Day: March 7, 2017

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CAVE OF SURPRISES Rabbit hole leads to Knights Templar complex


A rabbit hole in the UK conceals the entrance to an incredible cave complex linked to the mysterious Knights Templar.

New photos show the remarkable Caynton Caves network, which looks like something out of the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The shadowy Knights Templar order is said to have used the caves.

The Sun reports that the caves are hidden beneath a farmer’s field in Shropshire. The site was visited by photographer Michael Scott after he saw a video of the caves online. “I traipsed over a field to find it, but if you didn’t know it was there you would just walk right past it,” Scott said.

BIBLICAL KING’S PALACE UNCOVERED BENEATH SHRINE DESTROYED BY ISIS

Once inside, Scott encountered arches, walkways, and carved niches. He described the caves as cramped, noting that anyone nearing six-feet tall has to bend down inside the complex. “I had to crouch down and once I was in it was completely silent,” he said. “There were a few spiders in there but that was it.

Said to be 700 years old, the caves have been long been linked to the Knights Templar – a Catholic military order that played a key role during the Crusades. Named after Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where the order was based, the order was founded in 1119 protect pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.

With the loss of the Holy Land, the Templars’ military influence waned, although they still held great economic sway in medieval Europe. In 1307 the French King Philip IV, who wanted to wipe out his debts to the order, launched a plot to bring the Knights Templar down. Many Templars were arrested on charges including heresy and dozens were later burned at the stake.

TREASURE HUNTERS STRIKE GOLD WITH ANCIENT JEWELRY FIND

Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312.

The caves had been closed for a number of years before Scott’s visit. Black magic ceremonies reportedly forced the owners to seal up the entrance to the caves in 2012.

While some people believe the caves are 700 years old, others think that the complex was carved out by followers of the Templars in the 17th century.

 

 

 



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Obama's Rasputin Moves into the Bunker


Politics, it is said, makes curious bedfellows, and the longstanding relationship between Barack Obama and presidential adviser and confidante Valerie Jarrett is curious indeed. It had become curiouser and curiouser with the news that Jarrett is moving into Obama’s D.C. home, which is to serve as the nerve center to the resistance to the presidency of Donald Trump. As the Daily Mail reports:

Barack Obama is turning his new home in the posh Kalorama section of the nation’s capital — just two miles away from the White House — into the nerve center of the mounting insurgency against his successor, President Donald J. Trump.


Obama’s goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.


And Obama is being aided in his political crusade by his longtime consigliere, Valerie Jarrett, who has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion with the former president and Michelle Obama, long time best friends.


Jarrett played a vital — if at times low-key — role in the Obama presidency. She lived in the White House, dined with the Obamas, and help shape his domestic and foreign policies. 

That is a bit of an understatement. Hillary Clinton sought to be first female President of the United States but, had she won, she wouldn’t have been the first female to occupy and control the Oval Office (insert Monica Lewinsky joke here). That honor arguably goes to Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Adviser to President Obama.

Jarrett, born in Iran to American parents, has been with the Obamas since her days as Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, the younger.* She hired Michelle Obama, them Michelle Robinson to fill an opening in the mayor’s office. As Wikileaks describes the beginning of a long relationship:

In 1991, as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley, Jarrett interviewed Michelle Robinson for an opening in the mayor’s office, after which she immediately offered Robinson the job… Michelle Robinson asked for time to think and also asked Jarrett to meet Robinson’s fiancé, Barack Obama. The three ended up meeting for dinner. After the dinner, Michelle took the job with the mayor’s office, and Valerie Jarrett reportedly took the couple under her wing and “introduced them to a wealthier and better-connected Chicago than their own.” Jarrett later took Michelle with her when Jarrett left the mayor’s office to head Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.

The rest, as they say, is history. Not only did Valerie Jarrett  become a mentor to the young Barack Obama, she soon became what Investor’s Business Daily called Obama’s Rasputin, someone who had more security than our personnel did in Benghazi:

She receives more protection than our Libyan ambassador, calls the president by his first name, dines and vacations with the First Family and had the power to call off three strikes against Osama bin Laden.

Ambassador Chris Stevens did not have a Marine detail in Benghazi, Libya. But White House senior adviser and Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett reportedly had a full Secret Service detail on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.


“Jarrett seems to have a 24-hour, around-the-clock detail, with five or six agents full time,” Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said in an interview recently with Breitbart news. If Stevens had a similar escort, he’d probably be alive today. Such protection isn’t usually available to senior advisers, but Jarrett is no ordinary adviser…

Indeed, she is not. She arguably has more influence over Obama than anyone with the possible exception of Michelle Obama herself. As IBD notes:

Her influence is shown by an account in Richard Miniter’s book “Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him.”


It relates that at the urging of Jarrett, Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three occasions before finally approving the May 2, 2011, Navy SEAL mission. Seems she was concerned about the possible political harm to Obama if the mission failed.


Miniter writes that the president canceled the kill mission in January 2011, again in February and a third time in March, in each instance at the urging of Jarrett.


Miniter cites a source within the Joint Special Operations Command who had direct knowledge of the operation and its planning.


Edward Klein, author of the best-selling book about Obama, “The Amateur,” once asked Obama if he ran every decision by Jarrett, and the president responded, “Absolutely.” A former foreign editor of Newsweek and editor of the New York Times Magazine, Klein describes Jarrett as “ground zero in the Obama operation, the first couple’s friend and consigliere.”…

Her power and influence extends to staffing by the White House to a virtual veto power over foreign policy decisions. Valerie Jarrett undoubtedly had significant input into President Obama’s Munich-like deal with Iran, which kicks the nuclear can down the road to assured detonation over Israel, which Iran continues to threaten to wipe off the map when it is not wishing “death to America”. Her influence over President Obama is legendary:

The Iranian-born Jarrett (her parents were American-born expatriates) is the only staff member who regularly follows the president home from the West Wing to the residence and one of the few people allowed to call the president by his first name.

Noam Scheiber, writing in the November 9, 2014, New Republic, called Jarrett “The Obama Whisperer”, noting her power and influence and the fear she instilled in other staffers:

Even at this late date in the Obama presidency, there is no surer way to elicit paranoid whispers or armchair psychoanalysis from Democrats than to mention the name Valerie Jarrett. Party operatives, administration officials—they are shocked by her sheer longevity and marvel at her influence. When I asked a longtime source who left the Obama White House years ago for his impressions of Jarrett, he confessed that he was too fearful to speak with me, even off the record.


This is not as irrational as it sounds. Obama has said he consults Jarrett on every major decision, something current and former aides corroborate. “Her role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing,” says Anita Dunn, Obama’s former communications director. Broader, even, than the role of running the West Wing. This summer, the call to send Attorney General Eric Holder on a risky visit to Ferguson, Missouri, was made by exactly three people: Holder himself, the president, and Jarrett, who were vacationing together on Martha’s Vineyard. When I asked Holder if Denis McDonough, the chief of staff, was part of the conversation, he thought for a moment and said, “He was not there.” (Holder hastened to add that “someone had spoken to him.”


Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks (she opposed Larry Summers at Treasury and was among the first Obama aides to come around on Hillary Clinton at State) and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration — “you can be my person over there,” is a common refrain.


And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan “bilats,” the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiate — nine by nine, eight by eight, etc. — our side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president.

Apparently now she will also have a room and an office in his house. Valerie Jarrett’s hold over President Obama is as mysterious as it has proven dangerous. She is Obama’s Rasputin and will have great influence as the former community organizer wages guerilla warfare from his Washington, D.C. bunker.

*corrected

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.             

Politics, it is said, makes curious bedfellows, and the longstanding relationship between Barack Obama and presidential adviser and confidante Valerie Jarrett is curious indeed. It had become curiouser and curiouser with the news that Jarrett is moving into Obama’s D.C. home, which is to serve as the nerve center to the resistance to the presidency of Donald Trump. As the Daily Mail reports:

Barack Obama is turning his new home in the posh Kalorama section of the nation’s capital — just two miles away from the White House — into the nerve center of the mounting insurgency against his successor, President Donald J. Trump.


Obama’s goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.


And Obama is being aided in his political crusade by his longtime consigliere, Valerie Jarrett, who has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion with the former president and Michelle Obama, long time best friends.


Jarrett played a vital — if at times low-key — role in the Obama presidency. She lived in the White House, dined with the Obamas, and help shape his domestic and foreign policies. 

That is a bit of an understatement. Hillary Clinton sought to be first female President of the United States but, had she won, she wouldn’t have been the first female to occupy and control the Oval Office (insert Monica Lewinsky joke here). That honor arguably goes to Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Adviser to President Obama.

Jarrett, born in Iran to American parents, has been with the Obamas since her days as Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, the younger.* She hired Michelle Obama, them Michelle Robinson to fill an opening in the mayor’s office. As Wikileaks describes the beginning of a long relationship:

In 1991, as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley, Jarrett interviewed Michelle Robinson for an opening in the mayor’s office, after which she immediately offered Robinson the job… Michelle Robinson asked for time to think and also asked Jarrett to meet Robinson’s fiancé, Barack Obama. The three ended up meeting for dinner. After the dinner, Michelle took the job with the mayor’s office, and Valerie Jarrett reportedly took the couple under her wing and “introduced them to a wealthier and better-connected Chicago than their own.” Jarrett later took Michelle with her when Jarrett left the mayor’s office to head Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.

The rest, as they say, is history. Not only did Valerie Jarrett  become a mentor to the young Barack Obama, she soon became what Investor’s Business Daily called Obama’s Rasputin, someone who had more security than our personnel did in Benghazi:

She receives more protection than our Libyan ambassador, calls the president by his first name, dines and vacations with the First Family and had the power to call off three strikes against Osama bin Laden.

Ambassador Chris Stevens did not have a Marine detail in Benghazi, Libya. But White House senior adviser and Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett reportedly had a full Secret Service detail on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.


“Jarrett seems to have a 24-hour, around-the-clock detail, with five or six agents full time,” Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said in an interview recently with Breitbart news. If Stevens had a similar escort, he’d probably be alive today. Such protection isn’t usually available to senior advisers, but Jarrett is no ordinary adviser…

Indeed, she is not. She arguably has more influence over Obama than anyone with the possible exception of Michelle Obama herself. As IBD notes:

Her influence is shown by an account in Richard Miniter’s book “Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him.”


It relates that at the urging of Jarrett, Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three occasions before finally approving the May 2, 2011, Navy SEAL mission. Seems she was concerned about the possible political harm to Obama if the mission failed.


Miniter writes that the president canceled the kill mission in January 2011, again in February and a third time in March, in each instance at the urging of Jarrett.


Miniter cites a source within the Joint Special Operations Command who had direct knowledge of the operation and its planning.


Edward Klein, author of the best-selling book about Obama, “The Amateur,” once asked Obama if he ran every decision by Jarrett, and the president responded, “Absolutely.” A former foreign editor of Newsweek and editor of the New York Times Magazine, Klein describes Jarrett as “ground zero in the Obama operation, the first couple’s friend and consigliere.”…

Her power and influence extends to staffing by the White House to a virtual veto power over foreign policy decisions. Valerie Jarrett undoubtedly had significant input into President Obama’s Munich-like deal with Iran, which kicks the nuclear can down the road to assured detonation over Israel, which Iran continues to threaten to wipe off the map when it is not wishing “death to America”. Her influence over President Obama is legendary:

The Iranian-born Jarrett (her parents were American-born expatriates) is the only staff member who regularly follows the president home from the West Wing to the residence and one of the few people allowed to call the president by his first name.

Noam Scheiber, writing in the November 9, 2014, New Republic, called Jarrett “The Obama Whisperer”, noting her power and influence and the fear she instilled in other staffers:

Even at this late date in the Obama presidency, there is no surer way to elicit paranoid whispers or armchair psychoanalysis from Democrats than to mention the name Valerie Jarrett. Party operatives, administration officials—they are shocked by her sheer longevity and marvel at her influence. When I asked a longtime source who left the Obama White House years ago for his impressions of Jarrett, he confessed that he was too fearful to speak with me, even off the record.


This is not as irrational as it sounds. Obama has said he consults Jarrett on every major decision, something current and former aides corroborate. “Her role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing,” says Anita Dunn, Obama’s former communications director. Broader, even, than the role of running the West Wing. This summer, the call to send Attorney General Eric Holder on a risky visit to Ferguson, Missouri, was made by exactly three people: Holder himself, the president, and Jarrett, who were vacationing together on Martha’s Vineyard. When I asked Holder if Denis McDonough, the chief of staff, was part of the conversation, he thought for a moment and said, “He was not there.” (Holder hastened to add that “someone had spoken to him.”


Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks (she opposed Larry Summers at Treasury and was among the first Obama aides to come around on Hillary Clinton at State) and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration — “you can be my person over there,” is a common refrain.


And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan “bilats,” the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiate — nine by nine, eight by eight, etc. — our side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president.

Apparently now she will also have a room and an office in his house. Valerie Jarrett’s hold over President Obama is as mysterious as it has proven dangerous. She is Obama’s Rasputin and will have great influence as the former community organizer wages guerilla warfare from his Washington, D.C. bunker.

*corrected

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.             



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Army unveils new jungle boot


These boots are made for walking…in the jungle.

On Monday, the US Army updated plans for its Jungle Combat Boot (JCB), a boot that it hopes will tackle trench foot, among other things.

US ARMY ASKS FOR BIODEGRADABLE AMMO

Traditional issue footwear works well in sand, asphalt and high heat, but falls short in humid, wet conditions, which can lead to trench foot, according to the US Army. And, soldiers on the ground in jungle-like conditions are subjected to obstacles such as vines, which can snag their boots, and sharp objects, that can sideline foot patrols.

The JCB is designed to account for these obstacles by incorporating features that include a low heel to prevent snags and ballistic fabric-like layers under the soldiers’ feet. In addition, the JCB has extra drainage holes for water, an insert for water drainage and speed laces for faster putting on and taking off of the boots. The JCB also contains a lining that helps it to breathe and dry faster, according to the US Army.  

