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What Explains CPAC’s Dance with Milo Yiannopoulos?

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‘The enemy of my enemy is my ally’

editor-commen-deskHuman monkey behavior is often an under-explored element in articles about group dynamics in politics. That’s why we’re pleased to find National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg liberally including quotations from evolutionary psychologist John Tooby. This is from Jonah’s weekly column in the LATimes:


Jonah Goldberg
lanews-jonah-goldberg-20130507 writes:

…From the outset, many on the right who do not consider themselves part of the Cult of Milo opposed his invitation. The disturbing thing is that, absent these videos, we would have lost the fight.

“John Tooby, the evolutionary psychologist, recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public it would be the ‘coalitional instinct.’ In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If ‘you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership … This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird’.”

Even now, Schlapp defends the initial decision to invite Yiannopoulis. On Monday’s ”Morning Joe,” he insisted: “The fact is, he’s got a voice that a lot of young people listen to.” A lot of young conservative people, he should have added, precisely because he enrages so many young liberals.

“If ‘you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership,’ Tooby wrote on Edge.org. ‘This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.’”

And that’s part of the problem. We are in a particularly tribal moment in American politics in which “the 41diaueofdl-_sl250_enemy of my enemy is my ally” is the most powerful argument around.

[Check out John Tooby’s book “The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture at Amazon.com]

John Tooby, the evolutionary psychologist, recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public it would be the “coalitional instinct.” In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If “you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership,” Tooby wrote on Edge.org. “This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.”

[read the full story here, at LA Times]

We overlook the hypocrisies and shortcomings within our coalition out of a desire to protect ourselves from our enemies.

Today, the right sees the left as enemies — and, I should say, vice versa. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Krauthammer: ‘Encouraging’ That McMaster Questions ‘Prevailing Assumptions & Worldview’ 

Charles Krauthammer gave two main reasons why the selection of General H. R. McMaster to be national-security adviser was encouraging, and he also made another point about the language of Trump’s announcement.

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Simon & Schuster Cancels Milo Yiannopoulos Book Publication; Milo Disinvited From CPAC

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Saker/REX/Shutterstock (1841558c) Milo Yiannopoulos Milo Yiannopoulos at 'Silicon Roundabout' Old Street, London, Britain - 13 Jun 2012 Milo Yiannopoulos is a journalist, broadcaster and internet blogger who speaks about technology, media, business, society, religion and celebrity culture . He is Editor-in-Chief of The Kernel, chief feature writer for The Catholic Herald.

Simon & Schuster’s Adam Rothberg announced that the company and its Threshold Editions division would be canceling its publication of Yiannopoulos’ book, ‘Dangerous.’ It was due for release on June 13.

UPDATED: Controversial far-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos has been disinvited from speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, it was announced on Monday.

The decision comes amid a controversy involving a video from January 2016, in which Yiannopoulos appears to defend pedophilia. It resurfaced after it was recently shared on a conservative blog, and has gained traction and backlash over the past week.

“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” American Conservative Union Chairman Matt said in a statement. “It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”

In the video, a 2016 episode of podcast “The Drunken Peasants,” Yiannopoulos discussed his own experience with sexual assault as a teenager. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Democrat FEC Member Quitting Sets Up Political Fight

Strategy Room: Sarah Badawi and Brian Morgenstern on how President Trump will handle open spot on commission.

Real FEC reform would be the opposite of what Ann Ravel and her Democratic colleagues want.

Jeremy Carl writes: When Ann Ravel, a Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), announced her intention to resign Sunday, she received, as she has throughout her tenure at the FEC, a surprising amount of news coverage. While her departure may not immediately change the partisan balance of the commission, because traditionally her seat “belongs” to the Democrats, President Trump could upset that calculation if he broke with that tradition and appointed someone more aligned with the GOP (though he is not allowed to pick a registered Republican for the seat).

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Ravel had become a minor political celebrity (even earning a Daily Show appearance) on the left by castigating the “deadlock” on the FEC allegedly caused by the GOP members, who wouldn’t go along with Democratic demands for campaign-finance fines.

Ravel’s resignation letter is filled with the same sort of tired Democratic rhetoric on campaign finance, demanding the overturning of Citizens United, pushing for expanded public (i.e., taxpayer) financing of political campaigns, and decrying the evils of “dark money.”

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Yet President Trump showed the complete intellectual bankruptcy of the campaign-finance “reform” movement in his stunning presidential-election victory. According to the FEC’s own data, among large donors ($2,000+), Hillary Clinton out-raised Trump $175 million to $27 million, a ratio of 6.5 to 1. Despite this, and the almost unanimous support she enjoyed from our media and cultural elites, Clinton couldn’t defeat Trump. Furthermore, Bernie Sanders, an eccentric and aging socialist with no establishment backing, came close to beating Hillary in the Democratic primary despite being outspent among those same $2,000+ donors by a ratio of more than 50 to 1.

Meanwhile, in one of the most remarkable yet least reported facts about the 2016 campaign, Jeb Bush, who entered the race to a wave of publicity before going out with a whimper early in the GOP primary, raised essentially as much ($26 million) in his brief campaign from those $2,000+ donors as Trump did from this group during the entire primary and general-election cycle. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Why Government Funding Hurts PBS & NPR 

If the federal government were to cut off funding for public broadcasting, the programs that so many of us cherish not only wouldn’t disappear, they would have a better chance of surviving long into the future.

In 1967, President Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act, establishing a system of government subsidies that hasn’t changed that much in fifty years. The lion-share of federal money was allocated—not to pay directly for programming—but to go to independent public television and radio stations that were established in every corner of a vast nation. Their main purpose has always been to distribute national content to their local communities. About 70 percent of government funding went directly the local stations in 1967. Fifty years later, that formula hasn’t changed much.

When the Public Broadcasting Act became law, maintaining a network of regional stations was the only way to insure that every American household had access to public television and radio content. Today, this decentralized system isn’t necessary because it’s possible to stream or download NPR or PBS content from anywhere in the world. As audiences moves online, the regional stations supported by the federal government are becoming unnecessary.

