The decay of America

June 21, 2017

“School’s out for summer (♫♫)” and many folks will be packing-up their family cars and take to the America’s highways to visit national parks as well as relatives. Unfortunately, as many crisscross the nation they will bear witness to a sobering image of abandoned storefronts and infrastructure in serious disrepair.

So how exactly did America get to this point? Well, lots of government mismanagement of tax money contributed to the county’s slow decay as well as the growing gap between rich and poor.

The nation’s richest communities like Silicon Valley, Beverly Hills, New York and Washington DC have witnessed an economic explosion, while rural America has struggled to keep up with inflation, let alone save for the future. According to the Economic Innovation Group, the Distressed Communities Index report; “Most American communities are not distressed, but they are far from flourishing. The Zip codes mere miles apart occupy vastly different planes of community well-being and few people are truly mobile between them. It is little surprise that many Americans feel they have been left behind.”

The report uses zip codes as economic indicators to disseminate poverty rates as well as employment trends. Silicon Valley gurus Sean Parker and Ron Conway, who spend their days investing in promising tech startups, spearheaded the Economic Innovation Group.

The study highlights the dwindling middle class and the creation of two Americas: “one prosperous group of communities where vacant houses, poverty and those without a high school diploma are nearly non-existent, and another swatch of communities where more than a quarter of residents live in poverty. More than 50 million Americans live in distressed communities, where nearly a quarter of residents lack a high school diploma, and employment opportunities have dropped by nearly 7 percent. In the most distressed city in the country, Camden, NJ, the city’s median income is 36.4 percent that of the rest of the state. Other cities topping the distressed list are Detroit, Cleveland, and Flint, Michigan.”

The so-called free trade deals, like the dying Trans-Pacific Partnership, provides more protection to large corporations and their financial assets while trashing average working Americans’ wages.

Contributing to the nation’s downfall is America’s foray into globalization. For example, most large corporation’s CEOs have long believed that free trade would benefit the struggling middle class—it hasn’t. Nevertheless, the CEOs were asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos if they still believed globalization was good for all Americans, surprisingly, they revealed they were skeptical. CNBC said in an article “only 38 percent of the public believed globalization has had a largely positive impact on improving the movement of capital, people, goods and information. Public discontent has the potential to erode trust, which is needed for long-term sustainable performance. The real challenge here though, isn’t just one of how CEOs navigate, it’s about the need for CEOs to have a deeper, two-way relationship with stakeholders, customers, employees, and the public.”

The widening gap reveals an absurd concentration of wealth with just eight men possessing the equivalent of half the poorest world’s population. According to Euronews, the men include: “founder of Microsoft Bill Gates, business magnate and founder of Inditex Amancio Ortega, investor Warren Buffett, telecoms magnate Carlos Slim, founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison and Michael Bloomberg, the founder and CEO of Bloomberg LP.”

It’s hard to overlook the common denominator of the greatest redistribution of wealth of all time, politicians. The concentration of political power in the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC, is run by a few corporate and financially privileged and well-connected individuals who exert their influence over the economy.

The book Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the few says, “this transformation has amounted to a pre-distribution upward. Intellectual property rights—patents, trademarks and copyrights—have been enlarged and extended, for example, creating windfalls for pharmaceutical companies. Americans now pay the highest pharmaceutical costs of any advanced nation.”

While the great American heist has broken the spirit of the workers, the permanent bureaucratic class has quietly changed antitrust policies for corporations with noteworthy market power, like big food enterprises, cable companies, large airlines as well as Wall Street banks. “As a result, Americans pay more for broadband Internet, food, airline tickets and banking services than the citizens of any other advanced nation. Bankruptcy laws have been loosened for large corporations—airlines, automobile manufacturers, tax laws have special loopholes for the partners of hedge funds and private-equity funds, special favors for the oil and gas industry, lower marginal income-tax rates on the highest incomes and reduced estate taxes on great wealth,” the books author reports.

“The portion of workers with any pension connected to their job has fallen from just over half in 1979 to under 35 percent today. Labor unions have been eviscerated. Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker, backed by a strong union, earned $35 an hour in today’s dollars. Now America’s largest employer is Wal-Mart, and the typical entry-level Wal-Mart worker, without a union, earns about $9 an hour,” Robert Reich explained.

One would think that Reich, a huge Democrat supporter, would have been thrilled by a Trump presidency – he wasn’t, even though President Trump won the hearts of the GOP and former blue dog Democrats with his “forgotten men and women” speech.

“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump said.

“Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country,” he continued.

“Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capitol, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes — starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment: It belongs to you.”

“We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own… We’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. … The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.”

The media and Left went nuts, claiming the President spoke in dark angry tones. But he just repeated what he heard and saw during the campaign. The folks are angry and mad. After another trek across the country, this reporter knows exactly what President Trump meant, the little guy has been forgotten, the rich have gotten richer, and the middle class has dwindled. Until politics returns to individual districts across the country, no amount of biblical words will restore the “greatness” of America.

Stay tuned for a video of the new America!

Comatose mystifies the Senate

June 14, 2017

In a highly anticipated Senate Intelligence hearing the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) James Comey made all kinds of headlines and a startling admission, that he was a leaker of confidential information during the ongoing Russia investigation.

The Chairman of the Committee, Richard Burr, candidly asked Director Comey, “did the President at any time ask you to stop the FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 US elections?”

“Not to my understanding, no,” Comey said.

Burr then asked; “Did any individual working for this administration, including the Justice Department, ask you to stop the Russian investigation?”

Again Comey replied “No.”

Once the testimony was finished President Trump’s personal attorney Mark Kasowitz wasted no time in rebuking the former director’s statements. “Comey admitted there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.”

He continued: “Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told President Trump privately, that is that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference. It is now established that the president was not being investigated for colluding with or attempting to obstruct any investigation. As the committee pointed out today, these important facts for the country to know are virtually the only facts that have not been leaked during the course of these events. As he said, the president feels completely vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda, with the business of this country and with this public cloud removed.”

Perhaps one of the underreported story lines was Comey’s orchestration of leaks designed to ensure a special counsel was appointed to investigate the president.

Kasowitz criticized the former director for “unauthorized leaks of his private conversations with Trump in a retaliatory effort” to ensure a special counsel was assigned to handle the Russian interference probe. “We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated.”

Comey’s alleged private memos appeared in a New York Times article on May 16th. The memos in question, highlighted meetings and phone calls between the president and the director. However, conveniently or mysteriously, the memos have disappeared. The Senate panel has instructed the former director to provide the government documents to preserve the archives.

It didn’t take long for President Trump to call Comey’s disclosure of their private conversations ‘cowardly.’

He tweeted: “I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal? Very “cowardly!’”

