Mike Slater took time on his show this week to celebrate the 90th birthday of a great American by the name of Thomas Sowell. He provided a sneak-peek of the trailer for a new documentary on the life, legacy, and countless contributions of the conservative intellectual giant. Drafted into the Marines as a young man, […]
Source: The First TV
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The U.S. has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston in what a Chinese official called an outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage relations between the two countries.Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin condemned the action, which comes at a time of rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies. He warned of firm countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse its decision.
The unilateral closure of China’s consulate general in Houston within a short period of time is an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China,” Wang said at a daily news briefing.Besides its embassy in Beijing, the U.S. has five consulates in mainland China, according to its website. Read the rest of this entry »
The American media’s Trump-Russia hysteria of the last few years gains some real perspective when you consider that they are more than willing to take blood money to distribute publications that whitewash authoritarian crimes.
Mark Hemingway writes: If you ever spend any time in the Washington D.C. area, there’s a good chance you’ll come across a publication known as China Daily. In appearance, it’s a newspaper. In reality, it is official propaganda from the Chinese government that Communist Party officials deem appropriate for influencing those inside the Beltway. You can find it all over downtown D.C. in newspaper boxes. Large stacks of free copies are also dropped off directly at offices all over the city.
Even better, if you subscribe to the Washington Post, you can get communist propaganda delivered straight to your doorstep for a fee. A few times a year, the Post comes wrapped in a special advertising supplement called China Watch that, again, does its best to approximate a legitimate newspaper. But underneath the masthead in fine print, it reads: “This supplement, prepared by China Daily, People’s Republic of China, did not involve the news or editorial departments of the Washington Post.”
Anyway, you may have recently heard about how two million people out of a population of seven million in Hong Kong recently protested in the streets against the Communist Party’s attempt to further snuff out their little pocket of freedom. Here’s how China Daily is reporting what happened:
Parents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region took to the streets on Sunday to urge US politicians to not interfere with the SAR’s extradition amendments and its internal affairs.
The protest, organized by several Hong Kong social groups, also condemned foreign entities for misleading young people in the city. Among these social groups was an alliance of more than 30 local political, business and legal dignitaries who support the proposed amendments to the SAR’s extradition law. They marched outside the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao, calling on the US to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs.
The whole article is a damnable lie, and yet, as far as I know, the brave truth-tellers at the Washington Post have been taking money to distribute this kind of bilge at least since 2011. Read the rest of this entry »
The whole affair was a series of major fouls. The best outcome is a speedy acquittal.
Kimberley A. Strassel writes: The impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is coming down to one big question: Will Democrats, by crying wolf, drown out the more legitimate Republican cry of foul?
“Foul” has served as the GOP’s most powerful and honest argument from the first days of these impeachment maneuverings. Democrats broke every standard of due process, transparency and fairness in their House investigation, making a mockery of their constitutional duty.
They hid the identity of the original accuser, denying Republicans and the country the ability to judge his motives. They held secret depositions, barring more than three-quarters of House members, as well as the press and the American public. They called 18 witnesses, but blocked the president from calling any in his defense. The White House legal team was excluded from the proceedings—prohibited from cross-examining witnesses, denied the ability to introduce any evidence that spoke to the central question of the president’s focus on Ukrainian corruption.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff secretly obtained and published the communications records of the president’s private attorney, a member of Congress and a reporter. Democrats withdrew their court challenge to compel a key witness, depriving the White House of the ability to defend its executive-privilege claim in court. And the legitimacy of the first portion of the House inquiry—including numerous subpoenas—is in doubt, since it was conducted before the House voted to open it.
Democrats approved two articles of impeachment that failed to identify a crime. Senators are instead asked to render verdicts on a vague “abuse of power” claim and on a “obstruction of Congress” charge that is the result of the House’s own decision not to litigate its demand for testimony. Those articles were passed by a partisan vote with no serious expectation of conviction, simply to make a statement: “He is impeached forever,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this month. Read the rest of this entry »
Ryan Saavedra reports: Voters in Hong Kong took the polls in record numbers on Sunday, giving pro-democracy parties stunning gains as numerous high-profile pro-Beijing officials lost their seats.