In order to design a useful boot, the US Army said it worked with soldiers.

A NEW COMBAT VEHICLE THAT SWIMS FOR THE MARINE CORPS

“We take what soldiers want and need, we boil that down to the salient characteristics, hand that over to our science and technology up at Natick; they work with us and industry, the manufacturing base, to come up with this product,” said Capt. Daniel Ferenczy, the assistant product manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment, on the US Army’s website.

Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii will be the first to test out the JCB prototype, according to the Army. A final version is expected to be authorized to be worn by all soldiers, regardless of the terrain where they are stationed, according to the US Army. 



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Iran: A Leading State in Women’s Oppression


All dictators are known to oppress their opponents, lie to society about their policies, and resort to any crime necessary to remain in power. Hitler believed a lie should be preposterous to make it believable.

As the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8th, Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani has recently been making remarks about women’s rights (!) in an attempt to cloak his portion of the Iranian regime’s misogynist report card.

In his own memoirs, from page 571 to 573, Rouhani explains in detail how in 1980 he began enforcing mandatory hijab regulations as the mullahs began their historical campaign against Iranian women.

On a more general scale, Rouhani is known for his preposterous remarks. During the 2013 presidential campaign he once said, “Not only do I believe we should not have any political prisoners, but I believe we shouldn’t have any prisoners at all.”

This same Rouhani, in 1980 when he was a member of parliament, provided a theory on how to establish security across the country: “Conspirators must be hanged in public before the people during Friday prayers to have more influence,” he said, according to the official Sharq website.

Rouhani’s tenure has also been the hallmark home of systematic oppression against women, workers, college students, writers, journalists, dissident bloggers; imposing poverty and unemployment on a majority of Iranians; continuous threats made against the media; punishment of political prisoners have increased significantly even in comparison to the years of Iran’s firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During Rouhani’s human rights violations-stained tenure, an average of two to three people have been executed on a daily basis.

Iranian women are known for their high rate of college education. But Iranian women have a lesser chance of entering the workforce in comparison to their counterparts in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq. This despite the fact that Rouhani had pledged to set aside all barriers before women and provide them a larger share in politics and economics.

Statistics from the period of March 2015 to March 2016 show unemployment amongst young Iranians reached over 26%, and that 42% of young women were out of work.

“Based on numbers, around 300,000 women were working and enjoying social security insurance. However, these numbers have diminished to 100,000,” said Soheila Jelodarzadeh, advisor to Rouhani’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade to the official ILNA news agency.

On the salary gap between men and women working in factories, this advisor added in many cases women receive less than a third of the set minimum wage.

Rouhani had also pledged to establish a Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Not only has no such ministry ever been formed, Rouhani’s cabinet lacks even a single female minister.

During his four years in office, Rouhani has presided over the establishment of gender-segregated universities and women being restricted from many university courses. Many educational books have been changed to the detriment of women, and many fields are only allocated for men.

Perhaps the most atrocious of all crimes has been the phenomenon of regime hoodlums splashing acid on women. Not one individual was arrested after around 15 women were attacked with acid in the city of Isfahan.

Due to the nature of the mullahs’ regime, there are no specific numbers of how many women have been arrested, tortured, and executed under Rouhani’s watch. Yet rest assured, such statistics would be very troubling, to say the least.

On January 27th, 2016, coinciding with Rouhani’s visit to France, the country’s Members of the National Assembly issued an open letter to President Francoise Hollande published in Le Figaro:

“…the new version of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code continues to legalize stoning to death. Generally, women are under the pressure of legalized discrimination in regards to marriage, divorce, parenting children and inheritance. Women, continued to be considered minors, are not permitted to work and cannot travel without their husband’s consent. A 2013 bill was ratified in Iran’s parliament allowing men to marry their adopted daughters once they reach the age of 13. This is tantamount to legalizing sexual harassment of children…”

This short slate of facts shows that despite all his claims of being a “moderate” or “reformist,” Rouhani’s report card, especially on women’s rights, proves he is nothing but another mullahs’ regime loyalist striving to maintain the establishment intact.

Despite Iran being one of the most ruthless regimes in respect to women’s rights, it is believed that the women of Iran can bring about change if not suppressed.

Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as the MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.

All dictators are known to oppress their opponents, lie to society about their policies, and resort to any crime necessary to remain in power. Hitler believed a lie should be preposterous to make it believable.

As the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8th, Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani has recently been making remarks about women’s rights (!) in an attempt to cloak his portion of the Iranian regime’s misogynist report card.

In his own memoirs, from page 571 to 573, Rouhani explains in detail how in 1980 he began enforcing mandatory hijab regulations as the mullahs began their historical campaign against Iranian women.

On a more general scale, Rouhani is known for his preposterous remarks. During the 2013 presidential campaign he once said, “Not only do I believe we should not have any political prisoners, but I believe we shouldn’t have any prisoners at all.”

This same Rouhani, in 1980 when he was a member of parliament, provided a theory on how to establish security across the country: “Conspirators must be hanged in public before the people during Friday prayers to have more influence,” he said, according to the official Sharq website.

Rouhani’s tenure has also been the hallmark home of systematic oppression against women, workers, college students, writers, journalists, dissident bloggers; imposing poverty and unemployment on a majority of Iranians; continuous threats made against the media; punishment of political prisoners have increased significantly even in comparison to the years of Iran’s firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During Rouhani’s human rights violations-stained tenure, an average of two to three people have been executed on a daily basis.

Iranian women are known for their high rate of college education. But Iranian women have a lesser chance of entering the workforce in comparison to their counterparts in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq. This despite the fact that Rouhani had pledged to set aside all barriers before women and provide them a larger share in politics and economics.

Statistics from the period of March 2015 to March 2016 show unemployment amongst young Iranians reached over 26%, and that 42% of young women were out of work.

“Based on numbers, around 300,000 women were working and enjoying social security insurance. However, these numbers have diminished to 100,000,” said Soheila Jelodarzadeh, advisor to Rouhani’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade to the official ILNA news agency.

On the salary gap between men and women working in factories, this advisor added in many cases women receive less than a third of the set minimum wage.

Rouhani had also pledged to establish a Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Not only has no such ministry ever been formed, Rouhani’s cabinet lacks even a single female minister.

During his four years in office, Rouhani has presided over the establishment of gender-segregated universities and women being restricted from many university courses. Many educational books have been changed to the detriment of women, and many fields are only allocated for men.

Perhaps the most atrocious of all crimes has been the phenomenon of regime hoodlums splashing acid on women. Not one individual was arrested after around 15 women were attacked with acid in the city of Isfahan.

Due to the nature of the mullahs’ regime, there are no specific numbers of how many women have been arrested, tortured, and executed under Rouhani’s watch. Yet rest assured, such statistics would be very troubling, to say the least.

