement in his native state of Victoria – the Italian media's traditional summer "soap opera" involving the church is now set, albeit some 4,000 miles afield.

Still, despite the inevitable circus that will surround the scrutiny on one of the top rank's most enduring figures – a presence on the global scene over some two decades – for the apex of the Catholic world, it just doesn't get more serious than this.

For starters, even as Pell announced his own "leave" from his Vatican duties – and the Holy See's lead spokesman, Greg Burke, indicated that the cardinal would not "participate in public liturgies" for the duration of the judicial process – the moves amount to a de facto suspension from ministry.

Regardless of whose volition spurred the act, a recusal of the kind is without precedent for a top Curial official. What's more, however, while two decades of revelations of abuse and cover-up have been treated as a political football among the church's ideological camps, Pell is one of the few major prelates whose trajectory and alliances cut across partisan lines.

Long a favorite of the Catholic right for his unapologetic approach to moral teachings, the Oxford-trained onetime fullback – who's long relished his reputation for being a "bull in a china shop" – was initially tapped by then-Pope Benedict XVI to take the helm of the Congregation for Bishops in 2009, a move which would've made the Aussie the first prelate from the English-speaking world to oversee the all-powerful body that recommends candidates for appointments to the pontiff.

In response, what was widely perceived in Rome as a "smear campaign" went into overdrive, raising the specter of a 2002 allegation of abuse against the cardinal which dated to the 1960s. Though Pell had been cleared years earlier by an internal probe chartered by the archdiocese of Sydney, conducted by a retired judge – during which he stood aside as archbishop for several months – the ferocity of opposition to Benedict's plan led the now-retired Pope to scuttle the move before it was formally made. (Along the way, however, Pell's hard-charging style saw him successfully tackle another high-wire Vatican mission: as chair of the Vox Clara committee of senior prelates tasked with managing English liturgical translations, he led the push that brought the group's major project – the long-stymied overhaul of the Roman Missal – to completion and a historic implementation across the Anglophone world in 2011.)

Of course, that wouldn't be the end of the story. Perceived by many as angling for a Roman office from his days as an auxiliary in Melbourne – when, as one Curialist recalled, Pell "was always showing up" at the Vatican – the 2012 outbreak of the Vatileaks fiasco provided the cardinal with an opportunity for payback, and Benedict took him up on it, bringing Pell into an ad hoc group of cardinal-advisers Papa Ratzinger had convened on tackling the crisis.

Months later, the election of Pope Francis would surprisingly bring the Australian's rebound to its zenith – with his profile as a blunt, sharp-elbowed manager (and one seen as wronged by the Vatican's old guard), Pell's temporal acumen landed him a seat on the new pontiff's "Gang of 8" for the reform of the Curia (below), arguably the most surprising choice for the group given his conservative leanings.

Less than a year afterward, Francis would deliver the ultimate call – with the new Pope and his "crown council" determined to clean up the famously murky orbit of the Holy See's finances, Pell was unveiled as the choice to consolidate all control of budgets and investments under one umbrella, a first-ever CFO to replace the small village of separate entities which oversaw various pieces of the books, with varying degrees of success.

To say that the Aussie was ready would be an understatement – Pell's full-time arrival in Rome came shortly after the opening of the Domus Australia, a onetime convent converted into a hostel and event center for pilgrims from Down Under, with an ample living space already created for himself.

To be sure, though, if there was one area that the natives guarded more jealously than appointments, it was the money – and Francis' putting Pell in charge of it was greeted as something of an apocalyptic event. Unlike Benedict, however, Papa Bergoglio's Italian stubbornness wouldn't be as easily conquered.

At least, that's how it seemed at the start. While Francis has stood by his man – re-confirming the cardinal's position after he reached the retirement age of 75 last year – the Curia's penchant for bureaucratic turf-war has challenged Pell's mandate at practically every turn and made significant inroads against the new bureau's initial remit, most prominently in last year's move to suspend a first-ever external audit of all Vatican entities, which had been ordered by the Secretariat.

At the same time, the financial reform hit another major speed-bump last week as Libero Milone – the freshly empowered auditor-general hired by Pell's team – suddenly resigned from the post as reports on the move spoke of an unspecified "ugly situation" that could "get worse."

Amid the fallout from Milone's surprise departure, the Council for the Economy – the mixed group of  15 top prelates and lay experts to which Pell's Secretariat reports – had already summoned its members to an extraordinary meeting set for early July in Rome to discuss the way forward. With the new development of the charges against the cardinal-prefect – and no clarity yet on the leadership of the Economy office in the wake of Pell's leave for the court case – any long-term resolutions just became considerably more difficult.

Back in Australia, meanwhile, the indictment has come as a fresh firestorm for a church already struggling under a cloud of abuse developments. With the cardinal's polarizing shadow ever looming large despite years of absence from the scene, the nation's hierarchy has spent 2017 bracing for what's widely expected to be a damning report from the national inquiry on sex-abuse in religious institutions, which is due by the end of its mandate in mid-December.

Beyond the wide attention – and equal heaping of scorn – that Pell's 2016 testimony to the Royal Commission drew, the Australian archbishops were likewise deposed at length by the panel last February. And in another moment of major impact, a rising star of the Aussie bench – Vietnamese-born Franciscan Bishop Vincent Long of Parramatta – revealed to the probe that he had been a victim of abuse by a cleric.

All the while, another major shoe from Rome is likely soon to drop: the Pope's appointment of the next archbishop of Melbourne – already a critical move given the city's place as the continent's largest local church, yet now even more of a "hot seat" as the venue for Pell's state trial on the charges.

In a letter released after the charges were filed, Sydney's Fisher – himself a civil lawyer – warned his clergy and people that his predecessor's return to face justice "will be unsettling for many of us."

While defending Pell as "a man of integrity in his dealings with others... a thoroughly decent man," the archbishop emphasized that "we must now allow the impartial pursuit of justice," adding that the church "is not responsible" for the cardinal's legal costs and won't be footing them.

Keeping with Australian conventions for the accused, a recent biography which levied a new allegation of abuse by Pell has been pulled from sale in Victoria pending the trial. On another context note, the southern coastal state does not allow cameras in its courts, so the impending hearings will not be filmed nor televised.

-30-
          Keeping a Promise to the Polish People   

President Trump has a chance to set things right with America's most faithful ally.

 

It's unsurprising that the White House recently scheduled a presidential visit to Poland in conjunction with the upcoming G-20 Summit. The U.S. State Department describes this Central European country of 38.6 million people as a stalwart ally and "one of the United States' strongest partners on the continent in fostering transatlantic security and prosperity regionally, throughout Europe, and the world."

What is surprising is that, despite historical ties dating back to the American Revolutionary War, the strong alliance, and a robust domestic Polish-American population of about 10 million, the U.S. government hasn't found a way to treat Polish citizens the same way as it does those living in most other European countries when it comes to visiting the United States. Since it shed communism in 1989 after 42 years of domination and became a free and democratic state, Poland has unsuccessfully tried to gain entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

The U.S. failure to grant VWP status to Poland is an embarrassment to many Americans as well as a major disappointment and irritant to Poles and a succession of its leaders. Poland's former president and Nobel Laureate Lech Walesa described VWP entry as a "matter of honor" for Poland.

In a speech before the Polish American Congress in September 2016, Candidate Trump promised to remedy this problem by making it possible for Poland to become part of the VWP. His promise echoes that of his presidential predecessor, Barack Obama, who promised to do the same several years earlier but didn't deliver. Several previous attempts by U.S. Congress members to legislate a fix to bring Poland into the program have also failed. Congress is now considering The Poland Waiver Act of 2017 (H.R. 2388).

What is the VWP? The U.S. established the VWP in 1986 primarily to facilitate commerce and tourism between friendly nations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security administers the program in consultation with the State Department. Since its inception, the program has evolved into a security partnership with special passport and security upgrades to detect and prevent terrorists, criminals, and other mala fide actors from entering each country. There are presently 38 countries in VWP, 29 of them European. The program features reciprocal agreements allowing citizens to travel on business or pleasure without visas and no application fees between member countries for up to 90 days.

What has Poland done to gain VWP entry? Three important ingredients for gaining VWP status are national wealth, a high Human Development Index, and a low-security risk. Poland scores well on each count. It has seen its economy dramatically grow to 25th in the world at $1.1 trillion. The 2017 United Nations Development Report classified Poland as a "very high" Human Development Index country with its 78 years average life expectancy, 99.8 percent literacy rate for males and females, and $27,700 plus average annual income. And with its strong American ties, NATO membership, participation in the Afghanistan and Iraq military coalitions, and the general absence of radical Islamic terror attacks on its soil Poland clearly isn't a security threat. Moreover, it has implemented and adopted VWP-related security measures and information-sharing protocols asked of them by the U.S. government.

What is preventing Poland's VWP entry? A provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act which requires a visa refusal rate of 3 percent or less to qualify for the program - and Poland's FY 2016 visa refusal rate according to the State Department is 5.7 percent, which although is a dramatic drop from previous years still doesn't pass the congressionally-mandated program muster. The State Department reported that 186,555 Polish citizens applied for nonimmigrant visas to visit the U.S. for business or pleasure. Each paid a non-fundable fee of $160. Of the applicants, U.S. consular officers refused to approve visas for 10,060 of them.

However, using the visa refusal rate alone to exclude a country from the program can be somewhat misleading. For example, the prime concern for U.S. immigration officials is not necessarily the percentage of visa refusals by U.S. consular officers, but the actual number of nonimmigrants from VWP and other countries who overstay their 90-day visit. DHS's FY 2016 Overstay Report reveals that VWP members United Kingdom had 20,670 suspected overstays; Germany had 18,780; Italy had 14,896; Spain had 11,716; and France had 10,358 compared to non-VWP Poland's 2,787 suspected overstays!

President Trump can take the following actions to facilitate Poland's VWP entry and/or make it easier for Polish citizens to visit the United States. One, he can urge Congress to pass the Poland Waiver Act of 2017; two, he can ask the DHS and State Department secretaries to determine the reasons why Poles are being refused visas at a greater percentage than INA requires and to determine if any legal and administrative remedies are available for Poland to achieve a lower rate; and three, ask the Secretary of State to determine if the $160 visa application fee for Polish citizens can be legally waived - as it has been for VWP member countries and like the Polish government has already done for U.S. citizens traveling to Poland.

One is hard-pressed to find a better friend and more loyal U.S. ally than Poland. For that reason, President Trump should keep his promise and use his leadership ability and/or executive power to ensure this matter doesn't languish in the Federal bureaucracy or Congress any longer. Making it easier for the Poland's citizens to visit the U.S. on business and pleasure would further cement the bilateral relationship and surely please millions of them and their American cousins.

donate button pub dom ok

A version of this piece also appeared on https://spectator.org/


          The "Crime of the Century" is Bad Journalism   

The latest propaganda piece from The Washington Post, "Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault," is based, as usual, mostly on anonymous sources determined to make former President Barack Obama look good. The gist is that Obama tried his best to punish Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 election, but he fell short and left the matter in the hands of President Donald Trump, who has done nothing.

So Trump is blamed for Obama's failure. How convenient.

The essence of the piece is that "intelligence" was "captured" that somehow proved that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave "specific instructions" that he wanted  to "defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump."

Pardon me, but I don't believe this for a moment. This "intelligence" may be what the Post seeks to expose-Russian "active measures" or disinformation.

As we reported back in January, "Looking at the election objectively, it is possible to say that Russian leader Vladimir Putin may have had a personal vendetta against the former U.S. secretary of state for some reason, stemming from allegations of U.S. meddling in Russian internal affairs. On the other hand, Putin may have preferred that Clinton become the U.S. president because her failed Russian ‘reset' had facilitated Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and he believed he could continue to take advantage of her."

This makes far more sense than the Post story.

Remember that Obama won the 2012 election after dismissing his Republican opponent Mitt Romney's claim that Russia was a geopolitical threat to the United States. Obama had also been caught on an open mic before the election promising to be "flexible" in changing his positions to benefit Russia.

"These comments provide more evidence that Obama was never the anti-Russian figure he postured as in the final days of his second term," we noted.

The Post story by Greg Miller and others is an obvious response to the observation that, if Obama thought the Russian interference was such a big deal, what did Obama try to do about it?

One can read the entire article if you are interested in how pro-Obama propaganda is manufactured by the Post. Some parts of the article are more ludicrous than others, such as this paragraph:

"Throughout his presidency, Obama's approach to national security challenges was deliberate and cautious. He came into office seeking to end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was loath to act without support from allies overseas and firm political footing at home. He was drawn only reluctantly into foreign crises, such as the civil war in Syria, that presented no clear exit for the United States."

The paragraph is designed to mask Obama's indifference to Russian aggression in places like Crimea, Ukraine and Syria. In regard to the latter, Obama failed to save Syria from Russian aggression and facilitated a conflict-through secret arms shipments to the region-that now stands at 500,000 dead.

Obama's alleged "cautious" approach in the Middle East was to support jihadist groups in Syria and Libya, and back regimes such as the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, which was overthrown by the military backed by the people.

The hero in the Post account is Obama's CIA director John Brennan, who joined the agency after admitting to voting for Moscow's man in the 1976 presidential election, Gus Hall of the Communist Party USA. Suddenly, we are led to believe, as CIA director, he became anti-Russian after discovering a Moscow plot in 2016 to disrupt the presidential election.

"In political terms," the paper said, "Russia's interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy."

This is complete nonsense. There is no evidence any votes were changed as a result of this so-called "interference."

The crime of the century is bad journalism based on anonymous sources who hide behind papers like the Post to spread their self-serving and partisan propaganda.

"This account of the Obama administration's response to Russia's interference is based on interviews with more than three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services," the Post said. "Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue."

One paragraph in particular tells you everything you know about the anonymous sources behind this story. "Those closest to Obama defend the administration's response to Russia's meddling," the Post said. Yes, indeed, those "closest to Obama" would certainly do so.

Then we're told that that "They believe that a series of warnings-including one that Obama delivered to Putin in September-prompted Moscow to abandon any plans of further aggression, such as sabotage of U.S. voting systems."

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for this dramatic statement. It's completely made up.

Remember, this is the same Obama who once assured Putin that after he won his re-election campaign in 2012, he would have "more flexibility" with the Russian leader and be able to offer more concessions.

Now, all of a sudden, Obama is rough and tough and gets things done with the Russian leader. What a joke.

The paper reported that "Obama confronted Putin directly during a meeting of world leaders in Hangzhou, China. Accompanied only by interpreters, Obama told Putin that ‘we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else,' according to a senior aide who subsequently spoke with Obama. Putin responded by demanding proof and accusing the United States of interfering in Russia's internal affairs."

Or else?

It sounds like the red line in Syria that Obama had warned the Syrian regime not to cross. But they crossed it anyway.

Obama's so-called "secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault" exists in the minds of Post reporters who are waging a not-so-secret struggle to rehabilitate the former president's disastrous foreign policy toward Russia and most of the rest of the world.

Let's not forget one more debacle-Obama's deal with Russian client state Iran to facilitate the regime's nuclear weapons program and world-wide terrorism.

That may end up being another crime of the century, on par with President Bill Clinton's deal with North Korea that was supposed to prevent the communist regime from getting its hands on nuclear weapons.

Speaking of North Korea, whose nuclear weapons program accelerated under Obama, hear the words of Otto Warmbier's father about his son being released after Trump took office: "I think the results speak for themselves."

Obama's "cautious and deliberate" approach was to let the young man languish in a North Korean prison while being tortured to near death.

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          State Officials Make Legal Threat Against DACA   

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state Republican attorneys general sent a letter Thursday threatening to sue if the Trump administration does not “phase out” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, many of them now college students, have obtained two-year, renewable work permits and protection against deportation.

Trump has sent mixed messages about the DACA program, which was established by former President Obama in 2012. During the campaign Trump said that he would “immediately terminate” what he described as an “illegal executive amnesty” program. Since his election he has softened his tone and said he would deal with DACA “with heart,” but he has not pledged to continue it. A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said earlier this month that the program “continues to be under review with the administration.”

The 10 attorneys general that sent the letter threatening to sue over DACA were all part of a 26-state coalition that sued over another Obama-era program known as DAPA, which would have extended DACA-like protections to parents of American citizens and permanent residents. The Trump administration earlier this month rescinded the DAPA program, which was blocked by court order from ever going into this effect, saying there was "no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy."

In rescinding DAPA, however, DHS clarified that current beneficiaries of DACA will continue to be eligible to seek a two-year extension of their status upon expiration and that “no work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

In the letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the 10 state attorneys general said that if the administration refuses to phase out the program, which they describe as "unlawful" in that it "unilaterally confers eligibility for work authorization and lawful presence without any statutory authorization from Congress," they will amend their lawsuit against DAPA to challenge the DACA program as well.

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, condemned the attorneys general who sent the letter, saying in a statement that "their evident xenophobia is not remotely consistent with the trajectory of our nation's history and future progress."

"MALDEF urges the president not to cave in to the toothless threat in today's Texas letter," Saenz said. "Presidential authority does constitutionally extend to protecting DACA recipients, whom the president has repeatedly declared worthy of protection. We urge the president to fight to vindicate that authority."

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          Arkansas's Rutledge joins effort to end protection for immigrants who came as children   
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state legal officers, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, have asked Donald Trump to end the Obama program that allowed people who came to the U.S. as children to remain and work without fear of deportation. From the Texas Tribune:

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Paxton urged the White House to rescind the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. DACA applies to undocumented immigrants that came to the country before they were 16 years old and were 30 or younger as of June 2012. It awards recipients a renewable, two-year work permit and a reprieve from deportation proceedings.

As of August 2016, more than 220,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas had applied for a permit or a renewal of one under the program, and nearly 200,000 of those have been approved, according to government statistics. It’s the second-highest total behind California’s estimated 387,000 applications and 359,000 approvals during the same time frame.

“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Paxton wrote. He was joined by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter.
Some 12,000 people in Arkansas are protected by the program, about half of them working, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Trump has rescinded some earlier immigration policies but kept some of the DACA protections in place. The state officials want this phased out. They claim this change wouldn't "require the federal government to remove any alien."

The ACLU of Arkansas criticized Rutledge for joining in a threat to sue if Trump doesn't end DACA:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas today condemned Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for joining a group of state officials urging the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, to apply for a work permit and temporary protection against deportation.

“It’s shocking that just a few days before we’ll celebrate the birth of our democracy as a nation of immigrants, Attorney General Rutledge is demonstrating such a callous disregard for the very people she’s supposed to protect and serve,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director. “These law-abiding young people came to the U.S. as children and are valued members of our communities. Telling the Trump administration to eliminate their protected status - ‘or else’ - is truly beyond the pale. We condemn this attempt to threaten the federal government into targeting DREAMers and will continue to defend the rights of all Arkansans.”


          PURCHASING/MATERIALS COORDINATOR - Bubble Technology Industries - Chalk River, ON   
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          International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People; Statements by President of UN General Assembly   
This is my playlist of some videos i've collected so far related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

See here for more information about 29 Nov, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. See here for my post on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

These are two statements by Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly,
On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinan People
UN Headquarters , New York, 24 November 2008


It is with mixed emotions that I join you today to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at this event organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. As you know, Solidarity is a concept that is central to my work as the Assembly President. I want to thank the Committee for its dedicated efforts to rally our solidarity with the Palestinian people, pursuing the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly.

Today we recall that, 61 years ago this month, the General Assembly adopted the historic resolution 181, calling for the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab State. The State of Israel, founded a year later in 1948, now celebrates 60 years of its existence. Shamefully, there is still no Palestinian State to celebrate.

As I stated in my first address to the General Assembly last September, I believe that the failure to create a Palestinian State as promised is the single greatest failure in the history of the United Nations. It has been 60 years since some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes and property, becoming refugees and an uprooted and marginalized people.

We cannot avoid the bitter irony that next month we mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines the right to self-determination of these very same people. We are witness to decades of the terrible conditions endured throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, yet the promise – the right -- of the Palestinian people to a homeland remains as elusive as ever.

As I speak here today, almost 1.5 millions Palestinians are enduring an unprecedented blockade of the Gaza Strip. All border crossings into Gaza are closed, blocking even the delivery of emergency humanitarian relief supplied by the United Nations. Lack of fuel is plunging the population into darkness and cold; basic medicines are running out; malnutrition is chronic and peoples’ coping mechanisms are being exhausted.

In solidarity, I urge the international community to raise its voice against this collective punishment of the people of Gaza. We must call for an end to this massive abuse of human rights. I call on Israel, the occupying Power, to allow humanitarian and other supplies to enter the Gaza Strip without delay.

The situation in the West Bank is often overshadowed by the humanitarian crisis facing Gaza. We cannot overlook, however, the existence of over 600 checkpoints and other obstacles to freedom of movement within the West Bank. We must denounce the resumption of house demolitions during the cold months and the unabated settlement expansion that is still being officially authorized. The unprecedented rise in violent attacks by settlers against the Palestinian population must also end. Although different, what is being done against the Palestinian people seems to me to be a version of the hideous policy of apartheid.

This untenable situation highlights the urgent need for the resumption of a genuine peace process that can yield tangible results in the foreseeable future. So far the endless negotiations between two very unequal partners have not borne fruit. What we need is a renewed sense of solidarity to inspire political will, courage and a broader perspective of the conflict. This should include the revival of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.

The international community should spare no effort in assisting both Israelis and Palestinians to reach a solution that will fulfill the goal of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The United Nations has an ongoing responsibility to resolve the question of Palestine in all its aspects and in accordance with international law. Let us be sure that this not become a permanent responsibility.

The enmity between our Palestinian and Israeli brothers and sisters is a bitter and self-perpetuating tragedy. We must find new ways to defuse this enmity, to enable both peoples to reassert their historic bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. I urge the international community to defuse the political deadlock that cynically perpetuates this hatred, isolation and abuse. Our solidarity must prompt concrete action to realize those elusive rights that most of us can take for granted.

Thank you.

At the 57th Plenary Meeting on Agenda Item 16, the Question of Palestine
UN Headquarters , New York, 24 November 2008


I am pleased to open this plenary session in which we take up the Question of Palestine. This morning, with heavy heart, we observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I joined the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, H.E. Ambassador Paul Badji, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to voice our ongoing concern for the terrible situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and express our solidarity with this long-suffering People

We heard the comprehensive report of the Chairman on the current situation of Palestinians living under occupation. As well, the Secretary-General summarized the complex initiatives that are being undertaken by the international community to move forward peace talks and the establishment of the Palestinian state.

I urged the international community to raise its voice against the collective punishment of the people of Gaza, a policy which we cannot tolerate. We demand an end to this massive abuse of human rights and call on Israel, the occupying Power, to allow humanitarian and other supplies to enter the Gaza Strip without delay.

I spoke this morning about apartheid and how Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era, a continent away.

I believe it is very important that we in the United Nations use this term. We must not be afraid to call something what it is. It is the United Nations, after all, that passed the International Convention against the Crime of Apartheid, making clear to all the world that such practices of official discrimination must be outlawed wherever they occur.

We heard today from a representative of South African civil society. We know that all around the world, civil society organizations are working to defend Palestinian rights, and are trying to protect the Palestinian population that we, the United Nations, are failing to protect.

More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a non-violent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations.

Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations.

I have attended a great many meetings on the rights of the Palestinian People. I am amazed at how people continue to insist on patience while our Brothers and Sisters are being crucified.

Patience is a virtue in which I believe. But there is nothing virtuous about being patient with the suffering of others.

We must endeavour, with all our heart, to put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian People.

I have great love for the Jewish People and this has been true all my life. I have never hesitated to condemn the crimes of the holocaust or any of the many abuses committed against our Jewish Brothers and Sisters.

However, their suffering does not give anyone the right to abuse others, especially those who historically have such deep and exemplary relations with the Jewish People.

Having said this, I would like to remind our Israeli Brothers and Sisters that even though they have the protective shield of the United States in the Security Council, no amount of arm twisting and intimidation will change the Security Council resolution 181, adopted 61 years ago, calling for the creation of two states.

Shamefully, there is no Palestinian state to celebrate today and the prospects are as distant as ever. All explanations notwithstanding, this central fact makes a mockery of the United Nations and gravely hurt its image and prestige. How can we continue like this?

I call upon our dear Brothers and Sisters at the decision-making level in our Host Country to end the policy that only retards justice in the Middle East.

The international community should spare no effort in assisting both Israelis and Palestinians to reach a solution that will fulfill the goal of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The United Nations has an ongoing responsibility to resolve the question of Palestine in all its aspects and in accordance with international law. Let us be sure that this not become a permanent responsibility.

The enmity between our Palestinian and Israeli brothers and sisters is a bitter and self-perpetuating tragedy. We must find new ways to defuse this enmity, to enable both peoples to reassert their historic bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood.

I urge the international community to defuse the political deadlock that cynically perpetuates this hatred, isolation and abuse. Our solidarity must prompt concrete action to realize those elusive rights that most of us can take for granted.

Thank you.

          adidas Originals x SPEZIAL S/S 17   
Celebrating the launch of the S/S 17 SPEZIAL collection, Gary Aspden, Nick Griffiths and &SON offer a short film set to music composed by Matthieu Bost and Jérémie Dessus about Jamaican musician Chronixx. Sporting the latest Originals collection, the singer takes us on a tour of his homeland expounding upon his dreams, passion for music and ambitions for the both himself and the island.
          Immigration to the United States by Adherents to Islam Violates U.S. Federal Law   
  by, Kevin Cannon | The Post & Email | Department of Homeland Security (DHS) | h/t Dennis The Immigration and Nationality Act passed June 27, 1952 revised the laws relating to immigration, naturalization, and nationality for the United States. That act, which became Public Law 414, established both the law and the intent of […]
          These 15 photos show Hong Kong's journey from British rule to today   

Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty

Hong Kong will celebrate the 20 year anniversary of its reunification with China following British rule this weekend.

The city has a seperate political and economic system under the "one country, two systems" constitutional principle, which has at times lead to pro-democracy protests during clashes with Beijing.

These historic images show 20 years of Hong Kong's fraught – and incredibly politicized — relationship with Mainland China.

The handover of Hong Kong from British rule to Beijing began officially with the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984 by Premier Zhao Ziyang of the People's Republic of China and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom.

Source: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region



In 1989, the Tiananmen Square protest crackdown sent shockwaves throughout the country. The annual candlelight vigil held in Hong Kong to mark its date is symbolic of the rift that remains between the island city and Beijing.

Source: The Washington Post



As the late 1990s brought increased instability, thousands of Hong Kong natives left their homeland for countries such as the UK, Canada and the US.

Source: Time



See the rest of the story at INSIDER
          'A waste of taxpayer money': Trump's voter fraud commission is facing pushback from a dozen states   
  • TrumpAt least a dozen states pushed back against a broad request from the White House commission on voter fraud.
  • The states included Indiana, whose secretary of state sits on the commission.
  • The requested information has raised questions about the ways it can be used.

At least a dozen states are already pushing back against a request by President Donald Trump's voter-fraud commission to hand over registered voters' personal information to make public. 

The bipartisan Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent a letter to all 50 states on Wednesday seeking registered voters' names, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers, and party registration.

It also asked for a decade's worth of voter history, information on felony convictions, and whether they have registered in more than one state. The commission said all voter data submitted by the states would be made public, and the Justice Department sent a separate letter asking states to reveal how they maintain their voter rolls.

At least 12 secretaries of state — from Indiana, California, Kentucky, Virginia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Minnesota, Utah, Oklahoma, New York, Tennessee and New Mexico — have so far declined to hand over information that is not already publicly available. 

Indiana's secretary of state, Connie Lawson, sits on the commission. But she said in a statement that "Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach." Only certain voter information, she said, is available to the public under Indiana law: name, address, and congressional district assignment.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement that handing over the requested information would "legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach."

“I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally," Padilla said Thursday.

Kris Kobach

Trump vowed to investigate voter fraud just days after taking office, repeating false claims that millions of illegal ballots were cast in the presidential election. There is no evidence to support Trump's repeated assertion that he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton in November's election because people voted illegally, independent experts and analysts have said.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said in a statement that "Kentucky will not aid a commission that is at best a waste of taxpayer money and at worst an attempt to legitimize voter suppression efforts across the country."

"The president created his election commission based on the false notion that 'voter fraud' is a widespread issue — it is not," Grimes said. "Indeed, despite bipartisan objections and a lack of authority, the president has repeatedly spread the lie that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast in the last election."

States are already wary of accepting federal help when it comes to voting and election systems. States pushed back when the Department of Homeland Security wanted to designate their voter systems as "critical infrastructure" before the election last year, and are still reluctant to allow the government to conduct a complete digital forensics analysis of the voting machines to see if they were tampered with. 

'Serious privacy concerns' and 'laying the groundwork for voter suppression'

Election law and voter-fraud experts broadly agree that the commission's request is not only baseless, but an infringement on privacy and states' rights.

"Having all of this information raises serious privacy concerns," wrote Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. "Will the information be kept securely, or is it at risk of being hacked for identity theft purposes? Will it be used by the Trump campaign and other political officials for political purposes? How secure will this be?"

Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation who is writing a book on the history of voting rights, wrote Friday that "never before has a White House asked for such broad data on voters, and it could be easily manipulated by Trump’s commission."

Berman said the request could be a pretext to make it harder to register to vote, leading to widespread voter suppression efforts.

"Kobach has a very well-documented record of making wildly misleading claims about voter fraud and enacting policies that sharply limit access to the ballot in his home state of Kansas," he wrote. "He’s been sued four times by the ACLU for voter suppression and was sanctioned by a federal court last week for 'deceptive conduct and lack of candor.'"

Vanita Gupta, who ran the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department during the Obama administration and now heads the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, agreed that Pence and Kobach appeared to be "laying the groundwork for voter suppression."

"The integrity of our elections is indeed under assault — just not in the way Trump claims," she tweeted Thursday. 

A 'gold mine' of voter information

There is also the question of whether making this personal information, including Social Security numbers and military status, publicly available in one place risks making it more vulnerable to manipulation and misuse by adversaries.

Russian hackers targeted election systems in at least 21 states last year, top DHS official Jeanette Manfra told the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month. The hackers probed election infrastructure and successfully infiltrated a "small number of networks," said Sam Liles, the DHS's top cyber official.

The hackers stole voter-data information, which they could then use "in a variety of ways," said top FBI counterintelligence official Bill Priestap, including to affect future elections, target individual voters, and determine whether the data is something they can manipulate going forward. 

When a data-analytics firm hired by the Republican National Committee last year to gather political information about US voters accidentally leaked the sensitive personal details of roughly 198 million citizens earlier this month, cybersecurity experts called it "the motherlode of all leaks" and a "goldmine" for anyone looking to target and manipulate voters. 

That information did not even include highly sensitive information like Social Security numbers that the administration now wants to gather and, apparently, make publicly available. 

"It’s just shocking," Myrna Pérez, an expert on voting rights and election administration at Brennan Center for Justice, told Mother Jones on Friday, "that in a period where we know that there’s a risk that we have foreign interference and foreign attacks on our registration systems, that somebody thinks it’s a good idea to take the voter registration rolls in all 50 states and put them all together in one place."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A restaurant in NYC serves pizza topped with avocado


          Blog Post: AILA Practice Alert: DHS and DOS Implementation of Executive Order Imposing Travel and Refugee Ban (Updated 6/30/17)   

AILA Doc. No. 17012670 - "JUNE 30, 2017 ALERT (2:00PM): On June 29, 2017, the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) both released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on its websites regarding the implementation of Executive Order 13780. Subsequent to the release of their FAQs, both agencies quietly revised its FAQs, without notifying stakeholders. This practice alert highlights some of the key changes to the DOS and DHS FAQs."


          Arkansas's Rutledge joins effort to end protection for immigrants who came as children   
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state legal officers, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, have asked Donald Trump to end the Obama program that allowed people who came to the U.S. as children to remain and work without fear of deportation. From the Texas Tribune:

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Paxton urged the White House to rescind the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. DACA applies to undocumented immigrants that came to the country before they were 16 years old and were 30 or younger as of June 2012. It awards recipients a renewable, two-year work permit and a reprieve from deportation proceedings.

As of August 2016, more than 220,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas had applied for a permit or a renewal of one under the program, and nearly 200,000 of those have been approved, according to government statistics. It’s the second-highest total behind California’s estimated 387,000 applications and 359,000 approvals during the same time frame.

“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Paxton wrote. He was joined by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter.
Some 12,000 people in Arkansas are protected by the program, about half of them working, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Trump has rescinded some earlier immigration policies but kept some of the DACA protections in place. The state officials want this phased out. They claim this change wouldn't "require the federal government to remove any alien."

The ACLU of Arkansas criticized Rutledge for joining in a threat to sue if Trump doesn't end DACA:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas today condemned Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for joining a group of state officials urging the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, to apply for a work permit and temporary protection against deportation.

“It’s shocking that just a few days before we’ll celebrate the birth of our democracy as a nation of immigrants, Attorney General Rutledge is demonstrating such a callous disregard for the very people she’s supposed to protect and serve,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director. “These law-abiding young people came to the U.S. as children and are valued members of our communities. Telling the Trump administration to eliminate their protected status - ‘or else’ - is truly beyond the pale. We condemn this attempt to threaten the federal government into targeting DREAMers and will continue to defend the rights of all Arkansans.”


          Questioning territory: A Jewish reflection on holy land*   
Jerusalem_Dome_of_the_rock_BW_14Thinking of territory as a patrie, a motherland or homeland, makes use of metaphors that hope to capture a primal relationship between territory and citizenship. It is this meeting that founds the very concept of nation as more than merely a linguistic derivative of natio, birth. Pre-modern and pre-statist intuitions of indigineity undergo a modern schematisim that issue forth in citizenship. Territory thus invigorated is the depth interpretation of the hyphen in the couplet “nation-state.” It is rendered sacral by political theologies that seek to invest it with the status of the divine hearth, consecrating thereby not only the claim to a sovereign right to it but also the demand of sacrifice of life to retain its integrity. In their quest for the aura of majesty we may consider civil religions as the republican version of monarchic divine right theories.
          Homeland Security warns businesses of hacking campaign against nuclear, energy firms   
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation this week privately warned American businesses about a hacking campaign targeting the nuclear, energy and manufacturing sectors, according to a report by the agencies. Hackers used tainted “phishing” emails to &...
          Arabian Hottie Risking Her Life Practicing Prostitucion At Her Homeland   
Watch Arabian Hottie Risking Her Life Practicing Prostitucion At Her Homeland at free fuck and porn video site
          How to get your Japanese citizenship back   
Photo credit: DiscoverNikkei.org

I grew up a dual national. I was born in Japan but my mother is an American citizen so she reported my birth abroad (see also: Wikipedia). The United States uses the jus sanguinis – meaning "right of blood" – principle to determine nationality so because my mother was a US citizen, she could apply to have my birth recognized by the US, thus giving me citizenship.

Having spent the majority of my life in the US, when it came time for me to choose a nationality, the obvious choice was to renounce my Japanese citizenship. I was attending college in the US, could no longer speak Japanese fluently and had no plans to ever return to Japan to live. I had also been living under the illusion that I had fully assimilated into American society.

The first time I came to regret my choice was during the 2000 election. Friends with European heritage looked into the possibility of applying for citizenship in their families' homelands and some actually went through with it. But as terrified as I was of living under a Bush presidency, my life was here and my Japanese fluency had only declined since I had renounced my citizenship. I figured that it was an impossible task. Then I thought about it again in 2004 and on and off since then. It's been on my mind ever since Donald Trump became the Republican nominee.

The US and Japan have enjoyed a surprisingly cozy relationship for the past 71 years given the brutal history of WWII. When I read about the Japanese American incarceration and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki I frankly do not understand how Japanese and Japanese Americans are able to embrace America. However, at this point it's difficult to imagine the US-Japan relationship deteriorating any time soon given that the two nations are dependent on one another. But who knows. I don't think that Japanese Americans in the 1940s thought that what happened to them could ever happen.

I used to feel secure in my status as a US citizen but as I have gotten older I have realized that for some Americans, you're only American as long as it's convenient for them. It doesn't matter that my mom's side of the family has been here for more than 100 years – for some people that's not long enough. I also have a Japanese father and the United States is not the land of my birth. The only reason I have US citizenship is due to a legal technicality. While I believe these people represent only a small fraction of Americans all it takes is for a few of the wrong people to be in power.

One of my friends who is Jewish (though not religious) sent me this text earlier today about something her seven-and-a-half-year-old half-Jewish daughter had said: "Did I tell you that [my daughter] said 'I don't want Donald Trump to be president. I don't want to do the Anne Frank thing.'" [She learned about the Holocaust and Anne Frank from BrainPOP]. I asked why her daughter was scared given that they aren't Muslim and my friend said: "She knows that she is Jewish, and she knows he wants to ban people of one religion. And she knows all about the Holocaust. She is afraid of being rounded up. I cried when I assured her that wouldn't happen no matter who wins." Parents in democratic countries should not have to have these conversations with their children.

I never thought that in my lifetime I would see a return to the sort of racist injustice and fearmongering that led to 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans being locked up by the US government for the crime of being Japanese, yet here we are. Earlier this year American-Japanese artist Setsuko Winchester wrote about a conversation she had with a park ranger at Tule Lake in which he told her that they had seen an increase in the number of visitors last year. "The problem he said was that they weren’t coming to uncover this dark part of US history. Rather, they were coming because “they wanted to know how internment worked” — and they were doing so “because they heard Trump and some mayor say it was an example the government might re-think to solve the Muslim-American problem." This story has haunted me ever since. 

With that in mind, I decided it was time to stop wondering and find out what else besides intensive language lessons I would need to reacquire my Japanese citizenship. I called the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston and the staffer I spoke with kindly emailed me some links after our call.

The first step in reacquiring Japanese citizenship seems to be to live in Japan for a minimum of three years (the residency requirement for foreign nationals who do not have a Japanese parent is ten years) as laid out in Article 6 (ii) of the Nationality Act. In order to do that I was told that the relevant visa is the one for "Spouse/child of Japanese national". Although it does seem that in the case of a former Japanese national the Minister of Justice can permit naturalization if you have a domicile in Japan per Article 8 (iii) so I'm not entirely sure if I bought property in Japan if I could bypass the three year residency requirement.

第六条 次の各の一に該当する外国人で現に日本に住所を有するものについては、務大臣は、その者が前条第一第一に掲げる条件を備えないときでも、帰化許可することができる
Article 6 The Minister of Justice may permit naturalization for a foreign national currently having a domicile in Japan who falls under one of the following items even if that person has not met the conditions listed in the preceding Article, paragraph (1), item (i):

二 日本で生まれた者で引き続き三年以上日本に住所若しくは居所を有し、又はその若しくは母(養父母を除く。)が日本で生まれたもの
(ii) A person born in Japan, and continuously having a domicile or residence in Japan for three years or more or whose father or mother (excluding an adoptive parent) was born in Japan;

It seems that the biggest hurdle to reacquiring my Japanese citizenship would be my lack of fluency. At my age and given how complex Japanese is, it feels like it would be nearly impossible but there's that old aphorism: "desperate times call for desperate measures." Renouncing my US citizenship might ultimately be the most difficult part since the bulk of my family is in the US.

Japan has its own problems and their fate is closely tied to the US's but sometimes I feel like if I'm going to live in a country where I'll never be fully accepted would I rather live here or in Japan? It's not an easy question to answer. This election cycle it has felt like the US is regressing, not moving forward. Some would argue that Japan is having similar problems with rising Japanese nationalism and attempts to return to more traditional values but when I hear news about changing attitudes towards Okinawans and gaikokujin and see the incredible aerial footage of mass anti-nuclear, anti-security bill (article), and anti-US military protests it feels like Japan is poised to make some real progress. It could be a grass is greener on the other side of the Atlantic fantasy but at least now I know what my options are.



Disclaimer: Any errors in this piece are due to my own misunderstanding. If you are thinking about returning to Japan and reacquiring your Japanese citizenship please contact your local embassy, consulate, or permanent mission for more information.


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*****
This post has been crossposted at Discover Nikkei, a multi-lingual Nikkei online community. 

From their website: "Discover Nikkei is a community website about Nikkei identity, history and experiences. The goal of this project is to provide an inviting space for the community to share, explore, and connect with each other through diverse Nikkei experiences, culture, and history." Discover Nikkei is coordinated by the Japanese American National Museum and supported by The Nippon Foundation.


              Comment on There’s no Pride in Israeli occupation of Palestine by lnm3921   
    There is no logic in anything you say. Only your opinions and insane support for terrorism! There is no science behind your rantings for Palestinian suicide bombings and no nation that doesn't promote terrorism itself would agree there is! It's just political propaganda to push your agenda! You don't educate you only babble Dr. Frankenstein! We've had enough of your monster! You should be on a watch list by homeland security! You're not stable Mabel!
              Germany march   
    850 German patriots marched in Berlin today. The march was organised by the Identitarian movement. The banner's main slogan reads "Future for Europe" and underneath it says "Identity. Love of homeland. Patriotism." The march was five times larger than a similar one held last year.


              Salon flips out over Identitarian campaign   
    I saw this on my Twitter feed:



    The leftist Salon website has noticed the European Identitarian campaign I wrote about last month. What is happening is that there are ships being operated by various NGOs which are picking up illegal immigrants from the coast of Africa and, in contravention of international law, ferrying them to Europe (they are supposed to be taken to the nearest African port).

    The Identitarians have launched a campaign to operate a vessel of their own, a bit like the Rainbow Warrior, to block the NGO ships. The campaign has, to the consternation of Salon, quickly raised funds. (At our last meeting of the Melbourne Traditionalists we raised money to send off to this campaign.)

    In their hit piece, Salon quotes one of the Identitarians as saying:
    This massive immigration is changing the face of our continent. We are losing our safety, our way of life, and there is a danger we Europeans will become a minority in our own European homelands.

    The Salon piece then continues:
    The group writes that “humanitarian NGOs traffick hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Europe and endanger the security and future of our continent. They are responsible for the mass drowning of thousands of Africans in the Mediterranean.”

    As The Observer recently reported, the group has raised nearly $100,000 in less than three weeks through an anonymous crowd funding campaign. The group says it plans to pay for vessels, travel costs and film equipment. Italian Identitarians claim they have been offered ships and support from people with boat driving licenses.

    The Identitarian statements sound reasonable enough to me. And, as I wrote in my original post on the campaign, it is a template changer - it marks a shift toward a more activist response to what is happening in Europe. And this, I expect, is what has caught the attention of the leftists at Salon.
              Gianforte Votes to Pull Federal Funds From Sanctuary Cities, Enhance Penalties for Deported Felons Who Return   
    Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte has sided with fellow republicans in the U.S. House to pass to bills concerning the countries immigration policy. The first bill is  H.R. 3003 - No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which will impact states and cities that have enacted 'sanctuary' status towards undocumented immigrants by making it harder for those municipalities to receive grant funds from the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security... Continue reading…
              From Northwestern Syria to Southwestern Pennsylvania: An Immigration Story   
    Unknown.png
    William "Chad" Hanna, back left; Senator John F. Kennedy, right.

    At the age of 14, in 1904, George Hanna emigrated from Mashta al-Helu, Syria to Pennsylvania, settling in the town of Clymer, 70 miles east of Pittsburgh. George supported himself as a businessman, selling housewares in a cart to local coal miners. He was charismatic, an astute entrepreneur, and spoke four languages. Through his military service in World War I, George was stationed in Chateau-Thierry, France, he became a naturalized citizen. His parents arranged a marriage for George with a young woman whose family also hailed from Mashta al-Helu. George and Sara married in 1919 and had three children over 10 years, Dorothy, George and William (“Chad”). The Hannas decided not to speak Arabic to their children, opting to more quickly assimilate as so many immigrants of that generation did. However, the family was adamant about retaining the cultural and Syrian Orthodox practices of their homeland.         

    The Hannas were prosperous in the 1920s, in part due to Sara’s exceptional baking and business skills. During prohibition, Sara opened a bakery and sandwich shop in Clymer where people would come from several towns away to indulge in her highly-regarded pies and cakes and experience the warm hospitality of Arab culture. As a sign of the times and their financial wellbeing, George even bought a motorcycle for himself. But the Hannas were not shielded from the effects of the Great Depression and lost much of their wealth. As the economy improved and with prohibition long over, George planned to open a bar in town but he lacked the financial means to buy a space. It was Sara who came to the rescue, having saved $500, enabling the family to open a bar in the early 1940s.  

    George and Sara’s son, Chad, graduated from high school in Clymer and attended Syracuse University before dropping out two years later. He eloped with his high school sweetheart, Marcy (who was already engaged to another man) on a romantic whim, and they moved to Cleveland, then to Los Angeles, before returning to Clymer in the late 1940s. Chad and Marcy had three children, Sara (“Sally”), John (“Jack”), and William (“Bill”) before the end of the 1950s. While Chad was working at PENNDOT, he developed an interest in politics and, along with a friend, established the first Democratic Party Club of Indiana County. His political efforts and friendly personality earned him a connection to the state’s former Governor, David Lawrence, working behind the scenes in Democratic state politics. When then Senator John F. Kennedy was making campaign stops across the country, Chad helped to organize a visit to Indiana County. On October 15, 1960, with several thousand people in attendance outside the courthouse, Senator Kennedy became the first, and to this day only, presidential candidate to attend a rally within county limits. In 1963, Chad changed career paths, becoming Cymer’s Postmaster, a position he held for nearly 20 years.

    Today, Chad’s children are geographically spread out, but always a phone call away from each other. Sally, the eldest, is retired with a daughter and two grandchildren living around the Bay area, while the youngest, Bill, who moved to Pittsburgh, became an engineer and settled down with his wife in the city. Jack, a West Virginia University and Antioch Law School graduate, became an attorney. He practiced law with his wife, Carol, then an attorney, until she ran and won a Court of Common Pleas Judgeship. Jack has been the Chair of the Indiana County Democratic Party, the one which his father co-launched, and has attended every Democratic National Convention, either as a Delegate or as a credential holder, since 1996. He currently serves as Treasurer for the Democratic Party for the state of Pennsylvania. Jack and Carol have two daughters: Joan, the author of this blog and the Community Relations Associate at AAI, and Frances, a student at Portland State University.

    For the Hanna family, the American dream was over 100 years in the making. The sons and daughters of Syrian immigrants are still proud to be Syrian American, and of their accomplishments, struggles and joys. Heritage was a grounding force for those that came here in 1904 and continues to be one for the youngest family members today.

     Click here to share your own immigrant story or email it to us at communications@aaiusa.org. 


              Meet Arab Americans standing up for refugees   

    Khamis.jpgNicole Khamis, Michigan Refugee Assistance Program

    What was your motivation for founding MRAP?

    My family is Palestinian and was forcibly displaced, so living in diaspora is my daily reality. I often have a hard time reconciling the opportunities I have, such as going to a school like Michigan or living in relatively safety, because I know many individuals who, just by virtue of living in a different part of the world, will never have the same opportunities I will have. Because of this, I have tried to use my privilege and my platform on campus to raise awareness about the refugee crisis while at the same time motivating students to let them know that just because we may be young does not mean we can’t mitigate the current crisis in some way.

    One of my main motivations was that the summer before my senior year, I went to Jordan and was working at an international NGO, Caritas Amman. It was there that saw the faces of people I had only ever heard about in the news, and saw the magnitude of the crisis. I had so many interactions with individuals that continue to impact me, and I questioned how I could leave everything behind after what I saw. I decided I couldn’t. That experience motivated me to utilize my position as a student and make good on the opportunity I had as an American citizen. Additionally, after returning from Jordan, I had a lot of individuals asking me how they could help, and heard an overwhelming feeling of helplessness from many who felt they could not do anything because many of these crises, they felt, were so far away. I wanted to show individuals that the people who were impacted from these wars weren’t far away, as many had resettled in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. I knew we could find a way to help. That is when the idea of pairing students who were resourceful and compassionate with refugees who still needed assistance long after the three months of assistance they received from refugee resettlement agencies came about, and MRAP began!

    Originally, when I started MRAP, I specifically wanted to focus on supplying local refugee resettlement agencies with volunteers. After putting out applications for volunteering with refugees, my team and I were overwhelmed- within a week, we had over 250 applications from students and community members. Immediately, I knew we had to capitalize on the momentum and the resources our diverse student body offered. That is when the idea came to start a student organization that would not only allow students to volunteer with refugees, but would also serve to educate the campus on this issue while advocating for refugees and immigrants. 

    What are the goals of MRAP? 

     Michigan Refugee Assistance Program (MRAP for short) is a student organization that started recently on the simple idea that Michigan students could assist refugees right in the town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The goal of our organization is to make Michigan a more welcoming community for refugees, while simultaneously using our platform as college students to stand with and advocate for refugees and immigrants, particularly in the current political climate. How we do this is two fold: first, we have several committees that do various activities and plan and execute events; second, we pair students with recently resettled refugee families from Syria and Iraq through our partnership with the Detroit Mayor’s Office and Samaritans. 

    In what ways does MRAP advocate for and assist refugees in the Anna Arbor area?

    Through our Welcoming Liaison Program with the Detroit Mayor’s Office and Samaritas, MRAP places students directly with refugees in their home. Students, by virtue of this partnership, have been able for the first time to work with refugees while being students on a college campus. This experience has allowed students to assist refugees in the ways that resettlement agencies sometimes aren’t able to do, particularly after agencies cease their assistance to refugees. Students have been involved with assisting refugees with learning english to signing up their children for soccer teams to even filling out tax forms. In the nuance of everyday life, things that may be common knowledge for many individuals born in the United States is knowledge that is lacking from newly resettled refugees, so students have been immensely helpful in picking up where refugee agencies left off. While a central aspect of MRAP is the interpersonal experience students get with refugees and using these experiences to build mutual understanding and breaking down stereotypes, our nature as a student group on campus has also allowed us to use our position as students to educate our fellow colleagues. Throughout our first year on the University of Michigan campus, we have held donation drives, movie screenings, and also had a sold-out capstone event in which we had participants from our Welcoming Liaison Program who were from Syria and Iraq talk about their experience going through the resettlement process. All of these events align with our central mission of raising awareness and equipping students to become world actors in international crises. We hope that with the knowledge we give our community comes action, and we’ve only seen more and more people become interested in wanted to help and being excited that there is finally a vessel to do something. 

    As World Refugee Day is coming up, what are ways you think people, specifically young people in the U.S., can best assist refugees?

    There are so many ways to help! First, reach out to your local refugee resettlement agency. If you have one nearby and ask if they need any donations. If you offer translation services or transportation that would be even better! Currently, refugee resettlement agencies are being cut off from funding, so any outside help they can get is critical. If you are moving out and have extra stuff, call local refugee resettlement agencies to see if you can donate your items! Monetary donations are always the most helpful and most needed. Lastly, educate yourself! It is so important to push back against the current xenophobic rhetoric that we are seeing by getting to know the facts; brush up on the intense vetting process that refugees must go through, or read up on current research that shows that resettling refugees is actually economically beneficial. Don’t think that just because the conflicts are distant that you won’t make an impact. It is critical to use the resources you have and the position you find yourself in mitigate this crisis. You don’t have to go abroad or have a specific degree to help- MRAP has proved that to me. 


    15078530_10154749660369169_99700426416127466_n.jpgYasmin Hussein, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

    What is the nature of the work you do with USCRI? 

    I am a Program Officer for the Reception and Placement program at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, one of the nine national voluntary agencies that do resettlement in the United States. The Reception and Placement program is the first program a refugee is enrolled in upon their arrival to the United States. This program assists refugees in the transition to life here in the United States. We assist our network of 39 agencies across the country in providing services to refugees.

    Do you have a personal motivation for working with refugee assistance? 

    Absolutely! I have committed to various causes since my days in college and knew that I wanted to be more involved in Refugee Resettlement. I have been invested in the cause both personally and now professionally and feel blessed that my "job" is doing something I am passionate about daily.

    Part of the USCRI mission is the empower survivors; in what ways does USCRI empower survivors? And what are ways, in your opinion, that others can help empower refugee survivors in their communities?

    USCRI empowers refugees by ensuring that their transition into life in the United States is as smooth as possible. For those of us who have moved from state to state or even from one home to another, we know how difficult the process of starting a new life in a new place can be, so can you only imagine how difficult it is for a refugee who has fled their homeland, house, family and friends for safety to start a new life in a place they have never been to. One way individuals who can empower refugees, is by employment! If you own a company or business, reach out to a local resettlement agency to discuss hiring refugees. For the rest of us, I believe the best way for communities around the country to help empower refugees is by volunteering at their local resettlement agencies.

    As World Refugee Day is coming up, what are ways you think people, specifically people living in the U.S.., can best assist refugees? 

    I believe the best way for communities around the country to help assist refugees is by volunteering at their local resettlement agencies. You can volunteer your time, expertise, in-kind or monetary donations, every little bit helps!

     


              Anti-immigrant Texas attorney general threatens to sue Trump unless he ends DACA   

    You’d think that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton would have other things to worry about, like the fact that the three felony charges hanging over his head could land him in the slammer for up to 99 years.

    But on the very same day Paxton’s legal team met with the new judge presiding over his criminal case, Paxton and Republican officials in nine other states announced they will sue Donald Trump if he doesn’t end former President Barack Obama’s popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 immigrant youth to work legally and pursue their dreams.

    Texas already paved the way to killing Obama’s 2014 immigration action, which would have protected the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents from deportation and allowed them to work legally. Now these anti-immigrant charlatans want an end to DACA as well:

    Joining Paxton on the letter were Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho and West Virginia.

    The letter said the threatened lawsuit against DACA would follow the same legal reasoning that prompted the federal courts to block Obama’s 2014 attempt to expand DACA and add protections for unauthorized immigrants who were parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents.

    Texas led a 26-state coalition that successfully challenged that order — known as DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents — arguing that the Obama administration did not have the legal authority to issue an order protecting about 4 million people from deportation.

    Kelly formally rescinded a Homeland Security memo that implemented the DAPA policy on June 15 but kept the DACA memo in place, prompting Paxton’s letter Thursday.

    “It’s outrageous and wrong for these far-right Republican politicians to attack immigrant youth and DACA, a program that has worked incredibly well for the past five years,” said Greisa Martinez, a leader with immigrant youth led organization United We Dream. “Make no mistake, we will organize and fight to defend, preserve and protect DACA. We call on all people of conscience to speak out in favor of protecting immigrant youth, our families, and our communities. The racist agenda must be stopped.”


              Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives   
    06.29.17 11:47 AM Dear Mr. Speaker: I ask the Congress to consider the enclosed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget amendments for the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice, as well as the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the National Endowment for the Arts. These amendments are necessary to correctly reflect the policies assumed in my FY 2018 Budget. The overall FY 2018 budget authority totals would not be affected by this request. The details of these amendments are set forth in the enclosure from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
              Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Homeland Security   
    06.29.17 07:34 AM MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY SUBJECT: Delegation of Authority under the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017 By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby delegate to the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to submit the report required under section 710 of the Department of State Authorities Act, Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-323) (the "Act"). The delegation in this memorandum shall apply to any provision of any future public law that is the same or substantially the same as section 710 of the Act.
              US tightens airport security   
    The US has unveiled enhanced security measures for flights to the country designed to prevent expanding an in-cabin ban on laptops. Airline trade groups are warning the changes might cause disruption. U.S. government: Airlines must up security measures or they face laptop ban on U.S.-bound international flights https://t.co/tt1JF6gEBg- AP Business News (@APBusiness) 28 juin 2017 In numbers: who will be affected? 325,000 airline passengers 2,000 commercial flights per day 180 airlines From 280 airports 105 countries Since laptops are widely used in flight by business class passengers - who pay double or more than the average ticket price - the airline industry had feared expanding the ban could cut into the revenue. What effect will they have? The measures, which EU and US officials say will begin taking effect within three weeks, could require additional time to screen passengers and personal electronic devices for possible explosives. This is not the first time this has happened, is it? No. In March, the US banned laptops on flights to the US originating at 10 airports in eight countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey. It was an attempt to address fears that bombs could be concealed in electronic devices taken onboard aircraft. Homeland security officials say those 10 airports can get off the list if they meet the new security requirements, but did not say how long it would take. Was it just the US that did this? No. The UK quickly followed suit with a similar set of restrictions. What is the thinking behind this? The US authorities want increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas, expanded canine screening and additional places where travellers can be cleared by US officials before they depart. It is a question of security. What are the airlines saying? US carriers say they will follow the new security directive. However, industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A) criticised Homeland Security for not working more closely with them on the new policies. Airlines for America urges DHS to work collaboratively with stakeholders on enhanced global security measures https://t.co/LaSSX35qTG- Airlines for America (@AirlinesDotOrg) 28 juin 2017 The decision not to impose new laptop restrictions eases airlines' concerns that expanding the ban to Europe or other locations could cause major logistical problems and deter travel. However, airline officials say they are concerned about adding enhanced security measures to all airports worldwide that have direct flights to the US, rather than focus them on airports where threats are highest. European airline groups say that, if the threats are confirmed, the restrictions should be deployed to cover all EU departing flights and not just US-bound ones. How long do the airlines have to bring the measures in? European and US officials say airlines have 21 days to put in place increased explosive trace detection screening. They have 120 days to comply with other security measures, including enhanced screening of airline passengers. The business US airline stocks rose on Wednesday, with United Continental Holdings closing up 1 percent, Delta Air Lines Inc up 2 percent and American Airlines Group up 1.6 percent. What they are saying "Inaction is not an option," - US Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly sasy the measures are not the last step to tighten security. "The development of the security directive should have ben subject to a greater degree of collaboration and coordination to avoid the significant operational disruptions and unnecessarily frustrating consequences for the travelling public that appear likely to happen," - A4A Chief Executive Nicholas E.Calio.
              More court challenges on travel ban   
    A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump’s travel is now in force, stripped of provisions that brought protests and chaos at airports worldwide in January yet still likely to generate a new round of court fights. The new rules, the product of months of legal wrangling, aren’t so much an outright ban as a tightening of already-tough visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Refugees are covered, too. Administration officials promised that implementation this time, which started at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT), would be orderly. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dan Hetlage said his agency expected “business as usual at our ports of entry,” with all valid visa holders still being able to travel. Still, immigration and refugee advocates are vowing to challenge the new requirements and the administration has struggled to explain how the rules will make the United States safer. Under the temporary rules, citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who already have visas will be allowed into the United States. But people from those countries who want new visas will now have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business in the U.S. It’s unclear how significantly the new rules will affect travel. In most of the countries singled out, few people have the means for leisure travel. Those that do already face intensive screenings before being issued visas. Nevertheless, human rights groups girded for new legal battles. The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups challenging the ban, called the new criteria “extremely restrictive,” ”arbitrary” in their exclusions and designed to “disparage and condemn Muslims.” The state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion Thursday asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce the ban against relatives — such as grandparents, aunts or uncles — not included in the State Department’s definition of “bona fide” personal relationships. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer met with customs officials and said he felt things would go smoothly. “For tonight, I’m anticipating few issues because, I think, there’s better preparation,” he told reporters at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night. “The federal government here, I think, has taken steps to avoid the havoc that occurred the last time.” Much of the confusion in January, when Trump’s first ban took effect, resulted from travelers with previously approved visas being kept off flights or barred entry on arrival in the United States. Immigration officials were instructed Thursday not to block anyone with valid travel documents and otherwise eligible to visit the United States. Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the rules “would slam the door shut on so many who have waited for months or years to be reunited with their families.” Trump, who made a tough approach to immigration a cornerstone of his election campaign, issued a ban on travelers from the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. His order also blocked refugees from any country. Trump said these were temporary measures needed to prevent terrorism until vetting procedures could be reviewed. Opponents noted that visa and refugee vetting were already strict and said there was no evidence that refugees or citizens of those six countries posed a threat. They saw the ban as part of Trump’s campaign promise to bar Muslims from entering the United States. Lower courts blocked the initial ban and a second, revised Trump order intended to overcome legal hurdles. The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the revised ban but exempted travelers who could prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity. The court offered only broad guidelines. In guidance issued late Wednesday, the State Department said the personal relationships would include a parent, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States. It does not include other relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. On Thursday, the State and Homeland Security departments had both expanded the range of bona fide relationships to include fiancés. Business or professional links must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules. Refugees from any country will face similar requirements. But the U.S. has almost filled its quota of 50,000 refugees for the budget year ending in September and the new rules won’t apply to the few remaining slots. With the Supreme Court set to consider the overall ban in October, the rules could change again. The travel ban may have the largest impact on Iranians. In 2015, the most recently available data, nearly 26,000 Iranians were allowed into the United States on visitor or tourist visas. Iranians made up the lion’s share of the roughly 65,000 foreigners from the six countries who visited with temporary, or non-immigrant visas that year. American journalist Paul Gottinger said he and his Iranian fiancee applied for a visa nearly a year ago but are still waiting on a decision. Gottinger says they were to wed at a Japanese garden in his parents’ home state of Minnesota this month but postponed the ceremony until August because they had not yet received the visa. Now, he expects they will have to delay again. “Every twist and turn of the courts, we’re holding our hearts and our stomachs are falling to the floor,” he said by phone from Turkey. The new regulations are also affecting the wedding plans of Rama Issa-Ibrahim, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. She is Syrian-American and had planned to get married this fall. While her father in Syria may be able to get a visa, her aunts and uncles may well be blocked. “I
              Limited travel ban kicks in   
    The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a “close” family or business tie to the United States. The move came after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump’s executive order that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims. Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department Wednesday said that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations that are still awaiting approval for admission to the U.S. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships, according to the guidelines that were issued in a cable sent to all U.S. embassies and consulates late on Wednesday. The new rules take effect at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday (0000GMT on Friday), according to the cable, which was obtained by The Associated Press. As far as business or professional links are concerned, the State Department said a legitimate relationship must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules, the cable said. A hotel reservation or car rental contract, even if it was pre-paid, would also not count, it said. Consular officers may grant other exemptions to applicants from the six nations if they have “previously established significant contacts with the United States;” ”significant business or professional obligations” in the U.S.; if they are an infant, adopted child or in need of urgent medical care; if they are traveling for business with a recognized international organization or the U.S. government or if they are a legal resident of Canada who applies for a visa in Canada, according to the cable. Meanwhile, the Middle East’s biggest airline says its flights to the United States are operating as normal as new travel guidelines come into effect for travelers for six mainly Muslim nations. Dubai-based Emirates said in response to questions on the travel ban Thursday that it “remains guided by the US Customs and Border Protection on this matter.” The carrier reminded passengers that they “must possess the appropriate travel documents, including a valid US entry visa, in order to travel.” On Monday, the Supreme Court partially lifted lower court injunctions against Trump’s executive order that had temporarily banned visas for citizens of the six countries. The justices’ ruling exempted applicants from the ban if they could prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity, but the court offered only broad guidelines — suggesting they would include a relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the U.S. — as to how that should be defined. Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security had labored since the decision to clarify the ruling and Wednesday’s instructions were the result. The new guidance will remain in place until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling on the matter. Arguments before the justices will not be held until at least October, so the interim rules will remain in place at least until the fall. Shortly after taking office, Trump ordered the refugee ban and a travel ban affecting the six countries, plus Iraq. He said it was needed to protect the U.S. from terrorists, but opponents said it was unfairly harsh and was intended to meet his campaign promise to keep Muslims out of the United States. After a federal judge struck down the bans, Trump signed a revised order intended to overcome legal hurdles. That was also struck down by lower courts, but the Supreme Court’s action Monday partially reinstated it. The initial travel ban led to chaos at airports around the world, but because the guidelines exempt previously issued visas, similar problems are not expected. After a judge blocked the original ban, Trump issued a scaled-down order and the court’s action Monday further reduced the number of people who would be covered by it. Also, while the initial order took effect immediately, adding to the confusion, this one was delayed 72 hours after the court’s ruling. Under the new rules, would-be immigrants from the six countries who won a coveted visa in the government’s diversity lottery — a program that randomly awards 50,000 green cards annually to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States — will also have to prove they have a “bona fide relationship” with in the U.S. or are eligible for another waiver or face being banned for at least 90 days. That hurdle may be a difficult one for those immigrants to overcome, as many visa lottery winners don’t have relatives in the U.S. or jobs in advance of arriving in the country. Generally, winners in the diversity lottery only need prove they were born in an eligible county and have completed high school or have at least two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two other years of training or experience. ___ Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report. _______________________________________________________ Copyright © 2017 Capitol Hill Blue Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved  
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              Annotations to Morga's 1609   
    To the Filipinos: In Noli Me Tangere ("The Social Cancer") I started to sketch the present state of our native land. But the effect which my effort produced made me realize that, before attempting to unroll before your eyes the other pictures which were to follow, it was necessary first to post you on the past. So only can you fairly judge the present and estimate how much progress has been made during the three centuries (of Spanish rule).

    Like almost all of you, I was born and brought up in ignorance of our country's past and so, without knowledge or authority to speak of what I neither saw nor have studied, I deem it necessary to quote the testimony of an illustrious Spaniard who in the beginning of the new era controlled the destinies of the Philippines and had personal knowledge of our ancient nationality in its last days.

    It is then the shade of our ancestor's civilization which the author will call before you. . . If the work serves to awaken in you a consciousness of our past, and to blot from your memory or to rectify what has been falsified or is calumny, then I shall not have labored in vain. With this preparation, slight though it may be, we can all pass to the study of the future.

    José Rizal

    Europe, 1889

    Governor Morga was not only the first to write but also the first to publish a Philippine history. This statement has regard to the concise and concrete form in which our author has treated the matter. Father Chirino's work, printed in Rome in 1604, is rather a chronicle of the Missions than a history of the Philippines; still it contains a great deal of valuable material on usages and customs. The worthy Jesuit in fact admits that he abandoned writing a political history because Morga had already done so, so one must infer that he had seen the work in manuscript before leaving the Islands.

    By the Christian religion, Dr. Morga appears to mean the Roman Catholic which by fire and sword he would preserve in its purity in the Philippines. Nevertheless in other lands, notably in Flanders, these means were ineffective to keep the church unchanged, or to maintain its supremacy, or even to hold its subjects.

    Great kingdoms were indeed discovered and conquered in the remote and unknown parts of the world by Spanish ships but to the Spaniards who sailed in them we may add Portuguese, Italians, French, Greeks, and even Africans and Polynesians. The expeditions captained by Columbus and Magellan, one a Genoese Italian and the other a Portuguese, as well as those that came after them, although Spanish fleets, still were manned by many nationalities and in them were negroes, Moluccans, and even men from the Philippines and the Marianes Islands.

    These centuries ago it was the custom to write as intolerantly as Morga does, but nowadays it would be called a bit presumptuous. No one has a monopoly of the true God nor is there any nation or religion that can claim, or at any rate prove, that to it has ben given the exclusive right to the Creator of all things or sole knowledge of His real being.

    The conversions by the Spaniards were not as general as their historians claim. The missionaries only succeeded in converting a part of the people of the Philippines. Still there are Mohammedans, the Moros, in the southern islands, and Negritos, Igorots and other heathens yet occupy the greater part territorially of the archipelago. Then the islands which the Spaniards early held but soon lost are non-Christian -- Formosa, Borneo, and the Moluccas. And if thre are Christians in the Carolines, that is due to Protestants, whom neither the Roman Catholics of Morga's day nor many Catholics in our own day consider Christians.

    It is not the fact that the Filipinos were unprotected before the coming of the Spaniards. Morga himself says, further on in telling of the pirate raids from the islands had arms and defended themselves. But after the natives were disarmed the pirates pillaged them with impunity, coming at times when they were unprotected by the government, which was the reason for many of the insurrections.

    The civilization of the Pre-Spanish Filipinos in regard to the duties of life for that age was well advanced, as the Morga history shows in its eighth chapter.

    The islands came under Spanish sovereignty and control through compacts, treaties of friendship and alliances for reciprocity. By virtue of the last arrangement, according to some historians, Magellan lost his life on Mactan and the soldiers of Legaspi fought under the banner of King Tupas of Cebu.

    The term "conquest" is admissible but for a part of the islands and then only in its broadest sense. Cebu, Panay, Luzon, Mindoro, and some others cannot be said to have been conquered.

    The discovery, conquest and conversion cost Spanish blood but still m ore Filipino blood. It will be seen later on in Morga that with the Spaniards and on behalf of Spain there were always more Filipinos fighting than Spaniards.

    Morga shows that the ancient Filipinos had army and navy with artillery and other implements of warfare. Their prized krises and kampilans for their magnificent temper are worthy of admiration and some of them are richly damascened. Their coats of mail and helmets, of which there are specimens in various European museums, attest their great advancement in this industry.

    Morga's expression that the Spaniards "brought war to the gates of the Filipinos" is in marked contrast with the word used by subsequent historians whenever recording Spain's possessing herself of a province, that she pacified it. Perhaps "to make peace" then meant the same as "to stir up war." (This is a veiled allusion to the old Latin saying of Romans, often quoted by Spaniard's that they make a desert, calling it making peace. -- Austin Craig)

    Megellan's transferring from the service of his own king (i.e. the Portuguese) to employment under the King of Spain, according to historic documents, was because the Portuguese King had refused to grant him the raise in salary which he asked.

    Now it is known that Magellan was mistaken when he represented to the King of Spain that the Molucca Islands were within the limits assigned by the Pope to the Spaniards. But through this error and the inaccuracy of the nautical instruments of that time, the Philippines did not fall into the hands of the Portuguese.

    Cebu, which Morga calls "The City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus," was at first called "The village of San Miguel."

    The image of the Holy Child of Cebu, which many religious writers believed was brought to Cebu by the angels, was in fact given by the worthy Italian chronicler of Magellan's expedition, the Chevalier Pigafetta, to the Cebuan queen.

    The expedition of Villalobos, intermediate between Magallan's and Legaspi's gave the name "Philipina" to one of the southern islands, Tendaya, now perhaps Leyte, and this name later was extended to the whole archipelago.

    Of the native Manila rulers at the coming of the Spaniards, Raja Soliman was called "Rahang mura", or young king, in distinction from the old king, "Rahang matanda". Historians have confused these personages.

    The native fort at the mouth of the Pasig river, which Morga speaks of as equipped with brass lantkas and artillery of larger caliber, had its ramparts reinforced with thick hardwood posts such as the Tagalogs used for their houses and called "harigues", or "haligui".

    Morga has evidently confused the pacific coming of Legaspi with the attack of Goiti and Salcedo, as to date. According to other historians it was in 1570 that Manila was burned, and with it a great plant for manufacturing artillery. Goiti did not take possession of the city but withdrew to Cavite and afterwards to to Panay, which makes one suspicious of his alleged victory. As to the day of the date, the Spaniards then, having come following the course of the sun, were some sixteen hours later than Europe. This condition continued until the end of the year 1844, when the 31st of December was by special arrangement among the authorities dropped from the calendar for that year. Accordingly Legaspi did not arrive in Manila on the 19th but on the 20th of May and consequently it was not on the festival of Santa Potenciana but on San Baudelio's day. The same mistake was made with reference to the other earlyl events still wrongly commemorated, like San Andres's day for the repulse of the Chinese corsair Li Ma-hong.

    Though not mentioned by Morga, the Cebuans aided the Spaniards in their expedition against Manila, for which reason they were long exempted from tribute.

    The southern islands, the Bisayas, were also called "The land of the Painted People (or Pintados, in Spanish)" because the natives had their bodies decorated with tracings made with fire, somewhat like tattooing.

    The Spaniards retained the native name for the new capital of the archipelago, a little changed, however, for the Tagalogs had called their city "Maynila."

    When Morga says that the lands were "entrusted (given as encomiendas) to those who had "pacified" them, he means "divided up among." The word "entrust," like "pacify," later came to have a sort of ironical signification. To entrust a province was then as if it wre said that it was turned over to sack, abandoned to the cruelty and covetousness of the encomendero, to judge from the way these gentry misbehaved.

    Legaspi's grandson, Salcedo, called the Hernando Cortez of the Philippines, was the "conqueror's" intelligent right arm and the hero of the "conquest." His honesty and fine qualities, talent and personal bravery, all won the admiration of the Filipinos. Because of him they yielded to their enemies, making peace and friendship with the Spaniards. He it was who saved Manila from Li Ma-hong. He died at the early age of twenty-seven and is the only encomendero recorded to have left the great part of his possessions to the Indians of his encomienda. Vigan was his encomienda and the Illokanos there were his heirs.

    The expedition which followed the Chinese corsair Li Ma-hong, after his unsuccessful attack upon Manila, to Pangasinan province, with the Spaniards of whom Morga tells, had in it 1,500 friendly Indians from Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Panay, besides the many others serving as laborers and crews of the ships. Former Raja Lakandola, of Tondo, with his sons and his kinsmen went too, with 200 more Bisayans and they wre joined by other Filipinos in Pangasinan.

    If discovery and occupation justify annexation, then Borneo ought to belong to Spain. In the Spanish expedition to replace on its throne a Sirela or Malacla, as he is variously called, who had been driven out by his brother, more than fifteen hundred Filipino bowmen from the provinces of Pangasinan, Kagayan and the Bisayas participated.

    It is notable how strictly the early Spanish governors were held to account. Some stayed in Manila as prisoners, one, Governor Corcuera, passed five years with Fort Santiago as his prison.

    In the fruitless expedition against the Portuguese in the island of Ternate, in the Molucca group, which was abandoned because of the prevalence of beriberi among the troops, there went 1,500 Filipino soldiers from the more warlike provinces, principally Kagayans and Pampangans.

    The "pacification" of Kagayan was accomplished by taking advantage of the jealousies among its people, particularly the rivalry between two brothers who were chiefs. An early historian asserts that without this fortunate circumstance, for the Spaniards, it would have been impossible to subjugate them.

    Captain Gabriel de Rivera, a Spanish commander who had gained fame in a raid on Borneo and the Malacca coast, was the first envoy from the Philippines to take up with the King of Spain the needs of the archipelago.

    The early conspiracy of the Manila and Pampangan former chiefs was revealed to the Spaniards by a Filipina, the wife of a soldier, and many concerned lost their lives.

    The artillery cast for the new stone fort in Manila, says Morga, was by the hand of an ancient Filipino. That is, he knew how to cast cannon even before the coming of the Spaniards, hence he was distinguished as "ancient." In this difficult art of ironworking, as in so many others, the modern or present-day Filipinos are not so far advanced as were their ancestors.

    When the English freebooter Cavandish captured the Mexican galleon Santa Ana, with 122,000 gold pesos, a great quantity of rich textiles -- silks, satins and damask, musk perfume, and stores of provisions, he took 150 prisoners. All these because of their brave defense were put ashore with ample supplies, except two Japanese lads, three Filipinos, a Portuguese and a skilled Spanish pilot whom he kept as guides in his further voyaging.

    From the earliest Spanish days ships were built in the islands, which might be considered evidence of native culture. Nowadays this industry is reduced to small craft, scows and coasters.

    The Jesuit, Father Alonso Sanchez, who visited the papal court at Rome and the Spanish King at Madrid, had a mission much like that of deputies now, but of even greater importance since he came to be a sort of counselor or representative to the absolute monarch of that epoch. One wonders why the Philippines could have a representative then but may not have one now.

    In the time of Governor Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, Manila was guarded against further damage sch as was suffered from Li Ma-hong by the construction of a massive stone wall around it. This was accomplished "without expense to the royal treasury." The same governor, in like manner, also fortified the point at the entrance to the river where had been the ancient native fort of wood, and he gave it the name Fort Santiago.

    The early cathedral of wood which was burned which was burned through carelessness at the time of the funeral of Governor Dasmariñas' predecessor, Governor Ronquillo, was made, according to the Jesuit historian Chirino, with hardwood pillars around which two men could not reach, and in harmony with this massiveness was all the woodwork above and below. It may be surmised from this how hard workers were the Filipinos of that time.

    A stone house for the bishop was built before starting on the governor-general's residence. This precedence is interesting for those who uphold the civil power.

    Morga's mention of the scant output the scant output of large artillery from the Manila cannon works because of lack of master foundry workers shows that after the death of the Filipino Panday Pira there were not Spaniards skilled enough to take his place, nor were his sons as expert as he.

    It is worthy of note that China, Japan and Cambodia at this time maintained relations with the Philippines. But in our day it has been more than a century since the natives of the latter two countries have come here. The causes which ended the relationship may be found in the interference by the religious orders with the institutions of those lands.

    For Governor Dasmariñas' expedition to conquer Ternate, in the Moluccan group, two Jesuits there gave secret information. In his 200 ships, besides 900 Spaniards, there must have been Filipinos for one chronicler speaks of Indians, as the Spaniards called the natives of the Philippines, who lost their lives and others who were made captives when the Chinese rowers mutinied. It was the custom then always to have a thousand or more native bowmen and besides the crew were almost all Filipinos, for the most part Bisayans.

    The historian Argensola, in telling of four special galleys for Dasmariñas' expedition, says that they were manned by an expedient which was generally considered rather harsh. It was ordered that there be bought enough of the Indians who were slaves of the former Indian chiefs, or principals, to form these crews, and the price, that which had been customary in pre-Spanish times, was to be advanced by the ecomenderos who later would be reimbursed from the royal treasury. In spite of this promised compensation, the measures still seem severe since those Filipinos were not correct in calling their dependents slaves. The masters treated these, and loved them, like sons rather, for they seated them at their own tables and gve them their own daughters in marriage.

    Morga says that the 250 Chinese oarsmen who manned Governor Dasmariñas' swift galley were under pay and had the special favor of not being chained to their benches. According to him it was covetousness of the wealth aboard that led them to revolt and kill the governor. But the historian Gaspar de San Agustin states that the reason for the revolt was the governor's abusive language and his threatening the rowers. Both these authors' allegations may have contributed, but more important was the fact that there was no law to compel these Chinamen to row in the galleys. They had come to Manila to engage in commerce or to work in trades or to follow professions. Still the incident contradicts the reputation for enduring everything which they have had. The Filipinos have been much more long-suffering than the Chinese since, in spite of having been obliged to row on more than one occasion, they never mutinied.

    It is difficult to excuse the missionaries' disregard of the laws of nations and the usages of honorable politics in their interference in Cambodia on the ground that it was to spread the Faith. Religion had a broad field awaiting them in the Philippines where more than nine-tenths of the natives were infidels. That even now there are to be found here so many tribes and settlements of non-Christians takes away much of the prestige of that religious zeal which in the easy life in towns of wealth, liberal and fond of display, grows lethargic. Truth is that the ancient activity was scarcely for the Faith alone, because the missionaries had to go to islands rich in spices and gold though there were at hand Mohammedans and Jews in Spain and Africa, Indians by the million in the Americas, and more millions of protestants, schismatics and heretics peopled, and still people, over six-sevenths of Europe. All of these doubtless would have accepted the Light and the true religion if the friars, under pretext of preaching to them, had not abused their hospitality and if behind the name Religion had not lurked the unnamed Domination.

    In the attempt made by Rodriguez de Figueroa to conquer Mindanao according to his contract with the King of Spain, there was fighting along the Rio Grande with the people called the Buhahayenes. Their general, according to Argensola, was the celebrated Silonga, later distinguished for many deeds in raids on the Bisayas and adjacent islands. Chirino relates an anecdote of his coolness under fire once during a truce for a marriage among Mindanao "principalia." Young Spaniards out of bravado fired at his feet but he passed on as if unconscious of the bullets.

    Argensola has preserved the name of the Filipino who killed Rodriguez de Figueroa. It was Ubal. Two days previously he had given a banquet, slaying for it a beef animal of his own, and then made the promise which he kept, to do away with the leader of the Spanish invaders. A Jesuit writer calls him a traitor though the justification for that term of reproach is not apparent. The Buhahayen people were in their own country, and had neither offended nor declared war upon the Spaniards. They had to defend their homes against a powerful invader, with superior forces, many of whom were, by reason of their armor, invulnerable so far as rude Indians were concerned. Yet these same Indians were defenseless against the balls from their muskets. By the Jesuit's line of reasoning, the heroic Spanish peasantry in their war for independence would have been a people even more treacherous. It was not Ubal's fault that he was not seen and, as it was wartime, it would have been the height of folly, in view of the immense disparity of arms, to have first called out to this preoccupied opponent, and then been killed himself.

    The muskets used by the Buhayens were probably some that had belonged to Figueroa's soldiers who had died in battle. Though the Philippines had latakas and other artillery, muskets were unknown until the Spaniards came.

    That the Spaniards used the word "discover" very carelessly may be seen from an admiral's turning in a report of his "discovery" of the Solomon islands though he noted that the islands had been discovered before.

    Death has always been the first sign of European civilization on its introduction in the Pacific Ocean. God grant that it may not be the last, though to judge by statistics the civilized islands are losing their populations at a terrible rate. Magellan himself inaugurated his arrival in the Marianes islands by burning more than forty houses, many small craft and seven people because one of his ships had been stolen. Yet to the simple savages the act had nothing wrong in it but was done with the same naturalness that civilized people hunt, fish, and subjugate people that are weak or ill-armed.

    The Spanish historians of the Philippines never overlook any opportunity, be it suspicion or accident, that may be twisted into something unfavorable to the Filipinos. They seem to forget that in almost every case the reason for the rupture has been some act of those who were pretending to civilize helpless peoples by force of arms and at the cost of their native land. What would these same writers have said if the crimes committed by the Spaniards, the Portuguese and the Dutch in their colonies had been committed by the islanders?

    The Japanese were not in error when they suspected the Spanish and Portuguese religious propaganda to have political motives back of the missionary activities. Witness the Moluccas where Spanish missionaries served as spies; Cambodia, which it was sought to conquer under cloak of converting; and many other nations, among them the Filipinos, where the sacrament of baptism made of the inhabitants not only subjects of the King of Spain but also slaves of the encomenderos, and as well slaves of the churches and converts. What would Japan have been now had not its emperors uprooted Catholicism? A missionary record of 1625 sets forth that the King of Spain had arranged with certain members of Philippine religious orders that, under guise of preaching the faith and making Christians, they should win over the Japanese and oblige them to make themselves of the Spanish party, and finally it told of a plan whereby the King of Spain should become also King of Japan. In corroboration of this may be cited the claims that Japan fell within the Pope's demarcation lines for Spanish expansion and so there was complaint of missionaries other than Spanish there. Therefore it was not for religion that they were converting the infidels!

    The raid by Datus Sali and Silonga of Mindanao, in 1599 with 50 sailing vessels and 3,000 warriors, against the capital of Panay, is the first act of piracy by the inhabitants of the South which is recorded in Philippine history. I say "by the inhabitants of the South" because earlier there had been other acts of piracy, the earliest being that of Magellan's expedition when it seized the shipping of friendly islands and even of those whom they did not know, extorting for them heavy ransoms. It will be remembered that these Moro piracies continued for more than two centuries, during which the indomitable sons of the South made captives and carried fire and sword not only in neighboring islands but into Manila Bay to Malate, to the very gates of the capital, and not once a year merely but at times repeating their raids five and six times in a single season. Yet the government was unable to repel them or to defend the people whom it had disarmed and left without protection. Estimating that the cost to the islands was but 800 victims a year, still the total would be more than 200,000 persons sold into slavery or killed, all sacrificed together with so many other things to the prestige of that empty title, Spanish sovereignty.

    Still the Spaniards say that the Filipinos have contributed nothing to Mother Spain, and that it is the islands which owe everything. It may be so, but what about the enormous sum of gold which was taken from the islands in the early years of Spanish rule, of the tributes collected by the encomenderos, of the nine million dollars yearly collected to pay the military, expenses of the employees, diplomatic agents, corporations and the like, charged to the Philippines, with salaries paid out of the Philippine treasury not only for those who come to the Philippines but also for those who leave, to some who never have been and never will be in the islands, as well as to others who have nothing to do with them. Yet allof this is as nothing in comparison with so many captives gone, such a great number of soldiers killed in expeditions, islands depopulated, their inhabitants sold as slaves by the Spaniards themselves, the death of industry, the demoralization of the Filipinos, and so forth, and so forth. Enormous indeed would the benefits which that sacred civilization brought to the archipelago have to be in order to counterbalance so heavy a cost.

    While Japan was preparing to invade the Philippines, these islands were sending expeditions to Tonquin and Cambodia, leaving the homeland helpless, even against the undisciplined hordes from the South, so obsessed were the Spaniards with the idea of making conquests.

    In the alleged victory of Morga over the Dutch ships, the latter found upon the bodies of five Spaniards, who lost their lives in that combat, little silver boxes filled with prayers and invocations to the saints. Here would seem to be the origin of the anting-anting of the modern tulisanes, which are also of a religious character.

    In Morga's time, the Philippines exported silk to Japan whence now comes the best quality of that merchandise.

    Morga's views upon the failure of Governor Pedro de Acuña's ambitious expedition against the Moros unhappily still apply for the same conditions yet exist. For fear of uprisings and loss of Spain's sovereignty over the islands, the inhabitants were disarmed, leaving them exposed to the harassing of a powerful and dreaded enemy. Even now, though the use of steam vessels has put an end to piracy from outside, the same fatal system still is followed. The peaceful country folk are deprived of arms and thus made unable to defend themselves against the bandits, or tulisanes, which the government cannot restrain. It is an encouragement to banditry thus to make easy its getting booty.

    Hernando de los Rios blames these Moluccan wars for the fact that at first the Philippines were a source of expense to Spain instead of profitable in spite of the tremendous sacrifices of the Filipinos, their practically gratuitous labor in building and equipping the galleons, and despite, too, the tribute, tariffs and other imposts and monopolies. These wars to gain the Moluccas, which soon were lost forever with the little that had been so laboriously obtained, were a heavy drain upon the Philippines. They depopulated the country and bankrupted the treasury, with not the slightest compensating benefit. True also is it that it was to gain the Moluccas that Spain kept the Philippines, the desire for the rich spice islands being one of the most powerful arguments when, because of their expense to him, the King thought of withdrawing and abandoning them.

    Among the Filipinos who aided the government when the Manila Chinese revolted, Argensola says there were 4,000 Pampangans "armed after the way of their land, with bows and arrows, short lances, shields, and broad and long daggers." Some Spanish writers say that the Japanese volunteers and the Filipinos showed themselves cruel in slaughtering the Chinese refugees. This may very well have been so, considering the hatred and rancor then existing, but those in command set the example.

    The loss of two Mexican galleons in 1603 called forth no comment from the religious chroniclers who were accustomed to see the avenging hand of God in the misfortunes and accidents of their enemies. Yet there were repeated shipwrecks of the vessels that carried from the Philippines wealth which encomenderos had extorted from the Filipinos, using force, or making their own laws, and when not using these open means, cheating by the weights and measures.

    The Filipino chiefs who at their own expense went with the Spanish expedition against Ternate, in the Moluccas, in 1605, were Don Guillermo Palaot, Maestro de Campo, and Captains Francisco Palaot, Juan Lit, Luis Lont, and Agustin Lont. They had with them 400 Tagalogs and Pampangans. The leaders bore themselves bravely for Argensola writes that in the assault on Ternate, "No officer, Spaniard or Indian, went unscathed!"

    The Cebuans drew a pattern on the skin before starting in to tatoo. The Bisayan usage then was the same procedure that the Japanese today follow.

    Ancient traditions ascribe the origin of the Malay Filipinos to the island of Samatra. These traditions were almost completely lost as well as the mythology and the genealogies of which the early historians tell, thanks to the zeal of the missionaries in eradicating all national remembrances as heathen or idolatrous. The study of ethnology is restring this somewhat.

    The chiefs used to wear upper garments, usually of Indian fine gauze according to Colin, of red color, a shade for which they had the same fondness that the Romans had. The barbarous tribes in Mindanao still have the same taste.

    The "easy virtue" of the native women that historians note is not solely to the simplicity with which they obeyed their natural instincts but much more due to a religious belief of which Father Chirino tells. It was that in the journey after death to "Kalualhatiran," the abode of the spirit, there was a dangerous river to cross that had no bridge other than a very narrow strip of wood over which a woman could not pass unless she had a husband or lover to extend a hand to assist her. Furthermore, the religious annals of the early missions are filled with countless instances where native maidens chose death rather than sacrifice their chastity to the threats and violence of encomenderos and Spanish soldiers. As to the mercenary social evil, that is worldwide and there is no nation that can "throw the first stone" at the other. For the rest, today the Philippines has no reason to blush in comparing its womankind with the women of the most chaste nation in the world.

    Morga's remark that the Filipinos like fish better when it is commencing to turn bad is another of those prejudices which Spaniards like all other nations, have. In matters of food, each is nauseated with what he is unaccustomed to or doesn't know is eatable. The English, for example, find their gorge rising when they see a Spaniard eating snails, while in turn the Spanish find roast beef English-style repugnant and can't understand the relish of other Europeans for beef steak a la Tartar which to them is simply raw meat. The Chinamen, who likes shark's meat, cannot bear Roquefort cheese, and these examples might be indefinitely extended. The Filipinos favorite fish dish is the bagong and whoever has tried to eat it knows that it is not considered improved when tainted. It neither is, nor ought to be, decayed.

    Colin says the ancient Filipinos had had minstrels who had memorized songs telling their genealogies and of the deeds ascribed to their deities. These were chanted on voyages in cadence with the rowing, or at festivals, or funerals, or wherever there happened to be any considerable gatherings. It is regrettable that these chants have not been preserved as from them it would have been possible to learn much of the Filipinos' past and possibly of the history of neighboring islands.

    The cannon foundry mentioned by Morga as in the walled city was probably on the site of the Tagalog one which was destroyed by fire on the first coming of the Spaniards. That established in 1584 was in Lamayan, that is, Santa Ana now, and was transferred to the old site in 1590. It continued to work until 1805. According to Gaspar San Augustin, the cannon which the pre-Spanish Filipinos cast were "as great as those of Malaga," Spain's foundry. The Filipino plant was burned with all that was in it save a dozen large cannons and some smaller pieces which the Spanish invaders took back with them to Panay. The rest of their artillery equipment had been thrown by the Manilans, then Moros, into the sea when they recognized their defeat.

    Malate, better Maalat, was where the Tagalog aristocracy lived after they were dispossessed by the Spaniards of their old homes in what is now the walled city of Manila. Among the Malate residents were the families of Raja Matanda and Raja Soliman. The men had various positions in Manila and some were employed in government work nearby. "They were very courteous and well-mannered," says San Agustin. "The women were very expert in lace-making, so much so that they were not at all behind the women of Flanders."

    Morga's statement that there was not a province or town of the Filipinos that resisted conversion or did not want it may have been true of the civilized natives. But the contrary was the fact among the mountain tribes. We have the testimony of several Dominican and Augustinian missionaries that it was impossible to go anywhere to make conversions without other Filipinos along and a guard of soldiers. "Otherwise, says Gaspan de San Agustin, there would have been no fruit of the Evangelic Doctrine gathered, for the infidels wanted to kill the Friars who came to preach to them." An example of this method of conversion given by the same writer was a trip to the mountains by two Friars who had a numerous escort of Pampangans. The escort's leader was Don Agustin Sonson who had a reputation for daring and carried fire and sword into the country, killing many, including the chief, Kabadi.

    "The Spaniards," says Morga, "were accustomed to hold as slaves such natives as they bought and others that they took in the forays in the conquest or pacification of the islands." Consequently in this respect the "pacifiers" introduced no moral improvement. We even do not know if in their wars the Filipinos used to make slaves of each other, though that would not have been strange, for the chroniclers tell of captives returned to their own people. The practice of the Southern pirates, almost proves this, although in these piratical wars the Spaniards were the first aggressors and gave them their character.
              ICE Abuses Solitary Confinement, Lawyers Say   

    When Jose Mendez was held at Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, he met another young undocumented immigrant who over time became his boyfriend. They would hold hands and occasionally steal a kiss, he said. Mostly, they shared love letters.

    Early last year, as Mendez’s boyfriend was telling him how afraid he was of deportation, Mendez reached over to rest a hand on his. Just then a female guard passed. Fifteen minutes later, Mendez was isolated and accused of having oral sex in the recreation room, said his attorney, Bryan Johnson.

    An official told Mendez that there was visual evidence, which he demanded to see it, confident of his innocence. But his request was denied and he was sentenced to 30 days in disciplinary segregation — the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement equivalent of solitary confinement.

    “Segregation is the worst thing that could exist,” he said.

    Mendez, who does not have a criminal record and sought asylum in the United States after fleeing El Salvador when he was 19, averaged two hours outside of his cell each day as punishment for something he said he did not do. Even if he had, lawyers said, as a civil detainee he should not have faced the same punishment as a felon.

    “These are civil detainees,” said R. Andrew Free, an immigration attorney based in Nashville, “Solitary confinement is a tool of a criminal detention system that is geared toward punishment, and in some cases rehabilitation.”

    But undocumented immigrants across the country are being held in private prisons and government centers that lawyers say follow rules intended for criminals. They have “grafted all of the rules and all of the infrastructure” from the prison industry onto immigrant detention, according to Free.

    The facilities operate with little oversight even as the detainees have no right to lawyers or other protections. Undocumented immigrants who can't find pro bono representation are particularly at a disadvantage, lawyers say. And as President Donald Trump promises to ramp up enforcement of immigration laws, advocates fear even more detainees will get caught up in unreasonable and dangerous situations.

    Solitary confinement can be abused easily, lawyers said. Their clients are punished for indefinite periods and arbitrary reasons, they say.

    Mendez’s confinement record, for example, doesn’t mention oral sex. The reporting officer wrote that Mendez admitted to “kissing and holding hands in the rec. yard,” enough to find him guilty of committing a “sexual act.”

    After about a month in segregation, he was released from Stewart, a private prison run by Corrections Corporation of America, and he boarded a plane to New York thanks to Johnson’s efforts.

    His boyfriend was deported.

    ALLEGATIONS OF WEAK OVERSIGHT
    Both Republican and Democratic presidents have used solitary confinement for undocumented immigrants. It was practiced during Barack Obama’s administration, and George W. Bush’s before that. ICE has arrested more than 41,000 undocumented people since Trump took office, so more people could be at risk of solitary confinement at detention centers around the country.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, a White House memo that circulated among top Department of Homeland Security officials in late January said that DHS would bump up the number of immigrants in detention to 80,000 people a day, nearly double the figure under Obama. Over 5,000 immigrants without criminal records were arrested between January and March, more than double Obama’s figure from the same period in 2016.

    On top of disciplinary actions, ICE facilities also use segregation as a means to isolate vulnerable people, those who are LGBTQ or mentally unstable, for their own safety, according to the agency.

    “ICE’s policy governing the use of special management units protects detainees, staff, contractors, volunteers, and the community from harm by segregating certain detainees from the general population for both administrative and disciplinary reasons,” an ICE official wrote in a statement. “ICE provides several levels of oversight in order to ensure that detainees in ICE custody reside in safe, secure and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement."


    The duration of segregation for some immigrants exceeds international regulations, even for humane criminal practices. In 2015, the United Nations ruled that “prolonged solitary confinement” should be prohibited, and equated the practice to torture. The UN defined “prolonged solitary confinement” as more than 15 days in unwanted isolation.

    When a guard recommends an immigrant for segregation, there’s almost no oversight, lawyers say. A judge has to rule that the detainee deserves punitive solitary, but in the meantime, he or she can be placed in administrative segregation, as Mendez was for two days before he was found guilty.

    ICE had an average daily population of 1.1 percent of detainees in segregation during 2012 and 2013, and more recent estimates show similar numbers. In a system that holds tens of thousands of immigrants and is expanding, that means hundreds are being kept in solitary cells. In 2015, 13 percent of those in segregation were part of ICE's non-criminal population.

    ICE sent out a directive about protocols for solitary confinement in September 2013. The memo said that “placement of detainees in segregated housing is a serious step that requires careful consideration of alternatives.” It also mandated regular review of long-term segregation cases to ensure that a detainee is not held in solitary confinement for longer than necessary.

    When asked how long segregation could last for an undocumented immigrant, an ICE spokesperson did not respond directly. She instead referenced the 2013 directive that "requires agency reporting, review, and oversight of every facility decision to place detainees in segregated housing for over 14 days, and requires immediate reporting and review of segregation placements when heightened concerns exist based on the detainee’s health or other factors."

    But from Free’s vantage point, the standards aren’t followed.

    “Oversight is really weak and lax, and there are no real consequences to these facilities if they engage in serial violations,” Free said. “In my experience [with clients], the solitary confinement went on for months -- literally months -- without any indication of an official sign-off.”

    He said that ICE never actually used the phrase, “solitary confinement,” substituting euphemisms such as “medical isolation,” “administrative segregation,” and “disciplinary segregation.”

    “They use everything but ‘solitary confinement,’ and one has to ask why,” he said.

    OUTSIDE IN A CAGE
    Mulugeta, an Ethiopian immigrant who came to the United States as a child, asked to only use his first name because he intends to re-apply for U.S. residency after being deported. He was in immigrant detention between 2010 and 2014 while he fought his case and says he spent more than a year in segregation.

    “It was a very long time, and a very tough experience,” he said. “Through those four years, I went through a lot of ups and downs.”

    Mulugeta had a green card as a child. When he was 18, he and his friends were playing with a BB gun at one of their homes and someone called the police. Officers searched Mulugeta and found a Ziploc bag of marijuana, more than half an ounce but no more than five pounds, according to his 2009 court indictment. Though he said he had bought the drugs for personal use, he was convicted of intent to distribute. When he was released from prison, ICE was waiting to deport him. But first he was detained for another four years.


    While in immigrant detention, Mulugeta was placed in a special housing unit after a fight broke out at the Oakdale Federal Detention Center in Louisiana, which then held immigrant detainees alongside convicts. He said he was defending himself from attackers when he accidentally fell onto a guard, whose leg broke in several places. As a result, Mulugeta was put in solitary confinement.

    “There was no charge,” he said. “They just kept me there for no reason.”

    While in segregation, Mulugeta received maybe one phone call a week, but he spent most of his time reading, he said. Sometimes, he went outside for sunlight; even then, they put him in an enclosed "cage" so he did not feel free, he said.

    ICE does not comment on specific cases and did not confirm his account. Nor would an ICE spokesperson comment on whether detainees in special housing units are confined during recreation time.

    Guards let Mulugeta shower sporadically, but they didn’t follow a regular schedule. When the cafeteria served pork, Mulugeta, an Ethiopian orthodox Christian, didn’t get to eat.

    “What they did to that kid, I’ll never get over it,” said Paul Scott, his attorney.

    Because ICE detainees are often mixed in with prisoners at county jails and private prisons, Mulugeta said that he and other immigrants were treated like serious offenders.

    “Immigration detainees and a criminal are not the same,” he said. But, to the guards at the detention centers where he was held, he continued, “Everybody is the same.”

    SEGREGATION FOR SAFETY
    Many undocumented immigrants in the United States are seeking refuge from violence against them in their homes countries because of their gender or sexuality. Members of the LGBTQ community are especially at risk of being put into solitary cells because they are targets for sexual assault and bullying by other prisoners.

    “I know that they’re also scared to remain in some cases in the housing unit with their biological sex, so it’s kind of a no-win situation when the only answer is to put people in a box,” Free said.

    But solitary confinement does not always make people safe. Guards also have been accused of taunting transgender or gay prisoners about their lifestyles and other harassment.

    In 2005, ICE detained trans woman Bamby Salcedo after she filed a request to change her legal name. According to her online bio, during her early life, “she fell into a deep cycle of drugs, crime, juvenile institutions and later, after immigrating to the US, prisons.” She told NBC that in California she survived by dealing illegal substances. After Salcedo got to San Pedro Detention Center, which lost its accreditation in 2007 and has since been shuttered, the guards placed her in a dorm with her biological sex, where men put their genitals in her face, grabbed her breasts and buttocks, and made sexually suggestive comments to her, she said.

    “It was constant, and it was too much,” Salcedo added.

    After she told officials that she had been assaulted, she said she was placed in segregation for a week.

    “They said they were trying to protect me, but I was actually being punished further for just being me,” she said.

    In 2015, ICE outlined a Transgender Care Memo, and an agency official wrote that its “ultimate goal with regard to this population is to find facility partners willing to adopt the best practices.”

    But immigrant detainees are often put in solitary after accusing staff members or other residents of sexual assault, according to NBC News. Victims often believe they are being punished by ICE for reporting abuse.

    Salcedo, who founded TransLatin@ Coalition, said that when she visits detention centers as an advocate, she hears similar stories to her own. She said that “really, things have not changed.”

    ICE detainees can also be placed in solitary for protesting or for expressing mental health problems, advocates say.

    Azadeh Shahshahani, legal and advocacy director at the Atlanta-based non-profit Project South, said that other immigrants at the Stewart Detention Center have been segregated “in retaliation” because they’ve gone on hunger strikes to spark administrative interest.

    “They have filed complaints,” Shahshahani said. “Nobody has paid attention to them. And so basically their last option is to put their bodies on the line.”

    And a mother at Karnes County Residential Center in Texas alleged that she and her 11-year-old son were put in medical isolation there as punishment after going on a fast. The account came from a congressional employee who had visited the center, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) told NBC.

    “I believe they were putting women and children -- young babies, infants even -- into solitary confinement for punishment measures,” he said.

    During a hearing of the House Committee on the Judiciary in April 2015, Johnson asked former ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña about the charge.

    “I am not aware of that incident,” Saldaña said. “... If that is a fact, that disturbs me greatly.”

    In its directive, ICE says that detainees on hunger strikes can be placed in segregation for their medical safety.

    An ICE spokesperson wrote that, “The ICE family residential centers do not have segregation areas. Special monitoring or cohorting may be done in cases where it is deemed medically necessary.”

    Advocates respond that while family detention facilities do not have cells explicitly used for solitary confinement, rooms in the medical wing can be used as segregation chambers.

    If detainees admit to considering harming themselves, they are often subjected to segregation, which can exacerbate their issues. In its 2013 memo, ICE says that immigrants can be placed in solitary for “mental illness” or “suicide risk.”

    “It has been my experience that detainees are reluctant to express anxiety or depression out of fear that that would lead to them being put into segregation,” Free said.

    Attorneys sometimes try to use their clients’ segregation as a reason for release or transfer. Scott, for example, cited Mulugeta’s long-term stay in the special housing unit in a letter to the New Orleans field office director advocating for his discharge. He wrote that Mulugeta had been maced in his cell, and that he had been denied the opportunity to meet with his attorney on multiple occasions, which he called a “serious constitutional violation.”

    But when asked, immigrant attorneys could not think of any lawsuits that specifically targeted the use of solitary confinement at ICE facilities. They also couldn’t cite any larger movement fighting against the systemic employment of segregation by ICE officials.

    “As immigration lawyers, we do have unified efforts on a lot of things, but it’s usually not that,” Scott said.

    Free echoed him, saying, “I don’t think that that exists.”

    A little over a year after his release, Mendez recalled how many of those in segregation hadn’t done anything wrong, and how unreasoned discipline was. While he and other detainees were shut in for months, actual bullies and troublemakers faced no consequences for their actions, he said.

    “There were some people they punished for no reason, and others who were guilty but were allowed to live freely,” Mendez said.

    Even after leaving detention, he insists that he never had sexual relations with his then-boyfriend while they were at Stewart.

    “We only sent each other letters,” he said. “What they accused us of never happened.”


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              Research Scientist- Advanced Sensor Systems   
    CA-Torrance, RESEARCH SCIENTIST Physical Optics Corporation, a fast-growing Southern California high tech company specializing in advanced military, homeland security, and energy solutions is seeking a Research Scientist. This position is within our Photonics Division and is focused on Advanced Sensor Systems.This position is for a skillful experimentalist who will be responsible for the development and fabric
              AMERIND & NAIHC Kick-Off Joint Convention in Nashville   

    Published June 29, 2017 AMERIND presents NAIHC with $200,000 check, announces $4M federal subsidy to deploy broadband to four Pueblos in New Mexico   NASHVILLE — This week, hundreds of Tribal leaders, executives and Native organization representatives descended on Nashville, Tennessee—homeland of the United Southern and Eastern Tribes. To kick off the 2017 AMERIND Risk | National […]

    The post AMERIND & NAIHC Kick-Off Joint Convention in Nashville appeared first on Native News Online.


              Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe Receives $456,000 in FEMA Funds for Community Safe Room & Emergency Generators   

    Published June 29, 2017 BOWLER, WISCONSIN – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $456,307 in Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) funds to the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, located in Bowler, Wisconsin, for the construction of a community safe room and the purchase of seven emergency generators. “Our tribal government’s number one priority […]

    The post Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe Receives $456,000 in FEMA Funds for Community Safe Room & Emergency Generators appeared first on Native News Online.


              Weekend Reading: Hebrew in Egypt, Israeli Nukes, and Jewish Beirut   
    Amira Sayed Ahmed

              Why the U.S.-Korea Alliance Will Survive Moon and Trump   
    The prevailing narrative in the American media regarding newly-elected South Korean president Moo

              Cyber Week in Review: June 30, 2017   
    Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have mis

              Duterte Fumbles in Southern Philippines   
    The battle for Marawi, the capital city of some two hundred thousand on the southern Philippine i

              The Development of Cyber Norms at the United Nations Ends in Deadlock. Now What?   
    The prospects of developing norms of state behavior in cyberspace have been looking positively bl

              Data for Development: The Case for Information, Not Just Data    
    When it comes to development, more data is often better—but in the quest for more data, we can of

              New Cyber Brief: Reforming the U.S. Section 702 Intelligence Program   

              Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: June 17 - June 23   
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              You Might Have Missed: Academic Journals VI   
    This is the sixth blog post in this series.

              Cyber Week in Review: June 23, 2017   
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              Canada's Military Gets More Cyber, and the Headaches That Come With It   
    Alex Grigsby is the assistant director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy program at the Co

              The FBI’s Role in National Security   
    Introduction The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the U.S.

              Risks and Opportunities for the World’s Refugee Women    
    Shorash is twenty-three years old.

              North Korea’s Military Capabilities   
    Introduction The United States and its Asian allies regard North Korea as a grave secur

              UN Peacekeeping: Where Are All the Women?    
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              What’s Worth Reading This Summer?   
    CFR.org editor Bob McMahon and I recorded our

              Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: June 10 - June 16   
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              Cyber Week in Review: June 16, 2017   
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              EU Creates a Diplomatic Toolbox to Deter Cyberattacks   

              Why Are Civilian Deaths in Iraq and Syria from U.S. Airstrikes Up 60% Under Trump?   
    Today, I have an

              Don’t Let the Russia-Trump Investigation Distract From U.S. Intelligence Reform   
    Lost amidst the news about former FBI Director Jim Comey’s high-profile testimony last week was t

              Sacrificing Security to Hurt Trump   
    Much was made of the information that President Trump gave to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov whe

              Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: June 3 - June 9   
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              Cyber Week in Review: June 9, 2017   
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              Frustrated with the Philippines, Vietnam Resorts to Cyber Espionage    

              Why Did the Islamic State Target Tehran?   
    Attacks by the self-proclaimed Islamic State on Iran’s parliament and the shrine to Ayatollah Ruh

              The Lord's Resistance Army Persists   
    African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat announced that the Lord’s Resistance A

              Why I Have Nothing to Say About the NSA Leak   
    Emails from reporters started coming in last night.

              Mali is Heating Up   
    Last week,

              Excerpt From "False Dawn": Freedom's Ride   
    The following excerpt from chapter 1 of my new book,

              Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: May 27 – June 2   
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              Cyber Week in Review: June 2, 2017   
    Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have mis

              How Six Days in 1967 Shaped the Modern Middle East   
    After the saber-rattling Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser expelled UN peacekeepers from the

              Women Around the World: This Week   
    Trump Administration proposal slashes U.S. foreign assistance 

              Donald in Arabia: What Did We Learn From Trump's Encounter With the Saudi Monarchy?   
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              Cyber Week in Review: May 25, 2017   
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              Remembering Whom Memorial Day Honors   
    The United States

              Why is Norway Glorifying Terror?   
    Why is Norway glorifying the murder of children?

              Did Killing Mullah Mansour Work?   
    This blog post was coauthored with my research associate,

              Boko Haram Likely to Kidnap Foreign Aid Workers in Nigeria   
    In early May,

              Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: May 13 – May 19   
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              The Terrorist Past Has a Message for the Terrorist Present   
    Western Europe appears to be under an unrelenting terrorism assault.

              Duck and Cover: the Danger of Drones as the Future of E-Commerce   
    Cathryn Shelton is a former intern at the Council on Foreign Relations.

