Brutalist

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\"As far as I am aware, we have still not received a response,\" a commission spokesman told AFP.

The EU executive will meet Monday to consider the issue, he added.

The Polish foreign ministry, for its part, told AFP that \"as the deadline falls on a holiday, we consider that it ends on the first working day after that\".

The ministry later added that it would send its response on Monday.

Tensions between Warsaw and the EU have been growing over what Brussels sees as a growing threat, not just to democratic standards in Poland but across the 28-nation bloc.

It could eventually lead to a case against Poland before the bloc's highest court, the European Court of Justice, and possibly a fine.

The commission has said the threat to judicial independence comes from the Polish justice minister getting \"discretionary power to prolong the mandate of judges who have reached retirement age as well as to dismiss and appoint court presidents.\"

Other concerns, it said, include \"discrimination on the basis of gender\" by setting the retirement age at 60 for female judges and at 65 for their male counterparts.

The legal overhauls have triggered mass street protests in Poland and raised fears about the rule of law in one of the EU's leading former communist states in the east.

Nuclear option

Brussels and Warsaw have been at loggerheads ever since Poland's governing PiS party announced reforms to the country's constitutional court after coming to power in late 2015.

European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans has warned that the commission is ready to immediately trigger the EU's never-used Article 7 procedure -- a so-called \"nuclear option\" that can freeze a country's right to vote in meetings of EU ministers -- if Supreme Court justices are sacked.

In a separate brewing row, French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday made stinging comments against Warsaw for rejecting tough proposals to overhaul a controversial EU rule on cheap labour.

\"Poland today is not a country that can show Europe the way, it's a country that has decided to go against European interests in many areas,\" Macron told a press conference during a visit to Bulgaria.
\"Europe was built on public freedoms that Poland violates,\" he added. \"It is placing itself on the margins of Europe's future history.\"

The EU has also warned Poland to obey a ban on logging in the ancient forest of Bialowieza, saying it would add any breach to the broader Brussels case against Warsaw over democratic standards.

On Saturday the German weekly Der Spiegel said EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker wanted to suspend Poland's voting rights unless Poland comes into line.

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Political correctness (PC) has been bolstering radical Islamism. This influence was most recently shown again in an extensive exposé by the Clarion Project in July 2017, which demonstrates the practice of telling \"deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them in order to forget any fact that has become inconvenient\" -- or, as George Orwell called it in his novel, 1984, \"Doublespeak.\"

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This courtship and marriage between the Western chattering classes and radical Muslim fanatics was elaborated by Andrew C. McCarthy in his crucial 2010 book, The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

Since then, this union has strengthened. Both the United States and the rest of the West are engaged in a romance with forces that are, bluntly, antagonistic to the values of liberty and human rights.

To understand this seeming paradox, one needs to understand what radical Islamism and PC have in common. Although Islamism represents all that PC ostensibly opposes -- such as the curbing of free speech, the repression of women, gays and \"apostates\" -- both have become totalitarian ideologies.

The totalitarian nature of radical Islamism is more obvious than that of Western political correctness -- and certainly more deadly. Sunni terrorists, such as ISIS and Hamas -- and Shiites, such as Hezbollah and its state sponsor, Iran -- use mass murder to accomplish their ultimate goal of an Islamic Caliphate that dominates the world and subjugates non-Muslims.

The attempt in the West, however, to impose a strict set of rules about what one is allowed to think and express in academia and in the media -- to the point that anyone who disobeys is discredited, demonized, intimidated and in danger of losing his or her livelihood -- is just as toxic and just as reminiscent of Orwell's view of a diseased society.

These rules are not merely unspoken ones. Quoting a Fox News interview with American columnist Rachel Alexander, the Clarion Project points out that the Associated Press -- whose stylebook is used as a key reference by a majority of English-language newspapers worldwide for uniformity of grammar, punctuation and spelling -- is now directing writers to avoid certain words and terms that are now deemed unacceptable to putative liberals.

Alexander recently wrote:

Even when individual authors do not adhere to the bias of AP Style, it often doesn't matter. If they submit an article to a mainstream media outlet, they will likely see their words edited to conform. A pro-life author who submits a piece taking a position against abortion will see the words 'pro-life' changed to 'anti-abortion,' because the AP Stylebook instructs, 'Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and pro-abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice.' It goes on, 'Avoid abortionist,' saying the term 'connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions.'

Words related to terrorism are sanitized in the AP Stylebook. Militant, lone wolves or attackers are to be used instead of terrorist or Islamist. 'People struggling to enter Europe' is favored over 'migrant' or 'refugee.' While it's true that many struggle to enter Europe, it is accurate to point out that they are, in fact, immigrants or refugees.

To be sure, the AP Stylebook does not carry the same weight or authority as the Quranic texts on which radical Islamists base their jihadist actions and totalitarian aims. It does constitute, however, a cultural decree that has turned religious in its fervor. It gives a glimpse, as well, into the intellectual tyranny that has pervaded liberal Western thought and institutions.

The main facet of this PC tyranny, so perfectly predicted by Orwell, is the inversion of good and evil -- of victim and victimizer. In such a universe, radical Muslims are victimized by the West, and not the other way around. This has led to a slanted teaching of the history of Islam and its conquests, both as a justification of the distortion and as a reflection of it.

As far back as 2003, the Middle East Forum reported on the findings of a study conducted by the American Textbook Council, an independent New York-based research organization, which stated:

[Over the last decade], the coverage of Islam in world history textbooks has expanded and in some respects improved.... But on significant Islam-related subjects, textbooks omit, flatter, embellish, and resort to happy talk, suspending criticism or harsh judgments that would raise provocative or even alarming questions.

Thought-control is necessary for the repression of populations ruled by despotic regimes. That it is proudly and openly being used by self-described liberals and human-rights advocates in free societies is not only hypocritical and shocking; it is a form of aiding and abetting regimes whose ultimate goal is to eradicate Western ideals. The relationship between the two must be recognized for what it is: a marriage made in hell.

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The European Union’s executive arm on Thursday said it would not withdraw its legal proceedings against Poland over migrant relocation quotas.

On Wednesday, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said it had asked the European Commission to drop a legal case against Poland over its refusal to accept migrants from states under pressure in the EU’s migration crisis.

