Friday, March 31, 2017

Iran Greatest Threat To America? Real Genius. Schiff and Schumer _ Peas In A Pod! Them Polar Bears.

CENTCOM General asserts Iran is America's greatest threat in that region of the world.

What about Russia and N Korea, China and ISIS? (See 1 below.)
Will Trump's pressure on Israeli settlements backfire? (See 2 below.)
Now this is genius: Click here: Amazing 4-Year-Old Piano Prodigy
Kim is right on the mark for supporting Nunes and being critical of Schiff.  I have repeatedly maintained Schiff is the House equivalent of Schumer.  Both political worms. 

By challenging Nunes' integrity, Schiff is engaged in trying to cast doubt upon Nunes' ability to investigate Russian influence on our election.  The Democrats have downplayed the fact that Flynn was outed and that is a criminal act. They are more interested in playing the partisan card than in finding out the truth because the truth will reveal Obama and his thugs were actually tracking the Trump crew during the campaign and after and went the extreme in revealing their names and engaging in more felonious acts.

What Obama was aware makes Watergate look benign. (See 3 and 3a below.)
Why are the polar bears still around?  (See 4 below.)
American interference in foreign elections. (See 5 below.)
1)"The most significant threat"--

Iran poses the “greatest long-term threat to U.S. interests” in the region covered by United States Central Command (CENTCOM), which includes the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, CENTCOM’s commander told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday.

“Iran poses the most significant threat to the Central Region and to our national interests and the interests of our partners and allies,” Gen. Joseph Votel wrote in testimony submitted to Congress. Iran’s behavior has not been moderated by the nuclear agreement reached between Tehran and the global powers in July 2015, he observed. To the contrary: “Iran aspires to be a regional hegemon and its forces and proxies oppose U.S. interests in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria, and seek to hinder U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and some Central Asian States.” Furthermore, “[t]hey have a robust theater ballistic missile program, and we remain concerned about their cyber and maritime activities, as well as the activities of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Forces (IRGC-QF) and their network of affiliates.”

Votel emphasized that Iran operates in what he called a “gray zone,” a murky space short of military confrontation, but that serves as a trigger point that can easily lead to communication breakdowns and miscalculations. “Iran fosters instability by funding and promoting a threat network that employs provocation, violence, and covert arms transfers that serve as the stimulants for a range of conflicts across the region,” he wrote. This includes Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, its propping up of the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and its sending of funds, arms, and advisors to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Votel’s testimony tallies with what he told Congress a year ago: that Iran has become “more aggressive in the days since the [Iran nuclear] agreement.”
2) Israel's silenced majority
By Caroline B. Glick

The pressure the Trump administration is exerting on Israel to constrain the rights of Jews to property in Judea and Samaria is the direct consequence of the refusal of the American foreign policy establishment to reckon with the reality that Israelis have internalized

During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House in February, the premier was reportedly taken by surprise when Trump gently prodded – ahead of their meeting – for Israel to “hold back on settlements for a little bit.”

Since their meeting, Trump’s prod that Israel curtail the property rights of Jews in Judea and Samaria has been the central issue Trump’s chief negotiator Jason Greenblatt has discussed with Netanyahu and his representatives.

From the moment Netanyahu returned from Washington, his government ministers have been asking him to brief them on his discussions with Trump. He has refused. But on Thursday, Netanyahu finally agreed to update his security cabinet.

His agreement is long past due. It is vital for Netanyahu to tell his cabinet ministers what is happening in his conversations with the Americans about Judea and Samaria. It is imperative that the cabinet determine a clear response to Trump’s apparent demand for a full or partial freeze on Jewish property rights in Judea and Samaria.

Such an agreed response is urgent because Trump’s position is antithetical to the position of the vast majority of Israelis. If the government caters to Trump’s demands it will breach the trust of the public that elected it.

This state of affairs was brought home this week with the publication of a new survey of public opinion regarding the Palestinian conflict with Israel. The survey was carried out among adult Israeli Jews by veteran Israeli pollster Mina Tzemach for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The results of the poll are straightforward. Since Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Israeli support for territorial concessions to the Palestinians has collapsed. Whereas in 2005, 59% of Israelis supported the establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in exchange for peace, today a mere 29% of Israelis support such a policy.

And levels of Israeli opposition to territorial giveaways only grow when the specifics of withdrawal are considered.

Seventy-seven percent of Israelis oppose full withdrawal from Judea and Samaria in the framework of a peace deal. Sixty-four percent oppose a pullout under which Israel would trade sovereignty over the so-called “settlement blocs” for sovereignty over lands inside of the 1949 armistice lines.

Fifty-seven percent of the public opposes an Israeli withdrawal from everything outside the settlement blocs even without such a trade.

The dramatic drop in Israeli support for the establishment of a Palestinian state over the past 12 years has nothing to do with ideology. The Israeli public has not turned its back on the Left’s ideological vision of two-states west of the Jordan River because it has adopted the ideological convictions of the religious Zionist movement.

The Israeli public has abandoned its support for the two-state paradigm because it believes that Israel’s past moves to implement it have weakened the country and that any attempt in the future to implement it will imperil the country.

This conviction is revealed by the fact that 76% of Israeli Jews want Israel to permanently retain sole responsibility for security in all of Judea and Samaria.

Eighty-eight percent say that Israel must permanently control the territory bordering Ben-Gurion Airport. Eighty-one percent insist that Israel must permanently control the land that bordering the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem highway Route 443.

Eighty-one percent of Israelis say that Israel must control the Jordan Valley in perpetuity. Fifty-five percent say that Israel cannot defend itself without permanently controlling the Jordan Valley. Sixty-nine percent of Israelis reject the notion that Israel can subcontract its national security to foreign powers that would deploy forces to the Jordan Valley in the framework of a peace deal.

In other words, Trump’s desire to mediate a deal between Israel and the PLO places him in conflict with anywhere between 60 and 85% of the Israeli public.

Throughout the US presidential race, Trump said repeatedly that his mastery of the art of the deal would enable him to succeed where his predecessors failed. His experience as a negotiator in the business world, he said, makes him more capable of mediating a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians than any of his predecessors.

It is possible that Trump is right about his relative advantage over his predecessors. But how well or poorly he negotiates is completely beside the point.

Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama didn’t fail to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians because they were bad negotiators. They failed because there is no deal to be had. This reality is what informs the Israeli public.

The Israeli public rejects the two-state model that is now informing Trump, because it has become convinced that Israel’s partner in a hypothetical deal – the PLO – has no intention of ever making a deal with Israel.

The people of Israel has come to realize that the PLO demands Israeli concessions – like a freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria – not because it wants to make peace, but because it wants to weaken Israel.

The reality that informs the position of the Israeli public has been borne out by every PLO action and position since July 2000, when the PLO rejected peace and Palestinian statehood and opted instead to initiate a terrorist war against Israeli society and launch a campaign to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist.

In contrast to the Israeli public, the American foreign policy establishment never accepted the obvious meaning of Yasser Arafat’s rejection of then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak’s peace offer at Camp David in July 2000, and his subsequent initiation of an all-out war of terrorism against Israel.

The Americans responsible for determining US Middle Eastern policy, along with the American Jewish community, never acknowledged the significance of the Palestinians’ refusal to accept sovereign responsibility over Gaza after Israel withdrew from the area in 2005.

They never accepted the obvious meaning of Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian elections in 2006 or the post-Israeli withdrawal transformation of Gaza into a hub of global jihad and a launching pad for continuous aggression against Israel.

Unlike the Israeli public, the Americans closed their eyes to the significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s campaign to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, to the PA’s refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist, to the PA’s finance of terrorism, and its indoctrination of Palestinian society to support and work toward the destruction of Israel.

This week, the willful blindness of the American foreign policy establishment and the American Jewish establishment to the reality that informs the position of the Israeli public was on display at AIPAC’s policy conference. Although the conference was held under the banner, “Many Voices, One Mission,” precious few voices were heard that reflected the view of the overwhelming majority of Israelis.

The view of the Israeli public that the two-state policy is entirely divorced from reality because there is no one on the Palestinian side who is interested in living at peace with a Jewish state, and that further Israeli concessions to the PLO endanger the Jewish state, was virtually ignored, particularly by the American speakers.

No senior American policy-maker explained that given the Palestinians’ commitment to the destruction of Israel, any policy that requires Israel to make territorial and other concessions is an anti-Israel policy – in substance if not in intent.

The reason the position of the majority of the Israeli public was ignored by the largest pro-Israel lobbying organization in America is that no senior American policy-maker on either side of the partisan aisle is willing to allow the reality that informs the Israeli public to influence its thinking. Although an ideological chasm separates Martin Indyk – John Kerry’s chief negotiator – from Elliott Abrams – George Bush’s point man on Israel – the substance of their views of the goal of US policy-making toward Israel and the Palestinians is largely the same. They both believe that Israel should surrender the vast majority of Judea and Samaria to the PLO.

And this again brings us to Israel and the security cabinet meeting on Thursday evening.

Ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu said that he intended ask his ministers to approve his plan to establish a new town in Judea and Samaria for the residents of the recently destroyed community of Amona.

There is no doubt that from a political perspective, and indeed from a humanitarian perspective, Netanyahu’s commitment to establishing a new community for the former residents of Amona is a positive development. But the question of whether or not Israel should build a new community in Judea and Samaria is not the main issue. Indeed, the issue of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria has never been the main issue.