              Ten More Vietnam War Movies    
    Two years ago I posted my picks for the "

              Cyber Week in Review: May 19, 2017   
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              Adam Liff: Seventy Years of Shifting Goal Posts   
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              Don’t Blame NSA for WannaCry   
    When giving talks on cybersecurity, I often get asked what keeps me up at night.

              Cyber Week in Review: May 12, 2017   
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              Moon Jae-in Inherits Leadership At An Uncertain Moment For South Korea   
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              Japan’s Constitutional Debate Accelerates   
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              Yatta!   
    I long thought of traveling to Taiwan and Japan as a pilgrimage of sorts. Paying homage to the homelands of Hou, Yang, Tsai, Kurosawa, Ozu, Naruse, Mizoguchi, Miyazaki, Kore-eda et al. would surely be one of those transcendant experiences that exists somewhere over the rainbow. Right? I could visit the site of the former Dragon Inn! I could ride […]
              The Old Man With the Helmet   
    Friends at Tanghalang Pilipino in Manila remember the old man with the helmet. Wenceslao Rodriguez Sr. wore his military headgear during the gala of a play about men like him, soldiers who fought bravely for his homeland, but whose sacrifices have largely been forgotten.


    Mang Wenceslao kept his helmet on for more than two hours during the premiere of “Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street.” I had missed the gala last November. But the Tanghalang Pilipino folks described it as a moving and meaningful event, and a big reason for its success was the old man with the helmet.

    He was from a poor community in the University of the Philippines area, and graciously accepted Tanghalan’s invitation to attend the first performance of the play based on my novel about World War II veterans (and beautifully adapted for the stage by Rody Vera and directed by Chris Millado).

    The Tanghalan folks, led by creative director Nanding Josef, later became close to Mang Wenceslao. When the equity package was recently passed by the United States government, they thought he would at last get some financial assistance for his sacrifices. Unfortunately, he ran into a problem—there was another person with the same name and that had to be sorted out.

    My friend Nanding said it’s not clear if Mang Wenceslao ever received the benefit which recognizes the courage and service of thousands of Filipino veterans. One day, he and other Tanghalan staffers got a text message from Mang Wenceslao’s family. He had passed away late last month. They were inviting his new theater friends to the 40th day commemoration of his death.

    Before he died, his family told the Tanghalan folks, Mang Wenceslao often talked about “the tribute given to him at the CCP”—“iyong parangal na binigay sa kanya sa CCP.”

    * * *

    “Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street,” which starred veteran performers such as Bembol Roco, Tommy Abuel, Joe Gruta, Dido Dela Paz, and Lou Veloso, focuses on the plight for veterans who moved to San Francisco after they were granted citizenship by the US government. But the production itself exposed me and others from Tanghalan to the broader world of the beteranos.

    For while thousands of Filipino veterans took the opportunity to move to America hoping to provide a better life for their families, many more remained in the Philippines.

    Some of them belonged to the Defenders of Corregidor and Bataan, whose members survived the bloody battles at those historic places. Some of the group’s leaders and members came to watch the play last year. Some of their leaders enjoyed the show so much that they invited me and other members of the Tanghalan staff to their regular luncheon. When we met they also mentioned the plight of other veterans like Mang Wenceslao, who was struggling against poverty and whose contributions have been ignored.

    The Corregidor and Bataan veterans later helped bring “Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street” to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Theater last month, as a way to honor the beteranos, both those who now endure loneliness and isolation in cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles—and also the seniors still living in the Philippines, battling illness, poverty, and in many cases neglect.

    Unfortunately, I also missed that performance. But I was happy to hear that, like the run at the CCP, the show was also well received. “Crowd loved it,” my friend Maricor Baytion, director of the Ateneo Press, which published the novel, said in a text message shortly after the performance ended.

    “This is a funny yet tragic, sentimental, yet soul-stirring story all rolled into a two-hour musical play that portrays the vicissitudes of the aging, sickly, dying— and dead—Filipino veterans of World War II during their final years in their Powell Street hangout in San Francisco,” former President Fidel Ramos wrote in an op-ed piece for the Manila Bulletin.

    If only Mang Wenceslao had been there too for another tribute to men like him. It would have been another proud moment for the old soldier, the warrior who fought bravely for his country.


              Farewell to Two FilAm Activists   
    Published Sept. 10, 2008
    INQUIRER.net

    San Francisco, CA- In the Bay Area, with its huge and vibrant Pinoy community, FilAm activism is pretty much a family affair.

    Whether it’s fighting against dictatorship, or for civil liberties, or for equal benefits for World War II veterans, or even for funds for a new library, mothers and fathers get involved with their sons and daughters, with their grandchildren and even with their great-grandchildren.

    Over the past months, a lolo (grandpa) and a lola (grandma) of the FilAm activist family -- one from the Pinoy enclave of Daly City, and the other from the famous activist city of Berkeley -- passed away.

    Fittingly, they have been honored for their roles in the community’s history of fighting for those who are weak and oppressed, in the Philippines, in America and beyond.

    Pete Marasigan was perhaps best known as the better half of Violeta Marasigan, the late veteran activist and feminist who was fondly called Bullet by friends and colleagues here and in the Philippines.

    Tito Pete, as he was known, died June 18 in Manila of heart failure, at 73.

    He was born in Dapitan, Sampaloc in Manila where he helped manage his family’s general merchandise business. He moved to the United States in 1957 to study business management at the University of San Francisco. He got involved in the youth movement and became active in the struggle against the demolition of the International Hotel, the historic residential building in downtown San Francisco that was home to dozens of Filipino and Chinese seniors.

    The hotel was eventually demolished, but the struggle turned into one of the most dramatic events in California history, highlighting the growing influence of the Filipino American activist movement and the problem of housing and homelessness in America. Today, FilAms still talk about the great struggle to save the I-Hotel, and there is now a FilAm community center where it once stood near Chinatown in the heart of San Francisco.

    It was during the I-Hotel campaign that Pete Marasigan met Bullet. They were later married and had four daughters, Marielle, Marlette, Marnelle and Violeta II, who also became activists.

    In 1971, the couple moved back to the Philippines and joined the fight against the Marcos dictatorship. Bullet helped found Gabriela, the feminist organization, and a center that assisted sex workers at the former U.S. naval base in Subic. In 1982, she was arrested and charged with subversion and spent a year at Camp Crame. After her release, she and Pete continued to be active in the fight against the regime.

    After the fall of Marcos, the Marasigans resettled in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Bullet became a respected community activist. When she was killed in a freak car accident in 2000, respected San Francisco political and community leaders publicly mourned her death. San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, a friend and ally, called her “bigger than life.'' “Her energy was just amazing,'' Ammiano said. “She had that quality of heart, along with being a fighter.'' State legislator Leland Yee, one of the most prominent Asian American politicians in California, spoke of feeling a deep sadness over the loss of an important ally in the fight for community rights.

    After Bullet’s death, Tito Pete continued to be involved with many Filipino American organizations, including the West Bay Center and the Filipino American Arts Exposition, or Pistahan, in which he once served as grand marshal. He was also a staunch supporter of Leland Yee.

    I remember him as a man who was committed to his family, community and homeland. That is also how I remember Mary Bonzo Suzuki.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, Mary and her husband Lewis, longtime residents of Berkeley in the East Bay, were beloved as active members of the movement against the Marcos regime. Mary died on May 11 after a long illness at 76. One recent Sunday, former activists came to pay respect to a Filipino American woman who was known for her courage, devotion to social justice and generosity.

    At the height of the fight against Marcos, the Suzukis were known as staunch supporters of the Bay Area movement. Activists frequently met at their home where Mary was known for almost always asking first, “Have you eaten.” For Mary, good food was an important part of the struggle against tyranny.

    Theirs was a fascinating love story, beautifully told in a January 2005 article in the Berkeley Planet, a community newspaper.

    She was the daughter of a Dutch-Irish-Welsh American woman, and of a Filipino immigrant. Laws barring Filipinos from marrying white women forced them to leave Nebraska. In a sad twist, Mary’s grandfather cut his ties with his daughter, while her grandmother remained supportive.

    The hostile environment eventually forced the young couple to return to the Philippines with their two children. “My father had been beaten up repeatedly. He said if he had to deal with violence, he could handle it better in his home country,” Mary said in an interview with the Berkeley Planet.

    Lewis Suzuki was born in the US to Japanese immigrants. After his father died, he and his mother returned to Japan, but he returned to America amid the rising tide of militarism.

    Eventually, World War II took its toll on both Mary and Lewis. Mary and her family were in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. Her father was tortured by the Japanese military and both her parents joined the resistance.

    Meanwhile, Lewis found himself treated like an enemy in the country of his birth when, after World War II, the US government detained tens of thousands of Japanese Americans. Lewis joined the US Army and worked as a translator.

    The war was a painful time for their families, but it also affirmed their sense of humanity. One day, Mary recalled in the Berkeley Planet article, Lewis’ brother who was visiting them apologized to her for what the Japanese military had done in the Philippines. Lewis’ brother himself witnessed kindness and humanity amid cruelty and suffering while serving with the Japanese army in its brutal occupation of China. Mary recalled how, as the war was ending in China, and Chinese civilians were hunting down Japanese soldiers to kill them, a Chinese family gave shelter to Lewis’ brother.

    Mary’s family returned to America after the war. She became fascinated with events in China, and it was during a visit to the Asian nation that she and Lewis met. They married in 1953, had two children and built their individual careers. She became an educator, and he, a respected painter. But they also devoted much time and energy to activism, and the fight against the Marcos regime and other causes.

    Her commitment to justice and peace remained strong through her last years. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Mary wrote a poem titled “Peace and War.”

    A line read:

    “War voices are loud as the sun blazes and flickers
    A new moon rises, smiling, as a portent of peace
    Come, walk down to the sea with me….”


              Distorted lessons from the Philippine-American War   
    Published July 25, 2008
    INQUIRER.net

    Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama was touring the Middle East when a well-known columnist for a major US newspaper tried to point the way out of the mess in Iraq by citing lessons from another American military misadventure more than a century ago – in the Philippines.

    Unfortunately, conservative commentator Michael Medved's piece for USA Today, "Filipino war's lesson for Iraq," draws distorted, even dangerous, lessons from the tragedy in our homeland.

    He begins by drawing parallels between the current presidential race and the 1900 contest between William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley. Medved describes Bryan as the "handsome young Democratic nominee" known as "the most spellbinding orator of his generation" who promised "dramatic change to correct economic injustice" and an end to the American occupation of the Philippines. He was up against the older McKinley, a Civil War veteran and avid supporter of the occupation whom Medved portrayed as the "tough, fight-it-out Republican" and "a hero in his youth (three decades earlier) in the Civil War."

    Echoes of Obama versus McCain indeed.

    But McCain probably would not appreciate being too closely compared to McKinley, given that US president's bizarre, even creepy, account of how he came to realize that America must occupy the Philippines. In one of the oddest anecdotes in the history of the US presidency, McKinley recalled how he "went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance," which made him see that "there was nothing left for us to do but … to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them."

    (Apparently, McKinley did not get a memo telling him that the Philippines was then a staunchly Catholic nation -- another reason for McCain to balk at any close identification with the former president, given his own foreign affairs faux pas like mixing up Sunnis and Shiites and referring to a non-existent Iraq-Pakistan border.)

    Still, it's not surprising that Medved and other conservatives are hoping for a repeat of that chapter in US history: After all, the older, more hawkish Republican McKinley won that election against the "inexperienced but charismatic anti-imperialist Democrat."

    But Filipinos and Filipino Americans should find Medved's version of the Philippine-American War troubling. "This nearly forgotten conflict deserves renewed attention today since the parallels with our present predicament count as both eerie and illuminating," he writes.

    True enough.

    But then Medved recasts the bloody conflict as a war that the United States "stumbled into" but from which emerged a free and happy nation ever so grateful for American generosity and compassion. He cites former President Manuel L. Quezon's famous quote, "Damn the Americans! Why don't they tyrannize us more?"

    Medved essentially is asking: Now why in the world can't we do that again in Iraq?

    "Our failure to 'tyrannize' our Iraqi allies could similarly destroy the chances of the Islamist terrorists who oppose us," he writes. "The outcome in today's Middle East remains uncertain, but our painful Philippine experience a century ago suggests that a positive result is still possible through a combination of public patience, battlefield brilliance and compassionate determination to provide better lives and freedom to the far-away people who became the war's chief victims."

    I nearly choked when I read this for while Medved made a passing reference to water cure, the notorious torture technique the US military used against Filipino independence forces (and used in Iraq under the name "water boarding"), and while he noted that at least 200,000 Filipinos died in the conflict (other historians cite a higher figure), he downplayed the more sordid chapters of the Philippine-American War: the massacres, the brutal military campaigns, the suppression of basic Filipino civil and human rights.

    Medved writes that "for the most part, America's volunteer troops maintained high morale, resenting anti-war activists back home because they understood this agitation encouraged the enemy." I suspect "high morale" had nothing to do with what happened in the town of Balangiga, Samar when General Jake Smith told his men to turn the island into a "howling wilderness" so that "even birds could not live there."

    "Kill and burn! The more you kill and burn, the better you will please me,"' he ordered. Asked to clarify who the troops' targets were among the population, the general replied: "Everything over 10."

    Medved also ignores the blatant racism of US political leaders led by President William Howard Taft, who served as governor-general of the islands, and who called Filipinos "our little brown brothers.''

    Then there was the former U.S. superintendent who helped set up an American-style public school system in the Philippines who argued that the Filipinos "are children, and childlike, do not know what is best for them. . . By the very fact of our superiority of civilization and our greater capacity for industrial activity, we are bound to exercise over them a profound social influence.''

    Medved's piece reminded me of the now despicable concept of the “white man's burden,” that famous exhortation to Western domination. The phrase was actually coined by British poet Rudyard Kipling during this period in support of the American colonization of the Philippines and other former Spanish colonies. Reading just a part of the poem today would make one cringe.

    "Take up the White Man's burden
    Send forth the best ye breed
    Go, bind your sons to exile
    To serve your captives' need;
    To wait, in heavy harness,
    On fluttered folk and wild
    Your new-caught sullen peoples,
    Half devil and half child..."

    The great American writer Mark Twain was so horrified by US atrocities in our homeland that he called the $20 million the United States paid for the Philippines an "entrance fee into society -- the Society of Sceptered Thieves."

    "The White Man's Burden has been sung,"' Twain wrote. "Who will sing the Brown Man's?"

    Twain also once said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." In his bid to justify an unpopular war in Iraq, Medved came up with a mangled account of a dark chapter in our history that has neither rhyme nor reason.

    Copyright 2008 by Benjamin Pimentel

    Bay Area journalist Benjamin Pimentel can be reached at www.bpimentel.blogspot.com




              Bush's baffling salute to Filipino Americans   
    Published June 26, 2008
    INQUIRER.net

    Filipino food has not gained as much attention and praise in the United States as cuisine from Korea, China or Thailand, but Pinoy cooks and chefs have long occupied proud and important niches in US society, whether in the restaurant industry, the military or even the White House.

    Still, there was something oddly disconcerting about President George W. Bush paying tribute to the contributions of Filipino Americans – particularly those who serve his meals at the White House.

    "I want to tell you how proud I am to be the President of a nation that -- in which there's a lot of Philippine-Americans," Bush told President Gloria Arroyo during her recent visit to the White House, where the head chef, Cristeta Comerford, is Filipino.

    "They love America and they love their heritage. And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the -- of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House."

    In the video of the exchange, you can then hear Arroyo, who is off camera, laughing.

    "Yes," she said.

    Bush continued, "And the chef is a great person and a really good cook, by the way, Madam President."

    “Thank you," she said.

    Bush's remarks were immediately picked up by the liberal Web site, Huffington Post, where readers were naturally amused, embarrassed, outraged.

    "What an utter embarrassment," one reader wrote. "The buffoonery ends 01/20/09."

    "It takes great skill to so utterly mangle what should have been a great compliment," another said. "And yes, beneath it all, it is quite notable that the current White House chef is both the first woman in the position and a naturalized citizen originally from the Philippines."

    "Kitchen help and servants in the White House! THAT'S what he thinks of these hard-working people!" another said.

    One reader wondered what the fuss was about: "Hmmm, my wife is Filipino and she wasn't offended. But then, she doesn't think there's anything wrong with telling a Filipino that he makes a good dish."

    The comment underscored how touchy this issue could be. After all, millions of Filipinos have moved overseas to work as cooks, kitchen help, domestic helpers, construction workers and nurses – and they've done so proudly and with honor and are actually keeping the Philippine economy afloat. As has been stated repeatedly, overseas Filipino workers are heroes.

    But another reader who responded to the last remark also hit the nail in the head on why many Americans would feel embarrassed by what their president said – and why Filipinos everywhere should be dismayed.

    "Dude, President Bush basically told the president of the Philipines that he loved the Filipino people because his only context was the one that worked for him. She should not only be offended, she should be disqusted," the reader said.

    Bush has, of course, uttered many more jaw-dropping and sometimes offensive statements in his foreign dealings that many Americans have simply learned to ignore or endure. He once demoted Pope Benedict XVI by addressing him as "your eminence" instead of "your holiness," mixed up Austria and Australia, referred to Greeks as Grecians and asked the president of Brazil, "Do you have blacks too?"

    But one must give Bush credit when he wore a barong during a visit to the Philippines five years ago. He was also following a family tradition. More than 20 years before, in June 1981, his father, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush arrived in Manila, put on a barong and met with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

    Then again, that wasn't exactly a visit many Filipinos remember fondly.

    "We stand with the Philippines," the elder Bush told the dictator. "We love your adherence to democratic principles and democratic processes. We will not leave you in isolation."

    Two decades after Bush the elder's controversial remarks, it was the younger Bush’s turn to make a statement that left many scratching their heads.

    "America is proud of its part in the great story of the Filipino people,” he said.

    But it quickly became pretty clear that he didn't really completely get that story.

    For Bush also declared before his Filipino hosts that the United States "liberated the Philippines from colonial rule" -- conveniently forgetting that our homeland was once an American colony.

    Copyright 2008 by Benjamin Pimentel


              Pete Souza is trolling Trump for his Mika tweets   

    Pete Souza is trolling Trump for his Mika tweetsOh hey, would you look at that? Pete Souza is trolling the president again! This time, the Insta-shade came in the form of two photos of former president Barack Obama speaking to a group of women in the oval office.  SEE ALSO: Pete Souza shares adorable, perfectly-timed photo of the Obamas The caption on the first photo is simple, but a major jab at Donald Trump for his latest Twitter spectacle. It reads, "Respect for women."  Respect for women. A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on Jun 29, 2017 at 9:53am PDT Some people might say the photo isn't so respectful, because it looks like Obama's lecturing the women in the room, but it still got significant love online.  Souza posted more photos later in the day. Respect for women, 2. A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on Jun 29, 2017 at 12:10pm PDT Respect for women, 3. (President Obama greets US troops after secret all-night flight to Afghanistan in 2010). A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on Jun 29, 2017 at 1:28pm PDT Respect for women, 4. (Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco updates President Obama on the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013). A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on Jun 29, 2017 at 3:11pm PDT Trump found himself in a bit of a predicament Thursday morning, after tweeting about MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mike Brzezinski. Hint: it was totally uncool, hence the Souza trashing.  I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came.. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017 ...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017 Of course, Mika hit back at Trump not too long after.  pic.twitter.com/8YhzcCUwM1 — Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) June 29, 2017 And lots of people on social media, including politicians on both sides of the aisle, expressed how unhappy they were with Trump's tweet.  MSNBC responded to Trump soon after, too.  "It's a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job," the statement reads.  Souza is known for trolling Trump through photos of the Obama administration on his Instagram account. It's just one of those things that never gets old.  Updated June 29 4:12 pm PT with more Souza posts. WATCH: Donald Trump vs. The Dictionary



              Sénat des États-Unis, Pièces à conviction, Audition sur les opérations « baleine » de JP Morgan Chase, le 15 mars 2013   
    Ouvert aux commentaires. United States Senate PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Carl Levin, Chairman John McCain, Ranking Minority Member E X H I B I TS Hearing On JPMorgan Chase Whale Trades: A Case History of Derivatives Risks & Abuses, March 15, 2013 Téléchargez les pièces à conviction
              PURCHASING/MATERIALS COORDINATOR - Bubble Technology Industries - Chalk River, ON   
    BTI is a dynamic company with world‐renowned expertise in radiation detection, addressing applications in the defence, homeland security, space, industrial, and...
    From Indeed - Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:45:28 GMT - View all Chalk River, ON jobs
              Release Day Blitz: Holden (Dark Grove Plantation #1) by Julia Sykes    















































    AP new - synopsis.jpg


    One look at the gorgeous, curvy brunette standing alone at BDSM club Dark Grove Plantation, and I know she’s mine. She thinks that her desires are twisted and wrong, but I intend to show her how good my harsher methods of seduction can feel. It’s in my nature to dominate, to claim. I have every intention of claiming Holly, body and soul. And if her bastard ex tries to come back for her, he’ll find out just how harsh I can be when someone threatens what’s mine.

    Note: An earlier version of this story was released under the title Awakened. It has been extensively re-written as Holden.









    “Such a sweet sub,” he said, his voice impossibly deep and heavy with satisfaction. The power exchange passing between us was affecting him as strongly as it had ensnared me. My body and mind were utterly in his thrall, and in that moment, I would have eagerly done anything to please the man who held ultimate control over my being.
    He slid two fingers between my legs and traced the seam of my sex through my lacy black panties.
    “You’re wet,” he observed with a lustful growl. “I knew you’d be like this.”
    “Like what?” I asked, barely able to focus on his words. They seemed to roll off my consciousness like water. Reality was hazy, the world falling away until all I could sense was him: his hard body beneath me, his masculine scent surrounding me, his deep voice rumbling through me. I was captivated by the power that pulsed off him. It caressed my body like a physical touch.
    “I knew you’d be naturally submissive,” he replied. “I knew you’d be perfect.”
    The praise sank into me to warm my chest.
    A different warmth bloomed between my legs when he stroked my clit through my panties. I cried out at the light contact to my sensitive nub. It had grown achy from his ministrations; his gentle fingers contrasted with his stinging discipline. He was harsh and tender by turns, and the dichotomy messed with my thought processes.
    “Do you want to come, little sub?” he asked, the question rough with his own desire.
    “Yes,” I breathed. “Please, Sir.”
    He let out a low groan. “Fuck, you’re sweet when you beg.” He lifted his hips slightly, pressing his cock harder against me. “Do you feel that? Do you feel what you do to me?”
    “Please,” I begged again, on the edge of sanity. “Fuck me.” I’d never spoken so crassly, but the deviant words came naturally. I wanted him to claim me, to ravage me.
    “You’re going to come first,” he said tightly, restraining himself. “You’re going to come so many times that you’ll be begging me for mercy and sobbing my name by the time I’m finished with you.”






    AP  new -about the author.jpg

    Julia Sykes is the USA Today bestselling author of the Impossible Series. She has always kept dark stories tucked away in her mind, so she was thrilled when she discovered that other people actually want to read them. Her books blend romance, suspense, and BDSM.
    After spending four years living in England, Julia returned to her Southern homeland. She has recently settled down in South Carolina and spends her time petting her cat-children, reading, and binge watching TV with her husband when not writing. You can usually find Julia in Starbucks with a venti iced latte clutched in her hand.
    Julia loves connecting with readers! Please feel free to contact her on facebook, through twitter, or email her directly at juliasykes193@gmail.com. You can find out more about Julia's current and future projects at julia-sykes.com.
    Author Links



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              The Myth of “a System of White Supremacy”   

    Last week, Johnny Eric Williams, a professor of sociology at Trinity College, gained national notoriety.    

    Williams, who is black, posted some racially incendiary remarks on his Facebook wall.  They were conjoined with the hashtag, “LetThemFuckingDie.”   

    The hashtag Williams borrowed from an article published at The Medium and written in response to the recent mass shooting of Republican congressmen in Alexandria, Virginia.  The essay’s author, “Son of Baldwin,” expressed regret that a black police officer risked her life to save the lives of “white bigots” and urged other blacks who are in positions to do the same to refrain from indulging the impulse.

    Instead, they should: “Let.Them.Fucking.Die.” 

    The backlash against Williams and his employer was massive and sudden.  Two Connecticut congressmen, Trinity College alumni, issued a statement imploring Trinity to terminate Williams immediately. Supposedly, the now infamous professor went into hiding because of death threats that he received. 

    Williams and his supporters among Trinity faculty and students insist that he meant to call for the death of, not white people, but “a system of white supremacy.” 

    I wrote a full analysis of this situation here.  For now, I’d like to focus on this idea of “a system of white supremacy.”

    “White supremacy” and like terms have ominous connotations associated with them; everyone knows that they are really, really bad. However, when push comes to shove, they prove awfully difficult to define.  In fact, few people, least of all those who constantly invoke these terms, even bother to try to define them

    The truth is, when it comes to charges of “white supremacy,” “racism,” and so forth, the Johnny Williams of the world would prefer to avoid doing the hard work of defining, or trying to define, their terms of choice. This is because it is infinitely easier for them to continually move the proverbial goalpost so as to satisfy their political needs of the moment. 

    The great 18th century philosopher David Hume made this point: “It is easy for a false hypothesis to maintain some appearance of truth, while it keeps wholly in generals” and “makes use of undefined terms [.]”  Hume also said that “ideas, especially abstract ones, are naturally faint and obscure: the mind has but a slender hold of them: they are apt to be confounded with other resembling ideas; and when we have often employed any term, though without a distinct meaning, we are apt to imagine it has a determinate idea annexed to it.”

    “Systems of white supremacy,” “institutional racism,” and “white privilege” are abstractions.  They are valued and tirelessly trotted out precisely because they are abstractions.  The truth is that concrete individual white “racists,” i.e. those who harass, intimidate, and attack blacks, simply aren’t in large enough supply to sustain the narrative of perpetual White-on-Black-Oppression that is the lifeblood of the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC). 

    Indeed, flesh and blood white “racists” or “supremacists” are all too rare. The proof of this is not only in the data—which shows that, overwhelmingly, blacks tend to be perpetrators of interracial attacks while whites are just as overwhelmingly the victims—but in three other facts. 

    That RIC sales agents long ago shifted their focus from individual and overt “racism” to “covert,” “subconscious,” and/or “institutional racism”; regularly trade in hoaxes; and continually make “honorary whites” of those people of color who have had altercations with black criminal suspects (who these same RIC merchants then elevate into national martyrs) definitively establish the scarcity of real-life “white supremacists.”

    These considerations also prove that RIC agents know that there is a scarcity of “white supremacists.”

    Thus, it is this reality and this knowledge of the reality that gives rise to the need on the part of those who depend on keeping the Big Lie alive to retreat from the real world and take refuge behind abstractions like “systems of white supremacy.”

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that, for over 50 years, has restricted immigration to America from European, i.e. white, countries while encouraging immigration from non-white ones.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that, annually, attracts millions of non-white peoples to leave their homelands, risking life and limb, to come and live under it.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” to which African blacks fled, voluntarily, in greater numbers over a mere 15 year period (1990-2005) than were brought to America as slaves.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that makes it possible for its black citizens to live at a standard of living not only higher than that at which blacks live anywhere else in the world, especially in Africa, but a standard of living higher than that at which whites live in other parts of the world.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that has expended trillions of dollars since the 1960s on countless social programs aimed at combatting “white supremacy” or “racism” and uplifting blacks.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that spawns numerous race-based preferential treatment policies (“affirmative action,” “diversity,” etc.) meant to privilege blacks over their white counterparts.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” whose architects allow for the election and re-election to office of the Presidency of, not just a black man, but a black man with an Arabic-sounding name.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that allows for blacks to occupy such powerful and nation-shaping positions as those of Supreme Court Justice, Attorney General, National Security Adviser, Secretary of State, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” that allows blacks (and other nonwhites) to become multimillionaires and celebrities as athletes, entertainers, media personalities, politicians, and in business.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” under which Nigerians in America have a higher annual household income than do whites.

    It is a strange system of “white supremacy” under which Asians, i.e. nonwhites, earn more than every other ethnic group. Asians in “white supremacist” America also have lower rates of criminality, illegitimacy, drug use, unemployment, and suicide than every other group—including whites.

    What a strange system of “white supremacy” this is!

    I could continue in this same repetitive vein.  The case, I believe, has been made amply:

    There is no system of white supremacy.

    However, Johnny Williams and his ilk must insist that there is, for they are race pimps, forever sucking at the nipple of the Racism-Industrial-Complex.  


              Establishment Intransigence Toward Trump   

    Dennis Prager recently argued that America was in a state of civil war and urged conservative Trump critics to join the fight. “Trump, with all his flaws, is our general,” Prager wrote. “If this general is going to win, he needs the best fighters. But too many of them, some of the best minds of the conservative movement, are AWOL.”

    Jonah Goldberg of National Review responded that the Never Trumpers “do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.” And “Donald Trump is literally no one’s general.”

    Clearly, the president is up against the kind of conservative that, as David Horowitz said in Big Agenda, fails to understand that they are in a battle, and that to prevail they must want to win. Trump also faces a dynamic that was not an issue in the 2016 election but helps explain the ongoing establishment animus, particularly from the “Never Trump” conservatives.

    In Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power, Yale alum Alexandra Robbins charts the founding of the Order of Skull and Bones in the 1830s. More than 150 years later, Robbins explains. “This tiny club has set up networks that have thrust three members into the most powerful position in the world.”

    President William Howard Taft, 1909-1914, who also put in a stint as Chief Justice, was a Bonesman. So was President George Herbert Walker Bush, 1988-1992, who was accused by Pat Buchanan of running a “Skull and Bones presidency.” The most recent Skull and Bones alum in the White House is George W. Bush, who in 2004 prevailed against fellow Bonesman John Kerry in 2004.

    It was the first time two Bonesmen battled for the nation’s highest office. Prominent Bonesmen include Henry Luce, Archibald MacLeish, McGeorge Bundy, Averill Harriman, Henry Stimson, Potter Stewart, William Sloan Coffin, and National Review founder William F. Buckley.

    As one Bonesman explained, “the biggest benefit of Skull and Bones is the networking,” and Robbins finds plenty of that. The Reagan-Bush administration, for example, appointed Bonesmen Winston Lord as ambassador to China, and James Buckley to the US. Court of Appeals.

    President George H. W. Bush named Bonesman Richard Anthony Moore as ambassador to Ireland and Bonesman Paul Lambert, who had no diplomatic experience, as ambassador to Ecuador. The pick for secretary of labor was George Ball, with fellow Bonesmen James Hemphill in the department of the interior and Edwin Dale at management and budget. Head speechwriter was Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley and like his daddy a Bonesman.

    President George W. Bush chose fellow Bonesman William H. Donaldson to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Skull and Bones vet Edward McNally got the call as general counsel for Homeland Security, and senior associate counsel to the president for national security. Bonesman Robert D. McCallum was the pick for assistant attorney general in the civil-rights division of the DOJ, and Bonesman Evan G. Galbraith became a defense representative in Europe and adviser to NATO. 

    Observers could be forgiven for thinking that the primary consideration for these selections was not competence and experience but membership in Skull and Bones. The ultimate old boys network also owns Deer Island in the St. Lawrence River, and Robbins helpfully provides a map.

    The 44th president, formerly known as Barry Soetoro, is a Harvard man but duly chose Bonesman John Kerry as Secretary of State and Skull and Bones member Austan Goolsbee as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. Like everybody in that administration, Goolsbee is hardly a conservative but he did not become the target of choice for big guns on the right.

    By contrast, in the run-up to the 2016 election, Donald Trump took some of his hardest shots from William F. Buckley’s National Review. The publication arrayed prominent writers “Against Trump” and called the candidate “a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot on behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as The Donald himself.”

    For a perspective on crudity, the Never Trumpers might consult Robbins’ chapter on Skull and Bones initiation rites. But as the Bonesmen say of non-members, Trump is a “barbarian,” and not even a Yale or Harvard man.

    Besides the Deep State reactionaries and fake media, Donald Trump is a target of elitist establishment types who look down their nose at working people. That is very much the style of Yale law school alum Hillary Clinton, the congenital liar and “vast right-wing conspiracy” theorist the Never Trumpers preferred in the 2016 contest. If Donald Trump, as Jeb Bush said, is “not a conservative,” then what is Crooked Hillary?

    It was working people, not establishment elitists, who elected Donald Trump president. With all his faults, he is doing his best to fight their battles and win. The Never Trumpers would do well to “report for duty,” as Dennis Prager said, but right now, the president is on a winning streak without them.

     


              Speaker Ryan Joined by DHS Secretary Kelly, House Judiciary Leaders at Weekly Press Conference   

    Summary: Today, Speaker Ryan was joined by Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Republican Conference Vice Chairman Doug Collins (R-GA), and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Raul Labrador (R-ID) at his weekly press conference. The leaders discussed two bills designed to keep Americans safe.

    Opening Statement:

    “I want to thank the leaders of our Judiciary Committee, and of course, I want to thank Secretary Kelly, for being here with us today.  “This afternoon, the House will take action on two initiatives to keep Americans safe. The first is Kate’s Law.

    “As you know, this is named after Kate Steinle, who was murdered two years ago in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who had been deported several times. He should not have been here. And she should not have died. So this initiative? This initiative will toughen penalties for illegal immigrants who repeatedly re-enter the country. 

    “The second measure gives the government the authority to withhold grants from cities that fail to cooperate with federal law enforcement. By flagrantly disregarding the rule of law, sanctuary cities are putting lives at risk. And we cannot tolerate that. “Every day, Secretary Kelly leads professionals around the country—and around the world, quite frankly—who are charged with keeping our homeland safe. They make incredible sacrifices. Our job here is to make sure that those professionals have the tools that they need and the resources that they need carry out their work and protect our communities.  “That is what these measures are all about. And we look forward to their passage in the House today.”  


              DOE Senior Consulting Project Manager – Golden/Denver, CO - Tetra Tech - Golden, CO   
    Proposal development, strategy and execution for US Department of Homeland Security (DHS),Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), Customs and Border...
    From Tetra Tech - Thu, 15 Jun 2017 22:21:38 GMT - View all Golden, CO jobs
               Trump revives National Space Council, to be led by Pence    
    Trump says the announcement sends a clear signal to the world about the United States' leadership in space. Members of the council are to include the secretaries of state, defense, commerce, transportation and homeland security, as well as the head of NASA, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence.
              President Trump likely to sign popular agro-terrorism bill   
    President Donald J. Trump is shortly expected to sign H.R. 1238, also called the “Securing our Agriculture and Food Act,” to coordinate efforts to defend U.S. food, agriculture and veterinary systems against terrorism. Congress sent the bill to the White House for the President’s consideration on June 27. The bill amends the Homeland Security Act of... Continue Reading
              Massive Ransomware Attack Hits Ukraine; Experts Say It's Spreading Globally   
    Updated at 5:57 p.m. ET Ransomware hit at least six countries Tuesday, including Ukraine, where it was blamed for a large and coordinated attack on key parts of the nation's infrastructure, from government agencies and electric grids to stores and banks. The malware has been called "Petya" — but there is debate in the security community over whether the ransomware is new or a variant that has been enhanced to make it harder to stop. In either case, it appears to be spreading globally, raising fears it might rival another widespread attack — the WannaCry outbreak that struck in May. The Maersk shipping company , based in Denmark, confirmed that its "IT systems are down across multiple sites and business units due to a cyber attack." And pharmaceutical giant Merck tweeted that its "computer network was compromised today as part of global hack." In the U.S., Department of Homeland Security spokesman Scott McConnell says the agency is "monitoring reports of cyber attacks affecting multiple
              Miko Peled: When Genius and Courage Meet.   

    When Genius and Courage Meet.

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    It is pretty rare to see talent, courage and a friendly disposition converge but that is exactly what you see when you meet Mohammad Sabaaneh. If you don’t know who he is, go to FB and check out his page. He is a brilliant political cartoonist and he just published a book of his work titled, “White and Black, Political Cartoons from Palestine” published by Just World Books.  Why “White and Black?” because that is exactly what the situation in Palestine is like, clear cut evil vs. good, occupation and oppression vs. occupied and oppressed.
    I am not an art expert by any means but I know Palestine and I know courage. Sabaaneh’s art expresses the complexity of the Palestinian reality in an honest and unapologetic way.  Sabaaneh’s cartoons cannot fit on a bumper sticker and they do not attempt to make simplistic statements. They are not a “Free Palestine” or “Smash the Occupation” type of cartoons but more like a little girl looking at a photo of her father and thinking to herself, “you have not been to my birthday, you have not given me a hug or put me to sleep. But I am not an orphan, I am the daughter of a prisoner.” In a harsh detail in one of his large, heavy with detail, Guernica type of cartoons a Palestinian child is nailed to the Star of David.
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    Sabaanneh portrays the suffering of Palestinians at the hands of Israel with a brutal honesty that is unparalleled.  But if ever a picture was worth one thousand words, Sabaaneh’s cartoons are just even though they often tell a complex story. The book is divided into five chapters which deal with every facet of Palestinian life from history to life under occupation, political prisoners to relations with the outside world. Among the many accolades the book received is one from pulitzer prize winner Matt Wuerker, political cartoonist for Politico who wrote, “His tenacity and courage are an inspiration for cartoonists around the world.”
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    Changing the word from “Heroes” to “Children”
    The above cartoon fits well with another drawing which we find in the book where a baby goes directly from his mother’s womb to the coffin, the umbilical cord still attached. The world watches, some even hold a poster of the dead child, but nothing is done to prevent the Israeli brutality which makes this a reality.
    The recurring themes in Sabaaneh’s work are the Israeli soldier with a large head and dumb, distorted facial features. The prisoner who is mouthless, the mother who is always between an imprisoned or dead husband and the poor Palestinian child who is fatherless even when the father is alive. And all of these are deeply connected to the homeland, Palestine: occupied, defaced, dissected and in which there is no justice and no compassion.
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    The Palestinian family, tied to the homeland connected to their home, their key.
    Yet somehow there is always a ray of sunlight in Sabaaneh’s work, a flower that manages to grow, a prisoner who manages to overpower his jailer, a child who holds on to the land.
    The suffering depicted in Sabaaneh’s work is real. It is raw and painfully real. One particularly painful piece Sabaaneh drew is of the boy prisoner Ahmad Manasara who received a twelve year sentence from an Israeli military court for a stabbing attack. He was called a 13-year old terrorist by the Israeli press. He was shot and left bleeding on a sidewalk as passers by cursed and beat him. Sabaaneh captured the moment that he was shot with a cartoon depicting a soldier shooting him and taking a photo on his phone at the same time.  The boy was hospitalized for a while, chained to his bed at Hadassa hospital in Jerusalem. After his release from the hospital he was taken to police custody.  A video of his interrogation found its way online. In the video the boy was repeatedly yelled at by his Israeli interrogators as he replied “I don’t remember, I don’t remember.”  The following video shows both scenes. Sabannheh captured this in a cartoon as as well and as usual, took it even further.
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    Sabaaneh spent time in prison and his brother Thamer has been imprisoned under administration detention countless times.  Whenever Mohammad Sabaaneh crosses the border between Palestine and Jordan, he is held for hours by the Israeli security personnel who question him about his art. Once he was asked why he draws Israeli soldiers, to which he responded, “what do you see all around you?” Anyone who thinks there are are areas when it comes to Palestine, “White and Black” by Mohammad Sabaaneh is a wake up call, an expression resistance and a call to action for all of us to join the struggle for justice in Palestine.
    To book Miko Peled for a lecture, please click here


              How the US Came to Take an Active Role in War and Torture in Latin America   

    Proxy War and Surrogate Terror: How the US Came to Take an Active Role in War and Torture in Latin America

    Thursday, June 29, 2017 By John W. Dower, Haymarket Books | Book Excerpt 
    Soldiers conduct a static line jump in the Colombian National Training Center on Fort Tolemaida, August 31, 2011. (Photo: The US Army)Soldiers conduct a static line jump in the Colombian National Training Center on Fort Tolemaida, August 31, 2011. (Photo: The US Army)
    Although US involvement in torture focused on the Iraq War in the last decade, the United States has had a long involvement by proxy with torture and the killing of peasants and Indigenous peoples in Latin America. In this excerpt from his book, Dower describes the US role in facilitating death and destruction in Latin and South America over the past few decades.
    The long and generally shameful history of US overt and covert interventions in South and Central America traces back to the turn of the twentieth century. Before World War II, these incursions, commonly in defense of US business interests, even involved protracted military occupations of Nicaragua (1912-33) and Haiti (1915-34). During the Cold War, intervention was more covert, but just as unrelenting. John Coatsworth, a distinguished scholar of Latin American economic and international history, calculates that between 1948 and 1990 the US government "secured the overthrow of at least twenty-four governments in Latin America, four by direct use of US military forces, three by means of CIA-managed revolts or assassinations, and seventeen by encouraging local military and political forces to intervene without direct US participation, usually through military coups d'état."
    Notorious among these postwar intrusions was the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Guatemala (1954), Brazil (1964), and Chile (1973). Nothing, however, obsessed North Americans looking south more than the political event Washington was unable to manipulate: the Cuban revolution that deposed the dictator Fulgencio Batista in the opening days of 1959. This Marxist revolution in the Caribbean was compounded by the alarming nuclear missile crisis of 1962, when the United States discovered Soviet missiles being installed in Cuba. From then on, planners in Washington and their right-wing allies throughout Latin America used the rationale of "preventing another Cuba" to justify clamping down on dissident domestic movements across the board, from militant Marxist agitators to socialists and liberals to anyone critical of the status quo or engaged in working to alleviate misery among the rural and urban poor.
    A mid-1960s US congressional investigation reported having "found concrete evidence of at least eight plots involving the CIA to assassinate [Cuban leader] Fidel Castro from 1960 to 1965." This was grist for cloak-and-dagger media reports. More difficult to grasp, or even see, was the sustained manner in which police states south of the border secretly coordinated their crackdowns on critics of all stripes, invariably in the name of anticommunism and invariably with the support of the United States.
    A decisive step in this support took place in 1963, when the administration of President John F. Kennedy tasked the army's School of the Americas (SOA), established in 1946 and initially located in Panama under a different name, with training South and Central American military officers and police in counterintelligence and counterinsurgency. The SOA's classes were conducted mostly in Spanish. By the end of the century, the school had trained around fifty-five thousand officers plus roughly four thousand police and civilians from some twenty-two or twenty-three countries. A striking number of its graduates were to become prominent leaders in the "dirty wars" that would ravage Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua. Along the way, the SOA acquired such derisive sobriquets as School of Assassins, School of Dictators, School of Coups.
    Taking sides in dirty wars was typical of the proxy conflicts that engaged the United States and Soviet Union worldwide and shredded the so-called Long Peace of the Cold War. In Latin America, this mostly involved the United States extending funding, training, organizational and operational advice, weapons, logistical intelligence, and the like to authoritarian regimes engaged in "counter-subversive" activities, as well as to right-wing movements dedicated to subverting reformist and left-wing governments. Washington thus found itself supporting state terror on the one hand and violence and terror against the state on the other.
    The top-secret South American transnational campaign of state-sponsored terror known as Operation Condor was a beneficiary of covert US support of the former sort. Dating from the late 1960s and formally consolidated in 1975, Condor involved collaborative cross-border intelligence, apprehension, abduction, rendition, interrogation, torture, assassination, and extrajudiciary execution operations among dictatorial regimes in the "Southern Cone" nations of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, later joined by Ecuador and Peru. Upwards of fifty thousand to sixty thousand individuals appear to have been killed or "disappeared" in Condor-directed actions in the 1970s and 1980s, with countless thousands imprisoned and, in many cases, tortured. More than a few victims were exiles who had fled their native countries and were engaging in human rights campaigns as refugees.
    The targets of this collaborative state terror extended beyond armed militants and avowed Marxists to include anyone associated with criticizing the existing right-wing regimes or advocating social justice. This was spelled out not just in the back rooms of ruling juntas, but also in training provided by the CIA and SOA. We have a clearer picture of this tutelage from instructional materials disclosed over the course of the 1980s and 1990s that became collectively identified in the media as "torture manuals." In these dense manuals, many of them translated into Spanish, "insurgent" and "guerrilla" were the words commonly used to stigmatize critics or dissidents. Terrorism and the Urban Guerrilla, a teaching guide introduced to SOA classes in Spanish in 1987, expresses this succinctly: "Examples of hostile organizations or groups are paramilitary groups, labor unions, and dissident groups." Another SOA manual, Handling of Sources, is even more expansive: "The CI [counterintelligence] agent should consider all organizations as possible guerrilla sympathizers. ... By infiltrating informants in the diverse youth, workers, political, business, social and charitable organizations, we can identify the organizations that include guerrillas among their members." Elsewhere in the instructional guides the identification of explicit targets is extended to refugees, political parties, peasant organizations, intellectuals, teachers and students, universities, priests and nuns, and so on. One appalling quotation translated from a torture manual identifies target groups as "religious workers, labor organizers, student groups, and others in sympathy with the cause of the poor."
    Upon assuming power in 1981, the Reagan administration stepped into this violent world with unrestrained ardor and callous indifference to actual conditions on the ground. Despite much evidence to the contrary, the enemy was reaffirmed to be monolithic communism, directed from Moscow and spearheaded by its Cuban apprentice. As 1980s policymakers saw it, the threat was especially dire in Central America. Guatemala, where brutal repression had taken place ever since the CIA coup in 1954, was subjected to continued special attention. El Salvador and Nicaragua also became targets of fervent counterinsurgency -- and insurgency -- campaigns. In El Salvador, the "anticommunist" agenda involved supporting a dictatorial regime against any and all opponents. In Nicaragua, the situation was reversed. There, the Reagan administration devoted almost evangelical energy to nurturing and supporting the Contras, a terrorist "guerrilla" campaign against the left-wing Sandinista government that in 1979, with considerable popular support, had overthrown the brutal, US-supported Somoza family dictatorship that dated back to 1936.
    Disclosure of classified texts and other disturbing information pertinent to covert US activity in Central America took place sporadically but frequently between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. Much of this focused on the sensational (and farcical) Reagan-era "Iran-Contra" scandal that broke open in 1986 and involved a convoluted plot to obtain funds for the right-wing insurgents in Nicaragua by using Israel as an intermediary to sell weapons to fundamentalist and anti-American Iran for use in its war with Iraq (to which the United States was also providing support). The less remembered CIA and SOA written materials that surfaced during these years existed at a low level in the hierarchy of covert activity and were not policy documents, but for good reason they also caused a stir. They provide a glimpse into the mindset behind anticommunist covert activities, and a graphic case study of what "exporting Americanism" in this last decade of the Cold War involved at ground level.
    The first significant instructional manual to come to public attention was a guide in Spanish prepared by the CIA for the Contras. Titled Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare in the original English draft, this eighty-nine-page text was greeted with shock in the United States when exposed by journalists in 1984. After introducing it as "a primer on insurgency, a how-to book in the struggle for hearts and minds," for example, Time magazine went on to observe: "Some of the 'techniques of persuasion' are benign: helping the peasants harvest crops, learn to read, improve hygiene. Others are decidedly brutal: assassination, kidnaping, blackmail, mob violence. It could be a manual for the Viet Cong or the Cuban-backed rebels in El Salvador. If it were, the Administration would likely be waving it as proof of the thesis about the sources of insidious world terrorism."
    Complementing Psychological Operations and also exposed in 1984 was another CIA Spanish-language project: a cartoon booklet airdropped into Nicaragua. Titled (in the English translation) The Freedom Fighter's Manual, this was as crude and pedestrian as Psychological Operations was vicious, but still disturbing in its own way as an exercise in low-level terrorist activity. It instructed citizens in scores of acts of vandalism (cutting cables, sabotaging machinery, putting dirt or water in gasoline tanks, setting fires, freeing farm animals, and so on) that might help bring the left-wing Sandinista government to its knees.
    The torture manuals, which came to belated public attention in the 1990s, consisted of seven Spanish-language SOA texts, totaling 1,169 pages. These were distributed to military officers in eleven South and Central American countries between 1987 and 1991 and also used by instructors in School of the Americas classes. The manuals reflected teaching materials used since 1982, when the Reagan administration dismissed the human rights concerns tentatively initiated during the Carter presidency. These SOA resources were complemented by two CIA "counterintelligence" manuals -- one recycled from 1963, and one dated 1983 that essentially replicated this.

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    While the torture manuals open a small window onto Washington's pervasive disregard for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law when it came to covert activities, they also cast light in other directions. One is the care taken to ensure a measure of plausible deniability about what was really being promoted. Rhetorically, this was done with euphemisms and genuflections to propriety: death squads were referred to as "Freedom Commandos" and "Freedom Fighters," for example, and slogans like fighting for "God, Homeland, and Democracy" were promoted. Procedurally, a measure of plausible deniability was obtained by directing CIA and SOA activity largely to pedagogy rather than actual hands-on violence -- without calling attention to the fact that this involved teaching right-wing military, paramilitary, and police forces how to most efficiently engage in infiltration, interrogation, torture, terror, and "neutralization" of perceived enemies.
    Once these various manuals became public, Washington's predictable machinery of "public diplomacy" went into motion. The SOA teaching guides were declared "inconsistent with U.S. policy." The school's course offerings also were said to include respect for human rights. "Objectionable and questionable" passages amounted to no more than two dozen -- and in any case were nothing more than a "mistake" made by some misguided junior officer working from "outdated intelligence materials." Problematic statements had "escaped oversight." "A few bad apples" were involved in promoting, or practicing, torture. And in any case, excesses had been "corrected."
    This was, as all spin is, disingenuous. The manuals were indeed wordy -- they are numbing to read -- but what SOA teachers emphasized and their students found most engaging was precisely what caused these materials to be called torture manuals. This was confirmed by Major Joseph Blair, a covert operative who (like remorseful members of the nuclear priesthood and repentant tell-all CIA agents) ultimately came in from the cold. Blair had held a responsible position administering the CIA-led Phoenix assassination program during the Vietnam War, and in the early 1980s had moved on to the SOA, where he assisted the creator of the controversial manuals in the classroom. Interviewed in 1997, after having retired in 1989, he described "primarily using manuals which we used during the Vietnam War in our intelligence-gathering techniques. The techniques included murder, assassination, torture, extortion, false imprisonment."
    Turning to the argument that objectionable passages were but a minuscule part of the 1,100-plus pages of SOA instructional materials, Blair pointed out that "the officers who ran the intelligence courses used lesson plans that included the worst materials contained in the seven manuals. Now they say that there were only eighteen to twenty passages in those manuals in clear violations of US law. In fact, those same passages were at the heart of the intelligence instruction." As for the claim that SOA instructors took care to teach human rights, he noted that this amounted to a few hours and was roundly regarded by instructors and students alike as a joke.
    Copyright (2017) of John W. Dower. Not to be reprinted without permission of the publisher, Haymarket Books.

    JOHN W. DOWER

    John W. Dower is professor emeritus of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His many books include War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War and Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War Two, which have won numerous prizes including the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award.  His latest book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two(Dispatch Books), has just been published.


                Trump Plays Nuclear ‘Chicken’ with Putin Over Syria   

      Trump Plays Nuclear ‘Chicken’ with Putin Over Syria


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      U.S. President Donald Trump is playing a game of nuclear “chicken” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, regarding Putin’s threat on June 19th to go to war against the United States if the U.S. again shoots down, inside Syria — in the sovereign territory of the internationally-recognized-as-legal sovereign Syrian government — Syrian aircraft, or the aircraft of any of the foreign governments that have allied with Syria: Russia, Iran, and China.

      After the U.S. had shot down a Syrian government plane on June 19th, which was bombing jihadists whom the U.S. government backs in order to overthrow the Syrian government, Russia announced:
      “In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying objects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River, will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets” — meaning ordered out, or else immediately shot down.
      That would place the U.S. and Russia in a traditional war against each other, over Syrian territory (Russia to protect Syria’s government, U.S. to replace it by a Saudi-allied jihadist one). The loser in that war, over the battlefields in Syria, would then have only one way to prevent defeat, which is a blitz nuclear attack against the other’s homeland, World War III between Russia and U.S., which would be ‘won’ by whichever of the two sides suffered the less damage (irrespective of whether the entire planet and ultimately all life will then have actually been destroyed by the exchange). The first side to attack would knock out many of the other side’s retaliatory silo-based ICBMs and thus probably be the ‘winner’, though that’s not certain (since most nukes aren’t silo-based).
      Russia’s announcement is basically saying that direct war between Russia and the U.S. will result if the U.S. persists in its effort to conquer Syria, but the Washington Post has said that it’s really only a ‘bluff’, and CNBC has said that it’s only ‘bluster’, and Trump is now splitting hairs over whether he goes with that view (the neoconservative view) to continue the war against Assad, or whether Trump instead will abandon the neoconservative effort and withdraw American forces from Syria once ISIS there is defeated.
      Both President Emmanuel Macron of France, and Prime Minister Theresa May of UK, have already gone on record as supporting the neoconservative position, that the U.S. and its allies should dictate to the sovereign government of Syria, and that Syria’s government should obey. Macron himself has even warned that “the use of chemical weapons will be met with a response, and even if France acts alone.” 
      The summit meeting of the heads of state of the G20 countries will take place in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July 2017. Included there will be not only the U.S.-allied leaders — especially Macron, May, and Saudi Arabia’s King and Crown Prince — but also Putin, and also China’s Xi Jinping. There is some press-speculation that Trump wants to negotiate a deal there for Russia to abandon its alliance with Syria, and also its alliance with Iran. President Obama had tried to do that, but Putin declined the proposal. Perhaps the Western alliance is making these soundings of moving forward despite the Russian warning, so as to increase the pressure on Putin to cave, to crack him. In any event, the jihadists (agents of the Sauds) in Syria know that if they again set up a chemical attack so as to blame it on Assad, the U.S. and its allies have already committed themselves to go to war to overthrow Syria’s government (for ‘humanitarian reasons’). Any jihadist group there could thus pull the trigger even prior to the G20 Summit. 
      Perhaps a jihadist will indeed pull the trigger, but would the U.S. then serve as the gun that some of Trump’s federal employees have promised the U.S. will be in such an instance? In a game of chicken, each side threatens, and maybe also deceives, so that its opponent will believe the worst; but the individual who pulls the trigger might turn out to be an obscure person about whom the general public knows nothing. It happened in WW I, and there is no reason why it couldn’t happen again. Furthermore (as that linked-to source also well documents), underestimating the seriousness of a head-of-state’s commitments, can produce global catastrophe.

