Day: March 9, 2017

Obama Used the Presidency; So Should Trump


The front page of the Washington Post on Wednesday showed a charming picture of a gaggle of school kids on a White House tour excited by a surprise appearance by President Trump. The Post is overtly hostile to Trump, but editors find it hard to resist good photos of happy, bright-eyed children. There is an important lesson for Trump and his staff in that photo, which is to maximize use of his presidential status. This is something Trump is effective at doing when he decides on it. He should decide on it more often.

This is something that Barack Obama did effectively, which helped insulate him from otherwise justifiable personal and political attack. Obama came into office more lacking in actual gravitas than any previous occupant of the White House, a man of few real accomplishments or obvious talents, except for self-promotion.  To the extent that Obama had successes they were in promoting ideas and agendas that were anti-American in the normal sense of the term. He entered office devoid of any obvious affection for the country he led, as evidenced by his notorious international tour begging forgiveness for his own country’s myriad transgressions, as he saw things.

Yet none of this in any way deterred Obama from making full use of his position as American head of state to burnish and enhance his image. Obama and his handlers used the office of the presidency to mitigate not only Obama’s politics but his personal flaws — notably his aloofness and narcissism. Indeed, in some sense they managed to turn the later traits into political assets. Obama seemed to revel in in formal ceremony, the former Choom Gang pothead doing his level best to appear sober, serious, and regal. Mostly he succeeded, helped of course by his historic status as the country’s first black president.

The bottom line is that Obama won reelection despite weak economy, a failing health care system, and rising racial and social tensions, largely because he was effective at pretending to be presidential. He managed to turn the slaying of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs into a personal accomplishment and an argument for reelection, almost solely on the premise that he was commander-in-chief at the time.

Trump seems more diffident about using the presidency in this way, which in some respects is a good thing. However, given the forces arrayed against him in the media, the Democrat caucus, the federal bureaucracy and the judiciary, he needs to employ every asset to prevail. So far, he has not made full use of his presidential status, and arguably does “unpresidential” things that allow his critics to attack him in ways that they otherwise could not.   

Trump’s use of his Twitter account is a mistake in this regard. Some rationalize away his habit as strategy, using tweets to keep his opponents off balance, raising issues to annoy his enemies or send them down blind alleys. But this confuses means with objectives. If Trump wants to unhinge his opponents, send them on wild goose chases or whatever, he has plenty of means short of 4 a.m. tweets to do so. Twitter is by its very nature an unserious means of communication. That’s a large reason why it is so popular. Trump’s use of it reasonably opens him to charges that he is not serious and acting emotionally, whether true or not.

Using Twitter might be somewhat advantageous if it really helped humanize Trump or seemed to give him the common touch. But few people on his massive Twitter feed believe that that’s going to get them an invite to Mar-a-Lago, or that Trump is anything like one of the guys. On the other hand, every military officer learns at some point that familiarity breeds contempt. Getting a Tweet from the president doesn’t make you his buddy, but may well lower his stature in the minds of many, even unconsciously. So for Trump it is likely the worst of both worlds.

When Trump wants to act presidential he is good at it. His Congressional address a couple of weeks ago a case in point. Trump’s approval ratings improved after that speech, in which Trump not only spoke presidentially, but looked the part too, giving up his baggy suit and too long red tie for a sharper image. That might seem petty, but Trump knows about image and television and he was smart to do it. The result was that the Democrats looked small, and the mainstream media was left to grudgingly acknowledge a Trump victory or gnash their teeth.

Trump’s tweets gave them a reprieve. It doesn’t matter right now whether the allegations of the tweets, that Obama spied on Trump’s reelection campaign, are true. For much of the media and the country, the tweets are more important than the allegations they contain. To the extent there is an argument over the substance of the tweets it is not over whether the allegations are true, but whether they are plausible.

The person in the best position to find out is Trump. He’s the chief executive, so the people who would have spied on his presidential campaign now work for him. By tweeting the allegation he acted like the outsider he was, rather than the president he is. The president needs to bang some heads together and get to the bottom of things.

Yes, by implication Trump’s Twitter attack on Obama underscored unseriousness of the left’s allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. But Trump could have done the same thing without using Twitter. Now we are stuck to a welter of confusing allegations, counterallegations, no facts, and no person in authority settle the matter.

Trump can have a successful presidency if he is able to pass through Congress his agendas on tax reform, deregulation, military spending and homeland security. The Democrats can’t stop him unless Republicans waver. Trump needs to act presidential to prevent that from happening. When a Republican senator sees the Washington Post every day unrelievedly bashing the president over things avoidable, like sending out tweets, it weakens resolve. When that same senator sees a picture of smiling children greeting their president, it is bound to have the opposite effect. If there is one thing Trump should do in imitation of Obama, it is to use his presidential status to full advantage, which he has yet to do. 

The front page of the Washington Post on Wednesday showed a charming picture of a gaggle of school kids on a White House tour excited by a surprise appearance by President Trump. The Post is overtly hostile to Trump, but editors find it hard to resist good photos of happy, bright-eyed children. There is an important lesson for Trump and his staff in that photo, which is to maximize use of his presidential status. This is something Trump is effective at doing when he decides on it. He should decide on it more often.

This is something that Barack Obama did effectively, which helped insulate him from otherwise justifiable personal and political attack. Obama came into office more lacking in actual gravitas than any previous occupant of the White House, a man of few real accomplishments or obvious talents, except for self-promotion.  To the extent that Obama had successes they were in promoting ideas and agendas that were anti-American in the normal sense of the term. He entered office devoid of any obvious affection for the country he led, as evidenced by his notorious international tour begging forgiveness for his own country’s myriad transgressions, as he saw things.

Yet none of this in any way deterred Obama from making full use of his position as American head of state to burnish and enhance his image. Obama and his handlers used the office of the presidency to mitigate not only Obama’s politics but his personal flaws — notably his aloofness and narcissism. Indeed, in some sense they managed to turn the later traits into political assets. Obama seemed to revel in in formal ceremony, the former Choom Gang pothead doing his level best to appear sober, serious, and regal. Mostly he succeeded, helped of course by his historic status as the country’s first black president.

The bottom line is that Obama won reelection despite weak economy, a failing health care system, and rising racial and social tensions, largely because he was effective at pretending to be presidential. He managed to turn the slaying of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs into a personal accomplishment and an argument for reelection, almost solely on the premise that he was commander-in-chief at the time.

Trump seems more diffident about using the presidency in this way, which in some respects is a good thing. However, given the forces arrayed against him in the media, the Democrat caucus, the federal bureaucracy and the judiciary, he needs to employ every asset to prevail. So far, he has not made full use of his presidential status, and arguably does “unpresidential” things that allow his critics to attack him in ways that they otherwise could not.   