The pressure the Trump administration is exerting on Israel to constrain the rights of Jews to property in Judea and Samaria is the direct consequence of the refusal of the American foreign policy establishment to reckon with the reality that Israelis have internalized.

The Israeli public today recognizes that there is no deal to be had. The Palestinians will never make peace with Israel, because they remain committed to its destruction.
3) What Devin Nunes Knows

Team Obama was spying broadly on the incoming administration

By Kimberley A.Strassel

California Rep. Adam Schiff may not offer much by way of substance, but give him marks for political flimflam. The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee was so successful at ginning up fake outrage over his Republican counterpart that he successfully buried this week’s only real (and bombshell) news.
Mr. Schiff and fellow Democrats spent this week accusing Chairman Devin Nunes of carrying water for President Trump, undermining the committee’s Russia investigation, and hiding information. The press dutifully regurgitated the outrage, as well as Mr. Schiff’s calls for Mr. Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation into possible Russian electoral meddling.
All this engineered drama served to deep-six the important information Americans urgently deserve to know. Mr. Nunes has said he has seen proof that the Obama White House surveilled the incoming administration—on subjects that had nothing to do with Russia—and that it further unmasked (identified by name) transition officials. This goes far beyond a mere scandal. It’s a potential crime.
We’ve known since early February that a call by former national security adviser Mike Flynn to the Russian ambassador was monitored by U.S. intelligence. There’s nothing improper in tapping foreign officials. But it was improper that Mr. Flynn’s name was revealed and leaked to the press, along with the substance of his conversation. The media nonetheless excused all this by claiming one piece of Mr. Flynn’s conversation (sanctions) was relevant to the continuing investigation into Trump-Russia ties.
Around the same time, Mr. Nunes’s own intelligence sources informed him that documents showed further collection of information about, and unmasking of, Trump transition officials. These documents aren’t easily obtainable, since they aren’t the “finished” intelligence products that Congress gets to see. Nonetheless, for weeks Mr. Nunes has been demanding intelligence agencies turn over said documents—with no luck, so far.
Mr. Nunes earlier this week got his own source to show him a treasure trove of documents at a secure facility. Here are the relevant details:
First, there were dozens of documents with information about Trump officials. Second, the information these documents contained was not related to Russia. Third, while many reports did “mask” identities (referring, for instance, to “U.S. Person 1 or 2”) they were written in ways that made clear which Trump officials were being discussed. Fourth, in at least one instance, a Trump official other than Mr. Flynn was outright unmasked. Finally, these documents were circulated at the highest levels of government.
To sum up, Team Obama was spying broadly on the incoming administration.
Mr. Schiff’s howls about Mr. Nunes’s methods are bluster; the Republican was doing his job, and well. Mr. Nunes has spent years cultivating whistleblowers and sources as part of his oversight responsibilities, and that network scored him information that has otherwise remained hidden. It isn’t clear if the White House itself attempted to obtain these documents, but even if it did, the Senate has confirmed few Trump political appointees, which means there aren’t many loyal staffers among the Obama holdovers to attempt it. It’s also possible the Trump White House was wary of making such a demand, since it would inevitably leak. The last thing the administration wants is wild speculation that it was interfering with the FBI’s Russia probe.
Meantime, few things match the ludicrous furor over Mr. Nunes’s source-meeting place, or his visit to brief Mr. Trump. Congress members must view most classified material on executive-branch grounds, since that’s the only way to access it physically. Having discovered the former administration’s surveillance of Trump officials, Mr. Nunes had a duty to let the White House know. (Imagine if he’d sat on it.) He could hardly let Democrats know first, since their only interest these days is in leaking and twisting stories. And the reason he held press briefings before and after his meeting with Mr. Trump was to be transparent about his purpose.
Hint to the press corps: If Mr. Nunes wanted to tip off the White House about his Russia probe, it’d be a lot easier to speed-dial Steve Bannon secretly from his office.
If Mr. Schiff wants to be trusted with important information, he might start by proving he is trustworthy—rather than rumor-mongering that there is “more than circumstantial evidence” of Trump-Russia collusion. He might voice some concern that a prior White House was monitoring its political opponents. He might ask whether Obama officials had been “reverse monitoring”—tracking foreign officials solely so they could spy on the Trump team.
Mr. Nunes has zero reason to recuse himself from this probe, because he is doing his job. It’s Mr. Schiff who ought to be considering recusal, for failing to do his own.


Adam Schiff is a Traitor to HumanityBy 

Adam Schiff is a traitor to the United States...because he is undermining American democracy and the forces for peace.
The Clintons and the Democratic Leadership Council sold out the Democratic constituency, that is, the working class and peace, because they were convinced that they could get more money from Wall Street, the global corporations, and the military/security complex than they could from the labor unions.
The labor unions were going to be destroyed by jobs offshoring and the relocation of US manufacturing abroad. This relocation of American manufacturing would destroy the budgets of the state and local governments in America’s manufacturing regions and result in fierce pressure on the public sector unions, which are being destroyed in turn.
In short, Democratic Party funding was evaporating, and Democrats needed to compete against Republicans for funding from the One Percent. George Soros helped the Clinton Democrats in this transition, and soon there was no one representing the working class.
Consequently, since Clinton the real median family income of the working class has been falling, and in the 21st century the working class has been buried in unemployment and debt.
But the Democratic Party has prospered, and so have Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Democratic Party raised far more money, especially from the One Percent, than Trump, who allied with the working class, in the past presidential election. Bill & Hillary have a personal fortune of $120 million at least, and $1.6 trillion in their personal foundation that supports their daughter.
Using Government to get rich is an old trick in America, but the Clintons took it to new highs when they flushed the working class and became the whores for Wall Street, Israel, and the military/security complex.
This is where the Democratic Party is today. The despicable Adam Schiff’s function is to discredit the presidency of Donald Trump by creating an atmosphere in which any interest in establishing normal relations with Russia, thus reducing the tensions that could result in nuclear war, is proof of being a “Putin agent” and a “traitor.”
What Schiff is doing is making it impossible for President Trump to reduce the dangerous tensions between the nuclear superpowers that the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes created. These tensions can easily result in nuclear war, as I have often emphasized.
It is extraordinary that Schiff, who endangers the existence of all life on planet Earth, is a hero of the liberal/progressive/left. The pressitute media whores love him. He always gets top billing as he urges on humanity to its final destruction.
How is it that Donald Trump, who says he wants to reduce tensions with Russia is portrayed as a threat, while the liberal/progressive/left, the CIA, and the Democratic Party are portrayed as the salt of the Earth for promulgating nuclear war with Russia (and China)?
I have no explanation as to why the peoples of the West, as ignorant and idiotic as they are, and their ignorance and idiocy are extreme, prefer nuclear war with Russia (and China) instead of normal relations.
But the utterly evil Adam Schiff prefers nuclear war, and that is where he is leading the insouciant West.
And you can bet your last cent that the media whores will continue cheering Schiff on.
The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate, at Beorway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. 

Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. 

Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.

 Oh...................I must apologize. I neglected to mention that this report was from November 2, 1922, as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post - 93 years ago.This must have been caused by the Model T Ford's emissions.

Liberal Hypocrites Forget US Has Interfered in 81 Foreign Elections – That We Know Of

US Democrats and Lindsey Graham are VERY UPSET with unsubstantiated reports that Russia tried to interfere with the 2016 US election.

Democrats call the alleged Russian interference an act of war.
These same hacks had no problem with Barack Obama using taxpayer dollars in an attempt to swing the Israeli election. The Obama State Department gave $349,276 in U.S. taxpayer-funded grants to try to influence Israelis to vote against conservative Benjamin Netanyahu in the March 2015 election.
In fact the United States has worked to influence at least 81 elections around the world that we know of.
The United States U.S. has tried to influence the outcome of another country’s election more than 80 times between 1946 and 2000.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Has America Come to A Screeching Halt? Did The Naval Academy Scuttle Itself and A True Hero At The Same Time?

Brazil’s native language is Portuguese, so this video comes in Portuguese too! Watch it here and share with any and all of your Brazilian (and Portuguese) friends.
One day will this prediction turn into reality? (See 1 below.)
From my perspective I submit American progress seems to have come to a screeching halt for a variety of reasons and in no particular order:

1) The political process has turned into total gridlock and anything potentially favorable is blocked due to abject pettiness. Unbridled leaking is also doing significant damage to the public's confidence in our intelligence organizations.

2)  The nation's infrastructure has been in decline for years.

3) Cyber attacks are capable of doing significant damage to our economy and it is obvious Putin was successful in intruding into our recent election and has been successful in spreading doubt about the legitimacy of our electoral process.

Putin has also engaged in doing the same to virtually all significant democratic regimes. He is currently currying favor with France's Right Wing candidate.

4) Obama's foreign policy initiatives allowed Russia to make inroads in the Middle East and N Korea to pursue nuclear weapons capable of landing on our own shores,  In addition, Obama assisted Iran in becoming a nuclear power and even paid them ransom.

Our influence has waned, our diplomatic leverage has shrunk and  we are no longer effective in getting adversaries to bend to our will or even feel compelled to pay attention to our positions.

5) Our fiscal picture dims as we deepen our indebtedness.

6) Our nation remains divided on a variety of fronts and distrust of those who are sworn to defend us and make our streets safe  has risen to heights never experienced. Racial divide is the worst since the Civil Right's Days.

7) Government has grown amoebically and many of agencies no longer feel obligated to act within legislative constraints. The EPA is one of the worst abusers and sees itself able to enact laws of its own choosing.

