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The Trump Era

Disruptions Planned for Inauguration Day

January 11th 2017

Whitehouse

Opponents of President-elect Donald Trump are planning huge demonstrations in Washington DC during the month of January. At least one large-scale protest by leftists and progressives is planned for January 20: Inauguration Day. Police are expecting tens of thousands of protesters in what could well become like the large-scale Occupy Wall Street protests and raucous anti-war protests of the last decade. 
 
Here are some major protests related to Donald Trump’s inauguration day.
 
January 14, 2017: We Shall Not Be Moved March  
 
Al Sharpton will lead a major protest at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on January 14, six days before the inauguration. Sharpton, who is a contributor to CNN, has long been a gadfly to Republicans and has made plain his opposition to Trump. And make no mistake. This march is all about Trump. Sharpton has been quoted as saying that the rally will seek to protect civil rights and voting rights for “people that have been excluded,” and also push for healthcare and equal opportunity for Americans. 
Read more ..

The Trump Era

Ford Cancels $1.6 Billion Plant in Mexico after Trump criticism

January 3rd 2017

Ford

Ford Motor Co (F.N) said Tuesday it will cancel a planned $1.6 billion factory in Mexico and will invest $700 million at a Michigan factory, after President-elect Donald Trump had harshly criticized the Mexico investment plan.

The second largest U.S. automaker said it would build new electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles at the Flat Rock, Michigan plant.

Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said the decision to cancel the new Mexico factory was in part related to the need to "fully utilize capacity at existing facilities" amid declining sales of small and medium sized cars such as the Focus and Fusion. Fields also endorsed "pro growth" tax and regulatory policies advocated by Trump and the Republican-led Congress. "This is a vote of confidence for President-Elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing," Fields said.

Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

Assad's Palestinian Mercenaries

January 3rd 2017

Mahmoud Abbas and Yassir Arafat

Over the past century, various Palestinian leaders have fostered alliances that were either unsuccessful or not particularly useful to them.

Take the alliance formed by the grand mufti of Jerusalem during the British mandate period, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who during World War II supported Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Al-Husseini hoped the Germans would win the war and Hitler would become fuhrer of the Middle East. After the Nazis lost the war, however, the West did not forgive al-Husseini, which severely damaged the Palestinian cause for over two decades.

Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat erred in 1990 when he supported Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait. Palestinian public support for the invasion led to a great deal of suffering for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians then living in Kuwait and the Persian Gulf, who paid the price for Arafat's support of the tyrannical Saddam Hussein.

Read more ..

The Robotic Age

iPhone Manufacturer Foxconn Plans To Replace Almost Every Human Worker With Robots

December 31st 2016

Smart phone

Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant behind Apple’s iPhone and numerous other major electronics devices, aims to automate away a vast majority of its human employees, according to a report from DigiTimes. Dai Jia-peng, the general manager of Foxconn’s automation committee, says the company has a three-phase plan in place to automate its Chinese factories using software and in-house robotics units, known as Foxbots.

The first phase of Foxconn’s automation plans involve replacing the work that is either dangerous or involves repetitious labor humans are unwilling to do. The second phase involves improving efficiency by streamlining production lines to reduce the number of excess robots in use. The third and final phase involves automating entire factories, “with only a minimal number of workers assigned for production, logistics, testing, and inspection processes,” according to Jia-peng.

The slow and steady march of manufacturing automation has been in place at Foxconn for years. The company said last year that it had set a benchmark of 30 percent automation at its Chinese factories by 2020. The company can now produce around 10,000 Foxbots a year, Jia-peng says, all of which can be used to replace human labor. In March, Foxconn said it had automated away 60,000 jobs at one of its factories. Read more ..


The Trump Era

What Really Happened at the Presidents Conference-Azerbaijan Hanukkah Party

December 27th 2016

Malcolm Hoenlein

On December 14, 2016, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (the Presidents Conference) in concert with the Embassy of Azerbaijan held a historic Chanukah party in Washington, D.C. that will be talked about for some time. Controversy continues to swirl over not only who attended the party, but who did not; how many were clicking glasses inside and how many were scowling outside. Ironically, this special event was singularly memorable not only for its historic collection of diplomatic personalities but also for the landmark under-reporting and misreporting of the event.

The Presidents Conference is comprised of the presidents of 50-plus so-called “major” Jewish organizations, although some are so small few have heard of them. Malcolm Hoenlein serves as executive vice chair of the conference.