Trump’s use of his Twitter account is a mistake in this regard. Some rationalize away his habit as strategy, using tweets to keep his opponents off balance, raising issues to annoy his enemies or send them down blind alleys. But this confuses means with objectives. If Trump wants to unhinge his opponents, send them on wild goose chases or whatever, he has plenty of means short of 4 a.m. tweets to do so. Twitter is by its very nature an unserious means of communication. That’s a large reason why it is so popular. Trump’s use of it reasonably opens him to charges that he is not serious and acting emotionally, whether true or not.

Using Twitter might be somewhat advantageous if it really helped humanize Trump or seemed to give him the common touch. But few people on his massive Twitter feed believe that that’s going to get them an invite to Mar-a-Lago, or that Trump is anything like one of the guys. On the other hand, every military officer learns at some point that familiarity breeds contempt. Getting a Tweet from the president doesn’t make you his buddy, but may well lower his stature in the minds of many, even unconsciously. So for Trump it is likely the worst of both worlds.

When Trump wants to act presidential he is good at it. His Congressional address a couple of weeks ago a case in point. Trump’s approval ratings improved after that speech, in which Trump not only spoke presidentially, but looked the part too, giving up his baggy suit and too long red tie for a sharper image. That might seem petty, but Trump knows about image and television and he was smart to do it. The result was that the Democrats looked small, and the mainstream media was left to grudgingly acknowledge a Trump victory or gnash their teeth.

Trump’s tweets gave them a reprieve. It doesn’t matter right now whether the allegations of the tweets, that Obama spied on Trump’s reelection campaign, are true. For much of the media and the country, the tweets are more important than the allegations they contain. To the extent there is an argument over the substance of the tweets it is not over whether the allegations are true, but whether they are plausible.

The person in the best position to find out is Trump. He’s the chief executive, so the people who would have spied on his presidential campaign now work for him. By tweeting the allegation he acted like the outsider he was, rather than the president he is. The president needs to bang some heads together and get to the bottom of things.

Yes, by implication Trump’s Twitter attack on Obama underscored unseriousness of the left’s allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. But Trump could have done the same thing without using Twitter. Now we are stuck to a welter of confusing allegations, counterallegations, no facts, and no person in authority settle the matter.

Trump can have a successful presidency if he is able to pass through Congress his agendas on tax reform, deregulation, military spending and homeland security. The Democrats can’t stop him unless Republicans waver. Trump needs to act presidential to prevent that from happening. When a Republican senator sees the Washington Post every day unrelievedly bashing the president over things avoidable, like sending out tweets, it weakens resolve. When that same senator sees a picture of smiling children greeting their president, it is bound to have the opposite effect. If there is one thing Trump should do in imitation of Obama, it is to use his presidential status to full advantage, which he has yet to do. 



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ISIS Trading in Antiquities and People


With the Jewish holiday of Purim approaching, it is incumbent upon all decent people — whatever their religious persuasion — to fully understand that ISIS jihadists are the lineal descendents of the cruel and ancient Amalekites with their bestial destruction of people.

In fact, “[i]n rabbinic literature, the reasons for the unusual eternal remembrance of Amalek are the following: (1) Amalek is the irreconcilable enemy and it is forbidden to show mercy foolishly to one wholly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Moreover, the attack of the Amalekites upon the Israelites encouraged others. All the tragedies which Israel suffered are considered the direct outcome of Amalek’s hostile act.”

Though the evil may begin with the Jews, it will always encompass everyone else.

Thus, at Jihad Files, one learns that “ISIS is now apparently instructing its followers on the religious protocols of cannibalism.”  This follows the nauseating news that 250 children were murdered through bread kneading machinery and men were baked alive. Moreover, jihadists throughout the world offer money to behead Islamic scholars who disagree with them. Yazidi girls are sold as sex slaves and little girls ages 7-9 bleed to death after being raped by ISIS militia multiple times a day.

And such abhorrent ideas are promoted in the West when Georgetown University, Professor Jonathan Brown emphatically states that “consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex.” Thus, “marital-rape is an invalid concept in Islam” and “a male owner of a female slave has the right to sexual access to her.” Rape of the infidel certainly does not merit any concern because “her ‘consent’ would be meaningless since she is his slave.” In fact, Brown asserts that “it’s not immoral for one human to own another human.”                                   

Then one learns that “an estimated 49 percent of individuals indicted for carrying out or conspiring to perpetrate a terrorist attack linked to the Islamic State are ‘from established Muslim countries.'” Equally disturbing is that “the vast majority (83 percent) of ISIS indictees are naturalized U.S. citizens, and 65 percent are born in this country.”

That Trump’s newest executive order mandates government reports on honor killings committed by migrants is a solid first step in stopping the madness of “gender-based violence against women.” Katie McHugh asserts that “like female genital mutilation, [honor killing] is a practice that would not exist in the U.S. without mass immigration bringing its practitioners into U.S. communities.”

On another front, Yaya J. Fanusie and Alexander Joffee published “Monumental Fight: Countering the Islamic State’s Antiquities Trafficking” which was published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. This November 2015 report highlights that “although the antiquities trade is considerably smaller than other elements of the IS financial portfolios, it offers the group the prospect of high mark-ups, global demand, a low likelihood for military disruption, and a willing pool of civilians who supply labor for the trade.”

Since 2010 there appears to be a 23% uptick in antiques arriving from the area that the Islamic State controls. IS generates “enough revenue within the territory it controls to cover a payroll of hundreds of millions of dollars in its fighters’ annual salaries.”

Although oil remains the group’s most important commodity, “the role of foreign funders directly through cash or indirectly through Islamic charities” aids IS because it avoids a trail of transactions while also exploiting the Qatari and Kuwaiti banking systems.”

According to Bill Warner, “sharia finance is considered sacred finance and all religious and moral people should invest in Sharia financial instruments.” One critical aspect of sharia finance is to fund those fighting in the cause of Allah. In his “Sharia Law for Non-Muslims,” replete with chapter and verse where the information originates, Warner writes that “giving zakat money for jihad is not a theory. We saw the practical effects of the zakat with the Holy Land Foundation and other Islamic charities.”