The former FBI Director confirmed at the Senate Intelligence hearing that he personally leaked the memos. According to Fox News, he disclosed that he used his Columbia University friend to leak the government memos to the press.

It was Senator Susan Collins’ (R-MA) questioning that led to the bombshell news. She asked Comey “if he had shared his confidential writings with anyone outside the FBI or the Department of Justice.”

Comey candidly replied: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter—I thought that might prompt the appointment of special counsel.”

Comey got his wish, as the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller to be the special counsel a few days after the NYT story broke. Critics argue that anytime you install a former prosecutor, you are looking for trouble. On a Sunday talk show one of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said the President “would not rule out firing the special counsel,” if warranted.

Of course, that statement set off Trump’s critics and led to many misrepresentations of the account of the president’s true intentions.

It appears that it was all the director’s 2016 shenanigans that led to his firing. Nevertheless, Comey claimed at the hearing that Trump fired him because he didn’t like the trajectory of his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election cycle.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted,” Comey testified to the Senate. “That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me.”

On top of that Comey accused the administration of spreading “lies, plain and simple.” He continued to allege Trump “chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by claiming the bureau was in disorder under his leadership.”

The bottom line for Comey was his distrust of the president he was tasked to serve.

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it really important to document. I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened not only to defend myself but to protect the FBI.”

But are there any wrong doings by President Trump?

Prominent Democrat legal beagle Alan Dershowitz says no. The president’s “statement may provide political ammunition to Trump opponents, but unless they are willing to stretch Comey’s words and take Trump’s out of context, and unless they are prepared to abandon important constitutional principles and civil liberties that protect us all, they should not be searching for ways to expand already elastic criminal statutes and shrink enduring constitutional safeguards in a dangerous and futile effort to criminalize political disagreements.”

Throwing more water on the media firestorm, both prominent Democrat attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley pushed away any illegality by the president thus far. They firmly disputed cable news commentators’ ongoing narrative that the president is guilty of obstruction and colluded with the Russians.

Turley stated: “Former FBI Director James Comey likely knew he would not be allowed to publicize his leaked memos. Comey indirectly leaked memos – about conversations with President Trump – to Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman, who sent them to the press on his behalf. Richman could not be found at his Brooklyn Heights, NY home and has ‘gone into hiding,’” according to Turley’s New York Post account. “People are treating [the memos] like it’s a diary entry. He wrote this on an FBI computer about a pending sensitive investigation.”

With all the partisan rhetoric flying one of Trump’s former bitter competitors Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked Comey, “You ever wonder why, of all the things in this investigation, the only thing that’s never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans and the leadership of Congress knew that and have known that for weeks?”

Comey answered: “I don’t know, I find matters that are briefed to the Gang of Eight are pretty tightly held, in my experience.” (Something the former director should have learned).

Taking to Twitter, Dershowitz tweeted: “There’s No Evidence of Obstruction, and Inventing Crimes is Dangerous.” In an op/ed, he warned of the consequences of the political witch-hunt tactics used by both political parties. “All Americans who care about the Constitution and civil liberties must join together to protest efforts to expand existing criminal law to get political opponents. Today it is Trump. Yesterday it was Clinton. Tomorrow it could be you.”

 

Qatar – financier of terror – expelled from GCC by the Saudis

June 7, 2017

Qatar’s split personality – home to US combat operations against ISIS AND financial hub for the financing of terrorism – suffered a devastating setback today when Saudi Arabia (KSA) ordered the expulsion of Qatar from the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC).

Showing solidarity with KSA, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Yemen’s Saudi-backed regime broke diplomatic relations and commercial ties with Qatar. The now-five-member GCC is reportedly pressuring its members to stop financing terrorism at the request of President Trump.

The banishment of Qatar makes for an awkward relationship for the US. The US military’s largest Persian Gulf base is located in Qatar and it’s home to the US-led air campaign against ISIS.

Despite the stunning move by the Saudis, spokesman, Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway stated, “We have no plans to change our posture in Qatar. We encourage all our partners in the region to reduce tensions and work towards common solutions that enable regional security.”

Navy Captain Jeff Davis, Pentagon spokesman said: “I will only tell you that we have, with regard to our bases there, continued presence in our operations.” He said the Defense Department is keeping an eye on Qatar and “would encourage all of the parties involved to work together. We hope for a quick resolution and we have no intention of altering our current operations, not only in Qatar but anywhere in the [Gulf Cooperation Council]. That includes important bases we have around the region, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain,” he concluded.

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered his diplomatic resolve from Sydney Australia suggesting it (Qatar’s expulsion from GCC) would not interfere with America’s effort to defeat ISIS. “We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences. If there’s any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] remain united.”

Secretary of Defense (ret.) Marine General James Mattis added, “All of those parties you mentioned have been quite unified in the fight against terrorism and the fight against Daesh, ISIS, and have expressed that most recently in the summit in Riyadh.”

The news of Qatar’s expulsion sent shockwaves. According to the Saudi state news, KSA decided to “exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by international law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”

Another statement released by the Kingdom accused Qatar of “harboring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region.” After all land air and sea contacts were severed with Qatar KSA “urged all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”

Following suit on Monday was Egypt who said it severed ties with Qatar because they supported terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar seemed dumbfounded by the news. Its foreign ministry spokesperson said, “It regretted the measures by the Arab nations. The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact.” The regime said the decision would “not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents. The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its [Qatar’s] sovereignty as a state.”

An advisor to Qatar, Andreas Krieg, also an assistant professor of defense studies at King’s College London said, “This is a major escalation and I don’t think there is an easy way out of it. The Qataris have been hosting so-called outlaws for a long time and I don’t see them turning around and saying tomorrow: ‘Hamas, out! Muslim Brotherhood, out!’ You can’t kick them out overnight.”

Saudi Arabia claims Qatar has been “financing, adopting and sheltering extremists.” The Emirate nation allegedly has ties to designated terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS.

Hedging their bets, two member nations staying out of the GCC fray, Oman and Kuwait said they haven’t broken ties with Qatar and are hoping for a quick solution.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, called for all Middle East nations to discuss the issues and resolve the dispute. “We see the stability in the Gulf region as our own unity and solidarity. Countries may, of course, have some issues, but dialogue must continue under every circumstance for problems to be resolved peacefully. We are saddened by the current picture and will give any support for its normalization.”

KSA’s sudden axing of Qatar, the only other Salafis Sunni nation, appears to be related to President Trump’s meeting with Saudi King Salman. On Tuesday the President tweeted; “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” In another tweet, he said; “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding … extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

While not commenting further, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did say that the president’s tweets are considered official statements and that his boss will continue to use Twitter because it is the way this president can talk directly to his 110 million social media followers.

