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Archive for June 2017

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India on Edge

Movement Toward Dalit Emancipation in India Can't Be Halted, Bishop D'Souza Says

June 28th 2017

Dalit Protests

The issue of India's discriminatory Hindu caste system in which hundreds of millions of people are oppressed second-class citizens is now "occupying center space" in India's national politics as two politicians from India's lowest caste have been nominated to be the nation's president.

Bishop Joseph D'Souza, moderating bishop of the Good Shepherd Church of India and president of the All India Christian Council, has praised the fact that two politicians who were born into India's poor and deprived "Dalit" caste will face off in the presidential election in July.

Earlier this month, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), nominated Bihar governor and Dalit leader Ram Nath Kovind to be the National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Hizballah-linked Paraguayan is Charged in Miami in a Drug Conspiracy

June 28th 2017

Mexico marijuana seizure

A Paraguayan man with ties to Hizballah pleaded not guilty in Miami federal court on Monday, after being charged with conspiring to distribute massive amounts of cocaine to the United States, the Miami Herald reports.

Paraguay's authorities arrested Ali Issa Chamas in August at an international airport for attempting to smuggle 39 kilos of cocaine. Chamas was extradited to Miami in June and now awaits trial.

But Chamas' indictment failed to reference his intimate relationship to Hizballah associates and operatives.

Chamas is of Lebanese origin and lived in Paraguay over the last decade. In addition to Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay is part of the Tri-Border Area (TBA), a region that enables Hizballah to cultivate a major base of operations. With a large Muslim population featuring significant numbers of Hizballah sympathizers, the terrorist organization uses this area for recruitment, arms smuggling and drug trafficking, and logistics planning for terrorist operations. Read more ..

The Edge of Healthcare

The Cost of Medicaid

June 28th 2017

medicine and money

The number of Americans enrolled in Medicaid has increased from 29 million in 1990 to 73 million today — an increase of 252 percent over a period when the nation's population increased 30 percent.

Total spending on Medicaid today is $574 billion, 275 percent above the $209 billion of 2000.

Medicaid amounts to about 40 percent of the total spending on the 10 largest means-tested federal government programs targeted at low-income Americans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, spending on these programs has tripled as a percentage of our GDP over the last 40 years.

Does all this mean we are becoming a more fair and compassionate nation?

That might have been the intention. But if we honestly look at what is happening, we will see things have gone badly astray.

Some perspective on this is available in a new article by Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser in the City Journal magazine of the Manhattan Institute.

The article, "The War on Work — and How to End It," paints a dismal picture of the direction in which our national culture is trending. Specifically, the deterioration of our culture of work, particularly among "prime-age" men, those between 25 and 54.

According to Glaeser, 95 percent of "prime-age" men were working in 1967. However, during the last recession, over 20 percent of this group was not working. Today, it remains at 15 percent. Read more ..

Media on Edge

CNN Producer Says Russia Narrative “bullsh*t"

June 27th 2017


See the video

CNN "ratings are incredible right now," President Trump "good for business" John Bonifield, CNN Producer Says Russia Narrative "Mostly bullshit right now" "Get back to Russia," Says CEO Jeff Zucker President Trump is Right About Witch Hunt, "No real proof" Comes in Wake of CNN's Russia-Gate Retraction & New Rules on Russia Coverage

(NEW YORK) -- Project Veritas has released a video of CNN Producer John Bonifield who was caught on hidden-camera admitting that there is no proof to CNN's Russia narrative.

"I mean, it's mostly bullshit right now," Bonifield says. "Like, we don't have any giant proof." Read more ..

Media on Edge

Three CNN Journalists Resign after Trump Aide Article Removed

June 27th 2017


Three journalists have resigned from CNN after the US news network retracted an article alleging a Trump aide was under investigation by Congress.

The story was taken down on Friday following an internal investigation, with an apology to Anthony Scaramucci, an outspoken ally of the president.

Mr Scaramucci said it was not true, accusing the network of attacking President Donald Trump's friends.

Mr Trump responded by taunting CNN in a tweet saying: "FAKE NEWS!"