The Conference Hanukkah party was timed to intersect with the official White House Chanukah party being held a few blocks away the same evening. Included among the approximate 150-200 attendees were at least 13 ambassadors and other senior diplomatic envoys, many from predominantly Muslim countries, along with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. The senior diplomats hailed Turkey, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, as well as Belarus, Romania, Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and even the PLO Mission, along with the Azerbaijan Embassy sponsors and Israel’s Ambassador.

Around Washington, D.C., it is not hard to attract senior personalities and officials to a party. Top congressmen and senators are always special guests and speakers at luncheons, conferences, and receptions. Typically, they dash in and dash out, within moments of their appearance, lingering just long enough to read a short political statement and then exit. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

An Existential Battle for the Demographic Future of Syria

December 21st 2016

Syria fighting injured baby

The Syrian government, Russia, and Iran (SRI) are trying to change the demographic makeup of Syria. They aim to depopulate Syria of the Arab Sunnis, which, before the Arab Spring was the largest religio-ethnic group in Syria. They mostly inhabited a very fertile strip of land between Aleppo in the north, down to Damascus, and then southward to the Jordanian border. Those Arab Sunnis who did not leave are being forced to move to Idlib and Raqqa, near the Turkish border.1

Examining SRI’s military campaign and its policy towards the refugees they have created suggests this SRI strategy.  The groups and places which the Russians have been attacking are the traditional strongholds of the Sunni Arab population – as of late Aleppo – the largest city in Syria.

Read more ..

The Trump Era

On the Eve of Trump's Deregulatory Revolution

December 20th 2016

Wall Street Bull

President-Elect Trump has the unprecedented opportunity to eliminate thousands of  useless federal regulations without any Congressional involvement.  Trump is uniquely not beholden to a political party, patrons, pollsters, pundits, lobbyists or ideologues.  His Cabinet and federal agency appointees can use the Administrative Procedure Act to rescind eighty years of outdated, useless and, in some cases, stifling regulations that have impeded business and stunted the growth of the US economy. 

Mr. Trump, not Congress, should appoint "a Special Advisor to the President for Deregulation" who would work out of the White House with all Cabinet members and agency heads to implement the Deregulatory Revolution. 

In 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the immortal words that launched the Age of Revolution throughout Europe and America (somewhat contemporized): "Man is born free and everywhere he is in the chains of excessive regulation!"  Right now in America before the beginning of the Trump Presidential Administration in January 2017, we are on the eve of a deregulatory revolution that will be unprecedented in American history.  Read more ..


Israel and Muslim World

Historic Meeting of Muslim Ambassadors and Israel Ambassador at Conference of President Hanukka Party

December 15th 2016

Malcolm Hoenlein

On December 14, 2016 the Conference of Presidents and the Embassy of Azerbaijan co-hosted nearly two hundred guests who filled the room for a reception in Washington, DC to celebrate the upcoming Chanukah holiday and honor those countries and others that provided crucial firefighting personnel and equipment to assist Israel in battling the devastating fires last month.

The event was attended by the ambassadors representing the diverse group of nations and others who aided Israel, leaders from many important American Jewish organizations, Ambassador Ron Dermer of Israel and other honored guests, including members of Congress.  Joining Ambassador Suleymanov of Azerbaijan were ambassadors and diplomats from Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the PLO, Romania, Russia, Tajikstan and Turkey.  

The event also followed by one day the visit to Azerbaijan of Prime Minister Netanyahu for meetings with President Ilham Aliyev which resulted in stronger ties between the two countries.

Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO said, “Last night, in a spirit of celebration, mutual respect and gratitude, we brought together a full house of guests from many different faiths, cultures and countries who joined together with us to reaffirm our common humanity.”

In his address to the capacity crowd, Ambassador Suleymanov stressed the value Azerbaijani society has historically placed on acceptance and respect for religious diversity and saying “it is who we are as a people and a nation.” He added that the centuries old Jewish community is and has always been an integral part of Azerbaijan.

Read more ..

Obama and Israel

High Anxiety Continues Over Obama in the UN Until January 20

December 7th 2016

Edwin Black

Anxiety continues to roil through the pro-Israel world over a possible last-minute political move by the Obama administration that could permanently alter the Israeli-Palestinian geo-political landscape.

Forty-eight hours after the November 8 election, I flew to South Florida for a series of lectures and briefings organized by StandWithUs, NOVA Southeast University and other organizations as part of the State Department’s International Education Week, this to analyze the prospects regarding relations with Israel in the last weeks of the Obama administration. Everywhere, audiences were on the edge of their seats asking whether President Obama would take extraordinary passive or active steps in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to recognize a Palestinian state or impose a peace settlement, including a territorial mandate following the lines of the 1948 truce. Unlike General Assembly resolutions, which are not binding, the UNSC generally creates lasting pillars of international law.