On January 27th, 2016, coinciding with Rouhani’s visit to France, the country’s Members of the National Assembly issued an open letter to President Francoise Hollande published in Le Figaro:

“…the new version of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code continues to legalize stoning to death. Generally, women are under the pressure of legalized discrimination in regards to marriage, divorce, parenting children and inheritance. Women, continued to be considered minors, are not permitted to work and cannot travel without their husband’s consent. A 2013 bill was ratified in Iran’s parliament allowing men to marry their adopted daughters once they reach the age of 13. This is tantamount to legalizing sexual harassment of children…”

This short slate of facts shows that despite all his claims of being a “moderate” or “reformist,” Rouhani’s report card, especially on women’s rights, proves he is nothing but another mullahs’ regime loyalist striving to maintain the establishment intact.

Despite Iran being one of the most ruthless regimes in respect to women’s rights, it is believed that the women of Iran can bring about change if not suppressed.

Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as the MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.



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What's an 'F-rating?'


The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) now features an “F-rating” to identify films that are feminist-friendly.

Film that feature a female director, a female writer, sees “significant women on screen in their own right” or passes the Bechdel test will receive the special rating.

The Bechdel Test was first established in 1985 by comics writer Alison Bechdel. In order to pass the test, a film must feature two female characters talking to each other about something other than a man.

“The F-Rating is a great way to highlight women on screen and behind the camera,” IMDb founder and CEO Col Needham told The Telegraph.

Films that don’t feature a female director or writer can still earn an “F” as long as they pass the Bechdel Test.

So far, 21,800 films on IMDb have an “F” including “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “The Girl on the Train,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “The Parent Trap.”

Some films can earn a “Triple F” rating if they meet all three conditions. Those films include “Frozen,” “American Honey” and “Bridget Jones’s Baby.”

“Our real goal is to reach the stage when the F-Rating is redundant because 50% of the stories we see on screen are told by and about film’s unfairly under-represented half of the population – women,” Bath Film Festival director Holly Tarquini, who first introduced the ratings system in 2014, said.



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America’s Path to Greatness: Border Adjust Oil


America has been blessed by geology. We have an opportunity to be the world’s low cost producers of oil, gas, electrical energy, chemical feedstocks and the building blocks of almost all products of modern life. Combined with our rule of law, individual rights, private property, private capital and a culture of innovation; America truly could be great and secure as never before.

Some background: Shale oil is almost a uniquely USA geological phenomenon. Total worldwide shale oil reserves are estimated to be 4.8 trillion barrels, of which 1 trillion is recoverable, with 77% is located in the USA. For comparison, conventional worldwide oil reserves are 1.3 trillion barrels.  

We could be completely energy independent by 2020 — if, and only if, markets are not manipulated by totalitarian oil producing regimes.

As an example, in June 2014, Saudi Arabia orchestrated a price war. At the time, the breakeven price for USA shale oil was about $75 per barrel. Saudi Arabia was at a breakeven of $25 per barrel and Gulf States at $30 per barrel. Their goal was to bankrupt American shale oil producers. However, American shale roared back thru ingenuity and innovation. By August 2015 breakeven for shale was $50 per barrel. By November 2016 the breakeven was estimated to be $40 per barrel. By 2019, it is estimated that shale oil’s breakeven could be $25 per barrel. Shale oil is a revolutionary competitive advantage for America. (See Peter Zeihan’s book, The Absent Super Power, The Shale Revolution and a World without America).

Shale oil also yields low cost (almost free) natural gas as a byproduct, which is used to produce low cost electrical energy. Low cost oil, gas and electricity constitute the trifecta of industrial competitiveness. This will revive energy intensive industries such as aluminum, steel, copper, paper and chemicals. In addition, low cost oil and natural gas can yield low cost chemical feedstocks, which could enable the most competitive chemical industry of the world. The combined low cost building blocks of raw energy and manufactured chemicals will revitalize American industries.

Energy independence is hindered because the worldwide market for oil is controlled by dictators and totalitarian regimes that nationalized western oil companies and which manipulate the market thru OPEC.  Over half (54%) of worldwide non-USA oil is from countries that are “mostly unfree” or “repressed” as defined by Heritage Foundations 2017 Index of Economic Freedom.  Many readers may be old enough to remember the block-long gas station lines and gasoline rationing in 1973/1974 caused by the OAPEC (Organization of Arab Oil Exporting Countries) oil embargo led by Saudi Arabia.  By 1976 all Middle Eastern, African and Latin American countries had nationalized western oil in whole or in part. Over 10 years western companies lost 74% of crude oil supplies.

It is time America asserts its own national self-interest. Our foreign policy should ensure fair international trade for American companies and individuals.

There is an ongoing debate on free trade versus fair trade. I believe under our current circumstances, free trade is an illusion. Free trade was repudiated in 1971 when President Nixon suspended the Bretton Woods gold standard and implemented de facto fiat currencies.  All countries have evolved to various forms of mixed economies since the Bretton Woods monetary and trade system was signed in 1944.  All countries are now a mixture of freedom and government controls — a mixture of freedom and force ranging from mostly free to repressive dictatorships. Free trade cannot exist without objective currencies, a level playing field of laissez-faire capitalism and a complete separation of state and economics. Any trade involving the mixture of freedom and force is not a free trade; it is trade by national coercion.  

Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group has characterized this as “when the Chinese government comes into a room, they’re bringing to the negotiating table their military, their political system, their economy, their diaspora, their propaganda tools, and everything else.” On the other side of the table sits the American businessperson with marketing tools of product, price, place and promotion. I know, I have been there many, many times.

Anyone that advocates for free trade in the current world context of mixed economies and fiat currencies is totally naïve. Americans were naïve in thinking that if we played by the Bretton Woods’ rules that everyone else would follow. Our competitive disadvantage is self-imposed from our altruistic culture.  We have swallowed the idea of globalism, the idea that nations should put the interests of the entire world above their own. Our foreign policy needs to assert our own national self-interest and defend the freedom and individual rights of our citizens and should therefore ensure fair international trade for American companies and individuals.

I believe a proper approach aligned with America’s self-interest would look something like this:

– Impose a border adjustment tax of 20% for imports of oil into the USA to level the playing field for the manipulated oil market. At current oil prices of $55 per barrel and imports of 310 million barrels per month, this would raise about $40 billion per year.  Of course, consumption patterns would change with the new tax.  But the monies collected could be used as a portion of the overall tax reduction plan or to fund other strategic initiatives such as increased military funding.

Notes: There is major debate about the wisdom of a total 20% border tax in the Paul Ryan plan on all imports. I will leave that debate to others but I do believe implementing it in oil is valid. Yes, the price of gasoline will go up temporally for consumers until foreign oil is phased out. An $11 per barrel increase would increase the price of gasoline about 26 cents per gallon if we used 100% imported oil. At the current import rate of 24%, gasoline would probably increase 10 to 20 cents per gallon depending on market dynamics.

– All that the Federal Government has to do is to implement the oil border adjustment and the promised tax and regulation reductions including enabling private shale oil production on government lands. Private industries will do the rest to make us energy independent by 2020.  

– Next, exit our military involvements in the Middle East. If we are energy independent, we would have no rational strategic foreign policy interests in the Middle East. USA money would no longer purchase imported oil which is the main revenue source to fund terrorism and dictatorships.

– Phase out the government subsidies for solar power, wind power and electric vehicles.