\"Poland has sent a motion to the European Commission requesting it to discontinue its ongoing infringement procedure,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

It also said that Poland was prepared to argue its case before the EU Court of Justice if the European Commission decided to continue its proceedings.

Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein told a media briefing in Brussels on Thursday that the EU executive was not considering withdrawing the case.

A month ago, the European Commission sent so-called reasoned opinions to the authorities in Warsaw, Prague and Budapest – as part of the second stage of its “infringement procedure” - and gave Poland as well as Hungary and the Czech Republic a month to respond.

“Despite repeated calls for action and the launch of infringement procedures by the Commission last month, these three countries remain in breach of their legal obligations and have shown disregard for their commitments to Greece, Italy and other Member States,” the commission said in a statement at the time.

Poland and Hungary have not accepted any refugees as part of an EU programme to relocate migrants fleeing the war-torn Middle East and Africa from camps in Italy and Greece, while the Czech Republic has taken no action in nearly a year.

In September 2015, EU leaders agreed that each country would accept a number of migrants over two years to alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy, which have seen the arrival of tens of thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa.

EU leaders agreed to relocate a total of about 160,000 migrants of more than 2 million people who arrived in Europe since 2015.

The conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government in Warsaw has said that migrants pose a security threat. (str)

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As the mainstream corporate press attempts to guilt Westerners over making Syrian refugees return home, Western outlets are, in fact, deconstructing their own propaganda narrative for all to see.

For instance, according to the International Organization for Migration, more than 600,000 Syrians have returned home to Syria since the beginning of 2017, more than the number of returning refugees in the entire year of 2016.

IOM reports that the majority of those Syrians going home were internally displaced people. After that, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq followed respectively.

The typically pro-imperialist NPR attempted to suggest that the return of the internally displaced to their homes are being forced to relocate back home by the Syrian government. That claim, while largely nonsensical, is also contradicted by reports from other mainstream agencies.

IOM is worried that the “appropriate measures” to ensure safety to those Syrians returning home are not yet in place.

Of course, the real question that needs to be asked here is simple: “If Assad is killing his own people, why are Syrians running back to him in droves?” After all, when African refugees were being labeled Syrian two years ago, we were told that these people were fleeing the “brutal Assad,” the dictator “killing his own people.” So why would people who were being slaughtered by their own government rush back to it at the earliest possible opportunity?

Perhaps because they actually prefer to live in Syria than some other country. Perhaps their government isn’t killing them like Americans are being told they are.

It is also important to point out that the rate of return for Syrian refugees has increased directly with the amount of territory liberated by the Syrian government. In other words, as the Syrian government liberates more territory, more Syrians return to their homes in government-controlled territory. Obviously, if Syrian refugees were fleeing Assad, we would be seeing an increase in refugees.

Regardless, it is clear to all who are not being paid to see otherwise that Syrians are returning home because America’s terrorists are losing territory and, thus, they now have the ability to return to their homes under government control.

While alternative media researchers have been pointing this out since the beginning of the conflict, mainstream media now has no choice but to admit that Syrians are willingly returning to the country run by the man these same outlets have attempted to demonize and destroy for six years.

Slowly but surely, the mainstream media’s narrative surrounding Syria is unraveling in front of everyone’s eyes.

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Without doubt, there is a hot autumn ahead for Europe. Germany elects a new Bundestag on September 25, and Austria elects a new parliament on October 15. While the election in the north seems to promise (portend?) “more of the same,” the situation in Austria looks a bit different. At this point, several coalition variations seem possible among the three middle parties (SPÖ, ÖVP, FPÖ).[2]. Ultimately, the last four weeks will decide the election, even though polls now indicate a clear victory by Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz’s “new” ÖVP. There is, to say the least, some doubt whether the chancellorship he aspires to will be able to re-invent the wheel. It is also not certain that a new coalition partner will be found. For now, we must wait out the “hot” phase of the election campaign, which begins in September, punctually at the beginning the school year.

The signs of storm and (political) upheaval are, however, not just national. Much will also happen on the international level. As every autumn, the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) will take place in Warsaw. As every year, an international delegation led by BPE will participate in the OSCE conference. The HDIM annually offers the opportunity to review the preceding twelve months. Naturally, the BPE concentrates above all on the areas of freedom of expression and assembly, and describes the ever increasing pressure on them. Especially Justice Minister Heiko Maas’s “Network Law” and the resultant loss of freedom of expression — both online and offline — are and should be of great concern. Anyone who believes that freedom of expression is under threat only in Germany need only look at Canada.

Since March 2017, there has been a bill in parliament there — the so-called M-103 — which “calls on the Canadian government to “develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.”

It is interesting that the concept “Islamophobia” is not defined, while “Judeophobia” or “Christophobia” receive no mention at all. Should this bill become law, there will be a blasphemy law in Canada forbidding criticism of a religious system. Such criticism, however, is the right of every citizen in a nation of laws. Besides that, many Islamic scholars regard anycriticism of Islam and its teachings to be Islamophobic and appropriate for prosecution. The fact that many Western countries in recent days and weeks have been hastening to convict Islam-critics — see Michael Stürzenberger in Germany as well as others in Austria — is a disgrace and a serious mistake.

As usual, the BPE in Warsaw will address these and other worrisome situations relating to freedom of expression. Also on the list of topics for the BPE are the continuing attacks by members of Antifa as well as other left-leaning and clearly violence-prone groups on people who differ politically. Year after year, The BPE also advocates for those who profess Christianity or other non-Islamic religions and are under pressure because of changing demographics. Clearly without freedom of expression there is no freedom of religion. Both must be defended. No Ifs, Ands or Buts.

This year too, of course, we can expect the usual complaints about the delegation for the defense of freedom. There will naturally be a collective howl about instances of rampant Islamophobia, which must by all means be prevented, even though it has been established in years past that no legal definition exists for this nonsensical concept. The BPE will also argue this year that the use of the term Islamophobia serves to reduce freedom of expression and must therefore be rejected. And of course, there is again talk of “hate crimes,” even though hatred is a (human) emotion and, as such has lost nothing on any list of what is forbidden. The BPE will speak out decisively against this attack on freedom of expression.