      Featured image: Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump (Photo from Sky News)

                Beachwood man charged with child pornography possession   

      The following is a release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office: Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the arrest yesterday (6/28) of Gerald J. Moors, 20, of Beachwood on the charge of third degree possession of child pornography. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s High Tech Crime Unit (HTCU), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations […]

      The post Beachwood man charged with child pornography possession appeared first on Jersey Shore Hurricane News.


                Red Line Republicans   
           The more I study the latter-day Republican Party, the more I'm convinced red is the perfect color for it. Red, as in red zones, is the universal color for danger, which Republicans are constantly reminding us we're in then make their apocalyptic scenarios, for different reasons, self-fulfilling prophecies.
           Red is also symbolic of the old Soviet Union, which Republicans used to revile until the rise of Trump. Now, as far as US-Russo relations are concerned, the Democrats and Republicans have completely switched sides like drunks in a madcap game of Musical Chairs.
           Red also is the token color of rage, the color that drives bulls into a murderous frenzy or the stereotypical red fog that we metaphorically see when we ourselves are in the grip of rage.
           All three of these colors are perfect for a psychopath named Greg Gianforte.
           If you've been paying attention, Gianforte is the New Jersey-born carpetbagger piece of shit who'd gotten elected to Congress last night in a runoff election to replace former Montana Congressman-at-large Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of the Interior. Let's start with what happened on Wednesday the 24th and work our way back:
           Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was at Gianforte's campaign headquarters just as the candidate was about to make one of his final public appearances before Thursday's election. Jacobs had asked Gianforte a question about the CBO's troubling analysis of the health care bill recently passed in the House and he deflected the question yet again and told Jacobs to talk to his spokesman Shane Scanlon. Less than one second later, Gianforte can be heard grappling with the reporter and screaming at him.
           To show how completely unhinged and blind to optics Gianforte is, he attacked Jacobs in full view of a Fox news crew and other journalists. As horrifying as the tape sounds, what actually happened is much worse- According to Fox reporter Alicia Acuna, the Republican grabbed the Jewish reporter by the neck with both hands, body-slammed him, moved him sideways then began punching him while screaming at him.
           Fox's hosts completely ignored the incident, as if this is supposed to be the norm. In fact, some of them had pressured Acuna into retracting her eyewitness report (to her credit, she didn't, although that didn't stop lying right wing scumbags from saying she did, anyway.).
           Other right wing scumbags like Duncan Hunter of California said Jacobs got what was coming to him. Laura Ingraham, the one who tried to get Acuna to change her story, was basically splitting hairs and trying to make a distinction between what's assault or not depends entirely on what part of a person's neck you grab (Montana law enforcement charged him with misdemeanor assault, although it's difficult to see how grabbing a man's neck with both hands, body-slamming him and punching him isn't felony assault).
           Pedophile Rush Limbaugh, a ghost from the past, called Gianforte "manly" and "studly" for body-slamming the "pajama boy" journalist (which makes the rest of us wonder if Limbaugh has something he'd like to share with the rest of the class while he's just playing out the string of the rest of his contract that surely will not be renewed.).
           This is not new for Republicans. Nearly two and a half years ago, Rep. Michael Grimm threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony after "breaking (him) in half." And we've seen since Trump was still candidate Trump how antagonistic he's been to a press that over the decades had fawned over him and made him a household name. And of course, there was the still-recent example of Dan Heyman, the reporter who tried to ask HHS Secretary Tom Price a question about the AHCA and actually got expelled and arrested by West Virginia authorities.
           And let's not forget the abrupt expulsion of Univision reporter Jorge Ramos during Donald Trump's first presser since Election Day.
           From a purely objective perspective, it's easy to see why Republicans for decades have been antagonistic toward the 4th (and now the 5th) estate. Republicans by and large are furtive scumbags who much prefer to operate in the shadows, well hidden from public scrutiny. They hysterically accuse the very infrequent examples of actual investigative reporting as ambush journalism.
           And it's perhaps this very type of journalism that put Jacobs on Gianforte's baleful radar screen, especially since Jacobs wrote and published last April 28th this piece about Gianforte owning stock in two Russian companies that had been sanctioned by the US government since Putin had annexed the Crimea. "You did this the last time!" Gianforte screamed at Jacobs as he repeatedly punched him in the process of putting him in the hospital.
           Maybe his already thin skin was already rasped when the NY Times had reported earlier this month that the Republican candidate had been caught on tape thanking lobbyists for their work in passing the House health care bill. To hear Gianforte talk, it was as if they'd voted on the bill themselves. Which they practically had.
           This increasingly toxic relationship between the GOP and the press seemingly reached its apotheosis with Gianforte openly and brutally assaulting a reporter who was trying to do his job (then lied about it), in full view of a room full of witnesses, and had his fellow right wing nut jobs excuse his Neanderthal behavior. But was it the apotheosis? One must pay close attention to this deteriorating relationship between Republicans and the press that's supposed to be their watchdog in a supposedly free and democratic society. Republicans are making jokes about murdering the press, such as this one from the Secretary of Homeland Security when Trump was presented with a saber at his whiny commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy.
           Yes, our Homeland Security from the top down perceives the media as a threat to our nation that needs to be liquidated. Trump said so on Twitter. It must be true.
           It's a sad day in a so-called free Democratic Republic that the highest levels of our government coddle dictators like the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, North Korea and especially Russia while steadily escalating hostilities with the media that is supposed to be its watchdog. And now, we've just elected to Congress a psychopath who attacked and sent a reporter to the hospital (then, again, lied about it) and has to answer to assault charges this June 7th.
           And people are making excuses for him. Overton's Window. Assault, once a crime, is now proof of "manly" and "studly" behavior. Just asking a question of these arrogant douchebags is also asking for it. It wasn't assault, it was self-defense. He spoke too loud. He got too close to me, he grabbed me, Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
           To say this incident last Wednesday as well as the others I've itemized, is having a chilling effect on the media is soft-pedaling it. But far from having a chilling effect, it ought to energize this lapdog media that will ignore, spin, deny and whitewash anything just for direct access to bullshit. The media at large should be going after these furtive scumbags with hammers and tongs. They hate the media because they have a lot to hide.
           When Adolph Hitler ascended to power 84 years ago, it was not a coup. He was democratically elected by the people of post Wiemar Germany. Though he'd consolidated power with astonishing rapidity (in about 70 days), the Third Reich still did not materialize overnight. He did so by stages, including suppressing the German media and demonizing and expelling from the business anyone who wouldn't get in line with the National Socialist Party's agenda. Before anyone knew it, virtually all 4700 of Germany's newspapers became mere propaganda arms for Hitler and Goebbells. And they were able to do so with the threat of a Communist takeover. Otherism. Fear. There's always a market for it and never goes out of style.
           Incremental stages. Frogs in the boiling water who fool themselves into thinking they can still take it, that the water's not getting too hot. It's not just a case of it possibly happening here. It is happening now as we speak.
                The Yamchurian Candidate   
      At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.” - H.R. McMaster, National Security Advisor
      "As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism." - Donald Trump today on Twitter
      I’m sure Kislyak was able to fire off a good cable back to the Kremlin with all the details.” -A former US official
      (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)
      Thomas P. Bossert, the assistant to the President for homeland security and counterterrorism, had to do some quick thinking and make some fast phone calls to Langley, VA and Fort Meade, MD. We don't know the exact contents of those calls but three facts are clear- Donald Trump had just met with high level Russian officials in the Oval Office, had recklessly declassified previously code-word classified intelligence and gave it to them on a silver platter.
           Such phone calls are hastily made in the interests of damage control by stern, colorless, pragmatic bureaucrats who help every government on earth run on a more or less even keel. One can only imagine the looks on the faces of the people at the other end of those phone calls at CIA and NSA headquarters. And, in the short reign of Trump, one can easily imagine such fires frantically being tamped out on a regular basis.
           The horrible optics alone should have called for a Congressional probe. Trump's meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and their Ambassador to the US came the day after James Comey was fired by Trump. The US news services were kicked out and supplanted by TASS, the official news apparatus of the Russian government. Then in a TV interview, Trump essentially admitted he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation he was heading up (even though his right wing supporters don't believe him).
           H.R. McMaster, Trump's National Security Advisor, was trotted out yesterday and again today to essentially fall on his own sword and it was difficult to hear him from under the bus wheels that were rolling over his chest. McMaster's story today was in stark contrast with his earlier press conference. Today he acknowledged that Trump did share classified intel with the Russians. But earlier, he'd claimed, "At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly."
           Yet today, he'd also said that what Trump shared was "open source reporting." Which explains why the American media weren't allowed to attend the meeting with the Russians but Tass was.

      A Child's Crusade
      Don't get me wrong or think I'm going soft. My colleague David Brooks has been been a blithering, pseudo-intellectual idiot since Tucker Carlson was in short pants. But in today's op-ed, Mr, Pink Tie nails Trump and puts his usually shaky finger on the pulse of what's truly wrong with this so-called administration. These are just some of the highlights of Brooks' piece:
      At base, Trump is an infantalist... Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif... First, most adults have learned to sit still. But mentally, Trump is still a 7-year-old boy who is bouncing around the classroom... Trump seems to need perpetual outside approval to stabilize his sense of self, so he is perpetually desperate for approval, telling heroic fabulist tales about himself... Which brings us to the reports that Trump betrayed an intelligence source and leaked secrets to his Russian visitors. From all we know so far, Trump didn’t do it because he is a Russian agent, or for any malevolent intent. He did it because he is sloppy, because he lacks all impulse control, and above all because he is a 7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires.
           You get the message. Most interestingly, Brooks talks about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is a familiar term to many of us. For those to whom it isn't, it's when a person's incompetence is such that they're not even aware of their incompetence. It goes back to the late John Updike's gentle jeremiad about success, in which he'd said the successful are often fooled into believing that "You get the idea that anything that you do is in some way marvelous." Brooks concludes with this lyrical observation that nonetheless has nightmarish implications, "We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar."
           And this gets to the crux of this reckless and dangerous disclosure to the Russians: That Trump isn't the usual case of a man suddenly drunk on his seemingly limitless power: He's a child or at best a teenager getting his first taste of some alcoholic ambrosia or what he believes was imparted straight to him by the gods. He's a man who can't keep a secret, a Quixotic quidnunc tilting at windmills that don't exist (fake voters, fake news, fake this and that) who simply can't keep a secret.
           And it may very well be that Trump honestly believes that giving code-word classified intelligence to the Russians about an ISIS plot and potentially exposing a very sensitive source of intelligence was an act of humanity. But if this is how Trump and his Russian buddies think this the way to go about it, especially as we ostensibly have opposing interests in Syria, then it's a foolish child's crusade.
           Among the many lessons Trump needs to learn in statecraft is that not exercising power is the true test of power, that just because you can wield power (such as declassifying classified information) doesn't mean that you should. Trump will never learn that. Because, after nearly 71 years on this planet, if Trump hasn't learned that simple lesson, he never will.

                DHS To Expand Foreign Laptop Ban If Overseas Airlines Won't Make Their Security More Theatrical   

      The DHS and TSA are just going to keep making things worse. Despite there being almost no evidence of terrorists targeting planes, the DHS is looking to expand its laptop ban to cover even more incoming flights from foreign airports.

      The Trump administration said Wednesday it will ban large electronics on flights to the United States altogether — on board, and in checked bags — unless airlines comply with new directives to ramp up passenger and baggage screening.

      The mandate, announced by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, would affect 280 last-point-of-departure airports and as many as 2,000 daily international flights to the United States and potentially throw a huge wrench into business travelers' plans.

      The original plan only targeted 10 airports -- mostly in the Middle East. This expansion would cause even more passengers to either leave their laptops/tablets behind, as this ban would prevent them from being placed in checked luggage.

      What the DHS is looking for is transplanted security theater performances by foreign airline personnel. Not much was explicitly listed in DHS head John Kelly's speech on Wednesday, but a few DHS officials offered to fill the factual gaps in Kelly's rhetoric.

      DHS officials said the agency is broadly pushing airlines and airports to "take the next step" in beefing up security — meaning using more canine teams, adopting more advanced screening technology and enrolling in a Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance inspection program.

      And, as always, the burden will be borne by travelers. Airlines are being given some time to make these changes, but there doesn't appear to be a hard deadline for compliance. If foreign airlines don't live up to the DHS's expectations, passengers will presumably be informed about the fate of their electronic devices after they've already taken them to the airport. The DHS encourages foreign travelers to keep themselves apprised of these changes, but doesn't say how they're supposed to obtain this information when making travel plans. All that's being recommended is staying in "close contact" with their airline of choice, which sounds like the sort of pen pal relationship no one's in any hurry to engage in.

      European officials are trying to stay on top of the DHS's constantly-shifting demands -- not out of fear of terrorist attacks, but because the laptop ban itself would make flying less safe.

      European Commission officials have been especially vocal about their wish to avoid the ban and have repeatedly pointed out the fire risks associated with stacking laptops with flammable lithium batteries in planes' cargo holds…

      I guess that's why Kelly wants a total ban. That solves the exploding battery problem, but does nothing for thousands of non-terrorists who need to bring their work with them when visiting the US.

      There's no room for logic in security theater. What the US determines to be security best practices will be foisted on the rest of the world -- even though there's nothing in the history of the DHS and TSA suggesting faster, harder "security" will do anything more than irritate travelers.



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                Everything You Need to Know About the Travel Ban   

      U.S. President Donald Trump's administration reversed a decision late on Thursday and said fiancés would be considered close family members and therefore allowed to travel to the United States as its revised travel ban took effect.

      The U.S. State Department concluded "upon further review, fiancés would now be included as close family members," said a State Department official who requested anonymity.

      The Trump administration had previously decided, on the basis of its interpretation of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, that grandparents, grandchildren and fiancés traveling from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen would be barred from obtaining visas while the ban was in place.

      The 90-day ban took effect at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT Friday), along with a 120-day ban on all refugees.

      On Monday, the Supreme Court revived parts of Trump's travel ban on people from the six Muslim-majority countries, narrowing the scope of lower court rulings that had blocked parts of a March 6 executive order and allowing his temporary ban to go into effect for people with no strong ties to the United States.

      A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, who also requested anonymity, said it would be updating its guidance to state that fiancés would not be barred from obtaining visas while the ban was in place.

      The Supreme Court exempted from the ban travelers and refugees with a "bona fide relationship" with a person or entity in the United States. As an example, the court said those with a "close familial relationship" with someone in the United States would be covered.

      The state of Hawaii asked a federal judge in Honolulu on Thursday evening to determine whether the Trump administration had interpreted the court's decision too narrowly.

      Hawaii said in a court filing that the U.S. government intended to violate the Supreme Court's instructions by improperly excluding from the United States people who actually have a close family relationship to U.S. persons, echoing criticism from immigrant and refugee groups.

      Hawaii called the refusal to recognize grandparents and other relatives as an acceptable family relationship "a plain violation of the Supreme Court's command."

      Hawaii's Attorney General Doug Chin asked U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu, who blocked Trump's travel ban in March, to issue an order "as soon as possible" clarifying how the Supreme Court's ruling should be interpreted.

      Watson ordered the Justice Department to respond to Hawaii's request by Monday, and said he would allow Hawaii to reply by July 6.

      'Keep Fighting'

      A senior U.S. official did not answer directly when asked how barring grandparents or grandchildren would make the United States safer, but instead pointed to Trump's guidance to pause "certain travel while we review our security posture."

      The U.S. government expected "things to run smoothly" and "business as usual" at U.S. ports of entry, another senior U.S. official told reporters.

      A handful of immigration lawyers gathered at Dulles International Airport outside Washington on Thursday in case of any problems.

      "We're going to keep fighting this ban, even if it applies very narrowly," said Sirine Shebaya, a senior staff attorney at Muslim Advocates. "It's still a Muslim ban, and it's still trying to send a message to a whole community that they're not welcome here."

      The administration said refugees who have agreements with resettlement agencies but not close family in the United States would not be exempted from the ban, likely sharply limiting the number of refugees allowed entry in coming months.

      Hawaii said in its court filing it was "preposterous" not to consider a formal link with a resettlement agency a qualifying relationship. Refugee resettlement agencies had expected that their formal links with would-be refugees would qualify as "bona fide."

      The administration's decision likely means that few refugees beyond a 50,000-cap set by Trump would be allowed into the country this year. A U.S. official said that, as of Wednesday evening, 49,009 refugees had been allowed into the country this fiscal year. The State Department said refugees scheduled to arrive through July 6 could still enter.

      Trump first announced a temporary travel ban on Jan. 27, calling it a counterterrorism measure to allow time to develop better security vetting. The order caused chaos at airports, as officials scrambled to enforce it before it was blocked by courts. Opponents argued that the measure discriminated against Muslims and that there was no security rationale for it.

      A revised version of the ban was also halted by courts.

      The State Department guidance, distributed to all U.S. diplomatic posts on Wednesday evening and seen by Reuters, fleshed out the Supreme Court's ruling about people who have a "bona fide" relationship with an individual or entity in the United States.

      It defined a close familial relationship as being a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling, including step-siblings and other step-family relations.

      A department cable said grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancés, "and any other 'extended' family members" were not considered close family.

      The guidelines also said workers with offers of employment from a company in the United States or a lecturer addressing U.S. audiences would be exempt from the ban, but that arrangements such as a hotel reservation would not be considered bona fide relationships. {eoa}

      © 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.


                Here's What to Expect When Moon Jae-in Comes to Visit Friday   

      This week's U.S.-South Korea summit will be scrutinized for signals of the strength of the relationship and divergence in approaches to North Korea.

      The elections of U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in upended their countries' policies toward the bilateral alliance and North Korea, producing uncertainty and concerns in both capitals.

      Both presidents have subsequently sought to allay those concerns by sending messages of reassurance and commonality of objectives.

      But significant policy differences remain in their two approaches toward Pyongyang, which will become evident over time. For the summit, both sides will emphasize building trust and a personal rapport rather than producing an in-depth policy framework. As such, there will be fewer public disagreements and policy fireworks than originally expected.

      Trump has yet to fill critical vacancies for policymakers covering Asia at a time when numerous threats and potential crises are growing.

      Trump has touted his dealmaking acumen as well as his unpredictability. He postulates that these traits increase his negotiating leverage, but they have unnerved U.S. allies.

      The Trump administration's Asia policy has been troubled by conflicting signals, including how willing Trump is to use military force to prevent Pyongyang from developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could threaten the U.S. homeland.

      Although Trump has criticized President Barack Obama's "strategic patience" policy as weak and ineffectual, he has yet to distinguish his North Korea policy from his predecessor's.

      Trump's policy of "maximum pressure" is anything but and, like Obama, he continues to pull U.S. punches by only incrementally sanctioning North Korea and refraining from imposing secondary sanctions on Chinese violators of U.S. law.

      Moon has yet to define his approaches toward Washington and Pyongyang. He has described himself as "America's friend" and the U.S. alliance as the "most important foundation for our diplomacy and national security."

      Yet Moon also advocates being able to "say no to the Americans," strengthening his country's independent defense capabilities, and regaining wartime operational control of South Korean military forces from the United States. Currently, control of the South Korean military will be turned over to the U.N. commander (always a U.S. general) when the two presidents decide a state of war exists.

      Moon has repeatedly criticized Seoul and Washington for an overreliance on sanctions and pressure tactics and vowed for Seoul to take the lead on North Korean matters rather than taking a back seat to the U.S. and China. He advocates a return to the "sunshine" engagement policies of previous liberal presidents, which offered economic largesse with few conditions.

      For example, Moon proposes reopening the Kaesong and Kumgangsan joint economic ventures with North Korea. Doing so, however, would be a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

      U.N. Resolution 2094 (paragraphs 11-15) requires U.N. member states to prevent financial services that could contribute to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. U.N. Resolution 2321 (paragraph 32) prohibits any financial support to Pyongyang unless it is specifically approved in advance by the U.N. 1718 Committee.

      During a recent trip to Washington, presidential adviser Moon Chung-in and two National Assembly members exacerbated U.S. concerns over Moon Jae-in's policies on North Korea, the alliance, and deployment of the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea.

      The administration distanced itself from adviser Moon's remarks, but it remains unclear whether his faux pas was simply being too forthcoming about Seoul's intentions.

      Moon Jae-in originally opposed the THAAD deployment but he tacked to the center during the campaign to gain conservative voters.

      After his inauguration, Moon claimed he wouldn't overturn the alliance deployment decision but froze ongoing deployment to allow for an environmental impact assessment, which could take 1-2 years.

      Doing so increases the risks from North Korean nuclear, chemical, and biological attack to South Korean citizens as well as the 28,500 American sons and daughters put in harm's way to defend South Korea.

      Moon sees economic engagement with North Korea as a means of bringing the North back to the negotiating table. But there is little utility to such negotiations as long as Pyongyang rejects their core premise—which is an abandonment of its nuclear weapons and programs.

      During my meetings with North Korean officials in Sweden earlier this month, they made unambiguously clear that denuclearization was totally off the table and there was nothing either Washington or Seoul could offer that would induce Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arsenal.

      North Korea conducted several missile tests since Moon's inauguration in violation of U.N. resolutions and rejected his offers of dialogue, humanitarian assistance, and exchanges of nongovernment visits.

      The regime's actions show that it will not act any more benevolently to Moon than to his conservative predecessors.

      In 2009, Pyongyang similarly disabused Obama of his view that the regime would behave differently than it had under President George W. Bush.

      Trump and Moon will be on their best behavior during the summit to prevent appearances of strains in the alliance.

      Both sides should make clear their unwavering support of the alliance and maintaining the international consensus on the need to punish Pyongyang for its repeated violations.

      However, if Moon signals that he will return to the failed engagement policies of the past or hinder the THAAD deployment, it could cause significant strains in the bilateral relationship with Washington. {eoa}

      Bruce Klingner is a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center.

      This article was originally published at DailySignal.com. Used with permission.


                Homeland Security: Election hacking attempts 'way of the future'   
      Attempts to hack elections will continue in the future, the secretary of Homeland Security said Wednesday -- so election officials better prepare.

                Nets Dedicate 28X More Coverage to Trump Tweet than Kate’s Law Passing House   

      On Thursday, all of Washington, D.C. and every liberal news outlet was obsessed with a pair of early morning tweets sent out by President Trump. In the tweets, Trump egregiously mocked Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski by claiming she had a face lift. But there was also some good being done in D.C. that day. In two bipartisan votes, the House passed both Kate’s Law and a measure to punish sanctuary cities. But viewers of ABC and CBS would not have known about them since they omitted it from their coverage, while NBC gave it less than 30 seconds.

      Collectively, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) dedicated a total of 12 minutes and 14 seconds to Trump’s attack against the MSNBC personality. ABC’s World News Tonight gave the tweet three minutes 45 seconds, CBS Evening News a whopping five minutes 29 seconds over two different segments, and NBC Nightly News set aside three minutes. All of them led their evening news program with Trump’s tweets.

      The more important development of the day was a pair of laws passed by Congress that were designed to protect American citizens. Anchor Lester Holt was the only one to mention the passage of the laws, but only in this mere 26-second news brief:

      Meantime, in Congress today, the House passed legislation to crack down on illegal immigration, one of President Trump's top priorities. One of the bills called Kate's Law would impose harsher prison sentences on deportees who come back into the U.S. illegally. The other bill passed would strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities that shield undocumented immigrants from federal immigration authorities. The bills now go to the Senate.

      Holt seemed to lament the passage of the bill, which says a lot since he and the rest of the networks were often quick to find and tout people who would benefit from bills passed by Democrats. That’s what Fox News’ Special Report did with their full segment on the laws.

      “Bypassing Kate's law and a bill that punishes sanctuary cities, House Republicans whose campaigns include promises to get tough on illegal immigrants got a win,” prefaced Peter Doocy before his report. “But there are many families whose lives have been torn apart by the current system who are still feeling a deep sense of loss tonight.”

      Doocy noted the story of Laura Wilkerson, who’s “son Joshua was killed after being beaten and set on fire by someone in this country illegally.” “Now, Republicans in Congress say they are trying to prevent any more pain like that,” he added. According to Doocy, Kate’s Law was designed to place harsher punishments “on illegal immigrants who commit crimes, get deported, and come back.” The bill’s namesake, Kate Steinle, was murdered by an illegal immigrant who was deported five times before he shot the innocent woman.

      “The GOP introduced a bill to give cities a choice. Follow federal immigration laws or lose federal funds,” he said of the second bill. The bill cracking down on sanctuary cities was touted by the head of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly. “I’m offended when members of this institution exert pressure and often threaten me and my officers to ignore the laws,” Kelly emphasized during a press conference about the laws on Thursday.

      <<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

      Both Spanish-language networks, Univision and Telemundo, came out against the set of bills. On Telemundo, they described the laws as “anti-immigrant measures,” while correspondent Maria Paula Ochoa touted how “activist and immigrants assure us that they will fight so that measures like this do not get to the president’s hands.” Univision was a bit more balanced. They interviewed a victim of an illegal immigrant who said: “We are not against immigrants nor trying created hatred we are just against the ones who are not supposed to be in the country.” But they also pushed the position of the left-wing ACLU.

      In wrapping up his report, Doocy mentioned that both bills passed with bipartisan support. “So, immigration, one of the most partisan issues in America, but 24 Democrats voted ‘Yes’ for Kate's Law and three Democrats voted ‘Yes’ on that measure to punish sanctuary cities,” he said.

      It’s a shame that the Big Three Networks chose to ignore or downplay the rare showing of bipartisanship in a time of deep division. And it’s not like they didn’t have the time to report it, they instead just chose to cover silly things. ABC spend two news briefs reporting on a high-speed car chase and an impromptu wedding at a baseball game. CBS ended their program with a long report about a house for sale that was bisected by the U.S./Canada border. But the laws weren’t a part of the liberal agenda so it’s not a priority for them.

      Transcripts below:

      NBC Nightly News
      June 29, 2017
      7:06:10 PM Eastern

      LESTER HOLT: Meantime, in Congress today, the House passed legislation to crack down on illegal immigration, one of President Trump's top priorities. One of the bills called Kate's Law would impose harsher prison sentences on deportees who come back into the U.S. illegally. The other bill passed would strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities that shield undocumented immigrants from federal immigration authorities. The bills now go to the Senate.

      Sign Up for MRC Newsletters!

      Fox News
      Special Report
      June 29, 2017
      6:16:46 PM Eastern

      (…)

      PETER DOOCY: Bypassing Kate's law and a bill that punishes sanctuary cities, House Republicans whose campaigns include promises to get tough on illegal immigrants got a win. But there are many families whose lives have been torn apart by the current system who are still feeling a deep sense of loss tonight.

      [Cuts to video]

      LAURA WILKERSON: This was premeditated, planned, torture of my kid.

      DOOCY: Laura Wilkerson’s son Joshua was killed after being beaten and set on fire by someone in this country illegally.

      WILKERSON: I hope that no one else has to sit up here and tell how horribly their kid was tortured or murdered or killed by someone who shouldn't have been in this country.

      DOOCY: Now, Republicans in Congress say they are trying to prevent any more pain like that.

      PAUL RYAN: Sanctuary cities are putting lives at risk.

      DOOCY: The GOP introduced a bill to give cities a choice. Follow federal immigration laws or lose federal funds.

      BOB GOODLATTE: If you're going to receive taxpayer dollars from the federal government, to keep people safe, that you've got to follow the law.

      DOOCY: The bill considered today, Kate's Law name for Kate Steinle, murdered by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco. Kate’s Law would crack down harder on illegal immigrants who commit crimes, get deported, and come back. And today, the DHS Secretary came to the Capitol with a warning for Democrats:

      JOHN KELLY: I’m offended when members of this institution exert pressure and often threaten me and my officers to ignore the laws.

      DOOCY: That line did not sit well with Democrats.

      BENNIE THOMPSON: To have a difference of opinion on a matter is not a threat.

      DOOCY: Democrats argue that punishing sanctuary cities could backfire.

      (…)

      DOOCY: While others argue the GOP is trying to discriminate and distract.

      LUIS GUTIERREZ: Health care not going well? Let’s just hate some Mexicans today!

      [Cuts back to live]

      DOOCY: So, immigration, one of the most partisan issues in America, but 24 Democrats voted ‘Yes’ for Kate's Law and three Democrats voted ‘Yes’ on that measure to punish sanctuary cities. Now both move on to the Senate.


                Surprise! Univision Reports Massive ID Theft Tied to Illegal Immigration   

      One seldom hears news on Univision that directly ties large numbers of unauthorized immigrants in the United States to crime, but that's just what happened during one of the network's recent national evening newscasts.

      The stunning report, read by weekend anchor Aranxta Loizaga, was based on a new U.S. Department of the Treasury Inspector General finding that in 2015 alone, unauthorized immigrants “stole nearly 1.4 million Social Security numbers to be able to work in the country and file their tax returns.” 

      ARANXTA LOIZAGA, ANCHOR, NOTICIERO UNIVISION FIN DE SEMANA: Identity theft in the United States is one of the fastest growing crimes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that undocumented immigrants stole nearly 1.4 million Social Security numbers to be able to work in the country and file their tax returns, and what is serious, is that many of the victims have not found out about it yet.

      Univision’s report, however, went on to include justification of the crime as a “necessary” one in order for unauthorized immigrants in the country to file income tax returns, as well as ostensibly amass a record of “good moral behavior” as productive residents.

      What the Univision report failed to include were the voices of any victims of the massive identity theft, and the obviously totally “unnecessary” hardship and travails that are imposed on them by the crime.

      The Inspector General at Treasury found that the IRS knows of 2.4 million people a year who file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which is generally given out to people who are not authorized to work in the country. But up until now, according to the Inspector General, the IRS has not coordinated with Homeland Security to help agents identify who and where those taxpayers are.

      Below is the full transcript of the above-referenced segment as aired on June 25, 2017 on Noticiero Univision, Fin de Semana:

      ARANXTA LOIZAGA, ANCHOR, NOTICIERO UNIVISION FIN DE SEMANA: Identity theft in the United States is one of the fastest growing crimes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that undocumented immigrants stole nearly 1.4 million social security numbers to be able to work in the country and file their tax returns,  and what is serious, is that many of the victims have not found out about it yet. Dulce Castellanos explains.

      DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: Identity theft is a severely punished crime and the number of cases related to employment are more than what had been identified, according to a report by the Inspector General of the Internal Revenue Service.

      EDGAR PALACIOS, FEDERAL TAX AUDITOR: When an individual uses a Social Security number that has not been issued to him, using a name, a Social Security number it is called impersonation.

      DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: Employment identity theft includes borrowing a number even if the person has authorized it, or making one up. But immigrants say that the need to provide for their families leaves them without options.

      WILFREDO SERRANO, GUATEMALAN IMMIGRANT:  One could make up a number if one wanted to, and could pay taxes…to make up a number of a dependent also, and they would send money to you at first, but now it is too hard, now you cannot do any of that.

      DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: An expert in immigration, lawyer Alex Galvez says that undocumented workers must continue to file their taxes as it is a record of good moral behavior.

      ALEX GÁLVEZ, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: The government cannot have it both ways;  you cannot say in a situation that using a false Social Security is a crime, but on the other hand, if you do not work, if you do not file your taxes it will hurt you if there is a reform, if you are in immigration court, or if you want to become a resident.

      DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The audit showed that the IRS faces obstacles when it comes to alerting victims. And when it comes to taxpayers with ITIN numbers sent by mail, there were more than 270,000 unaware victims in 2015.

      ALEX GÁLVEZ, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: If it were not for the work and the financial support they give when they file their taxes, the Social Security program, the program they cannot benefit from, would have already gone bankrupt.

      DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The Inspector General issued recommendations to inform victims of theft, but the IRS does not seem to agree with the suggestions due to issues of taxpayer safety. In Los Angeles, Dulce Castellanos, Univision.

       

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                Chaffetz: "Great Mystery" Why DNC Didn't Trust Obama Administraton To See "Hacked" Server; "What Are They Hiding?"    
      Former Oversight Committee chairman (and future Fox News host) Jason Chaffetz talks to Bill Hemmer about President Obama's response to alleged Russian election inteference. JASON CHAFFETZ: I think one of the great mysteries is why did the Democrats not collaborate, and allow Homeland Security to get in and work with them? It was the Obama administration and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and yet they didn't trust each other enough to allow them to do their work at Homeland Security. Why is that? What are they hiding? ... Hillary Clinton, they thought, was on a trajectory to win, and when your team is going to win, you just let it slide. But this is Russia affecting the elections!
                Animal Disease Center's New Home Proves Difficult   
      The animal disease center that the Homeland Security department has maintained since Sept. 11 has fallen into disrepair. A proposed new location in Kansas has been riddled with neighborhood concerns, safety threats and escalating costs. Laura Ziegler of Harvest Public Media reports.
                Congressman Pittenger Urges House to Support “KATE’S LAW,” Crackdown on Sanctuary Cities   
      WASHINGTON – This afternoon, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) urged his colleagues to support “Kate’s Law,” which would better protect American citizens by increasing penalties for deported felons who illegally return to the United States. Click here for full video of Congressman Pittenger’s speech in support of Kate’s Law, which will enhance penalties for deported felons who illegally return to the United States. “One of the previous administration’s biggest homeland security failures was the lack of prosecution and enforcement for crimes committed by illegal immigrants.  For far too long, the Obama Administration failed to adequately punish illegal immigrants who committed felonies in the United States. “A simple deportation is not enough.  .....
                Diyanet neemt kerken over in Turkije   
      1

      Buitenland

      Artikel

      Door: Pieter Bauwens

      Diyanet neemt kerken over in Turkije

      De Kamer wil meer aandacht voor 'religieuze minderheden' in het buitenlands beleid. Dan is er wel wat werk aan de winkel. 

      De bescherming van religieuze minderheden moet een speerpunt worden van het buitenlands beleid van België in het Midden-Oosten en Afrika. Meerderheid en oppositie steunden in de Kamercommissie Buitenlandse zaken unaniem een resolutie van de N-VA die de regering daartoe oproept.

      Peter Luykx (N-VA) reageert opgetogen in een persbericht: ‘van Libië tot Irak is de situatie van religieuze minderheden - ondanks hun diepe historische wortels in de regio - precair en moeten zij in toenemende mate vechten voor hun toekomst.’ En hij besluit: ‘Onder leiding van onze staatssecretaris Theo Francken en minister Didier Reynders ondernam deze regering al vele lovenswaardige initiatieven om deze groepen te helpen. Met deze resolutie willen wij hen dan ook vanuit het parlement de nodige ruggensteun geven om hun beleid verder te zetten.’

      Christenen

      Dat beleid komt concreet neer op het bescherming van christenen, maar dat mag blijkbaar niet zo gezegd worden. Dat het nodig is bewijst de actualiteit in Turkije. Verschillende websites melden dat het religieus ministerie Diyanet een versnelling hoger schakelde en christelijke eeuwenoude eigendommen nationaliseerde. Let wel, hetzelfde Diyanet dat wereldwijd de Turkse moskees organiseert en daar, onder andere in ons land, subsidies voor krijgt.

      Zo werd het Syrisch-orthodoxe klooster van Mor Gabriel (gesticht in 397!) in beslag genomen door Diyanet. Dit oude klooster, een van de oudste christelijk kloosters ter wereld, is een belangrijk centrum voor Syrisch-orthodoxe christenen en organiseert het christelijke leven in de wijde omgeving.

      Systematisch anti-christelijk beleid

      De onteigening van het klooster van Mor Gabriel is al bezig sinds 2008. Toen werden grote hoeveelheden land, in bezit van het klooster, wettelijk geregeld in een stichting en onderworpen aan de belastingen, genationaliseerd door de staat. Rechtszaken hielpen de monniken niet vooruit, in de plaats kwamen beschuldigingen dat de monniken moslims proberen te bekeren én dat er een oude moskee onder de fundamenten van het klooster zou zitten. Wat historisch gezien onmogelijk is. Op dezelfde manier zou Turkije, volgens de woordvoerder van het Mor Gabriel Klooster, vijftig kerken, kloosters en begraafplaatsen onder de controle van Diyanet of de staat gebracht hebben. Het gaat om kerken, kloosters en begraafplaatsen die vandaag nog altijd door christenen gebruikt worden.

      De Turkse overheid zet daarmee een beleid voort dat begon in 2002 en erop neerkomt dat het secularisme systematisch wordt teruggeschroefd. Dat gaat tegelijk gepaard met een re-islamisering van Turkije. En dat voelen de niet-moslim minderheden, waarvan de christelijke de grootste is. Bij het begin van de 19 eeuw waren zo’n 20% van de inwoners van Turkije christen, nu is dat nog 0,1% of zo’n 80.000. Symbool van de re-islamisering is het plan om de Aya Sophia opnieuw om te vormen tot een moskee. De Aya Sophia werd in 537 gebouwd als kerk, door de Ottomanen omgevormd tot moskee. In 1935 maakte Attaturk er een museum van.

      Opdracht

      Ter attentie van de Kamerleden in de commissie ‘Buitenlandse Betrekkingen’ vermelden we er graag bij dat door het verdrag bij de Vrede van Lausanne enkel de Armeens- en Grieks-orthodoxe christenen en de joden een wettelijke status hebben als religieuze minderheid in Turkije. syrisch-orthodoxen en katholieken zijn niet opgenomen en kunnen dus niet als religieuze groep erkand worden.Een werkpuntje bij de volgende zitting. U kan best iemand van de Unie van Europese Syrische christenen (@esu_int) contacteren of het Stockholm Centre for Freedom.

      En terwijl u toch bezig bent, die Diyanet en hun rol in België is ook aan herbekijken toe. Wederkerigheid is een mooi principe.

      Beste Kamerleden, beste minister, aan het werk, want dit artikel is maar het topje van de ijsberg! Grijp uw kans om de wereld te veranderen!

      Foto © Reporters (in 2004 bezocht Prins Charles nog de vandaag onteigende kloosters in Turkije)

      Bronnen : Stockholm Centre for Freedom, La Croix international, PJMedia

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                REFORM MOVEMENT LAUNCHING FIRST RABBINICAL SCHOOL FOR SPANISH SPEAKERS. AND ISRAEL STRIKES HAMAS POSTS IN GAZA AFTER ROCKET FIRE.   
      JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

      EU SPAIN #11 (POSSIBLY MIGHT PRODUCE THE WORLD LEADER)

      DANIEL 7:23-24
      23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADING BLOCKS-10 WORLD REGIONS/TRADE BLOCS)
      24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 NATIONS-10 WORLD DIVISION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(EITHER THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR BOOTS 3 COUNTRIES FROM THE EU OR THE DICTATOR TAKES OVER THE WORLD ECONOMY BY CONTROLLING 3 WORLD TRADE BLOCS)

      REVELATION 17:9-13
      9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.(THE VATICAN IS BUILT ON 7 HILLS OR MOUNTAINS)
      10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen,(1-ASSYRIA,2-EGYPT,3-BABYLON,4-MEDO-PERSIA,5-GREECE) and one is,(IN POWER IN JOHNS AND JESUS DAY-6-ROME) and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.(7TH-REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE OR THE EUROPEAN UNION TODAY AND THE SHORT SPACE IS-7 YEARS.THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL HAVE WORLD CONTROL FOR THE LAST 3 1/2 YEARS.BUT WILL HAVE ITS MIGHTY WORLD POWER FOR THE FULL 7 YEARS OF THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD.AND THE WORLD DICTATOR WILL BE THE BEAST FROM THE EU.AND THE VATICAN POPE WILL BE THE WHORE THAT RIDES THE EUROPEAN UNION TO POWER.AND THE 2 EUROPEAN UNION POWER FREAKS WILL CONTROL AND DECIEVE THE WHOLE EARTH INTO THEIR DESTRUCTION.IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS.YOU WILL BE DECIEVED BY THESE TWO.THE WORLD POLITICIAN-THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR.AND THE FALSE PROPHET THAT DEFECTS CHRISTIANITY-THE FALSE VATICAN POPE.
      11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
      12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
      13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

      Heres the scripture 1 week = 7 yrs Genesis 29:27-29
      27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
      28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week:(7 YEARS) and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
      29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

      DANIEL 9:26-27
      26 And after threescore and two weeks(62X7=434 YEARS+7X7=49 YEARS=TOTAL OF 69 WEEKS OR 483 YRS) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;(ROMAN LEADERS DESTROYED THE 2ND TEMPLE) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.(THERE HAS TO BE 70 WEEKS OR 490 YRS TO FUFILL THE VISION AND PROPHECY OF DAN 9:24).(THE NEXT VERSE IS THAT 7 YR WEEK OR (70TH FINAL WEEK).
      27 And he ( THE ROMAN,EU PRESIDENT) shall confirm the covenant (PEACE TREATY) with many for one week:(1X7=7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,(3 1/2 yrs in TEMPLE ANIMAL SACRIFICES STOPPED) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

      Reform movement launching first rabbinical school for Spanish speakers-Buenos Aires institution will ordain students from Latin America, Spain and Portugal-By JTA June 27, 2017, 4:01 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

      BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The Reform movement is launching its first school to train and ordain rabbis from Latin America, Spain and Portugal to work in those communities.The Ibero American Institute for Rabbinical Education of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, or WUPJ, will begin classes in August in Buenos Aires.“This project will transform the regional reality,” WUPJ said.Some 20 rabbinical candidates from Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Spain have enrolled. A Hispanic student from the United States also has enrolled.The institute will be run jointly by the Latin American branch of WUPJ; the Argentine network of institutions Fundación Judaica, and the Center of Jewish Spirituality Mishkan, which will be the headquarters of the institution. Ruben Nisenbom, the Argentine founder of Mishkan, will be in charge of the institute.WUPJ President Carole Sterling has called the institute “an important step for the Reform world.”“We know that it will be fundamental for the development of our movement in the region and will permit us to answer the growing demand on behalf of our communities,” she said last month when the institute was officially presented by Ibero-American leaders to the Reform movement during the WUPJ Conference in Jerusalem.Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Reform movement in Israel and founder of the Rabbis for Human Rights movement, called the new institution “one of the great milestones of Judaism in the last decade.”Ibero-America is a region in Central and South America made up of Spanish and Portuguese speakers that also includes Spain and Portugal.

      LUKE 21:28-29
      28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
      29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
      30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)

      JOEL 2:3,30
      3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
      30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)

      ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
      12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
      13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)

      EZEKIEL 20:47
      47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.

      ZEPHANIAH 1:18
      18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

      MALACHI 4:1
      1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

      And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
      Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE

      Israel strikes Hamas posts in Gaza after rocket-fire-Military says it targeted infrastructure in north and south of enclave following earlier launch that hit Sha’ar Hanegev region-By Times of Israel staff June 27, 2017, 3:37 am

      The Israeli Air Force on Monday night struck two Hamas infrastructure targets in the north and south of the Gaza Strip, the military said.The IDF said the strikes came in response to a rocket launch from the Strip earlier in the night.There were no immediate reports of casualties by Palestinians.The rocket hit southern Israel, in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, not causing any damage or casualties.The launch was claimed by a salafist group linked to the Islamic State, according to Hebrew media reports.Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for any attacks emanating from the territory it controls, and has in the past responded to any launch with strikes on Hamas targets.Hamas rulers said earlier this month it was not interested in a fresh round of conflict, even as electricity cuts requested by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and facilitated by Israel, threatened to lead to new violence.Abbas has led a high-stakes campaign to weaken Hamas by gradually reducing the flow of electricity to the territory he lost to the terrorist group in 2007.Egypt has since stepped in to ship in fuel to make up for most of the power cuts, though its not clear how long the shipments will continue.On Monday, the Haaretz daily reported that human rights groups and officials in Gaza suspect Abbas is also attempting to keep Gazans from being able to seek medical attention in Israel as a means of ramping up pressure.Israeli security concerns have shifted in the last few days to the northern border, where fighting in neighboring Syria has bled into Israel, with fire from mortars and small arms hitting in the Golan Heights.Israel has struck back at Syrian regime targets several times in retaliation.Earlier Monday, Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman said Israel has “no intention of launching a military operation” against Syria or Gaza.But Liberman added that despite the military establishment’s hope for calm on Israel’s borders, it will not tolerate any provocations, even accidental fire that spills over from a neighboring conflict.

      Gaza rocket hits open area in southern Israel, no injuries-Fire claimed by Salafist group comes after defense minister says Israel has no intention of going to war with Gaza or Syria, but will not tolerate ‘provocations’-By Times of Israel staff June 26, 2017, 10:47 pm

      A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel Monday night, not causing any damage, but breaking a tense calm amid rising tensions with the Palestinian enclave.The Israeli military said the projectile landed in open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.“No injuries have been reported. Forces are searching the area,” the army said in a statement.The launch was claimed by a salafist group linked to the Islamic State, according to Hebrew media reports.Gaza’s Hamas rulers said earlier this month they were not interested in a fresh round of conflict, even as electricity cuts requested by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and facilitated by Israel, threatened to lead to a new round of violence.Abbas has led a high-stakes campaign to weaken Hamas by gradually reducing the flow of electricity to the territory he lost to the terrorist group in 2007.Egypt has since stepped in to ship in fuel to make up for most of the power cuts, though its not clear how long the shipments will continue.On Monday, the Haaretz daily reported that human rights groups and officials in Gaza suspect Abbas is also attempting to keep Gazans from being able to seek medical attention in Israel as a means of ramping up pressure.Israeli security concerns have shifted in the last few days to the northern border, where fighting in neighboring Syria has bled into Israel, with fire from mortars and small arms hitting in the Golan Heights.Israel has struck back at Syrian regime targets several times in retaliation.Earlier Monday, Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman said Israel has “no intention of launching a military operation” against Syria or Gaza.But Liberman added that despite the military establishment’s hope for calm on Israel’s borders, it will not tolerate any provocations, even accidental fire that spills over from a neighboring conflict.

      Stop building in settlements outside blocs, ex-Netanyahu security aide says-At panel on Mideast peace, Yaakov Amidror says Israel must preserve possibility of 2-state solution, argues biggest threat to Jewish state is demography-By Dov Lieber June 27, 2017, 1:30 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former national security adviser argued Monday that Israel must cease new construction in settlements outside of the so-called blocs, or risk losing its ability to uphold both its Jewish and democratic nature.Yaakov Amidror, who served under Netanyahu from 2011 to 2013, said at a panel at Bar-Ilan University that while he though current Palestinian leadership and the volatility of the current Middle East do not present the conditions for a peace deal, Israel must preserve the possibility of a two-state solution in the future.That means only building in areas Israel hopes to keep via land swaps in a final status deal with the Palestinians.“Israel should limit settlement building to the blocs or the boundaries of existing settlements and reserve the remaining area for discussion at a time when there might be a different Palestinian leadership,” he wrote in a study he was presenting at the conference.There are six major blocs commonly seen as being held by Israel in any future deal: Givat Ze’ev, Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Ariel, Modiin Illit and Karnei Shomron-The settlement watchdog group Peace Now released a report in May that said some 70 percent of settlement construction in the West Bank last year took place outside the so-called blocs. However, the report relies on the definition of the blocs as outlined on the 2003 Geneva Initiative, which is rejected by the current government.Last week, Israel began construction on the first new settlement since 1993. The new settlement, to be known as Amichai, is to accommodate residents of the illegal Amona outpost, which was evacuated in February in line with court orders because it was built on private Palestinian land. Amichai is located near the settlements of Shiloh and Eli, north of Ramallah.Amidror, who is now a fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, was presenting the findings of his recently published study, entitled “Israel’s Inelegant Options in Judea and Samaria: Withdrawal, Annexation, and Conflict Management.”Panelists at the event included Environment and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), former minister and veteran peace activist Yossi Beilin—a key architect of the Oslo peace process—and Professor Ruth Gavison, an Israeli law expert and Israel Prize laureate. All agreed that demographics posed the greatest challenge to the future of Israel.Amidror said he had yet to hear a legitimate solution from those on Israel’s right wing who favor annexation of the West Bank on how it the Jewish state might swallow the entire Palestinian population — several million people — while still remaining both a Jewish and democratic state.“I’ve never heard a logical argument from the right about the demographic issue,” he said. The other panelists agreed.Elkin argued that given the current turbulence in the Middle East, in which he doesn’t know what will be the “names of states that border Israel” in a year, finding a solution to the demographic problem will have to wait.He also said he was sure Mahmoud Abbas — who he accused of “killing” Palestinian politics — would be the last president of the Palestinian Authority. As for who would govern the Palestinians in the future if the authority were to disappear, he said Palestinians might live in “small islands of sovereignty.”Beilin passionately argued for setting Israel’s borders as soon as possible. He said that safeguarding Israel’s Jewish and democratic nature was his primary reason for wanting to end Israel’s 50-year military rule over the Palestinians in the West Bank. The moral argument that the occupation harms both the Palestinians and Israel, he said, was only of secondary importance to him.“What is important for me is to leave to my children and grandchildren a democratic and Jewish state. I need a border,” he said, to some applause in the room.Criticizing Elkin, Beilin argued that those who say conditions aren’t ripe for a solution are intentionally dithering in order to perpetuate the status quo.Beilin also said it was time to “think seriously about an Israeli-Palestinian confederation.” He argued a confederation would could solve the demographic threat by allowing Israeli citizens to live among Palestinians, as well as a number of other issues including the demilitarization of a Palestinian state and environmental and infrastructural issues.Gavison, who said she considered herself a centrist, said the divided Israeli political landscape could unify around the goal of ensuring a “strong and stable Jewish majority.”Settlements have long been one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the Palestinians and much of the international community saying that their expansion threatens the territorial continuity of a future Palestinian state.The Palestinians and much of the international community do not recognize any settlements in the West Bank as legal.Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.

      Fuming opposition looks to fell government over Western Wall reversal-Zionist Union says cabinet’s decision creating barrier with Diaspora; despite opposing move, Liberman thought unlikely to bring down government-By Tamar Pileggi June 26, 2017, 8:31 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

      The opposition Zionist Union faction said on Monday that it will submit a no confidence motion against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, over the cabinet’s decision to shelve a hard-won deal for a pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall and the initial approval of a bill that would cement the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on conversions.“The government’s decision against the Western Wall as well as the conversion issue severely harms US Jewry, Israelis, those who seek to become a part of the Jewish people, and any one else who wishes to pray at the Western Wall according to their customs,” the party said in a statement.“The message conveyed to both Israelis and Jewish communities abroad is a bitter one which creates a barrier between Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people and large segments of the Jewish people,” it said.The motion will be submitted to the Knesset next Monday.On Sunday, the government suspended a plan it had previously approved for a pluralistic prayer area, following calls by Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition allies to scrap the deal. The plan would have seen the establishment of a properly prepared pavilion for pluralistic prayer — as opposed to current temporary arrangements — under joint oversight involving representatives of all major streams of Judaism.The decision to cancel the deal was lambasted by the opposition and representatives of Diaspora Jewry as well as coalition faction Yisrael Beytenu and members of the Kulanu party, which is also in the government.Kulanu MK Michael Oren, who formerly served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, branded the move an “abandonment of Zionism.”However, on Monday, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman indicated he wouldn’t derail the coalition over the disagreements, saying he hopes that he can cut a compromise in the coming week.Kulanu’s leadership has been silent on the matter.Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, who is due to meet on Tuesday with Jewish leaders from the US, told Army Radio Diaspora Jews have “tremendous anger” over the government’s backtracking over the Western Wall deal.They have “a feeling of being deceived,” he said. “The compromise deal was agreed to by all until extreme elements decided to scare everyone and to sabotage the process. This is causing deep division in the Jewish people.”Herzog said that Netanyahu was “simply zig-zagging. He caved. He is afraid.”Currently, a prayer space at the Western Wall south of the main plaza and down several flights of stairs hosts pluralistic prayer. The deal would have seen construction work to raise the space up to the same level as the rest of the main plaza, and would have given control of the site to all religious streams under the state’s imprimatur.Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman said Netanyahu had ordered work to continue in preparing the plaza and that it remain open to all streams of Judaism.“It is important to Prime Minister Netanyahu that every Jew be able to pray at the Western Wall,” Braverman said in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

      Some critics of Western Wall plan still unhappy after freeze-Archaeologist says expansion of pluralistic prayer site may still harm antiquities; feminist religious activist who opposed agreement finds little joy in reversal-By Melanie Lidman June 26, 2017, 11:39 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

      The government decision to suspend a plan creating a pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall brought little satisfaction to two non-Orthodox groups that opposed the original proposal: archaeologists and religious activists who had sought greater gains than the compromise afforded.On Sunday, the government suspended a plan it had previously approved for a pluralistic prayer area, following calls by Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition allies to scrap the deal. The plan would have seen the establishment of a properly prepared pavilion for pluralistic prayer — as opposed to current temporary arrangements — under joint oversight involving representatives of all major streams of Judaism.The government has said despite the deals being canceled, it will continue to expand the prayer space at Robinson’s Arch south of the main Western Wall plaza, leading to continued concerns over archaeological damage to antiquities there.“There is no way only solution should be found on account of such an important heritage site,” said Dr Eilat Mazar, an archaeologist with Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, who has excavated many sites around the Old City walls.Education Minister Naftali Bennett opened the platform in 2013 when he was religious affairs minister, in part due to pressure from non-Orthodox Jewish groups, including Women of the Wall.The platform, constructed as a temporary measure, enraged some archaeologists at the time.A group of Jerusalem archaeologists petitioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year to remove the platform immediately and find other arrangements, calling the site “the crowning glory of the archaeology of Jerusalem.”“This is the is the only place where you can see and touch the immense stones that fell during the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, the stones that fell from the Western Wall onto the original street that was used by the masses of pilgrims,” Mazar said Monday.There are no ongoing archaeological excavations in the area where the egalitarian section is located or is planned to expand.“The debris, the destruction those were already revealed, but the destruction is hiding it underneath any kind of ramp,” she said. “You lose the whole impression that is given when you see the Western Wall and the immense stones that fell,” she said.The platform obscures some of the former temple’s magnificent masonry, as well as gems from other archaeological periods found in the area.The committee charged that the platform was built in violation of archaeological and construction statutes.Mazar’s grandfather, Benjamin Mazar, was the archaeologist who oversaw the excavation of the area where the platform stands today. Nine archaeologists signed the petition to Netanyahu calling for the dismantling of the platform.The Israel Antiquities Authority declined to comment on the new developments regarding Netanyahu’s decision to freeze the agreement. In a Knesset session examining the platform on November 22, 2016, IAA chief Yisrael Hasson also decried the platform’s construction.“Converting the site into a prayer space will prevent adequate preservation and management of the finds,” Hasson told a meeting of the Knesset Education Committee.However, Hasson added that if the government does decide to expand the pluralistic section, the IAA wants to be involved in order to minimize damage.Non-Orthodox religious activists who originally opposed the Western Wall agreement also said they felt torn.“It’s hard to know what to think, because of course we have always opposed the deal and did not want it,” said Cheryl Birkner Mack, one of the leaders of the Original Women of the Wall group.Original Women of the Wall split from the larger women’s activist prayer group, Women of the Wall, over Women of the Wall’s decision to ultimately support the Western Wall agreement.“But what we did not want was the forgoing of women’s rights at the Kotel [Western Wall] itself,” added Mack. “On the one hand, it seems to be status quo, but on the other hand, it’s very disrespectful for the non-Orthodox movement. All of us, whether we’re Orthodox or not, support non-Orthodox movements and support recognition of their rights, so it’s hard to know how to respond to this.”Bennett on Monday called the latest government decision to freeze the deal unfortunate, but not a major disaster.He said the government this week allocated some $5 million to carry out the promised expansion of the prayer area in the coming months. It was only other aspects of the plan, including construction of a shared entrance to all prayer areas and joint management of the site by all streams of Judaism, that were frozen.“The main message for Jews around the world is ‘you are wanted,'” Bennett said. “The Kotel is open for all Jews of the world and will remain open for all Jews of the world.”Times of Israel staff and AP contributed to this article.