"Wow, CNN had to retract big story on 'Russia,' with 3 employees forced to resign," he posted on Tuesday morning.

"What about all the other phony stories they do?" Read more ..

The Urban Edge

Household Water, Sewer Bills Trebly Outpace Inflation

June 27th 2017

Water Supply

Residential water and wastewater bills have steadily increased by 5.7% annually over the past five years, outpacing average annual income growth (5%) and inflation (1.9%) and magnifying the financial challenges facing municipal water utilities. Analysis of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. show combined monthly water and wastewater bills averaging US$91.06, based on standard household consumption by geography, according to a new U.S. Municipal Water and Wastewater Utility Bill Index from Bluefield Research.

With so much focus on water, the impact of sewer charges on household budgets is often overlooked. In 2017, wastewater represented 58% of the total average utility bill for U.S. households. However, the disparity across cities is extreme, with monthly sewer bills ranging from $14.04 in Memphis to a high of $135.57 in Seattle. Similarly, monthly water bills for customers in Memphis averaged $15.96 compared to a high of $92.62 for customers in San Francisco. Read more ..

Financing the Flames

Europe Must Stop Funding Demonization of Israel

June 27th 2017

Euro Coins

About a year ago, the Ramallah-based Popular Art Center staged a musical performance for “the Palestinian martyrs,” titled “No to laying down guns.” There is nothing new here. This is the “education to peace” that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared in his meeting with US President Donald Trump. Abbas declared, and the European Union is paying in funding for the center. The more interesting thing is that the grant was given as part of a special project for “increasing Palestinian public awareness of EU core values.”

Particularly large funding, of €2.5 million, was given to the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC). One of the senior employees of the WCLAC is Manal Tamimi. Tamimi propagates anti-Semitic cartoons, often defines Israel as a Nazi state, and her tweets include content such as “Vampire Zionist celebrating by drinking Palestinian bloods” and “I do hate Israel, I do hate Zionism, I wish a third intifada coming soon and people raise up and kills all these Zionist settlers everywhere.”


The Edge of Terrorism

CCTV, Drones Part of New Security at Damascus Gate

June 27th 2017



The Economy on Edge

The Revealed Victims of Seattle's $15 minimum Wage Hike

June 27th 2017

Fast Food Burger

According to a report prepared for the city council of Seattle, the minimum wage hike to $15 per hour has hit the poor of that city hardest. In 2014, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed a measure into law that embraced the $15 minimum wage, which is double the federal minimum of $7.25. The ordinance calls for achieving that level by 2017 for all major employers and by 2019 for small businesses. While the new base rate has satisfied labor organizations such as the Service Employees International Union, the take-home pay of workers has suffered even before the hike has been completed.

University of Washington research shows that take-home pay for low-income workers fell dramatically when the city moved to the $13 mark in 2015. Businesses responded by reducing the number of hours employees work, in order to pay for the increased labor costs. "The lost income associated with the hours reductions exceeds the gain [in hourly rates]," the report says. "The average low-wage employee was paid $1,897 per month. The reduction in hours would cost the average employee $179 per month, while the wage increase would recoup only $54 of this loss, leaving a net loss of $125 per month (6.6%), which is sizable for a low-wage worker." Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

White House Releases Late-night Warning to Syria, Iran and Russia

June 27th 2017

Standard Missile 3

In a late-night statement, the White House said the United States discovered "potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack" by the Syrian government.

The statement said the activites are similar to prepartion the "regime made before its April 4, 2017, chemical weapons attack." The US responded to that attack that killed 100 people, including 25 children, by firing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield that was believed to have carried out the strike on a rebel-held area.

In the statement, the US warned Syria would "pay a heave price" if it proceeds with the attack

"As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria," the White House warned Syria. "If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."

Shortly after the release of the statement, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, sent a warning to Iran and Russia that the US would also blame them if Syria proceeds with another chemical attack. Read more ..