Year by year, the members of the delegation are appalled at how far the hollowing out of the freedom of expression has advanced. It is shocking to see how unaware people are of this loss. Because of modern media, the achievement of our forebears in winning the rights of freedom of expression and assembly have apparently been forgotten. Perhaps this is not so important to people nowadays. Perhaps the meaning of freedom of expression has been reduced to using a cell phone, posting photos to Instagram. But one day these people will wake up and recognize that they are no longer allowed to post or say anything that has not been approved by whomever. And then it will be too late.

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Because of the enormous level of Muslim immigration to Sweden, Sweden may be a bigger threat to Finland than Russia is, professor Paul Lillrank, at the Institution of Production Economics at the Aalto University, writes in HBL.

Earlier he considered Putin and Russia the biggest security risk against Finland. Now professor Lillrank has changed his mind. Sweden is probably a bigger threat, he thinks.

The reason is Muslim immigration.

According to Lillrank, Sweden has proportionately accepted more migrants than any other OECD country. In addition, they are the worst at integrating them.

Paul Lillrank thinks that Sweden is transforming into a parallel society with an ethnic underclass. The labour market is not adapted to asylum immigrants with low level of education, something that Swedish politicians cannot grasp. Multiculturalism causes conflicts, and the politicians in Sweden have megalomania, he states. When the resources do not suffice to maintain the Swedish welfare state, those in power say they do not understand why.

Swedish counties are so bad at handling returning Islamic State terrorists that they choose to “love-bomb” them with funds and priority in the housing queue, the professor notes.

“There is a real risk that Sweden is being transformed into a failed state where Swedish law no longer applies and the police no longer control the situation. Democracy does not function when officials break migration laws and the police turn a blind eye to illegal immigrants. It is not unthinkable that Sweden will become a bigger security risk to Finland than Russia is,” Paul Lillrank writes in HBL.

According to Paul Lillrank, the Swedish elite claims to be a moral superpower, but in reality more and more seem like a collection of fools with the same “self-destructive madness” that Karl XII [reigned 1697 to 1718] presented during his final years as king of Sweden, he writes.

The Norse and Danes, who among other things have discussed border controls with Sweden, have already understood the serious threat from their neighbouring country. Paul Lillrank thinks that the Finns have to understand the same thing.

Lillrank wishes that it were possible to find something calming to read about Sweden, but it does not exist, he concludes.

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Liberal billionaire George Soros’s advocacy arm is ramping up its lobbying efforts this year, disclosure forms show.

The deep-pocketed Democratic financier increased lobbying expenditures on a range of foreign issues, including efforts to oppose laws described as a direct attack on his funding of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in his native country of Hungary.

The Open Society Policy Center, a D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on advocacy efforts and is a separate entity from the Soros grant making Open Society Foundations, has spent nearly as much on lobbying in the first half of 2017 as the group did in the entirety of 2016.

The Open Society Policy Center reported spending $4.6 million in the first and second quarters, which runs from Jan. 1 to June 30, according its disclosure forms filed to the House of Representatives and the Senate. The group has three in-house lobbyists who lobby the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, National Security Council, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State.

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In fact, the Czech Republic has filed two complaints, one directly against the European directive which makes unacceptable restrictions on the right to possess weapons, the other against the effects of this directive on European states, which are obliged to modify their national law by September 2018.

— Milan Chovanec, Minister of the Interior for the Czech Republic

“We are going to the Court of Justice of the European Union to ask for the abolition of this directive, possibly its suspension, or that an exception be introduced for certain member states and of course in particular for the Czech Republic,” said the Czech Interior Minister, Milan Chovanec.
“A punishment of the legitimate owners of weapons is unacceptable because the weapons legally confiscated and banned by the directive have no connection with terrorism,” Chovanec said. “Not only is this decision likely to destroy people’s trust in the EU,” he added, “but it could even have a negative impact on the internal security of the Czech Republic, because a large number of weapons could end up on the black market.”

Moreover, the Czech government relies heavily on the cooperation of legal holders of firearms in the event of an attack threatening the sovereignty of the Czech Republic, particularly in the event of a terrorist attack.

There are currently more than 800,000 weapons of all categories registered to 300,000 owners in the Czech Republic (population 10.6 million).

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Liberal billionaire George Soros's advocacy arm is ramping up its lobbying efforts this year, disclosure forms show.

The deep-pocketed Democratic financier increased lobbying expenditures on a range of foreign issues, including efforts to oppose laws described as a direct attack on his funding of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in his native country of Hungary.

The Open Society Policy Center, a D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on advocacy efforts and is a separate entity from the Soros grant making Open Society Foundations, has spent nearly as much on lobbying in the first half of 2017 as the group did in the entirety of 2016.

The Open Society Policy Center reported spending $4.6 million in the first and second quarters, which runs from Jan. 1 to June 30, according its disclosure forms filed to the House of Representatives and the Senate. The group has three in-house lobbyists who lobby the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, National Security Council, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State.

Soros drastically extended the policy scope of his lobbying efforts as the year progressed, including to issues that have been seen as a direct strike against the Hungarian-born billionaire.

From January to March, Soros's group lobbied on three issues. From April to June, the group lobbied17 different issues, including the Bill on Foreign Funded Organizations in Hungary (LexNGo), Hungary's crack down on foreign-funded organizations in the country.

Hungary's parliament approved the law that targets foreign-funded organizations in June, which they have said \"can threaten the country's political and economic interests and interfere with the functioning of its institutions,\" according to text of the law.

Although the law does not mention Soros by name, politicians in Hungary previously said they wanted to \"sweep out\" organizations tied to Soros.

Soros's Open Society Foundations has given money to a number of prominent NGOs in Hungary. The group has said that the country's bill \"seeks to suppress democratic voices in Hungary.\"

The lobbyists also worked on issues such as the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017 and the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018, among others.

Soros's lobbying efforts have quietly skyrocketed in recent years.

The policy center reported spending $19,120,000 on lobbying for policy and legislative efforts with Congress and government agencies between 2002 and 2012, which averages out to $1.9 million per year.

The amount Soros spent on lobbying shot up to $11 million in 2013, a drastic increase from the $3.4 million the group had spent in 2012. The uptick could be attributed to the group's push for \"comprehensive immigration reform\" during this time.

The center upped its lobbying expenditures to $12.4 million in 2012. In 2015, the group spent $8.5 million. The amount spent on special interests dipped to $5.6 million in 2016.