As we approach Noon, January 20, 2017, uncertainty continues to abound among even the most astute of political insiders.

President Barack Obama remains personally silent. Administration assurances in recent days proffer comfort to those hanging on every word to discern a course of action. But embedded ambiguities in each of those assurances only increases the speculation.

For example, in recent days, unnamed administration sources were quoted by the Associated Press suggesting that President Obama "has nearly ruled out any major last-ditch effort to put pressure on Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians." The phrase "nearly ruled out" shines brightly in that report to emphasize that no decision has been made.

Read more ..

The Caliphate

The Islamic State Comes to Russia

December 6th 2016

ISIS Group with Flags

On June 23, 2015, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, declared the formation of a new wilayat, or governorate, in Russia’s North Caucasus.(1) The announcement was a watershed; as news agencies noted at the time, never before had the group made a territorial claim inside Russia. But it was also a sign of something bigger; al-Adnani’s announcement came just days after reports that thousands of Islamic militants in Russia’s restive regions of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria—four provinces of the Caucasus Emirate, Russia’s most potent jihadi group—had formally pledged allegiance to IS. In doing so, they echoed an earlier, December 2014 declaration by several of the Emirate’s senior militants.(2) Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Syrian Forces Seize More Rebel-Held Districts In Aleppo As Assault Gains Momentum

November 30th 2016

Syria fighting injured baby

Syrian government forces seized full control of northeast Aleppo on Monday, overrunning a third of what remained of the rebel enclave and sending thousands of civilians into panicked flight.

The area’s recapture brings President Bashar al-Assad’s troops closer than ever to realizing their biggest victory of the five-year-old civil war: retaking full control of what was once Syria’s commercial capital.

The reconquered neighborhoods in Aleppo had been among the first to throw off government control in 2012. On Nov. 15, government forces launched a final push to take them back, supported by Russian warplanes and Iranian-backed troops. Read more ..


The US and China

China vs America-- Competing Economic Superpowers

November 29th 2016

Bank of China

Depending on how one crunches the numbers, China’s economy has either already surpassed, in size, that of the United States, or will do so in a within a couple of years.  According to data from the World Bank, it is the former, China’s nominal GDP was $19.3 trillion in 2015, while U.S. GDP came in at $17.9 trillion.  One difficulty in comparing national economies is calculating each country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in a common currency—usually in U.S. dollars.  A second is adjusting the GDP numbers to take into account purchasing power parity (PPP).

Whether or not China’s economy is larger than the U.S., the former’s economic growth over the past three decades is nothing if not incredible.  In turn, it has created some angst among Americans.  Mike Patton writes in Forbes:  “China’s economy will become more significant than America’s.  How is this possible?  Is the golden era of “Made in America” in our rearview mirror?  Is China entering a modern-day economic dynasty?”  Based solely on the dollar size of GDP, yes China is projected to far surpass the U.S. in the coming years. Read more ..


Obama and Israel

Bolton Warns Obama on Israel Action at UN

November 22nd 2016

Obama and Israel

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton warned Sunday that President Obama should not take any actions before leaving office that could hurt Israel at the U.N.

Bolton said during an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis that there is "a lot of speculation over in Turtle Bay at U.N. headquarters about resolutions that recognize a Palestinian state or that try and set a boundary for Israel based on the 1967 ceasefire lines."

"I think that’d be very inadvisable for the president to do that," he said. Obama said during his final speech as president at the U.N. General Assembly that Israel would be in a better position if it did not “permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land" and Palestinians would be better off if they were to “reject incitement," according to the Jerusalem Post.

Read more ..

The Trump Era

Obamacare’s Days May be Numbered

November 12th 2016

Medical bag

Obamacare’s days may be numbered. The Affordable Care Act has survived dozens of recall attempts by the House of Representatives and two challenges brought to the U.S. Supreme Court.  But with a Donald Trump presidency and a new Republican-led House and Senate, the bill—or at least certain key provisions—is almost certainly headed for the chopping block.

The question now is what provisions may survive and when the death knell of the others will sound.

