7:43 PM 11/7/2017 – “Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N. 

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“Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N. 

Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable

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Sound familiar? It does to American citizens who must regularly study these bloody rituals and be left by political leaders to passively anticipate the carnage next time.

In the aftermath of the Texas horror, politicians led by President Trump are trying to steer away from the obvious issue of what to do about the gun industry’s wanton sale of military-style rifles and pistols on the domestic market.

Mr. Trump called the rampage a “mental health problem at the highest level” and not “a guns situation.” This is the cynical evasion devised by the National Rifle Association, which warmly endorsed candidate Trump, who now parrots the diversionary talking point that we must first control for mental illness.

In fact, President Trump signed a law in February revoking an Obama-era regulation that made it more difficult for the mentally ill to purchase guns.

Mr. Trump, who spoke favorably as a candidate of vigilante shootouts for self-defense, also suggested that if a civilian had not briefly exchanged shots with the Texas shooter after the massacre, the casualty toll “would have been much worse.” The implication was that the bloodshed in Texas, which also included more than 20 wounded, actually makes the case for more guns — that the disease of gun violence is also its cure.

This is a fantasy, not a rational argument; it doesn’t bear the slightest scrutiny. As our colleague Nicholas Kristof notes, the United States outstrips the world in both gun ownership per capita and gun deaths per capita. States with higher proportions of gun ownership also have rates of death by guns higher than the national average. Incidents in which victims kill attackers in self-defense are vanishingly few compared with gun homicides, and suicide is by far the leading cause of gun deaths.

From expanded background checks to assault weapons bans, proposals put forward by gun-safety proponents, unlike continually increasing private American arsenals, would do something to thwart mass shootings. The Texas killer was not motivated by racial hatred, as was the killer of the Charleston churchgoers, but by family grievance, underlining the lethal combination of domestic abuse and firearms. Abusers’ access to guns increases the risk of intimate partner homicide as much as fivefold, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. While federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence, as Mr. Kelley was, from buying or possessing firearms, the Air Force failed to add him to a federal database, allowing him to pass necessary background checks. The right law was on the books but enforcement was lax.

And yet so many politicians continue to promote the wares of the gun industry. Two years ago, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tweeted “I’m embarrassed: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind California. Let’s pick up the pace Texans. @NRA.” On Monday he said the problem was out of human hands.

“We have evil that occurs in this world,” Governor Abbott declared, as if from a pulpit, equating all manner of global terrorist attacks, including the murder of eight last week by a truck driver in Manhattan. When asked how the evil of gun violence can be overcome, he replied “you do that by working with God.” Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, even envisioned “arming some of the parishioners or the congregation so that they can respond” if another massacre occurs.

This is the level of pro-gun argument being offered by Republican leaders and some Democrats. It is made in service to the N.R.A. and the gun industry, not the American public.

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New developments in the Sutherland Springs Texas church shooting – mySanAntonio.com

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mySanAntonio.com
New developments in the Sutherland Springs Texas church shooting
mySanAntonio.com
The gunman Devin Patrick Kelley who killed at least 26 people in a church south of San AntonioSunday died from what authorities believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he crashed his car. He had been chased by armed bystanders. Read more: …

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Devin Patrick Kelley – Google Search

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The Texas gunman escaped from a mental health facility after …

Business Insider4 hours ago
Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people on Sunday at a rural Texas church, escaped from a mental health hospital in 2012, …
What We Know About the Texas Baptist Church Gunman
BlogSlate Magazine (blog)Nov 6, 2017

Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly?

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Three of the worst five shootings in modern US history have happened in the last 16 months.

It began – more or less – with 13, the number killed in 1949 in Camden, New Jersey, one of the earliest mass shootings in the US. An army veteran, Howard Unruh, killed his neighbours.

Over the next several decades, the numbers went up: 16 in Austin, Texas, on a campus in 1966, and 21 slain at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California, in 1984.

The past month or so have been especially brutal, as two attacks unfolded – in Las Vegas (58 dead) and Sutherland Springs, Texas (26). They followed a June 2016 assault in an Orlando nightclub in which 49 people were killed.

The reasons for this disturbing trend are many and complex, and people across the US and around the world have struggled to understand the violence.

Here analysts discuss some of the factors that may lie behind the grim numbers:

Weapons are more powerful – and shoot faster

The shooters have increasingly been using guns with high-capacity magazines, allowing them to fire off dozens of rounds without having to reload.

“There are more people being shot in a shorter amount of time – with more bullets in them,” explained Harvard School of Public Health’s David Hemenway.

Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, and James Holmes, who killed 12 in Aurora, Colorado, that year, both used weapons with this feature. The data’s clear: the number of killings in individual attacks goes up when assault rifles are used.

Researchers have also examined the laws: a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines was passed in 1994. It was lifted in 2004.

Experts said lifting the ban helped to usher in a new era of mass shootings. With these weapons, individuals could shoot faster and for longer periods of time – and consequently were able to kill more people in their attacks.

In addition states have their own laws. After the Sandy Hook massacre, a Connecticut law was passed that banned semiautomatic rifles (or assault weapons, as they’re also known).

Other states loosened their gun laws, however. In Georgia, for example, a law was passed that allowed people to carry weapons in school classrooms, nightclubs and other places. Experts at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence wrote that people in states with stricter gun controls tended to see less gun violence.


Assailants choose their sites more carefully

Attacks are now carried out in places with a large number of people – such as a Las Vegas concert venue with 22,000 people. “With that type of crowd, the shooter didn’t even have to aim,” said University of Central Florida’s Jay Corzine.

Most of the people who carry out mass shootings plan the attacks carefully, according to Homicide Studies.

“They’re doing their homework,” Corzine explained. Preparing the groundwork, he said, means the shooters kill more.

The gunman who opened fire at a Batman screening in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012 “thought a movie theatre would lead to higher fatalities”, said the University of Alabama’s Adam Lankford.


The shooters are inspired by media accounts

Coverage of mass shootings – like the assaults themselves – have exploded in recent years. Shooters post on social media before the attacks and sometimes while the assaults are underway.

Media organisations create live pages and provide 24/7 coverage of an assault. In addition journalists often focus on the killers, providing details about their lives and unintentionally contributing to a glorification of these individuals.

Yet overall, say experts, the stories did not cause an increase in the number of deaths in the assaults. “I’ve seen media accounts of mass shootings for the past 25 years, and the uptick of high casualties has been pretty recent,” said Corzine. Still the coverage gives people ideas.

“Mass shootings are contagious,” said Gary Slutkin, founder of a Chicago-based organisation, Cure Violence. “People see what other people do, and they follow that.”


The shooters compete with each other

Dylan Klebold, one of the attackers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, described their goal: “the most deaths in US history…we’re hoping.”

As Lankford explained: “This really is a race for notoriety – to be bigger and better than the attackers who came before you.”

Becoming famous as a mass shooter may seem like a sick glory. Yet it holds an allure for some. “It’s, ‘Well, yeah…,'” Slutkin said, describing how these individuals consider the possibility of fame and spend little time contemplating the likelihood of their own grisly fate: “It isn’t all the way thought through.”

“We all want to be known after we’re dead,” he explained.

“It shows how strong that circuit is.”

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Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly? – BBC News

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BBC News
Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly?
BBC News
Most of the people who carry out mass shootings plan the attacks carefully, according to Homicide Studies. “They’re doing their homework,” Corzine explained. Preparing the groundwork, he said, means the shooters kill more. The gunman who opened fire at …
Another opportunity to do nothing about gun violence in AmericaLos Angeles Times
Many Mass Shooters Have A History Of Domestic ViolenceBuzzFeed News
FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD: It’s time to stop doing nothing about gunsUtahstatesman
ChristianityToday.com –Department of Justice –EverytownResearch.org
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AR-15 style rifles are common among mass shootings – WBIR-TV

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WBIR-TV
AR-15 style rifles are common among mass shootings
WBIR-TV
AR-15 style rifles have become the weapon of choice in recent mass shootings, including the Texas church shooting Sunday, the Orlando nightclub last year and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The manufacture of rifles more than doubled in the last …

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Mass shootings in America: 4 essential reads – WTOP

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Mass shootings in America: 4 essential reads
WTOP
For injury prevention, it is far more effective and long-lasting to change the environment by changing modifiable policies and norms than to try to change the way children behave.” A mass shooting often brings out partisan politics. Those who want to 

Texas authorities: We won’t mention shooter’s name again – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Texas authorities: We won’t mention shooter’s name again
Washington Post
The shooter’s name went unspoken at a news conference on the killings at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and authorities there said they intend to keep refraining from saying it. “We do not want to glorify him and what he has done,” Texas 

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Texas authorities: We won’t mention shooter’s name again – Boston Herald

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Boston Herald
Texas authorities: We won’t mention shooter’s name again
Boston Herald
Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina who studies the social effects of technology, said evidence shows that future mass shooters were carefully watching coverage of the most recent attacks. She has repeatedly urged — both 

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What Explains US Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer – New York Times

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New York Times
What Explains US Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer
New York Times
If mental health made the difference, then data would show that Americans have more mental health problems than do people in other countries with fewer mass shootings. But the mental health care spending rate in the United States, the number of mental …
Link seen between domestic violence and mass killingsCBS News
Mass Shooting in Texas and False Arguments Against Gun ControlThe New Yorker
Trump wrong to blame mass killings on mental illness rather than guns, experts saySan Francisco Chronicle
Axios –Xinhua –Washington Post
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After the Texas church shooting, will the military fix how it reports crime? – PBS NewsHour

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PBS NewsHour
After the Texas church shooting, will the military fix how it reports crime?
PBS NewsHour
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had an urgent question Monday about Devin Patrick Kelley, the former U.S. Air Force airman who is accused of killing 26 people worshipping at a church service yesterday: How was it that Kelley, convicted of domestic violence and …

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NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data

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Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything else except the title and byline:

Uh, notice a problem there, guys? You can’t compare across countries without adjusting for population. A country with more people, all else equal, will have both more guns and more mass shootings, driving a false correlation between the two.

They get to the adjusted data about halfway through the piece. It’s true that the U.S. and Yemen are the countries with the most guns and the most shooters — and that is something that could, plausibly, suggest that easy access to guns increases mass shootings. But also worth noting is that there’s no pattern visible for the entire rest of the data set. Gun ownership varies from basically nonexistent to above 30 guns per 100 people, yet these variations don’t obviously correspond to variations in mass shootings.

There are a few other issues with the piece worth pointing out, in no particular order:

 Their mass-shooting numbers and much of their analysis — including a claim that gun ownership correlates with mass shootings even after the U.S. is excluded and overall homicide rates are taken into account — come from the researcher Adam Lankford, who has refused to share information about his analysis with media outlets likely to criticize him.

 In one paragraph, they claim that more gun ownership means more “gun murders,” but two of the four sources they link document gun deaths including suicide.

 We shouldn’t care about “gun murders” or “mass shootings”; we should care about murders in general and mass killings in general, regardless of how they’re accomplished. (Up to a point it’s essentially tautological to claim that more guns translates to more problems with guns, because a society with no guns by definition cannot have any problems with them.) As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no simple, consistent correlation between gun ownership and murder or homicide rates in general, either among developed countries or among U.S. states. More sophisticated studies face a variety of serious methodological obstacles — I don’t find any of them that compelling — and have reached varying conclusions. The research on mass shootings in particular is in an even more primitive state.

 They claim that the U.S. has more lethal crime than other developed countries but not more crime in general, and argue that guns are the difference. Even if we take the initial claim at face value, in blaming guns we encounter the problem that, as Steven Pinker once put it, “If you subtract out all the gun homicides in the United States and you just look at the homicides committed with, say ropes, candlesticks, and daggers, we still kill people at a higher rate.” I went through various reasons for our high rate of lethal violence here.

I wouldn’t purport to know for a fact that gun ownership doesn’t lead to higher homicide or mass-shooting rates, but the effects are far more complicated and subtle than gun controllers want us to believe.

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4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., in my opinion – M.N. | NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review | The Web World Times – News and Opinions Review

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4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S.: In my opinion:

If you admit as the hypothetical explanatory option the  hostile special intelligence operation nature of the mass killings, and it is impossible not to consider this scenario as an, if not the (in majority of cases) explanation, then all the sociological and the statistical studies become irrelevant, just as the gun ownership explanatory theory, which is indeed false, in my opinion. This latter factor might be contributing but not the root cause, and not the main causal factor in the modern-day U.S. culture. 

Michael Novakhov 

11.7.17 

P.S.: But the good thing is that we started to ask these questions and started to look for the answers. We should not let the conceptual stereotypes to cloud our judgment. One of such stereotypes, regarding “Al Qaeda”, started to crumble before our eyes: “21 Years of War with Al  Qaeda?” “ISIS”, probably is next. 

It looks like the beginning of the end of the historical denial. So much for the powers of the very plausible self-deception: “I do not see it, because I do not want to see it”, just like the good old three monkeys. 

Links: 

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What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

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Worldwide, Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some other factor particular to his home country. And it held when he controlled for homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.

Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas

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There is nothing particularly Lone Star State-ish about a mass killing these days. Ask New York, or Las Vegas.

 ___________________________________

 

Mass Shootings News Review

Current News, Selected Articles, Reviews, Analysis, Investigations, Opinions

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NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review

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National Review
NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data
National Review
Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything else …
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A mass shooter’s name is part of the story; concealing it is silly and self-important – Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times
A mass shooter’s name is part of the story; concealing it is silly and self-important
Los Angeles Times
As anyone who has taken a high school journalism class knows, one of the 5 Ws that reporters should be careful to include in the first paragraph of a news story is “who.” Usually that means providing the name of the newsmaker, whether his actions are …

three monkeys see no evil – Google Search

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The Next Phase in the War on Terror 

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Last week, in the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11, Sayfullo Saipov turned a nearly mile-long stretch of bike path along Manhattan’s West Side Highway into a killing ground. The attack reflects a terrorism threat that is morphing from the complex, externally directed attack carried out by a network that we saw on 9/11 to violent individuals, inspired online by ISIS and other radical jihadist groups. We built an architecture to prevent another 9/11, but we have a long way to go when it comes to tackling this latest phase of terrorism.

The good news is that communities have proven resilient when attacked. The bad news is that this week—with calls for “extreme vetting” and denigration of our criminal justice system as a tool against terror—we saw dangerous backsliding instead of a renewed focus on the work needed for the next phase in the war on terror.

How should we respond to this latest terror act on our soil? Rather than demagoguing on immigration, launching divisive political attacks, or disparaging our criminal justice system, we should focus on what works. Effectiveness should be our lodestar. Russia is not the only one who wants to weaken the United States by sowing division in our country—the terrorists want to do so as well. We shouldn’t let them.

When tragedy and terror strike we must deliver swift and certain justice consistent with the rule of law. While it appears cooler heads have prevailed to reverse the President’s initial impulse to send the New York attacker to Guantanamo (an unprecedented and legally dubious move), the fact that we found ourselves having the debate yet again about “war” vs. “law enforcement” in the terror fight prompted disturbing déjà vu. Dedicated professionals across two administrations worked hard to ensure that this country can apply all tools—military, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy, financial sanctions—to disrupt threats and hold terrorists accountable. For terrorists caught on U.S. soil, we have relied on a criminal justice system that is the envy of the world not only because it is the hallmark of our rule of law society but also because it gets results.

The record is clear when it comes to generating intelligence, securing convictions and safely holding terrorists. The more than one million federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who work in that system put their lives on the line to keep us safe are anything but a “laughing stock.” To the contrary, they include more than 30,000 FBI agents, intelligence analysts and other professionals who I was proud to call colleagues when I served as Chief of Staff to then FBI-Director Robert S. Mueller. This nation is also served everyday by dedicated federal prosecutors who are no “joke.” That includes those in the Southern District of New York who, true to their tradition of independence, tuned out the political talk and moved swiftly to charge the New York attacker. It was precisely the need for intelligence-driven criminal prosecutions of terrorists and spies that led to the creation of the Justice Department’s National Security Division which I was privileged to lead during the Obama Administration. These elements of our post 9/11 architecture—solidified over both Republican and Democratic Administrations—have brought justice in hundreds of terrorist-related cases since 9/11.

Contrast that approach with the (hopefully short-lived) impulse to send Saipov to Guantanamo on the theory that we’re at war (we are) and he’s an enemy (he is) and enemies don’t get lawyers (not quite). The Supreme Court has determined that Guantanamo Bay, where a detainee has the right to challenge his detention, is not lawyer-free zone. And while a bipartisan effort reformed military commissions in 2009 to maintain a prosecution tool for terrorists caught on a hot battlefield, they have proven anything but swift and certain. In 15 years, the military commissions have delivered just eight convictions or guilty pleas and several of those have been overturned or invalidated. The 9/11 and U.S.S. Cole bombing victims and their families are still waiting for justice today.

Justice would not be served by sending Saipov to Guantanamo. Nor would it serve the goal of generating intelligence and understanding how Saipov came to plow down pedestrians on Halloween afternoon. Saipov reportedly has talked to FBI agents and told them that he consumed ISIS propaganda prior to his attack. Understanding more about how and when he became radicalized is critical to stopping future attacks. But the surest way to keep that from happening would be to interrupt the FBI interrogation and ship Saipov to Guantanamo.

It is dangerous pre-9/11 thinking to suggest that the FBI can’t act in this case—as it has in so many others since 9/11—to obtain intelligence from a terrorist in custody. In fact, the FBI can immediately question terrorists—without giving Miranda warnings—to identify other threats and plots. In 2011 when Congress was considering a mandatory military custody law for terrorist captures here or abroad, the FBI was right to argue that such a mandate would interrupt their intelligence gathering process by turning a terrorist over to the military where he could challenge his military detention with the benefit of a lawyer. Sure enough, in case after case where the FBI has moved quickly to gather intelligence and then bring a prosecution in our courts, terrorists have pled guilty or received lengthy sentences in the highest security Federal prisons. And importantly the FBI has been able to generate intelligence that led to the capture of other terrorists (Just ask Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab). We need this intelligence now more than ever in order to understand how Saipov was radicalized and how someone might have intervened in time to stop him.

It appears that Saipov did not slip through the vetting system, but instead may fall into the more-common category that DHS described in March of this year when it concluded that most foreign born, US-based terrorists are radicalized after they arrive. At the moment, we have a rare opportunity, having taken Saipov into custody alive. As NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said, Saipov followed the ISIS playbook “to a tee” by weaponizing a vehicle and leaving a note to brag about it. This breed of terrorist poses a significant challenge to law enforcement and we should strive to learn as much as we can about Saipov’s path to radicalization.