Now the group's lobbying expenditures are trending upwards again. The center is on pace to spend $9.2 million this year.

\"OSPC engages on a range of issues in Congress, which have been fairly consistent over time,\" a spokesman for the policy center previously told the Washington Free Beacon in an email statement. \"The level of spending on those issues tends to rise and fall depending on their state of play in Congress.\"

The amount the group has spent over the last four and a half years on its lobbying efforts ($41.6 million) is more than double what they had spent during the ten-year period from 2002 to 2012 ($19.1 million).

The Open Society Policy Center did not respond to inquiries on its lobbying activities this year.

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MSNBC host Brian Williams admitted that the mainstream media’s “job tonight actually is to scare people to death” over North Korea. Speaking to his panel on his primetime show The 11th Hour Tuesday night, Williams made the telling remark during a discussion about what the potential death toll could be should North Korea launch ballistic missiles on South Korea or Japan.

“Our job tonight actually is to scare people to death on this subject, so the talk isn’t as free as it is about a preemptive or surgical military strike,” Williams said.

Despite the fact that President Trump and North Korea’s leader have already been exchanging fiery rhetoric over the last few months, the mainstream media continues to fulfill their real purpose: to stoke fears among the people to make them more willing to give up rights in exchange for government protection.

When military force is inevitable, the corporate media will shift from fear mongering to cheerleading military action to get public opinion to support such action once it’s underway. For example, after Trump finally authorized missile strikes on Syrian airbases in April, Williams bizarrely quoted a Leonard Cohen song, calling the missiles “beautiful.”

“We see these beautiful pictures, at night, from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” Williams said. “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen, ‘I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons,’ and they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments.”

The mainstream media’s pro-war propaganda only serves the military industrial complex which needs public support to wage large-scale military campaigns around the world at the taxpayer’s expense.

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North Korea test-launched on Friday its first ballistic missile potentially capable of hitting America's East Coast. It thereby proved the failure of 25 years of U.S. nonproliferation policy. A single-minded rogue state can pocket diplomatic concessions and withstand sustained economic sanctions to build deliverable nuclear weapons. It is past time for Washington to bury this ineffective \"carrots and sticks\" approach.

America's policy makers, especially those who still support the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, should take careful note. If Tehran's long collusion with Pyongyang on ballistic missiles is even partly mirrored in the nuclear field, the Iranian threat is nearly as imminent as North Korea's. Whatever the extent of their collaboration thus far, Iran could undoubtedly use its now-unfrozen assets and cash from oil-investment deals to buy nuclear hardware from North Korea, one of the world's poorest nations.

One lesson from Pyongyang's steady nuclear ascent is to avoid making the same mistake with other proliferators, who are carefully studying its successes. Statecraft should mean grasping the implications of incipient threats and resolving them before they become manifest. With North Korea and Iran, the U.S. has effectively done the opposite. Proliferators happily exploit America's weakness and its short attention span. They exploit negotiations to gain the most precious asset: time to resolve the complex scientific and technological hurdles to making deliverable nuclear weapons.

Now that North Korea possesses them, the U.S. has few realistic options. More talks and sanctions will fail as they have for 25 years. I have argued previously that the only durable diplomatic solution is to persuade China that reunifying the two Koreas is in its national interest as well as America's, thus ending the nuclear threat by ending the bizarre North Korean regime. Although the negotiations would be arduous and should have commenced years ago, American determination could still yield results.

Absent a successful diplomatic play, what's left is unpalatable military options. But many say, even while admitting America's vulnerability to North Korean missiles, that using force to neutralize the threat would be too dangerous. The only option, this argument goes, is to accept a nuclear North Korea and attempt to contain and deter it.

The people saying this are largely the same ones who argued that \"carrots and sticks\" would prevent Pyongyang from getting nuclear weapons. They are prepared to leave Americans as nuclear hostages of the Kim family dictatorship. This is unacceptable. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has it right. \"What's unimaginable to me,\" he said last month at the Aspen Security Forum, \"is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver.\" So what are the military options, knowing that the U.S. must plan for the worst?

First, Washington could pre-emptively strike at Pyongyang's known nuclear facilities, ballistic-missile factories and launch sites, and submarine bases. There are innumerable variations, starting at the low end with sabotage, cyberattacks and general disruption. The high end could involve using air- and sea-based power to eliminate the entire program as American analysts understand it.

Second, the U.S. could wait until a missile is poised for launch toward America, and then destroy it. This would provide more time but at the cost of increased risk. Intelligence is never perfect. A North Korean missile could be in flight to a city near you before the military can respond.

Third, the U.S. could use airstrikes or special forces to decapitate North Korea's national command authority, sowing chaos, and then sweep in on the ground from South Korea to seize Pyongyang, nuclear assets, key military sites and other territory.

All these scenarios pose dangers for South Korea, especially civilians in Seoul, which is within the range of North Korean artillery near the Demilitarized Zone. Any military attack must therefore neutralize as much of the North's retaliatory capability as possible together with the larger strike. The U.S. should obviously seek South Korea's agreement (and Japan's) before using force, but no foreign government, even a close ally, can veto an action to protect Americans from Kim Jong Un's nuclear weapons.

China clearly has enormous interests at stake, not least its fear that masses of North Korean refugees will flow across the Yalu and Tumen rivers into its territory. Neither the U.S. nor China wants conflict between their respective forces, so immediate consultations with Beijing would be imperative once military action began. Both considerations underline why urgent diplomacy with China now to press the benefits of peaceful reunification is vital.

The Pentagon's military planners already should be poring through the operational aspects of a potential military strike. But politicians and policy makers also ought to begin debating the military options—for North Korea and beyond, since similar issues will arise regarding Iran and other nuclear proliferators.

For decades the U.S. has opposed attempts by any state without nuclear weapons to develop them. Washington has consistently failed to achieve that objective, and the world has become increasingly nuclearized. Stopping North Korea and Iran may be the last chance to act before nuclear weapons become a global commonplace.

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For the past two weeks \"Dunkirk\" has been top of the box office in cinemas throughout the United Kingdom. The film is a fictional rendition of the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from the Dunkirk, in France, in May 1940, as Hitler's invading divisions blitzed their way towards Paris.