“Almost three million voters sent the Carrie Lam administration an unmistakable message on Sunday, flooding to the ballot box in record numbers to vote against pro-establishment candidates and usher in what by all indications should be a staggering victory for the pro-democracy camp,” Public broadcaster RTHK reported. “While official results are yet to be announced, partial counts suggest that opposition candidates should win an overwhelming majority of the 452 District Council seats up for grabs, and may have a winning ratio of as high as nine-to-one.”
RTHK added, “Most analysts had expected the opposition to make significant gains with the government’s popularity ratings at an all-time low, but no one was predicting that the pro-democracy camp would win a majority of seats – much less almost all of them.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that pro-democracy candidates had won 395 of the 452 seats that were up for grabs and that pro-democracy parties were set to control all 18 district councils.
“Almost 3 million people in a city of 7 million queued to vote in the election held every four years, or 71.2 per cent of registered voters,” The Sydney Morning Herald added. “The voter turnout was almost double that seen in the previous election, and attributed to young people voting for the first time.” CNN reported that “outspoken pro-government legislators Michael Tien and Junius Ho both conceded defeat in their districts” and “Holden Chow, Horace Cheung, Vincent Cheng, and Edward Lau also appeared to be part of a string of upsets from the pro-Beijing DAB party.”
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted support for Hong Kong, writing, “With their vote, the people of Hong Kong delivered a strong rebuke of the authoritarian policies of Beijing. They came out in record numbers, nearly double the last election, to support pro-democracy candidates. When people have a choice, they will always choose freedom.”Read the rest of this entry »
No-deal Brexit? That’s no problem, at least for Britain’s wealthiest people. Their bigger fear is leftist firebrand Jeremy Corbyn.
For more than a year, some of the most affluent have prepared for a hard separation from the European Union, making clear they can take a chaotic Brexit in their stride. But the prospect of a Labour victory is turning out to be the more worrisome development. Read the rest of this entry »
As the Chinese government accelerates its crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, the Trump administration has sharpened its view of the world’s most important bilateral relationship.
What’s happening: Senior officials tell me they are increasingly concerned about Beijing’s treatment of activists in Hong Kong and, increasingly, fear overreach that could also target Taiwan. This comes as any chance of an armistice in the trade war seems to be shrinking away.
Why it matters: Based on numerous conversations with Trump administration officials over the last few weeks, it is clear that many of the president’s top advisers view China first and foremost as a national security threat rather than as an economic partner.
- This is a new normal. And it’s poised to affect huge parts of American life, from the cost of many consumer goods — likely to go up under a punishing new round of tariffs — to the nature of this country’s relationship with the government of Taiwan.
- Trump himself still views China primarily through an economic prism. But the angrier he gets with Beijing, the more receptive he is to his advisers’ hawkish stances toward China that go well beyond trade.
- The big open question remains whether Trump’s anger with China — especially its flooding of the U.S. with deadly fentanyl and its backtracking on promises to make huge agricultural purchases — will ever grow to such a point that he wants to move in a tougher direction on national security and human rights. If he gets to that point, his advisers will have plenty of hawkish policy ideas waiting for his green light.
Reuters HONG KONG (Reuters) — Thousands of Hong Kong residents held a sometimes scrappy anti-government protest on Wednesday at a suburban subway station that was attacked by a mob last month, angry that nobody has yet been prosecuted for the violence.
Some masked protesters clashed with police, spraying fire extinguishers from the inside of Yuen Long station as others smeared the floor with cooking oil, beer and detergent to stop the police from advancing.
Some blocked station exits with bins, booths and other station furniture as others sealed roads outside the station, aiming green laser beams at the lines of shield-bearing officers. Others threw empty fire extinguishers at police lines.
Many inside the station sat quietly.
It was the latest in a series of demonstrations since June against a perceived erosion of freedoms in the former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
It also marked a return to aggression after a brief lull in tensions following a huge peaceful march on Sunday.