      It is difficult to reconcile honoring police with an award for tikkun olam'-Police shooting, protests prompt Seattle Jewish Federation to halt annual award-A ceremony recognizing Seattle’s finest for ‘repairing the world’ is on hold after a pregnant mother of four was shot in her home when she called in a burglary-By Greg Scruggs June 27, 2017, 3:24 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

      SEATTLE — Last week, the death of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old black woman, at the hands of police caused the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to postpone its annual meeting along with a planned award ceremony for the Seattle Police Department. The killing also prompted a public petition from members of the Seattle Jewish community to rescind the award completely.In May, the Federation announced that its annual Tikkun Olam Award would be given on June 22 to Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, on behalf of her department, for incorporating Holocaust education into police training and collaborating with Jewish groups on a real-time communications tool developed after a shooting attack at the Federation’s headquarters in 2006.The Federation said in a written statement on June 21 that the postponement of the award ceremony came at O’Toole’s request “due to the fragile state of the Seattle community and the raw emotions around the police’s actions in connection with the death of Charleena Lyles.” The statement also affirmed that the award still stands, a decision at odds with an online petition drafted in the immediate aftermath of Lyles’ death that garnered over 750 signatures in 48 hours.Calling themselves “Concerned Seattle Jews,” petitioners on the online platform Change.org wrote, “It is difficult to reconcile honoring Chief O’Toole with an award for tikkun olam — the idea that Jews share responsibility for repairing the world — while the Seattle Police Department is under a US Justice Department order and federal court supervision because of a history of excessive use of force and mistreatment of our fellow citizens, especially people of color. In the wake of Sunday’s police killing of Charleena Lyles, an African American mother who called the police for assistance and ended up dead, the idea of the Jewish Federation carrying through this award is especially appalling.”Lyles, a pregnant mother of four with a history of mental illness, called the emergency line 911 on June 18 to report a burglary. Two officers responded to the call and their dispatch system noted her mental health history. Inside her apartment, with her young children present, officers allege that Lyles became incoherent, threatened them verbally, and brandished a knife. The officers reportedly demanded that she drop the knife, and when she instead lunged at one of the officers, they opened fire.Much of the public debate in the week since the incident has focused on whether or not the officers should have been carrying Tasers as a non-lethal force option. The officers, who said they left their Tasers in their lockers, were not wearing body cameras but there are audio recordings of the encounter. The investigation is expected to take at least several months.Rabbi David Basior, who leads the Kadima Reconstructionist Community in Seattle, said that there had been immediate discomfort in his Jewish circles about the Federation’s decision to publicly acknowledge the police department since it was first announced, but that opinions were mostly confined to internal conversations. He called Lyles’ death “an awful catalyst” that forced the issue into the open.His congregation has been studying the Movement for Black Lives and its manifesto — which controversially used the terms “genocide” and “apartheid” to describe Israel — for over a year. That text study, he said, led to an immediate consensus that “it’s not okay to give a tikkun olam award on behalf of the Jewish community in Seattle to the Seattle Police Department.” But, he continued, “The tightrope to walk was how to do that gently while being kind and strong to our brothers, sisters, elders, and youngsters at the Federation and not demonizing humans in police uniforms.”Basior said there is no “rift” between the Jewish community and the Federation, but rather an opportunity for more robust dialogue between decision-makers and the community at large. “The Jewish community in Seattle needs to give each other tochecha,” Basior said, referring to the Jewish term for rebuke, or “criticism with love.”“The Federation is still the only address in town where a Chabad rabbi, a Reconstructionist rabbi, someone who thinks Israel should annex the West Bank, and someone who thinks the occupation should end can sit in the same room and have a conversation about some Jewish topics — but not all,” he said.Basior noted that the current disagreement over the tikkun olam award comes in a local climate where leftist activists, like the local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, feel excluded from the Federation because of their politics. The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle declined to comment for this story.Those opposed to the award said they saw the merit in the specific Seattle Police Department programs that formed the Federation’s rationale. For example, the Seattle-based Holocaust Center for Humanity now hosts trainings using a national curriculum called “Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust” that examines how police were complicit in Nazi atrocities. Every Seattle police officer is expected to have completed the training by October. Basior called this partnership “a big win.”Ultimately, however, the petitioners felt that those initiatives were overshadowed by the structural issues surrounding the department’s treatment of racial and ethnic minorities, which some felt reflected the Federation’s own blind spots.“We need to be incredibly vigilant around anti-Semitism in our communities,” said Simone Adler, a community organizer on food justice issues. “We need to take seriously keeping the Jewish community safe, but that Jewish community includes people of color.”That concern resonated strongly with Daniel Eliyahu, an Israeli-American student at the University of Washington whose mother is descended from the Jewish community of Cochin, India. He identifies as a Jew of color.“The label of tikkun olam means so much to so many people about creating justice and working towards a better world,” Eliyahu said. “To see such camaraderie with a police department that has such a track record of violence against people of color shows something that many Jews of color have seen with the Federation, which is that the Federation doesn’t see themselves as representing a multiracial community.”Eliyahu’s concerns come at a time of rapid demographic change for the local Jewish community, which has grown 70 percent since 2001 in what is now the fastest growing city in the US.The Federation, meanwhile, should expect the award activists to keep up the pressure.“Awarding the police department for working on fighting anti-Semitism while not also challenging the police department on fighting racism is an incredible loss of an opportunity,” Eliyahu said.Adler does not view the annual meeting’s postponement as a victory, but rather as “backing out from an opportunity to engage.” She and other activists had called for the meeting to go on — without the award ceremony, but with a prayer service and an opportunity to say the kaddish prayer for Lyles. Instead, a group of about 30 said prayers before a vigil on June 22 that attracted hundreds to downtown Seattle.“In this moment there is nothing to celebrate when we are mourning a black pregnant mother of four who was killed in our city,” Adler said. “A victory would have been rescinding the award altogether.”

      Jewish groups split over Supreme Court church funding decision-Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations says ruling allowing state support for nonreligious needs will benefit synagogues too-By Times of Israel staff, AP and JTA June 27, 2017, 1:47 am

      The largest US Jewish orthodox umbrella group on Monday hailed a US Supreme Court ruling that churches are eligible for state funding for nonreligious needs, saying the decision covers synagogues too.In a statement the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations welcomed the outcome of a case after the justices sided by a 7-2 vote with Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, which had sought a state grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground.The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center had played a part in the case by filing an amicus curiae to support the church’s position.“We are proud of the role that OU Advocacy has played in creating the various state aid programs and its role in today’s high court ruling affirming their constitutionality,” said President of the Orthodox Union Mark Bane in a statement. “We expect the ruling to assist us in expanding the number and type of programs which aid faith communities with their safety costs.”Nathan Diament, executive director of Washington, DC’s Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, said “Today’s 7-2 ruling by the Supreme Court puts state aid to synagogues (and other houses of worship) and parochial schools for security and safety measures on an explicit and solid constitutional footing.”The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that churches have the same right as other charitable groups to seek state money for new playground surfaces and other nonreligious needs.But the justices stopped short of saying whether the ruling applies to school voucher programs that use public funds to pay for private, religious schooling.Chief Justice John Roberts said for the court that the state violated the US Constitution’s First Amendment by denying a public benefit to an otherwise eligible recipient solely on account of its religious status. He called it “odious to our Constitution” to exclude the church from the grant program, even though the consequences are only “a few extra scraped knees.”The case arose from an application the church submitted in 2012 to take part in Missouri’s scrap-tire grant program, which reimburses the cost of installing a rubberized playground surface made from recycled tires. The money comes from a fee paid by anyone who buys a new tire.But the state’s Department of Natural Resources rejected the application, pointing to the part of the state constitution that says “no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion.”A recycled scrap tire is not religious, the church said in its Supreme Court brief. “It is wholly secular,” the church said.Justice Sonya Sotomayor took the rare step of reading her dissent from the bench, saying the ruling weakens America’s longstanding commitment to separation of church and state.“This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government — that is, between church and state,” she wrote, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “The Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church.”The Anti-Defamation League, in conjunction with seven other groups, presented a friend-of-the-court brief going against the ruling.“Justice Sotomayor’s dissent got it right — this case is about much more than a state program to use recycled tires to resurface a playground,” the group’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement.The statement added: “Although the decision is narrowly focused, the US Supreme Court appears to have taken a disturbing step back from this commitment today.”Barbara Weinstein, director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, issued a statement on behalf of the movement defending Missouri’s decision to honor the church-state divide, saying that religious institutions could face “government infringement if they are competing against each other for government grants.”More than 30 other states have constitutional provisions similar to Missouri’s, though some of those already permit churches to take part in grant programs for nonreligious purposes. In the days before the argument in April, Missouri’s Republican Gov. Eric Greitens changed the state’s policy and said churches would be allowed to apply for grants.Some religious groups cheered the decision, which was closely watched for the effect it may have on school voucher programs. But in a carefully worded footnote, Roberts said the ruling was limited and did not address “religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination.”Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch wrote separately to say they would not have limited the ruling to playground resurfacing or related issues that involve children’s safety or health.“The general principles here do not permit discrimination against religious exercise — whether on the playground or anywhere else,” Gorsuch said.Proponents of school vouchers said they hope the ruling lays the groundwork for a future decision on whether states can let parents choose to send their children to religious schools through publicly funded programs.Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, said the principle of “religious neutrality” applies “whether the government is enabling schools to resurface their playgrounds or empowering parents to direct their children’s education.”Civil liberties groups called the ruling a blow to the principle of church-state separation.“This ruling threatens to open the door to more taxpayer support for religion, which is at odds with our history, traditions and common sense,” said Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

                Narendra Modi heads to Israel, lifting the curtain on close ties   

      By Sanjeev Miglani and Tova Cohen

      NEW DELHI/TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Narendra Modi is making a first visit to Israel by an Indian prime minister next week, in a public embrace of a country that he has long admired for its military and technical expertise but which his predecessors kept at arm's length.

      India has traditionally trodden a careful diplomatic line in the region, analysts say, wary of upsetting Arab states and Iran - upon whom it relies for its vast imports of oil - and its large Muslim minority. It has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, even as it quietly pursued ties with Israel.

      But now Modi is lifting the curtain on a thriving military relationship. He will hold three days of talks with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, to advance sales and production of missiles, drones and radar systems under his signature "Make in India" drive, officials in Delhi and Tel Aviv said.

      The Indian leader will not travel to Ramallah, the seat of the Palestine Authority and a customary stop for visiting leaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.

      At home, the apparent shift in what has long been a bedrock of India's foreign policy risks sharpening criticism that the country's 180 million Muslims are increasingly being marginalized under Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which swept to power in 2014.

      "Narendra Modi's visit to Israel will only strengthen its occupation of Palestine," said Asaduddin Owaisi, a member of the Indian parliament from a regional group that promotes Muslim rights.

      BURGEONING RELATIONSHIP

      In previous decades, under the left-leaning Congress Party, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was a regular visitor to New Delhi, pictured hugging then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when the two were championing the Non-Alignment Movement.

      In May, Modi hosted Arafat's successor, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and offered help in health and information technology, but the trip was low-key.

      The scale of the ongoing collaboration with Israel dwarfs anything India is attempting with the Palestinians, officials say.

      "We have a wide ranging partnership with Israel that ranges from agriculture cooperation to homeland security," said Bala Bhaskar, head of the foreign ministry's West Asia division.

      He said India's ties with Israel and Palestine were important in their own right and neither should viewed through the prism of the other. But an Israeli diplomat said Modi's standalone trip to Tel Aviv was an important signal.

      The two sides are expected to announce strategic partnerships in areas including water, agriculture and space technology during Modi's visit.

      But it is the defence relationship that is most advanced - India is now Israel's biggest arms market, buying weapons at an average of $1 billion each year.

      Eli Alfassi, executive vice president of marketing at state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's biggest defence firm, said it was supplying India with drones, radar, communication systems and cybersecurity.

      MISSILES, FOOD SECURITY

      The centrepiece of the collaboration is the Barack 8 air defence system, built jointly by the two countries in a boost for Modi's campaign to develop a domestic defence industry.

      "We are adjusting to the 'Make in India' policy which says only local companies will win tenders, so we are setting up three joint projects in India with local companies," Alfassi said.

      IAI has signed a memorandum of understanding to build missiles with India's state-run Bharat Electronics Limited, launched a joint project with Dynamatic Technologies to make drones and is scouting for a partner for a joint venture for its subsidiary Elta, which specialises in electronic warfare and communication systems, he said.

      India is in the midst of a military modernisation programme worth more than $100 billion to help counter rivals Pakistan and China.

      Israel, the United States and Russia are India's top military suppliers, and Modi's government has said it will favour countries that are ready to share technology.

      Avi Mizrachi, executive vice president of business development for Israel and Southeast Asia at Elbit Systems, which supplies electro-optic systems and upgrades of helicopters and combat vehicles, said it would be bidding for a tender to supply drones in partnership with the Adani group.

      The two countries stress, though, that there is more to the relationship than arms deals.

      Modi will be discussing a plan for Israeli help in boosting India's food security, officials said.

      The plan is to expand 26 agriculture expertise centres that Israel has set up in 15 Indian states to help increase output of everything from vegetables to mangoes and pomegranates.

      Modi wants Indian companies involved in turning these small centres into commercial entities that would help tens of thousands of farmers to boost productivity.

      (Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Alex Richardson)


                India's Modi heads to Israel, lifting the curtain on close ties   

      By Sanjeev Miglani and Tova Cohen

      NEW DELHI/TEL AVIV, June 30 (Reuters) - Narendra Modi ismaking a first visit to Israel by an Indian prime minister nextweek, in a public embrace of a country that he has long admiredfor its military and technical expertise but which hispredecessors kept at arm's length.

      India has traditionally trodden a careful diplomatic line inthe region, analysts say, wary of upsetting Arab states and Iran- upon whom it relies for its vast imports of oil - and itslarge Muslim minority. It has been a vocal supporter of thePalestinian cause, even as it quietly pursued ties with Israel.

      But now Modi is lifting the curtain on a thriving militaryrelationship. He will hold three days of talks with his Israelicounterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, to advance sales and productionof missiles, drones and radar systems under his signature "Makein India" drive, officials in Delhi and Tel Aviv said.

      The Indian leader will not travel to Ramallah, the seat ofthe Palestine Authority and a customary stop for visitingleaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.

      At home, the apparent shift in what has long been a bedrockof India's foreign policy risks sharpening criticism that thecountry's 180 million Muslims are increasingly beingmarginalized under Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya JanataParty (BJP) government, which swept to power in 2014.

      "Narendra Modi's visit to Israel will only strengthen itsoccupation of Palestine," said Asaduddin Owaisi, a member ofIndia's federal parliament from a regional group that promotesMuslim rights.

      BURGEONING RELATIONSHIP

      In previous decades, under the left-leaning Congress Party,former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was a regular visitor toNew Delhi, pictured hugging then Indian Prime Minister IndiraGandhi when the two were championing the Non-Alignment Movement.

      In May, Modi hosted Arafat's successor, PalestinianPresident Mahmoud Abbas, and offered help in health andinformation technology, but the trip was low-key.

      The scale of the ongoing collaboration with Israel dwarfsanything India is attempting with the Palestinians, officialssay.

      "We have a wide ranging partnership with Israel that rangesfrom agriculture cooperation to homeland security," said BalaBhaskar, head of the foreign ministry's West Asia division.

      He said India's ties with Israel and Palestine wereimportant in their own right and neither should viewed throughthe prism of the other. But an Israeli diplomat said Modi'sstandalone trip to Tel Aviv was an important signal.

      The two sides are expected to announce strategicpartnerships in areas including water, agriculture and spacetechnology during Modi's visit.

      But it is the defence relationship that is most advanced -India is now Israel's biggest arms market, buying weapons at anaverage of $1 billion each year.

      Eli Alfassi, executive vice president of marketing atstate-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country'sbiggest defence firm, said it was supplying India with drones,radar, communication systems and cybersecurity.

      MISSILES, FOOD SECURITY

      The centrepiece of the collaboration is the Barack 8 airdefence system, built jointly by the two countries in a boostfor Modi's campaign to develop a domestic defence industry.

      "We are adjusting to the 'Make in India' policy which saysonly local companies will win tenders, so we are setting upthree joint projects in India with local companies," Alfassisaid.

      IAI has signed a memorandum of understanding to buildmissiles with India's state-run Bharat Electronics Limited,launched a joint project with Dynamatic Technologies to makedrones and is scouting for a partner for a joint venture for itssubsidiary Elta, which specialises in electronic warfare andcommunication systems, he said.

      India is in the midst of a military modernisation programmeworth more than $100 billion to help counter rivals Pakistan andChina.

      Israel, the United States and Russia are India's topmilitary suppliers, and Modi's government has said it willfavour countries that are ready to share technology.

      Avi Mizrachi, executive vice president of businessdevelopment for Israel and Southeast Asia at Elbit Systems, which supplies electro-optic systems andupgrades of helicopters and combat vehicles, said it would bebidding for a tender to supply drones in partnership withIndia's Adani group.

      The two countries stress, though, that there is more to therelationship than arms deals.

      Modi will be discussing a plan for Israeli help in boostingIndia's food security, officials said.

      The plan is to expand 26 agriculture expertise centres thatIsrael has set up in 15 Indian states to help increase output ofeverything from vegetables to mangoes and pomegranates.

      Modi wants Indian companies involved in turning these smallcentres into commercial entities that would help tens ofthousands of farmers to boost productivity.(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing byAlex Richardson)


                Beware of the Sycophant Epidemic   
      Tweeter And The Monkey Men
      I. Background

      Regular readers know that discussions about cultural dementia, where cultures or nations lose their minds and go nut-bag crazy, are prevalent in the Dredd Blog system (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala - 2).

      Cultural dementia is a form of group mental illness we are not yet well adapted to treating, because we have yet to form an official competent group-culture psychoanalysis.

      In fact, as it turns out as a result, all too often it is groups that have been and are the source of social dementia itself.

      II. Some Quotes From Visionaries

      Nietzsche put his finger on this issue with this astute observation:
      Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
      (Friedrich Nietzsche). Voltaire saw this group insanity at work in one of the many forms of cultural illness:
      "It is forbidden to kill therefore all murderers are punished [by the group we call society] unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
      (Voltaire). Other observers have said practically the same thing with different words:
      "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."

      “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.”

      "The death of one man: that is a catastrophe. One hundred thousand deaths: that is a statistic!”

      "If you shoot one person you are a murderer. If you kill a couple persons you are a gangster. If you are a crazy statesman and send millions to their deaths you are a hero."
      (Quote Investigator). Check out the Quote Investigator link for similar renditions of that concept.

      Cultural cognition, sometimes called "group think, " has been described as a detectable, but difficult-to-treat, dynamic:
      The diagnosis of collective neuroses, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment which we assume to be normal. No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way. And with regard to any therapeutic application of our knowledge, what would be the use of the most acute analysis of social neuroses, since no one possesses power to compel the community to adopt the therapy? In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilized communities.
      (Social Dementia Causes Heated Misunderestimations - 3,  quoting "the father of psychoanalysis",  Freud). Well, as I wrote above, we are not there yet.

      III. The Sycophantic Trance Arises

      In the U.S.eh? a minority, in the form of a social group, elected a person whom they praise as a type of savior from bad government, and now even seem to accept the contradictory notion: "do something, even if it is wrong."

      The majority position in the nation, to the contrary, is "everyone wants and deserves better government than we currently are experiencing, and have been experiencing in recent decades, however, jumping from the frying pan into the fire is not a departure from the heat."

      There are several observers who have touched upon the dynamics involved:
      Authoritarianism is something authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders cook up between themselves. It happens when the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want -- which often is something undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal. In my day, authoritarian fascist and authoritarian communist dictatorships posed the biggest threats to democracies, and eventually lost to them in wars both hot and cold. But authoritarianism itself has not disappeared, and I'm going to present the case in this book that the greatest threat to American democracy today arises from a militant authoritarianism that has become a cancer upon the nation.
      (Authoritarianism: Past And Future Is Now). Another observer writes about how this dynamic looks before it has gone into "It happens when the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want" (ibid).

      That early phase is as follows:
      It’s no accident that our political beliefs are structured by our idealizations of the family. Our earliest experience with being governed is in our families. Our parents “govern” us: They protect us, tell us what we can and cannot do, make sure we have enough money and supplies, educate us, and have us do our part in running the house.

      So it is not at all surprising that many nations are metaphorically seen in terms of families: Mother Russia, Mother India, the Fatherland. In America, we have founding fathers, Daughters of the American Revolution, Uncle Sam, and we send our collective sons and daughters to war. In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the voice of the totalitarian state was called Big Brother.

      As George Lakoff discussed at length in his 1996 book, Moral Politics, this metaphorical understanding of the nation-as-family directly informs our political worldview. Directly, but not consciously. As with other aspects of framing, the use of this metaphor lies below the level of consciousness [like symbolic racism].
      (Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland?). At first the group is seen as a very desirable extension of the family experience, but then it tends to morph into ugliness.

      Our desires, our "don't worry be happy" desires, can and do disarm us to the point of creating a collective danger.

      This is the way of the sycophantic trance (Choose Your Trances Carefully, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

      IV. Conclusion

      During the discussion of a personal, misogynistic attack on Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe, former congressman Harold Ford, Jr. made a comment on the group dynamics that we need to be watching.

      His observation, which I considered to be spot on, was that we should watch what the public does in response to the president's degenerating civility.

      If we allow this to go unchecked, Professor Ford intimated, it does not bode well for us as a nation, as a group.

      If the public follows the lead of the sycophants now surrounding the president in the White House, we are in serious jeopardy.

      A song about the time "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" started a group ...




                Officials finalizing details of Trump's revived travel ban    
      Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security are finalizing criteria that visitors from six mostly Muslim must meet to avoid the Trump administration's revived travel ban.
                 Wednesdays on the Ranch for 3-11-09    
      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 3-11-09

      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 3-11-09 5:33
      Having successfully outrun the Department of Homeland Security, Joe Kou returns from his diplomatic mission to Guam. Gus, however, is growing weary of Joe's growing addiction to vlogging and looks to do something about it.
      Submitted by: Pepper Ranch
      Regular
      Keywords: The Ranch The Department Homeland security Joe Kou diplomatic mission We Did It Pepper Ranch Guam Guantanamo tarantula spider
      Views: 96


                 Wednesdays on the Ranch for 3-18-09    
      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 3-18-09

      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 3-18-09 3:14
      Gus vlogs about the cruel and inhumane torture that Joe Kou suffered last week at the hands of the Department of Homeland Security.
      Submitted by: Pepper Ranch
      Regular
      Keywords: The Ranch Joe Kou The Hands We Did It Pepper Ranch tub dhs
      Views: 63


                 Wednesdays on the Ranch for 4-01-09    
      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 4-01-09

      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 4-01-09 6:46
      Joe Kou vlogs about his recent troubles with the Department of Homeland Security and their attack spiders. Meanwhile, Gus moves forward with his plan to keep Joe off of the internet forever.
      Submitted by: Pepper Ranch
      Regular
      Keywords: The Ranch Joe Kou The Department Homeland security Off of the Internet We Did It Pepper Ranch tub dhs
      Views: 103


                 Wednesdays on the Ranch for 4-08-09    
      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 4-08-09

      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 4-08-09 6:45
      Joe Kou enters seclusion and embarks on 24/7 vlogging to try to prevent another attack from the Department of Homeland Security while Gus lays in wait to ambush his good friend.
      Submitted by: Pepper Ranch
      Regular
      Keywords: The Ranch Joe Kou The Department Homeland security We Did It Pepper Ranch tinfoil conspiracy cowboy
      Views: 77


                 Wednesdays on the Ranch for 5-05-09    
       Wednesdays on the Ranch for 5-05-09

      Wednesdays on the Ranch for 5-05-09 3:41
      Joe Kou is still locked away in the confines of his room, in fear of an attack by the Department of Homeland Security. His solitude is shattered, however, by a visitor from a far off place.
      Submitted by: Pepper Ranch
      Regular
      Keywords: The Ranch Joe Kou Locked Away In Fear The Department We Did It Pepper Ranch tinfoil alien chase danger excitement
      Views: 118


                Into The Fire   


      We lined up, all of us, shuffling around in our brightly colored racing flats a few feet from the white line. No one wanted to be the first to toe it.
      No one wanted to be the first one to jump into the fire.
      It was July 4, at 6:50 a.m., minutes before the Lenexa Freedom Run. I've run this race for the last three years. You have an option of doing a 10K or a 5K. I've avoided the 5K in the past. This would be the first time I planned to go for it.
      Though 5Ks should be a part of any runner's racing plan, I generally avoid them. If you do them right, running a 5K is akin to bathing in the flames of hell. 10Ks are less painful. I actually prefer half marathons. 
      This year, it would feel like hell for another reason as well. A heat wave had swallowed my home state of Colorado for much of June, torching what seemed like half of it, and decided to follow us across to my homeland of Kansas for my annual summer trip. As soon as we arrived on June 29, temperatures hit triple digits every day, and coupled with the humidity, made it downright dangerous to be outside for too long. 
      As I stepped outside Dad's porch at 5:45 a.m. on July 4 to make the drive to the start, I honestly wished the race was scheduled to go off at 6 a.m., which shows how much running has changed me but also shows the power of the heat. The sun was just beginning to peak over the horizon and would need at least an hour to gather enough muscle to start frying the landscape again. It was the only respite I'd get, and I knew it. Even then, the temperature was almost 80 degrees.
      In Colorado, even on our 100-degree days, it's cool enough in the morning to make our runs pleasant, or at least not miserable. But Kansas, like the rest of the country hampered by humidity, cooler morning temperatures are a luxury.
      As I finally toed the line, along with my fellow racers, lining up at slot marked for 6:30-pace runners (which would give me a PR), beads of sweat already started to pool on my forehead.
      I read in Runner's World earlier that week about an interesting study that suggests the heat really is in your head. Bikers who cycled on stationary bikes in 78 degrees outperformed bikers who were forced to work in 89 degrees in a controlled gym. But when scientists tricked the bikers through a faulty temperature gauge that made them believe it was 78, rather than 89, there was no drop off in performance.
      A 5K is painful, but I could probably pretend it wasn't as bad as it felt, especially for just 20 minutes.
      It wouldn't kill me. It wouldn't even injure me.
      It would just hurt.
      The gun went off. The crowd of runner moved me forward, almost pushing me into the flames.
      • • • 
      It's miserable when it's 100 degrees, humidity or no humidity, until you hit up a swimming pool. Then it's the most awesome temperature in the world. The water feels like a bath, and when you get out, your balls don't hide in your stomach. The pavement burns a bit (like fire), but that only makes the water sweeter.
      So we didn't go to the zoo, or a park with a bunch of rides, or even a lake in Kansas this year. We went swimming. Every day.
      When we visited Salina, which is not only where Kate's grandmother lives but where I worked for my first job, I was flabbergasted at the city's new pool. It's not really a pool. It's many pools. With five slides, including one called the "toilet bowl" that tosses you around a huge whirlpool that, well, kinda makes you feel like a large turd being flushed into the pipes. There was a high dive, a lazy river that led into a wave pool and a kiddie pool. 
      Oh, yeah, there was a place to swim too.
      I hate "back in my day" posts, but back in my day, we had a neighborhood pool, and it was really cool because it had a diving board AND a small slide. They also played music over some loudspeakers. Fancy. We were lucky.
      So take a peek inside the mind of a human being, or maybe just an American, as we left Salina's pool. Mom's neighborhood pool seemed weak by comparison. No diving board. No slide even. In fact, later that week at my Dad's, in one of the well-off neighborhood pools, I found myself feeling disappointed because that pool "only" had two monster slides and a smaller lazy river. 
      • • • 
      I kept peeking at my GPS, which I've told myself not to do during races. I now believe it's better to run by feel, by effort, rather than by pace because that way you aren't limiting yourself. There's no way I run 1:37 in the Vegas half marathon if I stared at my GPS because I would have held back.
      But I was at sea level and didn't want to start too fast. When my breathing was labored enough for a 5K and I saw my pace was 6:30 after a half mile, I was disappointed and reassured at the same time.
      I was disappointed because I thought I had a shot at a 19-minute 5K. My pace would need to be around 6:15-6:20 for that. But a slight headwind, which felt great even if it slowed me down, just wasn't going to allow that. This was not going to be the perfect day I'd need. I probably should have known that. It WAS 80 degrees at the start.
      But I was also reassured because my 5K PR is 20:40, and that's a 6:40 pace. Keep it here, I told myself as I started to pass groups of runners, and you'll be really happy with your race.
      A half-mile later, I was already waist-deep in the fire, and I reminded myself to relax.
      I kept shaking my hands out, telling myself not to clinch them. I smiled. I tried to steal deeper breaths every fifth breath so it didn't feel like I was gasping for air all the time. The more I relaxed against the pain, the more I could stave off the panic and the vice that always seems to creep over my chest, as if I'm wearing a corset. 
      I'm in another place during the most intense races. The music I carefully selected to help me run faster — in this case, fast, hard heavy metal — floated through my ears, as if I could hear it in an elevator (which would be funny actually). I didn't really see my other runners, just felt them, through elbows or their ragged breath. I tried to hitch a ride with them, but I usually wound up passing them or, near the end, they found another gear that I didn't have.
      About a half-mile to the end was the hardest, as it always is because it's supposed to be. But I had to claw up two steep hills, and the sun had started its dirty work, roasting the pavement even at 7:15. My legs had no bounce. Hold on, I told myself. Just hold on. Somewhere from space, "Spiral" from Nightrage told me to run faster as I saw the finish. 
      The finish line is always more relief than jubilation, but that's especially true in a 5K. And as I crossed it, my face felt like boiling water, and I tried not to collapse, walking in stumbles away from the line so other runners could get through. Easing yourself from the fire is almost as hard as throwing yourself into it, and I walked around in small shuffles, desperately trying to calm my breathing and my scorched throat. I grabbed a bottle of water, though I had no plans to drink it yet, and wiped puddles of sweat from my eyes.
      I thought my time was 20:40, which matched my PR, so I was somewhat pleased as I waited in line for a computerized printout of my results and where I'd placed. I talked with a guy who passed me at the very end who I'd pegged at 50. Turns out he was 65. Sigh. Then I got my printout and looked at my time.
      20:29. I had a new PR. Turns out the clock was the gun, not my chip time. Sweet. I smiled a bit but only a bit. I had survived the fire. This time, I even seemed to welcome it.
      • • •
      The rain fell hard a few days later, like we were stuck under a waterfall, from outside our Goodland, KS hotel window at 3:30 a.m. Temperatures had dipped into the 70s, bringing storms and cool air.
      I ran a couple days later after the race on a trail that winds through woods and across fields and wetlands. It's one of my favorite things to do in Kansas, and yet it was 91 degrees by the time I finished, and I felt at the end like a flank steak. 
      We drove home in clouds. The air conditioning isn't even on in our house tonight.
      It feels like such a relief. 
      I need a break from the fire. It's the only way to get strong enough to go back in one day.



                No Evidence Undocumented Commit More Crimes   

      Fact Check: No Evidence Undocumented Immigrants Commit More Crimes
      http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/fact-check-no-evidence-undocumented-immigrants-commit-more-crimes-n777856

      The Trump administration on Wednesday was all about crime committed by undocumented immigrants.

      President Donald Trump met at the White House with the victims of crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security championed increased arrests, and the Department of Justice called for the passage of a law that would up the penalties for undocumented immigrants who attempt to reenter the country.

      The day’s events meshed well with Trump’s campaign rhetoric that illegal immigration was a public safety issue, with criminals “roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens,” as he put it in one campaign speech.

      There’s one catch: There’s no evidence that undocumented immigrants commit more crime.

      Trump has often drawn a connection between illegal immigration and violent crime. A handout provided by the White House on Wednesday quoted candidate Trump: “Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws.”

      Politifact noted last year that there’s no national database of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants or study that tracked the crimes they have committed. “The challenge in finding concrete numbers is due to a shortfall of data,” Politifact said.

      The number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. tripled between the 1990s and 2013, while violent crime declined 48% and property crime fell 41% over that period.

      What’s more, a slew of studies have found that immigrants as a whole — both legal and undocumented — commit less crime than native-born Americans.

      One study in Criminology found that “violent crime rates tended to decrease as metropolitan areas experienced gains in their concentration of immigrants.” A 2007 report by a pro-immigrant nonprofit, American Immigration Council, concluded that “for every ethnic group without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are the least educated.”

      On the campaign trail, Trump, as quoted in the White House fact sheet, also vowed to “end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths.”

      Yet sanctuary cities appear to be safer than non-sanctuary cities, according to an University of California analysis of federal data published by a liberal think tank, and another analysis by political scientists found those cities do not see a surge in crime.

      “Did I say aliens commit more crimes than U.S. citizens? I didn’t say that,” Thomas Homan, acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told reporters on Wednesday. “The purpose is to dispel notion if you enter illegally, you should be comfortable.”

      In a handouts given to reporters Wednesday, the White House offered a slew of statistics about enforcement. Many were accurate; a handful were false or misleading.

      One fact sheet boasted that ICE had removed 2,798 “criminal gang members” in fiscal year 2017 — a period that includes nearly four months of President Barack Obama’s term — while a second hand out touted 1,378 arrests from an anti-gang operation during this calendar year (20 days of which where under Obama’s leadership.)

      What’s more, experts told NBC News that the kind of immigration enforcement the Trump administration championed Wednesday is likely to drive overall crime numbers up, as communities shut out authorities, declining to report crime or cooperate with police for fear of being deported.


      Ron

       


                Magi: The Kingdom of Magic Complete Season 2   
      In order to realise their objectives, the adventurers each embark on a new journey. Aladdin sets his sights on the land of Magnoshutatt to study magic while Alibaba travels to the Leam Empire to challenge the gladiators of the colosseum. Morgiana sets sail towards her homeland of Katarg, and Hakuryu returns to the Kou Empire...

      Release date: 19 Jul, 2017

      Country of origin: Japan
      Languages: English, Japanese
      Subtitles: English subtitles
      Runtime: 625.0 mins
      Format: DVD, Region 4

      Catalogue: MMA6163
                Taken TV Series Sets Homeland Producer as Showrunner   
      Liam Neeson in 'Taken 3'
      The new Taken TV series in development at NBC has set Homeland executive producer Alexander Cary as showrunner.
                Speak Now or Your Characters Never Will   
      Guest post by Josh Rutherford
      Podium Models by thekirbster licensed by CC BY 2.5

      Today I've invited a guest post by Josh Rutherford. I met Josh at a recent multi-author event at Mysterious Galaxy. At this event, each of us (22 authors!) had the opportunity to get up and say a few words. And Josh knew what he was doing! A Toastmasters Club veteran, Josh uses public speaking--and listening to public speaking--as a route to better dialog in his fiction. The topic intrigued me enough to smuggle another fantasy author into Murder Lab. Josh is the author of Sons of Chenia, an epic fantasy rooted in believable dialog influenced by screenplay-writing. Read Josh's post for some sound advice about how and why public speaking can improve the voices of your characters.

      Many of us are familiar with the Seinfeld episode where the title character is giving his bit about public speaking. It involves a recycled and universally-held truth that public speaking is the number one fear amongst people. The second? Death. As Seinfeld goes on to say, “This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

      So imagine if someone asked you to speak before an audience? 

      Think about how you would feel going up to the front of a room before a group of strangers. Consider the gazes set upon you as you try to contemplate what you would say or how you would say it. Would your nerves be tested? Would you hesitate? Say “Ummm,” ten times? Perhaps twenty? If you’re like most people reading this post, the prospect of presenting yourself in such a manner doesn’t appeal. 

      So if you have trouble speaking in your own voice, how can you give voice to your characters? 
      That is one of the ironies of being a writer. Many of us are introverted. We fit the stereotype of soft-spoken, sensitive souls. Even those of us who are sociable prefer the solitude of a quiet room and laptop to a more active environment. 

      Yet such tendencies do not lend us many channels for speaking development. The fact is that public speaking mirrors writing in several ways, the most important being that practice leads to improvement. As you speak more, you become better at it. You stutter or pause less. Your nervousness fades. You are able to compose your thoughts before a group with ease. After a while, you even develop your “voice.”

      The benefits of public speaking first piqued my interest two and a half years ago. Back then, I was stuck in a dead end job with no prospect for advancement. My options for alternative careers were bleak. Needing a change, I joined a local Toastmasters club. My goals were straightforward:

      1) Improve my public speaking skills
      2) Lessen my anxiety about presenting before an audience
      3) Network with other members 

      As my months with the Toastmasters club went on and I gave my speeches, I did notice positive changes. I felt more confidant before an audience. I spoke better. My presentations began to incorporate more well-timed pauses, hand gestures and rhythms in vocal variety. All these improvements were common and expected. 

      But then something else happened . . . 

      Toastmasters clubs utilize evaluations in their meetings, which amounts to one member analyzing another’s particular speech and providing suggestions for improvement. By the time I reached my one-year anniversary, I was a seasoned enough member to be called upon for my feedback. Nearly every week, I was assigned a speaker to evaluate. My first few evaluations of prepared speeches were awkward to say the least. I gave rather basic praise to the speakers for coming up and presenting before an audience, followed by some simple suggestions. 

      But as the months passed, my powers of analysis morphed. My Spidey-senses started tingling . . . 
      Nuances became more apparent. Inflections in tone and pitch stood out to me more. I started to see the speakers not only by what they said, but how – and why – they said the things they did. 
      Around this time that I was becoming a better speaker, I was in the midst of writing my first novel, Sons of Chenia. Although a fictional work within the epic fantasy genre, I wanted the characters in my book to be relatable to readers. To that end, I focused on dialogue. 

      My concerns with writing dialogue began in the early stages of my career, when I aspired to be a screenwriter. Anyone who has even glanced at a script can tell you that dialogue plays a central role. While books and seminars abound on how to write a screenplay, the general consensus is that characters must speak differently from each other, to avoid the risk of any sounding part of one voice (i.e. the writer’s). 

      Fair enough. As screenwriters – and the consultants and instructors who teach them – have more experience on dialogue, I started my novel with such advice in mind. My characters’ dialogue, along with the characters themselves, were each different and identifiable. They were distinct. 

      Not so at Toastmasters. Although the other members and I came from various backgrounds and professions – affluent/poor, postgrads/high school dropouts, white/black/Asian/Hispanic – there was not that much difference in the way we spoke. Rather, the contrasts between us were subtle. Those who brought friends lacked even that variation, as they talked much like the visitors they brought, even if their personalities were distinct. 

      As my novel writing progressed, it also began to reflect that truth, especially in the dialogue. Sons of Chenia centers around five refugees turned close friends, so I concluded that the way they speak should not be too diverse. The end product was a novel in which their personalities are reflected not by opposing speechcraft, but rather the small disparities in talk we take for granted. I put aside the cookie cutter advice I received from screenplay seminars and classes. I trusted my own instincts and wrote dialogue with what I felt reflected a more natural, authentic way of speaking. As I neared completion of Sons of Chenia, some of the lessons in dialogue I learned included:
      Characters can sound the same – it’s OK. Really. You and I usually spend time with people like us. As does more than 99% of the world. And get this – gasp! – we even sound like each other.
      Similarity in voices does not have to mean one singular viewpoint – the argument from writing instructors to differ your characters’ dialogue comes from the idea that if we were all to speak the same, then we’d all think the same. It goes without saying that this isn’t true, nonetheless, I find myself stressing this point.
      Authentic dialogue is not written as it sounds – while this post has been all about encouraging “real” speech, reading it is a different story. Unless you’re trying to be experimental (or cutesy), you do not need to write out “Umm,” “Ah,” “So,” “You Know,” or any other of the dozens of speech fillers we use in daily life. Many of those are now absent from my speaking, as they should be from my writing as well. The result is not a less authentic me, just a better sounding yet still relatable one.
      Dialogue – like characters – does not have to be consistent – have you ever had a friend who just sounded a little off one day? Or maybe you haven’t seen an acquaintance in a while, so that when you meet, she tells you, “You’ve changed . . .” or “You sound different.” That’s OK too. Dialogue and voices, like characters, do not have a perfect arc. Writing professors will beat you over the head with the idea of a character arc, so that you feel the need for their dialogue to reflect such. Fight it, especially if it doesn’t fit your story. Few of us develop in a perfect arc, so why should our characters? For all the speeches I’ve given, even now there are times when I make a mistake and backslide to sound like a novice. Or sometime, I’ll leap ahead in my speaking to sound like a political candidate. Your characters can make those slides and leaps too, especially if the narrative and exposition is supportive to that effect.
      As for my speaking, the changes I see in myself now are not extreme. I have not become a Billy Graham or Ted Kennedy or Donald Trump (thank goodness). But I have grown more aware, so my presentation reflects purpose and thought, not rambling and nervousness. 

      Which brings me to my final point: how much are you aware of speech?

      Do you struggle with speaking yourself? Do your characters talk with singularity? Or even worse, is there too much difference between the voices of your characters, so that your dialogue comes off as a ripoff of some Hollywood blockbuster? 

      Whatever you strengths or weaknesses in dialogue, I hold the firm belief that public speaking can only better you as a writer. While the bulk of my post has focused on Toastmasters, many other organizations exist to better your presentation skills, such as the National Speakers Association, Speakers League and various college courses, to name a few. Many others exist through social media groups like LinkedIn or Meetup.com. Each has their pros and cons, but all offer paths to improvement. So try them. Maybe you’ll find your characters’ voices and dialogue improve significantly. Or only slightly. However much your writing changes, at least when you see that Seinfeld bit next time, you will be able to afford to laugh with a wink and smile while telling yourself, “Yeah, I get it. I used to be that way.”

      Joshua Rutherford has wanted to be a writer all his life. Through college and the more than dozen jobs that he has had, his passion for the written word has never ceased. After crafting several feature film screenplays and television pilots that were never produced, Joshua tried his hand at writing a novel. Sons of Chenia is the product of that effort. When Joshua is not writing - which isn’t often - he is spending quality time with his wife, Elisa. The two currently reside in San Diego, CA. 

      At one time, Chenia was a great country. With various clans spread from north to south, a sacred brotherhood of riders known as the Shepherds roamed the land, protecting their people in the name of their god Ada. But an unspoken horror in the Shepherd city of Sarbin fifteen years earlier has left the Chenians defenseless. As refugees, many have left their homeland while those who have stayed battle enemies both near and far.
      Caught between the relative safety of a foreign nation and the atrocities back home is Nicolai, a young man whose own past remains a secret to him. A letter from a distant patriarch in Chenia thrusts him into an odyssey with five of his closest friends, refugees bound by hardship. Through ocean voyages, mountain treks and seedy cityscapes these men return home, only to find it on the verge of invasion from the world’s mightiest empire, Czaria. In the face of a superior force, Nicolai’s memory churns. His once hidden past comes to light, offering a way to salvation for Nicolai and his people yet also threatening to destroy him. With no other option, Nicolai faces all his enemies, both internal and real, in one epic battle to decide the fate of his people. And himself.

      Purchase Sons of Chenia in print 

      Visit Josh Rutherford:


                THE NAGA HAG   

      A naga hag (© Andy Paciorek)

      Ancient India – a land of gods, demons, and cobras, and sometimes all three combined within a single dread form: the naga, or human serpent. Some of these ophidian deities were benevolent to humanity, such as the great seven-headed naga Muchilinda, whose magnificent heptarchy of expanded hoods shielded the sleeping Lord Buddha from the blazing mid-day sun. Others, especially the female naga hags or nagini, could be far less benign...

      It had started as a playful game of hide and seek between the youth and his lover, taking turns to stay concealed for a while behind a tree or a bush at the edge of the jungle, before suddenly leaping forth to startle the other, then laughing, embracing, and kissing. But now the youth was becoming concerned. He had been searching for his lover, calling out her name, for what seemed like an eternity, finally entering into the jungle itself, as the sun gradually dimmed and diminished, its noontide incandescence replaced by the shimmering haze of early evening.

      And then, as if from nowhere, his lover had risen up from the tall grass just ahead, her slim, pale form no longer clothed, and almost sinuous amid the half-light of the jungle’s shade. He called to her, but in answer his lover merely extended her arms to him, as her dark hair cascaded over her shoulders in ripples of obsidian. Her limbs remained hidden amid the grass, but her waist and torso swayed slowly, almost hypnotically, willing him to draw nearer, ever closer, to her waiting arms.

      The youth smiled, his earlier fear at her absence now totally dissipated as he moved forward. He had only known her for a short while, yet he had fallen passionately, uncontrollably in love with her almost from the first moment of their meeting. And now, at last, it seemed that his love would be returned.

      He stood before her, trembling slightly in anticipation as the cool evening breeze ruffled her dark hair until it seemed almost alive, flickering and entwining. The grass at her waist stirred - and as he looked down, the youth was horrified to see what appeared to be a huge serpent writhing where his lover’s feet must surely be standing.

      But even as he opened his mouth to cry out in fear, the cry shrivelled and died in his throat. The breeze had become much stronger, blowing aside the grass, bowing it down in all directions, and the youth’s eyes stared, transfixed, unbelieving, at the huge serpent – which, as he now could see only too plainly, was not a serpent at all, but the limbless, scaly-skinned lower torso of his lover. She was not human – or, at least, not entirely so. She was a naga hag!

      Even as he forced himself to look back up at her face, dragging his eyes away from the thrashing, serpentine abomination that was an intrinsic part of her body, he knew that it was too late. He gazed into her cold, amber, reptilian eyes, noticing for the first time that they were lidless, and then, with detached, almost preternatural calmness – or perhaps resigned acquiescence – observed how her slender canine teeth had enlarged into venom-dripping fangs.

      He closed his eyes once more, for the last time, and so was spared the ultimate horror of seeing his lover’s face transform into that of a human cobra, its hair flailing outward and coalescing into a dark expanded hood, as it leaned forward to sink its fangs into his throat. Once sustained, the naga hag drew back again, and the youth’s limp brittle shell, which had once known life but only an empty promise of love, dropped soundlessly to the ground, drained and dead, like the last rays of the setting sun that were sinking beneath the sable canopy of the jungle.


      This ShukerNature blog article is exclusively excerpted from Creatures of Shadow and Night – a book-in-progress in which I am retelling the folklore and legends of a wide range of sinister and decidedly dark supernatural entities of the night, most of which are relatively or entirely unknown outside their respective homelands. Moreover, each of my verbal portrayals is accompanied visually by a spectacular full-colour illustration specially prepared by highly-acclaimed graphics artist Andy Paciorek.

      Naga hag or nagini figurine (© Dr Karl Shuker)






                   
      I Am a Fucking Plagiarist by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
      February 26th, 2015 RESET - +
      Art is theft.

      — Pablo Picasso


      BEFORE I HAD anything to say, I had the desire to say something.

      No, let me revise that. I had the desire to be heard.

      A family legend is that at the age of three I leaped on stage during my brother’s Christmas pageant at his elementary school and launched into an extemporaneous monologue in which I apparently demanded that the audience answer for being in “my mother’s house.” It was my very own toddlerized version of that Dean Martin bit where he steps up to the mic, starts at the sight of the audience, and asks, “How’d you all get in here?”

      My God. Even at three I was a plagiarist.



      Plagiarism is basic to all culture.— Pete Seeger


      Plagiarist. The word is a snake. Writers loathe its greasy venom. All our worst nightmares begin with the accusation of plagiarism. Why? Because it impugns the myth that we are “original” and therefore “special” and “different.” But, even worse, “plagiarist” lives next -door to the accusation we most suspect to be truth: “fraud.”

      To further torture the metaphor, “fraud” is a crack house — an urban blight easily cast out because it exists at an extreme so far from most people’s experience. You can always say: “That’s not me, I’m not an addict and a criminal,” and, as long as your shoes, clothes, and teeth are passable, have some benefit of the doubt.

      “Plagiarist,” however, is the lawyer’s mansion with the obsessive-compulsively manicured lawn, mirrored hardwood floors, and massive library. “Plagiarist” is a rich and burnished space of unlimited resources, where a methodical investigator — a latter-day George Smiley — has made his fortune exposing everyone else. It’s only a matter of time before he turns his unblinking sight on you.

      And the insidiously magnificent thing about the word “plagiarist” — as opposed to, say, “plagiarizer” — is the sinister double implication of mastery and serial offense. There’s something about that -ist at the end. It tops the injury of the accusation off with the insult of “and these are just the ones we’ve caught … but we’re on to you now.”

      To this day I suspect, in the darkest corners of my guilty soul, that the cottage industry of quotes from famous writers and intellectuals endorsing some form of theft as the only way to evolve the culture is little else than a great, collective, preemptive strike. I’m reminded of the greatest, and most frequently ignored, truth in the PR business: “Go ugly early.”

      “Go ugly early” basically means “Own it before they catch you.”

      For example: had Bill Clinton admitted to his infidelities before the media caught on — the strategy goes — the scandal would have been short-circuited by blunt and factual admission. Tawdry speculation dies when perpetrators shine a harsh, specular light on their unpleasant truths and take responsibility.

      There’s “plagiarists” and there’s “fucking plagiarists.” The former plagiarize by accident — or at least claim to with plausible deniability — they forgot they heard or read something somewhere and mistook the idea for their own, or skipped a footnote, or maybe they just had the same idea as someone else and are the unwitting victims of fate, and that’s their story, and they are sticking to it. The latter did it on purpose, they know damned well they did it, and they’ll deploy all the same arguments as the former to make sure you never know it.

      Of course, not everyone gets away with it.

      For the fucking plagiarist, the “early” in “Go ugly early” means “any time before someone else busts you.” Hence, I believe, all the quotes. The more flowery your defense of your own plagiarism before the truth comes out, the better. The more flowery your defense after, the more you come off looking like a fucking douche.

      It’s all in the timing, you see.



      Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The “newness” in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components.

      — Carl Jung



      Twelve years after the “Dean Martin incident,” I was a sophomore in high school. Bringing Great Honor to my people (a line I just stole from Mark Leyner’s bio page in his novel My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist), I was also co-founder and president of “Lunchbox Theater.” Tired of not being cast in our high school drama team productions by a faculty coach who hated the smug sight of me, I worked with another student on the idea of a side project for the school’s drama team.

      (Her name was Stacie Ressler, and to this day she’d probably tell you I never gave her enough credit for our joint venture.)

      The idea? We would write and perform short plays during the lunch recess, thus giving students the ability to, well … be heard.

      Taking the sum of our ideas home, I quickly typed a proposal on my mother’s Royal typewriter, waved it in front of the drama coach’s face, and — based on her most cursory and dismissive wave-off of tentative approval — scheduled a meeting with the school principal to get permission to launch the project.

      The meeting with the principal went like gangbusters. By the time our drama coach — a gloriously overworked sexagenarian with a vindictive streak mitigated by her rapidly eroding memory — realized what was going on, our first play, written by yours truly, was in production and the posters announcing the premiere were up in the school hallways.

      Score one for the rebels.

      This first play was called “Flicks” — and fitting for someone too young to have anything to say — it was about a movie mogul whose work was constantly interrupted by assorted caricatures of “industry types” inasmuch as I understood them. It was essentially a 10-minute vignette of even shorter vignettes taken from my impression of how Hollywood “worked” based on my obsessive viewing of the then-nascent Entertainment Tonight.

      To everyone’s surprise but mine (my attempts at publicity included physically pulling people from the school hallway into the auditorium), “Flicks” attracted something of an audience. The smattering of applause we received was ultimate confirmation that my end run around our tyrannical drama coach had been a righteous move. It was also my first taste of that most addicting of sensations — the dragon everyone who puts pen to paper is chasing even if they want you to believe otherwise.

      I had been heard.

      I was also immediately overtaken by a sense of abject dread. Later in life, as a working television writer, I would come to understand that tensing of the chest as pretty much the normal state of my screenwriting brethren. This was our first show. We had committed to doing one of these plays every other week.

      What were we going to do for an encore?



      Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.

      — Jim Jarmusch



      At the end of my junior year, I stepped down from the Lunchbox troupe’s leadership and settled into an emeritus role: producing and directing as many short plays as I could write. I could no longer pretend to be an outcast malcontent. I had become a generally popular member of the student body, the co-creator of a popular theater program, and pulling double duty as features editor of the school paper.

      Even better, our new drama coach turned out to be an extraordinarily supportive mentor with a remarkable way of simultaneously encouraging me, giving me enough rope to hang myself, and calling me out on my general stupidity and arrogance.

      I even went on a few dates and acquired written proof that at least one girl at the school found me “very handsome.”

      By the time Huron High School released me, Lunchbox Theater had become an institution that would go on for almost a decade and a half after my graduation, and the yearly “Lunchbox Theater Festival” — which I had inaugurated after our second year — had become something of a highlight of the school year.