In response to this challenge, we should reject impulsive responses in favor of what works. Recycling campaign chants of “extreme vetting” and pulling the plug on the Diversity Visa Program which reportedly allowed Saipov entry in 2010 is a distraction; he reportedly was radicalized years after he entered the United States. To be clear, we should support strong and thorough vetting for anyone who wants to enjoy the rights and benefits of this country. Such vetting, regardless of specific program, should be refined based on threat intelligence. This is why following the Paris attacks in 2015, the DHS strengthened the visa waiver program to respond to the threat from foreign fighter returnees who may have traveled to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq but held European passports eligible for visa-free travel to the United States. The future of the Diversity Visa Program might be a reasonable topic for debate, but based on what we know now is in no way related to the tragedy on the Westside Highway.

Rather than creating distractions and issuing blanket travel bans, our vetting process should respond to the actual threats we face. We should be building trust in communities we need to identify future threats, not alienating and marginalizing them. Let’s focus on working with social media companies to stop abuse of their platforms. Let’s work to strengthen relationships with our international security partners.

Sixteen years after 9/11 we face a different type of threat. In response, we should emulate the best we’ve seen from this country. We should model resilience and support, and we should reject politics in favor of pragmatism. We must summon the best in our communities, in our government and politics, and rely on that which makes us different from every other country in the world: the rule of law and our justice system. Anything less allows terrorists to divide us.

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21 Years of War with Al Qaeda? 

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Has the United States been at war with al-Qaeda for 21 years? During the most recent 9/11 military commission hearing at Guantanamo Bay, the prosecution finally articulated its view of when the U.S. and al-Qaeda entered into an armed conflict. According to the prosecution, that putative armed conflict began more than 21 years ago, on August 23, 1996, the day Osama bin Laden, the founder of the terrorist group, published a fatwa calling for attacks on Americans. The government characterized this fatwa as a declaration of war:

We do believe that the ’96 document written by [Osama] bin Laden, who was the head of al-Qaeda at the time he wrote it, is a declaration of war.

The prosecution apparently staked out this astonishing position, at odds with history, law, and the U.S. government’s interests outside of the 9/11 military commission, to satisfy its short-term litigation goal of preserving the military commission’s personal jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants.

The Military Commission Act grants military commissions personal jurisdiction over “alien unprivileged belligerents.” The Act defines those as individuals who are not U.S. citizens, who are not privileged belligerents, and who either (1) engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; (2) purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or (3) were a part of al-Qaeda at the time of the alleged offense.  All three categories of individual over whom a military commission may have personal jurisdiction must have some connection to hostilities—which the MCA defines as “any conflict subject to the laws of war.”  (The timing element of the third category implicates hostilities through §950p(c), which limits offenses triable by military commission to those “committed in the context of or associated with hostilities.”)  Hostilities, in turn, are defined as any conflict subject to the laws of war.  Thus, the military commission has personal jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants only if they were connected to an armed conflict between the U.S. and al-Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001.

Since May 2017, the 9/11 military commission is working its way towards a pre-trial, evidentiary hearing on personal jurisdiction.  It was in the context of a preliminary hearing addressing what if any witnesses should provide testimony as to personal jurisdiction that Judge Pohl pressed the prosecution for a specific date on which the armed conflict with al-Qaeda began.  The government’s response—August 23, 1996—was intended to ensure that the 9/11 military commission could proceed.  Unfortunately, that position carries with it significant ramifications implicating state sovereignty—the oldest rule in international law—and fundamental applications and consequences of the law of armed conflict.

It is axiomatic that only states may bring about the legal state of war or, in modern terms, armed conflict, through an act of speech. Historically, the law of war applied to situations of declared war between states.  When the 1949 Geneva Conventions established the modern framework for armed conflict that rests primarily on objective indicators of conflict rather than political declarations or determinations, the drafters retained the notion of declared war between states—but only for conflicts between states.  Thus, international armed conflicts—armed conflicts between two or more states—may arise upon a declaration of war alone or through the use of armed force between two states.  In contrast, non-international armed conflicts——armed conflicts between states and non-state actors (or among non-state actors)—only exist when non-state actors are sufficiently organized and violence between the parties is sufficiently intense. Whereas Common Article 2, which invokes the full panoply of the Geneva Conventions, applies only to interstate war and may be triggered merely by a declaration of war, Common Article 3 applies alone in the event of “an armed conflict not of an international character.” The drafters of the Geneva Conventions simply made no provision for a  non-international armed conflict to be triggered by means of a declaration of war.

In fact, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions intentionally excluded a declared-war trigger for non-international armed conflict. Common Article 3 reflects a careful balance: recognizing that conflicts between states and non-state actors may rise to a level of violence comparable to that of interstate armed conflict, while also accommodating states’ desire to minimize international legal regulation intruding on their internal affairs. This bargain reflects states’ aversion to conferring the sort of legitimacy or legal status on non-state actors that could challenge states’ sovereignty, including by implicitly recognizing their belligerent or insurgent status.

Thus, the final clause of Common Article 3 includes a disclaimer: “The application of the preceding provisions [Common Article 3] shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.” Jean Pictet’s authoritative Commentary on the Geneva Conventions specifically attributes the provision’s origin to a desire to “prevent the [non-state] party from basing a claim for recognition as a regular Government on the respect it had shown for the Convention,” as required in the original Convention draft. His explanation of Common Article 3 attributes much of its evolution from its initial proposal to its final form to states’ concerns about legitimizing criminal entities.

“There was also a risk of common or ordinary criminals being encouraged to give themselves a semblance of organization as a pretext for claiming the benefit of the Conventions, representing their crimes as ‘acts of war’ in order to escape punishment for them. A party of rebels, however small, would be entitled under the Conventions to ask for the assistance and intervention of a Protecting Power. Moreover, it was asked, would not the de jure Government be compelled to release the captured rebels as soon as the troubles were over, since the application of the Convention would place them on the same footing as prisoners of war?”

Pictet concluded that without the disclaimer, Common Article 3 would not have been adopted. “It meets the fear—always the same one—that the application of the Convention, even to a very limited extent . . . may confer belligerent status, and consequently increased authority, upon the adverse party.”

The same concerns over extending legitimacy to non-state actors persists today.  Indeed, the United States has never ratified Additional Protocol I precisely because it had the potential to “give recognition and protection to terrorist groups” by extending the law pertaining to international armed conflicts to certain non-international armed conflicts. In transmitting his decision not to seek ratification of Additional Protocol I, President Ronald Reagan explained to the U.S. Senate that the application of the full panoply of international humanitarian law to armed non-state actors who do not otherwise comply with the law of armed conflict could legitimate the aims and the practices of terrorist organizations.

Nevertheless, solely in order to extend the military commissions’ jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants, the government has chosen to legitimize bin Laden and al-Qaeda by placing them on the same legal plane as states, stating last week that:

. . . [O]ur position has always been under international law, when you have international armed conflicts, a declaration of war is sufficient alone [to trigger the law of armed conflict].

. . . .

If we were to declare war on another country today, the law of war would apply from the second we declared war. And that’s really what we are talking about. We are talking about when did the hostilities begin so we know when the law of war took over. And clearly our position has always been that we believe it began in 1996 with [Osama] bin Laden’s declaration . . . .

The military commission prosecution evidently believes that, as a matter of law, an individual or a non-state actor may, through its speech alone, unilaterally bring about a legal state of armed conflict. If the military commission were to credit the prosecution’s position, it would preserve the military commission’s jurisdiction and save the prosecution the trouble and difficulty of demonstrating the existence of a non-international armed conflict prior to 9/11. Unfortunately, the consequences of that inexplicable position are not limited to whether the 9/11 military commission may go forward.

According bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa the legal effect of a declaration of war implies that in 1996 al-Qaeda had the characteristics of a state actor. International law normally limits statehood only to those entities that are able to exert effective control over a definite territory and population, engage in international relations, and garner recognition. But none of this was true of al-Qaeda in 1996. Three months before issuing his fatwa, bin Laden and al-Qaeda were evicted from Sudan and dispossessed of their enterprises there. At the time, al-Qaeda boasted as few as several dozen members. And, seven months later, the Taliban—who by then exerted actual effective control over the territory where bin Laden resided—forced bin Laden to relocate to Kandahar from Nangarhar, where he originally established himself in Afghanistan after fleeing Sudan.

The prosecution’s position imbuing al-Qaeda with state-like powers undermine U.S. interests outside of this military commission in at least five ways.  First, it undermines the lawfulness and legitimacy of the U.S. war of self-defense against Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11.  If al-Qaeda were a state or something akin to a state in 1996, then by implication Afghanistan and the Taliban did not so much host al-Qaeda as surround it, as if it were an enclaved state. Under the prosecution’s view, therefore, the Taliban could not be responsible for surrendering bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks, and the United States’ ultimatum to hand him over would have been unreasonable: how could a de facto government with only partial control of its own territory be responsible for curtailing the actions of an enclaved sovereign? Consequently, if the prosecution were right that al-Qaeda was the equivalent of a state actor, the invasion of Afghanistan could be viewed as a misdirected and illegal aggressive war.

Second, the prosecution’s position necessarily suggests that the armed conflict between al-Qaeda and the United States is an international armed conflict—as opposed to a non-international armed conflict—invoking the full panoply of the laws of war.  This position also means that al-Qaeda members were the regular armed forces of a state, meaning that members of al-Qaeda could make a colorable claim to combatant immunity and prisoner-of-war (POW) status. At the very least, all of those currently detained and accused of prior membership in al-Qaeda should have been treated as POWs until they received an Article 5 hearing. (Ammar al Baluchi, for example, has requested, but never received, an Article 5 hearing.) The prosecution’s position in the 9/11 case legitimizes attacks by members of al-Qaeda on U.S. soldiers and military infrastructure, narrowing the scope of criminality associated with al-Qaeda attacks.  For example, according to the prosecution’s view, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole would remain perfidious but the sailors killed and the vessel targeted would be lawful military targets—and the charge of terrorism would be a mere restatement of the object of war: violence intended to coerce a political result.

Third, if the prosecution position prevailed, al-Qaeda would have enjoyed belligerent rights and the benefit of the laws of neutrality. Neutrality of non-belligerents is automatically triggered by the existence of a state of war between belligerents. Neutrals must remain neutral—that is they must not assist one belligerent party against the other. But belligerents must also refrain from conducting hostilities on the territory of neutral states, a fundamental protection for neutrals and against the spread of war. For example, the application of neutrality as a result of the prosecution’s position would mean that the U.S. violated Sudan’s neutrality along with its sovereignty by bombing the al-Shifa pharmaceutical facility in Khartoum in 1998.

Moreover, and outside of the immediate concerns relating to al-Qaeda, the government’s position suggests that declarations of war by non-state actors are a fast-track to sovereignty. The consequences of this implication may be far reaching. There are numerous entities that have substantially stronger claims to statehood than did al-Qaeda in 1996, but that remain outsiders in the international system. Would entities like Somaliland, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, and others finally gain admittance to the international system by declaring war on a neighbor or a far-off foe unlikely to take notice?

Finally, the government’s position leaves unsettled how to differentiate non-state declarations of war that have legal effect from those that do not. The U.S. has been the target of numerous supposed declarations of war by violent non-state actors to which it accorded no legal effect. For example, the United States treated neither the Symbionese National Liberation Army nor the Weathermen as enemy belligerents. Similarly, why give bin Laden’s August 1996 fatwa the legal weight of a declaration of war but not al Qaeda’s earlier 1992 fatwa that likewise called for attacks on U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia?

The only conclusion that can be drawn from the prosecution’s astounding position that bin Laden’s fatwa actually caused a legal state of war with the U.S. is that the government is willing to contort the law of armed conflict to suit its short-term litigation goals. Unfortunately, its single-minded and short-sighted effort to patch up the broken 9/11 military commission is simply making wreckage of law and history—and proving the old adage that hard cases make bad law.

The opinions and views expressed are those of the author alone. They do not represent the views of the US Department of Defense or the US Government. 

Image: Getty Read on Just Security »

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Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas 

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There is nothing particularly Lone Star State-ish about a mass killing these days. Ask New York, or Las Vegas.

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

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Worldwide, Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some other factor particular to his home country. And it held when he controlled for homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.

What Doesn’t: Crime, Race or Mental Health

If mental health made the difference, then data would show that Americans have more mental health problems than do people in other countries with fewer mass shootings. But the mental health care spending rate in the United States, the number of mental health professionals per capita and the rate of severe mental disorders are all in line with those of other wealthy countries.

A 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of American gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues. And Mr. Lankford, in an email, said countries with high suicide rates tended to have low rates of mass shootings — the opposite of what you would expect if mental health problems correlated with mass shootings.

Whether a population plays more or fewer video games also appears to have no impact. Americans are no more likely to play video games than people in any other developed country.

Racial diversity or other factors associated with social cohesion also show little correlation with gun deaths. Among European countries, there is little association between immigration or other diversity metrics and the rates of gun murders or mass shootings.

A Violent Country

America’s gun homicide rate was 33 per million people in 2009, far exceeding the average among developed countries. In Canada and Britain, it was 5 per million and 0.7 per million, respectively, which also corresponds with differences in gun ownership.

Americans sometimes see this as an expression of deeper problems with crime, a notion ingrained, in part, by a series of films portraying urban gang violence in the early 1990s. But the United States is not actually more prone to crime than other developed countries, according to a landmark 1999 study by Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins of the University of California, Berkeley.

Rather, they found, in data that has since been repeatedly confirmed, that American crime is simply more lethal. A New Yorker is just as likely to be robbed as a Londoner, for instance, but the New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the process.

They concluded that the discrepancy, like so many other anomalies of American violence, came down to guns.

More gun ownership corresponds with more gun murders across virtually every axis: among developed countries, among American states, among American towns and cities and when controlling for crime rates. And gun control legislation tends to reduce gun murders, according to a recent analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries.

This suggests that the guns themselves cause the violence.

Mass Shootings Happen Everywhere

Skeptics of gun control sometimes point to a 2016 study. From 2000 and 2014, it found, the United States death rate by mass shooting was 1.5 per one million people. The rate was 1.7 in Switzerland and 3.4 in Finland, suggesting American mass shootings were not actually so common.

But the same study found that the United States had 133 mass shootings. Finland had only two, which killed 18 people, and Switzerland had one, which killed 14. In short, isolated incidents. So while mass shootings can happen anywhere, they are only a matter of routine in the United States.

As with any crime, the underlying risk is impossible to fully erase. Any individual can snap or become entranced by a violent ideology. What is different is the likelihood that this will lead to mass murder.

In China, about a dozen seemingly random attacks on schoolchildren killed 25 people between 2010 and 2012. Most used knives; none used a gun.

By contrast, in this same window, the United States experienced five of its deadliest mass shootings, which killed 78 people. Scaled by population, the American attacks were 12 times as deadly.

Beyond the Statistics

In 2013, American gun-related deaths included 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides and 505 deaths caused by an accidental discharge. That same year in Japan, a country with one-third America’s population, guns were involved in only 13 deaths.

This means an American is about 300 times more likely to die by gun homicide or accident than a Japanese person. America’s gun ownership rate is 150 times as high as Japan’s. That gap between 150 and 300 shows that gun ownership statistics alone do not explain what makes America different.

The United States also has some of the world’s weakest controls over who may buy a gun and what sorts of guns may be owned.

Switzerland has the second-highest gun ownership rate of any developed country, about half that of the United States. Its gun homicide rate in 2004 was 7.7 per million people — unusually high, in keeping with the relationship between gun ownership and murders, but still a fraction of the rate in the United States.

Swiss gun laws are more stringent, setting a higher bar for securing and keeping a license, for selling guns and for the types of guns that can be owned. Such laws reflect more than just tighter restrictions. They imply a different way of thinking about guns, as something that citizens must affirmatively earn the right to own.

The Difference Is Culture

The United States is one of only three countries, along with Mexico and Guatemala, that begin with the opposite assumption: that people have an inherent right to own guns.

The main reason American regulation of gun ownership is so weak may be the fact that the trade-offs are simply given a different weight in the United States than they are anywhere else.

After Britain had a mass shooting in 1987, the country instituted strict gun control laws. So did Australia after a 1996 incident. But the United States has repeatedly faced the same calculus and determined that relatively unregulated gun ownership is worth the cost to society.

That choice, more than any statistic or regulation, is what most sets the United States apart.

“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate,” Dan Hodges, a British journalist, wrote in a post on Twitter two years ago, referring to the 2012 attack that killed 20 young students at an elementary school in Connecticut. “Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

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Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – Google Search

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Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from Pacific Standard

The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings

Pacific Standard3 hours ago
The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings … 59 people in Las Vegas in what was the worst mass shooting in modern American history, … Is toxic masculinity really the root cause of our mass shooting epidemic?
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Trump wrong to blame mass killings on mental illness rather than …
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CatholicPhilly.com

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Church Times

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National Review

Media image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from Malaysian Christian News

Malaysian Christian News
Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from New York Times

No, Mr. President, It Is ‘a Guns Situation’

New York TimesNov 6, 2017
In little more than a month, we have had two cases of mass murder … The money could be raised by a modest tax on all guns owned in the United States. … Once more we are told that the root cause is a mentally ill person.
Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from The Independent (blog)

It’s not Muslims, Mexicans or immigrants making the US unsafe – it’s …

The Independent (blog)Nov 6, 2017
Not only are most adult mass shooters in the US men, but most school shooters are boys too. … But it’s also not the root of the cause. … So what makes some people commit mass shootings – what is the common factor that …
Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from Mic

Domestic violence is a link among most mass shooters — but …

MicNov 6, 2017
Many recent mass killings have been committed by men with histories of … Acts of domestic violence are at the root of a majority of mass shootings: Everytown … The shooter in the attack had a history of domestic violence. …. really addressing what the root causes are, whether that be studies, whether that …

Thoughts About Mass Murder

Power Line (blog)17 hours ago
Moreover, the root cause of murder isn’t firearms or cars. It is evil. Countries where there are vastly fewer firearms than in the U.S. still have …
Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from FiveThirtyEight

Why High-Profile Events Like Mass Shootings Often Don’t Lead To …

FiveThirtyEightOct 18, 2017
But in the U.S., gun control policy has often appeared impossible to pass at the … This idea describes the debate after mass shootings pretty well; … health problems or declining public morals, as the root cause of the problem.
Solving Our Gun Violence Problem at the Polls
<a href=”http://TAPinto.net” rel=”nofollow”>TAPinto.net</a>Oct 18, 2017

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Mass Shootings in the U.S. – Google Search

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What Explains US Mass Shootings? International Comparisons …

New York Times7 hours ago
From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American, according to a 2015 study by Adam Lankford, …
Columbine massacre no longer among 10 deadliest mass shootings …
<a href=”http://Chron.com” rel=”nofollow”>Chron.com</a>18 hours ago
Mass Shootings in America Are Spreading Like a Disease
In-DepthThe AtlanticNov 6, 2017

George Papadopoulos – Google Search

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Week after bombshell, George Papadopoulos largely remains a …

Chicago Tribune8 hours ago
This image posted on his Linkedin profile shows George Papadopoulos posing on a street of London. A week after the Trump campaign …
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Trump’s week: Russia probe, Civil War history lesson, and more
Blog<a href=”http://Aljazeera.com” rel=”nofollow”>Aljazeera.com</a> (blog)Nov 4, 2017

Joan Sutherland – Google Search

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Story image for Joan Sutherland from The Guardian

Prima Donna from Point Piper: Joan Sutherland interview – archive …

The GuardianOct 9, 2017
Dame Joan Sutherland during rehearsals for a production of Bellini’s I Puritani, conducted by her husband Richard Bonynge, March 1964.
Story image for Joan Sutherland from OperaWire

Royal Opera House 2017-18 Preview: How Joan Sutherland …

OperaWireOct 26, 2017
When one thinks of “Lucia” at the Royal Opera House, it is impossible to disassociate the opera from one major name – Joan Sutherland.
Story image for Joan Sutherland from Washington City Paper (blog)

The Washington National Opera Tries Valiantly to Make Alcina An …

Washington City Paper (blog)52 minutes ago
If not for a particularly notable Venice run starring Joan Sutherland in the 1960s, it might have mercifully faded into obscurity. To be fair, George …
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sutherland opera – Google Search

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Joan Sutherland “Casta diva” from “Norma” – YouTube

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Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas

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Lessons from a century of communism

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What Russian Revolution? – The New York Times

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Most countries have an unpredictable future; Russia has an unpredictable past. That old chestnut has cropped up often this year as the Kremlin has struggled to find an appropriate official way to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Manipulating history for political ends is not unusual — see the Trump administration and the Civil War. But in Russia, invoking history has long been a way of proclaiming political or ideological affiliation. The “Great October Socialist Revolution” was the founding myth of the Soviet Union; Nov. 7 (Oct. 25 on the old Russian calendar), the date of the uprising that brought the Bolsheviks to power, was the national holiday, on which tanks, missiles and high-stepping soldiers swept through Red Square.