The Yomiuri Shimbun reports: According to the original version of the Japanese government’s 2019 white paper on defense, North Korea is believed to have already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and the development of nuclear warheads, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
This is the first time such statements have been included in the report.
Regarding South Korea, which is intensifying its confrontation with Japan, the report lowered that nation’s ranking from the previous year among the countries and regions that are promoting security cooperation with Japan.
The Japanese government is making arrangements to approve the 2019 white paper at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September. On North Korea’s military moves, the paper again said they posed a “serious and imminent threat.” Read the rest of this entry »
Sarah Zheng reports: Hong Kong’s summer of protests looks very different from inside and outside the Great Firewall that encircles the internet in mainland China.
On Monday morning, the top trending topic on Weibo, China’s highly regulated version of Twitter, featured a Shanghai tourist who was “harassed and beaten” during a massive pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong on Sunday evening. It racked up 520 million views. A prominent video on the topic from Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily showed the man, surnamed Ma, telling reporters about protesters accosting and accusing him of photographing their faces, under the tagline: “Is this the ‘safety’ that rioters are talking about?”
But in Hong Kong, where there is unfettered access to the internet, the focus was on the peaceful Sunday demonstrations, which organisers said drew 1.7 million people despite heavy rain. On LIHKG, the online forum where Hong Kong protesters discuss and organise their action, one hot topic celebrated Weibo posts on Ma that mentioned a taboo – Beijing’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. The topic cheered the “first time China’s Weibo allowed public discussion of June 4th”, referencing posts about Photoshopped images of Ma in a shirt calling for justice over the crackdown.
Since the protests began in Hong Kong in early June, triggered by a now-shelved extradition bill, there has been a clear dichotomy between how the movement has been portrayed online, inside and outside China. Read the rest of this entry »
Kyle Hooten reports: Chinese state media is using rap music to rally public support in opposition of Hong Kong protesters, even threatening that the Chinese military can “wipe out” the protesters.
Last week, a state-supported Chinese hip-hop group known as Tianfu Shibia or CD Rev, released a rap video titled “Hong Kong’s Fall.” The song accuses America of supporting the massive protests in Hong Kong, which are aimed at preserving some of the region’s sovereignty from China, and threatens the death of the protesters. The group is supported by the unilateral Communist Party of China, according to the Guardian.
“There are 1.4 billion Chinese standing firmly behind Hong Kong police,” the lyrics state. “They will always protect Hong Kong without any hesitation. Airplanes, tanks and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army all gathering in Shenzhen waiting for command to wipe out terrorists [protesters] if needed.” Read the rest of this entry »
Gina Harkins reports: As sailors and Marines are sailing in more contested waters, the blue-green team is getting creative about how to defend amphibious assault ships from enemy small boats and drones.
Members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit were photographed sailing through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf this week with a Light Armored Vehicle on the flight deck.
The armored vehicle can be seen in the background of photos released by the Marine Corps on Wednesday, showing AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters flying off the amphibious assault ship Boxer. The LAV was first spotted by Phil Ewing, national security editor at NPR.
Sailing through or near the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that runs between the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, has been contentious in recent months.
In July, the 11th MEU jammed one Iranian drone — and possibly two — that flew within 1,000 yards of the Boxer. Iranians also seized a British tanker in the strait last month. And in June, two oil tankers were attacked in the nearby Gulf of Oman. Read the rest of this entry »
Continued American silence will convince China that it can advance on other fronts. We must show Beijing that Hong Kong’s freedom isn’t up for grabs.
Marion Smith writes: Would the United States have let the Soviet Union invade West Berlin? Never. Yet America is on the verge of allowing Communist China to enslave the free city of Hong Kong. If this happens, it will be one of the greatest abdications of U.S. moral leadership in history.
Right now, Communist China is massing paramilitary forces on its border with Hong Kong. The purpose appears obvious: Intimidate the pro-freedom movement that has brought parts of the city to a standstill in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Beijing’s rulers have labeled Hong Kong’s protesters “terrorists,” while stating that “those who play with fire will perish by it.” The echoes of the Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years ago are unmistakable.