Meanwhile, not one to let Trump do all the tweeting, the deputy chief of staff to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Hamid Aboutalebi tweeted regarding Yemen: “The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders … is not a way to resolve crisis … As I said before, aggression and occupation will have no result but instability.”

But the real winner here is President Trump. The businessman turned politician understands the “art of the deal” and realized a way to stem the tide in the Middle East was to break up alliances and focus on the money. The next move rests with the Qatar regime. Will it stick with the insurgents or seek other alliances?

The real paradox here is that Qatar has been a major purchaser of US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and was considered a player in the isolation of Iran militarily, diplomatically, and economically. Qatar and KSA are major purchasers of billions of dollars worth of US weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the FMS program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar. (The Pentagon has refused multiple efforts to release the end-user agreements to this reporter as requested under FOIA.)

Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under US anti-trafficking in humans reports, which require a waiver by then President (Obama) stating the sale is in furtherance of national security interests. To the outside world, the US ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.

If this all seems off kilter, then you understand the Middle East. The US diplomatically moves to isolate Qatar from its natural allies in the GCC in an effort to stem the funding of terrorism, while it operates combat missions against Qatar’s beneficiary, ISIS. Politics do indeed make for strange bedfellows.

Oil and Gas sabotage Trump’s solution for Palestine

May 23, 2017

Oftentimes, Presidential economics drive policy and Mr. Trump’s first overseas trip symbolizes his concerns about terrorism and the creation of US jobs, jobs, jobs. But his much-heralded goal of achieving what has eluded his eight predecessors, a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, is doomed even before its starts. It seems economics has trumped politics, and, a peaceful solution, despite the expected promises of money and security, is not even remotely possible.

If it involves the Middle East, it involves oil, and Palestinian statehood is no exception. Despite the Oslo Accords requirements, Palestinian-Israeli cooperation in the exploration, development, and sale of oil and gas from the West Bank, Gaza, and the Occupied Territories is non-existent despite the discovery and exploitation of billions of dollars worth of oil and gas.

The annexation of the Golan Heights of Syria, which Israel seized and has continuously occupied since 1967, signaled a final rejection by “Bebe” Netanyahu of any commitment of Israel to a settlement with the Palestinians. Despite the affirmations on both sides and the eternal optimism of the Americans that all are working toward a solution, it is just rhetoric to cash-in on American promises of aid.

Why such pessimism? Because it is no surprise that a Noa fields spokesperson announced the discovery of approximately trillions cubic meters of natural gas reserves in the newly annexed territory. This projection of known reserves could place Israel in the top ten of countries with gas/oil reserves.

The Israelis previously canceled the joint exploration operations for oil and gas fields in the West Bank boundaries (Israel has continued independently – despite Oslo prohibitions) claiming that putting large sums of money into the hands of the Palestinians would merely feed additional terrorism.

Furthermore, the announcement several years ago of the Leviathan Basin gas finds estimated 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas could lead Israel to an energy sufficient status and a net exporter of gas and probably oil.

The Israelis have contracted with Jordan and Egypt to build pipelines for direct export and are in negotiations with the EU for the development of an underwater gas line to service Europe via Cyprus.

While all this energy news is a big plus for Israel, there is one, little distraction – namely the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank. The EU precedent to limit or bar the importation to the EU of Israeli produced fruits and vegetables from the occupied territories could jeopardize the EU gas contracts.

There are reports circulating that the mineral and fishing grounds off Gaza have enriched the Israelis at the expense of the Palestinians. The latest energy discovery has created differing territorial claims by Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine. At the heart of the natural gas discoveries is Israel’s self-imposed naval blockade off the coast of the Gaza Strip, which has essentially denied the Palestinians’ access to their natural gas reserves as well as coveted fishing operations.

According to a May 2017 report by Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, research results and analysis highlight that Noble (NYSE: NBL) Energy’s gas exploration and extraction undertakings in the Mediterranean could be linked to some human rights abuses in the Palestinian and Lebanon territories.

The Gaza Marine fields have also been estimated to contain about 1 trillion cubic feet of reserves. But Israel has long claimed the expansion of that field, while under Hamas’ control, is considered an “existential threat” therefore the Israeli militarily has blocked its development.

The Levantine Basin stretches some 200 miles into the Mediterranean Sea and goes through the heart of what the US Energy Information Administration claim holds six times more natural gas than regional countries.

By definition, the Law of the Sea specifically says coastal states have a right to 200 miles of maritime territory. Nevertheless, due to the concave shape of the Eastern Mediterranean, each country within that territory must negotiation and compromise, a process many Palestinian people feel they have been left out of the discussions.

Recently, James Stocker, a professor of International affairs at Trinity Washington University, claimed the Palestinian people may have a case at an international tribunal. “The point is that there is this whole space off Israel and Palestine and it hasn’t properly been divided yet. So we don’t actually know what the boundaries are. By failing to make a claim, Palestinians may be forfeiting their rights to their lawful territory and the natural resources within,” Stocker said. “If you aren’t making claims about the boundaries of these zones, if you are not making claims to these resources, then, in effect, you don’t have a right to them. Unless you claim that they are yours, other countries can claim them and say, ‘Well, no one else claimed this so, of course, we took it’,” he concluded.

On top of that, Farsnews reported that Israel has already signed a $4 billion agreement to sell the European Union oil/gas extracted from Palestinian shores.

The pipeline is expected to transfer gas from the occupied Palestinian coastline to the EU. It will pass through Cyprus, Greece, and Italy and is expected to rival the Russia/Turkey pipeline into Southern Europe.

The Israeli-EU deal could also adversely affect Lebanon by drilling into its Law of the Sea protected oil/gas territories.

A US Geological Survey estimated in 2010 that the Levant Basin comprises “a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.” If these estimates are correct, it means the Eastern Mediterranean is amongst the world’s top producers of natural gas. The recovery of the gas/oil in the north side of the Levant Basin would put the Syrian port of Tartus in play. The corridor route flows along the coastlines of Lebanon, Israel, as well as the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile back 2015, Afek, an Israeli subsidiary of Genie Energy and a US oil company, jointly announced they found vast oil/gas reserves under the Golan Heights. Genie’s principal geologist in Israel, Yuval Bartov said he believed the basin had the “potential of billions of barrels.”

“The Israeli energy and water ministry has licensed Afek to drill 10 experimental wells over three years in a 400-square kilometer area, about a third of the Golan’s total territory,” according to the Middle East Eye news agency.

At the time Afek claimed its discoveries could make Israel energy independent. However, the company did not include the Palestinian government in its assessments. But a report concluded that the discovery could turn Israel into an oil/gas exporter, something that Palestine says amounts to theft from its countrymen.

The issue pre-dates the Trump administration.