The history of the revolution — and of the czarist past, and for that matter of the entire world — was written to fit the myth of Soviet Russia as the vanguard of civilization, and woe to those who tampered with the official version. Unless they were the guardians of the official version, to whom it fell now and again to rewrite and update that history — like when Stalin went abruptly from demigod to footnote.

The end of the Soviet Union in 1990 set history adrift. The collapse of a totalitarian dictatorship that had overthrown an absolute monarchy forced Russians to confront a painful task of choosing what to glorify, what to condemn, and what to gloss over. Impassioned debates over what role of “liberalism,” “democracy” or “elections” might have had a century ago are really about today.

Those who pine for a powerful state, President Vladimir Putin among them, have come to blame Lenin for the territorial costs he incurred for quitting the war with Germany and to credit Stalin with putting it together again (until it was dismantled anew by Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin). The last czar, Nicholas II, is alternately seen as a weak master who either foolishly allowed the autocracy to founder or who failed to ride with a democratizing tide. The Russian Orthodox Church has canonized him as martyr of an idealized, God-fearing past.

The fall of Communism is the onset of freedom for some, the collapse of empire for others, and simply irrelevant to many Russians under 35, who, according to public opinion polls, simply don’t know much about 1917.

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President Trump’s associates have been indicted. Can Trump himself emerge unscathed? 

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President Trump's associates have been indicted. Can Trump himself emerge unscathed?

Early Monday, the very first charges were issued in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Three former Trump campaign officials were indicted in the probe: Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and two lesser-known Trump associates Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos. So what are the details […]

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After first saying ‘send him to Gitmo,’ Trump changes his mind about N.Y. terrorism suspect 

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After first saying 'send him to Gitmo,' Trump changes his mind about N.Y. terrorism suspect

President Trump on Thursday appeared to rule out sending the New York terrorism suspect to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after threatening a day earlier to send the alleged attacker to the detention center. Backing off his initial statement that he was considering detaining the suspect at America’s most notorious prison, Trump said Thursday […]

How much power does a president have to prevent terrorist attacks? 

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How much power does a president have to prevent terrorist attacks?

On Tuesday afternoon, a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant, Sayfullo Saipov, allegedly drove a rental truck down a bicycle path in Lower Manhattan. Saipov said he was inspired to carry out the attack by the Islamic State. Eight people — pedestrians and cyclists who were on the path — were killed and at least a dozen were injured […]

Arriving in Japan, Trump projects confidence, says he’ll probably meet Putin during Asia trip 

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Arriving in Japan, Trump projects confidence, says he’ll probably meet Putin during Asia trip

TOKYO — President Trump offered a brief overview of his five-country, 12-day trip to Asia as he flew from Honolulu to Tokyo on Saturday, telling reporters that he expects to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin while abroad, plans to pressure other leaders to take a tougher stance on North Korea, and thinks he is […]

Trump arrives in Seoul, tours Camp Humphreys military base on eve of North Korea speech

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Trump arrives in Seoul, tours Camp Humphreys military base on eve of North Korea speech

SEOUL — President Trump arrived in South Korea on Tuesday and toured Camp Humphreys, the third military base he has visited since leaving Washington on a 12-day trip to the Asia Pacific as he prepares to deliver a major speech on North Korea. The president landed at the $11 billion base, 40 miles south of […]

To the Citizens of Russia!

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On the hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution we are publishing the proclamation issued on November 7 (October 25, O.S.), 1917 by the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet.The proclamation was titled “K Grazhdanam Rossii (To the Citizens of Russia!)” and was distributed widely throughout Petrograd.

From the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies

To the citizens of Russia.

The Provisional Government has been overthrown. State power has passed into the hands of the organ of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, the Revolutionary Military Committee, which stands at the head of the Petrograd proletariat and garrison.

The cause for which the people have struggled—the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landlord ownership of land, workers’ control over industry, the creation of a soviet government—this cause has been assured!

Long live the revolution of workers, soldiers and peasants!

The Military Revolutionary Committee
of the Petrograd Soviet
of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies
October 25, 1917, at 10:00 a.m.

Column: Russian meddling not surprising

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Those who claim to have been shocked the Russians might have meddled in the 2016 election are either playing for the cameras or not paying attention. They, and the Soviets before them have employed “active measures”— a technical term that applies to all kinds of espionage — in the United States and the West practically from the moment the Czar was overthrown.

For those who came in late, this kind of stuff is not new. And the U.S. does it, too. We’ve spent money on everything from propaganda to keep the Communists from coming to power in Italy after World War II to trying to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from the top job in the Israeli government.

Earlier this week, a congressional committee took a deep dive into the alleged Russian interference. The matter of foreign manipulation of the U.S. electorate is one on which Congress should tread carefully. It’s a lot more complex than the Washington politicians and the media stars who travel the Acela between New York and the nation’s capital want you to believe.

The idea was first pushed by people looking for a reason Hillary Clinton lost an election she seemed destined by fate to win. It’s true the Russians put ads on the web. It’s true the Trump campaign met with some Russians and may, as charged, have sought a few of them out to see if they had dirt on Clinton not available through normal channels.

Yet, it’s also true the Democrats were up to much the same thing. The so-called dossier on Trump prepared by Christopher Steele, variously described as a former British intelligence operative, was produced through a private opposition research effort secretly financed by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.

That aside, some members of Congress think social media companies are to blame. As the conduits through which information about both Clinton and Trump spread through the electorate, they are supposed to shoulder much of the responsibility for what occurred.

But look at the numbers. Facebook, one of several social media companies called this past week to testify at one point volunteered that ads with content attributable to the Russians in some way went into the newsfeeds of 29 million Americans over a two-year period.

When they finally got all the way downstream they’d been seen, the company estimates, by close to 126 million people, maybe more. That’s at least a third of the country but, over the same period, Americans had more than 30 trillion items flow through their news feed.

Even if you believe every single allegedly Russian spot was read and sent along to at least one other person it constitutes less than one half of one percent of everything people saw. More importantly, no one has shown through any kind of study these ads affected the way people voted.

That’s the key. It’s not a question of whether the Russians were trying to manipulate things; they almost certainly were. The question is whether it worked. In all likelihood it didn’t, though truth is probably unknowable.

Some in Congress don’t care. Needing to look like they’re on the alert and with little consideration of the implication of what they’ve proposed, legislation to regulate Net-based ads and other political communications has already been introduced. These are regulations social media platforms will have to enforce. As blame-shifting goes, that’s like Congress telling computer manufacturers it’s their job to put a stop to hacking and identity theft.

If Congress wants to go any further down this road it should keep the focus where it belongs. Suggesting Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies are somehow complicit in espionage because their platforms were used and abused by techies working for the Russians to spread disinformation misses the point. Facebook is already working on its own to prevent a replay of what happened in 2016. So, one suspects, are the other social media companies.

The government, particularly the U.S. intelligence community should be its willing, helpful partner. Cooperation between the public and private sector will maximize both the efforts and the opportunities to keep disinformation from Russia or anywhere else from spreading while protecting our right to free speech. It’s a win-win. With the government mandates included in the legislative proposals already introduced in Congress, everyone loses.

Roff is a former senior political writer for UPI and a well-known commentator based in Washington, D.C. Email him at peter.Roff@Verizon.net.

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Donald Trump’s mental health, hypothetically possible cognitive dysfunctions, and the need for their evaluation

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Image result for Donald Trump's mental health

The important issue was raised in this article “Alzheimer’s and dementia are a necessary part of the conversation about Donald Trump” in “Palmer Report”, see the copy below. The evaluation of the cognitive functions should be quantitative and measurable, from the simple clinical tests to extensive psychological testing, if needed. So far I did not notice any significant cognitive deficits or problems. Sleep can affect cognition, and it looks like he suffers from chronic insomnia, the causes of which may be many, but depression is quite frequently the cause, and it is likely in his case. Irritability, anger, rage, verbal and Twitter venting, etc. might also be the symptoms of depression to which he might be constitutionally (hereditarily, genetically) predisposed. His mother looks somewhat depressed in the old photos. His affective instability, if it has a lifelong pattern, and that’s how it looks like, might fit into the clinical impressions of cyclothymic or dysthymic personality traits or disorders, but they are not disabling in and by themselves. Trump was a boxer in his youth, and the head traumas or post-concussion syndrome are a possibility, but I do not know enough about his medical history to make the impression about the roles of these factors. 

Generally speaking, a psychological testing, including the tests for the cognitive functions, together with the other tests, like a head MRI, would be a very good idea, if he agrees to them, but no one can force him to take these tests. Although it might be beneficial for him politically if it clears any doubts about his mental state, and most definitely this information would be beneficial for him health wise, as a clinical evaluation. R. Reagan did have the subtle symptoms long before he developed the full blown dementia. 

Alzheimers and dementia are a necessary part of the conversation about Donald Trump

If you’ve ever watched a loved one suffer through a disease that caused severely diminished mental capacity, you know how tragic and devastating it can be. For that reason, diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia are generally spoken about with great care. They’re also arguably not spoken about often enough, out of rightful fear of being offensive. But when it comes to the ongoing and evolving conversation about Donald Trump, it’s well past time to acknowledge the obvious.It would be counterproductive, not to mention grossly unfair to those who do suffer from these diseases, for us to arbitrarily accuse someone like Donald Trump of suffering from a disease like Alzheimer’s and dementia simply because we have a low opinion of him to begin with. But based on the rapidly deteriorating cognitive function that Trump has begun displaying in recent months, the average layperson who’s been paying close attention has been able to see that he’s clearly suffering from some type of rapidly worsening condition.Trump often doesn’t appear to know where he’s at or to whom he’s speaking. He blankly wanders out of the room in the middle of press conferences and bill signings, seemingly with no idea of why he was supposed to have been there. He blankly wanders away from his own motorcade. He can’t be trusted to speak to groups of children. His spoken vocabulary is shrinking. He no longer appears to be writing his own tweets. His staff seems to be having a harder time covering for him by the day.So in addition to the numerous political arguments for why Trump isn’t fit for the job, based on everything from his extremism, to his lack of decency, to his election rigging, to his lifetime of financial crimes, to his obstruction of justice, we now have this more fundamental issue. Even if Trump had been doing a suitable job as president up to this point, his collapsing cognitive condition alone is enough to make the case for his removal by the 25th Amendment.

It’s time for us to begin talking out loud about the fact that Donald Trump is clearly suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia or a similar condition. It’s time to get doctors, and those who have witnessed these diseases up close, to back us up on it. And we must do it in a respectful enough manner such that moderates will come around to seeing his deteriorating condition for themselves, rather than merely assuming that we’re trying to be mean to Trump because we don’t like him. After all, if President Obama had begun demonstrating these kinds of symptoms of rapidly collapsing cognitive function, we’d have had no choice but to call for his removal as well.

The post Alzheimer’s and dementia are a necessary part of the conversation about Donald Trumpappeared first on Palmer Report.

Donald Trump’s mental health – Google Search

Story image for Donald Trump's mental health from Newsweek

It’s Not OK to Discuss Donald Trump’s Mental Health, Says Biggest …

NewsweekJul 26, 2017
Updated | The fitness of Donald Trump to serve as president of the United States is an issue that has cropped up multiple times during the …
Evaluating Trump’s Psyche in Public
Highly CitedThe AtlanticJul 25, 2017
Let psychiatrists talk about Trump’s mental state
OpinionThe Boston GlobeJul 28, 2017

Media image for Donald Trump's mental health from CNN

CNN

Media image for Donald Trump's mental health from TIME

TIME

Media image for Donald Trump's mental health from The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe

Media image for Donald Trump's mental health from Medscape

Medscape

Media image for Donald Trump's mental health from The Verge

The Verge

Media image for Donald Trump's mental health from The Independent

The Independent

Story image for Donald Trump's mental health from STAT

Psychiatry group tells members they can ignore ‘Goldwater rule’ and …

STATJul 25, 2017
It will likely make many of its members feel more comfortable speaking openly about President Trump’s mental health 2. The impetus for the …

Story image for Donald Trump's mental health from The New Yorker

Donald Trump’s State of Mind, and Ours

The New YorkerJul 28, 2017
As Donald Trump passes the six-month mark in office, his behavior has … that bars them from publicly opining on the mental health of Trump, …
What do we do if Trump really is crazy?
OpinionWashington PostJul 28, 2017

Story image for Donald Trump's mental health from Savannah Morning News

Ann McFeatters: Trump’s a mess but he’s not mentally ill

Savannah Morning NewsJul 29, 2017
As Donald Trump veers wackily from day to day, swearing before 30,000 … or not they should give opinions about Trump’s mental health or use …

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Trump has some positive qualities…

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Trump has some positive qualities, to counterbalance the barrage of the broad criticism of him in the media: 

  • He is a deal-maker, which implies flexibility and adaptability, and the search for the non-orthodox solutions. 
  • He is a practical man to the core, to the bone; common sense is his flesh, blood, and soul. Putin called this trait of “being concrete“: “He is very concrete, he fully perceives his interlocutor [is able to take a measure of men, in his own system of coordinates – M.N.], and he analyzes and answers questions or new elements that come in the course of the discussion quickly enough,” Putin added.” To sum up, according to Putin’s impressions, he is fast and adequate in his reactions, perceptions, analysis, and evaluation of the situation and the players within the given, and the very here and now, “real” situation, context. It can be called the mechanical paradigm of political behavior: it might not be seen as very “sophisticated” or “refined” but this style of the characteristic for him, (“business like”), political behavior is “clear”, automatic, “instinctive”, reactional, and “exact” (like a fighter’s punch), and sometimes it can be amazingly adept, adroit, precise, and “prudent” in a predatorial context, “correct”, not without some artistic flair in delivery, and “efficient”. Just sometimes, and under the certain circumstances and in certain milieus. This paradigm might also be called “monarchical”: it is centered essentially around one person or a small group of persons in power. Nowadays, we would also call it “oligarchical”. Overall and most of the time, however, this political style and performance appear to be helpless, immature, improvisational, and which is worst of all, inefficient; in the present context. 
  • Trump thinks and talks simply, and sometimes can be taken for a simpleton which he is not at all. This simplicity, that goes to the heart of the common man, is one of his greatest political assets and weapons. Twitter is his weapon’s platform. Nice. A new master-communicator for a new era. Very nice. Promoted by whom and by which Twitter bots, that’s the question. 

I could list the other qualities too, but the unfortunate point is that the same qualities, and first of all his practicality, and the one-dimensional, “yes or no”, “black and white” simplicity, cause the great concern in his Russian affairs and his hypothetical Russian connections: they raise the suspicions that he would make a deal with the devil (the Russians in this instance) if it helps and saves his skin financially and politically, at the expense of the best interests of his country. That’s where the conflict and the dilemma is. 


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DO NOT ADOPT RUSSIAN CHILDREN!

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Do not adopt Russian children!

Many of them are ill (some of them might suffer from the fetal alcohol syndrome), and might have the hidden but severe behavioral problems, while they look healthy and well at the time of adoption.

There are many examples of this: 

“…Tennessee mother who put her adopted 7-year-old son back on a plane to his home country of Russia. According to statistics from the federal Child Welfare Information Gateway, up to 10 percent of adoptions—and very possibly more—end in “disruption,” meaning the adoption process is halted after the child is placed in the home but before the paperwork is finalized…

The new report floats maternal substance abuse in pregnancy as another possible explanation, but emphasizes that it’s mere speculation, because in many cases too little information is known about birth parents.

In fact, “too little information” emerges as a major theme in both reports. The survey data Zill relied on show that many adoptive parents do not possess even rudimentary information about the family backgrounds of their children, such as the birth mother’s level of education. The point is not to discourage adoption, but to ensure that prospective parents go into it with their eyes wide open. As it is, too many adoption stories end with “Happily Ever After” just as the real journey is beginning.”

These circumstances might be well known to the Russian adoption agencies because they might be well familiar with their natural parents’ medical, psychiatric, and legal histories, but they deliberately do not disclose these histories, which definitely are the significant genetic factor in these children’s development.

These children are used as the time bombs, the weapons against America and against their adoptive parents and families, sometimes causing them the great harm and misfortune. Do not warm up the snakes on your breast. 

See also: The Kremlin is done betting on Trump and planning how to strike back against U.S. sanctions: 

“Moscow knows it’s outgunned in a trade war. It generally fights back by using its own market as a weapon, whether by imposing sanctions on European food imports in 2014 or, in a more cynical moment in 2013, by banning Americans from adopting Russian children (Trump discussed the adoption ban, and probably the associated sanctions, with Putin during an after-dinner meeting at the G-20 summit in Hamburg this month).”