These developments are eerily familiar to the Soviet Union’s attempts to dominate West Berlin. Yet the United States always made it clear that we would defend the city. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan even traveled there personally, proving by their presence that America stood with its residents.
Compare that with today. The best President Donald Trump can muster is a tweet: “Everyone should be calm and safe!”
A new Cold War
It’s time to admit that we’re in a new Cold War. The blockade of Berlin in 1948 was widely seen as the opening salvo of the decades-long struggle between freedom and communism. With Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong already well underway, maybe now we’ll admit that another struggle has arrived. The Soviet Union is gone, and America’s new adversary is the Chinese Communist Party.
Yet unlike the first Cold War, this time it’s unclear whether America has the will to win. Read the rest of this entry »
America’s relative silence over the Hong Kong protests and the impending Chinese crackdown is deafening, and telling. It’s also dangerous.
John Daniel Davidson writes: The protests in Hong Kong that began two months ago have now shut down the city’s airport—one of the busiest in the world—amid violent clashes with riot police in recent days. Chinese troops, we’re told, are amassing along the border even as Chinese propaganda outlets warned Tuesday that protesters were “asking for self-destruction” and Chinese officials decried the demonstrations as “deranged acts” that marked “the first signs of terrorism.”
In other words, it appears the situation is about to get much worse. Why has the American response to all this been so muted? Hong Kong is the most important city in the world right now, and the cause of the pro-democracy protesters is one that all Americans should rally behind.
Yet, rhetorically, it’s not even clear what side the United States is on. President Trump has been content to offer platitudes and unhelpful observations like, “We’ll see what happens. But I’m sure it’ll work out. I hope it works out for everybody, including China, by the way.” On Tuesday, he tweeted, “Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!”
Okay, thanks for that, president of United States and leader of the free world.
This is the future liberals want… https://t.co/Rq83wuNPTU— EducatëdHillbilly™ (@RobProvince) August 15, 2019
News and social media have largely focused on other stories, like Chris Cuomo flying off the handle at some random guy in New York calling him “Fredo,” or whether the Clintons had Jeffrey Epstein assassinated, or how stupid the 2020 Democratic candidates look eating corn dogs and pandering at the Iowa Sate Fair.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, protesters are waving the American flag and singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” They do this because they know that America is an idea and that the principles of our Founding are universal. Read the rest of this entry »
Kaput. Fini. Terminado. 完. законченный. Done. Over. No more.
Dan Harris writes: Not sure why nobody has just come out and said this yet, but Hong Kong as an international business and financial center is no more. I take no comfort in saying this because I have many friends in Hong Kong and I’ve always loved going there, but Hong Kong’s special position is over. Kaput. Fini. Terminado. 完. законченный. Done. Over. No more.
I challenge you to say “one country two systems” with a straight face.
For the last few months I have been relentlessly asking everyone I know in Hong Kong or who used to be in Hong Kong or who at one time contemplated setting up a business in Hong Kong how what has been happening in Hong Kong has and will or would impact their doing business in Hong Kong. Based on those responses and on my own experience with how international companies operate, I foresee the following:
- Companies that were deciding between Hong Kong or Singapore for their Asian headquarters will choose somewhere other than Hong Kong.
- Growing companies with offices in Hong Kong and with offices somewhere else in Asia will increase their hiring outside Hong Kong and decrease or eliminate their hiring in Hong Kong.
- Companies with offices in Hong Kong and with offices somewhere else in Asia will be move personnel from their Hong Kong office to their other offices.
- Fewer contracts will be drafted with Hong Kong as the venue for arbitration.
- Companies will move their Hong Kong bank accounts elsewhere. It is no coincidence HSBC stock hit its 52 week low today.
- Travelers will choose somewhere other than Hong Kong as their Asia stopover. It is no coincidence Cathay Pacific stock hit its 52 week low today.
- Many Hong Kongers will eventually go elsewhere.
Hong Kong International Airport has canceled all remaining flight departures for the second straight day due to protests.
Riot police stormed the Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday as protests by thousands of anti-government demonstrators forced flights to be canceled for the second straight day.
Travelers at one of the world’s busiest airports were advised that check-in had been suspended and hundreds flights were cancelled, and that they should leave the terminals as quickly as possible and contact airlines for more information.