It’s not just that these stations have become a waste of taxpayer money—they also present an obstacle to online distribution. The advent of podcasting, for example, was a singular opportunity for NPR to capitalize big on a new way of distributing its rich content. Today, NPR publishes several of the top podcasts, but in a concession to the stations, it forbids show hosts from promoting podcasts on the radio or from even mentioning NPR’s popular smartphone app. Station opposition is also the reason that podcast listeners can’t download episodes of NPR’s two top programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

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Recently, some of public radio’s most talented show hosts and producers have gone to work for private podcasting ventures. One reason to leave, says former-NPR reporter Adam Davidson, is that podcasters “have a creative freedom that NPR’s institutional frictions simply can’t allow.”

The fact is that without federal subsidies, the programs themselves could thrive. About 40 percent of funding for public television comes from private contributions (individuals, foundations, and businesses). For public radio, it’s about 60 percent. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama-linked Activists Have a ‘Training Manual’ for Protesting Trump 

As Donald Trump Wins Presidency, Country Reacts

Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama and featured prominently on his new post-presidency website, is distributing a training manual to anti-Trump activists that advises them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing ObamaCare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations, and building a border wall.

Paul Sperry reports: An Obama-tied activist group training tens of thousands of agitators to protest President Trump’s policies plans to hit Republican lawmakers supporting those policies even harder this week, when they return home for the congressional recess and hold town hall meetings and other functions.

“A script advises callers to complain: ‘I’m honestly scared that a known racist and anti-Semite will be working just feet from the Oval Office … It is everyone’s business if a man who promoted white supremacy is serving as an adviser to the president.’”

Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama and featured prominently on his new post-presidency website, is distributing a training manual to anti-Trump activists that advises them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing ObamaCare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations, and building a border wall.

“The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda.”

In a new Facebook post, OFA calls on activists to mobilize against Republicans from now until Feb. 26, when “representatives are going to be in their home districts.”

The protesters disrupted town halls earlier this month, including one held in Utah by House Oversight Chairman Jasonobama_in_limo_pd_12913 Chaffetz, who was confronted by hundreds of angry demonstrators claiming to be his constituents.

The manual, published with OFA partner “Indivisible,” advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.” Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. “This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.” It also urges them to ask “hostile” questions — while keeping “a firm hold on the mic” — and loudly boo the the GOP politician if he isn’t “giving you real answers.”

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

“Express your concern [to the event’s hosts] they are giving a platform to pro-Trump authoritarianism, racism, and corruption,” it says.

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“The manual, published with OFA partner ‘Indivisible,’ advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.’ Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. ‘This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.’”

The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda, and to prime “the ground for the 2018 midterms when Democrats retake power.”

“It also urges them to ask ‘hostile’ questions — while keeping ‘a firm hold on the mic’ — and loudly boo the the GOP politician if he isn’t ‘giving you real answers.’”

“Even the safest [Republican] will be deeply alarmed by signs of organized opposition,” the document states, “because these actions create the impression that they’re not connected to their district and not listening to their constituents.”

After the event, protesters are advised to feed video footage to local and national media. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘I Hurt People for a Reason’: Milo Yiannopoulos Spars with Bill Maher

The liberal talk show host and conservative Breitbart editor tried to find common ground during an 11-minute discussion, which made national headlines earlier this week after previously scheduled Real Time guest The Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill dropped out of the show to protest Yiannopoulos’ booking.

“The Democrats are the party of Lena Dunham. These people are mental, hideous people, and the more that America sees of Lena Dunham, the fewer votes that the Democratic Party is going to get.”

 reports: Bill Maher and Milo Yiannopoulos had their controversial showdown on HBO’s Real Time on Friday night, though there were fewer sparks than some had perhaps expected.

“I wrote a bad review of the movie. I said she look like a dude, she does. I said she’s barely literate, she is.”

The liberal talk show host and conservative Breitbart editor tried to find common ground during an 11-minute discussion, which made national headlines earlier this week after previously scheduled Real Time guest The Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill dropped out of the show to protest Yiannopoulos’ booking.

“And I simply don’t accept that the star of a Hollywood blockbuster is sitting in a Hollywood mansion crying over mean words on the internet; get over it. Mean words on the internet don’t hurt anyone,”

“The reason [liberals] want to police humor is they can’t control it — because the one thing all authoritarians hate is the sound of laughter,” Yiannopoulos said.

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“Nothing annoys people like the truth. Policing humor for racism and sexism is utterly wrongheaded. Not because normally it’s not there, but because that’s how we build bridges and not how we break them.”

“And also because when people laugh they know it’s true,” Maher agreed. “… You are so helped by the fact that liberals always take the bait.”

“I hurt people for a reason. I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll.”

“Nothing annoys people like the truth,” Yiannopoulos concurred. “Policing humor for racism and sexism is utterly wrongheaded. Not because normally it’s not there, but because that’s how we build bridges and not how we break them.”

[Read the full story here, at ew.com]

Yet Yiannopoulos made blatant sexist comments during the interview, criticizing Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman as people who “used to be funny before they contracted feminism.” Read the rest of this entry »


Deep State: Obama Agitators Are Subverting Government and Undermining Trump

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The leaks that led to Michael Flynn’s resignation are just the beginning. Obama and his loyalists in and outside government are working to undermine Trump.

There are exceptions, of course. Jimmy Carter threw himself into international diplomacy, mediating an agreement in 1994 to return exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in Haiti, and generally agitating for a Palestinian state.

Then there is Obama. Less than a month out of office, the broad contours of Obama’s post-presidency career are already taking shape. Obama and his loyalists, it seems, will remain in the center of the political fray, officially and unofficially, in an organized effort to undermine the Trump administration.

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The bizarre scandal now unfolding over the resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn is a case in point. Flynn’s resignation was prompted by a series of coordinated and anonymous leaks from current and former Obama administration officials in our domestic intelligence agencies.

“Obama had eight years in the White House to secure his legacy. Any efforts on his part to undermine his successor aren’t just an affront to the principles of our democracy, they’re an admission that he and his acolytes never put much stock in democracy to begin with.”