President-elect Trump campaigned on repealing the law and its requirement for Americans to carry health insurance. Trump says the private market should step in with the sale of insurance plans across state lines to help drive down costs through competition. He has said he will dismantle Medicaid and transform it into a system of state grants to provide assistance for low-income residents.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

WikiLeaks: Julian Assange Reveals 'Most Significant' of Hillary Clinton's Emails Politics

November 6th 2016

Hillary Clinton

In a far-ranging interview with Australian journalist John Pilger, open-government activist Julian Assange spoke of revelations not only about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising among foreign nations for the Clinton Foundation, but also linkage to funding for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks hacking organization, claimed that there is a broad conspiracy to obstruct Donald Trump’s candidacy. Broadcast on Russian state television, Assange was asked by journalist John Pilger to comment on the significance of the reopening of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
Assange started the conversation by denying that WikiLeaks has anything to do with the Russian security apparatus, as asserted by the Obama administration and trumpeted by the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign has sought to link Russia and the embarrassing hacked emails to Donald Trump as well. 
Read more ..

The Battle for Iraq

Mosul Embattled Again 100 Years After Lunge for Oil

November 3rd 2016

Oil fields near Ramadi

Mosul is dominating news headlines worldwide. Daesh is making its last stand in the Iraqi city as an international coalition moves in to expel them. 

But this is not the first time Mosul is at the centre of a global struggle. A 100 years ago, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, the United States and Russia were trying to make their mark on the city. 

The reason: oil. 

Here is a brief account of what was happening around Mosul a century ago. But at that time Mosul was the name used to represent a larger region in north-west Iraq. 

Spoils of War

Not a hole had been drilled and not a barrel pumped out in 1916 but oil was what everyone wanted.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

E-Voting Refuses to Die Even Though It's Neither Secure nor Secret

November 2nd 2016

Vote Buttons

In theory, using the internet or e-mail to vote for the U.S. president sounds like a good idea. It would be easier than rushing to the nearest polling station before or after work, and it might pull in notoriously apathetic younger voters already living most of their lives via screens. But in reality these online channels have proved to be terribly insecure, plagued by cyber attacks and malicious software able to penetrate supposedly well-protected financial, medical and even military systems.

Such security concerns are the most frequent and convincing arguments against online voting—there is no way to fully secure e-voting systems from cyber attack. Online voting systems are also expensive and often require voters to waive their right to a secret ballot.

Still, at least 31 states and the District of Columbia do let military and expatriate voters use the internet to submit marked ballots via e-mailed attachments, fax software or a Web portal according to Verified Voting, a nonprofit organization that studies the security of electronic voting systems. Twenty-one of those states and D.C. let voters e-mail or fax in their ballots, and another five states allow some people to cast their votes via special Web sites. “You can make voting more secret with a Web site because there is no e-mail address to trace a vote back to but the information about a person’s vote and their voter ID number are still out there on a server,” says Jeremy Epstein, a senior computer scientist at nonprofit research organization SRI International. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Clinton Emails -- A Dark Sampling

October 28th 2016

Hilary Clinton

Most Americans know very little about the leaked Clinton emails.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Major news organizations buried the most damaging. So we’re sharing some with you.

The FBI and State Department used the term “quid pro quo” in secret negotiations to alter the Clinton investigation in exchange for more embassy assignments.

The campaign strategized on political contributions from lobbyists of foreign governments.

The term “pay-to-play” was used in selling ambassadorships to donors.

The New York Times coordinated its criticism of Trump with Clinton officials.

The campaign chair [John Podesta] was disappointed the San Bernardino terrorist was Muslim and not a white guy.

[A lobbyist offered $5,000 in return for a White House meeting.

Staffers consider Chelsea “a spoiled brat kid.”]

Chelsea used charity money in her for-profit business.

Obama used Clinton’s private email while claiming he didn’t know about it.

Staff mocked Catholics, evangelicals, Bernie Sanders voters and Hispanics. And called southern states the “confederacy.” Read more ..


Vote 2016

Concern Grows Over Soros-Linked Voting Machines

October 25th 2016

Voting Booth

Concern is growing over revelations that voting machines in a significant number of states could be linked to a company tied directly to billionaire leftist George Soros and his personal quest to create a nationless, borderless global state.

The U.K.-based Smartmatic company posted a flow-chart on its website that it had provided voting machines for 16 states, including important battleground states like Florida and Arizona. Smartmatic Chairman Mark Malloch-Brown is a former U.N. official and sits on the board of Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Since the story first broke, the flow-chart has disappeared from Smartmatic’s website, raising further questions about the real status of the Soros-tied voting equipment and whether it is truly being deployed in U.S. elections. Read more ..