The clashes appeared to represent an escalation 10 weeks after the protest’s massive, peaceful beginnings in early June, when hundreds of thousands marched in the semi-autonomous city against a now-suspended extradition bill. A Chinese official said Tuesday that protesters “have begun to show signs of terrorism,” and China appeared to be weighing a crackdown on the democratic movement.
Bolstered by anger over the crackdown by Hong Kong police, the protests has grown more confrontational in recent weeks and reached new levels last Monday with a city-wide strike that disrupting traffic and hundreds of flights.
After weeks of issuing warnings, but deferring to Hong Kong authorities to quell protests, Beijing has hinted at a more assertive posture. Chinese paramilitary police were seen in video released by the state holding exercises in Shenzhen, China, which sits across the border from Hong Kong. Images circulated online showing a convoy of armored personnel carriers from the People’s Armed Police traveling to the site. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIJING— Chun Han Wong reports: Chinese authorities condemned violent weekend demonstrations in Hong Kong as “deranged” acts that marked the emergence of “the first signs of terrorism” in the semiautonomous city, vowing a merciless crackdown on the perpetrators.
The escalating rhetoric from Beijing followed a day of heated protests in Hong Kong, including the hurling of petrol bombs, and came as thousands of protesters gathered at Hong Kong’s international airport on Monday, prompting officials to cancel all flights for the rest of the day apart from those already en route to the air-travel hub.
“Radical Hong Kong protesters have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers,” a spokesman for the Chinese government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office told a news briefing on Monday, according to Chinese state media. “The first signs of terrorism are starting to appear.”
On Sunday, police in riot gear fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds of protesters across Hong Kong, some of whom threw bricks and what police identified as Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs. Police said an officer was hospitalized with burns to his legs after being hit by a Molotov cocktail hurled by a protester.Read the rest of this entry »
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As some of you are aware, we failed in our commitment to ferociously guard the sanctity of your echo chamber this week. A headline appeared on our front page suggesting Orange Man spoke against racism. While the headline was factual, it was a flagrant betrayal of the service you expect us to provide and we literally stopped the presses to fix it.
We listened to our readers on how to proceed from there. The headline writer was an elderly holdover from the days when we were a newspaper. But today’s lovepaper business is different. Inspired by the Texas revolutionary Joaquin Castro, our editorial board decided to take out a full page ad in our own paper to publish his home address and pictures of his family. Then we mobilized our 52,247 interns to brigade his employer, us, with phone calls to report that we have a racist in our ranks. The writer was immediately fired. Our interns, known as …. (read more)
- Shares of The New York Times Company plunged as much as 20% on Wednesday after the publisher said it expects total advertising revenue to fall next quarter.
- The newspaper publisher reported second quarter results on Wednesday that beat expectations for earnings per share but fell short of revenue estimates.
- The New York Times also said it added 197,000 new digital-only subscribers during the period, bringing the publication’s total subscriber base to 4.7 million.
- Watch The New York Times Company trade live.
The New York Time Company saw its stock tumble as much as 20% on Wednesday after the newspaper publisher said it expects advertising revenue to shrink by high-single digits in the third quarter.
The publisher reported second quarter financial results on Wednesday. Here are the key numbers:
- Revenue: $436.25 million, compared to $439.25 million estimated by analysts
- Earnings per share: $0.17, compared to $0.15 estimated by analysts
- Operating profit: $37.9 million, down from $40 million last year
The company said it expects total ad revenue to decline in the high-single digits Read the rest of this entry »
At least 100 flights were canceled and subway service widely disrupted in Hong Kong on Monday as a pro-democracy movement called for a general strike.
Cathay Pacific and other domestic carriers such as Hong Kong Airlines were the most affected by the flight cancellations, public broadcaster RTHK said. Airport express train service was also suspended.
A citywide strike and demonstrations in seven districts in Hong Kong have been called for Monday afternoon. They follow a weekend of clashes with police on the streets. Read the rest of this entry »
Alvin Lum reports: Hundreds of workers at 34 banks joined calls for a citywide strike next week against the government’s handling of recent unrest which has rocked Hong Kong.