8) Powerful and wealthy individuals have reached a point where their ability to fund various personal causes has reached dangerous anarchistic levels.

9) Our military capabilities have sunk to historically low numerical levels.

10) The Republican Party which controls Congress and  captured The White House is split and fractured and thus, recently were effective in undercutting President Trump in his first legislative initiative.

11)  Though we have become the world's largest energy producer significant segments of the population have been encouraged to keep us dependent upon unstable energy sources.

12) Our borders remain porous and many of our communities are consequently experiencing drug epidemics and random acts of lawlessness and a growing number of cities and states are harboring illegal immigrant criminals in contempt of federal laws.

13) Rogue judges have emasculated the president's authority to protect and defend our nation from the dire threat of Islamic radicalism.

14) Money in politics has allowed powerful groups to benefit from narrowly based legislation which is adverse to the nation's overall interests.

15) American education is failing to produce students capable of reasoning and college campuses have become sanctuaries embracing those holding views and engaging in behaviour that are antithetical to our constitution and traditions.

16) We are becoming an increasingly "Godless" society.

Will Americans ever get what they vote for?  Stay tuned but do not bet your rent money. (See 2 below.)
The Naval Academy scuttles itself and a true hero at the same time.  For shame. (See 3 below.)

1) How North Korea could kill 90 percent of Americans

 The mainstream media, and some officials who should know better, continue to allege North Korea does not yet have capability to deliver on its repeated threats to strike the U.S. with nuclear weapons. 

False reassurance is given to the American people that North Korea has not “demonstrated” that it can miniaturize a nuclear warhead small enough for missile delivery, or build a reentry vehicle for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of penetrating the atmosphere to blast a U.S. city.
Yet any nation that has built nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, as North Korea has done, can easily overcome the relatively much simpler technological challenge of warhead miniaturization and reentry vehicle design.
From The Hill
Indeed, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has been photographed posing with what appears to be a genuine miniaturized nuclear warhead for ballistic missiles. And North Korea does, in fact, have two classes of ICBMs—the road mobile KN-08 and KN-14—which both appear to be equipped with sophisticated reentry vehicles.
Even if it were true that North Korea does not yet have nuclear missiles, their “Dear Leader” could deliver an atomic bomb hidden on a freighter sailing under a false flag into a U.S. port, or hire their terrorist allies to fly a nuclear 9/11 suicide mission across the unprotected border with Mexico. In this scenario, populous port cities like New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, or big cities nearest the Mexican border, like San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, and Santa Fe, would be most at risk.
A Hiroshima-type A-Bomb having a yield of 10-kilotons detonated in a major city would cause about 200,000 casualties from blast, thermal, and radiation effects. North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon having an estimated yield of 20-30 kilotons. The Defense Department assesses that on January 6, 2016, North Korea may have tested components of an H-Bomb. H-Bombs are much more powerful than A-Bombs and can produce much greater casualties—millions of casualties in a big city like New York.
The notion that North Korea is testing A-Bombs and H-Bomb components, but does not yet have the sophistication to miniaturize warheads and make reentry vehicles for missile delivery is absurd.
Eight years ago, in 2008, the CIA’s top East Asia analyst publicly stated North Korea successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads for delivery on its Nodong medium-range missile. The Nodong is able to strike South Korea and Japan or, if launched off a freighter, even the United States.
In 2011, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lt. General Ronald Burgess, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea has weaponized its nuclear devices into warheads for arming ballistic missiles.
On April 7, 2015, at a Pentagon press conference, Admiral William Gortney, then Commander of North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD), responsible for protecting the U.S. from long-range missiles, warned that the intelligence community assesses North Korea’s KN-08 mobile ICBM could strike the U.S. with a nuclear warhead.
And on October 7, 2015, Gortney again warned the Atlantic Council: “I agree with the intelligence community that we assess that they [North Koreans] have the ability, they have the weapons, and they have the ability to miniaturize those weapons, and they have the ability to put them on a rocket that can range the [U.S.] homeland.”
In February and March of 2015, former senior national security officials of the Reagan and Clinton administrations warned that North Korea should be regarded as capable of delivering by satellite a small nuclear warhead, specially designed to make a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack against the United States. According to the Congressional EMP Commission, a single warhead delivered by North Korean satellite could blackout the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for over a year—killing 9 of 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse.
Two North Korean satellites, the KMS-3 and KMS-4, presently orbit over the U.S. on trajectories consistent with surprise EMP attack.
Why do the press and public officials ignore or under-report these facts? Perhaps no administration wants to acknowledge that North Korea is an existential threat on their watch.
2)  Can Trump Fix Government by Running It Like a Business?

Past administrations have attempted reform by taking cues from the private sector with mixed results. It might be even harder for a White House that lacks experience in government to achieve success.

Donald Trump is taking steps to make the government more like the private sector. Past administrations have tried similar exercises in reform with mixed results, however, and it might be harder for a White House with relatively little governing experience to make improvements to the sprawling federal bureaucracy.

On the campaign trail, Trump pointed to his business record in promising  to fix government. On Monday, the White House unveiled an Office of American Innovation, which will make recommendations to improve government based on private sector consultation.

An early start may signal the administration plans to prioritize the effort, though it’s hard to tell what kind of follow-through it will devote to the project, what recommendations the office will devise, and whether any will actually be implemented. The office will be led by Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, who does not have prior experience in government, and whose portfolio now includes everything from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the opioid crisis.

“It takes a long time to really improve government, there aren’t quick fixes, so you have to start right away,” said Max Stier, the president of the Partnership for Public Service, a good government non-profit. “It’s also important that you have buy-in from the highest levels of government.”

There’s a long history of presidential administrations looking to the private sector for advice on how to fix government—as well as examples of those efforts amounting to little more than unrealized recommendations. In 1982, Ronald Reagan established the Grace Commission, led by businessman J. Peter Grace, which resulted in a set of recommendations to rid government of waste and inefficiency. “Some recommendations were adopted,” according to a report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service. But “the most significant recommendations required congressional action and were not implemented.”

Other administrations have attempted to improve government by modernizing it, a goal the Trump administration is also promising to achieve. According to a Elaine Kamarck, an aide to President Bill Clinton who helped implement a reform project known as the National Performance Review, and later re-named the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, the NPR helped bring the federal government into “the Internet Age.” It launched “the federal government’s first, comprehensive web portal,” Kamarck told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2013, which was designed to “offer citizens one stop access to government information.”

The Obama administration also focused on modernization as part of its own government reform agenda, including an effort to update information technology.

Shrinking the size of government, and cutting costs, has been another target of past administrations echoed by the Trump White House, which released an executive order aimed at eliminating redundancy in the federal government. During his first year in office, George W. Bush outlined a call for reform rooted in a “market-based” approach, and announced a “Management Agenda,” which the administration billed as “an aggressive strategy for improving management of the federal government.” As part of that, the Bush
administration saved taxpayers roughly $7 billion by encouraging public-private sector competition, according to a 2008 assessment published in the Public Administration Review.

The Clinton administration's reforms also resulted in a cost-savings in the billions of dollars, according to the IBM Center for the Business of Government and Partnership for Public Service report, and included scaling back the size of the federal workforce.

It can be hard to predict how a massive federal bureaucracy will respond to efforts to change it, however. And it may be difficult to avoid unforeseen repercussions. Job cuts under the Clinton administration created “unintended consequences, such as weakening the acquisition workforce and diminishing the expertise and capacity of professionals in federal human resources and other management rules,” according to the IBM Center for the Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service.

The Trump administration might face a unique set of challenges if the people tasked with recommending and carrying out reforms lack expertise in actually running government. A press release describing the so-called innovation office says that recommendations will be developed “with career staff along with private-sector and other external thought leaders.”

“The concern would be that relying on business people to make recommendations and fixes might not work as well as relying on public administration experts,” said Rob Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. “The federal bureaucracy is complicated, and you need to address these issues with people who actually understand public administration. Otherwise it would be kind of like taking a governor and asking him to go in and advise General Motors on how to run their business.”

Kamarck made a similar argument, writing earlier this week that “a real government-reform effort must be led by people with in-depth knowledge of the government itself. Otherwise, it will simply be another initiative that is forgotten almost as soon as it is announced.”

Part of the challenge of government reform is when it works well, it often fails to generate much attention or praise, potentially diminishing the incentive for government officials to prioritize reform in the first place. A breakdown in government operations, however, does have the potential to generate significant negative publicity, a lesson President Obama’s administration learned during the botched roll out of the website in 2013. “Most presidents focus attention on policy and often fail to understand that won’t mean much if you can’t make it operational,” Stier said.

It’s too early to judge how this latest effort  might turn out. But unless the administration makes a substantial effort to tap existing governmental expertise, it’s hard to see how this latest attempt at reform could succeed.

Jim Webb knows fighting, which is what the US Naval Academy is supposed to be about. But perhaps no longer.

Webb, a member of the Annapolis class of ’68, brought a Navy Cross, a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts home with him from Vietnam, among other decorations. That was just the beginning.
His Marine Corps career cut short by war wounds, Webb continued his service to America both as secretary of the Navy and as US senator from Virginia. And he authored 10 books — among them a riveting novel of combat in Southeast Asia and a history of the enduringly pugnacious Scots-Irish in America, “Born Fighting.”
Webb, himself Scots-Irish, has been a fighter all his life. But this week, he took a knee — understandably but regrettably surrendering to the know-nothingism that has been choking off reasoned political discourse on college campuses and elsewhere across the country for far too long.
Think of it as Jim Webb vs. the hecklers’ veto — and the hecklers won.
Webb was to have been honored Friday as a “distinguished graduate” by the Naval Academy Alumni Association, but withdrew Tuesday evening: “I am being told that my presence at the ceremony would likely mar the otherwise celebratory nature of that special day. As a consequence, I find it necessary to decline the award.”
Better he should have spit in somebody’s eye — but once an officer and a gentleman, always an officer and a gentleman, one supposes.