Regardless of any valid criticism of Flynn, the leaks are part of a larger, loosely organized effort now underway to preserve Obama’s legacy. This effort involves Obama-era officials still inside the federal government, former Obama staffers working in the private sector, and Obama himself.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

This isn’t some conspiracy theory. After the election, Obama indicated he intends to stay involved in the political fray. In an email to his supporters on his last day in office, Obama encouraged them to stay engaged, promising “I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.” Less than two weeks later, he issued a statement saying he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests over the executive order on immigration.

Attorney General Eric Holder To Resign

But there’s more to all this than Obama issuing solidarity statements to Trump protestors. For one thing, the former president isn’t moving back to Chicago. The Obama family will remain in Washington DC, within a couple miles of the White House, for the next two years as Obama’s youngest daughter finishes high school. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] President Trump Unloads on the Media; Special Report with Mollie Hemingway, James Rosen, Charles Krauthammer 

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Florist Who Declined Gay Wedding Request Loses Her Case, Promises Appeal to the Supreme Court

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‘This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist’ 

Kelsey Harkness reports: An appellate court unanimously ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington florist who declined to make flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding because of her religious beliefs.

“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”

— Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.

Lawyers for Stutzman told The Daily Signal they plan to appeal the Washington state Supreme Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At National Review, David French writes:

…But this is the sexual revolution we’re talking about, so it’s necessary for the court to make a statement declaring the government’s allegiances. Indeed, late in the opinion its author gave the game away. Picking up on the absurd and historically ignorant comparison of the modern gay-rights movement with the civil-rights movement in the segregationist South, the judge wrote, “This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”

“That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm.”

What are they talking about? The federal government took the extraordinary step of passing the civil-rights acts to give black Americans access not just to sandwiches but to hotel rooms, jobs, voting rights, and all the other things they were systematically denied as southern states and communities continually and oppressively imposed the “badges and incidents of slavery” on them. In the pre-civil-rights South, black citizens often had trouble finding places to eat or sleep. They couldn’t vote. They couldn’t get justice in state courts. Civil rights was about access, at its most elementary and necessary level.

But that’s not the case any longer. The gay couple in this case had no trouble finding flowers. Stutzman even recommended other florists who would have been happy to help them celebrate their wedding. So, given the absence of any real harm, the court said that the state had a compelling state interest in punishing the “independent social evil” of discrimination toward a “broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace.”

That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm. There is no need to prove lack of access to alternative artistic expressions. There is only the need to show that the business owner won’t use her unique talents to help celebrate the sexual revolution.

Finally, if you doubt the court’s malice, look only to its last ruling — that Stutzman can be held personally liable for her allegedly discriminatory act. In other words, the court is willing to pierce the corporate veil to impose individual liability even in the absence of the traditional justifications for that drastic step. Stutzman didn’t commit fraud. She didn’t commingle her personal and corporate funds. She kept her private and professional affairs separate. But she still faces personal financial ruin.

Social-justice warriors will no doubt celebrate the breaking of another egg for their cultural omelet. … (read more)

[Read the full text of David French’s essay here: ‘Washington’s Supreme Court Imposes Its Progressive Faith on a Christian Florist‘]

The ruling, issued on Thursday by Washington’s nine Supreme Court justices, stated that in refusing to provide services for the same-sex couple’s wedding, Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.

[Read the full story here, at dailysignal.com]

“The state of Washington bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” the ruling reads.

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Prior to the incident, Stutzman enjoyed a close relationship with Ingersoll, serving him for many years.

“We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case—refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to [Robert] Ingersoll and [Curt] Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding—constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the [Washington Law Against Discrimination].” Read the rest of this entry »


Badiucao: One Love, One China

From China Digital Times: In recent cartoons for CDT,  puts a Valentine twist on President Trump’s emerging relationship with President Xi Jinping, which took a step forward in a recent phone call:

Valentines, by Badiucao:

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A second drawing focuses on Trump’s effort to patch up relations with Beijing by acknowledging the “one China” policy, which declares that Taiwan is part of China. Trump had earlier stated that he was “not committed” to the longstanding policy.

One China, by Badiucao

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Since his inauguration in January, President Trump’s policy toward China has been elusive and unpredictable. He ignited a firestorm of controversy soon after taking office by accepting a phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan and later saying that he may choose not to adhere to the “one China” policy, which has defined the U.S.-China-Taiwan trilateral relationship for decades. These actions seemed to indicate that he would live up to campaign rhetoric to take a tougher line on China than his predecessors. Yet after two weeks of silence between the two leaders, Trump switched tacks by promising to uphold the one China status quo in a phone call with President Xi Jinping. From Simon Denyer and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post:

In a statement issued late Thursday, the White House said the two men had held a lengthy and “extremely cordial” conversation.

“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our one-China policy,” the White House statement said.

In return, Xi said he “appreciated his U.S. counterpart, , for stressing that the U.S. government adheres to the one-China policy,” which he called the “political basis” of relations between the two nations, state news agency Xinhua reported. [Source]

The call has been taken by many as a sign of acquiescence by Trump to Xi, as he acknowledged that his mention of the “one China” policy was at Xi’s request. From Jane Perlez of The New York Times:

But in doing so, he handed China a victory and sullied his reputation with its leader, Xi Jinping, as a tough negotiator who ought to be feared, analysts said. Read the rest of this entry »


How Spooks Played the Game: ‘Kill Mike Flynn’

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‘The knives are out.’

Richard Pollock reports: National Security Advisor Gen. Michael T. Flynn (ret.) — who resigned Monday — was the victim of a “hit job” launched by intelligence operatives, Obama government holdovers and former Obama national security officials, according to former intelligence officials who spoke with The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

“There are individuals who are well versed in information operations — we used to call that propaganda.  They know how to do it.  It’s deliberately orchestrated.”

The talk within the tight-knit community of retired intelligence officers was that Flynn’s sacking was a result of intelligence insiders at the CIA, NSA and National Security Council using a sophisticated “disinformation campaign” to create a crisis atmosphere. The former intel officers say the tactics hurled against Flynn over the last few months were the type of high profile hard-ball accusations previously reserved for top figures in enemy states, not for White House officials.