The finance staff added their voices to an umbrella group of 95 unions from the public and private sectors behind the action planned for Monday.
The appeal from the pro-democracy Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) and staff from local banks, including international investment banks and Chinese state-owned banks, was also echoed by teachers and art groups.
Civil servants, meanwhile, got the go-ahead from police to host an unprecedented rally on Friday evening in Chater Garden to urge the government to respond to the demands of protesters against the now-abandoned extradition bill.
The idea of a strike was first floated weeks ago on an online forum, and has gained momentum after two protests that descended into clashes over which 44 people have been charged with rioting. Read the rest of this entry »
Alice Su reports: The latest protests in Hong Kong appear to have touched a nerve in Beijing, where officials and state media have escalated rhetoric against the pro-democracy movement, accusing the United States of interference and ominously affirming the People’s Liberation Army’s ability to intervene at the Hong Kong government’s request.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said at a news conference Wednesday morning that the protests on Sunday were “intolerable.”
“Some radical protesters’ actions challenge the authority of the central government and the bottom line of ‘One Country, Two Systems,’” Wu said, adding that the ministry would follow Article 14 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
“One Country, Two Systems” is China’s way of referring to its administration of Hong Kong, under which it is part of China but allowed to maintain some degree of autonomy. Article 14 states that the Chinese government’s military forces stationed in Hong Kong will not interfere in local affairs unless the Hong Kong government requests assistance “in the maintenance of public order” or for disaster relief.
As mass protests against a proposed extradition bill morphed into a desperate pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong over the last two months, the local government has denied rumors that the Chinese military might intervene. Some analysts who study Hong Kong expressed skepticism that Beijing would send its military, which could have devastating consequences.
But Chinese officials and media are now stoking nationalist anger with rhetoric that’s been used to pave the way for crackdowns in the past, specifically with accusations of foreign intervention and condemnations of “chaos” and “disorder.”
Sunday’s protests broadened the scope of conflict as protesters shifted from targeting the Hong Kong territorial government and police to directly challenging the Chinese government.
Thousands marched to Beijing’s representative office in Hong Kong, chanting a pro-independence slogan. They splattered the Chinese government emblem with eggs and black ink and spray-painted the walls with derogatory terms for China. Read the rest of this entry »
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Bailey, thanks for your comment. First, “tin foil hatted enterprise” should be spelled “tin foil-hatted enterprise”.
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PARIS — French yellow vest protesters set fires Saturday along a march through Paris to drive home their message to a government they believe is ignoring the poor: that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem France needs to solve.
Like the high-visibility vests the protesters wear, the scattered small fires in Paris appeared to be a collective plea to French President Emmanuel Macron’s government to “look at me — I need help too!”
Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements rampaging on the margins of the largely peaceful march, one of several actions around Paris and other French cities.
The protests marked the 23rd straight weekend of yellow vest actions against Macron’s centrist government, which they see as favoring the wealthy and big business. Protesters view themselves as standing up for beleaguered French workers , students and retirees who have been battered by high unemployment, high taxes and shrinking purchasing power.
But violence and divisions have marred the movement.
Associated Press reporters saw a car, motorbikes and barricades set ablaze around the Place de la Republique plaza in eastern Paris. The smell of tear gas mixed with the smoke, choking the air.
Paris firefighters — who struggled earlier this week to prevent the 12th-century Notre Dame from collapsing — quickly responded to extinguish the flames at Saturday’s protest. Read the rest of this entry »
Did our intel leaders have any evidence when they pushed the Russia collusion line?
William McGurn reports: The one we need is for all the intelligence officials—including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s former Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe—who pushed the Russia conspiracy theory. The special counsel has just made clear they did so with no real evidence.
Mr. Mueller could have said he didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute. Instead he was categorical: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
This wasn’t for lack of trying on Moscow’s part. “Despite multiple offers” from Russia-affiliated individuals to help their campaign, Mr. Mueller reports, the Trump people didn’t take them up on it.