At issue was a paper he wrote in 1979 objecting to the admission of women to the nation’s military academies on the even-then-unfashionable, but still-not-unreasonable, grounds that assignment of women to front line combat roles is at best disruptive, and at worst dangerous. Perhaps lethally so.
Webb could have been dead wrong about all of it, of course, even if 40 years of experience with gender integration strongly indicates otherwise. The Navy’s ongoing shipboard pregnancy epidemic and the difficulty most women have coping with traditional infantry-training standards suggests that the debate is far from settled.
Unless dissent can be beaten into the ground, of course — along with those who refuse to accept that political equity can trump basic biology without serious consequences.
Webb demurred early on, and it’s hard to imagine someone with greater personal standing to do so. Now he’s paying a price, if a small one — another plaque for the wall — and certainly he’ll survive.
But it’s not clear that such can be said with certainty about honorable military service in defense of fundamental principles. Not over the long haul.
If graduates of the Naval Academy are prepared to behave like Middlebury College undergrads over a 38-year-old theoretical text — over an idea! — what is there to be said of the individual military officer’s solemn pledge to preserve and protect the Constitution?
And if the Naval Academy itself acquiesces in a heckler’s veto — actively or inferentially — then what is to be said of the institution’s own commitment to the high standards it claims to demand of its students? Plenty — but nothing good.
More officers will take the oath seriously than not, of course. That the women-in-combat discussion has persisted for decades is testimony to the fact that principled officers continue to resist endangering young soldiers, sailors and Marines in pursuit of politically driven social goals.
And to be clear, women have served with honor and distinction for decades, sometimes with grievous personal consequences. The nation needs to recognize that without caveat or qualification.
But, again, what happened to Jim Webb is not about women in the military. It’s about whether the virus that has swept America’s campuses — political activism of the sort meant to disrupt and coerce — is now working its way into the armed forces. This would be no small thing.
Anyway, somebody needs to apologize to Jim Webb. If anyone ever earned the right to be wrong, it’s him. And the thing is, he may have been right.
Let the discussion continue.

Bob McManus is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal

Evelyn Farkas Comes Clean? Democrats Support anti-Israel Crowd Led By Franken. Avi Offers Fishing Advice. Cyber Commentary.

Just as I always thought:

SHOCK – Former Obama Aid COMES CLEAN On National TV On Spying On Trump 

Obama aide says Live on MSNBC she helped spy on Trump. These Democrats were so frickin’ arrogant, sloppy because they honestly believed that Hillary Clinton would automatically win.

None of these people thought that their crimes would be exposed. Boy. Were they wrong…

Meet Evelyn Farkas, an advisor to the Clinton campaign the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under Obama. On MSNBC she confessed the following:

  1. She helped spy on Trump for Obama before he left the White House.
  2. Trump, not Russians, were the targets of surveillance
  3. She was concerned about hiding their methods from Trump
  4. She encouraged leaks because she was “worried” about Russians
  5. “People on the Hill” (Congress) knew about Obama’s spy plot
The Democrats have got to be squirming as they try and get out of this “Worse-than-Watergate” scandal.
Liberals seriously think that Obama didn’t have any scandals but their world is slowly falling apart. It’s hard to believe that Democrats live in such a bubble. 


The Democrats come out of hiding and support the anti-Israel crowd and Sen. Franken leads the parade. (See 1 below.)
Cair, Alinsky and The Muslim Brotherhood:All linked at the hips. (See 2 below..)
More Cyber commentary. (See 3 and 3a below.)
Hanson on Russia. (See 4 below.)
Mass. Legislator helps illegals escape from ICE.We have really become a nation with some warped and bizarre minds. (See 5 below.)
My dear friend Avi Jorisch offers some fishing advice. (See 6 below.)



Democrats dive into the anti-Israel swamp.

By Daniel Greenfield

On March 23, 2017, Senators had a simple choice to make. On one side was J Street; an anti-Israel pressure group that had hosted BDS activists and opposed Israel’s right to defend itself. On the other was Ambassador David Friedman, the first pro-Israel nominee in decades.
And the choice was made.
Every Democrat chose to stand with J Street with only two exceptions; Senator Robert Menendez, the last pro-national defense Democrat, and Senator Manchin.
There could hardly be a better demonstration of the descent into the fever swamps of anti-Israel politics then their decision to stand with an anti-Israel hate group whose Muslim-led student arm is waging war on campuses against the Zionist “occupation”.
Senator Schatz, who weaseled his way into his office when the Governor of Hawaii decided to appoint his minion to the job, was first in line. Schatz sniveled that Republicans had come out against Obama’s Iran deal which provided billions to terrorists. Schatz spent 5 minutes lying like a rug. Then he accused Ambassador Friedman of not being “objective” about whether Islamic terrorists destroy Israel or not.
“I take a back seat to no one in my personal and professional passion for the United States-Israel relationship,” he whined. There isn’t a seat far back enough on the longest bus in the world.
Schatz is backed by J Street. The Anti-Israel group’s PAC actively fundraised for him. It even solicited volunteers for him. J Street PAC was No. 2 in Schatz’s top 5 contributors. Brian Schatz sold his hardly used soul for a low six figures. And George Soros probably overpaid for a worthless product.
But Schatz rewarded the anti-Israel group with his undying loyalty. He joined the boycott of Netanyahu’s speech and vocally backed the deal that protects Iran’s nuclear program and pours billions into its terrorist machine. While Schatz bemoaned Ambassador Friedman’s criticism of the anti-Israel group that owned him, he did not utter its name. “J Street”, like Rumpelstiltskin or Voldemort, could not be voiced.
Next up was Senator Udall of New Mexico. Politics is the Udall family business. Udall’s father and uncle were congressmen. His cousin was a senator. J Street’s cash made it Udall’s third biggest donor. Udall was the second biggest recipient of J Street checks in the ’14 election cycle.
$157,310. That was what Udall got from the anti-Israel lobby.  Now it was time for him to dance for J Street’s dirty money.
And dance, he did.
Udall, who had voted to confirm numerous Obama ambassadors whose only qualifications had been their six figure checks, bemoaned Friedman’s lack of “diplomatic experience”.  But he had voted for a soap opera producer who couldn’t name a strategic interest in Hungary as ambassador to Hungary.
The other Senator from J Street sputtered that Jews living in “settlements” on territory claimed by Islamic terrorists were an “obstacle to peace.” And then Udall did what Schatz had been too cowardly to do. The puppet named the puppeteer. The slave spoke the name of his master on the Senate floor.
“Most horrific, he said: J-Street supporters . . . are far worse than kapos,” Udall blithered.
Above all else a man who criticized Udall’s paymasters could not be tolerated. Why not? Because J Street signs the checks. And if J Street’s haters are kapos, what does that make him?
But then it was time to send in the clown. Next up in J Street’s batting order was the Senator from Saturday Night Live. Senator Franken had received no money from J Street. Not a penny. And he’s up for reelection in 2020. Minnesota’s second biggest joke on America was left-wing enough for J Street money. He was anti-Israel enough for J Street money. And doggone it, J Street ought to like him.
Schatz and Udall were bought and paid for by J Street. Al Franken was auditioning for cash. It was hard to know which of them was sadder and more despicable. Schatz and Udall were kept men of the anti-Israel lobby. Franken was flagging down Jeremy Ben-Ami's car in a trench coat and offering his services.
Franken had moved from comedy to politics because he was only unintentionally funny. The author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them lectured that, "Diplomacy means not resorting to insults and to name-calling when you have a disagreement."
And Ambassador Friedman had insulted the nice men and women whom Franken hoped would write him a nice big check so he could go on being Senator Franken instead of having to play Stuart Smalley on a nostalgia cruise where he would be sharing equal billing with Legionnaire’s Disease.
“Mr. Friedman,” Franken lisped, “called supporters of the American Jewish Organization J Street ’far worse than kapos.’''Schatz and Udall had been satisfied with noting the grave insult to their paymaster and moving on. But Franken was auditioning and so he went all out singing the praises of J Street
"J Street is a pro-Israel organization dedicated to the two-state solution," Franken flattered. Insulting J Street members was a "calumny” and should be a "disqualifier". It was "profoundly insensitive". If J Street doesn’t send Franken a check after this, its terrorist supporters have hearts like stones.
"Mr. Friedman's offensive remarks don't stop there," Senator Franken huffed. "He even called me a clown and a moron."
There’s no doubt that Ambassador Friedman’s remarks were deeply offensive to clowns and morons. The clown and moron community deserves an apology for being compared to Senator Franken.
But why did Friedman call Franken a clown and a moron? It was over Franken’s attacks on a Trump ad critical of George Soros. Soros helped fund J Street.
After Franken had made his appeal for J Street money, it was back to those senators lucky enough to already be riding the anti-Israel lobby’s gravy train.
Senator Leahy (J Street PAC - $44,588) got up to denounce the insult to J Street without actually naming his 3rdbiggest donor. “We all want what is best for the American people,” he sniveled.
Leahy’s definition of the “American people” is a left-wing Hungarian billionaire.
Senator Van Hollen (J Street PAC - $66,506) took a more unique approach by objecting to Friedman’s description of our Islamic “allies” as “cowards”, “hypocrites” and “freeloaders”. It could just as easily have been a description of Van Hollen and his cowardly, hypocritical, freeloading colleagues.
And then it was finally over. Every Democrat, but one, who had spoken against Friedman, was owned by J Street. And every Democrat, but two voted for J Street. And why not? It’s good money.
Senator Schumer betrayed his Jewish constituents. He sided with J Street. So did Senator Cardin. So did almost all of the rest. But this was what the Dems had become.
The contentious vote to confirm an ambassador is highly unusual.
Senate Dems had no objection when Obama sold the ambassadorships of the UK, Japan, France, Canada, Italy and Germany to the highest bidder. ($3.5 mil for the UK, $2.5 mil France, $2 mil Japan, $1.7 mil Switzerland, $1.5 mil Belgium, Canada $1 mil and Germany $1.5 mil.)
Obama appointed his campaign finance manager, John Kerry’s cousin, married to the heiress of the Jack Daniel’s liquor empire, ambassador to the UK. The Senate confirmed him by unanimous consent. The wife of the former CEO of eBay, who kicked in $2 mil, was named Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council.  He made a soap opera producer who raised over $500K, the ambassador to Hungary and the producer of Dr. Dolittle 2, who raised millions for him, the ambassador to Denmark.
This grotesque parade of hideous corruption was approved with unanimous consent when in a more honest time everyone involved in this would be sitting under spotlights in an interrogation room.
Senator McCain put up a fight over the soap opera ambassador. McCain asked her, “What are our strategic interests in Hungary?” The Bold and the Beautiful producer spewed gibberish. The vote came to the Senate floor. The Democrats who voted against Friedman voted for her. Franken, Schumer, Gillibrand, Udall, Schatz; the whole miserable gang of liars, scoundrels and hypocrites.
But it’s not our Ambassador to Hungary who matters, but the Hungarian who owns the Democrats.
Senate Dems ought to be made to answer why the choice of Ambassador to Israel should be determined by an anti-Israel pressure group funded by George Soros, a Hungarian billionaire who described his role in the Holocaust as “the most exciting time of my life”, and Consolacion Esdicul who works for a Hong Kong gambler? They ought to be made to answer why they stand with Soros and the PLO over Israel.
2) U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and Saul Alinsky: A Match Made in America
By  Center for Security Policy, CSP Staff