Under the Obama administration, the territorial dispute essentially indicated “(if) the US recognized Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan, it would likely clear the way for Israel to plunder any economically viable reserves located there. Netanyahu appears to have long harbored an interest in tapping the Golan’s potential for oil.”

Natural gas reserves were first discovered off the coast of the Gaza Strip in 1999. At the time, the Palestinian Authority awarded a 25-year exploration license to British Gas Group, to drill offshore of the Gaza Strip. In 2000, the Brits drilled two wells, Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. The original discovery of natural gas reserves estimated that approximately 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas were waiting to be extracted and sold to nearby countries.

Plus, a 2016 UN Special Rapporteur said: “Israel, the Occupying Power, effectively controls the economic and social development of the Palestinian territory […]. Measures that amount to violations of the right to development include the blockade of Gaza and the ensuing collapse of its economy, […] exploitation and appropriation of Palestinian natural resources, the regime of formal economic dependency, unilateral control over Palestine’s external borders, the encumbering of personal and business mobility, restrictions on the use of agricultural lands, limitations on Palestinian fishery.”

While there is a dearth of news on the evolving oil and gas exploration of the Levant, there can be no doubt that Israel has seized the momentum in exploiting this mineral wealth, which means the likelihood of Mr. Trump being able to negotiate any solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute is DOA. There is no likelihood Israel will grant concessions to the Palestinians that will render them eventual claimants for the oil and gas wealth the Israelis are enjoying.

Net neutrality –not so neutral

May 10, 2017

The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) defines “Network neutrality—(as) the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks fairly, without improper discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services—is a principle that must be upheld to protect the future of our open Internet. It’s a principle that’s faced many threats over the years, such as ISPs forging packets to tamper with certain kinds of traffic or slowing down or even outright blocking protocols or applications.”

Watch News Segment Here

The neutrality of the Internet is a principle that’s faced many threats over the years, lately, there have been many big Internet providers trying to interfere with certain kinds of traffic, slowing down the speed or outright blocking content they do not like. But under the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rules all consumers require equal access to lawful content of their choice, and the FCC was supposed to ensure there were no gatekeepers deciding Internet content.

However, last week Congress passed a bill allowing Internet providers to gather personal information of its customers and to sell it to interested third parties. Simply put, the cable companies can now sell your personal information, like shopping or viewing habits, and they collect more revenue!

So is the government playing favorites?

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) believes in the free market economy and wrote an OPED for the Daily Signal saying Americans want to watch, listen, and play any video whenever they want, wherever they want, and for as long as they want. And customers don’t want to pay a fortune for the privilege to do so.

“For most of the history of the Internet, companies have been free to find innovative new ways to meet America’s insatiable demand for data. But progressive activists have never been comfortable with the unregulated nature of the Internet. They have always wanted government bureaucrats to have more control over how the Internet is managed. After President Barack Obama installed like-minded progressives on the FCC, the Commissioners realized those progressive dreams when they introduced the agency’s first “net neutrality” regulations, called the Open Internet Order of 2010,” Lee concluded.

Last week, President Trump’s new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai publicized that his staff would begin the process of repealing the 2015 Open Internet Order. “Going forward, we cannot stick with regulations from the Great Depression meant to micromanage Ma Bell.”

“Instead, we need rules that focus on growth and infrastructure investment, rules that expand high-speed internet access everywhere and give Americans more online choice, faster speeds and more innovation,” he explained.

For the moment, Pai’s decision to save the Internet from innovation-killing government regulations doesn’t mean a future administration could not change the Internet rules to suit their needs.

That is why Senator Lee introduced the ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Act’—“a bill that would nullify the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order and prohibit the FCC from issuing a similar rule in the future. Congress should be the one setting telecommunications policy, not federal bureaucrats, and I look forward to engaging in this debate in the months ahead.”

Tech giant Oracle said in a statement: “Given these technical and economic realities, we applaud your leadership [over the FCC] in considering restoration of the ‘information services’ classification to broadband Internet access service.”

While partisanship keeps cable ratings high, Lee suggested there is a simple bipartisan fix. “Congress could easily pass a bipartisan law to make net neutrality permanent and put enforceable rules in place for good. Support for this approach is building on the left and right and FCC Chairman Pai has indicated it may provide the simplest path forward.”

Internet and privacy watchdog group EFF has been an outspoken critic for Internet issues and the unnecessary collection of metadata, LPR (License Plate Readers) readers as well as customer information that is sold to third parties for profit. The co-founder of Apple as well as EFF, Steve Wozniak, said the FCC was simply “squashing the little guy.”

Watchdogs explained that with the 2010 rules the FCC attempted to fight the new threats by introducing a new set of Open Internet rules. However, their efforts contained many legal and practical holes. By 2014, a legal challenge from Verizon overturned many rules and fired-up the FCC to draft new rules that will better serve consumers.

Lastly in a letter to the FCC: EFF said: “the goal of the FCC is to effectively hand over the future of the Internet to the cable and telephone industry and abandon its duty to protect the public interest, we ask that you oppose such a plan.”

Once public comments were requested, millions of consumers weighed in with their concerns and demanded the FCC ensure that net neutrality was done right. Many of the respondents asked the FCC to issue rules that would hold up in court.

After intense public activism, the FCC finally created rules that EFF supports “in part because, in addition to the bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of Internet traffic, they include strict ‘forbearance’ restrictions on what the FCC can do without holding another rulemaking.”

“There’s no silver bullet for net neutrality. The FCC order plays a role by forbidding ISPs from meddling with traffic in certain ways. But transparency is also a key (factor): ISPs must be open about how traffic is managed over their networks in order for both users and the FCC to know when there’s a problem. Local governments can also play a crucial role by supporting competitive municipal and community networks. When users can vote with their feet, service providers have a strong incentive not to act in non-neutral ways,” EFF said in a statement online. “We want the Internet to live up to its promise, (of) fostering innovation, creativity, and freedom. We don’t want regulations that will turn ISPs into gatekeepers, making special deals with a few companies and inhibiting new competition, innovation and expression.”

But an approach that censors, prioritizes content, and favors one class of users over another is not only unworkable as a practical and legal matter; it would be devastating for Internet freedom, economic opportunity, and innovation. We wouldn’t put the fox in the hen house… or would we?

Congress and federal judge hoodwink Trump on immigration

May 3, 2017

Using GOP tactics, the Democrats have successfully shut down President Trump’s agenda. The maxim? Stall, stall, stall then throw in a government shutdown and voilà, you have a recipe for success, for Democrats that is. The cherry on the top of this budget is sending the president legislation that specifically prohibits the government building that wall!

Relying on a Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) report, presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed taxpayers spend in excess of $52 billion annually to educate illegal immigrants. “The root cause of all the welfare payments to illegal aliens is the so-called ‘anchor baby’ phenomenon,” he explains.