– In 2020 eliminate the Department of Energy and Congratulate Rick Perry on achieving energy independence.

America can be the low cost producers of oil, gas, electricity and chemicals, creating millions of jobs, increaseing wages and creating individual and private company wealth. It would improve our security, defund terrorism and get the USA out of Middle East conflicts. America would not only be great but we would flourish!

Craig Schwartz is a retired business director of a Fortune 100 company and has been involved in chemical markets for 38 years and managed multinational high technology chemical businesses. He has been involved in the study of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism for over 30 years.

America has been blessed by geology. We have an opportunity to be the world’s low cost producers of oil, gas, electrical energy, chemical feedstocks and the building blocks of almost all products of modern life. Combined with our rule of law, individual rights, private property, private capital and a culture of innovation; America truly could be great and secure as never before.

Some background: Shale oil is almost a uniquely USA geological phenomenon. Total worldwide shale oil reserves are estimated to be 4.8 trillion barrels, of which 1 trillion is recoverable, with 77% is located in the USA. For comparison, conventional worldwide oil reserves are 1.3 trillion barrels.  

We could be completely energy independent by 2020 — if, and only if, markets are not manipulated by totalitarian oil producing regimes.

As an example, in June 2014, Saudi Arabia orchestrated a price war. At the time, the breakeven price for USA shale oil was about $75 per barrel. Saudi Arabia was at a breakeven of $25 per barrel and Gulf States at $30 per barrel. Their goal was to bankrupt American shale oil producers. However, American shale roared back thru ingenuity and innovation. By August 2015 breakeven for shale was $50 per barrel. By November 2016 the breakeven was estimated to be $40 per barrel. By 2019, it is estimated that shale oil’s breakeven could be $25 per barrel. Shale oil is a revolutionary competitive advantage for America. (See Peter Zeihan’s book, The Absent Super Power, The Shale Revolution and a World without America).

Shale oil also yields low cost (almost free) natural gas as a byproduct, which is used to produce low cost electrical energy. Low cost oil, gas and electricity constitute the trifecta of industrial competitiveness. This will revive energy intensive industries such as aluminum, steel, copper, paper and chemicals. In addition, low cost oil and natural gas can yield low cost chemical feedstocks, which could enable the most competitive chemical industry of the world. The combined low cost building blocks of raw energy and manufactured chemicals will revitalize American industries.

Energy independence is hindered because the worldwide market for oil is controlled by dictators and totalitarian regimes that nationalized western oil companies and which manipulate the market thru OPEC.  Over half (54%) of worldwide non-USA oil is from countries that are “mostly unfree” or “repressed” as defined by Heritage Foundations 2017 Index of Economic Freedom.  Many readers may be old enough to remember the block-long gas station lines and gasoline rationing in 1973/1974 caused by the OAPEC (Organization of Arab Oil Exporting Countries) oil embargo led by Saudi Arabia.  By 1976 all Middle Eastern, African and Latin American countries had nationalized western oil in whole or in part. Over 10 years western companies lost 74% of crude oil supplies.

It is time America asserts its own national self-interest. Our foreign policy should ensure fair international trade for American companies and individuals.

There is an ongoing debate on free trade versus fair trade. I believe under our current circumstances, free trade is an illusion. Free trade was repudiated in 1971 when President Nixon suspended the Bretton Woods gold standard and implemented de facto fiat currencies.  All countries have evolved to various forms of mixed economies since the Bretton Woods monetary and trade system was signed in 1944.  All countries are now a mixture of freedom and government controls — a mixture of freedom and force ranging from mostly free to repressive dictatorships. Free trade cannot exist without objective currencies, a level playing field of laissez-faire capitalism and a complete separation of state and economics. Any trade involving the mixture of freedom and force is not a free trade; it is trade by national coercion.  

Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group has characterized this as “when the Chinese government comes into a room, they’re bringing to the negotiating table their military, their political system, their economy, their diaspora, their propaganda tools, and everything else.” On the other side of the table sits the American businessperson with marketing tools of product, price, place and promotion. I know, I have been there many, many times.

Anyone that advocates for free trade in the current world context of mixed economies and fiat currencies is totally naïve. Americans were naïve in thinking that if we played by the Bretton Woods’ rules that everyone else would follow. Our competitive disadvantage is self-imposed from our altruistic culture.  We have swallowed the idea of globalism, the idea that nations should put the interests of the entire world above their own. Our foreign policy needs to assert our own national self-interest and defend the freedom and individual rights of our citizens and should therefore ensure fair international trade for American companies and individuals.

I believe a proper approach aligned with America’s self-interest would look something like this:

– Impose a border adjustment tax of 20% for imports of oil into the USA to level the playing field for the manipulated oil market. At current oil prices of $55 per barrel and imports of 310 million barrels per month, this would raise about $40 billion per year.  Of course, consumption patterns would change with the new tax.  But the monies collected could be used as a portion of the overall tax reduction plan or to fund other strategic initiatives such as increased military funding.

Notes: There is major debate about the wisdom of a total 20% border tax in the Paul Ryan plan on all imports. I will leave that debate to others but I do believe implementing it in oil is valid. Yes, the price of gasoline will go up temporally for consumers until foreign oil is phased out. An $11 per barrel increase would increase the price of gasoline about 26 cents per gallon if we used 100% imported oil. At the current import rate of 24%, gasoline would probably increase 10 to 20 cents per gallon depending on market dynamics.

– All that the Federal Government has to do is to implement the oil border adjustment and the promised tax and regulation reductions including enabling private shale oil production on government lands. Private industries will do the rest to make us energy independent by 2020.  

– Next, exit our military involvements in the Middle East. If we are energy independent, we would have no rational strategic foreign policy interests in the Middle East. USA money would no longer purchase imported oil which is the main revenue source to fund terrorism and dictatorships.

– Phase out the government subsidies for solar power, wind power and electric vehicles.

– In 2020 eliminate the Department of Energy and Congratulate Rick Perry on achieving energy independence.

America can be the low cost producers of oil, gas, electricity and chemicals, creating millions of jobs, increaseing wages and creating individual and private company wealth. It would improve our security, defund terrorism and get the USA out of Middle East conflicts. America would not only be great but we would flourish!

Craig Schwartz is a retired business director of a Fortune 100 company and has been involved in chemical markets for 38 years and managed multinational high technology chemical businesses. He has been involved in the study of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism for over 30 years.



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Magnetic shield around Mars?


Mars isn’t particularly habitable to humans at the moment, but NASA’s latest brainstorm could one day bring back the planet’s beaches—or at least some of its oceans, Engadget reports.

At a workshop in DC last week, scientists from the agency’s Planetary Science Division presented the possibility of erecting a magnetic shield around the Red Planet to replace the one that vanished more than 4 billion years ago and boost what’s left of Mars’ atmosphere, per Phys.org.

The result of such a shield, according to the researchers, would be protection from solar radiation and winds, which have worked over the eons to help strip the planet of its waters and warmth.

The shield could, therefore, help “terraform” Mars to more closely resemble Earth. In a plan some say is “so crazy it just might work,” the shield (maybe an inflatable one) would be placed at the L1 Lagrange Point.