In fact, “the Islamic State is paying the smugglers’ fees of child ‘refugees’ to attract new recruits. Europol has identified as many as 88,300 unaccompanied minors among the illegal alien population overrunning Europe. Both the ISIS and the Islamic State affiliate in Nigeria — Boko Haram — have been recruiting in refugee camps using financial incentives, as well as working with the human smugglers. The Islamic State has reportedly offered as much as $2,000 per head in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. Jordanian special forces discovered an Islamic State ‘sleeper cell’ inside a refugee camp in northern Jordan. The Islamic State has issued warnings that they are infiltrating the refugee population. Jihadist groups have been extremely active in their efforts to influence and recruit in the refugee population.”

According to Fanusie and Joffe, antiquities trafficking is now even more important to the Islamic State particularly as some of its other revenue sources have become more difficult to manage. Looting by the Islamic State is used for both propaganda and marketing purposes. On the one hand, they claim to be defenders of religious purity yet they also market to a “separate audience of antiquities aficionados concerned by the cultural loss from pillaging. The destruction presents an image of imminent scarcity, thereby raising the value of smuggled goods on the black market.”

What is less well known is that the videos of IS destroying ninth-century stone reliefs was “aimed at least in part at creating the impression of devastation while concealing the reliefs’ removal for subsequent sale.” In “2014 IS videotaped members smashing iconic sculptures in Nineveh, [yet] the enormous site contains many items that have yet to be unearthed and eventually find their way to the global antiquities market which is worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.”

Looted antiquities end up in art centers, including London, Geneva, and even the Far East. Turkey and Lebanon as well as Jordan have served as conduits for the items. In fact, Lebanon is a “known transit point for weapons, drugs, migrants, and antiquities” thanks to the presence of Iran’s proxy Hizb’allah.

Fanusie and Joffe recommend that (a) there should be sanctions on artifact smugglers and buyers; (b) antiquities looting and intelligence must be made a law-enforcement priority; (c) threat finance courses need to emphasize the “relevance of antiquities to the funding of jihadist groups;” (d) the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) must hold nations accountable for [their] failure to address enforcement inadequacies in dealing with end-buyers, smugglers, and looters; (e) public awareness must be raised through high profile informational campaigns in much the same way that wildlife trafficking and conflict diamonds made the public more cognizant; (f) newer technologies such as Molecular markers need to be used to more readily determine the identity of an item.

In a recent report titled “Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offences and Attacks in the UK” one is reminded that ” …organised Islamist attacks in neighbouring countries [involve] ideologically-inspired fanatics [whose aim is] not only to kill, but to strike at the tolerance, pluralism and broad-mindedness on which democracy itself depends. Terrorism uses emotional shock in order to confuse and to divide. An important tool in understanding and defeating it is a reliable and dispassionate account of its perpetrators, their characteristics, their offences and their networks.”

Furthermore, “…it comes as no surprise that most Islamist terrorists in the UK are British men aged 18-34.” In addition,”16% of offenders were converts, 76% were known to the authorities prior to their terrorist offences and 26% had prior criminal convictions.” Moreover, individual offending and online radicalisation have both increased, “[and] this work reveals the extent to which offenders – even if convicted alone – tend still to be in real-world networks with partners, siblings or long-standing friends.”

Report author Hannah Stuart, has found that “[a]lthough small in actual numbers, women’s involvement nearly tripled in the five years between 2011 and 2015 from the previous 13 years (between 1998 and 2010).

In addition, “[a]lmost a third of converts (32%) were linked to the proscribed group al-Muhajiroun — a higher proportion than overall (25%). Converts came from a variety of backgrounds — in the majority of cases from Christianity — and the length of time between conversion and arrest, where known, ranged from four to five months to 14 years. More than half (55%) of Islamist-related offences or IROs were committed by those living with their partner and/or children (28%) [.]”

Shockingly, “[t]hree-quarters (75%) of Islamist-related offences were committed by individuals who were previously known to the authorities through one or more of eight identifiable points of contact.”

It is a multipronged war that must be fought against Islamic terrorism. There is the virtual caliphate where the Islamic State uses the internet to recruit. This is boosted by the sharia financing that abets their heinous crimes. And, of course, the actual acquisition of land to spread their tentacles needs to be permanently halted. We are only as strong as the weakest link in our arsenal but there are little girls and their families who are depending on our knowledge, persistence, fortitude, and power to finally eradicate this loathsome pestilence.

Hat Tip: HT

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com

With the Jewish holiday of Purim approaching, it is incumbent upon all decent people — whatever their religious persuasion — to fully understand that ISIS jihadists are the lineal descendents of the cruel and ancient Amalekites with their bestial destruction of people.

In fact, “[i]n rabbinic literature, the reasons for the unusual eternal remembrance of Amalek are the following: (1) Amalek is the irreconcilable enemy and it is forbidden to show mercy foolishly to one wholly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Moreover, the attack of the Amalekites upon the Israelites encouraged others. All the tragedies which Israel suffered are considered the direct outcome of Amalek’s hostile act.”

Though the evil may begin with the Jews, it will always encompass everyone else.

Thus, at Jihad Files, one learns that “ISIS is now apparently instructing its followers on the religious protocols of cannibalism.”  This follows the nauseating news that 250 children were murdered through bread kneading machinery and men were baked alive. Moreover, jihadists throughout the world offer money to behead Islamic scholars who disagree with them. Yazidi girls are sold as sex slaves and little girls ages 7-9 bleed to death after being raped by ISIS militia multiple times a day.

And such abhorrent ideas are promoted in the West when Georgetown University, Professor Jonathan Brown emphatically states that “consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex.” Thus, “marital-rape is an invalid concept in Islam” and “a male owner of a female slave has the right to sexual access to her.” Rape of the infidel certainly does not merit any concern because “her ‘consent’ would be meaningless since she is his slave.” In fact, Brown asserts that “it’s not immoral for one human to own another human.”                                   

Then one learns that “an estimated 49 percent of individuals indicted for carrying out or conspiring to perpetrate a terrorist attack linked to the Islamic State are ‘from established Muslim countries.'” Equally disturbing is that “the vast majority (83 percent) of ISIS indictees are naturalized U.S. citizens, and 65 percent are born in this country.”

That Trump’s newest executive order mandates government reports on honor killings committed by migrants is a solid first step in stopping the madness of “gender-based violence against women.” Katie McHugh asserts that “like female genital mutilation, [honor killing] is a practice that would not exist in the U.S. without mass immigration bringing its practitioners into U.S. communities.”

On another front, Yaya J. Fanusie and Alexander Joffee published “Monumental Fight: Countering the Islamic State’s Antiquities Trafficking” which was published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. This November 2015 report highlights that “although the antiquities trade is considerably smaller than other elements of the IS financial portfolios, it offers the group the prospect of high mark-ups, global demand, a low likelihood for military disruption, and a willing pool of civilians who supply labor for the trade.”