The Edge of Music

Singer Susan Boyle Brutally Mugged by Teen Gang

June 27th 2017


Susan Boyle, whose rags to riches story has captivated music lovers ever since her Britain’s Got Talent debut, was attacked by a gang of as many as 15 teen assailants near her home in Scotland. Boyle has been regularly victimized by attacks. The latest episode has left her “cowering in fear,” according to a spokesman. The 56-year-old singer has Asperger syndrome and has been deliberately targeted by thugs near her home in Blackburn, West Lothian. She has been subjected to regular verbal abuse, while the group also throws stones at her car. 
In one incident, the teens set a piece of paper alight and threw it at her when they spotted Boyle at a shopping mall, and called her an “ugly old bitch.” A witness told The Mirror that members of the gang threw stones, screamed and shouted abuse at the singer while she was riding on a bus.

Boyle has become a favorite in the United Kingdom and throughout the English-speaking world. According to the Sunday Mirror, most of the teens are boys. A spokesman for Boyle is seeking police protection for her.


Media on Edge

CNN Deletes and Retracts Story Linking Trump and Russia

June 26th 2017


CNN is making changes in how it handles stories involving Donald Trump’s potential connections to Russia after the network deleted and retracted a report about a Russian investment fund’s potential ties to several associates of the president.

“No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason first,” CNNMoney executive editor Rich Barbieri said in an email to staff over the weekend, referring to Jason Farkas, a CNN vice president. BuzzFeed was first to report on the email, which said the changes will apply “to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions.”

So far, CNN hasn’t offered any details why the report was pulled. Brian Stelter, host of the network’s Reliable Sources Sunday show which covers the intersection of media and politics, said in his daily newsletter he had questions about the incident. Read more ..

Media on Edge

Why Is CNN Getting Nervous About Its Coverage of the Donald Trump-Russia Investigation?

June 26th 2017


CNN’s announcement of new publishing restrictions on articles about President Donald Trump and Russia, as reported by Buzzfeed, has delighted right-wing media.

Populist website Breitbart reported that the “very fake news scandal” was consuming the network, while Fox News host Sean Hannity taunted CNN's Jeff Zucker on Twitter. 

CNN has long been accused of liberal bias by critics and has been one of the key focuses of President Donald Trump’s relentless rhetorical assaults against what he has branded the “fake news” media.

Trump aimed barbs at the network during his 2016 election campaign; White House press secretary Sean Spicer accused it of spreading unsubstantiated rumours in a bid to attract viewers. In his first press conference as president, Trump shouted down CNN’s Jim Acosta after denouncing the news network from the podium. Read more ..

Women on Edge

Female Genital Mutilation Not Opposed by Liberal Immigrant Groups

June 25th 2017


Cracking down on a gruesome medical procedure has met opposition fueled by political correctness. According to the Centers for Disease Control estimates, more than half a million young women and girls living in the U.S. are at risk of female genital mutilation.

The procedure is practiced in many African and Middle Eastern countries.  Globally, 3 million young girls have the procedure forced on them each year.  Refugees have imported the practice to the U.S.

Earlier this year, it was learned two Minnesota families took their 7-year old daughters to a Michigan doctor to perform the procedure.

This past spring legislators in Minnesota crafted a bill aimed at eliminating the practice in that state.  Minnesota has a large Somali population.  The bill included education and outreach efforts and increased penalties.

The proposed legislation sailed through the Minnesota House but met fierce opposition in the Senate.

Several immigrant groups opposed the legislation.  They argued the bill was too punitive and it was offensive to some immigrant communities.  Read more ..

Military Money

Pentagon Wasted $28M on 'Forest' Camouflage Uniforms for Afghan Army

June 24th 2017

Afgan Troops

The Pentagon has reportedly spent $28 million dollars on "forest" camouflaged Afghanistan military uniforms rather than give them other patterns that cost nothing.

The "forest" pattern that was selected by the Afghan Defense Minister is privately owned, whereas other camouflage schemes owned by the U.S. government are free.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, released a 17-page report on Wednesday, noting that "forests cover only 2.1% of Afghanistan's total land area" -- making the forest pattern highly ineffective in the desert nation.

SIGAR's report said the Defense Department has spent $93 million on uniforms for the soldiers since 2007. Read more ..