In September 2015, the Center for Security Policy (CSP) published Star Spangled Shariah: The Rise of America’s First Muslim Brotherhood Party. Warnings issued then have since been confirmed, specifically, that the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), while deceptively cloaked in red, white, and blue, is simply the leading edge of the Islamic Movement in this country.
In pursuit of Civilization Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood’s information operations – including many tactics learned directly from the KGB – have enabled this organization to insinuate itself gradually into a position from which it can assault the pillars of our society. These include: academia, the U.S. judicial system, faith groups, all levels of government, the media, intelligence and security agencies, and our refugee resettlement and other immigration processes. As will be shown here, a development not new but recently uncovered reveals that USCMO Secretary General Ousamma Jammal is directly connected to Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a Marxist-Leninist organization dedicated to revolution in America.
In his Brotherhood/USCMO leadership role, Jammal has a well-established track record of political activism and success at developing strategic relationships for the benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood including with members of the U.S. government. In the ‘About Us’ section on the USCMO website, the third prong of the USCMO Mission Statement declares the necessity “to create and sustain an urgent, collective sense of direction that well-serves the American Muslim community toward the betterment and guidance of our nation.” What the USCMO fails to share with the American people is the USCMO’s commitment to the establishment of Islamic Law (shariah) in place of the U.S. Constitution.
It’s long been known that the USCMO is openly allied with far-left racist and revolutionary movements like Black Lives Matter. Recall that, in March 2016, the Center released a video which highlighted the statements of Muslim Brotherhood leaders that should be chilling to Americans who cherish the Constitution and oppose the expansion of shariah. That video showed top USCMO leadership figure, Nihad Awad (also the Executive Director of HAMAS USA dba the Council on American Islamic Relations or CAIR), explicitly aligning the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Muslim Brotherhood alignment with the overall Red-Green Axis demonstrates the genuine aims of jihadis in suits: undermining the U.S. Constitution and national security through the global Islamic Movement.
In CSP’s Civilization Jihad Reader series publication, The Red-Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration, and the Agenda to Erase America, author James Simpson provides several crucial data points that hint at the Brotherhood’s other, Marxist-Leninist, affiliations.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the grant making vehicle of the USCCB. It was founded in Chicago in 1969 with the help of radical organizer Saul Alinsky specifically to fund Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).
CCHD has been a radical leftist funding vehicle ever since, giving millions to ACORN, the radical training school, Midwest Academy and others. IAF receives the largest percentage of CCHD grants of any CCHD grantee.
In a Metro Industrial Areas Foundation action memo dated 20 November 2016 and published by member organization ‘Dupage United’ on 9 December 2016, USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal is listed among the leadership. The …And Take Counsel section on the USCMO website states, “When we speak with one clear, communal voice, our advice can help true the direction of American society toward justice.” It must be understood, however that within Islam, the word ‘justice’ means ‘shariah’ and only shariah. Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood version of social justice is not intended as benevolence towards non-Muslims; quite to the contrary. Rather, in true Saul Alinsky form, the aim of the Red-Green Axis is anarchy intended to collapse the U.S. system of Constitutional law and order.
Jammal is fully cognizant that the Muslim Brotherhood’s manipulation of progressive leftist social justice entities aligned with the Red-Green Axis is strategic for the advancement of the settlement process. The Muslim Brotherhood has both co-opted the interfaith religious dialogue movement and mastered the operational mechanics of the political process in the U.S. to advance Islam’s shariah objectives. That Jammal works so closely with IAF leadership should be a red flag warning and belies what the USCMO shares with non-Muslims when it says: “Our well-deliberated and sincerely expressed words for the benefit of the nation can fortify attitudes that propagate harmony between people and institutionalize policies that spread prosperity to all.”
This revelation, that the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood works directly with the Marxist-Leninist Alinsky-founded IAF at the highest levels, lends yet additional substance to the overall Red-Green Axis, whose seemingly disparate elements nevertheless have been collaborating to bring down this Republic for some time. Forthcoming CSP publications will delve even further into the Brotherhood-IAF connection.

Author: Moisés Naím   

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” This 19th-century quip, often attributed to the satirist Ambrose Bierce, deserves a 21st-century update: “Attacks against the U.S. are God’s way of teaching Americans how weaker enemies are stronger than they seem.”
Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are the paradigmatic examples of this. On September 11, 2001, they gave Americans, along with the rest of the world, a lesson in “asymmetric warfare”—armed conflict between two sides whose relative military power differs significantly, and in which one party can gain advantage by targeting the other one’s weak points.
In that case, 19 suicidal terrorists armed with box cutters gained control of three commercial jetliners and used them to strike some of the most sensitive and symbolic targets of the most powerful and technologically advanced nation in the world. Al-Qaeda spent an estimated $500,000 on the attacks, which killed almost 3,000 people and cost hundreds of billions of dollars in material losses. The reactions that followed were even larger and more consequential than the attacks themselves: The United States launched what is to date its longest war ever (in Afghanistan), and its third-longest (in Iraq), at the estimated combined cost of $3 trillion to $5 trillion. Moreover, the geopolitical disruptions from all these events are still shaping today’s world.
If Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda taught a new generation of Americans about kinetic asymmetric war, WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have taught them about cyber asymmetric war. While the first relies on physical violence to kill people, destroy buildings, and disable critical infrastructure, the second uses the internet and other cyber tools, which can cause not only physical damage but also weaken the institutions that are critical for the functioning of a democratic government.
When Leon Panetta, then the U.S. secretary of defense, warned in 2012 about the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” he envisioned physical calamity like hackers causing train derailments or contaminating the water supply. Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, involving what U.S. intelligence believes were Kremlin-directed hacks and leaks of emails damaging to the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, differed from this vision. It represented a political cyber-Pearl Harbor.
And that cyber confrontation was asymmetrical, not because America was at a technological disadvantage (the U.S. is among the world’s leaders in the technologies needed to wage cyberwars), but because Russia was able to exploit the weak points of America as a democracy.
What made America uniquely susceptible to the attack from an authoritarian Russia is emblematic of what makes other democracies particularly vulnerable, relative to their authoritarian counterparts, to political cyberattack. For one thing, the 2016 election attack targeted the democratic process itself. In the words of the intelligence community’s January 2017 report on the incident, the hacks and leaks worked to “undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” They aimed to take advantage of the free flow of information in a democratic society, the affect of that information on public opinion, and the electoral mechanisms through which public opinion determines a country’s leadership. (The assessment did not allege cyberattacks on voting machines, nor assess the actual impact Russian meddling might have had on the final outcome.)
If, on the other hand, a hacker leaked damaging information about Vladimir Putin, there are various obstacles in the way of its having an electoral effect. Restrictions on the media in Russia could prevent the information from circulating widely. Even if it did manage to attract publicity and sway public opinion, what then? Putin has tight control over the country’s electoral apparatus, meaning that a voting citizenry inclined to punish him for leaked evidence of misdeeds has no real mechanism to do so. The Panama Papers leaks of spring 2016, which resulted from the alleged hack of a law firm specializing in offshore banking, help illustrate the point. Though they exposed shady financial dealings within Putin’s inner circle, the Russian media covered them in a way favorable to Putin. The leaks made virtually no dent in his popularity.
And if democratic politicians are more vulnerable to the effects of leaks, democracies are also more likely to produce leakers to begin with. The legal protections individuals enjoy in the democratic states make it hard to deter this type of behavior—though as illustrated by the case of Chelsea Manning, who provided classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, leakers can be prosecuted and jailed. (Edward Snowden, who leaked classified details of government surveillance programs to journalists, fled the U.S. before he could face prosecution.) But the cost of leaking in an autocratic society like Russia, where political opponents of Putin have been known to wind up dead, could be far higher, obviously posing a major disincentive.
Democracies, too, have used cyberattacks against non-democratic states. Perhaps the best known example is the use of StuxNet, the successful attack, most likely by the United States and Israel, involving a malicious computer worm that sabotaged an element of Iran’s nuclear program. Other countries with similar capabilities could be stealthily using them against their rivals. As a member of former President Barack Obama’s council of advisers on science and technology told me: “The internet is now fully weaponized.”
But, so far, the main political victims of cyberattackers have been leaders and public figures in democratic countries—especially the United States. And the United States is not the only democracy vulnerable to political cyberattacks. One of the conclusions of the intelligence community’s report on the 2016 election hacks points to a much broader implication: “We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies and their election processes.”
With elections coming up in several European countries, the Kremlin might turn its attention to influencing outcomes that would benefit its national interests. From bolstering populist candidates who have vowed to leave the EU, to encouraging skepticism of NATO by global leaders (most notable, so far, being President Trump), to supporting candidates who would ease the economic sanctions imposed on Russia for its actions in Crimea, there are numerous incentives for Putin to interfere, and numerous ways in which he could do so. Indeed, Russian cyber meddling was longstanding practice in Europe before 2016, and France, Germany, and the Netherlands are facing cyberattacks ahead of their elections this year.
The question is: Why haven’t Western democracies made the necessary reforms to adapt to the threat? Why have they let countries like Russia get the upper hand, not in capabilities, but in practice? One answer is that democracies, by their very nature, hinge on checks and balances that limit the concentration of power and slow down governmental decisionmaking. While all bureaucracies, including those of authoritarian regimes, are slow-moving, Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping surely are less encumbered by their laws and institutional constrains than their democratic counterparts.
Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 unleashed a massive American reaction. It remains to be seen what the reaction to America’s political cyber-Pearl Harbor will be—if any.