It’s that kind of tough immigration rhetoric that added President of the United States to Trump’s resume. The other, of course, is building a wall, “a big beautiful wall.” However, Trump’s first official budget written by Speaker Ryan, provided zero dollars to build the wall, “no money is to be used for the construction of a border wall.” The joke from Speaker Ryan must be the slap for the face for the very voters who gave Trump the Oval Office and comes as no surprise that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Despite the MSM open-border mantra, the immigration debate really resonates with middle-class American voters who believe the king of construction would actually follow through with his promises to secure the southern border with a big barrier.

It’s no surprise that the lack of “kept promises” angered the base. Executive Director for FAIR, Bob Dane said: “Notably, the late night closed-door budget deal provides no funding for President Trump’s signature promise of a border wall. Other provisions of the budget deal effectively sell out the very people who delivered key swing states to him last November, namely struggling American workers who have seen their jobs and wages decimated by bad immigration policies.”

Specifically, the omnibus budget bill includes:

  • Authorization of $1.5 billion for border security, but no funding for construction of a border wall, a cornerstone promise of President Trump’s campaign and integral component of regaining control of illegal immigration, drug smuggling and terrorism. The omnibus spending measure, in fact, rescinds $21 million that had previously been authorized for this purpose.
  • Reauthorization of the job-saving E-Verify program, but no funding for expansion of the program nor any move to make its use mandatory for all U.S. employers.
  • No restrictions on funding to sanctuary jurisdictions that defy federal law and actively impede immigration enforcement.
  • Authorization to increase the H-2B cap for low and unskilled guest workers at the discretion of the Secretaries of Labor and Homeland Security. Blue-collar American workers have been decimated by immigration, outsourcing, and automation in recent decades. Secretary Alexander Acosta has long been an advocate for business’s unfettered access to low-wage foreign labor.
  • Reauthorization of the scandal- and fraud-plagued EB-5 program, which has turned into a source of interest-free capital for some American businesses, but has failed to deliver promised jobs to American workers.

Dane also complained, “The budget deal hatched by congressional leaders with the consent of the White House amounts to a betrayal of American workers, taxpayers and the security of the nation. The Democratic minority in Congress got away with holding the operations of the federal government hostage – in the form of a threat to shut the government down – to the interests of illegal aliens and to the business lobby that wants to maintain a steady flow of low-wage labor. It was a hollow threat and the Republican leadership and the Trump administration should have called their bluff.”

It seems the Republicans relish the blame game and refuse to do the people’s work. Under Speaker Ryan, the lawmakers are keeping public school vacation calendars!

“The art of this new budget deal is nothing to be ‘happy about’ because it is a sell-out to the American worker and delays much needed border security. If the Trump Administration expects to make good on its immigration promises, this current budget negotiation should be a reality check; without forceful leadership from the president, a clear plan to properly resource enforcement, and an unwavering commitment to do so, Congress will continue to under-fund, obstruct, delay and derail needed immigration reforms for the American public,” Dane finished.

Unfortunately, Congress’ infamous “bait and switch tactic” ensures lawmakers can campaign on border security and pass the inaction blame game on the other guy.

To make matters worse California Federal Judge William H. Orrick of US District Court tried to make a name for himself in order to slow President Trump’s Executive Order financially punishing cities, mostly in navy blue states, for not adhering to federal immigration laws. The kicker? The Golden State judge that issued a temporary hold was an Obama appointee responsible for adding approximately $200,000 to the Democrat coffers.

Luckily, the order didn’t really have teeth, according to the Center for Immigration Reform (CIS).

  • The judge’s ruling doesn’t stop the administration from moving forward with publicly naming sanctuary cities and notifying them of their potential loss of federal revenues.
  • The judge’s ruling doesn’t stop the administration from withholding millions of dollars in key law enforcement grants administered by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security (SCAAP, COPS, and Byrne-JAG grants.)
  • The administration can still take legal action – led by the Department of Justice – against jurisdictions that adopt sanctuary policies, just as the Obama administration took legal action against Arizona for its attempt to assist with federal immigration enforcement.
  • Ironically, Judge Orrick is based in San Francisco the epicenter of the sanctuary city issue given this was the city that witnessed the killing of Kate Steinle. Steinle’s murderer, who had seven criminal convictions and five deportations under his belt, told officials that he kept returning to San Francisco because of its sanctuary city policies.

The main claim that Orrick made centers on a president’s ability to withhold funding for Justice Department grants. The decision allowed the Trump administration to withhold law enforcement grants but said “Trump’s threats to withhold all federal grants were coercive and violated several fundamental principles established in the Constitution. The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds,” Orrick wrote.

“Today the rule of law suffered another blow, as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. “This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge. Today’s ruling undermines faith in our legal system and raises serious questions about circuit shopping.”

Of course, the technical term is called “forum shopping” and it is illegal according to the ABA rule ##. Just last year US District Court Judge Holmes ruled against 16 attorneys for judge shopping. “Having considered the matter, the Court finds that Respondents filed a stipulation of dismissal in this case for the purposes of seeking a more favorable forum (emphasis added) and escaping an adverse decision and that this mid-litigation forum shopping was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances,” he wrote.

In true Trump fashion, he tweeted: “…the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%) They used to call this “judge shopping!” Messy system.” The president got one thing wrong; it wasn’t the Ninth Circuit judge.

However, San Francisco’s Mayor Edwin Lee and California’s new Attorney General Xavier Becerra were both happy with the judge’s ruling that effectively allowed local governments to fight back against President Trump. “Today’s decision is a historic affirmation of the U.S. Constitution’s core principles — that the President cannot usurp powers not given to him, and that the federal government cannot use federal defunding to coerce local governments into becoming federal immigration enforcers,” Santa Clara County counsel James Williams explained.

By the numbers

Between 2010 and 2014, 5.2 million new immigrants settled in the United States. Mexico had by far the largest immigrant population in the country, with 11.7 million legal and illegal Mexican immigrants living in the United States in 2014. After declining from 2010 to 2013, the number of Mexican immigrants in the United States rose by 130,000 by 2014.

Countries sending more than usual numbers to the US the last five years include Saudi Arabia (up 93 percent), Bangladesh (up 37 percent), Iraq (up 36 percent), Egypt (up 25 percent), Pakistan, India, and Ethiopia (24 percent). A new PEW Research report points out that roughly 14 percent of the US population is foreign born.

In a half-hearted attempt to stem the flow of migrants, the Obama administration has spent $1.2 million in advertising throughout Central America and Mexico warning migrants of the dangers of illegally entering the US. It’s been reported by Fusion/Huffington Post that coyotes (human traffickers) rape 80 percent of the women before they reach America. Despite warnings from US advertisements, illegal immigrants admit that they often bribe Mexican officials to skirt roadblocks that act as a deterrence.