Media on Edge

A Tale of Two Terror Attacks and The New York Times

June 24th 2017

New York Times Bldg

Last month's suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester wasn't the first time an Islamist terrorist targeted young people out for a night of fun. In 2001, a Hamas-affiliated terrorist blew himself up outside the Dolphinarium, a Tel Aviv nightclub, killing 21 Israelis, including 16 teenagers.

But news coverage of the two massacres was strikingly different, as the Manchester attack generated exponentially more attention. The New York Times, for example, offered a handful of small accounts about the Tel Aviv attack. But the Manchester bombing generated dozens of wire service and Times staff updates along with analysis stories and an editorial lamenting the horror of targeting children.

There are reasons why attacks in Europe are covered more exhaustively than those targeting Israelis. But as a result, Americans may not fully appreciate the depth of Palestinian violence because the near-daily examples of it are all but ignored. Read more ..

Campus Hate

Prof Durden Complains of 'Public Lynching' for Suspension after Race Rant on TV

June 22nd 2017

Television Array

Following a heated discussion with Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, former Essex County College professor Lisa Durden was suspended from the institution. Two days after the June 6 interview on Carlson’s eponymous Fox News channel show, Durden was told to cancel her classes and report to the human resources department of the New Jersey institution. She received an indefinite suspension.

see the video

In response, the leftist Durden told the Newark Star-Ledger, “They did this to humiliate me. Essex County College publicly lynched me in front of my students.” 
On Carlson’s show, Durden sought to defend a Memorial Day celebration for blacks only that was organized by Black Lives Matter movement. She dodged Carlson when he asked whether it is appropriate to exclude people based on race. Carlson said, “I thought the whole point of Black Lives Matter, or one of the points, would be to speak out against singling people out on the basis of their race and punishing them for that because you can’t control what your race is, and yet they seem to be doing that, explain that to me.” Read more ..

The Trump Era

Constitutional Expert Says Trump Cannot be Indicted

June 21st 2017


Famed legal expert Alan Dershowitz explained on Fox News on Tuesday that the Justice Department has clarified that sitting presidents cannot be "indicted, prosecuted, or tried while serving in office." He noted that a president must first face impeachment and removal from office before being charged with a crime. Back in May, Dershowitz tweeted his objection to the current probes into supposed collusion between Donald Trump’s political organization and Russians during the 2016 general election. He tweeted: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” 
On Fox News, Dershowitz said on Tuesday that there is no criminal act to investigate, when he referenced the probe being led by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Last week, the Washington Post reported that Mueller is currently investigating President Trump for supposed for obstruction of justice over his firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Since then, reports have been contradictory as to whether Mueller is indeed investigating the president. Read more ..

Republicans on Edge

Soros, Clinton-Linked Teneo Among Donors to McCain Institute

June 20th 2017

Ben Franklin one hundred dollar bills

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in 2012 turned over nearly $9 million in unspent funds from his failed 2008 presidential campaign to a new foundation bearing his name, the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

The institute is intended to serve as a “legacy” for McCain and “is dedicated to advancing human rights, dignity, democracy and freedom.” It is a tax-exempt non-profit foundation with assets valued at $8.1 million and associated with Arizona State University.

Conservative and liberal critics, however, believe the institute constitutes a major conflict of interest for McCain, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.


Campus Hate

‘I Felt Afraid’ -- Lawsuit Claims Public University Fostered anti-Semitism on Campus

June 20th 2017

Magen David Swastika

A group of students and community members filed a lawsuit Monday against San Francisco State University and its leaders, alleging that the public school has fostered a climate of anti-Semitism “marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.”

“I didn’t have the right to speak on my own campus; I felt afraid as a Jewish student,” said Jacob Mandel, who just graduated from San Francisco State. It wasn’t just that he was being shouted down at events by students politically opposed to Israel, he said in an interview, but that “the administration was actively working against me. … I felt really powerless.”

Dan Ojeda, university counsel for San Francisco State, responded with a brief statement soon after the lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California: “The University was not aware of the complaint and has not had an opportunity to review or respond to it.