The Soviet Union never attacked America as blatantly as Putin has — and we're in danger of losing democracy. Conventional wisdom inside the Beltway is understandably hesitant to embrace these terms, but it should be obvious to anyone following along that Russia declared war on the United States last year, and it’s a war that continues to be waged today.
Unlike hot proxy wars of the past in faraway places like Vietnam or Afghanistan, and certainly unlike the Cold War in which the Soviet Union and the United States aimed thousands of weapons of mass destruction at each other’s population centers and other strategic targets but never fired a shot, this is perhaps the first time in modern history that Russia has directly attacked the United States — on American soil no less and precision aimed at what matters most: the very integrity of our democratic process.
The other obvious and breathtaking angle to this story, which few are discussing, is exactly how and why Russia’s sustained attack on the U.S. has been so successful. We’ve barely begun to acknowledge that millions of our own people, millions of American voters on both sides of the aisle (but predominantly the conservative side, given the outcome), were manipulated into acting as unwitting foot soldiers for Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
There are dozens of reasons why Putin’s cyberwar strategy has been so successful, but it was with infuriating ease that tens of millions of Americans were suckered by Putin’s plot and acted in accordance with it. The autocratic Russian president, his oligarch allies and his intelligence services, including the Federal Security Service (or FSB) and the GRU, recognized an emerging perfect storm in America that included a convergence of the following:
1. A distrust in institutions and the news media.
2. The emergence of almost universal social-media usage.
3. The willingness to repeat outrageous rumors or fake news to help boost personal social-media branding.
4. Political polarization and the accompanying emergence of information bubbles, confirmation bias and echo chambers.
5. The metastasizing of the post-Watergate misconception that anyone can or should be president, leading to the candidacy of a reality-show celebrity named Trump. (Today’s folksy “have a beer” qualification nearly supersedes other qualifications.)
The ingenuity of Putin’s war against democracy is that he was able to successfully exploit these five characteristics of our discourse in order to turn our own people against us. Let’s be clear: Americans are deeply vulnerable to digital manipulation and weaponized social-media hoaxes. Putin observed the desperately weakened condition of our discourse through the lens of a seasoned KGB veteran; he viewed it all as exploitable weakness and subsequently recruited malicious hackers linked to the Russian intelligence community, which acts with relatively significant impunity compared to its U.S. counterpart. With the apparent support of WikiLeaks and quite likely Donald Trump’s inner circle as well, Putin injected countless volumes of disinformation into our virtual bloodstream.
From there, Putin’s entire gambit could have fallen apart. An informed and conscientious society would generally recognize agitprop and disinformation as it scrolls across its smartphones and computer screens. Sadly, we’re no longer a conscientious or informed society. We believe what we choose to believe, based not on evidence or peer-reviewed facts, but on ideology and whether the information we encounter conforms to the rules of a particular team. We’ve also decided that each of us is an expert in everything. (We’re definitely not.) In other words, if your team wants to believe John Podesta ran a sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington pizzeria, then presenting falsified evidence of such a thing will be greeted with enthusiasm and the currency of the modern age: follows, “likes”, shares and retweets.
The blind acceptance of Russian propaganda, because it happened to include “facts” that some of us were starved to read, is what turned otherwise decent though gullible Americans into Putin’s infantry, virally blitzing the Kremlin’s message through the trenches of the political internet, attacking and converting more voters with zombie lies. Trench by trench, Facebook group by Facebook group, Americans executed Putin’s attacks for him.
The hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Podesta files aside, the effort to trick Americans into being recruited as Russian cyber-soldiers began by turning Democrats who supported Bernie Sanders against the predicted front-runner, Hillary Clinton. Using “bots” and human resources, Putin lobbed fake news and ridiculous conspiracy theories into social media. Voters who were predisposed to distrust Clinton willingly shared these stories, poisoning everyone who inexplicably wanted to be poisoned. It was textbook “divide and conquer” — split the enemy lines and turn their own cannon into the exposed flanks.
Once the presumptive nominee was decided, the same process was employed to boost the prospects of the Republican candidate, Trump. We’ve learned recently that Russia-based bots were deployed strategically at times when Trump’s polling numbers diminished, boosting Trump when he needed it the most. This happened on top of what was already underway: more weaponized fake news and hacked documents tweaking American voyeurism and predisposition to see conspiracies where they don’t exist — that were perhaps released in direct coordination with the Trump campaign. Consequently, a deeply flawed Republican nominee with a list of scandals that would have crushed any other candidate was able to slide into the White House by way of the most freakish, alternative-reality election night since 2000.
Knowing what we know now, it’s no longer a stretch to report that Trump was placed in office by Putin. But it only happened because millions of Americans unknowingly volunteered to serve as enemy combatants, undermining and betraying their own country and their own democratic elections. Make no mistake: Putin’s attack was less about electing Donald Trump and more about turning Americans against America. Whether you were suckered by Putin or voted for Trump based on fake news, we all suffer from a skewed view of U.S. elections today. We’re all more suspicious about whether our elections are on the level, and we should be. Putin’s goal was to goad us into asking the perpetual question: How can we possibly trust the outcomes of future elections knowing that Russia preselected our president years ago and then set about guaranteeing that outcome by turning our people against us?
This is the next colossal problem to solve. Once we weed out Putin’s quislings inside the White House, we have no choice but to pursue a far greater task: re-establishing the integrity of our elections while re-establishing facts and reality as the basis for our decisions. There are too many of us who sadly and disturbingly can’t tell the difference between foreign propaganda — fake news — and legitimate news. This has to change or else Putin will have won, and democracy as we know it will cease to exist.
4) The Russian Farce
by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
Remember when Obama and Hillary cozied up to Putin? And recall when the media rejoiced at surveillance leaks about Team Trump?
The American Left used to lecture the nation about its supposedly paranoid suspicions of Russia. The World War II alliance with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union had led many leftists to envision a continuing post-war friendship with Russia.
During the subsequent Cold War, American liberals felt that the Right had unnecessarily become paranoid about Soviet Russia, logically culminating in the career of the demagogic Senator Joe McCarthy. Later, in movies such as Seven Days in May, Doctor Strangelove, and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, Hollywood focused on American neuroses as much as Russian hostility for strained relations.
In the great chess rivalry of 1972 known as “The Match of the Century,” American liberals favored Russian grandmaster Boris Spassky over fellow countryman Bobby Fischer, who embarrassed them by winning.
In the same manner, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was often portrayed in the media as the urbane, suave, and reasonable conciliator, while President Ronald Reagan was depicted as the uncouth disrupter of what could have been improved Russian–American relations.
Senator Ted Kennedy reportedly reached out to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in 1984 to gain his help in denying Reagan his reelection.