It would hopefully thicken the atmosphere to the point where carbon dioxide ice at the planet’s north pole would thaw, spur greenhouse-gas warming, and melt regular ice, which would restore up to one-seventh of Mars’ oceans, according to NASA estimates.

Per the scientists’ report on what they admit is a “fanciful” topic, this “enhanced” atmosphere would be more conducive to human exploration, offering more possible oxygen extraction, more plant growth in “open-air” greenhouses, and the ability of larger structures to land on the planet’s surface.

(Stephen Hawking says we only have about 1,000 years left on Earth.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Scientists Want to Build an Inflatable Shield Around Mars



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Obama and Russian Ambassador’s Dalliance with Nucleons


Nuclear physicists are a brilliant lot, yet their world can be as dense as an osmium bunker. Often preoccupied with lofty mathematical abstractions, nuclear nerds can be bored with neutrons sticking together, promoting humdrum harmony, or be exhilarated by a neutron’s acceleration as a singular projectile, fracturing an isotope of uranium or plutonium, with apocalyptic consequences. And when protons get out of whack, radioactive chaos reigns. All binary melodrama; not much nuance in the world of nuclear brainiacs.

Chemists, on the other hand, devote their lives to the more subtle behavior of electrons enjoying a vast web of picturesque possibilities and combinations, from solitary isolation, to bonding, sharing, enjoying inside and outside orbits, never revealing whether they are waves or particles. Electrons can be gregarious, or paranoid.

Sergey Kislyak, erstwhile manipulator of big muscle nucleons, must have envied the social gadfly potentials of electrons — the stuff of chemistry. The behaviors of yeasts, sugars, carbohydrates, and proteins are far more romantic than pondering the strong force glues that keep protons from stiff-arming one another.

And so Sergey changed his life forever by forsaking the hard world of thermonuclear calculations, giving up pickled cabbage, and chunks of rye bread at the MEPhI comrade cafeteria, for the aromas and culinary dreams of foie gras, Canard a ‘l Orange, and chocolate truffles, the end game at practitioners from the USSR Academy of Foreign Trade, his next stop after MEPhI.

Indeed, one look at Sergey confirms he did not make some twenty plus visits to the Obama White House, as Russian ambassador, to partake in Michelle Obama’s school lunch program, with her veggie burgers, and brussels sprouts.

Sergey’s abbreviated bio from the Russian Ambassador info webpage shows that he spent little time practicing his trade in channeling nucleons. Four years after graduating from MEPhI in 1973, Sergey enrolled at the USSR Academy of Foreign Trade, arriving at the United Nations in New York City in 1981.

Sergey returned to the USSR/Russia in 1989 just in time to see the Berlin Wall come down, with former East Germany reunited with Germany by 1992. He remained in Russia for the next seven years — undoubtedly the most tumultuous epoch since the revolution of 1917 — in the foreign ministry science and technology sector involved with nuclear disarmament. He witnessed, and may have had a hand in, remaking Russia’s geopolitical identity, as virtually all its satellite states were stripped away, gaining independence, and Russia’s global influence dissipated like stray electromagnetic pulses in the vastness of empty space.

It should be little surprise that Sergey Kislyak — in 2009 named Russian Ambassador to the United States, the most prestigious Russian foreign ministry posting anywhere — has used his gregariousness, charm, and apparent boundless curiosity to probe a flaccid and reticent Obama administration engineering the United States withdrawal from the global geopolitical stage.

What opportunity could Sergey Kislyak seize for his Kremlin bosses by Obama’s retreating vacuum “leading from behind”? How would Sergey Kislyak, versed in nuclear physics and ballistic missile defenses, student of foreign trade, and congenial connoisseur, advance Russia’s renewed ambition to reprise its global hegemony, putting the humiliation of the 1980s and 90s behind it?

Accounts of Sergey’s prodigious social and diplomatic calendar would suggest he is well traveled throughout the Washington DC cocktail reception, and dinner circuit — public or private. No doubt anybody who was anyone in president Obama’s circle, including most Democratic U.S. senators and  congressmen, along with all manner of State Department, Defense Department, trade, Treasury, and energy assistant and deputy assistant secretaries, functionaries, and operatives met Ambassador Kislyak, with keen anticipation. Perhaps on dozens of occasions.

Such probing by Ambassador Kislyak, cloaked in diplomatic outreach, would be commonplace for any ambassador in DC, especially the Russian variety. That is an ambassador’s job, fully endorsed by his hosts. And who would say “no thanks” to the invitation for an encounter — whether for coffee at Union Station, or a private dinner in Georgetown? After all, Russians are fascinating — mysterious, inscrutable, often well read… and humorous.

Sergey may appear to be an innocuous apparatchik. Such an impression would be mistaken. Sergey had Obama all figured out, and his boss Vladimir acted on Sergey’s insights, willingly proffered by Obama and his tribe. Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria may be the result of Sergey correctly predicting that Obama would melt when faced with any and all of Putin’s aggressions.

Uncertainties accompanying a president’s re-election prospects are far fewer than the unknowns about potential successors as the same president wraps up two terms. While Sergey might logically deduce Hillary Clinton’s approach to Russia, should she be president, Sergey had zero clue about Donald Trump.

In the meantime, Obama, in turn, well aware of Sergey’s approachable and agreeable style, could readily surmise that Sergey would make multiple overtures to Trump, and or Trump’s campaign staff and advisors. Did Obama then launch electronic surveillance targeting the Russian ambassador with the intent to ensnare Donald Trump?

Such a prospect is not implausible, in fact may be more likely than not. After all, Obama and his duplicitous acolytes have a sordid history of wiretapping, and electronic eavesdropping on Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, Germany’s Angela Merkel, among other foreign leaders, American reporters, and even members of Congress.

We tend to use “nuclear” rather carelessly these days, for example in “nuclear option” in eliminating super-majority U.S. Senate debate and voting rules. Yet

Obama’s dalliance with political nucleons is every bit as ominous for a democratic republic as Sergey Kislyak’s more deadly Russian pas-de-deux with real nucleons.

Moreover, was Obama’s late-term neutron bombardment, calculated to destabilize Trump’s core, contrived to create an intimidating cloud shielding Obama and Hillary from scrutiny? To divert attention from their complicity in subversive transactions with foreign governments re Libya, and uranium for Russia? To hide the compromise of U.S. foreign policy matters to benefit the Clinton Foundation? To shroud Obama’s betrayal in dealing with Iran, and how he may have actively participated in obstructing the Hillary email probe that might otherwise be revealed once Trump’s camp is sworn in?

If proven that Obama unleashed his stream of neutrons against Trump’s nucleus, its radioactive residue would bury the Democrats in an epic nuclear winter. What if it was Obama who meddled with the 2016 U.S. presidential election all along?

Maybe Obama should have stuck with peddling Michelle’s school lunches, and whacking a more mundane particle — a golf ball.

Thumbnail sketches about Sergey Kislyak, Russian Ambassador to the United States, skip over his university pedigree. Sergey is a graduate of Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI), far from a proletariat technical trade school.