“We have been working closely with the Jewish community, among other interest groups, to address concerns and improve the campus environment for all students.  Those efforts have been very productive and will continue notwithstanding this lawsuit.”

The suit comes at a time when Muslims and other groups feel increasingly vulnerable, and as debate heats up over free speech and academic freedom on campuses nationally, after controversial speakers have been canceled, protested and shouted down on some campuses — and have even sparked violence and rioting. Read more ..

Film News

Several Arab Countries Ban Wonder Woman

June 20th 2017

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman may be a hit at the box office, grossing $228 million worldwide in its first weekend, but the movie has hit the rocks in much of the Arab world because of its Israeli star, Gal Gadot.

After being banned in Lebanon, Wonder Woman is now facing bans in Tunisia, Jordan and Algeria.

The Hollywood media site Deadline.com reported Thursday that the movie’s scheduled release in Tunisia has been suspended because of Gadot’s defense of Israel’s 2014 incursion into Gaza.

Deadline said the secular Arab nationalist People’s Movement party petitioned the Tunisian culture ministry to ban the movie as part of an effort to isolate Israel.  “We must continue the mobilization on this type of affair, as on everything related to normalization with the Zionist entity,” the People’s Movement said in a statement. Read more ..

Campus Hate

San Francisco State University Accused of Pervasive Anti-Semitism in Groundbreaking Federal Lawsuit

June 20th 2017

boycott Israel t-shirt

A group of San Francisco State University students and members of the local Jewish community today filed a lawsuit alleging that SFSU has a long and extensive history of cultivating anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students. According to the suit, "SFSU and its administrators have knowingly fostered this discrimination and hostile environment, which has been marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus." The plaintiffs are represented by a team of attorneys from The Lawfare Project and the global law firm Winston & Strawn LLP.
A copy of the complaint can be found here.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and also names as defendants the Board of Trustees of the California State University System, SFSU President Leslie Wong and several other University officials and employees, alleges that "Jewish students at SFSU have been so intimidated and ostracized that they are afraid to wear Stars of David or yarmulkes on campus." 

The Trump Era

Obama Retains and Withholds Documents on Unmasking and Targeting Trump

June 20th 2017

Downcast Obama

The National Security Council (NSC) notified Judiciary Watch -- a Washington-based watchdog group -- that materials concerning the unmasking allegedly ordered by Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” were removed from federal government files. They are now in the possession of the Obama Library.
In April, Judicial Watch sent a request to the NSC for  records relating to people “who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.” The unmasking relates to the identification of persons in the United States whose conversations were picked up by covert surveillance of communications. Whether some of those persons identified were part of Donald Trump’s political team has been a subject of debate and speculation. Read more ..

Palestinians on Edge

Red Crescent: Hamas Engaged in War Crimes, Fired Rockets From Hospital to Provoke Israel

June 20th 2017

Gaza Militants

The secretary-general of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates accused the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas on Monday of provoking Israeli forces by firing rockets from a field hospital during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, a war crime under international law, Ynet reported.

According to Secretary-General Mohamed Ateeq Al-Falahi, the Red Crescent’s staff was stationed at a UAE field hospital in Gaza when Hamas fighters began firing rockets from their facilities to provoke an Israeli response.

“This shows (Hamas’s) wicked intentions and how they scarified us,” said Al-Falahi. “They always claim the enemy targets humanitarian envoys, but the betrayal came from them,” he added. Read more ..

Europe on Edge

Czech Republic Joins Poland, Hungary and Slovakia in Refusing EU-Imposed Migrants

June 20th 2017

euro flags

The Czech Republic has joined its Central European neighbors in officially announcing a withdrawal from the European Union’s 2015 migrant resettlement program.

After much criticism of the scheme, which seeks to resettle an initial 160,000 migrants from Italy and Greece across EU member states, the Czechs have finally withdrawn citing concerns over security and the ‘’dysfunctionality’’ of what has been criticized as a shambolic program.

Prague had accepted only 12 of the 1,600 migrants required by Brussels before leaving the program, which imposes quotas on all 28 member states under threat of sanction.