Since 2010 there appears to be a 23% uptick in antiques arriving from the area that the Islamic State controls. IS generates “enough revenue within the territory it controls to cover a payroll of hundreds of millions of dollars in its fighters’ annual salaries.”

Although oil remains the group’s most important commodity, “the role of foreign funders directly through cash or indirectly through Islamic charities” aids IS because it avoids a trail of transactions while also exploiting the Qatari and Kuwaiti banking systems.”

According to Bill Warner, “sharia finance is considered sacred finance and all religious and moral people should invest in Sharia financial instruments.” One critical aspect of sharia finance is to fund those fighting in the cause of Allah. In his “Sharia Law for Non-Muslims,” replete with chapter and verse where the information originates, Warner writes that “giving zakat money for jihad is not a theory. We saw the practical effects of the zakat with the Holy Land Foundation and other Islamic charities.”

In fact, “the Islamic State is paying the smugglers’ fees of child ‘refugees’ to attract new recruits. Europol has identified as many as 88,300 unaccompanied minors among the illegal alien population overrunning Europe. Both the ISIS and the Islamic State affiliate in Nigeria — Boko Haram — have been recruiting in refugee camps using financial incentives, as well as working with the human smugglers. The Islamic State has reportedly offered as much as $2,000 per head in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. Jordanian special forces discovered an Islamic State ‘sleeper cell’ inside a refugee camp in northern Jordan. The Islamic State has issued warnings that they are infiltrating the refugee population. Jihadist groups have been extremely active in their efforts to influence and recruit in the refugee population.”

According to Fanusie and Joffe, antiquities trafficking is now even more important to the Islamic State particularly as some of its other revenue sources have become more difficult to manage. Looting by the Islamic State is used for both propaganda and marketing purposes. On the one hand, they claim to be defenders of religious purity yet they also market to a “separate audience of antiquities aficionados concerned by the cultural loss from pillaging. The destruction presents an image of imminent scarcity, thereby raising the value of smuggled goods on the black market.”

What is less well known is that the videos of IS destroying ninth-century stone reliefs was “aimed at least in part at creating the impression of devastation while concealing the reliefs’ removal for subsequent sale.” In “2014 IS videotaped members smashing iconic sculptures in Nineveh, [yet] the enormous site contains many items that have yet to be unearthed and eventually find their way to the global antiquities market which is worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.”

Looted antiquities end up in art centers, including London, Geneva, and even the Far East. Turkey and Lebanon as well as Jordan have served as conduits for the items. In fact, Lebanon is a “known transit point for weapons, drugs, migrants, and antiquities” thanks to the presence of Iran’s proxy Hizb’allah.

Fanusie and Joffe recommend that (a) there should be sanctions on artifact smugglers and buyers; (b) antiquities looting and intelligence must be made a law-enforcement priority; (c) threat finance courses need to emphasize the “relevance of antiquities to the funding of jihadist groups;” (d) the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) must hold nations accountable for [their] failure to address enforcement inadequacies in dealing with end-buyers, smugglers, and looters; (e) public awareness must be raised through high profile informational campaigns in much the same way that wildlife trafficking and conflict diamonds made the public more cognizant; (f) newer technologies such as Molecular markers need to be used to more readily determine the identity of an item.

In a recent report titled “Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offences and Attacks in the UK” one is reminded that ” …organised Islamist attacks in neighbouring countries [involve] ideologically-inspired fanatics [whose aim is] not only to kill, but to strike at the tolerance, pluralism and broad-mindedness on which democracy itself depends. Terrorism uses emotional shock in order to confuse and to divide. An important tool in understanding and defeating it is a reliable and dispassionate account of its perpetrators, their characteristics, their offences and their networks.”

Furthermore, “…it comes as no surprise that most Islamist terrorists in the UK are British men aged 18-34.” In addition,”16% of offenders were converts, 76% were known to the authorities prior to their terrorist offences and 26% had prior criminal convictions.” Moreover, individual offending and online radicalisation have both increased, “[and] this work reveals the extent to which offenders – even if convicted alone – tend still to be in real-world networks with partners, siblings or long-standing friends.”

Report author Hannah Stuart, has found that “[a]lthough small in actual numbers, women’s involvement nearly tripled in the five years between 2011 and 2015 from the previous 13 years (between 1998 and 2010).

In addition, “[a]lmost a third of converts (32%) were linked to the proscribed group al-Muhajiroun — a higher proportion than overall (25%). Converts came from a variety of backgrounds — in the majority of cases from Christianity — and the length of time between conversion and arrest, where known, ranged from four to five months to 14 years. More than half (55%) of Islamist-related offences or IROs were committed by those living with their partner and/or children (28%) [.]”

Shockingly, “[t]hree-quarters (75%) of Islamist-related offences were committed by individuals who were previously known to the authorities through one or more of eight identifiable points of contact.”

It is a multipronged war that must be fought against Islamic terrorism. There is the virtual caliphate where the Islamic State uses the internet to recruit. This is boosted by the sharia financing that abets their heinous crimes. And, of course, the actual acquisition of land to spread their tentacles needs to be permanently halted. We are only as strong as the weakest link in our arsenal but there are little girls and their families who are depending on our knowledge, persistence, fortitude, and power to finally eradicate this loathsome pestilence.

Hat Tip: HT

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com



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Trump lauds 298K jobs added in February, but economists are cautious


President Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that January and February were the “strongest consecutive months for hiring” since mid-2015, citing a LinkedIn Workforce Report.  

The president was referring to the new monthly newsletter the business and employment-oriented social networking service began providing to members last month. This month’s Workforce Report is just the second ever.

That report underscores how the economy is strengthening under President Trump – and how companies are hiring in growing numbers.

On Wednesday, ADP also released its ADP National Employment Report, which showed that private payrolls grew by 298,000 jobs last month, more than expected by economists, who initially projected a gain of 190,000 jobs.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics will not release its February numbers until the end of the week, the agency’s January report cited 227,000 “non-farm” payroll employment increases, with the majority of those job gains occurring in retail trade, construction and financial activities.

Also, on Tuesday Gallup released its U.S. Economic Confidence Index that showed Americans gained, or regained optimism. The Confidence Index soared to +16, marking the highest weekly average in Gallup’s nine-year trend.

But economists warn that while gains are a positive, monthly job reports are often “noisy” and tend to be “over-used.” They also said the presidents could have less influence on markets than people think.

 “The administration should be careful because if you live by temporary numbers, you’ll die by temporary numbers,” Salim Furth, research fellow in macro-economics at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News. “Trump and Republicans shouldn’t rest on their laurels before they get things done.”