The evacuation involved over 400,000 soldiers, including many Frenchmen and troops recruited in British Empire and Commonwealth units such as Canada and Australia.

The greatest retreat in the history of warfare, the Dunkirk operation prevented the Germans from annihilating the bulk of the British army, giving London the chance to prepare to fight another day.

At first glance, there was little heroism in such a vast force fleeing without fighting; armies usually retreat after they have fought and lost a battle. And, yet, what came to be known as \"the spirit of Dunkirk\" was truly heroic as thousands of ordinary Brits, defying Hitler's vast war machine, made their way to the beaches of Dunkirk, often aboard small fishing boats and dinghies and even a few floating bath-tubs, to help bring the stranded soldiers back to England.

Over the following decades \"the spirit of Dunkirk\" came to indicate a key characteristic of the British: fighting when their backs are to the wall.

Not surprisingly, therefore, those who campaigned for Britain leaving the European Union last year have seized on the excitement created by the new film to inject a bit of heroism in their narrative.

\"Yes,\" they say, \"Britain is heading for tough times outside the European Union. But, helped by the Spirit of Dunkirk, it shall overcome all hurdles.\"

One leading campaigner for \"Brexit\" has even demanded that the new film be shown in schools to boost the morale of the young whose lives will be most affected by leaving the EU.

However, it is hard to draw a parallel between Brexit and Dunkirk, if only because the EU can't be equated with Nazi Germany. Nor was the UK at war with the EU, an alliance of democratic nations which Britain played a leading role in the creation of its latest version.

The question the Brits faced in Dunkirk was one of life and death. As a member of the EU, however, Britain has enjoyed membership in the biggest economic bloc in the world, alongside most of its NATO allies.

Advocates of Brexit have cited four reasons why the UK should leave.

The first is \"regaining lost national sovereignty\".

However, in its White Paper published earlier this year, the government solemnly declared that Britain never lost sovereignty. Membership of the EU meant a sharing of -- and not a loss of -- sovereignty. Britain already shares sovereignty in many international and regional organizations including NATO, the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, among many others.

If sharing sovereignty is equated with its loss, the UK should withdraw from more than 120 organizations, something that even \"fully sovereign\" North Korea hasn't done.

In any case, EU membership involves sharing sovereignty on a limited number of issues linked to commerce, industrial standards, agriculture and working conditions. It does not even extend to such matters as taxation and interest rates, let alone issues of national security, defense and foreign policies.

The fact that Britain can leave the EU or any other international organ of which it is a member shows that shared sovereignty does not mean loss of sovereignty. The claim of loss of sovereignty is bogus.

The second reason cited by Brexiteers, with the catch-phrase \"control of borders,\" is equally bogus.

Anyone entering the UK knows that he must show a passport or identity card and be formally admitted into the country. EU citizens have the right to enter the territory of any member state without a visa to visit, look for a job, study or simply reside.

But under the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon, they cannot stay beyond a three-month limit unless they can prove they have a job, are in full-time education or have independent means of support.

Member states can, and in many cases do, expel those EU citizens who do not fulfill any of the stated conditions. In other words, all members, including the UK, already have the right and the power to decide how many EU citizens they wish to host.

The third bogus claim is about \"rule by unelected officials in Brussels.\"

However, the Council of Ministers is the EU's main decision-making and legislative body, and is composed of ministers from member states, all of whom are democratically elected.

It forms the union's legislative body together with the European Parliament which is also directly elected by voters in all member states. When it comes to the so-called \"Brussels bureaucracy,\" it is necessary to remember that it is composed of individuals appointed by elected governments of member states, in the same way that civil servants are appointed in each country, with clear patterns of accountability.

There is nothing that the \"Brussels bureaucracy\" can do without the approval of the governments of member states and their parliaments.

The final reason cited by Brexiteers is the claim that the UK, outside the EU, would be better able to make trade deals with \"the rest of the world.\"

However, the UK is already trading with over 190 countries, many of which have full or partial trade deals with the EU, deals that the UK has played a key role in shaping. It is not because of EU membership that the UK exports to the United States half as much as Germany does.

The reason is that Germans produce goods that Americans want to buy and the Brits don't, because the UK has specialized in service industries at the expense of manufacturing. Being in or out of the EU need not alter that fact.

In other words, there are no objective reasons to necessitate Britain's exit from the EU, whereas the Dunkirk retreat was an inescapable necessity.

However, when it comes to Brexit, it would be foolish to ignore the non-objective, emotional, factors.

Many Brits feel there are too many foreigners in their country and blame EU citizens for declining standards in their National Health Service, a shortage of affordable housing, pressure on schools and even traffic jams.

Dunkirk was about running away, only to return. Will Brexit repeat that?

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The talking heads in the media and Democrats in Congress have been obsessing about supposed Russian interference in last fall’s presidential election. In response to the continuous Trump-Russia-Putin litany, Congressman Steve King (R-IA) came back with his own list of the Obama administration’s interference in foreign elections — including one in Macedonia, which I had forgotten about. Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals translated into Macedonian, paid for by the American taxpayer!

But that evil Vlad Putin, he’s the REAL election meddler who needs to be watched…

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The Treasury Department slapped sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Monday, sending a clear signal of the Trump administration's opposition to his regime.

The move comes a day after Maduro declared a sweeping victory in a vote that will allow him to further consolidate his power over the crisis torn nation. Much of the world - and many of Venezuela's own citizens - have called the vote an assault on democracy.

\"Yesterday's illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people,\" said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement announcing the latest sanctions on the Latin American country.

Beginning on Monday, all of the Venezuelan's president's assets that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen. All U.S. citizens are also barred from dealing with him, according to Treasury.

It's unclear exactly what assets Maduro has in the U.S. Mnuchin declined to provide reporters with additional details during a White House briefing Monday afternoon.

A Treasury spokesman told CNNMoney Monday's action will \"impose real costs - no U.S. person can do business with sanctioned individuals, and sanctioned individuals are denied access to the U.S. financial and commercial systems.\"

Even when a sanctioned person doesn't have a bank account in the U.S., it often disrupts the ability to do international banking or business, he said.

Maduro is one of a handful of heads of state to be sanctioned by the U.S. government. He follows in the footsteps of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, and Manuel Noriega, who was a military dictator of Panama.