“This was a hit job,” charged retired Col. James Williamson, a 32-year Special Forces veteran who coordinated his operations with the intelligence community.

Noting the Obama administration first tried to silence Flynn in 2014 when the former president fired him as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Williamson called Monday’s resignation, “stage Two of ‘Kill Mike Flynn.”

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Former intelligence officials who understand spy craft say Flynn’s resignation had everything to do with a “disinformation campaign” and little to do with the December phone conversation he had with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]

They charge officials from America’s top spy counsels leaked classified government intercepts of Flynn and President Trump’s conversations with world leaders and had “cutouts” — friendly civilians not associated with the agency — to distribute them to reporters in a coordinated fashion.

The issue of leaks was a prime topic for Trump when he tweeted Wednesday, “Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russia.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Retired Col. James Waurishuk, who spent three decades in top military intelligence posts and served at the National Security Council, said in an interview with TheDCNF. “We’ve never seen to the extent that those in the intelligence community are using intelligence apparatus and tools to be used politically against an administration official,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn

File photo : Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, U.S. national security advisor, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a "hallmark of our democracy." Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg(Sipa via AP Images)

Sources: Former Obama officials, loyalists planted series of stories to discredit Flynn, bolster Iran deal.

 reports: The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, obama_in_limo_pd_12913according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

“The Obama administration knew that Flynn was going to release the secret documents around the Iran deal, which would blow up their myth that it was a good deal that rolled back Iran. So in December the Obama NSC started going to work with their favorite reporters, selectively leaking damaging and incomplete information about Flynn.”

Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump’s inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump’s national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.

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“After Trump was inaugurated some of those people stayed in and some began working from the outside, and they cooperated to keep undermining Trump. Last night’s resignation was their first major win, but unless the Trump people get serious about cleaning house, it won’t be the last.”

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation and avoid interfering with the White House’s official narrative about Flynn, which centers on his failure to adequately inform the president about a series of phone calls with Russian officials.

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Flynn took credit for his missteps regarding these phone calls in a brief statement released late Monday evening. Trump administration officials subsequently stated that Flynn’s efforts to mislead the president and vice president about his contacts with Russia could not be tolerated.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

However, multiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.

“It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him,” said one veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team. “This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.”

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The Free Beacon first reported in January that, until its final days in office, the Obama administration hosted several pro-Iran voices who were critical in helping to mislead the American public about the terms of the nuclear agreement. This included a former Iranian government official and the head of the National Iranian American Council, or NIAC, which has been accused of serving as Iran’s mouthpiece in Washington, D.C. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Alan Dershowitz on the Michael Flynn Controversy 

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on the controversy surrounding national security advisor Michael Flynn.

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[VIDEO] Super-Serious Cuckoo Bananas Berkeley Riots Backer Proud of Labeling Opponents ‘Fascists’ to Justify Totalitarian Rhetoric & Anti-Free Speech Violence

Tucker takes on national organizer for BAMN, which was one of the biggest supporters of the protests of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos‘s campus speech.

bamn-organizer Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Greg Gutfeld on the Media Double Standard Over Immigration Raids 

TO GO WITH AFP STORY - (FILE) An entire

 


Our Cult-Like Education System: Stella Morabito on the Ideological Cold War

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Riot-Prone Mobs Are A Product Of America’s Cult-Like Education System

‘If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.’

— Thomas Jefferson

 writes

…Those who are pushing for sustained street resistance seem to be banking on two things. First they are betting that mainstream Americans won’t realize until it’s too late that we are in the midst of a virtual civil war that could turn violent. Dennis Prager recently wrote of this Second Civil War, warning Americans to wake up to it. Second, agitators are also wagering that Americans will not have the stomach for the prolonged fight they intend to bring to the streets, a point noted by psychologist Tim Daughtry in his book “Waking the Sleeping Giant.”

“What brought us to this place where the losing side has so utterly and violently rejected the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another, and previously agreed-upon electoral process and rules?”

So is this some kind of a joke? Revolution in the streets of America that overturns the election results? So far it all sounds so goofy, at least where it doesn’t get violent. We can watch in wonder as a shrieking NYU professor verbally assaults numerous police officers with the sort of impunity only afforded to the far-left. We can assure ourselves that there aren’t that many irrational people. Even if true, however, that’s beside the point. Too many citizens are at sea in understanding what freedom even means.

“Let’s face it. Today’s street theater is the culmination of decades of radical education revision. The radical Left’s systematic attack on the study of Western Civilization has essentially been an attack against the study of any and all civil societies. It is an attack on the features that make a society civil and free.”

We need to ask ourselves: What brought us to this place where the losing side has so utterly and violently rejected the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another, and previously agreed-upon electoral process and rules? It’s past time to ponder the quote from Thomas Jefferson: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

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Destroying Our Education System Got Us Here

Let’s face it. Today’s street theater is the culmination of decades of radical education revision. The radical Left’s systematic attack on the study of Western Civilization has essentially been an attack against the study of any and all civil societies. It is an attack on the features that make a society civil and free. Those features include freedom of expression, civil discourse, the Socratic method of figuring out truth, value of the individual, and a common knowledge of the classics of history and literature that help us understand what’s universal in the human experience. All of that had to go.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Now, as we see students marching to demonize as “fascists” proponents of free speech, their ignorance is in full view. This is really a full frontal attack on the rule of law, the Constitution, and a system of checks and balances that guards against the consolidation of centralized power.

That’s the whole point of the education these students have been fed. In fact, a lot of 1960s agitators, including domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, decided to place their bets on radical education revision. For at least 40 years, Ayers has been devoted to transforming schools from places of actual education to places of coercive thought reform. As Andrew McCarthy recently pointed out in National Review: “It was a comfy fit for him and many of his confederates, once it dawned on them that indoctrination inside the schoolhouse was more effective than blowing up the schoolhouse.”