For those seeking to reach the promised land, the trek is rife with many perils, including a Rape Tree on the US-side of the border near Campo, California. In the dead of summer, the throngs of illegal border crossers face heat exhaustion, long distances without hydration and a Rape Tree. (Story here)

The US/Mexico border fence is only a 15-minute walk away. It is here where females face the wrath of their coyote (smuggling) guides. The trail that leads to the Rape Tree is littered with plastic water bottles and female undergarments. Many think the majority of the illegals coming across the Southern border are simply here to seek a better life. Some are, but as the Rape Tree demonstrates, many are also in the US committing crimes and victimizing women. Many Border Patrol agents say the criminal aliens have no respect for the rule of law in this country, and the Rape Tree provides evidence.

The winding trail that leads to the Rape Tree is riddled with large rock-and-crevice hiding places that make it extremely difficult for Border Patrol agents to track and apprehend those crossing or assaulting women.

The average cost to illegally enter the US varies. According to Competitive Enterprise Institute, unauthorized Mexican immigrants usually pay $4,000-10, 000 to cross the border. “The smuggling fee for unauthorized Central American immigrants is currently between $7,000 and $10,000. The smuggling fee for an unauthorized Chinese immigrant is about $75,000 The most recently compiled averages in 2005 show that unauthorized Asian immigrants pay $26,041 to come to America, Europeans pay $6,389, and Africans pay $2,200. The smuggled migrants do not have a green card, work permit, or other legal work authorization waiting for them in the U.S. when they arrive, but they still pay enormous sums of money.”

Using Census Bureau numbers, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) found the US immigrant population, both legal and illegal, stood at 42.4 million. “The growth in the foreign-born population has accelerated over the past few years and immigrants now comprise about one out of every eight U.S. residents, the highest percentage in more than a century,” CIS latest analysis highlighted.

So, if the migrants are fleeing for economic reasons, where are they getting the travel money?  According to a Pew 2013 research report, a total of $52.9 billion in remittances were sent worldwide, but the bulk, $41.9 billion went to Latin America. Those remittances leave the US economy and often end up in the hands of drug cartels and coyotes.

On top of the $52.9 billion remittance figure, a nonpartisan Washington DC group dedicated to researching legal and illegal immigration in the US found immigrants benefit from America’s vast social welfare programs. The report found “the majority of households across the country benefitting from publicly-funded welfare programs are headed by immigrants, both legal and illegal. States where immigrant households with children have the highest welfare use rates, are Arizona (62%), Texas, California and New York (61% each) and Pennsylvania (59%). The study focused on eight major welfare programs that cost the government $517 billion the year they were examined. They include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the disabled, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), a nutritional program known as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), food stamps, free/reduced school lunch, public housing and health insurance for the poor (Medicaid). Food assistance and Medicaid are the programs most commonly used by illegal immigrants, mainly on behalf of their American-born children who get automatic citizenship. On the other hand, legal immigrant households take advantage of every available welfare program, according to the study, which attributes it to low education level and resulting low income. The highest rate of welfare recipients come from the Dominican Republic (82%), Mexico and Guatemala (75%) and Ecuador (70%), according to the report, which says welfare use tends to be high for both new arrivals and established residents.”

In a last ditch effort to fulfill his campaign promises President Obama unveiled his version of amnesty by using his well-worn amnesty pen. The plan grants legal status to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants. “If you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes,” the President said, “you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country.” Obama neglected to mention that the majority of illegal immigrants are so low income that they would pay no net income taxes; moreover, they are eligible for welfare benefits like Obamacare and Earned Income Credit worth thousands in “free” money from taxpayers. A 2006 report from the left-leaning Century Foundation said, “It is likely that the undocumented workers will end up receiving rather than paying the Treasury money.”

With a net loss of the costs associated with illegal immigration, American voters seem drawn to a strong president that would actually enforce laws on the books and turn off the spigot of freebies. One program that could eliminate illegal immigrants from working in the US is E-Verify. The electronic program allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees. The program was authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) and allows employers to submit information taken from a new hire’s Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) through E-Verify. The Social Security Administration and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) then determine whether the information matches government records and whether the new hire is authorized to work in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security said, “we facilitate federal agencies and employers comply [sic] with U.S. immigration law.” While E-Verify is 98 percent effective, only a small fraction of employers use the program. Along with the Chamber of Commerce, Republican leadership also opposes mandating E-Verify and plays by the Chamber’s political dollars.

And finally, an overlooked financial burden placed on Americans is the cottage identity theft industry. Millions of average Americans fall victim to identity theft by illegal job seekers who use their social security numbers to obtain jobs or access government benefits.

One case reported by the Associated Press involved a Kansas resident, Candida Gutierrez, whose total identity was allegedly stolen by illegal alien Benita Cardona-Gonzalez. The perpetrator used the identity to get a job; a driver’s license, a mortgage and medical care for the birth of two children. Gutierrez said, “When she claimed my identity and I claimed it back, she was informed that I was claiming it too. She knew I was aware and that I was trying to fight, and yet she would keep fighting. It is not like she realized and she stopped. No, she kept going, and she kept going harder.”

The common practice forces victims to spend many hours cleaning up their credit history. Mrs. Gutierrez tried to get the Social Security Administration to give her a new number only to find out that the illegal immigrant did this as well, so the agency ended up issuing a new number to the criminal and forced Gutierrez to file federal income tax forms using an ITIN, which illegal aliens normally use.

Officials say identity thieves become more confident when they remain undetected over time. Assistant US Attorney Brent Anderson, who is prosecuting the Cardona-Gonzalez case said, “And so that is a natural progression, and that is what we are seeing.” Anderson said more cases of total identity theft will be litigated “because we all know what is going on out there — which is thousands and thousands of people who are working illegally in the United States under false identities, mostly of U.S. citizens, and very little is being done about it. But we are doing something about it, one case at a time.”

While most Republican voters vehemently oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, in the past the GOP’s leadership team has supported the 2013 “gang of eight” comprehensive amnesty bill. After President Trump made illegal immigration a staple on the campaign trail, Middle America sophomorically believed Congress would finally defund Obama’s executive amnesty programs.

Despite the arguments from the MSM, the claims that the US does not have an immigration law are misplaced. The US admits more than a million LEGAL immigrants each year after they file an application, pay a fee, submit to medical records, undergo economic scrutiny, study civics, take a language test, swear an oath to the US, and denounce their former homelands. Some immigrants wait years to obtain legal immigration status by following the legal process, which oftentimes results in long periods of separation from their family members. Many illegal immigrant supporters claiming due process for border crashers forget or ignore the due process and hardship endured by legal immigrants in their rush to the border.

Sadly, it looks like the middle-class worker won’t see a reprieve under the status quo establishment Republicans or the open border Democrats!