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The way the American Democracy handles the “Trump Crisis” proves that it is a viable, strong, and self-sustaining institution

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The way the American Democracy handles the “Trump Crisis”: measured, fair, truth and roots seeking, etc., etc.,  proves that it is a viable, strong, and self-sustaining institution, and I have no doubts that it will resolve and overcome this crisis and will come out of it stronger. In the end, it will enhance the security of the country and, do not be surprised, the global security. “What does not kill us, makes us stronger“. Hopefully, it will not kill us. 


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We are witnessing the continuing process of transformation of the Trump Presidency into the National Security Presidency under Trump. The “Trump Transformation” follows the “Obama Transformation”. They can also be called the “mini-revolutions”.

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I think we are witnessing the continuing process of transformation of the Trump Presidency into the National Security Presidency under Trump, which is his only rational choice and his only salvation, that’s how it looks like. Unless he sabotages them in a self-defeating fashion. The military people saved him in his adolescence, and they can save him now if only he cooperates and plays the game, which he is willing to do.

It is possible that the further process of “normalization” will include the decline in influence and the eventual easing out of both Bannon and Kushner

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Links: Gen. Mattis | Gen. McMaster | Gen. KellyReince Priebus 

Trump Campaign – Russia Investigation – Recap of Recent Pieces on Just Security (July 23-28) – Saturday July 29th, 2017 at 8:42 AM

The “failing or rising New York Times” complained just shortly prior to Mr. Kelly’s appointment as Trump’s chief of staff: 

“But it’s unlikely that the generals will consistently rein in Mr. Trump at the strategic level. Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and therefore, on paper at least, the president’s primary military liaison and adviser, rarely has one-on-one meetings with Mr. Trump. Mr. Kelly, a former Marine general who had served as his secretary of homeland security and whom many had hoped would temper the president on immigration, apparently shares Mr. Trump’s policy views and seems disinclined to challenge him.

Relying on the generals was always a dubious, ad hoc plan prompted by Mr. Trump’s uniquely troubling peculiarities. Generals aren’t supposed to make policy, let alone get involved in politics.”

Now, after this appointment, the realities and their perceptions might have changed. Some reality challenged and metaphorically inclined observers might even perceive this situation to be as close to the declaration of the military emergency as it can get in America, after the series of the continuing palace mini-coups. The others might see it as the encouraging signs of adjustment to reality, or perhaps, even the preventive security measures of the “deep state”. And for the third “camp”, it is nothing but the plain old fashioned common sense. 

“It is now Mr. Kelly’s job to give it a try”, NYT says. 


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Germany plays the hypocritical double game

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German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel signaled Germany intends to take a firm line in defending German-Russian energy cooperation.

Source: Germany echoes Putin’s attack on US bill to sanction Russia

This is another example and the one more piece of evidence of how Germany plays the hypocritical double game, inserting itself in the US – Russia relations and deftly playing one side against the other, or rather playing its own tune, depending on the circumstances, and most definitely, playing her own side, and first of all minding her own interests. It’s “natural”, you might say. But not in these circumstances, when it looks and feels more unnatural and quite pre-meditated, pre-planned, possibly pre-manufactured, and more than suspicious. 

Investigate the role of Germany in the “Trump affair” and the “Trump-Russia scandal” vigorously, objectively, and in-depth. 

Links:

» Germany echoes Putin’s attack on US bill to sanction Russia
29/07/17 05:10 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
mikenova shared this story . A senior German government official on Friday agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s criticism of new U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing Russian aggression around the world. German Foreign Minister Sig…

» Trump swallows a bitter pill on Russia
29/07/17 05:03 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
mikenova shared this story . Confronted by almost-unanimous congressional support for the package and questions about his intentions toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump had little choice but to sign a bill tha… 


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My Comment: The rules of evidence, in this case, are the subject to the Congressional opinions and decisions

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Said Mr. Rotunda: “As interesting as this debate is, it also strikes me as entirely premature. In my assessment, the “case” against Trump right now amounts to a mountain of innuendo built on a foundation of loose sand. The facts so far do not come close to making an obstruction case against the president, and for now there is no evidence that he engaged in any underlying crime.

If and when Mueller comes up with something that might create an indictable case, though, he is apt to run into serious questions about the limitations of his office, questions that Starr did not face.”

My Comment: The rules of evidence, in this case, are the subject to the Congressional opinions and decisions: if there is a will there is a way to base the mountain of facts on the solid foundation that would lead to the solid legal case and the indictment. 


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Is there a connection between the Firtash extradition activities and this Barcelona train crash?!

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Story image for barcelona train crash 2017 from CNN

Is there a connection between the Firtash extradition activities and this Barcelona train crash, as the Russian Mafia’s retaliation and warning gesture and signal? It would not be surprising, and it would not be the first one (see the recent “fire ball” accident in Ohio). Nor the last? 

If this hypothetical causal connection, at least the circumstantial one, is demonstrated and investigated fully and properly, it might be one of the first cases of established association between the Russian government’s and the Russian Mafia’s retaliatory threats and the actual accidents. 

In my humble opinion: Fight fire with fire: unleash the Italian Mafia on the Russian Mafia, they are the old rivals, and the “Cosa Nostra” lost in this competition. Italian Mafia is the lesser of these two evils: they do not have any government backing, as the Russian Mafia does; they never dared to challenge the US government and to interfere with the US system of elections and governing, and they can be dealt with to the mutual satisfaction at a later point. 

Ann Applebaum: “I’m sure there will eventually be a lot more to say about the details of the Trump-Russia financial relationship. But this story should make us ponder some larger themes, too. After all, the double rise of Trump and Putin might have been halted if only Western governments and financial institutions had acted, over the past two decades, as if they truly believed that these kinds of dealings are wrong. Laws were not enforced — or did not exist. Blind eyes were turned.”

Links:

» Trump and Russia – Google News: Senate to vote on Russia sanctions bill; Putin threatens retaliation – Reuters
27/07/17 19:40 from Saved Stories – None
Reuters Senate to vote on Russia sanctions bill; Putin threatens retaliation Reuters If the bill passes the Senate, it would be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto. It is, however, expected to garner enough support…

» barcelona train crash 2017 – Google Search
28/07/17 07:38 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
mikenova shared this story from barcelona train crash 2017 – Google News. Dozens injured in Barcelona train crash CNN – 3 hours ago (CNN) More than 50 people have been injured in a train crash at a major railway station in Barcelona , em…

» Sprawling Firtash investigation alleges new US, Spanish ties
28/07/17 07:20 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
mikenova shared this story from KyivPost. Dmytro Firtash — the exiled Ukrainian oligarch who allegedly rigged the Russia-Ukraine natural gas trade and played kingmaker for President Petro Poroshenko — sought financing in the …

» russian organized crime in us – Google News: Sprawling Firtash investigation alleges new US, Spanish ties – Kyiv Post
28/07/17 07:15 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
mikenova shared this story from 1. Trump from mikenova (191 sites). Kyiv Post Sprawling Firtash investigation alleges new US , Spanish ties Kyiv Post U.S. prosecutors call Firtash an “upper-echelon†member of the Russian mafia. He als…

» 1. Trump Circles: Elections from mikenova (16 sites): felix sater – Google News: Meet the ex-con who ties himself to Trump – Miami Herald
28/07/17 07:02 from Saved Stories – None
Meet the ex-con who ties himself Ex-con Who Ties Himself to Trump Miami Herald It was April 11, 2013, and the man — whose identity was hidden until now — was Felix Sater , two-time ex-con turned government informant, and at least one-tim…

» mikenov on Twitter: Meet the ex-con who ties himself to Trump miamiherald.com/news/nation-wo…
28/07/17 07:00 from 1. My News Blogs from mikenova (2 sites)
Meet the ex-con who ties himself to Trump miamiherald.com/news/nation-wo… Posted by mikenov on Friday, July 28th, 2017 11:00am mikenov on Twitter

» Trump associate’s long checkered past
28/07/17 07:00 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
mikenova shared this story . PORT WASHINGTON, New York Fresh from snatching up a former insane asylum in foreclosure for a cheap $1.2 million, a mystery man went running down a Syracuse, N.Y., street, iPad covering his face, as reporters…

» felix sater – Google News: Meet the Ex-con Who Ties Himself to Trump – Miami Herald
28/07/17 06:59 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
mikenova shared this story from 1. Trump from mikenova (191 sites). Meet the Ex-con Who Ties Himself to Trump Miami Herald It was April 11, 2013, and the man — whose identity was hidden until now — was Felix Sater , two-time ex-con turne…

» NYT > World: Train Crash in Barcelona Injures at Least 50
28/07/17 06:53 from Saved Stories – None
The accident at one of the city’s main stations occurred on the first day of a rail strike in Spain. NYT > World

» NYT > Home Page: Russia Seizes 2 U.S. Properties and Orders Embassy to Cut Staff
28/07/17 06:51 from Saved Stories – None
It was the government’s first retaliatory steps against proposed new American sanctions against Russia. NYT > Home Page

» Top Stories – Google News: Russia Retaliates for US Sanctions by Ousting Diplomats – Bloomberg
28/07/17 06:51 from Saved Stories – None
Bloomberg Russia Retaliates for US Sanctions by Ousting Diplomats Bloomberg Russia ordered the U.S. to cut its embassy and other personnel in the country and ousted it from properties in Moscow, retaliating angrily to the passage late Th…

» Trump and Russia – Google News: Senate to vote on Russia sanctions bill; Putin threatens retaliation – Reuters
27/07/17 19:40 from Saved Stories – None
Reuters Senate to vote on Russia sanctions bill; Putin threatens retaliation Reuters If the bill passes the Senate, it would be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto. It is, however, expected to garner enough support…

 


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Was Abedin-Weiner emails affair the FBI “sting operation”, conceived and conducted with the clear political purpose of discrediting Mrs. Clinton?! – DOJ inspector general testimony may shed light on 2016 election inquiry

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One of the most important, intriguing, and mysterious aspects of the 2016 Elections is the Abedin-Weiner emails affair and directly connected with it, Mr. Comey’s October 28 “surprise” Letter, which most likely changed the voters’ mood and attitude, and most likely changed the outcome of the Elections. “Weiner did not deny sending the messages to the girl, but claimed he was the victim of a ‘hoax.’” The “Weinergate” was perceived as “the strange scandal” by some media outlets.

My personal (and I would guess, many other people’s as well) impression, at the time of these events and now, is that Abedin-Weiner emails affair was the FBI “sting operation” (inspired by the foreign – Russian?! – actors?!), conceived and conducted with the clear political purpose of discrediting Mrs. Clinton.

“What better way to keep the ball rolling then some sort of sting operation, to get access to Huma. I Feel something we aren’t being told is going on behind the scenes, and this just a cover story for what is really happening.”

The information about the “Weinergate” on the Internet includes the significant amount of the blatant disinformation, with the interpretation of the events turned in the directly diametrical, opposite direction and repositioned upside down from the feet to the head. This style suggests that this disinformation might be of the foreign origin, which indicates the importance of these issues and events for the hypothetical foreign operators.

“A Scandal Exposed by Patriots to Prevent a Clinton Presidency… Just like Watergate, Operation Weinergate was implemented by those closest to the Democratic nominee… Counter-Coup by White Knights in the Intelligence Community in Progress…
It ought to be apparent to any observer that this entire string of scandals was manufactured by those who wished to send a message — LOUD & CLEAR — to the Clinton clan that their time is up. The very same message was delivered to the Bush Crime Family by Donald Trump, whereupon Jeb Bush quickly exited the presidential race.”

The former FBI officials, besides its acting members, such as Mr. Kallsrom, and the persons very close to the FBI, such as R. Giuliani, most likely know much more about it than we do, or probably even more than the Congress knows at this point. I think, in my humble opinion, that the Abedin-Wiener emails affair and the circumstances around the October 28 Letter should absolutely be the subject of the investigation by Inspector General Michael Horowitz and other active investigative bodies. This aspect could shed some light on the issue of undue, politicized FBI’s involvement in the elections.

Anthony Weiner was one of the first persons who mentioned the connection between the Trump’s financial difficulties and his ties to the Russian mafia and the oligarchs, and the Weiner’s troubles and the blown out of proportions “scandal” started soon after these public revelations. Please, read my previous posts on these subject and do your own research also.

“The reason he loves Putin, we know this now. The banks no longer loan him money because he’s a terrible risk. So he goes to these (Russian) oligarchs and borrows money. He knows the end game is coming for him. He’s thinking about who he wants to ingratiate himself (with). We have a presidential candidate who is literally kind of approaching Russia on his knees because he needs them to loan him money.”

After Weiner’s opinion was published, he was promptly attacked by Trump, who called him a “sleazeball and pervert.”

This presumed “sting operation” against Weiner might be viewed as an attempt to silence Weiner by the FBI and to prevent the public airing of Weiner’s opinions about Trump and his connections with the Russian oligarchs.

Disclose the parts of the FBI’s Anthony Weiner file under the FOA which are relevant to this subject!

Now Weiner is bound by the FBI’s gag rule, as the condition of his sentence. Rescind this condition, and let him testify openly and fully. These issues are too important for the investigation and for the future directions of the corrective measures to disregard or omit them, they should be the important part of Mr. Horowitz’ activities and report.

Investigate the “investigators”!
Save America!
Reform the FBI! 

_________________________

Links 

Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to make his first public statements about the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General’s little-noticed investigation looking into several key issues in the Russia saga stretching back to before President Trump’s inauguration when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Josh Gerstein reports at POLITICO.

DOJ inspector general testimony may shed light on 2016 election inquiry

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Inspector General Michael Horowitz has offered few public indications of the status of his probe, which some lawmakers said he initially told them was expected to be complete by early next year | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Amid criminal and congressional Russia inquiries, Justice’s internal watchdog is quietly running its own review of issues linked to last year’s election.

By Josh Gerstein

Updated

2017-07-25T07:45-0400

With special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s criminal inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election now well underway and at least four congressional probes ongoing, it may seem like every aspect of the controversy is already being closely scrutinized.

But there’s also a less-noticed investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, which has been exploring several issues key to the Russia saga since before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Story Continued Below

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has offered few public indications of the status of his probe, which some lawmakers said he initially told them was expected to be complete by early next year. On Wednesday, he’s likely to make his first public statements at a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the status of his inquiry – and whether he’ll acquiesce to any of the many requests from Republicans and Democrats to expand his review to include the firing of former FBI director James Comey or other developments.

“I think he’ll find a way to engage with the committee on that, while still being a little bit cagey,” said Michael Bromwich, who served as Justice’s inspector general from 1994 to 1999.

About a week before Trump’s inauguration in January, Horowitz announced a multi-faceted probe, focused primarily on whether Comey acted properly in his handling of the FBI’s investigation into classified information found in Hillary Clinton’s private email account.

The inquiry has examined Comey’s decision to make a public statement about the closure of the investigation in July 2016 and to send politically explosive notices to Congress about developments in the case just before Election Day.

Horowitz also announced a determination to try to get to the bottom of election-season leaks from the FBI and the Justice Department, as well as claims that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s judgement in the email probe and other matters may have been tainted by financial support his wife received in a state Senate race from Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.), a longtime Clinton backer.

Trump has raised that issue repeatedly in recent months, including in tweet on Tuesday morning.

“Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!” the president wrote.

In recent months, Horowitz—an Obama appointee who previously worked in top roles at the Justice Department under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—has been on the receiving end of a slew of letters from lawmakers and interest groups, asking him to expand the scope of the inspector general inquiry.

In February, the then-chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), asked Horowitz to look into leaks of classified intelligence intercepts about National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

In March, several Senate Democrats led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked the inspector general to explore Attorney General Jeff Sessions decision to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia inquiry.

Later that month, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged Horowitz to look at whether White House officials pressured the Justice Department to drop the FBI’s investigation of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

In May, Chaffetz asked the inspector general to investigate Trump’s firing of Comey.

And last month, more than 30 House Democrats asked Horowitz to consider whether Sessions violated the terms of his recusal by taking part in Comey’s dismissal.

“One of the first things an IG has to do when lawmakers want you to jump is to figure out how high to jump,” said Bromwich, who runs the Bromwich Group consulting firm and is senior counsel at law firm Robbins Russell. “You’ve got to make careful discriminating judgements about what you do. I think Horowitz and his staff will make individual judgements about what is fairly included or can be fairly included without taking him down a rabbit trail.”

A spokesman for Horowitz declined to comment this week and has repeatedly rebuffed questions about the status of his inquiry. In a recent letter obtained by POLITICO, the inspector general alludes to the possibility that Mueller’s May 17 appointment as special counsel could impact and perhaps even limit what the Justice Department’s permanent internal watchdog office can do.

Horowitz’s letter, sent to Democratic senators more than four months after their request on Sessions’ recusal, notes that Justice has “appointed a Special Counsel to investigate allegations regarding the Russian government interference in the 2016 Presidential election and related matters.”

“We are continuing to assess what, if any, additional review would be appropriate for the OIG to undertake and will update you as appropriate,” Horowitz wrote on July 14, days before he was first scheduled to testify to Senate Judiciary.

The inspector general’s response raises the question of whether Mueller and Horowitz are coordinating and whether the inspector general may be asked to step back in certain areas while given the green light in others.

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment for this story. Horowitz’s comments at the hearing may also give hints into what Mueller is up to.

For instance, it seems certain that Comey’s firing is now under examination by Mueller, but it’s less clear whether the special prosecutor will seek to explore in detail Comey’s explanations for his actions in the Clinton email probe.

“Some of the details of the probe now seem to overlap at least somewhat with what Mueller is doing,” Bromwich said. “I’m sure they’ve talked and Mueller’s criminal investigation would take preeminence and I’m sure Michael will defer to some extent to him.”

At a hearing just days before he was fired, Comey said he welcomed the inspector general investigation into his decisions.

“Yes, I’ve been interviewed. The Inspector General’s inspecting me look and looking at my conduct in the course of the e-mail investigation, which—I know this sounds like a crazy thing to say—I encourage,” Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3.

Comey also pointed to one key feature of an inspector general inquiry: unlike a criminal investigation, it traditionally culminates in a public report.

“I want that inspection because…I want my story told because some of its classified but, also, if I did something wrong, I want to hear that. I don’t think I did, but, yes, I’ve been interviewed and I’m sure I’ll be interviewed again,” the then-FBI chief said.

At a committee meeting in May, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Horowitz had assured his staff that the investigation would move forward, despite the fact that Comey’s dismissal obviated the possibility of any punishment for violating department policies or regulations.

“Through my staff, I had conversations because we had heard that because of Comey going that he might not continue that investigation,” the Iowa senator told colleagues. “He’s informed me that he was going to continue the investigation and, if there was any attempt to stop him from continuing that investigation, he’s going to let the whole world know.”


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Who cares about the American Psychiatric (not Psychoanalytic, please read the previous posts and news) Association, its “ethics committee”, it’s “Goldwater rule”, its prescriptions and its proscriptions, its stupidity, and its little nincompoopy membership?! Just disband them, they push themselves more and more into the utter irrelevance. 