If you review the history of radical education reform, it’s clear these agitators have been committing mind arson on the children, undermining their ability to think independently and clearly. (For more on this, read Robin Eubanks’ book “Credentialed to Destroy.”)

Demotivated students sitting in a lecture hall with one girl napping in college

How to Short-Circuit a Child’s Thinking

Radical education reformers have made a point of removing context from children’s education, and to squash their natural curiosity, undermining their capacity to think. Read the rest of this entry »


Make America Bootyful Again: Joy Villa in MAGA Gown on Grammys 2017 Red Carpet 

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Singer Joyce Villa wore a ‘Make America Great Again’ gown.

Scandalous dresses on the Grammys red carpet aren’t what they used to be. It wasn’t deep cleavage or a thigh-high leg slit that had tongues wagging about singer Joyce Villa on Sunday night. It was her red, white and blue gown emblazoned with “Make
joyce-villaAmerica Great Again” in front, and “Trump” across the train.

It’s a controversial statement coming from an artist in an industry that’s largely in opposition to the new president’s social policies, not to mention from a woman who identifies as bi-racial.

[In other words, The Hollywood Reporter finds it shocking, and controversial for the President of the United States to receive public support from a non-white entertainer]

The singer-songwriter, who goes by the name Princess Joy Villa, teased the ensemble on Instagram with a photo of a heart-shaped clutch and a caption stating, “My whole artistic platform is about LOVE. I couldn’t be where I am today without the love and tenderness of those beautiful supporters and friends around me.”

Villa went on to say, ”I hope you enjoy tonight’s #grammyawards2017 and remember to forget your problems and focus on the future! You are infinite and beautiful and no one can stop you but you. Read the rest of this entry »


Dominican Paper Apologizes for Using Alec Baldwin Photo for President Trump

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Source: ABCNews


[VIDEO] Trump Looks to Strengthen U.S. Trade Ties with Japan

Boston Herald Columnist, Adriana Cohen, former Bush senior campaign advisor, Mark Serrano, and Club for Growth president, David McIntosh on President Trump’s trade policies and his desire to put America first.

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Note: the above image is from Japanese social media. Original source unknown. But very typical of popular ‘kawaii’ image editing apps. See more of our Japan coverage here.

 

 


Japan, U.S. Affirm Senkakus Defense Under Article 5 

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WASHINGTON — Yujiro Okabe reports: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday afternoon (early Saturday JST) before they held a press conference together.

Regarding the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Abe said during the press conference, “We have affirmed that they are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty,” which obliges U.S. forces to defend Japan.

Trump stressed, “We are committed to the security of Japan.”

Abe also revealed that they have agreed to start holding a dialogue headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence, aiming to expand trade and investment between the two countries. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Slow-Walk the Executive Order Appeal, Fast-Walk Gorsuch Nomination

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Gorsuch Nomination More Important Than Travel Ban & Judges’ Opposition

“The point I wanted to make in the column was, there is the moratorium, and there is the vetting. The vetting will get 90 percent support in the country, but they actually should do it. It doesn’t depend on a moratorium. The fact is, they have lost the case in the most liberal circuit in the country, they’ve lost it at the district level, and for now, the Supreme Court is deadlocked, so it’s likely to return. In other words the case is stacked against them. I happen to think it’s legal, but these courts have decided not, so why play a losing hand? What he needs to do — I think it’s exactly right — either rewrite the order or have a new one, so you are dealing on a different playing field. You’ve gotten essentially the feedback of the ninth circuit, so you know what will pass muster and what won’t. For example, from the beginning, you exclude the holders of green cards, and then what you do is, you slow-walk the appeals case and you fast-walk the nomination of Gorsuch. There is no hurry on appealing this ruling. They are not going to win it in the end. … “

Read more

Source: National Review


Blac-Bloc Brownshirt Anti-Free Speech Window-Smashing Riot ‘Stunningly Successful’

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An estimated 150 black bloc anarchists attacked police with rocks and fireworks and used barricades to smash windows at the student union Feb. 1, forcing the cancellation of Yiannopoulos’ appearance.

Organizers of the anti-Milo Yiannopoulos demonstration last week at UC Berkeley that ended in $100,000 worth of window-breaking chaos declared it a “stunningly successful” protest — one they’ll happily repeat if the right-wing provocateur tries to return to campus.

“We are happy with the results,” said UC Berkeley Law School alumnus Ronald Cruz of the group By Any Means hate-dentists-babyNecessary, or BAMN. “We were able to meet Mr. Yiannopoulos’ fascist message with massive resistance.”

An estimated 150 “black bloc” anarchists attacked police with rocks and fireworks and used barricades to smash windows at the student union Feb. 1, forcing the cancellation of Yiannopoulos’ appearance.

“We are not affiliated with them, but were united in shutting down the Milo event,” Cruz said.

“Everyone played a part,” he said. “Some engaged in breaking windows — others held signs and made sure that the fascists and the police did not attack anyone.

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“This was self-defense,” Cruz said. “Windows can be replaced. People can’t be.”

Protesters may have a chance to do it again… (read more)

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Rand Paul’s ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill May Have Friend in New Administration 

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Kentucky senator explains controversial proposed legislation that would subject Federal Reserve‘s monetary policy powers to outside scrutiny as it gets new life under a new administration – and may stand its best chance at becoming law.


[BOOKS] On Howard Stern, Actress Lena Dunham Credits President Trump for Her Weight Loss Success, Debuts New Diet Book

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Rachel DeSantis reports: Most people turn to diets and exercise to lose extra pounds, but Girls star Lena Dunham is sharing a new weight-loss trick you may not want to try at home.

“Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food.”

— Actress and diet book author Lena Dunham

Dunham stopped by Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show Monday morning and revealed that she has none other than Donald Trump to thank for her slim figure.

“Everyone’s been asking like, ‘What have you been doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.’”

“Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food,” she told Stern after he complimented her look. “Everyone’s been asking like, ‘What have you been doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.’”

The actress, who was on hand to promote the upcoming sixth and final season of Girls, has not been shy about her dislike for the President, and apparently, the feeling is mutual. Read the rest of this entry »


The Left Hates You. Act Accordingly

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They hate you.