Cybersecurity

What We Know About That Massive Internet Outage

October 23rd 2016

Fiber Optics

Friday morning is prime time for some casual news reading, tweeting, and general Internet browsing, but you may have had some trouble accessing your usual sites and services this morning and throughout the day, from Spotify and Reddit to the New York Times and even good ol’ WIRED.com. For that, you can thank a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that took down a big chunk of the Internet for most of the Eastern seaboard.

This morning’s attack started around 7 am ET and was aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. That first bout was resolved after about two hours; a second attack began just before noon. Dyn reported a third wave of attacks a little after 4 pm ET. In all cases, traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers throughout the US—primarily on the East Coast but later on the opposite end of the country as well—was stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system. Late in the day, Dyn described the events as a “very sophisticated and complex attack.” Still ongoing, the situation is a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it. Read more ..


After the Holocaust

Glenn Oswald and Cheryl Guyer Remain Silent on Detroit Museum Future

October 20th 2016

Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center

Cheryl Guyer, interim director of Detroit's Holocaust Memorial Center, and the museum's outside publicist Glenn Oswald, have both maintained silence about the beloved museum's future, this despite global attention focussed on the institution's plan for a so-called "new direction."

 

Guyer also functions as fundraiser for the museum. Oswald also serves in the Marx Layne public relations firm.

 

Despite eight phone and email requests for comment over a period of days, neither Oswald or Guyer have responded. The unusual silence comes in the wake of an article about the museum and its unclear future that was syndicated to numerous newspapers here and abroad, including the Huffington Post, Jerusalem Post, History Network News, Spero Forum, The Cutting Edge News, the Algemeiner and other leading Jewish and non-Jewish publications.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

Coordinated Voter Fraud Revealed by James O'Keefe video

October 19th 2016

Hilary Clinton

Activist videographer James O’Keefe released today the second video in a series that has already made explosive allegations about the Democratic National Committee and its involvement with leftist organizations that have fomented rioting and disturbances at rallies for Donald Trump this year. In the video, operatives for the Democrats reveal how to commit voter fraud in an effort to win the presidency for Hillary Clinton. The first video had more than 2.6 million views on YouTube as press time.
 
 
In one segment, leftist Scott Foval admits that the Democrats have been rigging elections for the last fifty years through the liberal application of cash. He also described how Democrats bused people across state lines to cast their ballots in a rigged election in Iowa. Undercover journalists for Project Veritas Action caught Scott Foval, the National Field Director for Americans United for Change, saying, “we’ve been bussing people in to deal with you fuckin’ assholes [Republicans] for fifty years and we’re not going to stop now, we’re just going to find a different way to do it.” An operative for the Democratic National Committee, he admitted that he is “no white knight” while saying Democrats have rigged elections for years.
 
Foval explained how he and his associates avoid detection. One of the undercover reporters asks why they cannot simply “bus in” voters, but get them to use their own personal vehicles. Foval describes how they avoid being detected and free of criminal charges. “Would they charge each individual of voter fraud? Or are they going to go after the facilitator for conspiracy, which they could prove? It’s one thing if all these people drive up in their personal cars. If there’s a bus involved? That changes the dynamic.”
Read more ..

Vote 2016

Podesta Leaks: The Obama-Clinton E-mails

October 16th 2016

Obama downcast

Among the most noteworthy of the hacked e-mails from John Podesta’s accounts is an exchange in which Podesta consults Clinton consigliere Cheryl Mills about the private e-mail exchanges between President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
 
As readers may recall, I have long maintained (see here and here) that the principal reason why Mrs. Clinton was not prosecuted, despite a mountain of evidence that she committed felony mishandling of classified information, is the fact that Obama engaged in the same kind of misconduct. The president’s use of a private, non-secure channel to discuss sensitive matters with high level officials may not have been systematic, as Mrs. Clinton’s was. (Obama’s disturbing use of an alias, however, suggests that Clinton was not the only one he was privately e-mailing.) Nevertheless, the fact that the president was e-mailing Clinton means he not only participated in her misconduct but also that the Obama-Clinton e-mails would have been admissible evidence in any criminal trial of Clinton.
Read more ..

Edge of Cybersecurity

After Claiming Cyberattack is Russian, the Most Likely Response Is Non-Cyber

October 15th 2016

Cyber Warfare

Almost four months after the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike claimed that two Russian hacker groups were behind the theft of data from computers at the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations, the U.S. government has publicly attributed the attacks to Russia. In a joint statement from the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community declared that it was “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” According to the statement, the hack was not the work of an individual calling himself Guccifer 2.0 or a 400 pound hacker sitting on a bed, but was: intended to interfere with the U.S. elections; consistent with other Russian efforts to influence public opinion in Europe and Eurasia; and was likely to have been authorized at the highest levels of the Russian government. Read more ..