The resettlement scheme was the EU’s initial response to the near Biblical wave of migrants which arrived in autumn 2015 following Angela Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders. Read more ..

The Race for Solar

'Solar' Paint Harvests Energy from The Air

June 19th 2017

Minneapolis skyline

Researchers from RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) and MIT (Cambridge, MA) have developed a sunlight-absorbing paint able to harvest hydrogen from air moisture, by splitting water molecules.

The catalyst for this solar-powered hydrolysis comes in the shape of molybdenum sulfides that could readily be mixed to the titanium oxide particles typically used in white paint.

In a recent paper titled "Surface Water Dependent Properties of Sulfur-Rich Molybdenum Sulfides: Electrolyteless Gas Phase Water Splitting" published in the ACS Nano journal, the researchers report that sulfur-rich MoSx (x = 32/3) is a highly hygroscopic semiconductor which can reversibly bind up to 0.9 H2O molecule per Mo.


The Digital Age

Always-on Face Recognition Promised by New Chip

June 19th 2017

Baby Boomer

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a Convolutional Neural Network Processor on silicon that they combined with a custom made image sensor to perform face recognition with a 97% accuracy while only drawing 0.62mW.

Using such embedded artificial intelligence, the researchers claim their solution consumed only 1/5000 the power that would be required by a GPU performing the same tasks.

This unique processor owes its incredibly low power consumption thanks to its CNN whose circuitry, architecture, and algorithms have all gone through optimization steps. On-chip memory has been integrated in the CNNP so it could be read in a vertical direction as well as in a horizontal direction, reports KAIST.

In the CNNP, 1024 multipliers and accumulators operate in parallel and the chip is capable of directly transferring the temporal results to any of those without access to external memory or to an on-chip communication network.


Palestinians on Edge

U.N. Report Blames Israel for Palestinian Men Beating Their Wives

June 18th 2017

Arab internet

A new report by a United Nations expert, and submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council, blames Israel in part for Palestinian men beating their wives — offering more fuel to those in the Trump administration seeking to leave the council over its anti-Israel bias.

The document, first reported by U.N. Watch, which monitors the international body, was written by Dubravka Šimonović — the Special Rapporteur on violence against women — who filed dual reports based on her trips to the region in 2016. The report in question focuses on the “causes and consequences” of violence against women in the region.


The Trump Era

Trump Under Legal Siege

June 17th 2017


The distinguished political scientist Angelo Codevilla coined the ominous term “cold civil war” to describe America’s precarious condition, adding, “Statesmanship’s first task is to prevent it from turning hot.” The attempted massacre June this week June 14 of Republican Congressmen and their staff by a deranged partisan of Sen. Bernie Sanders turned up the heat a notch, but it would be mistaken to attribute much importance to this dreadful outburst of left-wing rage. The augury of American fracture will not be street violence, but a constitutional crisis implicating virtually the whole of America’s governing caste. The shock troops in the cold civil war are not gunmen but lawyers.

A considerable portion of America’s permanent bureaucracy, including elements of its intelligence community, is engaged in an illegal and unconstitutional mutiny against the elected commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump. Most of the Democratic Party and a fair sampling of the Republican Establishment wants to force Trump out of office, and to this end undertook an entrapment scheme to entice the president and his staff into actions which might be construed after the fact as obstruction of justice. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Growing Terrorism Threat in Sweden

June 17th 2017

Muslim Brotherhood

SAPO -- Sweden's security service -- reports that the numbers of persons holding extremist views has grown to the thousands. Most appear to sympathize with radical strains of Islam. SAPO chief Anders Thornberg told Swedish news agency TT on Friday, "We have never seen anything like it," and admitted that Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda is central to the growth of radicalization.

Thornberg said that the numbers of extremists have grown from just a few hundred in recent years. The current situation, he said, is "a historic challenge with extremist environments growing."

According to the agency head, SAPO receives approximately 6,000 pieces of intelligence on extremists every month, which is a significant increase from 2,000 of five years ago. Currently, the threat assessment for the Scandinavian country is holding steady at three on a scale of five.