Kurt Schlichter writes: Leftists don’t merely disagree with you. They don’t merely feel you are misguided. They don’t think you are merely wrong. They hate you. They want you enslaved and obedient, if not dead. Once you get that, everything that is happening now will make sense. And you will understand what you need to be ready to do.

“You are normal, and therefore a heretic. You refuse to bow to their idols, to subscribe to their twisted catechisms, to praise their false gods. This is unforgivable. You must burn.”

You are normal, and therefore a heretic. You refuse to bow to their idols, to subscribe to their twisted catechisms, to praise their false gods. This is unforgivable. You must burn.

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“Crazy talk? Just ask them. Go ahead. Go on social media. Find a leftist – it’s easy. Just say something positive about America or Jesus and they’ll come swarming like locusts.” 

Crazy talk? Just ask them. Go ahead. Go on social media. Find a leftist – it’s easy. Just say something positive about America or Jesus and they’ll come swarming like locusts. Engage them and very quickly they will drop their masks and tell you what they really think. I know. I keep a rapidly expanding file of Twitter leftist death wish screenshots.

They will tell you that Christians are idiots and vets are scum.

That normals are subhumans whose role is to labor as serfs to subsidize the progressive elite and its clients.

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“They are fanatics, and by not surrendering, by not kneeling, and by not obeying, you have committed an unpardonable sin. You have defied the Left, and you must be broken. They will take your job, slander your name, even beat or kill you – whatever it takes to break you and terrify others by making you an example.” 

That you should die to make way for the New Progressive Man/Woman/Other.

Understand that when they call Donald Trump “illegitimate,” what they are really saying is that our desire to govern ourselves is illegitimate. Their beef isn’t with him – it’s with us, the normal people who dared rise up and demand their right to participate in the rule of this country and this culture.

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“The Left won’t say it out loud – at least not yet – but make no mistake. If violence is what it takes for the Left to prevail, then violence we will have. You saw it, and you were meant to. Berkeley was a message about the price of dissent where leftist hold sway. And they seek to hold sway everywhere.”

They hate you, because by defying them you have prevented them from living up to the dictates of their false religion. Our rebelliousness has denied them the state of grace they seek, exercising their divine right to dictate every aspect of our puny lives. Their sick faith gives meaning to these secular weirdos, giving them something that fills their empty lives with a messianic fervor to go out and conquer and convert the heathens.

And the heathens are us.

Oh, there are different leftist sects. There are the social justice warriors who have manufactured a bizarre mythology and scripture of oppression, privilege, and intersectionality. Instead of robes, they dress up as genitals and kill babies as a blasphemous sacrament.

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“They hate you, because by defying them you have prevented them from living up to the dictates of their false religion. Our rebelliousness has denied them the state of grace they seek, exercising their divine right to dictate every aspect of our puny lives.”

Then there are the pagan weather religion oddballs convinced that the end is near and that we must repent by turning in our SUVs. Of course, the “we” is really “us” – high priests of the global warming cult like Leonardo DiCaprio will still jet around the world with supermodels while we do the ritual sacrificing of our modern comforts.

“How to we respond? The first step is to end the denial.”

Then there are the ones who simply worship themselves, the elitists who believe that all wisdom and morality has been invested in them merely because they went to the right college, think the right thoughts, and sneer at anyone living between I-5 and I-95.

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“You wonder why they ignore the rule of law, why they could switch on a dime from screaming at Trump for refusing to preemptively legitimize a Hillary win and then scream that he is illegitimate the moment she lost? Because their only principle is what helps the left win today. That’s why the media gleefully, happily lies every single day about every single thing it reports.”

But all the leftist sects agree – they have found the revealed truth, and imposing it upon the benighted normals like us is so transcendently important that they are relieved of any moral limitations. They are ISIS, except with hashtags instead of AKs, committed to the establishment of a leftist caliphate. Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg: Why Does Trump Insist on Such Absurd Moral Equivalency?

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Once again, President Trump has come to Russian President Vladimir Putin ’s defense by throwing America under the bus.

Jonah Goldberg writes: In a pre-taped interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, aired on Super Bowl Sunday, Trump was asked to explain his respect for Putin.

From Our Partners: Asked About Russia Sanctions, Donald Trump Says ‘We Ough…

“He is the leader of his country,” Trump said, adding the usual boilerplate about wanting to have good relations and help fighting Islamic State.

O’Reilly interjected, “Putin’s a killer.” And a vexed Trump replied, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?”

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Wax statue of Vladimir Putin, Madame Tussauds

This was no gaffe. A similar conversation played out between MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Trump in December 2015. Scarborough asked about Trump’s bromance with Putin and Trump responded, “When people call you brilliant, it’s always good. Especially when the person heads up Russia.”

Putin “kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries,” objected Scarborough. “Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?”

[Read more here, at the LA Times]

“He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country,” Trump said, referring to then-President Obama.

“But, again, he kills journalists that don’t agree with him,” protested Scarborough.

“Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe,” Trump said.

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Wax statue of Donald Trump, Madame Tussauds

In July, Trump said something similar in response to questions from the New York Times about the bloody repressions and mass arrests by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”

One might expect to hear that kind of logic from a dorm room full of Marxists. And if Obama had ever suggested the same, conservatives would have pounced. Of course America isn’t without sin. But ethically speaking, America has towered above Russia – including Russia under Putin. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Goldberg, Krauthammer: Is POTUS Within His Bounds With The Travel Ban? 

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[VIDEO] Americans Gather Near U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to Protest Trump’s Travel Ban 日本のアメリカ大使館前で入国制限令に対するデモ

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TOKYO –  reports: A group of demonstrators gathered Tuesday morning near the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the entry of refugees and restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Roughly 50 people, mainly Americans living in Japan, gathered near the embassy in Minato Ward at around 8 a.m. They held signs with slogans like “Build bridges, not walls,” “No Muslim ban” and “Immigrants make America great.”

“We will protest in solidarity with these individuals, including refugees from war-torn nations, as we stand against this unlawful, immoral and unjust action,” the organizers said in a Monday news release.