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Who cares about the American Psychiatric (not Psychoanalytic, please read the previous posts and news) Association, its “ethics committee”, its “Goldwater rule”, its prescriptions and its proscriptions, its stupidity, and its little nincompoopy membership?! Just disband them, they push themselves more and more into the utter irrelevance.

American Psychoanalytic Association, a much more authoritative body, said very clearly: discussions on political matters, including the subject of the Presidents mental health issues, is not a matter of clinical practice, and therefore cannot be regulated by the ethical rules pertaining to the clinical practice.

APA Remains Committed to Supporting Goldwater Rule – American Psychiatric Association


Newsweek
It’s Not OK to Discuss Donald Trump’s Mental Health, Says Biggest US Psychiatric Group
Newsweek
The American Psychological Association, which represents more than 115,000 psychologicalprofessionals, has also expressed support for the rule. Its former president Susan McDaniel wrote to the New York Times in 2016 that “neither psychiatrists nor …
Evaluating Trump’s Psyche in PublicThe Atlantic
Psychiatry group tells members they can discuss Trump’s mental health – StatSTAT
APA Remains Committed to Supporting Goldwater Rule – American Psychiatric AssociationAmerican Psychiatric Association
American Psychoanalytic Association –Wikipedia
all 43 news articles »

American Psychoanalytic Association

July 6th, 2017
Dear Colleagues,
A poll of the Executive Councilors was undertaken June 19-23 after the Austin annual
meeting. Executive Councilors were asked to comment on two things: whether they
endorse the policy that APsaA as an organization speaks to sociopolitical issues only, not
about specific political figures; and whether they support a poll of the membership to
further assess whether the Association should take a public stance on persons.
The poll yielded the following results: 78% of Councilors replied; 100% endorsed the
policy that APsaA as an organization will speak to issues only, not about specific political
figures; 79% opposed a poll of the membership.
The Executive Committee reviewed these results today and decided based on the data not
to survey the membership. APsaA will continue to speak to issues about which it has
something relevant to say.
However, it is important to note that members of APsaA are free to comment about
political figures as individuals. The American Psychiatric Association’s ethical stance
on the Goldwater Rule applies to its members only. APsaA does not consider political
commentary by its individual members an ethical matter. APsaA’s ethical code
concerns clinical practice, not public commentary.
Recent political discussion within our APsaA online communities has broadened to include
diverse opinion. A respectful openness to different points of views is a welcome and
encouraging shift in the direction of the Community Vision that Council unanimously
endorsed in Austin.


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The American Psychiatric Association was run and governed by the FBI informant at its very top (its former “President”, Carol Bernstein). It degenerated and degraded into the total and complete irrelevance and impotence in scientific and the organizational matters. Very logical and even unavoidable outcome in these circumstances…

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The American Psychiatry is nothing without its Psychoanalytic tradition and its depth. Psychopharmacology does not explain the human soul, and it does not even attempt to. Psychoanalysis does not explain it either, but at least it does attempt to, and searches for its “royal roads”, although very often it is simply lost on the old side streets. At least the Psychoanalysis retained its intellectual independence, as exemplified in its stand on the so called “Goldwater rule“.

American Psychiatry is in a deep crisis, and the American Psychiatric Association, a bureaucratic Stalinist institution, which lost its touch with reality a long time ago, is the part, the parcel, and one of the many reasons for this crisis.

“The APA was once the leader in psychiatric medicine—now it too is a joke; compromised beyond measure.  For the APA and the DSM, it is clear.  If you get enough votes, you can negate, soften, redefine, and ultimately legitimize any of the mental disorders.  With enough votes you can turn a disorder into a disability or by elimination, like a magician’s trick and a snap of the fingers, “you’ve just become plain normal.””

Apparently, as I have good reasons to believe, at least until very recently, the American Psychiatric Association was led, run, and governed by the FBI informant at its very top (its former “President”, Carol Bernstein, who is nothing more than the mediocre, treacherous, double-dealing nincompoop, hungry for power). It degenerated and degraded into the total and complete irrelevance and impotence in scientific and the organizational matters. Very logical and even unavoidable outcome in these circumstances. 

Investigate this in depth. Clean up and reform the American Psychiatry and the APA (Association). 

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September 12, 2016
Analyze zis, to your hearts’ content! No “Goldwater rules”! We use zi “Hot Water Rules”!

___________________________

Links: 

Commenting on Trump’s mental health is fine, psychiatry group says … – The Verge

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The Verge
Commenting on Trump’s mental health is fine, psychiatry group says …
The Verge
The American Psychoanalytic Association, a leading psychiatry group in the US, told its 3500 members that they can comment on the mental state of politicians, …
Leading medical group tells members it’s OK to discuss Trump’s …The Independent
Donald Trump Mental Health: Psychiatry Group Says Ok to Talk …TIME
Crazy Talk: Cable News Cleared To Talk Trump’s Mental HealthForbes
The Atlantic –TPM –Breitbart News –STAT
all 32 news articles »

Psychiatric Group Tells Members It’s OK to Break Silence on Trump’s Bizarre Behavior – Common Dreams

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Psychiatric Group Tells Members It’s OK to Break Silence on Trump’s Bizarre Behavior
Common Dreams
As President Donald Trump continues to behave bizarrely and erratically—attacking his own attorney general, launching into a political tirade during a speech to Boy Scouts, bringing his 11-year-old son into the burgeoning Russia controversy—a 

Donald Trump’s Mental Health Is Ok To Comment On, Psychoanalysts’ Group Tells Members

American Psychiatric Association – Google Search

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Story image for American Psychiatric Association from The Atlantic

The Mind of Donald Trump

The AtlanticMay 16, 2016
In domestic politics, Nixon was widely recognized to be cunning, callous, cynical, and Machiavellian, even by the standards of American politicians. Empathy …

Story image for American Psychiatric Association from New York Daily News

Psychology group drops rule banning members from commenting …

New York Daily News14 minutes ago
Members of the American Psychoanalytic Association have been … The American Psychiatric Association, a separate group with 37,000 …
Evaluating Trump’s Psyche In Public
In-DepthThe Atlantic6 minutes ago

Story image for American Psychiatric Association from American Thinker

How the Left Hijacked the American Psychiatric Association and …

American ThinkerJul 16, 2017
“The Pentagon is working to delay the July 1 deadline to fully implement the Obama-initiated policy that one year ago lifted the ban on …
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Psychology group drops rule banning members from commenting …

New York Daily News13 minutes ago
The “Goldwater rule” stems from the 1964 Presidential election. “Fact” magazine at the time polled more than 12,000 psychiatrists on whether …

American Psychiatry – Google Search

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Story image for American Psychiatry from The Verge

Commenting on Trump’s mental health is fine, psychiatry group says

The Verge25 minutes ago
The American Psychoanalytic Association, a leading psychiatry group in the US, told its 3,500 members that they can comment on the mental …

Experts Move to Halt Crisis in US Psychiatry

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An expert panel has released a new report containing recommendations to rectify the severe shortage of psychiatrists and the dearth of mental health services in the United States.

Released by the National Council Medical Director Institute, which advises the National Council for Behavioral Health on issues strongly related to clinical practice, the report, The Psychiatric Crisis: Causes and Solutions, contains a wide-ranging set of recommendations that touch on every area of the specialty, including training, funding, and models of care delivery.

Lead authors Joe Parks, MD, medical director, National Council for Behavioral Health, and Patrick Runnels, MD, co-chair, Medical Director Institute, discussed the report’s recommendations at a press briefing on March 28, where they were joined by Saul M. Levin, MD, CEO and medical director of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The number of psychiatrists is plummeting – down by 10% from 2003 to 2013. The average age of practicing psychiatrists is the mid-50s, compared to the mid-40s for other specialties, said Dr Parks.

Furthermore, approximately 55% of counties across the United States currently have no psychiatrist, and 77% report a severe shortage – a situation that is partially due to an increase in demand.

“People want psychiatric services. They know treatment works, and it’s less stigmatizing than it used to be, so people are more willing to accept and seek treatment,” said Dr Parks.

But their search is often in vain. Two thirds of primary care physicians report having trouble getting psychiatric services for patients, so patients often end up in the emergency department.

“There has been a 42% increase in patients going to ERs for psychiatric services in the past 3 years, but most of them aren’t staffed with psychiatrists,” Dr Parks noted.

“So people end up stuck in the ERs for hours and at times days – two to three times as long as for general medical conditions.”

To make matters worse, some hospitals are closing inpatient psychiatric units because they cannot find psychiatrists to staff and run them.

The lack of services and long wait times for these scarce services are taking a toll on patients.

“These are people burdened and suffering from anxiety, from depression. Some of them feel suicidal, and some of them have hallucinations,” said Dr Parks.

Psychiatrist Burnout

Psychiatry has not received the increase in support that some other specialties, such as obstetrics and gynecology, have. Psychiatrists also do not get the same ancillary staff to assist them in tasks such as arranging patient follow-up, he added.

In many cases, psychiatrists are forced to receive reimbursement that is lower than usual. “About 40% of psychiatrists are in cash-only services. Psychiatrists are rushed, and they burn out and leave the profession earlier,” said Dr Parks.

He described the current mental health care delivery system as “old fashioned,” noting that it “has not kept up with modern, data-driven, evidence-based technologies and has certainly not taken advantage of some of the new, innovative social media ways we can reach out and touch patients.”

Another “looming potential problem” is immigration. Some 50% of new psychiatry trainees are foreign medical graduates, and changes in visa requirements by the Trump administration could add to the workforce problems, he said.

If nothing is done about the psychiatrist shortage, the demand for psychiatry is expected to outstrip supply by 25% by 2025.

Becoming a psychiatrist requires 12,000 hours of training, said Dr Levin, who heads the APA, the largest psychiatric association in the world.

According to Dr Runnels, medical students are more likely to opt for a psychiatry residency if the medical school’s psychiatric department offers a highly-rated and relatively long rotation.

“That’s hugely important, and medical schools need to start working on that,” he said. He added that currently, many training “milestones” are “fuzzily or not well-defined.”

Training does not adequately address team-based collaborative care or supervision of clinicians from other disciplines, for example, physician assistants, said Dr Runnels.

“Medication-assisted treatment for addictions is definitely something that most residents get very little exposure to,” he added.

New Models of Care

The expert panel that developed the report included representatives from all areas of healthcare. In addition to psychiatrists, it included CEOs of healthcare organizations, primary and managed care representatives, academic experts, and those representing related professions, such as nursing.

The panel was tasked to develop recommendations that were “specific and actionable – not broad, vague, pie in the sky but things that a payer could do, things that government could do, things that individual psychiatrists could do, and things that the professional organizations could do to relieve this emergency,” said Dr Parks.

The expert panel recommended that the care delivery system be updated so that psychiatrists would operate more as expert consultants and work in teams, said Dr Parks.

“So they would do the essential things only psychiatrists can do and delegate other parts of care and follow-up for patients who are stable, or services that can be provided by other professionals, such as psychiatric nurses or perhaps physician assistants.”

The panel also recommended new and advanced forms of treatment, such as collaborative care and telepsychiatry.

“We should all be advocating for new, innovative models of care, such as telepsychiatry, which can increase access to specialty psychiatric services across the country,” said Dr Levin.

“We would love to see more telepsychiatry, and we would love to see the payment system actually pay for it,” he added. However, he said, it is important to ensure that patients who receive treatment remotely are “always safe” and that if they begin to show signs and symptoms of distress on the psychiatry call, “we are able to get them help very quickly.”

The APA has a toolkit to help educate psychiatrists and other healthcare providers on how to practice telepsychiatry, said Dr Levin. “I think we all see this as one of the ways we are going to be practicing well into the future.”

The panel also wants to see burdensome governmental rules removed. For example, said Dr Parks, a psychiatrist who provides telepsychiatry services in eight states now has to be licensed in all eight states.

As for medical education, the task force recommended that all residents receive integrated care experience and be placed in a range of different settings to broaden their experience with medication-assisted treatment programs and collaboration with other professions.

Cost-Saving Investment

All of this requires additional funding, which the panel also addressed.

“We are aware that overall, the healthcare system is looking to cut costs, so we want to point out that our call for increased funding for psychiatry was not something we took lightly,” said Dr Runnels.

“However, we want people to understand that our call for increased funding is about helping to save money overall.”

He pointed out that the use of psychiatry services leads to overall reductions in spending on healthcare.

“We believe insurance companies are leaving money on the table by not adequately funding those services.”

Some of the report’s specific recommendations include the following:

  • Removing barriers to integrated care: Fund technical assistance programs that help develop alternatives to fee-for-service reimbursement models, because chronic physical conditions are known to improve when mental health conditions are managed, particularly among high-risk populations.
  • Cutting red tape: Streamline administrative paperwork so that physicians can spend more time with patients and that information exchanges between physicians are more attuned to the patients’ needs.
  • Changing how psychiatrists are paid: Create awareness about behavioral health’s role in the total cost of care, then shift from fee-for-service arrangements to bundled payments to increase the quality of care and reduce the overall cost of care.
  • Improving confidentiality regulations: Although the recently revised 42 CFR Part 2 confidentiality regulations are advances, they burden psychiatrists by restricting information regarding treatment of substance use disorder, sometimes keeping patients and their families in the dark to protect psychiatrists.

The authors of the report made other recommendations specific to government and payers, healthcare treatment, and advocacy organizations, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other stakeholders. The full report is available for download.

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American Psychoanalytic Association vs apa – Google Search

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Dealing With American Psychiatry’s Gag Rule

Psychiatric Times (blog)Jul 20, 2017
Dr Glass is a psychoanalyst and Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Part-time) … Since 1973, the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Code of Ethics … for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has …

Diagnosing Trump: How Psychoanalysis Lost Its Voice

Huffington PostMay 4, 2017
… mental health professionals even outside the purview of the APA that much of … Unlike in the U.S., the cross-pollination of psychoanalysis, social reform, … theorist and one-time head of the AmericanPolitical Science Association, … the Goldwater Rule or our own historical reluctance to share our clinical …

Story image for American Psychoanalytic Association vs apa from Scientific American

Psychiatrists Debate Weighing in on Trump’s Mental Health

Scientific AmericanFeb 15, 2017
On Tuesday 35 U.S. psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers … and director of the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, says she was … how a person’s mental health may affect other people and his or her ability to perform. … the association pointed to a letter published by APApresident Maria …
Mental Health Professionals Warn About Trump
Highly CitedNew York TimesFeb 15, 2017

Story image for American Psychoanalytic Association vs apa from Psychiatric Times

Take Two Pills and …

Psychiatric TimesJan 19, 2017
… ways to improve self-awareness in addition to psychoanalysis. … later, and President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1981.

American Psychoanalytic Association – Google Search

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Story image for American Psychoanalytic Association from The Independent

The Independent

Psychiatry Group Tells Members They Can Discuss President …

TIME12 minutes ago
In an email, the American Psychoanalytic Association told its 3,500 members they don’t have to abide by the Goldwater Rule, which states that …

Story image for American Psychoanalytic Association from STAT

Psychiatry group tells members they can defy ‘Goldwater rule’ and …

STAT5 hours ago
The statement, an email this month from the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association to its 3,500 members, represents …

Donald Trump Mental Health: Psychiatry Group Says Ok to Talk

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A psychiatry group told its members they can comment on the mental health of President Trump—going against the longstanding so-called Goldwater Rule, a self-imposed code that prevents the psychiatry community from commenting on the mental health of public figures.

In an email, the American Psychoanalytic Association told its 3,500 members they don’t have to abide by the Goldwater Rule, which states that mental health professionals should not discuss the mental state of someone they have not personally evaluated, Stat News reported on Tuesday.

“We don’t want to prohibit our members from using their knowledge responsibly,” Prudence Gourguechon, past president of the association, told Stat News.

The debate over whether health professionals can comment on Trump’s mental faculties has raged since the president was elected, with several mental health experts arguing that the Goldwater Rule needs more flexibility regards to Trump. An online petition that calls Trump “mentally ill,” started by psychiatrist John Gartner, has received more than 55,000 signatures since April.

Despite the note from the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Psychiatric Association—which has more than 37,000 members — said on Tuesday that it continues to stand by the Goldwater Rule.

The Goldwater Rule stems from a controversy in 1964, when Fact magazine reported that more than 1,000 mental health professionals said they believed that then-Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater was not mentally fit for office. Goldwater successfully sued Fact for libel after he lost the election, leading to the rule’s addition to the American Psychiatric Association’s ethics guidelines.

The American Psychoanalytic Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Psychiatry Group Tells Members They Can Discuss President Trump’s Mental Health – TIME

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Psychiatry Group Tells Members They Can Discuss President Trump’s Mental Health
TIME
In an email, the American Psychoanalytic Association told its 3,500 members they don’t have to abide by the Goldwater Rule, which states that mental health professionals should not discuss the mental state of someone they have not personally evaluated, …

American Psychiatric Association – Google Search

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Story image for American Psychiatric Association from The Atlantic

The Mind of Donald Trump

The AtlanticMay 16, 2016
In domestic politics, Nixon was widely recognized to be cunning, callous, cynical, and Machiavellian, even by the standards of American politicians. Empathy …

Story image for American Psychiatric Association from New York Daily News

Psychology group drops rule banning members from commenting …

New York Daily News14 minutes ago
Members of the American Psychoanalytic Association have been … The American Psychiatric Association, a separate group with 37,000 …
Evaluating Trump’s Psyche In Public
In-DepthThe Atlantic6 minutes ago

Story image for American Psychiatric Association from American Thinker

How the Left Hijacked the American Psychiatric Association and …

American ThinkerJul 16, 2017
“The Pentagon is working to delay the July 1 deadline to fully implement the Obama-initiated policy that one year ago lifted the ban on …
Read the whole story
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Story image for Goldwater rule from New York Daily News

Psychology group drops rule banning members from commenting …

New York Daily News13 minutes ago
The “Goldwater rule” stems from the 1964 Presidential election. “Fact” magazine at the time polled more than 12,000 psychiatrists on whether …

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The mask of humanity, the face of hypocrisy: “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun… black wires grow on her head…”

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What do you see in this lady’s deep blue eyes? I see just hypocrisy poorly disguised as “humanity”.

What do you see in this lady’s deep blue eyes? In this middle of the bold and crude, tabloid, poster-like, placard-like strokes of colors and facial expressions, without many shades and quarter-tones, ironically, bacchanallically and warhol-lically spiritually impoverished, almost empty, and intriguing in their near-emptiness? I see just hypocrisy poorly disguised as “humanity”. Her stare is beautiful, charming, engaging, pulling to like and love her, but it is empty, in all its alluring attacking charm. 

“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun… black wires grow on her head… And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.”