Trump's decision to sanction Maduro is not as severe as broader economic sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry. Oil is Venezuela's primary source of income. Senior administration officials hinted Sunday that broader sanctions might be coming. Yet Mnuchin declined to comment Monday on whether the U.S. is considering further sanctions.

\"As we continue to monitor the situation, we will continue to review all of our options,\" said Mnuchin, noting the U.S. government wouldn't take any action that would hurt the Venezuelan people.

Venezuelans like Monica Calderon, 30, who manages a perfume stand at a shopping mall in Caracas, called on the U.S. to \"apply the sanctions and do whatever you have to do\"

\"They should apply them as soon as possible because we're living under a government that steals money,\" said Calderon, who spoke to CNN from an opposition-supported area. \"It's going to send a message, because we are hoping that Venezuela isn't alone.\"
\"We are in a dictatorship,\" Aldo Volani, 68, a security advisor who has lived in Caracas for the last 23 years, told CNN from the same area in the capital city. \"I wish he [President Trump] would have done it a long time ago.\"

Last week, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on 13 government and military officialstied to Maduro. Mexico and Colombia followed with sanctions on the same individuals.

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Here is a Schweizer look at the innards of the “Palestinian Question” — a clue of how more-than-byzantine life and politics in Arab-dominated North Africa can be. It is also a glance into the psychology of the Europe which lately almost uniformly condemns Israel in its contentions with the Palestinians.

I love the last few sentences. How much did Western Europe sympathize with the plight of the Serbian people when American air power was blowing them up? They were the enemy, weren’t they?

The translated article:

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, wants to bring Hamas to its knees. That is why he is allowing the residents of Gaza to suffer. The sewage treatment plants have stopped working, because there is no longer enough electricity. Israel is doing nothing to prevent that.

It stinks to high heaven. Truly infernal steam clouds rise from the ocean at Gaza. Children hold their noses. Adults hold handkerchiefs to their faces. Anyone who can, hastily leaves the area of the stench. Fishermen stare sullenly into the sloshing green-gray that forbids the casting of nets. Until now, the sea was the only escape for the caged Gazans — the only place that spoke of freedom and the wide-open spaces. Now that is gone too. Gaza the prison has become definitively unbearable.

It stinks because six of the nine pumps that move sewage into the treatment plants in Gaza city, are out of order. So now that brew is being directed into the ocean, where it lends the water a poisonous, grey-green tinge, which turns up as far as the Israeli beach of Zikim, now closed by the government because of “fecal” contamination. Yet more and more people in Gaza are going swimming.

Abbas is Making Use of Weakness

The Gaza sewage treatment plants are out of service because there is not enough electricity any more. And there is not enough electricity, because Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to bring Hamas to its knees. He wants to do that now because he has concluded that his enemies in Gaza have never been so weak. So he has cut the salaries of the officials in Gaza and asked Israel to cut electricity by 40%, since Hamas is not paying the bills. Israel complied.

So who is responsible for this misery? For Israel’s critics around the world, it is the government in Jerusalem, which from the perspective of the UN General Assembly, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and of many other human rights organization, has occupied the Gaza Strip and is therefore bound by the obligations laid on occupying powers by the Hague Convention. Thus, a general responsibility for the security and welfare of the civilian population is postulated. For its part, Israel points out that it has withdrawn its armed forces, exercises no authority over the area or its institutions and is therefore not an occupying power. For Hamas, the primary guilt lies with Israel, secondary with Abbas. If you ask the residents, the responsible parties named often are Abbas and Hamas — Israel only seldom. The citizens of the Gaza Strip are hopping mad at their Islamic regents. In the winter, also because of the electricity, it came to the biggest demonstration since 2006.

Meanwhile, the situation has become untenable. Not since the war of 2014 has the Strip been such a mess. In the streets between bombed-out and half reconstructed buildings, refuse piles up and is no longer removed. In this picture of misery, there are bright spots such as well-cooled restaurants complete with sushi and green tea, or flower shops with a colorful, well-watered selection. This does not testify that “it’s not half bad here,” as is often said, but simply to the spirit of improvisation and bravery of the residents.

The actual provocateur is Abbas. The Palestinian head controls an important switch point. Because Israel does not officially deal with Hamas, the autonomous authority in Ramallah is middleman. It pays the salaries of the idle officials in Gaza, the bills for electricity, water and fuel, as well as medications that go to the hospitals in Gaza. But now Abbas has pulled out the thumb-screws. In early summer, he demanded that Hamas surrender governance of Gaza to him. The scornful refusal gave him the desired excuse to drive the crisis to its high point. In the hope that the population would rise up against its oppressors. This expectation was not exactly crazy. The weak are often bitten.

Water From the Cistern Wagon

But Gaza’s harassed subjects did not do Abbas that favor. They are too tired, beaten down, occupied with simply trying to survive. For Maher Salem, they are “heroes.” The General Director of Water and Sewage Management in Gaza city has maintained a happy disposition, despite the continuing misery. “That’s my way of dealing with the pressure.” He has the numbers at hand, even though he emphasizes that they change daily. On the average, residents get 19 hours of electricity a day. Instead of the previous 120 megawatts, Israel is now supplying 70 megawatts, as Abbas asked, and therefore reducing the amount of electricity. This embitters Maher Salem: “Abbas doesn’t usually have Netanyahu eating out of his hand. But now Netanyahu is doing as he is told. What a disgrace!” The only power plant in Gaza gets hardly any diesel and delivers only 50% of what is needed. Gaza’s groundwater is contaminated by chemicals and sewage. For months, Zahra Mustafa, a housewife from Khan Yunis, has been walking two kilometers to the mobile cistern wagon and rolling her 20-liter canister home on a wobbly cart. The Mustafas cannot afford plastic bottles of water. Water from the tap is greasy and salty. They use it for showering and for their plants. They won’t even make their donkey drink it.

The groundwater yields about 50 million cubic meters annually, and the need in the Gaza Strip is for at least 200 million cubic meters. So water must bought from Israel. Mekorot, Israel’s water company, pumps five million cubic meters to Gaza annually. Maher Salem would consider fifteen million cubic meters about right. There are three desalinization plants. Two of them work well, but not without electricity. So when those people in need hear that Jerusalem has just concluded an agreement with Ramallah for delivery of water, they are bitter. West Jordan [the West Bank] is to receive 22 million cubic meters and Gaza 10 million. In and of itself, this is good news. But it could be years before it reaches that point.