“We urge the Trump administration to cancel this executive order and to obey federal court orders against its implementation, and we ask all elected officials and world leaders to speak out against this despicable act,” it said.

Organizer Jesse Glickstein, an American lawyer living in Japan, said the demonstration was part of the global backlash against the immigration clampdown. Protests flared up around the world soon after the policy was implemented last Friday, which is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Glickstein, who is Jewish, said his grandparents immigrated to the U.S. after surviving the Holocaust.

“This, to me, is possibly the most offensive thing a president can do,” Glickstein said before the protest began.

“I think this is important so that the Japanese people understand that the majority of Americans are not in agreement with this,” he said. “We welcome refugees, we welcome diversity, and this administration honestly is basically … waging war on this concept.”

Protester Alexander Gonzalez said he rejects the policy because it targets specific citizens. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Spy Ship Enters Japan’s Territorial Waters for Second Time Since End of WWII 

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In an aggressive move, a Chinese naval reconnaissance vessel enters waters near Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture.

 reports: A Chinese navy reconnaissance vessel entered Japanese territorial waters near Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture early Wednesday morning — the first time since 2004 that a Chinese military ship has done so.

Wednesday’s incursion comes just under a week after a Chinese naval frigate entered the contiguous zone just outside Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

According to the Defense Ministry, a Maritime Self Defense Force P-3C patrol aircraft spotted the Chinese spy ship sailing into Japanese waters west of Kuchinoerabu at around 3:30 a.m.

The ministry said it warned the Chinese ship to exit the territorial waters — generally defined under international law as within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of a nation’s land border — prompting it to leave the waters south of Yakushima Island, sailing southeast, at around 5 a.m.

Wednesday’s incursion was the second time since the end of World War II that a Chinese military ship entered Japanese waters. The last time was in 2004, when a Chinese submarine was detected in the territorial waters near Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture. In response, Yoshinori Ono, the Defense Agency’s director general at the time, ordered the MSDF to boost its maritime security measures.

Such an order was not issued this time as the Chinese ship left before the Defense Ministry could determine if the passage involved any malicious intent, the ministry said.

U.S. Navy leadership and senior officers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) meet for lunch aboard the Chinese destroyer Harbin (DDG 112) marking the conclusion of a U.S.-China counter piracy exercise between Harbin and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). Mason is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary M. Keen/Released)

International law allows all ships, regardless of their country of registration, to pass through another country’s territorial waters so long as they do not endanger the peace and security of the coastal state.

While Beijing’s intentions remain unclear, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said that the Chinese ship entered the waters after following two Indian ships participating in the trilateral Malabar drills. Japan, the U.S. and India have been conducting those exercises in the waters east of Okinawa, near the Senkakus, since last Friday.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan Times]

The Chinese ship also shadowed the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, which was participating in the joint exercise, Reuters reported, citing a Japanese official.

The intrusion by the Chinese navy comes just six days after a Chinese Navy frigate entered the contiguous waters near the Japanese-administered Senkakus, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan, where they are known as the Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.

While the Senkakus are uninhabited, Kuchinoerabu Island has a population of 123 as of the end of last month. It is a popular tourist destination and a part of Yakushima National Park. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ben Sasse: No Moral Equivalency Between the U.S. and Putin’s Regime 

Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) is having none of President Trump’s false moral equivalence. On ABC’s This Week Sunday, Sasse expressed his distaste at the comparison of the United States and Vladimir Putin’s regime.

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“Let’s be clear: Has the U.S. ever made any mistakes? Of course. Is the U.S. at all like Putin’s regime? Not at all. The U.S. affirms freedom of speech; Putin is no friend of freedom of speech. Putin is an enemy of freedom of religion, the U.S. celebrates freedom of religion. Putin is an enemy of free press; the U.S. celebrates free press. Putin is an enemy of political dissent; the U.S. celebrates political dissent and the right for people to argue free from violence about places where ideas are in conflict. There is no moral equivalency between the United States of America, the greatest freedom-loving nation in the history of the world, and the murderous thugs that are in Putin’s defense of his cronyism. There’s no moral equivalency there.”

David French writes:

…Trump said, “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?” I’d like to focus on the follow-up, when O’Reilly gave him an opportunity to amend his statement:

O’REILLY: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.

TRUMP: Well — take a look at what we’ve done, too. We made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.

O’REILLY: Yes, mistakes are different than –

TRUMP: We made a lot of mistakes, OK, but a lot of people were killed. So, a lot of killers around, believe me.

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In response, I’m reminded of a quote from our founder, William F. Buckley, Jr.:

[T]o say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around. Read the rest of this entry »


Steve Bannon Slurps Still-Twitching Tail Into Mouth Before Giving Opinion On Syria

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Source


Ronald Reagan’s Amazing, Mysterious Life

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From 2004: A behind-the-scenes look back at the man himself—detached yet accessible, astute and prophetic, colorful and complex.

June 28, 2004 Issue: There they lie in their guttered drawers, projecting from the rosewood desk I had specially made for them: four yards of cards, each eight inches wide, five inches tall, most of them with his initials handwritten, headline style, in the top left-hand corner, from “rr’s birth zodiac—feb. 6, 1911” to “rr dies of pneumonia—june 5, 2004.” In between these two extremes, some eighteen thousand cards document whatever I was able to find out about thirty-four thousand of Ronald Reagan’s days. Which leaves sixteen thousand days unaccounted for. Lost leaves. “The leavings of a life,” as D. H. Lawrence might say.

“All the rhetorical arts—gesture, timing, comedy, pathos—were at his command.” 

I once planned to show Reagan this card file, just to see him react as drawer after drawer rolled out yard by yard, green tabs demarcating his years, yellow tabs his careers, blue tabs his triumphs and disappointments. He could have looked down, as it were, on the topography of his biography, and seen the shoe salesman’s son moving from town to town across northern Illinois, in the teens of the last century; the adolescent achieving some sort of stability at Dixon High School in 1924; the Eureka College student and summer lifeguard through 1933; then, successively—each divider spaced farther from the next, as he grew in worldly importance—the Des Moines sportscaster and ardent New Dealer; the Hollywood film star; the cavalry officer and Air Corps adjutant; the postwar union leader and anti-Communist; the television host and corporate spokesman for General Electric; the governor of California, 1967-75; the twice-defeated, ultimately successful candidate for his party’s Presidential nomination; and, last, the septuagenarian statesman, so prodigiously carded that the nine tabs “1981” through “1989” stand isolated like stumps in snow.