I suspect, that the artist, whose style was described as “the idealization and stylization of known celebrities”, was well paid for her artistic mastery of disguise, which cannot really hide the crude, artificially over-sweetened, commercial, superficial, cheap, lying, showy sentimentality. It looks like the famed German propaganda machine is in a full up-swing mode. “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself”, Goebbels said. If you exaggerate the lie ad absurdum and artfully, they and you might eventually believe it too. 

“However, as the documents show, the BND had in the past no inhibitions to tap government facilities in Washington. The US Treasury Department, the US Department of State, and even the White House, were on the nick list.

The German foreign secret service also pegged telephone, facsimile and e-mail addresses of American companies such as Lockheed Martin, the Nasa space agency, the human rights organization Human Rights Watch and universities in several federal states. Similarly, the BND’s connections with military installations such as the US Air Force, the Marine Corps, or the Defense Intelligence Agency , the military secret service of the American armed forces,

The BND spies also received follow-up data from well over one hundred foreign embassies in Washington, from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund or the Washington office of the Arab League.”

Would you trust the person in this portrait? I wouldn’t. Is she really a person or a well tuned, calculating political mechanism, painted over, for her own political reasons, with these absurdly deep, incredible, helpless, domineering, loving, so feminine, and so mysterious German-Russian blue eyes? 

Some other interpretations of the same subject, just in case if you did not notice them, are here

By the way, do you think that with such the astonishing audacity, reach, breadth and depth of the German surveillance activities and penetration (the very important questions in these circumstances about the degree of the German infiltration of the US Intelligence and Security services, and the FBI first of all, remain essentially and quite conveniently unasked and unanswered), as they were described in these recent German spying episodes, the German Intelligence was not informed in details about Trump-Russia activities, affair, and scandal, especially given the situation with and around the Deutsche Bank
But the most intriguing questions are if the German Intelligence itself was involved in the planning and the execution of this affair from the beginning, using the Russians and the others as their unwitting patsies, and laughing at them in the process. This is the more likely explanation for this tragicomedy, with all its funny incongruencies. It looks like the German historical revenge for their historical loss in the WWII, and the very convenient way to drive the wedge between two former allies and the Germany’s conquerors. 
And there are some signs that the German Intelligence (with its long standing and deep roots buried and alive within the American society) might have been very much involved in this affair, and still very much is. The traditional benefits of the “plausible deniability” were most likely provided to the Madam Chancellor by her faithful Intelligence servants. 

“Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took office in 2005, recently denied she had any knowledge of BND’s foreign spying operations.

“I assumed that the BND does not engage in such activities,” Merkel told a parliamentary enquiry Feb. 17. “It’s a waste of effort and energy.””

Apparently, some of her colleagues in the German Government and power structures have a directly opposite opinion on this subject. 

Doesn’t the whole situation remind you the old tale about the peasant and the snake that he saved? 
 Man and Snake
“In pity he brought the poor Snake
To be warmed at his fire. A mistake!
For the ungrateful thing
Wife & children would sting.
I’have known some as bad as the Snake.”

With regard to the future developments and some attempts at the sound prognostications, “The Independent Florida Alligator” asks a salient question: “Do progressives really want a President Pence?”

Well, when the “Independent Alligators” start to ask this sort of questions, it means that “the times are really changing”… 

Mr. Putin, dispensing his valuable educational instructions for the political novice Trump, as recorded by the “KGB fly on the wall”, shared the conventional political wisdom, which might be applicable for a variety of uses

“Putin: I like you, tovarich. But listen to me. You are new to this political business. I have been in the trenches for a long time, and I have learned things. We have an old saying in Russia. It goes: Little thieves are hanged, but the great ones escape. Your mistake was that you appointed your hangman, gave him the rope, and now he is going to hang you.

Trump: What do I do?

Putin: Hang him first.”

_______________________

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German intelligence accused of ‘spying on USA

Telegraph.co.ukJun 22, 2017
German intelligence systematically spied on the White House and US government departments over a number of years, it has been claimed.
Mrs Merkel in 2013 said: “Spying among friends is not on”
Mrs Merkel in 2013 said: “Spying among friends is not on” CREDIT: JULIEN WARNAND

 

German intelligence systematically spied on the White House and US government departments over a number of years, it has been claimed.

The damaging allegations could prove highly embarrassing for Angela Merkel and expose her to charges of hypocrisy.

The German chancellor demanded an explanation when it emerged in 2013 that the US had spied on her mobile phone, and famously said: “Spying among friends is not on”.

Who Is Spying on the U.S.? German Intelligence Had American Surveillance Targets, Says Report

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel was famously outraged in 2013 when she heard that the U.S. had allegedly bugged her phone, telling then-President Barack Obama: “Spying between friends, that’s just not done.”

But Germany’s foreign intelligence service spent years spying on American public and private sector targets, a report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel claimed Thursday.

The magazine said that it had seen evidence suggesting German security agency the BND had used almost 4,000 keywords in internal surveillance databases that related to American targets from 1998 to 2006. These included White House email addresses as well as phone and fax numbers, as well as the U.S. Department of State and Treasury.

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Other targets included the US Air Force, the Marine Corps, the engineering company Lockheed Martin, space agency NASA, several universities and the NGO Human Rights Watch, Spiegel reported.

German spies also accessed data from more than 100 foreign embassies in Washington, according toDie Zeit.

The findings are likely to prove embarrassing for the German government at a time when U.S.-German relations are already strained following forceful remarks by President Donald Trump about trade and tariffs on German industries, and an awkward meeting between the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March.

The BND declined to comment on the reports, but its president, Bruno Kahl, did address the organization’s future oversight, according to Deutsche Welle.

“The question concerning who can scout the BND and who cannot does not just depend on increasing authorization for lawmakers, but also implementing an ambitious series of controls,” he said.

Merkel earlier this year said to a parliamentary committee looking into the actions of America’s National Security Agency (NSA) that she did not know about any BND spying in the U.S.

Another report in Spiegel this April said that the BND also spied on Interpol, the international crimefighting agency, and in February the magazine said it had seen evidence that the agency had accessed phones, faxes and emails of several news organizations, including the New York Times and Reuters.


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The fall of Trump might mean the eventual fall of Putin

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The fall of Trump might mean the eventual fall of Putin after the loss of his “last straw” and the non-delivery of the relief of sanctions and other goodies, which might be viewed as the “breach of contract” by the Russian ruling elites. That is why Putin might feel strongly committed to help Trump and to do everything he can to enhance Trump’s chances for political survival. They are the Siamese twins now, joined at the hip. The recent events only confirm this monstrosity, despite all their “pragmatic values”.

“So a pressing question arises: Why would the Trump administration embrace a Syria policy that serves Russian and Iranian interests and harms American interests? In time, we will learn the answer.”

The antagonistic – competitive aspect is the part of their fledgling symbiotic relationship. Unless Putin decides to ditch Trump completely for his “non-delivery” and his own “breach of contract”, and to throw him to the wolves, which is not very likely for this late stage Putin, with his characteristic and demonstrative “Papa Theresa” caring paternalistic streak.

With the fall of Putin, the whole system of Putinism might collapse, despite its illusory stability, exposing all its ugly criminal Mafiosi underpinnings. This might lead to the major political repercussions inside Russia and on the global geopolitical scene.

All eyes are now on Mr. Mueller and his team.

As to Mr. Putin: Володя, никогда душа моя, и многих других тоже, не примет криминальную, преступную, уродливую, больную Россию, которую ты со товарищи построил.

Resign now and open the way for the new era. And, as I see it, it will be much better for your personal survival. Remember the fate of Ceaușescu.


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The “Invisible” Hand Of The Kremlin

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The “Invisible” Hand Of The Kremlin pulls the strings: force Sessions to resign, fire Mueller, suppress the investigation. 

“Thank you, Sergey, the kindred spirit…”

“Nice job”, Kislyak! This is his last (?) “goodbye present”, his “kiss of death”… 

The “Kremlin Playbook” plan apparently is to turn America into the Russian vassal, into the Putinist-Trumpist entity with the tight micromanagement directly from the Putin’s office. 

The one-dimensional singularity of thrust in thinking and talking about “Trump-Russia scandal” among our political mavens and commentators is impressive. 

“With Sessions out of the way, Trump can try to appoint a new Attorney General who wouldn’t have to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, meaning that the new Attorney General could theoretically fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But this isn’t going to play out like Trump might hope.”

“Donald Trump − after extended personal contact with Vladimir Putin and the complete surrender to Russian interests in Syria − acts precisely like he has been bought and sold by a strategic rival…

Russia has made the political affairs of the United States very much its business. With almost no serious American response. Russian interference in America’s self-defining civic ritual has been almost costless…

The problem is the damage to American interests done in the meantime. 

It now seems that the Russians − by meddling in a presidential election and by downplaying such aggression − has achieved an intelligence coup beyond the dreams of the Soviet era. The result is an America strategically and morally disarmed.”

“And meanwhile, America’s global stock tumbles. Polls demonstrate that the respect in which the United States is held is falling around the world.”

WASHINGTON, DC -: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

The Putin’s style of acquiring and holding to power which he demonstrated so adeptly within his own country and political system, is now exported to the U.S. and the rest of the “free world”. This style is to play on and to exploit the opponents’ own inner inherent contradictions and vulnerabilities, as in his dealings with the Russian Opposition, and generally, with anyone or anything that opposes him. The non-admission of Georgia to NATO due to the “ongoing ethnic conflict” and the lack of stability is another example.

Another, more recent and closer to the native ground examples of the same hypocritical style are firing Comey on the pretenses of the “mishandling” of Clinton’s emails investigation and hypothetical firing or resignation of Sessions for conveniently “not recalling” the meetings with Kislyak, which were just as conveniently and “timely” reminded to him by Kislyak himself. 

This style is simple, shrewd, sophisticated, and efficient. 

Image result for Trump is First American Mobster President

The “First American Black President” (the foreign interference in his election was alluded to in the recent Senate hearings and claimed in the various media websites, but was not really fully explored, as if it were some mysterious and shameful venereal disease), paved the way for the “First American Mobster President”. “Nice job” all around. 

“At the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Pompeo was asked whether he supports the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“Of course,” he replied. “And the one before that, and the one before that.”

Later in the question-and-answer session with New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, Pompeo was asked whether he was downplaying Russia’s meddling in 2016 by also mentioning the Kremlin’s behavior in previous years.

“I am confident that the Russians meddled in this election, as is the entire intelligence community,” Pompeo said, appearing agitated at the skepticism towards his previous answer. “I hope I didn’t stop at 2008 [for when he says Russian began interfering in U.S. elections]. You can go back to the 70s. My point was simply this: This threat is real. The U.S. government, including the Central Intelligence Agency, has to figure out a way to fight back against it and defeat it.”

Image result for hand of kremlin

Who and what are the culprits to point the finger at? The Russians, the Mob, the Germans, the Israelis, the Chinese, the Persian cats, any other cats, the excessive role of money in American politics, the fall in the standards of the moral-political values? All of these together, in various degrees, mixtures, combinations, and affiliations, imaginable and unimaginable? Can you picture this situation now? Is this a result of the irrational, sick, determined, aggressive, evil, malevolent, vicious hatred, envy, and the fear of America? The “soft power” concepts and the “understanding” diplomacy did not help much to diffuse these sentiments, despite the long, determined, and the sincere well-wishing efforts. This well intentioned, “eyes wide shut” blindness also paved the way to the present hell in which we find ourselves landed, now longing to keep our noses shut. 

With all this, the serious and reasonable doubts about the “Russia only” hypothesis do persist, especially among the experts. 
“Here’s the irony. Were the Russians running Trump, they probably would have been cautious, unwilling to burn an asset on anything less than a major score. But as is, they can sit back, enjoy the show, and watch his one-man Putin tribute act.” 
The peculiar position of Germany was also noted by the observers. 
“NATO members are scrambling to build up their own defenses, in part, because they are no longer certain that they can fully trust Washington, something Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged in May.” 
It might be somewhat premature to make any definitive impressions and conclusions before the Mueller Investigation is completed and its results are revealed. But the enormous, pivotal, trend setting importance of these issues are not doubted and disputed by anyone. 

Do perform and publish the historical-political study of the foreign interference into the American political processes and elections from the beginning of the past century: in-depth, objective, detailed and well researched. There are definitely the lessons to learn from all of this. The present episode is really unprecedented and “unpresidented“, it can be explained in part by the Putin’s and his criminal Mafiosi minions’ extraordinary chutzpah and cunning, but these endeavors were not built on an empty ground, they have “solid and venerable” KGB foundation going back decades.

File:Sergey Shoigu in GRU 05.jpg
Министр обороны России генерал армии Сергей Шойгу в Главном разведывательном управлении Генерального штаба Вооруженных Сил в День военного разведчика – 5 November 2013 Lt.Gen Igor Sergun presents what appears to be a 4 volume (secret?) history of Russian intelligence to Gen. Shoigu and Gen. Gerasimov

The Russians, just like the Germans and the others, love, preserve and study with diligence the historical traditions and the skills of their spycraft, especially if they worked, and worked well. As many people did say, it does encourage them to continue their pursuits unabated, especially if there is no resistance to them; just the bewilderment and confusion. 

“Congrats”, bros. And what are you going to do about it now? 

The self-assuring claims, including my own, that “it will never work” in America are not enough. 

“The question is, how much more damage will he do to America and the world in the meantime, and at what cost?”

Do you want a dangerous BS-er-In-Chief as your President? Donald Trump as the stimulus for “the Coming Fall of American Empire” is apparently in many “common and uncommon dreams” as well as in many “progressivists’ leftist hopes.

Something decisive, smart, and fast enough (barring the political assassinations, God forbid) has to be done until it is really too late. This is a very real crisis of enormous, hard to imagine proportions, that weakens America and her standing in the world. “A real threat”, as Mr. Pompeo said. The times of the pretentious innocence and the willful blindness have to be replaced by the times of the most vigorous investigations, educated and the well-founded insights, and actions. 

The latest rumors from Russia are that Agalarov&Co started building a special secret government dacha for Trump and his family in Peredelkino, the Moscow suburb populated by the Russian writers and “intellectuals”, so Mr. Trump, his family, and their “significant others” wouldn’t feel too much out of touch with their familiar “reality show” element when they defect to Russia. 

Image result for mueller

Mr. Mueller, is it possible to complete this investigation as soon as it is realistically feasible before the major damage is done? 

7.22 – 24.17


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Rename the “Trump Tower” into the “Trump Russian Mob Tower”, just call the things what they are! 

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Rename the “Trump Tower” into the “Trump Russian Mob Tower”, just call the things what they are! 

Dolly Lenz, a New York real estate broker, told USA Today that she sold some 65 units in Trump World Tower to Russians. “I had contacts in Moscow looking to invest in the United States,” Lenz said. “They all wanted to meet Donald.”

Image result for Trump Tower is Russian Mob Tower

“Last October, an investigation by the Miami Herald found that at least 13 buyers in the Florida complex have been the target of government investigations, either personally or through their companies, including “members of a Russian-American organized crime group.” Two buyers in Sunny Isles, Anatoly Golubchik and Michael Sall, were convicted for taking part in a massive international gambling and money-laundering syndicate that was run out of Trump Tower in New York. The ring, according to the FBI, was operating under the protection of the Russian mafia…

In April 2013, a little more than two years before Trump rode the escalator to the ground floor of Trump Tower to kick off his presidential campaign, police burst into Unit 63A of the high-rise and rounded up 29 suspects in two gambling rings. The operation, which prosecutors called “the world’s largest sports book,” was run out of condos in Trump Tower—including the entire fifty-first floor of the building. In addition, unit 63A—a condo directly below one owned by Trump—served as the headquarters for a “sophisticated money-laundering scheme” that moved an estimated $100 million out of the former Soviet Union, through shell companies in Cyprus, and into investments in the United States. The entire operation, prosecutors say, was working under the protection of Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, whom the FBI identified as a top Russian vor closely allied with Semion Mogilevich. In a single two-month stretch, according to the federal indictment, the money launderers paid Tokhtakhounov $10 million.”


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11:16 AM 7/19/2017 – Stop the “fake news” of all sorts and kinds and Russia’s Info War on the U.S.: Introduce the Information Consumer Protection Bill. They say, that the truth is a daylight or the disinfectant: everyone benefits from it

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Stop the “fake news” of all sorts and kinds and Russia’s Info War on the U.S.: Introduce the Information Consumer Protection Bill. They say, that the truth is a daylight or a disinfectant: everyone benefits from it.

A tough choice, a tall order, Donald, ain’t it?

The Freedom of Information Protection Agency, a hypothetical bipartisan body, should ideally fill out many voids and strengthen the democracies.


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“Russia isn’t delivering for Trump”, and “Trump isn’t delivering for Russia”. So, what’s the deal, and who are the dealers?! Ask the Germans, they know…

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“Russia isn’t delivering for Trump”, and “Trump isn’t delivering for Russia”. So, what’s the deal, and who are the dealers?! Ask the Germans, they know but won’t tell… 

Russia Isn’t Delivering for Donald Trump – The New York Times

How Has Supporting Trump Worked Out for Russia? – New York Magazine


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Agent Smith evil laugh from The Matrix Revolutions… | Laughter as FBI Cointelpro Weapon: was that woman an FBI informant or the FBI secret agent on assignment? Does FBI use laughter as a psychological weapon? Investigate the the investigators!

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Laughter as FBI Cointelpro Weapon – GS 

Laughter as FBI Cointelpro Weapon: was that woman an FBI informant or the FBI secret agent on assignment? Does FBI use laughter as a psychological weapon? Investigate the investigators! Send the FOI requests to the FBI on this subject en mass.

“When asked by the prosecutor, Coronado maintained that the laugh was loud and disruptive, but Fairooz said it was simply an involuntary reaction to a ludicrous claim.”

I have an “involuntary reaction” to laugh at the FBI’s “ludicrous claims”, and I will. Prepare the spittoons and the handkerchiefs for the other reactions too. Thank you, fast, furious, considerate, aspiring FBI secret agents! What would we do without you?!

Another option: just laugh at the little nincompoops!

Laughter as FBI Cointelpro Weapon – 7.15.17

laughter as fbi weapon – Google Search
laughter as fbi cointelpro weapon – Google Search
sessions laughter conviction – Google Search
Jeff Sessions: Judge Tosses Conviction of Laughing Protester | Time.com
Desiree
Fairooz – Google Search The Department of Justice Is Really Prosecuting a Woman for Laughing at Jeff Sessions | Alternet 

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Germany appears to be the only real-time political beneficiary of “Trump-Russia scandal”, not Russia or Israel… – The role of Germany in “Trump-Russia scandal” – Links – 7.14.17

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Germany appears to be the only real-time political beneficiary of “Trump-Russia scandal”, not Russia or Israel as if the scenarios were known, played out, and planned by them, with skillful masking. 