MEPhI, nearly on par with Moscow State — at least in the Soviet era — was perhaps the premier institute to train physicists with a single focus: the behavior of neutrons and protons in building nuclear weapons. Period.

Nuclear physicists are a brilliant lot, yet their world can be as dense as an osmium bunker. Often preoccupied with lofty mathematical abstractions, nuclear nerds can be bored with neutrons sticking together, promoting humdrum harmony, or be exhilarated by a neutron’s acceleration as a singular projectile, fracturing an isotope of uranium or plutonium, with apocalyptic consequences. And when protons get out of whack, radioactive chaos reigns. All binary melodrama; not much nuance in the world of nuclear brainiacs.

Chemists, on the other hand, devote their lives to the more subtle behavior of electrons enjoying a vast web of picturesque possibilities and combinations, from solitary isolation, to bonding, sharing, enjoying inside and outside orbits, never revealing whether they are waves or particles. Electrons can be gregarious, or paranoid.

Sergey Kislyak, erstwhile manipulator of big muscle nucleons, must have envied the social gadfly potentials of electrons — the stuff of chemistry. The behaviors of yeasts, sugars, carbohydrates, and proteins are far more romantic than pondering the strong force glues that keep protons from stiff-arming one another.

And so Sergey changed his life forever by forsaking the hard world of thermonuclear calculations, giving up pickled cabbage, and chunks of rye bread at the MEPhI comrade cafeteria, for the aromas and culinary dreams of foie gras, Canard a ‘l Orange, and chocolate truffles, the end game at practitioners from the USSR Academy of Foreign Trade, his next stop after MEPhI.

Indeed, one look at Sergey confirms he did not make some twenty plus visits to the Obama White House, as Russian ambassador, to partake in Michelle Obama’s school lunch program, with her veggie burgers, and brussels sprouts.

Sergey’s abbreviated bio from the Russian Ambassador info webpage shows that he spent little time practicing his trade in channeling nucleons. Four years after graduating from MEPhI in 1973, Sergey enrolled at the USSR Academy of Foreign Trade, arriving at the United Nations in New York City in 1981.

Sergey returned to the USSR/Russia in 1989 just in time to see the Berlin Wall come down, with former East Germany reunited with Germany by 1992. He remained in Russia for the next seven years — undoubtedly the most tumultuous epoch since the revolution of 1917 — in the foreign ministry science and technology sector involved with nuclear disarmament. He witnessed, and may have had a hand in, remaking Russia’s geopolitical identity, as virtually all its satellite states were stripped away, gaining independence, and Russia’s global influence dissipated like stray electromagnetic pulses in the vastness of empty space.

It should be little surprise that Sergey Kislyak — in 2009 named Russian Ambassador to the United States, the most prestigious Russian foreign ministry posting anywhere — has used his gregariousness, charm, and apparent boundless curiosity to probe a flaccid and reticent Obama administration engineering the United States withdrawal from the global geopolitical stage.

What opportunity could Sergey Kislyak seize for his Kremlin bosses by Obama’s retreating vacuum “leading from behind”? How would Sergey Kislyak, versed in nuclear physics and ballistic missile defenses, student of foreign trade, and congenial connoisseur, advance Russia’s renewed ambition to reprise its global hegemony, putting the humiliation of the 1980s and 90s behind it?

Accounts of Sergey’s prodigious social and diplomatic calendar would suggest he is well traveled throughout the Washington DC cocktail reception, and dinner circuit — public or private. No doubt anybody who was anyone in president Obama’s circle, including most Democratic U.S. senators and  congressmen, along with all manner of State Department, Defense Department, trade, Treasury, and energy assistant and deputy assistant secretaries, functionaries, and operatives met Ambassador Kislyak, with keen anticipation. Perhaps on dozens of occasions.

Such probing by Ambassador Kislyak, cloaked in diplomatic outreach, would be commonplace for any ambassador in DC, especially the Russian variety. That is an ambassador’s job, fully endorsed by his hosts. And who would say “no thanks” to the invitation for an encounter — whether for coffee at Union Station, or a private dinner in Georgetown? After all, Russians are fascinating — mysterious, inscrutable, often well read… and humorous.

Sergey may appear to be an innocuous apparatchik. Such an impression would be mistaken. Sergey had Obama all figured out, and his boss Vladimir acted on Sergey’s insights, willingly proffered by Obama and his tribe. Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria may be the result of Sergey correctly predicting that Obama would melt when faced with any and all of Putin’s aggressions.

Uncertainties accompanying a president’s re-election prospects are far fewer than the unknowns about potential successors as the same president wraps up two terms. While Sergey might logically deduce Hillary Clinton’s approach to Russia, should she be president, Sergey had zero clue about Donald Trump.

In the meantime, Obama, in turn, well aware of Sergey’s approachable and agreeable style, could readily surmise that Sergey would make multiple overtures to Trump, and or Trump’s campaign staff and advisors. Did Obama then launch electronic surveillance targeting the Russian ambassador with the intent to ensnare Donald Trump?

Such a prospect is not implausible, in fact may be more likely than not. After all, Obama and his duplicitous acolytes have a sordid history of wiretapping, and electronic eavesdropping on Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, Germany’s Angela Merkel, among other foreign leaders, American reporters, and even members of Congress.

We tend to use “nuclear” rather carelessly these days, for example in “nuclear option” in eliminating super-majority U.S. Senate debate and voting rules. Yet

Obama’s dalliance with political nucleons is every bit as ominous for a democratic republic as Sergey Kislyak’s more deadly Russian pas-de-deux with real nucleons.

Moreover, was Obama’s late-term neutron bombardment, calculated to destabilize Trump’s core, contrived to create an intimidating cloud shielding Obama and Hillary from scrutiny? To divert attention from their complicity in subversive transactions with foreign governments re Libya, and uranium for Russia? To hide the compromise of U.S. foreign policy matters to benefit the Clinton Foundation? To shroud Obama’s betrayal in dealing with Iran, and how he may have actively participated in obstructing the Hillary email probe that might otherwise be revealed once Trump’s camp is sworn in?

If proven that Obama unleashed his stream of neutrons against Trump’s nucleus, its radioactive residue would bury the Democrats in an epic nuclear winter. What if it was Obama who meddled with the 2016 U.S. presidential election all along?

Maybe Obama should have stuck with peddling Michelle’s school lunches, and whacking a more mundane particle — a golf ball.



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Hungary PM: Migration is 'Trojan wooden horse' of terrorism


Migration is the “Trojan wooden horse” of terrorism and the current lull in the migrant flow is only temporary, Hungary’s prime minister said Tuesday

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an early supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, has ordered the reinforcement of fences on Hungary’s southern borders to keep out migrants. Orban says the migrants, many of whom are Muslims, are a threat to Europe’s Christian identity and culture.

Orban said the migration issue would remain as long as its causes in the countries of origin were not dealt with and its potential risks were not recognized.

“Migration is the Trojan wooden horse of terrorism,” Orban said at a swearing-in ceremony for a new group of border guards, called “border hunters” by the government. “The people that come to us don’t want to live according to our culture and customs but according to their own — at European standards of living.”