      Moreover, other teachers started to pay attention to our little island of misfit toys … one of them was impressed enough by my leadership and the sheer volume of my output to nominate me for a scholarship from the National Council of Teachers of English. Another one of my teachers wrote a college letter of recommendation I aspire to live up to pretty much every day.

      The xeroxed 8.5-by-11” posters of my accomplishments hung proudly on my childhood bedroom wall alongside posters for Lucas and Spielberg films. The titles of my plays were as silly as adolescence: “Flicks,” “Suburban Life,” “Table Talk,” “The Incredible Frampster,” “King Rex,” “Son of Rex,” “The Date,” “The Incredible Adventures of the Intrepid Teddy Potsdorf,” “Son of the Incredible Adventures of the Intrepid Teddy Potsdorf.”

      Out of that collection, point your attention to title number two: “Table Talk.”

      That’s my original sin. The act of plagiarism that defines my self-concept to this day. It is the smoking gun whose discovery I have spent three decades fearing.



      I don’t think that you saw me do those jokes and said, “I’m going to tell those jokes, too.” I don’t think there’s a world where you’re that stupid. Or that bad a guy. […] I do think, though, that you’re like […] a rocket […] and your engines are sucking stuff up. Stuff is getting sucked up in your engines, like birds and bugs and some of my jokes. I think you saw me do them. I know you saw me do them, and I think they just went in your brain, and I don’t think you meant to do it, but I don’t think you stopped yourself either.

      — “Louie” to “Dane Cook” fictionally addressing real-world accusations of plagiarism of Louis CK’s material by Cook. From the episode “Oh Louie/Tickets” of Louie



      These are the facts:

      On May 15 of 1982, the third-to-last sketch of Saturday Night Live was a two-hander entitled “Table Talk.”

      The premise: cast member Tony Rosato played a rough-around-the-edges vulgarian food critic using a first-person, break-the-fourth-wall monologue to teach the audience how to defraud good restaurants of their wine. A less-than-competent waiter served as his foil. The sketch ended with Rosato telling the audience to tune in next week when he would teach them how to “stuff an entire salad bar into a doggie bag.”

      Sometime in 1986, I wrote a short play about a stuck-up, manners-obsessed restaurant critic using a first-person, break-the-fourth-wall monologue to teach the audience the make-up of a perfect meal and the way a proper restaurant ought to go about serving it. The critic’s monologue was continually interrupted by such digressions as a noisy family with children, a tacky lounge singer on a date with a cheesy divorcée, and a Cuban hijacker with multiple personality disorder bent on redirecting the restaurant to Havana. An incompetent waiter and grotesquely stereotypical French maître d’ — who was more than a little derivative of John Cleese in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life — served as his foils.

      “Table Talk” was performed three times by Lunchbox Theater: it premiered during a lunchtime recess in the fall semester and was subsequently revived as a curtain-raiser for the drama team’s spring production, and for the year-end festival. During my freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University, I convinced the extracurricular drama club to perform the play in one of the school’s restaurants.

      “Table Talk” had its swan song in 1992 when the Flaming Gorilla Company — a troupe I formed with my friends to perform new work during the summers between college semesters — decided to go out with a bang by making our last-ever production a charity event/nostalgia fest for our high school theater company: “The Original Lunchbox Theater Festival.”

      By the time this final production came around, “Table Talk” had metastasized to include the scene-stealing addition of an explosively flatulent restaurant patron.



      Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.

      — T. S. Eliot



      I have a great memory — maybe not photographic, but definitely classical realist. I can’t tell you with a straight face that I didn’t remember I hadn’t seen the SNL sketch when I sat down to write my “Table Talk” on that Royal typewriter at two in the morning on a dateless Friday night. That would be a lie.

      Yes. I knew it. It’s why I went out of my way to write something radically different. I even considered changing the title to “Dinner Mints” because I realized in the forefront of my mind that, while I found the alliterative title positively beguiling, it would — quite rightfully — raise the dreaded specter of plagiarism.

      To this day, I wish I had. I also wonder if I would be a different person for it.

      The one thing I can’t figure out no matter how hard I rack my brain is whether I was a dumb kid who just sort of figured “who the hell has ever heard of this Saturday Night Live show anyway,” or whether I believed that I had changed so much of the structure and content of what I had seen that I convinced myself the title wasn’t going to matter …

      Or whether I perversely reasoned that I had earned the right to keep the title because I had made so many “improvements” on the concept.

      There are dark places in the mind that stubbornly resist the effort to excavate the irritating artifact whose removal will provide relief. Or maybe it’s just that there is no artifact and no relief is possible.

      Maybe I just wanted to be heard.

      I do know this: after the play went up for the first time, a girl on whom I harbored a massive crush asked me if I had ever seen a similarly themed sketch on Saturday Night Live a few years before. I denied all knowledge.

      Before that, when my friends would call me out on quoting Monty Python or SCTV too liberally — which, by the way, was invariably — or whether I had invented my superhero “Galactic Cow” in the sixth grade not just out of a bovine obsession born of multiple childhood trips to my great uncle Vicente’s dairy farm, but also a misguided admiration of the Ted Knight sitcom Too Close for Comfort, I would generally sheepishly cop to it and go on my way without much moral injury. But this was somehow different. Nixonian levels of denial were the only way to go.

      Frankly, I wish I had admitted to it and either retitled or withdrawn the play altogether, because I now believe it was at that moment — and not when I conceived of the possibility of making a thing taking themes from a sketch I had seen on a show one time — that I truly shamed myself.

      I was a plagiarist already — but that’s the moment I became a fucking plagiarist.



      All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overheard. What else?

      — William S. Burroughs



      In the mid-aughts, then–Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan received what was widely reported as a half-million-dollar-plus contract for a novel she wrote in high school — How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life — and a projected sequel. The real-life story was sensational headline-bait: a high-achieving young woman of color writing an exceptional book about her coming-of-age experiences and getting richly rewarded for her hard work.

      High-profile agents at William Morris and a movie deal followed.

      Until the entire shitbox came crashing down when it was revealed that many passages of Viswanathan’s book bore a striking resemblance to the work of well-established and respected YA novelist Megan McCafferty.

      Several excruciating months of accusations, denials, and outright class warfare followed. The color of her skin aside, Viswanathan’s “superhero origin story” was chock-full of signifiers of wealth and privilege: her parents, both physicians, had spent thousands to hire an “admissions coach” to help her get into Harvard, and it was this person who first recognized her literary genius. Cowed resignation followed, Viswanathan was duly, and — my waggish tone notwithstanding — rightfully, shamed.

      Her book was pulled from the shelves and pulped.

      By the time the dust settled and all the online and mainstream media outlets had their way with the carcass, Viswanathan had been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt to have not only lifted passages from McCafferty’s novels Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, but also from Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, Tanuja Desai Hidier’s Born Confused, Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret?, and even Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories. The Collective Detective — that legion of crime-busting journalists professional and amateur, armed with Google, PDFs, searchable ebook editions of the Western canon — had judged her not just a plagiarist, but a fucking plagiarist.

      In her own defense, Viswanathan claimed that, yes, she had read those books, but that as she wrote her novel, she truly believed that she was writing her own voice and experience. Further along the line, she also explained that — because she does in fact have a photographic memory — it was quite possible that, in the rush of creation, her prodigious mental capacity did too good a job of transposing her experience of reading into those places where the words corresponded to her experience of life.

      While calling “bullshit” may seem to be the only reasonable response to Viswanathan’s protestation — followed by a snide comment about how, even in contrition, Viswanathan just couldn’t stop herself from bragging about her prodigious gifts — I must admit I don’t find it entirely implausible.

      When I was in the ninth grade, a substitute music teacher suggested to our choir that the way to “get good” at anything creative was to mimic the work of the masters. He even gave the example of how, when he was our age and learning his craft, he played his clarinet along to Benny Goodman records — matching Goodman note for note — until he achieved proficiency.

      Now, I’d love to sell you on the notion that my “misunderstanding” of this kind man’s generous advice is what led to my own crimes — or that it in some way exonerates Viswanathan — but that would be unfair to him, and would let everyone off the hook way too easily. No, I need his words to make another point entirely that does not exonerate me in any way, but rather to ask a question …

      How does a zygotic writer “play along to Benny Goodman?”

      Around the same time as the Viswanathan scandal, another writer — Cassandra Clare — emerged from a shit storm of often scathing online criticism to publish her first novel, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Clare’s previous incarnation had been as a popular writer of Harry Potter fan fiction. Like much other fanfic, her work was chock-full of “meta” in the form of lines of dialogue and plot points referencing other fantasy properties.

      In Clare’s case, the Collective Detective appeared to be convinced that her fan fiction lifted the form and structure of an entire chapter from another fantasy novel for her own uses as well. Unlike Viswanathan, Clare answered her critics early and often — claiming that the echoes of the work of others in hers were an act of homage on her part. To the many who vociferously continue to make the detracting case online, Clare’s fanfic committed acts of straight-up plagiarism. To her, and her defenders, it simply did what is an essential component of fanfic: to conflate, aggregate, and flatter its influences through quotation.

      Clare had the last laugh on her online critics. Her book series — which is unrelated to her Harry Potter fan fiction other than in being a fantasy portrayal of young people grappling with their entrance into a “hero’s journey” paradigm of magic and questing — has become a publishing phenomenon. Multiple sequels, prequels and equals — as well as a movie — followed. A TV series is currently in the works.

      Viswanathan went on to law school, where she excelled academically, landed an enviable summer associate position, and presumably continues to flourish. A tragic footnote to her journey is that when her parents perished in an airplane crash in 2011, the story gained some news-cycle traction because of her notoriety.

      Do a Google search and imagine yourself in the shoes of someone whose mother’s and father’s sudden and horrible passing at a young age (both were early fifties) was widely reported as the death of the parents of Harvard plagiarist Kaavya Viswanathan.



      People are always talking about originality, but what do they mean? As soon as we are born, the world begins to work upon us, and this goes on to the end. What can we call our own except energy, strength, and will? If I could give an account of all that I owe to great predecessors and contemporaries, there would be but a small balance in my favor.

      — Goethe



      I followed the Viswanathan plagiarism scandal with great interest, and great dread.

      As the Collective Detective pulled apart Viswanathan’s novel, finding all of her legitimate lifts from other authors, I couldn’t help but ask myself a question. What young person’s creative work — even one without such flagrant steals — could possibly hide its influences against that level of fine-toothed scrutiny?

      Between high school and college, I wrote or co-wrote some 26 pieces for the stage including one-acts, a full-length play, and the book for a musical. I wrote a weekly column for my college paper, and occasionally contributed movie reviews and an additional editorial column. I even sent back dispatches from a semester in London. I also performed two one-man monologue shows. How is that level of output not going to, in some way, reflect every idea that came over the transom?

      Hell, my entire adolescent psyche was an act of intellectual plagiarism made in rehearsal for something that would eventually become an adult life — and I dare you, dear reader, to claim that anything you did in your formative years was anything different.

      If you read my journals, you will find a boy who was certain that he would spend a lifetime upholding the undeniable and enduring value of post-structuralism by way of Eco and Baudrillard … followed by the undeniable and enduring value of Sartrean Existentialism … and then Camusian Existentialism, and then Brechtian Marxism vis-à-vis the theater audience as a metaphor for humanity at large, and then Liberation Theology, and then Ayn Randian Objectivism, and — by the end of my senior year of college — morose and resigned Orwellian truth-telling socialism.

      I was playing along with Benny Goodman, and the varied institutions responsible for my growth and development threw Benny Goodmans at me as fast as I could listen to their LPs.

      Unlike Viswanathan, I had the good fortune of not having anything I wrote mistaken for mature professional work and bought for a fortune. I had the lucky break of not being covered as a phenom by the world press. I had the privilege of not being the voice of my race, class, or generation in any way whatsoever. What I was given was space to experiment, and — most importantly — fail.

      Which I did. Often.

      I was also lucky for the tutelage of a legion of patient teachers and peers who sometimes by honest criticism and guidance, and others by open derision, forced me to find my own voice as opposed to borrowing those of others. Or at least borrowing without citing.

      That’s right. Somewhere in that unconscionably protracted period of gestation, even this slow learner caught on to that truth to which the entire world expects all true writers to be born — because it’s clearly a one-strike-and-you’re-out offense.

      “Thou shalt not be a fucking plagiarist.”

      It was for the best that it took so long for me to learn this lesson, and even longer to gain some proficiency and become a professional in my field. As any legitimate prodigy will tell you — accused beneficiary of “nepotism” Lena Dunham comes to mind — being anointed “child genius” and given a showy and much-publicized financial boon for preternaturally brilliant work is the world’s biggest “kick me” sign. Few are hated more than the young, gifted, and perceived as unfairly munificent.

      And woe betide the ones lacking the cunning to cover their sins adequately, because these days, the judges, juries, and executioners all have Google.

      As for Cassandra Clare, if she did, in fact commit acts beyond mere homage, they all took place in the gray-market world of fanfic, which is not for profit, not covered by mainstream media, and has only recently led a very selected few to mass-market glory (as evidenced by E. L. James, who pioneered her blockbusting Fifty Shades of Grey series as Twilight fanfic, and Clare herself).

      The difference between plagiarism and fucking plagiarism, it seems, has as much to do with context, intent, venue, and — some would say most importantly — the material gains, as it does the act itself.

      Though Clare suffered a great deal of madness, rage, and abuse from a large segment of the Harry Potter online fan community, she wasn’t exposed to the world at large by journalists, nor was she publicly stripped of her contracts, and labeled a plagiarist by The New York Times and others to the point where the indictment would go so far as become the lede in the story of her parents’ death. Clare did, apparently, change the spelling of her last name from “Claire” and deleted her fanfic from the web, presumably in order to avoid lingering associations between her “profic” career and the controversies of her previous incarnation.

      Clare was smart, or lucky — or both, or neither — to do all her throat-clearing, rehearsals for prolificity, and playing along with Benny Goodman in a world where the watchers are limited to fandom, the financial stakes don’t get you labeled the Mozart of the YA world and put a target on your back, and — at the end of the day — you are still playing in someone else’s sandbox and are not liable unless you turn a profit without permission. It wasn’t until she had earned her thick hide — and, presumably, the ability to mask her influences appropriately — that Clare moved into the mainstream world of Urban Fantasy. Whatever she did or didn’t do took place during a productive but still gestational moment in her writing career.

      Of course these are all excuses. Nothing exonerates me for “Table Talk.”

      I am still a fucking plagiarist.



      If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.

      — Wilson Mizner



      Plagiarism may be the only crime in which the cover-up ultimately generates far more profit for the perpetrator than the stolen object.

      One of the more interesting aspects of getting my start as a television writer in the pre–Second Golden Era TV of the 1990s was getting to work with a number of people who had cut their teeth back when television was REALLY disreputable: the 1970s and ’80s.

      Aside from getting the general impression that TV in the ’80s was essentially Mad Men with cocaine, I found many of my superiors to have a very interesting attitude toward … well, if not plagiarism, at least appropriation.

      Among the older generation of executive and co-executive producers, the guys who had worked for Stephen J. Cannell, Glen Larson, and their ilk, the running joke was “television is the original derivative medium.”

      Among the younger writer/producers occupying mid-level positions ­­— the people with whom a rookie writer like myself had the most contact — there was a general disdain for the old guard. Many of these upstarts, who later did, in fact, help bring about the current Golden Age, saw themselves as renegades eager to wrest TV from thieving forebears.

      A great deal of their contempt found voice in accusations of plagiarism and fraud. The most salient accusation was always thrown at “this guy who worked at Cannell.”

      To this day, no one has conclusively told me who “this guy” was, even though I have heard the story told several times. I sometimes wonder if “this guy who worked at Cannell” was the TV equivalent of “this girl I met at summer camp.”

      Anyway, “this guy” was legendary for setting up his 22-episode seasons of television by writing on a white board a list of all the classic films he wanted to rip off that year and handing out the titles as assignments to his staff.

      Of course, the guys who told the story about “this guy who worked at Cannell” always portrayed themselves as shocked and horrified by the blatant plagiarism. At the same time, they gladly took the paycheck to write “the Die Hard episode” or “the Rashomon episode,” and, of course, the hardy perennial, “The Most Dangerous Game episode.” God knows I have.

      One thing was always clear — even if on occasion we in the rank and file are forced to do the bidding of a hack showrunner who has no scruples about being a fucking plagiarist — those of us who tell the story of “this guy” are never the hacks or the thieves. That’s the point of the tale. It’s a totemic object of immunity, like on Survivor. The dishy tale of “this guy” is a shibboleth that alights to others that we too are in the fraternity of Those Who Know Better.

      That’s why it’s always someone else. That’s why it’s “this guy who worked at Cannell.” We’re not the thieves. We are the ones who are self-aware and self-referential. We’re the ones who excoriate the thieves and occasionally bear with gritted teeth the stark and unpleasant necessities of our trade. We are the ones who say clever things in the writers room like “yes, you’ve seen it before, but not with these actors” and “that idea is so brilliant I have NO choice but to steal it and claim it for my own” while we bide our time until we can call the shots and chisel True Original Stories from the living rock of our beloved medium.

      Inside every writer lives the fantasy that our worst and most derivative work is the result of someone else’s influence. Happenstance may occasionally make plagiarists out of us … but we sure as shit ain’t fucking plagiarists.



      It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.

      — Jean-Luc Godard



      I will always remember my first year in TV as the one in which not one but three major network television shows flagrantly ripped off John Carpenter’s The Thing.

      The venerable The X-Files — currently, though erroneously, thought to be above such shenanigans — even went as far as to stage their episodic riff on Carpenter’s paranoid tale of serial possession by an alien parasite found in the ice near a desolate arctic ice station in … well … an arctic ice station.

      They even titled the episode “Ice.”

      Coming in second was seaQuest DSV and … well … that program actually ripped off The Thing twice in the same season. Apparently, the series’s warring showrunners each had the same brainstorm individually, and then refused to budge on who would withdraw the script written without the other’s knowledge. In one, the cause of the possession of successive crew members was a helmet from the lost continent of Atlantis, in the other, an ancient chest found in an undersea mining colony.

      Coming in third was Earth 2, which substituted an alien parasite found in the ice for … well, an alien parasite found in the ice.

      The ugly truth of the matter is this: as respectable as television may have become in the last 20 years, showrunners still have to produce a fuckton of hours of entertainment. When the beast must be fed at regular intervals on pain of death, the real test of originality is how far you can stretch the trope until it’s no longer recognizable as the trope — preferably while finding some sort of resonant human context to which a broadcast audience of millions of all races, creeds, and colors can relate.

      When a show becomes popular and produces 22 hours a year — for many years — those who love the show ultimately remember the characters, the great moments they shared, and the few truly standout stories in the overall narrative miasma. Few of the fans — even at their most obsessive-compulsive — actually remember that the individual story of the episode in which their beloved weekly visitors first kissed, or had some other such watershed moment, was probably something as hackneyed as the “Most Dangerous Game episode.”

      The amusing truth of the matter is this: often — especially in a mature career in a medium with six decades of mass visibility — you will hear a pitch that is derivative of something that was, itself, derivative of something else that the pitcher is not aware of. More than once I have heard a younger writer say, “Do you remember that old episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Riker passes out in the teaser and wakes up 16 years later as captain of the Enterprise, but he can’t remember anything … and he cleverly realizes that his amnesia is really a Romulan ruse to get him to give up sensitive information?” only to be shocked when told, “Yeah, it was a takeoff from an even older James Garner movie — based on a Roald Dahl short story — where he’s an Allied spy who passes out before the D-Day invasion, wakes up in a U.S. Army Hospital six years later, and can’t remember anything, then cleverly realizes that his amnesia is a German ruse to extract from him the location of the invasion.”

      Derivation is the air we breathe.

      And yet there’s “Table Talk.”



      We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.

      — Saul Bellow



      As I walked off the Emmy stage into the dark backstage of the Shrine Auditorium with the cast of Lost and my fellow writer/producers after earning the award for Best Drama, I entertained the thought of how quickly and easily all of this could be taken away from me if anyone found out — and decided to make a Viswanathanian stink about — “Table Talk.”

      It wasn’t anomalous for me to entertain that thought at the time. I have dined with that unwelcome guest on the average of three to six times a day, every day, for the past thirty years (alongside other, better known, hits from the depressives’ jukebox, including the classics “I hate myself and I want to die” and “oh God, oh God, why was I born such a revolting troll?”).

      Tick-tock-tick-tock-Table-Talk. Tick-tock-tick-tock-Table-Talk.

      “Table Talk” was produced at my university. Even if it was extracurricular — for no school grade or profit — the production was funded by a student activities fee levied on every one of the school’s attendees. How do I know the administration won’t take back my degree after reading this?

      How do I know that the National Council of Teachers of English couldn’t retroactively rescind the scholarship that sent me there?

      How do I know that when the sixth episode of the second season of Helix — the show on which I have toiled as a co-executive producer for the past two years — hits the air, someone isn’t going to think that my use of the line “this is a cleansing moment of clarity,” my little homage to Paddy Chayefsky’s Network, is now beyond the pale in the context of these confessions?

      How do I know that the very act of putting these thoughts to keyboard won’t result in some sort of archaeological examination of my life’s work leading to the final determination that — as a fucking plagiarist — I am essentially unfit to continue doing the only thing I have ever wanted to do?

      How do I know that someone isn’t going to figure that the time has come to gut this son of a bitch once and for all?



      There’s no negotiating with plagiarists, Dubbie — you take credit for a man’s ideas, you rob his spirit!

      — “The Middleman,” from the episode “The Boy-Band Superfan Interrogation” of the television series The Middleman, written by Jordan Rosenberg, created by Javier Grillo-Marxuach



      In 2006, Marvel Comics asked me to create a new hero. All they wanted was to name the character “Wraith,” as they owned the name. I came up with the idea of a space zombie — a dead man whose body was reanimated by an alien entity that remains symbiotically bonded to his skin and consumes the souls of others: a power that the grimly revenge-obsessed Wraith occasionally used to vanquish his foes.

      Wraith was the Man with No Name in space. At first I loved him in all of his goth glory — I was certain I had created Wolverine by way of The Dark Knight for the Hot Topic set. When I talked to my editor about the character during the heady early days of the project, we were so excited that we even schemed to see Wraith become one of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” (a comic series that was about to be relaunched in the publishing event of which Wraith was part) in much the same way that Spider-Man had once joined the Fantastic Four.

      That was until I told a high school friend about Wraith’s oil-slick black body-suit and poncho-like cloak, his pale skin, white hair, and the polymorphous weapon (sometimes it was a sword, sometimes it was a raygun) he wielded with all his might … and he quickly convinced me that I had ripped off Michael Moorcock’s Elric.

      Okay: to be fair, he didn’t “convince” me. He only dropped the suggestion in my mind — and my immediate response was to exasperatedly shriek, “I’ve never read Elric!”

      And it was legit. I never had. Seriously — I have, as I’ve said, a classical-realist memory and I’d definitely remember reading a whole series of novels about the ultraviolent adventures of a soul-sucking albino goth. And, frankly, if I were to rip off Elric, I would have done more to cover my goddamn tracks than putting the motherfucker in space and changing the color of his eyes from red to black.

      But all I could think about was “Table Talk.” All I could think about was wanting to make my mark once and for all without being a fucking plagiarist.

      On the verge of a full-blown nervous breakdown, I spent a sleepless night doing all the internet research I could on Moorcock’s Melnibonéan fantasy stories, trying to figure out how I might have known them — and combing my own library for clues as to how I might have come up with an idea so derivative of someone else’s work. I became convinced that this was not “Table Talk” all over again, but something far more insidious: a criminal impulse that had, having been tamped down over time, now taken up residence in my unconscious mind.

      By the time I called my editor the following morning — pure confession in my now ragged and sleep-deprived voice, convinced that this was the moment of my final unveiling — and told him the entire project had to be scrapped, I had also convinced myself that I had ripped off everyone from Bram Stoker to Anne Rice to Dan Simmons.

      Of course, the first thing my editor asked was, “Have you even read Elric?” I replied, “Absolutely not!” and that was kind of that. Actually, that wasn’t kind of that — I spent the next 15 minutes trying to convince this poor man that I am a fucking plagiarist. But he just wasn’t having it.

      Duly talked off the ledge, I hung up the phone and quickly decided that my world-class meltdown had probably just destroyed both the character’s and my own long-term future in comics. Well, the freak-out, but also the truth that I had managed to create an utterly derivative character all by myself.

      To this day, when the phone rings from Marvel Comics — usually in the form of a young and newly installed editor who likes my work from a few years back and thinks it’d be nifty to collaborate — I open the conversation by asking, “Are you sure you want to work with me? You do know I’m crazy, right?”

      It’s self-fulfillingly self-destructive, I know. But everyone deserves fair warning.



      I’m not gonna sit here and plead not guilty. […] If you watch comedy eight hours a day, something will register, and it’ll come out. And if it happened, I said, “I apologize. I’ll pay you for this.” But I wasn’t going out of my way to go fucking grave robbing. ’Cause if you’re on top, they’re gonna look for your ass. […] And there’s lots of people who took entire mannerisms from me. It’s not something I can get mad about. It’s flattery. It’s great. When it happens the other way around, you’re just supposed to smile.

      — Robin Williams, Rolling Stone magazine, February 21, 1991



      It makes perfect sense that my childhood idol was dogged by allegations of plagiarism for much of his professional life.

      But you know what I truly loved about Robin Williams? The thing he did that freed my mind and inspired me to be something other than who I was? It was how his turbo-charged brain combined and recombined disparate elements into a cohesive absurdist whole.

      The Byzantinely circular, free-associative part of Robin Williams’s early, cocaine-fueled work (even though at the time I wouldn’t have known cocaine from lemon/lime Tang) was to me what punk rock, a skateboard, and hand-painted Doc Martens were to my way-cooler contemporaries.

      Williams’s pioneering collage-and-remix bits — like “Elmer Fudd sings Bruce Springsteen,” the “Soviet Suppressions” that kicked off his album Reality, What a Concept, his Shakespeare pastiche (“the moon, like a testicle, hangs low in the sky!”), the digressive riff where he goes to the prom on acid (“No, Mr. Smith, I’ll have Becky back in this dimension real soon! Wings! We’ve got to get those snakes coming out of your eyes fixed!”), or even how he once greeted a swell of applause from the audience by shouting “GIVE US BARABBAS!” — hit me with the force of shattering cosmic revelation. All his flights of illogical, yet comedically sensical, and emotionally real, insanity made me feel like I was watching a kindred soul broadcasting Truth from a far more advanced place on the spectrum of consciousness.

      Robin Williams’s comedy explained the world with the same labyrinthine framework with which I understood popular culture: speed, juxtaposition, and incongruity.

      He spoke the way I processed the then-nascent 100-channel universe — where the still-standing UHF channels routinely programmed Hazel in close proximity to Ultraman, in close proximity to scrambled, pre-internet softcore, and a new thing called MTV featured five-minute programs of constantly changing genre 24 hours a day.

      In every creator’s life there is one icon in the culture who seems to reach out from the television screen, or the stage or page, or the hi-fi speaker, and says, “I make a living using the skills you hope to someday develop — it’s okay for you to move ahead, it can be done.” Even though it was George Lucas and Star Wars that made me want to tell stories for a living, it was Robin Williams — even though he was a comic and I desired to be something very different — who showed me how I wanted to tell those stories.

      Before you think all the hand-wringing confession that has gone before this was merely a Trojan Horse into yet another think piece about our postmodern condition of sampling, ripping, appropriating, and recontextualizing, let me make one thing absolutely clear. Robin Williams stole jokes: it wasn’t cool, he eventually copped to it, and I consider that example with the same weight as I do what I learned from his rapid-fire comedic stylings.

      The reason I bring up Robin Williams is not just to expiate the piece of my psyche on the table, but to suggest that there is another, gentler part of my consciousness that, on occasion, whispers — in a pacifying Jeff Bridges–like drawl — something along the lines of “Duuude … go a little easy on yourself, lest you forget, your childhood idol committed suicide … and that Marvel thing’s kinda nuts!”

      Why shouldn’t I be a little more forgiving of the venal sins of my teenaged self?

      Seriously, I live in a media universe in which a man who is arguably the most influential filmmaker of the past thirty years emerged from widespread accusations that his first film Reservoir Dogs was lifted lock-stock-and-barrel from Ringo Lam’s Hong Kong New Wave film City on Fire …

      A director whose last two films, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, literally include in their very names the titles of the pulp war film and spaghetti western that served as partial inspirations (The Inglorious Bastards and Django … and interestingly, the latter was subject to countless rip-offs due to its own success, all bearing the “Django” name in the title) …

      Indeed, for the vast majority of my adult life, Quentin Tarantino — whose mastery of collage is, to be fair, matched only by his peerless ability with dialogue and scene structure — has been one of if not THE standard-bearer for art and innovation in screenwriting. That alone says more than a million online think pieces about our culture of appropriation.

      So why can’t I stop hating myself and forgive myself for being a fucking plagiarist?

      There are dark places in the mind that stubbornly resist the effort to excavate the irritating artifact whose removal will provide relief. Or maybe it’s just that there is no artifact and no relief is possible.

      Or maybe I just want to be heard.

      Or maybe it’s something even worse. Something that is equal parts mercenary and pathetic.



      Don’t quote other movies. Don’t tell a story someone else could tell better.

      — Wim Wenders



      A few weeks ago, I was at a friend’s birthday party.

      A mutual acquaintance — a fledgling writer who has yet to land her first gig on a television series — tells me about the various jobs she has taken to make ends meet until her ship comes in. One of the more recent ones was at least fun because it required her to watch TV for a paycheck.

      That sounds cool. I ask her to tell me more. She explains that she spent several months watching and transcribing broadcast materials, and writing summaries, for an app commemorating Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary.

      The app’s main selling point? On-demand access to every sketch ever performed by the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players and their assorted descendants.

      “Every sketch?”

      I emit the closest I will ever come to that horrible cliché, the audible gulp.

      She smiles, trying to read me. To her, this conversation is about little else than the scope of her work in what was a transiently pleasurable temporary occupation. My mood turns a deeper shade with each passing word as I try to maintain my outward composure. I choke back the black bile rapidly gathering in my throat.

      I return home from the party, head for my computer, and type the words “I am a fucking plagiarist.”

      Time to go ugly early.



      As we manipulate everyday words, we forget that they are fragments of ancient and eternal stories, that we are building our houses with broken pieces of sculptures and ruined statues of gods.

      — Bruno Schulz



      I’d like to share something with you. Something I learned exactly 48 hours ago when I began researching this piece.

      On January 24, 1976 — four years before I immigrated to the United States from Puerto Rico … years before the widespread availability of cable television would have allowed me to watch American network TV in my homeland … long before I’d hear the words “Saturday Night Live,” or “Robin Williams” … a full 18 months before the world premiere of Star Wars, much less its run in Spanish-language theaters … and six years before the broadcast of the sketch that moved me to become a fucking plagiarist — the sixth sketch of the 11th episode of the first season of Saturday Night Live featured guest hosts Dudley Moore and Peter Cook performing one of their celebrated comedy routines from the ’60s.

      The premise? A food critic attempts to interview the incompetent proprietor of a truly horrible restaurant with hilarious consequences.

      The sketch was titled “Table Talk.”


      Don’t shoot a western if you don’t like horses.
      — Wim Wenders


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                Veramine to Help DHS Boost Cyber Defense for Financial Services   
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                经典歌曲--巴比伦河   

       
       
             这首音乐的旋律极其优美流畅,节奏明快奔放。但是当我们随着那轻松、恬静、安详、流水般的乐曲,想象和回味着背井离乡的犹太囚徒正身处逆境、漂泊异国他乡的滋味,仿佛看到一幅残忍凄凉的景像:正处于生不如死、水深火热之中的犹太人,仍在苦苦的思恋着自己家乡的小溪、绿野、田埂和稻香……音乐作者运用天堂、理想国和离乡的人们作比较,与人们的悲伤形成鲜明的对比。坐在巴比伦河畔,伤心的人们似乎在泣诉:巴比伦河啊,你静静地流淌,夜色是多么安详,可是你哪里知道,就在你的身旁,我们被迫害的异乡人有多么的凄凉,愿圣上也能知道我们的心声,我们的祈祷和冥想……

             歌曲《巴比伦河》的翻唱者是前联邦德国的Bonym 波尼姆。波尼姆 (Boney M)演唱组是七八十年代十分受人瞩目的一个演唱组,乐队成员来自四面八方,有的来自西印度群岛,有的来自牙买加。这首歌引领了1970年代末中国青年一代的“时尚旋风”,启蒙了那个时代的“喇叭裤舞会文化”。大约在79年10月3日,《巴比伦河》的翻唱组合BONEYM在上海大剧院举办演唱会。

      歌词来源

      旧约圣经·诗篇1:

      我们曾在巴比伦的河边坐下,

      一追想锡安就哭了。

      因为在那里,掳掠我们的要我们唱歌,

      抢夺我们的,要我们作乐,

      说,给我们唱一首锡安歌吧。

      我们怎能在外邦唱耶和华的歌呢?

      歌词

      Mm…… Mm……
      Ah…… Ah……
      By the river of Babylon,
      There we sat down.
      Yeah we wept,
      When we remembered Zion.
      By the river of Babylon,
      There we sat down.
      Yeah we wept,
      When we remembered Zion.
      When the wicked carried us away in captivity,
      Requiring of us a song.
      Now how shall we sing the Lord's song,
      In a strange land.
      When the wicked carried us away in captivity,
      Requiring of us a song.
      Now how shall we sing the Lord's song,
      In a strange land.
      Ah…… Ah……
      Ah…… Ah……
      Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our
      hearts be acceptable in thy sight here tonight,
      Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our
      hearts be acceptable in thy sight here tonight,
      By the river of Babylon,
      There we sat down.
      Yeah we wept,
      When we remembered Zion.
      By the river of Babylon,
      There we sat down.
      Yeah we wept,
      When we remembered Zion.
      Ah…… Ah……
      Ah…… Ah……
      By the river of Babylon,
      There we sat down.
      Yeah we wept,
      When we remembered Zion.

      参考译文

      巴比伦河

      呣……,呣……
      啊……,啊……
      来到巴比伦河边,
      我们坐在你身旁。
      耶,我们哭泣又悲伤,
      当我们想起了家乡。
      来到巴比伦河边,
      我们坐在你身旁。
      耶,我们哭泣又悲伤,
      当我们想起了家乡。
      邪恶的敌人把我们虏掠到这里,
      还强迫我们把歌唱,
      我们怎能唱得出圣歌来,
      在陌生的异国他乡。
      邪恶的敌人把我们虏掠到这里,
      还强迫我们把歌唱,
      我们怎能唱得出圣歌来,
      在陌生的异国他乡。
      啊……,啊……
      啊……,啊……
      但愿今夜我们口中所言,和心中所思,
      能让他们接受。
      但愿今夜我们口中所言,和心中所思,
      能让他们接受。
      来到了巴比伦河边,
      我们坐在你身旁。
      耶,我们哭泣又悲伤,
      当我们想起了家乡。
      来到巴比伦河边,
      我们坐在你身旁。
      耶,我们哭泣又悲伤,
      当我们想起了家乡。
      啊……,啊……
      啊……,啊……
      来到了巴比伦河边,
      我们坐在你身旁。
      耶,我们哭泣又悲伤,
      当我们想起了家乡。

      语言点解析

      1、By the River of Babylon there we sat down=We satdown there by the river of Babylon.我们坐在巴比伦河岸边。

      by the river of……在……河旁边。 Babylon巴比伦(古代巴比伦王国的首都)

      2、Yeah we wept when we remembered Zion.= Yeah wewept when we thought of our homeland.耶,我们哭泣又悲伤,当我们想起了家乡。

      weep(不及物动词)意为:哭泣,流泪。Zion锡安山(在耶路撒冷)

      表示哭泣的词有weep,cry,sob,但它们分别表示不同的概念。

      weep—流着眼泪哭泣。cry—出声哭泣。sob—抽泣。

      3、For there they that carried us away in captivity,requiring of us a song.= For there they who carriedus away by force and also forced us to sing a song.

      是凶狠的敌人把我们虏掠到这里,还强迫我们把歌唱。

      in captivity 被监禁,束缚

      例如:Many animals breed better when they are freethan they do when in captivity.许多动物不圈要比圈起来的好饲养。

      require(及物动词)意为:需要,要求,命令。

      例如:These children will require looking aftercarefully.这些孩子需要悉心照料。

      require后跟宾语从句时,通常使用虚拟语气,省去should.这类词还有:propose,suggest,order,demand,request等。

      4、Sing the Lord's song 唱圣歌

      5、Let the words of our hearts and meditations of ourhearts be acceptable in thy sight here tonight.= Let our words and our deep thought from the bottom of our hearts be accpted by you.但愿今夜我们口中所言,和心中所思,能让他们接受。

      meditation(名词)意为:深思,沉思;反省;冥想;沉思录。

      注释与赏析

             公元前588年,新巴比伦王尼布甲尼撒二世率军攻入犹太王国,围困耶路撒冷18个月之后,攻陷该城,夷平城墙,劫掠、焚毁所罗门圣殿,昔日繁荣的耶路撒冷变成一片废墟,成千上万名犹太王国的王室成员、祭司、贵族、工匠被俘虏到巴比伦。史称这一历史事件为“巴比伦之囚”。

             在巴比伦的犹太人身为奴隶,处境悲惨,他们渴望着有一天大卫王的后裔中出现一位弥赛亚(救世主),帮助他们摆脱苦难,复兴故国,将耶路撒冷重新赐给以色列的子孙,并重建圣殿。

           《巴比伦河》是具有迪斯科风格的一首英文老牌经典歌曲,在我国广为流传。在首段歌词中,有一个英文单词“Zion”,其含义是锡安山(在以色列)、天堂、天国、犹太教,象征意为:犹太人的家乡、理想之城、乌托邦。因此,从歌词的历史含义上译为“家乡”更为合适。作者本人是否是个犹太人(该歌的歌词并非百分百取自基督教圣经旧约但绝大部分的句子是原词,即圣经旧约全书诗篇中第137首)我们不得而知,但歌中描写的情景与历史、宗教和地域有一定的联系。一方面这些人被虏掠至陌生的地方,被迫唱歌而思念故乡;另一方面这也涉及到犹太民族的历史问题。
       
             这首歌的旋律优美流畅,节奏明晰奔放。我们可随着那轻松、恬静、安详、流水般的乐曲,回味着家乡的小溪,绿野,田埂和稻谷。特别是身处逆境、漂泊异国他乡的伤心人听到这首歌曲,更能引起他们的思乡之情。歌中作者运用天堂,理想国和离乡的人们作比较,与人们的悲伤形成鲜明的对比。坐在巴比伦河畔,伤心的人们似乎在泣诉:巴比伦河啊,你静静地流淌,夜色是多么安详,可是你哪里知道,就在你的身旁,我们被迫害的异乡人有多么的凄凉,愿圣上也能知道我们的心声,我们的祈祷和冥想……
       
       
      视频网址:http://www.iqiyi.com/w_19rrd32njp.html

       
                The Left is so steeped in anti Christian, anti Americanism that it defends the indefensible Islamist FGM and fights against honorable Muslims.    
      Hypocritical leftists willing to give Muslim extremists a pass


      He’s a former Muslim extremist who speaks out against such extremism — yet he’s been labeled an extremist.
      Last October, the Southern Poverty Law Center called British author and activist Maajid Nawaz, 39, “part of the ‘ex-radical’ circuit of former Islamists who use that experience to savage Islam.” During a recent appearance on Bill Maher’s show, Nawaz announced he’d be suing the SPLC for defamation.
      Citing what he calls “the poverty of low expectations,” Nawaz argues that Islam, like any other religion, should not only field criticism but withstand it. Why, he asks, does the Western world — and liberals, in particular — refuse to condemn what they otherwise find abhorrent?
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      Debate? Really? An estimated 100 girls have been brutalized in this specific community since 2005 — yet because this barbarism is contextualized as Islamic, far too many liberals seek to justify what is plainly child abuse, a gross violation of human rights.
      There are plenty of Catholics and fundamentalist Christians who believe abortion is morally wrong, yet Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land. Why should Islam get special dispensation? Isn’t it a supercilious attitude to take — that a muscular religion of 1.6 billion people requires deference to the point of infantilization?
      Also on the SPLC’s list is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born author and activist who herself survived female genital mutilation and a forced marriage. Ali and fellow activist Asra Q. Nomani recently appeared before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and were shocked that none of the four female Democrats on that panel — including Kamala Harris, who’d become a feminist cause célèbre the day before, after male colleagues interrupted her interrogation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions — asked a single question.
      In a June 22 Times Op-Ed, Ali and Nomani called out Harris along with Sens. Maggie Hassan, Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill.
      “What happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives when it comes to confronting the brutal reality of Islamic extremism and what it means for women in many Muslim communities here at home and around the world,” they wrote. “When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.”
      These are horrors, misogyny masquerading as religion, and it’s a Jedi mind trick that works almost every time.
      Sen. McCaskill, for example, said she was “worried” about Ali and Nomani’s testimony. “Anyone who twists or distorts religion is an exception to the rule,” she said. Tell that to women in Saudi Arabia, who cannot drive, work or travel alone, or to women in Pakistan, where a so-called “women’s rights bill” was passed last year allowing men to beat their wives, instructions included.
      “These recommendations are, according to the Koran and Sunnah, the prophet’s teachings,” a state official told the BBC. “No one can dispute that.”
      Reformers like Ali and Nawaz do, and they continually exhort those Muslims who disagree with such diktats — and those outside the religion — to speak up.
      In her Op-Ed, Ali noted the false argument so often made, that to criticize Islam is bigotry. Her ideas, she writes, are often labeled backward and conservative, “as if opposition to violent jihad, sex slavery, genital mutilation or child marriage were a matter of left and right.”
      Her critics would point to the success of Muslims in America, a deeply assimilated population that, according to multiple studies — including one published by the Cato Institute in October 2016 — is among the most educated and affluent. Their cultural views don’t deviate as much from non-Muslims either. It’s hard to quantify why, but our national DNA surely contributes; we are a county and a culture of immigrants. We don’t force newcomers to learn English, but life’s easier if you do. Nor do we grapple with dress codes, burqa bans and other such debates that have consumed Europe for years. According to the Cato Institute, American Muslims are the most religiously tolerant and socially liberal in the world and are becoming more so. Has this population self-selected to America, or are their views encouraged by our open society?
      No one really knows, but Nawaz and others believe that Europe’s tendency to isolate Muslims — or allow them to isolate themselves — rather than integrate only fuels alienation and resentment. Such communities live parallel to society under their own rule of law, and rather than combat Islamic extremism and jihad, such neglect foments it.
      Yet such fear of offending remains that Theresa May, upon becoming prime minister last year, said that England “could benefit a great deal” from the estimated 100 Sharia courts operating there.
      “Ideas are more dangerous than people,” Nawaz writes, and a 2016 survey bears that out — 58 percent of British Muslims believe homosexuality should be outlawed and one-quarter said they’d support Sharia law replacing British law. A poll of Muslim immigrants and natives in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Sweden, published in December 2013 by Professor Ruud Koopmans of the Berlin Social Science Center, found that 75 percent believe the Koran can be interpreted only one way, that 60 percent would not befriend someone who is gay and 54 percent think the West wants to destroy Islam.
      In his new book, “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam,” author Douglas Murray argues that Europe — Germany especially — has a tendency to overcorrect for past injustices and atrocities. He cites the left’s rejection, in 2015, of concerns raised by Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy that Europe had erred in allowing some citizens to live in opposition to their nation’s own laws. In an interview with NPR on Tuesday, Murray raised the irony of liberals supporting illiberal beliefs.
      “This is a big problem,” Murray said. “As well as speaking the language of inclusion, we have to speak the language of exclusion — what it is that we won’t tolerate as well as what it is that we do.”
      Nawaz himself believes extremism is fertilized by three subsets: Islamist theocracies, hard-right populism and what he calls the regressive left — those who argue for genderless bathrooms but won’t acknowledge that honor killings happen in Europe and the United States. In compiling their list, he says, the SPLC has employed a tactic used by those they should condemn.
      “Just imagine how ex-Muslim Islam-critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali must feel to be included in your list,” he wrote in October.
      “Her friend Theo van Gogh was murdered on the streets of Amsterdam in 2004. And back then, there was another list pinned to Theo’s corpse with a knife: It, too, named Ayaan Hirsi Ali.”


                Matan's Pilgrim   
      In honor of Shavuot, Matan’s Gan issued instructions to the parents to send their children dressed in white, bearing a basket of Bikurim. They used the Biblical word for basket, טנא, as per Moses’ instructions to the Jewish people to bring a basket of first fruits to God: “You shall take some of every first fruit of the soil, which you harvest form the land that the Lord your God is giving you, put it in a basket, and go to the pace where the Lord your God will choose to establish His name” (Deuteronomy 26:2).  The only basket we had at home was the large brown wicker basket we used to carry out our newborn Matan during his bris, so we threw in a few peaches and nectarines, dressed Matan in a white t-shirt and beige shorts, and sent him off to Gan, relieved that we had remembered to follow the special instructions for that day. Little did we know.

      We realized we had misunderstood even before we entered the Gan. Outside the gates leading into the playground we watched as the other toddlers filed out of their parents’ cars decked out in their Shabbat finery: White lacey dresses for the girls, and white sailor suits (or at least crisp button-down shirts) for all the boys. (Poor Matan, who is almost a size 3T, was wearing an old white 2T undershirt that bared his midriff when he reached his hands in the air.) It seemed they were all carrying identical delicate white baskets, about a fifth the size of the monstrosity that poor Matan could barely balance in his tiny arms. Their baskets were decorated in flowers and leaves; Matan’s was utterly bare. Daniel and I looked at each other and grimaced, cognizant, yet again, of how difficult it is to be new immigrants to the Jewish homeland, whose customs and mores seem both deeply familiar and incomprehensibly foreign.

      As I left the Gan, my head hung in embarrassment for Matan and for myself, I was reminded of one of my favorite children’s picture books, Molly’s Pilgrim. Molly is a Russian immigrant to the Lower East Side. Just before Thanksgiving, her schoolteacher assigns all the students to make a pilgrim doll and bring it to school. When Molly’s mother learns the definition of a pilgrim—a new immigrant who came to America for religious freedom—she creates Molly’s pilgrim in her own image, a babushka-clad woman in a long skirt. The other children tease Molly because her pilgrim looks nothing like theirs, but the kind and sympathetic teacher assures Molly that “it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving.” And indeed, this is essentially what Matan’s Ganenet told me at pickup that afternoon, when I apologized that we had sent Matan in the wrong clothes, bearing the wrong basket.

      Shavuot, of course, is a pilgrimage festival – one of the three holidays when Jews are required to come to the Land of Israel. Like Thanksgiving, which coincided with the American pilgrims’ first successful harvest, it too is a harvest festival and a time of thanksgiving, in which we offer our first fruits in gratitude to God. This holiday has particular poignancy for us as new immigrants to the State of Israel; we are pilgrims, and Matan is our first fruit. Perhaps it is somewhat appropriate, then, that the basket he paraded across the stage with at Gan during the Shavuot celebration was the basket we used to carry out our firstborn son at his bris. We are grateful to God for sustaining us and enabling us to reach this day; and we hope that by the time we reach this day with our twins, we will have learned from our mistakes. 

                売春婦像設置予定の米ブルックヘブンに「日本の極右勢力」より抗議殺到!援護射撃凸じゃあああああ!   
      http://migigimi.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-1473.html

      5月にエントリした ↓ ジョージア州ブルックヘブンに売春婦像設置が計画されてる件ですが ↓
      今度はジョージア州ブルックヘブンに売春婦像設置だってよ(激怒)
      http://migigimi.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-1450.html

      みずきさんの翻訳記事に、日本の極右(失笑)が設置妨害してるニダ!という記事が上がっていたようです!

      米ジョージア少女像、除幕を控えて日本の極右勢力の妨害が極致に
      http://oboega-01.blog.jp/archives/1066597553.html#more

      少女像建設委「一部議員が動揺…韓国人社会の団結した力を示してほしい」

      (ロサンゼルス=連合ニュース)オクチョル特派員

      米国ジョージア州ブルックヘブン市に建つ「平和の少女像」が来る30日
      (以下、現地時間)序幕を控えた中で、日本の極右勢力が組織的妨害に出たと分かった。

      20日アトランタ少女像建設委員会(委員長キムペクギュ)と現地の韓国人メディアニュース
      ・アンド・ポスト(代表ホンソング)によると、30日午前10時ブルックヘブン所在の市立公園
      (別名ブラックバーン2)で開かれる少女像の除幕式は、
      ジョン・アーンスト・ブルックヘイブ市長が直接司会を引き受けることにした。

      ブルックヘブン少女像は、カリフォルニア州グレンデール市の公園と
      ミシガン州サウスフィールドの文化会館に続き、米国内で三番目に建てられる平和の少女像である。

      先に人口5万人の小都市ブルックヘブン市議会は、満場一致で少女像設置案を承認した。

      除幕式に先立つ29日午後6時30分、アトランタ韓国人会館では
      「まだ終わっていない話」というテーマで前夜祭行事が開かれる。

      前夜祭と除幕式には、慰安婦被害者であり、映画「鬼郷」の実際の主人公である
      カンイルチュルおばあさんと少女像を製作したキムウンソン作家夫婦などが参加する。

      アトランタ出身の歌手のクララホンが特別公演を行う予定である。

      ブルックヘブン市当局の少女像建設の意志と支持はしっかりしたものだ。

      しかし公式序幕が近づくにつれて、日本側の反対ロビーと攻撃がますます露骨になっている。

      アトランタ駐在日本総領事館はブルックヘブン議員を相手に執拗なロビーを展開している。

      シノヅカ・タカシ・アトランタ駐在日本総領事は、アーンスト市長と市議らに電話をかけて、
      少女像建設に強い抗議の意思を示したことが分かった。

      最近は、地域住民を扇動し、少女像建設に反対する請願を出すよう誘導していると伝えられた。

      また少女像建設を手掛けた地域マスコミのウェブサイトに不正コメントを上げると同時に、
      日本の極右派の人たちまで出てきて抗議性の電子メールを送っている。

      少女像建設委が最近主催した討論会が開かれる場所のネルソンモリンス法律事務所にも、
      極右の抗議性の電話があった。

      日本側の妨害工作で、ブルックヘブン市議会議員の一部が動揺して
      「碑文の内容を変更してはどうだろうか」という反応も見せていることが分かった。

      少女像建設委の委員は、
      「ブルックヘブン市で少女像建設に関する苦情を総合的に集計していると聞いている」とし
      「反対側の意見が多く寄せられている状況で、議員が当惑している」と述べた。

      この委員は、「アトランタの韓国人社会の団結した力を示す時」とし
      「ブルックヘブン市長と市議会に少女像建設賛成・支持の声を伝えてほしい」と頼んだ。

      建設委は市公式の電子メールアドレスの

      mayorandcouncil@brookhavenga.gov

      にメールを送ってくれるよう要請した。

      すでに大都市のアトランタでの少女像建設は、日本側の妨害により一回失敗に終わったことがある。

      アトランタセンテニアルオリンピック公園内のコカ・コーラ博物館近くにある民権人権センターに
      少女像を立てることにしていたが、センター側が突然敷地契約を解除して建設議論が失敗に終わった。

      少女像建設委は人口が少ないブルックヘブンにまず少女像を立てた後、
      アトランタなどの大都市にアメリカ南部の第2、第3の少女像を立てるという計画である。

      引用ソース
      http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=104&oid=001&aid=0009351147

      >少女像建設委は人口が少ないブルックヘブンにまず少女像を立てた後、
      >アトランタなどの大都市にアメリカ南部の第2、第3の少女像を立てるという計画

      小さな街が朝鮮ロビーに負けて設置したら、今度は周辺地に増殖するんだわっ(激怒)
      ホント、奴ら、やり口が汚ねえよっ(激怒)

      初めは数にものをいわせゴリ推しで設置させ、実績をつみ、
      今度は「ブルックヘブンにも設置されてるニダよ」「他にも計画があるニダよ」と
      畳み掛けるんだろうな!
      この陰謀が成功したら、晴れてアメリカ南部は売春婦像乱立地に!
      もちろん像の周りにはリアルな朝鮮売春婦が客引きしてると!サイテーだな、おい(激怒)

      >日本側の妨害工作で、ブルックヘブン市議会議員の一部が動揺して
      >「碑文の内容を変更してはどうだろうか」という反応も見せていることが分かった

      ホラ!「平和」の少女像とやらを嘯いて設置主導しても、早くも「平和」なんかは破綻!
      すでに日本人が激怒してるじゃねえか!
      朝鮮人のうす汚い売春婦像なんか設置したところで、平和なんて訪れませーん!
      口車と朝鮮マネーに騙され設置を決めたって、すぐに嘘はバレバレ!
      なんも「慰安婦詐欺」問題を知らないんだったら、
      善人面して朝鮮人のデタラメに加担すんなよっ(激怒)

      >少女像建設委の委員は、
      >「ブルックヘブン市で少女像建設に関する苦情を総合的に集計していると聞いている」とし
      >「反対側の意見が多く寄せられている状況で、議員が当惑している」と述べた。

      現地在住してる邦人の方にとっては、正に名誉と安全、人権に関わる問題だ!
      そもそも朝鮮人の主張する「性奴隷」などは存在せず、いたのは只の戦地売春婦!
      それに加え、日韓基本条約、アジアの女性基金、そして2015年の慰安婦合意で
      「最終的かつ不可逆的」に解決してるのに、朝鮮人に都合のいい「蒸し返し」のために
      碌に経緯も歴史も事実も知らないアメリカの自治体が協力してんじゃねえよっ!
      アメリカが「慰安婦像」とやらを設置するなら、碑文に
      「朝鮮戦争中の第五補給品」と明記しておけやゴロアっ(激怒)

      日本なんかよりアメリカ、そして下朝鮮は、その百倍千倍、
      女性に謝罪しなくちゃなんないネタで満載なんじゃね?
      善人ぶってしゃしゃり出て、てめーらの身辺は、そんなにクリーンなのかよ(嘲笑)
      埃まみれのくせに高潔ぶって日本ぶったたいてるんじゃねえよ(激怒)

      そんな訳で、設置日が近づいてるけど、英語先&凸を、転載させていただきますっ(激怒)

      転載元はなでしこアクションさま!本当にいつも、ありがとうございますっ!
      http://nadesiko-action.org/?p=11579


      【 メール宛先 】

      ※TOの宛先はBrookhaven市長・市議・市担当者(韓国系John Park議員除く)
      CCの宛先は慰安婦碑の記事を書いたメディアや記者

      TO: mayorandcouncil@brookhavenga.gov,john.ernst@brookhavenga.gov, linley.jones@brookhavenga.gov, bates.mattison@brookhavenga.gov, joe.gebbia@brookhavenga.gov, burke.brennan@brookhavenga.gov, annmarie.quill@brookhavenga.gov

      CC:  cheadlee@gpb.org, tyoung@gpb.org, dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net, craig.johnson@patch.com, maria@saporta.biz

      【 メール件名 例 】
      No “Comfort Women” statue in Brookhaven!!