Kushner-Bannon power struggle might also be a factor in the recent events and media reports, and also as if it were a part of the same scenario. 

Michael Novakhov

7.14.17 

The role of Germany in “Trump-Russia scandal” – Links – 7.14.17

Germany appears to be the only real-time political beneficiary of “Trump-Russia scandal”, not Russia or Israel – My Opinions – By Michael Novakhov – The Web World Times – webworldtimes.com
The Big Questions In The Age Of Chutzpah: The Foreign Interference In The Elections Of 2016 – The Web World Times – wwtimes.com
trump and germany – Google Search
trump and merkel – Google Search
Trump’s America Is ‘No Friend’ Says Germany’s Angela Merkel Ahead of ‘Thorny’ G20 Summit
In Shadow of Trump Visit, Franco-German United Front Flourishes – Bloomberg
Merkel In Paris Ahead Of Trump Visit Talks Of Europe Self-Reliance, U.S. Cooperation
Full coverage – Google News
France, Germany Plan Development of New European Fighter Jet
trump, germany and russia – Google Search
usa, germany and russia – Google Search

7.14.17

Former Soviet Counter Intelligence Officer at Meeting With Donald Trump Jr. and Russian Lawyer – NBC News
Marine plane had emergency at high altitude, general says | Tampa Bay Times
Marine KC-130T Experienced Problems at Cruising Altitude, Broke Into At Least 2 Pieces – USNI News
Christopher Wray Signifies America’s Thirst for Normalcy
Moral Vacuum in the House of Trump – The New York Times
Trump’s legal team faces tensions — and a client who often takes his own counsel – The Washington Post
Trump Russia scandal: What now? | The Sacramento Bee
Donald Trump’s deep connections to dirty Russian money: The trail leads back more than 30 years – Salon.com
Eels from overturned truck slime cars on Oregon highway – The Washington Post

Posts – 7.14.17

» Trump dodges on whether he accepted Putin’s hacking denial – The Hill 14/07/17 03:37 from Saved Stories – None The Hill Trump dodges on whether he accepted Putin’s hacking denial The Hill President Trump on Wednesday evening dodged a question on whether he accepted Vladimir Putin’s denial of Russia’s involvement in the interference campaign direc… – Shared Articles
» GOP Congressman: Donald Trump Should Remove His Kids From The White House 14/07/17 08:40 from Saved Stories – None “I wish that he would get them out of the way so that we could have a professional staff at the White House on policy issues,” said Rep. Bill Flores. – Shared Articles
9:23 AM 7/14/2017 – News and Posts – Shared Articles

7.13.17

Jared Kushner under fire for Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russian lawyer – Business Insider
Black Is The New Red: Containing Jihad – Analysis – Eurasia Review
National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief | Wire Commentary | heraldandnews.com
This isn’t Watergate. This isn’t treason. And there’s still no smoking gun.
Jared Kushner – Google Search
Jared Kushner and digital operations – Google Search
Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations | McClatchy Washington Bureau
Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic
We Now Have Proof of Donald Trump’s Russian Collusion | Observer
News – Rep. Adam Schiff – Google Search
The Latest: Trump wishes he’d asked Putin who he supported | Boston Herald
Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation – Chicago Tribune
All Roads Now Lead to Kushner – The New York Times
Kushner Bannon wars – Google Search
The Inside Story of the Kushner-Bannon Civil War | Vanity Fair
Kushner Bannon war – Google Search
Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner factions clash in White House – Business Insider
kushner and bannon fight – Google Search
Brad Parscale – Google Search
brad parscale trump – Google Search
Trump digital operations – Google Search
Trump digital operations – Google Search
Trump campaign digital operations – Google Search
Trump campaign digital operations – Google Search
Trump campaign business model – Google Search
Alliance for Securing Democracy – Google Search
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) – Google Search
German Marshall Fund – Wikipedia
The Senate Judiciary Committee Plans How To Coordinate Investigations With Mueller
Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism – Google Search
Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense – Bloomberg
(42) WATCH LIVE: President Trump and French President Macron hold joint news conference – YouTube
(43) Trump: Most ‘Would Have Taken That Meeting’ – YouTube

Posts – 7.13.17

Reading List – 7:26 AM 7/13/2017: Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News: Trump’s Russian Laundromat – New Republic  Eurasia Review: Black Is The New Red: Containing Jihad Analysis  National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief | Wire Commentary We Now Have Proof of Donald Trumps Russian Collusion  trump russia treason – Google News: This isn’t Watergate. This isn’t treason. And there’s still no smoking gun. – The Week Magazine – Shared Articles
Daily News and Posts – 7:52 AM 7/13/2017 – Links
All Roads Now Lead to Kushner – New York Times-5 hours ago – Shared Articles

7.12.17

Military Plane Crashes With 16 on Board in Mississippi; ‘Most’ Bodies Recovered, Official Says – NBC News
leflore mississippi military plane crash mid-air – Google Search
Military plane believed to have exploded-mid air, emergency officials say
The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers? – Al Arabiya English
Christopher Way Pledges Strict Independence FBI Helm, Jul 12 2017 | C-SPAN.org
FBI as “showboat” – Google Search
Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations | News & Observer
Trump’s FBI pick vows independence, says Russia probe no ‘witch hunt’
Rancor at White House as Russia Story Refuses to Let the Page Turn – The New York Times

Posts – 7.12.17

America is closed for renovations… – News In Photos
A sea of police officers stood outside the church in the Bronx where the funeral for Officer Miosotis Familia was held on Tuesday (7.11.17). – News In Photos
The Mafia-ISIS connection: Partners in crime or perfect strangers? – Al Arabiya English – The Web World Times – wwtimes.com
All of the FBI is one huge “showboat”! – The Web World Times – wwtimes.com
sater missiles – Google Search
Felix Sater: The Crook Behind the Trump-Russia ‘Peace’ Plan
alliance between the Mafia and ISIS – Google Search
FBI is “showboat” – Google Search
FBI as “showboat” cartoons – Google Search
showboat meaning – Google Search
fbi has 12% public approval rating – Google Search
Poll: By 2 to 1 margin, registered voters reject Comey | TheHill
public opinion of the fbi – Google Search
fbi approval rating 2017 – Google Search
NBC/WSJ Poll: Just 29 Percent Approve of Trump’s Firing of James Comey – NBC News
nincompoops – Google Search
Posts – 7.12.17: America is closed for renovations… – News In Photos A sea of police officers stood outside the church in the Bronx where the funeral for Officer Miosotis Familia was held on Tuesday (7.11.17). – News In Photos The Mafia-ISIS conne
Voice of America: US Customs Agents Find Cobras Inside Mail at JFK Airport – Shared Articles
» Investigators look for links between Trump, Russia cyber operations 12/07/17 13:25 from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks mikenova shared this story . Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped gui… – Shared Articles
“Kushner’s role including his niche overseeing the digital operations will be closely looked at…” – Shared Articles
The Web World Times wwtimes.com: Posts: Wed, 12 Jul – Sat, 01 Jul 2017 – The Web World Times – wwtimes.com

Current Events and Topics – July 2017

Russian mafia, Trump, and Mueller investigation – 7.4.17

russian mafia – Google Search
Stolen Russian mob money linked to Syria’s chemical weapons – CNNPolitics.com
News – russian mafia – Google Search
Russian mafia and Trump – Google Search
News – Russian mafia and Trump – Google Search
Amazing report shows Putin gave orders to help elect Trump
Russian mafia and Trump and Mueller investigation – Google Search
News – Trump Investigation and Russian mafia – Google Search
AP – Mueller probe could draw focus to Russian crime operations
Discretion Advised: Trump’s mob and Russia ties – Google Search
Image – Discretion Advised: Trump’s mob and Russia ties – Google Search
Russian Mafia – Google Search
Jul 5, 3:32 AM EDT Mueller probe could draw focus to Russian crime operations By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press
Mueller’s investigation – Google Search
recent arrests of russian mafia – Google Search
News – recent arrests of russian mafia – Google Search
Red Mafia – Google Search

Democrats Push Probe Into Trump, Deutsche Bank and Russia

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House Democrats are using a new tactic to gather information on Deutsche Bank (DB) as part of a broader party effort to push action on inquiries into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

Democrats will offer measures known as resolutions of inquiry, an investigative procedure that House of Representatives members can employ to make a direct request for information to the executive branch. The resolutions automatically trigger floor votes if they don’t get action in committee within 14 legislative days. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Friday will file a resolution to push for information on Trump, those in his orbit and Deutsche Bank.

The resolution, introduced by Waters and Representatives Daniel Kildee (R-MI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Al Green (D-TX) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), asks Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to provide records from his department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network that detail Trump’s ties to Russia as well as those of his family members and associates.

House Democrats have sent four letters requesting information on Trump and Deutsche Bank since March — two to Deutche Bank directly, one to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and one to Mnuchin.

“We have to get all the information we can find about [President Trump] and his business relationships,” Waters said in a recent interview with TheStreet. “It is extremely important, and I don’t care where it comes from.”

Specifically, Democrats are seeking details on the bank’s conduct in the Russian mirror trading scandal, through which it helped wealthy Russians move $10 billion out of the country from 2011 to 2014, and its relationship with Trump.

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The German banks is one of the few banks that still lends money to the president after his bankruptcies and financial woes. His financial disclosure, released by the U.s. Office of Government Ethics last month, shows liabilities for Trump of at least $130 million to Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, including at least $50 million for the Old Post Office that houses Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel.

Waters, ranking member on the Financial Services Committee, and fellow committee Democrats will request through resolution of inquiry from the Treasury Department information on credit extended by Russian banks and Russian government officials to Trump and those in his orbit and information on the Russian mirror trading scandal. They are seeking information on money laundering and sanctions violations by those in the president’s orbit as well.

The ROI lists off Trump’s properties, past and present, including the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Trump National Doral in Miami and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. It also targets properties owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Democrats also specify several figures of interest. Trump’s family members are listed, as well as figures such as campaign chairman Paul Manafort, activist investor Carl Icahn, Russian-born associate Felix Sater, operative Roger Stone and attorney Michael Cohen. They also list members of the administration, including Gary Cohn, Wilbur Ross, Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions.

The resolution also requests information on the president’s long-time assistant, Rhona Graff, and publicist Rob Goldstone, two figures tied into the brewing scandal surrounding Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer last summer. Emails released by Trump Jr. earlier this week just minutes before The New York Times was set to break a story on them revealed he accepted a meeting last year with a Russian lawyer on the promise that she could offer damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The emails also said the Russian government was supporting his father’s presidential bid.

You see Jim Cramer on TV. Now, see where he invests his money. Check out his multi-million dollar portfolio and discover which stocks he is trading. Learn more now.

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· · ·

Trump’s legal team faces tensions — and a client who often takes his own counsel

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The challenge for President Trump’s attorneys has become, at its core, managing the unmanageable — their client.

He won’t follow instructions. After one meeting in which they urged Trump to steer clear of a certain topic, he sent a tweet about that very theme before they arrived back at their office.

He won’t compartmentalize. With aides, advisers and friends breezing in and out of the Oval Office, it is not uncommon for the president to suddenly turn the conversation to Russia — a subject that perpetually gnaws at him — in a meeting about something else entirely.

And he won’t discipline himself. Trump’s legal team, led by Marc E. Kasowitz of New York, is laboring to underscore the potential risk to the president if he engages without a lawyer in discussions with other people under scrutiny in widening Russia inquiries, including Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser.

Nearly two months after Trump retained outside counsel to represent him in the investigations of alleged Russian meddling in last year’s election, his and Kushner’s attorneys are struggling to enforce traditional legal boundaries to protect their clients, according to half a dozen people with knowledge of the internal dynamics and ongoing interactions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter candidly.

Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Trump, listens during session with cybersecurity experts at the White House in January. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Compounding the challenges have been tensions between Trump’s and Kushner’s legal teams in a frenzied, siege-like environment. Senior White House officials are increasingly reluctant to discuss the issue internally or publicly and worry about overhearing sensitive conversations, for fear of legal exposure.

“Stuff is moving fast and furious,” said one person familiar with the work of the legal teams. “The tensions are just the tensions that would normally exist between two groups of lawyers starting to work together and struggling with facts that we don’t all know yet.”

A third faction could complicate the dynamic further. Trump’s eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., hired his own criminal defense attorney this week amid disclosures that he met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who he thought could provide incriminating information about Democrat Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Trump Jr. also is considering hiring his own outside public relations team.

In remarks to reporters on Air Force One before his arrival in Paris on Thursday, Trump defended his son as “a good boy” who had done nothing wrong and suggested he would support Trump Jr. testifying about the case “if he wants to.”

[‘Category 5 hurricane’: White House under siege by Trump Jr.’s revelations]

As in Trump’s West Wing, lawyers on the outside teams have been deeply distrustful of one another and suspicious of motivations. They also are engaged in a circular firing squad of private speculation about who may have disclosed information about Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer to the New York Times, said people familiar with the situation.

Michael J. Bowe, a partner at Kasowitz’s firm and a member of Trump’s legal team, said the lawyers are collaborating effectively. “The legal teams have worked together smoothly and professionally from the start,” he said.

Trump’s lawyer denies Trump asked Comey to drop the Flynn probe

President Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz hit back at former FBI director James Comey’s testimony on June 8, saying that Trump never asked Comey to let the Flynn investigation go or for Comey’s “loyalty.” President Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz hit back at former FBI director James Comey’s testimony on June 8. (Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Reuters)

(Reuters)

Another question is who will pay the legal fees for the president and administration officials involved in the Russia inquiries. Some in Trump’s orbit are pushing the Republican National Committee to bear the costs, said three people with knowledge of the situation, including one who euphemistically described the debate as a “robust discussion.”

Although the RNC does have a legal defense fund, it well predates the Russia investigations and is intended to be used for legal challenges facing the Republican Party, such as a potential election recount.

The RNC has not made a decision, in part because the committee is still researching whether the money could legally be used to help pay legal costs related to Russia. But many within the organization are resisting the effort, thinking it would be more appropriate to create a separate legal defense fund for the case.

RNC officials declined requests for comment. The White House has not said whether Trump, Kushner and other officials are paying their legal bills themselves or whether they are being covered by an outside entity.

Those retained by the parties involved include Kasowitz, Bowe and Jay Sekulow for Trump; Jamie S. Gorelick and Abbe Lowell for Kushner; and Alan Futerfas for Trump Jr.

The president has been irritated with Kasowitz, which the Times first reported this week. The two men have known each other for decades, and both are hard-charging, prideful and brash.

[Trump is struggling to stay calm on Russia, one morning call at a time]

But people briefed on the evolving relationship said Trump has made Kasowitz absorb his fury about the Russia inquiries — in keeping with how the president treats his White House staff, quick to blame aides when things go awry.

The lawyers are now faced with the challenge of trying to force change on Trump, 71, who throughout his life has often thrived amid freewheeling chaos. He made his name as a flamboyant Manhattan developer, trafficking in hyperbole and mistruth — or “puffery,” as one former aide put it — while exhibiting little discretion in his daily conversations. For Trump, this was a formula for success.

“There’s no question that Donald Trump has lied flagrantly and almost pathologically his entire life,” said Timothy L. O’Brien, author of the Trump biography “TrumpNation” and a Bloomberg View columnist. “For good parts of his life, he’s been insulated from the consequences of doing that.”

Trump is now the highest elected official in the nation, and with that outsize perch comes potentially outsize consequences. His legal team is trying to impress upon him and those in his orbit that there could be severe ramifications for lying to federal investigators or congressional committees.

O’Brien said, “He is now in a completely different world, and it’s a world unlike any he’s ever existed in before — both in terms of the sophistication and honesty that’s required of him to do his job well, and most especially the titanic legal and reputational consequences of Donald Trump continuing to be the same old Donald Trump.”

[‘A million miles per hour’: Inside Trump’s campaign when Trump Jr. met with Russian]

The president, however, believes he has done nothing wrong and is the target of what he repeatedly has called “a witch hunt.” His instinct, those close to him have said, is to trust his gut and punch back.

Barry Bennett, who was a Trump campaign adviser, said that Trump isn’t used to losing and that “he never stops fighting. That’s what life has taught him. In Washington, politics is a full-
contact sport, and it’s certainly tougher than having it out with a magazine. It’s a new arena for him and he’s treating it like every arena he’s ever been in. He may be right, but it’s messy.”

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During last year’s campaign, Bennett recalled, “do you know how many times people came to him and said, ‘That was lethal, you’re never going to survive it’? Every time, he survived. When somebody tells him he can’t do something, he’s at a minimum circumspect.”

When it comes to Twitter, however, the president is hardly circumspect. His political advisers have long urged him to restrain his first impulses on social media and to think twice before tweeting — and now, his lawyers are asking the same.

Still, the president persists.

“It’s my voice,’’ Trump said in a recent interview with the New York Times Magazine. ‘‘They want to take away my voice. They’re not going to take away my social media.’’

Robert Costa, Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · ·

Moral Vacuum in the House of Trump

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Biographies describe a man intent on making his fortune and not afraid of skating near the edge to do so. At one point, according to Politico, federal investigators found that Frederick used various accounting measures to collect an extra $15 million in rent (in today’s dollars) from a government housing program, on top of paying himself a large “architect’s fee.” He was hauled before investigating committees on at least two occasions, apparently was arrested at a K.K.K. rally in Queens (though it’s not clear he was a member), got involved in a slush fund scandal with Robert Wagner and faced discrimination allegations.

I repeat this history because I don’t think moral obliviousness is built in a day. It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a person’s mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing; to take the normal human yearning to be good and replace it with a single-minded desire for material conquest; to take the normal human instinct for kindness and replace it with a law-of-the-jungle mentality.

It took a few generations of the House of Trump, in other words, to produce Donald Jr.

The Donald Trump Jr. we see through the Russia scandal story is not malevolent: He seems to be simply oblivious to the idea that ethical concerns could possibly play a role in everyday life. When the Russian government offer came across his email, there doesn’t seem to have been a flicker of concern. Instead, he replied with that tone of simple bro glee that we remember from other scandals.

“Can you smell money?!?!?!?!” Jack Abramoff emailed a co-conspirator during his lobbying and casino fraud shenanigans. That’s the same tone as Don Jr.’s “I love it” when offered a chance to conspire with a hostile power. A person capable of this instant joy and enthusiasm isn’t overcoming any internal ethical hurdles. It’s just a greedy boy grabbing sweets.

Once the scandal broke you would think Don Jr. would have some awareness that there were ethical stakes involved. You’d think there would be some sense of embarrassment at having been caught lying so blatantly.

But in his interview with Sean Hannity he appeared incapable of even entertaining any moral consideration. “That’s what we do in business,” the younger Trump said. “If there’s information out there, you want it.” As William Saletan pointed out in Slate, Don Jr. doesn’t seem to possess the internal qualities necessary to consider the possibility that he could have done anything wrong.