Even a leading supporter of Trump has pulled the plug:

After months of activism efforts to encourage President Trump to honor his campaign promises, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is regretfully announcing the revocation of the organization’s endorsement of Donald Trump originally issued February 29, 2016.

ALIPAC’s supporters have endorsed, contributed to, volunteered for, and attended events and rallies to help Trump in response to his promises to enforce all existing immigration and border laws while ending Obama’s DACA Amnesty and building a wall on our southern border.

While Trump promised these things, he quickly caved and retreated on budget negotiations with Congress on funding for the wall this week, while continuing Obama’s overtly unconstitutional DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Amnesty for illegal immigrants! Trump is sending a message that most illegal aliens have nothing to fear from federal law enforcement and that implementation of US law will be based on his personal feelings instead of the Rule of Law. Trump has also issued an executive order setting dangerous refugee resettlement programs he promised to end at 62,000 imported per year, which is the same average Obama brought in during his terms. ALIPAC has also recently discovered Trump administration spokeswoman and Bush family ally Helen Aguirre Ferre promising future amnesty to illegal aliens on KJZZ radio! (Listen)

“We were so hopeful that Donald Trump would be a man of his word because the campaign promises he made to Americans were the things America needs to do to survive and thrive, but unfortunately, Trump has made it clear he cannot be trusted on his most powerful campaign issue of stopping illegal immigration and amnesty,” declared William Gheen, President of ALIPAC. “Our organization’s supporters have been fighting against illegal immigration and Amnesty for many years, and they say it is time for us to end our endorsement of Trump because close inspection of his actual immigration policies show he is similar to Bush and Obama on Amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

Trump strikes Syria in retaliation for chemical attack

April 12, 2017

On Thursday night, while dining with Chinese president Xi Jin Ping, President Trump announced the US had launched Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria for an alleged chemical attack that reportedly killed 80 civilians. The USS Porter and USS Ross fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military air base near Homs, Syria. The stagecraft went off without a hitch and many world allies congratulated the military strike, but for those frienemies, it’s a wait and see approach.

Watch One America News TV segment here

Using a back channel form of communication, the “deconfliction channel,” Russia warned there would be consequences. However, the Kremlin didn’t employ its anti-missile defensive batteries deployed in Syria.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled a change was in the air earlier in the day when he said, “We have a very high level of confidence that the attacks were carried out by aircraft under the direction of the Bashar al-Assad regime, and we also have very high confidence that the attacks involved the use of sarin nerve gas.”

Similarly, President Trump’s new Nation Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster said, “our intelligence community in cooperation with our friends and partners and allies around the world collaborated to determine with a very high degree of confidence precisely where the location originated. And then, of course, the sorts of chemicals that were used in the attack.”

But numerous skeptics have posited themselves on the opposite side of the Trump administration. From Moscow, President Putin had harsh words for the hasty attack. “We have information that a similar provocation is being prepared … in other parts of Syria including in the southern Damascus suburbs where they are planning to again plant some substance and accuse the Syria authorities of using [chemical weapons].”

But does the American Intel community know who perpetuated the heinous chemical attack? Former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford told the BBC: “no proof that the cause of the explosion was what they said it was… totally self-defeating. There is no proof that the cause of the explosion was what they said it was.  Remember what happened in Iraq… I’ve seen testimony alleged from witnesses who said they saw chemical bombs dropping from the air.  Well, you cannot see chemical weapons dropping from the air.  Such testimony is worthless.”

And what are the consequences? “Think about the consequences because this is not likely to be the end of it. It doesn’t make sense that Assad would do it.  Let’s not leave our brains outside the door when we examine the evidence.  It would be totally self-defeating as shown by the results…Assad is not mad.”

Echoing those sentiments is former service member and Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). “Yes, I’m skeptical,” she told CNN. “Why should we just blindly follow this escalation of a counterproductive regime-change war? Congress and the American people need to see and analyze this evidence and then make a decision based on that. I have not seen that independent investigation occur and that proof presented showing exactly what happened and there are a number of theories of exactly what happened that day.”

After the administration took fire from the R’s and the D’s as well as Russia over the weekend, it released a four-page, declassified report in an effort to blunt the antiwar chatter that’s picking up steam. In the report, Russia is accused of efforts to spread “disinformation” about the attack to cover for their ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“It’s clear the Russians are trying to cover up what happened there,” senior White House officials claim. “How is it possible that their forces were co-located with the Syrian forces that planned, prepared and carried out this chemical weapons attack at the same installation and did not have foreknowledge?”

The report (read here) offered up evidence to rebut claims from Russians and others that the chemical strike was not a government attack but an opposition (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, terrorists, rebels, etc.) attack that used its arsenal of chemical weapons to fake a real attack and blame it on the Assad regime.

The White House report explains that they have “physiological evidence collected from victims showed symptoms consistent with sarin exposure.” The graphic footage was immediately released showed victims, including children, struggling to breathe. “Victims of the attack on April 4 displayed telltale symptoms of nerve agent exposure, including pinpoint pupils, foaming at the nose and mouth, and twitching,” according to the report.

“The absolute mass of data we have … it’s just too massive for really any intelligence organization to fabricate in that short of period of time. That’s just not a feasible explanation,” other White House officials said.

Curiously, missing from the Thursday night attack and weekend media coverage were the Directors of both the CIA and DNI.

Currently, Secretary of State Tillerson is in Moscow for preplanned meetings with his counterparts. “Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Monday that no such meeting was planned (with Putin), suggesting Tillerson will follow strict diplomatic protocol and only meet his direct counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.” In 2013 Putin personally presented Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, “the Order of Friendship” award and before Thursday’s airstrike most expected the secretary would meet with Putin to warm up relations.

The obvious question that remains unanswered is ‘What’s the end game?’

The military action will likely lead to three major outcomes: One. The strike could worsen the fighting inside Syria. Two. Our enemies, including terror groups, may think the strikes were meaningless, emotional or largely symbolic. Three. What will Syria’s Russian ally do, will Putin let it slide or will he view the action as weak and instruct his generals the way is clear and continue his move west to Odessa?

What about the Iranian nuke deal, will Iran break it and widen the rift across the Gulf? Iran has approximately 100,000 soldiers on the ground in Syria and America has about 500. The roughly 500 Special Operations personnel inserted by the Obama administration are only in “support and training” roles to train Kurds for the impending attack to get rid of ISIS in Raqqa, it’s defacto capital. Could they and those stationed in Iraq/Afghanistan become retaliation targets?

Currently, there are approximately 5,000 US service members in Iraq and 10,000 in Afghanistan operating in regions that could present concerns about their security. Has the Administration thought about the unintended consequences: what will the ramifications look like? With the Trump administration undermanned and depending on establishment players is President Trump susceptible to Washington subterfuge designed to keep the military industrial complex rolling and his agenda to Make America Great Again on the back burner? Time will tell…

Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions says Sanctuary Cities must end!