      I am against the “Comfort Women” memorial in Brookhaven

      I protest against the “Comfort Women” memorial in Brookhaven



      【 メール文例 】
      メッセージは簡単でも構いません。
      下記の例文を参考に出来るだけ自分の言葉で、又はアレンジして送ってください。

      <例 1>
      Dear  Mayor and Council Members of Brookhaven:

      I am against the comfort women monument in Brookhaven.
      Currently there is only one comfort women statue in public property outside of Korea. That is in Glendale, CA, USA. Its plaque inscribes “I was a sex slave of Japanese military.”
      A group of Japanese Americans filed a lawsuit to remove the statue. In February, 2017, the Japanese government summited amicus curie in support of the petitioners to the U.S. Supreme Court.
      Please read it at http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000231732.pdf .

      The “Comfort Women Issue” is not simply human right issue, but is politically and diplomatically controversial and complicated issue between Korea and Japan.
      The peaceful city of Brookhaven should not be involved in such issue by erecting memorial.

      Japanese are very upset about the statue in Glendale. Brookhaven should not be the next one.

      Sincerely,

      差出人名前 住所
      例Hanako Yamada
      Tokyo, JAPAN

      日本語要約:市長市議の皆様へ。ブルックヘブンの慰安婦碑に反対します。
      現在韓国外の公共地にある慰安婦像はひとつだけです。
      それは米国加州グレンデールにある像です。碑文には「私は性奴隷でした」と書いてあります。
      日系人グループがこの像の撤去を求めて訴えました。
      2017年2月、日本政府が原告を支持する意見書を米国最高裁に出しました。是非読んでください。
      慰安婦問題は単なる人権問題ではなく、政治・外交的に論争となっている複雑な問題です。
      平和なブルックヘブンがそのような問題に関わるべきではありません。
      日本人はグレンデールの像に対して非常に怒っています。
      ブルックヘブンが次にそうなってはなりません。



      <例 2>
      Dear  Mayor and Council Members of Brookhaven:

      I am against the comfort women monument in Brookhaven.
      You must understand that the comfort women issue is politically and diplomatically controversial issue.
      The Japanese government once recalled her ambassador and Council General to Pusan to home, and terminated or postponed negotiations with the government of South Korea. This decision took place in response to Korea’s decision to install a Comfort Women statue in Public place in Pusan, the second largest city in S. Korea.

      Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary /January 6, 2017

      http://japan.kantei.go.jp/tyoukanpress/201701/6_a.html

      The peaceful city of Brookhaven should not be involved in such issue by erecting memorial of one-sided allegations.

      Sincerely,

      差出人名前 住所
      例Hanako Yamada
      Tokyo, JAPAN

      日本語要約:市長市議の皆様へ。慰安婦碑に反対です。
      慰安婦問題が政治・外交問題であることを知るべきです。
      日本政府は釜山の慰安婦像に抗議して大使と総領事を日本に戻し、
      韓国との交渉を延期したことがありました。
      そのような問題に平和なブルックヘブン市が介入し一方的な主張の碑を建てるべきではありません。



      <例 3>
      Dear  Mayor and Council Members of Brookhaven:

      I am against the comfort women monument in Brookhaven.
      It is very upsetting to know that you plan to erect the comfort women monument in the public property.
      The inscriptions of the memorial often depicts “Comfort Women” as “hundreds of thousands of women and girls who were abducted and coerced into sexual slavery by Japanese military during WW2.” What are the evidence or primary source to proof these allegations?
      The government of Japan officially denies above at UN human rights committees, stating “the figure ‘200,000 persons’ as the number of comfort women also lacks concrete evidence”, “the expression ‘sex slaves’ contradicts the facts” and “there are one-sided claims which lack any corroborative evidence in the reports by the United Nations Special Rapporteurs as well as in the criticisms and recommendations from treaty bodies”.

      http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000140100.pdf

      http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000087944.pdf (page11 Paragraph 19)

      I believe the monument will divide your multi-cultural good communities. And also it will drive a wedge among US, South Korea, and Japan alliance, and that will only make Communist China and North Korea happy.

      Sincerely,

      差出人名前 住所
      例Hanako Yamada
      Tokyo, JAPAN

      日本語要約:市長市議の皆様へ。慰安婦碑に反対です。碑文にはよく
      「慰安婦とは戦時中に日本軍に拉致され性奴隷にされた数十万の婦女子」と書かれています。
      この主張の根拠、一時資料は何でしょうか?日本政府は国連人権委員会で「20万の根拠はない」、
      「性奴隷の事実に反する」、「国連の報告や勧告は一方的で根拠に欠ける」と公式に表明しています。
      碑は、多文化の良きコミュニティーを分断することになるでしょう。
      また米・韓・日の同盟を分断するもので、これを喜ぶのは中国共産党と北朝鮮だけです。



      <例 4>
      Dear  Mayor and Council Members of Brookhaven:

      I am writing to you concerning a memorial for “comfort women” in Brookhaven. I would ask that you turn down the plan.
      The proposer has been insisting that this is a human rights issue. It may be true. But, instead of blaming only Japan, it is more appropriate to address all major human rights issues in the world and learn from the cases to solve them and prevent from happening again.
      I am strongly against the installation of memorial of Comfort women in Brookhaven.
      Thank you very much.
      Sincerely,

      差出人名前 住所
      例Hanako Yamada
      Tokyo, JAPAN

      日本語要約:市長市議の皆様へ。ブルックヘブンの慰安婦記念碑についてメールします。
      計画を却下するようお願いします。慰安婦像の提案側は人権問題だと主張しています。
      正しいかもしれませんが、それなら日本だけを非難するのでなく、
      世界中の他の事例も取り上げる方が適切ではないでしょうか。
      私は慰安婦記念碑設置に強く反対します。



      <例 5>
      Dear  Mayor and Council Members of Brookhaven:

      I am writing to you concerning a memorial for “comfort women” in Brookhaven. I would ask that you turn down the plan.
      Chinese and Korean interest has been waging a concerted anti-Japan/Japanese movements all over the United States. The “hate Japan” education in their homeland has been promoting the atmosphere even in the U.S. more than 70 years after the last war. We should work toward the future for the benefits of the younger generations in a more constructive way rather than destructively.
      I am strongly against the installation of memorial of Comfort women in Brookhaven.
      Thank you very much.

      Sincerely,

      差出人名前 住所
      例Hanako Yamada
      Tokyo, JAPAN

      日本語要約:市長市議の皆様へ。慰安婦記念碑設置についてメールします。
      計画を却下するようお願いします。中国・韓国系による反日運動が全米に広まっています。
      戦後70年以上経っているにも関わらず、本国での”嫌日”教育が米国に持ち込まれています。
      若い世代に為に我々はより建設的に努めるべきです。私はブルックヘブンの慰安婦記念碑設置に強く反対します。



      <例 6>
      Dear  Mayor and Council Members of Brookhaven:

      I am writing to you concerning a memorial for “comfort women” in Brookhaven. I would ask that you turn down the plan.
      Japanese people are strongly opposed to the comfort woman memorial because it will create a conflict among people, leading to hate crime and children bullying not only in your city but also elsewhere. I hear there is such a case in Glendale, New York, New Jersey and even in Australia.
      I am strongly against the installation of memorial of Comfort women in a park in Brookhaven.
      Thank you very much.

      Sincerely,

      差出人名前 住所
      例Hanako Yamada
      Tokyo, JAPAN

      日本語要約:市長市議の皆様へ。ブルックヘブン慰安婦記念碑設置についてメールします。
      計画を却下するようお願いします。対立、ヘイトクライム、子供のいじめがサンフランシスコだけでなく
      他の地域にも起こります。グレンデール、ニューヨーク、ニュージャージー、
      豪州でさえも同様のことが起こったと聞いています。私は慰安婦記念碑設置に強く反対します。



      <例 7>

      Dear Mayor and Council Members of Brookhaven:

      I strongly protest against the “Comfort Women” monument in Brookhaven.
      Before you will place the proposed comfort women memorial in the public property, you must know about the comfort women for American GIs after the WW2.
      In Japan, soon after WW2 in 1945, the brothels, or RAA (Recreation and Amusement Association), were set up for U.S. servicemen pouring into Japan and hired more than 50,000 Japanese prostitutes. South Korea had a similar comfort station system for U.S.-led U.N. troops during the 1950-1953 Korean War and promoted sex businesses for American troops after the war.
      Please understand that Japanese are very upset about the “comfort women” statues, because they single out only Japanese military. That is unfair and is nothing but an insult to Japanese.

      Sincerely,

      差出人名前 住所
      例Hanako Yamada
      Tokyo, JAPAN

      日本語要約:市長市議の皆様へ。慰安婦碑に反対です。
      提案されている慰安婦碑を公有地に設置する前に、戦後の米軍慰安婦についても知るべきです。
      戦後日本には米軍向けの慰安所RAAができ、
      5万人以上の日本人売春婦が働きました。韓国でも朝鮮戦争時に同様の慰安所があり
      連合軍が利用しました。その後も韓国には米軍向けの性産業がありました。
      慰安婦像は日本軍のことだけを取り上げているので日本人はとても怒っています。
      これは不公正であり日本人への侮辱です。


      日本語凸は先日のかけだしエントリより再録っ

      e-gov(内閣官房・外務省など)
      https://www.e-gov.go.jp/policy/servlet/Propose

      首相官邸
      https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/forms/goiken_ssl.html

      自民党 ご意見
      https://www.jimin.jp/voice/
      〒100-8910東京都千代田区永田町1-11-23
      TEL:03-3581-6211 FAX:03-5511-8855


      凸凸凸 文例 凸凸凸

      アメリカ・ジョージ州ブルックヘブンに慰安婦を象徴するとされる
      『平和の少女像』が設置されるそうです。

      明らかに2015年末の日韓慰安婦妥結の合意違反です。
      韓国系が主導して設置にこぎ着けた以上
      「民間団体のやったこと」という言い訳は通じません。
      妥結に立会ったアメリカ政府と、合意違反の韓国へ猛抗議して戴きたく存じます。
      また、韓国への制裁も追加措置が必要です。

      ブルックヘブンには
      ・韓国の主張する慰安婦強制連行は事実ではないこと
      ・各地の碑文は捏造に溢れていること
      ・2015年にアメリカ立ち会いのもと、日韓で「最終的かつ不可逆的に」解決し、
       蒸し返さないという合意済みで、像の設置は合意違反であること
      ・像の設置は現地の日本人に対する人権侵害で、民族対立を煽る
      と説明して頂きたいです。

      証拠はなにひとつないのに、20万人もの少女が強制連行されたという
      嘘八百碑文で慰安婦像が設置されている現状に一石を投じなくては、
      同じ問題はさらに各地で起こり続けるでしょう。
      一度設置されたら撤去は困難であることは、前例をあげるまでもありません。

      また、慰安婦像の設置に伴い、現地に在住する邦人への嫌がらせや人権侵害が懸念されます。
      現地の日本人を守るためにも、早急に対処し、
      合意違反で、デタラメである慰安婦像を設置させないよう尽力ください。



      【継続はチカラ也!時間があったら凸っちゃおう!~デイリー3凸のコーナー~】
      ↓ 生コン辻元を追い込めっ!↓
      辻元が責任者だった東日本大震災義援金3600億の使途がヤバい?!
      http://migigimi.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-1410.html

      ↓ 朝鮮人による文化財へのテロを許すまじっ ↓
      下朝鮮籍の男が福島の神社でキツネ像を壊し逮捕!他の100体もこいつ?即時強制送還しる(激怒)
      http://migigimi.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-1324.html

      ↓ テロリスト民族の入国管理は、厳格にっ ↓
      朝鮮人のビザ厳格化&指紋捺印復活要望凸っ!
      http://migigimi.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-995.html
                No Evidence Undocumented Commit More Crimes   

      Fact Check: No Evidence Undocumented Immigrants Commit More Crimes
      http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/fact-check-no-evidence-undocumented-immigrants-commit-more-crimes-n777856

      The Trump administration on Wednesday was all about crime committed by undocumented immigrants.

      President Donald Trump met at the White House with the victims of crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security championed increased arrests, and the Department of Justice called for the passage of a law that would up the penalties for undocumented immigrants who attempt to reenter the country.

      The day’s events meshed well with Trump’s campaign rhetoric that illegal immigration was a public safety issue, with criminals “roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens,” as he put it in one campaign speech.

      There’s one catch: There’s no evidence that undocumented immigrants commit more crime.

      Trump has often drawn a connection between illegal immigration and violent crime. A handout provided by the White House on Wednesday quoted candidate Trump: “Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws.”

      Politifact noted last year that there’s no national database of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants or study that tracked the crimes they have committed. “The challenge in finding concrete numbers is due to a shortfall of data,” Politifact said.

      The number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. tripled between the 1990s and 2013, while violent crime declined 48% and property crime fell 41% over that period.

      What’s more, a slew of studies have found that immigrants as a whole — both legal and undocumented — commit less crime than native-born Americans.

      One study in Criminology found that “violent crime rates tended to decrease as metropolitan areas experienced gains in their concentration of immigrants.” A 2007 report by a pro-immigrant nonprofit, American Immigration Council, concluded that “for every ethnic group without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are the least educated.”

      On the campaign trail, Trump, as quoted in the White House fact sheet, also vowed to “end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths.”

      Yet sanctuary cities appear to be safer than non-sanctuary cities, according to an University of California analysis of federal data published by a liberal think tank, and another analysis by political scientists found those cities do not see a surge in crime.

      “Did I say aliens commit more crimes than U.S. citizens? I didn’t say that,” Thomas Homan, acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told reporters on Wednesday. “The purpose is to dispel notion if you enter illegally, you should be comfortable.”

      In a handouts given to reporters Wednesday, the White House offered a slew of statistics about enforcement. Many were accurate; a handful were false or misleading.

      One fact sheet boasted that ICE had removed 2,798 “criminal gang members” in fiscal year 2017 — a period that includes nearly four months of President Barack Obama’s term — while a second hand out touted 1,378 arrests from an anti-gang operation during this calendar year (20 days of which where under Obama’s leadership.)

      What’s more, experts told NBC News that the kind of immigration enforcement the Trump administration championed Wednesday is likely to drive overall crime numbers up, as communities shut out authorities, declining to report crime or cooperate with police for fear of being deported.


      Ron

       


                6/30/2017: PUZZLES: Pastry indulgence to savour   

      PEA SAMBUSAK & MIDDLE-EASTERN KETCHUP By Chick+Pea EVERY time we visit my partner’s homeland of Malta each morning for breakfast we sit down to a bottomless mountain of flaky pastries filled with pea and ricotta. The recipe below has a nod to the...
                House Bill 150 Printer's Number 114   
      An Act imposing a duty on the Department of Transportation to file with the Department of Homeland Security a request for extension of time to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005; and making a related repeal....
                PORTRAITS OF THE PAST: Chisholm Trail the most famous and romantic route   
      The present site of Wichita, Kansas, was the original, ancestral homeland of the Wichita Indians, who were part of the Plains Indian culture. They hunted buffalo. In 1662, the Spaniards drove the Wichita from their homeland southward to the Canadian River in central Oklahoma. Osage war parties once again drove the Wichita further south during the mid-1700s where they settled along the upper Red River in northern Texas. As the American Civil War was winding down, the Wichita pulled [...]
                Obama 338 - 163 McCain   


      As you can see from the result above, the Illinois Senator Barack Obama was elected to be the next President of the United States. He will start that job on January 20th, 2009.

      Results breakdown
      Here is a graphical representation of who won each state:

      Here is a simple breakdown of the numbers
      ChoiceNo. states
      Democrat28
      GOP21
      Incomplete2

      The result above is about electoral college votes and that's what decided who won the states. Remember that the votes of the people don't count in the US, although it's expected that the members of the Electoral College assigned to each state will vote the way the people do. It hasn't always happened like that though (have a look at the results from the 2000 Gore vs. Bush election).

      Big switch
      One of the most interesting facts from this result is that nine states switched there support and in all cases it was from GOP (the Republicans) to Democrat. Those states included Florida, an important state in 2000 and has been Republican for a number of years. It was an area that Rudy Giuliani concentrated on heavily when he was campaigning.

      What reasons could there be for the big switch in those nine states? Well, there are several possibilities. A campaign theme for McCain was based around fear (because of the terrorist attacks). Maybe Obama's message of hope was more appealing. The VP picks have been frequently analysed and maybe the gaffes of Sarah Palin were a factor.

      Exit poll analysis
      The exit polls on CNN reveal some interesting information about the way people voted. Some of it is stating the obvoius, but it's better when it's confirmed with numerical data.

      It seems a large proportion of John McCain's votes came from the older white population. Obama dominated the young and non-white demographics. As an example, 55% of the white population voted for McCain and a spectacular 94% of African-Americans went for Obama. Another example is that McCain got 53% of the 65 and older demographic.

      This goes to confirm that age and race still play a major part in the election. It's worrying, but not unexpected.

      Speeches
      The following is Barack Obama's victory speech:



      This is the sort of speech that Obama has been giving throughout the camapign. Although it is full of inspirational talk and essentially a message of hope and change, it doesn't give us anything new.

      Lack of detail in speech
      He doesn't go into specifics about all his policies either. A criticism of him has been that he hasn't done that thorughout his campaign. However, I believe he has - for example, he has a plan for improving national security freely available on his website and it contains budget figures, military numbers and deadlines. Also, he can give us more detail when he actually gets into the Whitehouse because then he'll have access to more information.

      GOP defeat
      John McCain was gracious in defeat, saying that he now hopes that America can move forward:
      "This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and the special pride that must be theirs tonight"
      "These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face."
      International recognition
      There were many leaders who congratulated Obama on his victory - but then that's to be expected. They want to have good relationships with one of the most powerful nations on earth. It's something that's been done over many years. Here is what Gordon Brown had to say:
      "I hope to be able to work with Senator Obama to bring the world together so that we can face these difficult times with more coordination and more unity than we've seen before."
      Problems
      It seemed to be a relatively smooth election day. The only problems that were reported mainly focused on long queues and faulty e-voting systems. The queues are unavoidable, but they could be minimised if more polling stations and voting booths were made available. It's a simple formula. The availability of voting machines cannot be based on the turnout of a previous election because it doesn't take into account the candidates and the current public feeling towards politics and other current affairs.

      E-voting was something heavily criticised in previous elections and it is something that I've blogged about before, but providing more research and development is done, it can work.

      Summary and conclusion
      It has been a very long election process. Most people will agree that it has been too long. There needs to be some reform in this area soon. The scheduling of primaries needs to be worked on too - entire states were robbed of the delegates that would normally go to the party conventions where the presidential candidates are announced.

      It has also been heavily money-driven. There were several stories in the media about campaign funding. Several people support the idea of a funding cap. It's something I agree with because if everyone has the same amount of money, it shifts the focus from finances and onto the important politics.

      Despite all that, I believe a high calibre candidate has been elected as President and hopefully his promise of change will be reality during his tenure (whether it's four or eight years).

      So, what do you think?

      Technorati tags: Politics, US Election, John McCain, Barack Obama, Government,
                The Government’s Muslim Ban ‘Guidance’ is Arbitrary, Illogical, and Discriminatory – Just Like the Ban.   
      The government is not implementing the Supreme Court’s order, it is trying to rewrite it. Shortly after the Supreme Court decided that the government could proceed with a very limited part of President Trump’s Muslim ban, the Department of Homeland Security announced that its implementation would “be done professionally, with clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers.” Unfortunately, clarity is a far cry from what has unfolded. The Supreme Court on Monday decided it would review the executive order this October. The court recognized that the ban would impose “concrete hardship” on individuals, companies, schools, and organizations across the country and has not weighed in yet on the full merits of the case — the underlying question of whether or not the ban is constitutional. However, the court did decide that the federal government could bar refugees and people from six overwhelmingly Muslim…
                Busy Week for Immigration News   
      While my staff and I have been hard at work helping individuals and companies to solve their immigration issues this week, there have been many stories about immigration in the news. The top story this week was the Supreme Court‘s decision to set aside part of the injunction that stopped the travel ban ordered by the president. The government acted quickly and the travel ban is now back in effect.  As a result, individuals from six mostly-Muslim countries, are prohibited from entering the United States. The one exception carved out by the court is for individuals with “a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”  While that seems simple enough, in the opinion of this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer,  the Supreme Court muddled that exception by saying “a close familial relationship is required.” That opened the door for Homeland Security to exclude most family members as not being…
                Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Announces Comment and Reply Comment Dates for Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Add a Dedicated Emergency Alert System Event Code for Blue Alerts.   
      none
                Picturing An 'America First' Korea Policy   

      Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

      “The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”

      So President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden this week.

      But how this is to be done “rapidly” is not so easy to see.

      North Korea has just returned to us Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. Otto came home comatose, and died within days.

      Trump’s conundrum: How to keep such a regime from acquiring an ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which Kim Jong Un is determined to do.

      Having seen us attack Iraq and Libya, which had no nukes, Kim believes that only nuclear weapons that can hit America can deter America. He appears willing to risk war to achieve his goal.

      Trump’s options as he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in?

      First, the decapitation of the Kim dynasty. But the U.S. has been unable to accomplish regime change for the 64 years following the Korean War. And killing Kim could ignite a war.

      Then there is a U.S. pre-emptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear sites and missile arsenals. But this would surely mean a war in which Americans on the DMZ would be among the first to die, as thousands of North Korean artillery and mortar tubes fired into the suburbs and city of Seoul, which is as close as Dulles Airport is to the White House.

      Asked by Congressman Tim Ryan why we don’t launch a war to end this threat, Defense Secretary James Mattis replied that, while we might “win … at great cost,” such a war would “involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital … one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”

      Seoul has a metro-area population of 25 million.

      We are thus approaching a point where we accept North Korea having a nuclear weapon that can reach Seattle, or we attack its strategic arsenal and bring on a war in which millions could die.

      What about sanctions?

      The only nation that could impose sufficient hardships on North Korea to imperil the regime is China. But China refuses to impose the Draconian sanctions that might destabilize the regime, and might bring Korean refugees flooding into China. And Beijing has no desire to see Kim fall and Korea united under a regime aligned with the United States.

      What FDR said of one Caribbean dictator, the Chinese are probably saying of Kim Jong Un, “He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.”

      Early in his presidency, Trump gave the franchise for dealing with the North Korean threat to Beijing. But his friend Xi Jinping has either failed Trump or declined to deliver.

      As for President Moon, he wants to negotiate, to engage the North economically, to invite its athletes to join South Koreans on joint teams for the Winter Olympics in 2018. Moreover, Moon is said to be willing to cut back on joint military exercises with the U.S. and regards the THAAD missile defense we introduced into South Korea as a negotiable item.

      China, whose missile launches can be detected by THAAD radar, wants it removed and has so informed South Korea.

      Where does this leave us?

      We are committed to go to war to defend the South and have 28,000 troops there. But South Korea wants to negotiate with North Korea and is prepared to make concessions to buy peace.

      As the nation that would suffer most in any second Korean War, South Korea has the sovereign right to play the hand. But what Seoul considers best for South Korea is not necessarily best for us.

      What would be an America First Korean policy?

      The U.S. would give Seoul notice that we will, by a date certain, be dissolving our mutual security treaty and restoring our full freedom to decide whether or not to fight in a new Korean War. Given the present risk of war, possibly involving nuclear weapons, it is absurd that we should be obligated to fight what Mattis says would be a “catastrophic” war, because of a treaty negotiated six decades ago by Eisenhower and Dulles.

      “The commonest error in politics,” Lord Salisbury reminded us, “is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”

      But we should also tell South Korea that if she desires a nuclear deterrent against an attack by the North, she should build it. Americans should not risk a nuclear war, 8,000 miles away, to defend a South Korea that has 40 times the economy of the North and twice the population.

      No vital U.S. interest requires us, in perpetuity, to be willing to go to war to defend South Korea, especially if that war entails the risk of a nuclear attack on U.S. troops or the American homeland.

      If the United States did not have a mutual security pact that obligates us to defend South Korea against a nuclear-armed North, would President Trump be seeking to negotiate such a treaty?

      The question answers itself.


                What does this Trump commission want to do with states’ voter information?   

      Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

      JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to President Trump’s repeated and unsubstantiated claim that three to five million votes were cast illegally in the 2016 election. He set up a special commission to investigate, but one of its first acts has drawn condemnation from across the country.

      Hari Sreenivasan is here with that.

      HARI SREENIVASAN: Yesterday, the vice chair of that commission sent a letter to all 50 states asking for voter data that includes addresses, party I.D., voter history, and Social Security information. The commission asked that data be sent to the White House by mid-July, but didn’t say how it would be used, other than to examine for vulnerabilities in the system.

      We take a closer look now with Rick Hasen. He is a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. He writes the Election Law blog.

      Rick, the NewsHour’s been reaching out to states all day long. And we have got nine definite no’s, 18 that might comply in whole or in part, and a few other states that are still looking at it. Often, what we hear there is that there are apparently laws on the books in certain states that prohibit, even if it’s public information, who can look at the information and why it can be looked at.

      Explain.

      RICK HASEN, University of California, Irvine: Well, some of this information, depending on the state, is available publicly. People can buy it. Some of this is not available.

      And, in fact, just before we came on, I saw a story that Kris Kobach himself, the personal who has asked for this information, he himself cannot produce the Social Security numbers that he has demanded because that would violate the law in the state of Kansas.

      This doesn’t seem to have been very well thought out. Not only do we not know what the information is going to be used exactly to do. It doesn’t appear that this information even legally can be provided by a lot of the states.

      HARI SREENIVASAN: So, Kris Kobach, as his role as secretary of state of Kansas, can’t provide the information that he’s asking for, right?

      RICK HASEN: To himself. That’s right.

      HARI SREENIVASAN: Got it. Right.

      All right, what about the scope of the investigation? There seems to be a lot of focus on measuring or protecting the integrity one person, one vote. I don’t see any description in here about any Russian meddling that might have happened.

      RICK HASEN: Well, so it’s not clear exactly what this commission is going to do.

      Initially, the president said he wanted to look into the potential for voter fraud. There are a couple of Democrats on the commission who said that they wanted to look into Russian meddling. Kobach said he might be open to that, but that wasn’t on the list of questions that was sent to various state election officials.

      It’s not clear what this group is going to do, what it’s going to produce. But I’m concerned that it’s going to be something that is just going to try to support the president’s agenda, claiming that there’s a lot of voter fraud, and use that to make it harder for people to be able to register to vote.

      HARI SREENIVASAN: Is this the kind of information that a campaign really would pay money for?

      RICK HASEN: Well, in some states, campaigns do pay money for this kind of information.

      The fact that the information is going to sent to the president’s office is concerning. Rather than having outside professional staff or rather than having social scientists who study this information, we know that this information is going literally to the executive office of the president.

      We don’t know how it’s going to be kept. We don’t know how secure it’s going to be, on what kind of servers. We don’t have any information. But the concerns about privacy, about identity theft, about the information being used for political purposes, I think these are all legitimate questions to be asked.

      HARI SREENIVASAN: And, finally, is there a question here on the role of the federal government? There seemed to be some pushback from states when it came to the Department of Homeland Security going out to them, saying we have this potential for hacking, we would like to help you secure your networks.

      RICK HASEN: Absolutely.

      There has been this long tradition, especially on the Republican side, of talking about federalism and states’ rights in this area. And we’re even seeing some pushback now from states like Mississippi that are saying they are not going to cooperate with providing this information to the federal government.

      HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Rick Hasen, a professor at University of California, Irvine, thanks so much.

      RICK HASEN: Thank you.

      The post What does this Trump commission want to do with states’ voter information? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


                WATCH: Trump relaunches National Space Council   

      President Donald Trump is forming a National Space Council to be led by Vice President Mike Pence.

      The president signed an executive order Friday to revive a council last in place in 1993.

      Trump says the announcement sends a clear signal to the world about the United States’ leadership in space. He says space exploration would help the economy and national security.

      Members of the council are to include the secretaries of state, defense, commerce, transportation and homeland security, as well as the head of NASA, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence. The council will also draw on insights from scientists and business leaders.

      The post WATCH: Trump relaunches National Space Council appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


                Picturing An 'America First' Korea Policy   
      Picturing An 'America First' Korea Policy Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,



      *“The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”*



      So President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden this week.

      But how this is to be done “rapidly” is not so easy to see.

      North Korea has just returned to us Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. *Otto came home comatose, and died within days.*

      Trump’s conundrum: *How to keep such a regime from acquiring an ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which Kim Jong Un is determined to do.*

      Having seen us attack Iraq and Libya, which had no nukes, Kim believes that only nuclear weapons that can hit America can deter America. He appears willing to risk war to achieve his goal.

      *Trump’s options as he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in?*

      First, the* decapitation of the Kim dynasty.* But the U.S. has been unable to accomplish regime change for the 64 years following the Korean War. And killing Kim could ignite a war.

      Then there is a U.S. *pre-emptive strike* on North Korea’s nuclear sites and missile arsenals. But this would surely mean a war in which Americans on the DMZ would be among the first to die, as thousands of North Korean artillery and mortar tubes fired into the suburbs and city of Seoul, which is as close as Dulles Airport is to the White House.

      Asked by Congressman Tim Ryan why we don’t launch a war to end this threat, Defense Secretary James Mattis replied that, while we might “win … at great cost,” such a war would “involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital … one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”

      Seoul has a metro-area population of 25 million.

      *We are thus approaching a point where we accept North Korea having a nuclear weapon that can reach Seattle, or we attack its strategic arsenal and bring on a war in which millions could die.*

      *What about sanctions?*

      The only nation that could impose sufficient hardships on North Korea to imperil the regime is China. But China refuses to impose the Draconian sanctions that might destabilize the regime, and might bring Korean refugees flooding into China. And Beijing has no desire to see Kim fall and Korea united under a regime aligned with the United States.

      What FDR said of one Caribbean dictator, the Chinese are probably saying of Kim Jong Un, *“He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.”*

      Early in his presidency, Trump gave the franchise for dealing with the North Korean threat to Beijing. But his friend Xi Jinping has either failed Trump or declined to deliver.

      As for President Moon, he wants to negotiate, to engage the North economically, to invite its athletes to join South Koreans on joint teams for the Winter Olympics in 2018. Moreover, Moon is said to be willing to cut back on joint military exercises with the U.S. and regards the THAAD missile defense we introduced into South Korea as a negotiable item.

      China, whose missile launches can be detected by THAAD radar, wants it removed and has so informed South Korea.

      *Where does this leave us?*

      We are committed to go to war to defend the South and have 28,000 troops there. But South Korea wants to negotiate with North Korea and is prepared to make concessions to buy peace.

      As the nation that would suffer most in any second Korean War, South Korea has the sovereign right to play the hand. But what Seoul considers best for South Korea is not necessarily best for us.

      *What would be an America First Korean policy?*

      The U.S. would give Seoul notice that we will, by a date certain, be dissolving our mutual security treaty and restoring our full freedom to decide whether or not to fight in a new Korean War. Given the present risk of war, possibly involving nuclear weapons, it is absurd that we should be obligated to fight what Mattis says would be a “catastrophic” war, because of a treaty negotiated six decades ago by Eisenhower and Dulles.

      *“The commonest error in politics,” Lord Salisbury reminded us, “is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”*

      But we should also tell South Korea that if she desires a nuclear deterrent against an attack by the North, she should build it. Americans should not risk a nuclear war, 8,000 miles away, to defend a South Korea that has 40 times the economy of the North and twice the population.

      *No vital U.S. interest requires us, in perpetuity, to be willing to go to war to defend South Korea, especially if that war entails the risk of a nuclear attack on U.S. troops or the American homeland.*

      *If the United States did not have a mutual security pact that obligates us to defend South Korea against a nuclear-armed North, would President Trump be seeking to negotiate such a treaty?*

      The question answers itself. Reported by Zero Hedge 1 hour ago.
                Anti-immigrant Texas attorney general threatens to sue Trump unless he ends DACA   

      You’d think that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton would have other things to worry about, like the fact that the three felony charges hanging over his head could land him in the slammer for up to 99 years.

      But on the very same day Paxton’s legal team met with the new judge presiding over his criminal case, Paxton and Republican officials in nine other states announced they will sue Donald Trump if he doesn’t end former President Barack Obama’s popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 immigrant youth to work legally and pursue their dreams.

      Texas already paved the way to killing Obama’s 2014 immigration action, which would have protected the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents from deportation and allowed them to work legally. Now these anti-immigrant charlatans want an end to DACA as well:

      Joining Paxton on the letter were Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho and West Virginia.

      The letter said the threatened lawsuit against DACA would follow the same legal reasoning that prompted the federal courts to block Obama’s 2014 attempt to expand DACA and add protections for unauthorized immigrants who were parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents.

      Texas led a 26-state coalition that successfully challenged that order — known as DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents — arguing that the Obama administration did not have the legal authority to issue an order protecting about 4 million people from deportation.

      Kelly formally rescinded a Homeland Security memo that implemented the DAPA policy on June 15 but kept the DACA memo in place, prompting Paxton’s letter Thursday.

      “It’s outrageous and wrong for these far-right Republican politicians to attack immigrant youth and DACA, a program that has worked incredibly well for the past five years,” said Greisa Martinez, a leader with immigrant youth led organization United We Dream. “Make no mistake, we will organize and fight to defend, preserve and protect DACA. We call on all people of conscience to speak out in favor of protecting immigrant youth, our families, and our communities. The racist agenda must be stopped.”


                Re: BDS France disrupts Israel’s Elbit Systems exhibition at Paris Air Show   

      "Ashkenazi or Sephardi is irrelevant. One either has a Jewish soul and is believes in a Jewish homeland, or not."

      HUH? "Jewish homeland"? You mean snow-white Europeans with a confirmed DNA of 99.9% European are so deluded to believe Palestine is their ancestral land? At 0% ancestry ties to Palestine? Are you out of your mind?


                 7.7. (Fr): Homeland   
      Homeland: Sat.1 Emotions (Pay-TV), Start: 07.07. Staffel VI
                Mali Blues: When Islamists Killed the Music   
      Timbuktu is sort of like the New Orleans of Mali. It is not the capitol or the commercial center, but it is the seat of the nation’s musical soul. Generations of musicians have lived there amid the storied city’s distinctive architecture, until armed Islamist terrorists forcibly occupied the city. Sharia law was proclaimed, shrines were razed, music was forbidden, and musicians were forced into exile within their own homeland. Although the occupation is over, the risk of Islamist violence remains for residents the regions musicians, many of whom remain in Bamako. Four prominent Malian musicians do their best to take stock and carry on in Lutz Gregor’s documentary, Mali Blues (trailer here), which opens today in New York.

      Remember Timbuktu and neighboring Kidal and Gao next time someone claims Sharia Law is really quite benign and it doesn’t really mean anything anyway. In accordance with Sharia, Taureg guitarist Ahmed ag Kaedi’s gear was burned by the terrorists, who then promised his parents they would break all his fingers when they caught him. Obviously, the oppression of Timbuktu was a profoundly dangerous turn of events for singer-songwriter-actress Fatoumata Diawara (simply called “Sia” by thousands of fans, in reference to her best-known film role), considering her use of music to protest female genital mutilation and to process her own history as refugee fleeing an arranged marriage.

      Bassekou Kouyaté represents both the veneration of custom and the spirit of innovation, neither of which were acceptable to the Islamists, who prefer stagnation. He modernized his sound on the ngoni, an ancient ancestor of the banjo, with pick-ups and a wah-wah pedal. Kouyaté also happens to be a griot, so by silencing him, the Islamists silence a tradition that dates back centuries.

      However, the most “Western” influenced is also the most outspokenly defiant. In his visceral protest rap, Master Soumy explicitly challenges the Islamists: “Torture, rape, thrashings, explain your Islam! Abuse and killings, explain your Islam! Kalashnikovs and bombs, explain your Islam!” That song takes some serious guts. Musicians have been killed for far milder lyrics—in Mali.

      In fact, the four focal artists in Mali Blues represent profiles in courage, just by continuing to perform their music. Yet, Gregor often waters down the inherent drama of their lives with his quiet, long-take observational approach. Frankly, there are too many scenes of his subjects staring off in a mournful revelry, contemplating what has been lost to the forces of ignorance and intolerance. If ever there was a film that could use a bit more righteous indignation, it would be this one. Nevertheless, the dignity and talent of Diawara and company shines through and it is impressive. Recommended for its message and its music, Mali Blues opens today (6/30) in New York, at the IFC Center.
                Lord Marksman & Vanadis: Volume 4    
      £9 RRP £11.99

      The country of Zhcted is ruled by seven women known as the Vanadis, a group of warriors who are given powerful weapons and dominion over the country’s seven territories.

      Taking advantage of its neighboring nations’ civil unrest, Zhcted goes to war against the country of Brune. In a battle that decimates Brune’s army, the brave, young Brune nobleman Tigrevurmund Vorn meets the beautiful Eleonara Viltaria - one of the Vanadis.

      Impressed with his skill as an archer, Elen allows Tigre to live in exchange for his servitude. But the battle is far from over, and extends further than either of them could have imagined.

      Tigre and his new mistress become caught in the middle of a plot that threatens not only their homelands, but the entire world.


                Why Samsung Is Selling Refurbished Galaxy Note 7 'Fandom Edition'   
      Samsung has decided to resume sales in its Korean homeland of Galaxy Note 7 big-screen smartphones with improved batteries to satisfy demand from loyal customer.
                Blame Obama   
      Mort Sahl once said: "Jimmy Carter has been a great ex-president. He should have gone straight to the ex-presidency." No-one can say that about Barack Obama. Lately, both the right and left have been throwing crap at him -- and some of that crap is well-deserved.

      The crap coming from the right is very crappy indeed. The Trumpists are crying foul about "unmasking." That's their way of saying: "When the previous administration caught us doing something wrong, they should have kept our identities masked." Seriously, that's what the argument comes to: "How DARE the cops keep us under surveillance while we case the bank?"

      The crap-attack coming from the left is far more serious. It has long been clear that, well before the election, Barack Obama possessed enough evidence to expose Trump's perfidy, yet the former president refused to do so.

      Why?

      The focal point for the current controversy is this WP story, which appeared yesterday. The article discusses a highly-classified report on Putin's personal involvement in the Great Election Hack -- a report which reached Obama in August. Obama took measures which now seem far, far too cautious.
      But other administration officials look back on the Russia period with remorse.

      “It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” said a former senior Obama administration official involved in White House deliberations on Russia. “I feel like we sort of choked.”
      Damn right they did. Remember, in June -- well before that August report -- Paul Ryan and other Republicans were already trading "jokes"-that-weren't-jokes about Putin's stranglehold on the Republican party in general and on Trump in particular. Trump's interactions with Russian mobsters like Sater were either known or easily knowable. Even then, some people were asking questions about the Putin-linked banks that were willing to deal with Trump after most other financiers had decided to steer clear of him.

      Here's Charles Pierce's reaction to the WP piece:
      This, right here. This is where they choked. The American people had damned close to an absolute right to the information their government already had. The most fundamental act of citizenship is the right to cast an informed vote. The idea that the Obama administration withheld the fact that the Russians were ratfcking the election in order to help elect a vulgar talking yam is a terrible condemnation of the whole No Drama Obama philosophy. Would Donald Trump have raised hell if the White House released what it knew? Of course, he would have. But, as it was, the American people went to vote with only about half of the information they needed to assess his candidacy. This was a terrible decision.
      From The Hill, this morning:
      Then-President Obama was too cautious in the months leading up to the election, frustrated Democratic lawmakers and strategists say.

      “It was inadequate. I think they could have done a better job informing the American people of the extent of the attack,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who co-chairs the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

      And even after the election was over, they say, the penalties Obama levied were too mild to appropriately punish what by all accounts was an unprecedented attack on a U.S. election.

      Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), another House Intelligence member, called the penalties “barely a slap on the wrist.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who supports tougher sanctions Russia, said in a statement Friday that the administration “abjectly failed to deter Russian aggression” and “failed to impose any meaningful costs on Russia.”

      Some Republicans argue the Obama administration only started to take the Russia threat seriously after President Trump had won the election.
      Of course he did. The question is why.
      Former Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday told lawmakers that the White House held back on responding to Russia because it didn’t want to play into fears, propagated by then-candidate Trump, that the election would be “rigged.”

      “One of the candidates, as you'll recall, was predicting that the election was going to be rigged in some way,” Johnson said. “And so we were concerned that, by making the statement, we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the election process itself.”
      What a surreal situation! Trump was allowed to make baseless accusations, and those baseless accusations became an excuse for Obama to refrain from making accurate statements. As always, an infuriating double standard allows the R people to do that which the D people may not.

      My take on this differs (as you might expect) from the standard responses you'll encounter on most progressive sites.

      First: I believe that the voting tabulation machines were hacked directly. The people who keep offering us assurances that such things are impossible never discuss the details; we are simply asked to take these pronouncements on faith. The FBI's "experts" have displayed little expertise, as revealed in this edition of Brad Friedman's podcast. Much of that episode focuses on the predictable GOP "win" in Georgia, but you will also hear some very important observations about the 2016 general election, and about American elections in general.

      Months ago, I expressed my opinion that Trump kept hammering the "rigged election" theme because the machines really were rigged, though not by Hillary. A forensic examination of the machines would have exposed the malware. Thanks to the demonization of Hillary (from both the right and the left), the public would have instantly presumed that her team planted the malware.

      During the recounts, Trump's lawyers did everything in their power to prevent any forensic examination of voting equipment from taking place, a course of action which stands outside of all innocent explanation. Why wouldn't Trump want such an examination? That's like telling your spouse: "No, I did not place a keylogger on your computer. Nevertheless, I forbid you from running a scan for trojans."

      Second: I view Obama's actions (or inactions) through the prism of 2008. In that year, as in 2016, Hillary Clinton was subjected to the worst smears in the history of American politics. But in 2008, the sinister figure behind the smear campaign was Barack Obama himself. The only difference between Obama and Trump is that Trump was willing to get his hands dirty personally, whereas Obama let bots and surrogates do all of the truly filthy work. In that sense, Trump comes across as the more honest -- and therefore more honorable -- of the two political fighters.

      Nearly all of the tactics ascribed to Putin and Cambridge Analytica in 2016 were pioneered by David Axelrod and Team Obama in 2008. True, social media was not quite as important then as it later became. Nevertheless, bots were employed, smears were launched, "fake news" hit hard, websites were overwhelmed, opinion was artificially manipulated, caucus primaries were rigged, delegates were apportioned unfairly -- and anyone who dared to counter the many anti-Hillary lies would be shouted down by a million seemingly-real voices.

      Remember when shit like this appeared every minute of every hour of every day on Democratic Underground, TPM, HuffPo and Daily Kos?



      I sure as hell remember. I'll never forget. And I'll never stop waving the bloody shirt. Some wounds cannot be forgotten or forgiven.

      The public still does not understand that Axelrod ran a perception management firm called ASK which performed the same manipulative tricks in 2008 that Cambridge Analytica performed in 2016. As I noted in my first piece on ASK, they first made their mark by mounting a campaign to deregulate electricity.

      Remember the disaster that hit California? Remember Enron? Remember how the internet was filled with voices pooh-poohing the "conspiracy theory" that Enron deliberately engineered California's woes? Remember how anyone who dared to say "There's something funny going on here" was inundated with ever-so-clever remarks about tin foil hats? Remember how those ever-so-clever remarks disappeared the day the Enron tapes came out and we all learned that some conspiracies are real?

      From my second piece on Axelrod's operation:
      That year saw not just a fevered political campaign but the creation of a genuine cult of personality. Big blogs like Daily Kos and TPM were inundated with comments from individuals never seen before or since, and they all spread horrific lies and rumors about Hillary and Bill Clinton while lauding Obama in reverential, almost messianic terms.

      Were these personas? Were the Obots actually...bots?

      Don't be silly. The question isn't even a question.

      My own blog, humble as it was, got battered by a "vitriol monsoon." The hate-spew came every few minutes, day and night. Software was obviously involved. A large amount of that hate commentary -- including several death threats -- came from the same ISP in Chicago, Illinois. The home of the Obama campaign.
      Obama screwed over Clinton in 2008 and he did it again in 2016. How could he pin the blame on either Russia or Cambridge Analytica? What did they do that he didn't?
                Book Of Feminist Fairytales Outsells ‘Harry Potter’   

      feminist fairytales Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls

      Sensational feminist fairytales authored by two women, who suffered sexist abuse, has now outsold Harry Potter in the U.K., the homeland of author J.K. Rowling.

      Feminist fairytales Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls self-published by authors Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, who were laughed at and endured sexist jokes in meetings, feature 100 bedtime stories about amazing and powerful women.

      While the list of Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls includes such iconic figures as Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and Malala Yousafzai (and even Hillary Clinton), there’s a new volume that will tell the mesmerizing stories of Beyoncé and J.K. Rowling in the works.

      After years of sexist remarks and jibes from investors, the two women decided to self-publish the 100 feminist fairytales, which went on to become a huge hit.

      Click here to continue and read more...


                Zionism’s Quest for a Purely Jewish State is why Zionism is Inherently Racist   

      According to Netanyahu Non-Jewish Refugees threaten the 'National Identity' of Israel i.e. they aren't Jews


      Most Jews are in Britain and the United States today because, from 1882 to the first

      world war, Jews fled from the Czarist pogroms and sought refuge from anti-semitism.  Because there were no immigration controls until 1905 and even later in the United States, some 2.5 million Jews emigrated.  Less than 2% went to the alleged historical homeland of Jews, Palestine.

      It is one of the quaint aspects of Zionism's achievements that Jews too can now be pogromists.  As David Sheen reported on May 29 2013: 
      'Last Thursday, May 23, 2013, marked exactly one year to the day when a thousand Jewish Israelis ran rampant through the streets of Tel Aviv, smashing and looting African-operated businesses and physically assaulting any dark-skinned person they came across. Sadly, the Israeli economic, political and religious establishment – who were in large measure responsible for the pogrom – did not respond by working to quash the racism, but rather ramped up their efforts to expel all non-Jewish African people from the country.' 
      Miri Regev, who is now Israel's 'Culture Minister' told the crowd that:  "the Sudanese are a cancer in our body". 
      In 1905 the Aliens Act was introduced under Prime Minister Arthur James Balfour.  Balfour was quite explicit.  He didn't much like the East European Jews.  He was however a good Zionist because he believed that they should go to Palestine.  Thus it ever was that anti-Semites and Zionists got on like a house on fire.  As you will no doubt know, in 1917 Balfour, now Foreign Secretary, penned a famous letter to Walter Rothschild promising the land of a 3rd party to the Zionists.

      What Netanyahu says aloud, Isaac Herzog of the Israeli Labour Party mutters in coded language.  Netanyahu’s reasons as to why the 60,000 African refugees – from Sudan, Eritrea and other hotspots – had to be deported, demonstrate why Zionism is and always will remain a racist movement.
      Netanyahu explainedwhy the refugees had to be deported thus:

      "If we don't stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state," Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday's cabinet meeting. "This phenomenon is very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity."

      The reason wasn’t that they weren’t genuine refugees, the problem was that they weren't Jewish. David Sheen has drawn up the top 9 Israeli racist politicians who have demonised asylum seekers.  Herzog is at number 5 on the list.  (see below)

      Thus Israel refuses to admit any non-Jewish refugee.  Not because their home country is safe or they are not genuine, the excuses of Western opponents of asylum seekers, but because they ‘threaten our national security and our national identity’.  And what is this national identity?  Why being Jewish of course.  Therefore one cannot accept Arabs or non-Jews within the confines of the holy tent.  Racist?  How could it be otherwise?

      Tony Greenstein
      Another one of the ways that Israeli society becomes increasingly racist is when centrist parties like Labor adopt right-wing rhetoric in order to chase after right-wing votes.

      In recent years, Labor has not played the foil to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but instead acceded to almost all of his hawkish proposals. Instead of standing firm against Israel’s lurch to the right, Labor has attempted to ply votes away from Likud with right-wing proposals.

      That tendency has increased ever since Isaac Herzogwas elected to lead the party in November 2013. It has been especially evident in Herzog’s solid support for Netanyahu’s military campaigns in Gaza and the West Bank, but also in his support for expelling Africans from Israel.

      It was not always so. When the Knesset first voted to amend the country’s “anti-infiltration” law in January 2012 to sanction the roundup, detention and expulsion of African refugees, Herzog opposed the measure.

      When the Knesset voted to amend the law a second time in December 2013, Herzog didn’t show up for the vote. And by the time the Knesset voted to toughen it a third time in December 2014, he voted in favor of the amendment, along with several other Labor lawmakers.

      In May 2012, Herzog wrote an opinion piece, challengingarguments by human rights groups that Eritreans in Israel deserved protection as refugees.

      In March 2015, Herzog repeatedthis refrainin an attempt to peel anti-African votes away from Netanyahu on the eve of the Israeli national elections, saying, “We need to negotiate with Eritrea on the return of the Eritreans back to Eritrea.”

      This year, Labor led a successful effort to abolish the Knesset’s committee on foreign workers, one of the few forums in which the concerns of refugees could receive a hearing in parliament.
      In September 2015, Labor publicly complained that Netanyahu’s government has not done nearly enough to expel Africans from the country. In a public statement, Herzog’s Labor Party wholeheartedly adopted the far-right’s propaganda points, insistingwithout any basis that most refugees in Israel have no valid claim to refugee status.

      “The crisis of the refugees from Syria is not similar to the issue of the infiltrators from Africa who are mostly migrant workers,” the statement read. “If only Bibi’s government had created immigration laws, it would be possible to send back to their country those who are in Israel for their welfare and for work. But the Likud government is only good at talking, and it is responsible for the troubles of the residents of south Tel Aviv.”

      They were promised asylum somewhere closer to home. Then they were discarded — often in a war zone.
      Andrew Green
      Foreign Policy
      June 27, 2017

      KIGALI, Rwanda — The man picked Afie Semene and the 11 other Eritreans on the flight from Tel Aviv out of the stream of disembarking passengers as if he already had their faces memorized. He welcomed them to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and introduced himself as John. He was a Rwandan immigration officer, he explained, there to help smooth their arrival. He collected the travel documents each of them had been issued in Israel and led them past the immigration counter where the rest of the passengers from their flight queued. Nobody stopped them. Nothing was stamped.
      They paused briefly at the luggage carousel to scoop up their bags. In the nearly seven years Semene had lived in Israel, he filled an apartment with furniture and kitchen supplies. But when officials there summoned him to a detention facility for asylum-seekers, he had distributed much of what he owned among his friends, unsure if he would ever return. Now his suitcase contained little besides clothes.
      The group exited the airport into the humid Rwandan night and crowded into a waiting pickup. The luggage followed in a second truck. The small convoy wound its way through lush, hilly Kigali, past the fenced campus of the regional polytechnic, and into a quiet neighborhood several miles south of the airport. They came to a stop in front of a house the color of a pistachio nut, its second story ringed with white-trimmed porches. Dawn was already breaking as the new arrivals were shown to bedrooms inside. As he fell asleep, Semene still remembers the feeling of relief wash over him. John would return the next day to help them begin their asylum applications, he thought. Maybe he would arrive with the papers granting them refugee status already in hand.

      There would be no visas. No work permits. No asylum. None of the things Israeli authorities had promised the 12 Eritreans when they had agreed to relocate to Rwanda a few weeks prior.

      Instead, the next day brought new despair: There would be no visas. No work permits. No asylum. None of the things Israeli authorities had promised the 12 Eritreans when they had agreed to relocate to Rwanda a few weeks prior. Instead, John offered to smuggle them into neighboring Uganda, which he told them was a “free nation.” “If you live here, you can’t leave,” Semene recalled John saying of Rwanda. “It’s a tight country. Let me advise you, as your brother, you need to go to Uganda.”

      They would need to sneak across the border, since they had no proof of legal entry into Rwanda. (The Israeli laissez-passers had gone unstamped at the Kigali airport the night before, an oversight that now felt suspicious.) But John told them not to worry; he could easily get them into Uganda for a fee of $250. “I have everything,” he said. “Contacts with the government over there. Contacts with the Israeli government. If something happens, I call the Israeli government and they do something for you.”

      The alternative, John said, was to remain in the Kigali house, where they would be under constant surveillance. They would have to pay rent, but without documentation, they would not be allowed to work. Semene and the others understood that John was not really giving them a choice. Everyone agreed to the plan.

      A few hours later, a van pulled up outside the house and the Eritreans piled in. Several miles from the border with Uganda, the vehicle came to a stop and John urged them out onto the side of the road. It was the last they would see of him.

      Semene had made an even more treacherous crossing once before, paying smugglers to ferry him across the Sinai Desert from Egypt into Israel. Under fire from Egyptian border guards, he sprinted the final yards to safety. He had hoped it would be the last time he would ever have to cross a border illegally. But seven years later, feeling betrayed by an Israeli government he had once turned to for safety, he slipped quietly and unofficially into Uganda.
      AdHundreds of African asylum-seekers stage a protest along the sea front in Tel Aviv on Jan. 15, 2014. (Photo credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)d caption
      For decades after its founding in 1948, Israel welcomed refugees from outside the Jewish faith. The country was an early signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. In his first official act as prime minister in 1977, Menachem Begin granted refuge to 66 Vietnamese who had been rescued at sea by an Israeli ship. During a visit to the United States later that year, he recalled the St. Louis — a ship loaded with more than 900 European Jews who attempted to flee Germany in 1939 — to explain his decision. The St. Louis’s passengers were denied permission to disembark in Cuba, the United States, and Canada and ultimately returned to Europe. A quarter of the passengers are thought to have died in the Holocaust.