So why do 44% of Americans—according to a Fox News poll released Sunday—believe otherwise? Part of the answer has to be that the collusion tale was egged on by leading members and former members of the American intelligence community.
Intelligence professionals are trained to sift through the noise and distractions in pursuit of the truth. In this case, however, they went all in for a tale that the Russian government had somehow compromised Mr. Trump or his close associates. In peddling this line, their authority rested on the idea they had access to alarming and conclusive evidence the rest of America couldn’t see. Now it appears they never had much more than an unverified opposition-research dossier commissioned by Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
Nevertheless, they persisted. Start with the FBI’s Mr. McCabe, who boasts that he is the man who opened the counterintelligence probe into Russia and President Trump. Today the question has to be: On what evidence was this extraordinary step predicated, apart from Mr. Trump’s saying things the G-man didn’t like? Read the rest of this entry »
For nearly 40 years, Bill Burhans has steadfastly maintained he wasn’t drunk when, as an Air Force lieutenant colonel driving fellow U.S. military liaisons home from a holiday party with their Soviet counterparts in East Germany, he lost control of the car, careened up an embankment and slammed into a bus.
Matthew M. Burke and Marcus Kloeckner report: When the car came to a stop on Dec. 29, 1979, Air Force Lt. Col. James Tonge, his passenger, called to him to move the car to the shoulder. But Burhans sat frozen, except for his trembling hands.
It was as if he’d been “hit in the head with an ax at the slaughterhouse,” Tonge would later tell U.S. investigators in a sworn statement.
“He didn’t respond at all,” Tonge said of Burhans, who at the time was set to replace him as deputy of the U.S. Military Liaison Mission.
Based in Potsdam, near Berlin, the USMLM’s official mission was to serve as a liaison between the U.S. military command and its Soviet counterpart in post-war Germany, but its personnel also gathered intelligence, monitored Soviet forces and reported on readiness throughout the Cold War era. French, British and Soviet liaison missions did similar work.
After helping Burhans into the back seat, Tonge moved the car himself.
Police arrived in minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
The Black Spy and the White Spy have been chasing each other around in MAD Magazine for 56 years
After penning one too many cartoons that were critical of Fidel Castro, Prohías — who was a prominent cartoonist and illustrator in his home country — headed for New York, writes Eric Grundhauser for Atlas Obscura. At the time, he didn’t speak a word of English.
“In New York, Prohías took work in a factory during the day, while working up his illustration portfolio at night,” Grundhauser writes. He changed the appearance of one of his characters from the strip he published in Cuba, El Hombre Siniestro, and gave him a counterpart: Spy vs. Spy was born.
“In 1960, just months after moving to the city, Prohías, along with his daughter Marta who acted as an intepreter, walked unannounced into the offices of MAD Magazine,” Grundhauser writes. “The editors were skeptical of the artist, but his silly spy gags won them over, and he had sold three of the strips to the magazine before leaving that day.”
His reason for going to MAD with his idea, writes scholar Teodora Carabas: he liked the magazine’s name. The Black Spy and White Spy have been a fixture in MAD ever since, appearing in the magazine’s Joke and Dagger Department. The strip’s appeal, which was one of the artist’s signature strengths, was partly its silence, writes Grundhausen. Like El Hombre Siniestro (“The Sinister Man”), the spies’ adventures were wordless, violent and hilarious, drawn in a dramatic style. Many of the jokes aren’t outwardly political, he writes, but Prohías said El Hombre was inspired by “the national psychosis of the Cuban people.” Read the rest of this entry »
Geoff Ziezulewicz reports: Fourteen sailors from the nuclear reactor department of the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan face disciplinary action in connection to LSD abuse, Navy officials confirmed this week.
Two sailors are already heading to court-martial for using, possessing and distributing the hallucinogenic drug, while three are waiting to see whether they will be charged as well, according to 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Keiley.
Another 10 sailors with the Japan-based ship were administratively disciplined on LSD-related charges, Keiley said.
A 15th sailor was also disciplined, but that person was not assigned to the carrier’s reactor department.
Keiley said the 14 reactor sailors charged or facing potential charges came from a department with more than 400 personnel.