That to me is the central takeaway of this week’s revelations. It’s not that the Russia scandal may bring down the administration. It’s that over the past few generations the Trump family has built an enveloping culture that is beyond good and evil.

The Trumps have an ethic of loyalty to one another. “They can’t stand that we are extremely close and will ALWAYS support each other,” Eric Trump tweeted this week. But beyond that there is no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code. There is just naked capitalism.

Successful business people, like successful politicians, are very ambitious, but they generally have some complementary moral code that checks their greed and channels their drive. The House of Trump has sprayed an insecticide on any possible complementary code, and so they are continually trampling basic decency. Their scandals may not build to anything impeachable, but the scandals will never end.

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Donald Trump’s deep connections to dirty Russian money: The trail leads back more than 30 years

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On Air Force One on Thursday, President Trump actually took questions from reporters but there was some confusion about whether or not the exchange was on the record. The White House later released a transcript that left out a couple of things. Since reporters were released from their agreement to keep it off the record, they filled in the blanks:

So we are getting closer to an admission that our president knew that representatives of the Russian government wanted to help him win the election. He simply doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with that.

We know for sure that he doesn’t think there’s anything unusual about it. He told the reporters:

Honestly, in a world of politics, most people are going to take that meeting. If somebody called and said, hey — and you’re a Democrat — and by the way, they have taken them — hey, I have really some information on Donald Trump. You’re running against Donald Trump. Can I see you? I mean, how many people are not going to take the meeting?

When asked about it again during his press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, he said the same thing.

Donald Trump used to brag about doing business with Russians. He told David Letterman back in 2013 “I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians, I know the Russians very well. They’re smart and they’re tough and they’re not looking so dumb right now.” That was around the time of the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, when Trump was tight with billionaire oligarch Aras Agalarov, also known as Putin’s builder, and his pop star son Emin, both of whom were instrumental in the “Hillary dirt” meeting with Donald Jr. After years of trying fruitlessly to get a Trump project off the ground in the country, he had finally succeeded in making the contact who could make his dream come true.

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According to Michael Isikoff at Yahoo, it was a typical Trump arrangement in which Agalarov would build the tower and license Trump’s name for big dollars. Donald Jr. was put it charge and Ivanka even made a trip in 2014 to see the proposed property. Unfortunately for the Trumps, the project got shelved when the Russian economy went south due to the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union following the Russian incursion into Crimea (something President Trump is now in a position to “fix”).

Agalarov told Forbes back in March that he was still on board the Trump train and that “anything Trump related I would be interested to pursue. I think today the Trump brand is stronger all over the world. And him being the president; I mean, it’s a big brand now.” Indeed it is.

Nonethless, Trump was all over the map about his involvement with Russia during the campaign, saying in one breath that he was good pals with Vladimir Putin and another denying that he’d ever had anything to do with Russia in any way, shape or form. In his first press conference as president he said, “I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”

But asking if Trump has investments in Russia was never the right question. The question to ask was whether any Russians had investments in Donald Trump. Some years back Donald Trump Jr. told a real estate conference, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” When writer James Dodson asked how the Trumps were able to finance their purchase of golf courses during the recession when credit had all dried up, Eric Trump told him, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (Eric Trump has denied he ever said this.)

Nonetheless it has been difficult to analyze Trump’s financing arrangements since his company is family-owned and he refuses to release his tax returns or detail his holdings in any useful way. We know Trump was cited numerous times for money-laundering in his Atlantic City casinos. (I wrote about that here.)  But this blockbuster article by Craig Unger in the New Republic confirms that Trump has been financed for years by Russian mobsters who have laundered money through his high-end real estate projects. And when I say Russian mobsters I’m talking about the most powerful Russian mobsters in the world.

Unger makes clear that he can find no evidence that Trump was ever involved in criminal activity, or knew exactly where the money pouring into his buildings was coming from. He didn’t need to know or want to; if nothing else Trump has finely honed survival instincts. But Unger also documents that criminals and oligarchs lived in and ran illegal activities out of Trump properties, including Trump Tower in Manhattan, for more than 30 years. They provided Trump with some of his most lucrative branding deals, the ones in which he was not required to make any personal investment. The unending flow of Russian money, Unger writes, that “provided Trump with a crucial infusion of financing that helped rescue his empire from ruin, burnish his image, and launch his career in television and politics.”

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It’s hard to believe that anyone with that kind of criminal exposure would think it was a good idea to run for president. But Trump had been in the public spotlight and had gotten away with it for years. Books were written about his ties to criminals and he’s been sued thousands of time for fraudulent business practices. In his experience, this is just how the world works.

Trump’s comments about his son’s nefarious meeting shows that he believes everyone does whatever it takes to win and use any means at their disposal. He’s so casual about it that it’s obvious that if at some point before he ran for president he was personally offered the help of the Russian FSB, he would have taken it without a second thought. He simply assumes that everyone in the world is exactly like him.

I’m sure there is a clinical term for this but it’s just as easy to simply say that he has the ethos of a mobster. Why wouldn’t he? He’s been doing business with them for years.

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Former Soviet Counter Intelligence Officer at Meeting With Donald Trump Jr. and Russian Lawyer

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WASHINGTON — The Russian lawyer who met with the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist — a former Soviet counter intelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, NBC News has learned.

NBC News is not naming the lobbyist, who denies any current ties to Russian spy agencies. He accompanied the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

The Russian-born American lobbyist served in the Soviet military and emigrated to the U.S., where he holds dual citizenship.

Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russian attorney: Another person attended 2:49

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Veselnitskaya acknowledged to NBC News that she was accompanied by at least one other man, though she declined to identify him.

The presence at the meeting of a Russian-American with suspected intelligence ties is likely to be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller and the House and Senate panels investigating the Russian election interference campaign.

Related: What’s Next in the Trump-Russia Saga? Here’s What We Know Now

Contacted by NBC News, representatives for Kushner and Manafort declined to comment.

Alan Futerfas, the attorney retained by Donald Trump Jr., confirmed he has spoken to the individual.

“It’s very simple,” Futerfas said. “The person was described as a friend of Emin [Agalarov]’s and maybe as a friend of Natalia [Veselnitskaya]’s.”

Agalarov is a pop star and a client of Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who arranged the meeting with Trump Jr. Agalarov appeared in a music video with Trump when the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump owned at the time, was held in Moscow in 2013.

Futerfas said he has talked with that individual who came to the meeting with Veselnitskaya. “He is a U.S. citizen. He told me specifically he was not working for the Russian government, and in fact laughed when I asked him that question.”

Futerfas confirmed that, “for the purpose of security or otherwise, the names were reviewed” but said Trump Jr. knew nothing about the man’s background at the time of the meeting.

When asked about whether he had concerns, knowing what he knows now, Futerfas responded: “I have absolutely no concerns about what was said in that meeting.”

Veselnitskaya, in an exclusive interview with NBC News, denied having any connection to the Kremlin and insisted the meeting was to discuss sanctions, not the presidential campaign.

Exclusive: Russian Lawyer Responds to Trump Jr. Emails 2:09

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In an email exchange released by Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son wrote “I love it” to Goldstone when told about possibly getting his hands on material potentially damaging to the Clinton campaign.

Goldstone told Trump Jr. that the meeting would be with a “Russian government attorney” and that the information was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded enthusiastically, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Related: Trump’s Lawyer Says President Was Unaware of Son’s Russian Emails

Trump Jr. said after releasing the emails that, “in retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently.”

President Trump has defended his son’s decision to meet with Veselnitskaya, saying “most people would have taken that meeting.”

“My son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer but a Russian lawyer,” Trump said Thursday in a joint press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron. “From a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It’s called opposition research or research into your opponent.”

Ken Dilanian and Natasha Lebedeva reported from Washington. Hallie Jackson reported from Paris.

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Marine KC-130T Experienced Problems at Cruising Altitude, Broke Into At Least 2 Pieces

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Romanian static-line paratroopers enter a KC-130T Hercules Aircraft from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452, on the flight line of Campia Turzii, Romania, June 3, 2010. A pair of KC-130 Hercules aircraft, from VMGR-452, out of Newburgh, N.Y., and VMGR-234, out of Fort Worth, Texas, are currently deployed as the air combat element of the Black Sea Rotational Force Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force. US Marine Corps photo.

The Marine Corps KC-130T that crashed Monday afternoon likely experienced a failure at cruising altitude and fell to the ground in two main pieces, the service announced today.

The Marines have still not commented on potential causes of the crash, as the investigation is ongoing. But Brig. Gen. Bradley James, Commanding General of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, told reporters in a press conference in Mississippi today that there are “two large impact areas” and that “indications are something went wrong at cruise altitude. There is a large debris pattern.”

James said at the press conference that the families of the victims – nine Marines from the reserve unit Marine Air Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452 based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., along with six Marines and a Navy corpsman from 2nd Raider Battalion based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. – had been notified but that the names of those 16 service members would not be released until “the next few days” out of respect for their families.

The Marines from VMGR-452, which falls under James’ 4th MAW, were tasked with transporting the 2nd Raider Battalion special operations personnel from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., to Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif. Around 4 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration notified the Marine Corps that the plane had dropped off local radar readings. Around that time, large plumes of smoke were noticed by local residents in fields in Northwest Mississippi.

Two U.S. Marine Corps KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft with the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 prior to departing for a refueling mission in support of exercise Northern Edge 2011 June 13, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. US Marine Corps photo.

The fact that the KC-130T would experience issues at cruising altitude leading to a crash is unusual in that the airplane has among the best safety records of anything the military flies today. USNI News previously reported the Marines’ KC-130 fleet, which has included three older models before the introduction of today’s KC-130J, has experienced just two in-flight Class A mishaps before this week. Class A mishaps involve a fatality or more than $2 million in damages. In the two previous mishaps, one involved a flash fire breaking out as a plane was coming in for a landing in Pakistan, leading to a fatal crash into a mountainside, and the other occurred just after takeoff, leading to a crash landing that all personnel survived. The Marines have not seen any similar instances of a KC-130 having issues at cruising altitude.

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Marine KC-130 Involved in Monday Crash Has Good Safety Record

Marine KC-130 Involved in Monday Crash Has Good Safety Record

This post has been corrected to reflect that the KC-130 itself has experienced only three in-flight mishaps, rather than four in-flight mishaps as was previously reported. A fourth entry provided by the Naval Safety Center was mistakenly labeled as a KC-130 mishap; rather, the Naval Safety Center told USNI News…

July 11, 2017

In “Aviation”

U.S. Increases Role in Aussie Pitch Black Air Combat Exercise

U.S. Increases Role in Aussie Pitch Black Air Combat Exercise

The U.S. has increased its role in an air combat exercise, featuring its largest contribution of airpower in more than a decade from the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps in a practical demonstration of Washington’s, “rebalance to the Pacific.” Codenamed Pitch Black 2016, the biannual exercise in the first…

August 23, 2016

In “Aviation”

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Marine plane had emergency at high altitude, general says

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GREENWOOD, Miss. — A Marine Corps transport plane that crashed in Mississippi, killing 16 service members, experienced an emergency at high altitude and left two debris fields a mile apart, a Marine general said Wednesday, bolstering witness accounts that the plane broke up or exploded while in the air.

“Two large impact areas are half a mile north of Highway 82 and a half a mile south of Highway 82,” said Brig. Gen. Bradley S. James, commander of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve.

“Indications are something went wrong at cruise altitude,” he said. “There is a large debris pattern.”

The KC-130T, en route from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina to Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, crashed Monday into a soybean field between the towns of Itta Bena and Moorhead, in the Mississippi Delta. It was ferrying members of the elite Marine Raiders special operations force and their equipment, who were scheduled to proceed from El Centro to Yuma, Ariz., James said at a news conference a few miles from the crash site.

James did not specify what he meant by “cruise altitude.” As a propeller-driven craft, the KC-130 family of aircraft does not fly as high as jet planes of similar size. It can go above 30,000 feet with a relatively light load, but it generally cruises below that level.

Appearing with James, Marshall L. Fisher, commissioner of Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety, warned that the wreckage contained explosives. He cautioned people in the rural area not to touch any debris, both for safety’s sake and because removal of it could be a crime.

“There are items that are going to be recovered by teams on the ground; some of them may be unsafe,” he said. He later noted that “there are ordnance disposal teams in the area” who may be causing controlled explosions throughout the search.

The KC-130 family, consisting of four-engine turboprops, is a variant of C-130 transport, a venerable mainstay of the U.S. military. The KC-130T is designed for aerial refueling of other aircraft but can also be used to carry people and gear.

The aircraft that crashed bore registration number 165000 and was nicknamed “Triple Nuts” for the three zeros. It belonged to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452, or VMGR-452, nicknamed the Yankees, a Reserve unit based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., about 60 miles north of New York City.

The plane was built in 1993. In its life, it refueled fighter jets patrolling the no-fly zone in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, and later it ferried troops and equipment into and out of the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Alan Stinar, a former Marine mechanic who worked on this and other KC-130s, and who is a historian of the model, said it also took part in at least two missions in Africa.

“These things are workhorses that can do almost any job the Marines need them to do, and during the war they were very, very busy,” Stinar said.

Marine plane had emergency at high altitude, general says 07/12/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 8:28pm] 
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Military plane crash victims: ‘These were the cream of the crop’ – CNN International

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CNN International
Military plane crash victims: ‘These were the cream of the crop’
CNN International
(CNN) A painter who loved to fly, a father who married his high school sweetheart, and a former football star who was living his dream of being in the Navy were among the 16 service members killed in Monday’s military plane crash in Mississippi 
Marine plane had emergency at high altitude, general saysTampabay.com
Marine KC-130T Experienced Problems at Cruising Altitude, Broke Into At Least 2 PiecesUSNI News
Woes said to hit plane at ‘cruise altitude’NWAOnline

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Donald Trump: Donald Trump, Russia and a mob of comedy Corleones

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The president struggles to keep things in the family

 Donald Trump

Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense

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Turkey has agreed to pay $2.5 billion to acquire Russia’s most advanced missile defense system, a senior Turkish official said, in a deal that signals a turn away from the NATO military alliance that has anchored Turkey to the West for more than six decades.

The preliminary agreement sees Turkey receiving two S-400 missile batteries from Russia within the next year, and then producing another two inside Turkey, according to the Turkish official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. A spokesman for Russia’s arms-export company Rosoboronexport OJSC said he couldn’t immediately comment on details of a deal with Turkey.

Turkey has reached the point of an agreement on a missile defense system before, only to scupper the deal later amid protests and condemnation from NATO. Under pressure from the U.S., Turkey gave up an earlier plan to buy a similar missile-defense system from a state-run Chinese company, which had been sanctioned by the U.S. for alleged missile sales to Iran.

Turkey has been in NATO since the early years of the Cold War, playing a key role as a frontline state bordering the Soviet Union. But ties with fellow members have been strained in recent years, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pursuing a more assertive and independent foreign policy as conflict engulfed neighboring Iraq and Syria. Tensions with the U.S. mounted over U.S. support for Kurdish militants in Syria that Turkey considers terrorists, and the relationship with the European Union soured as the bloc pushed back against what it sees as Turkey’s increasingly autocratic turn. Last month, Germany decided to withdraw from the main NATO base in Turkey, Incirlik, after Turkey refused to allow German lawmakers to visit troops there.

Turkey ‘Disappointed’

The missile deal with Russia “is a clear sign that Turkey is disappointed in the U.S. and Europe,” said Konstantin Makienko, an analyst at the Center for Analysis and Technology, a Moscow think-tank. “But until the advance is paid and the assembly begins, we can’t be sure of anything.”

The Russian system would not be compatible with other NATO defense systems, but also wouldn’t be subject to the same constraints imposed by the alliance, which prevents Turkey from deploying such systems on the Armenian border, Aegean coast or Greek border, the official said. The Russian deal would allow Turkey to deploy the missile defense systems anywhere in the country, the official said.

‘Know-How’

For Turkey, the key aspect of any deal is transfer of technology or know-how, the Turkish official said. Turkey wants to be able to produce its own advanced defense systems, and the Russian agreement to allow two of the S-400 batteries to be produced in Turkey would serve that aim, the official said.
“There are a lot of different levels of technology transfer,” and any offer to Turkey would probably be limited in terms of sophistication, said Makienko, the Moscow-based analyst. “For Turkey to be able to copy the S-400 system, it would have to spend billions to create a whole new industry.”

The S-400 is designed to detect, track and then destroy aircraft, drones or missiles. It’s Russia’s most advanced integrated air defense system, and can hit targets as far as 250 miles away. Russia has also agreed to sell them to China and India.

The sides are currently sorting out technical details and it could take about one year to finalize the project, the Turkish official said. One battery may be available earlier if Russia decides to divert it from another country, the official added. The missiles are not ready to sell off-the-shelf and Russia will have to produce the batteries before delivering them, the official said.

The official said the systems delivered to Turkey would not have a friend-or-foe identification system, which means they could be deployed against any threat without restriction.

U.S. and European rivals have also bid to co-produce missile defense systems with Turkey, as it seeks partnerships allowing it to enhance its domestic arms production amid a military buildup in the region.

Disagreements between Turkey, which has the second-largest army by personnel numbers in NATO, and the U.S., the bloc’s biggest military, have also impacted business. No U.S. companies bid for a Turkish attack helicopter contract in 2006 after Turkey insisted on full access to specific software codes, which the U.S. refused to share, considering it a security risk. Turkey partnered with Italy instead in a $3 billion project to co-produce 50 attack helicopters for its army.

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Russia – Google News: Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense – Bloomberg

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Bloomberg
Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense
Bloomberg
Turkey has agreed to pay $2.5 billion to acquire Russia’s most advanced missile defense system, a senior Turkish official said, in a deal that signals a turn away from the NATO military alliance that has anchored Turkey to the West for more than six 

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FBI as a “showboat”

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FBI as a “showboat”: the whole of the FBI is one huge “showboat”, in Trump’s words; and just as slow, flashy, exhibitionistic, inefficient, outdated, and ridiculous.

Introduce the legislation forbidding the FBI to manage their own publicity and to engage in self-promotion, self-advertising, and self-entertainment. They just have to do their job and to do it well and properly. We do not need “heroes” for this, or more correctly, the psychopaths in heroes clothes, of whom there are plenty, among both the agents and their “darling” informants, who manipulate the Bureau any which way they wish. This is “a first step if the FBI is to be transformed into the first-rate crime fighting organization it professes to be rather the laughingstock it has become”.

They did become a “state within the state”, an organization built on the mafia “family and brotherhood” principles and structure, and an “American KGB”, with the main difference of lacking their adversaries’ and infiltrators’ efficiency, while sharing the same skills.

Investigate the investigators! Reform the FBI!


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