March 28, 2017

Yesterday, President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions told White House correspondents his agency would begin to end sanctuary cities and penalize those municipalities that fail to enforce current federal immigration law.

Watch theKDreport YouTube report here

Sessions said the Justice Department could claw back approximately $4.1 billion in 2017 grant money if cities requesting funds refuse to verify that they are in compliance with the federal law that calls for local law enforcement to share immigration details with federal officials.

“The Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for DOJ grants (sic) to certify compliance with [U.S. Code § 1373] as a condition of receiving those awards,” Sessions explained.

The law in question prohibits local law enforcement or government officials from withholding illegal immigrant status to the federal government, i.e. ICE/Immigration and Customs Enforcement. President Trump ran on a platform of strictly enforcing immigration laws passed by Congress and building a wall.

“Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk, especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators,” Sessions explained. “I urge the nation’s states and cities to carefully consider the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws.”

A number of large cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, as well as more than 300 smaller cities and counties, are refusing to work with the federal government. These communities claim that reporting those detained by local enforcement could prompt them to not report other crimes to police because they could be arrested and deported for being in the country illegally. Those officials say that would make their communities less safe.

“LAPD has never participated in programs that deputize local law enforcement to act as immigration agents, and on my watch, they never will,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Writer’s note; deputizing is not a formal necessity as almost all Federal law includes concurrent jurisdiction with states and municipal law enforcement.

Illegal US Immigrants opt for Canada (and its generous benefits)

March 22, 2017

Now that “the Donald” is president, restless illegal immigrants in the US are now facing likely deportation. The “build that wall” mantra appears to be moving forward, leaving millions to consider their residency options.

Enter Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who has opened the door for those fleeing persecution in the US by lifting visa requirements for the Mexican people. Starting in December, numerous Mexicans sought refuge in Canada and its generous refugee asylum program.

According to Canada’s True North Initiative report, written by its Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), last month saw an explosion of immigration north of 2,500 percent.

For those who cross the Canadian border by foot, they can lawfully apply for refugee or political asylum status. The illegal immigrants do have to meet with an immigration judge and explain why they are fearful for their lives if they were to return to their homeland, including the US.

During the immigration process, asylum seekers are able to “take” part of Canada’s lavish social safety programs, including health care benefits many Canadian’s must pay extra for. According to the Toronto Sun, “Only about 10 percent of those applications were eventually accepted and given refugee status in Canada. The remaining 90 percent of cases were either abandoned by the claimant or rejected by a Canadian immigration judge. These bogus claimants cost Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions annually through social welfare programs, legal aid, court costs and deportation services. The low acceptance rate for Mexican asylum seekers is due to the fact that, while Mexico is a dangerous country, simply coming from a dangerous place is not enough to qualify for asylum in Canada.”

Nevertheless, Trudeau announced his country would eliminate the visa requirement for Mexican neighbors to the south. “This move will make it easier for our Mexican friends to visit Canada while growing our local economies and strengthening our communities,” he told Parliament after a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

However, the new policy was met with criticism because it allows any Mexican national to visit without background checks or guarantee they will return home.

A recent Reuter’s article interviewed several Mexican nationals set for deportation by America and the illegal immigrants indicated they were looking to call Canada home! “’I want to go to Canada,’ said one man who was deported from the US for drug possession and working illegally without immigration status. ‘For those without documents, I think (the United States) is over. Now it’s Canada’s turn,’” the criminal said.

So far the Canadian government data highlights that it’s approved more than 61,500 Electronic Travel Authorization forms (eTAs) to Mexican nationals, tripling the number of usual visitors. The question many Canadian taxpayers have is “will they leave?” Luckily, that maiden voyage should be answered in June when the first rounds of visa holders are supposed to leave.

In the meantime, the Trump administration has implemented a new program to prod America’s sanctuary cities by shaming local jails that refuse to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. Staunch Trump supporters say the president is following through on a campaign promise to deport the worst of the worst criminals, while the open border crowd claims Trump is targeting Hispanics.

Now that Trump has occupied the Oval Office for 60 days, ICE released the sanctuary city list fashioned after President Trump’s executive order (EO) that he signed in January. The EO specifically asked government agencies to document which jurisdictions refused to cooperate with ICE’s new strict policies to apprehend and deport criminal illegal aliens.

Following through with Trump’s EO, newly-minted Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement on the Declined Detainer Outcome Report: “This important report demonstrates a clear and ongoing threat to public safety. It is not acceptable for jurisdictions to refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement by releasing criminal aliens back into our communities when our law required them to be deported. The Department of Justice will use all lawful authority to ensure that criminals who are illegally in this country are detained and removed swiftly and to hold accountable jurisdictions that willfully violate federal law.”

Sanctuary cities and aiding and abetting illegal immigration are on a collision course to test the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution (Article VI) and President Trump’s immigration policies.

 

 

Michael Hastings: collection of articles

March 14, 2017

Interview with CRN Radio on CIA “Vault 7” and reporter Michael Hastings’death-a “cold case”  Listen/watch here

Included are photos of official documents collected throughout my quest to uncover the facts surrounding the death of national security reporter Michael Hastings.

 

***

The CIA to provide new details into Hastings’ death

Oct 6, 2013

CIA Director, John Brennan was Hastings next exposé

August 12, 2013

CW6 TV Segment here

Hastings’ 911 callers and new video confirm large explosions

August 4, 2013

It’s been nearly two months since journalist Michael Hastings died in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles. A new surveillance video from a nearby business obtained by San Diego 6 News and posted by LA Weekly graphically shows multiple explosions consuming his 2013 Mercedes Benz.

The surveillance video captures the final moments of Hastings life and provides intriguing details of the “crash.” The video shows a flash of light appearing at the 13-14 second mark, the headlights are on at 14 seconds, but all lights are extinguished at the 16-second mark. The car then turns left and the first horizontal explosion appears just after the 16-second mark (it ejects the left front tire across northbound highland approximately 40-50 feet). The second explosion engulfs the engine compartment at the 17-second mark. The third and largest explosion consumes the passenger compartment at the 17-18-second mark.

Inexplicably, the palm tree Hastings’ car hit has scorched bark and slightly wounded the base approximately –16″W x 4.5” H x 1″D –seemingly minimal damage for a 3,538 pound car striking the tree at a reportedly 100 mph. Also, pictures taken by San Diego 6 News show the curb has a small scratch, but no major chipping or fractures and the rear tires resting against the curb. Keep reading

Investigation into Michael Hastings accident continues

July 15, 2013

Details of reporter Hastings’ death remains elusive

July 8, 2013