In sum, the American Left always felt that Russia was unduly demonized by the American Right and was a natural friend, if not potential ally, of the United States. That tradition no doubt influenced the decision of the incoming Obama administration to immediately reach out to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, despite is recent aggressions in Georgia and steady crackdown on internal dissent, and despite Russia’s estrangement from the prior Bush administration.
Obama’s Entreaty to the Russians
In March 2012, in a meeting with President Dimitri Medvedev of Russia, President Barack Obama thought his microphone was either off or could not pick up the eerie assurances that he gave the Russian president:
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [Vladimir Putin] to give me space.”
Medvedev answered: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you . . . ” Obama agreed and elaborated, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” Medvedev finished the hot-mic conversation with, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”
A fair interpretation of this stealthy conversation would run as follows:
Barack Obama naturally wanted to continue a fourth year of his reset and outreach to Vladimir Putin, the same way that he was reaching out to other former American enemies such as the Iranians and the Cubans. Yet Obama was uneasy that his opponent, Mitt Romney, might attack him during his reelection campaign as an appeaser of Putin. Thus, to preempt any such attack, Obama might be forced to appear less flexible (offer less “space”) toward Putin than he otherwise would be in a non-election year. In other words, he couldn’t publicly assure Putin that he would be “flexible” about implementing missile defense in Eastern Europe (“all these issues”) until after he was reelected.
An apprehensive Obama, in his hot-mic moment, was signaling that after his anticipated victory, he would revert to his earlier reset with Putin. And most significantly, Obama wished Putin to appreciate in advance the motives for Obama’s campaign-year behavior. Or he at least hoped that Putin would not embarrass him by making international moves that would reflect poorly on Obama’s reset policy.
Furthermore, Obama did not want his implicit quid pro quo proposal to become part of the public record. Had it been public, it might have been interpreted as a message to Putin that he should empathize with Obama’s plight — and that he should interfere with the American election by behaving in a way that would empower Obama’s candidacy rather than detract from it.
In the present hysterical climate, substitute the name Trump for Obama, and we would be hearing Democratic demands for impeachment on grounds that Trump was caught secretly whispering to the Russians about compromising vital national-security issues in a quid pro quo meant to affect the outcome of the 2012 election.
The Architects of Russian Outreach
The Obama administration came up with a reset–soft-glove approach to Vladimir’s Russia, characterized by Secretary Hillary Clinton’s heralded pushing of the red plastic button on March 6, 2009, in Geneva. Reset was couched in overt criticism of George W. Bush, who had supposedly alienated Putin by reacting too harshly (like a typical cowboy) to Russia’s aggression in Georgia.
Over the next few years, the reset policy consisted of, among other things, backtracking on previously agreed-on missile-defense plans in Eastern Europe. In the second presidential debate of 2012, Obama portrayed Romney as being too tough on Russia, to the point of delusion:
A few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaeda. You said Russia. In the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.
The Obama administration invited Russia into the Middle East for the first time in nearly a half-century to help Obama back off from his own redline threats to attack Syria if evidence of WMD usage appeared. Moreover, after the Crimea and eastern Ukraine aggressions, the perception in most of the Western world was that the U.S. was not sufficiently tough with Putin, largely because of its commitment to a prior (though failed) outreach.
So what ended this one-sided reset in 2016?
The estrangement certainly did not coincide entirely with Putin’s aggressions on Russia’s borders. Nor were Democrats inordinately angry with Putin when he bombed non-al-Qaeda Syrian resistance fighters.
Rather, Democrats’ split with Putin grew from the perception that hackers had easily entered the porous e-mail account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign guru John Podesta and released his messages to WikiLeaks. This led to general embarrassment for Hillary and the Democrats — and they floated the theory that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange were taking orders from Putin or at least operating with the encouragement of the Kremlin’s intelligence services.
Hating Hillary?
After the WikiLeaks mess, the image of Putin was reset again, and now he was said to have ordered the hacking because he hated Hillary Clinton and indeed the Obama administration in general.
That was a bizarre indictment. If Putin were really a conniving realist, he would have much preferred Hillary in the 2016 election — given his success in manipulating the Obama-era reset.
Unlike Trump, Clinton would probably have kept the radical Obama defense cuts and perpetuated the restrictions on domestic energy development that were helping Russia. She probably would have likewise continued Obama’s therapeutic approach to foreign policy.
From Russia’s point of view, considering their strategic and economic interests, a pliable Obama 2.0 would have been far better than Trump, with his pro-oil-and-gas domestic agenda, his promised defense buildup, and his unpredictable Jacksonian promises to help friends and hurt enemies.
Squaring the Surveillance Circle
The entire Trump-collusion-with-Russia narrative has now descended into incoherence.
For five months, dating back to the heated final stretch of the 2016 election, mainstream media — in particular Obama-administration pet reporters at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC — ran creepy and occasionally near-obscene stories about “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russians. These published rumors were based on “unnamed sources” often identified generically as American intelligence officers inside the FBI, CIA, and NSA.
Soon that narrative went from ominous to hysterical — but only once Hillary inexplicably lost the election. The anonymous allegations of collusion were used to convict the Trump circle of a veritable pre-election partnership with the Russians. The collusion was to be followed, the story went, with a new reset with Putin — this time born not out of naïveté but of lucre and near treason.
We forget that the Democrats’ narratives of the purported Trump collusion also radically changed to meet changing circumstances.
Before the election, a sure and poor-loser Trump was pathetically cheating with the Russians to stop the fated winner Clinton.
Then, in the post-election shock and transition, the Russian-interference storyline was repackaged as an excuse for the poorly conducted Clinton campaign that had blown a supposedly big lead and sure victory. “The Russians did it” was preferable to blaming Hillary for not visiting Wisconsin once.
Finally, Trump’s Russian connection served as a useful tool to delegitimize an abhorrent incoming Trump administration. And the delegitimizing was made easier by Obama’s eleventh-hour order, days before his departure, to expand the list of federal officials who would have access to sensitive intelligence and surveillance transcripts.
But all such accusations of Trump-Russian complicity, based on admitted leaks from intelligence agencies, required some sort of hard evidence: leaked transcripts of Trump officials clearly outlining shared strategies with the Russians, hard proof of Russian electronic tampering in key swing states, doctored e-mails planted in the Podesta WikiLeaks trove, travel records of Trump people in clandestine meetings with Russian counterparts, or bank records showing cash payoffs.
Yet a hostile media, in collusion with intelligence-agency leakers, has so far provided no such proof. John Podesta had as much invested in Russian profiteering as did former Trump aides. Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation had as many financial dealings with pro-Russian interests as did Trump people. The ubiquitous Russian ambassador had met as many Democratic grandees as he had Trump associates
The lack so far of hard proof gradually created a boomerang effect. Attention turned away from what “unnamed sources” had alleged to the question of how unnamed sources had gathered surveillance of the Trump people in the first place — as evidenced by media reports of General Flynn’s conversations, of Trump’s private talks with foreign leaders, and of allegations of electronic contact between Russian and Trump Tower computers.
In other words, the media and their sources had gambled that congressional overseers, law enforcement, and the public would all overlook surveillance that may have been illegal or only partly legal, and they would also overlook the clearly illegal leaking of such classified information on a candidate and a president-elect — if it all resulted in a scandal of the magnitude of the Pentagon Papers or Watergate.
So far such a scandal has not emerged. But Trump’s opponents continue to push the Russian narrative not because it is believable but because it exhausts and obfuscates likely illegal surveillance and leaking.
The real scandal is probably not going to be Trump’s contacts with Russians. More likely, it will be the rogue work of a politically driven group of intelligence officers, embedded within the bureaucracy, who, either in freelancing mode, or in Henry II–Thomas Becket fashion (“Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”) with Obama-administration officials, began monitoring Team Trump — either directly or more likely through the excuse of inadvertently chancing upon conversations while monitoring supposedly suspicious foreign communications.
Added to this mess is the role of three unsympathetic characters who are on record as either not telling the truth, deliberately obfuscating it, or showing terrible judgement.
Obama CIA director John Brennan, who assumed that role after the still mysterious and abrupt post-election departure of David Petraeus, has a long history of political gymnastics; he has made many a necessary career readjustment to changing Washington politics. He is on record as being deceptive — he failed to reveal that the CIA intercepted Senate communications. He also stated falsely that the drone program had not resulted in a single collateral death. And, in the spirit of Obama’s new Islamic outreach, Brennan strangely suggested that jihad was a sort of personal odyssey rather than a call to use force in spreading Islamic influence. Brennan is also on record as critical of Trump: Trump “should be ashamed of himself,” Brennan said the day after the inauguration, in response to Trump’s speech to CIA staffers gathered in front of the Memorial Wall of Agency heroes.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has in the past lied to Congress, when he assured that the NSA did not monitor the communications of American citizens. Likewise, he bizarrely asserted that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was largely a secular organization. And more than 50 CENTCOM officers formally accused Clapper of distorting their reports about the Islamic State. Like Brennan, Clapper has been critical of Trump, asking, “Who benefits from a president-elect trashing the intelligence community?”
During the 2016 election, FBI Director James Comey popped up to assure the nation that while Hillary Clinton had conducted herself unethically, and probably in violation of federal statutes in using her private e-mail server for government business and wiping away correspondence, her transgressions did not rise to the level of indictable offenses. It was as if the investigator Comey, rather than the appropriate federal attorney, was adjudicating the decision to charge a suspect.
Then in the final stretch of the race, Comey resurfaced to assert that “new” evidence had led him to reconsider his exculpation of Clinton. And then, on November 6, 2016, just hours before the nation went to the polls, he appeared a third time in front of cameras to reiterate his original judgment that Hillary’s transgressions did not merit further investigation, much less criminal prosecutions. The media contextualized Comey’s schizophrenia as see-saw reactions either to liberal Obama-administration pressures or to near revolts among the more conservative FBI rank-and-file. Just as likely was Comey’s own neurotic itch to seek public attention and to position himself favorably with a likely new president.
Comey’s weird election-era prominence was also apparently fueled by the fact that Attorney General Loretta Lynch was caught in an embarrassing private meeting on the tarmac with Bill Clinton — a meeting during the investigation of his spouse. (The encounter was intended to remain secret, but a local reporter was tipped off.) That unethical encounter had tainted Lynch’s pose of disinterested adjudication, and she accordingly de facto fobbed off her prosecutorial responsibilities to Comey. Comey most lately has asked the Justice Department to refute Trump’s claims that he was subject to electronic surveillance by the government during the last days of the Obama administration.
Given the past assertions and political natures of Brennan, Clapper, and Comey, none are very credible in any future testimony they might give about the Trump-Russia narrative or the role U.S. intelligence agencies played in the possibly illegal monitoring of Trump associates. All three men are even less credible when it comes to the illegal leaking of such classified information to media outlets.
Trump’s infamous and clumsy tweet (“just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower”) may well prove to be inaccurate — literally. But it could also end up being prescient if revelations show that Obama-appointed officials or their underlings used surveillance on foreign officials — three years after the NSA got caught tapping Angela Merkel’s cellphone — in order to sweep up Trump communications and then leak them to the media to damage his candidacy and later his transition.
We are left in the end with paradoxes:
How did Obama’s naïve pro-Putin reset and Clinton-family profiteering transmogrify into wild accusations that others had become even friendlier to such an unsavory character?
How did the image of a sacrosanct media speaking the “truth” of Trump’s collusion with Putin rest on the peddling of false narratives — many of them based on likely illegal surveillance and certainly unethical and unlawful dissemination?
And if Trump was unhinged for leveling wild allegations based on mainstream news reports, why were news outlets themselves — and those who quoted them chapter and verse — not unhinged for spreading such suddenly unreliable information?
What is the explanatory sword that cuts this Gordian knot?
Trump supposedly had zero chance of winning. But when he did, facts had to adjust to a bitter actuality — at first perhaps to explain away reality, but quite soon after to alter it by any means necessary.