The Edge of Health

The Next Zikas

October 13th 2016

mosquito biting

Disease detectives are on the lookout for obscure viruses that can be spread among people by traveling insects, and quickly become a widespread problem. Scientific papers are filled with illnesses to watch. Four particular viruses now stand out to virologists and epidemiologists, although it is not certain any of the ailments will become the next Zika or West Nile virus. But researchers give several reasons to keep a close eye on this quartet:

 

MAYARO

“For 10 years now I’ve been thinking that Mayaro is right on the cusp of being able to amplify in humans and being transmitted efficiently by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes,” says Scott Weaver, a virologist  at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Mayaro causes a disease that is clinically indistinguishable from the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus: fever, chills, rash and the characteristic joint pain that can last longer than a year. It does matter, though, which of these viruses circulates in your body. Once there are vaccines against Mayaro and chikungunya, and drugs to treat them (so far there are none), they will likely be virus-specific.

Read more ..

Financing the Flames

Britain Suspends Millions Of Aid Payments To Palestine Over Terrorist Salaries

October 10th 2016

British-pounds

BRITAIN is suspending millions of pounds-worth of aid payments to the Palestinian Authority amid staggering claims taxpayers cash is ending up in the hands of terrorists.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a freeze pending an investigation. Priti Patel has ordered a freeze on Palestinian aid pending an investigation

Earlier this summer furious MPs demanded action after revelations UK aid supposedly paying for civil servants in Gaza was being transferred to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

One Hamas master bomber was alleged to have been given £100,000 by the PLO.

Other ‘salaries’ is said to have gone to families of suicide bombers and teenagers attacking Israel. Read more ..


The Edge of warfare

Future World War: Intensely Lethal, No borders

October 5th 2016

Cyber Warfare

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said recently that the world will soon witness a ground-shaking change in the conduct of warfare on the ground. It is a revolution that is about ten years away, while the Army is preparing to confront the modernized war machines of China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. “We are on the cusp of a fundamental change in the character of ground warfare,” said Milley, who expects to see warfare that “is going to be intensely lethal, the likes of which the United States Army, the United States military, has not experienced…since World War II.”
 
There will be war, unlike our fathers’ and grandfathers’ war. Long-range weapons, said Milley, will be used to destroy large, obvious targets (such as the Pentagon itself) and force all sides to break down into smaller units that can operate independently and without anything looking like a frontline, as was the case during the World Wars of the last century. Jamming and hacking, electronic and cyber warfare, will disrupt communications and logistics will disrupt the command structure and force more junior commanders to show initiative as never before.
Read more ..

Vote 2016

Discovery: Battleground State Hides Illegal Alien Voters

October 4th 2016

Vote Buttons

Virginia, a key battleground state in the coming presidential election, has at least 1,046 illegal alien voters registered to go to the polls this November. These illegally registered voters are found in eight different districts in Virginia. Even while it is a felony to commit fraud in voter registration, there is no requirement for positive identification or proof of citizenship.

Virginia joins other states where the integrity of the voting process has been brought into question. A recent study by the Public Interest Foundation (PILF), in cooperation with Virginia Voters Alliance (VVA), suggests that as many as 1,046 illegal alien voters may be registered to vote in as many as six voting districts among the 833 in the Old Dominion state. Entitled “Alien Invasion in Virginia,” the study has led the president of the watchdog group to conclude that Virginia officials are unconcerned by the number of ineligible foreigners who are registered to vote. J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Foundation, also suggested that Virginia officials are actually covering up the practice. Read more ..


Significant Lives

Israel Mourns Loss of Shimon Peres

September 28th 2016

Shimon Peres

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife expressed their condolences early Wednesday morning at the passing of Israel’s ninth president and internationally cherished diplomat emeritus Shimon Peres. Few are the people in Israel's history who have done as much for the state and the Jewish people as Shimon Peres, Netanyahu said in a statement released just before a special cabinet meeting he is convening to honor the former president. “Like all the citizens of Israel, the whole Jewish people, and many in the world, I bow my head in memory of our beloved Shimon Peres,” he said in a statement.

Peres, who dedicated his life to Israel's independence, was a visionary who looked to the future, Netanyahu said. But he was also a man for whom security was utmost in his mind, and who buttressed the country's security capacities in many ways, some of which are still not publicly known to this day.

Read more ..