Hamas is Giving Itself a New Look

Hamas is aware that this is for all the marbles. It is taking countermeasures. In the spring, it presented its new charter — an attempt to strip away its image as a terrorist organization and show itself as a resistance group. The Two-State Solution is implicitly welcomed and the PLO recognized as the legitimate representative of Palestinians. Most important, though, is the distancing from the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s mother organization. This constitutes a direct approach to Egypt, whose President Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi is hounding the Brotherhood mercilessly.

The reason for the change, of course — Hama’s isolation had simply become too oppressive. Not one Arab statesman protested when Donald Trump equated Hamas with the terrorist militia ISIS. Then, when even Qatar found itself in Riyadh’s crosshairs, the alarms sounded in Gaza. From that point on, for Hamas, it was about its very survival.

And lo and behold — Cairo showed interest. We are sitting with Mahmoud al-Airami, vice director of the University of Palestine in Gaza. Airami has seen much of the world. He studied in Simferopol, “fought side-by-side with Yasser Arafat,” his respected role model. He takes the title “general” and appears to have an intimate acquaintance with the renewed approach to Egypt. Big things are happening, says Airami. He had just been with a four-person Hamas delegation led by Prime Minister Yahya Sinwar, in Cairo. It had been agreed “to make every effort” to open the border at Rafah again, for 24 hours every weekday. Egypt is willing to deliver diesel. Trade should flourish.

Airami never tires of singing the praises of Yahya Sinwar. Yet if Hamas really succeeds in breaking out of its isolation, the credit is due not to the head of government, but to one of the flamboyant figures of the Palestinian political scene. Mohammed Dahlan is the real door-opener for Hamas in Cairo. At first, that seems absurd. Dahlan is a Fatah man, who ruled with an iron hand in Gaza in the 1990s. Hamas accused him of torturing their fighters.

Settling a Blood Debt

After Dahlan’s people were defeated by Hamas in the “Battle of Gaza” in 2007, he fled to West Jordan [the West Bank], where he also rapidly found himself in disfavor, and was accused of having poisoned Yasser Arafat. He finally found refuge in Dubai. He lives there now as a rich man with many enterprises, not the least of which is the weapons trade. He is acquainted with al-Sisi and the heads of the Egyptian secret service. As youths, he and Prime Minister Sinwar played together in the refugee camp Khan Yunis. Hamas intends to profit from Dahlan’s contacts. That’s only right and proper, an official tells us. Dahlan, “the Torturer” has an enormous blood debt to settle. On Thursday, Hamas allowed the most incredible demonstration since 2007: In the middle of Gaza city, ca. 2,000 followers of Dahlan celebrated their idol, raised portraits high and showed posters saying “Thank you, Dahlan.” And aid packets from the Emirates for which Dahlan had paid two million dollars were passed out.

The affair is clear to the analyst Reham Owda, who lives in Gaza. The most diverse interests are converging here very nicely. Hamas wants to escape its isolation. Dahlan wants a comeback, wants to be “the savior of Gaza” and become president of Palestine. Egypt, which is fighting ISIS terrorism in the Sinai, is hoping to bind Hamas with a security agreement. For a long time, Egypt has accused Hamas of supporting ISIS. There is no more talk of that now. Cairo and Abu Dhabi have an interest in loosening the tight bonds between Qatar and Hamas. Israel is following the development with interest. There is no uniform vision. If Hamas can save itself, that would be bad for some, because they hate Hamas; for others it would be acceptable, because they see Hamas as a force for order, without which, Gaza would descend into chaos, and that would have unpleasant consequences for Israel. What is difficult to understand is why Jerusalem does so little to alleviate the misery in Gaza. Courageous humanitarian actions could be mounted. Cutting down the electricity to the miserable people as well, and exposing oneself to the reproach of the world is not comprehensible. Israel must of course maintain an equilibrium between help for Gaza and its own security demands.

Vouchsafing the harassed people a minimum of human dignity, even if temporary, neither endangers Israel’s security nor strengthens Hamas. It is embarrassing to hear Yiftach Ron Tal, head of the Israeli electricity company, squirm when he explains the situation. It seems the government of President Benjamin Netanyahu is more set on the cultivation of the inter-Palestinian dispute than on the well-being of the people in Gaza. And no one cares about world opinion. Not a good sign.

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The European Union has launched official legal action against Poland over parts of a judicial reform package. The procedure kicks off a process that could see Poland taken to the European Court of Justice.

The European Commission on Saturday launched an \"infringement procedure\" against Poland over parts of controversial judiciary reforms.

The EU executive decided on Wednesday to start legal action against Poland for violating the bloc's law, but had to wait until Poland officially published the new law to send a letter to Warsaw.

The Commission is concerned that the reforms will undermine the independence of the judiciary by giving the justice minister discretionary power to extend the mandate of common judges, as well as dismiss and appoint lower court presidents.

\"The new rules allow the Minister of Justice to exert influence on individual ordinary judges through, in particular, the vague criteria for the prolongation of their mandates, thereby undermining the principle of irremovability of judges,\" the Commission said in a statement.
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It also took issue with the introduction of different retirement ages for female and male judges, set at 60 and 65 years, respectively. That aspect of the reform violates EU anti-discrimination policy.

EU piles on pressure

Poland's governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) now has one month to respond. If the Polish response is unsatisfactory, the Commission can issue requests that Warsaw must implement its recommendations within two months.

If Poland fails to implement the recommendations, it could end up at the European Court of Justice. Decisions from Europe's top court are binding and can result in fines on members.

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the reform on Tuesday. But after the EU warnings and mass protests, the president surprisingly vetoed two other controversial laws passed by lawmakers.

Those reforms would have increased political control over the Supreme Court, removed its judges and allowed lawmakers to choose members of a body that decides on court appointments.

PiS has vowed to push through the reforms despite the veto.

The Commission has warned Poland that it could trigger Article 7 if the Supreme Court reforms are implemented.

Article 7 is an action, never before used, that would see Poland lose its voting rights in the European Council, or meeting of European ministers, for violating fundamental EU laws.