5)Treason Alert: Dem Lawmaker Tips Off Illegals of Specific Date and Location of ICE Raids on Social Media

‘If there’s a knock on the door and you don’t know who it is, don’t open the door’
(WND) – A Democrat state lawmaker in Massachusetts has been caught tipping off illegals – many of whom are violent street gang members, child sex offenders and drug traffickers – to imminent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids Tuesday, even telling criminal targets not to open their doors, to stay silent, to refuse to sign anything and to “fight back” with an attorney.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman suggested to WND that the lawmaker is “doing a disservice to the community” and “endangering public safety” with her statements.
Massachusetts State Rep. Michelle DuBois, a Democrat representing the 10th Plymouth District, warned illegals about imminent federal immigration raids scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Brockton, a city just 25 miles outside of Boston. DuBois posted the warning on her Facebook page. She included a phone number illegal aliens may call if they’re caught in an immigration raid.
In January 2016, federal authorities arrested 56 members of MS-13, a highly organized and well-funded Central American gang known for its brutal acts of violence, in and around the Boston area. They were indicted on conspiracy charges and charges related to murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder. Some were also charged with other offenses, including drug trafficking and firearm violations. According to the indictment, several of the individuals were involved in the murders of at least five people since 2014 and the attempted murders of at least 14 people.
MS-13’s motto is “Mata, viola, controla” – kill, rape, control.
A 2016 U.S. Department of Justice press release stated: “Members of the MS-13 organization in Massachusetts sell cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, and commit robberies, in order to generate income to pay monthly dues to the incarcerated leadership of MS-13 in El Salvador. This money is allegedly used to pay for weapons, cell phones, shoes, food, and other supplies for MS-13 members in and out of jail in El Salvador.”
Despite the horrific illegal-alien gang violence in the area, DuBois felt compelled to warn lawbreakers of impending immigration raids.
“I got the following information from my friend in the Latin community: ‘I have a message for the immigrant community of Brockton. Please be careful on Wednesday 29. ICE will be in Brockton on that day,’” DuBois wrote on her Facebook page.
“If you are undocumented don’t go out on the street. If there is a knock on the door of your house and you don’t know who it is, don’t open the door. I ask you to be careful.”
6) How Israel Can Help Stem Over-Fishing in the South China Sea

South China Sea littoral states should look to Israel for innovative solutions

by Avi Jorisch

While world leaders and Asian policymakers focus on disputes in the South China Sea, a less-publicized threat looms right over the horizon: over-fishing. As an important natural resource is rapidly depleted, millions, even billions, could be affected. Israeli innovation has an important role to play in averting catastrophe.
The South China Sea is one of the most important economic, military, and environmental locations on earth. Ten countries and territories surround it, and over $5.3 trillion worth of international trade traverses their shores annually. The area covers approximately 1.4 million square miles, and its rich marine ecosystem provides food and jobs to millions. Around the world, one in five people depend on fish as their primary source of protein, and over 200 million rely on fishing for their livelihood and food security. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, however, more than 80 percent of the world's fish species are depleted or are not producing at maximum capacity.
Seven of the 10 countries around the South China Sea claim some or all of the maritime features, which could lead to major conflagration. In early 2014, China, which claims most of the waters as sovereign territory, shifted its foreign policy, building military bases on disputed islands and systematically intimidating non-Chinese fisherman.
Political tensions and hostile naval actions have caused a destructive cycle: non-Chinese fishermen do not venture very far off their coasts, resulting in local over-fishing and illegal practices. Fishermen use underwater bombs and cyanide to optimize their catch. Chinese nationals are encouraged by their government to fish as much as possible throughout this vast ocean to flex their national muscle, further adding to over-fishing.
The South China Sea has less than one-tenth the number of fish it did 60 years ago. "What we're looking at is potentially one of the world's worst fisheries collapses ever," says John McManus, a University of Miami marine ecologist. The fishing industry cannot be regulated as long as the territorial conflict continues, and it is unlikely to end anytime soon.
For years, fishermen have used fish farming, or aquaculture, to help them cope with geopolitical disputes, dwindling fish supplies, pollution, and weather. But farms bring challenges of their own. Until recently, they had to be located near the ocean because waste had to be channeled out and the fish resupplied with fresh seawater. Over time, however, waste byproducts dumped into the ocean, primarily nitrogen, made the area uninhabitable for other marine life. Consequently, many countries limited the use of fish farms or banned them entirely. But experts see fish farms as among the few technological solutions to over-fishing.
Innovators have tried building fish farms with embedded treatment systems, but until recently, all produced fish that were far more expensive than ocean-caught fish or had adverse environmental effects because of pollution.
Almost 25 years ago, Hebrew University Professor Jaap Van Rijn invented a solution: "zero-discharge" fish farming, an entirely self-contained, recirculating aquaculture system that did not emit waste. Van Rijn sought a way to treat water using biological filters and specially grown bacteria to consume fish fecal matter. Experts called it impossible.
Yet Van Rijn's idea has inspired an innovative industry. His solution has been tested extensively and proven to work with extremely limited amounts of water, without harming the environment. Large Jacuzzi-like tanks are filled with water, and fish are added. Next, his specially created microbes, which treat the fish waste and nitrogen, are mixed in. Only evaporated water is replaced. This allows fish to grow to full maturation and remain in the tanks until they are sold or eaten. The system is efficient, yields no pollution and can be set up anywhere. No additives or potentially carcinogenic antibiotics are used. Van Rijn's innovation provides a viable fish farm alternative without any of the harmful consequences.
Today, only about two-dozen land-based recirculating farms around the globe grow salmon, trout, and steelhead fish. A variety of governmental and non-governmental agencies have an important role to play in ensuring more ventures adopt this technology.
According to, the 2017 U.S. foreign aid budget for countries around the South China Sea will be over half a billion dollars. The Trump administration should allocate a percentage for recirculating aquaculture systems for national security and ecological reasons, and for an easy public opinion win. This will boost local economies and give fishermen a powerful (and ecologically friendly) way to engage in their trade.
Last May, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2016-2020 strategic plan, which aims to expand sustainable U.S. marine aquaculture production by at least 50 percent. The United States today imports over 90 percent of its seafood, and about half is farmed. NOAA's strategy, however, has only one brief mention of recirculating systems, and according to industry experts, NOAA is focused on open-water aquaculture. The new NOAA administrator should focus on more sustainable production that protects consumer health and the marine environment.
International organizations like the World Bank and UN Food and Agriculture Organization have recognized the need to develop a reliable and sustainable way to secure more seafood to feed billions of people around the world. Fish farms already provide 50 percent of the world's 167 million tons of fish, and experts believethat by 2030, another 40 million tons will be needed to meet consumer protein needs. Van Rijn's method provides a solution that will not destroy the ocean further and will curb over-fishing.
"Aquaculture, not the Internet, represents the most promising investment opportunity of the 21st century," according to the late Peter Drucker, economist and Nobel laureate. As the planet's population grows, so too will the human appetite for fish protein. Policymakers around the world wishing to prevent over-fishing, protect marine life, provide healthy food, and address national security concerns should look to Israel for innovative solutions.
Avi Jorisch (@avijorisch) is a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and the author of a forthcoming book on Israeli innovation.