The Toxic Edge

Deadly Pathogens Repeatedly Dispatched By U.S. Labs To Unsecure Sites

September 27th 2016

Worker contemplates nuclear waste

Public, academic and private laboratories that work with deadly diseases have mistakenly transferred highly contagious viruses and bacteria to unsecure locations at least twenty-one times in the past 13 years, a frequency more than double what the officials overseeing such work previously said their data showed, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

In each case, the scientists and officials involved wrongly concluded that the deadly pathogens had been inactivated and thus were safe to transport elsewhere. One of the incidents, involving mistaken shipments by a Defense Department laboratory of live anthrax bacteria, attracted wide notice in 2015. But the GAO report said key government agencies have been slow to fix managerial and policy lapses that contributed to that event and might provoke additional errors.

Read more ..

After the Holocaust

Detroit Holocaust Museum Enters New Phase -- Cheryl Guyer Stays Strangely Mum

September 23rd 2016

Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center

Of the many local and regional Holocaust memorials and museums scattered across America, one stands out among the best: The Holocaust Memorial Center in suburban Detroit. For me, the legacy and future of the institution is personal.

 

Correctly billed as America’s “first Holocaust museum,” the Detroit enterprise was conceived fourteen years before the dominant United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. was even commissioned by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. The Detroit museum opened its original doors at its first location in suburban West Bloomfield, Michigan in 1984. Subsequently, the Washington D.C. museum opened its doors in 1993. Read more ..


Israeli and Palestinians

A Palestinian State Free of Jews?

September 23rd 2016

Shomron

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provoked a storm of diplomatic disapproval last week, when he pointed out that “the Palestinian Authority actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: no Jews.” The Obama Administration responded that it is “inappropriate” to speak of demands for a removal of settlers in such terms. Removing the settlers, Netanyahu’s critics say, is natural and appropriate: their presence in a Palestinian state would cause tension and problems, and in any case, they should not have been there in the first place.

While it is not surprising that the head of the U.N. was unhappy with Netanyahu’s remarks, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, also joined in. But neither actually addressed the central issue that Netanyahu raised: why it is legitimate for the Palestinians to ask for a Jew-free state? Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

The New York Bomber Was Not a Lone Wolf

September 22nd 2016

NYPD and flag

It was no surprise that in the first hours after the New York and New Jersey bombing attacks, the culprit was widely suggested to be a “lone wolf.” The term, used to describe an individual inspired by others but acting on his or her own, has become the counterterrorism metaphor-of-choice in the age of the Islamic State.

It’s time, however, to put the lone-wolf metaphor, and its associated counterterrorism analysis, out to pasture. According to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, we now live in a world where terrorism is “carried out by those who live among us in the homeland and self-radicalize, inspired by terrorist propaganda on the internet.”But if that diagnosis isn’t wrong, it is incomplete. The New York bomber may have been “self-radicalized,” but it’s very unlikely he was merely “inspired” by terrorist groups. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

U.S. Nuclear Deterrent to North Korea

September 21st 2016

Kim Jong Un

Can the United States provide sufficient help to offset the growing North Korean and Chinese threat to the independence and security of South Korea and Japan? It can. It should put Pershing missiles in both countries.

How should the U.S. respond to North Korea?  Thus far the U.S. response has had little or no effect on the North Korean drive to test nuclear weapons, work on miniaturization of warheads, launch ballistic missiles in the Sea of Japan and move forward on a submarine-launched ballistic missile threat.

The U.S. has shown some determination by flying B-1B nuclear bombers over South Korea.  But they departed almost as soon as they arrived, and while a point was made it had no impact on North Korea’s programs.  Read more ..


The Caliphate

The Balkan’s ISIS Training Grounds

September 18th 2016

ISIS Group with Flags

The individuals involved with the January and the November 2015 attacks in Paris, the June 2016 attack at Atatűrk International Airport in Istanbul, and the July 2016 Ansbach suicide-bombing in Germany had one thing in common; all spent time in or transited through the Balkans in the preceding period.

None of this is surprising. Already in May 2007, an American observer of Balkan Islam had noted that “a visitor to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia encountered unmistakable evidence that extremist intruders are opening a Balkan front in the global jihad.”  In January 2010 Israeli officials warned that the Balkan region “is global jihad’s next destination for creating an infrastructure and recruiting activists.”

Read more ..