After Iraq

Iraq's Billion Dollar Lack of Accountability

June 16th 2017


The U.S. Army cannot account for a billion dollars worth of military equipment in Iraq.  That’s billion with a B.

Congress created a new appropriation for 2015.  About 1.6 billion dollars worth of military weapons and supplies would be given to the Iraq army.  It was to be used to combat ISIS.  An additional 700 million dollars of equipment was added the following year.

A Pentagon IG audit painted a sorry state of affairs.  The audit was obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Army maintained inadequate records on a billion dollars worth of the equipment. The Army wasn’t sure where it went.  There’s no knowing if the gear was sold, given to militias or landed in the hands of ISIS.

In spite of today’s technology and automated inventory systems, the Army relied on handwritten spreadsheets maintained by numerous subordinate commands. They were so incomplete, the Army didn’t even know what equipment it had yet to distribute. Read more ..

Qatar on Edge

The Other Reason To Isolate Qatar: Its Appalling Human-Rights Record

June 16th 2017

Qatari Skyline

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain have all cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar over allegations of fuelling extremism and terrorism.

It’s true the government in Doha has a long history of supporting various radical Islamist groups and movements across the Middle East. Senior Muslim Brotherhood members, Hamas leaders, and Al Qaeda fixers reside in the country. The Taliban even has an unofficial "embassy" in the capital. Doha has also bankrolled with hundreds of millions radical Islamist opposition groups in Libya and Syria, which has angered its neighbors.

And to Qatar's critics, the billion-dollar hostage deal between the emirate, Iranian security officials and Al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel groups was further evidence of its role in sponsoring extremists. Read more ..

The Edge of Justice

Employee Penalized By Airports Authority For Passover Files Amicus Trump Travel Ban Case

June 15th 2017

Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin

Lewin & Lewin filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Trump travel ban litigation to alert the Supreme Court to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ conflicting rulings and the  double standard demonstrated by 10 appellate judges  between  a claim of religious anti-Muslim discrimination and a comparable claim of religious bias made by an Orthodox Jewish woman. Susan Abeles’ friend-of-the-court brief demonstrates the disparity in the Fourth Circuit between the summary rejection of her claim of anti-Jewish religious employment discrimination and the Fourth Circuit’s approval of claimed anti-Muslim bias in the Presidential travel ban.

After working for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for 26 years, Susan Abeles lost her job for observing Passover, an important Jewish religious holiday. A Virginia federal district court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Ms. Abeles. Ms. Abeles’ appeal to the Fourth Circuit was supported by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the American Jewish Committee, and the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs. Read more ..

America on Edge

Violence and the Political Left

June 15th 2017

baseball glove bat ball

I didn’t want to write this column.  Not now.  The events of today and the recent past are taking their toll.  Those on the Left are rapidly becoming an intolerant political class, and it has to stop.

The recent shooting of several at a Republican baseball practice is a reflection. It’s a small mirror of the worst of our society, responding to political disagreements and discourse in a violent way.  While not all the details of the incident are clear, it appears the shooter was politically motivated in some fashion.  At the risk of taking this too far, it has gone too far.  And I fear the fomenting by liberals on the left is to blame.

There are simply too many examples that tilt the weight of evidence toward this bias. A Hollywood entertainer, Kathy Griffin, and CNN host decapitates an image of our president and thinks in her own twisted way that is somehow funny?  They label it entertainment, and the rest of us silently weep at such disrespect for the office of the president.  Or how about a local theater that props up its own image of Julius Caesar as Donald Trump and then violently murders him?  Even in liberal New York City, there doesn’t appear to be any second thoughts regarding this behavior.  By the way, this so-called theatric presentation was so tasteless in the eyes of major companies such as Delta Airlines and Bank of America that they each pulled their funding for the theatrical center. Read more ..

Media on Edge

Fake News and the NYT-- Soviet Style

June 15th 2017

New York Times Bldg

We — like every other media outlet — occasionally hear a critic label something “fake news.”  And there are some who call everything they disagree with “fake news.”  Just because you don’t like a fact doesn’t make it fake.  That’s just the way it is.