President Trump promised throughout his campaign to “bring jobs back” to the United States. And just two months into his administration, companies seem to be getting on board.

Just this week, Exxon Mobil pledged to spend $20 billion by 2022 to expand its footprint along the U.S. Gulf Coast, which is expected to create more than 45,000 jobs.

“This is exactly the kind of investment, economic development and job creation that will help put Americans back to work,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House on Monday. “Many of the products that will be manufactured here in the United States by American workers will be exported to other countries, improving our balance of trade.”

Other companies that have pledged significant job creation since Trump won the election are Amazon, which is planning to create 100,000 new jobs, SoftBank Group, IBM, Walmart, Sprint, OneWeb, Bayer/Mosanto, Intel and a slew of other companies.

Furth attributed this extreme job growth to the “anticipation” of good policy.

“Policy matters, not personality, and Trump hasn’t been in office long enough to see real results in slow-moving markets like the job market,” Furth said. “There is an effect where a policy has an impact before it is enacted because of the anticipation — but I’m looking for policies to have an impact, and go across the finish line — not just a glitz of the first 100 days.”

But Furth said that while he feels the media tends to “overplay” the impact of politicians, the economy is “organic.”

“This is not just a Trump phenomenon, job numbers come out and this is a perennial,” Furth said. “It’s my job as an economist to say, well, let’s not read too much into it.”



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Obama's Snowflakes


As President Trump focuses on jobs, Barack Obama’s oddness as a President is thrown into relief.  How little we heard about jobs during Obama’s two terms — not even jobs in the inner city.  We did hear a great deal about racism and sexism and homophobia on college campuses.  On college campuses?   

The media created the impression that Obama didn’t do much as president besides fundraise and play golf.  He was actually both busy and effective in radicalizing his chosen identity groups.

It is not necessary for the hard-left to win over a majority of their targeted demographics.  They only need to create a vocal, domineering minority that gets their hands on the levers of power and money.  Nowhere do we see the success of this strategy more than on college campuses.

Jobs for radicals was Obama’s major jobs initiative:  get progressives hired on campus, where they recruit thousands of young people, encouraging vulnerable kids to major in grievance studies, then use threats and funds from the federal government, and campus agitation to require more hiring of grievance professors and staff, more power for the hard left.

Obama’s Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department and the Department of Education’s own Office for Civil Rights accused our colleges of being hotbeds of racism and rape.   In response, colleges staffed up their rape protection, diversity and bias offices – 150 full time professionals at U.C. Berkeley alone.  These professional community organizers set to work creating a culture of antagonism and grievance on campus. They turned colleges into centers of progressive indoctrination and bullying.

UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion has placed vertical banners across the main campus reminding students of the contemporary university’s paramount mission: assigning guilt and innocence within the ruthlessly competitive hierarchy of victimhood. Each banner shows a photo … beside a purported quotation from that student or bureaucrat.  (snip) “I will think before I speak and act,” promises a white male student from the class of 2016. … it means: “I will mentally scan the University of California’s official list of microaggressions …

The transformation of our campuses into Orwellian safe spaces for snowflakes did not happen spontaneously.  There was a snow machine behind it all.  Obama’s Department of Education sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter to every campus in America,  threatening them with sexual discrimination lawsuits and loss of federal funds.  Due process for those accused, protection for free speech or freedom of religion, were no longer allowed on campus – our Bill of Rights is redefined as abusive to victims.

Williams documents how she went from being “Dean of Students” (to) “Dean of Sexual Assault


“… because of misguided pressure from the Office of Civil Rights and the Obama administration as part of their hysterical campaign against the alleged campus rape culture.  

The new head of the DNC, Tom Perez, led the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.  He deliberately scared the heck out of college administrations:

For reasons that baffled us all, OCR released a list of colleges and universities under investigation for alleged Title IX complaints, despite the fact that these institutions had not yet been found to be in violation of anything.

Hand in hand with the intimidation tactics was the buying of power and place for progressives to dominate campus life.  Obama offered millions of dollars of federal funds to launch rape programs. 

… resources to help students who are victims of sexual assault …one of 61 grants totaling $25 million. The college will use the nearly $300,000 grant …to improve offender accountability… to make the campus safer for students.

Federal money to staff up on thought police followed the Dear Colleague threats.  To cover their rear ends, colleges created Bias Response Teams that now supervise the speech of 2.84 million college students.  Their speech police monitor politics and “intellectual perspectives,” as well as speech on race, sex, gender, and “shape.” Students and faculty are asked to anonymously report one another to administrators, who are empowered to reprimand, require re-education, even suspension and expulsion.  To meet the demand for thought supervision, colleges have staffed up with hundreds of progressive administrators (driving up the cost of college, making administrators more dominant than faculty).

Diversity training began as a requirement for freshmen, to teach them the new rules on approved thinking and train them in white guilt.  After holding out for decades against requiring diversity courses, UCLA caved last spring. The new black activists on campuses want even more – they are requiring white privilege and social justice be woven into every course, even engineering and forestry. 

When Thomas Easley interviews people who want to teach statistics at North Carolina State University (NCSU), he poses a question most applicants probably aren’t expecting: How would you integrate diversity into your curriculum? 

Radical campus groups demand more staff and new centers for the progressive agenda – a reinforcing spiral of radicalizing students and providing jobs for radical blacks, gays, and feminists to continue the pressure on campus.

Yale’s response to protests includes doubling funding for cultural centers and the creation of a new multicultural center (in addition to an existing $50 million campaign to increase the diversity of the faculty). Brown has promised a $100 million diversity initiative. Claremont McKenna will create “new leadership positions on diversity and inclusion” in the offices of academic and student affairs. At Ithaca College, site of more November protests, leaders announced the creation of a “Chief Diversity Officer.”

There were yet more snowflake machines.  Obama instituted a White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault that worked in “partnership” with Generation Progress.  They spread the progressive ‘men are rapists’ message in 500 schools and got a quarter of a million young people to sign a pledge called “It’s On Us.”  Generation Progress is Obama’s kind of group.  Rape prevention is just the recruiting tool.  Young people are trained to fight Republicans on illegal aliens, gun rights, religious liberty, free speech and so on. In their own words:

“…strengthen progressive voices on college and university campuses,” “counter the growing influence of right-wing groups on campus,” and “empower new generations of progressive leaders.”

Obama and his radical allies target young people through scores of non-profit organizations that become a cycle of agitation and coercive funding, to train more agitators and provide positions of influence for them.