The EU and Poland have been in disagreement since the conservative PiS came to power in 2015 seeking a series of legal and media reforms that critics say undermine democracy and the rule of law.

Last year, the EU took the unprecedented step of launching a process of reviewing the rule of law in Poland.  

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Since the start of the year we’ve been regaled by mainstream media repetition of the official narrative that Donald Trump “might have” won last year’s election with illicit help from Russia. We’re told that “17 intelligence agencies all agree” that Russia at least tried to interfere with the 2016 election, with Congressional committees now on fishing expeditions trying to uncover evidence of Trump campaign members’ or cabinet members’ (or family members’) involvement with Russians last year.

The whole thing now stands exposed as a hoax.

The only remaining question is whether this exposure will penetrate the official wall of silence, especially as one thing is becoming abundantly clear: the Trump administration and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, spearheading the investigation into allegations that members of Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to tip the election in their favor, are on collision course. Mueller, also a former FBI Director (2001 – 13) and a close friend of James Comey who succeeded him, and has a reputation as a bulldog. He’s the perfect soldier for Trump’s enemies in the Deep State and on the left.

Paul Craig Roberts, one-time Assistant Treasury Secretary and former Wall Street Journal editor who was blackballed by mainstream media after coauthoring an infamous article criticizing the economic mythology surrounding “free trade,” has drawn our attention to the information that exposes the hoax, supplied by a group known as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

VIPS was formed in 2003 by former intelligence officials to protest the use of faulty intelligence information on which then-President George W. Bush was about to base his disastrous decision to lead his “coalition of the willing” into Iraq. The group sent their first Memorandum (February 7, 2003) to Bush criticizing Colin Powell’s speech before the United Nations claiming sufficient grounds for the invasion. It is possible that one of their memoranda sent to President Obama circumvented a planned attack on Iran by Israel in 2010.

VIPS includes such authorities as William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and Skip Folden, retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology. There are numerous former or retired NSA, CIA, and USAF folks in VIPS. There is little doubt these people know what they are talking about.

They’ve now written President Trump a letter. You can read the letter and the information for yourself here. One hopes it actually reaches the president’s desk and that he takes it seriously. If he is going to tweet anything, he should tweet that link and reach his millions of online followers immediately. And they should retweet it, and keep retweeting it, until ignoring it is impossible.

Someone compromised DNC computers last summer. That we know. While the mainstream narrative is that DNC computers were hacked, VIPS has shown conclusively that what happened was not a hack but a leak, the work of a person on the inside with physical access to those computers. This claim isn’t new, but has been routinely dismissed by the usual suspects in the mainstream as a conspiracy theory. Now we can be more certain of the truth.

Unlike the “official” intelligence agencies, VIPS did original forensics research. What they discovered:

On July 5, 2016, information from DNC computers (the infamous Clinton-Podesta emails) was copied physically onto another device. On July 12, Julian Assange announced his intent to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton” on WikiLeaks. Then on July 15, Crowdstrike, a DNC contractor, claimed to have discovered malware on the DNC server and claimed to have evidence linking it to a Russian hacker. That same day, “Guccifer 2.0” confirmed Crowdstrike’s statement, claimed credit for the “hack,” claimed to be a WikiLeaks source, and posted a document VIPS forensics showed was purposefully doctored to suggest Russian involvement.

I will quote the VIPS letter’s most important paragraph in full:

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].

Assange has denied from the get-go that his source was Russian.

This blows the infamous “Intelligence Community Assessment” released jointly on January 6, 2017 by the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA out of the water, as well as explains why they’ve refused to produce any hard evidence that “Russian hackers” were responsible for what happened to DNC computers. They have none!

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Trump the truth at the G20 Summit when he denied that his country had any involvement with last year’s election. Because “Russian hackers” had nothing to do with the release of the emails that found their way to WikiLeaks.

It is almost certain that the timed release of putative evidence tying the compromising of DNC computers to Russia was purposeful, to distract from what those emails contained and focus ensuing media attention on Russia, where it has remained. All else is “conspiracy” talk (as if this claim that Russia interfered with the election could be classified as anything else).

The long and the short of it: we now know absolutely, period! — that Trump did not win because anyone in or from Russia helped him. Most visibly, he won because the Democrats screwed up. They ran a candidate almost no one with a functioning brain thinks is honest or trustworthy period. A candidate, moreover, clearly tied to elitism and unearned privilege.

The deeper explanation for Trump’s victory was that the mainstreams of both major parties had collapsed. They lost credibility, at least among the 63 million who voted for Trump and probably among others who either voted for a third-party candidate or stayed home.

The GOP mainstream has championed “free trade” and open borders at least since the Reagan years, and since 9/11, war and police-statism, while ignoring the slow descent of a significant portion of the middle class into an economy abyss of rising living costs and stagnant wages. The Democratic Party mainstream, meanwhile, has promoted identity politics at the expense of the white working class (and former middle class), abortion, homosexuality, Islamism, the war machine, and again, open borders. (Democrats want open borders to get votes; Republicans want them so corporate billionaires can get cheap labor.)

Both parties have ignored the growing debacle in higher education, the cost of which goes up, up, up, alongside bloating administrations, while the quality goes down, down, down, as institutions were transformed into arenas for hard left political agitation which burst forth in living color in 2015 – 16.

Mainstream media has also lost a great deal of credibility, just from having made predictions that Hillary Clinton would win in a landslide. As have their pollsters and their talking heads who have come to look like they followed the Peter Principle long ago and rose to their level of incompetence.

The mainstreamers aren’t going to get their credibility back by pushing this Russia narrative.

Those talking about how we’ve entered a “post-fact world” or something equally silly because Trump exaggerated the number of people present on Inauguration Day, or possibly the number of people who voted illegally, need to look in the mirror. There are simply no facts in support of what has dominated the airwaves for the past six months, distracting Trump from the work he is trying to do on the economy and on protecting U.S. borders. The Russians-hacked-the-election narrative at this point clearly represents an elite-sponsored effort to discredit this president and render him ineffective, because his enemies among the elites and in the Deep State do not want a recovering middle class or border security. Above all, they do not want a rapprochement with Russia and cooperation between the two powers sufficient to resolve the crisis in Syria peacefully (in which Assad would remain in charge), contain ISIS, and halt the expansion of Anglo-Zionist power in the region.

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