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He never visited my study, however, and on reflection I am glad he did not, because he might have been disturbed to see how far he had come in nearly eighty years, and how few more cards he was likely to generate after leaving the White House. Besides, I would have had to keep my forearm over a file more than a foot long, practically bristling with tabs descriptive of “rr the man.” Now that the man is no more, and subject to the soft focus of sentimental recall, a riffle through some of these tabs might help restore his image in all its color and complexity.

The first subsection deals with Ronald Reagan’s body. In 1988, at seventy-seven years of age, the President stood six feet one and weighed a hundred and ninety pounds, none of it flab. He boasted that any punch aimed at his abdomen would be jarringly repulsed. After a lifetime of working out with wheels and bars, he had broadened his chest to a formidably walled cavern forty-four inches in circumference. He was a natural athlete, with a peculiarly graceful Algonquin gait that brought him into rooms almost soundlessly. No matter how fast he moved (that big body could turn on a dime), he was always balanced.

One recalls how elegantly he choreographed Mikhail Gorbachev up the steps at the 1985 Geneva summit: an arabesque of dark blue flowing around awkward gray. Reagan loved to swim, ride, and foxtrot. (Doris Day remembers him as “the only man I ever knew who really liked to dance.”) Eleven weeks after nearly dying in the assassination attempt of 1981, he climbed onto the springboard at the Camp David swimming pool and threw a perfect half pike before anybody could protest.

[Read more here, at The New Yorker]

Gorbachev once remarked on Reagan’s “balance” to me in an interview. But he used the Russian word ravnovesie in its wider sense, of psychological equilibrium. The President’s poised body and smooth yet inexorable motion telegraphed a larger force that came of a lifetime of no self-doubt (except for two years of despair in 1948-49, after Jane Wyman, his first wife, left him for boring her). Reagan redux did not care whom he bored, as long as nobody tried to stop him. His famous anecdotes, recounted with a speed and economy that were the verbal equivalent of balance, were persuasive on the first, and even the fourth, telling. But when you heard them for the fourteenth, or the fortieth, time, always with exactly the same inflections and chuckles and glances, you realized that he was a bore in the sense that a combine harvester is boring: its only purpose is to bear down upon and thresh whatever grain lies in its path. Reagan used homilies to harvest people.

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He was always meticulously dressed in tailored suits and handmade shoes and boots. But he was neither a dandy nor a spendthrift. In 1976, he still stepped out in a pair of high-cut, big-tongued alligator pumps that predated the Cold War: “Do you realize what I paid for these thirty years ago?” His personal taste never advanced beyond the first affectations of the nouveau riche. Hence the Corum twenty-dollar-face wristwatch, the Countess Mara ties, the Glen checks too large or too pale, and a weekend tartan blazer that was, in Bertie Wooster’s phrase, “rather sudden, till you got used to it.” Yet Reagan avoided vulgarity, because he sported such things without self-consciousness. And he wore the plainer suits that rotated through his wardrobe just as unpretentiously. No man ever looked better in navy blue, or black tie.

On a card inscribed “alcohol”—his father’s cross—appears the comment of an old Hollywood friend: “Ronnie never had a booze problem, but once every coupla years, he wasn’t averse to a lot of drink. Its only effect was to make him more genial.” His face would flush after a mere half glass of Pinot Noir, giving rise to repeated rumors that he used rouge.

Actually, Reagan never required makeup, even when he was a movie actor. He didn’t sweat under hot lights: he basked in them. A young photographer who did a cover portrait of him in 1984 for Fortune told me, “When I walked into the Oval Office, I thought my career was made. He was just back from areagan-irish-hat-st.patricks long campaign swing, and looked terrible, all drained and lined. I hit him with every harsh spot I had, and etched out those wrinkles, figuring I’d do what Richard Avedon did to Dottie Parker. Know what? When my contacts came back from the darkroom, the old bastard looked like a million bucks. Taught me a real lesson. Ronald Reagan wasn’t just born for the camera. There’s something about him that film likes.”

Several of my cards itemize the President’s deafness. People who sat to his right imagined that they were privileged. In fact, he heard nothing on that side, having blown an eardrum during a shoot-out scene in one of his old movies. His left ear was not much better, so he relied increasingly on hearing aids, although their distortion pained him. One learned not to sneeze in his presence. When the room was crowded and voice levels rose, he would furtively switch off his sound box. I could tell from a slight frown in his gaze that he was lip-reading.

The quietness that insulated him was accentuated by severe myopia. As a boy, “Dutch” Reagan assumed that nature was a blur. Not until he put on his mother’s spectacles, around the age of thirteen, did he perceive the world in all its sharp-edged intricacy. He did not find it disorienting, as somebody who had been blind from birth might. Perhaps his later, Rothko-like preference for large, luminous policy blocks (as opposed to, say, Bill Clinton’s fly’s-eye view of government as a multifacetted montage, endlessly adjustable) derived from his unfocussed childhood.

[Read the full story here, at The New Yorker]

Or perhaps the novelist Ray Bradbury, who also grew up four-eyed in small-town Illinois, has a more informed theory. “I often wonder whether or not you become myopic for a physical reason of not wanting to face the world,” Bradbury says in an oral history. Like Dutch, he competed with a popular, extrovert elder brother by “making happy things for myself and creating new images of the world for myself.” Reagan was not introverted, yet from infancy he had the same kind of “happy” self-centeredness that Bradbury speaks of, the same need to inhabit an imaginative construct in which outside reality was refracted, or reordered, to his liking. “I was completely surrounded by a wall of light,” Reagan wrote of his first venture onto a movie set. It was clear that the sensation was agreeable. Read the rest of this entry »