Three billion dollars of money from our banking system was extorted with ACORN-like tactics by Obama’s DOJ, and funneled to radical groups, like La Raza, active among millennials.  Muslim radicals were invited to the White House; a leading Palestinian jihadi was awarded by Obama as a White House “Champions of Change.”  BDS on campus and threats to Jews exploded.  The global warming narrative gins up leftwing support among millennials, and has received $100 billion dollars in federal funds since 1989.  In his last budget, Obama kept funding for science research flat, except for one winner – global warming.

Obama launched the narrative of killer cops, hosted Black Lives Matter leaders, and encouraged street riots in Ferguson and Baltimore to help his re-election in 2012.  Then the trained agitators on campus demanded more hiring of progressive staff to fight racism because of Ferguson and fake racist incidents perpetrated by leftist students.

Over the past 18 months, the Times reports, 90 American colleges and universities have hired “chief diversity officers.” These administrators were hired in response to the wave of racial incidents that convulsed campuses like the University of Missouri over the past year. They are bulking up an already thriving industry. 

Hiring of history professors has declined by almost 50% under Obama, but diversity hiring is on steroids.

Obama’s private foundation, Organizing for Action, trained thirty thousand young activists while he was president. 

47 percent of those who applied to the group’s summer fellowship program spoke a language other than English fluently. … specialized tracks for female and college-aged fellows. … (to send) progressive advocates out into the world of politics.

Since President Trump’s election, Obama has announced he will devote his efforts to OFA.  They have staffed up and opened 250 offices nationwide.  Expect more black-masked, violent “protestors” assaulting democracy as we know it – supported by approving press releases from Obama.  

The hard left has become a political force in America, with our angry snowflakes as the shock troops.  Obama plans for OFA to churn out 2 million millennial agitators.

It is time to stop blaming helicopter moms for our snowflakes.   Our kids actually require a lot of compulsory diversity training and thought policing to be sure they follow Obama’s progressive agenda.  Open rebellion is punished harshly, with social stigma and even expulsion.  The only voices safe on campus are the leftists.  They dominate the debate and become the new normal for this generation.

The term “politically correct” is itself a euphemism for something older and uglier, the thoughtcrimes of Stalin and Mao.  Our young people have been mercilessly submitted to propaganda and punishment.  Should we be surprised when some of them start to act like Red Guards?

As President Trump focuses on jobs, Barack Obama’s oddness as a President is thrown into relief.  How little we heard about jobs during Obama’s two terms — not even jobs in the inner city.  We did hear a great deal about racism and sexism and homophobia on college campuses.  On college campuses?   

The media created the impression that Obama didn’t do much as president besides fundraise and play golf.  He was actually both busy and effective in radicalizing his chosen identity groups.

It is not necessary for the hard-left to win over a majority of their targeted demographics.  They only need to create a vocal, domineering minority that gets their hands on the levers of power and money.  Nowhere do we see the success of this strategy more than on college campuses.

Jobs for radicals was Obama’s major jobs initiative:  get progressives hired on campus, where they recruit thousands of young people, encouraging vulnerable kids to major in grievance studies, then use threats and funds from the federal government, and campus agitation to require more hiring of grievance professors and staff, more power for the hard left.

Obama’s Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department and the Department of Education’s own Office for Civil Rights accused our colleges of being hotbeds of racism and rape.   In response, colleges staffed up their rape protection, diversity and bias offices – 150 full time professionals at U.C. Berkeley alone.  These professional community organizers set to work creating a culture of antagonism and grievance on campus. They turned colleges into centers of progressive indoctrination and bullying.

UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion has placed vertical banners across the main campus reminding students of the contemporary university’s paramount mission: assigning guilt and innocence within the ruthlessly competitive hierarchy of victimhood. Each banner shows a photo … beside a purported quotation from that student or bureaucrat.  (snip) “I will think before I speak and act,” promises a white male student from the class of 2016. … it means: “I will mentally scan the University of California’s official list of microaggressions …

The transformation of our campuses into Orwellian safe spaces for snowflakes did not happen spontaneously.  There was a snow machine behind it all.  Obama’s Department of Education sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter to every campus in America,  threatening them with sexual discrimination lawsuits and loss of federal funds.  Due process for those accused, protection for free speech or freedom of religion, were no longer allowed on campus – our Bill of Rights is redefined as abusive to victims.

Williams documents how she went from being “Dean of Students” (to) “Dean of Sexual Assault


“… because of misguided pressure from the Office of Civil Rights and the Obama administration as part of their hysterical campaign against the alleged campus rape culture.  

The new head of the DNC, Tom Perez, led the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.  He deliberately scared the heck out of college administrations:

For reasons that baffled us all, OCR released a list of colleges and universities under investigation for alleged Title IX complaints, despite the fact that these institutions had not yet been found to be in violation of anything.

Hand in hand with the intimidation tactics was the buying of power and place for progressives to dominate campus life.  Obama offered millions of dollars of federal funds to launch rape programs. 

… resources to help students who are victims of sexual assault …one of 61 grants totaling $25 million. The college will use the nearly $300,000 grant …to improve offender accountability… to make the campus safer for students.

Federal money to staff up on thought police followed the Dear Colleague threats.  To cover their rear ends, colleges created Bias Response Teams that now supervise the speech of 2.84 million college students.  Their speech police monitor politics and “intellectual perspectives,” as well as speech on race, sex, gender, and “shape.” Students and faculty are asked to anonymously report one another to administrators, who are empowered to reprimand, require re-education, even suspension and expulsion.  To meet the demand for thought supervision, colleges have staffed up with hundreds of progressive administrators (driving up the cost of college, making administrators more dominant than faculty).

Diversity training began as a requirement for freshmen, to teach them the new rules on approved thinking and train them in white guilt.  After holding out for decades against requiring diversity courses, UCLA caved last spring. The new black activists on campuses want even more – they are requiring white privilege and social justice be woven into every course, even engineering and forestry. 

When Thomas Easley interviews people who want to teach statistics at North Carolina State University (NCSU), he poses a question most applicants probably aren’t expecting: How would you integrate diversity into your curriculum? 

Radical campus groups demand more staff and new centers for the progressive agenda – a reinforcing spiral of radicalizing students and providing jobs for radical blacks, gays, and feminists to continue the pressure on campus.

Yale’s response to protests includes doubling funding for cultural centers and the creation of a new multicultural center (in addition to an existing $50 million campaign to increase the diversity of the faculty). Brown has promised a $100 million diversity initiative. Claremont McKenna will create “new leadership positions on diversity and inclusion” in the offices of academic and student affairs. At Ithaca College, site of more November protests, leaders announced the creation of a “Chief Diversity Officer.”