Orban said the migration pressure on Hungary’s borders would continue as millions of people were planning to come to Europe in hope of better lives.

“We are still, at this moment, under siege,” Orban said. “The migration flow has only slowed but it is not over. We have gained time to strengthen our lines of defense.”

As Orban was speaking to the 462 new border guards, lawmakers from his governing Fidesz party and the far-right Jobbik party approved new rules which further limit the rights of asylum seekers and give police more power to send migrants back to Serbia.

During a state of emergency due to migration, recently extended until Sept. 7, all asylum seekers will kept at camps built from shipping containers on the border with Serbia until a final decision is made on their asylum requests.

The decision is in line with Hungary’s intention to close all other refugee reception centers around the country, some of which were shut last year.

Police will also be allowed to return to the Serbian border any migrants caught anywhere in the country who cannot prove their legal right to be in Hungary. Since July 5, only migrants found within 8 kilometers (miles) of the border could be sent back to Serbia.

The new legislation was strongly criticized by human rights advocates, who said asylum seekers’ rights to legal assistance would be severely limited.

“There are hardly 400 asylum seekers in the country,” said a statement issued by seven rights groups, including Amnesty International Hungary, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and MigSzol, the Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary. “The extension of the state of emergency only serves to maintain the xenophobic, fear-mongering propaganda.”

The United Nations refugee agency said it was “deeply concerned” about the detention of asylum seekers.

“This new law violates Hungary’s obligations under international and EU laws, and will have a terrible physical and psychological impact on women, children and men who have already greatly suffered,” the UNHCR said in a statement. “The detention of refugees and asylum seekers can only be justified on a limited number of grounds, and only where it is necessary, reasonable and proportionate.”

Hungary built fences on the Serbian and Croatian border in 2015. Some 400,000 migrants passed through Hungary that year before the fences were in place, most on their way to Germany and other destinations in Western Europe. A second, 150-kilometers (93 miles)-long fence on the Serbian border equipped with motion and heat sensors and other surveillance tools is planned to be completed by May 1.

While Orban has said often that Hungary will apply its Christian values to take in asylum seekers, very few achieve protection here and only around 16 a day are now allowed to apply for asylum at the border transit zones. Experts fear even fewer will be allowed to apply as the new rules are applied.

In 2016, Hungary accepted 425 asylum seekers, while registering 29,432 asylum claims. In 2015, 502 asylum seekers were granted protection. Germany took in 890,000 asylum seekers in 2015 and 280,000 in 2016.



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'I SLEEP PRETTY GOOD' Casey Anthony talks about life 6 years after acquittal


Casey Anthony knows that much of the world believes she killed her 2-year-old daughter, despite her acquittal. But nearly nine years later, she insists she doesn’t know how the last hours of Caylee’s life unfolded.

“Caylee would be 12 right now. And would be a total badass,” she told The Associated Press in one of a series of exclusive interviews.

But discussing Caylee’s last moments, the 30-year-old Anthony spoke in halting, sober tones: “I’m still not even certain as I stand here today about what happened,” she said.

“Based off what was in the media” — the story of a woman who could not account for a month in which her child was missing, whose defense involved an accidental drowning for which there was no eyewitness testimony — “I understand the reasons people feel about me.  I understand why people have the opinions that they do.”

This was the first time Anthony spoke to a news media outlet about her daughter’s death or her years since the trial. Her responses were at turns revealing, bizarre and often contradictory, and they ultimately raised more questions than answers about the case that has captivated the nation.

It’s been almost nine years since Caylee went missing, and six since the circus-like Orlando trial that ended in her mother’s acquittal. The trial was carried live on cable networks and was the focus of daily commentaries by HLN’s Nancy Grace, who called her “the most hated mom in America,” and, derisively, “tot mom.”

The child was supposedly last seen on June 16, 2008; she was first reported missing, by Casey Anthony’s mother, on July 15.  A day later, Casey Anthony was arrested on charges of child neglect. She told police that Caylee had disappeared with a baby sitter.

A utility worker working in a wooded area near the Anthony home on Dec. 11 found skeletal remains that were later determined to be Caylee’s. Experts would testify that air samples indicated that decaying human remains had been present in Casey Anthony’s trunk.

In the end, prosecutors proved Casey Anthony was a liar, but convinced the jury of little else. The government failed to establish how Caylee died, and they couldn’t find her mother’s DNA on the duct tape they said was used to suffocate her. After a trial of a month and a half, the jury took less than 11 hours to find Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse.

She was convicted of four counts of lying to police (though two counts were later dropped), and served about three years in prison while awaiting trial.

She admits that she lied to police: about being employed at Universal Studios; about leaving Caylee with a baby-sitter; about telling two people, both of them imaginary, that Caylee was missing; about receiving a phone call from Caylee the day before she was reported missing.

“Even if I would’ve told them everything that I told to the psychologist, I hate to say this but I firmly believe I would have been in the same place.  Because cops believe other cops. Cops tend to victimize the victims.  I understand now …  I see why I was treated the way I was even had I been completely truthful.”

At the trial, lead defense attorney Jose Baez suggested that the little girl drowned and that Casey’s father, George Anthony, helped cover that up — and sexually abused his daughter. Her father has vehemently denied the accusations.

Asked about the drowning defense, Casey hesitated: “Everyone has their theories, I don’t know. As I stand here today I can’t tell you one way or another.  The last time I saw my daughter I believed she was alive and was going to be OK, and that’s what was told to me.”

Anthony lives in the South Florida home of Patrick McKenna, a private detective who was the lead investigator on her defense team. She also works for him, doing online social media searches and other investigative work. McKenna was also the lead investigator for OJ Simpson, when he was accused of killing his wife and acquitted; Anthony said she’s become fascinated with the case, and there are “a lot of parallels” to her own circumstances.

An Associated Press reporter met Anthony as she protested against President Donald Trump at a Palm Beach rally.

It’s unclear why Anthony agreed to speak to the AP. She later texted the reporter, asking that the AP not run the story. Among other things, she cited the bankruptcy case in which she has been embroiled since 2013: “During the course of my bankruptcy, the rights to my story were purchased by a third party company for $25k to protect my interests. Without written authorization from the controlling members of this company, I am prohibited from speaking publicly about my case at any time.”

In addition, she said she had violated a confidentiality agreement with her employer, and remains under subpoena and subject to deposition in her bankruptcy case.

Yet she had participated in five on-the-record interviews over a one-week period, many of them audiotaped.

She still dreads the supermarket checkout line for fear she’ll see photos of her daughter on the cover of tabloid papers. Her bedroom walls are decorated with photos of Caylee and she weeps when she shows off her daughter’s colorful, finger-painted artwork.

Occasionally she goes out with friends to area bars. But news that she there spreads quickly; people whispering and snap photos, and she retreats to her newly purchased SUV so she can return home, alone.

Anthony speaks defiantly of her pariah status.

“I don’t give a s— about what anyone thinks about me, I never will,” she said.  “I’m OK with myself, I sleep pretty good at night.”



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