The Caliphate

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani & Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed

September 5th 2016

ISIS Army

The Islamic State (IS) has recently announced the death of its official spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, first via its auxiliary outlet Amaq News and then through an official posting under Wilayat Halab (‘Aleppo Province’). It seems most likely that he was killed in a U.S. strike on the al-Bab area in north Aleppo, the last remaining stronghold in the area amid rebel advances along the border with Turkey. Thus, it is unsurprising that the announcements of his death mention he was ‘inspecting’ IS military operations in Aleppo. It is also of note that the Wilayat Halab posting describes Adnani as a Husseini (a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad’s household) and Qurashi (of the Quraysh tribe to which the Prophet belonged). Read more ..


The Edge of Space

Earth-like and Nearby

August 26th 2016

New Earth Sized Planets

It was just over 20 years ago—a blink of a cosmic eye—that astronomers found the first planets orbiting stars other than our sun. All these new worlds were gas-shrouded giants like Jupiter or Saturn and utterly inhospitable to life as we know it. But for years each discovery was dutifully reported as front-page news, while scientists and the public alike dreamed of a day when we would find a habitable world. An Earth-like place with plentiful surface water, neither frozen nor vaporized but in the liquid state so essential to life. Back then the safe bet was to guess that the discovery of such a planet would only come after many decades, and that when a promising new world’s misty shores materialized on the other side of our telescopes, it would prove too faraway and faint to study in any detail.

Evidently the safe bet was wrong. On Wednesday astronomers made the kind of announcement that can only occur once in human history: the discovery of the nearest potentially habitable world beyond our solar system. This world may be rocky like ours and whirls in a temperate orbit around the sun’s closest stellar neighbor, the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri just over four light-years away. Their findings are reported in a study in Nature. Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

Grass Roots Jewish Organizations Roar

August 17th 2016

Edwin Black

Richard Allen is not a careful, polished Jewish communal leader with a seasoned staff operating from a mid-town Manhattan office, ensconced behind a stylized logo, fortified by tax-exempt donations and burnished advisors. Allen is a private businessman. He wields his entire “organization” from a computer in his office and, not infrequently, from a phone in his pocket. One moment he can be alone with his message, staring at his device screen with no one peering over his shoulder or blue-lining his message. Then, an instant later—from his office, from his home, from a sidewalk in New York City— he hits the SEND button.

 

Instantly, he is no longer alone. Like an excitated neutron firing on a neural network, he is connected to 10,000 recipients who believe that he is a one-man crusade for Jewish issues, especially where establishment Jewish organizations have, from their perspective, failed to do the right thing. Those 10,000 recipients repeat, re-fire, and forward Allen’s calls-to-arms throughout their overlapping networks. Social media lights start blinking. Within minutes, a community of like-minded believers is mobilized against what they perceive as threats to Jewish and Israeli interests. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

Towards a Third Lebanon War

August 10th 2016

Military observers

Anyone travelling this summer through the northern part of Israel or, more specifically along the northern border, will see another, different border. The sun beats down hard when you drive along the border, but if you listen to the assessments of senior IDF officers, this summer will only be hot because of the temperatures. This time, Hezbollah will try to avoid engaging in a confrontation with Israel. Every warfighter, officer and reservist reporting to the Lebanese border memorizes the following axiom from the very first second: the beautiful green scenery around here is misleading. It can change from heaven into hell in the blink of an eye. The only question is in whose shift will evil arrive and the Lebanon border will become the focal point of a war the likes of which the Israeli rear area never experienced.
Read more ..

The Edge of Sport

Magic Blood and Carbon-Fiber Legs at the Brave New Olympics

August 8th 2016

African soccer

I knew Eero Mäntyranta had magic blood, but I hadn’t expected to see it in his face. I had tracked him down above the Arctic Circle in Finland where he was—what else?—a reindeer farmer.

He was all red. Not just the crimson sweater with knitted reindeer crossing his belly, but his actual skin. It was cardinal dappled with violet, his nose a bulbous purple plum. In the pictures I’d seen of him in Sports Illustrated in the 1960s—when he’d won three Olympic gold medals in cross-country skiing—he was still white. But now, as an older man, his special blood had turned him red.

Mäntyranta, who passed away in late 2013, had a rare gene mutation that spurred his bone marrow to wildly overproduce red blood cells. Red cells convey oxygen to the muscles and the more you have, the better your endurance. That’s why some endurance athletes—most prominently Lance Armstrong—inject erythropoietin (EPO), the hormone that cues your bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Mäntyranta had about 50 percent more red blood cells than a normal man. If Armstrong had as many red blood cells as Mäntyranta, cycling rules would have barred him from even starting a race, unless he could prove it was a natural condition.

Read more ..


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