There were yet more snowflake machines.  Obama instituted a White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault that worked in “partnership” with Generation Progress.  They spread the progressive ‘men are rapists’ message in 500 schools and got a quarter of a million young people to sign a pledge called “It’s On Us.”  Generation Progress is Obama’s kind of group.  Rape prevention is just the recruiting tool.  Young people are trained to fight Republicans on illegal aliens, gun rights, religious liberty, free speech and so on. In their own words:

“…strengthen progressive voices on college and university campuses,” “counter the growing influence of right-wing groups on campus,” and “empower new generations of progressive leaders.”

Obama and his radical allies target young people through scores of non-profit organizations that become a cycle of agitation and coercive funding, to train more agitators and provide positions of influence for them.

Three billion dollars of money from our banking system was extorted with ACORN-like tactics by Obama’s DOJ, and funneled to radical groups, like La Raza, active among millennials.  Muslim radicals were invited to the White House; a leading Palestinian jihadi was awarded by Obama as a White House “Champions of Change.”  BDS on campus and threats to Jews exploded.  The global warming narrative gins up leftwing support among millennials, and has received $100 billion dollars in federal funds since 1989.  In his last budget, Obama kept funding for science research flat, except for one winner – global warming.

Obama launched the narrative of killer cops, hosted Black Lives Matter leaders, and encouraged street riots in Ferguson and Baltimore to help his re-election in 2012.  Then the trained agitators on campus demanded more hiring of progressive staff to fight racism because of Ferguson and fake racist incidents perpetrated by leftist students.

Over the past 18 months, the Times reports, 90 American colleges and universities have hired “chief diversity officers.” These administrators were hired in response to the wave of racial incidents that convulsed campuses like the University of Missouri over the past year. They are bulking up an already thriving industry. 

Hiring of history professors has declined by almost 50% under Obama, but diversity hiring is on steroids.

Obama’s private foundation, Organizing for Action, trained thirty thousand young activists while he was president. 

47 percent of those who applied to the group’s summer fellowship program spoke a language other than English fluently. … specialized tracks for female and college-aged fellows. … (to send) progressive advocates out into the world of politics.

Since President Trump’s election, Obama has announced he will devote his efforts to OFA.  They have staffed up and opened 250 offices nationwide.  Expect more black-masked, violent “protestors” assaulting democracy as we know it – supported by approving press releases from Obama.  

The hard left has become a political force in America, with our angry snowflakes as the shock troops.  Obama plans for OFA to churn out 2 million millennial agitators.

It is time to stop blaming helicopter moms for our snowflakes.   Our kids actually require a lot of compulsory diversity training and thought policing to be sure they follow Obama’s progressive agenda.  Open rebellion is punished harshly, with social stigma and even expulsion.  The only voices safe on campus are the leftists.  They dominate the debate and become the new normal for this generation.

The term “politically correct” is itself a euphemism for something older and uglier, the thoughtcrimes of Stalin and Mao.  Our young people have been mercilessly submitted to propaganda and punishment.  Should we be surprised when some of them start to act like Red Guards?



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BELLWETHER Nervous Sweden brings back military conscription


Imagine if President Trump, who has pledged to rebuild America’s military, announced tomorrow that the United States is reinstituting the military draft. Think there would be any opposition? That is just what another country has done: Sweden is introducing universal military conscription, and so far, no one is complaining.

The decision to require all 18-year-olds – men and women alike – to register for the military draft beginning next year is a direct result of Sweden’s increasing nervousness about Russia’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine, and lately, in and around the Baltic states.

Like the United States, Sweden has, since 2010, relied on volunteers for military service. But of late, it has been unable to fill its quota, prompting its defense ministry to re-introduce the draft. Of the estimated 13,000 Swedes born in 1999, about 4,000 will be selected to serve for up to a year.

Swedish officials make no bones about the reason for the change. Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014 set off jitters around the world. Sweden, which is just across the Baltic Sea from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, is concerned that Russia may have designs on those three countries, which were once part of the former Soviet Union. 

The decision to require all 18-year-olds – men and women alike – to register for the military draft beginning next year is a direct result of Sweden’s increasing nervousness about Russia’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine, and lately, in and around the Baltic states.

Sweden has plenty of reason to be wary of President Vladimir Putin. Russian military forces are directing the continuing carnage in eastern Ukraine, though the Kremlin insists it is pro-Russian Ukrainians doing the fighting. And Russian carpet bombing of rebel forces in Syria is the primary reason that President Bashar Al-Assad is still clinging to power in that nearly decimated Middle Eastern country.

Recently, Russian soldiers have advanced to near the border with Latvia, supposedly for “maneuvers.” In response, the U.S. has deployed Special Forces units to work with the Baltic countries’ troops, and to send a signal to Putin that aggression in that part of the world will not be tolerated.

 “If we want full and trained military units, the voluntary system needs to be complemented by compulsory military service,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told a Swedish television station.

Traditionally neutral in international disputes and famously liberal for its social policies, Sweden is not a member of NATO, though it maintains cooperative relations with the Western military alliance.

A majority of Swedes surveyed in a nationwide poll last year said they supported a return to conscription. So far, here have been no largescale protests over the announcement.

The United States ended its military draft for young men in 1973, converting to an all-volunteer armed services. Up until now, there have been enough citizens willing to wear their country’s uniform, and that should be a source of pride to all Americans.

But Sweden’s decision to bring back the draft is a timely reminder that the world is an unstable place and that sometimes people must make sacrifices to preserve their way of life.

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Vatican correspondent and Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books, including “Pope John Paul II : Biography.



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Wikileaks CIA Dump Has Some Peculiar Timing


Wikileaks has published a huge intelligence trove showing the entire hacking capacity of the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday. It’s a bad loss of face for the top U.S. intelligence-gathering organization and a sign of something wrong over there – bad security, technology surpassed, spy penetration, or over-dissemination of secrets, to guess a few. The absurd explanation from chief Wikileaker Julian Assange is that some sensitive soul inside the CIA wants to start a ‘conversation’ about the top intelligence agency’s excessive power.

Tell us another one. This is the stupidest, most transparent lie since Bill didn’t inhale and Barack Obama said you could keep your health care.

A Wikileak of this sort is not only rare and specialized (when was the last time you saw a CIA secret splattered all over the Internet?) it was probably the work of Russian cyberspies, given that only the Russians are likely to have such capacity, as well as potential human penetrations on the inside. If so, it means a Russian power game is now in play, with just the right timing to support it.