A recent study revealed something interesting about how people consume information.  When offered ten dollars to read an opinion they disagreed with or offered seven dollars to read an opinion they liked, a majority took less money.  They’d rather consume information that affirms their personal views rather than challenges them.

Still, there is fake news.  The worst of all time goes to the New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief Walter Duranty.  His blatantly false reports in the 1930s covered-up the genocide of millions of Ukrainians by the Soviet Union.  When newspapers ruled the media landscape none influenced more Americans than the New York Times. Read more ..

The Race for Autonomous Cars

Automobile Software Can Now be Updated While Driving

June 15th 2017

Traffic Jam

With the amount of software in today’s cars in the dimension of millions of lines of code, updating vehicle software today is a cumbersome business. Now Continental has created the necessary technology and infrastructure to enable secure software updates over the air, doing away with the need to visit the garage for every update.

With significance for software for the user experience of car buyers updates having dramatically increased over the past decade or so, automotive manufacturers are feverishly working on solutions to establish similar mechanisms for their vehicles. So far, only Tesla dares to update the software of its cars automatically. All others look jealously over the fence, frightened by the prospect of a terrible glitch or, even worse, a cyber attack against the transmission path. Also, updating a vehicle’s software is somewhat more complex than updating a smartphone’s operating system: Up to 100 computers are involved, and since they are all connected, the activities of most of them can have side effects on others. Plus, the number of possible variants and options in a car is much bigger than in a smartphone. And last but not least, no one can afford a failed software update – in a car such a situation would have far more serious consequences than with a smartphone.


Mideast on Edge

Signs of Weakness in the Gulf

June 14th 2017

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani

The decision by some Persian Gulf and Arab nations to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar is indicative of the deep crisis brewing in the region over the lack of real Sunni leadership Treading lightly, this situation may present an opportunity for Israel.

The decision by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, and other Arab nations to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar is a sign of weakness. The fact that the Sunni Arab world was unable to impose its basic approach on a small peninsular emirate is indicative of the deep crisis brewing in the Gulf over the lack of real leadership in the Sunni world.

Sunnis are the vast majority in the Muslim world, making up some 85% of Muslims, and yet somehow, the Iran-led Shiite minority is the driving force behind the processes moving the Middle East. Read more ..

Author Essay

After Comey's Testimony, There's No Need for a Special Counsel

June 14th 2017

Washington K Street NW

The most startling revelation from fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony this week was his barefaced admission that he intentionally leaked details of his private conversations with the President to the press in an effort to prompt the appointment a special counsel.

When asked Thursday by Senator Susan Collins of Maine whether he shared the memos he wrote about his conversations with President Trump with anyone outside the Department of Justice, Comey answered:

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter – didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons – but I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”


The Trump Era

AG Jeff Session Calls Out Comey's 'Stunning' Usurpation of Authority

June 14th 2017

Capitol Hill

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that former FBI Director James B. Comey's decision to supersede the authority of Barack Obama's Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, was “stunning.” He explained during his sworn testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Comey's usurpation of Lynch's authority: “It violates fundamental powers.” It was Comey who announced the termination of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server instead of deferring to Lynch.

Sessions said, that when Comey defended his decision in testimony before last week's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, “that was additional confirmation that the director’s thinking was not clear.” Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Libyan Security Committee Calls U.S. Muslim Leader a Terrorist

June 13th 2017

Libyan opposition fighters

A prominent Muslim American political activist is included on a list of 75 terrorists issued by a Libyan parliamentary committee.

Esam Omeish is a former president of the Muslim American Society and remains a prominent figure at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va. He is among 75 people the Libyan House of Representatives' Defense and National Security Committee labeled Friday as enemies.

Libya's government remains fragmented, with the House of Representatives based in a city called Tobruk. It is considered closely aligned with Egypt.

Omeish is the 29th name listed on the terror list and is described as an "international member of the Muslim Brotherhood." Another American, Aly Abuzaakouk, appears just after Omeish's, also identified as an international Muslim Brotherhood member. Read more ..

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