      “They were nine months at sea, traveling from harbor to harbor, from country to country, crying out for refuge. They were refused,” Begin said. “We have never forgotten the lot of our people … And therefore it was natural that my first act as prime minister was to give those people a haven in the land of Israel.”

      In 2007, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert echoed Begin’s act when he granted temporary residency permits to nearly 500 Sudanese asylum-seekers. But as the number of African migrants swelled in subsequent years, Israel’s receptiveness began to flag. The vast majority of the new arrivals were fleeing long-standing authoritarian regimes in Eritrea and Sudan. They chose Israel for many reasons: because it was a democracy, because it was easier to reach than Europe or — for many Sudanese — because it was an adversary of their own government. They hoped that the enemy of their enemy would look kindly on them.

      But Israeli authorities soon became overwhelmed. According to the Ministry of Interior, nearly 65,000 foreign nationals — the vast majority from Africa — reached Israel between 2006 and 2013. As the government struggled to accommodate the newcomers, many languished in poor and overcrowded neighborhoods in southern Tel Aviv. Dozens squatted in a park across the street from the city’s main bus station for weeks on end. A handful of high-profile incidents — including the alleged rape of an 83-year-old woman by an Eritrean asylum-seeker in 2012 — dominated media coverage and fueled unease among Israelis, many of whom already fretted that refugees were taking their jobs.

      African asylum-seekers sleep in Tel Aviv's Levinski Park during a protest against Israel's immigration policies on Feb. 5, 2014. (Photo credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
      By the time Benjamin Netanyahu secured a third term as prime minister in 2013, the tensions had hardened into outright hostility. That year, Israel sealed off its border with Egypt and implemented a raft of policies aimed at making life more difficult for asylum-seekers already in Israel. Then it began secretly pressuring Eritreans and Sudanese to leave for unnamed third countries, a shadowy relocation effort in which Semene and thousands like him are now ensnared.

      Israeli officials have kept nearly everything else about this effort secret, even deflecting requests for more information from UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency. But a year-long investigation by Foreign Policy that included interviews with multiple Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers as well as people involved at various stages of the relocation process — including one person who admitted to helping coordinate illegal border crossings — reveals an opaque system of shuffling asylum-seekers from Israel, via Rwanda or Uganda, into third countries, where they are no longer anyone’s responsibility.
      It begins with furtive promises by Israeli authorities of asylum and work opportunities in Rwanda and Uganda. Once the Sudanese and Eritrean asylum-seekers reach Kigali or Entebbe, where Uganda’s international airport is located, they describe a remarkably similar ordeal: They meet someone who presents himself as a government agent at the airport, bypass immigration, move to a house or hotel that quickly feels like a prison, and are eventually pressured to leave the country. For the Eritreans, it is from Rwanda to Uganda. For Sudanese, it is from Uganda to South Sudan or Sudan. The process appears designed not just to discard unwanted refugees, but to shield the Israeli, Rwandan, and Ugandan governments from any political or legal accountability.

      While a handful of the Eritreans and Sudanese have managed to maneuver or mislead their way into asylum in Rwanda or Uganda, and dozens more live in a stateless limbo in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, most have given in to the pressure to leave those countries, making dangerous illegal border crossings that leave them vulnerable to blackmail and physical abuse at the hands of smugglers and security forces. Some have continued north to Sudan or Libya in an effort to reach Europe. A few have been captured and killed by Islamic State fighters or drowned on the treacherous Mediterranean crossing.

      Officials across several relevant ministries in Israel, Rwanda, and Uganda all issued denials or refused repeated requests for comment. But the nearly identical experiences of asylum-seekers arriving in Rwanda and Uganda, as well as their ability to bypass standard immigration channels and occasionally procure official documents from their handlers, suggests a level of government knowledge, if not direct involvement, in all three capitals.

      Semene fled Eritrea in 2007, after four years in the country’s military. Service there is compulsory and it can stretch on indefinitely. Instead of training, conscripts are often forced to work on their commanders’ private farms or for state-owned businesses. The conditions are so restrictive and the compensation so negligible that in 2016 a U.N. Human Rights Council report on the country determined that “Eritrean officials have committed the crime of enslavement … in a persistent, widespread and systematic manner.” During his four years of service, Semene, a small, slight man with an easy smile, was allowed to visit his family only once.

      Semene is a pseudonym. Life under military dictatorship instilled in him a deep sense of caution, and he is hesitant to share too many details about his past in case security forces target his family members who still live in Eritrea. Risking imprisonment and possible execution there, he ran — first to a refugee camp in Sudan, where he faced constant shortages of food and water, and then to Egypt. Finding the environment for refugees there only marginally better, he paid smugglers $2,800 to take him across Sinai into Israel. He knew little about the country, except that it was a democracy. “Simply, I try my luck,” he said.

      And finally, luck seemed to be on his side. In 2008, Israeli authorities issued him a visa that was renewable every six months. He found a job stocking groceries at a Tel Aviv shop, and applied for official refugee status. “I adopt the place,” he told me, including learning Hebrew. “I adopt their food. I know the language. I see Israel as my country.”

      Thousands more asylum-seekers like Semene continued to arrive — mostly from Eritrea, but also from Sudan, including hundreds fleeing a government-perpetrated genocide in the country’s Darfur region. By 2012, a leading Israeli politician was denouncing the asylum-seekers as “a cancer in our body” and residents of south Tel Aviv were organizing protests against them. That same year, the minister of interior suggested making “their lives miserable” in order to dissuade even more from coming.

      One way the Israeli government did just that was by erecting a sprawling detention center for asylum-seekers in the middle of the Negev Desert. Operated by the Israel Prison Service (IPS), Holot — which means “sand” in Hebrew — now holds more than 3,000 male asylum-seekers, who had previously been allowed to live and (unofficially) work while they awaited a decision on their refugee applications. Most detainees said they learned they had been randomly chosen to relocate to Holot only when they attempted to renew their visas. They were given days to report to the facility, where they can legally be held for up to a year. Some politicians are pushing to make the sentence indefinite.
      Asylum-seekers take part in a day of protest at the Holot detention center in the southern Negev desert on Feb. 17, 2014. (Photo credit: ILIA YEFIMOVICH /Getty Images)
      Semene was summoned to Holot in early 2014. “It’s really a prison,” is how he described what appears on the outside to be a beleaguered tent city. I made two visits to the facility, though I was not allowed to enter. Instead, I sat with detainees outside the chain-link fence topped with razor wire, as they described conditions inside. They live 10 to a room and though they can come and go from the facility, they are required to check in with authorities once per day. Failure to do so earns a short stint in a nearby maximum-security prison. Residents are not allowed to work or even to bring food brought by friends or family members into Holot. With the nearest town hours away, they spend most of their time sitting at the makeshift restaurants they have constructed near the entrance to the camp. IPS authorities regularly tear them down, but the detainees keep rebuilding them.

      To Semene, the restrictions of Holot, combined with the monotony of life there, seemed designed to break the occupants — men who had previously survived murderous raids, the deprivations of refugee camps, and, in some cases, torture. There is limited assistance for people managing chronic health conditions or in obvious need of mental healthcare. Instead, they are left to wander the desert, overseen only by their fellow inmates. (IPS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) Semene remembers becoming so distressed by the treatment one day that he began pleading with a guard: “We are human. Treat us as a human,” he said.

      Then, after he had been locked away for seven months, the authorities seemed to offer him a lifeline: Leaflets from the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority started to appear within the facility, saying that Israel had secured an arrangement with other countries willing to accept asylum-seekers. Anyone who agreed to a transfer would receive travel documents, a free one-way plane ticket to a yet-unnamed country, and $3,500. “On the first day of arrival in the country, you will be placed in a hotel. Everything that you need — work and living permit — will be given to you,” the flyer read, according to a translation provided by the UNHCR office in Tel Aviv.

      Soon, the guards at Holot began whispering to the asylum-seekers that the third countries were Rwanda for Eritreans and Uganda for the Sudanese. There was no explanation for the division. The Israeli government has never officially confirmed the two countries involved, explaining in various legal settings that the agreements prevent them from doing so. “We do not comment in the media on those issues or on our relations with third countries,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an email.

      Semene was among those who jumped at the opportunity. “You close your eyes and choose,” was how he explained it to me. In the weeks leading up to his departure in late 2014, he was summoned to meet with an Israeli immigration officer, who presented him with an Israeli travel document filled out with his name, date of birth, and — though he had no passport — a passport number. The laissez-passer was valid for two weeks, from Dec. 14 to Dec. 28, 2014. The official also showed him a letter, allegedly from the Rwandan government, guaranteeing that he would be granted a one-month tourist visa when he arrived in the country. The official handed over the promised $3,500 in U.S. dollars.
      Semene wondered why he was getting a one-month tourist visa when he had been told he would be receiving asylum. He also wondered why the laissez-passer was valid for only two weeks. He said he quizzed the official about both apparent discrepancies, but was assured any issues would be sorted out when he arrived in Kigali. Not quite convinced, he took photos of the documents with his cell phone, which he later showed me. A few days later, he received a call telling him to get ready. He would be leaving on Dec. 22. Despite his growing skepticism of everything the Israeli authorities were telling him, he decided to approach the trip with guarded optimism. It had been more than seven years since he fled a life of endless military service in Eritrea and more than half a year since he’d been incarcerated in Israel. He wanted desperately to believe that Rwanda would be the place where he would finally be free.

      A group of Eritrean asylum-seekers inside Israel's Holot detention facility on Feb. 17, 2014. (Photo credit: ILIA YEFIMOVICH /Getty Images) 
      The pistachio-colored house where Semene and dozens of other Eritreans were held in Kigali sits at the end of a deeply gashed dirt road. About 50 yards away, down a steep embankment, there is a small kiosk painted Coca-Cola red, where men from the neighborhood often gather to drink sodas and chat. One day last spring, I stopped by to see if they had ever noticed any unusual activity at the house atop the hill. Through a translator, they explained that groups of “foreigners” regularly stayed there. Sometimes they could be spotted pacing on the white-trimmed balconies. None ever seemed to venture outside the house’s heavy black gate and they were always gone after a few days.

      Later, I trudged up the hill and knocked on that gate. It swung open to reveal two young Rwandan men lazily sweeping the driveway. I asked if I could speak to the owner. They indicated that he wasn’t home, but passed along a phone number. When I dialed it, a man who identified himself only as Robert acknowledged that the house was indeed his. Yes, he intermittently hosted visitors from Eritrea. In fact, a group had just left a few days earlier.

      He explained that he had begun renting out the house to unknown groups of foreigners more than a year earlier after a friend of his — a driver who works at the airport — called to see if he could host some people who would be spending a few days in the country. Robert agreed, he said, because the house was vacant at the time. Since then he has accommodated a handful of groups, he told me. The process is always the same: The driver friend calls him a few days before a new party is set to arrive and Robert sends workers to prepare the house for them. The foreigners stay for a few days — never more than three — and then leave. He didn’t know to where. He had never met any of them.
      When I started to press Robert for more details — How much was he paid? Did the driver work for the government? — he grew cagey and insisted we meet in person. We set a time for the following day. When I called back to confirm the location, he hung up on me and declined each of my subsequent calls.

      It is unclear whether the driver friend is John, the man who picked Semene and the other Eritreans up from the airport, or someone working for him. It is also unclear whether John is actually an immigration official or just posing as one. But in a country as notoriously repressive as Rwanda it is almost inconceivable that anyone regularly bypassing immigration isn’t operating with the blessing of senior government officials. (My calls from different lines to a number allegedly belonging to John have gone unanswered for months.)

      What happens to those asylum-seekers who refuse John’s offer to be smuggled into Uganda is yet another mystery. Kabtom Bereket, an Eritrean who arrived separately from Semene in July 2014, told me that several members of his six-person group asked to visit the UNHCR offices in Kigali immediately after they arrived at the house from the airport. John refused their request, Bereket said, telling them, “We are immigration. There is the security on the gate. You stay here.” No one in the group was allowed out of the house, according to Bereket, which is also a pseudonym, until they all left to cross illegally into Uganda.

      Of the at least 1,400 other asylum-seekers who have arrived in Kigali from Tel Aviv over the last three years — the figure Israeli officials provided in court — Semene is certain that the vast majority have been smuggled out of the country.

      Some Eritreans have managed to escape the house. According to documents from the UNHCR office in Tel Aviv, Rwandan authorities have arrested at least four of the asylum-seekers who attempted to stay in Kigali on charges of lacking documentation. Others, though UNHCR won’t say how many, have approached UNHCR staff in Kigali for support, claiming to have relocated from Israel. Of the at least 1,400 other asylum-seekers who have arrived in Kigali from Tel Aviv over the last three years — the figure Israeli officials provided in court — Semene is certain that the vast majority have been smuggled out of the country.

      Across the border in Uganda, UNHCR officials haven’t heard of even a single successful asylum applicant among the Sudanese arriving directly from Tel Aviv or the Eritreans arriving from Rwanda, though they are aware of multiple rejections from among this pool. This is strange because Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies in the region. Nearly 3,300 Sudanese are currently registered as refugees in Uganda, according to the UNCHR office in Kampala. The problem seems to be exclusive to those being resettled from Israel. Sudanese I spoke to in Kampala said they have now learned not to mention Israel anywhere in their asylum applications.

      Officials in the office of Uganda’s prime minister, which oversees the country’s immigration procedures, offered no explanation for the rejected asylum claims of migrants arriving via Israel. Rwandan officials do admit having discussed a deal with Israel to accept asylum-seekers, but say that no agreement was ever reached. It may be that the Ugandan and Rwandan governments do not want to answer questions about what they are receiving in exchange for accepting refugees. (Speculation among Israeli activists centers on weapons and cash.)

      Unable to get asylum in Uganda, many Eritreans and Sudanese live in constant fear of the authorities. Within hours of his illegal scramble across the Rwandan border, in fact, Semene nearly landed behind bars. He and the other Eritreans in his group emerged from the borderlands thicket to find a van waiting on the Ugandan side that carried them the remaining 10 hours to Kampala. They arrived at a cheap hotel in the crowded, dusty area of downtown known as Old Kampala at 4 a.m. Five hours later, Ugandan security officials raided the hotel and arrested several of the asylum-seekers. By that point, however, Semene had already split off from the group and melted into the neighborhood, his doubts having turned into outright distrust over the course of the journey.

      More than a year later, he spends most of his evenings in a local bar watching football matches or playing pool. It is a short walk from the apartment he shares with a rotating group of Eritrean refugees. Sometimes up to a dozen people cram into the one-room space. His world is now just a few blocks of Old Kampala, but he figures limiting his movement is the best way to avoid running into police officers or other security officials who might ask for his papers and then arrest him or demand a bribe when he is unable to produce them.

      He is depressed, and also eaten up with resentment toward the Israeli government. This was not the life they promised him. “I am not safe here,” he said. “I am not safe anywhere.”
      Ugandan police officers cordon off a crime scene in Kampala on March 17, 2017. (Photo credit: ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
      The linchpins of this system of human smuggling — and key to establishing whether the Israeli, Ugandan, and Rwandan governments are officially involved in it — are the men who pressure new arrivals from Tel Aviv to forget the promise of asylum and to cross illegally into third countries. Hassan Ali is one such man. He agreed to meet me on the condition that I not reveal his real identity. A squat 32-year-old Darfuri refugee, he steered me off a crowded Kampala street into a fried chicken restaurant with low ceilings and a greasy, tiled floor. He chose a side table and spoke in a quiet, quivering voice lost easily in the lunchtime bustle. He was among the very first asylum-seekers in Israel to accept the proposed transfer to Uganda, he said. He had been in Israel since 2008 and sensed the mood toward asylum-seekers was growing increasingly hostile. He happened to have friends and family in Uganda, so when the offer came to relocate to Kampala in early 2014, he eagerly accepted.
      But within weeks of his arrival, just as he was beginning to feel settled in his new life in the city, he started getting phone calls from a man he would identify only as Ismail. Ismail was also Sudanese and he needed Ali’s help. Would he be willing to meet with groups of new arrivals — mostly people Ali knew from his own time in Israel — and talk to them about resettling elsewhere? Ali is not sure how Ismail got his number or why he wanted Ali to be involved, but — for reasons he chose to keep vague — he decided he was willing to try. The requests from Ismail are relatively sporadic, but they have become more frequent. Ali estimates that he has now met with at least a dozen groups of asylum-seekers.

      He usually joins them on their second day at an upscale hotel called Forest Cottages, where the Sudanese flown from Tel Aviv are brought from the airport. Unlike their Eritrean counterparts in Rwanda, they are offered a brief respite before the pressure to relocate begins. But when the time comes, Ali is the one who applies that pressure.

      He starts by talking about how much the men must be missing their families after years — and in some cases decades — away from Sudan. Except now, in Uganda, they are so much closer to home than they were in Israel. Using Ismail’s connections, Ali says he can get them the rest of the way. For $200, he will arrange the paperwork and logistics to transport them safely to South Sudan, the buffer between Uganda and Sudan. For $100 more, he can get them to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
      The reasons other refugees chose to return to Sudan, despite the risk of arrest and torture, are much more straightforward: They believe their options are exhausted. They miss their homes. They want to see their families.

      Both countries harbor significant dangers. Sudan remains a police state, and killing continues in Darfur, though at a lower level than before. South Sudan is mired in a bloody civil war that has killed tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people and forced 1.7 million to flee the country. But the new arrivals in Kampala are discombobulated and often poorly informed. Ali fuels their confusion by telling them that Ugandan officials will hound them, blackmail them, and potentially deport them. South Sudan, because of the chaos there, actually seems to some refugees like a much easier place to disappear or to begin another journey toward a country that might actually grant them asylum. The reasons other refugees chose to return to Sudan, despite the risk of arrest and torture, are much more straightforward: They believe their options are exhausted. They miss their homes. They want to see their families.

      Ali has learned to manipulate these fears and emotions. “I say, ‘Welcome to Africa. If you tell me you’re going to pass to Sudan, you come here, you will pass.’ They’re very happy,” he said. Dozens of people have taken Ali up on his offer, he says, at which point Ismail collects their information and money and hands it over to a man named George, the Ugandan minder who picked the new arrivals up at the airport — essentially the Ugandan version of John. Within hours of securing their agreement, George returns with individualized Ugandan travel documents stamped with South Sudanese entry visas.

      I asked Ali about the level of government involvement in this scheme. After some prevarication, he conceded that Ugandan officials are not only aware of what is happening, but actively involved in pushing asylum-seekers from Israel into South Sudan. “This is the secret they don’t want to tell,” he said. But aside from the Ugandan travel documents he claims to have seen handed over to the asylum-seekers, he had little evidence to support his claims. That is, except for one additional piece of paper: a permit granting him temporary residence in Uganda.

      At the beginning of our conversation, he had showed me a photo of the one-year legal residency permit George had secured for him from Uganda’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. None of the other Sudanese asylum-seekers I met had received anything similar from George, although several said they had asked for one. Ali only received the document, he acknowledged, in exchange for helping Ismail.

      Before we parted ways, Ali offered to take me with him when the next group of Sudanese transfers arrived at Forest Cottages. But less than 10 minutes after we left the restaurant, he called to tell me the deal was off. Apparently, he had phoned Ismail immediately after our meeting and had been lamba
                New Princess Chelsea album out now in NZ!   

      Princess Chelsea has begun a tour of her homeland and yesterday she appeared on the front page of the national newspaper:



      Read the full article!

      You can hear a new track, "Too Many People" from the latest album on the Gorilla vs Bear website.

      The album is out now in New Zealand - get it from iTunes, Amplifier, Google Play, Spotify, or Rdio. Or buy a digital copy from anywhere in the world on Bandcamp or preorder LPs/CDs from Lil' Chief Records and Flying Out!

      New Zealand will be paying further homage to her musical highness at shows in Christchurch (tonight at the Darkroom), Wellington on Saturday (at Moon 1) and Auckland on Sunday (at the Kings Arms). Tickets for these shows can be purchased at Undertheradar.

      After that, Princess Chelsea will head to the northern hemisphere for more shows - full tour dates are here and are still being updated.


                More court challenges expected for Trump’s new travel ban   
      An international passenger arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia after the Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration's emergency request to put its travel ban into effect later in the week pending further judicial review. Photo by James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

      An international passenger arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia after the Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration’s emergency request to put its travel ban into effect later in the week pending further judicial review. Photo by James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

      WASHINGTON — A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban is now in force, stripped of provisions that brought protests and chaos at airports worldwide in January yet still likely to generate a new round of court fights.

      The new rules, the product of months of legal wrangling, aren’t so much an outright ban as a tightening of already-tough visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Refugees are covered, too.

      Administration officials promised that implementation this time, which started at 8 p.m. EDT, would be orderly. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dan Hetlage said his agency expected “business as usual at our ports of entry,” with all valid visa holders still being able to travel.

      Still, immigration and refugee advocates are vowing to challenge the new requirements and the administration has struggled to explain how the rules will make the United States safer.

      And in Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced the partial reinstatement of the travel ban as a “truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians” — and argued that the measure will prevent Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren in America.

      Zarif, who has persistently assailed the travel ban, wrote on his Twitter account that the “U.S. now bans Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren, in a truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians.”

      Under the temporary rules, citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who already have visas will be allowed into the United States. But people from those countries who want new visas will now have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business in the U.S.

      [READ MORE: Supreme Court partly reinstates Trump’s travel ban]

      It’s unclear how significantly the new rules will affect travel. In most of the countries singled out, few people have the means for leisure travel. Those that do already face intensive screenings before being issued visas.

      Nevertheless, human rights groups girded for new legal battles. The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups challenging the ban, called the new criteria “extremely restrictive,” ”arbitrary” in their exclusions and designed to “disparage and condemn Muslims.”

      The state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion Thursday asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce the ban against relatives — such as grandparents, aunts or uncles — not included in the State Department’s definition of “bona fide” personal relationships.

      Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer met with customs officials and said he felt things would go smoothly.

      “For tonight, I’m anticipating few issues because, I think, there’s better preparation,” he told reporters at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night. “The federal government here, I think, has taken steps to avoid the havoc that occurred the last time.”

      Much of the confusion in January, when Trump’s first ban took effect, resulted from travelers with previously approved visas being kept off flights or barred entry on arrival in the United States. Immigration officials were instructed Thursday not to block anyone with valid travel documents and otherwise eligible to visit the United States.

      Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the rules “would slam the door shut on so many who have waited for months or years to be reunited with their families.”

      Trump, who made a tough approach to immigration a cornerstone of his election campaign, issued a ban on travelers from the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. His order also blocked refugees from any country.

      Trump said these were temporary measures needed to prevent terrorism until vetting procedures could be reviewed. Opponents noted that visa and refugee vetting were already strict and said there was no evidence that refugees or citizens of those six countries posed a threat. They saw the ban as part of Trump’s campaign promise to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

      Lower courts blocked the initial ban and a second, revised Trump order intended to overcome legal hurdles. The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the revised ban but exempted travelers who could prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity. The court offered only broad guidelines.

      [READ MORE: Who’s in and who’s left out as Trump’s travel ban takes effect]

      In guidance issued late Wednesday, the State Department said the personal relationships would include a parent, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States. It does not include other relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. On Thursday, the State and Homeland Security departments had both expanded the range of bona fide relationships to include fiancés.

      Business or professional links must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules.

      Refugees from any country will face similar requirements. But the U.S. has almost filled its quota of 50,000 refugees for the budget year ending in September and the new rules won’t apply to the few remaining slots. With the Supreme Court set to consider the overall ban in October, the rules could change again.

      The travel ban may have the biggest impact on Iranians. In 2015, the most recently available data, nearly 26,000 Iranians were allowed into the United States on visitor or tourist visas. Iranians made up the lion’s share of the roughly 65,000 foreigners from the six countries who visited with temporary, or non-immigrant visas that year.

      American journalist Paul Gottinger said he and his Iranian fiancee applied for a visa nearly a year ago but are still waiting on a decision. Gottinger says they were to wed at a Japanese garden in his parents’ home state of Minnesota this month but postponed the ceremony until August because they had not yet received the visa.

      Now, he expects they will have to delay again.

      “Every twist and turn of the courts, we’re holding our hearts and our stomachs are falling to the floor,” he said by phone from Turkey.

      The new regulations are also affecting the wedding plans of Rama Issa-Ibrahim, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

      She is Syrian-American and had planned to get married this fall. While her father in Syria may be able to get a visa, her aunts and uncles may well be blocked.

      “I would love for them to be at this wedding, and unfortunately, they aren’t going to be able to be here,” she said, adding that the ceremony would be postponed.

      ___

      Associated Press writers Amy Taxin and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles and Michael Noble in New York contributed to this report.

      The post More court challenges expected for Trump’s new travel ban appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


                News Wrap: House GOP passes two immigration bills   

      Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

      JUDY WOODRUFF: And in the day’s other news: Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives pushed through two bills on illegal immigration. One toughens prison terms for deportees who reenter the U.S. illegally. The other blocks some federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to assist immigration officials.

      The secretary of homeland security and congressional Democrats traded arguments today over that second bill.

      JOHN KELLY, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary: The word sanctuary calls to mind some place safe. But too often for families and victims affected by illegal immigrant crime, sanctuary cities are anything but safe. Instead, these cities are places that allow some criminal go free, undermine federal law enforcement and make our communities less safe.

      REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT, D-N.Y.: A sanctuary city is a city that allows a mom to take her kid to school without being fearful that the principal will call Homeland Security on her. It allows a domestic violence victim the ability to go to the local precinct and report a batterer. It is a safety net for people that are part of our family.

      JUDY WOODRUFF: The bills now move to the Senate, but it’s not clear that either can pass there.

      Senate Republican leaders struggled again today to revise their health care bill, and win enough Republican votes to pass it. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there’s been — quote — “good progress.” But Senator Susan Collins of Maine warned that the bill needs a major overhaul.

      Also today, further analysis by the Congressional Budget Office found the bill would cut federal Medicaid spending by 35 percent over 20 years.

      A top Vatican official, Cardinal George Pell, was charged today with sexual assault in his native Australia. He’s the top financial adviser to Pope Francis, and the highest-ranking Vatican official implicated in the long-running scandal of clergymen abusing children.

      Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News has our report.

      SHANE PATTON, Commissioner, Victoria State Police: Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges, in respect to historic sexual offenses. And there are multiple complaints relating to those charges.

      JONATHAN MILLER: Last year, the former archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney, who is now one of the pope’s top advisers, testified to a royal commission investigating child sex abuse.

      The commission found shocking levels of abuse by the clergy over decades. Pell supported, by bishops as a man of integrity, conceded institutional errors, but denied any sexual offenses himself.

      News from Australia reached the Vatican overnight, and before dawn on the fifth day of Saints Peters and Paul, Cardinal Pell released his first statement, saying he would return home next month to clear his name. Then early this morning, he spoke to the press.

      CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, Vatican Treasurer: I am looking forward finally to having my day in court. I am innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.

      JONATHAN MILLER: Pope Francis, who Pell said he talked things over with, later presided over mass in St. Peter’s Square. Aussies in the square today wanted God’s truth to shine through.

      WOMAN: Well, there’s been a lot of bad press about Pell in the Australian media. He is not very well-liked. And a lot of people are very angry that the church in Australia didn’t do enough to cover any of the sex abuse for many years.

      JONATHAN MILLER: A song by musician Tim Minchin which pleaded with the ailing cardinal to return to Australia to testify to the royal commission went viral last year.

      Now Cardinal George Pell, ordained 51 years ago, is coming home to face his accusers. He will appear before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on the 18th of July.

      JUDY WOODRUFF: That report from Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News.

      In Russia, five men were found guilty today in the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in 2015. One was the man who pulled the trigger, a former security officer in the Chechnya region. But Nemtsov’s allies say that authorities have done nothing to find out who ordered the killing.

      President Trump will come face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week, for the first time since taking office. The White House and the Kremlin announced today that they will meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany.

      Meanwhile, Syria and Russian accused the U.S. today of making baseless allegations that Damascus is preparing a new chemical attack. The White House issued the warning on Tuesday. Today, Syrian state TV today called the accusation — quote — “devoid of truth.” The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of trying to destabilize the Syrian regime.

      MARIA ZAKHAROVA, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman (through interpreter): The goal of it is obvious: to reanimate the theme of so-called crimes of the government and to return the situation in Syria to the same dead end where it has been led by the West, saying that Assad needs to leave. At the same time, it’s a provocation for the rebels to commit crimes linked to mass deaths of civilians.

      JUDY WOODRUFF: The State Department dismissed the comments from both governments and said there’s no doubt the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons in the past.

      Back in this country, the Federal Bureau of Justice statistics reports that most hate crimes over the past decade went unreported. That’s based on a survey of households. It found an average of 250,000 hate crimes each year between 2004 and 2015. More than half were not reported, most often because they were handled some other way. The report says that others decided the incidents were not important, or they doubted police would do anything.

      More than 800 firefighters are now battling a Northern Arizona wildfire that’s scorched almost 39 square miles. Officials say that lighter winds today would help them make progress on the Goodwin Fire. Already, evacuations for one small town outside Prescott have been lifted. Major wildfires are also burning in Utah, Southern California and Washington state.

      Dozens of employees at The New York Times staged a walkout today against a new round of job cuts. Reporters and editors tweeted pictures of staffers leaving, as well as signs in support of the staff. The newspaper is considering restructuring the newsroom, and possibly laying off half of its copy editors.

      And on Wall Street, technology stocks took another hit, and pulled the broader market down. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 167 points to close at 21287. The Nasdaq fell 90, and the S&P 500 gave up 21.

      The post News Wrap: House GOP passes two immigration bills appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


                House Republicans back bills to crack down on illegal immigration   
      Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks about immigration reform at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS195CZ

      Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks about immigration reform at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts.

      WASHINGTON — Warning of threats to public safety and national security, the Republican-led House on Thursday approved two bills to crack down on illegal immigration, a key priority for President Donald Trump.

      One bill would strip federal dollars from self-proclaimed “sanctuary” cities that shield residents from federal immigration authorities, while a separate measure would stiffen punishments for people who re-enter the U.S. illegally.

      The sanctuary measure was approved 228-195, while the bill to punish deportees was approved 257-167.

      Trump often railed against illegal immigration during his presidential campaign, and his support for tougher immigration policies is crucial to his voting base. Trump met at the White House on Wednesday with more than a dozen people whose family members were killed by people in the country illegally, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the families Thursday.

      WATCH: Jeff Sessions speaks at DOJ hate crimes summit

      One of the bills, known as “Kate’s Law,” would impose harsher prison sentences on deportees who re-enter the United States. The bill is named after 32-year old Kathryn Steinle, who was shot and killed in San Francisco in 2015 by a man who was in the country illegally. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who pleaded not guilty to the crime, had been released by sheriff’s officials months earlier despite a request by immigration officials to keep him behind bars.

      The second bill would bar states and localities that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities from receiving certain Justice Department and Homeland Security grants, including some related to law enforcement and terrorism.

      Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the two bills would help “avoid the kind of tragic circumstances that have totally involved the lives of the people who were at the White House … speaking up for their loved ones.”

      The sanctuary measure follows “a simple principle that if you’re going to receive taxpayer dollars from the federal government to keep people safe, that you’ve got to follow the law and keep them safe,” Goodlatte said.

      Democrats said the bills were feel-good measures intended to make lawmakers look tough on crime.

      READ MORE: Trump administration keeps DACA program, shields young immigrants from deportation

      “We’re not doing bumper stickers here. We are doing laws,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif, said.

      She and other Democrats said the sanctuary measure was “about telling people how to police their cities” and telling local officials that “we in Washington, D.C., know better than you do.”

      Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he appreciates Congress’ effort to “address the dangers of sanctuary cities and illegal immigrant offenders.”

      At a news conference at the Capitol with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Kelly said his agency “will enforce the laws that are passed by Congress,” adding, “I am offended when members of this institution put pressure and often threaten me and my officers to ignore the laws they make.”

      A spokesman said later that Kelly “will continue to push back against any attempt — pressure, threat or otherwise — to ignore the enforcement of immigration law.”

      “Enforcement is not selective, occasional or arbitrary, it’s the law,” spokesman David Lapan said.

      READ MORE: President Trump urges passage of House immigration bills

      The Justice Department’s inspector general has identified California and major cities such as Chicago, New York and Philadelphia as locales with barriers to information-sharing among local police and immigration officials. The Trump administration warned nine jurisdictions in late April that they could lose coveted law enforcement grant money unless they document cooperation.

      Sessions said Steinle “would still be alive today if only the city of San Francisco had put the public’s safety first. How many more Americans must die before we put an end to this madness?”

      Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said “Kate’s Law” would not have had an impact on the Steinle case, noting that Steinle was killed in July 2015 by an immigrant who had been mistakenly released by the federal Bureau of Prisons.

      The proposed bill “would not have kept Kate Steinle’s killer off the streets,” Gutierrez said. “Instead, we are voting on a bill to put other people — in different circumstances — in jail for longer periods of time. It is a bait-and-switch strategy: Use a horrible tragedy to sell a policy that would not have prevented that death, so that you put more immigrants in jail for longer periods of time.”

      The post House Republicans back bills to crack down on illegal immigration appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


                Veramine to Help DHS Boost Cyber Defense for Financial Services   
      Veramine has received a $200,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security‘s science and technology directorate research and develop tools to strengthen the cyber defense systems of financial institutions. DHS said Thursday the project falls under the Silicon Valley Innovation Program and aims to integrate moving-target defense, cyber-intrusion deception, isolation and containment technologies to secure financial […]
                Trump reinstates the National Space Council   

      President Trump signed an executive order Friday re-establishing the National Space Council. Founded by President John F. Kennedy and disbanded in 1993 by the Clinton administration, the council will lead the charge on creating space policy and will coordinate "space spending between NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and intelligence agencies," Quartz reported.

      Vice President Mike Pence will lead the council, and members will include the head of NASA, the director of national intelligence, and secretaries of state, defense, commerce, transportation, and homeland security.

      "Welcome to a new era of American leadership in space," Pence said at the signing ceremony attended by astronauts including Buzz Aldrin, David Wolf, and Benjamin Alvin Drew.


                Shady Malaysian billionaire gave millions to celebs’ charities   
      He allegedly stole from the poor of his homeland to give to charities favored by American celebrities.
                Message for the Fortnight of Prayer "Martyrs"   

      On July 3, Michele Coldiron, Director of the California Catholic Women's Forum, participated in the Fortnight of Prayer at Our Lady of Peace Parish and Shrine, Santa Clara, CA - in response to the request by the bishops of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB).
      During the Fortnight, Our Lady of Peace hosted an hour of prayer with a reflection either by a priest or a lay person together with the Rosary and a period of time for quiet prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
      Herein is a transcript of her talk
      .
      [Items in brackets are explanatory and not part of the talk.]


      Today is day 13 of the fortnight of prayer. The United States Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty asked us to pray "a great hymn of prayer for our country" during this fortnight of freedom. Let us begin on this closing night:
      Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father and our Brother, we come here this evening to praise Your Name, to ask Your blessing on this gathering and to implore Your Holy Spirit to come upon us and fill our minds with Your wisdom and our hearts with your love. 

      We ask that our prayers, simple as they may be, would join with the prayers of all those scattered across this great country and that the groanings of our prayers touch Your Sacred Heart, so that filled with compassionate love, You send forth Your Spirit and renew the face of this great country.

      We recall the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, as he wrote from the Birmingham jail, that he agreed with St. Augustine, "An unjust law is no law at all". . . or as St. Thomas Aquinas said, "an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal or natural law." [This text is from the letter of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty]


      As we ponder Your wisdom and pray for the leaders of this great country this evening, may we recall these words - an unjust law is one out of harmony with the moral law - may our hearts be opened to recognize the great truths of our faith, a faith that is not moved by the fickle winds of fashion, but that is rooted in eternity, truth that is, because You are Truth, You give Life, and You are the Way. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen
      INTRODUCTION                                                             
      [From the Statement on Religious Liberty: "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty" by the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the USCCB]
      As our Bishops said, "We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens.
      An unjust law is "no law at all." It cannot be obeyed, and therefore one does not seek relief from it, but rather its repeal. [The Christian church does not ask for special treatment, simply the rights of religious freedom for all citizens.]
      "The teaching of the Church is absolutely clear about religious liberty. From the Vatican II Document, Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae:
      The human person has a right to religious freedom. . . . immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, .  . . As Catholics in America, we are obliged to defend the right to religious liberty for ourselves and for others, putting God and God's natural law first. We are happily joined in this by our fellow Christians and believers of other faiths.
      Juxtapose this to Jean Jacques Rousseau, who greatly influenced the French Revolution, so different from our own revolution as its goal was to exalt the state and abolish religion. He said, "Man must be forced to be free" if his individual will goes against the common law created by the collective citizenry [The Social Contract, no. 8].
      MEDITATION ON MARTYRS:                         
      I would like to now take a moment to put some context into these statements by looking at the fortitude of martyrs for the faith since the Enlightenment - that seed bed for the idea that people can create heaven on earth without reference to God.
      History is rife with examples of persecution, men and women who stood firm in support of religious freedom and against unjust laws. In this fortnight alone, we celebrated saints who did just that, St John the Baptist, Sts Peter and Paul, the first martyrs of Rome, and Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher during the English Reformation.
      Our time is not different however, as there has been a concerted effort which continues to this day to create societies that are godless and egalitarian, and in which the state has the keys to power.
      Nobel laureate and Catholic convert Sigrid Undset wrote in the 1920's in her book, Stages on the Road, that Europeans have long accepted Christian principles, a testament to their forefathers who created Europe through their own efforts in partnership with a loving God.
      This is the great gift of Europe (p 175) – by the time of the Reformation the Catholic Church had succeeded in instilling into the common consciousness the doctrines of the Church as the hum of everyday life and most people knew no other way. The medieval church won out over pagan propensities of princes and people – in spite of diversity of language, in spite of different temperaments, in spite of the differing interests of the different kingdoms and principalities, everyone accepted Christianity as the status quo.  The mustard seed had become a mighty bush and from Europe missionaries went out to all the world to convert it to Christianity too."The danger", she said (p 174), "is that these dogmas have come to be thought of as "naturally arising" as civilization progressed on the road from primitive barbarism to higher civilization. When things are taken for granted too often they begin to erode.
      How we in our pride take what is good, and try to remove God from it so as to control it ourselves, and what tears we reap!
      The French Revolution:   In 1790 a law was passed requiring all priests and religious swear an oath of loyalty to the revolutionary regime, making them employees of the state and subject to state control. By 1793 those who still refused were to be condemned to death. The goal was the complete eradication of the Catholic Church in France.
      The southwest of France resisted, an area called the Vendée. The citizens refused to attend church manned by these priests. Many true priests lived in hiding in the countryside. The family of St Jean Vianney was one of the families who hid priests, by the way. In 1793, when 300,000 men were to be conscripted into the army, the same army that was hunting down priests, they revolted. Some 35,000 peasants picked up their tools and their guns and fought for their liberty. Like the American Revolutionaries, these poor men knew how to shoot, and led a guerrilla war against the occupiers. The government retaliated brutally, killing men, women and children, sometimes thousands at a time. In 1993 no less a person than Alexander Soltzenitsyn visited the Vendée to honor this mostly unknown revolt. [Here is a link to a recent film about the Vendée]
      The Cristeros of Mexico followed the same historical path as the Vendéeans. After a decree by the government of Mexico closely regulating spiritual life and mandating that all religious sign affidavits of allegiance to the federal government, the area of southwest Mexico resisted, and in the ensuing years from 1926 until the mid 1930's, thousands of people on both sides were killed as the federal agents hunted down the insurgents for Christ. "For Greater Glory", the recently released movie is superb and I urge you all to go see it.
      Bishop Jenky recounts the story of the Culture War in Germany:
      In the late 19th century, Bismarck waged his "Kulturkampf," a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany. 
      There is a definite trend here, one that is similar to what is happening today in this great beacon of freedom, the United States of America. 
      Keep in mind what Jean Jacques Rousseau said, "Man must be forced to be free." 
      I continue. Things picked up steam in the 21st Century, our century, in which we were so blessed in this country by peace and prosperity, yet globally it is considered the most blood drenched century in the history of mankind.
       Edith Stein, the Jewish philosopher who became a Carmelite nun and was murdered at Auschwitz in 1942 is a saint. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, researching her cause, showed that the Nazi regime had a distinctive animosity toward the Catholic faith, especially religious, most especially those who protested against the loss of religious freedom [I lost the original site so this one is proposed to verify the statement]. She was not alone. Several thousand priests and religious died, including Maximilien Kolbe, another saint.
       Cardinal Thuan Van Nguyen, whose cause for sainthood is in process at the present time, was named Archbishop of Saigon just seven days before the fall of South Vietnam to the Communist north in 1975 [Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan Foundation]. He was imprisoned for 13 years, nine of which were solitary confinement. [While in prison he wrote a little book called "Prayers of Hope", smuggled out on bits of tissue paper to feed his flock. After release he was placed under house arrest until 1991 when he was forced to leave his homeland.] 
      Cardinal Thuan was imprisoned because he dared to stand in witness to religious freedom, and the communist government would not allow that. [Although in the last year of his life he was allowed to visit the country of his birth, as recently as 2007 government officials would not allow visas to a delegation researching his sainthood].
      Chen Guangdong, the blind Chinese Christian recently allowed to leave Communist China, had been imprisoned for 4 years and then placed under house arrest for 1 1/2 more years for condemning population control by abortion as well as sex selection for boys. 
      These are the ones who got away or have achieved some sort of notoriety, but the death toll is unimaginable. Half the population of Cambodia killed as a repressive Communist regime was implemented. The Russians killed almost 127million, the Communist Chinese, 102 million. A report by a retired professor of political science from the U of Hawaii estimates from 110 million to 247 million people died in Communist regimes in the 20th Century, trying to bring heaven to earth. Yes truly, men who are forced to be free suffer the consequences. But thanks be to God, there is an alternative and our great country is an example, where man may humble himself and choose God's law, and actually be free.
      The American War of Independence, unlike the French Revolution which attacked tradition and order, or the various authoritarian or Communist regimes which did likewise over the past couple of centuries, built upon the truth of the Christian faith in order to create a society in which people could peacefully govern themselves as free men. Our Declaration of Independence states that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights and that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". The Declaration refers to the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God". Yes we live in a democracy, but it is important for democratic regimes be created in sync with the natural law. We must never forget who we are, and what truly makes us free.
      Pope Benedict XVI recently highlighted that point, stating that our faith is shaped
       ...by a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature's God. . . . that consensus has significantly eroded in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such [second paragraph].
      You have heard over the last few days how our constitutional rights are being challenged by the HHS mandate and other ways pointed out by the USCCB.
      This quick look  at other examples of persecution in recent centuries shows what a fragile gift we have in the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution and how important it is that we never let up in our demand for religious liberty. Let us each, members of the laity, passionately pray and work to educate our fellow citizens as to the fragile nature of the gift we have been asked to care for: our Constitution and the liberties it protects, and may we never cease to be vigilant against those forces that want to deprive us of these unalienable rights.
      [I omitted this section from the oral talk due to time constraints]
      John Carroll, our first bishop, said that 
      Catholics' blood flowed as freely . . . to cement the fabric of independence as that of any of their fellow-citizens. They concurred with perhaps greater unanimity than any other body of men . . . promoting that government from whose influence America anticipates all the blessings of justice, peace, plenty, good order, and civil and religious liberty.
      As Jennifer Roback Morse recently said in a response to the Mandate from the Acton Institute, 
      When rights of the minority are not protected by the majority that's the end of America. It is serious."The American Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental provider of social services in the world. If the government can do this to the bishops of the Catholic Church, they can squash you like a bug. . . 
      Let us pray.
       Almighty God, Father of all nations,For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
      We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;
      By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.
      We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


                Global Market Study on Cyber Security: Services Segment Projected to Be the Most Attractive Segment by Component During 2017 - 2025   

      The report includes an extensive analysis of key industry drivers, restraints, market trends and market structure. The market study provides a comprehensive assessment of key stakeholder strategies and imperatives for succeeding in the business.

      Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/30/2017 -- Cyber Security Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast 2017 – 2025," a new report by Persistence Market Research offers insights into the various factors driving the popularity of the need for cyber security in five regions across the globe. The report includes an extensive analysis of key industry drivers, restraints, market trends and market structure. The market study provides a comprehensive assessment of key stakeholder strategies and imperatives for succeeding in the business. The report segregates the market based on component type, technology type and verticals using cyber security across different regions globally. Impact analysis of key growth drivers and restraints based on the weighted average model is included in this report to facilitate clients with crystal clear decision-making insights.

      Request For Sample Report: http://www.mrrse.com/sample/3114

      While analyzing the data the analysts have not only considered the historical trend examination but have also taken into consideration statistical analysis and government support analysis. Top countries' GDP analysis has been included in this report. The report quantifies the market value and market volume share of various segments of the global cyber security market across the studied regional markets, thereby performing a comprehensive analysis of the global cyber security market across all levels.

      In-depth assessment of capabilities and detailed profiles of key competitors is included in the scope of the report

      This report on the global cyber security market presents a competitive landscape to provide clients with a dashboard view based on categories of providers in the value chain, presence in the cyber security portfolio and key differentiators. This section is primarily designed to provide clients with an objective and detailed comparative assessment of key providers specific to a market segment in the cyber security supply chain as well as potential players. Report audiences can gain segment-specific vendor insights to identify and evaluate key competitors based on an in-depth assessment of capabilities and success in the marketplace. Detailed profiles of providers are also included in the scope of the report to evaluate their long-term and short-term strategies, key offerings and recent developments in the global cyber security market.

      Research Methodology

      This report evaluates the present scenario and the growth prospects of the global cyber security market across various regions globally for the period 2017 – 2025. The analysts have considered 2016 as the base year and have provided data for the trailing 12 months. In order to offer an accurate forecast, the analysts have started by sizing the current market, which forms the basis for how the global cyber security market will grow in the future. Given the characteristics of the market, the analysts have triangulated the outcome of different types of analyses based on the technology trends. In addition, the report not only presents forecasts in terms of CAGR but also analyzes the market on the basis of key parameters such as year-on-year (Y-o-Y) growth to understand the predictability of the market and to identify the right opportunities across the market. As previously highlighted, the global cyber security market is split into a number of segments. All segments are analyzed in terms of basis point share to understand each individual segment's relative contribution to market growth. This detailed level of information is important for the identification of various key trends governing the global cyber security market.

      Browse Full Report With TOC: http://www.mrrse.com/cyber-security-market

      Another key feature of this report is the analysis of all market segments in terms of absolute dollar opportunity. This is traditionally overlooked while forecasting the market. However, absolute dollar opportunity is critical in assessing the level of opportunity that a provider can look to achieve, as well as to identify potential resources from a sales and delivery perspective. Yearly change in inflation rate has not been considered while forecasting market numbers. Top-down approach has been used to assess market numbers for each category while bottom-up approach has been used to counter-validate the reached market numbers.

      Related Reports:

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      Physical Security Market (Hardware, Software and Services) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 - 2019

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                Pendidikan Ideologi   
      Pendidikan Ideologi
      Ignas Kleden  ;   Sosiolog
                                                               KOMPAS, 21 Juni 2017



                                                                 
      Pada 19 September 1951, presiden pertama RI, Ir Soekarno, menerima gelar doctor honoris causa dalam ilmu hukum dari Universitas Gadjah Mada, dengan promotor Prof Mr Drs Notonegoro.

      Pidato Bung Karno, "Ilmu dan Amal", mencerminkan pandangannya tentang ilmu pengetahuan, ideologi, politik, dan pemimpin politik. Bung Karno mungkin sekali adalah kepala negara di dunia yang menerima gelar Dr HC terbanyak, total 26: 7 dari dalam negeri dan 19 dari luar negeri, seperti Amerika Serikat, Kanada, Uni Soviet, Jerman Barat, Yugoslavia, Cekoslowakia, Polandia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hongaria, Mesir, Turki, Kamboja, Korea Utara, Filipina, Brasil, dan Bolivia.

      Sekalipun demikian banyak penghormatan dunia akademis terhadapnya, Bung Karno dalam pidato di depan senat guru besar UGM mengatakan terus terang, setiap kali menerima gelar kehormatan itu, dirinya selalu bertanya apakah ada alasan cukup untuk menerima kehormatan seperti itu. Dirinya pada dasarnya bukanlah seorang ilmuwan karena tak menelurkan teori ilmu pengetahuan yang diterima dalam komunitas ilmu pengetahuan, tak menulis karya ilmiah yang diperbincangkan para ilmuwan di dunia, sehingga sumbangannya secara langsung kepada ilmu pengetahuan, dalam pandangannya sendiri, hampir tidak ada.

      Namun, ini tak mengecilkan hatinya karena, menurut Bung Karno, dirinya tak merasa diri seorang ilmuwan, dan bahkan tak suka menjadi ilmuwan. "Pembawaanku tidak puas dengan ilmu an sich. Bagi saya, ilmu pengetahuan hanyalah berharga penuh jika ia dipergunakan untuk mengabdi kepada praktik hidup manusia, atau praktik hidupnya bangsa, atau praktik hidupnya dunia kemanusiaan."

      Karya ilmiah berpuncak pada ditelurkannya suatu teori ilmiah yang diterima dan didiskusikan para ilmuwan dalam komunitas mereka, sedangkan Bung Karno merasa dirinya pada tempat pertama adalah seorang pemimpin politik, tugas utamanya mengaktifkan rakyat dan masyarakatnya kepada suatu cita-cita yang hendak diperjuangkan melalui praktik hidup. Berulang kali dia mengutip ucapan dalam bahasa Belanda, "Kennis zonder daad is doelloos. Daad zonder kennis is richtingloos (Pengetahuan tanpa perbuatan adalah tanpa tujuan. Perbuatan tanpa pengetahuan adalah tanpa arah)".

      Kalau praktik hidup dan perbuatan, bagi Bung Karno, hal terpenting, apakah gunanya pengetahuan dan ilmu pengetahuan, dan mengapa dia membaca dan mempelajari demikian banyak buku termasuk buku-buku ilmu pengetahuan? Jawaban telah diberikannya sendiri: pengetahuan dan ilmu pengetahuan dibutuhkan supaya memberi arah yang lebih jelas sehingga praktik hidup mempunyai tujuan yang dapat dipertanggungjawabkan.

      Pada titik ini menjadi jelas, bagi dia penting sekali menyusun suatu teori tentang arah dan tujuan bagi praktik hidup yang dijalankan rakyat dan masyarakatnya. Teori itu dalam pandangannya tak lain dari Pancasila, yang menurut keyakinannya dapat dan harus menjadi pedoman bagi arah dan tujuan praktik hidup yang dijalankan masyarakat Indonesia sebagai negara merdeka. Pancasila adalah suatu teori tentang praktik negara dan berfungsi sebagai ideologi, tetapi sekaligus menjadi teori tentang praktik hidup masyarakat Indonesia, dan menjadi Weltanschauung, suatu visi tentang dunia yang menentukan orientasi masyarakat Indonesia terhadap dunia. Was ist Weltanschauung? Apa itu Weltanschauung? Itulah pertanyaan filosof Karl Jaspers dalam studinya yang luas dan komprehensif, Psychologie der Weltanschauungen.

      Menurut Jaspers, visi tentang dunia atau Weltanschauung selalu bersifat filosofis karena dia menjadi pengetahuan tentang keseluruhan, tentang yang universal, yang merupakan watak pengetahuan filosofis. Bedanya dari sistem filsafat ialah Weltanschauung tidak hanya berupa pengetahuan tentang keseluruhan, tetapi bahwa pengetahuan itu membawa akibat yang menjadi kenyataan dalam jiwa, menjadi seelische Wirklichkeit der Wirkung.

      Tugas pemimpin politik

      Tak begitu jelas apakah Bung Karno membaca karya Jaspers atau tidak, tetapi nyatanya dia juga menyatakan Pancasila adalah suatu philosophische grondslag, suatu dasar filsafat dan filsafat dasar bagi Indonesia, dan bahkan bagi negara lain di dunia yang mau menerapkannya. Namun, filsafat dasar itu tak akan hidup kecuali kalau dia dijalankan dan dihayati menjadi praktik hidup. Suatu ideologi negara, menurut Bung Karno, selalu punya dua fungsi utama: fungsi statis (mempersatukan semua unsur masyarakat ke dalam satu negara), dan fungsi dinamis (memberi arah ke mana negara dan masyarakat itu digerakkan). Peran pemimpin politik tak dapat diabaikan karena dia bertugas mengaktifkan masyarakatnya untuk menjalankan praktik hidup yang merealisasikan tujuan yang ditetapkan dalam suatu ideologi. Dalam tugas itu pemimpin politik harus melakukan tiga hal dalam tiga langkah.

      Pertama, pemimpin politik harus sanggup melukiskan cita-cita negara dan masyarakatnya sebagai tujuan dan impian yang menarik, atraktif, dan appealing. Apakah ada politisi kita sekarang ini yang sanggup melukiskan kesejahteraan sosial bagi seluruh masyarakat sebagai gagasan atraktif bagi kehidupan bersama dan ide yang memikat bagi kaum muda? Apakah ada kemampuan politisi berbicara tentang kemanusiaan yang adil dan beradab sebagai cita-cita dan nilai yang layak dikejar dan diwujudkan dalam praktik hidup karena cita-cita itu punya daya tarik yang menimbulkan pesona dan memberi ilham yang menggairahkan? Apakah pembicaraan tentang kebangsaan masih menggelitik patriotisme, dengan rasa bangga dan rasa syukur, bahwa ada suatu tempat di alam semesta ini yang menjadi tanah air yang kita miliki, dan sekaligus memiliki diri kita sebagai rakyatnya-a homeland which belongs to us, and to which we all belong?

      Pernahkah kita mendengar politisi kita berbicara musyawarah dan mufakat sebagai local genius Indonesia dalam memecahkan masalah dan mencapai konsensus rasional, sambil menimbulkan rasa hormat dan bermartabat kepada pihak yang beda pandangan? Di atas segalanya, apakah kita masih menyebut nama Tuhan dengan rasa tremendum et fascinans, dengan gentar dan terpukau karena kekudusan-Nya, dan apakah ingatan akan nama-Nya sanggup menahan kita dari nafsu berfoya-foya kekuasaan dan keserakahan?