Consider the source of the Wikileaks again: Julian Assange, someone who has repeatedly been accused of being a Russian agent based on the fact that his leaks (always accurate) consistently support Russian objectives. He never leaks Russian secrets, just ours and those of our allies, generally to serve Russian aims. A prime example was in the Olympic doping scandals. After the Russians saw their athletes humiliated and their medals stripped, a big batch of Wikileaks were released from assorted nations, including the U.S., to demonstrate that ‘everybody does it’ and Russia was no different. There were similar machinations around FIFA and its soccer sponsorships.

Far from being Assange’s sensitive soul, it’s more likely a Russian strikeback for all the garbage the CIA hurled at President Trump insinuating through leaks that Trump is colluding with the Russians. The events of recent weeks around this theme have resulted in political casualties for Trump and ended Russia’s high hopes for a rapprochement in relations. Trump lost his Russia-friendly National Security Advisor and now has a replacement who’s hostile to Russia and thinks we can win the Isis war without them. Russia also found itself in the middle of a CIA-congressional Democrat bid to unseat Attorney General Jeff Sessions, where the Russians ended up the punching bag in the middle. The new narrative to emerge from that is that no one should dare talk to the Russians, for fear of getting cooties or becoming a security risk, it’s just too dangerous. The Russian envoy who had just been doing his job meeting Sessions at the sidelines of a conference was demonized. The Russians reacted very badly to that, since it impedes even their legitimate work and isolates them at a time when they are trying to find a way to be friends..

If the Russians are sure the CIA has been using them to undermine Trump, it’s possible they decided to teach them a lesson by releasing a huge trove of files showing that they know all about the CIA’s hacking operations. It would make sense because one of the chief revelations of the file dump was that the CIA could disguise its own fingerprints as Russian ones, making any hack job appear to be something the Russians did. If the file dump can convince the U.S. public of that, the Russians can dissipate all the heat they have been taking about hacking by being able to claim that the CIA was likely behind the effort to undermine Trump, pinning its deed on the Russians. The timing would support it. Once again, ‘eveerybody does it.’

The bad thing is that it creates a breach of trust between Trump and the CIA and may make the president unwilling to use the agency to find out, via spying, what the Russians may be up to. That could effectively leave the CIA hamstrung, and Trump without a spy agency.

But it also humiliates the CIA as an agency so incompetent it can’t even keep its own cybersecrets and raise questions about its value to its top consumer, President Trump. Trump has gotten word out that government needs to be cut down and the agency needs to be cleaned out. Cutting too far or not using the agency would easily amouint to a victory for Russia.

What it shows is that the deep state’s war against Trump is an open opportunity for the Russians to exploit the existing fissures of distrust between Trump and his spy agency into full blown disarmament. It does so to advance its own national interests, just as the CIA ultimately hurts itself by playing leak games against Trump in Washington. Maybe if the CIA would start behaving itself and drop the phony leaks campaign about Trump being in bed with the Russians, there would be nothing to exploit from Moscow.

 

 

Wikileaks has published a huge intelligence trove showing the entire hacking capacity of the Central Intelligence Agency Tuesday. It’s a bad loss of face for the top U.S. intelligence-gathering organization and a sign of something wrong over there – bad security, technology surpassed, spy penetration, or over-dissemination of secrets, to guess a few. The absurd explanation from chief Wikileaker Julian Assange is that some sensitive soul inside the CIA wants to start a ‘conversation’ about the top intelligence agency’s excessive power.

Tell us another one. This is the stupidest, most transparent lie since Bill didn’t inhale and Barack Obama said you could keep your health care.

A Wikileak of this sort is not only rare and specialized (when was the last time you saw a CIA secret splattered all over the Internet?) it was probably the work of Russian cyberspies, given that only the Russians are likely to have such capacity, as well as potential human penetrations on the inside. If so, it means a Russian power game is now in play, with just the right timing to support it.

Consider the source of the Wikileaks again: Julian Assange, someone who has repeatedly been accused of being a Russian agent based on the fact that his leaks (always accurate) consistently support Russian objectives. He never leaks Russian secrets, just ours and those of our allies, generally to serve Russian aims. A prime example was in the Olympic doping scandals. After the Russians saw their athletes humiliated and their medals stripped, a big batch of Wikileaks were released from assorted nations, including the U.S., to demonstrate that ‘everybody does it’ and Russia was no different. There were similar machinations around FIFA and its soccer sponsorships.

Far from being Assange’s sensitive soul, it’s more likely a Russian strikeback for all the garbage the CIA hurled at President Trump insinuating through leaks that Trump is colluding with the Russians. The events of recent weeks around this theme have resulted in political casualties for Trump and ended Russia’s high hopes for a rapprochement in relations. Trump lost his Russia-friendly National Security Advisor and now has a replacement who’s hostile to Russia and thinks we can win the Isis war without them. Russia also found itself in the middle of a CIA-congressional Democrat bid to unseat Attorney General Jeff Sessions, where the Russians ended up the punching bag in the middle. The new narrative to emerge from that is that no one should dare talk to the Russians, for fear of getting cooties or becoming a security risk, it’s just too dangerous. The Russian envoy who had just been doing his job meeting Sessions at the sidelines of a conference was demonized. The Russians reacted very badly to that, since it impedes even their legitimate work and isolates them at a time when they are trying to find a way to be friends..

If the Russians are sure the CIA has been using them to undermine Trump, it’s possible they decided to teach them a lesson by releasing a huge trove of files showing that they know all about the CIA’s hacking operations. It would make sense because one of the chief revelations of the file dump was that the CIA could disguise its own fingerprints as Russian ones, making any hack job appear to be something the Russians did. If the file dump can convince the U.S. public of that, the Russians can dissipate all the heat they have been taking about hacking by being able to claim that the CIA was likely behind the effort to undermine Trump, pinning its deed on the Russians. The timing would support it. Once again, ‘eveerybody does it.’

The bad thing is that it creates a breach of trust between Trump and the CIA and may make the president unwilling to use the agency to find out, via spying, what the Russians may be up to. That could effectively leave the CIA hamstrung, and Trump without a spy agency.

But it also humiliates the CIA as an agency so incompetent it can’t even keep its own cybersecrets and raise questions about its value to its top consumer, President Trump. Trump has gotten word out that government needs to be cut down and the agency needs to be cleaned out. Cutting too far or not using the agency would easily amouint to a victory for Russia.

What it shows is that the deep state’s war against Trump is an open opportunity for the Russians to exploit the existing fissures of distrust between Trump and his spy agency into full blown disarmament. It does so to advance its own national interests, just as the CIA ultimately hurts itself by playing leak games against Trump in Washington. Maybe if the CIA would start behaving itself and drop the phony leaks campaign about Trump being in bed with the Russians, there would be nothing to exploit from Moscow.

 

 



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